Open Thread

This Weekend Open Thread is Filled with Sass

It’s Friday night, you know what to do. We’ll drop in the disco ball and stock the snack bar.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

320 replies on “This Weekend Open Thread is Filled with Sass”

I’m helping my sister’s partner revise for her final year medical exams by being a fake patient for her to try out patient histories on and practice patient care one-to-one.

I decided after a couple of times to plump for someone suffering from severe depression, and after ten minutes of impersonating a flat affect, repetitive physical motion and lack of eye contact I started to feel horrible, lethargic and uncomfortable. WTF HUMAN MIND

Alors, aujourd’hui, j’ai vingt ans. I will be celebrating in the pseudo-Summer weather that has taken over my neck of the woods after I’m done work (what a drag, I know). My boyfriend is making me chocolate truffles with magic mushrooms in them, which we will take with us on our wander this evening… after we eat Thai food. I’m so excited. Other than the 7 hours of retail hell, this day should be awesome.

This is the first Saturday morning I haven’t had to be at work in what seems like forever (I do have to work this afternoon, though). I have made a large pot of peach rooibos tea and am listening to RadioLab while making bacon, eggs, and toast. Mornings are a luxurious thing…

My patient and I were not friends last night.  Hopefully some tea and the next episode of Lost will improve my mood before I go to bed.  Going to bed crabby never does me any good.

And I already got pinched…. whyyyyyyyy?   I went into work on the 16th.  To me, it’s not St. Paddy’s (this is for you @QoB) until this afternoon when I wake up.  Bah. I’m going to go work on that tea. Hope everyone has a good Saturday.  :)

yesterday, i bought my cat a water fountain.  it’s awesome, and i’d love it if i were her.  except she just stares at it, instead of drinking from it.  she is totally perplexed by the sound of the water trickling and the motion of the water.  i just watched her try to gently stick her nose by the water, and then she got all freaked out and walked away.

she’ll get desperate enough to drink at some point, right?  I SPENT MONEY ON THIS CONTRAPTION, DAMNIT.

I, personally, would leave it off and let her get used to drinking from it when there isn’t the water fountain effect going. Don’t they usually have a reservoir at the bottom? That way, she can associate it with water.

And now I’m thinking it would be sweet to get one of those for my dog.

Eh, it’s more that the questions have a tendency to be ridiculously (and unnecessarily) convoluted.  Lots of extraneous and irrelevant facts to distract you from the crux of the issue.  Which is kind of stupid on an ethics exam.  It should really come down to:  Can you do this?  Yes or no?  The weirdness of the questions tends to take away from the measure of ethics.

Although the test was much easier than the practice exams.  I did it in half the time, so your friend probably did well too!  Now everyone start drinking!

eating leftover potato salad right from the big serving bowl, drinking Bohemian beer (it’s so underrated, I love it), and writing a paper on the book of Romans and justification and the New Perspective on Paul, and wearing a tshirt with a GK Chesterton quote on it.
if there is such thing as a theology student cliche I think I would like this to be it.

I’m thinking of that column, and another recent one where he jumped from “eat less junk food” to arguing in favor of authoritarian control of SNAP recipients’ food choices.

There’s nothing wrong with his actual cooking. However, he’s a patronizing and smugly myopic science-abuser with an uncanny aptitude for miring fair causes neck-high in bullshit.

Trying to teach my dog how to put away her toys. We’re starting with reinforcing the word “bucket” (where her toys go) with a cookie. So far no dice — she doesn’t really pick up things on command, so it’s hard to make her associate having a toy with putting the toy in the bucket with getting a cookie. Training tips?

ETA: My dog is pretty smart — we’ve taught her dance moves, and she knows that “mom putting on makeup” means “time to go in my crate because I’m staying home.” So I know putting a ball in a bucket will be possible!

While using “bucket” as a command, lead her to it at times when she already has a toy. Get her to drop the toy in (gently wrest it from her mouth if you must). Right after, have her sit, and then give her the treat (have the treat ready beforehand). After giving her the treat, lead your dog away from the bucket and/or temporarily distract her to prevent her from developing a habit of immediately taking a toy back out.

If she responds to “drop it” already, you can try using that command in tandem with “bucket” once she’s right in front of the thing.

Eventually she will likely start picking up toys on her own.

