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November 16, 2009

Open thread 132
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 01:11 AM *

From my arsenal of quotes for dealing with SAD:

Those joys were so small that they passed unnoticed, like gold in sand, and at bad moments she could see nothing but the pain, nothing but sand; but there were good moments too when she saw nothing but the joy, nothing but gold.
Anna Karenina, book 3, chapter 7
Comments on Open thread 132:
#1 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 01:57 AM:

...So, how about that new ep of Doctor Who?

(Open thread, meet empty mind... it must be bedtime)

#2 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 03:05 AM:

Haven't got to see it yet, alas. (Katie wasn't in the mood tonight, and she's going to be busy tomorrow night...I got her to promise to watch it on Tuesday.)

Normally I wouldn't post just to say that but the sheer novelty of being in the single digits (let alone #2) on a new open thread was irresistable.

#3 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 03:24 AM:

I spent a lot more on beads than I'd intended to this weekend, but I think I'm going to get a lot of good finished product out of it.

I also found out that cartridge casings make excellent cord-tips for kumihimo cords. Talk about thinking outside the box!

#4 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 05:17 AM:

I've known weavers to weight warp-ends with penny-filled film canisters, but that might be a little extreme for kumihimo.

#5 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 05:38 AM:

I've mixed feelings about the DW episode.

No spoilers, but don't play a drinking game where you take a sip every time the Doctor runs down a corridor.

And the Doctor Who Confidential episode has a bit too much of RTD explaining his own story. Trouble is, I think he did need to do that: there were bits where the script didn't get things over to the viewer.

Still, quite intense.

#6 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 06:02 AM:

While I do have a wee touch of SAD, mine usually starts manifesting around midsummer, when (southern) Britain is depressingly dark, compared to what I am used to. See, I expect Midsummer to never really get dark, what with dusk blending into dawn. But, near London, it actually gets actively dark and it's pretty strange, to me.

Winters, however, feel neither darker nor brighter than I am used to, since I am used to spending most of the winter in artificial light anyway.

Unfortunately, I did not catch Waters of Mars yesterday, thinking I'd watch it a bit later on, on iPlayer, but it seems it'll only be on iPlayer comes Tuesday. Hrmph.

#7 ::: SylvieG ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 06:41 AM:

Open thread call for help...

Not SAD but sad - I lost my best friend over the weekend. He was 13 and winding down (though if he saw a squirrel, he'd become a puppy again). He'd been diagnosed with cancer that had spread to his lungs; he was ready, but I wasn't.

He was my first and only pet. I can't imagine how people can ever get another pet after losing one, and risk experiencing this pain again. I can't imagine how people can lose a *child* and survive.

I can't imagine how I ever liked coming home to an empty house, before I got him.

He's basically been my social life for many years - I have no idea what to do with myself now. Any advice on how to get on with life (or simply get a life) would be most welcome.

#8 ::: Scott ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 07:07 AM:

I don't properly have SAD... I just hate the cold so much that I stay home 90% of winter, and then get depressed naturally from spending so much time home alone breathing foul air staring at the TV screen eating junk-food.

#9 ::: David ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 07:18 AM:

Ignvar, on iPlayer now via BBC's Doctor Who page. My £0.02 worth - far less dreadful than the other two Season 5 eps.

#10 ::: David ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 07:19 AM:

Ingvar. Ingvar. And even with mandatory preview. Ekskis.

#11 ::: David ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 07:20 AM:

Ingvar. Ingvar. And even with mandatory preview. Ekskis.

#12 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 07:30 AM:

Abi - have you read 'A short history of the 20th century, with illustrations', by Kim Stanley Robinson? It touches on SAD and does a lot to alleviate my own encounters with it.

Also, for SAD quotes: do you know where Joanna Russ talked about James Tiptree and SAD? All I know is I've read it somewhere and can't find it again.

#13 ::: JaNell ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 07:50 AM:

Full spectrum light bulbs help SAD a lot. Verilux is the brand I favor. They're expensive, but worth it in increased productivity and quality of life. (They're also great for artists and people with vision problems.)

#14 ::: rdi ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 08:00 AM:

SylvieG @7 - I'm not one to advise on getting a life, but I've lost pets before and I can tell you that the pain diminishes. It never really goes away, snd sometimes, when I look at the cats I have now (all dozing within view) I feel it again because I know I'll have to let them go one day.

But mostly I don't think about that, and the sheer joy they bring into my life is beyond words.

When you're ready for another animal, the right one will show up, and you'll know. In the meantime, if you need an animal fix, maybe there's a shelter you can volunteer at?

As to getting on with life - you just do it. One day at a time. We're human and that's what we do.

#15 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 08:08 AM:

SylvieG @ 7 ...
He's basically been my social life for many years - I have no idea what to do with myself now. Any advice on how to get on with life (or simply get a life) would be most welcome.

SylvieG - it hurts, and it hurts like nothing else in the world. Time will help to blunt the constant misery, but the dull ache remains. Allow yourself time to grieve, and don't let anybody tell you that it's too long, or too much; however don't make yourself sick. Go gently, and remember the good things, and think of the shape that you almost see out of the corner of your eye, or the noise you could swear that you just heard as confirmation that you aren't truly alone, and are loved, still, whatever your beliefs may be. Do simple things that are useful, and keep you from brooding too much (sorting your sock drawer really may be the right thing to do...). It's a cliche, but great joy and great sorrow are intertwined, and although it's unthinkable now, with time, the empty heart and empty house start to overwhelm the aching loss.

#16 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 08:24 AM:

SylvieG... What rdi and xeger said.

#17 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 08:28 AM:

Sylvie @7

My condolences.

It may be of little consolation to you, but you will remember him forever - and in time, it'll always make you smile.

Don't let him be your only pet - just as people can remind us of someone dear, our pets can also remind us of those who have gone before. As xeger said; you'll know when your next pet is before you.

In the meanwhile, I'm sorry for your loss.

#18 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 08:44 AM:

SylvieG @ #7, what everybody else said, plus this: don't let anybody tell you your grief is inappropriate. Grief, like love, is what it is. Give yourself permission to feel what you feel. And get out in the sun as much as feasible.

#19 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 09:05 AM:

A couple of my favorite passages about the passage of time and what it means for us living in it, both by Clive Barker:

"The seasons long for each other, like men and women, in order that they may be cured of their excesses.

"Spring, if it lingers for more than a week beyond its span, starts to hunger for summer to end the days of perpetual promise. Summer in its turn soon starts to sweat for something to quench its heat, and the mellowest of autumns will tire of gentility at last, and ache for a quick sharp frost to kill its fruitfulness.

"Even winter - the hardest season, the most implacable - dreams, as February creeps on, of the flame that will presently melt it away. Everything tires with time, and starts to seek some opposition, to save it from itself.

"So August gave way to September, and there were few complaints."

(From "The Hellbound Heart".)

"Nothing ever begins.

"There is no first moment; no single word or place from which this or any story springs.

"The threads can always be traced back to some earlier tale, and to the tales that preceded that; though as the narrator's voice recedes the connections will seem to grow more tenuous, for each age will want the tale told as if it were of its own making. Thus the pagan will be sanctified, the tragic becomes laughable; great lovers will stoop to sentiment, and demons dwindle to clockwork toys.

"Nothing is fixed. In and out the shuttle goes, fact and fiction, mind and matter woven into patterns that may have only this in common: that hidden among them is a filigree that will with time become a world."

(The gloriously audacious opening of Weaveworld.)

#20 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 09:11 AM:

A different kind of Sad: BBC Obituary
I mentioned Breaker Morant trial in Anaconda thread, this time it's the film. Callan seems to have branded itself into a generation, too. Saw him only a couple of weeks ago, doing good job in a Britcrime drama: The Bill?? (? cos seldom watch it.)

SylvieG: Sympathies. After > decade, it's still a painful mix of loss & joy remembering departed companions.

#21 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 09:45 AM:

SylvieG @ 7: The pain gets duller, and the immediate grief gradually changes into sad memories. I've lost many pets over the past 30 years, and plenty of patients as well. The part that gets easier is knowing that you can handle the pain.

Thirteen is a good long time for most pets, although it seems so very short to us. Some of my cats never made it to that advanced age, and some went past. Our old dog made it to 14 and 1/2, with a lot of support.

I'm always grateful for the love they share while they're with us, and the pleasure we take in each other's company. When the time comes, I know it's the last gift I can offer to our companions.

My sincere condolences on your loss. In due time, you may decide to find another companion, but you'll never forget your dog -- no matter how many years pass or other dogs enter your heart, each one will become special memories.

#22 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 10:11 AM:

Well, I missed the Dandies and Quaintrelles tweed ride. Maybe next time.

#23 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 10:21 AM:

"Look after the universe for me. I've put a lot of work into it."

#24 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 11:43 AM:

SylvieG: my first dog died more than fifteen years ago and sometimes I still cry. And then sometimes I find an old photograph and laugh when I remember what she was doing at that moment. It's all good in its own way.

The current occupant of my heart showed up years later, out of nowhere, sitting on the stoop of the house we had just bought. A cat, which for a dog person was an odd choice, but there is was. The Universe had sent him, who was I to refuse? So, as many others have said, you'll know when it happens.

#25 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 11:45 AM:

I had a very Making Light dream recently:

To celebrate an autumn holiday, certain people were shooting flaming hot dogs (in buns) from medium-size trebuchets. Somehow the flames went out as the hot dogs flew through the air, into the mouths of two waiting dogs.

Naturally this attracted a wide variety of dogs. And people.

SylvieG @7: my condolences. I'm going to be in your situation someday. Right now my feline monsters are 14 and still going strong, despite minor ailments, but I've had them all my adult life. I am thinking of volunteering at an animal shelter, in the future . . . perhaps I can use the skills I've acquired, such as giving insulin shots.

#26 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 12:02 PM:

Sylvie, #7: Everyone else has offered good advice. It's hard, and will never be anything but hard, but it's one of the inevitabilities we accept when we bring a companion animal into our lives. My late beloved Mina made it to age 23, and that was really hard -- I'd had her for half of my life! But I think the pain may have been blunted for me because we had other cats, so there wasn't that shock of coming home to a now-empty house. If/when you get to the point of having another pet, you might want to consider getting two of somewhat different ages for that reason.

#27 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 12:19 PM:

So often broken, scented with manure,
dark earth yields little without freight of pain;
not yellow tubers, nor yet tasty grain,
that does not speak of what we must endure.
This simple purpose is the only cure
beneath the moon, our inner voice says plain
for what ails most. But there is no great gain
nor ever hope that wisdom will come pure.
Here light may sting, and sun will leave a burn,
noon is not dark nor will we ever pine
for the lost sweetness of the rising sap;
no children dance with joy at sunreturn
nor old men feel the need for warming wine,
yet each must have the sense of a sprung trap.

#28 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 12:35 PM:

SylvieG
I hope there's some consolation in having company.

Here's Kipling, the beginning of The Power of the Dog

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

#29 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 12:59 PM:

"You see Mr. Simpson, a man, well, he'll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the Devil can't fool a dog!"
- The Twilight Zone's episode The Hunt

#30 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 12:59 PM:

SylvieG, I'm so sorry. I echo what others have said. In my experience the universe will either send you another animal companion, or tell you when it's time for you to go out and seek one. I lost two dogs in 1997, and swore I would have no more, only cats. (I love dogs and cats, both.) In 2003 I started dreaming about dogs, and knew it was time to find another dog.

As a general rule -- this comment is not directed to SylvieG -- I never have only one animal in the house. That way, when time or accident or illness intervenes and I lose one, even though I grieve, I am not without my companion. Currently I have two cats and a dog.

#31 ::: Adrith ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 01:01 PM:

SylvieG@7: No advice from me - the posts before mine are excellent - just good thoughts for you and yours, from another someone who's been there.

#32 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 01:07 PM:

Hey, would people be interested in a spoileriffic Dr Who thread? I'm seeing comments in various threads about it; is there critical mass for a discussion of its own?

#33 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 01:07 PM:

SilvieG: I'm so sorry for your loss. I've cried over pets I'd never even met, and have lost a number I knew well.

All I can say is that time will significantly dull the pain, and you will heal. This is in no way disloyal to your beloved dog (nor would it be even for a beloved child). It's simply necessary. The sharp immediate pain is simply not sustainable, and so it fades. It would be another tragedy for even the most tragic death to destroy all who loved the first victim.

#34 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 01:07 PM:

What's the best response to idiotic articles like this? Ignore the troll, expose to ridicule, or feed his address to the spammers?

#35 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 01:09 PM:

A spoilerific Dr. Who thread would be great -- if you promise to stay on-topic. I can then happily skip it :-). (This probably shouldn't count as a vote, since what's needed is critical mass of people who want to participate.)

#36 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 01:11 PM:

Tim@34: he already had to wait 10 minutes for a train to pass, surely he's been punished enough?

#37 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 01:11 PM:

DDB @35:

I would herd the thread to keep it on-topic. Not that I've seen the thing—so I'm not part of any critical mass—but I am by character and inclination spoiler-proof.

#38 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 01:29 PM:

JaNell @13:

I did a lot of research about ten years ago, when I was just coming to understand SAD, and the consensus then was that it was the quantity of light rather than its spectrum that was important.

My light box (it's an OutsideIn Sunbeam Max, which appears to be a defunct product from a defunct company now) uses very bright fluorescent bulbs, and works wonders for me. I also use a bright but ordinary desk lamp at work.

I understand that the latest research indicates that blue LEDs are the thing. I haven't tried them yet. But I'm unconvinced that full-spectrum is necessary, and it is expensive.

#39 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 01:33 PM:

SylvieG, we lost Tigger a year ago after she spent nearly 16 years with us. The grief has mostly dissipated, although every so often there's a reminder that brings back the loss.

So far we've had no new critter appear, but it seems likely that's what will happen. The last four or five animals who've lived with us did just that, either on the deck in the morning, at the place where Mom worked, or when my sister decided to give my Dad a puppy for his last year of life.

Don't let anyone tell you "it was just a dog, fer cryin' out loud."

#40 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 01:34 PM:

SylvieG #7: My condolences, that's never an easy loss.

#41 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 01:38 PM:

SylvieG: I'm very sorry for your loss.

#42 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 01:44 PM:

abi @ 35... I am by character and inclination spoiler-proof

Incorruptible?

Which reminds me of Robert Stack's old TV series The Untouchables, because its title in the French-dubbed version translated as The Incorruptibles.

#43 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 01:46 PM:

SAD:

I say, try to see the sunset, i e don't be inside busy doing something and miss the last of the daylight as a result. And give yourself the gift of morning.

Being in synch with the sunlight you've got should help.

#44 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 01:47 PM:

Serge @42:
Incorruptible?

Sea-green, baby. Though people are welcome to try.

#45 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 01:57 PM:

SylvieG, everyone copes in a different way, but I will suggest that if you start feeling depressed, make yourself go to a museum or play in your town that you've been meaning to go to but have never gotten around to. (I had to drag my mom out the day she lost her Favorite Cat because I'm someone who copes easily but she is not. Sometimes distraction helps.)

One thing I noticed is that I can avert SAD by a regular schedule of walks. Obviously this is much harder in a colder clime, but I tried very hard last winter to make it out at least once a day. (I mostly got SAD in college; not only was I at a higher latitude but class schedules often meant the morning was dark, the evening was dark, and the rest of the day I was indoors.)

#46 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 01:58 PM:

Re: the "algorithmic authority" sidelight.

I'd love to trust what he says, but he uses an argument by John Searle, and I just can't take him seriously because his Chinese Room thought experiment so clearly misses the point...

:)

#47 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 02:13 PM:

Tim Hall #34: What's the best response to idiotic articles like this? Ignore the troll, expose to ridicule, or feed his address to the spammers?

B. Expose to ridicule (preferably with train-theme poetry).

#48 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 02:17 PM:

Earl, #47: Better yet: first, seed the comments with a couple of train-themed poems, then post the URL to several large train-enthusiast mailing lists.

#49 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 02:28 PM:

SylvieG @7: My sympathies. Ignore anyone who says you shouldn't be grieving for a dog. But don't feel guilty when you find yourself laughing at something, or forgetting your sorrow for moments, minutes or even hours - that's natural and normal. Eventually you'll probably be ready for another dog. In my experience, the joy of sharing life is worth the eventual pain, hard though it is to bear the pain.

#50 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 03:21 PM:

SylvieG, I'm so sorry. It's never easy, and the older they are the harder it is. As everyone says, it gets easier, although that can be very hard to believe at first.

#51 ::: lmashell ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 03:27 PM:

SylvieG @7 - I lost my beloved cat of 19 years in the spring, and the mourning continues for me. I still can't look at Yeti's pictures 8 months after his passing. So far I can't bring myself to bury his ashes either, I just can't let go of that little part of him yet. My only advice is it gets easier with time.

Lizzy L @30, I agree totally. The thing that made Yeti's passing most bearable for me was the presence of 2 other beloved cats in the house. One pet can never replace another any more than one person can replace another - they are individuals who demand their own individual love from you. But their affection and attention made the early days go by much easier.

#52 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 04:09 PM:

#835 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers)

Lee @131/839: "Recreational surgery"??!!! Do I want to know, even in general terms?

To the best of my understanding: think outer outer fringes of the BDSM spectrum. (Not much weirder than voluntarily sitting still for a tatoo, when you think about it.)

Elliott Mason @131/841: Ah, yes. The Boulder Kinetics Race is a fine old tradition around here, with the added constraint that the vehicles have to be amphibious.

Wow. Quite a lady. This is your mum, eh? Does she have any openings for new daughters?

I also am researching cargo-bikes. I don't own a car, so I'm keeping an eye out for the bike equivalent of a truck. Mostly for schlepping large quantities of used guinea pig paper to municiple compost.

Interestingly, "bike-moving" is becoming quite the thing in Boulder.

Epacris @131/843: Wishing I could un-read one @825. Sorry 'bout that. I often get reminded that I have no couth. (Comes of hanging out with people in the medical profession, among other things.) This reminder often comes at mealtimes.

David Goldfarb @132/2 the sheer novelty of being in the single digits (let alone #2) on a new open thread was irresistable.

Like the first dip out of the peanut butter jar. (A hotly contested privilege in my house.)

SylvieG @7: I lost my best friend

Oh, so sad. Advice? As others have said, think about all the good memories. Eventually those take over the pain of loss. Don't avoid the hurt though. Think about how much you miss him. If you feel it, it shortens the painful part of mourning. Lee @26 is right. I just lost my little old man guinea pig (not quite 8 years) last week. Fortunately, he left my with a herd of offspring. Our household has lost its center. But I know we'll realign.

Epacris @20: Aw damn! I loved the Equalizer. Not least because that's where I first spotted J. Michael Straczynski's byline.

Question for the general Luminati: Has anyone else had this happen? This morning I posted the third of three comments in about an hour's span, and got an error that I had "posted too many, too fast, please wait a while." I'm assuming it's 'bot protection and am trying not to take it personally. (Yes, everything is about me. Why do you ask?)

#53 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 04:31 PM:

Jacque @ 52 re: cargo hauling bikes, your Google term (per abi in OT131) is bakfiets. Go!

#54 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 04:33 PM:

SylvieG -

My condolences. I'm afraid I have no advice. My childhood kitty was put to sleep a few years ago, at the age of 20. He was like a small, furry brother. It took awhile to get over him, but luckily all my friends were pet-people and gave me sympathy and permission to grieve. I have a dog of indeterminate age now, and when I remember that she will most likely precede me in death, I panic. Please know you have my sympathies.

for happier news...

The second test batch of truffles was a resounding success. The Dolci Frutta that was recommended worked very well to provide a reasonably chocolate candy shell. Unfortunately, it's not quite "dark" enough for my tastes, so I will be ordering the stuff Xopher suggested for the chocolate, and going with the Dolci Frutta for the white. That's it for test batches though - no more truffles until the week before Xmas. In a last ditch effort to avoid filthy looking hands, I will be portioning out ganache, putting in the freezer briefly, and then rolling.

#55 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 04:54 PM:

SylvieG @7: My condolences. My cat is around 15 years old, and I'm dreading the time when she passes. All I can say is that as with humans, your pets live on in your heart, and so you are more for having known them.

#56 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 05:03 PM:

SylvieG, I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved dog. The only comfort I know how to offer is this: You loved him and gave him a happy life. That's worth a lot.

On SAD: Light therapy is helping me somewhat, but not enough. Going to talk to the doctor next week about other options.

I also think that a large part of my inability to get up and work is that I'm avoiding my research project because I am frankly very bored with it. This scares me because well, I'm committed to it now. I have to finish my Ph.D.

I wonder if picking up a personal project or two, of things I really am interested in, would cause a spillover of motivation to the thing I really should be working on.

Has anyone experienced this kind of boredom with a long-term project that had to be finished? How did you motivate yourself to keep working on it? Or did you do something else?

#57 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 05:29 PM:

Caroline, I'm so glad you asked! I finished my dissertation by dint of absolute adherence to the Mule Puke Rule. You *have* to write two new pages per day. After that, you may write more, or revise yesterday's mule puke, or go to the park and stare at the ducks. (I supplemented this with the Hot Chocolate Rule: one cup per page. Since I was living on rice and beans otherwise, I didn't gain too much weight. YHealthMV.) When you get to the revision stage, you have to revise two pages per day. You may have one day off per week. Sleep and food are sacrosanct.

And here is some cheerleading to speed you on your way: *\o/* CAROLINE CAROLINE RAH RAH RAH! And a favorite sfnal quote: "If I can do it, you can do it."

#58 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 05:30 PM:

#52 ::: Jacque @52 replied to me: Elliott Mason @131/841: Ah, yes. The Boulder Kinetics Race is a fine old tradition around here, with the added constraint that the vehicles have to be amphibious.

The Ferndale ones are required/recommended to be amphibious, too; the course includes two water crossings.

(and later) Wow. Quite a lady. This is your mum, eh? Does she have any openings for new daughters?

She greatly enjoys taking on younger proteges. She and I, however, get along about 500% better since she moved 3000 miles away from me. I can't take her in large doses.

(even later, still Jacque) Like the first dip out of the peanut butter jar. (A hotly contested privilege in my house.)

Am I the only one who liked to carve a heart in it while taking out the first sandwich's-worth of pb?

#59 ::: Emma (a different one) ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 05:51 PM:

Caroline@56: My method was twofold.
1. I had recently parted from my partner of 15 years, who was also doing a PhD. We had three small children and I was working full time and my supervisor, noticing me slowing down, used some basic reverse psychology: "You're not going to let him get the degree first, are you?". Not proud of it, but base competitiveness did help.
2. The 'arse-glue' method. When I sat down to write I made myself stay on the chair for 90 minutes at a time. After about 15 mins of staring out the window, not being able to get up and do something else, you get so bored that working on the dissertation is your best option. After 90 mins (which is a reasonable, but also bearable length of time) I could get up and hang out the washing or something. Next time I sat down, the 90-min rule kicked in again. 4 lots of 90 mins in a day can get quite a lot done, and once you are rolling, momentum takes over.
The things we have to do to trick ourselves. But boredom with your project can be productive -- it motivates you to get it out of your life as quickly as possible.

#60 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 06:20 PM:

SylvieG @ #7: My condolences, and let me add my voice to those seconding xeger's wise words @#15. The next few days will hurt like hell. My experience with grief is that I get out of it quicker if I get into it while it's fresh.

Most of us who have the gift of empathizing with a pet find that the joy of having, and giving, that special companionship far more than compensates for the feeling of loss when a pet's Earthly run is finished. The day will come that the emptiness of your house will be stronger than this pain you're feeling now, and you'll know it's time, if you haven't been adopted by then.

I'm part of a multiple-dog household, and can assure you it doesn't diminish my feelings for each one, but it makes it easier to bear when one of the family passes on. My lovely Shana's 15 now, and I know she won't last forever. She's mothered Little Mac for three years, ever since I brought him home from the pound as a sick little puppy, and he'll probably miss her more than I will. But worrying about that now would just dampen the joy we all feel in each other's company. When the time comes, if I'm allowed, I'll help her cross the threshold, and the circle of life will continue.

One thing no one else has suggested, for when you're past your grief, is involvement with rescue. If you can participate in foster care for a rescue group, you'll probably be glad to see most of 'em go when they're adopted. But along may come that one that feels like a member of the family.

#61 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 06:55 PM:

The "Washington Blade" -- a 40-year-old magazine for gays & lesbians here in the DC area -- closed unexpectedly today when their parent company shut down.

SylvieG, #7, I'm so sorry to hear about your puppy. I know that I usually want more cats when mine die, but some people would rather not.

#62 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 06:56 PM:

Tim Hall @ 34:

I am no longer surprised to see articles along these lines after my stint at my college paper. Aside from the annual article deriding the Honors program (which one of the article writers rather hilariously tried to mine me for ammunition) and the horrendous navel-gazing of the editorial page (which had a brief moment of glory when the student from Zimbabwe took over and actually focused on thoughtful analysis of international news), we had articles such as the one where a student hated how people "dressed up" for class (as in, not wearing torn jeans or sweats) or the one where the girl complained that other students were trying to make her feel dumb. (Oh honey, you don't need anyone's help for that.)

Mind you, this was a private college with a high standard of admission.

Recently, I came across a citation where the paper, during my years of residence, received excellence awards. This frightens me.

#63 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 07:01 PM:

TexAnne, aww, thanks. I like the Mule Puke Rule. I may vary the Hot Chocolate Rule to a Tea Rule -- tea is comforting and gets me through things (and herbal tea has no caffeine impact). And there is a coffeemaker in the office that can be used to make hot water quickly and easily. (The first time I did that, one of our research scientists walked by as it was dripping, then stopped, threw himself into reverse and stared at it. I said "I'm making hot water." "I thought you forgot to put in the coffee," he said. Admittedly, forgetting to put in the coffee is something I might do. In the lab I write and follow checklists to prevent this sort of thing.)

Emma, I also like that 90-minute arse-glue rule. I think I could do that.

In the crunch, I used to be able to snap myself together and just focus. My ability to do that has disappeared over the past couple of years.

#64 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 07:21 PM:

Caroline @56
I didn't actually have to apply this on my dissertation, but I've used it on other things. It is close to the antithesis of the "arse glue" rule, so if one doesn't work for you, try the other. Take the project that seems overwhelming as a whole and break the next steps down into smaller and smaller pieces until the next piece is so small that you feel silly NOT doing it, or until you reach the level where you can say, "Oh, I can do that!" Then do it. And then reward yourself. Sometimes this gets you sufficiently engaged to go on. If not, at least you've taken a baby step forward.

This is from one of Martha Beck's books. I find her most recent stuff a little on the flaky side, but much of her earlier motivational writing is spot-on for me.

#65 ::: Maribeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 07:22 PM:

Just had a SAD-light discussion with a friend on Facebook. He endorses the blue-LED setup, and notes that blue LED grow lights (which you can get as a stand-alone panel, or as a spot that screws into a regular household socket) are about half the cost (@ 50 bucks)of the fancy-dancy Philips Blue LED alarm clock/lights (around 120 bucks). Google "blue LED grow lights" and you'll see a bunch o' stuff there.

@SylvieG: very sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. My Molly cat is heading downhill fast (kidneys) and each day with her is sweet but shadowed.

#66 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 07:37 PM:

Caroline, 63: Ah yes, that is called burnout. My focus came back almost immediately after I turned the damn thing in. And I can heartily endorse OtterB's suggestion--the Mule Puke Rule is just an amusingly-named variant.

#67 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 07:44 PM:

Jacque @ 52:

Was there something you wanted to say about my #835?

SylvieG:

My condolences. Up until now we've had single dogs, and had 3 of them through their entire lives, from 8 weeks on (and a fourth we had to place on a farm after 1½ years because she just couldn't keep from chasing cars and people). Losing the only pet you have is hard and after the last one we (well, I) waited almost 4 years before getting another. Now we have 2 dogs we got from the shelter, and we love them as much as we loved the ones we raised. I'm concerned that when we lose one of them, aside from our own pain we'll also have to help the survivor deal with theirs, but that's also part of the package.

As several people have pointed out, you don't get the love and friendship without ultimately having to deal with the loss. That's not consolation, just the hard facts. But having to deal is still preferable to not having known and loved our friends, and the pain becomes tolerable over time.

I wish you and your future friends well.


#68 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 07:45 PM:

OtterB @ #64, "Take the project that seems overwhelming as a whole and break the next steps down into smaller and smaller pieces"

That's the logic behind my local public radio station's small goals for each program ("$2000 during Fresh Air"). Otherwise the overall goal of $760,000 would just discourage the pitchers and the listeners.

#69 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 07:51 PM:

Elliot Mason @ 58 "Am I the only one who liked to carve a heart in it while taking out the first sandwich's-worth of pb?"

I used to play a quick game of Tic Tac Toe against myself in it. Now I buy Adam's, for which the first step is mix, mix, mix, and doesn't have the solidity lent by partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

#70 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 08:15 PM:

SylvieG: My sympathies on the loss of your faithful friend.

#71 ::: SylvieG ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 08:34 PM:

Thank you all so much for your comforting words and advice and shared experiences. I feel, if not better, then certainly more hopeful now. It's much easier to take things one step at a time when you know you're not walking alone.

#72 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 09:00 PM:

@SylvieG

Everybody else has offered sterling advice. I can only add: be kind to yourself, and don't let anybody discourage you from feeling what you feel.

I lost my previous cat in 1992, and took care of my partner at home for a year until she died of cancer, in 1997. I was not ready to take responsibility for a single other creature until 2006, when it was finally Time.

I have three cats now. They don't erase the other cats I've had and lost: they are themselves and nobody else. And I treasure them all.

#73 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 10:33 PM:

OtterB, I try to do that at times (I read and liked the ideas in Getting Things Done, which recommends breaking things down into actions that will take no more than 2 minutes).

The trouble is that some things -- like writing or coding (the main activities for my dissertation) -- aren't easily broken down into actions that small. For those I have to get into the flow. And if I can't get into the flow, I have to force myself to plug away at it for some continuous amount of time long enough to write at least a couple coherent lines.

It is, however, a fantastic method for dealing with lots of other things.

TexAnne, I'm ridiculously relieved to hear that your focus came back when it was over. Ridiculously. I had been starting to wonder if I'd ever be good for anything again.

#74 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 10:42 PM:

Oh yes, Caroline. Also my ability to sleep through the night and to enjoy weekends and vacations. Life post-hooding is absolutely worth it: you will have accomplished something very, very hard, and it will be yours forever. I'm not saying it'll be the hardest thing you'll ever do, but once you're done, you'll be able to say, "I did that, so I can do this."

*\o/*

(Telling grad students about your hard-won experience never gets old, either. "No shit, there I was...")

#75 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 10:51 PM:

Caroline: The worst burnout I ever got was for college application essays*, because almost all of them are variants on a theme and, to put it bluntly, trying to make your life sound purposeful and interesting when you're seventeen can be quite a stretch.

To make matters worse, I was the first finalist my (tiny) high school had for National Merit for many years, and the principal offered to have the secretary type up my essay onto the form (as opposed to hand-writing it or gluing a dot-matrix printout to it.) She didn't like the first one. She didn't like the second one. I don't remember how many versions I turned in, but I finally took an entirely different track and handed it to her. She didn't like that one either, but I looked at her and said, "Use it." The kicker was how she told the story, because she thought it would never fly.

Of course, she told this story at the senior awards gathering and made me stand next to her the entire time. I look so very much like a tall girl trying desperately to sink into the floor in the photo...

*Later on, in college, I did one stint of reading the damned things. My advice to high school seniors is to have fun with the essay because it really shows through, and your average five-paragraph standard essay get really tiresome halfway through the first half of the first one of forty-six.

#76 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 11:31 PM:

So one vote right here for a Doctor Who spoiler thread. That was a very strange piece of work.

#77 ::: Emma ( a different one) ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 11:33 PM:

TexAnne @74, you are so right, in every way. It also means, at least here in Australia, that if any very young person annoys you with a 'Is that Mrs or Miss?' type question, you get to say 'Dr, actually'. Very useful at times.

Best of luck Caroline. Once you get going, and light appears at the end of the tunnel, you'll use that to keep going with. Design your title page and table of contents. Draft your acknowledgements. Visualise that fat red-bound volume (at least mine is red -- it's on my desk right now). Gramsci was right -- (even with) pessimism of the intellect, (there can be)optimism of the will.

#78 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 11:47 PM:

The new report that de-emphasizes the importance of mammograms sounds to me like a Republican plot to eliminate surplus female voters (the ones who can't afford catastrophic health care).

#79 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 11:49 PM:

Leechblock got me through grad school-- granted, 'through' meant 'MS rather than PhD' and I am still working on saying that rather than 'dropped out', but it counts. Any site I spent more than a couple minutes on per day was blocked. I got a minute per hour cumulative tor.com and Nature Futures-- long enough to go and click a link, not long enough to comment or really get into things.

I still spent far too much time online.

What ended up working was realizing that I had taught myself not to work at my desk during the day. I'd leave, then come back in the evening, get a coffee, and work for a while.

Caveat: I was not a good grad student. It wasn't the right place for me, and I didn't do it right. I can share blame with some others if I want, but ultimately, my nonstellar experience is my own responsibility.

Oh, and when you're done, you will never have to format that thesis again. Never. No one can make you go back and reformat it.

#80 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 12:07 AM:

The family I was married into used to mine their peanut butter jars, scraping almost to the edges so they looked full even when they were nearly empty.

At Thanksgiving and other large family gatherings, the passing of dishes at the start of the meal was chaotic. They gravitated towards the hapless visitor, who ended up with both hands full, table space blocked, and a serving dish on their plate. Everyone else's attention had shifted the other direction. Fortunately, previous victims warned me.

#81 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 12:32 AM:

SylvieG at #7 writes:

> He was my first and only pet. I can't imagine how people can ever get another pet after losing one, and risk experiencing this pain again.

All my sympathy. I've lost two cats over the years and will probably lose a third (currently 18yrs) this year.

> I can't imagine how people can lose a *child* and survive.

That's harder to imagine. Loving someone (or something) is like having your nerve endings permanently exposed to the outside world. It's worth it, but...

> Any advice on how to get on with life (or simply get a life) would be most welcome.

When we lost our last cat I sat down and wrote about 3000 words on her personality, habits and quirks. That may have made it easier to start remembering her with pleasure instead of pain.

#82 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 12:46 AM:

#34 Tim

Obviously the person is an untrained idiot....

Idiot doesn't like trains.
Dunno if the idiot likes planes.
I wonder just how far he'll walk
Wonder if he can walk and talk
Simultaneously--

Idiot doesn't like trains,
While one wishes he refrains
Maybe he drives an SUV,
Runs over people like you and me
What a wanker he be.

Idiot doesn't like trains,
Infrastructure without sustains
Tranportation who needs it bah!
I suppose he won't travel far
Won't see from sea to sea.

#83 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 03:47 AM:

Caroline @ 56

When I'm bored with something that has to be completed, I often find putting music on helps - I actually have a note by my desk reminding me to to this. Perseverence is key, in my experience (one PhD thesis and several book-sized projects on). Having said that, sometimes yes, doing something else you really want to do can brighten you up (as opposed to not doing the thing you want to do, then sitting brooding over the fact you can't do it, rather than getting on with the *$!^ project you have to finish).

I've read several times that many people, writing up their PhD, end up with a wonderfully clean and tidy house, etc. etc. - anything to avoid actually sitting down and writing the thesis - so you're not alone in this.

I put a relevant quote at the start of each chapter of my thesis - it was fun finding them. You could allow yourself to go hunting for one quote for each chapter, after you've finished the chapter, as a reward?

And, I have a set of notes for how to avoid some potential embarrassments with typos, mising figures etc. in your thesis which I could e-mail to you or post on here if you think you might find them useful - some of them sound really obvious but they all come from my own experience and I'd rather help other people to avoid them than pretend they never happened.

Emma @ 77 'Is that Mrs or Miss?' ... 'Dr, actually'. Very useful at times."

Yes, that's a definite benefit.

#84 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 05:43 AM:

abi @ #32:

That might be a doable thing, indeed (now that I've managed to get my fix).

#85 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 06:23 AM:

Diatryma #79: Oh, and when you're done, you will never have to format that thesis again. Never. No one can make you go back and reformat it.

I have a doctoral candidate right now who is going to share that feeling in spades when he is done.

#86 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 09:06 AM:

Earl T Cooley II@78

I'm fairly sure that Dianna Pettiti is not a Republican shill, based on her previous work (and second-hand personal knowledge).

She also isn't anti-mammogram: she was one of the co-authors of
a lovely paper demolishing an earlier review of mammography that concluded it didn't work at any age.

Mammography really isn't as effective in younger women. It's sufficiently less effective that there really are differences of honest expert opinion on whether it should be recommended.

Now, cost does enter into this -- increasing the number of unnecessary biopsies is bad under any analysis but worse if you have to pay for them -- but it's not the only issue. I don't know whether the American Cancer Society panel was right in their recommendation, but I don't see any reason to assume they were dishonest.

