The I’m Not Sure What The People Might Want open thread.

So.

Yesterday Ta-Nehisi linked to me from his wildly late open thread, essentially deputizing me as his bouncer. Squee! That was/remains/will never not be very cool! And then he posted something else. And since then: Nothing.

First of all to all newcomers – helllooo! And welcome. If you scroll down on this front page, you’ll notice that I write about a lot of things, which (just on this page) range from ancient myths to Star Trek, wars in the Middle East to America’s war with our bodies, famine and domestic violence to comedy. I’m all over the place, here. I hope you stick around and poke around and find some stuff you like, and come back! If you happen to already know me as an Israel/Palestine writer, here’s a link to all of that. I really do try to be funny, now and then!

And that leaves us with the question of the hour: Do the people need a shiny, new, Wednesday open thread, what with the late-night thread still floating so close to the top at Ta-Nehisi’s place? I can’t really tell. I’m not a mind-reader, is what I’m saying here. And who knows what his plans are today? Again with the not reading of the minds.

So! I’mma leave this right here and open and if the people want to use it — use it they may!

And maybe I’ll actually manage to get a normal post up, myself!

135 Comments

  1. A quick observation from the kids on the Mall setting up the MLK Memorial dedication this weekend:

    It’s actually MLK, encased in carbonite. As soon as they find the switch, one of them will sneak up while everyone sleeps and free him.

    That is all.

    • Oh if only this were so….

      Can you imagine, Dr. King telling everyone who’s expropriated his words and his thinking that they’re wrong? And then marching on DC’s ass?

      Ok, now you’ve just ruined my day with your little exercise. Thank you so much.

  2. Yes. Keep it up.

    “Normal post”? What is that, exactly, given your readership?

    I mean, you let me post here.

    • Ha!

      I meant something that requires more than Google-fu and/or writing “OPEN THREAD!” across the top.

      “Normal” really is rather a broad concept for me.

      • You need to work something out with TNC so he puts up a closed-to-comments post with the statement “Drop by Emily’s place. I got things to do.”

        • taylor16

           /  August 24, 2011

          I like this idea very much.

        • I have always felt like I’m walking a very fine line here.

          I link to myself a lot in the comments at his place, and then I open these up when he’s not around. On the one hand, I’m certainly a genuine part of the community, sharing what she has to share — but on the other hand, I want to be very careful not to abuse the privilege. The first time I did an alternative open thread (back when he was exhausted by us and was all “I’m gone for at least six weeks! Maybe more!!1!”), I even wrote him an email saying “Look, I don’t want to step on toes, but I also know how weird and unsettling it can be to have an online community suddenly close up shop, so I’m going to offer this alternative. Hope you’re ok with that?”

          Do I want more readers? Yes. Would I love it if those readers were of the quality who hang out at TNC’s place? Absolutely. But I don’t want my relationship with the Horde or with its host to devolve into little more than one long, extended blog flog.

          Which is a long way of saying: If he were to choose to do that (and he that’s pretty much what he did last night, which tickled me no end — really, you have no idea!) I would be thrilled — but I’m not going to suggest it.

          It’s a fine, fine line we walk when first we practice to deal with the blogosphere!

          • Yes.

            Part of it was tongue in cheek – as you no doubt knew. And then, part of it was true.

            There is something available at TNC’s place not found in most other online communities. I’m sure self-congratulation can descend into smugness, so I’m not saying “The happy enlightened few.” But there is a general ability to roughly stay on topic that I like. And there is so much I learn from the smart people there.

            So that’s what I miss when TNC’s real life calls him away from supervising the sandbox. I would like nothing better than to see TNC take a week off every month to not only recharge his batteries but just to get away from the flatscreen and to interact with people.

            And while’s he gone, the mice still need a place to play…

          • Oh, and he selected you from amongst the horde because:

            a) He likes you
            b) He likes kugel

  3. I suck at writing today. Not every day. Just today. I may as well be listing gently to one side and dribbling on my keyboard.

    • I can’t wrote* 99% of the time.
      Once in a very small while there’s a moment where OMG ITS JUST SO EASY and something brilliant happens and I can’t get over that I wrote it.
      Then it’s back to mental constipation.

      *Ed note: Needless to say, our ani meant to write “write.” But at least three of us agree that this is funnier, so I, in my position as Great and Powerful Oz, will be leaving it as is. FEAR MY POWER. FEAR EEEET!

