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October 8, 2010

Open thread 148
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 07:59 AM *

When I was a kid, we used to set up my grandfather’s O gauge* train around the Christmas tree. We had N gauge and Z gauge trains for other times of the year, but Christmas was always O gauge.

As a teenager, I used to make model airplanes from kits. I never did much with them; the pleasure was in the building. I tended to prefer the quarter inch scale ones, which seemed to have a good balance between detail and difficulty.

And my children play with Lego. They build spaceships and landscapes in our attic, all sized to the minifigures. They also play the Lego console games—Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Rock Band—which can be presumed to fit the theme† of this post.

* American
† for which suggestion thanks are due to Elise

link back to Open thread 147

Comments on Open thread 148:
#1 ::: Lowell Gilbert ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 08:14 AM:

My father eventually gave me his collection of O-gauge gear. Including the parts I'd bought myself as a kid (since I didn't own an engine or transformer, he considered them part of the same collection). Somehow, it doesn't mean as much to my son as to me, never mind Dad.

#2 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 08:42 AM:

I've got a large assortment of misc. H0-scale railroad equipment in the basement, waiting for the youngest children in the house to reach the age where they're not in danger of trying to throw and/or eat the various bits. I grew up near one of the largest railroad classification yards in North America, and find trains to be extremely interesting on many levels...

#3 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 09:46 AM:

Open Threadiness;

I just want to point out that the comment thread on the "O NOES SHARIA LAW" particle contains some really beautiful and priceless snark.

#4 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 09:50 AM:

Regarding that sidelight- isn't every food product that doesn't contain any meat or anything pig-related automatically "sharia-compliant"? Or am I misunderstanding Islamic law here? Are the wingnuts going to boycott butter now? Or bread? Or peanuts?

#5 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 10:07 AM:

Thena @3, oh yes it does. I may have just found another worthwhile place to hang out.

#6 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 10:08 AM:

Clearly, now everything will have to be "WITH BACON!!" or otherwise it might be "secretly halal."

So does kosher food present the same problems? How about "Kosher for Passover"--do you actually have to EAT it to turn Jewish, or will just walking past it in the supermarket infect you?

Gah, now I have to go try to wash the stupid off me.

#7 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 10:12 AM:

Damn. Now I will have to buy more of those Campbell's Cream of Mushroom reduced fat reduced salt soups (in the spirit, if you want to call it that, of conservatives who use extra electricity during Turn Off Your Power Hours) and cook with them. Oh, the humanity! (and the sauces!)

Whenever I go to a store that has a train set up and running, I start /d/r/o/o/l/i/n/g/ thinking about buying one. Not that I could, nor do I have the space, but some of the brain is Mmmmmm...train set, and will not be denied.

#8 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 10:16 AM:

Lila @ 6: I am given to understand that a lot of Spanish cooking requires lard, possibly for that reason. Also, *giggle*

#9 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 10:32 AM:

Today my thoughts are focused on the task
that is to come, the duty that must be
not just for us but for what we agree
must lie behind the smile upon the mask.
Up we must get then while yet others bask
in remnant sunshine by the still-warm sea.
No one is left upon a bended knee;
to find a purpose you must simply ask.
If scripture says a slave is due to serve
and must not raise his head above the rest
that's an obscenity and shall not stand;
each has to get the honour they deserve,
find out, the hard way, passage of the test
and win the garland with their own hard hand.

#10 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 10:48 AM:

Lila #6: There's a passage in Voltaire's Candide that makes almost exactly that joke. Except it's about making sure that people in Spain didn't keep kosher.

#11 ::: Nickp ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 11:01 AM:

I have no comment on model trains, but since this is an open thread...

It turns out that if "The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin" comes up in the bedtime story rotation at the same time that you are reading "The Fuller Memorandum," the Beatrix Potter story is cast in an entirely new and ominous light.

I suspect that the full impact requires an illustrated edition: The unimaginable horror of the poor mice and moles sacrificed to Old Brown; the cold avarice of the squirrels who traffic with the powers of darkness; and finally, the gibbering insanity of Squirrel Nutkin after his mind has been broken by close contact with a Great Old One.

#12 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 11:11 AM:

Model trains have a strong connection to computer hackerdom via MIT, of course. And were an interest of Mike Ford.

I think the ones I had as a child were 'O' gauge. That meant that a ping-pong table couldn't hold a very complex layout, but I built bridges and small switching yards, and ran trains around them.

The MIT hacker connection was via control systems (relay-based, back then). I never did anything complex in that area, and didn't follow the hobby on into the smaller gauges, or into building things from scratch. But I'm still interested enough to do things like stop off at the Hennepin Overland Railway Historical Society to admire their setup and see what they're doing.

#13 ::: oldsma ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 11:18 AM:

Put your kids onto Minecraft. Like Legos, while being chased by monsters and finding your way through 3D mazes, and you need to make your own Legos.

#14 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 11:35 AM:

speaking of models, any experts on how to photograph miniature models so they don't look miniature?

#15 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 11:41 AM:

What this nation needs is trains, more trains, many more trains, particularly updated, new technology trains.

Trains beat cars all to heck, in my very firm opinion. I'd rather a zillions times take the train up to NYC from Maryland than drive that traffic and construction mess called highways, interstates, etc. It takes far less time and is far less wearing on the nerves.

Love, C.

#16 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 11:53 AM:

Erik Nelson: You need to strip them of scale. An easy way to do this, if you can, is to have an out of scale backdrop, and use that, far enough back to not cast shadows, and use that for trompe l'oeil

If you aren't trying to make them look, "natural", then a "cove box" (which is even lighting, and no borders, in effect empty space), will strip all references to scale.

#17 ::: cleek ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 12:01 PM:

a light box will get you part of the way there, but the details of the model will still give it away - scaled-down plastic just can't capture the fine detail you'd see in a picture of the real thing.

#18 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 12:01 PM:

Constance @15 said: What this nation needs is trains, more trains, many more trains, particularly updated, new technology trains.

I picked up a board book of "The Little Engine That Could" for my daughter at a thrift store the other day, and my (train-head) spouse read it to her last night. He had two major quibbles, one with the story as a whole and one with the particular artist:

1. If an engine is pulling a consist of cars and discovers it Just Can't Make It up a particular incline, and another engine comes along, you don't TAKE OFF THE FIRST ENGINE, you gang them and whoopsy-daisy, all done.

2. He was unsurprised that it was impossible to tell whether the second, Hero engine had an integrated tender or not ... but he was repeatedly shocked that the artist had put spokes in the Hero engine's wheels. Kept turning pages and staring at it and saying, "Spokes! Man, this artist knew jack about trains." I pointed out that they'd probably used toy (note: toy, not 'model') trains as visual reference, but it didn't satisfy him.

Why, yes, we do like anatomically, historically, and scale-accurate art in our kids' books. We're geeks. Next? :->

Jane Yolen's "How Do Dinosaurs ****" series (we have How Do Dinosaurs Love Their Dogs) is universally awesome on the paleontology, although we're a bit dismayed over here that all dinosaur protagonists are universally male in the grammar. We're reading it aloud with 'she' put in for every 'he,' but this is JANE YOLEN, she should know better.

#19 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 12:04 PM:

There's this legend in my wife's family that one of their ancestors invented the cow plow.

#20 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 12:11 PM:

Erik Nelson@14: Not an expert, but I've done some miniature photography (Pamela's mother makes model rooms, for one thing).

One of the things most-often done wrong is simply shooting from too high. It's often quite hard to get your lens into a position that would make sense in a real scene. (There are fancy expensive workarounds; but you can do some with ordinary equipment if you think about it. And if you're building the model specifically to be photographed, you can design around this need.)

Lighting needs to make sense, which is harder if there are light sources in the scene.

As Terry says, especially if there are flat painted backdrops it's hard to integrate them (and the lighting on the 3D part needs to match the lighting painted into the background!).

Depth of field depends on magnification, and for models you're shooting much higher magnification (less than 1:1 generally, but much higher than real landscapes) so that sometimes gives you away; but that's the least likely to make things look really wrong.

#21 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 12:42 PM:

It really, really annoys me when kids books draw the wheel balancing weights on non-steam engines. No, they're really not necessary on TGV style trains. Also, I have considered dissappearing the book that mentions "Gravity boots".

#22 ::: Narmitaj ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 12:50 PM:

@ 18 Elliott Mason - what's wrong with spokes in engine wheels, especially in a kids' book? The Flying Scotsman had them, as did the first German loco, the Saxonia, and no doubt loads of others.

My father was into trains, both model and real, and was rather disappointed that his sons weren't so keen. When my mother first met him he had a big model layout where he lived. The odd thing to my mind is, he was a pilot, his career covering a period (1941 to 1974) when RAF pilots and airline captains were generally regarded as pretty glamorous types; in his time he flew aircraft like Tiger Moths, Liberators, DC-3s, Comets, Viscounts and Boeing 707s.

Maybe because it was his job - and a job he got sidetracked into because of the war - he felt not much romance for planes, and in his retirement he never gave them much thought. Instead he'd watch train journey documentaries and get train books and go on our local heritage steam operation, the West Somerset Railway, and travel to the Alps by train.

I like travelling by train too, but I used to make model Airfix kits as a kid.

#23 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 12:51 PM:

re scale photography:

There are other tricks. A mirror at 45° will let you get further away, and still keep the image in play. It also makes lighting from the sides, etc. easier.

Off camera lights are essential. The backdrop is, actually, easy to integrate (and a lot easier now, then when I was helping aspiring movie-modelers build portfolios). The trick, in those cases, is even light on the backdrop, and small lights on the models.

Since you are working with plastics, and woods, you can use, "hot" (i.e. always on) lights, and see what the effect is, and where the shadows fall.

I can't imagine using a 1:1 ratio, not least because there will be nothing but the model in the shot.

#24 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 01:25 PM:

Terry Karney@23: 1:1 is absurd for 35mm on the kind of models I'm familiar with, and I mentioned it only in an attempt to avoid confusion about "magnification".

But of course people do sometimes use larger formats; a 4x5 might want to shoot some bits of model stuff at 1:1 I suppose (though I personally would not pick a 4x5 for this kind of thing except as a stunt).

#25 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 01:27 PM:

@ 12 ddb - There's a Mike connection with the MIT model railroad, as well, although a convoluted one. A couple of years before he died, Mike was talking with a person who had moved here from the Boston area. (I don't believe he knew that, in that conversation, yet.) In the course of conversation, a last name came up. Mike said, "Oh. [LASTNAME]. Is your father [FIRSTNAME] [LASTNAME]?" The person said yes, expecting the father's professional achievements (which are substantial) to be mentioned, but instead, Mike went on to say, "He built the model layout that was photographed in such-and-such issue of such-and-such modeling magazine," and proceeded to give a glowing review of the design and construction of said layout. The person was delighted that their father's avocation was remembered. It was a warm and fuzzy moment all around.

I was telling that story not long after Mike's death to a mutual friend. The friend said, "Wait a minute. That layout -- it was in an attic, right? And to get to it, you went up a stairway such-and-such, with a bend in such a place, and..."

"I dunno," I said. "Maybe. I can ask. Why?"

"Because," he said, "I was one of the guys who helped move the layout to the MIT Model Railroad Club." Turns out the father had left his layout to the club.

And that got me all warm and fuzzy, because Mike and I had gone to see the Tech Nickel Plate in operation, a number of years ago.

Trains. They connect things. Even things you can't build a station for.

And now I have to go reread "Winter Solstice, Camelot Station," again.

#26 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 01:49 PM:

elise@25: That's a pair of "sure folded funny" moments for sure! I don't at the moment recall knowing the story before, thanks for telling it.

#27 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 02:12 PM:

Hmmph. Grumph.

I was very enthused about HO trains -- the whole diorama-building miniature-world thing -- as a young teen, but besides being pretty broke didn't get much encouragement or support, to an degree appropriate to the anonymous soul-bearing thread.

Geeky persuits require sympathetic cultivation. There's a certain scoffing attitude common to blue-collar backgrounds that is antithetical to this. I am to this day bitterly envious of kids with "geek dads."

So, word that my father intends to pass on his O scale 40s*-vintage Lionels to me seems more like a burden than an inheritence.

The hobby I stuck with, I got really good at entirely on my own.

* Dad tells us he got his first trains as an early Christmas present, and was playing with them while my grandparents were listening to news about Pearl Harbor.

#28 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 02:49 PM:

Stefan Jones@27: I got introduced to model rocketry by a present from an uncle -- who was a propulsion engineer at JPL.

"D" engines were the big deal new thing towards the end of my time in the hobby, if I'm remembering right. The non-black-powder engines and reloadable casings weren't around (at least weren't mainstream). (Something like 1967-70 for me).

Do they still warn you not to be a "basement bomber"?

#29 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 03:36 PM:

#28: Composite motors arrived in 1970; reloadables in 1990 or so.

There's no strong "basement bomber" warnings any more, because I don't think kids are ambitious enough these days to try building their own motors in the first place. It's hard enough convincing them to enter a hobby where they have to use tools and to walk on dirt.

Lots of older folks regular mix their own composite fuels and build motors. There's a legal channel to do this, and lots of information on doing it safely.

#30 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 04:22 PM:

RE: Sharia Soup:

God, I'm getting so tired of The New Stupid.

#31 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 05:10 PM:

Erik Nelson @14: speaking of models, any experts on how to photograph miniature models so they don't look miniature?

The folks who show model horses have this down to a fine art.

#32 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 05:48 PM:

Winter geek project:

I found in the trash a hideously gorgeous doorstop.

At least, I think it is a doorstop. A heavy triangular block of iron, about 15" high, in the shape of a mermaid sitting on a rock, holding aloft a talisman, waves crashing on the rock.

I'm thinking of stripping it and repainting it.

There will be a Flickr group.

#33 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 05:55 PM:

Stefan, #27: I'm confused. Your father liked model trains when he was a kid, yet discouraged you from being interested in them? That seems odd to me; usually when geeky kids get that kind of non-supportive attitude, it's because the parents don't have the interest, never did, and can't understand how anyone could.

I still wonder how far one friend of mine might have gone if his father hadn't considered education past the basic 3-Rs to be a complete waste of time. He had to fight to graduate from high school -- his father wanted him to drop out and get a job.

#34 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 05:57 PM:

One of my uncles has a model train setup, though I've not seen it. I'm told that my dad's dad had an epic model train thing in the basement, but 'epic' can mean both 'amazing to those unconnected to it' and 'my dad made this' and I'm not sure which applies to the family stories.

I wonder what role miniaturization plays in all creative hobbies. I've known people who do tiny origami, who get lots of attention for wee sweaters for holiday ornaments, et cetera, and my own habit is to make cross-stitch and thread crochet things as small as I can make. Is it just a SO TINY! squee, or is there something else?

#35 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 06:09 PM:

hyperlocal news: rotator cuff surgery set for October 20th. I will be essentially one-armed for about three months afterward.

This is a consequence of the bad fall on a wet kitchen floor I reported at the end of August. The rotator cuff injury wasn't fully diagnosed until I had an MRI earlier this week.

Most RCI's are to the upper portion of the rotator cuff. Mine's a rarer type, to the front of the cuff, which produces a whole different sort of symptoms. So when I given the standard test for an RCI early on -- whether I could resist downward pressure on my raised arms -- the results seemed to say that I didn't have an RCI, because the test was in the wrong direction. So I wasted weeks having it treated as a non-RCI until the lack of progress, and some increasingly urgent complaints about same, finally got me sent for the MRI.

This, being gimped-up for weeks or months, has been one of my nightmares for years, because Hilde is so dependent on me to help with her own physical needs (bathing, dressing, eating, pretty much everything these days).

We'll cope. We'll get thru it. But this is not going to be fun. (Practicing the one-handed life, I found this morning that it takes nearly twenty minutes to button a friggin' shirt. I went to Good Will this afternoon and picked up some snap-button shirts to use during recovery.)

#36 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 06:32 PM:

First, Fragano @ 9 - thank you for posting that. I've just had a teaching experience that I did not much care for, and the message I extracted from your poem is helping.

I've found, in the last month and a half, that I really love to teach - but I have also found that one student can really disrupt a section. Hopefully this will get resolved quickly - I want to like all my sections, but right now one of them is more of a trial than a joy to teach. Grr.

#37 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 06:36 PM:

Benjamin, 36: Yes, one bad apple can make your life a living hell. Talk to your TA supervisor *today*. I thought I could handle it on my own, and I lived to regret it.

#38 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 06:44 PM:

#33: YOU'RE confused?

Well, look:

There's a difference in depth and intensity between having a model train set which you play with on the floor now and then (which a lot of kids did) . . .

. . . .and having a model train layout which you plan and dote on.


Watching Star Trek now and then (which a lot of people did) . . .

. . . and going out of your way to watch every episode, and having a shelf full of books and models.


Reading best sellers on the beach (which a lot of folks do) . . .

. . . and having a house full of books, knowing the history of your genre, going to author readings, etcetera.

#39 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 06:48 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe #36: Glad to be of help. One annoying student can really sour a class. If you're the TA talk to your professor about the issue. An experienced hand can generally talk you through the problem.

#40 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 08:05 PM:

Finally sent him an email today - meeting with him on Monday. Should hammer this issue into the ground by the end of next week.

#41 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 08:48 PM:

ddb @ #20 on camera height and sense of scale:

"Look up. Look way up!"
--the Friendly Giant

#42 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 08:53 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @35 -- the rotator cuff consists of 4 different muscles, and determining which muscle is injured requires several different tests. The one you mention (resisting downward pressure) would probably be the supraspinatus. Any good massage or physical therapist should know to check for all four muscles. As well as looking for tendon and ligament problems.... These are very easy, low-tech tests, just like the one you describe, only involving all the ways the arm moves. It's not like an expensive MRI.

Pardon me while I go off and fume. Because I'm really wondering if surgery is either necessary, or would have been necessary if you got a good diagnosis in the first place.

#43 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 08:53 PM:

Erik Nelson... Next to the giraffe, and to the bag with the chicken inside of it?

#44 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 08:54 PM:

Our family train set is S-gauge - American Flyer. My parents gave the basic set to my brother for Christmas when he was three. Much of the rest was from an uncle who had a layout that took half of a two-car garage. The combined sets were enough to go twice around an 8-by-10 foot oval, with sidings to hold all the rolling stock. (The cat thought it was fun to drape her tail across the tracks and flip it out of the way just in time.)

#45 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 09:33 PM:

Elliott Mason, #18, around here, the second engine is usually pulled by the first engine, too.

Bruce Arthurs, #35, argh. Is there someone else who will come and help with Hilde?

#46 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 09:37 PM:

Marilee, I've seen trains with four or five engines - I don't know if they were moving the engines or if they really needed that many.

The commuter train I ride occasionally has two locomotives on a train. If they're on the same end, it's not a good sign. (They'll sometimes use a second engine because they don't have a spare cab car, but then the engines will be at both ends.)

#47 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 09:51 PM:

A working scale model of a model train set (it sits in a window of a model of a hobby shop in a larger layout.)

#48 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 10:05 PM:

and Miniatur Wunderland

#49 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 10:50 PM:

At first I thought that said "Minotaur Wonderland." Now THAT I'd go see!

#50 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 11:03 PM:

I mentioned on "Making Essence of Purple" that I had made a habanero infusion (~500g habanero peppers, stems and tops removed, infused into ~600ml of cheap, trader joe's vodka for a bit over four days at room temperature). I decanted it Wednesday night and delivered it to the lab on Thursday. I had only ever tried ~2mL of the finished infusion in any one dose - with the result that I was unaware of its true and terrible power.

A 2ml dose should be considered the "therapeutic dose" - not painful, but pretty intense. Substantial burning / vigorous tingling of all contacted tissues (e.g., lips, tongue, mouth) for ten minutes after consumption, with detectable sensations in the aforementioned locations for up to twenty minutes after the cessation of the acute response. Various lab members consumed doses in the 10-20ml range, and described a range of dramatic effects. Two lab members consumed it on an empty stomach (dose estimated at 15ml) and reported stabbing stomach pains and/or symptoms of severe heartburn. One subject reported that, on an empty stomach, it was akin to being punched, repeatedly, in the abdomen. Other lab members, who had eaten, reported vigorous burning sensations from the mouth to the stomach; one reported nausea [unproductive].

It should be noted that my lab mates do not hate me for this - the infusion was made at the request of my adviser, who exhibited some of the more impressive responses relayed above. In fact, when queried about it today, said adviser noted that he was quite happy with it, and was contemplating the infusion's use in a bloody mary.

I have dubbed it Wolfe's Weaponized Vodka.

#51 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 11:23 PM:

Benjamin, I have a 'Lab Rat' ribbon from one convention where chili-infused vodka was being, um, sampled. In small amounts. I actually was able to drink it without ill effects, but I have to admit that it isn't going to be high on my list.

#52 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 03:13 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @35: Practicing the one-handed life

Back in Aught-Two, I chucked a new guinea pig into the main herd without giving him a chance to get acquainted (I was new to cavyherding, what can I say?) and the girls decided that he needed to die. Foolishly, I rescued him barehanded, and after pulling his teeth loose from my right wrist tendons, I even more foolishly failed to run straight to the ER and get dosed up with antibiotics, with the obvious consequences. My right hand was basically a blunt instrument for about a month.

It's really amazing how much technology it takes to make up for one hand. If you don't have one already, I strongly recommend getting a little pull-trailer of some sort.

Thank the ghods that I am in the habit of cultivating my non-dominant hand. I could at least function, if clumsily.

#53 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 03:15 AM:

Hyperlocal news...

After man and wife picked up wife's mom at airport yesterday, all went to the grocery store where wife asked mom: "We're not going to eat all those vegetables in one meal, are we?"

#54 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 03:17 AM:

Hyperlocal news...

Local fans Randi Tinkham (aka the Victorian Green Lantern) and scientist Kevin Hewitt announced at tonight's SF club meeting that they'd tie the knot next June. Couple was disgustingly romantic.

#55 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 03:35 AM:

I expect that the God of the Burgess Shale will not be pleased by this (via John Shirley).

#56 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 03:50 AM:

Jacque @ #52, "My right hand was basically a blunt instrument for about a month."

I was luckier. It was my left (non-dominant) hand. I tried to close a gate (the kind with a ring latch) by putting my third finger through the ring. I didn't pull my finger out before that 100-lb gate swung shut.

I was ten years old, and I rode my bike all around my LA neighborhood that hot hot summer with a thing that looked like a boxing glove on my hand.

On the other hand, I was treated for that compound fracture on board a US Navy hospital ship. How many kids can say that?

#57 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 04:18 AM:

... So I picked up the latest book in a series I'd been following pretty attentively, and in the course of reading the prior books to refresh my memory of the backstory, it became apparent that while I thought I was following the series fairly closely, in fact, I had purchased the last five books, in sequence, over the course of a few years, without ever reading even one of them.

It wouldn't be so remarkable, except that I honestly didn't have any idea I was more than one book behind, when I made my purchase...

Of course, I've spent the last three weeks or so repairing that oversight, and am finally on my newest new book in that line.

#58 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 09:20 AM:

Hyperlocal news...

Man has home-alone weekend before him. Is trying to decide between his DVDs of "The Martian Chronicles" and "The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk".

#59 ::: maladroit ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 01:03 PM:

@56: this talk about getting hands caught in things, reminds me of the time I had a hand caught in a car door. think I must have been five or six? my father shut the car door on my hand as I was holding onto the roof. Four fingers were pinned in the door. Fortunately I only had some bruising, because my fingers were small and the gasket of the door provided some cushioning. My father drove the car several blocks, what felt like an eternity, before he noticed my protests and pulled over.

it became a family joke, my ranking the pain of having my fingers caught in various things--a swinging door, a piano lid, an electric fan grid with the fan blades still rotating, but the worst was the car door.

#60 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 01:13 PM:

Related to Making Light's rescue & disaster focus- phew, this is pretty good luck; and good work. And, while we're talking disasters, this is very good news, too.

#61 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 03:57 PM:

I once shut PNH's hand in a car door -- bruising only, fortunately, and not even a huge amount of that. I'm more careful since then.

In other news, a local preacher of a megachurch has decided that yoga is demonic. I doubt I can say it better than my partner Karen did on her fitness blog. I'd personally add -- there's a lot of stupid out there today....

#62 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 04:01 PM:

Marilee at #45: "Is there someone else who will come and help with Hilde?"

We have a charming young lady living with us who ordinarily takes care of Hilde when I'm at work, in exchange for room & board and a very small stipend. She'll take up most of the slack while I'm recovering from the surgery.

That "slack" will include more than just taking care of Hilde for longer periods. The surgeon tells me I shouldn't drive during the recovery period, either, so Tabbi will have to do a lot of the chaffeuring, shopping, etc, as well.

If we didn't have her available, the prospect of the next three months would be a lot... a LOT... more intimidating.

(Tabbi makes some very interesting bone jewelry and accessories. Gallery here.)

Tom Whitmore at 42: "I'm really wondering if surgery [...] would have been necessary if you got a good diagnosis in the first place."

I've been pondering the same question.

#63 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 04:17 PM:

My brother once slammed my hand in a sliding VW bus door. It hurt, but the door bounced open again and I escaped with bruises. Not like one of my pseudo-grandfathers*, who lost the tip of one finger to the door of his pickup, then had to drive himself to the hospital.

My worst hand injury was nearly taking the tip off of my left thumb with a machete. I recall some trouble dressing myself for a wee while after that one.

Which is nothing like having the kind of routine that you have, Bruce. I'm glad you have help.

* I was inadequately grandparented by my blood relatives, but had a plenitude of unrelated adults of that generation step in and fill the gap. I am forever grateful for that.

#64 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 04:43 PM:

I figure the original Gnostics would probably have approved of Yoga.

#65 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 04:44 PM:

Hypermultilocal news: Area man moves to different area.

I've left Seattle and now live in Auckland, New Zealand. So far I can report that supermarket cheese is less expensive and of higher quality, but the same cannot be said for internet connections.

By the way, what is the recommended process with new email addresses and ML comments? If I just use a new address all the history will go. Using my now-defunct address seems to work, but also seems antisocial.

#66 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 05:34 PM:

Thomas (65): The usual practice is to make a pair of posts, one using your new email address and giving a link to your old view-all-by, and another using your old email address and giving a link to your new view-all-by. That provides a bridge between the two VAB's, going in either direction.

#67 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 06:44 PM:

Hiking report: It's definitely fall! Last week I found my first spruce berries of the season (one tree was so laden with them that I noticed from a hundred feet or so away). This week, we got a couple of apples off the tree! (Our stretch of the A-Trail may well have been a farm at some point, but that was a while ago... the apple branches had gone high enough that we had to poke with our hiking staves.)

In other news, I just bought the wrong gadget off Craigslist. :-( Trying again with the understanding that a "wireless router" is basically the opposite of a "wireless adapter". I want the one where metal makes contact on the computer side rather than the Internet side....

#68 ::: Gelfling ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 07:10 PM:

Casting back to Lee at 33: For the most part, my parents did as best they could to support my interests, given a tiny budget and long work days. When I was in middle school, though, we finally got our first computer when Dad's employer replaced all their XTs with something more modern. My sister and I learned how to use it for schoolwork, and played our one game* quite a lot, but when Dad disappeared into the basement and then came back up proudly as the computer played some little bit of something classical I really ought to be able to name (arrgh!), I begged and begged to be taught how to do it. For whatever reason, he just wouldn't. I'm reasonably certain that it was more that he wanted "ownership" of his neat trick, rather than it being a gender thing, but the effects still linger.

*Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego. As I recall, it was the only game we ever found that ran on the thing. Of course, we were also discouraged from looking too hard-- video games rot your brain, you know.

#69 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 07:19 PM:

Open-Threadiness: Having at last achieved a reliable internets connection, am ensconced in a hotel in downtown Atlanta. (Fragano, I left a message on your phone earlier.)

The weather is lovely this time of year, and I am not missing the daily chores of my house (dogs, cats, kittens, and boy), although I've been away only two days now -- drove down on Thursday -- so I haven't had time to start missing home. I've spent a good part of the day with a colleague, getting to know her better and wandering around Centennial Park.

In regards to getting one's hand caught in a car door, that happened to me more than 30 years ago, and I didn't even realize what had happened. My dad had been closing the car door, I reached back to get my seat belt, and he had re-opened the door to re-close it. He felt it close on my hand, and was giving me ice while I was still trying to figure out why my hand wouldn't move when I had wanted it to bring my seat belt forward. I ended up with two broken fingers, although the breaks were between the joints and not really any kind of problem.

#70 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 07:29 PM:

Many years ago I got my head caught between the car door and the roof, face to the roof. I was wearing glasses (I was in the parking lot of the mall where I'd just bought the glasses, how embarrassing), so the frame cushioned the impact by breaking. The back of my head hurt like hell for a while, but it wasn't until I got home and looked in a mirror that I saw that I'd been metamorphosed into a racoon, with dark maroon rings completely around both eyes. They lasted almost a week, but luckily that was the most permanent of the damage (I did see a doctor the next day just to make sure; I've had a severe concussion so I have learned not to take head injuries lightly).

#71 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 08:06 PM:

Ginger #69: I got your message. Can you call again, either this evening or in the morning.

#72 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 08:56 PM:

The solution to the frustrations of job-hunting after age 50: give in to despair.

#73 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 09:05 PM:

P J Evans, #46, I think the most engines I've seen pulled is three, but we have a yard here (about four blocks north of my condo) and some of the freight trains change engines there. Engines can push as well as pull, and our commuter trains usually do that -- same engine pulling on the way in and pushing on the way out.

Bruce Arthurs, #62, oh good. I had fulltime aides for three months after each renal failure, so I was wondering about Hilde. I'm familiar with deviant art and Tabbi has interesting pieces there!

A long time ago I couldn't use my right hand for a while (I don't remember why, but I remember where I worked), but I was ambidextrous until the first big stroke. I'm still pretty close, but not completely. And then there's the essential tremor in my hands -- I'm making something including small freshwater pearls and between the tremor and the dry skin, I'm having a heck of a time holding them.

As to trains, I saw this in the coupon papers yesterday.

#74 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 09:09 PM:

Earl Cooley III @ 72: I managed to find a job after being laid off this this summer, but I'm dubious about how many more times I'll be able to pull that off. I'm not only coloring my gray hair out of vanity.

A friend who is about 60, and a highly skilled software developer, has been looking with absolutely no luck for several months. She does have a job, fortunately, she's (just) miserable there. The software job market is actually rather lively in Portland right now, so the only reason I can think of for her lack of success is her age.

#75 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 09:47 PM:

janetl @ 74... What they want is cheap code-crunchers.

#76 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 10:58 PM:

Fragano @ 71: I'll call again in the AM; I don't have much going on tomorrow, so we've got most of the day for a Mini-Light. Perhaps if this gets focused just right, we can call it a Laser? Or am I already incoherent?

#77 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 11:16 PM:

About the only solution to the problem of the Economics of Despair is to invest in lottery tickets and do the hopey-changey thing. I haven't figured out the lottery investment optimum, though. Various consumer pundits never take me seriously when I ask about that on their websites.

#78 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 11:40 PM:

I've frequently wondered whether more people become millionaires each year through work or through the lottery -- and I haven't found any good figures to tell me.

#79 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 12:15 AM:

Ginger @ 76... Go ahead, remind me that we missed each other by one week in July. Ruby't in.

#80 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 12:26 AM:

Video of my sister painting a mural out in Cold Spring Harbor.

#81 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 12:32 AM:

Open Thread Randomness & Hyperlocal News

I've mentioned on here before that I do quite a bit of baking as a hobby - I do not think I've mentioned my approach to getting vanilla beans. Rather than getting them from the grocery store (which wants something remarkably obscene for them; on the order of $8-12 per dried and near-useless bean), I order them, in bulk, off eBay. Depending on exactly what I want in vanilla-land, I usually wind up with a pound or so of vanilla beans (call it 150 beans or so) for between $20-30, with Madagascar Bourbon beans commanding a higher price. So, with really cheap vanilla to play with, I do a number of things:

1. Make my own vanilla extract. Started doing this back in '07, and have kept refilling and restocking as I use it. Started off with 750ml of cheap-ish vodka and on the order of ten beans. Took about two weeks before it was usable, and it has just gotten better since.

2. [the hyperlocal news] I also make a clone of Hi-Rise's [bakery in Cambridge MA] Vanilla Loaves... which get rather more vanilla than the original recipe calls for. This evening, ten beans worth. The two pound cakes which result are in the oven now. Ought to make various friends very happy indeed.

#82 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 01:05 AM:

Thomas #65:

Welcome! You've arrived in time for the formation of the Auckland supercity. And Spring.

#83 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 02:32 AM:

One feature of early diesel traction on US railways was the cab-less locomotive, coupled to another locomotive and controlled from it.

A photograph of a demonstrator set

This was something you couldn't do with steam.

Steam trains could be run "double-headed", two locomotives coupled at the front of the train.

A short video of a double-headed steam train at Pontefract

The Wikipedia article on bank engines seems to cover the topic well. The two chief reasons for a banking locomotive at the rear are to limit the loads on couplers, and to provide additional protection against a runaway if a coupler breaks.

#84 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 02:38 AM:

Open threadiness: Portland's Wordstock festival is great fun! I went to several readings and a panel today, and there's more to come tomorrow. I've always enjoyed Brian Doyle's essays in the Oregonian, and as a speaker, he's hilarious. Floyd Skloot reading his poetry aloud should not be missed. If you ever note that author Benjamin Percy will be doing a reading your local bookstore, hie you hence, because he has the 2nd sexiest voice* I've ever heard. No idea what his writing is like, as I heard him on a panel about the Northwest regional voice. Hmm, I see that he writes horror. That might explain how his comments on the diversity of landscape in Oregon ended with a cougar attack on a chubby-cheeked toddler. It was quite funny in context.

Tonight, I went to a taping of the radio show, Live Wire. They always tape two shows with authors during Wordstock, and this year they had David Rakoff, Paul Provenza, Jonathan Lethem, Steve Almond, Derrick Brown, and Kristin Hersh. Provenza did not tell the Aristocrats joke. I've always like Rakoff's work on This American Life, and have bought his audio books, but I wouldn't have described him as adorable. In person, he was adorable. Derrick Brown is apparently a standup-comic-poet, which is a very fine thing to have in the world. I laughed myself faint during his performance.

The radio show is on Oregon Public Broadcasting, and is available as a podcast.

*The first is, of course, Leonard Cohen.

#85 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 03:55 AM:


Subterranean Press has made Ted Chiang's novella The Lifecycle of Software Objects available online.

#86 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 06:30 AM:

Soon Lee #82: a man of whom most New Zealanders had barely heard till he made the evening news slapping his own face in remorse at revelations of his personal spending on the council credit card.

You know, we could use some of that here Up North -- it'd be nice to see politicos showing some remorse for their screwups/misdeeds.

#87 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 06:32 AM:

Also, on the Wi-fi front, *headdesk* #2: Seems the Cisco Valet (USB wireless adapter) doesn't even *have* installation software to run under emulation in Linux. As an article from last night noted: "Cisco: Making it easier to miss Linksys".


#88 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 09:52 AM:

#43: That giraffe must have been larger than a brachiosaur!

#56: Pity the Hellboy comics weren't out yet.

#89 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 10:32 AM:

Sarah E @ 48... And the chicken must have been the size of an ostrich.

#90 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 10:38 AM:

Open thread thing: OK, I was listening to a radio piece on the huge "red mud" spill in Hungary. They said that normally the extreme alkalinity (pH 13) of the red mud is slowly neutralized by acid gases in the CO2.

Now waitaminit.

Don't we have a huge problem with producing too much CO2? Aren't people trying every possible method of carbon sequestration?

What would happen if you forced CO2 into the red mud under pressure? Would it neutralize the red mud faster? What would happen to the CO2?

I'm asking this because the news reports keep saying there are these reservoirs of red mud everywhere there's a bauxite processing plant, and no one has any idea what to do with them. In the past I would have assumed that if that idea would work, someone would already have proposed it...but the amount of stupidity in the world appears to be rising exponentially, so I thought I'd just check.

#91 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 11:46 AM:

Ginger #76: 'Tis all in pieces, all coherence...

Oh, what was I saying? Let's see. Contact was made. Let's move towards making some small light. Perhaps we can call it a sparklet....

Serge #79: Jewel have to make it to Atlanta sometime...

#92 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 12:22 PM:

Xopher #90: The first thing that occurs to me is, that would cost yet more money, and the basic issue is that these companies were too cheap to neutralize the stuff properly in the first place.

As far as the stuff already in the reservoirs (or spilled), I think the big issue would be mixing -- the gas would tend to bubble off.

#93 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 02:08 PM:

Xopher #90:

Using alkaline wastes to absorb CO2 is a current area of R&D. The question is how to do it cost-effectively, and mixing is one of the problems. Specifically, bauxite waste includes both sodium hydroxide in solution, which is neutralized rapidly, and less-alkaline solid particles, which are neutralized much more slowly. There tends to be a pH rebound after initial CO2 treatment due to the solid particles.

You can Google for "alkaline waste carbon sequestration" or "alkaline waste carbon sequestration bauxite" for more details.

#94 ::: tiberius ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 02:09 PM:

Dear Light Makers,

I have been lurking for some time here, and as usual, lurkers come out of the dark corners to unlurk when they want something.

The discussions here give me the impression that the crowd here on Making Light includes many people who know how to have my kind of fun.

We (38, 32, and 2 years) are relocating to California (Bay Area) from Germany in a few weeks, to stay at least until 2012. Please point us to unusual stuff to experience that is uniquely US American, but goes beyond the stereotypical ballgame, TV, and shopping. Maybe things that only make sense when you visit for longer than a few weeks. Maybe it is a quiet place to visit beyond the usual top ten lists. Maybe things that only make sense when you visit for longer than a few weeks. Maybe it is local artists, people, music, that are not easily understood anywhere else.

You seem a cosmopolitan bunch, so maybe are there others who made the same jump, possibly with kids? Any tips to ease the culture shock (I have been to the US frequently, but so far only for a few weeks. I am looking for more subtle things that may take longer to do or understand).

Also, surprisingly good food in unexpected places or with unexpected ingredients.

Am I making sense? Fire away!

(Fellow Germans: Do not worry, I know how to bake my own bread.)

#95 ::: tiberius ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 02:10 PM:

I forgot: Thanks in advance!

#96 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 02:16 PM:

tiberius @94

When I visited San Francisco I really enjoyed the Exploratorium, a museum of science and human perception.

#97 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 02:22 PM:


Pick a concert venue that plays genres of music you enjoy, and go there on a semi-regular basis. The small, friendly folk club in my Bay Area city has concerts almost every night, and you can see an amazing cross-section of the folk music community (both performers and audiences) if you go even once or twice a month.

Pick up the local free newspaper (there are several) and flip through the events calendars. There should be sections for readings, concerts, plays, and family (i.e. families with young children) entertainment.

Surprisingly good food -- just ask people you meet to recommend food, and you'll get infinite answers from them. Try the local farmers' markets and produce markets. The farmers' markets often have musicians playing between the Swiss chard and the peach display.

I'm sure other people are going to give you further and better advice, so I'll stop talking now. But have fun!

#98 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 02:46 PM:

Ack! Posted to 147 by mistake:

Okay, somebody here will know:

If I take a picture with a friend's camera, who owns the copyright to that image? (I mean technically. In practical terms, the owner of the camera owns the physical instantiation of the image, at least until he or she give me a copy.)

In other not so local news: the Secret of Kells is streaming on Netflix.


#99 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 02:53 PM:


Many varieties of Latin American food -- the Mission district.

Specific western US foods: dozens of varieties of chilli peppers (fresh, dried, smoked), Pacific chinook and sockeye salmon (different from the Atlantic ones), the India Pale Ale style of beer.

Places: Monterey, both for the Aquarium and for the monarch butterflies that stay there in winter.

#100 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 03:02 PM:

Jaque #98:

[insert ritual disclaimer]

I'm pretty sure you own the picture, unless you had agreed otherwise as a condition of borrowing the camera. Even if you'd stolen the camera you would still be the creator of the image and the copyright owner. This doesn't necessarily mean that you could legally force the camera owner to give you the photo, though.

#101 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 03:03 PM:


I'd recommend Muir Woods, walking around the UC Berkeley campus (there's also lots of odd and good food in Berkeley), and of course The Other Change of Hobbit (where you're unlikely to see me these days, as I'm in Seattle). There's a lot to the Bay Area, and it'd help if you actually mentioned what part you'll be staying in -- I'd recommend differently for someone staying in San Jose than someone staying in Sausalito.

#102 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 03:05 PM:


I have no great guidance - having been here two months, and not having had a lot of time to go exploring - but I will think about it and see if I can think of anything in particular that I would suggest.

#103 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 03:10 PM:


I was disappointed to find that my name 'Mandelbroc' for the nearly-fractal Romanesco broccoli has been invented by lots of other people.

#104 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 03:14 PM:

Yeep! I musta used a Word of Power: my comment hung in moderation.

#105 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 03:15 PM:

In 147. Ahem. (I am a potato.)

#106 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 03:18 PM:

Hyperlocal news: New personal best in half-marathon (okay, it was only my second, but I bettered my previous time (same course) by 1 minute 42 seconds)). Note for next time: fight harder not to get boxed in and slowed down during first couple of miles.

#107 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 03:24 PM:

P J Evans @46: I've seen trains with four or five engines - I don't know if they were moving the engines or if they really needed that many.

If it's a freight train in the mountains, yeah. They need that many.

One of my favorite found rushes is happening by when a freight train is accelerating, especially uphill on a grade. The engines go by, and the base is so loud it pounds on your chest, and then the cars go by faster and faster andfasterandfaster&FASTER&....!!!!

Wuuuuhhhh! Makes me heart go thump just to think of it.

#108 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 03:25 PM:

David Harmon @87: I've not tried the specific device, but I've had good experience in the past with the manufacturer of this adapter. Might be worth trying?

#109 ::: tiberius ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 03:30 PM:

Thanks, that was quick.

Thomas: We've been to the Monterey Aquarium, love it. I did not know about the butterflies. We will definitely go there a lot.

