Friday open thread

Clever Manka, · Categories: Open Thread

Living in Kansas, I usually avoid Oz references like the plague, but this is too accurate for me not to use right now.

I am so glad to be home, I can’t even tell you. Vegas was great (and I managed to increase my summer wardrobe by 50% thanks to hitting ten of the fifteen thrift stores I’d earmarked for visiting), but whoa doggies I don’t even want to leave my house much less my hometown for a very long time.

My apologies for completely spacing the mid-week check-in. I promise that will return next week when I am not recovering from a too-long trip and two-hour flight delay.

Tell us about your week, my pretties!



99 Responses to “Friday open thread”

  1. selma says:

    I have not come over here in awhile, sorry!

    This week is rough, work is stressful and now I'm sick.

    Can I have some funny movies/TV recs? I feel like I've seen pretty much everything, and I want stuff thats gonna make me laugh and feel warm and fuzzy.

    • Onymous says:

      Have you watched Home? It probably won't make you laugh or anything, it's a kids movie so while funny it's not too likely to catch an adult. BUT it's warm and fuzzy all over and the sound track is basically a Rihanna concept album if that is a thing you might enjoy, and it's on netflix.

      • selma says:

        Oh that's a good idea! I'm in the UK, so our netflix is terrible, but I can still get my hands on it…

      • CleverManka says:

        Agreed! I loved Home–so charming! DreamWorks rarely disappoints, IMO.

      • LaxMom says:

        This is a wierd thing that my kids and I just randomly found on the anime network years ago, but it's goofy and silly and about an alien prince who is part fish and has magical powers over his high school classmate, and does things like make him take him fishing and sing kindergarten songs (why it's ok for a fish prince to learn fishing is one of the absurd things). It's called Tsuritama. There are several episodes and I got the DVD on amazon, I don't know if it's online anywhere.

    • Hieu says:

      How do you feel about… anime? Specifically on Netflix, although you could probably find it on crunchyroll or possibly Hulu?

      • selma says:

        I haven't watched much anime, I really loved The Last Airbender, but beyond that I haven't ventured into anime land!

        • Hieu says:

          SIlver Spoon and Princess Jellyfish are some very fluffy, warm, and endearing "slice of life" animes that you might like! Thy're basically coming of age stories where the protagonist makes or has a bunch of friends, gets into some light hearted hijinks, and has a good time.

          There are no mechas, magic, or any of the other genre bits that's usually associated with anime. (However, if you're cool with that stuff and are familiar with those tropes, then check out Samural Flamenco, which is HILARIOUS and ABSURD. Also there is some great bro-tastic friendship in there too.)

    • CleverManka says:

      You've already seen Bob's Burgers, yes? I would assume yes, if you feel like you've pretty much seen everything, but just in case

      • selma says:

        I have tried Bobs Burgers a few times and I just don't get it. I can't get past the Archerness of Bob, and I get the jokes and why it should be funny, but its just not? I had the same thing with Bojack.

        • Kazoogrrl says:

          Maybe try Home Movies. It might not be your thing, and the guy who voices Bob also does the Coach. The main characters are kids and I find them incredibly charming.

        • CleverManka says:

          If you're not a fan of that sort of humor, maybe the old BBC Jeeves & Wooster if you can find them?

          • selma says:

            Oh I was watching them on YouTube on the train to work for a while! I have such a thing for Hugh Laurie.

    • outoftheatlas says:

      Sabrina the Teenage Witch! They have all seasons on Amazon Prime 🙂

    • Amphora says:

      I had a bad week and rewatched the first season of Community. It helped.

    • Ms__M says:

      I like Brooklyn 99 and Fresh Off The Boat.

  2. Heathered says:

    Foolish but sincere question: What's the right thing to do is a stranger comes to your door and asks which apartment is your neighbor's? I don't know any of my neighbors well enough to vet their guests and can thankfully usually just say I have no idea, but…this is one of those things I'd like to do well and respectfully.