      • I’m sorry, is it wrong for me to giggle over the fact that in complaining that you can’t write most of the time, you wrote that you can’t wrote?

        I’ll work on that. Bad ellaesther, bad ellaesther! :: slams oven door on big, batlike ears ::

        • SAhut up! YOU have the edit button! I do NOT.

          Pls fix nice moddy person?

          • taylor16

             /  August 24, 2011

            No leave it, it’s fuuuuunnnyy!!🙂

            • AlexBlake

               /  August 24, 2011

              +1. It’s just the thing I needed today. Thanks Ani, you’re a good egg.

          • Sorry, baby. The people’s hearts want what the people’s hearts want!

            But I’ll insert a comical notation.

    • On the plus side, in my writers’ group last night I completed the first draft of a short story for a competition. So there’s that. All the while during the chit-chat by the others who were not writing.

      • Good job on the short story. Hope you get a good submission for it somewhere… what’s the genre? have you looked at epublishing it with an online genre site?

        • Might collect them & e-publish them. The latest is the theme of “3” – three characters, three hidden mysteries, three colors.

          I have about 30-40 short stories I’ve written in the past 2 years. Mayhap they will be online someday.

      • My husband has “helpfully” suggested that I say, “Here is an LA Noire review from Guybrush Threepwood Cox, Mighty Pirate Cat” and then let the cat dance and chew on the laptop as he generally is wont to do anyway.

        It might actually be an improvement over what I’ve come up with today.

    • Paulw

       /  August 24, 2011

      To all writers, I found today that the best motivation for writing is favorable input. So, I just wanna say I LOVE U GUYS!🙂

  4. Huh, I guess the people want a new thread!

    (yaaayyy!)

  5. Hey folks. I was at World Science Fiction Convention this past week. I got to meet George RR Martin, Tim Powers, and Greg Bear. How’ve y’all been?

  6. caoil

     /  August 24, 2011

    Thanks Emily!
    And in case you didn’t pick it up from twitter, I linked to the posters you might (not) have seen: http://cargocollective.com/sthursby/1895481/Jack-Layton-s-Words

    I also pass you these two things, which made me cry again.
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/liz-ferris/an-open-letter-to-my-generation/264143053613661
    http://ourfuturehasnoviolenceagainstwomen.blogspot.com/2011/08/tribute-to-jack-layton.html?spref=fb – I did not know he was so involved with the White Ribbon Campaign.

    • I did see these on Twitter, thank you! And thank you also for the other links. I’m really beginning to get a sense of what I missed by being too far south to really know who Jack Layton was all these years.

      (I can thank Ta-Nehisi’s open threads and Twitter for relieving me of my ignorance, even if it was a bit late. The future is a weird and wonderful place, all told).

    • corkingiron

       /  August 24, 2011

      I saw one of his campaign guys – an old Layton hand who had been with him for years – on CBC the other day. He was asked what one thing he had learned from Jack. His answer was telling; he said Jack told him that men in politics needed to be willing to use emotive language regularly – that terms like “love” and “compassion” and “nurture” shouldn’t be so difficult for men to talk about. It was indicative of the man, and very moving.

  7. taylor16

     /  August 24, 2011

    Rant time.

    So, I have a blog. It’s, well, very complainy. It’s about the process of leaving the academic world, with advice about job seeking and rants about academia. I don’t link to it because I don’t want others here to feel compelled to read my litany of complaints and job angst, although if anyone went searching it’d probably be pretty easy to find.

    Anyway, this little blog about getting the f*ck out of academia has apparently struck a chord with people. I have gotten … a lot of page views. A lot of comments. A lot of people finding it by googling things like “i hate grad school” or “miserable and depressed in academia” or even (twice) search terms involving feeling suicidal. People are sending me emails saying “thank god, I thought I was the only one out here who thought this, but I don’t know how to leave!” A few of us who keep these type of blogs have been emailing back and forth, and we’re each getting a ton of page views and comments from a lot of different people around the country. Clearly there’s a need for this kind of thing out there.

