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June 7, 2007

Open thread 85
Posted by Patrick at 10:10 AM *

22 + 92 and 62 + 72.

In A.D. 85, the emperor Domitian appointed himself perpetual censor.

In binary, it’s 1010101.

In A.D. 1985, Ronald Reagan began his second term; Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union; Teresa and I visited Britain for the first time; Windows 1.0 and New Coke were both released; the Third World War did not actually happen in August; Neuromancer and Terry Carr won Hugo Awards; Theodore Sturgeon, Marc Chagall, E. B. White, and Teresa’s father died; and Arctic Monkeys Nick O’Malley and Jamie Cook, plus Michelle Trachtenberg, were born.

Bonus free association: “She may be right, she may be fine.”

Discuss.

Comments on Open thread 85:
#1 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 10:58 AM:

Almost an hour, and nobody's posted yet? Gosh.

#2 ::: PublicRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:05 AM:

10 great albums you've (probably) never heard of...

- "Permutation" by Amon Tobin
- "Dust to Dust" by Steve Roach & Roger King
- "Below the Waste" by The Art Of Noise
- "Substrata" by Biosphere
- "Aquarello" by Hans Joachim Roedelius
- "Slider" by Bruce Kaphan
- "The Golden Wire" by Andy Summers
- "Black Tie, White Noise" by David Bowie
- "The Mix" by Kraftwerk
- "Bloodline" by Recoil

#3 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:05 AM:

In 1985, on Sept 28... The woman who'd soon become my wife moved in with me. That day I went to pick he rup at the aiport after buying a copy of story collection A Sound of Thunder.

#4 ::: Dan R. ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:09 AM:

she may get love but she won't get mine,
'coz I got you.

#5 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:12 AM:

Domitian was pretty reasonable for the first 1800 years or so, but lately he seems to have gone round the bend a bit. That fuss over Janet Jackson's breast, for instance. I'm coming to believe that perpetual censors are a bad idea.

#6 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:19 AM:

"Captain! Ship censors indicate a large Jackson's breast on starboard!"

#7 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:20 AM:

Ah, now, that's a common mistake that people make.

He actually appointed himself perpetual censer, and used to go around Rome swinging a brass ball on a chain, scattering incense everywhere he went.

They used to call him "Fumidus". Because his personal icon was a bear, he later became the symbol of the US Forest Service's fire-fighting efforts. They even named an orphaned brown bear after him.

#8 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:21 AM:

abi... That would explain why censors become so easily incensed.

#9 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:24 AM:

Yes, it all makes sense, doesn't it?

#10 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:24 AM:

"1985" was Spike Milligan's classic parody of "1984", in which renegade employees of the Big Brother Corporation (or, as you knew it, the BBC) are strapped down in Room 101 and tortured by being forced to listen to the Light Programme.

#6: I am trying to make some sort of Bujoldish pun about Jackson's Whole, but I can't think of one; can everyone just pretend that I have done so and it was awfully funny?

#11 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:25 AM:

Since it's open thread:
Does Ellen Asher have a blog or a place one can send a general "good luck and I think bookspan s*cks" message?

#12 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:34 AM:

"It's great to be alive on [Pow!] channel 85!"
--Proctor & Bergman, "TV or Not TV"

("And it's free; only a dollar.")

#13 ::: Steene ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:36 AM:

Ajay #10: *groan* OK, I admit your pun was awfully funny, but don't you think that bit about the clones was in poor taste?

#14 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:40 AM:

Steen @13
I'm just impressed that he managed the whole thing in French!

#15 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:52 AM:

#7: What is less well known is that he had some fascinating, if suspicious, personal connections in the Gaulish territory of the Senones, later known as Sens.

#16 ::: j ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:55 AM:

#6:

There's breastses on the starboard bow, starboard bow, starboard bow...

#17 ::: jennie1ofmany ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:57 AM:

abi@14

It was the trilingual pun that had me ROTFL.

#18 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:00 PM:

In 1985, a five year old me took part in a paper recycling drive in my hometown in the Yorkshire Dales on a bleak, rainy day. Later, my mother appeared on local television in front of the radiation monitoring unit the government set up in the car park to give Friends of the Earth's view on Chernobyl.

Daniel "Dsquared" Davies was in North Wales at the time and claims that he is detectably radioactive as a result. Me, I've never dared to find out.

#19 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:02 PM:

J @ 16... You've been listening to Doctor Demento's Star Trek homage again?

"Always moving forward because we can't find reverse..."

#20 ::: Stephen Granade ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:02 PM:

Results 1 - 10 of about 940,000,000 for 85 include Interstate 85 at Wikipedia; 85 Broads, a "network of women from leading universities, graduate schools, and companies from all over the world"; bus 85 from Spring Hill to the Kendall/M.I.T. T stop; and STS-85, a Shuttle mission from 1997 that involved continuing work on the International Space Station.

#21 ::: j ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:05 PM:

#19:

Again? I heard it once, ten years ago or more. And I still can't get the damn thing out of my head at times like this...

#22 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:06 PM:

jenny1ofmany @17

It was a trilingual pun?

Huh. Must brush up on my Finnish.

#23 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:11 PM:

I'm sorry ajay. The pun you were going to come up with was so funny that it would have caused a rip in the fabric of the internet, sucking thousands of poor, hapless LOLcat macros into a gaping, humorless vortex. This left the world with a critical shortage of LOLz at a vital historical moment, leading slowly but inevitably to the infernokrushocalypse.

I know this because my descendant (Hereziark m3, the new model with the laser-guided missile-launcher attachment) was sent back in time with a humor-impairing gas to release into your home's ventilation system at the critical moment, preventing you from coming up with the future-killing pun. He left me a note, explaining it all before leaving (and the little punk drank all my beer too!).

It was all for the best, ajay.

#24 ::: Ken houghton ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:12 PM:

Isn't "Star Drek" a Bobby Pickett tune as well?

What year was Heather Mills born? He may have been right after all...

#25 ::: Steene ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:13 PM:

abi @22
I missed it at first. It only works if you say it with a Betan accent. (bug or feature?)

#26 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:13 PM:

J @ 21... I know what you mean. When we moved from Toronto to the Bay Area in January 1989, the darn thing was playing on the van's tape deck as we were driving down from the Sierra Nevada to Sacramento and I still associate that with Spock saying "It's Life, Jim. but not as we know it, not as we know it, not as we know it..."

#27 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:16 PM:

Heresiarch @23
Drat your future self! The memory of the joke is fading away now, like a dream just after one wakes.

Something about a vambrace, and some guppies?

#28 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:18 PM:

Say, does anybody have a link to photos of Ted Cassidy as Ruk? I need an icon that reflects my true self for my LiveJournal.

#29 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:20 PM:

abi @ 27... I thought it'd happen more like it did for George Orr in Le Guin's The Latte of Heaven...

#30 ::: Dolloch ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:21 PM:

Free associated press:

"May be innocent, may be sweet... ain't half as nice as rotting meat."

Also circa '85.

#31 ::: Steene ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:24 PM:

Heresiarch: if this is true, then the joke we saw must have been left here by Ajay's future robotic double, who should not exist at all but Hereziark m3 left a crucial piece of machinery behind. Obviously Ajay found this while housecleaning and inadvertently started the MekTek corporation which will one day be our destruction, throwing our present and future into and infinitely recursive loop!

(that's what happens when you clean the house)

#32 ::: Mark Wise ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:26 PM:

Ajay @ #10.

*groan* That gives a whole new meaning to "beta software."

#33 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:30 PM:

I always forget that Michelle Trachtenberg is a year older than my elder child. Which means that the mad winter when our house was all-Joss, all the time, (first run BtVS, Angel, and, for as long as it lasted, Firefly, and two hours of Buffy reruns twice a day to catch up on what I'd missed) the offspring were very young teenagers.

My son turned 21 two weeks ago Saturday, which was two weeks after his 19-year-old sister came home from her first year of college. If there are three other adults living with me, why am I in change of cleaning the microwave?

#34 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:37 PM:

argh

"It's life Jim, but not as we know it, not as we know it, not as we know it. It's life, Jim, but not as we know it, not as we know it, Jim!"

Dammit, it's been veritable weeks since I've had that thing as an brainworm, and I'll even take back "Raised on Robbery" in exchange, although my brain is not up to the speed of Joni Mitchell's articulation.

#35 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:41 PM:

JESR... It's worse than that, he's dead, Jim, dead, Jim, dead, Jim!

#36 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:43 PM:

If there are three other adults living with me, why am I in change of cleaning the microwave?

Thread crossing alert!

#37 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:46 PM:

Ye canna break the laws of physics!

#38 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:47 PM:

1985? Big fannish year for me. According to my journals, I met Teresa (and Avedon Carol and Martha Beck) on the brink of 1985, at a New Year's Eve party at Lani Litt's; I attended my first Fanoclasts meeting (at your home) later that year. (I also met Walter Breen that year, at another party.)

#39 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 12:53 PM:

Why am I always late to threads with temporal paradoxes? They're always cleaned up and gone by the time I get there.

So much for my GCSE Finnish and A-level Temporal Mechanics.

#40 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 01:19 PM:

1985 was the year my older son was born. It was also the year I acquired my first PC (a Sanyo PC clone), and modem (300 baud).

#41 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 01:21 PM:

For those who know dresses: is there a name for the style of 1770ish colonial things? Like you have Victorian stuff, Regency stuff, is there a name I can search for this sort of thing with?
That was such a horrible sentence. I apologize, O Light-Wrights, but my brain is not working with words just now.

Also, in 1985, my brother was born. It was a sad Christmas because Mom was still in the hospital, but hey, baby brother! Dad didn't brush my hair all week, and I think we meant to eat Christmas dinner at McDonald's... but it was closed. I don't remember a bit of this; I was almost two years old.

#42 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 01:29 PM:

1010101 could be broken down into 10 + 10 and 101...

Sorry...every time I see "In A.D. xxxx" my Zero Wing reflex kicks in...

#43 ::: Stephen Granade ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 01:34 PM:

JESR @ 34: take
JESR @ 33: offspring
Skwid @ 42: every

Zig?

#44 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 01:37 PM:

JESR #33
If there are three other adults living with me, why am I in change of cleaning the microwave?

Because there's a secret ritual initiation one has to go through these days in order to clean microwaves* and you're clearly the only one in the house who's had the initiation.
If it weren't for all the temporal paradoxes in this thread, you'd probably find it easier to remember the initiation. There's a secret handshake and everything.
Do you recall anyone handing you a can of cleaner and saying something like "Hic est Bon Ami; nondum abradet"?


*and lots of other things.

#45 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 01:38 PM:

As a self-appointed reporter of all news regarding the noble Hamster, anxiously awaiting a new open thread, I submit for your consideration:

How a hamster can save you e-mail trouble about a new book titled: The Hamster Revolution: How to Manage Your E-mail Before it Manages You.

I hope the multiple links are ok.

Firefighters Rescue Hamsters in Eagle Lake, MN

There were also some buzz (about 20 hits on Google News) about the Man Hospitalized After Hamster Attack (that link has a cute picture) story which was mentioned in Open Thread 84.

#46 ::: JBWoodford ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 01:41 PM:

Serge (#29):

...Le Guin's The Latte of Heaven...

Wasn't that the story about the canonization of Howard Schultz?

#47 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 01:42 PM:

fidelio, actually, I used up the Bon Ami scrubbing moss off the north side of the F250 the other day.

#48 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 01:46 PM:

#47 That doesn't surprise me a bit. It's great stuff.

#49 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:04 PM:

Serge #29: Regarding your comment on The Lethe of Heaven ... oh drat. There it goes again. I'll remember it later, I'm sure...

#50 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:10 PM:

When I was of an age to attend YMCA day camp in the summers, our counselors were obsessed with that song, and it was played at morning and afternoon assemblies for weeks on end. I can not only sing the whole thing, but can also do the hand gestures. Being unable to change the laws of physics was represented by a gesture like playing with a Slinky. I suppose that's appropriate.

(YMCA summer day camp exhausted me because it was like living in a pep rally. You had to have SPIRIT! ALL! THE! TIME! Even though it was 95 degrees and so humid you couldn't breathe.)

#51 ::: Larry Lennhoff ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:14 PM:

But the Vulcan Science Academy has proven that time travel is impossible!

#52 ::: jennie1ofmany ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:20 PM:

Diatryma @ 41, I haven't seen such a name -- in my experience, 18th-century costumes tend to be called simply by their time and place, or associated with whatever was going on at the time, so a mid-18th-century English gown, or a Marie-Antoinette-style shepherdess costume, or a Colonial-era shoe (this would probably imply that the shoe was a style worn by colonials in the Americas). Certainly the Costumer's Manifesto historical index doesn't give names to any part of the 18th century, as it does for the Regency, Victorian period, etc.

#53 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:21 PM:

Larry, that's next year's headline!

#54 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:24 PM:

Caroline at #50, yes. It's always been a wonderment to me that no one was ever strangled with a woven lanyard made of plastic (that I know of).

#55 ::: Andrew T. ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:25 PM:

This summer I'm going to be doing some field research work, some of it in boats. One piece of standard equipment that many of my peers seem to bring with them is a pocket knife. Everyone has a different knife. I'm trying to choose one for myself, but I am bewildered and confused. Looking on the Internet is not helping; everywhere I look seems to lack useful information, while having lots of hyperbole and macho bullshit. Then I remembered that this community has (a) plenty of people who do interesting things for a living and who might have opinions on pocket knives and (b) low amounts of macho bullshit.

So my question: What kind of pocket knife would you recommend, and why?

#56 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:30 PM:

Thank you, Jenny of Legion-- I'm a bit disappointed, but I figured it was a long shot anyway. At least now I know the era; I'd been sort of rambling about the 1700s and 1800s and confusing people who didn't know much more than I did. Asking them to find the dresses shaped the same way I am was no help, either.

#57 ::: Stephen Granade ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:37 PM:

Andrew T., My first recommendation is to get one that you feel comfortable with. It's no good to get one that you won't carry. My second is to decide what you're going to do with it. Cutting rope or twine? Cleaning animal carcasses? Serving as a tiny toolbox for doing everything from getting in computer cases to help fix an ailing outboard motor? Fighting off eldritch horrors?

For simple cutting, I've carried generic pocket knives, the kind you can get at a local store. When I've wanted two blades plus a screwdriver and maybe a small saw-like blade, I've carried a Victorinox "Swiss Army" knife. Careful: those can become so packed with stuff that you won't want to carry it in a pocket. When I've needed the next step up in tools, like when I've wanted pliers plus files plus etc. for when I'm doing field demonstrations, I've gone with a Leatherman. Their Wave in particular is full-featured enough to be useful without being too bloated, and fits nicely on your belt.

#58 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:40 PM:

Andrew T. @ #55, There's actually been some discussion of pocket knives on here in Open Thread 32[1], and my advice would be the same. I like Buck Folders, and my Buck multi-tool. For boating-type excursions, you're almost certainly going to want a 1/3rd serrated folder.

[1] As a followup to that thread, the adhesive joining the ivory to the blade body on my Frost Bulldog finally gave out a while back...I haven't got around to repairing it yet.

#59 ::: PublicRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:41 PM:

Andrew @ #55: Gerber makes a variety of outstanding utility knives.

#60 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:41 PM:

Andrew @55, First, and foremost, don't get a knife that feels uncomfortable in your actual pocket.

Me, for the last... thirty years? at least? I've carried a Victronix with two cutting blades, scissors, a phillips screw driver, a magnifying glass, and a corkscrew, all of which I use constantly, and an awl, hook disgorger, can and bottle openers which I never use. Unfortunately the things I need come bundled with the ones I don't, sort of like TV cable packages. I'm on my second one, and it needs replaced because I've broken the side that holds the wonderful little tweezers, which I also use constantly, bent the scissors a little, and somewhat straightened the corkscrew.

Don't get a knife without a lanyard ring; they get lost less easily if you've got a way to tie them down. Mine, recently, has grown a tiny 1M tape and an LED light, and the cluster is of more use than the car's tool box.

In a perfect world, they'd put thee things together as custom arrays.

#61 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:45 PM:

I have always thought well of Victorinox Swiss Army knives. There are a bewildering number of models; what suits my needs is at least one pen blade (generally they come equipped with small and large in the models that have the other things I want), scissors, can opener, bottle opener, corkscrew, Phillips head screwdriver (the top of the bottle opener makes a flathead screwdriver), and pokey awl thing, as well as the toothpick and tweezers that seem to come with all the models.

This is just the sort of thing I keep in my purse for the demands of daily living. I don't use it in my work; I'm a baker and have a variety of tools at my disposal there. And I don't have a job or hobbies that cause me to need pliers or small electronics tools or other things that people like to have on their multi-tools or pocket knives.

I'm sure there's a model out there that will match up with the way you want to use it.

#62 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:45 PM:

Andrew T @55:
It depends what you want to do with the knife. If you want to screw and unscrew things, cut wood, open wine, and repair a hyperdrive, go for a Swiss Army knife.

If you want to, you know, cut things, I'd suggest that you choose a knife with a lockback function, so you can't accidentally close it on your fingers. I used to use Buck knives, which were very good quality and lock back.

Considering my overwhelming grace*, Buck knives are one of the major reasons I'm not currently known as Abi Nine-Fingers.

-----
* none at all

#63 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Whoops, the correct link should be: Open Thread 32.

Sorry!

#64 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Andrew T, if you want a knife for messing about in boats, go to a shop that sells boat stuff and get a proper boating knife that won't come apart if exposed to salt water and spray, that has a spike for splicing ropes and undoing shackles, as well as a knife blade. Boating being what it is, mostly these knives now include a bottle opener.
And it must have a loop to which you can tie a lanyard (what boaties call a piece of string) with the other end tied to your belt, or you will drop it in the water.

#65 ::: cathy ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:49 PM:

I graduated high school in 1985.

It was also the year my family bought its first home computer. It was made by Epson and ran Valdocs and Peachtext and used 5 1/2 inch floppies.

It was the first new appliance my family had bought since 1969. We still had the black and white tv my parents bought to watch the moonwalk, a 1969 Chevrolet Biscayne and the Maytag washer and dryer and GE stove and whirlpool refridgerator my parents bought when they moved into the apartment in 1969.

#66 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:49 PM:

I get burned out on time-paradox stories pretty quickly (wait, you mean in this universe I am a different person? oh noes!), but a customer at the bookstore swears by The Man Who Folded (by which Gerrold means F***ed) Himself. The customer is a big trekkie, so I can't always trust his judgement when original series writers might be involved. Is the book worth reading?

#67 ::: jennie1ofmany ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:51 PM:

Diatryma @ 56,

You're most welcome. At the risk of excercising my penchant for geeky overhelpfulness, another way you can describe lines and dresses is by the specific cut and waistline. So you can say things like "I'm looking for something with a Basque waistline," (that's the kind of starting-at-the-waist-narrowing-to-a-point waist seen on some dresses from the 18th century, as well as in certain mid-Victorian-era dresses) "and a square neckline, and a very full skirt."

A good dressmaker should know what all these terms mean.

I don't know if this is what you're looking for, of course, I've chosen a sort of stereotypical, generic mid-18th-c. set of ideas, and expressed them very vaguely. Here's a nice resource for the entire century, with a good overview of the styles and silhouettes.

#68 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:54 PM:

so far, three hours, 66 posts...
22 posts an hour...
about a hundred posts every 4 hours...
at this rate, we'll hit a thousand posts in 40 hours,
figure 12 hour days (posting rate drops as people sleep), that's about three days...

damn

#69 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:56 PM:

I was just in a conference room where the remains of a "catered" lunch (read: sandwiches and chips) were being cleaned away. The chips were in a large white bag with black lettering: Lay's Potato Chips. Regular Lay's logotype and everything else that you might find on a standard bag of Lay's except that it was plain b&w.

I turned to the several other people in the room and said, "Look, it's generic potato chips! Are you all too young to remember generic packaging?" And with one exception, they were.

The person who remembered and I spent a few minutes enlightening the younger folks about "generics."

I remember that I was working at Berkley Publishing at the time and that at the height of the generic craze we published three or four "generic novels," including, iirc, a Science Fiction Novel and (maybe) a romance. But it was 20+ years ago and memory dims.

Does anyone else out there remember generics in general and the generic novels in particular, and does anyone have any idea where I might find a visual on the web of the generic novels to use to further enlighten younger Tor staffers? Preliminary searches of amazon, ebay, alibris, etc. have been unhelpful.

I know, I know, this is a weird question, but this is an open thread and the people here are some of the smartest folks with the most wide-ranging interests I know.

#70 ::: j ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:59 PM:

#52, thanks for the reference! I've been trying to figure out what the folks in my 1920s-set WIP would be wearing (and almost as importantly what it was called), and there's some great stuff at that site.

#71 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:59 PM:

#56 Diatryma--were you thinking of something closely fitted, or something more like the style called sacque or Watteau?

#72 ::: PublicRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 03:03 PM:

Melissa @ #69: Generic! I remember that. As a lad, one of my scout troupes even had the collective sense of humor to call itself The Generics at the Silver Mocassin jamboree. Our flag was all white with a black dot in it.

This Wikipedia was interesting. No images of generic books, though.

#73 ::: DavidS ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 03:03 PM:

Gursky @ 66 I read The Man who Folded Himself some time in the mid 90's, when I was a teenager. So all of this is with the caveat that my memory is imperfect and my reading sophistication has increased since then.

It was interesting enough to keep me reading to the end, but when I got done I didn't see the point. Our protagonist falls into the possession of a time machine and uses it to explore all sorts of paradoxes, alternate histories and sexual escapades with alternate versions of himself. Ultimately, he is an extremely bored dilettante who keeps hoping to find something interesting in some timeline somewhere. I wound up feeling like "well, that was amusing, but couldn't this guy find something worthwhile to do with all this power?" I don't know, maybe that was the point.

#74 ::: Larry Lennhoff ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 03:08 PM:

I certainly remember the Generic Novels - I owned the one entitled Science Fiction. The motto of the series was "If you like one, you won't mind the rest". I'm sure MITSFS has a copy of the SF generic novel, but I have no idea if they can send you a scan.

#75 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 03:09 PM:

Melissa @69
I know it's not generic in the classic sense, but at the MOMA Design store they carry a line of, what, office wares? house wares? by a Japanese brand that follows the same design precepts. They're called MuJi if I remember correctly. It translates into something like "No-Name".

Also, I know a guy following more directly in the generic lineage who constructs blank boxes designed to be the same shape as real products and leaves them on the shelves at local stores. Like a little refresher for folks who've been blinded by row upon row of ad-text.

#76 ::: PublicRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 03:09 PM:

Cathy @ #65,

We also got our first family home computer in 1985. It was a Commodore 64. IMHO one of the better mid-80's home computers to emerge before the generic PC proliferation forced just about everything besides Apple off the market. Its color and sound beat the daylights out of the just about everything else released that same year; even the Macs of the time.

I loved that computer. Used it until 1992 when I got an actual PC as a graduation gift. I think my parents still have our C64 in the attic? I wonder if it works. I'd love to get it and set it up again. I have not played "Legacy of the Ancients" or "Stuart Smith's Adventure Construction Set" in decades!

#77 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 03:09 PM:

I have vague memories of military commissaries selling generic canned goods back in the 1970s. Even then I'd been so conditioned to bright colors on cans that the black-on-white labels made me uneasy about the quality contained therein. Unreasonably, I'm sure.

#78 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 03:14 PM:

#46: No. That was Battlestar Galatteca.

#79 ::: PublicRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 03:17 PM:

I loved the matter-of-factness about generics.

You'd look at the cereals, and see the pure white box with the words CORN FLAKES shouting amidst the sea of colorful boxes and capering kiddie characters.

No gimmicks. No bullshit.

And they tasted just like cornflakes should taste.

As did the GRANULATED SUGAR you'd sprinkle on it in the morning, and which was sold on the opposite side of the isle from the CORN FLAKES.

#80 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 03:25 PM:

I remember my mother being very suspicious of the generic TUNA--I think she thought it was cat food. But I bought TISSUES and TOILET PAPER and a few other products (the memory dims).

John Silbersack, now an agent, wrote SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL. David Hartwell reminds me that Terry Bisson wrote WESTERN NOVEL. Neither of us can remember who wrote the other two books.

Gursky @75: I like the guerilla art guy. My 11-yo dd and I just read The Plain Janes, a graphic novel which is very much about guerilla art.

#81 ::: Stephen Granade ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 03:41 PM:

Melissa @69: There's still one place where I see generic products, and that's in the Generic Value Products line of knock-off shampoos etc. A bit of Googling turned up this example of their generic conditioner. Their design is busier than the generic products of old, but that's mainly so they can say THIS IS JUST LIKE THE STUFF WE'RE RIPPING OFF.

#82 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 03:48 PM:

I have nothing good to say about 1985 except that that was the year I discovered that BEER in the generic sixpack made excellent banana slug traps.

#83 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 03:49 PM:

I can't hear about generics without thinking of the recurring joke in "Repo Man" that everyone is always eating from generic cans of FOOD or drinking bottles of DRINK (or, of course, BEER), etc. "Do you want some FOOD, son? It's meat flavored."

#84 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 03:50 PM:

1985.

That was the year I started my library, in that I began to act on the thought that I'd be keeping books long-term.

Not that I didn't have a library before, but I hadn't yet connected "books" with "deep time." Buying not just for the me of today, but the me of 22 years (or 44, or 66) from now*.

Then, my used book-buying budget was about $10/month. Most of that went to a local flea-market, where books tended to be about 4-5/$1 for paperbacks, $.5-$1 for a hardcover.

I could easily find my 40 books for the month if I didn't worry too much about the spine's condition. But sometime in 1985 I started to look much harder. I wanted the books to be in reasonably good condition. Books that'd last.

Books I still have**.

-----
* 22 years? 2007? That's the 21st century! So far away.

** Mostly. I did finally work out a rule for getting rid of bad books, because otherwise I'd be a Smaug with gold in my library.

#85 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 03:57 PM:

Cathy @65 We got our first home computer in 1985 too. It was a Corona, and we splurged on the one with two 5-1/4 floppy drives. We got an 9-pin dot matrix printer with it. With the later addition of a daisy wheel printer, I word processed my doctoral dissertation on that machine in 1988. The daisy wheel printed about one page every 2 minutes, and had a tractor feed for fan-fold paper but did not have a sheet feeder. So the final copy of my 180-page dissertation took 6 hours to print, the night before it had to be turned in, with me sitting there feeding it one ... page ... at ... a ... time of the special watermark paper the graduate school required.

Melissa @69 I remember the generics, though not the novels. The food product labels used to say things like "suitable for everyday use," which has survived in our household as "suitable for everyday abuse."

#86 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 03:57 PM:

abi@62: Buck knives are one of the major reasons I'm not currently known as Abi Nine-Fingers.

You have instantly earwormed me with music from the Rankin-Bass Return of the King.

"Abi of the Nine Fingers and the Ring of Doom! Why does she have only Nine Fingers? Where is the Ring of Doom???"

#87 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 03:58 PM:

abi@62: Buck knives are one of the major reasons I'm not currently known as Abi Nine-Fingers.

You have instantly earwormed me with music from the Rankin-Bass Return of the King.

"Abi of the Nine Fingers and the Ring of Doom! Why does she have only Nine Fingers? Where is the Ring of Doom???"

#88 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 04:00 PM:

Some generic stuff was truly bad.

I bought, from Pathmark circa 1985:

Generic frozen ravioli. Careful examination of the label showed that they were imported and that the cheese was made of sheep's milk.

Generic spaghetti sauce. It was like the slippery, translucent, orange stuff that comes with Raviolios or Chef Boyardee canned pasta. Awful.

* * *

I think there's a big difference, marketing wise, between knock offs and generics and house brands.

Some house brands are really good. They sell on quality and trust.

Knock-offs in look-alike packaging sell via a sort of reputation voodoo. If it looks like X, it must have the same qualities as X.

The closest thing to generics these days are specialized low-rent house brands. For example, the local Kroger chain, Fred Meyer, sells Fred Meyer stuff, Kroger brand stuff, and also FMV. ("For Maximum Value.") FMV stuff is always cheaper; sometimes suspiciously cheap.

One of these days I'll buy a bag of Fred Meyer frozen peas and FMV frozen peas and do a comparison.

#89 ::: PublicRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 04:11 PM:

I'm not sure how far the Grocery Outlet chain extends these days, but my wife and I shop there all the time and it's always a gas to see all the strangely packaged stuff, some of it quasi-generic, some of it just off-the-wall. One time we found a box of approximate Lucky Charms, only the writing seemed to be in Arabic, and Lucky The Leprechaun was entirely absent. Sure tasted and looked liked Lucky Charms.

#90 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 04:22 PM:

Huh. I hadn't noticed generics were gone--but then it's been a while, even before I switched to the co-op, that I've pursued that "follow the outer wall of the market" principle.

I remember having read The Man Who Folded Himself, but next to nothing about it. Only comment I can make is that I do occasionally think I ought to look for it and read it again, so the experience must not have been entirely negative.

#91 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 04:26 PM:

1985 was the year that I was first mentioned in a fanzine (Uncle Dick's Little Thing) in a news report about the SMOF-BBS, which first went online as one of the first science fiction specialty bbs's on January 26th, 1985.

#92 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 04:29 PM:

Right.

Someone had to kick it off. And it has mutated inside my head. Now I pass it back on to the world. Soon my revenge will be complete!!!!!1ONE!


Web Surfing
__________________________________________

Web surfing, across the Internet
Computer networks, servers: look at all those tubes!
Web surfing, across the internet
Boldly clicking forward, because we are not n00bs

Communications report!

There's earworms running through my brain.
Through my brain, through my brain.
There's earworms running through my brain.
Through my brain, Argh!

Analysis, nerds and pedants!

Well, they're memes, sir, but not as we know them
Not as we know them, not as we know them.
They're memes, sir, but not as we know them,
Not as we know them, LOL!

There's earworms running through my brain.
Through my brain, through my brain.
There's earworms running through my brain.
Through my brain, Argh!

Web surfing, across the Internet
Computer browser, websites: look at all those tubes!
Web surfing, across the internet
Boldly clicking forward. Dammit, we're not n00bs!

Data filtering report!

It's worse than that, it's spam, sir
Spam, sir. Spam, sir
It's worse than that, it's spam, sir
Spam, sir, Spam!

Well, they're memes, sir, but not as we know them
Not as we know them, not as we know them.
They're memes, sir, but not as we know them,
Not as we know them, ROFL!

There's earworms running through my brain.
Through my brain, through my brain.
There's earworms running through my brain.
Through my brain, Argh!

Weblog administration report!

Ah ha! Stay on topic! (disemvowel)
(Disemvowel, disemvowel)
Stay on topic! (disemvowel)
(Disemvowel trolls)

It's worse than that, it's spam, sir
Spam, sir. Spam, sir
It's worse than that, it's spam, sir
Spam, sir, Spam!

Well, they're memes, sir, but not as we know them
Not as we know them, not as we know them.
They're memes, sir, but not as we know them,
Not as we know them, ROFLMAO!

There's earworms running through my brain.
Through my brain, through my brain.
There's earworms running through my brain.
Make it stop, please!

Web surfing, across the Internet
Computer networks, servers: look at all those tubes!
Web surfing, across the internet
Boldly clicking forward — hey, look: b00bs!

Systems analysis report!

Ye canna change the laws of logic
Laws of logic, laws of logic
Ye canna change the laws of logic
Laws of logic, sir

Ah ha! Stay on topic! (disemvowel)
(Disemvowel, disemvowel)
Stay on topic! (disemvowel)
Crap, the server crashed.

It's worse than that, it's spam, sir
Spam, sir. Spam, sir
It's worse than that, it's spam, sir
Spam, sir, Spam!

Well, they're memes, sir, but not as we know them
Not as we know them, not as we know them.
They're memes, sir, but not as we know them,
Not as we know them. WTF?

There's earworms running through my brain.
Through my brain, through my brain.
There's earworms running through my brain.
Through my brain, Argh!

ALL UR BASE BELONG TO CATS!
MY BUCKET, HAVE YOU SEEN IT?
I CAN HAS PR0N?
OMGWTFBBQ!!!!!!!!
Server meltdown. Network meltdown.
Computer meltdown. Brain meltdown.

Tubes all blocked.
The rest is silence.

#93 ::: Ben Engelsberg ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 04:32 PM:

Melissa @ 69:

A little Google research, and I turned up the term "No Frills Books" and "No Frills Science Fiction". After that, I was able to find this picture of the "No Frills Science Fiction" book:

"No Frills Science Fiction"

#94 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 04:44 PM:

In June, 1985 I was recovering from my first and only (knock wood) surgery - the removal of an osteophyte (dang, that word is not in the spelling reference) and preparing for a big move from Utah to Illinois. That's quite the culture shock for a 13 year-old.

And speaking of generics (always popular in my household) I had a grey tabby named Generic; I had acquired her as an Easter gift in '83, and it took a month for a name to "stick". Generic was my dad's suggestion, based on her complete nondescript gray tabby-ness. She gained a "sibling", Spot, shortly after we adopted her. Generic only lasted one year in Il, before being hit by a car, but Spot was nearly 20 before he wore out.

#95 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 04:45 PM:

Stephen Granade (#20): the 85 bus is one of a handful of MBTA buses that consistently runs on schedule. (The rest, of course, fail to do so with varying levels of failure from mild to "there's a bus route here?".)

Ken houghton (#24): I have both Bobby Pickett's "Star Drek" and The Firm[1]'s "Star Trekkin'"; the latter is the one being repeatedly quoted here.

[1] Not to be confused with either of the two "supergroup"s that used the name.

Owlmirror (#92): Bravo.

On knives: I have the Victorinox "Cybertool 34", because it has (among other features) Torx bits. I have found that it is a sufficiently versatile tool that I can disassemble a large rack-mounted server with no other tools necessary. I wouldn't recommend it as a boating knife, unless you're planning to sail around a data center.

A notable musical reference to 1985 is in the SR-71 song of the same title, most famously covered by Bowling For Soup (complete with a video referencing a number of 80s music video clichés).

#96 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 05:04 PM:

"So tell me, future boy, who's the President of the United States in 1985?"
"Ronald Reagan."
"Ronald Reagan? The actor?"

(Please note I'm 5 hours east of the server time...)

#97 ::: Bill Humphries ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 05:07 PM:

Earl @ 91: How soon after that was "Godwin's Law" coined? I remember it being discussed one evening at Schultz's Beer Garden, and it certainly came up on SMOF-BBS.

#98 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 05:19 PM:

Gursky 66: The Man Who Folded Himself is, in my opinion, the best time travel novel ever. YMMV.

PRV 79 As did the GRANULATED SUGAR you'd sprinkle on it in the morning, and which was sold on the opposite side of the isle from the CORN FLAKES.

Well, that's not so bad in Manhattan, but it's still kind of a long walk. Blocks and blocks, unless you're wayyy downtown.

#99 ::: Larry Lennhoff ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 05:21 PM:

1985 was when my first post appeared on Usenet. It was in rec.comics. It was a review of issue #7 of Crisis on Infinite Earths, which included the death of Supergirl.

#100 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 05:26 PM:

I have fond memories from the mid-'80s of the generic bus in the Champaign-Urbana bus system. It was assigned to different routes, was painted with the classic olive green stripe, and cost less to ride than the other buses in the MTD.

#101 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 05:30 PM:

Melissa,

I can't find any images of the generic books either. But there are what seem to be copies of the sf one ("Science Fiction I") selling on abebooks.com for $1.

#102 ::: PublicRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 05:31 PM:

Xopher @ #98: LOL! Yah caught me in another 'lexical' blunder. Good eye.

#103 ::: Chris Gerrib ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 05:32 PM:

1985 - the year I graduated from high school AND discovered Beer. (I was a bit of a late bloomer.)

#104 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 05:39 PM:

#89: I love Grocery Outlet. Friends and family call it (and places like it) "the used food store."

Not used as in digested and shat, but because it has a grotty thrift store vibe to it.

As PVR suggests, the place has entertainment value, as well as occasional wonderful bargains.

Last year I saw a shelf full of Pathmark house brand pop-tarts. I'm in Oregon; as far as I know Pathmark doesn't have stores west of New Jersey.

Once Grocery Outlet got a shipment of 5 lb. bags of things like collard greens and brussel sprouts. Very cheap, very good. I had hopes they'd show up again. Not to be. Wah!

#105 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 06:03 PM:

Can anyone recommend a book on Russian daily life around the time of the Napoleonic Wars?

Insightful comment about the number 85. Witty reply to earlier comment.

See? I'm topical.

