Weekly Open Thread with a Flock of Galahs

This flock of galahs taking flight on Hindmarsh Island in South Australia are hosting this week’s Open Thread. Please natter/chatter/vent/rant on anything* you like over this weekend and throughout the week.

Galahs in flight

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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87 comments for “Weekly Open Thread with a Flock of Galahs

  1. October 4, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    So, this week has been epically shitty. Got my scope result back and I have a malignant tumour in my colon. Cancer. So that utterly fucking sucks and I’m all manner of scared shitless.

    I’ve since had a CT scan and bloodwork and now it’s a matter of finding out when and where I’ll have the surgery.

    • October 4, 2013 at 10:47 pm

      Oh god. Andie, I am so so sorry. All the hugs for you if you want them, and all the good healing thoughts.

    • PrettyAmiable
      October 4, 2013 at 10:49 pm

      Oh Andie.

      You’re tough. You are a badass, and you can fight it. The whole thing is so scary, but you’re taking steps right now to getting to the other side of this. You can do this.

    • October 4, 2013 at 11:00 pm

      Thank you both. It’s scary, but my doctor seems fairly gung-ho on getting the ball rolling with the surgery. I’m also fortunate to have a pretty fantastic support system, between the boyfriend and my family. Even work, my HR manager has been a godsend, making sure I’m covered and can make my appts and suggesting a mental health day the day after I got the news.

      My kids have taken it well, so far. I’m going to use whatever I have in my arsenal to fight this because Gord knows I am determined to see those girls grow up.

      • October 4, 2013 at 11:54 pm

        I’m glad to hear you have an awesome support system. I hope things go well for you, Andie!

      • bookshopcat
        October 6, 2013 at 9:59 am

        Good to know that everyone’s rallying around you, Andie. Here’s hoping for a successful, uncomplicated surgery and a full recovery.

    • Kungfulola
      October 5, 2013 at 12:19 am

      Oh, Andie, I am so sorry. I’m sure that in the days ahead you will find ample strength to fight through this, and if you run out, you can borrow some from those around you. Sending you healing vibes, if you want them.

    • October 5, 2013 at 5:03 am

      Andie, I am so sorry. All the hugs, I hope your surgery comes soon and goes well, and they get it all.

    • moviemaedchen
      October 5, 2013 at 5:48 am

      Hugs and best wishes, Andie. I’m so sorry. You can beat this thing though. One step at a time.

    • GallingGalla
      October 5, 2013 at 7:58 am

      Hugs if you want them, Andie. I’m glad that you have such a good support system, including a great HR manager.

    • TomSims
      October 5, 2013 at 10:39 am

      I’m sorry to hear of your situation. I hope you get the medical treatment you need and wish you a speedy recovery.

    • Donna L
      October 5, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      I’m so sorry about your diagnosis, Andie. My thoughts are with you and your family, in hoping for an uncomplicated and complete recovery.

    • October 5, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      Andie, so sorry about your diagnosis. Wishing you a rapid recovery from your treatments.

    • trees
      October 5, 2013 at 10:35 pm

      Andie, that super sucks and I’m sorry. It sounds like they caught it early and have a plan of attack. I wish you well.

    • Matthew
      October 6, 2013 at 8:07 am

      Really sorry to hear that Andie. Hope you get the best support and the initial treatment goes well.

    • October 6, 2013 at 9:29 am

      Thanks everyone. I’m trying to stay positive, it’s still early in the game, right?

      • (BFing) Sarah
        October 6, 2013 at 3:26 pm

        I’m sorry, that really sucks. You are right, it is early on and there are a lot of tools out there right now to fight cancer. Right after diagnosis can be a super hard time emotionally, so I have heard, so be super gentle with yourself and surround yourself with lots of loving people and awesome things that allow you to feel how YOU want to feel. Let it be all about you right now! My thoughts are with you and lots of virtual hugs if you want them!

      • khw
        October 6, 2013 at 4:21 pm

        I’d just like to add my voice to this – best wishes

    • Alexandra
      October 6, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      I’m so sorry, what awful news. Good luck with your treatment – best wishes for a full recovery.

    • EG
      October 9, 2013 at 11:16 am

      Andie, I’m so sorry. That is terrible news. I’m pulling for you, and hoping for the smoothest and most painless of complete recoveries.

