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June 21, 2019

Open thread 222
Posted by Avram Grumer at 02:08 PM * 193 comments

The year 222 BCE saw the Roman Emperor Elagabalus assassinated by the Praetorian Guard, to be replaced by Alexander Severus, who was only 13 years old, young enough to have attended Hogwarts and studied potions under a teacher with whom he had a name in common.

Or, alternatively, to have attended the fictional Walt Whitman High School in Los Angeles, where he might have learned about the assassination of his predecessor in a history class in Room 222.

Comments on Open thread 222:
#1 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2019, 02:55 PM:


I'll put a notification in 221.

#2 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2019, 04:16 PM:

I think that's 222 CE. 222 BCE was before Rome was an empire, AIUI.

#3 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2019, 04:28 PM:

Wikipedia supports the CE theory.

#4 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2019, 05:19 PM:


#5 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2019, 07:40 PM:

Here's a pointer back to OT 221. (Because, yes, I am obsessive.)


Meanwhile: WOO HOO! I'm so happy!! Looping back to our Zero-Waste discussion, I just found out that the plastic rings I've been saving off the Häagen-Dazs lids (because I can't bear to throw 'em in the landfill) are in fact recyclable!! They go in the "large durable" plastics (kid toys, buckets, lawn furniture, &c) instead of the regular consumer single-stream, which means they have to go out to the collection center. But I'll take it! Especially since that's where the guinea pig output is now going, so it's no additional effort.

#6 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2019, 07:57 PM:

They sound like the lids on things like the muffin-in-a-cup things that you can buy (and their cousins eggs florentine and frittata). Those have the advantage that there's a seal inside, so the lids stay clean.
(The apple muffin is good; I sometimes throw in a spoon or so of dried cranberries in addition.)

#7 ::: Kip ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2019, 08:21 PM:

Batman: (Reading the Riddler's clue) "When is a clock like a train?"
Robin: When it's TWO TO TWO! TOOO TOOO TOOO!
Batman: CORRECT! old chum.

#8 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2019, 06:16 PM:

@Cassy B, re stories of overcoming a challenge: the Just So Story I'd point to is "The Beginning of the Armadillos." (challenge: not being eaten by a jaguar that has figured out how to handle both tortoises and porcupines.) Has some lovely nonsense as a gloss.

#9 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2019, 06:17 PM:

@me: s/porcupine/hedgehog/, says Wikipedia.

#10 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2019, 07:21 PM:

Which reminds me that there are times I hear train whistles (well, horns, these days) doing something that sounds a lot like "Shave and a hair cut". (Always at night.)

#11 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2019, 10:42 AM:

P J Evans (10): Sounds like the engineers are having fun to liven up the wee hours.

#12 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2019, 11:05 AM:

Yeah, I think it's mostly the freight train engineers, going through my area where there are three or four crossings in a mile, and not always in the wee hours. (I live only about half a mile from the track, and at night I can hear them for as much as a couple of miles.)
The daytime freights are "locals" - two or three cars, mostly lumber, going to the next couple of cities north. The longer ones are mostly at night, when there's much less traffic on both streets and tracks.

#13 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2019, 01:33 PM:

During the brief period when I played church bells (they were managed via a short keyboard), there were definitely people out there that heard and commented on the rather secular music choices.

#14 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2019, 07:26 PM:

Want to hear a tin-can cello and a wooden cello trading beats? Listen to my new song "Rainy Day Woman, Leave the Door Open".

#15 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2019, 07:36 PM:

@14: That has a decidedly Sacred Harp–like flavor to it.

#16 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2019, 09:17 PM:

While taking Sarah (then four years old) on a ride on the tiny train in my home town's city park, I heard a fellow passenger and train enthusiast explain to the engineer the code of whistle toots used by the real trains. There was something like a long one when they were a mile from the station, and two short ones when approaching some type of crossing. Of course I forgot the details before the ride was over.

I used to long for a quarter so I could ride that train. Having a daughter finally gave me the opportunity for just a dollar.

#17 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2019, 09:44 PM:

I know there are signs telling engineers when to use the whistle - it's a white rectangle, short and wide, with one or two Xs on it (it's been long enough since I was on a train that I don't remember it as clearly as I used to).

#18 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 09:54 AM:

I spent about 15 hours on a train Monday/Tuesday. Part of the fun early on was waving back at people who were there to watch the train go by.

#19 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 10:24 AM:

I rode the "1880 Train" in the Black Hills last summer. A leisurely 10 mph ride through a rural area between tourist towns.

Lots of un-gated grade crossings. As I recall, the signal for approaching a crossing was long-long-long-short.

Not sure how long a head of time they had to toot.

#20 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 11:07 AM:

#21 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 11:45 AM:

Around here the sequence is 2 long, 1 short, 1 long. I think of Mozart's 39th as the Train Symphony, because the 1st 4 notes are like that.
In Seattle, there are bridges that lift. Their signals used to be individualized, but now it is 1 short and 1 long. What amazed me is how far that could carry. That's because they are sort of midrange in pitch, like me in fact only with more power, and the one nearest all the houses and dorms got switched an octave up or so to spare the residents so it doesn't have that range now. The ferries, with the lowest horns, could be heard the farthest. If you ever heard 5 short toots in a row, you knew someone had better scamper.
Long waves roll far, but high notes, at some timbres, have a piercing power all their own.

#22 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 12:40 PM:

No ferries or foghorns or lift bridges in my area, but there are three kinds of trains, and they each have their own pitch - the freight trains are lowest, and Amtrak is highest (and because most of the Amtrak trains stop at the local station, they whistle a little more). The other is regional commuter rail - weekdays only.

(Yeah, I'll wave at the train crews. Sometimes at the passengers - there's a private car with the platform in back, sometimes, and sometimes there are people on it.)

#23 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 12:53 PM:

I spent 16 months living in an apartment building just north of the University of Waterloo, on the top floor in the corner closest to the railroad tracks that ran by the building. In the wee hours, trains would slow to a crawl and blast their whistles, on and on. I was told that it was because there was a history of students being drunk -- sometimes passed-out drunk -- on the tracks.

#24 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 02:28 PM:

The rivers in the Colorado/Utah canyons tend to have railroads sharing the canyons. Traditional canoeist behavior requires mooning the Amtrak dome car as it goes by.. for freight trains, wave frantically at the driver to attempt to elicit a whistle..

We have a yurt on a small farm just outside Debeque canyon, Palisade CO (link from my name). The canyon also hosts a state park with campsites on an island in the river. That is the loudest campsite I've ever endured, random coal trains all night and the whistles echoing steadily across the canyon walls: plus truckers rumbling steadily past on the interstate which is also tucked into the canyon. The yurt is just far enough from the trains to make the sound romantic again.

"everybody loves the sound of a train in the distance / everybody thinks it's true"
I used to love that song.
But now the lyrics,
"The night he met her
She was married to someone
He was doggedly determined that he would get her"
make me distinctly uncomfortable.

I went looking out of idle curiosity. A trainspotting website gives details of the traffic - two scheduled Amtraks, the Lacy local Sun through Thur, coal trains on a catch-as-catch-can basis with loads east and empties west running at night, daily BNSF Stockton manifests, occasional grain and steel. So now I know why the whistles are so random in time.

#25 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 06:55 PM:

I rode the 1880 train in the Black Hills when 1880 was a lot more recent than it is now. So I don't remember any details.