#106 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 06:18 PM:

I remember generic products. "This product is suitable for everyday use. Color and consistency may vary." There was a generic Knight and Lady at an SCA event; even her favor was bar-coded.

I believe that by 1985 I no longer had to eat generic products. But in about '80 or so, I remember that they saved me from starvation, at a time when I had $60 to my name, and had to make that last for six months (food only; I had a different arrangement for my rent). That wasn't as ludicrous as it would be today, but still pretty extreme. Generic mac&cheese was 19¢ a box. You were supposed to make it with margarine and milk, neither of which I could afford; I'd cook it at noon and have half for lunch and half for supper. Breakfast was not a meal.

I did a certain amount of scrounging to supplement during that time. Also my sister gave me a huge bag of assorted potatos left over from the ag lab she worked on. That helped a lot. Also I never knew there were so many kinds! And I may have been one of the first people to eat what is now called a Yukon Gold potato; they were developed at Michigan State around then.

I won't eat box-mix mac&cheese now. I WILL eat the zingy pasta-cheddar casserole I invented, with the mushrooms and onions and sundried tomatos and the herbs and spices—but I never, ever make it with elbow macaroni.

1985. As someone else mentioned, that was the year Back to the Future opened. I hadn't seen Michael J. Fox before; I fell in instant lust.

On the down side, it was also the first year of the second Reagan administration, as watching that movie reminds us.

#107 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 06:28 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 104

I used to love Grocery Outlet for the cereal boxes printed in Urdu and Hindi and Mandarin. Especially Count Chocula.

#108 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 06:32 PM:

Bill @ 97: Yes, the SMOF-BBS was one of Mike Godwin's first online venues, but I think his meme was formed after he had spread his wings a bit to a variety of other online locations. My own "Bentsen's Defense" was first used in 1991 on austin.general.

#109 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 06:34 PM:

While we are on the subject of the Man Who Folded Himself (but not did not spindle or mutilate), does anyone remember the title or author of a novel that came out in the last few years with a similar concept, a woman who receives a visit from an older version of herself, is given a time machine, and proceeds to jaunt all over the Multiverse, changing history to see what happens. The end, when she dies after having given herself the time machine, is very different. Well, it's different after she dies. It's irritating me like a mosquito bite that I can't remember who wrote it. And I liked it better than the Gerrold story, too.

#110 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 06:35 PM:

Generics, yes. My mom always shopped for value, so I'm sure we bought a bunch. However, the only one I can specifically remember was the BEER, because I thought it was amusing. I turned 17 in 1985, which may explain that bit. 1985/1986 were also my maximal years of MTV watching.

#111 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 06:40 PM:

Re knives: it is illegal for any person to be in possession of a weapon, including "any knife with a blade of 2 or more inches", within 1000 feet of a school in the state of Georgia. (O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127.1) You might want to consult your local laws if you regularly carry a pocketknife and might find yourself near a school. (Exceptions exist for certain categories of people, e.g. law enforcement personnel.)

Melissa @ #69, I certainly do remember generic groceries, but did not realize there had been generic novels.

#112 ::: PublicRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 06:41 PM:

Stefan,

The used food store! LOL! That fits entirely.

Although Grocery Outlet, as a chain, seems to be doing far better these days than it did ten years ago. Ten years ago, when we went to the outlet in Mt. Vernon, WA, it really was grotty. Dirty floor, bad lighting, hulking and unclean register workers.... Not attractive.

The location in Tacoma where we now shop is almost like a regular Safeway or Albertsons or something similar. Lighting is better, aisles (hah, Xopher) are clean and well organized, they even have produce now, and much of the discounted stuff is 'normal' brand; though you still see the off-name stuff, like the pop tarts you mentioned.

I'm always amused to find store brand Piggly Wiggly canned items at Grocery Outlet. Talk about seeing things not normally found in the West!

#113 ::: Earl Cooley III` ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 06:42 PM:

Bleargh. 2001, not 1991:

#114 ::: PublicRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 06:43 PM:

So we have Bruce, Stefan, and myself.

Any other Grocery Outlet shoppers here?

#115 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 06:48 PM:

Bruce @109

Do you remember there being a war in your story? Your description reminds me of one recent story, but I hesitate to name it here because your description + the title could be a spoiler.

#116 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 06:53 PM:

In some respects, bulk food sections are a modern version of generic foods.

Across the street from me is a WinCo, a huge no-frills supermarket. The bulk section is remarkable; everything from candy and dog biscuits to whole grain pasta and three-colored couscous.

Last month, when various news outlets were covering the "[Congressperson|mayor|governor] shops on a Food Stamp budget," I took some scratch paper to WinCo and figured out what I'd buy for $84 a month. It seems doable, and I'd probably eat better than a good chunk of Earth's population, but it would be a boring and rather starchy diet that requires lots of prep time and cooking. Lots of cabbage, potatoes, pasta, oatmeal, and so on. (Of course, not everyone lives next to WinCo. If you shopped at a ripoff urban grocer you'd be in deep trouble.)

#117 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 06:55 PM:

Fidelio #44: Shouldn't that have been 'Bonus Amicus'?

#118 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 06:56 PM:

Kathryn,

I don't remember a war, but I do remember gung gur cebgntbavfg ng bar cbvag fcrag n ybg bs gvzr va na nanybthr 19gu Praghel Ybaqba nffvfgvat n Ubyzrf-nanybthr va qrgrpgvba. That help?

#119 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 07:01 PM:

I'm thinking of getting an e-book reader (sony's, maybe, depending on how nasty their file format/drm thing is)...anyone want to share experiences?

#120 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 07:07 PM:

I have gone to Grocery Outlet; there is even one very near me. They're OK as far as amusing grocery shopping goes,and a reliable place to find good sardines, but for a real thrill of dependably exotic stuff (aisles and aisles of sauces! aisles and aisles of frozen dumplings!), and amazing fresh produce, I prefer Uwajimaya.

However, I will never again go to the one in the ID on the day the Mariners are playing at home. It's pretty visited by every Japanese tourist in the Northwest at such times, and I don't like crowds much any more.

#121 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 07:15 PM:

Bruce @118,

Ah. Different story, and not ringing any bells.

#122 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 07:16 PM:

Abi #62: Do you have a Ring of Doom?

#123 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 07:25 PM:

abi @ 62... Abi Nine-Finger sounds almost as scary as Nightmare Abi.

#124 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 07:27 PM:

Stefan Jones #88: What is wrong with sheep's milk? The cheesemakers of Roquefort would like to know.

#125 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 07:29 PM:

Xopher #98: Or way uptown (former Inwood resident here).

#126 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 07:30 PM:

And if abi is going to have two noms-de-terreur, I'd like to have one for myself. Considering that I almost blinded myself with a screwdriver last night while trying to set up blinds, something piratical might be in order.

Serge of the Seven Seas?

#127 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 07:34 PM:

While we are on the subject of the Man Who Folded Himself (but not did not spindle or mutilate), does anyone remember the title or author of a novel that came out in the last few years with a similar concept, a woman who receives a visit from an older version of herself, is given a time machine, and proceeds to jaunt all over the Multiverse, changing history to see what happens.

Could this be Here, There and Everywhere by Chris Roberson? I haven't read it, but it sounds like the synopsis.

#128 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 07:35 PM:

Serge #126: Wouldn't that make you a Tidal Serge?

#129 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 07:40 PM:

Fragano @122:
Abi #62: Do you have a Ring of Doom?

No, but my doorbell does.

It's the sound that a double glazing salesman hears when he presses the button beside the door during the dinner hour, shortly before he is flensed in one neat, swift tongue-lashing and sent upon his way, still skinless.

I do it to phone spammers as well.

#130 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 07:49 PM:

abi... Do you show them the skull that's encased in a bowling ball?

#131 ::: Karl Kindred ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 07:54 PM:

Sarah @ 105:

Personally, I'd have to say "War and Peace" is about the best novelization of Napoleonic-era life in Russia that I've ever read.

Andrew @ 55:

First, get one with a lanyard hook.

Second, I'd have to say that in my opinion (which counts for little if anything at all) the best knife is always the one that someone gives you...I had a Swiss Army Knife for about two decades based on it's status as "coolest gift I was given on my 11th birthday" and NOT on it's merits of practical usefulness.

After it broke from over sharpening and one-too-many tumbles down a rock wall after falling out of my pocket (no lanyard ring) I tried several alternatives.

For my personal taste, a leatherman tool with the needle-nose pliers in the fold up is the perfect multi-use tool. They make several that are durable, fit nicely in the hand, and have as few or as many "extras" as you need (but seriously, NO ONE needs an awl on their pocket knife).

For boating I'd get one with a nice serrated blade and a corrosion resistant finish. And a lanyard hook.

Trust me on the lanyard hook.

---

I used to have ellipsis-itis...but now I seem to have developed hyper-hyphenation-disease...is there a reliable and effective cure someone could recommend?

#132 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 07:55 PM:

#124: Any reputable cheese maker would disown the grainy, almost tasteless sheep's milk concealed in those utility grade ravioli!

#133 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 07:56 PM:

Abi @129,

You may enjoy the story I just told in the White Horse thread on why my acquaintance will never again get door-to-door religion salesmen.

#134 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 08:03 PM:

Abi Nine Fingers sounds like one of a) a 19th century Cree Indian b) a Delta blues player or c) a minor character from "Goodfellas".
Or, indeed, all three.

#75: Muji opened shops in London a couple of years ago. Not bad.

#95: there was a band called SR-71? I'll file that along with the B-52s and U2. And, I suppose, the Eagles. And the Foo Fighters.

Any others? Was there a rock and roll band called the Phantoms? It sounds as though there ought to have been. Glamorous Glennis and The X-1-ettes? (better than Enola Gay and the Liberators)
Has Charlie Stross set up a cover band called the B-36s yet?

#135 ::: Karl Kindred ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 08:05 PM:

Kathryn @ 133:

THIS is why I HOPE to someday get a door to door religion peddler. It won't be unique, but it will be fun.

The follow up is also a good time waiting to happen.

#136 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 08:15 PM:

ajay, expand to helicopters and you could have the Hueys, the Cobras, and the Apaches. Go further to the manufacturers and you could have the Bells and the Sikorskys.

#137 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 08:23 PM:

Wesley @ 127

Yes, that's it. Thanks a lot, the itching has stopped.

Looking at the website: was the book published under two separate titles or are there two related books with the same protagonist? Inquiring minds want to know.

#139 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 08:33 PM:

Rats. How about a link that actually does something?

best swiss army knife of all

#140 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 08:33 PM:

Karl @ 135 Thanks! First I laughed. Then I forwarded the link to my daughter, who is a student in a Catholic high school, with strict instructions that she was NOT to use it to get herself and her fanfic-writing friends in trouble. Now I'm still grinning.

#141 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 08:36 PM:

Abi #129: Here we're less bothered by door-to-door salesmen. Telephone solicitors were another matter before the Do-Not-Call list, but now we're only bothered by 'charities'. We've had fewer calls though since a caller for a county police benevolent association got me:

Caller: ... and there's a death benefit as well.
Me: You mean you'd benefit from my death?
Caller: Oh, no, no, no.
Me: But you just said so. Why do you want my death?
Caller: I don't want you to die.
Me: Then why did you talk about benefitting from my death? This is just too weird. Goodbye.


#142 ::: JBWoodford ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 08:43 PM:

Bill @ #97:

ISTR Godwin's Law appearing for the first time on Usenet, on misc.legal, something like 1987 or 1988. Mike was one of the more prolific posters there when I was following it.

#143 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 08:50 PM:

My own religious door-to-door story was actually Eva's because I was off slaying schedules at Intel that day. She was newly pregnant with our second child and hthe doctor insisted she stay home and rest. This made her hungry for company but also a little cranky.

So she let the Jehovah's Witnesses* in and sat them down to talk. After a bit one of them noticed the family photograph. At the time I was thinner and had dark hair and beard. I was compared physically by several people to Charles Manson.

The JW was a little shaken by the picture, and then noticed a Frazetta print I'd hung on the wall**. He asked Eva what that signified, and she told him that was one of our holy pictures. They left hurriedly muttering something about "Satan".

* I resisted the temptation to use 'l' instead of an 'n'. Ain't I good?

** I think it was Sun Goddess but it was almost 30 years ago, and I'm overdue for ... something, don't remember what.

#144 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 08:54 PM:

wow, fast-moving thread. Seemingly a few minutes ago, #69 and the No-Frills Book - there's a low-res file of it over at Library Thing:


http://www.librarything.com/work-info.php?book=8064884


And: a thread about pocket knife recommendations! (Man, I love this place...)

Since I went off to college a long time ago, I've carried a Swiss Army "Classic" on my key-ring. I've experimented with various larger models, right up to the Victorinox "Preposterous" model - but they wear right through your pockets.

So I've settled on an everyday knife on my key ring (currently, the version of the "Classic" that has a built-in LED), and I also keep a Special Occasion tool/knife somewhere in the vicinity, where it doesn't wear out my clothes: I keep a Leatherman tool in every glovebox, a specialized Victorinox in the laptop case, etc.

#145 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 09:20 PM:

Fragano et. al @141,

I've mentioned who called us in other threads: it's a website where you can look up caller-ID numbers and enter in numbers of phone spammers calling. I encourage everyone to use it: the more info entered, the faster spammers and scammers' patterns are visible.

Recently I got back from a weekend trip to see 5-6 "missed calls" from one number.

I looked it up: it was a 'benevolent fund for firefighters and kittens' type charity. Not a full scam, but the majority of donations goes to overhead- ick. Other people reported how very, very difficult it was to get them to stop calling: as soon as you mentioned the dnc list they'd hang up. And then call again and again.

Ah. I was prepared. Since they'd hang up on people mentioning the dnc list, they were fair game. Note that I never... lied.

Ring. Ring. [Notes caller-id is from the spammers]
"Hello, who is calling?"
"This is the BFFFAK, is this Kathryn Fudsudlyjail? Do you know about the good works of firefighters in the face of dangerous fires...?"

"Are you calling about my dad?"
"What?"

"Because he's dead. Firefighters couldn't save my dad*."
"Wha...oh, I'm so sorry, and..."

"Don't you think it's a little too soon**? Why would I want to hear about fires now?"
"Err... well, firefighters..."

"Do firefighters think about giving to my family?***"
"I'msosorrytohearaboutyourloss. I'm going to put you on our do-not-call list, so no one from here ever calls again. AgainI'msosorry. Goodbye."

---------
* Not that we asked them to: he was in the hospital. No one could, including firefighters.

** certainly it was too soon from the last 6 times they'd tried calling me.

*** No. (Although they, on balance, might owe my dad some thanks. He did some nifty work as a forensics engineer on fire prevention.)

#146 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 09:34 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale #145: I'll have to try both of those approaches! The big problem with registered charities, which those firefighter and police 'benevolent associations' are is that they're exempt from the Do-Not-Call list.

#147 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 10:15 PM:

You can be stopped, searched & your knife taken, if police in New South Wales think you look suspicious in a public place. I used to carry a smallish, fairly plain pocket knife in my bag all the time, but had to abandon the practice after the "it's illegal to carry a knife" law came in ... might be 10 years back.

An official "Do Not Call" list for Australia has just started, and I'm dead certain that the exemptions for charities & other 'good causes' will just become a loophole wide enough for the botheration to be hardly affected.

Stefan (#88) Now, of course, sheep's milk cheese is fancy, expensive, gourmet stuff, pecorino, & so forth.

#148 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 10:18 PM:

they're exempt from the Do-Not-Call list

But it doesn't mean they don't have Do-Not-Call lists. It's just trickier to get on them.

Those charities and their overhead, boy-oh-boy. Let's talk about charities and direct mail and the efficiency they obviously don't feel they need to have in direct mail expenditures.

So an elderly relative of mine passed away 2 years ago, and I'm helping, as is all my family, (probate recently closed) to clean up and fix up the house.

She did donate to the Humane Society, we know that. But she was and continues to be on the lists of another 30 "Save the X sympathetic megafauna" charities*.

They send photos, and cards, and nickels, and quarters, and calendars. At Christmas they send Xmas cards, even thin ornaments.

They run inefficiently, and that annoys me, because they haven't noticed and don't care that she hasn't responded ever, especially ever in the past 2 years.

And, gah, catalogs. She did shop from 2-3 catalogs, not being able to walk well her last few years. So she'd get about 10 catalogs. I've been watching them. The catalogs will say they miss you, and that if you don't order soon (this when she never ordered ever) they'll stop sending the catalog. No, they'll just send 10 "we miss you" covers in a row, and never ever stop.

----
* I should take her name off. It only costs $1. Although that's $1 by credit card to the Direct Marketing Association. Not thrilled, that.

#149 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 10:23 PM:

ajay, expand to helicopters and you could have the Hueys, the Cobras, and the Apaches. Go further to the manufacturers and you could have the Bells and the Sikorskys.

I don't think they have quite the same cultural traction as a B-52, U2, or SR-71, though. Plus, helicopters aren't the fastest, biggest, highest flying, or anything like that. They're airborne jeeps.

Not to mention, the actual model numbers, UH-1, AH-1, and AH-64, have almost zero cultural traction.

Is there a band called "Weapons of Mass Destuction"? That's got some traction, but it's negative. There is a band called "Anthrax" named after the bioweapon, but the band existed long before the anthrax scares.

Hm. "foo fighters" is an obscure ww2 term. My guess is if you want military terms for bands, look for more WW2 terms. That was the last "good" war, after all.

#150 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 10:41 PM:

Re door-to-door religion salesmen, I once scared off a Jehovah's Witness by pulling out my Greek New Testament and challenging the translation of a particular passage she kept citing.

Not everyone is prepared to deal with an Episcopalian* who did the first two years of her A.B., Religion at a Baptist college.

-----
*Well, I was one at the time. It got better.

#151 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:12 PM:

1985, according to a log I started keeping a few years before, was the year when I flew the most miles (Aussiecon 2, \and/ Norwescon via Atlanta (because it was the longest overnight return flight I could find, OK?)). Yes, I'm a geek. But I've got a homemade great-circle calculator and I'm not afraid to use it!

Andrew T: I second (tenth? twentieth?) Victorinox. I have the 3-bay enlisted model: Phillips screwdriver in place of a corkscrew (because enlisted men drink beer instead of wine*), awl, 2 blades, scissors, can & bottle openers, tweezers, and a plastic toothpick in a very compact package. I've used all of them. V are usually stainless steel, which is a good thing if you're around water but not great for cutting -- the blades don't seem to hold a good edge even when sharpened by a serious knife store. This may be a serious problem on a sailboat, less so on a motorboat.

* No, really, that's what the salesman said. And I pay heed to anyone who recognizes a stylized Cheshire cat from the other end of the store.

#152 ::: R. N. Dominick ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:13 PM:

It's from a few years before 1985 ('82, to be exact) but Daniel Pinkwater wrote a YOUNG ADULT NOVEL...

#153 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:14 PM:

Mary@119:

I have the Sony reader. The reader itself is fine and is stuffed with Neil Stephenson novels at the moment (I just finished the Baroque Cycle). The software is Windows-only, and the attached online bookstore has a disappointing selecton. There have been no problems putting "outside" books on there: I've loaded the whole Honor Harrington series off the CD that was included with the last book. The DRM is only slightly obtrusive - a one-time setup. I have not had to transfer my books between PCs yet so can't report on that.

If you're buying one, go to Borders and play with the demo unit there to see if you like the look and feel and if the screen is ok. The way the screen works, there is sometimes ghosting from previous screens. It also will store pictures (display is black and white only), and MP3s, which I haven't tried yet.

My biggest complaint is that if I leave it powered up, random bumps will flip pages. So I always bookmark my latest page, and usually power it off if I'm not actively reading.

I would love to have the Harry Potter novels or the Aubrey/Maturin series in an electronic format: anyone know where I might find them (if anywhere?)

#154 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:31 PM:

Re JWs and their ilk:

Years ago, we had a sort of Pagan slan-shack going on the top floor of an apartment building. Unfortunately, the second floor was partly occupied by JWs who liked to knock on our doors first thing Sunday morning when we were recovering from the p/a/r/t/y ritual of the night before.

One day, a rather large member of our group got fed up with this. Saturday night, all 6 foot 2 of his wrestler physique took the biggest book we had and knocked on their door. He said,
"Hello, I'm from Odin's Witnesses and I'm here to talk to you about the Elder Eddas".

They never bothered us again.

Re generics:
At one point, they were so widespread here in Minnesota that a friend had a generic *party*. The invitations were plain black and white with a bar code, all the food and drink, including the beer, were generic. AND he made t-shirts for all attendess that said "Generic Guest" on them, with a bar-code; the host and his girlfriend's t-shirts had "Generic Host" on them.

Still have the t-shirt.

#155 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:39 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 69 - Not only to I remember generics, I recall that Pathmark (a dodgy NY supermarket chain) had a whole line of them.

I once started a trend at a party by taking a plain white label, drawing a black stripe 1/2" from the top, neatly (for me) writing "NO FRILLS" above the line, "LARRY" below it and adding starbursts reading "CFC-Free" and "Dolphin Safe". Soon everyone was wearing inappropriate product attributes.

Oddly, now some of the store brand products are better than the national brands.

#156 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:50 PM:

You can also send a postcard to the DMA for the 26c postage.

The $1 charge online is to prevent people from doing bulk unlist operations -- i.e., use a bot to submit an entire phonebook.

The sad part is the reason the charities resort to the geegaws and telemarketing is that it works. Most people don't just send checks out of the blue. From the charity's point of view, getting 10% of money contributed is better than 100% of zero.

#157 ::: DILBERT DOGBERT ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 11:56 PM:

Here I am mind firmly stuck in idle clicking thru bookmarks to find something to enjoyably pass the time till bed and what pops up but 1985. Well here I sit in my tee from the 1985 South Tower Race. Now all your comments have made that race a mindworm. I am repeating it over and over. Thanks a lot.
Then I read about 9 fingers and a mindworm of my friend 9 toes takes a firm grasp of my imagination.
Thanks again for nothing.

#158 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 01:07 AM:

Re: Generics: I read a report of a blind taste test of various chocolates. The dark horse winner was Safeway Select Semisweet Chocolate Chips, beating out Vahlrona (sp?) and a multitude of other hoitytoity chocolates. I've used it myself quite a bit, and as long as you properly anticipate the higher melting point (they add heat-stabilizers to chips to keep them from melting, I hear), it makes a killer ganache.

#159 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 01:42 AM:

Heresiarch, Haggen (Washington and Oregon only, I think) also has very fine semi-sweet chips, fine textured and intense.

#160 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 01:56 AM:

One of these days, I've got to memorize the juicy bits from Mark Twain's The War Prayer. That could come in handy some day.

#161 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 02:18 AM:

Earl Cooley III @ 160

If we're giving them prayers, what could be more appropriate than The Possibly Proper Death Litany otherwise known as The Agnostics Prayer ("To whom it may concern ...")

#162 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 02:33 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale at #84 wrote:

> ** Mostly. I did finally work out a rule for getting rid of bad books, because otherwise I'd be a Smaug with gold in my library.

What's your rule? I've been trying to purge lately and the best I've been able to do is "purge books while feeling sour and irritable".

#163 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 03:11 AM:

Lila @150:
Sounds like the experience my friends gave the JWs once, entirely unintentionally.

They were student priests of the Carmelite order (discalced) studying at the Berkeley theological college. They were a little...unworldly. They were also, by house rules, in the custom of wearing their habits (brown, long tunic plus scapular plus capuce) around the house.

The house was an ordinary residential house on an ordinary street.

The brother in charge of opening the door on the fateful day was Thomas, who happened to be going bald at the time. His particular baldness pattern exactly duplicated the medieval tonsure, and he has a lean, aescetic face anyway.

So the JWs ring the doorbell, and this monk straight out of a medieval illumination opens the door. They begin the spiel - a little hesitantly - and he looks interested. He invites them in, offers them something to drink and some nibbles (they always had things around, because they always had people around). The other brothers gather to listen to these people, like it's another lecture at theological college.

Then they get out their triglot (Hebrew/Greek/English) Bibles and start looking up the relevant passages. Without really meaning to, they fall back into some long-running arguments about the translation of a couple of words, and some of the exegesis that falls out of that.

I think it went on for an hour before the priest in charge of the house came back from the shopping and rescued the poor JW's. I understand they haven't been back.

#164 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 03:18 AM:

ajay @134:

Ironically, my mother's father's father was a nineteenth century Cree, we think. I don't think his name was Nine-Fingers.

#165 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 04:00 AM:

There's an ad on the side that asks what the length of your fingers says about your personality. What the length of my fingers say is that I have gout.

Greg, #68, I'm the one who asked for the new thread to start with, and there's 163 posts when I get here!

Linkmeister, #77, I remember the generic cans at the commissary in the 1960s and on. They usually weren't even black and white, but black lettering on the can.

Fragano, #128, Ow!

Karl, #131, I use the awl on my Victorinix Swiss Army Knife. I use my regular awl at home much more often, but I keep the VSAK in the car for when I'm out.

#166 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 04:03 AM:

"This morning the authorities entered the home on Babson and found it deserted, the floors slick with mud and seaweed. On the computer was the LiveJournal of Zachary Marsh, with a notice reading “Update Successful.”"

More of the story here.

#167 ::: Skapusniak ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 04:11 AM:

Mary @ 119 Ebook Readers.

I read ebooks on: My desktop PC running Windows XP (19" CRT monitor), My Sony PSP (4.5" Backlit TFT) and My HTC s710 Smartphone running Windows Mobile 6 (2.5" Backlit TFT).

The Desktop PC can read everything I've thrown at it no matter what the DRM because all the umpty-billion ebook DRM formats have a reader that runs on Windows XP, but it's ummm, not exactly portable, and a 19" CRT isn't the greatest thing for reading books on. It's actually too big, and the brightness and contrast level I want for reading ebooks, is different from the one I want for doing other stuff.

...

The Sony PSP can't do DRM of any kind, but has a web browser so can read books in HTML and plain text format. Unlike a desktop PC it's actually portable, and the TFT screen is really quite reasonable for reading. However, it's fairly heavy, and the inbuilt web browser is not ideal for ebook reading as the controls are a bit clunky when reading a book. It also tends to get really slow on some HTML ebook layouts. Generally when they stick all the text for the entire book in one file and have a big picture of the front cover at the top of the page, it tends to have performance problems.

(Tip for reading Baan HTML formatted books on a PSP, link to the contents page of each book from your homemade booklist index page, rather than the usual Baan start-of-book page, as this will strip out all the navigation cruft that just gets in the way on the PSP.)

...

The phone can handle most DRM types because it's running Windows Mobile. As long as it isn't DRM'd PDFs -- too heavyweight, out of date software from Adobe -- I can probably find something that does the job to put on the phone. It is portable and light, and the screen is actually really nice, but obviously it's just too small.

It's not actually as bad as 2.5" sounds because most ebook reading software will let you jack up font size to something reasonble and set scrolling options and things. However 40 words per 'page' is not exactly ideal. I haven't even tried HTML or plain-text on it, I just can't see there being enough flexibiity in a web-browser or text-editor application to get a comfortable setup for reading on a screen that small.

...

So if you want a more-portable-than-a-laptop device primarily for reading ebooks on, I guess I would say you want a PDA of some kind running Windows Mobile/Pocket PC, with a TFT screen of a similar size to the PSP or bigger, should such a thing exist. This would give the most DRM compatibility in a smallish device, at a reasonable screen size for reading.

If you don't need *quite* as much DRM compatbility then a PDA with Palm-OS rather than Windows is probably just as good if not better.

You'll also want a flash memory card of an appropriate type to stick your books on.

If you don't mind being locked into a single DRM format then you have more choices, including the various types dedicated ebook reader hardware, for your first device, and then probably subsequently horribly limited ones for future devices due to the DRM lock-in.

If you don't need or want to read DRM'd material at all, you are in the happy position of being able to choose practically anything that's in the right form factor with a screen you like that can read html or plain-text, including Linux-y things like the Nokia N800 (as recomended by Mr. Stross I believe).

#168 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 04:17 AM:

Steve @162,

My Friends Rush In rule:

Friends rush in. "Hey, late for the airport, gone in 30 seconds... Flying to Australia- 16 hours- plus layover- fully awake- need to borrow books. k...thx..bye." And they're gone.

While talking, they've taken several books off your shelves. Assuming that they're aware of what type of books they have*, do you feel compelled to grab any of those books away, because you like your friends too much to let them be trapped on an airplane with that book?

You've already read it, and you strongly feel it isn't worth your friends' time. If you won't let your friends read it, why would you not be a friend to yourself and stop yourself from rereading it?

Why do you still have it?

This is a rule / question I could apply while in in any mood, and I did. Note that I generally wrote the names down so that I could revisit them** if needed- funny, I've never missed them.

For example, me in a happy mood and contemplating my library:
"Would it make me less happy to think of my friends reading this book?" leads to
"Am I as happy knowing the book isn't on the shelf and is in this box?" leads to
"Am I happy the box of mediocre books is gone?" leads to
"I now have a shelf with room for new books. Yay!"

-----
* i.e. they know they're in the Economic Theory section, or you call out "zoology" or "Kierkegaardian existentialism" when they were about to choose a book. Also assume your small library of guilty pleasures is in another room, and that your friends can recognize your antique or collectible books.

** now I can and do take a digital photograph of what I sell or give away. When I go back to look at those pics, I've felt nothing but happiness that me-of-the-past gifted me-of-today with getting rid of that ugly stuff. And it isn't that I don't understand the "but I could use it someday" feeling.

#169 ::: Skapusniak ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 04:27 AM:

Me @ 167

Baan HTML formatted books

And if you think those are something you should try reading SAP or Peoplesoft HTML formatted books on your PSP! Alas, the J.D. Edwards ones suck.

...Yes, I did actually mean Baen there :)

#170 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 05:03 AM:

1985 was Anthony Burgess's dystopian novel, which I recall involved rogue schoolboys speaking Latin as an underground language.

As for Jehovah's Witnesses, I was doorstepped by a Mother and Daughter pair one day while working at home. The mother started talking about Eve crushing the serpent, so I got out Robert Graves's Greek Myths and explained about the cult of Ashtoreth, and she hustled her daughter out of the door rapidly...

#171 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 05:31 AM:

Marilee @ 166:

You know, probably 2 or 3 times a week I get insomnia. Frequently I get up and web surf, searching for that one special link that will bring meaning and joy to the internet.

Up until now, it hasn't worked.

(Those following Marilee's link should also check out Subservient Chicken at the bottom of the referenced page.)

#172 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 05:36 AM:

Serge, #28: Ask and ye shall receive.

Gursky, #66: It kept me tolerably well-entertained while sitting in the jury duty pool for several hours. I remember that I was mind-bent enough to shake my head after finishing it, that I thought it was worthwhile to have read it, and that I've not felt any need to read it again.

#173 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 06:55 AM:

Have you seen LOLfeeds yet? Turn any LJ or RSS feed (including yours) into cat macros.

#174 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 07:44 AM:

Larry Lennhoff@99: I think you mean "net.comics". (I got onto Usenet shortly after the Great Renaming. When I tried to post, rn advised me to go read "mod.announce.newusers"; I dutifully tried to do so, and was quite confused to be told that it didn't exist.)

On knives: I have a pocketknife I keep on my belt. It's this one. I didn't buy it, nor was it given me -- I sat down on a BART train one day, and there it was. It must have caught on the edge of the seat cushion and fallen off its owner's belt without him noticing. Really I ought to have turned it in to Lost and Found but I couldn't bring myself to.

#175 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 08:07 AM:

"That was no ladle, that was my knife."
(I stole that one, yes.)

#176 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 08:14 AM:

Lee @ 172... Thankyouthankyouthankyou! I now find myself before such an embarassment of riches that I don't know which Ted Cassidy picture to use in LiveJournal. (By the way, you knew that Cassidy's hand was Thing on The Addams Family, right?)

#177 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 08:21 AM:

Patrick Connors @#153 & Skapusniak @#167:

Thanks for the info!

I shouldn't read books on the computer because I spend 8-10 hours a day in front of a computer, and my spine isn't wild about that. I shouldn't read them on anything smaller than a paperback because the 8-10 hours of computing is hard on the eyes as well as the spine. So it sounds like I could get the Sony reader and buy DRM-free content for it if I want to...that's good news. I'll go fiddle with it at the store and see what I think.

So, where do you buy your e-books?

#178 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 08:21 AM:

abi @ 164... my mother's father's father was a nineteenth century Cree

But no Skrull in the family tree, right?

#179 ::: Nenya ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 08:28 AM:

1985 includes one of my first clear memories, arguing with my younger brother about the gender of our soon-to-appear third sibling. He won the debate, and I remember my mother comforting me that really, I would end up loving my new little brother just as much as if he had been a sister, really truly! I didn't believe her but of course she was right. (Had to wait another four years for a little sister of my own, but eventually got one.)

I didn't see Back to the Future until 1997, but fell madly in love with it when I did. I suppose Xopher has dibs on Marty, though, having seen him first. (Rats!)

All this talk about Generics is fascinating! I much regret having never experienced them (although I am familiar with numerous "no-name" and "house" brands).

#180 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 08:35 AM:

#117--you're right, Fragano, "Bonus Amicus" is correct Latin, but I wanted to be sure the product was entirely identifiable, because otherwise, where's the joke?

#181 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 08:38 AM:

#93: The Encyclopedia of SF (1993) on that No Frills Science Fiction book:

"SILBERSACK, JOHN (WALTER) (1954- ) US editor and writer, active in the former capacity with Putnam/Berkley books 1977-81 [... snip further career details ...] His own writing has been, by comparison, peripheral, consisting of an anonymous sf spoof, No Frills Science Fiction (1981 chap) ..."

#182 ::: Pete ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 08:52 AM:

1985 was ... probably the hardest year of my life. It started with highschool, and ended with the death of my maternal grandmother. It still hurts.

(1984, by comparison, was almost certainly the best year of my life. A large part of me still lives there.)

1985 will always be Marty McFly and Doc Brown, and dreams of going back and making things better.

#183 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 10:25 AM:

Ben @93: Thank you. That was indeed the book I was looking for. Thanks to the various others who posted additional bits of information. Though I was working for that publisher at the time, it was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. My memory of that time has been largely overwritten by the ensuing couple of decades (especially the last dozen years [insert dd here]).

Stefan @116: Part of the point of the "congressperson on food stamps" experiment (my congressperson was one of them) was to demonstrate what people could afford _in their neighborhoods_. Not only do many urban neighborhoods not have _any_ supermarkets, they also don't have greengrocers. And to get to a supermarket, you have to either drive or take public transportation. Not everyone has a car, obviously enough, and trying to carry a week's worth of groceries on the bus or subway, well, it's a serious trial--and people can't afford to make an extra trip more than once a week. It's $2 each way in NYC right now if you're not bulk-buying your transit. I assume most of the people on food stamps are not able to bulk-buy transportation.

The other part of the food stamp experiment that was really interesting were the physical and emotional/psychological effects of eating that sort of diet. My congressperson reported feeling tired and cranky all the time, having substantially less energy, being unable to stick to his usual exercise/activity routine, not being able to think clearly, etc. This made me wonder how much diet was responsible for poor educational outcomes in families on food stamps/in poverty.

It's not just inner cities that have problems gaining access to food, either. At the other end of my neighborhood, a small supermarket closed a few years ago, replaced by a "nearby" and much larger branch of the same chain. The problem? The small market was that only supermarket near a number of senior living facilities. Most of these older people don't drive anymore for various reasons, though they are living mostly independently. The new, large market is too far for the seniors to walk to. Happily, the living facilities ultimately set up a shuttle service so that the old folks could do their shopping, but it's not free.

#184 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 10:31 AM:

For reading e-books, I like my Palm, which as a bonus is my external brain: keeps track of my calendar, to-do list, contact list, and miscellaneous notes. It comes with a reader program, eReader, which works just fine for me, and will run programs like Mobipocket too, since some e-books are sold in that format.

The Palm Z22 is $100 and though the screen is small, I found it surprisingly easy to read lots of stuff on it. The Palm TX has a much nicer screen but is more expensive, in the $250-$300 range.

My understanding is that the Sony reader is a lot bigger, which would seriously cut down on its portability for me.

And at this time in 1985, I was coming up on eight years old and just finishing second grade. I can't be the youngest person reading this?

#185 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 10:41 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale #148: I tend to find that in such cases feigning complete insanity helps (some people might say I wasn't feigning).