    But does anyone *within the system* acknowledge that some grad students/faculty might be miserable or want to leave? Nope. All you get from faculty advisers when you’re doing a Ph.D. is “don’t worry! You’re doing the most important work in the world! Just go on the job market a million times and eventually you’ll get a faculty job in Bumf*ck, Nowhereland and then everything will be okay! Trust me, you don’t want any other kind of job. It’s academia or flipping burgers at McDonald’s. Those are your only options, and if you leave it’s just because you’re stupid and couldn’t cut it.” We’ve all heard this from our advisers. And it’s pretty obvious from the people finding my blog that this is seriously messing with people’s heads. They’re miserable, but if they leave they think they’re obviously dummies who couldn’t cut it and who will never find meaningful work anywhere else. So they stay quiet and keep working and just do desperate google searches at night that lead to my blog. Oh. my. god. They’re breaking my heart.

    And today I found out that there is a dedicated suicide/depression hotline for grad students. http://www.hopeline.com/gethelpnow.html

    Look! Right there with the teen hotline, the postpartum depression one, and the veterans’ one. Grad students need their own freaking hotline.

    My god, I had no idea. I just decided this spring that I didn’t love academia enough to work as a faculty member absolutely anywhere, so I decided to do something different with my degrees. So I started a blog so that I’d have a place to vent and work through stuff on my own. This blog, though? It’s making me hate the f*ck out of academia for what it’s doing to people.

    Thanks, as always, for listening to me rant. You all are wonderful and I love you.🙂

    • taylor16

       /  August 24, 2011

      Oh my god am I ranty. Not having the OTAN is clearly not good for my churning mind.🙂 Apologies, everyone…

      • Oh dearie me, don’t apologize! We love you, we love your rants, you have as much right to rant as anyone else on this great green earth, and if not here/at TNC’s — then where? I ask you. And I answer: Here, there and everywhere. Rant away!

        Also, too: I’mma send you an email about all of this. It boils down to: “This should be an article,” but I’ll go into details in the email, later today.

        As my 3 & 1/2 year old nephew would say: Smooches!

        • taylor16

           /  August 24, 2011

          Oh wow, now I’m scared!! The wrath of lifelong academics is going to rain down upon me!!!🙂

    • dmf

       /  August 24, 2011

      we need 12 step recovery programs for academics and then when people get over the pull of the shiny ring enuff to see the rest of the cave we need to tear down the ivory tower, forget rants how about manifestos?

      • Man, I tell you what. I went to the one human-friendly graduate program at the University of Chicago (the Middle Eastern Studies master’s program), but the folks who went on to their PhDs? Oh my good lord. After 12 years and a dissertation, one went to culinary school and became a chef.

    • AlexBlake

       /  August 24, 2011

      Heh. Been there, and I pulled the ripcord. Now I work in the music industry, where people are nicer to each other, less likely to lie and a little less stuck on themselves.

      And, no, I’m not kidding on that.

      • taylor16

         /  August 24, 2011

        I believe it! I never drank the Kool-Aid as far as “every other industry save academia is terrible and boring and has awful people working for it.” I’d had too many other types of jobs to buy into that line of crap.

        But I was never that miserable … it was just a job. I hate knowing that so many people were taking all of this to heart, to the point where they think they can’t leave, as if academia owns their soul or something. It’s sad.

        • dmf

           /  August 24, 2011

          worse to me that most still think that the work-product is valuable just the work conditions are bad, reminds me of poorer republicans getting incensed about the death tax. The whole defense of the humanities is that they somehow make you more humane, to which I say ha!

    • JHarper2

       /  August 24, 2011

      I wish I could give you a like, (wordpress elves!). To find out that you did not fit the mold they were forcing is terrible, also so to find that the entire system is broken and is breaking so many people.

      I think that you are very brave to face again and again your pain and disappointment in an effort to help others and to put the the information out there to those in pain that they are not alone, there can be a way out, and there is life after disappointment.

      • taylor16

         /  August 24, 2011

        Now I’m discovering the downside of blogging … I really don’t feel like I need the blog any more, emotionally … but I feel compelled to keep adding posts for other people to see that they’re not alone.

        Perhaps I’m too nice?

        • dmf

           /  August 24, 2011

          yep, at some point you need to head on to what’s next and they need to find/fasjion their own motivation/outlets, you have shown them that they are neither crazy nor alone but now you need to show them that life goes on, pls don’t end up one of those folks trapped in a lower bardo state that reeks of bad coffee, ashtrays, and other church basement smells.

          • dmf

             /  August 24, 2011

            back when I worked for the NYS mental health evil empire I ended up having to form a recovery group for people habituated to recovery groups, kafka wasn’t enough of a realist…

        • Ian

           /  August 24, 2011

          Yeah, you’re too nice. It sounds like you’ve pretty much figured out how you feel about all of it and you’re moving on. You have no obligation to keep writing about it for others. They’ll find an outlet.