Ok, calling out to any Dark Shadows fans here, but WHAT FUCKERY IS THIS?!? People from the past mystified by modern technology jokes are not funny. Why is Barnabas flirting with Angelique, the woman who drove his fiancee to suicide and then turned him into a vampire? Where is Victoria Winters? She was the main character of the show, and I am not sure that she’s even in this trailer. I don’t even… What… No. Just no. I wanted campy horror soap opera. Dark Shadows is a campy horror soap opera. Tim Burton, why did you make this a comedy? So much nerd rage about this.

Basically this yes.

The Angelique thing gets to me, because she was SUCH a horrible person. She had exactly zero redeeming qualities. And Barnabas hated her guts. As he should. Furthermore Barnabas was kinda scary. The only times he was funny was when he was flubbing his way through whatever line he had clearly just forgotten.

Barnabas was scary, and after a while kinda repressively erotic? or at least, childhood me thought so. But then, childhood me was always a dark little twisted thing soooo. . .

I found him funny as a kid, but only in a dry and honestly kind of british way. Not at ALL American TV funny. It was a funny I could enjoy whereas the more obvious/juicy? humour just. . . didn’t work for me. (It took a lot of practice to find american comedy amusing for me. :-/ Still is plenty I don’t get or that I laugh only because it makes me hella uncomfortable and I have no clue how else to react.)

Barnabas would snap Depp like a twig.

Angelique was a horrible human being- but in the way I imagine Cathy would have been if Heathcliffe had zero interest and abhorred her. (Cathy of Wuthering Heights was another horrible human being. But at least her obsessive mind fucks were mutual.) The only real humanity was Angelique’s love for Barnabas, but she allowed it to consume her instead of anything else, and her reaction to his rejection makes clear that it’s more that she covets him than loves him. It is as though every time humanity makes her need to chose she choses selfish, evil things, and that. . . well, negates the humanity of her emotions. Indeed, over time we see that there’s no humanity left in her emotions, only greed and covetousness.

Even so Turning her into what we see in the trailer makes her less a villain and more of a foil- essentially, taking away the power she has emotionally. She becomes an object rather than an archetypal villain, and makes her not consumed by her emotions but directed exclusively by them.

Barnabas was scary, and after a while kinda repressively erotic? or at least, childhood me thought so. But then, childhood me was always a dark little twisted thing soooo. . .

Childhood me thought Barnabas was quite handsome, so he may count as my first “bad boy” crush. I totally understand.

And re:Angelique, while I wouldn’t put trying some sort of mind control technique to seduce Barnabas, it would be some creepy dark thing, not some tits joke. What made Angelique great as a villain was that she was very powerful, manipulative, and her base motivation is something that your average person has felt at least once, but would never ever take to her extremes. No one likes to be turned down by someone they like and part of what made her frightening was that we could see a little seed of our self in her. “Oh my, let me never be that twisted,” as it were. But she was such a caricature of hate that no one would really ever be able to love her. This version makes her seem like she is in some bantering love hate relationship with Barnabas and it is so wrong.

There’s a reason why I’m not a Tim Burton fan.

He’s made a couple good movies, but not only do they tend to all feel more or less the same (I think it’s that they tend to have the same aesthetic to them), but he also takes waaaay too many liberties with most of his source materials.

I this had been a little more Sweeny Todd and less Willy Wonka I would be ok.

Thing is Burton has been describing this film as a “quirky soap opera” or some such, and this trailer makes me question if he has ever seen a soap opera in his life.

And I agree, had it been more Sweeny Todd I would have been able to forgive.

Honestly my first thought was “Ugh, it’s like They are taking all these things and making them int something they can share with their kids. It’s upended their artistic visions.”

Think about it- Helena B-C and Tom B’s Eldest is like 9 this year in October. They also have a daughter who will be 5 in December. Johnny Depp’s Eldest is 13 in May, and his younger daughter is 10 in Early April.

I still love them and their aesthetic, don’t get me wrong. But as their kids have grown to the age where they are wanting to see some of their parents movies, it seems like more and more of them are more “family” movies than creepy movies that could be for creepy families.

Especially consider the shift in the maturity of the movies/roles in Depp’s filmography in the past 10 years. The vast majority of his major roles become family films from 2003 on. Before that, he was in many films that were a good deal edgier. I miss the Sleepy Hallow/Ninth Gate days. ;_;

Burton has always skewed a little more towards family, but his work has grown more family aesthetically (as well as shifting the family genre aesthetic darker- compare the kid’s movie James and the Giant Peach to his Re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland) and in tone if not in prospective audience.