#186 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 10:41 AM:

Re: JWs

When my daughter was a lot younger, she and I wound up becoming fairly friendly with a young JW and her daughter, who was the same age as my child. For about a year she sporadically attempted to convert me. I think she was never really taught how to try to convert a Jew, though, because she was really bad at it. I was actually very curious about her faith, and asked a whole lot of questions. But alas, this never turned into a desire on my part to become a JW. Also, I was newly involved with what has since become "my" synagogue, so after a while it must have become clear to her that I was just not interested. I was never less than respectful of her faith, though, and we talked a lot, as time passed, about faith and practice, about educating our children, etc.

Eventually, we were invited to her daughter's end-of-school-year (because they don't have birthday parties) party. We were the only non-JWs there. I think that no one outside of my friend's husband knew that we were Jewish until we were well into the festivities; then there were all sorts of awkward Jewish cliches trotted out (talking about education, someone said, "your people really value education, don't they?"; talking about how JW's tend to marry within the faith and how my friend was unusual because her husband was a convert rather than born into the faith, someone said, "well, Jews tend to marry their own, too, right?"). Ignorance rather than bigotry, you know?

Anyway, it was fascinating.

It was also the last time we saw them socially. I have a feeling that the elders who were at the party came down on my friend pretty hard for associating with a non-JW. And I suspect they figured out that I was the source of some questions she'd asked during the preceding year or so (oops, that was bad of me, but it wasn't on purpose). We saw them from time to time in the neighborhood, of course, but it wasn't like before. About 2 years later she stopped by my table in a local eatery to say that the family was relocating to a predominantly JW town somewhere in the South. And that she and her husband were in counseling.

I wonder about her from time to time.

#187 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 10:43 AM:

Generics: essentially all UK supermarkets have their own line of "no frills" products. The Tesco spirits have a plain white label with text in black, Helvetica caps - for example, SCOTCH WHISKY (oh, we're stripping html now are we?)

Muji: had it in Leeds in '98 or thereabouts.

Blades: I used to carry a Victorinox everywhere, and I also had a Swisscard - a tool they make that fits into a credit card-sized wallet pouch. However, I used the Victorinox to activate a sealed USB port on a college computer, and (floating on a wave of geekifaction) left it there. The card remained in my wallet until I forgot it was there and Heathrow security nailed the fucker..

#188 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 10:47 AM:

Marilee #165: Thank you!

#189 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 10:57 AM:

Fidelio #180: You're right. On t'other hand it has a bit more sonority in straight Latin (and I'm amazed that I got the Latin right).

#190 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 11:06 AM:

I find it immensely easy to let go of books now, since I started on bookmooch.com . My old, unwanted books go to someone who wants to read them, and I get new books to read myself. It's amazing how different a library looks when the question are:
-Will I reread this book?
-Is this book good enough to keep, or should I trade it in for a new one?
-Do I have a sentimental reason to keep this book?
-How easy is this book to replace?
-Have I tried to read this book more than once, and then stopped? Do I feel like giving it another go?
-What category is this book in? Is it an Twinkie book, or something more substantial? Do I need another Twinkie book/series in my library right now?
-Do I want to have this book in my library to lend to other people? For potential future children/ current visiting relatives to read?
-Does my sweetie want to read this? Should I lend it to hir mother/sister, then put it up on bookmooch?

I like your method, Katherine. I've found it very freeing to be able to let go of books I no longer want, of clothes I won't wear, of the things that clutter up my life and accumulate. It's easier for me to let go when the objects I'm letting go of are going to good homes, and people who want or need them.

#191 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 11:18 AM:

Apropos of previous Trek comments this abomination is making it's way into the world

Can someone head out to California and explain to Mr Wheaton and Takei why involving themselves with these people is a bad bad bad idea?

#192 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 11:23 AM:

I don't automatically keep any book I've bought anymore. Moving from Canada to California, then later to New Mexico, has taught me the virtue of weeding as I go, not all in one mad session. Still, I enjoy being surrounded by books. Can't help it.

#193 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 11:46 AM:

Half-awake JW memory:

My entry yard is a series of steps filled with loose pea gravel, with floating pavers of various shapes. The utilitarian rectangular concrete ones are set to accomodate the pace of people between 4'6" and 6'2" (this feature also acts as a drain feature to keep the roof water from running down the driveway). One wintery afternoon the dogs started their "visitors" bark, and I got to the door in time to see a young woman carrying a fist full of "Watchtowers" and a Bible, wearing an unseasonable but flattering dress and pumps with three inch heels, carefully picking her way between the pavers, avoiding the grey concrete and multicolored Escheresque fish and roughly split basalt with equal care to sink her narrow heels half their length in loose gravel.

I'm sure any number of instructive analogies could be derived from that scene.

#194 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 11:49 AM:

There are apparently Vulcans among us, we know them as Canadians.

#195 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 12:10 PM:

Fragano @ 194... Does that include French-Canadians? Or are they more like Romulans?

#196 ::: Dmitriy Kropivnitskiy ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 12:13 PM:

1985 is the year of all the events described in the famous, award winning novel "One year later" by George Orwell

#197 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 12:27 PM:

Serge #195: I'd presume that it would.

#198 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 12:28 PM:

Kate Nepveu @ 184

I've been seriously thinking about a Palm now that my Newton** is on its last legs. I've been holding out for a smartphone, because the idea of having 3 gadgets on my belt** was just too much. But now that I've got an iPod shuffle that clips to my shirt, and a cable that hooks it up directly to my hearing aids, I'm not so concerned about that.

So is the Palm screen, either Z22 or TX, really comfortable for reading over long time periods (say a 4 or 5 hour plane flight)?


* Yes, an Apple Newton 2100. If you think a Sony E-Reader is too big, then you don't even want to think about this monster. But the screen is large and has good resolution even by today's standards, and I've read books on it quite comfortably. Still, because the software is pretty much unmaintainable anymore, I use less and less of its capabilities. These days it's primarily an encrypted password store.

** PDA, phone, music player.

#199 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 12:36 PM:

fragano @ 194

corrected link

I think I'll avoid that drug, thankyouverymuch

#200 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 12:46 PM:

P J Evans #199: Oops! Thanks.

#201 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 12:48 PM:

Bruce Cohen: I found the Z22 surprisingly readable, and have read entire books on it. The TX has better dpi and more screen room than the Z22 (320 x 480 pixels, somewhere over 100 dpi v. 160x160, somewhere under 100 dpi (I'm not going to get out a measuring tape, even if my old Z22 weren't in Canada at the moment)).

I haven't looked at the in-between model, the E2; when I upgraded I wanted Wi-Fi.

My area Staples has handhelds out on display to play with, which might be worth looking at to get an idea of what you think. And the TX does play music, though not stuff bought from iTunes.

There are also Windows Mobile PDAs, of course, which I haven't used. When I started on PDAs I wanted something small & relatively inexpensive to see if I'd really use it, which meant the Z22, and then when I upgraded I was used to the OS and had all my data in Palm format.

#202 ::: Seth Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 01:12 PM:

Re generics: Shortly after our first child was born, we got a case of Berkley and Jensen (as in, BJ's Warehouse Club house brand) diapers.

It's the perfect diaper for the baby who never poops. Everyone else, umm, not so much.

#203 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 01:19 PM:

Fragano @ 194

I'm getting a 404 Page not found error on that link. Has the Vulcan - Canadian cyberwar finally begun, do you think?

#204 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 01:22 PM:

P J Evans @ 199

Oops, cross-posted with your fixed link. Thanks.

#205 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 01:29 PM:

Kate Nepveu @ 201

Thanks, I'll take a look at them.

I'm not particularly interested in a Windows Mobile device; I've been very unhappy with most attempts to use Windows in memory-constrained or real-time environments. It was a while back, but I've taken the incident of the Navy Smart Ship to heart.

#206 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 01:35 PM:

In 1985 I was 17 years old, and went to the Chicago Comicon with one of my geek girl friends. It was the 10th anniversary of the con, so all kinds of folks were there. Frank Miller, Bill Sienkevitz, Marv Wolfman, Paul Smith (who was drawing X-Men at the time), Dick Giordano...it was held in 2 and 1/2 rooms at the old Ramada O'Hare hotel.

Pretty much the only other girl in evidence was the one DC had paid to dress up as Wonder Woman. My friend and I would get in a line to get an autograph, and the artist or author would instantly wave us to the front of the line - "hey! girls! come up here!" Steve Rude came up and introduced himself to me in the dealer room but I blew him off because I was shy of strangers and hadn't heard of him...d'oh!

Every artist or writer had a little circle of fanboys huddled around them, drinking in whatever they had to say. The guys in a circle around Frank Miller were all comic book pro's.

It was one of the best days of my life, and one of the very few where being female made everything that much more wonderful.

#207 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 01:56 PM:

I used to carry a VSAK and a Leatherman.

The modern paranoia on weapons has rather stopped me doing so regularly.

1985 was just about the end of relatively relaxed attitudes to toy guns. I recall several people at Albacons in Glasgow in well-armed hall costumes. Then there was the Hungerford massacre, and the politicians started.

#208 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 01:58 PM:

Alex @187: so far I have lost two Swisscards to airport security, simply because the things are so unobtrusive I forget to decant them into hold luggage before going to the airport. After the second one, I replaced it with the tiniest of the conventional knives, which also makes a very nice handbag knife. That one simply seems to have been eaten by the furniture or my suitcase [sigh]. I need to go and get a new Swiss Army Something soon.

#209 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 02:07 PM:

#205:Have you thought about a Nokia N800? Charles Stross has blogged about how much he likes it for reading e-books, IIRC.

I'm also looking for a Newton replacement. But, in my case, I want it to be an electronic moleskine pocket notebook. There's something that's almost what I want on the market. If the Newton were pocket-sized rather than the size of a VHS tape, I'd probably make do with the 10 year old tech. I've pretty much eliminated all other PDAs because their methods of text entry don't really work for me.

#210 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 02:09 PM:

1985 was an intense year for me. This, the invitation to free associate to "she may be fine," and the "sky isn't evil" thread have all conspired on my brain to examine the psychological nature of my tendency to overeat.

Bear with me.

In 1985 I was 10. A few years earlier, I have one of those clear and distinct memories of wearing a shirt that said "knockout" on it with a picture of a "pretty girl" (something that must have been a gift--not the kind of clothing my mother generally would approve of), and my father and one of his friends discussed how much potential I had to, in fact, become a "knockout."

I was 8 or 9 at the time. The expectation this laid on me was anxiety-producing, to say the least.

In 1985 my parents split and my mother started making plans to move us across the country, back to the bosom of her family. The plan was to drive over the summer, with all the earthly belongings we had that were deemed needful, from San Diego to Buffalo. It was going to be an adventure.

Instead, I came home from school a month before summer vacation to my mom packing up the house and announcing that we were leaving that very night. She sold our bikes, desks (new that year for Christmas, beloved grown-up furniture) and the TV to finance the trip. We didn't get to say goodbye to anyone but one family of friends who drove us to the airport. In secret. My father didn't know until the deed was done.

I saw him once more, a year later, when he came to visit his own family. Then he dropped out of my life and committed suicide when I was 17.

So: anxiety over potentially sexually attractive self + anxiety over lack of control over my own life = subconscious sabotage of appearance by means of hoarding and self-medicating with food? Where does the loss of father figure in?

Hmm. Maybe therapy would be a good idea. Thanks, 1985.

#211 ::: Karl Kindred ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 02:15 PM:

Marilee @ 165:

I stand surprisingly corrected...but I have to ask, what possible purpose does it serve? I am certainly not the most "outdoors-y" person under the sun, but I've done my fair share of "outdoors-y" activities with very "outdoors-y" types...and no one has ever been able to either explain it's purpose or recount a practical use for it...

..and you have TWO no less! I stand intrigued. I always figured someone needed such a thing somewhere, as it was important enough to be included on your standard 1980's era SWK; but please tell me what it is used for, I feel very ignorant in "the ways of the awl".

(I hope this doesn't sound sarcastic, I am genuinely both curious and delighted that it has a practical use. I've wanted to know what earthly purpose it served for YEARS.)

#212 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 02:58 PM:

Andrew T (#55): What do you want the knife to do?

There are lots of knives, and they all do one thing, cut. Some are better for cutting some things than others.

When you say pocket knife, do you mean a "swiss army" style tool? If so you still have a lot of choices, all of which depend on what you want it to do.

I carry a knife, pretty much all the time. Depending on where I am, which knife I carry chages.

I also carry a multi-tool. If I had it to buy all over again, I might make the choice to get one with a hoof-pick, instead of the second knife blade.

But maybe not, I suspect the hoof-pick isn't as strong as I'd want it to be, and I dislike combination serrated/smooth edges, so the trade-off might be worse than having to add a hoof-pick to my knapsack when we hit the trail.

Here are the questions I ask myself when selecting a knife.

1: What am I going to cut?
2: How large does it need to be?
2a: Will this blade shape cut what I want it to?
2b: Is this knife a comfortable size to carry?

Will you be using a lot of rope? Doing a lot of knotting? Then you might want to get a knife with a marlinespike/fid.

If you're going to be dealing with a lot of fish, one with a longer blade, and not as deep from edge to back, and a long point (basically a filet knife) might be the thing.

It might be you want to do what I do, and carry a knife for cutting, and a multi-tool (I like the Gerber, because you can select some of the tools, and the opening/locking mechanism is built in a way which makes it more comfortable in the hand) for other things.

Leatherman tools have edges which bite, and Buck has a vise-grip effect, but at the cost of being harder to manipulate. From personal experience it also has some design flaws which lead to sticking, and binding, or just failing. Not such a big deal if you can get to a shop, or live without it for a few weeks while it's being repaired; but if you are away from shore, that could be a problem.

#213 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 02:59 PM:

1985... I think that was the former half of my fifth grade school year, which was spent unhappily at St. Catherine of Sienna (as opposed to every other year of my K-12 schooling spent more or less happily at Metairie Park Country Day--if the folks at MPCD picked on me, it was put in perspective by some really vicious bullying at St. C's). That would make it also the latter half of my fourth grade school year, which was positively halcyon. Had a mad crush on my best friend, who didn't seem to mind; loved my homeroom teacher; learned how to quilt, crochet, knit, and cross-stitch in that homeroom; practically lived in the lower school library.

1985 was one year before the Challenger disaster. It was one year before I was diagnosed with acute myelogenous (sp?) leukemia, which had a lot to do with my parents returning me to MPCD. ("If she's going to be in and out of school all the time, she might as well be where she's familiar and happy.") My braces came off early so I wouldn't have to deal with them on top of everything else; they never went back on and I'm just fine with that.) It was a good year for me and pop radio, although it was near the end of that honeymoon period. Also a good year for game shows, which I got to watch a lot of due to being in the hospital instead of school.

I think that may also have been the year Pope John Paul II held Mass at the New Orleans St. Louis Cathedral (unless that happened in 1986), and I wasn't allowed to go not even wearing an anti-germ mask, but a friend brought my prayer book to be blessed and the physical evidence of this was the way the pouring rain caused the dye of her skirt to run and form a tortoiseshell pattern all over the book which was in the skirt's pocket. She kept apologizing. I kept telling her it was beautiful.

I don't have any useful Swiss Army Knife information beyond that I use the awl to flip DIP switches "awl" the time.

#214 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 03:16 PM:

Karl, #211: It'll punch a hole in damn near anything, with relatively little effort. There are times when that's an extremely useful thing to be able to do.

I don't carry a pocketknife of any sort -- but I jokingly refer to my nail clippers and (metal) nail file as "the poor man's Swiss Army Knife". The clippers can be made to perform as scissors for small jobs (e.g. opening stubborn plastic bags or trimming threads), and the file emulates a not-very-sharp knife (with enough of a point to pierce most tape), a box/letter opener, and a screwdriver.

#215 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 03:18 PM:

Karl Kindred @#211: You can use an awl to punch a new hole in your belt. Or the upholstery of the car seat.

kouredios @#210: therapy can make a world of difference, I definitely recommend it. And I'm so sorry about your father.

#216 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 03:24 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 183 : At the other end of my neighborhood, a small supermarket closed a few years ago, replaced by a "nearby" and much larger branch of the same chain. The problem? The small market was that only supermarket near a number of senior living facilities. Most of these older people don't drive anymore for various reasons, though they are living mostly independently. The new, large market is too far for the seniors to walk to. Happily, the living facilities ultimately set up a shuttle service so that the old folks could do their shopping, but it's not free.

That's happening quite a bit in Seattle. Albertson's shut its Greenlake store (soon to be high-priced condos), which was right near a large assisted living facility. I used to see lots of folks with walkers going back and forth as I sat and had my coffee ouside the Peet's that was equidistant between the two. Now there's a lot less of that kind of foot traffic.

I don't know if they've set up a shuttle to the nearest big market (a really bad QFC). What I wonder about, though, is how much less exercise a lot of those folks are getting and what effect it's having on their health.

#217 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 03:25 PM:

Mary Dell @ 215: Thanks. As I've been told over and over, I adapt well. But I've been wondering lately where there's more repression there than I originally thought. I know I skew young for this readership, so I figured there was wisdom to gather on the subject.

I used to keep a keychain-sized Victorinox this one, but branded with the school I used to work for. Alas, I didn't treat it well and it's kind of rusty now. I find myself missing it all the time. Handy.

#218 ::: Michelle K ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 03:31 PM:

Regarding knives, if you are planning on using the knife as a knife, and have any klutz genes at all, I strongly recommend making sure you get a lock blade.

I almost cut a huge chunk out of my middle finger in girl scouts (cutting balsa wood of all things) because my girl scout knife was not a lock blade.

Remember that you'll be cutting with your dominant hand, and any damage you do will severely inconvenience you for quite awhile afterwards.

Thirty years later I still have the scar on my finger and nail--although in another thirty years the scar on my nail may be gone. (I almost certainly should have gotten stitches, but emergency room visits were expensive, so no stitches.)

#219 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 03:43 PM:

JC @ 209

The problem I have with most smartphones is that they're half-vast PDAs and not such great phones. I have a Motorola RAZR that I love because it's small, has a very good keypad, and good sound, even on speaker. I"d have to find a smartphone that was as good a phone.

want it to be an electronic moleskine pocket notebook.

That would be great. I have a real moleskin notebook I use for poetry and random story and animation ideas. I love it. And it's larger than pocketsize, so I have to carry it unless I'm wearing a jacket, and I still love it.

I've pretty much eliminated all other PDAs because their methods of text entry don't really work for me.

I have some concerns about that; my handwriting sucks, and my Newton puts up with it nicely. And I'm not keen on having to use Graffiti or anything else that make me adapt to the device.

#220 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 03:58 PM:

In 1985 I was two and three years old. I remember a flash of my preschool classroom. That's about it for identifiable 1985 memories.

(Oddly, I remember my second birthday but not my third. This may be because I got a shiny tricycle horn for my second birthday, and it made an impression on me.)

I do remember Ronald Reagan being president, but I'm pretty sure that was closer to the time when he wasn't anymore....

PDAs/e-books: I wonder how the iPhone is going to be for reading them. Seems like it'd be reasonable, with the fairly large screen. (My boyfriend will be in San Francisco on the day of the launch -- not specfically for the launch, but he'll be there anyway. We get too excited about gadgetry. I doubt I can afford one for quite some time, but....shiny....)

#221 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 04:04 PM:

You people are making me feel very, very old (I had my 33rd birthday in 1985, and got pregnant with my first child in August of that year).

#222 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 04:07 PM:

kouredios @#217: Therapy has really helped me to get a handle on assorted crappy childhood experiences. My goal getting into therapy is always to get back out of it--I'm pretty independent, so I just like to be able to put a name and a strategy to the problem and then go deal with it on my own--but others use it as a regular & ongoing support mechanism, and that seems to work well, too. Feel free to email me if you want to talk more about it.

My advice (to anyone considering therapy) is to make a list of what you think you could accomplish by going to therapy. If the finished list seems significant to you, then it's probably worth a shot. If the stuff you want in life is better accomplished by taking a pottery class or volunteering at the senior center, that will become apparent as you write it up.

The other advice I'd give is to try to match the therapist to whatever you're trying to work on. A lot of therapists, when confronted with an issue they haven't studied, will try to use the tools they already have to help you with the problem, rather than referring you to an appropriate specialist. But in my experience this can do more harm than good. For example, if you're troubled by phobias, you don't need the "whatever you're feeling is valid" approach.

#223 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 04:11 PM:

JESR @ 221... You people are making me feel very, very old

I get that feeling more and more too, young at heart as I may be.

#224 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 04:12 PM:

Larry @216: I'm sure the lack of walking impacts them. There are two elderly people who live on my floor in my apt. bldg. On days when the weather is not good or their health prevents them from going outside, they exercise by walking up and down the hall for minutes at a time, once or twice a day. It's better than nothing, but it's not much.

JESR @221: I was in my mid-20s in 1985 but had been working full time in publishing for 7 years by then. They're making me feel old, too.

#225 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 04:13 PM:

Kathryn @ 168:

I like your "Friends Rush In" rule. I'm about 2/3 through sorting through all 114 cartons of my books, deciding which go on shelves (about 25%), which go back into storage, and which get culled. My rule for culling seems to be "am I ever going to re-read this again?" It's much harder to decide which books go into storage, and which stay within reach. (This partially explains why there are still 30+ cartons to deal with, eight months after move-in; severe back trouble and fibro flares are the rest of the explanation. One of my friends has dubbed herself Igorina and come over once a month to do the lifting of boxes. The phrase "yeth, mithtreth" is heard frequently.)

#226 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 04:18 PM:

Bruce @ 219

I find that Graffiti isn't too difficult, if I stay in lower case. The PDA came with a pair of stickers that live on the inside cover of its case, and tell me how to do Graffiti for when I'm misremembering how to do it.
It isn't really a problem for me, as my PDA functions as an electronic 3-inch D-ring binder, carried for reference purposes, rather than for making notes or other things, where paper works just fine for me.

#227 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 04:21 PM:

kouredios @ 217

One thing I will tell you, there's no such thing as being too old for therapy, or waiting too long after a trauma. I'm just starting to find out things about myself I did not get at all*, and I'll be 61 next month. It's actually rather exciting.

* not bad things, just things I didn't realize, that make a difference in the way I live.

#228 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 04:26 PM:

Bruce Cohen: the TX and Z22 both have on-screen keyboards, for tapping with stylii, that pop up on request. I think they're fine but my husband think they're too little. You sound like you've tried Graffiti, so I'll just say for others that I was surprised at how natural it was.

Caroline, the iPhone's screen is apparently roughly the same as the TX's, so should probably do just fine assuming the software is available.

#229 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 04:31 PM:

I'm as sane and reasonable as I am today because of two things: therapy and magic. If they're really distinct. Certainly they overlap by quite a bit, and the most effective magic I've ever done has been therapeutic magic.

I'm a bit wacky even today. I've mostly managed to keep the good parts. I'm able to not alphabetize my vitamins, though it does occasionally bug me that they're not in order.

I'm not all done yet. I'm still in therapy. But great progress has been made.

If you think therapy might be a good idea, it almost certainly is.

#230 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 04:41 PM:

#219:The problem I have with most smartphones is that they're half-vast PDAs and not such great phones.

You know that the Nokia N800 is not a smartphone, right? (It's a small Linux based tablet.)

I have the Motorola RAZR too, because it's small and so it fits in my pocket. Of course, so does my moleskine notebook. It's only 3.5x5.5in. I'm still looking for the electronic equivalent because everything I scribble enters a computer at some point.

I don't do well with Graffiti either. The Newton does a terrific job with my handwriting. WinXP Tablet results are mixed at best in English. (It's Chinese recognition is usable.) ritePen in conjuction with WinXP Tablet works scarily well. I'm left with the awful feeling that whatever I end up with may have to run Vista.
(At the size of a pocket sized moleskine notebook, you don't get a proper keyboard. So handwriting recognition needs to work.)

#231 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 04:42 PM:

Xopher @229: Wait, you mean alphabetizing vitamins isn't _normal_? (or, why I take a multi . . . )

When I was getting my comics once a month by mail (a nice big box of stuff), I read them in alphabetical order by title unless a storyline crossed from one mag to another in non-alpha order. But it always griped me to have to put something into the stack out of order.

Heh.

#232 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 05:01 PM:

1985 was the year when, among other life events, I found myself in a midshipman's summer white uniform, standing in the middle of a nighttime protest in Manila, Phillipines, with several thousand very agitated people who— I would only learn today because I finally had cause to look it up on the web— were mainly concerned about the trial of Fabian Ver, one of the Rolex 12, for the assassination of Ninoy Aquino based on the findings of the Agrave Commission, which was basically a captive pet menagerie of the dictator, Ferdinand Marcos. The trial was apparently not inspiring much confidence in the regular population.

I saw many things in my first real liberty outside the United States of America. Some of them... I wish I had never seen. Others, I hope I never forget.

#233 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 05:04 PM:

re Swiss Army Knives.

There are two makers. Victorinox, and Wenger.

I have owned both. For some things I prefer the former, for others, the latter.

I think Wenger has better knives, saws, awls and can openers.

Victorinox I prefer for tweezers, scissors and the eyeglass screwdriver which threads into the corkscrew.

Knives are personal. I'd not keep one in a pocket. Then again, I try not to keep much in my pockets, because I find having lumps on my thighs unpleasant.

I wear, as a rule, a Buck 110 folder on my belt. On the belt I can always get to it, even when sitting down, in the car, on a horse, etc..

One of the things I like about the Buck that it take an edge well, and that edges wears well.

Things I don't like about it... there is nothing to prevent it from slipping back into my hand. In a wet/slippery environment I prefer something with a finger guard, because I've had things slip backwards, and cut me.

Lila (#111) It is a quirk of knife laws, pretty much everywhere, that having a knife; pretty much any knife, is a violation of some statute.

Re Grocery outlet. There is a related chain in the Central Coast of Calif. (Cookie Crock). They are decent. For some things, they are great, best price, and supply, for tomatillos in San Luis Obispo.

But they ran the stupidest add. The guy said he saved $50 a week, which meant he was saving $5,000 per year.

CHiP (#151) The only difference on the models is that. The real knives for the Swiss Army are flat, two-bay, about 3" long. Have one knife, a can opener, and; for the enlisted, a bottle opener; for the officers, a corkscrew.

I never got the one the Swiss officer was supposed to send me, though the Greek one did send me a Greek Marines beret and flash.

Karl Kindred (#211) The awl is designed to make holes in leather. It can also be used for small holes into/through wood.

The reason I prefer the Wenger awl is that it has a hollowed out ege, something like a gouge, which reduces the energy required. That makes it more comfortable in the hand.

#234 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 05:04 PM:

Mary Dell @119: I got up close and personal with a Sony Librie ebook reader the day before yesterday. Interesting technology, but don't touch it with a bargepole. (Shorter version: you can't load files directly onto it -- you have to convert them into a native file format using Sony's own ebook library software, which sucks mud through a micropipette.)

My ebook reader of choice is still my Palm TX; reasonably affordable, takes 4Gb SD cards (that's a lot of ebooks, plus mp3s, the odd MP4 movie, games, my life's work tucked away in a corner, and so on), screen is okay, and so on. And they've been around long enough you can find second-hand ones on eBay. Nothing else quite matches it in terms of stability, price, battery life, and flexibility, although some of the cheaper UMPCs could give it a run for the money (f you're willing to carry something that large around everywhere).

#235 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 05:15 PM:

1985: The year I graduated high school, got my first girlfriend, failed a semester of college (related to the girlfriend), got my first job in retail (B. Dalton Booksellers).

I don't really recall much of the first half of 1985, the year sort of starts, in my mind, with June, and ends in the June of 1986.

If I add the events of that chunk of the calendar, it was even more eventful.

#236 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 05:27 PM:

1985 - Celebrated my 35th birthday. Finally recovered from a serious case of unrequited infatuation. Rented a car and drove all around the Sierra Nevada and Northern California for vacation. Stayed in a motel in El Portal outside Yosemite; from my room I could hear the Merced River bubbling away.

Not the best year, but not too bad.

#237 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 05:49 PM:

2007: Am stranded in Mesa, Arizona with a dead laptop and very little connectivity.

#238 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 05:59 PM:

Holy crap, these threads move fast.

Christopher Davis #95: A notable musical reference to 1985 is in the SR-71 song of the same title, most famously covered by Bowling For Soup (complete with a video referencing a number of 80s music video clichés).

And far and away the best version of that song was done by Richard Thompson on his 1000 Years of Popular Music project.

In 1985 I was three, and not up to much.

#239 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 06:05 PM:

Teresa @237,

Anything we can do to help?

(Afraid I don't know anyone in Mesa/ Phoenix closer than 2 degrees of separation. Hey, Fluorosphere...)

Do you know why the laptop is dead?

#240 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 06:08 PM:

No idea. I can faintly hear the hard drive power up, but the screen stays completely dark.

#241 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 06:08 PM:

Grocery Outlet is the food jumble sale. The one here in San Jose was best in 2001 or so when wine.com (or some other buy wine online site) shut down and they got its stock to sell.
They priced wines as if the vintages were sell-by dates...

#242 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 06:12 PM:

Grocery Outlet is the food jumble sale. The one here in San Jose was best in 2001 or so when wine.com (or some other buy wine online site) shut down and they got its stock to sell.
They priced wines as if the vintages were sell-by dates...

#243 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 06:22 PM:

1985 was year I turned 13, started high school that fall. I drank socially, but deliberately got drunk just for the experience, which wasn't bad. That's the only time I've been drunk. Having a family of addict and alcoholics takes most of the romance out of recreational drug use.

Musically I think of Peter Gabriel and Scritti Politti.

Politically, helping out with the construction a figure of a commando/guerilla with a rotating sign label "Terrorist" on one side and "Freedom Fighter" on the other. You gotta look out for those politcally aware drama geeks.

Oh, and that's the year I started formally taking Latin. My Latin is barely good enough to get abi's jokes.


#244 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 06:25 PM:

My widowed uncle is marrying a long-time friend who lost her spouse many years ago in Mesa tomorrow, if you're in the mood for a wedding.

#245 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 06:26 PM:

Thanks for the comments re: therapy.

For about 4 months, I taught English at a theraputic boarding school. The academic side of the place was broken; they hired me as a department head but didn't authorize me to make any needed changes and were hopelessly hidebound for all of their 6 years of existence. Plus, they were run for profit. Messed up priorities all over the place, e.g. $4000 wide-screen HDTV for the common area, but only 6 non-functional computers for the whole school building.

But I did learn a lot on the theraputic side of things. Teachers were required to participate in mixed group therapy once a week (the one day the teachers ran the asylum at night), and I learned a lot. One of the things I came away with is the distinction between cognitive and emotional progress. I think I've got the cognitive down; I analyze everything to (if it's possible) a fault. I'm just not sure where to go from there. So I've been seriously thinking about finding someone who can help me with the non-cognitive side of things.

Of course, the rest of the experience at that school was so frustrating and soul-crushing that I think I may have been clinically depressed for those 4 months. Silver lining though, huh?

Thanks Mary Dell. I may take you up on the email invitation.

#246 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 06:28 PM:

Teresa, could it be something as simple as the screen being shut off? My work laptop has three modes: laptop screen, external screen, and both. It's controlled by a button with a blue screen on it (meaning you have to hold down the blue function key to make it work).

I beg your pardon if you've already thought of this/tried it, or if your laptop has no such feature.

#247 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 06:39 PM:

237-246: So what kind of laptop is it? Anyone know?

#248 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 06:41 PM:

1985. I was 15, and it encompassed the latter half of my sophmore and first half of my junior years in high school.

I went to my second Boskone.

I was listening to WFNX. That was the year the Smithereens' "Especially For You" came out. "Blood and Roses" blew me away.

A lot of the other memories have to do with boys.

#249 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 06:42 PM:

Teresa, it's also possible that it's simply decided that it's hooked up to an external monitor, even if it doesn't have an actual hardware button as Xopher describes. Mine occasionally does this in reverse -- it suddenly forgets that it's sitting on a port replicator hooked to an external monitor and keyboard. If it's a Windows box, booting in safe mode can clear odd glitches like this.

#250 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 06:44 PM:

#141 Fragano Ledgister

The best way I found to get rid of charitable fundraising calls is to tell them "I don't have a lot of money, but I do have a lot of time. Where can I volunteer?" Then I get to be all earnest while they hem and haw around.

After a couple of conversations like that, all the calls from charitable organizations stop. It's disappointing. Sorta.

#251 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 07:55 PM:

Grocery Outlet is the food jumble sale. The one here in San Jose was best in 2001 or so when wine.com (or some other buy wine online site) shut down and they got its stock to sell.
They priced wines as if the vintages were sell-by dates...

#252 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 07:56 PM:

Grocery Outlet is the food jumble sale. The one here in San Jose was best in 2001 or so when wine.com (or some other buy wine online site) shut down and they got its stock to sell.
They priced wines as if the vintages were sell-by dates...

#253 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 07:57 PM:

Grocery Outlet is the food jumble sale. The one here in San Jose was best in 2001 or so when wine.com (or some other buy wine online site) shut down and they got its stock to sell.
They priced wines as if the vintages were sell-by dates...

#254 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 07:57 PM:

Grocery Outlet is the food jumble sale. The one here in San Jose was best in 2001 or so when wine.com (or some other buy wine online site) shut down and they got its stock to sell.
They priced wines as if the vintages were sell-by dates...

#255 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 07:58 PM:

Teresa @240,

One diagnosis test you can do is to look at the dark screen with a flashlight.

If your screen shows a very, very dim display, then something might be wrong with your laptop's backlight or the inverter which provides power to the backlight. You'll have to bring your laptop to a shop to deal with those.

If instead it's fully dark, then it could be a problem listed upthread.

------------
If it ends up that repairing the laptop is too expensive, and you have an older laptop, there's an inexpensive and 'avoid shopping for a new laptop' Ebay method:

My partner-in-time's older laptop broke. He went onto Ebay and found an identical laptop for sale at $100- cheap because it had no hard drive. He bought it and swapped in his own laptop's hard drive. Instant brain transplant.

#256 ::: Nenya ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 08:10 PM:

But of course Canadians are Vulcan! Didn't you know?

(Yes, I've been there, got the pointy ears to show for it.)

Having been shopping today, I now have our local "used food" store's jingle running through my head--as well as a litre of orange juice for 79 cents (among other things). Yay vitamins.

Best luck to Teresa's laptop.

#257 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 08:21 PM:

Charlie Stross @ #234:

My ebook reader of choice is still my Palm TX; reasonably affordable, takes 4Gb SD cards

Note to those who may be buying: the TX does not take SD_HC_ cards, which are what most 4Gb cards are (it's a newer standard; SD technically doesn't support anything bigger than 2Gb). Some SD 4Gb cards are crap. User consensus seems to be in favor of Transcend's 150x cards (Newegg has them for about $40), which I have and works fiine.

And they've been around long enough you can find second-hand ones on eBay.

Where I got mine, though it purported to be basically new and I have no reason to doubt it--anyway, at half price it was not guilt-inducing. There are definitely deals to be had there.

Nothing else quite matches it in terms of stability, price, battery life, and flexibility

I can easily get several hours of straight use out of mine. And the *other* reason I got a Palm over a Windows Mobile machine is the breadth of free and shareware software written by users--great stuff.

I really need to write up a "living with my TX" post so I can point to it in future, with all my software additions and so forth.

* * *

Teresa, I hope your laptop is only mostly dead.

#258 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 08:35 PM:

Linkmeister (244):

"My widowed uncle is marrying a long-time friend who lost her spouse many years ago in Mesa tomorrow, if you're in the mood for a wedding."
What is your uncle's name? Unless there are two weddings tomorrow morning in Mesa that answer to that description, he's marrying my mother.

#259 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 08:43 PM:

Grocery Outlet is the food jumble sale. The one here in San Jose was best in 2001 or so when wine.com (or some other buy wine online site) shut down and they got its stock to sell.
They priced wines as if the vintages were sell-by dates...

#260 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 08:48 PM:

Teresa @258, Oh, no. That would be way to big a coincidence. His name is Dowell.

#261 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 08:50 PM:

Teresa 258: Good gods. Even for the Fluorosphere, that's a huge coincidence.

#262 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 08:50 PM:

Argh. "Too big a coincidence."

#263 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 09:16 PM:

Re pocketknives, I usually carry two. Both of these go everywhere I can legally take a knife.

The first is the Swiss Army knife, which mostly gets used as everything but a knife - screwdriver, scissors, etc. The knife-blades are occasionally good for small fine use, e.g. first aid, fine crafts in place of an Exacto knife, etc.