          • taylor16

             /  August 24, 2011

            Yeah, you’re right. Thanks for the semi-harsh truth. I’m definitely burning out on the whole “needing an outlet” thing, but I feel semi-obligated to continue posting in earnest. Guess it’s the inherent teacher/mentor in me.🙂 But you’re right. It’s time to wind it down. It’ll still be there if I need the outlet or if others want to seek it out…

            It is nice, though … it turns out that I like blogging. Who knew? Maybe I’ll start a real one one of these days and talk about interesting things for a change…🙂

            • Ian

               /  August 24, 2011

              I’ll rant like crazy about this stuff if it comes up (as you know). At the same time, it’s nice to have some distance from it. Actually a lot of distance.

              • taylor16

                 /  August 24, 2011

                Yeah, it’s very nice to be able to have a spot to rant so that my poor husband doesn’t bear the brunt of the periodic bouts of frustration that pop up. But overall, I’m just kind of … over it now. I feel like there’s a million things I can do from here on out, so I’m ready to move on … with the occasional moment of frustration when my department sends me an email asking if I’d like to teach a new class that starts in five days … oh, but they’re also wondering “how I’m doing,” of course. Because they clearly LOVE me, and don’t just need a warm body in front of the classroom.🙂

                Heh, maybe I’ll keep the blog up just a leeetle bit longer…

    • Little_Gidding

       /  August 24, 2011

      Yesterday was campus-wide new grad student orientation. Most of it was utterly useless, of the “I’ve already read all of this on the website and you’re neither adding additional information nor presenting it well” variety. But the session on university health services was in fact helpful, for a variety of reasons (including the all-important “these are the things you need to do to get us to pay” and “these are the things that are free you should do them” lists).

      During that orientation session, they told us multiple times that graduate students are the biggest consumers of health services on campus, particularly mental health services. And that there are special counseling locations for grad students so that GSIs don’t have to use the same facility as the students they’re teaching. Really cheery, let me tell you. So that’s some kind of official acknowledgement, just not from the academic departments.

      • dmf

         /  August 24, 2011

        sure you can take meds that make it easier to adapt to the machine (that’s the military way) or you can find/start, a union to try and change the game,
        bon courage

        • Little_Gidding

           /  August 24, 2011

          I think that I’m mostly going to focus on some advice Taylor gave me a while back: keep ties to the outside world, and socialize with people outside of academia. I think it’ll help me keep perspective.

          The other thing is that the PhD I’m going for will be just as useful if I decide I want to exit academia once I’ve gotten it. I can use it to do plenty of jobs (mostly in DC, where I like living) that I already know I’d like (having spent a few years working for people doing those jobs). So I’ll have the option to get off the hamster wheel after 5-7 years, which is reassuring. And might also provide some kind of motivation?

      • taylor16

         /  August 24, 2011

        I sat on the insurance committee for grad students…mental health diagnosis codes were by far the most prevalent in usage statistics among grad students, and antidepressants and antianxiety meds were by FAR the most common prescriptions handed out. It was staggering.

        I don’t say this to scare you. I never got seriously depressed in school and know plenty of people who didn’t need to meds or even therapy. But seeing that it was by far the most common medical treatment people were seeking? That was striking, even back then.

        I’m glad they openly talk about it in your program … but it would be nice if they’d start trying to figure out what conditions might be contributing to the problem as well, instead of just reverting to “oh, grad students are weird, it’s just how they are…”

        You’ll be fine – I was fine. My mistake was not stopping periodically to evaluate what I wanted with my life … so that when I was contemplating potential job offers in Bumf*ck USA where I knew I’d never want to live, I felt like I *had* to take them if offered, even though I knew it would make me miserable. It was as if I’d lost my sense of who I was in favor of who academia told me I should be.

        So my advice to you is to keep focused on what you want, and keep reminding yourself of it throughout. And you’ll be fine.🙂

        • Little_Gidding

           /  August 24, 2011

          Actually, they also talked about career services in relation to mental health. Apparently it’s occurred to the health services people (though probably not the academic departments) that some people are miserable because they’re doing the wrong thing.

          The department/school I’m going into was an easy choice (among the offers I had) because it was both the best department I got into (meaning all the academics were pushing me there) and is known for being relatively sane and happy compared to other equally competitive programs. As in, people admit that they occasionally do things for fun, and the guy I desperately want as my adviser spends most of his free time surfing.