#26 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 08:13 PM:

I rode the Durango-Silverton narrow gauge back around 1970. I could have darn near trotted alongside much of the way, but the it would have turned into one of those things with a mountain on one side and nothing on the other, and there'd have been no 'alongside.'

In Massachusetts, my neighborhood was in easy earshot of the train whistle as it ran alongside of the river. I enjoyed it, because the sound would always segue into the Barber Adagio in my mind's ear.

#27 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 09:42 PM:

@Angiportus Librarysaver no. 21: Speaking of the power of short sharp sounds: The rocky beaches near the harbor a short distance from my house support a stable population of black oystercatchers. These are big, handsome shorebirds with slate-black feathers and long crimson beaks. If you don't live near the northwestern Pacific coast (or with a birder), you've probably never heard of it. Per the Wikipedia entry, there are probably more humans on my island than there are black oystercatchers in the world, but the species is doing well in a restricted niche: mussel beds near a spot where they can nest on the tideline(!!) without anything bugging them.

What the Wikipedia entry doesn't say is that these birds have pipes. They are rarely alone. When something startles them, they all take off, flying low and fast over the water and sounding the alarm: PEEP PEEP PEEP PEEP PEEPa PEEPa PEEPa PEEPa pehpehpehpehpehpeh. That last is them settling back down again. They don't call for long, but while they are calling they can outshout most machinery. I can hear them from a quarter mile away.

#28 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 10:08 PM:

Joel @ 23

When I was growing up, the collective understanding was that trains would put their whistles on and go through town as fast as they could, hoping no drunk students had fallen asleep across the tracks. I hated them for decades as murder machines. (It didn't help, learning how my great-grandfather died.)

Trains were redeemed for me when we chose them to travel North with my then-toddler, though. Waking up in time to watch the dawn rising up through the mountain fog is one of my favorite memories.

#29 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 10:47 PM:

I've been on trains that hit people who were on the tracks. (Many were not all there, one way or another.) One evening, the engineer had, while waiting for the train to come in from its previous trip, wrestled a guy who was off the platform and looked likely to walk into a train. She got help from a LEO who was on her way home, and they got him settled for someone to collect for observation.
Then the train actually hit someone about five minutes from where I get off...that's a long, long delay. And the train crews - especially the engineers - hate it, because reports and time off to recover, and sometimes it's once too many.

#30 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 11:07 PM:

WRT train whistles, we have exclusively freight around here, and I'd deduced some of the coding in short/long alternations mentioned upthread. I'm often fascinated by the difference in the quality of the sound of the whistles, depending how well or poorly they're "tuned." Some have a nice, euphonious chord, and others are painfully discordant, and everything in between (which leads me to wonder if tuning train whistles is a thing, and when/how often it happens). On top of which you get the interferences between the initial whistle and its echo. I'm probably a quarter-mile from the track's nearest approach, and going out east, there's a long expanse of open country, some of which is blocked by the highway over-pass's berm, so there's quite a lot of variation on how loud/quiet/echo-y the tone is, depending on the direction of travel and time of day.

Jenny Islander @27: Black oystercatchers, as advertised (I do lurvs me some internets, sometimes.)

I heard a birdcall over the weekend that I've never heard before. Unfortunately, couldn't spot the caller, so I have no idea what it was, and can't remember the call well enough to describe it or figure out how to look it up. It actually sounded like it might have been a variant of a chickadee, which we have in quantity around here. (I can often tell when our neighborhood hawk is about, by the number of dees in their alarm calls. This occurred more frequently during the tenure of a former neighbor who kept a bird-feeder outside her window. The hawk sussed that smaller birds hung out there, and occasionally I would hear the chickadees fussing and look out to see the hawk lurking in the spruce tree outside my window.)

#31 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 11:26 PM:

At some point I will assemble a bird fountain to attract the little birds and maybe, just maybe, the local owls. I'm not up to a bird feeder right now, but it's great visiting my parents over the winter and seeing the rolls of fat on the squirrels (who actually do get separate food and have for nearly thirty years) as well as calling out juncoes, nuthatches, and jay jay blue jay come see nope it's gone.

We are three houses from the train tracks now. But we're blocks from the trainyard itself, so they're not moving quickly regardless. Mostly we notice when the cars bang into each other all down the row.

#32 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2019, 09:49 AM:

I just had occasion to mention disemvowelling on another forum (PGTE comments) (somebody fumbled their humor roll, ticking off a newcomer), and got some very positive responses. For Teresa's perusal, if desired:

[A.M.]I wish I had more than one like to give this. I just ❤❤❤ this approach. Thanks for letting me know that such cleverness exists.

Shveiran: Disemvoweling sounds fucking awesome and clever as shit. Whoever came up with the idea deserves a treat. Just… priceless.
#33 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2019, 10:24 AM:

@Jaque no. 30: And that's just idle commentary on the presence of a photographer. When they really get going en masse, it's like a car alarm!

#34 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2019, 11:22 AM:

Elagabalus? Isn’t that Dominate-era Latin for “Donald Trump”?

#35 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2019, 06:15 PM:

Re trains, distant and close: My house is a quarter mile or more from the nearest tracks, and some distance uphill. While I can hear trains, they're not loud. In early 1987 I moved myself and 3 fairly young cats to a rented house in South Charleston WV. It was the rear house on the lot; another small rental sat between it and the street. Across the street, another row of houses. Behind their back yards was an embankment with tracks.

The first time a train went through after I brought the cats there, the house was full of screaming running beasts, bouncing off the walls, me, each other, almost the ceiling. There was a MONSTER out there!!! It was going to EAT them!!!!! I got them calmed down - and here came another train.

They got used to the trains. The monsters didn't eat them, and I kept reassuring them. Those first few times were wild.

#36 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2019, 11:22 PM:

@Jacque no. 30: I scrolled down and noticed that there were more recordings. Interestingly, I cannot recall ever hearing the type of call that's labeled "alarm calls" on that page. So apparently the car-alarm routine is not actually alarm behavior, but more like a signal to other black oystercatchers that it's time to all do the same thing (fly, alert to photographer, etc.)--?

#37 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2019, 12:34 AM:

Trainiosity: NYC MTA subway trains do not usually use horns, but I recently found out that they can be encouraged to do so. As the train rolled into the station, a cluster of middle- or high-schoolers looked to the train driver, and made pumping motions with their arms, I guess mimicking the pulling of a horn cord. The driver obliged with a short (and surprisingly loud) blast.

#38 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2019, 08:03 AM:


That is probably unnecessarily insulting to Elagabalus...


#39 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2019, 12:40 AM:

I am sitting next to a living-room full of tween and young teen slumber party guests who chose, out of all options, to watch the original Star Wars. They are happily chanting the words of the opening scroll in unison.

Now they've fallen silent as the rebels prepare for boarding.

#40 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2019, 12:12 PM:

@39, I went to the 25th Anniversary showing of original Star Wars theatrical re-release. The lights went down. The fanfare went off. The scroll started. And a sold-out theater full of people started simultaneously muttering under their breaths, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." ...heard everyone ELSE muttering the same thing, and broke into giggles.

A whole theater of grown-ass adults, giggling like children in delight. It was a genuinely magical moment of shared joy and fellowship.

#41 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2019, 01:00 PM:

Friend was on a flight to Chicago for Worldcon in 1981, along with several other area fans, *and* their travel agent, who was sitting with a different group of customers.

The movie started.
It was "Star Wars".

The flight attendants couldn't figure out how all those people were obviously following the movie, even though they'd refused headphones.

