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November 28, 2011

Open thread 167
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 03:57 PM *

My latest initiation into Dutch culture is boerenjongens. The name means “farmer boys”, but not like this guy. They’re actually raisins soaked in brandy for about three months. They have…quite a kick. They’re a traditional Christmas delicacy* in the Netherlands, particularly in the north.

A Dutch friend brought a jar of them to a Thanksgiving feast on Sunday. We had them on apple pie, along with whipped cream. They were highly effective. I gather they also go well with ice cream.

There are also boerenmeisjes, farmer girls, which are apricots in brandy. I haven’t tasted them. I probably should do so—purely in the interests of science.

* I don’t know whether to call them a food (when the primary interest comes from the drink) or a drink (when you can’t get them through a straw).

Continued from Open thread 166

Continued in Open thread 168.

Comments on Open thread 167:
#1 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 04:26 PM:

Drunken raisins. Cool.

#2 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 04:32 PM:

The People's Pharmacy has had many reports on the efficacy of gin-soaked raisins as an arthritis remedy.

Gin Soaked Raisins

#3 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 04:36 PM:

The Singing Raisins were totally soused during their performances. You'd probably get beat up or knifed if you'd called them "farmer boys," though.

* * *
Actual rum raisin ice cream would be interesting . . . but I don't do alcohol.

#4 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 04:43 PM:

Sounds delicious, though I think if I met someone who looked like Almanzo today I'd rather taste him.

This is why, when I make soused cherries for my liqueur-centered cherries, I start with dried ones. They absorb much more liquor as they plump.

#5 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 05:18 PM:

"Wait... three measures of Gordon's; one of vodka; half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over ice, and add a thin slice of lemon peel. "
"I think I'll call it a Vesper."
"Because of the bitter aftertaste?"
"No, because once you've tasted it, that's all you want to drink."

The other day, someone told me he'd tried one of those and that it packs quite a punch.

#6 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 05:26 PM:

abi @166/920: I have opened a suitably boozy Open thread 167 and am now getting quietly soused on it, waiting for you guys to come over and join me.

Hi! Hi! I'm *puff* *puff* here!! <pant> <pant> *wheeze*

#7 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 05:28 PM:

abi @0: The link back to OT 166 appears to be missing its ".html"

#8 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 05:43 PM:

"You'd better be prepared for the jump into hyperspace. It's unpleasantly like being drunk."

"What's so unpleasant about being drunk?"

"You ask a glass of water."

- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

#9 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 06:07 PM:

I'm going to charge Abi with torture for these. They sound distinctly delicious. Research is required.

Serge reminds me that I need to investigate Kina Lillet as well.*

*Casino Royale was the first Bond novel I read, at about the age of ten. I was intrigued by the fact that Bond gave his address as c/o his lawyers of Duke Street in Kingston.

#10 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 06:29 PM:

Outside the winter storm is pelting down
with ancient power, recalling us to true
vision of our places; so then we rue
both the larger anger and the lesser frown.
Each gout of pressure under which we drown
unheeded here, withheld from public view,
still grasping for some force that would renew
each broken heart and smile at each sad clown.
Tonight we’re promised snow that will not stick
to the warm ground, and ice that will not chill
for any length of time the naked skin;
yet winter ‘s taking only the first lick
at these soft hides, there’s still much room for ill
since we are in a race the clock must win.

#11 ::: forgot the name ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 06:47 PM:

I'm translating "quite a kick" as "oh, my goodness!", and in that case, quite right!

My favourite similar-but-not-really treat is to make a cake, preferably some version of shortcake cake, layered with cream cheese frosting and strawberries.

However, the part that this Open Thread reminded me of is that the great many strawberries have been sliced and left to soak in a goodly amount of liquor (usually Grand Marnier or similar) and sugar, adding more as necessary throughout the day to balance the tastes, for as long as the Marnier lasts.

When out of Marnier, the cake is cut is half, the fluffy insides facing up, and the strawberries are removed from the syrup. The syrup is poured over both halves of the cake with the kind of careful precision that comes from drinking some of the Marnier as you go along throughout the day, and then they are layered with strawberries, and the cream cheese, and chilled for quite some time.

It's an explosion of rich, sweet, alcoholic deliciousness. I don't make it very often, for obvious reasons -- it can take a day just to make the syrup alone, starting at 5am and tending the levels every few hours until 9pm or so -- but when I do I am very, very happy.

On a related note, I've found that very few fruits fail to be improved by liquor. I really do recommend trying the apricot-brandy ones when you get a chance; that particular pairing is *genius* for some reason.

#12 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 07:06 PM:

This is just to say
I have wrapped
the guy
who was in
your icebox

and who
you were probably
going to help

Forgive me
His smile was delicious
so sweet
and so cold

#13 ::: Goob ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 07:40 PM:

Sitting in the fridge, we have a squat jar of dried italian plums (such as they were) slowly steeping in Armagnac. They're at about six months now, and can be parted with a spoon; they go very nicely over ice cream, or just to sit on a plate. We haven't tried adulterating them with anything yet, but I should probably put some allspice berries or a cinnamon stick in the next batch. It's a good time of year for tucking spices into things.

(A friend of mine has a secret trick for all the cookies she bakes; if the recipe calls for cinnamon, she uses five-spice powder instead. This trick is recommended, if you're amenable to slightly spicy cookies. It doesn't always work, but it usually does (five-spice rolls are pretty good).)

(This, too: we discovered a clever amendment to gingersnaps, the other evening: along with the ginger, the other ginger, the cinnamon, and what have you, try adding finely ground white pepper to your next snap recipe. It lends a nifty earthy heat to them, and we find them expansively tasty.)

Later this evening, I'll pop some raisins in some Armagnac, I think.

#14 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 08:04 PM:

Goob #13: I've recently made chocolate chip (toll house or oatmeal) cookies with ground cardamom instead of nutmeg. Went over pretty well, especially with my budding-foodie nephew.

#15 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 08:09 PM:

Watching Disneys A Christmas Carol. Pretty faithful adaptation, though the animation makes it look like a video game.

The Ghost of Christmas Past looks like a giant candle, and at the end of their visit Scrooge picks up a giant candle snuffer and claps it over his head, putting him out.

Disney making snuff films! That I should live to see it.

#16 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 08:10 PM:

Hmmm--farmer boys, is it. I've made those before, but I just called them "brandied raisins;" I still prefer rum raisins, but the brandy ones are pretty good.

My favorite use; make an apple pie. Season with plenty of nutmeg, and add a handful of brandied raisins. The result is very like a mince pie.

Also, @ 13, pfeffernuesse.

#17 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 08:22 PM:

Xopher @15: What, the nature pic with the lemmings wasn't enough of a snuff film for you?

#18 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 08:23 PM:

ps: I love the early days of an open thread, because it doesn't take five minutes for a comment to post. Just saying.

#19 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 08:30 PM:

#904 previous Open Thread, me...

Again, raw unpasteurized milk is not legally available to consumers in the USA should be

Again, raw unpasteurized milk is not generally legally available to consumers in the USA

#20 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 08:47 PM:

One of the premium ice cream makers (maybe Hagen Daas (sp?) makes rum raisin ice cream. totally yummy.

#21 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 08:57 PM:

SamChevre (16): Mmmmm, pfeffernüsse!

I once bought three bags at an after-Christmas sale and put them in the freezer until the next summer.

#22 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 08:57 PM:

Rumors of my net-demise (or extended gafiation, or whatever) are somewhat exaggerated. I hadn't known they existed until this morning, so I should take a moment to reassure all of you. :->

I wish I could think of a booze-related on-topic comment to justify this post, but no. I've recently started a new gmail account, which I will probably be using as my primary 'going forward', but I'll link 'em later.

#23 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 09:38 PM:

They're at least very happy raisins.

(I have four jars of happy raisins in my cupboard. One is made with fridge raisins, from my own vines.)

#24 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 09:56 PM:

That Disney program about African lions had a sequence with an apparently doomed rhino trapped in a mudhole, that creeped me out when I was 6 or 7. Not till I was nearly 56 did I find that the camera crew rescued him, and he showed his gratitude by charging them. I did not catch the program that was responsible for starting the lemming myth.
I have had dried apricots, not the driest ones around, ferment if left open for a couple of months. Didn't have to add anything to 'em.

#25 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 10:06 PM:

Friend of mine gave me a little bottle of basilico recently -- Googling, I find it's more usually called basilcello, and looks quite easy to make. Goes a treat with vodka and lime juice -- replaces both the muddled basil and the simple syrup in a basil-lime gimlet, though it's even better if you still use the fresh leaves too. And I guess I know what I'll be drinking with tonight's episode of Mad Men. Here's mud in your eye!

(Good to view your pixels again, Elliott!)

#26 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 10:08 PM:

Paula @ #19

A farmer in Canada who worked out a "cow share" co-op to try to hack the law on raw milk has just been convicted. The judge did not believe that the share-holders were thereby made farmers under the law. The CDC has some facts on raw milk safety

From 1998 through 2009, 93 outbreaks due to consumption of raw milk or raw milk products were reported to CDC. These resulted in 1,837 illnesses, 195 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths. Most of these illnesses were caused by Escherichia coli O157, Campylobacter, or Salmonella.

#27 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 10:08 PM:

Musing over the People's Pharmacy thread, where I just corrected someone's misuse of the term "placebo effect" (they'd attached it to the meaning of "regression to the mean"):

We know that during digestion, sugars, fats, and polypeptides have specific routes for being absorbed in quantity. But somehow, I doubt that there's specialized absorption routes for each of the vitamins and minerals -- in fact, what I know of food allergies, poisoning, and medications, suggests that there's at least one "generic" route, by which miscellaneous molecules get swept up and dumped into the bloodstream, to eventually get snagged by whatever cells have an interest in the particular compound (or mineral).

So... suppose that many of those miscellaneous compounds are in fact noticed by the immune system or other organs (e.g. the liver), even if they don't normally do anything.

Could the placebo effect be assisted by the appearance of such a "weak stimulus", which gets associated by the brain with the idea of curing such-and-such condition?

So, when using the gin raisins to treat arthritis, you're getting traces in the bloodstream of various obscure organics from both the raisins and the juniper (via the gin). If one or more organs are noting and reporting the unusual combinations, it could be enough for the brain to make a connection with the cognitive input "this is supposed to help what's gone wrong with those joints", and set off the famous but mysterious effect on cue. This idea even works for the "wart tape" scenario, because there you've got a faint but long-lasting physical (neural) stimulus, conveniently sourced right where you want something to happen.

#28 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 10:13 PM:

Mmmm... apricot brandy, complete with apricots. I can remember most of what happened afterward, although I've no idea what we did with the pits...

#29 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 10:32 PM:

Have any of you volunteered in Haiti recently? It is shocking how little has been done there in the past two years, how many promises have been broken, how much rubble still sits on the ground.

Just back from my trip with Habitat, as part of the Carter Work Project. I'm writing an op-ed for the newspaper, will forward the link when it's out, but please, especially those of you on the east coast, turn your thoughts toward Haiti.

#30 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 10:57 PM:

On jury duty. It's fascinating and exhausting. More later, when I can talk about it.

#31 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 11:10 PM:

Stefan Jones asked in # 902 of the previous open thread about Crisco in baking.

Crisco is firmer than either butter or marjarine. In my chocolate chip cookie recipe it is essential for the chunky homemade appearance of the cookies; butter or marjarine would shape them like discs stamped out by a machine.

But the things they do to Crisco to make it firmer also make it less healthier than butter or marjarine.

#32 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 11:18 PM:

Xopher @4:

"Sounds delicious, though I think if I met someone who looked like Almanzo today I'd rather taste him."

He WAS pretty cute, in his engagement portrait with Laura, wasn't he?

Or are you thinking of the TV series version? (Also pretty cute.)

/Little House nerdery over

#33 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 11:21 PM:

Serge @5: Kina Lillet is no longer made, and present-day Gordon's is not the same as 1956 Gordon's. I did have a version made with Bombay Sapphire and Lillet Blonde as the nearest approximations.

Very tasty, and also rather like a twist of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.

#34 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2011, 11:59 PM:

That sounds like my grandfather's story (secondhand through my mother) about the woman who gave him some 'peach-ade' to drink, when he was a mail carrier, sometime before 1920. It was peach brandy, and he claimed he couldn't remember if he finished his route that day.

#35 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 12:14 AM:

Goob @ 13: I recently found a recipe for black pepper cookies (otherwise chiefly flavored with brown sugar), and one for olive oil cookies with cardamom. I really want to try both of these.

I am currently having a quiet freakout because I had to buy one size up from my usual in trousers today, though, so cookies are a bit fraught for me right now. (Yes, I need to calm down.)

#36 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 04:46 AM:

From the end of OT re. milk: We've started getting most of our weekly milk delivered with our fruit & veg order from an organic delivery service. It's non-homogenised which is actually easier to digest than the homogenised stuff mainly sold in the supermarkets nowadays. We do have to remember to leave a chill box in the porch if the delivery is due on a day I'm not working from home.

Additional data re. Shelf-stable vs. refrigerator-stable milk in Europe: I've visited more than a dozen countries (mostly for conferences) in Continental Europe and I've not noticed shelf-stable UHT milk being used e.g. on breakfast cereals in any of them. Certainly here in the UK it's generally considered inferior, "emergency only". Fresh milk does, however, vary considerably by country - nearly pink in one or two places I've been.

#37 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 06:57 AM:

dcb #36: Pink milk? ???

#38 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 08:49 AM:

Yes, it looked almost pink. I suspect they would think our milk looked thin and colourless. Can't remember which country it was (I go to an annual conference which is held in a different country each year; I can't always remember which incidents go with which countries. I do remember the hell of Rome and the travel horrors of getting to & from Madrid - although that wasn't really Madrid's fault).

#39 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 08:50 AM:


There are specialized immune cells in your gut (M cells) that suck in potential antigen and hand it off to other immune cells for processing. I think this is actually a fairly common route of entry for infection, as well as being important for your immune system to decide what it wants to tolerate and what it wants to fight off. (I'm an interested amateur, not an expert, so take this all for what it's worth. The Janeway immunology text I have talks about M cells.)

As far as the effect of this on the placebo effect, I guess there are two alternarives:

a. The placebo actually has a consistent biological effect that treats some symptom or problem--like giving people sugar pills as a placebo in a test of a drug for low blood sugar.

b. The placebo is detected by your body, which then may respond in ways that are mostly different from anyone else's body--if your placebo has a lot of nutrasweet in it, frex, I'll get pretty sick from it, though most other people won't notice....

Case a means the placebo isnt a placebo--it has a consistent effect. Case b should get washed out by the different responses of all he participants, I think.

#40 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 08:52 AM:

Also very tasty: Advocaat ice cream made with boerenjongens, giving their taste the time to permeate the whole stuff. There is a local dairy farmer who makes his own ice cream and it is simply great.

Also great: the fresh, homogenized but not pasteurized milk you can buy at a special machine. Put your bottle or jar below the tap, insert coins, there you go.

Very good: Usually, the booths aren't staffed. You take what you want, pay what you owe (into a small, open box) and that is all.

Very geeky: First time I heard abaout apricot brandy, it was when MAR Barker compared the taste of the most popular alcoholic drink on Tekumel to it.

#41 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 09:17 AM:

albatross #39: The key questions are what those M cells consider "potential antigen", and how their handoff recipients decide. Certainly they're nowhere near perfect even at their primary task, or food allergies wouldn't produce whole-body responses! Also the screening seems to be mostly blacklist rather than whitelist, or all sorts of other things (like most oral drugs) wouldn't make it into the bloodstream.

My understanding is that most "antigens" are polypeptide fragments, but there's a lot of other molecular types in play: -- "small" molecules and modified sugars come to mind.

#42 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 09:55 AM:

Just tried Japanese plum wine for the first time. Very nice, reminds me of a good sherry. Definitely a dessert-type wine.

In other news, there's an ongoing thread over at Charlie Stross's blog about ebooks and DRM. One of the more interesting comments complained about the relative non-existence of Tor ebooks and asked why publishers don't generally set up their own ebook websites. Said commenter seemed to think this would be a relatively easy thing to do -- I think that is wildly overoptimistic, but I was wondering if our hosts would care to chime in.

#43 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 10:08 AM:

San Francisco's Castro Theater will show the musical "The Band Wagon" on December 26. Alas, we'll be on the road back to New Mexico that day. On the other hand, on December 18, the day we arrive to the Bay Area, they'll show "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians", but it's not quite the same.

#44 ::: Stevey-Boy ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 10:44 AM:

Serge #5 and Rikibeth #33: I've imbibed many a modern Vesper (although I like to add a dash of Lemoncello). I agree that they pack a punch, but unfortunately I am unfamiliar with the taste of gold bricks to know if the taste is similar.
The modern Lillet, over ice, is actually a Thanksgiving beverage in our home. It is a surprising compliment to the roast bird.

#45 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 10:55 AM:

Stevey-Boy @ 44... It sounds like I'll have to try making a Vesper next Thanksgiving.

#46 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 11:15 AM:

Malthus (42): Japanese plum wine is the only kind of wine* I like even slightly**. I don't know if that's a recommendation or not!

*or anything else alcoholic, for that matter

**I actually drank half a glass with dinner once.

#47 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 11:18 AM:

Stevey-Boy @44: The gold brick isn't a flavor similarity, as I'm sure you know - it's an allusion to the effect, more notably ascribed to the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, of being rather like having your brains bashed out with a slice of lemon wrapped 'round a large gold brick. *g*

Not that that has ever happened to me, either. But the effect can be easily deduced, more than the flavor of gold brick. ;-)

#48 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 11:21 AM:

dcb @38

Maybe high carotene levels. There are other causes, but I'd expect them to ring several loud health and safety alarm bells at the dairy, and it's the sort of thing the farmer doesn't want to happen.

#49 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 11:34 AM:

In re the placebo-effect subthread, especially albatross @39:

It has been shown repeatedly that substances that give strong side effects (mild nausea, dry mouth, jitteriness, soreness at injection site, etc) cause a much stronger placebo effect than substances that do not (like the classic sugar or chalk pills, a vitamin supplement shot, etc), because people expect medications to have side effects, so if it makes them feel a little icky they're more likely to assume they've been put in the non-placebo group, and therefore to experience a placebo effect.

If people know they've been given no treatment, they don't get a placebo effect, obviously.

#50 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 11:35 AM:

Malthus @42

Charlie is tolerably well informed about ebooks and Tor. One general problem is that the big publishers are fairly small parts of major international media companies, dominated by music and movie interests.

Read the whole thread carefully. Charlie is willing to talk, and he was a programmer. He has several blog posts about how this stuff works.

There are authors here, at least one of them self-publishing e-books, and they have posted info here. Do your research, OK, you will likely find some of your questions already answered.

#51 ::: Alice Bentley ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 11:51 AM:

I was planning to post to this Open Thread about the fascinating benefit auction being run for Terri Windling over at
BUT it seems that LiveJournal is having issues this morning, sometimes loading, sometimes not, so perhaps later today will be a better time to check it out.

#52 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 12:03 PM:

Elliott Mason @49: This was Stephen Maturin's reasoning behind his stock of asafoetida to add to otherwise innocuous or mild remedies - something along the lines of "your common sailor dearly loves to know he has been physicked." If the pill or bolus or draft tasted and smelled vile, they derived more benefit from it than if it were made inoffensive.

#53 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 12:14 PM:

Goob #13, Caroline #35:

DH has been trying the Cook's Illustrated recipe for gingersnaps,[*] which includes all sorts of fribbles: fresh ginger (and other spices) bloomed in butter, Indian-style, and both black pepper and cayenne. They were set out on a table at work and were, as he put it, "hoovered up".

I got sufficiently inspired by this to try the same pepperings in some gingerbread I made, and it worked a treat.

[*] part of the "Holiday Cookies" in the Nov/Dec issue

#54 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 12:18 PM:

in my backpacking days (long ago, and in another country) dessert was often dried fruit from a small Nalgene bottle full of brandy, dipped in chocolate melted on the camp stove. Apricot was good but pear was my favorite; apple did not stand up well to the brandy/chocolate flavour whammy; mango was extraordinary. All of this served to hunger in a cave several thousand feet up on the edge of the escarpment, we scarcely needed the alcohol to be intoxicated. For full authenticity we should have used witblitz, of course. The witblitz could also be burned for stove fuel, in a pinch.

#55 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 12:20 PM:

Elliott Mason @22: Oh, there you are! I'd begun to think you didn't luuuuuv us anymore!

(And I'm reminded that the reason I don't have you friended on LJ is work's nanny-wall. Feh.)

All righty then.

#56 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 12:50 PM:

In the game Kingdom of Loathing, the booze-soaked cherry is considered booze and not food (it doesn't affect fullness at all). Based on this, I'd categorize boerenjongens as booze. Also, as something I'd like to try.

#57 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 12:52 PM:

David Harmon @27: We know that during digestion, sugars, fats, and polypeptides have specific routes for being absorbed in quantity. But somehow, I doubt that there's specialized absorption routes for each of the vitamins and minerals

Sticks in my mind that, frex, B vitamins are absorbed preferentially by the upper small intestine.

A quick Google produces this page which states:

Vitamin B12 deficiency is estimated to affect 10%-15% of individuals over the age of 60 (4). Absorption of vitamin B12 from food requires normal function of the stomach, pancreas, and small intestine. Stomach acid and enzymes free vitamin B12 from food, allowing it to bind to other proteins called R proteins (3). In the alkaline environment of the small intestine, R proteins are degraded by pancreatic enzymes, freeing vitamin B12 to bind to intrinsic factor (IF), a protein secreted by specialized cells in the stomach. Receptors on the surface of the small intestine take up the IF-B12 complex only in the presence of calcium, which is supplied by the pancreas (5). Vitamin B12 can also be absorbed by passive diffusion, but this process is very inefficient—only about 1% absorption of the vitamin B12 dose is absorbed passively (2).
#58 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 01:02 PM:

Found this on Boing Boing:

Porcupine and corn on the cob

I had no idea that a porcupine could vocalize like that. At one point, it sounds like he says, "It's my corn!"

#59 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 01:15 PM:

"Shaken or stirred?"
"Do I look like I give a damn?"

#60 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 02:25 PM:

Steve C. @58: OMG! What a little voice! If I heard that in a cartoon, I'd swear it was made up. Gawd, that's hilarious.

#61 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 02:37 PM:

I really enjoyed Laura Anne Gilmans blog post on her OWS experience.

Also, I am listening to "Wallahi El Zein," a fabulous Latitude collection of Mauretanian electric guitar music. It's all field recordings but the pure Afro-pentatonic guitar glory and the heartbeat hand drums make my ears very glad indeed.

#62 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 02:42 PM:


I know it has been discussed here in the past. I didn't recall that it had been discussed here in the past two years -- and one of the interesting stats I picked up from Charlie's discussion was that ebooks have gone from 1% of the market to 40% of the market in approximately that time. Which is why I was wondering if Tor had changed its policies or was considering changing its policies.

And as to why I asked here, as opposed to going through the thread at Charlie's (which I did), is because Patrick and Teresa have a different viewpoint.

But I do take your point about most publishers being a (small) arm of a larger media empire. To what extent is management of Tor independent of its parent, Holtzbrinck? Does Holtzbrinck actually insist on DRM as a policy all the way down?

#63 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 02:54 PM:

Steve C @ 58... I half-expected him to lunge at the woman like the Evil Bunny in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail".

#64 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 02:57 PM:

This thread seems like a suitable time to mention my own current mixed drink of choice:

1 part tomato juice or vegetable juice cocktail
3 parts seltzer
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

Start by swirling the pepper sauce in the lemon juice or it won't dissolve.

I expect it would be very good with vodka or other alcohol products, although I haven't tried that.

Serge @5, I'm intrigued by the idea of anyone actually mixing and drinking a Vesper, since 1) it sounds rather nasty to me, and only more so since I found out what Lillet is (made with green orange peel and quinine?!) and 2) I first encountered it in a Batman story, in which Bruce Wayne was actually drinking icewater with a twist.

Carol Kimball @12, Satan haz a sad because of that coat of yours. Well done.

Paula Lieberman @19 re raw milk: I have heard a rumor of a place where jars of raw milk are placed in an unattended refrigerator, and nearby is an unattended box in which the owners of the location often find money. I doubt this situation would pass muster if anyone decided to prosecute, though.

PJ Evans @34, if your grandfather was a mail carrier before 1920, he was likely one of the service workers who got the country through the flu pandemic, like my great-grandfather the milkman (whose route, acto family legend, took him all day for awhile there). In which case, a bottle of peach-ade was the least thanks he deserved.

Elliot Mason @49, I have heard this subcategory described as "active placebos" (you can tell they're doing something). This was a prime feature of what is known as the Heroic Period of medicine. I have heard it alleged that cannabis is an active placebo, which is why it has been reputed at different times to produce both violent mania and profound lethargy. I am quite sure that it is the reason so many patent medicines contained alcohol.

#65 ::: Phil Palmer ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 03:21 PM:

A similar farmhouse delicacy from the Cognac region is grapes pickled in overproof brandy. I don't know if they are on sale anywhere.

#66 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 03:26 PM:

Doug K @54: My favorite childhood camping treat* was fresh-made chocolate donut holes. Looking back, it's probably the kind of recipe that's only so tasty because you've just spent a whole weekend sleeping on the ground with no access to central heating ... I imagine it wouldn't be nearly so good in more civilized circumstances. Still, then, it was ambrosia:

- Several tubes of the 'bang it on the counter and it pops open' type, of biscuit or crescent-roll dough
- A reused coffee can 3/4 full of Crisco
- Several Hershey bars (nowadays I'd probably use something with a lot of cocoa solids and little milk)
- Long chopsticks (if you are dextrous) or a large wide slotted spoon
- Paper towels and racks/plates to cool it on

Get a good campfire going first thing in the morning. Open the coffee can and settle it among a good batch of coals. Meanwhile, recruit several cranky exhausted children to pop open the dough and roll little donut-hole-sized balls out of it.

When the fat is 'hot enough' (a piece of black magic I never quite learned; he dropped tiny balls of dough in and saw how they acted), drop the balls in in sets of four and let them cook. When sufficiently golden-brown, fish them out and rub one side of each against the Hershey bar while still fresh-hot-out-of-the-fat; set to cool until they can be eaten without burnination.

When you're done, retrieve the can from the coals and allow to solidify; put the lid on. It can be used for several trips before the fat is too manky to fry in. Actually, the second trip is better than the first.

* We went on weekend camping trips for faunal survey purposes with a large group from our local herpetological society. After the first few, it settled out naturally into "You bring the hotdogs, I'll handle the lunches and bring all my coolers, the Lovells will bring their three extra sleeping bags ..." and so on. The concoction described above was the Sunday Breakfast Specialty as long as its particular creator was along on the trip.

#67 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 04:05 PM:

I'm not sure why this disaster is getting so little press. No word on when South Yorkshire will be habitable again, if ever. (One of my friends made the rude comment that it hasn't been habitable for decades, but that's neither here nor there.)

#68 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 04:22 PM:

Xopher @67: Probably because any newscaster with half a brain knows they'd be laughed out of the studio.

#69 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 04:41 PM:

Jacque 68: Then how do they transmit the mandatory evacuation orders for the downwind communities? Think of the children!!!11secθ*cosθ!!

#70 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 04:43 PM:

It strikes me as rather less apocalyptic than the Great Molasses Flood. Then again, I like Marmite.

#71 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 04:57 PM:

People died in the Molasses flood...but from being drowned in the molasses. No one died of the fumes.

And I'm aware that some people, yea some in this very commentariat! are fans of Marmite. SMH.

#72 ::: Jo MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 05:11 PM:

Xopher @ 71: Ta muchly for the new TLA - the only previous meaning I had for that combination was 'Sydney Morning Herald'. Which goes nicely with my Vegemite on toast :-)

#73 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 05:21 PM:

Jo: You're mad, I tell you. Mad!

#74 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 05:40 PM:

This Marmite mess in Yorkshire makes me think of a Donlevy-era "Quatermass" movie. Or a weird episode of Gerry Anderson's "Thunderbirds".

#75 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 06:52 PM:

In my constant quest for ways to kill time in short increments (of the sort you can stop any time), I happened upon Clueless Crosswords. I won't share my scores, because (a) it's only my first day, (b) I don't want anyone to feel bad, and mostly (c) if I do, someone else will start solving them in half the time while saying they aren't really very good at this sort of thing, and I'm a sensitive soul.

You get a blank crossword gridiron with numbers in the squares. So okay, it's not really blank. They tell you three letters and what their numbers are. Then you go to it. Fun for young and old, for reasonable values of both.

#76 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 06:56 PM:

ps: If a puzzle absolutely gives you no crevice, no handhold, then just kill it and do another. It's only a g…
only a g…

…a game. It's only a game.

#77 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 07:03 PM:

Having now caught up on the 'where did [I] go?' bits of the last Open Thread, I can partly confirm Cally's conjecture (that I got busy -- there's a toddler in the household, and we're perpetually about to close on a property).

However, there's another aspect to it that illuminates an oddity of my psyche that might be common to more than just me ... (tl;dr: when things change unexpectedly it throws me way off my stride)

I tend to imprint/fixate upon certain user interfaces or setups of infrastructure, and if they are disarrayed it blows my productivity and mood all to hell.

Namely, this summer, my laptop suffered a catastrophic power supply failure (namely, it insisted it was never actually plugged in, no matter how I pushed in/wiggled the plug -- "Nope! No plug! I'm hungry, plug me in ..." -- and therefore it ran its battery down and was no longer chargeable). It was the only Windows box in the house, which wouldn't ordiNARily be a problem.

However, all the software I used for photo editing (and a couple of other more trivial purposes) was windows-only. I'm auditioning several replacements, STILL, but no successful Mac-based replacement yet (they tend to either be over-featured to the point I can't use them, or want me to edit photos 'in the cloud,' uploading and downloading every single image I want to edit).

The part that is most relevant to my ML activity, though, is that I haven't gotten around to dredging my bookmarks and data-interaction structure out of my former hard drive, so a lot of things I did daily in May I have to now make an effort to remember the hows and whys and get back to them.

Unfortunately, it took me until someone popped their head into my LJ and expressed concern for me to even remember that ML used to be somewhere I spent a lot of time. It ought to surprise me that it slipped my mind that hard, but between my own innate tendencies to dissociate and the severe disruption to my comfort zone I'm STILL undergoing because of the laptop death ... yeah. It dismays me a little, but doesn't surprise.

#78 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 07:26 PM:

From the previous open thread (albatross@909, Bruce Cohen@936)

On the emergency loans to banks: on the whole I tend to agree with Matt Yglesias on this. The problem isn't that the Federal Reserve took extraordinary steps to prop up the banking system back then, the problem is that it ISN'T taking extraordinary steps to help the rest of us right now.

#79 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 07:27 PM:

It's like these artists had never seen an actual baby before.

Ugly Renaissance Babies!

#80 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 07:33 PM:

nerdycellist @79: I understand that for at least part of the Renaissance life drawing played far less of a part in the training of a painter's apprentice than did learning classical proportions -- they drew what people 'ought' to look like more than what they did. Given that, it would make sense that they might lay out a baby's form like either a young man's or a pudgy woman's, given that that's what they had to work with in their skillsets?

That said, several of the babies on that thread actually look reasonably realistic, to me -- the bacchus-imp who's swigging from a flask, in particular, has a lot of the features of early-toddler torso/trunk anatomy that surprised me when I saw them in my daughter.

#81 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 07:34 PM:

John M. Burt: #64: My preferred concoction is by the (~2-quart) pitcher: 1 46-ounce can of V-8, 1 can Campbell's Beef Broth (concentrate), 1-2 squirts sriracha sauce.

* I'm somewhat brand-loyal here... at least, I don't like Campbell's veggie cocktail, and I haven't seen other brands of double-strength beef broth.

Elliott Mason #49: OK, that covers the "association" issue.

Jacque #57: Interesting, but still doesn't address the "general" case.

It looks like my question has been reduced to:
(1) is there in fact a "general intake" mechanism, or is it just that there are enough "specific intake" routes to cover nutrients, oral drugs (some of which are compounded specifically to use known routes) and at least some miscellaneous compounds?

(2) do "random molecules" -- that is, obscure organics, not normally bio-active but somehow absorbed to the bloodstream -- produce a usable signal which can mediate the placebo effect?

#82 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 07:46 PM:

Elliott Mason #77: when things change unexpectedly it throws me way off my stride

Same here, totally! An unexpected break in routine (or even any serious upset, even if it doesn't actually infringe my schedule) is liable to have me forgetting appointments for the next day or more, long past the period actually affected by the original issue. Likewise on a weekly scale, as I have a fairly strong weekly routine, and if that gets broken early in the week, it's liable to screw me up for the rest of the week.

Happily, my family is pretty good about not showing up at my door without calling first, and giving me a day or so's notice for events that involve me going someplace or them coming over. That's generally enough time for me to update my pointers....

#83 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 07:53 PM:

Good lord, if anybody showed up here it would be entirely unexpected. Geri Sullivan came by, not long after we got here, and Cathy's mom came up one time.

I'm grateful for the internet.

#84 ::: Jo MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 08:19 PM:

Xopher @ 73: I'm not off my head - given that I'm Antipodean I may be said to be very much on my head, as it were. Which, it seems to me, allows you to regard my Vegemite consumption as topsy-turvy even while it seems perfectly normal to me :-)

#85 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 09:44 PM:

Jo, #84: FTW!

KeithS is an evil, evil man. He fed me solidified Marmite at the London bid party at Worldcon. Without telling me what it was.

(Actually, it wasn't as bad as one might think. I was able to eat the entire piece, but I didn't want any more, TYVM.)

#86 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 09:46 PM:

I should check back and see if the candy place in Fairport ever got the Marmite-flavored Walker's Crisps. I used to love those when I could get them.

#87 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 09:53 PM:

Xopher 67:

(re: disasters ignored)

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I urge people not to forget the victims -- those thousands upon thousands of slices of hot buttered toast which will die naked and hollow and alone in the coming afternoons.

#88 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 10:05 PM:

I'm in neither the "love it" nor "hate it" camps for Marmite (or Vegemite. I've tried it, thought it was OK, but it didn't really "grab" me.

#89 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 11:24 PM:

HLN: Yesterday, a local auction house picked up a truckload of our friend Anne's belongings from the storage place where they've been, to be auctioned off for Anne's estate. (Anne passed away in 2009; I'm the representative for the estate.) This means The End Is Finally In Sight for wrapping up Anne's estate, distributing proceeds, and getting some spare time back in my life.

(Long, long, long story, with unexpected complications. Some of which I will eventually write about.)

I hadn't realized just how much stress dealing with Anne's estate had been putting on me until I watched that truck drive away, and everything got... lighter.

It would have been a lot simpler if Anne had written a will. Some of Anne's relatives (that she hadn't been in touch with for decades; her "real" family was online and in fandom) have been fine to deal with. Others... not so much.

SO WRITE A FUCKING WILL, PEOPLE! Minimize the mess your family and friends will have to deal with.

#90 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 11:29 PM:

Re: placebo: Took me long enough (duh), but the penny just dropped on Rikibeth #52's mention of asafoetida... a distinctive taste (like, say, those "farmer boys") makes a perfectly good stimulus, with a much less contentious mechanism than traces of obscure chemicals in the bloodstream!

#91 ::: Laura Runkle ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 12:15 AM:

If you like spice cookies and pfefferneussen, you might like the trick we use to make them now - forget the five spice powder, and go directly for equal parts of cinnamon and punjabi-style garam masala. Outstanding.

When I was growing up, all of us kids liked desserts on fire - so we learned how to do bananas foster, cherries jubilee, brandied fruit, snapdragon, and all that stuff.

Thus, when my I became engaged, my fiance replied to his parents' question of "What wine should we bring to the dinner they are holding so that we can meet?" with "They don't really drink at dinner, but dessert is always for lushes."

Our children now ask if dessert will be "family dessert," i.e. any dessert that has a measurable proof.

#92 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 03:34 AM:

Boerenjongens/rum raisins is indeed a standard flavour in "Italian" icecream parlors, giving you the flavour if not the alcohol. Boerenjongens the drink is a bit old fashioned though about due for a hipster revival, scoring well on authenticity and such.

It's one of those drinks I associate with elderly female relatives, like bessen jenever (sweet berry flavoured gin) and advocaat (alcoholic eggnog, asykb also the dutch word for lawyer, which has tripped up at least one student on an English mid term exam when he wrote that he wanted to be an eggnog when he grew up). Great hilarity was had at family parties by replacing the advocaat with vanilla custard (vla) which had the same colour and consistancy.

#93 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 07:27 AM:

92: why call an alcoholic drink an "advocate"? Is this the same logic that christened Dr Watson's "Penang-lawyer" walking stick? (ie both can be very good at producing compliance...)

#94 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 08:36 AM:

We must drink. This is tranya. I hope you relish it as much as I.

#95 ::: Stevey-Boy ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 10:00 AM:

Laura#91: My kids also love "family dessert". Our speciality is flan doused in rum and set ablaze. This extremely tasty treat came to pass due to Guatemalan Nochebuena flan and British Xmas pudding being served on consecutive days and my son deciding all desserts should be presented on fire.

#96 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 10:51 AM:

...Now I want to go make more alcohol. I even have a rum stash to do it. But I remember the multiple large boxes of cordials and liqueurs and soused fruit that I moved with. First, I must find a home for all the alcohol I already have. Someone want to help me with this?

The newest concoction is mojito in a bottle - simple syrup, the last of this year's mint, and white rum. Pour over ice and add lime. Or skip the lime (since I frequently am out).

The major problem I have is that I live alone and drinking is a social activity. I really like making tasty booze...but I don't tend to drink it very often. Same with alcoholic fruit (newest here - dried cranberries in a light sherry, good with pumpkin). So I have all this alcohol, and few people to drink it with.

#97 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 10:53 AM:

Seeking oddly specific product: Can anyone help me find search terms to find a vendor willing to sell me women's calf-height socks (preferably in cheerful colors or stripey ones) withOUT a knitted-in heel? Just a straight tube? Girl's knee-highs will also work.

My toddler has decided she adores wearing biiiiiiig socks as thigh-highs, but it looks really stupid with the heel-poof sticking out just below her knee, so I want to get her some of her own. :-> Unfortunately, all the cheapish-clothing stores I've walked into lately seem to commit to the knitted-in heel, and google is failing me.

#98 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 11:25 AM:

Elliott Mason @97, I haven't looked, but have you checked the Joy of Sox website? They usually have a pretty good assortment.

#99 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 11:53 AM:

Speaking of placebo effects, have I ever shared here my own personal 100% placebo hiccup cure?

I am probably not the only kid raised to treat hiccups with a spoonful of sugar. As I understand it, that itself is no placebo.* But over many years of successfully getting rid of hiccups this way, I've discovered I can now evict the hiccups with the idea of sugar.

The discovery went something like this:

So John and I are out at a restaurant, and I get the hiccups. So I say, "Hey, John, pass me a sugar packet, will you?" So he does. So I get the sugar packet, and I hold it up and shake it like you do to make sure all the grains are at one end before opening it. And I realize I am no longer hiccuping, so I don't open it after all.

Me: "OK, here, you can put it back now."

Him: "No I can't! You've used up all its magic!"

We've also discovered that, with no physical sugar packet around to glare at meaningfully, I can just say "SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR!" or just think really hard about sugar.

It's awesome.

*I heard somewhere that the going theory is that rubbing the sugar crystals against the roof of your mouth until they melt stimulates something-or-other. I may have heard wrong. Also there's this.

#100 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 11:59 AM:

So, okay, this thing I thought was an ear infection? I've figured it out: it's actually a chickpea-sized alien zombie pod that got lost on its way to my brain. It's now stuck under my right tonsil. I'm going in after lunch to have it removed. (Then maybe my head will stop leaking.)

Elliott Mason @77: there's a toddler in the household

Ah. Say no more.

I tend to imprint/fixate upon certain user interfaces or setups of infrastructure, and if they are disarrayed it blows my productivity and mood all to hell.

You too? "'Swrong! Don't like." <scowl> I do much better with this sort of thing than I used to, but I often put off using new equipment/resources for months because it's "diff'rent." <scowl>

"Nope! No plug! I'm hungry, plug me in ..."

Now see, this is what I was missing.

I'm auditioning several replacements, STILL, but no successful Mac-based replacement yet

Depending on what you need to do, Preview might be an option. Allows some limited color/contrast adjustment, cropping, resizing, etc. Also has some (very) limited annotation capability. I actually use it quite a lot, because real photo editing requires firing up the old mac, and then firing up the 9-emulator before I can launch Photoshop.

nerdycellist @79: Ugly Renaissance Babies!

Actually, I'd be willing to bet that those are stealth portraits of certain well-heeled patrons.

David Harmon @81: I suspect that the specific answer to your question is, "Which molecule?" They're always finding stuff that does stuff that we didn't even realize got did (?). I imagine this not infrequently applies to substances thought "innert." Look at gluten, for example.

Elliott Mason @97: My toddler has decided she adores wearing biiiiiiig socks as thigh-highs, but it looks really stupid with the heel-poof sticking out just below her knee

"Over the calf tube socks"? Or put the heeled ones front-to-back, so the heel goes over her knee? Or is the "foot" not long enough?

#101 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 12:02 PM:

Also (Hello, open thread!), in re: old old old Making Light threads and also the recipe index,

* I have now failed at Bacon & Egg Soup, despite briskly stirring with a whisk and then with wooden spoon until it was evident it was Too Late. (It is a good thing that I like egg drop soup.) Has anyone who has succeeded at that recipe done it on an electric stove? If so, what setting? And how long does it take before things congeal? (For calibration, the stove I've got requires a Medium heat for a nut-brown gumbo roux in 45 minutes. On Low, the roux will not turn for at least 3 hours.)

* The recipe offered here strikes me as no scarier than substituting Spam for beef broth in a Bloody Bull. (And anchovies for Worcestershire Sauce.) Thoughts?

#102 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 12:14 PM:

Elliot Mason (97): Have you tried searching on "tube socks"? has some knee-high tube socks in bright colors, in kid and adult sizes.

#103 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 01:42 PM:

@101: Can't help. Inspired by old threads, though, my latest endeavor has been homemade fruitcake.

#104 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 02:55 PM:

Mary Aileen @ #102: I am prejudiced against vendors who can't spell "fluorescent". (You can imagine how much the misspellings in our new documentation software make me twitch.)

#105 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 03:05 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @ 99, funny you should mention sugar as a hiccup cure--Diane Duane has a Google+ post on curing hiccups (not to mention what causes them, and what to do if sugar doesn't work. Here it is. I had no idea and always use the drink-a-glass-of-water-as-fast-as-you-can method, which works for me. But sugar might be more fun.

#106 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 03:06 PM:

Open Threadiness: More bizarre Nativity sets for Teresa's photo collection.

#107 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 03:12 PM:

I just block the hiccups by closing my mouth and shutting the nasal passages off with whatever the muscle back of the soft palate is called and putting some air pressure on them from my lungs. Then I wait. Sometimes one gets past my defenses, but usually not two.

Then I get that sad feeling when I'm expecting another hiccup that never comes. No idea why it's so poignant.

#108 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 03:28 PM:

Lila (104): That could be a problem, yes. But I've been happy with the socks I bought from them.

#109 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 03:33 PM:

WRT hiccups: some years back I was chewing nicotine gum to kick the smoking habit. Now, it tells you right on the label that chewing it too quickly can lead to hiccups.

They weren't kidding.

My wife and I were in a mall, where we were waiting for some eyeglasses to be finished. I popped a gum in my mouth and started chewing.


"Are you okay?"

"'s this damn nicotine gum....sometimes it makes you hiccup."

"They're really loud."

So now I'm attracting attention in the mall. One woman a couple of dozen feet away looks at me, wondering if I'm soused.

I look right at her and say, "HIC!" Only this time it's much louder. She hurries away. This is making me a bit nervous, so I chew the gum faster.


Finally Linda says to me, "Spit out the damn gum!"

I did so, got some water, and they finally subsided. I'll never forget the look on that one woman's face, though.

#110 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 03:53 PM:

Steve C #109:

Wot, no one said "Haec, Hoc"?

#111 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 04:12 PM:

Re: "Middle America may actually be getting used to same-sex marriage" Sidelight:

I had the same thought recently while reading Parade magazine, of all things. They published one of their standard fluffy celebrity interviews with Ellen DeGeneres. She discussed her marriage to Portia de Rossi, and there was a very sweet wedding photo -- all done with exactly the same sweet, fluffy, rather banal tone that Parade always uses for celebrities discussing their happy relationships. "We just sit around and watch TV and have dinner, and go antiquing on the weekends"-- the sort of interview meant to show how normal and human and just-like-you the celebrity is.

There was some discussion about her experiences coming out -- but all with the implicit basic assumption that homophobia is ridiculous and wrong.

Seriously, Parade magazine is basically Reader's Digest. They do not go in for edginess. Publishing a fluffy, non-controversial celeb interview where the celebrity's same-sex marriage is treated as completely usual and matter-of-course -- it means something about what they expect their reader's attitudes to be. They know their audience is "people who get the newspaper," and that tends to be an older, more settled group -- which tells me something about how social attitudes are changing.

I am hoping really, really hard that this means the people of North Carolina will defeat the anti-gay constitutional amendment coming to a vote in May. Maybe, eventually, we'll even vote in state reps who will repeal our existing law against gay marriage. I'd love to be the first state in the South to get marriage equality.

Need to sign up to volunteer with Equality NC's GOTV efforts -- I can't afford to donate any more money to them right now, but I can phonebank or stuff envelopes or do data entry.

#112 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 04:51 PM:

It'd appear that Hammer Films will bring Cherie Priest's "Boneshaker" to the silver screen.

#113 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 05:03 PM:

Say, have they picked someone to do the novelization of the upcoming "John Carter of Mars" movie?

#114 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 05:04 PM:

Zombifying gas? Seattle? Steampunk?

Sounds like fun.

#115 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 05:28 PM:

Home chemistry: I mixed a packet of Starbuck's Via instant coffee and a packet of hot chocolate & cinnamon and added the requisite 6 oz of hot water. It's really quite tasty.

#116 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 05:35 PM:

An idiosyncratic hiccough cure: I've found that there's a feeling associated with hiccoughs which is there between the hiccoughs. I reset the feeling back to normal, and the hiccoughs go away.

#117 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 06:29 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #116:

I know what you're talking about; for me it means paying careful attention to my breathing, slow and toward the back of the throat.

Hiccup avoidance: always make sure you have plenty of liquid to swallow semi-dry things with. I used to get hiccups all the time in third and fourth grade, as my grandmother was not a believer in using lubricating substances such as mayo on the roast beef sandwiches she packed in my lunches. (With carrots for dessert, mind. I *ask* you!)

#118 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 06:44 PM:

Nicole 99: We've also discovered that, with no physical sugar packet around to glare at meaningfully, I can just say "SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR!" or just think really hard about sugar.

Well, I'm a Pagan, but I call that "knowing a spell to get rid of hiccups." I have one too, but mine involves concentrating on hiccupping...that is "OK, here comes another one; gonna hiccup any second now" and so forth.

#119 ::: Peter ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 07:28 PM:

Could a mod please take a look at my "pending" comment from the Anne McCaffrey thread?

#120 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 07:42 PM:

Ajay @92 For what it's worth, a lot of rich foods seem to get associated with lawyers.

#121 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 09:29 PM:

Re hiccups: I've identified "the first gulp of a carbonated drink" and "eating too fast" as occasional triggers; it doesn't happen every time with those, and sometimes it just happens for no reason I can identify. My standard cure is "hold your breath as long as you can -- no, longer than that -- no, until it's really uncomfortable -- and then swallow". ISTR reading somewhere that this works because the buildup of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream does something to interfere with the nerve impulse that's causing the hiccups, but that could be a load of crap. All I know is that it works for me.

#122 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 09:42 PM:

Lee (121): That's my usual cure, too. The thing I had to learn is, if (when) you hiccup in the middle, keep holding your breath.

#123 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 09:42 PM:

Caroline @111, I noticed that a few years ago with, I believe, Better Homes and Gardens. A feature on a house belonging to a gay couple, and absolutely no mention of the fact at all. That's not unexpected on something like Apartment Therapy online, but it was a bit surprising in a supermarket check-out line magazine.