Tom: I will be working in (South) San Jose. We do not have a permanent place yet. Where should we rent a house? We do not care about prestigious neighborhoods or good school districts (yet), but we are a little scared of suburbia (we are used to live in German Altstadt districts and to have everything in walking distance :-). We may not want to pay for Los Gatos, same for Mountain View or Palo Alto, which are also too far for my commute. Thanks for the other tips.

#110 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 03:32 PM:

Linkmeister @56: I was luckier. It was my left (non-dominant) hand. I tried to close a gate (the kind with a ring latch) by putting my third finger through the ring. I didn't pull my finger out before that 100-lb gate swung shut.

I'm afraid to ask: do you still have the finger?

Schoolmate of mine in junior high jumped down off a locker while horsing around after gym class. Left a ring and his right middle finger behind. :::shudder:::

#111 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 03:41 PM:

tiberius @94 -- when I was in the opposite situation (moving from the US to Germany), I discovered that there were a number of expats at my husband's place of work, and there was an informal social network with a number of activities. If your workplace doesn't have anything like that, local university campuses may be potential resources.

(Oh, and about the bread? I reverse-engineered Diamant's 'Sechskorn' Backmischung if you're interested.)

#112 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 03:45 PM:

Gelfling @68: video games rot your brain, you know.

There are those who contend that video games just ferment your brain.

#113 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 03:57 PM:

Bruce Arthurs: Sympathies, and admiration re. thinking now about the need for snap-button shirts. When I dislocated my shoulder, I was on holiday, and was extremely glad I happened to have one pair of elastic-and-drawstring (rather than zip-and-button) trousers with me.

#114 ::: tiberius ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 04:18 PM:

Debbie @111 : Thank you. But real bread is made from rye, salt and water. Nothing else, except maybe some spices. :-)

#115 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 04:30 PM:

Jacque @ #110, Oh, yeah. It resulted in a compound fracture above the top knuckle, but the only lasting damage was a double nail on that finger. It's not even noticeable enough to be a conversation-starter.

Thanks for the thought.

#116 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 04:50 PM:

tiberius: Okay, in south San Jose you've got a lot of odd fun things that are fairly easy. Monterey Aquarium is a good day-trip -- it's around an hour away. Closer is the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk, if you like old-style amusement parks; the Tech museum in downtown SJ; and several good wineries. If you're into science fiction and conventions, there are two general interest cons in SJ, plus a furry convention, a few anime conventions and the like. There's a restaurant guide from when the World Fantasy convention was in San Jose last October which has some good recommendations; I can dig up the URL, but you might find it easily with an online search on "World Fantasy Convention San Jose". I don't know the neighborhoods there anywhere near as well as I know farther north. If you want rural, going out highway 17 leads to some fairly near and very wooded areas. There's lovely woodland space not far from there.

#117 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 06:36 PM:

Today Sarah and I hit the thrift shops, looking for another pair of camouflage pants to replace the ones with the knee she wrecked in vigorous crawling around the Adventure Center at the Y. One pair was too small. The next was too big. I suppose the pair that's just right is still waiting at the third shop that we didn't go to.

But we did find tennis rackets, and since she has been interested in tennis (Lulu plays tennis), I pointed them out. We picked some up and waved them around and bought two. Next we went to Target and bought three balls. Lastly, we went to a park near here with tennis courts and tried to volley back and forth a bit. We were sort of pathetic.

Then I showed her the wall you hit balls off of when you don't have someone to practice with, and she wanted to play there for a while, so we did. Much of the time was spent fetching balls that went over the wall.

She may be able to play some with Lulu in the coming week. Total cost so far: $4 for two rackets. $1.50 for three balls. Two more balls for free, picked up at the park. Entertainment and exercise value: as they say, priceless.

In other news, I've successfully resisted (here) offering the advice "Be sure to wear a flower in your hair." I so good.

#118 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 06:44 PM:

Jules #108: Thanks for the recc, though I note the comment there that it needs some bashing to make it work with Ubuntu.

In fact, I just ordered This one. I'm a bit worried about the antenna being fixed to the back of the machine, but it's specifically noted as "working" on the Ubuntu hardware wiki. And this is a cheap experiment... if it doesn't work out, I might try your recc.

Mini-vent: I want to get this thing moving, dammit! I have put the owner's Fisher 400 (vintage radio) on Craigslist ($225 with speakers, but buyer pickup -- I'm not taking responsibility for shipping that thing), and I can probably get a few other things onto EBay without it, but to auction the literary journals (A few date back to 1873!) and such, I really need to have a computer and Internet connection in the storage room....

#119 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 07:11 PM:

tiberius - even living in South San Jose, you will probably make it up to Mountain View/Los Altos/Palo Alto every now and then. When you do, consider these food sources:

The Milk Pail Market - they bill themselves as a "European style open air market" which sounds pretentious but they really are a nice market with fresh produce, a great array of cheese (mostly French), fresh bread, and other fun stuff.

Dittmer's - an independent butcher and wursthaus - they make all their own smoked meats and a nearly infinite array of sausages, pretty authentically German. (I have a friend in the Bay Area whose parents are originally Austrian - whenever they visit her, a trip to Dittmer's is essential). Dittmer's is almost directly across the street from the Milk Pail.

You can put a really nice picnic meal out of the foods at Dittmer's (which also operates as a deli) and the Milk Pail.

#120 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 07:43 PM:

tiberius @94: In terms of things that are uniquely American, what you get here that is labeled 'Chinese' food is actually a Chinese-American uniqueness, often rather unlike what they actually eat in China. Similarly, American pizza bears very little resemblance to what is sold in Italy under the same name.

If you get a taste for Mexican/southwestern US food, you may well regret it after going back to Germany, because there's jack for decent Mexican restaurants in most of Europe. :->

If you like good dense rye bread (and are sick of making it yourself), bakeries in Jewish neighborhoods are often a good place to start, esp. if they have lots of Eastern-European Jews. Also, don't miss experiencing real Bay Area crusty sourdough (wheat) bread at least once, even if you turn out not to like it. It's not gettable anywhere else, not properly. :->

Monterey Bay Aquarium is a treasure, and you're also within relatively simple day-trip driving distance of the Scripps Oceanarium, which is nothing short of mindblowing ... for me, anyway. It is one of the three premier places to do Marine Biology advanced work in the US, or was when I was an 8-year-old planning such a career. :-> Their open-to-tourists aquarium thing is also awesome.

If you do a weekend or weeklong vacation trip down to San Diego, Balboa Park is a central depot of very much unique coolness, from the San Diego Zoo right on through art museums (one with a good set of medieval-and-renaissance European stuff). Also in the area is the Getty, or rather the two Gettys, one modern and one ancient (Greek and Roman). Truly awesome, and I'm glad I had a chance to see them on vacation.

If you're at all into militaria, San Diego also has the Nimitz, an aircraft carrier on permanent museum duty.

Whale-watching is a really neat thing to do in season, though a 2-yr-old may be too young to properly appreciate it this year. :->

#121 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 08:41 PM:

Elliot, the Gettys are in Los Angeles (more or less), so not so convenient if you're going to San Diego.

I think the Midway is in San Diego being a museum, though.

Hyperlocal news: a transformer blew up this morning and apparently fried video chips in area woman's computer.

#122 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 08:52 PM:

P J Evans @121: Sorry. We visited the Getty Villa on a tourbus day trip from San Diego, so I have really no idea where it actually spatially is. :->

#123 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 09:19 PM:

There's a lot of natural beauty in California that's well worth taking the time to explore. I've heard good things about Muir Woods as well, but haven't managed to get there myself yet. If you're in South San Jose, the coast range isn't that far away; I had an enjoyable day hiking in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, for instance, on a previous visit.

(But plan a route if you go, and make sure you've got enough time to complete it. I hiked there in the winter months, and the weather was much more summer-like than it was back home. But the sun still sets at the same time as back home; I ended up doing the last mile of my hike in rapidly deepening darkness, when I was intuitively expecting summer-length days along with the summer-like temperatures.)

And if you don't want to go out whale watching with a 2-year-old, you can still go seal-watching (and -listening) along much of the coast, without leaving dry land. Little ones often enjoy encountering them. Ask your neighbors and colleagues for some good seal spots near you (the ones that first come to my mind are some distance from San Jose).

#124 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 09:40 PM:

Ah, one point about the ocean along the northern California coast -- the water never gets warm. Even if the air is pleasant, the water will be cold. Young ones tend not to notice this much, but adults do.

There are nice beaches and sandcastling to the west of San Jose, over the mountains -- another thing Santa Cruz is good for.

#125 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 10:03 PM:

And, by all means, sample the local micro (and not-so-micro) brews.

#126 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 12:31 AM:

tiberius @94:

A pleasant place to spend a Sunday as a family is the Stanford University campus. We used to do that when I was a kid; I'd certainly recommend it for a family with a toddler.

Having moved a three-year-old and a six-year-old from the UK to the Netherlands, I'd say you're lucky in having so young a child. You guys will probably experience some layers of culture shock and homesickness, but the toddler won't.

For you guys, my recommendation would be to find a good expat shop for whatever things you can't buy otherwise. (Says the family that spent an extra half-hour in Amsterdam trying to get Milk Duds...expat shop said they were out of stock!)

#127 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 01:42 AM:

TIberius: Let me know when you get here, as you will be, in the main, in my neck of the woods. I am in the Bay, and know some accessable, but not well talked about places of interest.

Milk Pail and Dittmer's are in walking distance. Also, for some expatish stuff is the smaller Esther's bakery, which has a beergarten, and decent food, as well as pastries and newspapers (in German).

For weekend trips, the Central Coast (San Luis Obispo, is wonderful; but I am partial). If you are interested in a trip to Los Angeles, I lived there for 30 years, more or less, and can make recommendations, though there are Flourospherians living there, who might better play native guide.

Really... This is my state, and I am chauvinistic about it. I could go on for ages about the wonders and glories it contains, so really, drop me a line when you get here. I have transportation, and a GPS: I'm not afraid to use them.

#128 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 01:45 AM:

abi is right, there is some great stuff at Stanford. A museum, a bunch of Rodin, some interesting architecture (and some interesting installational art of practical nature).

Really, see above: California is amazing.

#129 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 01:47 AM:

abi @ 126... We used to do that when I was a kid

I think ladies were starting to show off their ankles by then.
That frying pan hurt.

#130 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 01:58 AM:

Question for the Encyclopaedia Fluorosphericana:

I thought I'd recovered my entire iTunes library after my hard-drive crash a couple of months ago. However, I chanced to notice the other day that for some reason, a lot of the albums that were still in my "ripped mp3s" library didn't reload into the iTunes library, or into any of my playlists.

I have not re-synced my iPod since installing the new iTunes, so all of those albums and playlists would still be complete on it. What I need is a way to designate my iPod as the primary source for a sync -- IOW, syncing FROM the iPod TO the iTunes library rather than the other way around.

Technical data: My iPod is a 40G 3rd-generation antique. I'm currently running iTunes on Windows XP.


#131 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 01:58 AM:

Terry Karney @ 128... California is amazing

Darn right.
When I was living in the Bay's suburb, a decade ago, I once looked out the front window and saw a peacock and his peahens ambling along the sidewalk of our busy street.

#132 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 02:07 AM:

Re tiny things: My oldest daughter, now six, has a set of tiny but functional pots and pans. She loves to make tiny pancakes and tiny batches of soup. She will even taste things that she would turn up her nose at if I made them for her in the big pots and pans. We explored the function of different basic ingredients of cornbread and corn pone by adding them one at a time and baking tiny cakelike objects and she even tasted those!

Note: It is prudent, when using tiny steel pots and pans, to put them in a normal-sized steel skillet or thin-bottomed aluminum pot, which will act as a diffuser. When baking, use a baking stone or cookie sheet for the same purpose and to make moving them around easier.

My tiny fun involves constructing imaginary ecosystems; they fit into my skull, so that makes them small, right? On that topic, I have a question for anybody who has a background in geology. Take a basaltic volcanic island--make it, oh, a thousand feet high and two miles broad at the coast. Put it in an ocean that ices over every winter, with regular strong winds. Now make it extinct. About how long IYO would it still have a surface above sea level? Are we talking a million years, less, more?

#133 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 02:24 AM:

Jenny Islander: I think less. You have two, major, sources of erosive action... talus (from the freezing/thawing), and wave action. The strong winds will also scour, so there will be carving.

But I am not certain. I would guess in the 100,000-250,000 year range.

#134 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 02:52 AM:

Lee - unless things have changed drastically (heh, snort, right*), syncing from an iPod to a computer takes third-party software. Even then, I am not sure if the software that has been written will recover playlists, or just audio files - but I do know that you cannot just do it with iTunes.

*Chalk it up to a lovely combination of the record labels and the RIAA liking technological straightjackets and Apple having a certain institutional view of the world where things do not go wrong.

#135 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 03:05 AM:

Tiberius @94: I'm three years out of date. However, another vote for the Milk Pail and for Stanford. There are lots of good bookshops around the area, including the one mentioned above. There are a fair number of hiking trails, including some short easy ones suitable for all ages (including those in a pushchair, as my social group demonstrated...). One of these which is well worth doing if you're into that sort of thing is the earthquake trail at Los Trancos.

#136 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 03:08 AM:

Lee @ #130, I dunno if these suggestions will help, but just reading them might trigger an idea.

#137 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 05:19 AM:

Tiberius @109: I'm not a San Jose resident, but until one pops up, let me see what I can do. For two adults plus a toddler, and you prefer an urban environment, you'll probably be happier in an apartment and you'll have a lot of choices.

Use craigslist to look for apartments.

There is an old style of California apartments that I rather like: a one or two story building with a stucco exterior, and steel frame windows that you crank open. The best ones have hardwood floors. It might not have air conditioning.

Another classic California style is the awful modern apartment with cottage cheese ceilings, shag carpets, and some kind of faux architectural decoration slapped on the outside of the basic box. You will see a lot of these. I can't say I like them, but I've lived in a few, and they can be perfectly okay.

Another option that might work for you is a townhouse. The most common size is two bedrooms. A townhouse will be a little bit bigger than an apartment, on two levels, and will have a small yard. it will be in a complex but individually owned and you rent from the owner. It probably will cost more than an apartment, but not as much as a detached house.

When inspecting any housing in the Bay Area, the thing to watch out for is mold. It's fairly common to have cheap construction where water gets into the walls from the winter rains, or from a plumbing leak. This causes the growth of fungus, which damages the structure, causes respiratory problems, and is a Sisyphean task to clean. A well-maintained structure should not have any mold. Make sure in particular that the bathroom is well ventilated.

Downtown San Jose has several new high-rise apartment buildings. Downtown is small, walkable, has good transit, a couple of good supermarkets, and a good movie theater. But it's small, and I don't think there are good places for young children to run around.

San Jose has a lot of neighborhoods. Think of San Jose as several small towns clustered around a downtown core. Each neighborhood will have a shopping district where the density will be higher and there will be more apartments. San Jose is also strongly encouraging higher density development along the light rail lines, but the light rail generally does not run through the established shopping districts. So you can live in a new apartment on the light rail, and walk 10-20 minutes to shopping, or live in an older apartment near shopping, and walk 10-20 minutes to light rail.

There are several neighborhoods with farmers markets. In addition, San Jose has local grocery stores such as Cosentino's and Zanotto's with outstanding produce. Find a grocery store you really like, move in nearby, and get to know it better.

I would also look for a park within easy walking distance where you can play with your kid. San Jose has dozens of parks.

What I would not look for is a place near a mall. They tend to get very busy and noisy with lots of car traffic. Also, don't do what I did and get an apartment over the laundry room. Or on a road near the edge of town where heavily loaded gravel trucks would come barreling down from the quarry at all hours day and night.

#138 ::: David ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 05:22 AM:

Ahem. The plural of Lego is Lego.

That is all.

#139 ::: tiberius ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 06:39 AM:

Thanks for all the suggestions. Do not worry: I already like California a lot, that's one reason why we are going. Actually, my idea that I would find like-minded people here was on the money, I know half of the suggestions already (including one of the Gettys) and already planned to go again :-) My favorite "small place" so far is the wave organ in SF.

In particular, thanks about the food sources! Good grocery are always difficult to find, and I do not want to spend all our money at Whole Foods.

#140 ::: tiberius ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 06:45 AM:

Tom @137: Good tips! We do not want necessarily an Urban environment, I just said we are scared of suburbia. This doesn't mean we're not going to try :-) "Little boxes, made of ticky-tacky..."

There's a German phrase "what kind of home do you want? Oh, nothing much. A quiet oceanfront farm in the city center with the mountains in the backyard".

We actually have a little backyard as one of our "must"s, such that our son can play outside even at home, without us having to lug the toys to the park and back. This may be difficult in an apparment complex. Luckily, we get a little rental counseling by the employer, so I hope they will help with detecting the mold. I guess missing credit history will be more of a problem than mold.

#141 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 10:34 AM:

Jacque@98: The law says that the copyright belongs to the creator, and exists from the moment the work (image in this case) is first fixed in tangible form. (This is current US law; which is more similar to world law than the old, pre-1978, US law was, but it's still distinctly US.) (There's a special case for work-for-hire, but that requires an explicit work-for-hire agreement, so that's not relevant to the question you asked; I mention it just so that I haven't made quite so overly broad a claim above.)

Of course if it became an issue of conflict, proving anything by even a preponderance of evidence might be tough, depending on who saw what and what was in the pictures (for example, if you used the camera to take a picture of the owner, then the picture at least proves that the owner didn't take that picture themselves, which is a step towards proving that you did). And as others have mentioned, ownership of the copyright limits what other people can do, but it doesn't in and of itself obligate them to hand over the original to you.

Best to work things out on a friendly basis :-) .

#142 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 10:36 AM:

A fluorospheroid I,
A fool for songs and verses
For rhyming metric curses
And knowing how and why.

My list of likes is grand,
With things both rich and strange as
I ring all sorts of changes
Where'er I put my hand, yes
Where'er I put my hand!

Would you dwell on medieval times?
I'll dwell with you!
Oh, fal la la la la la la la lum!
Or do you love more recent rhymes?
I dig those too!
Oh, sorry... [plum]!

I'll fill your scanning eyes
With notions old and wise
While footnotes rise
From sources new —
O, novus ordo seclorum!

But if real-life revelations should be called for,
I've scientific studies rightly made
For whatever wonders we may meet in fiction
Reality can put them in the shade!
I sing of scientists who question all things
And settle for no theory lacking proof
And I know that if it's cosmic lore or small things
They'll never ever rest, until they reach the truth

(Yes, if it's cosmic lore or even things too small for us to see
They'll never rest, until they reach the truth!)

And if you dote on a sharp turn of phrase
You're sure to find it here.
Like many others, you'll stand in amaze
At the quibbles rich, and the many ways
The winds of chat can veer!

(Woo hoo! 'Tis True!
The winds of chat do veer!)

To play it safe with a dull cliché
Some other site may approve
But the only lines we find okay
Are swift and light
And crafted tight
And freshly made today, hey hey!
Like a chess grandmaster's move.

(Then wipe your keyboard — off we go
As toward the light we steer
With a hip hooray
And a rondelet
The winds of chat will veer!

With a hip hooray
And a rondelet
Hey hey! Hooray!
Hooray! Hey hey!
And rondelet,

A fluorospheroid I,
A fool for songs and verses
For rhyming metric curses
And knowing how and why…
And knowing how…
(and knowing how and why)
…and why!

Reposted and messed with from another, less vibrant thread.

#143 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 10:53 AM:

Kip W.@142: Ooh, wow! This is really getting very good. And I only encountered one line I took multiple tries to read right (not any more tortured than some of the originals). That's not one of the simpler songs, either!

#144 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 11:17 AM:

Bumper sticker seen on the way to work: "Don't believe everything you think."

#145 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 11:39 AM:

janetl @84: he has the 2nd sexiest voice I've ever heard.

One of the sexiest voices I've ever heard was our own Mark, during our online gathering at dinner at the Berkeley Breads of India. Leastways, until the ridiculous schedule he'd had the previous day caught up with him.... ;-)

I've actually contemplated hiring him to phone me early wake-calls so I can get to work on time. 'Cept that would be a cruel thing to do to someone who keeps a musician's schedule.

#146 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 11:52 AM:

Kip W @117: You know what it means when you open a new can of tennis balls and don't hear the hiss?

It means you shouldn't eat them.

#147 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 12:14 PM:

Jacque @145, I'm not quite sure if it obtains on your current telephone equipment, but back in the day, on old-school copper-wire telephone connections, his voice was pitched at exactly the right frequency to disappear into inaudibility. So the wake-up call might not work as well as you'd like!

#148 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 12:27 PM:

Lee: re iPod.

Obviously, the songs are there, otherwise the ipod couldn't play them. I've recovered albums from my 2nd gen ipod before, manually, but it was a pain. They're stored in a hidden folder, with hashed names. The metadata is still there, so you can do things like drag them into iTunes again and tell it to keep them organized, and that will get your filenames back. That is, once you've gotten them copied off the ipod to somewhere else.

I did that on a linux box, and since I didn't have any music software on that machine, it simply recognized my ipod as a drive, and let me copy stuff.

#149 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 12:50 PM:

Jacque @ 145: Aww, shucks. But to the left, you are two timezones earlier than I. Also, I'm waking up at 5.30ish Eastern time to get to dialysis on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And furthermore, if you use the alarm feature on your cell phone, you could use an mp3 of, well, anything as ringtone, no?


#150 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 12:53 PM:

Bay Area touristing: I've been to Muir Woods, and it was lovely. A better deal, for my taste, though, is to go to Santa Cruz, and then cut up into the mountains to Soquel. I stayed at a little resort called Greenwood, and it was great. The trees are wonderful.

Also, the Hearst Castle is on the coast about halfway between Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara. Ya cain't hardly git no more American than that.

Terry Karney @128: I have very fond memories of hanging out at the Stanford Shopping Center whilst reading Tea with the Black Dragon.

#151 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 12:56 PM:

Has anybody suggested driving to the top of the Bay Area's Mount Tamalpais on a sunny day?

#152 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 01:03 PM:

tiberius @140: I just said we are scared of suburbia. This doesn't mean we're not going to try :-) "Little boxes, made of ticky-tacky..."

If you want to see the absolutely canonical "ticky-tacky houses, that all look the same" take a day-trip up towards SF and stop off at Daly City. I'm given to understand that this is the very development which inspired the song.

While your about it, Tom Whitmore can put you in touch with Ctein. Talk him into letting you stop by and see his photography. Also, he has a good view of the Sutro Monster. (I'm assuming he still lives in Daly City?)

#153 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 01:12 PM:

WRT copyright of a photo: in this particular case, I don't anticipate conflict, as the owner of the camera in question is, indeed, the subject of the image. (Though this is not as diagnostic as it might be, as he commonly uses a timer to take pix of himself; he keeps a sort of photo-journal.) And we made the image with the idea of using it to base a painting on. And, as it happens, I have a copy of the photo, so possession is not an issue. I was just wanting clarity because it simplifies things considerably if I technically own the copyright to the image I'm using.

Contrast this with a lot of the practice portraits I've been doing, which come straight off the TV, so I can't post them on my blog, unless I can figure out how to contact MGM to get use permission. (I'm sure there's a straightforward way to do it; I just haven't found it yet. MGM seems to be pretty accommodating of fan-use, so I'm hoping I can get posting permission at some point; I'm finally getting stuff I'd like to show off if I can.)

#154 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 01:18 PM:

Mark @149: Aww, shucks. But to the left, you are two timezones earlier than I. Also, I'm waking up at 5.30ish Eastern time to get to dialysis on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And furthermore, if you use the alarm feature on your cell phone, you could use an mp3 of, well, anything as ringtone, no?

::ears grow points:: Say, now, there's a thought!

Do I correctly recall that you're Skype-able? Hm...!


Mwa-ha, indeed!

#155 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 01:20 PM:

Jacque@152: Yes, though the house is now much harder to spot -- there's no longer a VW van permanently parked in the driveway.

Jacque already knows this of her own experience, but for anybody who doesn't, let me add my opinion that the original prints are VERY much worth seeing. (There's a show hanging at the Minneapolis Photo Center currently for people in this area.) But also that the versions on his web site are quite good, and very easy to get to.

(Don't try to catch him in Daly City this week, though, he's here in Minneapolis.)

#156 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 01:44 PM:

ddb: Yes, I'd heard that the van had an unfortunate encounter of the angular momentum kind, some while ago.

Not my favorite vehicle: turns out the resonant frequency of the very stiff front shocks just happened to match that of...shall we say...those of us who wear D-cups.

#157 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 01:49 PM:

tiberius - another thing you may want to do is utilize Caltrain to explore the old downtowns of many of the Peninsula cities. Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, San Carlos, San Mateo and so forth all originally emerged with small main shopping streets branching off from train stops, and these remain in many areas today. Castro Street, California Avenue, University Avenue (which also features a shuttle to Stanford University), Menlo Park, and Burlingame all have traditional shopping streets immediately at the train station. Some station areas have been more modernized, but also land you in close proximity to shopping. [For instance, the Milk Pail and Dittmer's are in easy walking distance from the San Antonio stop]. Hillsdale [a mall] and Redwood City [a newer shopping cluster] come to mind.

#158 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 02:00 PM:

Open-threadiness: usually the underground bike parking where I leave Emily plays classical music (Vivaldi and Wagner seem to be favorites; an unlikely combination, but there ya go.)

Today as I was locking my bike, I realized it was an instrumental version of "I don't know how to love him" from Jesus Christ Superstar. Gave me an earworm all day, which I quite generously shared with my more receptive colleagues.

#159 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 02:10 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Local woman learns she really can go ballistic (in both senses of word) when new neighbor's son sets off fireworks in small well-like space between houses.

#160 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 02:19 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @ 81: Speaking of vanilla beans, have you come across Vanilla Saffron Imports yet? Their physical presence is on Valencia in SF, sharing space with Xanath Ice Cream (danger! danger! Do not go there while hungry!)

#161 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 02:42 PM:

abi @ 158... an earworm all day, which I quite generously shared with my more receptive colleagues

Or did it feel to them like a Ceti eel?

#162 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 03:02 PM:

Just saw where someone in Philadelphic threw a book at the President. Some writers are desperate for attention, even if it's from the Secret Service.

#163 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 03:22 PM:

Davd Kuzminski@162: And to think there are people out there (not you, it would appear) who are vague on the difference between the definite and the indefinite article.

And yet "threw a book at x" and "threw the book at x" are quite distinct to nearly everybody.

#164 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 03:46 PM:

Also contemplating the difference between "throwing a book" and "throwing a shoe."

#165 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 03:56 PM:

Apparently the book-thrower really wanted Obama to read it, says the Secret Service.

Spokesman Ed Donovan said the man had written the book and hoped the president would read it. Donovan said agents concluded the man posed no danger.

Self-publishing. It leads one to desperate actions.

#166 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 03:57 PM:

There is, though it is, of course, not for everyone, a really nice motorcycle road (Old San Jose) which goes back up into the hills, from the town of Soquel.

I happen to work in walking distance of the Palo Alto CalTrain.

In short, there will be lots of chance for showing things, should you be of a mind.

#167 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 04:26 PM:

Open threadedness: I'm going to be down in the Bay Area working on a storage locker from Thurs night through Mon morning this week -- any folks (Benjamin, Terry, others) want to try to meet up? I've got other things to do as well, but wouldn't mind a small gathering of light.

#168 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 05:20 PM:

Speaking of Mount Tam and interesting things to do in the Bay area, there is a play held each year on top of said mountain. It is great fun, so long as you take vast quantities of sunscreen and ice. (I had sunstroke once as a result of inadequate quantities of the latter.)

#169 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 05:31 PM:

Linkmeister @ 165... I can see the blurb:

The book that touched even the President!
#170 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 05:36 PM:

Julia Jones @ 168... In 1997, there was a film festival on top of Mount Tam and, what with Pathfinder having landed on Mars earlier that year, they showed George Pal's "War of the Worlds". I went, of course.

#171 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 05:52 PM:

I was glancing at top of the site when I did a doubletake at Teresa's Particles. One second later, I realized that it was about the canonization of St Mary MacKllop, not about Patricia McKillip.

#172 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 05:56 PM:

synching upwards from the ipod. I have the same problem, because my Mac died, compounded by the fact that my new computer is dual boot and I want the music to be available from both boots of it.

#173 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 06:19 PM:

Kip W @ 142:

Lovely. Well-timed, too; I got to read the improved version before commenting on the original. More than doubled my fun.

#174 ::: Joe McMahon ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 06:36 PM:

I'm just grousing on behalf of a friend - feel free to disregard if you please. Posting here as this is one of the few SF/fantasy places I frequent. And no, I don't expect anyone to do anything, I just feel a little angry and frustrated on friend's behalf.

Friend's short story was just rejected at a certain market not-to-be-directly-named here. They specifically request stories set outside the US, but this one "didn't
work" for them.

One might think that OK, just not a good-enough story, maybe, if it hadn't been picked by MZB herself for _Fantasy_ when she was still editing it and had also gotten a reader's choice award.

It's sad that in the current US societal climate, it's hard to tell if they really just didn't like it enough or if there were other unconscious (assumed for charity) factors influencing the decision. (Said story set outside the US, and has no Caucasian characters at all, only locals.)

I'm definitely prejudiced in my friend's favor, but rejecting this story, especially since I've seen other people recommend it recently (even though as far as I know the only legit way to find it is back issues of _Fantasy_), seems a bit in the weird zone.


#175 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 06:38 PM:

Hyperlocal News:

Older son stops off to visit for a day at end of conference in Seattle; parents, younger son, and daughter-in-law haven't seen him in more than a year. All goes well and all have a good time, except that dishwasher computer board breaks down the night before. Not as serious as it sounds: when repairman arrives the day after visit, he has an exact replacement in his truck. Washing now taking place.

#176 ::: MinaW ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 06:43 PM:

re tiberius #94, Elliott Mason #120

About whale-watching - there can't be too many places where one can hope to see blue whales in a day trip off a coast! I had no idea until a friend said she'd seen them off San Diego on July 23 (was it 1998?).

Anyway, I thought I'd have to reproduce the current conditions (El Nino/La Nina) and date and all that. But not. In researching it, turned out that somewhere on the coast every year someone will have blue whales! Just google California and blue whale, and whichever place has them will have posted. And summer is not the usual season.

We should all go see them while there is still upwelling of cool-nutrient rich water off the coast somewhere, so there are krill for them.

#177 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 06:44 PM:

abi @ #126: No milk duds? What else do you pine for that they do not have?

#178 ::: MinaW ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 06:51 PM:

tiberius #94

Also, in the Coming Events section of the local paper, keep an eye out for the Society for Creative Anachronism. (medievalist re-creators) They started in the Bay area, events there can be particularly spectacular.

I once was at a tournament at a site below a tall bluff, and there were hang-gliding "dragons" overhead of the medieval costumes and sword-fights...

#179 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 06:53 PM:

Hyperlocal news...

Man's electrician neighbor just came and fixed kitchen's fluorescent lamps, half of which were busted.

Kitchen now making light.

#180 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 06:58 PM:

elise @ 177... Does Abi pine for the fjords?

#181 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 07:04 PM:

Erik @172: I didn't put in with this earlier because somebody was talking about a PC, but I've used PodToMac to send the contents of my iPod to my Mac successfully. I'll note that once I did, the stuff was all in one big folder called "iPod," and I spent many nights of several weeks straightening it all out (and still find pockets of messed-upness). It may be that careful preparation or proceeding in a less than wholesale fashion is called for. Learn from my error!

ddb and Bruce: Thanks! I'm glad to hear that it seems to work now. I kept finding... well, never mind. I think I can stop fiddling with it, anyway.

#182 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 07:10 PM:

Joe @ 174

I'm neither an author nor an editor, but I've sought out conversations between them for decades now, and have learned a few things.

You (and your friend) are certainly entitled to grouse about the story not being bought, but I wouldn't be too quick to jump to the conclusion that the story wasn't bought because of bias. Yes, it's possible that that's the case, but it's also quite possible it's not.

There are many, many reasons that perfectly good, even excellent, stories are not bought for a particular anthology or magazine. There are issues of space (it may be too long or too short for the remaining pages available), there are issues of "this story is just too similar to this other story we already bought", or the story may not fit with the "tone" of already purchased works. Or maybe the editor(s) simply didn't like it as much as other submitted stories. People do have personal tastes, too; even editors. Or perhaps a big-name writer, whose name could be splashed on the cover, wrote something that might not even be as good, but they chose to buy it for marketing reasons, and had to bump a story to make it fit, and your friend's story was the right length.

Or maybe they were biased.

Rejectomancy hardly ever works. There are many factors that go into buying or rejecting a work, and only rarely do you ever find out what they were. Jumping to the least charitable conclusion doesn't make sense to me.

#183 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 07:12 PM:

Bruce @ #175, that happened to us once on Christmas Eve dinner day. We got even luckier. Repair people (husband & wife shop) came out by 11:00am, dusted and cleaned the circuit board, and it worked like a charm. Good thing, since I had four days worth of dishes in there and a turkey dinner in the oven.

#184 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 07:15 PM:


Back in the days of my youth, there was an office building in Loveland that we sometimes drove past. It was some sort of Lego HQ. I used to daydream about going in and asking if they gave free samples. It wasn't many years later that it became something else — a real-estate office or something — but it was still easy to tell that it was the old Lego building because there were giant LEGO bricks built onto the facade. (Just sort of stuck there; not realistically incorporated into the construction, but still sort of neat.)

#185 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 07:21 PM:

I've decided, after more than a week of successful use of my job jar on a daily basis, to make a minor change. When I actually finish a task, instead of throwing away the slip, I will cross out the task, write "Relax" on the slip, and put it back in the jar.

When I draw it, I will skip working at a task for that day. Perhaps I'll set the timer anyway and read a book for an hour before turning on the computer. Haven't decided.

In any case, after one use, the "Relax" slip will be discarded. The idea is to a) put SOME easy stuff in the job jar, and b) create a reward for actually finishing something. The idea is NOT to slowly turn everything into relaxation!

#186 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 08:19 PM:

Jacque @ 154: You do indeed. And why do I feel like Carl Kasell all of a sudden...

#187 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 08:21 PM:

Jenny Islander, #132, depends how tiny hers are, but I have a set of pans for my toaster oven that make nice small things.

Serge, #169, not only did Obama not get hit by the book, but he didn't even see it. The video shows him looking in a completely different direction.

Cally Soukup, #182, and it's possible that they don't want a story that was already published.

#188 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 08:33 PM:

Hyperlocal News: Seriously aggressive hail falling here in Hoboken. As in, I'm hoping my skylight doesn't crack. The whole roof is like a drum.

#189 ::: Gelfling ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 08:36 PM:

Jacque @ 112: Ooh, I like that. I'll have to share it with my parents, although the one who's most antagonistic about video games is the one least likely to watch it. Oh well, one of the perks of being an adult is that Mom and I can agree to disagree on stuff like this.

#190 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 08:37 PM:

Marilee @ 187... Never let accuracy stand in the way of a lame joke. :D

#191 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 08:42 PM:

Hyperlocal news...

Family's recent feline addition keeps trying to paw food away from man's plate while man is eating from said dishware.

#192 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 09:26 PM:

First two EBay auctions up! Since I promised to post links:

Night of The Living Dead Cards: Numbered cards from 1 to 68, from "Image Ten Productions.

Star Trek Trading Cards: Complete 160-card run of Impel Marketing's 1991 Star Trek 25th Anniversary Trading Cards, Series I.

Both sets are not in original packaging, but otherwise do seem to be in remarkably good shape.

My initial bids are based on poking around the Web, comparing similar items, and then lowballing a bit.

#193 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 09:39 PM:

Tom at 167: It depends on when - I'm out of town Friday and Saturday night; back sometime (early Sunday afternoon, I believe).

#194 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 09:46 PM:

found at Cherryh's blog:

Video streaming of over-the-shoulder birds in flight: a peregrine and a goshawk. Not recommended if you're really susceptible to motion sickness; the birds are very agile.

Hyperlocal news: computer chips not fried after all, much to the relief of the owner.

#195 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 11:08 PM:

I was in Santa Barbara this weekend; drove down Friday, back Sunday. Had a wonderful time, taught some Aikido, saw friends. Went to Sunday Mass at Mission Santa Barbara. It was beautiful. I love old buildings. It was built in 1786, destroyed by an earthquake in 1925, and has since been completely restored. I'd didn't really have time to look around, and I regret it. So -- I've decided that I want to visit all 21 of the El Camino Real California Missions, from the southernmost one in San Diego to the northernmost one, in Sonoma. Prior to my visit to Santa Barbara, the only one of the Mission churches I'd seen was Mission Dolores, in San Francisco, and I'm ashamed to admit I've never been to Mass there, though I walked by it close to every day during the 10 years I lived in San Francisco. Most of the Mission churches are restored and most are also parish churches. I'm going to try to go by car, to do them in order from north to south, and to do it all within a 12 month period, though I'm going to be flexible about all of those choices, especially when it comes to getting to the ones in the south.

#196 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 11:10 PM:

Lizzy L, the mission in Santa Clara is part of the university, right downtown. The Alameda used to go past it, out front; you could see the mural over the doors.

#197 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 11:22 PM:

Are you hoping to attend Mass in all of them, Lizzy? That sounds like a very interesting trip to write up. No idea if anyone would pay for a book of it, though....

#198 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 11:40 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Woman registers with eBay for the first time and buys replacement sewing machine for $60, including shipping. "I've always wanted a pre-1970* Singer!" she says.

(It's sixty years old, and it ought to outlive me. Old Singers are tough.)

*The Singer family sold the company in 1970; the newer machines aren't nearly as sturdy.

#199 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 12:11 AM:

Serge #54: Please pass along my congratulations to them; in keeping with elise's #25 and the continuing existence of Small World Syndrome, your hyperlocal news involves someone I knew in college (RT).

Hyperlocal news: I just returned from one convention (ConClave) and am preparing for another one (Conjecture) this following weekend. I hope to see some of the Minneapolis-area Fluorospherians while I'm there.

#200 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 12:28 AM:

it's late at night and i have been internetting too long and losing track of time. i only have myself to blame for this. i just thought i would leave a mark on the internet because it's leaving a mark on me, and so i am posting another comment.

#201 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 12:31 AM:

Christopher @199

And some non-Minneapolis-area ones, too. I was prevailed upon to attend at the last minute.

If anybody planning to attend has a copy of the game Credo, I'd like to proofread my copy against theirs....

#202 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 01:25 AM:

Lizzy: Want to make a weekend of it, and do some Aikido in SLO (I used to be a member of Aikido of SLO, wonderful people), and take Mass in the Mission?

Breakfast afterwards has lots of potential.

(the bells in the mission are glorious, and the church is splendid. If the pastor hasn't changed the homily ought to be pretty good too)

#203 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 01:53 AM:

Christopher Davis @ 199... I'll let Randi & Kevin know.

#204 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 02:18 AM:

Cally Soukup @182, maybe you're right, but I'm not sure whether it's really a good idea to start out with the points you're making, out of all the possible first reactions to Joe's post.

#205 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 09:48 AM:

In hyperlocal news, local woman again proves her own "drugs in the shoes" theory -- that shoes tried on in the store have drugs in them that make them feel and fit great, and when they wear off, usually on the way to the bus the next morning, you discover they weren't the life-changing perfect shoes you thought they were after all. Fortunately, said woman keeps THREE spare pairs of shoes in her office.

#207 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 10:58 AM:

Janet Brennan Croft @ 205... drugs in the shoes

Oh, is that what they're laced with?

#208 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 11:18 AM:


Anonymity/pseudonymity is really hard because of exactly this issue: You try to achieve a certain amount of anonymity in the present, but your attackers live in the future, with more computing power, cleverer algorithms for data mining, and larger public and commercial databases available for cross-linking information.

The situation is similar in cryptography (for stored messages, at least). Except that we have tools that can probably make stored messages really, really hard to decrypt in the future, even assuming all these better resources for attackers. That's not true for anonymity and pseudonymity. (Though most encrypted files are encrypted under a key derived from a password, which to a first approximation means they're not very strong, and dictionary attacks do benefit from future computing power, storage, and even access to better public databases.)

A related problem that plagues all internet communications: We speak today, in this environment. Our words stick around till tomorrow, in some political, economic, and social environment we can't even imagine. Will taking some unpopular political positions today get you shunned or fired or jailed or executed in 30 years? Hopefully not, but it's very hard to say. US society is quite different now from that of 30 years ago, after all. Absolutely uncontroversial, middle-of-the-road statements by politicians regarding race, gender, and sexual orientation 50 years ago now sound (correctly) like awful bigotry. It's a mistake to assume that this kind of change in what's socially acceptable can only move toward better values--for all we know, fifty years from now there will be a few politicians cringing at the quotes drug up by their opponents in favor of drug legalization or the Iraq war or economic policy.

#209 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 11:20 AM:

Not that I'm going to put a whole lot of detail on it - but I met with the professor I TA for yesterday, and he's backing me to the hilt. Which is great. He's pretty awesome in general, but this confirms it.

With some luck, it should all be sorted by sometime this afternoon.

#210 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 02:10 PM:

Cally (#201): yay! See you there!

Serge (#203): many thanks.

Additional hyperlocal news: I'm now making plans for ConFusion in January, so I'd love to see Detroit-area Fluorospherians (and those who might be traveling there at the time).

#211 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 02:20 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Area resident, age 20 months, has discovered two things today. 1, she can remove all her clothes by herself (including that pesky diaper); 2, crawling -- a long-despised activity, prone to sudden strandings on tummy and inability to get up again -- can be extremely amusing as a method of covering distance (if admittedly not so efficient as walking). Local parent heard to speculate as to whether zippers would be harder to circumvent than snaps.

#212 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 03:01 PM:

Tom, I am indeed intending to attend Mass at all of them, if I can. Terry at 202: definitely possible. Does the Sonoma dojo have a website?

#213 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 03:27 PM:

HYperlocal news...

Man realizes he's had neither breakfast nor lunch.
Decides it must be because of extreme dedication to his work.

#214 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 03:39 PM:

Hyperlocal news...

It's time for tea.

#215 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 04:09 PM:

Serge @ #180

...or for the fnords?