(Cue the snickering fans.)

#42 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2019, 04:34 PM:

Walking out of Star Wars for the first time, I was proud to be a member of a species that could make this thing....

#43 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2019, 07:07 PM:

Late update: As the medal ceremony ended and the credits began to roll, they applauded unironically.

#44 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2019, 08:59 PM:

I'm reminded of a passage in an Edward Eager book that was rather informative, about silent movies. He said they weren't really silent, and he didn't mean the music track--he was referring to the fact that whenever a title came on screen, about a third of the audience read it out loud. I had never considered that before, but it sounds like real life.

#45 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2019, 11:41 PM:

Earlier this year Katie and I went to see the Houston Symphony doing "orchestra plays the soundtrack of a movie" to Star Wars. It was everything I hoped it would be when I bought the tickets.

#46 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2019, 10:16 AM:

John Williams's music not uncommonly turns up in the morning rotation on my local public radio classical station. This is a pleasant thing.

#47 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2019, 11:01 AM:

P J Evans @ 12: The longer ones are mostly at night, when there's much less traffic on both streets and tracks. IIUC, that's typical. When I was working on the edge of Boston and driving into town around 8pm along the line that ultimately reaches Chicago, I often saw a substantial freight coming the other way; I rarely saw freight trains at any other time.

Jacque @ 15: it's an interesting sound, but I've never heard Sacred Harp like that; the video sounds bluesy (I-IV-I) with a heavy bass line, where the Sacred Harp I've done runs to balanced chords in more traditional I-V (or sometimes I-VII, since it's minor-key) patterns.

P J Evans @ 17: I suspect the whistle marker varies, as I understand other markers/signals do (especially block signals, per railway museums), according to the line owning the tracks. I have a vague recollection of a signal that was international-yellow, in a thin strip rising diagonally from the post, but I don't find anything identifying this; Wikipedia shows the US standard as a white square with a black W, but notes that former-SP track uses an X.

When I was a child my family spent considerable time traveling by camper (converted VW microbus); it was a standing joke that the trains sought us out. It didn't occur to pre-teen (and more years pre-Ec101) me that the land near a busy rail line was enough cheaper that camping was a reasonable use for land not good for crops, or close enough to a city that campsites were worth more than cropland, but in any case not desirable for permanent residences.

Cassy B @ 40: oh yes, that is magic.

#48 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2019, 10:28 PM:

I think about 90% of the tracks in CA are former SP. Or so it seems.


Today Olivia de Havilland is 103! (Yes, she's still alive.)

#49 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 01:11 AM:

Soooooo I feel a little dumb tonight and need the collective culinary wisdom of Making Light.

As you may know, Alaska is experiencing consecutive days of record-breaking heat. It was 80 degrees here today. This is the second week of dry heat on this island, we have at least another half-week of this, and we live in a house that is fitted out for winter. Not summer. What I am saying is that it. Holds. Heat.

My culinary repertoire is stuck in pre-climate-change-taking-hold mode, back when we only needed to plan for a few days per year of if-you-turn-that-stove-on-so-help-me-I-may-yeet-you-out-the-window. Back then we could also, generally, light a fire outdoors, but they just issued a blanket burn ban here, so cookouts are not possible.

So. Imagine that you have a few fast food joints, some small ethnic shops (Filipino, Thai, Latino), and a couple of moderately sized mid-range supermarkets. And it is freaking hot. And you can't have more than a tiny amount of saturated fat or sugar (think 1 percent milk or jam on your toast) or you'll get very very sick.

What would you buy in order to feed your family good solid food, save money, and not produce more heat? We're blowing our budget on smoked turkey and deli potato salad here.

#50 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 11:30 AM:

#49 ::: Jenny Islander

What do you usually eat?

My tentative notion is to find things in the stores which are already cooked, and add salads.

#51 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 12:28 PM:

Bean salad?
Something like ravioli, cooked, dressed with a vinaigrette?
Cucumber, diced and coated with non-fat plain yogurt?

I've met summer-squash "noodles" - they're not bad with a tomato sauce.

#52 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 12:53 PM:

I would buy a crock pot or other cooker which can be used outdoors.

From time to time in hot weather, I've left my crock pot running overnight on the back porch, on a table which local critters would have difficulty getting onto. I'm not sure how important that last part is. Most of the smaller ones would have trouble getting into a simmering-hot crock pot even if they could walk up to it. We've had raccoons around, though I haven't seen them in recent years, and I've no doubt that they could figure out how to knock the lid off, and perhaps even to tip the thing over so they could eat the spilled food after it cooled.

#53 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 01:38 PM:

HLN: area woman reports earthquake of some size about four minutes ago. Noticeable rocking for a minute. Rang small indoor windchime.

#54 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 01:46 PM:

Update: USGS has it at 6.6, east of Ridgecrest. Which is a long way from me.

#55 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 02:56 PM:

Jenny @49: I-may-yeet-you-out-the-window

Not much practical advise, but I am enjoying this turn of phrase. (Does the verb have a technical definition, or does it imply imparting a simple, ballistic trajectory? XD )

Do you get enough sun for solar stoves to be practical?

#56 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 03:01 PM:

And another update: Caltech is showing two R6.4s a couple of minutes and a few miles apart. That would explain the length of the shaking. (the first was about 6km deeper than the second.)

Yes, I filed a "did-you-feel-it" report.

#57 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 03:08 PM:

Meanwhile, I am now Officially Frustrated. I've been walking home from work (four-ish days a week) since the end of last August. The distance is about 2.25 miles.

I worked up to it over four months. What's making me crazy at this point: it's not getting easier. And on many days, I just flat run out of gas about a mile and a half in. I'm clearly missing something. (I'm careful about eating times, and attend—mostly successfully—to blood sugar levels.) Also: I'm 61.

AKICIML: Assuming there are no organic issues, what sort of specialist/trainer would you consult for help on this? I have no ambitions to Becoming An Athlete. I just want to walk home (and eventually to) work, and not die (or want to).

(My condition has improved to the extent that I can peddle the 4.5 miles out to the municipal recycling center and back and be only reasonably tired, so that's something.)

#58 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 04:25 PM:

Jacque @57: I'd talk to either a physical therapist or a personal trainer about those issues, and be very clear with them about what I wanted. Some of each really understand about different individuals wanting different results: I'd ask around to find the right one. Do you have local friends who go to a gym regularly (e.g., for Zumba or something similar)? Or connections to a yoga instructor? They're more likely to be one-step-removed from the local person who can help you.

#59 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 10:16 PM:

Michael I #38:

Not in this case.

#60 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 10:24 AM:

Jenny Islander @49, if nonfat greek yogurt fits the bill, then a yogurt+cucumber salad/dressing, heavy on the cucumber, is quite nice. Likes a bit of salt and could be nicer with some dill.

#61 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 10:39 AM:

Jenny Islander @49 Tuna salad was a summer staple of my youth in Houston in a house with a/c only in the bedrooms; Mom put in green grapes but if you have issues with naturally occurring sugar as well as refined, you'll have to skip those. Maybe substitute cherry tomatoes. Plus use light or nonfat mayo.

Tacos (soft corn tortillas rather than hard shells for lower fat) with chicken and/or bean filling. Do you have a microwave? You can cook the chicken early in the day when it's not so hot and refrigerate it until time to use.

Lentil salad. As with chicken, cook them early in the day and then refrigerate.

Good luck with it.

