off topic open thread

Open Thread to boycott the inauguration and talk about anything but Trump

Not Donald Trump

If you’re sick of talking about That Man, talk about anything other than him here. And enjoy the weirdest pic I could rustle up on short notice.

154 replies on “Open Thread to boycott the inauguration and talk about anything but Trump”

Thank you for the advice of reading and watching translated media and comparing them to the raws, it’s a really enjoyable exercise in trying to understand Japanese on the fly.
Thank you for the encouragement in math :). As far as Rosetta stone, I’m using Anki as a freeware replacement. Yeah some of the custom decks for core 2k/6k don’t have pictures, but they do have the kanji, verbal/written pronunciation and example sentences in both english and Japanese.
I hope that the survivors can get the help they need.
That sounds like a very stressed relationship. Congratulation on being more confident in your decision making.

I made a knit stitch two days ago.

Some of you may remember Ravelry. It’s a textile arts website. I’ve wanted to learn to knit for years now; at this point, it’s more about proving to myself that I *can* learn how. I started a thread in the Techniques subforum, asking people to explain what is actually supposed to happen to the yarn when a knitter knits.

Long story short, the commenters were able to explain it well enough that the instructions in the multiple knitting books were now comprehensible. I had my cast on stitches, tried to do what the instructions said – and there was a recognizable knit stitch. It was like doing a card trick and having it work.

I’m going to do some more rows, take a picture and post it to the thread so they can see how much help they provided.

Amusingly, one of the commenters was politely skeptical of my request – the idea of someone having to understand the stitch in order to do it baffled her. Why not just follow the instructions and see what happens? Well, if I could do that, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Not sure if it’s going to get easy enough for me to want to do it, but it’s definitely a good feeling to know that I’ve accomplished this.

I’m trying to apply a process to the troll dissections. Yor will be the first one to test it. Then society gets to shred it.

It’s distilled out of five years of anger and more from two schisms (atheist/skeptic, Ponychan), experiences as a substitute teacher, and that general anti-science/anti-evolution arguing hobby. It’s what I do to burn off the hate. Focus it at behaviors and generalized things that would work on me too.

It’s so ugly right now though!
Little sterile symbols in PowerPoint that maximize concepts and relationships. It needs refining and made more approachable. I’m folding in affordances and trying for something that looks like general simple conflict strategies, dispositions, tactics, location and use of feeling, specificity and literality as it applies to insulting characterizations…

The thing makes me think about our social processes as being copies of the physical one made by evolution.

The other slides establish relationships and outline the flow of a conflict on a blog in a temporal/numerical fashion. I am rough drafting symbols for:
*Direct/Indirect content (Is the characterization follow-able as a symbol? Are people actually identifiable? Is text actually quoted and referred to?)
*Explicit/Implicit content (Intensity and proximity related)
*Overt/Covert content (the components of reputation that can reasonably be identified).
*And a positive/negative, +/- general category for analysis of new patterns

It’s gotta play like a cartoon/game but still advantage people that need advantaging. The best learning works that way. I feel like I’m “preening”.

@Handsome Jack

It’s primarily muscle memory – on top of regular memory – so yeah you could call that “instinct” in a way. You need to know the operation of the game inside and out, and you need your fingers to perform many of the inputs faster and more consistently than you’re able to intentionally think about them. For example, there’s a jump that I probably practiced at least 100 times before I started to *feel* when to make the jump rather than *think* about it, and was able to hit it more than 50% of the time.

I have seen one of the top SMW players beat it while literally blindfolded, so what you’ve heard isn’t an exaggeration, though I know I’ll never get to that level. I practice most days, but my threshold for practice tops out at about 30-60 minutes at a time, where top speedrunners can be at it 3-4+ hours per day.

@Robert Walker-Smith
I remember you asking about that and the answer you got here actually helped me understand and I feel like I might be able to try it. By the way, I’m the same way with needing to understand the end product to follow the instructions. I have to know the why behind what I’m doing or it all becomes a jumbled mess in my mind. Drove my math teachers crazy with all my questions about what the end goal was before I could figure out how to do the math. Anyway, glad it worked out for you. Also, I think I saw you in the comments section of a Cracked article on FB. 🙂

I have to ask the source for that shark image. Is it from a live action version of Gyo?