Helena, on the other hand, has worked so much that it isn’t noticeable- she’s excellent at balancing family/light hearted ish roles with Serious dramatic roles, especially as she’s gained clout in the past 10 years. Indeed, the least balanced of her roles seem to be in ones where she’s collaborating with TB, though not exclusively of course. (She’s still HBIC.)

LTDR- They are all still wonderful, but there’s some projects that TB and JD aren’t really suited to at this point in their careers, and I Think HB-C just loves working with them. And dark Shadows is one of those projects that they can’t do justice to right now.

Oh I guess I wasn’t clear- Most of Burton has always been family friendly. So has Dark Shadows.

But there’s a difference between family friendly and “Family” as a Genre. And Burton and Depp have migrated more towards the GENRE.

Ironically, The trailer looks like while it has migrated more into the family genre, it’s less family friendly. (Lots of implied sex.)

I shall preface this by saying that I have never seen the original show, so I have nothing to go on here.

I predict that this will tank, because Tim Burton hasn’t done anything decent for quite awhile(save for Sweeney Todd), and I think people are still sick of him and Depp. I certainly know I am. I really wish they had gone a darker direction with this, which is more true to the show, from what I understand. I am so sick of the kitschy, “weird” thing. That said, I will probably go see this.

Also, I love 70s women’s hairstyles.

I have too much of an emotional tie to Dark Shadows to go see this. I used to watch it on the Sci Fi channel with my dad as a kid. Such good memories of that. And this is such a cock up of the original material. Dark Shadows was campy as hell, but the fun lay in turning off the disbelief part of the brain and enjoying every over acted melodramatic moment. I was leery when I heard there was going to be a Burton/Depp remake, but I thought of Sweeny Todd and Sleepy Hollow and thought there was a chance that this would be passable. But no. This is just such a cock up. I have no words for how fucked this thing is.

Total overshare: I have not been pooping regularly this week and it is sort of making me miserable. I drank a bunch of orange juice which usually gets things moving but also gives me an awesome collection of canker sores and ate a couple of fiberone bars. We will see how this works out.

I also bought a swimming suit on I have big, disproportionate boobs so these things are usually tricky. I found a halter style top that ties at the neck and back instead of having a clasp type thing and some boy shorts for bottoms. The top is awesome and my boobs totally fit in it but the shorts were too big so I ordered a size smaller and we’ll see what those are like. I’m going to take back the too-big shorts and the new ones if they don’t fit and I’ll just wear some black boy shorts I had that don’t quite fit right either but I already own them.

I am extraordinarily bored tonight. Super hot okcupid boy hasn’t gotten a hold of me since our Sunday night dinner/pool thing. I texted him on Monday and asked him if he wanted to hang out this week and he never responded so whatevs. If he comes around, he comes around. I have a date with another dude this Wednesday to go play pool and another guy I’m trying to make plans with. Hopefully it will all be a good time!

I usually poo in the morning after I eat breakfast. My apartment is essentially two master suites so I have a very private bathroom situation which is awesome and I think it’s definitely made my pooping routine better. However, for some reason this week has been pretty poopless which is distressing.

As long as we’re oversharing, the fiber bars were DELICIOUS and have made me gassy. Good times.

Oh…oh god. That would be awful for me because I work at walmart……flourescents everywhere.

Taking a long car ride would probably do it if I had a route that would take me past a filthy disgusting rest area. I’d definitely have to go to said rest area after dark when there was only 1 other car in the parking lot though, that usually seems to do the trick.

I’m FINE in Wal-Mart!  It’s just certain stores like Marshall’s or TJ Maxx.  Typically discount stores.  Oh no.  Is God trying to tell me to stop buying housewares I won’t use for 3 years anyway???  (Because I”m NOT giving up those pretty bone china bowls with the little birds on them that I got for $4 a piece.  I’m just NOT.)

It doesn’t taste like much of anything, maybe slightly earthy or wheat-y (it’s gluten free, if that’s a concern). You mix it in water (or juice or whatever) and chug it down before it turns into weird jelly. Without wading too deep into TMI territory, it causes toilet paper consumption to go down and it is glorious. It fixes constipation, irregularity, and the runs. The people I know who use sing its praises high and low. At first I thought, “It’s poop, who cares? How amazing could it possibly be?” But now I’m a convert.