#62 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 11:25 AM:

@OtterB no. 61: The problem I'm having is that there is no early in the day. :/ The sun gets up before we do, because its July at 58 degrees N.

The heat wave has passed, hopefully for the year, so now I'm prepping for next year. Eating anything warm has been horrible. However, our old bread machine doesn't heat up the air too much, esp. if we're staying out of the kitchen and/or running the exhaust fan. Homemade bread (cooled!) is a morale raiser.

If I'm going to be up late anyway because it's so freaking hot in here, I might as well do hard-cooked eggs under the exhaust fan; it only requires a few minutes of heat, and we can eat them cold.

@estelendur no. 60, PJ Evans no. 51: Thank you, I had forgotten about yogurt-based foods!

@Joel Polowin no. 52: Unfortunately, we have loose dogs in the neighborhood. Bears are probably not a concern, with the salmon running, but.

#63 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 11:33 AM:

OtterB (61): By tuna salad do you mean a salad with tuna, rather than the sandwich spread? The former was one of our summer staples when I was a kid. (Atlanta, unairconditioned house, very hot and humid, for about four months.)

canned tuna
dressing: oil from the can, mayo, mustard, pickle juice

As an adult, I used to add more veggies: green pepper, grated carrots, radishes, and/or tomato

#64 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 11:35 AM:

Jenny Islander (62): If you have a toaster oven, you can bake biscuits* in that; it doesn't heat up the house nearly as much as the big oven. Other smallish things should work fine, too. You do have to allow a bit longer, though.

*My mother always made biscuits to accompany the tuna salad.

#65 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 12:26 PM:

That reminds me that one of the dishes that showed up at potluck lunches at work was wraps done with leaf lettuce. Tuna would work fine in those. (They disappeared fairly quickly.)

#66 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 02:12 PM:

Jenny: Do you spend time outside? Do you have a porch-like place? I wonder if running a bignormous (because current) extension cord out there would allow you to put things like bread machines, toasters, toaster ovens & such out there to be run while there's a suitable human guard nearby?

#67 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 02:51 PM:

@62:...salmon are running already? I thought that was a fall thing. (Only time I've ever witnessed this personally was in Puget Sound back in November '01.)

HLN: Area woman has finally purchased and largely configured a new MacBook Pro. Despite observers reporting frequent, repeated, spittle-flecked rages, she has been quoted as regarding this machine as a vast improvement over the used iMac (chosen because no used laptops were available at the time of purchase) she had purchased the year before as a means of migrating by stages to the latest OS. (Woman is a noted Luddite.) Many of her configurations compensate for unwanted "improvements" over her loyal-and-true old MacBook of ten years, primarily the absence of desired port types. (Woman is morally opposed to wifi in her home, "because reasons.") Woman has often been heard to express solidarity with Doctor McCoy regarding engineers: "They love to change things."

#68 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 03:00 PM:

Mary Aileen @63 The tuna salad we had was water--packed canned tuna (drained), mayo, pickle relish, chopped celery. It could be served on sandwiches (though it was pretty thick) or have grapes added to it and be served on lettuce as a salad. We had crescent rolls with it (the refrigerator can type) when using the oven was tolerable. We didn't usually have biscuits with it; biscuits go with ham.

Jenny Islander @62 forgot about the latitude difference for doing something "early." Maybe next year you can pre-prep and freeze some things?

#69 ::: Heather ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 03:21 PM:

Jenny Islander (49, 62):

If you have good access to fresh veggies, then gazpacho can be wonderful in hot weather. It's really refreshing; I usually have it with bread and cheese.

My go-to version is the one from the original Moosewood cookbook. There are a few reasons I love it:
1. It requires NO cooking whatsoever (no extra heat!)
2. You don't really even need a food processor (MUCH faster with one, but I made it for years without)
3. It is SUPER flexible as far as quantities and precise ingredients (I read "2 cups diced tomato" as "whatever amount of tomatoes I actually bought"; add hot peppers if you like; parsley can be cilantro if you prefer (or 1/4c parsley can be 1 bunch parsley because I will never use the rest before it goes bad); put in more or less of other seasonings to taste; swap in V-8 instead of tomato juice; blend part or all of it if you like a finer texture; etc etc
4. You CAN eat it immediately, but if you can wait a few hours it's a lot better. I like it best if I can fix it after dinner the night before :)
5. This also keeps really well in the fridge. Perhaps with all the tomatoes/lemon/lime/vinegar/etc it just kind of self-pickles?

I found it online here:; but searching Moosewood cookbook gazpacho should find it.

(delurking after reading for years because that recipe is the thing that got me through a decade of summers living in a 3rd-floor apartment...)

#70 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 03:48 PM:
Jenny Islander @49, if nonfat greek yogurt fits the bill, then a yogurt+cucumber salad/dressing, heavy on the cucumber, is quite nice. Likes a bit of salt and could be nicer with some dill.

I don't think the dill is optional. Or at least, that's what I recall giving the yogurt-cucumber soup its zing. It looks a lot like someone took some a bunch of tzatziki sauce, thinned it a bit, and served it in a bowl. But it's good!

Huh. WikiP actually says that tzatziki can be a sauce, dip, or soup. So there you go.

#71 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 03:58 PM:

I see that there's a cold soups section in that recipes site, although some of the recipes do call for some cooking, and/or ingredients that call for probably too much saturated fat and/or sugar.

#72 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 11:36 PM:

Whee! Yesterday morning was apparently a foreshock - just had a 6.9 in the same area, about 15 minutes ago. ("Did You Feel It" is not ready for reports yet. It's going to get swamped.)

#73 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 11:39 PM:

With several faults involved, I wonder whether it should still be called a "foreshock". Is that term applied regionally, or on a fault-by-fault basis? (Yes, I could look it up, but where's the conversation in that?)

#74 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 11:44 PM:

Jenny @ 49
I'm kinda guessing, so I'm just gonna jump in with what I do in Cali (summers between 87 and 118 F), and hope some of it is at least a little helpful.

Bag salads, because heat is exhausting, so pick things that will be easy/not a lot of work to fall back on. From scratch salads - add lots of cheese, garbanzo or other edible-from-the-can beans, nuts, edamame, other sources of protein. (I add canned fruit and declare the syrup to be dressing, but if limiting sugar, then maybe avoid. I'm confused by the "or you'll get sick," so I'm going to trust you to make good choices based on your own experience/situation.)

Outdoor bbq ALL THE THINGS. The internet can help. Tinfoil wrapped whatever usually works, if you have time and an appropriate liquid. Put it on low-and-slow, then walk away and do something cooling. Like drinking water.

Remember to salt your food, if you're making everything from-scratch. But don't salt to taste - if it's that hot, you risk dehydration-salting it, and it will be ruuuuuuined. (But the first few bites will still taste amazing to you.)

Salsa is good-for-you ketchup. With home-made salsa, you can use any fruit as the base, not just tomatoes.

On "picnic nights," we put out bread/crackers, raw/dried fruits/veggies, cottage cheese w/ranch seasoning (for the veg), cheese, nuts, trail mix/granola bars, peanut-butter, yogurt... whatever snacky, vaguely healthful things are ready to hand. Nosh iteratively, instead of sitting down to a fixed supper. We all carry water glasses around with us, so every time we refill our water, we can grab a few bites.

Microwave, toaster, and toaster oven will all cook food without adding much heat to the house.

Ice-pops have extra water (and flavor). But also jello and smoothies. If kefir &/or lassi are available, they're nice too. You can stir all the fresh/dried fruits into yogurt or add cereal (I do raisin bran, it's noms) or granola/nuts.

