Weekly Open Thread with a misty mountain

This week’s Open Thread host is this wonderful picture of Mount Pico in the Azores archipelago, which is the land mass closest to the antipodal point of Sydney, Australia. Because it’s on the opposite side of the planet,I am using it to distract myself from my sense of impending doom over this Saturday’s Australian Federal Election. Please natter/chatter/vent/rant on anything* you like over this weekend and throughout the week.

A landscape of green fields and a green hill dotted with trees in the foreground, then a distant mountain soaring above a line of clouds in the background

Mount Pico and the green landscape, emblematic of the archipelago of the Azores | Image Credit – WikiMedia (CC BY-SA 3.0) uploaded by Björn Ehrlich

So, what have you been up to? What would you rather be up to? What’s been awesome/awful?
Reading? Watching? Making? Meeting?
What has [insert awesome inspiration/fave fansquee/guilty pleasure/dastardly ne’er-do-well/threat to all civilised life on the planet du jour] been up to?

* Netiquette footnotes:
* There is no off-topic on the Weekly Open Thread, but consider whether your comment would be on-topic on any recent thread and thus better belongs there.
* If your comment touches on topics known to generally result in thread-jacking, you will be expected to take the discussion to #spillover instead of overshadowing the social/circuit-breaking aspects of this thread.

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76 comments for “Weekly Open Thread with a misty mountain

  1. gratuitous_violet
    September 6, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Nothing to add but a WOOT for os Açores! Most people haven’t heard of where I was born and I’m okay with that, but it’s still really cool to see here!

    • September 6, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      Glad it makes you happy!

  2. September 6, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Every WordPress blog (with the exception of this one) seems to eat my comments lately. It’s pissing me off to no end.

  3. September 6, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Okay, so I’ve got an interview for that job Monday. I want to get it so desperately. Not just because of the money (though, god, it would be nice to not have to worry about money for a few months!), but because it sounds really awesome and the prof offering me the job is a really sweet and smart and a fantastic teacher (and also my top candidate for my honours supervisor, even if I haven’t asked her about it yet). Too bad my various anxieties and insecurities are busy convincing me that all I’ve got to take to the interview is “greetings I am Mac I am nice I can read good please give me work and money thank”.

    • September 6, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      Although I’ve figured out that this song is wonderful for soothing anxiety, for me anyway. So that’s helping.

      • trees
        September 6, 2013 at 8:28 pm

        Check out this TED Talk:
        Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are

        Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.


      • September 6, 2013 at 9:20 pm

        Trees, wow, that was really thought-provoking! I’m definitely going to try this out, and not just for the interview; I’ve noticed that when my anxiety is high I hunch and huddle so much that I actually cause myself muscle spasms and cramps (not that that’s hard, with fibro). THis sounds like it would be really useful. Thank you, so much.

    • BBBShrewHarpy
      September 6, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      Good luck Macavity! FWIW I’ve never not hired a student because of anxiety/insecurity, only lack of enthusiasm.

      • September 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm

        Thank you, BBB. I’m really quite excited about this project (the prof in question is the one who got me hooked on the author she wants me to assist in researching, so), so if it’s just enthusiasm I’m all over that!

    • Lolagirl
      September 7, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      Awesome, good luck, Mac!

    • Tony
      September 7, 2013 at 11:08 pm

      Best of luck, Macavity!

  4. snorkellingfish
    September 6, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    I have voted in today’s federal election. I bought a yummy cupcake from the cake stall at the polling place, and I am focusing on that to distract me from tonight’s likely result. They say that my electorate might go over to the Liberals, even though it hasn’t had a non-Labor representative since the 1930’s. Well, at least I got to eat a yummy cupcake.

    • Li
      September 7, 2013 at 1:06 am

      I voted below the line in the Senate just for the considerable pleasure of putting Pauline Hanson dead last in spot no. 110. Sadly I received no cupcake, but I have a date tonight with many friends, several bottles of wine and an anatomical pinata with Tony Abbott’s face glued to the head.