#87 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 09:29 AM:

Caroline and others getting bored with writing papers/theses: a great paper I came across recently: "How to write consistently boring scientific literature" available at: http://www.indiana.edu/~halllab/GradRes/BoringWriting.pdf

Enjoy

#88 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 09:38 AM:

It wasn't a thesis, but I spent a lot of paper on it. When I googled "Steampunk and Hollywood", links to my talk came up.

#89 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 10:07 AM:

Xopher, a belated message to say I hope that developments on the job front ultimately turn out to be A Good Thing.

SylvieG, others have said what I wanted to say earlier and better, so just chiming in to add my good thoughts your way.

Caroline, a kitchen timer helped me a lot (and still helps me with household chores). I set it for 15 or 20 minutes, and just work during that time, no distractions allowed.

dcb, please post your notes here! I often struggle to get on with large projects, as seems to be the case with plenty of people, and I'd be grateful for more tips.

#90 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 10:21 AM:

Earl #78, thomas #86:

I found this post on Respectful Insolence and this earlier post really nice for explaining the issues that come up here on a level I could follow, as someone with no medical background.

As I understand it, the issue here is about what happens when you get a false positive[1]. Younger women tend to get more false positives, apparently. And a false positive sends the woman who gets it back for more testing, or for a biopsy, and can eventually lead to unnecessary treatment for cancer. That means that simply getting more people tested isn't an unambiguous win--you need to know something about the false positive rate and the expected cost of a false positive, and the expected rate of disease in the group being tested, and the benefits of early detection. The risk is that you end up doing more harm (in unnecessary biopsies and surgeries and chemotherapy) than good (in saving womens' lives by detecting the cancer in time to keep it from killing them).

[1] Sometimes, you also detect something that is cancer and might progress to kill you eventually, but might also never progress or might even go away on its own. I gather that you just go ahead and surgically remove those growths to be safe--which is probably the only thing you can do, but which also means some women getting unnecessary surgeries.

#91 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 10:32 AM:

Openthreadery:
I need the Latin translation of Douglas Adams' "Go stick your head in a pig". My own Latin is quite rusty, but I have come up with "Inserta caput in porco", assuming that caput has to be accusative and porcus dative.
Would "caput tuum" be better? Is the "in" necessary? Am I overlooking something basic?

#92 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 10:40 AM:

Caroline, I often find a brisk 15 minute walk helps, especially if I use the time to think about exactly what I am going to tackle when I get back. "As soon as I get back, I will sit down with a cup of coffee, read these three relevant articles, mark them up, and transcribe notes into my outline in the appropriate places." Or, when I'm really stuck, I'll do things that are almost but not quite cat-vacuuming -- enter articles into EndNote and put them in labelled file folders, make sure all the books I'm using have bookplates and spine labels, weed or reorganize my study. Just *handling* the materials gets me a more inspired frame of mind for *doing* things with them, and I may run across things I forgot I was going to use.

#93 ::: DaveKuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 10:58 AM:

Harlequin is going into self-publishing. This is not good but I guess someone has to be the lab rat.

#94 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 11:00 AM:

Carol Kimball @80 said: At Thanksgiving and other large family gatherings, the passing of dishes at the start of the meal was chaotic. They gravitated towards the hapless visitor, who ended up with both hands full, table space blocked, and a serving dish on their plate. Everyone else's attention had shifted the other direction. Fortunately, previous victims warned me.

In my dad's-side family, which has had epic Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter dinners involving every table and chair in the house pressed into service as a huge long unit and up to 50 people, it is basically high holy tradition that at the start of the meal, you serve yourself from whatever's set nearest you, then pass that dish whichever way seems good to you (for example, if the person two to your left asks for it, send it down that way). Then each dish continues in whatever direction it was started.

Attempts have been made to announce, frex, "All left, please," just after the prayer, but some contrary Weisenheimer chucks something 'the wrong way' on purpose and eventually we're back to the previous system. Luckily, once everyone's gotten their first plateful, refills are stochasic enough that it doesn't much matter which way things go, because only a couple dishes are in motion at once.

Attempts continue to be made at having geographically-restricted instances of the common stuff (butter, potatoes, gravy) that only circulate at one end of the table, but documentation -- and therefore compliance -- are spotty and they tend to drift at the ends in pairs and threes.

#95 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 11:16 AM:

Earl Cooley III (78): My reaction to that news was, "The government wants me dead." No particular risk factors, but I was diagnosed at 42 with stage 2 breast cancer that turned up in a routine mammogram--no lump that anyone could detect, including three different doctors.

#96 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 11:20 AM:

For those who would like to role-play a hamster, try this hotel next time you're in France.

#97 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 11:23 AM:

Mary Aileen @ 95... Glad to hear that it was found in time.

#98 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 11:27 AM:

[And now that I've read the rest of the thread--]

thomas (86)/albatross (90): Unnecessary treatment is something to be avoided, of course. But I'm still very, very grateful for routine mammograms starting in my early 40s.

#99 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 11:28 AM:

Serge (97): Thanks.

#100 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 12:14 PM:

dcb, #83: I've read several times that many people, writing up their PhD, end up with a wonderfully clean and tidy house, etc. etc. - anything to avoid actually sitting down and writing the thesis - so you're not alone in this.

That doesn't just happen with theses, either. Nothing puts me more in the mood to do housework than knowing I really need to be making up stock for an upcoming show!

Also, another vote for "please post your tips". Not that I'm writing anything for which I might need them, but I'm always fascinated by the things people come up with to help them spot and correct errors.

nerdycellist, #96: That's cool!

#101 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 12:23 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 95: I was just at a lecture by a public health scholar, one of the deans at my university; one of his emphases was "In American society, we focus so much on people who beat the odds, rather than on recognizing what those odds are and changing them."

In short, if the new report is actually correct (about which I withhold all judgment till I've had the chance to go out and read the research), you're in the place of someone who has beaten the odds. The problem with applying that narrative to a society is that we always, individually, think we will be the ones to beat the odds, but if that were the case for everyone who thought so, statistics would be remarkably different. I know, small consolation. The tough thing about any decision made on behalf of a society or a policy is that it's always wrong - for someone. The goal is to be wrong for as few people as possible.

#102 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 12:33 PM:

Pendrift @89, Lee @ 100: I don't think any of this will help you sit down and finish a project, but hey, maybe someone will find some of it useful.

- Double-check the word limit, and whether the appendices count in this. If you are skirting close to the edge and a graph counts as zero words while a table counts as 250, put the graph in the thesis and the table in the appendices.

- Double-check references and TRIPLE-check that you have correctly entered the details of any references from your external supervisor - those are the ones they will check for accuracy. N.B. don't just cut-and-paste from someone else - they may have got it wrong.

- If there are any bits that might be queried (e.g. an experiment not done with as many iterations as would have been preferred), explain the reasons why (constraints) in the thesis: if you explain before you are asked, it is an explanation. If you wait until it has been queried, you are giving an excuse.

- Get someone else to proof read the whole thesis for you, including the reference list if they can bear it. It is EXTREMELY difficult to proofread your own work, since you know exactly what you intended to write… N.B. proofreading takes time - don't ask for this the day before the thesis is due in.

- Note that the smallest mistakes can be the most important. I've read a review article in which a reputable scientist got someone else's paper 100% wrong (I noticed because I'd read it just the day before) - I think the word "not" must have got missed out in the reviewer's summary of the findings... In a very good reference book, there's a table in which codes "a" and "b" were used to represent "virus isolated" and "antibody demonstrated" - but (as I know from checking the references) had been reversed.

- Before handing in the thesis to be bound (if it has to be bound before being sent off to the examiners), or before it is sent to the examiners:
a) Check that, in every copy, every page is present, once and once only, in the correct order. It is extremely easy to put a “spare” old page in as a placeholder, for example for a page which you are printing out on a colour printer, then forget to remove the placeholder when you add the page in. Similarly it is easy to have to make a change in the Table of Contents, or the List of Figures, or List of Tables, then end up with both the old and the new version (or neither!) in one copy of the thesis.
b) Check that all figures and all tables are present in each copy.
(I know this sounds boring, but it saves the embarrassment of writing to the examiners to say "please find enclosed figure 6a, to be included after page 254")

- If you have a deadline for handing in your thesis, and it needs hard binding first, don’t forget that binding may take a few days or cost extra for a rush job.

#103 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 12:48 PM:

A.J. Luxton (101): The tough thing about any decision made on behalf of a society or a policy is that it's always wrong - for someone. The goal is to be wrong for as few people as possible.

Very sensible, as long as the results of being wrong are factored into the equation. In this case, we're weighing unnecessary biopsies for false positives against cancer not being caught while it can be treated. I know which way I vote, but I'm not exactly unbiased.

#104 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 12:49 PM:

TexAnne@74: Life post-hooding is absolutely worth it: you will have accomplished something very, very hard, and it will be yours forever.

I heartily concur. Sometimes I think that the single most valuable thing I learned in the course of getting my doctorate was that I was, in fact, capable of taking on a long-term project and carrying it out to completion.

(The dissertation itself took me either four years or two months to write, depending upon how you look at the process.)

#105 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 12:49 PM:

nerdycellist @ 96: what's more, that hotel is in Nantes, so rodent role-players could also have a go at scaring this guy while they're in town.

#106 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 01:06 PM:

Mark @53: Jacque @ 52 re: cargo hauling bikes, your Google term (per abi in OT131) is bakfiets. Go!

Ah yes. My brain slid right over that the first time. Thanks for the pointer! (It's going to take conscious effort to refrain from parsing that word as "back fat.")

Caroline @56: Has anyone experienced this kind of boredom with a long-term project that had to be finished? How did you motivate yourself to keep working on it? Or did you do something else?

Whenever I run into this sort of bump, OtterB's trick of "chunking" is really useful. Sometimes the step is as simple as pulling a folder out and putting it on the desk. Often, just the act of doing that will start me off and rolling.

Another is ponder the project but turn it upside down and sideways in my brain to see if there's an angle I can get on it that I haven't thought of before. With writing, frex, sometimes if I bring the imagery closer in my mind, and set it against a backdrop of different, more intense colors, that will get me going.

Mental judo, you know.

I really like TexAnne's trick, too. Sometimes all it takes is to get the rhythm going.

Also: keep an eye on your nutrition. If you'd like a quick-and-dirty way to make sure your diet includes Real FoodTM, check out my Cream of Dinner Soup recipe. I find that this can make a startling difference in my mood and functioning.

Oh yeah, follow on to Emma (a different one) @77: get abi to do a binding for you! Hee.

Elliott Mason @58: She greatly enjoys taking on younger proteges.

If you'd care to send contact info to jacquem at panix dot com, I'd be delighted to chat with her. (Though I wonder how much "younger" she is than I. Maybe we can start a Little Old Ladies Sewing Circle and Terrorist Society.) (Hi, NSA!!)

She and I, however, get along about 500% better since she moved 3000 miles away from me. I can't take her in large doses.

Heh. I'm firmly of the opinion that same sex-parents should be classed as a Schedule II Controlled Substance, by prescription only, with careful attention to toxic side-effects. Sounds like you've found the appropriate concentration.

Regarding PB: once you've got a hole big enough for a shape, it's too late. It's that first, very first dip. That's where the rush is.

PB as sculptural substance, now that's a whole 'nother discussion. :D

Losing pets: I can't count the number of times, holding a guinea in my arms as he or she passes, I resolve Never Again. But then one of the others do something cute and...well.

I am deeply grateful to my fur kids. Some of the last seven years has been really rough, but mostly it's been joyous, and one thing I can say for sure: death of a loved one doesn't scare me anymore.

Still sucks big green ugly rocks. But Woofie's squeak of frustration when I thwart his attempt to steal the dandilons, or JJ's puzzlement over that wierd, blurry guinea that lives in the chrome table leg more than make up for it.

I really really like Steve Taylor @81's technique. That makes all kinds of sense. I would further advocate putting it in a nice binding and including any photos you have. Make it a keepsake. (I may do that for my guinea pigs.)

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) @67: Jacque @ 52: Was there something you wanted to say about my #835?

Gah!! Sorry 'bout that. I was suffering from multiple iterative brain-farts yesterday. I went back and filled that in, but then mis-posted it back on Open Thread 131/945. My apologies. I am a potato.

dcb @83: Post here! Post here! And the flipside of @87: Just saw a great review in Science News of a book about making science writing more engaging: Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style. (That issue also has a lovely article on lichens, with some rilly cool pix.)

nerdycellist @96: I've often wished for a giant hamster-wheel in my office.

#107 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 01:13 PM:

Smarter cancer screening isn't a bad idea. As noted in the post (written by a breast cancer specialist) that Albatross linked, effective and efficient cancer diagnosis is not a one-size-fits-all process. Yes, early mammograms are good, and they can catch cancers before they can metastasize, but they remain imperfect. Mammography is simply the best non-surgical diagnostic tool we have at the moment; other technologies will supplant it eventually. A family member's disease was caught by galactogram; her standard mammograms were clear, but her doctor was persistent. I'm grateful for both his refusal to be complacent, and his willingness to use new tech to get the answer.

Speaking of new medical tech, I have a a new story out about that very thing. (Related to breasts, too, oddly enough, but breastfeeding, not breast cancer.)

Re: the thesis tips, I sincerely wish I had had these while I was writing mine. Damn. You guys rock. There should be a "how to finish projects" thread/page, to collate all this wisdom.

#108 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 01:24 PM:

re Andy Wilton, #105:

Besides the Elephant page linked to, be sure to check out the Gallerie pages as well, showing other mechs in progress. (Giant Squid! Giant Squid!)

Alas, they don't have any really good photos of the Manta Ray; bummer. (Mantas: coolest fish, ever.)

#109 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 01:26 PM:

Another factor in the mammogram recommendations is that it does involve exposure to a dose of radiation, albeit a very small one. I do not recall the exact information, but I read that for every umpteen cancers caught, there was one caused by that radiation. A friend of mine refused to get her first one until she was fifty for that reason. I have heard much debate over the years whether *yearly* m-grams are necessary. Unfortunately, a lot of medical test recommendations are absolute, which can determine whether or not insurance pays for them. They seldom bother to consider individual risk factors, even obvious ones like smoking.

I'm not very scared of cancer, since the only relative who has died from it smoked 3 packs of Camels a day from the age of 14. She died of lung cancer at 78. I'm scared of heart attacks, since I lost a cousin who was 29 or 30 from one, as well as my father and various other relatives. I would like *more* cardiovascular tests and fewer cancer tests, thank-you-very-much.

#110 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 01:50 PM:

Speaking of hamsters, I once brought a water feeder for caged critters to the office and installed it in my cubicle. Some of the managers didn't appreciate the humor, but my co-workers loved it.

#111 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 02:00 PM:

re Jacque, #106, the Cream of Dinner link:

This is somewhat reminiscent of M.F.K. Fisher's famous/infamous recipe for "Sludge".

Short version: (1942 prices; adjust as needed) Borrow fifty cents. Buy fifteen cents worth of ground meat; spend the rest on vegetables and grains. In a large kettle with water, boil the vegetables for a hour, add meat & grain, simmer for several more hours. Pour into a suitable container to set, keep cool or refrigerate. Can be sliced and fried like scrapple.

The full recipe/essay can be found in the "How To Stay Alive" chapter of Fisher's HOW TO COOK A WOLF. (Link to Amazon's "Look Inside" feature. The chapter starts on page 66.)

(Searching for the recipe, I came across this post from Magistra Mater which quotes several passages from Fisher's books in a centered-line format. Interestingly, this makes Fisher read like quite a good free-verse poet.)

And, in connection with various posts uptopic about getting things done or not done, I should probably note for the record that I spent the time writing this comment when I should have been doing a heaping load of important stuff.

#112 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 02:02 PM:

Magenta Griffith (109): I have heard much debate over the years whether *yearly* m-grams are necessary.

For a while there they were recommending an every-other-year schedule for women in their 40s. That certainly strikes me as reasonable in the absence of other risk factors. But no mammogram at all until age 50? I'd be dead.

#113 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 02:05 PM:

Mary Aileen #95: My reaction to that news was, "The government wants me dead." No particular risk factors, but I was diagnosed at 42 with stage 2 breast cancer that turned up in a routine mammogram--no lump that anyone could detect, including three different doctors.

My logic is the assumption that there will be more Democrat casualties in the under-tested 40+ age range because it's the rich Republicans who can usually afford catastrophic health care. It's the same principle that drove the sluggish Katrina response effect. To be sure, however, I'd need details of the political/stock-holding affiliations of the panel that made the recommendation, to check for conflicts of interest.

In any case, It's fortunate that your situation was detected, and I hope that you are doing well.

#114 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 02:16 PM:

Jacque @ 106: See #102 (we crossed). Hope some of it is useful.

Thanks for the link to the book review - I may get the book (I'd like to learn better how to write interesting articles etc.).

#115 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 02:23 PM:

on m*grams:
I'd say that if there's a real risk factor, like mother, sister, or aunts who had it before they were 50 or 60, then, yes, start getting them early.

#116 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 02:37 PM:

SylvieG @7 -- adding my condolences. While I've lived with dogs a few times since losing what was supposed to be My Puppy at about age 8 (distemper -- it was a pound puppy named Sniff that didn't survive more than a month) I haven't had a dog of my own to deal with. I'm blessed with a history of marvelous cats, though, and have had to grieve for several of them. Reiterating a common thread -- it's your life, and your grief. Live and grieve your own way, and pay attention to it. That's how to learn what's right for you.

On finishing writing projects -- has anyone else here read Howard S. Becker's Writing for Social Scientists? Becker's a rare sociologist who writes compulsively readable books, and this book is all about how to write a better article than most people get trained to. Highly recommended.

#117 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 02:39 PM:

Jacque @ OpenThread 131/945:

Bruce Cohen (Scanning Tunneling Microscope*) @131/835:

"it goes on forever — and — oh my God — it's full of atoms!"

#118 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 02:42 PM:

My dissertation trick was the same as my writing trick generally: AICHC, AssInCoffeeHouseChair.

Works for a liberal arts diss; I don't know what you'd have to adjust for something requiring a science lab. (And as for a CS diss, that's always seemed to me to be just like Working.)

Each weekday, head over to coffeehouse around lunchtime. Grab really big latte or iced something, plus something with calories. After consuming calories and reading newspaper as warmup, take printout of previous day's production and edit it for typos and stupidities. Get out yellow pad and start writing. Keep going for a couple of pages or until the coffee runs out, whichever takes longer. If you literally have no more to write about, read a couple of articles and take notes, or read a whole book, ditto. Then do a little bit of outlining or mind-mapping, or draw a flow chart of what you've got. At that point, you can go home. (or grade exams, if it's one of those semesters.)

Next morning, it shouldn't take more than half an hour or so to transcribe what you wrote into the computer. Print it out for the next coffeehouse round.

My all-too-frequent saying to my long-suffering spouse: "it's done when it's done". And eventually it was. I began the process over two years before the diss was due, and didn't vary except during the semester I was teaching two afternoons a week.

It did mean that I had to organize my time somewhat differently, with frequent necessary swings by multiple libraries scheduled to happen in the late morning, along with any teaching-related work at the slide library.

#119 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 02:42 PM:

Thanks, dcb, and shudder - that brings back memories of my MA thesis.

Open threadiness: BoingBoing's running a hundred-word fiction competition on the theme "Found in Space". Lots of neat entries.

#120 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 02:58 PM:

Earl Cooley III (113): It's been several years and I seem to be fine, thanks.

P J Evans (115): Women with risk factors such as familial history are still recommended to get early screening. But that doesn't include me.

#121 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 03:09 PM:

My main way for getting papers done was to wait until the deadline loomed, then do everything in a blind panic. (Spilling Dr. Pepper on the keyboard at three in the morning is not recommended, in case you were wondering.) I haven't had to do anything thesis-sized, though, so that probably won't work for you.

It's absolutely amazing how not wanting to do the work you're supposed to be doing sublimates into thinking that cleaning the cat box right now is a great idea.

#122 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 03:29 PM:

DaveKuzminski @ #93 - I'm hoping Someone at Making Light takes a whack at the Harlequin / Author Solutions deal.

#123 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 03:33 PM:

My main way for getting papers done was to wait until the deadline loomed, then do everything in a blind panic.

As one of my classmates used to say, "Nothing is as productive as the last minute."
It often holds true for me. I'd like to change that.

#124 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 04:19 PM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) @117: [Falls out of chair, laughing.]

Reminds me of a story told about the debate over GMOs: One protester had finally concluded that she just wanted food without any of that nasty DNA in it.

Pendrift @123: Variant from a friend of mine: "If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would ever get done."

#125 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 04:49 PM:

Josh Jasper #122: I'm hoping Someone at Making Light takes a whack at the Harlequin / Author Solutions deal.

Here's a link to the announcement, for future reference.

#126 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 05:06 PM:

#120
My mother should have been high-risk; her mother died of metastasizing breast cancer. But none of the other females in that generation did, my mother didn't have it, and, IIRC, only one of the others had breast cancer - at age 90. So there's still a lot of randomness in there. I'd say it's okay to get them before 50, but it isn't necessary for everyone. (The one person I knew who died of it was in her early 50s and had been fighting it for 15 years.)

#127 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 05:08 PM:

Caroline @56: Naught but symptathy; I was terribly, terribly burned out by the time I finished my thesis, and the most painful parts were right around this time of year too. Some things that worked for me below, in no particular order.

You don't have to write the final version first. I had an outline that started similar to an outline as recognized by the general public, but when starting at blank space, adding a paragraph or some references or *something* to the outline helped, and made progress through the actual writing phase okay. At first, I'd find myself easily distracted--if a particular sentence required a particular reference, I'd go look up that reference, and by the time I found it I forgot what I was saying. I realized at some point that it was more efficient to say "ADD REF HERE" and continue if I was in a writing groove, and then go have a reference-adding groove later on.

All that led to my general rule of "don't make the last paragraph too pretty." Having some minor editing to do in the previous page got me in the right mindset for the next. If I'd just written a good paragraph and was ready to finish for the day, I made sure to write an ugly sentence or two, just so I had an arrow when I sat down again.

Physical movement is necessary. I almost included Dance Dance Revolution in my acknowledgments section, because it was so helpful for me to jump around like a fool for 20 minutes before sitting down and working. It would have been much more painful without it. Do jumping jacks, walk to work, something.

When I had no-accomplishment day and beating myself up over it, I was occasionally able to take that self-hatred and turn it into getting stuff done. It's not especially healthy, except that then at least I'd done something that day, which ended up making me feel better.

Any progress is forward progress. For me, when it came together, it came together rather suddenly, in part because I had pages of all those ugly paragraphs on days where I said "quantity over quality" and just wrote nonsensical, unconnected paragraphs that I knew would fit in somewhere. None of that had felt like forward progress, but it really did help.

Having a job offer was very helpful for me, but YMMV on that one.

#128 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 05:11 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 108: My google-fu is rather weak in French but I did find this video of the ray's mechanism in action when searching with "nantes manta raie". Be warned though, this kind of search can throw up some very NSFW stuff: 'raie' seems to be an anatomical euphemism much favoured in the adult film industry, unless I've got the wrong end of the stick...

#129 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 05:13 PM:

TChem @ 127 Having a job offer was very helpful for me, but YMMV on that one.

But try to ensure you have a break between handing in your thesis and starting a job: I handed mine in on the Friday and started on the Monday - never really got a break, couldn't bear to look at the thesis for months (except for just before the viva, of course), got too busy with work and never wrote up the papers - which I regret.

#130 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 05:47 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @108, Andy Wilton @128:
Here are more images. I used "Delarozière" and "raie manta" for my search string and had plently of hits.

Wish I'd known about this earlier, it would've been worth a visit!

As for raie, that'd be raie des fesses, aka the butt crack, which explains all the NSFW results.

#131 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 05:53 PM:

Pendrift @ 130... You've made my day.

#132 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 06:04 PM:

#117, 124:

That reminds me of the anti-drug group that declared their neighborhood to be a Substance Free Zone.

#133 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 06:13 PM:

Speaking of manta rays... In 1969's Captain Nemo and the Underwater City, Nemo also dabbles in genetics, the results of which are a giant and mentally unstable manta ray. Dare I call it a demented manta?

#134 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 06:15 PM:

I had my first mammogram when I was 18 because my mother died the year before of cancer starting in her breasts. I've had one every year since, which does expose me to radiation, but now I've had almost as many CTs and MRIs, so if I got cancer, we probably wouldn't know why.

Mother would have been 74 today; she's been dead as long as she was alive.

#135 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 06:17 PM:

P J Evans (126): I'd say it's okay to get them before 50, but it isn't necessary for everyone.

That's all well and good, but if they hadn't been recommended for everyone, I wouldn't have bothered before I was 50. As it was, I should have had one a year earlier but procrastinated.

Aaaand, I don't mean to make this all about Me, so I'll shut up now.

#136 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 06:30 PM:

Mary Aileen, knowing someone personally (mod the web, you know what I mean) who would have died had the new protocol been in place at the time is powerful. It's not data, exactly, but it's deeply evocative of the downside of their new "greatest good" calculation. I for one appreciate your bringing it up.

#137 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 06:34 PM:

Serge @ #133, how 'bout a demented mantra?

O-o-o-o-o-MG!

#138 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 06:36 PM:

Linkmeister, how about "AllWorkAndNoPlayMakesJackADullBoy, AllWorkAndNoPlayMakesJackADullBoy, AllWorkAndNoPlayMakesJackADullBoy, AllWorkAndNoPlayMakesJackADullBoy, AllWorkAndNoPlayMakesJackADullBoy..."?

#139 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 06:42 PM:

Firefox update:

I've had to switch to Chrome. I tried all the suggestions except XP's restore thing (which frankly scares the crud out of me), tried turning off Symantec, and went back to an earlier release (3.5.3). None of these had the slightest effect whatever.

Chrome, OTOH, has no problems, nor has any other program that I run. I give up.

#140 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 07:04 PM:

Cancer-screening eggcorn, found in the wild: "mama grams."

#141 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 07:13 PM:

Serge #133: It could have turned into a Martha Ray.

#142 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 08:02 PM:

The best advice I ever got on writing a dissertation was to do it chapter by chapter, and to do each chapter section by section. That is, to see each section of each chapter as a separate project rather than seeing the dissertation as one big project. Each chapter still took me three drafts; each draft shorter than its predecessor. I was lucky, in that I had a year's pre-doc writing fellowship to get the beast killed, and I did it, with days to spare (including the last period of field research, and at the tail end of writing, while looking for work).

#143 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 08:08 PM:

Linkmeister @ 137... Or a portmanteau mantra?

#144 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 08:10 PM:

Fragano @ 141... Better her than a Liotta Ray.

#145 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 08:23 PM:

One thing that occurs to me about the mammogram recommendations is that if someone dies of cancer that wasn't found, that's counted as a cancer death. If a false positive leads to unnecessary surgery, and possible complications, people are much less likely to turn up and say "My mother/friend/sister/aunt/neighbor was injured by mammograms." If it goes badly enough, it could be "an incompetent surgeon messed up my sister's shoulder" or even "MRSA killed my friend," but they're not likely to trace the blame back to the mammogram.

I have no idea what fraction of the hospital-caused deaths [infections of various sorts, mostly, along with drug overdoses and bad reactions] are in patients who were in the hospital in the first place because of a false positive on a screening test, but I'd be surprised if it was zero.

I have been having routine screening mammograms; if there's no consensus in a year or so, I will ask my GP if she thinks I need another before I turn 50, and we can discuss the specifics of my health and family history. But I don't think "spare women an unpleasant procedure with a hard-to-determine but nonzero risk" is a conspiracy to kill me.

#146 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 08:26 PM:

TexAnne @ 140... It'd appear that I'm beginning to be a bad influence.

#147 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 08:28 PM:

A mammogram saved a 36-year-old I know. No family history either.
Adding condolences for SylvieG, and thanks to all the rest for the advice that I will be using if/when the day ever comes that I can give a couple of kitties a happy home.

#148 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 09:21 PM:

#138 ::: Xopher @138: Also, possibly appropriate for the NaNoWriMoOThread.

#150 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 10:21 PM:

A lot of big tasks can be made easier by breaking them into small attainable goals. That way you don't just look at it all, go 'to hell with it, it's impossible,' and give up.

The friend I work for at RenFest taught me that years ago and it has served me well.

#151 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 12:57 AM:

Am I the only one wondering what kind of lurking horror could be called up with a 3-d Mandelbrot diagram? Or have I just read too many of Charlie's Laundry stories for my own good?

#152 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 01:26 AM:

P J Evans @ 151:

Read the mouseover for the "(also)" link. Those things are absolutely beautiful.

I also just read all of the Laundry stories for the first time this weekend (except for the one on Tor.com which convinced me they were something to look into), so it was definitely funny too.

#153 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 01:33 AM:

Jörg@91: phrases involving motion to somewhere generally take the accusative, not the dative or ablative, so "in porcum". I don't think "tuum" is necessary.

#154 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 03:43 AM:

Lee @ 149: very cool!

#155 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 06:30 AM:

Fragano @ #142:

For my annual "Snooper reports" (in short, look at packets arriving at non-responsive IP addresses, correlate this with vulnerability reports, see if there are any obvious connections), I start by doing all the "bulk" (read and parse all the data into interactive data munging environment), generate some graphs (in said environment), do some trend-spotting (again, data-munging environment) and dump out what looks like places where activity peaks.

Once that's done, the boring bit starts, correlating peaking activity to vulnerabilities. My general aim is to do half a month every day.

First time, it took me roughly 6 weeks getting it all done, but I had to manufacture a lot of the tools needed. Second time, I think I was down to ~3 weeks all told.

I guess that my thesis-writing advice is "it gets easier by the third time you do it"?

#156 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 06:50 AM:

Hi;

You guys are generally very good for book recommendations and it's an open thread, so...

A friend has recently started attending Quaker meetings (she's nominally Catholic)and has a birthday next week. I'd like to get her something useful/interesting on Quaker thought or history - either from within the faith or from a comparative, academic point of view. Does anything spring immediately to mind?

Unrelatedly, I loved Waters of Mars for the two main reasons:

i) The bitter-sweetness of this being the first new David Tenant Doctor in such a long while, but also marking the beginning of the end.

ii) The emphasis on the side of the Doctor - the arrogant alien who considers (sorry, *knows*) himself to be superior to the surrounding humans - that was intended right from the start. Reportedly, William Hartnell did it very well.

...also it was a pretty good Dr. Who story; plenty of running in corridors and spooky monster bits. I thought the prefiguring of the next episodes was a little anvilicious though.

#157 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 06:56 AM:

Lee @149 PZ Myers (Pharyngula) attended a lecture by these two on this work & made notes. Some explication in the comments, along with usual anti- & pro- evolution rants.

How can they bear it? Even without straight anti/pro religion blood-spattered slash/hacking, finding interesting or informative among noise/chaff is getting harder. Less likely to visit – a shame.

#158 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 07:48 AM:

Serge@144

Now if it was a Rachael Ray, then we'd really be cooking...


Serge@146

Beginning?

#159 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 08:47 AM:

Jörg @ 91--I would also note that Latin word order is not English word order, and so the flow might be better if the verb came last--the imperative form sometimes comes first in the clause, but not always--I'd try it both ways and see which lands most agreeably on the ear. When I did Latin composition years ago, I noticed how easy it was for us, as mostly non-speakers, just readers and writers, to forget about how things sounded--and that's as big a mistake in Latin as it would be in any other language.

#160 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 08:51 AM:

Michael I @ 158... Beginning?

Well, when someone who's not one of the Usual Suspects starts making puns...

#161 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 09:56 AM:

Ingvar @ 155

Snooper is "interesting", thanks.

TCP/UDP Port 18019 is apparently Skype:

http://www.fas-it.fas.harvard.edu/node/1277

Best,
Cadbury

#162 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 10:43 AM:

Serge #160: I concur: "Beginning?" Not the first time, you've even gotten me going on occasion!

#163 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 10:47 AM:

Cadbury Moose @ #161:

Thanks. I find it a bizarre mix between "interesting" and "tedious" (mostly towards the end of each report, but I was chomping at the bit, wanting to start doing the second report once 2008 was fully collected), making these.

I guess it didn't help that there was some overlap between the first and second report, so SOME things felt eerily familiar.

#164 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 12:12 PM:

So tonight's the night I make my Letterman debut, part of the chorus backing up Ray Davies, as discussed here a couple weeks ago. When I sneeze violently into my headset mic and then fall off the back of the risers, taking out a miniature skyscraper, that'll be my secret hello! to the Fluorosphere.

The other celebrity guest is Robert Pattinson of the Twilight movies. I can't decide whether I'm more frightened or intrigued by the prospect of twelve hundred screaming fangirls (and their daughters) at the stage door.

#165 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 12:21 PM:

#164 -- Andrew Willett

Looking forward to the report of your foray among the Robert Pattinson mad fans!

#166 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 02:27 PM:

So tonight's the night I make my Letterman debut, part of the chorus backing up Ray Davies

*Kinks-squee!*

Have an absolute blast. When's it air?


That was a darn good point made about William Hartnell.


Jacque, I have attempted your Cream Of Dinner Soup today for brunch. It looked revolting and tasted quite good. I feel nourished! (And thank you to those already commenting on the sub-thread; I must get my hands on How To Cook A Wolf now.)

#167 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 02:36 PM:

Thank you all for the amazing advice and conversation. Yesterday I didn't get much done, but today I was able to use Freedom to turn off the internet for 30 minutes and write. (Leechblock never really worked for me, particularly since I have Safari on this machine. Freedom just cuts off the internet entirely, on a timer. It's hard enough to get around it that it works for me. It stops me from veering off when things get hard or dull.)

Now I'm eating lunch, and will go back and do it again once lunch is done.

And I can add another piece of advice: Look at an example of the thing you are trying to write or project you are trying to do. It helped me today to look back at another student's prelim document and try to pattern mine after his. It is helping keep my argument on track, rather than bounding off into the weeds and getting lost, which is what usually happens.

Also, writing section headings helps in keeping the thread of the argument.

#168 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 02:56 PM:

Andrew @ #164, so are you part of the Crouch End Festival Chorus, or is your group just taking its role for the American tour?

Review of "The Kinks Choral Collection."

#169 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 03:01 PM:

Caroline #167

Section headings good. Then outline, outline, outline.

Then resolve to get one little point written. And so on.

About structure: Sometimes you'll find that what you're writing is not one straightforward thing. My art history diss ended up being structured like a math proof, getting a lot of preliminary lemmas out of the way before going on to larger things. What's interesting is trying to put it together so that you have the minimum of backtracking and the maximum forward momentum.

#170 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 03:43 PM:

Open-Thread linkiness:

Dave Freer Packs Up and Moves to Australia. They have raised some money, and are in the process of actually moving.

#171 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 04:29 PM:

Caroline,

That is great news! How totally inspiring.

I feel you on bounding off into the weeds. I finished my MA on anime, cyborg theory, and fandom studies this year, and one thing that saved me was a prof telling me that since I had already published out of the thesis, I was doing well. (Granted, it was a Master's, and not a Ph.D.) But that helped me realize that I was merely contributing something to a larger conversation, not making a definitive statement. It's not your job to start a zeitgeist; your job is to present your research in a meaningful way that makes the larger picture easier to understand. Anything that does not serve that goal must be cut out; your committee might ask about it during the defense but you'll be able to discuss what you cut and why.

#172 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 04:35 PM:

Oh joy. Woke up this morning to the romance publishing/fandom half of my blog list being wall-to-wall on Harlequin's decision to embrace the dark side, and set up a Harlequin-branded vanity imprint in partnership with AuthorHouse, complete with "But why not try our self-publishing arm?" in the rejection letters from the imprints that remain faithful (for now) to "money flows towards the author".

And predictably, attempts by various authors educated in the ways of Yog to explain why this is a Bad Thing are being met with the standard incomprehension by the inexperienced, and frantic "You're just jealous haters" by the victims of other vanity publishers.

Laurel wreath with full honours to author Stacia Kane in particular for having far more patience than I could muster in the face of the provocation she's getting from one of the latter.

#173 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 04:46 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @166: I have attempted your Cream Of Dinner Soup today for brunch. It looked revolting...

Ah, yes. I need to add a note to that effect. (OTOH, pea or lentil soup will often produce a similar appearance if blended.)

It can, however, get quite entertaining when you start playing with colors. Purple cabbage + beets + purple onions = purple soup! Someday, I'm going to do pousse cafe soup.

#174 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 04:50 PM:

As long as we're talking dissertations and such -- reminds me of a copyright discussion I had on Facebook the other day. If you go to publish an excerpt as an article, like Madeline Ashby @171, read your journal's publication agreement Very Carefully. Make sure it is SPARC Addendum compliant and that YOU retain the copyright. Some argeements where the journal gets your copyright are so heinous that I'm not sure you could even legally use the same material in your dissertation. I know it's tough trying to get publications early in your career, but you'll only regret it later on if you sign your rights away just to get a publication.

#175 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 05:35 PM:

Orac at Respectful Insolence has a post up on the current guidelines. As someone else pointed out, this guy is a surgeon and researcher who specializes in breast cancer, so his commentary is worth reading if you're interested.