    • Onymous says:

      I have no idea how to navigate this either. I mean… just take a guess?

      • Onymous says:

        oooh! Tell them the wrong apartment! That A) protects the privacy of the neighbor B) makes it some one else's problem.

        I'm good at this!

    • CleverManka says:

      There's no way I would want someone else giving that information of mine to someone, so I would apologize and say I didn't know. That also saves you the problem of saying you can't tell them (implying you know but won't divulge the info).

      Ugh. That whole situation is just creepy. Lordy, does it happen often to you?

      • Heathered says:

        Often enough that I felt compelled to ask! I'm in a small building with three apartments–two above and me below–set off the street behind two houses, and in FRONT of a few other small apartment buildings all owned by the same guy. So it's usually someone looking for an upstairs or out front neighbor, and they can see me in my apartment through the front window or screen door. Last time I said I didn't know, the guy asking was all, "REALLY?" which totally made me feel like I made the right call. But yeah, it IS creepy. The only other visitors I get are religious pamphlet-based life forms, a whole other species of awkward.

    • SmrtCookie says:

      Don't answer the door? That's what I always do!

    • aqueousmedium says:

      I think you did the right thing – any welcome person looking for your neighbor should already have their apartment number and have been buzzed in by them. And while in an ideal world you'd be able to safely say, "I can't give out that information without my neighbor's approval," you also don't want to take the risk of getting an aggressive comeback from said stranger.

    • BestLaidPlans says:

      My favorite answer to questions I don't want to answer is "Why do you ask?" It puts the ball back in the asker's court and gives you a chance to decide whether you want to give them any answer at all. You can still always say you don't know, even after they give you an excuse.

      • Heathered says:

        This reminds me of Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons' whole "if you answer me these questions three" bit, but since I generally don't know I feel like it would make the knockers think I'm…well, as weird as Comic Book Guy. Best. Denial of assistance. Ever.

  3. silverandsnow says:

    I need validation, please. Or, conversely, do tell me that my reaction was selfish and ungrateful, and I will listen and learn.

    So, Monday was my birthday. I’ve had a fair few of them, and also am a solitary hermit who generally dislikes gatherings, and so was perfectly happy to let the day slide by with no fanfare. When asked last week how I was celebrating, however, the non-celebration option was met with resistance from my mother, and my sister offered to host a barbecue on Sunday. I agreed, with the following stipulations: no kids, no cards/presents, no singing of Happy Birthday.

    I know that the chances of no kids at my sister’s house is pretty much zero (they have 5), but the oldest doesn’t live there, two are away at camp, and they all have their own spaces in the house and are old enough to entertain themselves, and that was okay. I did think that the no presents/no singing requests were reasonable seeing as it was MY birthday.

    What did I get? Cards, and presents, and singing, and two bonus extra toddler-sized kids (oldest kid brought her bf and his kids) that could not be shooed into another room. Like my own requests for my birthday didn’t even matter, and THIS is why I did not want any kind of celebration to begin with. It was not fun for me and I left as early as politeness allowed and was really unhappy for a while after.

    I feel like I am allowed to be unhappy about it, but I’ve also been fighting off guilt over not appreciating the effort (conditioning; because if I told my mother how I felt I would get called selfish and ungrateful). It may have been a celebration but by ignoring what I wanted they made me feel completely unimportant and uncelebrated.

    Thank you for listening 🙂

    • CleverManka says:

      Personally, I would have walked out of the party and not come back. You are under no obligation to be grateful for something you explicitly did not want. I'm sorry your family doesn't appreciate your needs and desires. That sucks. You have every right to be angry/hurt/sad/whatever less-than-positive emotion you're feeling about it. If you're not comfortable feeling those feelings to their fullest extent, I shall feel them for you because that is absolute, 100% bullshit.
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      • silverandsnow says:

        Thank you 🙂 Outbursts of negative emotion were never allowed when I was growing up so I do have trouble sometimes…all the times…expressing them – especially to family.

