Open Thread for a long weekend.

Okay, I’m a bit late here, but there was picking up to do, and a book to be read, and leftovers to be ate. I was busy, dang it!

But here I am: An open thread, for your long weekend needs!


Play nice (which, if you’re new-ish, means follow these simple rules, all of which boil down to “be a person” – thank you!), and if you get stuck in moderation, I’ll get you out as soon as I can! (Curse words won’t do it, but posting from a new email address will).



  1. The boys are putting up the lights outside. It’s sunny and cool, and the snow is shining on the mountains behind us. I have a weekend ahead with nothing to do, and it makes me happy.

    Hope you have a pleasant weekend as well.

    • I often forget that you have children. Isn’t that odd? It’s like you like in some cyber-bubble in my mind, writing a novel.

      • I wish I was just in that novel. I have grown sons (one graduated, and the other one semester away). (In case you want to know, yes, you can spend all your cash and life savings on your children’s education, thankyouverymuch.)

  2. I’m having a muppety weekend! Dark Crystal today, The Muppets tomorrow, History of Sesame Street on Sunday.

    Also, trying to shop for cat trees for the felines. Damn they’re expensive. Trying to figure out if it would be cheaper to make our own, or if we’d end up spending just as much, or more on supplies….

    • Friend made one out of some bits of old logs and discarded carpet samples. It was very awesome. ‘Course, we live in the woods where there’s an endless and free supply of logs.

      (Found some spiffy, freshly-cut and peeled last week, nicely decorated with tooth marks. Beavers. Tried to get my sweetie to help me lug one home; he declined, saying something about not needing more back problems.)

      But carpet samples might be easily available. Or old wool sweaters, felted in the washing machine. And old wool blankets, too.

      • Wow. Could your sweetie be any more selfish? Jeez.

        Also, too: I am fixing your typos. ‘Cause I’m the wo-man behind the curtain and I’m a giver. Giving!

        • This dyslexic with flour on her hands says, “Thankful for the giver behind the caring curtain.”

          Now back to the kneading the pizza dough’s needing. . .

          • PS Are you really dyslexic? I just read this fascinating thing about a typeface developed specifically for dyslexics. I probably posted it at TNC’s place, & if you are really dyslexic, you probably saw it and commented on it, and I have forgotten the whole thing.

            But just in case:

            • I missed that, and thank you for posting it here.

              I don’t have much trouble reading, though as a kid, it took me a lot longer to get the hang of it then would be considered ‘normal.’ (Going into 5th grade, I was in remedial classes. MId 6th-grade, I was reading over a 1,000 wpm and on a college level, retaining 85%. They though cheated on the tests. All I can say is that I figured out how to get meaning not from the letters in a word but from the context of groups of words.)

              But spelling. . . bah. I cures Daniel Webster. Make that curse.

              Having watched how my kids learned to read; that text is totally awesome. Another thing I’d point out for kids with dyslexia is the way they learn to write; and I recommend D’nealian.

              • That part about dyslexia is fascinating. The part of me that is a calligrapher recoils at the dyslexia font, but as they say in the article – if it helps people to read, then it’s good. (It looks like that odd system font you get when your computer can’t get the right one.)

                My experience with font oddities is when I was in high school learning German. The text was in Fraktur (a modern version, but still – blackletter). Then, as part of the class & by design, it switched to Futura (or something similar) where letterforms had nearly no distinguishing marks.

                As much as I dislike Bookman, I find that has been the easiest for me, with Times Roman a close second. San serif fonts such as Avant Garde, Futura, and sometimes even Helvetica “close up” on me to where some words I simply have to guess based on context.

                • Ahh, font names, and what they represent, really, beyond me. Can I get you to lay out my knitting patterns for me? I’m, like, graphically challenged. Really.

                  (Calligraphy is too cool for words to express.)

                  • I like calligraphy because I like the shape of letters. (The bowl inside the “a” in Helvetica – too cool for words. The “y” of a true italic – wonderful and not just a “u” with a slope-y tail.) I used to draw letters as my doodlings – not just writing down letters, but shaping them.

