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March 19, 2011

Open thread 155
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 06:05 PM *

When signaling “three” with her hands, my daughter holds up her thumb, index finger, and middle finger. Her pinky and ring fingers stay down. My son holds his index finger down with his thumb, leaving the pinky, ring and middle fingers to make up the number. My husband and I both use our thumbs to keep our little fingers down, showing the index, middle, and ring fingers.

I do not know how we have ended up with this difference in the household.

In an unrelated, but thematically similar matter, who here considers “socks” to be a sub-category of “underwear”† and who considers them separate, parallel classes of garment? It has been a matter of Much Contention in this family in the past.


† obRedHotChiliPeppers aside

back to Open thread 154

Comments on Open thread 155:
#1 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 06:13 PM:

In America, at least, seeing someone's socks or exposing one's own or purpose or accidentally is not a matter of embarrassment; therefore, not underwear. However, they live in the underwear drawer when not being worn; therefore, underwear. On the gripping hand, young ladies under a certain age consider bra straps, at least, to be outerwear, thus weakening the "not underwear" argument. On the fourth hand, they go under shoes and pants.

Now I'm confused. I think I'll go cook instead.

#2 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 06:19 PM:

Socks are not underwear. They do however, vanish into the Sock Maw, but only one of the pair at a time.

#3 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 06:29 PM:

Socks are socks. They are not underwear, or we would simply say 'underwear' rather than 'socks and underwear'. Tights are not underwear either.

I hold my pinkie down with my thumb. I think ASL does it differently, but I don't remember how.

When I did Impromptu Speech, it was interesting how quickly I picked up on time signals. The main ones are obvious-- verbal, "Thirty seconds," "One minute," et cetera in the prep time, then counting down five minutes left, four, et cetera in the speech time, but thirty seconds, fifteen, zero, and Congratulations, You Are Over weren't explained to me... yet I knew them.

#4 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 06:37 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft @ 1:

I keep a separate Sock Drawer because I want to be sure they have a well-known spot in the mutiverse to home in on from the distant dimension the dryer sends them to.

#5 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 06:38 PM:

On a similar theme:

In the US, `mints' can be flavored with cinnamon or wintergreen or even liquorice. In Australia (and England, I believe), mints are mint-flavoured.

On the other hand, the US is much less permissive about `pumpkin'. Butternut squash are not pumpkins in the US, and even pumpkin-shaped winter squash with skins that aren't orange don't seem to be regarded as pumpkins (or at best as borderline cases). This disqualifies essentially all Australian pumpkins.

To be fair, there is a theory even in Australia that the 'Queensland Blue' cultivar is not of pure pumpkin ancestry but is actually a hybrid between pumpkins and crocodiles. That would explain why you need an axe to get through the skin.

#6 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 06:39 PM:

Socks are not underwear. When I don't have a separate drawer available, they go in the same drawer as the underwear, but so do pajamas and bathing suits, which are also demonstrably Not Underwear. (Gloves and hats sometimes go in that drawer too, though they're more likely to go in the sock drawer if the sock drawer is separate.)

T-shirt divisions are a whole different matter, of course.

#7 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 06:39 PM:

Socks have their own drawer and their own laws of physics, ergo they are not underwear. Besides, my son and I fight over the socks, which we would not do for underwear. He would be horrified by the thought of wearing the same underwear...

#8 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 06:42 PM:

Socks are something I deliberately show to strangers in public; therefore, they aren't underwear. If I show my socks to children, people might think I'm weird*, but they don't call the cops. Again, not underwear.

My counting changes according to my language. In English, I do it like you; in French, I do it like your daughter. How do Dutch people count on their fingers?

*except I'm not really. Socks with robots on are a perfectly rational cause for celebration.

#9 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 06:45 PM:

Growing up in Middle America, my index finger was always one and my thumb kept the curled down fingers company and only came out when signaling five. Then I lived in Germany for three years and learned that I needed to hold up my thumb for one. (The first couple of years after I moved back to the US, I probably confused people by giving them a thumbs up when they asked me how many I wanted.) I can see your daughter's pattern occurring if the thumb is one.

As for socks, I thought they were underwear, but now I'm not sure.

#10 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 06:49 PM:

I have a separate drawer for socks, but keep my undies and my jammies/nighties together. I have a LOT of socks and somewhat fewer undies, jammies and nighties. That's why.

In other news, it's American Crossword Puzzle Tournament time again. Out of 655 contestants so far, through 6 out of the 7 puzzles, my brother is ranked 169, I'm 214, and my mother, who will turn 84 on Tuesday, is 609 - her best ranking in years! Go Ma!

Dan Feyer, the defending champion, is ahead again this year. Read about him and watch him solve a Saturday New York Times puzzle in 5 1/2 minutes here. I can't finish a Monday puzzle in 5 1/2 minutes, much less a Saturday!

#11 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 06:50 PM:

They're a DESSERT TOPPING, you COW!!

Oh, sorry. Must have dropped off there.

I'm somewhat amused that DC Comics had to shut off comments at their blog because of the unendingly contentious issue of whether Superman can run faster than The Flash.

#12 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 07:03 PM:

Socks aren't underwear, they're just socks. Pantyhose (and most tights) partake of both the sock and the underwear nature. Knee-high nylons are more like socks, though not completely. Bras are definitely underwear -- unless they're heavyweight sports-bra T-backs, which can be worn visibly in public. The letting-your-bra-straps-show thing is akin to letting your lacy bra edge peek out at your cleavage.

My partner agrees that socks are not underwear. He says that for men, "underwear" means underpants only -- even an undershirt (which is really just a lightweight white cotton T-shirt) can be worn visibly in public.

thomas, #5: Things labeled "mints" that have a not-mint primary flavor do, however, frequently include mint as a secondary flavor. As I don't find mint to mix well with either cinnamon or anise, this has tripped me up on more than one occasion.

I consider wintergreen to be at least an honorary mint. :-)

#13 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 07:11 PM:

Ooh, socks with robots on! If only I didn't despise stranded knitting. Then again, there was a time when I didn't think much of sock knitting either.

Socks are different from underwear. You can wear them around the house without anything covering them up, even if you have company over, and they aren't designed to cover anything of mainstream sexiness. And they have their own drawer in our dresser. (If only because my husband was kind enough to cram all his socks and underwear into one drawer so mine could be separated.) (Wait, does this mean that my socks aren't underwear, but my husband's are?)

I was once given "mints" that were actually flavored with lavender. Not OK. Not OK at all.

#14 ::: Adam Rice ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 07:25 PM:

You've seen Inglorious Basterds, right (the relevant scene). As someone who is interested in language, I find that movie especially worthwhile.

#15 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 07:31 PM:

"Socks: Underwear, or Not?"

Caused some consernation amongst the guinea pigs.

I would say that socks are underwear in the way that cheetahs are cats.

An even tougher call: panyhose? It could be that it's a spectrum. Confusing things further: garters are indisputably underwear.

Nancy C. Mittens @2: Socks ... do however, vanish into the Sock Maw, but only one of the pair at a time.

This is one case where it's handy to have ferrets in the house. At least you know where to look for them.

thomas @5: ...before they get through your skin? Difinitive test of pumpkinness: can it be made into a jack'o'lantern? (I was going to suggest the pie test, but by that measure sweet potatoes are then pumpkins.)

#16 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 07:32 PM:

I tend to group them: "I need to wash my socks and underwear." Note that 'underwear' alone doesn't cover them; I have to mention both. Therefore they're not the same thing, at least in my mind.

#17 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 07:39 PM:

@14: Oh yes. Now I remember why I don't watch Tarantino. For those of similar bent, stop at the 4:20 mark.

#18 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 08:09 PM:

Socks are underwear from a layering perspective, but not a social-armor perspective.

Same thing with t-shirts. Socks are just slightly less underwearish than undershirts, rather a lot less than boxers/briefs/panties.

Social armor: My bathrobe covers more than plenty of street-appropriate outfits. I still don't greet strangers in it, because it's very poor social armor.

#19 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 08:13 PM:

I mostly don't call socks "underwear," but I have one drawer for socks, underpants, and bras, and I refer to it as the underwear drawer. And when I'm packing for a trip, I treat socks and underwear similarly, in terms of tossing them in corners of my bag, and in not thinking much about what goes together. Pants and shirts need to be visually compatible, at least loosely (navy blue or black pants will go with almost anything, as will white shirts).

Speaking of compatibility, I am now getting used to a Mac, for the first time since the years started with a "1". My PC died, and Andy had this Mac laptop he'd gotten to do development on, but wasn't actually using, and I needed a machine. And it has Unix under the hood (my Unix knowledge is rusty, but I know about what I'm doing). I'm still getting used to the new machine, and I will need to get a drive enclosure to install my old hard drives and thus files, but I like it enough that I'm getting that, not a replacement motherboard for the PC. It's going more smoothly than I'd expected.

#20 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 08:13 PM:

Socks aren't underwear, because I make socks, but I don't make underwear. (Well, not usually, anyway. Exceptions for things like petticoats and corsets, perhaps.)

#21 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 08:18 PM:

Socks are socks, not underwear. Pantyhose are sort of underwearish, but I wear underpants with pantyhose, and following the theme of washing "socks and underwear," I would say washing "underwear and panythose," though I would not actually wash them together unless I was hand-washing the panties along with the hose.

From observations of the teenager: Camisoles, also known as spaghetti strap tops, are both underwear--worn under sweaters or other tops which completely conceal the cami--but are also worn fully or partially exposed, as tops on their own or under unbuttoned shirts. Bra straps can be visible, when worn with camisoles or wide-necked tops--but the bra itself cannot be.

#22 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 08:35 PM:

Nancy C Mittens @ 3... Lost socks can be found again in Wong's Lost & Found Emporium.

#23 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 08:49 PM:

TexAnne @ 8... I'll have to take a closer look at your ankles, next time we meet. :-)

#24 ::: Mark J. Reed ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 09:06 PM:

Diatryma@3: yes, the ASL "three" is thumb and first two fingers; first three fingers with no thumb is how you sign "six". Most non-signing Americans sign three that way, though, which was a plot point in "Inglourious Basterds".

#25 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 09:07 PM:

Serge, 23: I'll try to remember to wear the robot socks, then.

Platypus, serpentine, murnival, vortex. Xopher has expressed a slight preference for knowing where we are. Therefore, a status report. As you may know, all 1000 cranes have been promised. I have 437 cranes right now; more have been mailed, and will probably arrive next week sometime. If you haven't finished folding, or haven't made it to the post office yet, fear not. There's no deadline, and we all know that life gets in the way sometimes. If you need to stop for any reason, email me--I lost count and made some extras, and several people have offered to make more if needed. If you've finished folding but can't face stringing, send them to me unstrung; it turns out that I like stringing cranes even better than folding them. If you're just moving slowly, it's OK, take your time. "The more the merrier" is a true statement, especially in a case like this.

#26 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 09:11 PM:

Socks are in the same category as undershirts. Socks and undershirts and underpants go in the underwear drawer (along with handkerchiefs!). However, if I refer to "underwear" or, more to the point, "lack of clean underwear", that's specifically underpants. Which I guess would make them underwear-not-Underwear.

#27 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 09:14 PM:

Socks are not, conceptually, underwear for me. It took me some time to work out why not. Underwear is something I put on first. Socks are something I normally put on almost last. They're an optional part of getting dressed.

As far as "social armor" it seems to require two pieces of clothing for me. There's a category for me of "not really dressed but OK to be seen" - as for example quiet early mornings when there are guests in the house. Underwear and jeans, or underwear and t-shirt, puts me into this category, while boxer shorts alone do not. (Oddly, a bathing suit by itself is also insufficient social armor. Bathing suit + pool of water is, though.) I haven't yet done the House-Elf experiment and wandered around in one glove and a sweatband or something.

#28 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 09:14 PM:

Devin @ 18

I don't have much time for commenting lately, but I must break my fast to say this: your concept of "Social Armor" is great, and makes SO MUCH SENSE.

That's why a girl wears those spike heels! They may be a -6 Dex but they grant a situational +14 Social AC. My god, you've given me a new stat with which to evaluate my wardrobe. All of fashion makes sense to me now! I may not have slept in twenty hours, that doesn't make you any less of a genius.

Social Armor. Can I steal this concept? Or at least borrow it? This may seem like less of a revelation when I finally sleep, but, for now, hurrah! I'm going to have dreams about Couturemancers, I just know it.

#29 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 09:17 PM:

Platypus, serpentine, murnival, vortex.

I am working on my third 20, and waiting for Mary Aileen's paper to arrive. Did you (TexAnne) count Mary Aileen's folding in the thousand, or will they be extra?

#30 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 09:19 PM:

Nylons are extra-secure, full-coverage socks. Socks (and therefore by definition nylons) are not underwear.

And I'm agreed that bra-straps may show, often as a purely practical matter, whereas one's bra-cups should be concealed unless one is wearing a one-piece sports bra. (I note that in my experience, the more well-endowed one is, the harder it gets to ensure concealment at all times. Personally, I've given up on straps, in favor of revealing the least possible decolletage.)

I'm left wondering, however, why bra straps are considered a more relevant concern than sagging, in blurring the line between under- and outer-wear?

#31 ::: Mark J. Reed ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 09:26 PM:

Also, socks are definitely not underwear. They go in their own separate drawer.

#32 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 09:27 PM:

Nancy, 29: Mary Aileen's are most definitely part of the thousand.

#33 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 09:34 PM:

Buried my brother-in-law yesterday.

The day before that, Thursday, got the news my stepdad Tom had passed away. Not as much of a shock as Greg's unexpected passing; Tom had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and given six months, about five and a half months ago. Still...

And, nowhere near as personal, the news of Mike Glicksohn's death saddens me too. I always envied Mike's social ease, which seemed to come as naturally to him as social awkwardness does to most other sf fans.

This getting old stuff is... wearying.

#34 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 09:55 PM:

TexAnne @ 25... Do the robosocks observe the Three Laws, the first of which says they can't stand by and let humans come to yarn?

#35 ::: thanate ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 10:03 PM:

I agree with the major vote here that socks are not underwear, although for the most part they share the same or neighboring drawers. My socks show a tendency to move out and try to colonize other drawers as well, which the underwear doesn't share. (well, unless you count the rag box.)

thomas @5: I now regret not having included part-crocodilian squash in my seed order, although I suppose not growing anything I need a hammer and a sturdy corner to get into is probably just as well. I tried that method once with a particularly stubborn coconut, and it went badly.

#36 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 10:18 PM:

Bruce Arthurs #33: My condolences!

#37 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 10:20 PM:

Socks are definitely notUnderwear. I can't knit underwear (no one would see it!) but I can knit socks.

There is a relationship of some sort through pantyhose. These must be a hybrid that can function as underwear OR socks*, as seen from the name. Panty: a type of women's underwear. Hose: a word for socks that is considered archaic by a much larger segment of the general public than by the commentariat here. Thus, pantyhose can be underwear, socks, or both at once.

*That's a logical OR, which is not exclusive.

Platypus, serpentine, murnival, vortex

I've got 30 cranes strung, and a bag found to keep them tidy in their shipping box. Due to life insisting upon interfering, said box has not been found yet. But I should be able to find one tomorrow, and ship on Monday.

#38 ::: Claire ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 10:26 PM:

@JM #13

"they aren't designed to cover anything of mainstream sexiness"

Unless you're doing Victoriana, I assume... My word, she's showing her ankles! The shameless hussy! *g*

#39 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 10:34 PM:

Doesn't Teresa have a birthday coming up? Like, Monday?

HB2U, Teresa.

Oh, and yeah: socks are socks. Underwear is (are?) underwear. I join the majority.

#40 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 10:37 PM:

Legend has it that a vegetarian co-op at my college had meetings where it couldn't come to a consensus about whether yeast was a plant or an animal.

#41 ::: Dragonet2 ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 10:44 PM:

People don't give you gifts of underwear. People (esp. knitting people) give you gifts of socks.

A dear, knitting friend in our monthly poly luncheon group gave my hubby a pair of "Pi" socks last month (the stripes, starting with one of the socks, count out Pi to something like 14 digits..... )

And this month gave him a pair of socks with a very cunning diamond pattern/texture that she made with all the odds and ends of yarn she had. In different colors. Those who have witnessed his sartorial preference for color should know that the second pair of socks was the most esteemed, though he very much appreciates both pairs.

#42 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 11:11 PM:

You get an entirely different idea when you hear about a young lady who isn't wearing socks than you do when you hear about a young lady who isn't wearing undies.

#43 ::: rah ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 11:19 PM:

A contrasting view: my underwear lives in the sock box (an office paper box on the floor of the closet) in which the cat likes to sleep.

#44 ::: NICOLE FITZHUGH ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 11:37 PM:

OT book recommendations:
I am in search of new authors of mysteries. I find that I can no longer tolerate graphic violence in fiction, which many mysteries these days seem to include. I'd prefer good characters over good "who-dunnit-ness" (ie don't care so much about picking up all the clues to solve the mystery.) Any suggestions? I'm also going to be getting these from the library in printed form so older books would be fine.

#45 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 11:43 PM:

NICOLE FITZHUGH @44: Have you tried the Benjamin January series, by Barbara Hambly? It starts with A Free Man of Color. Excellent historical mysteries set in New Orleans. There's certainly violence to be found, but as I recall it largely wasn't all that graphical. Certainly not the type that gets lovingly described at length in an attempt to squick.

#46 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2011, 11:46 PM:

Another vote for socks being functionally underwear. A layer for sopping up sweat and preventing chafing.

Socially, quite different.

Can I bitch here about how damned cheaply made undershirts and underpants are these days?

I use a warm wash / cold rinse, with modest amounts of detergent. Damn things develop holes within a few washes and are ready for the rag pile in a year or so.

I sometimes feel like sending the dryer lint back to China for re-use.

#47 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 12:02 AM:

NICOLE FITZHUGH #44

Donna Leon's mysteries set in Venice are very good both for character and for sense of place [I don't know if the Venetian stuff is accurate, but at least it has artistic verisimilitude].

Sarah Caudwell's four books, especially the first two: Thus was Adonis Murdered and The Shortest Way to Hades. Jo Walton wrote about them over at tor.com recently. Light and funny.

Not, I think, available outside Australasia, but Kerry Greenwood has two good series. One is set in the 1920s, one is present day. Also fairly light, but less so than the Caudwell.

Batya Gur's books, set in Jerusalem, especially the first two: Saturday Morning Murder and Literary Murder. I just found out from Wikipedia that she died in 2005; the NY Times obituary is quoted as saying "less about the death of the body than...sustained, thoughtful explorations of the life of the mind.", which I think is spot on.

#48 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 12:13 AM:

NICOLE FITZHUGH #44:

PS: The two Kerry Greenwood series have web sites including extracts from the books. The lemon and lentil soup recipe is also excellent.

#49 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 12:23 AM:

For Superman vs. Flash racing tips, a lot would depend on the conditions under which the race is held and the length of the race.

Advantage Superman: airless moon, high-gravity planet, long race (for example, fifty thousand circumnavigations of the globe, where endurance would come into play)

Advantage Flash: red sun in the sky, track paved with various forms of kryptonite

#50 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 12:29 AM:

I would observe that you don't put your socks over your shoes, but Devin's comment covered that.

#51 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 12:29 AM:

PPS. A quick survey of those of my books not still in boxes suggests one more:

Janet Neel: Death's Bright Angel et seq. British, with police procedural as well as mildly whodunnit elements.


#52 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 12:31 AM:

thanate @35: I need a hammer and a sturdy corner to get into is probably just as well. I tried that method once with a particularly stubborn coconut, and it went badly.

The table saw was my dad's solution to that problem (after designating one of the three end-sockets and drilling a hole wereby to drain the milk).

#53 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 12:33 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @33: Oh, dear. There does seem to be an excess of that sort of thing going around just now, eh? Hugs & warm cocoa.

#54 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 12:37 AM:

NICOLE FITZHUGH @44: Abigail Padgett! Her main character is a social worker who struggles with bipolar disorder. Hasn't written all that many books, but I've enjoyed the ones I've found.

#55 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 12:57 AM:

NICOLE FITZHUGH #44: The Aunt Dimity series, by Nancy Atherton (who is apparently a science fiction fan, and spoke at the Denver Worldcon.) The first one is Aunt Dimity's Death. More "tea cozy" than hardcore mystery. I was going to suggest more, but they all seem to have violence in them (murder mystery being the standard, of course.) Charlotte MacLeod (The Family Vault) and Marian Babson were two of them.

#56 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:14 AM:

The only true sacrifice is that of self.

there are times
when I feel cheap,
a shadow of a person of true worth.
"No great sacrifice,"
is all that needs be said. It is
so easy to trade on skill,
on wealth, on privilege,
the currency of other people's lives.
Do I give of my time?
Do I give of my wealth?
Do I see?
Do I see?

Do I see the real person
huddled behind the cardboard sign,
bundled in all of the clothes they own?
"I gave at the office," oh, but I lie,
I do not want to see.
It fractures what I need to believe,
that maybe I don't need that extra high-tech toy,
the gourmet treat,
that oh-so-cute but oh-so-expensive accessory,
that when the rich man gave of his surplus
but the widow of her poverty
the widow is the one who understood.
There is always someplace farther to fall,
and even the lowliest may understand grace.

We love our fairy tales,
but the ones that have gained currency
are the tales of kings and princes,
beautiful princesses and heartsick queens.
Not the peasants in their hovel
wondering how to feed their hungry children.
Perhaps it is nothing more
than the fact that we are kings
and queens and nobles and knights
and better off than they could ever dream.
And hard as it is for the rich man to enter heaven,
we should beware,
for we are all rich,
giving of our surplus
giving of other's surpluses,
and thinking ourselves beneficent
for merely a minor transfer of wealth.

We mistake our true wealth, the wealth we seldom share,
the visit to the lonely neighbor,
the contact at the hospice,
the smile given to a stranger. The gift
of time and helping hands.
May it be that one day,
I may be less of a miser,
hoarding my sacrifice against illusory need.

The only true sacrifice is that of self.

#57 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:16 AM:

(That one belongs in the improv category.)

#58 ::: Claire ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:17 AM:

NICOLE FITZHUGH @44:

I see no one's recommended Tony Hillerman's excellent Navajo series yet. They're set on a Navajo reserve, featuring Navajo policemen: (Jim Chee, studying to be a shaman) and Joe Leaphorn (agnostic). Fantastic mysteries, and also a great way to learn about the culture. One of my friends even had Skinwalkers as a text in her anthropology class!

In a completely different culture, I also quite enjoy Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael books. :) Set in medieval England, in Shrewsbury.

#59 ::: Erf ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:18 AM:

Relatedly: Zip, then fasten? Or fasten, then zip?

#60 ::: Claire ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:20 AM:

One further note regarding Hillerman: Don't start with The Ghostway. It's got some absolutely bizarre, fairly gratuitous graphic stuff to establish how evil one of they characters is. Not in character for the author, either.

#61 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:25 AM:

Claire @ 58... I liked the two PBS movies made from the series, with Wes Studi and Adam Beach, and nearly in my corner of the Southwest.

#62 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:42 AM:

Nicole @44: If you haven't read them already, you might like the Mrs. Pollifax books by Dorothy Gilman. Cheerful, sensible, endlessly rereadable spy mysteries that include as much violence as the plot requires but don't wallow in it (people are generally dispatched by single gunshot or karate chop).

#63 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:43 AM:

Re: books

I just found Dan Fesperman, who's written seven "literary thrillers." The two I've read have interesting characters and unusual settings, with a dash of humor and little violence.

I've read all of J A Jance's books except the Walker series, and her Beaumont and Brady characters are memorable.

Then there's Nevada Barr, whose main character is a US Forest Service Ranger in her 40s named Anna Pigeon. Some of these are pretty violent, but often it's nature doing the harm, not the bad guys.

#64 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:50 AM:

A couple more book series recommendations:

Jane Haddam's Gregor Demarkian; he's an ex-FBI agent who uses what Poirot called "little brain cells" to figure out the crimes and has done so through about 25 books so far.

Elizabeth Peters's Amelia Peabody has gone on for 20-something books now, all set in late 19th-early 20th century Egypt. Peabody and husband are archaeologists. The series has tailed off in quality over the past two or three books, in my opinion, but they're still fun.

#65 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:57 AM:

Nicole... I recommend Lindsey Davis's "Falco" series. Think of Philip Marlowe working for Emperor Vespasian, with Falco calling the latter a cheapskate. There is also Elizabeth Peters's "Amelia Peabody", ste in Egyppt in the late 19th century.

#66 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 02:29 AM:

One couldn't call Tarentino subtle, but sometimes he makes sure the details really matter, as in the scene referenced.

And I find I can't condemn him for the times he makes the violence, so often routine in movies, come across with such intense emotional payloads, overlaid on a sense of the horror.

#67 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 02:29 AM:

Poetry month is coming soon.

#68 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 02:34 AM:

Oh fuck!

There's nothing else I can say. The idiots have started another war

#69 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 02:46 AM:

Leah Miller @28

Steal away! I'm very prickly about this stuff, as part of a general reserve (I'm also prickly about who gets to see/be in different parts of my apartment, like if you're not a close friend of at least a couple years' standing I close the bedroom door, which I don't do even while sleeping).

It doesn't, in the end, make any sense. (For instance, if I'm wearing a t-shirt today, that's fine. But if I had a jacket on over, I don't take that off around strangers, even though I'm fine with those strangers seeing me in just a t-shirt the first day.) But I don't think this is some neurotic shit I made up; I think it's something everyone does that I'm both more wrapped up in and more aware of.

(I also rather suspect it's something women are more aware of than men, at least judging by the number of women I've known who have explicit rules about what accessories/makeup must be worn when.)

#70 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 04:41 AM:

Socks are clearly a vegetable, rather than a fruit, since they don't have seeds.

Also, do anglophones eat or drink soup? In French you eat it; in Turkish you drink it; and I'm now terminally confused.

#71 ::: SKapusniak ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 06:47 AM:

Soup? If comes in a mug it's drunk, if it comes in a bowl with a spoon it's eaten. If it comes in a smaler bowl with chopsticks it better have noodles or I'm registering a complaint.

#72 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 06:51 AM:

I used to put the ball of my thumb on the nail of my pinky. Then I learned to speak (after a fashion) ASL. That hand shape now means "w".

Three is made with the thumb, index and middle fingers. Six is made with the ball of the pinky touching the ball of the thumb, the other three fingers erect.

Socks are socks, they are not underwear.

#73 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 06:52 AM:

Dave Bell @ 68:

Started it? Or just joined in (and escalated) one that was already going on?

#74 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 07:22 AM:

I suspect that whether or not you count socks as underwear is likely to depend on two other things: a)whether you've been brought up to think that one can be fully clothed while barefoot; and whether you think its acceptable to wear shoes in your house.

On the basis of a) and b) I'm going to guess (first) that if there's a disgareement on this issue in a Californian/Scottish househole, it will be the Scot that thinks socks are underwear; and b) that more men than women will think that socks are underwear.

(My reason for believing a) and b) is that I notice that my judgments on the 'sock-as-underwear' question have moved quite a lot since moving to Turkey, where a) I've given up wearing socks with sandals and b) you never wear shoes inside someone's home.)

#75 ::: Danika ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 07:29 AM:

I couldn't say whether or not socks were underwear, but socks, knickers and bras are all counted under the British umbrella term "smalls".

#76 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 07:33 AM:

aargh. 'diagreement'. 'household' (unless the Sutherlands are hobbits)

(which might of course influence their views on the true nature of socks.)

#77 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 07:45 AM:

influence their views on the true nature of socks

Not to mention sharply reducing their budget for shoes...

#78 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 08:11 AM:

Socks was a cat. I thought everyone (in the Western world anyway) knew that.

#79 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 08:11 AM:

Bruce Arthurs: My condolences.

#80 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 08:28 AM:

First and foremost: condolences, Bruce Arthurs, and a wish for better times soon.

Now on to the minutiae:

I used to make "three" the way you and your husband do, but after having studied American Sign Language I do it your daughter's way.

I consider socks to be separate from underwear, and closely connected with shoes. My socks live in their own drawer, and overflow that won't fit (heavy ski socks in the winter, slipper socks) spills over into the pants drawer. Re tights and pantyhose, I agree with Lee's taxonomy, with the addition that the more opaque, the further on the socks end of the spectrum they are.

Just to confuse the issue, in ASL the index finger is one, index + middle is two, index + middle + thumb is three, thumb goes away and ring and pinky are added for four, then thumb comes back for five.

I would nominate Blue Hubbard Squash for the pumpkin/alligator or crocodile hybrid. In fact, I've contemplated making an alligator-head jack o'lantern out of one, but wasn't sure I had an edge tool that would suffice.

I heartily agree about the excellence of Hillerman's mysteries, but found the PBS versions unwatchable. So if you try the TV versions and don't like them, don't give up on the books.

#81 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 08:35 AM:

Stefan Jones #46: I've given up on Fruit-of-the-looms, and gotten very suspicious of unknown brands. Hanes are pretty durable, but if you can still find Joe Boxer undies (I can't) those are among the best I've found.

#82 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 08:37 AM:

We cycle round and mark another year
when spring has come, and buds are on the tree;
the skies are light, and pollen's in the air.

What started in my heart as just a dare
(a challenge against fate) has come to be,
we cycle round and mark another year

with greater hope, and more reasons for care
as darker odours join the potpourri;
the skies are light, and pollen's in the air,

but time's a gift that we don't have to spare
nor is good chance coming upon the sea.
We cycle round and mark another year

by blending vacant smile and distant stare
with swift refusal of the things we see;
the skies are light, and pollen's in the air,

those are the givens, and all else is smear
upon the screen of life. We cannot flee:
we cycle round and mark another year;
the skies are light and pollen's in the air.

#83 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 08:43 AM:

Dave Bell #68: Notice from your article: The BBC's Kevin Connolly, in the rebel-held eastern city of Tobruk, says it is now clear that Col Gaddafi's strategy is to portray the attacks as an act of colonialist aggression and rally enough of the Libyan people behind him to maintain his grip on power.

Thus raising the question yet again, of just who our government is actually working for. :-(

#84 ::: sara_k ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 08:44 AM:

When I am counting to 10 on my fingers for myself,I start with the thumb of my right hand and progress across to the pinky. No holding down in required. Then I go to the thumb of my left hand and across to the pinky.

When I'm counting to 10 for Kindergartners, I start with the pinky on the right (while I am facing the students), count across to the thumb and then from the left thumb to the pinky. My right thumb holds the ring finger down so that it doesn't pop up and confuse people.

In related news, one of my students came to tattle that Jeffrey showed him the finger; turned out it was an index finger pointing to something.

#85 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 08:54 AM:

Fragano @ 78... And he was the Science Officer of James T Shirt.

#86 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 09:14 AM:

Bruce, My condolences.

praisegod, Usually we eat soup; some might use "drink" if it was relatively thin and didn't have solid bits in. You might say you drank plain chicken broth, for example, but you'd eat a bowl of chicken noodle soup. And of course that's my sample, skewed to Americans and specifically New York; it may not apply elsewhere in the large English-speaking world.

#87 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 09:52 AM:

I agree that socks are not underwear unless I'm being Victorian. When dressing normally, socks fall penultimatly. When dressing for Morning Callers, socks are after bloomers but before corsetry or outerwear. One of my former roommates had Victorian porn on her wall- a lithographic print of a "lady" pulling up her skirt and showing ankle. They had colored the sock scarlet.

Devin @ 69
I am also hyperaware of clothing and it's armor abilities. Every morning is a dance of what is clean and what impression do I want to give. Am I hyper professional, fun professional, slightly Hipster, business casual... I know that what I wear not only gives people around me social cues on how I should be treated, it gives me a role and attitude and framework to work within . Its an asburgers hack for me.

#88 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 09:55 AM:

Somewhat belatedly, I am pleased to announce the conclusion of my Making Baby project. My daughter, Rose Caroline, was born on March 4th, weighing 4 lbs 14 ozs. Yes, tiny - this was known before birth and the doctors have been watching closely for a couple of months to make sure all was well. But she is perfectly healthy and normal otherwise, and has been gaining weight nicely (at 2 weeks, she is now up to 5 lbs 6 ozs). My husband and I are exhausted, as I understand is par for the course at this stage, but we are all doing well otherwise.

Oh, and socks are a transitional class. They definitely go in the underwear drawer, serving a similar utilitarian function, but their symbolic position in the clothing realm is closer to outerwear, like hats and gloves. Like hats and gloves, too, I tend to wear socks only when it is cold outside.

#89 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 10:21 AM:

oliviacw@88

congratulations!

#90 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 10:30 AM:

David Harmon: Sympathies; a nasty shock. May all go as well as possible for you and Gremlin

Bruce Arthurs: Condolences for both losses.

#91 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 10:30 AM:

It is indeed Teresa's birthday tomorrow. She is celebrating the fact that the crippling pain in her lower back appears to be slowly improving following her recent two sessions of radiofrequency ablation. Next: getting the nice folks at New York Pain Care to address the entirely separate (and equally debilitating) pain in her left upper back.

These pain-clinic doctors are odd--they seem to regard it as their job to actually fix you. What an idea.

#92 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 10:49 AM:

oliviacw: congratulations! I hope you can contrive to get some sleep for the next few weeks!

#93 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 10:54 AM:

oliviacw... Congrats! Looking forward to the day when she's old enough to ask to borrow the aircar's keys?

#94 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 10:56 AM:

Patrick @ 91... their job to actually fix you

Anybody called 'Bones' McCoy working there?
That being said, glad to hear things are improving for Teresa.

#95 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 11:31 AM:

Jacque @ 15:

1) Our other cat, Sundae, used to love playing with rolled up pairs of socks. One day she discovered my sock box in the wardrobe. Funny mewing noise from cat, who jumps back out of wardrobe carrying a pair of blue socks, drops them on the floor, then jumps back in and reappears with a second pair of blue socks. Humans watching this from the bed have mild hysterics and agree that the cat's noise translates as: "Sock toys*! I've found the MOTHERLOAD of sock toys."

2) Can I contact you by e-mail to discuss ferrets, please? Specifically, please can I have pictures, to illustrate a resource on "Ferrets: Health and Management". I'm looking for pictures of ferrets, parts of ferrets (eyes, ears, feet etc.), ferret living quarters, ferrets in the house, ferret environmental enrichment....

Devin @ 18: Layering vs Social armour: good distinction

Erik Nelson @ 40: That's because it's in a different Kingdom, neither plant nor animal

Soup is drunk, whether from a mug or, via a spoon (I hope) from a bowl.

praisegod barebones @76: I think you mean "disagreement"...

* Sock toys are what we call pairs of socks which are/were Sundae's toys, as opposed to pairs of socks lying about the house for any other reason.

#96 ::: Walter Underwood ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 11:35 AM:

Your daughter is using the correct American Sign Language for "three". You and your husband are signing "W".

#97 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 11:42 AM:

oliviacw @88: Congratulations.

NICOLE FITZHUGH @ 44:

Jaqueline Wilson, "Maisie Dobbs" mystery books? Set in the late 1920s/early 1930s with their roots in the Great War.

Faye Kellerman, Decker books? "The Ritual Bath" is the first. I really enjoy the family/Jewish background stuff, and the relationships between the characters generally.

C.J. Sansom: Shardlake (hunchback lawyer), set in the 16th century, starting with "Dissolution"

#98 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 11:43 AM:

Re the panic particle: those observations (seeking out familiar people and places, helping those around you, being "clingy" for weeks to months afterwards) are certainly in line with my experience at the scene of a triple murder.

I notice something else: that there's plenty of panic after a disaster, but that the panic is happening among people WHO AREN'T THERE. Like my daughter's college classmate who was absolutely convinced after 9/11 that Gainesville GA was the terrorists' next target; and the people in the US buying iodine pills to protect themselves against radiation from the Fukushima plants.

I have no data to support this theory, but here goes anyway: I think this panic-by-those-far-away is a way of making it ALL ABOUT ME. If future research supports this thesis, I suggest naming it "Bride at Every Wedding/Corpse at Every Funeral Syndrome".

#99 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 11:52 AM:

645
With the Gregor Demarkian books, even the murders are mostly offstage. (I like the way the characters have lives going on. Will John Jackman run for Senator or Governor, now that he's mayor of Philly?)

#100 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 11:56 AM:

Oliviacw: Mazel Tov!
---

Socks also have a more basic functional role, that of protecting our foot from our shoes!

#101 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 12:22 PM:

That sounds like a fine pain clinic indeed. I hope they continue to help Teresa (and/or that she has a spontaneous remission).

I have heard distressing stories about other pain clinics, where the goal seemed to be entirely "reduce the number of painkillers the patient takes," even if that left the person less able to function in any other way. That is, if they couldn't fix the underlying problems or reduce pain in some other way, they were advocating stoicism even if that meant giving up activities the person valued. Finding other ways to treat pain is a good thing, don't get me wrong. But if they can't find such ways for a given patient, "wean them off the painkillers anyway" isn't patient care, it's part of the paranoia of the War on Some Drugs, the mindset that denies heroin to people dying of cancer for fear they might become addicted.

An individual might decide that being clear-headed was more important than not being in pain. But that should be the patient's decision, not an expectation by a clinic for all patients. And someone else might conclude that the only way for them to be at all clear-headed was to reduce the pain. For that person, narcotic painkillers may increase clarity.

#102 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 12:29 PM:

David Harmon @ 100... I think Einstein preferred not wearing socks when shod.

#103 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 12:44 PM:

dcb #97: That's Jacqueline Winspear, not Wilson. I've got the latest one pre-ordered for shipment on Tuesday, so yes, recommended.

#104 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 12:47 PM:

NICOLE FITZHUGH #44
Mary Freeman's gardening mysteries are cozies set in Oregon's Hood River (the town's name is changed to protect the innocent). This is the excellent SF author Mary Rosenblum, writing in a different style. I like the view of a community changing from orchards to tourism, with the expected stresses and strains. Her protagonist is a young woman starting a landscaping business.

Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen series. Imagine that Jane had much the same problem as Miss Marple, with people mysteriously dropping dead in her vicinity, and she has to solve the crimes. I can't recall one way or another how grisly the crimes were -- I think I'd remember if they were over the top, as I dislike that, too.

Dorothy Cannell's Ellis Haskell series. These start with The Thin Woman and are warm and very funny. Ellie is smart and insecure, and the series takes place in a small town in England. The first one is as much a romance novel as a mystery.

I second, third & fourth the recommendation of Elizabeth Peter's Abigail Peabody series, and also her Vicky Bliss and Jacqueline Kirby series.

#105 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 12:48 PM:

For me, socks are no-wear; I have a couple old pairs for bed-wearing when it's excessively cold, and that's it. I even hike no-socked. From the point of view of dealing with spouse's appurtenances, socks are not underwear because they do not get washed in the same load, but then I sort idiosyncratically, based on time required in the dryer. And they get stored in different dressers because he puts them on in different places (closet vs bedroom).

#106 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 12:59 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 33:
That's difficult. Good wishes for you and your family.

oliviacw @ 88:
How exciting! Thank you for sharing your good news!

#107 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:01 PM:

A forgotten series of mysteries that I found great fun: Craig Rice's Jake and Helene Justus series (and the Bingo and Handsome). Screwball comedy mysteries set in Chicago, with lots of drinking. Fredric Brown's Ed and Am Hunter series are also quite amusing.

#108 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:01 PM:

joann @ 103: Arggh! I could have sworn I'd corrected that, having remembered the name half way up the stairs to look at the books to remind me (fiction J - Z is upstairs in our house). Yes, Jacqueline Winspear.

#109 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:04 PM:

praisegod barebones:

You've parsed the division in the household correctly, though I don't think that my husband regards socks as underwear because of his Scottish (or Dutch) upbringing. I just think he's a weirdo. (I love him anyway.)

generally, wrt the fingers thing:

It's true that only my daughter does "three" in correct American Sign Language form. That's even more ironic because I am the only one of the four of us to grow up in, or even spend substantial time in, the United States. I'm also the only one of the three of us to ever show any interest in sign language of any dialect.

#110 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:06 PM:

oliviacw @88:

Congratulations!

The tiredness will subside, but things get better even before then. When she starts smiling, you won't care about being exhausted any more.

#111 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:08 PM:

Vicki @ 101:
I know the medical culture here makes me feel vaguely ashamed to ask for pain medication when I need it for my arthritis. One rheumatologist I saw last year said "Well, I don't do pain management at all - you'll have to see a pain control specialist for that." I did not say: "What the hell? You chose to specialize in an area whose main symptom for most patients is chronic immobilizing pain, and you don't do any pain management?"

I have a 'net friend (not sharing names here) who moved to the Netherlands this past year to live with her Dutch boyfriend. She has been suffering intense debilitating back pain for several years, due to a fall, that's made it impossible for her to walk or sit on bad days, but her American doctors had given her only minimal medication for it and basically told her to get used to it. She was floored when after her first exam at a Dutch hospital, the doctor said "Well, this seems to be pretty bad. Let's try fentanyl and see how that works for you." It's improved her life incredibly; she can get off the couch or get out of bed without having to think twice about it. (She was also amazed at what a pleasant place the hospital was designed to be.)

#112 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:21 PM:

Random thought on counting--thumb-first is also correct in French and German. (So index finger only is likely to be read as 2 in France.) The thumb-last count SFAIK is English and American. I'm curious--what's the Dutch norm?

I once went to Nashville for the day barefoot, when I was in my twenties; I'm definitely in the socks!=underwear camp.

And this week, I said to someone, "We have your glasses packed, so make sure we remember to take them with when we take you home."

#113 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:26 PM:

Re. pain: in good medical practice, "pain is what the patient says it is." Also, in good medical and veterinary practice, although pain is useful for protection (it's what pulls your hand away from the fire, and stops you walking on your broken leg and making it worse), once you've got the diagnosis and have put in place whatever is needed to allow healing (splints, dressings whatever as relevant), pain serves no useful purpose, has many disadvantages, and should be removed/controlled as much as possible.

#114 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:35 PM:

NICOLE FITZHUGH, #44: The Brother Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters don't have what I think of as graphic violence -- there are sometimes descriptions of what a particular feature suggests might have happened to the victim, but that's about it.

In general, you will want to look for mysteries in the category of "cozy"; one of the defining characteristics of this sub-genre is that it focuses less on violence than noir or thriller mysteries do. The website Reviewing the Evidence is a good resource.

pgbb, #70: In the areas where I've lived, soup is eaten with a spoon unless it's drunk from a mug, and the latter is quite rare.

sisuile, #87: Sometimes I'm more aware of that sort of thing than other times. On my last visit to LA, I noticed that I was packing my T-shirts for message: "I'm easy to find in a crowd"*, "I'm not as mundane as I look", "I'm a reader", things like that.

Serge, #94: Bones had a practice in Georgia before he joined Starfleet. There's never been anything to suggest that he might have been in NYC even for a while.


* That was the bright rainbow tie-dye, selected specifically to wear on the trip to Disneyland.

#115 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 01:46 PM:

114
I think D Duane had him doing research/graduate work in New York. Maybe upstate at Cornell, but that book isn't handy for checking right now.

#116 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 02:00 PM:

During my physical therapy after my hip replacement, I finally came up with a way of articulating something I've known for years: Not everything that hurts counts as pain.

This is in the environment where 'pain' means something that signals something wrong, or has to be avoided or cured.

For example, many of the exercises I did during PT hurt somewhat, but PAIN would have meant I should stop them. Even ordinary stretching usually hurts a little bit; people come up with euphemisms for it like 'feeling the stretch' or 'feel that burn', but the fact is, it does hurt. A little.

I don't consider the soreness after a good workout to be pain either. That's part of why I think 'no pain, no gain' is nonsense, and prefer a version I do think is true: 'An exercise that's easy and comfortable is probably not worth doing.' (Mind you, I mean from a muscular-development point of view...if you find long walks easy and comfortable they ARE worth doing, but not for muscular development. Well, aside from the heart. You know what I mean.)

So if all my muscles are sore and I can't account for it, that counts as pain. A similar amount of soreness the day after an intense full-body workout does not. The difference between pain and hurts-but-not-pain is in the meaning of it, in other words.

That's not to say I refuse to do anything to make the soreness go away (oddly, the usual answer is another workout). And if you feel differently, and are of the opinion that nothing should ever hurt even a little bit, I'm not going to say you're wrong. For you.

#117 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 02:47 PM:

Lee @ 114... On the other hand, lots of things turned out differently when Nero threw that big spammer of his into History.

#118 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 02:47 PM:

Xopher @ 116: Interesting. I think that (agreeing with you) I'd divide that into "acceptable discomfort" versus "noxious pain". And it's the noxious element of pain which is the important bit.

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) Subcommittee on Taxonomy defined (back in 1979!) that "A noxious stimulus is a stimulus which is tissue damaging."

#119 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 02:57 PM:

Xopher @ 116: That is interesting, and gives me a useful framework for looking at some of the problems I have with working out what sort of exercise I should/shouldn't be doing.

(Namely, that I am bad at distinguishing between "pain" and "discomfort", and for environmental reasons find pretty much anything but sitting quietly uncomfortable. Which means I have a very hard time working out the difference between "this is effective exercise" and "this is damaging my body", and I get very grumpy when people speak glowingly of how good one feels after exercise. Because I don't. Exercise is like changing the catbox in terms of how much glowing relief I have when it's done; the only pleasure is in being able to stop and not do it again for a while.)

#120 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 03:05 PM:

Working as a massage therapist, I've often had to talk with people about the difference between good and bad pain (I'd suggest "euralgia" for "good pain", if anyone wants such a word). There is (in my personal experience) pain that feels like it's healing something, which is pretty wonderful. And I usually ask clients to let me know if something feels like it's damaging, rather than painful. They almost always know the difference.

What T has does not sound like good pain at all, and I'm not trying to say she should attempt to interpret it that way. Most pain is not good. Pain management for the damage-related kind is a very good idea.

#121 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 03:23 PM:

"Pain is a thing of the mind. The mind can be controlled."
- Spock

"Oooooh... The pain, the pain..."
- Doctor Smith

#122 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 03:26 PM:

Platypus, serpentine, murnival, vortex.

I have folded 25 of my 50, and expect to fold the rest soon. I may send them unstrung, since you've expressed a fondness for stringing them.

#123 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 03:32 PM:

Tom W @ #120 How about: "Good pain" is that which is experienced while performing an activity designed to improve or rehabilitate. "Bad pain" is everything else.

I'm thinking of the exercise bike I was on when rehabbing a severed patellar tendon in my knee. I knew that getting full range of motion back was desirable so I tolerated the pain I incurred while pedaling that thing.

#124 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 03:38 PM:

Platypus, serpentine, murnival, vortex.

cool; thanks for letting me know that they are in the count

I strung the ones I thought should be in a certain order; I will leave the rest for the second string!

#125 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 04:03 PM:

I seldom come away from a workout feeling pain, but, when I can hear my shoulder joints popping, I know I'm on the verge of overdoing it.

#126 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 04:08 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 120: Working as a massage therapist, I've often had to talk with people about the difference between good and bad pain (I'd suggest "euralgia" for "good pain", if anyone wants such a word).

I realized that, for me at least, "soreness" denotes the discomfort in muscles that have worked harder than they are used to, while "pain" means something's not right. That can be a sharp pain, as putting weight on a broken limb; or dull, continuous pain from an injury. I don't think of the discomfort of a challenging stretch as pain, but don't have a word for it. I sure as hell think of Graston treatment as pain, but that short term pain is worth it for long term relief. The tingling and numbness in my hands responded very well to Graston (YMMV).

#127 ::: Jack V. ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 04:15 PM:

EDIT: That went on a bit. And was way, way, too ranty to be polite (although I hope it may have been funny). If you want the one-line summary, and don't mind a bastardisation of Latin with Buddhist philosophy, then my answer is "Tertium quid. Mu. QED."

Lamentably, when God handed down the immutable commandments to Moses on giant slabs of imperishable stone he did NOT specify that (11) "language shall be eternally immutable, and that every word shall have a clearly defined meaning which everyone agrees is 'correct' and is clear from the etymology".

And lo, that was good, for language is more expressive when we can use words creatively and metaphorically.

However, it does mean that most words support multiple meanings, often a narrow, strict literal definition, and a more encompassing metaphorical definition.

And yet it transpired that for some words, the literal usage was much more common, and people rarely used the word to mean anything else. And yet, yea verily, other words the metaphorical meaning was much more useful that it was by far the commonest used, even if people still remembered that the word literally meant the more precise meaning, until one day, they found that the metaphorical meaning had become "the" meaning, and people using the literal meaning were regarded as old-fashioned, overly pedantic, overly stubborn, suffering from an etymological fallacy, or flat-out wrong. (Although it was not all one day for all the people on earth, it was a multitude thereof.)

Thus EVERY EXPLETIVE TIME, someone asks this question "is 'the' usage of this word the tight literal meaning or the looser inclusive meaning", the people reflect upon themselves, and (assuming the question was worth answering) find that the usage is about 50/50. Yet, we all smugly say to ourselves, yea, even the most intelligent and knowledgeable and worthy of us, "Oh, well, I always use language 'correctly' so there must be exactly one official usage, and my usage of the [literal/metaphorical][delete as appropriate] usage is slightly over 50% so that must be the correct one and the other must be wrong because it's [overly imprecise/overly pedantic][delete as appropriate]".

And lo, although their subconscious minds flawless interpreted the word correctly every time it was used, they were wraxed wroth, because as soon as they began to believe commandment #11[1], their conscious mind rebelled, and began to believe it must mean one or the other, but not both. Even while they were still blithely using the word for both meanings, while passionately decrying other people who did the same.

And if people had gone to mathematicians, or to linguists, or to dictionaries, they would have discovered the tripartite meaning I describe next[3]. But did they? No, they assumed the question was a valid dichotomy with absolutely no supporting evidence, and then argued about which wrong answer was worse.

And then came four horsemen, and one rode a pale horse and was not explicitly named (but was Death, or in this analogy, the internet), and the others were Usenet, blogs, and talking to people you couldn't see face-to-face. And with them came a plague, and lo, people ALL OVER THE WORLD were able to decry each other constantly, without even trying very hard.

For it transpires, that:

* In formal mathematical proofs, "rectangle" includes "square".
* In casual description, "rectangle" often but not always excludes square
* Completely devoid of context, the meaning is unclear, and different people will guess in different ways.

It is possible to ask "who will guess this way?" and "who will guess that way?" but I do not think that tells you anything important about the people, nor about the word.

And similarly, in this case, I think the meaning is something like:

- in a context of "underwear drawer" or "things that have to be washed every day because they're worn next to sweaty parts of your skin" or "small clothes that don't have many features" socks are underwear.
- in a context of "genital encasing naughty garments" and "garments worn closest to the torso" socks are not underwear
- completely devoid of context, people do not have a general agreement about whether socks are underwear or not, but this doesn't tell you anything very much about the individual people, nor about socks in general. [It does tell you a lot about people in general though :)]

I do not think the question, as written, can be answered, because I do not think words have -- or should have -- such precise meanings.

However, I'm just making this up as I go along, so I don't really know what I'm talking about, and I'm really sorry, I don't mean this as a bash at anyone here [everyone including me has these discussions on 'the meaning of word X' and they're often really interesting], I just snapped today.

[1] And it is a Sin to believe or say something is a commandment when it is not, because you're distorting God's word, falsely exaggerating your holiness, implicitly slandering people who keep the ACTUAL commandments and being too expletive clever by half.
[2] Really. I mean, if I and the Talmud both say it, it must be true :)
[3] OK, well, I didn't check. But they should have found the same meaning. It's rare enough mathematicians and linguists and dictionaries all agree on anything.

#128 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 04:21 PM:

Seen else-net, and immediately made me think of Patrick and Teresa:
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150124481257500&set=a.389038107499.170440.241383397499&theater

#129 ::: Kyndra ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 04:53 PM:

oliviacw @88: Congratulations! And yes, you do get to sleep again and they do make up for it in smiles and snuggles (although W's (15 months) new habit of waking up to PLAY for an hour at 1:30 am or so every night is getting kind of old...he's so happy to see me when I go in to give him his bottle though...it kind of compensates at the time.)

Openthreadiness: This is mostly a question for abi I think: We moved six months ago and are living in the city where I could plausibly bike to the grocery, playground etc. With three children (4 yrs., 3yrs, and 15 months) I'm trying to figure out how I would do this. The oldest can ride a bike but not very far yet and the plausible destinations are at least a mile. Anyway I'm trying to figure out whether I should get a tow-behind child carrier or some kind of tandem arrangement or what?

Opinions sought.

Thanks

#130 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 04:58 PM:

Kyndra @129: If you're up for the investment, a bakfiets' front wheelbarrow-section usually fits two kids in it quite comfortably on a seat (with room at their feet for some groceries); then a behind-your-chair kidseat for the eeny one? Around here, they go for $2K-3K, so not trivial, but lasts for decades.

Other useful search terms to find local vendors: "Cargo bike", "Amsterdam Bike"

I'm talking about things similar to this image.

#131 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 05:09 PM:

Clifton@128, some years ago I saw a line of clothing that was named "Anarchy™", and of course there's the line about "why is the symbol for anarchy always drawn that way?"

On socks and underwear - mine are clearly two different categories, because the socks are almost all Darks and the underwear is almost all Lights, so they don't get washed together, even though they end up in the same drawer. My wife's socks and underwear cross those boundaries, though most of her socks are Lights.

#132 ::: Kyndra ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 05:11 PM:

Elliot Mason@130

Oh that is clever looking! It keeps the center of gravity closer to the center of the bike too, which is something I've been concerned about with a tandem extension or a baby seat. The youngest one weighs more than the three year old so however I haul him it has to be sturdy and well balanced....

#133 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 05:27 PM:

A question regarding John Scalzi's Electronic Publishing Bingo Card.

The vast majority of those arguments are identical to those used in music business discussions. But "A novel is not a song" and "The Publishing Industry is not the Music Business" indicates there are some very significant differences.

I know this blog has a negative attitude towards self-publishing, and given some of the scam artists involved I can see why.

But I know many bands, including those who have recorded multiple albums and tour internationally who have no interest in signing a traditional record company deal, preferring to handle everything themselves, from advances (through fan pre-orders) to promotion.

Without knowing too much about the inner workings of either, in what way is the publishing industry *not* like the music business?

#134 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 05:59 PM:

Bruce D., my sympathies on your losses. One is unfair; two is more so. Condolences.

#135 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 05:59 PM:

SKapusniak @71: If soup comes with chopsticks and has noodles, it's faux soup. (sp)

Teresa, wishing you a happy birthday sans pains.

#136 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 06:03 PM:

135
I use chopsticks with noodle soup because it's the least messy way. (Then I drink the broth.)

#137 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 06:04 PM:

Kyndra @132:

There are two major types of bakfietsen, ones with one wheel out front (as linked) and ones with two. Both are quite expensive, particularly outside of the Netherlands and its surrounding area.

The alternative is a trailer. I used one of these (borrowed from a neighbor) when my 3 year old niece was over. Its main problem was its width; we were cycling through some roadworks and they had barely left enough clear space for it to fit.

The one I used attached to the rear axle of the bike, leaving the rack free for other use. Were I to transport three children, I'd probably put a seat up there for the smallest of the three and tow the other two in the trailer.

However, between those two solutions, I'd go for a bakfiets if you can get the money together. And, of course, they hold their value; care for it well and you'll probably get a decent price for it in the secondhand market when all three are cycling independently.

#138 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 06:05 PM:

On counting thumb-first vs. index-finger-first - that was one thing I had to learn for travelling in Europe, because it's critical for ordering in restaurants, and it sort of opens up the concept of many interactions being social conventions that you've learned, where the spoken language is mainly just a marker to keep track of where you are in a conversation and whose turn it is. The conventions in Czechoslovakia were a bit different than in America or France, but close enough that they were pretty obvious. You come in, if there's a host he or she will gesture you to a table, you sit down or walk up to a counter, a waiter appears, you hold up one thumb so you obviously want one of something (or thumb+finger if there are two of you), and it's almost always obvious whether the something is a beer or a coffee. ("Pivo" is the Czech word for a beer, but "Bier" works just fine, it's nice if you add the number but you've already gestured that, and also nice if you add "please", optionally in some recognizable language.) It's nice if you can order something from the menu or pastry display by speaking, but often you'll end up pointing as well, even if it's in a language you both speak, and usually the bill will have a number written down as well as spoken, or sometimes gestured at a counter or bar (thus the thumb-first counting again.)


Spoken language does also get used for dealing with exceptions, like wanting coffee at a beer time of day, or tea in a default-coffee country, and there are some concepts that just don't translate well (like "I'd like something without meat", which can't be translated into German, Slavic languages, most dialects of Chinese, or some dialects of English, so it tends to get you fish or chicken and maybe a hovercraft-shaped appetizer plate of eels.)

#139 ::: Kyndra ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 06:20 PM:

abi @137

I went to the bakfiets site and I think I'm in love... I wonder if the bike frame builder I know could build me one...although I'm going to consult with a bike dealer friend too.

Realistically I think a combination of bike and trailer will probably be the solution, with the boys in the trailer since they weigh more and our daughter in a seat since she's the lightest. Somehow biking or walking seem easier than putting three children in carseats, driving, parking etc.

#140 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 06:38 PM:

P J Evans, #115: You're right -- at Cornell, and that's in Spock's World. However, (1) the novels aren't canon and (2) it's explicitly stated that he was doing research up there, not practicing. And (3) still not NYC. :-)

Xopher, #116: That's part of what I generally define as the difference between pain and discomfort. Both hurt, but my reaction to them is different. Also, there's usually a quantitative difference -- if my muscles hurt up to the level of pain the day after a workout, I've overdone it and need to rest for a day or two.

#141 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 06:43 PM:

Clifton Royston @ #128

There are some fun items there! (two images further on is a Leonardo version of Harry Worth).