Instant oatmeal or ramen or other foods you can make with boiling water from a teakettle/insta-tap/electric water heater. And you can mix just about anything into oatmeal that you can add to yogurt (maybe not raisin bran).

Also, isn't refrigerator oatmeal no-cook? Cold soups will get you flavor and water at the same time (e.g. gazpacho). You can also get flavored drops, if you're tired of water, or make Kool-Aid at 1/4 the suggested sugar ratio, which comes out nicely tart.

And eggs, because most egg-things can be cooked on stovetop, quickly. Frittatas can be cooked on the stove and walked away from - add misc chopped veggies, put the lid on, set the heat to the lowest safe setting, and step away for 10 or 15 minutes (well, hover where you can see it, for safety). Add cheese, sour cream, guac, salsa.

I'm guessing you know to stay indoors and in shade as much as you can, but if you go outside and it's cooler than your house, throw the windows and doors open until that changes.

And drink more water. I keep a flat of bottled water in the back of my car, and every time I walk near my car, I grab a fresh bottle of water and start drinking it immediately.

Good luck!

#75 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2019, 01:24 AM:

@Jacque no. 67: We have all five Pacific species here, and they run from late June/early July to early October, depending on species and location.

You could theoretically eat salmon or salmon-adjacent fish every day without going past the sidewalk because we have so many stocked ponds and creeks in town. The daily limit for personal use is 10 rainbow trout and two coho salmon--no annual limit, no closed season.

#76 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2019, 11:26 AM:

Tom Whitmore @73: Is that term applied regionally, or on a fault-by-fault basis?

This geophysicist has used the term, so I'm assuming it's technical, not colloquial. (Marvelous thread, btw.)

(Yes, I could look it up, but where's the conversation in that?)

XD "I like the way you think, son."

Jenny Islander @75: AhI Interesting. Presumably they run at different times as an isolation strategy.

And...that's a lot of fish. Whee!

#77 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2019, 11:29 AM:

Me @76: *Ah! Interesting.... (I did proof it, I promise.)

#78 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2019, 12:41 PM:

I don't have anything specific to recommend, but I am a great fan of using a lot less salt, sugar, or mayonnaise than the printed recipe calls for, and adding other spices. Of course that doesn't help anyone who has to avoid them completely.

#79 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2019, 02:50 PM:

Although most descriptions of how to make cous-cous start with "boiling water", that's only really necessary if you're in a hurry.

Cous-cous will sop up water and get nicely fluffy with cold water, as long as you let it take its time (ISTR that it'll be "good enough" for a very hungry person after ~15m, but it's better left for an hour-or-so).

After that, it's a fine base for a variety of salad-or-meat/fish type things, with a broad variety of dressings.

I'm rather fond of cous-cous with greens-and-red meat, and cous-cous with some sort of sharpish green (green onions, dandelion, onion greens), fish (canned or fresh), balsamic, salt, pepper and (good) olive oil. They're both a meal unto themselves, and in the case of fish, something easy to convert into a packable camping meal sans refrigeration.

For that matter, cous-cous + dried fruit + nuts works out nicely as breakfast food.

#80 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2019, 03:51 PM:

Jacque #57: Checking the obvious: Those days when you run out of steam, are they the hotter days, or days/day-afters when you've been doin' stuff outdoors or exerting yourself? Also, if you haven't lately, you maybe should check for organic issues, e.g. GP or orthopedist looking at your feet/legs. It's really easy to compensate for a chronic problem to the point where you forget that you're compensating... but it still soaks energy.

Hot-weather cooking: I agree that eggs and pasta can be "not too much" boiling of water.

I just brought one batch of a dish to a potluck and kept the other batch: I started with boxed pasta-salad mix (Betty Crocker's Suddenly salad), but that was just to get some initial seasonings in, others may take the half-cup of mayonnaise and shell pasta and wield their own spices.

In any case, I also tossed in a pint or so (per batch) of chopped veggies, and a couple slices of bacon off the Foreman grill. My veggie list this round was carrots, celery, red onion, varicolored mini bell peppers, and grape tomatoes. (Long-time readers may recognize this as the same thing I do with boxed mac&cheese, adjusting the veggie list to account for not frying.)

Hot-weather drinks:

I often drink water with a shot of balsamic vinegar (aka Goth-ade, because it stays pretty much black at 8- or 10-to-1 :-) ); lately I've been changing that up with raw apple-cider vinegar.

I haven't been making my "potion" lately, but I should go get the juice for it: Fill a pitcher with a half-gallon jug of V-8, a can of beef-broth concentrate, and a few squirts of sriracha. I will admit that's laying on the salt (and some may want to add water), but that may be appropriate for this weather. (From my mom's side of the family I got low blood pressure and salt cravings even in normal weather.)

#81 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2019, 04:13 PM:

Canned white beans, drained and rinsed; canned tuna, drained; pitted black olives, preferably tangy ones; chopped veg ad lib: red onion, little green onions, celery, cucumber, tomatoes, artichoke hearts; hard boiled eggs, if you don’t mind cooking them. Dress with oil and vinegar, vinaigrette, or Italian dressing. Can be served on or tossed with lettuce. Niçoise-adjacent.

#82 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2019, 05:34 PM:

Dave Harmon @80: Those days when you run out of steam, are they the hotter days, or days/day-afters when you've been doin' stuff outdoors or exerting yourself?

The only clear correlation I've spotted is the days I go to the library (1.n miles round trip to/from work, turns out). I think the physical structure is okay...? I'm generally pretty in tune with my musculoskeletal system, and I do occasionally notice issues which I can usually deal with successfully...? And the context is that I'm walking home from work (bog-standard office job*), so extra exertion/being outdoors isn't going to be a factor.

* Although...the periods of my life when I've done a lot of walking have not traditionally corresponded with periods when I've had a job, so maybe that's a thing...?

...also, the day-afters isn't a thing I'd thought to calculate for.... Hm....


I just ran across a reference to water-with-apple-cider-vinegar-and-honey as a sleep aid. No explanation why it would work, but the recommender swears by it.

#83 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2019, 05:58 PM:

Jacque @67: Area man, who has worked on Macs since 1990 and has had Mac laptops at home since 2005, finally swore off Power Macs after the one he'd been nursing along since 2011 perished of problems it had had since 2016 (when the motherboard was replaced and we thought that fixed it).

The first replacement was a refurb (smaller, but more expensive) that resisted all efforts to restore files from Time Machine, and which took to ruining every external drive that was connected to it. When this was finally conclusively demonstrated to the Genius Bar, they graciously allowed me to exchange it for a new non-refurb version... and then charged for the difference, effectively upselling me to a new one by making the refurb a piece of crap.

When that brand-new one began to announce a return to kernel panics and unannounced shutdowns, I hastily returned it for a full refund, and now have a 17" Dell Inspiron with a much larger SSD and more memory and ports, and it also folds back into a tablet that I can use as sheet music on a piano (two pages!).

Area man is beginning to get over the mounting horror that was his computer and no longer twitches all the time.

#84 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2019, 01:38 AM:

Jacque @ 82

I'm giggling. That's the recipe my family uses to clear mucus from throats when someone has to speak/interview/sing and is in no condition that they actually should do so. Needless to say, I haven't used it since the one time I had a job interview and was in the middle of an awful cold....