    • vladazhael says:

      Validation incoming: you are totally in the right here. When people around you insist on doing something "nice" for you that goes against what you specifically said you wanted (especially when they asked), it's not really all that nice. Sure, it's possible that they were expressing affection in the only ways they know how, and that's worth something, so there's no need to be mean to them in return (which you clearly realize). But having someone insist on performing their version of "nice" instead of doing what you said you wanted is at least partially self-serving on their part, and not at all the same as the kind of "nice" that involves actually listen to the words that are coming out of your mouth. By all means, be pissed off, and if you know these are people who will not or cannot effectively listen to you, I'd advise either fabricating some plans or just sticking with a flat-out "no" next time around. And don't be afraid to bring this incident up as a reason why you're not interested in what they're insisting upon.

      This whole situation reminds me of a passage from yesterday's linked article about hunger, wherein socially approved and performative Romantic Gestures are not the same thing as actually connecting with a real human:

      "I believe that there are people who truly dislike romantic gestures, in the same way that there are people who truly dislike sweets. And it’s certainly true that a lot of what passes for “romance” in our broad cultural definition—the Jumbotron proposal, the bed covered in rose petals—has been neatly split from genuine emotion, like a painted eggshell blown clear of its guts. It’s a charade of romance, a mask we give straight men to wear when they’re frightened or confused by showing their naked face. I truly did not want that, and I still don’t, and I never will. Being dragooned into acting as a partner in these romantic pageants is like having one of those dreams where you’re hauled up unprepared on stage.

      But attentiveness, consideration, compliments, small and large kindnesses, feeling truly loved, having someone put you first while you put them first because you’re in cahoots to make each other’s lives easier and better: most people do like that, when it’s thoughtful and sincere. It’s here, more than in the big gestures, that romance lives: in being actively caring and thoughtful, in a way that is reciprocal but not transactional."

      • undoneinsorrow says:

        Hear, hear. You weren't being ungrateful and your feelings are justified. (PS: I really liked that article yesterday and hope everyone reads it. )

      • silverandsnow says:

        Thank you 🙂

        it's possible that they were expressing affection in the only ways they know how

        This is my mother, definitely. She has her mindset of what's acceptable, and it IS very performative – to be seen as a good person you must follow certain behaviour rules. She's not a bad person, just very obtuse sometimes. The flat-out "no" will be used next year for sure. None of this crap again (last year was similar).

        That article was excellent, and I think that passage really lays out my own feelings. I do not want gestures; show me that you listen and know what I like!

    • silvestra says:

      Hi silverandsnow,

      it was really not okay for your family to ride roughshod over your requests for your birthday event.

      It sounds like it was all about them, and they were unable to change their vision (party = [XYZ]) to what you articulated (party = [AB and absence of XYZ]).

      I don’t think you need to feel grateful for what amounted to a party for other people to enjoy, with things you distinctly didn’t want.

      If you want permission to feel really angry – permission is hereby granted.

      You might like to consider a second birthday celebration for yourself. The one you wanted in the first place, a day with no fanfare and your own company.

      Jedi hugs if you would like them from a fellow recluse.

      • silverandsnow says:

        Thank you 🙂 I'm going on a long-weekend vacation in August as a birthday treat for myself, where I will do exactly what I want, when I want, with no family in sight!

  4. MuseKray says:

    Is there a term for an off-hand comment that's actually a super compliment to you? Kind of like a nice version of a back handed compliment?

    For example, I showed up at a volunteer gig we did brief introductions and I gave a short story of my life, to which the person in charge said, "You sound like an interesting person."
    I nodded like the cool person I am, but inside I was squeezing!

    Share stories of when people complimented you without them knowing they did it.

    • CleverManka says:

      Don't know if this is what you're talking about, but I had someone refer to my schnozz as a "hatchet nose" and because I love my only slightly larger than average nose and actually wish it was a bit larger because big noses are the best, I was tickled pink. That was, like, a decade ago and I still happy-wiggle about it.