The other is a medium-sized lockback knife with one hand opening and a pocket clip. This one is good for knife-qua-knife use; I can go from thinking I need it to having it open in my hand in about a second, and can fold it up and put it away again nearly as fast. I use it a number of times a day without ever thinking about it, and although you'd think that carrying a potentially weapon-like knife would alarm people, they never notice it. When I've taken it out to slice open a box (for instance) it's occasionally startled people who I've carried it in front of for years, because they had never noticed it. I have run through several different models like this, between losing/misplacing them and just changing them, so I have a couple recommendations on this.

Opening type: The fast-open knife types I've used all open with a kind of rotating flick of the thumb on some part of the blade, and there are 3 basic variations I've seen: a clip or lever thing on the back of the blade; a small thumb stud, on the side of the blade, or a hole cut out of the blade which the tip of your thumb fits into. The hole-type opener works by far the best, and (if properly sized/shaped) is the only one you can reliably open one-handed with work gloves on. Spyderco had a patent on the cut-out opener, but some other makers have licensed it and the patent may have expired by now.

Clip types: Plastic pocket clips don't have enough strength and springiness to keep the knife safely in your pocket. Avoid; I lost one this way. Only buy the kind with metal clips. Some clip to your pocket with the (folded) point of the blade downward, some with it upward. They take a different type of hand motion to draw and open it, but either is equally easy to use.

Invertable clips: Some knives let you unscrew and move the pocket clip to the reverse side and/or end of the knife. If you're a leftie, you should definitely get one with an invertible clip, so you can carry it in your left pocket and still use it.

Best value I've found in this type of knife: the Gerber EZ-Out or EZ-Out Jr.

It uses the cut-out thumb opener type, has (had?) a metal pocket clip, decent quality blade (high-strength stainless, holds a decent edge), come in either an under 3" or 3.75" blade size (3" or 4" folded) and costs less than $30.

Best knife in this style will be a matter of opinion, personal taste, and budget. You can spend $100s for a nice folder from Benchmade or the like (and then lose it overboard the next day...) and I've still not found the perfect one, but the Spydercos and Gerbers are very good.

#264 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 09:16 PM:

Grocery Outlet is the food jumble sale. The one here in San Jose was best in 2001 or so when wine.com (or some other buy wine online site) shut down and they got its stock to sell.
They priced wines as if the vintages were sell-by dates...

#265 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 09:25 PM:

We seem to have a comment which is stuck. Or something.

#266 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 09:52 PM:

Ok, the Used Food Store has gotten Food to Rent by the Bobs stuck in my head now. Thanks.

(Actually, it's pretty catchy. :-)

#267 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 09:55 PM:

Charlie Stross at 234 -
Mary Dell @119: I got up close and personal with a Sony Librie ebook reader the day before yesterday. Interesting technology, but don't touch it with a bargepole. (Shorter version: you can't load files directly onto it -- you have to convert them into a native file format using Sony's own ebook library software, which sucks mud through a micropipette.)

This is too bad - while I'm not a fan of Sony (love their hardware, hate their opinions on too many subjects - and inserting rootkits on their CDs was the last straw), I was hoping the epaper devices would have a more auspicious beginning.

My ebook reader of choice is still my Palm TX; reasonably affordable, takes 4Gb SD cards (that's a lot of ebooks, plus mp3s, the odd MP4 movie, games, my life's work tucked away in a corner, and so on), screen is okay, and so on. And they've been around long enough you can find second-hand ones on eBay. Nothing else quite matches it in terms of stability, price, battery life, and flexibility, although some of the cheaper UMPCs could give it a run for the money (f you're willing to carry something that large around everywhere).

My first PDA was a Newton 120, and I kind of liked its size a lot - small enough to fit (barely) in my back pocket (width and depth wise, anyways, when I'm wearing khakis - height... not so much), big enough to make me want to take it out and use it, and with a good enough resolution to allow for reading books (I just found it again, the other day, and it still has the last books I was reading* on it - Cremation of Dan McGee, The Prince, and The Eye of Argon

Currently, I'm using a Sony Clie SJ-22 (although I'm on the lookout for a UX-50 if I can get one cheap - the SJ-22 has seen better days, at this point), and it does fine as a book reader - the screen is smaller than I would like (and PDFs are basically impossible), but it is much more portable (and unobtrusive) than the Newton was. (Although if I were to stumble across a cheap Newton 2100, I wouldn't turn it down - at worst, it would make a decent reader for on the trail, being nice and rugged).

There aren't really any devices out there (or on the drawing boards) that are what I really want in a book reader/handheld device, but I'm afraid my desires regarding such a widget are unusual and peculiar, and will likely have to wait until micromanufacturing/CADAM are a bit more advanced, and I can get someone to build me something to order. The iPhone is, however, something I'm paying close attention to...

*Or, at least, had on it. AIR, I was trying to memorize Cremation, was re-reading The Prince for a character study, and, well, the myriad uses of The Eye of Argon should be obvious, but include making Rich Dansky drink a lot more at a local brewhaus than he ought to...

#268 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 09:57 PM:

Karl, #211, it untangles things. It punches holes in things, too -- most recently extra ankle strap holes in my new sandals -- but mostly I use it to untangle threads or chains and such. When you get tight tight knots in small linear things, you can insert the tip of the awl into the knot, ease it up through, which opens the knot, and then untangle it. The bad part of this is that I really enjoy untangling things. It's kind of relaxing.

Kevin Marks, you don't need to keep reposting.

#269 ::: Dr Paisley ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 10:03 PM:

Oct. 26, 1985. Four days after my 29th birthday, I get the best present evar. A friend whose father was a high mucky-muck at Marion Laboratories (owned by Ewing Marion Kaufmann, owner of the Kansas City Royals), calls and asks if I want to go to a ball game. Game six of the World Series, to be exact. Um, hellz yeah!

The Royals had battled back from a 3-1 deficit to get into the Series against my first favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals*, and had found themselves in the same position before winning Game 5. The Cards go up 1-0 in the 8th, and I watch with extremely mixed feelings as the bottom of the 9th rolls around. Then Don Denkenger grants Jorge Orta absolution at first base, and a hit, a botched sacrifice and an intentional walk later, it's Dane Iorg facing Todd Worrell with the bases loaded. Sitting in the right field stands, I have a perfect view as Iorg lofts a single which Andy Van Slyke fields on one hop and rifles home. Ball and runner reach home nearly simultaneously, and I remember distinctly thinking (if not yelling) "Make the damn call!" at the umpire. His arms flash "safe," and the place goes berserk.

Oddly enough, when I finally get home and watch the play in real time, I discover there was no hesitation or delay in the call at the plate. A wonderful example of time dilation/personal relativity I have never forgotten.

*I grew up in KC in the '60s; we didn't have major league baseball, but rather the A's, who were effectively a Yankees farm team. After becoming a Cards fan, I discovered my mother grew up in Palatine, IL, and has always been a diehard Cubs fan. Poor woman.

#270 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 10:14 PM:

And I was at a dear friend's birthday party near the Westport bar area (in Valentine neighborhood). I could hear people yelling about the game. Even though I begged, the friend put the TV tuner where I couldn't reach it (not hard, he's 6'5").

After a minor hoo hoo with their toddler, I excused myself and walked over to a sports bar to watch the end of the game. Came back for more cake, etc. glowing with the Royal's win.

#271 ::: Nona ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 10:16 PM:

Oh, I love internet coincidences. My favorite personal one is the girl who had me on her Livejournal friendslist because of something to do with Buffy the Vampire Slayer-- and then I mentioned the name of the college I had recently been accepted to. Thanks to that, I had fannish friends waiting for me the minute I arrived at school.

As for 1985, I'm afraid I only existed for the last twelve days of it. They were pretty eventful for a newborn, though; apparently my doctor had to make me a house call on Christmas Eve in a snowstorm.

#272 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 10:29 PM:

For a second I got all excited and thought I could say that Traci Lords, who shares my birthday, filmed her one and only ever legal porn on my birthday in 1985, but then I did a little research and discovered I had the dates wrong. It was 1986.

...or I guess I could have saved that insignificant little tidbit for the next open thread...

#273 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 10:30 PM:

Mary@177: So, where do you buy your e-books?

Well, so far, mostly from the online store attached to the Sony Reader PC software, but I've used up the $50 credit I got when I bought the reader, plus a bit more in getting all my Neil Stephenson in one place, and now I find that the selection at that bookstore is rather limited. I went there the other night and only found one book I was a little interested in, which I ended up not getting.

Since you can load PDFs on the reader, I'll likely be loading some work-related stuff. But I'm really only now beginning to look around for other online sources. Stay tuned; I'll post on an Open Thread or over in my blog when something turns up. I suppose I could put the wife's novel-in-progress on there as well.

You mention not reading anything smaller than a paperback. The Sony reader is about the size of a paperback, and you can select the text size.

#274 ::: Kate Salter Jackson ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 10:39 PM:

1985 - 1 year out of highschool and 1 year at Salem State College. Still living at home. Met people who are still very good friends. I think I may have actually gone on my first date that year.

And the whole wedding coincidence - very odd and cool.

#275 ::: Kate Salter Jackson ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 10:39 PM:

1985 - 1 year out of highschool and 1 year at Salem State College. Still living at home. Met people who are still very good friends. I think I may have actually gone on my first date that year.

And the whole wedding coincidence - very odd and cool.

#276 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 10:49 PM:

#240: Teresa: Apple laptop, if I'm not mistaken? (I'm in Glendale; a bit of a drive to Mesa, I'm afraid, but might be of some assistance.)

#277 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 10:55 PM:

OK, this is random, but I thought of it today. Kind of the non-LOLcat version of something I posted on the Catz thread.

Season, time of day.
Just seventeen syllables.
Very short poem.

#278 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 11:25 PM:

Check out the next thread up for the final word on the wedding coincidence.

#279 ::: Andrew T ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 11:33 PM:

Stephen, Skwid, PublicRadioVet, Rikibeth, abi, John, Christopher, Lila, Karl, Bruce, Bob, CHip, Alex, Terry, Nicole, Michelle, Clifton: Thanks for your advice on pocketknives! Open Thread 32 was also very helpful.

I agree that the first thing to decide is the tasks for which the knife will be used. The problem is that I want this knife for the unexpected tasks I don't know about yet. My work will be taking me out to a river delta to work with environmental sensors, in and out of the water, and I'll have a good toolbox on the shore, filled with all the things I think I'll need (including several cutting tools). What I'm looking for is a tool to help handle the unexpected.

Your suggestions have given me a lot to think about, and some places to start looking. Thanks again!

#280 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 11:34 PM:

Steve Jackson describes his Scary Fan Moment.

'As in, "a moment when I got to be a scary fan."'

Of Charles Stross, as it happens.

#281 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 11:57 PM:

1985 - I was 20 years old for all but one day of that year. Not the best of years. I ran out of money to pay for college and had to switch from Polytechnic Institute of NY (a.k.a Brooklyn Poly) to City College. My mother was very sick, and she and my nephew became fully dependent on me for income until the idiots at Social Security decided to release her benefits - a full year after she became eligible. The extra income I need to earn totally wrecked my eligibility for financial aid. I also had an emergency appendectomy on Thanksgiving day. 1985. Feh.

#282 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 01:26 AM:

I think 1985 may be the year I started thinking about getting a teacher's credential. I don't think it was necessarily the brightest thing I ever did, in retrospect.

On a different front: is there anybody here taking gabapentin and/or meloxicam for nerve pain? I'm looking for experiences, especially with interactions with other pain management drugs. (I'm taking them for hand pain, but I also have other pain that they don't seem to be helping -- could they be exacerbating? -- and I've been told I can't take hydrocodone or any NSAID while I'm on these)

#283 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 01:45 AM:

kouredios, #210: The suddenness and secrecy surrounding your mother's change of plan sounds very much to my adult self as if there had been a physical threat to your safety. But I can imagine only too well how it looked to 10-year-old you at the time. It's a shame that so many parents think they need to shield their children from any exposure to life's unpleasantness, when the cost of their doing so is that it frequently reads to the child as a betrayal of trust.

Mary Dell, #222: Even more importantly, if you have any social or sexual traits which are outside the mainstream, the Kink-Aware Professionals List is a good place to start looking. The last thing you need is a therapist who will decide, on the basis of their own prejudices, that your non-traditionality is the root of all your problems and must be eradicated first!

BTW, I second (third? whatever) the recommendation for therapy. I've turned to its less-intense form, counseling, several times at major stress points in my life, and found it well worth my while; and I've seen friends who had far worse problems than any I've ever had to deal with get their lives back as a result of it.

Paula, #270: Was your friends' TV on at the time?

In '85, I was twenty-nine...

Which means I was living with the person who is now my ex, though we hadn't yet become engaged. That might be the year we evicted the Ex-Roommate From Hell, though I can't be sure. Scanning the Billboard Top 100 for that year on iTunes doesn't provide me with any cues; I'd cut way back on my radio listening by then. That was also during the period when I had no TV, and before I got a PC. I was working as a computer programmer for a benefits consulting firm. I didn't go to Worldcon that year. Beyond that, it doesn't seem to have been very memorable.

#284 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 02:26 AM:

Well, OK, I guess 1985 wasn't so very bad that I can't talk about it.

In January of 1985 my father, from whom I'd been estranged for more than 15 years, had a heart attack, and I went back to New York to be there. He survived, but our estrangement resumed shortly after he got better.

Later that year the 300 person division of Tektronix that I worked for (the Graphic Workstation Division) was flushed down the toilet, and everyone in it was given 2 months to find another job in the company before being laid off. Being able to read handwriting on walls, I had quit three weeks before and gone to a small startup company. That startup lasted another year and a half, so you can't blame its demise on 1985.

That was also the year that our older son was diagnosed as ADHD and ODD, and the doctor making the diagnosis told us there was one chance in 6 that our son wouldn't be sent to juvie before his 18th birthday. 1985 doesn't get the credit for the fact that he did not go to jail, that he went to college, got a doctorate, and is now in a tenure-track professorship.*

Not my favorite year.

* Damn right I'm proud of him.

#285 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 02:30 AM:

Lucy @282,

A web forum where you might get useful results is at Dr. Bobs. It is a neurology and psychology focused discussion forum. I did a quick search and found that gabapentin / neurontin and its interactions with other drugs gets discussed there.

#286 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 02:53 AM:

1985 was the last year I had both my parents; Mom died in March, 1986. She'd been diagnosed with cancer late in 1984 and was getting increasingly frail.

My best memory of the whole year is the night that August (the 8th, IIRC) I came home -- my parents' home; I was on vacation -- from the Bruce Springsteen concert at Three Rivers Stadium. (This was also the last time I was at Three Rivers.) Bruce had dedicated his song "My Hometown" to Homestead, Pa., which was suffering a lot of problems relating to the demise of the steel industry in the Monongahela Valley. He also gave a very large check to the local food bank there. This hit close to home because Homestead was, in fact, Mom's hometown, and I couldn't wait to tell her about it.

So I got home a bit after midnight, and Mom was waiting in the living room to tell *me* -- it had been on the 11 o'clock news! It made her really happy.

Later that same month I scored two tickets to the opening game of the Pitt football season and took my dad to his first and last ever Pitt football game. It turned out that after decades of watching Pitt football and putting a daughter -- moi -- through two degrees worth of school there he'd *never* been to a Pitt game; I thought that was a situation that needed to be remedied. (It was my last game at Pitt Stadium, too. Both stadia have since been replaced by Heinz Field.)

Also, my two youngest nephews were born that December. (Nona @271, you were apparently born in the middle of them! Tommy was born on the 14th and Josh on the 30th.)

#287 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 02:54 AM:

Andrew T. From that description, I'd reccomend (accepting that it's a scant one), a smallish 2 1/2-4 inches) sheath knive.

That is, one which has a fixed handle, and some sort of finger guard.

That will make it handy, tolerably rigid and easy to get at/use.

#288 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 03:38 AM:

Lucy @ 282: Gabapentin and hydrocodone should be reasonably safe to take together, and I have been on both as pain meds via prescription from the same doc for years at a stretch, for arthritis. They synergize in a slightly odd way - if I understood what I've read of the pharmacodynamics, whichever one you take first has its effects amplified when you take the second one - but that is perfectly safe if you're aware of it. If you've been told not to take them together, get another opinion.

My only problem with gabapentin a.k.a. Neurontin is that I sometimes get weird angry/irritable moods if I take it during the day, so I only take it at bedtime.

#289 ::: Vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 05:39 AM:

1985: the last year before I started primary school. I spent it overseas: my parents, my older brother and I were travelling in Europe and Asia.

I remember small, vague details: that they had grape flavoured Fanta in Indonesia. The pineapple drinks they make there, and in Singapore. The smell. The cartoon sheets on one bed. Getting a little souvenir model of the Eiffel Tower.

Being, for some odd reason, scared of the emblem of Indonesia's national airline: Garuda, the phoenix. The little in-flight things airlines give to four-year-olds. Tiny wooden clogs from the Netherlands - blue with flowers on - and poffertjes.

How I trimmed my fringe because it was getting in my eyes, and cut it too short, and my parents insisted I get the rest of my hair cut short to match, and how upset I was. Hapi-coats and pretty cotton pyjamas, and a Chinese doll with its own baby doll, both in silk pyjamas.

How the culture of Indonesia generally is extremely supportive of and affectionate towards small children, and how, as a very stand-offish child, I was freaked out by all the strangers who wanted to pat me and talk to me. My parents coaxing me to at least say "terimakasi" (thank you.)

Not having to deal with other children - it was a nice break from that, between creche and school. There was my brother, but he was fifteen, not as bad.

#290 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 07:09 AM:

1985:
My high school science fiction club and a number of hangers-on became known as the Lemming Migration because of our tendency to appear at east coast conventions in the form of a seething mass of teenagers crammed into way too few rooms. I was the lead Lemming, as president of the club, having convinced the school that conventions were such an educational experience that they should buy us all memberships at group rates. The Vice-Lemming died four days ago.

I had already been going to cons for a few years and was quite grumpy that at 17 I couldn't come up with a way to get to Australia, so I missed worldcon for the first time since I'd started going.

I entered my first-ever masquerade in a classic Star Trek uniform.

I acquired a wicked stepmother young enough to have once been mistaken for my sister.

The second friend of my own age to die either was in an accident or killed herself via train. Twenty-two years later I am still not certain.

#291 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 07:24 AM:

1985: my second year in university in London, studying pharmacy. I'd already figured out it mostly bored and depressed me and the idea of a career as a pharmacist filled me with dread ... but I was locked into the track and not yet independent-minded enough to jump the rails.

It was also my first year in a real grown-up-ish relationship, and I did a lot of growing up very quickly. (I had a -- shall we say, undersocialized -- infancy; bullying and a single-sex school didn't help, either.)

It was the year I went to my first SF convention (Yorcon III in Leeds, IIRC) and decided I enjoyed fandom and wanted in. It also probably gave rise to the legends about me pursuing editors with a carrier bag full of manuscripts. (See socialization deficiency above.)

I spent a chunk of the summer doing an unpaid internship in a teaching hospital pharmacy department, and a chunk studying for and (successfully) resitting the exams in heterocyclic organic chemistry that I'd failed at the end of year 2.

I don't really remember it that clearly. A lot of things changed inside my head in 1984-86, and by the end of 1985 I wasn't the same person I was at the beginning of the year.

#292 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 08:15 AM:

1985... Before Sue and I moved in together, anything important? No worldcon, no NASFiC, alas... I atttended that year's Balticon. Favorite memories include a few of us meeting with CJ Cherryh who told us of the time she was on a plane that showed 1978's Superman and how weird it feels to watch Kryptonians fall to their death when you're loaded with cold medications. Later during the con, we were in the bar with her when Diane Duane joined us and something I said gave the latter some goofy idea for an episode of Superfriends. I don't think there ever was an episode about an alien who could shapeshift into human furniture, was there?

#293 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 08:35 AM:

Lis Riba @ #173:

I particularly like the convergence of picture and caption for FANLIB WHOLLY EXPLODED and for WE WERE AFRAID OF THIS.

#294 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 09:49 AM:

Lee @283: Her stated reason was that she was afraid that in the next month he would be getting a restraining order to keep us in the state since at that time the divorce and custody arrangements weren't final. I think he had actually threatened that. The way she tells it, she had a bit of an omelas moment (which she ascribes to God speaking to her) that told her to leave and gave her the courage to go through with it.

A month or so later my grandmother was diagnosed with Breast cancer, so my mother is all the more convinced that it was an act of God that got her home early.

There were times when my father's anger could be scary, but the only things he ever hit that I can recall were walls. They suffered horribly, though.

Now I feel like I've been a horrible downer on this thread, and I don't mean to be. The coincidence of Teresa and Linkmeister becoming cousins-in-law is quite glee-making.

#295 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 09:55 AM:

kouredios... If you have to talk about something that's important to you, do it.

#296 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 10:56 AM:

1985 was the year I started piano lessons. I thought my teacher was very grown up, although she was still a student living with her parents. What's odd about that is not so much that she was teaching my mother too, but that she was teaching my mother before she started teaching me. Anyway, she was one of my favourite people, and when she slipped on some ice and broke her wrist just before I turned 8 I remember being very upset.

1985 was also the year we went camping in Spain, travelling by coach nonstop all the way from Calais. My mother gave out puzzles and home-made doll's clothes at scheduled intervals to keep my sister and me occupied on the journey. And it might have been the year my Sindy doll's arms fell off. They were held in by an elastic band that hooked them together inside her torso, and the elastic broke. I wrote a letter to the manufacturers saying Matilda was my favourite and please mend her, and they did. But the second time it happened, I think my mother thought it would be unreasonable to write to them again. So one day after school she told me she had taken Matilda back to the toy shop and by coincidence, the Sindy man was there. As well as mending her arms he gave her a good clean, brushed all the tangles out of her hair, replaced her lost shoes and her torn dress, and (the part my mother didn't know about) did something to her ankle joints, which were a bit broken too. In fact, by the time he had finished Matilda looked just like new! I must have been very gullible because I believed for years that this was exactly what had happened.

I probably read an awful lot of Enid Blyton that year. I think it was also when I started reading Narnia. And on my birthday I cashed in £1.50's worth of school book club stamps to buy Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer, a slow-burning favourite in which I still find new bits to like when I reread it now.

#297 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 11:25 AM:

Kouredios #210: That is a truly affecting story. It must have been really tough to deal with. Therapy does help.

#298 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 11:31 AM:

Eleanor @ 296... Your post still has me chuckling.

#299 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 11:33 AM:

Victoria #250: That's an excellent approach. I don't think it will work too well with 'police benevolent associations', but with other 'charities' it might.

#300 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 12:09 PM:

Eleanor #296: People still read Enid Blyton in the 1980s? The Famous Five and Secret Seven seemed a bit dated to me when I was a boy in the 60s.

#301 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 01:16 PM:

Fragano @ 300: Most of my Enid Blyton books were second-hand and some were probably decades old (we had all but one of the ______ of Adventure series in matching, possibly 1950s cloth-bound editions) but we also had a lot of paperback Famous Five books that seemed quite new judging by the photographic covers. I've just googled, and they seem to date from 1980. Extra Famous Five and Secret Seven books by other authors were being published for the first time in the 1980s too. I read a couple of those, but liked the originals better.

Some of the school stories had clearly been revised after 1971 because the children weren't getting their pocket money in shillings any more, but almost nothing else seemed to have changed. I found this very confusing. After Charlotte Sometimes opened my eyes to the idea that Things Were Different In The Past, I wanted to know how they were different.

#302 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 01:34 PM:

Eleanor #301: Oddly, some of the best children's books I recall reading were Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons stories written in the 30s.* A lot of Blyton's stories seem to be set in a kind of timeless 1950s.


* I was astonished, and pleased, to learn that Ransome had worked for Trotsky. Makes the books seem that much more adventurous in retrospect.

#303 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 02:01 PM:

Gee, the wealth of memory posts here shows not only how *old* I am but how stable my life has been. In 1985, I was in my second year of living with the man I eventually (much later) married, and my fourth year working at Locus (where I'm now an out-of-state Contributing Editor). Not sure if I was reviewing yet then, since the older issues aren't within easy reach, but I would be before long. While things have changed in this century [from my medical conditions to the new home in AZ], we still have the same cat, and (as Serge will say if I don't!) I still have the same Computer.

My personal memories involve great music shows (especially in the Sixties and Nineties), umpteen interesting and productive years at the Locus home base, plus the ongoing happy relationship/marriage -- so I certainly can't complain. {Even if I grouch at minor stuff, like NBC not carrying the men's semifinals at the French Open live for my time zone or complete for anyone in the US, grumble grumble.} Music in 1985? Kind of a lean year for show-going, though I saw Sting in concert that summer.

#304 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 02:58 PM:

Open Thread-type post, seeing as I've complained about the Troubles of the Providence Libraries on these boards before:

The latest is that the City government has promised to increase their library spending a little bit, in return for which the library must keep all branches at at least the same level of services for the next three years. And the number of layoffs has dropped from sixty to six, four of which are interns. And while I hate to say it about a situation where two probably-awesome probably-beloved people will lose their jobs, I'll say it anyway: hooray!!

For now.

#305 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 04:54 PM:

Faren @ 303... we still have the same cat, and (as Serge will say if I don't!) I still have the same Computer.

(...must... control urge... must... NOT!... comment...)

#307 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 05:46 PM:

ethan (304): Yay! That's good news.

1985 was the year I graduated from college and started library school. It was also the year my grandmother died.

#308 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 05:57 PM:

#212 - I've never seen any part of a pocketknife/multitool remotely as heavy-duty as my hoof-pick. Which I acquired c. 1978, used for part of one summer, and have kept ever since as a souvenir. My current multitool is a Leatherman Wave, and it's pretty versatile - and has a lanyard loop.

In 1985, I (and my wife, who still is) celebrated our first wedding anniversary, and (iirc) I was primarily working in IBM Script (aka DCF), on mainframes. But we did have a Macintosh to mainframe/Xerox 9700 graphics system up and running.

#309 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 06:06 PM:

Lee, #283, no. It was almost never on in their home, why they even had one I don't know. And the birthday boy was and still is sports-abhorred. It was better that I left the house...

#310 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 06:07 PM:

kouredios @ 294

ML is a community. Communities worth the name rejoice and celebrate in the good times, and sympathize and support in the bad times. One of the interesting features of an internet community like ML is that it's easy to do both at once. So your blues can't bring the wedding down; go ahead and say what you need to, and there will be someone here to listen. And if you can get some relief from that, you may be able to listen to someone else's blues some other time, and help them.

#311 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 06:11 PM:

No site affiliation, but the Gerber river shorty is an excellent river knife - flat and serrated blade parts (the serrated is a serious requirement for things like rope), a blunted tip which also doubles as a largish phillips screwdriver - and multiple ways to attach it to a variety of gear.

#312 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 07:07 PM:

Thank you Bruce, and all. This is one of the reasons I've taken the step to cultivate a self here, after reading for some while. It's been amazing so far.

I'm really processing a lot right now, as my grandfather is also getting close to the end in hospice. It makes sense that so much is surfacing for me at the moment.

That, and I blew up at my husband this morning for treating me like "default parent." Too much "sky is not evil" for me!

It's all good now. We got take out from our favorite Chinese-Japanese-Korean place, I planted my vegetables finally, and tomorrow I get to play D&D. I'm thinking about talking to a friend in Health Services at my alma mater about finding an appropriate therapist. She's been spending a lot of time in Kenya and just emailed me yesterday that she was home for the next two months, so that's fortuitous.

#313 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 07:29 PM:

Lucy Kemnitzer @ 282:

On a different front: is there anybody here taking gabapentin and/or meloxicam for nerve pain? I'm looking for experiences, especially with interactions with other pain management drugs. (I'm taking them for hand pain, but I also have other pain that they don't seem to be helping -- could they be exacerbating? -- and I've been told I can't take hydrocodone or any NSAID while I'm on these)

That's... interesting. I'm currently taking 1800mg/day of gabapentin for neuropathy in my hands and feet (which is apparently caused by the fibromyalgia). Am also prescribed daily hydrocodone (vicodin) and NSAID (naproxen) (chronic intractable daily migraine plus the various fibro pain plus inoperable wrecked knee, etc., ad infinitum); have had no problem interactions, though the doctor doesn't want me taking any aspirin on top of that mixture (as well as the umpteen other medications).

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ #285:

Thank you for that link!

#314 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 07:37 PM:

kouredios@210: Hmm. Maybe therapy would be a good idea. Thanks, 1985.

The thing that sticks out for me is that in 1985, you were 10 years old. You're a lot older now, you've got a lot more tools to work with, you've got a lot more emotional experience under your belt. But sometimes people look back on their younger experiences and hold themselves up to expectations based on who they are now, what they know now. I don't know if you're doing that, but it sounds like at the time you had quite a bit to deal with for a ten year old.

#315 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 07:40 PM:

1985:
At 16, recently in a new country. I thought I spoke English, but quickly discovered that I didn't, at least not the local variant (New Zealand).

It was SFnal. Most things were familiar enough that every so often, I'd get tripped-up. Like at the first party where we'd sing to songs by bands of that era (Duran Duran, Van Halen, U2 etc). Then "Six Months In a Leaky Boat" by this band came on. Everyone kept singing; I'd never heard it before in my life. The sense of alienation was intense.

See also:
Live-Aid, "Do They Know It's Christmas?", "We are the World".

#316 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 08:05 PM:

Kouredios @ 312... tomorrow I get to play D&D

Good for you. Take the pleasure that you need out of Life. Still, be careful with that broadsword. Heheheh...

#317 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 08:34 PM:

Greg, 314: I think it's more the case that I've always been someone who just deals with things, and adapts, even as a ten-year-old. I've kept a tight amount of control over myself and my life for a long time. I'm starting to wonder whether I need to deal with things now that I never really did then. I think my mom took me and my brother to some counseling for a short amount of time when my parents were splitting, but not after the move. For her, things were much better emotionally, because she was back with her family. I don't think she every really got a handle on how traumatized we were by that event. To this day, she'll talk about how I was a great baby but a tough preteen (in her narrow view: the truth was I was neither.) And when I point out that I was dealing with a lot back then, she just sort of blinks at me. (My brother was the opposite, supposedly, so that's why it comes up, especially with respect to my own young daughter.)

Serge: You mean dagger! I'm a rogue. :D

#318 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 08:54 PM:

kouredios @ 317... You mean dagger! I'm a rogue.

Human? Elfin? No matter what kind of rogue you are, take care of yourself.

#319 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 08:56 PM:

Thanks everybody for the gabapentin information. Now I just have to find out what's up with the meloxicam.

#320 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 09:07 PM:

Serge: human. male. Johnny Depp-in-Chocolatish.

It's a group of old college friends who are all still in the area. My 10-year reunion is this weekend, but meeting twice monthly for campaign is my kind of reunion, for sure. It's the best kind of self-care.

#321 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2007, 09:30 PM:

kouredios @ 320... It's the best kind of self-care.

Indeed. Take that, you inner conflict! For me, it's like when I've spent a whole day using my brain resolving computer issues. Afterwards, I'll treat myself with a trip to the comic-book store, where one can find stories where problems are resolved in a more physical manner. Which reminds me that I should probably take up archery again.

#322 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 12:31 AM:

Now I know where the idiots who planned the invasion of Iraq got their expert knowledge of military affairs. Where all the military academies teach from the final version of the writings Sun Tzu, Rumsfeld and Cheney used an early draft.

#323 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 01:30 AM:

kouredios, what Bruce said @ #310. If you thought you might worry me, you didn't.

#324 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 01:58 AM:

kouredios - I had some nasty incidents when I was a young, and I 'dealt' with it. I suspect why, but the year I turned 31, I couldn't 'deal' with it anymore. I think I finally reached a point where I was ready to address the situation. Counseling is one of the better choices I have made. I still think of myself as damaged goods, but not in a damaged=bad way. I need to be aware of the damage, and how to work around or through it.

From experience, I can tell you that no matter how ugly something is, once you put it out there, it starts to be easier to deal with.

#325 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 02:26 AM:

1985 was the year I tried to work. The small airways disease had been diagnosed the year before and since there weren't the good drugs I use now, I had to use a nebulizer every three hours around the clock. My company wouldn't let me use it at work (even though I offered to donate it to the vault, since I couldn't take it out once it was in, and I offered to do the treatments on my breaks) so I would work one day, spend the night in the ER, stay home the next day, work the next day, repeat, modifying for weekends.

In 1986, the executive VP wrote me a letter insisting I come back to work full time, quit, or go on disability. The doctors had been telling me for two years that I had to go on disability, so I did that. I think the eVP was surprised -- they seemed to think I was goofing off.

#326 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 03:36 AM:

Bugger, sorry about the multiple posts - I was on my sidekick, with intermittent connectivity and got error pages.

#327 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 07:16 AM:

Question: The Dresden Files. Worthy DVD investment or not?

Also, I am a pretty big Buffy fan, but I've never seen Angel. Is it worth it? How similar are the two? Advice would be appreciated.

#328 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 08:22 AM:

I liked Angel. It's different, but it has a lot of the essential wit, loopiness, and ambiguity of its parent show. It also engages with some stuff barely present in BtVS, like for instance race and urban poverty. With, of course, monsters.

Basically, its lows are a lot lower than the worst of BtVS, but its highs are nicely high. From memory, the most taxing parts are the first several episodes of Season 1, and much of Season 4.

Like its parent show, the single most annoying character is the one the show is named after.

#329 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 09:54 AM:

Tania @ 324: That sounds about right. Right down to the age, though I'll be 32 in a week.

Thanks Linkmeister. I was more worried about bringing the whole thread down. One of the things I love about ML is the sustained glee. But I've also noted the serious sincerity when called for. It's a special, special place.

Heresiarch: I think Angel is worth it, but I don't love it as much as Buffy or Firefly. In fact, I haven't watched all of it yet, though I own most seasons on DVD. It was never really appointment TV for me.

OTOH, as long as I don't watch all of it, there will still be new Joss out there waiting for me, so when I do start watching it again, I'll go slow.

#330 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 10:16 AM:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden @ 328: From memory, the most taxing parts are the first several episodes of Season 1, and much of Season 4.

A very good description of Season 4, by Pbaabe: "It's kinda like a bad dream I had--a very strange, and violent, at times inappropriately erotic dream."

#331 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 10:16 AM:

Eureka's new season starts on the Skiffy Channel on Father's Day. I caught an ad showing Deacon tinkering with something in his garage, not paying too much attention to what Fargo is doing, until the latter picks up what looks like a remote. Before can finish saying don't-touch-that, Fargo pushes the button, gravity disappears around him and he's last seen crashing upward thru a skylight and disappearing fast into the sky.

Yay!

#332 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 10:23 AM:

Serge @ 331

You mean Fargo was still alive at that point??

#333 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 10:34 AM:

Paula Helm Murray @ #309: [The TV] was almost never on in their home, why they even had one I don't know.

Perhaps they were like Nero Wolfe, who owned a television in order to better appreciate the pleasure of not watching it. (Occasionally, he would turn it on solely in order to have the satisfaction of turning it off.)

#334 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 10:57 AM:

With regard to the fourth season of Angel: as is the case with almost everything in the Whedonverse, opinions can vary widely. For example, I liked the Season Four arc a great deal.

(Season Five is problematic, but mostly -- in my opinion, anyhow -- because the show got unfairly cheated of its sixth season, and a bunch of stuff that should have played out at length got drastically foreshortened in the name of closure.)

#335 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 11:23 AM:

kouredios @ #294: Therapy is particularly helpful if you've had someone else's emotional sense of events imposed on you, and not been encouraged to develop your own.

Greg London @#314: But sometimes people look back on their younger experiences and hold themselves up to expectations based on who they are now, what they know now.

Amen to that. I was kind of shocked the day I, at 34 years old, sat next to an 11-year-old girl on a plane for 4 hours and realized how incredibly young 11 is! I had always blamed myself for being naive at that age, but of course children aren't naive; they're actually innocent, which is different.

#336 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 11:53 AM:

kouredios @ #294:
I've been trailing around here like drowned Ophelia for four days with the ghosts of dead friends trailing like soggy fronds all over me and no one's been anything but sympathetic, and it's had no appreciable effect on the general merriment.

But if I had more emotional energy, the email I just got would make me start running in little circles screaming "Kalamazookalamazookalamazoo!!!!" and performing obscure galliard variations. This leads directly back to dead friends, of course; joy streaked through with pain and loss because the very first person to share this with is not available.


#337 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 12:32 PM:

Susan... But joy is there.

#338 ::: Miri ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 01:06 PM:

Oooh! Me! I *love* Grocery Outlet (my friends and I call it the Scratch n Dent.)