If the person has a problem with mucus buildup, it may help by un-obstructing their breathing passages and reducing sleep interruptions related to difficulty breathing while lying down. But from experience, you can get the same effect from adding a slice of lemon to your water each day, and neither one is a really effective substitute for a CPAP. IANAD, this just potentially hews very tightly to my own experiences.

#85 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2019, 08:05 AM:


I think "Ahi Interesting" works fine in a discussion about fish.


#86 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2019, 02:01 PM:

Since I know that some people on here are or have been into Minecraft, I'd like to post a neat seed I discovered recently.

Specifications: I am playing Java Edition 1.14.3 with no mods. Cheats and bonus chest are always ON. I find fighting monsters to be stressful, not relaxing, so I usually play on the Peaceful setting.

Asyouknowbob, Java Edition now allows you to create a world that is made of a single biome--any biome! Some are more dramatic than others. The warm ocean biome is just plain beautiful to explore in Creative, but seems like a bad choice for Survival because, y'know, no land.

But that isn't always the case. If you would like to pretend to be Robinson Crusoe in a beautiful setting, I have a seed for you.

When creating the world, make sure that the bonus chest is ON, because you'll need it. Chose the Buffet option and select Warm Ocean from the menu. Enter this seed:


You spawn on a tiny sand island. Your chest should be on the sand with torches around it. If it is in midair instead, re-create the world; one or two more tries should get you the torches.

This world is polka-dotted with shipwrecks and tiny islands. There's a shipwreck within sight of your spawn point. If you make a boat and circle your island, keeping it always just in sight, you'll find an island-and-shipwreck pair to the west-ish, and another to the east-ish. Within your circle you'll also find sandbars just a block underwater, underwater ruins, submerged shipwrecks, and small outcrops of coal, iron, stone, and (most precious of all) dirt. The shipwrecks contain at least one blank map every time I create this world, so you should be able to go farther out without getting lost. You'll find sand islands up to about six blocks tall, some with stony foundations visible just below the waterline. Most are barren, but some have stands of sugarcane.

I strongly recommend playing on the Peaceful setting for a while even if you like fighting mobs. Everything sticking out of the water will spawn hostile mobs and in the beginning you'll be fighting in your shirtsleeves with wooden weapons. Plus, you really, really don't need creepers putting you in the water. Anyway, getting at the resources you need when you can only go underwater for 15 seconds at a time is quite challenging! On the Peaceful setting, you can pretend that you're living on fish (because your hunger bar doesn't go down) while you look for ways to make your life easier. By combining resources you mine on your dives with loot from shipwrecks and underwater ruins (and possibly from buried treasure chests if the wiki is correct), you can slowly turn a barren sandy island into a haven, with stands of bamboo to eke out your wood supply, sugarcane for paper so you can record your adventures, and food crops for variety if you go off the Peaceful setting. Fishing rods are remarkably easy to find and even the junk you get from fishing may be useful.

If/when you go off the Peaceful setting, be aware that while drowned won't spawn in warm ocean, they will spawn around underwater ruins, sometimes in large numbers. Also, you have no way to make a bed...keep in mind that phantoms are a thing, and can swim.

A few notes about the islands: Steep-sided islands are usually next to underwater ravines, which may have a lot of unstable sand along their edges. I heard bats and zombies when I was exploring one ravine, opening the possibility of underground adventures and loot, although figuring out how to get into a dry cave without the physics of water in Minecraft messing you up will be a challenge. On the other hand, low islands tend to have caves running through them. I found one once that had a cave mouth (with a stable roof) right on the surface that led down into darkness. Unfortunately I left that island without exploring the cave and couldn't find it again later. Any island may have unstable sandy overhangs on the shore, so if you want to expand an island by moving sand around, swim around it first and check for potential nasty surprises.

I haven't played this world long enough for a wandering trader to show up, so I don't know whether that's possible. If one does, be aware that no flowers or greenery in the wandering trader's inventory, except vines and saplings, can be farmed in this biome. A sapling would be a wonderful acquisition of course.

For the really long term, I note that ordinary zombies spawn on land. The wiki doesn't show any exceptions to the chances that a zombie villager will spawn instead. If you can get the materials together for a trip to the Nether--this may be difficult because of the need for obsidian, since it appears that the only place to find lava is somewhere underground--then you can get some blaze rods, construct a brewing stand, and make a potion of weakness. Combine this with the golden apples you'll occasionally find in underwater chests and you can cure villager zombies. So, if you go off the Peaceful setting, you might be able to get your own Friday. Making a safe place for Friday to live and giving them a job that allowed for profitable trades would be an interesting challenge. If you keep at it you might encounter and cure two villager zombies, which if you play your cards right, might eventually lead to construction of beds (if your villagers become weavers and you can trade with them for wool) and the creation of a growing village, made from sandstone and terra cotta recycled from underwater ruins. And then you can settle down at night to watch the sea pickles light up the underwater jungle of colored coral while villagers toddle off to bed and the stars wheel overhead.

#87 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2019, 02:34 PM:

Oh, wait, explanation of something that may be opaque to casual readers...

In Minecraft, you can sleep at night, which fast forwards the game to the next morning. There is no damage to your health from not sleeping. BUT--if you don't sleep for a certain number of consecutive nights, a kind of flying undead manta ray called a phantom will swoop down from the sky and try to get you.

In order to sleep, you must have a bed, which must be made from specific components, including wool. In this all-ocean-biome world, none of the structures you find have beds or wool as part of their loot, and there are no sheep. So you can't sleep...unless...

you can find lava in order to make obsidian with it

in order to make a portal to the Nether

in order to fight monsters called blazes

in order to get blaze rods from their corpses

in order to construct and fuel a potion brewing stand

in order to create a cure for villager zombies, which are a rare variant of regular zombies

in order to wait outdoors at night for a villager zombie to appear

in order to cure it and give it the right job

in order to trade with it for wool

in order to make a bed, which is also required in order for two villagers to have babies. Whew!

#88 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2019, 05:10 PM:

Jacque @ 82 - Have you ruled out dehydration? What happens if you take a full bottle of water with you and sip regularly while you're walking?

#89 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2019, 05:37 PM:

(Sorry, y'all: "Blog post" (read: Wall-O-Text) follows. It's been...a day. Week. Month.)

Even with incomplete compensations, the MacBook is VASTLY more comfortable than the iMac to use, so that's good news.

New issue, seemingly solved (well, significantly reduced4: I started feeling electrical buzzing when I ran my fingers over the case. Replaced the two-prong plug widget (which has no grounding connector) that slots into the power cord's transformer, with a three-prong cord (which apparently does have a ground connector) from an old machine, and that seems to have solved the problem. (That deficiency, plus the passing of the magsafe plug, is another factor leaving me Seriously Unimpressed with the new design.)

Now working on a flexible design for a lap desk that:

a) supports the dock that compensates for the loss of the ethernet port, and keeps it off my knees when I'm typing in my lap (because it gets hot),

b) has a space for the DVD Player1 2, which is also missing on the MBP, and

c) smooths out the sharp edge of of the case where my wrists rest on it, which is proving to be really quite uncomfortable. (Seriously, did they just not test this design out on actual users??)

Last night's other meltdown resulted when I discovered that the Pixelmator I purchased a couple of days ago won't open files I created on my old mac. I've tried to contact Pixelmator Pro (email, Twitter) a couple of times, and posted a question on their BBS, but so far, crickets.3 Which has me stopped cold on a couple of fronts.