                    True story: I was at a close friend’s house, noticed a fine example of calligraphy on the wall, and commented on it. He looked at me like I was an idiot. “You did that, about 3 years ago.” I had completely forgotten. So while I might like calligraphy, I – forget things.

                    Bookman looks like the print in the Fun with Dick and Jane books you probably read as a child in school as your primer. Big fat lazy bowls in the lower-case g’s. A big-ass lower-case “m” that seems to be the width of a sentence. Excessively wide capital letters. Pronounced thick and thin parts. I find it ugly and homely, but because every letter is so distinct it’s easy to read.

                    Futura looks like an alphabet designed to be as unlike Bookman as possible. Every letter is composed of exact-width lines. Very, very open letters and a feeling of wideness. To me, the lack of connection between letters and the lack of distinction between words makes it very hard to read.

                    For me, Microsoft has finally gotten it right with Candara and Calibri. Both fonts without heavy serifs (Candara has slight hints). I use Candara for headings/titles and Calibri for body font.

      • It would be getting wood and carpet from Home depot and designing something custom-ish that wrapped around the column in our living room, rather than trying to buy two trees and trying to pretend they wrap around.

        • Kitty art in the making. I’m anxious to see the results. But a prefab tree will never do, I think. Unless you find one designed like a spiral stair.

          • Designs have been submitted, the committee is in recess to ponder the ideas presented.

            • In all seriousness – good luck. The various cat trees and playlands we purchased/made over the years never got their attention. What DID get their attention were the 2×4’s that framed their cat door in / out of garage. They sliced them both up to the point where the boards were just slivers hanging down from the undamaged portions. Apparently it felt good for them to slice up the wood on the way out or the way in. The $300 cat tree we purchased with multiple levels and tunnels and scratching posts? Very uninteresting.

    • As I told you on the Twitters: Being Elmo at the Gene Siskel Film Center tomorrow – SO.PSYCHED.

      Then probably The Muppets next weekend.

      I must check out this History of Sesame Street doo-hickey!

    • JHarper2

       /  November 25, 2011

      For Anibundel: the antidote to sooo much muppetty sweetness.
      The Globe and Mail’s celebrity picture captioner brings the bitter.

      • I refuse to be brought down from anibundel’s muppetty sweetness! :: stomps foot ::

        • I can add to it. BF is a curmudgeony guy, but even he was brought to smiles and giggles by listening to the soundtrack from the new movie last night. Especially Camilla’s rendition of “Cluck You.”

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  November 26, 2011

      “I’m having a muppety weekend! Dark Crystal today, The Muppets tomorrow, History of Sesame Street on Sunday.”

      Garthim! ATTACK! … Loves me some Dark Crystal.

      How was “Cluck You” executed in the film? Is Camilla addressing the film baddie, Tex Richman, or someone else who broke her heart?

  3. After yesterday’s Turkey feast, the cupboards are nearly bare. Leftovers remained at my sister’s house, where we shared our thanks together.

    But the wood stove’s burning, and there’s plenty of staples in the pantry; plus some mozzarella in the fridge. So pizza. Wood fired pizza. Been kneading the dough, one more go at it then a couple hours rise.

    Nothing makes pizza as good as a wood cook stove with a pizza stone in the bottom of the oven.

    Just sayin’.

  4. I made I was linked to from a LiveJournal account called Firefly Signal:

    Can fame and/or profit be far behind?

    edit I just realized that it sounded like I created a LiveJournal account to nurse my new obsession. Not so! I’m far too lazy to be that obsessed.

    • Thank you for clarifying. Seriously.

      I popped over there and thought “WTF does Emily have so much free time on her hands that she has single-handedly created this awesome world in just a few weeks?”

      You had me simply blinking in awe. I’ve seen obsessive fans before, but you were way out there.

      So the update helps me see you as human. Still pretty far up there for humans, though.