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=401466357499&set=a.389038107499.170440.241383397499&theater&pid=4092492&id=241383397499

#142 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 06:51 PM:
  1. Socks go in the underwear drawer.
  2. Socks are white.
  3. Socks protect my feet and shoes from each other.
  4. If I have long-johns on and haven't put on any outerwear, I am clearly wearing the same sort of stuff all over.

Therefore, socks are underwear.

#143 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 07:03 PM:

I count starting on my fingers--which I do a lot just to keep track of hundreds of paces, or hundreds of seconds--left pinky first, run up to left thumb, then go to right thumb, ending at right pinky. (Anything else would be a boustrophedon--and that is *definitely* a word to go in the spelling reference.)

OTOH, if I'm indicating "three" to other people by holding up fingers, it's right thumb and pinky down, other fingers up and separated.

#144 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 07:20 PM:

Lee, that's what I thought I remembered reading. (It's canon for me, anyway, or close enough to it.)

#145 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 08:19 PM:

Whenever I give blood, I pay attention to the stick. There's a line between discomfort (there is a NEEDLE in my ARM and there is BLOOD COMING OUT) and pain (OW. This is wrong. Pull it NOW and we'll talk about my other arm.) I do this primarily because I've caught bad sticks before and felt awesome for it, though the amount of fix possible has decreased over the years. It used to be that they could change arms, then they had to change arms and machines, then it was... hm, I think it's arms and machines and only if it's really, really early.

It makes me feel like I have accomplished something, anyway.

On socks and underwear: long underwear doesn't count as underwear. It is long underwear.

#146 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 08:31 PM:

#140: The Cornell Medical School is in New York City, not upstate with the rest of the university.

#147 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 09:42 PM:

Do thin cotton gloves work well with ebook readers without leaving fingerprint smudges?

#148 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 10:36 PM:

oliviacw: Congratulations! I'm glad to hear she's gaining weight steadily. And it will get easier, or at least less exhausting; the first two weeks are the worst.*

*For newborns. There's other "worst" later. :D

#149 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 12:03 AM:

I've been hooked up to a machine called the Glucommander in preparation for surgery at 6 am tomorrow. Elspeth (fictive daughter and Anne (former roomie) are here overnight. We all agree that socks are socks. Elspeth and I use the thumb-over-pinkie three. Anne used to, but she has lost the flexibility to do it and now uses thumb & two.

I won't be able to use my phone or laptop for a day or two or however long I'm in ICU, but updates will be available as soon as possible. Lila: I'm in Athens Regional. Thanks to everyone for prayers and good wishes. Take care of yourselves.

#150 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 12:30 AM:

Musing while stringing cranes -

I used sheets of ordinary recycled bond paper with custom printing (one, an octopus demolishing a crab, the other, some fanciful buttons about dark chocolate, one featuring Xopher), some light weight gift wrap, and some unprinted dark ochre pattern tissue, the latter quite flimsy. The colors in aggregate are subtle, rather like sandhill cranes.

The needle has to find the tiny hole at the base of the bird and then poke through the paper at the top center. The bottom opening isn't in the right spot for its cloaca, and birds don't have belly buttons (as a child, I was taught to say "umbilicus" but the alliteration is better with belly button). These aren't birds, they're fanciful bits of folded paper. They are too birds.

Most of the work was done while listening to an audio of Voltaire's "Candide", also the start of Mark Twain's "Autobiography". I'm six hours in and still at the introductory notes! - but they've included how he came to publish Grant's Memoirs and the sinking of the clipper Hornet and survival by all who made it into the biggest open boat. The wry humor, irony, and message of winning through by cheerfulness (however forced at times) in two considerably different works has been appropriate.

#151 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 01:18 AM:

Tom Whitmore@120: I'm afraid I have to object to that r. It should be "eualgia"; if you really don't want a cluster of vowels, you could make it "eulype".

Carol Kimball@150: I just recently finished reading volume one of that autobio, printed. The book is quite a tome; I joked several times that while I was reading it, I was always prepared for hand-to-hand combat. And it only covers the first three months of dictations, out of almost six years! I assume that later volumes will have less in the way of introductory material, though.

#152 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 01:24 AM:

Tracie--Best of luck with this adventure, and may the rehab go well also.

#153 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 01:32 AM:

#151 ::: David Goldfarb re: Twain autobio

One can hope. What I miss with audiobooks is the photos, though they do give the project website.

#154 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 01:34 AM:

Tim Hall #133

Without knowing too much about the inner workings of either, in what way is the publishing industry *not* like the music business?

I can think of two types of differences.

The first is that editorial assistance is much more welcome for writers. Musicians often prefer to do their own editing; writers want Teresa and colleagues to do it.

The second is that for most musicians who are starting out the primary point of contact with the audience is live performances, not recordings. This means they already have an audience to sell recordings to. Musicians are more like some writers of specialised non-fiction who start off by selling their books at the back of the hall after talks. These are a well-known exception to the problems with self-publishing.

A different sort of difference is that musicians and music listeners generally seem to hate music publishers, while readers and writers seem to like (or at least feel neutral about) book publishers.

#155 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 01:37 AM:

Linkmeister @ 123
How about: "Good pain" is that which is experienced while performing an activity designed to improve or rehabilitate. "Bad pain" is everything else.

I'm hesitant to agree with that. Pain can occur during rehabilitative efforts which is a sign that you should stop and back off, or choose a different method to address the problem.

I'd suggest that in my experience it's really that muscle fatigue is fine, and most other sorts of pain should be listened to, and addressed to the extent feasible.

#156 ::: Zora ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 01:44 AM:

Coconut: you need a sharp machete. Hold the coconut in one hand and give it a sharp rap on the equator with the machete. Rotate it slightly and rap it again. Keep rotating and rapping until you've scored the whole equator. Hit it on something hard. If it doesn't break open, tap round it again.

*I* would be afraid to do this. Didn't faze Tongans ... and I didn't see any one-handed Tongans when I was there.

#157 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 03:31 AM:

Tim Hall @ 133:
I have no experience with the music industry, but from what I gather about it, I think three key differences are:

  1. Book publishers do not claim for themselves the copyright to the books they publish, as major recording labels almost always do;
  2. As far as I know, book publishers do not bill back all marketing expenses against the individual authors' royalties, as I hear recording labels usually do;
  3. Book publishers are not known for Hollywood-style "creative accounting", under which I gather major hit records can end up with next to no royalties due to the artists.

#158 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 04:20 AM:

Clifton @157

To expand on your point 2, book publishers also do not generally bill back copyediting or typesetting expenses against royalties, while record labels often do set studio time and production (in the sense of "what a producer does," not CD pressing) costs against royalties.

I think it's telling that making up a record label requires very little besides a publicist (so bands minor enough not to need a publicist, or major enough that they'd have their own anyway, very often release on homebrew labels). You don't generally hear about an author deciding to start her own publishing firm just to publish her works (Even when someone self-publishes, we don't use the same words, we say "self-published" instead)... It's almost as though publishers existed for some other reason than pure parasitism. Like they actually did real work that contributed to the financial success of the book trade, or something. But obviously that's crazy talk!

KayTei @155

So when I get hit in practice, I should quit? Because that does sting, and it's not muscle fatigue. It does fall under Linkmeister's original "activity designed to improve," though. (And, incidentally, though I've sustained minor injuries in practice it's never been from a sparring partner's action, always my own mishaps).

Also, when I studied kendo, that ripped the hell out of my palms and feet. Also not muscle fatigue, but like muscle fatigue it was my skin getting torn up and rebuilt stronger, so you might include callus-building in with muscle fatigue as a pain reflecting new strength even if you don't think I should be getting hit.

#159 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 04:41 AM:

Kyndra @ 129: Re. early-hours play time. My sister-in-law did that. For about three years. Her parents' solution was to take it in turns to get up, put her in her playpen with toys, doze on the sofa for an hour, put her back to bed, go back to bed. Not ideal, but...

Tracie @ 149: Good thoughts winging your way. Hope all goes as smoothly as possible.

Bicycles: Not child-carrying, but I've just bought cycle panniers for the first time (£14.99 for a pair at Lidl). I reckon by the time they fall apart I'll know whether I'm going to keep using them and therefore be prepared to pay out for tougher ones. So far, used when I'm going grocery shopping, they've been good - does feel nice not carrying all that weight on my back. Of course, the standard size doesn't fit onto the folding bike, so I can't use them with that...

#160 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 05:31 AM:

Happy Birthday, Teresa!

#161 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 05:33 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 151... That's why I acquired the book's Nook edition.

#162 ::: Braxis ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 05:50 AM:

Would definitely second Serge's Falco recommendation.

The BBC have done some excellent dramatizations of the first few books. My only 'problem' with these is that Anton Lesser captured Falco's character so well, that Falco speaks with Anton's voice even inside my head.

Socks are underwear, unless they they are kittens. My family had a pedigree Siamese Havana cat who felt that her biological clock was ticking away. Whenever she came across a pair of rolled up socks, she would pick it up by it's scruff and drag it away to whichever dark corner was today's nesting site.

Abi: Doesn't your way of finger counting result in the traditional English 'Two Fingered Salute' whenever you wish to indicate a pair of something?

#163 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 06:11 AM:

I seem to be using different hand positions for the same number, depending on context.

Three different contexts comes to mind, two are (almost) insdistinguihable counting from zero to five (but differ from six to ten) and one allows me to count to 31 using one hand or 1023 using both (that uses right index and thumb to signal three).

The "very normal" starts with right thumb for one, adds right index for two, right middle for three and spills from right to left when transitioning from five to six.

The slightly odd is due to needing to keep two separate counts going at the same time, one for the sabreur to the left and one for the one on the right. Both signal "one" with thumb, continue adding fingers until five. At counting six, the thumb folds down. This allows you to count from zero to nine on one hand, with obvious difference. Counting from 10 to 15 is the same as counting from 0 to 5, but it is (usually) easy to remember if one or both have scored ten touches.

#164 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 07:08 AM:

Lila @198
I have no data to support this theory, but here goes anyway: I think this panic-by-those-far-away is a way of making it ALL ABOUT ME.

I wonder if this is the flipside of the wanting-to-help impulse. Some engagement makes us give to charities/volunteer aid etc. Too much and OMG WHAT IF IT HAPPENED HERE IT COULD YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD WE DO! I present this hypothesis solely for discussion; hypothesis should be taken with a pinch of salt.

#165 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 07:30 AM:

Belated hyperlocal news. Man thinks cellphone has stopped working. Fortunately checks manual before trying to buy a new phone. Realizes that the button to turn on the phone is the red button rather than the green one.

#166 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 07:52 AM:

Felicitous natal anniversary (why do I keep saying that?) to TNH. Also two nickels.

#167 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 07:56 AM:

The only ASL joke I know involves a deaf person and a hearing person, each with a hand grenade, counting to ten before throwing it. The hearing person, needing a hand, holds it between zir legs for 6-10.

#168 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 08:13 AM:

Braxis @162

There was a TV gameshow in the UK called "3-2-1". I think it involved a dustbin. The show's host did a three-two-one count with his fingers which used a half-twist to give the Churchillian V-sign rather than the insult version. Not that Mr. Churchill was averse to insulting the Nazis.

#169 ::: Kyndra ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 09:12 AM:

dcb @ 159

Well, he's the third one to do this...the difference is (I think) one of personality. When the older two did this they were content to be fed or changed if necessary and put back in their crib to play/talk until they fell back asleep. I went back to bed and slept whether they were awake or not.

W on the other hand is a "baby people". He loves people and does not want to be alone ever including at 3 am. So he fusses and carries on and yells "mama" over and over not because he needs anything but because he wants some company...much, much harder to sleep through.

I apologize for any typos...I sliced my finger with the potato peeler and it's playing havoc with my ability to type!

#170 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 09:16 AM:

Dave Bell #168 - I've seen a number of photos of CHurchill giving what we now think of as the insulting V sign. It seems he used whichever version he felt like using.

#171 ::: Braxis ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 09:26 AM:

Dave Bell @168

There certainly was! "3-2-1" with Ted Rogers and Dusty Bin.

There's a rather lacklustre example of his famous hand gesture around the 45 second mark.

There are probably other, better, examples, but I could not bear to watch any more.

#172 ::: Braxis ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 09:39 AM:

guthrie @170

Wikipedia claims that Churchill was too posh to know that the palm inward version was seen as rude by the lower classes. Presumably he had servants to call on, if he ever needed to insult somebody properly.

#173 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 09:55 AM:

Carol Kimble @ 150 -- I folded most of my cranes while watching Buffy,* but some I did a bit more contemplatively. I don't have a flickr account or I'd post the picture I took of my three strings. I added a big wooden bead to the bottom of each string for a little weight. I used bright colored wrapping paper, photos from old cooking magazines and Smithsonians, maps, and music, so the strings are bright and varied, and on red cord to boot.

* The messages of empowerment, the necessity of friendship, and never ever giving up the fight seemed quite appropriate for this project. Also the dark humor, language play, and occasional sheer silliness!

#174 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 10:01 AM:

Braxis @ 162... I've never heard those "Falco" adaptations, although I've heard of them. I think Davis was unhappy with an earlier movie adaptation and that the BBC's met with her approval. Me, if I were in charge of casting a film of the series, I'd go for Jeffrey Donovan, who's in "Burn Notice", and who was in the American remake of "Touching Evil".

#175 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 10:03 AM:

Evidently, Aleister Crowley claimed he gave the V-sign to Winston Churchill as a occult ward against the Nazi swastika. Guess it worked!

#176 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 10:09 AM:

Oliviacw: congratulations!

everyone has their own "worsts"--first two weeks were not actually hard for me--so take everything with large grains of salt.

a more general truism (lol) is that at about 3 months babies start to have schedules and rhythms of their own and this generally, but not always, makes parents' lives easier. exceptions to the "easier" part include babies having night and day switched and babies who do not nap for more than 20 minutes at a time.

#177 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 10:42 AM:

Hyperlocal news: Woman takes her netbook to convention, along with only half the power cord. Woman then finds that the netbook was not shut down properly the last time, so the battery is dead. Woman is offline the entire weekend.

#178 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 10:50 AM:

Nicole Fitzhugh @ #44

If no one has yet suggested Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series, of which there are now three, the earliest being "Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie," I do so now, most heartily. If someone has, I second their recommendation, also most heartily.

#179 ::: Braxis ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 10:58 AM:

Serge @ 174
Audible carries all five adaptations and, if you want to know what a Falco novel sounds like when I read it, has samples too. I would provide a link, but it doesn't seem possible to link to an individual page on the Audible site.

Jeffrey Donovan seems a little young in the stills Google found for me. Does he look older/grittier when in motion?

I neglected to provide supporting evidence for my statement on the sock/underwear debate. Socks are underwear because they perform the two basic functions of (male) underwear. They act as a barrier between delicate skin and rough/tough outerwear and they are also an easily washed absorber of bodily fluids.

#180 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 11:09 AM:

Braxis @ 179... Donovan is 43. As for Falco, I think of him as being in his early 30s.

#181 ::: Braxis ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 11:21 AM:

The camera is kind to him or I am just rubbish at judging ages. I had him down as mid twenties from the photographs.

You're spot on with Falco's age. He first kissed Helena on his thirtieth birthday.

#182 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 11:33 AM:

Devin @ 158

Cheap shot, flown wide. I was very careful to specify that it was "in my experience," that it applied only to "most other sorts of pain" and that it should be "addressed to the extent feasible."

To the extent that you know the cause of the pain, and you've done whatever needs to be done to prevent damage (if anything), I believe my criteria are still met, and my statement was not in any way invalidated by your counter-example, which both: clearly constitutes an exception implied by the statement "most" sorts of pain; and satisfies the criteria "addressed to the extent feasible," as, in this case, further avoiding or ameliorating the problem would be, as you imply, infeasible for you, without taking disproportionately drastic actions such as giving up an entire range of activities.

On the other hand, in physical therapy, which was, to my perception, the context primarily under discussion, if doing something causes pain other than muscle fatigue, you should at the very least discuss it with your physical therapist, because there is the risk of doing yourself even worse damage. I continue to stand behind that recommendation.

#183 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 11:43 AM:

Braxis @ 181... He first kissed Helena on his thirtieth birthday

What?
No cake?

#184 ::: Braxis ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 12:30 PM:

Did Falco live in a time before cake? No he didn't!

#185 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 12:51 PM:

dcb @95: Can I contact you by e-mail to discuss ferrets, please? Specifically, please can I have pictures, to illustrate a resource on "Ferrets....

By all means, contact me. (My email address is at the bottom of the web page linked from my name, above.) However, I will be of no earthly use for ferret pictures, never having actually owned any, myself. I love ferrets dearly, but I've lived with them, which is why I Know Better.

Check out the ferretlovers community over at Live Journal. I'm sure they can fix you up with all the ferret parts you could ever possibly need. ;o) As to ferret environmental enrichment, that's easy: more ferrets. Failing that, cats. (Ferrets love cats. Preferably with Hollandaise.) In a pinch, humans will do, but they tire so easily.

If you need guinea pig pix, on the other hand....

#186 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 12:54 PM:

Braxis @ 184... Anachronisms can be found in the "Falco" novels, but I'm glad that his birthdays wouldn't have been limited to a kiss by his smarter/loving/gorgeous wife. :-)

Speaking of anachronisms... I seem to remember a TV documentary about Ancient Rome, in which it was suggested that they had something like hamburger patties. Mind you, the narrator was Terry Jones, but he was being serious - or as serious as Terry Jones could be, on camera.

#187 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 01:29 PM:

KayTei @182

Not meant as a cheap shot, so: sorry for that.

It was meant as a rather flippant way of pointing out that in contexts beyond physical therapy, Linkmeister's formulation works better. (Though I also agree with your point that there is both good pain from a good activity, and also bad pain from a good activity gone wrong. It's just that outside of physical therapy, it can be a little broader than just muscle fatigue/not muscle fatigue.)

I didn't read Xopher's and Linkmeister's comments as specifically referring to physical therapy. For instance, you'll find that Linkmeister's formulation applies quite well to dental matters: if your teeth hurt for no reason, or as a result of some non-rehabilitative activity, you should worry. But if you have a root canal (rehabilitative activity) and there's some soreness afterwards, that's okay.

Your final recommendation is quite correct, of course.

#188 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 01:36 PM:

NICOLE FITZHUGH: As far as mysteries with low graphic violence goes, I'd be tempted to recommend the classic R. Austin Freeman novels and short stories featuring Dr. Thorndyke. It's true that in the "reverse detective stories" (a style he invented) you have a description of the murder because you're with the murderer when he does it, but there's little to make you go "urp." The main problem is that you wanted character: Thorndyke was created in part because Freeman thought Holmes was too unstable and wanted to show a Great Detective could be a reasonably stable sort. Unfortunately, this means Thorndyke is pretty well adjusted, and therefore comes off as brilliant but an ordinary guy--at least as ordinary as someone with both a medical and law degree can be. If he was in the USA he'd be a golfer rather than a member of WWF, if you see what I mean.

One recommendation to be careful of: the Lovejoy novels by Jonathan Gash have character by the ton due to the reprehensible Lovejoy's deranged passions, but when things get violent in those books they'll stick in your head for years with perfect clarity. I'm not going to give a detailed example or a spoiler, but if anyone here has read the book that includes a scene at the front door of Lovejoy's cottage with the bluejay from his garden (and what happens to Lovejoy) and reads this sentence--well, they're going to be looking green until they block that scene out again.

On the coconut front: if the coconut has the husk removed from the front it's actually pretty easy to open assuming you have a set of concrete stairs available. When you look at the front end of a coconut there are three "eyes" and three ridges--one between each eye. If you hold the coconut and smash the shell across one of the ridges REALLY HARD (about 3/4ths of the way up the shell on the eye end) against a hard sharpish edge like the edge of a concrete stair you'll get a crack that will stretch about a third of the way around the shell. Do it with the remaining two ridges and you'll have a coconut split into two parts.

#189 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 01:48 PM:

#179 ::: Braxis

I neglected to provide supporting evidence for my statement on the sock/underwear debate. Socks are underwear because they perform the two basic functions of (male) underwear. They act as a barrier between delicate skin and rough/tough outerwear and they are also an easily washed absorber of bodily fluids.

Good god, Braxis, what exactly are you using your socks for?

Erm, scratch replying to that. TMI in the first place.

#190 ::: Braxis ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 01:57 PM:

Serge @ 186

Something like this?

Apart from the Roman insistence on adding fish sauce to everything, it looks like a decent little recipe.

Moving up the centuries, and just outside the Roman Empire, to 18th century Edinburgh, the Inspector McLevy Novels should be worth a read. They are novelizations, by the original dramatist, of radio plays; which is something you do not see every day.

I have not read the books but the original plays are excellent - there's golf, opera, bawdy houses, coffee and an Irish constable with a big stick. What more could you ask for?

#191 ::: Braxis ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 02:02 PM:

Carol Kimball @189

I understand that ladies merely glow, but real men (and me, occasionally) sweat.

In the past I have put my trainers in the washing machine, but they make an awful racket and they are never quite the same afterwards...

#192 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 02:11 PM:

Carol #189: Good god, Braxis, what exactly are you using your socks for?

When the women heard that Brady was dead
Went back home and they outed in red
Come slippin' and slidin' up and down the street
In their loose Mother Hubbards and their stocking feet.

#193 ::: M Baum ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 02:33 PM:

#109 ::: abi — That's even more ironic because I am the only one of the four of us to grow up in, or even spend substantial time in, the United States. I'm also the only one of the three of us to ever show any interest in sign language of any dialect.

If it's any help, I seem to recall that in terms of dialect, ASL is fairly close to the sign language used in France. A consequence of its history.

#194 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 02:36 PM:

Diatryma @145: On socks and underwear: long underwear doesn't count as underwear.

Does too. Sez so right here on the label. :-)

I have a weird relationship with pain. First off, it should be stated that I am a Delicate Flower, and will avoid discomfort at nearly any cost.

Injury pain: if my body is confident that the problem has been handled and solution is on the way, pain is generally not an issue. Example: I was cleaning out my storage locker one afternoon, and my right foot was aching terribly. It got steadily worse until I was nearly in tears, and I finally gave up and decided to knock off for the day. Then I remembered: I'd dropped a board corner-on onto my foot; that's why it was hurting.

Whereupon the pain promptly went away, and I was able to finish my project.

When I chopped a hole in my hand with an X-acto knife last year, the intake nurse in the ER asked me to rate the pain, 1 to 10. "Uh...a half?" She laughed. "Most people would call that an 8."

Plucking out my own hairs smarts the first couple of times, and then stops hurting. Somebody else plucking them? "Okay! Okay! I'll tell you whatever you want to know. I'll sign anything! Just MAKE IT STOP!"

As to whether or not exercise feels good: depends on the exercise. I never experienced pleasurable exercise until I was motivated to do it on my own initiative (taking up karate; I was of the Bruce Lee generation) and finally got into shape. Then I discovered what would work for me. School phys-ed was almost universally excruciating, however, not aided in the least by the overweaning humiliation of those of us who weren't athletic.

#195 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 02:39 PM:

Serge @ 186 - I remember that particular episode, complete with a mental image of Terry Jones standing somewhere around the Coliseum. In fact, I remembered it back when I was studying Apicus for some feast or another. Braxis @ 190 found the appropriate recipe.

The things PBS teaches us!

#196 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 02:39 PM:

Carol Kimball @150: Oh, those are lovely!

#197 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 02:55 PM:

Sisuile @ 195... I think we were also treated to the sight of Terry Jones as a gladiator. Russell Crowe stuff, definitely.

#198 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 03:09 PM:

Huffington Post had a little slideshow of tweets regarding Dune Snack foods.

Dune Snacks

Among the goodies:

Cheezit Haderach

Toll House Harkonnen cookies

Frementos

The Shadout Grapes


#199 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 03:11 PM:

Platypus, murnival, serpentine, vortex:

Janet Brennan Croft and Zelda: Your cranes are here! This brings us up to 547 received.

#200 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 03:28 PM:

Texanne @199: Mine mailed today, so you should probably have them, um, soonish. The exterior cardboard packing should be removed; they're well-packed inside a plastic bag that is easily openable, but should probably be left so for Xopher.

#201 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 03:40 PM:

No one has yet mentioned Peter Dickinson's mysteries. They are not graphically violent, but they do very often focus on the long-term effects of crime, especially violent crime, on the victims, the criminals, and the bystanders. And they are very definitely about character. I'd start with the two "alternate Royals" novels: King and Joker and Skeleton in Waiting. There are many other DIckinson mysteries (he has also written a lot of YA books), but my two very favorites are Tefuga, and Some Deaths Before Dying. Also very good: the Inspector Pibble series, The Glass-Sided Ants' Nest, The Old English Peep-Show, The Sinful Stones, Sleep and his Brother, The Lizard in the Cup, and One Foot in the Grave.

And I haven't even mentioned A Summer in the Twenties and The Yellow Room Conspiracy!

#202 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 03:49 PM:

Jacque @185: My mistake - I interpreted your comments as meaning you had ferrets. Actually, I could do with a couple of pictures of guinea pigs as well.

Carol Kimball @ 150: Seconding Jacque - yes, they are.

And Happy Birthday Teresa and I hope the back continues to improve.

#203 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 03:50 PM:

Braxis @162: Whenever she came across a pair of rolled up socks, she would pick it up by it's scruff and drag it away to whichever dark corner was today's nesting site.

The miniature beagle we had when I was a kid would, when encountering a guinea pig, attempt to push it under her belly with her front foot to get it to "nurse." The guinea pig, as one might expect, would be confused.

#204 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 04:19 PM:

dcb @ #202, Athenae at First Draft is a ferret-cohabitor and a big fan of the critters; she might be cooperative. Her e-mail address is at the top of the right sidebar on the blog.

#205 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 04:20 PM:

Hau'oli lā hānau, Teresa!

#206 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 04:21 PM:

dcb @202: Actually, I could do with a couple of pictures of guinea pigs as well.

What sort? I have many on hand, can perhaps generate as needed depending on desire.

#207 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 04:31 PM:

Carol @150

birds don't have belly buttons

In a weird way, although birds certainly don't have placentas, they do have belly buttons. When a bird embryo is first developing, the yolk sac is external to the body. Very shortly before hatching (when the sac has decreased substantially in volume relative to the embryo) the yolk sac is internalized via an opening in the belly. At hatching, the location of this event can be seen (at least for the domestic chickens I'm most familiar with) as a small "outie" belly button like object.

Separately -- hyper-local news: Ten days after acquiring realtor, local woman accepts very acceptable offer on house. Local furniture transportation industry expected to benefit.

#208 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 04:37 PM:

Platypus, murnival, serpentine, vortex:

Texanne @199 - I should be mailing my 50 tomorrow. Just need to get them packed well. (They won't lie still; they keep flapping, I swear.)

#209 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 04:40 PM:

Mysteries: I have a great fondness for Margery Allingham's Albert Campion mysteries, though I no longer remember how violent they are. I feel that they're not very graphic, though I do recall the emotional impact of violence.

I got turned onto these via the tv adaptations and found the books to be thoroughly enjoyable. If you like Dorothy Sayers' Peter Wimsey mysteries, you'll probably like these.

#210 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 04:54 PM:

Braxis: Re "fish sauce" I am amused at the consistent reactions to the idea of, "fish sauce" In the recipe you gave it's similar to additions of worcestershire, or barbeque sauce in more modern hamburger/meatloaf recipes.

It doesn't taste anything like fish.

#211 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 05:01 PM:

Fish sauce, like hing (asafoetida) is moderately to very nasty on its own but oh, do I sorely miss it when it's omitted from a dish.

#212 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 05:23 PM:

#198:
Lorna Dunes?
Pecan Sandies?
Spice Drops?

#213 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 05:27 PM:

Open Thread linky roundup:

An online Babbage Machine Emulator. (via 2D Goggles)
Simon's Cat has a newspaper comic strip!
BBC Readers; new meanings for Frankenstein.

#214 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 05:32 PM:

also re 198: still champagne?

#215 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 05:37 PM:

Jacque, if long underwear were underwear, I wouldn't wear underwear under it.

Hyperlocal news: woman gives up cat diet. "I see the vet once a year," she says. Feline in question will hopefully not have developed an eating disorder from the sudden crash diet. In other news, squishy bouncy balls squishy bouncy balls SQUISHY BOUNCY BALLS applied to cat.

#216 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 05:49 PM:

Happy Birthday, Joyeux Anniversaire, Doğum günününüz kutlu olsun, со днём рожгения, Teresa.

#217 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 05:51 PM:

Diatryma #215: Just don't let the cat become a squishy bouncy ball! (Q.v. my prior struggle with Gremlin's diabetes.)

Also, heard today and attributed to the ASPCA: "Housecats are Nature's way of letting us pet lions".

#218 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 05:53 PM:

And, Happy Birthday Teresa! I actually have a little something for you from the bookstore, but I didn't know about the birthday, so I'm unlikely to be able to get it in the mail before Wednesday or so.

#219 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 05:55 PM:

Kyndra @169: Ah, if he wants actual person-attention, that's more difficult!

Mary Aileen @177: Sympathies. A horrible state to be in!

Jacque @194: What we feel as "pain" is processed and affected in so many ways by higher parts of the nervous system after the original nociceptor has fired. That's why people with phantom limb pain can be treated using a mirroring box such that they stick the real remaining limb in through the box and move it around, it is mirror-imaged, the eyes see the "absent" limb and the brain is satisfied that yes, it has contact with the limb, and voila! reduced phantom pain.

Jacque @06: I need pictures to illustrate Wildpro, the electronic encyclopaedia on the health and management of wildlife, which I compile. One of the volumes in development is "Ferrets: Health and Management", thus the requirement for ferret pictures. However, I do have a very short page (name, adress, telephone number, as it were) on the guinea pig and would like a picture or two for that. I would also love a couple of side-on shots that I could make use of to embroider a bookmark of guinea pigs for my sister! If you want to see my work (not the embroidery!), go to http://test.wildlifeinformation.org/disclaimer.asp. We give a photo credit, and a link to a website if desired, but we're not-for-profit and can't pay for pictures.

Linkmeister @204: Thanks for the link. I just watched a lovely video there.

#220 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 05:58 PM:

Diatryma @215: Is too. ;-)

#221 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 06:28 PM:

dcb: I don't know that I might have, by way of photos, but feel free to ping me.

#222 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 06:52 PM:

Lila @98: panic-by-those-far-away is a way of making it ALL ABOUT ME. If future research supports this thesis, I suggest naming it "Bride at Every Wedding/Corpse at Every Funeral Syndrome".

I would offer a somewhat more charitable speculation: Given how strong the altruistic impulse in catastrophes seems to be in the human beast, humans at a distance get some of the stimulation, but none of the ... connection? And humans, being social beasts, feel left out, seeing them humans over there being all helpy and together. We want us some of that. So: "Panic! Panic! Really, there must be something to panic about!"

#223 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 07:13 PM:

David Harmon, that's not ultimately what made me put the cat on a diet, but it was what made me feel guilty and horrible for not doing it before.

Except I really feel it's unreasonable for me to expect a cat to exist on one-third of a cup of food per day. Less, if the food is high-quality. If the vet wants me to go along with this plan, she had better suggest an actual brand and actual food beyond, "Well, read some labels, and you want

#224 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 07:16 PM:

Huh. Where did the rest of my comment go? It was there in preview. Oh, threw a less-than sign in. That killed a sentence, but really, there were other paragraphs in the preview.

Continuing:
If the vet wants me to go along with this plan, she had better suggest an actual brand and actual food beyond, "Well, read some labels, and you want less than 300 calories per day."

She was hungry all the time, her eating habits changed drastically-- food! It's there! I have to eat it all right now because later it will not be there!-- and she developed the habit of breaking into the bread, which had been safe for years just sitting on the counter in its bag.

I realize that I am ranting at you because you are available and the vet is not, with a side of Do Not Fat-Shame My Cat. If you have any ideas for avoiding diabetes ten years from now and still feeding her, I'm open to them. For now, though, I see the vet once a year and my cat every day, when cats get old and sick, they get skeletal, and my sweet furry pear can eat slightly less than half a cup of kibble a day. There's no way not to leave myself open to self-loathing here, so I'm keeping the cat happy.

#225 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 07:16 PM:

David Harmon @217:

"The cherub cat is a term of the angel tiger" -Christopher Smart

#226 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 07:36 PM:

dcb (219): I survived, but it took quite a while to get caught up afterward.

#227 ::: Braxis ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 07:44 PM:

Jacque @203
It seems to me, as a human, that there are more points of correspondence between a guinea pig and a beagle pup than there are between a pair of socks and a kitten. She was a sweet natured cat, but stupid.

Terry Karney @210
As a long-time vegetarian, both the fish sauce and the hamburger sound icky. I have fond memories of worcestershire sauce, but nowadays soy sauce and tomato purée have to stand in.

#228 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 07:58 PM:

@diatryma

Our household is on a Cat Diet, too, thanks to someone's knack for hoovering up all the kibble she can find. (LardButt[1] is just under 15# and the vet wants her closer to 12#. Loudmouth[1] is apparently fine where she is at 7.5-8# and a much smaller frame.)

We've been on the Cat Diet for about a month now and no signs of weight loss or imminent destruction. They're cut back to one cup (8 oz) of kibble per day for two cats. LardButt does not approve at all, and tiny little Loudmouth is getting supplemental snacks on a surface that LardButt hasn't worked out how to get up on.

[1] LardButt and Loudmouth are not the names in their veterinary records, but we're on the internet and the descriptors fit.

#229 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 08:10 PM:

Diatryma #224: Read labels? WTH? <Goes to check>... nope, neither my canned food nor the old bag of IAMS dry food has calorie values listed. I suppose you could calculate the calories from that, but for the vet to expect you do do so certainly doesn't seem fair.

My vet advised me that the lowest-carb cat food on the market is Fancy Feast Turkey & Giblets Classic. If that specifically wasn't available, I was told to go for poultry, but avoid anything with gravy (that is, stick to the classic "paste" types). Also, store-brand cat foods tend to have unheralded variations in their nutrition, and kibble is intrinsically high in carbs.

As far as "avoiding diabetes in ten years"... well, is she currently carrying around slabs of fat? Even more important, is her weight stable on her preferred diet? The big thing to avoid is having kitty get fatter... and fatter... and even fatter... over those ten years. Which is basically what happened to Gremlin -- in retrospect, I should have taken her to the vet (likely resulting in a diet) when she got too fat to jump up on her old perch, years ago. Since you're starting much earlier, it may well be enough to set some limit to how much she's eating, rather than ad libertem.

And yeah, Gremlin was not happy about going on a diet -- she started reminding me of mealtimes (well in advance), and haunting me when I was preparing foods. (She is way too old and fat to get up on counters, and has been for years.) However, I had a buffer against her demands, given she'd already gone diabetic, with symptoms such as flooding the litterbox, and other digestive disruptions. Also, the vet had her coming in for blood-glucose draws every month or two for a while, which led to her quota being increased from 2 to to 2½ cans a day. (She was 15+ pounds at her peak, the vet was happy at 10 pounds and change.)

#230 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 08:34 PM:

Me #229: The "that" in my first para was supposed to be the "Guaranteed Composition" numbers.

#231 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 08:40 PM:

TexAnne @ 8: Socks are something I deliberately show to strangers in public; therefore, they aren't underwear. If I show my socks to children, people might think I'm weird*, but they don't call the cops. Again, not underwear.

Sock knitters, unite! I knit socks out of brightly colored yarn and then I show them off. They're not underwear. They're accessories.

#232 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 08:56 PM:

Happy Birthday Teresa! I hope your back is feeling better.

#233 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 08:59 PM:

oh! And Happy Birthday, Teresa!

#234 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 09:25 PM:

Tim Hall at # 133: It's not genuine self-publishing that this blog is against, so much as it's scammers who claim that what they sell is self-publishing.

#235 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 09:45 PM:

Whew. Caught up. Additional comments:


Re: Platypus Vortex And So On - I was at the Boulder Public Library Main Branch yesterday and saw that the glassed-in exhibit space on the Bridge was featuring the work of the Boulder Folders. Of course it made me think of our current crane-folding project.


Re: Fat cats on diets - I have no idea how universal this is, but my two indoor cats, who showed every sign of beginning to balloon some ten years ago when they became indoor cats, lost weight and stabilized when I put them on a homemade meal that a local vet calls "the thirds diet": One third human-grade meat protein, one third some sort of carbohydrate, one third a high-quality commercial dry cat food. We weren't out to make them lose weight; we were out to find a food that didn't make one or the other of them react badly. The vet recommended this, and it worked for us. If you feel like experimenting, here's the recipe I eventually settled on.

(CAVEAT: It is not cheap, I fear, neither in terms of money nor time. Not luxuriously expensive, but not cheap.)

BAKE 2 lb ground turkey breast, 1 lb chicken liver @ 350 F until done, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain off liquids. Chop the liver and crumble the turkey. Alternately pass them coarsely through a food processor. Mix 'em together.

COOK 2 cups brown rice in 4 cups water: 45 minutes from the time water reaches a boil. The vet originally suggested white rice, but I suspect brown is better for 'em, being lower in carbs and higher in fiber.

OPEN 1 14 oz. can pumpkin. I'm not sure where the pumpkin comes from in the "thirds diet" instructions. I think the vet mentioned it, but vaguely. Hey, extra fiber and vitamins! Yay, hairball prevention! What's not to like?

HAVE AT HAND a quantity of Wellness brand dry cat food, the regular adult formula, not the diet formula. Sometimes I try another brand. I use Annie Bruce's metric of "Are the first three ingredients Actual Meat?" or the short-cut, "Does P.C.'s Pet Bakery carry it?"

Mix ingredients in the following proportions:

* 1 cup turkey meat/chicken liver
* 1 cup rice
* 1 cup dry cat food
* 1/4 cup pumpkin

Wrap in freezer-safe wrapping. This yields 1 Packet. The whole process makes 6 Packets with a little of each human food ingredient left over, which I generally just distribute evenly across the packets. Each Packet gets defrosted 24 hours in the freezer, kept in a rubber-topped Pyrex container, and fed to cats at a rate of 1/3 Cup per Cat per Mealtime. They get two meals a day. I make more once every 2 weeks.

My cats are fairly lean, and they don't act hungry all day, and I'm pretty sure after a decade of this that they're not starving. But they *do* have a sense of when meal time is and will begin to complain about an hour earlier than I'm willing to feed them. They eat it up until it's gone, do a little desultory scavenging for more, then come snuggle or ask to be played with.

Anyway. No guarantees this will cause a cat to lose weight or prevent weight gain, but it did so for ours as well as ending the digestive problems we'd been having.


Re: Pumpkin Tests - I have to disagree with you, Jacque - if you can make a jack-o-lantern out of it, it's a gourd or squash or possibly a turnip (the original jack-o-lanterns were turnips, I seem to recall), but not necessarily a pumpkin.

Also, soup made of blue hubbard squashes is nothing less than ambrosia.

#236 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 09:46 PM:

Earl Cooley III @ 147:

re: Do thin cotton gloves work well with ebook readers without leaving fingerprint smudges?

I can't speak to cotton gloves, but if you're using a reader that has any touch-screenishness to it, these Agloves are like magic: http://www.agloves.com/

They're not exactly thin, but nothing like heavy weight, and they work on my laptop's touchpad and my tablet.

#237 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 09:52 PM:

Happy Birthday, Teresa./

#238 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 10:17 PM:

Happy birthday, Teresa! Many happy returns!

and to the fat cat owners. Just reducing their weight a bit will help a lot. when we got Ms. Angelina she resembled a large, grey jellybean with some cat features (and was a bit of 15 lbs, which for her frame was HUGE). At the age we got her, we just started her on what the rest of the cats were eating, dry Purina cat chow.

She had about three days where she was "f-k no, I'm not eating that crap," and then her starving belly set in and she managed to cough it down.

She has since gotten a lot better and is a normal-sized (for her frame) about 7 lb cat. And now we are feeding her wet food again because she is Old and was losing a bit of ground. Whiskas has a pureed food that she likes, and she gets a half-package twice a day (I don't think she is eating any dry food now) but she's holding her weight and strength. So i'm willing to hold with the current path.

At this point I'm feeding her what she will eat and not worrying too much about picky points. She is approaching or may be past 20 and is still fairly healthy and active. And very much loved. (her former owner was obviously mean to her other than over-feeding her, and it took her over 2 years to get used to the fact she was going to get nothing but lovings and pettings from us.)

#239 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 10:17 PM:

Platypus, murnival, serpentine, vortex:
Jacque and dcb - thank you. The squares range from 4 1/4" down to 3". Starting with the self-printed bond paper* and larger size, going smaller seemed impossible. The gift wrap and pattern tissue, being so much thinner, were wonderfully easy and could have gone smaller yet.

My mom said her church is encouraging the congregation, visitors, et. al. to fold cranes which will then be strung up in the sanctuary. Who's going to dust them?

The Chinese(?) have a custom of burning [fake paper money] to release its essence to wing on with their good wishes. Wouldn't it have been good to have that as part of our adoption of the thousand cranes' tradition? It might be comforting on a really bad day to ceremonially access some of that stored love.

Heather Rose Jones - amazing about birds' belly buttons. Of course they had to connect to the yolk.

* I keep wanting to write "typing paper". How long before that goes completely arcane?

#240 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 10:30 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @ 238... when we got Ms. Angelina she resembled a large, grey jellybean

When we got Agatha the Cat Genius, she looked like a skinny waif. Two years later, she still looks like a skinny waif even though it's not unusual for her to catch and eat a dove as big as she.

#241 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 10:48 PM:

Happy Birthday, Teresa!

Carol 150: Wow. Those are amazing. And beautiful. Thank you.

HLN: Man develops cough a few days after getting out of hospital, and at the end of the first dramatically spring-like weather of the year. Thinks it's probably asthmatic in origin, but who knows now.

#242 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 11:01 PM:

Thanks for the fat kitty tips. And I erred above: it is 300cal/cup, not /day. Which worked out to 100cal/day, and... no. She had gained some over the years, but was pretty steady-- what actually convinced me was that the vet pointed to her dandruff and said she couldn't groom herself. I doubt that somewhat, and I had been petting the cat continuously for some minutes before the vet came in (the comfort words are, "I know, I know,") and that causes some defluffing.

I might try her on wet food again, just for the bulk. It'll have to wait for a weekend my roommate isn't here, though, because the last time she got to eat more than a spoonful of wet food, it ended suddenly and externally.

She'll also be at my family's home for some time in the summer. That's a much larger house and it has stairs. Should drop a bit of weight.

#243 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 11:10 PM:

I'm currently on my way home to my moderately large cat - he hasn't attained sphericality, but he's a big (and large frame) beastie. I'd guess his weight at something between 12-15 pounds, but given my accuracy on estimating weight*, I'd have to check to be certain.

*I mailed a box of books to myself this morning; I'd estimated its weight at 35lbs; the post office said it was 50lbs. I figured, being a psych / vision grad student, it was time to send my personal library of vision books out to Berkeley. Being back in Boston for a weekend made it practical.

#244 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 11:45 PM:

Carol, #239: I still think of standard 8.5x11" paper as typing paper, even though nowadays it says "Laser Printer Paper" on the box.

#245 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 11:52 PM:

Bruce Cohen STM @201 -- alternate British titles on the first 3 Pibbles, for our friends in the Commonwealth: Skin Deep, A Pride of Heroes, and The Seals (with its bizarre religious cult based on Snakes and Ladders...). You also didn't mention Walking Dead (zombies, voodoo and biological ethics) or The Poison Oracle (a murder where the only witness is a sign-talking chimp, with an inverted pyramid for a castle). Or that some of the YAs are quite good mysteries on their own: The Seventh Raven, for one. (Why yes, he's one of my favorite authors....)

#246 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 01:30 AM:

Devin @ 187

Cool. No, I agree, I just left the weasel words in place specifically because I couldn't think what I was overlooking and was fairly sure it was something, so I was a little surprised to be called to task as if I hadn't realized my own gaps. That whole Internet lacking adequate humor cues thing, I think. Apologies for escalating.

#247 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 02:55 AM:

Belated happy birthday to Teresa!

#248 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 03:35 AM:

A techno-geeky question, since AKICIML:

I have a Dynex wireless-g router hardwired to my Westell DSL modem. Mom has a MacBook down the hall in the family room. It's probably about 50 feet away. It's not in direct line of sight, though; there's about a 45-degree jog through a corner of the kitchen to where she is. Most of the time the MacBook connects to my network pretty well, but it drops frequently enough that it frustrates her.

Could access point hardware placed down the hall closer to her solve the problem?

#249 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 05:15 AM:

Diatryma @223: Shame on your vet, who should have been offering to sell you appropriate high fibre, maybe high-protein (helps with satiety) low-calorie diet food, and should have been able to suggest specific brands otherwise. Depending on cost, see if you can find a Hills lighter diet - should at least be nutritionally reasonable.

I put our cat on a diet in January after she weighed in at 4.9 kg (and should be nearer 3.5 kg). She's -always- had a hanging flap of skin on her belly, so the fact it was filling with fat hadn't been that obvious. Sigh. So she's now on 45 g of her hard food a day (which is actually an appropriate amount for the size she should be) plus one teaspoon of "treat" pouch food, plus two or three very small treats of human food a day (e.g. a crumb of cheese from me, a tiny bit of pate or a smidgen of roast beef from my husband). And I'm encouraging exercise, with the assistance of the laser pointer. Losing 100 g or so per month for the past three months - nice slow weight loss is fine by me. She does seem more active (although that could also be because it's spring). She's also not obviously hungry and isn't scavenging.

Have you tried using the food as environmental enrichment? Maybe getting one of those balls she has to pat around to make the food fall out, so it takes her longer to eat?

#250 ::: Braxis ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 05:32 AM:

This is more likely to help.

The product you linked to would work, but it would have to connected by cable to your modem. A wireless extender/repeater can be placed anywhere with good reception from your current access point. It then rebroadcasts the signal, thereby extending the range.

#251 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 05:55 AM:

Terry Karney @221: Thanks!

Carol Kimball @239: I cheated; I already had hundreds of sheets of three-inch origami paper in various colours and patterns, so I used those. Except that I found a pad of banana paper, speckled off-white, which was square, and I wanted to use some of that, so I hunted through my origami paper and found some I could cut into quarters to make matching-sized paper, so one chain of 25 is slightly smaller than the others. I did have fun folding the two teeny tiny newspaper cranes from newspaper.

#252 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 07:12 AM:

Belated Happy Birthday to Teresa!

#253 ::: Kyndra ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 07:59 AM:

dcb@219 There has been a sudden improvement in sleeping. I decided to take away his morning nap instead of waiting for him to give it up as I did with the others. His sleep and therefore mine is now much improved. The desire for play lasted about ten minutes last night!

Hyper-local news: Woman in the process of making a garden at a rental where there was only weeds is pleased to note the almost visible progress of her pea plants! OK OK Spring just makes me happy!

#254 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 08:20 AM:

I'll be AFK for a bit--nothing bad, just time for a break. Serpentine murnival updates will resume shortly.

#256 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 09:31 AM:

You're allowed to celebrate your birthday for one week before and two weeks after the actual date. Happy birthday, Teresa!

#257 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 10:05 AM:

#251 ::: dcb

...I did have fun folding the two teeny tiny newspaper cranes from newspaper.

How small did these end up being (I mean the starting squares)? While not tackling the crumbly-newspaper suggestion, I did wonder if after folding it would be possible to expose it to acid fumes (with a vent hood!) to hasten its deterioration.

I have a cube of note paper dating from the early 60s (a photo of Jackie Kennedy is on the sheets' sides) acquired well after the fact. The yellow ink has gone its fugitive way, leaving her an interesting pink/blue. The cranes would look white, with Jackie-ghosting on the very edges. What to watch or listen to while folding? "Camelot" discarded. Maybe T.H. White's "The Once and Future King". The default choices for Xopher were better.

Banana paper - made of bananas? Banana-colored? With banana ads on it?

Why I am suddenly wanting breakfast?

#258 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 10:10 AM:

Diatryma @215 said: Jacque, if long underwear were underwear, I wouldn't wear underwear under it.

My spouse points out, helpfully, that some people don't. What squicked me worse to find out is that some people don't wear underwear under pantyhose -- my grandmother, for one (in my childhood; she is no longer wearing anything in particular, having passed away several years ago). She saw nothing odd about the practice, and defended it on the grounds that (a) it's underwear anyway, (b) it's airier down there than wearing both layers, and (c) underwear would make visible panty lines in her outer clothing. Still.

Braxis @227 said: As a long-time vegetarian, both the fish sauce and the hamburger sound icky. I have fond memories of worcestershire sauce, but nowadays soy sauce and tomato purée have to stand in.

Your Requirements May Vary, but my anaphylactically-allergic-to-fish husband has found several brands that taste fine but either list no anchovies on their label, or (despite listing it) do not actually contain any, because he doesn't react to them. And he reacts to very small amounts.

#259 ::: Camilla ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 10:11 AM:

Kyndra @129: my two boys weigh 55lbs together (four years and 17 months); I can tow them both in one of the Burley trailers (which is itself light and handles marvelously) but it's right at the limit of what I can do, and I have to avoid hills. I find the arrangement a reasonable alternative to taking the big stroller and walking - it's faster and more fun, but doesn't increase my range much.

(Without kids, I commute by bicycle; I'm fit, but not an athlete, and I'm small and lack deep energy reserves.)

It's somewhat enlightening to compute the combined weight of bicycle, kids, trailer, groceries, etc. as a proportion of your body weight. My hunch is that below 1/3, you're going at full speed, and above 3/4, you've got a limited and fragile situation.

Even if you think you can tow/carry all three kids, you should consider whether you need the flexibility to go somewhere with another cyclist; even if you can swap loads, 2 vs. 0 has pacing problems. Cargo bikes also often need level sheltered storage - the Burley can barely fit through my shed door (and has to be unhitched each time) which limits get-on-and-go.

#260 ::: Nicole Fitzhugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 10:12 AM:

thanks for all the recommendations, everyone. I will head off to the library with list in hand!

Also, happy birthday to Teresa. Thanks for this blog!


PS How did I fail to notice my name was in all caps? It's so weird looking. Feel like I was shouting in a crowded room!

#261 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 10:26 AM:

Elliott, 258: Are those sauces otherwise vegan? I have a friend who'd be interested.

#262 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 10:58 AM:

Re: red panda sidelight: "Rowr! I haz a feerce!!" Hee hee.

#263 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 11:16 AM:

Kyndra @ 253: Yay! Good luck for the increased sleep continuing.

Carol Kimball @ 257: Starting sheets about 1/2 inch to a side - the second one a bit smaller than the first. I refer to folding cranes that size as "silly season" folding. It was when, having recently learned to fold cranes, I found I was challenging myself by folding smaller and smaller versions, that I decided to buy a book on origami and learn to fold other things as well.

Banana paper: made from banana plants - I'm presuming from the leaves. I would have folded some with elephant-poo paper except I've not got any at home and I didn't think to ask my stepmother to send me down a couple of sheets (from the notebook I gave her a while back) until it was too late.

#264 ::: Braxis ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 12:17 PM:

Elliott Mason @258

I find the idea of Worcestershire Sauce, made with homoeopathic doses of anchovy essence, strangely intriguing...

#265 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 12:43 PM:

TexAnne @261: Are those sauces otherwise vegan? I have a friend who'd be interested.

No idea, I just know they lack sufficient fish-sourced proteins for my spouse's immune system to attempt to protectively kill him. I don't remember any other animal-sourced ingredients of note in common recipes for it, though -- basically it's plants and anchovies, except when it isn't anchovied. If there are at least four brands in your local supermarket, we find that at least one of them will not-list anchovies in its ingredients, so you could certainly read labels and see.

Braxis @264 said: I find the idea of Worcestershire Sauce, made with homoeopathic doses of anchovy essence, strangely intriguing...

Amusingly, one of the ones that claims to be anchovied but proves not to is Lea & Perrin's, at least as sold in the US. You'd think the canonical version ... ahh, well.

#266 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 12:46 PM:

dcb @263, Carol Kimball @257: When I was a meticulous small child, I regularly folded all sorts of things out of (squared-off sections of) gum wrappers, including cranes. Also snakes, which lend themselves perfectly to the form factor (though I usually bisected lengthwise beforehand).

#267 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 12:52 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @235: My cats are fairly lean, and they don't act hungry all day

That's not the story I hear. I come over to visit, and sit in the dining area, and before long I feel little burn marks forming in the back of my head. I turn around, it's Uno. "You're by the kitchen. The kitchen has food. You sitting at the table. The table holds food. You're a human, you have opposable thumbs. I'm not. You do the math." Of course, I get similar treatment from Null, but the subtitles are much shorter: "You're human. LUV MEEEEEE."

Of course, I also get told by every dog I ever meet that their human IGNORES them and they are NEGLECTED and UNLOVED. So Uno may, perhaps, not be taken entirely at his word.

In pet-weight related news, we have a small point for optimisim in our house: Sunny, who has some sort of undefined health issue, has been steadily losing weight over the last few months, to the point where I'm seriously starting to prepare myself. (She's been to the vet; any potential treatment is more expensive than I can afford, and offers highly equivocal odds for success.)

Last few days, I've been giving her an extra meal when I get home from work, and locking her and her two best pals away from the Mean Girls at night. Knock on wood, she's starting to show signs of the the very beginnings of a pot belly. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

#268 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 01:03 PM:

Re: Cats and diets etc.

I don't have an overweight problem with my cat. She's a fabulous 12 pound beastie of mostly dense muscle. I actually forget sometimes that most other cats aren't as densely muscled and I'm so used to her now that when I pick up other cats it feels a bit weird to me, they're too soft and squishy as opposed to being a bit like a brick in a soft fur coat.

However I have food issues with the cat. She's allergic to a variety of things (mostly chicken and some food additives) so for years now she's had to be on Royal Canin hypoallergenic dry food and water only. No treats whatsoever.

When she first encountered that food she took a sniff at it and then turned her back and attempted to dig over it.

Yeah.. it's a bit soul destroying to have to limit your cat to only food she considers garbage.

However after a bit of experimenting I figured out that I could safely give her around a teaspon of canned tuna (in water only not oil or brine) but unfortunately the cat has just started breaking out in a minor rash again so I'll probably have to stop that.

She loves food although I've always been able to free feed her and she doesn't over eat but taking away one of her few full on pleasures in life is really hard. I know that's much better overall than severe skin problems. Hard to tell that to the cat though when she's whining at how unfair it all is

#269 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 01:26 PM:

Belated Happi Byrthdae Teresa!

(Hmmm, how many scoops in a Byrthdae?)

#270 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 01:41 PM:

Sica — I think my cat Penelope must have a similar build to yours. "Like a python in a fur coat" is the description I usually fall back on when trying to describe the sensation of nothin'-but-muscle that I get when I pet her.

As far as food goes, we've been very happy with the results we've seen from feeding ours a raw meat diet. We've fed them this brand for 2+ years now and are delighted by how healthy, energetic, and clean and sweet-smelling* they are as a result. The litterbox stinks less than it did with previous cats whom we were feeding kibble, too.

*Not flower-sweet or sugar-sweet, that is — just clean, healthy, no-stink no-funk not "catty" cat smell.

#271 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 01:52 PM:

Happy late birthday, Teresa.

#272 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 01:56 PM:

WTR crane paper: I was short on time and didn't want to risk disappearing into my belly-button over paper, so I just popped across to the street to the kite store, which is the best toystore EVAR.

I justified it because I've been wanting an excuse to buy origami paper, 'cause it's, like, perty. I look at it as my own little private Stimulus Package.

#273 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 02:12 PM:

Elliott Mason @258: What squicked me worse to find out is that some people don't wear underwear under pantyhose

GAAAHHHH!!! This is one for the Dysfunctional Families thread.

My mother and I had an argument over this, back when I was in junior high. Right before going out to dinner with family friends.

Not only was it cold that night, but I was wearing a freakin' miniskirt, for Ghods sake! One puff of breeze, and there's my bidness, for all to see!

She did finally relent to the extent of allowing me to wear underpants...over the pantyhose. (Which was not as much of an improvement as it might have been; this is in the early days of "run-proof" nylons, which meant that they had a texture somewhat softer than 80-grit sandpaper.

I felt thoroughly violated (can you tell?), and never could make any earthly sense out of her reasoning. (Not that she gave me a reason.)

I'm still just a teensy bit angry about it.

#275 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 02:31 PM:

Jacque @ 273... this is in the early days of "run-proof" nylons

This brings back memories of my high-school days, when one could see purple nylongs. Well, it was circa 1970.

#276 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 02:36 PM:

I begin my day with a 2.5 mile dog walk . . . in my pajamas. Not the traditional flannel sort: Hospital scrubs in the summer, sweat suit in the winter.

When it is really cold, I wear long thermal "underwear" under the sweatpants. The thought of wearing these without traditional underpants just seems wrong.

#277 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 02:37 PM:

Belated happy birthday, Teresa!

#278 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 02:41 PM:

Sica @ 268: Difficult. I'm trying to think of other little treats you could try (I agree it seems a shame not to be able to supplement her diet (which she clearly eats under sufferance) with something nice. Salmon? Roast beef? Cheese? Or does she react to those as well? My sister-in-law's previous horse was allergic to wheat, maize, apples... - practically everything except grass, oats and carrots. Made life very difficult.

There are recipes for home-made hypoallergenic diets, e.g. based on lamb and rice, which I could dig out if you want to try one.

#279 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 02:43 PM:

But pantyhose are designed so that they can be your only undergarment. That's why they have the cotton crotch panel. Heck, that's why they're called panty hose -- they have a panty attached, so you don't need to deal with garter-belt-related undergarments.

You can wear other underwear under them if you like, of course. But it's not unreasonable not to do so. (I've done both. In case you were interested.)

I have to say, though, I am glad that pantyhose are out of fashion (unless you intend to dress conservatively). Underwear is not my biggest problem with pantyhose; it's the fact that they get holes and runs if you so much as look at them. I hate paying for something that is likely to be destroyed the instant I start trying to put it on, and will certainly only be good for one wearing.