1 Which I discovered last night no longer has color controls. SERIOUSLY, wtf, Apple??? (That was good for a full hour's meltdown last night while I was watching Crimson Peak and wanting to compensate for Del Torro's "design.")

2 Which, since the thing insists on being plugged directly into a port with no intervening extension cords (or even through the dock), I managed to absent-mindedly pull off the table twice when I unthinkingly put the mac in my lap to type something. Which didn't surprise me—I knew that was going to happen. Which just made it all the more enraging.

3 Holiday weekend? Let's pray that's the hold-up.

Kip Williams @83: upselling me to a new one by making the refurb a piece of crap.

This is...not the first instance of this I've encountered.

I note with interest (for pretty unhappy values of "interest") that the failure you report happened right at the five-year mark, which appears to correspond to the planned (by the mfr) service-life (i.e., the "planned obsolescence"). Which confirms my growing sense that I'd better be braced to manage similar in 2024. (I also note that 2011 was probably the one of the first years of Apple w/o Jobs.) SIGH.

...This-all does not, sadly, come unanticipated. Having watched two institutions go to shit when their founding visionaries died (first Disney, and then NCAR), I figured it was just a matter of time after Jobs passed that Apple would follow. My 2009 MacBook was, I'm guessing, one of the last generation to be designed and built under his oversight. :'(

And this whole class of problems is why I resisted, for years, becoming dependent on even an electric typewriter. If you can't build it/repair it/understanding it yourself, you're dependent on forces that are at best indifferent, and at worst acting against your best interests. (Cf. Right To Repair & John Deer.) (No news to this crowd, I'm sure.)

I bought into Mac and Computing because—the stuff you can do is just so goddamn easy and amazing (when it works). (Seduced by the Convenient Side of the Force.)

Now—well. The brand new shiny multi-thousand dollar toy did not sail on a low, flat ballistic trajectory through the closed living room window last night. But that took some...willpower.

I find myself fantasizing about just chucking the whole stupid mess, and being one of those olds I talk to on the phone occasionally, who just doesn't even have a computer.

I also fantasize (marginally less implausibly) of a day when I can pick the pieces-parts bobs & bobbles I want, a la cart, and put together a computer that serves my needs, and changes at my pace. Which doesn't require a CS degree to implement. (Leaving aside the whole security nightmare.) We're doubtless at least a couple of generations away from that, though.

I really, seriously, am not in love with the world I find myself living in, these days. (Though I do note that the US Women's Team appears to have won the World Cup. I don't do sportsball in any form, but I do think that's pretty great. So maybe it's all not a complete loss.)

#90 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2019, 05:51 PM:

Michael I @85

KayTei @88: Have you ruled out dehydration?

I...had not. I mean, I'm aware I get thirsty, and I'm aware that I have to be careful about water/fluid consumption in the last hour of work, due to bladder capacity limitations. But I hadn't actually connected that with getting exhausted halfway through my walk. Thank you; I'll have to give that a try.

#91 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2019, 09:23 PM:

Jacque @90 ...
KayTei @88: Have you ruled out dehydration?

I...had not. I mean, I'm aware I get thirsty, and I'm aware that I have to be careful about water/fluid consumption in the last hour of work, due to bladder capacity limitations. But I hadn't actually connected that with getting exhausted halfway through my walk. Thank you; I'll have to give that a try.

Speaking of dehydration, make sure you're getting the salt/potassium that you need to make the best use of water, (or drink something that's got the appropriate extras).

#92 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2019, 09:51 AM:

Jenny Islander @62: I can recommend the Dash egg cooker, which can hard-boil half a dozen with little external heat and low counter footprint. It also does excellent steamed (more-or-less poached) eggs, but that requires something to grease the pan. The one drawback is that the buzzer is LOUD and must be shut off manually.

OtterB @68: I read "the refrigerator can type" as a refrigerator capable of typing, and was briefly very impressed with its skill!

#93 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2019, 11:02 AM:

Jacque @ 67: I'm surprised at your Puget Sound observation; I visited the fish ladder at the Ballard Locks (NW of downtown Seattle) in 11/85, 3/88, and 7/91 and saw salmon coming upstream only on the last of those dates. (There was also the occasional lamprey, accounting for signs telling us not to disturb the natural order of nature.)

Jacque @ 82: I just ran across a reference to water-with-apple-cider-vinegar-and-honey as a sleep aid. No explanation why it would work, but the recommender swears by it. That's interesting; I heard of that mix 40+ years ago as "hayman's switchell", recommended as a thirst quencher during hot days/work. (My guess is honey for taste+energy and vinegar so it doesn't cloy if you drink a lot of it.) I would have thought it would be opposite of a sleep aid as most consumers would need to get up a few hours later, but anything that eases the mind may help with tossing-and-turning.

Jenny Islander @ 87: a bed is needed to make babies? How very ... conventional....

#94 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2019, 11:54 AM:

@CHip no. 93: The software used to count doors to determine whether there was room in a village for more babies, but now it counts beds.

#95 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2019, 01:26 PM:

I've been reading various proclamations by people who claim to speak for me about protecting Our Culture As We Know It from Them, Those People, Those Immigrants, Dogwhistle Goes Wheeeeet. And I got to thinking: What is "mainstream" American culture anyway?

Going off the comments of USian and non-USian observers (and one interesting book whose title I unfortunately forgot), I have gathered this much:

Nobody leaves hungry/leftovers are expected; that is, you are served big portions, you aren't expected to eat the whole thing, and you are expected, and even welcomed, to take the leftovers with you to enjoy at another meal

Making or cultivating something with your own hands is a proper use of your disposable income because it signifies a connection with our pioneer past (although this appears to be changing because more people have to learn the old skills to get by...and of course the rich are not part of this culture at all)

People have Opinions about whether outdoor shoes are to be taken off at the door or not, so you'd better ask if you don't already know--but even if they're supposed to come off, you won't be offered slippers

It is extremely rude to ask anybody how much money they make, ever (which I don't agree with because this information may help you decide whether you should unionize). Other forbidden topics include your relationship status and weight.

Sports are extremely important in public (=free, government funded) school, to an extent that is not mirrored elsewhere--?

You should be interested in physical fitness, which means being young-looking and thin/muscular (people who are beefy or pudgy and also athletic apparently don't exist)

Having a companion animal is a sign of competent adulthood and people who don't or can't have them want them or think they should; people who don't like pets are looked at askance; people make assumptions about you based on what pet you have; it is somehow weird to like both dogs and cats

Anybody have a disagreement or addition?

#96 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2019, 01:41 PM:

Jenny Islander @96: As a general cultural rule of thumb: "I am more important than you are."

#97 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 12:21 AM:

Thought of a few more:

Thirst is so unusual that people may not even know what it feels like (water fountains and bottled water are indeed everywhere, and always having something to drink on hand is considered to be normal)

Advertising is heavily sexualized, mainly using women's bodies as a vehicle and men's wallets as the target; but women's breasts may not be exposed for any reason other than sales unless local law specifically protects them (breastfeeding in public is seen as dirty/sexual, topless beaches are extremely unusual, deviation from this is granola/weird)

Unisex bathrooms (=rooms for using the toilet, not for bathing) are very rare

Public bathrooms generally have stall doors that do not reach the floor or ceiling

At home, it's normal to have the toilet in the same room as the bathtub/shower

A tub big enough for an average-size adult to lie down in is a luxury; if your bathtub came with your house it's probably sized for children (this may vary by geographic region)

Are high school reunions a thing in other countries?

#98 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 12:24 AM:

*Unisex public bathrooms.