      • whistlewren
        September 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm

        I can not bear to look at the final allocation of seats. I am very, very nervous about what the next four years holds.

  5. September 6, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    My financial aid troubles have been fixed after my father sent in some extra forms to UCSC (to confirm that I’m financially dependent on him for 2013-2014 – *sigh*), so I’m basically set; I’m going to university starting this quarter, which begins on the 26th.

    Of course, this does mean that I’ll have to live with my father still, and I’m really not looking forward to that, but I have some strong reasons for wanting to go to UCSC this quarter anyway. I can start seeking much-needed therapy through the student healthcare services, spend more time with my little sisters (since they’re in the same house), and, as a result of having a convenient class schedule, spend a great deal of time away from home and hopefully try to make friends at school. These things are all possible because there won’t be anyone (namely my father) around me to police my time management.

    Another major reason is that my father will refuse to help me financially if I decide to not go this quarter. And while it’s certainly possible for me to get my university expenses paid without his help, it will be very difficult for me and I just don’t want to be too much of a burden.

    All in all, things are going okay for me. I feel that this recent development is a chance for me to, in a way, regenerate so that when the real shitstorm comes, I’ll be better prepared. That probably doesn’t make any sense, but I like to see things that way as an exercise in optimism. I feel more confident when I’m able to see a tentative, comprehensive scheme of events in life.

    • CaitlinH
      September 6, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      Ally, that’s great news! (I’m a semi-lurker but also from Santa Cruz/the daughter of a UCSC prof, so I hope it’s not weird that I as a stranger am responding to you!) Am I right in interpreting this as saying that you’re going to be commuting to Santa Cruz and still living with your father, rather than living in the dorms with his carefully-selected roommate? If so that actually seems like it could work out great– the length of the commute means you’ll be able to spend full days on campus and hopefully meet lots of cool, like-minded people, get therapy, and learn lots. And build a Team You so that you’ll have more people to support you when the whole living with your father thing gets especially shitty. Sending so much good vibes and good wishes your way!

      • September 7, 2013 at 2:31 am

        Yeah, I plan on leaving home very early and coming back very late. [details redacted by commentor request]

      • September 7, 2013 at 1:49 pm

        Aaliyah, you might not want to provide that info on here. Makes it pretty easy to identify you should someone try (and there’s outing assholes all over).

      • September 7, 2013 at 1:53 pm

        Oh shit, you’re right – that didn’t occur to me at all. Thank you so much for letting me know, Mac.

        Well, if there’s a mod around, I’d appreciate it if that comment could be taken down.

      • September 7, 2013 at 2:57 pm

        We need a giraffe here.

        [thank you for sending a giraffe alert ~ mods]

      • September 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm

        Thanks, mods! And thank you, Mac, for sending the Giraffe alert – I forgot that it can be used for things other than notifying mods of trolling/disruptive behavior.

      • September 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm

        Thanks, mods! And no problem, Aaliyah! ^_^

      • Donna L
        September 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm

        Ally, I’m very happy to hear your news. I’m really hopeful that it’ll be a chance to spend substantial time out of your father’s orbit, and to explore everything you want to explore. Including being able to be in therapy without his finding out.

  6. Karak
    September 6, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    My tools disappeared in my last move, and for my birthday my dad bought me a set of high quality tools to replace them. The screwdrivers are magnetic. It’s seriously the greatest fucking thing since sliced bread.

    In other news I got into an academic argument with a classmate during a discussion. He was calm, rational, and polite. After class he came up to apologize if I thought he was picking on me. I didn’t think that at all. But it was nice he was concerned.

    I am so right, btw.

    • LRB
      September 7, 2013 at 11:57 am

      I <3 magnetic screwdrivers. When I got my set, I went around unscrewing and then re-screwing things in my apartment. All day.

  7. Willemina
    September 7, 2013 at 1:16 am

    Note to self: Buy lair in the Azores, raise mole-person army, start digging down.

    Oooh, Wikipedia says they’re volcanic….perfect.