#280 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 02:51 PM:

Jacque @273: Awful. Yes, I can see how that could psychologically scar. Many-years-belated sympathies.

Caroline @ 279 "That's why they have the cotton crotch panel." Not in any I've ever seen. "so you don't need to deal with garter-belt-related undergarments" - yes, so you don't need to deal with garter belt etc., not so you don't need knickers. Personally, I hate tights (= pantyhose) and much prefer stay-ups (which are more expensive but also tend to be tougher and therefore last longer), although I know those don't work for everyone. Even those I only wear when I'm really dressed up.

#281 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 03:04 PM:

Depressing open-thready whining:

I just had to take my dog for her final trip to the vet last week. She was 15, and had more-or-less stopped eating (eventually even canned food wasn't tempting, though we could still get her to eat lunchmeat fed to her by hand), she more-or-less couldn't get out of her dog crate without help, and she seemed like she was in pain that the pain pills weren't helping.

Rationally, I know it was the right thing. But damn, it was hard to do. She was wagging when we got to the vet, because she loved going there, and because she was a really friendly dog. (She fell over on her side once walking from the car to the vet's office, though.) And one of the hardest things about it was, I felt a big burden lift off me afterwards. I'd been seeing this in my future, dreading it, and hoping to avoid it, for the past few months.

The vet did it exactly right, and my dog clearly was calm and comfortable and enjoying the attention from me right up to the end. But God, what a hard thing to have to do.

#282 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 03:12 PM:

albatross (281): I'm sorry for your loss.

#283 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 03:14 PM:

albatross @ 281... It is indeed a hard thing to do.

#284 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 03:19 PM:

Albatross — so very sorry to hear it. It's such a hard decision to make, even when you feel certain it's the right one.

[Note to self: stop thinking about the last time you had to take a cat for the last vet visit. You're at work and shouldn't start crying now.]

#285 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 03:26 PM:

xeger, #255: I could smell the reek of tuna while watching that. Must have been psychosomatic.

Elliott, #265: I have a friend who used to laugh at me for specifying "Lea & Perrins worcestershire" at steakhouses... until she sent her husband to the store for worcestershire sauce and he came home with some off brand that didn't taste right!

Jacque, #267: Cats and dogs -- the original unreliable narrators? :-)

Five years ago, our Fafhrd was an orange bowling ball, nearly Garfield-sized. I don't know what happened, but he slowly lost weight until now he's a normal-sized cat, actually rather small for a tom. I keep an eye on him to make sure he's not continuing to lose, but so far he seems to be perfectly okay.

Spot has reached the leggy-teenager stage. Unfortunately, she's also developed a compulsive-overgrooming habit that nothing seems to touch. We have her in the Cone Of Shame, because whenever we take it off she starts licking herself raw again. I sure hope she outgrows this eventually!

Sica, #268: That's a fabulous picture!

Caroline, #279: That's deliberate, of course. They could knit them using a stitch that wouldn't run, but then you'd only have to buy a few pairs and they'd last a long time, instead of having to buy more of them every week or so. It's the most extreme form of planned obsolescence on the market.

dcb, #280: "Stay-ups"? Like thigh-highs? On this side of the Atlantic, those aren't made any better than regular pantyhose.

#286 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 03:28 PM:

albatross @ 281: Sympathies. Never easy, evenwhen you know it's the right thing to do and the right time to do it. *Virtual hug*.

#287 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 03:31 PM:

Albatross @ 281 - My sympathies. Whenever we've had to take a beloved pet on the final journey, it's been emotionally wrenching.

For some reason I'm remembering a line from a book but I don't remember which one or who the author was. But it applies to those animal companions who've given so much:

He lived in the moment until the moment was gone

#288 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 03:40 PM:

Lee @#285: "Stay-ups"? Like thigh-highs?

In the parlance to which I'm becoming accustomed, "stay-ups" seem to differ from stockings in that they have the weird sticky stuff, so that they, in theory, stay up on their own, without a garter belt. Given that it doesn't work very well and is nasty-feeling besides, I've taken to cutting the sticky stuff off and wearing them with a garter belt as usual. Vastly expands my repertoire of stockings.

#289 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 03:43 PM:

albatross @281: Sympathies here as well.

I've done that three times now, with cats, and every single time it was the right thing but still painful. 15 years is a good innings, but there's really no such thing as enough time with the beings we love.

Lexica @270: "python in a fur coat"--that's my Alex too, pretty much all muscle. Plus he's not comfortable being cuddled, which means that when I pick him up, I usually have to hold him under the armpits and far enough out from my body that he can't swing a dangling hind leg back and find purchase (because he will jump out of my grasp if he can). 15 lbs of cat feels like more than 15 lbs when it's at the end of your arms, even if it's just hanging there.

In the last year he has begun to allow me to hold him sideways against my body but I still have to let his hind legs/feet hang down. Cupping his lower half still makes him leap away, even if the top of him is perfectly happy, purring, head-butting, scent-marking on my chin, etc.

He's nearly a teenager and has lived with us for half his life.

#290 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 03:50 PM:

Worse than having to take your pet to the vet for that final shot:

Not going in time.

My family's last cat was slowly declining of kidney disease. Got skinnier and skinnier, a virtual wraith toward the end. I had a long-commute job and did a lot of business travel and so I wasn't really on tap to be a care-giver . . . not that I would have known what symptoms to look for that would definitively signal it was his time to go.

But in any case . . . we waited too long. I was away on a trip when the poor old guy started howling and shaking, too late at night to go to a vet. My mom could only wrap him in a blanket and hold him until he passed. Awful.

#291 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 03:54 PM:

albatross @281: Depressing open-thready whining

Hard, yes. Depressing, yes. Necessary, clearly. Whining? Not.

Having taken this trip with my pigs all too often, I sympathize.

I was grateful that, the most recent (though most likely not the last) time around, my vet was able to make a house-call for a reasonable (to me, at the time) fee on very short notice. Mr. Junior was able to go out seeing and trying to get to his "Girls! Girls!! Wonderful girls!"

Be extra gentle with yourself.

#292 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 04:03 PM:

Braxis @ #250, Huh. I hadn't realized the access point needs to be cabled. That won't do; if I wanted to run 50' of Ethernet cable I'd just plug the MacBook directly into my router and skip the intermediate hardware.

I like the range extender and I like the theoretically-simple setup. Thanks!

#293 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 04:05 PM:

Stefan @290: Oh, I'm so, so sorry! Poor kitty! Poor your mom! Poor you!

There are a few 24-hour emergency care vets in Queens, thankfully.

#294 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 04:06 PM:

albatross @ 281 ...
The vet did it exactly right, and my dog clearly was calm and comfortable and enjoying the attention from me right up to the end. But God, what a hard thing to have to do.

My empathies. It's a hard thing to do. I'm glad that there was a vet that did house calls when it was time for my last cat -- she hated going to the vet at the best of times, and I was glad to spare her the misery.

#295 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 04:08 PM:

albatross @281:

My condolences.

#296 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 04:12 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 289 ...
In the last year he has begun to allow me to hold him sideways against my body but I still have to let his hind legs/feet hang down. Cupping his lower half still makes him leap away, even if the top of him is perfectly happy, purring, head-butting, scent-marking on my chin, etc.

One good thing that's come out of this dire and lurgy flu that's had me napping more than my felines -- my most recent cat (the one that thinks I'm her person) has decided that she now trusts me enough to curl up along one side of me, with her head/paws on my arm, and my arm _actually_ encircling her, without running away because she's *ENCLOSED*.

Not only that, she's actually done the "apply paw and touch of claw" to tell me to not move away from that nice cuddly position, and then rolled on her back to get her tummy rubbed.

This is (for her) astoundingly trusting behaviour, and very much appreciated by yours truly.

#297 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 04:22 PM:

albatross @281, Stefan Jones @290; My sympathies to both of you. I had a cat who I took to the vet twice, thinking it was time; the vet looked him over and said (after good discussion) "No, not quite yet." He ended up dying at home, in his sleep, quietly.

I still miss him.

#298 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 04:24 PM:

Caroline @ 279

Pantyhose may be out of fashion, but tights (the more brightly colored the better) are decidedly in fashion. It's back to clothing as camo/clothing as social armor: in the very art-y and slightly hipster crowd native to my microregion in the city, wearing layers, vintage, and/or colored tights that coordinate/compliment serve as signals that you "get it". And while turquoise tights will almost always make a loud statement, they also cause me to fade into "one of us."

In the not so loud portion of the sock drawer (which is where one puts tights and leggings because they are not underwear) I have this lovely pair of wool cable-knit tights that I bought to stand graveside at gma's funeral in Feb in northern Indiana in 2 feet of snow. I've found that because tights are a slightly heavier weight, they don't run nearly as quickly as pantyhose, and whatever knitter/manufacturer Target is using does a pretty good job, as do most of the brands at Kohl's.

#299 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 04:32 PM:

Oh, the cat starring in #260 died at least, my gosh, 18 years ago. The hurt is long gone, but the object lesson remains.

If she's able, my dog will gleefully jump on the table for that final shot. (When she donates blood she often jumps back up on the table multiple times after she's done giving her unit.) I'm not sure if this will make things harder or easier.

#300 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 04:51 PM:

I came home to find the bag of cat food had been dragged across the room and the bottom torn open slightly.

Kitty is hungry.

Silly tubby furnace butt. Hopefully, with the return of the usual food, a less stenchful small furry dork, but one never knows.

#301 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 05:19 PM:

xeger @296: Alex is an adult shelter rescue who was clearly someone's cat before he wound up on the street (which is where he was found by Animal Control). Just as clearly, whoever first lived with him inculcated certain behaviors in the cat which included "do not walk across a person under any circumstances." He was not, as far as we can tell, abused, but he was not a cuddle-cat, though he was very friendly and loved to be petted (on his terms).

In the 6 years that he's lived with us, he's softened his attitude a good deal. He will now stride boldly across laps, shoulders, and other portions of human anatomy on his way wherever. He will sit in laps, especially in my daughter's lap, and particularly if "his" red and white blanket is in place in said lap (that sends him into a frenzy of kneading followed by a frenzy of licking followed by a very deep and lengthy nap). He loves to knead and particularly loves it when he can get one or both hind feet involved, but he won't generally knead against a person unless the red and white blanket is involved, which is a good thing because his feet are large and strong and his claws are quite sharp. He will occasionally lightly knead, front paws only, on jeans, preparatory to napping.

Until about 9 months ago, if he sat in your lap, he would either sit like an Isis cat or sit meatloafed but facing you (trust issues, clearly). Now, even if he starts out sitting that way, you can turn him around and push down on his shoulders and tell him "sit" and he will. (he used to sit meatloafed but with his feet gathered under him, which was very strange. you can tell how relaxed he his by whether or not his paws are folded (calm) or pads down (not so calm).

Until two years ago, he never slept on or near a person. Then he began to sleep next to my teenage daughter, and by a year ago he was sleeping on her. At about that same time he began to sleep next to me; in the last few months he has begun to occasionally sleep on me, sometimes with his head turned upside down (that's when we know he's really asleep).

When he first came to us, we could not touch him anywhere other than his head and back. Now he can be touched pretty much everywhere except his stomach and feet, though the teenager can sometimes hold his paws (but can't touch the tummy). Luckily he's very good at taking care of his nails.

He'll probably never be a full lapcat, but I'm happy that he's reached the point where he'll stretch out on my stretched-out legs and go to sleep. He's been in my lap so much lately that I've started to try to do needlepoint around him; since he's a smart fella, I don't think it will take him too long to understand that if he grabs for the thread, the needle, or my hand, he loses the lap.

(This is the cat who taught himself to hunt mice, so he really is no dummy.)

#302 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 05:24 PM:

Melissa Singer @289, xeger @296 spoke of cuddle-disliking pets ...

I am reminded of my needier beagle's★ reaction to my enlargement during middle-late gestation. He wanted to be in my lap all the time, most especially as the lap itself disappeared. He grabbed his chances when I was having a kip on the couch, curling up against the (probably nice warm) bump in my abdomen ... right up to the day the bump kicked him. He LEVITATED away with a look between terror and deep offense, and went to cuddling in my lumbar region instead for the rest of the pregnancy.

My less-needy beagle was drain-bamaged when we got him, due to heatstroke and a negligent previous owner. The vet estimated him to be approximately 8mo ... but he acted for all the world like a 15-year-old alsatian, if you can imagine: everything but the hip-dysplasia/arthritis walk. He moped around, not un-cheerful, exactly, but like everything was too much effort and the gravity was unreasonably high. At that point in his life, it was 'cuddling' if he flung himself down 8' away from you (or at the farthest opposite reach of the couch), leaned against a vertical surface, and gave you a heartfelt look of companionship.

Luckily, Ajax -- and his continual, insistent, enthusiastic "PLAY WITH ME!!!!eleventy!" demands -- provided an extremely enriched environment for the regrowth of our calmer beagle's brain. Sseveral years (and fairly-radical personality-change quanta) later, he is quite a personable hound, if still far from a petting-slut. Unless you get your fingernails scritching right in his collar-itchies, in which case he loses his knees, his balance, and all semblance of dignity.

★ The older, crazier one is Ajax; the younger, tolerant one is Boston.

#303 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 05:33 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 301 ...
Alex is an adult shelter rescue who was clearly someone's cat before he wound up on the street (which is where he was found by Animal Control). Just as clearly, whoever first lived with him inculcated certain behaviors in the cat which included "do not walk across a person under any circumstances." He was not, as far as we can tell, abused, but he was not a cuddle-cat, though he was very friendly and loved to be petted (on his terms).

Of the three cats that I ended up with as 'found' cats:

My largest cat (something like a 20" torso, iirc) was dumped a few houses from the local humane society, with the remains of clear collar marks, and a definite understanding about can opener noises. He won't go outside, no way, no how, to hell with that, from which I'd guess that his only time outside involved when he got dumped for being an exuberant, (large), leggy kitten. He was and is exceedingly friendly to the world, so I'd have to think that being dumped was the only bad thing his previous owners did.

The other two clearly had/have some sort of history that resulted in distinct trust issues, and are also just as clearly one person cats. This includes "Thou shalt have no other cat before me, and I shall be deeply suspicious if you pay too much attention to any other cat".

Aww... and the cat that currently owns me has just passed out on my arm, doing a superman :)

#304 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 05:46 PM:

Albatross, I'm so sorry about your loss. It was clearly the right time but this is the worst part about having pets :(

#278 dcb - I had been able to use the tuna as the tiny bit of treat but since she's breaking out again right now I think I'll have to stop it. I can try something else but not until after she's been clean for around 2 months or so. Otherwise it's impossible to try to figure out if she can tolerate it or not. I think I'll try roast beef next when I can.

Fortunately she eats the hypoallergenic dry food though, the vet said fussy eaters often refuse it altogether. She's thriving on it, very shiny and low stink in the litterbox and no cat funk smell either so that's something atleast.

I have considered trying her on raw but I go away on holiday 2-3 times a year and I'm not sure I would feel comfortable asking my cat sitting friends to deal with a raw diet for the mighty feline. Thanks for the suggestions though.

#305 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 05:52 PM:

Platypus, serpentine, murnival, vortex:

I mailed my cranes out. Alas, I forgot to take pictures.

#306 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 05:56 PM:

xeger @ 303... My largest cat (something like a 20" torso

Did it have a head too?

#307 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 06:00 PM:

albatross 281: I'm sorry for your loss.

Platypus, serpentine, murnival, vortex: I hope you all realize that I meant that I didn't need fancy paper and so on when I said that a poorly-folded crane made of crumbling newspaper would be prized above rubies, right? I wasn't actually expressing a preference for such.

#308 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 06:03 PM:

Serge @ 306 ...
xeger @ 303... My largest cat (something like a 20" torso
Did it have a head too?

A skull, sure... a brain -- well, he's not the smartest of cats...

(this is a good thing, though -- a cat that size and weight, who has no trouble reaching doorknobs from the ground, and getting a paw around them could be all sorts of trouble otherwise)

#309 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 06:37 PM:

albatross #281: My sympathies... of course, I'm waiting my turn.

Hose without panties: While I'm not in the "target demographic", I've heard things about body hair and hose which make it sound potentially quite painful!

Jacque #273: This is one for the Dysfunctional Families thread.

No kidding! Just... bad Mom.

Cat status: She just did the eat-grass-and-throw-up thing, but that's not abnormal for her. In general, still acting normally.

Other annoyances: My monitor (Acer AL2216W) is getting progressively wonkier. Two distinct failure modes, both erratic enough that repeated tries usually manage to get my system usable for the moment: On the DVI connection, it turns off and refuses to turn on. (I've already nuked all relevant power-management settings, and set the screensaver to something that never blanks the screen.) On the VGA connection, it goes into a loop of starting up with the ACER logo, then fading out and turning off (power light goes out). Then it tries to start up again, and again, and....

I've already been through one round with Acer tech support. Weirdly, the registration page they pointed me to doesn't accept any purchace date I've tried, and refuses to accept the registration without a "valid date".

#310 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 06:40 PM:

albatross: Condolence. Been there, on more than two sides of the equation, done right it's still brutally hard.

#311 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 06:53 PM:

Elliott Mason @302: I interpret the expression on Ajax's face to mean: "Go ahead. Tug my whiskers. I dare ya! Hahahahaha!"

#312 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 07:12 PM:

Lee @285: Stay-ups - thigh-high with some extra elastication and a sort of silicon band on the inside so you just pull them up and they stay put - so long as you've not got talcum powder anywhere near them. Thinking about it, they're not always made any better than regular tights/pantyhose but since I generally only wear them for special occasions (black-tie dinners, going to operas and so on) I tend to buy the better, fancier ones - and they -are better made and last longer.

Carrie S. @ 288: Mine stay up, on me, and feel a lot better (to me) than tights/pantyhose.

Lee @285: Re: Spot. This -could- be a sign that she's stressed e.g. by other cats in the household. My SIL had two cats, together since she got them at 8 weeks. One hid from strangers, and overgroomed just like your Spot. After the other cat had to be euthanased due to ill health, she's got a lot more confident - and totally stopped the over-grooming. Nobody had considered social stress as a possible cause, because they'd been together since kittenhood.

304 ::: Sica @ 304: Yes, sensible to wait until the skin has cleared first. Good luck finding an appropriate treat.

Xopher @ 307: "I wasn't actually expressing a preference for such." Now he says that, after I put all that effort into folding the smallest cranes I could out of newspaper... Xopher, once the first person mentioned what paper they were going to use, most people were going to see what they could do to make theirs look pretty, or different, or something. Now you're just going to have to accept the consequences!

#313 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 07:24 PM:

Jacque @311: Actually, that's "LOOOOOOVE MEEEEEEEE I will lie ON TOP OF YOU in the ONLY position I don't FALL OFF YOU so I can be as CLOOOOSE to your face as POOOOOOSSIBLE!!"

Perhaps not clear in the photo, but I'm lying down on the couch, and he's inserted himself into the seam between my body and the couch back, then gradually squirmed upwards until he reached the position depicted.

#314 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 07:30 PM:

Oh yeah, I should push the show I'm in, shouldn't I? Heh.

If you're in the Sacramento (or Davis) area, and want to see me prancing about the stage dressed up as a fairy in Iolanthe (a Gilbert & Sullivan opera), the show starts on the 1st of April and runs through the 10th. Friday and Saturday performances at 8PM; Saturday and Sunday performances at 2PM. We have a "semi-staged" production in Davis on the 6th of April at 8PM; "semi-staged" means "we're leaving our sets in Sacramento."

Link is here; please forgive the COMPLETE lack of details about the Sacramento times. We are, after all, a community theater organization.

#315 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 07:33 PM:

#285 Lee - Exactly how does the overgrooming manifest? It could be food allergies. That's pretty much how Nikita's allergies showed first.

We thought it was a nervous thing first and I tried using feliway etc. but then the type of overgrooming she was doing (sticking at the same 1-2 spots until they turned into wounds and got infected) as opposed to licking her belly bald or something like that indicated it might be allergies. The kicker was then putting her temporarily on steroids which stopped the overgrooming completely and then the hypoallergenic diet.

She has relapses now and then, both when I'm not careful enough and leave plates in the sink or something that she gets at or I try giving her treats and it backfires.

These days she gets maybe 2-3 lesions a year though which isn't too bad and they usually heal up in 10 days or so (I have an antibacterial steroid topical cream from the vets for her).

#316 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 07:49 PM:

"15 lbs of cat feels like more than 15 lbs when it's at the end of your arms, even if it's just hanging there."

Okay, odd hangover from back when I was an engineering major taking Statics: If you know the difference between mass and weight (which is actually closer to mass * force), you can make an argument that a 15 lb cat does weigh more when it's at the end of your arm, because of the way the forces work. The mass stays the same, though.

#317 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 08:33 PM:

dcb 312: I will prize them above rubies!

#318 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 09:14 PM:

Status report: My ankle.

The cast came off five weeks ago yesterday. I was supposed to wear the Aircast for a month. I am not so patient as that, and it was borking my knees. So after about a week I started to move about the house with nothing but crutches. That's also about the time I sent the rented kneelchair back.

As of three weeks ago I was pretty much getting about the house with crutches, or not. Somewhere in there I stopped using the aircast, except on occaision. Two weeks ago I moved to a single crutch. Last week I moved the crutch to the off side.

Saturday I went out without the crutch at all.

This is not to say the ankle is "fixed". It's better. I had to don the aircast last week, and I did something in the past few days which has upped the level of ache.

But I did do the big thing today. I just got back from about 3/4s of a mile on the Seca (the smaller, more to the point, lighter bike). I have new boots (specific to motorcycling) which zip up the side. They wouldn't have prevented the break I had, but they are easier to get on and off. Had I been wearing my usual boots on Jan. 17th, I'd have needed to cut them off.

Downsides. I don't walk the same as I did nine weeks ago. I have a hitch, and my movement is less symmetrically aligned. That will go away as the atrophy/wasting are corrected. I suspect a fading in the pain will also affect that. My knees are a bit stiff. I have much less wind. I don't even want to think about running.

I am not truly self-mobile. I don't think I have, at present, more than about 10 miles of radius before the possible side effects (vibration, fatigue, tenderness from the operation of the rear brake) combine to make it too far to travel.

But it does mean I am not dependent on a single bus, which run all of once an house, and stops at 7 p.m. on the weekends, if I need to do something.

#319 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 10:51 PM:

Xopher @b317...

More than even the Ruby Yacht of Omar Kayam?
(Yes, I stole that pun.)

#320 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 10:53 PM:

Waaaaaaohh. Serious contender for the gold in the Sick Fuck Olympics.

There's really no limit to the absurdity of the things people will tell themselves to justify indefensible behavior.

#321 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 10:54 PM:

My mouth is still hanging open in astonishment hours and hours after reading about the crane folded from a 1/2" square of paper.

Did you fold it with needles? Is there a reference for these teensy versions?

Does it come with a microscope, or at least a magnifying glass so the exquisite detail can be seen?

#322 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 11:14 PM:

Terry: Sounds like you're making progress! Do you have exercises for physical therapy?

I really need to start doing the exercises I was prescribed for my shoulder, but life has been too hairy for me to deal with that so far. You guys have heard most of my trials, but note that my stress hives have progressed to welts, up to golfball size at their peak.

Re: the "cute animal break" sidelight, Mozilla currently has a a bunch of livecams of "firefox" (red panda) cubs and parents.

Re: the "but, but..." sidelight: Huey, Dewey, and Louie don't have wings! Being anthropomorphic "ducks", they have arms instead.

#323 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 11:33 PM:

albatross:

My condolences. That's a hard decision to make even when you know it's right. I waited too long just once, and I know for certain now that saying goodbye at the right time is the very best thing you can do for your companion.

#324 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 01:04 AM:

David Harmon: I have no PT, done, nor scheduled. We'll see what I get when I see the orthopedist on Mon.

#325 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 01:30 AM:

Speaking of baking...

I've been making pumpkin bread.

I started with some modifications to a "Downeastern Maine" pumpkin bread. Mostly what I did was look at it, swap some of the sugar for maple syrup, and cut about half the oil out and replace it with butter.

I also added some baking powder, because all it had was soda, and there wasn't anything acid in the mix.

The comments (it was an online recipe) all said it was great.

The people who made the comments like boring pumpkin bread. It smelled good in the oven, but was a bit dry, and underspiced. I admit it, I'm a fan of strongly spiced quickbreads. Ginger and cinnamon, and nutmeg and clove. Pfeffernussen and I are BFF.

So, added about a 1/4 cup more butter, and doubled up the spices. I am making another batch tonight, this time I'll be cutting the baking powder some, and upping the soda, because I've added yogurt to bunch.

So... generally:

4-6 oz butter. Mixed with not more than 1/2 cup oil (I like safflower for this), or yogurt, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup. I use an immersion blender to do this. With a 1:1 butter oil ratio you will get a smooth paste (chill it and you can use it as shortening. Not as well as real Crisco was, but decent). The syrup will thicken it. A bit of cornstarch and you have a glaze for donuts.

1 pt pumpkin purée If using fresh drain it. If using canned... I don't know. I'd look at it. It ought to be the density/consistency of greek yogurt. If it's not, drain it.


3- 3 1/2 cups raw sugar (2 1/2-3 of white sugar)

Vanilla to taste

Dry Ingredients
About one nutmeg, call it 3/4 tsp. (I grate them on a microplane. It's fun* the nutmeg smells great and you get to see "brains").

About the same of clove, a bit more than that of cinnimon, and about half, to twice again, ginger.

1/2 tsp of baking soda†

1-1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

3 1/2 - 4 cups flour.


Combine the pumpkin, the butter/oil(yogurt)/syrup mixture, and the sugar, this will get the sugar evenly distributed

Combine the dry ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Grease, and flour your loaf pan(s) [this makes two 1.5 qt/1.4 l loaves).

When the oven is hot, mix the flour/spice/leaven mixture to the pumpkin, etc. It should make a thick batter. A spoon willl lift it, but it won't pour, and you can't pick it up. Don't worry about over mixing it, there's not enough structure for gluten to really make it tough.

Put into the oven for about an hour. I set a timer for 45-50 minutes. When a toothpick (I used a bamboo skewer, about a foot long) comes out clean, they are done.

*and safe, if you slip and jam your finger into the "blade" it feels as if you broke the skin, but I never have

† If using yogurt, use about 1 tsp. baking soda, and about that much less baking powder

#326 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 01:35 AM:

The "But... but..." Particle reminds me of "You're Not a Puppet with Strings Tied to You!"

(Warning: may contain Lutheran theology.)

#327 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 01:52 AM:

OT: I just recently noticed that the tree leaning over the neighbour's fence into the carpark in my apartment building is a lemon myrtle*. In addition to some tip cuttings that I'm trying to get to root, this occasioned a flavoured vodka experiment.

Lemon myrtle leaves and kaffir lime leaves give a really nice citrus scent. After about a week in the freezer it's good neat on the rocks, longer than that and it's good with tonic water.

It might be improved by something fragrant and bitter...lavender, perhaps?

* Backhousia citriodora is to lemon-scented herbs what habanero is to chilis. A couple of leaves is the equivalent of a stick of lemongrass.

#328 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 04:37 AM:

Terry Karney @318: Yay! Great progress, although obviously still a way to go. And yes, isn't it great to be more independent again. After I dislocated my shoulder I could neither drive nor cycle and was reliant on buses for a while. Glad they were there, but it was a big relief when I had other options once more.

David Harmon @322: Do the exercises! Really. They don't take long and they can make a real difference.

Meanwhile, five weeks into the fractured metatarsal. Not started running again yet; intend to try the "hop test" again in a couple more days.

Carol Kimball @321: No special instructions. Fold it just like one from six-inch or three-inch paper, only more carefully and slowly. I've heard of people using cocktail sticks to assist with rice-grain sized versions; thumbnails (even the short ones I have) were put to use. Also (full disclosure) I have small hands. The smaller of the two is a bit lopsided but I didn't try again 'cos Xopher said he wanted a lopsided one!

Xopher @ 317: *grin* You do realise that once all the cranes arrive, flat-packed for transport, you have to pull out the wings (on all 1,000 plus extras) to finish them properly, then take pictures so we can see them all together?

#329 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 10:24 AM:

With Elizabeth Taylor having just died, I expect that TCM will rearrange one day's schedule to honor her movies. There'll be quite an embarassment of riches to choose from.

#330 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 10:30 AM:

As an amateur astronomer, I just had to SQUEEE! when I saw this steampunk refractor.


#331 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 10:33 AM:

Steve C @ 330... Oooooh... Very nice.

#332 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 11:34 AM:

B. Durbin @316: The mass stays the same, though.

Not true. Cats have a well-known ability to increase their mass. They do that when they want "down. Now, please."

#333 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 11:38 AM:

Terry Karney @318: Yay! Mobility Is Good. Something of which I've been forcibly reminded, last couple of weeks.

Every once in a while, the Universe reminds me to appreciate the simple things in life: being able to walk. Being able to sit.

Walking is a glorious thing.

#334 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 12:19 PM:

Jacque and B. Durbin: Cats have excellent control over their mass when awake. However, this control can slip during sleep. A dozing cat--one with eyes still slitted open and ears perked at small noises--is lighter than a fully-sleeping one.

#335 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 12:34 PM:

Melissa Singer - your cats may have control of mass, mine don't. They're about 3 yrs old, 11.5 lbs, and thump their way through my house, sounding like the proverbial heard of elephants.

A boyfriend once quipped, "I thought I heard you coming down the stairs. Then I realized it was too loud and had to be one of the cats."

#336 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 12:36 PM:

Serge @ #319

Are you sure it wasn't that well known early Linux distribution: the Ruby Hat of Omar Khayyam?

#337 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 12:49 PM:

sisuile @335: mine can do the elephant thing too, especially when at speed--but can also pussyfoot.

#338 ::: Dr. Psycho ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 12:54 PM:

Regarding underwear, I am reminded of a scene in Peni R. Griffin's excellent juvenile fantasy Switching Well, a girl from 1891 displaced to 1991 looks around and is interested to see that in the World of Tomorrow, children go around in their underwear.

#339 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 01:03 PM:

Serge @ 329: The Toronto Star's obituary states, "Very few of her films are memorable." I'm not at all a fan of hers, but I couldn't believe I read that.

#341 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 01:44 PM:

When we still had two cats we often heard elephants galloping past overhead as they chased each other up the stairs and across the converted loft room. Just Freya by herself doesn't make nearly as much noise, although still enough that we occasionally refer to her as "Fairy Lightfoot".

Also, one cat, under 5 kg in weight, can lie sufficiently firmly and heavily on a human to make it really physically difficult for the human to get up from lying or sitting position. They tried to teach us that trick in judo, but I never mastered it.

#342 ::: Lori R. Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 01:46 PM:

Re 339:

Wait just one minute -- Elephant Walk wasn't memorable? My fave, Cleopatra, wasn't memorable? Not even National Velvet???!!

Sheesh! There's no pleasing some folk...

#343 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 01:51 PM:

Melissa Singer @337: Believe it or not, guinea pigs can do the elephant thing. Who knew a 2 lb animal could make the floor shake?

#344 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 01:54 PM:

My parents have a cabin up in the woods of Northern California. One year when we were there, there was a field mouse so loud they called him Hip Boots, because he sounded like he was tromping around in said footgear all night.

We trapped him in a peanut butter jar and let him out a quarter mile from the cabin. Nights were much quieter after that.

Amazing how such a small thing could be so loud.

#345 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 02:02 PM:

Wow. And you thought your lovelife is difficult.

#346 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 02:16 PM:

Jacque: "Very, very carefully" indeed! That's one of the funniest things I've seen in a while.

#347 ::: Wrenlet ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 02:20 PM:

Possibly of interest, former-Senate-candidate-and-future-House-candidate Sharron Angle has announced she will self-publish her autobiography... through AuthorHouse. There's a lesson in that somewhere, I'm thinking it's to do with folks who deserve each other.

#348 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 03:10 PM:

albatross at 281: I'm sorry.

Terry at 318: Good news. And yes, it will get better. In five (or perhaps more) years, if you're lucky, you actually won't remember which ankle it was. Though I actually do know, not because of pain or soreness of weakness, but because the ankle with the break is slightly more flexible than the never-broken one, due to the PT.

#349 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 03:12 PM:

Obviously, the twits at the Toronto Star never saw "Suddenly Last Summer".

"Cut the truth out of my brain... is that what you want, Aunt Vi ? Well you can't."

#350 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 03:41 PM:

sisuile @335

My former roomie's cat had an amazing lack of cat-skills*. She couldn't actually run effectively (she once fell over while walking across a perfectly flat rug), couldn't climb, and was loud. Really loud. So loud that at one point we did a test: Yes, a 200lb man can indeed jump off the table and land more quietly than this particular sub-20lb cat.


*Okay, she had two extremely developed cat skills: she could hunt a moth like nobody's business, and she could produce fur in great drifts piled up in odd corners.

#351 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 04:11 PM:

This story feels like something out of an SF novel of 15 years ago.

Actually, there's a fair smattering of big news stories from this last year that would fit nicely in an SF story written 15 or 20 years ago. Wikileaks and the related HBGary story both qualify, as does the Stuxnet story. (In a story version, some kid trying to win his spurs as a console cowboy would have gotten hold of the Stuxnet code before it was used against Iran, and used it to hack into HBGary's system somehow, thus finding himself swept into some kind of picturesque criminal conspiracy in an environment of high-tech squalor....)

#352 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 04:23 PM:

Albatross @281: It hurts so much to fulfill the final duty to your pet. My acute sympathy.

#353 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 04:23 PM:

David Harmon @322: The comic it came from vanished from ill treatment long ago, but I saved the page that reprints a Sunday "Donald Duck" strip where Donald is out on a lake in a boat, with a shotgun… hunting ducks.

#354 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 04:31 PM:

AKICIML: Around '85, somebody recommended a book titled "The Semiotics of Color." I don't recall a specific author's name. Have never been able to find it.

Anyone ever encounter this?

#355 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 06:11 PM:

Lori@342

One just has to use sufficiently large values of "very few"...

#356 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 06:51 PM:

Jacque @ #354:

Was it a website rather than a book? Gwgl finds this.

#357 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 08:01 PM:

Doesn't this lamp look like a steampunky spaceship?

#358 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 09:19 PM:

Jacque @ 354: WorldCat comes up with The Semiotics of Color, Part 2 by Eve Faulkes (Morgantown, W. Va. : Permutation Press, [1986?]). It only lists Yale as holding it and their copy doesn't circulate. Perhaps you could contact the (presumed) author if you wanted to try to learn more about it, since there's a professor by that name at WVU's College of Creative Arts in Morgantown.

#359 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 10:00 PM:

Open threadery:
Umm...

I don't think it's ever been possible for me to date a girl who doesn't read. I'm not presenting this as any sort of high standard on my part. I'm saying that I drive away a large part of the female population by just being myself. Nor do I miss them.

#360 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 10:15 PM:

re the sidebar item "But... But... But..."

and Disney ducks only have three fingers on each wing instead of the usual four.

#361 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 10:19 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man is told by optometrist that his eyesight hasn't changed in 5 years.

#362 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 11:21 PM:

HLN: Less salt, more garlic, more attention.

At least my tradition of eating my cooking mistakes tends to ensure that I don't make the same mistake twice...

#363 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 11:47 PM:

Sandy B. @359: I don't think it's ever been possible for me to date a girl who doesn't read. I'm not presenting this as any sort of high standard on my part. I'm saying that I drive away a large part of the female population by just being myself. Nor do I miss them.

Er, did you intend the implication that in general, women (as opposed to men) don't read?

The piece you linked bugs me for other reasons. Particularly the advice to sit down with a girl who is reading at the coffeeshop, ignore her glare and desire not to be interrupted, and insist on striking up a conversation.

And Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. makes me kind of stabbity. I mean, I didn't understand it, but how do you* know she's not an English literature Ph.D who wrote her dissertation on it? Wouldn't it be more interesting to ask her what her understanding was?

And this part:

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero.

It seems to set up the girl-who-reads as the passive reader and object of your story, in which you are the hero who grows and learns.

As a girl-who-reads, I have my own plot arcs of failure, dramatic climax, sequels, and heroic journeys in life. Can you understand mine?

And some failures could mean that the girl-who-reads doesn't want to stick around to read, or be in, the sequels of your story. Maybe what she understands is that in this story, she doesn't get a happy ending. Or she doesn't get to live her own story.

I love the metaphor of understanding life as a story that you're simultaneously writing and reading. And this bit is beautiful:

You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

But…there are bits that bug me.

*From here on, "you" is not "you Sandy B.", but the "you" addressed in the piece.

#364 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 03:05 AM:

Caroline, #363: The piece you linked bugs me for other reasons. Particularly the advice to sit down with a girl who is reading at the coffeeshop, ignore her glare and desire not to be interrupted, and insist on striking up a conversation.

Yeah. Didn't we have this discussion, at considerable length, a couple of years ago? The assumption that a woman who's reading is AVAILABLE for the attention of any guy who happens to notice her... well, that's part of the whole Male Privilege suite. And while I'm remarkably good at Not Hearing rude people who try to bother me while I'm reading, it would be nicer if they were less rude.

#365 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 03:27 AM:

There are some nice bits in the "girl who reads" but I'm with Caroline and Lee. The comment about Ulysses was the last bit I could really manage (I think I got another couple of sentences in, but they didn't get past skating on the surface of my mind, I didn't actually read them, just look at them with the part of my brain which recognises words.

The title, actually, is what started me on the road to being annoyed... "girl" was hiding in it.

I went back... I got to, "lie to her" and then lost it again.

#366 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 03:40 AM:

The political cartoonists sidelight is distressing. How much idiocy can one stand?

#367 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 04:34 AM:

It's going to be...interesting, when Sandy B. and co. start dating (or approaching) women insted of girls. Just sayin'.
And driving away a lot of people (any gender) just by being oneself...there's selves and there's selves, and some kinds might need to evolve a wee bit.
Oh, and some of us, male and female, have been failed enough already.

#368 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 04:50 AM:

Well, the flip side of driving some folks away is attracting others. I know there are a lot of people in the world who might find my need to share anecdotes about, say, the Spanish Civil War to be deadly boring. Those people probably shouldn't hang out with me, they certainly shouldn't date me. On the other hand, if you'd like such an anecdote, I'm gonna be your man.

Whether you talk about driving X% of people away or attracting 100-X% of people is kind of a glass-half-full question, I don't think it necessarily has a lot to do with who you are or what your specific prickliness is.

#369 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 06:22 AM:

More on morons: a regular poster on Another Site used to claim that CO2 can't be a greenhouse gas because it's HEAVIER THAN AIR and would therefore sink to the ground.

#370 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 07:37 AM:

Linkmeister #366: The thing is, that site isn't "representative" of anything except its owner's politics: it's blatantly a collection of comics fulfilling the sites name. (And even there, one or two of those comics Do Not Mean What He Thinks They Mean.) So it's not that all political cartoonists are idiots, but most of them have idiotic moments, especially when a tempting punchline gets dangled in front of them.

I'm not going to go too far into the "girls who read" thing, except to note that some of you are being strictly literal about something that should probably be read with a poetic stance. Not that it's great poetry either, but I think that's the sense they're trying for. Also... for a guy, successfully canvassing for partners seems to require rather more aggressive ("assertive") behavior than most women like to contemplate. (And more than I myself can muster, but that's another rantseed.) That's both a product and an example of evolutionary factors.

#371 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 08:02 AM:

David Harmon, I'd rather not bring evolution into it when we continue to be so steeped in a culture that tells us men have to be the initiator and women have to be the passive receptor or he'll die alone and she's a desperate hussy.

(I will read the link later today, when I have more time.)

#372 ::: CCClaudia ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 08:56 AM:

I thought it was significant that the "Date a Girl Who Reads" piece was by somebody called Rosemary. I took it as implying recommendations about how to date the writer herself...which made it seem sweeter and less about sexist constraints.

#373 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 09:39 AM:

Diatryma #371: Evolution isn't just genetics, it applies to cultural elements too. That's why I specifically noted it as a current example, because it's not just a matter of handwaving past evolutionary pressures.

When guys (in schoolyard or street) see that the more aggressive guys are the ones who get the girls, they generally change their behavior. And then the ones who suceeed, teach their kids that way. That's evolution right there, and breaking out of that pattern is... well, easier said than done. It's at least metastable, and as you note, it binds both sexes.

#374 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 10:43 AM:

Not only did I date a woman because she reads, but I married her. :-)

#375 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 11:02 AM:

#375: "Reader, I married you"?

#376 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 11:23 AM:

Only had a library card since she was 12? Sheesh, what a late bloomer. I got mine at 5.

Anyway, it can be read as dating advice for anyone of any gender who wants to date a girl. Nothing in there says it's only for a guy who wants to date girls. That's what I thought when I saw it was written by someone with a feminine name.

#377 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 11:25 AM:

Question for ML, Cookery/Diet Div.:

Is sweet corn gluten free?

#378 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 11:27 AM:

David Harmon @373: memetic evolution?

#379 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 11:34 AM:

Upon a little digging, it looks like "Date a girl who reads" is a response to this . Which doesn't actually make me want to write a rebuttal. It makes me want to get the hell away from that guy and not come back, ever.

My hypothetical replies all get scrapped really fast. I think "Date a girl who wins arguments" is probably a good starting point, but from there I go really negative really fast.

Since I brought myself into it, Angioportus, I should probably say that my particular Girl Who Reads has been putting up with me for 15-ish years.

Incidentally, the author is Rosemarie and not Rosemary, which caused some difficulty in research. If you find this, Rosemarie, hi. My romantic experience may be obsolete, but here goes: Date a boy who thinks about more interesting things than himself.

#380 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 11:37 AM:

@339 Should I worry about spoiling a fifty-year-old movie? I'll take the chance.

For me, the most memorable scene is at the end of Butterfield 8 when she's cruising down the road free as a bird and then WHAM the Code jumps out and kills her. You know the Code is going to get her because it's explicitly written into the Code, but the sudden artificiality of the ending is just the naked Code at its most brutal and unreasoning. I'm more than half persuaded it was a piece of satire ahead of its time.

#381 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 11:39 AM:

Devin, #368: Back in my dating days, I was very much aware that I was Just Too Weird for any non-fannish guy. Which just meant that I did my looking in target-rich environments. :-)

Which also ties into David's comments. I have always had a strong tendency to be attracted to shy guys, and I figured out early on that if I didn't make the first move (or, often, the first several moves), it wasn't going to get made at all. So I did. OTOH, it's also true that a lot of the standard female conditioning just didn't take on me, for whatever reason.

#382 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 11:50 AM:

Sandy, #379: At a guess, the guy who wrote that is between 22 and 27, and thinks of himself as oh-so-jaded-and-cynical, and doesn't understand why he can't find a girlfriend. So the best thing he can think of to do with the rest of his life is to get revenge on women in general by picking one woman and draining all the joy out of her life.

#383 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 12:03 PM:

Cadbury Moose @356: Was it a website rather than a book?

As this was '85, highly unlikely. But your link looks exceedingly interesting (and may, in fact, be the same author— that name sounds vaguely familiar).

#384 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 12:10 PM:

This review of a book on increasing economic inequality raised some interesting questions. One thing his review didn't touch on (but they book may have; I want to read it, but haven't yet) is that all through American society, we've seen an increasing centralization of power over the last 40 or so years. For example:

a. The civil rights movement led to substantially more federal involvement in stuff like the operation of local schools or stores. (This was in pursuit of a good goal, but it still centralized power--important questions of how the local schools were to be run were moved from local elected officials to federal judges.)

b. Local and regional newspapers have closed down or become less powerful over time, while national media have become more powerful. Local radio has largely been replaced by chains.

c. Local businesses, the places where most people buy their groceries and medicine and books and clothes and hardware and toys, have largely been replaced by national chains. This is often a big win in terms of price and service and selection, but it's also a huge increase in centralization. Everything from the selection of products to hiring policies to opening hours gets determined at Corporate.

There's a lot more stuff like that.

And the result is, practical power over the daily life of most Americans is *massively* more concentrated now than it was fifty years ago. Those powerful people who make the decisions often (though not always) know one another socially, trade favors, go to the same schools, and move between each others' power base, as with political staffers who later become lobbyists, then move to being media commentators, and finally end up teaching public affairs at some university.

That group of people in or near the centralized levers of power in the US tend to share experiences and values, to identify with one another more than with less powerful people. They're generally much better educated and smarter than the average American, and their concerns look very little like that of the average American--in fact, my impression is that most people very close to power in the US don't even know anyone who's, say, seriously long-term poor, or couldn't make it through high school because it was too damned *hard*, or who honestly have to decide between paying the electric bill and filling their prescriptions this month.

Where power is centralized, the people with power will (unsurprisingly) do better--they'll get richer, the laws will be bent to their benefit, their concerns will be addressed while the concerns of the less powerful are ignored, etc.

#385 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 12:19 PM:

Devin and Lee:

Yeah, I think my life was massively improved by realizing that I would do better finding relationships by emphasizing who I really was, rather than by trying to fit into a generic man shaped interface. Hanging around at interesting coffeeshops and going to poetry readings and talking politics and philosophy and reading technical books and SF, led to me finding people to date that I had things in common with, or at least that found me interestingly weird instead of off-puttingly weird. Going to bars and drinking and trying to pick up women would not have gone nearly so well for me, I don't think.

Harry Browne had some nice advice along these lines, in _How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World_[1]--if you're not very much like the default man or woman in your bit of the dating market, you benefit a lot more from advertising your weirdness (which will attract one of the rare people for whom your weirdnesses are a plus instead of a minus) than from hiding those weirdnesses until you get someone to date you a few times.

[1] This book is extremely uneven; it has what seem to me to be real insights and cleverness, and also a lot of monumentally bad and/or silly ideas.

#386 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 12:38 PM:

Jacque @ 377
It is free of wheat gluten, which is the problem for celiacs and what most people mean by 'gluten free'. In other words, I am eagerly anticipating sweet corn season.

Lee @ 381 Yes. Exactly. The advice I've been given is "Date scadian or fen or rennie. They may not understand your quirks, but they're probably best equipped to deal with you when you spend two hours in a discussion on costuming, even if it's a) not their period and b) not their interest. Also, they'll get most of the jokes. If you can find someone who you love who is all three - jackpot." By and large, I've found it to be good advice, as it means I don't have to keep explaining large swathes of my life.

#387 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 12:59 PM:

Serge at 361: congratulations. I am jealous. I require 3 pairs of glasses (distance, reading, computer) plus contact lenses (on the mat) to function, they are all expensive because I have high myopia plus severe astigmatism, and my eyes still change, frequently enough so that I need a whole collection of new eyewear every 1-2 years.

But I'm not complaining, truly I am not, because I can get them, all of them. I can still do all the things I need to do with my wonky eyes. I am so grateful for this.

#388 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 01:05 PM:

Devin @368: Well, the flip side of driving some folks away is attracting others. I know there are a lot of people in the world who might find my need to share anecdotes about, say, the Spanish Civil War to be deadly boring. Those people probably shouldn't hang out with me, they certainly shouldn't date me.

During (what I only realized later was) a date with a guy at a local restaurant, they brought me my tea in a clear glass mug. Which I love, because I love watching the tea diffuse into the water, and then pile up on the density gradient caused by the dissolving suger in the bottom of the cup. I commented on this.

"Don't get out much, do you?"

Okay, I thinks to myself. That's all I need to know....

#389 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 01:06 PM:

Carol Witt @358: Woo! Thanks! Email on its way to the author now!

#390 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 01:14 PM:

Back in my dating days, I was very much aware that I was Just Too Weird for any non-fannish guy. Which just meant that I did my looking in target-rich environments.

As they say: the odds are good, but the goods are odd...

#391 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 01:15 PM:

Sandy B. @379: Upon a little digging, it looks like "Date a girl who reads" is a response to this

I can't get it to load without crashing my browser (IE). Perhaps just as well.

#392 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 01:23 PM:

sisuile @386: scadian or fen or rennie

Friend of mine refers to the superset as people with "Type-F personality."

Fascinating phenomenon I've observed in the last few years: Type-F people who have no fannish connections, nor participate in any of the related subcultures, and don't need to because they're happily adapted to and participate fully in their mainstream culture. I think they've all been under thirty.

Very weird. I suspect this is the flipside of the "graying of fandom."

#393 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 01:26 PM:

I was a girl who reads from about age 6, and was an infant and toddler who was read to as well. For a long time now I am a woman who reads.

I also have spent enormous numbers of hours in nightclub up and down scale. On more than one continent and on islands.

The moral of this story is that People Who Read as much as People Who Inhabit Nightclubs are not in the least mutually exclusive states.

Love, C.

#394 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 01:29 PM:

Lizzy L @ 387... Ouch. That is a costly situation. Luckily, I only only need myopia-correcting glasses and computer glasses, and there are no activities for which I'd need contacts. I wore contacts for about a decade until about 20 years ago and, even though they were modern soft things, they were quite uncomfortable to my easily-drying eyes.

#395 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 01:43 PM:

Lizzy L: I don't suppose you recall any of the PT you were given? I am not sure how much I might need, but if I'm going to get back on the mat anytime soon (anywhere) I suspect I'll want to work on it.

#396 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 01:44 PM:

Jacque @ 392... SF has become part of the culture, at least in movies and on TV, so I guess the younger generation doesn't need fandom for a social network as much anymore. Sad in a way, but it sure beats the days when one would be made fun of for liking that weird skiffy stuff.

#397 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 02:06 PM:

Thanks for the clarification, Sandy B. [#379], and as for spelling my nick Angioportus, I am glad neither of us posted in vein.

#398 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 02:13 PM:

And Serge, there are people like you and places like this around.

No, seriously - when you're the only one in school interested in X, it is world-changing when you first meet people like you (for me, university). With the internet, the world is local - you might be the only person in your class with a Type-F personality, but Making Light is only a web-search away - and if you can keep up, you're in, whether you're a "type-F-world"-famous author or a crazy cryptographer or a student.

There are downsides to this - if you're the only one in your school interested in White Power and active Zionist Conspiracies, you'll find your type online too. If you're wanting to find out the worst that can happen when on a drug, that one-in-100 000 side effect that will put you off using it, well, 100 or so people in North America have got it (assuming, say, 2% of NAers have been prescribed it), and they've *all* posted about it and shared the pain with the others. If you're that kind of person, it's going to turn you off using what will, Almost Certainly, not be a problem for you and will be the One Drug That Works.

#399 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 02:14 PM:

Angiportus @ 397... I am glad neither of us posted in vein

...or stentoriously?

#400 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 02:52 PM:

Albatross @ 384
[A]ll through American society, we've seen an increasing centralization of power over the last 40 or so years.

I think this fact is a huge driver of the discontent/anger on both the left and the right. (Along with the "religion of consumer hedonism", articulated by Doug Muder at the link.)

I'm really not sure what you do about it--it seems like an inevitable result of better communications technology--but I'm fairly sure it's the largest problem that needs a solution in the affluent world.

#401 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 02:57 PM:

Angiportus: Pardon my callous mistake. I'm not heartless, I swear.

#402 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 03:00 PM:

Mycroft W:

Yeah, I think one of the most powerful, world-changing things about the net is that it allows people with rare interests to come together. Another is that it bypasses a lot of traditional gatekeepers of information, from media outlets that make sure certain discussions never take place in the mainstream, to local bookstores and libraries that are too small or too constrained ideologically or in terms of interests to get books you would find interesting, to universities and academic journals that concentrated high-quality (sometimes!) information in one place, and then didn't let most people see any of it directly.

And both of those are morally neutral. You can have discussions on the net (pushing more and more to the mainstream as the traditional big media lose power to control the public discussion) that you would simply never see in the big media, and that discussion can grow and be visible to millions. And that's just as true whether it's a frank discussion of our policies of kidnapping, torture, and murder of foreigners with a whiff of terrorist suspicion about them, or whether it's a frank discussion of the coming race war and how glorious it will be when all the FITBs are herded into showers for the last time. Information will be hard to control, whether that's photos of detainee abuse or sex tapes of your gay roommate taken from stealth.

I think the freer world of communications is and will be better, all things considered. But it's definitely not all upside. Among other thigns, freer access to information and discussions represents one place where our society is becoming less centrally controlled and controllable. And I think the Wikileaks freak out has a great deal to do with that fact.

#403 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 03:01 PM:

A rather long and rambling comment of mine was held for review.

#404 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 03:03 PM:

albatross @403:

You used a Phrase of Power. Rambling, we can take. PoPs, not so much.

#405 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 03:51 PM:

Terry @395--I don't remember all of the exercises I did after a bad ankle sprain, but there was a lot of stationary bicycling (for strength) and things like picking up marbles and rolling up a small towel with my toes, and rotating the foot (both with foot-extended [toes pointed] and flexed [toes not pointed]) to build foot and ankle flexibility, plus balancing on one foot. I suspect at least some of this would work in your case as well.

#406 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 03:58 PM:

abi(notAbi) @ 404... You used a Phrase of Power

I discovered a PoP when I met writer Michelle Sagara at Montreal's worldcon. When she asked how come my wife wasn't around, I said she had... writing deadlines.

Michelle immediately clapped her hands to her ears and ran away.

#407 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 04:05 PM:

Serge @396:

"Yay! We've achieved World Domination!"

"Okay! Uh. Now what do we do?"

#408 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 04:16 PM:

The first few Alphas were amazing for sudden networking-- all these students who finally met someone else who grew up in Narnia or Valdemar. With Harry Potter now past the age he could attend Alpha, with Twilight, with the Lord of the Rings movies and Narnia movies and all of that, I think that even without the internet, someone who reads fantasy and science fiction isn't a complete outcast because of it. The internet helps, but not just in finding other people who have the same childhood memories of books. It finds all the people who have the books and the weirdnesses.

#409 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 04:16 PM:

SamChevre #400:

I liked the essay very much. One thing I've been thinking about lately, in my struggles with my own faith[1], is that a lot of the brokenness of the world has to do with leaving religious faith, but not *replacing* it with anything. Even when you stop believing in God, you still need some notion of how to live, what's right and wrong, what a good life looks like, what you can and can't know, how you can decide what to value, what's true and what's beautiful. You still need some way of dealing with death other than ignoring it, some way of understanding the possibility of forgiveness and redemption when you f--k up, some way of living in a world with suffering and pointless random tragedies, and all the rest. Even a person who doesn't think there was ever a guy named Jesus wandering around in Palestine preaching in the early ADs still has to answer questions like "who is my neighbor?"

Religion was a way of getting some broadly accessible answers to those questions. Often, my struggles with the Church have to do with the places where I came or come to different answers in some areas. And yet, in order to live a decent life, you have to come to terms with those questions. And those questions are simply above the paygrade of, and outside the scope of, consumer culture. To the extent people are replacing church with TV and sports and radio, they're probably missing anything that would give them any help there.


[1] Like Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan, while I am a theist, I've often felt the pull of atheism myself. In one notable instance, for several years, I was something of an evangelical atheist, as well as, to be frank, a pretty big a--hole w.r.t. religion.

#410 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 04:29 PM:

Terry at 395, in my particular case, because of some weirdness in the way my bone broke, the foot was casted at an angle with the toes inward, and my PT mostly consisted of my physical therapist manipulating the joint forcefully in some extremely painful but effective way to make it straighten.

I do recall being told to flex the angle as one would facing a wall with the feet in iaido posture, i.e. legs apart, feet parallel; injured foot to the rear, and being told to bend the forward knee, with both hands against the wall. It's a pretty common exercise for ankle flexibility, rather similar to a lunge.

#411 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 04:30 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man gets email from sister, 3000 miles, who says Mom hasn't heard back from man in a long time.

#412 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 04:30 PM:

3000 miles away

#413 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 04:32 PM:

abi @ 404 — You used a Phrase of Power

The coming r*** w**?

I wouldn't have thought such a phrase would be common enough to target, but if the polluters are using it, I'm glad they're filtered out.

#414 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 04:34 PM:

albatross:

Even when you stop believing in God, you still need some notion of how to live, what's right and wrong, what a good life looks like, what you can and can't know, how you can decide what to value, what's true and what's beautiful. You still need some way of dealing with death other than ignoring it, some way of understanding the possibility of forgiveness and redemption when you f--k up, some way of living in a world with suffering and pointless random tragedies, and all the rest.

Yes.

At a time when I was not connected to the church I currently attend, I was a member of a Zen Buddhist community, and I still find Buddhist ways of thinking about and dealing with the world to be a terrific complement to my present Catholic practice. The readiness is all.

#415 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 04:47 PM:

It's the eighth anniversary of hyperlocal holiday Family Day, and I assembled a small tribute to the journey from then to now, all of which seems to take place in 2007. With pictures of Sarah! (I say that so that maybe someone will click over.)

Dan Hoey @380: Yes, worry about spoiling a fifty-year-old movie, thanks. If I haven't experienced it, it's new, and that goes for operas, shaggy dog stories, and clay tablets. If the author wrote it hoping that the plot twists would surprise someone, then I personally will avoid giving much of anything away beyond, say, the first third of the story, and then only carefully. (So I skipped the rest of your comment, but thanks for mentioning where you were going.)

Dan Hoey @413: I wonder if Ray Suarez gets picked up by filters.

#416 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 04:47 PM:

Apropos of the many posts here about pets and death, for those who are not boycotting the NYTimes because of their impending stupid paywall, a couple of things:

Cats: http://tinyurl.com/4lcm7l5

Dogs: http://tinyurl.com/4c35y6t

Warning: there may be crying if you read these. The comments are mostly people telling their own pet stories, though there are a few not-nice posters.

#417 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 04:57 PM:

Terry Karney — when I was on crutches and then a cane after my foot injury in August of '07, it torqued me so badly out of alignment that it pushed me into the worst episode of back pain I'd dealt with in 15+ years of having a bad back. (You're offering me a cane, a back brace, and multiple kinds of opiate painkillers, doc? Yes please!)

And then I checked out Pete Egoscue's book Pain Free from the library, started doing the exercise menu for low back pain, and four days later found myself able to get off the Vicodin because things had stopped hurting. Unbelievable.