      I also get a thrill every time someone calls me a bitch because fuck yeah bitches get stuff done.

    • Heathered says:

      In high school we had to give speeches and I gave one on how to juggle, because I was a super-passionate nerd about it at the time. A few weeks later I spied a friend I was somewhat on the outs with doing some rudimentary ball-tossing and said something like "Hey! Wow," to her. She said, "I figured if you could learn how to do it, ANYone could." Very clearly a burn and at the time a total slap in the face, but I grew to value that comment a lot over time, since making things approachable/accessible to anyone is a big part of my purpose.

  5. Kazoogrrl says:

    Head Full of Hannibal podcast is live! We're hoping to release new episodes every 2-3 weeks, basically when we can get together and yammer on for a bit. For the curious, it's a fan podcast about NBC's Hannibal, from two ladies in Baltimore. We're on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram for anyone who might want to follow us, and we're getting iTunes set up soon. Mana, thanks for your support in the planning stages.

  6. kayjayoh_ says:

    Today I had a phone interview for a higher position in a new department. It will be a few weeks before they move to in-person interviews, and I already have a job I am okay with, so I can just chill until then.

    Still, I am crossing my fingers.

  7. SmrtCookie says:

    What has everyone been reading?? I'm exhausted because I keep staying up late reading Heat and Light. It's set in rural western PA, following multiple characters as the region changes from coal/steel to fracking. I'm from that area and it feels like she's writing about people and places I know so I'm a little defensive? But also it's great.

    • CleverManka says:

      I'm pretty much still all-fanfic-all-the-time, but I'm looking at checking out The Better Angels of our Nature, which was recommended to me over the weekend.

    • aqueousmedium says:

      I started Malka Older's Infomocracy, which is picking up as it goes along, but took a break because the new Liaden novel Alliance of Equals came in at the library. Stiletto (the sequel to Rook by Daniel O'Malley) also came in, but I will maintain discipline and finish the other books in the library pile first.

    • vladazhael says:

      I just finished Lorna Sage's 'Bad Blood' last night (excellent) and started reading Stacy Schiff's 'The Witches' (also so far excellent).

    • meat lord says:

      Maybe I'll finally buy Rivers of London this weekend–it's been on my to-read list for literal years. In the meantime, I've been rereading Scott Lynch's Gentlemen Bastards Sequence. Fun stuff.

  8. Lynn says:

    Greetings from vacationland! I made it and currently there is no sign of impending calamity. Yesterday I checked out my new neighborhood library branch and got a bunch of cozy mysteries, and I am already done with two of them. Today I am putting together furniture and primping for a mysterious date night my boyfriend has planned.

    My goal for this staycation is to do one "useful" thing and one fun thing each day. So far I am off to a good start.

  9. littleinfinity says:

    My week has been pretty okay in general, but last night I went into this major depressed funk/ crying spell because I just feel so powerless about so many aspects of the world in general and my life in particular. I'm worn out. And I had to come to work today and my eyes are all swollen up, I look like I have terrible allergies or something, and all I want to do is stare at the ceiling and moan. <endlesspourofwhiskey.gif> Thankfully it's Friday so I get to leave a little early, that thought is keeping me going.