  8. Bagelsan
    September 7, 2013 at 2:18 am

    I found out a few days ago from a roommate that my house (I’m staying with my parents this week during the break) was burglarized AGAIN. This is twice in 2 months. So fucking cranky. The assholes took my checkbook last time –and my childhood stuffed lamb– and cashed a check for $450, and this time there was nothing left for them to take… so they dumped everything I own on the floor and covered it all with laundry detergent, doing about $500 worth of damage to some textbooks and electronics.

    So now I get the fun fun fun of moving, again, and trying to find a place in a less shitty part of town (this city’s crime rate is like, three times the state average. So lovely.) I’m so pissed, and I’d just like 5 minutes with the perpetrator and a baseball bat about now because I’m 99% sure I know who it was, and the little bastard robbed us the last time too. Grr.

    (The police are useless, natch. Last time I got a half-assed report filled out and an hour long lecture on how “naive” I was for, I dunno, owning things near assholes.)

    • Echo Zen
      September 7, 2013 at 2:25 am

      Wow… every part of that story disgusts me. I’m sorry you have to deal with such nonsense, mate. :-/

    • Angie unduplicated
      September 7, 2013 at 10:25 am

      Hugs if you want them. I had a recurrent burglary problem in Chattanooga. One detective claimed it was a false complaint, a second gave me a card with a fake report number and name, and I had to nail windows shut to resolve the problem. I did leave one set of windows open, nailed one-bys across it with just enough space for a head to get through, and purchased a machete. Baseball bats work great, too, ‘specially if you spike them with finishing nails and cut their little heads off at an angle. Damn, I do hate burglars.

    • September 7, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      I found out a few days ago from a roommate that my house (I’m staying with my parents this week during the break) was burglarized AGAIN. This is twice in 2 months. So fucking cranky. The assholes took my checkbook last time –and my childhood stuffed lamb– and cashed a check for $450, and this time there was nothing left for them to take… so they dumped everything I own on the floor and covered it all with laundry detergent, doing about $500 worth of damage to some textbooks and electronics.

      So now I get the fun fun fun of moving, again, and trying to find a place in a less shitty part of town (this city’s crime rate is like, three times the state average. So lovely.) I’m so pissed, and I’d just like 5 minutes with the perpetrator and a baseball bat about now because I’m 99% sure I know who it was, and the little bastard robbed us the last time too. Grr.

      (The police are useless, natch. Last time I got a half-assed report filled out and an hour long lecture on how “naive” I was for, I dunno, owning things near assholes.)

      That’s horrible, it’s such a personal invasion. I know nothing can probably cheer you up right now, but you may laugh at the fact that when I first read this I thought “‘childhood stuffed lamb’? Who on keeps leftover meals for years as souvenirs?”

    • Bagelsan
      September 8, 2013 at 12:54 am

      Thanks, all! I just spent the day looking at apartments in a different part of town, and it seems like there are some good options so I’m feeling better now. Mostly I’m pissed off ’cause it really does feel very invasive and malicious to have someone mess up your stuff in your bedroom for no reason. My landlord’s whining a bit but he is letting me out of the lease early, so I won’t be out additional money, at least, and mostly I’m trying to be grateful that it was only stuff that got harmed.

      (And can I just say that, miserable as a house invasion is, it’s NOWHERE near being raped or physically assaulted, and all the dudes who make the “house” analogy need to get a bat upside the head? Along with the robbers themselves. I’m practically building a list of people who need a good thwoking. :p)

  9. September 7, 2013 at 7:22 am

    My sense of impending doom regarding Australia’s Federal Election has been validated. Heads of State and Heads of Government around the world, I offer an Open Preemptive Apology for whatever inappropriateness our new Prime Minister foists upon you at official events. Just smile, nod and back slowly away and you should end up unscathed, which is more than I can say for us.

    • Matthew
      September 7, 2013 at 7:30 am

      Sorry to hear that Tigtog!

      I know this is only one of a hundred issues but it’s sad that this might mean equal marriage is a bit further off now.