I wrote about it at the time on my LJ and would be happy to talk about it further if you or anybody else is interested. (Note to self: oh, be honest. As usual you're biting your tongue/sitting on your fingers to avoid proselytizing annoyingly to people about how fantastic it is.)

#418 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 04:59 PM:

[Erf. Typed in a comment about physical therapy and forgot before clicking "post" that Ivpbqva, un-rot'ed, is almost certainly a word of power. Sorry, mods.]

#419 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 05:07 PM:

Am I the only person who sees a heavy dose of irony in that "Date a Girl Who Doesn't Read" thing? Possibly I'm the only one who actually clicked through to the second page instead of giving up in disgust at or before the end of the first.

#420 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 05:23 PM:

David Goldfarb, no you're not, on either count. I'm still trying to decide on how much irony I think is in the date-a-girl-who-reads article.

#421 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 06:06 PM:

David Goldfarb @ 418: I can't help but feeling any denouncement that ends with describing how awesome and insightful the denouncee is and how pathetic and shallow the denouncer is is probably not meant to be read straight. It's not quite as obvious as lingering over the deliciousness of Irish babies, but it's close.

#422 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 06:08 PM:

David, 419: No. It feels like a satirical male response to all that "The Rules" nonsense from some years back.

#423 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 06:51 PM:

Rikibeth #378: memetic evolution?

Yes, but... this case highlights some of my problems with the "meme" concept. What we're discussing is easily represented by an idea (as summarized by Diatryma #371), but it's primarily a matter of learned behavior. Moreover, the behavior in question is tangled together with all sorts of wetware issues reaching down to the brainstem and even the endocrine system.

albatross #384: Well, you're dating the trend back to Nixon, which I tend to agree with. But at least some of my neighbors would probably date the troubles back another century, to the Civil War!

Terry Karney #395: Physical therapy these days is heavily personalized. I suggest seeking out a physical therapist of your own (it's not too soon) for individualized exercises. (I may not be keeping up with my own exercises, but I certainly recognize that they're tailored to my own injury.)

Jacque #392: Type-F people who have no fannish connections, nor participate in any of the related subcultures, and don't need to because they're happily adapted to and participate fully in their mainstream culture. I think they've all been under thirty.

That last bit is the tipoff for me: I suspect a goodly number of what you're identifying as "F-Types" are Aspies and similar sorts... and the younger ones have grown up with modern diagnosis and suitable therapies (including remedial training in social skills).

#424 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 07:02 PM:

albatross @409: And those questions are simply above the paygrade of, and outside the scope of, consumer culture. To the extent people are replacing church with TV and sports and radio, they're probably missing anything that would give them any help there.

And, I strongly suspect, this is not entirely accidental. Unhappy people who don't know where to look for substantive answers are more likely to be swayed by flash and fizz.

"If you can't blind 'em with brilliance, then baffle 'em with bullshit."

#425 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 07:15 PM:

Lexica @417: Pete Egoscue's book Pain Free

Oh, please. Proselytize away. I, personally, am fascinated by this stuff. (My favorite topic for preselysis is Ron Fletcher's Pilates. Although I have to say, they have a seriously lame purchasing interface.)

#426 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 07:30 PM:

Jacque 424: that has always been DDBB for me, from my dad and the oilfield services industry. "If you can't dazzle 'em with data..."

#427 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 07:38 PM:

The Where Have You Been Department

The short answer is, "working." As some of the people here know, I exited the rolled of the Unemployed in February just before Boskone....

And my social networking online time has nosedived... I sit in front of a computer at work, which not only has lots of sites blocked, but has warnings plastered in computer window after computer window that the computer use is monitored by Uncle as the computer is owned by Uncle.

Meanwhile Dorchester/Leisure is even deeper in the sewage and slime department than ever: it's not only failed to pay royalties etc., it's been publishing and distributing works which it legally has no rights to publish in the formats it's publishing in (out of print reverted rights and/or electronic publication) and paying nothing to the authors of course....

http://www.briankeene.com/?p=6140

PS IE 8 is despicable--it locked up a window om me with a deadly embrace entering Making Light when I clicked NO on the blankety-blank tracking tag writing onto my computer demand from YouTube--that opened a script demand to run window, and both of them are glued to the desktop now... and the only way to get rid of the damned POSes is a reboot, the End Process from the Taak Manager seems to not kill them, though it kills off all the OTHER IE windows.
I have nothing polite to say.... [I got here writeably, by selecting permanently block YouTube tracking tags....]

#428 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 07:54 PM:

Particle entitled "Why commas are important"
makes me say:

Why, commas are important.

#429 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 07:55 PM:

Sometimes I find it hard to believe hat the main-stream news isn't just channeling the Onion.

Salon has noted (via Think Progress) that the House has introduced a bill titled The Welfare Reform Act of 2011"

Among the provisions for access to food stamps are a "supervised job search" (yes, the job seeker has to sign-in and sign-out of the authorized job search )

1) The job search occurs at an official location where the recipient’s presence and activity can be directly observed, supervised, and monitored.
‘(2) The recipient’s entry, time on site, and exit from the official job search location are recorded in a manner which prevents fraud.
‘(3) The recipient is expected to remain and undertake job search activities at the job search center except for brief, authorized departures for specified off-site interviews.
‘(4) The amount of time the recipient is observed and monitored engaging in job search at the official location is recorded for purposes of compliance with section 29.

Also in the bill are provisions that If a person "voluntarily reduces" their job hours to less than 30 hours a week" (you know, such as as a condition to keep a job at all) or if a member is on strike. Note bellow that the bill redefines being *fired* from a federal, state or municipal job as a "voluntary quit without good cause"

‘(2) STRIKE AGAINST A GOVERNMENT- For the purpose of subparagraph (A)(iv), an employee of the Federal Government, a State, or a political subdivision of a State, who is dismissed for participating in a strike against the Federal Government, the State, or the political subdivision of the State shall be considered to have voluntarily quit without good cause.
‘(3) STRIKING WORKERS INELIGIBLE- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no member of a family unit shall participate in the food stamp program at any time that any able-bodied work eligible adult member of such household is on strike as defined in the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (29 U.S.C. 142(2)), because of a labor dispute (other than a lockout) as defined in section 2(9) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 152(9)): Provided, That a family unit shall not lose its eligibility to participate in the food stamp program as a result of one of its members going on strike if the household was eligible immediately prior to such strike, however, such family unit shall not receive an increased allotment as the result of a decrease in the income of the striking member or members of the household: Provided further, That such ineligibility shall not apply to any family unit that does not contain a member on strike, if any of its members refuses to accept employment at a plant or site because of a strike or lockout.’.

You can't make this stuff up.

#430 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 08:04 PM:

Paula (427)

in re being un-enrolled from Unemployment: _ Good for you!

I've been looking since late June of 2010 and I am Not Happy.

#431 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 08:15 PM:

wrt "meeting "objects of desire", I've always found being as much of myself as I can manage (accepting that one is always going to engage in some type of display behavior), has worked pretty well.

As far as the question of, "which guys get the girls", I don't think (based on my experience) that this is so much the case as it seems. Yes, there are aggressive/showy types who seem to have better luck at getting attention. I don't know that this translates to being able to talk them into bed; much less into a stable relationship.

I know a lot of, "quiet" men who have been at least as successful at getting sexual partners as the types who chase everything which moves. Moreover, I've seen a lot more of the quiet types who got repeat business (that ties into a study which showed women were less likely than men to accept a random offer of sex; but the reason was that they assumed the sort of guy who would approach them to make such an offer wouldn't be all that much fun to sleep with. When that aspect of the experiment was controlled for, the women were as likely as the men to accept an offer).

That calls a lot of the, "opportunity cost" theories of mate selection into question. It implies that (taken as whole) men and women want the same things out of sex (a good time) but have different ways of determining who will make a decent playmate.

As to the essay: It was a lot of little things. The use of "girl" doesn't, ipso facto make me decided someone is being a jerk. But the bits added to that. Assume she's posing (because if she doesn't get Ulysses, then she doesn't get it. If you don't get it, why did you bring it up? If you do get it, and she says she does... what then? You have to say something non-committal, so as not to embarrass her? What if she did understand it, and wants to talk about it? You just mentioned it, and then jumped to something else. Now it looks as if you don't get it), lie to her... she will understand. Whisky, Tango, Foxtrot; over. What am I supposed to lie about?

I know lying. I assume that when someone makes a point of mentioning lying, they don't mean little social lies, "Your hair looks fabulous," etc.).

So I did some poking about, and the author is in her middle twenties, from the Philippines and this was a distillation of some e-mails. She has a degree in speech, and broadcast, communication.

I don't know what cultural aspects that changes, but there is a large streak of the "hero" in that. I think that's what really bothers me. It's about life as performance art.

#432 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 08:31 PM:

@albatross
Even when you stop believing in God, you still need some notion of how to live...

I'm a huge Doug Muder fan; "Red Family, Blue Family" shapes my thinking about social structures and politics as much as anything else I've read. And your comment made me remember another great piece he wrote--the sermon on Theists and Atheists, and what they can teach each other.

I've read everything on his site, and none of it was a waste of time. And "Hallowe'en Cat" is just awesome.

#433 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 08:31 PM:

re Food Stamps: It seems (from a comment in the Wisconsin thread) that the no food stamps for strikers isn't new.

The "supervised job search" is odious, but it does mean there will be jobs for the hall monitors, so I can see they are working to improve the economy with federal stimulus (of course I expect any such salaries to come from a reduction in monies actually disbursed to the needy, robbing Peter to pay Paul).

#434 ::: Paula Lileberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 08:37 PM:

#433 Terry

And of course the locations will be affordably inaccessible to jobhunters....

#435 ::: Dawn ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 10:02 PM:

apples and oranges but still fruit. I'm embarassed to fold bras and panties in front of my male relatives but not so with socks. Also: you don't need to take socks off to be naughty. Panties on the other hand....

#436 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 10:05 PM:

435
There's a knitting book called 'The Joy of Sox'. It's all about socks and sox.

#437 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 10:34 PM:

Melissa Singer #416: Thank you. I've just been through the cat thread, and a few notes:

There seems to be exactly one (surviving) asshole in the thread, with two posts. And several posters have been calling him out.

An awful lot of folks' cats seem to have died of renal failure. A couple of commenters pointed to http://felinecrf.org/, which apparently discusses holding-action treatment ("kitty dialysis") for that.

Yeah, I was weeping, but way near the end, #185 got me to sobbing, by quoting poetry:

"Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By & by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep & know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for. "
- Gerard Manley Hopkins

#438 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 11:04 PM:

Dawn: Hermn... I'd say the opposite, not removing panties can be sexy, not removing socks is unsexy.

#439 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 11:38 PM:

Terry Karney @ 438... not removing socks is unsexy

...even if they reach to mid-thigh? Or do they stop being socks as they go past the patella and we go oh-la-la?

#440 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 11:39 PM:

Those of us under 30 who are serious fans still find that portion of our lives easier by dating in-group. On the other hand, I've been spending time with more urban-based millennials, and you're right. There are a lot of personality types that I would normally expect to find mostly in fandom with no connections to fandom as I know it. They have LotR and Prachett and Gaiman on their shelves, in among Reading Lolita in Tehran and Three Cups of Tea, making no value distinction between "genre" and "literature." They watched anime because it was on Adult Swim while they were in college, but they like witty, complex tv (if they have TV and don't just stream hulu and netflix). They're into steampunk, because it's hip and arty, for many of the same reasons they're into vaudeville and burlesque and custom printers and binderies and local, organic food. Their 'fandom' is about classy/classical-fusion locally sourced or performed (or sometimes 'ethically/organically sourced/made) stuff. And while I carry many of the same markers and look and sound like one of them, I'm not. I'm a little too far fen and a little too focused on my interests. This is a generation that values variety, multithreading, and the ADD flit from subject to subject in life and work. ADD and ADHD are accepted and in some ways expected behavior types. It's been interesting getting to know this section of my peer group, because they are so different than the ones I knew in the suburbs. These are young, urban hipsters...and I look around and figure out that there are people like me in the mainstream and I get confused.

#441 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 01:14 AM:

Serge: Yes, at some point in that equation they move into objects of sexual display/lingerie.

#442 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 01:32 AM:

Jacque @ 424:

I think that's dead on. Advertising is intended to work by making the victim unsatisfied with something, so as to want what the advertiser is offered as a way of becoming satisfied. Ideally, the victim should be constantly and completely unsatisfied with what he or she has, and thus feels it necessary to get everything new. Additionally, some advertising is intended to instill fear in the victim; either the fear that not having the advertised product will in some way blight their lives, or the fear that other people getting the product before they do will leave them unable to compete.

#443 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 05:07 AM:

Terry Karney @431: men and women want the same things out of sex (a good time) but have different ways of determining who will make a decent playmate.

I have a quick, simple, and easy way of checking how good a man will be in bed, that is also surprisingly predictive: is he ticklish?

#444 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 05:23 AM:

David Harmon @423: "I think they've all been under thirty." That last bit is the tipoff for me: I suspect a goodly number of what you're identifying as "F-Types" are Aspies and similar sorts... and the younger ones have grown up with modern diagnosis and suitable therapies (including remedial training in social skills).

I'm not saying you're wrong, but the ones I'm thinking of don't read as Aspie to me. Also, ISTM that thirty years is about the threshold when sf really started to leak into the mainstream in a serious way, with Star Wars and ST:TNG running point. The non-fen Type-Fs would be just of an age to have grown up with these influences widely represented in the zeitgeist.

Also role-playing games really started to gain traction during the '80s, if memory serves, and a lot of this crowd would have been exposed to things like Magic right at the Golden Age.

#445 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 05:24 AM:

David Harmon @423: "I think they've all been under thirty." That last bit is the tipoff for me: I suspect a goodly number of what you're identifying as "F-Types" are Aspies and similar sorts... and the younger ones have grown up with modern diagnosis and suitable therapies (including remedial training in social skills).

I'm not saying you're wrong, but the ones I'm thinking of don't read as Aspie to me. Also, ISTM that thirty years is about the threshold when sf really started to leak into the mainstream in a serious way, with Star Wars and ST:TNG running point. The non-fen Type-Fs would be just of an age to have grown up with these influences widely represented in the zeitgeist.

Also role-playing games really started to gain traction during the '80s, if memory serves, and a lot of this crowd would have been exposed to things like Magic right at the Golden Age.

#446 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 05:28 AM:

Bruce Cohen @442: Barbara Sher reports that the Disney parks have a practice of pumping subliminal levels of pizza smell into the air, especially near the snack kiosks. This, apparently, boosts snack sales by a considerable margin.

She summarizes this: "You can never get enough of what you don't want."

#447 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 07:11 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 427... I was wondering what you were up to. (By the way, it is indeed no fun to have limited internet access at work, as I find whenever I'm at our Bay Area office.)

#448 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 07:11 AM:

"But why are there mechanical squid in the cistern?"
"Why is everyone so surprised about that? Where else would we keep them?"

(From today's installment of "Girl Genius". What else could it be?)

#449 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 07:28 AM:

Jacque: #444: Good points, and I'll freely admit that the "spectrum" is my current "hammer", as I'm still trying to understand my own past. (I'm pushing 45, so I was playing FRPs a leetle earlier.) I note that sisule #440 has nominated ADHD (from which I also suffer/red) for much the same role.

That said, my current boss and his friends push my buttons for a similar personality type, but they'd call that "book people". (Some of those guys probably get curious stares on the street, but they'd all blend right into a con crowd.) I haven't asked how old he is, but a few years before I was discovering FRP, he went from owning a local restaurant to founding the bookstore he's still running. That was 37 years ago....

#450 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 09:27 AM:

Jacque @ 444 Magic? y/n/m. Pokemon and YuGiOh, hell yes. Remember that the under 30 crowd was born in the early 80s or later and the collectible card games of choice in middle schools/junior high schools were Japanese imports. Heck, the cartoons on saturdays and after school switched to also being Japanese-sourced or inspired, and those fantasy realms opened up. But what really hit in exactly the right years were the Harry Potter books and the LotR movies.

David @ 449 We're not saying that the niches for the particular personality type don't exist outside of fandom. Book people or Art people have many of the same characteristics. It's the fact that being Book People and Art People and the modern, edgy version of 'hippie' is the "in" thing to be.

#451 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 09:34 AM:

Serge @ 448 ...
"But why are there mechanical squid in the cistern?"
"Why is everyone so surprised about that? Where else would we keep them?"

I'm still wondering why people react the same way to my keeping bandaids and neosporin in the kitchen cutlery drawer. I mean -- the kitchen's one of those places where one tends to need bandaids, and running bleeding through the house to the nearest sanitary facility seems daft.

Perhaps bandaids are another socks & underwearish thing...

#452 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 09:49 AM:

Jacque @444

I'd say the role-playing game decade ran 1977 onwards, and might have been a bit more than a decade. But that just about covers the time when White Dwarf covered role-playing. The local traders started to vanish, though RPGs survived in the Virgin shop chain, in the UK, well in to the 1990s.

I think you could say that the RPG era ended when Magic the Gathering took hold.

It's not really so different a timing to Star Wars, maybe part of the same thing. There was a lot of stuff which seemed to surge, and then faded again.

#453 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 10:56 AM:

xeger @ 451... my keeping bandaids and neosporin in the kitchen cutlery drawer

xeger will be back in "Flashing Blades of Death"!!!

#454 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 11:08 AM:

For those who are missing a feline friend:

For a Dead Kitten

Put the rubber mouse away,
Pick the spools up from the floor,
What was velvet-shod, and gay,
Will not want them any more.

What was warm, is strangely cold.
Whence dissolved the little breath?
How could this small body hold
So immense a thing as Death?

-Sara Henderson Hay

#455 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 11:22 AM:

When working, I kept my own stash of first-aid supplies in my toolbox.
Advertising and so on--I have been known to take to task people who claim that this or that [apparel, music, whatever] is out of style this year. I ask them who decreed that, and who made up the rules, without consulting me?? I have concluded that it is some sort of plot which the advertisers are in on, and which the rest of us should not be so blasted unquestioning of. Seems to me, if something works for me, it will work for a long time, and I don't need someone else trying to tell me how long. I'll adopt something new if I feel it suits me, but not because someone else says to.
xkcd just did a brilliant one on this issue, I forget which but it's quite recent.
And for some time I have thought of getting a t-shirt made that says "I'll wear your @#$%^&! logo when YOU pay ME."
#401, Sandy B.--apologies gratefully accepted, you have not in fact offended me in the least, and I am only sorry that I returned to this thread too late for any response of mine to make one aorta of difference...

#456 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 12:29 PM:

The death of pets seems to be one of those topics currently swirling in random drifts and eddies creating small heaps of congruence to which we attach significance. (Less poetically: a lot of my friends and aquaintances are mentioning deaths of pets at the moment, but this may be either an artifact of random distribution or a salience effect.) My own elderly cat (19 years) moves more slowly with each passing month. There's nothing overtly or acutely wrong with her, but I've been working on acceptance of her mortality for the last couple years.

#457 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 12:56 PM:

We keep the bandaids in the kitchen too.

I am not talking of sox, I am not thinking of sox, sox are not anything that a sane person may even hint about, not at our house, and it is spouse's sox of which we are not speaking. It is all gods of chaos with sox 'n spouse.

Love, C.

#458 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 01:08 PM:

On the death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes

'Twas on a lofty vase's side,
Where China's gayest art had dy'd
The azure flow'rs that blow;
Demurest of the tabby kind,
The pensive Selima, reclin'd,
Gazed on the lake below.

Her conscious tail her joy declar'd;
The fair round face, the snowy beard,
The velvet of her paws,
Her coat, that with the tortoise vies,
Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes,
She saw: and purr'd applause.

Still had she gaz'd; but 'midst the tide
Two angel forms were seen to glide,
The Genii of the stream;
Their scaly armour's Tyrian hue
Thro' richest purple to the view
Betray'd a golden gleam.

The hapless Nymph with wonder saw:
A whisker first and then a claw,
With many an ardent wish,
She stretch'd in vain to reach the prize.
What female heart can gold despise?
What cat's averse to fish?

Presumptuous Maid! with looks intent
Again she stretch'd, again she bent,
Nor knew the gulf between.
(Malignant Fate sat by, and smil'd)
The slipp'ry verge her feet beguil'd,
She tumbled headlong in.

Eight times emerging from the flood
She mew'd to ev'ry wat'ry god,
Some speedy aid to send.
No Dolphin came, no Nereid stirr'd;
Nor cruel Tom, nor Susan heard.
A Fav'rite has no friend!

From hence, ye Beauties, undeceiv'd,
Know, one false step is ne'er retriev'd,
And be with caution bold.
Not all that tempts your wand'ring eyes
And heedless hearts is lawful prize,
Nor all that glisters, gold.

#459 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 01:17 PM:

Open-threadiness: Since AKICIML, can anyone offer advice to help the JM family with a decision? My husband is weighing two offers from English PhD programs. The first is his current school, where he's about to finish the master's. It's low-ranked, and he's not been particularly happy there; the graduate students never get to teach anything but a very lockstep, dictated-from-on-high form of freshman composition. However, there's a professor Mr. JM is dying to work with, who is dying to work with him. Their interests line up perfectly, she's well regarded in the subfield, she gave him 3 or 4 brilliant dissertation ideas in the span of about 10 minutes yesterday, and she offered to tailor a future course to his interests so that his seminar paper can be a dissertation chapter. Then again, there's no one else even vaguely like her in the department -- if she got sick or was lured away by the opportunity of a lifetime, he'd be stuck.

The other school has a much, much higher ranked and larger department, offers more teaching opportunities and more latitude, and has a couple of professors working in his general interest area -- just no one who's perfect. The money is about the same, though we'd have moving expenses and I'd have to rejigger the non-freelance portion of my employment.

Anyone have any thoughts about which school to choose?

#460 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 01:25 PM:

JM @459
What does your husband want to do afterward? I don't know about English in particular, but in many fields, the perceived quality of your graduate department has a big impact on your job search.

On the other hand, a PhD is a big undertaking. Loving what you're going to spend all that time on, and the mentor who will be steering you through it, counts for a lot.

#461 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 01:29 PM:

OtterB: He wants to be an English professor, ideally at a small liberal arts college that lets its faculty focus more on teaching than publishing.

To me, it's obvious that he should go to the school that has everything else to offer and just find a new professor to work with -- but I think I feel that way only because my MFA advisor was utterly useless to me and didn't even come to my final thesis reading.

#462 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 01:34 PM:

JM @459 --

I would suggest that your husband gather as much information about the other school as possible, and try to meet as many people (faculty and grad students) there as possible.

As someone who lost a mentor more than once (looooong stories), I can testify to the absolute suckitude of a department that's a bad fit.

#463 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 01:35 PM:

JM @ 459
In general from what I have witnessed, being in a dept. you don't like, even with a phenomenal adviser, tends to result in not finishing.

Has Mr. JM talked to the professors at Bigger University about his interest in the subfield? What I found was that no where on my adviser's CV was her interest in textiles and the relationship of textiles to historic literature, but she (and actually, a large portion of the department) loved the subject, had a great depth and breadth of knowledge, and was happy to be my adviser. I was not the first medieval material culturalist she'd advised, and she was endlessly supportive. It may be that none of the professors have published on the subfield because it's not their subfield, but that someone has a serious interest in it anyway. Also, ask if wonderful professor might function as an adjunct/informal adviser.

#464 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 01:55 PM:

JM @459:
In the sciences[1], success[2] of PhDs correlates well only to who your advisor is, not to the reputation of the school. That is, good advisors prepare their students well, are generous with publishing credits, and smooth the way with their names on recommendation letters and other continued professional support. And, based on many friends' experiences, I echo OtterB's observation that who you're with makes a *huge* difference to your quality of life[3] while going through the process.

I don't know how that study would read if done in the humanities, but if you can find information on where a professor's former advisees are now, that might be instructive. And if you can contact a few of them, they might be happy to chat about how their advisor was at supporting them working on interests that were related, but didn't match up perfectly. Some of those not-perfect professors might be perfect after all. Or the perfect professor might have a wonderful track record of placing advisees, despite the ranking of the school.

[1] I think the study my SO was looking at was specifically in physics, because that is his field, but I expect the pattern to extend to other physical sciences at least.

[2] Measured as ability to get a tenure-track position in a reasonable time, rather than after eighty-eight zillion post-doc positions, or never.

[3] A friend of mine doing a history PhD took a couple of tries to find an advisor who didn't make her day-to-day life hell. Months later, the good one died. She quit.

#465 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 01:56 PM:

JM, 459: I agree with sisuile and Debbie. One perfect professor, IME, doesn't outweigh a bad fit. Another thing to consider is departmental financial aid: small depts don't have as much. And if he wants to teach, he *has* to get good, wide-ranging experience in grad school. Otherwise the small colleges he wants won't give him a second glance.

#466 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 02:14 PM:

JM @459 -- what does this professor that is perfect recommend? If she's as good as all that, she probably actually understands the implications of each approach -- and if she's as good as all that, she should be able to pull herself out of the mix far enough to give him good advice.

#467 ::: Joseph M. ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 02:38 PM:

JM @459: My then-fiancee/now-wife and I had a similar conversation a couple of years ago when she was picking English grad programs. In then end, she went with the department she was more comfortable with, which has turned out to be a fantastic decision.

A couple of things contributed to this. One is that the "ideal supervisor" she was considering working with moved schools the semester my wife was to start grad school, so if she'd gone there, the mentor would no longer have been available. Second, she's found that as her interests have changed slightly, she's found a couple of really fantastic people to work with at the school she's attending.

Re Zelda's comment at 464, I believe that, in English, the school/department 'quality' plays a larger role than the advisor in job placement, but I'm willing to hear otherwise, as my info is second-hand from my wife's friends in her department.

#468 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 02:54 PM:

Ok, what do Canadian Fluorospherians think- how big is the danger of a Tory majority?

#469 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 03:38 PM:

Zelda @ 464 - In the humanities, it is the quality of the school and department. Really Good departments have several "known in their subfield" people, which makes the recommendation rigmarole a lot more advantageous, and the classes/events/papers/stuff one can put on one's CV are more varied. In my med studies dept, we had six Big Names. It meant I got "you get to study with X? What's it like? I'm jealous!" from grad students in their subfields, and "Oh, that's where X is, isn't it?" from their colleagues when I went to conferences. And people from my dept. got jobs, sometimes because a professor who was not their adviser would write a recommendation for its networking value at the target school.

#470 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 03:39 PM:

Thanks, Fluorospherians! I really appreciate your help. Having had your comments read aloud to him, my freaking-out husband is feeling a bit better about things.

We're actually going on a day trip to the other school tomorrow, and a casual e-mail to the department contact ("Can we stop in and say hi to anyone?") has turned into a fully scheduled tour of the town with multiple professors and grad students handing us off from location to location, so we should know a lot more about that school and its people by tomorrow night. That they're willing to drop everything to shepherd us around on short notice is certainly a good sign!

#471 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 04:48 PM:

sisuile @450: collectible card games

Thank you. I have only a glancing relationship with the gaming world, so I wasn't able to pull any references out of memory specific enough to check dates, except for Magic. (Which was everywhere for a while and caught my eye because of the artwork.)

But what really hit in exactly the right years were the Harry Potter books and the LotR movies.

That was the first set of references that came to mind, but ISTM that those came a little later. I was doing a rough calculation, figuring the Golden Age at 13 or 14.

If I may wax pedantic* for a moment: as a rough calculation, for people who hit 30 this year, Harry Potter comes over the horizon when they're 16 (if my arithmetic can be trusted), which is a teensy bit late to catch them in the sweet spot. And the LOTR movies hit them at 20.

Just based on my Martian level understanding of human (western, English-speaking) intellectual development, that seems late days, to have such an all-pervasive influence. Timing suggests to me that cardgames and ST are much more likely candidates.

OTOH,** that timing is right to hit them at college, which is the age/context where ideas get really promiscuous. So maybe you do have something there.

The card games set up the tropisms, the books and movies and the habit of sharing them instill the cultural outlook and behaviors. ...Perhaps?

--

* You're up, Serge ;-)

** Anybody ever flash on Heinlein's Speedtalk when reading these acronyms? I find myself actually wanting to pronounce "wrt" as a single syllable word. TV characters who try to sound hip by speaking out the letters in an acronym (frex: "Oh! Em! Gee!") make me wince.

#472 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 05:24 PM:

Jacque (471): I find myself actually wanting to pronounce "wrt" as a single syllable word. TV characters who try to sound hip by speaking out the letters in an acronym (frex: "Oh! Em! Gee!") make me wince.

Am I weird for mentally expanding online/texting acronyms as the original phrase? For example, I "hear" 'OMG' as 'oh my god'.

#473 ::: Joseph M. ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 05:54 PM:

sisuile @450 and Jacque @471: As someone in the near-30 age group, I would say that the influential card game may be broken down even farther. For my (right around 30) age group*, Magic was the big thing; for folks 4-5 years younger than me (and perhaps a bit more; I lost touch with this section of the world as I moved away from the games in question), it was Pokeman or similar.

This age breakdown also matters for books: Harry Potter came a bit late for me, but it was huge for kids just a couple of years younger.

Personally, I found that, by the time the Lord of the Rings** movies came out (when I was in college, which is why I bring it up), people either loved them because of the books, or independently (and maybe went back and read the books), but I didn't really get a feeling that they unearthed any sort of latent wide-scale SF/F interest in people. You may have had a different experience, though.

Running back even further to Jacque @392, I'm wondering if internet-enabled video gaming in general, and World of Warcraft and its associated social networks in particular, may not also be a part of the new 'F-type' culture. Just as Making Light has provided a geography-independent gathering place for us, so too can guild or clan forums, or even servers with regular players.

Mary Aileen @472: I do that too. See also footnote ** below.

*: Is there a technical sociological term for sub-groups in a generation? I was thinking 'cadre,' but I have no idea.
**: Is it strange that I can't use the LotR abbreviation? I don't mind when anyone else does, but it feels really ackward to me. Although, I am the kind of crazy person who spells out all the words and punctuates appropriately when I text, too. I only mention this because of Jacque's footnote.

#474 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 06:05 PM:

OMG is pronounce 'omihgaw'. Most others are similarly abbreviated in pronunciation. I do this with my own shorthand, too; it is difficult, when reading 'tform bact w/ pmid' not to say, approximately, "Teeform bact wih pihmid," even when I know it means to transform bacteria with a plasmid.

Grad school: I am still processing the many failures of my grad school career and trying to stop calling them failures. My advisor is kind of awesome, but this meant mostly that he wasn't around and never answers emails. I needed to be much more self-motivated than I was. Go with the department that fits best, not the advisor. Most of what he does might end up being with other people (number of classes I took on my actual concentration: 0; number I took on wastewater management: 4).

It's hard to blame anyone but myself for the fact that I have an MS and not a PhD (because *obviously* a Master's degree is a failure in all respects) but some blame does splash on others. It's been two years, almost, and I'm getting better at figuring out what was my responsibility, where other people could be expected to help, and where things were just unreasonable.

#475 ::: caffeine ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 07:38 PM:

Diatryma @474: I recently got back into a particular art form that I abandoned for many years and am doing a similar sort of calculation. Though it doesn't matter in the larger scheme of things, it seems very important right now for me to figure out how much of dropping out of that major after only one year was a product of a totally inexcusable lack of encouragement/blatant discouragement from my parents, teachers and peers, and how much is my own fault for not persisting.

#476 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 07:51 PM:

Jaque #471 - I think your timing for Harry Potter is a bit off - A 30 year old at 16 would be 14 years ago. The Harry Potter phenomenon which led to it being more massively and broadly popular is I think more a thing of the 21st century.
(In my case I didn't hear about them until 2003, when I was 26) Glancing through wikipedia, it seems the mania was more noticeable by 2000 or so onwards.
You're right thought that it seems unlikely a 16 year old would just get into the books so easily.

Now I'm not totally sure I am understanding the issue here correctly, is it to do with people under 30 having personality types/ behaviours that previously would have made them outcast but are now accepted as more mainstream and normal?

And part of this is an interest in fantasy and magical stuff? In which case why not also cite such influences as all the vampire stuff back in the later 90's, which was previously something of a niche but seems to me to have become rather mainstream.
I'm just writing as an eccentric UK person who has always been an outsider and has been suspected of being slightly aspergers by one or two people. BUt I am interested in how the culture around all this sort of thing changes.

#477 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 08:02 PM:

(433) Terry Karney

What I also find telling is that one of the stated purposes of the bill, in the prolog, is to "promote stable marriage." Silly me, I thought that the GOP and Tea Parties were agin "social engineering" through legislation.

Oh, I know, I know, this is .. "different."

Maybe when my gout ceases being a flare up I'll write something longer on my own blog site about this little gem.

And Paula may well be right -- the "search hall" would be in some place that is remote from public transit.

Aside from the odiousness of the tactic of waging war on organized labor by using a family's food pantry, this reminds me of the people who are so incensed by the possibility that someone insufficiently needy might get their kids into a school's free/reduced-price lunch program that they would rather see the children go hungry than that someone "take advantage"

I also remember seeing a study somewhere that programs designed to specifically combat fraud in government "entitlement" programs (G/d, how I hate that phrase) usually cost more to administer than the fraud they are supposed to combat.

#478 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 08:04 PM:

Data point for Harry Potter: I'm turning 30 in October, and I love (reread, rewatch, regularly think about and discuss) the series, as do most of my most simpatico friends. My first exposure was the summer of 2000, when I spent the lunch hours of my awful temp job at the nearby Barnes & Noble and made it through the first three books without paying for them, just in time to catch up before the fourth came out.

#479 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 08:08 PM:

Someone sent me this, wherein Tails magazine says they originally pubbed the cover WITH the commas, and someone photoshopped them out for a laugh.

Still shows why those comments are important; just doesn't show that the editors of Tails are morons.

#480 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 08:23 PM:

JM #459 Go with the better department, I agree that one professor doesn't outweigh a whole department. Heck, maybe you can help your favorite professor find an opening to move to that school!

In other news: Charlottesville, Virginia, at the north edge of the American South, is facing a Winter Storm Watch for tomorrow, March 26. Up to 5 inches of snow expected on the heights, Saturday Night temperatures below freezing. Gaah.

Now I'm off to buy a new monitor, as this one is requiring lengthy dead-chicken procedures entirely too often.

#481 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 08:27 PM:

As hyperlocal news as it can be -- a new review of an el V book published in 2009 -- The Year Before the Flood, here.

My favorite part:

[ "The case he makes for its oft-overpraised live music "scene," a term it is always wise to use advisedly but that applies here if it does anywhere, is as convincing as any this record-centric skeptic has ever encountered. And the chapters on New Orleans hip-hop are breathtaking, especially coming from someone who loves its r&b so much‑-enthusiasm for the city's modern music is in short supply among fans of the traditional stuff." ]

Love, C.

#482 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 08:27 PM:

caffeine @475: I recently got back into a particular art form that I abandoned for many years

What artform? (Just being nosey. I'm always curious what art forms people are engaging in; I might want to try it too.)

it seems very important right now for me to figure out how much of dropping out of that major after only one year was a product of a totally inexcusable lack of encouragement/blatant discouragement from my parents, teachers and peers

[insert raging, spittle-flecked diatribe here] IMnsHO, there's a special, really toasty corner of hell reserved for people who try to supress other people's artistic/spiritual/professional interest/pursuits. Particularly with "authority figures."

I've quoted this here before, but it bears repeating:

If you bring forth what is within you,
What is within you will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
What is within you will destroy you.

—Gospel of Thomas, #17

guthrie @476: I think your timing for Harry Potter is a bit off

Could well be. I'm going entirely by Wikipedia's listing of the initial publication of the first book. My primary experience of "the Harry Potter Phenomenon" was trying to ignore the marketing blitz.

people under 30 having personality types/ behaviours that previously would have made them outcast but are now accepted as more mainstream and normal?

Less outcast than fannish. I think those are intersecting, but not necessarily congruent, sets. The people I'm thinking of are most assuredly not outcasts which, given their very Type-F presentation, is really weird to me. "Wait. You like video games? And vampires? And you're popular!? How the hell does that work?" (I should be clear that I think this is a glorious thing. Just incredibly disorienting.)

vampire stuff back in the later 90's

Oh yeah. Buffy. How could I forget? That would have been a hugely influential infusion of fannish culture, pretty undiluted (compliments of Joss Whedon's distinctive outlook and style), straight into the mainstream.

I'm just writing as an eccentric UK person who has always been an outsider and has been suspected of being slightly aspergers

May I ask how old you are?

#483 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 08:27 PM:

About Harry Potter: He was born July 31, 1980 (Lammas Night). That means 1) He will turn 31 this year, 2) the "Muggle Prime Minister" for most of his pre-Hogwarts childhood was Margaret Thatcher. (Can you imagine what she said when the Minister of Magic Flooed into her fireplace?)

#484 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 08:40 PM:

The events of the books are entirely over by June 1998.

#485 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 08:45 PM:

JM @ 478... I'm turning 30 in October

In September, I'll be 6 years older than my wife's father was when we first met. Oh, and I'll be 3 years older than NASA.

#486 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 09:18 PM:

(101) Vicki -
(pain clinics vs quality of life)

Because of a change in insurance plans I've changed primary care physicians.

On my intake exam, when asked to catalog any "issues" I might have, I mentioned the long-running episodic pain in the base of my right thumb, and the doctor agreed that that was not conductive to my either being able to perform or simply *play* my harp, and I am now scheduled for a real workup on the issue.

This pain is something my prior PCP just blew off with "might be arthritis," with no plan of action at all. (I have had persistent arthritis in several major joints for decades, and I have given up on most doctors where the subject of chronic pain is concerned -- the attitudes seem to fall into two main camps -- either lots of meds (usually with marginal effectiveness) or saying I need to just "live with it" or the subset that says because they can't find classic, definitive, symptoms the pain must really not be there (which was an issue before with the period when I was having migraine headaches an a frequent basis)).

Ghods, but it's so good to have someone actually *listen* when you describe an ailment.

#487 ::: caffeine ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 09:35 PM:

Jacque @482, I don't mind sharing at all, was just trying to avoid Oversharing.

I sing. Always have, from elementary school on, always in a group setting in school or church. I was the only musical one in my family. In high school I decided that I wanted to pursue sacred music in college. That didn't go over well with my parents, who wanted me to choose a solid, sensible career like medicine. I did it anyhow and was a voice performance major for a year before I gave it up and went for an English degree.

It's a bit of a long story, but in the face of that many years of neutral-to-discouraging reactions from everyone I came into contact with (including my college professors), I just decided I was fooling myself and wasn't really any good.

That was in 1999. I didn't sing except in the shower and along with the radio until this past January, when I picked up the phone and called a random voice teacher, who turned out to be phenomenal.

A few weeks ago, this teacher told me I have a beautiful voice. I stopped dead on my way out the door and said, "no one's ever told me that before." She was stunned. This week, she told me that whoever encouraged me to be a voice major in the first place knew what they were talking about. My response: "Well, no one ever encouraged me, exactly. I just sort of did it." Again, stunned.

I don't think anyone ever meant to actively discourage me. (Except the Baptist youth leader who told me I couldn't go into sacred music because I was female.) I grew up in a rural, extremely anti-intellectual area of the American south, and as a sensitive, bright kid, by the time I hit high school I was so isolated intellectually and musically that there was no one around to encourage me. And the people who could have -- my teachers, my parents -- simply didn't. I don't know. I feel like that shouldn't have stopped me. Bootstraps and against all odds and all that.

Thank you for the verse; that was lovely, and means a lot to me. I need to print and pin it where I'll see it.

To tie this back into the fen subthread, I'm 30 and very much the type to have spent my teen years with SFF cons and faires if I hadn't been so isolated. I wonder how life would have been for me as a teen if the Internet had been widespread ten years earlier.

#488 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 10:14 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man buys a statue of Doctor Dinosaur. Man happy. ("Man obviously never grew up.") Man heard that.

#489 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 10:19 PM:

#484 ::: Xopher

The events of the last books, ther repression, the disappearances of key people, the pandering of the media to the Evile, etc. -- it mirrored what we began to suffer and still do with the Event of 9/11 and the disappearance of our civil liberties and rights, snooping of Homeland Security into everything, etc.

Jacqueline Carey is another of the Fantasy authors I admired for going after these conditions, and doing it perfectly within the Fantasy tropes set up Kushiel's Justice. I wrote about that at length on LJ when I read it back when.

Sometimes I just have to say how much I LOOOOOOOOVE these writers who keep doing what they do!

Love, C.

#490 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 10:24 PM:

Caffeine, I am another singer with baggage. In my case, my senior year of high school, it became obvious that a) I have a big voice, and b) I could not blend worth shit. Curiously, this was not an issue my junior year, when others in the choir were expected to perform professionally and such. I did my best, but some of my effort was directed toward passive aggression and hoping, hoping, hoping that the director would realize I wasn't singing at all and just trying not to cry. I went to college, was in the lower choir because I didn't realize it was the lower choir in quite that way, and the director seemed to scorn it-- I'd sung some of the music before, and it hadn't been challenging in high school, either.

I auditioned for a vocal scholarship for nonmajors. Later my freshman year, I was told by multiple people that they just don't give that scholarship to sopranos. I got the highest amount possible, and while I felt awesome walking out of the audition and knowing that the entire hallway could hear me and knew my awesomeness, by the time I got to college, it just made me sad that I was so unable to do it.

I get meta-upset. It is not a happy thing.

But I always had encouragement, even if it was the meaningless-at-best kind my mother sometimes gives (she is sometimes better, sometimes worse-- this is why we do not talk about my future at all ever). I had a wonderful voice teacher in college. I will someday meet my high school director and he will ask if I'm still singing and I hope I will be brave enough to say, "No, because you spent a year showing me I shouldn't be in a good choir and I'm not going to enjoy a bad one."

But I hope that when I have a real job, it will be somewhere I can find a really good choir and that they will be forgiving of years of being out of shape. I hope I haven't destroyed a lifetime of singing with idleness for the last five years.

So, um, I hope you someday are greeted and praised effusively by a specific Baptist youth leader and can tell the story of how someone who is very obviously zir discouraged you. Because singing is fun and being good at things is fun and there should be more good singers in the world so we can do the Lukas requiem sometime.

#491 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 10:47 PM:

It has come upon me that it's finally time to do the Beethoven thing. Anybody have opinions/recommendations of where to start and/or composers/orchestras/recordings to particularly recommend?

#492 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 10:52 PM:

me @491: Unrelated to 487 & 490, but timely, methinks. You people are Thinking Loudly again, it seems. :-)

More substantive comment on your above posts later; I'm in the middle of Knitting, at the moment.

#493 ::: Joseph M. ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 11:32 PM:

Hm. I had a post (that should have shown up around 473) that appears to have drawn the attention of the Making Light Gnomes. I wonder what Words of Power I invoked...

Jacque @490: I like his symphonies and piano sonatas. But that's because that's the kind of music I like. Do you have a preferred type of classical music to compare with?

#494 ::: caffeine ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 11:38 PM:

Diatryma, my voice is a very light lyric soprano, so I've never had problems blending, luckily. It seems that some voices just weren't meant to blend, but that's not a bad thing; those voices also have much, much more power than mine ever will.

I also had a small vocal scholarship that only required me to be part of the college choir, so I stayed in just that for another two years. I spent a lot of time sulking that the same four people (one soprano, one alto, etc.) got all the solos.

When you find that job, though, and you feel ready, you'll be surprised at how much comes back to you. I really didn't do any singing at all for ten years before going back, and I had not only not lost any range or tone, I had gained both as my voice matured. My total range is now around G2 to E5 (here is a decent online piano that has the octaves labeled), with a usable range of a few tones less on either end. I did lose a good bit of my music theory, but that can be regained.

So as long as you haven't been actively damaging your voice, you should be fine. You might consider avoiding choirs for a while, though, unless that's really and truly your thing. Not because there's anything wrong with them, but because your voice might shine better alone or in a small group like a quartet.

#495 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 12:38 AM:

Thanks for the encouragement! What really frustrated me, that one bad year, was that I was getting shit for putting out more and more volume as the director held out his fists and shook them for more, more, more. Then I was chastised for pushing it and forcing it and I should just lighten and focus and no. It felt like opening up my ribcage through my throat*, not like shoving more toothpaste out of the tube.

*in a good way. Many vocal visuals are weird.

A part of me wishes I had done a senior recital. The rest of me acknowledges that maybe, just maybe, the week that included my research honors defense, a biology reception, a bachelorette party (these on the same day), Senior Walk, my birthday, graduation and moving out, and my first publication might be complicated enough.

#496 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 01:02 AM:

Ah! I am hearing a difference in terminology wrt age group and magic age.

The initial post was talking about people 'under 30', and I took that to mean not-yet-30. As it happens, 1980/1/2 is about the division between gen X and gen Y, and I think what we are talking about it a true generational difference. And I was introduced to harry potter as a phenomenon in the summer of '99, just before Prisoner came out (there was a release party at the local Borders, so I'm not sure about Wikipedia's assertion that it wasn't anything big until 2000). Knock 2 years off that 16 yr old and you are back in range of the magic age, esp. if you mean 'under 30' as adult people/members of wider society who are under 30...that range is going to 22/23-29.

I also think that growing up using computers and being taught in elementary school via games took a lot of the stigma away from computer gaming (Math Blaster & Dr. Brain FTW!). Buffy did some of the same for urban fantasy and watching geeky tv. There are all sorts of pop culture things in the mid to late 90s that made being something of a geek seem cool and that bookish wasn't necessarily bad. I am so grateful.

#497 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 01:11 AM:

Sisuile @ 496... There are all sorts of pop culture things in the mid to late 90s that made being something of a geek seem cool

For example, that Fox Mulder guy?

#498 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 01:11 AM:

Serge @ 488:

I went to Fry's Electronics today to buy some bigger hard drives for my backup system and a bigger drive for my laptop, which is typically running within 7-8% of full. Because I don't go there more than once a year or so (the damage to my bank account would be far too many hit dice otherwise), I spent a few minutes just cruising around the store to see what was there, and was fascinated by an entire aisle of action figures and other toys. They really do understand what their customers want.

#499 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 01:22 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 498... I guess I'd better not go anywhere near Fry's.

#500 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 02:43 AM:

in re the discussion we had about, "The Chosen"

Stage play performance in DC

#501 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 02:47 AM:

in re the discussion we had about, "The Chosen"

Stage play performance in DC

(forgot the second quote mark, and seem to be unable to preview tonight.

#502 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 03:14 AM:

Happy Birthday, Mary Aileen!

#503 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 03:35 AM:

Serge @488: Doctor Dinosaur is ... priceless!!

One of those things that ya kinda have to ponder awhile to grok its full import.

#504 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 04:01 AM:

caffeine @487: In high school I decided that I wanted to pursue sacred music in college. That didn't go over well with my parents, who wanted me to choose a solid, sensible career like medicine.

::FUME::

The correct way to respond to your kid if zhe has an ambition like this is what Robin Williams quotes his father as saying: "Just make sure you have a back-up profession, like welding."

I picked up the phone and called a random voice teacher, who turned out to be phenomenal.

Do me a favor: next time you see her, give her a hug for me. The world needs more angles-of-art like this.

I feel like that shouldn't have stopped me. Bootstraps and against all odds and all that.

To quote Barbara Sher again: "Isolation is the dream-killer." And, dream-death is, in my non-professional opinion, a leading cause of major depression.

Thank you for the verse; that was lovely, and means a lot to me. I need to print and pin it where I'll see it.

Hey, don't thank me; thank the J-Man. And Elaine Pagels. I've seen other translations, but this one is, by far, the most ... penetrating.

I remember when I first ran across it. I was going through a patch similar to what you describe, trying to give myself permission to follow my bliss. I was reading an article from the New Yorker, I think. Don't remember how I came to be doing so. Anyway, I was sitting in the very back seat in the shuttle, on the way home from work.

When I hit that quote, my reaction was such that the driver, from the other end of the van, said, "Jacque, you look like you've seen a ghost!"

Raised the li'l hairs on my neck, it did.

Diatryma @490: You remind me that one of my regrets is that I have done hardly any singing. ::sigh:: Fortunately, singing had a neutral value in my environment, growing up, so I wasn't discouraged. And I got piano lessons, so I'm not a complete virgin when it comes to the technical side.

It just keeps getting shoved to the bottom of my life queue. I'd love to do it. (I have dreams about singing, in somewhat the same way I have flying dreams.) I'm just not willing to take time away from the art forms I have to do (because if I don't, they drill great shaggy holes in my sanity).

Sing a few extra verses for me when you get a chance, will y'all?

#505 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 04:22 AM:

493 ::: Joseph M. @493: I like his symphonies and piano sonatas.But that's because that's the kind of music I like.

Heh. Moonlight Sonata is one of my all-time favorites. Even started to learn it, back before I got tired of piano.

Do you have a preferred type of classical music to compare with?

Yeah: Beethoven. ;-)

The only other one I can difinitively point to is Symphony 7, mvt 2, which is(?) the one they used in Zardoz

I mostly got my classical music tastes from my father, who was a great fan of bombast. Wagner. Peer Gynt. The Russians.

See also: Warner Bros. What's Opera, Doc? et al.

Does that help any?

Oh yeah, Xopher: the Bolero edition that I bought a few months ago is NOT THE RIGHT EDITION. ::shudder:: In point of fact, it is the most horribly wrong edition. (Which is weird, because it's the same conductor and orchestra, apparently.)

Diatryma @495: Then I was chastised for pushing it and forcing it and I should just lighten and focus and no. It felt like opening up my ribcage through my throat

Heh. I rather accidentally apparently got good grounding in putting power into my voice (though it's probably a miracle I didn't destroy it) by studying Karate. Learning to do the ki-ais uses a lot (I gather) of the same principles as breathing support for singing.

With very little effort, I can punch through two blocks of noon-day city traffic noise, when I need to.

The other end of the volume spectrum is really tough, though, and I have to be very warmed up to sing softly at all well.

(Rr. This is not helping. I already haven't drawn in two weeks for various reasons, and I really need to get back into exercising regularly.) (Why do I have this feeling I came from a planet with 36-hour days and eleven-day weeks?)

#506 ::: Andy Brazil ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 06:02 AM:

No 3 daughter caught Harry Potter with the first book when she was 11. She grew up with Harry, catching Buffy and LOTR films on the way. Her husband arrived owning all 6 Starwars DVD's. And yet neither is even vague fannish. They are completely, frighteningly normal. (I am unsure how two such nerds as us managed this feat.) Nor do their peers consider such stuff odd - although they did find *our* interest in HP and Buffy weird.)

It might be that the experience of isolation, of being "the only one like me", is a generational thing. Or then again, perhaps it's simply that the markers have changed.

#507 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 07:17 AM:

Joseph M @493:

I have freed comment 473 from its bondage (WoW is, in its expanded form, Powerful. Gold farmers, you see.) I've also cleaned up a bunch of up-references.

It's really useful if, when you get a comment held, you post another one flagging the fact immediately afterward. Then when I free the prisoner I can hide the flag, and all the numbering thereafter works without time-consuming and fallible manual intervention.

#508 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 07:22 AM:

Jacque #481 -
I'm 34 since monday. I suspect there's some generation slippage between the US and UK, insofar as my generation is the last to grow to young adulthood without the internet or mobile phones (except for geeks who were very quiet about it). Most of us got our first email accounts at 18 at university (1995) and first mobiles by 97 or so, and things kind of snowballed from there. In fact, how can we forget the influence of the internet in doing something, I'm not quite sure what though.
I recall my friends in 95-99 watching buffy the vampire slayer, some of them really getting into computer games of one sort or another; I suspect the 90's is also the time when computer games went mainstream and commercial in a big way, so thats another form of fantastic diversion which contributes to such interests being normal. Some of them played football games, others shot lots of things, but there were mainstream magazines available with free trials of new games and stuff.
Although I was the one who read the most during this time, I'm pretty sure I might have heard if Harry Potter was doing well in 98/99 amongst my friends.
Remember also that there were the variety of star trek offshoots, from STNG to DS9, again watched by my fairly normal friends. We all recalled watching repeats of the original star trek when young, so it seems easy to pick up the new varieties, and take on some aspects of fannish behaviour. And most of us had read or tried to read LotR. Oh, and star wars as Andy Brazil mentions.
So I think the roots of this popularisation thing are deep, but its taken a while to reach critical mass/ prominence.

#509 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 09:45 AM:

Plenty of weird TV cartoons around nowadays, but not circa 1990, which is why adults could be heard talking about the latest episode of "Ren & Stimpy".

#510 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 10:41 AM:

Constance 489: Oh, they're clearly the product of the early 20th Century. I was only saying when they're set.

Various people, about singing: I'm told that after my tongue surgery I will need speech therapy. You should see the doctors' faces fall when I tell them I'm a singer. I've stopped mentioning it.

Barring unexpected surgical disasters, I should still be able to make vocal sounds. Articulating consonants and vowels correctly could be a serious problem, but I should still have my breath and pitch control, which means I don't have to give up singing, do you hear me? (And no, I don't want to be told different, even (especially) if you have many pages of studies to cite. That can wait until I get rid of the cancer.)

#511 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 10:56 AM:

re Jacque at 471 etc.:

I just want to say OMG
Sometimes IHTFP
But sometimes (like now)
I'm ROTFLMAO
It's an A-OK PoP.

#512 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 11:06 AM:

You will sing, Xopher!

#513 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 11:17 AM:

Xopher - Julie Andrews sings now, and they butchered her vocal cords. Have faith.

#514 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 11:28 AM:

#508 but slightly off topic.

Around 1982, I was working at BNR (Bell-Northern Research aka the Big Nerd Ranch.) We were an early adopter of internal email(*) and I remember a coworker complaining how frustrating it was that she couldn't email her mother late at night, when it was too late for phone calls.

For a lot of people, that didn't come until 15-20 years later.

(*) A system called COCOS, COrporate COmmunication System, which contributed to X.400/X.500 ideas. But it had features the world still doesn't have, like the ability to send email to non-users. The directory system included location, so we simply printed the mail at the local mailroom printer.

Like "email" "cocos" was both a noun and a verb.

#515 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 11:47 AM:

re things like LOL, OMG, etc.

Some are words (lol) some get expanded (btw), some have translations (wrt becomes, somehow, something like, "regarding, as regards, it doesn't become "with regard to).

Some become words (FUD UNK, which is an interrogation shorthand, "Full Unit Designation Unknown).

The rule, as I think on it (and I've been noodling at it since I saw the comment) seems to be, "do I use that phrase in everyday life. If I do expansion is much more likely.

After that it's a factor of pronounceability. OMG, which I don't use in the sort of Valley Girl pitch/tone it implies, is, OhEmGm, if I were to say it, even though I read it as, Oh My God.

Language is funny.

#516 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 12:28 PM:

Joseph M @473 Is there a technical sociological term for sub-groups in a generation? I was thinking 'cadre,' but I have no idea.

I think I'd use "cohort"

Xopher I offer you, if it helps, the mindset I try to use with my daughter with disabilities.

1. If I decide that she will be able to do something, maybe she can, and maybe she can't. Time will tell.

2. If I decide that she can't do something, and give her no opportunities, then I'll be right, and she can't.

3. It is never stupid to hope.

#517 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 12:33 PM:

I pronounce OMG "oh em gee", but I pronounce ZOMG "zahm'g".

Xopher, I have no doubt you will sing, and beautifully at that.

#518 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 12:38 PM:

Scalzi passes on a tweet from Neil Gaiman stating that Diana Wynne Jones has passed away.

#519 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 12:47 PM:

Dammit. Even knowing it was coming and likely, she'll be sorely missed by me (and many others).

#520 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 12:53 PM:

sisuile #496: Also, lurking in the background is an fannish proverb: "The Golden Age of science fiction is... twelve".

Joseph M #473: is there a technical sociological term for sub-groups in a generation? I was thinking 'cadre,' but I have no idea.

You may be half-remembering "cohort", which formally means a single year's worth of people. (And I see OtterB got there first.)

Pronunciation: And then there's the question of how to pronounce the mutation "pwnd". I say it as "pawned", and sometimes contrast it to the original "owned". "Pawned" is more embarrassing.

#521 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 01:09 PM:

Geraldine Ferraro has passed on.

#522 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 01:15 PM:

Link to an obit on Jones -- she will, indeed, be very sorely missed. I didn't like the first book of hers that I read (Cart and Cwidder) when it came out; later, she became one of my absolute favorites.

Give a writer another chance in her memory.

#523 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 01:47 PM:

Jacque @ 491: It has come upon me that it's finally time to do the Beethoven thing. Anybody have opinions/recommendations of where to start and/or composers/orchestras/recordings to particularly recommend?

I would recommend whatever reasonably major work your local symphony is playing next. Classical music (especially orchestral music) is much better live than on disc.

Barring that, the Ninth Symphony is generally considered one of the masterpieces of Western music, and even people like me, whose favorite sort of thing it isn't, tend to like it.

#524 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 01:48 PM:

In my head I say:
OMG = "oh em gee" or "ohmgee"
ZOMG = "zomgh"
wrt = "wirt"
btw = "by the way" or "bithiway"
f'rex = "frecks"
re: = "ree" or "ar ee"
int. and ext. = "int"* and "eckst"
LOL = "loll"
ROFL = "roffle"
IMHO = "ai em aitch oh"

Semi-related: sometimes if I have/had trouble spelling a certain word, as I write it I'll sound it out in my head in a way that makes the spelling clear. F'rex: I say "fry-end" when I'm writing "friend" to get the "ie" in the right order.

*All the D&D abbreviations I pronounce in my head as if they're words: "decks", "wiz", "con", "struh", "krih", "int"; but if I'm saying them out loud I'll say "strength" and "charisma".

#525 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 02:13 PM:

Somehow, int * seems like I'm talking about a pointer to an integer.