I don’t recall who took it, but the picture is from the back halls of a natural history museum. A photographer was wandering around back there one day and found this stuffed shark in the hallway and snapped a photo. It found some brief internet fame when someone posted it on Twitter as a picture of a live shark swimming through the subway in New York during that big storm a few years back.

Also, I made a nice comforting mushroom soup for dinner tonight, and I wish I could share it with everyone here who needs comforting. Here’s the recipe:

Combine 3 tablespoons butter, 5 tablespoons flour, 12 oz of mixed mushrooms and 1 chopped shallot in a large saucepan. Saute on med-high heat until the mushrooms are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. This is going to seem challenging because the flour will make everything sticky, but endure.

Add 1 cup chicken broth and a generous shake of pepper and bring to a boil. Add another cup of broth and bring back to a boil, boiling about 5 minutes until the soup thickens. Add 1 more cup and boil for about 5 more minutes. Salt to taste. Remove from heat, add 1 cup half-and-half or cream, then eat immediately.

What “kinds of minecraft players” are there?

I get why I want to build glass tunnels in the nether. I get to make and analyze pretty things while observing the behavior of predators. Ghasts can’t see you through glass, but as you see them move and react to glimpses of you learn when to snipe and then then do another row, or three on occasion. I have a wonderful field full of impact craters that looks neat out the window. (I like lime green panes and black panes.

The rest of the time I like to make farms, grinders, long railroads…
I’m practicing finishing and detailing projects now. 3×3 doors are fun. My wife will soon convince me to finally do creative mode.

I’ve been enjoying b movies that I didn’t know before during the last few days. 🙂 I’m also planning on training, so that I can go on a holiday trip next summer with this:

Last year (2016) I made a cycling trip throughout several countries with a ”normal” bike and it was great fun, interacting with so many people in other countries, who were so helpful when I asked them for directions or anything as they went out of their way in explaining things and helping me out! Great memories.

I’ve recently visited a Jean Tinguely exhibition, was great!

….there’re still many good things out there.

@Robert Walker-Smith

Welcome to the knitting community! I’ve been getting back into it recently, and have just completed a pink hat for [event deleted given thread topic].

Interestingly, both my mum and I are left-handed but both knit right-handed, because we both learned how to from her right-handed mum.

@Policy of Madness

That sounds scrummy, although as a vegetarian I’ll take your leave to substitute vegetable stock.

Quick question: what is half-and-half? I’ve always assumed it’s what Brits call semi-skimmed milk, but if it’s interchangeable with cream (as in the recipe above), I’ve got that wrong. Can any bicultural person translate?



It’s just milk and cream mixed together.


Thanks for all your replies. I can’t write a longer comment right now, but I will tomorrow.

@Fishy Goat: Thank you for mentioning that, I’m going to watch it 🙂

@Imaginary Petal: I wish you strength/the best. I can’t imagine what it’s like talking about such a thing for the first time.

Half-and-half is just half milk and half cream. It’s a substitute for cream when you don’t want/need the extreme heaviness of pure cream.

What’s inside of a Ghast?

It’s just milk and cream mixed together.

Ghasts are now balloons of milk and cream in my head-canon.

So, I already mentioned building Gundam models earlier but something more personal had been happening in the past few months. I made a friend, let’s call her Cee, and she has gone through so, so much. She needed some rndometriosis surgery and it came with complications, including and not limited to: Several ovarian cysts, needing to take hormone pills, several times she’s had pain bad enough to knock her out, and she also has an addiction due to needing painkillers in the hospital, and those aren’t helping much anymore. Additionally she can’t seem to get admitted so she just keeps going in and out of the ER. On top of all this, the pressures of school remain (although she’s taking classes online and has done a lot of work), and she’s had multiple breakups, including with her long-term boyfriend. She hasn’t been single in years and has asked several people out, and even dated me for a bit. Either the other person said no or it just didn’t work out, and she feels very lonely because of all this. Can people keep her in their thoughts please?

I decided it’s past 5pm over on in DC so I’m now enjoying some wine. I decided to skip the edx class today and am watching a bunch of old DVDs while solving bioinformatics problems. That’s a normal way to unwind, right? I also baked bread. 🙂

I like to wander around until I find a location that inspires me to build. I have an idea to make a mine track going through a glass tunnel in the water, but haven’t tried it yet. Not sure where it would go to or from. It’s just that I had a dream once where I rode in a capsule along a track that went into a glass tube through the water and always thought it would be neat to build that in minecraft. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

@Imaginary Petal: Thank you for sharing.

