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June 29, 2004

Posted by Teresa at 01:15 PM *

We have always been moving. We will never do anything else. The remaining stuff that’s yet to be moved will keep expanding to fill an infinite number of boxes, an unending succession of U-Haul trucks. Only we will change, gradually growing older and more battered and decrepit, until finally we’re used up entirely. When this happens we’ll be propped up in front of the yard railing, on offer to any passers-by who think they have some use for our remains.

Comments on Grind:
#1 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 01:48 PM:

Entropy always wins.

#2 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 02:07 PM:

Oh, you too?

I'm not moving again, ever. I have matches and lighter fluid. I hate shopping, but I can shop for new stuff. It's tempting.

Except for (list deleted to conserve server space. It's a long list.).

Then again, maybe I should just move when the time comes. That exception list is pretty long.

#3 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 02:31 PM:

Cattle die, kinsmen die
all things come in time to die;
kingdoms, mountains, mighty oceans,
even moving lasts not forever.

Shetland ponies, open boat
North Atlantic; not doing that.
Comfort have I taken
from like of that thought.

#4 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 02:41 PM:

I'm sorry to hear that you are stuck in Zeno's Move. However, I'm sure that the unending parade of mathematicians coming by to observe the phenomenon will be glad to lend a hand (or two), ensuring their place in this historic event :-)

#5 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 02:43 PM:

Perhaps Godot will stop by and move those last few boxes.

Inside one of them, I expect you may or may not find a cat.

#6 ::: Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 02:44 PM:

When I die and go to hell, hell will be an infinite number of boxes to be carried up three flights of stairs, with the promise that after I take the last one up, I can unpack and settle in.

I like unpacking. Given my slovenly habits, it's rather like Christmas. I never know what will be in the next box.

#7 ::: Travis J I Corcoran ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 02:55 PM:

Picture arms, handing boxes out of the back of a rental truck, Forever.

#8 ::: Sara ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 03:08 PM:

When I get to the grind zone, I swear that next time I will hire movers but I have never hired movers because I convince myself that they are too expensive.

The year I left college, I packed all my years' accumulation of assorted goods into crates, trunks, boxes, and duffels. My ride was late by 12 hours and by the time he arrived I had thrown away all but one suitcase of essentials. The idea of dragging all that stuff in and out of cars and apartments overwhelmed me.

#9 ::: Sara ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 03:10 PM:

I send my blessings to counteract the curse of infinite moving.


#10 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 03:25 PM:

You poor dears. It really is a foretaste of purgatory.

If you have to clean the old place, hire cleaners. It is more than worth every cent. Really.


#11 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 03:27 PM:

Well, now I feel particularly bad about having left the Park Slope area the day before the Great House Move started. I would've come to help.

Still, someday it will be done. And then you will look around your new home and decide that you actually rather like the cartons in which you've packed everything. Or, at least, they make good coffee tables, chairs, footstools, and TV stands. Unpacking is overrated.

#12 ::: Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 04:10 PM:

Kipple-ranching is a hard life. May the light at the end of the tunnel creep up faster than you expect!

#13 ::: sean bosker ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 04:11 PM:

I wish I were still helping you. Jim, Patrick, and Teresa are the only people in the world who can make moving a fun time. I had a blast on Sunday! I'm sorry you're still in the weeds. You will break free!

#14 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 04:17 PM:

Suzanne is right. The real fun of moving is finding still-packed boxes from your last move, and thinking, "How convenient!" Or: "So that's where Grandma's Monstrosity went. Fancy!"

#15 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 04:32 PM:

"We have always been moving. We will never do anything else."

I think it's time your chocolate ration was increased.

#16 ::: Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 04:42 PM:

I thought the proper tense was "wioll haven be"..?

(I can never get over how when you've boxed up everything and gotten all the furniture out there's still, like, a box or a box-and-a-half of kipple and crap drifted in the corners and flopping out from where it had been nesting under the couch all this time where the broom and the vacuum cleaner and the cats somehow never found it.)

#17 ::: Michelle Sagara ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 04:47 PM:

I had one of those. Endless move. Years later, boxes still taped shut, and me with no idea what's actually in them. I don't know if you have cats (I don't), but I had a three year old who cried for three months after we'd finished because he wanted to go home now.

Boy, this is sure bringing up those nostalgic, happy memories <wry g>.

I'd agree with whoever it was upstream who said that chocolate would be good, about now. Unless you're prone to migraines, in which case it might be extremely bad, about now <rueful g>.

#18 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 04:49 PM:

John, chocolate seems tame at this point. Single malt, in large glasses, with only a little water to take the edge off...

#19 ::: PZ Myers ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 05:20 PM:

In my history, we have moved from Seattle to Indiana to Seattle to Oregon to Utah to Pennsylvania to Minnesota, with a number of local moves in between. One of the virtues of making multiple grand cross-country moves is that you learn that the first thing to find is a large dumpster. A couple of truckloads go there, first, and then you load up the bare essentials for traveling, and finally, you use shovels to deposit everything left behind in the dumpster as well.

It's also a good idea, in my case, to find a used bookstore that will take the small accumulated mountain of books that I am sadly abandoning.

But now I have tenure and I hope I never ever have to move again. The weird thing about that is that I realize this may be the house I someday drop dead in...

#20 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 05:25 PM:

Quite right, John, just the antidote for the Dementors of moving.

Eat this. It'll help. -- Professor Lupin

#21 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 05:29 PM:

Moving is TEH SUCK.

What's worse? Moving the week before Christmas.

Don't try that one. Trust me.

But it will end! Swear!

#22 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 05:41 PM:

Leigh: Ye gods...isn't that proof of a deranged mind (or a deranged God)?

#23 ::: Jonah ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 06:02 PM:

"I don't know if you have cats (I don't), but I had a three year old who cried for three months after we'd finished because he wanted to go home now."

3-year-olds can be surprisingly resistant to change. When my little brother was 3, our family moved from Desplains, IL (a suburb of Chicago) to Evanston, IL (another suburb of Chicago). My brother was furious. For approximately the next 10 years, he referred to the house in Desplains as "our real house".

One day, a few months after the move, he was nowhere to be found. One of my parents eventually found him several blocks away, walking determinedly away from our new house. He was trying to walk home. Compared to a 3-year-old, cats are easy.

(My Dad has a similar, though less extreme, story about me. He tells me that when I was 3, he rearanged the living room furniture. I indignantly told him to stop joking around, and put everything back where it was supposed to go. I think I vaguely remember this, though I may just remember my Dad telling me the story.)

#24 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 06:14 PM:

Now, see, moving is like cleaning for me. I'm disabled, I can't do it myself, so I *have* to hire movers and cleaners.

I've almost saved enough money to put laminate on the condo floors (I'm on the concrete slab) and pay the movers, who will be packing, moving, storing, and then moving back. I can hire the teen next door to help me unpack. I still get exhausted at moves, but it's mostly from all the walking around.

#25 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 06:57 PM:

Sooner or later it will be done. Honest. Having had to survive two moves in 18 months, I promise. Sooner or later everything that was =there= will be =here.= And then you will have to find a place for it, but that's another rant.

I think single malt =and= chocolate (although perhaps not in combination).


#26 ::: Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 07:10 PM:

And then I thought, no, wait, it would be funnier to do a We Have Always Been Moving Into the Castle, but I go refresh my memory with the (virutal) book and recall, instead, the Anti-Move:

The last time I glanced at the library books on the kitchen shelf they were more than five months overdue, and I wondered whether I would have chosen differently if I had known that these were the last books, the ones which would stand forever on our kitchen shelf. We rarely moved things; the Blackwoods were never much of a family for restlessness and stirring. We dealt with the small surface transient objects, the books and the flowers and the spoons, but underneath we had always a solid foundation of stable possessions. We always put things back where they belonged. We dusted and swept under tables and chairs and beds and pictures and rugs and lamps, but we left them where they were; the the tortoise-shell toilet seat on our mother's dressing table was never off place by so much as a fraction of an inch. Blackwoods had always lived in our house, and kept things in order; as soon as a new Blackwood wife moved in, a place was found for her belongings, and so our house was built up with layers of Blackwood property weighting it, and keeping it steady against the world.

By the time I was 20 I'd moved 18 times. As of this June, I've now lived in our current house as long as I've ever lived in any one place; I've lived in Portland almost 10 years, which is longer than I've ever lived anywhere. But I still end up with vastly overdue library books. I ask you: is that fair?

#27 ::: els ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 07:47 PM:

argh, Theresa. Hope things get settled for you soon.
I've moved twice in 6 months, from Maine to South Carolina, and then from one side of town to the other (From the city to a nice place I can have fiber animals again- goats and sheep). I've been in the new place almost 4 weeks now, and still haven't figured out where everything is that I had packed. I didn't even think I owned that much stuff. So here I am, wishing you energy and chocolate, and an ever diminishing pile of boxes to unpack.

#28 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 08:10 PM:

Last time we moved, we had paid movers. I think I will sell a kidney for money to pay movers again, if necessary, rather than do it myself.

#29 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 08:10 PM:

I think single malt =and= chocolate (although perhaps not in combination)

Mary Kay begins to muse thoughtfully on the possibilities of very small chocolate shells made of 71% Sharffen Berger chocolate filled with one of the milder single malts. Hmm. Hmmmmm. Of course you'd want to experiment to be sure which malt would be best. I mean one of the strong island ones might be a better choice. HMMM definitely. MKK wanders off muttering under her breath to check the chocolate supply.


#30 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 09:42 PM:

I owe James Herriot the idea, but scotch in combination with strong cheddar and fruit cake is an astoundingly good snack.

The right scotch is also delightful with a good dark chocolate... hmmm... [goes off rummaging for the good scotch, kept carefully sequestered from the depradations of the tweens].

#31 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 09:57 PM:

You have my sympathies. We also have to move this summer, and I'm not looking forward to it. If I lived on the East Coast I'd happily trade moving labor with you, but unfortunately, we're in Lost Angeles.


#32 ::: Sara ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2004, 11:08 PM:

Mary Kay: I did put together a lovely single malt truffle recipe a few years ago. Very lovely!

Single malt truffles

1/2 cup cream
12 oz of good quality bittersweet chocolate, in bits
4 tbs. butter, in bits, at room temp
1/4 cup single malt

Bring cream to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until smooth. Stir in butter until blended. Stir in scotch.

Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. (or immediately pour over pound cake or ice cream)

Scoop into small balls. Roll in cocoa.

#33 ::: Kate Yule ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 12:09 AM:

Hmm. Hmmmmm. Of course you'd want to experiment to be sure which malt would be best. I mean one of the strong island ones might be a better choice.... MKK wanders off muttering under her breath to check the chocolate supply.

I'm amused to note that the state of the single-malt island scotch supply is apparently not in question.