  2. Pitbullgirl65
    October 4, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Content note: pet loss.
    My lab mix was hit on July 23rd and I still can’t stop grieving. I lost my Border Collie in Sept. 2010, my lab. I have one dog left. I can’t believe it. I don’t know what to do with my life. I started pulling my hair and overeating again. I just don’t really care anymore. 10 years I had them, and I thought they’d be with me forever. I’ve taken over watching my friends little beagle mix, Lacey. She’s quite a character. She’s helped my pitbull Major too. He was depressed and he’s still not quite the same dog.
    The on line grief site I found is a great support though. It’s heartbreaking to read the stories.

    • October 4, 2013 at 11:49 pm

      I’m sorry for your loss, I can’t imagine losing a pet like that.

    • Kungfulola
      October 5, 2013 at 12:13 am

      I am so sorry for your loss, pets are wonderful companions and it’s tragic when their lives are shorter than ours. Love and healing to you & yours.

    • October 5, 2013 at 5:23 am

      Pitbullgirl – all the hugs. I’ve been through grief many times over the years with my cats. It doesn’t get easier.

      I’d also say – there’s no reason you should have stopped grieving yet. It’s only a matter of weeks since you lost a beloved family member. Having lost your Border Collie cross only recently just makes it worse.

      I’m glad you’ve found a site that helps. Again, all the hugs.

    • moviemaedchen
      October 5, 2013 at 5:50 am

      I’m so sorry. Hugs if wanted. Losing pets can be really hard, and there isn’t a set time when you’re supposed to magically not grieve anymore. I still miss my cats, and the last one died 6+ years ago. I joke that her ghost is still following me around. They’re important to us.

    • October 5, 2013 at 2:16 pm

      My mom has a border collie, and she’s the sweetest dog I’ve ever spent time with. And I’m sure my mom, my step-dad and I would be devastated if we lost her. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    • October 5, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      Losing a pet sucks, particularly so suddenly. I’m glad Lacey is there for you and Major. I have a soft spot for beagles, she sounds like a sweetheart.

    • Bonnie
      October 6, 2013 at 12:01 pm

      I am so sorry for your loss. It’s been 5 years since I lost a pet and I still shed a tear over the clay paw prints once and a while.

      If you are interested in a pet loss support line run by veterinary students:

      • Bonnie
        October 6, 2013 at 12:10 pm
      • Sharon m
        October 6, 2013 at 12:40 pm

        Thank you! Also thank you everyone for your kind comments. I usually try to reply to everyone, but I didn’t want to flood the thread! It means a great deal to me.

        At least the people stopped. They put her in my backseat, and we raced to the vet @ 85 mph. She said she kept urging her boyfriend to go faster.
        Thank Dog I live in a rural area. The road was empty at 10pm, and no cops around. I wouldn’t have pulled over anyway. I had my hazards on. I didn’t care, if they arrested me they could do it at the vet.
        The couple waited with me, and they kept saying how sorry they were. When they left they both gave me a hug. I still don’t know their names.

        My mother came up to “help me” a couple of days later
        and it went bad. She brought our friends teen daughter Rachel up too thank goodness.
        My mother basically told me not to throw my life away “over a dog”. I flipped out, Rachel ran out to comfort me. (my mom was at the motel across the street she doesn’t like sleeping here.)
        The next morning she came over and was acting like everything was ok. Me “what you said to me last night was unforgiveable”
        Her: “Unforgiveable?! Unforgiveable?! Unforgiveable is murdering someone!
        I shut down as always. She’s been like this for years.
        For real, even our friends said they don’t like the way she treats me.
        At least my therapist, and my LiveJournal friends confirmed she was cruel and way out of line.

        Oh her comment/apology included this “I forgot how sensitive you are”
        Really mother?

        I’m talking to her b/c she finally gets how wrong she was.. Long post is long!

      • khw
        October 6, 2013 at 4:24 pm

        I lost my rescued Boxer, Milagros, in 2010. It’s horrible.

        Now, I’m stressing that my Bridgit, 9.5 years old, is getting very unsteady on her feet and I fear that she will not be with us for much longer.

        It is hard to lose a beloved family member. My best wishes.

  3. October 4, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    [Content note: street harassment, violence, bigotry against Muslims]

    This week has been very eventful. Two days ago I got involved in a street harassment incident on the light rail – I had to intervene.

    I saw these two Muslim women in full hijab chatting with each other, making jokes, etc. And then at this one station a large man in a white suit sat close to me. He looked back at the women and said, “Tell me something about your religion!” to them. They felt uncomfortable, and they clearly wanted to be left alone, so they told him that they were getting off the train soon.