    • I got linked to by ONTD. I hate to tell you, but I got better traffic from having you and K.Cox as guest bloggers. #facts

  5. JHarper2

     /  November 25, 2011

    This weekend I’m watching football (Vanier Cup tonight and Grey Cup Sunday) and playing with kitties. A friend at whose house I watch football has two new polydactyl* three month old kittens.
    Sisters named Annabella and Anastasia. She calls them Bella and Stasi and is NOT amused when it is pointed out that her cats are named after the girlfriend of a sparkly vampire and the east German secret police.
    But they are so soft and cute and tiny and full of kitteny goodness.

    *Polydactyl Cats

    • caoil

       /  November 25, 2011

      As long as they don’t live up (or, perhaps down) to their nicknames, they’ll be fine. 😉

      Kittens are a blast. I’d ship you some cat toys I just finished up but it’s a bit late now.

  6. Always hug your kitties.

    • David L

       /  November 25, 2011

      Mine refuses to leave me alone for more than a few minutes today. He is getting a ton.

    • caoil

       /  November 25, 2011

      I try to, but often Neville runs away if he sees me trying to grab him.

  7. David L

     /  November 25, 2011

    To steal from a facebook status I posted yesterday:
    Thankful that, although I’m a little banged up at the moment, it’s temporary and I have the physical and mental strength and the moral support I need to work through it.

    Also, I’ve been catching up on the current Texas-based season of Top Chef, and I find it hilarious as a lifelong Texan that quinceañeras and rodeos are treated as such exotic things by the production and the contestants.

  8. By the way, yesterday I really went full-bore on the gravy-is-not-just-a-flour-sauce idea.

    I cut up two onions, a head-and-a-half of celery, and six carrot, and put them all in the bottom of the roaster pan, then put the turkey in on the rack on top. Just a hint of butter – maybe a tablespoon – to cover the skin. Lemon, oregano, thyme, sage, and a few bay leaves. Some salt & pepper. Cooked for 5 hours, basting every hour or so.

    Then when the turkey was done and resting, I skimmed the fat, made a roux & mixed in the juices, then pureed the caramelized/roasted vegetables and mixed that in with the roux and turkey drippings. (Throw away the bay leaves.) Cooked and thinned as needed, then served in two gravy boats. That was to die for. It’s not really a gravy. It’s some kind of wonderful magic sauce. It’s sweeter than straight turkey gravy, but it has the wonderful smoothness of gravy, and it’s not just a vegetable puree (which would be good, but not quite the point).

    The extra work involved amounted to maybe an extra 5 minutes at the beginning & end.

    Plus, I followed the advice of a few people & removed the entire breast, whole, and then sliced that crosswise into 3/4 inch slices. More like small turkey steaks than sliced turkey. It was far more delicious than thin-sliced, cold, dry turkey.

  9. carlosthedwarf

     /  November 25, 2011

    So we go for thanksgiving to my second cousin’s house. She and her husband have twins, who are seniors in high school and going through the whole college-application rigamarole. Somewhere along the way, the parents seem to have decided that the twins are not academically-inclined, despite the fact that both are getting good grades in AP-level classes at one of the best public high schools in the country. So my cousin and her husband are pushing them to apply only to second-rate schools, and to only apply to programs which will ensure that they never have to go to graduate school. These kids are the closest thing I’ve got to little siblings, so it’s incredibly frustrating to see them get stuck in academic environments that aren’t right for them, but I don’t see what I can do about it.

    • “So my cousin and her husband are pushing them to apply only to second-rate schools, and to only apply to programs which will ensure that they never have to go to graduate school. ”

      Words fail.

      I can only say that you get one chance to raise your kids. They can reach the stars sometimes.

      I’m truly sorry to hear this.


    Play nice, and if you get stuck in moderation, I’ll get you out as soon as I can! Curse words won’t do it, but posting from a new email address will.

    Kisses! And also hugs!

