Here’s a change – not late, but early! Open Thread.

TNC is clearly not around, and I owe y’all some time on the open thread clock, so here you be.

Standard FYI clause: I generally wait about 2 hours after Ta-Nehisi would typically open a thread (roughly noon, EST, back when such a thing was typical…!), and if none is forthcoming, I put one up here.

131 Comments

  1. Captain_Button

     /  July 20, 2012

    “We have an open door policy.”

    “And an open airlock policy.”

    – Babylon 5

  2. Two good friends of mine got laid off this week from jobs they love, because games industry. The shot made me sick and my arm still hurts. It’s raining. And then this morning I woke up to the Colorado news. And I mean literally woke up to, because I use my cell phone as my alarm clock and in my early-morning clumsiness I hit the Twitter icon right after the snooze button.

    All of which is by way of saying: fuck this week sideways, and if I weren’t leaving for vacation this weekend I’d probably spend the weekend drunk.

    (But meanwhile our own lovely anibundel will be cat-sitting, and I am pretty sure Guybrush likes her more than he likes either of us. She walks in and he’s immediately purring and flopping and licking her.)

    • BJonthegrid

       /  July 20, 2012

      So sorry about your friends. Have a great vacation.

    • The first thing I hear in the morning is NPR headline news, and they began with audio from the theatre with no intro. I thought it was the daily report from Syria.:/

    • Captain_Button

       /  July 20, 2012

      I was using my clock radio to wake me up the day the Challenger blew up.

    • Right now I am spending much needed time with my own cats. Trouble is curled up on my belly and FatOne has taken possession of my foot.

      • I spent last night giving food and storm-related comfort to 3 dogs, only one of which was mine (dog-sitting). Of course that’s the one who kept me up half the night scared of the storms.

    • socioprof

       /  July 20, 2012

      So sorry.

    • wearyvoter

       /  July 20, 2012

      Guybrush knows that anibundel is secretly a cat.

    • wearyvoter

       /  July 20, 2012

      Sorry about your friends.

    • koolaide

       /  July 20, 2012

      ::comfort:: hugs to you. (noncreepy hugs from a stranger)

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  July 20, 2012

      *comfort*

      Sorry to hear of your friends’ travails. Colorado has just Profoundly Blown this summer. One sibling lives in Colorado Springs and spouse was affected by the wildfires. The other isn’t too far from Aurora, and knows someone who knows someone. Prayers and thoughts are just so inadequate in the face of enormity.

      Best of grace in your vacation. If thoughtful and staggerring violence is an assistance, I heartily recommend this weekend’s superhero blockbuster.

      *comfort*

  3. Hey hey hey!!

    anibundel is now the pop culture maven at Angry Black Lady Chronicles!

    http://angryblackladychronicles.com/2012/07/20/greetings-ablcers/

    • caoil

       /  July 20, 2012

      *confetti*

    • koolaide

       /  July 20, 2012

      Awesome! Congrats anibundel

      • koolaide

         /  July 20, 2012

        now use that soapbox to get more people watching SYTYCD so it doesn’t get cancelled😉

    • Bookwoman

       /  July 20, 2012

      Very cool. Congratulations!

    • thank you.

      I’m a little bit in shock, to be honest.

    • Yay! Congrats, anibundel!

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  July 20, 2012

      Well-earned and more than deserved. Congratulations!

      Now, no more fretful impostor syndrome about “not being a real writer”. Deal?😉

      • The impostor syndrome, alas, never goes away. Other writer buddies and I regularly commiserate over this. We get paid to do it for a living, and have respect form our industry peers, and yet every one of us sometimes feels like a fake.

        I think it’s a sign of doing it right. Must be.😉

        • That’s how I felt for twenty years on the radio. it wasn’t a real job. It wasn’t work. It came too easily….

  4. Couple of good posts up this week. First, a review of Talisker Distiller’s Edition 2000. A surprisingly floral whisky, with fairly subdued peat and sherry:

    http://cocktailchem.blogspot.com/2012/07/whisky-review-talisker-distillers.html

    And a cocktail I made a little while ago, the Hooded Watcher, with apple brandy, sweet vermouth, falernum, and Angostura bitters:

    http://cocktailchem.blogspot.com/2012/07/new-cocktails-hooded-watcher.html

  5. David L

     /  July 20, 2012

    I was awakened by the Colorado news, as I get breaking news alerts sent to my phone and it was next to the bed.

    Out of curiosity, is anyone else feeling somewhat numbed to mass violence or is my empathy busted today? It’s absolutely horrible for everyone involved, but I just can’t get into the sentiment that this is some sort of national tragedy that touches everyone. It feels more like watching a natural disaster–sad that it happened, but it didn’t directly touch me, so life goes on.

    • koolaide

       /  July 20, 2012

      I was feeling like maybe there’s something wrong w/ my empathy switch b/c I’m feeling similarly.

    • chingona

       /  July 20, 2012

      I live in Denver, so it feels pretty immediate to me, and I’m finding myself more affected as the day goes on and the news sinks in. It’s been a tough summer in Colorado, with terrible drought, terrible wildfires that have killed people, now this. I feel really raw. That said, I have been a little surprised at the national reaction, given that we seem to have something like this every few months.

    • Justin

       /  July 20, 2012

      The shooter was apparently from San Diego – specifically my community, went to the rival high school, and is one year older than me. Though, I’m generally desensitized so it doesn’t really feel anything besides weird and a little sad.

    • dmf

       /  July 20, 2012

      had to turn off NPR this morning, I’m just not sure why this is national news, it’s tragic but what am I supposed to do with this kind of info from way over here? Honestly it’s starting to feel like we have just fallen into a kind of mass entertainment mindset with such matters, using disconnected misfortunes to fire up our emotive centers and sell airtime.

    • helensprogeny

       /  July 20, 2012

      I’m feeling this too, though I’m recognizing that I’m more affected by it as the day goes on. It could just be overwhelm. There seems to be so much violence, so much awfulness and so much of it at such a volume – it’s hard to take it in and actually feel the full extent of it sometimes.