@PoM: Was there a big storm that flooded a New York subway, or was it when Union flooded?

(I would believe either, because these are different pictures than the one David used in the post. I think it’s pretty funny that ‘this place is flooded, put sharks in it!!!’ is a common idea, haha.)

That was a heck of a day, I did not realise how many people the subway moved until they were all walking on the street. It is a lot!

Fun fact: The name ‘Union Station’ in Toronto is the first ‘union station’. (Though I can’t find a link to back me up on this right now.)

re: Knitting: The site that I was going to recommend doesn’t seem to exist anymore! They had a lot of videos, that’s unfortunate. But there’s also this video with knitting in slow motion that I liked:

Today I’ve been studiously reading all the news that isn’t about the US.

The avalanche in Italy that seems to have killed 20-40 skiers is making waves. They are finding some survivors, but still awful.

The fire in Tehran that killed 20-40 firefighters is not so much in the news. I only learned about it because of an Iranian friend who posted in farsi with a moving picture of a firefighter bawling his eyes out (Facebook’s translation was completely illegible). I had to scrounge around the AJE website to find it:

In Gambia, the outgoing president is finished. The army chief has pledged support to the new president and told his troops to “welcome [ECOWAS forces who are invading] with a cup of tea.” Looks like civil war is averted. The old president seems not to realize it’s over, so he might actually be arrested and tried rather than getting a cushy exile.

2016 is the warmest year ever in the analysis of most data sets, beating out 2015 by about 0.1 degrees C. 2016 was an El Nino year, but that only provided about 0.1 degrees C of warming… which means that without El Nino, 2016 would still be tied for warmest.

IP and Scildfreja, just wanted to send some more well-wishes – and my heartfelt admiration for your integrity and all-round good-peopleness despite dealing with shit nobody should ever, ever have to.

Nettle soup is delicious!

Fresh nettle is pretty obnoxious stuff, but cooked or dried it becomes food. Nettle tea is quite relaxing.

I first had nettles at a fancyish restaurant in Chicago once and never forgot about it. Next time was years later, when we harvested a pot on the roof out back that had gone to weed — a nettle had taken up residence where a tomato plant used to live; we found a recipe and made it, and it was wonderful.

After that, my girlfriend went a bit nuts on nettles, picking them whenever she found them and making many delicious meals. Then one day she served up basically just nettles with nettles. That was a bit much.

I’m sure we’ll get back into the swing of things when it’s the season again (and when/if she moves back down here; not many nettles in Iqaluit).

Oh, lol, didn’t even see that IP had already answered that. Didn’t mean to just ignore that the question was answered.

eta: For some reason I thought that one cooked the prickly flowerhead part of the nettle, but the internets tell me it’s the leaves that one eats. I’ll have to remember this the next time a nettle springs up in the garden.

@Fishy Goat:

That is the only GIF I’ll ever need now…

Anyway, I decided to watch the first three episodes of Portlandia’s new season despite some hesitation – I really didn’t like the previous season – and found myself actually enjoying it. Helps that they’ve replaced the obnoxiously caricatured feminist bookstore owners with MRAs who take themselves too seriously while no one else does…

Underwater construction is fun. I let my home base and various “colonies” determine my routes. For the fun of it I’m testing a hypothesis about tunnel and resource concentration at the bottom if deep ocean biomes. I prepare little “mining colony boxes” with construction equipment and supplies.

I Did a glass tunnel from a nether gate to an underwater monument and tunneled in through the leg. I tried alternating red and blue blocks but I don’t see purple.

PoM: You eat the leaves and young stems. Use gloves to handle them, even to chop them, and it all comes out fine. Use your bare hands and it’s … unpleasant.

I made an underwater atrium once. That was fun. Endermen loved to come steal dirt from it for some reason.


Nettles taste sort of like a blend of spinach and mixed herbs. At least when boiled as a soup.

