Chatterday! Open Thread.

candy canes made of soap, standing in a cup, along with a cupful of spiral soap lollipops in various coloursThis is our weekly Chatterday! open thread. Use this open thread to talk amongst yourselves: feel free to share a link, have a vent, or spread some joy.

What have you been reading or watching lately (remembering spoiler warnings)? What are you proud of this week? What’s made your teeth itch? What’s going on in your part of the world? Feel free to add your own images. (Anna insists that these should only be of ponies, but I insist that very small primates, camelids, critters from the weasel family, smooching giraffes, and cupcakes are also acceptable.) Just whack in a bare link to a webpage, please – admin needs to deal with the HTML code side of things.

Today’s chatterday backcloth of Soapy Candy Canes comes via The Soap Queen. She has a recipe, with photo instructions, for making these little soapy canes out of melt and pour soap base. (Check out the rest of the blog; there is some amazing melt n pour soapcrafting on there!)

12 thoughts on “Chatterday! Open Thread.

  1. OK, I want to tell about a book I read this week. It’s called The Professor and the Madman, and written by Simon Winchester. It’s a (supposedly) historically accurate recounting of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. (I say supposedly, because the narrative contained a lot of colouring that must spring from the author’s own invention.)

    The gist of the book is this: when the Oxford English Dictionary was first compiled, lots of volunteer helpers were needed to provide literary quotations for each word. One of the most valuable members of the volunteer team, Dr. Minor, later on turned out to have schizophrenia. He had in fact killed someone while completely delusional, and was housed in an institution. Even though he constantly suffered from paranoia and mood swings, he was able to do a lot of invaluable work towards completing the dictionary.

    The plot sounds kind of interesting, but I don’t recommend reading the book. I was angered by the way Dr. Minor’s illness was treated: it was highly sensationalized, and all kinds of details that did not have anything to do with the dictionary compilation were disclosed, often in a very dramatic way. I’m not going into the details here, because some of them are kind of harsh (and I don’t want to sensationalize Dr. Minor’s story in the same way the book does). I also thought I detected some misogynistic undertones in the narrative, although I may be hyper-sensitive to those.

    All in all, reading this book was time poorly spent. I did learn a lot about the making of OED, but I wish I didn’t learn quite so much personal detail about someone’s illness, told in such a derogatory way. What perhaps angered me the most was the way the narrative claimed to be honouring dr. Minor: “See, he was USEFUL to a grand literary project, although he had schizophrenia!” Well, sure. Lots of people with schizophrenia have not only advanced wonderful projects, but completed them single-handedly. Is that really such a dramatic disclosure, I wonder? (And is it the sole reason we should honour someone and grant them dignity – that they were considered “useful”?)

  2. I just knitted a potholder from yarn I spun myself. It is a funky shape and wonky in spots because of variable yarn thickness, but the only thing I did not do was shear the sheep and process the fleece. It’s mine and I <3 it.

  3. Ok I am somewhat cheesed off right now and here is the reason why. I think I could use some feedback here.

    Last night I read a post on a relatively popular website, which contained several questionable claims about two chronic pain conditions, one of which I have, and omitted at least one caveat about general health. The name of one doctor in particular was dropped. So I looked up the doctor online.
    Welp. The doctors name comes up a lot, mostly in relation to zie’s own websites, but also on some support sites, where I could find mostly praise. But the doctors main websites made some even more questionable claims, which to me smell *really* fishy… Things like, 100% success rates, 100% symptom free, (my understanding is that it’s very rare to see success rates like that with these pain conditions,) not disclosing exactly what the treatments involve the way peer reviewed research does (I’m going to look if this doctor has any peer reviewed research later today but so far I didn’t see any,) being very strict about sticking to zie’s guidelines or else it won’t work, the doctor’s website said that if you don’t have anything nice to say about the doctor don’t say anything at all, and also zie does not have a medical degree. It’s all alternative practice.


    Okay now clearly this dr has helped others. And I’ve had some success with alternative meds in conjunction with Western meds. Definitely not 100% better.
    But I’m really disturbed by the fishy smelling parts…
    And like… This would probably all fit in real well as part of my weekly blog link round up… Except that like this doctor mostly focuses on the chronic condition I *don’t* have. The popular website mentined 2, the doctors website talks about just 1 condition. So I’m like… Is it still my business to bring it up at all or should I let it go? I’m pretty sure if I speak the doctors name aloud, it will come back to me later. Might not be safe to criticize. Which is why I didn’t use specifics here about the name or conditions. But I want to so bad…

  4. @Brilla:

    I read that book a few years ago, and I was super disappointed. I think it could be a really interesting story, but the writing was not so great. I’d be interested in reading a better written, more sensitive account though, since I am a huuuuge OED fan.

    Those soaps look incredible. I’m afraid I would eat them if they were in my house, though.

    Merry Christmas to the Christians! And Happy Day to everyone else. 🙂

  5. Go me, I’ve managed to become sick on Christmas. Luckily though I’m not seeing my family this year so I won’t be getting them sick and I won’t feel bad about having to stay behind, leaving them to worry about me during their festivities.

    On the other hand, I really miss them and wish I could have visited this year. But I can’t travel such distances during the winter.