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  July 20, 2012

      My empathy is being bottled to not be overwhelmed.

      I watched midnight Dark Knight Rises, slept a few hours, and just went to matinee Dark Knight Rises with different group. In between, 3 hours sleep, and all of this at breakfast.

      My siblings were there for me during the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, my brother and I have been there for my sister during the Colorado Springs fires, and now my Sis and I are trying to be there for my brother with the Aurora butchery. The more I think, the more the horror echoes around. It’s … quiet, I guess, right now, but the cold numbness setting in is one I remember from the Giffords butchery. Arrested grieving. Building darkness. It’s an emotional undertow, if that makes any sense, slowly growing stronger.

      I think it needs silent reflection. Not talking. Not tweeting. Not bloviating and definitely not spinning. It needs to mourned, but mournin requires time, and quiet, and reflective, non-distracted space.

      So I distract myself with Batman, and here, for now, today, but I feel the silence yawning wider beneath me.

  6. BJonthegrid

     /  July 20, 2012

    Now more than ever I think this nation needs grief education/training. The premature & psychobabble crap that comes out of people’s mouths, computers and tweets when we have shootings like today is almost as bad as the shooting. I feel really bad for the victims and the victim’s & shooter’s family.

    And this is coming from someone who also screws it up.

    • dmf

       /  July 20, 2012

      oh man if we could ban premature/speculative babble and mind-reading of intentions from the news related airways/intertubes I would be a happy camper but after my time at TNC’s place I came to realize that people love it too much to ever give it up regardless of the topic, they feel certain about it so they gotta broadcast it…

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  July 20, 2012

      This.

      Just. Be. Thoughtful. Quieter. Don’t talk, just grieve.

  7. WAKnight

     /  July 20, 2012

    Boston horde – R Bargis and myself will be invading your city this weekend. let us know if you want to meet up.

    • snailspace

       /  July 20, 2012

      R Bargis seems to invade a lot of things! First Canada, now Boston. Let me know if you guys ever want to invade San Francisco!

      • caoil

         /  July 20, 2012

        Maybe she has world domination plans! That’s probably okay. She seems nice.

        • r_bargis

           /  July 20, 2012

          Nah, I’m just starting to look for a good place to retire a little earlier than most.

          • Caleb

             /  July 25, 2012

            let me know when you invade toronto next. i presume you’ll be okay with craft beer and duck heart skewers.

  8. OK. For the past year or so, the amount of work coming into the office has dwindled rapidly, particularly work that I would normally do (phones,mail,scanning). I’ve been on the verge of layoff the whole time. I have finished every busy project they can find for me, while going back to school and getting certified as a veterinary assistant. Now I’ve finished off the last of the busy projects. The boss has started snipping at me over every little thing. Most recently, I played solitaire during the 5 minutes before quitting time. He read me the riot act and then went into the computer and removed all the games that come with Windows. (Just me, BTW, everyone else can still play Spider, spend half the day on personal calls, etc.)

    Question: Do I wait to be laid off, wait to be fired, or quit now? I don’t have anything specific lined up and I can’t afford, well, anything.

    • koolaide

       /  July 20, 2012

      I have no useful advice but ::comfort:: button click for you.

    • Byrk

       /  July 20, 2012

      You want to be laid off, as then you can collect unemployment. At least in my state firing for “poor performance” is considered a lay off, and you’ll get unemployment still.

      • I know I want to be laid off due to lack of work, but I’ve been waiting for that for a year and it hasn’t happened. That’s stressing me out almost as much as being laid off would.

    • That sucks. You probably do want the unemployment check though.

    • caoil

       /  July 20, 2012

      Ugh, I’ve had a horrible boss like that and I gave my notice the day after he pulled that crap.

      This evening, when you get home, fix up your resume and get it out to agencies over the weekend. If you think you might be kept busy enough with temping (via somewhere like Kelly Svcs…but this would totally be contingent upon the job market in your area), then give your two weeks’ notice (or whatever you’re supposed to) on Monday. Otherwise just keep the resignation letter ready to go if you get a positive result from an agency in the next few weeks.

      • I’ve done plenty of temping in my time:/ I figure I’ll brush up on the resume tonight and start looking over the weekend, I have a big social event Sunday so there’s lot of folks I can put on alert (not many on my side of Baltimore, regrettably, but still, many people). And the place where I interned said at the time they’d take me if I was willing to work fulltime.

    • socioprof

       /  July 20, 2012

      A few years ago, my husband was getting ready to tender his resignation so that he could accept a new job. Before he could request a meeting with his supervisor, he was called into his office where he was subjected to a “reduction in force”. So rather than resigning to take another job, he was let go and received a nice severance package as well as a signing bonus at the new place. In other words, waiting a bit while still exploring exit options is my advice.

      • Yeah, I would like to get comped for unused leave, at least (12 days, at the moment. I never take vacation.)

        • dmf

           /  July 20, 2012

          might be time to take that vacation, clear your head, and maybe provoke more of a response from your tormentors.

          • koolaide

             /  July 20, 2012

            good point. is it possible to take some vacation days next week on such short notice?

            • Nope. One of my problems is that I’m not allowed to take time off if my supervisor is also off, which she is until mid-week. She takes off at least one day a week, sometimes two, always Monday & Friday. The one time I got in ahead of her for a Friday, she put in for that day anyway and the boss insisted I had to come in even though I asked for it off 4 months ahead. So it’s near impossible just to get the time.

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  July 20, 2012

      Your supervisor sounds like a grade-A entitled asshole, with that vacation-denying bullpuckey you are getting dumped on with.

      I think you want to be in a new place as soon as that works for you. If you can make them Lay You Off so you get the payout, that would be best. If they instead start trying to Set You Up To Fail by loading impossible expectations onto you and then giving you your first of several write-ups, resign and flee sooner rather than later, because that is the path of them trying to Fire You For Cause, which often leaves a black mark and denies you any and all recompense.