My nettle leaves came in bags with various twigs mixed in, so I had to strain the actual nettles out from the soup. Other than nettles, the soup contained fried shallots, butter, vegetable stock, cream, flour, fennel seeds, soft boiled egg halves, chives, and roasted onions. It was good, but I think I put too much nettle in. It came out with a very strong flavor. Together with the egg it was great, but by itself it was somewhat overwhelming. I will make some tweaks next time.


Helps that they’ve replaced the obnoxiously caricatured feminist bookstore owners

The bookstore in question threw them out over that, in fact. They are real, and they really are radical feminists, and they really are very, very angry at the way they were portrayed.

My Minecraft style is creating ridiculously time/resource consuming and ultimately pointless projects. For example, I’ve tried to recreate a pokémon map on an artificial 400×400 dirt platform in the middle of the ocean. I’ve also built a skyrail about 8000 blocks long, lined with every different type of block in the game (including beacons), and supported by intricate but pointless columns every 100 blocks. I made a nether tunnel out of packed ice, hay bales and paintings. A very long bridge made entirely from obsidian. A long time ago I recreated level 1-1 from Super Mario Bros, as pixel art. Oh, and I built the Brooklyn Bridge leading to pretty much nowhere.

wwth – re: weight loss surgery, let me suggest some reading on a currently inactive blog archive called Junkfood Science.
Particularly her Bariatric Series which can be found about a third of the way down in the right sidebar. The author is a nurse with a degree in statistics. The link is to a page that will start you off.

Years ago, I was allowed to join an online discussion group* called “ossg gone wrong” (as a lurker only; I wanted info because a friend was getting wls and active participation was limited to people who experienced wls and its side-effects and complications.) Common side-effects include ulcers, acid reflux, IBD, Ulcerative Colitis, malnutrition, severe anemia, intestinal blockages, inability to eat certain (or sometimes any) solid foods and the list goes on.

A friend of mine and her mother had the surgery done and were lucky; none of the nastier side-effects, just not much lasting weight loss. My friend lost about 60 lbs. and has gained back most of it. This is not uncommon, from what I have seen and read.

Her mom lost about the same and has kept it off, but has an iffy appetite because of all the foods she can no longer eat and has a hard time keeping herself nourished because she dislikes protein shakes, which are AFAICT required for wls patients. This has caused her untold problems; weakness, which caused a couple of falls, one of which resulted in a broken ankle, repaired with a pin that got infected and never healed properly resulting in a two month stay in a convalescent hospital to get the infection under control (read: make sure she eats properly.) All of her doctors have cited her malnutrition as causative/contributing factors. None of them go so far as to say wls was a bad idea, though.

*it went defunct a couple of years ago, the stories made my hair stand on end regularly.

Sorry for the turquoise elk, this is a bugbear with me, so seek out other opinions, too.

Many hugs to all of you, I’ve also found it helpful to process by sharing my experiences. Keeping those feelings inside can cause them to eat away at you.

Funny, my first minecraft building project was an underwater one as well. I didn’t get endermen bothering me but squid would often try to swim in and get stuck. Best thing I made was a castle in the sky with a railcart going across the tree tops of the jungle. This was on a regular map which happened to have a giant cave with underground waterfalls, really cool.

I’ve been playing the virtual ports of the original Pokemon games. Apparently you can transfer Pokemon from those virtual console ports to the Pokebank, so I’ve been using glitches to get a shitload of Mews and other legendaries for whenever the Pokebank is opening up for Sun and Moon.

Thanks, Hambeast!

I’ll definitely look through it later. My brother is so picky about what foods he eats and I don’t see any attempts to force him to eat foods he doesn’t like being successful. So malnutrition is a worry for me.

I’m really disturbed that a doctor is pushing surgery before he’s even tried food journaling. I suspect his portions are bigger than he thinks they are and we should work harder with him on portion control before resorting to a drastic surgery.

Laugher at Bigots, Mincing Betaboy | January 20, 2017 at 7:37 pm
Minecraft is awesome! I play on a heavily modded version, and I like to build machines with my mods. Lately, I have been building a railroad network with remote junction switching.

Yay another mod player! *high five*

I’m trying to find a good pack that balances magic and tech evenly, but so far I haven’t found anything that’s like “Yes! Perfect!” I’ve found that Unabridged is alright, but there was one that I tried called Mech & Magic that only had Botania and that was it for the magic mods.

