Open Thread

Will Ferrell as "Buddy" from Elf looking extremely excited

Will Ferrell as “Buddy” from Elf looking extremely excited

If you love this time of year, this is your thread for general chitchat. (If you hate the holidays, there’s a thread just for you.)

What you should know about comment moderation, in addition to general community rules:

  • I am grading final projects and traveling and seeing family & friends and not paying much attention to the blog.
  • Therefore, I’m closing questions for the time being, opening them again in the new year.
  • The spam trap eats perfectly good comments and no one knows why. I’ll fish ’em out when I can, but it might not be quick.

Wishing you a good Yule, good solstice, good Christmas, good transition into 2016.




[Video: A French bulldog puppy rolls around on its back trying to flip over]

If you’re not feeling this time of year, this is your place to commiserate with others. I am not sure I’m getting to any more “holiday” questions this month, so you may want to post the short version here instead for others’ feedback.

Regular commenting policies apply, with some reminders:

  • BE KIND.
  • This remains a “No Diet/Weight Loss Talk” zone.
  • If you’ve got a lot to say, it’s okay to give a brief intro to a topic & then link to a longer version on your own site.
  • Don’t yum other people’s yuck. If you love the holidays, your thread is over here.
  • If you find yourself arguing back and forth with another commenter about their own experiences….why? Why are you doing that with your time?
  • BE KIND.

[Video: A Great Dane and a deer are best friends who snuggle and frolic]

If you love this time of year, this is your thread. Whatcha cooking? Who are you excited to see? What are you thankful for? What’s a favorite tradition that your family & friends have? Got any cool decorating plans?

Usual commenting rules apply, with this brief review:

  • BE KIND.
  • Don’t talk about calories or weight loss or diet stuff.
  • Don’t yuck other people’s yum. If you hate someone else’s idea, or it won’t work for you, they don’t need to know!
  • You can share longer thoughts/posts…by giving us a brief intro and then linking to the rest on your own site.
  • If you hate the holidays and everything sucks right now, I made you a thread, too. This is isn’t that one, so don’t cross the streams.
  • BE KIND.




JenniferP + Cat + Tweedy Hat

“Are you there, God? It’s me, Cat Furniture.”

A nice person emailed me to wish me a happy new year and also to ask: “What kind of self-care stuff are you doing these days, if you don’t mind me asking?

I don’t mind. Probably the biggest thing I’ve been doing is updating my professional CV, working on my professional portfolio and reel, and applying for some fellowships, conferences, and job opportunities in my field. I want a tenure-track job in teaching screenwriting and film/video production. As part of a local grant program, I’m also putting together a 12-week documentary course for high school students who have dropped out and returned to school, and will be piloting that this semester. I’ve also been compiling a lot of resources for my courses: clips, how-to guides, curated lists of tutorials, etc. Good for my students, good for my teaching portfolio. I guess that’s more “work care” than “self care” but I’d like to get paid more and have more stability and institutional support to do what I do, so updating and fancying-up the materials is in order.

The other big project/change is getting in a pool or on a treadmill regularly. I read Hanne Blank’s book about exercise in November/December, I joined the YMCA with my boyfriend a couple of weeks back, and together we’ve been going 4-5 times a week. It’s been weird – my brain can remember being an athlete and knowing how to do certain things once upon a time, but my sedentary, recovering-from-a-knee-injury body has been very much “ummmm…what?” about the whole thing until just this week when it’s been more like “Okay, I guess this is going to be a thing now (sigh).” Fingers crossed that the whole “Yaaaay! Exercise!” thing kicks in before March.

Over Christmas I marathoned all of Twin Peaks. I’m also watching movies. Recently:

  • Wild – Liked it very much, loved every minute with Laura Dern.
  • Ida – It was amazing. Heavy subject matter. Amazing.
  • A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night – If you like The Toast’s Misandrist Lullabies or want a Male Tears mug, this is the Iranian noir vampire western for you.
  • Dear White People – loved it. I thought it was so clever, funny, smart, and loving/forgiving of its characters while also being a reference-feast for film nerds.
  • Calvary – beautifully made and thoughtful.

Soon I will see: The Imitation Game, Selma, Two Days, One Night, Goodbye to Language, Big Eyes, Almost There 

Also I’ve been watching a ton of Werner Herzog, Les Blank, and Albert Maysles films on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon in preparation for some documentary courses I’m teaching. I’m especially interested in films like Little Dieter Needs to Fly vs. Rescue Dawn, Grey Gardens vs. Grey Gardens – films where a documentary was adapted into a fiction piece.

Other recent/winter/holiday projects:

  • Reading for pleasure
  • Seeing friends
  • Dealing with some mental health stuff (like, actually dealing with it, not just enduring it)
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Writing longhand in a journal every morning and making lists and then checking things off lists and sticking sparkly star stickers to the checked-off items
  • Planning a wedding
  • Pulling out all the art I need framed/hung up and getting it on the walls, among other habitat unfucking measures.
  • Culling the wardrobe of ill-fitting pants (not a metaphor), stained shirts, hole-y underwear, etc.
  • Misc. writing projects for the page & the screen.

What self-care kinds of things or new adventures do y’all have going on?