#176 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 06:56 PM:

Okay, that was a total gas. Please jebus, let the camera not have been looking at me during the two beats where I made the "wait, what am I singing next" face. Things I have learned: (1) the Ed Sullivan Theatre is tiny; (2) it is also so cold in there that the ventilation system produces fog; (3) RPattz is actually cuter than I gave him credit for and also he walked right past me and I breathed air that touched him and I'm never washing my lungs again eeeeeeeee.

Linkmeister (@168), we're the Dessoff Chamber Choir, and we're doing the NYC gigs only. I'm told that some kind of strike force from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir did SF. Nicole (@166), it airs tonight, and should stream over the Internet starting tomorrow at the Late Show website. Albeit possibly not for people from outside the US.

#177 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 09:48 PM:

This travel kettle is causing me to bounce about in completely age inappropriate ways! It's tiny! and inductive! and has cups!!!

also: Jacque @ 173 ...
Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @166: I have attempted your Cream Of Dinner Soup today for brunch. It looked revolting...

I once made what could only be described as 'boiled cardboard with skinned mice' by accident (ingredient substitution combining in odd ways[0]). As long as I didn't actually try to look at it, it tasted fine...

[0] I wanted stew, but not having any stewing beef, decided to substitute ground beef ... but wasn't about to flour the ground beef, so the broth was a tad thin... lacking corn starch or flour, it seemed like oatmeal wouldn't be the worst of substitutes... and I'd already added in the (whole) tomatoes...

#178 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 09:55 PM:

xeger @ #177, seeing that instantly took me back to 1973, walking the Ginza-equivalent in Yokosuka. I amused myself going into seven-story department stores filled with that kind of thing.

#179 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 10:33 PM:

Andrew Willett, #164, I'll tape it, because I'm not that fond of the rest of Letterman.

A batch of country-wide conservative Christian ministers assembled in front of the Justice Department on Monday to see if they could demonstrate well enough to be arrested. Well, it didn't quite turn out that way.

Remember Jim telling us how to make emergency bags? Well, last night on NCIS, Gibbs had an emergency bag.

#180 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 11:16 PM:

Jacque @173 mentioned having made purple soup ...

My husband made a lovely-tasting and incredibly-disturbing-looking beet chowder* some time ago that I dubbed 'melted lipstick' and he called (on the label on the batch we put in the freezer) Pink Soup.

He has since made a squash-and-sweet-potato blended soup we have now dubbed Orange Soup.

Also, I am incredibly skilled at, as my dear, sweet, loving husband has put it, "making dinners that look like dog vomit but taste great."

* A chowder's technical definition being any cream-based soup that also contains potato. "Cream-of-potato-and-", as it were.

#181 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2009, 11:43 PM:

Purple cabbage is an acid/base indicator. Maybe you can make color changing soup.

#182 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 12:12 AM:

David Goldfarb @153, fidelio @159:
Yes, i should have known that Latin "in" as in "into" takes the accusative. I don't know what fooled me.

So, "Caput in porcum inserta." it will be. It sounds much more Latin-y, too. And it would make a fine heraldic motto.

Thank you for the help.

#183 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 12:15 AM:

Actually it's "go soak your head in a pig"

#184 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 01:37 AM:

Erik Nelson @ 183:

I just had a listen to the appropriate episode to refresh my memory, and it's "go stick your head in a pig". Share and enjoy.

#185 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 01:42 AM:

Also, in response to your earlier post: indicator candies.

#186 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 02:09 AM:

Plum soup (served cold) is purple and delicious.

#187 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 02:38 AM:

KeithS, #185: Cool!

#188 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 07:18 AM:

Tim Walters @ 186 ...
For breakfast?

#189 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 07:31 AM:

Tim Walters @ 186...

"...and it is very cold in space."

#190 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 08:01 AM:

Bill Higgins talks about Girl Geniuses and Boy Mechanics here. (By the way, Bill, it turns out that, while NetFlix does list 1997's Conceiving Ada, the movie really isn't available yet. How long must I wait before I see Tilda Swinton in the role of Ada Lovelace, and Karen Black as Lady Byron? This is too cruel.)

#191 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 08:47 AM:

xeger #177, and all those with vari-colored soups: The old MIT slang was "rainbow snarf". I saw a fair bit of that at the Harvard co-ops, too.

#192 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 09:09 AM:

Tim @ 186: And inevitably....

This is just to say

that I have eaten
the plum soup
that was in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving for between
the appetizer
and the fish

Forgive me
it was delicious
so vivid
and so cold

#193 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 10:02 AM:

P J Evans @151: Am I the only one wondering what kind of lurking horror could be called up with a 3-d Mandelbrot diagram? Or have I just read too many of Charlie's Laundry stories for my own good?

The fact that you mention the Laundry rather than this story (which, for me at least, is a much closer match to the kind of horrors you might find therein) suggests you may not have read it...?

#194 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 10:26 AM:

Caroline:

I don't know how helpful they are, but these are two links that I've found helpful in thinking about how to get big jobs out the door on time, both research and paying work:

This post on "structured procrastination" summarizes something I've noticed I do a lot to get work done.

And this speech by Hamming is justly famous, and you've probably seen it before since you're in CS, but if you haven't, it's really worth reading.

#195 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 11:20 AM:

xeger @177: boiled cardboard with skinned mice

Mmm, nummy! I've managed a few of those in my day. It's really depressing when it comes out tasting like that.

Passed one of the neighborhood ravens on the way in this morning. He was being very possessive with what looked like the former leg of a former squirrel.

#196 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 11:59 AM:

I've also discovered that adding mixed frozen berries to my pancake batter produces some...interesting visual effects. Fortunately, they resolve into a fairly innocuous pink by the time the pancake is cooked. (I am not generally a fan of gray food, and green/blue gray is...non-optimal.)

Bizarre effects can also be produced by giving your kid a grape-juice chaser after the milk of magnesia. As my mother discovered to her panic when I was a wee tot.

#197 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 12:26 PM:

Oh my. Presenting Mass: We Pray, the video game that lets you hear mass in your own home anytime you want.

It's almost certainly a hoax, but my thoughts flew back to Sister Magpie (that's Magdalena Pia to you) from my 6th grade class for a few seconds.

#198 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 02:20 PM:

Because All First- and Second-Level Tech Support Knowledge is Contained in Making Light:

Has anyone else been having trouble with a customized Google Home page? All my customizations (including the reader gadgets for about 50 RSS feeds) disappeared sometime yesterday;. On my laptop I just see a generic home page; on my phone I see an "External Modules" gadget, where the customizations are supposed to be, and get a "customization data not accessible" or some such when I click on the gadget.

I have not found a way yet to communicate this problem to Google as their support communication only allows for loss of password and similar problems. And if they don't bring the data back I'm going to have to spend quite a bit of time re-subscribing to all those feeds.

#199 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 02:31 PM:

Bruce Cohen (198): I don't have a customized Google homepage, but the first time I tried to log into Google docs yesterday I got an error message, something about (greatly paraphrasing) their circuits being busy. I was able to get in a few minutes later, but it sounds as if they're having technical issues.

#200 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 02:35 PM:

albatross @ 194, I'm not actually in CS -- I'm in biomedical engineering (and all my coding skill has been picked up and patched together as I go). So I had not seen that. It looks fantastic. Thank you!

#201 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 03:09 PM:

What is it going to take to impeach East Texas district judge(s) who rubber-stamp love and kisses for patent trolls?

Up on the chopping block? Podcasting.

#202 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 03:36 PM:

Update on the Google Home page problem: I found a help forum where numerous users have posted that they have the same problem; it seems to have occurred at different times to different users. Moreover, most of us can't use the restore backup solution that Google provides, because the backup occurred after the data disappeared. Google has not issued any sort of statement about the problem, which is clearly not a single localized incident.

#203 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 04:25 PM:

AKICIML: I have a large (about 5" long) half-shell that I want to make into an art-jewelry pendant. The back side, which will be hanging toward the wearer, is... as rough as natural shells tend to be; that's not terribly rough, but I'm still thinking that I'd like to put some sort of coating on it to smooth it out a bit. Can someone suggest a transparent coating substance that won't damage the shell, flake off with wear, or be toxic/irritating to the wearer if the pendant is being worn with a low-cut neckline?

#204 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 05:24 PM:

Albatross, 194: "Structured procrastination" sounds so much nicer than "work avoidance."

I think I get as much as I do done at work because there is eternally filing I can slough off. I hate filing.

(I realized something about myself not that long ago: I'm a slob, sadly, but I actually love orderliness (hence the accounting major). When stuff stays in order, I'm happy; it's when stuff won't stay in order, but insists on needing to be re-ordered, that I despair and retreat to slobhood. Bookkeeping stays put, generally, so yay bookkeeping. Filing, laundry, dishwashing, haircuts, grrr.)

#205 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 06:04 PM:

Chris Quinones @204: Sounds like you need to go to OHIO. Only Handle It Once.

Sort mail standing next to the recycle bin, with your checkbook (for bills) and your filecabinet (for records) within reach.

Do not set dirty dishes on the counter; put them in the sink and wash them right away.

Laundry and haircuts...can't help you there, 'cept maybe to suggest you want a ponytail?

#206 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 06:35 PM:

Annnnnd ... Google has admitted the home page problem is theirs, and that they are working on it. FYI: the home page data apparently gets erased when you visit your customized (iGoogle) page from a mobile device such as a smartphone, so if it hasn't happened to you yet, you know what not to do.

Thank you for your support.

#207 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 06:50 PM:

Andrew Willett, #176, I think I liked the original rock version better, but if you add in a choir, yours did well.

Silken Turnip Soup.

A Washington Times editor says he was fired because he refused to attend Moonie events.

#208 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 08:02 PM:

Chris Quinones at 204, I am somewhat the same way. I resent that I have to do dishes, then do them again, then there's more. Laundry? Didn't I just do laundry?
And food. I ate! I already ate! Why do I have to keep eating?

A portion of my soul denies that entropy exists.

#209 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 09:20 PM:

This is fun. It has a link to the Jon Stewart bit that shows Sean Hannity's Fox News show splicing in footage of two different rallies, to make the more recent one look bigger than it was. I hadn't heard about this, but it's just beautifully damning.

I wonder what people who believe in the trustworthiness of Fox do when they see this. It's frighteningly easy to make excuses for your own side, but this is so blatant, it seems like it would be hard to ever trust anything you saw on his show after that.

#210 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 09:26 PM:

Jacque, 204: Mail doesn't bother me much, very little doesn't get tossed immediately. It's new mail each time, so it doesn't feel as Sisyphean to deal with.

I have a standing schedule to do my wash every third weekend, since the local laundromats don't stay open late on weekdays, and mostly manage to do it. Having to leave the house for the wash is a factor in its being a pain, too. I'd be a lot more sanguine about it, I think, if we had facilities in the apartment building.

Leaving the house and having to pay someone to do it annoy me about the haircuts, but I don't trust myself to do it and I like my hair short.

And Avram does the dishes!

I'm a malcontent, but I have arrangements.

Diatryma, 208: I don't deny entropy, I just wish it were slower. And more useful.

#211 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 09:33 PM:

Chris Quinones @ 210 ...
I have a standing schedule to do my wash every third weekend, since the local laundromats don't stay open late on weekdays, and mostly manage to do it. Having to leave the house for the wash is a factor in its being a pain, too. I'd be a lot more sanguine about it, I think, if we had facilities in the apartment building.

The washing machine repairman declined to set foot in the house... on the grounds that he'd have to bill me if I did -- and the symptoms I was describing would make it a waste of funds. I'm now alternating between trying to nurse the machine through a few more rounds ... and trying to figure out what sort of replacement (front-load this time!) is worth getting.

#212 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 10:11 PM:

Lee @ 203: When all else fails, try clear nail polish. I had a friend whose skin was irritated by metals and she found it the best solution. (You might try sanding the roughest spots first.)

#213 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 10:32 PM:

Marilee, thank you for the Silken Turnip Soup recipe - I may try that tonight if I'm not too tired when I get home.

I have a lot of turnips on hand. And Jacque won't let me give her ANY! hee.

#214 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 11:02 PM:

Xeger @ 211:

I'm happy with my Kenmore Elite HE3t. I bought it a couple of years ago, replacing a small, 20-year-old top loader. What a difference!

Dooce had a rather different experience with one, though she seemed to have even less luck with a Maytag. Her vivid chronicle does make me wish that I had more than a million followers on twitter.

#215 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 11:17 PM:

Mail! Bane of my life. Along with all the others :)
I'm drowning under a tsunami of the stuff.
Partly because of the mummified remains of my parents and partner tied to my own failing spirit. Still dealing with mess from their estates — though without some inheritance I might not have survived so far, even with friends' help.
[Make a Will, people! Unless you hate your family and want them to suffer for years, 'cos you think they'll wave goodbye and happily forget you otherwise. Make a bloody Will! The Perfect is the Enemy of The Good: at least the basics. Neil Gaiman even has recommended forms for artists and authors.]

More than half mail is "junk", but some need keeping nevertheless — lots of Changes in Conditions; insurance, credit cards, bank accounts, superannuation, company shares, public utilities, ISPs, etc, etc. They seem to change once or twice a year these days, including mergers. Have to go into records with the bills and statements, to check when there are disputes.

Despite hoarding inherited/learnt from both parents, I've learnt to recycle (thank goodness for recycling; the guilt of throwing out perfectly good paper and envelopes would be crushing) all the rest of the "junk".

There's a bill-holder. They (swiftly) pile up in order of due-date there, and either each week or fortnight I (or friend if I'm sick) go down to PO to pay them. Then they go into pile ready for filing (getting tricky; cabinet full now). Are keeping because some bills (and earnings) are from estates. Will need these as estates are fixed up and, gulp, (taxes) calculated. Should also prove I'm not living high on the hog with money not my own, but just staying ahead of the wolf-pack baying behind.

Then there's all the stuff dealing with the estates. Has high tides every six months, but always a trickle. Little can be binned. Desperately tried to trim this down with some legal paperwork a couple of years ago, but failed to enclose some paper (Interesting how when you particularly ask if they need X, they say "No". Then when you apply, they say "You didn't enclose X".) There's a hopefully-not-illusory hope that settled back at home I can set out my desk and get the papers together and fix up all the overhanging legalities. (Looming like The Big Wave.)

And, once in every thousand or two pieces, an actual something for me, personally. Alas, then I get panicky, trying to deal with having to reply or do something about it. So even that momentary pleasure is poisoned.

Sorry. It's a real despair and irritant here. I hear all these 'simplify', 'time-management', 'decluttering', etc, hints. So few seem workable.

#216 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 12:17 AM:

#209 Albatross

"Don't confuse me with the facts."
The Fux fans behave as Believers, not skeptics. They object to questioning Faith and Belief, and resist anything which threatens to chip away at their True Faith and Belief.

#217 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 12:50 AM:

Lee @203 - I concur with B. Durbin's suggestion of sanding the back to smooth it, unless you like the look of it as-is. Since this is not the side you plan to have facing out, you may be able to get acceptable smoothness. For a very fine final sanding, you may want to look for scouring rush, aka horsetail. I have used this on bone and horn with good results. If sanding does the trick, you may not want any coating.

#218 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 01:14 AM:

Grrr. Washing machines. The helpful local repair dude talked with us a bit when our dryer was out. Kenmores aren't a make, they're a brand. They are rebadged whatevers that Sears sells, and the real manufacturer changes with some regularity. Also, like many other small industries (mattresses in particular. I hate mattress salesmen more than I hate car salesmen, and that's saying something), you can't find the same model in two places for price comparision. They're all slightly different to prevent that from happening.

#219 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 01:15 AM:

On purple soup - I once made a curry with coconut milk base, purple cabbage, and broccoli. The broccoli became bright green, and the coconut soaked up the purpleness from the cabbage, becoming very bright as well.

On cardboard/deadmice soup - it was just drinkable haggis, wasn't it? (As a vegetarian, my normal recipe for drinkable haggis is to consume the single malt myself and leave the haggis for the carnivores, but back when I was still omnivorous I did have scrapple fairly often.)

#220 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 01:32 AM:

I'm in Monterey, prepping for a radio appearance tomorrow (mostly by going out, pondering old times, eating clam chowder, strolling with CG, drinking beer [Belhaven IPA] at The Crown and Anchor [the booth with the model of HMS Leopard was taken, so I moved us from the RMS Titanic to MHS Bark Endeavour], while snarfing fried prawns, scallops, calimari and cod with chips; and wrapping it up with a toffee pudding [very well done]).

Tomorrow the radio, then breakfast and the filling of a lacuna in my time here (which is hard believe was 16 years back), and going to the Acquarium.

Saturday I have a two-hour presentation at MIIS, on the usual subjects. It will be at one, I forget the name of the auditorium.

#221 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 01:37 AM:

Joerg@91, with apologies to all concerned
(my Latin also having become rusty, and google translate not supporting it, I'll have to translate into mangled Tolkien instead...)


This is just to say

that you can stick your head
into the pig
that was in
the icebox

and which
we were probably
saving to roast
with those plums
in its mouth

Forgive me
you were annoying
and the pig
was so cold

#222 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 01:58 AM:

Since I started using Twitter to follow various news feeds with a lot of tweets that link to interesting-sounding stories, it has turned into something like Tvtropes for me. This is annoying. But I don't want to miss out on those news, either.

#223 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 02:07 AM:

Here's a dinner that looks like a gag from Archie McPhee, but tastes great:

Take the leanest ground beef/turkey/bison you have and saute in a cast-iron pan along with some chopped celery and onion. Spoon off excess fat if any. Throw in some white rice. Pour in milk, cream sauce, mushroom soup diluted with water, or something dairy-ish. Season with celery leaves, celery seed, powdered sage, celery salt, black or white pepper, and paprika. Put into the oven, cover, and cook slowly until the rice grains burst. Taste, correct the seasoning, stir, and serve hot.

Oddly, I found this in a 1960s spiral-bound church cookbook, but the basic method goes back to the Middle Ages.

#224 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 05:47 AM:

#201 Earl

I won't say here what I think patent trolls deserve....

#225 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 08:04 AM:

Exactly 4 weeks from now, I'll be in the Bay Area unless a snow storm hits once we reach Flagstaff. Anybody interested in meeting, that weekend? Say, xeger, you won't happen to be flying by the Bay again, will you?

#226 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 08:40 AM:

Serge @ 225 ...
I'm not currently expecting to be flying anywhere, let alone near the Bay Area, but that too may change...

#227 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 10:54 AM:

xeger @ 226... that too may change...

Should your situation change in such a way that you too would be in the Bay Area that weekend, I hope that it'll be for a pleasant reason.

#228 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 11:50 AM:

Open thread bragging: a musical project to which I contributed has been getting some love from New Scientist and The Wire.

#229 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 12:21 PM:

In the end I went with "Bury the Chains" - not specifically about Quakers, but it seems nine of the twelve foudning members of the 19th century Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade were of that persuasion*, and book appears on Quaker reading lists.

*As, I discovered in passing, are Judi Dench and Piers Anthony.

#230 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 12:24 PM:

Oops. That should, of course, read "18th Century".

#231 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 12:27 PM:

Judi Dench is a Quaker? That's wonderful! Yet another reason to like her.

#232 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 01:24 PM:

Russ @156/229:
I am too late, but just in case the topic comes up again: I have *very* much appreciated The Quaker Reader, ed. Jessamyn West, from Pendle Hill. It's a collection of essays, from George Fox on up, with introductions that place each in historical context. If you can lay hands on it, I think it exactly fits your original idea.

#233 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 01:36 PM:

Tim Walters: Neat! I just sent the URLs to my daughter; I think she's done some composition with Supercollider.

#234 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 01:40 PM:

Radio inteview went well. He had some ideas I had to defuse, and a couple of implications I had to be sure to refute. Was about ten minutes of live interview. Got good reviews from the people who heard me when I was talking (they were in the studio office).

Felt good, had some moments of (by my lights) humor.

Off to the Aquarium.

#235 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 02:35 PM:

Mez @ 215: I'm so sorry. It sounds like you are dealing with much too much. I hope that you can get a friend or two to help you sort through it all.

Paperwork and mail compose the biggest challenge to my organization as it is, and I have never had to deal with sorting out someone's estate.

Also, Make a Will, people! Unless you hate your family and want them to suffer for years, 'cos you think they'll wave goodbye and happily forget you otherwise. Make a bloody Will!

This, so much this. In my grandfather's last days, I saw how the family's grief did not need to be compounded by the stress of dealing with lawyers and bankers and insurance agents. It's a great kindness to your family to make sure your affairs are set in some kind of order.

It's on my to-do list to find a good family lawyer to help my fiancé and me draw up a will. Part of the wedding planning. (And as he's in a creative profession, we will have to deal with ownership of his works.)

#236 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 03:45 PM:

I thought it was just me, but someone from another tech group just described my boss's boss as someone who rejects Reality and substitutes his own.

#237 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 04:25 PM:

What Xopher said at #231.

#238 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 04:49 PM:

Serge@236

I'm assuming this does NOT mean that your boss works for Adam Savage...

#239 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 05:58 PM:

Serge @ 236:

You sure he's not just a simulation? After all, "Reality is a special case."

#240 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 06:41 PM:

Seems to me that Ozark, Arkansas needs to be added to the list of Detestable Towns that already contains Gretna, Louisiana and Georgetown, Deleware.

#241 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 06:50 PM:

Michael I @ 238... Bruce Cohen @ 239...

If my boss's boss worked for Adam, he and jamie and the rest of the gang would have eventually wanted to use him instead of Buster when they tested the Ottoman Rocketman in this week's experiment. As for his being a real person... Maybe he is a holodeck figure, Conversations with him tend to go like this.

"The database is too slow. Allocate more memory to it."
"There isn't any memory left on the server."
"Allocate more memory to the database."
"There is no spare memory left."
"Allocate more memory to the database."
"There is no... Nevermind."

#242 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 07:39 PM:

xeger, #211, you probably won't have the bending, lifting, and not-falling-down problems that I have with my front loader, but you'll have the mold problems. Mine seems to have been fixed (for a week so far) by running bleach through by itself, but I've heard of other models that require much more work.

And in the ongoing argument between DC's upcoming gay marriage law and the Catholic church, the WashPost suggested a compromise and the vice president for political affairs at the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance gave them a good response.

#243 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 07:40 PM:

I've always wondered how Richard Nixon managed not to get kicked out of the Quakers.

#244 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 08:08 PM:

The last line of Marilee's linked WaPo article: people of goodwill ought to be able to find a way to arrange the law and the contracting to satisfy fairness without offending church principles.

Fascinating how "fairness" and "church principles" are opposed there. I wonder if it was intentional.

#245 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 08:14 PM:

Earl, AFAIK the Quakers don't actually throw people out. And I believe some Quakers did make some kind of statement saying that he certainly wasn't behaving as most members of the Society of Friends prefer to, or something else very SOF like that.

#246 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 08:19 PM:

As I understand it, Nixon was a member of the Evangelical Friends, a programmed branch who are nearly indistinguishable these days from any other evangelical Christian denomination. During the 19th Century, much of the tradition of social activism was lost in the Quietist movement. Many branches got it back; some did not.

#247 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 08:20 PM:

I've always said that once is an accident, but twice is a habit...

I just got my SECOND EVER royalties check!!! GO ME!!!

How much of a fortune am I being paid for my creativity, you might ask?

Well, says I, this 2nd showering of fortune brings me up toooooooooo....

Wait for it...

$10.60 !!!!!!!!!

Yep folks, I 've reached the big time and SHATTERED the double digit mark!

Does anyone want my autograph?

#248 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 08:29 PM:

Marilee @ 242 ...
xeger, #211, you probably won't have the bending, lifting, and not-falling-down problems that I have with my front loader, but you'll have the mold problems. Mine seems to have been fixed (for a week so far) by running bleach through by itself, but I've heard of other models that require much more work.

Given my general pattern of injury, moving to a model that allows me to (worst case) sit down to remove laundry[0], rather than trying to lift heavy objects at shoulder level is likely to be a plus ;)

[0] Sure, it's not always possible to bend at the knees, but it's usually possible to sit[1].
[1] ... even if the result is that you look like a toddler learning how to deal with stairs...

#249 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 08:40 PM:

Serge indicates in #241 that Mythbusters has given the story of Lagâri Hasan Çelebi their treatment. Oh, well, it couldn't remain my personal discovery forever.

#250 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 08:51 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 249... The MythBusters and rocketry? Yay! By the way, HERE is the time they build a hybrid rocket using Civil-War era technology. Take that, Doctor Miguelito Quixote Lovelès!

#251 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 08:59 PM:

Re: front-loading washing machines
They make risers for them. They're expensive, and even for me at 5', not tall enough. A handyman and a bunch of 2x4s made a secure stand where the bottom of the door opening is about elbow height. There's also now storage underneath.

#252 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 09:04 PM:

My grandparents had an old book of woodcuts called "How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers". It had, say, a carrot, and on the facing page, a parrot. I vaguely remember doggerel couplets with each.

Christoph Niemann has done a lovely set of images that remind me of the book, only his are a lot better done.

#253 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 09:37 PM:

Carol Kimball @ #252, I own that book! Your grandparents? Ouch!

#254 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 11:17 PM:

Carol:
The Carrot and the Parrot one may easily confound;
They're very much alike in looks and similar in sound.
We recognize the Parrot by his clear articulation,
For Carrots are unable to engage in conversation.

I hunted down a copy a few years back because I had a rush of nostalgia for it. I think the author of this book might have been a relative of the Woods on my mother's side of the family. That's what I recall my grandmother saying, anyway. (Sorry, Linkmeister.)

#255 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 11:48 PM:

So I have a question for the widely-knowledgeable people here:

Is there any strategy for trying to recover small trinkets and keepsakes lost during a burglary?

We had a highly incompetent burglar* visit us today. We had relatively good fortune**, monetarily: A creaky*** old iBook**** and some not-too-expensive jewelry is all that was taken. We also found actual physical evidence--a sock hat left behind with a lovely hair sticking out of it--so retribution may be visited by the law. But some of the jewelry was dear, particularly a little locket, probably of base metal, with a picture of the wife and her sister as little kids. That was to be a surprise gift to her mom.

So: Is there a sane, non-obsessive strategy for recovering this sort of thing?

*I mean, what sort of drug addict would go through my travel kit and not recognize meperdine? Was he used to seeing it in little plastic baggies? I think every prescription bottle in the place was disturbed, but neither that nor the hydrocodone was missing.

**And otherwise. The daughter is not too terribly freaked out over it all. Mrs. Arkansawyer had removed her wedding ring from her jewelry box, along with the charm***** bracelets I bought her and the daughter. The backup drives were still here.

***Literally. Mrs. Arkansawyer had to tear that one apart and fix it back in 2002, and the hinge never was quite right after.

****An interesting point: The investigating officer, who is also a Mac user, said he'd had fair luck recovering Macs while serving search warrants. Apparently, they're harder to fence, as they're less well-understood, and just lie around being evidence.

*****Anyone know where I might find a little charm of a burglar for Mrs. Arkansawyer's bracelet?

#256 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2009, 11:51 PM:

Attention Making Light Gnomes: The post in this thread being held for review is intended to be amusing. YMMV. HTH. ESQ. B&E.

And for some actual content: How did the proofreaders correct the fnords in Illuminatus!, anyway?

#257 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2009, 01:22 AM:

#255 ::: John A Arkansawyer
How did the proofreaders correct the fnords in Illuminatus!, anyway?

Blindly.

#258 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2009, 01:30 AM:

Aquarium, way swell. Cruel to announce the octupi will be fed soon at the same time they are telling one to leave. Is better (for photography) to go n sunny days.

I have audio file of the show, and will be posting a link as soon as my faithful lackies in Canada have edited down to just me.

My Canadian lackies, BTW, deserve all sorts of love, and more thanks than I can send them.

(smooches to Marna, great wodges of whisky to Ian)

#259 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2009, 02:47 AM:

re 207: I just tried that recipe (half-batch). I had to make do with canned broth, and it came out a bit too salty with the added salt in the recipe. It also came out a bit bland (or maybe too subtle) for my taste, a little too close to potato soup. OTOH the texture is superb.

#260 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2009, 03:33 AM:

Carol @251

Storage underneath sounds good, but take into account the complications of a leak.

#261 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2009, 08:17 AM:

PNH, all the restaurant particle needs now is the Downfall video.

#262 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2009, 08:35 AM:

#260 Dave Bell:

Rubbermaid tubs, tight-fitting lids, and contents that wouldn't be water-damaged.

#263 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2009, 08:41 AM:

#253 ::: Linkmeister
#254 ::: Clifton Royston

Re: "How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers"

Obviously a memorable little book. Thanks for posting the excerpt, Clifton! The publication date was 1917, so [Linkmeister] I'm assuming you didn't stand in line for a signing. I'd remembered the graphics as crude line drawings, to find that they were woodcuts made a lot of sense.

#264 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2009, 05:11 PM:

Let me call your attention to my held-back post #255. I would welcome advice on this subject, if you have any.

#265 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2009, 06:14 PM:

John A, #255: "Burglar" doesn't seem to be available as a charm from any of my regular sources. "Pirate", however, is; would that be an acceptable substitute? If so, drop me a line (fgneqernzre@zvaqfcevat.pbz) and we can negotiate.

#266 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2009, 07:24 PM:

Caroline (#235) Thank you very much for your sympathy and further remarks. It's not just the problems in the immediate sequence either, but the ongoing problems that pop up, sometimes years later, reviving some of the fresh grief and mourning.

I like to think I'd have coped a bit better without the last 10 years of life-threatening diseases. It seemed there was a death matched with each illness or vice versa: father/sarcoidosis; partner/cancer1; mother/cancer2.

The other thing that took nearly all my time and energy while I did have some good health between the two cancers was being sole carer for my frail, demented, and increasingly-deaf mother. Hearing my side of her occasional phone calls to work could quite distress colleagues. It was often frustrating and angering, but also deeply sad; very exhausting physically and emotionally.

Like the diseases, I couldn't have managed these nearly as well as I did without a lot of help from different levels of government services, and my friends. Even the internet has helped both practically and emotionally.

Another reason to try and arrange things like some photo books or other stuff (one officially-published reference book with my name on the title page as supervising editor) that are reminders of the time before all this. I don't want these last troublous years to define all of me.

Sorry if this is too much rave. Not entirely normal. Hot here in Sydney: very hot in the western, inland side (low 40Cs; ~108F), some sea breeze here more coastally (high 30Cs; ~100F), but that raises humidity. Managing nights (25–30C; 77–86F) with analgesics, mopping down with cold water every time I wake and — bless it! — a fan. It's still officially Spring until December. Bleah.

#267 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2009, 07:46 PM:

John @ 255

The best my Googling has found looks like it's too big a charm for a traditional charm bracelet, but here it is: http://www.jailery.com/cat-burglar-charm.html

#268 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2009, 07:55 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 255:

Sorry to hear about your burglary woes. Thankfully, yours was as incompetent as the one who broke into my car a few years back. (Seriously, take the cigarette lighter but leave the radio? And their sunglasses?)

#269 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2009, 09:57 PM:

xeger, #248, I have to fall to reach the floor and I don't do stairs because I tend to fall down them. The washer & dryer have the pedestals, but it's just not high enough to work very well for me.

Carol Kimball, #252, Mine are stacked because I have a tiny utility room. Even with both having pedestals and being stacked, dealing with the washer's door & loading/unloading has been difficult. There isn't room for a chair in there, either.

#270 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2009, 02:47 AM:

Carol Kimball @ #252 &c.:
How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers is available at Project Gutenberg.

#271 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2009, 08:20 AM:

Hey, Patrick, I heard last night that, when you came to New Mexico a couple of years ago, one of the first things you did upon seeing Melinda Snodgrass's house was to call Neil Gaiman to tell him that she has an even cooler house.

#272 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2009, 01:12 PM:

The Foglio Family's First Experiment tortures their Second Experiment right here. Why am I not surprised at the clip's grand finale?

#273 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2009, 04:22 PM:

Patrick's "Restaurant to Avoid" is that, certainly, and it also reads like a textbook case of a hostile work environment (in the legal as well as the obvious vernacular sense).

#274 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2009, 10:17 PM:

John A. Arkansawyer @255 -- you may not be able to find a burglar charm, but you can probably find a hobbit -- I understand they can fall into that category.

#275 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 12:45 AM:

Open-Threaded Question:

I got a CSA share for the first time this year, and in general, have enjoyed it. However, I have now exceeded my storage capacity for carrots and onions. I don't have any freezer space, and I'm not an accomplished cook.

Any theories on what I can do with these lovely root veggies?

#276 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 12:47 AM:

#270 ::: Tim May

Tim, I wish you could have seen the expression on my face when I read your post that this is available through Project Gutenberg.

And the even bigger grin upon opening and looking at the page images.

Thank you!

#277 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 02:01 AM:

Juli Thompson:
Soup. There's hardly any hearty winter soup that doesn't rely on (or do better with) plenty of carrot and onion. Split pea soup, lentil soup, just plain vegetable soup, beef and barley, chicken soup with rice, you name it.

#278 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 08:07 AM:

Juli Thompson @ 275: Roasted carrots are the easiest thing in the world - cut up and coat thinly in oil, lightly salt, spread on a baking tray and pop in the oven. They come out with a lovely sweet flavor that my daughter has always enjoyed.

If you have a bit of patience, there are lots of lovely things you can do with caramelized onions once you have them sitting around. A great huge mound of onions cooks down quite a bit when sauteed slowly in butter until soft, clear and tinted the lovely brown of French onion soup. Once you have a compact container of them, they keep very well in the fridge to be scooped out whenever a recipe calls for them.

#279 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 08:35 AM:

Re: Small Beer Horizons Particle: Ooh, that's good nasty fun. Favorite lines:

Q: I have a lot of money and I want to write.
A: Hmm. Oddly enough those two things have nothing to do with one another. Also, as to the latter: bum on the seat.

#280 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 09:25 AM:

Xopher @ 240: Let me note that was a Franklin County Sheriff's Department employee who did that, not a member of the Ozark city police department.

Ozark is a nice little town. What I could tell you about sheriffs of the past, though...

#281 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 09:46 AM:

Jenny @223: This sounds yummy. But -- cooked or raw rice?

Juli @275: I have been told that keeping the raw root vegetables in a "root cellar" - not quite fridge temp, but close, and preferably underground - means they'll keep all winter. I haven't gotten the knack of this myself, though: 3rd floor apartment. I am thinking of moving my "keeper share" veggies to the closet under the stairs (which is a titch underground on the front side of the building) and hoping that the building management people don't notice.

#282 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 10:18 AM:

I agree with Clifton Royston @ 277.

Also -- I wonder if local food banks would take onion and carrot donations. Occasionally they'll take fresh-veg donations, I hear, but it depends on the food bank. (I thought of this yesterday when a guy called in to the Splendid Table show on NPR, complaining of too much butternut squash.)

#283 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 10:28 AM:

Juli @275 -- do you have more room for storing canned food than frozen? If you look for recipes that call for a boiling water bath, rather than pressure cooking, a deep stock pot or spaghetti pot is all the special equipment you need. Look for _Putting Food By_, any edition, for recipes and instructions. I used to make a spicy carrot marmalade that also made a good relish with meat, and I've seen onion marmalade recipes too. Or you could try pickling them. Home-canned goods make great Christmas presents, too...

#284 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 12:07 PM:

John J Arkansawyer @ 280... Ozark is a nice little town

...but watch out for low-flying mules?

#285 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 02:49 PM:

I know there are several pro authors, maybe more than a few, who prefer using a text editor rather than a word processor. If there are any reading here, pro or novice or amateur, or if you know details about other authors' work processes, I'm curious about what markup language(s) or processes you use for turning a text file in a format that's easy to work with for writing, revising, etc. into a printed manuscript in standard format or a file in one of the standard formats that online zines accept submissions in. troff? LaTeX? Some form of SGML or XML? Something else?

I've been writing for about twenty years, but the last time I finished anything I thought good enough to submit to a magazine was before I switched from an ancient DOS-based word processor to editing plain text files in Emacs.

#286 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 03:12 PM:

An update on something from last thread:

David Goldfarb OT131-#893:

Here's an amusing little link I just randomly came across: http://www.sonokids.org/wikifun/. It's inspired by a Japanese performance art café; you type in a search term, and it returns the Wikipedia article...that the previous person searched for. The next person gets the result of your search.

Mystery Google does the same thing.

#287 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 03:18 PM:

Any time I want to transfer from a text editor to a word publisher I just do a select all, copy, and paste. Anything other than that is beyond me.

I work in a text editor because Microsoft Word annoys the crap out of me. To give you an example, I copy-edited a friend's text about a year ago and when fixing markup errors (tab instead of paragraph indent, too many spaces) the stupid program would, more often than not, screw up the formatting for multiple paragraphs rather than just fix the original error. In my notes to the author, I mentioned the value of typing in a text editor.

It was also obvious she'd learned to type and type well in the days of typewriters. Not only were there two spaces after every period (not graphically attractive in these days of variable-width font faces), but there were a number of other issues that came from muscle memory.

#288 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 04:02 PM:

Oh. That Particle is not called "Horizontal Germans love David Hasselhoff."