#216 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 04:19 PM:

Benjamin @ #50

I have dubbed it Wolfe's Weaponized Vodka.

If you make the next batch using a Polish solvent, you'll be able to call it W3 (or maybe even W4 if you use Wodka Wyborowa).

Just don't ask this moose to taste it though.

#217 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 04:43 PM:

Searge @207, that left a bad taste on my tongue. Though it was probably good for my sole. Aiglet you get back to work now.

#218 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 04:56 PM:

Serge @207: Ouch. That's gonna take some time to heel...

#219 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 05:07 PM:

And now the puns are coming instep, with military precision...

#220 ::: Remote Parent ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 05:33 PM:

Elliot, when the local children (now old enough to be hideously embarrassed by reminders that they ever wore diapers at all) were of an age to take their clothes off at inconvenient times, we found overalls useful. The younger one figured out the clasps before she stopped wanting to take off much-needed diapers, so she began wearing them backwards. (It wasn't by her choice. It just put the clasps where she couldn't reach them.) In extremis, you may also want to consider fastening diapers with old-fashioned safety pins.

#221 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 05:58 PM:

And I am happy now. Issue with student and section resolved. Huzzah. Good professors are awesome.

I have to go to lecture in half an hour, but that should be interesting.

#222 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 07:06 PM:

In breaking hyperlocal news, woman returns from three week ordeal involving aged parents, overwhelming house and assisted living to find her house had been broken into. Police sources indicate that some of the distinctive* liquor stolen had been recovered at another crime scene, along with the alleged punk's probation paperwork!

*including mead, which remained unopened because it required a corkscrew.

#223 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 07:57 PM:

Christopher Davis, #199, Conjecture is making room for a memorial for Reen Brust.

#224 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 08:09 PM:

Cadbury Moose #219: You were expecting the puns to be a shoe-in?

#225 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 08:28 PM:

Hyperlocal news...

Man picks up family's new feline addition for confinement in non-kitchen room while supper is being prepared.
Feline freaks out and leaves inch-long slash on man's bulbous proboscis.
Man less than thrilled with feline at the moment.

#226 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 08:58 PM:

Serge, in response to hyperlocal news reported @ 225, "man's wife sees scar, instantly forms character for new novel. 'He'll be a combination of Scarface and Cyrano!'"

#227 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 09:22 PM:

tiberius @140: There's a German phrase "what kind of home do you want? Oh, nothing much. A quiet oceanfront farm in the city center with the mountains in the backyard".

You'll definitely have to take a drive up along Rt. 1 once you get here, although actual farms have become somewhat scarce-- iirc there are still a few south of Half Moon Bay-- and the mountainousness of the coastal hills may depend on your basis for comparison. (They're pretty impressive compared to the Appalachians of the US East Coast, although not to the Rockies or the Alps.) However, the Pacific Ocean is undeniably oceanic, at least when not obscured by fog.

#228 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 09:30 PM:

Julie L: There are, for values of city, some places just like that on the Central coast.

#229 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 09:39 PM:

Who knows what's going on behind those bushes?

#230 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 09:41 PM:

Terry @ 229: The Shadow, um, Stegosaurus knows?

#231 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 09:55 PM:

Tracie @222. Sympathies on the cascade of stressful things. But *snerk* at the alleged punk leaving his probation documents behind. With the ink still wet, sounds like.

#232 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 10:47 PM:

Hyperlocal news: area woman's car has new ignition wiring, no longer contains mouse nest.

#233 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 11:14 PM:

If anyone is looking for another reason not to shop at Walmart, this might be one.

I am so sick of seeing crap like this. To those on life paths that fall by any degree outside the so-called heteronormative, I'd like to apologize for some of the idiots on my path.

#234 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 11:15 PM:

Not-so-local news: mini-light gathering successful in the conjunction of Fragano and me. It was a lovely afternoon for a chat while sitting outside.

Other news: the first Chilean miner has just reached the surface and is now hugging his family.

#235 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 11:36 PM:

Hyperlocal News, flea edition: Local woman posts on Livejournal about fleas, realizes she may well cry.

I took a nap on bedding I washed last night and found three bites this evening. I found two live, now dead, fleas on my bed. I checked the cat to confirm that there were no more fleas on her, since she's actually my biggest weapon against them, and found a live one.

It's better than it was a month ago. It might not seem like it, but back then, the issue was that the cat was covered in bites and dirt and had a nuclear tailspot going on. Now, it's just that it's been a month and I'm so tired of having to think of these things.

#236 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 11:42 PM:

Syd @233: Especially interesting because it's major-label, nationwide distribution for a vanity press title.

#237 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 11:48 PM:

Diatryma @ 235: I suspect you are actually getting things well under control, although you certainly may feel like nothing's changed. The flea life cycle is a little variable if conditions don't permit an immediate blood meal, so you are possibly getting late hatched eggs/late developed larvae that are developing now into adults and dying fairly soon. Fleas also get more active when they're dying, so they jump around more.

My recommendation is to keep using the medications that you've got, keep cleaning the cat's bedding and any other material where the cat might sleep as well as your bedding. Use the hottest water and hottest drying temps you can get away with, as that will help eliminate the last eggs/larvae/pupae/adults.

For comparison, I had to dip my cats once a week for 8 weeks before I finally eliminated the fleas from my apartment. This was well before the topical flea treatments hit the market, and was the only thing I could do (other than vacuum and launder repeatedly).

#238 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 11:57 PM:

Diatryma: Fleas have as Ginger says, a strange life cycle, and the pupation ends when they are near enough a warm object to hatch out and make a meal.

So it can be a fair bit of time for the last latent pupae to all get the chance to come out.

The upside, if they get on the cat, they will die. If they don't get cat's blood to feed on, they will die, and not breed.

#239 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 12:02 AM:

Thanks, Ginger. I know that things are getting better-- half a week ago, I seriously thought and probably said that I thought I had things under control. They aren't in my bed any more, just on top of it. The cat is much less miserable. If nothing else, I have most of a bag of diatomite still to throw around.

I do pretty well with nuisances and discomfort as long as it's interesting. This stopped being interesting a while ago*.

At least I'm not terribly likely to get typhus.

*see also my car's electrical troubles over the last year.

#241 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 12:03 AM:

Appreciation of the Fluorosphere time.

Someone on another site told the story of how his father put a knife to his throat when he was eight years old, saying "if you turn out gay I'll fucking slit your throat." He didn't even know what gay was. The father then followed this up with further homophobic messages as he grew up.

Someone else on this site wrote a long comment in reply, beginning with the following sentence:

Your father most likely did not put a knife to your neck.
(I've set this off in blockquote, so you can stare at it in fascinated horror.)

He then talked about false memories, and how it just wasn't really possible for a father to do that to his own son.

Oh yes, I let him have it, with the electric cat o' nine tails, dipped in ammonia. But I'm mentioning it here just to notice how much better this online community is. We have had occasions when people seem to be denying others' experiences, and it's dealt with honestly and forthrightly; but I've never seen a case on ML where someone just outright denied the truth of someone else's account.

And this guy wasn't calling the other poster a liar, either. That's common there, unfortunately. No, he was saying he didn't think it was possible for that event to have taken place. Clueless. Jawdroppingly clueless.

Oh, and he also told the guy he should try to reconcile with his father, now that he's out. Sometimes I wish I could reach through the internet and pound someone's skull flat.

#242 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 12:17 AM:

Linkmeister @ 226... Wasn't Al Pacinose in "Scarface"?

#243 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 12:58 AM:

If watching videos of paint drying is making you tense:

Dog blood donation video.

#244 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 01:44 AM:

Thank you, Stefan! And it is so weird typing that and not meaning my Stefan. Didn't realize how weird it would be. Also weird, although I've sent at least a dozen people to Dove Lewis and handed out countless brochures to new pet owners when I was working in Beaverton, I've never actually been there or seen inside the place. That was really interesting to me.

#245 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 04:20 AM:

So NaNoWriMo looms, I shall be having another go at it, and, again, while I anticipate hitting the word-count, I doubt it shall be worth paying for. Besides, I've already written the anarchist furry commando version of Where Eagles Dare, so it wouldn't count. Even though I did include a moderately historical spear and magic helmet.

On the other hand, I can see ways of working in Sherlock Holmes, the Orient Express, and assorted soon-to-be-dead Nazis (that last is getting to be a habit). And WW2 hasn't even started yet (unless you're in China). (Scribbles note: "Rebecca Chan, Fashion Show, Speed Week")

#246 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 04:27 AM:

Fragano @ #224

Toecap it all, I thought that one was going to be the last.

#247 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 06:14 AM:

Diatryma... My best wishes, and may the fleas flee your life soon.

#248 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 06:20 AM:

My wife and her mom came back from their long-weekend trip to Taos at supper time yesterday. Later, the latter picked up from our DVD shelves a movie, based on a TV series she'd never heard of, and she enjoyed the movie so much she'll look up the series on NetFlix? The movie?


Is my mom-in-law cool or what?

#249 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 07:41 AM:

Ginger #234: It was, indeed, a lovely afternoon for a chat.

#250 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 07:42 AM:

Cadbury Moose #246: Now you're just being arch.

#251 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 07:45 AM:

Syd #233, Elliott Mason #236:

Actually, this isn't exactly "nationwide, major-label distribution", (though I'm sure the Grahams are claiming it as such). As I noted at the site Syd linked: Those "over 100" stores are out of some 4,000-odd stores Walmart has just in the USA. Given the vanity publisher, my guess is the Grahams are selling to individual managers. Sending letters to WM Corporate might actually get some response.

#252 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 09:21 AM:

Fragano: Shoo!

#253 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 09:45 AM:

I recently finished watching Season One of "The Invaders" and liked it a lot - especially the part where Ed Asner plays an alien. By the way, while I had known for quite some time that Philip K Dick had been a fan of the show (what a shocking revelation), I was quite surprised the other day when I noticed that one episode had been written by another name of SF - Ted Sturgeon.

#254 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 09:48 AM:

Kip W @ #252

Careful, remarks like that can leave quite a welt.

#255 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 10:06 AM:

Serge @248, your mom-in-law is shiny! (After she gets through Firefly, she might like more Nathan in Castle, which seems to be getting better and better written, and I'm not quite done with Season 2.)

#256 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 10:13 AM:

Um, woah, but I think we just had an earthquake here in Norman -- seriously shaking here. Will need to check the stacks and see if the books are all okay....

#257 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 10:26 AM:

Janet Brennan Croft @ 255... Actually, when she saw Filion, she recognized him because of "Castle". Speaking of which, it recently had a 'steampunk' episode, I've been told, and author GD Falksen, who was a consultant for that story, is quite happy with it. I'll have to see if it's been posted on the web yet.

#258 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 10:31 AM:

Janet Brennan Croft@256: One's true priorities come to the fore in an emergency!

Glad you're okay.

#259 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 10:38 AM:

The Chilean miners are all out of the mine.

I'm just taking a moment to cherish the fortitude and resilience that kept them alive, as well as the ingenuity and determination that got them out.

Truly, the world is a little more full of light today.

#260 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 10:51 AM:

Janet Brennan Croft:

From the USGS site: 4.3 Epicenter is 5 miles East of Norman.

Hmm, there's been some activity in Arkansas in the last few days too...

#261 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 10:54 AM:

Local conditions: I personally know now what is meant by the music of geese. They are migrating down here to their traditional winter grounds in the Chesapeake region. The sky is constantly cut by their wavering, yet sharp lines of flock flight, day and night. Particularly at dusk, as they wing over the marshes and creeks and fields -- fields let me haste to point out of fallen corn and grains -- they are a dramatic silhouette against the mauve horizons. They honk. They honk while flying. They honk-chatter constantly on the ground - water to and with each other.

Last night we were driven out into the country to have dinner in the home of a couple who live in the historic Kent County village of Still Pond. the village is mostly 18th century, with a scattering of 19th edifaces -- even a couple from the 17th.

Ribbons of geese flew as we drove. We could hear them though inside the car.

We sat in the screened in porch before dinner. Still Pond is located among grain fields and a web of creeks feeding into the Chester River. Oh did the geese vocalize, in steps, in harmony, and sometimes out of tune and dissonance. I wish I could understand what they were saying.

Funny how the Chester River year-round geese sound different, though they too chatter and blather constantly.

BTW, dinner was 'merely' a plain supper, of entirely local ingredients of course, from the pork roast to the corn out of which the fritters were made. Even the spice cookies were local, and show up only at this time of year. Merely a plain supper? It was one of the best meals I've ever eaten. I'd put it up there with the best of meals I've had in Spain, Italy, New Mexico and New York.

Well, the after-supper Jameson's wasn't local, I suppose, though our hosts are of Irish descent.

Love, C.

#262 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 11:19 AM:

Linkmeister @ 256... Looking at my conk in the mirror this morning, I found myself thinking about "Chinatown".

#263 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 11:23 AM:

Yep, earthquake epicenter was a few miles east of campus. No damage reported so far, though I hear one campus building was evacuated just in case. Library staff shaken up, but I've found nothing off the shelves anywhere. Security is eyeballing the outside of the building now. Well! Now I can truly say I felt the earth move.

#264 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 11:34 AM:

Tracie @ 222:

I don't recall if I mentioned it here before or not (probably), but I had my car broken into a few years ago. They took everything out of the glove compartment (maps, tyre pressure gauge, etc.), the fold-up sun shade thingy, and the cigarette lighter, but not the radio.

They also left behind their glasses and their knife.

I really wish they'd taken the radio.

#265 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 11:48 AM:

Sarah S #259: Absolutely!

#266 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 11:58 AM:

Sarah S. @259, Fragano Ledgister @265, sorry, as of now, only 16 out of 33 are out. (Several places, including the Guardian, have liveblogs.)

#267 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 12:20 PM:

KeithS @ 264: Someone attempted to break into my car once. There was nothing but an old sweater visible, so I don't know what they were going for. Now, if you had a crowbar and you wanted to break into a car, what would you do? Break a window? Maybe pry a door open? The doofus decided to pry open the lift gate of my station wagon -- from the hinge side! He succeeded in bending the roof, bending the door and loosening the window. Because this happened on federal property (the parking lot of the Battle Creek Federal Center), the FBI had to be called in. They laughed themselves silly.

#268 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 12:27 PM:

Raphael @266: that's odd. NPR just said they were all out.

#269 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 12:29 PM:

Xopher @185: I've decided, after more than a week of successful use of my job jar on a daily basis, to make a minor change. When I actually finish a task, instead of throwing away the slip, I will cross out the task, write "Relax" on the slip, and put it back in the jar.

Xopher, that's freaking brilliant. And intelligent. And sensible. And...brilliant.

When I draw it, I will skip working at a task for that day. Perhaps I'll set the timer anyway and read a book for an hour before turning on the computer. Haven't decided.

Maybe put the specific form of relaxation on the slip? "Read a book." "Sit & veg." &c?

I find if I've got an hour to goof off, I often spend half of it dithering about what to do, which is very frustrating.

But that's just me. :)

Mark @186: Apparently, this is a request James Earl Jones gets on a regular basis. I deduce this because it was used in a comedy bit I saw him in (don't remember the context).

I'm sure this wasn't helped in the least by his doing the voice intro for Bell Atlantic (which made me laugh everytime I made a call, first time I went to NYC).

I had to laugh when I saw Sneakers: You know the guy on the other end of the phone is the Real Good Guy because it's JEJ's voice. After he found fame by voicing Darth Vader. ::shakes head:: "Wait—what?"

Gelfling @189: Point your mom to Urgent Evoke. Tell her to try being antagonistic to that. Just try.

I'm not a game-player, but I kind of regret not going further with it. It's astonishing how quickly I found myself acruing community there. Sigh. Looks like it's probably gone fallow now, though.

@207: Serge! How do you do that?

#270 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 12:42 PM:

Public Service Announcement: Get your flu shot sooner rather than later. The CDC recommends that this year, everyone older than 6 months should get a flu shot (unless, of course, you are allergic to any ingredient in the vaccine). There is plenty of vaccine, so you don't have to hold back for higher-risk people to get it first.

The vaccine this year protects against influenza A H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the 2009 H1N1 virus.

Cases of seasonal flu are already beginning to crop up here in NC. The first two showed up on September 7; yesterday a friend of mine reported that he had it. I got my flu shot last week; they were giving them out free to students and staff. I've also been pestering my husband to get his.

I had H1N1 last year -- it was the sickest and most miserable I've ever been. I don't want any of y'all to go through that.

Here in NC, I've seen "flu shot available here!" signs at every pharmacy I've had occasion to pass -- both at standalone drug stores and pharmacies inside grocery stores, Target, etc. The usual cost seems to be $25-30, if you don't use insurance.

#271 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 12:43 PM:

Elliott Mason @268, odd. Perhaps someone who works on preparing broadcasts for NPR hadn't followed the story closely enough and misunderstood a dispatch about "miners being rescued" as meaning "the miners being rescued"?

#272 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 01:15 PM:

Raphael@271: I listened to NPR as I drove in this morning. At that time, they said that 11 miners had been brought to the surface so far. And they spoke briefly with a reporter of theirs on the site.

So they don't have much excuse for losing track of the state of things later!

#273 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 01:43 PM:

re 266: The Beeb was streaming coverage at least over night; I saw the 9th guy pulled out just before I left the house this morning.

#274 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 02:11 PM:

Xopher @241: It would probably be bad for my karma to request a link. ('Sides, reading that thread would probably burn my eyes out of my skull, howevermuch I'd like to admire your, um, riposte.)

And it's probably entirely pointless (not to mention unwise) to direct the poster in question to the dysfunctional families thread....

But wrt your core point about the difference between ML and the rest of the 'net—yeah. What you said.

#275 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 04:02 PM:

KeithS @264: So many things seem to remind me of the moment in Good News from Planet Earth where, during a cross-country odyssey in a junk car, the protagonist discovers that Dadaist punks have broken into the vehicle and installed an expensive stereo system.

Not-so-local news: They pulled the 20th miner out while I was pedaling an exercise bike at the Y. Next up is the guy who wanted his wife and mistress waiting for him. That's bound to go well.

#276 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 04:31 PM:

Terry Karney @ 240: Oooh! Thank you for the pointer. I loved seeing the Mary Rose the last time I was there. That and visiting the foundations of York Minster were my two favorite experiences, I think.

#277 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 05:00 PM:

Jacque 269: Thanks! And yeah, I decided I have to set the timer and not just use "relax" to turn on the computer earlier.

I've now eaten two meals at my table, which three one-hour sessions ago was piled so high with stuff that anything else I put on it would have caused an avalanche. Now almost its entire surface is exposed, and the few things on it belong there!

Ibid. 274: After multiple people yelled at him, he came back and wrote another long screed, which he summed up by saying this:

I am only saying two things:
1. His memory might be too distorted, and he'd be wise to acknowledge this. Otherwise, his hatred might be bigger than needs to be.
2. He should try to fix the relationship first before giving up for good. He is free to break free from his family, but he should at least try other alternatives first.
Excerpts from my response:
You have no damn right to say either.
It is NOT OK to deny other people's experiences. The OP's father held a knife to his throat when he was eight. For you to deny that such a thing happened, or even to imply that it was probably a false memory, is obnoxious in the extreme, naive at best, and malicious at worst.
. . .
As for "his hatred might be bigger than needs to be," it needs to be however big it is, and at least big enough to keep his father out of his life.
And your second statement is clueless, obnoxious bullshit. Again, you don't know what you're talking about. He should NOT try to reconcile with these people, especially his father, unless HE feels that need. He has not the slightest obligation to any of them. Abuse automatically negates the traditional debt to one's parents. And in the case of his father, he's not even physically safe to be around.
Saying that an abused person should go back to his abuser for more abuse is 1950s crap. I don't know where you are, or why you have such archaic ideas, but join the 21st Century please. In modern times we don't expect women to be barefoot, pregnant, and confined to the kitchen; we don't make property of other humans because of the color of their skin; we don't have whites-only drinking fountains; and we don't tell people who've escaped from abusive families that they should try to reconcile with them.
In that whole thread, it's pretty clear which people come from abusive homes and which don't. It may be that some of the people who seem to come from non-abusive homes are just RWAs who haven't shaken the mindset.

#278 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 05:14 PM:

Xopher @241 and 277, I wonder whether randomly denying various things that this guy (the one who's denying other people's memories) claims to have seen, observed or experienced would be an appropriate response.

#279 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 05:23 PM:

Raphael, it's interesting. In another thread he talks about how he cut off all ties with a family member who did x, y, and z. He does claim he tried to reconcile with her but eventually gave up. I considered denying that x, y, and z could have taken place, but I don't really want to engage with this person all that much.

#280 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 06:08 PM:

Hyperlocal news...

Man's new feline family member and resident female cat are seen touching noses.
Noses remain attached to feline heads.
Man's own nose healing nicely.

#281 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 06:47 PM:

Kip W #252: Beware, or you may be awarded the Order of the Boot.

#282 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 06:49 PM:

I've found it interesting the degree to which the world looks like a very different place once you realize just HOW different your friends' households-of-origin can have been.

This is relevant both to people like the one Xopher's engaging with elsewhere (who literally cannot believe that awful, awful things happened in other people's houses, especially to children), but also in the other direction.

Every time I remarke online offhandedly that I didn't know a single person who [X] someone pipes up who did. Some past values of X: Didn't try to (or at least think hard about) kill themselves in high school; have a happy childhood; have parents who are still happily married.

When you're a kid, your environment is Just How Things Are, and if you don't get a lot of outside input, it can be really startling to realize other families AREN'T like that.

TV helps broaden minds, but only if your household is significantly different than those of the TV families.

#283 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 07:16 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 282... TV helps broaden minds, but only if your household is significantly different than those of the TV families

Ever watched "Dobie Gillis"?

#284 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 07:40 PM:

I posted a couple of Open Threads ago about my cat, recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, and while I'm not a prolific poster here, I thought I'd give an update.

At the time, he was newly diagnosed, weighed 4.9 lbs at diagnosis, and had been put on 2.5mg of Felimazole per day. He'd also begun ripping most of the fur off of his back.

At his first follow-up, he weighed 5.14 lbs. This was taken as a sign of improvement, even though his blood levels were still quite high, so his dosage was increased to 5mg per day (2.5 morning and night). His fur-ripping was diagnosed as stress, and he was prescribed a cone (which had to be set to kitten size, he was still so skinny!).

Over a few weeks, I gradually removed the cone for longer and longer periods of time, and he did indeed stop trying to make himself bald. His behaviour changed a bit too - no more wildly running up and down the hallway, no more being so desperate for food he was trying to eat out of the can before I'd half opened it. He even turned his nose up at a once-favourite treat, cookies and milk (cat-treats and Whiskas catmilk). Odd to feel happy that he sniffed something and walked away!

At his last checkup, his levels for thyroid, liver and kidney were all normal. Huzzah! He weighed 5.74 pounds.

Since he seems to be doing well (no apparent ill effects from the medication), he doesn't need another checkup for 3 months. Besides being a bit financially easier, it will be easier on him - vet visits absolutely freak him out, and he did briefly return to his fur-ripping ways after the last checkup. Fortunately, it only lasted a couple of days, and vigorous demonstrations of affection seem to have gotten him past it.

I did ask about the radio-iodine therapy, and there is one vet centre in town that will do it: DMV. Unfortunately, it runs between $1500 and $2000, and there's just no way. As it is, it'll take me 2 years to pay off the treatment he's gotten so far. I don't even own anything I could pawn. If I win a lottery or something, I'll go for it, but for now, the pills are the way we have to go. Fortunately, he tolerates them well.

Anyway, thanks for the advice you gave when I first asked. It's appreciated, and I did want to let you know that I followed up on it.

#285 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 09:21 PM:

Tiberius@94,140, etc. - I'll second oliviacw's recommendation of taking the Caltrain up the peninsula and stopping at the various towns - it's more civilized than driving, and gets you to the walkable parts of towns that still have walkable parts. But it's also worth driving up El Camino Real, a classic American commercial road through the suburbs, with a Spanish name, American car dealers, Korean restaurants and groceries, Indian and Afghan restaurants, Russian delis, Mexican businesses, American barbecue joints, karate schools, Starbucks, Turkish Sufi coffeeshops, gun stores, psychic readers, French-named hotels, Chocolate Sushi, hospitals and universities, head shops, tattoo parlors, piano stores, Fry's Electronics, German board game stores.
Definitely go to Japantown in San Jose, and check out some of the Asian grocery stores, the Mexican neighborhoods farther east. Mountain View's downtown restaurant zone is about four blocks long and usually has 25-30 different cuisines.

The Santa Clara Valley Fiddlers' Association ( has monthly music jams in San Jose; during the summer they're outside in the Rose Garden (which you should also see.) Mostly traditional American music. Mission City Coffee Roasters in San Jose has folk music and other music programs. There's a lot of mariachi in the San Jose area. Ardenwood Farms in Fremont has traditional farming and blacksmithing displays and occasional events such as a small Scottish Highland Games, and there's a much bigger Scottish Games in Pleasanton over Labor Day (which is September here :-)

And, like, Dude! It's California! You should go surfing! Santa Cruz is the nearest place for it, and a nice hippie town to hang out in as well, with roller coasters out by the beach and fish restaurants on the pier. Too bad the water temperature here is more like the Baltic than the Mediterranean. And Ano Nuevo Park about 20km north of Santa Cruz has elephant seals during the winter. Or you can go hiking in the (extinct) volcanoes in the Oakland hills, where deer are common and I've seen bobcats and failed to see the local mountain lions.

"oceanfront house in the city with mountains in the back yard" - There's a wide range of choices of that, if money is no object :-) If you're willing to take the Bay instead of actual oceans, much of the Bay Area has about 5-10 miles between the Bay and the mountains, or you can go to San Francisco or Santa Cruz if you want actual ocean. A friend of mine in Pacifica is about 3 blocks from each, though it's not much of a city, and the back neighbor has llamas and emus in their yard. I used to live uphill in Hayward, and could see the Bay Bridge from my desk; town was a pretty steep four blocks away.

#286 ::: Nicole Fitzhugh ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 10:37 PM:

I know you're asking for local experiences & not expat community experiences, but you might get some useful networking/info from the community at the German International School of Silicon Valley. I know little about them except for their existence, but they do have preschool programs, which might be of some use to you. Anyway, HTH.

#287 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 11:17 PM:

Terry @228, wrt Tiberius' "A quiet oceanfront farm in the city center with the mountains in the backyard": There are, for values of city, some places just like that on the Central coast.

True-- I was mainly thinking about T's plausible commute radius to/from south San Jose, but didn't specify that nebulous limit in my earlier reply.

Then again, people's notions of plausible commute radii may differ, esp. depending on the convenience of local highways. (280 is much more convenient than 101, or at least much less congested.) When I worked in Palo Alto, some of my co-workers lived in Boulder Creek or even Santa Cruz and seemed fine with it, although they had to shift their commute time earlier to beat rush hour.

Bill Stewart @285: If you're willing to take the Bay instead of actual oceans, much of the Bay Area has about 5-10 miles between the Bay and the mountains

Since the water temperature isn't recreation-friendly without a wetsuit/drysuit, maybe even a nice view of the Bay would suffice. There are lots of hillside houses with spectacular Bay views, which can also provide a twinkly light show at night from airplanes flying in/out of the airports.

(There are a smaller number of houses with views of the Crystal Springs Reservoir, since that's surrounded by watershed. I think some of my uphill neighbors in the San Mateo Highlands may be included, though. This morning I had to stop my car for a few minutes after leaving home to let a large, disorganized flock of tiny California quail straggle across the road.)

Foster City (around the west end of the San Mateo Bridge) has various subdivisions built around artificial lagoons snaking in and out, so as to maximize the amount of waterfront property. I've seen some boats bobbing around in their back yards, but don't know how much boating actually goes on there.

#288 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 11:53 PM:

Fragano, please don't sock me!

#289 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 12:41 AM:

Julie at # 287: I can't imagine a daily commute between Santa Cruz and Palo Alto. Not only would you have the San Jose area traffic coming and going, but it means a twice-daily trek along the 4-lane mountain goat path known as Highway 17, where the slow lane is reserved for those driving a mere 10 MPH over the posted limit. I've never worked in the area, but Highway 17 is worth it on occasional vacation visits to see Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park (to get more specific about someone else's recommendation upthread).

#290 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 12:43 AM:

Serge @283 said in my direction: Ever watched "Dobie Gillis"?

I am vaguely familiar with Dobie's name and the general archetype of Maynard Krebs; besides that all I know is that it was a sitcom of similar era and feel to My Three Sons (the sort of thing Happy Days was riffing off of). I wouldn't recognize photos of any of the actors.

#291 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 12:46 AM:

Serge, I've lost track of how long your hyperlocal news story has been ongoing. How long has it been since these cats first met each other? My pair are now grooming each other after 3 months.

Charyl at # 284: My BF and I¹ have a 17-year old cat whose hyperthyroid conditon has been managed by medication for several years. (We decided against radiation.) Here's hoping yours does well too.

¹ This is at his house, not in my apartment with the two much younger cats that have recently begun grooming each other.

#292 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 01:42 AM:

Bill Stewart: German board game stores

Where? Stop holding out on me. Give me the ADDRESS.

#293 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 02:05 AM:

Santa Cruz to Palo Alto isn't that bad; though I agree, 17 is six kinds of hell... I swear it's been resected from The Devils Lower Intestines. It's one of the few roads I will ride on a motorcycle, with caution, but dread in a car.

Rather I'd take Old San Jose, from Summit, and down to Soquel. It's about a forty-five minute ride, can be an hour with a slowpoke.

That puts one on 17 just before Los Gatos, and one can diddy-bop up 280.

I do it fairly regularly, actually.

#294 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 02:27 AM:

Darn it, you guys have it all sewn up, there's knot a thing left for me to say, I needle lick my wounds and count the stiches.

I feel cast off from polite society, and there's knit a single purl of wisdom I can share.

#295 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 03:42 AM:

Terry@292: I don't know about on El Camino Real, but if you're ever in downtown Oakland, go to Endgame and you will be able to satisfy your every German-style board game need. You want the address? 921 Washington St. -- a mere one block away from the 12th St. BART station.

#296 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 07:27 AM:

Kip W #288: I'd say you were on a pretty safe footing.

#297 ::: tiberius ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 09:34 AM:

Hey, I thought this thread was slowing down, but you are going on and on. Thanks!

Who knew there was such a thing as specialty stores for German Board Games (**goes wandering on the Internets**). Oh that. It's considered to be a German thing? What about Monopoly? Risk? Junta?

Commuting from the coast or SF is not for me, I am afraid (it really is South San Jose, not Palo Alto, Mountain View or Sunnyvale where I'll be working). The pay won't be sufficient for an oceanfront farm and the required helicopter to commute.

Bill@285: Surfing? Isn't that some kind of ... (shudder) sports?

#298 ::: tiberius ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 09:41 AM:

From Wikipedia. "The games emphasize strategy, downplay luck and conflict, lean towards economic rather than military themes, and usually keep all the players in the game until it ends."

I see. Totally German, then.

#299 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 10:28 AM:

tiberius @298: In the US (especially in board-gamer circles) 'German games' got to be a descriptor after the breakout success of Settlers of Catan. Therefore, anything vaguely Settlers-ish gets called "german-like." And there are plenty of massive fans of anything Teuber ever designed, or anything up for Spiel des Jahres. Mainly because the feel is so different than 'mainstream' US games.

Monopoly is definitely a US game, but it's also quite old. :-> Specifically, all the streets and spaces in Monopoly exist in Atlantic City, NJ (where the designer lived), and the choices of which street/landmark name goes with what game mechanic create much amusement if you lived there in the 40s/50s (as my grandparents did).

#300 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 11:15 AM:

Random open threadiness: Women* apologise more than men.

What struck me was "A comprehensive apology contains as many as eight distinguishable elements: remorse, acceptance of responsibility, admission of wrongdoing, acknowledgment of harm, promise to behave better, request for forgiveness, offer of repair, and explanation."

I've read plenty of non-apology and a very few impressively sincere apologies on the web, but if you'd asked me yesterday I don't think I would have been able to list the Eight Elements of a Complete Apology. Mentally noted.

*At least, female western university students. Which, as far as psychology literature is generally concerned, amount to the same thing.

#301 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 11:25 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 290... Basically, Dobie's family was anything but average. Not only did his dad frequently swear he'd kill him, but his best buddy was a beatnik, and one of his female friends was quite driven. Meanwhile, about 10 years ago, "Father Knows Best" had an episode that could best be described as "Father Is A Chump".

#302 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 11:28 AM:

Did anybody else catch Patrick's Particle about "Tintin in R'lyeh"? I passed it on to another friend who grew up on Tintin's adventures, with the warning that she shouldn't be drinking anything when she clicks on the link.

"L'horreur. L'horreur!"

#303 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 11:34 AM:

Allen Beatty #289:

Commuting from Santa Cruz was certainly viable 30 years ago, for variable definitions of "viable". I interviewed with a small company in Santa Clara, where all the principals lived in Santa Cruz or environs and commuted up 17 daily. I also had a co-worker at a San Jose firm quite close to the airport who lived not too far from the summit; a picnic at his house was a seriously into-the-wilds experience.

(Both these commutes worked out far better than that of another co-worker at the same job, involving a Cessna or near offer and a house in the Central Valley. He eventually cracked up mentally--no airplanes were broken.)

#304 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 12:34 PM:

Serge @302 -- I for one welcome our Belgian reporter overlords.

#305 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 12:43 PM:

I tend to think of Ravensburger when I think of German games.

#306 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 01:59 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 304... Coming soon, "Hercules Poirot in Dunwich", non?

#307 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 02:06 PM:

Serge @306: And such tasty 'little grey cells,' non? :->

#308 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 03:51 PM:

A Pantoum of Comprehensive Apology

I know that what I did was really wrong;
My sorrow at my failure knows no bounds.
My moral sense was just not very strong;
No rational excuse the truth confounds

My sorrow at my failure knows no bounds;
Could you forgive my hideous offense?
No rational excuse the truth confounds;
You do deserve good will, with no pretense.

Could you forgive my hideous offense?
I do resolve to never err again.
You do deserve good will, with no pretense.
I offer recompense, it's settled, then?

I do resolve to never err again;
My moral sense was just not very strong.
I offer recompense, it's settled, then?
I know that what I did was really wrong.

#309 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 03:52 PM:

Billions of squamous and rugose blistering barnacles!

#310 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 05:30 PM:

Local amusement: In Charlottesville there will soon be a "Zombie 5k". Runners will be divided into two teams: "Victims" get a small head-start, and a removable tag; if a "zombie" captures their tag, they have been "killed", upon which they retire to the sidelines... for a quick makeup job. After which, they return as one of the zombies....

#311 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 05:51 PM:

tiberius @297: Caltrain might widen your commute range, if your workplace is close to one of the San Jose stations or provides a shuttle. But a ~20 mile drive each way seems to be considered a quite comfortable (and even enviable) commute around here-- it's fairly common for Silicon Valley workers to live in the East Bay and drive across one of the bridges to/from work, or loop southward around the Bay.

Most of the Peninsula is relatively expensive compared to the East/South Bay, so the latter might be worth more attention for budget reasons if other people have more info about those areas?

#312 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 06:17 PM:

David Harmon @ #310, What's next? Zombie flag football?

#313 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 06:49 PM:

Xopher @277: Yay, Xopher! (I occassionally have fantasies of what it would have been like to have somebody stand up for me like that, when I was young. It's a concept I can't quite get my mind around.)

#314 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 06:51 PM:

Linkmeister #312: Indeed, the tags were described as "flag football-style". I omitted that because I'd never heard of flag football, though I could infer what it is from context. (When I was a kid, we just played "touch football".)

#315 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 07:03 PM:

@310: Scaling Schmaling, what is it with the Zombies!? I still don't get it.

At least with Frozen Dead Guy Days, there's an actual, like, really and for truly frozen dead guy.1

1With coffin races

#316 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 07:35 PM:

Jacque @ 315 - I too am mystified by the appeal of zombies. Vampires, sure. Werewolves, sure. But zombie-themed gatherings seem (to my unenthusiastic eye) to be mostly about maquillage, tattered clothing, and lurching about in groups moaning "Brainzzzz.... BRAINZZZZZZ...." Not terribly interesting to me. Vampires and werewolves and the like have volition and (to at least some degree) individual motivations. Zombies just want to eat brains.

I did enjoy World War Z, so it's not that I dislike zombie stories, just zombie-themed group participation events.

#317 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 07:53 PM:

Earl Cooley III, applause.

Erik Nelson, love the squamous and rugose blistering barnacles.

Whatever became of the Tintin movie? Wasn't there going to be one?

#318 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 07:55 PM:

I third the mystification over zombie popularity.

I can see where zombie flash mobs could be fun now and then, but races? Literary mashups? "Meh."

#319 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 08:32 PM:

Zombie-love is incomprehensible to me as well. I just don't get it. (And no one should feel obligated to attempt to explain it to me. Please -- don't.)

"Braaaains!" once is amusing. Twice is boring. I don't wait around for a third time.

#320 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 08:37 PM:

OtterB: Whatever became of the Tintin movie? Wasn't there going to be one?

There will be at least two: after chasing the rights over a quarter of a century Stephen Spielberg finally got Tintin. (I gather the problem was the clause in the will that said there would be no new Tintin adventures, as the estate has always said that also meant any animated or live action versions had to match the existing adventure[s] as written.) The last I heard was that Peter Jackson would do one and Spielberg would do another which is where things got strange on The Hobbit: when the head of the studio said that Jackson would never direct The Hobbit under any circumstances because he was suing the studio Jackson made the deal with Spielberg and then when Rami went away as the director of The Hobbit it was unclear that Jackson would be free of Tintin even if the studio issues could be ironed out.

#321 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 08:39 PM:

Well, people in Neuroscience make lots of bad zombie jokes. I get the feeling that this weekend's retreat will be a somewhat shambling affair.

#322 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 10:41 PM:

Open Threadiness: 20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words from Around the World.

"Untranslatable" in this context appears to mean roughly "very difficult to describe the nuances of in English," and some are more untranslatable than others. Also, I think there's a nuance left out in the article's translation of "schadenfreude" -- they say it's "the feeling of pleasure derived from seeing another person's misfortune," but to me that misfortune also has to be well-deserved to qualify.

#323 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 11:31 PM:

Erik Nelson: Billions of squamous and rugose blistering barnacles!

*splorfl!* I'm so uneducated. I didn't realize that was from Tintin!

"Billions of blue blistering barnacles" is what shows up when you "OMG" and several similar commonplaces into the chat field in the game Puzzle Pirates. (It's partially an obscenity filter and partially just for pirate flavor. Every day is Talk Like A Pirate Day.) I spent a few minutes going up and down the thread trying to find the person who'd first referenced my favorite online multiplayer addiction. I was all, "Squeee! Someone else on ML plays too! I wonder on which ocean?" ...Then I paid a visit to Google and it all became Litellesquely* clear.

*You know. That sudden and embarrassing clarity that compels you to say, "Oh. Nevermind."

Caroline: The vaccine this year protects against influenza A H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the 2009 H1N1 virus.

Ah. I'd been wondering. I'd never noticed the flu shot being pushed on the general population so early before - usually it's all "If you're not in the high risk population, wait until November". So I was guessing that it was because they'd rolled in H1N1.

When I visited my parents last month, I shamelessly cadged a flu shot off my dad, aka The Family Pediatrician. "It would be a great excuse to say hi to everyone in the office!" Well, and it was. But I had to promise to visit the office without ulterior motives next time I'm in town. Also not to wait until I'm on my way to the train station at the end of my visit.

#324 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 11:35 PM:

Earl: Well, shoot, man, I don't remember what you did, but whatever it was, you're off the hook now! Just don't do it again, but if you do, I'm thinking Villanelle.

#325 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 11:38 PM:

Lee 322: Also, I think there's a nuance left out in the article's translation of "schadenfreude" -- they say it's "the feeling of pleasure derived from seeing another person's misfortune," but to me that misfortune also has to be well-deserved to qualify.

Oh, not at all. People love to watch other people being miserable, getting hurt, and so on. Why were so many of "America's funniest home videos" little kids getting hurt and crying? Because people suck.

#326 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 11:48 PM:

Xopher, there's a difference between being a jerk and enjoying some schadenfreude, which conveys more a sense of "the biter bit."

#327 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 11:51 PM:

I keep meaning to bring my checkbook to random subjobs* because there's a rotating staff flu shot thing going on. I think I've been at one school that had them, but I didn't have cash on me (for a discount) and forgot by the end of the day anyway. But it's going on throughout the month, and eventually I'll get lucky again. Then it's just a matter of convincing them that I count as staff enough to park in that lot, and boy do I ever feel like I'm getting away with something when I do, and so should get the shot.

*have I said here that my kibblejob is a substitute paraeducator, basically a sub teacher's aide? The Universe is throwing a lot of hints my way that I Am Good At This**, and honestly, Universe, if you wanted me to devote my life to special ed the time to tell me was at least four years ago, well before the Master's in environmental engineering.
**I am totally not. Rather, I am not good at special ed work beyond what I consider to be baseline lack of incompetence. Please let me continue to believe that anyone would be as good at this as I am, within bounds of patience, physical and mental strength, and laundrability of clothes.

In somewhat related news, I spent a day this week at a school where the district puts lots of kids with exoskeletons. I just want to play with everything.

#328 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 11:51 PM:

Well, heck. I'd make a filk of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring", but I'm having trouble figuring out something that rhymes well with schadenfreude.

#329 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 11:55 PM:

Kip W #324: Earl: Well, shoot, man, I don't remember what you did, but whatever it was, you're off the hook now! Just don't do it again, but if you do, I'm thinking Villanelle.

As far as I know, I'm free and clear for now; I had planned to save it up and just link to that pantoum the next time I (inevitably) screw up. heh.

#330 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 12:18 AM:

I see a lot of vacuum cleaners in the trash. Mostly the glossy plastic ones that look like jetpacks. The things have a high mortality rate, I guess.

Today I saw one of the model I have, a low-end Eureka commercial model. Maybe a previous generation; it had more metal parts. "Probably some good parts in that," I thought, "and in any case whoever tossed it left six brand-new drive belts hanging on the bag."