      • September 10, 2013 at 11:55 pm

        This’ll be one of those times when Poe’s Law will apply. I have a feeling the Suppository of Wisdom is going to make Dubya look good.*

        *for a relative and limited value of “good”

      • Matthew
        September 7, 2013 at 1:18 pm

        I seriously feel your pain having David Cameron as prime minister…

    • Tony
      September 7, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      Don’t know much about Australian politics but it seems the government never did get much credit for your country’s relative economic goodness during the worldwide economic depression.

      • September 7, 2013 at 5:21 pm

        You’re right about that, and the new government’s front bench is chock-full of austerity-culters, so bye-bye infrastructure spending. *spit*

    • birdie
      September 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      tigtog, I was once an Australian. I feel you pain.

  10. Librarygoose
    September 7, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    My niece started kindergarten and so far so good. She had one little girl and one little boy tell her she can’t have her Batman book bag, but she’s handled it like a champ. She apparently told them, “Girls can like boy things and boys can like girl things, nobody gets to decide” then flounced away*. I just hope she keeps up being a force of nature.

    *this is conjecture based on hand movements and my 5 year old interpretation skills.

    • Matthew
      September 7, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      Your niece sounds awesome! :-)

    • September 10, 2013 at 11:53 pm

      More power to your niece!

  11. birdie
    September 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Boy, am I glad I’m not in Oz right now.

  12. Alexandra
    September 7, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    I was massively triggered on Thursday and walked around campus in a daze before the welcome distraction of organic chemistry. Can I just say that organic chemistry is wonderful?

    unfortunately, when I get “triggered” in that way it tends to be a weeks-long thing before I get it out of my head again, and I dealt with months of obsessive thinking/replaying after the last time I was triggered. After that I found a therapist who specializes in sexual assault survivors… who I literally have no time to see because I am trying not to drown in organic chemistry homework.

    So it’s like… I am happy when I am thinking about chemistry, but I cannot think about chemistry 100% of the time, but I also do not have time for an hourlong commute + hourlong session once a week, so what on earth do I do with myself besides BREATHE and hold on for the next few weeks?

    I mean, I can see even in my writing that my thinking is comparatively disorganized and sloppy right now, like I’m mentally befogged. Which is bloody frustrating.

    (Also: I am so sorry, Australians. All of my Aussie relatives have been bemoaning recent developments on facebook).

    • September 10, 2013 at 11:27 pm

      Alexandra, hugs, if you’d like them.

      Thank you for the election sympathy.

  13. Donna L
    September 7, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    My son’s and ex’s cat Purrl (my son gave her that name, with that spelling, just before he turned 6, when we got her — probably his first pun!) died in her sleep this morning, at the age of 17. No illness in particular; she had been withdrawing and declining for the last few weeks. Old age, basically. He’s very sad, and so is my ex, and I’m sad too. Because she was also my cat, once upon a time.

    For my son, though, she had been there practically his whole life, as he said to me on the phone earlier today. She was always a very beautiful cat, with the softest, most wonderful fur of any cat I’ve ever known — like a long-haired, torpedo-shaped black-and-white furball with little legs sticking out the bottom. She was always kind of grumpy, and never liked being picked up (unlike my Ziggy!), but I loved her all the same.

    I’m sure I have a photo or two of her somewhere, but can’t find one right now to link to. I hadn’t seen her in a number of years, because there’s no reason for me ever to go over to my ex’s house anymore, but she clearly continued to recognize me and remember me for years after I moved out in 2000, whenever I went there to pick up my son or drop him off. Even after my transition!

    She had a long, peaceful life, and was well-loved. It’s hard — almost impossible — to believe she’s gone, and that I’ll never see her again, as I always sort of thought I would someday.

    Ziggy was sitting on my lap when my son called (it’s easy to see what he looks like, of course), and I’ve been giving him lots of extra hugs today. He’s only 7, but the years go by quickly.


    • September 7, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      Donna, sorry to hear about Purrl. She sounds lovely.

      • Donna L
        September 7, 2013 at 10:03 pm

        Thank you, Tigtog. She was.