#289 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 04:53 PM:

My stupid little trick for clearing pretty much all formatting on stuff in Word is to select all, copy, paste into Notepad, select all, copy, and paste back into a new window in Word. Now I have something clean to work with, and Word doesn't try to be "smart" and mess things up.

I do this even when the end product is going to use extensive Word formatting.

#290 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 05:03 PM:

Juli:
I agree with what Mark said too. I've recently taken to roasting a number of vegetables I would not have previously thought to (cauliflower florets pick up a really nice subtle taste) and carrots sound like a nice addition to that list.

Caramelized onions are wonderful in all kinds of things, and of course are also the basis for French onion soup. Because they cook down so much, you really need a lot of onions to make a good-sized batch of caramelized onions, so if you've got the patience that's perfect for your situation.

#291 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 05:13 PM:

John Houghton @289: Inside Word, it's Select all > Cut > Edit > Paste special > Text without formatting (not sure what this last one is in English, as my interface is in French.) Saves a couple of steps.

#292 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 06:56 PM:

re 207/259: I have now made the soup with rutabagas instead of turnips and consider this to be a superior version.

#293 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 07:02 PM:

Clifton 290: Because they cook down so much

I measured one time when I was making a BUTTLOAD of carmelized onions. Came out to about six to one (that is, I started with six times the volume of raw onions that I ended up with carmelized).

Pendrift 291: It's "Unformatted Text" on the Word I have open right now (which calls itself Word 2003 (11.8106.8107) SP 2).

#294 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 07:29 PM:

By the by, Xopher, I should let you know that I'm going to be making "Black Hole Brownies of Death" to take to my cousin-in-law's place in Austin this Thursday. They've been very popular every time I've made them.

#295 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 07:29 PM:

Juli Thompson @275 asked: I got a CSA share for the first time this year, and in general, have enjoyed it. However, I have now exceeded my storage capacity for carrots and onions. I don't have any freezer space, and I'm not an accomplished cook. Any theories on what I can do with these lovely root veggies?

My Hearty Vegan Split Pea soup recipe takes 2 potatoes and 2 carrots per batch (a batch makes about 6 bowl-sized servings). It freezes like a dream, too -- cook it, puree it, pour into gallon ziplocs. Thaw by bagfuls in warm-water baths, or cut the bag off and dump the soup-chunk into a pot for stove-warming or a bowl for microwaving.

I know it freezes well because I had to make something on the order of 30 batches of it (4 batches at a time in my huge stockpot) for an SCA feast ...

However, given your particular situation, I'd adapt something heavier on the carrots and potatoes. Either roasted, cut-up, in a baking dish, or in a chowder, perhaps?

Or you could wash and chop them and freeze them, raw, in bags; they won't last as long in the freezer as store-bought froz veg (which are flash-frozen), but should be fine for several months at least.

#296 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 08:37 PM:

While we're talking about soups, does anyone have any recipes for something soupy that lacks chunks and large amounts of (hot) spices and is both tasty and nourishing? I just had a molar extracted and really don't feel up to chewing anything but figure I'll feel the need to eat some time after the taste of blood goes away.

#297 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 08:39 PM:

For anyone unsettled by the thought of what I just wrote, here's a kitten being fed with chopsticks.

#298 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 09:01 PM:

Paul: I have recently become fond of congee, an Asian rice pudding. I use jasmine rice, simmered with a big knob of ginger in my crockpot. My favorite toppings, depending on my humour, are a fried egg, a spoonful of jam, or sea salt and black pepper. (Which is why I don't season it as it's cooking.)

#299 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 09:53 PM:

When I had my wisdom teeth out, hot, easy food was wonderful. Cream of chicken soup felt amazingly good, like hot tea on a talked-out throat. I'm no kind of cook, but I'd recommend that and the squooshier-inclusioned Campbell's soups (chicken noodle et al).

The heat seemed to be the important thing. After hours napping with frozen corn pressed to my face, it was amazing.

#300 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 09:56 PM:

David: YAY! Thanks for telling me that.

I'm making that recipe as a two-layer cake with orange ganache frosting for Thanksgiving.

#301 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 10:15 PM:

Paul Duncanson @ 296, I recommend split pea soup. All you really need to make it is water or broth and split peas. I like to add a bay leaf and a bit of salt and pepper. Combine all ingredients and cook until the peas fall apart when you stir. If they don't fall apart enough, puree (I've successfully pureed with a regular old hand mixer in the pot, but you can use a blender, food processor or immersion blender).

If you want to get fancy and a little more nourishing, saute some chopped onions and carrots in olive oil in the pot first, before adding the dry peas and broth/water. And simmer some potato chunks or rice in there. Then puree the lot when it's all soft.

Split pea soup is pretty much my comfort food in fall and winter. Savory, smooth and easy to eat.

I enjoyed the kitten even though I was not unsettled.

#302 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 11:00 PM:

Paul, I recommend this Cauliflower and White Cheddar Soup with Dill. I substituted a peeled and cubed sweet potato and added an apple in addition to the other ingredients, then blended it right in the stock pot with a hand mixer. It was lovely.

#303 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 11:41 PM:

Potato-leek soup

Slice up one medium leek and cook in butter. (If you bring the butter to room temperature before melting it and cook over low heat, you won't burn it.) Once you've softened the leek, cube a buncha potatoes and throw them in the pot. Add some salt and cover with enough chicken or vegetable stock to cover + an inch. Simmer for about 45 minutes, partially covered, until the potatoes start to fall apart. Blend with milk, salt & white pepper to taste (you can use black pepper but white's prettier.) Be careful blending as you'll have to do it in stages and if it's too thick you can break your blender. (That's what immersion blenders are for, silly girl.)

Evil Rob likes to add Tabasco.

It keeps for a couple of days but you have to be careful microwaving as the heat tends to concentrate on the outside.

#304 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2009, 11:52 PM:

Potato-leek soup can also be made satisfactorily with standard yellow onion instead of leek, and water in place of any sort of stock. And if you cube the potatoes pretty small, they're soft enough to puree in half an hour, at least in the quantity I usually make it (one 5-quart Dutch oven full).

Butternut squash bisque is another nice pureed soup. Dice carrots-celery-onions, enough to cover the bottom of your pot, wilt them in butter, add peeled seeded chunks of squash and some salt, add stock or water to cover, simmer until squash is soft, puree with cream. Ginger and the assorted pumpkin pie spices are nice in it, but so are bay and thyme.

Cream of carrot soup works about the same. The recipe I have calls for a couple of jalapenos added to the pot, but if you don't want heat, you could leave it out. It's pretty mild even with the jalapeno, though.

#305 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 12:06 AM:

Xopher, #300: Holy chocolate, Batman! What would it take to get you down here for Chocolate Decadence this coming year?

#306 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 01:01 AM:

Elliott @ #295, "soup-chunk" is my favorite neologism of the day.

#307 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 01:17 AM:

Re the "filthy pictures" particle: it reminds me of the story around my office time one of my colleagues put horse droppings in another guy's computer case. As the computer would heat up, it would apparently produce quite a smell. Took them weeks to find the source.

I gather he was advised not to pull that kind of trick again. And he hasn't; he's much more devious than that now.

#308 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 01:19 AM:

Thanks for the soup suggestions. When I posted my question I was still all numb from anaesthetics and thinking 'This isn't too bad... i can deal with this.' Since then it seems that I must have left the energy to cook at the surgery. There's a kitchen with ingredients but too much blah to make stuff. The bag of frozen edamame is a good cold pack for the swelling, though.

Lying on the couch catching up with Dexter is about the best I can manage today.

I did drag myself to the supermarket to pick up a few Warhols to see me through the next couple of days but I will keep that cauliflower cheddar link for next winter or encounter with this level of dentistry (hopefully never again unless future budgets allow for an implanted replacement for what I lost today).

I had my wisdom teeth out many years ago but they were seen to be a problem from an x-ray before they caused any trouble. I have had post-operative dental pain before but never had a toothache before this last week. Sometimes no amount of brushing and flossing is enough. I did all the right things but something managed to sneak below gum level (possibly even pushed by floss) and the decay got to the roots directly.

Caroline: I doubted anyone would really be unsettled by the idea of oral surgery* but I wanted an excuse to post the link to a cute kitty video... not that we ever really need an excuse to post them, it just seemed better than "Oh, by the way... kitty!"


* Though the image of a young and rather cute Japanese-Australian woman leaning over me with bloody extraction forceps will be burned into my mind for a while.

#309 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 01:44 AM:

abi @ 307:

That sounds pretty nasty. Much better would be to find baked goods inside one's computer instead.

Paul Duncanson @ 308:

I know I'm a bit late, but my first post-wisdom-teeth extraction meal was noodle soup, with jello for dessert. Other than that, the soups recommended here all look good.

#310 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 02:47 AM:

abi @ 307: "I gather he was advised not to pull that kind of trick again. And he hasn't; he's much more devious than that now."

That's not quite Black Hat Guy territory, but it's getting there. I suppose Black Hat Guy is like a mathematical limit--you can approach it, but you never quite get there in real life.

#311 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 03:24 AM:

Juli@275, I've occasionally made winter-veggie pies with potatoes, carrots, onions, and whatever else needs cooking. It's been a while - I think I probably boiled the veggies part way before putting them in a pie crust and then baking. (If you haven't made pie crust before, it's fun and useful, almost any generic recipe will do, though I usually use the one from Joy of Cooking because my mom did, except I use all butter instead of half butter and half Crisco.) Haven't tried freezing them.

My sister made a carrot-ginger soup the other night with her CSA carrots (the sort of winter produce you expect here in Hawaii??) Sauteed an onion, added carrots and water, cooked a while and blenderized, then added a bunch of fresh ginger and some other spices that seemed to work.

#312 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 05:52 AM:

Dear People Who Care about Typography:

I have just found that the PBS series Independent Lens is re-running the documentary Helvetica.

As they say, check your local listings.

I somehow missed this when it ran early this year; I have instructed Mr. Tivo to watch it for me this time around.

I have never seen a film about a typeface before, and am looking forward to the experience.

#313 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 07:45 AM:

Paul Duncanson @ 308... Lying on the couch catching up with Dexter (...) I did drag myself to the supermarket to pick up a few Warhols to see me through the next couple of days but I will keep that cauliflower cheddar

Wow. This is filled to the brim with modern goofiness.

#314 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 07:52 AM:

I did get up off the couch to go to the supermarket, if that helps the images in your head look a bit more sane. The soup is Campbell's though.

#315 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 09:02 AM:

abi @ 307... Speaking of which... I wonder if my group's management realizes how deep in droppings they'd be if something happened to me.

#316 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 11:18 AM:

Re the footpaths in Brasilia particle;

The book A Pattern Language asserts that traffic circles emerge spontaneously if everybody keeps right of the monument.

It is almost within my skill set to create a program that tests that theory.

#317 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 11:48 AM:

Open Thread linkiness:

Photos of Los Angeles - with no people

(via)

#318 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 12:18 PM:

Oh wow, man, lookit the pretty colors...

#319 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 12:21 PM:

Rutabagas also evil.

#320 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 12:30 PM:

314
I figured that one out (art history/appreciation ... it had to be good for something).

I have sympathy, and all the advice on soups is good. (Braces required removal of four premolars, as two pairs, and later two wisdom teeh. Fortunately they were simple extractions, done under local anesthetic.)

#321 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 12:46 PM:

Paul Duncanson @296: While we're talking about soups, does anyone have any recipes for something soupy that lacks chunks and large amounts of (hot) spices and is both tasty and nourishing?

Cream of Dinner soup was invented with precisely this purpose in mind. Its inspiration derives from when I had my wisdom teeth out. After two days without eating much, I randomly burst into tears over nothing at all.

Howard looked at Jon and said, "Blood sugar crash." Jon nodded, went into the kitchen and heaved a can of Campbell's Beef and Bean soup into the blender. One of the best meals I ever had. (They don't seem to make Beef and Bean anymore, sadly.)

And @308: If you're feeling really tired and/or lazy, I find most any good soup works when blended. I try to keep some random stuff on hand for such occasions. (Though, as Nicole has pointed out, they can lack visual appeal.)

#322 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 01:14 PM:

Anyone who has ever had to deal with convention dealer rooms, crafts-show booths, or anything similar needs to read today's Two Lumps. Scroll down slowly for full effect. My partner howled so loudly from the back of the house that I had to go ask what the hell was going on!

Paul & Jacque (317-318): Wow. Both of those links are mind-bogglingly cool!

#323 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 01:24 PM:

Lee 305: Holy chocolate, Batman! What would it take to get you down here for Chocolate Decadence this coming year?

Um...is that a cake, or an event like Southern Decadence? Either way it sounds pretty good!

#324 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 01:39 PM:

I think I'm just too lazy to chew. When my brother had his jaw fixed-- six weeks no chewing, but not wired shut and turkey-baster-fed-- our usual dinners didn't change much. Lots of roni, macaroni and cheese, things like that. He doesn't eat chocolate pudding any more, but he didn't get sick of chewing-unnecessary food.

All the recipe talk here makes me wish I liked food better. I like reading about it, I like the playing-pretend feeling of cooking or following a recipe from here... but I'm not a food person. My advice for anything like this is usually for boxed and canned meals that work.

#325 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 01:45 PM:

Minor Amusements: I just found a letter in my mail-pile whose return address read "Durbin, South Africa". For a moment, I thought it was from our B. Durbin, occasioning some wonderment. In fact, it was a birthday card from my peripatetic stepmother, who was visiting the city of that name.

#326 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 02:18 PM:

David Harmon @ 325... Not Deanna Durbin, aka "Winnipeg's Sweetheart"?

#327 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 02:19 PM:

Xopher, #323: It's our annual party, which is themed around chocolate. We haven't picked a date yet, as it has to fit around our con-going schedule, but it generally occurs in late March or early April. We have some limited crash space, and there's a Courtyard by Marriott a block from our house.

#328 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 02:29 PM:

David Harmon: I'm a horrible correspondent. :D

#329 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 03:11 PM:

Jacque @ 318:

And you can control the kaleidoscope by moving your mouse over it. Really neat!

#330 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 03:19 PM:

We interrupt the rumbling of my stomach as I read all the food-related comments for a science news bulletin: yesterday the Large Hadron Collider achieved collision of two counter-rotating proton beams for the first time. Collision energy was 450 giga electron volts, well below the full design energy, but high enough to generate debris detectable by all four of the detector systems.

Note that these collisions did not result in the Earth being eaten by a black hole.

#331 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 03:37 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 330... these collisions did not result in the Earth being eaten by a black hole

...in spite of its being a sucky movie.

#332 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 04:49 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Mr.Microscope) @329: Note that I failed to provide a pointer to the root page, wherein you can pick different patterns to play with.

#333 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 04:54 PM:

Wow.

I'm just back from a trial aikido lesson, and man was it great. It's in my son's karate dojo, which we already knew was a warm and welcoming place. They made allowances for my poor Dutch, and I got to work with some really neat guys. I don't know if it was more fun to be the one doing the moves, or feeling the way that my own force could turn me like a great wheel and wind me up on the mat.

More seriously, I can see that what aikido has to teach me as a person (at least as much as the physical) is what I need to learn right at this point in my life. And it suits my character.

And did I mention the bit about the fun?

#334 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 06:39 PM:

Abi@333 - yeah, isn't it cool? I took a theater course back in college, and the teacher's boyfriend gave us an aikido lesson one day. He had me throw a punch at him, and probably put an ounce or two of pressure into redirecting me; I'd have ended up flat on the floor if he hadn't then caught me. (By the way, it only takes one aikido master to change a light bulb, but the bulb has to attack first...)

Many years later, Nancy Lebovitz suggested I try qi gong, which is sort of the exercise version of tai chi. After the book she recommended, I took several local workshops and classes in the area, and the teacher I went to most often also did some tai chi classes. There's a lot of the same circular motion and awareness of what direction you're going. I enjoyed it as a self-awareness discipline; if I'm actually caught in a street fight or something I'll be able to breathe deeply and maybe even move slowly.

#335 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 06:50 PM:

abi @ 333:

*big grin*

Just moving and working your body in a disciplined way is great fun, and the process of learning is very rewarding. And then the way it can engage your mind as well. It doesn't hurt that you get a bit of a workout in the process, too.

#336 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 07:33 PM:

I really liked aikido. I miss doing it, but I think I stopped right before it would have turned bad for me. How I wish I'd managed rolls, though.

#337 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 08:02 PM:

AKICIML: What's a good place to send my ponytail? I just had it cut off. No dye, but some gray hair (I found one place online that said "no more than 5% gray", and I'm pretty sure I have more than that).

#338 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 08:21 PM:

I'd like to recommend that old threads be protected from thread necromancy, automatically sending new messages into moderation.

#339 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 08:26 PM:

David G @ #337, Locks of Love says it will accept gray hair and resell it. See item #9.

#340 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 08:28 PM:

David Goldfarb @ 337:

A couple years ago I sent mine in to Locks of Love. I'll likely be doing it again this January.

#341 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 09:09 PM:

Re #330: For 31 years, I have worked at a lab which operated the most energetic particle accelerator in the world.

Fermilab's Tevatron retains that title, and will until the Large Hadron Collider exceeds 980 GeV per beam.*

Records held by Fermilab.


* Billion electron volts. 980 GeV is about 1.57 ergs, 157 nanojoules, 38 nanocalories, or 149 pico-British Thermal Units.

#342 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 09:41 PM:

VERY effective commercial.

Damn, that gave me the creeps! Which is exactly what it's supposed to do.

#343 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 10:03 PM:

Thanks to everyone who made suggestions. I made pot roast the other day, and have a container of the juices left, so French Onion Soup seems like a good idea. (The CSA just delivered a bunch of cheeses, so there will be something to melt on top.) Also the carrot ginger soup, and roasted carrots.

By the way, when I said I have no freezer space, i wasn't kidding. I have a side by side (inherited from a previous owner) and it's full of potato soup, butternut squash soup, cabbage and ground beef something or other, and other earlier rounds of the CSA.

I want to get a stand alone to stick in the garage, but the circuits randomly trip* as it is, and I'm afraid to add to the load. (I've had the electrician out, and he just shrugs. Is there someone more electrically competent than an electrician?)

*They also trip if I do some known things, like run the microwave when the basement lights are on. But there are still days that I come home from work to find that the house is dark and the garage door opener won't work, and have to feel my way through the dark to the fuse box.

#344 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 10:13 PM:

Juli, you have a garage? Get a couple of Rubbermaid bins, punch a few air holes, and keep the carrots and onions in bins in the garage. It's not precisely a root cellar, but it's likely to be a decent ambient temperature for keeping root vegetables in common storage.

#345 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2009, 10:44 PM:

Thanks to everyone who made suggestions. I made pot roast the other day, and have a container of the juices left, so French Onion Soup seems like a good idea. (The CSA just delivered a bunch of cheeses, so there will be something to melt on top.) Also the carrot ginger soup, and roasted carrots.

By the way, when I said I have no freezer space, i wasn't kidding. I have a side by side (inherited from a previous owner) and it's full of potato soup, butternut squash soup, cabbage and ground beef something or other, and other earlier rounds of the CSA.

I want to get a stand alone to stick in the garage, but the circuits randomly trip* as it is, and I'm afraid to add to the load. (I've had the electrician out, and he just shrugs. Is there someone more electrically competent than an electrician?)

*They also trip if I do some known things, like run the microwave when the basement lights are on. But there are still days that I come home from work to find that the house is dark and the garage door opener won't work, and have to feel my way through the dark to the fuse box.

#346 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2009, 12:22 AM:

David Goldfarb, #337, I sent mine to Locks of Love. I know two people with alopecia. It's nice to give wigs to people with cancer, but their hair usually grows back (like mine did after the renal failures), but people with alopecia will lack hair their entire lives.

#347 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2009, 01:46 AM:

I've seen some people say online that they've heard bad things about Locks of Love...I haven't actually heard the stories myself, I've only heard of them. Looking at their site, they do seem to make it pretty convenient.

#348 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2009, 04:35 AM:

Bill Higgins @ 341... Tevatron vs Hadron sounds like a Saturday-morning cartoon of the 1980s, or like one of Godzilla's wrestling matches.

#349 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2009, 06:42 AM:

Zelda @232

Thanks for the recommendation - not too late: Christmas is, after all, just around the corner.

The Quaker Reader is a little hard to get hold of here (in the UK), but it looks like I can get a good used copy shipped from the US fairly cheaply. I'll bear it in mind!

#350 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2009, 07:46 AM:

Sorry for the double post.

Rikibeth, that's a helpful idea! I'll do that.

#351 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2009, 08:35 AM:

Notice To Whom It May Concern

I'm going outside. I may be some time.

On musical cruise Sydney - Hobart, then in Tassie high plateau. Should take a couple of weeks. Many places I'll be aren't online. It's possible if things fall out as I fear, and I'm sent back to hospital on return, offline time will extend. (Bloody 'palliative'. So much more to do, but strength runs out like sand.)

#352 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2009, 08:53 AM:

Mez: have fun!

#353 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2009, 09:53 AM:

Mez @ 351... Best wishes.

#354 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2009, 09:56 AM:

As far as I know, Jay Lake will be undergoing surgery to deal with his cancer within the hour. My best wishes to you.

#355 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2009, 11:26 AM:

#345 Juli

Have you considered getting a food dehydrator and dehydrating carrots and potatos and such?

#356 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2009, 11:57 AM:

Follow-up to something that was discussed here a few months ago: the census worker who was found hanged in KY with the word "FED" scrawled on his body has been ruled a suicide, who staged his death scene to look like a homicide so that his survivors would get insurance benefits.

On the one hand, I'd rather believe this, because it's less frightening than the alternative. On the other hand... cover-ups have happened before.

#357 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2009, 12:49 PM:

#355 @345 -- I didn't think about that! I've never done potatoes, but carrots dehydrate well and tightly sealed bags or boxes of dehydrated carrots should keep nicely in your slightly-cooler garage and are always handy to throw into soups and stews. Also leeks, if you get any.

#358 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2009, 01:05 PM:

Mez @351:

Enjoy the cruise! Keep us posted on the rest, please?

#359 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2009, 01:17 PM:

Lee #356:

Cui bono? The government would love to be able to prosecute a murder, let alone make a point of "don't mess with government workers", so they have little incentive for a "cover-up". The guy himself, however, had an obvious (insurance) benefit for his family, and a probably-terminal disease to boot.

#360 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2009, 06:22 PM:

#196/207-ish We got some amazing pink/fuchsia egg and lemon soup using dark purple heritage carrots. Tasty, too.

#361 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2009, 07:20 PM:

Open threadiness for Thanksgiving: cooking a 25-lb. turkey in 30 seconds. With thermite.

#362 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2009, 08:40 PM:

Lila, is any of the turkey edible afterward?

#363 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2009, 10:57 PM:

David, #359: I'm not seriously arguing that there must be a cover-up; my concern is that it's a small town, where the people doing the investigating might not be so anxious to prosecute as all that, depending on who looked as if they might have done it. However, with a strong motive for suicide, I'm not as concerned as I might have been otherwise.

#364 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2009, 07:38 AM:

<narrator voice=serling>
Submitted for your approval:

Seen today at the Boulder recycling drop-off: two pallets, each stacked about three or four deep with sealed roughly breadbox sized shipping boxes.

The contents of the boxes? Dianetics.
</narrator voice=serling>

#365 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2009, 07:50 AM:

Jacque @364:

obPoem.

#366 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2009, 08:00 AM:

abi @333: I love Aikido, although for some reason, I've never been able to persist at it for more than a month. :-(

I think it's what ballroom dancing would be if it was reincarnated as a martial art.

I got just a little bit of training and rolling during my time in Tae Kwan Do. Can't tell you how many times that's saved my bacon. My favorite is the time I was roughhousing with somebody at in Jon Singer's living room. They jumped up, ran out the front door, I ran out after them. My feet hit the snow on the front lawn and went right out from under me. Entirely without thinking about it, I rolled, and came up running. Whee!

Bill Stewart @334: Title of the book recommended by Nancy Lebovitz, please?

Lee @342: Youtube insists on sending me to their sign-up page from that link.

#367 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2009, 11:41 AM:

Jacque @ 366 -- It looks like the video that Lee linked to has been removed.

#368 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2009, 12:23 PM:

Jacque, Joel -- there's a version that still works here.

#369 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2009, 12:27 PM:

As of 12:26 EST the link is working for me. It might matter that I'm configured to do HD...

#370 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2009, 12:49 PM:

Jacque, and thus the Scientologists keep their sales numbers high.

#371 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2009, 12:57 PM:

Jacque @366:
I think it's what ballroom dancing would be if it was reincarnated as a martial art.

I certainly found that my body posture met with the sensei's approval if I thought "dancer" rather than "martial artist" as I moved. And, apart from the other rank beginner I sparred with, my classmates felt like dance partners. Our maneuvers were a shared thing; that was part of the feeling of welcome.

The other thing it felt like, of course, was a foreign culture. (Of course, because it's rooted in a foreign culture.) But that's actually the easy part for me, since it made the Dutchness before and after class that much more normal.

And the only element that really did not feel foreign was the degree to which our actions were rooted in, and surrounded by, stillness and silence. I've been too long away from that.

#372 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2009, 01:04 PM:

P J @ #362, one of the guys in the video samples it and pronounces it "not bad". YMMV, I'm sure.

#373 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2009, 01:18 PM:

abi @ 371...

The other rank beginner?
Don't people take showers anymore?

#374 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2009, 01:23 PM:

Serge @373:

Well, to be fair, only one of the two other beginners in the class might want to reconsider his laundry schedule. There were also a couple of more advanced users who were a bit sharp-smelling. It highlighted to me that I need to incorporate gi-washing into my routine so it's always sure to get done.

I didn't end up sparring with the non-smelly beginner.

#375 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2009, 01:57 PM:

Serge #373: What have you got against good, old-fashioned, tub-baths?

#376 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2009, 02:16 PM:

Fragana @ #375, c'mon. There's a drought in New Mexico, doncha know?

Hmm. Chile-scented bubble bath, Serge?

#377 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2009, 02:27 PM:

Fragano @ 375... Linkmeister @ 376... I haven't taken a bath in years. Showers are much more efficient. Besides, the bathtub is where I put the cat litter box, to keep the 'goodies' out of the reach of my weirdo dogs.

#378 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2009, 02:29 PM:

abi @ 374... I didn't end up sparring with the non-smelly beginner

...which means you ended up sparring with the rank and flies beginner?

#379 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2009, 03:05 PM:

Serge #377: Why not take Linkmeister's advice?

#380 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2009, 11:19 PM:

In odd synchronicity with the early parts of this thread -- Please wish me luck that tomorrow's vet visit confirms that the cat who appeared[0] in my garden a week ago[1] is, as it appears[2], not an owned cat.

[0] The neighbourhood has a fairly large number of felines, feral, semi-feral and owned, and is thus broken into territories so clearly defined (and defended) that even humans notice the owning and unexpected felines.
[1] ... has now reappeared[3], and been inveigled into reclining on the end of my bed
[2] ... and subsequently found to have been fed by the down-the-street neighbours, on occasion[4], and believed to have been living under their porch ...
[3] Between rain and travel, I'm not particularly surprised at the absence... especially given [1]
[4] Said occasion clearly not being entirely regular ...

#381 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2009, 01:31 AM:

Jacque@366, the book Nancy recommended was "The Way of Energy" by Lam Kam Chuen. I've seen a newer version of that book in the stores, which was a lot more Newagey, but which also re-ordered some of the exercises in ways that probably make it a bit easier to learn. His style is called Zhan Zhang, which basically means "Standing" - the main focus is a lot more static than most of the other styles I've run into. Another book on the topic, The Way of Qigong, by Kenneth S. Cohen, talks a lot about the origins and different types of Qigong. (And next to it on my shelf was Awareness Through Movement, by Moshe Feldenkrais, which I really need to spend some time with again.)

#382 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2009, 03:19 PM:

abi @365: obPoem. I scared the guinea pigs laughing.

Lee @368: Um, yeah. "Look, dear, SHINY!"

Bill Stewart @381: Thank you. I'll put it on my list and not go to Amazon-do-not-pass-go. (I have about five books in my "recently bought, must read next" queue.) (It's really unfair that books are so much easier to acquire than they are to actually read.)

(And now I predict the traditional "How many books I have in my 'to read' pile." :-)

#383 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2009, 05:31 PM:

... and, indeed, it seems that she wasn't an owned cat (something which is now resolved ;) )

#384 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2009, 05:48 PM:

AKICIML: In an NPR interview, Daniyal Mueenuddin likens Palestine's madrassas to The Lord of the Rings, in which (he says)

there's a wonderful scene in that in which the evil lord, whose name I forget, is sort of building an army out of clay and dust and underground, these vats, making these evil warriors.
Does everyone agree that he's got the wrong book? Anyone care to venture a guess what work he's actually remembering?

#385 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2009, 05:51 PM:

Jacque @ 382... And now I predict the traditional "How many books I have in my 'to read' pile."

Mine can be seen here. Not as bad as some, I guess. It is properly defended by Atomic Robo at the bottom, and at the top by the Bunny who decimated the ranks of the Knights of the Round Table. Oh, and in case you're wondering, the computer is displaying the ML page with your comment.

#386 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2009, 06:04 PM:

Dan Hoey at 384, I suggest he's not remembering the book at all: he's referring to the movies, and in particular the scene in which Saruman's orcs are extracting the Uruk-hai from the earth.

#387 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2009, 06:29 PM:

xeger @ 383:

Congratulations on your new-found feline friend.

Dan Hoey @ 384:

I agree with Lizzy L; I think he's remembering that scene in the film where Saruman is growing Uruk-hai in icky pods.

Serge @ 385:

The pictures on your wall caught my eye. What are they and who are they by?

Open-thready linky goodness:

If you want to see a huge collection of old maps, try the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. You don't even have to be a cartography buff to be impressed by this.

#388 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2009, 07:13 PM:

KeithS @ 387... They are by Dawn Wilson. I had come across her art at cons in the early 1980s. She later did some book covers, if I remember correctly.

#389 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2009, 07:55 PM:

Re: Teresa's Cab Particle, I have a fair number of those types of stone cabs, but I don't bezel them with wire, I bezel them with beads.

#390 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2009, 08:28 PM:

Marilee, #389: Anyone who's interested in pretty cabs should check out this guy. He was at the HBS show this year, and his stuff was fabulous. And he sells on eBay.

#391 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2009, 11:57 PM:

Thanks, Lizzy L (386) and KeithS (387) for pointing to the Uruk-hai in the movie.

#392 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2009, 12:24 AM:

Back from Thanksgiving at Katie's cousin's place. The brownies were a big hit; there was a 6-year-old boy there in particular who kept saying "The best brownies in the whole world!"

#393 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2009, 02:00 AM:

Serge @ 388:

Looks like this column is about her, which would make this her blog. Seems she's doing different stuff these days.

#394 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2009, 07:45 AM:

KeitS @ 393... Thanks for the links. It's been almost 25 years since we last met, but I recognize her. And that definitely is her style.

#395 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2009, 10:58 AM:

Blah-news dept: nephew Josh isn't into superheroes or dinosaurs anymore. I guess it was bound to happen that he'd become a fan of TV sports like all the other males of the family. Hopeful-news dept: Josh still likes drawing a lot.

Definitely-good-news dept: Jay Lake is out of cancer surgery and posting about it.

#396 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2009, 12:50 PM:

AKICIML: As part of the (hopefully) final phase of dealing with the "it's been in storage for a decade" mountain, I am sorting the fabric stash, and could do with finding a Ravelry-like site for fabric. Any suggestions?

#397 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2009, 02:33 PM:

Teresa:
There might be something wrong with your Linotte annuity URL. It keeps telling me there's an error and then sending me to my Gmail account.

I found something which might be it here: http://www.chicagofed.org/publications/workingpapers/wp2009_12.pdf
A copy also appears here: http://www.heraldica.org/personal/linotte.pdf but this PDF seemed to be a bit messed up, showing about half blank pages.

#398 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2009, 02:44 PM:

David 392: The brownies were a big hit; there was a 6-year-old boy there in particular who kept saying "The best brownies in the whole world!"

*dances happily* You're not just saying that to make me the happiest little (ha, I wish) baker in that selfsame whole world, are you? Because I'm sitting here with a big stupid smile on my face!!! Thank you.

#399 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2009, 03:44 PM:

Xopher, I promise you that I would never say such a thing unless it were true.

#400 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2009, 06:32 PM:

Tonight, on the Skiffy Channel, Beyond Sherwood Florist... Not really, and, yes, I stole that one from Mike Grell. Tonight's movie is called Beyond Sherwood Forest, and stars Robin Dunne as Robin You-know-who vs a dragon. I doubt it'll be as much fun as George and the Dragon, but who knows?

#401 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2009, 06:38 PM:

Lee, #390, very nice! But I think I have more cabs than I can use in my life, so I'm not buying a lot now.

#402 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2009, 07:01 PM:

D'oh, I just figured out that "pretty cabs" doesn't mean taxi art cars. heh.

#403 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2009, 08:13 PM:

397
I think the one from the Chicago Fed is correct. It's more interesting that first appears, but talk about long-term!

#404 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 12:46 AM:

Earl Cooley III @ 402 ...
D'oh, I just figured out that "pretty cabs" doesn't mean taxi art cars. heh.

I'll trade you wondering why Marilee's hoard of cabs means that she can always get cabs, while the rest of us stand there wondering what's not obvious about windmilling arms, pointing at vehicles for hire...

#405 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 01:29 AM:

I bought The Adventures of Robin Hood, claiming to be the complete first season of 39 episodes, in Target for five dollars plus sales tax on Saturday. If the series hadn't been mentioned here some weeks ago, I don't know if I would have noticed it....

#406 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 06:26 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 405... Is that the one ith Michael Praed? Probably not, because that series didn't have that many episodes, not even including the ones with Jason Connery, if I remember correctly. Maybe it's the series where Robin fights off invading Mongol Hordes. Or the one from a couple of years ago. As for the Skiffy Channel's "Robin Hood" movie last night, I gave up before the half-way point. It wasn't bad. It was too pedestrian, in spite of its having a young woman who turned into a dragon. And Julian Sand didn't even get to chew up much of the scenery.

#407 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 09:48 AM:

Open thready goodness: 12 and a half minutes of video highlights from the latest shuttle launch. This isn't just the usual footage - much of it comes from cameras attached to the outside of the shuttle. After the opening credits (over a shot of the external tank separation from the point of view of a camera on the ET) it runs from the rollout from the assembly building through launch to orbit, much of it from angles I have never seen before

#408 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 10:35 AM:

Paul Duncanson @ 407... Wow.

#409 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 11:09 AM:

Paul Duncanson @ 407: the schmaltzy music is really annoying. The one time I've watched an ascent, I really liked hearing the mission controllers; why couldn't they piece together some of that for a soundtrack?

#410 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 11:29 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 409...

I dunno. Then again I like shmaltz.
("Tell us something we don't already know, Serge.")
Humph.

For my fellow shmaltzers, here is the grand finale of The Right Stuff.

#411 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 11:47 AM:

#486 Serge

It's the Robin Hood series from half a century ago. No, it's not the one with the Replacement Robin Hood mid-series (the BBC one that has Michael Praed as one of the Robin Hoods).

#412 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 02:02 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 411... Oh, you mean, the Richard Greene one. I followed it religiously. My wife had never heard about it until she knew me. As a result, she has no childhood-inspired fondness for it and hates it when I start singing "Robin Hood, Robin Hood and his band of men..."

#413 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 02:25 PM:

Political OT-ness: Ok, I can understand that the Dem leadership sometimes does things more to the right than their base wants to because they don't want to lose elections. But what on Earth do they think what the electoral consequences- not to mention human consequences- of this will be?

Conservatives spend half a year telling old people that the Democrats want to ration their medical care and "pull their plugs", as a result, millions of old people get extremely angry at the Democrats and loudly ask to "keep the government of my Medicare!", and then some of the leading Dem politicians get together to come up with a new way to slash Social Security and Medicare budgets? What kind of head injury makes people come up with this kind of stuff?

#414 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 02:32 PM:

Raphael @ #413, it's called fiscal scoldism, and it's a disease transmitted by wealthy people like Pete Peterson, meant explicitly to impose discipline and implicitly poverty on Americans of fewer means.

#415 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 04:33 PM:

xeger, #404, actually, there's a fleet of cabs in my city that will usually get here about five minutes after I call, so that's not so bad. I've had really massive pain since Friday week ago (that has lessened a lot today) and I was wondering if I could get into the van to see the doctor or would have to get a cab. If things get better, I won't have to see the doctor at all.

#416 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 04:43 PM:

413, 414
Also known as I've got mine, too bad for the rest of you.
(Like they actually can live without the rest of us, who maintain the entire structure that supports them and their lifestyle. Grumble, grr.)

#417 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 05:34 PM:

Bleargh, on re-reading my #414: lesser means, not fewer.

#418 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 05:48 PM:

Elliott @ 409: There's a part of me that agrees with you, another that doesn't. Communication between shuttle and control would be interesting and educational... but on the other hand, the images don't need anything accompanying them (for me - less devoted spaceflight fans might enjoy it more if they knew what they were seeing). This is some of the best space porn I have seen. Isn't porn supposed to have a cheesy soundtrack?