To the extent I make sounds in my head when I'm reading (much more in Spanish than English, I think, though I'm not sure I trust my introspection to tell me what's going on in my brain), I think I tend to try to pronounce everything as though it were a word. Zomg, lol, frex. Sometimes, I can't, and it becomes spelled out, like WTF or NCLB. Sometimes, it's its own concept, like re: or w.r.t., as independently meaningful as various mathematical symbols like "there exists" or "for all."

#526 ::: Joseph M. ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 02:28 PM:

abi @507: Thank you for releasing my comment. I also promise in the future to not be in such a hurry that I leave before checking if I've drawn the notice of the Gnomes.

Jacque @505: My preference is for Beethoven's odd-numbered symphonies (5,7, and 9 in particular). Sadly, most of my classical music is Russian (Rachmaninoff and Dvorak). Maybe less useful for you...

If you want to look at recordings (Tim Walters' suggestion for live music is great, too), I've had good luck with the Minnesota Symphony, or, if you want a really broad selection, the Naxos label. A caveat: I can tell the difference between 'bad' and 'pretty good' performances, but I'm much less good at differentiating 'pretty good' and 'really fantastic.' If you need that, you may want to look elsewhere (or at least test before buying).

OtterB @516 and David Harmon @520: Thanks. 'Cohort' is clearly the term I was remembering, although the meaning is narrower than I was hoping for.

#527 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 02:42 PM:

Lila @ 518:

Oh, crap. Another one we really can't afford to lose. I didn't discover her until the mid '90s, when I came across Archer's Goon on the shelves at Powell's and loved it, and the next book I found was Deep Secret, which I liked even more. It sounds like she was working very hard to finish a couple more books at the end; I hope she went without pain and with her loved ones around her.

#528 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 03:07 PM:

Serge (502): Thank you!

#530 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 04:08 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II # 529: Oh my!

#531 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 04:14 PM:

Jaque #491, Tim Walters #523: Beethoven

I'd suggest the 7th Symphony ('the apotheosis of the dance') before the 9th, which tends to go on a bit.

At one point the BBC had very good free recordings of all the symphonies for download, but I think they're gone now.

#532 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 04:23 PM:

Craig R #429


‘(3) STRIKING WORKERS INELIGIBLE- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no member of a family unit shall participate in the food stamp program at any time that any able-bodied work eligible adult member of such household is on strike as defined in the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (29 U.S.C. 142(2)), because of a labor dispute (other than a lockout) as defined in section 2(9) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 152(9)): Provided, That a family unit shall not lose its eligibility to participate in the food stamp program as a result of one of its members going on strike if the household was eligible immediately prior to such strike, however, such family unit shall not receive an increased allotment as the result of a decrease in the income of the striking member or members of the household: Provided further, That such ineligibility shall not apply to any family unit that does not contain a member on strike, if any of its members refuses to accept employment at a plant or site because of a strike or lockout.’.

Jonathan Zasloff points out that this is already 7 U.S.C. sec. 415(d)(3) and was passed in 1981. It doesn't make it any better, but it does raise the question of why more people didn't notice...

#533 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 04:27 PM:

Bruce, Fragano:

The Terms of Submission for that site say You represent and warrant that you own all rights to any content submitted. AFAICS this implies that it's all made up.

#534 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 05:14 PM:

caffeine @487: When people ask me what I'd do if I had access to a time machine, I confuse them somewhat by saying "Go back to find all the grade/high-school chorus teachers who think "You can't sing" or "You don't have a useful voice" is a REASONABLE critique to give CHILDREN, and hit them with a fish until they quit."

I have met so very many adults with perfectly reasonable, serviceable untrained voices who have a massive complex about even trying anything ever (for instance, getting in enough practice to be surer in their pitch) because of one of the aforementioned useless abusive idiots.

Because 'you can't sing' is always a statement with null meaning. What, in my experience, do they USUALLY mean?

"You'll be too much work for me to get up to the performance standard I prefer in my choir."
"I find your lack of pitch disturbing, and I only work with people who are already pretty good."
"You annoy me, go away."
"You're not soloist-quality, and all my singers need to be soloists."
"I don't have time or patience for you."

Not all of them are assholes. Some of them are just careless. But their sloppiness has seriously traumatized a LOT of people who could otherwise find joy in singing, and that annoys me extremely.

I don't set myself up as The Expert Of All Time wrt voice, but I have had quite a few years of training (which puts me really far ahead in the filk community at large). In all my years of singing with large groups of semi-random people, I have met EXACTLY ONE PERSON who really seriously had a nonfixable pitch problem that was unsalvageable. I think it was some kind of organic issue in his hearing or his throat (or the feedback loop between), because he could play along across the circle with his bass by ear, he just couldn't stick to tune even on songs he knew very, very well, even when singing along with a large group.

We loved him anyway. We didn't tell him "Don't sing," we chimed in to help hold him on pitch once we figured out what song he was doing.

This is why I love filk.

However, the mainstream voice-training world seems really wrapped up in treating it like some mystical inborn superpower, instead of something that's exactly as trainable as learning to throw a ball accurately and far. Just because some kid will probably never grow up to be Ryne Sandburg, you DO NOT tell him, "Ehh, I don't feel like tossing a ball around with you in the back yard today, you can't throw."

To Diatryma @490: After being a soloist for 5 years in grade school, in high school my inner self-hating voice talked me out of auditioning for chorus, and college singing was even more intimidating to me. I completely let music go out of my life from grade school graduation until three years into college, when (after several years of congoing) someone actually explained to me what 'filk' was.

Diatryma @495 said: What really frustrated me, that one bad year, was that I was getting shit for putting out more and more volume as the director held out his fists and shook them for more, more, more. Then I was chastised for pushing it and forcing it and I should just lighten and focus and no. It felt like opening up my ribcage through my throat, not like shoving more toothpaste out of the tube.

There are a lot of interesting timbre effects available if one learns to consciously control the complex little knot of muscles around one's voicebox. For example, on the trans side of things, transwomen attempting to sound more feminine (on the phone, etc) are told to feel how it feels if they pretend to/start to swallow: the voicebox gets smaller and several other things happen. If you can manage to learn to talk while doing that, the smaller resonating chamber (and etc) makes the voice sound more female. Transguys, contrariwise, need to learn to talk the way it feels when you start to yawn: voicebox opens up, tongue drops, soft palate rises, resonating area generally gets bigger, etc, leading to a male-er sounding voice.

These are both irregardless of pitch, of course; one can also train oneself to speak at a different default pitch range. In fact, mostly, we all have -- Americans tend to drop our voices by at least a third in middle school, even the girls, and AFTER testosterone's effects in the case of boys.

I started learning how to do weird visualizations to change my throat muscle positions in grade school choir, though; sounds like you've got one end of the stick that leads to things like being able to sing and be audible to the back row of a stone church with no mike. Or field heralding, in the SCA.

Jacque @504 said: Sing a few extra verses for me when you get a chance, will y'all?

I'll be at FilKONtario this upcoming weekend, and will mentally hold you in the light then, as it were. :-> You might consider looking into filkcons or cons with good filking nearer you; filkcircles can be a staggeringly supportive environment for getting into the habit of singing. I know the SLC people have an awesome con Memorial-Day-ish; Kathy Mar goes every year and praises it to the skies.

Jacque @505 said: Heh. I rather accidentally apparently got good grounding in putting power into my voice (though it's probably a miracle I didn't destroy it) by studying Karate. Learning to do the ki-ais uses a lot (I gather) of the same principles as breathing support for singing. / The other end of the volume spectrum is really tough, though, and I have to be very warmed up to sing softly at all well.

Speaking of field heralding in the SCA ... :-> Yes, being clearly audible without shouting is a skillset a lot of nonsingers never happen upon. On the other hand, singing accurately when quiet is genuinely hard; that's one way that untrained singers (ime) often shoot themselves in the foot. They're worried they're Doing It Rong, so they sing as quietly as they can, which makes it about eight times harder to stay on pitch, so they screw up, so they get worried ... etc.

#535 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 05:30 PM:

Elliott @534:

Thank you for neatly setting out all the reasons I don't sing, though I've been in a couple of choirs here and there.

Good experiences:
* Gregorian Chant by a choir where everyone was welcome and only the director professed any knowledge of singing.
* A singing class where, after a term, I could accurately hit the top note in The Song From Phantom That Everyone Sings

Bad experience:
* The choir that introduced auditions after I joined (the director had ambitions). I was so self-conscious, and therefore bad, in that audition that although the director let me stay, I felt it was wiser to leave anyway.

At this point, I get so knotted up about singing, even in church, that I've pretty well given up doing it in any context where I'm individually audible. There are so many means of self-expression that don't have land mines around them that this one doesn't seem worth pursuing.

Meh.

#536 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 05:34 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 534 ...
These are both irregardless of pitch, of course; one can also train oneself to speak at a different default pitch range. In fact, mostly, we all have -- Americans tend to drop our voices by at least a third in middle school, even the girls, and AFTER testosterone's effects in the case of boys.

Huh. Any chance you've got some references/reading around doing weird things with tonality and pitch ranges?

I'm still trying to find a middle ground between "the people beside me can hear me" and "the auditorium can hear me" ...

#537 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 05:55 PM:

abi @ 535... There are so many means of self-expression that don't have land mines around them that this one doesn't seem worth pursuing

I see.
You're one of those incredibly multitalented people I keep hearing about who feel that they failed because of that one thing that didn't work out.
:-)

#538 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 05:57 PM:

Elliot Mason #534:

Sometimes it's not the teachers, but the kids, as witness the girl in front of me when I discovered head voice in the third grade. "Miz Paver, she's singing *funny*".

#539 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 06:17 PM:

Weirdly, I can sing, but I can't shout*. I sometimes want to go out in the middle of nowhere and figure out how to scream just in case I ever need it. I'm not sure I can make it automatic.

*insert the translations you've given here. At a picnic for varsity choir my senior year, I tried to yell to people across a field. "Sing at them," one of the guys said, and everyone laughed.

I'm interested to try the larynx hacks. I have known several guys who forced their voices lower in middle school; it's a weirdly characteristic sound.

#540 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 06:18 PM:

Elliot Mason @534: One of those teachers is a significant factor in why I play flute rather than violin, having had lessons in both. (More accurately, played, since the RSI has done for playing anything that requires holding up weight.) If you're playing a wind instrument, nobody's going to expect you to sing as part of a group, and then snarl at you to shut up if you can't keep in correct pitch.

#541 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 07:09 PM:

I got told not to sing in grade school, and it stuck with me. I'm sure I mentioned here my story about morris dancing -- I'd also been told I couldn't play a musical instrument (or draw, but that's another story) and it wasn't until a year into dancing that someone pointed out that the bells on our ankles were musical instruments. I consciously had to decide whether I'd continue to believe I couldn't play an instrument (and therefore had to stop dancing) or that I was reasonable at dancing and so could learn to play an instrument. I decided the latter (and later decided that it wasn't worth the amount of practice time it would take to become good at one, but that's an entirely different class of decision).

What's odd about this is that the decision was very clearly conscious. I still mostly don't think I can sing, but I enjoy doing it when I do. And I'm very good at remembering lyrics....

#542 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 07:24 PM:

I never believe anyone who tells me they "can't sing." It's hard, because I want to respect them, but I have yet to find a case where they mean something other than that they were told they can't sing and/or not to.

West African proverb: If you can walk, you can dance; if you can talk, you can sing. (Of course, most West African languages are tone languages, and that may affect their perspective...)

Whenever I sang in the house I grew up in, I was yelled at to stop. "Stop singing! That sounds awful!" My siblings read Asterix the Gaul and compared me to Cacophonix the bard. It was one of their ways of abusing me.

I guess that's part of the reason I'm not telling them about my tongue cancer. My fears about not being able to sing anymore aren't a thing I can share with them.

#543 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 07:57 PM:

My mother taught music--guitar, ukelele, and recorder--to elementary school students for a number of years. She was surprised to discover that some of her students couldn't sing. That is, they couldn't hold a pitch, or reproduce one back, or produce a recognizable tune. She had to work with them extensively so that they could. (The recorder students didn't need to, but the guitar/ukelele students sang as well as playing.) By the end of a year's classes, all of them learned the basics.

She came to the conclusion that singing is, in fact, a learned skill. Most people pick up the basics in early childhood, more or less by osmosis, but not everyone does.

#544 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 08:07 PM:

xeger @536: Writing about vocal production isn't quite dancing about architecture, but I have yet to find a book that really jibes with what I know to be true and possible. They may exist; I'd love to read one if anyone else knows one. Some of this guy's website sounds accurate, and some of it sounds like I don't have the real-world experiences to tie into the words he's using, so it comes off gibberishy. Note: he is also (quite rightly) distinguishing between 'lyric' and 'dramatic' voices (lyric soprano, dramatic soprano, etc), which is also important. What 'soprano' or 'tenor' or whatever means, in terms of the notes the composer expects you to definitely be able to hit, varies wildly depending on the type of music. Andrew Lloyd Webber writes solely for operatic voices, so some of his songs are EXTREMELY CHALLENGING for mortal humans to sing. Sondheim is better, but writes for trained dramatic voices; the range within each single part is not so inhumanly wide as Lloyd Webber's, but still wider than most casual singers can manage.

Because it's such a *physical* skill, it's mostly passed on in an apprenticeship manner: one living teacher to one living student (sometimes groups of students). Because of this, you get techniques, sayings, and metaphors that run down a lineage from teacher to student.

I've got a very diverse set of vocal teachers in my past, and every time I get a new one they show me all kinds of things I didn't know about, because their frames are different.

My most recent vocal instructor was particularly interesting; she comes from High Opera training (she is, and was once professionally, a coloratura). She had a whole lot of angles on things I'd never thought of, that are probably Common Knowledge among the operatically-trained end of the vocal-instruction knowledge pool. For example, she split us into vocal parts not by existing range limitations, but by *vocal color*, something I'm not certain I could explain but that was obvious to me once she pointed it out and used us as examples. I have a pale, pale whitish voice; the only ones paler are highly-trained boy sopranos, with their unearthly glass-bell timbre. James Earl Jones is a deep fuzzy brown voice. One of the girls in Professora T's class distinctly had a pink voice; another was orange.

In any case, the reason she sorted us by color was because voices blend (and sound like a single voice) better when they all have the same color. In her view, "Range can be trained, timbre is for life." Which is interesting, because there's another guy out there who feels that timbre is endlessly variable; his students can do some really amazing things with their voices, to the point that they don't sound like choral voices anymore at all. Beatboxers, for example, can do similar things, or the guy who was so famous in the 80s for doing sound effects (he was in the Police Academy movies, etc).

Mind, all of grade school was the same one, and she had some, ah, peculiar ideas,☂ that I learned bone-deep along with the solid fundamentals of breath control and pitch and so on. Some of the weird stuff I found myself motivated to unlearn (and relearn differently) due to filk -- I had to learn to STOP using My Choir Vowels, for example, because it sounds really, really stupid to be performing blues and torch songs with Choir Vowels on.

I might set up a camera and do a video for YouTube (on Monday, maybe) demonstrating some of this, though I'd have to plan out what I want to show and in what order. :-> I have a little party trick I do when teaching basic vocal production workshops where I sing the same song (usually Itsy Bitsy Spider, because everyone knows it and it's tonally useful) with a bunch of different techniques, from the 'I have no training' voice on out to full-on Choir Vowels, with several variants between. I suppose I could also pick a text to recite holding my larynx different ways and speaking at different pitches ... suggestions solicited.


--
☂ Like, "vibrato is the sign of a lazy voice." Or training us all to such rigid ideas of pitch I literally couldn't slide between notes until a decade and lots of practice later.

#545 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 08:16 PM:

I can only sing in groups. On my own (even with music), I don't stay on key. But in a group, I'm fine.

#546 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 08:36 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 544 ...
xeger @536: Writing about vocal production isn't quite dancing about architecture, but I have yet to find a book that really jibes with what I know to be true and possible. They may exist; I'd love to read one if anyone else knows one. Some of this guy's website sounds accurate, and some of it sounds like I don't have the real-world experiences to tie into the words he's using, so it comes off gibberishy.

Hrm. I think I'm going to have to try some of his test bits, and see if his writing makes more sense.

Note: he is also (quite rightly) distinguishing between 'lyric' and 'dramatic' voices (lyric soprano, dramatic soprano, etc), which is also important. What 'soprano' or 'tenor' or whatever means, in terms of the notes the composer expects you to definitely be able to hit, varies wildly depending on the type of music. Andrew Lloyd Webber writes solely for operatic voices, so some of his songs are EXTREMELY CHALLENGING for mortal humans to sing. Sondheim is better, but writes for trained dramatic voices; the range within each single part is not so inhumanly wide as Lloyd Webber's, but still wider than most casual singers can manage.

Huh. I'm direly out of practice now, but I don't recall ALW being that hard to sing. OTOH, I'd been singing in the choir since I was old enough to declare that Sunday School was stupid, and I didn't want to go.

My most recent vocal instructor was particularly interesting; she comes from High Opera training (she is, and was once professionally, a coloratura). She had a whole lot of angles on things I'd never thought of, that are probably Common Knowledge among the operatically-trained end of the vocal-instruction knowledge pool. For example, she split us into vocal parts not by existing range limitations, but by *vocal color*, something I'm not certain I could explain but that was obvious to me once she pointed it out and used us as examples. I have a pale, pale whitish voice; the only ones paler are highly-trained boy sopranos, with their unearthly glass-bell timbre. James Earl Jones is a deep fuzzy brown voice. One of the girls in Professora T's class distinctly had a pink voice; another was orange.

*sigh* I utterly envy that sort of pure, clear voice. Mine is, unfortunately fuzzy crimson or coffee syrup, or something like that :(

In any case, the reason she sorted us by color was because voices blend (and sound like a single voice) better when they all have the same color. In her view, "Range can be trained, timbre is for life." Which is interesting, because there's another guy out there who feels that timbre is endlessly variable; his students can do some really amazing things with their voices, to the point that they don't sound like choral voices anymore at all. Beatboxers, for example, can do similar things, or the guy who was so famous in the 80s for doing sound effects (he was in the Police Academy movies, etc).

That's interesting -- one of the things that I've always thought ensemble singing was good for is learning to sing in different styles/colours; a madrigal like the Silver Swan wants a much cooler/cleaner tone than something like a medley of 1920s songs like Charleston, which ends up being warm club neon, so to speak.

I had to learn to STOP using My Choir Vowels, for example, because it sounds really, really stupid to be performing blues and torch songs with Choir Vowels on.

You too? I don't often sing for fun with the full blown enunciation and vowels, but I've often thought that the trace of british accent folks think they hear in my voice comes from that training.

#547 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 08:38 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 534
I'll be at FilKONtario this upcoming weekend, and will mentally hold you in the light then, as it were. :-> You might consider looking into filkcons or cons with good filking nearer you; filkcircles can be a staggeringly supportive environment for getting into the habit of singing. I know the SLC people have an awesome con Memorial-Day-ish; Kathy Mar goes every year and praises it to the skies.

April 1st weekend... wonder if I can stop in for the day... If you'd be willing, it'd be neat to get a better grip on what you mean by the descriptions (and see if we're speaking about the same language *grin*)

#548 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 09:00 PM:

Xopher @542 - The music director at my parents' church differentiated between singing, which required staying on pitch, and "making a joyful noise". My father made lots of joyful noise.

#549 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 09:02 PM:

Jaque #491 - Beethoven recordings - I like my complete set by John Eliot Gardiner and the Orcchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, on original instruments. It has a certain rawness and life to it which I don't recall hearing elsewhere. It is also a fairly modern (1994 or so ) recording, so of decent quality. Of course my car stereo can't cope at all, it has to be played on my home system.
And no matter who plays it, the 9th symphony last movement always brings tears to my eyes.

#550 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 09:03 PM:

Xopher #542: Thanks for reminding me to be grateful for my family!

Not that I needed much reminder; My aunt was just taking me around town, helping with my errands, and she paid for my groceries, unasked. And have you seen what produce prices are like this week?

Cat status: appetite weakening, which gave me a scare. But still alert and responsive; not quite the drastic decline I was afraid of the first time she left food in the bowl.

#551 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 09:13 PM:

xeger @546 said, when I said my voice is paley-white: I utterly envy that sort of pure, clear voice. Mine is, unfortunately fuzzy crimson or coffee syrup, or something like that :(

I have a feeling that timbre is kind of like hair texture -- we all deeply envy whatever one we haven't got, and are sick of the one we have. :-> Personally, I detest mine, because there are some uses to which it is UTTERLY unsuited (singing lead in any vocal style that expects personality in a voice, for example); but it's very good for backup and blending.

Then, @547, xeger remarked in re FilKONtario: April 1st weekend... wonder if I can stop in for the day... If you'd be willing, it'd be neat to get a better grip on what you mean by the descriptions (and see if we're speaking about the same language *grin*)

I'd love to hang out. Actually, I'd love to with any local Fluorospherians who aren't interested in a filkcon -- there's a mall with Copious Food Options right across the street and walking distance from the hotel in Missisauga where it's held, so ideal for dinner runs with non-con people. I should be on-site from dinnerish Friday through past lunch Sunday; thereafter, I'll be in Toronto hanging out with my daughter's Canadian grandparents.

Xeger, I think you'd probably enjoy the con in general, if your budget stretches to a day badge; if not, I'm more than happy to hang out in the lobby with you for a while and show off my Stupid Choir Tricks. I think you'd really like the vocal warmup/harmonic-finger-counting that my spouse calls "Singing telephone numbers". :->

#552 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 10:16 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 551... show off my Stupid Choir Tricks

I take it that they are an achoired taste.

#553 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 10:18 PM:

HLN: one of the kittens is currently softening up my arm with a little kneading.

Re Beethoven, I like Missa Solemnis, I've got a few recordings, but the one I enjoy most is a Bohm/Vienna philharmonic version. Its interesting to hear the difference in pacing between that and some of the others.

#554 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 10:29 PM:

Hyper-local followup news: Couple visits PhD program, is greeted with shouts of delight at husband's Superman symbol wristband, spends the day in the company of kind, friendly students and professors who clearly love their lives, browses a mind-bendingly large independent bookstore, eats wonderful sushi. Program head promises to do everything in his power to help wife become adjunct faculty.

Looks like Mr. JM will be going there (and asking Professor Awesome if she'll serve on his committee at a distance). Whew!

#555 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 10:29 PM:

Elliott @534: Because 'you can't sing' is always a statement with null meaning. What, in my experience, do they USUALLY mean? "You'll be too much work for me to get up to the performance standard I prefer in my choir."

I suspect it's often "I have zero idea how to *explain* what I do or what I think you should do."

I have met so very many adults with perfectly reasonable, serviceable untrained voices who have a massive complex about even trying anything ever

I love to sing. I don't do it where anyone can hear me. I have sat through filk circles with something prepared, and then my blood runs cold and I can't do it. (Some of this is a repetoire issue-- my best stuff is all traditional ballads, and if anything is too nerdy even for a roomful of fen...)

We didn't tell him "Don't sing," we chimed in to help hold him on pitch

People, I have heard Elliott do this. He can make anyone sound AWESOME. In harmony.

filkcircles can be a staggeringly supportive environment for getting into the habit of singing

Maybe what I need is somebody to kick me in the hindquarters and stop me chickening out. Would you be willing to provide this service, perhaps at DucKon?

#556 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 10:33 PM:

JM @554:
Yay! Sounds like you found not only some clarity, but also joy. Best wishes!

#557 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 10:56 PM:

This talk about singing reminds me of something I read when Asimov was still among us. A typo had made it into a contract of his so that it said he'd be paid upon his singing the contract. Which he did.

#558 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 11:04 PM:

Zelda @555: It would be my honor to wield my pointy elbows to help you get a turn. And provide you whatever support you need to be confident in performing it.

(OBBuffy: "Willow, Tara, get over there: she needs backup!")

I once designed, then didn't have the money to print, a bumper sticker intended mostly for use on guitar cases and similar. It said, "HARMONY SLUT / I sing anywhere, anytime, with anyone, for free."

#559 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 11:15 PM:

According to the Singers & Swing music channel, Benny Goodman came across his first clarinet at his synagogue.

#560 ::: caffeine ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 11:25 PM:

Elliott Mason @534: My particular situations seems to have been a few assholes combined with a lot of thoughtlessness. No one ever told me I couldn't sing or that I had a bad voice (or that I was good or bad at mallet percussion, my other high school musical activity). There was no feedback either way, which strikes me now as very strange, given that I was involved in middle school/high school/college chorus, band, a community percussion group, church choirs...

Surely somewhere along the line there was some encouragement from someone, but I don't remember it. When there's that sort of yawning feedback gap, it's easy to convince yourself that no one's telling you anything because they're too polite to break your heart. Earn a small voice scholarship? Well, they're really just trying to get students to enroll at their college, and not many people auditioned. And so on.

What you're saying about "you can't sing" is really interesting, though. I had no idea that people without an inborn sure sense of pitch could attain it.

#561 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 11:45 PM:

caffeine @560: IMHO, there's two major aspects to learning to sing -- the hardware, and the software. The hardware has a certain amount of inbuilt features, but is mooooostly muscles. And what can we do with muscles? Exercise them, for strength and agility!

The software -- the mental tricks -- can also be trained, albeit with different effort. Singing a confident lead line involves at *least*:

a) being able to hear in your head the pitches you want to hit
b) having enough practice and surety with your instrument to be able to sing those pitches from muscle memory (you know how it feels to sing that)
c) solid breath control to sustain your tones so they stay on-pitch and are loud enough to hear well
d) sufficient mental noise-reduction to ignore anything else going on around you that might throw you off your pitch (like the person standing next to you singing the other harmony line, or someone vacuuming down the hall) and stick to the stuff you meant to sing
... etc.

So you can see how each of those is separately exercisable, and indeed how being poor at one of them but not knowing they're separate tasks might mess one up.

When it comes to training one's voice, a lot depends on the combination of how easy you find it to do initially and how hard you're willing to work to improve. People who are exposed to a lot of participatory music as small children tend to improve their software thereby without realizing they were putting in any effort (and therefore seem more of 'a natural' when they try later in life). However, with effort and exercise, a basic competency is IMHO achievable by almost anyone. Where in this case I define basic competency as being able to stand up in front of a group and serviceably sing, with accompaniment, the melody line of a song very familiar to you that is comfortably within whatever range you own. Karaoke, for example.

Now, for some people that'll take two half-hour sessions and for others months of effort, but it IS within anyone's range. Singing in groups (a different skill!), singing harmonies, holding a part against other people singing with you, and doing more virtuousic gymnastics are more complicated, and some may definitely be too much work for certain individual singers to feel they want to bother acquiring.

Naturally there are a seriously small number of people who CAN grow up to be Maria Callas, or John Barrowman, or Julie Andrews: some of the 'voice' is inborn. But I can guarantee you that all those people (and everyone else you've ever heard making their living with their voice) ALSO put in hours, months, years, and decades into honing their instrument and exercising their hardware and software! Work matters. When you're not talking singing-lead-on-Broadway levels of skill, work matters more than innate factors, IMHO, when it comes to singing.

#562 ::: caffeine ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 11:46 PM:

Jacque @503, Sher's Wishcraft is sitting in my ebook reader. Sounds like I really need to get around to reading it.

The correct way to respond to your kid if zhe has an ambition like this is what Robin Williams quotes his father as saying: "Just make sure you have a back-up profession, like welding."

Without going too deeply into dysfunctional-families-thread territory.... This is so far outside my experience I can't even fathom it.

One of the reasons I called up that voice teacher was a phone call with my mother. An old high school friend's name came up, and I mentioned having been in chorus with her. My mother asked, "Oh, do you think you'll ever get back into that again?" I replied, "Nah, I'm not good enough to perform and I don't want to teach, so there's no point."

That same week I found a teacher to tell me whether I really was any good, or whether all those people who could have encouraged me were just being polite and not telling me I sucked. And the joy and the freedom and the power of soaring up and up and having a professional singer be genuinely, honestly impressed was just indescribable.

#563 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2011, 11:53 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 544 ...
Some of this guy's website sounds accurate, and some of it sounds like I don't have the real-world experiences to tie into the words he's using, so it comes off gibberishy.

For once, a useful wikipedia reference on Fach[0] is helping the gibberish to turn into something understandable!

[0] Reading through that page and misparsing Urban Dictionary Caution: fap for fach (even through I _know_ it wasn't fap...) ... let's just say that it changes the tone of things.

#564 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 12:09 AM:

I've been told a few times that I shouldn't sing, and while it was never by an authority figure or at an impressionable age, it does get in amongst one, especially given that it's quite true that I'm not very good in a technical sense.

My strategy for getting past this, for whatever it may be worth, has been to remember that there are lots of limited singers that I Iike, and that other people like, and there's no singer that everybody likes, not even June Tabor. I find that if I sing like I mean it, some people will respond positively even if I don't hit all the notes. The ones that don't? They'll survive.

I also try to remember to stay within my range when possible, and I know a few palliative studio tricks for recording.

#565 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 12:11 AM:

Xopher @510: Various people, about singing: I'm told that after my tongue surgery I will need speech therapy. You should see the doctors' faces fall when I tell them I'm a singer. I've stopped mentioning it.

Heh. Mention it. Then, when their faces fall, direct them to this video.

I should still have my breath and pitch control, which means I don't have to give up singing, do you hear me?

And after you've watched/listened to the above video, go have a look at this one.

(I love TED almost as much as I love ML.)

(And no, I don't want to be told different)

If anybody does, just refer them to me. They obviously need an additional outlet orifice for fecal matter. ::toothy grin::

#566 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 12:29 AM:

diatryma @539: if you drive alone, try practicing screaming in the car. no one else will hear you, especially on the highway, and it's also good for spiking your adrenaline on long soporific drives.

i have dreams about not being able to speak above a whisper in situations where i'm angry or in danger, so it seemed like a good idea to practice screaming, if only just to convince my subconscious that it's possible.

#567 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 12:30 AM:

Hyper Local News:

Spouse of local area man has six-month post-radiation mammogram; the result is completely negative and the appointment takes less than hour (the appointment that resulted in the original diagnosis took 4 hours, including 2 ultrasounds and a CAT scan). There is much celebrating in Mudville.

#568 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 12:53 AM:

xopher @ 542 - i have known two people who just can't sing. Once, i was with you, that it was a matter of teaching. But friend A can't carry a tune in a bucket, after 20 odd years of practice. Filk sings with him are actively painful, because his voice goes up and down in tone with no relationship to the tune everyone else is singing. He sings happily, mostly unaware that he's causing others pain/causing others to stumble, becuase he is also one of the kindest people I have ever met. If someone told him how much of a problem it was, he'd probably stop...and that would place him outside the community that he has helped to build. Friend B was a singer until his voice change, then just let singing slide from his life. Then the navy managed to ruin him for further exploration - electronics and communications, frequently doing QA. They simultaneously trained his ear for radios and equipment and damaged his voice in shouting over the noise. If something is not spot-on pitch (440.5 is enough), he says it's like nails on chalkboard. The church organ in the winter is so bad that he goes to the spoken-only service. He has a trained absolute and perfect pitch, and he says that he doesn't want to go through retraining his voice to match what the sound should be in his head, and he never learned to sing with the voice he now has (gravelly bari-bass, with about a 5 note range).

They are exceptions to the rules, not the exemplars.

#569 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 01:00 AM:

re voice: I have a mixed opinion of mine. I sang in the choir in my freshman year of high school (it's where they put me, I wanted the orchestra, I was a cellist. My high school didn't have one, Orchestra, Chorus... they sound alike, they must be similar, or something).

I was always struggling with trying to avoid being a bit flat. When Steed (the director) asked me to ID intervals, I could spot the distances, and I could move, accurately through tonal exercises (1,3,5,3,1; etc), but I tended to be a bit flat.

In previous choral experiences I'd always felt a bit, "not quite", but there was no direction.

Then I moved schools, no orchestra, no choir. Musical theater. My voice did not change swiftly. I was never cast in anything but a choral role.

These days, I am willing to sing in groups, and I will sing with people I am comfortable with. I get mixed comment. I am not sure what to make of it. Some people tell me I can't sing (not that they make a comparison to Florence Foster Jenkins, though I do sing), but others tell me I have a serviceable voice, if not brilliant.

I have only met one person who could not sing at all. I don't know what it was. He had a wide, and eclectic, taste in music. Was a clerk in an indie music/video shop; before he went to cooking school.

But when he tried to sing... The only way I can describe it is an atonal buzz; a black hole of sound. It was devastating. It could knock a choir out of pitch.

#570 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 01:24 AM:

Bruce Cohen #567: Congratulations! That's wonderful news!

#571 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 01:37 AM:

Sisuile @568.

My aunt, who taught primary-school music in northern England for thirty or so years, thinks that any child who isn't actually deaf can learn to sing in tune. She does concede that it may be too late for some adults.

#572 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 01:45 AM:

In re. growing up around singing: I thought those jokes about Catholics not being able to sing were old hat. Then I did some work with the other parishes in my area. Turns out that my church was quietly notorious amongst the local congregations for singing along.

At one of those churches, it was like singing into a black hole. Not only was the congregation silent, they didn't even look at the choir. Very disconcerting. No pun intended.

At any rate, that's how I learned to sing and read music, and that's why some of my mass parts are odd hybrids of various harmony lines. Catholics only get the melody line in the hymnals.

On the subject of timbre, I have a party trick where I can sing "With Catlike Tread" from Pirates of Penzance as an alto, then turn around and sing it in the exact same key as a tenor. It's very much about opening up the resonance chamber and going full speed ahead. (I'd offer to do a video, but we're heading into tech week for Iolanthe and I've already got too much on my plate right now.)

If you put middle C as C4, my range is roughly A2 to G5. That's just humming on a dry throat, and I won't guarantee the quality of the notes at either end. But it certainly explains why I can get away with some tenor work.

#573 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 01:51 AM:

Wrt Speedtalk: anybody remember the old Jim Henson film Timepiece? In particular, I'm thinking of the vignette that starts out with the secretary asking the client for his address, phone number, social, and quickly devolves into a conversation consisting of nothing but numbers. (Which of course brings to mind the immortal prison joke which someone accused us (in a nice way) of doing here.) (Which in turn brings to mind the ST:TNG episode "Darmok."

(Are there drugs that cause this kind of associational thing? Did somebody slip me something in my tea?)

Tim Walters @523: I would recommend whatever reasonably major work your local symphony is playing next. Classical music (especially orchestral music) is much better live than on disc.

Oh. What a concept. Thank you. Gimme an excuse to dress up, too.

Ninth Symphony

Is that the "Evening News" one? (Showing my age, here.)

heresiarch @524: I'm with you on most of those, except for me, "omg" is pronounced like your "zomg" without the z. And a not-sound at the end that might be rendered as an apostrophe.*

btw = "bitwee," except the i is almost unvoiced.

In-my-head pronunciations, I notice, are not constrained by breath management. Interesting. Hadn't noticed that before.

IMHO = "im-hoe" with the i as in "if." **

"fry-end" when I'm writing "friend"

"guinea" become "gooey knee-ah."

--

* There's a language in my Mary Sue universe that I didn't invent. I don't know very many words in it, but the ones I know, I know. And I know I didn't invent them, because they use phonemes that are not in the native English set, some of which I can only hear in my head, not reproduce out loud.

There's one word in particular which doesn't have a direct (or even really indirect) English counterpart, that comes to mind whenever there's a big disaster in the news. The discussion of the innate human cooperativeness and altruism that disasters provoke that's going on over in the Japan thread comes close to alluding to the concept.

The word is "yadhahirira" (with the "dh" being a soft d that's almost a "th" sound, and the Rs being rolled in the Scottish fashion; emphasis is on the third syllable). The best translation I can come up with (in the way that "grok" translates to "eat") is "fierce joy." It's the welling up of love and resillient energy and connectedness that really bad things can provoke in a person. Not dissimilar to the "comraderie" of battle, I suspect.

** Hey, copyeditors: what's the proper sequencing of period and end-quote, in cases like this?

Joseph M. @526: Sadly, most of my classical music is Russian (Rachmaninoff and Dvorak). Maybe less useful for you...

I am, by no means, opposed to the Russians. Rimsky Korsakov. Tchaikovsky....

Not familiar with Dvorak. Though your association above suggests maybe I ought to be.

[discerning quality of performance]

Say, maybe I should see what the library has on offer. Now there's a concept....

Elliott Mason @534: the mainstream voice-training world seems really wrapped up in treating it like some mystical inborn superpower,

This is true for drawing, too. Offends me. Drawing used to be taught alongside math, reading, and writing as Just Another Thinking/Communication Skill.

But I'm puzzled as to why people are so resistant when I try to challenge that idea. Some of it is disinterest in making the time/effort investment. But there are people who get a wistful look in their eye when they talk about wanting to draw who just can't be convinced to have a go. Shame-trauma, maybe?

[trans voice training]

::jaw bounces off floor:: I'm going to go think about this awhile. ::wanders off glassey-eyed:: "New toy. New toy."

I'll be at FilKONtario this upcoming weekend, and will mentally hold you in the light then, as it were. :->

Waw. Thank you!! And your filk-con recommendation reminds me that Kathleen Sloan is local to me. (She's married to a former coworker of mine...whom I need to prod into a lunch date.) But: no! NO!! I'm already horrendously overbooked. I do not need a new hobby, no matter how wonderlicious it might be! Really! (But it would be so shiny....)

:-)

Speaking of field heralding in the SCA ... :->

...or at the photo line-up backstage of a Worldcon masquerade. Which is when I figured out that, while I have power, I still have much to learn wrt skill. Took two days for my voice to come back.

abi @535: :-( Bad director. Bad director.

xeger @536: I'm still trying to find a middle ground between "the people beside me can hear me" and "the auditorium can hear me" ...

And then there's accoustics. When I'm sitting up front in our lobby at work, Mary has a really hard time hearing me, and I have to really speak up for her to understand me. Contrariwise, when I'm back in my cube, about ten feet further away and with two or three intervening cube walls, I can just speak up at the ceiling in a low voice (as if I'm on a good phone in a quiet room), and she can hear me quite plainly. It's the damnest thing. Heaviside layer thing, or something.

Xopher @542: My mother couldn't sing. Painfully. But, looking back, I realize that it's because she didn't listen. In more ways than one.

I guess that's part of the reason I'm not telling them about my tongue cancer. My fears about not being able to sing anymore aren't a thing I can share with them.

Wow. Sounds like this situation is bringing up a lot of Stuff for you. {{{hugs}}}

'Minds me of Patrick Swayze talking about nearly losing his leg to a football injury. He'd succumbed to peer pressure and given up dancing. The crisis caused him to decide that he was never going to let other people's opinions make him give up something he loved.

Elliott Mason @544: I'm looking forward to your video, too.

#574 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 02:13 AM:

Jacque: If you mean Simon and Garfunkel's, "Seven O'Clock News" the background music was Silent Night.

I'd commend Bernstein's talk about the 5th, and then listening to it.

I happen to like the 2nd too, as well as the Ninth. A good choral version is also the quirky, "An de Freiheit" conducted by Bernstein at the Berlin Wall.

#575 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 02:19 AM:

Jacque @573

Since we're discussing internet neologisms and 'Darmok...'

There was a thread a while back on Ars Technica where someone had taken some of the classic 'FAIL' macros and replaced the text with "SHAKA, WHEN THE WALLS FELL"

Made the whole thing a lot funnier, at least to me.

On drawing: I cannot draw, but I can draft. Not, y'know, well. But I can. Not just top-down and front/side elevations, either, I can do the isometric stuff as long as it's clear in my head that this is not a drawing, it is a plan view. Just a weird hang-up in my head, I guess.

#576 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 02:24 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 567: That's fantastic!

HLN: Area woman gets out ladder and spends considerable time pruning and tidying four clematis vines. Glow of accomplishment rather dimmed by knowledge that she should have been cleaning out the basement in preparation for work on its floor. "But the sun was out," she whined.

#577 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 03:08 AM:

Elliott @558:
That sounds like the beginnings of a plan. Greatly appreciated.

B. Durbin @572:
I grew up in the United Methodist Church, where the Eleventh Commandment is held to be, "Thou shalt sing." No rite is recognized by God unless there are at least three congregational hymns sung in the process. Y'know the joke that goes, "If you get ten [denomination]ists together, they'll [activity]"? The Methodist version is, "they'll hold a hymn-sing." And when I fake harmonies, I expect they all come out sounding like alto parts by Charles Wesley.

#578 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 03:33 AM:

Joseph M. @526: minor pedantry, but Dvořák is (was?) Czech (or Bohemian if you prefer). My favorite Romantic, though.

Devin @575: I can and do sing. But if anyone calls it "practice", the ability and the will both leave me. It's awkward, but I'm working around it.

Elliott: I'd love to see that video.

HLN: Area resident combs basement for software, known to be on CD/DVD. Fails to find same, but discovers a shipping box full of mostly-undigitized music CDs from his last move, two-plus years ago. Distraction or serendipity? You decide.

#579 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 03:34 AM:

#482 ::: Jacque

Jumping back a bit, the sweet spot is about recruiting new fans, but what you're talking about is increasing public awareness and acceptance. I mean -- Star Wars, Buffy, and LoTR brought some huge visibility, as did Harry Potter and Twilight. And whether people get into any of those trends or not, they generally by now know a few enthusiasts personally, or at least people who "checked it out, and it wasn't too bad, but it wasn't really their thing." When the press is talking about how "teens everywhere" or "even lots of adults" are into a thing, it becomes harder to dismiss it as "Oh, that's just Dude, he's a freak."

I also note that deliberate attempts to squick the mundanes have been pretty widely culturally accepted as boorish, at least in the circles I run in. I'd argue that a fair number of us have been quietly raising awareness under the radar for years, one conversation at a time, in the deliberate interest of mainstreaming our respective hobbies. I can't see any reason why gaming should be different from bunco or golfing, and when I handle it as a casual conversation, neither can the people I'm talking to.

(I'm not under 30, nor is my husband. My aunt, who was at least 20 years older than me, showed many of the same qualities, while still being kind, quiet, and well-loved, having lots of friends, and living an otherwise very mainstream life.)

#580 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 07:27 AM:

JM @554, so glad a visit produced clarity for Mr. JM.

Bruce Cohen @567, great news.

#581 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 08:12 AM:

Bruce Cohen, Hooray!!!

Re singing: my father, who taught choir (middle school, high school and college) for over 30 years, found in that time only one person whom he could not teach to match pitch. During the middle/high school portion of his career, choir was COMPULSORY for all 8th graders. (Recruitment was so good in the subsequent years that the school had 5 choirs going simultaneously. The year after he left that job, 1/3 of the All-State Chorus were students of his, either from the school he'd just left or the school he'd just moved to.)

So yeah. I regard both singing and drawing as skills that can be taught to pretty much anyone who doesn't have a severe disability (and even then--Evelyn Glennie!) and who wants to learn.

#582 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 08:14 AM:

Jacque @ 471 et seqq.

Imho (pr. , as you say, as im-hoe), the 'w' in wrt and pwned shd be pronounced the same way as in the word 'cwm' (and the Welsh place name 'Cwmbran') - namely as an 'oo'.

I tend to avoid reading aloud posts on legal matters, since its very tempting thing to vocalise 'IANAL' as written.

I'm also wondering about preferred pronunciations of www: variations I've heard are 'dubdubdub' from a computer scientist; 'woofwoofwoof' from my bellesoeur; and 'Wah!Wah!Wah!' from goodness knows where.

#583 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 10:11 AM:

praisegod barebones (582): I tend to vocalize 'www' as 'dubya-dubya-dubya', with the 'ya' almost-but-not-quite swallowed.

#584 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 10:38 AM:

Jacque - the opening for the Huntley-Brinkley Report was, indeed, the second movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

#585 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 10:49 AM:

#459 JM

Has Seth Breidbart chimed in? His doctorate's from Yale, but he did most of his doctoral study out at University of California at Santa Barbara I think it was, where his thesis advisor had moved to.... When his thesis advisor moved, he [hysically did, to, even though he was still a Yale student, and Yale granted him the degree.

#586 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 10:51 AM:

Jacque @573 said: ...or at the photo line-up backstage of a Worldcon masquerade. Which is when I figured out that, while I have power, I still have much to learn wrt skill. Took two days for my voice to come back.

There are (at least) two ways to get volume: pushing with your diaphragm, and straining your throat. Most people only ever learn the latter (unless they get vocal training of some kind). Infants do the former, which is why yelling ffor hours doesn't make them hoarse. Learning to push with your diaphragm when you want extra vocal oomph is an athletic-practice thing, once you've isolated the right muscles.☂ Also, if you can learn to produce sound with a more relaxed throat, you get less hoarse.

We have a 'fundamental tone' -- a note that is what we'd be making if our throats were totally relaxed. It's usually higher than your speaking voice, but not always. If you put two fingers on the front of your voicebox and vocalize a vowel or a hum, then move the pitch up and down until you stop feeling your throat buzz under your fingers, you're close. Vocalizing near that pitch will make you less hoarse than other pitches, all else being equal.

Zelda @577 said: And when I fake harmonies, I expect they all come out sounding like alto parts by Charles Wesley.

We all have baked-in harmonies that our brains default to, usually related to what we listened to as children or to what we have sung most often. Certain 80s music imprinted me, for example. :-> Mostly of the "ZOMG I HAZ A SYNTH AND A DRUM MACHINE, I'M SO K-RAD!!" period, with a soupcon of Queen and the like. If I'm not thinking about doing something specific, I end up singing harmonies from the background singers of those sorts of works. This means that when I'm autopiloting against some really trad-ish stuff, I end up being in inappropriate minors until I correct.

--
☂ To find them, I have two excercises: "Doggy style" and "Feel your pants." :-> If you stick your tongue out and pant like you're pretending you're a hot, excited dog, do you feel what you're pushing with, down below? Diaphragm. Also, if you wear a pair of snug pants (or a belt), sit down on the edge of a chair with your knees apart and put your hands on the curve of your belly. Take a deep breath and let it out; feel what you're doing with both your kinesthetic sense and your hands. Now lean over as far as you can (torso horizontal, if you can) and do it again: your pants get very tight, and most of what you're breathing with is around the back of the underside of your ribcage. Those two sets of muscles (the ones you found while panting, and the ones you breathe with when you're jackknifed) are what trained singers use to 'support' their voices.

#587 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 11:01 AM:

And, it was in fact snowing when I got up at 7:30 or so. I'd guess at an inch, maybe two, before it shifted to rain (which is of course washing away the snow).

#588 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 11:26 AM:

#490 Diatryma

Blighted dreams, blighted dreams
In the dreamscape come the screams
Whipped and shackled and with aspirations shred,
Torn to pieces burned to ash
No more defense braced from brash
And surrounding people smash you flat and feed.

Feel them sneer at you and squeeze
To a mold fill in and freeze
To a rigid prison cell they kick you in
And the keys that fit the lock
They throw away and access block
And then laugh again and leave you locked behind.

Come the days the walls degrade
All the hopes and dreams have faded
And forgotten and long lost have gone the drive,
And the time that's passed and change
Lived on other paths and range
And old hopes and dreams how can one for them strive?

Looking back can't change what was
Alas, nothing ever does,
Going forward maybe something can be saved
But what's lost preys on one's mind
And the should-have-beens unkind
Can haunt and leave their echoes to the grave.

#589 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 11:27 AM:

May Aileen @ 584: Further research reveals that Wah!Wah!Wah! also comes from my sister-in-law. Correctly spelt - as 'oua oua oua' - it's the French for 'woof!woof!woof!).

#590 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 11:27 AM:

568
There's a now-identified condition called dysmusia, or amusia (I'm not sure they're the same thing), like dyslexia, but with music. (They've recently identified another form where a person literally has no sense of rhythm.)

#591 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 11:33 AM:

582
I wondered if I was the only one who hears it that way in my head. (And then the voice inside my head says 'But how else could you say it?')

#592 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 11:56 AM:

PJ Evans @ 590:

I seem to remember there's an Alistair Reynolds novel based on a fictional version of amusia (and possibly a footnote referring to something actual).

Eadem @ 591

Given your surname, I'm not sure whether you're referring to what I said about 'wrt' or about 'IANAL'.

#593 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 11:56 AM:

praisegod, 589: For some reason, I pronounce "www" in French as "double-v trois." Did I make that up, or is it how actual French people say it sometimes?

#594 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 11:58 AM:

#523 Tim
I intensely dislike Beethoven symphonies generally, they earworm me....

#542 Xopher

I had a business associate who was really and truly tonedeaf, originally from Sweden. He said he studied for his bar mitzvah by touching his throat to feel his vocal cords trying to match the audio recording for the small part of the service he actuall sang, as opposed to the parts he recited without singing.... So yes, there ARE people I believe when they say they can't sing. And then there is ---- -----, whose I have heard singing, and while he was cheerful, there was no concern about him being anywhere near ANY key....

#544 Elliott

The instant I read "Itsy Bitsy Spider" my interest waterfalled.... I've despised that song since the first time I ever heard it (at the age of 2 or something like that), as totally inane and stupid. Why would anything or anyone sane and with an iota of intelligence go/want to not only climb up a waterspout, but keep doing it after getting washed away in a flood? Surely there are more worthwhile, productive things to do that something that seems to have no worthwhile purpose, no sensible motivation, no UTILLITY, and that keeps getting one trashed!! STUPID! Why bother!

Years from my childhood someone said it's a song which teaches -persistence-. I still fail to comprehend--why persist in something which is meritless, stupid, counterproductive, and takes away time and effort from doing things which might be worthwhile??!!

Anyway, I have a lifelong gutlevel emotional aversion to that song...

There's got to be something that's not stupid and full of moralizinfg tripe that's easy etc....

#595 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 12:06 PM:

Jacque @ 573... Which worldcon masquerade was that?

#596 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 12:16 PM:

#555 Zelda

There are filk circles where people do traditional ballads--there's someone who comes to MASSFILC meetings with her harps and does traditional harp pieces, even.

#568 sissule

a) Has anyone ever played a recording back which has him in the chorus? Sometimes it's possible to train people using recordings for feedback (or with software on a computer with built-=in microphone?)

b) the Northeast Floating Filk Convention (it wanderd from northern Virginia to Massachusetts on a three year cyle) has as one of the guests usually, a Listener Guest of Honor, someone who's part of the filk community but who participation is more on the service side and as someone who in the circles is listening rather than being a music maker.

#597 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 12:41 PM:

592
pwned, actually. There ought to be a vowel in there between the p and the n, so....

#598 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 12:44 PM:

TexAnne @ 593

I've never heard it, but that doesn't speak much against its authenticity: most of my everyday French is spoken to persons under the age of 12.

(That said, I suspect that before long my daughter will be reading 'www' as 'sextuple ve':it's the kind of verbal humour she has a taste for.)

#599 ::: caffeine ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 01:05 PM:

If one knew nothing about filk but thought it sounded interesting, where would one start? Particularly if one happened to be in the DC metro area and not averse to congoing.

#600 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 01:19 PM:

Paula Lieberman, that is somewhat how I feel about the Hokey Pokey. When I was four or five, the story group at the library sang it and I realized I hated the song. I'm that way about most body-part songs.

I'd suggest "Frere Jacques" for simplicity, but that's because I really, really like it. There's one preschool room I've worked in that has a horrible naptime CD-- one song manages to be simultaneously religious, boring, and flat-- but I sing 'ding dang dong' along with the entire Frere Jacques song. I like rounds and fugues.

Everyone: this thread really makes me want to sing**. I wouldn't suggest karaoke as a can-sing goal, though-- the one time I've done it, it was horrible. I couldn't find the notes with a GPS and a dog. I think the structure of it made it more difficult, with my voice amplified over the accompaniment so really, what I could hear was my own singing and just enough background to screw me up. Also, perhaps I should not have taken the suggestion of "Killer Queen".

My mother is a music teacher-- band director, really, but her school district is small so she gets some amount of preschool and kindergarten. She likes the kindergartners much better. The first thing she teaches them, maybe second if she does the volume thing*, is to sing octaves above her. She had the lowest female voice her college voice teacher had ever heard, and that was twenty-five years of smoking ago.

*the volume thing: this is my whisper voice, this is my talking voice, this is my singing voice, this is my yelling voice. Mom believes in VOLUME. If she judges cheerleading auditions, all she wants is a good strong shout.

**not just because of the music, but because of the good news and the togetherness and... okay, Sharon Shinn's Archangel. That. It's the Gloria, and a book making a soprano solo the most badass act ever, and the feeling of singing together and making up harmony and meeting everyone. Singing matters to me.

Dvorak: New World Symphony.
NEW. WORLD. SYMPHONY.
I love it. I adore it. When a 3/4 classroom went to a concert and I heard a flute doing my favorite part to warm up, I turned to the kid next to me and said, "They're doing New World Symphony! It is my favorite!" and kind of bewildered her. Last night, the boy's roommate was playing it and singing along and now I have had it in my head for a while and NEW WORLD SYMPHONY.

I think I'd like Beethoven better if the 9th didn't have words. Same with Carol of the Bells. If it has world, I will hear them in my head, and that gets in the way.

#601 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 02:00 PM:

Zelda @ 577 - Yes! This! (though as an Episcopalian, I'm finding myself singing more Weslyan hymns than in the Methodist canon. But this morning proved to me yet again that the alto line of "come thou fount of every blessing" is so rooted in my back brain, I'll sing it even when the hymnal only prints the melody line.) It's back to what B. Durbin (I think!) said a couple of threads ago - that the soprano line is the melody, the bass line is the next most important note in the chord, and the alto and tenor lines can be dropped without ruining the harmonies...which means I can usually guess the appropriate harmony for church music, and improvise one in filk circles.

Paula @ 596 - 1) it would require that he care more than a little about the fact that he's substantially off-pitch to retrain (he knows he's not good, but I don't think he knows quite how *bad*) 2) it would also require someone saying something definitive, and he's such a cheerful and gracious soul that the thought of hurting his feelings is, well, repellent. So the community deals. It's like there is a giant disconnect between the music and what his ears hear - He thinks he is in relationship with the music, and he's just...not.

The other friend was a singer and knew how to match pitch...as a boy soprano. This whole bari-bass muscle/tone change thing and shouting amidst a hell of a lot of seawater seems to have done bad things to his voice, and he *needs* a true-pitched instrument. The voice just has way too much variation for him.

#602 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 02:57 PM:

Paula Lieberman @594 expressed a deep distaste for Itsy Bitsy Spider.

How do you feel about Row Row Row Your Boat? It's a little less melodically varied, but also suitable for the purpose. Or I'm open to suggestions. I could use any number of songs I know by heart, I was just trying to keep it to a fairly internationally well-known corpus (to remove the unfamiliar-with-the-song variable). I know Frere Jacques (as suggested by Diatryma @600), but my Canadian husband says my learned-phonetically French accent is so horrible I am not permitted to attempt to pronounce the language, and the English translation is drivellicious.

Ooh. Anyone object to "Let There Be Peace On Earth?" The second verse especially is quite good, and probably in-line with most Fluorospherians' beliefs.

Not that, at the moment, I have more than 7 notes or so of range (all at the bottom of my voice); I'm amidst the last stages of a horrible laryngitis-inducing cold that Will. Not. Die. SO probably no recording Monday, but maybe before I leave town for FKO. Or maybe after. :->

#603 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 03:00 PM:

TexAnne @ 593... I don't know for sure because the internet came along after I had left Quebec. I just wrote to my friend Elisabeth about that. Years ago, I asked her what the French equivalent for 'e-mail' would be. It seemed natural to me that it'd be something like 'é-missive', but the official term turned out to be the atrocious 'lettriel'. (That sound you hear is Molière spinning in his grave.)

#604 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 03:02 PM:

I have a foolish question: does anyone know what the shipping fees from Amazon Germany to the USA for a two-disk DVD set are? My favorite failed bad TV series of the 1960's was a local hit in Germany and they have released the entire run on DVD (in German and in English) there, which is unlikely to happen here because the original prints were lost when a storage locker burned in the 70's. If I'm reading Google's translation right it's only 11 Euros without shipping, which my wife said she'd triple if they'd destroy the thing. (She's heard me play the soundfile of the show's opener with Paul Frees intoning away in his fruitiest voice too many times, I guess.) I know it's PAL, but I can deal with that if necessary.

#605 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 03:12 PM:

Serge @ 603:

I haven't ever heard 'lettriel', but have heard 'courriel' (fr. courrier electronique). But I've heard 'Je t'enverrai un email' far more often.

The only time I've heard the 'world wide web' referred to as 'la toile mondiale' is on a visit to Montreal. When I told my wife and daughter, they automatically assumed I was pulling their leg.

#606 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 03:26 PM:

Elliott Mason #544: I have a little party trick I do when teaching basic vocal production workshops where I sing the same song (usually Itsy Bitsy Spider, because everyone knows it and it's tonally useful) with a bunch of different techniques,

I once heard the Pagan choir Mothertongue do that! Entertaining, but yeah, a party trick.

#607 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 03:33 PM:

David Harmon @606: It is somewhat useful when dealing with people who are intimidated about the idea of them singing, especially if they think they "sound bad" -- I can show them how a few athletic techniques can totally change the sound produced.

#608 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 03:35 PM:

guthrie @549: Thanks! That looks like a good lead!

David Harmon @550: Cat status

I prescribe extra luvvins. Even if not needed, any excuse is a good excuse, right?

Elliott Mason @551: I have a feeling that timbre is kind of like hair texture -- we all deeply envy whatever one we haven't got, and are sick of the one we have. :->

Je suis puzzled. ISTM (in my confessed ignorance) that there ought to be some plasticity to timbre. My first thought is to apply some of the tricks you describe for trans-voice adjustment to your singing voice, and see what you can come up with. You, obviously, know much more about this than I do, but I'm a hopeless Montessori Child, and a MacGyver besides. There has to be a way....

We need to meet in meat-space. ::sigh:: I'm not going to have a con budget for the forseeable future.... Rr.

show off my Stupid Choir Tricks. I think you'd really like the vocal warmup/harmonic-finger-counting that my spouse calls "Singing telephone numbers". :->

::stamps feet:: I wanna go! ::sulk::

eric @553: Beethoven, I like Missa Solemnis ... Bohm/Vienna philharmonic version

Oo! Thank you. Added to the shopping list.