#124 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 09:58 PM:

It may well be that Parade and Better Homes & Gardens are not only anticipating an audience who are getting used to same-sex couples, but also anticipating that that there may be same-sex couples in their audience. (Along with the corresponding non-coupled QUILTBAG folks, of course.)

Which would be awesome.

Re: Parade basically being Readers Digest - yes, but do they have "Things Your [EXPERT!PROFESSIONAL] Won't Tell You" and other FUD-pushing headlines on every magazine cover like RD does? Gah, RD. I really laughed when it was THINGS YOUR PILOT WON'T TELL YOU. Because how DARE those pilots not sit down with each and every one of us in the departure terminal and tell us those things they won't tell us!!!

#125 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 10:11 PM:

LMM @103 - Yay, fellow fruitcakers! If you're thinking of the comment responding to an out-and-out troll with "Here, try this," I tried that recipe one year and it turned out slightly off. But the too-dryness may have been more to do with my using a booze-soaked tea towel instead of booze-soaked cheesecloth to wrap the cake in.

Xopher @118 - I'm a Pagan too, but for some reason I never thought of my "think of sugar" hiccup cure as a spell. Which has me thinking now, where's my personal line between "magic" and "not magic"? I think if I thought of sugar and someone else stopped hiccuping, that would feel like good 'n proper witchcraft. (Only then I'd be apologizing to them for spell-casting at 'em without their permission, however inadvertently.) When it's me, I experience it as just a mental handle I happen to have developed over certain of my involuntary bodily functions, much like attempts to massage away the edges of a headache via visualization, or to use breathing exercises to convince a stitch in my side to melt.

I think my subjective line distinguishing "magic" from "mind over matter" pretty much follows the line between "me" and "not me." Well, where me = my body. If what I'm trying to affect are my circumstances, that's where I start thinking of it as a spell -- because then I have to affect something that's not me, not connected to me physically, to make the desired result happen.

Interesting stuff. I had not introspected it before. Thanks!

#126 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 12:16 AM:

Lee at 121, I do the same, and it works for me as well.

#127 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 12:58 AM:

Nicole 125: An interesting perspective, and one that pretty much means you can't ever do magic on your own body. Obviously not one I share, since I regard myself as the primary target for my magic.

To me a spell is something you do mentally that has a physical effect. (Also a symbolic act done in a deepened state of consciousness, but that's less applicable to the really basic ones like "think of sugar.") Whether it targets me or someone else affects the ethics of the matter*, but not the magic/not magic distinction.

Nice thing about being Pagan: we don't have to resolve this. There is, as a friend told me a rabbi said to her about a Talmud question, room for both answers.
*Chiefly that I don't need to ask myself permission

#128 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 01:01 AM:

Hmm, I didn't mean that to sound like a dig on non-Pagan religions. I meant there's no "correct" or "incorrect" to this question for us, just a matter of "I think of it like this" and "You think of it like that."

#129 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 01:34 AM:

When your bread machine product comes out like this you've done something wrong.

It's still tasty enough, but the presentation quality is poor.

#130 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 01:44 AM:

Peter @119:

I'm sorry; I've looked in both held comments and the Flaming Pit Of Spam, and there's nothing there. It might have misposted, or been stolen by fairies and taken under the Hill. It's certainly nowhere that I can reach it.

#131 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 09:17 AM:

abi @ #130:

In case this is helpful, I note that Peter's view-all-by includes a post about Anne McCaffrey that doesn't actually appear on the page with the rest of the Anne McCaffrey thread.

#132 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 09:36 AM:

Paul A @131:
Thanks—that gave me the date when the post was made. Given that it was over a week ago, I dug deeper, and found it 3800 messages into the spam trap. Now I need to go clean up some numbering.

Please flag these things immediately, preferably in the thread in question. We get a lot of spam, so if your message has been lost in the dross for some time, it's a good deal of work to fish it out again.

#133 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 09:41 AM:

Since I'm not sure whether this belongs on the Dysfunctional Families Day thread: Would it help to chill bad-tasting medicines?

#134 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 10:07 AM:

Fckng police state.
Jefferson would be shooting people, or using a Molotov cocktail:

[article by jennifer-bendery]

"Senate Votes To Let Military Detain Americans Indefinitely, White House Threatens Veto

"WASHINGTON -- The Senate voted Tuesday to keep a controversial provision to let the military detain terrorism suspects on U.S. soil and hold them indefinitely without trial -- prompting White House officials to reissue a veto threat.

"The measure, part of the massive National Defense Authorization Act, was also opposed by civil libertarians on the left and right. But 16 Democrats and an independent joined with Republicans to defeat an amendment by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) that would have killed the provision, voting it down with 61 against, and 37 for it..."

Think Progress has a stupid smarmy letter with as sshl spammer subject line (does Karl Rove write the subject lines and some of the copy for them and the Democractic Congressional Campaign something or other? The email message subject lines and the "Will you..." hrssht style pss me off so much I email back complaints about them...

Here's the raw content [which turned into formatted text in the preview...] of the sshlshl written email. They give defunct Commodore competition for marketing lameness....

From: "David Segal"
Subject: Due process
X-Originating-IP: []>
Reply-to: "David Segal"
MIME-version: 1.0
Content-type: multipart/alternative;

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

Content-type: text/plain; CHARSET=US-ASCII
Content-transfer-encoding: 7BIT


Sorry about the high volume of emails, but this one's important and very

It's an unimaginable violation of due process: The Senate just voted to
allow the military to detain American citizens indefinitely -- without
even charging them with a crime -- if they are said to be suspected of

[1]Will you urge President Obama to veto this legislation? He only has a
few days to make up his mind.

As Senator Dianne Feinstein put it, "Congress is essentially authorizing
the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens, without charge," said
Sen. Dianne Feinstein."

Thankfully, President Obama has threatened to veto the bill, noting that:

Applying this military custody requirement to individuals inside the
United States, as some Members of Congress have suggested is their
intention, would raise serious and unsettled legal questions and would be
inconsistent with the fundamental American principle that our military
does not patrol our streets.

[2]Obama only has a few days to make up his mind: Will you urge him to
make good on his veto threat? Just click here.

We live in interesting times.

-Demand Progress

PS: Obama only has a few days to make up his mind. Will you urge your
friends to pressure him too?

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[Snipped formatted text, since you seem to want the unformatted. One copy of content max, please, Paula. Or better yet, quote and summarize -- Abi]


#135 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 10:13 AM:

Knomed again.

The fckng US fckng Senate has passed pure unadulaterated Jefferson-rpng police state legislation, to authorize the US military secret police powers of secret arrest (the sshls call it detainment) without a warrant and indefinite internment for SUSPICION of terrorism.

Fckng shthd sshl fscsts.
Fckng th-brkng trtrs.

"uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America"

Fckng thbrkng cptl-crm cmmttng trtrs.

See e.g.

#136 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 10:21 AM:

I've just made gingerbread cookies shaped like Great Old Ones, by inverting or rotating cookie cutters meant to be shaped like 1. an angel and 2. a brontosaurus*. The recipe produced somewhat bland gingerbread, but no worse than any other I've ever tried.

*seriously, if the designer of the cookie-cutter *actually* thinks dinosaurs were shaped like this, they probably use the term brontosaur, not apatosaur.

#137 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 10:23 AM:

re 79 nerdy cellist

One of the proofs, to my mind, of Da Vinci being a bright lad is that his babies actually look like babies. It's almost like he went around sketching people from life for future reference or something.

#138 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 10:28 AM:

Hiccups: My one unfailing cure is to drink a glass of water out of the wrong side of the cup. Straight through, no pauses. This leads to one bending over the glass of water until one is bent double, thus compressing the diaphragm while swallowing a lot and not breathing very much. I've tried other methods of achieving these effects, but that seems to be the only one that's foolproof.

#139 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 10:40 AM:

Paula @135:

I've released the comment, but please:

1. Brevity is the soul of wit. Summarize and quote, or at least only put one copy of the text in the thread.

2. Dial the swearing back down, and the personal invective. I'm pulling some vowels now. We're not mealy-mouthed here on Making Light, but you're well outwith emphatic use and into screaming at people who, frankly, do not deserve it.

#140 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 10:44 AM:

It made me think of Teresa:
Worst nativity sets

#141 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 10:50 AM:

Today Glenn Greenwald has a very good discussion of the bipartisan bill to legally require military detention of non-citizens accused ot terrorism, and legally permit military detention of citizens so accused.

What does a country look like, when the government can have anybody locked up incommunicado indefinitely, without any trial or anything, on the say so of the secret police or president? What does a country look like where the president can have anyone assassinated on his authority alone?

If you were reading about this stuff in a book, or hearing about it in some other country, you would understand exactly what it meant.

The legal and administrative and propaganda infrastructure we have built over the last couple decades is like a loaded gun pointed at the temple of the country. One day, it will be easier for the president or the head of some military or spy agency to pull that trigger than to accept the results of the next election, or the next really annoying court ruling. And we will discover what's next. The tactics and technology developed for holding down hostile natives in other countries will be applied here at home. Having an existing infrastructure of secret prisons in the US, where citizens and noncitizens can be and sometimes are held incommunicado for months or years, and people who are used to arresting people and detaining them in this way, will be really handy to have around on that day. (No doubt, the detainees rights will be respected in exactly the same way as, say, the rights of Bradley Manning have been respected.)

#142 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 11:05 AM:

Abi @ 139... Brevity is the soul of wit

I wish I could say that's why my own comments tend to be short.

#143 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 11:21 AM:

#139 abi
It was tame compared with the invective Jim Macdonald very temporarily posted on SFF.NET years ago in the wake of an edit from hell. Af first I thought someone cracked into his account and posted it as spam....

What albatraoss wrote above in #141 is mild--my background leading to my explosion, is that I served in the US military back in the days when the very idea of the US military having police powers anywhere other than on a military base on US soil was anathema. The idea that the US military and not the FBI, the Coast Guard, local police, country law enforcement, and state police within their respective jurisdictions, would have authorization for law enforcement, was anathema--the US military was NOT autborized to be a police force off military bases, on US soil, and again, the very idea of it was anathema, and rooted in the Constitution and Bill of Rights and the amendments which referred to British practices which were among the incitements of the Revolutionary War.

The 67 senators if they ever had a civics or US history class taught by competent teachers and learned the material, have forgotten, chosen to expunge whatever they learned from their brain, or choose to disregard that and their oaths of office.

Perhaps the quote attributed to the person who occupied the position of President of the United States of America regarding who cares wehat the Constitution and Bill of Rights say, that it's only a piece of paper, with the clear implication of it's totally dispensable and not germane, applies to those 61 senators. They're obsessed with a threat from "terrorists" who in all the atrocities they've ever carried out worldwide, have killed fewer people than die in vehicular crashd in the US in less than a year....

I swore the same oath they're breaking. I'm furious. I've tried to keep it. They obviously aren't. Being polite regarding oathbreaking fascists promulgating a police state....

#144 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 11:24 AM:

#142 Serge

Mine often aren't.

#145 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 11:41 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 144... By the way, this wasn't a criticism of your posts or of their length. It was a joke on something that Abi had said here a couple of years ago, about how mine tend toward extreme brevity. Levity was also my intent, at this very moment.

#146 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 11:47 AM:

Paula @143:

Do I need to put us both through the indignity of pointing out that this is not, nor is it that fabled time when Jim lost his rag? Or can you just accept that here and now on Making Light, I am a moderator, and I have asked you to tone down the swearing?

What you never seem to get, however many times we discuss this, is that you are not communicating effectively when you post long screeds full of one-sentence paragraphs liberally salted with invective. People skip them. They don't read them, they don't grasp what you're saying, and they don't see how one episode of nearly incoherent fury is different than any of the others you've posted.

At which point, why are you doing this?

#147 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 12:10 PM:

re: #143 Paula Lieberman

Thank you. This is much more accessible.

#148 ::: Joris M ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 12:14 PM:

sisuile @ 140. That is a horribly named lists. Some of those nativities are incredible!

#149 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 12:26 PM:

#44 Stevey-Boy
Goldschlagger has genuine 24 karat flecks of gold in it.
I like Japanese plum wine. It's made with Shiro plums, which are golden, and NOT the blue-black European prune plums which go into prune juice.

#58 Jacque
I've noted B12 listed as an ingredient in the shelf-stable quart packages of various brands of almond milk and coconut. It might be in dried shitake mushrooms (can';t think of the name of them at the moment--and it depends which side up they dried, what their nutritional content is) or I might be confusing the shitake content for Vitamin D with B12--or maybe it has both.... The B12 and Vitamin D issues are that western world people;s gut bacteria don;t synthesize Vitamins D and B12.... I wouldn;t be surprised if there are people elsewhere in the world, who have gut bacteria which DO synthesize those nutrients, though....

#123 Janet
Garden in the Woods in Framingham, MA, the home of the New England Wildflower Society, was the home of an m/m couple, who willed the site to the organization, I think also they were founders of the organization. And the owners of a rare flowers once a century then dies plant in Boston, who removed a pane of greenhouse glass window to allow the plant's 30' flower head room to grow to its full height, are an m/m couple.

#150 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 12:35 PM:

#145 Serge

That was the same spirit that I posted #144, I was teasing you back.

#143 [myself]
That should have been 61, not 67, senators.

On a different topic, the single most turgid, soporific documentation I have ever come across, is the CMMI documentation at Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute site. Consider a document which have five levels of Practices material, and each level repeats every word of the previous level's material, and stuffs in additional paragraphs of material among the paragraphs of the previous level. Consider it drones on in passive voice, at extreme length.

It's very difficult NOT to fall asleep trying to read it, almost immediately....

#151 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 12:41 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 150... It's very difficult NOT to fall asleep trying to read it

Somnolence probably IS their goal.

#152 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 12:54 PM:

#151 Serge

It's not--I was a coworker worked with one of the authors, before the Cold War ended. Used defense engineers who had doctorates (which doesn't include me) were able to find refuge from the defense contracting contraction in academia, including working for SEI on things like CMMI.

CMMI is merely the intersection of Turgid Academic Prose meets Reagan-Bush-I era governmentalese. (Jimmy Carter had instituted a "plain English" doctrine and the military when he was President pushed using active voice. When Reagan got in, that got reversed, and back came the horrible let-no-one-use-active-voice-because-it-explicates-who-is-responsible-for-what circumlocution-speak.)

Or more succintly, CMMI has the worst of both turgid academic prose and government contract language. Even a lawyer can't love the stuff--well, maybe patent lawyers because it combined institutionally bad tech writing, with institutionally incomprehensible turgid academic prose. It's publish or perish academic engineering diarrhea crossed with government these things shall have to have be done by thees.

#153 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 01:07 PM:

So. Coming over from the Dysfunctional Families thread (comment 791 for a bit of immediate background) on the suggestion of...well, several Fluorospherians, to tap the ingenuity (and perhaps the networks) of the wider community...

Those who've been reading my posts about losing my home (under this nym and "The Me Who is not Me" from a month or two ago)...well, barring a lottery win in the proverbial ta-da! nick of time, the house is gone. I have an email from the bank's liaison or agent or whatever he is that the bank (finally--after 2-1/2 weeks of dead silence and a Notice to Vacate stuck to my door) has given me an extension on my move date: I have to be out by December 12, with the house broom-clean, and the bank's liaison will give me a check for a helpful chunk of change. Kind of in the midrange for the possible values of funds in cash-for-keys agreements, but the upper end of the usual range. And at least there are two weekends in there.

My immediate problems: I'm broke, and even though this has been hanging over my head for weeks, I haven't started packing. I've lived here for 40 years, almost, and I simply don't know where to start. Add to that the fact that the little cottage I was hoping to rent--with the cats (of whom I have several) already approved--is no longer available.

In brief, I need help with packing (and packing materials, although I've received several good tips on the other thread), and with finding a place to live, preferably with the cats. I'm located in Los Angeles county, currently a few miles east of downtown LA. And I'm on unemployment, so I can't pay much more than peanuts at the moment.

I know it's a lot to ask, but any local Fluorospherians who have the time and interest in giving me a hand with the packing would be greatly appreciated. Local or not, if you have a friend/relative/etc. with space to rent, dirt cheap, please ask abi for my email address and forward me the details. The best solution that includes the cats would be a garage apartment or "mother-in-law's cottage"; honestly, at this point, I'd be happy with a garage if it has a side door (so I wouldn't risk the cats getting scared, or getting out, using the main door), and assuming the owner/landlord doesn't mind my coming into the main house for the sanitary facilities. I have rugs for the floor, a small space heater, and several comforters I can hang on the walls a la tapestries in old drafty castles (with perhaps a layer of packed boxes against the walls as a first level on insulation).

Alternatively, or also, any info on cheap but reliable storage facilities in the general area would be greatly appreciated, assuming I can find a small place and can't immediately bring myself to sell or give away the bulk of the furniture.

If I can find a livable place cheaply enough, even if I can't have the cats with me, that would allow me to pay to board them, at least for a while, perhaps using some of the cash-for-keys funds.

The one thing I do have is a resource for a mover at a good price, so that's covered. I just need someplace to tell them to move it to. (Lousy sentence construction--sorry.) And thanks to those of you who know who you are (more bad construction), I have that cost covered--thank you.

I hate to ask. I hate to ask for help in general; I wasn't raised to believe I had the right to ask. But I have learned that sometimes asking for help is a good and useful thing, because no one can always do it all alone.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for your help, whether it falls into category of helping to pack or the one of holding good thoughts. Because they help, too. :)

#154 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 01:30 PM:

My wishes that things improve will continue.

Another source for boxes which I've used in many moves is copy shops (Kinko's and the like); paper boxes are a standard size, and a busy copy shop goes through a lot of them.

#155 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 02:04 PM:

Syd @ 153: Best wishes. There's not much more I can offer from this side of the ocean, but such as they are, you have them.

I hate to ask for help in general; I wasn't raised to believe I had the right to ask. But I have learned that sometimes asking for help is a good and useful thing, because no one can always do it all alone.

I was so raised, sort of - but I was raised by parents who were for most of their lives as shy of asking for help as they were ready to give it, so example has abated the power of the intent, and I'm a lot like they were. It's still hard.

One insight that eventually made it somewhat easier for me to ask, was this: I don't like pushy hlepiness, and I do like living in a circle in which people help each other a lot. Also, helping one's neighbour and taking one's chance to pay benefits bestowed forward is part of a good life in itself.

Asking is a precondition for all those things to keep going around. That's my personal way of seeing it - but something to the same effect first had to be pointed out to me, quite forcefully.

#156 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 02:16 PM:

Syd @153: I know it was difficult for you to ask for help like this. I really hope we (collectively) can come up with some constructive assistance.

#157 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 02:22 PM:

Open threadiness, inspired by this post and its comments on Charlie Stross's blog:

Free to a good home, a scenario in which wizards have invented magical DRM, and you are not casting any Phandaal's Gyrator unless you have registered your true name with the Phandaal Estate, paid it a hefty sacrifice, and/or accepted the company of some dodgy spysprite of uncertain agenda.

Or cracked the seal. Which can involve entertainments all its own.

#158 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 03:09 PM:

Linkmeister 129: Perhaps it's just that my eyes aren't getting the scaling properly, or maybe that I'm unfamiliar with what your bread machine normally produces, but that sure looks fine to me. Tasty, in fact.

Nancy 133: While I'm sure that depends on many factors, I'm pretty sure given other discussions here that it would reduce the medicine's effectiveness. A sailor must know he's been physicked.

Paula 134: TL;DR.

Paula 143: I agree (except for your first paragraph), and though not having sworn a military oath I can't quite share your outrage fully (though I'm plenty outraged, trust me), I appreciate your perspective. Thank you. Let's hope our President carries out his threatened veto.

Now: please read abi's #146 and take it to heart. I'm begging you. You often have a valuable perspective if I wade through the invective, which I seldom do. If you posted pre-waded-through text like 143 instead of huge rants (and raw text email? with headers intact?!) I would get your point more often.

And I would like to.

#159 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 03:13 PM:

albatross, #141: I'm afraid you're absolutely right, and it's been done "frog in the pot" style. This current bill -- I don't think it could have been passed in the immediate wake of 9/11; too many people would have been appalled at the blatant unconstitutionality, even on the Republican side. (But that was when we still had some sane Republicans in Congress; in the interim, most of them have been ousted by teahad-backed batshit-crazies.) Slowly, over the past decade, the tools for a coup have been installed -- never too much at once, never in such a way as to make the people protesting against them sound like anything but tinfoil-hat crackpots. And when the hammer finally comes down, it's going to happen so fast we'll never know what hit us. The only question will be whether we end up with a Dominionist theocracy or a cyberpunk corporatocracy*.

OTOH, I am not prepared to believe it's entirely coincidental that this has come up only after the Occupy movement failed to fizzle and die of its own accord -- which is enough to indicate that perhaps we're onto something there.

* Is there a formal name for the system under which corporations have taken over the role of government?

#160 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 03:24 PM:

Syd @153 Offering continued good wishes and support here. ObSF, I'm reminded of the line in the Vorkosigan saga - I think it's Aral in A Civil Campaign, though I wouldn't swear to it - "Get over heavy ground as lightly as you can." You have heavy ground these next few weeks; take whatever steps you can to make it a little easier.

#161 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 03:30 PM:

Lee at 159

oligarchy? plutocracy? plutarchy?

I also saw a fairly modern coinage while searching for those: corporatocracy.

I would link to definitions for all of those, but I don't want to have to fight off the gnomes.

#162 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 04:11 PM:

#153 Syd

Competent movers are astonishing in their ability to pack up everything (and I mean everything, they'll pack up trash if you don'g empty the wastebasket of it first!) in a residence and move it all, in short order. Identify what you need/want to have that's not going into storage and identify it in some form or other (stickers, marker, or whatever) if not moving it to a physically segregated off area.

Arrange for the stuff to be tossed out or left out for the general public to haul away from curbside (people will take away the weirdest mixtures of stuff left out and marked for "free for the taking") that you don't want to store, can't give away, and aren't otherwise going to take with out.

Regarding storage facilities and such--most of the ones I've seen and been in, and the one I was using for a while, have doors which the renter can put their own locks on. The storage facility owners/operators as a rule don't go into the customer-locked areas.... quite literally there are recent cases where there were murdered bodies in refrigertors or freezers in such storage for yeers, undisturbed and unsuspected. (And one of the cases, a dying woman had an attack of conscience and before she died wrote and handed over a confession that her "disappeared" husband she had actually murdered, stuffed his body into an appliance, which she'd had hauled with her from California to Masssachusetts, and stored for decades in a storage facility in the Cambridge/Somerville area--it's the same facility that Arisia (one of the Boston SF/F conventions) stories its equipment. That was a shocker.... )

As for psychological feelings, there are several ways one can try to psych oneself--there is that scene in Becket where Becket, having taken priestly vows that include poverty, gives away all his worldly possessions, as he undergoes the metamorphosis from close buddy of Hendry II to the Archbishop standing against him as a man of God and answerable to Heaven, not the King of England. There's distancing, there's mourning, different people, different reactions, diffrerent coping mechanisms, different going forward tactics.

Anyway I hope that massively good luck lands on you and your status improves dramatically.

#163 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 04:16 PM:

#159 ::: Lee:

It's interesting that it was a bipartisan bill, considering how much trouble the R's and D's have cooperating with each other lately.

Remember when GWB expanded presidential powers, and folks said, "Republicans don't seem to care about what might happen if the Democrats win, this must mean that the R's are planning a coup so as to stay in power forever". Looks as though the truth may have been more sinister.

Just to cheer you up a little more.

#164 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 05:07 PM:

#163 Nancy

I once had a coworker who had been a Program Element Monitor (or some similar words, the acronym was PEM) in the Pentagon. He said that he'd gotten a high clearance by going to someone else who he knew had to have the specific clearances by saying, "I know X, and Y, and Z... now are you going to please give the clearance level already that goes with having that knowledge?"

Then there was the case of Fleetsat #5, which when it was supposed to get deployed... was broken. Aviation Week, not seeing a successful launch announcement for it show up, started making phone calls. Independently, completely, each organization that AW&ST called, refused to provide any information--it was no arranged conspiracy, it was the judgment of all the people at all the different places AW&ST called, to not say anything to AW&ST. I wouldn't call it an open secret among people who worked with people who worked on FLTSAT, because it wasn't necessarily even secret--For Official Use Only perhaps, except that e.g. I didn't have "a need to know" but got told about the situation anyway. But anyway, the bottom line was that anyone who knew anything, wasn't, of their own judgment, saying/going to say anything to Aviation Week.

Reality gets strange--there are people whose views are fixed and e.g. if they';re convinced the sun comes up in the west, no evidence that anyone can provide, nothing anyone can say, is going to change their opinion.

There is also the situation of what someone orders may not matter, if no one is going to obey them, or is going to throw their wooden shoes in the machinery, sabotaging the machines and production. (The conglomerate AV entertainnment industry seems to have a case of blinders. They can't force me to buy music/video of content I do not want except by means sleazy, slimy, underhanded, immoral, unethical, and confiscatory. I'm mostly not buying it not because I'm downloading material they regard themselves as the legal controllers and financial beneficiaries of, but because I don't want it and am not downloading it, not watching it, not listening to it, unless I'm in a venue where it's playing and I didn't do anything to make it play. They're ticked that I'm not buying, and claim that it's because in their eyes I'm a thief--as opposed to, "I don't want the crap products you're selling and I buy products that interest me, which you are not selling/distributing--or the prices you're charging, are more than what you're selling is worth to me."

Some stuff's classified for reasons that resonate to one of Pyanfar Chanur's strategies of "Let them think themselves to death" of uncertainty. Sometimes there are things to be said of the brute force methods of "I don't care precisely what your do or don't know to what level of accuracy and precision, I'm going to do X without worrying about your perceptions of the situation". Brute force works in cases such as dropping high explosives on bunkers--whether there was someone in the bunker or not, the bunker won;t be there anymore to launch attacks from.

Alas, I was in the military in in many ways a saner era than the contemporary one. There was a line, "When you've classified everything, you've classified nothing" -- because as with overly onerous security of gazillions of user names and passwords, people deliberately compromise the security because of the extreme inconvenience to comply with massively onerous security overhead, and/or downing in a flood of too much data, proceed to keep lists and notes which they leave "unsecured" to make sure they won;t forget/lose the information....

#165 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 05:25 PM:

Xopher @ #158, it's tasty, but it overflowed the bread pan and crushed its top against the lid of the bread machine as it rose and baked.

That made for a fun exercise scraping the residue off the underside of that lid. I just wish I knew what I did wrong, if anything. It was my first time using powdered buttermilk; that may have had something to do with (or maybe not; who knows).

#166 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 06:20 PM:

@linkmeister: The overflow thing has happened to me many times.

One solution, suggested in the directions of my first DAK bread maker:

When a loaf shows signs of bloating, LIGHTLY prick the top with a fork here and there. Not ideal, but prevents a mess.

#167 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 06:38 PM:

This began before Bush 2; it really began with Reagan and the Iran-Contra crimes. I've been wearing that tinfoil hat ever since then.

That bill legalizes the U.S. government to behave like all the governments we've condemned and even gone to war with, starting with Britain in the 18th century. We have become Stalin's Soviet Union. Bush and Cheney's work is now finished.

Before he got sick and retired, Fidel Castro named what was going on "the Age of Bushismo."

A police state coupled with corporatismo.

Love, C.

#168 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 06:51 PM:

Stefan Jones @ #166, now there's a thought. I'll have to remember that (it's only recently I thought of spraying the paddle with no-stick oil to try to avoid the "stuck in the loaf" problem).

#169 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 07:50 PM:

Constance #167: By some accounts, it began with Nixon and his pardon by Ford.

#170 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 07:52 PM:

Abi, #0: "... you can't get [brandy-soaked raisins] through a straw."

*grin* You aren't sucking hard enough... just need a wider straw... might try fine-chopping or pureeing the raisins....

Re hiccups: I have occasional acid reflux, which triggers hiccups. Chewing and swallowing a couple of Tums™ antacid tablets stops my hiccups. I mention this for those who may also have reflux, so they can try the same trick and see if it works for them.

Paula: I share your opinion of the Congresscritters who voted for martial law. Maledictions upon them. May they have endless uncontrollable hiccups.

#171 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 09:07 PM:

And the Republicans going batshit insane has dragged many Democratic politicians into the slot the GOP used to fill. Which means we have a two-party system where the entire left half of the political spectrum has NO influence whatsoever.

Thanks loads, politicians. In ten years, you've turned a thriving country in to something that's well on it's way to being a third-world banana republic, with everything that implies.

#172 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 09:11 PM:

I'd share my opinion of politicians with you, but it's both profane and obscene. And it's only three words long.

#173 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 09:16 PM:

And it's only three words long.

Are the last two "'em all"?

#174 ::: A. J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 09:53 PM:

My tag on another blogspace for politics is "many bloodsucking insects", because it is both suitably descriptive and a faux-rootword pun.

#175 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 09:58 PM:

David, #169: I'm with you on that. Particularly since a lot of the major players under BushCo got their start with Nixon, and were never held to account for their part in that mess. And now, even if we get back to something approaching rule of law, we'll have it all to do again in another 30 years or so, because we've MADE THE SAME MISTAKE AGAIN -- letting the architects of the disaster off scot-free, and teaching the smaller fish that they can get away with anything.

Pyre, #170: I'll bet the straws used for boba would work just fine. There's a picture on the linked page showing the size of straw.

Also, that's a much nastier curse than you might realize. Which is not to say I consider it inappropriate.

#176 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 10:28 PM:

Xopher, that would make it a lot more: add, also, 'sideways, with a rusty garden implement'. (The ones I'm using are two adjectives and a noun. Here, I'll disemvowel them: gddmndmthrfckngccksckrs.)

#177 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2011, 11:34 PM:

Tomorrow is my father's funeral. He died in July and there was a 4 month waiting list for full military honors at Arlington. For her own special reasons, my mother has kept me completely out of anything to do with the planning of the funeral. Until Wednesday afternoon, when suddenly I had to choose music, dig up* his military and civil service history (1943-2011; he was still officially on the payroll the day he died -- at 89), his awards and decorations, then forward it all to the chaplain the same day. And, oh, could I do the eulogy too? I almost felt like posting this on the dysfunctional families thread. Oh, well ... It will be a grand send-off -- horse, caisson, band (he loved brass bands and pipe bands), the whole thing.

* ... and I mean serious archeology here. The most complete information I found was on a copy of some paperwork he filled out when President-elect Nixon was considering him for a high level appointment. He almost never talked about his combat experience, and he couldn't talk about the other stuff.

#178 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 12:01 AM:

Tracie #177: Oh, your mother's behavior certainly rates mention under "dysfunctional" -- the most charitable interpretation I can think of is that she was helplessly floundering herself... but reading between your lines makes me suspect she was setting you up to fail, or worse. Has she done that sort of thing often?

In any case, you have my sympathies, and I wish you strength in dealing with the funeral.

#179 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 12:03 AM:

#171 P. J.

At least banana republics are warm, people usually won't freeze to death if they're too poor to buy fuel in the winter, and food grows year 'round outside.

Also, some website said that the distribution profile of income in the USA had a similar disparity distribution to Uganda....

#180 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 12:33 AM:

Syd, and others, on the topic of moving:

I highly recommend having/borrowing a pocket-sized camera. Not a camera-phone, those are too slow, usually, for this purpose.

Taking pictures throughout the packing process -- layer by layer, box by box, makes it so much easier to find things later. This, in turn, makes packing less stressful, because you have a backup way to remember where things are. It helps knowing that you can browse pics instead of puttering around piles of boxes in the new place (or storage unit).

#181 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 01:04 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ #180, not to mention the evidence factor if your property is broken during the move and the movers and/or their insurers want to fight about a claim.

#182 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 01:10 AM:

P.J. Evans@176: I can't help seeing some irony in your deploying that last pejorative noun...while conversing with Xopher. Maybe something like "goatraper" would be better chosen?

#183 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 02:18 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 182:

Beat me to it. I was going to say something like, "Calling congresscritters that is insulting to incestuous lovers and practitioners of fellatio everywhere."

#184 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 03:32 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 180 and Linkmeister @ 181, you both make excellent points. My cousin made a similar one re: doing the walk-through to prove the place is broom-clean: photos with a newspaper for date verification.

As it happens, I know exactly where my digital camera and its USB cord (for photo transfer) are currently residing, and will ensure that both the main and spare batteries are charged up before packing madness begins in earnest. Do you think the default resolution will be good enough, or should I go for a higher level?

#185 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 03:56 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 182: In celebration of the combined narcissism and slippery viciousness of the breed, I find my sentiments well-expressed by the epithet 'tossweasel'.

It is not really true that all politicians are tossweasels, but certainly masturbatory mustelidity seems to be a big career asset. Hate to contemplate the training academies!

#186 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 09:21 AM:

Has this been mentioned here? It is relevant to the interests of many Fluorospherians.

#187 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 09:29 AM:

On my way in from the parking lot, I saw a bumper sticker still so awful, even after that first cup of work coffee, that I must break radio silence and tell you what I saw:

Two emblems, of roughly equal size and dimension, next to each other. On the left, the POW/MIA flag. On the right, the confederate flag. Above and below the flags, these two lines:

This flag would have
Never left you there

I can hear it set to music now, dammit.

#188 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 09:30 AM:

TexAnne #186: No it hasn't! And just in time for the holidays!!!

#189 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 09:36 AM:

TexAnne... "You must always choose the lesser of two weevils."

#190 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 09:38 AM:

I mean, which one is subject and which one is object? It's bad either way, but a whole different sort of bad, depending.

#191 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 10:20 AM:

John A Arkansawyer@187 : Oh good lord.

I was behind a pickup truck in traffic a year ago, whose owner had made a license-plate frame with one of those animated LED signs. He had programmed it to display a screed about the evils of Libruls that took over a minute to display fully.

I didn't think anybody was ever going to top it, but...

#192 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 10:33 AM:

John A Arkansawyer: It's odd, but I'd swear that after the North whipped their ass, the South retired from the war with all their POWs still being held in northern prison camps. And yet... the bumper sticker says they wouldn't have! How can we reconcile this lofty sentiment with the historical facts?

Oh yeah. I forgot. Facts are infinitely malleable, particularly ones that come out of dark places that you'd rather not look at.

It reminds me of a time I saw a bumper sticker on a car — probably a truck — in our store lot. It was a "THESE COLORS DON'T RUN," but the word "DON'T" had been printed in red (the other color was blue). Sure enough, the red hadn't run, but it had faded to invisibility in the unforgiving light of the sun. I wonder if the owner ever noticed it.

#193 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 10:50 AM:

I've been reading Brad Hicks's account of how Christianity in America has been rotated 180 degrees to endorse the GOP, "Christians in the Hands of an Angry God." Here's Part 1, and there are four more after it. Basically, Communism was soooo scary they had to reverse the tenets of Christianity so the GOP could win elections and save the world. He explains it much better than that, with citations and verses and other details. It's from 2004, and to borrow someone else's phrase, it just gets truer every day.

#194 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 10:57 AM:

TexAnne @186 said: Has this been mentioned here? It is relevant to the interests of many Fluorospherians.

It is quite relevant to my personal interests; I've just started getting serious about knocking those off my to-read list, but I only had one in my physical posession.

Though, for those of you feeling similarly, I cannot recommend reading _Far Side of the World_ interleaved (meaning, read half of one, grab the other for a few chapters, go back; I often have several books going) with _Mr. Midshipman Hornblower_. Took me a while to remember which plot points went with which book. :->

#195 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 11:25 AM:

This is just to say

That I have tried
Some cherries
Dried, tart, in
plum brandy

And which
You should know
So fabulous

Try them!
They are delicious
So tart
And so good.

(Next: brandied raisins!)

#196 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 12:06 PM:

This is just to say:

We have rejected
the racism
that flourished
after that war

and which
you have been
for revenge.

Forgive me
it was disgusting
so vile
and so damaged

#197 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 12:29 PM:

Ginger @ 195...

Coming soon (but hopefully not prematurely)...
James Cameron's "Avatart"...

#198 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 12:31 PM:

#169 ::: David Harmon

A whole lot of things got started with Nixon, including federal defunding of the post office, de-regulating the insurance and medical industries.

That he was forced to leave office or be impeached meant that most people believed all was back to normal. It seems they never even noticed these other changes and never agitated to change them back.

Love, C.

#199 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 03:11 PM:

David 182: P.J. Evans@176: I can't help seeing some irony in your deploying that last pejorative noun...while conversing with Xopher. Maybe something like "goatraper" would be better chosen?

You know, that's so common that I barely even wince anymore. But thank you for noticing.

Bruce 183: Beat me to it. I was going to say something like, "Calling congresscritters that is insulting to incestuous lovers and practitioners of fellatio everywhere."

Now wait just a minute here. Intergenerational incest does real harm in families and especially to the children. THAT's actually tolerably comparable to Congress. I would maintain that consensual fellatio does no harm to anyone (unlike Congress).

#200 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 03:19 PM:

It's official: I have signed and faxed back the cash-for-keys documents to the bank's liaison.

I never got around to breakfast this morning, but I'm afraid if I eat, I'll just throw up. Ye ghods, I hate this with a seething, white-hot passion. And there's not a damned thing I can do except go forward, because going back and standing still are not options. I suppose the good thing is that if, after all this, the bank tries to come up with some bogus reason not to pay up, I can take the bastids to court.

I spent several hours on the computer last night perusing rentals on craigslist. They are, if you'll excuse the thinly veiled joke, all over the map in a price vs. amenities sense: $575/month for a micro-loft in a rehabbed downtown hotel; $450 for a south-of-downtown studio with a shared bath (dorm-style, the ad calls it); $515/month for a 1392-sq ft, 2-bedroom house with a 3-car attached garage and a pool, for heaven's sake--no location listed for this one, however, which makes me just a tad afraid of the neighborhood...but then, I have a friend who might be able to score me a decent deal on a security system, if the property doesn't already have one; a 1348-sq ft, 3-bedroom house, also with a pool, in Whittier, which is actually not too far east of where I am now, for $655/month--which is more than I can afford by myself while I'm on unemployment but man, just the idea that it exists! Not to mention the various properties I've seen listed with similarly nice monthly rents that note a rent-to-own option is available--not an option I'm ready to explore, but if the same monthly rates are available to ordinary renters? Pretty awesome.

No idea yet how any of them feel about applicants with a BK and a foreclosure on their records. On the other hand, all the listings mentioned claim to be pet-friendly, and I'm considering offering an additional cleaning deposit if they'd allow my full complement of cats. And if you're thinking things would be easier if I could just bring myself to put most of the kittehs up for adoption, you're undoubtedly right--but at the moment, just the thought is like having a limb lopped off. I may come to that point, but it isn't here yet, and I know, even if I felt it was best for them, I'd feel guilty for failing them for pretty much the rest of my life.

Connecting with the "Fast Forward" thread, sometimes it hurts to love the little critters so much. But I do.

Anyway, that's the update for today. Off to try to eat something, or I'll be worth crap the rest of the day.

#201 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 03:25 PM:

John A., #187: The first and most obvious thought that springs to my mind is, How the hell would he know? A Confederacy government + 100 years is no more predictable than... well, than BushCo would have been in the early 1900s. It's just another stupid Ramboland fantasy.

#202 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 04:14 PM:

I would just like to point out that fellatio, though it may be popular among gay males, is also practiced by a somewhat wider subset of the population.

#203 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 04:26 PM:

Lila, are women ever called "cocksucker" as an insult? By a group of guys who are beating them up? I think that's probably rare.

#204 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 04:37 PM:

Xopher @203:
Lila, are women ever called "cocksucker" as an insult?

As a rule of thumb, no.

There is a subset of people who use fellatio as an expression of gendered power imbalance. That's pretty deep-rooted in our culture (I'm thinking, for instance, of the Firefly eposode "Heart of Gold"). But that's not an insult, in the minds the people who see the world in that way; it's just a statement of fact for them.

It's an insult to apply that inherent inferiority to someone who should be, in theory, their equal.

But, more broadly, using the term as an insult affirms the validity of that power imbalance. And that hurts both the people it's aimed at and the ones from whose assumed inferiority it draws its venom.

#205 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 04:41 PM:

Syd #200: Those rents don't look too scary to me, but once you've gotten out of your ex-home, you might also look around for an even cheaper area. My apartment in NYC (Queens) would have been immediate bankruptcy without help from my family; even with, staying there as long as I did (after losing my job) pretty much wiped out my savings and a good chunk of my IRA-type funds.

When my Mom and sister moved down here to Charlottesville, I went too, and got a 1-bedroom apartment (government subsidized, I believe it's called "section 8") for 2/3 what I'd been paying for my Queens studio, and daily costs have been much lower as well. (Plus the environment has been much better for my mental health!)

#206 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 05:03 PM:

When looking at rental listings, beware of the codes "IG"* or "MHHH"** or "VIBC"***

/hopefully welcome levity

* Indian graveyard.

** Murder house, heavily haunted.

*** Vortex in broom closet.

#207 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 05:39 PM:

Syd -

Most likely the $600 house w/garage, a bunch of bedrooms, etc is a scam listing. I've noticed a lot of these when apartment hunting on C-list. Many of them suggest that you may "take over payments" which is a well-known scam I'm not immediately familiar with. I have also seen the same set of pictures on several different listings that indicate prices far lower than others in the neighborhood and exterior photos showing lush green lawns and McMansions more at home in the suburban midwest listed in geographically unlikely yet trendy neighborhoods (yeah, dude, I know that's not Silverlake).

Since I tend to avoid these obviously bogus listings, I'm not sure what the scam is exactly, but I'm guessing things like giving a deposit to someone who's not actually the landlord or the money order/check scam. The rental market in LA is depressingly expensive, but giving $1000 to someone who hands you the keys to someone else's apartment would suck even more than paying too much rent.

#208 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 05:54 PM:

A long and rambling post, while I wait for my test run to finish. My program is being weird and balky[1], so hopefully it won't take too long.

On the subject of alcohol:
Sisiule @ 96
If you are ever in Richmond, I'll happily drink some of your specialties and offer you some of mine. (I've got some spectacular wild raspberry brandy.) I think you and my wife are long-lost twins anyway.[2]

Is advocaat usually cooked, or is the traditional recipe like eggnog, which is just aged until the alcohol reacts with the proteins and thickens it?

One of my "sometime I'm getting a bottle" drinks is Cocchi Americano, which is supposed to be a good substitute for Kina Lillet. Note that I'm instructed by the internets that current Lillet is a poor substitute[3]; Kina/China is quinine, and Kina Lillet was distinctly bitter.

Tonight when I get home I shall have my much-liked winter beverage of 1 part hot milk, 1 part Jamaican rum[4], and 2 parts hot water, with plenty of sugar and a grating of nutmeg.

On non-alcoholic topics:
Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @ 101
Bacon and Egg Soup
That looks like a custard; I would cheat, and not cook the eggs in the soup. I'd take out about 1/2 can of broth, heat the soup to boiling, beat the eggs, add the reserved liqid to the eggs, then ladle boiling broth into the egg mixture while whisking, then pour the semi-cooked eggs into the soup.

Reading about how things are getting worse/we're heading towards a police state always makes me feel like I live in a different country than everyone else. In my America, Josef Hofer died chained to his cell bars in 1918; the Roosevelt administration confiscated the property of citizens without compensation with Executive Order 6102 in 1933; the military was being used for domestic law enforement by 1957; and the Warren Court had shredded the idea that structural changes required consensus [6] by 1963.

1) If I run the spreadsheet manually, it takes about a minute to re-calc; when I hit it with a VBA recalc command, it takes much longer.
2) Her degree is in Medieval and Rennaissance studies, with a specialty in pre-Norman Britain.
3) Forget who it was, but one comment was "it would be like substituting ginger ale for tonic water, since Canada Dry makes both and they are both fizzy."
4) Jamaican rum tastes distinctly different from other rums (which don't all taste the same); with other rums[5], this is a very uninteresting drink.
5) Including Cruzan, which should be my house rum except that I find it boring and not very good. (My grandfather had his leg crushed while building one of the fermenting vats at the distillery.)
6) If I think of the procedure for amending the US Constitution as one of modified consensus, rather than majority vote, I find it to make much more sense.

#209 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 06:27 PM:

Cooking Question:

I'm planning on making a bunch of cookies. They'd be served up on Monday, maybe Tuesday.

Is it viable to make dough ahead of time? Say, tomorrow morning, and bake 'em late Sunday?

Yes, I know that stores are full of prepared ready-to-bake cookie dough, but I'm fresh out of BHT and stabilizers. I'd be making gingerbread and sugar cookies from pouch mixes; egg, oil, water.

I have copious air-tight containers and a fridge.

#210 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 06:38 PM:

Stefan @ #209, I dunno about cookie dough, but my bread machine cookbook says I can freeze dough for quite a while. Just let it come to room temp (20 minutes or so after defrosting in the fridge, I think) before using.

That sounds like an eminently Google-able question, though. "Can I freeze and thaw cookie dough before baking?"

#211 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 06:44 PM:

I know you can freeze and thaw cookie dough, as I have a friend who regularly gives us homemade cookies dough, rolled into cookie-sized balls and frozen.

You can also keep cookie dough in the fridge, but it will change, especially if it's a high-fat dough. In my opinion, it improves, but the flavor does change. (To me, there's a bit more of a caramel/toffee flavor.)

#212 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 06:47 PM:

#211: Sounds good, then!

#213 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 07:40 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @ 199:

Intergenerational incest does real harm in families and especially to the children. THAT's actually tolerably comparable to Congress. I would maintain that consensual fellatio does no harm to anyone (unlike Congress).

My opinion of Congress must be lower than yours. But I completely agree with you about fellatio.

I stopped using "cocksucker" as a swear word after watching Deadwood for awhile. Aside from the fact that it wasn't used as an insult, I had to admire the way in which Ian McShane and Keone Young had nuanced conversations using just that one word.

#214 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 07:42 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @101: Bacon and Egg Soup

If the idea is for the egg to blend in seamlessly with the broth, then that sounds similar to the lemon-chicken-egg soup recipe I got from Kara Dalkey, which I have successfully rendered on an electric stove.

Basically, in the case of my soup above, blend the eggs and the broth at room temperature, and then bring the temp up slowly, stirring as continuously as you can manage. The idea is to keep the eggs moving and blended while they cook. ISTR that one doesn't want to let it actually boil, just bring it to the brink thereof. Add the lemon juice in after the eggs have cooked, which you can detect because the liquid becomes lighter and more opaque.

Paula Lieberman @164: This is interesting. I've seen it speculated elsewhere that something like this might account for the weird personality-shift in Obama, once he took office. If we credit that he was wholly sincere in his intentions while he was running for office—wow.

This begs the question, though: what on earth could move an honest, ethical man to turn like that?

Syd @200: Good to hear some forward movement!

Re: appetite & anxiety: when I went through my bad patch, it was the first time in my life I experienced anxiety > anorexia. You are already aware of the energy-sap that can cause. Keep clear broth and crackers on hand, if you can; sometimes just getting that much down can ease things enough to admit of a meal. Also: smoothies are a great way to sneak nutrition in under an abused appetite.

And wrt keeping your kitties with you: stand firm. They're your anchor in the world. With me, it's guinea pigs.

Oh yeah and: following up on nerdycellist's @207, when you finally settle on a place you want to rent, don't be bashful about verifying property ownership before you turn money over. I've gotten a few calls lately from people who are answering "To Let" ads on Craigslist where fraud is suspected. It does happen, and that's the last thing you need right now. In Colorado, a call to the relevant county assessor's office can usually verify the name and mailing address of a property owner. Not sure if the same is true in California, but it's worth a ten minute call.

Linkmeister @210: "Can I freeze and thaw cookie dough before baking eating?"

FTFY, and the answer is "yes."

It can actually make the baking process easier: Roll your finished dough into a long 2"-diameter cylinder wrapped in waxed paper, chuck in freezer. Slice off .5" disks, peel off paper, and lay on sheet to eat* bake. Don't even have to thaw it first, just add five mins or so to the baking time.


* Can we tell that Jacque likes cookie dough?

#215 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 07:43 PM:

{Mmmmm...cookie dough.}

Thank you, Stefan. Not helpful. ::drums fingers::

#216 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 07:58 PM:

David Harmon @ 205, the numbers are only scary from the perspective of currently being on unemployment with no job prospects. ***suppresses mutterings on subject*** I have no idea where else to look at the moment. If I moved out of state, for example, would I get to keep my unemployment? And then we come to the point mentioned by--

nerdycellist @ 207...rental scams. Egad, that never even occurred to me. So now it becomes, how do I weed those out? I have absolutely no experience with this--I've never had to look for housing, not even on behalf of a friend. I've been known to joke that I have friends who've moved more often in three years than I have in my entire life.