          Which isn’t to say that the academia cool aid isn’t present and obnoxious, even in my fellow entering students. Last week I had dinner with a high school friend who lives nearby, and who is now working as an accountant. I mentioned this to a couple of people in my cohort as we were walking home one night (they asked for details about his occupation), and the responses were “accounting, that’s easy” and “wow, that’s boring.” And I was just, like, wtf? Do we need to denigrate every other possible career choice? I know it’s early days yet and everyone is trying to impress each other with how damn smart we all are, but a) we all got in, b) must we really?, and c) it doesn’t even make you seem smarter. Grrrrr.

          • taylor16

             /  August 24, 2011

            They actually recommended career services? That’s awesome. I am thrilled to hear that. Yay!!

            The denigrating of other careers always got to me, but I always tried to revert to what my mom used to tell me: “People cut down other people because they’re feeling insecure.” As a Ph.D. student married to a bar manager, this served me very well. They didn’t think much of people in his line of work, but they sure were happy to sample his wares…🙂

        • dmf

           /  August 24, 2011

          I worked in a college counseling center and I can’t tell you how much of what people were internalizing was departmental/admin craziness, that and too many hothouse flowers suddenly finding themselves in a work environment (or some bad combo of the two). The tricky part is realizing that it is a gamed system and that if you take the work (mostly here I mean the school work not teaching or doing other peoples’ research) personally you are missing the point, in grad school it ain’t about you or the subject/research but the profs. If you get to a point where you are teaching for them but not doing your own schoolwork than you have lost the game.

    • The problem with many of those who are in the academic world is they know nothing else. I had my own version of this: stage handing. I believed for a long time that there was nowhere I’d rather be, that what I did was important because the conditions not only sucked but were borderline life threatening, that anywhere else would be boring or horrible, or that I wouldn’t be able to hack it. Many many of those in the stage handing industry stay there because of an internalized belief they can’t hack it anywhere else.
      I still can’t get over how easy this new job is. I just am dumbfounded every day that deadlines are suggestions, meeting about work is more important than work itself, and that not only can I hack it, I’m actually super-competent.
      I grew up raised by an academic who not only drank the kool-aid but desperately tried to feed it to me. The internalized believe inside her that my problem in life is that I left college after getting my BA is one of our underlying problems.

  8. AlexBlake

     /  August 24, 2011

    Hey all, long time no talkie. I’ve been busy, they’ve added some supervisorish type of stuff to my already full plate. And they’ve rearranged the quarters so we can double check our figures before sending the checks out. My team’s lost three people in the past 6 months, and the new people aren’t up to speed yet.

    So, I’ve been playing catch up for the past year. Finally, I’ve got a bit of breathing room, I finished my urgent work, and double checked stuff, so I’m good.

    I have been reading at TNCs, just not commenting (NO TIME!!!11one!!!) and I’d like to say, for the record, that y’all have helped keep me sane. Well, sane-er. Sane-ish? Whatever. Thanks all!

    • Lovely to have you! : )

      And sane-ish is really all I shoot for, most days, so I’m glad we could be of service.

      • corkingiron

         /  August 24, 2011

        Pfft. Sanity is a vastly over-rated commodity. The most interesting things I’ve ever done in my life have generally been greeted by friends and family saying “You’re gonna do what! Are you INSANE??!”

        • dmf

           /  August 24, 2011

          ee doesn’t lack courage just sleep and perhaps a slightly wound down spring

  9. JHarper2

     /  August 24, 2011

    Dear Anibundel,
    Re: Battle of the Blades.
    I do SO wish that you got Canadian TV down in DC land. I would love to read you blogging this reality/competition show: http://www.cbc.ca/battle/
    The concept is this: Former NHL hockey players are teamed with female ice-dance, or pairs skaters and complete in a ice dancing contest.

    The hockey players are two things: super-hyper competitive guys who have been competing at a high level since they were twelve and rather gentlemanly sorts who are afraid of breaking their partners or even letting them down in any way.

    Because they have never been on figure skates, watching these guys bust their butts to learn a new skill, with everyone watching, is to see determination in action.

    This year, one of the contestants is a female Olympian and National Team player teamed with a male skater.
    I watch the show and normally reality and dance shows are not my cup of tea.
    Story on Tessa Bonhomme joining the show is here:
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/team-canadas-tessa-bonhomme-joins-battle-of-the-blades/article2137147/page2/

    • taylor16

       /  August 24, 2011

      Oh my gosh, I would LOVE to see this show. Bryan Berard? Brad May? Former Wing Boyd Devereaux?