      If you can’t arrange your own layoff, and they aren’t maneuvering you into a trap, play it by ear, look for an escape route, but don’t eject until you are ready to do so.

  9. ProjRun recap start today!
    Mary J Blige joins the Voice\
    Ron Moore is making another run at TV.
    and there are Muppets.
    it doesn’t fix CO, but it might help you forget for a minute anyway.
    http://anibundel.wordpress.com/

    • koolaide

       /  July 20, 2012

      I either defended your honor or I way too snarkily mis-interpreted a comment on your PR post. Time will tell, I guess.

  10. dmf

     /  July 20, 2012
  11. dmf

     /  July 20, 2012

    for fridays and critters without thumbs:

    Out of the bunch grass
    out of the cheat grass
    a bunch of grass waddles
    my way.

    Quill-tips bleached by winter four
    inches down: crown of glory dark
    at the roots: a halo
    catching the sun’s
    final song:

    No way could such steady
    oblivion possibly live
    up to legend, whatever
    fear I might have had
    is gone, but still I stop

    Short on my after-dinner walk, no
    collision course if I
    can help it, thinking
    at first it’s the wind,
    nudging a path out of the field

    Or one of a covey of tumbleweed
    lost like those today on the freeway,
    racing ahead of my car that whole long drive
    here to the banks of the Snake, to friends
    so close they know
    when to leave me alone.

    As though I were nowhere around, the porcupine
    shuffles the edge of the road,
    in five minutes crosses
    a distance I could have covered
    in less than one

    And disappears at last into cattails
    and rushes, sunset, a vespers
    of waterbirds, leaving me
    still unwilling to move.

    I am a sucker for scenes like this.
    The slowest beauty can rush me.
    And here I am,
    all of my defenses down.

    “Porcupine at Dusk” by Ingrid Wendt

  12. socioprof

     /  July 20, 2012

    I feel so chastened right now, like I am nine and annoying my teenaged cousins all over again. I just received the following message: “You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.”
    /sadface

    • What? From whom/where?

    • WP does this sometimes, and to the oddest people! Like, how often do you even comment? I think the other person recently was Taylor, and likewise.

      I apologize for the WP elves. They don’t answer to my command, but I sure wish they did.

    • Oh and PS – I loved your report re: Disney (though the report was tragically short!). I want to be in kiddo #2’s presence when he expresses his longing for the Mouse.

  13. caoil

     /  July 20, 2012

    For a change of pace, your light amusement link for today. A little girl judges books by their covers. Prescient in several cases. I like her take on Atlas Shrugged, as well as Catcher in the Rye (you stick to that one, awesome kid!). Make sure you read both pages of ‘reviews’!

    • Bookwoman

       /  July 20, 2012

      I saw that this morning – it’s wonderful.

  14. dmf

     /  July 20, 2012

  15. dmf

     /  July 20, 2012

    Judy Bloom movie anyone? that takes me back to elementary schoolyard. http://www.kqed.org/a/forum/R201207201000
    hey ee, your wee ones might enjoy the animated movie steamboy

  16. cofax

     /  July 20, 2012

    You know what’s going to happen now, right? If people can shoot other people in movie theaters, they’re going to install metal detectors in movie theaters.

    Pretty soon all public gatherings will require going through a metal detector, and the NRA will still have a stranglehold on the gun regulation discussion. Because it’s somehow better to have a gun-death rate twice that of any other western democracy than it is to limit urban residents’ access to automatic weapons.

    • cofax

       /  July 20, 2012

      By “urban” I mean: people who live in cities/suburbs and don’t hunt with rifles & shotguns. People for whom the only possible use of a gun is for shooting other people.

    • aaron singer

       /  July 20, 2012

      Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to happen. That’s just paranoid, and things like this aren’t at all common.

    • Oh, there’ll definitely be metal detectors and patdowns at theatres now. And they’ll double ticket prices to pay for the minimum wage workers who operate the detectors.

      I like my DVD player…

    • There are some studies that suggest that common-sense gun ownership laws – safety locks, secured cabinets, etc – would create a sizable drop in gun-related incidents, if only to drop the number of accidental shootings. But for the problem with assault rifles… honestly, we need to go back to banning those damn things. People may kill people, but assault rifles make it too damn easy.

      • r_bargis

         /  July 20, 2012

        The number of murders done with legally owned assault rifles is a small enough percentage of the total that I’m not in favor of banning them, and I’m speaking as a gun-owning hunter who thinks that assault rifles and pistols are overpriced toys for people who want to own guns but don’t want to kill things (me, I own a gun for the express purpose of killing animals so I can eat them. Guns are for causing death, not looking cool). *I* don’t think there’s a good reason for owning an assault rifle beyond the cool factor, but I’m hesitant to cut off the freedom to own them when they’re just a symptom of the larger problem of people who can’t be responsible with firearms.

        Rather than give the NRA more ammo in its deafening barrage of telling its members about how the lib’ruls are coming for their guns (they’re STILL not over the previous ban – the NRA magazine American Hunter brings it up every f*cking issue) I’d rather see assault rifles get more expensive with a very, very large tax, a registry, and a limit in how many people can buy them a year, similar to the machine gun registry.

        And what I’d really like to see – and what will NEVER EVER happen – is a comprehensive federal gun registry list.

  17. Image of the afternoon: http://imgur.com/LuvFN

  18. watson42

     /  July 20, 2012

    So as you may recall, I started a contract job a couple of weeks ago. Then this week there is a “reorg” and both my boss and my boss’ boss get laid off. My status is rather questionable. No one quite knows what to do with me or if they will terminate my contract since no one quite knows what’s happening with the projects that this department was responsible for.

    Less selfishly, a lot of old-timers with the company got laid off, people who (I assume) were responsible for its success. (Rarely is anyone kept on at a biotech for 10+ years unless you’re pretty instrumental in moving things forward.) I feel so badly for them.