    And then he got up and sat right next to them, demanding them to answer his question. He said (mostly paraphrasing), “Just tell me something about your religion – you know, just something! Maybe I’ll convert to Islam if you tell me! How about we start with why you cover your bodies up?” They recommended that he talk to an imam to get answers since they didn’t want to explain, and I took this opportunity to jump in and say “Oh yeah, sir, there’s a mosque on this road nearby. You can go there and ask your questions.”

    He looked back at me furiously and yelled “SHUT UP!” I just froze and meekly apologized, and then for about five seconds he was just staring at me with full eye contact – as if he was ready to assault me. I was terrified, and the women were even more so. They decided to tell him the reason for wearing the hijab, and then he leered at their bodies from head to toe while complimenting them for covering up completely. He did that for at least a minute. I just sat their still as a statue and sweated profusely because I couldn’t believe what was happening. It was horrible.

    Afterwards he kept asking them more and more questions, making them feel as though they should be ashamed for not giving him a quick, detailed answer. At this point one of the women was about to cry, and the other one was very angry. The one who was angry stood up and said “Okay, WE’RE LEAVING!” and, when their stop came, they bolted out of the train. I followed them to ensure that the man wouldn’t chase after them. As we exited, he yelled “GET OFF MY TRAIN!” – which was most likely directed at me since I was the one who pissed him off. The women thanked me briefly, and then they ran off. I waited for the next train and continued my trip back home, where I made a police report.

    The police department representative had no idea what street harassment is (I know, right?), but fortunately she connected me to another representative who took my report and informed me that the man who I described has behaved inappropriately before according to other reports from train passengers.

    Ever since that incident, I have felt some kind of boost of confidence for some reason. I now feel more confident and comfortable with interacting with people, and my confidence allowed me to actually make two new trans* friends on campus (plus a cis female friend). The ease I felt in befriending those people is something I have never experienced before.

    Maybe I’m feeling confident for the wrong reason (intervening in a street harassment incident shouldn’t be about me), but I just feel so much happier and hopeful today. I feel like things are finally starting to go the way I want them to. =]

    • Pitbullgirl65
      October 5, 2013 at 2:45 am

      Pat yourself on the back! No it’s not about you, I know what you mean! But it’s rare when people speak up when something is wrong and when the situation can be dangerous. I’m seeing more Shikha and Muslims practitioner’s in this area. They come from Canada to shop.
      It’s a rural area but so far I haven’t noticed any nasty looks or remarks towards them.

    • david
      October 5, 2013 at 4:33 am

      Just wanted to say amazing job having the courage to step up and say something as it is extremely difficult I always admire people that have the courage to do something in situations like that.

    • Lateef
      October 5, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      Street harassment is a pet peeve of mine. My local police department said it’s not even a crime – so I emailed my state senator to review the laws and see if we can make it a misdemeanor.

      You’re awesome for speaking up and contacting the authorities. I hope that culturally, we start to take this issue seriously and punish the perpetrators every damn time.

      • ldouglas
        October 7, 2013 at 11:40 am

        Ugh. I wish I had something more insightful to say, but that blend of entitlement, bigotry and implied violence is just so fucking common and toxic and utterly incomprehensible to me… just ugh.

        My local police department said it’s not even a crime – so I emailed my state senator to review the laws and see if we can make it a misdemeanor.

        Not really- the episode described above falls pretty firmly under 1st Amendment protections, just like public religious proselytization. Until the speech is openly threatening (and this means contains a direct threat, like ‘I will stab you,’ not just being hostile/subjectively frightening) there’s not much legal room for intervention.

        We really have to tackle these things at the social/organizing level. I don’t know if you’re familiar with projects like HollaBack, but they do some cool work on this front.

    • Tony
      October 6, 2013 at 12:56 am

      Wow, thanks for standing up to that bully in whatever way that felt safe for you. I think I know what you mean about confidence– I get a confidence boost from dealing with a stressful situation / responding to assholes. I just hope I’d have the same confidence as you did to speak up and make it known where I stand in the same situation.

    • karak
      October 6, 2013 at 11:53 pm

      Jesus Christ those poor ladies. And that guy was scary-strange–I’m glad you were able to say something.