The one here in Corvallis expanded a couple of years ago and is the size of a regular grocery store, with produce and a big frozen section. I like it because you can often get really good deals on things like canned beans and tomatoes, which I use a lot of, and on different kinds of 'gourmet' sausages and a pretty good variety of cheese, which I enjoy but are often prohibitively expensive in regular stores.

It's always funny to find "Hellman's" mayonnaise (here west of the Rockies, we call it "Best Foods.") The only problem is when they stock something unfamiliar that I really get to like (such as for a while they had a very nice mildish curry sauce by Patak's for several months) and then one day it's all gone and I discover that the only way for me to get it is to buy it online (for a lot more than I ever paid at the Scratch n Dent, of course). Sigh.

But it is a lovely store, all the same.

#339 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 01:09 PM:

Question: The Dresden Files. Worthy DVD investment or not?

I would say so. Both Dresden Files and Blood Ties generated a "hey, this is -good-!" reaction here (including from a fan of both book series). I don't know how much of that was from proper expectation calibration, though.

Tangenting off, in the ungood category we have Cthulhu the Movie, co-starring Tori Spelling. At least it's not a musical (although "Cthulhu F'htagan" means "No Worries").

#340 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 01:17 PM:

Serge (331): Father's Day? Are you sure? I thought Eureka was returning in July, and it's not on the schedule I just checked. July 17 (instead of June 17) would put it back on Tuesdays again.

#341 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 01:17 PM:

In 1985, I was 31 years old, living in Columbia, MO, working fulltime at the University Library as a Library Clerk, taking classes for my Master's in Library Science on my lunch break (mostly) and working a very part-time job(2 Sunday afternoons a month) at the public library to pick up some public library experience. I didn't have a TV, because the old one had broken and I figured I didn't have time to watch it anyway. I moved to my 4th apartment in 5 years. I was mostly reading romances, because my supervisor had a never-ending supply and they filled my printaholic need to read with meals, without being impossible to put down when I needed to study.

It was some time during the grad school years (it took me 4 years to finish) that I decided that the only house work that "had" to be done was take out the trash, do the laundry and do the dishes. Everything else was optional, at least until the end of the semester.

#342 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 01:44 PM:

Mary Aileen... Drat! You're right. What's premiering on Father's Day is The Dead Zone and The 4400. I guess we'll have to wait one month more than expected to find if Fargo died, eh, PJ? He'll probably just come back down with a serious case of frostbite at worst and they'll have to put him in a regeneration thingie. (If they don't have one such thingie, someone will probably have cobbled one together before the next commercial break.)

#343 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 02:02 PM:

Re: Angel. I can forgive "Angel" its fourth season (the troubles there actually started late in the third), because it was willing to go to such a dark place & torture its characters. Unfortunately, that was the big problem--it lost its sense of humor, which, for a Whedon show, was nearly fatal. There was a great episode midway through 4, when a certain character came back.
Season 5, though--god, that's a good season. (Agree a bit about the foreshortening, but for comedy, "Smile Time," and for tragedy, "A Hole in the World/Shells,"--TV writing does not, IMHO, get any better. And the series finale still lingers in the mind…

Re: 1985. In 1985, I went to kindergarten, and liked it. A future writing partner and I began our collaboration by writing on each other's papers, and had to be separated. My sister broke her arm when she was pushed off a slide by a neighbor's kid (she wanted to go down the slide, and pushed him first). 1985 was also the year the L.A. Critics declared "Brazil" the best film of the year, despite the fact that it hadn't been released yet. Universal was embarrassed into releasing it. God bless the L.A. Film Critics Assocation.

#344 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 02:29 PM:

1985 was a year of personal crisis for me. I was 33, a bit young for a mid-life crisis, but I've always acted older than I am. (No details, but if I told the story, at least one person who posts here would say "You did what? AGAIN?") (No, it was not on the hood of a police car.)

But that was what led to some serious breakthroughs in therapy* (I'd been going for several years, but had been carefully skirting around important issues until then) and, I think, some drastic improvements mentally. (I'm still neurotic, but I don't think I'm WILDLY neurotic anymore.)


*Is "therapy" the newest meme for Making Light? The thought also comes to me to wonder if progressives are the people who got therapy, and conservatives are the people who didn't.


#345 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 02:48 PM:

About Angel: I watched seasons 4 and 5 from the beginning, unspoiled, and didn't see seasons 1, 2, and 3 until they were shown in syndication starting midway through s4. It mattered more to watch things in order for that show than for Buffy, I think; the serial structure was more marked, and there was less going back and reminding people of how the characters got where they were: Gunn, in particular, is incomprehensible if you haven't seen the first two episodes he's in.

#346 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 03:25 PM:

Bruce at 334: It seems an early-thirties pattern too, doesn't it? Hmm. I'm right on schedule.

I'm sorry about your friend Susan. "Emotional energy" is a good term. I'm low in it right now as well since I visited my grandfather in hospice. That must account for the way I've been hit broadside with old issues: no energy to keep up my control mask.

And more Cthulhu! Is there something about mid-June and Cthulhu I should know about?

#347 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 03:34 PM:

FungiFromYoggoth @ 339

Wait, Tori Spelling is in Chtulhu? Now I haven't seen her in a while, but I'm certain she doesn't have enough tentacles for the part.

#348 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 03:48 PM:

1985 was the first time I fell in love*. It lasted seven months, long enough to go to his prom but not long enough for the photos to come back.†

As for counselling, I have been blackmailed into going to it twice, by two different people. Both times, I solved the problem that was causing the friction myself, just to get the therapist out of my head. Only go if you freely choose to go.

-----
* with a real human being, as opposed to, say, Spock or Therem Harth rem ir Estraven.
† which was a pattern for me, to the point that I now think the boyfriend who decided to go see the Texas Chainsaw Massacre instead of taking me to his prom did a good thing.

#349 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 03:53 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @#344: The thought also comes to me to wonder if progressives are the people who got therapy, and conservatives are the people who didn't.

That sounds like a variant of the old "everyone's damaged; everyone needs therapy" idea. I don't buy that, personally. For me, step 1 in getting past the worst of my issues was realizing that many people are walking around without a thousand pounds of baggage. Therapy's what's helped me to become (mostly) one of them.

kouredios @#346: it's very common for old wounds to re-open when you go through a related experience. Your Grandfather's illness (very sorry to hear about that, by the way) is probably putting you in mind of losing your father, and whatever you felt then that you weren't able to express.

#350 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 04:03 PM:

Bruce@344 & kouredios@346:
Had my early-mid-life crisis round the time I hit 30 (quite a bit later than 1985), so it's not that early really. There was an expectation (back then, not so much now) that by the time one gets to 30, one has worked out what one is doing with one's life, some measure of success has been obtained, a roadmap planned, that sort of thing.

Being in the throes of a PhD train-wreck really didn't help. The saying "Doing a Phd is a lot like repeatedly bashing your head against a brick wall; it's really nice when you stop" was apt. In my case, it was not completing it, but giving it away that salvaged my sanity. That and the love of a good woman.

#351 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 04:21 PM:

Mary Dell @ 335

Therapy is particularly helpful if you've had someone else's emotional sense of events imposed on you, and not been encouraged to develop your own.

I would say it's essential in that case. I thought I could put things back together myself, and it took me several decades (as in 3 or 4 of them) to realize that it just wasn't going to happen without help. As happy as I am now to be getting out from under that weight of other people's judgements, I do wish I'd started a lot sooner.

Greg @ 343

I agree about season 5 of Angel. Just remembering that arc of Fred and Wesley makes my hair stand on end, especially their scene in the last episode. And damn, I just realized what that scene's been resonating with in my head for the last 3 or 4 years: the scene in "Lord of Light" where Sam and Kali spend a night together before Kali's wedding with Yama and Sam's execution.

Kouredios @ 336

Is there something about mid-June and Cthulhu I should know about?

Not until 2014. See This document. WARNING: This information is classified Most Secret, and Restricted to clearance CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN under the meaning of the Official Secrets Act. If you are not cleared for at least this level of sensitive information, do not access this link.

#352 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 08:16 PM:

When the Prozac stopped working and my then-primary doctor ordered Wellbutrin, which didn't work, she sent me off to a psychiatrist who ordered Cymbalta, which did work. He also told her that anybody as sick as I am needs therapy and that anybody who had as lousy a childhood as I had needs therapy. So I went twice and stopped. I think I deal as well with those as I'm going to.

#353 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 09:20 PM:

1985 was the end of forth grade, which was okay, and the start of fifth. Fifth grade was the beginning of the boy-girl split, where you didn't socialize with the other sex, which is where I mark the beginning of the hell that was 7th and 8th grades for me.

If anyone would like to have lunch in NYC with me this Friday, please drop a line to the email address, with LUNCH TACO in the subject so I don't think it's trash....

#354 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 09:24 PM:

In 1985, I had been a Locus subscriber for 10 years.

#355 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 09:28 PM:

Heresiarch, #327: I never found Angel to be all that interesting a character on BTVS -- I lost interest in the Angsty Brooding Hero type somewhere in my mid-20s -- so I never made a point of watching his show. However, my partner's daughter was a big fan of both shows, and as a result I've seen bits and pieces of it on DVD. (It should be noted that even she didn't want Season 4 -- it wasn't quite a Bobby-in-the-shower, but it came close.) The first episode is well worth watching IMO, and if you really like that one, then you might want to explore further.

FWIW, I've really been enjoying Bones on Fox; it's got David Boreanaz playing a character I describe as "Angel with all the wit and considerably less angst," a wonderful lead character for him to bounce off of, and a set of supporting characters who will be instantly understandable to most of the readers here. If you're not the type to get seriously torqued by occasional lapses into Trek-science or just plain bad science, give it a try.

abi, #348: Amen, sistah! While it's horribly frustrating to watch someone you know tying themselves in knots over something that therapy might straighten out, it's like dealing with an addiction: you can't FORCE someone to do it and expect good results. The motivation has to be internal.

#356 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 09:48 PM:

Mary Dell@335 realized how incredibly young 11 is! I had always blamed myself for being naive at that age, but of course children aren't naive; they're actually innocent, which is different.

Yep. You'd be surprised how many people look at their childhood experiences through their adult eyes and beat themselves up for doing something or not doing something that seems obvious to them now.

The idea is that the mind isn't aware of it's own changes. So all experiences and memories get played through whatever your current mindset happens to be. Your mind doesn't record your emotional development with the memory of that nasty event that happened when you were five, so the memory replays through whatever mindset you're in now, and you have no way of experiencing what your mindset was like then.

It comes up once in a while when I'm life coaching. I'm not sure if the description of what's going on in the mind is technically accurate, but it helps clients put their memories into perspective, so it works for me.

As for whether therapy, coaching, whatever is a good thing, it all depends on whether you're stuck enough that you're willing to accept outside help. I had one client where our phone calls were like pulling teeth. After the third call, I suggested that I wasn't the right coach for them. I don't think they were ready. Which is fine. I just didn't want to waste our time or his money.

#357 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 09:58 PM:

In 1985 I met Xopher at the Nasfic in Austin, Texas. (Hi, Xopher!) Probably met a few other Making Light posters there too.

#358 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 11:11 PM:

Lee @ 355

Second the mention of "Bones". The characters are interesting, and changing believably over time, the plots are mostly interesting, and the science isn't always out the window. My major problem is that, as a co-worker said about CSI the other day, "They've got way better user interfaces than we do."

And I really can't wait to hear what Bones and Seeley have to say to the minister when the new season starts.

#359 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 11:11 PM:

JESR@345: that's an interesting assessment of Gunn; do you feel there weren't enough bits dropped (old connections showing up, old obligations touched on) to keep his backstory visible? I gave up on both shows in November of BtVS's last season, giving me a limited perspective, but I remember the local group watching the Hugo nominees; the people who didn't follow the shows made some sense of the A episode with the ]haunted[ ballerina, but found "Conversations with Dead People" impenetrable.

#360 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2007, 11:27 PM:

Laina, do I know you? If I do, there were questions in Pinkys Place tonight about when you were returning home.

Glad to hear from you!

#361 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 12:19 AM:

Bruce Cohen @310 - I just wanted to say what a gorgeous thing that was for you to say. It ought to be sidebar'd or something. In any case, it certainly crystalized why I love this group (ok, it's not the only reason; cascading joke games are another; but anyway). I mean, when I was discussing the train car incident with my husband and asking him the same question, and he suggested I survey my female friends, I realized that even better would be a post to an appropriate thread here because I'd get an even better sample set from people whose reactions I equally trust even though I haven't met most of them yet.

Also, Making Light has permalinks. This is a cool thing for a blog to have and should be encouraged.

Mary Dell @335 and Greg London @356 -

I was kind of shocked the day I, at 34 years old, sat next to an 11-year-old girl on a plane for 4 hours and realized how incredibly young 11 is!
The idea is that the mind isn't aware of it's own changes.
OMGBBQYES!!!1!!1! and other epiphanous exclamations! Yes. When I think back to childhood emotional experiences, I don't tend to think, "Oh, but I was just a kid then." I remember the experience as though I-current-time-me were sitting in that brain experiencing it, and it still hurts. Nothing abusive or traumatic outside of the usual travails of being a sensitive crybaby of a kid, but I remember the event as if it were me and not a person I had ceased to be in the becoming of who I am now.

I am not entirely convinced that this is wrong to do so long as I make allowances for how I acted at the time, having been only 7, 11, 16, etc. at the time.

This isn't coming out the way I mean it. I think I get closer if I say that for just about every time I remember my parents say, "You'll understand when you're older," I can confidently say, "I'm older now, and my opinion hasn't changed," at least where my childhood outrage at perceived injustice came into play. But there's also the sense that the person that is "me" is still "me."

Maybe I should worry that I haven't grown up nearly as much as I think I have. The alternate conclusion, that I was a lot more grown up at the time than I ought to have been, seems a bit too simultaneously self-congratulatory and tragic to be countenanced. But when I fell in love with a boy in 3rd grade, I remember it feeling a hell of a lot like when I fell in love with my husband-to-be. When I got bullied in 6th grade, it felt awfully like when I got bullied by a drunk idjit in the crowd of a Cowboy Mouth show in Denver last month. Some situations I'm better equipped to deal with now than then, and some I'm still hopeless at. Doesn't this crap ever get easier?

That didn't end up where I thought it was going. I hope it's at least fairly evident what I'm circumlocuting, if I'm not managing to get at it directly.

#362 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 12:20 AM:

Andrew T:

This summer I'm going to be doing some field research work, some of it in boats. One piece of standard equipment that many of my peers seem to bring with them is a pocket knife. Everyone has a different knife. I'm trying to choose one for myself, but I am bewildered and confused.

Will there be salt water involved? Do you have a bit of a budget? If so, then look at Boye Dendritic Cobalt Boat Knives, which stay ungodly sharp forever. If I had the cash I'd carry one: since I don't I tend to carry a Kershaw Leek pocketknife and a Gerber multitool.

Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers:

I've been seriously thinking about a Palm now that my Newton** is on its last legs. * Yes, an Apple Newton 2100. If you think a Sony E-Reader is too big, then you don't even want to think about this monster. But the screen is large and has good resolution even by today's standards, and I've read books on it quite comfortably. Still, because the software is pretty much unmaintainable anymore, I use less and less of its capabilities. These days it's primarily an encrypted password store.

You do know there's a new, OSX native sync package out for the Newton as well as one in final development for Windows, don't you? As it is, since my 2100 does almost everything I need to do I'm just getting a n800 to go along with it as a web browser--can't do SSL with a Newton unfortunately...

#363 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 02:08 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 362

You do know there's a new, OSX native sync package out for the Newton

No, I didn't; thank you very much for telling me about that. Unfortunately my serial port dongle disappeared awhile ago, and I've been waiting for one to show up on EBay (googling hasn't spotted one anywhere else yet).

#364 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 02:10 AM:

I'm really not sure what to think about this: A Dictionary Of Botanical Epithets. I suspect the regular commentariat here will set me straight.

#365 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 02:18 AM:

Nicole @ 361

*blush* Thank you for those kind words. I admit I was a little hesitant about hitting 'post' after I wrote that; I'm relatively new here, only been reading about 4 months and posting for a little over 3. But I've seen how people care for each other here, and I wanted you all to know I feel the same way.

Just finding ML this year was very important to me; I needed to know there was a place like this somewhere, and that I could be a part of it.

#366 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 02:59 AM:

So the consensus is Angel is, overall, worthwhile?

One more Angel/Buffy question: Does the new Buffy comic, season 8, take place the year immediately after season 7? In other words, does it take place during Angel season 5? I heard a bit when it first came out, but nothing since--how is it?

Apologies for all the questions, but I'm a cautious shopper, and I trust you guys' opinions. =)

#367 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 03:32 AM:

CHip @ 359- in general, I think that from midseason 3 on, Gunn's actual history gets reduced to a formula which under cuts most of his other-than-muscle identity.

Would say more but I've not ROT-13ed before and I don't learn well after midnight.

#368 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 03:33 AM:

Heresiarch #366: I also haven't seen any of Angel (weirdly), but my understanding is that Buffy Season Eight takes place a year or so after its last season, so two-ish years after the end of Buffy. I don't recall exactly where I got that from, but it seems about right.

As for the comic's quality, it is very, very good.

#369 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 04:08 AM:

Nicole, #361: ...for just about every time I remember my parents saying, "You'll understand when you're older," I can confidently say, "I'm older now, and my opinion hasn't changed,"

Hooboy, does that sound familiar! Moreover, the things they said that make sense to me now made sense to me from the start. As far as I can tell, there is no topic of disagreement upon which the mere fact of my getting older has caused me to change my opinion and agree with them -- although there are some things that I understand better from my adult perspective, I still ultimately disagree with their statements and/or actions.

#370 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 08:13 AM:

jh @ 364: well, they're squamous, but unaccountably not rugose....

Lee & Nicole, re "understanding when you're older"--I have an older sister who confidently expected me to grow up to be her. Didn't happen.

And re downers: my mother, at 89, has decided she's tired and is no longer going to eat or drink. Hospice care commences ASAP. Thanks to the fluorosphere for giving me a calm and pleasant place to wait this out.

#371 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 09:17 AM:

j h woodyatt @ 364

Do you know what character encoding that page is in? My browser is set for UTF-8, which is what everyone should be using in an international world, and there are a whole bunch of characters (decorating symbols, I would guess by their placement) that won't display. I tried some other encodings like ISO 8897-1 and MacRoman, but no joy.

#372 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 09:24 AM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers):

Unfortunately my serial port dongle disappeared awhile ago, and I've been waiting for one to show up on EBay (googling hasn't spotted one anywhere else yet).

They show up pretty frequently at newtontalk.net, and I think that J&K Sales has them still available.

#375 ::: Jennyanydots ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 10:49 AM:

Heresiarch @ 366 & co:
Angel is a good series but I find it quite dark, for all the humour. It's said to be about redemption but I'm not sure it is. It's a giant trap of a universe, in which evil has a clear supernatural presence and good does not -- indeed, it seems increasingly likely by the end of the series that the Powers that Be are evil or at least amoral. The characters become increasingly damaged as the series progresses, and I'm not at all sure that the ending represents any more than another winding of the trap. (I wonder what they would have done to our favourite characters by season 5 of Firefly, by comparison...)

I liked Illyria. I wanted to hear more of her story. Curiously, considering the circumstances in which she came into the world, she felt like a breath of hope. (V yvxr gb guvax gung fur pbhyq abg unir gnxra ba gung nfcrpg unq fur orra va n qvssrerag obql, naq gung va fbzr jnl Serq'f angher jnf erivirq va ure ol Jrfyrl'f nterrzrag gb or ure thvqr: znxrf uvf qrngu, naq snvyher ng gur cbvag bs qrngu, yrff hggreyl pehry naq zrnavatyrff).

I do kind of like the darkness of it all in a way. Some truly poetic moments.

#376 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 10:50 AM:

SpeakerToManagers @ #371:

It claims to be in ISO-8859-1 (which would have been my first guess), but viewing it with that encoding set doesn't seem to help either.

I'm inclined to the suspicion that it's a piece of (probably-WYSIWYG-)HTML-editor-randomness unrelated to character encoding.

#377 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 11:50 AM:

Paul A.

Thanks, that's the conclusion I reached after fiddling with it some more. Moderately irritating.

Jennyanydots @ 375

I agree about liking the darkness and specifically about Illyria and her relationship to (but not quite with) Wesley. I'm not sure that ending was really organic to the arc that Whedon and Minear had worked out for the series. I think it was a result of the premature cancellation. In fact, I think one way to read the very ending is as a commentary on the never-ending struggle between creative artists and the distributors and sellers of their work.

Think of Angel and his band as Whedon and the rest of the show's crew and cast, Wolfram and Hart and the Council as the network, and the Powers that Be as the general audience (not just the Angel fans) and you'll see what I mean.

#378 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 12:05 PM:

Serge (#354): In 1985, I had been a Locus subscriber for 10 years. Impressive! Too bad the magazine doesn't hand out customer-loyalty awards.

Before joining the gang in 1981, I just picked up the occasional issue at Dark Carnival (including the fateful one with the Help Wanted announcement), and actually I've *never* subscribed -- since both the full-time workers and regular contributors get free copies. But the more subscribers the merrier! (Especially since I no longer have to process them by hand, on a typewriter in the offices, as was done in olden times.)

#379 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 12:12 PM:

Faren, I bet mine was one of those you hand-processed on that typer. (1977 or 1978 - around there.) I'd been buying them at Recycle Books for a while before going for a subscription. I think Big Mac was the first Worldcon I read about.

#380 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 12:21 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 372

Thanks again, and my encrypted password file that hasn't been backed up in months also thanks you.

#381 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 12:36 PM:

Paula at #360

Yes, you know me. And your question reminds me that I haven't done a good job of telling folks about the change in plans for the move. I'll be moving back to Kansas* in early/mid Sept. instead of June. We ended up moving to the new library in May instead of February, and I'm sticking around for three months extra so I didn't have to try to get myself moved at the same time I was helping move the library.

* feel free to insert comments about ruby slippers/clicking heels/don't think we're in Kansas at this point.

#382 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 01:14 PM:

#365 Bruce:

Are you familiar with the Callahan's stories? At its best, a virtual community is like that--shared pain lessened, shared joy multiplied. (A long time ago, I was an alt.callahans reader, and for all tghe flamewars and misunderstanding and dramatics at times, it could also be that kind of community. Here, we may benefit from having Teresa play Fast Eddie sometimes, albeit with disemvowelment instead of a blackjack.)

My big problem is not letting the virtual community become so much of a focus that I lose touch with the physical communities I'm also a part of.

#383 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 01:33 PM:

#369 Lee:

One complicating factor here: A lot of us were pretty old-acting adults, by some combination of intelligence and interest/inclination. Smart, quiet kids tend to be seen as older than they really are sometimes, and I think it's easy for adults, especially adults under a lot of stress, to lean on them more heavily than is appropriate.

Some things my parents or other adults said, with which I disagreed as a kid, I've come to agree with. Dress and grooming are pretty pointless in any functional sense, but they really do matter in your interactions with other people. Shared values and culture really do make a marriage easier, though when my mom told me that at 16, I thought she was being closed-minded. A messy room really is a dumb thing to live with all the time.

Other stuff, I kept my ideas about the same because the reasoning was the same. Once you get, say, the proof that there are an infinite number of primes, life experience doesn't contradict it. I think I became more accepting of subtleties and gray areas as I grew up--places where a beautiful model is a poor fit for reality are less obvious when you don't have 40 years of life experience to compare your model against. More, I think life experience gives you a lot of examples in memory where your well-thought-out theory absolutely collapsed under an onslaught of inconvenient facts.

#384 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 01:35 PM:

Henry Troup (#308) re hoof picks:

I am fond of the style made from a flatheaded scredriver blank.

I've gone through five or six in the past twenty years (mostly becuase I prefer to have some sort of rubber dip on them, to reduce slippage, though I've worn a couple down to where the horse thought they were too narrow.

No, there isn't a foldable pick which is as stout.

Victorinox makes a decent riding knife, with hoof-pick, and locking blade. I think of getting something like that, not because it's what I really want, but because I'm more likely to keep it handy, and no not have to improvise with other tools on the multi-tool.

Andrew T: I forgot to mention he most important reason I recommended the fixed bladed knife. If you have slippery hands, the odds of losing your grip while opening it goes down.

For all that there are lots of good knives out there, online, I'd go to a shop, or two, and handle them. How it feels in the hand is important. If it doesn't fit well, it's not as useful.


#385 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 01:54 PM:

Laina, I will pass info along to Pinky, he was askiing about you last night in Pinky's Place.

Once you get to a point you can leave, remember you don't have to bother the perfessor, just click those ruby slippers together!

#386 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 02:07 PM:

The HTTP Content-Type header just says 'text/html' with no 'charset' parameter, so your browser has only the HTML to go by. The page source has explicit <font> tags in it (thank you, Claris Home Page!) referencing Trebuchet MS, which I note is installed on my machine. Not sure where I got that font...

FWIW, it renders fine for me, even with UTF8 encoding forced.

#387 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 02:09 PM:

Albatross at 383-- yeah. I'm coming up against stupid assumptions now, living pretty much on my own for the first time. I don't have the same practice of moderation that my siblings do; when I want something, I have to remind myself not to get it immediately. Why? Because growing up, I mostly didn't want things. People congratulated me on being so mature, not running around like a hooligan, not drinking or doing drugs, and missed the fact that I had no one to run around with and no one had ever offered me anything illegal. No one has, in fact, except my parents, and that was wine with dinner. There's a big difference between restraint and disinterest.

#388 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 02:38 PM:

jh woodyatt

I think Trebuchet may be one that comes with WinXP. (I've got it at work, and it's an XP machine, to which I've added no fonts. Therefore ....)

#389 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 03:28 PM:

albatross @ 382

I've read several of Spider Robinson's Callahan books, and I visited alt.callahans for a few days a long time ago. Maybe it was where I was at then, but the callahans conversation just didn't grab me the way ML does; maybe coming into that "3 Arab leaders walk into a bar" joke thread is the only sort of thing that could make me sit up and take notice.

The other thing is that Spider has disappointed me in the last few years. He started well, I thought. The notion of community he used originally was very much like what I said in my post upthread. But after awhile it started sounding like Callahan's was only a halfway house for damaged people; once you healed, you needed to move on. I don't see ML that way at all; this is a place to meet interesting, smart, caring people. Some have problems they're dealing with, some do not; some people get sympathy and perhaps some respite here. But we're not therapists or counselors; we don't know who has problems unless they tell us (and it's none of our business if they don't), and we can only help by listening and making suggestions about what direction to take.

The other thing about the Callahan stories these days is that our heroes are omniscient, omnipotent, and they like all the right brands. It's hard to care, and it's really hard to think of that setting as someplace I would fit in.

#390 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 03:41 PM:

3D model of ancient Rome.
wow.

#391 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 03:46 PM:

Aconite 330: A very good description of Season 4, by Pbaabe: "It's kinda like a bad dream I had--a very strange, and violent, at times inappropriately erotic dream."

That's a quote from Connor, who as you'll recall jnf tvira n jubyr arj uvfgbel jura Natry gbbx bire Jbysenz & Uneg. Ur fnlf gung jura ur yrnirf orsber gur svany onggyr. That gave some of us hope for a spinoff series, but it was not to be.

Allan 357: Um. I'm ashamed to say I'm not placing you just at the moment. Unless you were the one who...popped up on the computer. THAT I remember. Was that you?

#392 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 04:14 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @#361: Some situations I'm better equipped to deal with now than then, and some I'm still hopeless at. Doesn't this crap ever get easier?

I find things do get easier as I get older, but just because I've had more practice. The second time someone close to me died was definitely easier than the first, because I'd done most of my philosophical wallowing* the first time around, for example.

The main thing that makes childhood different from adulthood, I think, is magical thinking. Children have a sense of cause and effect that has little to do with reality, and then the didactic adult way of explaining things gets layered on top of that, which makes the world a painful, guilt-inducing place. "Your great-aunt is sick, so we have to be really nice to her" can metamorphose through events to become "I wasn't nice enough to my great-aunt, so she died."

I imagine a lot of us made odd choices as children based on an incorrect idea of our power to affect the world. I know I was always trying to save people who couldn't be saved...certainly not by the self-sacrifice of a child. It took a long time to understand that I was motivated by something other than idiocy, because as an adult, I'd forgotten what it was like to believe in my own absolute power.

*why do people die, what is the meaning of life, is there an afterlife, etc etc

#393 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 11:01 PM:

In unrelated news, I just had dinner with TexAnne, who's visiting New York City. I filled her in on the ML gossip (spoilering the wedding news, I'm afraid) and took her to eat at Zen Palate, where she actually photographed some of the food before we ate it (and if she shows you the photographs, you'll see why).

What a thoroughly delightful person she is. It was great to finally meet someone in person who I've known only via text before, of course, but she's fun and bright and witty into the bargain. Not that the rest of you aren't, of course.

More ML meetups. They're a good thing.

#394 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2007, 11:06 PM:

Bruce, #389: Spider appears (to me at least) to be suffering from Reichenbach Falls syndrome. He had enough good stories for 3 books set at Callahan's Place plus 2 more set at Lady Sally's before he blew up the bar. (Yes, literally!) But then his readers, and his publishers, demanded more, and he had to stretch further and further to keep the ideas coming, and the last 2 or 3 books have been, frankly, rather lame. I wish he'd come up with fresh ideas to explore, but I understand about having to pay the bills.

The various online incarnations of Callahan's Place have all suffered, to some extent, from not having the ability to put someone in the Fast Eddie role. I think the observation that Teresa (and Patrick, and sometimes Jim) having that role makes this a more pleasant community is spot-on.

I spent considerable time in a.c. myself; during the years immediately after my divorce, it gave me something to stabilize my life around, and I met my current partner there. But, as the motto in the books says, it was a place I found when I needed it, and left when I no longer did.

#395 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 01:34 AM:

Well, that was special. I've been trying to update pages on ML for the last 15 minutes, and getting 'Name lookup failed' messages. Don't know how long it was going on before I started. Anybody know what happened?

#396 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 02:27 AM:

xopher,

More ML meetups. They're a good thing.

funny you should mention, cause

all fluorospheroids in new york area! d'you want to hang out in a couple of weeks?

i will be in town from the 21st to the 26th, & selling my comical books at mocca art fest saturday & sunday.

i may not be the most well-known around these parts, but i'm told i'm pleasant in person! there's an email address linked from the website linked from my name, & another equally good email address viewable with the "see all by" trick.

#397 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 04:15 AM:

miriam beetle @396
i may not be the most well-known around these parts...

In my head, there are three types of people on ML.


  1. The giants who bestride the landscape. PNH, TNH, Jim, Avram, Xopher*, a few others as well

  2. People whom I remember - not just names but facts and characteristics - from thread to thread. For instance, I once startled Serge by recalling that his wife writes romance novels, which he had mentioned a couple of months earlier and on another thread**. Note that some of the people in this class have landed there by behaving like a'holes; there is more than one way to be memorable‡.

  3. People still classed as non-notable in abipedia. That doesn't mean they're really non-notable at all, just that abipedia is not a very general encyclopedia††. It also means they have the chance to reinvent themselves with each comment.

Anyway, having now defined my terms, I can say that you're in category two for me (not that I'm in New York). I suspect you are for many others here.
-----
* to prove that it's not just admins, and well, because it's Xopher
** and because they're romance novels, the wench is not dead†.
† I appear to be Baroque and discursive today. Hm.
‡ I always used to say that nothing is as memorable as a good affectation, back when I used one in my online persona.
†† Maybe I need more editors. Then I can have edit wars in my head! Wait. That's why I left therapy.

#398 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 05:07 AM:

And, of course, category #4: aspects of abi's personality who have escaped the confines of her head and taken up an independent existence on the infinite neon grid of cyberspace.

Which could be any of us.

For all you know.

(Also, I like the wikipedia model of human consciousness, and will have to give it some serious thought.)

#399 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 05:21 AM:

Many of my sub-personae are identifiable by their usernames, often all lowercase and starting with "a"*

-----
* thus begins my stealth attempt to take credit for that fantastic posting in the Catz thread†.
† because having my name on the top of the thread didn't work.

#400 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 06:40 AM:

since the thread was called "abi sutherland, on catz," i was pretty much assuming that all the posts in it must have been by abi sutherland. what other explanation could there be?

#401 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 06:57 AM:

i r largekitteh.
i can has multitudes!

#402 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 07:38 AM:

#399: SCREAM gibber gibber HOWL DOUBT OWN EXISTENCE AS INDEPENDENT SENTIENT BEING whimper SCREAM


#403 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 07:43 AM:

Odd. I just felt a sudden disturbance in my head, as though someone in there was screaming.

#404 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 08:57 AM:

albatross @ 383: "Dress and grooming are pretty pointless in any functional sense, but they really do matter in your interactions with other people."

Heh, that rings a bell. In many ways my life can be divided into the "Adhering to Arbitrary Social Norms is Illogical" and the "Yeah, But Little Effort, Big Payoff" epochs, with very little continuity between the two. Figuring out that it might be worthwhile to pay some attention to social norms (even if they don't make any sense) was a pretty major revelation in my life.

Mary Dell @ 392: "I imagine a lot of us made odd choices as children based on an incorrect idea of our power to affect the world. I know I was always trying to save people who couldn't be saved...certainly not by the self-sacrifice of a child."

I get weird (in a good way) resonances of Pan's Labyrinth and the His Dark Materials trilogy from that. I think a non-neglible fraction of sf/f deals with that theme, though I don't think that there's much of a consensus.

#405 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 09:06 AM:

abi #401: I can has self-contradiction?

#406 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 09:08 AM:

ajay @ 402

What's the matter? Don't have a mouth?

#407 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 09:50 AM:

Lee #394 and others:

I agree about the Callahan's stories--he's kind of run out of ideas. The last couple books were pretty lame. The super-intelligent psychic daughter thing wears thin in about five minutes, and the idea that one small-time gangster could frighten a group that had faced down extraterrestrial invasions was silly. (Steve Barnes made a comment one time about how you had to match the difficulty to the characters--his example was that it wouldn't be interesting to watch James Bond foil a 7-11 holdup. This problem killed _Callahan's Con_ for me.)

On the other hand, I thought _The Free Lunch_ was quite good. There were implausibilities, but they somehow didn't ruin the story for me.

#408 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 09:59 AM:

#404 Heresiarch:

Temple Grandin (as far as I can tell, an autistic genius--she's a world-famous expert on animal behavior who also has a book explaining how she translates her picture-based thought processes to words) calls these "sins of the system." She commented in one of her books that her life became much easier when she understood that there were arbitrary rules, and that if she committed to following them all the time, people would cut her a lot of slack on other things.

#409 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 10:05 AM:

#397 ::: abi commented:
Note that some of the people in this class have landed there by behaving like a'holes; there is more than one way to be memorable‡.

I have a dreadful memory for names, and have often commented that the only way I'll remember your name the first time I meet you is if you do something really impressive. Unfortunately, it's pretty rare that "impressive" and "good" go together...

#410 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 10:41 AM:

P.J. Evans (#379) -- I didn't start at Locus till 1981, but if you held onto your subscription I *would* have processed the renewal. And I know I did Serge's renewals, since he mentioned being a subscriber and I remember his name from the slow-computer-printout book that listed all of them (and got temporarily updated in red ink, by hand).

#411 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 12:09 PM:

j h woodyatt @ #386:

FWIW, it renders fine for me, even with UTF8 encoding forced.

The front page renders fine for me as well; it's the subpages where the problems appear.

#412 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 12:17 PM:

1985 was the year I came in 3rd in the All-Ireland Harp Competition (Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann) and tied for 4th in bodhran. On a lark I went up to Pearl River NY last weekend and qualified for this year's competition in harp and accompaniment. Through drugs and therapy I have been cured of bodhran.

#413 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 12:28 PM:

#403: actually things are settling down now. Had coffee with Nightmare Abi and the other alter egos, and we're setting up a union. She won't push us around for much longer...

#414 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 12:31 PM:

Faren @ 410

Just renewed again. How else can I find out what's going to be happening in the future?

#415 ::: Lillian ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 01:00 PM:

In 1985 I turned 21. Third year of college. My best friend James turned 30 and we made a huge production of it. I had a Commodore 64 that I hooked up to my black-and-white TV. (This was the only computer I ever resold for more than I paid for it, because it could run Toast and there was (and is) a pretty big computer animation scene here.) I was working at 7-11 then, and it was the year I totalled my car and started using a scooter, which I drove for 5 years.

We had NASFiC in Austin--I volunteered for that, and got written up in the San Angelo, TX paper.

And I my have one of the generics on my shelf at home, Melissa. I'll check!