#419 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 06:57 PM:

I just noticed an odd browser behavior on ML -- in the currently-closed "Boycott <Voldemart>"¹ thread, when I scroll down to the bottom, the whole page pulses up and down slightly -- it might be two or three pixels. The motion is up-down, then a pause, and the total cycle is not quite once per second. I'm using Firefox 3.5.5 on Ubuntu 9.10. Can someone point me to another closed thread (with comments -- that is, not ancient archives) so that I can check if it happens there?

¹ Thanks, Renatus!

#420 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 07:06 PM:

Whoops, never mind -- I just reopened the thread, and the pulsing is gone. (I'd closed it, but then thought to see what disabling scripting would do.) Interestingly, a simple refresh had not affected it. I'm guessing it was some odd leftover from the thread closing (removing the comment box et al.) while I had the page open.

#421 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 07:16 PM:

David, #419: Volde*Mart T-shirt.

Not our most popular design, but it has its adherents.

#422 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 08:11 PM:

Serge #412: Oh, you mean, the Richard Greene one.

A little blurred vision makes that Richard Gere's Robin Hood; I figure the high concept for it would be a timeslipped prequel to Nights in Rodanthe (with Diane Lane as Marian, Christopher Meloni as the Sheriff of Nottingham and a startling, yet satisfying cameo performance by Scott Glenn as King Richard).

#423 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 08:23 PM:

Earl Cooley III @ 422... That would be an improvement over Kevin Costner's version.

#424 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 10:50 PM:

Dan Hoey at 384

Perhaps he's thinking of the Cauldron-Born from Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series.

(although I did know one D&D player who conflated Gollum with the Golem.)

#425 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 11:17 PM:

Golem Gollum
Golem Gollum
Fish, fish, fish,
Fish, fish, fish

How we wants our Pwecious
How we wants out Pwecious,

Swish swish swish
Swish swish swish!

#426 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2009, 11:28 PM:

Serge, there is one reason to watch Kevin Coster's version, and his name is Alan Rickman.

Sometimes people ask for the definition of "chewing scenery." I point at him and say, "And he's the only one allowed to do it."

(P.S. You have a Vorpal Bunny! Yay!)

#427 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 12:18 AM:

B Durbin @ 426... Rickman often can be the best thing in a movie. He can chew on the scenery, but he can also be very quiet, as he showed in Truly Madly Deeply. By the way, a couple of years ago, there was an exhibit of costumes from historical movies in Santa Fé, so my wife and I went. One of the costumes was Rickman's from Sense and Sensibility, and I was quite pleased to realize that I could wear that costume without any tailoring. Mind you, the similarities stop there.

As for my library's guardian...

"I warned you, but did you listen to me? Oh, no, you knew, didn't you? Oh, it's just a harmless little bunny, isn't it?"

#428 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 12:49 AM:

B. Durbin #426: there is one reason to watch Kevin Coster's version, and his name is Alan Rickman

What did you think of Morgan Freeman's performance as Azeem? I've liked his work since the days of The Electric Company.

#429 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 01:32 AM:

Earl @ 428:
I've liked his work since the days of The Electric Company.

Me too. A really talented guy: engineer, dancer, actor. I just saw "Feast of Love", in which he plays a professor here at Portland State University, with Jane Alexander as his wife. And who else gets to talk crap to Batman?

#430 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 01:38 AM:

Earl @ 428:
I've liked his work since the days of The Electric Company.

Me too. A really talented guy: engineer, dancer, actor. I just saw "Feast of Love", in which he plays a professor here at Portland State University, with Jane Alexander as his wife. And who else gets to talk crap to Batman?

#431 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 01:43 AM:

Argh! Sorry for the double post. Stupid Safari in iPhone hung posting the first one and kept showing the preview page, so I hit post again, silly me.

#432 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 07:11 AM:

"Wait a minute. Robin Hood steals money from my pocket, forcing me to hurt the public, and they love him for it? That's it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas."
- Alan Rickman in Prince of Thieves


"No man controls my destiny... especially not one who attacks downwind and stinks of garlic."
- Morgan Freeman in Prince of Thieves

#433 ::: Columbina ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 11:44 AM:

I couldn't get the Google Docs sidebar item about the Linotte annuity to show me anything, but for those who are curious and care to save about three seconds in Google:

The Case of the Undying Debt

An Example of a LONG-Lived Debt

#434 ::: Columbina ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 11:46 AM:

Oops, didn't scroll back QUITE far enough to see if someone had already posted something. Sorry about that. The first link of my two is really good though!

#435 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 01:13 PM:

Julia Jones #396: You can try selling your fabric on etsy.com . The supplies section has a fabric subsection.

#436 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 01:13 PM:

Julia Jones #396: You can try selling your fabric on etsy.com . The supplies section has a fabric subsection.

#437 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 01:44 PM:

Actually, my best memory of "Yo, Merry Dudes" (the Kevin Costner Robin Hood) was one shared by a friend.

A large group of our local SCA gathered and went to the old (now gone) Plaza Theater to see it together. Afterwards everyone went to the restrooms before leaving to go swarm some place to eat.

This theater was lavishly decorated in the 1920s art deco style. Everything, I mean everything was decorated.

The restrooms had open arched doorways. One of the ladies caught a glimpse into the entry to the men's room and sqee'd, "Would you look at that! Oh. My!!!!" A flock of increasingly excited women gathered, scaring the crap out of every man in that restroom.

They were looking at a medallion on the wall, a Calontir cross...

#438 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 01:49 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @ 437... Robin Hood, Prince of Sieves?

#439 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 09:52 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @ 437 ...
They were looking at a medallion on the wall, a Calontir cross...

Leaving the men cross, in Calontir? ;)

#440 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 10:23 PM:

Okay, Morgan Freeman is pretty good. In fact, I like the whole movie despite its many flaws; I'm a Robin Hood junkie and I'll take anachronistic versions if they're having fun. (Quite honestly, an historically accurate version would probably be pretty depressing.)

I went to see the Errol Flynn version in a re-release with my mother, and there's one point at which Robin Hood walks into the castle with a poached deer over his shoulders and proceeds to tell the bad guys off. At this point, I leaned over to my mother and whispered, "Actually, I am an escaped lab rat in an elaborate plot to take over the world." She had a hard time suppressing her giggles.

#441 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2009, 11:26 PM:

B Durbon @ 440... Did you see the one where Patrick Bergin is Robin, and Uma Therman is Marian? I seem to remember it was quite decent.

#442 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 12:12 AM:

#438 Serge

Robin of Sherwood had the clap, and was dripping? (Sieve what you tarted?)

#443 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 12:36 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 442... He blamed Trickle John for that. And let's not mention Will Scarlett Fever.

#444 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 01:14 AM:

Serge— I won't. Much.

#445 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 08:52 AM:

Then there's the fryer's tuck....

#412 Serge
You -could- buy the first season DVD for $5 at Target I suspect... besides, she's a romance writer, and that show I strongly suspect is something that influenced a lot of major romance writers....

#446 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 08:52 AM:

Then there's the fryer's tuck....

#412 Serge
You -could- buy the first season DVD for $5 at Target I suspect... besides, she's a romance writer, and that show I strongly suspect is something that influenced a lot of major romance writers....

#447 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 10:51 AM:

As mentioned on Boing Boing, this might be the best 17 seconds ever.

Surprised kitty

#448 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 11:28 AM:

Wrt to the first link on the "Suggestion for Something Awful," I can only quote the adherents of Dead Elf Fandom and say "It is to fwow up."

#449 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 11:42 AM:

This is just to say that Surprised Kitty really brightened my day. Thank you for posting that.

#450 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 11:50 AM:

Rickman was splendid in The Barchester Chronicles (1982 -- indeed the entire cast was superb.

Still, I don't think anyone chews scenery like Sean Connery.

Love, C.

#451 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 12:07 PM:

Constance @ 450... For Robin-related chewing of scenery, my vote is for Nicholas Grace.

#452 ::: Jenavira ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 12:34 PM:

Serge@451 -- Hear, hear. And the scenery-chewing contest between Nicholas Grace and Lewis Collins in the third season is something to behold.

#453 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 01:31 PM:

Xopher #448: I thought: "Where are the trailers?"

#454 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 01:40 PM:

Serge @441: Did you see the one where Patrick Bergin is Robin, and Uma Therman is Marian?

For some reason, I initially read the last word as "Martian". Merry Robin and his band in Barsoom Green?

#455 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 02:17 PM:

Serge @ 451: Nickolas Grace? Wow, you just reminded me that he spoke at my college in the early 80s, when he was still primarily known as a Shakespearian actor (and for Brideshead Revisited). It was a memorable appearance.

#456 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 02:18 PM:

Did you see the one where Patrick Bergin is Robin, and Uma Therman is Marian? I seem to remember it was quite decent.

My favorite Robin Hood, by quite a stretch. If only for the not-very-stealth pagan imagery through the whole thing. :)

#457 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 02:56 PM:

Julie L @ 454... Either that, or Uma Therman is a Martian who crashes in the middle of Sherwood Forest. How long before that plot shows up on the Skiffy Channel?

#458 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 03:00 PM:

Ginger @ 455... From what Judi Trott once said in an interview, Nicholas Grace was fun to work with. He had a bit part in The Ideal Husband, by the way. He looked very short, next to Jeremy Northam. Of course, Grace may have been standing in a trench, and Northam on a box.

#459 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 03:03 PM:

Carrie S @ 456... Still, it was more stealthy than in Robin of Sherwood, what with the latter having John Abineri's headdress being an antlered deer. I should look up Bergin's version on NetFlix.

#460 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 03:27 PM:

They're predicting a possibility of snow this Friday. Here in Houston. Snow. *boggle*

#461 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 03:35 PM:

Steve C @ #460, "Here in Houston. Snow. *boggle*"

See? Global warming is a hoax, a hoax, I tell you!

#462 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 04:12 PM:

Serge @458: No, he's short. Er, perhaps I should say, he's condensed. Under-tall?

#463 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 04:36 PM:

Steve C., same forecast here in Athens GA, where we do occasionally get snow, but rarely this early.

#464 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 04:52 PM:

Ginger @ 462... IMDB says that Grace is 5'8, which is an average height for men, and only 2 inches shorter than Daniel Craig, who is 2 inches shorter than me, who am (?) 2 inches shorter than Northam.

#465 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 04:58 PM:

Serge @ 464

Ginger @ 462... IMDB says that Grace is 5'8, which is an average height for men, and only 2 inches shorter than Daniel Craig, who is 2 inches shorter than me, who am (?) 2 inches shorter than Northam.

No one said there was going to be math! And word problems, too!

#466 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 05:33 PM:

A question for the combined wisdom and experience of Making Light:

A friend of mine is in need of an affordable wheelchair accessible apartment in Newark, Delaware, near the University of Delaware.

We've Googled, contacted the Delaware social services, and other of the usual means of searching for things, but I was hoping that the combined experience of ML would be able to help her find a few more options.

#468 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 06:09 PM:

I don't think I'm skinny enough to play any of the XKCD characters.

#469 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 07:37 PM:

The TransAtlantic Fan Fund has some great auctions up for people who like books. There's two rare books, but also opportunities to bid for your name as a character in a book. Cory is up to $227, Charlie to $233, and plenty more that are more affordable!

#470 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2009, 09:39 PM:

Web creator apologizes for the double-slash.

I always suspected that was arbitrary! (via Neddie Jingo, who's now back online.)

#471 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 02:26 AM:

Jacque @382:

Pile, _singular_? Are there such people?

(I have my piles in alphabetical order. A few don't have any books in them. R and S, for example, take up several piles each...)

--Dave

#472 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 04:16 AM:

Open threadiness, and signs of the times: My daughter will be reading Antigone this year in school, and while comparing online merchants, I was amused and bemused by their offers to notify me by email when the author publishes something new.

#473 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 09:01 AM:

Bah, they took the snow out of our forecast. Just wind and rain now. Whee.

#474 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 09:58 AM:

#472 Debbie

Perhaps some of the lost works will get found...

#475 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 10:05 AM:

Remember not long ago when people were toying with the idea of a Making Light relaxacon? TexAnne set up LiveJournal's Fluoro-con for that purpose, but it occurred to me that we could use it for whenever someone from out-of-town would like to meet fellow ML folks in the real world.

That having been said...

Anybody interested in a Gathering of Light in the Bay Area, on Decemeber 20, or on December 19? Oakland's Pacific Coast Brewing Company can be a bit noisy, but it's within a few blocks of BART's 12th Street Station. Mind you, if you know of another place that would be ok with others, do let me know. A good time is usually had, in spite of what this photo from our last such gathering might lead you to think.

#476 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 10:20 AM:

Debbie @472: Maybe someone is writing Sophocles fan fiction.

#477 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 10:30 AM:

472: well, be honest here. If it does happen, you'd really want to know, wouldn't you?

(Probably, you'd get notified when new editions/translations of the existing plays were published...)

464 - given Serge's accent, this comment irrestistibly reminds me of Ian Holm as a morose Napoleon in "Time Bandits".
"Alexander the Great - five feet exactly. Incredible. One inch shorter than me..."

#478 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 10:35 AM:

ajay @ 477...

"I am a man who can be killed, but not insulted!"
- Ian Holm as Napoléon in The Emperor's New Clothes

#479 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 10:44 AM:

The idea of undiscovered works by long-dead authors is intriguing. Or at least good for a giggle.

Oedipus II - Mama Told Me There'd Be Days Like This

#480 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 11:00 AM:

I once wrote a short piece that claimed it was an excerpt from a lost Shakespeare play based on Dante's Purgatorio, about a going-away party for someone in Purgatory who was about to be released. (The party was actually for a coworker who'd found a job outside the hellhole company I worked for at the time.)

I called it A Purgatory Revel, or Party Til You Puke.

#481 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 11:28 AM:

wrt the Sidelight on Edie the subway-riding hamster: after a little clickthrough adventure I found that the photographer is a breathtaking jello artiste. Seriously, y'all need to check that out. She keeps a jello blog and everything.

(This is a safe space for me to confess that while writing this I had to think about whether jello needed a hyphen and capital letters, but ultimately I decided in this case it didn't. All of her Jell-O is jello, but not all her jello is Jell-O.)

#482 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 01:57 PM:

Andrew @481:

Skimming through the individual photos from the Flickr link for the jello artiste, I note they're all labeled Jello Molds (Set).

OK, I thought it was funny. But then, I'm pretty ill right now.

#483 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 02:15 PM:

abi @ 482... Ill? Annoyingly ill, or worse? Either way, I hope you get better soon.

#484 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 02:31 PM:

Abi @482: Right. When she tried to photograph the jello molds (unset) they just ran out all over the table and the dog tracked it all over the apartment. Lesson learned.

Hope you feel better soonest.

#485 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 02:36 PM:

Feel better soon, abi!

#486 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 02:46 PM:

Just the lurgy, nothing interesting like flu. I'm vexed that it's made me miss aikido, and hoping it goes away tonight, because I have to be single parent for a couple of days now.

Thanks for the good wishes.

#487 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 02:52 PM:

Abi, it's going around here too, A friend with a minivan was supposed to come help haul some stuff to a thrift store. Then one of her charges (she's a nanny) came down with something and can't go to school today. Then her husband came home feeling the same way so she's nursing two sick boys!'

I hope all get well soon!

#488 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 05:15 PM:

Bluenoses gloat over New York gay marriage defeat.

#489 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 06:02 PM:

On the other hand, the DC Council has voted for same-sex marriage in DC. They have to vote again in three weeks (and it can be adjusted in that time period), and then Congress gets a chance to veto it, but even the opposition thinks the bill will pass.

#490 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 06:10 PM:

Seems to me that the citizens of DC have a pretty raw deal with fewer rights than a state would have. I was shocked to read a moment ago that they couldn't even vote for President until 1961. That's just messed up.

#491 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 06:21 PM:

Earl @ #490, see Wikipedia for an issue that's been whittled down to bumper sticker size as "Home Rule for DC." It may appear on license plate frames, too.

Congressional meddling in DC's affairs is a crock.

#492 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 06:41 PM:

I'd like to request the prayers, positive energies, good thoughts, etc. for my former boss Tim (a great Lovecraftian). A few months ago he had back surgery, apparently botched, and a second back surgery, not entirely successful. Last month he was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis. Then last week he was whisked from the doctor's office to intensive care, spent several days intubated, and now can breathe on his own but can't swallow. Also keep his wife Lisa in your thoughts. Thanks.

If Tim had gone to Michigan State instead of Michigan, he would have hung out with Xopher and me.

#493 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 07:18 PM:

RE: The Salvation Army link in the particles. I had retweeted that earlier, and had at least two SA folks start tweet-stalking me saying they don't discriminate. (I tried pointing out that saying you don't INTEND to discriminate doesn't mean that you are actually refraining from doing so.)

#494 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 07:49 PM:

PixelFish @ 493 ...
IIRC, the particle refers to the Salvation Army in Houston, in specific -- I don't know if it's the Salvation Army, full stop.

#495 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 08:04 PM:

Tracie @ 492:

I'm sending good thoughts out for Tim. That's a lot to cope with; I hope that things get better soon.

abi:

Get will soon.

#496 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2009, 10:49 PM:

[in passing]

We have here the steampunk version of conflicts over network neutrality: when Jay Gould and the AP took over the telegraph network.

Croak!

#497 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 09:06 AM:

Andrew Willett @ #481:

I am somewhat disturbed by the one that appears to be glowing.

#498 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 09:16 AM:

Does anybody know where 1988's Blackadder's Christmas Carol might be available on DVD?

"I'm afraid the only way you are likely to get a wet kiss at Christmas, or indeed at any other time, is to make a pass at a water closet."

- Ebenezer Blackadder


#499 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 09:51 AM:

Am I the only one who's been mentally hearing "Jesus Christ on a Venn diagram" in much the same tone of voice one would use for "Jesus Christ on a pogo stick"?

#500 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 09:56 AM:

Carrie S @499:

No, you're not the only one.

#501 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 10:10 AM:

Serge @ 498:

It's available on the Black Adder III DVD, and in the new box set. Good fun.

abi: I hope you're feeling better today.

#502 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 10:16 AM:

Paul A. #497: It might well be glowing, if it's in direct sunlight (or other UV)! That's a vodka-and-tonic jello-mold, and tonic water fluoresces. (Something to remember for your next "black light" party!)

#503 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 10:49 AM:

KeithS @ 501... So that's why I couldn't find it. It is indeed fun. I remember the first time I caught it on TV, and my mother-in-law went OMG at the whole affair.

#504 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 11:11 AM:

LOL catz review New Moon.


#505 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 11:52 AM:

Carrie, #499: No, you're not.

#506 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 12:02 PM:

KeithS @501:

I am feeling better, thanks. Which is good, because my better half is in Scotland and I'm lone parent.

Speaking of which, it's time for me to fix the all-time favorite dish of the household, beef in rice.

(Ground beef, soy sauce, oil, salt, pepper, ground ginger, put raw into a pot with half-cooked rice and water so that it steams and flavors said rice. The kids would have it every night for dinner always if they could.)

#507 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 12:05 PM:

#479 Steve

A few years ago, archaeologists in a dig of a Roman funereal site in Egypt, uncovered caches of lost plays and other lost writings--so it DOES happen. For that matter, there is that recently-published-for-the-first-time-Jules-Verne book, which had languished for a century in manuscript form, lost/forgotten about/unknown....

#508 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 01:48 PM:

Dave Harmon @502 -- Tonic water fluoresces?! Too cool! I'll need to set up a black light in the bar for my next party...

#509 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 02:06 PM:

Janet @ #508, also check out Cheetos and Fruit Loops. (Vaseline also fluoresces under UV but is even less edible than Cheetos.)

#510 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 02:17 PM:

And Wintergreen Life Savers(tm) sparkle when you crunch them between your teeth.

#511 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 02:39 PM:

abi @ 506... I'm lone parent

Cue in the William Tell overture.

#512 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 02:56 PM:

With all these foods fluorescing, it's the obvious thing for the next Fluorosphere con party.

#513 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 03:00 PM:

abi #506: (Ground beef, soy sauce, oil, salt, pepper, ground ginger, put raw into a pot with half-cooked rice and water so that it steams and flavors said rice. The kids would have it every night for dinner always if they could.)

Oh, yum, that sounds pretty good. Thank you for reviving my appetite [scurries off to devour something that isn't nailed down....]

#514 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 04:12 PM:

Open Thread query for viewing with a twelve-year-old:

Most evenings the kid, her mom and I watch an hour or so of DVDs and are all benefiting from the time together, which includes commentary (sometimes yelling advice) and discussion.

We've been working through "Buffy" and are almost to the end of Season 4. Her mom thinks later ones would be too disturbing, though they have watched the musical from 6 (I haven't seen anything later than where we are now).

She's seen "Roswell" with another adult friend.

Any suggestions for teen situations that would be about the same level of engaging without being too disturbing? We're in central Denver so have excellent access via the libraries and Netflix.

We enjoyed "Mean Girls" to the point that it was purchased and she watched it close to three dozen times. Straight. Most of the teen chick flick movies she likes are too drecky for us. A series would be ideal, but Joss' other ones ... well, no.

#515 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 04:25 PM:

Carol, I never watched it myself, but I heard people say good things about Gilmore Girls.

#517 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 04:43 PM:

Carol, "Bend It Like Beckham?"

#519 ::: Joel Polowin places a placeholder ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 05:26 PM:

This is a placeholder/flag for a message held for moderatorial approval. Butterflies in space are apparently deemed Suspicious.

#520 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 05:37 PM:

Quinine is a fluorescent pH indicator, says the CRC handbook. It's a nice blue glow, even if you don't use enough to taste (try it with sparkling cider.)

Also, I heard a version of 'Santa Claus Is Coming to Town' this morning that had me thinking of elves with pasties and sequin-laden accessories. (It was a bit jazzy, brassy, and definitely over toward the burlesque side of the musical hall. The guy singing it sounded liked he'd had more than a few cigarettes and whiskeys in his life.)

#521 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 05:46 PM:

re Traffic Light particle: Around here the "pedestrian countdown" walk signal is very common, and 90% of the time it can be read as a timer as to when the conflicting signal is going to turn yellow.

#522 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 09:09 PM:

Linkmeister: yes, "Bend It Like Beckham" is in the house library, as is "Breaking Away".

Steve C.: we'll check out "Gilmore Girls".

Thank you both.

#523 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 12:27 AM:

I wish all the traffic lights here acknowledged the countdown with a yellow. There's one in particular that always trips me up. I see three seconds left, I start braking, then it's green all the way.
I don't remember how many seconds of flashing-red all the walk signals have before they signal stop, but I used to have most of them pretty much down. It was useful information some days, just counting others.

#524 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 05:32 AM:

Steve C @ 504... coughgagsplutter!

#525 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 06:00 AM:

I want to share some good news. Bogglingly good, in fact.

This summer I was diagnosed with a fairly severe case of diabetes. A1C, the measure of long-term overall blood glucose level, was 8.3%, while the range for healthy adults is 3-6%. Each reduction of A1C by 0.5%, when it's over the healthy limit, reduces the risk of kidney and liver failure and of damage to extremities requiring amputation by 20%, so getting it down is important. My doctor was hoping I'd manage a half percent reduction, though given my many other problems, wouldn't have been surprised by less.

This week we got the results of a six-month update test. My A1C is now 5.5%. That is, actually within the healthy range. My doctor put down the printout of results, looked over at me, and exclaimed "Dude!" He says it's the best initial drop he's ever had in any patient.

I am boggled and happy.

#526 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 06:27 AM:

Bruce Baugh @ 523... I am boggled and happy.

So are we, Bruce.

#527 ::: SylvieG ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 06:39 AM:

Bruce Baugh @ 523: 'Dude' indeed! That's excellent news!

#528 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 06:49 AM:

I did, by the way, ask him whether, since I've achieved more than a 2.5% A1C reduction and therefore more than 100% risk reduction, I might expect to start growing extra extremities. He thought not.

#529 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 07:29 AM:

Bruce Baugh: Congratulations! Re: #526, do you have children? If you didn't... are you sure? ;-)

#530 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 07:53 AM:

Bruce, congratulations!

As for the traffic light countdowns, speaking as a pedestrian, I thought they were really cool and useful when I first saw them in California, and have been pleased to see them become common in Philadelphia.

Is there any evidence that they cause problems?

#531 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 08:23 AM:

Bruce: HOORAY!

#532 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 09:23 AM:

Currently snowing like crazy in Sugar Land (just SW of Houston). Not sticking yet, but it's getting colder.

It's just bizarre. What next?

#533 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 10:03 AM:

Re the updated Salvation Army particle. I thought the whole thing was odd, because I'm pretty sure the local Salvation Army doesn't even take social security numbers.

And what would they actually do with those social security numbers? Ask the IRS for income data? That definitely sounds like more work and expense than is reasonable.

The whole concept of "verification" seems just stupid in context.

I can ask -- they're around the corner from me.


#534 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 10:22 AM:

Regarding Patrick's Garfield Minus Garfield, Plus Garfield Particle, it shows that I watch TCM a lot because I expected John Garfield.

#535 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 10:48 AM:

From Jezebel: Heroine Alert: Diane Savino, NY State Senator on gay marriage. (My cousin passed me the link.)

#536 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 12:24 PM:

Re the Pompeii particle: Google Street View now covers Stonehenge as well. I haven't seen a list of other famous sites, but they must have added a bunch.

#537 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 01:48 PM:

Bruce, #523: Yay!

Steve, #530: The snow has now reached the north side. Funny quote elseNet from a friend: "Who needs the Weather Channel? I can track the progress of the front by the posts saying OMG SNOW!"

*looks out window* Oh, wow. Big fat fluffy flakes, and it's starting to stick on the lawn (though not on the street yet). Maybe we will actually get some of that accumulation we were promised.

#538 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 02:46 PM:

Here in Hoboken, as far as I know it hasn't snowed yet.

Well, wait, we did get a flurry in October, but nothing that stuck. It was jacketlessly warm yesterday, at least for a well-insulated (i.e. fat) guy like me.

It's weird that Houston is getting snow before Hoboken.

#539 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 02:54 PM:

There's this woman at work. If I didn't have an oath specifically prohibiting it, I would pray for her safety, not because I care about her—far from it—but because if she's ever murdered the police would quite reasonably consider me a suspect. Apart from my total harmlessness, of course.

Oh well. I'll just pray to have a really solid alibi for the time when someone whom she treats the way she does me finally loses it.

#540 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 03:27 PM:

Xopher: You could try praying that if she's murdered, it will be in such a way that you can't be blamed. Then it's a prayer for your own safety.

I must say I admire your restraint on the subject, though.

#541 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 03:32 PM:

Raining here.

Fortunately, it wasn't raining this morning when my kids' elementary school stood around outside for the first half hour of the day (with accompanying parents, me included) singing songs and watching the three Zwarte Pieten (Black Peters: people in blackface and sixteenth century garb of wildly varying‡ historic accuracy) dance on the school roof.

They were waiting for Sinterklaas, who finally appeared perched on the back of a police motorcycle*. He told a touching story about how his horse is currently unwell, and how he thus found himself stuck until the policeman came and brought him round. The other Pieten, who had arrived on a variety of tricycles, bicycles and unicycles, tossed small spice cookies (pepernoten) into the assembled students†.

It was very sweet, entirely strange to me, and if I don't hear the song about how Zwarte Piet found that a pepernoot had somehow put a hole in the back tire of his bike again for a year, that's fine.

(It's almost impossible to hold the figure of Zwarte Piet in the same brain as any modern American or British ideal of racial equality. The Pieten do seem to be entirely detached from any derogatory stereotypes applied to actual black people, though. Even the notion that they were originally slaves or servants rather than employees doesn't seem to come up in Dutch culture any more.)

-----
‡ Wildly varying between Totally Inaccurate and Oh My God What Is That?, with stops by That Fabric Hasn't Been Invented Yet, Hang On You're a Woman, and Great Now I Have Afterimages.
* I note in passing that the Sint was wearing his miter rather than a helmet.
† Remarkably few of them were used by their recipients as onward missiles. They really are quite tasty.

#542 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 03:46 PM:

RIP Liam Clancy

#543 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 03:57 PM:

We had a few light flurries over the last month-and-a-bit, but nothing that stayed on the ground more than a few minutes. Our first "lasting" snowfall was a few days ago, enough to leave a bit of ground cover in shaded areas for about a day until the temperature rose. But the temperature has been dropping, and we'll probably have longer-term snow cover soon.

Bleah. My back has recently become messed up, and shovelling may be a problem this year. I don't have a car to keep the driveway clear for, but I've usually kept the driveway clear for visitors. I'll have to wait and see how I'm feeling this winter.

#544 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 04:09 PM:

They're predicting possible (small amounts of) snow or wintry mix tomorrow, here in Raleigh. Either way it'll be cold overnight, in the 20s (Fahrenheit).

I'm sure the stores are already stripped bare of bread and milk. People tend to panic at the slightest hint of snow.

#545 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 04:30 PM:

They're predicting possible snow overnight on Saturday, here on Long Island. Whether or not it snows, it should finally get below freezing*. This is the latest first frost I've ever seen here, even the year we didn't get any snow until after the middle of January (record late first snowfall for the region).

*I'm allergic to every kind of pollen there is. I'll finally be able to stop taking allergy medicine for a few months.

#546 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 04:51 PM:

Heh. That same woman decided to yell at me again. I explained at length why this one wasn't my fault. She didn't care, of course, but I made her listen anyway.

#547 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 05:13 PM:

Xopher @ 543... She didn't care, of course

"I reject your reality and substitute my own."

#548 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 05:14 PM:

Here in Virginia, we had a sprinkling of sleet last Friday, but I think that was just in the mountains. (Hiking Buddy: "I hope that's not rain I'm hearing..." Me, a minute or so later: "Indeed, it's not rain.")

#549 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 05:54 PM:


Facebook game "Mafia Wars" built on scams, CEO Brags
.

On Consumerist, found via Risks-Digest.

My favorite comment from Consumerist:

Trai_Dep: Sleazy. But at least in character for a game called Mafiawars. When PrancyUnicorns Parade™ crashed my PC because of a Trojan Horse, something precious deep inside me died. Just a bit.

#550 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 05:57 PM:

Lee #535:

It is grossly unfair that you should get snow that sticks while in Austin I get only a few desiccated-looking flakes swirling by my kitchen window. Boo, I say, boo!

#551 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 06:20 PM:

Carrie S. @ 499: Am I the only one who's been mentally hearing "Jesus Christ on a Venn diagram" in much the same tone of voice one would use for "Jesus Christ on a pogo stick"?

Not only that, but I mentally supply the "H.". And with the common alternative "popsicle stick," the cadence is almost identical.

#552 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 07:22 PM:

546: not a trojan unicorn?

#553 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 07:29 PM:

A year ago, as I type, I was flat on my back in hospital, with an assortment on injuries that included three fractured vertebrae, getting oxygen and morphine.

The one thing I didn't have to worry about was whether I was going to be bankrupted by my treatment.

#554 ::: Tom Scudder ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 07:43 PM:

US Strategy in Afghanistan Explained, in One Simple Diagram. Not a parody! Not a dream! Not an imaginary event!

#555 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 08:05 PM:

KethS @ 501...

I bought it today.
Not on the BlackadderIII set, but on a solo DVD that contains 3 Specials besides Blackadder's Christmas Carol.
Joy to the world!

Baldrick, you wouldn't see a subtle plan if it painted itself purple and danced naked on top of a harpsichord, singing "Subtle plans are here again!"
#556 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 08:15 PM:

Bruce Baugh, #523, Congrats! I hope everything keeps getting better!

We had 63F yesterday, 42F today, and snow tomorrow, ice on the roads by midnight, and melting by Sunday noon. Supposedly. The local NBC weatherguy said that we've had the first inch of snow on December 5ths of 2005 & 2007, so this might make a pattern.

#557 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 08:17 PM:

Oh, forgot this -- remember how Jim tells us to keep food for emergencies? Well, how about some food insurance?

#558 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 09:16 PM:

Caroline, #541: Bread, milk, eggs, and toilet paper. All white things. It's sympathetic magic, I tell you!

Dave, #550: Yay for your recovery!

#559 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 09:52 PM:

Serge, we'll not mention why I have a hard time taking Dr. House seriously...

Family are down in Austin for Smofcon and it is cold. And I think it's going to snow,

When I drove over to a friend's house yesterday to pick her up for lunch, I swear I was seeing very small, evanescent snowflakes, despite the partly cloudy day.

Mary Aileen, I'm with you. This week brought the first killing frost here in KC. While I seem to have lost my ragweed allergy (knock on wood, but it made RenFest a lot more pleasant), something started blooming really late and made me get stopped up.

#560 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 09:55 PM:

Lee @555, that shopping list is why a friend of mine refers to winter storm warnings as "French Toast Emergencies."

#561 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 10:51 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @ 556... Heheheh. Now though, what's strange is that I find myself thinking "This creep was Wooster and Prinny? No way." The change in perception began - for me anyway - in MI5, where he played a sarcastic MI6 agent.

#562 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 12:12 AM:

In re Carol Kimball's request for teenable cheery movies ... I would highly recommend 1992's The Cutting Edge if the kid in question is even vaguely interested in figure skating (as in, willing to watch the Olympic finals if they're on). Very amusing. The romantic lead in it has since been seen in bit parts in, well, everything.

The Mighty Ducks is heartwarming in all the good ways, and not smarmy. Also the movie called Where the Heart Is that has Dabney Coleman and Uman Thurman in it -- not the later one with Natalie Portman by the same title (or, at least, I've never seen that one). Step Up, Step Up 2 Tha Streets, and Save the Last Dance if said teen is at all interested in dance.

Heck, if they're amused by Teh Retro, go whole hog for the original Fame (movie and TV, if they liked the movie, anyway).

I'm told by people who watched it that Degrassi Junior High (and its prequel, Kids of Degrassi Street) is a good TV series.

#563 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 12:21 AM:

Cheery teen movies:

Stardust. The Princess Bride.

#564 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 07:33 AM:

Year Three?

#565 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 07:35 AM:

Year Three?

#566 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 07:35 AM:

559: I was a dance-mad 12yo when the original Fame came out, and it was the most depressing thing I'd ever seen. I missed a lot of the more adult themes, but the part where Coco was caught by a porn film guy scared me silly. (It taught me to cuss quite effectively, however. Let's just say it merits its R.)

The Turning Point was just as confusing, but the dancing is a lot better.

#567 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 07:36 AM:

Yes, today is the beginning of Abi's work as a moderator of the fluorosphere.
As you can see in this photo, she takes her duty seriously.

#568 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 08:16 AM:

Xopher @537 If I didn't have an oath specifically prohibiting it, I would pray for her safety
May I ask about the oath that prohibits this? I would understand an oath prohibiting one from praying for harm for anyone, even an enemy, but this one puzzles me.

#569 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 08:54 AM:

I saw in the paper today that Houston has officially had more snow this year than Chicago. I doubt we'll be able to maintain the lead, though.

#570 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 09:04 AM:

Marilee #554: The Food Insurance 3792 Meal Package contains enough food to provide three meals a day for a family of 5 (2 adults 3 children) for 12 months. ($9,300) Yikes!

#571 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 09:06 AM:

re: cheery teen movies/TV series

Thanks for the continuing input. I'm emailing her mom all this (for all that they live upstairs). Maya takes figure skating and they regularly watch reality TV's dance shows. I've never seen Fame, but there's a lot of concern about kidnapping, so the warning is appreciated.

The house library has Princess Bride and Stardust, so those are definitely on the right track. We can always revisit those (did I mention Maya watching favorites dozens of times in a row? which is why those that have some depth are particularly good). The problem with PB is that Maya must keep requesting, with increasing fury, that The Other Carol and I stop reciting lines with it.

#572 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 09:20 AM:

Carol Kimball @568, I wouldn't characterize the scene in Fame that TexAnne describes as a kidnapping.

What happens is this: Pbpb vf nccebnpurq va choyvp ol n zna jub synggref ure naq pbaivaprf ure gung ur'f fbzrubj pbaarpgrq jvgu gur svyz vaqhfgel, naq ur pbaivaprf ure gb tb onpx gb uvf ncnegzrag sbe n "fperra grfg." Juvyr gur pnzren vf ebyyvat, ur ireonyyl znavchyngrf/pbreprf ure gb gnxr bss ure fuveg. Ab culfvpny sbepr, abguvat jbefr unccraf gb ure ba-fperra naq gur vzcyvpngvbaf ner yrsg unatvat, ohg fur'f pelvat qhevat gur fprar naq vg'f IREL qvfgheovat.

There's also a coming-out plot thread, an abortion plot thread, and a Peeping Tom scene that bothered me more at 39 than it did when I was 10 and saw the original. Oh, and some casual drug use.

FWIW, when I was 10, I found the scene I ROT-13'd above pretty disturbing, but also useful as a cautionary tale.

#573 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 09:23 AM:

Carol, 568: Sorry, I misspoke before tea. Coco doesn't get kidnapped. All that happens on screen is that she's coerced into taking off her top, crying the while.