    • EG
      October 9, 2013 at 11:18 am

      Ally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with feeling good about and because of what you did. You were brave and stood up against a bully. Those are things worth being proud of, and your happiness doesn’t take anything away from the women you were helping. It’s true it’s not about you, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t affect you.

  4. Kungfulola
    October 5, 2013 at 12:03 am

    Content note: sexual assault

    I feel so silly for letting this bother me, and also silly for expecting anything different, but. I am really, really, REALLY angry that people are accusing Madonna of lying about being raped, after she disclosed it in Harper’s Bazaar.

    Fucking rape culture. This was not a new story to me. In 1993, Madonna described the attack in detail on camera, in a setting she thought was private, and it was included in a feature film without her consent. I saw the film, because I love Madonna. I found out later that in seeing that, I’d watched her being violated. Again. She still hates that film director.

    Madonna is a lot of things; among those things are “tangled ball of unexamined privilege” and “petulant reactionary”. But another thing on that list is “human woman”. People dehumanize her like they’re about to get a medal for it, they push out of their minds that she eats salad with her hands by wrapping the toppings in little bundles in each leaf of lettuce. And yet, even those who forget that she belongs in the category of “human woman”, impose rape culture on her. I’m still mad at myself for expecting anything different.

    I’m sorry if this is too random for here but I need to be with feminists right now and I had nowhere else to go.

    • Kungfulola
      October 5, 2013 at 8:43 am

      Hoo boy. This is why you don’t internet in the strange twilight between taking your Nyquil and the Nyquil conking you out. Nex time I’ll just play some Candy Crush.

  5. Pitbullgirl65
    October 5, 2013 at 12:36 am

    Thank you for your kind words. :) Andie, how frightening! Do you have insurance? Friends and family to take care of you? Damn, I’m sorry.

    • October 5, 2013 at 9:33 am

      I’m in Canada, so I’m mostly covered through OHIP anyway, but I also have long term disability coverage through work, as well as critical care which we apparently just got added to our health plan. I hadn’t paid much attention when we were told that coverage was added (because who knew I’d need THAT? I was just excited about orthodontic).

      This partly why I get so mad when I hear what Americans have to deal with with their health care system. With the health problems I’ve had in my day, I’d have been utterly fucked. As it is, I was turned down for long term disability on my mortgage insurance when I bought my house due to pre-existing conditions so I’m a bit worried about paying my mortgage if it comes down to having to take a long period off.

      But I digress. It’s just horrible that anyone, especially in a country that has access to whatever medical technologies one might need, has to lose out because they can’t afford it, and it sickens me that many people power think this is not only okay, but GOOD and RIGHT.

      So, once again I find myself very glad to be living where I am. Maybe one day I’ll build a shrine to Tommy Douglas, ha.

      • Pitbullgirl65
        October 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm

        But I digress. It’s just horrible that anyone, especially in a country that has access to whatever medical technologies one might need, has to lose out because they can’t afford it, and it sickens me that many people power think this is not only okay, but GOOD and RIGHT.

        Yeah the mindset of America is bed made lie. The influence of Christianity (including the Puritans), Manifest Destiny, slavery, the Horatio Alger myth, and 30 + years ago Reagans Welfare Queen statements have been devastating for us.

        The fact is America was built on the genocide of its’ original inhabitants, and the slave trade, and that we invaders still benefit from it? I don’t know how it can be changed.

        It’s like trying to building a house with a bad foundation. Until you fix the root cause of it, any fixing is a Band-Aid.

        You know what I saw on Twitter? This woman’s advice who was raging about “Obamacare” “don’t get sick”, “what happened to personal responsibility?” She was arguing with a man from Boston who explained to her RomneyCare had been in effect for 6 years in Mass and it’s popular. She also refused to acknowledge the Rethugs pitched the same health care plan years ago. Fuck em. This is the party of “let him die” remember? Sick bastards.

        Tl, dr. America has a history of violence and still does.
        I’m glad you have a support system and insurance. That sucks about yr disability insurance though!
        btw, I can see Prescott, ONT, from my window. :) I’m about 1 hour southeast of Ottawa, across the street from the St. Lawrence river. I was raised in southern California, 45 minutes north of Palm Springs so it was a huge shock to move up here. The season changes are awesome though.

      • October 5, 2013 at 11:25 pm

        Yeah, unfortunately our history has a few of the same problems.. Yeah, we did away with the slave trade relatively early and with little conflict, but the way we treated, and still treat the First Nations people is pretty fucking horrendous.