      Why do I not get CBC???????

      • caoil

         /  August 24, 2011

        Maybe you can watch through the website? http://www.cbc.ca/battle/videos.html

        • taylor16

           /  August 24, 2011

          It says it’s not available outside Canada.😦 Damn.

      • JHarper2

         /  August 24, 2011

        And they try so hard in the production to make it slick and smooth like a real dance show, and they just come so close.
        When a player made a mistake last year and his partner was cut by a skate, he was just so devastated, he was so much more shaken than she was.
        And last years winners: Pavel Bure and Ekaterina Gordeeva!
        They knew each other as kids, so many years ago when there was a Soviet Union.
        http://www.cbc.ca/battle/2010/11/bure-credits-bond-with-season-two-win.html

        • Ian

           /  August 24, 2011

          I’ve seen Bure up close, and it’s no surprise he would win. This has me wondering if Paul Coffey is still in shape.

        • taylor16

           /  August 24, 2011

          I just told my husband about this via text. His response: “We have to find this show on the internet.”

          We hockey fans will watch anything…

    • scone

       /  August 24, 2011

      Tooooooooooeeee pick!

      • JHarper2

         /  August 24, 2011

        The shows that feature the figure skate boot camp for the hockey players are always a hoot because of toe pick.
        Also the different rocker for the blades.

      • I get that reference.

    • Everything that Canadians like seems, on its face, to make sense, but on closer inspection is always just a little bit off.

      • caoil

         /  August 24, 2011

        You say that like it’s a bad thing!

        • It’s like, The Tragically Hip. They have all the trappings of a rock band. They have guitars and drums and, from a far enough distance, they make what can reasonably pass as something resembling rock and roll. But get up close and the illusion starts to fall apart and it becomes clear enough that it’s just a Canadian culture delivery device set to music. Canada is that writ large. It seems like a country. It has land and people and a flag and national anthem and shit. But then you get up close and you see that they have the sovereign of some other country on their money and then you notice that most of the land is a vast wasteland of snow and ice and poutine.

      • corkingiron

         /  August 24, 2011

        Off as in “off center” or off as in “Does this fish smell a bit off to you”? I need to decide whether or not to be flattered or bury you in hockey pucks…..

    • As a person who has lambasted the very notion of reality TV on more occasions than we need count right now, I will say, in all honesty — This? I would watch. It sounds interesting and truly athletic, even beautiful.

      Sigh.

      This American-Israeli peacemonger needs to move to Canada.

    • Former NHL hockey players are teamed with female ice-dance, or pairs skaters and complete in a ice dancing contest.

      OMG! It’s a reality-show version of The Cutting Edge!

      “Toe pick!”

      ::hearts::

    • oi. This sounds like it’s right up my kid sister’s alley–she’s a hockey nut and a figure skating freak. But I am red with embarrassment that my blogging is thought of so highly.

      • JHarper2

         /  August 24, 2011

        I like reading your show blogs even though I mostly have no idea what you’re talking about, just because of the passion and opinions and the writing.
        I am not internet savvy enough to know if your sister or you could somehow sneak a fake Canadian address to check out the show on the internet.
        The hockey players try so hard (really competitive guys, go figure) and the figure skaters are so patient (and competitive too). It is really sweet in a lot of ways.

  10. corkingiron

     /  August 24, 2011

    Reason # 579 to support local businesses:

    Busy busy me during my voluntary layoff. Off to the grocery store to provide nice dinner for my spice – and take the dog along for an outing. Decide to stop at the Bakery for a cinnamon schneke (because I can resist everything except temptation….) – come out to a car that won’t start. Stranded five miles from home with bags o’ groceries and one large dog…..Arghhh!

    My mechanic/used car dealer is right across the road. I always go to him for service, and we usually buy our vehicles there too. So I trot on over – he hands me the keys to a shiny almost new Volvo and groceries/dog and schneke are safely delivered from a long hot walk home and my muttered curses. For the next 24 hrs, I’m a Volvo guy!

    • Yes, yes. Lovely.

      Now fork over the schneke, whatever that might be. It requires my attention.

      • corkingiron

         /  August 24, 2011

        A cinnamon roll, made with croissant dough. It’s German for “snail” cuz it kinda looks like a snail’s shell.