Well. The thing works. Perfectly.

What's wrong with people?

I guess I'll drop it off at Goodwill.

#331 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 12:33 AM:

Earl @428: Well, heck. I'd make a filk of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring", but I'm having trouble figuring out something that rhymes well with schadenfreude.

Vengeance is like chocolate ice cream:
Bittersweet and best served cold.
After lengthy preparation,
Just des(s)erts may now unfold.

Better still is schadenfreude
At foes whom you'd gladly moider

Being felled instead by fate;
All you had to do was wait.

#332 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 12:48 AM:

Xopher, #325: What Texanne said. That, and the whole "reality TV" phenomenon, and the talent shows where the point appears to be how brutal the judges can be to the contestants, all fall into the category of "bread and circuses" to me -- proof that indeed, nobody ever went broke by underestimating the taste of the general public.

Schadenfreude (IMO) occurs on a somewhat higher level. My standard definition is "the slightly guilty pleasure derived from watching an asshole getting a well-merited comeuppance."

#333 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 12:58 AM:

Xopher at #325 wrote:

> Oh, not at all. People love to watch other people being miserable, getting hurt, and so on. Why were so many of "America's funniest home videos" little kids getting hurt and crying? Because people suck.

Yea, but that's just plain old spite. Schadenfreude's a slightly different beast.

#334 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 01:08 AM:

Tonight on Shorpy:

The Flat Iron building, 1908.

Really worth a look.

#335 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 02:27 AM:

I find it interesting that three of the works on that list are Slavic (one Russian, two Czech).

#336 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 02:58 AM:

Rhetorical question:

In what universe is "agents of Iraq and Al-Qaeda, operating under Iranian state sponsorship" the most plausible explanation for... well, anything?

#337 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 05:16 AM:

Earl Cooley III@308

*polite applause*

#338 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 07:40 AM:

Lee #322: The Portuguese (and Galician) word "saudade", which is on that list, is given an equally problematic contextual meaning. At its simplest, it means "solitude" or "loneliness", but it has overtones of loss, homesickness, lost love, and melancholy. This is why it is such an important word in the poetry of Rosalía de Castro, the great nineteenth century Galician poet (e.g. Campanas de Bastabales/cando vos oyo tocar/mórrome de soidadeswhere saudade means "sad memories").

#339 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 07:52 AM:

Diatryma @ 327... do I ever feel like I'm getting away with something when I do, and so should get the shot

I shot the sheriff,
But I didn't shoot no deputy.

#340 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 07:55 AM:

Lee @ 332... "bread and circuses"

Not one of Star Trek's best episodes, although better than "Spock's Brain".

#341 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 08:08 AM:

Last night I watched the 1945 dark comedy Murder, He Says on TCM and I laughed myself silly. Fred MacMurray plays a pollster from the Trotter Poll ("Like the Gallup Poll, except not as fast") who gets tangled up with the Fleagle family, a hillbilly clan with murderous intent.

It's really worth checking out if you get a chance.

#342 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 08:27 AM:

Steve C @ 341... I saw some of it. Silly indeed. If I may make another recommendation, re McMurray's comedies, I'd suggest "No Time for Love", especially the part where Claudette Colbert dreams about Fred as Captain Marvel.

#343 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 08:32 AM:

Serge #339: Bob Marley sang that in standard Jamaican English:

"I shot the sheriff
but I never shot the deputy".

#344 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 08:44 AM:


And things like that are kind of inevitable when one is Roman around the galaxy...

#345 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 08:52 AM:

Jeff Duntemann pointed this out: in Slate, Michael Savitz describes the secret shame of someone who hunts used books with a laser barcode scanner.

It's like something from a William Gibson novel, the more so because the scanner is an obsolescent PDA more suited to the job than anything more modern.

#346 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 09:28 AM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @ #323: I was all, "Squeee! Someone else on ML plays too! I wonder on which ocean?"

I'm on the Hunter Ocean these days.

#347 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 09:32 AM:

Steve C. @341, isn't that the one with the baby-doll character who sings the mysterious doggerel "In combs bees is, on horse flies is..."? The first time I saw that, I thought so that's where Liederman got the music for "All Things considered! (Unless it's "Morning Edition" I'm thinking of. Been a while.)

#348 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 09:37 AM:

Bill Higgins: I had forwarded that article to other members of the Friends of the Library Executive Board here. We get those scanner guys at our book sales every time. They're a bit of an annoyance because they get in the way of our non-professional customers and some of them seem to feel as though they own the place as they cherry-pick the best items to resell for more money at their own place.

(Plus, they live in vain. It is written.)

I have friends in the used book trade, so I'm not unsympathetic to people making a living, but some of these scanners should work on their manners.

#349 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 09:40 AM:

Kip W @ 347 - Yep, that's the one. And you're not the only one who saw the saw the similarity between the tune and the ATC theme. I ran across a few comments somewhere which mentioned the same thing.

#350 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 09:44 AM:

Kip W @ #348: Plus, they live in vain. It is written.

Have I said recently how much I love Making Light?

#351 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 10:05 AM:

Nicole @ 323: Had you asked a year or so ago. I was very active on PP for a while, but swore off it for time constraints and because some personal conflicts were turning it into bad beer.

#352 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 10:43 AM:

"Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?"
- title of last night's episode of Fringe

#353 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 10:44 AM:

Michael I @ 344... Gag! (I love it, of course.)

#354 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 10:46 AM:

Fragano @ 343... And there was the Brisco County Jr version.

"I hit the sheriff. But I didn't hit his deputy."

#355 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 12:49 PM:

I want to see the Dr Who episode: Won't get fooled again.

#356 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 01:02 PM:

And I'm off to the Berkeley Neuroscience Retreat. Ought to be a good weekend; scuttlebutt says that people generally drink prodigious amounts - to the point where there is a rather pointed warning about not taking pictures or video of people at the event.

Heh. Should be fun!

#357 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 01:35 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @ 356 -- Anything about "do not take brain scans of people at the event"?

#358 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 03:25 PM:

The lives of those book scanners (who I've run into at Goodwill stores) could be made all the more futile if the shoppes took a black magic marker to the bar codes.

#359 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 04:29 PM:

Apropos of nothing: I wanted to look up the actual definition of the phrase "confusion-of-motion problem", from Teresa's "Slushkiller" post. After a couple of false starts, I got the Google search to work -- and not only was the third entry to the "Slushkiller" article, four more of the first ten results and three of the next ten, are to quotes of it (as identified by the rest of the phrase, "... generate hideous images". None of the first twenty looks like a proper definition, several refer to discussions of other languages, and a goodly number aren't even about grammar. Sigh....

#360 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 04:59 PM:

Stefan Jones @358: The lives of those book scanners (who I've run into at Goodwill stores) could be made all the more futile if the shoppes took a black magic marker to the bar codes.

At which point the shops suddenly lose an entire sales channel.

Honestly, I don't see the problem -- books that have a high price on Amazon Marketplace are usually not the ones *I'm* looking for at thrift/secondhand stores ... there may be some overlap, but I don't view myself as being in direct competition with scanners. I'm looking for books that are INTERESTING, and specifically that interest ME. And just looking through the lists he gets his price-checks from, many of the books I think are most interesting have tiny prices; they're not worth his while, so he would be leaving them for me.

As described in the article, some sales points (library book sales, etc) do make a point of excluding his kind, but the majority do not. Yes, he's engaging in price arbitrage, but the fact that he CAN engage in price arbitrage means he's actually getting the books to someone who has a strong demand for them, faster than the original sales channel could.

It's like a specialty antique dealer hitting estate sales and charity shops to 'cherry-pick' out things that are far more valuable than the person selling them knows they are. In theory, if the original seller knew how to find the value -- and how to get that value out of a buyer -- they could keep the extra money. They've decided it's not worth there time, and therefore, there's room in the ecosystem for the scanners to make a living.

Many small independent used bookstores are surviving by using scanners' tactics -- putting their inventory online on ABEbooks or similar to widen their liquidity pool and sell to Internet People directly.

#361 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 05:27 PM:

Lexica @316, I don't care much for zombies or vampires or werewolves, but I kind of have a soft spot for mummies, enough that I'm kind of annoyed that they always get cast as the bad guys.

Lee @322, I don't quite get why Americans usually talk about schadenfreude as some weird German idea, or why they bother using the word at all. Doesn't the English word "gloating" mean basically the same?

(BTW, their explanation of "Torschlusspanik" is incomplete- worrying about missing opportunities as you get older is one form, but various other forms of worrying that the time in which you can do something is running out count, too.)

#362 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 05:58 PM:

I think zombies/vampires/werewolves would make a good variation on "tag" for kids, especially at parties. Zombies have to walk, werewolves have to go on all fours, vampires have to stay in the shade. When you're caught, you add your tagger's restriction to your own and become an additional tagger. Plus, tie-in costuming projects.

#363 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 06:02 PM:

shdowsong@362: Just be sure NOT to issue the kids at the parties any stakes, holy water, silver bullets, and the like!

#364 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 06:10 PM:

ddb @363: i dunno, water balloons and brown/silver nerf or beanbag projectiles seem like a good addition to me. :) i can just see some kid sneaking up on a friend and shouting "the power of christ compels you!" as a "holy" water balloon goes ::gloosh:: across his friend's back.

#365 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 07:18 PM:

Raphael, #361: Not to me. IMO, gloating involves a component of your own good fortune, and also that the other person is aware that you're doing it. Hearty false sympathy to the person you beat out for the promotion is gloating. Reveling in watching the Enron criminals being sentenced is schadenfreude. They're not necessarily mutually exclusive, but they're not synonymous either.

#366 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 07:41 PM:

OK, a petty but subtle social issue for "The Fluorosphere Knows Everything"'s call-in show.

Next door to me live a woman perhaps my age, and her mother. A couple of nights ago, the older woman was taken away in an ambulance -- more-or-less ambulatory, they had their stretcher in chair form and she came to the door. I hadn't seen either of them since, but their car reappeared yesterday. My initial reading was "likely heart attack", but at that age, who really knows?

Well, yesterday I was working, and this morning I was hiking★, but this evening, I decided to check on them. I grabbed the remaining half of my current loaf of bread (figuring that when visiting either the caretaker of an invalid or the recently bereaved, one should bring food), and went over to knock on the door. As it turns out, she just had a high-blood-pressure incident, got medication and dietary advice at the hospital, and is now home (and indeed, came down the stairs in the background, as I was talking to her daughter).

Given that I was not in fact dealing with a sickbed or bereavement situation, and with "diet" ringing in my ears, I wound up not offering her (or mentioning) the bread I was visibly carrying. (If she had so much as asked about it, I probably would have given it to her anyway.)

So... the question is, proper call, Aspie screwup, or "whatever"?

Side issue: I'm actually thinking of giving them a loaf next time I bake (sometime next week) anyway, just because it's so easy to just make two loaves instead of one. Good/bad idea for HBP, or anything I ought to adjust in the recipe? (My default recipe is a 1-1/2 pound loaf, 2/3 wheat, 1/3 white flour, with about a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of butter or olive oil per pound of flour.)

★ Since starting work, I'm finding that my stress/fatigue levels are much higher than I'm accustomed to, and my "compensations" for my semi-Aspie traits are suffering noticably. So is my general "togetherness" -- last night, I even managed to forget a pot of boiling eggs... until I heard them go "whump". :-(

#367 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 07:59 PM:

360 Elliott Mason: my problem with both is that they have no interest in the things they buy. Like the comic book speculators of the 1990s, it is all about the money - and I think that's fine in the business world, I don't appreciate it in the used market - I think that should be for the people who want what's being offered, not what the arbitrage (or future value) would be.

I can't stop them, but I think the lovers of the pieces should get first shot over the gamers of the system. Were I to run another garage sale, (apart from my own nocturnal habits), I'd follow Meg Langslow's pattern: "We open at 0930. Not 0929, and certainly not 0700 or 0530. Until 0930, trespassers will be soaked." Hopefully, that would stop the professional garage-salers from hitting mine for long enough for real people to take/buy what they want.

I thought the distinguishing characteristic of schadenfreude is the "if they had played fair throughout, this wouldn't have happened" element.

#368 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 08:14 PM:

Stefan Jones, #330, I can't use a vacuum cleaner on the laminate so I gave it away via Craigslist. It was about 17 years old, but I had a lot of people who wanted it.

#369 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 08:42 PM:

I wouldn't think it would be a problem for blood pressure; usually what bread messes up is either digestive system (because of gluten) or blood (carbohydrates/sugars).

#371 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 10:32 PM:

"It's my opinion that they wouldn't know an Egyptian from a Chinese acrobat."
- heard tonight duringTCM's showing of 1959's The Mummy.

#372 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 10:44 PM:

shadowsong @ 362: I just mentioned this idea to my husband ("hey, honey, somebody's come up with an idea for a zombie-themed event that actually sounds like fun to me!") and now he has that abstracted, gamer, wrestling-with-how-to-make-the-rules-work look on his face as he preps the basil for pesto. "You'd need to have it be something like... um... zombie infects werewolf, werewolf claws vampire, but vampire is master of the undead, so... yeah, and then when you get tagged you drop the characteristics of your previous state and take on the new one — or would you? hm..." So thank you for giving him an entertaining problem to wrestle with. And, possibly, for germinating a new tag game. If downtown Oakland gets taken over by zombies, vampires, and werewolves, all chasing each other around City Hall, it's all your fault.

David Harmon @ 366: Sounds like you handled it reasonably to me. You might see if you can get into a conversation about the diet (assuming she feels like discussing it) to see if bread would be an appropriate gift. It might be perfectly fine, or it might not.

My manager has been doing the low-carb thing for a while, which knocks out just about anything tasty I might make and bring in to share. My sympathies for the challenges faced by somebody who likes to make and share food when the people you want to share with have dietary restrictions. Somehow, "Here, it's a lovely festive big salad!" just doesn't have quite the same feeling as "Here's some bread I made by hand" or home-baked cookies, or what have you.

#373 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 12:22 AM:

David Harmon @ 366

! Overboiled eggs go whump?! That's almost as awesome and fun as exploding them in the microwave! Yay, new interesting things I don't have to learn by doing them myself!*

(I don't think you have anything to worry about re: bread. My husband has high blood pressure, and cherishes the homemade challah his dad sends over every Thursday...)

*...Maybe. ....Whump, you say? ...I wonder how satisfying a whump they make.... Maybe once everyone's out of the house after the yard sale tomorrow...

#374 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 12:43 AM:

Oh, second part of the question (I was distracted by whumpy eggs)...

I don't think that's an aspie screwup. It's maybe a bit overcautious, but then, my mother talked me out of giving cookies to neighbors one year because someone might possibly be diabetic and we wouldn't know...

The thing with the half-a-loaf of unmentioned bread is just wonderful and charming. That's the kind of thing you make grandparent stories out of... ("So there I was, with a half a loaf of bread in my hand, and the both of us pretending it wasn't there...)

On an only slightly related note, I am now remembering the time I got distracted while making the bananna bread I sent down with my future-husband after his grandfather passed away, resulting in my mushing in a few too many bananas (They are infinitely squishable! I firmly believe you can fit an entire bushel of bananas into a 1/2 measuring cup!). I didn't realize that the bread hadn't actually... er... solidified, allll the way to the bottom, until after he was 1/2-way to Los Angeles and it was too late to replace it with anything else... It was fantastic. At least your bread was guaranteed to have been competently baked... :P

#375 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 12:57 AM:

As long as they don't get onto the ceiling ... because the chances of that getting cleaned off can be really, really small.
My mother preferred repainting the ceiling to trying to clean whumpy eggs off it.

(I don't let the pot get that dry, usually, but I have turned honey into carbon, a process which is similar but much less noisy.)

#376 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 01:09 AM:

tiberius: In the north Bay, I like Marin Headlands' Rodeo (roh-DAY-oh) Beach, where you can watch pelicans and find carnelians. Hawk Hill, just north of the Golden Gate (and also in Marin Headlands) is so named for the raptor spotting. It's accessible off a drive where you can see the old defensive batteries from World War II.

Ocean Beach in San Francisco is great for getting sand dollars right about now. FWIW. It's touristy but still fun to go to the Cliff House on the same trip and look down at the ruins of the old baths they used to have (name forgotten.)

Events! Christmas in the Park in downtown San Jose— all of these great old-fashioned animatronic displays this store owner used to put up, a new one each year, donated to the city and being refurbished one at a time. Especially wonderful for kids at the five-eight range. Bay To Breakers 12K race for people-spotting. (I prefer Bloomsday in Spokane as an actual race— every finisher there gets an official time, making it the largest completely timed race in the world.)

Insider's tips: For Santa Cruz, the Boardwalk or otherwise, the mantra is "there before 11; back before 6." This is to avoid horrible traffic. You can ignore the second half if you're staying after dark. For destinations such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, avoid holidays and the days off immediately surrounding them.

For popular school-trip destinations such as the California Academy of Sciences and the DeYoung Museum, school groups generally leave by 1:00 to get back to school, which means the places are much less crowded after lunch on school days.

And bridges around the Bay are toll— but only one way. Careful planning of trips can sometimes yield a toll-free ride.

#377 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 01:28 AM:

*pausing to catch breath.*

So, I'm finally catching up from a whirlwind trip up north to visit family, go to a wedding, visit more family, return, go to work, go to another wedding, work some more, and finally get a day off. After driving almost two thousand miles in less than two weeks.

I'm going for pumpkins tomorrow. Anyway.

So the route was up I-5 through Eugene (family), then up 205 over to Washington by mistake, back down to I-84, up I-82*, 395 to I-90 to Spokane (wedding), then straight across I-90 to the Seattle area (family). Then straight down I-5. Along the way we saw all but one of the Cascades along the routeº.

What was very apparent to me on this trip is that the route is almost entirely devoid of Cities. This is not to malign places such as Redding and Eugene/Springfield, which are cities, or even Spokane, which is fairly bustling. It's just a note that we have a mental definition of what a City is and that includes skyscrapers, which means that you're pretty limited to Seattle, Portland, and Sacramento §. And really, they have to be visible from the freeway because there's nothing like seeing those buildings suddenly rear up to say "Whoa. There's the City!"

*Westbound 82, north of 84, to go northeast. So screwed up in so many ways— though not as bad as taking an eastbound and westbound route simultaneously, as one can do in Oakland.

ºIn order: Lassen, Shasta, Rainier, Baker, Rainier again, St. Helens, Hood, McLaughlin. Those along the route I did not mention were out of order on that day. The trip up the Gorge was cloudy, hence no Adams.

§ Yes, Sacramento has skyscrapers. And I finally figured out why it bothers me so much when people from the Bay Area and the LA Sprawl malign my hometown for its supposed lacks and call it a cow town. Why on earth do people feel the need to pick on a town just to show how cool they are? Do they go to other people's houses and criticize the decor because it doesn't have black lights? Or worse, trash talk the place when they've never been there?

#378 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 01:41 AM:

B. Durbin's post reminded me to mention that SF holds an annual Dickens Faire around Christmas, which is a lot of fun and worth a day or so of traipsing around. I don't have a good feel for the re-enactment culture overseas, so I couldn't tell you how "uniquely American" it is (particularly as it's based on -- you know -- Dickensian England) but it's cute, so I'm happy.

(Also -- whumpy eggs on the ceiling?! Oh, noes! I wonder if it ruins the whompiness if one puts a lid on the pan first?)

#379 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 02:20 AM:

KayTei @ 378... whumpy eggs on the ceiling?!

Can they achieve eggscape velocity?

#380 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 02:21 AM:

B. Durbin @376: Hawk Hill, just north of the Golden Gate (and also in Marin Headlands) is so named for the raptor spotting. It's accessible off a drive where you can see the old defensive batteries from World War II.

Sweeney Ridge in San Bruno also has some remnants of a Nike missile facility at the top, as well as the Portola discovery site.

#381 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 03:13 AM:

BDurbin@377 - yes, most of Northern California and the Pacific Northwest is characterized by large expanses of agriculture punctuated with rare major population centers. This is enhanced by the fact that much of the middles of the states are mountains and national forests. Having grown up in this area myself, I always find going to other parts of the country where there are towns everywhere punctuated by cities, to be a very odd experience.

#382 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 03:23 AM:

Temple Grandin on TED: "The world needs all kinds of minds."

#383 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 06:48 AM:

David @366

That looks to be such a standard bread recipe that the only risk I can see is gluten intolerance. Might even be "safer" than store-bought bread. The levels of sugar, salt, and fat are all normal: you'd struggle to bake bread without them.

#384 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 07:38 AM:

KayTei #373: There's also the smell, and it leaves crud on the pot. (Not to mention trashing the plastic-egg "timer" I was using... time to pick up a new one.)

Ibid #374, Lexica #366: Thanks for the reassurance. KT: so could you squish a Wonder-Bread-and-banana sandwich into ... an egg-cup?

P J Evans #375: My mom did that once when I was a kid... a few years later, we redid the ceiling. I teased her about it until the first time I (as an adult) "whumped" eggs myself. I suspect mine don't end up on the ceiling only because I'm boiling at a lower heat.

#385 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 09:12 AM:

On booksale "snipers": We just had our annual book sale here at OU libraries (due to an annoying state law, we can't sell our own discards, just unwanted gifts, but that's beside the point). After having all the good stuff scooped up in less than an hour by folks with wheeled trash cans and mobile phones one year, we made the first half of the sale accessible by people with a campus ID only. We still sometimes get hired student "snipers" but not as much. I'm still depressed that I had a meeting when it opened this year and someone else got the 3-volume paperback Shelby Foote history of the Civil War. But I picked up a nice handful of Agatha Christies suitable for reading on the plane.

#386 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 11:43 AM:

Typo, or truth in advertising? -

#387 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 01:19 PM:

I just figured out why my strong negative reaction to the used-book vultures feels so familiar. It's because they hit the same trigger that ticket scalpers do -- not illegal, but very definitely unethical.

#388 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 01:50 PM:

At the library I was at before our last move, the head of the Friends used to let the booksellers in early for their uninterrupted plum picking, which really irked me. Bookselling friends notwithstanding, my sympathy is with the consumer, and I'm all for them getting the books at a lower price, if possible. On the other hand, if making something more expensive means I get it instead of someone who's vaguely interested but willing to blow fifty cents, then there's a place for that as well.

Now that I'm on the executive board, I have it soft. I don't have to wade through crowds of people shuffling along with boxes between their feet like a penguin's egg. I can browse the books while they're still in the sorting room and contemplate them at my leisure. That's how I got my First Folio. Um, facsimile. For less than a dollar plus some white glue to keep the binding from wandering away.

#389 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 01:51 PM:

...Is an O-gauge Christmas train an O Tannenbaum?

#390 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 01:54 PM:

Jacque @ 382: Thanks for the link - I found that really interesting. I could lose a lot of time watching those talks.

Serge: Please don't cease the Tale of New Cat.

#391 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 01:57 PM:

Mitch Benn is proud of the BBC.

#392 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 02:04 PM:

Perhaps a later start time at book sales for people using barcode scanners?

#393 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 02:08 PM:

dcb @ 390... Rocky the New Cat still irritates Agatha the Cat Genius, but not always, and the latter usually confines herself to growling. No hissing or shrieking in quite some time. Besides that... Freya the Doguette sometime lunges at Rocky, usually when food is involved. That would explain why Rocky gets nervous when tiny Cagney the Terrier comes close by.

#394 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 04:13 PM:

Serge @ 379

I know, right? It's such an eggcellet opportunity to find out eggactly that sort of thing!

But I admit, the olfeggtory side-effects and risk of damaging the kitchenware are starting to put the slightest of dents in my enthusiasm...

#395 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 04:31 PM:

Bruce, #392: If I were running a book sale, I'd simply make it multi-day and ban scanners from the first day. After the real consumers have had a fair chance, then I'm okay with it; what bugs me is the thought of everyone who's really coming to shop being left with nothing but their picked-over trash.

#396 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 05:01 PM:

Open threadiness, because I haven't seen it mentioned yet: Benoit Mandelbrot, the father of fractal geometry, died on Thursday. Here's his talk at last February's TED in Long Beach.

Fractals are beautiful and weird. Rather like life.

#397 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 05:44 PM:

Or add a scanner surcharge. "Sorry ma'am, if you want to use that in here, you'll have to pay the extra $20."

#398 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 08:00 PM:

Traditional magic in late antiquity:
"late antiquity" sounds like an oxymoron.

#399 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 08:19 PM:

re the Canterbury floor particle:

See the crinoids and other fossil creatures on the floor of the rotunda in the Nebraska statehouse.

If you ever go anywhere near Lincoln you owe it to yourself to see this amazing building.

#400 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 08:30 PM:

I don't use a barcode reader at used book events -- I just use my memory. Which I suppose some people might think was cheating; but then, most of the Really Cool books I'm picking up don't have barcodes anyway. A jacketless hardcover Gerald Heard collection for a buck? Looks cool, but I didn't have time to read it before it sold for a couple of hundred. And the Essex House edition of Hank Stine's Season of the Witch in beautiful shape for 50c -- still there after a bunch of dealers had already been through the room.

No barcode on either one, though. Too bad for the scanners.

#401 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 10:01 PM:

HyperhyperHYPER-local -- I love it here.

Of course I know we're leaving again in a few months.

For now it feels we've stumbled into a secret world, the way it felt when I first started going to Cuba -- such a revelation of what had always been here, but I DIDN'T KNOW!

Like Cuba, here isn't a secret either to the many who live here and whose families always have lived here, but to all of us who don't live here and whose families are not from here, the eastern shore, particularly Kent Co. are revelations.

The people, the landscape, the food, our work -- they are all the very best! I'm in heaven, temporarily.

And last night we drove back from our first trip to Baltimore* under an October half moon, remarkably shaped like an Elizabethan ship, that might have sailed up the Chesapeake and into any of the many many rivers -- all navigable in such a ship -- that feed into the Bay.

Love, C.


* the Nedster played his first gig in B., at the instigation of amigo Madison Smartt Bell.

#402 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 11:29 PM:

Lexica #372:

New rock-paper-scissors!

...zombie infects werewolf, werewolf claws vampire, but vampire is master of the undead zombie.

#403 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2010, 11:41 PM:

"I'm a natural-born suspect."
- Vincent Price in Laura

#404 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2010, 12:29 AM:

Syd @396, he left the place more beautiful than he found it.

#405 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2010, 01:51 AM:

O/T, and with a hat-tip to TexAnne

An interesting seventeenth century cover version of the Smiths 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

The composer seems to have had a taste for puns which are almost as viol as some of Serge's.

(In my official on-screen persona, of course, I almost certainly disapprove.)

#406 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2010, 03:13 AM:

The local book cafe is closing down (family health issues, apparently), and has reached the point where all remaining book stock has been marked down to 50c. My brother and I filled a large box between us. As we were leaving, a friend wandered past and expressed mock-outrage: when he went through yesterday, the books were still a dollar each.

I didn't notice anybody wandering around with scanning devices.

#407 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2010, 03:18 AM:

Syd @ #396:

I'm sorry to hear it. (Though for me, it was a case of "He died? I hadn't realised he was still alive!" Which gives you some idea how young I am, that I can't remember a world without Mandelbrot fractals in it.)

#408 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2010, 03:20 AM:

David Harmon @ #384: KT: so could you squish a Wonder-Bread-and-banana sandwich into ... an egg-cup?

Somehow I'm picturing this being achieved in such a way that the banana ends up in a single yellow lump in the middle, surrounded by a spheroid of white bread.

#409 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2010, 03:57 AM:

Having been supported by being part of such a "scanning" organization (my folks own a used book business; the brick and mortar closed it's doors after almost 26 years; last month), I can sort of see the point of people annoyed at them, but I don't see it as all that bad.

The thing is, like Tom, a lot of what we did was requisate on memory, and local conditions (what our customers wanted. Series romance, less than five months old.. grab it).

The real complaint seems to be the idea of the obvious middleman. I look at the margin he's running, and the work to make it on that margin, ad I don't seem someone who is getting all that much off of it.

Yes, he's not there to get something to read; he's there so someone else can get something to read.

I don't see that as being a terrible calling.

#410 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2010, 04:39 AM:

Terry @409:
I don't see that as being a terrible calling.

I don't think others do either, really. There's just a deep resonance with the classic amateur/professional split in this subthread. And since Making Light is a fully incorporated chapter of the Confraternity of Renaissance Folks and Associated Turbo-Charged Amateurs, there's strong sympathy for the former.

#411 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2010, 04:42 AM:

#396 Dang, now Jonathan Coulton is going to have to change the song.

#412 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2010, 08:07 AM:

Paul A. #406: Heh! But it would be more like a lump of banana covered with a thin layer of breadoid substance.

#413 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2010, 08:29 AM:

Thanks, Patrick, for that link to Rucker's post about Mandelbrot. As for his assertion...

The Mandelbrotian word “gangue,” more commonly used in French, refers to otherwise worthless material in which valuable ores or gems may be found. It’s pronounced like “gang” in English.

...that's not correct, says the pedant in me.

#414 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2010, 08:56 AM:

Over here, Paul Witcover talks about a miniseries based on "Man in the High Castle", and about a movie from Dick's "The Adjustment Bureau". Could be interesting.

#415 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2010, 10:27 AM:

Terry Karney @409 Yes, he's not there to get something to read; he's there so someone else can get something to read.

That was my reaction. I wouldn't want to see them charging through the room knocking down browsers to get their stuff first, and the idea of a 1st sale day closed to scanners makes sense to me. But his ilk are a big part of the reason that when I want to read a book that I didn't hear about until it was already out of print and my library doesn't have, I can often find it online at a reasonable price. I think this is a good thing.

#416 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2010, 04:33 PM:

Paul A. @ 408 / David Harmon @ 412

Oh, I don't know. Paul's post had me thinking of it as something like a rice-ball only with banannas and wonderbread, instead of rice and fish.

Also, my personal theory is that infinitely squishable bananna just means that it would get infinitely dense.

Which means food with it's own gravitational pull! Awesome again!!!

#417 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2010, 09:13 PM:

Not that I want to advertise for that place with the same name as a really big river in South America, but if you have always felt your life would be more complete if you owned a tidy boxed set of all seven seasons of Buffy, they have a Really Good Price on it right now.

#418 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2010, 11:45 PM:

tiberius- I forgot the Winchester Mystery House. Yes, it's a touristy thing, but it's fascinating. San Jose also has Peralta adobe house right across the street from a Victorian (Fallon House) and they do a dual tour. Our guide, who must have been a spry 80-something, dressed up appropriately for both halves: a serape for the first half and a full afternoon suit with tails and top hat for the second.

#419 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 02:04 AM:

On Oct 19, 2008 I bought a new desktop box. Today, two years to the day, that machine died. That's outrageous.

Typing on a netbook is really unpleasant.

#420 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 07:07 AM:

Linkmeister #419: That is outrageous. I'm currently passing along a machine that's at least 10 years old....

#421 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 09:32 AM:

Thirty years ago yesterday: hooray for us!

#422 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 11:53 AM:

So to all the heterodynaholics out there: OMG did you read today's Girl Genius!? "Vas?" "VAS"!?!one?

#423 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 12:01 PM:

So, I was reading over on Darn, these gnats are hard to swallow. Please pass the camels and abi at one point said: To quote Miles Vorkosigan, by their essential nature triumphs can’t be given. They must be taken, and the worse the odds and the fiercer the resistance, the greater the honor. Victories can’t be gifts. Sometimes the best thing you can do to help is not to explain and advise, but just to listen and let people work things out on their own.

Sensei, I have a question: How do you know the difference?

#424 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 12:12 PM:

heresiarch @ 422 -- We've known for some time that Higgs has been hanging around with the Heterodynes for a really long time, and we've seen that kind of "accent" from local folk on a number of occasions. To me, the "vas" doesn't signify anything more than that Higgs has deliberately used a less regional mode of speech up until now, but has slipped under stress -- I've seen speculation that he's really some kind of proto-Jaeger, and I don't buy it.

#425 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 12:48 PM:

Jacque @423, just listen until they actually convincingly ask for advice, and be prepared to drop back instantly to listen-only mode at the slightest hint they don't really want advice? So often people just want to go over their own inner arguments out loud.

#426 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 01:01 PM:

Since Patrick has already been over to Scalzi's place to comment, I thought this might end up as a Sidelight...but it hasn't as of yet, so I'm offering it as thought-provoking open-threadiness.

#427 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 01:23 PM:

heresiarch @422 and Joel Polowin @424--

I found it interesting that in this episode, Airman Higgs suddenly looked a good bit like a lot like the old seneschal, Carson von Mekkan, AKA Carson Heliotrope, and his grandson Vanamonde, the current holder of that office. There's something about the cheekbones and jaw, all of a sudden.
Carson's son and successor as seneschal died the night of the Great Calamity at Castle Heterodyne, as faithful readers will no doubt recall. At least, we saw what was supposedly his hand sticking out from under a big stone block.

#428 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 02:39 PM:

Syd @ 426: It's made it to Sidelight - but thanks for the link.

#429 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 03:31 PM:

Terry@292, on German Board Game Stores - Sorry for the delay, I'm on the road (aunt&uncle in Kansas City turned 90 this year, had family reunion, namy relatives here.)

Some stores: Gator Games in San Mateo, approximately at ECR & 40th? On the back street behind Molly Stones Grocery, anyway.
Game Kastle (with a K) - Santa Clara, Coleman Ave, kind of behind the SJC airport runways.
Illusive Comics & Games - 2725 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, near Dosa Place
Games of Berkeley - on Shattuck
Eudemonia - Berkeley, University Ave
Endgame, Oakland
Legends Comics & Games - Cupertino, Vallco mall, pretty sure it's not dead yet.
All of these have various ratios of Euro games, D&D paraphernalia, Magic The Addiction, comic books, etc.

Places to play games in the South Bay
Monday - Yahoo (large)
Monday - Jake's Pizza, Sunnyvale (small, friendly.)
Tuesday - Mountain View community center in Rengstorff Park (small)
Tuesday - Red Rock Coffee, Mountain View (small, used to be Munchkin-centric.)
Thursday - Carrows Diner in Santa Clara (dozen people, expected to buy dinner)
Last Saturday of Month - Foster City (large, 10-5ish) -
Saturday About Every 6 Weeks - Los Altos Library - large, morning-midnightish - - Nov 6, Dec 4, Jan 15

#430 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 03:36 PM:

I'm not replying to the actual threads in (a discussion recently closed), but TexAnne mentioned a cake called "gâteau soleil", and Xopher replied "The cake is a pie!", and such silliness should not go unapplauded.

#431 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 04:22 PM:

Linkmeister @419,

commiserations. Is that simply the manufacturer screwing the customers, or is it somehow physically impossible to built things as microscopic as the individual elements of modern (post 2002) electronics in ways so that they last?

(Oh, and

Dear Sir,

I have recently lost the data required to access my late grand uncle's various bank accounts, which are estimated to hold a total sum of US DOLLAR 5,000,000, when the Personal Computer on which I had stored this data perished. Fortunately, I am now in negotiations with a business specialized in advanced data recovery services. Unfortunately, they demand a payment of US DOLLAR 120,000 for their services, a sum that I can not afford in my present financial condition. I am certain that, if you contact me, an agreement might be reached that would be highly profitable for both of us.

Sorry, when I started to type this comment, I noticed to which comment I was responding and couldn't resist.)

#432 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 05:55 PM:

Raphael @ #431, It's a Compaq, so I blame Carly Fiorina.

Current workaround: widescreen monitor somewhat surprisingly plugs into netbook; speakers do as well. I'm now looking for a USB keyboard and 4-port hub. $50-$60 is less painful than a $400 new computer. The only drawback is the netbook has no CD drive and a slower processor, but that's tolerable till my financial ship comes in.

#433 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 05:57 PM:

Also, Raphael, I like the scam.

#434 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 05:57 PM:

The back surgery I mentioned a few weeks ago is scheduled for tomorrow. I'll be in the hospital for 2 or 3 days, depending on how it goes, then home and on industrial strength pain drugs for a few days. So I'll be off the air for a bit, and then not saying much for a bit longer. I'll post something when I'm back and somewhat compos mentis.

#435 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 06:03 PM:

Good luck, Bruce. I don't suppose you could get somebody to post updates?

#436 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 06:06 PM:

Best wishes, Bruce.

#437 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 06:18 PM:

Bright Blessings, Bruce.

#438 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 06:23 PM:

Best wishes, Bruce.

#439 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 06:30 PM:

Bruce, I look forward to your speedy (or possibly morphiney) return. May your stay be brief and unexciting.

#440 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 06:33 PM:

Open threadiness.

Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History

Bruce, best wishes for a swift and uncomplicated recover.

#441 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 06:42 PM:

Best wishes Bruce, and enjoy your "no taking out the trash cans for a week" card.

#442 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 06:48 PM:

More gnats & camels goodness:

Bruce Baugh @G&C/533: Questions like "Who are good sources of information about the state of efforts to improve your problems?" are very good.

This is an item I wish I'd had in my toolkit about a month and a half ago. Would have saved me and my victim a great deal of pain.

And Avram's ice floe metaphor, too: Generally, if you screw up without meaning to, you can just say "Oh crap, I didn't know, I'm sorry about that," and get on with your life.

This also helps me relax about a couple of recent encounters that left me picking toe-jam out of my teeth.

Occassionally, I have hope that I might eventually grow up to be a Real Live Functioning Adult Human Being someday. With a lot of help from my friends. :)

#443 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 06:56 PM:

Bruce -- good luck. I hope it goes more smoothly for you than it did for me.

#444 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 07:23 PM:

Bruce: Best of luck!

In other news: Facebook blows it again....

And H-local news: Brought the computer into the bookshop today! Alas, the keyboard we got was non-functional. Also, the speakers lack their power supply. Snagged a $10 keyboard at Office Depot, and I'll probably just bring in one of my spare speakers sets. Getting there.... I'd already got the new wireless card to work at home, but it was one of those things where you bash at it, suddenly it starts working, and who knows why? And I didn't have any open nets available at home, so we'll have to see how the connection goes....

Also, not only did Giant have my catfood on sale, but I found a sticky coupon on one of the cans, for another dollar off 24 cans! Whee!

#445 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 07:48 PM:

Good luck, Bruce!

Latest computer news: USB keyboard attached. USB 4-in 1 plug doesn't seem to fit. It's got exterior flanges on the end of the cord which is supposed to plug into the netbook. We'll see.

#446 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 07:51 PM:

Linkmeister, #432: Is there a Goodwill computer store near you? If you don't mind having not-the-newest-thing, you can frequently get some really good deals there, on equipment that's been tested and shown to be in working order before they put it out.

Bruce, #434: Good luck!

#447 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 07:55 PM:

If you lived in the Portland area, Linkmiester, I'd give you my retired media tower.

#448 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 08:08 PM:

Best wishes for an uneventful few days, Bruce.

David @ 444: Seriously, isn't Facebook screwing it up a bit dog bytes man?

#449 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2010, 09:47 PM:

It turned out to be user error on the USB hub. I'm up and running, albeit in a kluged kind of way. The netbook (lid tilted down) is in front of the widescreen LCD monitor, which is displaying in letterbox format.

Thanks for the offer of the tower, and thanks for the Goodwill suggestion. I'm now thinking of taking the CPU in to see if it can be fixed.

#450 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 12:22 AM:

Good luck, Bruce.

#451 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 01:07 AM:

Hi, Terry - I don't have an email address for you, and I'm still on walkabout, back tomorrow night, but you'd asked for a note on when the Kabuki-West weekly dinners would be doing South Bay again. We'll be at Chelokebabi Persian in Sunnyvale this Wednesday, and Dohatsuten Japanese in Palo Altoish next week, and the schedule's on (or there's an email list.) Everybody's invited. billstewart at pobox dot com.

#452 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 02:05 AM:

Joel Polowin @ 424: "To me, the "vas" doesn't signify anything more than that Higgs has deliberately used a less regional mode of speech up until now, but has slipped under stress -- I've seen speculation that he's really some kind of proto-Jaeger, and I don't buy it."

Hmm, I don't think I would have bought "Higgs as Jaeger" until now, but "vas"? I can't think of anytime a non-Jaeger used that. But if you do then I'm probably just forgetting.

fidelio @ 427: Hmm, there's an idea.


#453 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 02:31 AM:

Best of luck to you, Bruce.

#454 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 03:37 AM:

heresiarch @452

Maybe Higgs is a boatswain.

#455 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 06:45 AM:

Good Luck, Bruce!

#456 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 07:03 AM:

Bruce: Good luck! Hope all goes well.

#457 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 07:03 AM:

Just exactly how bad the foreclosure fraud crisis is

High points:
* BoA having an eviction served on a couple who had no mortgage at all, much less one from BoA
* Wells Fargo suing Wells Fargo-- and winning-- in order to foreclose on a condo
* JP Morgan sending its minions to change to locks on a house (with the owner inside, which makes it breaking and entering) even though they hadn't foreclosed
* Mortgages sold to "Bogus"
* Mortgage minions told to make up SSNs to speed things along
* But that's OK, because there were three different people notarizing papers using the same name
* Lenders routinely destroying the original paperwork, even though it's what actually counts
* But that's OK too, because for $35 you could pay DOCX to make up a complete new set of papers

You have to read it to believe it.

#458 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 09:34 AM:

Dave Bell @ 454: But then he'd be missing!

#459 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 09:50 AM:

heresiarch @ 452

Alt, raised by Jagers, in the absence of the more-traditional wolves, I'm thinking...

#460 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 09:59 AM:

C Wingate:

Yeah, Naked Capitalism has been covering this very well, too. I am no expert, but this looks like it could get ugly in several directions, the most likely being that congress will retroactively bless all the document fraud/bypassing of state law to prevent another banking crisis.

#461 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 10:28 AM:

I never really got programmed with the love of used bookstores traditional and proper to my station (I don't think I had access to any until after I already had a fairly good collection and decent resources, so the early days of finding gems for nothing every trip, which I suspect are crucial to programming one to love them, never happened for me).

But I can easily imagine feeling ripped off if people better organized than me (including use of a scanner or whatever; that also makes them more identifiable) routinely got to the sales before me and found all the good stuff.