    • Captain_Button

       /  July 20, 2012

      Can you swing one of those deals like in the stories where division A thinks you tranferred to division B, but division B never heard you were coming, but payroll just knows you still work there, and you spend all day reading in the bathroom?

      • No, she doesn’t spend all day reading in the bathroom! This is the second decade of the 21st century.She spends all day on the computer looking busy as she tweets and facebooks and chats with the Horde!

        • watson42

           /  July 20, 2012

          Alas, the firewall is as such that I can’t post via Disqus from workand even wordpress doesn’t really work. AND I get no cell phone signal since I am in the exact center (in all three dimensions) of the building. Maybe I can surreptitiously move into one of the soon-to-be vacated offices?

          The funny (?) part of all this is that the contracting firm through which I get paid had *no idea* this was going on. Obviously I got lost in the shuffle. What I don’t get is why management approved my hire since they must have known who was getting laid off this week.

      • helensprogeny

         /  July 20, 2012

        Or better yet, your own couch?

  19. You know you’re a lousy driver when…

    The MVA holds a hearing on whether to revoke your license, and the state is represented by…The State Attorney General. Not his lackey, HIM.

    Methinks the state was serious about getting this woman unlicensed…

  20. caoil

     /  July 20, 2012

    Wow. In shitty company/HR behaviour today, a person in admin was told last night that today’s her last day, that she “could” work next week if she wanted to but her job will now be handled out of another office. What an asshole thing to do to someone right before the weekend.

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  July 20, 2012

      Sadly all too common with a particular breed of upper-middle-management. Completely soulless and utterly unprofessional. Unless this is an elaborate face-saving firing-for-cause, there is no excuse for that kind of cruelty.

      My condolences to your colleague.

      • caoil

         /  July 20, 2012

        I feel terrible for her. I mean, I think this is just dodgy behaviour and a bad idea in the long run (when you think of word-of-mouth in the job community). At least I can say I’ve tried to help, I came across two job opps for her while looking for things for myself, and so had them at the ready to forward to her today. :-/

        • Darth Thulhu

           /  July 20, 2012

          You’re a good coworker and friend. Best wishes in her search.

  21. CitizenE

     /  July 20, 2012

  22. OK. its late, and its Friday, and I don’t know how many people will see this, but I had to.
    Excerpted from King Charles Pierce’s final post of the day:

    Regular readers of the blog will recall that it has been carefully monitoring a certain segment of the economy in Tampa, and how that particular segment is gearing up for five days of Republicans at the end of August. Given how central the state of Utah is to the 2012 Republican party, I’d say these are some shrewd business moves. Real American entrepreneurial genius! I think Willard should stop by all of these places and congratulate them on their sheer Americanism:

    One place is bringing in a stripper who looks like former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. [italics added]

    What worries me is my absolute certainty that this, ah, naked ploy will work.

    Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/The_Weekend_Ahead#ixzz21CazLwqC

    • :::sigh:::forgot, of course, that html works backwards in this version of FYWP. You get the idea.

  23. Darth Thulhu

     /  July 20, 2012

    So, for a more pleasant distraction:

    Dark Knight Rises is good. Well worth seeing, and worth seeing twice. Having seen it twice today, I can emphatically say it could have done with some tighter editing. Could have come in 15 minutes slimmer and been better for it. That said, the acting and the character studies are simply top notch.

    Good escapist fun. B+

    • Holy Christ I hated it. It can no longer be ignored what an unbelievably reactionary series this is.

      • Without having seen it (and I probably won’t; I didn’t see the second one, either, I couldn’t bear to watch Heath Ledger so soon after he’d died) it’s remarkable to me how divided the opinions are on the third movie. Seriously, alllll over the place I’m seeing exactly the disagreement that you two express here.

        “It was really good, I’m so happy!!”

        Followed immediately by

        “Oh my god it suuuuuuuuuuuuuucked!!”

        That disagreement right there is almost reason enough to see it.

        • Darth Thulhu

           /  July 22, 2012

          The hatred, to me, seems to come directly from the quality. The movies are good at what they do (grim, “realistic” supers films portraying a billionaire vigilante facing “realistic” threats to devastate an entire city). They are so good at what they do, in fact, that reaction bleeds into real world political emotion. Institutions are actively subverted and utterly fail, and in the end only the vigilante can avert catastrophe.

          All of this is straight from the comics. Few settings are more grim than the Gotham of Batman comics – eternally hypercorrupt, local and national law enforcement ineffectual if not outright co-opted. The third movie skillfully echoes years-long comics arcs with names like “No Man’s Land” and “Knightfall”, where all First World civil order completely disintegrates.

          If it pulled that off in a cartoony way, I don’t think anyone would HATE it with the feverish intensity I see. It would be shrugged at and dismissed as cartoonish escapism. Instead, each film methodically constructs scenarios where a premier metropolis is systematically devastated and terrorized to the brink of complete physical or psychic collapse.

          Because the terrorism is “convincing” and the vigilantism is “necessary” in the fictional world of Gotham, a lot of passionate emotion is roused that isn’t at, say, the Punisher or the Avengers.

          • I’d never suggest that it’s not a “quality” movie. Its politics are simply completely ass-backwards, and they’re ass-backwards for the Batman universe as well. They’ve taken the world of Batman Begins and flipped it completely on its head, but instead of accepting this as the endpoint, they’ve thrown Batman back into that world and completely fucked it up. Ugh. I saw it again with my wife this time and I am still very unhappy about this.

  24. I had many frivolous things I wanted to talk about today but that thing in Denver made me not want to talk about any of them right now. (Plus I’m working but, you know, who gives a shit about that?) Monday.

  25. Ian

     /  July 20, 2012

    Today seems to be nervous-making job news day, so I’ll tell you all that Monday is the day that I try to get my boss fired. Must work on the letter and documentation all weekend. It’s gonna be awesome.