        Moving from California this far north wold be a shock, but there are something’s I’d miss if I lived in a warmer climate, namely the fall colors. Boyfriend and I just got back from a camping trip that we cut short due to a forecast of about a zillion millimetres of rain, plus thunderstorms but man.. The colors in the Muskokas are nice right about now.

      • Sharon m
        October 6, 2013 at 1:02 pm

        Oh yeah, Canada has its’ own history of oppression.
        I believe we were far worse though. Tigger warning!!

        The lynching of black men (and women sometimes) the terrorizing of whole African American neighborhoods, the **FBIs COINTELPRO and murder of Fred Hampton, Jim Crow, et al.

        ** I was talking to my friend and her brother: they didn’t know about COINTELPRO, the Panthers occupying the State Assembly in CA, they’d never heard of Marcus Garvey, Huey Newton, Stokely Carmichael, (my teddy bear was named after him. My grandparents were not amused.) et al.

        Me: “how come a dumbass Cracker knows more about black history then you?” History has been whitewashed like a blizzard in America.

        (damn, my comments are always so long. I don’t have anyone to talk to except you though ) ;)

  6. birdie
    October 5, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    [content note: misogynist policemen]

    I’ve realized I can’t talk to these dudes any more. I will manage on my own, like I always have. It was the first time I ever reported harassment, since in my day one just didn’t bother. There was no point. Now I see that there still isn’t any point. Well, at least I tried.

    I like my new flat, except for the usual noisy fuckwits. Of course, I would rather have a real life, but I guess it’s a challenge seeing how many years I can go without interacting with anyone.

  7. Tony
    October 6, 2013 at 1:02 am

    This isn’t at the level of the stuff posted above, but I just saw Gravity and was impressed. It was wonderful to have a visually compelling thriller that wasn’t a superhero movie. This should definitely be one of those films that doesn’t pass the Bechdel test (as far as I can remember- there may be a bit at the very beginning) but easily passes the “strong yet complex/realistic female lead character given full play” test.

    • Willemina
      October 6, 2013 at 1:04 pm

      I feel kind of sad I won’t be able to watch it, but I couldn’t even shut off the little scientist voice in my head for the trailers. Damn you trailers.

      Glad to hear you liked it though, the reviews are all around great.

  8. October 6, 2013 at 3:30 am

    The Mick Aston Memorial Coat is finished at last! It’s had its first airing today.

    This is in the shop where I bought the yarn.

    This one’s in gardens near the shop (photo taken by kind passer-by).

    This shows the shape of the coat laid flat, with Maddie providing a sense of scale (she’s thoughtful like that). The colour’s a bit crapulous in this one, but it always is on pics I take in the house – it’s the electric light.

    • Kungfulola
      October 6, 2013 at 9:13 am

      It’s simply beautiful, and you look great in it!

    • Bonnie
      October 6, 2013 at 12:08 pm


    • bookshopcat
      October 6, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      I think ‘harmonious’ might be the word I’m looking for here… wow!

      (And it’s always nice when our furry overlords acknowledge our hard work, isn’t it?)

    • October 6, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      Thank you, everyone! ::preens::

      LOL yes, bookshopcat. I noticed quite a few Furs of Acknowledgement when I was wearing it yesterday.

    • trees
      October 6, 2013 at 4:37 pm

      Wow, that was fast! It’s beautiful!! I love your use of black for the collar and upper sleeve; you avoid having to align the colors…and the bell sleeves, the length, the shoulder pleating, the a-line, the hem, the breaking up of the stripes across the front… Very well done! Thank you for sharing, cheers.

      • October 6, 2013 at 6:46 pm


        Thank you so much, trees!

        The photos are telling porkies, the edging bits are dark chocolate brown, not true black. I had a few balls left over from my tunic. :)

  9. October 6, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Ugh. I just had to have a conversation with my 12-year-old about why LittleLolitaGirl is probably a bad idea for a user name. She thought Lolita meant cute. I told her about the book by Nabokov and a little about fetishization of little girls and that i didn’t want her to have to deal with creepy weirdos, because being harassed online is no fun. Thankfully she seemed to get it.

    • Chataya
      October 6, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      Lolita is also the name of a fashion trend that has lots of lace and ruffles and petticoats, so I can understand where she got that idea. Hopefully she will understand your concern.