  11. For the cat lovers — second book reviewed. And this website, Brainpickings by Atlantic contributor Maria Popova, AWESOME SAUCE:

  12. helensprogeny

     /  November 25, 2011

    So. My partner is a painter (as I’ve mentioned before, no doubt) and is in the throes of painting a solo show which will go up in March. He’s been working out some new and radically different (for him) ideas in paint this year and while I’ve seen some of the new paintings, most of them he’s kept to himself in the studio. He talks a lot about what he’s doing, but I don’t get to go to the studio very often. But today he asked me to come look at what he’s been up to; and while I had an idea of what it was going to look like, I walked into the space and looked and wanted to shout for joy. The work is more beautiful and more dazzling and more interesting than I had imagined. It is going to be a wonderful, wonderful show and I can’t wait to see all of the paintings together in the gallery.

    The first time I ever visited his studio, a few weeks after we met 15 years ago, I walked in and began to cry, his work was so lovely. Other times, I’ve walked in and felt completely overcome by the purity and the intensity of the positive energy that he generates in his work space.

    I know he’s my partner and I’m “supposed” to be supportive of his work. But I’m here to tell you, I am so lucky to know this man and so privileged to be a part of his life and so honored to be in proximity to his work. I’m just a lucky, lucky woman. I missed the official thankfulness thread the other day, but I wanted to post this here, on this weekend, because I’m so thankful that my partner and I found each other and I’m so thankful that he renews me and inspires me in ways I never dreamed possible.

    Thanks for listening.

    • Pushing ‘like’ button. Over and over again.

      • helensprogeny

         /  November 25, 2011

        Thanks, Zic. And your sweetie’s a musician, right? So you know what I’m talkin’ about. Sometimes the beauty just gets so real I don’t know what to do with it.

        • I’m hoping we’ll get some sort of idea of this beauty come show time. Please don’t forget us! Where will it be, can you say?

          Yes, I know what you mean. Sometimes, it makes it difficult for me to deal with the angst before a gig; I totally take it for granted, and for him, each performance is a new thing, a new chance to take a risk, a new chance to weave beauty out of sound, and a real chance to fail.

          Risk taking is the heart of art. Trying a new vision on to see how it sounds, just for the feel of it.

          • helensprogeny

             /  November 25, 2011

            “Angst before gigs”. The risk of failure is huge, always. And artists are just out there, completely naked before the world, with nothing between their souls and the whole of humanity. I don’t know how they do it. For painters and writers particularly, the whole public aspect of their work seems impossible to me. My partner literally spends months completely alone with his work, literally no other human eyes see it and he’s just there by himself in the studio, engaged in a wholly private endeavor. He’s a solitary creature, which is what the work requires. And suddenly the lights go on and he has to go out amongst a throng in a public space and talk to people about the pieces of himself hanging on the wall. And he does it stone cold sober.

            So yeah, the days and sometimes weeks before a show can get, ah, interesting. In those times, he’ll suddenly turn to me and say, “Gosh, isn’t it just romantic to be married to an artist?” And we’ll crack up laughing. People have no idea how nerve-wracking the business of making art can be. But it is, as Paul Simon says in the song, the only life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

            The upcoming show is here in Tucson and I’ll likely mention it in the OTAN as it gets closer. I don’t know how to make a link here, but if you’d like to see some of his older work, you can visit his website: The new work is completely different from anything he’s done before but hopefully he’ll get some of the new work put up on the website come show time.

            • helensprogeny

               /  November 25, 2011

              That website again is:

              • Ahh, in my imagination, this is you, dancing in flower petals:

                • helensprogeny

                   /  November 25, 2011

                  Which is hilarious because what I see is a woman circa 1953 on the boardwalk in Atlantic City with the wind blowing her dress up around her. And who knows what Tim saw or imagined as he was making it?

                • They’re stunning. I’m still looking. I look forward to seeing the new work. If we make it to AZ in the next year, perhaps we can see them in person.

                  Here’s my sweetie:

                  • helensprogeny

                     /  November 26, 2011

                    (Don’t know if you’ll get this reply; we went out for the evening and just got back. Didn’t mean to leave you without a reply!)