    Question. Which is better, “…said ‘what a woman,’ clenched his fists on either side of his body, and made several pelvic thrusts,” or “…said ‘what a woman’ and then moved his body in a manner clearly intended to mimic coitus”? I’m open to other suggestions, if you have them. Not a big deal. That part isn’t even the meat of the complaint. But yes, the woman in question works here.

    • watson42

       /  July 20, 2012

      If I didn’t know you live on the other side of the country, I would wonder if your boss is the same person as the CEO of one my former companies. He did the exact same thing but was making a comment (breaking into a conversation he wasn’t a part of) about the possible reason for someone’s pulled muscle…and that was pretty mild on the scale of his behavior, sexual harassment-wise. Sadly, HR knew who signed the checks so his bad behavior continued to be condoned.

      But to your question: I think the “pelvic thrusts” is a little more clear (god, that sounds so wrong). Good luck getting the jerk fired; I mean that sincerely.

      I had a boss who had been bounced from a few companies for sexual harassment (not the CEO mentioned above), but he was always given a sweet separation deal and the reasons were not made public since he was sufficiently senior and well-known. So he was free to keep getting jobs where he supervised women.

      • Ian

         /  July 20, 2012

        Ordinarily I would have no hope at all, but I happen to know that he’s on progressive discipline and that he would already be gone if he weren’t union-represented. I’ve got a lot more than the sexual harassment. Misuse of federal funds, personal use of institute property, obvious and admitted subversion of the director’s mandated reforms, frequent use of abusive and misogynistic language, intimidating employees into signing evaluations without writing comments. God, it goes on forever. The challenge of writing this letter will be throwing out the clutter so it doesn’t come off like a diatribe. The really fun part is that most of what I’m writing couldn’t come from anyone other than me, so if he doesn’t get canned we’re going to have an interesting relationship. I’m not being sarcastic. I’m totally relishing this. Spent a good part of the afternoon in the business office cheerfully photocopying budget documents…

        • Darth Thulhu

           /  July 22, 2012

          Best of luck, whether it works or not.

          I agree that specific details are always best. “Pelvic thrusts” and “clenched fists” conjure an image that mere “simulation” does not.

  26. stephen matlock

     /  July 21, 2012

    So the book is finally available on Amazon.
    Kindle version first: http://www.amazon.com/Stars-Texas-Sky-ebook/dp/B008NNSU3U

    Next will be the print version (a few days), followed by versions on bn.com (Barnes and Noble), but I’m still working those issues.

  27. DF

     /  July 24, 2012

    Hi guys,

    Leaving this here because of privacy concerns; You will probably know who it is based on some pretty obvious hints.

    Of course going back to work after giving yourself a 3 day weekend is always going to suck, but today has been especially bad. Full disclosure: this is weird doing this because some of you have met her, and my facebook activity prominently displays her, so a bit uncomfortable doing this, but I need the outlet right now serious relationship issues.

    On Sunday, I went to a sporting event of a team I greatly enjoy that I never get to see more than once a year. This was my first time going with my gf, and I thought it would be a great experience. I largely had fun but because of some complaints from gf, I didn’t get to meet up with some of my friends, and didn’t get to quite make it the celebration I wanted. She also mocked where we sitting, which admittedly was far but I paid for the tix.

    Anyway, on the ride home we decide to stop at a bar near our apt. As we’re getting off the subway, gf takes a picture of two people (youngish black guy sitting across from old Hasidic man). Young black guy becomes upset and starts talking loudly to the Hasidic guy about how rude it was. I didn’t realize this at the time, but gf told me after we had gotten out at our stop. I mentioned that I thought it was sorta rude; she’s done this before with people who look diverse or interesting or intoxicated or whatever, without permission. It’s sorta like treating people like zoo animals. I didn’t use those words, but that’s how I felt about it.

    The argument ended up blowing up hard. Part of this is rooted, I think, in class; she’s from a wealthier background, and there have been fights over things like this before (it’s not some sort of tragedy if you don’t go away for a summer, not everyone enjoys the ritzy see and be seen stuff, etc.). I’ve admittedly been overly sensitive about it in the past, coming from a working-lower class background yet going to a private school. I’m sure alcohol played a part in it, but neither of us were wasted. And some of my frustrations from earlier in the day came out. These were greeted by non-apology apologies (I’m sorry if I somehow…*in raised voice*), which as a member of the horde especially, frustrated the hell out of me, then accusations that I wasn’t listening to her (I was, I just thought the way she was acting about the situation was crazy.)

    One of the problems is she has pretty serious anxiety problems. Arguments are of course anxious things. She also grew up in a family of shouters that loved each other; shouting in my household normally meant very serious consequences. The problem escalated to the point where I told her there was no way we could argue like this and expect to have a functional relationship, to the point where she asked me if I’d break up with her over it. I said that we need to change it or I would.

    There had to have been better ways to phrase that, but I felt led and to be honest, while no one likes fighting, we really, really do not argue well. Her issues with anxiety and depression compound that. I feel like I’m constantly trying to answer things just the right way so that I don’t hurt her even if I have a real problem with something she did; it’s normally something careless and not intentionally malignant, but I don’t want to be walked on.

    At that point, we went to bed and I had the day off yesterday. She went in to work. We said brief apologies to each other in the morning, and gchatted throughout the day. When she got home, we continued with what we planned to do, which was plan a trip in the fall. She complained of having severe anxiety although not entirely because of the fight. But things were pretty clearly not ok. So before bed, I pressed the issue one more time, and it turned out that her severe anxiety was almost entirely about the fight. I apologized and tried to examine my role in the conflict profusely without getting into anything she did to provoke me or what I thought she did that was not ok. Truthfully, I felt like I was giving a little too much away, but sometimes you have to in these cases.

    Not. one. word. today.