You're right to say handing over $1000 to a scam artist would seriously suck...but this whole series of events has me seriously doubting my ability to make smart decisions, and I'm afraid I wouldn't know a scam if it ran past me with its hair on fire. Would you have any helpful suggestions in that area? If so, feel free to share, because it's Novice City here.

Oy vey. More thinking is called for.

Stefan Jones @ 206--you made me laugh. Thank you. :)

#217 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 08:09 PM:

Jacque @ 214, you posted while I was typing, apparently. (1) Thank you for the encouragement, and also for the assessor's office idea. (2) You are not the only one who likes cookie dough. My mom was lucky she had any chocolate-chip cookie dough to bake up, when I was helping with the baking. ;)

#218 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 08:10 PM:

Syd, 216:

I've had to move frequently over the past several years, so I've seen a few Craigslist scams. Here's what I know about how to distinguish them:

1. If it seems too good to be true -- especially if the price suggested for the space is substantially lower than price-for-space on most postings -- then it's probably a scam.

2. If, when you write to the ad poster requesting further detail, the poster writes back asking for information like your SSN, your bank account number, etc. -- especially before you've met the poster -- run away now. Ditto if the poster asks for a check before you see the space, or if the poster asks you to overpay at first and promises a later refund.

3. The following sentence, from an actual email I received regarding an actual Craigslist posting, includes several of the reddest of red flags:

Pls note that you will be viewing the Home from outside and incase you see a for sale sign when you went to take a look at the Home please dont call the number cause i have change my mind as i told you before and you won't be able to inspect the Interior because the keys and the documents to the house are with me here in africa and It is located on a cool, quiet and safe neighbourhood.

Good luck to you.

#219 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 08:57 PM:

Syd #216: I'm currently on disability rather than unemployment, and those rents are less than I'm paying, but I have no idea how to assess our respective areas. (Charlottesville is Southern and semi-rural, but it's also a college town. You've said you live in (or near?) LA, but that's not just one place for these purposes....)

You may want to see if you can be diagnosed with depression, which would qualify you for disability payments. But... that takes a while, and I'm told that due to underfunding, the SSD office will usually reject depression claims automatically on the first try. (I already had the depression on my record before I lost my job.)

#220 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 09:07 PM:

Xopher, you are of course right, and I didn't mean to suggest that the word is not (a) primarily used as an insult and (b) draws much of its power from an assertion of heterosexual (male) superiority.

It did not occur to me that that comment would sound like "that's not an insult because actual straight people also do it", but since apparently it did, I'm sorry. I'll think harder next time.

#221 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 09:10 PM:

My apologies. Because you aren't anything like a Congresscritter.

That collection of epithets is from about three years back, the summer I spent the Fourth of July making a Jolly Roger because it seemed so much more representative as a flag.
These days, I just shrug, because I don't think Congress even notices any more what the results of its actions is, and no one in it seems to care.

#222 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 09:20 PM:

Syd, I'd say the house with pool for $515 a month is a scam because it's insanely low rent. That's single-room-rent territory.

The downtown stuff is probably a better deal - a lot of the older buildings downtown are being rehabbed into lofts, including some of the hotels. (I wouldn't call it a really pet-friendly neighborhood, but a lot of people have dogs.)

(I did rent a room for a year via craigslist, with a nice family. It was about that price range, and included part of a fridge and a cupboard. No pets, unfortunately, and it was a house on a major street so traffic noise.)

#223 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 09:43 PM:

First, Syd, best of luck finding a place that will let you have all of the kitties. I've spent a bunch of time in the last few years looking for apartments in a couple of different cities (Nashville, TN and Berkeley, CA respectively) and there are certain ground truths of using Craigslist - some of them have already been mentioned.

1. If it sounds too good to be true, it certainly is.

2. If they send you a link for any credit check / get your credit score / sign up to do anything, don't bother. They're scam artists.

3. If it looks like stock photography, it's probably fake.

4. If you doubt what they show you, use Google Maps (Street View is very useful) - if they claim there's an apartment at location X, and all you see are commercial buildings, it's a fake.

5. It never hurts to ask (about kitties / deposits / anything you're curious about).

6. The ad is not everything - the Amazing Girlfriend and I just found a place (got keys last night) and the entire ad was all of three sentences and no pictures - we talked with the owner by email, got pictures, saw the unit, etc.

7. Remember, the right apartment / rental is out there - and Craigslist rewards continual searching (when I'm looking, I troll Craigslist almost continually*).

8. Good luck!

*Yes, I'm Ben and I have a Craigslist problem. It gets worse around major deadlines / end of term (this year, the Amazing Girlfriend and I bought a large TV; last year it was a new-to-me espresso machine).

#224 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 09:43 PM:

Open Threadiness: I just saw the trailer for "Snow White and the Huntsman" -- TNC at The Atlantic posted it -- and was taken aback at the level of reference to LOTR, The Movie. It was inescapable and intense.

I wonder if the whole movie is like that...

#225 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 09:56 PM:

It's really OK. Sorry for being cranky.

#226 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 10:14 PM:

just stumbled upon a fascinating bookbinder on etsy and thought abi and others might be interested. there are books with the leather wrinkled into a tree on the front, books with doors in the cover, with intricate embossed designs, and so on. i occasionally poke around etsy looking for neat binders, and this is one of the prettiest collections i've seen.

#227 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 10:46 PM:

"And if you're thinking things would be easier if I could just bring myself to put most of the kittehs up for adoption, you're undoubtedly right--but at the moment, just the thought is like having a limb lopped off."

Syd, just remember that "easy" often does not equal right. They're your kitties, and I applaud your efforts to keep them so.

I am sending good wishes your way, and hope that you will be able to find a good rental situation in the next few days.

#228 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 11:56 PM:

OK, I have four pouches worth of gingerbread cookie dough in a big wad in the fridge. Sugar cookies get mixed tomorrow, and everything gets baked on Sunday afternoon. I'll be using the Royal Cream icing someone mentioned earlier.

#229 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 12:02 AM:

Question for the Encyclopedia Fluorosphericana:

Some while back, I bought a pair of white leather gloves at a thrift shop. They accidentally got stored with the sticky price tag still on them, and when I recently got them back out and removed the tag, it left a yellowed discoloration. What's the best way to remove it, or is there any way at all? Relevant info: they're unlined (think "vintage dress gloves") and more off-white than true-white.

#230 ::: Syd, slightly disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 12:12 AM:

Rymenhild @ 218, David Harmon @ 219, P J Evans @ 222, Benjamin Wolfe @ 223, and B. Durbin @ 227, thank you all SO much! Many useful anti-scam tips, and good info re: disability for depression. Although if I go that route, it's entirely possible I'll have to pour mental concrete on my late mother's spot in my brain-box, since she had a very low opinion of people who were "weak" enough to seek therapy (which would have done her a world of good after her coronary, but that's another story...).

And B. Durbin, you touch on what I think is my main point re: the cats. Thank you.

Thanks, humongous thanks, in fact, to the Fluorosphere, those who own it and run it and mod it and populate it. Y'all rock. :)

#231 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 12:46 AM:

Lee @ #229, If it's residual adhesive, you might try Goo Gone. It's citrus-based, not petroleum-based, so it might not harm the glove.

#232 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 03:39 AM:

This one needs to be copied onto a gigantic billboard that every member of Congress has to drive past to get to work:

Gist: Woman has chronically ill daughter. Woman can either rely on state aid for her treatment or get a job that will cover it. But the only jobs available to her will disqualify her for state aid without covering her daughter's condition. Okay, so, she could go back to school, get a degree, qualify for higher-paying jobs, right? Except that she already has student loans. She can't get her degree until she pays off the loans and she can't pay off the loans until she gets a job and she can't accept any jobs currently available because her daughter is sick and she can't get off welfare until she qualifies for a high-paying job and she can't even get an interview for a high-paying job until she gets her degree . . .

I also note the 99-percenter who explains that his medical bills wouldn't be so damn high if he had been able to see a doctor fifteen years ago instead of just hoping that his condition wouldn't get as bad without treatment as it evidently has.

#233 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 04:17 AM:

Elliott@77, was that PC that won't charge a netbook? The same thing happened to my wife's this summer (I think it's an Asus, but it's not nearby to check), and the recommended solution turned out to be to reflash the BIOS, which you do by getting a 2GB-or-smaller USB memory stick, loading on software (using a working PC), and following some magic instructions you can get from the web. (IIRC, she actually fixed the problem by getting a larger dumber generic power brick from Fry's, but that may have just been the fix for the loose power connector problem she also had.)

ObAlcoholThreadContent - there's less fruitcake-quality brandy in the cupboard than there is fruitcake, so the raisins got dark rum poured on them for later consumption.

#234 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 05:27 AM:

Just back from seeing Recardiacs Fly, with our very own Tim Walters Smith on bass. They're getting very sharp. And the music is so lovely and strange. Happy now.

#235 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 07:42 AM:

Syd @ 216

We had one situation where we legally shouldn't have paid any rent at all, for the first several months we were living there -- no doors on any of the rooms (including bathrooms), black widow infestation, ongoing renovation, mold, wiring problems, unsecured first-floor windows, and a gas leak that took us months to convince the utility company it even existed ... Just to say, we were young and we thought we were getting a deal, but we got rooked.

So I just recommend you know your rights as a renter, before you agree to anything. For instance, California has this awesome little book that lays it all out in pretty straightforward terms. IIRC, they have a more detailed website too, with a bunch more resources, but the link above is pretty comprehensive.

Also, if your landlord says anything like "and I'm not looking for any renters who are going to come whining to me over every little thing," walk away. That's a huge red flag.

#236 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 08:38 AM:

Syd, #216, addendum to Rymenhild #218: Just to clarify, the "overpayment" scam is when someone offers you a money order, traveler's checks, or post-dated check to "cover" the cash or check they're asking for now. The money order/traveler's check will be forged, the check will bounce. (Needless to say, a landlord should never be handing you a traveler's check anyway!)

#237 ::: Alice Bentley ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 09:42 AM:

I have so enjoyed watching the outpouring of support for Terri Windling at the Magick4Terri LiveJournal auctions that I've put together a GoogleDoc spreadsheet to give a fast overview of it.

Really amazing stuff going up.

#238 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 09:45 AM:

One important clarification on #236: With many of the forged check scams (particularly foreign cashier's checks), the check does *not* bounce right away, but gets credited to your account quickly. However. when the bank gets around to completing collection a couple of weeks later, the check's found to be counterfeit, and the money is pulled back *out* of your account. If you don't still have money there, the bank can come after you for it. They can also try to prosecute you for check fraud, if they're not convinced you knew nothing about the scam.

Be very, very careful about unusual large checks from people you don't know.

#239 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 10:05 AM:

John Mark Ockerbloom #238: Um, good point, I'd forgotten about that little gotcha.

Can't even completely blame the banks for that one, as they were facing pressure for fast crediting of deposited checks... on the other hand, that pressure was due to their previous stalling on check cashing, trying to squeeze out extra interest payments on the money in transit.

#240 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 10:42 AM:

Syd: any possibility of pursuing links with e.g. local universities? There just MIGHT be someone looking for a house-sitter while they're away for for 6 months on sabbatical (just saw such in my local synagogue newsletter -vin south-east London, in the UK, unfortunately for you - which reminded me).

#241 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 11:09 AM:

Bill Stewart @233 said: Elliott@77, was that PC that won't charge a netbook?

Nope, an HP/Dell standard sort of laptop.

#242 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 12:02 PM:

Has this been reported yet?

"Unwanted door prize"

#243 ::: AnonCowardSevenBillion ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 12:03 PM:


Please check the DFD thread.

#244 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 12:25 PM:

Linkmeister @231:
Last time I checked, Goo Gone contained both citric acid and petroleum distillates. There are some other products in the same space that lack the petroleum distillates.

Lee @229:
Another possibility might be to roll your own: citric acid is sometimes available in the spice aisle as "sour salt".

#245 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 12:33 PM:

Xopher @127 - Just so. It is pleasant to be able to discuss subjective experiences of metaphysical phenomena without fearing that the conversation should degenerate into an argument over who's "right." In most Pagan circles I can relax about that (which means, though, that when I do run into a very dogmatic Pagan, I get sort of blindsided). I should mention that I'm lucky also to have many examples of Christian circles for which, ditto.

That said, I was surprised by your response, because it would never occur to me to say "I can't perform magic on my own body." For me, it's more like, "When I exert my will over my own body, it doesn't feel like what I would call magic." I think it's likely that you and I claim a similar range of ability to effect change on our own persons, but that we call the changes by different names. Would that be fair to say?

Anyway, I rather like the way our different outlooks lead us to surprising each other in conversation. It prompts me to have different thoughts than I otherwise would have.

Jacque @214 - If I had not already understood the physics behind the recipe as written, and if I were therefore looking for an explanation thereof, your explanation would have been precisely what I would have been looking for.

Syd @throughout: Good luck. May the best of all possible circumstances come around for you. I don't have any good advice, but it looks like you picked the right place to ask for it.

#246 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 12:41 PM:

KayTei @ 235, David Harmon @ 236/239, John Mark Ockerbloom @ 238 and dcb @ 240, more thanks coming your collective way--I would like to think I would not fall for a "you give me a check, and I'll give you a bigger check" scam, but in the heat of the search, who knows? It will at least be in my brain-box now.

And dcb, that is a very interesting idea, one I wouldn't have considered. I'll see what I can find.

Many thanks again!

#247 ::: Buffy from Sunnydale ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 02:20 PM:


Vocabulary help requested:
what's a word for "citizens meet and criticize each other over ideological purity"? Refusal to criticize is itself grounds for suspicion. Seen the concept/term in a Philip K novel and in histories of eastern-block countries, iirc. Why, yes, I've got an interesting meeting on Monday.

#248 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 02:56 PM:

Geekosaur to Lee:
Another possibility might be to roll your own: citric acid is sometimes available in the spice aisle as "sour salt".

It's also with the canning supplies. One of the trade names is Fruit Fresh.

#249 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 04:20 PM:


I mentioned in a previous open thread that cheap condensed milk has been replaced in some outlets by "condensed filled milk."


I broke out the cheaply bought supplies of chips and canned milk I bought last year. Four of the cans of condensed milk turned out to be the "filled" stuff. It looked different -- slightly waxy -- but I thought I'd use it for a batch of fudge.

Bad move. The fudge never really melted smoothly. It remained a bit grainy and "bready." I managed to smooth it out into the pans, but then the nasty surprise: A thin sheen and little pools of OIL coated the surface of the fudge. Besides milk and sugar, the ingredients listed palm oil. Yuch, ich, fooey! I blotted it off. I hope the end product isn't ruined.

#250 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 04:40 PM:

Buffy @ 247

Do you mean a "circular firing squad"? Or maybe "consciousness-raising (circles or groups)"?

#251 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 05:46 PM:

Nicole 245: I think it's likely that you and I claim a similar range of ability to effect change on our own persons, but that we call the changes by different names. Would that be fair to say?

Yep, fair as fair.

Anyway, I rather like the way our different outlooks lead us to surprising each other in conversation. It prompts me to have different thoughts than I otherwise would have.

Me too!

#252 ::: Buffy from Sunnydale ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 05:46 PM:

KayTei @250

Something like a circular firing squad-- close -- but more with the implication that everyone is going to get lectured at by each other, like a group confession.

My brain is telling me I've seen a word for this, perhaps from some totalitarian country (or a fictional book about a totalitarian life)

#253 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 05:51 PM:

Buffy @252: In Maoist China it was called some term I've seen translated into English as a 'self-criticism session' (compulsory in all work groups).

#254 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 06:13 PM:

Stefan Jones #249 - condensed filled milk? Filled with what?

Interestingly, when I ask the internet, wikipedia has a page on 'filled milk', which is:

"Filled milk is skim milk that has been reconstituted with fats, usually vegetable oils, from sources other than dairy cows and only exists as evaporated milk."

Then the FDA has this:
Filled Milk Act
§61. Definitions.

"The term ''filled milk'' means any milk, cream, or skimmed milk, whether or not condensed, evaporated, concentrated, powdered, dried, or desiccated, to which has been added, or which has been blended or compounded with, any fat or oil other than milk fat, so that the resulting product is in imitation or semblance of milk, cream, or skimmed milk, whether or not condensed, evaporated, concentrated, powdered, dried, or desiccated."

So basically it is imitation full cream milk. I can't recall enough organic chemistry to know what the differences between cows milk fat and vegetable fats and oils are, except that you've just found out that they don't work in fudge recipes.
So something I'll watch out for thanks to your example, although the UK is rather behind the USA on substitution of perfectly good ingredients by cheap filler.

#255 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 06:22 PM:

guthrie @254:
although the UK is rather behind the USA on substitution of perfectly good ingredients by cheap filler.

Well, yes, except for the whole vegelate family milk chocolate thing, of course.

#256 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 06:37 PM:

So, to be blunt, "filled" is a nice way of saying "adulterated," huh?

Well, the cooled fudge doesn't taste too bad. But the lower layer made with the stuff looks like it has hardened margarine spread on it in spots.

I'm going to submit a rant to Boing Boing about it. Here is a picture; the following one shows the ingredients.

Note the multiple languages. I suspect that this stuff is sold to unsuspecting immigrants.

For the second batch, I used two cans of organic condensed milk that was on closeout . . . $.99 each.

#257 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 06:55 PM:

Abi - touche.
On the other hand, I thought cheap British chocolate has always been vegelate so no actual substitution has taken place.

#258 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 07:02 PM:

guthrie @254:
...although the UK is rather behind the USA on substitution of perfectly good ingredients by cheap filler.

<FX: Moose bolts a bigger shunt across irony detector.>

In the freezer I have a "San Marco Margherita Pizza" that contains NO CHEESE WHATSOEVER.
I have yet to decide upon a safe disposal method for this item.

(It may involve strong acids, thermite, or a hazardous waste disposal company experienced in
the removal of crocidolite, high-level radioactive waste, and similarly noxious materials.)

Consider also the expression "Emulsified high-fat offal tube".

#259 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 07:25 PM:

Cadbury Moose @258 I have yet to decide upon a safe disposal method for this item.

I could loan you a dog whose standards for edibility are highly elastic.

#260 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 07:33 PM:

OtterB #259, alternatively, one could enlist the dog in a frisbee-catching session, using the ersatz pizza as the disk.

#261 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 08:17 PM:

Okay, now I'm angry. Were you to envision Marvin the Martian in high dudgeon, it would approximate my current state rather nicely.

You see, on November 30, the bank's liaison emailed me with the news the bank would offer me $X in relocation funds and give me until 12/12 to move out. The liaison provided me the paperwork via email after 8:00 PM on December 1 with instructions to fill everything out and fax it back in time for him to get it to the bank on Friday, December 2. I completed and faxed the paperwork before 11:00 AM on December 2, and I spoke to the liaison to let him know the papers had been faxed from Office Depot. He said he would call me back if anything was not legible, so I could re-send it and not delay the bank's approval process.

So a few minutes ago, I check my mail, and what do I find? A Notice of Unlawful Detainer, aka an EVICTION NOTICE. Filed by the bank on frakking DECEMBER 1, the very day their liaison emailed me their #$^%@*#^$* paperwork and a mere ONE DAY after said liaison told me the bank was making an offer.

I feel like it's strong-arm tactics, that the bank is trying to get out of paying me the relocation allowance. I am quickly forming the opinion that the bank is not dealing with me in good faith, and I have addressed a question about this situation to a real estate attorney of my acquaintance. If he says it's fishy...well, wouldn't it be nice if the bank, in their apparent eagerness to escape having to pay me what they offered, wound up having to pay me rather more instead? Maybe even a lot more?

Obviously, I have no idea if this is actionable, but man, is it ever giving me something nice to think about while I clean!

Sorry, I have to do this...


#262 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 08:23 PM:

Reduced to watching some truly stupid shit on TV. Military commander, after seeing that the giant fire-breathing demon dragon he had imprisoned has broken free, shattering the prison, and is about to kill all his men: "Aw, dang!"

I'm guessing the original Japanese line was somewhat...crisper.

#263 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 08:54 PM:

I've heard more than one story about one arm of the bank not letting any of the others know what it's doing, resulting in this kind of crap happening to people who were following the bank's instructions carefully and in good faith.

(Certainly you ought to file a written complaint with whatever agencies and departments are supposed to be keeping an eye on banks. In CA I think business corporations are under the Department of State, but I wouldn't want to swear to it.)

#264 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 08:55 PM:

Syd, somewhat disguised #261: It wouldn't be the first time (lately!) that a bank overreached itself....

#265 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 08:55 PM:

Syd, somewhat disguised: You mentioned above that you have friends that move more often than you want to think about. You might try asking them what processes they use to find new places, what they look out for, where they're looking, etc.? Once you can see straight after the @261 trick, of course...

--Dave, oh, and which moving companies they recommend, if needed

#266 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 09:22 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 256: I just laid in baking supplies today. I rushed to the kitchen to check my fudge-destined cans of sweetened condensed milk and found that the label lists milk and sugar. I'm glad that they contain what one would expect, and highly annoyed to have to check that "sweetened milk" is ... sweetened milk.

So far this season, I've got one flourless chocolate torte in the freezer, and one pan of cream-cheese brownies in the oven. I'm nervous about the brownies, because it's so hard to tell when brownies are done. It is clear when they are over-done, of course. I've made this Cooks' Illustrated recipe successfully twice in the past, baking it in an 8" square pan for 55 minutes as instructed. This time, I've made a double batch in a 9 x 12" pan, and trying to figure out when they're done will be fraught. One hates to waste 8 eggs, a pound of cream cheese, 10 oz of chocolate and half a pound of butter. Oh, and 7 ounces of flour and some sugar -- these are "brownies" not some form of torte, of course.

#267 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 09:25 PM:

abi @ #255: vegelate family milk chocolate

That makes it sound like "vegelate" and "family milk chocolate" are different terms for the same thing; if I'm reading the linked article correctly, they're actually two separate issues which happen to coincide in British chocolate products. (The former is about using plant oils in place of animal fats, as with the filled milk; the latter is about the appropriate proportions of milk and chocolate in milk chocolate.)

#268 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 10:14 PM:

Re: me at 261, I forgot to mention that I also emailed the guy who had arranged my foreclosure sale postponements and had agreed to be kind of a "witness"/"touchpoint" on my behalf during the negotiations re: cash for keys. So in his first reply, he tells me I'm indulging in wasted fury and it's not going to help the process if I start thinking with venom about the people who are trying to make sure the process goes the way it's supposed to go.

"Venom"? Way to go, dude. Then he sent me another email, apologizing for using the word "venom" but the gist of it is still that the bank is only trying to make sure the process happens the way it's intended to.

Then the real estate attorney emails me and says basically the same thing. The implication being, I guess, that this happens all the time and it's no big deal. He did say I can call him on Tuesday (he's dealing with a case on Monday).

Why is it I feel that if this is standard practice, it shouldn't be? I mean, it isn't as if people in my position don't have anything better to do with our time, but no--with the trying to find a place to live and get stuff packed and so on, now we get to think about how to respond to a notice of legal action.

The adjurations to calm down are not having their intended effect. If anything, now I'm pissed off at two other people because this is "just" part of the process and to raise an objection to it is...venom.

Seems to me that if this is such a standard part of the process, the bank's liaison should have said something about it. Kind of warned me, like. I don't care if it's legal, it just doesn't seem ethical. But wait...banks and ethical behavior? I crack myself up.

#269 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 10:27 PM:

Open threadily: Can anyone here clue me in to what story Bolaño is referring to in the middle of Savage Detectives when he has Felipe Müller recount a story he had heard from Arturo Belano -- "I'm quite sure it was Belano that told it because he was the only one of us that read science fiction. He told me it is by Theodore Sturgeon, who knows, it could have been some other author or Belano himself, the name Theodore Sturgeon has no significance for me."

The story concerns a fabulously wealthy woman whose lover dies young; in her grief she turns her estate into a Garden of Eden and has clones of herself and of the lover raised there with the hope that they will fall in love and live the life that she lost with his death. Müller says at the end that it is "a bit sublime, a bit sinister. Like all crazy love, right? If one adds to infinity yet another infinity, the result is infinity. If one superimposes the sublime upon the sinister, the result is sinister. Right?"

#270 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 10:39 PM:

Syd #268: Mr. Touchpoint should be apologizing for using the phrase "the way it's intended to"....

#271 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 11:12 PM:

It might actually be the way the bank intends the process to go.
It's still a really bad way to treat people: they'll tell other people about what the bank is doing, and the people who are supposed to be working for them instead of for the bank, and then....

#272 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 11:24 PM:

Modesto Kid@269: It is by Theodore Sturgeon. The title is "When You Care, When You Love".

#273 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 11:25 PM:

Syd @ 270
It's not ethical, it may or may not be legal, and it's entirely typical. We see it with foreclosures and short sales (pre-foreclosure). As frustrating as the advice to calm down is, it's still good advice. You're going to have to be coherent enough to think. Reasonable people on the phone squeeking the wheel politely are more likely to get results from people who are shouted and cursed at all day, every day. This type of thing is usually a case of the right hand not knowing what the left is doing. From what I've been told, that filing is automated and isn't stopped unless there is full acceptance of the cash for keys process, not that the paperwork is submitted. And I occasionally* feel sorry for the processors, since I have a clue how many files they are handling at one time. They're *way* over capacity in case load, and banks view your (usually) greatest/most valuable asset and home as just one more small loan. It's perspectives, yours/processors/lawyers/Corporation's.
The other option to talk about is deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure, where you give them back the deed and they don't have to pay the foreclosure costs. They may have crossed this one out of your options when you accepted cash for keys (or it may be called cash for keys), so be prepared.

*occasionally. *I* can say that I would make the choice to be unemployed rather than work for a mortgage bank, because I have. OTOH, I'd have to give up (or lose, with attendant fines) my real estate license to do so, and that represents both something I've worked for and more potential income than loan processing. Other people? I can't make the call. I'd try find a new job, but jobs are scarce and money is tight, and overworked and underpaid as they are, they still get a paycheck. Even if it involves being screamed at all day every day and hating what they do. So, don't scream, and hope they don't find the new job until you are through their system.

#274 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 11:33 PM:

Syd, #268: Your next e-mail to Mr. Touchstone Touchy should include the question, "If this is a standard part of the process, why didn't you bother to give me a heads-up about it, rather than letting me be blindsided and then blaming me for getting upset? Wasting energy on slamming me for a perfectly reasonable reaction to an unexpected nasty surprise isn't getting your job done."

#275 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2011, 11:39 PM:

Syd, #268: Secondary thought... am I correct in assuming that you're female? (That's the impression I've gotten from reading your posts, but I'm not sure you've ever said one way or the other.) If so, you're almost certainly getting a version of the "Calm down, little lady, there's no need to get hysterical" bullshit.

#276 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 02:40 AM:

Syd @200 again: btw, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have 14 guinea pigs. Various people have suggested I rehome some of them (which kinda hacks me off, because I've never complained about them or taking care of them—well, except for the three-figure vet bills, but that's mostly Gustav these days).

My response: "Get rid of my grandkids—?"

Even feeling like crap, like I have been this week with this whateveritis that's going around, my soul still just melts when, say, Donkey snuggles with me.... I like having a big family.

#277 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 03:21 AM:

David Harmon @ 270, I tend to agree. In honesty, I may have paraphrased, but if those were not the exact words used, it did seem to be the under-text.

P J Evans @ 271, indeed.

Sisuile @ 273, I do see your point...which is the main reason I emailed the person who's on my side (theoretically, at least; I had a small credit with him due to his not being able to postpone the last sale date by the length of time I paid for, but who knows whether he considers it used up yet?) rather than the bank's liaison. It's the timing of it, as much as anything else, that has my red flag flying; I could understand if the bank had done this had I not signed on the dotted line by their deadline (which is 12/5, as I recall), but to do it before they had forwarded the paperwork to their liaison so he could forward it to me? Was their liaison out of the office most of the day, or in some other way unavailable to send me the paperwork until after business hours? Or did he hold onto it until almost 9:00 PM for some other reason? These are also troubling thoughts. I'd think they were out to get me if I didn't know how many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of others are in the same boat.

At any rate, since there's nothing I can do about it over the weekend, I figure I can work out my frustrations with the issue by packing and cleaning. Neither of which is going terribly well, although I did make progress today--yay me!--and some friends are coming over to help me pack tomorrow, so that will help a lot, especially on the mental front. (Psychological paralysis has not been my friend throughout this experience, and I do think, when I'm settled, I'll check out the free clinic system here--way too many self-destructive tendencies cropped up for me to be able to write them off as side effects.)

But as Lee said, if this is a standard practice (or automated as you've been told), then one would think that the bank's liaison might have warned me about it in advance, or that "my" Mr. Touchpoint would. But neither of them did, which is why it irks me so. ***sigh***

And the whole "in this economy, even a bad job is better than no job" thing? I so get that. I never thought I'd hear myself say I was grateful for unemployment, but I am, oh how I am! The only good thing about not having a job right now is that I have the time to pack. But if I'd been able to find a job last year in February, when I started looking? I might not be in this spot at all. ***thoughts about "what if"...that way lies madness***

Lee @ 274/275, yes, I r a gurl, and yes, I definitely feel it's the "calm down, little lady" idiom in action from Mr. Touchpoint. The fact that it took him about 45 minutes to figure out that maybe the use of "venom" might not have been his best, most productive word choice and send an apology is an indicator to me of that. I suppose I should be grateful he apologized at all, but oh well.

I'm starting to feel I've been whiny, and that wasn't my intention. Or it could be related to Dysfunctional Family issues. Either way, I appreciate your collective patience and helpful suggestions--it all helps. :)

#278 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 03:35 AM:

Jacque @ 276, in some ways we may be psychic twins: I have 14 cats, 11 of whom are at least half-siblings and may well be full sibs, since I saw the same tomcat hanging around at the pertinent times. And I also have people suggesting I give them up, and I sometimes wonder aloud if they'd ask a parent which children they'd like to give up for adoption to make their situation easier...

There are a lot of people, even pet-loving people, who don't seem to get it.

#279 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 07:16 AM:

Thanks, David!

#280 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 08:08 AM:

Syd #278: I do feel your pain about losing any of your kitties... but even human children sometimes get removed from their parents' home, when the parent is manifestly unable to support them. (On ML's own Dysfunctional Families threads, we've seen stories from people who were raised by grandparents or aunts, despite that their "natural" parents were still alive.) Please note also that my late cat was rehomed from someone who couldn't keep her. I had her for 15 years, and she's still in my heart....

Bluntly, 14 cats represent a major investment of time, space, money, and social goodwill even for someone who does own their own home, and I've heard of amateur shelters with fewer. (Jacque's guineas are not comparable, as they spend most of their time in cages -- and even so, IIRC she's occasionally gotten official flak.) In your place, I really would work on rehoming some of them now, before Animal Welfare has reason to to take notice of you.

I have no idea how that many cats organize themselves in a house, but they have to be forming some sort of subgroups among themselves. Offhand, I see two main options, depending largely on how they do organize themselves: (1) Pulling off singletons and pairs from the edges, top, and bottom of the pack. (2) Try to split the pack roughly in half (assuming you can find someone who can handle 6-8 cats). The SPCA or other groups (Cat Fancier's Association?) may be helpful in finding suitable homes, but don't neglect your local friends!

#281 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 09:03 AM:

@278 Syd--

I doubt you are going to find a place to rent that allows 14 cats. That said (and this is coming from a cat lover)--

Your best bet is to find a "no kill" shelter as soon as possible, if you love your cats.

Because if you don't, they may go to a different kind of shelter altogether.

My husband is a veterinarian. 90% of our pets were abandoned by owners who had to move, lost jobs, etc.

My heart goes out to you in your time of trouble, and I know you have to make hard choices.

I hope you don't mind if I pray for you.

#282 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 09:36 AM:

Syd @ 277 - I work next to a liaison. They are almost always real estate agents, independent contractors not actually in the bank's systems, because a) then the bank has and b) we're supposed to be able to assess the house's value in the cash for keys (and c) they don't have to pay us hourly). Banks do this kind of thing regularly, but it's not *every* time, or even most of the time. Your liaison doesn't have access to know that the bank is doing this while he's working with you, and yeah, he may have been out most of the day on Thursday working on other files. Or whoever his contact at the bank is was slow to get it to him because of their file load, and didn't mark in the system that something had been negotiated until they sent it. Notices are filed at 8 am. If they didn't mark it until they sent the blank paperwork, the notice would be filed and then sent to you. The reason no one is really worried is that, if you get something with both sets of signatures, the new date overrides the eviction notice.

Also, I understand loving your cats. I understand them being family - I fought tooth and nail to keep my boys when I moved. But I only have two. Most cities have ordinances about how many pets can be in a single-family dwelling, and you're probably over the limit. The most I've ever seen was 6, no more than 4 of any one type. This tends not to be rigorously enforced, esp when it comes to non-mammals or long time residents who gradually acquire pets. But if you're moving, a potential landlord has to think about that they can't allow you, legally, to move in with that many cats if they have foreknowledge of the numbers. I'm afraid you're going to have to shrink the pride to be able to move within a metropolitan area. (Cities also have ordinances about number of people per single family dwelling or sq ftage per person, and there tend to be laws about bedrooms when children get involved, it's really not just four legged families.)

#283 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 11:33 AM:

To the Fluorosphere:

If you are local to Los Angeles, or have friends or family who are, would you be interested in some nice kitties? Or would your friends/family members be so interested? Total of 10 available; if willing to take in pairs, I have several already bonded, mostly boy/boy or girl/girl.

Alternatively, do any locals know of one or more no-kill shelters willing to re-home cats in designated pairings if at all possible? They've never been separated, you see...

It's a good thing I've got people coming over in an hour and a time to go cry in a corner or throw up...

#284 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 12:13 PM:

Syd @283: I've signal-boosted on another site I participate in. If I get any takers I'll let you know.

#285 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 12:16 PM:

Syd @283: Also, are there photos of the potential adoptees somewhere? Easier to wave them around and let people know how KYOOOOT they are.

Not like you need one more thing to get done this week, but if you had some lying about already you could put them on Flickr or something ...

#286 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 12:53 PM:

Syd #283: Here's wishing you strength, and congratulations for being strong enough to do the right thing.

#287 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 02:34 PM:

Re: kitty photos, if I can get the little darlings to come out of hiding after my friends leave today, I will take photos and post them on a blog I have that is cat-oriented. Not like I've posted much lately, but it seems a fairly central location, if you will.

#288 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 04:27 PM:

I have comment (and comment on comment) over in the thread on letters of marque, that the gnomes have snagged.

#289 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 04:34 PM:


I have no practical help to offer, but in case it helps: No, you are not whining.

#290 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 04:58 PM:

PJ Evans @288:

You have a grammatical peculiarity that is more common to spammers than to commenters on Making Light; you did it on both comments.

Comma then space, please. The majority of the people who habitually miss that little touch that seem to want to sell us furry boots, spoofed purses, or shoes of Maximilian the Oxygenated Victory.

#291 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 05:49 PM:

Still here, still reading. Got an appointment for gallbladder ultrasound scan tomorrow and an exhortation from doctor to stay away from fat until some unspecified future point.

My new diet is starting to drive my spouse nuts (I can't eat anything he knows how to cook, and he is the usual cook in our house). My inlaws are starting to drive me nuts - they showed up Friday night with pizza and got upset that I excused myself and didn't eat with them, and are now attempting to invite themselves over with take-out from the local favorite fried-stuff shack. NEITHER OF WHICH I CAN EAT.

In their defense I should note that I have not told them I'm on a restricted diet, because they would then want to know WHAT'S WRONG, which I don't know yet [1], and would keep pestering me for an answer until I gave them one, and would then give me all sorts of unwelcome and unsolicited advice which they would then follow up asking me about, with a side helping of horror stories about this person they know that did that and //she// had such and so problem etc. For definitions of "them" being largely my mother-in-law. (This probably goes over on the Dysfunctional Families thread, really.)

[1] Because I don't know yet. I have a pretty damn good idea I've got gallstones kicking me in the liver every time I eat something interesting, but until someone gets back to me with the result of the scan tomorrow, I don't actually -know- that. And I don't know exactly what's going to happen after that.

#292 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 06:38 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @245: your explanation would have been precisely what I would have been looking for.

Well, then, I guess your initial query left me unclear as to what it was you were looking for...?

#293 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 06:59 PM:

furry boots! spoofed purses! shoes of Maximilian the Oxygenated Victory! Cheap!

#294 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 07:21 PM:

All knowledge etc: Anyone here know why my friend sees my Facebook page from her home computer's browser, but not from her iPad? I can't find anything in my settings that would cause that problem.

#295 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 07:23 PM:

abi, it's my typing. I miss that space a lot, everywhere. Sometimes I even see it in time to fix it.

#296 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 07:25 PM:

Thena, that sure sounds like gallstones to me. High-fat foods are a known problem. (FWIW, I worked with a woman who was down to plain rice, before she had surgery. I will say, from my mother's experience, that life improves afterward.)

#297 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 07:35 PM:

After gallbladder surgery, fatty foods can still be a problem. As far as I can tell, everyone winds up with an entirely idiosyncratic list of things they can't (shouldn't) eat*. In my case, it's french fries and salami (but pepperoni pizza and fried chicken are fine). In my grandfather's case, it was ham and bacon.

*Don't digest properly, that is. No pain involved.

#298 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 07:47 PM:

janetl @266: cream-cheese brownies

Jeezus. Is this stuff even legal? :-9

it's so hard to tell when brownies are done.

I rely on the poke-it-with-a-toothpick trick, but mine might not be the best advice to follow as I like mine a little ... crunchy around the edges.

Syd, @278: 11 of whom are at least half-siblings and may well be full sibs

::whistles casually, staring at the ceiling:: In our case, we have two out of the 14 who aren't related to everybody else. (Well, my book said that male guinea pigs, when they get old, won't breed.... But I'll tell ya, granddaddy's arthritis cleared up like that!)

As to rehoming cats, you doubtless already know about Petfinder. In addition to listings for pets, they also have listings for shelters.

If you're adopting them out yourself, be sure to charge a rehoming fee! One of my coworkers works in cat rescue, and she points out that animals offered for free stand a strong chance of ending up in ... unfortunate circumstances. The fee is not for your benefit; it's to filter for people who are really committed to caring for the animals rather than using them for ... other purposes. If you're uncomfortable charging money for your family members, one solution I've used is to ask for a receipt for a donation to a pet shelter. (I ask for the amount a shelter would charge for the surrender fee.)

BTW, followup to my @292 in response to Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @245: Niki, I presume you didn't mean it this way, by your response to my comment left me feeling pretty slapped-down. I debated saying anything, but figured maybe I should speak up rather than just sitting and stewing.

#299 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 08:13 PM:

...and meanwhile, I persist in mis-reading TNH's third Particle as "Rod Serling, Neil Young, model trains."

#300 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 09:23 PM:

Syd #283: Hey, one of the folks I E-mailed asked how old they are... it occurred to me you haven't actually mentioned that!

#301 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 10:22 PM:

I am reading the introduction to a book called Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance, edited by Jayne Ann Krentz. So far, I've tripped over the following:

"[as with romance] A reader who does not intuitively respond to horror or science fiction novels cannot be persuaded by logic or argument to enjoy either genre. The difference is that the person who does not like to read horror or science fiction is unlikely to criticize the genres or chastise and condemn the readers who do love them, but simply shrugs and accepts the fact that the stories hold no personal appeal."

"Most people understand and accept the way in which fantasy works when they sit down to read Ludlum, King, McCaffrey, or [other fantasy writers]. Furthermore, everyone understands that the readers know the difference between real life and fantasy, and that they do not expect one to imitate the other. But for some reason, when it comes to romance novels, critics worry about whether the women who read them can tell the difference between what is real and what is not."

I haven't thrown the book across the room yet. The map is not the territory, and the introduction is not the essays. But really -- what color is the sky in your little world, Ms. Krentz? Or is it just that you don't read other types of genre fiction, and therefore don't get subjected to the exact same shit about them that you're complaining about WRT romance? Because believe me, it happens.

#302 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 10:26 PM:

David Harmon @ 300, good point! Also...yay! I think. :`(

Okay, I'm seriously hoping to keep four; of the other ten:

Waffle, Maine Coon-ish longhair, black/gray/white, female, between 9 - 11 years (the vet estimated her age as 5 to 7 years when I found her 4 years ago)

Bastet of the White Whisker, black tortie shorthair, female, 5 years (estimated age when I adopted her 4 years ago was 8 - 9 months)

Scooter, black & white tabby, female, about 4 years (she was 6 - 8 weeks old when I found her hiding under a parked car just a hair over 4 years ago)

Next, we have shorthaired litter-mates Damon, gray tabby with white bib (male); Runyon, gray tabby, (male); Patch, black calico (female); and Blaze, black calico (female), born on September 23, 2008.

Last but not least, three more shorthaired litter-mates: Stimpy, gray tabby w/white (female); Jules, orange tabby (male); and Shadow, dark gray (male), born March 27, 2009. Their mother died two days later. I helped bottle-feed them and their sister Poppet (who is one of the four I plan to keep, since she is the last surviving runt and is a gray calico like their mom, Phantom).

The other three girls I plan to keep were part of the litter Phantom had when she decided to move in under my house. The reason I'm keeping them is that they were already 6+ weeks old by the time I knew they were there, and Phantom had already schooled them to be wary of people. They only really started warming up to me last year after I had to have my then-eldest cat, a 12-year-old dude named Q, put down for hyperparathyroidism. Before I got the girls spayed, Q was the somewhat confused object of their affections. The only thing I can think of is that they figured I was the next best thing to him, since he was always in my lap.

They're all starting to be a little less shell-shocked by the activity of the day but are still skittish. My plan is to give them the night to recover, then take photos and post them with profiles on the blog previously mentioned. When I get that done, I'll post a link here.

#303 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 10:36 PM:

Further to me @ 302, suggested pairings if at all possible, based on personality, compatible behavior, etc., are:

They occasionally spat, but they'll also share a lap if I make one big enough.

For some reason, the boys tend to stick together, ditto the girls.

Because Jules tends to pick on Stimpy, for some reason, and then Shadow plays along.

This leaves Waffle and Stimpy as singletons, Waffle because she's always been more solitary (although she does enjoy sitting/lying beside me for skritches), and Stimpy because I'm keeping her sister and the boys pick on her.

#304 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 10:49 PM:

Her 'non-romance' novels are romantic fantasies set on another world. They don't succeed very well in any of those genres, IMO. (I nearly did throw one across the room.)

#305 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2011, 11:47 PM:

Lee, #175: Also, that's a much nastier curse than you might realize.

Before I discovered the usefulness of Tums™, I had quite enough experience with unstoppable hiccups (to the point of throwing up) to realize just how nasty a curse it is. The detail that it would also deprive all those politicians of the capacity of public speaking (lest they face utter ridicule) is merely lagniappe.

#306 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 12:02 AM:

Syd, #303: Because Jules tends to pick on Stimpy, for some reason, and then Shadow plays along.

"If cats looked like frogs we'd realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are." -- Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies.

#307 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 12:03 AM:

But you'd think what they do now would subject them to utter ridicule....

#308 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 12:19 AM:

Holy crap . . . LISA SIMPSON WAS RIGHT!!!

"Participants in the study assessed, with some degree of accuracy, how outgoing, anxious or dominant people were after only taking a whiff of their clothes. The study is the first to test whether personality traits can be discerned through body odor."

#309 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 12:23 AM:

P J Evans, #221: These days, I just shrug, because I don't think Congress even notices any more what the results of its actions is, and no one in it seems to care.

Not as many as used to, due to the 2010 mid-term election and the death of Teddy Kennedy, but there are still members like Barney Frank (planning to retire after the 2012 election) and Bernie Sanders.

My "malediction" was only on those Congresscritters who voted for the martial-law provisions. Senate: 93 yea, 7 nay. House: 322 yea, 96 nay, 13 not voting. So there are still a few who care.

#310 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 12:37 AM:

Syd @302: Dumb question. The kitties are neutered, right?

#311 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 01:16 AM:

Pyre @ 309:

I'm very happy to say that I am represented by two senators who consistently vote for the rule of law, democracy, and the benefit of ordinary citizens like us: Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkeley. Wyden has kept me from completely despairing of the US government for some years now. I'm thinking I should bake him a cake or some such.

#312 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 02:13 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 310, oh, absolutely! Behind on their shots, unfortunately, and also behind on flea treatment, but these are far more easily and economically dealt with than the spay/neuter issue. I'll be calling my two local vet options re: pricing out shots; I have some Advantage, but not enough to dose everyone, so I'll count what I have and price that out, too...unless my friends packed the on-site supply, better go check...

#313 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 02:16 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 311: Me, too, though Senators probably can't accept cakes.

I can't recall what it was about, but years ago, several state legislators were targeted by the Oregon Citizens Alliance*. I pulled out the embossed cards that my mother gave me as wedding present, for purposes such as writing thank you notes. I hand-wrote congratulations to each of those legislators, saying that to be vilified by the OCA showed the highest character. I got a note back from one of them thanking me, and agreeing that it was a honor. As I recall, none of them came to any harm -- they were all in districts with voters who could read.

*For those of you following at home, the OCA were lovely, lovely people who started by opposing women's rights and then moved on to anti-gay ballot initiatives.

#314 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 02:39 AM:


Jog my memory. Was Lon Mabon part of the OCA? Or was he in an earlier clutch of moralists?

For a long time I had a sign on my fridge, to the effort of "I don't care what Lon Mabon does in his bedroom, but I think it's kinky that he wants to know what I do in mine." I wonder if I still have that kicking around somewhere.

#315 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 03:14 AM:

Janet1 @313

Cakes are the sort of thing that can excuse all sorts of unwelcome attention from the DHS apparatchiks.

#316 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 04:17 AM:

SamChevre, #208: Reading about how things are getting worse/we're heading towards a police state always makes me feel like I live in a different country than everyone else. In my America, Josef Hofer died chained to his cell bars in 1918; the Roosevelt administration confiscated the property of citizens without compensation with Executive Order 6102 in 1933; the military was being used for domestic law enforcement by 1957; and the Warren Court had shredded the idea that structural changes required consensus by 1963.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Is your argument:
1) that by the standards we're applying, America has always been a police state;
2) that things were just as bad in the Old Days, so why are we only complaining now;
3) that things are actually better now than they used to be, so why are we complaining at all;
4) something else altogether?

Oh, and one note about something that I think is only tone-deafness. Generally speaking, when I hear people use the phrase "in my America", it carries a subtext of "and that's the way things SHOULD be" -- whether the person speaking is liberal or conservative. If you don't intend that subtext (and I don't think you do here), you might want to eschew the phrase.

#317 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 05:31 AM:

Lee @316

In my lifetime, the USA has changed a lot.

Some of the changes are now reversing.

Some of the weaknesses are pretty old.

And a lot of people don't seem to realise the ugly histories that are being echoed.

#318 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 06:15 AM:

Lee @ 301

Wait, Ludlum wrote fantasy? Have I completely overlooked something obvious?

Also, I've never run into criticism of my preference for SF-F. No, that's not true. My mother wishes I were writing the books instead of reading them. But that's really her only complaint.

I like to envision my sky as paisley.

#319 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 08:31 AM:

Lee @ 316

I'm saying 1, with a small side of 3a.

#320 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 08:50 AM:

TexAnne #186: Thanks again for the pointer!

Word of advice: the Norton site doesn't have the books directly but I was able to get Master and Commander from the Nook store just now.

#321 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 09:16 AM:

FaultyMemory @ 314: Jog my memory. Was Lon Mabon part of the OCA? Or was he in an earlier clutch of moralists?

Mabon was the leader of the OCA. He finally went to jail in 2007 for a few months for contempt of court, after years of refusing to pay the fine levied against the OCA for the assault on a journalist by another OCA leader, Scott Lively. Mabon whined piteously about how bad the food was in jail.

Pro Tip: If you're going to assault a journalist at your press conference, you probably shouldn't pick the pregnant woman. She's the one a jury is most likely to sympathise with.

#322 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 10:06 AM:

Open threadiness: New York City is applying for its first patent, on its biological evidence collection kit. Yarn fights crime!