#34 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 12:19 AM:

Sara: Which single malt did you use? Was it the right one, or might another choice have harmonized better?

Kate: Ahem. Yes, well. She explained.


#35 ::: Sara ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 12:24 AM:

Mary Kay: I've used several different single malts with good results every time. It was nice with Oban and lovely with Balvenie Doublewood 12 year. Laphroig was delicious but needs a strong chocolate which can hold its own. Oban is fine with a lighter chocolate, even a semisweet, but milk chocolate fades behind the stronger flavoured scotches.

#36 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 12:31 AM:

Long ago and far away, a friend and I discovered the slightly goofy pleasure of high-end dark chocolate Easter bunny as a refined accompaniment to a good cognac. Brandy n' bunny was a mainstay for a good long time.

Speaking of which, where has my bottle of Laphroig gone?

#37 ::: Sara E. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 12:34 AM:

Arrrgghh! The-never-ending-move is a terrible thing. Have gone through it twice as an adult. I blocked out the ones I went through as a child.

Here's hoping for many, many, many years of living in one place!

#38 ::: JM Kagan ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 01:41 AM:

Dear Teresa and Patrick,
"All of our mem'ries are with you tonight,
We've had a move of our own, like yours,
We've had a move of our own!"
Not to mention two cats gone missing, one at the old place and one at the new. Both were found.
May you find all your cats and all your other treasures,
Janet and Ricky

#39 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 05:26 AM:

Ah, they say two moves equals one fire. Or something like that....

#40 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 09:47 AM:

move + friend - movie + lie - lend
divided by the square root of echolalia =

Anyway, the advice I got was to just use one box. Fill box, move box, empty box, repeat. This way, you can take the subway, and when it's all over, you don't have piles of boxes to figure out.

Anticipating your next question; sorry, it's too late to go punch whoever told me that. And no, I won't punch myself, even for a dollar fifty.

#41 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 10:04 AM:

To accompany cheddar and fruitcake, I think I'd try Ardbeg, an Islay malt with the strength of Laphroiag and Lagavulin but a softer, more aromatic headiness.

That said, Lagavulin is still my favorite spirit in the entire world, full stop.

(Why am I blithering about spirits? Because I'm back in the office, every muscle in my body hurts, and I have no brain cells left to devote to actual work. Meanwhile, Zeno's Move continues, in the hands of Teresa and Jim...)

#42 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 10:22 AM:

Patrick: time to bribe interns with *really* *good* pizza? Take up a collection to hire professional movers? Take up a collection for booze? =>

I hope it's done soon and you can revel in your clean, non-moldly, healthful, apartment.

#43 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 10:49 AM:

Sympathies. Went through way too many moves as a poor kid. Talk about nomaidc. Ugh. We finally bought a place of our own 6 years ago and "As God is my witness, I will never move again!"

P.S. It's not too late to throw stuff out, really!

#44 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 11:13 AM:

When we came out to San Francisco, Danny's company paid for the move, but I still packed almost a hundred boxes of books, CDs, and records (remember records?). I was eying the kitchen stuff when a squad of nice men with Irish accents descended upon us, calling me "missus" with every other breath, and wrapped up the whole in a day and took it all away. I wasn't here when it arrived and was loaded into the house--but it was waiting for me to unpack at the other end.

I don't think there's any easy way to do this, but I do think calm and soothing thoughts in an eastward direction.

#45 ::: Nancy C. Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 11:26 AM:

Now I remember why I have put up with this house for 16 years (this July): the fear that I'd have to endure moving again.

We moved almost every year (sometimes as little as 6 months) when I was a kid and Dad was still in the Navy. I seem to have lost all the good habits learned from that, or perhaps it's willful spirit to live against the Code of the Often Moved. I spread out; I don't throw things away (enough); I don't throw out things I haven't used in a year. Egads.

I joke that they'll have to remove me in a hearse from this house; even the thought of moving makes me want to have a good lie down and some scotch.

Where's my Macallen?

(Speaking of which, Sara: How do you think Tallisker would stand up to the truffle recipe? What sort of chocolate would you recommend?)

#46 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 11:42 AM:

Continuing sympathy and prayers for you both.

My worst move as a kid was from Oklahoma to Wiesbaden, Germany in the late 60's. Dad was returning from a year with the UN negotiators in Korea and we had to pack up everything once again after 3 moves in the previous four years. In a military move overseas your stuff moves in three batches. First there is whatever you can carry or con the military into sending along with you as personal baggage, which ususally ends up being about half your clothes, some essential papers and books and so forth. Then you get several crates of "hold baggage" a couple of weeks later, usually enough pots, pans and such to set up housekeeping once you had housing assigned. Finally, everything else arrived as "household goods" 2-3 months later. Housing was furnished (if you could get housing) so you left that (and a lot else) at home in storage. This left the rest of your clothes, books and other knick-knacks. This kind of a move not only require movers (DoD paid for all this, thankfully), but movers that new how to do an overseas military move.

The fun started when the hold baggage arrived. We had recovered from jet lag, just begun to realize just how different the German language was, and were just becoming used to the doorknobs and plumbing. The three tall and narrow crates (about the size of a extra large full length school locker) were in our largely emply living room. The first two held no surprises but the third held someone else's mess dress (not quite dress uniforms) instead of our kitchen stuff. Based on the tags in the crates Dad was able to identify the owner, who had just arrived to take a staff job -- in Saigon. When called via AUTOVON, the other officer confirmed that he had our kitchen implements. We negotiated the usual deal -- he kept the pots and pans, we got to sell the mess dress and he could keep the pots and pans, which, as it turned out, he needed for his hooch more than he needed fancy uniforms. Any decent sized base sees quite a bit of horse trading in uniforms and such, and as this was USAF headquarters for Europe we had no problems gettiong a good price.

There was more fun when we got back home in 1971. The rest of our stuff was stored (under government contract) in Enid, Oklahoma. As will happen in Oklahoma a tornado tore the roof of the storage facility and soaked our posessions, while rearranging them a bit. We ended up replacing or refinishing some of our furniture, but some of my childhood was truly gone with the wind.

Patrick and Teresa, I wishing you a magic bottomless bottle of Lagavulin . . .

#47 ::: Dan R. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 11:45 AM:

While I don't want to change the subject, I really like the application of Zeno's paradox to moving. Not having moved in a decade, I can still relate through my involvement in Zeno's renovation. Are there any other suitable applications of this metaphor (if that's what it should be called)?

#48 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 11:53 AM:

Sara and Mary Kay -

Just sent this link to a friend who loves chocolate and single-malt in about equal proportion. She says, I got to the bit about pouring it over pound cake and lost control of basic thought processes. Want. Take. Have.

I was the one who introduced her to Buffy. I feel so proud.

#49 ::: Mary ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 12:19 PM:

Wait, are we now comparing moving horror stories to make our hosts feel better? I present for your schadenfreudesque pleasure -- TWO HOURS FROM LONDON (ONTARIO) TO TORONTO

* December 1990: We live in London but are going to move back to Toronto. My husband drives us down for a company Christmas party and apartment hunt. Party is fine, but D. decides that the last plate of sandwiches shouldn't go to waste and he loads it into the car trunk. He drives to the hotel, leaves the sandwiches in the trunk all night despite my objections, and despite further objections, eats 3 for breakfast the next morning. We manage to look at several horrible apartments before finding a great apartment just steps from the lake -- large, light-filled, hardwood floors, great crown molding, yadda yadda. D. is pale green and wobbly as he shakes hands with the landlord, and after we arrive back at the hotel, it's a very, very long night for the two of us. The next morning, it is determined that D. is still too ill to drive, and that I (no license, learner's permit expired *mumble* years ago) should drive the minivan back to London while D. guides me. Somehow, I get the beast onto the Gardiner Expressway without killing us or the station wagon full of nuns to our right. D. feels confident enough in my abilities to fall deeply asleep by Hamilton, and only wakes up long enough to talk me into an adequate bit of parking in front of the house. But we now have a Toronto apartment. Go us!

New Year's Eve 1991: It's New Year's frickin' Eve day. We moved the cats out to the new apartment on Christmas Eve (Pooka and Winston nearly catatonic as we drove, Maggie howling like an air raid siren for two hours straight), rested up, and drove back to London December 30. All our friends in Toronto and London are at parties tonight. I've left a bowl of water and lemon to cook in the microwave before we go, but have forgotten to tell D. about it before he picks up the oven and hot water spills all over the inside. The washer we wanted to sell finally has a buyer, but he'll pay half of what we asked and needs us to drop it off at his house -- for free -- in the van. We're over a barrel and he knows it. It starts to snow as we leave at 4 PM -- 3 hours late -- and it's a full fledged blizzard as we hit the 401. In Toronto, we hump all the furniture up two flights of stairs, hoping not to disturb the neighbours, but we do. We have to take the doors off the hinges to move in the couch. And the cats are puking with nerves in the bedroom. We do not even THINK of moving for another 14 years as Toronto housing prices skyrocket all around us.

Nonetheless, we've found a nice townhouse that should be ready by next spring, but we will be hiring professionals. I've giving up book and CD money, damn it, to save for those guys. Never. Again.

#50 ::: Sara ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 12:22 PM:

Nancy: I'm not sure about chocolate for Tallisker. It is such a personal taste decision. When I'm making test batches (you can make 1/2 batches and double batches), I start with a 71% bittersweet chocolate and then adjust the chocolate to sweeter or less sweet depending on my mood. I have used Scharffen Berger and Callebaut and an unnamed dark chocolate my husband brought from Belgium.

Jill: (beams)

#51 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 12:45 PM:

I don't know, if it's any consolation to hear other move stories, I suppose I could chime in with my move to California from Chicago. To this day, half my stuff is still in storage in Chicago (well, books and CDs and miscellaneous stuff), and I'm not even sure what was saved. A month of cleaning, a followup trip back from CA a month after I moved, AND the help of friends who finished what I couldn't in that weekend, and the apartment was barely cleared out in time (2 month overlap between leases).

For some reason, this isn't deterring me from planning the move back to the midwest. I suppose partly because half my stuff is still in storage. :)

That's 4.5 years later, btw.

So, it may seem endless, but at least T&P will have all their stuff!

#52 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 12:54 PM:

You will get moved into the new place. You will settle in. And before long, you'll forget all about this, except to remark, "It was rough moving..."

#53 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 01:33 PM:

Okay then. So if I do end up throwing that party at worldcon I'm thinking truffles of Scharffen Berger 71% chocolate and either Talisker or Laphroig. Perhaps if I find the time I might make several small batches and throw a tasting party beforehand to determine the best combination.


#54 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 01:48 PM:

I know you're talking about scotch, but Essensia (orange flower muscat) is a great dessert wine, especially with a chocolate dessert. A distinctly citrusy flavor, though it has nothing in it but grapes.