    We normally gchat regularly throughout the day. Nothing. I texted her once 2 hours ago. Nothing. Nothing but a sorta bizarre facebook post that kinda felt like she was doing it so she could make a claim that she wasn’t acting strange. Kinda like how her non-apologies were just said so she could claim she was apologizing.

    Horde, I’ve been here before. Granted, it was someone I loved much less in a relationship far more dysfunctional and that had lasted 5 years. But I can’t really do this right now. I have this gut feeling that a line of no return may have been crossed. I can’t think about splitting up things, where we will move, how we will see mutual friends, what to do with my lease. I just want the whole damn thing to be over. Again, the truth is we need to learn to fight better for our own good, not to mention for her own good considering her severe anxiety issues. I don’t think it’s fair to me to have to deal with these decoy emotions and gestures when something’s clearly wrong.

    I have never been one to want time to clear my head to settle an argument. Let alone one that started very small. I normally believe in the don’t go to bed angry theory; when things have started going horribly wrong for me, it’s because that technique wasn’t in use. I feel like this whole thing is already being re-written worse against me.

    The terrible, terrible part is, I actually love her and this is a good relationship. I mean, after so long in a bad one, I know the type of relationship I don’t want to be in. I want in here. The more I think about how much I let myself be vulnerable last night though, the more bothered I am by her persistent silence today.

    We do have our issues which I think are more personality traits; early in the relationship I put in a lot of effort to see her, I’m generally a little more patient with her than she with me; overall a bit unbalanced. That suits my personality generally, and again, I feel terrible that she has to deal with these mental health issues. I’m a caretaker by nature. But I feel like she also has to be a grown up when I disagree with her.

    I can’t talk to any of my friends about this, partly because they overlap with hers or are going through bad relationship struggles of my own. I am really, really not enjoying my job, which has been going on for awhile, but it’s magnified by the fact that I think this is going to be the first in a beginning of long nights.

    This sucks.

    • Oh sweetie, I’m running out the door so right now will just say: I’m so sorry. I’ll write more later, but mostly just know that I’m sorry that it sucks so hard.

    • chingona

       /  July 24, 2012

      Hugs to you. I’m very sorry that you are dealing with this and that it’s so hard. There are obviously a lot of issues here that can only be solved by the two of you, but I just want to tell you that you are not crazy or wrong. You DO have to be able to bring up issues, even though she struggles with anxiety. It’s not just on you to be extra sensitive. She also has to learn how to deal with this. As someone who is also in a relationship with someone with mental health issues – though all the details are different – please deal with this now if you plan to stay together. The habits you develop now as a couple will stay with you for the rest of your relationship. I don’t mean to be all dire and shit, but if the relationship is, as you say, mostly good, figuring this stuff out is very important to keeping it mostly good.

      Thinking of you and hoping you can find your way through this. I’m sorry it’s so painful.

      • taylor16

         /  July 24, 2012

        “The habits you develop now as a couple will stay with you for the rest of your relationship. I don’t mean to be all dire and shit, but if the relationship is, as you say, mostly good, figuring this stuff out is very important to keeping it mostly good.”

        Seconding this.

        And this is the heart of my rambly comment below. It’s all well and good to be hurt or to feel like you’ve done wrong or to take a little time to deal with anger/anxiety/etc. before you can have a conversation with your partner. But if you’re going to keep the relationship healthy, you’re going to have to have uncomfortable conversations about *exactly* what is going on when you fight and *exactly* why you’re hurt/upset and *exactly* how you can resolve it. You can’t just wait for the awkward time to stop and then move on like nothing happened. Because the pattern will repeat and it will be worse and worse every time it happens.

    • taylor16

       /  July 24, 2012

      I see this, and have some thoughts … but I am on my way out of work to meet a friend so I can’t be too lengthy right now. I will check back later to add more if I think it’s necessary.

      For now I will just say: I have serious problems with the silent treatment. I often think that the silent treatment is just as, if not more, problematic than yelling and “having it out” with people. Simply put: you cannot resolve a situation unless you know exactly what’s going on or what the other person is so angry/anxious/whatever about. (I mean, I know it is “because of the fight” – but what, exactly, about this fight triggered her anxiety/anger/silence? Was it what you said to her? Was it the yelling? Was it because you made her feel stupid/snobby/whatever so she’s lashing out in embarrassment? Etc. etc. etc. It’s important to know *exactly what happened* before you are able to move on from this (or to know if you can). But it’s impossible to do when someone won’t speak to you.)

      So I’m focusing on that aspect of the story. Is the silent treatment something she normally does when she’s anxious/upset, or is this new? Have you ever tried to talk to her about it? Have you talked about what, exactly, triggered her anxiety/anger in *this instance* specifically?

      I think that’s critical to figure out whether this is really an “end of relationship” thing or just a “big fight that you can work out” thing. Do you know what it’s *really* about? And what is it about this one, specifically, that’s making you think things are over?

      I’ll check back later for replies…in the meantime, I’m sorry you’re going through this and hope you feel better soon…

      • chingona

         /  July 24, 2012

        I agree with all of this, and I would add that I would try to not interpret from a distance what the silent treatment means and instead wait until you talk to her, but make sure you address it, along with the other things you need to address. (I will admit that I sometimes do this, and the reasons why don’t reflect particularly well on me or on how we argue, but “he crossed a line of no return” is not one of the reasons.)

      • DF

         /  July 24, 2012

        Thanks for checking in.

        Basically, in terms of most fights we have, they can get a bit loud but don’t boil over. Whether it’s one of us realizing the other is wrong or me safely crash landing the thing, it’s not that bad, and there’s no extended silence. There was one fight that we’ve been in that was comparable to this one, and I think now is worse. It did involve class as an issue, in this case, calling the neighborhood we were moving too (where I had lived for a year prior and which is commonly mocked in the media for being wealthy) ghetto. I was offended because I did most if not all apartment searching, which was extensive, and she told me she was happy with the apt. She did this in front of her (also wealthy) friend. I called her out on that not being ok, and this ended up with her telling me to fuck off and walking away to having a questionable night with her friends right before we moved in together. It’s come up a couple other times when I’ve said something that she thinks is a dig at her (in fairness, I’ve done it) but yeah, it’s pretty consistent. But there’s also a point where I’m calling her out for arguing unfairly, that she gets more upset.