#323 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 10:11 AM:

"He forgot, though, that Odysseus had not asked for his adventures, and one day a stranger came to his door."

One of my favorite lines from Carrie Vaughn's novel "Discord's Apple".

#324 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 10:22 AM:

Open threadiness: This article is a very nice, readable summary of what's going on with the Eurozone crisis.

#325 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 11:07 AM:

Dave Bell @315: Cakes are the sort of thing that can excuse all sorts of unwelcome attention from the DHS apparatchiks.

OTOH, a nice gift card for a quality bakery might pass. OTGH, some states have regulations about government workers accepting gifts. Colorado forbids gifts exceeding $50 in value, frex. All for good reason, sadly.

#326 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 11:44 AM:

Buffy@247 - Mad Tea Party?

#327 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 12:00 PM:

That "First Lines Quiz" is really heavy on the Dead White Men count. Sigh.

#328 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 12:16 PM:

Mary Aileen #297:

In my case, I wound up with, not so much specific foods, but sort-of-general rules: Thou shalt not eat a heavy lunch. If you must eat a heavy lunch, eat it after about 1:15. Do not, under any circumstances, no matter when you eat that heavy lunch, follow it with dessert. Otherwise you will have booked yourself into the john for the afternoon.

Alas, this put paid to one of our couple-time-a-year favorite things: driving out into the hinterlands to admire bluebonnets or fall leaves, hitting up some renowned cafe or other for chicken-fried steak or similar, and then investigating the amazing pie offerings to be had afterward.

#329 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 02:48 PM:

Right now, Jesse Ventura is on Al Jazeera, and you can apparently tweet questions...


Hardly time to take advantage of the chance.

#330 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 03:18 PM:

Some discussion of whether American police are worse than they used to be. As might be expected, there's anecdata pointing in more than one direction.

#331 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 03:48 PM:

@Nancy Lebovitz #330--

I remember reading cheesy detective novels from the 30s when I was a kid. And every book had the obligatory call to the detective's doctor to warn the doctor that the detective was likely to get picked up by the cops. The detective would then tell the local cop--"I just saw my doctor and he can testify that I didn't have a mark on me earlier today."

Interrogations via rubber hoses were also popular in the pulp fiction back then.

In real life, my husband got pulled out of his car and beaten to a pulp just for the crime of "looking like a hippie." Back when hippies were, well, a new phenomenon. Not the recycled ones we have now.

I think the omnipresent videophones and camcorders are helping make the police less obviously violent, which is why some districts have made recording the cops illegal. Naturally.

#332 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 03:56 PM:

That "First Lines Quiz" is really heavy on the Dead White Men count.

That's inevitable, actually, because such authors were of a particular mindset that invariably began books with the first line.

#333 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 04:01 PM:

I read the "Is your stuff falling apart?" link and it clicked in a different direction than the author desired.

I've been having similar thoughts, but about computer-based products. This is not entirely thought out and I may be running a fever; please correct any flaws you spot.

A three-year-old computer, by Moore's Law, is a quarter as good as the same-cost computer bought yesterday. An old demicomputer (phone, digital camera, TV ) gets worse more slowly, but it's still pretty dramatic.

If computing power (storage, pixels, whatever) is the only metric, there's therefore really no virtue in fixing an old, broken computer, or saving the old one when you buy a new one. If it's six years old, it's got one sixteenth the power.

This plunge in price has been going on for, close enough, fifty years. (My father worked on computers when memory was a quarter million dollars a megabyte.)

I think we've had fifty years of practice in "Why would you keep _that_ ?" thinking; maybe twenty years, that people in general have been buying actual computing devices in large quantities. Still almost a generation.

There is another edge to the blade: increasing standard of living. Since I started work in 1991, the starting salary for an engineer has doubled, which roughly matches the oversimplified results of an inflation calculator. $2 now should buy what $1 did then.

But I still pay $25 for a pair of jeans * , and a $20,000 car now is better than it was then. (I don't know when the lifetime of cars started going up so dramatically; probably well before 1991. A hundred-thousand-mile car used to be a collection of problems, though, and my last couple have felt new at that age. This is why all of a sudden America has more cars than drivers- people bought new cars when the old ones still had a surprising number of years in them.)

I don't know what percentage of things are cheaper AND better than 20 years ago- I'd expect it's well above 50% .

* Not Yrivf brand jeans, Yrr. Yrivf struck me as run by the marketing department 20 years ago and I haven't gone back to check.

#334 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 04:11 PM:

KipW @332, could you unpack that a bit, please? I can't begin to figure out what you're getting at.

#335 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 04:33 PM:

I buy 501s for my jeans. They fit (which is hard for me to find) and they are comfortable and they wear well.

The rest of the line is trying to keep up with the jones. I have a very good book about jeans, and the ways in which that market is cutthroat is amazing.

#337 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 05:06 PM:

I'm excited about the Kepler find as well, but calling the planet "habitable" is optimistic. It could be habitable, but other than its size and it's orbit, we don't know whether it's gaseous, rocky, wet, or dry.

#338 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 05:08 PM:

Sandy B. @333: An interesting corollary I keep running up against is how 'awesome' even trivial new software expects your computer to be.

Granted, I have access to two fairly ancient, creaky laptops (one a ThinkPad from probably around 1995 and one Mac iBook that's just barely old enough to be white and smooth-shaped like the new ones are; it won't run Lion), and I expect them to pant going up metaphorical hills.

But my primary desktop machine is an iMac of the 'widescreen ratio lcd silver slab hovering on edge above your desk' sort. It's got a dual 2.66GHz processor and 4GB of ram, running the current OS and the current browsers. Every Facebook game I've tried to play on it that is less than two years old (Lexulous works fine, as does Zuma) stutters so hard that I literally click to say I want to play Castleville, then walk downstairs to the kitchen and gather a snack, and by the time I get back to the computer, my cows are still invisibly loading. Another game runs so badly I cannot even 'ask my friends' for objects, because I click to do so, it starts loading the little popup that will let me make a wallpost, and it TIMES OUT while doing that, so I have to reload the game page.

Why on EARTH do Kids These Days think it's reasonable to program cheesy little FLASH GAMES that absolutely require more system resources to run than Arcanum did? I run a monitoring program, and most of these games are actually pinning my processor out. It's not a bandwidth/connection speed issue.

Though, as long as I'm curmudgeoning, when I watch shows on Hulu and similar video-streaming services, I often don't HAVE to sit through the ads, because they load ads with resolutions high enough that they stutter trying to load and refuse to run, so I sit through 25sec or whatever of a mostly frozen image and then get to watch my show before I even find out what they were trying to advertise. I leave Hulu on 288p and YouTube on 240p because (a) they look fine on the monitor I'm watching it on, and (b) anything higher than 360p is far too much for my DSL line to pretend to handle, and sometimes even 360 stutters it.

Do they really expect everyone to have BLZINGFST connections to such a degree that the advertisers are willing to allow themselves to lose eyeballs through aiming too high? I know the sites could pass my saved preferred resolution on to the ad server, if the advertiser provided a lower-res version (and some clearly do, because they play fine).

Most people I know are using computers at least a year old, mostly closer to 2 years (admittedly, because in my experience Windows machines tend to need a complete OS reinstall or something more drastic by about the 2-year line, at which point you give up and buy a new one). These computers literally cannot run the majority of Facebook clicky-clicky games. They can make versions that run on an iPhone, why not my mac?

, sorry. I swear to little apples, 35 is too young to feel this old when exposed to the mindsets of people my (18yo) sister's age and their baseline assumptions about How Things Just Are.

#339 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 05:11 PM:

Terry Karney @335: I was just on the phone to my sister-in-law, who of course wanted to know what my better half wanted for Giftmas. He's very grumpy about presents and extremely bad about articulating wishes. I mentioned to her that he'd been saying he needed to buy new jeans 'sometime soon', so that might work, but that he's sometimes a little picky about fit. I told her his sizes and that black, non-worn-looking is his preferred finish, and she said, "Ok. What number Levis does he take?" I blinked, and said, "I have no idea what the 50-whatever number styles are anymore, get something straight-leg or narrow," and she said, "Oh, come on, guys always know their numbers on jeans."

No, actually, we don't and he doesn't, because he hasn't bought a pair of Levis in over a decade and things have changed a lot since then … his parents used to regularly drive the whole family en masse to a Levi's outlet, so all his teenage jeans were that brand, but since he's been living here he's mostly been buying clearance jeans from Old Navy and Land's End, who have rather a different schema.

And Levi's website is absolutely no help at instructing me on the differences between 50-whatevers, so I couldn't even scan there and find her a good approximate value. It's like they're utterly uninterested in selling jeans to people who don't already know how to buy Levi's … or they think everyone already does? Clearly my SiL thinks so.

#340 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 05:27 PM:

lorax, they began their books with first lines. Therefore they're highly represented in a collection of first lines.

#341 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 05:40 PM:

Apropos of absolutely nothing, I was listening to "Lo How A Rose E'er Blooming" and actually paying close attention to the english lyrics when I was struck with a new and heretical understanding of the Trinity, until I realized the lyric was "She bore to men a Savior", and NOT "She bore two men a savior." Curse you, homophones!

(I can tell you which lyric I will be singing this year.)

#342 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 05:52 PM:

I had the GB scan today. They'll call me in three to five days to tell me what's up, but my uneducated eyeball suggests to me that evil gnomes have ensconced a balloon full of cat kibble where my gallbladder is supposed to be. (I probably wasn't supposed to watch, but I'm a nerd that way.)

In the mean time, I have to go chair a committee meeting to which my right-hand gal has invited a bunch of extra people I don't want to deal with for the purpose of discussing a subject I don't really care much about right now.

And I have magnificent indigestion.

Such is life. If I get through this week without biting anybody it will me a minor act of divine grace.

#343 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 05:53 PM:

For anyone who missed it on BoingBoing, a hardcover reissue of the complete syndicated Pogo strips is being published by Fantagraphics. The first issue is shipping right about now, and the rest will be coming out over the next six years.

I go Pogo!

#344 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 06:12 PM:

Thena @342 If I get through this week without biting anybody it will me a minor act of divine grace.

Keep in mind that they'd probably make your indigestion worse if you ate them.

Hope improving action is forthcoming.

#345 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 06:34 PM:

Thena @ 342:

And if you bite someone they'll probably insist you get tested for rabies (or zombinosis). But if you have to, be sure to pick the smallest and weakest one, then bury the bits you don't eat. With luck no one will ever find out.

#346 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 06:36 PM:

Thena: I feel for you. I had was what probably a kidney stone on Thus. It was no fun (it was less no fun, in some ways, than the first one I had, some 6 years ago). So far as I can tell it passed before the CT scan was done, so the staff weren't willing to commit.

But the level of pain, and the aftermath, were familiar, once I decided it was probably a kidney stone, so I am pretty sure it was.

#347 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 06:39 PM:

Steve C. Yes, it's optomistic, but I'm willing to bet that, the universe being what it is, that the earth isn't all that special and a planet in the same zone, around a similar sun is likely to have water, and a the ice-cycle, so that (barring a wildly eccentric orbit), it will have land masses, and water.

I'd even guess that some form of native life is on it.

#348 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 07:02 PM:

lorax @334: FWIW, my reading was that Kip @332 wasn't getting at anything, just indulging a moment's silliness of the "Half the population is of below average intelligence!" variety. I can see how one could read it as a satiric criticism of Rikibeth's comment, but Kip should probably speak for himself on that.

#349 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 07:43 PM:

Elliott Mason #338: I feel your pain -- I've got a computer that was originally a top-of-the-line gaming system, but between my ownership and that of the BiL who gave it to me, it's 5 or 6 years old now, and it's definitely showing more load than I'd expect, given I'm not running a hell of a lot on it.

Meanwhile, my 2 older computers are basically useless -- modern graphics cards don't fit them anymore, and older cards get really cranky with my new (flatscreen) monitor. I had one of them running a firewall (until I just switched to a wireless router), but the other won't even boot.

The one I gave to my bookstore, a tad older than those 2, barely runs Ubuntu, slooowly. (I really would like to slap whoever decided Compiz should be mandatory with Gnome/Ubuntu. Even if you can turn most of it off....)

Terry Karney #347: Well, remember that the anthropocentric principle is still really a conjecture... we don't actually know just how special we are. One big question is, how important our moon was to the development of life, and the latest theories I've seen about how the moon formed, are pretty chancy. (And would also make our planet somewhat non-standard for its location.)

#350 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 08:02 PM:

No satirization of Rikibeth was intended.

#351 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 08:24 PM:

Me #349, correction: The machine I gave the bookstore was actually a tad newer than the other two -- that is, I gave them the best of my backup machines.

#352 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 08:29 PM:

Gray Woodland, #185: As a trebuchet user I get a whole different visual from the word "tossweasel". Weasels would make nice ammo if only the g-forces wouldn't kill them.
Alcohol-infused fruit--I awhile back was faced with a canteloupe that though seemingly ripe was devoid of flavor. I punched a lot of holes in the orange part with a fork, taking care not to puncture the outer skin, and then poured a couple of tablespoons of wine over all. It helped a lot.
I hope that all phsyiologies here are functioning better soon, and that furry and non-furry friends in need of a home find good ones.

#353 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 08:31 PM:

Clifton, that interpretation -- that they weren't any more over-represented than in the literature at a whole -- makes a great deal of sense. Which is why my completely-overthinking-it brain failed to find it, apparently. I don't know if it's true, not having crunched the numbers, but it's certainly reasonable.

#354 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 08:34 PM:

Thena @ #342, I just got back from an abdominal CT scan myself. My doctor thinks a ten-lb. weight loss over 9 months is worrisome, so she's exploring.

The ubiquitous "they" have made remarkable improvements in the taste of barium solution; it was reasonably palatable.

#355 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 09:04 PM:

I heard about it from my sister, several days ago. The cover on the one she linked to is clearly early in the strip's lifetime. (Why, yes, we grew up reading Pogo. One of my aunts even traveled in Europe wearing a 'I Go Pogo' button.)

And speaking of Pogo, today was a day for muttering 'frugal rotterblaggers': they put Office 2007 on my machine last Friday, with all the fun that includes. Whoever decided that users don't need the tab controls needs to spend a few months setting and resetting tabs.

#356 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 12:07 AM:

Linkmeister, #354: "My doctor thinks a ten-lb. weight loss over 9 months is worrisome"

I've lost 25 pounds in six months, but I was trying to. (Actually trying for 30, but I've been stuck around the 170 mark for the last two months, despite keeping to the program that lost the first 25 pounds; this is annoying.)

Which moves me to mention that my jeans # was 3630, but is now 3430. (Waist & inseam.)

#357 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 01:32 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @ #356, congratulations. I wasn't trying to. That's part of her reason for worrying. I've gone from 150 lbs to 140 lbs, and that's after being at 160 plus or minus 5 for about 20 years until five years ago.

My waist/inseam has been at 34/29 since 1983, but it could go to 33/29 without a squeeze right now.

#358 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 07:24 AM:

Linkmeister #357: has been at 34/29 since 1983

Hey, that's my size too, though not for quite so long! Do you also find that the 29-inch inseam puts it just past the size ranges found in most stores?

#359 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 08:06 AM:

Weight loss is definitely a know-your-body thing-- my mother has ten pounds that bounce on and off, for example, whereas I am pretty much constant though I round to the nearest ten.

#360 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 09:04 AM:

SamChevre, #316: I see. To me, that reads largely as "this is the way things have always been, so why are you even bothering to TRY to change them?" with a side of "why am I the only one in the country who's not FUCKING STUPID?"

WRT the first implication, that's what a lot of people said about abolition, and women's suffrage, and the Civil Rights movement, and what they're saying right now about the Gay Civil Rights movement. I don't find it an impressive argument. There have been a lot of changes made because people decided that the status quo was morally unacceptable. Why not this one?

There seems to be an argument from privilege going on here as well. People are finally recognizing that the way the economically-disadvantaged have been treated for... well, since the beginning of America (and before, but we're talking about America) is maybe not something they want to see continue going forward. Why is this something to be mocked?

WRT the second implication... allow me to point out that our public educational system has been deliberately and systematically gutted for the past 50 years, and social history in particular is one of the things not being taught any more. Sneering at people for not knowing things they never had the chance to learn reminds me of the way 18th-century men used to argue that women were incapable of higher learning because they had no Latin.

Linkmeister, #357: Have your eating habits changed over the past couple of years? Discovering that you had a sensitivity to something, perhaps, or drinking more water and less soda? Things like that can cause weight loss without the specific intent of "dieting". It's fine for your doctor to be proactive in looking for other causes, but don't forget that small things can add up to large differences over time.

#361 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 09:25 AM:

I think, Lee, that you're misreading me rather severely, which probably means I was less clear than I hoped.

It's not "this is the way things have always been, so why are you even bothering to TRY to change them?"; it's "this is the way things have always been, but some things are getting better." The second of which gives some hope that our labor is not entirely in vain.

#362 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 10:44 AM:

This is explicitly Christian, but I can't really sort out the Christianity and have a coherent point.

Look: it’s Advent. Advent is ABOUT how badly the world needs fixed. There’d be nothing to wait FOR if it wasn’t that what we have is a disastrous mess. Advent opens with "O that Thou wouldst rend the heavens and come down…". It’s about the world crying out God for judgment. It’s the time to look at the world and say “that’s just wrong, and evil, and someone ought to stop it.”

But it’s also the time to look at our own attempts at breaking what needs to be broken and fixing what needs to be fixed, and see that they don’t seem to be working entirely satisfactorily. A good bit of the time, we break what we think needs to be broken, and all we get is a vast expanse of rubble[1]. Sometimes it’s worse than that; we look back at what we broke and see that we broke beyond our repairing something that was good and important[2]. Sometimes we are lucky, and we look back and say that we broke a lot of good and valuable stuff, but we did end up with something that’s better overall.

That’s the great hope of Advent, out of despair at actually being able to break what needs broken and fix what needs fixed. But I think the despair needs to be there—the strong realization that our attempts at breaking what needs breaking don’t reliably and uniformly make things better. But in that despair, there needs to be some hope—the hope and the faith that we are called to repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

1) Think of the vast wastelands of urban renewal.
2) Think of the huge, organized efforts to drain the Everglades, and the Midwestern swamps.

#363 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 11:18 AM:

Hyperlocal news... For Christmas, man buys himself Captain America's Shield, and Thor's Hammer for his wife.

#364 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 11:20 AM:

Serge @353:

So not so much a Christmas marvel as a Marvel Christmas, then.

#365 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 11:25 AM:

David Harmon @358 said : Hey, that's my size too, though not for quite so long! Do you also find that the 29-inch inseam puts it just past the size ranges found in most stores?

I generally wear 36/30, though during gestation was up to a 42/30, which I can state conclusively is a combination of the widest waist size and shortest inseam commonly stocked at Old Navy or Target. :-> Luckily, I never got bigger than that, so I got through it with my jeans and suspenders and didn't have to blow $60 on a pair of designed-for-gestators stretchy pants with belly panel, which would have made me feel an utter prat.

I would probably prefer a 28 or 29 inseam if they were commonly available, but 30s don't drag on the ground and damage the hems, so I ignore the extra length. Also, I'm not actually a 36-inch waist … but I need to buy 36-inch 'relaxed fit' men's pants to have enough room on the through-the-crotch seam to accommodate the epicness of my hip circumference without instant bilateral front-and-back wedgies every time I sit down. I belt them in and that holds them up, and it's a good compromise.

Aside from the "not being a girl" thing and therefore "not liking the styling on girls' pants", I find shopping on the men's side not only gives me pants that last twice as long for 2/3 the price (except at Land's End, they have good durable girl pants for the same price as their guy pants -- it's just twice as much as I can afford to pay), but also gives me pants with pockets designed to hold more than a breath mint and one key without dumping themselves out every time I take them down. I won't even go into how many cellphones my pants have accidentally dropped in toilets, except that it's in the 'several' range.

Diatryma @359: I told myself to quit using a scale and quit freaking out when I realized I oscillated pretty consistently in a 12lb range over the course of every single month. I picked a nice round number within that range and decided that was 'my weight' and quit worrying about it.

#366 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 11:27 AM:

In re my own @365: of course the quoted material from David Harmon should end with the phrase "found in most stores," with everything below being my contribution. It only took me a single ohnosecond to realize the preview was showing me munged formatting that inadvertently put words in his mouth, and I apologize.

#367 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 11:31 AM:

la lala lala, stray moderator just wandering by, got a couple of tags caught on my skirt and when I picked them off they fell down somewhere slightly different, nothing to see here, la la...

#368 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 11:34 AM:

Abi @ 364... :-)

#369 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 12:10 PM:

SamChevre, #361: Yes, it appears that I was misreading you, probably exacerbated by the "why am I the only one who sees X?" format, which... well, let's just say it's more annoying to me than to most people.

What I see, when I look at the overall political dynamics of American history, is this:

1) Things were pretty crappy for the average person for a very long time.

2) We did successfully install a lot of things that improved the average person's life. Most of this was done in the wake of the Great Depression; some of it didn't happen until a generation later. No, it wasn't always implemented as evenly as it should have been, especially where minorities and the economically-disadvantaged were concerned, but the tools were there.

3) Over the last 30 or 40 years, there has been a determined and coordinated attempt to dismantle and remove all those tools. It went pretty slowly, frog-in-the-pot style, until just the past few years. Now they're not even trying to hide what's going on, so of course people are noticing it more. When the narrative of the PtB goes from "Oh, there's nothing for anyone but a few cranks to be worried about" to "Yeah, and what are you going to do about it?" that's a significant change. (It probably also means that they think they've got enough of the sabotage done that nothing we do can stop the rest. We can only hope they're wrong.)

I was Not Thrilled by hearing you brushing all this off with, "it's always been this way, so why are you upset NOW?" Because from my POV, no, it hasn't always been this way -- there's been a lot of difference in degree, and even some difference in kind, and it's hard to watch all the improvement we'd made being tossed aside as garbage because it, and we (and you're included in that "we"), don't matter.

#370 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 12:47 PM:

Thanks to all your cogent remarks, I think I may have successfully identified and avoided a credit report scam re: a craigslist ad: the reply I got to my email query included a link to a "soft" free credit report site that would forward all pertinent info to the property manager, etc. Well, not only did the link return an internal server error when I pasted it into my browser, a search for info on Google turned up nothing.

So I replied to the rep's email to let him know the site he pointed me to didn't seem to be functional, and how would it be if I pulled my own credit report from and brought it with me to a meeting?

No reply yet. Not really expecting one.

Shame, though. Would have been right in my price range. Oh, well, onward...

#371 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 12:57 PM:

David Harmon @ #358, the day when I actually find a 29-inch inseam on any variety of pants, whether jeans or anything else, is as rare as . . . I dunno, dandelions in snow? I've pretty much given up trying to find them. Which means I end up with 30" jeans legs and rolled cuffs, taking me from age 61 down to age 10 in style. It's better with dress slacks, since they are (or were?) expected to break over the top of the foot.

I realize that women have a lot more trouble with clothing than men, but this one's been a bugaboo of mine for approximately forever.

#372 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 02:03 PM:

Linkmeister @371, this doesn't help much for jeans, but having the legs of pants shortened is about as simple as alterations get -- my wife always has to have it done, as another lucky possessor of a 28" inseam, and it's usually about $5 a pair.

#373 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 02:12 PM:

I keep debating whether to even say this here as I've felt much more a lurker and much less a community member the last long while. Also, time has passed, as it does when one's sleep and activity cycles have ceased to be remotely normal, so it's not new. Also I haven't been reading as much and participating even that way (see above re sleep)

Then i thought that kind of self-doubt is exactly the sort of thing Abi tends to discourage. So.

HLN: Area woman has successfully reproduced. Joseph Henry P. was born November 18, 8:12 AM, 8 LBs 12 oz.

Six hour labour. Breech birth. No medication. Wholly healthy infant. Also, dangerously adorable. Pics at my LJ here.

#374 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 02:15 PM:

Lenora Rose (373): Mazel tov!

#375 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 02:21 PM:

Congratulations, Lenora Rose! Bright blessings and good wishes for continued health and prosperity for mother and child!

#376 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 02:43 PM:

Congratulations, Lenora!

#377 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 03:04 PM:

I watched the Charlie Brown Christmas special last night, as I do every year (along with Rudolph and the Grinch), and this thing I noticed is:

I'm not a Christian, not by any stretch, but still. There's Linus, in the middle of the stage, in the spotlight, and he says, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." And I tear up.

#378 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 03:18 PM:

Welcome, Joseph Henry!

* * *
#377: From what I've read, the network (CBS, as I recall, during the initial run) thought they'd get hell for Linus' speech. Instead they got praised up and down.

It works because there is nothing bombastic, triumphalist, or crassly sectarian about that moment.

I rewatched "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." I never realized, as a kid, that hey, it's a little musical! Its got major name stars. The beginning credits run over an overture with snippets of the show's songs. The musical pieces are utterly adorable and cheery. (And some of them are likely running through your head right now.)

#379 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 03:20 PM:

@367: "Look! It's the Flying Victory of Samothrace!"

I yuvs our abi.

#380 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 03:21 PM:

Lenora Rose @373:

I don't so much discourage having that kind of self-doubt (hello! My name is Abi and I doubt myself almost constantly!) as I do letting it limit you.

Also, congratulations! What a cutie.

And the world is made new, all over again.

#381 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 03:27 PM:

Syd, somewhat disguised @370: Apologies if this is too obvious, but it's not a bad idea to keep an eye on the URL links point at, as well. (Most browsers will display the target URL in the status bar at the bottom of the browser page.)

If you see something other than .com or .org, I would be extra cautious.

#382 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 03:28 PM:

Lenora Rose @373: Congratulations!!!!! May you and the dangerously adorable Joseph prosper!

#383 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 03:33 PM:

Lenora Rose @373: Huzzah! See also: 8+lbs!? Holy moly!

#384 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 03:46 PM:

Lenora Rose: Mazel tov!

On pants: I've normally had no trouble finding my size in pants...except recently, when I've discovered that the Ross stores in my area seem to have stopped carrying anything above a 40" waist. (A slight exaggeration, but not much.) So I actually went to a Gap store in the find that they don't carry anything in their storefront above 38".

Then it occurred to me to do what Katie does, and try a thrift store. (Where we live, the thrift stores get a lot of rich peoples' castoffs.) I easily found three pairs of pants that fit me just fine. And I ran into the Vimes' Boots thing: it turns out that expensive pants from Brooks Brothers and Jos A. Bank really are better-made than the cheaper stuff. Who knew?

#385 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 03:53 PM:

Lee @927 on DFD:Tangled emotions thread (moving it here so not to clutter the DFD discussion with a tangential topic) I've heard differing reports on Flylady. Some people swear by her, others swear at her.

I have mixed feelings myself. It can border close to cultish. She does, however, have some good strategies.

I say from the midst of my still-cluttered house.

#386 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 04:10 PM:

HLN: Area Woman has a heck of a day.

It's Sinterklaas today, and all good little Dutch boys and girls got presents and chocolate letters in their shoes last night. Our school starts the day an hour late on December 6, in recognition that most of the kids will have been up late eating sugar and playing with new toys on Pakjesavond.

Our kids got presents, but did not stay up too late; they decided they wanted to get up early and play then. So they did, and we were all going along nicely until I decided to get some laundry done.

Our washing machine, you see, is in the attic. And the attic is reached by some very steep carpeted stairs with a quarter-turn at the bottom. Down which I fell, turning as I went so that it was my head that hit the wall at the bottom. Furthermore, we have very textured walls, which left me with a couple of interesting lacerations on my left hand. And the wrenched shoulder was really an afterthought.

So with Martin's help, I got all of this cleaned up and bandaged (shaking with post-adrenal reaction the whole time). And I took the kids to school, an hour later than usual, before heading off to work on my bicycle.

Through the hail. Rather fierce hail, big and hard enough to audibly ring my bell. And as I was cycling along, paralleling an airplane on approach to Schiphol Airport, out of nowhere, there was a tremendous flash of light and an enormously loud bang.

I don't know why the hailstorm cloud had that one charge of lightning stored up. I hope the passengers on the plane weren't too alarmed by the lightning strike.

Heck of a day, really.

#387 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 04:16 PM:

@abi: Owwww. Hope you feel better soon.

#388 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 04:31 PM:

Abi... My best wishes for some improvement in your days.

#389 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 04:43 PM:

Good heavens, abi! Sounds like you got Somebody's attention. Or maybe this is just the belt-test for your next-level superhero-dom.

#390 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 04:53 PM:

Good grief, abi, that stinks out loud! I hope you heal quickly, and don't have another day like that soon.

#391 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 05:26 PM:

abi, that's the kind of fun we don't like to have. Get better soon!

#392 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 05:27 PM:

Lenora Rose: Congratulations, and what a cutie! It's nice to have someone new to share a birthday with.

#393 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 05:32 PM:

Oh Abi -- Ouch! I've done the fall down the staircase thing too. Not fun.* I recommend a cup of tea and your favorite pain meds. Healing energy coming your way (and to anyone else on the thread in need of same).

*I don't break bones -- I destroy soft tissue when I fall, as my right ankle and both knees will attest. That's when I don't run into something and need stitches...

#394 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 05:57 PM:

Lenora @ 373

What a cutie! He looks so tall! Thank you for sharing him with us!

Abi @ 386

Ouch. My sympathies.

Those days always make me want to curl up and take a warm nap. I'm pretty sure the luck resets after sleep.

#395 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 06:00 PM:

Abi @386:
Ouch! Hope you feel better soon, and that was a once in a looong while event.

Lenora Rose @373:
Congratulations, and I hope you manage to get enough sleep soon, like sometime in the next few months.

Elliott Mason @365
I get a lot of my clothes at Lands End, in the Overstocks, when they have free shipping and sometimes 15% or more off as well. Get on their email list, and get their catalogs, and friend them on Facebook. Keep looking. I just got a couple pairs of new jeans for $15 each, and a new turtleneck for about $8. Overstocks don't always have exactly what I want, but I can keep myself clothed for only a little more than the second hand stores.

#396 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 06:09 PM:

Oh, abi, you have my complete sympathies! Can you have yourself a hot cuppa something to at least soothe yourself? That's awful all around!

AKICIML: I have a friend who's involved in an organization called CCP Comics, which is a -- the best I can describe it is a would-be small comics (and other stuff) publishing co-op. Except that, in four years, they haven't published more than a single book. While there haven't been any overt violations of Yog's Law of which I'm aware, there's a lot of "working for exposure" involved. If someone might have comics industry contacts or knowledge of these guys, I would love an outside view/opinion.

Other than that my friend needs to cut bait and start sending his work around to real publishers, which he's been told already. *sighs*

#397 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 06:17 PM:

Abi @386: Oh, OW! Hope you feel better soon.

Also, open thready question: what's up with suddenly craving salt?

I mean, I'm not normally a person who enjoys salt. I never put it on my food, and I find many prepared foods inedible because of it. I know a certain amount is required by my body, but I figured what's in my cereal, peanut butter, etc. was meeting the requirement.

The past two days, I want everything salty!!! To the point where, when I was getting some feta for my salad a minute ago, I had to stop myself from drinking the brine - I had this incredible craving for it!

I am coming off a two day gastro, which had... well, the usual symptoms. I pretty much had just water and tea for 48 hours or so. Could only those two days have knocked me off kilter so much?

#398 ::: Jo MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 06:25 PM:

abi@386, that was really unfair of the weather gods. They must've known you'd already had your big bang for the day, yet they still subjected you to that (let alone the plane passengers and crew). How very unkind.

#399 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 06:30 PM:

Sounds like a good time to try a sports drink (the sadly no longer quite true old joke: when Gtrd tastes good, you need it).

#400 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 06:41 PM:

On the clothing subject--what's with all the wrinkle-free and no-iron stuff? Down here in hot-and-moist land, if you put that nano no-wrinkle stuff on a shirt, all that happens is that the shirt can't breathe. Worst case, DH was very annoyed to get an all-cotton T-shirt where the sweat just beaded up inside and ran down his body.

I'm trying to order some gift shirts for Christmas, and hitting a wall.

Anybody make men's stuff of the general style, quality, and pricing of Bean's, Bauer's and Land'sEnd, who has *not* been seduced by the no-iron meme? Where 100% cotton means just that, no additives or treatments need apply?

#401 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 06:45 PM:

Linkmeister, #371: Land's End does custom hemming on anything but knit pants for free. They're pricey by discount-store standards, but IME you get your money's worth in quality. Also, as Magenta mentions @395, they have good sales.

David, #384: Which thrift stores are you using? I never buy jeans anywhere but at a thrift store, because I hate breaking in new ones. And yeah, dressing like the rich for a lot less is a Good Thing.

abi, #386: Ow! Sympathies.

Jennifer, #396: I've got a query off to a friend in the comics business. I'll let you know what he says.

#402 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 07:21 PM:

Congratulations to Leonora Rose on your baby! May he sleep through the night Real Soon! Mazel tov!

Sympathies to abi on your Interesting Day -- I hope by now you're feeling better. Thanks again for mentioning boerenjungens (hope that's spelled correctly!), because I mentioned them to the FG who decided we should immediately try it. We've got raisins in the brandy and -- almost more importantly -- dried tart cherries in the slivovitz. Both the cherries and the slivovitz are excellent. I am making more of this to take to the holiday party.

HLN: Area woman successfully juggles work, despite being on vacation, and receipt of new bed, at the same time, thanks to the FG, then orders birthday cake for son, collects said son for his trip to the dentist, and now that he's in the hands of the ex, will be making one last trip today, to renew his membership in the boy scout troop. He's already a Star Scout, close to Life Scout, and that means he's got two years to work on Eagle rank. "I aim to get him there," said the woman, "Because it's a good goal for him, and because he's done a pretty good job so far."

#403 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 07:46 PM:

A very odd re-imagining of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, using a very interesting, hard to describe graphic technique . . . a scrolly multi-plane thing.

NOTE: Strong language, political spin, not for kids

#404 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 07:58 PM:

Healing vibes to abi!

#405 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 08:02 PM:

joann @ 400

Lands Ends' "Classics" are cotton without a no-iron finish.

Get well!

#406 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 08:13 PM:

HLN: Area retiree has close call but prior planning saves the day.
I was heating up a can of soup and was about to add part of a can-rinse of water as usual. The can slipped out of my hand and some water landed on the sloping front panel of the stove, which contains the multiple switches for each burner. Something inside began to buzz, smoke and smell burnt. I simply stepped over to the fuse box, looked at the color-coded chart I'd made years back showing what goes to where, and shut off the breaker for the stove. In a few hours, as I hoped, the water dried up inside and the switches worked normally. [I did take the front panel off when the stove was disempowered, but could not see where the trouble was, so I put it back in place.] So far as I know, all is back to normal.
Folks, have you got your fuse/breaker boxes marked clearly so you know which ones to shut off if you have to do so in a hurry? When I moved in here, mine were illegible. I put in the work to empirically establish each linkage and am right glad I did. I don't know which one of Jim's emergency posts covered this but it might be worth starting a new one.

#407 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 09:43 PM:

Angiportus @406, it's on my list to do over winter break, though when I bought the place this summer the housing inspector had some scary notes about "this is an old type of breaker that sometimes doesn't trip when it should but you should be okay for now." I want to put in a programmable thermostat and this is the first step. (I've gotten to be a whiz at installing in-line cord switches recently -- this will be my next Teach Yourself to Play with Electric Stuff project.)

(Perhaps better as a side note for the Dysfunctional Families Day thread, but I got really tired of having to stand out in the garage by the breaker box every time something tripped and run through each breaker while my ex flipped light switches. For heaven's sake, a little time invested marking them when it's not an emergency will save so much agita when it counts. But he didn't see it that way.)

#408 ::: Tamlyn ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 09:51 PM:

Lenora Rose: Congratulations!

Abi @386: Ouch. I rather like thunderstorms, but not generally to be cycling in them.

Jeans: I have to roll mine up. I’m fashion challenged enough I figure it’s not going to really make a difference. People tell me it’s ‘cute’ when I stop and have to fix them because they’ve fallen – not really what I was going for, but sure.

#409 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 10:15 PM:

Lenora Rose: Mazel Tov!

(mine was 8 lbs 12 oz but was delivered surgically. still the biggest baby I'd ever seen and more than 2 lbs bigger than I was at birth.)

Abi: feel better, heal smoothly.

#410 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 10:48 PM:

Lenora Rose #373: Congratulations!

Abi #386: Ow, ow ow!

Also: bicycling through hail strong enough to ring your bell? (And with lightning, yet?) You really need a backup plan for your commute! Yeah, I've bicycled through a couple of blizzards myself -- in my early 20's! I wouldn't do it now, and you have dependents!

Angiportus #406: Yay for being smart in advance!

Lee #401: Do they now... I'll have to remember that! I'm not sure I have an outlet near me, but I'll look around (and then there's the 'Net...)

#411 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 11:08 PM:

@Cheryl #397: Did your two-day gastro thing involve frequent mad dashes? Not to get too graphic, but you may have lost a lot of salt from your body along with fluids. Eating salty food until the craving goes away and also drinking water should bring things back into balance.

#412 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2011, 11:36 PM:

#397 ::: Cheryl

Sounds like your electrolytes are out of whack (to use the technical term).

Are you noticing any odd cravings for potassium and calcium, or just the sodium? Also, any muscle cramps? Any other odd symptoms?

Yes, two days on water and tea, accompanied by NVD (that's how we say nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), can dehydrate you and mess up your blood chemistry (I'm not a doctor, don't pretend to be one).

Any sudden, unexplained change in how your body interfaces with the world should be ... well, find an explanation.

Let us know how it all turns out, eh?

#413 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 12:12 AM:

I really like this:

The Institute for Ethical Magic

“ ‘It only put me in Gryffindor,’ said Harry in a defeated voice, ‘because I asked not to go in Slytherin.’ ‘Exactly,’ said Dumbledore, beaming once more. ‘Which makes you very different’ ” from the supremely evil Voldemort who threatens all of civilization. “ ‘It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.’ Harry sat motionless in his chair, stunned.”

Harry realizes for the first time, according to Jacobs, that his confusion has been wrongheaded from the start. He has been asking the question “Who am I at heart?” when he needed to be asking the question “What should I do in order to become what I should be?”

The technologies we are developing offer powers exponentially greater than those of Dumbledore and Voldemort. Yet through these books, the young have learned very old lessons about love and community and how to be human in the face of overwhelming magic. By providing a means of coping with the inexplicable and magical, the Harry Potter books provide a code for coping with real life. The young recognize their own technological age in this magical place.

#414 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 12:56 AM:

Lee@401: The specific one I went to was the Goodwill on Westheimer. Katie also likes the Assistance League, the Guild Shop, and Blue Bird Circle -- she once printed out a map showing a whole bunch of thrift shops in that general area.

(I also picked up a copy of Stephen King's book on writing, and an anthology of science writing in 2004.)

#415 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 01:22 AM:

Lenore Rose @ 373:

Congratulations on increasing the world cuteness level considerably.

abi @ 386:

Ouch! Sounds like someone upstairs needs to be asked not not to yell when sending messages.

Janet Brennan Croft @ 407:

Agreed, the time spent in marking breakers will be more than paid back with the first major electrical problem you have. Then again, the first time I needed to reset breakers and isolate a problem in our current house, I discovered that, while the breakers had been marked by a previous owner, about half of the labels were completely wrong. And, as I discovered later, so was a good deal of the wiring in the house.

#416 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 01:34 AM:

Abi @386

Ouch! I took a similar tumble down my front stairs once. Tripped over my own toes and found myself executing a perfect tuck-and-roll forward down the steps. Startled the heck out of me -- not so much the fall but the fact that I still had functioning gymnastics reflexes. Ended up with a bruise on the left shoulder and right hip but evidently my head never touched ground.

#417 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 02:02 AM:

I have just now seen on craigslist an ad for a 1BR/1BA condo in LA with central air/heating, 1 underground parking space and in-unit washer/dryer--for $450/month. Also, cat friendly. :) (No, I do not interpret this to mean 14-cat friendly.) Please keep your collective fingers crossed that this is what it appears to be, rather than a scam of some sort, because it is the closest thing to perfect for my situation that I have seen.

Please please please...

#418 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 04:17 AM:

Good luck, but I have to say that $450 a month for living in a 1BR by yourself seems awfully low.

#419 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 04:23 AM:

David Harmon @410:
bicycling through hail strong enough to ring your bell? (And with lightning, yet?) You really need a backup plan for your commute!

I have a backup plan. But the benefits I get from cycling are not insubstantial; it's part of my mechanics for dealing with SAD, and it's my primary source of exercise. Please trust me that I am actually making nuanced and intelligent judgements here, weighing all of the factors.

Note as well that the weather in the Netherlands is extremely changeable; it goes from pelting rain to brilliant sunshine in the space of five minutes here. If I didn't cycle every time there might be hail, I'd never cycle, not even in the summer. And the lightning was entirely unexpected; we haven't had any thunderstorms or pressure buildups of late. There was no previous or subsequent electrical-storm activity.

Sorry. You probably didn't mean to sound nearly as hlepy and agency-removing as you came across. But it's always best to comment from the perspective that the person you're talking to is neither thoughtless nor unintelligent, you know?

#420 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 08:06 AM:


I would have said it was the cycling post-accident that was worth worrying about. The weather was remarkable but hardly a show-stopper. When I fell and broke my hip, I didn't realise it was that bad. Maybe that tends me to be a bit more wary of the situation you were in.

But since it is obviously another day now, I doubt you're going to be providing material for one of Jim's dread warnings.

#421 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 09:02 AM:

Today, I note, is the seventieth anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. It seems to me both so recent and yet so distant an event. Recent because it occurred within the memory of people still living, distant because seventy years is a long time -- almost a third of the independent history of the United States.

#422 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 09:20 AM:

abi #419: You probably didn't mean to sound nearly as hlepy and agency-removing as you came across.

I didn't, and I'm sorry about that. I was flashing back to a couple of rides where I didn't realize until (much) later, that I was lucky to have made it home. (Also, I've never lived anywhere that hail was actually common. And I thought my town's weather was treacherous....)

#423 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 09:49 AM:

Lenora Rose -- congratulations, and best wishes to all!

Abi -- healing thoughts to you. Warm ones.

#424 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 11:51 AM:

Stefan Jones @413: Goosebumps.

Syd @417: Please please please...

Please pretty please, dancing-in-a-circle-for-you please...

abi @419: "David Harmon @410:
bicycling through hail strong enough to ring your bell? (And with lightning, yet?) You really need a backup plan for your commute!" I have a backup plan. But the benefits I get from cycling are not insubstantial...

Back In The Day, I was out on my bike in literally any weather and subsequent to ridiculous injuries.* I really miss that, and bear considerable envy for abi and her stawartitude.

* Did you know that biking with a broken foot is actually much easier than bussing?

#425 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 11:52 AM:

Lee #401: Thank you! I really appreciate it!

Ginger #402: Congratulations to your son, and I hope he makes Eagle -- despite my disagreements with the overall Boy Scout organization, the local troops do good work, and it's an impressive achievement!

#426 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 11:55 AM:

Sam #405:

I was able to find some good stuff on the Overstock page. It just seems like it's all being deeveed, to use a term from Shockwave Rider.

#427 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 11:55 AM:

In the vein of abi's ""Why didn't you kick him in the balls?" parahelium (is that the singular?), see also on Crooked Timber: 10 Problems Women Need to Fix Before They Can Complain About Problems With Popular New Software, On a Blog. Not only did you do it wrong, you don't even get to talk about it. More ways to spell "La la la la, I can't hear you!"

#428 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 11:57 AM:

Jennifer Baughman @ 425: I agree with you on the BSA leadership faults -- apparently they've got a list of known pedophiles, but they can't be bothered to actually move to protect children, except by making it more difficult for parents to work with scouts. I was a merit badge counselor for several years, and have had my re-application disappear twice now. If they can't come up with some paper form that doesn't require me to put my full social security number on it, then they don't need me.

On the other hand, the local leaders are fantastic. We send a lot of boys to Eagle rank every year.

#429 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 12:10 PM:

Ginger @ 402... Congrats to the Son and to his Mom!

#430 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 12:31 PM:


Very glad you're OK.

But it sounds to me like someone didn't like that Christmas marvel / Marvel Christmas comments a couple days ago. ;)

#431 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 12:41 PM:

pedantic peasant @ 430... someone didn't like that Christmas marvel / Marvel Christmas comment

It's clobbering time?

By the way... When I looked for the Shield on the net, my wife and I were quite... ah... amused at a certain store's need to add a gender category for its toys, and for deciding that the Shield is for boys.

#432 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 12:53 PM:


I know what you mean. It's the same with the Kids Toys at Golden Arches. Half the time my girls want the "boys'" toy -- or BOTH!

And no, not "It's clobberin' time," "Avengers Assemble" (or even "Titans Together" or "Long Live the Legion" since I'm more a DC guy). Just her comment back @ 364 that I was too lazy to look up. :D

#433 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 01:16 PM:

David Goldfarb @ 418, it did strike me as a tad low as well, but not outlandishly so (unlike the 3-BR house for $500/month things I've seen, which seem definitely sketchy).

No reply to my email query yet, at any rate, so I'll keep looking.

#434 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 01:21 PM:

pedantic peasant @ 432... Glad to hear the girls aren't letting those artificial barriers stop them from deciding what they like. My wife never played with dolls. Action figures, yes, but dolls? Fi! As for why I gave her Thor's Hammer, well, she loves the movie "Adventures in Babysitting".

#435 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 01:28 PM:

Anyone else here a fan of M.A.S.H.?

Harry Morgan, died this morning. He was 96 years old.

So long, Colonel Potter -- you will be missed.

(Cue military honors)

#436 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 01:31 PM:

Bruce @427:

It's a Greek plural neutral, so perhelion.

That's a good post. I enjoy Crooked Timber, though I seldom comment there. Not academic enough.

#437 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 01:32 PM:

Awesome movie, Serge, and I totally get it.

My eldest youngster wants role models, so she loves Wonder Woman and Supergirl. And loves comics and graphic novels in general.

My youngest wants to be like Daddy, and has fixated on "Daddy like Batman, so I like Batgirl," and think it is unfair that she was not born knowing how to read.

My wife used to be a huge FF fan, but I have brought her over to the DarC side -- she can now name more heroes in the DC universe than Marvel's.

#438 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 01:38 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 435:

I am, yes. That's sad news indeed. Thanks for sharing.

Was just thinking of the episode with the Wine Bottle from WWI that goes to the last survivor yesterday.

There's irony. :(

#439 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 01:47 PM:

pedantic peasant: That was the first episode I thought of when I read the news.

#440 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 02:00 PM:



Two really good friends of my mother- and father-in-law have died in the past week, like three days apart. So, to up the irony level, the other recent M*A*S*H connection in my head -- given the season -- is the Christmas episode where BJ stays with a patient giving open heart massage so he won't actually die ON Christmas, and Harry comes in with his sad serious face behind a Santa beard saying, "Santa heard some of you have been extra nice this year," or words to that effect.

I'm mid 40's, and entirely too many actors, authors, and musicians I grew up with are succumbing to mortality.

It's almost enough to bring on the mad scientist laughter and efforts to prolong and damn the consequences.
Instead, I think I'll go hug my kids and tell them how much I love them.

#441 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 02:01 PM:

I had heard, about Harry Morgan. From what I've seen of his imdb bio, he was a Good Guy, not unlike the characters he played.

#442 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 02:03 PM:

Well, I have an appointment at 9:00 AM tomorrow with Legal Aid to get some guidance re: the apparently filed-but-not-served eviction notice. In hopes that clarity will ensue...

#443 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 02:04 PM:

pedantic peasant @ 437... My wife used to be a huge FF fan, but I have brought her over to the DarC side -- she can now name more heroes in the DC universe than Marvel's.

Shame on her! :-)

I'm more a Marvel person, but I've always had a great fondness for Green Arrow and for the Martian Manhunter.

#444 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 02:21 PM:

Serge @ 443::
I got lots of comics as a kid, and they were "just" comics.

I became a fan and started collecting in the middle/late days of the Green Lantern/Green Arrow team up, and the Legion of Super Heroes -- my always favorite: longjohns and sci-fi together? what's not to love?

Somehow I never got exposed to much Marvel (except for Spidey cartoons) until high school.

I'm a big fan of the four color idealism of comics. DC tends to do that more and better than Marvel IMHO. Marvel's a grittier, possibly more realistic world, but I read comics for the surge of hope, the "it could be like that." I like my grittiness in other media ...