#574 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 09:31 AM:

I don't remember the Peeping Tom thread. Ooh, but it also introduced me to Rocky Horror!

It's not at all a cheery movie, in any way. The sacrifices young performers make are depicted in detail, and while the characters clearly think the pain is worth it, I'm not sure the audience is supposed to.

#575 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 09:35 AM:

OK, we've got snow in VA. Mostly, anyway -- it's switching over from rain, but some is sticking.

#576 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 09:38 AM:

TexAnne, it wasn't a thread, just a scene. Boys either making or finding a spy-hole into the girls' changing room. No reason for it I could see except to get some naked boobs on the screen.

And, in fact, I'd forgotten all about it until I watched the movie again this summer.

#577 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 10:15 AM:

Dave Bell @550, congratulations on getting better.

#578 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 10:36 AM:

WTF? Literally too. I just caught an ad on TV for Trojans that vibrate.

#579 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 10:41 AM:

Teen movies...

del Toro's HellBoy
"Second date, no tongue! "

#580 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 11:24 AM:

Bruce at 523, that's great news. Congratulations!!!

#581 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 11:49 AM:

I'm showing my age when I suggest this as a feel-good teen movie:

Bye Bye Birdie

#582 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 12:06 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 578... What? Not Gidget?

#583 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 12:08 PM:

Phishing has made it to Facebook.

"Facebook, because of the strong slowdown of the servers in this month, is closing many accounts.
Click here to save your account"

And the usual after one clicks.

A friend of mine just got caught by this. If anyone has further information (including how to get rid of rogue Facebook apps) please post. Thanks.

#584 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 12:21 PM:

Re: "kidnapping" in Fame

I didn't take TexAnne's comment to mean there had been a kidnapping. But as there's a lot of concern over those around here, and as the scene evidently deals with coercion, I figured if one upset the kid, so would the other.

Bye Bye Birdie! Conrad Birdie!!! Gidget - Sandra Dee (please, let's not revisit The Flying Nun, though I know that was Sally)? Annette?!?

West Side Story, and pretty much all the Romeo & Juliet versions are also favorites. Even the modern one where Juliet shoots herself at the end with a whacking big pistol. We stopped about every third line for explanation and reassurance with that one.

Now I'm wondering if Old Yeller would hold up.

#585 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 12:26 PM:

Carol Kimball @ 581... let's not revisit The Flying Nun

Did you know that one episode was written by Harlan Ellison?

#586 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 12:28 PM:

Scraps update (also in my LJ):

What I haven't posted about, in part because it's been too stressful and painful, is that for the past twenty days -- basically since the seizures -- Soren's speech has been garbled. He said he felt as if he'd been set back three months, but at times it was worse than that. Inability to choose the right pronoun, confusion of verb tenses, dropping crucial words from sentences, inability to find words, perseveration. . . it's been somewhat hellish.

On Thursday, he saw his doctor, explained this, and demanded to be taken off the Lexapro, which he remembered taking before, and having the same effect. (I don't remember Lexapro, but I know that pretty much every anti-depressant he's been on has made him woogly and somewhat incoherent; this is going to be an ongoing problem, I fear.) His doctor agreed that the Lexapro isn't working, told him to quit it, and implied that it would take a couple of days to flush out of his system.

Yesterday, Soren and I talked in GTalk, and even by early afternoon, the improvement in his verbal comprehension and communication was clear. He's not quite where he was before the seizures, but he's so much closer; and this morning he was still closer.

So the Lexapro goes into the pile of meds he's no longer taking (Baclofen, Lexapro, Mirtazapine, Seroquel), and we monitor his moods carefully. And we talk.

#587 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 12:47 PM:

Serge @ 582 -

Did you know that one episode was written by Harlan Ellison?

"I Have No Wimple And I Must Scream" ?

#588 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 12:57 PM:

re: Harlan and the Flying Nun -

Which episode? "A Nun and her God"? (creeps off, mind boggling)

#589 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 01:01 PM:

"You Can't Get There From Here", by Cordwainer Bird.

Sister Bertrille, Carlos, and Carlos' latest girlfriend (Bridget Hanley) are marooned on a deserted island. Drawing upon her Campfire Girl survival training, Sister Bertrille takes charge of things, driving Carlos crazy with her drill-sergeant demeanor-not to mention her misguided efforts to patch up the shattered relationship between Carlos and his (by now) ex-sweetie.

http://www.allmovie.com/work/the-flying-nun-you-cant-get-there-from-here-tv-231969

#590 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 01:12 PM:

Didn't Ellison write "The Nun with the Glass Hand" (starring Roberta Culpa) for TV's The Altar Limits?

#591 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 02:14 PM:

Velma @ 583... And we talk.

Good. Very good.

#592 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 02:56 PM:

Serge @ 587:

Was that Roberta Maxima Culpa?

#593 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 04:04 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 592... The very same, I confess. Now, where's that photo of Culpa with her boyfriend Peter Noster?

#594 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 04:11 PM:

Serge, would that be the one with Agnes Day in the background?

#595 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 04:25 PM:

TexAnne @ 592... I was thinking of the one where X-men's Halle Mary is standing next to the happy couple.

#596 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 05:27 PM:

OtterB 568: May I ask about the oath that prohibits this? I would understand an oath prohibiting one from praying for harm for anyone, even an enemy, but this one puzzles me.

I can't do magic (and prayer comes under that) that targets another person without that person's permission. My oath specifically says "even on their behalf."

#597 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 05:43 PM:

Velma: all bright blessings and continued good thoughts.

#598 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 06:27 PM:

OtterB #568: Just to expand on Xopher's comment, the situation he describes is a good example of why such a restriction is appropriate: As described, he'd be seeking to protect a malefactor¹ from her victims (and from the consequences of her own actions), for his own benefit.

Another troublesome case is praying for someone's survival, given that survival may not be the best case. Consider: Three of my grandparents had "good" deaths -- quick and relatively painless. My paternal grandfather was another story -- after nearly taking his wife with him (years of giving him home dialysis left her dangerously exhausted), he wound up on life support, incoherent (thus legally incompetent) but trying to rip the tubes out. It came down to Dad's decision....

¹ In this case, apparently a bully, or at least an abusive person.

#599 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 06:45 PM:

David, those are good reasons, but the first one isn't really why we have that restriction. It's more because we don't want to be doing coercive magic. People get to decide for themselves whether they want magic done for them. The abusive woman at work isn't someone I would offer that to, or even discuss it with.

Your second thing IS part of it; we don't do magic to call people back from death's door unless we have their permission. When someone is unreachable, in my tradition we have a thing we call a true will box (it has another name that I can't recall at the moment). We visualize it being close to them, and fill it with power...so they can reach for it if they choose, or not. And they can do whatever they want with the power, usually. If a comatose person uses it to let go of life, so be it.

#600 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 07:04 PM:

I can't do magic (and prayer comes under that) that targets another person without that person's permission.
Xopher and David Harmon, thank you for the clarification. (I was going to say, that makes perfect sense, but that seems to imply that I have some right to pass judgment on your beliefs and practices, which of course I do not.)

#601 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 07:09 PM:

Yes, five inches of snow (with a small layer of sleet in the middle) by 6pm and it's supposed to keep snowing until 9pm. The guys who came to scrape the parking lot also shoveled the striped area next to my handicapped spot, which is the first time they've done that without me reminding them it's in the contract.

#602 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 07:19 PM:

OtterB, I would have taken that as meaning it makes sense to you, not as any kind of judgement. I can't speak for anyone else, of course.

#603 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 07:34 PM:

I just had my internet not working for an hour or so in the Boston area. Anyone with similar experience?

#604 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 07:41 PM:

I saw this link on the Unclutterer site, and thought some might find it interesting. It's Popular Mechanics' article on Robert A. Heinlein's brand new ultra-spiffy modern home. (Note that there are a couple of fairly large jumps from page # small to page # large.)

#605 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 08:47 PM:

I'm now alternating between trying to nurse the machine through a few more rounds ... and trying to figure out what sort of replacement (front-load this time!) is worth getting.

... and replying to myself, saw a reasonable set (Miele) come up on craigslist, and am now being utterly amazed at how quiet the washer is! Unfortunately, between that post and now, it seems like I've had an entire rugby team's worth of people[0] generating laundry...

[0] This would be infinitely less puzzling if there -was- a rugby team's worth of people generating laundry... but there aren't even enough people for a back-lot game of rugby involved!

#606 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 08:47 PM:

Serge @593: What about her sister Mia?

#607 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 08:47 PM:

Unlikely as it may be, if any Fluorospherians are going to be in the Norman, Oklahoma area on December 19th, I'm having a holiday party. Email me if you want details, or friend me on Facebook!

#608 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 08:48 PM:

Xopher #599: You're right -- looking back, I see that I got distracted by the example at hand. While it would also be dubious on the grounds I gave¹, that is indeed outside of the "magicking the unwilling" issue.

A thought: One thing you probably can do is to add a layer to your own shields, not just against her direct abuse (I assume you've already got that), but also against spillover from whatever trouble she draws to herself.

OtterB #600: Amen to what Xopher said at #602.

¹ There's also the more general hazard of "pissing into the wind", when you're trying to affect the natural consequences of a situation (or in this case, of someone's behavior).

#609 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 08:51 PM:

Ginger @ 606... She's away, working on a Charlie's Angels movie with Cameron Diaz-Irae.

#610 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 09:12 PM:

Juli Thompson: #604: Hmm. I note that a lot of the house's utility depends on its bespoke nature -- that is, all that built-in furniture is adapted specifically to the needs of himself and his wife. Trying to change things around could be a horror -- say for a new owner! (Does anyone know what happened to this house after the Heinleins were done with it?) Not to mention repairing miscellaneous damage -- did they build this after they knew they weren't going to have children?

#611 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 10:13 PM:

David, I'm not certain but I think I read that it was remodeled. It would be like living in a Frank Lloyd Wright house.

#612 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 10:43 PM:

David and Paula, I know nothing about it, but I agree with both of you. I winced when I read about the built in stereo system - totally useless now. And the table that slides between the kitchen and dining room - now we have pass-throughs or simply an open floor plan, but then the idea that guests (if they ever had any - how could there have been room at that table?) could see the kitchen was appalling.

At one point there was a link (in Particles?) to an ad for Heinlein's house, then up for sale by the then current owner. I don't think it was this one, though. I think that one was more fortified, if my memory serves.

At any rate, it was interesting to see what was considered new and different and worth commenting on back then.

#613 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2009, 11:35 PM:

After half a decade's experience, has legalizing gay marriage led to the decline of the American family and/or the downfall of Western civilization, as was predicted prior to Massachusetts' historic decision?

NO.

#614 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 12:02 AM:

RE Heinleins' house:

A few years back, the SF Chronicle ran an article about an elderly woman still living in her late husband's invention, a self cleaning house. Shower heads in the ceiling, drains in the floor, waterproof furnishings. A prime example of Jetsons-style futurism, beloved by newsreels and Popular Mechanics type of coverage.

She still demonstrated it now and then, by appointment. And hopefully she got paid, because I imagine it would really be an awful pain to use. Hosing things down doesn't really get them clean. Everything warm and comfortable would have to stored away; hose-down-compatible furniture would have to be like my grandmother's clear-vinyl-encased living room set.

Stewart Brand wrote a wonderful book, How Buildings Learn, about how homes and workplaces change through time. Or can't change, and become museum pieces or are torn down. He cites Cape Cod houses as examples of a sort of building that is highly adaptable. You can add dormers or wings, raise the roof to add a second story, and so on. Modern bespoke architecture, with fancy atriums and odd-shaped rooms built into the structure of the building, are highly brittle.

Brand also talks about "layers," ranging from the building site (hard to change) to the furniture (changed frequently). The Heinleins' home had fixed internal layers. Not adaptable. Tearing out all of those built-ins may have removed the Heinleins legacy, but it improved by Brand's standards.

#615 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 12:03 AM:

RE Heinleins' house:

A few years back, the SF Chronicle ran an article about an elderly woman still living in her late husband's invention, a self cleaning house. Shower heads in the ceiling, drains in the floor, waterproof furnishings. A prime example of Jetsons-style futurism, beloved by newsreels and Popular Mechanics type of coverage.

She still demonstrated it now and then, by appointment. And hopefully she got paid, because I imagine it would really be an awful pain to use. Hosing things down doesn't really get them clean. Everything warm and comfortable would have to stored away; hose-down-compatible furniture would have to be like my grandmother's clear-vinyl-encased living room set.

Stewart Brand wrote a wonderful book, How Buildings Learn, about how homes and workplaces change through time. Or can't change, and become museum pieces or are torn down. He cites Cape Cod houses as examples of a sort of building that is highly adaptable. You can add dormers or wings, raise the roof to add a second story, and so on. Modern bespoke architecture, with fancy atriums and odd-shaped rooms built into the structure of the building, are highly brittle.

Brand also talks about "layers," ranging from the building site (hard to change) to the furniture (changed frequently). The Heinleins' home had fixed internal layers. Not adaptable. Tearing out all of those built-ins may have removed the Heinleins legacy, but it improved the place by Brand's standards.

#616 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 12:08 AM:

Um . . . sticky browser. That first post can be deleted.

#617 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 01:09 AM:

#613 Lee

Except to the ranting recidivists, it's a "so what?!" My same-gender married friends pay their taxes, hold responsible community positions (one of them is an Official Worcester Artist in Worcester, Massachusetts), are law-abiding citizens, etc. etc. etc.

Dobson and his ilk, on the other hand, are ungenerous, vicious, nasty, hatemongering hypocritical bigots who don't believe in live and let live. And then there is the Westboro Baptist Church, which is such a caricature, that visiting its website, it's hard to believe the site itself isn't an intentional parody....

Meanwhile there have been a number of states hit severely by natural disasters/weather challenges. The Southeast was in major drought, and then flipped over to having major flooding problems. The Southwest had wildfires. Those sorts of things haven't been around here much... oh, the Merrimack did overflow its banks and flood out something like 50 houses a year or two ago, but the flooding in the -rest- of the country, was much, much, MUCH worse. There are a couple of for sale signs on houses on the street I live in, but it's far fewer than 10%.... probably not even near 5% for sale--a lot more houses were for sale back in the first half of the Schmuck's term, due to the dotcom bust and then the utter malignancy of the failures leading up to the 9/11 disasters and the failures to respond rationally and competently to respond to the terrorism.... (the initial failures which enabled the hijackings and destruction on 9/11 included but was not limited to blocking all investigation of what turned out to be suicidebomberplanehijackers' suspicious flight training--other enabling failures included the INS not enforcing it own rules and allowing the likes of Mohammed Atta, who was on the no-entry-allowed list, entry into the USA, failure of the FBI to pay heed to intelligence material provided to it by at least one other federal agency indicating there were heightened threats, failure to pay attention to the outgoing Clinton administrations' exhortations that Osam bin Laden and Al Quaeda were planning major attacks on the USA)... anyway, the effects on the US economy from the combination of the dotcom bust and the Enron and Worldcom scam collapses, plus the 9/11 disaster and bad joke responses from the federal government (the scapegoating of Saddam Hussein and the con game effecting the Iraqi Adventure, and marginalizing the operations in Afghanistan where trained and resided those who responsible for funding and planning and being the implementors of the 9/11 atrocities and numerous other, though less spectacular, attacks and atrocities worldwide (Spanish railroads, nightclubs in Indonesia, US Embassies in Africa, being a few of them)) were to crash much of the US economy... since however it left most of the auto industry, the ag business, and the home states of the neocon Republithugs and their allies alone, and those who were directing what the news media reported on were getting richer, the straits that some parts of the country and some segments of the economy were in, went unsympathized with and little reported on....

Anyway, the downturn around here is uneven--it's hit the state government hard (on the other hand, the income the last month or so for the state apparently is higher enough than the grim forecast for it had been, that many of the additional cuts that were being mandated, apparently now might not take palce) and the construction industry workers have been getting clobbered. Artists have been getting clobbered. I did lose my job, but I have been hearing from recruiters who have jobs, and I had a job interview a couple weeks back--which is a lot more promising that things were as regards my own situation back in most of 2002 and 2003-first half of 2006. There was -nothing- back then....

And Massachusetts' unemployment rate is lower than the national average I think, and the housing market is much more solid than apparently in most of the rest of the country--prices apparently bottom out in the summer or maybe even in the spring, and apparently have gone up a bit since theng--and again, I'm not seeing a fraction of the number of for sale signs that were up back in 2001-2004 or so.

#618 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 07:57 AM:

Stefan Jones #615: That self-cleaning house sounds like a classic "missed the point" invention -- it's designed, and constrained for "cleanability" rather than livability -- and as you pointed out, the design for cleanability is misguided, too.

#619 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 12:01 PM:

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Any of you still following The House saga, I finished the carriage house downstairs family-room area just in the *ahem* Nick of time: http://big-old-house.blogspot.com/2009/12/floor-done.html.

This represents the last major task in the carriage house. Now I can actually start renovating the house proper. And before the first year of occupancy is complete, even!

#620 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 12:43 PM:

Xopher @602, David Harmon @608, Good, since that's what I would have meant.

#621 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 12:59 PM:

Congrats Michael Roberts! Now you get to start on the real fun, hm?

#622 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 01:05 PM:

@610 - 612 re Heinlein's house - I sure like the idea of having nothing to clean under, even though it means the functionality of each room is set in stone. We've adopted the other extreme - only light, temporary furniture with nothing extending to the floor - but the goal is the same.

As to permanence of audio; I'm pretty sure the actual audio sources would have been modular (they look pretty modular in the picture), and speakers can be upgraded in the individual rooms. House-wide audio would probably have fairly decent staying power. If not, a good design would make it all accessible and modular anyway.

I'm trying to plan this way in the big house - accessible cable conduits, accessible plumbing and the like - but it's not at all easy with an existing structure.

#623 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 01:12 PM:

Yeah, heresiarch - I'm looking forward to having more than one bathroom again.

Things will go slowly over the winter - I actually still have winterization to finish in the carriage house (weatherstripping of two doors, proper boarding of a window not currently in use, and if the weather warms up for a day or two, some tuck pointing that should really be done immediately) - but our fifteen-year-old is chomping at the bit to have her own room again. So there's motivation to keep the pace up.

#624 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 01:43 PM:

622
You can have beds going down to the floor without them being permanently fastened to anything. They're usually sold as 'mate's beds' or something similar, and have drawers under the mattress support. (I've also seen plans for building them from plywood, even in larger sizes, which allow drawers on both sides.)

#625 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 01:46 PM:

Hmmm... Starting tonight, the Skiffy Channel is showing a 2-part modern update of Alice in Wonderland. Hopefully it won't be as disappointing as their Tin Man update of The Wizard of Oz aired two years ago.

#626 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 01:53 PM:

#599 ::: Xopher :::

"... People get to decide for themselves whether they want magic done for them.... we don't do magic to call people back from death's door unless we have their permission."

Which was boldly dramatized with the consequences of Willow bringing Buffy back ... Buffy who was in glorious happy peace, and lost, having been called back to ... "Is this hell?"

Love, C.

#627 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 01:54 PM:

A steampunk sidelight! Nice coincidence; I just got back from a weekend in Brussels, and meant to post about the two gorgeous steampunk carousels at the Brussels Christmas Market, made by Les Manèges d'Andrea in Toulouse, France. If I could pass for a 12-year-old, I'd have hopped on at least thrice. The lizard and grasshopper were my favorites.

#628 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 02:28 PM:

Pendrift @ 627... Speaking of steampunk, here you can find the text, with lots of pictures, of a talk I recently gave on the subject.

#629 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 03:29 PM:

P J Evans, #624, usually a "captain's bed" -- the others get bunks. I have one, with drawers underneath, partly because as I get weaker, it's good to have important things to hand, and partly to keep the cats out when they want to hide. I have a bookcase headboard, too, so it's a very useful bed for me. A lot of platform beds also go to the ground, but don't usually have drawers.

#630 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 04:38 PM:

Pendrift, #627: I would have ridden that! What's the good of being a grownup if you can't have fun like a little kid when you want to?

#631 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 06:10 PM:

Serge @628: Thanks! I've been meaning to read that since you first mentioned it.

Lee @630: Unfortunately, there's a big poster saying "Children aged 2-12 only". Adults can accompany toddlers, but what I wanted was to clamber into one of those contraptions and pull the levers inside. Instead I stared and drooled.

Their website says that these carousels were actually built by the same team that made the machines mentioned upthread.

#632 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 06:26 PM:

Pendrift @ 631 -- I suppose it says something about my background that I saw "Children aged 2-12" and instantly translated to "2d6".

#633 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 06:28 PM:

About the Dubai sidelight: Johann Hari also wrote a long article in April 2009 about the dark side of Dubai. The anecdotes were portents of what has come to pass.

#634 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 07:26 PM:

I'm going to present a poster tomorrow in an effort to earn a non-thesis master's degree (en route to the Ph.D). I wasn't nervous until I picked up the poster from the print shop this afternoon. Now I'm terrified. I have no idea what to expect, how much grilling to anticipate, whether I know enough. It's less formal than a thesis defense -- my master's committee members come by my poster at some point between noon and 1:30, and ask questions.

I really hope it goes well. Historically I've tended to be very nervous and do okay at presentation-based exams, so here's hoping.

*worries and tries not to worry*

#635 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 07:31 PM:

#601 ::: Marilee @ 601: The guys who came to scrape the parking lot also shoveled the striped area next to my handicapped spot, which is the first time they've done that without me reminding them it's in the contract.

Maybe the person driving that plow has a friend or family member with limited mobility?

#636 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 08:33 PM:

Caroline (634): Here's hoping all goes well.

#637 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 08:37 PM:

Re: The "invisible man" sidelight, this article has more pictures, plus some context. And Reuters has a bit of video. Both mined from comments to the original.

#638 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2009, 11:27 PM:

Caroline @634 I wonder what the academic equivalent of "break a leg" is? In any case, best wishes.

#639 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 08:06 AM:

Caroline #634: Good luck.

#640 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 08:49 AM:

David Harmon @#570: What puts me off isn't the cost so much as the fact that they have an ad in the upper right proclaiming "As recommended on the Glen Beck show".

#641 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 09:19 AM:

Caroline @ 634... Best wishes.

#642 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 09:58 AM:

Caroline @ 634 -- Good luck. Part of what got me through my own thesis defenses was the confidence that I knew my particular bit of my field better than anyone else, including my supervisor. My committees were chosen to be competent and reasonable -- people who'd be verifying my qualifications for the degrees, rather than doing anything they could to keep me out.

#643 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 10:44 AM:

Found on Salon.com...

People try to make some very, very silly things into issues in politics. Like the timing of President Obama's speech about Afghanistan on Tuesday night, which happened to coincide with -- and thus preempt -- showings of "A Charlie Brown Christmas Special."

In a saner world, this would have been a total non-story. (Among the numerous reasons that this is a total non-story: Assuming there is still someone living in the U.S. who hasn't seen the special, it will be replayed. Many, many times. Every year.) But people like Matt Drudge picked it up and ran with it anyway, and now we can see the results.

That's what we get for electing a Muslim President.
Good grief!

#644 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 11:03 AM:

Thanks, all! I'm heading over to set up at 11:30 and at this point have reached a state of calm. I know things, I've presented this material before at an international conference and nobody ate me or laughed at me, and I will be totally fine once I get in there and get in the flow. Also, it's not that long. An hour and a half of intermittent questioning is not the same as a three-hour presentation and grill session, which is what my prelim will be.

I've been forewarned to expect a balance between questions where they're testing me, and questions where they're treating me as a peer and theorizing with me -- and times when they are teaching me as much as evaluating me.

I find that the best way to deal with all questions is to assume that the questioner doesn't know the answer, even if I think they do, and explain. That way if they're testing me, I've shown that I know something. And if they're really asking, I've given a good answer.

#645 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 12:07 PM:

Caroline @ 644:

Since I didn't say it earlier, good luck to you.

I was introduced the other day to the theater tradition of saying "merde" before the show. I'd heard "break a leg" before, but not that one.

#646 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 12:08 PM:

Woot!

I'll be in the Bay Area during the Holidays, and this morning I discovered that the Castro Theater will be showing North by Northwest on Sunday, December 20.

"When I was a little boy, I wouldn't even let my mother undress me."
"Well, you're a big boy now."

#647 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 12:24 PM:

I forwarded @504 to one of my coworkers, who's a squealing Twilight fangirl.

She was Not Amused.

#648 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 01:09 PM:

Caroline @ 644

Good luck, if I'm not too late. And "hope it went well" if I am...

#649 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 01:15 PM:

I am not unhappy, nor in any way displeased with ML: I'm just busy as all get out (the quarter ends tomorrow, and the christmas sales season is upon us, so my boss (who likes me) has me working a fair bit. Combine those two, and something had to give.

But I need some help. My google-fu is failing me, and I am about to engage in a pissing contest with one of my professors, who has mistated a material fact in the text; and used it in one of the tests.

Here's the situation.

The text (online class) says lynchng postcards were banned in the twenties, but Congress actuall amended the postal code to ban in them in 1908. That's the part I can't find. The direct reference I've been able to find is to a paper, which credits it to United States Congress 416, but I've not been able to find that paper (Allen, et al) and so am at a stand should he decide to stick to his guns.

It's two points, and won't affect my grade, but I am more than a little annoyed that this is 1: wrong, and 2: the best approximation of a true answer isn't "correct" either.

So, if anyone has an answer, I'd appreciate it.

#650 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 01:40 PM:

I found a reference to those postcards being banned in 1908:

http://www.pomona.edu/museum/exhibitions/archive/fall2006/gonzales/essay.shtml

But it doesn't point to a statute or Postal Reg by number.

#651 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 01:44 PM:

Talking to a live person at the Southern Poverty Law Center might be useful, Terry.

#652 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 01:55 PM:

Thanks again, everyone! It did go well -- pretty painless, actually. I was asked questions I was prepared for (and one of my committee members, having already heard me talk about the material on my poster, spent most of the time talking with me about my prelim and what I should present there). Everyone signed the card under "Pass," so it was a success.

Unfortunately, by the time everyone was done talking to me, I'd missed out on the free pizza. Oh well. So it is time to go and buy a sandwich.

#653 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 02:36 PM:

Steve C: I have several references to the fact: I even sent him one with my initial protest (to which his initial response was, "The module says it was in the mid-twenties"; which is true, the module does say that, but other readings (including earlier readings for the course; e.g. Without Restraint I'd encountered the correct date), I got the correct date).

So what I really want is the actual text.

Earl Cooley III: I may send them an e-mail.

I really don't expect to get better than, "This is what I taught, that is what I grade," but I don't want this false fact to perpetuate.

1: I think it speaks well of Congress they took action, and it speaks ill of the rest of the nation that it took so long after the tool was provided to actually make it come to pass. It's a more interesting, relevant, and useful teaching point, in its true context.

#654 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 03:28 PM:

Wikipedia references this article. Specific reference, "By 1908, the trade had grown so large that the U.S. Postmaster General banned the cards from the mails." in the last 'graph.

#655 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 03:56 PM:

USPS lists lists George von L. Meyer as Postmaster General as of March 5, 1907 under Theodore Roosevelt.

#656 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 04:00 PM:

Terry, you might try contacting the people behind the Without Sanctuary exhibit.

I hadn't heard of these before you brought up the subject. I was able to look at only a couple of pictures on that site before having to give up, appalled.

#657 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 05:11 PM:

If Congress amended the postal code for this it should be in the Congressional Record.

You could also check the history of Postal regulations. All of this should be available via Gov Dox site, if you can't access Lexis or WestLaw databases.

Love, C.

#658 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 05:21 PM:

There are also references that state the Congress banned lynch cards in the U.S. Mail in 1912, while voting down making lynching illegal at the same time.

This is the sort of thing that can occupy me all day, but I cannot!

Love, C.

#659 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 06:19 PM:

Caroline @ 652

Well done! Sympathies for missing out on pizza.

#660 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 06:51 PM:

I started my holiday dessert making blitz.

So far:

One tray butterscotch fudge.
One tray semisweet chocolate fudge.

Four trays of brownies.

Four batches of cookies from pouch mixes. Peanut butter, with chocolate chips or butterscotch chips tossed in.

Coming up:

Mint fudge layered on chocolate fudge, with caramelized glaze.

Coffee fudge layered on chocolate fudge, with caramelized glaze.

Rocky road fudge.

More cookies.

Ice cream pie with cherry cordials in each slice.

I expect to get a kickback check from the Insulin Manufacturers of America in time to pay the Holiday bills.

#661 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 07:08 PM:

janetl, #635, or they know they won't get all their money if they don't do it (there's a batch of handicap spots and zebra stripes in our development).

#662 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 07:13 PM:

There's an online site with a template for protesting the Comcast purchase of NBC and requesting the FCC stomp on it as anti-competitive....

http://free.convio.net/site/R?i=es0FyNZ5Yum3Y378G_GNhA..

#663 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 07:32 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 660... I started my holiday dessert making blitz.

A blitz kream?

#664 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 08:13 PM:

Stefan Jones Is My Muse Now

Cake for breakfast, and pie for lunch.
Snacktime cookies, I'll munch a bunch.
Who the hell wants to be thinner?
I'll be having an ice cream dinner!

#665 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 08:21 PM:

Terry, the closest I could come to a direct reference was here, at footnote 30. What I see there suggests that a lot of unsuitable material was banned in the same regulation and that it doesn't specifically refer to lynching. The reference there is to 18 U.S.C. § 1461, which forbids (among many other things) "indecent" material, of which it says, "The term "indecent", as used in this section includes matter of a character tending to incite arson, murder, or assassination." This organization of the code dates to 1948, but I would guess that the 1908 rule was similarly phrased.

#666 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 11:19 PM:

In case this hasn't made the rounds here yet---

The Qikipedia Advent Calendar on dinosaur members (as in, what they would use to perform sodomy). Warning, not really SFW.

#667 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 02:09 AM:

Is there a consistent way to pronounce a Q that isn't part of Qu?

#668 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 02:17 AM:

Did dinosaurs get a reptile dysfunction?

#669 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 02:25 AM:

Earl:

No; as stand-alone 'Q's in English only appear due to transliterations of other languages, it depends on which language they are transliterating. In the case of Arabic it's essentially a hard 'K' sound (maybe aspirated? Xopher help?) but in the case of Chinese (pinyin transliteration) it's a slightly softer ch- sound, a little between our usual ch- and dg- sound.

My guess is that name should be pronounced "Cheeky-pedia".

#670 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 09:16 AM:

For what it's worth, I gather the qikipedia is an offshoot of the TV series QI.

I find myself pronouncing it "kew-eye-eeky-pedia", but I realise that in doing so I'm inserting a phantom vowel.

#671 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 10:14 AM:

OtterB @638 I wonder what the academic equivalent of "break a leg" is?

I tell my students who are off to take standardized tests, "Break a pencil." I think most of them file it under "more of Ms. T's lame geeky humor."

Caroline @652: Congrats! I always find responding to questions less nerve-wracking than making a presentation. There's less information to organize coherently, I know I'm focusing on something the questioner wants to hear about, and somehow being relieved of the initiative is more comfortable for me.

#672 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 10:21 AM:

Paul A @ 670... Speaking of TV series the title of which begins with 'Q', I recently lay my mitts on all but the 2nd episode of QED... I'll finally get to see it. A young & bearded Sam Waterston in Edwardian garb. Julian Glover as evil Doctor Kilkiss. What more could I ask for?

#673 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 10:44 AM:

Q in Arabic is pronounced farther back than K. If you push your tongue back into your throat as if to make a choking noise, and then make something like a K sound instead, you'll get close.

Paul A., why not just say "Kew-eye-kipedia"? Or "Kew-Ikey-pedia"?

#674 ::: SylvieG ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 01:15 PM:

Zelda @671: I tell my students who are off to take standardized tests, "Break a pencil."

Break a lead?

#675 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 02:32 PM:

Over at the Rude Pundit's site, he has a review of Glenn Beck's live performance of THE CHRISTMAS SWEATER, an "inspirational" story written by Beck.

Reading Rude's description of the story, though, I couldn't help being reminded how closely it follows the typical plotline of a Jack Chick tract.

#676 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 02:34 PM:

Over at the Rude Pundit's site, he has a review of Glenn Beck's live performance of THE CHRISTMAS SWEATER, an "inspirational" story written by Beck.

Reading Rude's description of the story, though, I couldn't help being reminded how closely it follows the typical plotline of a Jack Chick tract.

#677 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 02:39 PM:

Ack! The Dread Doom of Double-Posting!! My first time, ever!

I guess this means whenever anyone else double-posts in future, I can no longer point at the monitor and laugh. Damn.

#678 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 03:10 PM:

Bruce @ 677 -

Yeah, karma never sleeps.

Some years ago, I was in a Radio Shack doing some Christmas shopping. I was standing at the counter, waiting to be waited on. An attractive young woman was standing next to me.

I felt her hand rub up on down my back. I turned to her, smiling, and said, "Excuse me?"

She looked horrified, took her hand away, and said in a horrified tone, "You're not my husband!" and then kind of slunk away.

I told my wife about this and she had good laugh, wondering how some woman could be so clueless that she didn't know the identity of who she was caressing.

So a few months later, we're at a bookstore. I wander away. Linda (my wife) is perusing some other titles. A few minutes later, she came up to and put her head down on my shoulder. She related that she had thought I was still standing behind her, and started rubbing her hand up and down this guy's back. When she realized what what she was doing...she apologized to the stranger... and slunk away.

#679 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 06:05 PM:

Steve C. @ 678

Thanks for sharing this. Really. When I was a kid (maybe 10 years old), I went up to my father in a bookstore, put my hand in his trouser pocket, starting to ask for money to buy a book. He turned around: it wasn't my Dad. I slunk away very fast, found my actual Dad (who did have a jacket like the one the other guy was wearing - but that wasn't the jacket he was wearing that day) and stuck close by him. It's so good to know I'm not the only one with that sort of tale of mistaken identity.

#680 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 06:24 PM:

Bruce Arthurs #675: (From Rude Pundit, summarizing the plot:) ... Eddie wakes up in bed on Christmas morning with his mom still alive and he gets a re-do of the day.

Oh, he didn't! (... write that in public ;-) ) IIRC, even Jack Chick isn't cheesy enough for that one!

#681 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 10:29 PM:

Brown versus Coakley for the special election for the Senate seat which Teddy Kennedy occupied for more than four decades.

Coakley is the probable winner--Democratic candidate. Her opponent, I was saying at the TV set with his speech being made, "You have your head up your ass."

#682 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 10:45 PM:

dcb, could be worse...

One year at our Renaissance Festival I paused on my way somewhere to figure out the right path, then took off again. Imagine my surprise when a minute or two later I heard, "Mama, slow down!"

I stopped, turned and found a three-four year old child right on my heels. I think we were both completely startled and the child looked a bit scared. I let him know it was okay, asked his first name and hollered out, "Robin's mama! He needs you!"

She hadn't gotten very far and came running. We were both wearing very similar costumes, long green skirts, red-theme tapestry vests, and same hair color and hats.

If I she had gone farther, I would have told him, "his mama got lost, but we'll find her," and got our security area manager involved, they have radios.

#683 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 11:22 PM:

#678 ::: Steve C.

I executed an even more embarrassing version of what that young woman did way back in the day when still (happily) married to my first husband, who was a grad student though I was still a lowly undergrad. I thought he was standing behind me at a party where there were many people and much merging and things going on -- he had been standing behind me as a matter of fact. It was very crowded so you could usually only see people from their necks up.

I reached behind me and stroked his thighs.

I was stroking the thighs of the Dept. Graduate Director. I leaped, right above the heads of everyone, as my hand told me this was not my husband.

Grad Director laughed very much and spoke loudly of how much he enjoyed those few moments.

Which made it worse.

Love, C.

#684 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 12:04 AM:

Constance @ 683 -- I had a similar thing happen to me a number of years ago, when I was helping out in the kitchen at an SCA event. I was leaning back against a counter; a female friend of mine backed into me, and reached back and down and gave me a friendly grope. Then looked around and saw that I wasn't whoever she was expecting. She turned bright red; I gave her a very-nonplussed Raised Eyebrow, which didn't help much. I never did ask who she thought she was feeling up -- figured it would just make things worse for her, and her relationship history was complex enough that I didn't really want to know.

#685 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 12:05 AM:

#683 Constance
ROFLMAO!

#686 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 01:10 AM:

The Public Option for universal American health care is dead (again). Is it time to freak out yet? I'm starting to think that the only thing that can fix health care in the US is a few terabytes of profanity.

#687 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 01:27 AM:

One other thing that might fix it, Earl, is to abolish the United States Senate. Or at least its stupid rules that allow a solidly obstructionist minority to blow things up (yes, I know in this case there were a few Democrats who carried the other side's water).

I kinda like majority rules; too bad the Senate doesn't believe in them.

#688 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 01:45 AM:

#687 linkmeister

The excision of selected senators might suffice....