Though it did have Cooking for Blockheads, which I like, and it also had Nomadic Tents, which is like hella awesome pocket dimensions. It also had a mod that allows you to breed chickens to get resources like diamonds and ores, which is cool, but it seems like a lot more work than say Magical Crops, which can easily get into hella OP territory very quickly. (Especially when you automate that shit. I love using Thaumcraft golems to plant the crops, and then using alchemical chests and item grabbers to just suck it in for harvesting. Then I set up a system that transfers the essences into a main storage for when I need to use them.)

The only tech mods I’m decent with are Mekanism and a teeny bit of Forestry, but I’m super good with Thaumcraft and Witchery, and I’m alright with Ars Magica and Botania, so I wanna find a modpack that has at least three of those four and stuff like Mekanism and Random Things.

Unfortunately, that means that the modpack would have to be HELLA HUGE.

Part of me wants our Kirby friend to bring back the server, and part of me is like “I don’t have time for that shit while working two jobs.”


I have had weight loss surgery (wls) twice, no complications, so if you want to talk to an actual “loser” (yes, we often refer to ourselves as that in the wls community I am part of) let me know – we can set up some kind of chat or something. Happy to answer any questions you might have.

I want to say though that while complications happen and some of them can be horrific, if all you read about is that then you would soon form the opinion that it’s definitely not worth the risk. It’s always a highly individual decision though and depends on many factors. So be aware of the potential risks but don’t let them blind you to the possible benefits. Ultimately, your brother has to make his own decisions. Wls is not an easy or a quick solution and requires a lot of further work by the patient post-surgery. Having the determination to make changes is the most important factor in success – the surgery just provides one with a better tool than dieting alone (which, by the way, doesn’t work long term for most people).

WWTH: Bariatric surgery is considered pretty much a last-resort thing in Canada, after habit changes have been attempted. No journaling?!? That’s really odd. Definitely get a second opinion.

(I’m not a registered dietician, I just love one. And she hasn’t weighed in on this.)

I miss mods. Orespawn and thaumcraft are great. I had a modpack with about 100 including those and railcraft. Ultimate destruction? Total destruction?

My wife and I have a world on the Xbox one.


I seem to remember something strange with Endermen underwater too.

@Imaginary Petal
Don’t they all get pointless though? I think those kinds of projects are neat. I keep wanting to do a sonic rainboom but I’m not organized enough. Yet.

Ultimately, your brother has to make his own decisions. Wls is not an easy or a quick solution and requires a lot of further work by the patient post-surgery. Having the determination to make changes is the most important factor in success

That’s the thing. He’s disabled and it’s going to be my parents making the ultimate decision. He lives on his own though and I don’t think he will be willing and able to follow the after care program without constant monitoring. He’s very proud of the independence he does have. Moving out of dad’s place was a goal that he worked on for many years. He wants very much wants to be “normal” and having to move back home and have his eating monitored would severely reduce his quality of life.

Bariatric surgery is considered pretty much a last-resort thing in Canada, after habit changes have been attempted. No journaling?!? That’s really odd. Definitely get a second opinion.

That’s why I’m side eying this so hard. He does work out but other than not buying sweets, there’s been no attempt at dieting really. The exercise is already helping with his health. He just hasn’t lost weight and that seems to be all anyone cares about. He has trouble with portion control and his diet has a lot of carbs and red meat so there are things to be tried before resorting to surgery. I haven’t met his doctor, but given how quickly he’s jumping to recommending surgery, I have to wonder if he just sees my brother as a disabled and fat inferior and not a human being whose life matters.

So far my dad just seems to think weight loss surgery is some sort of simple magic bullet. He’s been skinny all his life and I don’t think he knows anything about how fat people tend to get substandard medical care and doesn’t quite realize how much society would rather someone be skinny no matter the cost than be fat. My dad means well but he’s a bit of a mansplainer. Or at least he is with me. They’re checking his thyroid first and he actually started telling me what an endocrine system was. Like I didn’t learn that in middle school science. I fear he won’t listen to my concerns, but I do think I could have more success with my mom.

Scildfreja: I already lost enough sleep to Skylines because of you. I’ve learned my lesson: no more!

(I beat the second stock scenario last night without losing too many citizens when the dam blows, and building a beautiful city to replace the sunken town.)

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