I just realized why I'm inclined to exercise some caution in my explorations: The First version you hear is the Right version.

And my experience with Bolero demonstrates vividly that this can Be An Issue.

JM @554: Wow! Cake and eating! Congratulations!

Zelda @555: People, I have heard Elliott do this. He can make anyone sound AWESOME. In harmony.

::chin starts to quiver:: I wanna GO. ::scowl::

I am also, tangentially, having a fun frission with the pronoun here. Elliott, in my brain, is in that cusp right between genders where either pronoun is both right and doesn't fit. Looking at his photo, pleases me in the same way. I can see either male or female, depending on which mental filters I apply. Altogether, quite lovely.

I hope this is okay, Elliott. I understand that you self-identify as male, but your references to female experience suggest you do not abhor that side of yourself?

Elliott Mason @558: "HARMONY SLUT / I sing anywhere, anytime, with anyone, for free."

Hee hee! Would it be sufficient to print it to uncut 8.5x11 label stock and then trim it? Then you could get one for the price of a box of stock and the copy...?

Harmony is something I'd love to learn how to do. "Freehanding" music—would singing/playing by ear be the musical equivalent to freehand drawing?—is something I didn't get any training in when I was taking piano lessons. As a consequence, I find participatory music to be terribly frustrating if I don't already know the songs. And somewhat unsatisfying, even if I do.

... which suggests a rather specific line of attack ...

Ghoddammit. I do NOT need another hobby.

::plants chin on palm:: ::scowls darkly at nothing in particular::

caffeine 560: yawning feedback gap

When you're doing wild animal training (or any animal training), the way you suppress a behavior is to fail utterly to resond to it.

Elliott Mason @561: ::plants self down at feet:: ::wags tail happily:: I love process talk. Have I mentioned I'm a fan?

caffeine @562: Sher's Wishcraft is sitting in my ebook reader. Sounds like I really need to get around to reading it.

Verily! :-> The good news: if memory serves, it's a fun read, too.

And the joy and the freedom and the power of soaring up and up and having a professional singer be genuinely, honestly impressed was just indescribable.

::goosebumps:: Not often you get a flying dream while wide awake, eh? ::grinz::

I'm really happy for you!

Tim Walters @564: Now there's an attitude I like!

#609 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 03:38 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 602 ...
Ooh. Anyone object to "Let There Be Peace On Earth?" The second verse especially is quite good, and probably in-line with most Fluorospherians' beliefs.

Ughhhh. I detest that song. It's trite, banal, and only barely tolerable when one's singing about "Let there be peas on turf" ...

Not that, at the moment, I have more than 7 notes or so of range (all at the bottom of my voice); I'm amidst the last stages of a horrible laryngitis-inducing cold that Will. Not. Die. SO probably no recording Monday, but maybe before I leave town for FKO. Or maybe after. :->

This is one of the few times when my speaking voice seems to have recovered before my singing voice -- I used to be able to sing cleanly when my spoken voice sounded like I'd been inhaling smoke for decades.

#610 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 03:40 PM:

pgbb, 598: "sextuple vé" is what I'm calling it forevermore.

Serge, 603: I've never heard "lettriel," but "courriel" is common--which gives us "pourriel" for spam. Isn't that great? "Mél" (short for "messagerie électronique" is the official French word, but I don't know what they call spam.

#611 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 03:57 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @604 --

checking the amazon.de site shows me that they're charging €14 for shipping DVD's. Your 2-DVD set would fall within that fee. It takes 8-12 workdays. Faster (and more expensive) options are available.

http://www.amazon.de/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=504950#versandkosten

#612 ::: Joseph M. ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 03:58 PM:

VictorS @578: Thanks. I like his music, but have clearly misplaced his home.

Jacque @573: Re: Dvorak. Diatryma already suggested the New World Symphony. I also really like the Serenade for Strings in E major and the Czech Suite in D major.

If you watch a lot of movies, you'll see several places where John Williams borrowed motifs for his music.

#613 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 03:59 PM:

Jacque @608: So I'm kind of a living faces/vases cypher? :-> I can handle that. If you want more photos of me, there are some here, from 'before' and 'after' I came out to myself. I spent a lot of time overcompensating and desperately attempting to make myself visibly 'girly enough', so they make an interesting contrast. A lot of my trans-support-group friends can't see how anyone could ever have mistaken me for cisfemale (and in fact I regularly, at gender conferences, got read as going the other way but wearing drab that day, which I guess is sort of a compliment?), but out in the world, I get consistent ma'ams. Partly because of my high, pure, pale white soprano voice. Which is where some of my dissatisfaction with my specific timbre comes from, ye ken. :->

'My' Bolero version is the one Torvill & Dean used, though I don't know who the orchestra is.

In re learning to improvise harmony, one of the things I use when I'm teaching a workshop is a vacuum cleaner. Seriously. It gives a fairly steady tone, while not being intimidatingly musical.

Alternatively (and if Musical Things don't intimidate you -- I deal with a lot of phobic people giving basic voice production classes at filkcons), if you have a way to play a looped sequence of chord changes (or even single tones), that hold a single note/chord for several seconds, that can be very useful to work against.

Once you've got your tone generator, find something to sing and hold the note until it 'feels wrong'; if the first note you try 'feels wrong,' slide it up or down a little until it 'feels right'.

The quickest trick for sounding like you know what you're doing in circle is to watch the person with the guitar and (a) sing only one note per chord change, while (b) singing some note the guitar is making. For the longest time, this was the only way I could harmonize with Bill Roper, because he has this tendency to use minor-sevenths and suspended-ninths and other chords that make my instinctive harmonies sound like total ass. Remember: if the accompaniment is playing it, it won't clash with the melody line!

In instrumental music, the skillset you're calling 'freehanding' is called 'noodling,' and I can't do it with anything but my voice. I can accompany myself on guitar if (a) I have the chordsheet in front of me and (b) it works with the one lonely strum I can actually do on autopilot, but I can't noodle or play leadlines. This is why I call myself a solid mediocre guitarist.

You can also do a lot of practice singing along to your favorite recorded mainstream music. Heck, I learned a lot of my instincts by ghosting the backup singers. Annie Lennox tends to multitrack on all her own harmonies, singing effectively with herself in four to eight parts -- a harmony slut's orgasmic fantasy, let me tell you. :->

Singing close harmony with other people, as I get to do when Lady Mondegreen performs, is very like a waking flying dream for me.

#614 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 03:59 PM:

Bruce Cohen 567: diagnosis took 4 hours, including 2 ultrasounds and a CAT scan). There is much celebrating in Mudville.

Yaaayyy! This is the kind of news we like!

Terry Karney @574: Jacque: If you mean Simon and Garfunkel's, "Seven O'Clock News" the background music was Silent Night.

::shakes head to clear dizziness:: ::gets up from floor:: Yes, my age is definitely showing. No, I mean the (finally resorts to Google) closing theme music NBC used for their evening news broadcast. Yes, that was the 9th, according to Wikipedia. But, thinking about it, I don't think I've ever heard it all the way through.

re: Beethoven: Have added your recs to the list. Thanks!

Devin @575: classic 'FAIL' macros

I love it! (I love geek humor!)

If you can draft, you can definitely draw. Just a matter of practice (though it is a different head). ...And belief, of course. Oh, and desire. If you'd like encouragement, I can supply as much as needed. If not, I can shut up now.

#615 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 04:07 PM:

Paula, the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" may be one of those children's songs alluding to historical events or legends. In this particular case, to the legend of Robert the Bruce and the spider.

#616 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 04:26 PM:

Serge #603: I thought the Académie's word for email was 'courriel'. Suis-je wrong?

#617 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 04:28 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @604
I've recently been ordering things from them to try to improve my German and the three orders I've made all have €14 charges for shipping. Each package had two items (2 DVD sets (7 DVDs total), 1 DVD set (4 DVDs) and 1 CD, 1 DVD and 1 book), so the €14 may be a flat rate.

#618 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 04:29 PM:

praisegod barebones... TexAnne... At least I think she had said 'lettriel'. That was 15 years ago. It's also possible that 'lettriel' was supplanted by 'courriel' since then. As for 'spam' being translated as 'pourriel'... I love it! (For those who didn't get get the joke, 'pourri' means 'rotten'.)

#619 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 04:52 PM:

My (girl) cousins and I loved "Itsy Bitsy Spider." At my maternal grandmother's in summer -- well she had a water spout. And there were spiders. When a Gigmongous T-storm was in the offing it did seem that spiders would gather in larger numbers than usual climbing up their silk single-strands along the water spout.

After the storm passed and the sun returned we rushed (barefoot! yay!) to the spout to check on the spiders.

We also loved to dance the "Hokey Pokey," also in this same grandmother's yard.

Love, C.

#620 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 05:33 PM:

Computer resuscitation desperation query:

I have a machine given to us which now has a failing hard drive; to revive it I'm going to have to mount a new main drive (SATA; the old one is PCI) and reinstall from cold dead silicon. I have everything ready except for perhaps two problems. The biggest is that I'm not getting any video. This motherboard has no video support, and I have two video cards: a high end GeForce card with two DVI sockets, and a very basic Nvidia card with one DVI socket. Neither produces any signal no matter how they are installed. The second issue is that I don't hear any indication that it is trying to boot. Any ideas how I can attack this?

#621 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 05:38 PM:

Xopher @542: My father was incapable of carrying a tune in a bucket. But he always sang* "Happy Birthday" at the appropriate occasions, and other such things, with a twinkle in his eye which made up for all the off-key notes**.

OG @548: Exactly.

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers)@ 567: Great news!

HLN: Just when local woman had begun to give up hope, some signs of sprouting from where tomato seeds were sown.

* For a certain value of the word.
** If there were any correct notes, it was purely by accident.

#622 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 06:03 PM:

Uff-da.

HLN: Local woman completes major portion of guinea pig cage cleaning by Sunday Bedtime -6:30. Physicist detect resulting crack in Space-Time Continuum.

#623 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 06:25 PM:

#620: That sounds bad.

Try disconnecting EVERYTHING except the bare minimum of memory, power supply, a video card, and the keyboard.

Any boot action? Add things back in until it doesn't.

Still no luck?

Look at the motherboard's electrolytic capacitors. Cylinders with shiny metal tops, black or blue heat-shrunk jackets. If any have black or tan goo coming out, the motherboard is essentially toast. You'll need to move the drives to a new system.

#624 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 06:30 PM:

Continuing saga: Playing musical video cards got me video, but now the machine refuses to boot off the CD-ROM. It knows the drive is there, and it tries to read the disk, but it won't boot off of any disk put in there. Is it possible that the problem is that there is nothing in the master slot on this chain?

#625 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 06:37 PM:

#624 ::: C. Wingate @ 624 ...
Continuing saga: Playing musical video cards got me video, but now the machine refuses to boot off the CD-ROM. It knows the drive is there, and it tries to read the disk, but it won't boot off of any disk put in there. Is it possible that the problem is that there is nothing in the master slot on this chain?

It may be something simpler -- check your BIOS settings to confirm that things are set to boot off of the CD-ROM, and off of the CD-ROM first...

#626 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 07:21 PM:

Debbie, Hilary Hertzoff: Thank you! Now I have an idea how much damage this is going to do to my wallet when I can afford it.

#627 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 07:26 PM:

Elliott Mason #607: David Harmon @606: It is somewhat useful when dealing with people who are intimidated about the idea of them singing, especially if they think they "sound bad" -- I can show them how a few athletic techniques can totally change the sound produced.

Indeed, and I didn't mean to imply that "party trick" equals "useless" -- it may be very specific utility, but it's another tool in the toolbox, and sometimes that's the tool you need.

Jaqcue #608: I prescribe extra luvvins. Even if not needed, any excuse is a good excuse, right?

For sure!

While we're discussing music: I've lately been going to a local drum circle, and informal one that usually draws perhaps half a dozen people. I'm no great drummer, but I can at least hold a basic beat, based on a subset of what the "real" drummers are doing. As I get back into practice (hadn't done much since college and the Boston/Cambridge-area drum circles), I'm starting to pick up more flourishes. The interesting thing about this circle, is that we usually have one guy (we're mostly male♀) playing something with notes (sometimes the piano in the corner, but lately a steel-drummish thing called a Halo), and that totally changes the feel of the mix.

After today's circle, I went walking about Downtown with the guys (the woman had to head off for work-stuff), and had some wonderful conversations. Found out a lot about where the other guys were coming from, and got to give the summary explanation of Asperger's to someone who'd specifically asked!

♀ Currently the only woman joining in is the one who pulled me in so she wouldn't be walking in alone, and she's mostly convinced she can't drum. (Ahem, see above. :-) ) Sometimes she does pick up a rattle or timbrel, or plays a chair. (Anything can be a drum!)

#628 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 07:44 PM:

Dvorak: String Quartet, opus 96, "The American." A warm, wonderful piece of music with a socko finish. I first heard the last movement played as an encore by the Prague String Quartet at a concert that was played over the radio. When they came back the next year, I was there to hear them play the whole thing. ("Oh, sorry, sir, the concert sold so many tickets, you'll have to sit in a chair on the stage about four feet from the second violinist's elbow. Do you mind?" "HAHAHA! I mean, no, I don't mind.")

#629 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 07:47 PM:

OK, various websites say that St. Anne is the patroness of turesesners.

Yeah, turesesners. All the Google hits on that word are for pages about St. Anne, and worse, there are none for 'turesesner'. It's not in my American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.

I feel that must be a typo on a Vatican document or something, that has been propagated to all those St. Anne pages, but I can't prove it.

Anyone have any idea what a turesesner was or is?

#630 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 08:08 PM:

David Harmon @ 627: (Anything can be a drum!)

That got me into trouble once. I was walking through Golden Gate Park, when I came across a drum circle with one of my acquaintances in it. He nodded at me, so I picked up a tree branch and the nearest whackable and started in. Unfortunately, it was a garbage can lid, and it was much, much too loud. The whole circle stopped dead.

I compounded my crime by trying to start up a new session. Unfortunately, I was pretty rattled, and so I used the rhythm that I tend to fall into when I'm not thinking about it, which happens to be a Bulgarian-style 7/8. This did not go over well.

After that I gave up and slunk away.

#631 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 08:19 PM:

Xopher #629: Not in my print Webster's either -- in fact, there isn't even a root for it. Nor does it appear in the online OED, even in their historical thesaurus. Maybe try asking on some linguist blogs, such as Language Hat?

#632 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 08:27 PM:

I've been Googling variant spellings too. Nothing. Weird.

#633 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 08:41 PM:

Xopher:

I think Wikipedia is the index case for this, and looking at the history for the St Anne page shows that it used to be "turners" and was changed to "tursesners" at 06:43, 13 August 2009, with no explanation

Now, "turners" is at least sane, but I can't find any evidence that Anne is considered to be their patron.

#634 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 08:44 PM:

Maybe it's a really weird typo for 'turners', who St Anne is patroness of.

#635 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 08:47 PM:

thomas: http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-anne/

#636 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 09:23 PM:

P J Evans:

Ok, that makes much more sense. It still seems a weird typo, since it was the only change in that edit of the Wikipedia page.

#637 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 09:44 PM:

Open Thready Sharing of Triumph:

My Daughter the Stuntwoman just got a new gig. She will be Beth Grant's stunt double in The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife, now filming in Atlanta.

This is not her first stunt gig, nor her first movie stunt gig. But it is her first non-horror stunt gig in a movie with actors she recognizes from movies she loves.

I am bursting with maternal pride.

#638 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 09:48 PM:

HLN: Guinea pig cleaning done. Sunday Bedtime -2:20 <boggle>

#639 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 10:32 PM:

thomas @636

It might be some's experiment in seeing how information from Wikipedia is propagated throughout cyberspace. (Sort of like those mapmakers' "deliberate errors" that are used to identify plagiarism.)

#640 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 10:38 PM:

re 624: First thing I did.

#641 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 10:41 PM:

C. Wingate #640: Then yeah, it might be the empty master role. Some old computers do have trouble booting off non-master drives.

#642 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 10:58 PM:

Tim Walters #630: Heh... maybe if you'd skipped the branch and played the lid with your hand?

For the first few sessions I attended, I was worried about the mismatch between my Celtic flat drum, against the bongos and congas that most of the others favor. (The flat drum is a good foot across -- much longer sound than the bongos!) However, in practice, it seems to work OK, with some of the other players also trying it to great effect. (We pass around our drums pretty freely.) Of course, it's been a total non-issue since the guy with the Halo (6-inch note sectors, triple that across the whole) showed up. (I did recently get a small conga drum as a gift, and I've been using that occasionally. Also, my smallest rattle is much too weak for the circle, simply inaudible.

#643 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2011, 11:01 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @639: It might be some's experiment in seeing how information from Wikipedia is propagated throughout cyberspace.

I thought of that, but it's pretty easy to tell if a site is copying Wikipedia just by matching phrases. I suppose it could tell you if a site is rewriting Wikipedia in some fairly mindless way, like students 'putting it in their own words'.

#644 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 12:14 AM:

Jacque: I listened to CBS.

Re remusic. Hayden, Trumpet Concerto. Wait for it, but the third movement is an apotheosis. Wynton Marsalis with the London Phil is good, so is Tine Thing Helseth, and Maurice Andre.

I don't suffer from the, "first is right so much" but of those I'd be hard pressed to say one is less right than the others.

#645 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 12:22 AM:

Jacque @614

Heh, thanks for the offer! I'm pretty comfortable in my current non-drawing state, actually (lots to learn and practice as it is: sewing, fencing, keeping friends). I just think it's funny that I can do the one and not the other, when they're quite clearly the same skills. Stupid human tricks, hey?

I dug up the thread

#646 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 02:00 AM:

AKICML: Does anyone know of a consumer quality (read: not semi-pro or pro; too expensive) camcorder with external mic inputs?

They used to be fairly easy to find but current models in the low end of the product range seem to have omitted the option, and the audio quality from built-in mics is too poor (at least for their intended purpose in this specific case).

Said camcorders are to be used for a publicly-funded journalism workshop in Burundi, so for various procurement-rules-related reasons, pre-owned camcorders are not an option.

One suggestion was to get a third-party adapter for a popular brand to allow the use of a non-proprietary external mic. Other options and suggestions will be received with many many thanks.

#647 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 02:52 AM:

Elliott@544, I'm glad to hear that at least somebody has tried dancing about architecture. I haven't done interpretive dance since college, and wasn't at all good at it, but architecture has enough kinds of different styles that you should be able to dance about many of them just fine. "He sees angels in the architecture, Spinning in infinity..."

Jacque, yes, Kathleen Sloan is near you (and she travels, so we get to see her too), and you want to show up at the filk sessions at your local con. I think she was the person at Consonance this year who did "Things to do in Denmark when you're dead", telling Hamlet from the perspective of the ghost...

#648 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 03:03 AM:

Pendrift @646

Well, if you're amenable to a bit of jury-rigging, take any low-end voice recorder with external mic input and tape it to the side. Then just sync up the audio from that with the video from the camera (leave the built-in mic on and snap your fingers next to the camera, that'll give you a point to sync on).

Of course, that's assuming you're doing editing/postprocessing anyway. If you are, it's a 30-second job while you're cleaning up the video, but if you're not, it'd be a huge hassle.

#649 ::: individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 05:47 AM:

"Everybody can sing" conversations make me sad, because I really really can't. I had a good childhood where my parents and teachers gave me lots of encouragement and told me that I could do anything if I worked hard enough at it. And I worked and worked, including private lessons with a really good singing teacher for about 5 years. I learned loads about technique, and it's really improved my appreciation of choral music. But I still can't hold a tune reliably.

I've also often met kind friends who were convinced that they can teach anyone to sing, who encouraged me not to be self-conscious or perfectionist about it, who were gentle and patient and cheerfully amateur. I've worked and worked at that too, and I still can't hold a tune reliably.

I don't mean I'm not good enough to be a professional soloist, I mean I'm not good enough to join in with a bunch of friends singing round the piano. I'm also not good enough to do even the most basic of liturgical chanting, and that's a pretty low standard of musicality. My voice is not unpleasant, and my physical technique is pretty good after all those years of working on it. Just. Not. Tuneful.

Per Elliott @561, I think the thing I can't do is mostly point a). I'm not tone-deaf, though; I can reliably tell which of two notes is higher, and therefore whether the noise I'm making corresponds to the correct pitch. However I can't do that and correct it in real time, which makes it insufficient for any sort of singing in the presence of other people. I often say that if I had a fairy godmother I'd wish for the ability to sing tunefully. In the absence of that, I suppose I'll just carry on being an exception to the rule that "anyone" can sing and it's only nasty mean foolish people who tell them otherwise.

#650 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 09:03 AM:

In re 'that concerto on the news,' does anyone here happen to know what hornpipy thing it was that played before Alistair Cook(i)e came on on Masterpiece Theatre? I adored that show as a small child (and so did my grandparents, so we saw a lot of it), and apparently it was utterly adorable how I'd stand up and start jigging around the room for the theme music.

#651 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 09:23 AM:

abi @ 535 ... could accurately hit the top note in The Song From Phantom That Everyone Sings

Would that be the song that goes like this?

#652 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 09:29 AM:

TexAnne... It's 'triple w', according to Elisabeth. She was quite apologetic about it.

#653 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 09:42 AM:

Elliott Mason @650: Are you referring to "Fanfare for a King's Supper" by Mouret?

#654 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 09:59 AM:

Serge, 652: Aw, rats. Then I'm definitely swiping PGBB's daughter's "sextuple v."

#655 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 10:35 AM:

David Harmon @ 642: maybe if you'd skipped the branch and played the lid with your hand?

Common sense, if I had any, would have told me to start with a few quiet experimental taps. Listen twice, play once!

#656 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 11:02 AM:

Pendrift @ 646 ...
AKICML: Does anyone know of a consumer quality (read: not semi-pro or pro; too expensive) camcorder with external mic inputs?

You might take a look at the Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera. It's quite affordable, supports an external stereo mic, and has surprisingly decent video quality for the size.

One suggestion was to get a third-party adapter for a popular brand to allow the use of a non-proprietary external mic. Other options and suggestions will be received with many many thanks.

You'd definitely need to do that w/ the Zi8.

#657 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 11:08 AM:

*sigh* Apparently I can't read, either, since it looks like the Kodac Zi8 is no longer available... Apologies!

#658 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 11:35 AM:

Devin @648 and xeger @656, many thanks.

The voice recorder might just work as a last resort, so that idea's been carefully tucked away for future consideration.

xeger, the Zi8 is still available, it seems, just not on the Kodak website. It's under active consideration; the main points against it are its suspiciously toy-like appearance (i.e. looks unprofessional, but this is purely cosmetic) and, more importantly, the fixed-focus lens which makes for blurry close-ups even in macro mode when the subject is at a distance of less than a meter.

#659 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 12:18 PM:

Open threadiness:

This story describes something most people don't understand--how much information about your day to day movements you leak to the phone company, simply by carrying a cellphone.

Of course, nobody in the federal government is storing all that information in a big database to query as needed for investigations later. And certainly, no annoying reporters are having their movements tracked and related to the movements of likely sources, leakers, whistleblowers, etc., so that those who speak out of turn may be punished.

Because that sort of privacy violation would be against the law, and so the people who did it would fear punishment. I mean, unless we as a society had decided that powerful people and the companies that enabled them were simply not going to be punished for things like spying on Americans. But how could that possibly happen?

#660 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 12:21 PM:

Pendrift @ 658 ...
xeger, the Zi8 is still available, it seems, just not on the Kodak website. It's under active consideration; the main points against it are its suspiciously toy-like appearance (i.e. looks unprofessional, but this is purely cosmetic) and, more importantly, the fixed-focus lens which makes for blurry close-ups even in macro mode when the subject is at a distance of less than a meter.

Hm. Mucking with mine a bit (it was a gift, and I haven't really used it much), it looks like there's decent focus at about 0.5m without the macro lens ... and with the macro lens, around 0.25m.

I don't know if you've got one to try, but I'd be happy to try shooting some video if that'd be any help.

#661 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 12:47 PM:

On singing: Does anyone else hear the instrumental part of the song, even when they're singing acapella?

I have a weird range, the national anthem (US) fits comfortably inside it.

Shameless Plug:

Those who have yet to attend a filk con, please come join us -- (I'm a committee member of OVFF - Central Ohio - October 21-23, 2011).

OVFF

#662 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 12:57 PM:

Since we're more or less on the topic, I have a question about filk circle etiquette:

I like filk, to listen to and to sing along when appropriate. But I've been avoiding going to filk circles, because I don't want to be put on the spot to take a turn and take a lead. I don't Do that. If I do attend a filk circle, how likely am I to be pressured to take a lead? I'm fine with being asked, if everyone will take a polite, "No, please skip me" without any further ado. But pressure--even mild pressure, of the asking me if I'm sure variety--would ruin not only that event but probably the rest of the con for me.

#663 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 01:22 PM:

Mary Aileen @662: There are two common (and a bunch more uncommon-but-useful; I'm part of a group working on diversifying their uptake by the general population) Who Goes Next modalities in open filk circles at cons: Bardic and Chaos.

If you live somewhere (the Midwest especially) where chaos is standard, nobody's going to bug you to do anything; in chaos people get turns by looking like they want one. If it's well-moderated Midwest Polite Chaos, there are several circle members watching the back rows for people showing interest but not 'loudly' enough for the louder personalities to notice (at which point, we moderators draw attention to the fact that they're trying to go and get them a turn).

You might or might not be in trouble if the default modality in your region (especially the West Coast US) is bardic. Bardic generally goes around the room and everyone has a chance to 'pick, pass, or play', and how strongly those are emphasized varies a lot by local culture. I have a friend who was horridly traumatized by a culture at his first few cons that -- while trying to be encouraging -- strongly de-emphasized the 'pass' option; he refuses to have anything to do with any circle even vaguely bardicy ever again, and that was over 30 years ago.

Ask someone who regularly attends the con you're considering whether their circles are usually bardic or chaos?

#664 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 01:26 PM:

Elliott @650

That would be A Festive Rondeau, by Jean-Joseph Mouret. Googling "festive rondeau Masterpiece Theater" brings back quite a few results.

If you like that, I also recommend Trumpet Voluntary, by Henry Purcell, and Prince of Denmark's March, by Jeremiah Clarke.

@Classical Music discussion

Cincinnati has a classical music radio station at wguc.org. Most relevant to this discussion, they have a live stream of their broadcast, either from the computer or a free iPhone app. They also have a list of the full day's playlist, including links to buy the CD of the specific recording they broadcast. (Even if you don't buy the CD from them, you can find out which recording you liked to look for in the future.)

#665 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 01:26 PM:

Expanding on my @663 ... Bardic's major failure mode is aggressing against people like Mary Aileen and making them feel inadequate for not wanting to PPorP. Chaos' major failure mode is a few strong personalities getting the bit in their teeth and preventing (through aggression, privilege, or obliviousness) anyone else from getting turns.

Both can be unfriendly to less-confident performers. Both also have their strong points, of course.

Ben Newman and I and some other people are working on geeking out a filkcircle taxonomy method to explore (through cataloging strengths and major failure modes) other ways of creating lightly-moderated or self-moderating filkcircle systems, which then of course we get to teach enough people that they can become generally known. It's our Quixotic quest. Plus, it's just OCDishly fun. :->

#666 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 02:13 PM:

Elliott Mason (663): Thanks, that's very helpful. I think the circles I sat in on many, many years ago must have been bardic, but not overly pushy. Next time I'm at my local (non-filk) con, I'll ask. "Bardic" sounds familiar as a description, though, so I'm guessing that's what they are.

#667 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 02:17 PM:

xeger @660: Additional funding just acquired, so a better model might be feasible now. Just in case I'd need the videos, perhaps we can take this off-thread? My email is my username at gmail dot com, and thank you!

#668 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 02:18 PM:

individ-ewe-al @649: whether the noise I'm making corresponds to the correct pitch. However I can't do that and correct it in real time

Can you get earworms? Which is shorthand for: can remember a tune?

#669 ::: individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 02:26 PM:

Jacque @668: only to a limited extent. I get mostly words-and-rhythm earworms, sometimes with a vague fuzzy sense of "the pitch goes up a lot and then down a bit". But I can't really hear tunes in my head without significant conscious effort and even then it's probably wrong. I have long suspected that the thing I can't do with music has a lot to do with memory for pitch.

#670 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 02:32 PM:

Singing, in general: I have some of the basic tools- I can whistle on key- but none of the training. Also I had the impression that my vocal range was about 1.125 octaves [is that a ninth?] but it occurs to me that without any training I'm probably just guessing.

I played clarinet from second grade on, instead of doing any choral singing. So I may be theoretically trainable.

"That Vampire Stuff"- when did Anne Rice start selling extremely well? I have the impression that it was before Buffy became a TV show, but memory is not reliable here. [The Internet is not helping. It is possible she was christened "Howard Allen O'Brien" but it seems more likely that the internet is being exceptionally unreliable. As a side note, Howard Allen O'Brien is an excellent pulp hero name.]

#671 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 02:44 PM:

I plan to write a poem a day for National Poetry Month. Does anyone have advice on how I should approach this?

#672 ::: caffeine, who is changing her nym ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 03:04 PM:

PSA: It's time for me to change my name here. "caffeine" isn't really suitable; it was a quick placeholder when I first commented. I'll be commenting under Persephone, since she holds a lot of significance for me. I spend a lot of time feeling like I'm emerging from the darkness, blinking, into the sunlight.

Speaking of light, this seems like as good a place as any to thank all of you here. There really is a great deal of light made here, and even though I rarely comment -- I always seem to be about a day behind on the threads -- your knowledge and wisdom have made a great deal of difference in my own life.

My e-mail address remains the same, so both names should tie back to the same commenting history; this note is just so I don't confuse people I'm actively conversing with.

#673 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 03:16 PM:

individ-ewe-al #669

Can you play the game the other way? With a song you know--from its title, or otherwise--imagine what comes *next*, try to hear *that* in your head, see if you're right?

I had my big music revelation when I was about three or four; my mother had the stereo on, what I later learned to be Tchaikovsky's "Capriccio Italien" was coming down the stairwell, and I realized I knew what was coming next, because I'd heard it before.

(This also is the only guaranteed way to know when you've really memorized the images for an art history class; after you've gone through the slides a bunch, then go through the slide list, no slides. If you can form a picture in your mind on seeing a title, then you know it.)

#674 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 03:16 PM:

Earl @671:
I plan to write a poem a day for National Poetry Month. Does anyone have advice on how I should approach this?

Gently to yourself. Because there will be days where everything you write feels like dreck.

Were I to start such a thing, I would find a collection of things I could write poems on. Months of the year, colors, animals...it doesn't matter. Then I would give myself the chance to be inspired by whatever was around me, with the fallback option of writing on a set theme if nothing struck me during the day.

And I would spend the days looking at the world, listening to the people around me, and trying to find patterns and shapes to the way they work. Once one gets into the habit of poetry (a habit I am not in at the moment, unfortunately), these things come more easily, and anything can be the seed of an insight.

If you do this, I'm fairly sure you will surprise yourself with some of the things you write. I'd be interested to see whatever of the output you feel you can share.

#675 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 03:19 PM:

about turesesners: My friend was pleased to get the explanation about turners, with Wikipedia being the source of the 'eses' infection, and thanks everyone who helped. Lenore speculates that the dingfutz (my term, not Lenore's) who made the error may have been trying to put '-ess' on the end of 'patron'.

caffeine, who is changing her nym: She changes everything she touches, and everything she touches changes.

#676 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 03:20 PM:

Jacque: Earworm isn't that one can remember a tune, it's that one can't forget... not for hours/days, a specific tune.

Sandy B: Ann Rice became a "deal" in the middle 80s. I tried, to read "The Vampire Lestat" ca. 85-87, I forget precisely, it was after we bought the bookstore, and before I moved out; and I was out of high school, so...

Oddly, I somehow figure "lestat" was some esoteric sort of document (like a palimpsest), which I think makes the title more interesting.

#677 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 03:28 PM:

SandyB @670: Rice hit the bestseller lists with Interview with the Vampire in 1976, well before Buffy. Vampire fiction was well established in bestsellerdom even before the film (see King's 'Salem's Lot, 1975, and Quinn Yarbro's Saint Germaine series starting in '78. Lots of earlier vampire popularity -- Buffy was working off it.

#678 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 03:29 PM:

(missed the close parenthesis, darn it!)

#679 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 03:31 PM:

Persephone:

I just hope you understand that your name change will require Captain Tightpants to fight a duel....

#680 ::: Persephone (previously caffeine) ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 03:35 PM:

abi, is this The Song That Goes Up Really High at the End?

#681 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 03:40 PM:

Earl: what abi said.

I'd add, from one who has spent time with that muse... read a lot of poetry you like. That will help you in terms of feeling that what you are doing is, "natural". Some of the tricks, and tropes, will become more "thoughtless".

If you have a form you really like, don't ignore it, but neither should you stick to it.

Accept that a first draft is still a poem, and you can come back to it.

If you get a huge idea", feel free to treat it like a Michelangelo statue can still be art when it's unfinished.

*I had a piece for which I devised an insane structure. Took me four months, of work; pretty much a little every day, to get the complete first draft done. It's still not really finished, and I may have lost it altogether. This was in the days I didn't have my own computer, so it's; to the best of my knowledge only extant on paper, and I am not sure anyone still has a copy.

I still recall the constraints in it (not only was the rhyme patter long, and "braided", the opening of each verse had the first word/phrase repeated, i.e., "Another cold grey dawn/Another cup of bitter coffee."

As I recall the rhyme pattern it was

ABAC
BCBD
DCDE
EDEF

Refrain
GG
HH

Repeat

It was murder.

#682 ::: Persephone (previously caffeine) ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 03:40 PM:

albatross @679... The glory of the Internet: After a quick google, I now have a clue what you're talking about. Woohoo!

#683 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 03:41 PM:

Terry Karney #676:

Yes, but if you can get an earworm, you definitely can remember stuff, it's just that maybe you didn't know you could/thought you couldn't.

I'm not sure what else it might also take in order to make an earworm happen.

#684 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 03:57 PM:

joann @683: What makes a earworm manifest?

Invoking the Name of the Tune --

(Do you want specific examples? That can be hazardous to one's sanity, as banishing an earworm can be difficult.)

#685 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 04:10 PM:

Singing Wren @664: "Trumpet Voluntary" is by Jeremiah Clarke, and was falsely attributed to Purcell for a while (and still is, in various places, largely thanks to Sir Henry Wood).

I learned from a book I saw at a music store that the piece was originally for keyboard. Before I could decide to buy the sheet music, the store closed up.

The piece gets called "Trumpet Voluntary" and "The Prince of Denmark's March," but Wikipedia seems to endorse the latter title (while confirming its keyboard origins).

Clarke also wrote "Trumpet Tune in D," also falsely tagged as Purcell's for a while. I don't know that one, but I have a pretty decent piano arrangement of the voluntary, on which I have carefully crossed Purcell's name out. I haven't seen a Trumpet Voluntary that was actually by Purcell.

#686 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 04:25 PM:

Kip @685:

Interesting! For some reason (my memory for recorded music (as opposed to music I've played/sung) is... leaky) I thought they were two separate pieces. I knew about Prince of Denmark being erroneously titled as Trumpet Voluntary, and erroneously attributed to Purcell (separately or together), but I had been under the impression that there was a second, distinct piece, actually by Purcell, called (or at least referred to) as Trumpet Voluntary.

#687 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 04:40 PM:

Persephone @ 682... Need I point out that Captain Tightpants is played by a French-Canadian?

#688 ::: Persephone (previously caffeine) ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 04:48 PM:

Xopher @675... Lovely, thank you. I'll have to transpose it into a better range for my voice.

#689 ::: Persephone (previously caffeine) ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 04:55 PM:

Jacque @608... When you're doing wild animal training (or any animal training), the way you suppress a behavior is to fail utterly to resond to it.

Oh.

What boggles me is that, of the 20 or 30 adults who could have served as a mentor or even said n encouraging word over the years, not one did. I'm pretty good at feeling sorry for myself, but even I can't imagine that it was anything but a long string of thoughtless people in coincidence.

#690 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 05:16 PM:

#603 Serge, #610 TexAnne, et sequi

The Office québécois de la langue française derives (or coined) "pourriel" as a brilliant portmanteau, from courriel-poubelle.

I have somewhere a hard-copy lexicon from them; I can't find the same word list online. There is a search tool, the Grand dictionnaire. For example, for "blogroll", they have "blogoliste", which is not too bad.

(The Office is not quite the Inquisition, but they have certain similarities.)

#691 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 05:20 PM:

Henry Troup @ 690... The Office is not quite the Inquisition, but they have certain similarities

Personne ne s'attend à l'Inquisition!

#692 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 05:27 PM:

Sandy B. @670: Any trombone or violin player definitely has all the software-side skills they'd need to sing accurately; whether or not they can interface the software with the hardware is a different problem. I'd say that if you learned to be able to pick up stuff by ear and then reproduce it on the clarinet you've definitely got The Whole Office Suite. :->

It's a rule of thumb that any completely untrained voice can recover at minimum .5 to 1 octave of additional range in the first six months of serious vocal training; beyond that it's dependent on your hardware and how hard you want to work, just like someone training for a marathon.

I am guessing based on hiser (?) description that individ-ewe-al @669 may well be one of the people whose singing software is irrevocably borked. They exist. I am ashamed that my paean to YOU CAN DO IT! upthread probably came off as denying individ-ewe-al's existence. I didn't mean to say that, though likely I actually did.

There are occasional rare people who cannot learn to sing accurately. Some can still enjoy singing in groups, if the group is sufficiently willing to be oblivious/drown them out while letting them participate fully. What I'd meant to say upthread is that grade and high school chorus directors tend to massively overdiagnose this, sometimes to 20% of the population, when it's probably more like .05% or less. And even in the case of those with individ-ewe-al's problem, "You can't sing" is never a helpful comment. A helpful comment might be something like, "Wow, you have serious problems reproducing pitches accurately. Let's see if we can work on that .... no, seems definitely fairly borked. That's awful."

Lori Coulson @684: And earworminess varies from person to person. I find that for me, personally, an amazing earworm-banisher (that does NOT itself earworm -- the usual problem with earworm-banishers) is the theme music from the video game Katamari Damacy (rot13ed to protect the more susceptible).

Persephone @689: if it's any consolation, when I was a small child (3->middle school), my mother and grandparents found themselves in a horrible bind. Any hobby of mine that they praised me for being good at ... I never did again. See also Dysfunctional Family Day, but that had to have been infuriating and sad for them.

#693 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 05:42 PM:

Elliott Mason 665: geeking out a filkcircle taxonomy

Scrabble-hat? Take a bowl, put one Scrabble square in of each letter. Blind selection by participants; rotate in alpha order. Them as wants to pass automatically select themselves out, resulting sort is non-circular but ordered. (Of course, you have to find a hack if you have more than twenty-six Playing particiants.)

???

#694 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 05:50 PM:

individ-ewe-al @669: I have long suspected that the thing I can't do with music has a lot to do with memory for pitch.

That sounds right, based on your description. You might have the correlary to what I have with lyrics/poetry. (I can learn/understand song lyrics, but only if they're very clearly enunciated and/or I'm very familiar with the song.) I really hate it when people want to play me a song to listen to the cool lyrics.

The next question is: is the poor memory organic or strategic? The latter is a technical term. Like spelling a word based on sounding it out, constructing an image visually, or remembering an image that has been verified to be correct. (The last tends to be the one that Good Spellers turn out to use.)

I run into something similar when I am confronted with identifying a song to someone. I can rarely pull out title or lyrics (for previously stated reasons) so what's left is melody. Even if I can remember the melody clearly in my head, I can only reproduce it vocally if I know the song well enough that the kinesthetic/auditory experience of producing it doesn't swamp the memory auditory.

#695 ::: individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 05:57 PM:

Elliott @692: thanks, that really helps. I know you're not really denying my existence, and I'm actually enjoying your vocal technique geeking. I just have this lifelong wistfulness about not being able to sing in tune and it seeped into my comment a bit.

(I usually go by female pronouns; the ewe part of my name is supposed to be a clue but it turned out to be too subtle to be effective. I don't really mind either way, though.)

#696 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 06:01 PM:

Terry Karney @676: Earworm isn't that one can remember a tune, it's that one can't forget... not for hours/days, a specific tune.

Yeah, that's why I figured it would be a handy quick-and-dirty test for musical memory. In point of fact, the question elicited just the information I was after from individ-ewe-al.

Ann Rice became a "deal" in the middle 80s. I tried, to read "The Vampire Lestat" ca. 85-87

A friend pressed a copy of Interview on me, probably '84. January '85 at the very latest. I think I managed to read about forty pages of it.

#697 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 06:06 PM:

532 ::: thomas
In re Zasloff's note that this was already public law: The question then becomes, why is this being written into a separate piece of legislation?*

Also, I would repeat Zasloff's comment on this -- Which is more pernicious -- that this is the continuation of the GOP drive since the Reign of Saint Ronnie, or that progressives, in general, were not aware of this?

(* - possible answers -- (a) the conservatives were not aware of this either, (b) that having the text in multiple places leaves it still in force if one or the other law is changed))

#698 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 06:11 PM:

Jacque @ 694 - Wait. It's not just me. I can rarely remember the title or first lines of songs, unless I know them Really, REALLY well. In fact, when asked to pick out my three favorite hymns last month, I totally blanked on lyrics and had to go pull out a hymnal to scan the Index of Titles and First Lines, and I still didn't find my favorite-that's-not-sung-enough (AKICIML - it's the one to the tune of She Moved Through the Fair. It's not in either the Episcopal or Methodist hymnals for two iterations. Help?). It means when Pick, Pass, or Play comes around, I'm stuck on Pass or Play - I can't pick, I don't know the lyrics or what the song is called or anything. Not usually a problem, but sometimes I don't remember the first lines to my own works. But I always thought it was an offshoot of my inability to remember names.

#699 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 06:18 PM:

Elliott Mason @692: I am guessing based on hiser (?) description that individ-ewe-al @669 may well be one of the people whose singing software is irrevocably borked.

While this is certaily a possibility (and I request that individ-ewe-al whap me with a dead fish if my inquiries become the least bit unwelcome), it may also be that the wires are there, they just never got hooked up right. (As in my spelling analogy, having a powerful but wrong strategy, i.e., visual-construct, hooked up to the process can be more problematic than having no strategy.)

Unfortunately, I don't know enough about singing neurophysiology to recommend tests and hacks. I do wish we could get M. i in the same room with Oliver Sacks.

#700 ::: Joseph M. ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 06:22 PM:

Earl @671: To add a bit to what abi@674 and Terry@681 said: be prepared to 'write off' a day with something small, simple, or simplistic, if required to keep yourself moving forward. In my day job, "perfect is the enemy of good enough" comes up frequently, and it certainly is involved in writing as well: write well enough that you are looking forward to continuing the project, and remember you get to edit when you're done.

Is April National Poetry Month? I don't think I'll be able to do a poem a day, but it might be a good kick to return to writing.

#701 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 06:25 PM:

sisuile @698: In fact, when asked to pick out my three favorite hymns last month, I totally blanked on lyrics and had to go pull out a hymnal to scan the Index of Titles and First Lines

You're already ahead of me there. I'd have to open the book to approximately the right place and then leaf to a page wherein the contents had the right shape. Have I mentioned that my dominant sensory modality is visual/kinesthetic?

#702 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 06:29 PM:

555 ::: Zelda

Don't worry about "too nerdy:" I only do ARISIA these days (funds issues right now whilst unemployed and free time off issues when I am working), but I've attended the Filking Circle last year and this year, and did pieces on my MacArthur Harp.

There were no poo-poos when what I played (play only - I characterize myself as usually singing in the key of "Off") were Turlough O'carolan, Bach transcriptions and Elizabethan tavern songs. Can't get much nerdier than that. :)

#703 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 06:55 PM:

574 ::: Terry Karney

The old Evening News With Huntley & Brinkly used the 2nd movement of the Beethoven 9th over the closing credits.

Jacque -- the last movement of the Beethoven 9th is the choral one.

#704 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 07:06 PM:

I wish Beethoven had an editor who told him to whack 10 minutes off of the 4th movement of the 9th symphony. After a start and middle that kind of justifies the existence of western civilization it just thrashes around.

#705 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 07:16 PM:

574 ::: Terry Karney

The old Evening News With Huntley & Brinkly used the 2nd movement of the Beethoven 9th over the closing credits.

Jacque -- the last movement of the Beethoven 9th is the choral one.

#706 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 07:21 PM:

Craig R. @697 Could it be, given that this is supposed to be a "reform" bill, that they have to write the whole bill out and only change the parts they want changed? I am sad to know that I don't really know enough to be certain about how this part of the legislative process works. I do know that some legal requirements about how laws are made do seem to be redundant, probably for good reason.

#707 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 07:26 PM:

684, 685
actually, an earworm would be more aptly named "trumpet involuntary"

#708 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 07:27 PM:

Jacque @693 suggested: Scrabble-hat? Take a bowl, put one Scrabble square in of each letter. Blind selection by participants; rotate in alpha order. Them as wants to pass automatically select themselves out, resulting sort is non-circular but ordered. (Of course, you have to find a hack if you have more than twenty-six Playing particiants.)

That's a variant of a circle called Poker-Chip Bardic★ -- someone brings a set of poker chips. Everyone in the circle (who wants one) gets one of each color. First round is, e.g., red. Anyone entering the room during a round gets chips for that round and all followers. If there are any red chips remaining, they get to go before you proceed to, e.g., the white-chip round ... I've seen people doing it with con-badges, if they didn't have chips. Toss your badge in the center to get a turn; at the end of the round, everyone retrieves.

One of my favorite recently-invented circles gets called Cat's-Cradle or Spider Bardic. You need a material component: a ball of string or equivalent object. One end of the string is tied to a chair, and the balled up end is passed outwards along the queue: when you decide you want to sing a song, you put up your hand, and whoever's holding the ball passes it to you, pinching the string in their fingertips so the string remembers whose turn is next. It ends up looking kind of like Spirograph when you're well into it -- there's jaggy string lines polygonning the circle. When song N is finished, the person the string is going straight to from the chair-leg is next. They drop the string, slack is reeled in along the queue, and they perform. It's really easy to learn, but sometimes intimidating to the uninitiated passer-by; we've noticed people sticking their head in, goggling, and leaving before we could act welcoming.

individ-ewe-al @695: Maybe I'm oversensitive on the subject (and therefore horrified to have done the converse); one of the most powerful moments of my life to date was when I suddenly had a paradigm-shift during a speech. The speaker effectively stood up in front of the room and said I exist, all my 'idiosyncratic odd broken bits' were actually consistent parts of a whole, and there was a path out of the pain.

sisuile @698: having a sheaf of printed-out pre-selected lyric sheets to hand might help? When I'm in-circle and scattery, I often open up the lyric file (I love my eeee-lectronic songbook, aka laptop; full-text searchability!) and minimize the wordpad window to remind me that it had occured to me to sing it.

Craig R. @702: I've heard some lovely in-circle impromptu jam sessions arise when a flautist or harper started a classical piece (and noted at the outset that they were open to joining-in, and what key they were using). There's also a movement afoot called Chamberfilk wherein quite a few active filkers who play standard high-school band instruments get together at the beginning of OVFF to practice (from sheet music) chamber-consort arrangements of classic filksongs, to be performed in a concert on Sunday. It's really lovely, and helps be inclusive of people who need sheet music and don't play guitars.

--
★ 'Bardic' gets colloquially used by filkers to describe any extremely egalitarian, making-sure-people-get-turns system. Ben and I are attempting to avoid using it at all in a technical sense, because it often subsumes two qualities we are tabulating separately: queueing [when song N is started, is it known already who will perform song N+1?] and completeness [everyone in the room gets a turn before it goes back to the first performer]. Because classic bardic is a topological [where people are sitting affects queue position], transparent, queued, complete, opt-out, no-props, unmoderated system, colloquial use of the term sometimes muddies up distinctions we're trying to make.

I mentioned we were geeks, right?

#709 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 07:39 PM:

Persephone 688: You're very welcome, but actually I had assumed you already knew it! One of the verses (not one of Starhawk's) goes "Io Kore, Io Kore, Io Per-se-pho-ne" (requires pronouncing 'Persephone' pehr-zeh-FOE-nay).

That young goddess is never actually given a name in Greek mythology. 'Persephone' means "the stolen" and 'kore' means "the daughter." (Scholars of the Greek language please correct me if those are just neo-Pagan factoids.)

#711 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 08:09 PM:

One of the high points of the trip to MidSouthCon was a Spark of Light* -- one of the other people at the con was Joy Freeman, who recognized me from Serge's Making Light and Faces site.

Spot was very happy to have Her People home again, and is alternating between being poingy all over the house and being clingy on laps.

And you guys were hella prolific while I was gone!

xeger, #451: We don't keep first-aid items in the cutlery drawer itself, but we do have auxiliary first-aid supplies on an upper kitchen-cabinet shelf. Same principle.

Lori, #454: It is unfortunate that the poem scans precisely TTTO "Help Me Make It Through The Night". It's a good poem, but the juxtaposition has me reaching for the brain bleach!

Angiportus, #455: Your T-shirt idea has been submitted to Da Boss for approval. It's a variation on something we've been mulling over for a while now.

Mary Aileen, #472: No, I do it too. The acronym is only a keystroke-saver for the phrase.

Jacque, #491: My three personal favorite Beethoven pieces are Symphony No. 6 (the Pastorale), famously used as one section of Disney's Fantasia, and Symphony No. 3 (Eroica) and the Egmont overture, because my high-school orchestra played them.

caffeine/Persephone, #494: The choir director I had for the first 3 years at Vandy was like that -- he would hold "auditions" for the solos, but you knew who'd get them. And yes, those 4 people were probably the best in each of their sections, but they weren't the only good voices by any means. My senior year, we got a new director who was much better about distributing the solos between different singers.

Andy, #506: And yet neither is even vaguely fannish. They are completely, frighteningly normal.
This touches on one of the most completely frustrating aspects of fannish culture having gone mainstream -- people who are deeply steeped in fannish interests and concepts, but who actively resist identifying themselves as "science-fiction fans". Because, y'know, "science-fiction fans" are weirdos and losers who have no lives. And that stuff which has moved into popular culture? Oh, that isn't really science fiction, because it doesn't have [spaceships/aliens/blasters/weird names] in it.

Mary Aileen, #543: At least one friend of mine is also absolutely convinced that singing is an innate, inborn skill -- to the point that when I used singing as an analogy to reading body language (some people can do it better than others, but only a few outliers and those with medical issues can't do it at all), he tried to argue that I'd just proven his point for him, that it's inborn and you either can or can't, and nothing can ever change that. (I beat him over the head with a virtual trout, and changed my metaphor from singing to reading text.)

My personal observation is that most** people can sing acceptably, even if they think they can't. "Acceptably", by my definition, means that they can carry a tune well enough for it to be recognized -- occasional pitch-bobbles don't count against this. The very few people I've met who are unable to do so have generally been severely discouraged from singing, sometimes by means of physical abuse.

xeger, #546: I have a folksinger's voice -- warm and fuzzy and utterly unsuited to High Drama. Most of the time this causes me only vague regret, but occasionally I really, really want to do something like, say, some of Julia Ecklar's songs with that sort of power and clarity, and I just can't. Or rather, it would take far more time and effort than I'm willing to give to train my voice in that direction.

One of my most cherished memories from the voice lessons I took some 20 years ago was the moment when, in the middle of one of the vocal exercises, the most operatic note you ever heard came out of my mouth. I sounded like Frederica von Stade! I never did manage to reproduce it, but just that once I actually had operatic clarity.

caffeine/Persephone, #560: I had very good pitch all the way thru college. Then I didn't sing much of anything at all for 15 years, and now I have pitch problems. If you can lose a sense of pitch, you can also gain one.

Jacque, #573: All my life, I have said (and still believe) that I can't draw -- my creative talents lie elsewhere. And yet... in a storage bin up in the attic there's a sketchbook from the one semester of art class I ever had, back in high school. And in that sketchbook are some amazingly good drawings, including one really impressive representation of a random stick from the yard outside the building. It's as if for one semester I took a swing thru an alternate universe in which I could draw, or something. Sort of like my One Operatic Note!


* I am formally proposing the term "Spark of Light" to describe an unexpected encounter between Fluorospherians, as opposed to a Gathering of Light which is a planned visit.

** Again, I recognize the existence of outliers.

#712 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 09:24 PM:

Platypus, serpentine, murnival, vortex

My cranes have (at long last) been mailed, and photos posted to my Flickr.

*Wow, busted links leave a lot of junk behind when you go to fix your post.

#713 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 09:36 PM:

Xopher@709: I can't find any support online or in dictionaries for the idea that "Persephone" means "stolen". "Phone" would be "voice" or "speech", and most things starting "pers-" refer to the Persians. "Kore" or "Koure" does mean "young person" (it can be used of boys as well as girls) and sometimes "daughter" -- you may remember someone who used to post here under the name "kouredios", which means "daughter of Zeus", often an epithet of Athene but also used in the Iliad to refer to Helen.

#714 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2011, 10:11 PM:

Lee @ 711... Joy Freeman, who recognized me from Serge's Making Light and Faces site

Glad to hear the site was of some help.

#715 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 12:02 AM:

Jacque @ 701 - that's because for my favorite hymns, seeing the first line is enough to pull the tune in my head. I sorted the list of "what can I sing from the first line/title" by "sung so often I don't think about it" and "Old Favorites". I will say that I had 9 songs that I could do the tune on from a cold start.* It made narrowing easier. I had to do it that way, because I'm still new enough to the Episcopalian Hymns 1982 that I don't yet have a kinesthetic sense of where things are. For that, I need whatever it was we used in the church where I grew up.

Elliot @ 708
I come from a particular bardic/filk culture that says lyrics sheets are cheating. When it comes to not-in-that-setting, I am slowly learning a different paradigm. I still don't have many lyric sheets for things that are not my own work.

*Old Rugged Cross falls into 'cold start' but *not* 'old favorites'. In fact, if there was a song I never had to sing again...because either I sing it as a solo or it's a congregational hymn at every. single. damn. family. funeral. (I successfully kept it out of my grandmothers'. OTOH, I had to fight for more than one musical piece at my grandmother's funeral, for the woman who owned 2 pianos and bought the church's hymnbooks! [I might still be fuming about that liturgy. Maybe.])

#716 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 06:24 AM:

Stefan Jones @704

I wish Beethoven had an editor who told him to whack 10 minutes off of the 4th movement of the 9th symphony.
He wouldn't have listened.

After a start and middle that kind of justifies the existence of western civilization it just thrashes around.
IMNSO it's perfect as it is. But a bugger to sing.

#717 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 06:26 AM:

IMNSHO.

#718 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 07:16 AM:

sisuile @715: My initial reaction to that is 'screw em,' followed quickly by "if lyric sheets are good enough for Urban Tapestry to use in concert they're good enough for anybody, darnit." If it helps you enjoy the filk ... were I around I'd be happy to deploy my famed Hairy Eyeball in your defense against any philistines who think just because they're good at memorization they get to spoil other people's fun.

#719 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 09:52 AM:

Filk Circles: My only experience with one was at a Minicon, where my turn came up about forty seconds after I came into the room. I said I wasn't ready yet, and they went on to someone else. Later on, I was ready, but they didn't ask me again. I should probably try more often than once every ten years. I did get to sing my polka for an audience at SFContario [cap?] last year, though it wasn't at a filk.

Singing Wren @686: I couldn't find an actual Purcell "Trumpet Voluntary," and I did a brief search for one, just in case my memories were messing with me. Wikipedia and IMSLP both backed me up on it. YouTube, despite the prevalence of errors, was at least somewhat useful in providing actual samples of what some people thought were Purcell pieces. I trust my memory for giving me leads, but then I double check it, except in those cases where I have absolute confidence in the treacherous voices in my head.

Erik Nelson @707: Would it surprise you to know that PDQ Bach wrote a "Trumpet Involuntary"?

#720 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 11:08 AM:

Open threadiness: I thought telemarketers were annoying, but Comcast has gone one better -- two salesman knocked on my front door at 7pm. I went to the Comcast website and complained. I did get a very prompt response, telling me to put a No Soliciting sign on my front door. No other business has ever knocked on my door, so it's hardly seemed necessary until now. A sign big enough to be visible to someone before my highly motivated dog alarm* goes off would have to be legible from from the sidewalk. Not attractive.


*a.k.a. Maggie

#721 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 11:08 AM:

Just casually reminded by the conversation about memorizing melodies -- there have been several songs I can't remember if I try to just start them out of nowhere. Barbara Allen is one -- I can generally pick up the melody if I mentally jump in about halfway through the second verse then rewind back to the beginning before singing anything out loud. (And that, I note, is a song I've arranged to suit my own biases, so it's not like I'm unfamiliar with it's structure and content.)

I suppose it's sort of the singing equivalent of blank page syndrome.

#722 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 12:47 PM:

janetl, #720: Clear Wireless not only sent someone around to knock on our door despite the "No Soliciting" sign, but then when I pointed it out, he tried to ARGUE with me about it! Then a while later they sent some promo literature here... addressed to my ex-husband, who has NEVER lived at this address. I am Not Impressed.

#723 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 01:05 PM:

They're hungry salesmen, probably paid on commission for whatever they sell, and supremely uninterested in the long-term consequences (which there won't be any of) for the company on whose behalf they're knocking on doors.

#724 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 01:21 PM:

KayTei @721: I can generally pick up the melody if I mentally jump in about halfway through the second verse then rewind

I have several examples of this as well, e.g. one version of "Awake, Awake, You Drowsy Sleeper." It's my favorite version because of the melody for the last two lines of the verse, and I have to start there and reconstruct.

sisuile @715:
I don't need no steenkin' lyric sheets.