I don't eat sugar OR drink wine, but I used to do both - sometimes together! - and will cheerfully voyeur your enjoyment of same.

#55 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 01:52 PM:

The reason this is taking too long, Teresa, is that, while I'm sure you've made the proper sacrifices to the household gods of both households, you haven't made a sacrifice to the gods of moving. Figure out the appropriate sacrifice and I'm sure everything will go swimmingly from then on.

#56 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 02:09 PM:

MKK: I was just thinking about Ganesh, the Hindu deity who controls obstacles. He might be suitable as a general matter.

He likes sweets, so some of the chocolate things that are being discussed here might be appropriate?

#57 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 02:09 PM:

Sorry. That last comment was really for NelC.

#58 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 02:24 PM:

Yes. Burn sandalwood incense in front of your image of Ganesha (as some of us call him) - a monitor displaying his picture will do. Place a sweet of some kind before the image.

Now, with all the devotion your heart can muster, say "Om Ganesha ya nama" 108 times. No more, no less; that's what malas are for, though other counting objects can be used. I used $10.80 in dimes the first time, forgot the sweet, and had the wrong kind of incense, and it still worked.

Eat the sweet (Ganesha's already eaten what he wants of it; by eating what's left, you commune with the Remover of Obstacles.)

I worship many gods, but Ganesha's the only one I WITNESS for. Tell you why someday.

#59 ::: Liz Ditz ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 02:52 PM:

I shall sculpt a Ganesh from ganache and bow prayerfully to the east as I so do, 108 times. Just in case it helps.

(the removal from the home of the heart to the BlackPitOfDespair--6 divorces in 30 years! talk about haunted!--was the worst.)

#60 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 03:07 PM:

Xopher: I think I first encountered Ganesh under that spelling, so I tend to default to it, but Ganesha is the name in the sculpture I linked too--is Ganesha more accurate?

If you could stand to explain to the ignorant why 108 times and what that statement means, I would be interested to hear it. I appreciate that you get to eat the sweet when you're done, though.

(Disclaimer: to me, Ganesh(a) is an appealing mythological character rather than a deity, so if this conversation is inappropriate/uncomfortable to those who take the inverse view, feel free to tell me to shove off.)

#61 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 03:35 PM:

NelC - can you expand on the business about moving and fires?

You see, after the numerous shifting-of-stuffs in college, I moved home, then into an apartment 7 months later, and, 6 months after that, moved from Cape Cod to North Carolina.

You can probably guess why our landlords got a resounding, "Hell yes!" in response to an inquiry about renewing our lease this year.

But the reason for moving out of our comfy, cozy, relatively cheap apartment on the Cape was because of a fire. Some idiot set fire to the basement in pursuit of a bicycle, and just the smoke did enough damage to condemn the place for at least 6 months' worth of repairs. The time from the fire until we moved to NC was spent technically homeless, since it violated fire code (har de har) for us to be living in our friends' living room as we were.

So I suppose my question really is, if two moves = one fire, what does my equation look like?

#62 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 04:05 PM:

Xopher -

The company [Quady?] that makes Essensia also makes a delightful black muscat desert wine called 'Elysium'.

Speaking of fruity flavours, there's a really interesting single malt whiskey out of the California brewery St. George Spirits. Scotch snobs think that it's dreadful - but just about everybody else loves it. I should really find a place to order it from, now that I'm thinking about it.

#63 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 04:05 PM:

Xopher - I love Ganesh(a). On the occasion of my wedding, a friend from Gujarat painted me a ceramic plate with his image. I am glancing up at it as I type.

Anybody got $10.80 in dimes and a cookie?

#64 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 04:06 PM:

Dan R. said: "Are there any other suitable applications of this metaphor (if that's what it should be called)?

Thesis writing. There's a reason I'm reading this instead of doing real work, after all.

Also, I have a lovely little statue of Ganesha. I can send a picture, if the obstacles of moving need some thinning out.

#65 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 04:12 PM:

Most people who actually worship the Remover of Obstacles will say Ganesh. That's because going from Sanskrit to Prakrits (like Hindi) the final '-a' gets dropped. (Shiva is called Shiv, too.) I simply prefer the Sanskrit version.

Sorry, I should have translated the little prayerlet. Something like "Hail, Ganesha, obeisance to you!" or "To you, Ganesha, I bow and bow, hail!" I believe 'nama' is frequentative, and I think 'ya' is a dative case ending.

To me, Ganesha is a deity; but deities to a polytheist are sort of like saints to a Roman Catholic (VERY like, in some casesshutmymouth). It's like they're your friends. Ganesha in particular is well-known for his sense of humor about himself. I can't imagine anyone who knows him at all taking offense at this conversation; others are free to disagree, but so far I'm the only Ganesh worshipper who's put in $0.02.

I have a little metallic-sheen lavender plastic Ganesh-ji on my monitor. He says hi (actually he says "fear not," but the hand sign looks like "Hi!").

#66 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 04:14 PM:

Oops, looks like I'm not the only FOG (Friend Of Ganesha) here after all.

#67 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 04:18 PM:

108 is just the Sacred Number in Hinduism. 108 names of the Goddess, and malas have 108 counting beads. I dunno why.

#68 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 04:22 PM:

Four in a row, sorry. Here's an article about why 108 might be the sacred number. A quick Googling makes me think no one is really sure, though.

#69 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 04:28 PM:

I admit, I'm fond of the artist's comment about this panel of Digger.


#70 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 04:35 PM:

Alice -- the business about moving and fires is an old metric (~40 years ago I read it in Up the Organization, where it was presented as established wisdom), but I think it was intended to be cautionary rather than commutative; i.e., you lose as much property and business in two moves as you would if your business burned down. My sympathies on your being smoked out (and on the NHs being chased by mildew -- I had to deal with that on a hot day several years ago and it is Not Fun).

Somehow I've never had a horrible move, just the expected portion of glitches ("You want me to take two minivans instead of a 15' truck?!?") -- possibly due to being too cheap to have huge amounts of stuff packratted until my moving days were almost done and possibly due to Boston fandom considering moving someone as an entertaining competition. This idea started ~25 years ago when NESFA moved a pleasant person in dire need of a keeper. It subsequently adopted the Drew: 100 feet of standard rent-a-truck packed absurdly tight with absurd contents; other moves are described in fractions of a Drew, judged by truck measure after multiplication by an absurdity factor guaranteed to be less than unity. NYC is a little far for this exercise....

Of course, there were the two moves back into the house my parents built, rented out while the family went elsewhere; in both cases the van was told to go into hiding for a week, so we could have an empty house to camp out in and refurbish. This seeming annoyance was probably a luxury few of the moved have.

#71 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 05:52 PM:

Patrick and Teresa, I hope your move ends soon and well, and leaves you with all essential stuff and a home you love.

Please, please, in a month's time wish the same for me...

#72 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 07:02 PM:

To quote Grant Morrison:

Elephant head. Elephant head. I worship a god with an elephant head.

(That's by way of an A-men, Xopher.)

On the other hand, to quote Carla Speed McNeil on the same august deity: "Woe betide the favorites of gods who think they're funny."

(All the good theology's in the comics these days.)

#73 ::: Kate ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 07:42 PM:

Teresa and Patrick,

I hope things level out and you get to get this move over and done with. I'm still trying to figure out just what the heck I'm doing after my move this april. Ernie says he can't split up with me because he'd have to move me again. I wish I could loan you Mark Henaghan. He was a g-d send for my move. Betwen Mark and Jim, all heavy things get moved.

#74 ::: lisajulie ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 08:35 PM:

The stories recounted here have been inspiring - awe-inspiring and otherwise. And the inspiration is welcomed.

Jon Singer is moving out of his current living situation - must be out by August 15.

Those who know the esteemed Mr. Singer ... well 'nuff said.

#75 ::: jo. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 09:16 PM:

I hear you all. In the past 14 years I have moved Every Bloody Year, and sometimes twice a year, within Toronto itself (the dubious blessings of a graduate student income combined with Toronto rents). The pattern goes something like: look for and find a nice cheap place, move in. Landlord raises rent 250 dollars, move out. Find less nice cheap place, move in. Discover that next-door neighbors are crack dealers and that local hookers shit in the staircase, move out. Find fabulous place that's just within budget, move in. Discover that you can't live on what's left over, move out. Friend offers to share two bedroom, move in. Friend turns into party animal, move out. It's not moving so much as being chased from place to place by poverty and hope (that the next place will be better). After a while, friends tend to evaporate: the most memorable move was into a fifth-story loft with 68 steps and no elevator, on the muggiest day of the year. There are still people who won't speak to me after that one.

This year I'll have lived in three cities in 12 months, a new record even for me: I moved from Toronto to Vancouver last month, and am sitting here in the UBC Library downloading ads for apartments in Saskatoon, where I've got a one-year term appointment. I will download a little photo of Ganesh and begin the 10.80 offering immediately.

Cross-country moves are actually quite pleasant: you can't take it all and you don't, and there's a certain pleasure to the purging process. But then again, purging and purgatory have the same root, so maybe not.

#76 ::: Randall P. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 10:49 PM:

Are there REALLY seventy-five comments on this thread? For Christ's sake, doesn't anyone here have a LIFE?

Oh, wait...I'm posting here, too...Forget everything I just said.

#77 ::: Randall P. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 10:50 PM:

Oh, wait, I meant to say, "For Ganesha's sake, doesn't anyone here have a LIFE?"

Forgive my foolish mistake.

#78 ::: JonLennox ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 11:33 PM:

I'm glad to see the spirit of classic RASFF lives on in the Nielsen-Hayden blog comment sections.

The comments in this thread have mentioned cats, alcohol, chocolate, and religion. We just need kashrut to complete the set.

#79 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 11:36 PM:

Personally, if I were having trouble with moving, it wouldn't be Ganesh(a) that I would go with. It'd be Legba.

But only because Creole is easier to read than Sanskrit. (Or for that matter, Hindi.)

Oh, well, and my big fascination with the lwa, but that's another topic.

Though now I'm curious if I ought to be spelling it Ganesa, except you'd have to imagine the little dot under the 's'.

#80 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2004, 11:56 PM:

We shall not cease from motion
And the end of all our moving
Will be to arrive where we were aiming
And not have the energy to unpack.

Most sincere apologies to Mr. Eliot.

And lots of good thoughts aimed at Brooklyn on behalf of you, Patrick, Jim, and any other helpers involved. As well as the U-Haul trucks and all your stuff! Prayers to Ganesha, St. Jude, or any other holy being who might be interested, too.

#81 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2004, 12:26 AM:

We still have outbreaks of interesting things in rasff, stuffed in between the political threads. Too many people moved to blogs, leaving us with the Conservatives. Danny Low is getting so rattled that he actually said the war on terrorism is designed to hurt the USA.