#445 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 02:25 PM:

Serge Broom @441: "Finest kind."

Pedantic peasant @440: *blurry monitor syndrome*

I have never been fond of situation comedies, my college roommates had to sit on me to make me watch the show -- for which I am thankful.

For a show that was funny, M*A*S*H* frequently made me cry.

#446 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 02:29 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 445:

Yeah, M*A*S*H was IMO, one of a kind. I think it actually was the inspiration for several of the several "serious" comedies that came in in the nineties, like Sports Night, which, while still aiming for the funny, were also much more aware of continuity and drama.

#447 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 02:29 PM:

Syd @442, hope clarity does indeed ensue from the meeting with Legal Aid. And kudos on continuing to slog through all this stuff.

#448 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 02:40 PM:

Congrats to Lenora and sympathies to abi...

#421 ::: Fragano Ledgister -

It seems to me both so recent and yet so distant an event.

I know what you mean.

Related to that, time spans that should feel equal don't...

For instance, the period of time from 1940 to 1960 seems longer to me than the period from 1990 to 2010. I don't know why this is so.

#449 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 02:44 PM:

abi to God:

"Please don't ring my chimes like that!"?

#450 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 02:47 PM:

Re: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers)@ #427's Crooked Timber link, I dug up the backstory to that rant here

Apparently iPhone 4S' "Siri" won't give information on where to get an brtn.

(subject of previous sentence disemvowelled as appears to be customary here on ML - I've no wish to start a flamewar on that topic, but I thought others might be interested in where the Crooked Timber rant apparently came from - it confused me until I got several comments down and figured out the general area to search on...)

#451 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 02:48 PM:

Steve C. @ 448:

As far as the time thing goes, I think part of it is human number sense messing with your perception. Is the one digit change from 63 to 64 any more significant than that of 69 to 70? Not really, no. But we privilege all decimal shift numbers so they seem as if they are. I think this is part of what happens. Your brain picks up the flip from 1990-2010 and number sense twigs it as a "larger" change than the mid-century switch from 1940-1960, because the prefix doesn't change.

#452 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 02:51 PM:

Syd @442: In hopes that clarity will ensue...

One hopes! That sounded...decidedly screwy. But in this day and age...

#453 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 02:58 PM:

Fragano @ #421, as you would expect, that anniversary is rather a big deal here. I heard the flyover at 0755 while sipping my coffee, and there have been ceremonies at Pearl Harbor at the new Visitors Center across from the Arizona Memorial starting at about 0700.

#454 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 03:28 PM:

@409 Melissa Singer

(mine was 8 lbs 12 oz but was delivered surgically. still the biggest baby I'd ever seen and more than 2 lbs bigger than I was at birth.)

See, in my family, any kid lower than 8.5lbs was considered "petite" - up until my cousin's wife gave birth to a 4.2 pounder (full-term, no medical issues, just fraking tiny). We dressed her in Cabbage Patch clothes! So 8.12 sounds just about right to my ears...

@411 Jenny Islander, & @412 James D. Macdonald

Are you noticing any odd cravings for potassium and calcium, or just the sodium? Also, any muscle cramps? Any other odd symptoms?

No other cravings; no muscle cramps. General muscle weakness and fatigue, but I figured those were not odd for a gastro. I had a wicked headache those 2 days (it's really only gone completely today). I did go back to taking my multi-vitamin + calcium as soon as I could keep something down, so maybe the potassium and calcium needs were met that way?

Last night I picked up a small bottle of Gatorade and it tasted vile (it was blue flavoured, as far as I could tell). I got down about half on the theory that it's good for me (and I paid for it, dammit!) and couldn't manage any more. I did eat a whole cucumber sliced up, covered in salt.

Today seems better. I opened the container of feta, and the thought of drinking from it did not seem immediately appetising. My headache is almost all the way gone, and walking to the bus stop did not completely exhaust me.

I think (I hope!) you are right, and this was a temporary imbalance brought on by my gastro. It freaked me out though - I mean, who the hell drinks feta brine?!? Ick.

Thanks for the advice.

#455 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 03:49 PM:

pedantic peasant @451 -- your explanation would make sense if Steve had said that 1940-1960 sounded shorter. With him saying it sounded longer, it doesn't, really.

#456 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 04:21 PM:

Cherly @454: a lot of the women in my family smoked . . . and tended to pop kids a week or two early, both of which made 6 lbs a more customary size in the generations before mine. And a lot of my female relatives are small people who tend to have small babies.

I, otoh, am of average height, if somewhat broad of beam, did/do not smoke, and went 10 days past due date (which accounts for at least a pound all by itself). Hence, bigger baby. My mother, aunts, and grandmother were all surprised and there was much jokey complaining about how heavy she was for such a little person. I said she had adjustable density, not unlike my cat (she weighed more than the cat, who was full-grown).

#457 ::: Throwrearope ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 04:40 PM:

@Melissa Singer #456--

Sorry, but you're a piker. My first child weighed 9 lbs 4 oz and was 2 years old before his cheeks stopped being chubby. We finally found out he had blue eyes all along.

My thoughtful second child only weighed 8 lbs 8 oz, but he tied a true knot in his cord, so by my standards, came out alive (and functional, thank God) and rather scrawny.

Darling daughter tipped the scales at 10 lbs 4 oz and I discovered that there's a reason why 10-4 means it's over.

Being a physician, I got checked for everything under the sun, and they decided I was just prone to LGA* babies.

*Large for gestational age = med speak for chunky infants.

#458 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 05:20 PM:

Now that I've had a chance to read the whole thread:

Syd: Continued good wishes for your situation.

Abi @ 386: I, too, would have been more inclined to worry about biking after a head injury (especially biking in hail, but that's the exacerbating circumstance not the issue), but since you posted coherently of the subject (And continued to do so today), I am mostly of the wishing you warm cups of tea and fewer days of unexpected lightning.

Angiportus @ 406: We were building an extension on our house this summer (My husband is still finishing the kitchen), and I cannot agree with you more on the breaker switches. Ours were marked by a previous owner in small writing, so whenever my father-in-law tried to turn one off, he had to squint at the writing and try several in a row, while Colin and I called down whether the light/power went off. I think most of the wiring has now been labelled, but the switch box has not been fixed yet. One more on the need to do list.


Thanks, all for the congratulations (and the unusually high percentage of mazel tovs*). According to the doctor, he's big but not unusually so -- his father was over 9 pounds.

Melissa Singer: They were talking about caesarean, briefly; but not for his size, just his position. And in the end, the baby and the speed of delivery gave them no choice but to go for it as-is. Thankfully, the doctor whose shift was ending just when it hit the crisis point was one of the few who is willing and inclined to do breech births as a regular thing, so he kept everyone else (including the doctor coming on shift) calm and ready.

Oops, baby waking even as I preview. If I left in typos, that's why...

*Strictly a linguistic observation -- it's not a term one hears often around my locale even from the Jewish community.

#459 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 05:46 PM:

I was shocked to discover during my prenatal class that the hospital at which we delivered (a major world-class institution with a brand-new building in downtown Chicago) has universally declared breech presentation to be a mandatory-caesarian situation. No vaginal breech deliveries will be attempted or permitted there -- just a surgical section as soon as it's clear the kid's actually ready to come out and this is real labor, not Braxton-Hicks. Head down and face either front or back are the only two legitimate vaginal delivery positions, as far as they're concerned.

Turned out not to matter in our case, though the kidlet did give me mild panic attacks throughout the last four days by flipping head up/head down on about a 3-hour interval for half of each day.

#460 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 06:33 PM:

Steve C. #448: Also, it's known that the human "time sense" speeds up as you get older. I remember an article that said something about a square-root law, but it was ambiguous (that is, poorly phrased) about what that actually meant.

#461 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 06:55 PM:

Ah, no more Harry Morgan. Well. He always struck me as the real thing.

M*A*S*H was a groundbreaking show, not just as a comedy. I'm thinking of what they did for pacing — they got about a show and a half or even two shows in the space of one by simply trimming everything that didn't move the story. Somebody wakes up, shaves, washes his feet, walks to the mess tent. I could be wrong, but it seems like earlier shows wanted to give you every step of that. M*A*S*H would just cut to the chase. They'd cut away from a scene after the drama peaked and go to the next scene, and never mind crossing this and dotting that. It was an innovation. Of course, the quality of the humor (which got better as the show progressed) was a key as well, thanks to Larry Gelbart's brilliant writing.

Harry Morgan's tenure seems to be where the show went from gag-a-day antics to a story. It may have been in the works earlier, but he's a handy demarcation point.

#462 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 07:00 PM:

David Harmon: I don't know about square roots, but it seems obvious to me from my own experiences that the more hours, days, years you've been alive, the lower the fraction of your life you experience in each new one. When you're five, a month is one sixtieth of your entire life. When you're fifty, it's one six-hundredth. I'm not suggesting a straight correspondence, but it affects the perception.

#463 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 07:50 PM:

HLN: Local woman safely drives son through rain and gloom of night to his scheduled appointments, and manages to coordinate the surprise!birthday cake with the Ex. Birthday Boy was surprised.

#464 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 07:52 PM:

I noticed at the latest TusCon just how, ummm, "mature" my fannish generation is getting. And mirrors keeps showing me some Old Guy who doesn't look anything like my mental self-image. I keep wanting to smack them with my hand. "Bad mirror! Stop that!"

(Speaking of my generation, if any of you fellow old AZAPAns and such would like to see how Curt Stubbs looks these days, I included a photo of Curt in a recent blog post.)

#465 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 08:45 PM:

And belatedly, Congratulations Lenora Rose and welcome Joseph! What a cute baby!

#466 ::: Kyndra ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 09:01 PM:

Abi @386

My sympathies. I did a similar thing about a month ago- fortunately on my rear end and the two year thought the whole thing was a grand joke- and the bruise is just now fading...Hopefully you will recover much faster...K

#468 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 11:01 PM:

Ginger: I just want to say that I have noticed how happy you, your son, and your girlfriend are.

"Throw"@457: piker for you, giant for me . . . it's all relative, yes?

Cheryl, apologies for mistyping your name.

Elliot Mason: position and unproductive labor were my biggest problems. The kid was pointed down but riding high, and 13 hours of labor made not a whit of difference.

#469 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 11:46 PM:

Bruce, I left a comment on your blog, but for the record, yes. There are people who want to see what Captain Coors is looking like these days, and thanks for that.

#470 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2011, 11:49 PM:

Kip, #462: That's along the same lines as what I've heard -- that we experience time as a ratio, and that's why everything seems to speed up as we get older.

#471 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 01:28 AM:

Ginger: I've been glad to see more updates on your HLN that seem happier, these days...

Elliott Mason: That's just wrong. The US has a ridiculously high percentage of Caesarean births by WHO standards (Canada is close behind, so we're not exactly one to talk), and things like that are why. It's not actually a good policy as a universal for the mom or the baby, though I can see it from a CYA perspective.

If I'd had time to think it through, I think I'd have still been willing to do it as I did. But it wasn't in my case a deliberate choice, and I can see why I, or anyone, might have opted for surgery if they'd known in advance.

Melissa Singer: That long an unproductive stretch sounds dreadful. One friend of mine just had a 36 hour labour, but at least she had indications all along that it was progressing.

#472 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 09:15 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ 455

Yeah, totally misread the post. Please disregard.

#473 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 09:15 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ 455

Yeah, totally misread the post. Please disregard.

#474 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 10:24 AM:

I've been in Phoenix, visiting my brother. Good visit.

Abi, I hope your head is feeling better. Lenora Rose, congratulations and welcome baby Joseph! Syd, I hope this place is what you need it to be. Thena, I hope the pain has subsided and that the week is going better than you assumed it could.

*waves* Hi, all. Missed you.

#475 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 10:41 AM:

Lee @ 470:

That's what I've always thought too about time moving faster as you age, but this year my son, just pushing 10, has been telling me how fast time is going by and how it seems to him like the year has gone by in no time. I don't think I can explain that.

#476 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 11:17 AM:

HLN: Area woman does not lose job as her company announces details of the planned restructuring. The axe falls to the left of her, and it falls behind her, but not upon her.

On the other hand, she does not know her new boss, and won't get a chance to speak to him until Monday.

The day is spent listening, talking, and encouraging.

Area woman is exhausted.

#477 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 11:52 AM:

Lenora Rose: It was tiring, especially as I had been up late the night before (having monitoring because I was post-date) and then worked a full day before going to the hospital for induction, since I was about a week and a half late by then.

The main advantage of the long labor was that I was ultimately delivered by a dr. I liked (group OB/GYN practice) instead of one with whom I had a respectful, professional, but not particularly warm relationship.

This turned out to be a bigger advantage than I knew at the time because the dr. who didn't deliver me was arrested soon after for various bad acts.

I felt bad for my mother, who was a total rock and stayed with me the whole time, and was as sleep-deprived and food-deprived as I was). She didn't remember her own labors (twilight sleep era), so it was weird for her, but she even went into the OR with me and was the first person in the family to hold my daughter.

#478 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 12:07 PM:

Syd@442: Good luck. You should be aware that there has been a lot of issues regarding bank foreclosure behavior in California -- the state AG, Kamala Harris, recently joined Nevada in its investigation into foreclosure fraud. In addition to Legal Aid, you could try contacting her office directly (although they are unlikely to help).

In particular, the situation you described in #261 does sound fishy. You might also want to look at FindTheFraud, which can give you some examples of what you might look for in terms of irregularities in the foreclosure documents.

#479 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 12:18 PM:

HLA: One year ago last night, I wrecked my truck leaving work. It was a low-speed accident, in which no one was even jarred, but it did total the truck.

So I started riding the bus. That meant about a 20-minute walk, and a 20 minute bus ride, to work, and the reverse going home.

Then (on my wife's suggestion) I started riding to the bus stop. Then I started riding home (about 8 miles) sometimes. Then I started riding home most of the time.

I like my commute much better now.

#480 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 12:29 PM:

HLN: After contributing to discussion of taking headers down stairs, area woman contributes to experimental data while running for BART train. Forecast is for minor bruises and an avoidance of acidic foods while lip heals.

#481 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 12:53 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @480:

I think I speak with some authority when I say Don't Do That Pls...

#482 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 01:27 PM:

Abi @ 476... Not a fun situation.

#483 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 01:29 PM:

Catching up after a couple of days of meetings:

Lenora Rose: Mazel tov!

Abi: Ouch! Hope all injuries heal speedily (we curse the previous owners of our house every time we skin our knuckles on the Artex).

Syd: I hope the meeting was useful, and that the apartment is real.

Cheryl: Yes, sounds like your electrolytes were out of balance - not surprising after a GIT upset. Keep providing your kidneys with a reasonable amount of fluid and some salts - for future, you might like to have some oral rehydration sachets around.

#484 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 01:31 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @480: Ouch! As abi says - really, no more data points needed!

#485 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 03:08 PM:

Pedantic peasant: But if I disregard the second post that says to disregard, then I must dis-disregard, which is to say... but if... if... well, if I think about it too much, my ears'll start smoking and I'll blow up like a Star Trek robot that's been told 2+2=7, so I'm just going to move on here.

Just disregard this. That this, not this this.

#486 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 03:34 PM:

Kip W @ 487... You really are Harcourt Fenton Mudd? If not, disregard my comment. If you are, disregard it too.

#487 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 03:35 PM:

re: Xopher's tofu pâté (can't remember how to link to his post in a previous thread)

My holiday potluck contributions traditionally have had eggs, butter, cream, sugar, and wheat flour. They always disappear quickly, but why not take something scrumptious that everyone can have?

Xopher's faux foie gras is faster and easier than I'd imagined possible. Most of you have lost more upper-body strength than I've ever had, but I managed it effortlessly with a whisk to mash it up, and a spoon-ended silicone spatula to blend it. After bundling the tofu into a cheesecloth, I twisted a bag and rolled it in the sink, using body weight rather than my piddly wrists.

Two tubs of extra-firm tofu made 1 2/3 of pâté. I didn't have wheat-free tamari, so substituted (gluten free) spicy ginger miso. It's delicious, and it's an immature, raw toddler aiming toward the glory of coming adulthood.

#488 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 03:36 PM:

@483 dcb

Cheryl: Yes, sounds like your electrolytes were out of balance - not surprising after a GIT upset. Keep providing your kidneys with a reasonable amount of fluid and some salts - for future, you might like to have some oral rehydration sachets around.

What's really irritating to me, is that I know this. I learned about it in Girl Guides, I learned about it again in childcare classes (PediaLyte!!), and I've read about it here (in Jim's cholera post). I know how to make my own with water, sugar, and salt. And it's like my brain turned off, and I was so freaked out that all I could think of was to come here and ask!

How the hell did I drive and not hit someone?

#489 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 05:36 PM:

If anyone wants to know: sliced fuyu persimmons, red sweet onions, and chicken parts go together really well. Scrumptiously, in fact. Saute the chicken with the onions, add persimmons, add chicken broth, cook, serve. The timing of when to add the fruit is a bit tricky because persimmons are delicate, but if they cook into mush it's okay, they're still delicious. Saute the chicken in olive oil and garlic if you like garlic. (I do.) Enjoy.

#490 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 06:10 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Area woman has phone interview. Area woman is confident* and plans sushi for the next step, as two years and two hundred four job applications have led to three phone interviews total.

*Saying that makes me less so. Stupid brain.

#491 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 06:25 PM:

About a month before I was born, I gather, it became clear that I would present as a breech birth. I was then subjected to a podalic version (thank you Ambroise Paré). My mother says my foetal growth stopped at that point.

#492 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 06:26 PM:

Malthus @ 478, one of my problems is that I simply haven't been able to afford my monthly mortgage for...too long...due to work, i.e., not being able to find any, or only enough to get by with the food-gasoline-car insurance-utilities level of life coverage. Looking at it strictly on that basis, I'm not sure I have a leg to stand on even if the bank's foreclosure process includes unsavory actions. Dammit.

The fraud would likely be with the original loan: when I was seeking a BK attorney, the first one I was referred to said that, based on my loan docs, I might have a good case to allege fraud (misrepresented pay-option ARM with negative amortization, oh joy). Problem was, as always, money, as in not enough to cover his retainer, let alone the $25K bond he said I would be required to post if it went to trial. (Even assuming I would only post a portion of the bond myself, as with bail, I just didn't have it.)

But information is good to have, and even if I can't do anything to stop having to leave, I suppose it's barely possible I'd find an attorney who'd be willing to look into on contingency and, if not get the place back for me, get me enough money for another place.

dcb @ 483, I'm afraid it is not real, because the email I received to my query featured (a) virtually the same language as the one I'd previously mentally flagged as credit report scam fodder, including a bit about how the "agent" writing the reply had actually lived in the neighborhood for two years; (b) glory be, a link to a free credit report site; (c) virtually the same "personal embellishments" to the email (dots, dashes, etc., to create something that looks vaguely like a cloudscape at beginning and end); and (d) no company name, just a mention that if I qualify based on my Free! Credit! Report! I'd get an email with her office number to make an appointment.

And re: the previously flagged-as-scam-fodder, to which I'd offered to run my own credit report and bring it with me to a meeting? I finally heard back on it today...he was ever so nice but let me know they'd already found the best match for the house.

Ha ha ha.

I got a suggestion elsewhere about looking for a cheap place to rent in areas of the county where a more rural vibe might make it possible for be to gradually bring in the cats. So far, most of what I'm finding in such areas are also out of my price range, but I'll keep looking.

On the plus side, the friend of my cousin (the friend who's arranging the moving van) said he'd be over tomorrow with a couple of his students to help me pack. Now I just have to figure out where to tell them to take it all...


More later re: my adventures in Legal Aid Land...

#493 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 06:42 PM:

Carol 487: I'm glad that worked for you! ...trying to imagine how it would taste with that substitution, but not having a lot of luck. Sounds like it might be good though.

#494 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 07:21 PM:

Lizzy L, #489--I think I will try that. I have just discovered celery root, do you suppose that would work as an add-in?
How about drunken persimmons?

#495 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 08:26 PM:

Xopher: I don't know what your original tastes like either. After seeing your recent post I gave it a little taste and only with huge effort stopped from eating the entire tub. PUT. THE. SPOON. DOWN. NOW. The flavors are beginning to meld nicely.

I'm sure it isn't as dark as your version - kind of a honey-nougat color flecked with the darker bits of caramelized onion. I've got wheat-free tamari on my shopping list and will give it another go. I don't have to give up my omnivore status because I enjoy this.

This is a different group than the ones who freaked out over your Chocolate Brownies of Death, so I'm spreading the number of those who will praise your name.

#496 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 08:38 PM:

LOL "Xopher of the Half Tongue, Who Is Both Cook And Baker"? Am I the Patron Saint of chocoholics?

#497 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 09:11 PM:

BTW: HLN: Man is back home after hospital stay featuring abdominal surgery and fever of 39.4 C. Wife frazzled. Cat doing fine.

#498 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 09:14 PM:

Does anybody here happen to know if Advantage (flea stuff) expires in an explosive way, or merely becomes less effective over time (having just found a completely forgotten stash of the stuff) ...

#499 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 09:26 PM:

HLN: Area woman has the kind of day that starts with getting jumped by supervisor and HR dude on the way into the office, warning of air quality issues due to asthma-exacerbating chemical fumes wafting in from unknown source, which have already sent one co-worker home sick and another into a manageable attack; after which, area woman finds voice mail from primary-care doctor on work phone strongly suggesting need to "discuss options". Upon calling doctor's office, learns doctor is out for the day and left no further instructions.

Area woman survives another day despite the above.

#500 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 10:20 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @497, glad you're home again. Wishing you quick healing from surgery.

Thena @499, bleah. Hope tomorrow is better.

#501 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2011, 11:55 PM:

Lenora Rose: Congratulations! He's beautiful. Glad the breech presentation went through without any complications.

#502 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 12:24 AM:

Angiportus at 494, I have no idea how celery root would work as an add-in, but I'm dubious. However, I might be wrong. My suggestion would be, try it once without, and then try it with.

This is not entirely my recipe: it's my version of something I found on the net. I went looking when I realized that my persimmon tree was bearing a humungous amount of fruit this year. Last year, I think there were 6 persimmons, so this year, I've got 60. I've been giving lots of them away.

#503 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 03:07 AM:

Serge @ 431

I've been asserting that the fun thing about having a daughter is the ability to shop the entire department store.

Besides, the blue matches her eyes. It's a power color for her, I'm pretty sure.

#504 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 07:46 AM:

KayTei @ 503... She asked for a Shield? Cool. By the way, one friend's 6-year-old daughter is currently enjoying a book of MythBuster experiments that one CAN try at home.

#505 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 09:24 AM:

Cheryl @ 488: "And it's like my brain turned off, and I was so freaked out that all I could think of was to come here and ask!" Yup. Electrolytes way out of kilter. As for "How the hell did I drive and not hit someone?" The god of fools and innocents was looking after you?

Syd@492: Keep looking! Good luck. We're listening.

Fragano Ledgister @497: Here's hoping the surgery sorted out the problem, and that recovery is uneventful.

#506 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 11:58 AM:

abi #476: Congratulations on not losing your job, and my sympathies about dealing with the uncertainties.

Fragano Ledgister #497: It's good to see you back and, hopefully, recovering.

Syd #492: It might be a good idea to bring the potential fraud up with the current Legal Aid person, as it may give you some fallback. Also, if it's a potentially bad loan, you might be able to buy more time by asking the bank to produce the actual note.

#507 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 12:51 PM:

Fragano Ledgister #497: Eep. I'm happy things turned out OK, and wish you rapid healing.

#508 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 12:59 PM:

Syd #492: In law, one party's fault almost never excuses the other party's misconduct. The closest I can think of is the rare case when a judge delivers a ruling to the effect of "fie on both your houses!", and that generally happens only when both sides are playing "cheater's poker".

#509 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 01:04 PM:

PS: And when I say "does not excuse", I mean that misconduct can blow a winning case. The O.J. Simpson case was a dramatic example; my father (a lawyer) commented that the prosecutor blew his case by framing a guilty man.

#510 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 01:47 PM:

HLN: Area woman notes egregious violation of entropy, in which she spends half an afternoon searching, seriatim, for earrings and keys, ultimately finding both in an unexpectedly capacious pocket of handbag.[0] Later, woman leaves store, and opens car door straight onto forehead, delivering all the signs of mild concussion except for actual blackout.[1] Says woman, after some time, "This is just wrong. Shouldn't cause come before effect, not after?"

[0] Woman wishes to state that she is normally highly organized and almost never loses stuff like that, much less twice in a row--that's just plain disorienting.
[1] Woman sat in car for at least five minutes before attempting to drive. Miraculously, there is no visible cut or bruising, and she seems to have her faculties back.

#511 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 02:50 PM:

HLN: Area woman hopes she didn't inadvertently start this whole chain of falling; a few days after Thanksgiving, groggy from evening meds, she woke up for a brief bathroom break and lost motor control on the way there, ending up with a mild head bump (no concussion, mostly rug burn) and bone-bruises in several places, especially the knees. Area woman is mostly recovered now and sends recovery vibes to everyone else.

#512 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 03:35 PM:

Well, on the one hand, I've managed to pack four whole boxes of books and DVDs. Four. Out of ye gods I don't know how I'm going to do this number of boxes that remain to be filled. Assuming I get enough boxes. On the other hand...I packed four whole boxes! FOUR! Go, me!


Have also been researching the possibility of boarding the cats while I try to find a shelter that re-homes house pets rather than concentrating solely on strays or rescuing kill-shelter animals. Boarding as an option, however is very likely no option, as policies usually require proof of vaccination, etc., which mine don't have. My vet doesn't have room to board them, and the costs of the shots...ouch.

Please keep your fingers crossed, however, as I actually got a fast reply to an email I sent a place found on, referring me to the person who handles their adoptions.

Hurts. Hurts muchly. Hurts much less than the thought of taking them to Animal Control, however.

I sent a query this morning about a craigslist item re: a place to live; got a fast answer back on it, too--from someone who is very much not literate in English, which is no problem, but the "application" consisted of a series of questions within the email, some of which are fine (monthly income, number of people to live in house, do you have pets, do you smoke), and some of which seem iffy (are you married, do you drink, do you work nights).

The kicker, though, is that the reply also included the address of the property. Which I checked out on the County Assessor's Parcel Viewer and Google Street View. Strangely enough, the surroundings at the address on Google do NOT match the surroundings of the photo in the ad...and then I noticed the address on the house didn't match the address given in the email. Also, the phone number included so I could call the poster as soon as I completed the "application" is country code 234, which, according to a calling-code site, is for...Nigeria!

So I emailed back pointing out the discrepancy between the house numbers and asked if we were talking about the same place--and did zhe have a local phone number, since I'm kind of low on funds at the moment... And I received a reply with a revised address (and the comment "this is my hose [sic] for rent, so sorry for the mistype). Nothing about the international phone number, though.

Am I right to think this is oh-so-fishy? And if so, is this the kind of thing I ought to report to craigslist? Or do they actually care?

Re: Legal Aid suggestions at various, thank you--I'm not sure the person I spoke to yesterday would be my best bet (maybe she's just overworked--she didn't seem to be too interested in hearing any details, at any rate, but then, I wasn't all that assertive about mentioning any).

And I still haven't eaten yet. Progress in one place, none in another. Oh, well...

I realize that berating myself for not getting into this mode a week ago...or two or three or four weeks counterproductive. Unfortunately, I feel as if I'm in a space where the available time simply will not accommodate everything I have to do.

Ye ghods, I haven't ordered a dumpster. Dammit!

#513 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 03:42 PM:

Syd #512: Am I right to think this is oh-so-fishy? And if so, is this the kind of thing I ought to report to craigslist?

YES!, and yes. I'm surprised Craigslist doesn't auto-filter non-US numbers, let alone from Nigeria!

Do your best to keep up momentum, and don't be afraid to call on friends for help and moral support!

#514 ::: AnonCowardSevenBillion ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 04:30 PM:

Syd@512: It's a scam. Pursue it no further for now. Craigslist may or may not care, but it doesn't sound like you've got the spoons to pursue it with them right now. Those windmills will still be there if you want to tilt at them after you're re-homed elsewhere.

#515 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 05:00 PM:

Syd @512: What David and AnonCowardSevenBillion said! Also, you are doing *so well* to *do things*, even if it doesn't feel like enough; any progress, right now, is better than none.

#517 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 06:04 PM:

Syd: Packing in progress! Well done! Keep going!

I suggest you follow at least SF Convention Rules regarding eating and stuff* - you'll feel better and function better.

Good luck with the cat rehoming - painful though it is, and with the accommodation searching.

*As I recall, at least two meals, six hours of sleep and one shower per 24 hours.

#518 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 06:24 PM:

David Harmon @ 513, sorry, I apparently wasn't clear: the phone number was not in the original ad, but in the email response I got to my query.

Another tip-off is that re: the "corrected" house, the number of bedrooms on craigslist doesn't appear to match the number of bedrooms on the Assessor's site. I've emailed craigslist about it, so we'll see what happens.

Lucky me, though, to hit three probable fraudsters in a row. I just want a place to live, not to make a career out of vetting craigslist ads for scam factors! Unless they're willing to pay me $20+/hour for at least 30 hours a week...then we'll talk.

Oh, and a new wrinkle to the whole saga: I was in the middle of composing this comment (at around 1:00 PM Pacific) when the phone rang. It turned out to be the bank's liaison checking to see how things were going.

I told him. The whole nine yards, about how I'm not sure I can meet the Monday deadline because (a) I haven't found a place to live and (b) I haven't found a placement for the cats yet and (c) I've probably been dealing for months with such a massive case of depression that it's a wonder I can get out of bed in the morning, let alone pack, so the packing it is nowhere near done, etc.

He almost suggested that, if time is the more important factor for me right now, I might want to consider letting it go to eviction proceedings to buy myself a few more weeks (or potentially months)--did not suggest, but almost. Of course, he also pointed out that if I go that route, the money goes bye-bye, which I know, and that I need to be sure I can convince the judge that the delay is a material and compelling need, not just me not wanting to pack up (for example). He's seen judges to be very nice about it, and judges who are not, so I should factor that in as well.

Still, I was, frankly, stunned that he'd even mention it. I don't want to do it, because the money will come in very handy, but damn. If I can't come up with a place for the cats, I may just have to do it. We made an appointment for the walkthrough for 3:00 PM, and I said I'd let him know by Monday morning if I had any doubts about being ready, so he and the contractor (who will do the re-keying) don't make the trip for nothing.

And then there was the half-hour of proselytizing. After the dose of same I got on the phone yesterday from "my" rep (sale-postponement guy). I managed to be polite in both cases, but still, I'm feeling rather the double-teamed agnostic.

#519 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 08:03 PM:

Syd #518: Ah, so there's a local rep, but he's hoping his buddies back home will get a shot at the mark he missed (and once you called him on the "tells", he can be pretty sure he missed you).

Unfortunately, scammers are an infection to this sort of service -- if not treated aggressively, they multiply. (Which is why you should always tip off Craigslist, and AFAIK email's perfectly fine for that.) I can only suggest persistence.

The noted security expert Bruce Schneier said a year or two ago that in his experience, it was basically impossible to buy a used laptop through Craigslist or any similar service, because the price range and convenience fell so neatly into the sweet spot for scammers, that they'd taken over the market.

Regarding the bank rep's hint, consider that (1) they get the house either way, and the second way they don't have to pay, (2) if you actually challenge the eviction (say, by demanding they "produce the note"), you might well win. (Is this the same bank that has always held the mortgage? Is he sure of that?), and (3) lately it's not unheard of for people to simply squat in their foreclosed houses, or worse. (Desperate people can be very dangerous....)

I'd stay in touch with Legal Aid, and definitely dump your story to them.

#520 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 08:32 PM:

Syd @519: And if Legal Aid won't listen, maybe one of the other resources they list on their Foreclosure/Eviction page that offers free representation will.

#521 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 08:52 PM:

Here's an item for my "Flashes" sidebar: The Fab Four ponder their future. (From WFMU)

(What do you mean I don't have a sidebar? I've already got a name for it and everything!)

#522 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 08:54 PM:

Oh, and while you're moving things around, did you ever think of having a link to the front page at the bottom of each page? Okay, just a thought.

#523 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 09:00 PM:

I've looked for jobs on Craigslist and only found real jobs.

(except for one scam email that I didn't answer, now that I think about it)

Why the difference?

#524 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 09:36 PM:

Erik #523: Probably because it's much harder to justify asking for money in exchange for a job. The quick scam there would be at the other end: "I'll do the job if you pay me up front". Even that's probably a tough sell -- I made that mistake once with an handyman (who merely turned out to be a drunk), and people tut-tutted me for my naiveté!

Reselling someone else's work is possible, but being a labor broker is an actual job, not a quick scam -- even pulling a fly-by-night to cheat the workers (while still collecting from the other end) takes a certain amount of effort, investment, and risk.

#525 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 09:36 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 523 ...

All I can say is that you're implausibly lucky... or looking for exceedingly specific jobs.

#526 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 09:45 PM:

Erik #523, cont'd: Actually, there are job scams out there, but most of them depend on low-hanging fruit, and the big hurdle is convincing someone who really needs a job to part with what money they have. Of course, a level above the quick scams are the pyramid schemes, which bring in "long con" and cult-like tactics.

#527 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 10:02 PM:

David Harmon @ 519, the current bank (let's call them TwoEast, but in reality subtract 1 and go the opposite direction) bought the original bank, First Fed Bk of Cali (again with the shorthand...) in December 2009 after First Fed went into receivership for, among other things, having too many toxic loans on its books--including mine. While I always made my payments to First Fed (even the five months after TwoEast took them over, when I could still afford the payments), I suppose it's possible the note went out into the world when it should have stayed closer to home.

The entire litigation option is both intriguing and frightening. Intriguing because of what the BK attorney said and what I've heard about the general malfeasance surrounding my type of loan, and frightening because if I lose, I'm pretty sure I'll still be paying off the bank's expenses until I can legally file bankruptcy again...

Meanwhile, my cousin, who has written a few hundred loans (although not currently in the mortgage biz--and the kind of mortgage agent who knew better than to deal with pay options ARMS), is (a) worried that my "devotion" to my cats will lead to my (i) forfeiting the cash-for-keys deal and (ii) winding up a bag lady with too many cats who will all escape and wind up dead anyway, and (b) suggesting that despite the apparently common practice of banks running their foreclosure/eviction process in tandem with the cash-for-keys negotiations, that in my case, there seems to be clear evidence of bad faith and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and that this should be my affirmative response re: eviction. If I don't just find an attorney willing go into it on contingency. Again, though...if I lose...ouch.

I'm so frickin' confused. Also tired, and hungry because every time I said to myself, "Time to get something to eat," the phone would ring, or I'd get sidetracked on the computer (look for places to, look up rescue, go pack Not helping.

#528 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 10:08 PM:

Syd, somewhat disguised @ #527: every time I said to myself, "Time to get something to eat," the phone would ring, or I'd get sidetracked on the computer (look for places to, look up rescue, go pack

Okay, that we can help with.

Go and have something to eat right now.

We'll wait.

#529 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 10:36 PM:

A 50 year old-ish Village Voice review of Fugazzi's, my grandparent's restaurant:

#530 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 10:51 PM:

Syd #527: frightening because if I lose, I'm pretty sure I'll still be paying off the bank's expenses until I can legally file bankruptcy again...

You might consider that regardless of bankruptcy law, there's a more basic limit to what they can make you pay: You can't squeeze blood from a turnip. Indeed, there are legal limits to debt collection that recognize that. That's assuming the bank gets to claim expenses, and that's iffy to start with. This is another area in which Legal Aid can help you find out exactly what your hazards are.

#531 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2011, 11:47 PM:

Sending good wishes your way, Syd. Whenever you get back to checking here.

#532 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 12:14 AM:

Paul A. @ 528, food has been eaten. Water has been drunk, even. I seem to be in the mode of either eating overlarge amounts of non-helpful things, or nothing at all for way too long. Whatever can have happened to my sense of proportion? (Heh.) [/poor attempt at humor]

David Harmon @ 530, there is that. I tend to forget that counterproductive end results--like taking so much of a person's income that they end a spot not far from my own at this moment, come to think of it--might actually be seen as counterproductive.

AnonCowardSevenBillion, Jennifer Baughman, dcb, B. Durbin, and anyone I may have missed because my computer is running so slowly I didn't scroll back any farther, thank you. I may wind up dirt poor, but I will come out of this okay at the other end. And people like you--all of you--will be a big reason why.

Thank you.

#533 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 12:23 AM:

Erik, #523: Well, there's been at least one very nasty Craigslist job scam. (Summary: several men have been killed after responding to a job posting on Craigslist. The scheme came to light after one intended victim got away and called police. The perps appear to have been trolling for desperate older men without close contacts, who would be unlikely to be missed.)

#534 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 12:51 AM:

Syd: "I may wind up dirt poor, but I will come out of this okay at the other end." That is really good to hear.

#535 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 02:06 AM:

Serge @ 504

She's not requesting much of anything yet, being at the age where exhortations to use her words are entertaining but not particularly practical. We are entirely hopeful, however, given that she's descended from at least two generations of feminist geeks, on both sides of the family.

In the meantime, we're doing what we can, but the options get exponentially cooler once the kid has a certain amount of agency. Waiting is so hard!

Also, I think I own that book. It's pretty cool, even as an adult. Is she getting to work her way through the experiments, or just reading about them for now?

#536 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 06:43 AM:

Huh. Designer doorknobs. Who the hell knew?

#537 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 08:45 AM:

Syd #532: That's the spirit!

#538 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 09:04 AM:

Lee @533: My sister's been running into the less troublesome (and easier to spot) kind -- the kind where a high-powered international entrepreneur wants to recruit you to be his US-side personal assistant, which involves him mailing you large checks that you're supposed to deposit/cash quickly so you can buy him supplies (and deduct your pay out of them).

#539 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 10:46 AM:

Lately I've been looking at a number of Tumbler sites, and I keep running into discussions about how the use of the term Mary Sue is sexist and that the concept is an attempt to oppress women creators. Out of curiosity, does anyone know when this memento started to get traction?

#540 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 10:47 AM:

And of course I went to bed at a decent hour last night with the intention of being up at 6:15 (for the second morning in a row) to continue packing books (noticing I'm running out of boxes the right side...) and to make at least a stab at getting the dust and cat fur out of the equation (another reason to seek mental health care: my housekeeping skills, never great, have pretty much disappeared the last few months; I think I mentioned here or on the DFD thread that I was ashamed to have my friends see the place when they came over last weekend) and to finish taking photos of the cats so I can send them to someone Anon referred me to, which means also writing bios, which makes me cry, and I still don't have a place to stay, let alone live, even if I do manage to get the cats situated in time to be out by Monday and and and...

I hate it when I wake up overwhelmed. Marginally easier to deal with if it comes on me slowly during the day.

#541 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 11:01 AM:

Comedian Paul Sinha, on this week's BBC News Quiz, had a really useful reformulation of a Voltaire quote:

"I don't like Jeremy Clarkson, but I will defend to the death his right to say things that make me dislike him."

#542 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 11:04 AM:

Bruce D., #539: Not buying it. If that were the case, (1) the term wouldn't have originated in fanfic, the writers of which are overwhelmingly female; and (2) there wouldn't be the parallel concept of "Marty Stu" (sometimes "Gary Stu") for male self-insertion-wish-fulfillment characters. It is widely recognized that the character of Wesley Crusher was a Marty Stu for Gene Roddenberry.

#543 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 11:07 AM:

Syd @532: Be sure and report back when things are sorted (or not). In other words, keep in touch with these fine folks. If that's what you were going to do anyway, carry on and don't mind me.

#544 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 11:38 AM:

Lee @542 Unfortunately, in practice, the term "Mary Sue" has started to be employed to mean "female character who does anything I dislike," including, in many cases, "female character who shows signs of having equal standing with a male character I find attractive." Especially when it's being applied to female protagonists of their own books/shows/movies, whose focus and power and specialness is no more than you'd expect out of a protagonist. The "Gary Stu" term is often an afterthought thrown in for a "But of course it could happen to men too!" sense, rather than actively deployed.

The female-dominated fanfic-writing community is, alas, no more devoid of internalized misogyny than most other places.

#545 ::: kayTei ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 12:03 PM:

Syd @ 540

It seems to me that the bank still has an interest in buying you out, even if you can't be out of the house by X:00 on Monday.

Have you talked to them about getting a one- or two-week extension on their buy-out offer? They clearly prefer the buy-out offer to eviction or it wouldn't even be on the table, so it seems logical that they would be willing to work with you to find a reasonable compromise,and I think you can demonstrate that you've been working in good faith under adverse circumstances to meet their previous demand.

Apologies, if this is obvious, or if you've already mentioned it in a previous post.

Keeping you in my thoughts...

#546 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 12:58 PM:

Well, I sent the cats' photos and bios. Took me two flippin' hours, what with the uploading to my computer and uploading to my email and writing their bios and oh gods I hate this. Also looked up info for a local no-kill shelter in case there is no miraculous re-homing of cats via the referral who now has the photos, etc. Have not yet had the nerve to call about can they take my cats, surrender fees, etc. I'm almost too numb to cry. But not quite.

Have ordered a dumpster from Company #2. Con: a bit more expensive than Company #1. Pro: they can deliver it today instead of dropping it off Monday and picking up on Tuesday (which was my only option with Company #1). Thanks to my cousin, who did the looking-up of the options.

Breakfast now.

#547 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 01:51 PM:

Lee: trust me, I've seen a number of these written in Tumbler posts and blogs by female posters over the past couple of months--it looks like Meme Growth 101. Do you need links?

#548 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 02:19 PM:

Bruce @ 547

I'll take you up on that. I haven't seen those discussions, and I'm curious.

#549 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 02:25 PM:

kayTei @ 545, first, no apology necessary. I'm taking all the suggestions and options I can get, because maybe they'll help me come up with something that will get done all of what needs doing.

Re: the bank's interest...well, based on what the bank's liaison said yesterday (before the proselytizing started), they're leaning on him to get it over with. Their point of view being, no doubt, that they originally wanted me out on November 9, which I felt completely impossible at the time, and they haven't pushed the eviction forward during the cash-for-keys offer/counteroffer process...that they kept not responding to in what might be deemed a timely manner. (Except for the Notice to Quit. And the Notice to Vacate. And having filed eviction papers on 11/30/11 but not actually having served me yet, which I suppose is their ultimate Stick.)

The fact that it's stretched for almost two months? And that it's only been the last few days I've even begun to pack? Probably not points in my favor. Although I am thinking it would be to my benefit, if I wind up with the eviction route, to get myself evaluated for depression. Might be considered a mitigating circumstance and therefore a valid rationale for my delay.

Why, oh why, did I buy my magic wand at the army/navy surplus store? Damn thing never has worked right... ***wry smile***

#550 ::: Alan Yee ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 02:48 PM:

Following up on my "declaration of intent to come out to parents" in Open Thread 165, posts 61 and 67:

Yesterday, December 9, 2011, I came out to both of my parents. Big Sister pushed me along as I told my mother, and once my father got home from his hunting trip, my mom pushed me along to tell him. It went better than I expected it would go with my mom--honestly, the biggest problem she seemed to have was that she felt bad that I kept it in for so long and didn't feel like I could tell her back when it was hardest for me. However, my dad was clearly uncomfortable, even though he was saying the usual things like "we still love you, son." He's... not the most compassionate or enlightened person, which my mom obviously knows, but she wanted me to tell him so that I wouldn't worry about it any more.

Both of my parents are kind of conservative, but I strongly suspect my mom's political views about queer rights will eventually change. It's easier to be disgusted with gay people when you don't actually know any of them (or don't know that you know any of them). I'm not naive enough to think this will happen quickly, but I know my mom loves and cares about me a lot, so I know it'll happen sooner or later.

My older brother saw my Coming Out Day status on Facebook a few weeks ago. He's pretty ignorant about queer issues, but he made it clear to me that I'm still his little brother and he'll always be prepared to confront anyone who would hurt me. My twin brother won't find out until he comes home from the U. of Washington next week. Though we didn't find out until fairly recently, he's actually an extremely empathetic person, so I'm not worried about telling him. We've never been close, but that's mainly been because of different personalities and interests.

This is probably going to be an awkward three-week break for me, so I'm planning to get out of the house more than usual and hang out with some college and high school friends.

Thank you to all of the Making Lighters who cheered me on and offered advice/encouragement. I'm lucky to have such a wonderful support network in several online spaces as well as real-life ones.

#551 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 03:36 PM:

Syd @549: Might you share links to kitty photos and pix? So I can signal-boost elsewhere fairly efficiently? Cute pix always make it easier.

#552 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 03:40 PM:

FYI, this Making Light post appears to have had its text replaced by one of its comments.

(Now I can delete this dusty old todo item...)

#553 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 03:47 PM:

Alan, 550: Thanks for letting us know! I'm glad it's going well so far.

#554 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 04:13 PM:

Alan Yee @ 550... Glad it worked out.

#555 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 04:14 PM:

Kevin @ 552:

It appears to have happened between Sept. 21 and Sept 24, 2003. I checked the Wayback Machine to see if it had archived the thread, to make things easier for Our Hosts to fix it, but alas, the first archive they have of that thread is Oct. 1. So close, and yet so far. My guess (which I'd be happy to have proved wrong) is that the original post is lost forever. At least it's possible to reconstruct what it was about from the comments.

#556 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 04:17 PM:

Alan Yee #550: Yay for you, and congratulations!

#557 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 04:21 PM:

Alan Yee @550:


#558 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 04:22 PM:

Syd @ 549

Yeah, I hear that. I think I'd still be inclined to attempt to negotiate -- two weeks isn't that long, when all is said and done, and one week is even less, and BOTH of those are shorter than the length of time it will take them to evict you.

Just thinking out loud, but in your shoes, I might talk to the legal aid people about whether it is slitting your own throat to suggest that the bank start eviction proceedings, AND give you the extension, with the understanding that if you miss the extension they won't actually have lost any additional time, and if you make the extension, they will still have saved themselves considerable time and effort on the eviction...

#559 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 04:22 PM:

Alan 550: *stands and cheers*

May it continue to go well for you.

#560 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 04:40 PM:

Boy, howdy, has recent work here made it almost impossible to read on the browser for a Nexus One. 4 point type and if you enlarge it the line length grows to three screens across. I may need to install a different browser...

#561 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 05:06 PM:

Alan Yee @ 550:

Congratulations on coming out to your family. I'm glad it went well.

#562 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 05:31 PM:

Alan Yee @550: Congratulations on a successful coming out. Congratulations to your family, who now know the real you.

#563 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 06:40 PM:

Alan Yee: I'm glad you made it through that, and that your family is making it through it as well.

#564 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 06:45 PM:

Also, the Belgians have a new prime minister, at long last.
Interestingly, he is francophone, but not exactly a traditional Walloon, as well as being a great example of why good social safety nets and decent public education matter.

WARNING: the photos at the Wikipedia article I have linked to involve bow ties.

#565 ::: Tamlyn ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 07:41 PM:

Alan Yee: Glad it went well and hope it continues to go well for you.

#566 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 09:26 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 551, here you go. Not sure how cute the pix are--I'm not much of a photographer, but it's better than nothing.

KayTei @ 558, your words make much sense to me and I will ponder them while I eat dinner. Considering the fact that the people who said they were going to come over yesterday to help me pack, didn't (or rather, they did, without calling ahead, and so I didn't know to expect them, and apparently they don't know how to ring a doorbell or knock loudly enough for me to hear it from my room, where I currently have the laptop set up, and so left again thinking I wasn't home), nor did they come today (and I should have called, but I've been so wound up with the cat referral and the storage space and the dumpster, that I kept thinking I'd make the call next, that means trying to pack EVERYTHING the same day we're moving it all.

Come to think of it, I suppose I'd better call to make sure they're still planning to be here tomorrow with the moving van, since I got the storage space and all...

And there's still a part of me wishing my phone would ring, and it would be one of the ladies who own the cottage where I'd have been able to bring all the cats, telling me their tenant didn't work out and asking if I'm still interested. Because it would be the easy answer to my problem, and the one my procrastination has created for my cats. The true innocents. The ones I never wanted to hurt.

***insert large quantities of your favorite cuss words to approximate what I'm using***

#567 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 10:54 PM:

Syd, somewhat disguised @ #566:

How could the pics not be cute, with such cute cats in them?