        I guess as I’m thinking of examples, I don’t want to write them out. They look really, really bad. Which again, is in contrast to a relationship that I would have no problem calling blissful 97% of the time.

        I’ll probably write more later, and the history here is long and complicated; I don’t think it helps my cause that she knew my while I was dating someone else in a relationship I’ve described as miserable. I don’t think it helps that she hasn’t had a serious boyfriend before.

        I think I do need to resolve these things, or more importantly she needs to work on these issues because they affect her outside of our relationship. And she’s tried, in fairness, but I don’t think she’s tried hard enough. It’s a problem.

        I am not much one to believe in destiny, but I do feel I’m meant to be with her. I’ve tried to examine my own behavior, and I have improved as a person since dating her. But it’s 6 now, 2 hours after I shouldve left the office, and no word.

        • taylor16

           /  July 24, 2012

          Well, three quick things:

          (1) It sounds like the class difference between you is a bit of an issue. I don’t think it’s an insurmountable thing, but it sounds like maybe (once things calm down) you two need to have some further conversations about your class backgrounds and how you “see the world” from your position and how you interpret *each other’s* class background and subsequent outlook on the world. (I’m not sure if that makes sense. I guess what I mean is that the class issues seem to be a triggering event, so it’s something you might need to talk honestly about or this kind of thing might keep happening. Like, being honest about how you each get frustrated with each other’s perspective on things like various neighborhoods, for example.)

          (2) To an extent I can sympathize with your gf – I also have a tendency to lash out when I feel embarrassed or attacked, or if someone calls me out on doing something “tacky” or that I should be embarrassed about. It’s kind of a defense mechanism. “You made me feel stupid, so I’m going to turn the focus on you to get the focus off of what I did.” So honestly, I can see myself in her position, having my husband call me out on something tacky or rude that I’ve done, and getting very defensive and upset and lashing out at him about it. That pattern of behavior rings very, very true to me.

          Now, in my case this is something I get from my dad, so I can easily recognize it because I’ve seen it throughout my life. And because I don’t want to ruin all of my relationships, I always apologize and try to explain myself, “I’m sorry I yelled at you, but I felt stupid and just lashed out at the nearest target.” It seems to help, but don’t misunderstand – I had to work very, very, VERY hard at understanding that I do this and on recognizing it/owning it when it happens. It won’t happen overnight. But it needs to happen. Because basically, the pattern sounds like it’s:
          (1) she says/does something that hurts your feelings or embarrasses you, so
          (2) you call her out on it because your feelings are valid, and
          (3) she gets mad and says you were mean to her, and that becomes the focal part of the argument, which
          (4) negates or takes the focus off of *your* original feelings.

          That’s not a fair fighting pattern. I know this because I do it.

          Last thing: (3) almost every couple fights and has some kinks in their communication patterns or recurring problems that keep coming up. That doesn’t mean you need to break up, but it does mean you have to work on them. However, BOTH OF YOU need to work on those things. It can’t just be you tiptoeing around her and trying not to upset her and always working on her behavior while she does nothing. It just can’t be like that. Obviously she’s doing some things that upset you, and your feelings are also totally valid and deserve attention.

          Anyway, I will stop rambling now because perhaps you have talked this through and all of my thoughts are now pointless. But, there you go.

    • I know most people’s first tendency is to try to fix the situation, and I also know that that generally doesn’t help unless it’s directly solicited advice. So I’ll give you three reactions.

      – Uninformed advice: It sounds like an inequitable relationship with you doing most of the heavy lifting in a way that requires significant change on her part to remain happily sustainable long term (and, of course, the most unfortunate part of that is that you can’t change her). If it sounds bad writing it out, it might be worth thinking about what that might mean to you (particularly long term).

      – Poorly based therapy-ish advice: Although you can’t change her, one approach to psychotherapy says that relationships involve roles and that everyone in a relationship influences the actions of others by the things they do within their own roles. At least from the information you’ve given, it seems like you’re trying to keep things ok and placate her while she’s doing whatever. There’s little incentive for her to change when you’ll get worried and start to back down for fear of losing her. You sound really scared and worried, when I kind of wish you were angry and indignant at the way she’s handling this. There might be something there in terms of the kind of behavior you’re reinforcing.

      – What actually matters: I am so so sorry you’re going through this. It sounds like hell. The fear, the threat of loss, the doubt, the lack of control… I’m just really sorry. I truly hope it works out.

      I’m also really glad you felt comfortable sharing it with us. I doubt I’m alone when saying we’re here if you need us. Take care of yourself, ok?

    • chingona

       /  July 24, 2012

      Is she getting any kind of professional help for her anxiety?

    • DF

       /  July 25, 2012

      Hey guys,

      I wanted to write sorta a catch-all follow up; I always say something will be my last post on a topic, and then it’s not, but at least this as far as this topic is concerned, I don’t plan to go too far beyond tomorrow on this.

      You guys really provided a lot of insight and helped me out a lot. I deeply appreciate it. I think there are genuine issues of imbalance here that need to be addressed. I don’t think this is the type of thing that can be done over one sit down talk, so I’m just going to take a slow, progressive approach. This is obviously frustrating but I don’t think it’s fair to hold her accountable all at once for things that happened over the last year and a half. I do think it’s fair that I do it starting today.

      It ended up that she had taken the day off all of yesterday. She did today too. She called in sick both days, but I very deeply doubt she was. It’s going to cause problems with her job, which is a whole other issue. I do get worried thinking about her motivation and not understanding that she’s going to have to work a shitty job (one that in her case pays more than the average american household) to get what she wants in the end, when she decides what that is. Perhaps that issue is a little less serious than it sounds; we’re in our mid-20s after all.