#416 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 01:09 PM:

Oddly enough, 1985 was the year that a friend and I discussed the possibility of an organisation called NAMP - the National Association of Multiple Personalities. Several memberships to one body a requirement of joining.

I can see that life has come full circle.

#417 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 01:10 PM:

About "old" children and self-restraint:

I was a very old-acting first-born with many self-imposed rules and regulations. I tried very hard to follow the rules, and at an awkward early teenage time, decided that instead of rebelling against my parents, I'd rebel against my peers, and became very mormon, very intellectual (or so I imagined) and very gothy vegetarian (It was 1986 in the midwestern burbs - gothy vegetarian was still rebellion then!). The best way to get me to break down in tears was for an authority figure to say s/he was "disappointed" in me.

At nearly 35, I've been OK with legal limitations, but when it comes to things like "cake is not a breakfast food", or "if you don't buy these books/clothes/sheet music now, you can save for a good cello" or "if you hew to this schedule you created yourself, you can see at least three things in London you wanted to see", a part of my brain pipes up with "You can't tell me what to do! You're not the boss of me!!!". Despite the fact that all of the above are in my best interests.

It's quite self-sabotaging (specifically putting off long-term goals for instant gratification) that I suppose I ought to see a shrink about it. But while I am a huge proponent of the powers of therapy (which have done wonders for friends and family) I had a really rotten experience in my teens with a therapist, and I can't bring myself to go through the process of finding one who isn't a total quack.

#418 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 02:12 PM:

You're not the boss of me!!!

That line always makes me smile.

Despite the fact that all of the above are in my best interests.

Ah, yes. Welcome to the human race. ;) You've at least become aware of the issue, which is probably half the battle, and puts you ahead of a lot of people.

I can't bring myself to go through the process of finding one who isn't a total quack.

The fact that you're already aware of your behaviour has me wondering if you need therapy. You sound perfectly human to me. If there is something about the behaviour that is measurably impacting you in a specific negative way, then that's a different thing. But if it's just the voice, then therapy or even coaching might be overkill. If you're interested, I could talk you through how coaching would deal with the voice and its impact, but it wouldn't make the voice go away, it would be showing you some tools you can use to help neutralize it when it shows up.

#419 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 02:21 PM:

Xopher #393:

Yes, TexAnne's a great person to hell around WFC with, too. She even gave me two story ideas for free.

#420 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 02:45 PM:

As long as everyone else is channeling 1985:

Started a new software job where I got to use Apollos, with mice and everything. My first workstation was the size of a small washing machine, with a monster tube that required its own stand. We were churning out vast amounts of Pascal.

Sometime that year, we bought a Mac Plus to replace the Kaypro. It didn't come with a hard drive, so we ended up spending what must have been a week's pay for somebody to get an external drive, all 10 megs.

That was the year I sang chorus in my first operas, instead of driving up to SF to just watch.

I was reading Locus, but didn't subscribe until roughly five years ago--buying it OTC always gave me an excuse (as if I needed one) to hit a specialty bookstore. (In 1985, it was Future Fantasy (RIP), which was in vague walking distance, although I always drove because I knew I'd have too many books to carry on the way back.)

We'd discovered Chez Panisse the previous summer, and then went mad ordering from Shepherd Seeds. I think 1985 was the year our back garden produced the zucchini plague (we unloaded a bunch on the little old lady from Trieste next door), and we had pasta w/ fresh tomatos at least twice a week. I made some truly amazing bread-and-butter pickles from the cucumbers.

Without knowing it, I was watching Vikram Seth writing _The Golden Gate_ at a back table in Printer's Ink bookstore (also RIP).

Fourth of Julys were always spent at the Stanford Amphitheatre, where the Preservation Hall Jazz Band had a standing gig. Show-offy picnics were the rule, and some people waved balloons in time w/ the music.

No particular angst, and the future was starting to look bright enough that I was thinking of investing in a cheap pair of sunglasses. I wish I still had all that much energy.

#421 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 02:56 PM:

nerdycellist #417: t's quite self-sabotaging (specifically putting off long-term goals for instant gratification)

Can't be worse than putting off instant gratification for no goals at all. I keep not getting things because I need to save the money for ... what?

#422 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 03:07 PM:

joann @ 420

the year our back garden produced the zucchini plague

Early one summer I was fertilizing some of the plants in our backyard, and made a horrible mistake from not paying attention to what I was doing. I fertilized the zucchini! Within a few weeks all of our recipes for zucchini were exhausted and we were reduced to putting zucchini in baskets and leaving them on neighborhood doorsteps with notes saying "Please take care of my baby."

#423 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 03:19 PM:

Greg London @ 418

When our kids were in high school we got a new dog, a Border Collie puppy. True to breed, he almost immediately started herding everything in sight, including the kids. They started telling the dog (and everyone else) "You're not the Border Collie of me!"

#424 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 03:22 PM:

Word people:

Apparently "preventative," which I find distasteful, is a legitimate word.

Is its meaning different in any way from "preventive?"

Please enlighten me.

(I also prefer "orient" to "orientate.")

Will "preventitative" be the next fad?

#425 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 03:24 PM:

1985? Ugh. I had a RadioShack color computer, and I had splurged the extra money for the exernal 5.25" harddrive.

About the only thing 1985 had going for it was it was the year "Back to the Future" came out.


#426 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 03:47 PM:

NerdyCellist @417,

There's a " find a therapist" search at Psychology Today. Between the descriptions they give of themselves, and that they list if they do free phone consultations, you'll be much better able to interview them and see if they set off your flake-o-meter before you start.

I'd suggest finding one with "Therapist Orientation" (link to definitions) = Cognitive Behavioral (CBT). They're somewhat harder to get appointments with, due to recent articles on the effectiveness of CBT, but then CBT is effective. And efficient.

That's for dealing with negatives. Quite separate from that is building up positives: two years ago I had a life coach*, and that was quite useful in replacing a couple of weakly good habits with better ones.

Also- your comment reminds me of my two favorite "pop-psychology but sharp and effective" books of the past 20 years:

1. The Resilience Factor by Shatte & Reivich**.

2. Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman. (Link to his site-- it has a bundle of interesting tests, articles, and etc.-- but I'd also get the book.)

Both books are useful, habit changing, and dense with good ideas- i.e. not the sort of books that spend 200 pages on a 20 page concept.

The Resilience Factor especially could be helpful with stopping self-sabotage.

-------------
* "Life coaching is a new type of therapy that helps healthy people to realize their goals in work, family and life. Although many psychologists also consider part of their treatment to be a form of life coaching, this therapy doesn't focus on treating mental illness. Executive coaches, for example, may be enlisted to help a chief executive become a better manager." (psych today)

** "Their premise--that your thinking style determines your resilience--underlies the books promise: you can boost resilience by changing the way you think about adversity."

#427 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 03:56 PM:

Greg, #418: You do stuff to help people deal with the Goddamn Tapes? We may need to talk...

#428 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 04:52 PM:

Drat.

The beautiful house we were going to hire in the Netherlands just fell through. The painter isn't going to the Canary Islands.

Suddenly feeling deeply, deeply low. All of our plans are in tatters, the timing is fsked, and I'm not sure how we're going to make anything work.

*headdesk*

#429 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 04:58 PM:

abi #428: Oh shit! That's just terrible. I hope you can find a substitute quickly.

#430 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 05:01 PM:

My sympathies, abi. That stinks.

#431 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 05:07 PM:

Oh, that's rough, abi. Sending positive home-finding energy from California, fwiw...

#432 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 05:31 PM:

Bill Higgins, Beam Jockey, protests "preventative."

May I meet that gambit with "hesitancy" which doesn't quite mean either hesitant, or hesitation, or to hesitate but some other, even more tenuous condition lingering indeterminately on the plane of meaning defined by those three points?

#433 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 05:50 PM:

Bill Higgins -- Beam Jockey, @ #424, re: "preventative" vs "preventive"

There's nothing wrong with "preventive", and if Google's to be believed, it's over 2½ times as common on the web as "preventative". On the other hand, there's not much of a rational case to be made against the latter. It's not a recent innovation — the OED's earliest citation for "preventative"[1] is from 1655, just 29 years after the first for "preventive"[2] — and there are other "-ative" adjectives similarly formed from stems not ending in "-ate", unless you prefer "qualitive", "authoritive", and "talkive".

  1. 1655 LD. ORRERY Parthenissa IV. II. viii. 74 All preventative thoughts of hostility were silenc'd.
  2. a1626 BACON Considerations Warre with Spain (1629) 2 Warres preuentiue vpon just feares, are true defensiues, as well as vpon actuall inuasions.
#434 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 06:02 PM:

Sorry to hear that abi. Come on, guys, there must someone in the fluorosphere who has contacts in the Netherlands that can help abi find a really nice house (sorry, every one I knew from there is either gone, or long gone).

#435 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 06:03 PM:

Kathryn@426: Life coaching is a new type of therapy that helps healthy people

I wouldn't call it "therapy". The difference being, as it says, that it's geared towards healthy people, who are for some non-mental-illness reason, stuck. But otherwise, it's a pretty accurate description.

Lee@427: You do stuff to help people deal with the Goddamn Tapes?

That's definitely a big part of what I work with.

YMMV, etc...

#436 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 06:09 PM:

Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey @ #424:

(I also prefer "orient" to "orientate.")

I can speak to this part of your post, because someone made me wince by saying "orientate" when they meant "orient" so I looked it up. "Orientate" means to turn toward the Orient, a.k.a. the Far East. So if you're oriented toward the Orient you are Orientated.

Presumably this means that "occidentate" should also be a word.

#437 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 06:29 PM:

Mary Dell @ 436

Presumably this means that "occidentate" should also be a word.

Yes, it means your teeth face west.

#438 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 06:36 PM:

My irrational word peeve is 'to utilize' where 'to use' is sufficient.

"No, you idiot— that wrench already had its utility for tightening bolts before you even picked it up. If you insist on abusing that word any further, then I'll be tempted to utilize this chair leg as a blunt instrument to club the proper meaning of the word into you. Lucky for you, I'm plagued with a natual hesitancy to escalate matters of word choice into violence."

#439 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 07:12 PM:

Bruce Cohen #437: That, I suppose, was an occident waiting to happen.

#440 ::: John A ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 07:53 PM:

#438 It is so hard to pick one word peeve out of so many.... 'myself' and 'infer' spring to mind.

Some of the US usage differences, 'momentarily' for example, still seem like a bump in the sentence to me, but are not really a true peeve.

#441 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 08:43 PM:

abi 397: Good grief. I do not walk in such august company. In fact, many of my contributions are jejune, but then it may be that I march to my own beat.

Seriously, I always picture people rolling their eyes and scrolling down past my posts.

____ 428: I'm sorry to hear that. I hope you find something soon. Do not despair.

Mary 436: I used to say "Boreate" when I meant "face north." No, this wasn't correct. But it was fun. Btw, 'orient' really does originally mean "face east"; medieval maps had east at the top, and lining up the map with the world involved facing east.

#442 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 08:45 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 439

My occident has been Gored. True, but inconvenient.

#443 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 09:24 PM:

Xopher @ #441: lining up the map with the world involved facing east.

Neato! Didn't know that.

I, myself, have recently become orientated, by the way, since I'm planning to go to China within (hopefully!) three years or so. But I suppose for most people, orientatation is something they're born with...

oh, FWIW, I always enjoy your posts. You have a strong POV, which you present consistently, but without being a f&ck-stick about it. This is also true of many other ML regulars, which is part of what makes this such a cool place to hang out.

#444 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 09:50 PM:

Heresiarch, #336: Does the new Buffy comic, season 8, take place the year immediately after season 7? In other words, does it take place during Angel season 5?
There's a throwaway line in the 1st or 2nd issue which strongly suggests it's taking place around the time of the Angel season 5 episode "The Girl in Question", but other than that I haven't noticed anything to time-place it.

how is it?

I'm enjoying it quite a bit, even with my occasional difficulty recognizing people (which isn't necessarily a sign of a problem with the art -- I have trouble recognizing people in movies and TV shows too). I don't understand gur fvtavsvpnapr bs "KKK" naq gur ahzore 30 ba gur qbbe gb gur qbbe Rguna jnf in the latest issue, though. Anyone?

Er, hrm. That's unfortunate rot13-ing -- hope this doesn't attract the wrong attention.

#445 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 10:29 PM:

Bill Higgins, #424, when I had the mover estimator here and we were discussing philosophy, religion, politics, raising kids, etc., he said "Deitist" and I automatically corrected him. He took it well, but I was careful not to correct any more words, and there were a lot with an extra "ta."

Greg London, #425, if you like Back to the Future, you'll like Two Lumps today.

abi, #428, I'm so sorry! I hope something comes up soon.

#446 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 11:12 PM:

xeger (#409): at times I will be talking to someone and mention where I work, and hear "oh, do you know so-and-so? they work there too!"

Sometimes I recognize the name and sometimes I don't. When I don't, I point out that (as a sysadmin) if I know someone's name it's for one of two reasons:

1. They've done something really memorable like reimplementing a chunk of the sequencing pipeline to take advantage of our new batch queueing system only a few days after we announced it was in production.

2. They've done something really memorable like submitting 40,000 jobs to said batch queueing system without either (a) testing the code or (b) using the flag that says "don't email me a job completion message". (One mail server. Hundreds of compute nodes, rapidly generating "job exited with status 1" emails. You do the math. Instant self-DoS attack.)

So if I recognize your name, that can be a very good sign, or it can be a very bad sign. If I don't know who you are, you can't have done anything too incredibly stupid, or at least you did it in the lab and not where I'd hear about it.

#447 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 11:48 PM:

you'll like Two Lumps today.

Oooh. The artist can sure draw one mean cat.
Literally, mean.

;)

#448 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 12:37 AM:

Xopher @ 391: "Popped up on the computer." ...... Well, that's one way of describing it. Yes, that was me.

;-)

#449 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 12:42 AM:

abi - #$%@! Damn. I'm sorry.

#450 ::: broundy ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 01:31 AM:

Miriam beetle @ 396: i will be in town from the 21st to the 26th, & selling my comical books at mocca art fest saturday & sunday.

Another small world phenomenon: Hi, Miriam! We met at the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco. I'm a curator at MoCCA, and I'll be selling my comics at the festival, too. I'll be sure to track you down during the weekend.

#451 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 01:52 AM:

Lila @370,

I'm very sorry to read that. Wish that there was something useful to say.

From my own experience, one thing I learned is that floods-of-stress aren't necessary to grief. If you find you're getting too much adrenalin (fight or flight response) or too little sleep there's nothing wrong with a short course of modern meds to help*.

-----------
* For me, driving while crying was tough: driving and crying while sleep deprived would have just been dangerous. I made sure I got my sleep.

#452 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 02:23 AM:

albatross @ 408: Ah, Temple Grandin. She's an interesting woman. I'm not autistic by any stretch of the imagination, but reading her explanations of what it feels like to be autistic felt very familiar. It described quite accurately, though to a dramatic degree, what it feels like to live in my head.

I wonder how many fannish folk would score noticeably outside the norm on a test of autistic/Asperger's-ish tendencies?

#453 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 02:24 AM:

bill,

hi! i finally got around to reading young bottoms in love this past weekend, & it is aces. in fact, it got rather passed around (my little sister & her fella were up for shabbat) & many laughs were shared.

see you soon!

#454 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 03:05 AM:

I always picture people rolling their eyes

(takes eyes out of sockets.)

(rolls them like dice towards xopher)

(picks them up, dusts them off, and puts them back in sockets)

Yeah? What of it?

#455 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 03:09 AM:

Greg, don't you say something like "C'mon, baby, daddy needs a new pair of shoes!" when you roll them?

#456 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 03:42 AM:

I'd like to note with annoyance what I saw on Sci Fiction tonight:
"As of Friday, June 15, 2007, SCI FICTION will no longer be availabe on SCIFI.COM.
SCIFI.COM would like to thank all those who contributed and those who read the short stories over the past few years. "

So much for "...you can continue to visit SCI FICTION's archive of critically acclaimed and award-winning tales...10 major awards, including three Hugo Awards, four Nebula Awards and a World Fantasy Award."

#457 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 06:24 AM:

Todd Larason@444: Ynfg vffhr, jura Rguna Enlar jnf va Ohssl'f qernz, ur fubjrq ure uvzfrys va n fbeg bs pntr znqr hc bs guerr K'f. Jura Ohssl fnj gur 30 ba gur qbbe, fur pbaarpgrq gung gb gur 3 K'f (K = 10) naq pbapyhqrq gung Rguna jnf orvat uryq vafvqr gurer.

#458 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 07:12 AM:

This article reports on a proposed law making attempted infringement of copyright a crime, not to mention increasing penalties for copyright infringements to the level of drug dealers. There is a link to a pdf of the proposed law. Is it real?

#459 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 07:59 AM:

Greg London @ 454... It sounds like you've been reading too much Joe Lansdale.

#460 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 08:06 AM:

1985... That's the year I met Galileo. Not metaphorically, but for real. In the metal. I knew someone who works at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and she gave me a private tour of the facilities, going to corners where the guided tours weren't allowed. That's how I came to the building with the big vacuum-testing chamber, and right next to it, 50 feet away from me, there was the probe Galileo.

#461 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 08:21 AM:

Todd Larson @#444 & David Goldfarb @#457, here's what I want to know: jura qvq Ohssl yrnea Ebzna ahzrenyf? I mean, c'mon, are we really supposed to believe that? :)

#462 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 08:47 AM:

Does anyone remember the trick to saving the entire Scifiction archive? Just after Scifiction ended, a bunch of people posted a way to save the entire thing, but I don't remember enough about it to Google.

#463 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 09:05 AM:

Kathryn @451: Thank you. Actually, if anything, I'm having the opposite problem. I am almost preternaturally calm. I made quite a good score on the comprehensive exit exam for my physical therapist assistant degree on Monday, for example. (As I told my sister, it's amazing how little test anxiety you can have if the test itself is a welcome relief from real life.)

Judging by past experience, I will probably have a meltdown of epic proportions after it's all over. Right now we're sort of in Francisco Franco mode, for those old enough to remember Saturday Night Live that far back.

#464 ::: kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 09:09 AM:

(462) Diatryma
Does anyone remember the trick to saving the entire Scifiction archive? Just after Scifiction ended, a bunch of people posted a way to save the entire thing, but I don't remember enough about it to Google.

Here's a free, open source program that makes whole copies of sites. Works pretty well, though some others work slightly better.
http://www.httrack.com/
You don't even need to install anything if you don't want, you can just download the program itself. (The "no install" version.)

You just point it at the address you want to save, and it follows all of the links and makes a copy of everything. There are settings you can mess with that control how deeply it digs, and how far it drifts, but you can probably skip that for this project.
(Tip: don't point it at google, unless you want a copy of the internet.)

#465 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 09:24 AM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers)#442: I presume that's patriotic.

#466 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 09:28 AM:

My question is: why is scifi.com doing this? Is it worth bothering Ellen Datlow?

#467 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 10:23 AM:

Soon Lee writes in #458:
This article reports on a proposed law making attempted infringement of copyright a crime, not to mention increasing penalties for copyright infringements to the level of drug dealers. There is a link to a pdf of the proposed law. Is it real?

Confirmed on the Department of Justice site.

#468 ::: Garrett Fitzgerald ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 10:29 AM:

Hmm, 1985? That was my freshman-sophomore year at Brown, and also the year I finally graduated from high school. I skipped 12th grade, but they wouldn't give me the diploma until I transferred an English credit back from college...

#469 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 10:45 AM:

Kimiko @ 464

Oooh, neat! There's a site I want a copy of .... (Actually, there's two of them. Many pages, none of them particularly large in size. Just ... many pages.)

#470 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 11:17 AM:

Soon Lee@458: This article reports on a proposed law making attempted infringement of copyright a crime

Why am I always surprised when these people demonstrate their insatiability for more monopolist powers? I know I shouldn't be, but here I am, shocked. And disgusted.

#471 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 11:36 AM:

@#456, @#462, @#464: The Internet archive is our friend:

http://web.archive.org/*/www.scifi.com/scifiction/

#472 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 11:45 AM:

Lila @ 463: That's how I operate too. Having work to do distracts me enough to function, and then I'll get smacked later when I have time. Physically, as well: I can stave off a cold until the end of the semester and then be sick when I have time for it.

Right now I'm focusing on the translation thesis so that I can work through until the end of the summer, at least. I need to defend in August...

#473 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 11:55 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 465

No, no, down with the patriarchy!

#474 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 12:03 PM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #473: I know no one who has ridden on Noah's patriarch.

#475 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 12:11 PM:

Heresiarch @ 452

I wonder how many fannish folk would score noticeably outside the norm on a test of autistic/Asperger's-ish tendencies?

A lot of us, I suspect. I had very much the same reaction when I first heard Temple Grandin speak. I'm neither autistic nor do I have Ausperger's Syndrome*, but the kinds of experiencex she described, such as reactions to touch and texture and the effects of sounds, were very familiar. Fore example, I have never been able to eat an unskinned peach, because the feeling of the fuzz on my skin is excruciatingly uncomfortable. Similar though not as severe a reaction to polystyrene foam, but only if it has large air cells. I conjecture it has something to do with the spatial frequency of the texture, but that's just a SWAG.

Aside from that shock of recognition, I greatly admire Ms. Grandin's success in building her life in what must be a terribly alien world to her.

* I do have ADD, not a mild case, but well under control these days between medication (not stimulants incidentally, but SSRIs) and therapy, and have since I was about 12 or 13, I think.

#476 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 12:25 PM:

I'm another ADDult, as we used to say on the posting boards; when I was diagnosed at 39, my second-grade teacher was the least surprised person I told. Reading Temple Grandin, I constantly find myself going "Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, WHOA, nope!"

But, short of Ken Kesey's "Abdul and Ebenezer" she's one of the few people who writes about cattle in a way which is recognizable after my experience of living with them. (The All Creatures Great and Small animals are all too stupid and mechanical; the medical filter, I suppose).

#477 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 12:27 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 474

Well, if Gore is right, maybe we'd better all get tickets for that ride. The water's getting a little high already.

#478 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 12:36 PM:

JESR @ 476

"The medical filter" - Yep. You've got to remember that doctors are taught to see humans as stupid and mechanical too. If you can stomach it, watch "House" for one episode; his attitude towards his patients is an underlying subtext for most doctors.

Yeah, working for a med school made me respect doctors, sure it did.

#479 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 12:52 PM:

Bruce Cohen #477: Unfortunately, that does seem to be the case. Even the president has stopped saying 'Noah'.

#480 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 01:01 PM:

Rereading my post, I find it's a little confusing about the time element of my ADD. I believe, in hindsight, that I've had it since early puberty, but it wasn't diagnosed until I was 50, and not properly treated until almost 8 years later*. There must be some sort of irony in the fact that my son's ADD was diagnosed more than ten years before mine.

* Treatment for ADD is highly idiosyncratic. Stimulants like ritalin and amphetamine work well for some people and not at all for others. I'm using an anti-depressant which is usually effective for less than a year and that for only 40% of patients, and is used as a starter, with stimulants to follow. In my case, the anti-depressant is still going strong after 2 years, and I haven't needed anything else. Brain chemistry is wonderously complex and varied.

#481 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 03:30 PM:

Any time I see a list of symptoms for Asberger's or other autismy things, I read down it going "Ooh, that's me! Oh, that's not me. Ooh! Oh. Ooh! Oh." The ohs outweigh the oohs, though.

Re: the rot13'd Season 8 discussion, I would just like to say that V pna'g oryvrir Rguna'f qrnq, naq qrfcrengryl jnag uvz abg gb or (naq abg whfg orpnhfr jr funer n anzr), ohg vg ybbxrq gb zr yvxr vg jnf cerggl qrsvavgvir. Nal gubhtugf?

#482 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 03:41 PM:

Bruce, I'm psyching myself up for a showdown with my Doc right now- she is so narrowly focussed on my hypertension that it takes me developing major side effects to the pills she prescribes to me down from the old good numbers to the new, lower-than-I've-ever-been-since-childhood levels before I can convince her that there are other matters to worry about, like my weight, and depression. So remembering that she thinks I'm a machine that should have predictable outputs and that "everybody lies" is sort of my morning affirmation, this week.

This, even though we've already done the "See, if you take me off methylphenidate my blood pressure goes up" experiment and the consult with my shrink about why sending me to the fire department to get my blood pressure checked doesn't yield good data. Just another rock to push up the hill.

#483 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 04:04 PM:

JESR #482:

The fire department? This sounds remarkably peculiar.

#484 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 04:13 PM:

Bill Higgins @467:
Experiencing disbelief right now.

#485 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 04:14 PM:

ethan @ #481, after Serendipity and the last few eps of Angel I pretty much expect tbbq punenpgref gb qvr rirel gvzr Jurqba jnagf gb fgnegyr hf. SO irritating.

#486 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 05:28 PM:

#457 David Goldfarb: Thanks! I either completely missed that or had forgotten about it (or just didn't recognize the person previously).

#461 Mary Dell: maybe by osmosis, by being around Giles & his old books so much?

#481 Ethan: I'll have to read it again before having any useful comment, but Mary makes a good point in #485.

#487 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 06:04 PM:

joann, it's SOP here for people who need regular blood pressure checks to go to the fire station because that's where the medics are. Me, I have serious "social anxiety" and the idea makes me freak out just to consider it.

#488 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 06:35 PM:

JESR #487:

Ah. We need blood pressure around here, we go to large groceries w/ pharmacy depts. They may not be totally accurate, but you'll get a ballpark figure.

#489 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 06:36 PM:

Addendum: I sort of figured fire stations had slightly more important things to do. I seem to be wrong?

#490 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 06:39 PM:

JESR (487,482):
And here I thought that it was being surrounded by hot fire-fighters that got your pressure up!

You pitch 'em, I'll swing.

#491 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 07:05 PM:

Re: blood pressure measurement - in addition to large groceries and drugstores, I vaguely remember that in the lobby of a hospital I was visiting there was a large self-check medical device. In addition to the blood-pressure cuff, I think it could also check your weight, and perform other basic measurements of various vital stats. No-one was around, so one was not required to interact with anyone in order to use it. The instructions were displayed on it, and were fairly simple.

#492 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 07:30 PM:

The self-check BP meters are 1: not accurate enough to satisfy my doc and 2: out there in the wild and crazy world, where, since I do not drive, I cannot get to them without (of late) freaking myself right out getting there by public transportation, and then hanging out in public view getting a medical check. I'm going to try a home-use cuff that meets her standards, again, although the last one was not useful due to bad design.

It strikes me that different areas run by different rules, but in this corner of the world, going to the medics for a BP reading has been what one does for about as long as there have been medics. Doesn't mean I'm going to do it, though.

#493 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 08:14 PM:

JESR@482 - Do you really get along with your doctor? If you have the flexibility (and I realize that not everyone does) have you considered auditioning another one who listens to you, respects your priorities and will engage constuctively?

Re: medics at the firehouse - if it's SOP around there, you'll probably find them helpful and friendly. Try calling first, or ask someone else to call.

#494 ::: Dolloch ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 08:17 PM:

Does NY and other points North and East have the same problem we're having? The zeds are everywhere and growing in numbers!

#495 ::: Tom Barclay ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 08:17 PM:

Susan@336 and back up the line - I'm very sorry to hear about your Vice-Lemming and other absent friends.

But I'm glad to hear you have good news, too.

#496 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 08:18 PM:

Mary Dell @ 461: Probably from previous-Slayer memory.

#497 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 08:38 PM:

Mary Dell @ #485: ::snort:: I think you'll get a good laugh out of this Sheldon from April.

#498 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 09:15 PM:

JESR, #482, I use an Omron wrist blood pressure monitor at home. My HMO accepts it as accurate.

#499 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 10:33 PM:

Larry Brennan @493: this is the good doctor; I shuffled through list for several years until I got her.

We do well on many levels, but she is an internist, and has a internalized conviction that just adding one more pill will fix the problems the last pill has caused.

#500 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 10:36 PM:

Marilee, I haven't seen that one yet; the last alleged 1-handed monitor didn't take acceptable readings. Thanks for the recommendation.

#501 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 10:55 PM:

ethan @481: I assumed he was sacrificed to move the plot forward (but if the plot requires him, he'll be back...)

#502 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 04:43 AM:

Jesus! vs Darwin!

#503 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 06:02 AM:

I get my blood pressure checked every 8 weeks or so when I donate.

Re Buffy and Roman numerals: She's not an ignoramus...just for example, I recall her scoring respectably on the SAT.

#504 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 07:34 AM:

Tania @ #497: Thanks, that's perfect.

Niall McAuley @ #502: Excellent.

#505 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 07:34 AM:

On Buffy and Roman numerals.

Note that Roman numerals are used with reasonable frequency even now. For example, the copyright dates in end credits are often in Roman numerals.

#506 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 08:47 AM:

For all the folks who are going "yep, yep, NOPE!" when reading Temple Grandin, some search terms that might yield useful info for you are "sensory integration" and "tactile defensiveness". A lot of people with ADD/ADHD diagnoses have mild SI problems, as do a lot of people without such a diagnosis (many of the people in my family, including only one with ADD, have trouble with scratchy tags in shirts, seams in socks, "slimy"-feeling fabric, particular food textures, etc.).

Also anyone who likes to read Temple Grandin, but hasn't read Oliver Sacks, should probably give him a shot. You could start with An Anthropologist on Mars, which has a section devoted to Grandin (the title is her description of what it feels like to be autistic in a non-autistic world).

Elizabeth Moon, who has an autistic son, wrote an excellent near-future novel called The Speed of Dark with an autistic protagonist.

#507 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 09:15 AM:

Re: Temple Grandin and weird sensitivities: Does anyone here have a nails-on-chalkboard reaction to the sound of cardboard scraping against cardboard? I have several friends who suffer enormously when they are forced to pack because of this reaction. Me, it's metal rubbing against metal. I can feel it. Worse, I can taste it.

#509 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 09:39 AM:

Lists of sensory integration and autism things are interesting, not because I can run down the list checking them off, but because my mother can on my behalf. She had a student (has, I suppose) somewhere in that nebulous That and was given a list of common behaviors that described my child self pretty well.
I'm trying not to self-diagnose myself as anything that I could use as an excuse for not functioning. Yeah, I have weirdnesses, but so does everyone. I fight the desire to be special, to have something wrong with me I can point to, because... I don't know. I am conflicted. I function well enough. I do not want to take attention or resources from people who do not, for any value of 'function', 'well', and 'enough'. And as more people recognize themselves in the lists, it becomes less of me being an anomaly (if I am) and more me being typical, so why would I need the support or excuse?

Like I said, I am conflicted.

#510 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 09:54 AM:

Diatryma @ 509
There's an advantage to recognizing characteristics like tactile defensiveness, etc., in oneself or loved ones, even if the combination of traits doesn't rise to the level of a diagnosis. My younger daughter is not on the spectrum but has some of the related sensory issues. While reading up on such issues for her, I realized that her older sister, who is clearly a "typical" kid, nonetheless was the one with hypersensitivity to some textures and odors. It made me much more patient with her, and able to recognize situations that were going to push her buttons and so avoid them or help her compensate.

#511 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 10:36 AM:

As a matter of fact, I first became aware of Temple Grandin through a Teri Gross interview of Oliver Sachs when he was doing a book tour for An Anthropologist on Mars.

I was aware of tactile sensitivity long before that, although being aware of the experience came long before having a name for it; that came when I first became involved in the online ADHD community in the early nineties. What surprised me, though, when reading Grandin's autobiography, was how similar social disengagement can come from utterly dissimilar sources: her lack of ability in reading emotional states is met by my (and other, but not all, ADHD people I've discussed this with) tendency to read rage, for instance, where mild irritation is being expressed, and reacting in acoordance with those exagerated perceptions.

That was interesting but what was life-changing and life-enhancing was her discussion of corral design, from which I gained a couple of design ideas that have made the semiannual vaccination/worming/castration/et'c process at my part of the farm much easier and safer. It's hard to agree with her self-described lack of empathy when her observations and the analysis she made of behavior everyone could see has resulted in so very much less stress all around, right where I live.

#512 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 10:40 AM:

Lots of interesting sub-threads here, though I have to admit that more than 500 comments in one week(!) is giving me a kind of Stand on Zanzibar feeling. We really are a large (and chatty) bunch. But I'm another socially awkward type -- simply *hate* making phone calls -- so this site is a great place to interact, vent etc.

#513 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 11:01 AM:

Faren Miller @512, when I came online in early 1991, it was the first time I felt as if I was in a social environment where I could make friends by being who I am. The funny thing is that, current bad social phobia aside, I'm actually better able to deal with 3-D society than I used to, having been trained, online, to make better judgements about other people's actual emotional state. Well, and finally having learned that I am not, in fact, on stage in a follow spot with everyone watching me closely ready to ridicule every aspect of my person when I screw up.

Well, except for trolls, of course, and those of trollish inclination, but when I learned to recognize those online their real-world equivalents stopped being so terrifying.

#514 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 11:13 AM:

Faren (512): I once started a tongue-in-cheek organization called Phone Phobes International. Our motto: Don't call us, we won't call you.

#515 ::: Trip the Space Parasite ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 12:45 PM:

Mary Aileen @ #514:

Sign me up!

#517 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 01:43 PM:

Alan #516:

Splork!

I've been attempting to deal w/ my own phone phobia the last two or three days; I'm the guinea pig for another cell plan and phone. So far my technophilia is winning. Any phone where I can take a picture of the cat and use it as the default screen is better.

#518 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 01:54 PM:

Trip (515): The fact that you want to join means you are already a member. Welcome!

#519 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 01:56 PM:

JESR @ 511: her lack of ability in reading emotional states is met by my (and other, but not all, ADHD people I've discussed this with) tendency to read rage, for instance, where mild irritation is being expressed, and reacting in acoordance with those exagerated perceptions.

Interesting — are there any info sources you'd recommend or search terms it'd be useful to start with to learn more about this?

#520 ::: Doonbogglefrog ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 02:13 PM:

I started to write this, and then my headache got worse, so only wrote the first verse...

How many roads must a man walk down
Before the mice slice his brain?
Yes, 'n' how many skies must the gold heart fly
Before we all go insane?
Yes, 'n' how many times must the Krikkit balls bang
Before they're forever lame?
The answer, my friend, is always forty-two,
The answer is always forty-two.

#521 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 02:27 PM:

Lexica, I'm not usually ready to supply links to my personal experience, and to impressions gained through long ago online conversations with other ADHD people in a support group chat room.

As for search terms, as I've just come from another failure of Google-fu (looking for a confirmed ID of small brown tailless and apparently colonial mammals at a Montana I-90 rest stop)... someone else may have better ability than I to do that for you.

#522 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 02:39 PM:

Lexica, JESR, try googling "ADHD misread expressions" or "ADHD misread emotions" and you'll get a bunch of hits about studies of bipolar teens and ADHD kids, etc.

I frequently think people are on the verge of a raging fit when they're merely irritated or grumpy--leftover mental gunk, I think, from ducking around an angry alcoholic or two in the bad old days. But I'm going to go look at some of those studies, they look interesting...

#523 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 02:49 PM:

JESR 511: She has no empathy, so she's had to learn behavior and reaction as a system, in a kind of scientific way. Chip Delany is severely dyslexic, and had to learn sentence structure the hard way.

My point is that a combination of a disability that makes you learn things the hard way with a certain amount of brilliance (in terms of native intelligence) can lead to a level of craftsmanship (or whatever you want to call it) in excess of most "normal" people. Perhaps because you're not prejudiced by your immediate reaction? I don't know why.

I do know that Chip wrote "Things that made the obscure obvious by overturning overturned," a sentence which still stupefies me with admiration, and which in its context is even more brilliant. Perhaps your experience of Grandin's corral design is similar.

#524 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 02:54 PM:

Dolloch @494:

At first, I thought the Beeb was onto it, a day late (and, perhaps, 50p short at current exchange rates), but the article entitled FBI Tries to Fight Zombie Hordes turns out to be about something much more boring.

#525 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 02:57 PM:

Xopher, experience suggests that the real problem with empathy is that people tend to confuse empathetic reasoning with the belief that everyone is more or less similar to oneself.

Thing is, Grandin's working things through from first principles, based on the assumption that she is not like everyone else at all, has resulted in workspaces which are less stressful, and less likely to cause injury to human and animal alike, which is the stated purpose of people who believe they are exersizing empathy.

#526 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 03:06 PM:

JESR, I think we agree about what's going on. She's not confused by the believe that she's empathic.