#82 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2004, 12:44 AM:

Marilee writes:

We still have outbreaks of interesting things in rasff, stuffed in between the political threads.

Watching Rich Lynch, Matthew Tepper, and Kip Williams discuss Leroy Anderson's music has been interesting.

In other news, Cassini and Huygens have moved into Saturn's neighborhood after seven years on the road. Huzzah!

Ring closeups unveiled at lunchtime tomorrow.

#83 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2004, 02:24 AM:

Though now I'm curious if I ought to be spelling it Ganesa, except you'd have to imagine the little dot under the 's'.


geekily yours...

#84 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2004, 05:24 AM:

The comments in this thread have mentioned cats, alcohol, chocolate, and religion. We just need kashrut to complete the set.

All right, I'll note that the sweet you put before Ganesha's image becomes tref as a result. Of course, anyone who cared about that wouldn't be putting the sweet there anyway (doing stuff that looks like idol worship is way worse than eating something tref.)

#85 ::: Jean ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2004, 06:02 AM:

I'm never moving again; it's like E.M. Forster says:

"The Age of Property holds bitter moments even for a proprietor. When a move is imminent, furniture becomes ridiculous, and Margaret now lay awake at nights wondering where, where on earth they and all their belongings would be deposited in September next. Chairs, tables, pictures, books, that had rumbled down to them through the generations, must rumble forward again like a slide of rubbish to which she longed to give the final push, and send toppling into the sea. But there were all their father's books--they never read them, but they were their father's, and must be kept. There was the marble-topped chiffonier--their mother had set store by it, they could not remember why. Round every knob and cushion in the house gathered a sentiment that was at times personal, but more often a faint piety to the dead, a prolongation of rites that might have ended at the grave.

It was absurd, if you came to think of it; Helen and Tibby came to think of it; Margaret was too busy with the house-agents. The feudal ownership of land did bring dignity, whereas the modern ownership of movables is reducing us again to a nomadic horde. We are reverting to the civilisation of luggage, and historians of the future will note how the middle classes accreted possessions without taking root in the earth, and may find in this the secret of their imaginative poverty."

The good news is that there is a single malt that actually tastes of chocolate - it's Scapa (and it's my favourite, and personally I wouldn't dream of cooking with it. But your dreams may be more expansive than mine...).

#86 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2004, 11:18 AM:

Kate: Patrick: time to bribe interns with *really* *good* pizza?...

In 1989, I moved house with the help of several fans, including Erica van Dommelen. She was working at some magazine--Biology Today?--and brought in an ad they ran for a Smithsonian Institution summer program. The Smithsonian was asking for help moving one of their collections from a downtown repository to one in the suburbs. Anyone who could pony up $1500 was welcome to spend three weeks moving artifacts.

Erica suggested that perhaps I should have asked the volunteers to buy the pizza.

#87 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2004, 11:52 AM:

Xopher: Now, with all the devotion your heart can muster, say "Om Ganesha ya nama" 108 times.

The mantra I learned is Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha, for which I find the translation "Om and salutations to the remover of obstacles for which Gum is the seed." "Gum" is a sound that evokes the deity of Ganesh.

There used to be an audio version of this at, but that seems to be gone. After several tries, the obstacles to fell away, and I found an audio presentation.

This information is for comparative purposes, not necessarily as a recommendation. I've still got a lot of obstacles.

#88 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2004, 12:06 PM:

All right, I'll note that the sweet you put before Ganesha's image becomes tref as a result. Of course, anyone who cared about that wouldn't be putting the sweet there anyway (doing stuff that looks like idol worship is way worse than eating something tref.)

I'm pretty sure it really is idolatry, so observe due cautions in that respect. Images of Ganesha are called Ganesh-ji; '-ji' is an affectionate and respectful honorific IIUC. One might call one's father Daddy-ji. So the idea that the god really is embodied in the image is definitely there.

(I know that the Jews in Rome did decide that the Romans weren't idolaters, but a. the Roman belief was that the images were representations of gods who were elsewhere or everywhere, not the gods themselves; and b. this decision may have been at least partly political in motivation. An image of Ganesha really IS Ganesha.)

And don't worry, if I give you chocolate it will never have been used in Ganesha puja. All them chockies get et.

#89 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2004, 12:08 PM:

Arggh. Please correct to "One might call ones father..." Possessive pronouns in English NEVER, EVER have apostrophes. Arrgggh.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

#90 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2004, 02:06 PM:

Ganesha is the patron god of publishing, therefore quite well known around Tor. I have two on my desk right now, one a very traditional presentation (crossed legs, many arms) and one non-traditional (only four limbs, shown mid-crawl with one hand up and his head on a rather attractive angle). Traditional Ganesha, discovered yesterday in a box of office detritus I was cleaning out, will go home to my small fry.

During our visit to Washington DC last fall, we were visiting the Asian art museum and tooling past the gift shop when my daughter (then 7.5) yelled out, "look mom, it's Ganesha, they have Ganesha in the window" and stopped an elderly docent in her tracks in surprise (I don't think people expect little white kids to know such things). The docent came over and asked the kid if she wanted to see more Ganesha and then directed her to a gallery we might otherwise have missed, full of Hindu gods and very lovely too.

BTW, my family usually spells "tref" "treyf," which is a smidgen closer to the most common pronunciation.

On other "collision of religion" fronts, Hindu hair is now non-kosher, according to some muckety-muck Orthodox rabbi, because Hindu women are idolators. Many wig manufacturers and buyers were taken completely by surprise by this decision and the economic and other repercussions are proving to be largeish.

I belong to an odd faith, though I don't subscribe to that particular form of it.

#91 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2004, 02:13 PM:

I didn't know Ganesha was the patron of publishing! It makes sense, of course; what else is more obstacle-laden?

Oo. Pygmy elephants plus Ganesha plus Van de Graaf generator equals...I don't know what. Electric Mini Gods?

Well, since all cattle are idolaters (trust me on this), does that make beef treyf too?

Contrariwise, would Hindu hair be kosher if...never mind. Too icky.

Anyway, it's a damn shame. Indian women often have rich, thick, and miraculously abundant hair. A whole lotta Hasidic women are going to have to throw out some real nice wigs.

#92 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2004, 02:25 PM:

I kind of agree with you about cattle being tryef nowadays, though they weren't originally. I mean, when you consider what they eat . . . .

There was a ranch somewhere that was trying to raise organic kosher cattle, but they were having a hard time getting certified because of the difficulty of finding a shohet and building the right kind of slaughtering facility. Not being Jewish themselves, they kept trying to cut corners and do things "the way they've always been done," and no shochet (acceptable variant spelling) would work with them. Not sure what has happened in the couple of years since I first heard all this, not really paying attention since I don't eat beef for a lot of reasons.

#93 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2004, 06:57 PM:

peri: unfortunately, that just shows up as a little square in my default encoding (iso west europe, though I've been trying to convince the browser it oughta be unicode) and in unicode.

So... I still have to imagine it, alas.

#94 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2004, 07:46 PM:

for those following this saga, the Nielsen-Haydens are ensconced in their incredibly gorgeous new digs avec stuff tout entier as of yesterday.

#95 ::: Kate ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2004, 09:59 PM:

Yay! Teresa can you get ahold of me via email or cell or something? I have a free car for you guys, if you are interested in it.

Kate Salter

#96 ::: James J Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2004, 10:14 PM:

Moving. Um, yeah. Two households (i.e., five normal people's worth of book, cds, soft toys and general stuff) into one, over the July 4th weekend in Kansas City (temperature and humidity both over 90 and fighting to see who hit 100 first). Hearing the parking brake on the rental truck go out, and watching it roll down the driveway into the street (quiet, residential, fortunately unoccupied) and just missing the power/phone pole across the road.

Then start a Worldcon bid the next month.

#97 ::: Glen Blankenship ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 12:52 AM:

Tina, it's not the encoding - it's the fact that the font specified by the blog's style sheet doesn't have that particular Unicode character.

And the comment-posting filter strips out span/style tags, so I'm not sure there's any easy way around it.

#98 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 01:01 AM:

I once moved Emily Socolov, a childhood friend (same school 1st through 6th grade) after her PhD, from Amherst Massachusetts to Boston, in my car.

It was snowing as we arrived. I slept over (chastely, you cynic out there).

The next morning, snow was many feet deep, with drifts to many many.

Could not find my car. Stayed over another day and night. Snowplows meandered, piling some drifts higher.

Found my car. Someone had dug a hole from drift top to windshield, and planted a parking ticket.

Left next day. Mailed in check for parking. Cheaper than driving back to contest it in trial. Sometimes I do, and have won with weird and funny arguments, but you've got to choose *which* fights to fight.

Silent snow, secret snow.

Well okay: one traffic ticket I successfully contested was for allegedly driving in Alhambra, California, with my headlights on before dusk.

The officer testified first. I asked: what time did the sun set, on the day of alleged violation?

The officer didn't know.

I read the definition of the violation, from the law. It involved an hour before sunset.

"But it was still light" said the officer. "It wasn't dark."

"And you have what advanced degree in optics? In Photography? In Astronomy? In a related field conferring expertise in measuring light levels?"

"I never took an Astrology course. But I worked with Army aircraft."

"As a pilot, mechanic, or navigator, perhaps with training in instrument landings?"

"Well, no..."

"Well I commend your performing your patriotic duty. But I ask again, on that date, when did the sun set?"

"I don't know?"

At this point the judge was interested, and smiling. His Honor spoke of Equinoxes and Solstices and the like.

I pointed out that the State had the burden of proof, and, by admission, could not establish the prerequisite for applicability of the law.

The judge dismissed the ticket.

I made a little speech, to the effect that society would be better if there were more literate thinking people, like Hizzoner, and fewer cops who didn't know the difference between Astrology and Astronomy. The judge thanked me.

I exited the cortroom to the cheers of everyone present who was waiting to contest their own tickets.

One negative story, one positive. Do they cancel out?

#99 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 01:32 AM:

Was that snow storm in 1978, JvP?

#100 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 01:47 AM:

Tina: how depressing. Technology should be transcendent, dammit.

Glen, this is what I typed:


I had no trouble seeing it in preview or in situ, and my (firefox .08) browser insists the entire page is ISO-8859-1, as it should, since that's what's specified in the <head>.

I'm sorry it's not showing up. I feel a bit like a kid whose icebox art has been trashed due to a shortage of magnets.

#101 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 04:53 AM:

Arggh. Please correct to "One might call ones father..." Possessive pronouns in English NEVER, EVER have apostrophes. Arrgggh.

Actually, Xopher, you were right the first time: the correct possessive form of "one" is "one's".