  10. LaxMom says:

    Whew. So geez, I'm sure none of you guys would be surprised if I say that the last 3 1/2 weeks, where my kids have been with my ex the whole time, have been rough. Let's see–it started with him leaving a kid stranded at lacrosse practice within 2 1/2 hours of the custody hand-off. It's progressed to going out on date night with no plans on how teen was getting home from work, girl sobbing uncontrollably about how worthless she is and how she fails with everything, talking her down and telling him (me and other people, and giving him written instructions) that she *needed* to get to karate to feel better, it was important, it was at this time and this location…and him not following up. So more sobbing. And the next day just leaving and not waking her up or anybody else so she missed her last summer trumpet lesson. I got called. More sobbing.
    Teen boy…the one with anger issues…I picked up from counseling to take back to dad's (dad couldn't be bothered, he'd had big brother's girlfriend do the dropping off), offhandedly says he's suicidal. Then 24 hours later (this morning) spends most of the psych appointment really emphasizing how much he hates me "every time you open your mouth or are near me" and how I'm a horrible parent and he wants to go live with dad. I've told three different people in 3 days, make that 4, that my ex is a manipulative emotionally abusive human and that the "inexplicable" rage issues and mom-hatred issues probably come from a predictable source. And that the "inexplicable" sobbing and worthlessness (I am really falling apart over seeing my third kid sliding into this darkness) probably also come from the same source. That he is charming and neglectful and that as an adult I couldn't tell my own thoughts from his lies and my kids don't have a chance, and that I'm stuck on the outside watching him abuse them again and again but nobody will do anything because he doesn't leave any marks. Most of the people I've spoken to respond, "we can understand your strong feelings in this situation" and shut it down.
    I am not getting anything done on my research because of kid crises and suicide threats and me crying. And I have to just leave my kids there for another week, and then it will be months before they settle down from this. They don't know what he's doing to their heads–I know, i've lived it. Nobody (least of all the kids) believes me or can/will do anything about it.

    • Frumiosa says:

      We believe you. Sending virtual hugs. You are incredibly strong.

    • CleverManka says:

      What a nightmare. I'm so sorry you and your children are living this.

      • LaxMom says:

        Good news: I had the date wrong, they came home today.
        Bad news: girl jammed(?) her finger last Monday and it's still swollen, sore,a little purple, and he didn't have her ice it or anything. I will probably go to the pediatrician to find out it's only sprained, but seriously? A purple finger for almost a week and he did nothing.

    • undoneinsorrow says:

      I know what you mean about the manipulation and I'm so glad that I am out from under that. I at least have sole custody so we only deal with phone calls. You have my empathy for having to hand off your kids for extended visits. *Hugs*

  11. bookwormV says:

    I left work early today to buy items for my Toast Summer Exchange care package! Hopefully it will be sent off tomorrow. I really enjoyed looking for nice things to put in it. Otherwise, this week has not been great; I am feeling a bit despairing about the world and irritated by everyone and everything.

  12. inkwashed says:

    Hello friends! I'm a week into my new jogging routine and am so happy about it – this is the first time that I have ever understood the baffling "runner's high" aspect of moving quickly through space.

    Honestly, it's the highlight of the global week. I've been breathing fire and breaking all the rules of propriety by talking politics at work (which, granted, it's a pretty safe space for that sort of thing) and with the grocer and …. pretty much everywhere else. I have been so furious and terrified! Listening to Amy Goodman keep her chill while calling out systemic injustice every day has been a big inspiration.

  13. Doc_Paradise says:

    I think I have found what I desperately need in a therapist and I'm scared shitless over what is in pandora's box.

    I need some more topics to write about. Writing is meaningful work and sanity making. I'm also conflicted about what my next book review should be. Too many options in that case. Really need to write something.

    Sleep too. I so wish I had an off (no dreams or nightmares) button. I need to get one installed. I wish I was a cyborg sometimes.

    Edit: Oh yeah… and the communal meal I set up on games day was this menu:

    Sriracha honey baked chicken
    Simple sushi rice
    Green salad with Pineapple miso dressing
    Avacado panini triangles
    Sautéed garlic kale

    I'm getting rather proud of the meals I set up.

  14. Heathered says:

    Ooh, second question I forgot to ask earlier: I know it has to do with Hamilton, but what are all the Ham4FillintheBlanks?

    • Ms__M says:

      2 layers to this answer. Ham4Ham refers to the daily sketch performances Lin-Manuel Miranda & co. would do outside the theater for the people who were waiting for the ticket lottery. The second Ham refers to Hamilton; the first is an acronym (hard as a MFer) that refers to someone's level of enthusiasm, i.e. how hard they will go. Note: it does NOT refer to levels of sexual excitement.