My friend posted this doozy of a poem the other day:

“Fairy-tale Logic”

Fairy tales are full of impossible tasks:
Gather the chin hairs of a man-eating goat,
Or cross a sulphuric lake in a leaky boat,
Select the prince from a row of identical masks,
Tiptoe up to a dragon where it basks
And snatch its bone; count dust specks, mote by mote,
Or learn the phone directory by rote.
Always it’s impossible what someone asks—

You have to fight magic with magic. You have to believe
That you have something impossible up your sleeve,
The language of snakes, perhaps, an invisible cloak,
An army of ants at your beck, or a lethal joke,
The will to do whatever must be done:
Marry a monster. Hand over your firstborn son.

–A.E. Stallings

It made me wonder what impossible things we’ve all done. When did you defeat the monster in its lair? When did you think something was going to be impossible, only to look up a year later and realize you’d done it already, you’d survived? WHAT ARE YOU KICKING ASS AT THESE DAYS? Tell us your proud moments, people.

Good thread, everyone! Comments on this discussion are closed as of 9/14.


Sorting through and packing up my books for moving, and asked for book recommendations by a friend, I realized that there is a short list of titles & authors that I repeatedly find myself shoving into people’s hands (usually after being lucky enough to have them shoved into my hands).  And I thought, who do I know who likes reading? And who do I know who recommends great stuff to me?

So let’s have a thread. Having been around the Fannish Moderation block a time or two, allow me to set some ground rules:

  • List no more than 5 creators.
  • If you like, give a brief, spoiler-free description of the work. Edited to Add: If you want to warn for violence or other potentially trigger-y stuff, word on the Tweet is that posters would greatly appreciate it.
  • The spam queue will get extra hungry for linky posts, so I recommend that you link only to works that exist solely online. We can GooBingle something that interests us.
  • If you didn’t enjoy something that someone recommends, please do not use your words.

To elaborate on that last point, this is an enthusiasm thread, not a critique thread. People are saying “Here is stuff I love and recommend to people all the time.” They are not saying “and you should feel the same way I do about itor even read it.

  • Correct: “If you enjoy that, you’ll probably enjoy x thing, too – I thought it did y aspect really well.”
  • Incorrect: “I did not enjoy x thing because….” “Y thing is way better…” “I wanted to like x but I was disappointed because….” “All the hype over x really put me off….”

…and if you find yourself typing the word “overrated” at any point, just delete your comment, ok? Come back when you like something. We are to an extent ignoring potentially problematic elements of the works in this discussion, but that’s because the basis of the discussion is subjective enjoyment, i.e., What stuff do you like?


EDITED TO ADD: Ok, based on some heated feedback on Twitter that I admit I am not handling all that well, let’s change this up slightly.

–If you want to give content notes about elements in something you are recommending, for example, if you enjoyed Swamplandia! but want people to know that it gets rapey before they pick it up (soooooooooo rapey), it would be appreciated by many readers. I feel like a lot of people are doing this anyway and do this here in general.

–If you are reading the thread, please know before you go in:

a) This was not the rule or request from the beginning, and my post + 177 192 comments and counting are already through the net.

b) So if something caught your eye and you want to read it but you have known triggers or stuff you are trying to avoid, ask the person who recommended it directly and/or do a little due diligence on Goodreads, etc. before picking it up. Script: “That sounds neat. I’m trying to avoid stuff with x and y. Am I likely to encounter it?”  I really, really don’t want to trick you into reading stuff that will harm you.

Even if we’d done this right from the start, people might warn for all kinds of stuff and still miss the thing that would bother or trigger you.  So ask or do as @staranise recommends: GooBingle “title” + “sexist”, & etc. or “title” + “problematic” as a failsafe, because even the most conscientious of rec’rs won’t catch everything.

c) CAVEAT EMPTOR. These are not necessarily “safe” books on any level. Many of mine have murder & really chilling portrayals of sociopaths in them. (& bonus historical inaccuracies!)  Before you go in the thread, before you read anything that anyone here has recommended, know that these books are not being screened for anything but “some stranger on the internet really liked it.

Against all odds, I am still trying to avoid conversations like this:

Poster A:I cannot wait for Dr. Who to start back up!”

Poster B:I loved it until (yep, totally problematic) thing…” or “Here are all the (legitimate!) ways that Stephen Moffat is doing it wrong…..

…as the call-and-response here.

:quietly checks BBC schedule for any announcements re: Sherlock Season 3:

I think critical engagement with media is vitally important, and it’s not the general policy of the blog (in other threads, discuss problematic shit away, we do it all the time) to gloss it over. Also, I believe that the forums, when they are fully operational, will have areas specifically devoted this kind of analysis.

But for purposes of this particular thread on this particular day, I want to know what people enthusiastically love, even if it has problematic elements, even if it is not literary or cool or critically acclaimed. lf you are like “I really love Flowers In the Attic” I will say “Cool, did you see this interview with the editor who acquired it? Because it is fascinating, and knowing that she was physically immobile makes the claustrophobia and isolation of the characters much more interesting. Also, how weird is it that all of our moms were reading it at the same time?

There are legitimate reasons to avoid certain works beyond subjectively not liking them, and it is a privileged position to equate the two and gloss over “isms.” After taking a Twitter break (thanks to people looking out for me who said ‘stop being an ass’!) I see why people were upset and how I was equating the two things incorrectly.  However, today, in this thread, I am okay with a potentially “bad” book getting through the net. It is okay if you don’t like something and just quietly go on not liking it. It is okay if you quietly lower your opinion of someone based on their taste without engaging.

So what do you love? That’s where I wanted to hang out today. Can we still do it?


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