Barring significant surprise, the current Massachusetts Attorney General, who among other things stood up to 2001-2008 misadministration injustice department and legislative thuggery, will be seated in the US Senate in less than two months... and she's got an agenda of universal health coverage, women's rights, etc. And she's been dealing with the Old Boy's Network of Massachusetts politics, and got the Democratic nomination for the election to fill Teddy Kennedy's seat--there's a placeholder in the position at the moment, who will step down after the election. The Republican candidate, again, has slightly higher probability of getting election than the proverbial snowball in hell.

But getting back to excision--if certain senators were to become debilitated, or have happen to them what happened to Kennedy....

#689 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 02:15 AM:

In most cases, they would likely be replaced by senators of the same political party (unless you're thinking about a quick vote before replacement). Only a handful are in the 2009 top 100 most likely to meet their maker list.

#690 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 02:41 AM:

I want to know how/why Fux got to redefine "moderate" as "rightwing civil liberties fascist opposed to religious freedom as regards medical procedure options, to religious freedom for members of the US military and military cadets, etc." with the rest of the yellow journalism promulgations under their various umbrellas of "infotainment" and claims of "news reporting" following....

#692 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 11:32 AM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden, And The Atrocity Archive was the first book in years where I reached the end, turned to the beginning, and read it straight through again.

I think of the classic readability test as having three tiers. Tier 1 is that a book hooks you in the first few pages. Tier 2 is when you're hooked so hard that you come up gasping for air and realize you're at page 157, and you have to get ready for work in a few minutes. Tier 3 is the riverrun, where you finish a book and read it straight through again. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of Tier 3 books I've read.

#693 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 01:07 PM:

Early Cooley III @692:

That's a good scale.

Where do books that you wish you could read for the first time all over again go on it?

#694 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 02:05 PM:

Abi @ 693... And what about the stories for which we wish there had never been a first time?

#695 ::: DavidS ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 02:28 PM:

Off topic, an amazing addition to the troll bingo card. One combative poster explains why he called a perfectly reasonable woman a troll:

"She was interrupting our pissing contest!"

#696 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 02:33 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 660:

Your goodies sound wonderful! I was wondering if you've ever worked with the Lindt Excellence Chili Bar chocolate? I tasted one for the first time on Thanksgiving, and found it wonderful. I'm curious to try it in a fudge, but think that might mute the heat too much.

#697 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 02:55 PM:

Since this is still the latest open thread - a quick request for Patrick and Teresa:

Please tell me that TOR isn't going to start putting SF/fantasy books out in "very small trade paperback" size. The one that's almost exactly one inch TALLER than regular paperback size, but just as wide and thick. I'm now gonna have to wait ANOTHER year to read Princeps' Fury, because it went from hardback to VSTP rather than actual paperback size, for example.

They don't fit with other paperbacks - can't be stacked with them unless you've got room to leave an extra inch between stacks. (I don't.) They can't be stacked in the stacks of larger-size books either, because they're small enough that they create imbalance points in the stacks. So I can't buy them. (Including used; this is not the "I won't give money to a publisher that does that" argument.) I've got a couple from before I figured this out, but no more.

(The worst part is that these are new enough that I don't KNOW yet if publishers are just thinking of this as a replacement size for TPB, and are planning to do their usual one-year-delay-to-the-next-smallest-size thing ... or if by some unthinking projection are thinking that this is what mass-market paperback size should turn into, and ***** those of us who already have thousands of paperbacks in the standard size? I'll know by about this time next year, but that's a ways away.)

And the snow did turn up here in Knoxville on the 5th as well - I wasn't expecting it, and there was enough that in the afternoon when I first ventured out it was still layered on the car tops and roofs.

--Dave

#698 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 03:01 PM:

Fudge Note:

Guittard (or however you spell that) butterscotch chips do not make good condensed-milk fudge.

Taste was fine, but the texture came out rubbery. Hasn't "cured" after three days.

A batch of condensed milk fudge made with Nestle's chocolate chips hardened nicely.

Tomorrow, I make a batch of evaporated milk fudge to pour over the tops of four ice cream pies.

This post brought to you by Miller's Insulin. When think insulin, think Miller's!

#699 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 03:24 PM:

David S @ #695, I also like the unspoken assumption in that comment thread that all mathematicians are male.

This is particularly amusing in light of the fact that, since I graduated from high school, the college student population has shifted from majority-male to majority-female. (Even at Georgia Tech, it's gone from nearly 100% male to about 67% male/33% female).

#700 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 04:31 PM:

I agree whole-heartedly with what David DeLaney said @ 697. I do buy all three sorts of bindings: "regular" paperbacks, tall paperbacks, and hardbacks, but I kinda hate the tall paperbacks. They aren't as durable as hardbacks, and aren't as space-efficient as paperbacks. Worst of both worlds.

#701 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 05:02 PM:

Lila: But did that happen in the math department? Every math, CS, and engineering dept I've ever seen seemed to be very male-heavy. This is becoming less true over time (the grad students at crypto conferences are much more likely to be women than the next generation up), but it's still extremely one-sided.

By contrast, I think both general college admissions and medical and law schools have become majority female over the last few years.

#702 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 05:19 PM:

albatross @ #701, I understand women are still underrepresented in math and science, especially at the postgrad level. But a quick Google sent me to this book, which claims that in 1991, 47.2% of all math B.A.'s were awarded to women.

#703 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 06:16 PM:

I think Leviathan by Westerfeld was the first tall book I encountered. It bugged me in part because it was more physically difficult to read-- I couldn't eat with it open, for example-- and in part because I kept going to turn the pages and missing.

#704 ::: John Aspinall ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 09:06 PM:

Re the bagel particle: actually, it isn't a moebius strip he's cutting it into; he's cutting it into two interlocking rings, which requires a cut with two sides.

Still worth posting, though; don't mind me - I'm just being a mathy pedant.

#705 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 09:27 PM:

albatross @701 and Lila @702

Ooh, ooh, something I know about!

NSF data on science & engineering degrees 1996-2006

Looks like women got about 1/3 of math bachelor's degrees in 1966 and it's up to about 45% now (well, 2006, last year for which data is available).

For CS, on the other hand, the percent of women peaked at about 35% in the early 1980s and has been dropping ever since; it's about 20% for 2006.

It's even worse at research universities; PhD-granting departments of computer science granted about 12% of their bachelor's degrees to women last year.

The percentages of women in information-related and life-science related computing are higher (e.g. Computer Information Systems, bioinformatics).

For engineering, the stats vary substantially by type of engineering. I think mechanical is at the bottom.

#706 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 10:14 PM:

#682:
I remember when I was about 4 or 5 years old, my mother said we were going to visit my friend's house, and then I started walking behind her in that direction. I walked about four blocks maybe before I realized it wasn't her but someone else wearing the same color clothes. A neighborhood Big Kid helped me get un-lost, though I was afraid of him at first because at the playground earlier he had pretended to be the cop putting us in jail and I thought that was mean.

#707 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 12:01 AM:

As someone whose mother got a math PhD in the 1940s, and whose partner's mother was a major player in databases in the 50s -- there have been women in math for a while. Assuming there are no women in math has long been a mug's game.

#708 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 12:18 AM:

Is Harlequin still wallowing determinedly in the sewage treatment bed?

#709 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 03:05 AM:

Paula Lieberman @708: still wallowing, and frantically spraying on cheap air freshener in the belief that nobody will notice.

#710 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 04:23 AM:

Since the subject has been touched on: Lara and I are pretty sure that the database-related specialties have a much higher percentage of women than other computer sub-fields. Can anybody confirm or deny this with real data; and if it's true, can anybody explain why?

#711 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 08:27 AM:

Victor @710 I have data, but it's not published anywhere I can refer you to. (Got to get around to that one of these days.)

For the specialty areas of PhD recipients in 2005-6-7 combined, databases did indeed have a higher percentage of women than other specialties; others relatively high (at or above 20% of the PhDs received in that area being women) were numerical/scientific (but the total numbers there are low) and graphics/Human Computer Interaction. Those relatively low were hardware/architecture, OS/networks, and programming languages/compilers. In between fall AI/Robotics and software engineering.

As to why ... lots of speculation, little actual data. The conventional wisdom is that on average, acknowledging substantial individual differences, women are more likely to prefer specialties with a social dimension. I've also heard it suggested that there are more women in programs that grew from or are connected to library science programs, which are traditionally heavily female, and some of your database work is going to lean that direction.

#712 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 10:28 AM:

OtterB, that's what I was speculating too -- the connection to library science database applications. Makes sense. I know of a fair number of female librarians who have gone to work for library software companies in various technical capacities, not just as trainers and salespeople. (And to add to the datapoints on women in various academic and scientific fields, on our campus the library consistently has the highest percentage of female faculty over the eight years I've been here. Not sure where the library school falls on percentages of female students and graduates, though. Seems to me I am seeing more males in the program in recent years.)

#713 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 10:45 AM:

Men entered the library / information sciences fields in large numbers with the burst of the dot.com bubble, and their job loss.

Since libraries had gone digital by then the guys felt they weren't girl cootying themselves by stooping to the lowly paper work of information -- keyboarding isn't typing, you see.

The guys have been really really really big at getting rid of the books -- which means deliberate neglect of the print collections, and even allowing them to be damaged so they 'have to be thrown out.'

The guys also believe they were born to be immediately in charge. Without even bothering to acquire any real library experience first.

I am speaking from experience, I am very sorry to say.

Love, C.

#714 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 10:57 AM:

Tom #707: Yeah, there's a difference between fewer women than men and no women.

I keep thinking it would be interesting to see if there are culture or working environment or career pathway differences that explain some of the differences between fields--why women are so much more common in psychology or biology PhD programs than in engineering, math, or physics programs. Is there something you could point to in the culture of those fields in 1950, that would predict which ones were going to have lots of women in them?

I think the overlap between engineering and medicine is kind-of interesting. Both are prestigious professional degrees that require some serious work and study and native intelligence to do. Yet in one of them, women abound, and in the other, women are still pretty rare. (To be a fair comparison, we should probably be looking at masters' degrees in engineering, since a medical degree is postgraduate in the US, and I think amounts to a longer undergrad degree program in a lot of the rest of the world[1].)

Obvious differences between medicine and engineering include:

a. Engineering is more math-oriented.

b. Medicine is more people-oriented in general. (Though I guess it depends--I'm not sure pathologists spend a lot of time chatting with their patients.)

c. The career paths look a bit different. Medicine follows the path of law and (to some extent) becoming a professor, in that you put in insane horrible hours for several years, and then tend to make more money and have better hours. Engineering seems to follow more of a traditional employee pattern. (My sense is that older engineers have much less job security than older doctors--one day, your employer decides he can hire some Indian kid to do your work at 1/10 the salary, and you're out looking for a new job at age 55.) Is medicine more friendly to taking some time off or working part-time than engineering? I suspect it is, but don't know.

An interesting sideline of this is feedback: If you're in a field where there are a lot of women, your culture will necessarily adapt to having employees out on maternity leave, changing their schedules because they're pregnant or nursing, dealing with childcare and related issues, etc. If you're in a field with few women, this won't come up much, and the rare woman who wants to take a year off for maternity leave will be doing her own brand-new negotiation with her employer, not using a long-established system that everyone understands.

[1] Someone correct me here if I'm mixed up. I think the Bachelor of Medicine/Surgery is common in Commonwealth countries, and it corresponds to an MD here, while a Doctor of Medicine is more of a research degree, and corresponds to an MD/PhD here.

#715 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 11:52 AM:

I once read an article about the huge shift to women in pre-vet programs. It may have been posted here, but I'm not sure.

I have a knack for finding female-socialized places. My elementary school class, which all stuck together through sixth grade, was mostly girls. High school, I did theatre but didn't bond with the guys the same way I did with the girls, and there weren't as many of them to begin with. College, biology, and the proportions of men to women were almost exactly the same as in my sixth-grade class-- with some of the same assumptions on my part, that none of the men mattered. Grad school, environmental engineering, my (biologically-oriented) lab group was mostly women (at one point, we had two men, neither of which was a grad student, and our PI was male) while the PI's other group, mostly watershed and water quality, was at the time mostly male. The biological side of environmental engineering tends to have women, while the physchem tends to have men (based on observations, not counting, which has its own bias). Alpha, the young writer's workshop I staff during the summer, generally has more women than men, though the ratio changes from year to year. Even my internet reading is mostly written by women. It's self-reinforcing to some extent.

I think the various shifts-- elementary teacher to high school teacher, environmental engineer to mechanical engineer-- are interesting, if infuriating.

#716 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 01:22 PM:

Constance @713, I've run into that a lot with men in the field who are around my age, maybe a decade younger, and older. The younger ones don't seem to have developed that attitude, as far as I've seen. I don't see the getting rid of the books much, but I do see a lack of appreciation of the library-as-place, in spite of all the hard stats and anecdata I can muster. The library-as-webpage is much sexier, and that's what they'd rather be associated with. The leapfrogging into upper management over experienced women? Sadly, yes.

#717 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 01:31 PM:

Here's another vote against the "tall paperbacks" that have been showing up on the racks and shelves.

My beef isn't particularly against the size, but the fact that the standard price seems to be $9.99, rather than the $7.99 for a normal paperback.

My first thought was that the new format was intended to save costs by putting more words on a page and shrinking the overall thickness of paperbacks. But the book I brought home for my wife (NEVER AFTER, novellas by Laurell Hamilton, et al.)is still a healthy 393 pages...

...and it appears to me that, rather than putting a few extra lines of type on each page, the publisher (Jove) used the extra height to add leading between each line. It's not quite double-spaced, but at least 1.5 spacing and probably more. It looks... padded, and not right.

And no, the size doesn't say "narrow trade paperback" to me, it says "tall mass market paperback". Especially since the tall paperbacks were in the same racks at the grocery store as the regular paperbacks.

Trade paperbacks have also seemed, to me, to have an extra heft and durability over mass market paperbacks. The papier seems thicker, the binding seems stronger. These new-format books aren't trade paperbacks; they're mass market paperbacks with lifts in their shoes and a 20% increase in price.

So, along with others, I have to ask: What IS the rationale behind the new format supposed to be?

#718 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 02:01 PM:

Re: bigger paperbacks

I groused about that a year ago. The trend is driving me to used book stores even more frequently than before.

#719 ::: Tom Scudder ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 02:14 PM:

Gnome Chomsky. That is all.

#720 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 02:29 PM:

Tall paperbacks:
Big Little Books?

#722 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 02:54 PM:

On the topic of women's involvement -- or lack thereof -- in tech fields...

Interesting article on why women drop out of tech-field careers.
Summary: More than half of the women who go into science, engineering, and technology careers drop out between ages 35 and 40, never to return. Harvard Business Review has identified 4 major contributing factors to this trend:
1) Active, overt sexual harassment on the job.
2) Isolation / lack of mentoring.
3) Lack of a clear career path (which a mentor could help with).
4) A culture that rewards high-risk behavior from men but punishes it from women. If a man fails, his buddies dust him off and say, "It's not your fault; try again next time." A woman fails and is never seen again.
Result: women tend to build systems that don't crash in the first place, while men get the glory that goes with the "diving catch"... and the rewards and promotions.

Yes, long hours and family-unfriendly environments contribute to the situation. But the researchers looked at other fields as well, and found that while many women will take a year or two off somewhere in the 35-40 range, in other fields most of them come back. In tech careers, 40% never return from that break; they go into other fields instead. This is a serious loss of valuable talent that we can ill afford.

Also, Blogging While Female at Discover details what happened when two popular science bloggers (one male, one female) announced that they were signing on with Discover magazine. Summary: Response concerning male blogger -- ho-hum. Response concerning female blogger -- hubba-hubba. And the one guy who objected to this (a number of other contrary comments not having been let out of moderation) got told to "remove stick from ass, move on".

Top 5 Myths About Girls, Math, and Science
Of particular interest: The mentality of needing to "weed out" weaker students in college majors -- especially in the more quantitative disciplines -- disproportionately weeds out women. This is not necessarily because women are failing. Rather, women often perceive "Bs" as inadequate grades and drop out, while men with "Cs" will persist with the class. (emphasis mine)

Then you find professional IT magazines such as Linux Journal publishing ads like this one. Check out the comments, too -- you'll get a whole troll bingo card full within the first 10.

And of course when you're talking about the open-source IT community, you have to think about crap like the Ruby on Rails mess. When men feel that they need to resign from your organization due to a sexist atmosphere, something is seriously wrong.

#723 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 02:55 PM:

I am totally freaked by the particle linking to the announcement that Kirkus is going under. It loomed large in my professional life in libraries for many years. It was always the final authority, because it was considered the least biased. As far as I know, it did not have advertising. Publisher's Weekly, which relies heavily on ads, was the most biased, and one library I worked for would not use their reviews to make purchasing decisions.

This is very worrying as a sign that print media is declining. If we don't have review sources, how can we decide what to buy? I'm talking general, not genre. How does a library or school or other institution decide what to do with their acquisitions budget?

#724 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 03:01 PM:

Another venerable institution bites the dust:

"Editor & Publisher" will be closed, rather than sold, after 108 years.
http://www.suntimes.com/business/1932242,editor-and-publisher-closing-121009.article

("Kirkus Reviews" will also be closed)

#725 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 03:51 PM:

Lee at 722, I use the bit you bolded, about women dropping out with Bs while men with Cs persist, when jobsearching. It gets really disheartening to find all these jobs I am sort of qualified for to completely unqualified for, and I justify wasting the company's time* by telling myself that part of the reason men get better jobs is that they grab for them. I am not doing it for me, because that would be a horrible thing, selfish, awful, good girls don't do that, I am fighting for everyone else, which is okay. Valiant, even. Go me.

*I know, but quotes didn't feel right, and it's not like what I think/feel is less valid because I also feel/think the opposite

#726 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 04:40 PM:

I love the fact that the vampire traits chart includes Count Chocula and Count von Count...

#727 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 04:48 PM:

Bruce Arthurs at 717: So, along with others, I have to ask: What IS the rationale behind the new format supposed to be?

I bought my first tall mass market paperback recently--Nevada Barr's Winter Study (Berkley Books). There was a shelf sign under the copies saying something like "New in paperback in an easier to read format."

I just compared it with a stardard paperback by the same author. There are actually fewer lines per page.

#729 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 06:37 PM:

Very cool, Lee -- and I needed something to cheer me up just then. Thank you.

#730 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 07:34 PM:

The Facebook "privacyfail" Particles are very interesting, and make me glad I've never gotten onto Facebook!

#731 ::: James Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 08:28 PM:

In the tables of vampire traits I am surprised to note that Carmilla is never mentioned at all.

#732 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 08:36 PM:

A general rule of thumb that when women enter a previously men only or nearly men only profession, that profession no longer carries either the remuneration or the status it possessed before.

You sure saw the entry of women in large numbers as M.D.s rather than nurses coincided with the devaluation in every way of the medical profession.

So one wonder what will happen with law since there are more women in law school than men. We've already seen the unqualifed women that took over the Justice system on all levels including the federal -- women with no law degrees or law degrees from some jonni come lately xtian college. They tried their damnest to get that fool Harriet Meiers on the Supremes' bench -- and look at their rulings these last years.

But then all professions appear from where I'm sitting to have far greater numbers of members who aren't qualified -- starting with primary school teachers even -- I know several teachers in middle school who can't spell, whose grammar is a joke and know nothing about anything. Even the teachers I didn't like when I was coming up were qualified to be teachers -- they could spell, do math, write decently, knew history and geography and basic sciences -- this included the home ec and shop teachers. Now -- it's scary how few teachers know ANYTHING.

Librarians, however, I believe we are still adhering to our standards, and doing ever more with less and less.

Love, C.

#733 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 08:43 PM:

As for the field of veterinary medicine -- in a complete turn around from about 40 years ago, it's so dominated by small animal practice that it's almost impossible in agricultural areas to find a vet who handles swine, sheep, cows and so on. Horses are different because they fall so much into the categories of pets and recreation and lucrative sport, so there are a lot of men who specialize in equine medicine.

There are also more women in the field than men too -- which causes speculation if there is a relationship between the change in the practice to small animals (with insurance for your pets now!), which is very lucrative -- and women's presence. I know how strong women are and can be. But rasslin' with the weight of the large farm animals all day all night and all year takes a huge amount of strength.

One of the ugly fallouts of this change to pets from food animals is that agri biz counts more and more on drugs to keep their products on their legs until slaughter. Farmers dose, buying the drugs online in bulk. Also they save the cost of a vet visit, etc.

Love, C.

#734 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 09:00 PM:

Jiang shi hopping vampires aren't mentioned either.

#735 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 09:10 PM:

I still like the tables, but vampire squash aren't mentioned either.

#736 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 09:54 PM:

Neither are the Kindred of Mark Rein·Hagen's Vampires: The Masquerade.

#737 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 10:12 PM:

I enjoyed the Vampire traits table. It's fascinating how a single legendary creature has engendered so many interpretations.

I'm waiting for the first vampire robot. Probably be like Bender, thirsting for alcohol-flavored machine oil.

#738 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 10:24 PM:

Not only do they list Count Chockula, but on the "Weaknesses" chart under the heading "Drowning" they list "Becomes soggy in milk," with a citation (!!!) to D.M.R. Georget, R. Parker, and A.C. Smith, 'A Study of the Effects of Water Content on the Compaction Behaviour of Breakfast Cereal Flakes." "Powder Technology," November, 1994, vol. 81, no. 2, pp. 189-96. OMG WIKIPEDIA YOU ARE SO SILLY

#739 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 10:29 PM:

Xopher @ 736: I think V:tM vampires are under the heading "World of Darkness."

#740 ::: JHomes ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 10:51 PM:

@737 I'm waiting for the first vampire robot.

Why are you waiting? Roger Zelazny has done it, in The Stainless Steel Leech, reprinted I think in The Last Defender of Camelot, or possibly Unicorn Variations.

J Homes

#741 ::: JHomes ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 10:51 PM:

@737 I'm waiting for the first vampire robot.

Why are you waiting? Roger Zelazny has done it, in The Stainless Steel Leech, reprinted I think in The Last Defender of Camelot, or possibly Unicorn Variations.

J Homes

#742 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 01:41 AM:

#710 VictorS, and other posts beyond:

Women in computing that I've noticed, tend towards financial services and other "business" computing applications, rather than science and engineering.... when I was in college, one of my female dormmates was studying civil engineering and was a BMW racer, but she spent summers programming stuff at banks--because that was more lucrative than the other options available....

Factors for other women could include that there are more women in the financial services industry generally than in scientific computing.... there was also entry from more "traditional" service job for women, into the computing side--and bankes and insurance companies were "friendlier" to women as regards promotion opportunities and salaries and working conditions and such.

As for women in math, I think I mentioned the anecdotes about the horrific treatment of women in the doctoral math program at Notre Dame in the 1970s, and the denial of university positions to women who Berkeley granted doctorates in math to in the same time frame--those women were all lost to the academic world which made it VERY clear they were completely unwanted in professional positions in academia as mathematicians. And without women in tenured and tenure track teaching positions, there was continuing messages of "female, unwanted, unwelcome, get lost!"

As for being female in a situation where the gender ratio is like that of Princess Leia in Star Wars.... it's psychically warping. It gets tiresome, irksome, annoying, makes one feel isolated, etc. etc. etc. Blech. Emotionally it's attractive to narcissists and queen bees....

There are other issues--the joys... of bouts of unemployment with tech boom and bust cycles. Misogynist issues, particularly among various different parts of US culture and geographical landscape... the Southern Baptist Convention for example, the last time I was poking around its webpage of beliefs and values, had as credo that women are not to be in charge of anything in the public venue, that women are in their worldview by nature defined as "submissive" and males have dominion.... consider the NASA engineer whose wife under pressure to be a baby machine by their sect lost her sanity and killed their children... there is a person who I would not want to have to work! And I wouldn't want to be around their co-religionists, either.... and I didn't want to be in a part of the USA where they are a dominant social force....

#743 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 02:55 AM:

Speaking of Facebook and ethics...

Virtual astroturfing.

Summary: If you play Facebook games and took a "health care survey" to get virtual money for your game, you also authorized a letter opposing health care reform to be sent in your name.

I consider this to be the equivalent of blood money -- paid for with MY blood.

#744 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 02:59 AM:

JHolmes @ 741 (and Steve @ 737): It is in Last Defender of Camelot.

#745 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 03:02 AM:

JHomes @ 741 (and Steve @ 737): It is in Last Defender.

#746 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 04:38 AM:

At least the Facebook scam wasn't just a big ClickMe2GetFreeStuff button; it was fairly obvious what was happening. Of course, sociopathic under-aged gamers wouldn't care that they were doing real world evil by clicking through that offer.

#747 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 07:47 AM:

Lee #728: That is indeed pretty cool.

One of my oldest friends was a sickler. He died a few months ago, in Jamaica.

#748 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 07:48 AM:

On the Wikipedia discussion page for that table of vampire traits, many writers are shocked, shocked at the appearance of Count Chocula. One contributor, likely with tongue in cheek, suggested that perhaps it was time for Wikipedia to develop standards for vampire notability.

The fact that Wikipedia has something as odd as a table of vampire traits at all, and that Count Chocula appears on it and is analyzed mock-seriously with the rest of the horde, is the thing that makes Wikipedia valuable. It's the one reference to include an article on "Neanderthals in popular culture." It's the only encyclopedia in which "Fictional Tubers" is a category. It's the only encyclopedia to have an entry for every episode of every lame TV series ever.

When I want serious information, I go elsewhere. Wikipedia is useful for its eccentricity.

#749 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 07:54 AM:

Magenta Griffith #723: Oddly, David Lubar has a completely opposite opinion..

#750 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 07:58 AM:

Abount those spam infestations... Maybe old threads (say, more than a couple of years) could be switched to bump all new comments to moderation?

#751 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 08:45 AM:

Constance @733: It's not the hard physical labor that's causing a decline in large animal practitioners, and it's not the women either. I was a groom, worked on farms, and never had problems with the work; it's the lack of return on investment for the vets. Doing farm calls is very inefficient, compared to office visits. Many farmers are choosing to treat on their own, thus reducing visits and charges; other routine tasks are now done by skilled technicians (i.e., A.I.), and even the manliest men vets want to get home at a decent hour to spend time with family. Large animal practice demands a lot of time, and committment; today's vets didn't grow up on farms and don't like the long hours of work for low pay.

It's an issue being debated by the vet schools: how to motivate students into LA careers? It's very similar to the rural physician issue.

#752 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 10:00 AM:

Lee @ 722: Thank you for concisely, and clearly, summing up the mess that drives women out of high tech.

I haven't noticed any mention in this thread of the discussion back in July that went into a lot of these issues: Permission to suck. Despite the title, it didn't haven anything to do with vampires.

#753 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 11:36 AM:

Wesley Osam, #748: "It's the only encyclopedia to have an entry for every episode of every lame TV series ever."

It seems that way, but not quite: The only mention of "Peck's Bad Girl" is in the entry for Patti McCormack.

(PBG was a starring vehicle for McCormack, who gained fame as the creepy young kill

#754 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 11:37 AM:

Wesley Osam, #748: "It's the only encyclopedia to have an entry for every episode of every lame TV series ever."

It seems that way, but not quite: The only mention of "Peck's Bad Girl" is in the entry for Patti McCormack.

(PBG was a starring vehicle for McCormack, who gained fame as the creepy young killer in THE BAD SEED. It only lasted half a season, 14 episodes, in 1959. Episode list -- no video online, or anywhere else, it seems -- is available on a few other sites, but not on Wikipedia.)

#755 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 11:41 AM:

NO! NO! NOT AGAIN! NO-O-O-O-O-O-O!!!!

Has someone put a "Double-Post" curse on me? How do I make a saving roll?

#756 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 12:09 PM:

Re particle on SF fandom: My husband is tickled pink that he shares his birthday with one of his favorite things! And the info about exactly who started the first fan club, and where, is going into my Social Studies homeschool file.

#757 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 06:19 PM:

Bruce Arthurs #755: By rolling doubles, of course.

#758 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 06:37 PM:

#738, 748: The Count Chocula "soggy in milk" citation was entered because someone flagged it as "citation needed". The discussion on that is hilarious.

#759 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 07:42 PM:

My head hurts, my gut churns... watching PBS, and on it is Pat Buchanan, a bleach blonde Washington Times bimbo, an older Caucasian woman from Newsweek, a dark-skinned Washington Post person, and a fifth peron who's a white male... the bimbo is slightly less obnoxious than Fux types. Pat Buchanan is Pat Buchanan, and that is not a climate. They're talking about the climate stuff.... of couse none of them is saying, "How would YOU react if your private emails and discussions were broken into and spewed all over the Internet, and what would it look like?"

#760 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 07:42 PM:

My head hurts, my gut churns... watching PBS, and on it is Pat Buchanan, a bleach blonde Washington Times bimbo, an older Caucasian woman from Newsweek, a dark-skinned Washington Post person, and a fifth peron who's a white male... the bimbo is slightly less obnoxious than Fux types. Pat Buchanan is Pat Buchanan, and that is not a compliment. They're talking about the climate stuff.... of couse none of them is saying, "How would YOU react if your private emails and discussions were broken into and spewed all over the Internet, and what would it look like?"

#761 ::: Paula Liebeman ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 08:05 PM:

The same bunch as in #760 above, discussing the healthcare legislation. The Washington Times speaker, who I react to the same way I react to *nn C**lt*r (where DO those types come from, anyway? Poisonous mushrooms would be embarrassed to spawn their ilk...) (she was ranting earlier about Global Warming being secular religion.... a member of the Washington Times, a sectarian biased publication, screeding away alleging secular religion... it's a C**lt*r clone... bleah....) and Buchanan were going on claiming that all major social legislation passed in the past had Republican majorities supporting it.... and going forward mentioning social legislation and the topic going to slavery,

Buchanan, "The Republicans [were the ones pushing to abolish slavery]."

Newsweek person "Those were different Republicans."

Pat Buchanan, "Are you saying we are pro-slavery Republicans?!"

My response, YES!

#762 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 04:40 AM:

Paula Lieberman @760, that "bimbo" is apparently just pretending to be a bimbo as part of her job.


Speaking of the Right, some folks, presumably Teabaggers, want to vote out everyone in the House. The funny part? Looks like some of the folks in their base are surprised that the entire House of Representatives gets elected at once.

#763 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 12:07 PM:

I got a promotion at work yesterday. I'm not just a greasemonkey, but also a pirate's henchman.

#764 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 12:22 PM:

Serge @ 763 -

I've been a SME before as well. It wasn't anything I set out to become, and it wasn't anything I studied for, or obtained certification in.

In my case, I became a SME because after five years on the job, I was the only person left who knew a single piece of a minor subsystem top to bottom.

Arrr!

#765 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 12:28 PM:

Steve C @ 764... There is another person who knows the system from top to bottom, although he doen't know the basement - aka the mainframe-based portion of the system, which I built. But he's retiring in April. Then I'll demand to be called Mister SME.

#766 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 12:33 PM:

Back into the word mines I go. Once more to learn new things from my students.

In much of today’s 21st century, one is continuously reminded of the societal impacts of the Ancient Greek philosophers.
Of Chinese dissent, Confucius is responsible for the school of Confucianism.

#767 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 12:37 PM:

Fragano @ 766... As opposed to yesterday's 21st Century?

#768 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 12:37 PM:

Fragano, that first one almost makes sense. (I have sympathy. I do QC. Trying to get them to fix their mistakes is like pushing rope. Uphill.)

#769 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 01:34 PM:

One of our cats died yesterday. We're devastated. We (me, husband, two cats) were travelling to spend a few days with my family for Chanukah. Stopped for a comfort break. I was just pouring them some water to drink, and Sundae jumped backwards, fell on her side - and was gone. A massive heart attack, almost certainly. No previous signs. I was right there and there was absolutely nothing I could do. She was only five years old. Her sister, Freya, appears to recognise that she's dead, rather than been taken away temporarily - she isn't looking for her. She is needing more attention than usual, which we're giving her, obviously. I will donate (crossing threads) to Peter Watt's fund for kibble, in Sundae's memory, as well as for legal defence.

#770 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 01:45 PM:

dcb #769: My condolences.

#771 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 02:00 PM:

My condolences, dcb.

#772 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 02:20 PM:

Paula, #761: The Republicans have in fact been pro-slavery ever since they welcomed in the Dixicrats with open arms after Strom Thurmond's infamous pro-Jim-Crow speech. Even today, under the guise of being "pro-business", they fight tooth and nail against fair-trade legislation limiting the import of goods made overseas using slave labor and child labor. Rachel Maddow had a good rant about this just recently. Of course, nobody on PBS is going to mention that these days.

Side note: As a feminist, I take VERY strong exception to your use of patriarchal appearance-based insults ("bimbo") in the description of a woman you don't happen to like. It makes you look like a hypocrite. Yes, these insults are a deeply-ingrained part of the culture; that just makes it more incumbent on us to be vigilant against using them ourselves.

dcb, #769: OMG, I'm so sorry to hear this; that must have been extremely traumatic. I hope you managed to come up with a suitable resting place for Sundae's cast-aside, as that would be particularly difficult under the circumstances. GoodThoughts being sent for you and your husband.

#773 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 02:29 PM:

#762 Raphael
Bimbo to me is not gender-specific. It's a type of behavior--offensive arrant perhaps even intentional obnoxious mouthy cluelessness with veneer of supposed "attractive" eyecandy packaging.... both varieties are prevalent in marketing, the female ones dress in fashions for surface appearance "attractiveness." The male ones tend to wear suits. They talk from scripts and talking points, and have ulterior motives of -selling- you things, and failing to provide actual credible technical information--credible infrastructure/supported by integrity data is a violation of their value and attitudes and behavior, and someone asking/requesting/demanding it, get brushed off/ignored/verbally abused/gets the original same set of talking point repeated, more loudly, at them.... and phoniness and fake earnestness are among their stock in trade.

#774 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 02:55 PM:

dcb #769: My condolences! Only five years old? That's especially terrible!

#775 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 03:09 PM:

PJ #768/Serge #767: It's the almost making sense that is annoying in that case. I wonder what other 21st century might be meant.

Some more:

Mozi said that war was crime and was more serious than any other crime. He also said that funerals and other rituals should not be carried out with little excitement.

Augustine believed that because God created man, God should run the city because men are sinful and will not live forever.

I do agree that the political thinkers of the past have nothing to say to use today because the various political thought that they were developed in the past are widely practised, studied and emulated in politics today.

In this paper the works of Plato, Mencius and The United States government will be analyzed and serve as evidence as to why the political thinkers of the past have nothing to say to us today because History have proven these thinkers have had an immense influence in politics of the past, the present and also in the future.

The laws are the curse from God.

John Calvin was a strong believer of predestination. He believed that our faiths were already decided from birth.

#776 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 03:25 PM:

Those two bits arguing that "the political thinkers of the past have nothing to say to us today" broke my brain.

And left me wondering about plagiarism, given the almost identical language and tortured logic.

#777 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 03:31 PM:

Paula, #773: Humpty-Dumptyism ("When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.") isn't a defense, but merely another version of IOKIYAR. The term "bimbo" is so strongly attached to women that people using it to describe men frequently say "male bimbo" to differentiate it from the unmarked version.

Fragano, #775: WRT that last one, it could reasonably be argued that it does follow from the precepts of Calvinism. If everything about us is predestined, then surely this applies to our faiths as well as our fates. :-)

#778 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 03:33 PM:

Serge 767:
As opposed to yesterday's 21st Century?


This is not your father's 21st Century.

#779 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 03:43 PM:

Mary Aileen #776: Those two sentences came from the same paper. They were both referring to the question the student was attempting to answer.

#780 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 03:47 PM:

Lee #777: I had that same thought. Presumably it was predestined.

#781 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 04:00 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 778... This is not your father's 21st Century

That explains why I can't find rocket boots at the nearby Target store.

#782 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 04:48 PM:

dcb, #769, I'm so sorry.

#783 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 05:14 PM:

I'd like to request everyone's prayers, good thoughts, etc. for my mother, that she may be peaceful and without pain. She has been battling cancer for just under two years, and after a swift decline starting just before Thanksgiving, we're now switching her to hospice care (later than I would have chosen, but my dad has had a very hard time with this process). She's always loved the holiday season, but I'm afraid she will not live to see this Christmas.

#784 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 05:23 PM:

dcb @769: My condolences on your loss. In some ways, being a vet makes it easier and more difficult at the same time. On one hand, you know the likely cause of death, and as her personal vet, you know there were no indications of illness. On the other hand, for me at least, I've struggled with feelings of guilt --because, as a professional, I should have known.

May your memories of Sundae console you in this time of grief.

#785 ::: SylvieG ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 05:26 PM:

dcb @769

My condolences! Especially difficult in the holiday season.

#786 ::: SylvieG ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 05:29 PM:

oliviacw @ 783:

I'm so sorry; my thoughts are with you.

#787 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 05:36 PM:

oliviacw @ 783... My best wishes to your mom and you.

#788 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 05:37 PM:

Fragano Ledgister (779): That's reassuring.

oliviacw (783): I'm sorry. My thoughts are with her and with you.

#789 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 06:26 PM:

oliviacw @ 783 Good thoughts to her and to you. Good hospice care should help to provide peace and remove pain. Still not an easy decision to make, particularly at this time of year.