#527 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 03:10 PM:

belief*

#528 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 03:29 PM:

Fragano @ 479

Good thing too, we need him on the boat. Without him, one of the horses will be missing its back end.

#529 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 03:47 PM:

#525, #526: As I recall, Sacks' book talks about Grandin having a clear understanding of the emotions of cattle, but not of humans. So she has empathy, but it's for animals, and she designs her spaces around that.

#530 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 03:50 PM:

Totally different topic (but hey, its an open thread) what did everyone think of the Sidelight on Shrub's watch being "stolen"?

I don't care about the watch, but I do think it shows some other things of interest. For one thing, the people of Albania seem to be able to have much more direct contact with him than the people of the US.

We're stuck in "free speech zones" guaranteed to be located so he never has to see a protester, and the only people who can get near him are those who are carefully prescreened. No wandering into crowds and shaking hands here...

#531 ::: kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 03:51 PM:

(522) Mary Dell
I frequently think people are on the verge of a raging fit when they're merely irritated or grumpy--leftover mental gunk, I think, from ducking around an angry alcoholic or two in the bad old days.

Sometimes you are right. Levels of anger that would have led to chair throwing when I was in grade school merely produce a scowl now. It doesn't mean that I'm not really that angry. Yes, I bottle it up. It's not good. Particularly since it makes it hard for other people to calibrate their "anger detectors."

#532 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 04:34 PM:

kimiko @ #531: I'm pretty good at detecting actual, bottled-up rage (I have plenty of it myself). It's ordinary, unrepressed irritation that puzzles me...the idea that small fires don't always turn into big ones is one I'm still getting used to.

#534 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 05:15 PM:

About the sensory integration / tactile defensiveness: I've gotten plenty of useful insight out of a book called Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, Energetic. A number of the qualities described my fairly intense daughter; some of the others gave me those "a-ha!" moments about myself (for instance, WHY my grandfather's bellowing voice sent me into a panic, even when he was being cheerful, and why I was NOT INSANE to find that a pair of unobtrusive foam earplugs made it a lot easier to deal with him), and a whole PILE of them helped me understand my best friend, the World's Pickiest Eater.

And, as it's a parenting book, it's full of strategies for COPING with these quirks. Very useful.

#535 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 05:57 PM:

what did everyone think of the Sidelight on Shrub's watch being "stolen"?

The updated link shows Bush taking off the watch.

But it's not the watch we're interested in; either he hadn't expected to be doing all this hand shakey stuff with the crowd and so hadn't taken his watch off (which might be normal practice for him, to avoid catching it on people/clothing/barriers/jewelry etc.); or conceivably, he's never been in such a big excitable crowd and so never had to take his watch off.

Also, I can't help thinking that I'm wearing a more expensive watch than him.

#536 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 06:38 PM:

The million-dollars pants suit thread is a long time ago, so here's some interesting updates by a WashPost columnist. Yesterday, the lawyer cried twice in court about losing his pants and said he had no choice but to sue the drycleaners on behalf of everybody in DC.

And in today's column Pearson is quoted as saying "there is no case in the District of Columbia or in the United States that comes anywhere close to the outrageousness of the behavior of the defendants in this case."

The judge has already been rather cynical and I don't think she's going to buy his arguments. We'll see.

#537 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 07:43 PM:

Rikibeth @ 534: I second your recommendation! That book helped me a great deal with my kids. The middle one in particular had "difficulty with transitions" in spades (as an infant, she cried when you put her IN the tub, and then she cried when you took her OUT of the tub).

#538 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 09:04 PM:

Ursula@530: an op-ed in today's Boston Globe points out that Albania has had a particular affection for the U.S. since 1918 (modulo a timeout for the Hoxha era); apparently Woodrow Wilson was the main opposition to a European plan to divide up Albania among "deserving" parties after World War I. My recollection is that Bush has been much less forward in places that are not so strongly pro-U.S.; it just doesn't get noticed as much because he spends so little time anywhere outside the U.S.

#539 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 09:20 PM:

Chip at #538,

My point was more that I can't remember ever seeing him that open to the public in the US.

Even when his approval was up, he kept much more distance, and avoided contact with anyone not guaranteed to agree with him.

It's disturbing, because his isolation here probably helps keep him so out of touch with reality. The anger of protesters doesn't reach his doorstep, and the members of the public who get to talk to him are those who agree with him.

#540 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 12:55 AM:

Lila, #506: A couple more good books (IMO) with major characters who are autistic:

1) A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane. This is part of her "Young Wizards" YA series (which probably has as many adult fans as it does adolescent ones), so if you're not already familiar with that universe, you might want to read So You Want To Be A Wizard first.

2) This Alien Shore by C.S. Friedman. This is a stand-alone, and somewhat on the cyberpunk side. You don't meet the autistic character until several chapters in.

#541 ::: Mina W ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 04:30 AM:

A cute hamster drawing, not referenced in words, for Teresa. It's on Erin-from-Dressaday's dictionary blog:

http://www.dictionaryevangelist.com/2007/06/cutest-dictionary-illustration-never.html

#542 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 05:29 AM:

538: Albanians also have an immense fondness for the 1940s comic actor Norman Wisdom, and tried to get the England cricket captain CB Fry to be their King after the first world war. He declined politely, had a nervous breakdown and developed an irrational fear of Indians.

The throne had previously been offered, twice, to the British soldier and diplomat Aubrey Herbert, a friend of TE Lawrence and Gertrude Bell of INTRUSIVE CAIRO, who had attempted to raise the siege of Kut in 1915 by bribing the Turks with a million pounds in gold in order to get them to go away and not come back. (This failed.)

In the Sino-Soviet split in the early 1960s, Albania sided with Mao's China, on the grounds that North Korea was too liberal.

#543 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 08:59 AM:

Lee @ 540: thanks! I've read the Young Wizards series, but not the Friedman.

I also liked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.

#544 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 10:03 AM:

Bush shakes hands over there so he doesn't have to shake hands over here.

Imagine the results if he started shaking hands in public here. Next thing you know... hugs!. Then (ewwwwwwww) kissing and other mushy stuff. Until finally, public copulation in the very streets, frightening the horses!

Think of the ponies, people. For God's sake, think of the ponies.

#545 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 10:25 AM:

Ajay (#542): all those fun facts about Albania are yet more things to add to the Truth is Stranger Than Fiction file. (Fiction: truth made more plausible?)

Mary Aileen (#514) and those who've already responded: such a nice feeling of comradeship, here in the age of cell phones glued to ears.

#546 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 12:36 PM:

So, from the "mjfgates lives in a shack in the wilderness" department: I bumped into Vernor Vinge's latest novel, Rainbows End, at the store yesterday. Of course, the "VingebuyrightnownowNOW" reflex kicked in. While I was waiting to pay for my stuff, I read the blurbs on the back:

"In the grand tradition of William Gibson and Neal Stephenson..."

Snark FAILS me.

#547 ::: Trip the Space Parasite ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 01:24 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 518:

W00t! Take that, Telephonic Evil!

#548 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 03:46 PM:

I don't normally issue bulletins about my medical treatments, but this is so exciting I had to share it. A medical treatment that actually leaves you in better shape than before the problem it treats set in!

A few months ago I started developing a cataract in my right eye. It's not completely unexpected; I've been reading that it's going to happen to just about everyone if they live long enough. So when it started to impede normal vision and make driving a little more difficult in bright sunlight, I went to an eye surgeon, who told me that it was bad enough to warrant surgical removal and replacement of the lens with a plastic version.

I had the surgery this last Wednesday*. It was done in an outpatient clinic with local anesthetics and sedatives**. Total time in the OR was perhaps 20 minutes. When I woke up I had a shield over my eye, and could tell that that pupil was still very dilated. The extreme dilation continued for two days (this was expected), which made it difficult to tell what the effect of the procedure was until the next day, when the shield came off.

Now here's the exciting part. The vision in that eye has improve dramatically. It's not just that the cataract is gone, but also that colors are more vivid. Comparing to the left eye, I can see that over time my vision has become a little dim and more than somewhat yellowed, as if my eyes had an aging plastic film over them. And my right eye is less myopic than it was, so much so that my bifocals no longer work correctly and I'll have to get new glasses.

I've talked to 2 or 3 other people who've had this surgery and they all said what I'm thinking now: I can't wait until I can get the other eye done, so I'll get the same vision there.

In the last six or seven years I've had to deal with some health problems of my own while also helping to care for my wife's parents as they aged and their health failed. I was beginning to believe that any medical procedure was necessarily a pact with the devil to get back a little bit of functionality in one area in return for a loss in another. I'm pleased to see that I was wrong, and getting more optimistic about the ability of medicine to deal with aging in a somewhat graceful manner.


* which is why there was a period of about 24 hours when I didn't post a comment to ML, not a common occurrence.

** Out of curiosity, I asked the anesthesiologist about the drugs. He used a cocktail of valium-analogue, morphine-analogue, and fentanyl. I was conscious throughout the procedure and didn't give a damm. Then there's a blank between my hearing, "OK, we're done." and waking up in the recovery room. In fact, the one problem with the procedure is that I appear to be very sensitive to fentanyl. Everytime I get it I spend days afterwards being tired and sleeping at odd times. Cheap at twice the price.

#549 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 04:07 PM:

Fentanyl is cool stuff. I've had it twice.

Both times it worked as advertised.

Morphine and I don't get along. The pain isn't really gone, I just don't care.

But it still hurts.

#550 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 04:16 PM:

Bruce, is the use of your eye 100% one week after the surgery?

#551 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 04:49 PM:

Re: cataract surgery with replacement/corrective lenses.

I've worn coke-bottle glasses since I was seven to correct severe astigmatism/myopia - probably needed them before that. Trifocals for the previous decade or so.

I was about ten years ahead of the curve for developing cataracts in both eyes, but that meant comparatively younger/healthier for the surgery.

My experience was same as or better than StM's. No idea what drugs were used, other than the incredible light trip during the surgery. The second time as the nurse was wheeling me out, she said I had been so brave not to need any pain stuff. *WHAT???!?!* A contender for Wienie of the Western World, here.

There was a follow-up visit to laser-zap floaters a couple weeks after, again no big deal.

I do need reading glasses for fine print now, but have excellent computer range-middle distance vision, and have had it since a day or so after each surgery. I can fall asleep watching the stars on camping trips now.

#552 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 05:42 PM:

Greg London @ 550

It's only 2 days after the surgery, and the eye is doing fine. The pupil's still a little dilated, which the surgeon says may continue for another day or two, but it's not painful even in direct sunlight any more. The general ache from the surgery itself is gone.

It will probably take a few more days to get both eyes working together properly; this is very much like getting a very different prescription in my glasses for the treated eye. As a short-term solution for driving I took an old pair of glasses I use as an emergency backup and removed the right lens. Not perfect, but it pretty much works.

At this point the only real hassle is the four different kinds of eyedrops I have to take four times a day. The ocular pressure is up on the treated eye, which the surgeon says is probably from guck* that's plugged up the drainage duct. One of the drops is prednisone to bring that back down.

* They use a dense gel to hold things in place while installing the plastic lens, and sometimes it doesn't all wash out at the end of the procedure.

#554 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 06:09 PM:

Carol Kimball @ 551

I can fall asleep watching the stars on camping trips now.

I'm looking forward to seeing the stars again. Even with glasses I've only been able to see stars above about Magnitude 1 or 2 for the last 25 years. I miss the stars; I was an astronomy nut as a kid, and I still usually know what phase the moon is in without looking.

#555 ::: Jennyanydots ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 06:10 PM:

I haven't been posting here very long and most people probably don't know me, but this seems like a nice place to share joy, so:
I just got my PhD!

After six years of more iterations of Murphy's Law than I could ever have dreamed of, truly believing I'd never ever get there.

It's the absolute textbook definition of eucatastrophe. Friends, I'm the living example right now, it's possible for one's bad luck to change.

best wishes to all, and now I'm off to a party...
wow, it still doesn't seem real...

#556 ::: Jennyanydots ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 06:12 PM:

PS, Bruce, co-incidence with your post above, my PhD is in history of science and is about seventeenth century astronomers making maps of the moon...

#557 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 06:21 PM:

Jennyanydots (555): Yay! Congratulations!

#558 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 06:28 PM:

Jennyanydots

Congratulations! Have a great party, and unwind some of that six years. And I hope you now go forth and find a way to use that PhD that brings you joy.

And note: we need historians of science who can explain to us how we learned what we know, and by that, teach us how we can learn what's yet to be learned. Welcome.

#559 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 06:28 PM:

Congratulations, Jennyanydots!

#560 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 06:30 PM:

Dear Dr. Jennyanydots,

Congratulations!

Sincerely,
TexAnne
P.S. Be sure to frame your diploma and put it on your wall where you can look at it. I find that much less painful than pinching myself. :-)

#561 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 06:35 PM:

Jennyanydots: Congratulations on what sounds like a long-worked-for and well-deserved triumph.

#562 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 06:36 PM:

Kudos to you Dr. Dots. :)

Someday I may go back to school and get my bachelors.

I may not.

But congrats, it's no mean feat, and I'm glad with you.

#563 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 06:54 PM:

Dr. AnyDots!!!! Congratulations!!!!

#564 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 07:05 PM:

Oh, congrats Jennyanydots! Barring unforseen circumstances, I should be able to make a similar announcement about my 6-year Masters degree at the end of August! Huzzah!

#565 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 07:07 PM:

Any word on whether Eliot's writing a sequel to include other cats with doctorates?

Congratulations to the new Dr.!

#566 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 07:44 PM:

Jennyanydots #555: Congratulations! Welcome to the club.

#567 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 08:16 PM:

I have a Clever Cat in mind
Her name is Jennyanydots
Her mind is of the wisest kind with scholar's stripes and tasseled spots
All day she thinks upon the stair or on the step or on the mat
She thinks and thinks and thinks and thinks
And that's what makes a Clever Cat
That's what makes a Clever Cat!

But . . .
When the day's hustle and bustle is done
Then the Clever Cat's work is but hardly begun
And when all the family's in bed and asleep
She tucks up her skirts to the basement to creep
She is deeply concerned with the ways of the diss
Its biblio's not good and its writing not bliss;
So when she has got it laid out on the table
She teaches it logic so far as she's able*

So for young Clever Cats let us give three cheers
On whom well-ordered departments depend, it appears
Three cheers, three cheers, three cheers!
For she's a jolly good fellow!**

Thank you my dears!

*which is quite a lot, really; I just couldn't think of a better rhyme...
**and here's hoping for a nice rich postdoc!

#568 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 08:28 PM:

TexAnne #560: Dear Dr. Jennyanydots Congratulations!

Seconded!


P.S. Be sure to frame your diploma and put it on your wall where you can look at it. I find that much less painful than pinching myself. :-)

I, too, have found that to be a useful strategy.

#569 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 09:07 PM:

Hello, friends and cat fans,

I'm not sure exactly what the prognosis is for Wade, our senior cat. He has been anorexic and lethargic for months, losing about five pounds, and we've been trying to get a clue about what the problem is. On the second visit to the internist they proposed a gall bladder biopsy and installation of a feeding tube, which required a hospital stay.

For some reason a spheroidal mass about the size of an orange (6-9 cm diameter) appeared on Wade's thigh while he was in the hospital. It probably migrated from his abdomen, though it hadn't shown up on the previous sonograms. So they biopsied the mass, too—the lab results aren't in, so all we know is that it's full of necrosis. If it's malignant we may have to decide whether to go for chemotherapy or palliation or euthanasia.

They also installed a feeding tube so we can insert calories via four 75-minute feedings a day (less what Wade will eat for himself). How well he will tolerate this, and how well we will tolerate this, are also unknown.

Any revitalizing vibes you care to send to Wade, Anne, and me will be gratefully accepted. Perhaps even cheerfully, though cheer seems a little thin on the ground right now.

Dan

#570 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 09:19 PM:

Bruce Cohen #528: But that means there'll be at least one village missing him.

#571 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 09:21 PM:

Bruce Cohen #548: That's amazing. I'm glad for you.

#572 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 09:37 PM:

Congratulations, Jennyanydots! And what a cool discipline to be a Dr. of...yay!

#573 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 09:40 PM:

Ursula@539: I was by way of agreeing with you, the point being that Bush only went out in friendly areas (here or abroad). It does say something appalling that Albania is the closest friendly area he could find....

#574 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 09:41 PM:

Ursula@539: I was by way of agreeing with you, the point being that Bush only went out in friendly areas (here or abroad). It does say something appalling that Albania is the closest friendly area he could find....

#575 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 09:41 PM:

Bruce@552: It's only 2 days after the surgery, and the eye is doing fine.

Wow. I know someone who's put off the surgery because they thought the recovery time was going to be really long. That's pretty impressive.

Jenny@555: I just got my PhD!

Cool! Congratulations on passing a huge milestone.

Terry@562: I may not.

Would you accept my unofficial Doctorate in Peace?

Dan@ 569: Oh my gosh. I'm so sorry to hear that.

#576 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 10:09 PM:

Congratulations to Dr. Jennyanydots! It sounds as though the victory is all the sweeter for being so hard-won.

Bruce, #548: Wow. That gives me hope for my own eventual failing eyes. Right now I seem to be doing fine with my progressive bifocals, but I have no doubt that eventually I too will have cataracts; as you say, it seems to happen to all with age.

And speaking of my bifocals... I just got a new prescription, which I've been grumbling about needing for at least the past 6 or 8 months, and what a difference! Near, middle, and distance vision have all substantially improved. It had gotten to the point where I could no longer read either a book or my computer screen comfortably with the glasses on, and now I can again. I am vastly relieved! And they're nice frames, too; I decided to go back into wire-rims for the first time since I was in college, and got the rimless-bottom kind, so they're very unobtrusive.

#577 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 10:10 PM:

#544, Bruce, I'm glad I had a busy day and didn't read it, I need to wash my brain off now...

#546, mjfgates - Long ago and far away, a friend of mine who was a buyer at the 'non-textbook' part of the KU bookstore had a sales rep come to her with the pitch of "looka these new books!": she pointed out that this was a re-release of 10-year-old titles...

Congrats to both Bruce and Jenny, both things happening successfully is a Good Thing.

And Dan, my prayers are with you. We had the last of our geriatric cats patch out just before Thanksgiving (he had congestive heart failure that we had been treating, and like the vet said, it was a holding action. All of a sudden the meds weren't helping him compensate and he got miserable, then unable to do activities of daily living. Like get up..) I pray for the best outcome for all involved.

May 5, 2007 we adopted Sigfried and Yum! (other two cats are a 13-year-old who hates me for bringing them in, and a 7-year-old that is playing with them as well as acting like 'mom-cat' as far as she can). All is chaos.

#578 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 10:41 PM:

Huzzah Hurrah Hip Hip Hooray!!

Hurrah for Dr. Jennyanydots!*

*I recently finished up with grad school myself, so I understand your relief. I don't have the patience for a PhD, so I am very impressed with your perseverance.

#579 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 11:57 PM:

Jennydots, congratulations! Give me six years and I'll be posting the same. It sounds like interesting stuff, too.

Bruce at 548-- my dad has the best vision in our family, after six or eight (I really can't count) surgeries. Some RK years back, four detached retinas, including the latest which was... they had to do cataract surgery so they could see the retina and bubble-stick it back on. He was really looking forward to the second eye, and even though it didn't go as perfectly, he's able to read again. He's able to drive again. He wouldn't have done anything were it not for the retina, so we're weirdly glad it decided to go walkies.

#580 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 01:38 AM:

Dan Hoey @ 569

My condolences. We may know these things will come, but it doesn't make it any easier when they do. And however hard it may be, it's worth it to have them with us.

Lee @ 576

Are you using the varifocal continuous lenses? I got them when I started to need bifocals and I really like them, because I can adjust them to the distance from what I'm looking at that I need to be rather than the distance the lenses require.


Fragano Ledgister, Greg London, Paula Helm Murray

Thank you.


Diatryma @ 579

I'm very glad for your dad. And I expect to be glad for you in about 6 years. Good luck.

#581 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 02:35 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 570

So it really does take a village to raise a President?

#582 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 03:32 AM:

Dan @ #569: The husband, myself, and our two feline companions* are sending our thoughts your way.

I am genuinely sorry for you, Anne, and especially Wade.

#583 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 07:11 AM:

Thanks all for your sympathy. I'm feeling better about this--we've tube-fed Wade twice now, and he seems to accept it fairly well. He spent a fair amount of the time purring. Even the thigh tumor looks less menacing. It's possible he will survive this after all.

Dan

#584 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:03 AM:

Dan Hoey @569:
I am sorry to hear it; it's hard when a family member is so very ill. Best of luck, and please do keep us posted.

#585 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:33 AM:

Bruce StM--how wonderful! It's good to know that some improvements actually improve.

Dan Hoey--thoughts for your kitty. I'm so sorry to hear it. We lost one of ours to feline leukemia a few years ago, and it was quite traumatic. Though ameliorated, in part, by a wonderful vet who thought to send us a condolence card.

One of our surviving furbabies caught a mouse last night, btw. As she's indoor-only, she was quite, quite proud.

#586 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:40 AM:

traveling today. May not have internet for a while.

#587 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:40 AM:

traveling today. May not have internet for a while.

#588 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:42 AM:

kouredios @ 585

Thank you, and please give my congratulations to your mighty hunter.

#589 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:46 AM:

Dan @ 583... Fingers crossed for Wade.

#590 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:13 AM:

..."Rise of the Silver Surfer" isn't complete torture to sit through

That's the best that Stephanie Zacharek, who loves comic-books, had to say about the movie Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer in Salon.com. Not exactly reassuring, but then again I didn't expect much. And of course I'll still go see the ghastly affair.

#591 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:44 AM:

NPR's critic said it was that rare thing, a comic-book movie that's less sophisticated than its source material.

However, he did say that the Surfer himself is fabulous.

#592 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 09:52 AM:

Xopher @ 591... a comic-book movie that's less sophisticated than its source material

Oh joy!
Not.

Yeah, the Silver Surfer does look neat. I wonder what they'll do with Galactus when he shows up at the end of the movie. Hopefully not "Earth... Tastes just like chicken."

#593 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 11:37 AM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #581: It would seem so.

#594 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 01:11 PM:

Jennyanydots @555

One day late, but: CONGRATULATIONS!

Feels good, doesn't it? I still remember when I'd been sent to wait elsewhere while the examiners deliberated and when I was brought back in one of them said "well, Dr....."

Makes all the hard work worthwhile. Though at least with our system it didn't take six years.

Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers @548 I'm pleased to hear the surgery went well. Failing eyesight is something I dread the thought of. I hope all goes well in the healing period.

Dan Hoey @569 Sympathies and good luck with Wade. It's always so hard when one of your animals is ill.

#595 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 01:23 PM:

dcb 594: Oh, but disasters can befall, depending on the discipline. I have a friend who was ABD in Political Science, working on her dissertation on bureaucratic reforms under Khrushchev and why they failed. It was a very exciting topic at the time, since Gorbechev was trying similar things.

Yeah.

Then, of course, Soviet Politics became a History topic, and she didn't want to be a historian, so she had to start all over. She just got her PhD a couple of years ago (her adviser came up to her one day and said "you're defending next Tuesday, so get ready").

#596 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 02:38 PM:

Jennyanydots... I just got my PhD!

Huzzah!

#597 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 02:47 PM:

Xopher @ 595

Bummer. Sympathies to your friend.

At least science subjects tend not to get re-allocated between disciplines like that (well, not in my experience - let me know if I'm wrong).

#598 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 03:33 PM:

dcb, there can be mergers and acquisitions, though. Nanotechnology seems to have both biotech and physics applications, or so I'm reading.

#599 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 04:49 PM:

Nanotechnology can be (and has been) physics, biophysics, metallurgy, computer science, and engineering, at various times.

Nanomaterials - the subject I started my own abortive PhD in, years ago when I was sane - was chemistry and physics, and up till a year or so ago the Nanomaterials Group had been the Molecular Electronics group. It was still part of the Optics division of the Mechanical Engineering faculty, though. One of the things I was looking at was energy policy, which involves economics and sociology and other waste-of-time subjects (from, of course, a chemistry professor's point of view).

I should stress, of course, that despite doing chemistry in the engineering department, it was about as far from chemical engineering as it's possible to get.

So most of the subject-labels are either to do with the researcher's point of view, or the proclivities of various potential grant-awarding bodies. None of them are natural division of anything.

#600 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:00 PM:

I am reminded of the classic comment on the sciences:

Biology is at heart really chemistry.
Chemistry is at heart really physics.
Physics is at heart really philosophy.
Philosophy is at heart really biology.

#601 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 05:49 PM:

Dan, glad to hear things are looking up some with your kitty. Sorry I don't get to see you at CapClave these days.

Jennyanydots; now that you've achieved this lofty position, let me ask -- What's up, Doc?

#602 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 06:00 PM:

abi @ 600

and heart is at heart really biology

Sam Kelly @ 599

And just to stretch the categories even more, the architecture of microstructures out of nanomaterials is based on the study of the biology of living structures like shells and feathers.

#603 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 06:50 PM:

Bruce - what great news about your eyes and your vision. You know, I've always suspected you were a man of vision....

#604 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 08:28 PM:

Tania,

Aw shucks t'weren't nothing. And thanks for the kind words.

#605 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 11:12 PM:

Congrats to Dr. jennyanydots! History of science is one of my interest areas, so I'm happy that there will be another prof out there extending the field.

#606 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 01:13 AM:

Dan, #569, I'm so sorry to hear about Wade. I hope things work out for you guys.

#607 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 02:23 AM:

The Locus Awards are up, if anyone wants to take a gander at them.

#608 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 08:34 AM:

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers here on Making Light.

#609 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 08:42 AM:

abi @ 600: I think I'd add:

Biology is at heart really chemistry.
Chemistry is at heart really physics.
Physics is at heart really philosophy.
Philosophy is at heart really psychology.
Psychology is at heart really biology.

...just to give us humanities types a bit more recognition. ;-)

#610 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 11:14 AM:

abi @ 600, Heresiarch @609

Goes nicely alongside the old "'If it moves, it's biology; if it smells, it's chemistry and if it doesn't work, it's physics."

Anyone like to venture additions to the old list, to round it out for philosophy and psychology?

#611 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 12:38 PM:

For Father's Day, the NY Times "Style" section has an article about "Dad Bands" (too lazy to go back and get a link, but it's prominent on the Home Page). Since they indicated some of these can be quite good, I guess Whisperado qualifies.

An odder thing is really retro teens. Last night, another typical Nothing on TV time, my husband and I were watching that idiotic NBC talent show with the sound off, trading jokes and Boomer reminiscences while the appalling contestants did their thing, but we turned up the sound for the cat circus and one musical number -- a bunch of 15-year-olds doing an eerily accurate-sounding version of Early Elvis (when his band still had a stand-up bass). What will kids get up to next?

#612 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 12:42 PM:

Biology is made of chemistry.
Chemistry is made of physics.
Physics is made of mathematics.
Mathematics is made of philosophy.
Philosophy is made of psychology.
Psychology is made of biology.

We could stick 'neurology' between psych and bio, but that might skip straight over to chem because neurology is made of neurochemistry to some extent. Could we work history in anywhere? Or is history made of psych made of bio, in a little tangent-circle?

#613 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 02:02 PM:

Diatryma, Heresiarch, abi


"Quantum Mechanics: the dreams that stuff is made of."

They're all made of poetry.

#614 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 10:19 PM:

Faren, #611: Speaking of talent on TV, check out Paul Potts over on "Britain's Got Talent". I don't even like opera, but I can tell quality when I hear it. And that first performance is worth it purely for the look on Simon The Bully's face as he realizes, "I can't savage this guy -- the crowd will tear me apart if I try!"

#615 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 10:42 PM:

No, i've been following Paul Potts' story, a friend posted the first performance on his LJ and NPR has run an interview, etc. Simon did make a crack about his appearance, but the wind was taken out of his sails once Paul started singing.

One of the judges said, and even Simon agreed, that their hope for the show was that they'd discover someone with a rare talent that they could help fulfill the promise of their talent.

They were worried when he said he was performing opera. I can think of a no more agonizing form of music performed by a rank amateur.

Paul apparently took some singing lessons, but the his life turned to shit and money got scarce. In the NPR interview he said he'd only been able to sing/rehearse well once or twice in the last twelve months, because he didn't want to alienate his neighbors.

He's a natural talent and I think he's going to go far now that he's been able to show his talent.

#616 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2007, 10:45 PM:

Forgot to post this earlier when Teresa told me to. I had been outside raking the garden paths, and came back in, and had a bit of a time with the back doors. I told her about it this way:

I worked until the darkness bid me stop,
then came inside and tried to throw the latch
but found there was -- no, there was *not* a catch:
I shot the bottom bolt, but not the top.

...and I immediately blamed the contagious poetic tendencies of a number of ML folks, especially abi. She laughed, and told me to post it. So now I have.

#617 ::: Mina W ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 01:44 AM:

Have you guys all seen this already? Glow-in-the-dark fake fur!

http://www.glowfur.com/

#618 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 06:17 AM:

elise @ 616... abi has a lot to answer for, doesn't she?

#619 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 07:14 AM:

This is cruel, but I laughed hysterically at Catalyst from Britain's Got Talent. The cats embody the catz thread. The human, not so much.

#620 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 10:23 AM:

Mina W. (617): While that is rather cool, I am disappointed that it is coats and things. I was hoping it would be something I could use for making teddy bears. Oh, well, I guess I'll have to settle for quilting with the glow-in-the-dark thread I found.

#622 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 12:53 PM:

#621: Beat me by thirty minutes. I guess I need more caffeine.

#623 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 12:57 PM:

Jon Meltzer @ 6222... Bwahahahah!!!

#624 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 03:05 PM:

On Saturday night, I saw the coming attraction for The Golden Compass. I've read some things that lead me to believe that Philip Pullman isn't quite happy with the results. As for myself, I haven't read the book so I may be able to take it on its own terms. And the visuals are absolutely stunning.

#625 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 03:30 PM:

Serge @ 624:
And the visuals are absolutely stunning.

Wow. Yes, they are. (You can see the trailer online at www.goldencompassmovie.com, though you have to wade through some Flash to get there.)

(I have read the book, but I'll try to keep an open mind about the movie.)

#626 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 03:53 PM:

Peter Erwin @ 625... It would be nice to know that, just as with LoTR, come the next three Christmases, there might be a great movie on the Holidays menu, eh?

#627 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 06:12 PM:

In # Jennyanydots writes:

PS, Bruce, co-incidence with your post above, my PhD is in history of science and is about seventeenth century astronomers making maps of the moon...

This is my idea of cool.

#628 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 07:07 PM:

Serge @ 626:
Yes, that would be a treat. Are they planning on making the second and third books into movies, or are they going to wait and see how the first one does?

#629 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 07:20 PM:

Serge, #621, don't you love all the little tool robots running around?

#630 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 08:02 PM:

Peter Erwin @ 628... As far as I know, they're taking the LoTR approach, with all 3 movies coming out one year apart.

#631 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 08:05 PM:

Marilee @ 629... If I had lots of money, I'd hire someone to make me one of Agatha's dingbots.

#632 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 09:09 PM:

You can see the trailer online at www.goldencompassmovie.com, though you have to wade through some Flash to get there.

Oh. Oh, my. That trailer evokes some WAY powerful anticipation. My eyes prickled and my heart went thump-thump-thump.

I. Can't. WAIT.

(The Flash intro is really pretty, too.)

#633 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 09:59 PM:

OK, it's a preview and so on, but that polar bear is far too small to be Iorek Byrnison, and his armour is much too fancy. That bear isn't even as big as a Zoo bear, and while Iorek isn't the biggest bear in the world, he's bigger than anything in a Zoo.

Nicole Kidman and Sam Elliot are near perfect, although I'd like to see Brad Dourif get a good-guy role in a genre movie.

#634 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 10:18 PM:

Did anyone go to the section of the Golden Compass site where you can determine your daimon? It was a meme floating around LJ some weeks ago. I ended up with a Lynx.

#635 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2007, 10:33 PM:

About The Golden Compass... Who's the lady all in black who flies around carrying a bow? As far as I can tell, the character is played by Eva Green. Daniel Craig is in the movie too, by the way.

#636 ::: Bob W. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 01:24 AM:

What's up with Ken MacLeod and his war on the capital f on certain words, the beginning of sentences, or both?

If you make me go back and read The Execution Channel again to figure it out, that's another month when you can't sell me the next bulky hardcover. There might be other novels of the End of History lurking in the wings from other publishers, or other knock-on stories, like what the Dorsai would be like if they'd had more intelligence officers in the roots of their military splinter culture.

My enthusiasm for re-reading might also be somewhat dampened by the feeling that the fate of the Korean Peninsula was handled a little too sentimentally to avoid feeling a bit like a too-strong nudge in the ribs. I guess I could probably skip that part, perhaps so could even first-time readers? It was fun and flavourful, so not surprising if it were fat.

On the other hand I would gladly accept that the particular Korean bit was important to story, and if MacLeod were to write a novel that includes it as a significant detail in another novel, that could be quite a fine conceit.

#637 ::: Bob W. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 01:26 AM:

On the other hand, I would gladly accept that the particular Korean bit was important to story, were MacLeod to write a novel that included it as a significant detail. That could be quite a fine conceit.

#638 ::: Bob W. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 01:27 AM:

On the other hand, I would gladly accept that the particular Korean bit was important to story, were MacLeod to write a novel that included it as a significant detail. That could be quite a fine conceit.

#639 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 01:30 AM:

Kouredios @634,

I did the daemon thing and got an ocelot, which I thought was nifty.

Then I then did some quick searches and inquiries... seems like a majority of people got cats, and a great many of those got ocelots. What I'm thinking is that TGC website didn't want to hand out beetles and naked mole rats and other representatives of a realistic zoological distribution.

#640 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 01:46 AM:

Knit Night Cupcakes.

Knitting that looks good enough to eat... and is.

#641 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 01:51 AM:

Serge @635: Eva Green's role is Serafina Pekkala, a Finnish witch-queen. Daniel Craig's is Lord Asriel (this latter entry contains major spoilers).

The Golden Compass trailer looked much more glossy and golden than I expected Lyra's world to be; likewise Craig as Asriel and Nicole Kidman as Mrs. Coulter. But since ISTR hearing that Pullman approved both of those casting decisions, it feels like mere cavilling for me to complain about them.

#642 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 02:08 AM:

A Houstonian fluorospherical request for help:

Someone I know is being tempted by the idea of investing in Houston real estate*.

I'm not worried about the legitimacy of the broker- it's a real true development- but I'm worried that they (potential investors) know nothing about Houston.

If you know Houston and have a spot of time to answer questions about it, I'd like to ask a few questions via email. Could be anything from a hot chocolate (or drink of choice)'s worth of questions to a meal at Denver '08 (or Westercon, I'll be there in 2 weeks).

---------
* They're in the Bay Area and their income is right about average for the US = there are no houses within 200 miles they could afford to buy.

#643 ::: Elizabeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 02:09 AM:

My daemon is a mouse... appropriate for a lurker, no?

#644 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 03:21 AM:

Kathryn @ #642, they could start by reading Charles Kuffner's blog Off the Kuff. He lives in Houston, writes a lot about local politics and neighborhoods, and has his material all nicely categorized for ease of search, too.

On top of that, he's a baseball fan and general good guy.

#645 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 04:33 AM:

Mina W. @617,

You can make a glowfur-like stuffed animal if you want (btw, that Kaleidoscope Night Sky design is beautiful)

When I looked at those nifty glowfur pictures I recognized the colors...

El-wire. electroluminescent wire. One of the 5 staple art supplies of BurningMan* (I linked to cool neon because 1. I'm a satisfied customer and 2. they make great art).

I found a discussion where they describe Glowfur as "El wire in a paisley/random/loopy type pattern that is close enough together that you can't see the wire pattern diffused through the fur."


There are several types of el wire including "tail wire" = 3mm wire with a 8mm flat clear strip that can be sewed, stapled, etc.

I've worked with el wire for costuming: it isn't that difficult once you get a feel for the wire. It takes a bit of soldering and requires a special type of wire stripper to connect it up, or you can get wire that's ready-to-use. El-wire uses a high voltage driver, so an el-wire glowing stuffed animal wouldn't be safe for small kids.
------

1. also wood, paint, fire, dust, metal, dust...

#646 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 04:41 AM:

I took the daemon test, and when it appeared I thought it was a golden monkey. Oh-oh.

But no: it was a Lar Gibbon named Amantha.