And don't worry, if I give you chocolate it will never have been used in Ganesha puja.

While I thank you for the thought, I really wasn't worried. It is impossible to find a much less observant Jew than me.

#102 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 08:44 AM:

Way upstream there was a comment about moving right before Christmas, which is what we did when we moved to Oklahoma. Snow in Tennessee when we left, and ice on the driveway in OK when we got there. Watching the moving van start to slide back down the driveway at two in the morning after driving 14 hours was Not Pleasant, but we did find something to chock it with.

We figured we'd be able to buy a Christmas tree somewhere on Christmas Eve, but were reduced to what is now known fondly as the Evil Christmas Tree -- four feet tall and covered with fake snow. I did at least have to foresight to pack all the presents and a selection of ornaments in out last-in, first-out group of boxes.

#103 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 10:59 AM:

David, I think that we'd better agree to disagree on the singular indefinite possessive pronoun. In part because I think that getting people to get its/it's right is very, very important, and telling them "possessive pronouns in English NEVER, NEVER have apostrophes!!!" is a really good way of helping them remember.

'One' would be the only exception to that rule. If there's one exception, why not two?

Oh, well, perhaps you're right. English isn't known for its ironclad consistency. Perhaps we can reclassify 'one' as a noun, whaddaya think? :-)

#104 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 11:03 AM:

Twenty years ago, when I moved back to NYC from Boston, I did some advance work, and had found myself a lovely tiny little apartment on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. Then I went back to Boston, packed all my belongings in a U-Haul truck, doped my cat to get him through the ride, and set off with the boyfriend of that time, and a song in my heart.

What I had forgotten was that I was moving on October 31st. The night of The Parade.

I could not get within 30 blocks of the new apartment. After driving around for almost two hours (with an increasingly restive cat coming out from the Kitty-Valium) I found an all-night parking lot with an attendent, parked the truck, took the cat up to my aunt's house on West End and 88th, and crashed there. Next morning went downtown, picked up the van, and moved everything into the apartment by myself (boyfriend having gone off to work). By about 1pm I had finished everything, returned the truck, and was back on the Upper West Side to pick up the cat, which was now fully awake and really pissed off at the treatment he had suffered the day before.

I didn't have a cat carrier, just put him in a cardboard box and went off to find a taxi. What happened next is commonly referred to as Alexis's Religious Conversion: damned cat got away and spent three nights in a synagogue down the block from my aunt's apartment, hiding in the men's bathroom (which the janitor would not let me investigate, seeing as it was, you know, for men and all). Finally got Alexis back three days later, a chastened cat. And the next time I moved, I made sure I was well versed in all the local festivals.

#105 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 11:09 AM:

Andy Perrin:

You ask: "Was that snow storm in 1978, JvP?"

Yes, by golly! Because I remember that the next year, 1979, I moved to Seattle and started working on computers, airplanes, rockets, and missiles for Boeing Aerospace Company. Actually lived in Kent. Looking South, late one day, I saw Mount Saint Helens explode...

Was it a famous snowstorm? Or does my memory overlap yours in some entangled way?

Then in 1982 I got Mother Boeing to send me to JPL to do software systems for the Galileo to Jupiter... It all comes flooding back to me.

Since Cassini is really Galileo 2.0, I'm very excited about the success of said mission.

#106 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 11:15 AM:

Xopher: ...getting people to get its/it's right is very, very important, and telling them "possessive pronouns in English NEVER, NEVER have apostrophes!!!" is a really good way of helping them remember.

I'd say getting people to use conformant lexicography is an important good thing, but that getting people to use non-conformant lexicography is not a good way to accomplish that good thing. Maybe helping them to fully accept that rules for English grammar never, never lack exceptions is worthwhile in itself.

#107 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 11:19 AM:

I'll go with pretending 'one' doesn't exist. I'm not quite ready to concede the point on the apostrophe, since I don't see why it shouldn't conform to the general rule - but then again I know that analogic change can't be imposed by force.

It's just annoying. That's all.

#108 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 11:43 AM:

JvP: The Feb 1978 storm is easily the most famous storm in New England of the past century. There were even 20th anniversary commemorative lotto tickets in 1998.

#109 ::: abby ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 12:20 PM:

JvP: Yes, it was a famous snowstorm. The Blizzard of '78 is still talked about up here. Last year was the 25th anniversary of said event, and the Boston papers ran a fair bit of coverage. (Oddly enough, that same day we were hit by the Blizzard of '03, which was almost as bad, and certainly the most snow in a storm that I can remember. It was amusing, seeing all the pics of the '78 blizzard one day, and then seing very similar pics of the new storm the next.)

#110 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 12:22 PM:

I'm sorry it's not showing up. I feel a bit like a kid whose icebox art has been trashed due to a shortage of magnets.

It shows up fine here (Safari, stock settings).

#111 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 12:37 PM:

JvP - At the height of the legendary blizzard of '78, my father opened the front door and dropped me down into the snow (I was 9 at the time). I went in far over my head. I remember whiteness all around and then a disconcerting (though welcome) feeling of being pulled back up by Dad's strong arms into the world of sight and sound.

#112 ::: Glen Blankenship ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 12:51 PM:

<drift type="character neep">

Pericat, the encoding isn't the issue. Using the numeric entity, as you did, sidesteps encoding problems.

As long as the DOCTYPE specifies HTML 4.0 or later (and this one says it's XHTML 1.0, so it's 'later'), the browser should understand the numeric entitites as ISO 10646 (aka Unicode).

You're probably just seeing a different font - one that does have the proper character. The blog's style sheet, if I'm reading it correctly, specifies:

font-family:verdana,arial,sans-serif; different people may get different fonts, depending on what they have installed - and anyone who doesn't have Verdana or Arial will get whatever font their browser selects as the generic for "sans-serif", so the possibilities are... numerous. :-)

As far as I'm aware, there is no Unicode version of Verdana. There is a Unicode version of Arial, "Arial Unicode MS", but (at least for people who have both that and the non-Unicode plain "Arial" version) it must be specified precisely that way, or it won't be used.

That means that most IE users won't see the proper character, since they all have Verdana and (non-Unicode) Arial.

Only those users who don't have Verdana and (non-Unicode) Arial have a chance of seeing the correct character - and then, only if whatever font their browser uses as generic sans-serif includes the Unicode character.

(Or possibly, if the ONLY Arial they have is Arial Unicode and their browser is bright enough to substitute that.)

It's a vexing problem. You can't control what fonts users have installed, and, given the post-box filter, you can't override the blog's style sheet.


#113 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 01:52 PM:

Teresa, Patrick: much love and wishes for strong backs and no lost objects. I am four years past my last move, and am still recovering. I may, in fact, never recover until I finally discover what happened in that move to my box of adoption papers, including the actual notarized decree from the judge which Mom may never forgive me for misplacing, and my surplus stack of "Rush Is A Band, Dammit" bumper stickers.

Xopher et al: love the information about Ganesha. I'm not so sure I'd feel comfortable substituting Legba in that equation; he always feels a little tricksy to me. Perhaps I need a better sense of humor.

Rereading my first paragraph, I suppose St. Anthony would be a useful addition to the moving-house shrine.

Xopher et al, redux: I always thought "one" wasn't actually a pronoun, and therefore wasn't an exception to the rule... shows what *I* know, doesn't it?

#114 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 01:55 PM:

Nicole, I've been told that unlike some other pantheons, the Orishas only like being called upon in their particular way. So for Legba, you need the rum and the cigar and the right drum rhythm. So you might be right.

You must be right about 'one'. It's archaic anyway (modern usage would be 'they').

#115 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 04:11 PM:

Personally I think usage of "one" when what you mean is "I" or "me" or "you" should be outlawed. And I nearly wrote that sentence as ... when what one means is....

Sigh. It's silly and ugly.


#116 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 05:53 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little mused about St. Anthony, leaving me wondering if St. Jude might not seem more appropriate...

#117 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 06:13 PM:

Mary Kay, I don't know about anyone else, but when I use "one", what I mean is "I definitely, but possibly some other people as well", at least generally. So I don't really mean "I', but I don't really mean "we", either. "Someone, meaning me in this instance, but also potentially other people", perhaps.

I have probably now confounded the issue further, and will just be over there in the corner now.

#118 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 06:30 PM:

The main reason to use "one" is when an indefinite gender third-person singular prounoun is needed. But, it sounds stilted in English. Other languages have this, "man" in German and "on" in French.

The choice in English is to use the bureaucratic "s/he", to go plural with "they", or to go old-school and use "he". Each has its own disadvantages. Depending on the audience and the context, I might choose any of the above. But, I almost never choose to use "one".

#119 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 06:52 PM:

I wasn't going to join in on the "worst move ever" fest, because I thought my story was too pathetic, so I'll keep it short.

I was moving to an apartment in the city following a divorce, and the move took a lot longer than planned. By 6:00, the last helper had to leave, and I was on my own. The last load reached its destination about 1:00 AM on Jan 2. In the snow. And that truckload held my piano.

"Was mich nicht verstoren, macht mir starker."

I love my piano.

#120 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 09:27 PM:

Xopher: Whul, yeah, I ackcherly knew that about the rum'n all really, but I was being sloppy. Sorry there. What I meant was, I feel more comfortable with the nature of Ganesha (as I understand Him) than I do with that of Legba, most the time.

xeger, re: St. Anthony v. St. Jude - depends on exactly how lost a cause getting that lost object back seems to be, I'd think...

#121 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 10:33 PM:

First 2 comments directed at JvP, then one in Madeleine's direction.

On the Blizzard of '78. It's legendary. I have a book, aptly titled The Blizzard of 1978, on a bookshelf somewhere around here. I was born 10 days after it. The one any only time in my life my mother was grateful for my lack of punctuality.

On car headlights and sun presence. My father turned in front of a truck who didn't have his headlights on early, early one morning, and was hit. In his court case, he brought a Farmer's Almanac with him, and presented as evidence what time sunrise was that day (the law in Massachusetts is a half-hour after sunset and up to a half-hour before sunrise). He then cited what time the accident took place, and pointed out it was within the window of when headlights were supposed to be on. He won, too.

As for moving my cat, well, he didn't run away, but he had more time to work himself into a seething rage. We took 3 days of travel time, and locked him in the bathroom when we finally arrived. He seemed to be far MORE panicked and upset while drugged; apparently it was far more worrying to have strange, altered perceptions than to be in a moving vehicle. He kept trying to lodge himself under the gas and brake pedals, and, when he wasn't doing that, was stepping on the bladder and/or arms of the driver. But the third day, he'd either adjusted or spat out his meds; we're still not sure which. But he dealt with that last leg with a minimum of panic, even when the moving truck's brakes started to melt.