      I would say that in terms of my own self-examination process, I am trying to figure out 1) the most effective way to speak to her to clearly communicate and encourage her and 2) why this is now the 3rd person with which ive been in a serious relationship (I’ve had 3) with significant mental health issues.That is a real problem and I’m not sure what it says about me. I have my guesses — there’s a Freudian angle here in which I, product of a deadbeat father and amazing but deeply stressed mother do this as a way to “rescue” these women from their stress; I’m basically killing my father in this too. Obviously it goes beyond that in terms of physical attraction and more specific personality traits. But it’s scary, in someways, to see yourself reduced to the Oediple complex.

      Couple of other things — She has sought help. I actually talked to my boss (I work in a hospital) about who she could talk to about her issues. It didn’t go well. She’s been through something like 6 therapists in 5 years; some of them blatantly unsuitable and some of them (I’m guessing by how she’s described it) who seemed to push her in positive ways but about things she wasn’t ready to confront. One she speaks very highly of, who I’d like her to go see consistently, but as a psychologist, she can’t prescribe anything. She’s already on meds from on a psychiatrist though, so I don’t know. I hate to say it, and surely there’s a better way to, but she seems to lack toughness about these things and finds ways to turn them into deadends (how is talking about my family going to change the way I am, etc).

      It somewhat points to the silent treatment issue or pretending things between us are totally ok when they aren’t. There is real, concrete benefit to just processing these things. For one, your boyfriend doesn’t have to post anonymously on the internet about them. But seriously, I’ve felt better in the past when I’ve been able to push the conversation in a direction where we are both coming clean. She has too, even if there is a fundamental disagreement there at the end of the day; my best example of this would be the wealth gap, which we’ve mostly been fine with.

      @ophelia
      Oh, I tried the anger and indignation. I fully accept that she’s hijacked the present situation. It’s like quicksand though, in that it gets worse if you struggle. I have to find another way out. Further, I know she is a good person, truly, and that this isn’t coming from a place where she wants to harm me. If it’s a pattern that’s going to continue, and she’s not going to address her behavior, then I’ll have to leave.

      As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been in worse before. In Boston, I lived with someone I’d dated throughout most of college for a year post grad. There were always problems in the relationship, but to be honest, I took that cynically as just what it meant to be in a relationship. Anyway, after about a year of silent treatment from her and finally catching her cheating, I basically vowed never again. We had just signed a lease on another place as things were looking up for a couple months there, but I moved out and back to Baltimore after 6 days in the apartment.

      So I know that I have the power to do it again if it ever gets to that. But I really don’t want it to. I love the current girlfriend infinitely more than the one in the last paragraph. But I’ve learned a lot from that relationship and hope I put it to good use.

      • chingona

         /  July 25, 2012

        Your description of her relationship to therapy/treatment is terribly familiar to me. My husband is too smart for his own good when it comes to therapy. He’s had legitimate issues finding good therapists, but when he does find someone who offers helpful ideas, he doesn’t take it seriously because he knows that already. Okay, fine, he knows it, but he doesn’t DO it. He takes medication, but he doesn’t get nearly as much relief as I think he needs. He has white-knuckled through the last 10 years – always held a job, always taken care of his responsibilities – but it’s bled over into more and more aspects of his life while he keeps not fully dealing with it.

        I don’t know what your long-term plans are, but if you are thinking of having kids with this person, please do not do that until these issues are addressed. Without getting into the gory details, we are at a crisis-point in our relationship, brought on in large degree by not dealing adequately with the mental health stuff, and now we are dealing with that with two kids, enormous emotional stakes, and less time and energy to deal with these problems because of our other obligations.

        Again, I’m not trying to be dire or some kind of “run for the hills!” thing, but you need to be really honest with yourself about the relationship and what she’s willing and able to do to help herself.

        Wishing you both the best.

  28. jaykatsuri

     /  July 24, 2012

    I’m going to agree with taylor16 on addressing the silent treatment, first. It’s emotionally abusive. I’ve been on the receiving end of it, and on it’s own it creates a whole new set of deeply troubling problems and trust issues ON TOP OF the inciting concerns. Without getting that out of the way first, there is no way for you to get into any real issue.

    It’s really hard to do this with someone you care about, but you have to draw the line with what you will and won’t accept in terms of treatment. You can show compassion for her anxiety issues AND ask her to own up to them and find ways to deal with it. It’s one thing to suffer from mental health issues, and another thing to actively visit those problems on the people one is closest with. As someone who has replicated the abuse I have received in past relationships, I can tell you that it IS possible to overcome those behavioral/anxiety problems, but it requires a good deal of self-work. A lot of that has to happen before one is able to genuinely and intimately open up within a relationship.

    I know that this may not be your style, but I would like to recommend a book that really helped me deal with emotional patterns and how they actively play out in relationships. You should check out “Hold Me Tight” by Dr. Sue Johnson – she bases her case studies off her real-world experience as a therapist and her basic understanding is rooted in attachment/bonding theory, which to me is so far the best systematic explanation of interpersonal behavioral issues in close relationships. I can’t emphasize enough how much it helped me identify and correct bad patterns – it may not make the root causes resolve themselves, but I know way better now about what good relationship behavior looks and feels like. And that to me is the most important thing, because my relationship can work smoothly while I continue to grow as an individual and deal with my OWN issues.

    As for the root cause of the argument – I’m with you on how you dealt with it. Treating people like passing visual interests is not okay. It sounds like she’s upset and anxious first and foremost that you think “badly” of her – this may not be the case, but any criticism of her behavior may sound to her like an attack on her, and on your bond with her. As an adult she is going to have to learn the difference between what she thinks happened and what others think happened; and if she bases her desire to be in a functioning relationship on whether or not SHE thinks YOU think well of her, she isn’t going to be able to pull her weight, because anything even slightly negative/corrective is going to undermine the relationship with her.