    • Lolagirl
      September 7, 2013 at 11:31 pm

      Oh, Donna, sorry to hear about your son’s cat. Your description of her and her life read very much like a eulogy, what a lovely way to remember her.

    • September 10, 2013 at 11:13 pm

      Donna, I’m so sorry. I’m only glad Purrl went in her sleep. She sounds like a beautiful cat. All the hugs, if you want them.

      • Donna L
        September 10, 2013 at 11:33 pm

        Thank you all. It’s very sad, and very hard for my son. It’s the first death of someone he’s loved that much that he’s had to deal with — someone who was with him for 17 of his 23 years — and he’s been devastated, crying all the time. He keeps seeing her out of the corner of his eye. He and my ex saved a little of her fur, and they’re making a photo album of her, and they’re getting her ashes back. It makes me cry just to think about her, and remember her when she was a tiny kitten, taken from her mother too soon, and my ex brought her home from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, where some college kids were walking up and down a line of people waiting for a bus, trying to give her away. I’m glad my ex brought her home, and she definitely had a good life.

      • September 10, 2013 at 11:48 pm

        It’s bad enough saying goodbye-for-now to them as an adult – I can’t imagine how painful it would be when it’s a dog or cat who’s been in the family since one was a child. All the cats I’ve been closest to were ones who came to us when I was an adult.

  14. DannyChameleon
    September 9, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    This is to ask the moderators if it is o.k. to change to this name and email to deal with some things happening in my life. I’m not a sockpuppet or trying to mislead anyone. Thank you.

  15. EG
    September 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Deposited my tenure materials yesterday! Wish me luck, OK?

    • September 10, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      Tippety-toppiest of the most tip-top possible luck, EG.

    • September 10, 2013 at 11:11 pm

      Fingers, toes and eyes crossed!

    • Donna L
      September 10, 2013 at 11:28 pm

      The very very best of luck to you! You deserve this.

    • Jenna
      September 11, 2013 at 2:09 am

      Good luck!

    • Matthew
      September 11, 2013 at 5:41 am

      Best of luck!!

    • EG
      September 12, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      Thank you all so much! Getting your good wishes means a lot to me. Now it’s just a matter of keeping my fingers crossed for a few months…

      • September 12, 2013 at 9:31 pm

        Now it’s just a matter of keeping my fingers crossed for a few months…

        God, they really ARE demanding!

    • September 12, 2013 at 9:28 pm

      Best of luck, EG! I can’t think of a more deserving person ^__^

  16. Jenna
    September 10, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    Two days left of radiation for the breast cancer. I only have TWO DAYS LEFT! I think I can make it.

    • EG
      September 11, 2013 at 12:13 am

      I am wishing you the very best luck and health.

    • September 12, 2013 at 11:18 pm

      two days later…hope all is amazingly well!

  17. September 12, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    I just got a call and got the job I got the job! SQUEE

    Thanks so much to everyone who wished me luck on earlier threads!

    • Donna L
      September 12, 2013 at 8:05 pm


    • September 12, 2013 at 8:59 pm

      Congrats on the happy news, mac!

    • September 12, 2013 at 9:50 pm

      Mac, yay, that’s wonderful!

    • EG
      September 12, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      Awesome! I had complete faith you would–anybody should hire you in a heartbeat!

    • GallingGalla
      September 12, 2013 at 10:14 pm

      Yah! Congrats, mac!

    • trees
      September 12, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      Congratulations!! Did you try the “power pose” in the bathroom before the interview?

      • September 12, 2013 at 10:35 pm

        Everyone – thank you! EG especially. I’d blush, but I am too brown :P

        trees – yes, I did! It did wonders <3 I've been trying to do it at least once a day, or when I feel my anxiety spike, and I've been trying to loosen up my body language in general. It's been helping, I think.

      • September 12, 2013 at 11:01 pm

        Seriously, I cannot thank you enough for that video. I really can’t.

      • trees
        September 12, 2013 at 11:15 pm

        It’s been helping, I think.

        Awesome!!!!!!! I’ve been doing it too. I love TEDTalks.

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