#568 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 11:27 PM:

For the people wanting links to tumblr essays about Mary Sue, here's one:

Mary Sue, what are you? or why the concept of Sue is sexist

#569 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2011, 11:43 PM:

Serge Broom @94: Don't drink tranya. It stunts your growth.

Jacque @100, has anyone attempted to find out how much productivity is lost during the installing / debugging / adapting to a typical "upgrade"?

Paula Lieberman @135, y sd t, sstr.

Tracie @177: My own father died last spring, and one of the things I was grateful for was that there were no major family feuds being worked out over his dead body (also that all necessary preparations were handled ahead of time). He wasn't buried at Arlington, but he did get an honor guard at his memorial service with flag presented to my mother, and although his ashes were scattered, he will be getting a marker in a military cemetery not fat from where Mom has retired to.

John A Arkansawyer @187: The GOP really has gone all the way from the party that smashed the Confederacy to the neo-COnfederate party, hasn't it? Sad. We should have let them leave when they wanted to....
Also, I note that the myth of abandoned PoWs remains strong, possibly by now an article of the faith.

Lenora Rose @373, HIGH FIVE! Good on you! I was the designated Mommy for four children (my wife made a very good Daddy), so I am entitled to envy you the experience of raising this one.

Carrie S #377, the angel appearing to the shepherds is quite possibly the best part of the whole Christmas story. It's even good in the negative, as in an Antichrist-mas story I really liked, in which the hideous demon says to the terrified swineherds, "Are you scared? Good."

Alan Yee @550, what everybody else said.

Hiccuppers: The tough guy coughs and hiccoughs as he ploughs through the dough.

#570 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 01:23 AM:

On the misuse of 'steampunk': Just Glue Some Gears On It

#572 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 02:27 AM:

Bruce E Durocher II @539, I'll buy that argument as a criticism of how the term is often used nowadays, but when it was first coined, it referred to a much more blatant form of wish-fulfillment.

Paul A @568, the author of that piece is on to something, at least (again) as concerns the current use of the term. Certainly the Mary Sue can be seen as an artless exaggeration of some of the worst tendencies in adventure fiction.

To me, one of the defining characteristics of a Mary Sue isn't the Sue's abilities (that she's beautiful, athletic, rich, etc), but rather the level of ease with which she overcomes the obstacles in the story. Batman is, at least in the better stories, challenged by his enemies, and has to spend a big chunk of the story fighting them. In my eyes, Spider Jerusalem (from Warren Ellis's Transmetropolitan) is much closer to the classic Mary Sue. Some of Ellis's other characters also qualify --- one of his major flaws as a writer is his tendency to have characters who prevail just by being cooler than their opposition.

#573 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 02:37 AM:

Free to good home:

7 yards of 60" wide crimson stretch panne velour velvet. I have no idea how I acquired this, especially considering the sheer quantity; I do know I've been lugging it around for seven plus years and I have yet no faintest clue what to do with it. (your dryer eats socks... Mine spits out startling quantities of fabric.) I am obviously not the home it needs.

Smoke free but not cat free, though our fourfeets mistrust my fabric cabinet. All I ask is a project and pictures.

If the seven yard concept proves as overwhelming as it has been for me, I'll divide between two, but if someone wants the whole hunka slinky squish, I'll happily ship. It would make comfy jammies, or a robe, or a bedspread or a post-modern toga... But not for me.

Did I mention you gotta like red? Because.... Scarlet. Ruby. Crimson.

Email address works; mention the fabric in the subject line.

#574 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 02:54 AM:

Avram @ 572

An even more blatant comics example is Grant Morrison's King Mob (The Invisibles). Nicely undermined later, particularly in the issue (ROT13'ed spoilers) jvgu gur yvsr fgbel bs bar bs gur thneqf XZ pnfhnyyl fubbgf va gur svefg fgbelyvar.

Spider Jerusalem dodges the Mary Sue label by being less an author surrogate and more a Hunter S. Thompson surrogate. (I'm not sure a Mary Sue has to actually resemble the author, but I do think it's necessary to have that feeling that the author's picturing his or herself in that role, and if the character is clearly a stand-in for someone else that kinda breaks down.

#575 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 08:30 AM:

CZEdwards #573: Alas, I'm not into that sort of crafts, but I had two thoughts:
1) Wait, your dryer spits out velour velvet? Yipes!
2) Also, when I read the color, I suddenly realized... I'd been assuming it was just that color. Though I was also visualizing gold trim, which you didn't mention.

Bruce E. Durocher I, #571, Paul A #568, Avram #572: Consider that it's damn near traditional for misogyny to to corrupt and take over formerly-neutral terms relating to women, or just tack on sneering associations. (And why is it 4 guys discussing it *here*?) That said:

"Comic Book Girl" is leaning heavily on TV Tropes to declare the whole concept sexist. She also seems to be taking a very selective reading of the TVT article as well, citing one item on the ""controversies" list as damning, when the whole article is quite balanced. (And has been stable for some time, indeed it's currently locked.)

Zoe-Trope, in contrast, has a nuanced complaint about the unchallenged abuse of the term. The others refer to her article: Saratales notes in passing: "Nobody has to like a girl, fictional or otherwise. But words like 'annoying' or 'Mary Sue' are both used as shorthand for 'girl I want to dismiss.' ", and Holly Black complains "We can't keep applying the term so broadly if we want it to mean anything at all."

My own take on this is that CBG is effectively concern trolling, while the others have damn good points. (Besides the above, I like that one should be very wary of calling Mary Sue on a protagonist!) I went over to TVT to try and write a 'graph on "sexist dismissal" for the entry, but it seems that not only is the page locked, but three prior forum threads on dealing with it are already closed. <sigh>

#576 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 08:48 AM:

Addendum: Hah, there's a discussion page for the trope itself, including a mention of CBG's article. I added my suggestion as a reply to that.

#577 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 08:57 AM:

CZEdwards, that makes me wish I was still doing theatrical costuming. What a fantastic gown that would make! I'm picturing Hamlet's Gertrude. Or maybe Jennet in The Lady's Not for Burning. Even just draped as a curtain behind a throne, it would be stunning. If you don't get any takers, I'll give you the address of the drama director I used to costume for.

#578 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 09:58 AM:

I should perhaps have noted that I don't see eye-to-eye with the essay I linked to, it was just the one I'd seen recently enough that I could find the link again quickly.

And now I'm trying to remember where I saw an essay a while ago arguing that "Mary Sue" should be abandoned as a term of critical discussion because the definitions vary so much that you can't be sure you're readers will hear what you're saying; if you need to follow up with "and by that I mean that this character is a blatant author stand-in whose triumph is impossible according to both the established canon and the laws of physics", you might as well just say that in the first place.

#579 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 10:00 AM:


s/you're readers/your readers/

#580 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 10:03 AM:

John M. Burt @ #569: The tough guy coughs and hiccoughs as he ploughs through the dough.

Add in "ought" or "thought" somewhere and you've got all the variations in pronunciation covered.

I think.

#581 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 10:07 AM:

One of the story-fragments wandering around my head has such a character wandering up to a field team, charming everyone in sight... they happily agree to take her up to the ship, and as soon as everyone's out into the loading dock, the ship AI announces... "Psi disruptors activated". Cue swearing all around....

#583 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 11:14 AM:

Another request for good thoughts, etc.: one of my friends has put me in touch with one of his friends, a woman who (a) is in need of a roommate, (b) has a spare bedroom already and (c) is also sympathetic to animals (she has 5 cats to go along with her children). I emailed her last night; she replied with the above; I just wrote back giving her my budget and asking if I could bring the cats in total while I work to re-home the 10 I think will adjust best to such a change.

I also told her I felt rather the idiot even asking such a question, but said that one thing I've learned during all this is if you don't ask the question, you'll never know the answer.

Even if she'll only let me bring them all on the condition of re-homing 10, at least I wouldn't have to worry about being forced to take them to a shelter if I don't get any adoption offers by Monday.

Back to packing...

#584 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 11:20 AM:

Syd @ 583: Keeping my appendages crossed for good luck! While the highest number of cats I've had never went above n=6, I could easily have had more, and I applaud your resourcefulness despite the difficult times you're in.

#585 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 02:37 PM:

Syd, s/d @ #583, the best of thoughts toward the circumstance described therein. That sounds like one of the better options you've had presented to you so far.

#586 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 02:57 PM:

Syd @ 583

That sounds really promising. Let us know how it all turns out!

#587 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 03:04 PM:

Syd @583: Lots of good thoughts for that possibility to work out.

And your cats are lovely (just been and had a look). The thoughtful descriptions should help with adoptions. Good luck on that front as well - although I know you'd rather be able to keep them all.

#588 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 03:07 PM:

Syd - lovely news. The momentum has shifted and is running in your favor now, whether or not this specific offer works out.

I've been in similar circumstances, and when the first "move in with me while you figure things out" came, that was the tipping point.

#589 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 04:03 PM:

David Harmon: Bruce E. Durocher I...(And why is it 4 guys discussing it *here*?)

First, I'm Bruce E. Durocher II. Says so on the birth certificate and everything.

Second, I don't know that I'm thrilled at being dumped in with "why is it 4 guys discussing it." I asked when the new version/definition/discussion started to gain traction, then offered to put up links and did so when requested. I haven't discussed a thing so far. I was interested because I'm from Seattle and am therefore aware of the drift from "Skid Road" to "Skid Row." I was wondering if we were seeing a similar change, and if so, why now. I thought to mention it here because even if Teresa's too busy to post on the subject there should be folks here with knowledge about the topic and who might have some ideas as to what's going on. Since I was posting with a smartphone which suddenly can barely cope with showing pages or posting on Making Light I was limited in what I posted so skipped the why. (Yes, I'm on the laptop now.)

#590 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 06:06 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II #589:

Sorry to muff your name, I missed spotting my copy/paste goof. And the "4 guys" comment was just because I try to take notice when a discussion of feminist issues seems unexpectedly dominated by males. (And around here, it is unexpected.)

#591 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 07:00 PM:

Rick Perry's infamous desperation-ploy anti-gay attack ad uses music by Aaron Copeland, one of the most out-of-the-closet, in-your-face gay men of his era. (He was also a Jew from Brooklyn, to complete Perry's hypocrisy.)

Y'see, it's not that Perry repudiates all things gay. He just wants to use what we produce without giving us credit for being human beings. This is the same philosophy that justified slavery: the idea that some people are to be used as tools, without being given rights.

#592 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 07:04 PM:

David @ 575
"(And why is it 4 guys discussing it *here*?)"

Because I haven't had the time over the last few days to either read all the suggested links, or start to distill my ideas on the topic into a sufficiently coherent form for public discussion.

But my immediate response has something to do with the fact that Marys & Garys are an incredibly useful thing to be able to identify when managing PCs vs. storyline as a GM, and 90 percent of my worst offenders there have been male, even in games that run 40 - 50% female. And that it sounds a bit like people are taking a term that is useful in a specific context (not just limited to roleplay, but obviously that's my experience bias), and abusing it to reinforce their chosen power dynamics -- in which case the question that interests me is whether the use of the term to disenfranchise people in one context really means that we have to take it off the table entirely, or that it is by contamination or innate character sexist in all instances.

Also, I may or may not have some minor quibbles over how I define Marys and Garys versus how some other people here define them... and I haven't decided if those are interesting or relevant enough to even bring up in specific detail, so I haven't been saying anything.

Also, I was watching, a bit, to see if this was a conversation other people were interested in having, or whether the original question (about origination rather than substance) was going to establish the prevailing scope.

Since you asked.

(I think this post sounds brusque, and I don't quite know how to shift that, but I thought the question was valid, so I'm just going to let it go with the disclaimer that you shouldn't read too much into my tone today.)

#593 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 07:08 PM:

Xopher, you might be interested - the February 'Cooks Illustrated' has a recipe for chocolate truffles, and a hazelnut-mocha variation. (The back cover painting is limes of several kinds.)

#594 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 07:32 PM:

Syd, our local Humane Society will board animals in such circumstances as yours. We have relatives who had to move in a state of too-many-cats some years ago who took advantage of this possibility. You might call around. (in your "spare time", I'm sure)

#595 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 07:33 PM:

abi @386: I'd have put kind thoughts in your direction into my last post, except I missed your HLN. You poor dear. Glad you were not worse served. I convey to you virtual shoulder-rubbing and acupressure down your arm.

Stefan Jones @ 403: That is quite an excellent Pied Piper story you link to at Second-best politically-flavored Pied Piper story I have ever seen, after Walt Kelly's:

Avram @572, Spider Jerusalem is definitely a character who succeeds because he has the writer in his pocket, but he misses being Gary Stu because of his conspicuous flaw: that one of his standard ways of prevailing over his enemies is to use people and hurt them (and let them get hurt) and then simply fail to notice their suffering and his role in it (although John Constantine's using and abusing people and then feeling very sorry afterward isn't much better).

#596 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 08:43 PM:

Serge @582: Reading that post brought me to the odd realization that Ensign Sue, of "Ensign Sue Must Die!", is not a Mary Sue.

#597 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 09:26 PM:

Open-thready news: Two lost episodes of Doctor Who rediscovered in an unlikely place. In other news: World made better place by infusion of Patrick Troughton. (In hyperlocal news: Area man says, "Oh, is that what a Chumblie looks like?")

#598 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 10:20 PM:

P J 593: Thanks! I'll look for it.

#599 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 11:18 PM:

mjfgates 597... I'm not sure how you reached that conclusion.

#601 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2011, 11:27 PM:

re: Pied Piper - Did you ever read "The Pied Piper of Burbank" by Sean Kelly, from National Lampoon, around maybe 1971? As with all Kelly's versified parodies, it's well crafted and carries a punch.

#602 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 12:58 AM:

Devin @574, I don't think of self-insertion as the primary defining attribute of the Mary Sue. The primary attributes are the ease with which the Sue overcomes story obstacles, and the high regard the other characters have for him/her/it, without believable justification in the text.

Phillip K Dick's Horselover Fat may be the most blatant case of self-insertion in all of published science fiction, but nobody calls him a Mary Sue, possibly because he's male, but also probably because he spends most of his story being confused and unhappy.

#603 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 02:02 AM:

The day has been both incredibly productive and incredibly frustrating.

Productive in that the living room and dining room are now empty of furniture (save a lone TV tray holding a stack of books and papers); some of the furniture is out of my room; filling of the storage space has been done; and plans for (hopeful) completion of tasks have been made.

Frustrating in that the folks who said they'd help me pack Friday--and didn't show, something I think I've described above--and then said they'd come over Saturday--and didn't show again--have left me grossly behind in packing the hundreds, if not thousands, of books I have; the movers didn't get here until two hours after their appointed time, and with a panel truck rather than a moving van; the storage space I'd reserved was too small so I had to go the next size up, and it's still too small; and we didn't even touch the garage yet.

I'm going to have to ask the bank's liaison if he can give me until Tuesday morning, rather than the 3:00 PM Monday appointment we currently have, because even if I can get all the stuff out of the house and garage by 3:00, there's very little chance I can have the place "broom clean" by then. And all I'd need is to finally have made progress and be almost done, and lose my cash-for-keys money because I left too much dust on the floor, or missed a cobweb or something. Admittedly, it would be the day after the bank's required move-out date...but I'm hoping the fact I've made as much progress as I have will be sufficient for the liaison to cut me some slack.

And if he won't, then the bank will probably keep the money and push it into a full-on eviction, and who knows what might happen if I wind up in court with a sympathetic judge? (Nice thought, anyway.)

Re: the potential housing/cat solution, it's still potential, and quite definitely of the "you're going to have to find homes for most of the cats, because I technically shouldn't have as many as I do as it is" variety, which I understand completely. And she's not sure how long she'll actually need a roommate, so it's potentially quite short-term. But I've been considering the necessity of checking out opportunities in public housing/Section 8 housing, which means I may be able to find something affordable relatively quickly. So crossed fingers and good thoughts are still appreciated.

Still, much got done today. And the mover will be back tomorrow without charging me an additional fee, because I'm giving him my stove (his just died), a freestanding bookcase from the dining room...and my mother's china cabinet. Which hurts. A lot, but I think he'll give it a good home, and the chance that I'll be in a place with enough room for it in the near term strikes me as being in the same category as winning the lottery. And I knew I was going to have to purge and pare.

The cats weathered the day...well, I think the best part of it for them is now, when for the first! time! ever! they have open access to my room. Most of the day they spent hiding out in my office, since the front and back doors were wide open for the movers. I figure tonight, I'll pack my clothes and the to-do filing that's cluttering up the bed (otherwise I have no place to sleep, the sofa being in storage and the air mattress not yet having come to light) so that tomorrow I can launder the bedding for use with aforementioned air mattress, and have the rest of the bedroom furniture ready to put on the truck first thing. Then...the books. Egad. I seem to recall an old saying about how we never realize exactly how much we have until we have to move it...


Before I got this posted, the phone rang. It was Cat Friendly Friend of Friend...and it's gonna work out. Not intended to be a long-term thing, and I will still be looking to re-home most of the cats, but at least I don't have to worry about having to take them to a shelter! Hmmm...I think I'll add this to my conversation with Liaison Guy: "...friends who flaked re: packing...movers arriving late...have a solution for cats, but it won't be available until Monday night..." (Because we both think it will be better if we move my cats in under cover of darkness, lest her suspicious landlord have "you're violating your lease!" fodder.)

So thank you all for the good vibes on this one! Now I ask for "landlord blind to the new cats" good vibes.

Damn. Something to smile about at last.

#604 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 02:31 AM:

Syd @ 603: Great progress, and great update!

#605 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 03:40 AM:

Hey, Syd, I know this isn't something you have bandwidth for right now, but maybe something to think about later, after things stabilize and you've had time to breath (and eat, don't forget that!).

You've written quite a bit about this, and it sounds like there's more you could write, given time. It seems like there are lots of 3rd-person accounts of the whole mortgage meltdown/foreclosure fiasco, but I haven't seen much in the way of 1st-person "this is what it feels like to go through a foreclosure" accounts. Surely somebody will want to buy a clear, compelling description from your point of view.

Keep in mind that I don't really know much about short-form non-fiction publishing (nor any other kind), but still, something to consider later?

#606 ::: Joris M ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 04:54 AM:

Nice to hear some good developments Syd, fingers crossed for more of those.

#607 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 07:15 AM:

Good news, Syd!

Have you considered asking for a few (even just one or two) more days than you think you will need to move out? It will be easier to negotiate an extension once, than to try to negotiate multiple extensions in a short period of time, and it lets you agree to a shorter time frame if they feel like they need to bargain you down (I feel like this is almost always a power move, and it annoys me, so I subvert it whenever possible). Of course, I wouldn't let them know that's what I was doing...

I'm glad to hear things are coming together, even if it's not as quickly as you would have liked.

#608 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 11:49 AM:

Avram, #602: Good point. One of the things that makes me think "Mary Sue character" is having the other characters spend inordinate amounts of time talking about how wonderful s/he is. Of course, that's also an aspect of "show, don't tell". If the character is wonderful, the readers shouldn't need to have the other characters telling us so.

#609 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 12:26 PM:

Syd #532, you are entirely welcome, and I only wish I could do more. I'm glad to hear that you're confident about getting out the other side okay -- that's a lot better than it was last month!

Alan #550: Congratulations! I'm glad your parents took it as well as they could, and that it didn't cause you or them unnecessary pain.

Xopher #600: That's amazing -- it's very hopeful that ordinary families, ordinary people, are starting to stand up for transgendered people, and that facilities that help transgendered youth are starting to spread through the US.

Syd #603: Oh, wonderful that things are starting to turn around for you! And also, I second Jeremy's suggestion of writing up something about the personal, human cost of mortgage and foreclosure fraud, if you feel strong enough to do so.

#610 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 01:06 PM:

All thanks to the good mojo of the collective Fluorosphere: at 7:30 this morning, my phone rang. I was unable to reach it in time, having been pinned down by kitties while asleep (and needing more, since I didn't make it to bed until almost 3:00 AM), so I waited a few minutes for the caller to leave a message, then checked voicemail.

Guess what? It was Bank Liaison Guy, calling to tell me that Field Services (the re-key people, I gather) are unable to conduct my cash-for-keys exchange today, and that it can be completed as late as Wednesday, so he hopes this is good news for me and please call him back.

New move-out time is 9:30 AM on Wednesday morning. Yay. Cubed. :)

On the other hand, it's raining. It is, in fact, bucketing down. So my mover called to suggest he bring his big (30-foot enclosed!) truck, which he could conceivably leave parked here overnight in case we don't get everything loaded today. I've called the city on his request to see if such a thing is possible at all, and if so, whether it requires a permit. (Apparently the permits people are very busy--I had to leave a message. Fingers crossed they call back soon.) He says he'll have to charge me a little more because he doesn't have a lift gate on it, so it will take more effort to load, but hell, at this point (she says, listening to the rain hammer the patio roof) it will be worth it.

Next challenge: seeing what kind of deal I can work out with the storage place re: a larger or additional space and not too much more money.

Other next challenge: sneaking 14 cats past a suspicious landlord, in waves (since even if I had 14 carriers, and I don't, my car can only take 4-5 at once).

Re: the suggestions I write a book about my experiences during my very own annus horribilis, I've been thinking of that since early this year. I already have a title picked out, stemming from a comment I made to my hypnotherapist. How does "Tap-Dancing on a Pyroclastic Flow: How I Survived My Trip Through Foreclosure" grab you? The sub may change, but the main title feels exactly spot on!

#611 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 01:15 PM:

Syd @610, excellent news.

#612 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 01:19 PM:

Technical question...

If I watched a YouTube video, where can I find its actual file on my laptop? I use Internet Explorer 8, and my laptop runs Windows XP.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

#613 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 01:25 PM:

Sid #610: Excellent!

Serge #612: AFAIK, the file would normally be lost somewhere in your "Temporary Files" folder, with an arbitrary name. To save the file properly, I think you'd need a plugin. On the other hand, I'm a Firefox user¹, so I have no idea if suitable plugins are available for IE.

¹ I'll spare you the preaching. This time. :-)

#614 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 01:39 PM:

Syd @610 -- unfortunately, I don't think most people who might want to buy your book have the phrase "pyroclastic flow" in their top vocabulary (my computer doesn't recognize the word pyroclastic -- this is evidence), so it's not a real "grabber" of a title. "Surfing the Tsunami" is probably much better for getting people to think (even though surfing an actual tsunami wouldn't be all that interesting -- just a very long ride on a surge without any curl).

#615 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 01:51 PM:

I guess one has to be a fan of volcanoes to have "pyroclastic flow" as part of one's vocabulary?

(Either that, or I've seen "Dante's Peak" one too many times...)

#616 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 01:53 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 614, good point. Maybe that will have to be the title of the introduction instead. Re: "Surfing the Tsunami," I have a feeling most people envision a wall of water about to break over a beach, so that might work. May I use it? (Although as I get into it, another title may come into my head. Still, I ask. :)

#617 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 02:09 PM:

Serge @ 612:

Try Ant Video Downloader. I haven't tried the IE version, but it's brilliant on Firefox. It'll download nearly any streaming video - the only ones that seem to give problems are news clips preceded by commercials.

#618 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 02:26 PM:

David... Roy... Thanks!

#619 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 02:40 PM:

Tap-dancing on the volcano?
Or maybe something about an avalanche - it has that uncontrollable-sliding-downhill implication but would be a more familiar word to most people

#621 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 03:01 PM:

Syd, #610: I have to agree with Tom about the impenetrability of your title as it stands. Maybe try putting it into layman's terms? "Tap-Dancing on a Lava Flow: One Person Trapped in the Mortgage-Fraud Cascade".

Open Threadiness: TSA to Congress: Stop bullying us!
Summary: In the wake of multiple abuse-of-uniform offenses including at least one rape, a Republican Representative has introduced a bill to prevent TSA employees who are not trained LEOs from wearing police-style uniforms. TSA is whining about how unfair this is.

#623 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 04:08 PM:

Serge @612, I use an add-on extension called Download Helper (with Firefox) to save videos from YouTube and several other online sources. Just a thought (1).

(1) Not a footnote. I meant it's just "1" thought.

#624 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 04:39 PM:

Yay, Alan Yee!

John M. Burt @569: has anyone attempted to find out how much productivity is lost during the installing / debugging / adapting to a typical "upgrade"?

Oh, I'm sure they have. ISTR a Scientific American article some ten or fifteen years ago on that very topic.

CZEdwards @573: Paging Carol Kimball! Must...not...raise...hand...! I have my own Fabric Issues. (I'm actually currently in need of a couple of yards of black velvet.) WRT Janet Brennan Croft's @577, if you don't get any takers, you might contact the CU Theatre Department.

WRT Mary Sue my introduction to the canonical Mary Sue came with "Caro Sue," written by Susan Crites and Caro Hedge. As I recall, Back In The Day, Mary Sue came with several stereotypical flags: she was the youngest person to graduate Starfleet Academy, She was a genius, and she had a Magic Animal. (In the case of Caro Sue, that was Starchaser, the telepathic greyhound.) I think there may have been other flags, but they're not coming to mind.

One of my most treasured memories is Jon Singer, reading aloud the Caro Sue story where she brings Darth Vader over to the Light Side. (Sadly, it appears that while the ToC and Covers for two Sublight Readings are online, the content is not. Hm...I wonder where mine are, and if Sufan would mind my putting them up on the web...?)

Syd: YAAAYYYYY!!!! See also: Whew! I second Jeremy Leader's @605: suggestion. Tap-Dancing on a Pyroclastic Flow: How I Survived My Trip Through Foreclosure—where do I pay? Following on OtterB, Tap-Dancing the Avalanche has a nice cadence to it.

#625 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 05:21 PM:

Syd, SD @616 -- freely offered, freely given. Use it as you like!

#626 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 05:27 PM:

Kip W @ 623... Thanks.

#627 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 06:56 PM:

Syd @603/610: Really glad to hear that there's been some good news re. accommodation and re. a little time extension. And great that you have at least short-term accommodation sorted out.

Either "Tap-dancing on a lava flow" or "Tap-dancing the Avalanche" sound good to me (as titles!)

#628 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 09:20 PM:

CZEdwards @573

I emailed you via your link but it bounced back.
Please email me -
carol dot kimball at earthlink dot net

#629 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 09:24 PM:

That seems to be pretty much standard for TSA: they're never responsible for anything that happens to passengers unless they actually catch a bad guy ... which they haven't yet.
(They're not happy about the bill requiring them to have 'passenger advocates' available at every airport, either, even though it was triggered by the many complaints about TSA agents' behavior.)

#630 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 09:48 PM:

Jacque, Caro Sue was the first Mary Sue I ever heard, back in the jolly days when I could count on seeing the Clones a couple of times a year, if not at DASFA meetings. Then I was in touch with Sue through Facebook for a while, until I swore off Facebook. Dang it all.

#631 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 09:49 PM:

CZEdwards, #573: I had the same thing happen; my partner figured out that your address was spam-trapped and re-sent it, but no response. Did it get caught in the spam filter on your end?

#632 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2011, 11:52 PM:

Kip W @ 630... I was in touch with Sue through Facebook

Me, I friended her thru marriage.

#634 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 01:31 AM:

P J Evans @ 593: Xopher, you might be interested - the February 'Cooks Illustrated' has a recipe for chocolate truffles, and a hazelnut-mocha variation.

Thanks for the pointer. I read the article this morning. I shall take their advice to heart -- let the ganache cool for 2 hours at room temperature before chilling -- but I'm puzzled that they consider graininess a common problem in truffles. I've never noticed that in my ganache, but I use Guittard bittersweet couverture chocolate wafers, and that "couverture" formulation may help to keep things creamy. CI's trick for getting spheres by starting with squares (slice up a rectangle) sounds good, too.

Next Saturday, I'll make a big batch of ganache, pull the flourless chocolate torte out of the freezer for a coating, and then use the rest for truffles. As soon as the dark chocolate pomegranate cookies on the counter finish cooling, I am done with my holiday baking extravaganza, except for the ganache slinging noted above. The freezer is full to the top!

If you haven't tried Seanan McGuire's dark chocolate pomegranate cookies yet, I suggest that you do so immediately. I found pomegranate molasses at Whole Foods, and there are recipes online for making it, too. The batter is annoyingly sticky to work with (hence the instruction to chill it for an hour, I suppose) but it's worth it! The recipe calls for a 12 oz bag of dark chocolate chips. I used a 10 oz bag of Nestle dark chocolate chips, and that seemed fine.

#635 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 02:19 AM:

And now, for something completely different than chocolate truffles, an idea for fighting SOPA -- a Wikipedia strike!

Request for Comment: SOPA and a strike: "A few months ago, the Italian Wikipedia community made a decision to blank all of Italian Wikipedia for a short period in order to protest a law which would infringe on their editorial independence. The Italian Parliament backed down immediately. As Wikipedians may or may not be aware, a much worse law going under the misleading title of "Stop Online Piracy Act' is working its way through Congress on a bit of a fast track...."

#636 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 10:22 AM:

Today: Sunset 4:34 p.m.
Wednesday: Sunset 4:35 p.m.
Moving toward light again

#637 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 11:23 AM:

While it may have come up here before, it's the first I've seen of it, so I share a Cool Thing which someone linked me to: Latinised Hyms.

(I keep wanting to put a Z in there, but I will respect the spelling of the original site.)

Translating a particular piece of work into Latin is one of my favorite games, if, alas, in the category of favorite games I'm really bad at. Trying to keep to something like the original meter in the process, so that it can still be sung? That hits all of my linguistic geekery buttons right there. Most of the hymns I don't know well enough to evaluate the end results, but I admire the attempt either way.

#638 ::: Cath ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 11:28 AM:

Today: Sunrise 8:42 a.m.
Sunset 4:14 p.m.
Solar noon altitude 13.3 degrees

Only one more week to go!

#639 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 12:35 PM:

janetl 634: Oh, don't chill the ganache at all! It doesn't have enough unbound water in it (if you make it correctly) to spoil at room temperature. Saves room in the refrigerator. Also ganache will continue to crystallize slowly for DAYS and the slower that goes the smoother it is. You may not notice graininess, but you WILL notice additional smoothness (at least I do, even with only half my tongue).

I'm assuming your ganache recipe is like mine, and has a certain amount of glucose syrup in it. Glucose is both a "doctor" (slows crystallization, increasing smoothness) and quite hygroscopic (and thus preservative).

#640 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 01:19 PM:

Sunrise: 09:27
Sunset: 15:38

I'm glad I live in the south where we at least see the sun for a few hours - when it isn't cloudy.

#641 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 01:47 PM:

For me it's

Sunrise: 07:10
Sunset: 16:20

... but it gets dark enough to 'feel dark' about 3:10. Fun corollary: some a$$h0les have started cruising up and down our nearby arterial street on foot, mugging as they go. My sister got stopped by them last week; at gunpoint they took what little she had, which included her ID, her bank card and checkbook, and her cellphone, plus a bunch of stuff in her backpack of value to absolutely no one but her. Total take, after pawning: maybe $50.

She has reported them to the cops, and told the cops where they tried to use her bank card 20min later (according to her bank's website; they refused the charge), etc. Their advice? "Don't walk home from the train after dark for a while; those guys are still out there, and they might follow you again."

It gets dark at 3PM. She works retail. Even on the nights she doesn't close, she gets off work at 6. She has no car (even if driving downtown weren't stupid). Public transit is how she gets around. What do they expect her to DO, quit her job for a month until they catch these guys?!?

Seriously. I know it's a first-world problem, but it annoys the crap out of me when cops in our area (which could fairly charitably be described as 'ghetto-like') assume everyone has suburban-privileged levels of resources.

Of course, I'm also really pissed that random roving muggers think any slim young blonde white chick in our neighborhood is therefore also self-evidently rich, but that's a different problem.

#642 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 02:07 PM:

Sunrise 8:42
Sunset 16:47

School starts at 8:30. After I drop the kids off, I cycle south toward the office. It's a 40-minute ride. As the days go by, the sun rises further and further along the route.

#643 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 02:37 PM:

(In case I didn't bring it here, "A Tool To Deceive And Slaughter" was an art installation: a box that sold itself on eBay.)

#644 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 02:51 PM:

A lot accomplished yesterday, but not enough: the garage is only about a third cleared, and we still haven't faced the Office Full of Books. In addition, my mover wasn't feeling well last night; he's supposed to be here by 10:00 AM, having called me first so I know he's on his way.

He hasn't called yet. Either he forgot I asked for a pre-arrival call, or this is potentially a more interesting day than originally planned for. I may find myself calling Liaison Guy and asking for another day because my mover got sick. I'm hoping he'll go for it because (a) it's not under my control if someone gets sick, and (b) another day (or two) is still faster than if the bank pulls out of the cash-for-keys agreement and starts eviction proceedings (since they've handily already filed), what with the time I have to respond, plus the time to get a court date, etc.

Oh, someone's at the door!


The above was written at about 10:00 AM, give or take a little. It's now 90 minutes later. The knock at the door was NOT the movers, as I expected. It was my next-door neighbor, out enjoying his morning coffee and checking up to see how I'm doing. So we chatted a bit, and I told him the stuff I mentioned above the break, and he asked if there was anything he could do to help, all I had to do was ask.

So I explained that I'd given the mover my stove in partial payment, so I had no way to heat water for coffee and could I have a cup, please? And while he made it, I bit the bullet and called Liaison Guy, told him my mover was sick, and if there was any way to swing another couple of days I'd really appreciate it--after all, I can't control whether people flake on me or get sick, and I don't have the money to hire anyone else. And another couple of days is nothing compared to how long it would be if they decided to push ahead with the eviction process. (In my head, I added, "Especially considering we're going into the holiday season, and who knows how quickly a court date could be assigned once I respond at the very end of my five days after being served the eviction papers. Unless my response in advance of being served takes away those days. Still--two more days vs. 10 or 20 or 30...")

And Liaison Guy talks about how he completely understands and believes me, how he's been dealing with this kind of thing for a very long time, and he knows that two more days beats the eviction process delay, but also about how much grace the bank has already extended to me, yada yada yada.

(In my head, it's "Extended to me because they 'didn't have anyone available' to discuss my request for an extension and have been 'negotiating' on one hand and threatening me with notices to quit and vacate and so on with the other. Yeah, grace.")

At any rate, he said he'd get in touch with Field Services (the re-key department--sorry if I'm repeating info) and see if he could "blame" them for another delay, but he could obviously make no guarantees.

If they can give me two more days--one would help, assuming my mover either gets here later today or can't come until tomorrow, but two would be infinitely better--and still give me the check, all to the good.

If they don't...keep your fingers crossed that I get a sympathetic judge in eviction court.

p.s. 11:40 Pacific time and still not a word from my mover. I'd better go check on him, but if he's sick, he wouldn't be able to work at full speed even if he did come over...

p.p.s. And I have an awesome neighbor: he not only brought me a cup of coffee, he included a plate with some fruit and crackers, then added some energy bars for snacks, and he brought me over one of his patio chairs and I enjoyed my view--I have a lovely view of downtown and the Santa Monica Mountains on clear days, which this is, thanks to yesterday's rain. And I sat, and ate some fruit, and just...was there. I have some errands to run, and more packing to do, and I have to be back before the guy comes to retrieve the dumpster. But it was a lovely break, to be able to enjoy a cup of coffee a nice snack and some conversation (even if it was about my situation and potential options). ***sigh of pleasure***

Back to the salt mines...

#645 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 03:22 PM:

Keep the wheel turning, Syd . . . sounds like you're over the hump. (To mix a metaphor.)

* * *

Question for hivemind:

My sister is thinking of getting a Dell Inspiron 560 from the "Dell Outlet." That's where I purchased my last Dell desktop, and it worked out well.

Now, I've got a question. When you buy a Dell these days, does it still come with a set of Windows / Office / Driver DVDs / CD-ROMs?

Or is the "restore" stuff stored on a hard disk partition?

I am anticipating what kind of hand-holding my sister and her husband will need.

#646 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 03:59 PM:

Syd @610 and Tom Whitmore @614, dunno that it's wise to be glib about tsunamis with the Japanese catastrophe in our recent past. How about "Tap-Dancing on Lava"?

#647 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 05:00 PM:

Understood, Avram -- and yet, in many ways it seems like a better metaphor with the wave (with no intent of making light of the Japanese disaster). It's a different problem than most people's estimation (longer, sustained, inexorable, and pervasive rather than instantaneously destructive in the way lava flows are -- one of the serious problems with pyroclastic flows is that they are very fast, where tsunamis are only rapid). Both are capricious, both are very dangerous if people don't keep paying attention. And would you be saying something parallel if there had recently been a volcano with a large loss of life/property, just on the other side? By the time any book/article gets published, it'll be a fair chunk of time since the Japanese disaster and there could easily have been a volcano in between.

#648 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 06:04 PM:

Syd, somewhat disguised @ #610:

Other next challenge: sneaking 14 cats past a suspicious landlord, in waves (since even if I had 14 carriers, and I don't, my car can only take 4-5 at once).

You evil cat-smuggler, you!

This moose now has visions of you disguised at Top Cat/Boss Cat, opening the car door and saying: "OK Guys, let's move move move...". and a flood of cats scooting into the house.

I hope everything goes well for you.

#649 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 06:21 PM:

RE Cat Smuggling: You could use a variant of the "Fox, Goose, Bag of Corn" puzzle. "Well, I only have one carrier, and three cats. I can't leave z alone with y, or y alone with x, so I need to . . . "

#650 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 06:21 PM:

Syd: Wish I could be there to help! Still listening/reading and sending you good wishes.

Sympathies re. the mover not arriving; good luck re. the bank, and really glad you've got a decent neighbour.

#652 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 09:46 PM:

sunrise tomorrow: 6:52
sunset tomorrow: 16:46

(I see both from the train this time of year.)

making warding signs at Xopher's cookies.

#653 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 10:12 PM:

Stefan Jones @645: my housemate just bought a new Dell laptop. It didn't come with restore disks. I think she solved it by going out and getting a flash drive to keep the necessary stuff on. I'd have to ask her for more details; I'm clueless about Windows/PC stuff, being a Mac user who's running Snow Leopard on a Mac mini from 2006 recently upgraded with extra RAM. The upgrade was a LOT cheaper than buying a new computer!

#654 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2011, 11:26 PM:

#649 ::: Stefan Jones @ 649 ...
RE Cat Smuggling: You could use a variant of the "Fox, Goose, Bag of Corn" puzzle. "Well, I only have one carrier, and three cats. I can't leave z alone with y, or y alone with x, so I need to . . . "

... or plain old towers of hanoi ... and move them around by size ...

#655 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 12:32 AM:

Sunrise tomorrow 7:08, sunset 17:23. There's a lot of things about living in Houston that I don't like as well as living in the Bay Area, but the later time of earliest sunset is not one of them.

#656 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 01:27 AM:

Dec 14, 2011 sunrise 7:01 AM sunset 5:51 PM

#657 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 01:29 AM:

Sunrise tomorrow forecast for 0744, sunset for 1628. Weather is likely to be overcast, so the perceptible lightening and darkening of the gray may not coincide exactly with prediction.

#658 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 02:02 AM:

Evening update:

The mover and crew arrived about noon, and we made a storage run at 5:00 so I could (dammit) move up to a larger storage unit. I think maybe older homes have many more hiding places for Stuff, and therefore the storage places' descriptions that a 5 x 10-foot space will hold the contents of a 1-2 bedroom home of 1200 sq ft is...optimistic in the extreme. Or I could just have more stuff. The latter is highly likely.

Reprieve-o-rama: I have until Friday morning at 10:00 AM! And it can all be done by then, I know it--the garage is nearing a state of emptiness, and the main thing left in the house is the books, some of which were tackled today. My mover will also have to make at least one drop-off at the local dump, and I have a rather large number of empty cat-litter buckets that I kept planning to take to recycling (and which I may just have the mover dump, although I don't know...that type of plastic is running about 30 cents a pound, and each bucket weighs between 1.5 and 2 pounds... We'll see, we'll see.).

Re: the title of my possible book/article, I am inclined to understand concerns about using some form of natural disaster therein. But the way things have gone, for me as well as for others, surely has a resemblance to a natural disaster. A man-made one might be even more appropriate under the circumstances, but something like "My Personal 9/11: How I Survived Losing My Home in the Mortgage Meltdown" might get even more criticism.

Although...I dunno, now that I've written it, I might be able to get away with it...still much thinking to do on the subject, and I appreciate everyone's input.

Kitty smuggling: still pondering likely scenarios. At the moment, the late-night option (after 10:00 PM) seems to make the most sense. And if I thought for one minute that I could make such a transfer within the confines of my car, I'd use the purloined-letter technique my mom and I used when we took our first cat to the vet using a shipping box rather than a carrier. Of course, the only worry then was that Maurice would pop his head up on the occasions we had to walk past the landlady. Switching from a carrier to such a box, while inside the car, seems fraught with chances for a cat to wind up under a front seat, stubbornly refusing to come out. Doing such a swap with the door open? I don't think so. More thinking. More thinking.

As always, sincere gratitude to the Fluorosphere for your individual and collective help, emotional and other support, and your good mojo. :)

#659 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 02:15 AM:

Still reading along, Syd -- glad to hear it looks as if you'll manage. Good thoughts sent.

Sunrise tomorrow here: 0749. Sunset: 1618.

#660 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 05:02 AM:

Sunrise 5:57 AM
Sunset 8:39 PM

What? Southern Hemisphere. Just saying.

#661 ::: Bjorn ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 07:39 AM:

Sunrise: 11:14 Sunset: 15:30
Need I say more?

#662 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 08:35 AM:

Syd, somewhat disguised,

Can you carry them to the new apartment in boxes, instead of carriers, so you don't have to switch them?

#663 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 08:55 AM:

Syd @658: do you have any box/carrier combinations sized so that the carrier will fit inside the box? Cat in carrier, carrier in box, cat into apartment. You may need to carry the empty box/carrier combination back to the car at some point; how suspicious, and how vigilant, is the landlord? If they're watching your every move, they might wonder why you're carrying boxes the wrong way, but if it's more a matter of being concerned about a chance encounter in the hallway it's less likely to be a major issue.

#664 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 09:13 AM:

Stefan Jones @645, Rikibeth @653--My new Toshiba required me to download everything, which took a 16G flash drive (it seemed tidier than the armada of discs it would have taken); IIRC, the amount was somewhere around 11G of data.

The Dell website might well have details about getting started with a new computer.

#665 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 09:28 AM:

Bjorn @661, Ugh. If I ever get the chance to visit your country (which I would like to do) I will try to make it closer to the summer solstice than to the winter.

#666 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 09:35 AM:

Syd @ 644

Seriously? Am I the only one who thinks this guy is using car-salesman-like tactics?

"Well, I'd love to give you that extra discount, but we've already given you so many breaks... Let me talk to my manager and find out what he thinks."

Sales bureaucracy 101. Never make any concession easily, no matter how reasonable a request it is, lest you lose the initiative...

#667 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 09:55 AM:

John M. Burt @#569: On a bboard I read, someone wrote "If Supernatural's version of Gabriel had been the one doing the announcing to the shepherds" and it's pretty darn funny (at least if you know the character), but really, there's something about the language of the King James there that makes my brain happy. "And the glory of the Lord shone round about"--what's not to like?

#668 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 10:25 AM:

Open Thread "holiday" grumpiness:

I've noticed, this year, that many things that had been "holiday" have gone back to being "Christmas." Which is okay, kinda, because "holiday tree" is almost always a misnomer, so call it a Christmas tree and be done with it . . . .

But some things which are still "holiday" are really Christmas, too, because no other holidays are mentioned or included. And that rankles. Like a "holiday party" invitation that is decorated with Santas and Christmas trees. Or a "holiday episode" of a television program--which has non-Christian characters who have been vocal about their non-Christianity in the past--which is really just a Christmas episode, with every character, including the non-Christian ones, talking about and exchanging Christmas presents and wearing Christmas colors/themed clothing and actually reading the bit about the shepherds from the New Testament. Which was totally and completely annoying as well as a violation of established characterization, which annoys me in a whole different way.

I don't really mind that Christmas is a Huge Gigantic Celebration, but really, no matter how much The Powers That Be insist that "it's for everyone," it really isn't. And it might only have been lip service, in past years, to throw a bone or two to the non-Christians in the place, but at least it allowed us to feel that we might--might--actually be part of the common culture.

I know, how Scrooge-like and un-Christmassy I am.


I am.

#669 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 10:30 AM:

Melissa Singer @ 668... Ever seen Matt Groening's "Olive the Other Reindeer"? According to it, Santa Ed Asner keeps a menorah on the roof of his house. Proof is right HERE.

#670 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 10:44 AM:

Open threadiness: Russell Hoban has died, aged 86. Very sad. Riddley Walker remains extraordinary no matter how often I read it.

#671 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 11:24 AM:

Melissa Singer @668

A bunch of guys I hang out with on-line celebrate such events as Wootmas and Wootstock.

Video Here

Some of the carols have some obvious similarities to LoLcat

#672 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 11:27 AM:

Speaking of cats and affairs of the heart, try This.

#673 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 11:29 AM:

Serge: not to be snippy about it, but I don't read Christmas stories or watch (the vast majority of) Christmas specials on tv.

Because, gee, they just don't interest me.

So no, I hadn't seen that. It's okay, but the conflation of Hanukah and Christmas is not, in my opinion and generally speaking, a good thing. They are very different holidays.

Have you seen The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming ( It very well encapsulates my feelings.

#674 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 11:35 AM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @ #620:

Wow. That's a fascinating video. Thank you for pointing it out!

(And I think my mental image of the arachne in Hellspark has just revised itself.)

#675 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 11:36 AM:

Melissa Singer... OK.

#676 ::: Braxis ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 11:54 AM:

Is there an astronomer in the house?

I saw Rainflames @636 and felt confused about the sunset getting later, despite the fact that we haven't passed the solstice yet. So I did the Google thing, and found the sunset/sunrise times for Oxford and saw that the sunset has been steady at 15:55 for the past few days and will start getting later on the 19th.

I then looked at the sunrise times and they continue getting later until the 27th. With both ends of the day moving, the actual daylight lengths keep getting shorter until the 22nd, after which we start heading towards spring.

The last bit is entirely expected - but can anyone explain the sunset/sunrise thing?

#677 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 12:16 PM:

Melissa Singer #673: They are very different holidays.

Yeah... and the conflation is complicated by the fact that Chanukah is properly a secondary holiday to Judaism. While Easter and Pesach do share a season (and that other connection), the "other big holiday" for Judaism is a few months before Christmas. (Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, together forming "The High Holidays".) Funny how those don't get nearly as much publicity....

Drifting a bit: IMHO, the "second rank" of Jewish Holidays includes Chanukah and Purim, with a one or two others usually promoted from third-string ("temple holidays" ;-) ) according to family observance.

#678 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 12:19 PM:

Braxis@676 -- I am not an astronomer, and one may show up to overrule me. But I believe the answer is the slight ellipticity of Earth's orbit. It skews midday forwards and backwards a little, over the course of the year, as compared to noon.

#679 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 12:24 PM:

Braxis #676: Briefly, the day/night cycle drifts a bit with respect to our clocks -- it's not pinned to noon or midnight, which is what you were apparently expecting.

#680 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 12:35 PM:

Melissa Singer @668:

I was very annoyed at my company's semi-impromptu "stocking decoration contest" that included a list of 'approved' December Holidays: Christmas, Hannukah, or Kwanzaa.

My equally annoyed (and Eeeeeevil) friend and I spent the next forty minutes discussing how we could subvert the list through the use of theme 2, "winter". (Regretfully, we concluded that a Saturnalia scene, no matter how liberally glitter-glued, would probably not be work-appropriate. And Krampus, sadly, gave her nightmares.)

But, seriously, it makes me angry, on behalf of all the people out there that don't celebrate Christmas. I try to do a little gentle push-back by using non-specific (but sincere) holiday wishes, but I'm not sure what else I can do.

Other than offer sympathies and virtual goodies of the type appropriate to your preferred holiday?

#681 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 01:01 PM:

Cat smuggling? Good luck! When we were moving, years ago, we just had one little cat, and only needed to keep her under wraps for a night in a motel room that didn't come right out and say pets were okay. So we pulled the front curtains shut, which prompted her to parade back and forth between the curtains and the glass. "Cat Show in room 114! Come one, come all!"

On another topic, here's some details on how the music biz treats online providers.

#682 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 01:02 PM:

Brenda, #672: FYI, when I clicked on your link, Norton popped up a "known malicious website" warning. And yes, the URLs matched.