And then I think he was too happy about having so much space to run around in our new place to be angry at us for torturing him for three days straight.

#122 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 10:33 PM:

First 2 comments directed at JvP, then one in Madeleine's direction.

On the Blizzard of '78. It's legendary. I have a book, aptly titled The Blizzard of 1978, on a bookshelf somewhere around here. I was born 10 days after it. The one any only time in my life my mother was grateful for my lack of punctuality.

On car headlights and sun presence. My father turned in front of a truck who didn't have his headlights on early, early one morning, and was hit. In his court case, he brought a Farmer's Almanac with him, and presented as evidence what time sunrise was that day (the law in Massachusetts is a half-hour after sunset and up to a half-hour before sunrise). He then cited what time the accident took place, and pointed out it was within the window of when headlights were supposed to be on. He won, too.

As for moving my cat, well, he didn't run away, but he had more time to work himself into a seething rage. We took 3 days of travel time, and locked him in the bathroom when we finally arrived. He seemed to be far MORE panicked and upset while drugged; apparently it was far more worrying to have strange, altered perceptions than to be in a moving vehicle. He kept trying to lodge himself under the gas and brake pedals, and, when he wasn't doing that, was stepping on the bladder and/or arms of the driver. But the third day, he'd either adjusted or spat out his meds; we're still not sure which. But he dealt with that last leg with a minimum of panic, even when the moving truck's brakes started to melt.

And then I think he was too happy about having so much space to run around in our new place to be angry at us for torturing him for three days straight.

#123 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2004, 10:35 PM:

apologies for the doublepost. Browser's acting funny tonight.

And how DID I hit ctrl-N, anyway?

#124 ::: JM Kagan ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2004, 01:38 AM:

"[...] two moves equals one fire."
No way.
We've had one house fire.
We'd move twelve times in as many months rather than have another.

#125 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2004, 05:20 AM:

Xopher: Sorry, we cannot agree to disagree here. The possessive form of "one" is "one's". Writing "ones" when you mean "one's" is as wrong as writing "Xophers" when you mean "Xopher's". Period.

#126 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2004, 06:20 AM:

> rules for English grammar never, never lack exceptions

You had me trying to think of a rule of English grammar that didn't have an exception for a moment there. But then I realised that this rule could be its own exception :)

#127 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2004, 07:23 AM:

JJ Murray: Were those two households both alike in dignity? (in fair Kansas City)

Haven't had all that many moves, and most have been with fairly few possessions. The odd thing is that the possessions have either moved to me thereafter, or I have moved to them.

For instance, presently am mostly moved back in to care for my frail deaf mother after father died. They've lived in one flat since 1958, and both were/are hoarders, so after clearing a passage and the bed in my old room that they'd filled with stuff I squeezed in with basic clothes, computer, camera, some books, & a radio.
Still haven't managed to clear much extra space, partly because when my partner died suddenly his affairs were messy & there was a gigantic tidal wave of paperwork, which has filled any abhorrent sweat-created vacuum, and partly health problems.

#128 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2004, 07:29 AM:

Oh, and JvP, what someone needed in that law case was (ta-dah) the Proof of Sunrise and Sunset Act, 1923 (South Australia), No. 1559 of 1923

#129 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2004, 07:35 AM:

abby: 2003 wasn't a patch on 1978 for several reasons. The two most significant:
* There was plenty of warning (DC was getting socked 2 days before Boston) and good forecasting (on my to work in 78 the radio was saying "3-6 inches"); people got sent home from work early instead of waiting until it was bad enough that an 8-lane highway got completely blocked with stuck cars.
* 1978 had two record storms; the first wasn't as badly handled, but it was only 11 days before the second, and on many of Boston's tiny streets there was no place left to put the second round of snow.

I remember walking to the Red Cross to give blood and grokking just how bad it was when I stopped to watch fratboys use a snowslide they'd built out of the 2nd story of a Beacon St. brownstone; I saw a metal button by my foot and realize it was the top of a car's antenna. The Red Cross turned out to be way overloaded -- they might have had staff and equipment enough but there was no room to set up more beds -- so I went to MIT the next day, to the room big enough for ~300 folk dancers or the luggage of every freshman. I heard later that the students taking the announcement of the special drive to the printer had been ticketed for driving before private cars were allowed back on the streets, because the policeman didn't know what a pasteup was and didn't believe their explanation. I would like to have been at that hearing.

Boskone won big that year; all the other functions at the hotel canceled, so we got our first use of the main ballroom -- which was a good thing because attendance was up almost 50%. Fans were younger and crazier then....

#130 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2004, 12:06 PM:

I'm looking at a strange thing here. Last night I was given this flyer after a street Salsa dance class (part of the Cheltenham Fringe Festival). On one side is the advert for the DJ's nightclub, on the other is more details and info about his regular Salsa dance class. The first side has pictures of the DJ DJ'ing and other people salsa'ing. On the reverse the background is a picture of Ganesha, of all folk.

Is Ganesha not only the god of books, bookshops, and moving, but also Salsa? Is this a recent appointment? Or is he just filling in for the regular deity?

#131 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2004, 12:12 PM:

One reason to use "one" is for indirect language, as when wishes to comment on something, without wishing to upset those present by appearing to (overtly) criticise them.

It gives one another alternative to either baldly stating the comment or remaining silent.

#132 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2004, 12:16 PM:


Sara: I made single malt scotch truffles to take to the Clarion West party last night. I used Sharffen Berger 71% chocolate and Laphroaig. I thought when I poured the Scotch in it was a lot of liquid for that amount of chocolate and sure enough, I took 3 hours in the fridge for the ganache to be hard enough to form balls. Which I duly did and rolled in cocoa powder, but there wasn't time to put them back in the fridge before taking them to the party. Fortunately I had plenty of those little brown papers to put them in. Despite being very soft and sticky they were received with universal acclaim and disappeared in about an hour. So that's a winner though I may use less Scotch next time.


#133 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2004, 12:17 PM:

Shoot, missed a "one" myself. Oh, for a tachyonic web-browser....

#134 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2004, 01:57 PM:

David Goldfarb, read the rest of my posts on the topic. Or even the rest of the post where I (initially) suggested we agree to disagree. "Oh, well, perhaps you're right" (indicating a shift in thinking from my initial paragraph) does not appear to have impinged on your consciousness, and neither does "but then again I know that analogic change can't be imposed by force" or "It's just annoying. That's all."

Also, if 'one' is NOT a pronoun, I still have my rule, but the possessive is as you've given it. And I've repeatedly conceded that there are exceptions all over the place, and even (not without grumbling) admitted (obliquely) that this might be one.

Frankly, I can't see why you're going out of your way to be snotty. All the rest of our conversation has been friendly; I'd like to go back to that, please.

#135 ::: Sara ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2004, 05:03 PM:

Mary Kay: I'm glad they were tasty. I wonder what the difference was? I always use a 1/4 cup.

Maybe it is time to make them again.

#136 ::: Nancy C. Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2004, 06:07 PM:

I missed the blizzard of '78, having been in sunny CA that year, but when I started college (a few years late -- sometime someone should ask me about my years living in CA and doing the acting gig, oy vey), it was still talked about wistfully. No storm has stacked up to it yet. It is, apparently, the one and only time Rt. 128 (inner ring-road around Boston, and the only way to get to the North Shore on a highway, in those days) was closed down entirely for a week by order of the governor.

Way upstream Melissa Singer wrote: Ganesha is the patron god of publishing...

He IS? And here I thought I was bizarre, with a Ganesha on my desk all these years. My sandalwood Ganesha came via Donya Hazard White, from one of her ubiquitous trips to India.

In production, the taking away of obstacles keeps Ganesha very busy indeed.

I am told in India you find him riding on the dashboard of taxis, rather like a plastic Jesus, but probably far more effective at preventing road accidents.

[waves back at Ganesha, next to my silver cat/paperweight and my Levenger eraser]

#137 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2004, 06:38 PM:

Oh, no, Nicole, I freely admit I suggested Legba because I have an irredeemable trickster streak[1]. I perfectly understand.

But he is in charge of pathways, so he'd be appropriate.

I believe that Legba may be related to Murphy. My feeling though is that if I'm going to experience Murphy, it might as well be in a form of my choosing. And Murphy just loves long, convoluted moves...

[1] Note: not out of desire to play tricks; out of resonance for my trickster streak. T&P don't need more chaos than they're experiencing and I am not wishing it upon them. Legba might be in a good mood, after all. :)

#138 ::: Zvi ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2004, 06:58 PM:

How odd that I had never encountered the move/fire metric before and now twice in one day: reading comments on this thread, and in the Toronto Globe and Mail's piece on the woes of Coach House Press (which may be forced into moving and/or shutting shop due to a landlord dispute); and isn't it odd that there is a publishing connection in both:

Coach House Press Woes

"A move is as bad as a fire," Mr. Bevington said in an interview this week, citing traditional wisdom of the printing trade.

#139 ::: James J Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2004, 11:32 PM:

Epacris asked:

JJ* Murray: Were those two households both alike in dignity? (in fair Kansas City)

Dignity, dignity, let me see, I know I saw a box labeled "dignity" somewhere in the basement...

We did, however, move from south of Verona (Hills) to glorious Hyde Park without fomenting either grudge or mutiny, ancient or new.

*That's what my mother calls me, and I'm still trying to break her of the habit nearly 50 years later. You can call me Jim, or you can call me Murray, or you can call me Dr. Paisley, or you can call me Obi-Wan Chernobyl, but you dassn't have to call me JJ!

#140 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2004, 11:36 PM:

Xopher: I read in your words less willingness to reconsider and more stubbornness than perhaps you intended. I'd hope that in this blog of all places people would understand an emotional reaction to questions of English usage. :-)

("Sticklers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your sense of proportion, and arguably you didn't have much of that to begin with." I wasn't that impressed with Eats, Shoots & Leaves overall, but that slogan was funny.)

Anyway, I'm sorry I was snotty.

#141 ::: Jeff Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2004, 12:18 AM:

Years ago now (15? something like that) I woke up one rainy night to the sound of water dripping. None of the faucets was the culprit... No, it was the ceiling in the library, leaking in multiple places. And the library was at its absolute worst at the time, with all the shelves full and stacks of books everywhere on the floor. 2 AM and we're hauling books down the hallway at top speed. Lost a couple dozen, but only a couple dozen; it could have been much worse. (And kept a lot with minor water damage, which remind me of that night whenever I look at one.)

For lack of anything better to do with them while the roof and ceiling were being repaired, we did indeed box every one of the books up. (Thousands.) Stacks of boxes were easier to deal with than stacks of books.

I said to Ann, if you ever want to move, we have to do it now, because we'll never box all this stuff up again.

We're still here.

#142 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2004, 12:49 AM:

The April Fool's Day Blizzard was fun. I forget which year that was.