      • karak
        October 6, 2013 at 11:56 pm

        Lolita fashionista here, and yeah, that’s not a good name for your girl to have. Too bad people didn’t get the book.

    • Bagelsan
      October 7, 2013 at 11:38 am

      It’s good that you summarized the concern, I think — 12 is probably too young to actually read that book in my opinion, but she unfortunately has to be aware of the context.

  10. bookshopcat
    October 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Latest in the disability saga: my benefits have been extended to the end of the calendar year and the ball is rolling re: getting assessed at the new clinic. I was less than impressed with the first doc who saw me to do the intake-type stuff, though- the doctors at this clinic won’t sign off on any mental health stuff, so they’re making me see a psychiatrist instead (which is a sickening prospect), and he made sure to tell me multiple times that “there’s no guarantee that you’ll be approved, so you’d better start getting ready to earn a living somehow”. Well, OK, I get that you don’t have my chart in front of you and are clearly unwilling to believe that I’m *actually* disabled, and hearing it is better than being strung along with promises that won’t be kept, but my anxiety disorder doesn’t cope well with that sort of ‘veiled’ threat. Not at all.

    Rant: and all the hand-wringing and ‘awareness’ surrounding things like child abuse and bullying doesn’t translate into action or resources or support or even any acknowledgement that this shit has severe long-term consequences. As soon as the kid graduates or moves out or otherwise puts themselves out of reach of the perpetrators, things are supposed to flip straight into ‘happily ever after’ mode. The narrative says I should be living a fulfilling, successful life and looking down on the former perps who are now miserable as the result of some sort of cosmic balancing action. Instead, I can’t even function well enough to feed myself properly, never mind hold down a job, and the people who are supposed to be helping me would rather be doing other things with their time. The system wants shiny happy survivors to reinforce the ‘happily ever after’ myth; the ones who are still hurting deserve to live in every sort of poverty. There is no curse in Elvish, Entish or the tongues of Men, etc., etc.

    Ha, and now my tom cat has come along to sit on my lap and remind me that life isn’t all bad, so I’ll take his hint and talk about the happier things, which are pretty good this week:

    – made and ate an excellent dinner with an old friend- improv soup with roasted veggies and peanut butter, plus biscuits- then went to a late-night sale at my favourite fish store.The guy who runs it is wicked serious about the hobby and moves a lot of stock, which means there’s always something interesting around- three species of freshwater ray this time, and last year he had a pair of electric eels for a month or two. I picked up some plants and three golden rabbit snails ([link]), which are gorgeously coloured and turning out to be a lot of fun to watch.

    -getting ready to help out three of my friends who are all going to be having important, long-awaited surgeries within the next ten days. One of them is travelling for hers and won’t be back in town until the end of the month, but one of the others is the owner of the dogs I was sitting last month, so I’ll be on the road a lot with them for the next few weeks. (Dog-walking + chest surgery incisions = really bad idea.)

    -managed to sketch a couple of floor plans over the last few days. It’s not the drawing I *really* want to be doing right now, but it’s a start! And maybe today I’ll be able to tackle the other stuff once I’ve cleaned my room and returned my library books…

    [we have taken your bribe of milk and fixed the borked link ~ the mod elves]

    • bookshopcat
      October 6, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      Wow, I bollixed that link magnificently… *leaves out a saucer of the mod elves’ favourite drink and retires in shame*

    • karak
      October 7, 2013 at 12:01 am

      I’ve got experience on the other side of the table in dealing with disability benefits–I was a case manager and I was bringing a case to be reviewed for the fourth? fifth? time for a woman to get disability for her mental health issues, because no one could get into their fucking head that she had episodes of severe symptoms and could work for about 2-3 months while she was fairly evened out, and then have an episode, get fired, and become more deeply ill due to the anxiety, depression, and fear of being unemployed.

      I get why you don’t like psychiatrists, but if you have a friend to go with you, take them. And if you don’t have someone, I’ll be your friend-in-spirit, okay? It’s so. so hard, but try to keep your head up and ready to bang against that brick wall. You’ll get through it eventually.