Because, um, I'm melody-challenged enough that, by the time I've gone over something the bazillionty-eight times required for me to be able to hold the melody... the lyrics are really not a problem any more.

Elliott way back @613: Once you've got your tone generator, find something to sing and hold the note until it 'feels wrong'; if the first note you try 'feels wrong,' slide it up or down a little until it 'feels right'.

Phil Cooper describes this process as, "Sing something other than the melody. If it sounds good, then it's harmony. If it sounds bad, then it's jazz."

#725 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 02:16 PM:

Kip W @719: That's another common failure-mode of 'classic bardic' or 'strict bardic,' where the Almighty Turn moves around the room like the sweep-hand of a clock, no exceptions: if there are thirty or more people who are somewhat interested in having a turn regularly, it can take hours to get around the room.

A rule of thumb we are deducing from our filkcircle taxonomy project (which involves a lot of real-world observation of actual circles) is that under 10 Performer Quanta (1 PQ = one person who wants to go regularly, or several people who want to go rather less often), almost any circle moderation format works well. Over 25 PQ, however, SOME failure mode is going to come into play no matter which method you use; some circles are more resistant to it, and some kinds of assiduous hands-on moderation can help, but there's the simple fact that if it takes 2-5 minutes to perform a piece, there's a limited number of pieces-per-hour that can be performed, and some performers get frustrated and calve off to another room or a hall-filk if their personal pieces per hour (pph) count goes too low.

We've also come up with the concept of 'circle gravity' -- a certain minimum level is necessary to maintain size and not bleed off potential listeners. A performer's charisma and skill at choosing pieces that jibe well with what went before affects the amount of gravity they can bring to the circle; some people are so high-gravity they can nucleate a circle all by themselves, but it usually takes 2-4 reasonably competent performers who are familiar with in-circle performance to successfully birth a circle with self-sustaining gravity. If you have too MANY high-gravity people, the circle approaches singularity: it accumulates listeners until there is no further room to stand, and then (assuming a reasonable percentage of those present have .5-1 PQ each) you hit the too-many-PQ-in-the-room problems.

Keeping a circle self-sustaining (enough gravity to maintain sufficient performers/listeners to maintain continuing gravity, without hitting runaway singularity) turns out to be a nontrivial problem, and is largely independent of moderation strategy/circle format.

#726 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 03:05 PM:

Stefan Jones @704: I wish Beethoven had an editor who told him to whack 10 minutes off of the 4th movement of the 9th symphony. After a start and middle that kind of justifies the existence of western civilization it just thrashes around.

Well, you know, we have Modern Technology. You could probably do that. Maybe even with software native on your machine.

I'm finally clueing into the virtues of iTunes: make a playlist, chuck in the albums I want to play together. Oh wait, I hate that song; zip! Oo, but I like those three; put the sequence in twice. (Yes, I know, this has been possible for decades, but I never got into the mix-tape thing, never having had cassette players. Cassette tapes always seemed too fragile to me.)

Now if I could just figure out how to add quiet spots to albums which have too-abrupt switches between songs, and fade off surgical resections of continuous-play albums.* (It would seem logical that iTunes would have a way to do that, as well as clip off the first, say, three seconds of a track. But if it's there, I haven't found it.)

iTunes still annoys the crap out of me. Its interface is not obvious to someone who thinks in Web, and I haven't been able to figure out how to fill in a bunch of the gaps in my understanding. Online help and Google have only been intermittently helpful.

--

* For those of us who, frex, love Dark Side of the Moon but detest "Money."

Elliott Mason @708: I mentioned we were geeks, right?

No! Really!? :o)

Lee @711: All my life, I have said (and still believe) that I can't draw -- my creative talents lie elsewhere. And yet...

So what you're saying is that you don't draw. Which is fine. We each have to pick and choose where we spend our four-score-and-seven. Me, I'm banking on reincarnation. Music/math gets my next lifetime. (Assuming I'm done with visual/verbal arts, which, at the rate I'm going, I may not be.) Dance & such, the one after that.

Singing Wren @712: My cranes have (at long last) been mailed, and photos posted to my Flickr.

Oo! Look at that nifty little handle you made for them! Cool!

Kip W @719: Minicon was, in my day, somewhat renoun for having a very particular filking culture. (In addition to which, if I recall correctly, there was the Filk crowd, and then the Not-a-filk crowd.) Things may have changed; last one I attended was some years before the Great Culling.

Elliott Mason @725: [filkcircle physics]

I'll bet there's a sociology masters thesis in there somewhere. I'll bet the model could be expanded to include protests and flash mobs, too.

#727 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 03:10 PM:

Anyone want a pirate ship?

Going for a song (and a million dollars), room for a crew more than adequate (as many as sixty, with room for prisoners, and plunder). Six bronze cannon included.

#728 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 03:19 PM:

Terry Karney @727 -- anybody told the Somalians?

Jacque @726 -- that's sound-editing software like Audacity. Not too difficult to learn, but perhaps more work than you want to put in.

#729 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 03:23 PM:

In the ongoing theme of authors ought not respond to reviews:

The review was "fair", in that he covers the good and the bad (nice story, some flow problems, good writing, hampered by spelling/copywriting flaws). All in all I'd say the reaction I got to it was favorable. More a case of, "a talent in need of an editor" than, "stay away."

Then the author starts (at comment one) to chime in. A bit further down... oi.

My writing is just fine!


You did not download the fresh copy.... you did not. No way!


As to annoymous


Al was given the option of a free copy from smashwords the following day to download in any format he preffered.

Look AL, I'm not in the mood for playing snake with you, what I read above has no flaws. My writing is fine. You were told to download a new copy for format problems the very next day while they were free at Smashwords, so you could choose any format you wanted to read it in and if their were any spelling mistakes they were corrected. Simply remove this review as it is in error with you not downloading the fresh copy i insisted. Why review my book after being told to do this, and more annoying why have you never ever responded to any of my e-mails?


And please follow up now from e-mail.
This is not only discusting and unprofessional on your part, but you really don't fool me AL.


Who are you any way? Really who are you?
What do we know about you?


You never downloaded another copy you liar!
You never ever returned to me an e-mail


Besides if you want to throw crap at authors you should first ask their permission if they want it stuck up on the internet via e-mail. That debate is high among authors.


Your the target not me!
Now get this review off here!


#730 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 03:28 PM:

We can't take our horrible DSL connection speed any longer, and so will be getting a service change (only $2.00 more a month) which involves moving from one Qwest server to another that will allow a connection that's five times faster. Unfortunately, Qwest refuses to allow me to keep my old e-mail address after the change. Does anyone know of a utility, or can suggest where I can find a utility that would allow me to go through Apple Mail, harvest the e-mail addresses, trim them down, then send out some one-line messages that my e-mail address is changing? I would have changed over before but I've been afraid I'll lose contact with a lot of people along the way--and mess up my posting history at Making Light, of course.

#731 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 03:40 PM:

Bruce @ 730 -

I think there's a way to export your Address Book to a .CSV file. You can then open it in Excel or Calc and do some surgery on it. You could create a Gmail account (if you don't have one) and import the .CSV file, and send a message out to everyone in the address book, telling them your new email address.

After the pain of switching from Comcast to Windstream, I decided to put my faith in the cloud and use Gmail for everything. I set my Apple Mail to pull from my Gmail account.

#732 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 03:51 PM:

HLN: Currently have a rental car, after my little car got rear-ended by a large SUV. No one was injured. The SUV itself was barely damaged -- just some of my paint scraped onto its front bumper. The whole left rear corner of my car was crunched, though.

The body shop has my car now, putting together an estimate. I admit to having no idea how much auto body work generally costs. But a) the SUV driver's insurance is paying for it, and b) my awesome mechanic recommended this body shop, so they are probably honest. (Awesome mechanic shoutout: If you live in the Triangle area of NC and drive a Japanese car, take it to Wasp Automotive. They rule.)

The SUV driver's insurance covered the rental, and apparently signed me up for a midsize sedan. It's odd to drive an Impala after spending so long driving a Corolla. The Impala accelerates more slowly, steers more slowly, and generally feels like I'm lumbering about the roads.

But rental cars are kind of fun for short periods. Like staying at a hotel. Everything is clean and new and shiny and different. (More fun since I'm not paying for it -- again like hotels.) It has a beepy clicky keyless entry thingy! And an actual Line In jack for MP3 players!

#733 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 04:12 PM:

Bruce @ 730:

If your e-mail contacts are all stored in Address Book: You can select all the v-cards in Address Book (or all those you want to notify of your new address), and drag the selection onto the BCC field of a new mail message in Mail. You can click on each person's name once it's in that field, to edit their email address or choose an alternate address. Then you can just fire off the e-mail to everyone at once.

If you want to go the "export Address Book to CSV" route, the utility to do that is here: http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/productivity_tools/exportaddressbook.html

If you want to look at people you've previously emailed who may or may not be in your Address Book, go into Mail, then go to Window - Previous Recipients. The resulting panel lists all your email recipients. People in your Address Book have a little card next to their names. From this panel, you can add people to your Address Book.

#734 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 04:22 PM:

According to a WSJ blog article, thh fhthrh hf Hnglhsh hs dhshmvhwhllhd.

#735 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 04:31 PM:

Dan Hooey

That is by the people who tweet as FakeAPStyleBook

#736 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 04:35 PM:

Steve C., Caroline: Thank you both! Unfortunately most of them aren't in the Address book--folks like the sculptor who worked out how to do metalcasting in microwave ovens, who was so surprised when I wrote him for additional info with a note of how I believed the parts of the process not online worked that he filled me in on the details as long as I don't reveal the full process publically. (I should drop him a line again...) Caroline, I suppose I could export everything to the address book somehow but that would fill it with junk: I was hoping someone would have a utility that might allow me to winnow down things first--something that could pull all the addresses from the various mailboxes and push them into a text file to bash into submission with the Mac version of utilities like grep and diff if necessary, then send a one-line note to everyone in the boiled down list that said "My e-mail address is changing from blahblah to blahblahblah." I can't be the only one that's run into this problem...

#737 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 04:51 PM:

Seconding Caroline's recommendation of Wasp Automotive (just got the car back from them yesterday, so it's fresh in the mind). They treat me and my husband the same; they tell us which repairs are immediately necessary and which can be put off. They don't fix things that don't need fixing.

#738 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 04:55 PM:

Terry @ 729 — Yes, it's the latest viral career trainwreck, the tastiest Schadenfreude in days.

I thought the best part was that the unwise author's first few salvos consisted of glowing reviews from amazon. Apparently she meant them as refutations of the lukewarm review. Reality-challenged, a little?

The glowing reviews, though, are fairly amazing. Excerpts:

I paricularly enjoyed being made a part of the story (or the feeling that I was) and also how discriptively it is written so that you can see the places and feel like you have visited them, which I find very important in a book.
The story is about a seaman with his younger wife that use to be a ballet dancer.
The descriptions of each new daily adventure she encountered seemed to effortlessly find themselves on each page for the reader to enjoy.
Of course, it may be only that readers with a tenuous grasp of English are best equipped to appreciate haphazard writing. But I can't help suspecting a bit of pseudonymous self-reviewing.

The most mystifying bits of the author's rant come when she is declaring victory over her detractors:

My first book is great! and I intend to promote now without your ball.
and
Just look at your ball all of you....look at you.
Can anyone shed light on this turn of phrase?

#739 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 05:10 PM:

albatross, #723: I don't give a shit how "hungry" they are -- and believe me, that one hadn't missed any meals recently. If they can't be arsed to read the sign, I can't be arsed to buy anything from their company, and I'll disrecommend the company to anyone else.

Zelda, #724: There's one song I do for which I have to mentally hum the last line in order to get the first interval right when I start it. I don't normally have that issue, and I don't know what it is about this particular song that causes it.

Elliott, #725: If there aren't enough strong performers in the circle, *I* start feeling over-pressured and will drop out and go hit the parties instead. My observation is that there have to be at least 3 other people who are better than I am to distribute the weight before I'm comfortable with being an anchor player. This is a recurring issue with filks in Texas, because we're performer-starved.

Jacque, #726: No, really. Aside from that one semester of art class, I have never been ABLE to draw. It's significantly different from "could but don't".

In addition to which, if I recall correctly, there was the Filk crowd, and then the Not-a-filk "We're REAL Musicians, No Filk or Filkers Allowed" crowd.
FTFY. I remember getting pretty pissed when they brought that attitude down to some of my regular cons.

#740 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 05:13 PM:

@726 I believe you can go into the iTunes track and tell it where the default start point is. It's been a long time since I set one up, but I know you can set a "stop here" point on an individual-track basis - one of the tracks I imported has about 3 minutes of music and about 15 minutes of static hiss due to... oh, somebody didn't edit something, I guess, I don't know. This was a few versions of iTunes ago and maybe the current version has removed this feature, but you used-to-could do it, anyway.

(I'm trying to figure out what written-standard-English construction works out to used-to-could in my mind's ear, and failing. I suspect it's a verb modality that exists in some other language I've been exposed to, and I've forgotten that it doesn't belong in this one...)

#741 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 05:45 PM:

Diatryma @ 490: In my case, my senior year of high school, it became obvious that a) I have a big voice, and b) I could not blend worth shit.

This reminds me of a passage from the recent New Yorker profile of Neko Case:

“I’ve never really listened to my voice and gone, That is a quality instrument,” she told me. “It’s more like, O.K., that’s good and fucking loud.” She added, “I’m kind of the horn section of any band I’m in.”
(When someone says they don't like Neko Case's voice, what comes to mind is "Your loss!")

Jacque @ 504: The correct way to respond to your kid if zhe has an ambition like this is what Robin Williams quotes his father as saying: "Just make sure you have a back-up profession, like welding."

Here I disagree a little. My mother was a theatre director and when people asked her if they should go into the theatre, her advice was always, "If there is anything else that you can imagine yourself doing and being happy at, do the other thing."

On the other hand, that was advice coming from somebody who'd been in the theatre her entire professional life and who was speaking from personal experience. (To the best of my knowledge, neither she nor any of her friends or colleagues ever managed to support themselves entirely on performing/directing/choreographing/whatever their specialty was. Everybody also either taught, worked as a bartender/server, cleaned houses, or something like that.)

Xopher @ 542: I never believe anyone who tells me they "can't sing." It's hard, because I want to respect them, but I have yet to find a case where they mean something other than that they were told they can't sing and/or not to.

I guess this puts me in the class of people you "want to respect" — but apparently don't?

May I suggest some compassion for those of us who say we can't sing? I would love to be able to sing. I would love to be able to sing within earshot of another human being without feeling like a steel band is closing around my sternum and crushing my heart against it. I would love not to feel the hot wave of embarrassment that crashes over me when I think about opening my mouth to sing in public.

It's not a physical inability to create sound. It's not inherent tone-deafness or anything like that. It's the result of some painful emotional experiences and some unsympathetic people in my past.

I've considered therapy and individual voice lessons to deal with this. I can't afford it. So for the foreseeable future, I expect that my voice will remain locked up, regardless of how badly I wish it weren't.

Do you have any idea how badly I envy you for being able to sing? To learn that not being able to sing apparently marks me as "not worthy of respect" in your eyes... ouch.

#742 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 06:03 PM:

Lee @739: the Filk crowd, and then the Not-a-filk 'We're REAL Musicians, No Filk or Filkers Allowed' crowd."
FTFY.

Um, yes, well. Many of these people Know Where I Live, so I wanted to be, um, diplomatic.

I remember getting pretty pissed when they brought that attitude down to some of my regular cons.

<boggle> ::sigh:: Some people's children....

Thena @740: I believe you can go into the iTunes track and tell it where the default start point is.

Any recollection of what the breadcrumb trail might look like? I've pawed through the menus, which are remarkable for their uninformativeness.

used-to-could do it

"used to be able to do it"?

#743 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 06:18 PM:

Lexica @ 741
Your mother's advice applies to any of the arts. If your soul cries out to only be a singer or a painter or an actor or a writer and nothing else will do, that's when you do that thing. Otherwise, do something else. It's easier to feed yourself if you do something else. (Says the person who got a 'Day' Job when the economy turned and supporting myself through art became...difficult.)

#744 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 06:25 PM:

Thena (740): 'Used to could' = 'used to be able to'. I'm pretty sure it's a Southernism.

#745 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 06:34 PM:

Jacque @ 742: Right click on the song and select Get Info. The start and stop time setting is in the Options tab.

#746 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 06:36 PM:

Jacque: Select song, get info, options -> start time and stop time.

There's also volume adjustment, which I'm going to get around to using on a couple really loud songs any day now.

#747 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 06:38 PM:

Lexica 741: I guess this puts me in the class of people you "want to respect" — but apparently don't?

No, no no no no, no! That's not what I meant at all. I mean I want to respect what they say, their self-evaluation, but I don't really believe they can't sing at all (some of the comments in this thread make me think I should revise that opinion). Not that I don't respect people who can't sing! Oh, gods, I'm mortified. Please believe I didn't mean that!

As for your situation...well, that's another one of those comments that make me think I should revise my opinion about people saying they can't sing. I'm sorry that happened to you, and doubly sorry that the clumsiness of my phrasing hurt you. It wasn't my intention, but it was my fault, and I apologize.

Terry 729: That's appalling. Here's the comment I wrote and elected not to post there. I've ROT13'd the title and author's name.

"Don and Katy watched hypnotically Gino place more coffees out at another table with supreme balance."
Wow. That is just wrong. Wnpdhryvar, your editor should have caught that. Failing that, your copyeditor should have fixed it, or at least queried it. Failing that, the proofreader should have marked it. (I'm assuming the word 'as' is missing from that sentence, and you think 'hypnotically' can be a manner of watching (which is bad enough), rather than that you think hypnotically' can modify 'Gino' (it cannot).)
Oh wait, you didn't have any of those (except maybe a proofreader), because you self-published. Could it be that no one in the real publishing world wanted to publish it? Their judgement is better than yours. Listen to them next time. Better still, take a couple of writing courses.
Wnpdhryvar, the stupidity of responding to a bad review is so famous that there's a special name for it; it's called "the Author's Big Mistake," or "the ABM." You've made a big ABM here, Wnpdhryvar. Worse, you demanded that that the review be removed, under the apparent impression that people need permission to review your work (they don't).
And really, "Gur Terrx Frnzna"? The opportunities for truly vicious satire that this affords are many and varied.
Sensitive people don't ROT13 this bit: Terrx Frzra - guvpxre guna erthyne frzra, jvgu gjvpr gur cebgrva!

#748 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 06:55 PM:

@738: All I can think they mean is some variant of "take your ball and go home".

#749 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 07:06 PM:

O.K.: I think I've got part of my e-mail solution. Found an application that's called MailFind that will extract e-mail addresses from "a wide variety of files, including those from your mail applications, text files, databases and more." The problem is that I'm not clear on what files to use in Apple Mail: do I do a search for all the .mbox files and then run each one through? Thanks for the help on this!

#750 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 08:33 PM:

I should have known it was all over the place... by the time I got to the end I was aware, but lordy...

I really liked (in the, Oh no!, you didn't) sort of way, the imperious (and strident/defensive) demand that he take it down, "right now" and take it e-mail.

#751 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 08:38 PM:

Mary Aileen, #744: Yes, "used to could" is definitely a Southernism; I think it's a contraction from "it used to be that you could". However, like "y'all", it also fills a lexical gap; "used to be able to" is an unwieldy and awkward mouthful by comparison. I wouldn't use "used to could" in a speech or in formal writing, but for casual use it's perfectly acceptable.

#752 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 08:40 PM:

Dn Hoey @ 78...

You shall go to the ball.
Or the ball will come.

#753 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 08:41 PM:

Xopher @747 — I don't think the word 'as' is missing. The way it looks to me, she took the grammatically correct "D&K watched Gino place more coffees...." and shoved 'hypnotically' in. She's trying to modify 'watched', but doesn't know that English doesn't allow an adverb there. And of course, she's got hypnotic watching backwards; if a cobra watches you hypnotically you're the one getting charmed.

Sandy B. @748 — Thanks. I had thought of that, but I can't see her telling her opponents to take their ball home. After considering it, I'm beginning to think it's a mistake for 'bull' as in 'logical error' or 'prattle'. Perhaps there's an ESL issue; I think 'ball' and 'bull' are more similar in some other languages.

#754 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 08:53 PM:

Lee @751:

Yes, "used to could" is definitely a Southernism; I think it's a contraction from "it used to be that you could"
Almost. I'm pretty sure that "used to could" is its own construction, based on the false analogy
I go to the store.
I could go to the store.
I used to go to the store.
I used to could go to the store.*
"It used to be that you could" is a construction to express the idea in a grammatical way, but I don't believe it precedes "used to could".

*incorrect.

#755 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 08:55 PM:

Weirdly enough, too much Latin translation done tonight makes that sentence--"Don and Katy watched hypnotically Gino place more coffees out at another table with supreme balance."--sort of make sense to me. Because it sounds like something I'd write when doing a word-by-word translation of a Latin sentence, and then I'd need to go back and revise bits. Don & Katy would be in the nominative, "watched" would be a nice straightforward indicative, "hypnotically" would be hanging out adverbially somewhere around there, and then Gino would be in the accusative, because he'd be the subject of the indirect statement, with the verb for that clause in the infinitive, and everything else just some handy adverbial clauses. I'm sort of tempted to dogLatin it up as an actual sentence, but I don't think I need to spend that much time trying to work out how to express "hypnotically" and "coffee" in Latin just now.

#756 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 09:09 PM:

Xopher @747: Not at all on topic, but Firefox insisted I upgrade to 4, and now Leetkey doesn't work.

I have rot13.com open in a tab (when I absolutely need to decypher a block of text), but I miss the convenience of highlighting text on the page and decoding it.

#757 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 09:42 PM:

My friend upgraded to Firefox 4, and she said it was rubbish (not her word) and reverted back.

I'm not doing it. Period.

#758 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 09:45 PM:

The good thing about Apple products is, if your brain groks their basic metaphor, using them is as straightforward as breathing.

The bad thing about Apple products is, if you prefer some other way of interacting with their product, GO SUCK IT, because they're not really customizable in any useful fashion.

iTunes makes very little sense to my brain. I have, through dint of months of practice, figured out how to use them to a) get podcasts and b) put them on my iPod -- because there's no other darned way to do it. But they hide things in weird menus I'd never think to check, and don't seem to even HAVE options that I figured would be standard, in ANY menu. Or, at least, I can't find them in the helpfile using any keyword that comes to mind.

Jacque @742, Lee @739: If you don't mind thirdhand hearsay, I have a hilarious Aahzish "Therein lies a tale ..." for you guys about the beginning of the end of the Minneapolis-cons-have-separate-filk-and-music-programming trend ...

The Music crowd [often lead by a certain well-known fantasy author who wrote a series of books about a human thief in a world of not-elves with each book named after a different heraldic animal] invited Steve Macdonald to Minicon to be their Music Guest in 2003. Their expectation was that he would participate in daytime programming, then decamp up to their 'Music Party' (a semiprivate affair, held in a large suite, that you have to Know Someone to get into) to participate in hootenannyish circle fun all night.

Time passed.

9PM. Maybe he was still at dinner? 10PM and no Steve ... maybe he got lost? They sent a scout or two down into the main conspace, where they were baffled to discover Steve in the designated openfilk room, having lots of fun. "Wouldn't you like to come up to the party where the musicians are?" the scout asked him timidly, or words to that effect, and Steve (as he told it to me) replied along the lines of, "But we're having so much fun! You can tell them we have plenty of room, they can come on down and join in."

There was bafflement upstairs. Eventually a couple-three of the Music Party people DID decamp to the filkcircle, and their ears were not burned off thereby with the Horrible Cacaphony Of Untrained Caterwauling.

This incident, I should note, happened amidst a bit of a groundswell movement in general in Minneapolis con-going music-playing fandom: a new cohort of folks had just discovered cons and filk, and (after coming to Chicon 2000, and doing other filk-only or filk-heavy cons) figured that the place to do the very fine music they did was in the filkcircles at their hometown con, Minicon.

That 'faction' is currently amidst attempting to politely ignore the distinction to death, while resisting all attempts to calve off the 'more-skilled' members of it upstairs into the Music Party 'faction'.

#759 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 09:48 PM:

Xopher @747:

The opportunities for truly vicious satire...
Check out the Amazon reviews.
It is slow and awkward at the beginning but the tempo quickly builds. Gur Terrx Frnzna then explodes in white hot excitement. I was so happy at the conclusion that I fell into a contented sleep.
and
When I first approached Gur Terrx Frnzna I'll admit I was a bit apprehensive, but soon I was lapping it up!

#760 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 09:51 PM:

Xopher, #747: You're far kinder than I. My response, had I been feeling mean-spirited enough to compose one, would have included phrases like "used to seeing this sort of tantrum from angsty 17-year-olds on fanfiction.net," "ask a friend whose first language is English to beta-read it for you," and "being a total dick to a reviewer who went out of his way to say that he found your story engaging". But I don't really want to get my soul all dirty with that.

#761 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 09:59 PM:

Lee (751)/Dan Hoey (754): In my mind 'used to could' is related to 'might could', another very useful phrase.

#762 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 10:11 PM:

Rob Rusick #756: Hmm. I haven't upgraded, because I instinctively flinch at new major revisions (that is, any X.0). This sort of thing is why....

Elliott Mason #758: And then there's cross-system compatibility... I still haven't managed to sync my iPhone to my Linux box, despite various Wine variants.

#763 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 10:19 PM:

Mary Aileen #761

Presumably "might could" is slightly weaker than "fixing to"?

#764 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 10:42 PM:

763
That's how I understand it.
Also, the past tense of 'might' is 'mought'. ('He mought could have done it.')

#765 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 10:46 PM:

In "might could" and "used to could," the "could" is a shorter way of saying "be able to." I defend both constructions on the grounds that they are more efficient. (I actually used this argument with an Ohioan officemate who was snickering at my use of "might could." He thought about it, nodded and said "I guess that is true.")

Likewise "y'all." A single-syllable plural "you"? Very useful. And it lends itself to the rhyming emphasizer/super-plural "all y'all."

Southernisms I do not like include "mash" for "press" (as in "Mash 'Return'") and "coke" for "soda" (pop, tonic, soft drink). But I do like "crack the window" and "cut [electrical device] on/off." The first is more efficient than "open the window a crack"; the second just sounds more vigorous than "turn it on". Presumably it dates from knife blade switches being more common?

#766 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 10:55 PM:

My favorite southernism for export into the rest of English is the use of 'all' as an emphasizer in "who all" and "what all".

#767 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 10:57 PM:

Caroline #765: IIRC we discussed "y'all" a few weeks ago; it developed that there are actually several different regionalisms for the plural second-person pronoun.

I've heard and used "crack the window" back in New York (where I grew up). Also "cut [off] the power"; I'm pretty sure the reverse would have been "cut in the power", but that was rare in my circles, we would have just said "hit the power", regardless of whether it was actually a button.

#768 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 11:03 PM:

Some of the windows on my car are cracked right now; it's been warm the last couple of days, and will be for the rest of the week.

#769 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2011, 11:04 PM:

I was bored the day Firefox 4 launched and figured I might as will give it a go. I could always go back to 3.6.whatever if it didn't work out. I really don't see enough difference between 4 and 3.n to be cause for hatred or even mild irritation in anyone. The only significant, non-cosmetic change I can detect is a noticeble increase in loading and rendering speed.

Rob @ 756: It is possible to fix the current version of Leet Key to work under Firefox 4. There's a "Maximum version" value in one of the files in the package that won't let it run or install on a version it hasn't been tested on. Editing that variable to a value higher than 4 makes it quite installable and useable.

(Slightly fiddly and mildly technincal bit follows)

If you want a working LeetKey under FF4, download the add-on (a file with the .xpi suffix)and save it somewhere. Use 7-zip or Winzip or similar to look inside the archive and find the file install.rdf. Open install.rdf with your text editor of choice. You'll find blocks of data pertaining to various applications it can be plugged in to. Under Firefox, change the value for maxVersion to 4 or more. Save the changes and then install the plugin via the option within Firefox to install from a file. Vg jbexrq sbe zr.

(Or you could wait for the developer to update the add-on himself. Past experience suggests this might take some time.)

#770 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 12:26 AM:

I've always said "crack the window" too. I grew up in Seattle but was born of New Yorkers, so it could be from either. (I know I've heard it from other people around here, but Seattle demographics being what they are, it's quite possible all of those people were Southern or Eastern transplants.)

#771 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 12:38 AM:

language: Cleveland/Los Angeles.

I crack windows, use a tap, or a spigot, cut the power, kill the lights, (and I hit them when I want either of them on). I flip switches, use either a wrench or a spanner. Soda is soda, though it can be soda pop, I wear wellies, and galoshes. Sardines come in tins, but tomatoes come in cans.

#772 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 01:50 AM:

Lee@760, it's probably just as well that comments aren't enabled, so I wasn't tempted to join the piling on that was happening, though if you go to her blog you can find her email address, and some of her artwork, and her reviews of other people's books, and her discussions of her poetry. But if you must go there, really, just look at her artwork and parse for an email address and don't read any of the other words! I know it's difficult to look at writing in a language you can read and not read it, but you really don't want to do that. Or read it with l33tkey* so the mangled grammar and punctuation are obfuscated.

On the other hand, I was ok with a glance or two at her paintings.

(*BTW, l33tkey is working just fine for me in Mozilla 4.0; I had to tweak one of the beta versions to accept it, but IIRC it was a matter of telling Mozilla add-on manager "yes, run it anyway even if it might break" rather than tweaking the internals of the add-on. There are some add-ons I use where that doesn't work, but they're mostly ok.)

#773 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 03:05 AM:

Paul @ 769: Thanks! Your tip for Leetkey worked like a champ! I had been grumbling to myself about it but I would never have thought to try looking inside it and tweaking the contents; I always assumed plug-ins were some kind of binary format that I didn't want to deal with.

So far I am finding FF 4.0 to be much faster than FF 3 was; the performance is like going back to the lean 'n' mean Firefox which came out when Mozilla had turned into a slug. Obviously the competition with Chrome is doing good.

#774 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 03:09 AM:

Gahh. I just got woken up (3AM) by the sort of between-the-toes itch that inspires thoughts of amputation. So far I've hit it with hydrocortisone cream and Gold Bond foot powder, which don't seem to be helping much.

#775 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 04:25 AM:

David Harmon @ 774: Wet some pieces of paper tissue in cold water. Place over itching areas so they are cool and damp. Wrap lightly with a small towel to prevent the water soaking the bed. Works for me with "itch until it drives you crazy" insect bites at night.

Of course, the solution for one or two insect bites (which won't be of any use in your circumstance, I acknowledge) is to find something such as a pen lid with a diameter slightly larger than the insect bite, and a narrow but smooth rim, place over the bite and press down quite hard, until the edges of the pen lid sort-of hurt biting into the skin. Remove(should leave a mark, but not break the skin). Seems to interfere with the "itch" nerve impulses for quite some time (often an hour or more, for me, which hopefully takes me past the histamine peak).

#776 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 05:35 AM:

re 641: Well, it was even easier than that: plugging the drive in helps too. (In my defense, there is so much extra cableage emanating from the power supply that it's hard to tell if any of the drives are or are not plugged in at all, much less whether or not they are connected correctly.)

So now I have an intractable problem: having gotten the OS installed, as soon as it picks up updates and reboots itself, it crashes whenever I allow it to boot normally. Apparently it hates the video driver, and installing the most recent one for the card doesn't help. I hate to have to trash some $1500 in hardware but I'm guessing I'll never make this work.

#777 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 08:39 AM:

Dan Hoey, 754: Please do not say that the way I've spoken all my life is "incorrect."

#778 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 09:12 AM:

TexAnne @777:

Please do not say that the way I've spoken all my life is "incorrect."
Sorry, I meant what linguists mean when they say it's "not standard English." "Incorrect" is just the word I use when I talk the way I've spoken all my life. I don't intend any offense.

#779 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 09:18 AM:

Dan Hoey @778: Respectfully, I hang out on Language Log a lot, and none of the linguists over there ever use the phrase 'standard English'. That's a prescriptivist phrase, and most of the linguists I'm familiar with are thoroughgoing descriptivists: the language is as she is spoke, period.

If it is a way the language is spoken, it cannot be 'incorrect'. If you're using it on the SAT, it can be GRADED as incorrect, but that's a very different thing.

Your default language choice brings in a contemptuous loading you may not have been aware of, that smacks of the kind of fussy 2nd-grade-teacher tin gods (note: most 2nd grade teachers are absolutely lovely) who think that Victorian-invented grammar rules are not only still current, but absolute universals.

#780 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 09:43 AM:

Caroline @765:

But I do like "crack the window"

I do too, but I don't think that one's a Southernism; I've never lived in the South, and that sounds completely normal to my variety of English (grew up in the Great Plains, then lived in California and Arizona).

If I may ask, where have you encountered people unfamiliar with this construction? Given other commenters it's looking like the people who don't use it may be the minority.

#781 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 09:47 AM:

Elliott Mason @779 — Yep, respectfully, that's me. Contemptuous and all. I'm not a tin god, but I'm on the side of the tin angels.

#782 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 09:47 AM:

dcb #775: Thank you, those sound like useful tips! And if I can find an an appropriately large version, might even work on my new, jumbo-sized stress hives!

Elliott Mason #779: Worse, as Texanne hinted at, it implies a cultural dominance that doesn't really exist. That becomes a borderline case when the target dialect is specifically associated with a permanent underclass and you're trying to raise people out of that underclass... but even for Ebonics, there are quite competent lingusts and teachers on both sides of that argument.

#783 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 10:07 AM:

Whoops, that last "you" should have been pointed at Dan, not Elliot.

PS to dcb: And yeah, the itching did fade after a while, at least enough for me to go to sleep. "Histamine peak": Hmm, if these hives are going to be a long-term feature of my life, I should probably learn more about them.

#784 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 10:09 AM:

Elliott Mason @725: I seem to recall they went right past me after that, so I just faded away.

Jacque @726: They were very welcoming, but they asked me almost right away and I wasn't ready. They seemed to interpret that in a much less short-term way than I intended.

David Harmon @774: I don't know if this would work for the specific location of the itch in your case, but I mention it as a general thing for anyone interested. When I have an itch I must not scratch (a rash or a bite), I scratch next to it. Scratching works by confusing the nerves, overloading with the scratching sensation so they will overlook the itching sensation. Many a time have I comforted a bug bite with a scratchy finger on each side of it. Hope this helps someone.

#785 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 10:16 AM:

Yesterday's news today: The artist George Tooker has died. My favorite living American painter, I think, until yesterday.

There's an appreciation, with examples, at the New Pals Club Web-Log. Tooker painted bleak human landscapes in a glowing magic realist style using the painstaking old-fashioned medium of egg tempera.

#786 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 11:31 AM:

LiveJournal seems to be down.

#787 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 12:05 PM:

Bruce @ 786 - It's back, kinda. Still flaky. You know about status.livejournal.com, right?

HLN: Local woman gets to do a flying run with Best Friend to Chicago to see Kings, Queens, and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France on Saturday, occasioning her first 'day off' in over a month. (There might also be a stop at IKEA, and Devon St., because, hey, shopping!) She will not be answering work emails or phone calls for One. Whole. Day. If anyone in Chicagoland would like to join for lunch or dinner, email username at the google mail service.

#788 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 12:16 PM:

David Harmon @ 782:

a cultural dominance that doesn't really exist
Damn straight. Nowadays you can talk like an upland-American and ain't nobody can say you no like they used to could.

#789 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 12:22 PM:

My wife says crack the window or open the window, also "open the light" (on) which I'd never heard, and "close the light" (off) which also shows up in Hawaiian pidgin (but not open for on.) Also cupboards (like kitchen or bathroom cupboards) are "closets" to her much of the time, but that might be peculiar to her family.

#790 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 12:27 PM:

#787: It's down again. (And fandom collapses.)

#791 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 12:40 PM:

David: If the itch between the toes is recurrent, try an anti-fungal cream (miconazole, etc.) together with the hydrocortisone; I get attacks of maddening itches periodically which clear up as soon as I remember to use the anti-fungal. Skin fungi thrive in slightly moist nooks of the body with little open air exposure, and between the toes is one of the classic spots. (The others are less mentionable in polite company, not that I claim to be polite.)

#792 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 12:53 PM:

Dan Hoey @ 779: Giving you the benefit of the doubt, I assume that was intended as tongue-in-cheek self-deprecatory humor, but FYI to me that whole exchange came off as "Yep, I'm going around insulting people and I'm smug about it." If that's not the impression you wanted to make, you might want to rethink your wording.

#793 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 12:55 PM:

Devin @770, Terry Karney @771, lorax @780: I'm surprised that "crack the window" isn't just a Southernism. I grew up in Raleigh, where many of my classmates were non-Southerners and most of our teachers were native Southerners, and I remember discussions where "crack the window" was an unfamiliar expression to the non-Southerners. Teacher asking someone to crack the window, and kids making jokes about breaking the window instead of opening it, that kind of thing.

It's possible that my interpretation of those memories is incorrect. Maybe my classmates were just being smart-asses (entirely likely, remembering some of my classmates).

I do know that my parents don't say "crack the window" (though they know what it means). They say "open the window a crack" or "open the window a little bit." They were both born in NY and spent time during their childhoods in various locations, including Indiana and Florida.

"Cut the power" is a different (and I think, more universal) usage from "cut on the lights" or "cut off the fan" or "cut the TV on." (I myself usually say "turn on the lights" or "turn the TV on," but I still like "cut.")

thomas @766, yes! "All" as suffix to question words is a great one too. I would say "Where all are you going?" to imply that I know someone is planning to go multiple places, and I want to hear the list. "Where are you going?" is more likely to be understood as asking for a single answer; if I want the list, I'll have to follow up with "But where else?"

David Harmon @774: This advice is potentially dangerous, so take it at your own risk. It may not be appropriate for the source of your itch either. But I have temporarily quieted the itch from a bunch of mosquito bites on my feet by dunking my feet into a basin of very hot water, hot enough that I can't leave my feet in for more than about 5 seconds, but not hot enough to instantly burn. It's a counter-irritant that seems to overload the nerves enough that they temporarily stop responding to the itch.

(My mom taught me this one when I was a kid. Mosquitoes seem to flock to me; I get multiple bites when other people get few or none. Insect repellant helps, but if I miss a spot, it will get bitten.)

If it's any sort of a histamine reaction, Benadryl can also help.

dcb @775, a friend of mine recommends pushing your fingernail into the insect-bite bump twice, forming an "X." Presumably the same idea as your pen-cap method. Sometimes it works for me, sometimes it doesn't.

#794 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 01:11 PM:

Jon, #790: Note that one of the reasons it's such a big deal when LJ is down is that it's so rarely down. Unlike Facebook, which is up and down like a yo-yo and much of the time flaky even when it's up.

#795 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 01:17 PM:

Dan Hoey, 778 et sqq.: I regret to say that your comments continue to insult me and the other Southerners here.

#796 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 01:25 PM:

Clifton (789): I've heard "shut the light".

#797 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 01:25 PM:

re: Video Drivers.

Some of the details depend a huge amount on the operating system used. Different versions of Windows can do things differently enough to get surprising. But it should be possible, if Windows is starting to boot, to switch into a "Safe" mode, which is ugly as all hell, but using a basic VGA driver that all video cards should still support.

From that point, you can work towards something more usable. As I recall, there are several options, on such things as network support. When you're trying to find the right drivers, you need to check both the motherboard and the video card, because you might need to load a driver for the motherboard chipset.

Incidentally, switching from the old parallel ATA boot drive to SATA might need a special driver to be loaded, which isn't on the Windows install media. Luckily. I still have a floppy drive on this machine, and some blank floppies.

#798 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 01:35 PM:

I don't remember having heard "used to could" before, but I've heard "might could" and "used to [various things we wouldn't have followed that with in the Northeast]" enough from Southerners enough that I'd assumed it was a Southernism. A friend from Kentucky has commented that the simplified Latin-based English grammar they learned in school doesn't begin to cover the verb tenses used in the US Southeast, with verb forms like "I mighta been fixin to get around to that back then" mapping to some kind of tentative optative past future imperfect construction that really doesn't exist.

#799 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 01:46 PM:

sisuile @743: Your mother's advice applies to any of the arts. If your soul cries out to only be a singer or a painter or an actor or a writer and nothing else will do, that's when you do that thing. Otherwise, do something else.

::jacque emits strangled noises::

Um (composing oneself carefully), I beg do differ. Of course, it should be noted that I come out of a repressive background. So I'm prejudiced. BUT...

I personally find it to be A Crime Against Nature to discourage someone from exploring any artform. Or to demand exploration.

I do fully endorse encouraging them to cultivate a Skill that's Known to be Marketable, too.

But I think thwarting peoples artistic (spiritual) desires accounts for a disproportionate amount of misery in the world, (cf: Alice Miller's Drama of the Gifted Child) and I can't stand by and let such assertions go unchallenged. Even when made by people In The Know.

But I Have Baggage, so I may be overreacting, here.

Paul Duncanson @745 & eric @746: Thank you!!! Will try that tonight.

People Who Can't Sing: the March 26, '11 issue of Science News includes an article about the first documented case of "beat deafness."

Elliott Mason @758: Or, at least, I can't find them in the helpfile using any keyword that comes to mind.

Oh, good. It's not just userFAIL on my part. That's a relief.

Still annoying, because it ought to be easy to use, since it's Apple. Which is why I persist in thinking I'm missing something basic, because I so rarely run into problems like this with Apple.

What I really need to do is mark down a list of things I want to be able to do and go make a Mac Genius appointment.... (One of the Genii that works at my local Apple store has alopecia totalis, and wears a wonderful SCREAMING PURPLE wig. She also lives in the building next to mine. It all Means Something.)

Minicon: I love it. And not before time. While, on the one hand, I very much enjoyed the music parties (and, I confess, the fact that I was on the "in" crowd—complements of Jon Singer), I did find the "aristocracy" vibe to be rather tedious and sententious. As to the "more-skilled" conceit, it was, perhaps, overgenerous in more than one case. IMnsHO. And, perhaps, not least, in the most conspicuous case, shall we say. ::meow::

Terry Karney @771 makes me laugh.

Kip W @784: I seem to recall they went right past me after that, so I just faded away. They were very welcoming, but they asked me almost right away and I wasn't ready. They seemed to interpret that in a much less short-term way than I intended.

They saw you come in, thought, "Hah! New blood!" But then went back to their musical "coversation," at which point it probably would have taken some extra effort to break in again, like a rolling dinner-table conversation. 'Least, that's my speculation about the dynamic.

Many a time have I comforted a bug bite with a scratchy finger on each side of it. Hope this helps someone.

I can make that work about three times. Then, the itch gets wise: "You can't fool me! I can tell what you're trying to do!"

I'm going to have to try the damp bandage and pen-cap tricks, though. Living in Colorado, the dry air will often exacerbate any little itch.

I also, when I notice a bite, try really hard not to scratch it. If I ignore it, it will often shut up on its own. If I scratch it, that stirs up the histamines. Which then wakes up all the other bites. "Me too! Me too!" Better just to walk silently by and not make eye-contact.

Caroline @793: It's possible that my interpretation of those memories is incorrect.

It's also possible that your interpretation of the memories is correct, but that the usages have spread out of the region since you were in school. I'm noticing a lot of what I thought were classic Britishisms turning up in everyday local American speak. I think the Internet is at least partly responsible, as readers get the turns of phrase without the associated accent. I suspect this trend will continue and accelerate.

#800 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 01:47 PM:

re 797: It will boot in safe mode with networking, which is how it got a new copy of the video driver in the first place. Is there some way to force it to use a degraded driver in normal mode until I can get this straightened out?

I've heard of the SATA issue but I don't know what I can do about it. I haven't had a chance to look into the motherboard issue yet.

#801 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 01:49 PM:

Every country is best at something. (And I grew up on Long Island, which provided a lot of America's "classic cases").

Dan Hoey #788: Point taken, but there's still a long way between a real "dialect" and the occasional usages we were talking about. (Also, "proper English" doesn't get you half as much respect, when you're snooty about it.)

Clifton: Yeah, it's recurrent, and I've been through most of the OTC tinea remedies. Nowadays it's not usually a big problem -- last night was a particularly sudden and severe flare.

Caroline: Hmm, maybe I should pull out my foot basin and Epsom salt! The stress hives are certainly histamine, but I wanted to try topical treatments before going for Benadryl.

#802 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 01:57 PM:

I need a product (service?) recommendation.

My seventy-something aunt and uncle have a Mac desktop.

They want to use an off-site, web-based backup service.

It needs to be Mac friendly, and automated. As in, if they leave the computer on in the morning, a backup will be scheduled and happen.

They don't need a lot of capacity. I imagine a Gb would be fine.

#803 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 02:25 PM:

Jacque:

I think the disconnect here is between someone wanting to pursue some art for the love of doing it, and someone planning to try to make a living at it. Art, drama, music, and sports are "tournament" kinds of things to do for a living--merely being a competent practitioner who produces good work reliably and efficiently doesn't mean you'll be successful and make a living at it. There are a *lot* of really good musicians and actors and artists out there waiting tables to pay the bills. There are a lot of folks who were once the best player on their high school football team, and who are now tending bar or selling cars. Even being really talented and working hard isn't enough to reliably make a living at these things--you have to be an incredibly rare super talented person, or almost that talented and an incredibly hard worker, typically with a fair bit of luck along the way, to succeed in those fields. (Even someone destined by talent and hard work for a pro sports career can easily have it derailed by a couple of injuries at just the wrong time, or one really serious one that ends his career.)

That's a big contrast with other jobs, like programmer or teacher or carpenter, where simply being a competent practitioner in the field means you can make a living at it.

I think it's very reasonable to strongly recommend to your kids that they find a way to make a living they can enjoy and prosper at, rather than pursuing their tournament-winning dreams at all costs. That doesn't mean "stop doing sculpture," it means "make sure you have some way to make a living other than becoming a successful sculptor."

#804 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 02:28 PM:

Paul Duncanson @769: Thanks, that did the trick.

Ironically, I could not download the leetkey XPI file in Firefox; the download button immediately changed into an 'Add to Firefox' button (which wouldn't let me add it because it said it was incompatible with Firefox 4). I needed to use Internet Explorer to download the XPI.

My other kvetch was that I couldn't use the hot key combination I used to use for leetkey. That had been taken over by Firefox as a hot key combination for 'Add-ons', and I couldn't find any info on how I could change the hot keys that Firefox used.

Incidentally, I just noticed this widget at the lower right of this box I am typing in, that lets me re-size the box. Is that new?

#805 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 02:30 PM:

David:

Yeah, that's a nice example of a kind of data snooping. Give me enough criteria, and I can always come up with something you are best or worst at. Thus, the statistics you sometimes get from activists or journalists showing that "our county is the worst in the state at 4th grade science assessments for hispanic kids in schools with fewer than 500 students," or some such thing.

#806 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 02:33 PM:

albatoss @ 803... music, and sports are "tournament"

Cue in the image of Ivanhoe and de Bois-Guilbert trying to beat the crap out of each other with violins.

#807 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 02:39 PM:

C. Wingate at #800

you can try deleting the device (i.e. the driver) in the hardware list. This may or may not work (but won't make it worse, after all.)

#808 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 02:39 PM:

Jacque @799
albatross @803 said what I was thinking re encouraging people in artistic pursuits

I'm noticing a lot of what I thought were classic Britishisms turning up in everyday local American speak.

My daughter finds these creeping into her speech; she says it gets her odd looks from her friends. She attributes it to a fondness for the BBC.

#809 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 02:45 PM:

Jacque @ 799 I probably should have said "Do something else for a living." It was not meant to be a give up your art/craft/passions line, but I do know that if that passion is not absolute, it is extremely hard to have the drive necessary to make a living in the arts. You have to be good and/or find a niche and/or be lucky and/or work your ass off until you can't see straight, pick three (more likely, pick all four).

#810 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 02:52 PM:

And if you want another odd phrase about lights, I've heard "Make out the light."

This is what happens when you start with a word-for-word translation from German ("Make the light out") and "Anglicize" by changing the word order.

#811 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 02:54 PM:

albatross @ 803: Art, drama, music, and sports are "tournament" kinds of things to do for a living

It's less all-or-nothing than people think. See Danny Barnes' How To Make A Living Playing Music (one of the best things I've ever read on the web).

#812 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 02:56 PM:

Elliott, #758: *giggle* Why am I not surprised that Steve was involved? :-)

Also, the story provides some interesting parallels to American society in general. That sort of elitism only works as long as the vast majority of people buy into it, and consider "an invitation to the high-status party" something to be striven for. Change the perception of the elite group being somehow "better" than everyone else, and it all falls apart. Which could explain some of the current Republican political strategies...

TexAnne, #795: Do you feel the same way about me saying that I consider "used to could" acceptable only as casual speech? Because even though I didn't use the word "incorrect", that's pretty much the same thing. I use a lot of locutions in casual speech that I would consider incorrect in formal English -- for example, if I saw them on a resume.

Jacque, #799: Kathleen Sloan's "Take It Back" seems to be relevant here.

Actually, I don't think you and sisuile are that far apart -- you're talking about entirely different contexts. I agree with her that you should only attempt to make a living as an artist, writer, etc. if it's the only thing you can imagine doing and being happy. I agree with you that doing artsy things can greatly enrich anyone's life, and that the artistic impulse should never be discouraged even if that doesn't end up being your full-time job.

Also, here's the link to the Science News article you mentioned. I find that fascinating, because I know (from contradancing experience) that I have a much stronger sense of beat than many people. That there are outliers who have no sense of beat at all should be no surprise.

#813 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 03:00 PM:

Re: Art careers... my mother is a reasonably good painter, as was her father before her. In both cases, most of their output came from before and after their "working lives", precisely because they had children to feed.

#814 ::: Dave Howell ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 03:17 PM:

Stefan Jones@46: "Can I bitch here about how damned cheaply made undershirts and underpants are these days?"

Only if you're prepared to prove that the reason is not because you're only *buying* cheap undershirts and -pants, I would say. If you're spending a couple of dollars/pair (pair???) for white cotton briefs or cute printed boxers at a department store, well, that's the cheap stuff. I usually pay $7-$15 (on sale) for my underpants (partially because cheaper ones don't fit me well enough)*, and they're absolutely outlasting the cheaper garments in the drawer.


*I think women would laugh if somebody suggested that a bra that lays flat without wrinkles on a table has much hope of fitting comfortably. I became much happier when I realized the same is true of men's underwear.**

**Of course =boxers= can lie flat on the table. They don't even try to 'fit,' except in the sense of "not falling off," and even that's rather questionable.

#815 ::: Dave Howell ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 03:18 PM:

Stefan Jones@46: "Can I bitch here about how damned cheaply made undershirts and underpants are these days?"

Only if you're prepared to prove that the reason is not because you're only *buying* cheap undershirts and -pants, I would say. If you're spending a couple of dollars/pair (pair???) for white cotton briefs or cute printed boxers at a department store, well, that's the cheap stuff. I usually pay $7-$15 (on sale) for my underpants (partially because cheaper ones don't fit me well enough)*, and they're absolutely outlasting the cheaper garments in the drawer.


*I think women would laugh if somebody suggested that a bra that lays flat without wrinkles on a table has much hope of fitting comfortably. I became much happier when I realized the same is true of men's underwear.**

**Of course =boxers= can lie flat on the table. They don't even try to 'fit,' except in the sense of "not falling off," and even that's rather questionable.

#816 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 03:30 PM:

sisuile @787: Alas, I shall be out of town this weekend, or I might invite myself along for part of it. :-> Our IKEA is pretty darn awe-inspiring.

albatross @803: Hence people like Anna Russell and the amazing duo Igudesman & Joo, since classical music is a specif subfield of 'making your living doing music,' and therefore is an even smaller pond. I remember reading an interview with Ms. Russell once where she pointed out that despite her perfectly lovely coloratura operatic soprano voice and great musical skill, there are only so many paying slots to be a working operatic soprano in the entire world, and that the number of applicants for same is about an order of magnitude bigger than the number of slots. So she went into comedy, instead -- classical-music inspired, highbrow comedy. And she made a lovely living at it.

If you can't be good enough at your art to make a living at it straight, squint at it and see how it can flavor ANOTHER way of making your living -- art outreach to kids, entertainment, television production ... even explaining/demonstrating your field to the public can pay the rent (hence David Attenborough, inter alia).

The same rules alas apply to high-level degrees in a lot of academic fields; there are really very few jobs for PhD-enhanced people in the ivory towers of academe nowadays, especially compared to the number of people with said degrees produced each year.

Lee @812: It's even better when he's telling it directly, because he can show you the utterly blank, cheerful, plug-stupid "What, me subtext? Me no subtext, me musician! Music FUN!" look he used at the time. He knew very well going into it what the politics were, and decided to Decline To See Them.

#817 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 03:34 PM:

#814: I buy the same brands I always have. Name brand, but not top shelf. Fruit of the Loom, Haynes, etc.

I don't buy often enough to be able to have tracked, on an inflation-adjusted basis, whether these brands have gotten less expensive through the years.

But given the same brand, they've definitely gotten shabbier.

At the same time, I'd hate to buy something more expensive, only to find it's the same crap with a gold-dyed waistband and fancier packaging.

#818 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 03:35 PM:

Non-local local news: Hollywood skiffy comes to Boulder.

#819 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 03:45 PM:

Stefan @ 817 -

I've had exactly the same experience with women's undies in the last few years. It seems that they don't want to raise the price on their goods, and what I used to wear with the FoTL branding is actually the next step up, conveniently with a different brand name. I don't mind paying more, I just wish the manufacturers would be honest about it, because at this point, the level of quality guaranteed by a brand is absolutely nil. And of course, price point is no longer a guarantee of quality either - it might be that they're charging more for the marketing, not their product. Or just for fun, because they can.

(also in the "just charge me extra" column: toilet paper. Calling the equivalent of a standard cheapie roll a "Charmin Double Roll" does not make it so. I buy stuff with the expectation of how long they're going to last - don't try to fool me by keeping the price and description and shrinking the product. Ice cream manufacturers, you're off the hook. I'd just as soon not have an actual half-gallon of ice cream in my freezer.)

#820 ::: Dave Howell ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 03:56 PM:

Elliott Mason@758: "The bad thing about Apple products is... they're not really customizable in any useful fashion."

I respectfully quibble. I would agree that iTunes has a fairly poor user interface compared to many Apple programs. Things *are* hidden in odd places, and they keep moving them around. On the other hand, it's customizable in a variety of ways. You can assign (or re-assign) keyboard shortcuts via System Preferences->Keyboard->Keyboard Shortcuts->Application Shortcuts. You could build an entirely separate interface, using the quite comprehensive scripting interface* to control the program itself. And it has some options for attaching new functions, a la the various visualizers, or via whatever cleverness TuneUp uses to bind to the main window.

Apple's software is far less homogeneous than most people seem to think. It took Apple years to get a decent scripting interface for Mail. Pages didn't even have one in version 1.x. I found Keynote's UI extremely easy to use when I first met it, but iMovie still keeps tripping me up. XCode, Apple's astonishingly comprehensive and exceptionally affordable development system, is also extremely customizable, supporting a number of different plug-in options. Numbers, not so much. There are myriad little applications for customizing the Finder. Numbers and Pages allow users to add templates, and iMovie and AddressBook have plug-ins folders. Safari has an "Extensions" folder, but its scripting interface is extremely limited (and would be all but useless except that one of the handful of commands is 'run JavaScript "blah blah blah" in window X').

By "scripting interface," I'm referring specifically to Apple's Open Scripting Architecture, btw, an amazing and woefully underused feature of many Mac apps. Try googling "AddressBook AppleScript iCal" for example.

#821 ::: Dave Howell ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 04:07 PM:

Interesting item for the electromechanical geeks:

By happenstance, I have an electric motor sitting near my desk. It's a cylinder about 7 inches in diameter and about nine long. It's rated to use 120 volts, draw 6.6 amps, and rotate with a force of about 1/3 horsepower. It's extremely typical of the ilk.

Through one of those 'follow the link' games that started at Grand Coulee Dam, I found out about Launchpoint Technologies' "Dual Halbach Air-core Motor". It's a very short cylinder ("disk" would be a better adjective) about six inches in diameter and about one inch thick. It runs on 120V at up to 51 amps, and it's rated to deliver seven (7!!!!) horsepower. So it's <10% of the volume of my motor, but will deliver >2000% of the force.

#822 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 04:19 PM:

albatross @803: That doesn't mean "stop doing sculpture," it means "make sure you have some way to make a living other than becoming a successful sculptor."

Yes. You articulate well the distinction I want to see made. As I say, I have a bit of baggage about that, and I also see too many people unnecessarily crushed by "practical" absolutism.

Serge @806: Ivanhoe and de Bois-Guilbert trying to beat the crap out of each other with violins.

You don't beat your opponent your violins, you stab them with your bow. Anybody know that. ;-)

sisuile @809: It was not meant to be a give up your art/craft/passions line,

Okay, good. Didn't really think so, but just wanted to make sure. Folks who are already struggling with confidence over their talent are, IMO, disproportionately vulnerable to anything that might be perceived as Pronouncements From On High.

but I do know that if that passion is not absolute, it is extremely hard to have the drive necessary to make a living in the arts.

Heh. As you say, it's extremely hard even if one's passion is absolute. But, hey! That's the sport of it, right? (And besides, it's Good for your Immortal Soul.)

Tim Walters @811: It's less all-or-nothing than people think.

Yes. That's a perspective I'd really like to see emphasized more. (Can we tell that this is one of Jacque's hobby-horses?)

Lee @812: Kathleen Sloan's "Take It Back" seems to be relevant here.

Yesyesyes!!! Exactly. Barbara Sher has also made some sharp and pointy comments in this vein.

I have a much stronger sense of beat than many people.