  6. I am pretty overloaded and had a bad meltdown this afternoon. I can’t really cope with all that christmas stuff, and our ward is over-decorated to compensate for the fact that it’s a mental ward with currently a pretty depressing atmosphere. Past the age when I was allowed to play with my parents’ christmas tree decorations, I never saw the point of decorating anyway.

    The other pretty upsetting part about today is that I found out yesterday that the blind are finally covered as a separate category under our long-term, residential care system, but the description of the care they are supposed to get (I myself fall under mental health), is totally dismissive and off base. I have written about it on my blog at, but it is very long so if you’re not interested don’t bother to read. It was especially hurtful to find the bureaucrats describe blind people with severe “behavioral problems”, who are eligible for the most intensive support, as essentially independent if they’re kicked in the arse by their staff all the time, without any acknowledgement to the fact that many people who would fall into this category, are actually easily overstimulated and this is the cause of their “behavior problems”.

  7. We.



    A dusting, but it’s the white stuff! Long gone now, of course.

    This has been a rotten rotten week painwise for me. I saw my urologist on Monday and asked him for pain medication to get me to my appointment with Dr Ego next Thursday. Told him everything. He wrote the script. Insurance said no, doctor’s office said no, and I screamed at people for two days. I’m seeing Dr. Ego on Monday as a walk-in, but if I’m in pain, I’m raising a fuss about how uncomfortable the waiting room is. If this is the dosage of pain medication “best for my body” why doesn’t it work? “Don’t yell at me.”

    I would be in the ER if I followed the directions. The pain is horrible. I wake up and go to sleep in pain, no matter what I do.

    I’m on a “baseline” painkiller that I take daily. I used to be on the patch – it worked. This has shown no signs of working. And I hurt. A lot.

    But! Our deviled eggs froze last night. In the fridge. And the cinnamon rolls? Rock hard. But the mashed potatoes aren’t bad. Yet.

    And I’ll be seeing a new Bollywood movie soon – this is the biggest showing I’ve seen all year – the 23rd to the 29th, 3 shows a day! And it’s supposed to be really funny!

    Finally, I got Mikey a Snuggie. Yes, I did. He looked ridiculous, but we were all praising him so he was happy. And his butt was covered, not in my face.

    Finally finally, we watched old Family Feud episodes this morning (sis at dad’s – she forgot my presents from him) and Richard Dawson kissed all the women. Multiple times. And this was okay!

    I have the Madmen and the Professor, and I was squicked out by the description of the “girls” when Dr. Minor was living in Sri Lanka (I think?). But they painted both men as a bit off.

  8. K, I’m not sure about that situation at all. Maybe talking generally about how it’s basically impossible to have a 100% success rate? (I generally refer to doctors by pseudonyms, like Doctor Fail. How about Doctor Misrepresents Things?)

    Astrid, I’m gonna read your post tomorrow. My brain, she is full of pumpkin lasagna right now. *crosses fingers that pumpkin lasagna turns out okay*

    Brilla, do you think you’d be up to writing a review of the book for FWD? Email me if you’re up to it! I’m always eager to post other people’s book reviews, because I’m *lazy*.

  9. In good news, we have a holiday tradition. My sister and I put things in a “time capsule” that represent the last year and are packed away when we finally put the Christmas stuff away.

    This year, I put one of those pieces of paper from Netflix with your address on it because it advertised the release date of a Bollywood movie. Netflix has been huge this year – watching bad movies without having to buy them.

    My mom has no idea why they started it (I have 21, so obviously I didn’t pick the first few!) but we can’t, like, stop.

  10. Argh. I just had this semi-regular almost-fight with my mom.

    First, I wondered if I should take my pain meds. Because I’m in pain. But if I take them now, what about Saturday and Sunday?

    I told her my plan for Dr. Ego’s office on Monday – kick up a fuss. Dr. Ego is *known* as a “female” pain specialist, and they have no fainting couches for those of us that cannot sit up right for long periods of time? (One time I stayed out in the truck, as reclined as possible, waiting for my mom to text me.)

    She said they’d do nothing, they wouldn’t put me in an exam room earlier (true) and I said I’d lay down on the floor. She said she wouldn’t come in. I started crying. I have to confront him and I don’t like him.

    “So have you talked to insurance helper?”

    “I have to change doctors in TWO YEARS, Mom. I can’t right now. I don’t like him, but he believes me.”

  11. Kaitlyn:

    “I have the Madmen and the Professor, and I was squicked out by the description of the “girls” when Dr. Minor was living in Sri Lanka (I think?).”

    Yes, it was Sri Lanka. And yes, it was the first passage that made my misogyny alarm beep. I’m still not sure if that description was written in earnest, it seemed to be so off.


    I’ll try to write a review for you! I’ll e-mail you if I get it done. Thanks for asking me. 🙂

  12. That passage and some of the ones describing the schizophrenia seemed out of tone with the rest of the book.

    My Christmas day started with bad sleep and ended with bad sleep.

    My poor stomach – last night’s dinner? COME ON! The girl in the 5 dollar pajamas has to put up with one dollar bad food? COME ON!

    And after the first round, my mom said I couldn’t go back to school, because… no one else barfs? What?

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