I'm not sure the feeling would be really justifiable, since people like Tom Whitmore and quite a number of other people I've known in person, with better memories than me, can do the job pretty well without mechanical assistance. Or maybe I'm supposed to be resenting various friends who work harder at the used book thing than I ever have? That doesn't seem productive.

As Tom says, most of things I'd really care about these days don't have bar codes anyway.

#462 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 10:47 AM:

ddb #461: As Tom says, most of things I'd really care about these days don't have bar codes anyway.

I treasure the genuine RFID tag inside my hardback copy of "Little Brother". heh.

#463 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 10:59 AM:

On the barcode question, I do admit that a prime reason for picking up a netbook was so that I could look UP which book in X trilogy was the one I have to replace this time...

Which, as soon as I eventually become SUPER ORGANIZED, I will absolutely do.

#464 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 11:02 AM:

A friend made checklists, especially for magazines and DAW books and Ace doubles (all of which had simple obvious sequences). He kept these checklists in his wallet for decades (as they got more and more worn, and gradually more checked off).

While he still has the old collections, I believe he's basically given up collecting, and doesn't even read SF that much any more.

#465 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 11:54 AM:

Belated best wishes, Bruce.

#466 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 12:01 PM:

KayTei @ 463: That's a major reason why I have a Psion. It may be 10-year-old technology, and no longer supported by the manufacturers, but I keep my book databases (SF, Natural History/Veterinary, Detective, Misc) on it and I carry it all the time*, so I can always check whether or not I've got a particular book. I also keep a copy of my husband's beer database on it so I can pick up new beers for him when I see them, without worrying whether it's one he's had already.

* I have a netbook as well, but that's not always with me.

#467 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 12:03 PM:

Open threadiness. From a summary about fire drills:

"Would anyone who cannot hear the alarm when it sounds report it immediately to a Fire Coordinator or Marshal"

#468 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 12:05 PM:

re 460: Somewhere in the article it mentions the attempt to get an "electronic records are holy writ" bill through congress, fortunately nipped in the bud by an Obama veto. No senator or rep voted against it.

#469 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 12:37 PM:

ddb@ #464, I have a well-worn list in my wallet of all the Aubrey & Maturin books, with the ones I own crossed out. I started carrying it after accidentally buying a second copy of Post Captain when it turned up at Goodwill.

#470 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 01:05 PM:

ddb @461 said: But I can easily imagine feeling ripped off if people better organized than me (including use of a scanner or whatever; that also makes them more identifiable) routinely got to the sales before me and found all the good stuff.

The point I was trying to make, upthread, was that what the scanners regard as 'trash' and leave, in the overwhelming main is where the books *I* most want *are*. So what they're taking doesn't compete with my actual needs (and every book they're taking is provably wanted by someone Out There In The Ether, or at least shown to be so by whatever metric they use). Every book a scanner goinks is (a) a quick sale for the people selling it, at the price they asked, (b) delivering (at a markup) the book to someone who really does want it, but couldn't be there that day, and (c) removing all the stupid recent-bestseller crap from the table so I don't have to sort through it.

Triple win, IMHO. YMMV, of course, but ... the resentment comes from wrongly characterizing what they're pulling off the table as 'the treasures,' when they're only really treasures to THEM.

#471 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 01:17 PM:

Re: (generally) carrying records of books owned/desired for shopping purposes

When I got a smartphone, one of the first things I did was to start carrying a copy of the spreadsheet listing every book I already own. Having once bought a second copy of The Agrarian History of England and Wales Volume 2.3 (or maybe it was vol. 3.2) to the tune of a couple hundred dollars, I decided that memory could not be sufficiently relied on.

These days I'm so far behind on my fiction reading that memory is completely useless in determining whether a book falls in the category of: 1) seen, bought, and read; 2) seen, bought, but not read; 3) seen, not bought, not read; 4) not previously seen and not bought (and clearly not read); or the fairly small category of 5) seen, not bought yet, but already read. The problem is especially crucial for series, for which I have set up a special file listing the ones I try to follow, giving the number, title, and date of the last item bought in the series, plus any titles that I missed along the way and am on the lookout for.

But the "do I already own this?" file is primarily aimed at the (more expensive) non-fiction, since the category is more likely contain both books that I'm intensely familiar with but have not yet purchased, and books that I own but am only slightly familiar with.

#472 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 02:12 PM:

By the way, Library Thing has a mobile site; it appears to be read only, although there are apps for it in development. It would still be useful for reference.

#473 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 02:19 PM:

Also on the carrying lists front -- I use EndNote for pretty much all my bibliographic list-making needs, and export to text files which I then load on a memory card in my smartphone. I have lists of all my fiction, non-fiction, and DVDs, plus a list of things I want to read. The only thing I don't have on there yet is a list of all the books in my study at work, but that's just a matter of extracting the books from the whole database (which includes printouts, downloads, journal articles, etc). Similarly, I use MasterCook for my recipes and export searchable text files I can use when I see a bargain on some ingredient but can't think of how to use it all in a week.

What did I ever do when I had to carry this stuff around in my head or on little slips of paper in my wallet??

#474 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 02:28 PM:

David Harmon @366: Since starting work, I'm finding that my stress/fatigue levels are much higher than I'm accustomed to, and my "compensations" for my semi-Aspie traits are suffering noticably. So is my general "togetherness" -- last night, I even managed to forget a pot of boiling eggs... until I heard them go "whump". :-(

I find that whenever I have a major change in my routine (such as starting a job), I tend to be a space cadet for a while until I settle into a new routine. I've concluded that this is, in large part, because I am now using declarative memory to do things that are usually handled by muscle memory, and so I have much less RAM available for general functioning.

#475 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 02:48 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @ 471: With the additional problem, in Natural History (for example) of: very similar titles; same title, different author; same book, different edition (and do I want the different edition); being familiar with the cover-without-dust-jacket so mistakenly picking up a copy with dust jacket because it looks different (or vice versa).

#476 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 03:09 PM:

Ah. Progress:

Sweat Lodge Deaths Deter New Age Tourists

SEDONA, Ariz. — There is negative energy in the air here, which the channelers, mystics, healers, psychics and other New Age practitioners of Sedona are grappling to identify and snuff out. It has to do with the recent dearth of visitors to this spiritual mecca in search of enlightenment.

. . .

That an earthly power — the economy — is a culprit is not in doubt. But some do not discount the lingering effect of an awful incident from a year ago that put Sedona’s New Age community in a bad light and that, to some degree, still lingers, despite efforts by metaphysical people to cast it away.

#477 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 03:42 PM:

Serge @379: Can they achieve eggscape velocity?

#478 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 04:41 PM:

Can I get partial credit for just putting in a generic blanket note of sympathy and support for Bruce, Joel, Velma, Scraps, and the hordes of everyone else who seems to be having crappy health issues this fall? I have been noting them but feeling a little too overwhelmed to respond to much here. (For myself, my wrist is still messed up from this summer when I apparently damaged a tendon using the curl bar.)

Re Airman Higgs: I don't think Jaeger, proto-Jaeger, or raised by Jaegers is a significant enough role for him. (Remember how shocked the castle's personality, in the mechanical muse body, was to see him? "You!" and then he brained it to keep it from saying anything more.) I have been assuming he was one of the missing Heterodyne brothers incognito, keeping an eye on the empire and Agatha, but I suppose I can see he doesn't look right for that. (This is another area where my face-blindness is a problem - I have even more trouble telling cartoon characters apart than movie actors or real people.) The suggestion that he is the rejuvenated great-great-seneschal continuing to watch over Heterodyne interests makes a great deal of logical sense out of all of these. (And I just got the Higgs boatswain pun, ow.)

#479 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 05:25 PM:

Tying together a couple of the subthreads here:

There's an excellent and very large monthly library booksale in Palo Alto; do a Google search on "friends of the Palo Alto library" and you'll find it.

Their method of dealing with "scanners" is a simple rule: Before 11am, you can't carry around or check out with more than a dozen books at a time. So, yes, you can scan -- but not all that efficiently. IIRC, it's still rather a madhouse at 11am from all the people, though; I tend to show up around 1pm or so and find plenty of good stuff left and much less pressing crowds.

#480 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 05:31 PM:

Stefan, your link doesn't work. This one should, though.

#481 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 05:41 PM:

Jacque #474: That's at least part of it... unfortunately, the computer side of things has been keeping my routine somewhat up-in-the-air.

The computer is now running and using... somebody's wireless. I may need a better antenna to get the proper Charlottesville Downtown signal. And I still need to get the matter of selling the journals (more routinely) sorted out, plus set up databases. And then there's the point that I'm currently the only person who's willing to deal at all with the computer stuff, which seems unsustainable, even if I am getting a big cut of revenues. (I didn't want a full-time-job, dammit!)

#482 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 05:55 PM:

Jacque @ 477... I'd like to see a space battle between the USS Eggsurprise and a Romulan Bird of Prey.

"Mister Sp'Yolk! Launch bacon torpedoes!"

#483 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 05:57 PM:

Some kind soul wrote a Palm utility which allows you to dump your LibraryThing catalogue onto any Palm running Palm OS 3.0 or higher (subject to memory requirements, of course). It's limited in what you can look up, but the first time I walked into a used bookstore with that loaded on my Palm, it paid for the cost of my lifetime account in books I did not buy because I could check whether I had already bought them.

#484 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 05:59 PM:

albatross @ 460... Naked Capitalism has been covering this...

...with the invisible hand of the Free Market?

#485 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 07:13 PM:

What possible use could their be in tracking the lies of Sarah Palin? (Or Glen Beck, or . . .)

The (fortunately small) minority which adore her are beyond reason and argument.

Everyone else, she lost when she wrote crib notes for a speech on her hand.

#487 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 07:44 PM:

#486: The dark block in central Oregon is no doubt due to Bend. This small where-the-mountains-meet-the-desert city boomed like crazy. There was all sorts of "the future of Oregon is Bend!" talk, accompanied by smirks about Portland's Metro planning board and its urban growth boundaries.

Hah-hah. Portland's real estate values have suffered, but Bend was just totally hammered.

#488 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 09:33 PM:

Stefan Jones #485: What possible use could their be in tracking the lies of Sarah Palin? (Or Glen Beck, or . . .)

Fear not, for snark is not depleted when used.

#489 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2010, 10:42 PM:

Stefan, #487: Boy howdy, does that comment have a different ring when you've been re-reading S.M. Stirling's "Changed World" series for the last 3 weeks!

#490 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 12:50 AM:

HyperLocal news: I'm rebuilding a blown drive on my wife's old hand me down laptop, and replacing the blown 200gig with the original 60gigger. Slow, small, but works. Unfortunately, that's smaller than the old home directory, so it's time to prune.


I need a time machine to setup time machine, because the time to setup time machine backups is not just after one needs them. or something. Thankfully it was alive enough to get the last 3 months of pictures off, back to the last good backup.

#491 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 02:46 AM:

Someone named Ronnie Butler has created a video starring an Obama lookalike as "The Modern US President," a riff on "When I was a lad" from HMS Pinafore.

#492 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 03:07 AM:

eric @490: This is a good time to remind everyone to back everything up, regularly and frequently. Yes, really. (I need the reminder sometimes, even having had the experience of two catastrophic hard drive failures within six months of each other to teach me to do so).

#493 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 03:49 AM:

Here's hoping Bruce Cohen's surgery went smoothly.

At the risk of an overabundance of bunged-up Bruce's, my own surgery (for that injured shoulder) is at 10:30 AM on October 20th.

This is actually the second time I've written this announcement and -- I thought -- posted it here. Apparently I previewed the earlier effort, but never hit the "Post" button.

Which just goes to show that the surgery is probably a good idea, because even when I'm not having the sharp shattered-razor-blade flashes of pain, the shoulder has gotten to where it aches constantly. And that ache sucks up brain processing power, like a background program on a computer: "My shoulder aches. Man, my shoulder aches. Aches. Aches, aches, aches." Repeat, constantly.

#494 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 04:14 AM:

Open Thread:

You really can (or will be able to) Google anything.

#495 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 04:35 AM:

dcb @492: I finally got a Time Machine just before my trip over Labor Day. Load off my mind. Now: anybody have recommendations for offsite backup?

#496 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 04:41 AM:

Best wishes and speedy healing to Bruces everywhere.

#497 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 08:02 AM:

Linkmeister #491: No, it's a parody of the Major General's song from The Pirates of Penzance.

#498 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 08:22 AM:

I hope all goes well/went well/will have gone well for Bruce. And Bruce.

#499 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 08:38 AM:

I hope all goes well/went well/will have gone well for Bruce. And Bruce.

#500 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 09:25 AM:

Good luck to Bruce Arthurs too!

#501 ::: Per Chr. J. ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 10:36 AM:

Regarding scanners, I do not mind that people make money in a generally non-profit field, but sometimes I find that people that want to make a profit of a hobby sometimes take up a bit too much room. Not quite the same thing, but a science fiction club I belonged to, and of which I was a member of the board, used to have science fiction auctions, in which the items on sale (usually turned in by individual members, which meant that some members got to clear their shelves a bit, others got to stock their shelves) got a brief but fair description from the auctioneer. My enthusiasm fell a bit, however, when we attracted the attention of rather demanding sellers, who often were marginal members of our fannish community or unknown to us, and that had very specific opinions on how we should conduct our business. Some had rather rare and valuable items that quite possibly rather belonged on an online auction site, rather than in a social event for a smallish community, others wanted to recoup their losses after investing in an outgoing format (that is, sell all their VHS season boxes at prices approximating DVD box sets). Some of the latter even got a bit snippy when we tried pointing out diplomatically that, well, you want to switch from VHS to DVD, and this means that others probably want to do so as well, which again means that the prices you ask etc. etc.

#502 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 12:02 PM:

Bruce Arthurs #493: Good luck.

#503 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 12:28 PM:

I join with the rest of the fluorosphere is hoping for healthier and happier Bruces!

#504 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 12:36 PM:

Just so long as they don't all move to Australia....

#505 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 12:39 PM:

Three more things on backups:

1) If it's not automatic, it's not really a functioning backup. You may accidentally get what you need, when you need it.

2) Your product is not backups, it's successful restores. Test accordingly.

3) Hard drives are cheap compared to time. > TB for $100.

#506 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 12:41 PM:

dcb at 492: after years of not doing backups, (stupid, stupid) I finally purchased a well-reviewed and recommended backup program (Genie Timeline) which backs up automatically every hour to my external hard drive.

#507 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 01:01 PM:

Open Threadiness: Two Piece Swimsuit, Two Middle Fingers.

It's amazing how many people think they have the absolute right not to be offended by having to share a public space with people they consider unattractive.

#508 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 01:05 PM:

Lee 507: Yes, it's appalling. And that woman isn't even...well, let's just say that she barely counts as voluptuous, let alone obese.

#509 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 01:34 PM:

Bruce @493: Sympathies; yes, constant pain (even the background type) takes up energy. How much, you don't always realise until you're pain-free again. Hope the op. went well.

#510 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 01:41 PM:

Xopher @ 508: Yet it's still more than enough to get a woman fat shamed and make it hard for her to find clothes (I say rather bitterly).

That's what obese (which has a definition of BMI greater than or equal to 30) often looks like. It's not in the main the 'headless fatties' most often seen accompanying news articles about fat, anymore than so-called morbidly obese people (those headless fatties) are in the main so fat they can't get out of bed. (I've actually had to take someone to task for assuming that.)

The 'epidemic' looks an awful lot like people with thick limbs and a belly.

#511 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 02:25 PM:

Not so hyper-Local News: the capital of Republican North (as opposed to the capital of Alberta, otherwise known as RN) has chosen the most crazy left-wing nutcase (an academic, no less!) of the three conceivable choices for mayor. They have explicitly unchosen "Common Sense. Conservative. Leadership." [Mycroft ed., via RFC1925: "Pick two"]

I have hope.

Oh, and a side note - he's Muslim. And has a name that is clearly Muslim. That also gives me hope.

#512 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 02:36 PM:

Renatus #510: BMI stands for "Bullshit Made Inescapable" -- it was invented by a Census Department statistician who couldn't be bothered to actually talk to a doctor about it, let alone arrange for a study to normalize his "statistic". (Scare quotes, because Mark Twain's line applies here.)

Agreed, but the woman at "Corpulent" was just commenting on the original article. Agreed, she isn't actually "corpulent", but it's good to see people on the edge of the stigmatized crowd standing up for the folks in the middle of it.

The only reason my own paunch annoys me is because some of my shirts have lately begun coming out of my pants... admittedly, I'm male, and that makes a big difference in expectations.

On the other hand, Rogaine came out when I was 18, and my family offered to pay for it. I told them that I had no intention of spending the rest of my life peering into a mirror, wondering "did my hairline creep back another quarter-inch?"

#513 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 03:02 PM:

Slight correction to the above: I see that Wiktionary says that "modern usage of "corpulent" includes... modest plumpness", so I guess the blogger does qualify for that. (Color me archaic, I think of it as more extreme than that.) However, "morbidly obese" is still a term of medical art, indicating that the amount of fat is life-threatening in its own right.

#515 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 04:30 PM:

My wife just sent me the following link:

There's a REALLY interesting episode of "MythBusters" coming up on December 8.

President Obama has challenged the "Mythbusters" team to tackle the 'Archimedes death ray' in which, as legend has it, Archimedes set fire to an invading Roman fleet using only mirrors and the reflected rays of the sun. Hyneman told CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante that the hosts "went to the White House Library and the president explained that he wasn't quite satisfied with our earlier experiments and so we need to take things full scale." Hopefully third time's the charm, since the first two attempts to explore the death ray "busted." This time may be different.


#516 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 04:44 PM:

I wish to state for the record that I don't do villanelles. I'm a sonnet person.


I always think of you on boats,
Remember you on river ferries
Among the cycles and the coats.

The breeze is singing minor notes:
A tune whose timbre never varies.
I always think of you on boats.

Above the deck, a seagull floats,
Its cries the windstorm steals and buries
Among the cycles and the coats.

A single drop of rain denotes
That summer comfort never tarries.
I always think of you on boats.

Inside the cabin, sun strikes motes
Of dust the autumn windstorm carries
Among the cycles and the coats.

At last to dock the ferry floats
To journey's end, as winter harries.
I always think of you on boats
Among the cycles and the coats.

#517 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 05:02 PM:

abi @ 516... Among the cycles and the coats

Into the moat?

#518 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 05:10 PM:

As you were trying to avoid a thoat.

#519 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 05:37 PM:

Someone seems worried about weasels and stoats.

#520 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 05:49 PM:

And goats.
And things rote.

#521 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 06:26 PM:

I've probably linked this before, but it's relevant again: BMI categories, illustrated. Click on the "details" link to see which category each person pictured falls into.

Look particularly at the ones marked "overweight" -- they're what most people would call HEALTHY.

#522 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 06:50 PM:

David Harmon @ 512: BMI stands for "Bullshit Made Inescapable"

Heheheh. I like that. I'm totally on board with that take on it, too; my statement about BMI was just pointing out that this is the number where the moral panic begins in earnest, and it doesn't look like how a lot of people think it does.

However, "morbidly obese" is still a term of medical art, indicating that the amount of fat is life-threatening in its own right.

Oh god, yes. I've seen people refer to themselves as 'deathfat' in sarcastic response to that label. Despite the implied 'WILL DIE AT ANY MOMENT' they continue living life just like normal people, funny enough!

Speaking of absurd obesity-related moral panic... Many Obese People Think They Look Great. This, err, charming little article is a fine example of concern trolling; after outright stating that people who prefer fat bodies aesthetically have a misunderstanding of a healthy weight, it goes on to insinuate that if you're fat and like the way you look, you're unaware that you're fat and, therefore, unlikely to be aware of your potential health risks.

If that wasn't bad enough, the accompanying illustration makes it blatant that the point is 'fat person who likes how they look = delusional enough to think they're thin.'

#523 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 07:45 PM:

abi #516: Well, that's got my vote!

#524 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 08:19 PM:

I'm working on a villanelle, but it's slow going so far; I'm trying to construct it from five haiku and a haiqua.

#525 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 08:20 PM:

And what are the serving on the table d'hote?

#526 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 08:23 PM:

Renatus, #510, here's a list for large size retailers from Stef.

#527 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 08:55 PM:

Marilee @ 526: Thanks! When I'm less broke I'll have to look into the stores that offer overseas shipping. Finland is even worse for sizes than the States, and I'm damned lucky that I once found a pair of jeans that fit right, are material that lasts, and don't have hideous embroidery/rhinestones. Alas, they're my only pair of trousers and the inner thighs are about to go. I'm glad I can sew just well enough to make a sturdy patch.

Me @ 522: I know that 'don't read the comments at news sites' is usually common knowledge, but on the Times article I linked it's worth reinforcing: DON'T READ THE COMMENTS. Aaaugh. Anyone have any brain bleach to spare?

#528 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 09:33 PM:

Hyperlocal news, computer edition: Did you know you could persuade Gmail to fetch your mail from non-Gmail accounts and show it in your Gmail inbox?

The death of my desktop has now become not a tragedy but merely an annoyance. The only thing I don't have off of it that's big is my iTunes library, and I have CD backups of that. Unfortunately the netbook has no CD drive, or I could dump them into it as well.

#529 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 09:33 PM:

Yeah, count me among the OMG SCARY DEATHFAT. My fat math tonight yields a BMI between 42 and 43, so I am clearly on death's door and about to explode of too much pie. I was going to post a photo, but it turns out that the only full-length mirror in the house is in a bad place for taking photos.

It's too late in the evening for me to get going on the subject of "If I'm supposed to exercise and lose all this weight why can't I find exercise pants that fit?"

(And open threadiness, I apologize for my apparent stir-and-scram on the recently closed thread. Got a bad case of real life and the discussion had closed by the time I got caught up. Thank you all for your thoughts and civility on a raw subject.

#530 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 09:41 PM:

Speaking of BMI, right now the MyhtBusters are testing what happens when you-know-what really does hit the fan.

#531 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 09:46 PM:

Best wishes to the Bruces on their various health treatments.

We had our own little journey into non-socialized medicine today (and all afternoon I kept remembering the good stories from out-US): my son was injured in PE, and we all thought he had a dislocated shoulder. The school nurse called me, I called the pediatrician, and a few other people as well, picked him up, took him to his doctor; she referred us to the orthopod for rads and repair. We drove over there, got rads, and sat for a while. Ultimately, the orthopod said the rads were clear, checked him thoroughly and determined that he was just painful (and less than he had been), then sent us home with a sling for tonight and a note excusing him from PE for the next seven days. It's ironic that PE is one of the few classes in which he has a solid A average. Well, we blunted his disappointment with no homework, Chinese food for dinner, and a viewing of the cheesy Sherlock Holmes movie from 2009 (really cheesy). Oh, and dessert, of course.

#532 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 10:11 PM:

Ginger @ 531... Cheesy? Humph. I bet your son liked this scene.

#533 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 10:24 PM:

Beady, best wishes beating the pain. It's good to be able to think about, well, you know, other things. Things that aren't that.

Abi, without a doubt.*
(*For our Canadian readers, and many in the northern border states of the U.S.)

#534 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2010, 10:47 PM:

Thena, what's worse is that all the ads for exercise clothing (and so forth) feature people who look like they don't do anything but exercise.

#536 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 12:04 AM:

Serge @ 532: Alas, no -- the OTHER cheesy Sherlock Holmes movie of 2009, or as Netflix put it, "not to be confused with the blockbuster movie of the same time". This one had bad special effects, wooden acting with English accents, and really bad anachronisms. The steampunk was only so-so. I at least had a good book to read (Cryoburn, arrived in the mail today -- and damn! quite a book). He didn't care: I was letting him watch a movie on a school night with no homework.

#537 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 12:45 AM:

My favorite Sherlock Holmes movie is "Murder by Decree".

#538 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 12:48 AM:

Ginger @ 536... I was letting him watch a movie on a school night with no homework


#539 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 03:59 AM:

Ummm, so, uhhh... [scuffs floor with sneaker] in the last week I've been writing again, for the first time in years.* I'm posting 140 char micro-stories on Twitter at clifton_r, 1-2 a day, usually with some SF&F nature to them. Enjoy if you feel so inclined.

* In '98 I kind of lost any inclination or inspiration to write in public or private for a long time.

#540 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 06:27 AM:


Offsite backup: I have been using Mozy for over a year and found it unintrusive and cheap (for what it is).


  • When I first installed it on an already sick machine, things broke badly. Reinstalled as Windows7 and I've never had another problem.

  • Bare Metal Restore was tested rather early due to the previous point. This was a success.

  • The initial sync over the web will take a long time and may trip over your provider's monthly bandwidth limit.

  • Don't forget that stuff deleted from the live machine will (after a period) be deleted from the backup too - it's a backup solution, not an archiving solution.

#541 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 09:28 AM:

It is now possible to have your Lorem Ipsum Snoop Doggified. Because the world needed that.

#542 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 10:22 AM:

C. Wingate @457 -- and the Wall Street Journal today has an article blaming the entire foreclosure problem on: Lawyers! Yes, pesky lawyers who found out that banks were lying on a regular basis to the courts about actually looking at what was going on or doning what they swore they did.

No blame to the banks for lying: everything was perfectly clear about the people not paying when they should, so why should the banks have to actually do what they were legally required to do. Perjury isn't important when the banks are losing money!

Those pesky lawyers. Even the conservatives hate them.

#543 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 10:39 AM:

Oh yes -- a link to the article. Other people are commenting similarly out in the blogosphere, calling this the Dumb News Story of the Day. An early entrant.

#544 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 11:35 AM:

Five dead authors and their favorite drinks.

"F. Scott Fitzgerald liked champagne or gin, but when trying to cut back would limit himself to beer. 30 bottles. A day."

#545 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 01:04 PM:

They just don't make drinkers like they used to.

#546 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 01:04 PM:

Anybody going to MileHiCon this weekend?

#547 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 02:10 PM:

Jacque @ 546... Not I, alas.

#548 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 02:22 PM:

Just out of curiosity (and a desire to calibrate my obscurity), who understands why I chose the subjects of the original post?

#549 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 02:23 PM:

Tom @ #525

They'll charge you a groat for a handful of oats.

#550 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 02:27 PM:

abi, 548: O-gauge scale is 1:48?

#551 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 02:31 PM:

TexAnne @550:

Correct. American O gauge (British and European vary a little), quarter-inch model scale, and Lego minifigs are all 1:48.

So was it obvious?

#552 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 02:32 PM:

abi (548): I had no clue. (But I'm guessing TexAnne is correct?)

#553 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 02:32 PM:

abi@548: Not me. I did wonder a little bit about train scales, but didn't know and didn't follow it up. If TexAnne is right, I was on the right track then.

Although Wikipedia says "O Scale in the UK is commonly 1:43.5 or 7mm to the foot, in Europe it is 1:45[3], and in the USA 1:48[2]."

#554 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 02:33 PM:

fidelio @ #541

This is Just to Say

I have enchefferized
the words
that were in
your clipboard

and which
you were probably
for markup

Forgive me,
they looked
so greeked
and so bork, bork, bork.

#555 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 02:36 PM:

(#551 slipped in while I was posting #552.)

I miss enough references around here that I mostly don't worry about it, unless it impedes my ability to follow the conversation, which this didn't. There was enough thematic continuity to the original post that it didn't bother me not to know what (if any) the connection was to the number.

#556 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 02:41 PM:

abi, 551: It went like this: "Theme? Elise, American gauge what?...EliseMiketrains, google, ha, very good." But I thought that if I got it, others would find it obviouser.

#557 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 02:48 PM:

I had no clue. But, like Mary Aileen, I don't worry about missing references unless I have extra time on my hands (or extra procrastination needs) or it's impeding my ability to follow, which this didn't.

#558 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 02:53 PM:

abi... My apologies for derailing your villanelle with some not very bon mots.

#559 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 03:15 PM:

My copy of Cryoburn just arrived. :-)))

#560 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 03:37 PM:

Just got back from a lovely trip to Poland to find the little "The TSA Has Gone Through Your Luggage" note in my suitcase. I'm not surprised; owing to tossing most of my clothing, what was mostly left were my coat, the odd souvenir, roughly 4 tons of Polish candies and gingerbread, various charging cables and 4 lbs of Wisconsin Cheese* (go, Brennans!) including a 1.3 lb chunk of 5 y.o. cheddar. Having read in this blog that semi-solid masses appear as possibly-plastique on x-ray machines, I was prepared for this eventuality. Still, doesn't look like the TSA stole any of my cheese, so I'm not too grumpy.

* mother has a recent lap-band thingy and dad is dieting along with her. Now they're transferring their food issues to me. They bought a whole tray of brownies and were disappointed when I would only eat one. Not going to complain about the cheese though!

#561 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 03:48 PM:

nerdycellist @560:

We came back from New York in February with a half-gallon jug of maple syrup good enough to make ones eyes roll back in one's head (thank you, Jim!). TSA opened the bag, but mercifully did not pilfer it.

Might have been lying next to the travel light box of wires, circuit boards and LEDs. Bet that looked interesting on the scanner.

#562 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 03:52 PM:

re 543: I think the language against the WSJ is a bit exaggerated but the article does leave out a key datum: that Kowalski was trying to track down whether the paper-pusher knew about the payment history, and stumbled upon the reality that they didn't know squat about anything, but were willing to sign any number of papers otherwise. Behind that lies yet another systemic abuse that again I am thankfully protected from (because again my bank never sells mortgages), but which I've heard numerous complaints about from others. The poor quality of documentation has put several people I've known through hell because they can't get their payments to whoever happens to own their mortgage at the moment. Well, now we know why: nobody else is sure either.

And on top of that there is another bit of fraud which has definitely attracted the interest of the states; all the lack of paperwork has been a, well "godsend" is really not quite the right word, now, but it's been a boon in avoiding paying all the recording fees which by rights ought to have been owed to the states and counties for all the mortgages being passed around.

The really nasty thing about it all is that it's going to be very hard to straighten this out without adjudicating practically every mortgage in the country. One worst-case expedient solution would be to void every mortgage GMAC, BoA, and so forth owned. I personally would have a big problem with that, since I would get effectively penalized for sticking with a responsible and conservative bank, but I can also see every finance guy in the country turning white at the prospect. The other extreme of blessing all the nonexistent paperwork isn't going to fly either. The in-between solution is to go over every individual case, which I suppose will at least stimulate the economy one way.... but it will tie up the real estate market for years.

#563 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 04:00 PM:

re 551: Actually a lot of American O gauge (including the typical under-the-Christmas-tree stuff) is O-27, which is typically 1:64 scale. So you can reuse this whole thread in a few years.

#564 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 04:06 PM:

Given the evidence that mortgage fraud on the part of the banks is both systemic and endemic, it's pretty clear that the route to take for anyone who's facing foreclosure is a stout defense along the lines of the Produce the Note strategy -- and then if they do, to go over the paperwork with a fine-tooth comb to make sure it's not forged.

#565 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 04:17 PM:

Russ @541: Mozy: Perfect! Thanks!

fidelio @541: Lorem Ipsum Snoop Doggified: Can we haz lolcat lorem ipsum?

abi @548: who understands why I chose the subjects of the original post?

What Mary Aileen @555 said. I had faith that It Meant Something, and was doubtless Very Clever. But math not Zathras skill.*

Lizzy L @559: Mine came last night. Oh, the dilemma!! Read it this weekend and get even less sleep? Or save it for next weekend and spend the intervening week struggling with temptation... </agonies>

*Jacque, it's not math, it's just a number.**
***If the plural of "half" is "halves," is the plural of "math" "maves?"

#566 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 04:38 PM:

This seems like it might intrigue some folks here, as it relates to SF/F and to stuff that smells yummy and is made of awesome.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, with whom I have no affiliation, but to whose perfumes I am a willing slave, has just released a series of scents inspired by Beagle's The Last Unicorn.

It's worth following the link just for the scent descriptions.

There were nine wagons, each draped in black, each drawn by a lean black horse, and each baring barred sides like teeth when the wind blew through the black hangings. The lead wagon was driven by a squat old woman, and it bore signs on its shrouded sides that said in big letters: MOMMY FORTUNA’S MIDNIGHT CARNIVAL. And below, in smaller print: Creatures of night, brought to light.

Cruelty and confinement, small magics and penny illusions: galbanum, teak, myrrh, narcissus, patchouli, cacao, labdanum, agarwood, lavender, neroli, and black moss. "

#567 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 04:38 PM:

My Cryoburn came on Saturday. I haven't read it yet. I am, at the moment, deeply engaged in an enjoyable way with two time-consuming things at work and one on the home front, and as a result the temptation is fairly low. I don't WANT the immersive can't-put-it-down experience right now. No doubt the time will come. And then I'll have it handy.

The library just e-mailed me that my hold for The Way of Kings is in, too, and I'm not going to get to that either. Will have to let it pass on to the next reader and catch it later.

#568 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 04:50 PM:

Any thoughts on the Elizabeth Moon vs. Wiscon flap? Or is that likely to rouse emotions beyond the group's comfort level?

Wiscon's withdrawal of Moon's GOH invitation:

because of disagreements arising from this LJ post by Moon:

pointing out that [some] Muslims don't live up to [what she perceives as] the American social contract of assimilation.

#569 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 05:11 PM:

Cadbury Moose #554--*sporfle*

#570 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 05:31 PM:

The Moon thing is so complex. Wiscon isn't just any SF convention, it's one with a very long-established political commitment to certain kinds of "progressivism".

Inviting Moon was in some ways, it seems to me, a reach beyond their comfort zone. She clearly doesn't align politically with Wiscon. However, she certainly writes strong female characters with agency, and some with age as well. However, it's pretty clear she's somewhat conservative politically, certainly relative to the Wiscon norm.

Moon's long post on citizenship, immigrants, and Muslims goes places (eventually) that I'm vehemently unhappy with. Her dealing with the comment thread afterwards did not even aspire to the higher levels of "dealing with disagreement".

I'm opposed to the cries that things should have happened much quicker. This sort of mess shouldn't be settled in the heat of the moment, and information takes a while to accumulate and move around, even on the Internet. People who thought it was totally obvious there was no other possible outcome I simply disagree with.

My sympathies to the Wiscon committee, and to Elizabeth Moon. (I am perfectly willing to offer some sympathy to people I still feel have behaved badly, okay? I'm not holding people blameless there.)

Years back, before he was known as a Holocaust denier, Minicon had James P. Hogan as a GoH. If he had gone public as a denier between accepting our invitation and the convention, it would have been a HUGE mess. I would have felt, strongly, that revoking a guest invitation is not something we could really do. And I would have felt, strongly, that having a Holocaust denier as a guest was not something we could really do. I can only imagine what other people, less temperate than I, would have felt, and said. I am EXTREMELY grateful that that bullet dodged us.

#571 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 06:43 PM:

Originally scheduled to be released from the hospital yesterday, but one of my incisions was draining a little more than the surgeon was happy with, so I stayed last night and got home this morning about 11 AM, with drainage reduced to very little. Other than that one minor problem, and a screwup in the schedule (they'd told me to be in admitting at 9:30 for an 11:30 procedure, then had me written in the OR schedule for a 10 AM procedure, so the surgeon took on an extra procedure while he was waiting for me, as a warmup), everything went well. The surgery lasted 5 hours, the maximum the surgeon was expecting; not because there were any particular problems, but because he had to do a lot of finicky cleaning up of the affected areas.

I was very happy with the competence and attitude of the nurses and the techs; this is probably the best hospital staff I've dealt with.

So far recovery is going very well, I'm up and about with some assistance, but no real problems, and pain level is quite low. My expectations have been pretty well exceeded so far. I'm only allowed a short time sitting up at any one time, so I'll be off to bed now; more later.

#572 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 06:49 PM:

Bruce: Good to hear you're doing well.

#573 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 06:55 PM:

Sarah, #566: Oh dear, you HAD to post that. I've been studiously avoiding the BPAL site due to a temporary financial crunch, but that may be more temptation than I can resist.

At risk of bragging, it's possible that I may have sparked that collaboration. Beagle was at Scarborough Faire a couple of years ago, and I gave him a decanted imp of Mary Read because he did a filk about her. I don't think he'd heard of BPAL prior to that, so...

ddb, #570: Egad. Not being a particular fan of Hogan, I hadn't even heard about that. It's good to know, in the event that anyone ever suggests him as an ApolloCon guest.

Wiscon seems to have had Drama of one type or another several times over the last few years. I've never been there (too far for pleasure travel), but a lot of people on my friendslist go, so I end up hearing about it.

#574 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 07:04 PM:

Glad the operation went well, Bruce! Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

#575 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 07:25 PM:

Welcome to recoveryland, Bruce!

#573: Inviting Hogan as a guest would entail difficulties beyond politics.

#576 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 07:38 PM:

The sidelight on opting out of being tracked didn't warn me that I needed to accept their cookie, so I automatically denied it. Which apparently means I can't opt out of being tracked. Luckily I remembered who it was from. Ironic, huh?

#577 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 08:48 PM:

Clifton @ 539

Charmingly well-crafted.

#578 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 09:11 PM:

Clifton Royston 539:
140 characters or less in search of an author,

#579 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 09:25 PM:

I'm well into Cryoburn myself, being unable to resist even though I'm supposed to be working on a paper on Pratchett. Better just to get the first read out of the way quick so it doesn't sit there and taunt me. LOVE the CD, since I was planning a paper on Miles for the spring -- will make it SO much easier to find the passages I need.

Oh, BPAL--I just got my very first order from them and I've been in olfactory heaven, trying on all the imps and making myself cryptic little notes about them. So far, as expected, Crowley is my very favorite. I can see this becoming a pricey addiction.

And thanks to a friend anxious to get all her green tomatoes in before the first frost, I have a pot of very spicy green tomato relish simmering in the kitchen. Yum!

#580 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 09:51 PM:

Stefan Jones@575: He'd want our braaaaaiaiiiiiinnnnnnnsssssss!

#581 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2010, 10:16 PM:

Renatus, #527, I have a large butt and can't find anything that fits even in large pants. So I found someone who makes me pants. She used a set of pants and adapted it for a pattern -- maybe you can find someone to do that.

P J Evans, #534, Junonia has only large models. They used to be only exercise wear, but now they have some clothes, too.

Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers, #571, I'm glad you're feeling better!

#582 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 12:10 AM:

Thank you, KayTei and Erik! I'm having fun with the exercise.

#583 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 12:54 AM:

Janet Brennan Croft @ 579: I picked up Cryoburn at lunchtime on Tuesday, and still went back to work for the afternoon. I'm so proud of myself.

I'm so impressed at the way Bujold manages to write successive books in the same universe without having them explode out into enormous tomes. She has some admirable self-discipline there. This book is another fascinating tangle of technology, economics, interesting characters, humor, and dashing derring-do.

I haven't re-read it, yet.

#584 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 01:46 AM:

Out of hospital, and at home. Still trying to get the balance right between knocking back the pain and having a semi-functional brain.

Found myself considering the idea of a low-budget version of THE GODFATHER, directed by Roger Corman, said thought triggered by an IV line coming loose and letting a noteworthy amount of blood out onto the hospital bedsheets. Not enough for the Coppola horse's-head scene, though, so I figured Corman would have done it with a hamster.

#585 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 02:41 AM:

Bruce Arthurs and Bruce Cohen,

I am glad to see that the unbearable coolness of Bruceitude carries one through medical procedures as well. I shall consider renaming myself if I ever find myself facing surgery again.

Slightly more seriously, I am glad you're both on the mend. Please keep us posted, health permitting.

#586 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 02:49 AM:

ddb @570:

I agree with every word of your post there.

#587 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 03:03 AM:

Bruce @ 584
"... so I figured Corman would have done it with a hamster."

Those must be some amazing painkillers. I never even saw that coming.

On a more serious note, that's a really frustrating place to be in, though I'm glad it sounds like things are generally going well. For both you and your semi-doppelganger, actually. Unless you're his. I'm never quite clear on assignment of originality in these cases.

Also, short-term coherency is vastly overrated.

#588 ::: PhilPalmer ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 03:09 AM:

I need to say this here, lest I hijack the serial comma thread:

Kirby's Epic Yarn.

as noted here:

#589 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 03:12 AM:

I got my copy of Cryoburn yesterday; I haven't dived right into it because I wanted to finish reading Gateways first (which I have now done) and also because Katie wanted it. I expect I'll have read it by the end of this weekend.

#590 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 05:01 AM:

Happy Birthday, Universe!

6013 today, and you don't look a day over 14 billion!

#591 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 06:40 AM:

Truly strange internet adventures, comics creator version: after a favorable review online (I'm working like hell here to avoid nasty folks hitting Making Light through a web search) a comics creator found his entire comic had been scanned and reproduced by 2+2 and the last name of the actor who is the lead in Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon. Anyway one of the creators went online in the forum where his comic had been posted and said they'd decided to make the book available freely with options to donate online or buy it from their Etsy store and the sales have gone through the roof. My favorite part of the discussion that followed was the folks that argued he should never have let the money grubbing publishers have the book but just put it out for free or donation because paper is dead (with exceptional lack of tact or knowledge of the subject, as you might expect in that particular forum) and the reasons he gave they didn't do so: it brought to mind the discussions here and over at Antipope about how e-books needed/didn't need professional editorial and marketing systems. Worth a look.

#592 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 08:09 AM:

Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers #571: This is very good news.

#593 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 08:39 AM:

Janet Brennan Croft @579

Spicy Green Tomato Relish?

Recipe, please, as I must bring in all my tomatoes tonight!

#594 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 08:43 AM:

Cryoburn has added Bujold to the short list of authors whose books I zoom through because I don't have the discipline to read slowly while burning to know What Happens Next, and then immediately re-read at a more moderate pace.

Warning: try not to finish the book right before you try to go to sleep. No spoilers, but it is not, um, relaxing.

#595 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 10:07 AM:

Spicy Green Tomato Relish

2 C green tomatoes, chopped finely
1 C Granny Smith apple, chopped finely
1/2 C dates, unsweetened, chopped
1/2 C onion, chopped finely
1/4 C golden raisins
1/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp ginger root, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 C white vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes, stirring frequently. To can, pack in 3 pint jars with 1/4" head space and process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

This is good with pork and turkey, on sandwiches, and, as I discovered last night, on top of brie and crackers. Probably good with eggs, too. It works just fine with green cherry tomatoes.