#683 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 01:32 PM:

Brenda #672, Lee #682: brenda's link is munged so that it attempts to reach a site called "", which is the "malicious" site.

#684 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 02:08 PM:

I've fixed Brenda's link.

#685 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 02:10 PM:

Braxis@676: If you look only at sunsets, they don't correspond to the solstices: earliest sunset is normally a couple of weeks before the winter solstice, and latest sunset is a couple of weeks after the summer solstice. That's just the normal cycle. Conversely, latest sunrise comes after the solstice, and earliest sunrise comes before -- the solstice itself is where the cycles intersect to produce the longest/shortest total day length.

#686 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 02:14 PM:

@Stefan Jones #645

Just bought a ton of Dells and I had to buy Microsoft Office* and install it on each one. Plus I was supposed to make my own back up copy of the computer before I messed it up. Unfortunately, I messed up the server and all 7 workstations before I read that part (long, boring story on how I managed that one).

Fortunately, my son the geek can work around even the stuff his mom messes up.

*Cheapest place I found them was Sam's Club.

#687 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 02:22 PM:

Serge: sorry.

(short trigger on the subject right now; it's easier in years where Chanukah is early than when it rubs up against Christmas. Next year, it starts on the 8th; in 2013, it starts on my late father's birthday, in November [shopping will be interesting that year, lol]. This year, it starts Dec. 20th.)

David Harmon @677: It may be minor, but it's one of my favorites. I love the candle-lighting and the different menorahs people have. I love the blessings because they are so simple. I make latkes from scratch, usually, which is fun. But the real reason I like it is because it's about religious freedom, which I've always felt was very appropriate at this particular time of year.

I think the High Holy Days don't get a lot of media attention because they are not consumption-oriented (which Hanukah isn't, everywhere, btw, though it is in much of the US). Though they have their own weird customs (tashlich, and my mother swears she remembers the rabbi swinging a chicken overhead . . . ).

Purim is fun if you have kids; our synagogue does an amazing Purimspiel every year and you would not believe some of the getups I've seen my rabbi in, though my favorite is still from the year we did Disco Purim and the clergy dressed as members of The Village People. The rabbi was the construction worker, complete with hardhat (with a Mets kippah nailed to the top). Otherwise I don't make a big deal of it and we never celebrated it (or Sukkot) when I was growing up.

Jennifer Baughman: Happy Holidays and Season's Greetings are lovely, and even lovelier when the cards do not have holly or other Christmas-related imagery on them. And are always much appreciated. Even more appreciated are cards or greetings appropriate to the person's actual holiday, when you know it, delivered at the correct time.

My daughter is confronting this one--there are not a lot of Jewish kids in her school and last year she received many Christmas presents. She has spent some weeks now reminding people that Chanukah starts on the 20th (though it is okay to give gifts anywhere during the week), but we both suspect she will once again get Christmas presents. I have suggested that next year, when Hanukah is early, she give everyone their gifts on December 8, and that perhaps then they will understand how she feels.

All, please note that I do not take any ire out on sales clerks and others who are forced by their employers to issue specific holiday greetings. I know they're working from a script. I generally smile (nicely and for real, and say, "thank you, but I don't celebrate Christmas, I'm Jewish," and then wish them a happy holiday.

#688 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 02:43 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 687...

my favorite is still from the year we did Disco Purim and the clergy dressed as members of The Village People


#689 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 02:51 PM:

Serge: "menschy menschy man, Mordechai is a menschy man"

#690 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 03:19 PM:

Not as bad as Bjorn, but:

Today, Dec. 14th
Sunrise: 0743
Sunset: 1627

Skies overcast, but maybe burning off later. Temps in the low single digits Celsius, up from below freezing last night. Yuck, it's early winter here, been below 0°C at night for more than a week. This is the time of the year when I regret the northern exposure of our living room window wall; the light's just a dim blue in here all day.

On the good side, the rework on the downstairs floors is done, and it looks beautiful. The stain on the concrete floor isn't a solid color, it's got swirls and waves in it, and the polyurethane protective coating gives it a depth that makes the variations stand out. The movers are coming on Friday to unpack the pod in the driveway and put all the stuff back in the house, and the pod people are due Saturday to take the pod back. It'll probably take awhile to sort through everything and get it all back in place, but at least I'll have access to my tools so I can fix the various plumbing and electrical problems that have popped up in the course of this operation.

The dogs are starting to investigate the new floor. It turns out that Spencer, the terrier, at least, isn't having any trouble walking on it; it's not as slippery as I expected, so traction isn't a problem.

If you're interested in seeing the effect of the staining process, I uploaded some pictures to Flickr.

#691 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 04:04 PM:

Bruce @690: those floors are lovely!

Melissa: Thank you for the suggestions! I especially like your advice to your daughter. And Disco Purim sounds amazing.

#692 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 04:30 PM:

Kip W @630: Dang it all.

We Should Do Something!! (I wonder if they have Skype?)

If her twitter feed (if ever there was a service built for Susan—!) is any guide, she's lately been busy Democratting. I pity the GOP.

CZEdwards: Hm. It occurs to me to check: did you get my response to your query about movies?

Serge Broom @632: Me, I friended her thru marriage.

Whose? (With Susan, there are so many possibilities!)

Stefan Jones @633: *>>POP!<<* 8o)

Roy G. Ovrebo @640: Sunrise: 09:27, Sunset: 15:38

I sometimes have dreams like that. Really creeps me out. Don't know what I'd do if it was, like, real.

#693 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 04:41 PM:

Jacque @ 692... I have this theory that, if a story's character is named Susan, that character is going to be trouble. I don't call my wife Susan though - only her mom and granny do that - so I'm safe from the flying frying pan.

#694 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 04:41 PM:

Melissa Singer #687: not consumption-oriented (which Hanukah isn't, everywhere, btw, though it is in much of the US)

Which I attribute to the crossover from Christmas, and it's part of what makes me cranky. I agree, Purim is very much about the kids (That Disco Purim sounds wild!), and I feel that Chanukah ought to be mostly so. Both deal with the "supporting tales" of Jewish heritage, that flesh out a Jew's sense of where their people came from, and how they developed.

[Lengthy digression deleted due to potential flamebait.]

Bruce Cohen #690: So you're waiting for the pod people? Don't fall asleep... :-)

#695 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 04:43 PM:

HLN: Local cat may finally be reaching the end of a long and well-lived lifespan. After several years in an "elderly but nothing overtly wrong" stage, she's been having odd vomiting episodes the last two nights that suggest some sort of intestinal blockage. (Including what may be blood in the vomitus, although it's hard to tell.) Given that heroic measures are counter-indicated at her age (21 yrs or so) I'm readying myself for The Last Vet Visit. The complicating factor is that I'm about to go out of town for the holidays and this needs to resolve by Saturday since I'm not putting it on the back of my cat-sitter.

(Please, no e-hugs or stuff. This isn't a sympathy-troll. I've been expecting this any time these last couple of years. I just wanted to say it out loud somewhere.)

#696 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 04:48 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @695: heard and witnessed.

#697 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 04:49 PM:

Sympathy anyway, Heather (@695). I've had old cats die, in their appropriate time, and it's still been more difficult than I expected. Sounds like a good innings, though!

#698 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 04:50 PM:

David Harmon @694: definitely Christmas crossover in the US, esp. post-WWII.

In our family, only children receive gifts (cutoff is when you start college or hit 18, whichever comes first).

#699 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 04:52 PM:

David Harmon @ 694... So you're waiting for the pod people?

Chief Scientist: I agree with those who say we could launch a pod.
Lyndon Johnson: A pot?
Chief Scientist: A POD - a, uh, capsule. Now, we would be in full control of zis pod. It vill go up like a cannonball, and come down like, uh, a cannonball, splashing down into ze water, the ocean, vith a parachute to spare the life of the specimen inside.

#700 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 05:25 PM:

RE Dell Backups, I'll make sure my sister has both a stack of DVD-R and a big thumbdrive.

Her husband is a teacher and has an Office license for home use. (The system comes with a basic version of Office, but they need the full-guns version.)

#701 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 05:26 PM:

David 677: In religious terms, Christmas isn't the big deal in Christianity, either. That would be Easter.

I understand Purim is the coming-out holiday among Jewish gays. This is because it's a crucial (npi) element of the Purim story that Esther tells her husband the King that she's a Jew, which he hadn't known before.

As far as Chanunkah goes, as usual with holidays of religions other than mine, my favorite things are the songs. Lenore is in a group called Cantigas that gives a holiday concert every year; I've learned a few Chanukah songs from them. My favorites are the Yiddish "Zol Zain Sholem" and the Ladino "Ocho Kandelikas."

#702 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 05:28 PM:

Gnome hold just prior. My guess is the link to a Chanukah song's lyrics.

#703 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 06:09 PM:

Syd @658: Good to hear about the extra time extension. Re. the cats, I'll second the "cat in a cage, cage in a box" suggestion, if you can find a suitable size of box. Good luck!

#704 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 06:18 PM:

Open Threadiness: Great headline in my local paper today:

Drunken man jailed after shaking booty in downtown intersection

#705 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 06:58 PM:

Melissa Singer #698: In mine, we do some gifts for kids, but at the family gathering¹ (delayed to January for convenience) we do "Secret Santa" among the adults -- that is, each person gives one gift, to someone whose name they draw at Thanksgiving. Gifts for kids are limited to within each side of the family, to keep things from getting completely insane.

Which reminds me -- I drew one of the tougher cases, meaning someone I haven't seen since last year's gathering. Even with the delay, it's time I called their spouse for hints....

¹ Mom's and her sister's families together -- alas, their parents didn't live to meet the current kids, but (my) Grandma did get to brag about the first before she died. He just turned 12....

#706 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 07:17 PM:

For a while, folks on my mother's side exchanged gifts at Christmas, secret-santa style, via a drawing made at Thanksgiving.

I think it stopped when too many of the "cousins" generation opted out due to broke-ness. And the awkwardness of asking what so-and-such, whom we only see once a year, might want.

So it is down to parents and siblings . . . with lots of touchiness, due to broke-ness or "yeah, I ordered something but it hasn't arrived yet" style excuses.

I can afford to get something for everyone, and I don't really need/want/expect anything back at Christmas . . . but can't freely give because of the implied expectation.

#707 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 07:27 PM:

Melissa Singer @668: I agree that the Christmas episode of Glee was all kinds of wrong in many different ways. In addition to the violation of characterizations (hello? There are three acknowledged Jewish characters, could none of them say anything about not celebrating Christmas?), I thought that singing "Do they know it's Christmas?" in a homeless shelter was wierd and insulting. Glee is of course best characterized by inconsistency that I usually overlook because of the music and the good parts, but this episode...too wrong.

#708 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 07:35 PM:

I feel better about having given up on "Glee."

* * *
Read in the paper this morning that "Leverage," which is filmed in Portland but set in Boston (and various places in the vicinity, and sometimes overseas) will next season be set in Portland.

I'm picturing the characters wandering around town saying things like "Hey, that cathedral looks just like one I saw in Kiev!" or "Wow, that minor league soccer stadium looks a lot like the minor league ball park where we pulled that job last year."

#709 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 07:45 PM:

Charles Stross twittered along news of the death of T.J. Bass, the MD who dabbled in SF and wrote two very odd, very memorable novels (Godwhale, Half Past Human.

#710 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 08:00 PM:

Stefan Jones... Reminds me of the "StarGate" episode where O'Neill comments on how all those alien planets look like redwood forests and then says "Eh?"

#711 ::: Alice Bentley ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 08:25 PM:

Open Threading that the Magick4Terri benefit auction is now in its last 24 hours, with about 500 items and services up for bid. Some of these are amazing one-of-a-kind opportunities.
Just for fun, and because I love spreadsheets (I really do!) I created a GoggleDoc index to the whole thing. No promises on how fast it gets updated though - best to check individual auctions personally.

#712 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 09:03 PM:

I have finally seen the light: A Faux Noise graphic showing Mitt Romney running second, with the photograph of Romney being one of... Barack Obama.

For the past couple of months I have been wondering to my colleagues what happened to the serious country called the United States. Because, at some point in the past autumn I woke up and found myself in Absurdistan (no relation to Ube-ki-ki-stan-stan). It is now clear to me that in American national politics, Faux Noise happened, and it was horrible.

#713 ::: Kyndra ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 09:27 PM:

Open-threadiness: my cousin just pointed me to this and as a former printing person I immediately had to try my hand at kerning type!

Great time waster!

#714 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 10:37 PM:

Fragano #712: On the other hand, consider the implications of Patrick's Sidelight about Lowe's. One the one hand, the store let itself be bullied by a hate group... but on the other, Time Magazine -- hardly some liberal crusader -- called them out on it in no uncertain words. In fact, the headline called the pullout "Un-American". Yeah, it's their film critic, but he's well off his usual beat here, and the mag printed it.

#715 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2011, 11:59 PM:

AKICIML: Help me find the proper search terms, because the ones I'm using aren't turning up anything even vaguely cromulent.

As of 10AM this morning, we closed on (!!!!!) our new house, which is actually quite an old house, and in substantially original condition.

It has hot-water radiators. We are over the moon about this, as we both greatly prefer that to forced-air heating (and ducts, and the automatic dehumidification it causes all winter).

However. One of the radiators is missing; as it is in what will be the master bedroom, we kind of need to put one there. We have no idea how the heat balance currently works (we'll know by summer, I tell you what ...), so we're reluctant to enter into a winter down one heat-source.

This means we need to procure a radiator to put between those pipes in the floor.

Purchasing one new is a custom order, and would cost (given the givens of the space and the kind of radiator we want), wholesale to our boiler guy, at least 4 x $250 -- that's not retail to us, that's wholesale to him.

They're a lot cheaper bought used, from an architectural-recycling outlet that sells clawfoot tubs, old wood panel doors, radiators, pedestal porcelain sinks, etc, removed from houses slated for demolition.

I am attempting to find my nearest 2-5 such vendors (5 being wildly optimistic on my my part, of course), so that I may call them, ask about prices, and seek a guarantee that what we're buying can survive being pressurized.

Searching strings like Chicago "cast iron radiator" used (or replacing 'used' with 'recycled', 'for sale,' 'supply', 'supplier', etc) turned up absolutely nothing useful, and mostly nothing within three states.

Please help me brainstorm other ways to ask The Almighty Internetz for what I seek, because I know they know, I'm just not framing my query properly. :->

#716 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 12:14 AM:

Elliot #715

Congratulations on the house!

You actually put the term into your query:

Architectural Recycling Chicago

in Google turned up some likely looking possibilities. As I am in Phoenix and don't need a radiator, please take my place in line. I'll be over here browsing.

#717 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 12:15 AM:

Elliott Mason @715:
No promises, but "heating radiator salvage" seems to be getting some interesting-looking hits for me.

#718 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 01:38 AM:

Elliott Mason,

I tried water radiator heaters and got several pages worth, including shopping directions to items which sell for under $100. Those may not be what you had in mind, though. These seem to have anywhere from 1-4 coils (is that the right term, I wonder?).

#719 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 01:46 AM:

Further to my #718, Myson seems to be a big name in radiators, and they're pricier than what I saw and mentioned in #718. The floor model from the 1920s-1930s era seems to be called a column radiator, and Myson sells those from $557 - $2,125 for the 2-column variety. Price list here (.pdf) They have a dealer network, so you don't have to pay direct shipping from their Vermont location.

#720 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 06:34 AM:

Apropos of nothing: I miss Mez.

#721 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 07:59 AM:

TexAnne @ 720... Is it today that Mez passed away?

#722 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 08:42 AM:

Baby seal breaks into house and grabs 40 winks.

#723 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 08:44 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 715

I looked at the web page of the local company where I'd go for such things, and "architectural salvage" was the tag that will return them and their competitors as top results.

#724 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 09:23 AM:

Elliott Mason @715: As others have said, "architectural salvage" is the phrase you're looking for. I tried both it and "architectural recycling" for the local area and it was much better than "recycling" at returning the places I'd go to look for such a thing.

#725 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 10:16 AM:

Serge @ 721: No, I believe she passed at the beginning of the new year. Oddly enough, her name has come to mind recently for me as well. In this small way, she is not forgotten; her life had meaning.

#726 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 10:43 AM:

I, too, have been thinking about Mez recently. She even made a cameo in a recent dream, looking like her photo on Serge's site (I never met her).

#727 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 10:45 AM:

Linkmeister @718-19: EUREKA. Those searches immediately led me to several websites for Chicago businesses that not only say they sell radiators (as the two biggies the previous searches were pulling up, didn't -- apparently they've moved upscale into the crystal-doorknobs-and-pretty-newel-posts market), they both explicitly said they pressure-test and guarantee, which we were worried about.

$12/section retail is SO MUCH BETTER than $250/section wholesale.

I love the Fluorosphere. :->

#728 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 10:51 AM:

I first saw the BBC report on this, which gave a startlingly high percentage. "Nearly 20% of women in the US are raped" But I know one or two people who have said things to me, which suggest it is more plausible than I'd like to think. 1 in 5, and not everyone would trust me enough to say anything, so the people who did say something...

And, reading through the story, that headline is, to some degree, a lie. The very first sentence of the body text is "Nearly 20% of women in the US are raped or suffer attempted rape at some point in their lives, a US study says."

Does the difference matter? Well, it does feel like something of a cheap trick. It is the obvious simplification that makes you wonder what critical details remain hidden.

And then you look at the actual report (linked to from the BBC report) and, because you don't want to trouble with a huge lump of data, you look at the executive summary, and the "nearly 20%" becomes 18.3%, and the "suffer attempted rape" distinction starts to look like lawyerly hair-splitting over definitions.

Two big things emerge from the summary. If you're non-white—Black or Hispanic or Native American are the classes given—you're far more likely to be a victim. And your lifetime chance of experiencing sexual violence or stalking is horrifically high, whatever your ethnicity.

It's one of those things that makes the USA sound a pretty terrible place to live.

#729 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 10:52 AM:

Elliott (727): Your link is borked. :)

Looks as if you forgot the http:// so it was parsed as a relative link, on this site.

#730 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 11:17 AM:

Birthday present: Ghost of the Hardy Boys, Leslie McFarlane's autobiography. The original Franklin W. Dixon tells his own story. Thanks to Sarah, who was with me when I saw it in a used-book store for more money than I could justify spending, then (no doubt with help) looked it up on Amazon and found one from a Goodwill somewhere.

#731 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 11:29 AM:

1. Fixed Elliott's link.

2. Dave @728:
I know one or two people who have said things to me, which suggest it is more plausible than I'd like to think.

(waves) Hello.

#732 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 11:57 AM:

Surfing on from Teresa's cube gear particle leads me to Fun with Magnets! (The best part is when he squishes them at the end.)

#733 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 12:52 PM:

Dave @728: I'm very lucky; the closest I've come to rape was an incident when I was 19 and waiting for a bus, and was trolled by a pimp looking for some fresh meat. He kept dangling the lines "You're so pretty, come over here, I just want to talk." All the while, the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up, and there was a knot at the base of my spine, and it was only after he snarled, "You ain't so pretty as all that," and drove off, that I realized he'd kept his hands out of sight, and I really don't want to know what was in them.

So yeah, I can believe the statistic.

#734 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 12:56 PM:

Elliot Mason @ #727, Glad to have lived up to my nickname. ;)

#735 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 01:56 PM:

Dave B., #728: One in four is the stat usually given here, and yes, that includes rape, sexual assault, and attempted rape/sexual assault -- because even an unsuccessful attempt can be threatening and unnerving. Furthermore, there has been some research showing that (1) men will self-report rape and sexual assault as long as those WORDS are not used and only the behavior is described, (2) roughly 1 in 20 men have committed at least one such act, and (3) over 50% of those who do don't stop at one. The standard MO of the habitual rapist is not "stranger in a dark alley", but "social acquaintance at a party, using alcohol and possibly date-rape drugs". And barring unusual circumstances, these men will never, ever be convicted or incarcerated. This is part of what we mean when we talk about Rape Culture.

And as long as we're witnessing about this, here is my discussion of my own encounters with attempted rape/sexual assault. (Comments there are welcome, but you have to have a LiveJournal account to comment -- I've blocked anonymous commenting.)

#736 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 03:13 PM:

My landlady has served notice that she's repossessing my apartment. I've gone from bouleversé, to afraid, to pissed off, and all around again, and I keep going.

I do not have the fucking spoons for this shit.

#737 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 03:42 PM:

So, the War in Iraq is finally over.

#738 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 03:50 PM:

Cheryl, that blows. Was there some warning? Did she give a reason? She just figure she can get more money by giving you the shaft?

At any rate, you have my sympathy.

#739 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 04:07 PM:

Open thready badness:

According to Glenn Greenwald, Obama plans to sign the indefinite detention bill into law.

Is there some kind of law of conservation of awfulness of politicians? Ending the Iraq war is a good thing (in exactly the same sense that ceasing to beat your wife is a good thing). Was it really necessary to follow it up with this?

#740 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 04:27 PM:

I say to myself "Obama is still better than any Republican" over and over. I believe it's true.

But oh, that bar is low. I really like a lot of what Obama has done, but indefinite detention (of citizens! By the military!) without trial? Might as well move to Syria!

#741 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 04:33 PM:

And the Defense Department gets to decide who's what, not the Attorney General. Because of course the DoD knows more about laws than the guys who's supposed to be enforcing them. [/'I wish it was snark']

#742 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 04:48 PM:

@738 Kip W
Cheryl, that blows. Was there some warning? Did she give a reason? She just figure she can get more money by giving you the shaft?

At any rate, you have my sympathy.

Warning - well, for the last 3 years, she's been trying to raise my rent by an unreasonable amount, and I kept contesting it (we have laws about rent here in Quebec...). I know she wasn't happy about that.

Reason: as provided in the law, she says her daughter will be taking over the apartment.

More money by giving me the shaft: oh, definitely. Her daughter doesn't even have to stay there the whole year, before she decides that it's "just not convenient", or whatever, and then it can be rented out again... likely at half again what I'm paying.

I've lived there for 16 years. I have no idea where I'll go, what I can afford. I have 2 cats to take care of. Along with various other crap going on, I do not have the material or emotional wherewithal to deal with this.

Thanks for the sympathy.

#743 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 05:04 PM:

Elliott Mason @715: I also got promising looking results by reducing your search string to: Chicago "cast iron radiator"

Steve C. @722: Master Seal is terribly Qte, but his site is throwing malware warnings.

Xopher HalfTongue @740: "Obama is still better than not as bad as any Republican"


{{{Cheryl}}} (if welcome)

#744 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 05:20 PM:

The discussion re Chanukah & Christmas discussion reminded me that Teresa's links to kitschy Nativities have their Jewish counterparts: Winnie-the-Pooh Menorah.

Although actually, if the characters in the Pooh stories are Jewish, it would explain why Tigger never ate Piglet.

#745 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 05:34 PM:

Jacque @ 743 -

Steve C. @722: Master Seal is terribly Qte, but his site is throwing malware warnings.

I wonder if it could be one of the ads. Motherjones is a benign site as far as I know.

#746 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 05:36 PM:

Another illustration of the rape culture. If these kinds of stories didn't come up so aptly every time the topic is being discussed, I'd be much happier.

#747 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 05:51 PM:

Okay, Herman Cain has actually said he'd like to be Secretary of Defense. That's not a delusion. He really does need to stop smoking the bad weed.

#748 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 06:03 PM:

Cheryl @736/742: Sympathies. Good luck with finding somewhere else, with cats. And (if acceptable to you) Zen hug: {{{{Hug}}}}

#749 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 06:36 PM:

Lee @746

I have problems with the term "rape culture". It's the sort of label which a lot of people will mis-read because their image of rape is of the violent stranger sort. It provokes a reaction that's a little like an allergy. It's a reaction based on shock rather than reason.

And I can't really think of an alternative label which makes any sense unless it's way too fancy. It's part of a wider pattern of misogyny. Maybe you could call it a victim culture, but that strikes me as too broad a label.

I don't have an answer.

#750 ::: oiviacw ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 06:37 PM:

I just followed a link to the NY Times Non-Fiction Bestseller list for this week, and was struck by how some of the titles seemed to flow together in interesting ways. So, for my enjoyment, a consolidated list of the top 14 titles, in order:

Steve Jobs: Killing Lincoln, Being George Washington
Unbroken Jack Kennedy
Catherine the Great Thinking, Fast and Slow
Back to Work/Boomerang: Then Again, Throw Them All Out
Heaven Is For Real: How I Got This Way - Imperfect Justice

#751 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 09:22 PM:

Melissa Singer @687

I had not heard that about holly before, and will have to keep it in mind. I often use holly on my hand-drawn cards... is there another plant or piece of greenery that would be better? I'm explicitly after the whole "it is cold but life goes on" symbolism of evergreen plants, and the scenery of New England under snow.

I'm pretty good with appropriate wrapping paper, at least, since my default wrapping paper is simple metallic gold (or sometimes silver). This has its own symbolism for me: there was an oddly moving holiday episode of Animaniacs involving a piece of gold wrapping paper; even now it makes me tear up just thinking of it. (If you ever get a chance to see the Animaniacs short "A Gift of Gold," I heartily recommend it.*) I find that gold paper is suitable for most holidays, including birthdays, and can be customized for particular holiday with the addition of appropriately colored ribbon. In cases when I don't know what the appropriate holiday is, I default to silver, gold, purple or white ribbon.

I never realized that there could be problems with holly, though, as I see holly as a symbol of nature, or even a stealth pagan symbol, rather than explicitly Christmas-associated. I feel the same way about undecorated, snow-covered pines; in my mind they're in the same category as snowflakes and snowmen and mittens and doves. Come to think of it, I associate doves more explicitly with Christmas than I do holly, because when I was younger we had doves on our Christmas trees. The holiday cards my mom sends out usually have doves on them, are they considered holiday neutral?

I'm a pantheist, so the lines that define religious associations are somewhat blurry for me.

On the subject of holiday specials, I'm two episodes behind on Glee, but everything I've heard makes the holiday episode sound wretched and wrong-headed. Right now I tend to procrastinate my Glee watching because it's often actively painful, but I have a friend who I've always shared a show to chat about with, and right now our chat show is Glee (which means we're usually just complaining, at this point). It's a pity, because every time the Troubletones do a number I end up thinking "Yes, this is what the show should be like" and then something dumb happens again and I cringe. At this point neither my friend nor I really like the show anymore, but it's the only show we share when Project Runway is off, so we keep watching it.

Community did its usual holiday magic this year... while riffing on Glee, appropriately. The show did what it does best: it used irony to highlight the more crass aspects of both Christmas specials and Glee. Then, at the end, pointed out what makes both so emotionally resonant when they do actually work.

Parks and Rec was also good, as I expected. The show is one of the most consistently well-meaning shows on television, and it's about a group of friends who legitimately care about each other.

I've been having some conversations with friends about holiday specials and movies and sincerity. Right now my running theory is that if you want to bank on your sincerity, you have to be very careful to be neither preachy nor condescending. Glee is often both, and that's one of the reasons it has so many problems.

*I don't have access to it right now, so I don't know how explicitly Christmas-related it is, but the message involved transcends specific holidays (for me anyway).

#752 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 09:35 PM:

My mother's favorite gift-wrap paper was silver diagonal stripes on white: went with nearly everything.

#753 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 09:39 PM:

Gift wrap... I wanted to use Power Puff paper for my wife's presents, but it doesn't seem to be easily available anymore.

#754 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 10:48 PM:

I have to say, whatever merits the piece on Arabic might have, the opening paragraph pissed me off, and for similar reasons a lot of the footnote did too.

I just finished a summer studying Arabic at the Monterey Institute for International Studies, an enjoyable adventure that I hope to write about in more detail later. MIIS offers a nine-week program in a bunch of languages and is just down the road from a grim military counterpart called the Defense Language Institute, where young men and women learn how to eavesdrop on the nation's enemies, provided that the enemies speak slowly and limit their conversation to hobbies and the weather.

Is not only a very misunderstood view of DLI, it's not correct in what is done there (nothing related to eavesdropping; apart from learning the language, if such eavesdropping is one's job) and the slight at the subjects used to teach it implies that MIIS (which is a fine school, I know a lot of people who went there; studied with some while I was at DLI) manages, in nine weeks, to make in depth conversations on anything one wishes to speak possible.

But I'm, perhaps, being a bit too sensitive to the tone.

#755 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 11:07 PM:

Leah@751: Holly isn't explicitly Christian, but it can be allegorized that way -- vide the carol "The Holly and the Ivy". As you yourself point out, it can also be allegorized in a pagan or generic earth-friendly fashion (especially in combination with mistletoe) as an example of green life flourishing in winter.

How holly on a holiday card is going to strike a non-Christian, non-pagan recipient will probably vary on a case-by-case basis. (I always thought of it as nonspecific-winter-holiday stuff myself, but I'm Episcopalian so what do I know?)

#756 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 11:12 PM:

"The Holly and the Ivy" is a deliberately synchretistic carol, but I can't quite believe the words I know are the original words. They fit so badly to the music that they must be a late version, but I've never heard any others.

#757 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 11:12 PM:

Terry@754: I have to say, whatever merits the piece on Arabic might have, the opening paragraph pissed me off

You aren't the only one. I didn't attend DLI -- I was just in Monterey with Jim while he studied Spanish there for six months -- and even at one remove I saw enough of how the school functioned to know that the writer of the article was (to put as kind as possible an interpretation on it) exaggerating for effect.

#758 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 11:14 PM:

Speaking of Hanukah: at the YWCA here in Minneapolis, they have put up signs in all the rest room stalls (at least in the womens) that say Happy New Year in many languages...

They have, in Hebrew and English, "Shana Tova". Which is incorrect in so many ways.

First, it's part of a phrase used at Rosh Hashonah, that translates "May you be inscribed in the Book of Life". Second, the Jewish New Year is in September or early October, so it's months too late. Third, the usual shortening is "L'Shana Tova". And it seems very, well, odd, to be using that for the *secular* New Year.

I'm going to send them an email but I wanted to vent.

#759 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 11:37 PM:

Magenta Griffith @758:
Actually, no. "L'shanah tovah" is literally "to a good year"; it's the continuation ("tikatevu", literally "may you be written") that talks about being inscribed in the book of life. It's a simple blessing.

#760 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 11:40 PM:

Addendum, btw: the phrase is equally used ("tikatevu" only included by religious outlets when appropriate) as a greeting in Israeli media for both the religious and secular new years' holidays.

#761 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 11:48 PM:

Debra: The second paragraph (I tried to go on), killed it; and I am, so some degree, sympathetic to that problem (the sort of person who is jingoistic and chasing the present, "bad guys" in the hope of career advancement), but the level of smug/self-satisfaction in not being one of, "those people" was more than I could take.

I am perhaps being unkind in seeing a sense of, "I'm better than them" in the examples given.

#762 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 11:48 PM:

Re: me @ 695

Two went forth and one came back. I'm now catless for the first time in 40 years.

#763 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 11:49 PM:

Xopher—I think it's possible that those are the original words, but I suspect that they're old enough that they've been around since before the Great Vowel Shift. I've actually seen printed versions which spell "choir" as "quire", so it doesn't seem too weird to me that they might have originally rhymed and scanned better.

P.S. Here.

#764 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 11:50 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @ 762... Somewhere a cat is waiting to be Named by you.

#765 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 11:50 PM:

Leah Miller @751: I may be wrong, I remember reading that the red of holly berries symbolizes the blood of Christ. Also, in Judaism, we're not supposed to kill plants just so we can look at them, which is one of the reasons you don't see flowers at most Jewish funerals. That kind of cuts out "holiday trees" as well, despite a brief vogue for "Hanukah bushes" in the 1970s (not in my family, but I had friends who had trees).

For me, it's the Warblers on Glee who often made the show worth watching. They were the best thing about the concert film too (have I mentioned that I have a 15-yo daughter?). My kid--my _kid_ often complains about the lack of parents and the inconsistent characterization.

My big "chat" show is The Good Wife, which several people I know are watching and we gossip about it like mad. I mostly haven't watched Community this season; perhaps I am more sensitive than usual but it hasn't been as funny to me this year and the humor seems meaner and more brittle to me.

Magenta and geekosaur: plenty of people say "shana tovah," without the L, but it is a little weird to see it used in reference to the secular New Year . . . especially because January 1 isn't the Jewish New Year . . . .

#766 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 11:52 PM:

Heather, I know you don't want a lot of emotion here. But I sympathize, okay? I'll stop now.

#767 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 11:52 PM:

The auction for Terri Windling is now closed. I have outbid everybody else for an ARC of Madeleine Robins's "The Sleeping Partner", and for a first edition of her fantasy "The Stone War". Woohoo!!!

#768 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2011, 11:58 PM:

Being off work today, I went by a burger place. The to-go bags have a seasonal theme: holly, sleigh with reindeer, and the words 'Merry Christmas', 'Feliz Navidad', and 'Happy Hanukkah'.

#769 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 12:07 AM:

Xopher, Henry W. Simon's A Treasury of Christmas Songs and Carols says Cecil Sharp collected the song 50 years ago (call it 100 now) in Chipping Camden, Gloucester. According to The Oxford Book of Carols, the words were around in 1861 in a source that said they went back 150 years from there. The New Oxford Book of Carols says the same, and adds that the refrain was clearly jammed in from somewhere else, and that the first verse is clearly the real refrain. (I'd just like to add that I bought the last-named book at Southwark Cathedral, which I think is really keen.) No mention of any other words, but the words seem to be older than the tune.

#770 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 12:08 AM:

I have to admit I'm always a bit surprised that I don't see many complaints about asherot (Biblical reference to sacred trees) at this time of year from the more Jewishly conservative places I visit. It'd even be somewhat accurate, since the Christian tradition grew out of a pagan tradition (if not that of the Canaanite fertility goddess as originally intended, a similar one).

#771 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 12:42 AM:

Pro tip: Wrapping paper is swell for origami. One time somebody at work had some embossed gold foil wrapping from something she'd gotten, and I made one of my usual bunny rabbits from it. It looked like jewelry.

#772 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 12:51 AM:

B. Durbin 763: Mayyyyybe. I dunno. The rhymes would be fixed by that, but also by a simple accent shift. The scansion, not so much. The GVS didn't change scansion much (unless you're counting Latin style, with "light" and "heavy" syllables, but I don't think OE scansion worked that way).

And I've always sung that refrain that way! Thanks for the comic.

#773 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 06:51 AM:

The Holly and the Ivy scans better this way I think.

Is "tikatevu" the origin of Tickety-boo"?

#774 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 07:24 AM:

Terry Karney @761 I am perhaps being unkind in seeing a sense of, "I'm better than them" in the examples given.
I got that flavor, too. I have no personal acquaintance with DLI or, as far as I know, anyone who attended there, and it still sounded smug to me. Living in the DC area, I didn't have any trouble believing the image of people learning the latest "hot language" for career advancement, but it didn't ring true that that would be the case for everyone.

#775 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 08:51 AM:

Leah Miller @751: The first 25 episodes of Animaniacs are available on Amazon instant-streaming video for $1.99 apiece, interestingly, but "A Gift of Gold" is, Wikipedia tells me, was in episode 55 of Season 10 (also continuing "Gold Rush" and "Dot's Quiet Time"). It first aired February 16, 1994.

Interestingly, I'm not finding s10e55, or its subset skits, online streaming anywhere I usually look. Animaniacs is apparently much better policed than other shows, because usually there's at least the 'best' bits up on YouTube (which has a few Animaniacs bits, but only a very few out of the whole run of the show).

#776 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 08:54 AM:

tykewriter @773: probably not, since tickety-boo is pretty British and Hebrew was not a conversational language for the last couple of hundred years (Yiddish was, but Hebrew mostly was not, until Israel). Online sources seem to tie it to Hindi.

#777 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 08:55 AM:

Some of my ire is because the understanding is vastly mistaken. To get out of DLI I had to (among other things) present a paper on the Battle of Borodino, in Russian. Our instructors admitted they were a little behind in modern aspects of the culture; as most of them had been out of the Russia (and most of them were Russian, not merely Soviets) for 10-20 years.

But we were tested on current events, as collected from broadcast news from Russia. Our joke was that we were set to talk about anything you wanted, so long as it was disaster related (I can still, even in my present atrophied state, understand any Russian which is talking about plane/train wrecks).

The skills test one has to pass to get the official imprimatur of skill is no joke. It was wide ranging, and covered things from literature (in passing, there was a question about Pasternak; which didn't require having read any), to geology, as well as what time the train ran, or the doctor would be in.

And the folks at DLI aren't sequestered from the world. They are going to know about this and relations between them and MIIS, (which can be variable) will be a bit strained, because they are (by and large) young, and more prone to say, "MIIS students are like this", rather than one person is being a narrow-minded, stereotyping jerk.

#778 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 09:26 AM:

Christopher Hitchens, RIP. 1949-2011 (via BBC)

#780 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 10:46 AM:

Serge, I have some Powerpuff Girls stickers I can send you! I'll need your address, but I think you have my email? (My lj name at juno dot com)

#781 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 11:40 AM:

Wondering what the site owners think of this:
How organic links have lost value.

It looks to me like Google is fighting a losing battle against Goodhart's law.

#782 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 11:43 AM:

So I've branched out into writing a sonnet in Ukrainian, albeit with the "help" of online collections of phrases. It's very ungrammatical, and needs more work, especially at the end where I just couldn't find the right phrases and resorted to words..anyway, here it is:

Ya tebe kochayu, Ya tebe liubliu;
Moya sudno na povitrianiy podutsi napovnene vuhrami!
Khochesh zi mnoyu potantsiuvatiy? Pereproshuyu,
Moya malenka kapusta, miy solodkiy smoooooochniy
Yizhachok, chi ne bazhaete progulyatisya?
Moya sertse govorit’ movoiyu liubovi
Ya ne ponedelnik! Ya duzhe shchasliva!
Ya sumvala za toboiyu – do skoroi zustrichi
Do zavtra! S’ogodni! Zaraz? Tak!
Bahato prebahato cyomiv
Shvidko, povil’no – duzhe dobre, yak?
Vedmedyk, lizhko, potuzhniy (cyomiv)
Meni prosto potribno popraktikuvatisya
Moya smachna solodka Tsesya.

It made her laugh -- heck, I was laughing throughout the "writing" process. I did take some liberties with some of the words, and there are others which have special meaning (as they do) to us.

#783 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 11:44 AM:

Open Thread-iness:
There's now a PDF to print a nested, full-size pattern of our Homeless Coat.

Over 300 IPs have downloaded at least the original instructions for drafting the pattern. 18 downloads to Brazil (in tropical summer now)?! We've heard from many who (individually or in groups) are making them. Many sewing sites are linking. The weirdest (so far) was following one to Russia - my art work with Cyrillic text! ...I thought of Terry and the others who've discussed the language here.

I don't have a Facebook account, but would appreciate any of you mentioning or linking the coat where appropriate.


#784 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 11:44 AM:

David Harmon #778: A man who went to the end unbowed.

#785 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 12:19 PM:

Nancy C Mittens @ 780... Thanks for the offer, but I won't be able to avail myself of it, unfortunately. We're leaving early tomororw, for the long drive to the Bay Area. Thanks again though, and wish me no snow.

#786 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 12:54 PM:

Haven't had time to check the thread the last couple of days, but wanted to update all y'all.

Wednesday afternoon, when my mover left after a few hours because he wasn't feeling well, the being-out-by-10:00 AM-Friday-with-temporary-safe-haven-for-cats-and-me thing looked doable. My bed was on his truck to go to storage, but we agreed to skip the trip because that was the only thing ready to go. As in, Room of Books was not much dented by my efforts.

Yesterday, everything went to hell.

Cat Friendly Friend of Friend wrote to tell me that she's getting very paranoid about having all my cats there even as I work to find homes for them--and has asked me to sign an agreement to the effect that the 10 I'm re-homing will be out by December 31. To which I agreed, of course, because she has worries of her own.

Mover was supposed to be here at 9:00 AM. At 9:45, I called, got his voicemail. At 10:30, I called again, reached him, and he wasn't feeling well but would be soon as he could scare up a helper, due to the guy who'd worked the last couple of days also being sick. But he (mover) expected to be over "soon".

Arrived 3 1/2 hours late. Without the gal (girlfriend of relative of his) who'd been doing a good job helping with packing and cleaning (where we can clean). She was due to arrive "soon" but had had to find a sitter. She got here at...4:30 PM.

In the meantime, mover and helper #3 arrive, begin clearing garage, which had barely been touched to that point. My bed, still on the truck from the previous day, was moved off the truck to allow loading of crap to take to dump and placed in the open where it wouldn't take up space needed for clearing/loading.

At some point during the day, when things were starting to look a tad cloudy, Mover mentioned that a storm was on the way, a big blow from up Oregon way. To which I replied that wasn't funny, or I hope it holds off, or words to that effect. A little before 3:00, the mover said he'd better hit the dump, as it closed at 3:30. I looked at the sky, considerably darker than before, then looked at my bed and said didn't he think we'd better move it into the garage? He said he wouldn't be gone long and everything would be fine.

A little while later, I realized there were some things I needed to pick up re: the cats. I called mover, told him that he and helper #3 might as well grab a bite of lunch, and asked him to keep trying to get a hold of relative's girlfriend to let her know that I had to leave. He said she was very close to the house, but she didn't get here by the time I left 5 minutes later.

Due to a massive accident of some sort involving a tanker truck and the 60 Freeway (I haven't had a chance to check the internet for details, so y'all may know more about it than I do), even the surface streets are crowded, so it took me longer than expected to reach my destination. While there, it began to rain. Complete with lightning and thunder, and soon it was pouring. By the time I got home 20-30 minutes later, my mattress and box springs were soaked.

About that time, relative's girlfriend arrived, found me absolutely frantic, halfway between raving mad and crying all over myself. She heard me leave a highly charged message for mover, asking when he planned to be back to take the rest of the stuff to the dump, which would now include my mattress and box springs. Then she elected to stay a while to help me pack books, if I could give her a ride home. Fine.

And I made the call I dreaded having to make: to bank guy, explaining the morning delay and the mover and the rain and my bed and I'm afraid I came as close to real meltdown as I've been during this. I told him that there was no way I could be out by 10:00 AM today, that if he could do anything, great, but he might as well not make the trip. So he's all understanding from a personal point of view but gives me the professional tap dance, says he'll pray about it and see what, if anything, he can come up with...then decides to offer a little more proselytizing, to which I said, politely, thanks but no thanks.

Honestly, if he thinks fucking up my life is the way his version of god is going to make me a believer, he's out of his mind.

Anyway, relative's girlfriend and I got almost two sections of my bookcases boxed (out of five) in a couple of hours. While we worked, mover called her a couple of times to check our progress, basically to figure out if he should come back. Ha. She let me speak to him once, but I have no idea now what I said to him. After I took her home, I went to buy more boxes (since we'd gone through all but 2 of the 20 I'd bought a couple of days ago). Got a call from my cousin, who suggested I go see the friend of his who hooked me up with the mover. (Cousin's friend's phone had been cut off, or I'd have already been able to tell him about it.) So I put my boxes in the trunk, fought traffic to cousin's friend's location, and while he was finishing up stuff, I explained to his wife what's been going on. Then I explained it to him.

And he's pissed.

He said the price he'd arranged for me (a very reasonable price) was supposed to have covered EVERYTHING related to this job, from the packing to the runs to the storage space to any dump trips to the final cleaning--and that if the mover had brought his 30' truck on day 1, as had been (friend thought) the arrangement, I might not have had to ask for the extension from Monday to Wednesday, let alone the one from Wednesday to today. He also said I should itemize what I'd given the mover to knock down the amount of additional cash I'd owe them (that I shouldn't owe, due to mover's agreement with cousin's friend), and that, since mover had taken said stuff with the understanding it was barter for service, I'd be within my rights to report him to the police.

Tempting. Anyway, while I was still there, cousin's friend tried calling mover, who didn't pick up. Then he called mover's business partner (I think), told him ...anyway, cousin's friend sounds like he has every intention of getting me my money back, and I said I'd like the china cabinet back too. (And if I get it, I'm going to offer it to cousin's friend for intervening on my behalf--because let's face it, I can't afford to move up another level in storage spaces.)

When I left cousin's friend last night, the plan was that the mover's would be here at 6:00 AM, and that cousin's friend would come over after dropping his kid at school and put the fear of god or somebody into mover.

In fact, mover and helper #3 arrived at 9:30. I asked them to make another dump run, not hiding the fact that I was still pissed and letting him know that I still hadn't heard from bank guy, and so didn't know whether I'd get an extension or not. Cousin's friend is going to be over relatively soon for the Conversation...and I did get a call from bank guy: I have until 11:00 AM on Monday the 19th.

Back now to purging old canned goods and wine and so forth--they might as well take as much now as possible, even though I can now put final dribs and drabs in the trash can that goes with the house, something I was afraid to do otherwise since there wasn't going to be anyone here to put the can out for collection and I didn't want to risk "broom clean" including the trash cans.

Sorry for the long rant. Been at my wits' end. More good mojo re: cat adoptions greatly appreciated. Thank you all.

#787 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 12:54 PM:

Ginger: Could you put that into cyrillic? I can't quite figure some of it out, because I can't read it. It's almost comprehensible.

#788 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 01:07 PM:

Terry @787: I laughed, because it's in Ukrainian (which is mostly comprehensible to Russians) and because I did my best to make it mostly comprehensible. I will see if I can actually make a poem out of this and I will definitely post it in Cyrillic too.

(Note: the second line of the "poem" refers to hovercrafts and eels.)

#789 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 01:10 PM:

Syd, sorry to hear it. Best of vibes aimed your way.

#790 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 01:10 PM:

Carol: pattern link posted on Fb.

#791 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 01:28 PM:

Syd @ 786: Argh! I hope things clear up figuratively and literally.

#792 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 01:29 PM:

Carol @783 -- link posted to a couple of my Rav groups.

#793 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 03:46 PM:

Melissa Singer and Debbie: thanks for the postings

Ginger - I'd love to see the English version!

#794 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 04:55 PM:

Syd #786: My sympathies on your Mover Hell travails! What the guy's pulled may or may not be prosecutable, but you'd certainly have a decent case if you decided to sue (whether a lawsuit would be worth the trouble is another issue). Certainly he's been half-assed, sleazy, and Not Up To Snuff.

But it does sound like your friend's got your back, which is good... let us know how the Conversation turns out!

#795 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 05:31 PM:

Holy cats, Syd, that is a fire and a half right there. I'm glad you have someone else to threaten the mover, because it's one thing to be bad and another entirely to be unreliable. I'm sorry your mattress and boxspring are wrecked. I got a new mattress from Craigslist pretty easily, but I'm in a college town and have lowish standards.

#796 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 05:34 PM:

Xopher@772: but I don't think OE scansion worked that way

Don't get me started on OE scansion . . . extremely short condensed version, it uses a four-stress alliterative line with a caesura in the middle. Which works out to the fact that you can sing the opening of Beowulf to the verse lines of the sea chanty "Haul on the Bowline" -- which, in turn, you can tell is a very old chanty because it refers to the bow-line as part of the ship's rigging rather than as a type of knot. (A reference turns up to it in the Middle English poem Patience: "Spynde spak to þe sprete þe spare bawelyne" -- "fastened quickly to the bowsprit the spare bowline" . . . like I said, don't get me started because I can go on like this for hours if nobody stops me.)

#797 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 06:26 PM:

Syd @ 786:

I'm really sorry to hear about all the trouble you're having with the house and the move. I hope it works out well for you in the long run, and that when you can look back on it it's an adventure, and not a disaster.

#798 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 06:31 PM:

I'll probably be here at the keyboard for the next couple of hours. The movers have arrived to unpack the pod and put everything back in the house (how much you want to bet there's more to put away than we took out?). Eva's directing traffic, and because I can't stand up for 2 hours, I'm keeping the dogs company so they don't go nuts.

#799 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 06:38 PM:

Debra, I actually knew that, and if I'd been thinking clearly I'd've realized that even if OE had "light" and "heavy" syllables it wouldn't matter to a scansion that pays attention only to stressed syllables and cæsuras.

Sometime (a convention, maybe?) I'd really, really like to hear you go on about this. I'm enough of a poetics geek to find it fascinating.

Various folx about 'tickety-boo': never heard that before. VERY cool. Amusingly (to me), one of the sources I looked at used 'copacetic' as a synonym. 'Copacetic' is one of the few words borrowed into English from modern Israeli Hebrew ('ha kol b'seder', "all is in order")...and it got into African-American language via the conversion of Harlem from a Jewish ghetto into an African-American one, then was popularized by Bojangles.