      • Räven says:

        In less hyped-up days, it was also just a clever reference to the $10 lottery cost – see Hamilton for a Hamilton!

      • Heathered says:

        Hahaha, thank you, this is so much more helpful than the Googling I did. And now I want to see a ticket lottery based on that second idea.

  15. meat lord says:

    Hope everyone here (we need a name, a la Toasties–Clever Ones?) is well, and wishing wellness for those who are not :3

    My anxiety levels have greatly decreased since last Friday, I am happy to report. I guess my meds increase worked out for me after all.

  16. LaxMom says:

    I just remembered something that the teen boy said to me today, and I need body positive advice. My kid is 5'10 and 140 lbs. I am 5'8 and 160, for reference. He gained 3/4 of an in in the past MONTH and 4 pounds. He is upset that he gained weight! He thinks he has a poochy stomach. I told him that I"m still in the high end of normal for my height/bone structure, and he's way on the low end of normal for a guy his size. Also that it's normal to gain weight, grow, gain weight, grow, and he did grow. My skinny boy hates his body. Help! I don't know how to do this with boys.

  17. Crivens_the_hag says:

    Greeting glorious space witches, I am so glad this week is over!

  18. Räven says:

    This week was no good. It's too hot to do the most basic things. I'm working for the kind of client you tell yourself you'd never work for because you are a good person. I am annoyed with a good friend (he was an ass, but I need to let it go). My home is a mess. But yesterday's link roundup was so restorative, and I was happy someone posted the Jacobin piece, and I am looking forward to a quiet weekend of pulling myself together, and reflecting on work, and also I'm going to see a movie with air conditioning. So, there is a chance of happiness on this earth.

  19. ru_ri says:

    I am late to the party as usual–sorry! Sounds like lots of us have had tough weeks, so I raise my glass to toast the weekend reprieve–even though by now I guess it's almost over. Hope the coming days bring better things! And jedi hugs to anyone who needs them.
    My week was good, a bit emotional due to travel panic, but successful in that I managed to get from Tokyo to Kyoto, thence to Osaka and onto the proverbial "slow boat to China." On the two-day ferry trip I struck up an intergenerational friendship with this badass Chinese woman who's lived in Japan for 57 of her 82 years (!) and thus could communicate with me (after a fashion–she speaks in the Kansai dialect so I got kinda lost sometimes) And I managed against all expectation to enter Shanghai (carrying two cartons of illicit cigarettes for the aforementioned Auntie–but I lost her after I got out of the ferry terminal so I need to figure out how to call her and meet her somewhere and hand them over). Then, thru luck and I suspect looking really pathetic, I wangled my way onto some family's ride to the train station and then to my hostel. I checked in and lockered my stuff and then spent a couple hours wandering around People's Park, which is nearby. It is hot as all fuck here but the hostel room has air conditioning and there's cold beer.
    Tomorrow I am going to try to brave the Shanghai metro to get to the railway station and pick up my tickets for the next leg of my trip. And then maybe visit the Old City and eat some dumplings.
    If anyone wants to read the full account of my peregrinations, I am keeping a peripatetic blog (I fell woefully behind on the US part of my travels) at (Manka, hope it's OK if I share that link–if not let me know!)

    • CleverManka says:

      This all sounds AMAZING! Yes, thank you very much for the link! In fact, I'm going to ask everyone for a link to any blogs they might have in OT next week and make a list for them that's easily findable on the site–maybe a page linked in the left sidebar…

  20. CleverManka says:

    I think the same way I'd do it with girls. Help him find a physical activity he enjoys and encourage him to appreciate what his body can do, not what it looks like. Good luck!

  21. Xolandra says:

    I am a million years late to this party, as usual, but the greatest offhand compliment I ever got came very recently from my partner's friend & drummer. We were getting drunk in the park, and he says all cas "you're a total rock n roll chick" and i was so pleased that I made him a) repeat it and b) elaborate. Rock n roll ain't got no time for modesty.

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