      • bookshopcat
        October 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm

        Thanks, karak. Hopefully it won’t take too many rounds of head vs. brick! I’m going to be discussing the situation with my therapist this afternoon and will ask if she’s able to go with me- I’ve been seeing her for 7+ years and as a professional whose financial stability doesn’t hinge on the outcome of the assessment, it’s a lot harder for other professionals to steamroller over her. If the psychiatrist is incompatible, I may not be able to access a GP’s services there either, and I’d rather find that out with some formidable back-up in my corner… Actually, this has reminded me that there’s also a possibility that I might be able to get the paperwork done by the psychologist who wrote my transition letters. She already has a good working relationship with my therapist and isn’t the sort to throw a patient into a dangerous or unstable situation. (Plus, she seems to have taken a liking to me- my hormone letter/diagnosis was hella complimentary compared to most I’ve seen.)

        …wow, it’s amazing how much better I feel with a backup plan. Thanks for giving me the space to slow down and think long enough to remember that psychologist!

  11. Alexandra
    October 6, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Depression sucks.

    Anyone read the NYT article about women in the sciences today? I thought it was quite good, and reflected a lot of my experiences as someone who transferred midway through college from a humanities path to a STEM field.

    One of the things that made an enormous difference to me early on when I was starting to get interested in biology was that the first biology course I had was with an older professor, a year away from retirement, who had once been the department chair. He took me under his wing, gave me books, told me about Rosalind Franklin, and told me that when he had built the biology dept at RIC in the 1970s, he’d gone out of his way to hire women and mentor women, because he knew it was a good way to get talent that might be underestimated elsewhere.

    This was my first experience with science at the college level – a professor who had made it his business to mentor women and promote their careers. As I read more about the history of women in the sciences, what leaps out again and again is that a single powerful male professor in a department who makes it his business to protect and mentor his female students and colleagues can absolutely transform a field for women. Case in point: Cecilia Payne-Gaspochkin at Harvard, and her mentors, Shapley and Sheridan.

    Individual people can have tremendous power to change the culture of an institution.

    • Kerandria
      October 7, 2013 at 8:04 am

      I feel like the ‘individuals can’t really create/enforce change’ meme is the tools of the master in a particularly shitty form.

      • Kerandria
        October 7, 2013 at 8:05 am

        Oops, that was meant to be in reply to Alexandra above.

  12. EG
    October 10, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Kansas and Arizona are getting ready to put two-tier voting into action.

    They’re shameless scum, blatantly trying to win through disenfranchisement.

    • GallingGalla
      October 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      Sickening. Shameless scum is right.

  13. Librarygoose
    October 10, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    So, has anyone else heard about the critique of the Lorde song “Royals”? I’ve been arguing with myself for days about it and am sitting on the fence of not racist, but as I am a white lady, I am skeptical of my thoughts about it.

    • pheenobarbidoll
      October 11, 2013 at 1:11 am

      Mm.. I can see how it rings alarm bells. First off, intent isn’t magic. If people are experiencing it as racism, then that’s the consequence. Secondly- insisting poc just have an American centric perspective is racist. ( This is the argument against its racism that I keep seeing). Poc aren’t stupid and know what the message is, particularly when they are the targets. The implication is that if poc had more world experience, or were more enlightened, then they’d know better. Like white people from other countries do.

      • pheenobarbidoll
        October 11, 2013 at 1:13 am

        And, of course, only white people travel. Poc never travel and certainly never experience racism in other countries. Just pretend that purse thing with Oprah never happened.

      • Librarygoose
        October 11, 2013 at 2:41 am

        Yeah, see this is what I thought about it. I keep getting stuck in the mind set that it’s entirely ethnocentric to simply apply American values to a song. Which I know is bullshit partly because intent isn’t magic and racism felt but not intended is still racism. But at what point is it not okay for a non-American to critique an American art form that is packaged and shipped in the hegemonic pop-culture the US sends around the globe? I could only find one author’s thoughts about the song and then a bunch of sources talking about that one author. So I’ve been running it around in my head and I wanted opinions from here ’cause this is my most reliable source of people who think about things.

      • Librarygoose
        October 11, 2013 at 2:56 am

        To continue in a less stream-of-consciouness way:

        I do believe the song can be interpreted to be racist (which means, here in America it is racist) but I also am always uncomfortable of Americans applying American standards to something that is critiquing American culture or anything that the American machine sends out into the globe.