I made the most calorific meal for my boyfriend’s birthday tonight. Heavy cream in EVERYTHING. But holy fuck, the sheperd’s pie was delicious. And the chocolate cake.

And now, I’m le drunk and he’s playing Rock Band with friends. I love my life (check back with me in three hours, folks, and I’ll be at a less happy drunk stage).

Sometimes you just need a ridiculously indulgent meal. This was totally mine.

And the (er….) five cups of wine. Oh well, I’m stopping after I finish this last  sip. Moderation and all that.

I mostly do only pop culture posts, so I can assure that most of the stuff I’ve written hasn’t gotten a ton of comments. Selena knows — I talked to her about this when I started. It took a long time for me to either 1) build up a rapport with readers and/or 2) build a base of people who clicked on my posts. Go back and look at my early Buffy stuff. I can’t tell you how depressing it is to think no one is reading what you’re writing while knowing you still have 90 more episodes to write about.  (I also hosted a live blog that not a single person commented on.)

Don’t lose heart!

Trying this recipe while I have a proper kitchen (visiting the parents). Will report back tomorrow!

(I’m addicted to smitten kitchen. I may have a problem. My ‘cooking’ bookmark folder is packed, and I don’t have a proper kitchen. Fail.)

I need to try this:

And this:


Marriage is an institution that reflects the values of the society that supports it. If the people of a society no longer believe that it is important to be married, then there is no reason why they cannot change the institution of marriage. Marriage is a custom. Customs can always be changed. We can find the same core point in this question as we have in others—the ultimate truth of the matter is that individuals can and should decide for themselves what is right. As long as they are not violating others or breaking the laws of the society in which they are living, then they are free to do what they believe is right. It is not for me or anyone else to tell them that they must get married if they want to live together. That is their choice and their choice alone.

The same analysis can be applied to homosexuality. People often ask me what I think about homosexuality. They wonder, is it right, is it wrong? The answer is, it is neither right nor wrong. It is just something that people do. If people are not harming each other, their private lives are their own business; we should be tolerant of them and not reject them.However, it will still take some time for the world to fully accept homosexuality. All of us must learn to tolerate the behavior of others. Just as we hope to expand our minds to include all of the universe, so we should also seek to expand our minds to include all of the many forms of human behavior.

Tolerance is a form of generosity and it is a form of wisdom. There is nothing anywhere in the Dharma that should ever lead anyone to become intolerant. Our goal as Buddhists is to learn to accept all kinds of people and to help all kinds of people discover the wisdom of the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha.
—Hsing Yun, Buddhism Pure and Simple, pp. 137–138

I am enjoying learning about Chinese buddhism. =)
(not all Chinese buddhist writers take such a tolerant stance, but in all of the stuff I’ve read so far – combination of a (RS-teacher-recommended) book I borrowed and wikipedia – there’s this incredible emphasis on the subjectiveness of human custom and morality; throughout almost every text the point is made that humans do not conceive morality perfectly, and that morality must be defined by the society in question. It’s…well, a breath of fresh air from growing up with religions that enjoy universal truths.)


I haven’t gotten around to Confucianism yet =D

But in all seriousness, there are Buddhist thinkers already I’ve run into who talk about universal truths, but, well, they’re quite helpfully rather vague. This has been taken advantage of to the fullest apparently since I can’t work out what any of these branches of Buddhism are – I think it’s akin to trying to work out all of Christianity’s divisions from scratch, a bloody nightmare.

Hah! Oh yes Confucianism…ergergerg.

I wish I knew where all my books were hiding so I could find my book on Chinese Buddhism. I was more into Daoism (and the classes I took on Chinese thought didn’t focus on Buddhism even half as much as Daoism and Confucianism…), so I know a hell of a lot more about that.

Thus, I don’t know how accurate this link is, but maybe it’ll help?

Yeah I’m kind of thinking quietly about how I want to approach future Uni interviews and what topics I want to bring up, and I’m definitely most interested in the interaction between philosophy/religion and the state – how it differs and how it’s similar to that of traditional Christianity/Judaism. I’m interested also in how much philosophy/religion develops as a tool of political science, as opposed to in the West where certain tenets of political science and logic are older than the religions they accompany, or definitively older than the religions they accompany.

I think I want to talk about the whole Buddhist books on “good governorship”; Confucianism concerns itself directly with the ordering of family law and the state (as we can exasperatedly see) and even Daoism, religion of the vague metaphors, talks about self-comportment and diplomacy.