#596 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 10:23 AM:

re 568/570: Perhaps the most striking bit to me is the effort people put into UNdeleting the comments. It's a bit ironic in that as far as I can see (and of course I could be mistaken about this) she never made a single response in the entire comment chain, so the revelation of the thread is that there's nothing to reveal. There's a whole lot of meaning, though, hidden in the reactions to her deletion.

#597 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 10:25 AM:

Hyperlocal news...

Man talks to supervisor who is from India, compares the organization to a bunch of decapitated chicken, then explains what it means. Loud laughter issues forth from supervisor.

#598 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 10:36 AM:

Cally Soukup #576:

Say, my last e-mail to you bounced. Could you send me your address? Higgins. Fnal. Gov. You know the drill.

#599 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 10:44 AM:

Bruce Arthurs #584: Glad to see you're recovering too.

#600 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 10:56 AM:

Niall @590
Thank you. Posted to my facebook page.

#601 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 12:04 PM:

Janet, #595: I'd call that a green tomato chutney -- but then, I've never been absolutely clear on the difference between a chutney and a relish in the first place.

If I were making it, I'd substitute lemon or lime juice for the vinegar, because I can't stand vinegar.

#602 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 12:50 PM:

I know, that's just what the original recipe was called. I usually call it chutney when I give it to people! I'm not sure if the lemon juice would make a difference if you want to can it -- it's probably acidic enough. But the stuff lasts forever in the fridge.

#603 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 12:51 PM:

It's great that all the brucyness turned out mostly well so far. Speedy recovery!

#604 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 12:53 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Woman would like to ask that either the sickness come on or just get lost, but these halfhearted serial sneezing bouts are really annoying, thank you very much.

#605 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 12:57 PM:

Also, healing mojo to The Bruces, Scraps, Velma, and any other Fluorospherian who could use some.

Also again, this is awesome. (via a retweet by @neilhimself)

#606 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 01:17 PM:

When I note the incidence of multiple Bruces, I cannot but think about the many tributes to the phenomenon that were produced by Monty Python back in the day.

#607 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 02:22 PM:

C. Wingate @596 - You are mistaken about this; reading the screencaps might indeed be a revelation.

For me, the most surprising part has been the Rashomonitude of the affair. When I read people summarizing the fracas in a single sentence, the takeaways are vastly different. I've read several that seem to be about completely different events than the ones I saw.

#608 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 02:25 PM:

To Teresa, per side light "Cyd Charisse meets Dschingis Khan."

Well, it's got a beat and you can dance to it.

#609 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 02:50 PM:

HLN, Anatolian edition

Adults delighted, children appalled by use of rocket and walnut pesto as pizza topping.

'Om nom nom nom,' say sources.

#610 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 03:10 PM:

Is it time to update the Dire Legal Notice to include 2010, or do you want to skip right over to 2011?

#611 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 03:25 PM:

Open thready delight:

Also check out Prints and Archive.

#612 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 03:42 PM:

Victoria @ 608... Did you know that Cyd was the aunt of Deep Space 9's Nana Visitor?

#613 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 04:56 PM:

re 607: Ah, I see in the first page of comments there are a few responses from Moon. (Awfully hard to search a JPEG.) I'm more confident that there aren't any responses from her after the first page of comments. Anyway, it looks as though nobody much bothered to read her clarification about the NYC mosque affair, and nobody seemed much interested in engaging her over her discomfort between tolerance and Islamic law about the place of women. ("Other religions are intolerant" is not, to this parent of teenagers, a cogent response, and that's about as far as things got in direct exchanges with her.)

One can look at Will Shetterly's response to the disinvite and I have to say that, well, I personally wouldn't be comfortable running a convention under that kind of cloud. The phrase "teachable moment" that runs through a lot of other comments strikes me as not only a little unrealistic but rather oblivious to a claim of an intellectual and moral high ground which could only end either in a trial by ordeal or a general assault on the heights; teaching, after all, implies a claim of authority over those being taught.

#614 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 05:14 PM:

fidelio @ #569

Cheating, I know, but:

Lurem ipsoom dulur seet emet, cunsectetoor edeepisicing ileet, sed du ieeoosmud tempur inceedidoont ut lebure-a it dulure-a megna eleeqooa. Ut ineem ed meenim feneeem, qooees nustrood ixerceeteshun ullemcu leburees neesi ut eleeqooip ix ia cummudu cunseqooet. Dooees oote-a iroore-a dulur in reprehendereet in fulooptete-a feleet isse-a ceelloom dulure-a ioo foogeeet noolla pereeetoor. Ixcepteoor seent oocceecet coopeedetet nun prueedent, soont in coolpa qooee ooffffeecia deseroont mulleet uneem id ist leburoom. Bork Bork Bork!

#615 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 05:29 PM:

Um, I was slighly reassured by Abi's postings at #585 and #586, but my inability to figure time zones other than CST to GMT has had me slightly concerned all day after reading about this ferry accident. In any case, hoping that no one you know was involved, as the story seems to have been updated to indicate that only the skipper is missing. And really, hoping that the indications they have that it might have just drifted loose turn out to be correct. Double checking moorings is always easier to deal with than losing someone.

#616 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 05:45 PM:

EClaire @615:

The ferry I take is near Amsterdam, not Utrecht, and I haven't been on it in about 29 hours. It's a proper ferry, too, not a barge. Looks like this.

Thank you for your concern, though.

#617 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 05:57 PM:

That'll teach me to skim the stories on my AP Mobile app when I can't sleep at 3 in the morning! I don't know what my excuse was, unless I just caught the name of the canal and not the city. Shameful, and I should know better.
Glad to hear you're ok, though!

#618 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 06:17 PM:

You know, when I see a banker, or you know, someone wearing banker's garb, I get scared. I'm afraid. I have to check my wallet, just to be sure. There could be millions missing already. Billions even. You never know what will happen with that sort of people.

Remember. If you see someone in a three piece suit, they could be a threat to the republic. They could be a banker, or a politician, or worse, an investment banker.

#619 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 06:20 PM:

Actually, my first thought on "ferry accident" was not good either. I dropped Martin and the kids off at the ferry terminal in Ijmuiden this afternoon; they're off across the Channel to see family for the autumn break. I'm staying home and working.

Saying goodbye to them was surprisingly like being punched in the gut. I found myself crying as I drove off, though all is well and it's only nine days apart.

Gonna be a strange time.

#621 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 07:02 PM:

Bruce Arthurs, #584, I'm glad you're home!

#622 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 07:39 PM:

TexAnne @ #621, that brings John Lennon to mind.

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

I'm with you. The author is carrying idealism to new heights of absurdity.

#623 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 08:12 PM:

Lin D 611

#624 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 08:31 PM:

Open thread of linguistic delight: the French word for "snake oil" is "poudre de perlimpinpin."

#625 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 10:35 PM:

hyperlocal news
Woman has center-pull ball of yarn (400-plus meters) suicide by pulling chunks out of center, and pulling outside end in through center to undisclosed location.

#626 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 10:39 PM:

What happened to google image search??? The new format has made the process at least 67% more inefficient. Has anyone else taken notice?

#627 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 11:32 PM:

I went to the nearby bookstore today. There I saw, prominently displayed, a Glen Beck book:

"Arguing With Idiots"
#628 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 11:37 PM:


So, did you go stand there and argue with any idiots that happened by?

#629 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 11:53 PM:

albatross @ 628... Oh, there are plenty of idiots to argue with, especially at the office, but I've learned that sometimes it's better to pretend they're not idiots. In fact, the year 2010 has revealed in me awesome diplomatic skills I didn't know I had. Move over, Sarek!

#630 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 12:14 AM:

TexAnne @ 620... I especially liked this part.

"Wikipedia is not the place to argue about what's right and what's wrong, what's true and what's false," Reagle said. "Wikipedia is just trying to say what's out there."
#631 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 12:47 AM:

Local news: A young man off his meds* burned down a mall yesterday. Big blow to stores and employees right before the busy holiday season. One person can cause an awful lot of damage if their timing is right.

*Quote from a friend: "I never expected him to do anything like that. I thought he might be thinking of suicide." (!!!)

#632 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 12:48 AM:

Can't we all just get a citation?

#634 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 02:48 AM:

Lin D @ 611: Wow! The perfect mixture of cute and geeky. Passed along elsewhere.

#635 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 04:30 AM:

TexAnne @ #624:

In the comic book I was reading earlier today, Sir Bagby meets a pair of shady travellers with a cartload of snake oil. Quoth Sir Bagby, "Nobody has that many squeaky snakes."

#636 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 04:38 AM:

Hyperlocal news:

Area man pleased to have new bicycle, but feels it's taking up too much room in kitchen
Would put it in laundry, but hasn't figured out what he can lock it onto

"I'm not going to leave it in the laundry without locking it to something," he told our reporter. "It's in the back yard and all, and you can't see it from the street, but if that was all it took to keep a bike safe I wouldn't have needed a new one in the first place."

#637 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 04:45 AM:

TexAnne @ 624... poudre de perlimpinpin

Reading that takes me back so many decades that even you weren't born.
That frying pan hurt.

#638 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 04:56 AM:

B. Durbin @ 631

I'm surprised, given the drastic cuts they've been making to the safety net, that we haven't seen more like this, long before now.

I feel badly for everyone affected by the whole thing. Everything is such a mess...

(I am presently hoping that the influx of insurance money, new construction/repair jobs, and general community support for relocating businesses will result in a net gain for the region. It could happen...)

#639 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 11:09 AM:

OT LJ-help: If you receive an "YYY has friended you" and you've never heard of YYY, was it a bad idea to go to YYY's LJ site and discover it's in Russian (which I do not read) and appears not only to have ads for flatscreen monitor maker FOO, but also to appear to mention FOO prominently in the page content?

IOW, are these guys just a shill for FOO, or ought I to be paranoid and expect something funkier to be going on, and if so what (belated) precautions should I take?

#640 ::: Janet Kegg ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 12:32 PM:

Joann @639. I got one of those today too. But I didn't look at the ads on "her" LJ--I left quickly as soon as I saw it was in Russian.

I rarely post on ML but I did recently and used my LJ URL. I wonder if they followed me there.

#641 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 12:48 PM:

The Russian friends are bots.

Hover your cursor over their names and a box menu including 'ban' should come up. Click. Also click 'report as spam' or however it is worded that notifies the system about this LJ so it can be removed.

It takes a couple of seconds.

In the past, when the russian sex bots etc began infestation it was much more complicated. But there were so many LJ was forced to make it easier to ban and inform.

Love, c.

#642 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 01:28 PM:

So we supposedly invaded Iraq to protect ordinary Iraqis from systematic torture, rape, and abuse by Saddam Hussein's government? Apparently we did that by ordering that after our invasion torture, rape, and abuse by the Iraq government must never be officially investigated or reported on: Frago 242. Guardian reports here.

And the claims for 8 years that the US and UK government were not counting civilian casualties, and therefore had no records of the civilian cost, were also blatant lies as everyone suspected. 60,000 known/confirmed civilian deaths.

#643 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 01:52 PM:

re: tge McDonald's as US consulate Particle

If this were Snow Crash, the McD's would be a full embassy/fortress and the company would be a nuclear power.

And the McRib sandwich would still only be available for part of the year....

#644 ::: Sarah Magpie ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 01:54 PM:

Delurking to say:
In the past, when the russian sex bots etc began infestation it was much more complicated.

This is one of those sentences that would have been unintelligible in a non-SFnal context not that long ago. I am delighted by it. I cannot help imagining the drag queens from the revue down the street making short work of a Russian sex bot hive.

#645 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 02:23 PM:

Sarah Magpie @ 644... the drag queens from the revue down the street making short work of a Russian sex bot hive

Resistance is well dressed.

#646 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 02:59 PM:

I see from the advert sidebar that those of you in the USA will be getting Sherlock on your TVs tomorrow.

I saw a report on the BBC webpage that Martin Freeman has been cast as Bilbo Baggins...

#647 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 03:14 PM:

@praisegod barebones 609:

In order not to give the impression that I regularly force my children to eat
things they are appalled by, I should probably add that other pizza toppings on offer included սուջուխ, olives, and mushrooms.

OT appeal to the
citrus-related wisdom of the fluorosphere: due to my daughter's enthusiasm for making candied peel which will later be incorporated into mince pies and Christmas pudding, (and any left-over bits eaten on ice-cream) my fridge now contains a largish, denuded pomelo. Does anyone have any bright ideas as to what I might be able to do with it?

#648 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 04:12 PM:

praisegod, 647: I bet the juice would make a dandy granita!

#649 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 04:13 PM:

Pomelo? How about ultra-high-speed camera target practice?

#650 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 04:15 PM:

TexAnne @624: That just reminded me of a very unsettling fantasy short film called Le dernier chaperon rouge. Part of it is set in Perlimpinpin.

#651 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 04:26 PM:

TexAnne 648

Hmmm - slightly unseasonal, but looks interesing. Or may be even a sorbet, since we've got a sorbetiere sitting in the freezer. Thank you.

(If I'm not careful, pursuing this line is going to lead to me wanting to get the bread machine out to make a brioche to serve it with, though.)

Incidentally, the cake from the other thread looked beautiful, but a bit beyond my baking skills.

#652 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 04:30 PM:

praisegod barebones:

You know, I suspect I'm not the only one who would be interested in a deeper discussion of the process of making candied peel, both as an abstract thing and with regard to the precise processes used at Chez Barebones...

#653 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 04:48 PM:

abi @ 652

I think that might need to wait until tomorrow so I can get set straight on some of the trickier details by Mlle and Mme Barebones, who are both asleep at the moment. (as I should also probably be, come to think of it.)

#654 ::: fidelioscabinet ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 04:53 PM:

Hyperlocal news update: Woman now has Basement Cat, as the Cat What Escaped Into The Great Wide Open yesterday morning took advantage of open basement door to creep back inside this morning.

Plans to convey the refugee back up to its proper floor, past the ground floor where the Agitated Dachshunds live, are in the works. When contacted, a spokeshuman for the Agitated Dachshunds said "They are aware of the situation, and believe that Steps Should Be Taken. When asked what these steps might be, the spokeshuman indicated they had no further comments at this time.

#655 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 05:15 PM:

So, I'm off shortly for the first of several birthday dinners this week... the birthday itself is today, but due to scheduling issues I'm having one today with Mom and Stepdad (Indian food), a separate dinner with my sister's family, and a lobster dinner shared with Sis (whose birthday is a week-odd later).

#656 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 05:59 PM:

I was reading Alistair Cooke's account of his travels around the USA in 1941-1942 where he was discussing raw materials. It was a fairly standard list except for "redwood for tanks." Were we talking water tanks or tanks that drive around and shoot at people?

#657 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 06:05 PM:

#656: FWIW, there was once a thriving wooden-water-tank-and-pipeline industry.

I actually have a WWII vintage catalog and technical guide for wooden pipelines, and I've seen the wreckage of one in upstate NY. Think of a really long barrel . . .

#658 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 07:05 PM:

Bruce @656 -- Redwood is frequently used for hot tubs, which are small water tanks; so storage, most likely.

#659 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 07:20 PM:

Back from dinner. Seafood vindaloo... <burp!> :-) And kulfi for dessert, yum!

Bruce #656: IIRC, redwood is pretty much waterproof, and strikingly weather-resistant, so making pipes and water tanks out of it seems likely.

#660 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 07:38 PM:

abi @ 652... Chez Barebones...

You mean 'Chez LesOsDénudés', oui?

#661 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 07:52 PM:

Open Threadiness:

Hyperbole and a Half is funny. The most recent entry, about a small child and her grandfather's cake, is eerily similar to an incident in my own family.

#662 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 08:01 PM:

I have never candied, but I have intended to so often that I have a basic knowledge of the process.

First, you make a weak sugar syrup. You put the fruit in it. Each day you take the fruit out, boil the syrup, and increase its concentration a little bit (from its concentration just before you boil it*). Every three days, you bring it to a boil with the fruit still in it (to prevent molding). The process takes at least 10 days. There are exotic things you can do, like mixing in glucose syrup at a certain stage to prevent early crystallization of the syrup.

The reason you have to go slow like this is that you want the sugar molecules to migrate into the flesh of the fruit. If you start out with a highly-concentrated syrup, what will happen instead is that all the water will come out of the fruit, and you will have sweetened dried fruit instead of nice gooey candied fruit.
*That is, if yesterday you raised it to 45% sugar, but today it's back down to 40% (because of water coming out of the fruit) you use 40% as the base, not 45%.

#663 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 08:10 PM:

Sarah Magpie at # 644: I cannot help imagining the drag queens from the revue down the street making short work of a Russian sex bot hive.

This also makes more sense in a SFnal context, where SF = San Francisco.

#664 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 08:15 PM:

praisegodbarebones, pommelo is delicious. I can't picture having one around long enough to do anything with it but eat it up (and I live alone).

#665 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 09:14 PM:

Xopher, candying citrus peel is much easier than that; the times I have done it, I only needed an afternoon. Since the peel is so much thinner than whole fruit, it takes much less time for the sugar to penetrate it thoroughly. It's more like making marmalade than candying whole fruit--with candied peel, you don't cut the peel as finely as you would for marmalade, and you take it out of the syrup and let it dry.

#666 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 09:51 PM:

P J Evans, #625, Argh! I hate it when that happens. I can't remember the name of the yarn, but I found one that taped the proper end to the inside of the paper so I could just pull from there.

Clifton Royston, #642, WashPost article on wikileaks.

Dave Bell, #646, yes, and I like Masterpiece Mystery, but not the Sherlock and Poirot, so I won't be watching tomorrow.

David Harmon, #655, happy birthday!

#667 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 10:00 PM:

Sheesh . . .

Can anyone recommend a reputable & efficient charity supporting research on Alzheimer's?

I got word that my uncle, who went swiftly downhill this year and was recently put in a home, has pneumonia and is in hospice care. The "old man's friend" in action.

In lieu of a cross-country trip to a funeral, I'm considering a large donation to charity in my uncle's name.

Does this even sound appropriate?

#668 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 10:26 PM:

(Frequently people will ask that donations be made to their favorite charity or cause, rather than flowers being sent. My father's was the local library and the literacy group that met there.)

#669 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 10:47 PM:

Marilee, 666: It is not impossible that a person could have seen the Moffatt/Gatiss Sherlock on Youtube, nor that such a person might recommend the series to friends. The second episode is pretty bad, but the first is a brilliant set of riffs on canon and the third's got a cliffhanger the size of a waterfall in Switzerland.

#670 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 11:00 PM:

Hearkening back to the thread that had other riffs off of Code Monkey... this is another fun video set to Code Monkey

#671 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 11:02 PM:

Marilee, I managed to get most of it back into one ball (enough for a pair of socks in my size). I don't know if it's worth trying to save the rest; there are some really tight places in it, and it's trying hard to weld those sections closed. (FWIW: Cherry Tree Hill, Sockittome Select in 'African Grey'.)

#672 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 11:36 PM:

TexAnne @ 669... That's pretty much what I was told about Sherlock, which had me iffy, until I found out the writers worked on Doctor Who. I guess I'll give it a try.

#673 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2010, 11:47 PM:

Stefan Jones @667: This article may help: Giving to Alzheimer's Charities- What You Need To Know. It recommends the Charity Navigator as a resource. In the UK, Terry Pratchett made a large donation to the Alzheimer's Research Trust.

#674 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 12:24 AM:

#656: Probably a reference to Howard Hughes's venture into ground warfare, the immense all-wood tread-mounted land yacht that rolled across the White Sands proving ground just once before being put into storage and eventually burned for firewood. Though it was made primarily of redwood and maple, it was nonetheless known as The Spruce Moose.

#675 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 12:43 AM:

#657: Perhaps the wooden tank most familiar to Americans (of a certain age) would be the one seen on a rather dull sitcom.

#676 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 02:01 AM:

Re: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey @675: for some reason, even though I knew the show in question, the train in the clip reminded me of The Wild Wild West...not impossible that the footage migrated from the dull sitcom in self-defense.

#677 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 04:24 AM:

Happy Birthday, Ginger!

#678 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 07:40 AM:

Serge @677: Thank you!

#679 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 08:26 AM:

re 676: More likely because it's the most-filmed locomotive in the world (excepting Thomas).

#680 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 10:49 AM:

Syd @ 676... A crossover between Wild Wild West and Petticoat Junction? I seem to remember a few instances of Artemus going in drag, and there was the Devil's Island episode where a big evil woman turned out to be a big evil man.

#681 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 11:12 AM:

Hyperlocal news...

Man tells family's male feline addition that batting at butt of family's female feline will not endear him to her.

#682 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 12:30 PM:

Ginger @ 536; OtterB@567: Thanks for mentioning that your copies of Cryoburn had arrived. That prompted me to check my Baen Webscription and, indeed, the complete book had been released - and has now been devoured (I will re-read more slowly soon).

Carefully avoiding spoilers: I did like the glimpse as to what is was like for the people left behind after the Miles-whirlwind had departed.

Bruces: Glad to hear you're both back home and mending.

Ginger: Happy Birthday!

#683 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 12:45 PM:

Kip W @ #674:

I see whut you did thar.

(Incidentally, I'm reminded that TaleSpin, the Disney TV series set in a furry version of the 1930s, once had an episode revolving around a reclusive millionaire, Howard Huge, and his quixotic aviation project, the Titanium Turkey.)

#684 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 01:36 PM:

Stefan Jones @667 - I'm really sorry to hear that; one of my grandfathers lost his last three or four years to Alzheimer's, and it was tough on everybody around, and one uncle is starting to get it as well.

For me the real decision about travelling to the funeral vs. making a donation would be how much of the family will be there, and how often do you see them other than at funerals; my mother's family is pretty spread out and most of them can't travel much, so her parents' funerals were the only times I've seen most of them in decades, and there were cousins who'd lived with their mother after a divorce that I hadn't seen since we were kids.

#685 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 02:26 PM:

Paul A. @ #683

This moose was maintaining a dignified silence. 3:OP>

#686 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 03:18 PM:

All hale the Bruces!</serge>

Boynton, Ginger!

AKICIML: My dad had an edition of Ravel's Bolero back in the (mid? late?) '60s that had Pavan on the flip side (which he hated and called "Pavan for a dead horse." Memory says the jacket was red, with a blurry picture of a flamenco dancer's skirt in one corner.

Anyone know what edition this is? On the principle that the first one you hear is the right one, I'd like to get it. Other versions I've heard were just plain wrong, you know.

#687 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 03:49 PM:

dcb @ 682: You're welcome, and thanks! It's quite a book, and the ending made me realize how the entire book was about that subject. I was sucked in by the adventure and missed the obvious point. Yeah, a good one for a re-read.

Jacque @686: Thanks! I have bought countless copies of those cards over the years. I love them.

#688 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 03:59 PM:

Happy Birthday, Ginger!

Jacque, that's the first one I heard, too! So yes, that's the correct version.

Unfortunately I don't know anything else about it.

#689 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 04:00 PM:

Ginger (687): Boynton now sells her cards on Zazzle, including those. (Just in case you didn't know.)

#690 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 04:31 PM:

'Nother question for the brain trust: Anybody here have good tips for keeping up with journals and magazines and stuff?

#691 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 04:59 PM:

690 ::: Jacque @ 690: What do you mean by "keeping up with"? Keeping up with your records of which ones you have? Making sure you don't miss getting one? Making sure you check each issue as it comes out online? Finding time to read them all?

#692 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 06:03 PM:

Jacque @ 690 : Here's my approach (which assumes academic journals in my discipline)

1. Sign up for and read the Tables of Contents (via email); usually 2 or so a day during the week, with spikes at the beginning of the month.

2. Download PDFs of articles that sound interesting. Space is cheap.

3. Print copies of said PDFs that I actually want to read. If I just have them digitally, I'll skim them - in hard copy, I might spend a bit more time reading them, and they're a lot nicer to annotate.

4. Read at least one journal article a day - or, at the very least, do 2-3 every couple of days.

5. Repeat. Reward yourself occasionally.

#693 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 06:54 PM:

Jacque 690:
You can't keep up with everything. There is no catching up with everything. The trick is to be selective.

#694 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 08:49 PM:

Benjamin 692: Back in the day, my dad used to set there with a copy of something called Current Contents, noting articles he wanted reprints of. Spent part of one summer in his file room putting away the reprints by category. Back then it was all "water intoxication," "drinking," and "supraoptic nucleus," or at any rate those are the categories I remember today.

Now it would all be glial-neuronal interactions, if he were still alive.

#695 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 09:21 PM:

TexAnne, #669, erm, yes, but Dave said TVs and the Masterpiece Whatevers come from the BBC.

P J Evans, #671, do you have an awl? I have to think whether the rest of the yarn is worth my time and effort.

Mary Aileen, #689, Ooooh, I have a couple of those in my cupboard! I love her cards and would buy more if I knew more addresses. It's not surprising enough if you say "may I have your address so I can send you a card?"

#696 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 09:29 PM:

Jacque #690:

I've set-up email alerts with the big databases (Scopus, Web of Science) for keyword searches. The results get sent to my email on a regular basis. It helps.

#697 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 10:05 PM:

Xopher, that reminds me of mailing reprints for my father a good fifteen years ago now - these days, at least in my line of work, no one asks for paper reprints - and no one who has a paper published orders them. If someone really needs one, you just print off a copy of the PDF.

Part of me misses that - but the rest of me is consoled with the availability of a plethora of papers at the click of a mouse.

#698 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 10:07 PM:

Google Alerts are pretty good for less specific automated queries.

#699 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 10:32 PM:

Marilee, why are you erm-ing at me?

All: I just deleted an impolite response to Marilee; apparently I'm not yet desensitized from the bullying thread and its descent into nitpickery. I'll try not to flinch at you, but if I'm rude, please be extra gentle when you point it out.

#700 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 10:48 PM:

Jacque @ 690: What Soon Lee said -- email alerts have essentially replaced Current Contents (which lasted until fairly recently, pace Xopher). Otherwise, Erik's wise statement holds true. There is no keeping up with everything.

#701 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2010, 11:10 PM:

TexAnne @ 699... Of course.

#702 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 12:24 AM:

Jacque@686, are you thinking of the one displayed here at Amazon?

#703 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 01:52 AM:

#657 Stefan

Some of what the Big Dig in Boston did, involved replacing still-in-use (and leaking...) antique wooden water pipes I think. Boston won big time on the deal (modernized infrastructure, the old elevated highway put underground, the third harbor tunnel, space opened up.... )

#704 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 07:13 AM:

In case people in the Bay Area are interested... On Friday night, the Castro Theatre will be showing Truffaut’s 1966’s ”Fahrenheit 451” plus another Bradbury-inspired film, 1953’s ”The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms”. Strictly speaking, the Bradbury link of the latter is rather tenuous, as its inspiration - his short-story ”The Foghorn” - exists as just a few seconds of the film’s total length. It’d have been more appropriate to show 1953’s ”It Came From Outer Space”, the original story of which had been written by Bradbury for the film. Anyway. As I'll be around this week, I had hoped to go, but it turns out that my in-laws decided to celebrate the birthday of one of my nephews one day early - that Friday.

#705 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 10:43 AM:

Sculptural dresses.

I found this via a fashion blogger I stumbled over following links one day. I get the impression, the dress blogger intends to do 50 dresses, one for each state.

#706 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 10:47 AM:

Particle vs. particle:

Does Iaonnidis’s findings about the bogosity of medical studies mean that most cognitive biases actually don't exist?

#707 ::: albatross sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 11:04 AM:

Today's XKCD comic made me think of our ongoing discussions of moderation, albeit with a singularity-esque twist at the end. (But hey, from QC I see that the singularity has already happened in their world, and things seem to be okay....)

#708 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 11:05 AM:

Arggh. I forgot to change my d--n name back.

#709 ::: albatross sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 11:09 AM:

Constance #641:

Just as an aside, when someone can casually mention an infestation of Russian sex bots in conversation, you know you're living in an SF novel....

#710 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 11:17 AM:


The Washington Post story seemed to kind of ignore the reports that US soldiers had sometimes handed over captives to the Iraqis for questioning, knowing they were going to be tortured. (Instead, it simply but damningly says the US soldiers were ordered not to investigate torture by Iraqi police/soldiers/goon squads.) Though I am impressed that this article managed to use the word "torture." Not for anything the US did directly, of course, but at least for something our allies did.

#711 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 11:25 AM:

To Ginger, dcb, et alia: I too have finished Cryoburn.

I desperately want not to spoil anyone else for it; being unspoiled on first read is part of the joy.

However, those of you who've finished it and want to engage with it, are welcome to do so (or link to doing so) at this post in my lj. Which has spoilers. So unspoiled people should probably avoid it.

I think I am going to go back for an immediate reread, which I have never in my 31 years of book-reading done, not even once.

(Oh my gosh was it hard posting this! Almost anything I could say about Cryoburn -- and most things I really WANT to say! -- are horrid spoilers)

#712 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 11:53 AM:

TexAnne @ 624 — Google's English translation of the Poudre de perlimpinpin Wikipedia page renders "poudre de perlimpinpin" as either "pixie dust" or "snake oil". The discrimination may be made on the basis of capitalization, though I can't see why that would make a difference.

#713 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 11:53 AM:

I visited my mother in hospital last night. She's been in hospital or rehab facility or assisted-living-slash-nursing-home for about the last month, following her own bad fall at home. A few nights ago I got word she'd taken a sudden turn for the worse, possibly a major stroke (follow-ups to several minor ones the last few years), was slipping in and out of consciousness and not coherent when she was conscious, and that the word "hospice" was being suggested.

The initial report (from a cousin) was, it turned out, somewhat exaggerated, but the reality still wasn't good. She was able to recognize me and Hilde and to talk to us for a few minutes at a time, but she was very pale, very weak, and tended to drift asleep after ten or fifteen minutes awake. And she looked... smaller.

This perception, this... smalling... has been something I've felt when visiting her over the last several years, as her health has gotten worse. All the kids have had inches on her since adolescence (she's 5'2", I'm 5'8"), but that difference feels larger every fresh time I see her. I feel like I tower over her now, by feet instead of inches.

This is probably an unconscious coping mechanism in my mind, to deal with the fact that she's nearing the end of her life. She's 83, and even if she rallies from this latest crisis, she probably only has a few more years at best.

So I see her as shrinking, instead of dying. I feel odd about it, because I know intellectually it's not a true perception of reality.

Has anyone else felt like this about an aging parent?

#714 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 11:53 AM:

Mm. I too have finished Cryoburn, and my reaction -- to the main body of the plot -- is "This is pleasant but minor Miles."

#715 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 12:07 PM:

Marilee @ #695:

Marilee, I apologise if I am underrating your comprehension of the situation, but the impression I'm getting is that you suspect people to be talking at cross-purposes about two different series, one on TV and one on YouTube.

It might therefore be useful at this point for somebody to mention that TV shows do occasionally wind up on YouTube, whether their copyright owners want them to or not; and that a TV series that comes from the BBC might well be seen on YouTube before it is seen on US television.

#716 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 12:37 PM:


I bought the e-arc when it was available and I'm glad I did for personal reasons. (The epilogue would have reduced me to a sobbing puddle. My sister with terminal cancer died last month.)As it was, I've only read it once, instead of my usual three times back to back to back.

With that said, I thought it read like a Miles political intrigue adventure crossed with a YA SF Adventure with a heavy dash of murder mystery.

I thought it was a good book, but not in-your-face awesome. I found Roic and Jin POVs engaging, but they lessened the Miles-the-Maniac high wire act. Of course, Miles is also older and wiser. I found it interesting how he acted as mentor to Roic and in-loco-parentis to Jin.

#717 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 12:39 PM:

No, I didn't. All I can say, "what a cool aunt to have." I find myself hoping she broke into random dance routines with the kids.

#718 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 12:52 PM:


Yes, get that in spades every time I hug my mother (81 and maybe 5'0". I'm 5'6") She uses a cane and is canted forward at the waist in a 10 degree angle. Plus, she keeps loosing weight and muscle mass. (She had a minor stroke earlier in the year)

#719 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 12:56 PM:

Bruce Arthurs@713: I haven't seen my mother stand up in several years, and even sitting she slumps to one side. So visually, she actually is smaller, both at the extremes and the average recently.

So I suspect quite a few people notice the same effect.

#720 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 01:01 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @713:

Has anyone else felt like this about an aging parent?

My grandmother in law, who passed away this spring (in her 90's), gave us all that impression for about a decade. She was getting thinner over time, and hunching a little more, but what really struck me was how much stiller she got. She gestured less and less strongly, and that seemed to me to diminish the physical space she occupied.

I am glad that your mother was better off than you feared. I hope she makes a steady recovery.

#721 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 01:13 PM:

"Post-Book Storytelling With Writers Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear And Nicole Galland" at

#722 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 01:13 PM:

Andrew Plotkin @714, that's how I felt during the first reading -- but now that I know what it was leading up to, I think I need to go back with that in mind to see how the earlier plot and themes led up to it. Still, that was a pretty serious sandbagging, though I was expecting SOMETHING.

#723 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 01:49 PM:

Bruce Arthurs, yes; oddly enough, more with my father than with my mother. She dwindled physically a lot more than he did, but she kept her mental faculties almost to the end, and he did not.

#724 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 02:53 PM:

Worst thing is, since we decided not to get the hardback (takes up more shelf space) and my husband won't read novels in electronic format, I can't discuss it with him until the paperback comes out - and I'm bursting to do so.

#725 ::: Mark_Wales ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 03:17 PM:

Re. ageing parents and smalling:

Over the past couple of years I have lost both my parents, and they both spent the last portions of their lives with greatly (eventually entirely) reduced mobility in nursing homes, and I think abi's point @720 about the dimishing physical space they are able to occupy is a strong one.

In my case, though, it wasn't so much a sense of smalling, as John Clute's entry in the Encyclopedia of Fantasy on THINNING that struck me, particularly the passage about "The passing away of a higher and more intense reality", and the final paragraph of the entry:

"Thinning may be kept at bay, generally by diking it. Physically through a polder of some sort, within which a toughened reality can be maintained through constant vigilance; promisarily through knowledge that that somewhere a SLEEPER UNDER THE HILL awaits the call to restore to the world the saviour of spring."

Sadly, despite the constant vigilance of many splendid and dedicated medical and nursing staff there was no Sleeper Under the Hill in my parents' case, and

Bruce Arthurs @713

My condolences for your mother's situation; I hope, of course, that she rallies and you all have a length of good times together yet: and sincere apologies if recalling the way in which, in my own case, genre encyclopedias sprang to mind is insensitive. As a non-religious person I have no sacred book as such and the quotes and texts that spring to mind in stressful situations and which I, occasionally, take comfort from tend, for better or worse, to be these sort of things...

#726 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 03:58 PM:

#713: My surviving aging parent no longer comes up to my shoulder, but is not thinning. My non-surviving aged parent had mostly lost the lifelong military bearing by death.

#727 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 04:10 PM:

Shrinking Elderly: My parents are still active, and my father could probably stand to lose weight.

But my grandmother was positively wraith-like toward the end, and an elderly, bedridden aunt I saw last winter was almost unrecognizably shrunken and frail. She might be a special case . . . Parkinsons.

#728 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 04:22 PM:

My mother didn't so much shrink as concentrate down. She was never particularly large, but became more and more the essence of herself as she went through cancer (and cancer went through her). When the last little bit was quintessentialized, she went on morphine and died within 48 hours.

#729 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 04:24 PM:

Marilee @ 695: It seems that there is some confusion about two Sherlock Holmes series: while you appear to be referring to the version from the 80s and 90s starring Jeremy Brett, which also aired/airs on PBS, Dave Bell and TexAnne are referring to a new, modernized version starring Benedict Cumberbatch. The latter was shown in Britain sometime in the summer (I believe), in Canada last month (when I watched it), and is only now being shown in the US (although my local PBS station is showing Wallander for the next couple of weeks; I assume Sherlock will be shown eventually). Apparently someone(s) recorded the earlier showings and posted them on YouTube, and TexAnne watched them there rather than wait for them to be shown on PBS.

I apologize if I am misinterpreting what you and/or others have written on the subject, or for causing further unpleasantness.

#730 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 04:31 PM:

My grandmother became more ethereal as the dementia continued to subtract her memory, her thoughts, and ultimately her personality. The last time I saw her alive, she was just barely connected to life, although her body was still alive and functional. That was ten years ago.

My ex's mom diminished with time and her dementia; she shrank and hardened, and then left.

#731 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 04:50 PM:

janetl @583: I'm so impressed at the way Bujold manages to write successive books in the same universe without having them explode out into enormous tomes.

I wish she would explode them into tomes. They zip by too fast, short as they are. (Even trying to ration for priming my prose processor for NaNoWriMo1, I'm still a third of the way in. ::pout::)

And I can't rely on re-reading to expand the experience; stuff I really like, I tend to memorize it, which sucks all the juice out of it. :(

1It seems I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year, after all. 'Cept I'm cheating: prose started downloading yesterday. I figure it's still plausibly legit if I finish my 50kw by November 22, right? Right!?

Tangential AKICIML question: is there a way to port CD-based text over to a Kindle or suchlike? A friend just got a book on CD, doesn't want to kill trees, and doesn't like reading in bed using her laptop. Suggestions?

Syd @605: Argh. My computer refuses to fade out the "Press escape to exit full screen mode." Rr. Other than that: boggle.

eric @618: Whenever I see someone in the grocery store wearing formal business attire (2-3 times a year), I tease them, "You know, ties are illegal in Boulder, right?" This usually gets a grin or a laugh.

Lila @661: Hyperbole and a Half is so great. She works very hard to make her artwork look primative, and it's still incredibly effective. A testament to the human visual system. </pedant>

Xopher @688: that's the first one I heard, too! So yes, that's the correct version. Unfortunately I don't know anything else about it.

Well, that you remember it is useful.

AH!! Found it!! (I just hadn't gone deep enough in Google Images.)

I think it might be available as this edition. On order now. I'll let you know. (Same orchestra and conductor anyway; here's hoping.) (Gargh. Now I've got an earworm. Though I suppose if you're going to have an earworm, Bolero is the way to go.)

dcb @691: Finding time to read them all?

Yeah, that one.

Benjamin Wolfe @692: Oh yeah, ToCs. I forget about ToCs....

Erik Nelson @693: You can't keep up with everything. There is no catching up with everything.

Yeah, that's the problem, right? I used to read my three subs cover-to-cover. That only works when I have nothing else to do, though. (I hate that Science News went bi-weekly. Makes it much harder to keep up for some reason, even if the word-count is the same.)

The trick is to be selective.

But but but....

Soon Lee @696: I've set-up email alerts with the big databases (Scopus, Web of Science) for keyword searches.

See, that's the challenge: the stuff that I'm most worried about missing is the stuff I wouldn't think to sort for.

#732 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 05:29 PM:

Jacque, #631: Mileage varies. I think H&1/2 is moderately funny, but NOT funny enough to make up for the absolutely horrible art. It reminds me of this, which I never thought was all that great either -- it was a funny-once that got run into the ground.

#733 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 05:40 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @713: Condolences. It's tough, watching loved ones lose physicality.

Has anyone else felt like this about an aging parent?

Actually, now that you mention it, I do remember my mother seeming smaller the last time I saw her (some few months before she passed).

I attributed it less to her ill health than I did the the phenomenon of everything from my childhood seeming smaller. (I hadn't seen her in the twenty years since I'd moved to Mpls back in '80.)1

I've long noticed, however, that height is, for me, a very subjective experience. Most vivid example was a guy at a convention who, when striding down the hallway schlepping audio equipment for a concert that evening came across as 6 ft+. Then, later, when he decided he was attracted to me (and couldn't work up the nerve to come out and say so) he dropped down to 5'3" or so. Very weird. I have no idea how tall he actually was.

Tom Whitmore @728: quintessentialized That's a really interesting idea. Something particularly...existential, about that image.

1See the Dysfunctional Families discussions.

Lee @732: I was intially repelled by her art. But the closer I looked, the more I got out of it. How? is the question that intrigues me. But, as you say, MV.

There are any number of things that are popular among folks whose taste I share and opinions I respect that leave me cold.

#734 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 06:27 PM:

Bruce Arthurs, first off I'm glad you seem to be doing better.

Second, Mom seemed a lot smaller at the end. A message went out over the sibling grapevine that it was time to see her NOW (this was about two years back), and all four of us got there in time to hold a vigil and talk to her unresponsive form. Next morning she slipped away.

I just heard that the same thing is happening to her last sister, and her kids have hurried to her side. I hate thinking about it almost as much as I hated to see Mom go. Aunt June, at least, was herself for a lot longer.

#735 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 07:58 PM:

Bruce, I hope your mother improves.

Jacque @ #731, I remember being informed by the bassist Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna via a radio interview that he had stolen the bass line for White Rabbit directly from Ravel's Bolero.

I went back and listened to both pieces of music and kicked myself for never realizing that before.

#736 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 08:46 PM:

I hit the Science News website, which has new stories every day or so. They're reporting a clutch of insects in amber from India, dated shortly before it docked with Asia, with a photo of a very recognizable ant.

#738 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 09:18 PM:

Linkmeister, John Lennon (in his last interview) stated that "Because" is based on the progressions in the Moonlight Sonata — first movement, no doubt — backwards. I can't conceptualize music in reverse, so I've never checked it.

#739 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 09:44 PM:

Amusing checklist rejection letter from a 1907-25 film production company.

#740 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 09:47 PM:

TexAnne, #699, David mentioned seeing Sherlock on TV (646), I said I didn't like Sherlock or Poirot so wouldn't watch (669), you pointed me to a You Tube copy (699). If I don't like those characters, I doubt I'll like them on You Tube any better than on TV.

Paul A.,#715, as above, TexAnne replied to me by talking about a copy on You Tube and I was originally replying to Dave Bell when he mentioned the show on TV. However, the primary point was that I didn't plan to watch the show because I don't like Sherlock (or Poirot).

Carol Witt, #729, no, I was talking about the same series. Wallander stopped at my PBS station last week and they (MPT) started Sherlock yesterday.