It was a big breakthrough for me when I figured out that rhythm is not an auditory sense. It's a kinesthetic sense. I'm still really bad at it, but with this insight, I imagine I could eventually get good (or at least tolerable) with practice.

Elliott Mason @816: there are only so many paying slots to be a working [musician],

and even those tend to be "working poor."

very few jobs for PhD-enhanced people in the ivory towers of academe

In Boulder, the largest employer of PhDs seems to be the cab company.

He knew very well going into it what the politics were, and decided to Decline To See Them.

Which harkens back to my comment about training wild animals.... <snark>

Dave Howell @820: comprehensive scripting interface

::Jacque's ears grow points:: Oh my ... thank you!

#823 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 04:34 PM:

On itches: ice works even better than cold water for short-term relief. Just don't leave it on too long (more than 15 minutes, or after you start feeling numb rather than just relieved). Works well on just about any sort of inflammation, to reduce it temporarily. (And, since most itching is a histamine reaction, you can get some relief from systemic antihistamines; but not as much as you might think.)

#824 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 04:39 PM:

albatross @803: That doesn't mean "stop doing sculpture," it means "make sure you have some way to make a living other than becoming a successful sculptor."

Paul Graham also makes this point well in one of his essays: you need to decide what you want to do with your life and how you are going to support yourself doing it. Sometimes these can realistically be the same, but not for everyone, and you don't want to confuse the two decisions.

#825 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 04:47 PM:

I'm sorry that Texanne takes my comments as a personal insult. If any other Southerners take them as an insult, I regret that, too. I've said I didn't intend to insult anyone, and I mean it.

My tongue-in-cheek comments were meant to rebut Dave Harmon's assertion that cultural dominance by standard English does not exist. I am quite sorry that in my efforts to be humorous about it, I referred to a popular stereotype of a disadvantaged group.

#826 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 05:22 PM:

@#789 Clifton Royston
"open the light" (on) ... and "close the light" (off)

Those are fairly common in Montreal, and are pretty much straight up 'Frenglish' (although I don't know that "ferme la lumière" is grammatically correct French, either!)

@#783 David Harmon, the itching

Learned from a dermatologist, good for sunburn, insect bites, and hives:

Take a couple few Ibuprofen. Crush. Add just enough water to make a paste. Apply to itch.

This takes the itch away, makes the redness and swelling go down, and hastens healing, too. In the case of sunburn, not only does the red disappear by the next day, the skin never peels.

He took the idea to a few drug companies, trying to get Ibuprofen sold in cream or ointment form for this purpose, but no one was interested, so now he just tells everyone.

Do not use if allergic to Ibuprofen, obviously.

#827 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 05:42 PM:

David Harmon @ 783: "jumbo-sized stress hives" sounds like a lot of no-fun; I do hope my tips help a bit. I think the coolth of the water soothes, while the other just interfers with the itch signal.

I wouldn't say "crack the window", but I might ask someone to "open the window just a crack" - does that mean the same thing, or does "crack the window" = "open the window"?

#828 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 05:49 PM:

After a quick look through my underwear drawer, my "comfy+durable" brands of jockey shorts: Joe Boxer, Covington, Kirkland (Costco store brand), and Tommy Hilfiger (sp?). Haynes is "just OK", it's the cheapest I'll buy these days. "Froot Looms" are right out, but I still have some left in the drawer, because I'm a cheapskate and wear things until they're used up. (Hmm... those leftovers might be from before the FotL downgrades. Selection processes are tricky.)

Dan Hoey #825: And you'll notice that even I felt moved to chide you after conceding the point. Happily, you're not at the "OH NO DAN NO" stage yet... which makes it an excellent time to drop the shovel.

#829 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 05:57 PM:

dcb #827: It's not as bad as it could be, as I'm only getting singletons -- but they're popping up at apparently-random locations on my body, with from one to three of them active at a time. Quite annoying!

And yeah, "crack the window" implies "open it a little".

#830 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 06:05 PM:

Cherryl @ 826... I don't know that "ferme la lumière" is grammatically correct French

It is.

#831 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 06:15 PM:

Cheryl #826: Ibuprofen cream, hmm.... Noted for upcoming hiking season as well, thanks!

#832 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 07:18 PM:

David Harmon @828: Yes, and yes. I am not at all happy about my part in inflaming this issue. While I think some of my attitudes have been misinterpreted, I would much prefer letting it drop to the risk of making it worse.

#833 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 07:24 PM:

David Harmon @ #828

Paging the Underpants Gnomes; Would the Underpants Gnomes please go to Post #828.

Ahem.

Hives and itching: Steroid creams (cortisone, et al) tend to work, but be sure any itching is not caused by fungal infections which steroids may aggravate.

#834 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 07:31 PM:

Dave Howell @820 suggested some options for customizing iTunes, including scripting keyboard shortcuts

That's fine. However, I don't want to do any of those things. I want to know what it's doing with my filesystem, where it is keeping files (and ideally TELL IT WHERE TO KEEP THEM), what it's doing with filenames and directories for things it rips, and exactly what of the soundfiles on my computer are ACTUALLY MUSIC that I want it to know about.

Because when I installed it and ran it the first time, it spent over 20 minutes adding all kinds of video game bleep-bloop sound clips and God knows what-all else things that ARE NOT MUSIC to my 'Library', and I couldn't make it stop, and I couldn't tell it "I keep my music in a logical, specific directory which is the ONLY source of music on MY ENTIRE COMPUTER, please ignore everything else."

And then it started automatically syncing 3GB of utter garbage to my iPod, which also took forever to figure out how to make it stop, take it off, and KILL IT WITH FIRE.

My options for 'what podcasts to download and how many to keep' also do not include my actual choice, which is "download the most recent as it comes up, and when I have heard it DELETE IT FROM MY HARDDRIVE, but remember that I've played that one." So I now have quite a few GB of listened-to podcasts filling up my (not especially large) drive, but if I delete them manually outside iTunes, it re-downloads them as un-listened to. Sigh.

So I'm frustrated with Apple, sorry. They really, really want me to not trouble my pretty little head with things like how stuff works ... but I have strong opinions and a significant knowledge base in the subject, and I want IT to do what *I* want it to do, not what it thinks most people want in a general sense.

I am very glad that UNIX-heads who like to script things can customize (some?) Apple products, but I like GUIs, truly I do, and I've been an intensive GUI user since the original Macintosh and Windows 3.1 -- and I find almost all Apple programs utterly infuriatingly frustrating.

I like the iPod touch, though. I'll probably own one, eventually (broke).

Man, that was a lot of capitalized shouting. I'm sorry, guys. This really does drive me utterly incendiarily livid; I have a lot of very specific Issues with GUIs that don't make sense to my hindbrain. My vituperation is directed at the software, and not my conversational partners.

#835 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 07:59 PM:

Dan Hoey #832: Roger, I'm cool with that.

Everyone: The BBC is currently offering a 100 Word Challenge: Write something interesting using only the most 100 common words in the English language. Unfortunately, Their list is in a GIF, but I typed them in:

the be to of and a in that have I it for not on with he as you do at this but his by from they we say her she or an will my one all would there their what so up out if about who get which go me when make can like time no just him know take
people into year your good some could them see other than then now look only come its over think also back after use two how our work first well way even new want because any these give day most us

#836 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 08:02 PM:

Elliott Mason @ #834, that was impressive.

I have a simple gripe about iTunes for Windows. It has downloaded a few songs it "thought I'd like." Unfortunately they are the same songs over and over, so I now have about six copies of the same thing I didn't ask for in the first place.

And the instructions for deleting songs, when followed, don't work.

#837 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 08:09 PM:

Linkmeister @836: Something that appears to be unfixable is that my iPod (the old 'stick of gum' format Nano) has absolutely no way to tell it to 'play next automatically' when it comes to podcasts. If I feel like doing the work, I can in theory make a playlist of podcasts and have it play the playlist (somehow; I don't get how to get into playlists but it is in theory trainable), but what I really want is "Play oldest episode and continue playing until you run out of this podcast, then ask me." Because when I'm driving, or out and about on foot, it's a pain to have to fumble for it to navigate menus to get to the next one and tell it to play (especially when dealing with 7-min-long podcasts).

This is solved in some newer iPods' software, but I don't have those ones.

#838 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 08:10 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 834: I'm not at an iTunes-enabled computer at the moment, so I can't give you an exact recipe, but you can point iTunes to an existing folder, and uncheck "Keep iTunes Folder Organized," and I think it will do a lot of what you want. (You should back up the music folder first.)

Alternatively, now that the import is done, you can make one pass through your library to delete the non-music (in iTunes, not via the file system!), and then get used to its folder system, which is fairly straightforward (iTunes Music/Artist/Album/NN Track Title.mp3, where "NN" is the track number). If you look at the track info, it will show you the path to the file. Multi-artist compilations* go in the Compilations folder instead of an artist's folder.

Do the podcasts reanimate if you delete them from within iTunes?

Also, if you're not committed to iTunes because of owning an Apple player, there are a lot of alternatives, some of which might be more to your liking.

*And albums which some dingbat has tagged as compilations even though they're regular albums. But you can fix this.

#839 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 08:15 PM:

Linkmeister @ 836: And the instructions for deleting songs, when followed, don't work.

My guess is that you're deleting it from a playlist rather than from the library. If you're in the main library view, when you select a song and hit the delete key, you should get a dialog asking you if you want to move it to the trash (unless you've disabled that dialog). If you do that in a playlist view, it will just remove it from the playlist, without any dialog, and leave it in the library.

#840 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 08:32 PM:

Am I the only person here who's getting subthreads mixed up, resulting in the image of various posters getting smeared with ibuprofen tablet paste?

Elliot Mason@834: Try "Edit...Preferences" on the menu, and look in the "Advanced" tab. That contains a gizmo that should let you tell it where to put the "iTunes Library." I'm still on version 9.1.1.12, so this advice may be long out of date, but it worked for me when I was connecting five different user accounts to a common library directory.

#841 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 08:45 PM:

mjfgates #840: Just so you don't smear the ibuprofen paste on your iPod....

#842 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 09:20 PM:

Elliott Mason @ #816, not to mention Victor Borge and The Cleverlys.

#843 ::: Dave Howell ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 09:34 PM:

Frustrated Elliott@834: It's unfortunate that iTunes's current defaults are so "here, don't get in my way, I know what you want" ish. Rather Apple-y, regrettably.

I've been using iTunes since version -1 (which is to say, I bought SoundJam from Casaday&Greene before Apple bought the program and the engineers and made them turn it into iTunes), so I haven't seen what happens when you 'start fresh' in a digital coon's age, but I do know if you want to organize your sound files as you like, look at Preferences->Advanced, and uncheck "Keep iTunes Media Folder Organized" and "Copy files to iTunes Folder"

I'm a bit puzzled on your podcast preferences, because it looks as if you're describing exactly how I like my podcasts to be handled. I've got my podcasts settings as "Check: Manually" "Download most recent available episode," and "Episodes to Keep: all Unplayed ones." Once I've listened all the way through an episode, it's no longer "unplayed," and the next sync takes it off the iPod, off my hard drive, and makes it disappear from iTunes, never to return.

On my computer, I *do* have "keep my iTunes folder organized" but I do NOT have "Copy files to iTunes Folder" because 98% of my library is stored on the home server, not on my laptop. It would never fit, for one thing. If I rip a CD, those files go into my laptop iTunes folder. I wrote a little script so that I can select tracks in iTunes and fire off the script, and it moves the music files to the server, then updates iTunes' records so that it knows where the files have moved to.

"I am very glad that UNIX-heads who like to script things can customize (some?) Apple products" Hah. I wouldn't let a 'Unix-head' write me any scripts. Unix/linux/blahblahblah has nothing remotely resembling the Open Scripting Architecture. You don't have to write scripts in AppleScript any more, happily; it can be done in Ruby (my current preference), and I think there's a script interface library for PHP or Perl or somesuch, but it's still a Mac thing. There's also Automator (free, part of OSX), which provides an iconic-ish drag-and-drop way of doing some scripting.

I wholeheartedly concur with those who would argue that options you cannot find and are not told about are hardly different from not having options at all, and *particularly* with iTunes, Apple has done a really bad job of documenting how iTunes actually works. Even hard-core Mac aficionados have been utterly confused by how files are tracked, for example.

It depends on the program, sometimes, sadly. iTunes does it the bestest but potentially confusing way, by using i-nodes. Once iTunes has a track identified in its database, you can rename and relocate that file anyplace on the drive; iTunes will easily find it, and update its records to reflect the new path. If you throw the file in the trash from the Finder, and replace it with a new file with the same name, it will still link to the file in the trash, because trashing is just a relocate/rename, and the new file does not have the proper i-node number (think 'serial number'). If you put it in the trash and empty the trash, and then put a new file with the same name in the same location, it will look for the old file, realize that there is no longer any file with that number on the drive, fall back to the path/name, find the new file, decide that will have to do, and update its database to track the new i-node. (However, note that all of the above is true as long as the file stays on the same drive. "Moving" a file to a different device is actually a copy-and-destroy option, and the i-node number is not preserved.)

Now, since I *do* have "keep my iTunes folder organized," if I change the name or location of a file in my iTunes folder, iTunes is going to change it right back next time it happens to notice the change. But it does not tinker with the files that are outside the iTunes folder; it just follows them.

That's one of the reasons I wouldn't trust a "unix-head" to do my scripting. Do you know what happens if you change the name or location of a file in Windows or Unix without telling all your software that you've been rearranging the furniture? I think you do, and it's not a pretty thing.

Again, let me emphasize I utterly agree that iTunes can be really annoying. Really annoying. However, I do not agree that Apple's software presents a homogeneous experience, and I also cannot agree that Apple's software, or even iTunes, is "not really customizable in any useful fashion." I have customized my iTunes, and many of my other applications, rather extensively.

#844 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 09:42 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 834...

Location for mp3s (when imported into iTunes): Safari > Preferences > Advanced > iTunes Media folder location.

If 'Keep iTunes Media folder organized' is checked, the files as imported will end up being found at:
[iTunes Media folder location]/[artist]/[album]/[track number]-[track name]

Something you may care about -- compilations will end up under the individual artist names unless you go through and modify each mp3 (via 'Get Info' > Info) and check the little box labelled 'Part of a compilation' at the bottom.

At that point, they get dumped into:
[iTunes Media folder location]/Compilations/[album]

If you don't have 'Copy files to iTunes Media folder' checked, the the mp3s that you import won't actually be moved to the specified folder.

#845 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 10:49 PM:

792
Some of them are quite happy infesting unlikely places like the palm of your hand (and nearby areas, like fingers). They dry the skin out, and the result is something resembling a coat of paint on wood when it's going bad: blistering, cracking, chipping, flaking and peeling. And itching, although I don't know if wood feels itchy.

#846 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 11:03 PM:

I hear that Disney's "Miss Marple" will start Jennifer Garner as You-Know-Who.
What's next?
Hugh Jackman as Hercules Poirot?
("I'd like that.")
I knew you would, TexAnne.

#847 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 11:12 PM:

This discussion of Apple GUIs and iTunes in particular has inspired me to finally wrestle iTunes into submission. I found how to change the podcast default, and it's incredibly unintuitive.

1. Display your podcasts. There are two buttons at the bottom of the window, Unsubscribe, and Settings.
2. Click on Settings, and you get a dialog box with settings for the highlighted podcast. Uncheck the "Use Defaults Settings" checkbox.
3. Click in the Settings dropdown, and you see a list of all your podcasts. At the top of that list is says Podcast Defaults.
4. Select Podcast Defaults, then change the values at the bottom of the dialog box (When new episodes are available; Episodes to keep).

I now, finally, have things set so that podcasts go away as soon as I listen to them.

#848 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 11:29 PM:

As long as it's conveniently on topic, I'll add my voice to those grumbling over drops in manufacturing quality in underwear lately. I spent years buying the exact same type of underwear from the exact same store. The same style, size, and hell, generally the same place on the same table every time. They were durable, comfortable, and the patterns changed every season or so, which I considered a plus.

And then over the last two years or so quality took a sharp nosedive. Cheap construction. Tatty little bits of lace added that are not only uncomfortable but also trying to hide things like using narrower, less comfortable elastic. Certain parts which used to be sewn together left unsewn, in a way that ends up wrinkling and folding up and being generally uncomfortable. Feh.

I would've happily paid a little more per pair to keep the quality from before. And if I'd known it was going to go that way, I would've stocked up. But no! They tried to just...sneak that in. Bastards. So now I'm buying a different brand every month or so, trying to find anything comfortable--I don't even care if it's ugly at this point--while everything I own wears out. And I haven't found any brand yet that makes underwear even in purportedly the same cut that isn't uncomfortable. Feh, and again feh.

#849 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 11:42 PM:

Tim Walters @838: If I'm playing music for myself (before I got the iPod, just off my computer), I go to the folder it's in, which is not a silly nested-in-artist-and-album thing, because I don't keep much music around, and click the file. I don't really see myself needing to put music on my iPod, so I've basically told iTunes repeatedly and with a big stick to ignore its 'music' functionality entirely and never touch anything, thank-you-very-much.

I only have iTunes on my (Windows) computer at all because I was given an iPod for Christmas, so I need to have it to make it work. I adore how podcasts are managed on my husband's Apple laptop, but an awful lot of that functionality is computer-or-iTouch-player-only, because they've upgraded the OSes or something and things sufficiently old can't handle it.

I find it staggering that the software treats podcasts basically as videos -- a lot of things you can do to 'music' you can't do to podcasts, nohow, no way. Whatever. I'm managing, it's just clunky. It's still better than not having a way to listen to my talk stuff in the car while I'm driving; I'd just rather I didn't have to pull over to navigate menus when the 'cast ends. I mostly listen to hourlong ones in the car for that reason. :->

ibid, @839: I did figure out, finally, how to tell iTunes to take its paws off my myriad weird-format non-music soundfiles; it was tedious, but it worked.

Dave Howell @843 said: It's unfortunate that iTunes's current defaults are so "here, don't get in my way, I know what you want" ish. Rather Apple-y, regrettably.

That's basically the initial observation I was trying to make, that got us down this trouser-leg of the conversation at all. :-> When what you want things to work like jibes well with how Apple thinks all things should work, they're The One True Software Company. When not, not.

Kind of like how I've described our longtime Chicago mayor, Richard M. Daley: He's a power-mad dictator who rules nigh-absolutely, but I actually agree with a lot of his policy aims, so I'm kind of ok with it.

Dave Howell, again: I've got my podcasts settings as "Check: Manually" "Download most recent available episode," and "Episodes to Keep: all Unplayed ones." Once I've listened all the way through an episode, it's no longer "unplayed," and the next sync takes it off the iPod, off my hard drive, and makes it disappear from iTunes, never to return.

I have it set to 'keep all unplayed', which does indeed take them off my iPod when they're done (or when I tell the program it's done even though 3 minutes of credits and blather remain that I didn't bother listening to), but it leaves them on my computer's hard drive, and then complains that the drive is full. Maddening. I mean, I probably DO need a larger hard drive, all things considered, but it wasn't a problem before I started using iTunes. I've deleted off five or six largish video games I never intend to play again on this computer, just so I have space to download lots of the back-issues of my favorite hour-long podcasts, and now they never delete, ever. It has not yet reached a point where I will go and delete all the older-than-a-month-and-played ones and just presume it's not going to try to auto-reload old eps, but it may come to that eventually.

Dave Howell, again: I wouldn't let a 'Unix-head' write me any scripts. Unix/linux/blahblahblah has nothing remotely resembling the Open Scripting Architecture. You don't have to write scripts in AppleScript any more, happily; it can be done in Ruby (my current preference), ...

Is it horribly provincial of me that I think of Ruby as a UNIX-head thing? I mean, I live with one, so I probably lump a lot of things together under that rubric that have in common 'things John knows about' and assume they're all UNIXy/LINUXy things when they're not, I guess. I can't count the number of times I have wished in his presence for a simple software tool, website, etc that does Thing X and his reply was, "You could write that up in perl in about ten minutes." No, dear, YOU could write that up in perl ... but he won't, so I go on wishing. :->

Dave Howell, again again: If you put it in the trash and empty the trash, and then put a new file with the same name in the same location, it will look for the old file, realize ...

There are people who put things in the trash and don't empty it? How bizarre. What's the point? It's still cluttering up your drive till you actually delete it ... I mean, when I was doing tech support I ended up talking to a lot of users with hundred-meg trash cans, but they were utterly naive about computers at all and presumed that when they trashed things it automatically deleted them. That's how I have my can set up in Windows -- 'drag to trash' == 'send to dev/null,' approximately. Saves steps.

Serge @846: How on EARTH? Isn't Miss Marple meant to be, like, 60+ years old?? I mean, I know that makes her terminally unsexy in Hollywood terms, but it's a major plot point over and over that she's an unassuming, overlookable old lady.

#850 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2011, 11:51 PM:

848
Elastic where the free edge comes undone in the laundry, so you have to untangle the underwear and then deal with the length(s) of elastic thread hanging off the now-raveled edge.
Pants/jeans and shirts where the pockets are just a little too short to be really useful. (I put my badge in my shirt-pocket so it won't be in the way, even though it's on a lanyard. And change (and sometimes keys) get put in the pants pocket.)

(At least one big-name bra brand sizes their product so the labelled size is the largest one it fits.)

#851 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 12:05 AM:

Well, I tried putting ibuprofen paste on my underwear before laundering, and the damn things still got holes.

On the other hand, my sciatica has gotten better.

* * *

Roger Ebert, once a convention-going SF fan, occasionally blogs some amazing stuff.

Today's is about humility and wonder and the consolation of art in the face of a vast and meaningless cosmos:

http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2011/03/a_quintessence_of_dust.html

#852 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 12:06 AM:

The Alice in Wonderland dramatic reading that I narrated for LibriVox is finally up. (Well, it's been up for a while, but I wanted to redo my narration for chapter 1, and that took a while to get done. But at last it is!) You can download all the files here, one per chapter. Total run time is a bit under three hours. If nothing else, it's at least worth the money.

#853 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 12:36 AM:

PJ Evans @ 850
At least one big-name bra brand sizes their product so the labelled size is the largest one it fits.

I'm confused. Bra sizes, last I checked, were based on chest circumference, modified by breast circumference, rounded to the nearest full inch. Aside from variations in cup shape and support structure, it doesn't seem like there's a lot of give in that calculation. What am I overlooking?

#854 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 01:59 AM:

Sigh. Apple. Time Machine.

Bother.

So, If Time Machine (apple's neat backup thingy) ever says that "To improve reliability, time machine must make a new backup for you" and in small print "This will remove your existing backup history", what it really means is "I want to delete your backups now".

Which is really bad, especially if the reason that it suspects that the backup reliability is bad might be because the main hard drive is failing.

#855 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 02:11 AM:

Tim Walters @ #839, I'll be damned. I have songs principally classified as Holiday or Non-Holiday, but those are both still playlists. Thanks to you, I went to the Music link to see all songs and found my half-dozen duplicated copies of things by The Posies and Karsh Kale (who?) and others and banished them successfully to the recycle bin.

Grazie.

#856 ::: Dave Howell ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 02:33 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 849: "Is it horribly provincial of me that I think of Ruby as a UNIX-head thing?" No, not in the slightest. Now, there's nothing inherently 'nix-y about it. It's a programming language, not an OS. However, people inclined to program in any language are more likely to be comfortable with the command line, and thus less likely to be intimidated by 'nix. On top of which, the wild popularity of Rails has helped popularize Ruby (I think there are still a fair number of people who don't really realize that Ruby is entirely independent of "Ruby on Rails" ), and if you're deploying a Rails website, it's definitely cheaper and simpler to deploy on a Linux box than anything else.

However, somebody who knows Ruby via Rails is going to be quite lost trying to script iTunes, since Ruby itself knows nothing about OSA. You have to include RB-Appscript, RubyAEOSA, use MacRuby, or otherwise gain access to the OSA/AppleEvents interface in the OS.

Elliott again: "There are people who put things in the trash and don't empty it?" Apparently so. {chuckle} Personally, I don't empty it right away. I'll dump it once a week or so, or if my drive space drops below 2 gigabytes. I have certainly pulled stuff back out of the trash on quite a few occasions, so I don't rush to dump it.

#857 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 04:04 AM:

Color me amused at the idea that "x" bit of making things do what I'd like, rather than what was made the default, is "easy", followed by a long list of not quite gibberish.

As Elliot says, someone else can bang that out in (choose scripting/programming language of choice). Apart from not really having an interest in learning an entirely new language/set of languages, just to manage the fixing of some problems with how whomever failed to match my needs and preferences, I have too many other things I am keeping on top of understanding (such as the little tweaks and workarounds needed to make things work in LightZone and CS3), to have the time to learn Perl,or Ruby, or Python, or what have you.

Which means I have similar, if different, frustrations to Elliots (I have to remember not to do anything which will launch iTunes when I don't have the drive I keep my music on booted. I have more music than I want to have cluttering up the place).

That's because having all my music (13,000+ files, 63.3 Gig) on my hard drive is both more than I want, and a nuisance when I want to share it with people. The problem is... (and it's fresh in my mind because it just happened again) that when iTunes (which for a couple of years stopped doing this) fails to find the music... it is staying lost. I reboot the drive and all the music is, "not found, would you like to search for it?"

This, as one may imagine, does not please me. I have a thousand, or so, duplicate files to remove (this time with the extra step of completely purging them, lest I have to do it yet again. I just hope I don't accidentally strip all the copies of something, and then wonder why I can't find it).

I've lost all my playlists. I'll have to rebuild my 8gig Nano (and why won't firewire charge Nano? I don't want to get a new one, because of both sentimental reasons (it was a gift) and aestheitic ones, I think the new nanos are ugly. It's a nuisance because the speaker set I bought for my Army Issue iPod charged it, but the Nano, no dice). It's all a bit frustrating.


#858 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 04:57 AM:

On the principle that all silliness is known to Making Light users, I'm looking for pictures of Haggis Hounds.

The Haggis Hound was derived from Alsatian Hamster Hounds presented to Mary Stuart on the occasion of her marriage to the Dauphin of France in 1558, almost died out after the '45, and shifted from being a high-status hunting dog to a rough-as-soot working dog, bred more for competence than looks. (This is why you find no trace of them in Kennel Club records.)

I want to find a few copyright-safe images to use in connection with this peculiar history. Note that reference is made to the domesticated haggis herds of the Canadian prairies, with a suggestion the US official hostility to the import of haggis is a consequence of the embarrassment suffered in the War of 1812 when a force intending to attack Canada was trampled into disarray by a stampeding herd of haggis.

Pointers to useful pictures of a 16th Century French hamster hunt would also be appreciated. I've included a gratuitous reference to Agricola, and a Latin reference to the fish of April would be appreciated.

It seems that the value of the Haggis Hound was left unappreciated by the gentry of the time. The breed had almost vanished, and it remained unrecognised by the Kennel Club. Consider the apparent paradox of the Irish Wolfhound, a spectacular beast that was, owing to a distinct shortage of wolves, thoroughly untried and only had to satisfy dog-show judges. One might think that nobody in London believed in the existence of the haggis, while wolves, if no longer native to Ireland, did at least exist elsewhere.

#859 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 05:01 AM:

Oh, and another quote:

Be that as it may, by the late Sixteenth Century, the Haggis Hound had diverged from the original French breed, and was becoming a commonplace of wealthy Scots households. They were noted for their scrupulous cleanliness, their unusual patterning, and their remarkable mix of gentleness and implacable fierceness. It was sometimes said that a Haggis Hound was noted for its ability to lick an intruder to death, but there is no reliable account of any such incident. Sir Walter Scott, in this particular matter, was simply wrong, and it sorrows me to draw attention to this error, so uncharacteristic of the great Scots author and chronicler.

Who said Wikipedia?

#860 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 05:10 AM:

re cracking windows: I use it two ways (in my head) the one is to open a bit... and has an auditory sense, the sound of painted frames slipping in the ways. It's got a bit of spatial sense to it as well. It's for window which will be open to about 1/4, at most.

To open a window a crack is for things like cars, and is a very small amount, less than an inch.

re Opening lights: Russian uses the verbs to open/close with lights. They also use the verb "to open" when they refer to things like Columbus going to the Americas, or cosmonauts to space.

re Cutting on the lights. I have never hear that locution.

Jacque, re the arts. I think you mistake the advice. It's not about doing things like painting, acting, singing; it's about making it a career. Having seen/been in some careers which require being both good, determined, and lucky, before income exceeds outflow (paging Mr. McCawber), I don't think the advice misplaced.

#861 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 06:28 AM:

Dave Bell -
Google images turns up these, labelled as haggis hounds:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/turnbullr/5328335446/

I don't recall seeing any period images, but they didn't label their portraits very well. Maybe someone has some examples of Lairds portraits from the 17/18th century that show hounds sitting at their master's feet?

#862 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 06:28 AM:

Dave Bell -
Google images turns up these, labelled as haggis hounds:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/turnbullr/5328335446/

I don't recall seeing any period images, but they didn't label their portraits very well. Maybe someone has some examples of Lairds portraits from the 17/18th century that show hounds sitting at their master's feet?

#863 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 06:41 AM:

Ode to joy.

#864 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 07:17 AM:

re 797: funny you should mention floppies; it looks as though (a) I need to update the BIOS and (b) the only way to do that is with a bootable floppy. Fortunately this machine has a drive.

#865 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 07:21 AM:

Fade Manley @ 848... drops in manufacturing quality in underwear

There are pills to take care of that.

#866 ::: Andy Brazil ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 07:51 AM:

Dave #858 Sorry, can't help with pictures. Were the hounds also bred with uneven legs, and if so, were they predominantly clockwise orientated? If so, predation by man using such hounds might explain why native wild haggi are now overwhelmingly of the widdershins form.

#867 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 08:08 AM:

C. Wingate @ 864 ...
re 797: funny you should mention floppies; it looks as though (a) I need to update the BIOS and (b) the only way to do that is with a bootable floppy. Fortunately this machine has a drive.

The last time I needed to do something like that, the problem wasn't having the drive -- it was finding a floppy!

#868 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 08:29 AM:

On art and careers: One of the margin drawings in Lynda Barry's What It Is is a little guy asking how to get rich and famous by writing. The answer is "forget this notion immediately." Barry isn't trying to discourage anybody--that's the opposite of the purpose of the book--but pointing out that, before anything else, you have to be able to find satisfaction doing art just for yourself. Where art is concerned, career advice aside, it's good not to expect too much appreciation or remuneration too soon.

On the Miss Marple movie: this sounds like an origin story. I predict that it will "explain" her spinsterhood by telling us that, in her youth, she lost the Great Love of her life.

#869 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 09:08 AM:

Cheryl @ 826: But ibuprofen gel is widely available (although not marketed for itching). Or does the anti-itch effect need a stronger formulation than the 5% gels? Or does the drying of the gel counteract the anti-itch effect?

Fade Manley @848: I know what you mean. Whenever I find a style of bra I really like (cotton-rich, seam-free cup, no underwire) I know they will soon be discontinued. Luckily, the last time this happened I realised (being sold really really cheap was a good clue) it was happening so I bought several (since they were really really cheap) and they're still okay. I do check all the likely stores every so often for someone else manufacturing what I'm looking for. Not seen any in the last two-three years, so I do worry what I'll do when these finally give way.

#870 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 09:19 AM:

The conventional Miss Marple is about 65 years old in 1930. That's from the first book, set about 1930.

That's a bit too old for the obvious explanation of the dead of the Great War, though the Spanish Influenza might have been a factor, in other ways. Perhaps an elderly parent?

Since the idea seems to be a rework into an American setting, it's all pretty irrelevant. But it is easy to see something such as Murder, She Wrote as a re-invention of Miss Marple. Is the name really that important?

Maybe Disney are having to pay for their own efforts to protect IP: it's cheaper to buy a right to use Miss Marple than to prove something is original.

#871 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 09:41 AM:

KayTei @853: I'm confused. Bra sizes, last I checked, were based on chest circumference, modified by breast circumference, rounded to the nearest full inch. Aside from variations in cup shape and support structure, it doesn't seem like there's a lot of give in that calculation. What am I overlooking?

Technically, though, most bras have three sizes per instance: the three sets of hooks on the backband. Usually the marked size is the middle one of those, meaning you can scoonch up or down a half-size or so for comfort. Some brands have always used the SMALLEST possible size as their sizing, but they've done it so long that connoisseurs of that brand take it into account when buying.

#872 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 10:12 AM:

Andy #866

I shall mention that tall tale, only to dismiss it as joke played on tourists.

#873 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 10:53 AM:

Tim, #838: This may not be fixable, but I'm going to ask anyhow. It seems obvious to me that "Compilation" is a good way to label things like my live-filk CDs, which have songs by lots of artists on them, while still maintaining the individual artist names (rather than sticking them under "Various Artists", which is my other option). But whenever something is identified as a Compilation, all the artists disappear from my Browse list! Is there anything I can do to make it Stop Doing That, or is this another case of "Apple thinks they know better than I do how I want to organize and use my music library"?

Linkmeister, #855: Karsh Kale plays what I think of as "Indian techno" -- I ran into him via my interest in Midival Punditz. I happen to like that style of music, but it's definitely not for everyone!

If I want something to suggest "artists I may like", I seed a Pandora channel. There's no reasonable reason for iTunes to do any such thing.

Elliott, #871: That's completely counter to my experience, which is that a bra sized for me will fit properly on the largest hook setting; the second and third ones are for being able to continue wearing it as it stretches out with age and becomes too loose.

#874 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 10:56 AM:

Elliott Mason (871): I like to get bras that fit in the largest set of hooks when I buy them, because they always stretch a little over time. As they do, I gradually move to using the middle then the smallest set of hooks.

#875 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 11:00 AM:

Lee said it better than I did.

#876 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 11:36 AM:

Dave Bell @ 870... Too bad they think a movie about an 'old broad' would not appeal. Me, I'd have no objection to Marple being played by Helen Mirren. Or Jenny Agutter.

#877 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 11:37 AM:

Or by Judi Densch.

#878 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 11:47 AM:

Lee @ 873: It seems obvious to me that "Compilation" is a good way to label things like my live-filk CDs, which have songs by lots of artists on them, while still maintaining the individual artist names (rather than sticking them under "Various Artists", which is my other option). But whenever something is identified as a Compilation, all the artists disappear from my Browse list! Is there anything I can do to make it Stop Doing That, or is this another case of "Apple thinks they know better than I do how I want to organize and use my music library"?

I'm at work again, so I can't check to see exactly what I'm doing differently, but my compilations definitely don't prevent the individual tracks from showing up under their appropriate artists. I do recall that both the album info and the info for each track have "compilation" checkboxes, and I don't think they do the same thing.

I'll try to remember to have a look tonight and see what I'm doing.

#879 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 11:50 AM:

Linkmeister @ 855: I wish iTunes would give me free Posies tracks. Glad I could help.

#880 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 12:40 PM:

On the topic of "do something else if you possibly can": It's really hard to find the balance between encouragement and realistic expectations. For example, I love theater. I enjoy it, it's energizing, I have lots of fun. I would never in my life consider pursuing it as a career, because I do not have enough talent or drive to overcome my natural handicaps.*

On the other hand, just because I'm not a Professional Artist, that doesn't mean I can't make money from my artistic skills. One of the jobs I've done rather well at is working as a Photoshop expert in the back-of-house at a photography studio. I can do the extreme requests and make them look natural. (My personal thought is that the hardest test of regular PS skills is removing braces. It's a lot trickier than you'd think, especially the part where you don't want the teeth to look dead.)

So maybe the idea is to encourage people to pursue their love while figuring out how to leverage their skills in related but more lucrative ways.

*"Natural handicaps" in this instance are that I am tall and not conventionally pretty; these are not insurmountable obstacles but I'd need a lot of Big Effing Talent** and Extreme Motivation to overcome the fact that directors, in general, cast little, cute ingenues. I'm only now starting to get old enough in my thirties to play roles that I might actually get cast in.

**I'm good. But I'm not Bernadette Peters good.

#881 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 12:58 PM:

I think a dependent-free twenty-something with a dream should spend a few years pursuing it, without worrying about acquiring a marketable skill. In the first place, artists are more employable than people think. Musicians, for example, can teach, play weddings, work as copyists, do tech support for music software, etc. (Once again I commend the Danny Barnes article I linked to at 811, which I think has value for almost anyone, not just musicians.) In the second place, there's no reason you can't go to college in your late twenties or early thirties and learn a trade.

It worked for me, anyway (modulo the fact that I spent my twenties doing nothing in particular rather than trying for an art career). A friend once told me: "your twenties are to burn, your thirties to learn, and your forties to earn."

#882 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 01:21 PM:

Elliott Mason @834: My vituperation is directed at the software, and not my conversational partners.

That was actually quite civil and restrained compared to some of my diatribes about software.

All: I'm really grateful for the discussion of the peculiarities of iTunes. This is something that's been bugging me for a while now, and my usual RTFM approach has proven singularly useless. (I really should make use of my Apple Care before it expires....)

mjfgates @840: Am I the only person here who's getting subthreads mixed up, resulting in the image of various posters getting smeared with ibuprofen tablet paste?

I not only get comment threads mixed up, I get them confused with conversations I'm having in email (as well as scrambling email conversations). Embarrassing when my interlocuter expresses puzzlement about a comment, and I realize that conversation was with somebody else....

#883 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 02:20 PM:

America: you keep using that word...

One righteous rant! And spot-on.

#884 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 02:33 PM:

Oh yeah, while we're deconstructing iTunes, is there a way to do the following?

I want to go to a specific podcast in the iTunes Store. As it is, I have to select the iTunes Store option the the left-hand list. It then brings up iTunes Store's front page. I then click on Podcasts. I then still have to do a search for my target podcast. (Or I can do a search from the front page.)

Is there any way to bookmark a location within the iTunes Store so I can just go straight there?

#885 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 02:38 PM:

Re. the arts as a career: There's a major difference, though, between saying "Hey, you want to go into [art]. That's great! However, you need to be aware that it's extremely difficult, even with your talent and drive, because [the very good points that have been made above]." and "Oh, you don't want to do that." I've been getting a bit of the latter from some of these comments, and it sets my teeth on edge now and certainly did when I was deciding What I Wanted to Do When I Grew Up.

I've probably mentioned that I grew up in an anti-intellectual culture. I was also extremely sheltered. When I was in high school, attempting to decide what to do with my life, my chances didn't seem very good no matter what I did. I didn't have any expectation of getting out of the area, and no one was willing to give me real information on my chances or options. If the choices were to go into music and hope for a miracle, or go into anything else and be poor like everyone else around me...well, why not hope?

What actually happened was that I graduated with an English degree and lucked into a DC metro-area job that paid twice what I'd be making had I stayed in my hometown. I've had a moderate degree of success as a tech writer and editor; success that my high-school self would literally not have believed was possible.

So, yes, it's a good idea to make sure that people understand that it's hard to make a living in the arts, but just saying, "No, you don't want to do that" rather than actually sharing information isn't helpful to anyone and can be devastating.

#886 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 03:09 PM:

Persephone's point @885 is what I've been trying to emphasize.

#887 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 03:13 PM:

Re Apple software and iTunes discussion: I quite like most Apple software. By and large I find that it actually does make it easy for me to do what I want to do with it. When it gets in my way, it's usually because I actually need to be using the "pro" version of the software, whose defaults are more in line with what advanced users need them to be, and allows much more customization and choosing non-default settings.

But iTunes is a whole nother story. The only good thing about it:
-Uses metadata tags so that I can flexibly organize and reorganize my music.

Some of the many bad things about it:
-Assumes that each library has only one user.
-Assumes that only one iDevice will be synced with a given library.
-Assumes that library will be stored locally on that user's machine.
-Assumes by default that user's entire library will fit on their iDevice, and that they want it there.
-Assumes that it should sync whatever iDevice apps it last synced, regardless of whether this is the same device last synced. I therefore have to go through the entire list of apps every single time, because my husband uses some apps I don't want, and vice versa. (Seriously, it couldn't remember different choices for different devices?)
-Is generally a pain in the ass about violations of any of these assumptions.
-Cannot reliably update itself without giving me some kind of obscure permissions error. EVERYTHING ELSE on my machine downloads and installs updates without complaint. What the hell, iTunes?

I really think Apple should scrap it and start over. They could do much better.

That said, Terry Karney @857 -- I may have some advice. We keep our household iTunes library on an external HD. I've created an (empty) local iTunes library on my machine, for use when I need to use iTunes to do something (listen to internet radio, look at an app I'm thinking of buying, etc.) but don't have the external HD connected. I switch libraries as necessary. You can switch which library iTunes is using by holding down Option as you click on iTunes, and continuing to hold down Option until it prompts you to choose or create a library.

Also, when using the household (external) library, I can import any music that I happened to buy/rip into my local library by choosing Import, then navigating to the "Music" folder associated with my local library and selecting whatever files I wish to import.

eric @854, yes, but I don't consider that an Apple-specific problem. Any versioned backup can get corrupted and need to start fresh; I'd rather it tell me so. Although I agree, it really should tell you if it thinks the drive is failing. (P.S. I am paranoid about HD failure and take the belt-and-suspenders approach, making a bootable clone on another external drive at least once a week. I recommend this course of action to all and sundry.)

#888 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 03:45 PM:

@#869 dcb
But ibuprofen gel is widely available (although not marketed for itching).

I did not know that. Cursory web searching indicates it's only available by prescription in Canada, which may be why.

I guess one could try it for itching, and see how it works. It would be easier than getting out the mortar and pestle all the time!

#889 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 03:50 PM:

The conversation about working in the arts has been really interesting to me as the parent of a person with talent.

She's going to a (public) performing and fine arts high school (she's just a freshman), in the drama studio. She enjoys acting but has begun to suspect that she likes directing even more. She's fooled around with stop-motion animation a little and will probably do a live-action film workshop at the Museum of the Moving Image this summer. She's co-directing the annual musical at her old middle school.

For years and years her stated goal is to be educated and work in the social sciences. She hasn't decided if sociology or psychology is more interesting.

She's never seriously entertained the thought of working in theater/film/television, though she finds the business fascinating. Not the gossipy, celebrity parts, the actual working parts. When she spots a film shoot, she likes to ask questions of the crew. That's not to say she wouldn't scream her little head off if she ran into certain performers, of course. (though her choices are a bit unusual for many teenage girls: she was dumbstruck by Patrick Stewart and Alan Cumming could, I think, destroy her with an eyebrow twitch.)

Having lived in NYC all my life in a theater-y family, heard my father's tales of working in Summer Stock, and watched talented performers among my friends work their behinds off to get the tiniest of roles, I haven't exactly encouraged my kid to pursue a career in the arts.

But perhaps I am making a mistake. It's hard to know, now, after reading this thread.

Thanks for the food for thought.

#890 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 04:04 PM:

Cheryl:

I have no idea if the formulation would work out, but in the US, liquid-filled, sealed capsules of ibuprofin are available over the counter--they seem to be absorbed a bit more quickly. (Interestingly, they don't disolve in the washing machine--I've found them in the bottom of the washing machine after running a load. I'm not sure if the dryer is hot enough to melt them; I assume the capsule disolves when the environment gets acidic enough, but it may be waiting for some digestive enzymes or something. I experimentially tried disolving one in white vinegar and it didn't disolve, but I haven't tried coming up with something close to the pH of stomach acid to test it with....)

#891 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 04:07 PM:

Melissa Singer @889: she was dumbstruck by Patrick Stewart and Alan Cumming

The lady has taste, I'll give her that! (I have similar, but different tastes, running to folks like Robert Carlyle, Willem Dafoe, and Michael Ironside.)

I haven't exactly encouraged my kid to pursue a career in the arts.

My mother's mantra was, "Well, you know, you'll never make a living at it." Which was not an unreasonable presumption, particularly for her, growing up as she did in the Depression. Unfortunately, she managed to lard it heavily with the undertext, "so don't even bother to put serious time/effort/study into it. If you're not a prodigy coming out of the gate, you're hopelessly doomed to failure." I can even see where that might have been a compassionate attitude. I think she suffered terribly (though she would never have admitted it) from having her own artistic desires stymied.

The thing that most offends me about her core presumption, though, was that she was wrong. (This guy was a classmate of mine in high school.)

Had I gotten training and encouragement, I could be making a—very nice, by all accounts—living—doing just the kind of artwork I want to do!

The tricky part is that you never know what opportunities that unforseen turns of technology or culture will bring about.

If I was a parent, I would fully endorse my kid to follow their artistic bent, and pursue a "practical career."

Particularly because you never know how those two pursuits might dovetail profitably. Just off the top of my head, I can think of dozens of career paths that could make good use of both psych or sociology plus media tech.

Advertising, as one obvious and nontrivially lucrative example.

#892 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 04:15 PM:

@#890 albatross
I have no idea if the formulation would work out, but in the US, liquid-filled, sealed capsules of ibuprofin are available over the counter

Oh, the gelcaps we have here; I only meant the gel-in-a-tube that was referenced above.

The Doc specifically said the gelcaps will not work; I'm afraid I didn't ask why.

#893 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 04:17 PM:

Open thready random comment:

Am I missing something, or have we started sending military advisors and weapons to Libya, along with using bombing and missile strikes? Haven't we basically decided which side of the civil war we want to win, and started trying to make sure they win?

What will happen, if they keep losing anyway? Is there *any* chance that Obama will let them lose, having committed his prestige to saving them and getting rid of Gadaffi? (It seems to me that would be effectively giving up on the 2012 election.) Or will we end up going from no-fly-zone to military-advisors-and-aid to UN-supported-police-action, with soldiers holding down territory in Libya?

I'm probably just biased about this. I've had a dim view of pretty much every foreign intervention we've done in my adult lifetime, from the first Gulf War on. And probably, things really will be easy-in, easy-out this time, since Libya really is pretty weak and Gadaffi really is a crazy thug with few friends in the world. But I just don't see how what we're doing here makes sense in terms of US interests. Nor am I at all convinced that we're serving primarily humanitarian interests, given our track record of not doing such a great job with that stuff.

#894 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 04:30 PM:

Tim Walters @ #879, it was only two songs off the 2005 "Every Kind of Light" album, so it's not like I got free copies of the entire catalog.

#895 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 04:36 PM:

Does anyone know how to get iTunes to put podcasts (within one program) on my iPod in such a way that they play in chronological order? By default they play in REVERSE chrono order (whose bonehead idea was that?) and I can't find a way to change it.

#896 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 04:44 PM:

Xopher @ 895: Just a guess (no iTunes here yadda yadda), but try adding the "Date Added" column to your view*, then click on the header to sort by that column, and click again (if necessary) to change it from descending to ascending order.

*I don't remember the exact procedure for doing this. There's a lot of other good columns you can add, though; "bit rate" is very important for me, so that I can tell uncompressed from compressed audio at a glance.

#897 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 05:30 PM:

Albatross: An enforced no-fly zone could allow a rump state, a la the Kurds in Northern Iraq, without much more of an active presence.

That's still a really active presence, but one with a lot less of the bad visuals.

Caroline: would that be the alt key, or the control key on my windows based machine. Mind you, the real trick is to remember that something is going to launch iTunes when I'm not planning to use it. That's the hiccup. I know that when I want to use it I have to mount the drive.

#898 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 05:37 PM:

Melissa Singer #889: she was dumbstruck by Patrick Stewart and Alan Cumming

And this is "unusual" how? ;-) I suspect that up close, Patrick Stewart would make me question my heterosexuality! I wasn't familiar with Alan Cumming, but glancing at his splash page instantly made me flash on James Dean. (Not a direct resemblance, but the gestalt....

iThings: Anyone out there who's managed to get their iPhone synced to their Ubuntu box? I can't even get it to show as a mounted device.

#899 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 05:44 PM:

Terry:

I thought the problem with just having a no-fly zone was that Gadaffi's forces were attacking on the ground. So it's more like a no-fly, no-large-troop-movement zone, I guess. But even with that, do we know the rebels won't eventually be defeated? I mean, my understanding is that we've sent military advisors and we're sending weapons because the airstrikes and such weren't enough to save the rebels, who also apparently aren't too well organized. (But I'm vastly ignorant of military stuff; your wild guess is likely to be more informed than my carefully-thought-out commentary there.)

And at a political level, assuming things in Libya end up deadlocked, with Gadaffi staying in power and the rebels part of Libya, will that work out for Obama? It seems like that will be a political liability for him, and little I've seen from him makes me expect him to accept that kind of liability if he thinks he might be able to avoid it with a little more force. Certainly, no possible Republican presidential nominee is going to hesitate to criticize him for not "finishing the job," even if the same guy was criticizing him in 2011 for getting us involved at all.

#901 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 06:30 PM:

Obama was quoted as calling the military intervention in Libya a "turd sandwich."

I think he is screwed, from a publicity point of view, no matter what he did or does. Not intervene? Weak! Hates Freedom! Intervene? Where's the money going to come from? What are the exit conditions? Where will it end? Turn over control to NATO? Another liberal putting our fighting men under forieign control! Go it alone? Our weakling European "allies" once again aren't pulling their weight!

The only easy way out of this, now, is for CHOOSE YOUR SPELLING to get assassinated, or for him and his sons to choose a cushy exile.

The only unalloyed good thing to come out of this is unignorable proof that Newt Gingrich is an egregious opportunistic wank. That's not worth the cost and the distraction from domestic issues, but it's something.

#902 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 07:51 PM:

Stefan Jones #901: I think he is screwed, from a publicity point of view, no matter what he did or does.

The thing is, that was true from the day he took office. The fact that he didn't recognize that, and give up on trying to please the wingnuts, is why his page in history will consist entirely of "First black president. No really, that was important!". :-(

#903 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 08:13 PM:

Terry Karney @ 897, Alt, sorry.

#904 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 08:26 PM:

David Harmon @898 -- Stewart is quite able to turn off the "notice me" field when he wants to -- I doubt that you'd find him particularly amazing in person, unless he chose to turn it back on. I got to meet him in passing at ConJose (for about half an hour) and that was what struck me the most about him: how he could choose not to be noticed. A sign of just how good an actor he is, I think.

#905 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 08:43 PM:

Tom Whitmore #904: Interesting! I wonder if he'd have any insights on controlling autistic invisibility?

#906 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 08:59 PM:

Sad news. My partner's oldest brother died this afternoon. I had only met him once, but he was a fine person.

#907 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 09:13 PM:

Lee #906: Sympathies for your partner. It's always hard....

#908 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 09:42 PM:

All this iTunesing is making me a bit glad I haven't ever put music on this computer.

This is also a bit sad, as I bought said computer two years ago. I handle silence pretty well.

On careers: I decided to do science in college because I needed teachers for that. Writing was already happening and I had no expectation of good writing teachers at any point-- I'd learned from the internet, not from physical people. Now I'm trying to get a job writing something science-oriented with no nonfiction credits at all. At least I am known for writing good incident reports at school.

#909 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 09:44 PM:

Open threadiness. I'm reading Cory Doctorow's "For the Win", and having a whale of a time.

But discussion point, no spoilers. Throughout the text, the author often stops the story, sits back, and launches into a discussion, separate from the rest of the text, of economics, money theory, finance, social theory and the personal implications of MMORG's in particular and the internet in general. He does not put these discussions into the mouths of his characters. It's simply the author in lecture mode, doing slabs of telling.

Throughout what I laughingly refer to as my writing career, I've been told by experts whom I trust and respect that this is a HUGE no-no. I can see perfectly well the reasons for this. They make perfect ggod sense.

Why, then, am I reading this excellent novel, with part of my enjoyment of it being generated by my anticipation of the pleasure of reading the next bit of explanation?

#910 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 10:13 PM:

Hmm... I was reading Roger Ebert's review of the upcoming Jane Eyre movie, and he tossed off an interesting question: 'Jane is described in the novel as a plain girl; is that where the phrase "plain Jane" comes from?'

Anyone with the history-linguistic chops to answer that one?

#911 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 10:39 PM:

Melissa @889:

As someone who considered going down the theater-as-a-career road, and had a whole bunch of friends who did a couple of thoughts:

Going into the arts is definitely hard, but there are an awful lot of ways you can do it that don't involve starving to death in a garret and having your masterpiece discovered when the coroner comes to pry the paint brush from you frozen hands.

1) The further away you get from the spotlight, and the more technical your skills the easier it can be. If your daughter is interested in the technical side of the arts she should absolutely pursue that. There are almost always decent wages available for a skilled electrician, carpenter or sound technician with a reputation for good, solid, dependable work. The work of the lighting, set or sound designer is every bit as creative as that of the actors or musicians, and they're usually paid better. Even the ability to read a spreadsheet and handle an invoice can lead to a career in the arts. My girlfriend got a full-time job at an Opera company entirely on the strength of her database experience. One person I know got a job as an admin at a college theater, then used the University's generous tuition reimbursement plan to get an MBA. She parlayed that into a management job at a large theater company, while running her own theater company on the side. Sure, she made less than half what her MBA classmates made, but she also had only 10% of the debt they did, and was making more money than any of her peers who were working in the arts.

2) Most artists have day jobs. If you're serious about making art you can find decent paying jobs that don't eat your soul and leave you enough time to do whatever you want. My sister is a couple years out of college, lives in San Francisco, spends her days working at an HR firm and her nights stage managing for experimental theater companies. She loves her life. One of my teachers in college ran a successful theater company that regularly got rave reviews in the Chicago Tribune, taught courses as an adjunct and also spent 30 hours a week managing a Starbucks, because that paid the bills and gave him health insurance. Some people saw that as a sad commentary on the state of the arts, but he was too busy making awesome theater and enjoying all his jobs to care.

So if the standard of success is that someone gets to make a fabulous living doing only what they love, then you're right, the arts are a very difficult place to succeed. But that's not a standard that we would apply to a career in any other industry. If one is willing to set one's sights a little lower, there are plenty of joyful, creative and fulfilling careers and lives to be had.

#912 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 11:04 PM:

Dave Luckett #909: While I haven't read much of Cory's fiction myself, I've heard from a couple of sources that he's one of the few writers who does manage to get away with that. If you figure out how, be sure to tell us. ;-)

#913 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2011, 11:57 PM:

My thoughts on "making a living" in the arts are probably influenced by my music teacher, who was the secretary at my elementary school 40 hours a week, taught some students, and was in a couple of bands for free. She was an EXTRAORDINARY clarinetist. [I've been told that every clarinetist says this about their teacher. ] She made part of a living from her art, and she loved it, and that's not all bad.

The "how to make a living playing your music" piece has some advice that resonates with me. "there will probably be a morass of musicians in your hometown that aren't really committed to the lifestyle that haven't really developed their art" is true about many things aside from music, including energy engineering. I just need to believe that I'm a genius [easy] and I've developed my art [hard]. I'm actively jobhunting and I had somehow forgotten my impressive self-sabotaging tendencies.

#914 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 12:11 AM:

Sandy B, any time jobsearching comes up, I remind everyone within earshot that jobsearching makes you hate yourself. It is a side effect. If you were running long distances every day, your legs and feet might hurt, but you would know why and not panic that you have rheumatoid arthritis; if you are jobsearching and the self-loathing kicks in, it is just the same. Your self-loathing is not evidence-based. It is an artifact of jobsearching.

That said, I am great at not jobsearching. The summer's gotten complicated, but I have to keep at it. Someday, I will have a job that I expected to have when I was in school.

#915 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 12:15 AM:

David Harmon@835, I've sorted the words from the BBC 100 word challenge alphabetically so they're a little easier to find things in.
a about after all also an and any as at back be because but by
can come could day do even first for from get give go good
have he her him his how I if in into it its just know
like look make me most my new no not now
of on one only or other our out over people
say see she so some take than that the their
them then there these they think this time to two
up us use want way we well what when which who will
with work would year you your

And somebody had to do something like this, though there are too many missing words for me to be really happy with it.

this be just to say
that I have taken them that be in there
and which you could want for the new day
I know that be not good
but they be so good so new so good.

#916 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 12:33 AM:

Diatryma, 914: Thank you for saying that. I think I'll thumbtack it next to my bed, so I can read it at 3am while obsessing about how my awesomeness is invisible to hiring committees. (As you may have guessed, my anti-depression talisman is constant repetitions of how wonderful I am. In other news, gosh darn it, people like me.)

#917 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 12:43 AM:

TexAnne @916:

Yes, gosh darn it, we do.

#918 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 12:56 AM:

Dave Luckett @909, keep in mind that every field of artistic endeavor comes with a set of rules, and every one of those rules has this bit of implicit text at the end: When you know what you're doing, you'll know when to break this rule.

#919 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 01:09 AM:

I just saw this today: How To Steal Like An Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me). Some good thoughts on the artistic process.

#920 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 01:11 AM:

Dave Luckett @ 909: I went to a reading by Cory Doctorow -- probably last spring or summer. He mentioned how he had loved SF juvenile novels such as Heinlein's, and how much he learned from them. He said that he deliberately put a lot of that in his books, mentioning all the how-tos in Little Brother. Sounds like he's raised it to the next level.

#921 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 01:22 AM:

David Harmon #910: Best guess, nobody knows. Google tells me the phrase is first attested as an actual separate expression in 1912, and Jane Eyre was published in 1847, but that the two words are not found together in the novel without at least a comma between.

On the other hand, 1912 is a little after a surge in reading the romantic writers. This is evident from the publishing numbers, but may have to do with the general establishment of University English departments (and new Universities) in the early years of the twentieth century. It might be that jaded undergraduates coined the term as revenge on lecturers who turned novels about living life passionately into dust-dry analysis.

Well, it's a hypothesis, anyway.

#922 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 01:30 AM:

eric @ 854:

My Time Machine started giving me that message last week, so I looked on the drive (which is a hardware RAID box running 2x 500 Gig drives in mirror mode hanging off my Wifi base station), and found that there was only 14 Gig free space left, so I suspect that the message also occurs when there's not enough free space to reliably add more file versions1. I bought a couple of 2 Terabyte disks and am even as we speak copying the contents of the RAID box onto the new disks configured as a software RAID mirror. I've decided that the convenience of having the backup drives on the base station is more than overshadowed by the performance hit I take when the backup runs.