Then I’m probably going to talk about how much I love Chinese maps, talk about the Chinese superiority complex and maybe double back to Anglo-Chinese relations (which is a career path I’m interested in).

God, I don’t even know. I have to go up to professors of this shit and present these half-baked ideas like they’re things worthy of scholarship. It’s well over seven months away and I am bricking it.

I think it’s good to be thinking about this shit so early; it’ll help you really get down to the core points you want to talk about!

The idea of ideas of logic/political science being a lot older than the religions in Euro-American circles is making me think.

I wonder how much you can chalk up to the rediscovery of Aristotle during the medieval European period. Especially when we’re talking about logic. I don’t know how accurate that approach would be, though. Sounds like a really cool thing to pursue.

As far as the idea of philosophy/religion versus the state in Chinese thought, I think examining the roots of Confucianism and Daoism would be cool, since both Confucius and the Dao De Jing were around the Warring States period (if I’ve got my Chinese history terms right). From that, you could argue that there’s a very strong political science basis running through Confucianism and Daoism, since they were (initially, at least) trying to give different solutions to the big ol’ “What went wrong with China” question. Which is, of course, rooted in Chinese superiority.

And then,  of course, throughout much of Chinese history, we’ve got governments doing shit like making tests for state officials include memorizing Confucian texts…so on and so forth. Perhaps, because of the roots, there’s a very strong sense that these are supposed to address life and governance. Especially with Confucianism?

I think if you’re going to talk about that, you’re going to want to strongly stress the idea of these schools of thought being referred to as “teachings.” I think by pointing out that the schools aren’t being compartmentalized into “religion,” their influence is a lot more easily noticed/fluid?

I don’t know, these are just some thoughts of mine!

Yeah, I think the western concept of “religion” is possibly even a misnomer when it comes to Daoism and Confucianism – they’re so much MORE than religions. As my old reverend would put it, they concern themselves with more than just the “numinous”.

I think what I’m stabbing at most of all in the murk of all my rambling is that the nature of Chinese religion is fundamentally different from that of Western European Christianity (and to some extent Judaism and Islam, though I would argue Islam shows a more governmental/philosophical streak). The traditional western distinction between the religious and the secular may not apply to Daoism, Confucianism or Buddhism, or even Chinese society as a whole.

I remember we had a conversation on Jez once about how I felt Chinese religion and philosophy had implemented power through religion differently; Chinese government has a much more secular flavour to me, even traditionally, than in heavily-clergy (as opposed to just religion) influenced western society. Nobody thinks of Machiavelli’s writing as being part of religious canon, but as something part of a seperate place – a secular philosophy of government.

In China, on the other hand, you have texts incorporated into Daoism and Confucianism which read like western treatises on government. So maybe religion is interacted with differently. Whereas in Abrahamic/western religions the “canon” of a specific religion is something to be rigidly defined and is primarily concerned with the spiritual, in China a religion encompasses politics, statesmanship and even rudimentary sociology.

I think that’s part of what I’ve been stabbing at. I was looking at the problem as if “secularism” was the concept that should remain, to be analogued onto the parts of Chinese society where it fits, but maybe a religion can be both religious and secular at the same time.

the nature of Chinese religion is fundamentally different from that of Western European Christianity (and to some extent Judaism and Islam, though I would argue Islam shows a more governmental/philosophical streak). The traditional western distinction between the religious and the secular may not apply to Daoism, Confucianism or Buddhism, or even Chinese society as a whole.

Yes absolutely!

I remember that conversation! I think, personally, I’m not sure the word “secular” conveys the connotations you’re looking for. Like, if Machiavelli had written in, say, a Confucian setting, his work might have been absorbed into the traditions, and then people would have had to regurgitate his words in order to pass tests so they could be state officials!

I’m wondering if some of the distinctions we’re drawing in Euro-American thought is a post-Enlightenment artifact. I’m not very convinced there used to be a distinction between philosophy and religion there, either. Especially not after studying some cool medieval European thinkers!

In some tangentially related thoughts, there is definitely a Daoist canon and a Confucian canon and all that. I think it differs from school to school. But like, Laozi is canon and Confucius is canon…But there’s also a lot of focus on commentaries and such.

I’ve got a lot of other thoughts floating around that I’m having a hard time putting down to text in any sort of coherent manner.

So instead, I will say banana.

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