The only etymological pathway I know that's more bizarre than that is 'shaman' (left as an exercise for the reader). And yes, I know people will now shower me with bizarre etymologies: I cherish them!

Btw these things have associations as well as meaning...I don't think I've ever heard a gay man say 'copacetic' in regular conversation, for example, and I find myself thinking people who do say it probably like jazz.

#800 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 07:09 PM:

Syd @ 786


I do hope things improve for you soon.



Christmas (or seasonal) greetings will be sent in due course.

#801 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 07:33 PM:

I just sent Senator Ron Wyden, of whom I'm constituent, an email explaining why his joint proposal with Paul Ryan to modify Medicare is a bad idea. If you agree with me that it's breaking something that's largely fixed, and way too much change for the actual breakage that needs mending, please do likewise, especially if you're a constituent. He doesn't come up for re-election until 2016, but I think he knows that his supporters have long memories, and we've been willing to turn on politicians who've abandoned us before.

#803 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 09:16 PM:

Syd, what apparently happened on the freeway - which I only heard about yesterday afternoon - was that a tanker caught fire under an overpass and the overpass was damaged to the point of needing to be demolished and rebuilt. (I'm not clear on the contents of the tanker, but it appears to have been fuel of some kind.)

#804 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 09:35 PM:

HLN: Area man purchases new home office chair from Office Depot. Cat approves
and area man wimps out and uses old chair to avoid disturbing spoiled rotten feline overlord.

#805 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2011, 11:37 PM:

Xopher Halftongue @ 799:

As always, you come up with great stuff. Thanks to you and the other language buffs out there.

Debra Doyle @ 796:

What Xopher said. I'd love the opportunity to sit and hear you discuss Anglo Saxon poetics, as well.

Hmmm ... Four stresses, a caesura, and four more stresses. If I recall correctly (my books are still packed away), Coleridge wrote Rime of the Ancient Mariner with an "experimental" meter where he was only counting stressed syllables, so syllables per line were semi-variable, but there were four stresses per line. Was he trying to copy/adapt the older form, do you think?

#806 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2011, 12:12 AM:

Xopher @799, the "kol b'seder" theory is just one, and not universally accepted. Most responsible dictionaries just list "copacetic" as being of unknown etymology.

The OED's earliest cite for the word is from 1919, when American Jewish culture was overwhelmingly Yiddish. Some people have suggested an origin in Creole French --- "coupersetique" supposedly meaning "in good form" or "able to be coped with". (I can't vouch for the French myself.)

That 1919 cite (where it's spelled "copasetic") is in a biography of Abe Lincoln. In context, it's presented in dialog as a nonsense word. ("'Now there's the kind of a man! Stout as a buffalo an' as to looks I'd call him, as ye might say, real copasetic.' Mrs. Lukins expressed this opinion solemnly and with a slight cough. Its last word stood for nothing more than an indefinite depth of meaning.")

#807 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2011, 04:11 AM:

If people are still looking for alternate holidays for this season, rational!Harry Potter reminds us that Isaac Newton was born on December 25th... though with the calendar changes since then, it's shifted to what's now January 4th. Which just means you get a probabilistic spread covering most of the actual twelve days of Christmas, right?

--Dave, a happily integrated Newtonmas to all! and good luck to Syd,sd...

#808 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2011, 04:13 AM:

O frabjous and abi-jous day! My comment has become gnomenclature!

--Dave, in uffish thought

#809 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2011, 07:57 AM:

Avram #806: In that last quote, Mrs. Lukin's usage is fairly close to the modern, certainly in the same spirit of enthusiastic approval. Of course, this is noted as a "very popular book in it's time" , so it might well have coined the word despite the writer's aside. Or, it could merely show the writer being snidely ignorant about an unfamiliar bit of slang.

#810 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2011, 08:17 AM:

David DeLaney @807 a happily integrated Newtonmas to all

And the reciprocal to you

#811 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2011, 10:15 AM:

I am reminded by David DeLaney @ #807...

For the local Toastmasters Club's Christmas meeting this year, I was going to do a speech on Isaac Newton, on the grounds that unlike a certain other person he actually was born on the 25th of December. Then I came across the thing about how his birthday is actually in January now. I figured I'd still talk about Newton, and mention that in passing as an interesting thing, but just out of interest I also checked on the next-most-famous person with a December 25th birthday. That was Humphrey Bogart, and it turns out there's a persistent rumour that his birthday wasn't the 25th until the studio PR department got stuck into his biography.

At this point I decided I'd stumbled on a running gag, and changed my speech topic to "I want to talk about somebody whose birthday is December 25th, but I'm having trouble finding anybody". (In the final version of the speech, I do eventually find Sissy Spacek, who as far as I know was undoubtedly born on December 25th... just as I reach the time limit on the speech and have to wind up.)

It went over quite well.

#812 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2011, 10:46 AM:

OtterB: #810: I dunno about these derivative celebrations -- they may be attractive, but once these things get started, they just keep going!

#813 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2011, 10:55 AM:

Since they're asymptotic, after a bit they're effectively over.

#814 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2011, 10:55 AM:

Cesária Évora has died.

#815 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2011, 11:51 AM:

David Delany @808: My comment has become gnomenclature!
We don't take to that calculus talk here, buddy.

#816 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2011, 12:58 PM:

@ 814

O dear. I attended quite a few of her performances some time back. El V did an AfroPop Worldwide program with her. We certainly listened to a lot of her music and fairly frequently even these days.

Love, C.

#817 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2011, 03:41 PM:

I think "gnomenclature" is a new term now. Nice composition, Daivd Delaney.

#818 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2011, 04:09 PM:

So... today I adopted a dog! I'll be picking her up to come home tomorrow morning; I bought and picked up the full kit today. (Still need to set up the "home cage" tonight. Harrier mix, 33 pounds (my development's 40-pound limit was a major constraint), short soft fur. More later, photos eventually.

Also, tonight I go to see a play with my boss and a bunch of his friends -- this will be the first time I've seen his house, and certainly a new development in our relationship.

#819 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2011, 04:24 PM:

Syd @786: What Cadbury Moose said. Thinking good thoughts for you and your cats.

#820 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2011, 06:49 PM:

Saw a coyote this morning, in broad-but-foggy daylight. Remarkable in that it was in a small green patch between the Tektronix office park and a shopping mall.

It moved so strangely, like a gliding skip.

I let my dog bark and him / her for a bit. It didn't seem fazed, and kept looking over its shoulder, perhaps waiting for another 'yote. Eventually it slipped under a fence into a heavily wooded plot . . . a residential-yard-sized mini-wetlands, surrounded by mowed park. We checked out the slip-hole it used; well worn. I'm guessing its lair is in there.

It's cool how these little guys can hide out in suburban area using just small plots of wild land.

#821 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2011, 08:19 PM:

HLN: Early (3 to 6 pm) phase of local woman's holiday party is a raging success. But now she wonders if anyone will show up and eat the rest of the food and drink the rest of the drink. And she wishes more of the Fluorosphere were within driving distance of her house. Baklava and coffee hazelnut fudge are not as sweet consumed alone.

#822 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2011, 09:40 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft @ 821: Sounds wonderful! My annual afternoon bash is tomorrow. This year I did a much better job of getting things done in advance (thank heaven baked goods freeze well), so the universe has mocked me by giving me a cold. Tomorrow, my husband will experience the joy of learning to deploy paper doilies and prettily arrange cakes, cookies and miniature tarts on cake stands while being fiercely supervised from a germ-safe distance. I'm sure he will enjoy this opportunity for personal growth immensely. Not that this holiday party is contagion-safe anyway. I serve egg nog made with raw eggs, per Alton Brown's recipe. I do issue clear warnings. So far, everyone has emerged unscathed.

In the spirit of open-threadiness, I found this video just the unicorn-chaser I needed today: cat scream yawns. (via BoingBoing)

#823 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2011, 12:05 AM:

Stefan Jones: I nearly ran over a coyote in Denver once. Came out of a small stand of trees (about eight feet triangular) right in front of my car and turned around abruptly. That was also daylight.

#824 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2011, 07:41 AM:

Vaclav Havel has died. This is getting to be a very bleak December.

#825 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2011, 01:56 PM:

HLN: Boyfriend of area woman declines to participate in family revelry in NYC. Area woman promptly books train tickets into Penn Station.

Related: Anyone interested in a Gathering of Light, perhaps for lunch, perhaps on Monday, December 26?

#826 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2011, 02:03 PM:

Nancy, I'll be in striking distance of NYC on that day, but it seems I can get but so close to the city before I fall within the orbit of people with stronger plans than mine.

#827 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2011, 02:59 PM:

...misread "stranger plans than mine"....

#828 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2011, 03:25 PM:

Many thanks to all for the good wishes, mojo, etc.

Unfortunately, things are still a clusterf*ck. Sorry if this reads like telegraphese, but best I can do right now.

Yesterday went pretty well, with two of mover's crew here (NOT due to mover, not relying on him for payment--willing to wait for my cash-for-keys money or, if I don't pass "broom clean" inspection, a couple of unemployment cycles) to help with packing, cleaning, and transport of (almost all) large items and many small to 2nd storage space. They worked themselves ragged (gal crew did major cleaning of bathroom and office, yay!), but much got done. Still much to do, with final emptying of kitchen ("starter kitchen" amount of stuff which will go at front of unit for easy access), linen cupboard, bathroom cupboards, one closet (office storage-type items, not huge amount), breaking down my huge computer desk so it can get out of office.

To add insult to injury, yesterday the bank served me with eviction papers (the ones they files 11/30 but had not previously served). Bast*rds. Five calendar days to respond, assuming the response I filed to the not-yet-served action doesn't count. Have to call Legal Aid Monday or Tuesday.

Ordered new dumpster yesterday--it's filled. So is regular trash can. Still more trash. Much too much trash. No idea where to put it. Might ask neighbors if they have room for some in their bins.

One of the crew who was here yesterday also agreed to come back today to help with final crap (including breaking down the desk). Got a call this morning that he slipped and fell, knocked himself out, etc., and therefore--and most understandably!--would not be able to help me today.

Sat in living room and cried. I can do the packing, make repeated storage runs, do the cleaning...but I can't move the desk by myself, and I absolutely MUST transport cats to short-term abode tonight starting 9:30 - 10:00 PM.

Have made many calls for help. No one can come. One friend has called the ladies with the cottage (they did the housekeeping at the place we all worked, and are AMAZING at it), who said if they couldn't come themselves, they would see if they could find someone else to help me. No word yet.

Cousin has taken on intermediary role w/mover, who is supposed to be here in a couple of hours to help me. We shall see what happens, but if he doesn't come and thereby costs me my cash-for-keys money...on the other hand, even if I sue, can I get blood from a stone?

Scared. Angry. Scared. Taking break to go sit with cats, who are frantic at being shut in room and mostly ignored for all of yesterday.

My kitties. My poor kitties.

#829 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2011, 03:29 PM:


The other day I made Chocolate Bread with Dates and Pistachios in the bread machine. It's delicious, and so good I'm thinking of doing it again, this time in a loaf pan to be used as a gift.

My first question is, if I just use the dough cycle in the machine and then transfer it into two loaf pans, how long or how high should I let it rise before baking? My second question is, how long and at what temp should I bake it in the oven?

#830 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2011, 03:46 PM:

Cherry on top: bathroom sink clogged; drain de-clogger didn't.

Rolling eyes. Moving on.

#831 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2011, 05:17 PM:

Aw, Syd, that's… well, you know what it is. Sympathy from here.

#832 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2011, 07:38 PM:

Hey, it seems like the tanker fire that helped mess up Syd's Wednesday made FAILblog.

In other news, Gracie declined an evening walk... I'm not sure how worried to be, but we'll see how early she gets me up tomorrow.

#833 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2011, 10:17 PM:

AP is reporting that Kim Jong Il has died. No details yet.

#834 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2011, 10:42 PM:

Details? His metabolic processes are now history. He's gone to meet his Maker. He's rung down the curtain, shuffled off the coil, and gone to join the bleeding Choir Invisible. This is an ex-tyrant!

#835 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2011, 10:43 PM:

South Korean sources say he's reported as having died of "fatigue."

#836 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2011, 10:47 PM:

Good riddance.

North Korea has announced that the country’s supreme leader Kim Jong Il died on a train trip on Saturday. State TV reports Kim died of physical and mental over-work on his way to give “field guidance.”

I wonder if there is anyone left in the DRPK who actually believed that bullshit. I know they could never admit it in public, of course . . .

#837 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 08:44 AM:

Cats successfully transferred to Cat Friendly Friend of Friend's place. Took from 10:30 PM to almost 2:30 AM. Ate a little. Two-hour nap (too long; hit snooze alarm. Bad idea.).

Still to do: finish boxing/clearing kitchen (includes liquor cupboard, yee-haw), pantry, office and utility closet (everything but the water heater must go!); clean all rooms (remove curtains, sweep, spot-mop, open windows for ventilation and drying); make storage run--including lamp, egad; ask neighbor if I can leave 2 cat carriers and some dead printers at his place for a few days (why take them to storage?); give remaining yard furniture to respective neighbors; sweep back yard; ask if one of the neighbors will put my final trash bags out in their trash next week; put suitcases and remaining cat accoutrements (litter boxes--shovel out!--and two scratching post/hidey-hole combos, remaining food and water dishes); put final personal stuff in car; think about making myself presentable before arrival of bank guy and Field Services (or just say eff it, which I may just do)...

I have just under five hours. Wish me luck, if you would. And thank you for all the luck you've already wished me.

#838 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 08:49 AM:

Stefan Jones #836: NPR this morning had reports of people in the DPRK weeping and mourning the 'Dear Leader's' death. I can believe that. After all, if you're not publicly seen to weep you may be given reason to do so.

#839 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 09:07 AM:

Syd, so glad cat transfer went smoothly. Fingers crossed for the final lap here.

#840 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 09:15 AM:

"I told you I was Il..."

(Sorry. Couldn't resist.)

#841 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 09:19 AM:

Syd, best of luck, and I'm glad cat transfer went smoothly.

#842 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 09:26 AM:

Just as an open-thready bit of whining, this has been a remarkably shitty couple months for my wife, and as a result, for me and the kids. She's been sick with some vertigo thing (involving a quick clinic doctor when it first happened, her regular doctor, an ENT, two neurologists, and various expensive and complicated medical tests/imaging.) Overlapping with this is a more recent case of pneumonia, and ongoing periodic debilitating migranes.

One result of all this, which I'd heard of before but hadn't fully understood, is how much my maintenance of my own health and well being has dropped off the map, as I've been taking care of her. Stuff like getting exercise, personal space, or enoug sleep has just been easy to ignore, in the rush to get the kids to their events and my wife to her next doctor appointment, ER visit, MRI, etc. When I finally get to the end of the day, I pretty much can't relax for a couple hours, and getting the two year old into bed plus my wife taken care of for the night can take until pretty late, so I'm constantly short on sleep.

Things seem to be getting better right now (antibiotics and more potent migrane medicine), which is probably why I have the mental energy to complain about it. But just for the record: this last couple months have truly sucked. Less like this, please. Prayers and good wishes appreciated.

#843 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 09:47 AM:

Syd, you've accomplished so much already, I'm sure you can do this last bit.

Also, here's a posible additional source of help for cat rehoming: Annie Laurie, one of the regular posters at Balloon Juice, regularly runs pet rescue threads there. Her e-mail is available through the link in her name, at the upper-right hand part of the page.

May this next year be as awesome as this year sucked!

#844 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 10:20 AM:

Syd, what lorax said. Albatross, wishing you sleep, and your wife healing. 2011 has been a really s****y year for some folks: may 2012 be better, please, for them and for us all. Amen.

#845 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 10:46 AM:

albatross @842 Prayers and good wishes headed toward your family, and wishing you a significantly better 2012.

#846 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 10:52 AM:

Syd: Good luck with the final stage; well done on moving the cats, and more good luck for finding good homes for them.

albtross @842: Best wishes for a better year to come.

#847 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 01:00 PM:

albatross, #842: Have they checked your wife for BPPV? I have a mild form of this, but when it first hit, it was much worse and scary as hell, especially as we have no medical insurance. It eventually settled back down to the level of "oh, I moved my head wrong, let's change that angle," which is mildly annoying but livable-with.

And anyone who suddenly finds themselves in a caretaker position needs to remember that they must take care of themselves as well. If you run yourself into the ground, there won't be anyone to take care of your wife and children. So be kind to yourself, and see if there are time-sink activities you can cut back on while this is being dealt with. (In particular, there's no reason for you to be the only one who has to give up stuff; are there any kids' activities you can scale back for a while? And don't fall into the trap of thinking that if you're not Doing Something, you're wasting time.) My best wishes for a better New Year!

#848 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 01:29 PM:

Best wishes for albatross, and keeping fingers crossed for Syd.

#849 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 01:53 PM:

What Jacque said.

#850 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 01:56 PM:

Good thoughts, Syd, and hoping it's all worked out well by now!

May the coming year be better, albatross.

#851 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 01:58 PM:

For the holidays, a link to the German Chocolate Banana Bread recipe I came up with a few years ago. People seem to like it.

#852 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 02:57 PM:

Syd, best of luck to you, and hopes that things get better for you soon.

And the same to albatross, with a side order of "take good care of yourself as well as your family."

#853 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 03:26 PM:

Good thoughts continue for Syd, and added for albatross.

HLN: Area woman's son successfully wakes up from arthroscopy of knee, attempts to wheedle large lunch out of other mom. Recovery room nurse had warned of this tendency, and suggested we wait as his GI would still be recovering as well.

AKICML: I just discovered that one of two antique plates from my grandmother's house suffered a catastrophic failure in the glass covering. The plate is a metal back, with an enameled interior surface (or at least looks like it's enameled) and a butterfly -- whether real or silk, I'm not sure. The glass covering of this, which was the concave surface of the face, cracked completely and part of the glass fell off entirely, leaving the butterfly exposed. How do I get this fixed? Any suggestions?

#854 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 03:30 PM:

Seasonal Google Easter Egg: "let it snow". Watch for a while, then try wiping with the left mouse button.

#855 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 03:32 PM:

Re. the Victoria Strauss interview particle -- I suppose it *was* inevitable that an Author Solutions advert would end up on it...

#856 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 08:58 PM:

Was it somebody here who recommended Dorothy Johnson's "The Hanging Tree?" I just read it and liked it, but the short stories that are also in the collection were even better, I thought.

#857 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 09:02 PM:

Housey news, all good: we have closed, and taken posession, and all is well. When we did the final pre-closing walkthrough, all the utilities that were off previously were on, and the pipes were de-winterized! Good. However, the boiler was not in operable condition, and only the fact that we've been getting a ridiculously warm December saved us from multiple freeze-broken pipes.

Cue hasty trip to Home Despot for electric space heaters! On the upside, the New House is demonstrably much better insulated than The Old House, because it's maintaining a reasonable 50-60degF on 6 1500Watt space heaters, NOT running anywhere near flat-out, and I know our current place leaks way more heat than that.

The boiler guy is coming Wednesday to fit us with a new lovely energy-efficient hot water model to go with our brilliantly awesome vintage cast-iron radiators throughout (plus one new-to-us used one we sourced for less than $200, huzzah).

There are some poltergeists in the wiring, such that on several occasions certain items have been observed to Be Off And Not Turn-On-Able, and then later could be turned on. The home inspector who did our pre-purchase look-over will be coming back to do it again with utilities on, so I don't expect any major problems there.

As a condition of our FHA loan, a long laundry-list of pissant repairs (replace missing baseboards, paint some woodwork, reattach some loose downspouts) plus a complete roof tearoff/replacement, must be completed tout suite. Pursuant to this, we were compelled to escrow a large (estimated to be 150% of median bids to complete work) amount of money. We do not get this money back until we can prove the work has been done, and properly. This means we get to pay for a whole roof out of pocket without being able to touch the $17K of our money we put in escrow -- eep!

So there are a lot of improvements that will be done AFTER we get the escrow back ... and we're only doing the bare minimum FHA requires, before that.

However, more good news: the roofer hopes to fit us in next week, because there looks to be a good-weather window then and they plan to work busy like beavers on all available contracts to get them done between snow-fly events. This is unexpectedly soon, and means we can get our escrow money back faster.

However, we're out of town from 12/26-1/1 ... so the roofers would be working on the house while we're out of town. Not advisable in usual circumstances, but we'll probably jump at the chance to get the roof done now and not in late January (and the escrow money tied up that whole time).

Tomorrow I get to research contractors and call them to come in and work up estimates, as the guys our realtor had bid it before purchase all turn out to be weirdly fly-by-night operations and I'm not letting them in my house.

#858 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 09:17 PM:

Elliot Mason @857 -- Karen swears by Angie's List as a good source of contractors. You might want to give them a try. She gets 3 bids through the people they list, and generally picks the middle one.

#859 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 11:05 PM:

Re contractor bids, a related method I've heard of using when you have a number of bids is: eliminate the highest and the lowest, average the others, and select the one who bid closest to that.

#860 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 11:06 PM:

AKICIML: movie about talented kid who connects with something like Industrial Light & Magic and finds he's into much more than he bargained for. He auditions/impresses them with small robots(?) that move around a "desert" on a table, actually controlled from underneath through tracks or slots.

Anybody got a clue?

#861 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2011, 11:58 PM:

Carol Kimball @ #860

That sounds like Jim Henson's Monster Maker.

It was aired as part of The Jim Henson Hour, and as its own stand-alone special. The Muppet Wiki entry has screenshots.

#862 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 12:19 AM:

Leah, yup, that sounds like it! Thank you!

#863 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 12:22 AM:

Elliot Mason @857: I second Tom Whitmore's (or, rather, Karen's) recommendation of Angie's List as a source of somewhat-vetted information on contractors.

#864 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 12:33 AM:

More good wishes for Syd and albatross -- and a strong ditto to the "yes, do take care of yourself." To both, actually, since Syd, you sounded like you felt bad for getting some obviously needed sleep.

#865 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 02:06 AM:

janetl @ 863:

A strong third for Angie's List. We've been using it for several years and have had very good experiences. In this last job of redoing the downstairs floors, we found both the decorative concrete company who did the work and the movers who put all the furniture (and books!) into and out of storage on Angie's List and were extremely happy with both of them.

#866 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 06:07 AM:

Elliott Mason #857: Those FHA loan terms sound suspiciously as if they're meant to lock out anyone who's Insufficiently Rich, or possibly to make sure any work gets sent to "the inspector's Uncle Louie". :-(

#867 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 07:59 AM:

When a scammer with his telephone informs you,,
That he knows corrupted is yout 'puter,
Then please forgive a geek for having fun.
(Having fun)
A claim is made of messages and signals,
Passing o'er the net to Microsoft,
All marked with that specific IP number,
And pinning down computer number one.
(Number One!)
Your geek straightway smelleth something fishy,
For he knows of RFC1918,
And he strings along the uninvited caller,
While he cuts a piece of Stilton, nom nom nom.
(nom nom nom)
Now they want the 'puter on-line right this minute,
Which is odd because it's humming on the desk,
And they don't know the version of the software,
Which is spewing out the rising warning sum.
(Warning sum)
The cheese being crumbly and tasty,
I make the choice to let this long call end.
I read the name that's written in the splash-screen,
"Ubuntu 10.04..." Click! Oh, they've gone.

If they want to claim they're scanning a computer at I think I can claim this scans too.

#868 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 08:24 AM:

When a scammer with his telephone informs you,,
That he knows corrupted is yout 'puter,
Then please forgive a geek for having fun.
(Having fun)
A claim is made of messages and signals,
Passing o'er the net to Microsoft,
All marked with that specific IP number,
And pinning down computer number one.
(Number One!)
Your geek straightway smelleth something fishy,
For he knows of RFC1918,
And he strings along the uninvited caller,
While he cuts a piece of Stilton, nom nom nom.
(nom nom nom)
Now they want the 'puter on-line right this minute,
Which is odd because it's humming on the desk,
And they don't know the version of the software,
Which is spewing out the rising warning sum.
(Warning sum)
The cheese being crumbly and tasty,
I make the choice to let this long call end.
I read the name that's written in the splash-screen,
"Ubuntu 10.04..." Click! Oh, they've gone.

If they want to claim they're scanning a computer at I think I can claim this scans too.

#869 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 09:37 AM:

Elliott Mason @857, +1 on the Angie's List recommendation. One of the parts of the reviews is to list the cost and the work done, so you can get an idea for what the ballpark is for the type of work you're interested in.

#870 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 10:51 AM:

AKICIML: My neighbor ran across an article about how learning Arabic makes it easier to write computer programs. A quick Google produces no likely results. Anybody here read that?

#871 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 11:07 AM:

I didn't read that as general, but one of my colleagues who reads Arabic has mentioned several times that it makes reading APL much easier. (Since APL is a right-to-left execution syntax.)

#872 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 11:12 AM:

#853 Ginger
Contact a local museum and ask them about restoration services, maybe. There are all osrt of people out there in strange places who do restoration work, and museums are particularly customers of such craftspeople. (E.g., one of my father's friends, who lives in the lost-it-industry-in-the-latter -1960s-and-has-been-economically-depressed-ever -since-and-has-big-old-houses-with-big-old-barns -relatively-inexpensively parts of returned-to-backwoods Massachusets, helped restore Windsor Castle after the fire it had. The fellow's not easily findable. Most of his clientele is in Europe, where he went through the apprenticing system and earned a genuine European master's in crafting, with a masterpiece piece of furniture he made, and some is US museums and clients in New York City. The barn allowed his to work on large projects.

If there is a university or college with arts & crafts departments, you might ask them about restorers and restoration services--in the Boston area, at least one of the local universities has a restoration program it runs in conjunction with the Museum of Fine Arts at the museum school.

#873 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 01:56 PM:

Antonia T. Tiger @ 868:

Nom, nom, nom!

#874 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 03:43 PM:

I mentioned over in the Regretsy thread that I had something more suited to an open thread than to that discussion - I posted back in Open Thread 165 (I had to go digging to find the old posts) that the Amazing Girlfriend and I had started looking for an apartment together. We looked at one place across the street from my current apartment and we didn't get it (insert grumbling here about scurvy management companies who like to eat application fees when they already had an application in… and mildly disconcerting realtors who we didn't really enjoy dealing with).

We followed that up with a couple weeks of serious Craigslist searching, and it paid off. We were looking for a one bedroom apartment in the area we both live in now (close to campus but quiet), and we'd expected that it would be about what we could afford as graduate students. We got really lucky - we stumbled across a Craigslist ad that was about as minimalist as they come (2 bedroom apartment around the corner from my place), and figured that it couldn't hurt to ask for more details. It turned out that the apartment is a duplex (the first floor of a two story house), for a little less money than we'd expected to pay for a one bedroom, with tons of space and everything on our list (and then some). We got to see it a few weeks ago, were told that two other people were going to be shown it after us, and got offered the apartment. The timing has also turned out to be absolutely perfect - we were already on month-to-month leases with our respective apartments, so we have no overlap between leases.

We're thrilled - we're moving in to an apartment that's way nicer than anything our fellow grad students have, with tons of space in a great building, with certain perks that are very rare in the Berkeley rental market (things like a dishwasher and washer/dryer in the apartment… as well as a back yard with fruit trees [lemon, apricot, apple and orange]). So, we're moving in a week and a half - all of 300ft or so from my current apartment.

Since we got amazingly lucky, we're in a position to set the new place up exactly the way we want it - so we're planning on heading down to Ikea right after we move to pick up a whole pile of furniture for the new place - and a pile of photo frames for photos that we've printed recently.

Life is just awesome.

#875 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 04:31 PM:

Jacque #870: Learning Arabic numerals makes it easier to write computer programs.


#876 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 04:40 PM:

Open threadiness: I've found an addition for Teresa's unique nativity scene collection (scroll down a bit). Who says bacon isn't heavenly?

#877 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 04:46 PM:

It's sunset here, so Happy Chanukah!

#878 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 04:52 PM:

I have to wonder if the "Arabic makes it easier to write computer programs" thing is riffing on equational sentences.

#879 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 07:17 PM:

Happy Chanukah, Melissa!

#880 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 07:35 PM:

Happy Chanukah!

#881 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 08:27 PM:


*deep breath*

OK. How much cop show stupidity are we expected to swallow?!?!?!

I just saw a character confess to espionage for a foreign power—transmitting signals to a North Korean sub from a US carrier—in order to have an alibi for a murder.

Yeah, right. To avoid being charged with (not convicted of, just charged with) a capital crime, confess to another capital crime—and one where the confession itself will get a whole team of assassins gunning for you.

No, no, no. *fumes*

#882 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 10:02 PM:

Let them eat cake in Christmas lights. And rich people don't understand why we hate them.

#883 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 11:02 PM:

Scavenging Pays:

I live across the street from a big Intel plant. They send out many bulk-mailed letters to folks in the surrounding neighborhood. They warn about traffic and construction, and sometimes invite folks for lectures on what they're building.

I almost tossed out today's letter. But didn't. It turned out to have a $15 gift card for the local upscale grocery. Kind of a "pardon our dust" apology gift.

On a hunch, I checked the litter baskets in the mail area. So far I've found three tossed-away letters. I'll check again tomorrow.

I'll be splitting the proceeds between me, gifts for family, and charity.

#884 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2011, 11:17 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @ 882 ...

I'm sure I'm missing something here. That looks like a hell of a display, done as a tribute to a friend -- and given the proximity to LA, and the gear that they're using, very possibly something borrowed or rented (or based on his comments, used to start a business).

On the list of "OMG EVIL RICH PEOPLE FTL" sorts of things, that's really not making it anywhere near the top -- something like For the Rich, Cargo Vans on Steroids gets a whole lot higher than that ... and it's assuredly not the most egregious thing out there.

#885 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 12:54 AM:


Ladies & Gentlemen, the first trailer for "The Hobbit":

#886 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 12:56 AM:


Ladies & Gentlemen, the first trailer for "The Hobbit":

#887 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 02:08 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe @ 874: Splendid news on the apartment! I have vivid memories of less than stellar accommodations during part of grad school, and am glad to hear of wins. (Pro Tip: A location near the Greyhound bus station is not plus.)

Stefan Jones @ 883: I like your tales of scavenging scores!

HLN: A friend who moved to the east coast about a year and half ago is in town vacation, and three of us got together this evening to catch up. It was great fun. The holidays can often overwhelm with rush and crowds, but they can also spark the smaller connections.

#888 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 02:14 AM:

So, a friend of mine, a nice Episcopalian kid from Texas, wanted to get his new boyfriend a Hanukkah present or eight. He was trying so desperately to be appropriate and just had no experience at all. He said he kept having to return things.

I teased him a little: "What did you try to get him? A smoked ham? Oysters?" and he finally admitted that he was buying clothes then noticing they were made of blended fabrics and taking them back.

So I'd like to ask the Jews in the room: how observant do you have to be to wear only single-fiber garments? I'm pretty sure this guy isn't that observant, though his family might be slightly more. I'm guessing an Orthodox family might observe that rule, but not a Conservative or Reform family. But maybe you have to be Hasidic. Not sure, which is why I'm asking.

And...I sense also that in a family so strict that they won't wear blended fabrics, if your son's boyfriend gives him unblended fabrics it's not really going to help much!

Oh, and one of my friends other friends, kind of a dimbulb, said "I would have given him a signed copy of Hitler's autobiography!" He apparently thought this was funny. I explained, gently I thought, that it was not, and he got all on his "you have no sense of humor" high horse. Idiot.

#889 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 02:18 AM:

Xopher @ 882

Nah, I can't be bothered to waste energy hating rich people generally. I just want them to pay their taxes, as other mere mortals must.

#890 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 02:38 AM:

The Modern Orthodox shuls I know do not consider the restriction to be "blended fabrics" in general but specifically linen and wool. Cotton isn't an issue, and plastics are entirely irrelevant. That said, it does vary. (I have heard that blended fabrics in general are an issue among chareidim, but that is purely hearsay and it says nothing useful about the large space between chareidim and MO.)

Anywhere outside of Orthodoxy can generally be assumed not to care. It's not 100% true, but you are not going to be committing a faux pas by doing so.

#891 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 10:38 AM:

Xopher @888: No one in my family (Conservative, some Orthodox, and mostly Reform) had any issues with blended fabric. Any non-Jewish boyfriend/girlfriend would have been welcome, especially if they were doctors. (Small joke. My father, a non-Jew, was welcomed into my mother's family, and she was the one who got the doctorate.)

#892 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 11:39 AM:

Since I'm an Angry Birds fan, I really enjoyed this NPR piece on the music as adapted by the London Philharmonic.

Angry Birds music

#893 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 11:55 AM:

Hyperlocal news (currently in the Bay Area)... Man's wife to celebrate her birthday tonight with mom and sisters taking her to "Beach Blanket Babylon". Meanwhile, man and father-in-law will be home watching "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly".

#894 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 01:21 PM:

So, Gracie has been to the vet to complete her vaccinations, get a checkup, etc. This was followed by having my sister's family (minus sister but with BiL, his mother, and all 3 children) over to meet her. Everyone was charmed, and Gracie was very well-behaved and friendly.

#895 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 02:33 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @882: ???

But ... but ... it's cool! And not horrendously ostentatious. Power drawn (according to the description) is equivalent of a hair dryer and a vacuum cleaner run simultaneously (though, if that's going all night, that might be a bit much). (Don't know that I'd want to be living in the near vacinity while that's running; I expect the blinking would get old pretty quickly.)

And that's not a mcmansion, either. Looks like a maybe 2-3k sqft suburban ranch, e.g., mid-middle class?

Stefan Jones @885: Speaking of holiday seasons that last too long. Srsly? A year we have to wait for this? That's just plain mean....

David Harmon @894: Pix! Pix!

#896 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 03:29 PM:

If you want a wee stroll during lunch....

#897 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 03:38 PM:


I'm a non-religious skeptic, married to a Reform Jew for the last couple of decades.

In order to care about blended fabrics, you'd have to care enough about the kosher laws to observe them in detail in your daily life. A Jew who cares about blended fabrics has the calibre of observance that prohibits eating out at most restaurants, since the goys in the kitchen do not segregate the cookery used to cook meat from the cookery used to cook milk (cream sauces, cheeses, etc), and cook scavengers (shrimp, lobster, catfish, etc) in all of it anyway. This calibre of observance is rare in the States outside of Brooklyn.

The best answer here, as in many such things, is: talk to your partner.

Episcopalian kid gets points for effort, though.

#898 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 04:14 PM:

Open threadiness -- some of you probably know Rick Albertson, who used to work tech on SF conventions before some health problems moved him to a backwater. He's doing well at the moment, and active in his local Occupy group in Erie -- and got interviewed on his local TV. Nice to see him doing well!

#899 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 04:30 PM:

FaultyMemory #897: It's not quite that bad... a purely-vegetarian restaurant would be kosher, modulo blessings and certification (and often enough, they do seek out the certification).

#900 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 04:44 PM:

HLN: Woman sends all the training and timekeeping records to Chicago -- 12/29 is her last working day as a Federal employee -- official retirement date is 12/31. It's weird having empty desk drawers.

Siamese cat STILL hasn't found the door into summer. He is getting increasingly vocal in his disapproval of local weather conditions.

And we're trying to figure out how to safeguard the tree from the youngest cat -- we may just not put one up this year...

#901 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 04:57 PM:

My roommate in college was orthodox and every time I visited her family, I think her mom buried the whole kitchen in the back yard for a couple of months.

I tried, I really, really tried, but that whole milthig, fleischig thing I never got. Meat is red, but milk isn't blue, so which towel was it, again?

But her family was very gracious and invited me on more than one occasion.

And when the turkey was too dry to eat, I figured out why there was no butter on the table, BEFORE I asked. Probably a good thing.

#902 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 04:59 PM:

AKICIML, audio edition: A friend of my mom's has asked her to put an LP on CD. The last time Mom did this kind of thing was about three OSes and 5 computers ago...what's the current best free software for doing such a thing?

#903 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 05:13 PM:

David Harmon @899: a purely-vegetarian restaurant would be kosher,

Moshe Yudkowsky, who keeps kosher, will occassionally wander through town, and on the rare occassions we go out to eat at a restaurant, he will ask for a plate of raw vegetables.

Throwmearope @901: When I visited Moshe's house in '95, I don't recall exactly how they goy-proofed the kitchen, but it was something along the lines of putting out a plate and flatware for me to use, with Dire Warnings about contaminating other stuff. They were courteous about it, but I was duly frightened to caution.

Lori Coulson @900: we're trying to figure out how to safeguard the tree from the youngest cat -- we may just not put one up this year...

If you tolerate the smell of eucalyptus, dose the kitteh-most portions with a light coating of Mentholatum or Vick's Vapo-Rub.

#904 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 05:33 PM:

David@899 etc.

Yes. And if someone is sufficiently detailed about the food-related kosher laws to know and care about such, that's when you're dealing with a level of observance where you can safely assume the clothing-related kosher laws will be relevant. Someone who doesn't keep kosher in their own kitchen is unlikely to care about blended fabrics. Someone who keeps kosher in their own kitchen, but doesn't take special measures in restaurants (and yes, there are people who do this), will likely accept a gift in the spirit in which it is given without checking the fabric content on the spot.

As always, asking will give you better guidance than generalizing from known data.

I cited the food kosher laws as a more-accessible point of reference for the other laws, not as dictum on eating out.


The footer of the linked page says its copyright date is 1900. You may want to update that.

#905 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 05:49 PM:

Open Thready -

Made one of the best desserts I've ever made for a party this weekend (a super-rich, very dark flourless chocolate torte thingy) and brought the remains to work for the scavengers to eat. No takers. I am somewhat disappointed - most homemade stuff I bring in disappears in minutes. Can people really be that filled up with the cheap tinned "butter" cookies that always appear around this time of year, or does no one here appreciate dark chocolate?

#906 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 05:58 PM:

Hyperlocal news... After seldom enduring anything worse than a minor cold, man gets long-lasting flu two winters in a row and decides to get his first-ever flu shot next time around.

#907 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 06:00 PM:

nerdycellist @ 905: Holiday Goodies Fatique has definitely set in at my workplace. I had some leftover flourless chocolate torte, too. There was just a little bit, and I took it to the couple of people I thought would appreciate it. It's not something that everyone recognizes for what it is, and mine looked the worse for wear after transport.

#908 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 06:08 PM:

Count me as another Fluorospherian who thinks the that light show is cool.

(Of course, I grew up in a part of the country where one of the big family things to do in the days just before Christmas was to drive around town and look at all the Christmas lights. Others' mileage may vary.)

#909 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 06:37 PM:

Safeguarding Christmas tree from cats - Our approach has always been
(1) No tinsel, they'll eat it
(2) Cover the water with tinfoil to make it harder for them to drink
(3) Any fragile decorations we care about go near the top of the tree unless the cats are old and lazy
(4) Keep camera nearby in case young non-lazy cats do anything stupid.
(5) Any catnip-equipped gifts go out at the last minute.

The local cats are not currently in category (4), and the tree's small enough that it doesn't take too heavy a stand to keep it from getting tipped over.

#910 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 07:08 PM:

I passed the blended-fabrics info on to my friend. He said "Lol thanks... tell your friends I love them :)"

#911 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 07:26 PM:

Btw I think the 'LOL' was because I went and consulted experts.

#912 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 09:44 PM:

David Harmon@781 - You've hit one of my pet peeves; pardon me for re-ranting here... Google and other search engines want to rank sites so that the ones that are interesting to human readers show up first, but they use robots to do the work and have to guess at patterns that will correspond to actual interestingness. "Search Engine Optimization" specialists have three main ways of helping your website get a high rank -

- Make sure that your website is organized in a way that the robots can find the important parts. That really only needs a page or two of advice, but sometimes it's worth paying people to do that for your business, especially considering the number of websites that aren't readily usable by humans. Since the "SEObook" link you posted didn't render correctly on Firefox, even after temporarily enabling JavaScript for the page, and I had to dredge the URL for the main graphic out of the code samples, and even then it had its content rendered as images rather than machine-readable text, I don't give them high marks for that skill.

- Helping you make your site look more interesting to humans by doing things like keeping the content current, handling comment systems, etc. Most people who do that call themselves "editors" or content consultants or marketers or web designers or anything other than SEOs, and care more about substance than just style, but there's no accounting for taste, I suppose. Xkcd 810 is somewhere near that space.

- Using Stupid Robot Tricks to make the robots think your site is more interesting than it actually is, so your site will get a higher pagerank than it actually deserves, and humans will waste more of their time reading your site instead of some site that might be more like what they were looking for, and you'll get to show them more ads. Since the infographic spends most of its space complaining about different things that Google has done which break the popular Stupid Robot Tricks, I'd assume that the book is mostly about that approach to optimization.

#913 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 11:33 PM:

xeger@#884: (begin truck neepery) those cargo vans on steroids have one saving grace in that they are equipped with modern common-rail turbodiesel engines, capable of around 25+ mpg at freeway speeds. The Sprinter chassis is one of the best available in that size class - no US built cargo vans come close, and AFAIK all the Japanese competition are cabover trucks with grafted on boxes, not standard van bodies. Sure, they are ostentatious, but they get better mileage than any non-hybrid luxury/fullsize SUV, or a limo. IMHO, the bad part is the behaviour of idling excessively and double parking and such. I want an early 5cyl Sprinter passenger van as it would both have more space inside and get better mpg than our current Mazda 5. Too expensive up front still. (end truck neepery)

#914 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2011, 11:33 PM:

David Harmon #899: a purely-vegetarian restaurant would be kosher, modulo blessings and certification (and often enough, they do seek out the certification).

I think all the certified kosher restaurants in Seattle are vegetarian, but they're still a minority of the vegetarian restaurants.

#915 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2011, 12:07 AM:

Stefan Jones at 885 and 886: Thanks! That was worth double-posting.

#916 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2011, 12:31 AM:

A piece of recent kid-cuteness that I think Fluorospherians would enjoy (this mention brought to you courtesy of stuff I was saying over on another thread; it wasn't precisely on-topic there, and people reading this one but not that one may appreciate it).

I had just picked up the kid from daycare one evening last week, and being a horrible neglectful forgetter, had failed to pre-stock the car with a sippy-cup of beverage for her. Instead, I snagged a dixie cup from her classroom and half-filled it with water when leaving the building, so she could carefully sip it in her carseat at will to wet her whistle. Then we drove to pick up Daddy from his work; at this point I switched to passengerhood, because he much prefers driving to being driven.

He pulled out of the parking lot with rather a lot of verve and body-English on the car's part, leading to some g-forces and slosh in the body of the car. Instantly from the back seat, an accusing soprano voice earnestly piped:

"You no put water in my face a-GAIN, Daddy, no THANK you!"

She'd been mid-sip during the maneuver, of course. We glanced at each other and quietly lost it, which led to a deeply insulted and indignant:

"And you no LAUGH at me, no THANK you, you NOT VERY NICE!"

And she's right, too, but, to quote a meme, her pain was just so funny! We reassured her solemnly that it wasn't very nice to laugh at people, and that Daddy would try to be more careful in future, we were laughing about something else entirely and were just Very Silly People in general.

#917 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2011, 12:41 AM:

nerdycellist, #905: There are apparently a lot of people who don't like good dark chocolate. I, however, will happily take any of the leftover torte that you want to send my way. :-)

#918 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2011, 12:46 PM:

FaultyMemory @904: The footer of the linked page says its copyright date is 1900. You may want to update that.

I can haz Y2K? :-)

#919 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2011, 01:59 PM:

HLN: Area dog suddenly develops a severe limp in the right hind leg. It's probably a strain or some other soft tissue problem; she doesn't mind the leg being touched or manipulated gently. She's got an appointment with her vet later this morning. In the meantime, the other area dog is very needy; he knows there's something wrong, and wants to be reassured.

#920 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2011, 02:10 PM:

Bruce Cohen... Best wishes to Area Dog.

#921 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2011, 03:30 PM:

To all fans of radio astronomy, I wish a Merry Grotemas.

#922 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2011, 04:22 PM:

Texanne, #902: "AKICIML, audio edition: A friend of my mom's has asked her to put an LP on CD. The last time Mom did this kind of thing was about three OSes and 5 computers ago...what's the current best free software for doing such a thing?"

I bump Texanne's question because I've been meaning to ask the same thing.

Except in my case, I'd like to upgrade some 50-year old reel-to-reel tapes to CD and/or MP3 versions.

Background: Sorting thru our friend Anne Braude's estate and belongings, I came across tapes her parents recorded when Anne appeared on television in 1962 as part of an undefeated DePauw University team on GE COLLEGE BOWL. (Think JEOPARDY!, but drawing its contestants from colleges and universities.)

#923 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2011, 04:33 PM:

Most PCs have a microphone port. Some have a seperate "line in" port. Both accept stereo mini-jacks. Both lead to a analog - digital converter . . . a "digitizer."

Your tape player or turntable needs a "line out" connection to connect to these. The usual form is a pair of RCA jacks. You can get a cable that converts the stereo connections to a stereo mini-jack. I often see these in thrift stores.

There's a donation-supported package called Audacity that you can download to your Mac or PC or Linux system. It lets your start, stop, and edit raw sound recordings.

I usually record an entire "side" of a cassette, or LP. Then I use Audacity to chop it up into tracks . . . copy, start a new project, paste, save under the track name.

From there you can save as a WAV file (high quality) or an MP3 or OGG.

#924 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2011, 04:50 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 916

Sometimes when I'm working at home, I'll hear yelling from the other end of the house, getting closer and closer to the door. Then, it opens, and the little one says, through sobbing:

Mommy MEAN me!

Which generally means he was told to get off the cat, or no more cookies, or something similarly traumatic.

#925 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2011, 05:17 PM:

Yes, outrageous cruelty, eric! But then I know someone* who called his boyfriend "mean" when said boyfriend wouldn't let the someone tickle him.

*In fact he's closely related to me

#926 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2011, 06:53 PM:

Watching Doctor Who from the beginning of the recent series. Discovering some odd things, like

1. There's an episode of Season One that I never watched. It has Anna-Louise Plowman in it! I kept expecting her eyes to glow and her voice to echo. She does an American accent in this episode, as opposed to the British one she did in SG-1.

2. Eccleston's Doctor is a fucking PRICK. And kind of bad-crazy in a way the subsequent ones haven't been. And he plays Captain Ahab to the Dalek in the above episode.

3. Rose Tyler, whom I remembered as being sensible and sweet, is a bloody idiot.

#927 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2011, 09:55 PM:

A friend named Ward Schrack tells of his toddler, who heard "Ward Shrack! Please come and take out the garbage NOW!" and "William Ward Schrack! Put that cat down NOW!" marching into the kitchen and saying "Mommie Ward Schrack! Want cookie NOW."

#928 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2011, 12:10 AM:

Four more largish earthquakes in Christchurch, NZ. No-one killed or seriously injured, but it's a mess. Again. On the last major shopping day before Christmas.

The predominant ChCh sentiment seems to be "Enough, already! Do Not Want!!"

The seismologists say that at some point the strain will be dissipated and the quakes will stop for another thousand years or so, but they don't have anything helpful to say about when this will happen.

#929 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2011, 01:29 AM:

HLN: Area dog's problem turns out to be dermatitis between the toes of the paw she's limping on. The vet prescribed 10 days worth of antibiotic and some antiseptic cleaning pads and powder. Area dog is now limping intermittently, but seems to be in a lot better spirits. She even holds still for area man to clean the paw.

#930 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2011, 02:03 AM:

In the interest of science I decided to try to bake a fruitcake to see if it starts out bad or just gets that way. My verdict is it starts out just fine.

Note: this is a non-alcoholic fruitcake. Next time I'll be fancier, but I tend to make the first pass a simple one.

#931 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2011, 08:32 AM:

Bruce and Stefan: Thank you!

#932 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2011, 09:37 AM:

Linkmeister #930: But can your fruitcake survive international shipping, let alone being regifted over the years and decades? :-)

#933 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2011, 05:43 PM:

David Harmon @ #932, certainly not. It's being et up at much too furious a pace. ;)

#934 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2011, 06:20 PM:

Open Thread 168 is now, um, open.

#935 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2011, 06:30 PM:

That was one of the shows we watched a lot. It was fun seeing if we could come up with the answer before the teams.

#936 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2011, 06:32 PM:

Ow. Sympathy from California.

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