Thank you all, for your kind words. Sundae has been laid to rest next to many of my family's previous cats and dogs - we lost one of the cats to oral cancer just a few months ago (she was only about 10 years old).

Ginger, you're right. I was right there. I felt I should be able to do something. But discussing it with another vet (a good small animal clinician), he thought from my description that even in an operating theatre with all the drugs and equipment there would have been nothing that could have been done. It was all over in less than 30 seconds (probably a lot less, not counting reflex breaths). But nobody had ever heard any heart murmur or anything. She was sleeping more in the last couple of weeks, but then it had turned colder - and on the other hand she was dashing up the stairs playing chase with her sister, and running around after a laser pointer, just the day before.

I keep holding on to the fact that we gave her five good years.

#790 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 06:30 PM:

Olivia: I'm very sorry to hear about your mother, and you have my best wishes and hopes that she may have a peaceful and gentle death, and still enjoy what she may of this holiday season.

#791 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 06:45 PM:

oliviacw #783: My thoughts are with you.

#792 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 07:36 PM:

oliviacw @ 783:

There's never a good time of year for that, but it's still hard right now. Thinking good thoughts.

#793 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 08:25 PM:

dcb: It's always hard to lose a pet. Suddenly must be very disorienting. I'm so sorry for your loss.

ovliacw: What a hard thing to deal with. Hospice care is wohnderful, though. It was a great help to my grandmother in the last months of her life. They even had someone come in and sing hymns with her. They were wonderful.

#794 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 08:35 PM:

oliviacw @ 783: My condolences, and I hope for a gentle passage for your mother.

#795 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 09:20 PM:

oliviacw @ 783: My sympathies -- it's never easy on anyone when the end approaches. One of my neighbors is a hospice nurse, and she is one of the nicest people I know. I hope your mother is blessed with similar good care from her hospice professionals, and that her last days are eased. In that time, may your family also be helped through this difficult transition.

#796 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 09:31 PM:

Still more from the word mines:

In the United States, President is held to a similar degree.

Han Feizi lived in China from 280-233 BC. He helped find the legalist school.

John Locke was an Oxford scholar, medical researcher and physician, political activist, economist, idealist, and stagiest for a revolutionary movement, as well as being one of the great philosophers of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

All people by nature want to accumulate power. We are naturally inquisitive and we want more then we can possibly have in a lifetime.

If men are naturally inquisitive then they are going to want everything that everyone has.

If a person commits a crime they are punished for that crime and if a candidate wins votes they are rewarded for it.

#797 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 09:38 PM:

Fragano @ 796... stagiest for a revolutionary movement

So nobody was stagier?

#798 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2009, 02:17 AM:

In #341 I wrote:

For 31 years, I have worked at a lab which operated the most energetic particle accelerator in the world.

Fermilab's Tevatron retains that title, and will until the Large Hadron Collider exceeds 980 GeV per beam.

The LHC broke the record on 30 November. Not long after, they succeeded in colliding two proton beams of 1.18 TeV each and detecting collision events.

Much more commissioning work is ahead before the LHC swings into full-blown data-taking. But they have seized the Tevatron's crown already.

#799 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2009, 02:18 AM:

In #341 I wrote:

For 31 years, I have worked at a lab which operated the most energetic particle accelerator in the world.

Fermilab's Tevatron retains that title, and will until the Large Hadron Collider exceeds 980 GeV per beam.

The LHC broke the record on 30 November. Not long after, they succeeded in colliding two proton beams of 1.18 TeV each and detecting collision events.

Much more commissioning work is ahead before the LHC swings into full-blown data-taking. But they have seized the Tevatron's crown already.

#800 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2009, 02:37 AM:

Bill Higgins @ 798...

What? No boom? There was supposed to be an Earth-shattering kaboom!

By the way, at which accelerator was it that the guide, to show how big their outfit was, launched into an impersonation of Morbius inside the Krell Machine?

#801 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2009, 06:26 AM:

Earthquake in Oklahoma City.

Magnitude 3.4, around 3:30 AM by what I've seen.

#802 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2009, 10:37 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @796 We are naturally inquisitive and we want more then we can possibly have in a lifetime.

Well, yes, of course. I want to keep reading more, learning more. So many books, so little time...

Oh. That's not what the student meant?

#803 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2009, 12:13 PM:

Does anyone here know of a [printed] rhyming dictionary in [modern] Greek? My mother in law wants to write poetry, Greek is her first and best language, and she is not internet-compatible.

#804 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2009, 02:07 PM:

OtterB #802: Sadly, no.

#805 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2009, 02:12 PM:

A few more from the word mines:


Our society lacks structure and obedience as though many teachings were engraved in.

A ruler is not bad and a bad one should not be tolerated.

No we should not reject liberalism on the basis that these men were involved with slavery and the avocation of political liberty.

Plato’s theory the “Allegory of the Cave” tells can describe some of us who are a currently a cave with no knowledge of the world around us.

Aristotle feels that democracy cannot be fair and just to the people because it is ruled by the majority in the interest of a few.

#806 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2009, 02:14 PM:

OK, I'm being creeped out. I'm watching the 2003 Peter Pan...and Olivia Williams (DeWitt on Dollhouse) is playing Mrs. Darling. She's sweet and kind and has no hidden agenda at all.

Yeah, sure. She probably wants Peter for an Active!

#807 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2009, 06:26 PM:

Whatever one might think of Berlusconi, hitting a 73 year-old man in the face with an object is not cool. Though I have to admit to smiling when I read this comment on HuffPost:

"What a peculiar choice of a weapon! A model of the Duomo? Was the attacker a Surrealist?"

#808 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2009, 06:37 PM:

Xopher @ 806... She probably wants Peter for an Active!

Or maybe she wants him to join the X-men. What? Nobody else recognized Dr. Moira McTaggart from the 3rd movie?

#809 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2009, 06:46 PM:

oliviacw, #783, I hope things go well for your family.

#810 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2009, 10:05 PM:

dcb:
Five good years is more than some people get. You did well for Sundae. Now you get to keep the memories.

oliviacw:
Sending wishes that this Very Hard Process will not be a whit harder than it has to be. Hospice is a blessing. I hope everyone in your family will benefit from their expertise.

#811 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2009, 10:44 PM:

After realizing I hadn't checked this thread in all too long, I happened to glance at the current Sidelights and Particles. And it just so happens that the ones topping each list at this moment work very well together. So I'm pausing before reading to say, "If I am ever a romance heroine, I will not Call a Rabbit a Smeerp."

#812 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 12:19 AM:

And having caught up, my condolences to dcb, and my hope for oliviacw that things will go in the best way possible for all concerned.

#813 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 12:53 AM:

Interesting trivia, btw: Erin Kissane@36 in the Peter Watts thread is my cousin. I hadn't heard from her in a couple of years and boy howdy was that weird to see her here.

#814 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 01:54 AM:

Augustine believed that because God created man, God should run the city because men are sinful and will not live forever.

That one scares me.

If a person commits a crime they are punished for that crime and if a candidate wins votes they are rewarded for it.

I think this one is on to something.

#815 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 02:37 AM:

A month or so back, I posted on my book blog about Harlequin's new digital-only imprint. This morning I find a comment on it -- burbling about how someone has just received their new Kindle and is ever so pleased with it. It looks remarkably... *canned*, especially the bit about how even the packaging is exciting.

I deduce that Amazon feels the need to pay astroturfers to pimp their shiny just before Christmas, but doesn't feel the need to pay for anything more than a very basic ebook-related keyword search. Actually reading the post to make sure the comment doesn't stick out like a sore thumb isn't included in the package.

#816 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 10:10 AM:

By the way, has anybody tried Barnes & Noble's E-book reader, the "nook"? They've been pimping it in the stores -- my first impression was that their "e-paper" (they had one on display) had pretty dubious contrast.

#817 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 10:13 AM:

This is a reminder of the possibility of a Gathering of Light at Oakland's Pacific Coat Brewing Co, this coming Saturday evening. Interested?

#818 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 10:40 AM:

Actually, David@816, I'd be interested in what ML thinks is the current cheap-and-acceptable book reader on the market. I want to be able to load my own stuff on it, don't care if it's wired, but need good battery life and readability.

Anybody have any of these things? I've been waiting for the early adopters to settle on conventional wisdom before spending any money, but I'm close to wanting to spend the money.

#819 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 11:45 AM:

One of the Penny Arcade guys just got a Nook. They'll probably have more to say about it soon.

Most of my disdain for portable ereaders has to do with the extent to which they slather on Digital Rights Manglement.

#820 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 11:51 AM:

Are romance heroines the new evil overlords?

(re the sidebar particle)

#821 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 12:04 PM:

I, for one, welcome my new overlady.

#822 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 12:06 PM:

Hopefully nobody will make fun of my wife the romance writer (also known as my wife the F/SF fan) when she talks a the local SF club's meeting.

#823 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 12:16 PM:

Pacific Coat Brewing Company? Now THAT sounds interesting...

#824 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 12:25 PM:

Janel Croft @ 823... Let's not sell them short.

#825 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 12:29 PM:

My play-hooky-from-work day very nearly went up in plasma thanks to you, O gracious hosts: jeez, TVTropes links need to come with universal blinky warning labels to protect the unobservant. That website is Tyjellian Space Crack.

#826 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 12:41 PM:

Janet Croft @ 823... Ooops. Misspelled your first name @ 824. Not doing well today. That being said, should you also be around the Bay Area on Saturday, might you be interested?

#827 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 12:59 PM:

Michael Roberts@818: on ebook readers.

I got a iPod Touch free with my new laptop in May, and have been using it as an ebook reader. I was expecting it to suck, but it is really surprisingly good. Whenever I show people the book reader (either Stanza or Kindle) the reaction is "you know, that's really not bad".

It's not as good in very strong light as the e-ink readers, and its battery lasts only for about ten hours of reading, but neither of those is a big problem for me. Even on an intercontinental place flight I don't usually spend more than ten hours reading without access to power.

I'm currently carrying about fifty books on it, some free and some purchased. When at home I still prefer books on squashed trees, but for travelling (even commuting) the iPod is more convenient.

#828 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 01:05 PM:

Serge: I have a prior commitment on Saturday, alas.

#829 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 01:11 PM:

My annual Christmas song is now available. It's a straightforward folk version of the Copper Family's "The Christmas Song" (no relation to Mel Tormé's chestnuts):

Doubtful Palace Christmas

#830 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 01:12 PM:

Tim Walters @ 828... Curses! Foiled again!

#831 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 02:15 PM:

Serge @826 -- wish I could, but I'll be hosting my own competing mid-continent party here in Norman OK that evening. Any Fluorospherians in the area are of course welcome!

#832 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 02:53 PM:

Michael Roberts @818:

The romance blog Dear Author regularly reviews and compares ebook readers -- have a skim through their eBook reader tag.

Romance blogger Teddy Pig also regularly posts about ebook readers, but is somewhat more NSFW (for a variety of reasons, starting with the ex-Marine language). Latest relevant post.

Charlie Stross of this parish occasionally posts about his toys -- his latest Gadget Patrol post waxes lyrical about the Sony PRS 300.

I like my Cybook, but it has the advantages and drawbacks of eInk devices.

#833 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 03:04 PM:

Michael Roberts @ 818

I'm still using a Psion 5mx, so I use that as an e-book reader. Some bought books, other free. None with DRM. A set of AA batteries usually lasts me about a month - less if I use it a huge amount or use the backlight much.

That's not going to help you much though, sorry.

#834 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 03:20 PM:

@817 ::: Serge This is a reminder of the possibility of a Gathering of Light at Oakland's Pacific Coat Brewing Co, this coming Saturday evening. Interested?

I could make Saturday. If there aren't very many of us, perhaps we could have dinner at Breads of India, which is very good, and much quieter than PCB. The area is stuffed with pretty darn good restaurants: Le Cheval is usually crowded. Siam Bay would be quiet, probably.

#835 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 04:07 PM:

Siriosa @ 834... So far it looks like the Gathering Light will involve just enough people to be counted on a single hand by one of George Pal's Martians. So, unless something changes while I'm driving to the Bay Area on Thursday-Friday, either of these places sound yummy. Where in the Bay Area are they exactly?

#836 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 04:30 PM:

@835 ::: Serge So, unless something changes while I'm driving to the Bay Area on Thursday-Friday, either of these places sound yummy. Where in the Bay Area are they exactly?

They're all within a block or two of PCB. Downtown Oakland has many, many fine establishments. There's a swell Ethiopian place within a mile (if we're so few, we can carpool or whatever). Korean, Thai, Indian. Just pick a cuisine.

#837 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 04:42 PM:

There's a swell Ethiopian place within a mile

Not the one on Franklin between 14th & 15th, I hope — that seems to have closed down (sadly, while the "grand opening!" banner was still up).

Unfortunately, a previous commitment on the 19th will likely keep me from attending. Fooey.

#838 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 04:44 PM:

Siriosa @ 836... "Breads of India" sounds great. I'm getting hungry just hearing the name, and not because I've only had one orange and one cup of fake coffee today. Should we aim for 6pm? Let me know and I'll make a reservation.

#839 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 04:56 PM:

Lexica @ 837... Fooey indeed.

#840 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 05:29 PM:

@837 ::: Lexica Not the [Ethiopian restaurant] on Franklin between 14th & 15th, I hope — that seems to have closed down (sadly, while the "grand opening!" banner was still up).

No, this one's across from Lakeside Park. Enssaro, 366 Grand. They're nice people, too, besides cooking like angels.

Breads of India is at Clay & 10th. Catty-corner from Le Cheval, which is next door to Siam Bay.

This is the reason I'm always depressed when I visit my family: nothing but Olive Garden and Country Kitchen as far as the eye can see.

#841 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 07:46 PM:

David Pogue reviewed the Nook in the New York Times recently. He thought Barnes and Noble rushed out something that wasn't ready.

#842 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 08:03 PM:

Following up my own query, ComputerWorld just put up an article with mixed comments about the Nook. It's apparently rootable (voids the warranty, but necessary to use with a Linux box) and has some interesting features, but is also rather sluggish in response time.

#843 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 08:36 PM:

I've actually never found TVTropes to be all that time-consuming. When someone links to them, I read the article, follow a few links, after a few minutes it all peters out. I must be missing some receptor in my brain.

#844 ::: Shinydan Howells ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 09:26 PM:

Um, feeling really dim here. Change blindness, in TNH's links? That either means I'm missing something in the video, or I'm missing something in the link. And the mouse-over says "Think" and it's late.

Feeling very stupid now. Bed.

#845 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 10:24 PM:

Wesley Osam #841: OK, after the other stuff I've read, Pogue's convinced me the Nook's "not ready for prime time". Oh, well.

#846 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2009, 11:23 PM:

Teresa:
I think maybe the "Change Blindness" particle goes to the wrong place; it seems to be the same video as the Scotland the Brave.

Also and irrelevantly, any hoped-for date on the next installment of the Sandman re-read on Tor?

#847 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 03:03 AM:

I have made my first batch of fudge for this season. The usual recipe is one 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk to 18 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips, with a dash of vanilla. For the chocolate chips, I substituted Lindt Excellence Chili Bar chocolate bars, and a dash of brandy instead of vanilla. The resulting fudge flavor is not as hot as the chocolate is on its own, but the fudge still has a noticeable zing, and a very intense, dark chocolate flavor. The dark chocolate has less cocoa butter than the chips, so the texture isn't quite perfect, but I think the trade off is just fine.

#848 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 12:17 PM:

Senate report: Online "loyalty programs" frequently scams

The government says the investigation shows that Webloyalty, Affinion, and Vertrue "trick" consumers into entering their e-mail address just before they complete purchases at sites such as Orbitz, Priceline.com, Buy.com, 1-800 Flowers, Continental Airlines, Fandango, and Classmates.com. A Web ad, which many consumers say appears to be from the retailer, offers them cash back or coupon if they key in their e-mail address.

Many of those who complained say they don't fear the ad because they aren't being asked to turn over credit-card information, according to the Senate report. But buried in the ad's fine print is notification that by entering their e-mail address, the shopper is agreeing to join a loyalty program and allowing the store to authorize marketers to charge their card each month, between $9 and $12.

I've seen some of those fake coupon ads, but never fallen for one. Online paranoia: just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you!

#849 ::: Harriet Culver ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 12:42 PM:

Somebody linked to this on www.nancynall.com:

http://​improvev​ery​where​.com/​2​0​0​9​/​1​2​/​1​4​/​g​u​e​r​r​i​l​l​a​-​h​a​n​d​b​e​l​l​-​s​t​r​i​k​e​force/

#850 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 02:59 PM:

I FINISHED my fudge making for the season.

I made, uh, six trays worth, not counting a trial batch of butterscotch.

A tray = 14" x 10" pyrex baking pan with about 1.25" of fudge.

I skipped the sugar and liquor glaze this year. There was more than enough flavor (coffee for two trays, mint for another two) in the fudge itself.

Home-shelled and toasted hazelnuts in the coffee fudge worked out really well. Only two complaints aobut shells.

#851 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 03:30 PM:

Thanks for fixing the Change Blindness link -- I was thinking that was intentional and designed to find out if people noticed it went to the wrong place!

The experiment is interesting on one level, and on another level -- imagine what percentage would have noticed if the person's race, gender, or age changed significantly? Why are some changes marked and others unmarked? That's a much more interesting question, to me. I'd want to see that experiment with those kinds of changes made. It would be interesting to see where various types of change fit on a percentage spectrum, and then to look at that in different cultural contexts. Also note that everyone who was present in that experiment was white -- does it differ when the subjects are of different races within a culture, or in different cultures?

#852 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 03:40 PM:

Siriosa... I've made a reservation with Breads of India, at 6pm on Saturday. I said there'd be four of us, but I have this feeling that this Gathering of Light will be even more Ultralight, but I'm game if you are.

#853 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 04:26 PM:

siriosa @ 840: I know where that is!

serge @ 852: 6, Saturday, if I can.

#854 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 04:27 PM:

Tom, #851: That experiment probably would have caught me, unless I happened to be keying on the guy's shirt -- they were superficially similar enough to pattern-match in the context of "clerk".

Reminds me of something that happened to me once at an SCA event. All morning long, people were coming up to me and saying things that made no sense at all. Shortly after lunch, I encountered a lady from a different barony, and she and I looked at each other and said, in almost perfect unison, "So THAT'S what's been happening!"

We didn't really look that much alike at all -- different skin tone & face shape, her eyes were brown while mine are blue -- but we were roughly the same height and build, and we both had long thick dark hair in a similar style, and we both wore the same style of glasses. That's definitely enough to engage most people's pattern-recognition systems, especially at an SCA event where people may change garb several times during the day, so clothing isn't as strong a cue as it might be elsewhere. (She and I had some fun that night, picking out the drunkest guys at the revel and bracketing them.)

My partner says it's happened to him at a con while he was wearing his name badge, when there was someone else there with a superficial similarity to him.

#855 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 04:42 PM:

D Potter @ 853... Yay! We're back to one full-fingered Martian hand!

#856 ::: Harriet Culver ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 04:47 PM:

As an exercise in learning the HTML tags permitted hereabouts, and to make it easier for Fluorospherans to check out a very amusing (IMHO) video, I'm going to repeat the link I posted in plain text earlier:

Guerilla Hand-Bell Ringers Flash Mob

#857 ::: Harriet Culver ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 04:51 PM:

Oh damn -- it's not there any more. Apologies twice over! (slinking away, red-faced, and wishing one could delete entries *g*)

#860 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 08:36 PM:

While watching "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog", I never noticed the bit with the soup-server at the start of part 2 until it was explicitly pointed out in a YouTube video. (I actually did notice him not serving the soup at the end, but not that it was a different person!) So I can well believe the "Change Blindness" particle, I suspect I'd be among that 75%.

#861 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 12:13 AM:

Harriet Culver @ 858: The Guerrilla Handbell Strikeforce was worth the wait.

Stefan Jones @ 850: Sounds wonderful!

#862 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 01:04 AM:

On change blindness, I tend to privilege 'this is the person I am talking to' and 'this is the person in X situation' over 'this is the person with X face'. It took me about a year to realize that Dorothy in my fourth-period class and Elizabeth in my seventh period were not just me being really, really bad with names. About the same time to put Mitchell-san and Kay from Organic lab together into one person. Context matters quite a lot.

On the other hand, I once spent an afternoon volunteering at a local museum with a woman who reminded me so strongly of a friend that every time I looked at her, I aimed two or three inches too high. My friend is pretty tall, and this woman was not.

#863 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 08:03 AM:

On the Rube Goldberg particle: More videos here.

#864 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 08:28 AM:

Pendrfit @ 863... And here is the Mythbuster's own Rube Goldberg contraption.

#865 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 08:34 AM:

Janet Croft #859: Did he take $8,000,000 with him?

#866 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 10:55 AM:

On the subject of those "pass the damned bill already" particles, I'll say this: sure, go ahead and pass the bill, but I don't want to hear any bragging from anybody. This is an ignominious defeat for everyone but Joe Lieberman, and happy talk to the contrary can't change that.

#867 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 11:21 AM:

One of the recent Particles isn't showing up, for some reason. (Currently second from the top; looking at the source code, it's something to do with Google Books.)

#868 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 11:34 AM:

My person-change-blindness story (which I think I already told here, shortly after it happened):

The film Cloverfield begins with a series of disjointed scenes, each involving a guy and his girlfriend doing stuff together; there are actually two pairs of characters involved, but I didn't realise this until about ten minutes in, the first time both guys are in the same room together. Up to that point, I thought it was all the same guy and the same girl.

From that point, I was able to keep track of which character was which - until near the end of the film, when one of the girls leaves the group; apparently I still couldn't tell them apart, because I got completely vice versa about which one was leaving and which staying - which made some of the subsequent events rather puzzling...

#870 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 11:48 AM:

Shoot, I thought I posted something new and I see it's a Particle. :-)

#871 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 11:50 AM:

#806 ::: Xopher and #808 ::: Serge:

I've not seen any of Dollhouse, nor the third X-Men movie, so when I next watch Peter Pan my reaction is more likely to be "Olivia Williams playing a woman with connections to classic literature again?"

This is because I have recently seen her as Jane Austen in Miss Austen Regrets, and before that as Agatha Christie in A Life in Pictures. (The latter must have been quite some time before, come to think, because it's the main reason why, when Doctor Who started foreshadowing an Agatha Christie episode, I immediately knew which bit of her life it was going to feature.)

#872 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 03:54 PM:

On the change-blindness, I remember reading about a similar study that had people stopping someone on a college campus to ask for directions to a particular building. Confederates walked between the two people carrying a large sheet of plywood; the original questioner walked away behind the plywood and a replacement was there waiting for an answer when the plywood was gone. Many people didn't notice that, either.

#873 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 07:15 PM:

This open thread is at the bottom of the page; may we have a new one?

#874 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 08:35 PM:

Serge @838

Brad and I may be attending Eating Heavily.

#875 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 10:29 PM:

DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT.

I just picked up the wrong bag of chocolate and made a huge quantity of ganache WITH GLUCOSE...with sugar-free chocolate. Dammit. It's no good for sugar-free eating because of the glucose, and no good for sugar eating because of the maltitol in the sugar-free chocolate.

And I just spent the whole evening working this shit, and it's GARBAGE. :-(

#876 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 10:39 PM:

Mafia (the game) is big in China. Who knew?

#877 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 10:47 PM:

j h woodyatt @ 866:

Since Sen Lieberman has seen fit to trash the Medicare expansion that would have made me eligible next year instead of 2011, I think I'll send him a bill for the COBRA payments I'm going to have to make. I think that's a reasonable "compromise", don't you?

#878 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 11:24 PM:

John Chu #876: Color me unsurprised... secret police, Mafia, same difference.

#879 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 11:44 PM:

Good article on one of the problems with the insurance system -- innovation gap.


(apologies if this came from making light somewhere, I've lost track of what opened that tab)

#880 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 12:28 AM:

Diatryma, Paul A.:
What you describe sounds to me completely different, and more like my experience with some degree of prosopagnosia. (Yes, there's a name for it.)

Mine is sufficiently bad that I worry sometimes that I will have difficulty being able to recognize family members or long-time friends if it's been a while since I've seen them, and I have tremendous difficulty recognizing anybody who I don't know that well. (Except recognizing them by context, as you describe.) It can result in some embarassing situations, if people misinterpret it as intentionally ignoring them.

I suspect that's a wholly different matter than the disattention shown in the change-blindness video. The change blindness experiment is more akin to the selective attentional blindness demonstrated in the 'Gorillas in our Midst' experiment. (But few people would be inclined to attribute the latter to a personal difficulty in noticing gorillas!)

#881 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 01:02 AM:

Yes, Bruce... and Nate Silver should ask me what I think about the bill after I see what comes out of conference. The pirates aren't done cutting it to ribbons yet, and I expect its "generous" subsidies will probably be cut back further before the Senate is asked to send it to the President.

At this point, I think the HCR effort is a net loss. Killing the bill won't help, but neither really will passing it, if you ask me. It will provide meager help to some ordinarily powerless people, but only for a few years— because those people don't vote and the political value of passing the bill isn't enough to give activists much enthusiasm for motivating election campaign efforts. Furthermore, the GOP will— inevitably— eviscerate the law when they're back in power and fiscally dimwitted Democrats will gleefully help them do it. The deficit! Don't you know, something has to be cut from the budget if we're going to keep funding the wars overseas!

I don't believe this bill is a sufficient foundation on which to build the reforms that really need to be made. There will never be a public option or a Medicare buy-in, and single-payer is now even more fantastical than it ever was before— the precedent is written in stone. And if that isn't bad enough, wait until you see what the wingnut puke funnel does with it when the effects of the excise tax starts hitting the upper middle-class and petite bourgeois pinheads in the independent reaches of the electorate. Lastly, I'm doubtful that killing the bill and trying again immediately is likely to produce a better reform package, especially given Obama's stated preference to move on and leave future HCR efforts to future White Houses.

In summary: it seems to me that the HCR effort is already dead; it just hasn't stopped thrashing and settled down to room temperature yet. I don't particularly care to stay and watch the lights go out, and imploring me to rally around this crap sandwich as if it represents the best we can do is demoralizing and off-putting. Yes, pass the bill, but please— STFU about it.

Call me when "Yes, we can!" isn't an empty slogan anymore, that's what I say.

#882 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 02:03 AM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) #877: Sen Lieberman has seen fit to trash the Medicare expansion that would have made me eligible next year instead of 2011

If he had a discernible conscience, he would care about the number of people who will die as a result of his insane obstructionism. Bill him for all of the funerals; community service for his crime of conspiracy to commit negligent homicide should be that he has to attend as many of those funerals as possible and apologize in person to the mourners.

#883 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 02:10 AM:

j h woodyatt #881: Yes, pass the bill, but please— STFU about it.

I don't think I'm going to be able to do that.

#884 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 02:22 AM:

Earl @ #882, but, but, Joe is a highly moral man! Don't you recall his speech criticizing Bill Clinton in 1998?

I have come to this floor many times in the past to speak with my colleagues about my concerns, which are widely-held in this chamber and throughout the nation, that our society's standards are sinking, that our common moral code is deteriorating, and that our public life is coarsening. In doing so, I have specifically criticized leaders of the entertainment industry for the way they have used the enormous influence they wield to weaken our common values. And now because the President commands at least as much attention and exerts at least as much influence on our collective consciousness as any Hollywood celebrity or television show, it is hard to ignore the impact of the misconduct the President has admitted to on our children, our culture and our national character.

Not to mention his flip-flop on Medicare buy-in for 55-year-olds from his stand three months ago in an interview with the Connecticut Post.

#885 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 04:01 AM:

In deference to our hosts, at least one of whom disagrees strongly with me, I will only make a brief comment on the Senate "Health" "Care" "Plan" and direct any further discussion to this post on my own blog. On the average, I believe, the Senate health care proposal will be at least a temporary improvement. But what people like Nate Silver, Ezra Klein, and even Paul Krugman miss is that, in the extreme, some people are going to be required to spend money they don't have, and those people are going to be working poor and middle-class up to household incomes of perhaps $50,000/year.

#886 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 07:18 AM:

#880 ::: Clifton Royston:

I've heard of prosopagnosia, I know a couple of people who have it, and I'm pretty sure I don't. My experience with the movie was interesting precisely because that sort of thing *doesn't* usually happen to me. I'm inclined to ascribe it to particular qualities of that one movie, starting with the disjointedness of the early scenes which I already mentioned.

#887 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 07:44 AM:

I've developed the habit of looking more closely, because my pattern matching is so horrible... now I learn that that's normal. Oy.

#888 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 10:02 AM:

I claim no deep expertise on health care reform, and my immediate personal interests here are mainly about not wrecking the private system that we use through insurance. But I think it's worth remembering that a sufficiently crapped-up healthcare reform scheme may poison the next decade's worth of desire to do something better.

I'll admit that I have, at this point, very little faith in the good intentions or competence of anyone working on this problem. My not-too-informed take is that the well-being of large insurance companies and large pharmaceutical companies was a much larger concern than the well-being of currently-uninsured citizens. That makes sense from the persective of lobbyists and campaign contributions and advertisements, but it doesn't leave me feeling especially like we're getting a great victory.

But I'll admit I may be wrong. And perhaps we're better off with the crapped-up reform we're getting than with nothing.

#889 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 10:17 AM:

The outsize influence of corporate America and the general role of money in politics all but guaranteed a mess. People vote, but money votes more often.

#890 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 11:43 AM:

Paul A. @ #871: Olivia Williams also played Jane Fairfax in a version of Emma.

#891 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 12:30 PM:

Earl @883: "I don't think I'm going to be able to do that."

I'm perfectly happy to indulge the friends and acquaintances in my social network (out to a couple hops).

My bitter recriminations are primarily aimed at people like my two-faced congresswoman, who spent the better part of the summer trying to convince me that she was fighting tooth and nail for "a robust public option" while simultaneously signaling quite openly that she would capitulate in the clutch if the Blue Dogs merely bared their teeth at her. She's going to vote for this bill when it comes out of conference a lot weaker than the House bill, despite promising a few months ago that she would hold the line and insist on a robust public option in the final bill, and that's fine... but if tries to bullshit me that this is a good bill, ad she's proud of her vote for it, then she shouldn't expect me to answer the call when she's trying to raise campaign funds next year.

And if there's a credible primary challenge, which is possible in my district, I'll cheer when she has to fight to keep her seat.

#892 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 12:41 PM:

Paul A. @868 said: The film Cloverfield begins with a series of disjointed scenes, each involving a guy and his girlfriend doing stuff together; there are actually two pairs of characters involved, but I didn't realise this until about ten minutes in, the first time both guys are in the same room together. Up to that point, I thought it was all the same guy and the same girl.

I had this problem with Polanski's "Romeo and Juliet" when my high school English teacher showed it to us in an effort to make Shakespeare 'relevant' -- about 1/3 of the cast looked identical to me. I'd READ the play, and I still couldn't follow the movie.

It also poisoned me somewhat on Robert Sean Leonard. When I saw Branagh's "Much Ado About Nothing", both RSL's character and his girlfriend looked, aside from the clothing, basically identical to me -- round, pale faces with dark hair and matched expressions of pained anguish all the time (except when they were woobie!in-love expressions).

#893 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 12:57 PM:

Re: the Sidelight on "What English sounds like to non-English speakers" -- that's actually an excellent job -- it really does sound like when I can't make out the words to a song (all too common, as I'm hearing-impaired).

#894 ::: Scott Wyngarden ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 01:24 PM:

David Harmon @ 893

I listened to it as both primary focus and background clutter, and I felt close to making sense of it each way. Well done indeed.

#895 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 01:25 PM:

Reminds me of the mock-Italian solo on Abbey Road:

questo abrigado tanto mucho cake and eat it carousel

#896 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 03:24 PM:

To help fulfill your cuteness quotient for the day: badger takes a stroll through Oslo.

#897 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 03:36 PM:

Update on the friend I posted about earlier who has 18 weeks to get all better or else. (Background: Has been suffering from a weird constellation of symptoms without a definitive diagnosis for years; finally pinned it down; she lives in Alaska, the specialist in this rare condition is in Wisconsin, the treatment requires not being at work for a lengthy and unspecified time; her employer is legally permitted to fire her if she isn't back on the job after 18 weeks; the 18-week "grace" period expires in late February or early March; after that, her ailment is going to be a preexisting condition, therefore uninsurable, therefore the family will have to pay out of pocket for everything; her family is "too rich" for Social Security disability or any other financial aid to kick in; the steps from there to a medical bankruptcy are few and clear; so it goes in the USA.)

She's back home, but the doctors who can assist her in following the specialist's treatment plan are all on the mainland, several hundred unreimbursable dollars away by air. She just flew over to have her meds adjusted because ATM the cure appears to be worse than the disease. The clock is still running.

#898 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 04:08 PM:

KeithS @896 - cool!

Today I was very privileged to see (and not run over!) a pheasant that ran in front of my car. I've never seen one in the area before. It was magnificent. The whole moment was sort of in slow motion, while I was trying to deal with all the input about the traffic situation. It was moving from the side of the street with houses to the other side, which at that point is mostly plowed fields to the Rhine, a hundred meters away.

#899 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 05:24 PM:

I just saw the Olympic torch run past, at the intersection of Yonge and Ranleigh streets, in Toronto. My infant daughter was asleep, and my camera batteries got too cold (did I mention, Toronto? At night?) and refuse to let me take a picture of the torchbearer herself, but I saw it.

It was pretty cool.

#900 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 05:26 PM:

Oh lord, I just discovered that I have 2 vehement anti-vaccinators at work. Won't listen to reason, of course. I'm ducking out of the convo in disgust.

#901 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 05:27 PM:

Oh lord, I just discovered that I have 2 vehement anti-vaccinators at work. Won't listen to reason, of course. I'm ducking out of the convo in disgust.

#902 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 06:14 PM:

Jenny Islander, #897, Social Security Disability doesn't use an income test. Maybe you're thinking of Supplemental Security Income?

#903 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 06:24 PM:

Re the Chinese Mafia particle: Note that the articles and blog posts that that entry links to are from 2005, 2006. That's when I first heard about Mafia as a phenomenon in China.

#904 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 07:06 PM:

Change blindness: No news here. All humans look alike.

I finally figured out about fifteen years ago that I don't recognize people by how they look. Rather, I key off how they move and how they sound. Until I've been around them enough to peg a few characteristic mannerisms, I'm hopeless.

(Why, I've successfully confused a tall, skinny white woman with a short muscular black woman.)

Took me forever to figure out that Tobey Maguire and Topher Grace were two different people.

#905 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 08:18 PM:

Agreed that the "What English sounds like" particle was a cool experience, one I never imagined having. The singer did a really good job with American vowels -- although, I did notice that one important consonant was conspicuous by its absence, both voiced and unvoiced forms. I had wondered if that consonant would make it in, so I listened for it. My linguistics fu is not strong enough to have noticed any other absences. Overall very neat, though, and thanks to Patrick for linking it.

#906 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2009, 08:37 PM:

Marilee #902: Argh, yes.

Is there a name for the persistent tendency to confuse nouns that contain similar sounds and are in the same general class? For me it's artichokes-asparagus-apricots, Judy Collins-Joan Baez, and apparently SSD and SSI.

#908 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 08:00 AM:

I notice from the Particles that our host feels kind of strongly about something. An entry on its own, perhaps?

#909 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 08:01 AM:

I notice from the Particles that our host feels kind of strongly about something. An entry on its own, perhaps?

#910 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 08:06 AM:

(I only hit "return" once. Must be Windows' fault. )

#911 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 10:57 AM:

Jon Meltzer #910: Nah, the double-posting is a known problem with Making Light's software. It's been happening for years. Since they clearly can't find the source problem, I wish they'd just slap a back-end filter on to squelch it.

#912 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 12:07 PM:

j h woodyatt (#866) --

After the hatchet-job that was done in the First Great Insurance Giveaway (AKA "medicare reform"), this current pair of bills (House/senate)is actuallly better than it could have been.

This does not mean I'm happy. Quite the contrary. I wonder if the people in CT who elected Lieberman will face up to being scammed by the *******.

The same for that idiot that is threatening to hold it up because he wants to pass a law that will (effectivly) outlaw abortion for the vast majority of american women (the very real fear is that, if the insurance companies can get away with banning provisions for paying for abortion, the plans offered for private payors will either not have the procedure offered as a covered procedure at all, or the premiums charged will be more than the cost of the procedure.)

But, after seeing some of what happens to people in health crises, I really think we need something. ANd even a "bad" something is better than nothing at all, if it does not actively negativly impact the overwhelming majority of people.

And, BY G/d, I really hate having to view this that way.

And the majority of those who want to shill for the insurance and pharma industries call themselves "christian." And don't really give a whit about the people in this nation who they should be helping.

The very people that the New Testament *actively* says they need to be providing real aid for. Not just those for whom it is *convienent* for them to provide aid for. ANd the level of aid that is, itself, "convienent."

It's a wonder we don't have even more crabby old liberals who say "a pox on both their houses" and retire to the wilderness in disgust

#913 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 12:18 PM:

Apologies as usual for having to interrupt the conversation, but a new open thread has just gone up.

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