#741 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 10:00 PM:

Marilee, 740: you originally said "I like Masterpiece Mystery, but not the Sherlock and Poirot...." That made me think that you meant "the ones shown previously on PBS," not "all versions ever." I still don't think I deserved an "erm."

#742 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 10:15 PM:

At the same website referenced by C. Wingate @737 (How to be a Retronaut) is a link for something I saw posted on FB this morning. It's a video by an indie filmmaker who claims to have discovered a time-traveling woman (or man in drag) talking on a current-day cell phone, captured for posterity in footage shot at the premiere of Charlie Chaplin's The Circus in 1928. Numerous comments at the Retronaut site suggest the use of a hearing aid, and a link in one comment goes to medical school site with an exhibit of concealed hearing devices of the 20th century.

I think the idea of concealed-hearing aid technology in 1928 is far more interesting than a time traveler who's dumb enough to use a device that's anachronistic in his/her own time period, let alone the one traveled to.

Hyperlocal news flash: Woman has difficulty writing short, simple sentences.

#744 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 11:35 PM:

re 743: And exactly how do you "mission f**k"?

#745 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2010, 11:55 PM:

Marilee @ 740: Okay, I'm sorry. I read what you wrote the way that it appears TexAnne did.

#746 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 01:27 AM:

I saw the pictures for the "For your garb needs" particle before I got around to looking at the browser window title bar, and my initial reaction to the "garbed & dangerous" shirts was "Hmmm - how will the SCA Authenticity Police feel about that?" and "Do they have one in duct-tape colors?", and it was only reinforced by the "no, not really, I swear" version. Wasn't till I got to the "Muslim garb" versions that enlightenment set in (d'oh!)

#747 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 01:30 AM:

C Wingate @744:

In the missionary position, of course. How else?

#749 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 02:59 AM:

Bruce @ 713
Yes, absolutely. My mother, when she had just been diagnosed with her cancer, became frail almost overnight. And emotionally frail, too, in a lot of ways, not just physically frail.

My father limned, when he became fatally ill. But my mother has become fragile and tiny. I don't think that's just conditioned gender-perception on my part, though some of it may be due to changes in my own age and perspectives -- but I think there's also something different about the way the two of them experienced/are experiencing their critical illnesses, and the way it affects (affected) their views of themselves and their place in the world.

It's an extremely difficult situation. I hope everything works out kindly for your family.

#750 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 03:21 AM:

C. Wingate #744: re 743: And exactly how do you "mission f**k"?

In clusters. Charlie Foxtrot says see also FUBAR and SNAFU.

#751 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 06:15 AM:

Marilee @ #740: If I don't like those characters, I doubt I'll like them on You Tube any better than on TV.

Okay, now I understand what you said originally. But I still don't understand what you were trying to say at 695, because whatever it was it wasn't that.

#752 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 08:10 AM:

Lee @ #732, Jacque @ #733, re Hyperbole and a Half: I'm intrigued at the difference in the way she portrays herself (extremely primitive but still expressive near-stick-figure) and the way she portrays her dog (VERY expressive and vivid, though still cartoony, and I bet I could pick the actual dog out of a lineup).

Tom Whitmore @ #728: both my parents became more like themselves the older they got. If that makes any sense.

#753 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 08:22 AM:

Bruce @ 713: Yes, definitely. My father, who was once imposing and scary (see last years DFD thread), is now 15 years status post a major stroke that he was incredibly lucky to survive with minimal consequences (it aged him about ten years); two years in remission with lymphoma; dying by inches of congestive heart disease due to the chemotherapy drugs; and oh yes, rife with orthopedic problems. I say "dying by inches" reservedly, as now when he stands (highly uncomfortably) he's bent nearly double and I positively loom over him, quite the reverse of how I always, always, always remember it. I'm a little surprised every time I see him and he has to take my arm to step over a curb.

I wish you...the best possible outcome, and the most possible comfort for your mother and family generally.

#754 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 08:24 AM:

I find I have to amend the previous comment.

Upon reflection, I am not at all certain my father was incredibly lucky to survive his stroke. In some cultures this makes me a terrible, horrible person; in others it makes me enlightened. YMMV.

#755 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 08:31 AM:

#746: I was mildly disappointed that the article had nothing to do with Gordon Garb.

#756 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 09:09 AM:

Mark: I don't think that's a horrible sentiment at all. Not dying isn't an option. That leaves living x amount of time, under y circumstances, and dying in z fashion. Maximizing x is not necessarily a good thing, depending on the values of y and z.

#757 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 10:04 AM:

Re: diversity particle.

Anybody who speaks Spanish as a native says everything twice, first in Spanish and then in English. This is called "bus station Spanish," and its leading practitioner is Dora the Explorer. ("I say everything dos veces — two times!")

#758 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 12:13 PM:

Among the recent news: While researchers are working on mind-reading robots., a Phoenician ship has completed its trip around Africa. At the same time, a prince of the House of Bourbon is going to court to keep an exhibition of manga-based art out of Versailles.

What is going on here? What's the larger plot? In what sub-genre have we suddenly ended up?

#759 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 12:30 PM:

Oh, I forgot the http in all the links. Next try:

Among the recent news: While researchers are working on mind-reading robots., a Phoenician ship has completed its trip around Africa. At the same time, a prince of the House of Bourbon is going to court to keep an exhibition of manga-based art out of Versailles.

What is going on here? What's the larger plot? In what sub-genre have we suddenly ended up?

#760 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 05:38 PM:

Halfway through Cryoburn. You know, it's bad enough worrying about people you've never met, but it's just plain silly to be anxious for people who don't even exist.

#761 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 05:42 PM:

Kip W @755: 'Member the costume at MileHiCon, back in the day? Friar's robe and squashes: "Gourd & Garb."

#762 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 06:50 PM:

Jacque #760: It's even sillier to weep for the death of people who do not exist, yet I did.

#763 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 06:57 PM:

C. Wingate@744: on the back seat of a sweet ass-car?

#764 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 08:55 PM:

I put in answers to Texanne and Paul A., but I think it would probably be best to let it go. If you want to continue, say so and I'll post.

#765 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 09:10 PM:

Our local news:

There is a Renaissance era (1623)* era ship in my back yard, er, river. She has cannon and 200 miles of rigging.

Last night a pumpkin-sized, pumpkin-orange moon rose through the clouds above this ship that is named the Kalmar Nyckel.

Tonight I played with her two cats.

The Kalmar Nyckel is only the first of many historical replica ships, schooners, clippers and boats coming to our backyard for a long weekend that includes Halloween.

My personal on-the-water opportunity is Saturday, a 3 hour sail on the replica of the Baltimore Clipper, Lynx, outfitted as a privateer to prey on British shipping during the War of 1812, which began earlier and ended later than that, of course, and which is still taken personally around here.

I am having the most wonderful autumn, perhaps some of the happiest days of my life. That isn't speaking hyperbolically. I know happiness when I have it, and right now I've got an enormous bunch of it, while the nation and the planet seem to be going to hell faster and faster. So I'm enjoying every bit of it while I've got it. Happiness like this is, as They Say, fleeting.

Love, C.

* It gave me no end of personal satisfaction that upon spying the Kalmar Nyckel I corrected my partner's immediate declaration that this was a schooner, and said this is Renaissance, though exactly what sort of ship from the era I didn't know. And lo and behold I was immediately proven right. Not that this is any achievement -- except my knowledge of ships is entirely from historical novels** and movies, and the good ones Do It right.

** Keith Richards loves the Patrick O'Brian novels, and often characterizes the Rolling Stones touring enterprise as a pirate ship.

#766 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 09:13 PM:

Whatever, Marilee. I was trying to help, and you keep blowing me off.

#767 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 09:20 PM:

Well, not quite an ohnosecond, but I shouldn't have hit "post" just now.

#768 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 09:40 PM:

Jacque @761: I don't seem to have much in the way of memories from costume contests at MHC. I must have been hanging around somewhere else. I did participate in a Mork-alike contest there one time, on the spur of the moment (and spurred on by Rose and Rich and everybody). I'm never clear whether that was at MileHiCon or PenultiCon, though.

#769 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 10:33 PM:

TexAnne @ 766: Marilee may be having trouble with words again. Just a thought.

#770 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 11:22 PM:

Automatic encryption for Firefox. And why you need it, if you ever surf at a public wifi hot-spot.

#771 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 12:11 AM:

An observation by John Shirley, who blogs here:

I suppose some people are Born Assholes, just genetically or obstinately selfish, clueless, but I really think most irritating wince-inducing people one encounters, if you could watch a film of the highlights of their life, and their day, you’d be overwhelmed with sympathy, perhaps in tears with sorrow over what they’ve gone through, what they’ve lost, what they never found out, what was done to them…
#772 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 12:21 AM:

Demotivational posters for writers and editors.

#773 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 01:49 AM:

James E. @ 763: On Bourbon Street in New Orleans, I recently saw a bar advertising "HUGE ASS BEERS". I thought of that strip.

#774 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 01:58 AM:

Constance @ 765: Enjoyed your local news very much, thank you.

#775 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 04:16 AM:

Marilee @ #764:

I'm agreeable to letting it go - on reflection, I should have let go myself some time before hitting post on my last contribution. Sorry.

#776 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 06:21 AM:

At #773, David Goldfarb writes: On Bourbon Street in New Orleans, I recently saw a bar advertising "HUGE ASS BEERS".

There's a moon over Bourbon Street tonight...

#777 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 07:28 AM:

It's the end of an era.

After over fifteen years of posting to Usenet, I've let my subscription to an NNTP server lapse.

#778 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 12:15 PM:

Linkmeister @735: Jack Casady [stole] the bass line for White Rabbit directly from Ravel's Bolero. (Also Kip W @738:

Heh. "Melancholoy Elephants," indeed.

(Now I've got that earworm again.)

P J Evans @736: Science News website Oh wow! This is really helpful! Thanks! (Now if I could just find these things in audio, so I could keep up with them while I'm doing my drawing—that would be ideal. See, that's the thing; I find this stuff fascinating—when I make the time to follow it. ::SIGH::

Elliott Mason @739: Geez. #17 would eliminate most of modern prime time television.

C. Wingate @744: And exactly how do you "mission f**k"?

Just ask Admiral Naismith. (Vorkosigan on the brain, you say? And your point would be...?)

@747 AAAAbbbiiiiiiiIII!!!

Lila @752: I'm intrigued at the difference in the way she portrays herself ... and the way she portrays her dog

I'd be willing to bet good money that she's a skilled draftsman(person?) when she's not cartooning. Part of the difference, I'll wager, is that her cartoon self is an older creation, and has become much more iconized in her mind. The dog character hasn't had time to evolve from "drawing" to "icon" yet. I'm also betting she's a spectrumite, and so human people (in particular, herself) are less "real" to her than animal people. All of this is wild, baseless, speculation, based on absolutely nothing, of course.

Mark @754: In my culture, it makes you honest, sincere, and human. Lila @756: Very nicely put.

Fragano Ledgister @762: I have, on more than one occassion. Some of those deaths still haunt me. More than those of people I've actually known.

Kip W @768: I'm never clear whether that was at MileHiCon or PenultiCon, though.

They are (were) interchangeable, for most purposes.

Do you happen to remember Susan, the year she was purple? All: There's a Denver-area (now Lamar) fan by the name of Susan Crites. My sound-bite description of her is Erma Bombeck reincarnated as a ping-pong ball.

(I've probably told this story here before. If you've heard it, skip ahead to the next comment.)

One year, for the MileHiCon costume contest, she came wearing a gold bikini and a thick coating of gentian violet dog-medicine. It was quite spectacular. (I wonder if anybody has pictures?) Now, it tells you something about Susan that she did this, knowing in advance that it would take two weeks for the color to come off.

She said it was real easy to get a seat on the cross town bus there for a while.

#779 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 12:52 PM:

Constance @ 765 -

I've sailed on the Lynx - it's delightful, though not quite as fun as the pocket-sized Royaliste. Not sure the Royaliste is still sailing, but if you see her over the weekend be sure to take a tour.

#780 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 01:53 PM:

Having had gentian violet applied on purpose to my wounds (in veterinary school, on St. Kitts), I can only laugh. That's some woman. My elbow and chin were purple for a few weeks, long enough for all the teasing to die away.

#781 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 02:19 PM:

My boy came up with this riddle on his own this morning:

Why did the bacteria cross the road?

The chicken hadn't evolved yet.

I am very pleased.

#782 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 02:47 PM:

Article here today on the BBC website about 'women [...] giving their lives to the care of cats'. It's the sort of article that you read rather less indulgently if you've recently re-read this old thread on ML and are therefore able to give the extremest version of the behaviour a better name, namely 'animal hoarding'.

Before they know it they have 100 cats, mounting bills, cats defecating in the house, infectious diseases like cat flu. Their homes start to smell, visitors stop coming, it gets isolating, stressful and they run out of financial resources.

(I don't accumulate animals but I do gather a lot of clutter unless I'm very strict with myself, which I am these days. Saw this moving video a week or two ago when looking through the Metafilter archives. I don't have a house like that, but I know fans who do).

#783 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 05:05 PM:

My husband and I are concerned that a friend of ours may be starting to slide down the slope from "generous, self-sacrificing feral cat rescuer/spayer&releaser/socializer&rehomer" to "crazy cat lady" and possibly all the way to "animal hoarder". We feel particularly helpless since she just moved several states away (which is not to say I think there's much we could do to help even if she were still nearby). I mean, being unable to pay rent because you had unexpected vet expenses for a pet is one thing. Being unable to pay rent because you had vet bills for the ferals you'll be releasing back to the street (meanwhile you're trying to hide six cats of varying levels of socialization in a small studio apartment)... I can't work my head around to seeing that as a prudent or pragmatic choice.

Sigh. I wish her the best and hope that I'm being unduly pessimistic about this...

#784 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 06:08 PM:

I keep trying to catch up on this thread before posting, so I can keep up with the community, but it just doesn't work, because I can only spend 30 minutes at the keyboard before having to walk around and then go lie down for awhile. So I won't try now, I'll just post and go back over the thread later.

First, glad to hear that Bruce Arthurs is up and about again; not happy to hear about your mother, Bruce, and sending good wishes to you and her. I watched my father-in-law go about 5 years ago, and it did seem that he shrank up and blew away over the course of 5 or 6 months. That also happened to the mother of a colleague of mine about 15 years ago: he was my direct report, and he'd moved his mother into his apartment when she was clearly on the way out. I helped get a computer from work set up there so he could take care of her and still get some work done (his request; I'd have been just as happy to give him the time off, but he thought the work would help him cope with the situation). His mother pretty much wasted away, and finally stopped drinking a few days before she died.

To all the Fluorosphere: thanks for your good wishes and kind thoughts. I'm continuing to improve, though still on the pain meds, and spending considerable time sleeping. I've had a mild reaction to the adhesive in the wound dressings (that appears to be more common all the time) and have had to go on antihistamines, to which I've always been rather sensitive, they make me very sleepy. So between the codeine and the benedryl, I'm getting more than enough sleep.

The drugs have affected my dreams, I think: I've been having dreams of running software and debugging sessions, like the dreams I got for awhile when I first started taking Strattera for ADD. It's a little odd waking up to the thought that I've an invalid address in one of my registers.

#785 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 07:48 PM:

Why I haven't jumped on the e-book bandwagon. When you buy a paper book, the store won't send someone into your house and take it away from you.

#786 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 08:00 PM:

Bruce Cohen -- I'm glad you're back.

Yeah, I've had some dreams where I seemed to be looking at my own operating system in action; that was very weird.

And I, too, am still catching up on lots of stuff. Or trying to; I keep slipping on my backlog of mailing-list messages. The sore throat and laryngitis of a week and a half ago was, relatively, merely an annoyance. But that was followed by serious pain in a molar, followed by my jaw getting puffy and sore: apparently the molar was cracked, and then infected. Yesterday morning, it was removed.

I am *drained*.

Part of that is because of the antibiotics I was on to clear the infection before the extraction. Two of them, each to be taken every six hours, one to be taken with food and one on an empty stomach. Even fudging the schedule a bit so I could try to sleep, that didn't leave a lot of leeway to get food down when I was trying to eat semi-liquids and not make any contact with that molar... with some nausea, unpleasant tastes in my mouth, and the usual "flow-through" effects of the antibiotics to further limit the amount of benefits from eating.

I'm now on a different antibiotic, just one, taken every *eight* hours, and it doesn't matter if it's with food or not. This is much more bearable.

#787 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 09:37 PM:

HLN: Local woman believes she finally has Eclipse installed and configured for BlackBerry application development; now lacks sufficient brain power to do any actual programming.

#788 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 09:50 PM:

OK Vorkosigan peeps...

I've enjoyed all the fantasy genre Bujold I've gotten my mitts on. Right before I moved I decided I ought to move onto her Big Series and picked up "Cordelia's Honor" (which is the first two books, renamed) and started reading. I stopped right when Lord Aral arbitrarily proposed. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to think this was kind of cute/clever, or had just missed a chapter of chemistry-related exposition. Maybe my expectations were pointed at "Romance" when I was actually reading sci-fi. Maybe I was just crabby with the stress of moving. At any rate, I have several books I'm in the middle of and more on the horizon. Should I continue with this series, or will my initial skepticism of the Cordelia-Aral pairing interfere with my ability to enjoy the series?

I'm asking in part because I understand there's a HC version of Cryoburn that comes with a CD-ROM that has flipping great wodges of this series available in e-book formats. My next book purchase is scheduled for next month, and I'm wondering if this would be a good ereader filler for me.

#789 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 10:14 PM:

nerdycellist, #788: For my money, Barrayar is a far superior book to Shards of Honor. You might want to skip ahead and see if that one suits you any better. Or just go for broke and read A Civil Campaign, which is in the format of a Regency -- more so than most of her other work, which has a different balance between SF and romance. My experience of the Vorkosigan books has been that you don't have to read them in order, and in fact sometimes skipping ahead gives you more fun in a later re-read after you've caught up with the ones immediately before.

#790 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 10:29 PM:

nerdycellist @ 788: I think the Aral-Cordelia interactions are better in Barrayar than in Shards, for what it's worth. The shopping scene comes to mind (and I do have a Siegling's bag) as a better sort of scene.

#791 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 10:35 PM:

nerdycellist, Shards of Honor is not her best book. Every one of them is different, and Lee is correct that you needn't read them in chrono order. I would recommend, however, that you read Ethan of Athos before Cetaganda; there's a nice little chilling moment you'll miss out on otherwise. (I did miss it and got it about half-strength when I reread Cetaganda.)

#792 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 10:37 PM:

Nerdycellist @ 788

It's perfectly legal and ethical to download the content of the Cryoburn CD without buying Cryoburn. You just can't sell it. The CD includes all the books except for Memory. I do recommend reading the books in chronological order, or in published order, as the protagonist grows and changes rather a lot, and it would be a shame to spoiler yourself. Especially in Memory <wry>. You may have to check that one out of the library when it's time to read it.

Of course, Baen hopes you'll buy the books after reading them, but you're not required to.

The two books in Cordelia's Honor are markedly different from most of the other books, with different main characters and situations. Yes, they're nice for the backstory to the main series, but they aren't absolutely necessary to it. The mainline of the series starts with the omnibus volume Young Miles, which is about the next generation.

The book Falling Free in the same universe, but is a book about backstory set well in the past. The book Ethan of Athos is a side-story set in the same universe.

Like many authors, Bujold's craftsmanship gets better in her later books; Shards of Honor (in Cordelia's Honor) and The Warrior's Apprentice (in Young Miles) were the first two books she ever sold, so are a bit rough around the edges.

#793 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 11:26 PM:

I've ... done some catching up.

#327, Diatryma: In somewhat related news, I spent a day this week at a school where the district puts lots of kids with exoskeletons. I just want to play with everything.
My first thought was "I don't know of any birth defects like that." My second thought was "Is that like people with furry kids?" Then I got to the Ripley-in-Aliens place. There's a lot of SF in the world; I just guessed wrong about exactly what SF.

#345 & following, book resellers [and presumably Cryoburn, what little I accidentally saw]: I had a friend once who used to say "Books are people, too." I think that's the clash of mindsets- product vs. treasure. I've gotten out of the habit of giving away books, and it doesn't help that I just pulled out and used a bunch of 20-year-old textbooks. I'm going to have to make some decisions soon.

#581, Marilee: now I've got this stuck in my head. Hope you like it.

#724, dcb: have you considered libraries as a short-term compromise?

#794 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 11:40 PM:

Adventures in Knitting: I'm about to embark on a stranded project that has 3 colors in some rows. (insert maniacal giggle here)

#795 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2010, 11:57 PM:

Lee@785: That's one small piece of the argument against DRM. I'm heavily in favor of ebooks, and have many hundreds, but not one of them is DRMed. I might, possibly, buy an ebook with DRM, if I had the software to immediately crack it and put it into a useful format.

#796 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 12:28 AM:

Some evil shit has hacked; it redirects to some very nasty images and an attack on Cory Doctorow.

I suggest not visiting for a bit.

#797 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 12:28 AM:

Some evil shit has hacked; it redirects to some very nasty images and an attack on Cory Doctorow.

I suggest not visiting for a bit.

#798 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 02:08 AM:

Hyperlocal news: I am, it seems, not quite cut out for a life of lit-crit, though I don't suck beyond all repair.

Not so local, I'll be in New York, for a week, starting Saturday. A meeting of some sort might be arranged. Rumor has it Kikuichi has a store in New Jersey. An expedition to test this theory will be undertaken.

#799 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 03:05 AM:

Hyperlocal news: User/blogger's main spam defender has gone kaflooey. Has him pondering switching from platform currently two full versions back from provider's current offering to newer Open Source product. Blogger worries about replicating his current layout in WordPress theme, and about migrating nine years of Movable Type archives to newer product.

Blogger open for suggestions.

#800 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 09:45 AM:

Texanne @794--I do hope I don't have any share of the blame for that.

#801 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 09:56 AM:

Dave Bell writes in #777:

It's the end of an era.

After over fifteen years of posting to Usenet, I've let my subscription to an NNTP server lapse.

I find that Hallmark does not make a card for this, so allow me to extend my sympathies here.

It's Usenet's loss.

I've had a couple of servers shot out from under me. These days, when I post-- which has become rare-- I use Google's Groups interface.

Since Google's version of Usenet is perceived as the preferred method of spammers, trolls, and idiots, many correspondents have killfiled all traffic from Google Groups. My own scintillating wit is presumably thrown out with the bathwater.

So where do we go now to learn the thoughts of Dave Bell?

#802 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 10:12 AM:

fidelio, 800: YES YOU DO MWAHA--oh, wait, no, not this time! It's the fault of the Younger Nearly-Niece, who wants a hat with a particular motif on it. (The alternative was either intarsia in the round, or a seamed hat, neither of which appealed. I'm willing to learn a whole new skill rather than sew a seam! Oh, brain.)

#803 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 10:18 AM:

Hyperlocal news...

Man finally realizes that bosses are more receptive to employees who act with utmost confidence in their own work.
Actual basis for self-confidence deemed an irrelevant factor.

#804 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 10:44 AM:

TexAnne @802--Good, because while the Morse Code knitting proceeds apace, the Experiment with Multicolor Cabling is on the back burner. I'd hate for you to get ahead of me there.

Reports will follow.

#805 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 11:14 AM:

Jacque @778: I'm dismayed not to remember Su in purple mode. Did she ever tell you that she was a finalist in the Little Miss competition? I remember watching spots for that on Fred & Fay. Anyway, either my memory's getting worse, or I was more solipsistic than even I suspected all along.

#806 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 11:33 AM:

Through the miracle of modern technology, I have now traced the owner of the wallet I found on the street through the internet. Traced her to Rochester and then back to Boulder. Took all of twenty minutes. She just called back. Heh.

Boy, really highlights the futility of hiding in the internet age.

#807 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 11:41 AM:

And for those worried about surviving the Zombie apocolypse, there's now a class.

#808 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 11:43 AM:

Hyperlocal news:

Man expresses relief at the end of statistics midterm. Notes that course has yet to end, but will settle, this week, for the midterm being over.

Man also notes that grading 80 midterms is an interesting experience*.

Lab denizen is heard to comment that he wants his experiment to work.

*Interesting in that large numbers of my students did not get two total cupcake questions (on the genus names of plants - they had to memorize half a dozen or so latin binomial names). A goodly portion of them also failed to appreciate the distinction between "no allowed/acceptable medical use" and "no medical use." The former is the legal criteria for Schedule I drugs, the latter should not be applied to that category. The professor is similarly unamused, given that this point was pounded into them in lecture. Many times...


#809 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 11:53 AM:

Kip W @805: Omg, no, she never told me about that. But then, I'll wager there are many Surpising Facts about Sufan that I don't know.

#810 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 12:14 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Giant cinnamon roll found at office, no takers on offers to split with colleagues; forced to consume it myself. Nom, nom, nom...

#811 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 12:15 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Giant cinnamon roll found at office, no takers on offers to split with colleagues; forced to consume it myself. Nom, nom, nom...

#812 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 12:19 PM:

Nerdycellist @788: I actually rather liked the by-the-way nature of the romance between Aral and Cordelia. Sort of reinforces the "oh, of course" nature of their relationship. But then, mileage varies.

I read them in the order I was able to find them used (before I decided Bujold is my Other Favorite Author and started filling my collection in with purchases of new editions) which was neither story nor publication order. I find that that actually enhanced my enjoyment when I finally went back and read them in story order. "Oh, that's what they were talking about."

Their story structure is interestingly holographic in that bits of everything else show up in each one, adding depth.

I find with many series, it takes a while to spin up, and I enjoy it more after I've had time to become familiar with the world and the cast of characters. I'd say give it another book before giving up on it.

Also, it may just not be time for you to read the Vorkosigan series. Took me several tries over several years to get into Dune, for example, but when I finally did, I really enjoyed it.

#813 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 12:20 PM:

#779 nerdycellist

Kate Elliott, also one of her twin sons before he joined the navey, have sailed on the Lynx in Hawai'i.

The book we're here to write makes the Lynx perfect for us -- War of 1812 privateer. This is much our era, which focuses on the maritime slave trade from the upper south to New Orlean in the decades between the election of Washington as first POTUS and the outbreak of the War of Southern Agression.

The War of 1812 was muchly conducted here by the British navy. Regional families here still point to where on their property their ancestors were pillaged, burned out and murdered by the Brits in those days.

Love, C.

#814 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 12:24 PM:

Has anyone done NaNoWriMo completely in poetry? I figure it would be about 100 haiku or maybe 15 sonnets a day.

#815 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 12:30 PM:


I had a long and vivid dream last night that featured you, and, well, cats. It was a very pleasant dream from which I was disappointed to awake and realize I had been merely dreaming.

There were both cats and kittens, and we all were having fun in our backyard here. Halloween was involved also. I seem to have repeated several times how pleased I was to be missing Halloween in my NYC neighborhood and was going to tour C'town Haunted Houses instead.

Love, C.

#816 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 12:38 PM:

TexAnne @802: I'm willing to learn a whole new skill rather than sew a seam! Oh, brain.

I am working on a portrait wherein the subject is wearing plaid. I could recompose using a different shirt (I have photos to work from), but seem constitutionally incapable of doing so. ("Plaid? Why plaid?" "But he looks good in plaid.")

Similarly, I had concluded that trying to do NaNoWriMo this year would take too much time away from drawing, and that I should just bag it for the year. I Have Been Informed that is not an acceptable conclusion. ::sigh::

#817 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 12:54 PM:

Terry 798: If you can make the New York meetup after Election Day, it will be easier for me to attend. And I'd like to finally meet you face to face.

It appears that "Kikuichi New York" consists of three stores, all in New Jersey (insert little NJ-gets-no-credit grumpy face here): one in Wood Ridge (not to be mistaken for Ridgewood), one in Teaneck, and one in Englewood Cliffs.

#818 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 01:14 PM:

Jacque, 816: Informed by whom? Unless they're really, *really* important to you, I'd say do an equivalent amount of what pleases, as Earl suggested above with poetry. There are people who do NaSwe(ater)Kni(tting)Mo. I'm probably going to try NaHaKniMo, since I've got two Nearly-Nieces who have put in requests. The point is making art, not pleasing other people.

#819 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 01:57 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Local 20-month-old resident got the fascinating experience of witnessing her father ralphing into the toilet at great length this weekend. Luckily, she is not home to get a second data-point with her papa. Apparently it's a gastro-intestinal bug, rather than Something That Was Eaten. Thankfully, she seems to have missed out on it entirely, sick babies being no fun at all to care for.

#820 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 02:04 PM:

Bill @801

I figure this might be as good a place as any.

#821 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 02:06 PM:

Sympathies on the ralphing, Elliot.

Didja ever notice that whenever you mention you have a stomach bug or a cold, someone always says, "Yeah, I heard that's going around." No one ever says, "Sick,eh? You must be the first case -- nothing's going around."

#822 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 02:07 PM:

Ginger #790: Where did you get a Siegling's bag? Does it come with a Pretender's head, or is that extra?

#823 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 02:31 PM:

Constance @ 815: Awww. I'm honored to be in your dreams along with cats and Halloween. It's a lovely time of year to be in the Chesapeake Bay area.

Fragano @ 822: From here, although Pegasus Publishing has an embroidered shirt. Alas, it did not come with a Pretender's Head -- I believe you have to get that yourself.

Oh, and now I know what I want to be for Halloween. If only I had red hair.

#824 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 03:01 PM:

Jacque @ 816: My husband (who is into tabletop wargaming) told me about one of the employees at his former favorite game store, who got the idea of painting an entire regiment of Highlanders.

With accurate tartans, of course.

Reportedly, after he had finished the regiment his significant other told him in no uncertain terms that if he ever embarked on a painting project of that scope again, he would be single within days.

#825 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 03:31 PM:

Re: painting plaids/tartans

When I was attending the U of Arizona I lived in a fraternity house with a bunch of budding civil engineers whose tipple of choice was Budweiser. One of them decided that he could practice his drafting skills by drawing and painting the brand's label on the wall of somebody else's room.

The project was only half-completed when it was abandoned.

#826 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 03:45 PM:

TexAnne @818: Informed by whom?

That would be "Informed by Whom?" :o)

Unless they're really, *really* important to you, I'd say do an equivalent amount of what pleases, as Earl suggested above with poetry.

Verily. Last year I satisfied myself with just making a cover for a novel.

The point is making art, not pleasing other people.

Pleasing the Muses, on the gripping hand, is crucial. Or, at least, managing them.

I have a theory that there's a terrible overpopulation problem in the dimension where Ideas live. As a result, anytime they see a door open even the tiniest crack, there's a hysterical rush, and the artist in question gets flattened like the front-runners in a holiday sale queue.

Lexica @824: ::smacks side of head to un-cross eyes:: Is he using historically-accurate tartans? Oh, dear. Poor significan other. Hee hee hee.

Linkmeister @825: That reminds me: I should dig out the t-shirt design we did for Howard Davidson: Harley logo with wings upstretched. Legend:

Howard Davidson

(Tells you how long ago this was that we were talking supercomputers here.)

HLN: Area web specialist slowly introducing XKCD into local office culture.

#827 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 03:56 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Local resident cleans stove, finds large pool of mysterious goo in the under-surface tray (or whatever you call that part). It appears to be a partially-carmelized sugar syrup, but the man couldn't recall cooking sugar on the stove since the last time he cleaned it.

He sniffed it but was not inclined to taste-test.

#828 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 03:59 PM:

HyperLocal News -

Area woman tries bacon-wrapped hot-dog for first time. Related: Area woman vows to make sure not to have cash on hand next time garment district is visited. OM NOM NOM NOM.

Thanks for the advice. I usually like to read books in order of publication. I'll skip over the first Cordelia and start Barryar as soon as I'm done with my non-fiction (bio of Kosciuszko and Bill Bryson's latest) so hopefully will be able to make a decision before book buying commences next month.

#829 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 04:10 PM:

Jacque @809 - I didn't know it until comparatively recently. Her photo was taken by a LIFE magazine photographer for a story, but wasn't used.

#830 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 05:31 PM:

Earl, #814: Not that I know of. But I do have a couple of friends who have done it as NaPoWriMo, writing one poem per day for 30 days.

#831 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 06:31 PM:


I used to be almost that crazy. Luckily, in tabletop wargaming, a regiment of figures is rarely more than about 40.

(My craziness was paining 1/300 scale infantry figures in camouflage uniforms.)

#832 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 07:19 PM:

So far, it takes me a couple hours to write a sonnet, mostly because of research and fiddling. I don't know if I could do one a day; Calliope doesn't usually whack me upside the head quite that often.

#833 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 07:46 PM:

Ginger #823: Being named Ginger and not having red hair. That's a misfortune.

Since Pegasus Publishing has shirts &c, I do know where to get them, at least...

#834 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 08:12 PM:

Another expert on zombie apocalypse:

#835 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 08:18 PM:

Stefan Jones@796ff, thanks for the warning. BB is repaired, and has deployed an emergency set of unicorn chasers.

Kip W @755, Jacque@761 - Amazing what a small world this is - I had dinner with Gordon last night :-)

#836 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 08:31 PM:

Sandy B., #793, LOL I've heard them, but never seen them before!

Constance, #815, I dreamed about cats, too. There were two cats going around on a carousel in front of me and I kept petting them and wondering where the right cat was. When I woke up, I realized the cats on the carousel were Loki and Junie in bed with me and the right cat was Spirit, out under the end table.

#837 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 09:06 PM:

HLN: Area woman's employer takes part in first triennial full-building-evacuation drill. Drill takes about an hour. Woman recommends being as close to ground level as possible, to avoid the traffic. Street traffic was blocked for a time at a major intersection (why, yes, it does snarl traffic nicely, both going and returning).

#838 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 09:21 PM:

texanne 794
stranded in the sense of abandoned or of having strands?

#839 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 09:28 PM:

Erik, 838: Stranded in the sense of having strands--it's a colorwork method. Two colors is the usual limit.

#840 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 09:44 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Local teenager attempts to teach adult housemate How To Tie A Bow Tie, in preparation for tomorrow's intended Eleven costumes. Success elusive.

#841 ::: Joy Freeman ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 11:02 PM:

As AKICIML, perhaps someone can tell me if there's any way to fade a pair of bright orange socks, even just a little bit? The problem is they're 80% acrylic, 17% polyester, and 3% spandex. I understand acrylic is extremely fade resistant, and the corner of one sock that I dipped in a strong chlorine bleach solution didn't fade or discolor at all (I waited probably twenty minutes before giving up). So, is it likely a color remover might help or is this a lost cause?

The goal, by the way, is to lighten a pair of bright orange knee-high socks (Pantone 1665, but more neon) to more closely match a more moderate orange turtleneck sweater (Pantone 150).

Can you guess who my daughter is going to be for Halloween? Unfortunately, the only orange knee-highs I could find in town are these soccer socks. If I can 't fade them, we'll use them anyway, but everything else is so spot-on, it seems a shame I can't get these a bit closer.

#842 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2010, 11:26 PM:

Joy @841, I don't have any advice on fading the socks, but it definitely reminds me of some of the shortcuts we took to turn my kindergartener into Daphne -- lavender ribbon trim modifying an existing purple dress, a neon green remnant for the scarf, coloring white Mary Janes with a Magic Marker, and, not least, mixing orange tempera paint and clear hair gel to temporarily make the little blonde into a redhead.

#843 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 12:38 AM:

Joy Freeman @841: Maybe the socks could be dusted with flour (or Dr. Scholl's Foot Power) to mute their intensity.

#844 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 03:14 AM:

Does anyone have advice on how people who are not in the wealthiest two percent of the US population can survive the coming Republican apocalypse? My first impulse is to cower in a corner with my katana when they take over the rest of the government in a few days.

#845 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 03:58 AM:

Joy @841: try rubbing the socks with scooby snacks.

#846 ::: Joy Freeman ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 10:34 AM:

Rikibeth, I love the idea of coloring white Mary Janes! We just decided black shoes would do instead of Velma's usual dark red. And my daughter's hair is in a short pixie cut right now, so we're doing a wig (though I wonder how long she'll abide it).

Rob Rusick, what a splendid idea! That's what I'll do. Talcum powder, probably. Thank you!

Niall McAuley, Ha! We recently saw a brand of dog treats for sale called Scooby Snacks and we considered cutting the top off an empty one and attaching handles so she could carry that for her "treat bag." I mentioned this to my niece, who was initially all excited about the idea, in part because her family HAS one of these boxes that we could use. But then she wrinkled her nose and said, "Eww, but it smells like dog snacks!" So we're creating our own Scooby Snacks box so the candy treats don't end up smelling like dog treats.

Thanks for the feedback!

#847 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 10:56 AM:

Joy Freeman @ 846:

One of the reasons that acrylic is so fade-resistant is that the color is a part of the material, rather than dyed in later (I believe). Probably best to go along with Rob Rusick's solution.


Annual health enrollment is coming up at the office again soon. This time they're blaming the cost increases on healthcare reform. (Last time around, I think it was generic rising costs in healthcare. The time before that it may have been the phase of the moon.)

Does anyone have any good information about how much this is true or nonsense? I'm in the US, working for a large, multinational company.

#848 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 11:42 AM:

KeithS @847 -

Our Giant Corp is doing the same thing - "The obamacare's making this expensive!" - which is a ridiculous joke, considering if they had their hundreds of lobbyists use their powers for "good" and lobby for actual socialized medicine, they wouldn't have to pay a damn thing. Of course, if people could get health insurance independent of their job, they might decide it wasn't worth working for Giant Corp anyway.

#849 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 11:44 AM:

KeithS @847: I've heard that about 2% of this year's increases are directly attributable to things the insurance companies are now forced to do that they were not before ... most people's (and businesses') premiums are going up about 20%.

I do not think it is at all an accident that (a) the *insurance companies themselves* are telling their at-employer points of contact to blame HCR while simultaneously (b) the announcements -- and therefore companies announcing that, for example, they can no longer afford to offer health bennies at all and so are cancelling -- are going out right before the election. :-/

#850 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 12:04 PM:

Re health care costs -

A few months ago I had an eye problem. I started seeing flashes of light in my left eye when I moved it, and soon afterward I had an explosion of floaters. What the hell? Immediately I started worrying about a detached retina. So I went to the ER at a local hospital.

During the course of evaluating me, they checked my BP and temp, gave me a chest x-ray, took my history, gave me an EKG, and a CT scan of my head. They didn't look at my eyes at all. Then they told me that they didn't have an ophthalmologist on call, but they contacted a local one. I left and went to him.

Anyway, I had what's known as a Posterior Vitreous Detachment, where the jelly in they starts to pull back from the retina. In some cases, it can cause a retinal tear, which it did in mine. I got my eye zapped with a laser about 75 times, and scheduled some followup visits.

The ophthalmologist confirmed my suspicion that I shouldn't have gone to the ER at all. Now I know. But it was my eye, man! I admit panicking a little.

Anyway, insurance companies are part of the problem, certainly. Hospitals and doctors who see a patient as little more than a container for an insurance card are a sizable part of the problem.

The ultimate bill from the hospital for that little episode was few thousand dollars, marked down to about a third of that per their agreements with UnitedHealth.

If I had questioned the doctors' wisdom in not looking at my eyes, I'm sure they would have all sorts of things to say about preventive care and liability and the such. But still. I presented with an eye problem. You'd think that maybe they'd want to take a look at my fckn eye!

#851 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 12:28 PM:

Earl Cooley @ 844 - You can celebrate having a government based on checks and balances, with two houses of Congress, one of which is 80% likely not to be taken over by reptiles this round, and a President who does have veto power, if he's not afraid to use it.

#852 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 12:48 PM:

I can feel myself radicalizing, but my capacity for effective anonymity has evaporated over the past few years. I'm ashamed to say that it wasn't the war crimes piling up that did it, it was the Republican threat to dismantle health care reform, which is selfish on my part.

#853 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 12:56 PM:

Has your day been as surly and unpleasant as mine? Here, have some Kate Beaton on the Canterbury Tales. You're welcome.

#854 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 01:09 PM:

Roundup of Republican race-baiting campaign ads.

Post-racial society, my fat pink ass.

#855 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 03:15 PM:

#818,TexAnne: I read NaHaKniMo as National Have Knife Month, repeatedly, despite all reason to think otherwise. Knives are handy things and you should carry them where not likely to cause problems.

#856 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 03:26 PM:

nerdycellist @ 848 and Elliott Mason @ 849:


#857 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 04:12 PM:

Bill Stewart @835: Gordon Garb is singlehandedly responsible for drafting me into fandom. (Punch line goes here.)

#858 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 05:00 PM:


Paid singer has last minute scheduling conflict which interferes with ability to sing Saint-Saens Requiem on All Souls Day. In related news, Area amateur alto, still recovering from travel-related respiratory cruddiness, sight-reads Saint-Saens Requiem solo line a mere 5 days before All Souls Day, while trying to maintain proper level of Christian Charity for certain "professional" singers.

(god bless Saint-Saens' use of Alto Line #3.1b - Only Three Notes)

#859 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 05:03 PM:

Cally Soukup @792

ZOMG. I hadn't been to the Baen site for awhile. I've been dying to read the Miles Vorkosigan books for ages, and was considering how to budget them in. This is fabulous, thanks for posting the link. /understatement

#860 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 05:33 PM:

The ophthalmologist confirmed my suspicion that I shouldn't have gone to the ER at all.

And yet, I'm guessing, if you hadn't gone to the ER, and if it had turned out to be something serious, you would be hearing your medical providers saying "Why didn't you go to the ER?!"

The thing that annoys me about doctors et al. saying "this wasn't serious enough to warrant an ER visit" is that most of us aren't doctors and aren't able to assess whether something is or isn't serious enough. Okay, sure, if you have a bad cold, that's not serious enough, and if you've got spurting blood that's WAY serious and you should call an ambulance. It's the cases in the middle that are problematic, like "I'm suddenly getting visual phenomena I've never experienced before and I'm concerned that if it's something serious I could possibly go blind."

#862 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 07:09 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Man is suddenly in sufficient pain that he considers taking an opiate left over from when he had surgery. Pain subsides before he can take it. Total elapsed time: about 3 minutes.