        And no – you can’t have it. Nyah!

  11. Decided to indulge myself and go to a Rays game tonight.

    How are all of you? Emily, how’s the ill child faring, doing better I hope?

    • Oh, she’s so much better than I’m almost annoyed with her!

      There’s apparently “something going around,” blah blah, that causes the kid to spike a terrible fever, be generally draggy for a day or two, and then be fine.

      The doctor said it’s viral, it’s definitely not strep, and if her temperature doesn’t top 99 today, she can go to school tomorrow.

      Thank you very much for asking, sweetie!

      • taylor16

         /  August 24, 2011

        I honestly think I had this over the weekend, and I’m in my 30s! I had a sore throat and a nasty fever Friday night, felt like crap until dinnertime on Saturday, and was then good as new. I’m glad it was nothing worse with the girl.🙂

        • And you’re just a bit south of us, as the infectious illness flies — I’ll bet you have exactly the same thing.

          Given how little sleep I’ve had this past week, I’m probably next.

    • Update: She’s literally dancing in the living room right now.

      I think she’s good.

  12. Little_Gidding

     /  August 24, 2011

    Typical. First day in ages that life doesn’t keep me from the open thread, and there isn’t one. But at least there’s one here! (Being on the west coast and not a morning person really don’t help, nor does the insanity of moving and starting grad school. Nor will 10 o’clock classes every weekday morning for the next 15 weeks.)

  13. Oh, I guess I need to give up on TNC opening a thread.

    I wrote this for you, Emily.

    The Horde’s all agog with the afternoon thread
    And she checks the IDs at the door.
    The postings are furious, with nothing unsaid
    And she checks the IDs at the door.

    There’s nothing that’s posted with unexam’d thoughts
    But she checks our IDs at the door
    We’re raucous and loud and uncommonly hot
    But she checks our damned names at the door.

    “No problem with posts from the neophyte curs”
    She says as she stands by the door
    “Keep to yourself, use only what’s yours”
    She’s marking our names by the door.

    A ban-hammer knocks; the host is outside
    And she smiles as she stands in the door.
    No one gets in on our own – she decides
    And she gloats as she closes the door.

    • THAT IS AWESOME!

      Aw, man, hand to God — you brought tears to my eyes! Thank you very much. Ctrl+P and it’s up on my wall, in about 30 seconds.

      Thank you!!

  14. dmf

     /  August 24, 2011

    Roger Ebert: “My blog became my voice, my outlet, my “social media” in a way I couldn’t have dreamed of. Into it I poured my regrets, desires, and memories. Some days I became possessed. The comments were a form of feedback I’d never had before, and I gained a better and deeper understanding of my readers. I made “online friends,” a concept I’d scoffed at. Most people choose to write a blog. I needed to. I didn’t intend for it to drift into autobiography, but in blogging there is a tidal drift that pushes you that way. Getting such quick feedback may be one reason; the Internet encourages first- person writing, and I’ve always written that way.

    … The blog let loose the flood of memories. Told sometimes that I should write my memoirs, I failed to see how I possibly could. I had memories, I had lived a good life in an interesting time, but I was at a loss to see how I could organize the accumulation of a lifetime. It was the blog that taught me how. It pushed me into first- person confession, it insisted on the personal, it seemed to organize itself in manageable fragments. Some of these words, since rewritten and expanded, first appeared in blog forms. Most are here for the first time. They came pouring forth in a flood of relief.”
    http://www.margaretsoltan.com/?p=32136

    • taylor16

       /  August 24, 2011

      I absolutely cannot wait to read his book.

  15. Ian

     /  August 24, 2011

    Checked our database this morning. From 2000-2010, we recorded and cataloged about 100 Alaskan earthquakes equal to or larger than yesterday’s in Virgina.

    • Yes yes yes, and Californians in DC spent all day reminding everyone they were from California.

      SHUT UP AND LET US HAVE THIS ONE. Y’all can go back to sneering at us when the flurries come and we have 30 car pile ups on the beltway and everyone closes down in January.

      • corkingiron

         /  August 24, 2011

        Deal.

      • Little_Gidding

         /  August 24, 2011

        Except the Californians don’t sneer then. Just the people from the northeast and upper-midwest, and of course Canada. In fact, almost every Californian I know is terrified by even the amount of snow one sees in DC. There isn’t much of a west coast tradition of dissing DC’s reactions to snow.