      • pheenobarbidoll
        October 11, 2013 at 10:01 am

        Hip hop started in American ghettos. So if artists in other countries are emulating American hip hop artists, and this song is criticizing stereotypical hip hop style/ behavior then the end result is the same. The point it becomes not ok for a non American to critique an American art form is the hot second it becomes racist. Just like its not ok for an American to critique a non American art form when it becomes racist. And, it’s not as if there is no racism in New Zealand against poc. This artist is also a colonizer and there’s a large number of Maori hip hop artists. Coincidence? Nope. But another mistake being made is people assuming the racism being pointed out by American poc is only being committed against American poc. It’s not. And racism directed at Brown hip hop artists in New Zealand feels just like racism directed at Black hip hop artists in the US. Because racism is racism. Their colonizing racism feels the same too. Because colonization is colonization.

      • Librarygoose
        October 11, 2013 at 2:44 pm

        I went with racism in an American context because the original article is from an American and was about racism in America. I said below I didn’t know the majority of Rap artists in New Zealand were Maori(which I just updated, like a second ago) and I also didn’t know how Lorde identified (whether or not she had Maori heritage). It adds a layer of context outside just a random US blogger applying American standards to a non-American.

      • pheenobarbidoll
        October 11, 2013 at 3:55 pm

        The more I read about it the more annoyed I get at the total erasure of the Maori and Pacific islanders. People are so gung ho to slap down American poc pov that they’ve not even mentioned the Maori that might not be too pleased to hear they’re all opulent, wasteful money grubbing rappers.

      • Librarygoose
        October 11, 2013 at 5:12 pm

        I read the song at first like others did, as a critique of American capitalism sending messages of the awesomeness of wealth. But I wanted more perspective on the whole issue, which is why I brought it up here. I just wanted to maintain a global perspective considering how easy it is to ignore that the rest of the world is not the US. So thanks, Pheeno*, for engaging with me and helping me remind thepost-modern part of my brain that just because the analysis came from an American doesn’t make it always wrong.

        *Super serious thanks. I know you always get stuck making dumb white people get it, so serious-no-sarcasm thanks.

    • October 11, 2013 at 3:25 am

      I’ve just looked up the lyrics (never heard the song or heard of the singer) and for me, knowing nothing about the references, it just read like the character was fantasising about the wealth of music stars she sees/hears. It read as if it could have been anyone, and (bein’ the age I am and not listening to current music) the bit about trashing hotel rooms brought to mind the Who or that generation of singers.

      Librarygoose, you have a very good point about USian context and the way people might sometimes have trouble remembering that not everyone is in America. Someone from a different country is not coming from the same history, or going to know all the nuances or even what the heck people are talking about on occasion – it’s not universal.

      I’m not saying this song is or isn’t racist: it doesn’t strike me as such but then I’m a white Australian, so it’s not my call. It didn’t even strike me as particularly critical, reading it, of the artists or lifestyle mentioned – just daydreaming about being that wealthy.

      • October 11, 2013 at 3:27 am

        PS I’m not talking about USian PoC having a US-centric view, but USians in general. If anything, I’ve encountered that attitude more among white USians of my acquaintance.

      • October 11, 2013 at 9:49 am

        Huh. Yeah. I read the lyrics too and it sounded the same to me as to you – daydreaming about wealth and stardom. I guess context really is everything…

      • October 11, 2013 at 10:09 am

        I mean, if I’d heard Iggy Wossname’s “Bounce” I wouldn’t have thought it was horrifically racist, but then I saw the video…

      • pheenobarbidoll
        October 11, 2013 at 10:13 am

        That might ring true if a large number of hip hop artists in New Zealand didn’t also happen to be Maori. So it rings racist within a US context and without.

      • October 11, 2013 at 11:02 am

        Yeah. Like I said, context is a big deal. Until I read the comments here, I had no idea who this singer was re race, etc, and I honestly wouldn’t have taken “hip hop culture” from that description as much as “stardom” (keeping in mind I’m really pretty culturally unaware, and that’s my ignorance, not some sort of sniffsniff being above it all or something).
        And now I’m wondering what the hell else I’ve been happily singing that’s about something horrible and racist…

      • pheenobarbidoll
        October 11, 2013 at 11:49 am

        Yeah I know. It’s almost like hearing a song you liked as a kid and realizing how sexual ( and generally sexist) it is. I had no idea how long I’d been singing about masturbation when I’d belt out She Bop all those years. At least it wasn’t also sexist/ racist.

      • pheenobarbidoll
        October 11, 2013 at 11:50 am

        Though, in the case of She Bop, I sing louder now lol

      • Librarygoose
        October 11, 2013 at 2:36 pm

        Shit. I didn’t know that a majority of rap artists in New Zealand were Maori.

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