This past snow season, Peabody got 36 inches of snow in one day in a storm. Earlier this year, it got nine inches of rain in one day in April or May. It has been a VERY -wet- year for Peabody.

Using "one" only looks stilted/weird because it's an uncommon construction in English. Common usage brings familiarity and accustomedness and loss of the "out of the ordinary/stilted/bothersome-because-not-familiar" reactions.

Drew's move was more than 29 years ago, I was a college student at the time. It was the SIX copies of foreign SF that got people, not there being one or two, but five or -six-. Drew moved up to a second floor apartment. I think the average age of the helpers was early to mid-twenties.

#143 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2004, 04:16 AM:

Sara: I had some of the ganache left because I had run out of time before the party Fri. night. So after it sat in the fridge overnight and all day today, I took it our and sliced it in pieces and rolled it. Then put it back in the fridge until just before tonight's party when I rolled it in cocoa powder. Worked a lot better this time. For some reason mine just seems to need more time in the fridge than your recipe said. It was a real hit both nights though, so I thank you!


#144 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2004, 09:57 AM:

David Goldfarb: Apology warmly accepted; friendly discourse restored. Yay!

I WAS being stubborn, of course. The only thing you missed was that I was laughing at myself for being so.

By the way, the Holy Book (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition) agrees with you, lists it as a pronoun, and even uses it in the possessive (with, I need hardly add, an apostrophe). There's not even a Usage Note to indicate any controversy. Thus I am utterly refuted by the highest possible authority. Namo, nama.

So now we have to say that there's only ONE pronoun in the English language whose (!) possessive contains an apostrophe. Fortunately, it's easy to remember which one!

#145 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2004, 10:10 AM:

And after the move itself, there's the phenomenon of getting all the boxes unpacked, and realizing that something you KNOW you packed hasn't come out of any of the boxes.

If you find a somewhat scruffy microwave turntable in one of your boxes that you don't recognize, it may be ours, from our move here nineteen years ago. (I figure it has to still be in SOME box SOMEwhere!)

#146 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2004, 11:01 AM:

And after the move itself, there's the phenomenon of getting all the boxes unpacked, and realizing that something you KNOW you packed hasn't come out of any of the boxes.

Bruce: I've experienced that very phenomenom. I'm still looking for my stuffed puppy. (It's been years since I've slept with her. In fact, it's dangerous for me to sleep with her, as she has a hole in her plush neck and her head wobbles. I took her to a Teddy Bear clinic for a safety day when I was nine, and the doctor there told me--I'm not kidding, as Dave Barry says--that she was terminal and he couldn't do anything for her. He put a bandaid on her neck and told me to take better care of my stuffed animals in the future. Hah. Nearly twenty years later, and she was still with me until the day of the move.) I can't find her and I KNOW I saw her the day of the move. I have nightmares that somebody put her on a bag of papers and that somebody else thought it was trash and took it out. Now, I know it's a bit childish, but we are talking that the receptacle of all my childhood fears and dreams and inner voices is missing and nobody remembers where she might have been packed. I guess I'll survive if I never see her again, but I feel like it's the final nail on my childhood. I don't think about it all the time, and it usually sneaks into that mind with that quote from Paul, about how when I was a child, I spake as a child, but when I became a man (or a woman) I put away childish things.

#147 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2004, 01:13 PM:

Xopher: [...] the Holy Book (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)[...]

Whawhawhaaaaaaaaat? There is but one (hem hem) ultimate reference for the english language!

Oh, all right; I'll get off my anglocentric soapbox and leave quietly now...

#148 ::: Steve B ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2004, 04:54 PM:

Sara, thank you. I tried the recipe for the single malt truffles last night, as a birthday present for a friend. (As a cook, I tend to make an excellent mad scientist - I recently set garlic cloves on fire in the microwave unintentionally, but your recipe seemed easy enough for me to try without causing structural damage to the facility.)

I used what we had on the shelf: Peringotti cocoa (Williams-Sonoma), Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate morsels (Harris Teeter).

Used a double boiler to get the cream hot but not quite to boil. I then turned it down but left it on heat while I stirred in the chocolate to melt, then the butter, then stirred a bit more. Took the pot off the burner then added the scotch in a mixing bowl. It took about two hours to where it was solid enough it was vaguely workable, perhaps I should have given it another fifteen minutes in the reffrigerator.

I used a melon baller and knocked the balls out on the edge of the pan, then chilled the balls about five-ten minutes in the freezer to chill the outer shell of the balls enough I could smooth out some of the uneven lumpy bits and roll them in the cocoa.

I did two batches: one with 12-year Royal Lochnagar and one with Glenmorangie aged in port wine casks. The Royal Lochnagar was sharp enough M liked the sample of the Glenmorangie better, and the intended recipient's reaction was all that I could have hoped for.

Anyway, it was *perfect*, thanks for sharing this.

#149 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2004, 09:12 PM:

Melissa Singer: Ganesha is the patron god of publishing

According to the Art Institute of Chicago [*], he is invoked with Sarasvati, goddess of the arts, at the beginning of literary endeavor. So to be safe they might both be invoked.

[*] Label that I wrote down when I visited last summer.

#150 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2004, 11:33 PM:

Jakob, OED is the ultimate reference on word origins, dates words entered the language, etc. It takes too long to compile, however, to really be a good reference on current usage. AH4 will be out of date in a few years, but for now it's about as good as it gets. (For American usage only; it does have some references on UK usage, but I'm sure there are better ones.)

Kate, Ganesha as the Remover of Barriers is always the first god invoked. He's the gatekeeper, as it were, to the other gods.

#151 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2004, 12:20 AM:

Just for the sake of completeness, those who are interested in other pantheons might want a few other gods to look at with regard to the whole "moving" mess.

Greek/Latin - Hermes/Mercury (god of messengers, transport, travel and commerce - if any god covers the removal companies, it would be him).

Gaulish/Celtic - Esus (identified in my notes as the Gaulish Hermes). Other useful Celtic deities to sacrifice to might be Epona (goddess of horses and other methods of transport) and the Morrigan (goddess of battle, strife and fertility).

Hope that helps.

#152 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2004, 02:40 AM:

By the way, I checked both the AHD4 and Merriam Webster, which I consider to be alike in dignity*, and both give "One's own self", complete with apostrophe, as part of the definition. Both also list "one's self", likewise with apostrophe, as an alternate form of oneself.

*Though, if alike does not mean "equally", but rather "similar", one tends to prefer the AHD4.

#153 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2004, 03:04 AM:

"Ganesha as the Remover of Barriers is always the first god invoked. He's the gatekeeper, as it were, to the other gods. "

Oh. So Ganesha is Legba. Or possibly vice versa.

I love theological memetic overlap.

#154 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2004, 10:49 AM:

Tina - these things are real, and people perceive them and name them as gods...their other traits are culturally determined, but there are forces in the world which we as humans feel the need to recognize.

Take a look at Hekate, Kali(-Durga), Morrigan, and Sekhmet for a good group of cross-cultural sister goddesses. They all have different traits, but the core personalities are very similar.

Oh, who knows? Maybe they were all the same Goa'uld, dressing up in different clothes as she visited various parts of the world. :-)

#155 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2004, 11:44 AM:

On professional movers: I'd definitely advocate having someone move the *boxes* for you, but I'm not sure I'd ever trust pro movers to pack for me again after my one experience. They packed the leftover Thai food from the lunch we'd brought during packing day (for both us *and* them), which was mostly comical, especially since we didn't find which box it was in for many months.

But they also stole my passport, one of my birth certificates, and the pearls my grandmother gave me for my 16th birthday. They may very well have stolen other stuff, but those are the things I know about. And of course, by the time I could utterly confirm they had been stolen and not just packed in a box we hadn't opened yet, it was far too late to complain the moving company.

#156 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2004, 04:52 PM:

Paula says The April Fool's Day Blizzard was fun. I forget which year that was. This is obviously some new meaning of the word "fun" that I haven't previously been acquainted with....

I turned in a rental car after Minicon and went to the Northwest counter to get my boarding pass, and the clerk looked at me as if I'd shown up with a second head, then explained that nobody was flying to Boston. (It wasn't quite like "shut up," he explained, but she'd obviously had a full day of telling people this.) The two additional days in the Twin Cities were fine with native guides (and others -- I remember the expression of bliss on TNH's face as she said "Ah, brassica" and dived into the sides at a neighborhood southern restaurant), but digging out the driveway by myself was not: April snow is dense.

#157 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2004, 09:15 PM:

Xopher: "but there are forces in the world which we as humans feel the need to recognize"

So, you don't think I'm human?

#158 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2004, 12:49 PM:

I haven't found the exact quote on Google yet, but the "two (or three) moves (or removes) equals one fire" truism is usually attributed to Benjamin Franklin.

Let me add that when the moving van started sliding back down the ice-covered driveway, it was towing a little Mazda 323 containing 9 cats and an assortment of house plants, and one cat had gotten out of its bag somewhere in Arkansas and turned on the right turn signal...

Which indicates moving is something like childbirth: eventually selective memory kicks in and you forget how miserable it is.

#159 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2004, 01:27 PM:

That's one of the things I miss about Myrtle, the Best Cat Ever (TM). She was a wonderful traveller. This started the day I collected her as a skeletal stray hanging out at the fruit stand I stopped out outside of Myrtle Beach. She panicked when we tried to put her in a fruit basket, so I said to the owner "well, I'll try driving with her, and if she goes crazy I'll have to bring her back." So I pulled back onto the highway, Myrtle crawled down onto the floor of the car, put her head on my free ankle, and *fell asleep*.

A couple of years later, I drove across country with her in a truck, and she spent all four and a half days quietly sitting on top of my luggage in the passenger seat, watching the world go by at 70mph.

#160 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2004, 02:06 PM:

Marilee - not quite sure what you mean. I meant humans in the aggregate, of course (people do come up with their own individual gods, but by and large they're culturally determined).

If you feel no need to recognize the powers of the world in any form, that doesn't make you less human, no. (Though I'd contend that e.g. learning physics is one way of recognizing them, and for many people satisfies their spirit in ways nothing categorized as "religion" - another culturally-determined distinction - ever could.)

Most humans can walk on two legs. Most humans can't walk on their hands, at least for long periods. People who cannot walk, or who can walk on their hands indefinitely, are just unusual, not less human. Most people's "quiet place" is not a sphere of infinite velvety darkness without light, sound, or substance; mine is, and I don't think I'm less human - certainly not "not human" - for that.