                    Thanks so much both for your kind words about Tim’s work and for the links to your sweetie’s work. Too, too cool that they both have a Boston connection, though my partner’s time there at the Museum School was long ago and he hasn’t lived there since 1993 or so. But he loved Boston and has very fond memories of it.

                    I listened to a few selections of your sweetie’s work and my toes were tapping. What an amazing and delightful life it is to make art. Often not easy at all, but never, ever dull and often so beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing his work. I really enjoyed it.

                    And yes, if you’re in AZ next year and anywhere around Tucson, please let me know. A possible Horde meet-up and cultural event could be in the offing, featuring music and painting. Woo-hoo!!

    • Nice when you find that, isn’t it? Before-that-time and now-time are the only two times you have.

  13. Sorn

     /  November 25, 2011

    Hey all,

    Just popping in to say that if you haven’t taken a look yet, Nell Painter, of Exodusters fame has a new book out on the history of white people. Seems like it will be a good read.

    Also, I hope everyone had a happy turkey day.

    • dmf

       /  November 25, 2011

      hey sorn are you heading to the great white north, school, both, neither?

      • Sorn

         /  November 25, 2011


        I’m getting everything together to apply for the master’s degree. There won’t be any strainge things done under the midnight sun, because the deadline for application is february 1st. Anyway, thanks for the link, and I’m sorry I’ve been such a stranger.

  14. wearyvoter

     /  November 25, 2011

    Yesterday: Hubby did the bulk of the cooking. Today: Long. sleepy day spent avoiding the Black Friday crowd madness, while hubby had to go into work. (Self-employment is not for the faint of heart.) No one on my list has requested anything that involves dealing with the day-after-T-giving shopping mess, so yay! Got some laundry done. Cats delivered purring lap and shoulder services. Dinner tonight will probably involve leftover cherry crisp and leftover pumpkin pie. Tomorrow, I will venture back out into the world to acquire groceries and maybe get some stocking stuffers.

  15. wearyvoter

     /  November 26, 2011

    I now own a CD of the soundtrack for “The Muppets.” I was at Best Buy anyway, so it sort of fell into my basket. (Okay, it was pushed, and I had to hunt for the soundtracks section in order to push it into the basket, so perhaps “fell” is an inaccurate description.)

    Placing the CD in the notebook drive gives you access to some bonus features, so I have seen some of the footage that goes with “Cluck You.” I have also listened to the update of “Rainbow Connection.” ::snif::

    I don’t think we’ll get to the movie tonight. An ocular migraine decided to pay me a visit while I was in the checkout line at BB. It has mostly cleared now that I’m home, but I don’t want a moire pattern in the left side of my field of vision to mess up the viewing experience. So mayhap we will venture out tomorrow for the twilight show. (Next weekend is the spousal unit’s birthday and he wants to see “Hugo.” I consider this to be a win-win. “The Muppets” this weekend; “Hugo” next weekend.)

  16. Heading out to a concert tonight in Seattle. We spent the day at a nursery looking at things we could do for the yard come summer.

    I think I should have more four-day weekends.

  17. Concert was Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which was something I’d never experienced before.


    Now TNC has a new post up (at 4 a.m.!). And it really upsets me that (a) there are so many very learned people posting on the thread and (b) my maturation means I can’t post unless I have something interesting or insightful to add. WHY CAN’T EVERYTHING BE THE WAY IT WAS BEFORE I GOT UNDERSTANDING?


  18. TNC asks plaintively why people keep wanting him to opine on stuff, then posts a great essay about race and IQ and the discussion thereof, admitting he doesn’t know everything – and wonders why people want him to talk? Because he is interesting and undogmatic in the sense where a discussion becomes simply a way to enlighten or explore what we already believe.

    Slam bam not going to let you guys lie. Talk about the data and the issues.

    Man, I love reading that guy. And yes, I would listen to him discussing the layout of the phone book. He’d find a way to bring in games and football and George Eliot.