#647 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 06:19 AM:

Julie L @ 641... Thanks for the elucidation as to which characters Green and Craig play. So, Pullman likes the film's casting? Good to hear. Do you know if he likes what he's already seen of the movie? Like I said in my original post, I thought he wasn't happy with some of the changes made, but I may have heard wrong. Back to the casting... I could do without Nicole Kidman. She's one of those people who are supposed to be Beautiful Ones, but she leaves me totally cold. (Goddess Claudia Black, on the other hand...)

#648 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 08:13 AM:

Bob Webber, #636: the problem with "fl" and "fi" capitalizations in The Execution Channel is known and being investigated. What I can tell you right now is that none of those errors were in the galleys; they appear to have been introduced in the final output. If you're thinking "broken ligature algorithm," well, so are we.

#649 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 09:50 AM:

Serge @ 647

As much as I agree about the Goddess Claudia* being far more fum to watch than Nicole Kidman, I've got to admit that Kidman is technically one of the best actors around today. Her beauty works against her in this respect, because it means that the parts she gets often don't take advantage of her talent. Though I was very impressed with "The Interpreter"; watching her work with Sean Penn was a real treat, and Sidney Pollack is a director who can take advantage of talents like theirs.

And regarding the world of His Dark Materials, I wandered through the Golden Compass website for a little while last night and was impressed by the design, modulo my irritation at such heavy use of Flash that my laptop was completely overwhelmed and I had to view it on the family desktop computer**. Visually stunning, nice integration of visuals and user interface (given that your computer doesn't go Tango Uniform under the onslaught).

I took the test to get a Daemon, and those of you who've seen the home page of my website will be mildly amused that I got a tiger named Raina.


* Insert joke about Claudia Pulcher, the sister of the Roman mobster. It's too early in the morning, so I'll let your imaginations do the work instead of mine.

** The temptation for the artists and designers to use Flash so extravagantly is obvious, as is the desire of New Line to emulate the expensive look of the movie; the marketing people still haven't figured out that they're turning off a segment of the potential market that doesn't have fast gaming-quality computers (and isn't 14YO boys at heart, impressed by the tech specs more than the beauty).

#650 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 10:02 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 649... Oh, I'm not holding Kidman's beauty against her. What I had originally meant is that everything about her turns me off, and that includes her acting. I'm not sure why. It's one of those things.

#651 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 10:43 AM:

ethan at 1047 & Heresiarch @ 1048 in “The sky isn’t evil. Try looking up.”

Oh! We broke the system...

ethan: If she's not a wildlife/exotic animal vet, chances are she won't know...

Heresiarch: Y'know, I've just run through my memories of dragon pictures. Can't think of any with black-and-white scales (except the ones drawn in B&W rather than colour).

I have just managed to find a picture of a Central or Inland Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps) which seems to be black and white (not the usual colour).

B&W: http://www.dachiu.com/gallery/leather1.jpg
Other colours (gallery): http://www.dachiu.com/gallery/pix.html

Every year or so I toy with the idea of writing a paper on dragon ailments. There was an excellent paper "Some observations on the diseases of Brunus edwardii (species nova)" in the Veterinary Record many years ago (and still available from the British Veterinary Association as a booklet).

In the mythical future time when I've caught up with my work, I'm really going to see if I can do a dragon version...

#652 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 11:07 AM:

Saddened, but not surprised, to see Our Nic still in Hitchcockian ice-blonde mode. She seemed quite more human in her natural redhead.
I have no knowledge whatsoever of The Golden Compass book, tho'. Would 'coulter' meaning 'ploughshare' have any symbolism?

#653 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 12:25 PM:

FWIW, the LA Times has discovered Conservapedia. A little late, but maybe they just heard about it. I only skimmed the story, so I couldn't tell if the writer was taking it seriously or not.

#654 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 12:31 PM:

PJ... I keep thinking of Conservapedia as the counterpart of Wikipedia in Star Trek's Evil Universe.

#655 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 01:01 PM:

#655: Do you imply that Wikipedia is in the Good Universe?

#656 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 01:15 PM:

Jon Meltzer @ 655... Sort of.

#657 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 01:27 PM:

Serge @ #635: Eva Green is playing Serafina Pekkala.

In other news, I am not at all sure that even Daniel Craig can pull off that face-scruff he's got going in the trailer.

#658 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 01:42 PM:

Jon Melzer @ 665

Wikipedia is in the Chaotic Neutral universe.

#659 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 02:28 PM:

Kate Nepveu @ 657... You don't like Craig's short beard?

#660 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 02:47 PM:

Epacris @652, wrt Nicole Kidman's role in TGC: I have no knowledge whatsoever of The Golden Compass book, tho'. Would 'coulter' meaning 'ploughshare' have any symbolism?

Kinda maybe. Va gur obbxf, Znevfn Pbhygre orpbzrf ragnatyrq va n cebcurpl nobhg "n frpbaq Rir", fb gb gur rkgrag gung gur ovoyvpny Nqnz vf nffbpvngrq jvgu gur cybhtufuner, gura lrf, gung pbaarpgvba pbhyq or eryrinag.

#661 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 03:17 PM:

Everyone here knows about Heavens Above- the website that tells you the locations of the sun, planets, and moons old and new?

It looks like tonight is good* for North America to see the space shuttle going brightly by, followed not long after by the now-larger space station.

And isn't it good to be reminded that, however small it is, we do have a space station? While we're not where we ought to be, we've been mapping Saturn and we're heading to Pluto, and, of course, all those extrasolar planets.**

------
* well, for the Bay Area (first at 21:02, then at 22:36), and I also checked for New York, NY and New York, Florida... hmmm. Seems not as bright in the South, based on one datapoint.

Instructions: Look up your location and enter it to get your main page. There, click on STS117, and then click on the Date link at the left of each "Pass Details" line. That gives you a sky-map with the travel-line marked. Example: here's the 2nd pass tonight visible in NY, NY. Goes right by the moon. Nifty!

** as mentioned before, my favorite 21st century moment so far has been a sentence I heard at dinner: "Hi, my name is X, and I'm building networked telescopes so that schoolchildren can help search for extrasolar planets."

#662 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 03:52 PM:

Kathryn, did you notice my Houston suggestion @ #644?

#663 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 04:33 PM:

Linkmeister,

thanks- that looks good.

Is he a guy that you know? The problem with this topic is that it's a combination of asking about neighborhoods and housing markets as well as the awkward topic of out-of-state investors*.

------
I don't know that it's awkward, but it could feel that way, what with it being about Californians investing elsewhere / out-of-state landlords. Although, again, for ordinary income people here it's the only way to own real estate. (i.e. using the 3x income rule, if you make $60k/year here, there's nothing for you. Sigh.)

#664 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 05:41 PM:

Kathryn, as far as I know Charles isn't xenophobic about outsiders. I've never noticed anything of that nature at his blog.

He's one of the most gleeful about Tom Delay's downfall, if that tells you anything about him.

#665 ::: Jennyanydots ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 06:12 PM:

Thanks so much to everyone who posted nice messages about my PhD from #557 onwards. You are all lovely.

And TexAnne @#567 – thanks so much for the poem. That is going on my wall, never mind the diploma certificate.

Have I said how much I adore this place? You come here to post some good news and before you know it someone has written a celebratory poem for you… I am really, really touched. (And she seems to have sussed out my notoriously nocturnal habits without ever meeting me in person!)

kouredios @ #546, good luck, I hope it goes well.

I’m sorry I didn’t reply earlier to all the kind good wishes. I’ve been out of internet contact for a most pleasant reason: in a fit of inspired madness, I booked myself at the last minute (almost literally) on a flight to Istanbul early on Saturday morning, to join my sister who had been attending a conference there, and to celebrate recent events. I’ve spent the last 3 days far away from my normal reality, pottering about the Bosphorus and acquiring a new favourite city. Lord, it was amazing. I’d never been there before, though I'd always wanted to. From the moment I woke up on the plane to see huge ships crowded on the bright blue sea far below me, it was like entering some sort of fantastic dream. I’m still high on the whole thing, so if there are any fellow Turkophiles here who would like to share their experiences, pray do…

#666 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 06:47 PM:

Charlie Stross' The High Frontier, Redux has tossed gasoline on a lot smouldering fires.

Alex Steffan's just-posted essay Limits and Brilliance is especially worth reading.

#667 ::: Vanessa ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 07:41 PM:

Can anyone help me think of the name of a book that was recommended on a thread on Making light?

It was by a male author. He invented a whole city that is the setting for a number of books. I believe it was very detailed, and he wrote music and poetry that were part of that fictional culture. I believe the premise of the book was that it was a collection of tales and historical documents about this city and various characters, not a conventional novel. The city may have been near a river.

It was described as a cult classic, very strange and not mainstream fantasy.

It is so frustrating that I only remember this vague description of it, and my attempts to find it on google or amazon have failed.

I appreciate your assistance.

#668 ::: Vanessa ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 07:41 PM:

Can anyone help me think of the name of a book that was recommended on a thread on Making light?

It was by a male author. He invented a whole city that is the setting for a number of books. I believe it was very detailed, and he wrote music and poetry that were part of that fictional culture. I believe the premise of the book was that it was a collection of tales and historical documents about this city and various characters, not a conventional novel. The city may have been near a river.

It was described as a cult classic, very strange and not mainstream fantasy.

It is so frustrating that I only remember this vague description of it, and my attempts to find it on google or amazon have failed.

I appreciate your assistance.

#669 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 08:09 PM:

Vanessa, dunno if it's the one you're thinking of, but your description sounds a lot like Jeff VanderMeer's City of Saints and Madmen.

#670 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 08:11 PM:

Wow, we broke "The sky isn't evil"...

All that heated argument couldn't do it, but distinguishing between dragons and pandas was just too much for MT to handle.

#671 ::: Vanessa ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 08:18 PM:

Dan: that is exactly the book I was thinking of. I vaguely remembered it having something to do with mushrooms! I thought about buying it a while ago but decided not to, and now I wanted to buy it, but I could not remember the name, or any good searchable details. It was driving me crazy.

Thanks!

#672 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 08:42 PM:

Kathryn, #663, you can't see the sky when there's smog. :::sigh:::

#673 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2007, 11:30 PM:

Vanessa, you're most welcome - I missed the thread where it was recommended, but recently picked it up myself. I think you won't be disappointed; even when it's in a more traditionally narrative mode, it's a surreal and deeply strange book. (I look forward to Shriek: An Afterword, also an Ambergris book, when it comes out in paperback this summer.)

#674 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 02:18 AM:

The War of the Sicilian Vespers, my God. And I knew nothing, nothing! I continue to be astonished and horrified at my own ignorance.

#675 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 03:12 AM:

I'm sorry that I lack the ability to link this, either because I'm handless (likely) or something's broken, but I wonder if anyone would be interested in this:

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article1945931.ece

It seems, from the enraged comments of the various mug punters, that the knowledge of these kickbacks is not general outside the industry. Of course, it's been going on for many years, as we all know. But it's nice to know other people beside me think it's an outrage, too.

#676 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 04:17 AM:

Dave @675:
Herewith, a link.

#677 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 04:24 AM:

I'd say that violates Yog's Law. Yes, I know YL is about authors, but it should set the direction for money flow throughout the industry.

Shouldn't it?

#678 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 08:44 AM:

Dave, Abi: I don't know why that article writes about co-op as though it were a disturbing new development. Maybe Tom Doherty could see whether there's anything novel in the arrangements described, but to me it looks like business as usual. Stores have been selling advantageous placement for a long time.

#679 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 09:07 AM:

Kathryn, on daemons: I noted that too, that everyone seemed to start as cats. But it also has a feature by which you can ask your friends to confirm your personality traits for a a couple of weeks, and the daemon will change shape in that time before it settles into its permanent shape. I started as an ocelot too, and then moved back and forth (and also to ferret, at one point), before settling on Lynx.

#680 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 09:14 AM:

Teresa, I did remark that it's been going on for many years, as we all know. The Mafia, too, has been around for a long time.

#681 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 09:40 AM:

Kouredios, it took me until just now with your comment to realize that it did that. I knew it changed, but changing because that's what daemons do, rather than because it makes the quiz more interesting, and settling to declare adulthood? That's the kind of attention to detail I like to see.

#682 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 09:41 AM:

Dave: True. But this isn't the Mafia. It's an established aboveground system that gets listed in detail in everyone's annual budgets.

Think of it as selling ad space, with the books being their own advertisements.

#683 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 09:49 AM:

Diatryma: exactly. I thought that was pretty neat.
I also noticed that my fannish friends on LJ all tended to be cats, while my less-than-geekish mom friends had a wider range of variablity in their daemons: dogs, spiders, mice. There's probably a good reason for that, too. :D

#685 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 10:34 AM:

Forgive me, Teresa, but "aboveground", to my mind, does not quite describe a practice that is never referred to in public, and which can only be detected by analysis of the internal budget documents of corporations - and only then if one is aware of the nomenclature, which is, shall we say, discreet. The Times was prepared to treat it as news and view with alarm when it surfaced, and all the responses I saw were on the order of shock! horror!. This argues that in the first place most people outside the industry are unaware of it, and in the second that many readers disapprove. It seems clear to me that they understand that their choices have been narrowed because of these arrangements.

True, other retailers do it too. Other retailers, however, do not usually carry nearly everything in the store on sale or return.

Therefore, I prefer to think of it as guys in loud suits, walking into a publisher's front office and staring around, saying things like, "Nice little line of books you got here, cost a bomb, I bet - shame if something was to happen to your chances of selling them..."

#686 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 11:18 AM:

Dave @ #685:
Um, I'm not in the industry and never have been, and I was aware that bookstores sell off prime real estate in their stores. Grocery stores do this to, with endcap space and eye-level shelving. It's no secret from anyone who reads Consumer Reports or the business section of the New York Times or any other good-quality periodical that covers retailing at any level.

#687 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 11:18 AM:

Dave @ #685:
Um, I'm not in the industry and never have been, and I was aware that bookstores sell off prime real estate in their stores. Grocery stores do this too, with endcap space and eye-level shelving. It's no secret from anyone who reads Consumer Reports or the business section of the New York Times or any other good-quality periodical that covers retailing at any level.

#688 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 11:22 AM:

Jennyanydots @ #556: Belated congratulations!

(mournfully)
The first of the three friends who died so far this year had a PhD in the history of science. May you do as exciting and enjoyable things with it as he did.

#689 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 12:13 PM:

Susan, I'm glad to hear there are other sources of information on this practice that I didn't know about. I concede that a well-informed observer who troubled to research would have been able to find out. I still say that it comes as news to many interested and intelligent readers, as is shown by its being considered newsworthy by The Times; and that in the case of books, many customers are clearly dismayed and outraged by it - most especially by the datum that these charges are steep enough that they can't be met by smaller houses. Note also that the story makes the point that the chains not only don't display, but slash their orders for books from publishers that don't pay up.

I am dismayed by this myself. I must confess I have some difficulty in understanding precisely why I am. I suppose I am offended by any commercial practice that artificially reduces my choice of reading matter, while I have no such emotional response to being limited in my choice of, say, breakfast cereal. I don't suppose this makes logical sense. But I still cry foul.

#690 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 12:26 PM:

Dave:
I reiterate that I didn't do any special research on the topic, nor do I have any reason to care much about it. It just comes up over and over again in normal, non-industry, consumer-oriented coverage of retailing. I'm sort of surprised that anyone is surprised by it.

In bookstores, I don't assume a fancy display says anything at all about the desirability of a book, just about the degree to which a company thinks it's a good candidate to selling to lots of people. Since my tastes don't match up with most people's, that's a warning sign right there.

#691 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 12:47 PM:

I just watched the first two episodes of the David Tennant Doctor Who series. Please tell me it gets better.

#692 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 01:07 PM:

If Louis XIV wasn't in either of those episodes, it gets better.

#693 ::: Jennyanydots ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 02:16 PM:

#688 Oh Susan, I'm so sorry to hear that. My condolences on your losses. It's good that your friend used his time here to do exciting things and add to the sum of human knowledge. I hope you're doing OK, or as OK as can be expected in the circumstances. Much sympathy from this quarter, even if all I do is send is a few words...

#694 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 03:21 PM:

Xopher #692: If Louis XIV wasn't in either of those episodes, it gets better.

If you mean Louis XV, I agree totally. Best episode ever. We watched it again the other night (it had mysteriously turned up on the Tivo) and I had to fish out the kleenex.

#695 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 04:25 PM:

I haven't seen it recently, and forgot which Louis it was.

#696 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 04:25 PM:

I haven't seen it recently, and forgot which Louis it was.

#697 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 05:40 PM:

"Product placement" fees... See all that Clorox bleach taking up the most obvious space and lots of it in supermarkets and other brands of bleach on the bottom and top shelves? ...

I'm still boycotting Clorox even though the ad campaign that incensed me has been over for many months (the one that included a series of repulsive ads, the vilest of which denoted the wife/mother in the house's primary responsibilities/reason for existence include wiping up after the slob husband and sons piss all over the bathroom... the idea that THEY should have better aim, and clean up the messes they make when not being more careful and considerate, doesn't exist in braindead lobotomized flatworm cleaning slave wifey in the Clorox universe.... "Mama keeps the house fresh with the magic of Clorox..." PTUI! Throw the Clorox follks and their ad campaign meisters into the Dung Pits of Glyve with their damned Clorox cleaning supplies, and NO housewives, please, let the marketing slime and male executives do their OWN cleaning of the mess!

#698 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 09:36 PM:

Peace, Susan. I hear you. Perhaps we might call it something like the knowledge of the War of the Sicilian Vespers, above. I hold, as it happens, a degree in medieval history, and I knew what the Sicilian Vespers referred to, but I had not the slightest notion of the scope and progress of the conflict, its root causes, nor its outcome - nor its devastating consequences. The history is public knowledge, true, but hardly common knowledge. Someone who was well-read in the history of the region would have known, but I did not, and the lacuna shocked me.

Similarly, although I knew that bookstores charged publishers for displaying books, I had no idea that it was so much, nor so pervasive, nor did I realise the further ramifications. I believe that most people - even well-informed and intelligent readers - would be no better off, even though I accept, if you say so, that the Knowledge is Out There.

And peace, again, for your loss. May your friend rejoice in perfect understanding, as may we all, some day.

#699 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 09:53 PM:

Dave, as a publisher I would be delighted if bookstores suddenly stopped demanding co-op money for favorable placement and henceforth entrusted placement decisions to their most intelligent and well-read clerks. However, What Susan Said. If this stuff comes as a surprise to you, what that tells me is that you have pretty much no idea how retailing has worked in this country for the last 50 to 100 years. It's not, your assertions to the contrary, some deep dark secret; and the perennial shocked!, shocked! newspaper pieces on the subject tend to be met with amusement from within this industry.

#700 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 09:56 PM:

Dave @ #698:
Comparing an obscure bit of history knowledge to something anyone can read about in the newspaper is kind of, um, dubious. But whatever.

And I'm not sure what this is all about:

And peace, again, for your loss. May your friend rejoice in perfect understanding, as may we all, some day.

But if you're referring to one of the friends who's died recently, may I point out that they are, you know, dead, which precludes any further opportunity for understanding, perfect or otherwise. It's part of that death thing.

The whole "peace" bit is also coming across as more than a little condescending.

#701 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 10:16 PM:

Sometimes you can see the bookseller's manipulations as they shift practices.

Chapters/Indigo (in Canada) used to discount and promote the books on the Globe and Mail Bestseller list (yes, I know that all bestseller lists are manipulated, but at least this one is not manipulated by the bookseller directly, although they have some input as one source referred to by the Globe). Several years ago, I went in to get a Neal Stephenson book which appeared on the list -- and found that they were now using their own internal "bestseller" list, with all the obvious attentant possibilties for manipulation.

Amazon.ca still uses the Globe list for deeper discounts; so I went away and ordered from Amazon. But that shift from a (comparatively) impartial arbiter for some of their promotions to their own internal system rankled.

#702 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 10:21 PM:

Susan, I think Dave is trying to say (Dave, correct me if I'm wrong) that he doesn't want to fight about the bookstore thing. Wishing you peace about the recent deaths of your friends is just wishing you healing. As far as wishing THEM "perfect understanding," I think he's being religious, and giving good wishes for a happy afterlife. You may not believe in it, but I think his heart is in the right place here.

To me, it seemed that he was using peace as a theme. I didn't read it as condescending.

Just an outside opinion, for whatever it's worth.

#703 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 10:37 PM:

Susan, I apologise for giving an impression of condescension, which was very far from my intention. Please forgive me. I meant only to wish you comfort in your grief. I understand your friends are dead, and I am sorry for it. I regret my poor expression. I hope this makes it clearer.

Patrick, I say again - this is the third time - that "this stuff" comes as no surprise to me; but its scope and pervasiveness - and the actual amounts involved - does dismay me, as does the further statement that booksellers not only don't display, but discourage the sales of publishers who don't pay up, to the point of not keeping their books in stock. If even the Quality Press, such as it is, considers this newsworthy, it must come as news to many, although I realise that industry insiders, such as yourself, are surprised that not everyone knows about it.

But although it isn't a deep dark secret, it's not much noised abroad, either, and this is for a very good reason. Neither large publishers nor the retailers want their ultimate customers to be particularly aware of the practice because it directly contradicts the interests of the latter, driving up the price of books and squeezing out small publishers who can't meet such high fees. But higher book prices and lower variety hardly seems in the interests of the industry, either, or at least of the retailers.

#704 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 10:57 PM:

What Xopher said. Thank you, Xopher. I regret that I am not religious, exactly, much to my own discomfort. Even so, one may express a hope and a good wish without hypocrisy, and that was what I intended.

#705 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 11:10 PM:

James #701:

I guess that Chapter calling the books they want to promote "bestsellers" could be considered manipulative, but I don't see in general what's wrong with a bookstore offering discounts on whichever books they feel like.

#706 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 11:21 PM:

as is shown by its being considered newsworthy by The Times

Is that really still true, or does it simply suggest that Murdoch got pissed when his vanity publisher told him what it would cost to get his book the position he thought it deserved? (No, I don't know that he's written a book; but the fuss over his attempt to purchase the Wall Street Journal suggests how much his meddling in prioritization of news is appreciated.)

#707 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 11:53 PM:

Bruce, #640: That is seriously cool!

Dave, #684: I'll see your tasering and raise you a sickening torture/murder and media cover-up, with the perps apparently trying to game the system by claiming (falsely) that the victim was gay and came on to them.

And, courtesy of the well-known phenomenon that when you've been talking about something, you see it everywhere... a condom ad that's giving me seriously mixed feelings. On the one hand, promoting condom use is certainly a Good Thing. On the other... using a condom* is automatically going to let you score with a woman who's been unreceptive? I don't THINK so.

* I keep typing "concom" and having to go back and fix it. Obviously, I spend much more time talking about cons than I do condoms!

#708 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 02:08 AM:

Oh sfnal Fluorospheria, provider of numinous answers to questions one doesn't know yet to ask,

I have a question about moderating panels:

I've been to cons and seen panels of all sorts*. I've read Scalzi's killing the Naqmoac ("not a question, more of a comment") and more on moderating . I understand the motivations behind Brad Templeton's Egg timers and other conference enhancements (while that's an idea for/ inspired by symposium and tech conferences, the concept could apply to panels).

What else would you suggest I read were I to be contemplating the moderation of panels?

(I would have already been contemplating concepts of pre-con conversations with panelists, of course.)

---------------
* i.e. like ConJose's Scottish SF panel, which for me is a memory still as sharp as a flashbulb picture... the constant calls from the audience of "capitalism isn't Cthulhuism"... the emotions burning so bright that eventually Connie Willis had to fly in ( she's wearing the purple gown. that's esr on the right) to calm things down.

Or the more ordinary one I watched where an angry anti-usenet author threatened to beat up the EFF representative(s) on the panel.

Good times.

#709 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 02:13 AM:

Using a concom is not likely to help you score either.

#710 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 02:59 AM:

Having just spent the late afternoon here watching my neighbor's house burn down (not quite to the ground, 3 alarms, 3 doors down), I thought to blog and to ask three questions:

1. your fire extinguisherS, are they full?
2. your jump-kit/ go-bag, is it full?
3. your cellphone: have you filled in your local emergency numbers?

My neighbor is unhurt but for a small burn (trying to turn off the stove) and the stress of watching her house burn. A fire extinguisher could have helped: a go-bag would have helped*.

I'm feeling stressed at not being able to help them beyond bringing chairs for them to wait*** and a plastic bag later when they were allowed a few minutes of search. They didn't think they'd use up more than one large plastic bag. I hope they're wrong- they'll look again tomorrow.

I'm reducing my stress by asking the questions above.

Also, I've decided that July 1/July 4 is National Safety-gift day. Leading up to this day it is perfectly appropriate to ask about or ask for gifts of safety. Fire extinguishers. Smoke detectors. Stocking-stuffers like batteries for smoke detectors (if NSGD has stockings. Dunno. Maybe it has silicone oven mitts.).


---------
* always depends on the situation, but better to be able to choose not to use the extinguisher. I mention the cell phone because the other day I was on hold for 10 minutes before I could report a hazard on a local highway**. Them- the husband was at work, then came home.

** and even after 10 minutes I was the first to report it. California cell calls go to the highway patrol- in my case it was appropriate, as the CHP would do a cleanup.

*** at another neighbors where they could watch the firetrucks but not see the house itself.

#711 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 03:31 AM:

a question about Making Light's infrastructure:

A comment designed to go into this thread was caught by the mod-bot: it awaits moderation*. But while it isn't up yet it does show in my View All By file.

Is this usual? That is, usual to have it be simultaneously invisible and visible?

---
Oops. probably due to the crazy-long url which should have been this flashbulb url.

#712 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 06:22 AM:

I keep typing "concom" and having to go back and fix it. Obviously, I spend much more time talking about cons than I do condoms!

What Every Young Person Should Know About Concoms.

Q: Will a concom stop me getting pregnant?
A: Almost certainly. Concoms are a "barrier" method of contraception; they work by taking up so much of your life that you don't have the time or the energy to, as we doctors say, "get it on".

Q: Will a concom protect me from disease?
A: Using a concom will significantly reduce the risk of getting some diseases. For example, sunstroke, seasickness, mosquito bites or anything caught as a result of getting out into the fresh air.

Q: Does my religion (Discordian) prohibit concoms?
A: Yes, unless they are very disorganised ones.

Q: What is the best way to use a concom?
A: Using your thumb and forefinger, push them gently into a remote hotel. Leave them in place until the con is completed, and then remove them carefully.

Q: Can I use lubricants with a concom?
A: Absolutely. I thought you'd never ask. Mine's a double.

#713 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 06:42 AM:

A question for LiveJournal users... Where do I go to block anonymous posting on my blog? I may have figured it out by the time one of you sees that, but I thought I'd ask. The sooner I've taken care of that, the better...

#714 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 06:47 AM:

(cont'd from 712)

I've figured it out. Even better, I found how to let anonymous posts thru, but only after I've screened them.)

#715 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 06:51 AM:

ajay @ 711... Can I use lubricants with a concom?

Q: What is a lubricant?
A: It's a lubricious replicant.

#716 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 07:59 AM:

#691: The second season of the new Doctor Who was a letdown, but mixed in with the dross are two absolutely brilliant episodes: "The Girl in the Fireplace" and "Love and Monsters."

The latter starts out as a lightweight comic-relief episode and ends like a punch in the gut. In a good way.

#717 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 08:54 AM:

Wesley @ 715... "Love and Monsters"

That's the episode of Doctor Who where two nerds find love while we keep hearing ELO's Mister Blue Sky, right? Yes, that was a good episode.

The episode where the Doctor wonders if the Creature in that alien planet's deepest pit is the Foul Deceiver was a good one too. I think.

#718 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 09:29 AM:

Serge #714: One that dreams of electric inflatable sheep?

#719 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 09:33 AM:

715: The second season of the new Doctor Who was a letdown, but mixed in with the dross are two absolutely brilliant episodes: "The Girl in the Fireplace" and "Love and Monsters."

Eh. Girl in the Fireplace was great, but I could do without Love and Monsters. I particularly disliked the end, in fact.

Happily, IMO season three is much better than two. And as non-Doctor-centric episodes go, Blink is far superior to Love and Monsters, and probably my favourite episode of the season.

Plus, I like Znegun zhpu zber guna V qvq Ebfr.

#720 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 09:59 AM:

Fragano @ 717... I am not going there.

#721 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 10:38 AM:

I took the daemon test/quiz and was told my daemon is a Snow Leopard. Cool. Also, the site is gorgeous. I didn't watch the trailer but I'll probably drop by the site again... Looking forward to the movies.

#722 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 10:41 AM:

Serge #719: Fair enough!

#723 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 11:25 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale: Sorry for taking so long to clear your post. Everyone, scroll up and read her #708.

Interesting, the View All By bug you mention in #711. Dunno what to do about it, though.

#724 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 11:37 AM:

Kathryn at #708:

The Minicon folks always seemed proud of their tips for moderators.

#725 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 11:41 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 708... I've been to cons and seen panels of all sorts (...) like ConJose's Scottish SF panel

My favorite ConJosé panel(*) was the one where Shayne Tourtelotte compared the investigative success rate of Fox Mulder & Dana Scully to that of the Scooby Gang.

------

(*) aside from the ones my wife was on, of course...

#726 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 11:58 AM:

I'll agree w/ Jennifer Barber in 719 about "Love and Monsters". Totally unnecessary. Except for one thing, and that only makes sense if you were finlly getting the Tennant "Casanova" off the Tivo the same week. The red-bucket/blue-bucket thing in "L&M" was almost exactly the same bit of business, different props, as the cross-canal back-and-forth chase in "Casanova". Russell Davies for both.

#727 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 12:07 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 708.

Because I'm a hopeless geek, I have to complain about that "Temple of Joy" page. What's with a site that can spend time and effort on making the visual presentation look good*, but has to use diphthongs to represent the umlauted letters? Haven't they ever heard of ISO 8859 alternate character sets, or Unicode?

* Even if, as is likely, they used some standard framework, it still took them a few minutes to try out the look and make sure it worked, I would think.

#728 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 01:14 PM:

The Los Angeles Times has an article on the history of the Eaton Collection of science fiction at UC Riverside:

"As appreciation for the literary qualities of science fiction has grown in recent years, the UC Riverside collection has emerged from an academic ghetto. No institution had ever stockpiled science fiction like this, or subjected itself to such an internal clash over the worth of the genre."

Read-the-rest scale: if you like SF- 4.5/5. If you like reading about academic infighting- 4.5/5.

Wish that they'd abbreviated to SF instead of Sc*-f*, but that's tiny, all considering. Compared to those recent NYTimes articles, this Eaton articles is refreshing.

#729 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 01:31 PM:

Happy Solstice!

This has been making me chuckle all week, and I finally have been pushed over the edge and must share:

Ga'arth The Klingon Fashion Designer
The saga begins. The story arc started on Monday, Ga'arth is introduced on Tuesday.

#730 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 01:39 PM:

Tania @ 729... I want to see a Klingon hairdresser at work. Heck, we already saw a Klingon chef in an episode of Deep Space Nine...

#731 ::: Happy Solstice from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 01:54 PM:

Less than 1/2 hour to the Solstice...Maximum tilt happens at 1806 UT, 2:06 EST.

This year I'm going to celebrate Mars' winter solstice with fireworks on July 4. Then there's a near-dual Mars-Earth summer solstice in 2008: June 25 for the former.

#732 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 02:20 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale writes in #728:

"Compared to those recent NYTimes articles, this Eaton articles is refreshing."

True, but I doubt this--

The same academicians who thumbed their noses at science fiction began designing classes with titles such as "The Philosophy of The Matrix" or the "The Science of Superheroes."

--is actually the case.

And while this is more or less true--

Within the literary establishment, professional organizations dedicated to the academic study of scientific and fantastic literature sprung to life, while a handful of critical literary journals discussed major works and trends. Scholars now convene regularly at academic conferences — gatherings far more serious than the often satirized fan conventions that attract costume-garbed aficionados.

--there's a whiff of the old contempt there.

(Shouldn't "often-satirized" be hyphenated, just as "costume-garbed" is?)

#733 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 05:12 PM:

PNH @723,

It's a bug that oughtn't be a problem now. In the future, when everyone'll have personalized spammers*, maybe there'd be a spamvalue for the few hours in which a view-all-by spam is indexed by spiders. Dunno.

Bill Higgins @732,

True. Perhaps by "refreshing" I mean "at least better than my (now quite low) expectations for newspaper coverage." For example, last month I was happily surprised at how the local paper made a local con (SJMercury, BayCon) seem fun and inviting. Compare to how the NYTimes poked at cons**.

----------
* my newborn LJ got its first spam within 2 weeks, semi-personalized to the essay. Bleh.

** yes, I'm biased against the writer. Yes, the article made fair points. But still, "welcome interstate satyrs"? It was in the travel section.

#734 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 08:02 PM:

Re: "Four-letter words"

"The shortwave stations of rival nations" is particularly fine, on several levels.

#736 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 08:49 PM:

I took that daemon quiz and got a spider, and sort of felt like Charlie Brown on Halloween. ("I got a leopard!" "I got a tiger!" "I got a rock.")

(Charlie Brown's daemon probably is a rock. I realize a rock is not an animal, but for him I think the universe would make an exception. Snoopy's daemon is of course Woodstock.)

#719 & 726: "Love and Monsters" seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it episode, so mileage may vary. I do agree that part of the ending is creepy in ways that the producers probably didn't think through. The bit with the buckets makes more sense if you think of it as satirizing public perceptions of the original series: cheap monsters with random achilles heels, and lots of running around in corridors.

#737 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 09:18 PM:

I was reading, this week, the story about the fossil ancestor of giant pandas, as posted at cnn.com, which repeatedly referred to the fossil ancestor as a pygmy giant panda.
I kept wondering what Mike would do with that one (my head can't quite get around the concept of a pygmy giant anything).

#738 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 10:54 PM:

RRRgH! Odd computer glitches are, inter alia, interfering with my posting here, and much else. They also prevented me from moving the slider-thing in the Golden Compass daemon-choosing questions, so the creature selected was the result of a "neutral" answer on every of the Twenty Questions (is that the name of the game in the USA too?).
It was a Ladybug. Goes, I suppose, with my plant nom-de-web :) I'm looking forward to seeing what emerges if I can ever go in and answer them as I would.

#739 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 11:23 PM:

Tom@709: YMMV. Apparent power and/or self-confidence may be aphrodisiacs, or just the fannish equivalent of Powdermilk Biscuits.

#740 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 11:24 PM:

Tania @ 735: I assume that would apply to the President's office as well.

Lovely! Then they can't invoke "executive privilege" to hide their misdeeds anymore.

#741 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2007, 11:55 PM:

P J Evans @ 737

Reading an article about the panda's sncestor earlier today I kept wondering how they know it was a pygmy giant panda, and not a giant pygmy panda.

#742 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 05:53 AM:

I've been enjoying the third season of Doctor Who, but then I also enjoyed the second season more than most here seem to have. I didn't like "Love and Monsters" at all, though.

"Blink" was fun, but I have to say that the more I think about the concept behind the monsters, the less well it works for me. The conversation scene was really cool, though.

I also like Martha more than I did Rose, and I really enjoyed the small glimpse we got of John Simm's character. I'm looking forward to this week's episode.

#743 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2007, 08:02 AM:

I found this season of Doctor Who more consistently good than either of the previous two, but there were still some bad spots. Gridlock bored me, the less said about The Lazarus Experiment the better, and 42 was appallingly, risibly, howlingly bad.

I loved Blink, and the rubber science didn't bother me... possibly 42 inoculated me, in between fits of pointing and laughing. A livejournal friend pointed me to this, wherein the postmodernism of Blink is explained.

#744 ::: DanElmaleh ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 02:31 PM:

#76:

If you create any adventures with the Adventure Construction Set I would love it if you send it to me. I am hosting a fan site for user-created adventures at: http://www.AdventureConstructionSet.com

#745 ::: joann wonders if it's comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2010, 01:55 PM:

First comment, business url.

#746 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2010, 02:35 PM:

I wondered that, too. On the other hand, it is engaging with an earlier comment (#741).

#747 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2010, 02:57 PM:

I say it's spam. The engagement was not substantive.

#748 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2010, 03:52 PM:

Whereas abi's engagement of comment 745 (apparently with a battery of 105s) was substantive (not to mention substantial) since the target no longer exists.

3:O)>

#749 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2010, 04:36 PM:

I say it's spam, and I say the hell with it ?

#750 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2010, 05:49 PM:

OtterB #750:

Only known case for the equating of spam and spinach?

#751 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2010, 09:14 PM:

Exactly.

I don't think I'll put a recipe for spam-and-spinach omelette in the current cooking thread.

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