Of course, if you really aren't human, I don't mean to insult you... :-)

#161 ::: ClarkEMyers ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2004, 02:26 PM:

The three removes equals a fire is often sourced to Poor Richard's Almanack where IIRC it appeared as a common saying. Like TANSTAFL easy to know who popularized it hard to know where it started.
But with our Industry, we must likewise be _steady_, _settled_and _careful_, and oversee our own Affairs _with our own Eyes_, and not trust too much to others; for, as _Poor Richard_ says,

_I never saw an oft removed Tree, Nor yet an oft removed Family, That throve so well as those that settled be._ And again, _Three Removes is as bad as a Fire_;
Poor Richard Improved 1758

#162 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2004, 03:13 PM:

I've always found the British "removal" and "removal van" a bit ominous and involuntary sounding. My first thought is "removed to where, and by whom?" Visions of a post-industrial gulag, populated by people who have been "made redundant", perhaps in Birmingham or Crewe spring to mind...

#163 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2004, 03:37 PM:

Xopher, I don't believe that the world *has* special powers. (If you'd like to read about a world that does, try McCaffrey's Powers series.) I can't equate physics with religion.

#164 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2004, 04:02 PM:

Marilee, I think we're not disagreeing on substance, really. I'm saying that there are forces at play in the world: gravity, for example; the arbitrariness of death, for another. Most people need some way to understand and come to terms with these forces. In recent times, things we call "science" have been available, and some have chosen to make that their path to coming to terms with the real forces of the world.

In older times, things we now call "religion" were the only path available. Some still choose them. Some choose both, on the theory that coming to terms ain't easy, and having lots of options can't be bad.

Trying to define 'religion' is an endless quagmire; let me just say that the sharp line drawn between the religious and the non-religious spheres of life has been, historically, a rare one. And people get what I would call "spiritual fulfillment" out of activities that would not be called "religious" in Western culture.

It may be possible that there are people who have no need whatsoever for anything that I would call "spiritual fulfillment." I don't think I've ever met one, though I could be wrong even about that. I DO know people who are actually able to eat until they're no longer hungry, and then stop - with no apparent effort. I can count on the fingers of one hand the times I've been able to do that, and it's NEVER been effortless. Different people have different brains.

I've found in many cases that atheists have accepted the churches' ideas about what constitutes spirituality (or even morality), and hold them very rigidly. One young man once told me that he by definition could have no morality, because he was an atheist. Why, I asked him, let THEM have the sole power to define 'morality'? So too with spiritual fulfillment etc.

If it bothers you to call anything you might do spiritual in any way, you're free not to. I won't argue. But I've seen self-defined atheists have truly transcendent (or, more often, truly immanent!) spiritual experiences, with absolutely no sense of any deity-presence whatsoever.

#165 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2004, 07:19 AM:

Dear Jim/Murray/Dr Paisley (brings up nasty memories of the Ulsterman, undoubtedly unintended). Humble apologies for accidental nomenclature-related insult.
In carelessly grabbing at something between just rather anonymous initials (sometimes hard to work out a long way down from the original post) and a full repetition of the name, I have obviously erred.

#166 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2004, 10:22 AM:


I think it's quite lovely to have cats that travel well. Both of ours are fine in the car, and often go on long trips with us (such as our upcoming trip to Cincinnati). We drop one of the back seats to give them access to the trunk, and a litterbox, and they're fine.

My big cat has actually stuck his head out the window like a dog.

We also found that the old cat we took in, who got *terribly* carsick in the carrier (my dad said she would get sick out both ends when he would take her to the vet), was fine if we kept her free in the car, (although mostly she sat in my husband's lap).

Of course I travel with my husband, which makes it easier to keep errant cats in line. (Rule 1. No cats near the driver's seat or feet.)

#167 ::: Jean ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2004, 11:48 AM:

Larry Brennan says:

"I've always found the British "removal" and "removal van" a bit ominous and involuntary sounding."

There was a hippy removal company that you probably won't find reassuring: used to advertise in Private Eye under the name "Head Removals (gently)"

#168 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2004, 12:34 PM:

Jean, and Larry Brennan:

In Terry Pratchett's "Thief of Time" [Doubleday 2001] there is a scene where a Yeti allows his head to be cut off, then manipulates time to put it back on, commenting: "Thaat stung a biit" [doubled vowels in original]

Not just a funny scene, but a foreshadowing.

#169 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2004, 01:54 PM:

When my mother moved to Florida she flew down with her demon-spawn siamese. (I swear, the cat's eyes glowed red.) We doped him up and after he sphinxed-out, we put him in the carrier and set out for the airport.

Apparently, halfway there, the cat sobered up and proceeded to howl, causing a small boy to point and declare, "Mommy! Mommy! That woman has a creature!"

The child was more accurate than he could ever have imagined.

#170 ::: James J Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2004, 08:40 PM:

Epacris: Not a problem, I simply got caught up in my own irrational response to that particular terminology.

And it's specifically "Dr Paisley," as opposed to "Reverend," (yes, I paid my money, I'm an ordained minister) to avoid any possible confusion with that most disgusting of slime molds. Oh, wait, that's not fair to the rest of the slime molds.* How dare he profane the name of my favorite color.

*Thanks, Groucho!

#171 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2004, 04:34 PM:

Larry Brennan recalled:
"When my mother moved to Florida she flew down with her demon-spawn siamese. (I swear, the cat's eyes glowed red.)"

All Siamese cats' eyes do this, where other cats' eyes flash a greenish color. It's a breed characteristic and some aficiandos of the breed consider it a talking point, which says a lot about them. And they all feel compelled, no matter how good-natured they may be in other circumstances, to yowl like demon cats straight from the ninth circle of hell once they're in a carrier. The description "soul in torment" barely does it justice. "Creature" sounds about right. I had one who was fine once she was out of the box, and another who couldn't cope no matter what--travel was BAD. She would hyperventilate, and her breath was even worse than the yowling.

#172 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2004, 07:53 PM:

Do you guys have any idea how much of a consolation you are?

I may post an account of the flood and our salvage operations. It could have been worse.

We're still unpacking. I'm moving like a little old lady, on a constant diet of Ibuprofen for my overstressed joints and lower back. But the new place is nice, and we're happy to be here. If I were still living in the old apartment, this much physical stress would have earned me a case of bronchitis at minimum. I'm sore and creaky and very very tired, but I'm not sick, so things are looking up.

I have pulled at least twenty pounds of weeds in the backyard garden. So far, only one of my transplanted roses looks like it won't make it. Naturally, it's the irreplaceable one -- a nameless magenta-purple antique, deeply scented, almost certainly some kind of Gallica, which I was given by Jon Singer. I keep watering it and making Encouraging Remarks, but it seems to be doing the brown crispy thing. On the other hand, the Seafoam is coming right along, and today snagged a sheet off the washline. The Mlle. de Sombreuil is looking well; the Rokoko's a little frail. We'll see.

#173 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2004, 09:11 PM:

Anyone who wants to know about red-eyed Siamese can go look at my blog entries for the last couple of Fridays. And yeah, he really hates the carrier. Yowls constantly in that, ahem, lovely Siamese voice until freed. When we were living in both Seattle and California and driving back and forth a lot, he got to where he actually seemed to enjoy the trip. He's stretch out at full length in the back window so that the passing parade could appreciate him. Although he's absolutely determined to live life solely on his terms and can, in fact, get a bit nasty in insisting, we're very fond of him. Which is a good thing as he won't put up with anyone else.


#174 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2004, 11:34 PM:

I've found the following sites to be really wonderful for finding unusual roses, if it's any help - it always seems to me that the plants I can't replace are the ones that expire, so perhaps being able to find a replacement will encourage better health?

#175 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2004, 11:50 PM:

Mary Kay - I wish that it was only traveling that raised Murphy The Accursed's hackles. I love cats, but I never quite bonded with him. He was the sort of cat who would climb the curtains, cry for help, and five minutes after his release be back up the curtains shrieking. He also had a bad habit of attacking anyone who would drop by to cat-sit him.

He was stunningly beautiful, though.

#176 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2004, 07:01 AM:

Cat carriers - ah, yes....

In my multifarious moves a couple of years ago, I ended up with the Feline Tabernacle Choir in the back of my car, up from Arlington, VA to the Boston area and then down to Maryland from Boston a year later. The first ride was accomplished in a New Beetle. The second in a Jetta Wagon. The extra distance from the cats made no appreciable distance on the noise level in the case of the Jetta. Both ways, however, I did call out, "It's okay, kitties! Don't worry!"

We all survived.

#177 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2004, 02:59 PM:

IHNJ, IJLS, "Feline tabernacle choir."

This is the first that I've heard that Siamese generically don't travel well. If true, I have much explanation for problems with my cat, who is part Siamese.

Teresa, the best thing is that having the nice apartment will continue long past the time the soreness and stiffness fades. I hope your rose decides to perk up.

#178 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2004, 04:15 PM:

Mary Kay: anything that focuses a cat's attention on something outside its egotistical self seems to be helpful in keeping it calm. When we were boarding Davey's late cat, he was known as something of a troublemaker -- except when somebody brought in a box of new chicks. Presto! Live Cat TV!

#179 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2004, 06:38 PM:

Teresa - sorry about your joints, glad you're not sick. As for the sickly rose: roses are sacred to Aphrodite. I know some chants.

You know more about the care and feeding of roses, particularly exotic and delicate ones, than I'll ever dream of knowing. So I'll just offer magic, for the rose and for your joints. But I won't do it unless you give consent; it's an oath thing.

#180 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2004, 07:15 PM:

Tina - sorry, brain not computing that many capital letters. If I am missing something obvious, please pardon.

Point of info: neither of the cats in question who made up said "Feline Tabernacle Choir" were Siamese (I think - they were standard-grade, extra-large tabbies, so exact parentage was obscure).

#181 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2004, 08:19 PM:

I think it's "I Have No Joke, I Just Love Saying..."

I don't know the provenance, but suspect it comes from some Usenet jokes group.

I agree, "Feline Tabernacle Choir" is inspired. I suspect that the tabernacle/tabby resonance is part of its charm, but I can't fully explain why it tickles me so.

#182 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2004, 01:52 AM:

Jeremy, you are correct. I usually expand it as "like", not "love", but either way works. And yes, it's of ancient Usenet origins, though I cannot give details. I absorbed it via osmosis.

Jill: The Siamese thing was meant to refer to earlier commentary, shoulda separated it out. I plead early onset of senility. Or possibly just Friday syndrome.

#183 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2004, 07:47 AM:

Tina and Jeremy:

Thank you - it truly described the two I had at the time - Ben: round, baritone, with 22# of resonance chamber, and Simon: smaller, but with a Maine Coon Cat's chirpy trill. Deafening, but somehow harmonious...

#184 ::: Kate ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2004, 11:01 PM:

In my experience, the 'IHNJ, IJLS{whatever}' thing mostly came from alt.kibology and its offshoots. It's a special kind of sarcasm.

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