      • Ian

         /  August 24, 2011

        We sneer at the Californians, too. Oh, look at the cute wittle San Andreas! Wudja wudja!

        • You know what we make fun of Alaskans for? Everything else.

          • Ian

             /  August 24, 2011

            First Canada, now this? Who’s next, Norway?

            • Who wants some lutefisk? Oh, that’s right, no one.

              • I went to St. Olaf for a year. In the week before winter break, the smell of the lutefisk wafted all over the hill, into every corner and crevice, olfactory or otherwise. I had a bite.

                And your judgement of the situation vis-a-vis the wanting of lutefisk is, sad to say, quite correct.

                • David L

                   /  August 24, 2011

                  I feel like there’s a good quote from The Golden Girls to use whenever the topic of Lutefisk and towns named St. Olaf come up, and I feel like I should have my gay card revoked for not being able to come up with it off the top of my head.

              • Ian

                 /  August 24, 2011

                i’ll cut u!

  16. I’m beginning to see the problem here. Every time I come back to the blog in the hopes of writing the afore-suggested “normal post,” I start playing with you people instead.

    Hmm.

  17. Have a co-worker based in NYC who was formerly based in this office.

    4:35 an email comes through from her that we can expect supplies for the remainder of 2011 and all of 2012 to arrive by 9/9.

    They arrive at 4:40.

    Am expected to make room for 30 boxes’ worth of supplies. They came in on two huge dolleys.

    The closet has room for roughly four of them.

    Also naturally I have a huge project I promised to finish by 5:00 today. But no, I have to spend my time moving her shit around. And she is SUCH a control freak. I am starting to hate her.

    • We ordered chairs. Used, but in very good condition. According to the co worker who went and looked at them.
      They arrive today. 10 in all.
      Two have splayed arms that don’t turn straight.
      One, when you sit in it sinks to the bottom and does not raise.
      Two have two right arms.
      Another has the arm assembly on backwards.
      In all, only 4 are actually “in very good condition.”
      When this was made clear to the worker who made the deal she took it extremely personally and lashed out at me.

      Having now called the place that originally manufactured the (it turns out discontinued) chairs, we discovered these arms–are aftermarket. The original chair is armless.

      I really need her to call the guy she made the deal with a find out where he got these arms. The chair company (who will replace the broken pneumatic cylinder on the one chair free of charge) says if the aftermarket arms are manufactured by their company, they will do what they can to help me piece together the left arms I require, the new arm assemblies I need to replace the splayed ones, plus the best way to turn the arm assemblies around that are backwards.

      I am giving her 24 hours to make the call before I give in and start bulling my way through to solve this irritating problem.

      • And people wonder how I can stand working alone in a home office.

        • David L

           /  August 24, 2011

          The last time I worked from home, I kept being distracted by nearly-constant attempts to sit in my lap and/or lick my face. Clearly, the cat hasn’t read my employer’s sexual harassment policy.

        • I will happily work from a home office, surrounded by cats. Just as soon as I can find someone to pay me to blog professionally.

      • taylor16

         /  August 24, 2011

        You have the single weirdest supply-ordering experiences I’ve ever heard, in all my years of office work.

        There should be an award.🙂

  18. I don’t think TNC is going to put up an open thread today…

  19. AlexBlake

     /  August 25, 2011

    I just opened yesterday’s mail. A postcard sized mailer dropped out.

    first line: Was Your Great Grandfather a Terrorist or a Patriot?

    Naturally, I’m intrigued. so I read on. “It’s been very politically correct … to classify as traitors” blah blah blah “Outgunned and outsupplied, but never outfought” blah blah blah.

    By now, I’m laughing, because, Battle of f’ing Nashville, where George H Thomas destroyed John Bell Hood and his entire army. jerkoffs. I finish reading.

    Somehow, the Sons of Confederate Veterans sent me a card and they want me to join. Bwahahahaha.

    This is almost as funny as when the Williamson County Republican Party sent me a second voter registration card. (it had the same number, so I couldn’t actually vote twice. darn it.)

    I don’t know how these people keep finding me. At least it’s humorous reading their claptrap.

  20. Since TNC keeps insisting on being all high-literate and all (WHERE IS THE OPEN THREAD?) I am posting this here, because I think I’d seen this picture years ago, but saw it again today:

    http://wearerespectablenegroes.blogspot.com/2011/08/ironies-of-white-supremacy-black-state.html