#863 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 07:29 PM:

Fun halloween activity which I ran for the second time today:

Pumpkin bowling.

Obtain three bales of hay, or reasonable substitute

Ten Halloween monster-face plastic tumblers, preferably made of slightly soft plastic.

Package of Plaster of Paris

Several small, round pumpkins. Slight irregularities add to the fun.


Prizes: Candy, trinkets, etc.

Put about a cup of plaster mix in each tumbler.

On a stretch of sidewalk, make a bowling alley, with the pin positions marked with chalk and the business end surrounded by the hay bales.

Throw a few pumpkins to get an idea of a good distance. This will vary with the audience and the characteristics of your tumblers.

Everyone gets two "balls." A strike gets a nice big candy bar, a spare a smaller candy bar, anything else a consolation prize like Smarties* or a Mary Jane.**

* The American kind which were always the last things left in the bottom of your Halloween candy sack.

** The candy kind, good for removing fillings.

#864 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 08:57 PM:

My personal info cookie expired, so I think I'll do an email address change. This is my old VAB.

#865 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 08:59 PM:

Discontinuing use of this address as comment author ID. Link to new comment list.

#866 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 09:01 PM:

Last summer, when the Giant Insurance Corps started announcing the rate hikes, they blamed it on 'increasing health care costs'.
(My reaction to that is 'how much of those increased costs are due solely to insurance premiums and paperwork?' - the Giant Insurance Corps shouldn't be allowed to claim costs due to their own effing charges as causes for raising their own effing charges. And our enrollment period starts Monday after next.)

#867 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 09:07 PM:

And now what I came to write. Since ebooks have been brought up:

I'm pondering starting to purchase ebooks rather than physical books, as my life of the past few years has been one of having only as much matter as I can haul myself or fit in a car, and I miss my library. I have previously been reluctant to invest in any particular format, and DRM is right out.

Is there any reason not to go with EPUB format for permanent collection? As far as I've learned, the content is always reasonably plain text (XML inside a zip archive), which means the extreme just-get-the-text-out case is covered, but are there any other things of note about its future prospects, or other formats I should look into?

#868 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 09:21 PM:

Keith S @ 847

Hard to say, without knowing the size of the cost increase or how viciously adept your employer's health insurance negotiation team is, but in general, I am figuring that cost increases being blamed on health care reform involve a mixture of legitimate cost increases, profiteering, political gamesmanship, and legitimate uncertainty. I honestly couldn't tell you in what proportions. It probably varies by plan.

My general feeling is that the health plans are being a little overcautious, because most of the new members they're adding are 26 and under, and that's a disproportionately healthy age group.

That said, they've just been told to stop cancelling people's insurance back to before they got sick, unless there's reasonable evidence of fraud -- it's a necessary change, but it was a very popular cost-cutting mechanism, and I do expect to see some resultant cost increases in the individual market. I'm not as sure about the large employer market; my experience is that it is a less popular practice there, so I'm a little more skeptical. Still, it could have an effect.

The other significant change I think could affect large employers is the requirement to cover preventative health care, which I could see resulting in a small short-term cost spike, but it should result in lower costs in future years.

Also, there's a case to be made for caution, as the plans must be able to pay for any care that comes up, and maintaining adequate financial reserves to do that is a serious and legitimate concern for them.

Medical inflation is always a factor, but I don't see any reason to think it increased significantly more this year than in previous years.

As an aside, if you're seeing radical out-of-pocket increases, I would look at two things: First, yes, plan reactions to health care reform. But, also, take a look at your employer share, and whether it's keeping up with the rate of insurance premium inflation. A lot of "huge" employee premium increases recently are because employers have started passing cost increases to their employees, rather than helping pick up the additional costs.

TL;DR -- Magic 8-ball says "Try Again Later."

(Also, I'm not an actuary, so while I consider myself familiar with most of the relevant industry principles and trends, pricing isn't my area of specialization, and I may have overlooked something.)

#869 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 09:37 PM:

Stefan, #863: Speak for yourself! I like Smarties, and they were generally among the first things in my haul to be eaten. I still like them when they show up at con parties.

#870 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 09:39 PM:

P J Evans, #837, I was on the second floor in one of Kaiser's clinics once when they had a real fire. I tend to fall if I go up/down stairs or up/down curbs, so we let everybody else go first and then three of the staff walked me down, stabilizing me when I started to fall. I was exhausted at the end, and we weren't allowed to get our cars and leave. By then I was so tired that my rheumatologist, who was sitting with me, had someone get a wheelchair and haul me to the car.

Elliott Mason, #849, one of the good things about being too sick to work is that I have a Medicare Advantage plan from a good non-profit carrier. My premium isn't going up next year and my generic meds (by mail) are going down a dollar a batch. The two brand name meds (by mail) are dropping $11 per batch.

Lexica, #860, Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic, my carrier, furnishes Advice Nurses on the phone all the time. If you doubt what you need, you call them and they'll tell you what to do and arrange it.

I had Peapod deliver yesterday (mostly heavy and bulky things, but as long as they're bringing those...) and the driver with, I think, a Caribbean accent, handed me a bag and asked me if these were fruit or vegetable. They're Sweet Dumpling Squashes, so technically fruit, but you treat them like vegetables. I explained that and told him a way to cook them and he was happy. I'm looking forward to cooking them myself.

Peapod was out of stock of one of the bags of little candy packages, but I think I have enough.

#871 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 09:43 PM:

Kevin Reid @ 867:

The two ebook formats that I see around commonly are ePub and MobiPocket (or however you're supposed to capitalize them). Of the two, in my experience, epub is the one that's winning out. Other people's experiences may differ. I don't see anything wrong with making epub your format of choice.

KayTei @ 868:

I'm not going to go into any great detail about my company's insurance arrangements here, however I will note that according to the glossy leaflets they passed around the last couple times, they've been taking the brunt of cost increases and are trying not to pass the cost along any more than they have to. We'll see what they say when they come around again in a few days.

I'm perfectly willing for the answer to be that the cost of making health insurance affordable to a great many more people means that I'll have to pay a little more. What I don't like is that there seems to be an implication that if the mean ol' government hadn't forced them, they could have kept prices the same. I don't believe that. Maybe I'm reading something into their announcement that's not there.

Thank you for your input, though. It covers a few things that I hadn't thought of.

#872 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 09:54 PM:

"Me-have knife."
"Me-have tea. Wanna swap?"

Any time I work with a knife or make cinnamon tea, that goes through my mind.

Nanowrimo doesn't seem like it'll work for me ever. I already have people to talk writing with, so the community aspect isn't there, and deadlines... well, I like having them, but without accountability to *someone* I'm going to ignore them. That puts me right back in with 'have existing writerbuddies' as a Nano tactic.

That said, I am attempting a thing. If I am a quarter successful, I will be happy.

#873 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 10:02 PM:


Sounds like your employer is pretty cool. I love hearing about stuff like that.

In general, I agree with you. My initial post was a lot more critical of the insurers, but I realized -- I can't really back that up, except to say that, in my read, it's not that the costs might not be there, but that I believe (based on a total lack of evidence and surfeit of theory) that insurers are generally overstating the case, dramatically, in order to gain political leverage in the direction of deregulation. And to improve their profit margin.

So, I'm glad if my analysis provided food for thought, but I have to admit, it was mostly that detailed to help keep me honest. :)

#874 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 10:33 PM:

Medical providers, insurers, and Big Pharma see the handwriting on the wall. They cannot continue to increase costs an average of 5 - 10 per cent per year ad infinitum. Sooner or later they hit a wall. Therefore, they're banking up the increases now to serve as a floor for later.

The huge baby boom population -- largely well-off, and 75 million strong -- are entering their peak years of medical usage. The demand will be incredible. It will be largely borne by Medicare, and they want to set the price now, because Medicare will base what they pay on costs that are being established now.

#875 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2010, 11:43 PM:

Steve C. @ 874

Good point. But I'm not sure the wall is very close. People are just now talking about "bending the cost curve." To me, that suggests a willingness to be patient, while we "wait to see if it has an effect." Which means it may be a while before anyone has to get really serious.

I think it's going to be very difficult to control costs in the short run, given how badly misaligned all the incentives are, particularly in terms of provider payment, technology purchases, and R&D. The most recent reforms are only a first step...

#876 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 01:11 AM:

863,868; Do you eat the red ones last?

#877 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 01:17 AM:

#876: The proper way to eat any multi-colored candy is to arrange them into columns of different colors, histogram style, and then make passes through the high spots until the columns are the same height. Then you work through again in round robin fashion.

I've seen others do this, so I am not mad.

#878 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 01:27 AM:

KayTei @ 868:

The other significant change I think could affect large employers is the requirement to cover preventative health care, which I could see resulting in a small short-term cost spike, but it should result in lower costs in future years.

So the bill requires better coverage of preventative care? That should be good for people at my company. I started a new job about 2 months ago, and recently had carpal tunnel flare up again. I'd had it about 10 years ago, but got better with physical therapy. When I realized that denial wasn't working against the pain, I checked into my coverage, and was delighted to hear that I was covered at 90% for 60 PT visits in a year -- once I'd paid the $1,500 deductible. Fortunately, I can afford that deductible. If I couldn't, I'd have tried to soldier on without treatment and would have likely ended up a lot worse off. I am responding well to PT. I seem to have caught it early enough this time.

To my embarrassment, I've concluded that my work MacBook Pro was a major contributor. Not just the form factor, since I promptly installed a keyboard tray and an external keyboard, and hooked up a monitor at a proper height. The software is the problem. When I spend 8+ hours a day using email and calendar software, a browser, and Excel, I do much better in Windows than Mac OS. I'm not a fan of many things about Windows, but it does have a shortcut key for everything, and they're organized in a way that makes them easy to remember. The Office apps for Mac don't have keyboard shortcuts for most of the functionality. I know that this post will be followed by people telling me all about the many hot keys on the Mac, but please start by telling me what keyboard shortcut opens the Page Setup menu in Excel, or the Data Sort menu. In Outlook, to send a message, you're looking at a Send button, and just need to remember to type Alt-S. On the Mac, in Mail, you need to remember to type Shift-Command-D. I really don't see any on-screen hint for that 3-key combo.

With the iPhone, iPad, and the trackpad, Apple headed fast in a direction where you're holding your hand poised over a screen a lot. That's what hurts the most for me. It was funny. My therapist puzzled out where I was the sorest, and asked what I was doing that put my hand into a position like this. I looked at it a second, and recognized it as how I was holding my hand over the trackpad for the laptop, or over the screen of my iPhone. I tried using a separate trackpad, at keyboard tray height, and it still hurt a lot.

#879 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 01:41 AM:

877: I'd like to try playing Mem with Skittles.

(anyone else remember that game?)

#880 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 01:54 AM:

Erik, #876: American Smarties don't come in red -- they're all pastels. If I have a place to spread them out, I eat them by color groups in no particular order. Otherwise I just eat them 3 at a time.

My partner likes to mix M&Ms with Skittles for a party dish. He calls it S&Ms.

#881 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 03:47 AM:

(I mostly lurk; have posted before.)

O Font of all knowledge...

Spammers hacked one of my email accounts. Because I can't be certain that account's contents weren't downloaded, and because it contains possible links to financial information, I'm changing everything to long, random passwords. This is over all a good idea, and probably long past time.

Here's the problem. There is no way on this little blue planet that I am going to either remember those long random strings, nor key them in correctly. I use a Mac, an android phone, and an ipad. (Who, me? Tech geek? What gave you that impression? Seriously, not so much, but I have reasons for having each of the mobile devices that seemed good at the time and right now seem rather crazy.)

Right now, I am using Keepass on my mac and phone, but it doesn't seem to work on the ipad. (Mostly because getting the database file onto the ipad isn't happening.)

I'm open to just about anything at this point. I need something that all three devices can handle, that is relatively easy to sync between all three (i.e. no dropboxing files and hoping they open or can be retrieved; I kinda-sorta have a website and space, but given the choice I'd rather not upload key files even into a "private" section of my remote web server) and uses decent encryption.

Any suggestions? I'm not trying to keep NSA out -- they've already got my stuff if they want it -- just give the phishers, scammers, spammers, crackers and script kiddyz a reason to look elsewhere. I don't want to be an easy mark, but I also don't want to be the challenge that brings down the wrath of four chan.

Frustrated Paranoia

#882 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 03:54 AM:

Lee @ 880
We serve S&Ms at a lot of our parties. Because it's silly, and I'm fond of both candies.

JanetL @ 878
Yes, they'll be required to cover preventive services, up to a point. I expect ongoing clarifications as everyone hashes out the exact limits through experience.

The Kaiser Family Foundation summarizes it as "Requires new health plans to provide at a minimum coverage without cost-sharing for (1) preventive services rated A or B by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, (2) recommended immunizations, preventive care for infants, children, and adolescents, and (3) additional preventive care and screenings for women." (The numbering is mine, because otherwise it blurs together for me.)

So yeah, I think that's really excellent.

On the hands thing, with me it's mousewheels. And nintendo controllers. But mostly mousewheels. It is ridiculously hard to remember to manually scroll down using the keyboard or down arrows... even after eight years of practice! (Strangely-to-me, years after I went in for PT to fix my hands, I found that the worst recurrences could be prevented by using silicone bra strap wideners... That said, my physical therapists have all been awesome, and I am much appreciative of their help in figuring out the quirks of my freaky mutant body.)

Oh! And I've just remembered the other things that are going away! Duh! They're also doing away with lifetime coverage limits, restricting annual limits, and the plans can't have pre-existing condition limitations for kids. (The lifetime limits thing comes up rarely, as I understand it, but if you're the one hitting the cap, it can be devestating.)

#883 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 05:31 AM:

I think that cynically evil health care executives are secretly delighted to have health care reform available as a plausible new rationalization to cover the overweening greed that drives high health care prices.

#884 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 09:31 AM:

Earl #883: Actually, what's driving high health-care prices is largely malpractice suits and their associated insurance. Which in turn leads into a completely different set of squabbles. That, and expensive new technology.

#885 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 09:41 AM:

Jacque, #778:

I'd be willing to bet good money that she's a skilled draftsman(person?) when she's not cartooning. Part of the difference, I'll wager, is that her cartoon self is an older creation, and has become much more iconized in her mind. The dog character hasn't had time to evolve from "drawing" to "icon" yet. I'm also betting she's a spectrumite, and so human people (in particular, herself) are less "real" to her than animal people. All of this is wild, baseless, speculation, based on absolutely nothing, of course.

It's common for cartoonists to mix levels of abstraction in their comics--among other places, you can find a discussion of this in Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. (Jaime Hernandez, for instance, draws his characters realistically as adults but simpler and more Peanuts-influenced in flashbacks to childhood.) It's particularly common for central characters to be drawn more iconically than other cast members, or their surroundings. (Jim Woodring's Frank is an example of a very abstract character in a more detailed landscape.)

This doesn't necessarily tell us anything about how the characters evolved. It definitely doesn't tell us anything about the cartoonist's psychology. I hope I don't sound overly disapproving about what was really a casual and perfectly innocent comment, but as a cartoonist myself I'm not comfortable with diagnosing or psychoanalyzing artists through their work. An artist's or writer's work gives us insight into the mind of the narrator--or, from a visual-arts perspective, maybe the point of view--of that work, and that narrator is at most a limited subset of the person who created the work.

#886 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 10:38 AM:

KayTei, #882: With cancer -- especially recurring cancer -- that lifetime limit is appallingly easy to hit. And I really don't like it that the "no-pre-existing conditions" only applies to kids, although I think it expands to everyone in 2014. But how many lives -- including those of kids who age over the limit -- will be lost in the meantime?

#887 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 10:45 AM:

Mostly, I understand, the shiny new technology.
Surprisingly, most people don't even file complaints with the local medical association, even when it's clear to everyone else that it's malpractice, and very few actually sue - most people can't afford the lawyers.

#888 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 11:18 AM:

#862 Xopher:

Hyperlocal questions...

How did the man feel the pain come on? Twinges first, or suddenly out of the blue, or or something else?

Was there anything the man did (e.g. changing position, breathing more deeply or shallowly, anything else) that made the pain better or worse?

If the man had to describe the pain in one word, what would that word be?

Where was the pain, and was it just at that one location or did it seem to radiate to other parts of his head/body?

On a scale from one to ten where one is barely noticeable and ten is the worst the man had ever felt in his life, what number would the man give this pain?

How long did the pain last?


Does the man have any thoughts on what may have caused the pain? Any thoughts on what definitely didn't cause it? Has he ever felt anything like this before? What caused it that time?

#889 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 11:20 AM:

CZEdwards: 1Password is the answer. I use it on two Macs, my iPad, and my iPod Touch, and it offers various ways to synchronize all of them. It offers ways to integrate smoothly with both Safari and Chrome, the browsers I use, and (I believe) with others. I am really happ with it.

#890 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 11:24 AM:

Kevin Reid@867: That matches my understanding of EPub. Also there's at least one free package for converting formats that supports epub well (Calibre). I'm converting some old texts I collected into that format for my own use, since they were pretty crufty to begin with.

Also, simple plain HTML works quite well, and again is well supported with tools.

#891 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 11:41 AM:

Jacque @ 816: If a picture's worth a thousand words, you can do NaNoWriMo by drawing 50 pictures in a month, no?

KeithS @847: My first reaction is it's a bald-faced lie. I would not be surprised to learn that this blatantly political move was coordinated through the US Chamber of Commerce.

Lexica @ 860: To the left, last month when I started passing blood in my urine over the weekend, I had no other symptoms that started at the same time - just the general color being off, feeling run down, odd bouts of nausea and such that I'd been fighting off since about Memorial Day. Having pushed on through with the other symptoms for three months, my reaction to this one new thing with no associated pain, light-headedness or whatever was to call my GP and ask, is this an office visit or an ER? (It was, of course, an ER, and a week in the hospital therefrom.)

David Harmon @ 884: No, not really. Texas has had pretty radical limits on med-mal judgments for several years now, and they've seen no significant decrease in the rate of rising costs.

Lee @ 886: Yes, that, and for transplants too. And I really don't want to wait until 2014 for a kidney, thanks.

#892 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 11:57 AM:

P J Evans #887: yeah, but when they do sue, the occasional megabuck verdicts have a disproportionate backlash -- especially, that malpractice insurance becomes effectively mandatory for doctors and hospitals.

But there are threads to that argument leading into medical peer-governance (that is, are the medical boards actually squelching bad doctors?), working conditions (overload leads to errors, and/or failing to spot them in time), tort reform (those megabuck verdicts come from juries and judges, not medical types), several sorts of meddling from health-care insurance companies, and probably more stuff I can't think of just now.

#893 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 12:07 PM:

Surely a big chunk of malpractice payout is paying for the aftermath healthcare. Which is maybe something a single-payer system can affect, since a chunk of that medical bill gets paid regardless of the lawsuit.

I'll note that even in the UK there can be extra help needed for long-term disability. If I've got this right, you wouldn't get the super-duper carbon-fibre, sporting wheelchair.

#894 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 12:16 PM:

David Harmon, 892: In Texas, at least, "tort reform" is code for "we are Republican shills, and we don't think any corporation should have any limits ever. Also trial lawyers eat babies."

#895 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 12:42 PM:

David, those megabuck results are rare, and the lawyers get a lot of the money off the top.

Also, what TexAnne says: looking at the candidates for the seat where I lived in West Texas, the challenging R has more donations total (and is boasting about it), but nearly two-thirds of it is one donation from the tort-reform people (and he isn't mentioning that inconvenient fact).

#896 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 12:43 PM:

David Harmon @892 said: (W)hen they do sue, the occasional megabuck verdicts have a disproportionate backlash -- especially, that malpractice insurance becomes effectively mandatory for doctors and hospitals.

It's worse than that [he's dead, Jim]; in Illinois, at least, increasing numbers of doctors are finding it impossible to pay for the malpractice insurance necessary to carry if one wishes to deliver babies. There are something like 1/3 as many baby-delivering GPs and OBs and whatnot available to choose from in Illinois this year as there were *in 1999*. It's all right in the cities, since you can still almost always have at least two to choose from that are covered by your insurance, but rural-dwellers are getting seriously shat on. Most especially GPs are having to drop their baby-delivering coverage (because it would cost several times as much as the rest of their insurance premium), so there are far fewer true family doctors than there used to be.

Relatedly, many hospitals refuse to consider dealing with obstetrics unless some unfortunate woman presents in their ER with immediate, already-dilated childbirth in progress. Which of course means the staff at those hospitals are out of practice for when they DO have to deal with a crash-emergency birth; also, it means that from where I live, out of the nearest six hospitals, only two do deliveries, and one of them is owned by a medical company I refuse to patronize (because their institutional culture is poisonous, blocking communication both among the staff and between staff and patients. They repeatedly gave my grandmother medications she's ALLERGIC TO when she was hospitalized last, even though there was 52-POINT RED BOLD TYPE on the note pasted to her chart at the nurse's station saying not to).

Dave Bell @893 said: Surely a big chunk of malpractice payout is paying for the aftermath healthcare. Which is maybe something a single-payer system can affect, since a chunk of that medical bill gets paid regardless of the lawsuit.

In the US, the lion's share of the judgement is usually 'punitive' damages, which are over and above (a) cost of paying for all medical sequelae, for life of patient, and (b) any economic damages caused the patient by not being able to work, etc, because of the malpractice.

And the 'punitive' damages are usually at least twice as much as the rest of the judgement added together.

#897 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 01:06 PM:

TexAnne #894: True enough... but the shills are making hay out of a real problem. While not as widespread as they'd like you to believe, there are occasional "jackpot" awards. Partly because of the random factor provided by juries, but especially because of lawyers looking for shares of those big payouts. (If I had my way, lawyers would be flat out forbidden to take a percentage of court awards!) And remember, any malpractice case needs to be defended against, and that takes money no matter how worthless the case.

#898 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 01:14 PM:

Medical malpractice, as a political football, has nothing to do with the facts of medical malpractice. This article is a good rundown of the situation as it actually exists. Shorter version: medical malpractice suits are overwhelmingly legitimate, far fewer suits are brought to court than could/ought to be, and the judicial system is good at tossing out specious claims. The real problem is that doctors make lots of easily-avoided mistakes.

#899 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 02:09 PM:

CZEdwards @881 -- my partner (who recently wrote a book on iOS4 for new users) swears by Yojimbo for storing passwords. She hasn't tested it with her iPad yet, but is going to do so now; if there's a problem, I'll post here again. Oh wait, she's done -- yes, it works fine once it's synced to the iPad.

#900 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 05:07 PM:

As a Californian, I have to note that trying to rein in malpractice lawsuits also has its severe drawbacks. Under our system, if the doc kills your relative -- outright kills them -- no lawyer will touch the case because it costs more to prosecute than they'll get paid, under the existing limitations on lawyers fees. Your only hope, as I understand it, is that your loved one survived, in a disabling condition, and preferably (!) one in which they also experience pain and suffering, and a need for ongoing care directly related to the malpractice event.

It is absolutely horrific, and I do not advise copying our approach.

I appreciate that the issue is complex, but just limiting lawyer fees and jury awards doesn't solve the underlying problem -- that some doctors are, in fact, incompetent and need to be stopped from harming patients, and that when these doctors cause harm, it has terrible long term consequences for individuals and their families. All malpractice reform in California did was to hide the problem, because the only people who can afford to pursue justice in these cases are the very rich, so it ends up looking like there are fewer cases of malpractice than there actually are, and for the ones that do make it into the courts, the lawyers have a built in incentive to prove that theirs is an extreme case deserving of a huge reward, because it's the only way their lawyer will get paid (and because every lawyer will lose some of these cases too, and will need to make that lost income back on their successful cases).

Also, our medical boards are criminally inactive.

The whole system is a mess.

#901 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 05:08 PM:

Stefan Jones @ #877, that is exactly how my youngest daughter eats M&Ms. OTOH, I'm not sure that is a testament to its not being a sign of madness.

#862 Xopher: More hyperlocal questions--was the pain accompanied by numbness, tingling or weakness? Nausea or lightheadedness?

#902 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 05:11 PM:

#884 ::: David Harmon

"Actually, what's driving high health-care prices is largely malpractice suits and their associated insurance."

A conviction fondly cherished by many but it is not so.

Love, C.

#903 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 05:12 PM:

Bill Stewart @ 871:

I'd be much happier about checks and balances if so many Senators weren't dealing only in cold cash.

#904 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 05:25 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 877 (and Lila @ 901)

[Stefan] The proper way to eat any multi-colored candy is to arrange them into columns of different colors, histogram style, and then make passes through the high spots until the columns are the same height. Then you work through again in round robin fashion.

Did you know that M&Ms are available in all-one-color bags, in a wide variety of colors apparently intended to be color-coordinated with party decorations? I used to work with someone who divides them neatly by color, and we had an M&M dispenser that we kept stocked. I was sorely tempted to buy green, teal, blue-green, blue, and seafoam M&Ms, and refill the dispenser. But I resisted.

#905 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 05:44 PM:

#904: I can understand how uni-colored M&ms would have their uses, but carefully sorting them (or Smarties, or Skittles) is half the fun!

* * *

Follow-up from upthread, my uncle quietly passed on this morning, with my cousins in attendance. "Sad but not sorry;" I'm so glad the family was spared seeing the poor guy linger and deteriorate, possibly for years. No big Catholic funeral or burial, so no pressing need to travel.

I do have a bunch of condolence cards to write.

#906 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 05:50 PM:

CZEdwards @881, for home use, the Yellow Sticky Note actually isn't a bad password management system for most people. Also, it's useful to have two-part passwords, one the complex non-obvious part that you use for most important sites, and the other part corresponding to the system you're logging in to. Occasionally you'll find a site transitioning from unimportant to important or needing special handling (e.g. my Facebook password is no longer "passw0rd", but my New York Times password still is, but since I trust Facebook slightly less far than I can throw them, they get a password that's not used elsewhere either.)

#907 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 05:53 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 903, one of my neighbors in New Jersey was a daughter or niece of Harrison Williams, the Senator caught accepting a $50K bribe in the Abscam sting. As one of my friends said, we knew politicians could be bought, but didn't realize they were so affordable.

#908 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 06:16 PM:

#881, #907:

I use reverse rebus-like cues to remember passwords with odd symbols and numbers.

Ones I have NOT used, and YOU shouldn't use, but are illustrative:

"Question authority and see your eighth year" boils down to:


(1974 isn't my eighth year.)

"Enter carnegie and stop at apollo for two eggs" becomes:


"Enter Carnegie" is the date I started at CMU. (The above date is not correct.) Apollo is the year of the moon landing. For two eggs is a symbol number combination I haven't used and won't use, but is illustrative. (0) is a fried egg.

#909 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 06:25 PM:

Chicken chicken, chicken chickens chicken.

It's worth watching through to the end.

#910 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 07:50 PM:

heresiarch #898, Constance #902: Hmm. While I'm no fan of the fee-for-service regime (which seems to be the Kaiser writer's target), I'll point out that the collective cost of malpractice suits is not at all the same thing as the per-doctor cost of malpractice insurance. The latter is where we get situations like Elliott Mason describes at #896.

And re: KayTei #900, certainly there are incompetent doctors, but I suspect there are far more overworked/understaffed ones, and that also produces mistakes. I suspect that this is also one reason why the medical review boards are so iffy -- not only are they dealing with the "ground truth" there, but for competent doctors, actually serving on such boards competes (time, attention span, probably money) with actually serving patients.

#911 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 08:41 PM:

#908: I use the first initials of lines from corny movies and append any numbers or puntuation. Like:


which is the corniest line in an obscure space opera flick from '77: "I'm Luke Skywalker I'm here to rescue you". Needless to say, I use a different corny line.

#912 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 08:43 PM:

Punctuation, with a C. After previewing twice. D'oh!

Although there is a certain mischievous beauty in the word "pun-tuation".

#913 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 09:05 PM:

James 888: Hyperlocal questions...

How did the man feel the pain come on? Twinges first, or suddenly out of the blue, or something else?

It had been aching for several hours, but it got bad kind of suddenly. This was his right femur, which is the one whose top is titanium. Hurt at the join between the bone and the metal.

Was there anything the man did (e.g. changing position, breathing more deeply or shallowly, anything else) that made the pain better or worse?

Yes. Stretching out his leg relieved it some, but not completely.

If the man had to describe the pain in one word, what would that word be?


Where was the pain, and was it just at that one location or did it seem to radiate to other parts of his head/body?

It remained confined to the leg.

On a scale from one to ten where one is barely noticeable and ten is the worst the man had ever felt in his life, what number would the man give this pain?

At its peak, 6. The leading-up achyness, 2.

How long did the pain last?

The really bad pain lasted about 20 minutes or half an hour.

Does the man have any thoughts on what may have caused the pain? Any thoughts on what definitely didn't cause it? Has he ever felt anything like this before? What caused it that time?

I asked him that. He had this to say:

I suspect I may have overloaded it at the gym. Possibly by setting 60-pound dumbbells on my thighs (which works fine with the real bone) prior to doing my chest presses. Then sitting at the computer in a bad position (with my leg tucked under my chair) exacerbated the problem. That theory is based, at least in part, on the fact that stretching it out helped.
I also made fondant a couple of days before, which doesn't sound like it would strain a hip, unless you've made a hard fondant and know what a workout it is. I really have to brace my foot to work the syrup with the scraper.
I figured this all out well after the post at 862.
My implant hurts when the weather is wet, especially cold and wet. This makes no sense to me, because after all it's inside all that flesh (way too much flesh, in my opinion). I mean, I go from my warm apartment down the stairs, and it starts hurting the minute I walk out the door. I get to the gym and it stops hurting. Leave the gym and it starts hurting again. Odd.

Lila 901: None of that.

Patrick 912: I thought you did that on purpose.

#914 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 09:13 PM:

Steve C., #874, you might want to read this article that has myths about the new healthcare bill and then the actual facts.

Stefan Jones, #877, I do that, too. I didn't know other people did. It seems like such a logical way to eat them.

#915 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 09:35 PM:

Since M&m colors all taste the same, they must be there for organizational purposes.

#916 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 09:37 PM:

"On a scale from one to ten where one is barely noticeable and ten is the worst the man had ever felt in his life, what number would the man give this pain?"

Over the last month-and-a-bit, I've usually been asked "On a scale from zero to ten where zero is no pain and ten is the worst pain you can imagine..." which is, to me, not a very easy question to answer. If I can imagine a pain, I can probably imagine a worse pain than that... insofar as I can imagine such things at all. On the other hand, scaling 10 to "the worst pain I've ever felt" makes the scale utterly arbitrary to my own prior experiences.

I like the pain chart shown here.

#917 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 09:59 PM:

David Harmon @ a few - There no correlation between malpractice payouts and insurance rates. There's an alleged correlation between payouts and how well the insurance company investments are performing, but I've also seen reasonable arguments refuting that, and I don't know who's right.

Regarding medical mistakes, Atul Gawande is a surgeon and a Harvard professor who wrote a book called the "Checklist Manifesto" to advocate surgical checklists as a way of catching mistakes. It does seem to make a big difference. Iatrogenic illnesses are the third-leading cause of death in the US, although admittedly half of those are non-error adverse drug reactions.

Checklists won't fix everything, and overwork does seem to be a problem. Medical staff time is sliced quite thing in the US. Anecdotally, this seems to be less true in single-payer health care countries, but those doctors typically also get paid less.

#918 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 10:38 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 916: That pain chart from Hyperbole and a Half is fabulous! I have printed it out to take to the physical therapist next week, though I daresay that every PT in the developed world has had this URL emailed to them already.

My favorite unanswerable pain question is being asked to describe what your pain level is when you're not taking pain medication -- when the pain is bad enough after taking pills that you never, ever don't take them. (That was my state in my first bout of carpal tunnel, when I didn't have the sense to stop and doing something about it.)

#919 ::: y ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2010, 11:17 PM:

Janetl @ 878: If there is not already a command-key equivalent for a particular menu item in an application on Mac OS X, you can assign one in System Preferences (in the Keyboard pane, Keyboard Shortcuts tab).

#920 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 12:51 AM:

Dave Harmon @ 910

You get no argument from me. But the purpose of the malpractice system is not supposed to be to punish good doctors, any more than the purpose of the justice system is supposed to be to incarcerate innocent people. When it works right, malpractice law should exonerate doctors who acted legitimately, yet who nevertheless were caught up in a situation with bad outcomes that were not the doctor's fault.

Imperfect implementation is a strong reason to improve the system, not a reason to give up on things entirely.

#921 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 01:38 AM:

y @ 919: Thank you (sincerely) for the tip. I was aware that I could map keys on the Mac OS. I'm just not willing to figure out and code lots & lots of them. Office on Windows has a hot key for everything in that's in the menus. It's feasible to learn them and refresh your memory of them because you first key something that opens the menu (and is intuitive by glancing at the menu name), and then type a selection from the menu (and you can see the underlined letter). There must be at least 100 hot keys in the Office apps -- probably more. The Mac version of Office has a tiny fraction of that, so I'd have do a lot of setup work, and go nuts figuring out key combinations that haven't already been used somewhere else.

#922 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 03:54 AM:


Local woman makes rookie error and sits down "for just a minute" in the middle of intensive last-minute cleaning binge before next-day Halloween party.

Local witnesses report a number of open windows on her computer related to "getting housemates to clean." Upon questioning, housemates professed ignorance as to motivation.

#923 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 04:32 AM:

One kind of annoying arthritis pain is the kind that is at the "Why is this happening to me??" level, but lasts for less time than it would take for an oral pain reliever to kick in. The pain games your indecision about taking a pain reliever: the pain wins in the short term because the relief is too slow to take effect; the pain wins in the long term because the potential relief probably won't last until the next wave.

#924 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 10:01 AM:

Note that Open thread 149 is, well, open.

#925 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 10:27 AM:

Joel Polowin @916: scaling 10 to "the worst pain I've ever felt" makes the scale utterly arbitrary to my own prior experiences

When I'm asked that, I first explain where my "10" is "Well, taking "10" as when I had my dislocated shoulder..."

Still very subjective - but then, pain -is- subjective: "pain is what the patient says it is."

#926 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 11:08 AM:

Joel @ #916, I usually describe the scale to my patients as "0 is no pain at all and 10 is 'get me to the emergency room'". We also ask about pain meds because there's a big difference between 8/10 on Lortab and 8/10 with no pain relievers. (The worst pain I've ever had was second-degree burns all over the palm of one hand. Luckily it didn't last long and soaking in ice water really helped. Without the ice, it was slightly worse than being in labor. I would rate the burn pain around an 8, on the basis that at max pain I would pass out, and before I passed out I would scream; therefore if I'm not screaming, it's not past 8.)

OTOH, a PT of my acquaintance was in a car accident involving a rollover in which her hand and forearm were hanging out the open window of the car. Her reply in the ER to "how much pain are you in on a scale of 1 to 10?" was "Fourteen." Amazingly, she still has a functioning hand, though her wrist is immobile.

Xopher @ #913, a lot of my patients with joint replacements tend to ache in cold wet weather (also some of my arthritis patients who don't have replacements). I suspect the mechanism may be barometric pressure changes.

And yes, the Hyperbole and a Half pain chart is hilarious.

#927 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 11:21 AM:

PJ #866:

It seems pretty clear that rising medical care costs in general are not some inherent fact of life based on demographics and improving technology, since lots of other countries seem to have costs that rise more slowly and yet get better measured outcomes[1].

My understanding is that increases in medical malpractice judgments can explain a smallish percentage of that. It seems like there must be a kind of feedback loop going on somewhere, driving the never-ending price rises, probably involving the arms race between providers trying to maximize their revenues and insurers trying to minimize their payouts, with patients, malpractice lawyers/judges/juries/insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid, pharmaceutical companies, and medical researchers on the sidelines, kicking in some component to the loop.

One thing that might be happening w.r.t. Obamacare: even if the ultimate added costs for insurance companies are X%, the changeover costs for dealing with the new system might be an extra Y%, and they may also be trying to account for uncertainty in their costs (perhaps they fear an extra Z% of cost increases from adverse selection or something).

[1] It's always tricky measuring outcomes, and you risk falling into the "get what you measure" trap that leads ultimately to schools where they do nothing but test prep all day. But without measurements, you're blind.

#928 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 11:32 AM:

albatross, #928: I'm much more cynical about this. First off, Big Insurance is freaking out (but not in public) to the effect of, "They're pushing us out from under the damn MONEY TREE!", which is where the desperate attempt to repeal even the small improvements resulting from the plan that got passed (which they largely dictated the terms of in the first place), come in, and also this sleazy attempt to blame a huge spike in premiums on said plan. Secondly, assuming that they are successful in managing to get the plan repealed, do you think for one second that premiums will decrease from their currently-spiked levels? Not a fucking chance.

#929 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 11:33 AM:

albatross, bear in mind that the insurance companies also are trying (quite successfully) to maximize ,em>their profits, and have conned Congress into requiring that people buy health insurance, without guarantees that they'll actually get the coverage they're paying for.

I also have the example of the health insurance my father's company provided its retirees: it began by covering 80 percent of the bill, then became 80 percent of what Medicare didn't cover, then the insurance coverage became 'well, Medicare has paid 80 percent, so we don't owe you anything'.

#930 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 11:43 AM:


Yeah, I recall the Covert Rationing blog making the argument that Obamacare was actually a way of saving the business model of health insurers, who were otherwise in a basically impossible business--the cost of providing service keeps going up, and they're visibly pricing themselves out of the market over time as employers drop coverage or pass increases onto patients.

Note that it's not plausible to say "the insurance companies are making the cost increases up," unless you think they all are coordinating it and that coordination has gone on for decades. If any health insurance company could go back to 1970s costs whenever they wanted, there would be a huge incentive to spend some of that to compete on price to employers.

#931 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 01:37 PM:

The acute gall bladder attack that sent me to the emergency room* would have defined a new personal 10. As it was, I looked at their chart and called it an 8. (The doctor's response: "Sounds about right.")

*I was afraid I was having a heart attack.

#932 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 01:50 PM:

albatross, I'm saying that insurance costs are part of the problem, and that the insurance companies have no incentive to change that, even when those costs are hurting everyone else.

#933 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 02:12 PM:

Here's a recipe for increasing prices fast.

1) Provide a product that you have to have

2) Limit the supply of that product through regulation, licensing, and cost of entry

3) Hide the price tag from the end consumers

4) Increase demand through advertising and the natural aging process

5) Structure the business model so that you are paid per module delivered (each service) rather than each event as a whole

#934 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 02:57 PM:

I'm really starting to despise the word "Obamacare". I'm almost willing to stop using the word "teabagger" by way of deescalating memes.

#935 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 03:13 PM:

albatross @ 930: FYI, I would place use of "Obamacare" to refer to the new health care reform law in roughly the same ideological category as using "death panels" or "Islamofascism." I assume you don't mean to use it in a derogatory way, but you might want to pick a different label in order to avoid giving that impression.

#936 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 03:21 PM:

albatross @ 930: They are and they have.

What the insurance cartel has done and gotten away with over the past few decades really ought to be criminal.

#937 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 06:57 PM:

abi@652 (and anyone else who was interested)

Planned comment on the making of candied peel ran afoul of a deadline and a family trip to Tattooine.

In the meantime Mme and Mlle Barebones have done a fully documented write-up
of the process. (They contrive to suggest that my role in the process is that of a purely passive observer; which was true this year, but isn't always. There's also a longer story about the pomelo on the balcony than they let on)

We do things more along the lines of fidelio @ 665 than Xopher @ 662.

#938 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2010, 07:05 PM:

Also in the meantime a conversation on Facebook reminded me that I ought not to let this thread reach the magic thousand without a link to this
hymn tune

(Linked to a version without words, for various reasons; among them that there's some controversy as to which are the right ones.)

#939 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2010, 12:03 PM:

heresiarch@935: I agree on two out of three.

I'm mostly used to seeing "islamofascist" used to describe the highly authoritarian, extremely fundamentalist, violently misogynist wing of Islam, i.e. the Taliban, Al Qaida, and so forth. It doesn't seem that inappropriate a term to describe that particular sub-set of Islam. It's not a neutral term certainly, but it's one that (as I understand the term) expresses an opinion I agree with. Am I missing ultra-high-frequency thought-bands that take the meaning places I would want nothing to do with? Or overlooking objections to the meanings I see there? Are we seeing different uses of the term?

(Or we could just actually disagree; not a hypothesis to be excluded casually.)

#940 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2010, 12:24 PM:

ddb @939:

"Islamofacist" is an automatic Godwin; it comes trailing too many ahistorical comparisons between Nazis and Muslims to be much use in actually discussing any stripe of Islam with clarity.

It sets up the idea that war against "Islam" is a just war, the way that many people perceive World War II as having been a just war. It contains unexamined assumptions of genocide, as though the people who support it could possibly create the mechanism of murder that Hitler's Germany did.

In general, it implies a more unified central control to that stripe of fundamentalist Islam, and to Al-Quaida, than is supported by the evidence. This is not a unified movement under a strong leader, but rather an alliance of groups which has much less central authority than 1930's Italy or Germany.

In other words, its associations cloud the issue. They lead to different diagnoses, and different solutions, than are appropriate to a people so entirely removed from the canonical fascists of history.

And I'm not convinced that the people who use it most don't intend that, since it's mostly used in the narrative of inevitable cultural conflict (and armed conflict). Rejecting that narrative, I reject the term, and distrust people who use it uncritically.

YMMV, but that's the set of markers the term has for me. It makes me evaluate people's arguments differently if they use it.

#941 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2010, 03:23 PM:

abi@940: We're badly in need of a widely-understood tag for that group; especially, we need to fill in the blank in "No, it's not all Muslims, it's just the ______" with some term that can catch on.

I'm not convinced they're not interested in genocide; they're certainly into scapegoating and killing "enemies".

The movement as a whole certainly is not centrally controlled. There do seem to be "big men" leading various branches of it, though.

I'm by no means wedded to the term, and I see your points (even the ones I have some argument against; none of those arguments fully refutes your objection), but it's about the best option that's come along so far.

We really do need a specific term for these people. And one having the "islamo" prefix also gives us the possibly useful option of then using the same term, appropriately modified, to refer to the "American Taliban" contingent.

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