Also, I'm describing the middle/lower middle class.

#99 ::: Sunflower ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 06:01 AM:

Jacque @76: 'This geophysicist has used the term, so I'm assuming it's technical, not colloquial. (Marvelous thread, btw.)'

That was fascinating! (And I may never again be able to think of a certain geophysical feature as anything other than 'the San Andreas Puppypile' :-).)

Jacque @89: 'If you can't build it/repair it/understanding it yourself, you're dependent on forces that are at best indifferent, and at worst acting against your best interests. (Cf. Right To Repair & John Deer.) (No news to this crowd, I'm sure.)'

The Right To Repair movement was (mostly: I might have vaguely heard of it) news to me, but your mention of it led me to look into it; I've now signed the petition for Canadian RtR legislation, and located a somewhat-local Repair Cafe. Thank you!

Jenny Islander @97: 'Are high school reunions a thing in other countries?'

We have them in Canada.

#100 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 09:42 AM:

Sunflower @99: Oh, hey, speaking of national culture - my mom and I visited Montreal (we're American) a few weeks ago, and the hotel we were staying at was hosting multiple, formal high-school graduation parties. Is that a thing?

They seemed pretty high-end, to judge from the dresses and the hotel itself. The U.S. does proms, but not (as far as I know) school-sponsored graduation parties.

Of course, it may be a Montreal thing, and I don't know where you are in Canada. :)

#101 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 10:06 AM:

Thought on toilet / bathing in the same room:

It makes plumbing a bit easier. Both require water in, and fairly high capacity water out.

Also, both can share the same tile / linoleum floor and thus save a little money there.

Ditto ventilation.

#102 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 11:11 AM:

Quill (100): My US high school class had a school-sponsored graduation party. I don't know that I would call it formal, but we were all pretty dressed up. (Think suits and Sunday dresses, not tuxes and long gowns.)

I don't know if it's still done, or how widespread it is/was, but it was definitely a thing in Atlanta in the early 1980s.

#103 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 01:17 PM:

Jenny Islander @97, re: women's breasts may not be exposed for any reason other than sales unless local law specifically protects them (breastfeeding in public is seen as dirty/sexual, topless beaches are extremely unusual, deviation from this is granola/weird)

In Canada, it's legal for women to go topless unless local rules (e.g. a specific swimming pool) say otherwise. Some public pools have created some controversy by restricting topless bathing, since that's in contravention of the law. It's still quite rare except at some events where it's done to make a point, e.g. Pride stuff or "Take Back the Night" marches, and generally gets some push-back/rudeness from onlookers. But I believe the national Supreme Court ruled that it was in violation of our constitutional right of freedom from bias on the basis of sex to require women, but not men, to cover up. I know for sure that that was the ruling of the Ontario Supreme Court.

One... person, let us say, local to me but highly active in fandom and in on-line MRA stuff, was yapping about the Evilz of legal activism re: legalization of same-sex marriage. I pointed out that he hadn't been objecting when the courts ruled that women going topless in public was legal.

Just a couple of days ago, Inge and I watched Tig Notaro's "Boyish Girl Interrupted" stand-up special. Lots of fun. The last third or so of it is done without upper-body clothing, showing that she had had radical bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction... i.e., no boobs. It was a bit weird. I've been wondering, since, how it would go legally: is it "women must not go topless" or "women must not show their breasts"?

#104 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 02:46 PM:

Jenny Islander #97: I'm not sure that most of the the things you're describing really do represent "culture" in the sense of a consensus norm. They're more side-effects of various prior negotiations between varied and conflicting cultures.

A lot of what America is becomes much more understandable when you remember that we were founded as a coalition between religious fanatics and dope-smoking Freemasons, with the pacifist Quakers as an uneasy hinge between them.

#105 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 03:07 PM:

...and then you have extremely localized bullshit like this: American Airlines forces black doctor to wear blanket to cover up her "inappropriate" dress. (Spoiler: nothing particularly radical or shocking about the woman's dress.)

#106 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 03:10 PM:

Joel Polowin @103 re toplessness: it varies by venue (city, state, county, etc). In the city and county of San Francisco, for example, the nipple and areola are specified as having to be covered: therefore, women who have had said parts removed may legally bare their breasts. In Washington, massage therapists have to drape the breasts of both men and women unless they get a signed consent form from the client for each massage in which the breasts are bared -- the inverse of the Canadian approach. This is not legislation, but the decision of the state massage board. It has the force of law, however.

I know about San Francisco from many years of working the Pride Parade, and about Washington because it's relevant to me.

#107 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 05:06 PM:

They're run out of Texas, I think - they have a major hub at Dallas. (Not well designed, either: the gate numbers run consecutively across two terminal buildings, and the main route from gate level to tram level is by stairs. They may have elevators, but they're hidden from easy use by people who need them. Or so it was in the 90s - they *may* have fixed that since then.)

#108 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 06:18 PM:

Oregon enshrines nudity (for purposes other than lewdness) as free speech. Doesn't seem to have had much effect on the prevalence of toplessness.

Dave Harmon @104

I think a lot of that is what culture is, though. It doesn't matter if something came to be because of architectural compromises or long-ago religious weirdness or what. Over time, some of those side effects become consensus norms and some don't, and that's where we get "culture."

#109 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 09:29 PM:

Jenny Islander #97: A few years ago I started noticing more of what used to be single-sex single-occupant restrooms in smaller restaurants (mostly, but not all, fast food) getting new signage designating them unisex around here (urban/suburban Los Angeles areas). Since these are the kind of room where you go in and lock the door behind you, it seems like a no-brainer to improve the situation where 2 people of the same sex both need to use the restroom.

#110 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 10:09 PM:

The Del Taco down the street did that - their restrooms are accessible only from the outside - *and* they took out one of the two when they did it.

#111 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2019, 06:50 AM:

I used to think the quintessential American statement was "I just felt I had to do something."

Note that there's no implication of thought before action, though thought isn't forbidden.

Evidence that this is American: I don't know of any other culture where it's fairly normal for people to deal with grief by trying to make sure the cause of grief doesn't happen again.

I haven't been seeing the statement in the past moderate number of years, and I think it's because the self-justification of "I just felt" is no longer seen as needed.

#112 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2019, 11:15 AM:


#113 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2019, 11:24 AM:

OK, posting issue appears to have been resolved.

Here is a totally spoiler free yet absolutely spoileriffic report on Midsommar. Note: For Reasons, I have to check the endings of many books and movies ahead of time; I can enjoy a foregone conclusion if it's presented well. This is a summary of some summaries.

There is a horror plot that goes like this:

*Protagonist is going through a bad time in life

*Protagonist attempts to change their life for the better or just get away from it all

*Instead, protagonist ends up within reach of a character or characters whose big plans involve violence, murder, dehumanization of others, and lots and lots of vivid cruelty

*Protagonist attempts to fight back, summon help, or escape

*It doesn't work

*Protagonist snaps and becomes a willing participant or victim

*Roll credits.

Midsommar is apparently a very well executed and remarkably violent iteration of this plot. You'll probably like it if you like that kind of thing. (I don't.)

#114 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2019, 06:27 PM:

Americans tend to believe in punishment-- as far as I can tell, they see punishment as morally required whether it accomplishes anything or not.

They also tend to believe that if you're a suspect, you;re guilty, and if you're guilty, you deserve whatever punishment people want to impose on you.

#115 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2019, 09:49 PM:

if you're a suspect, you're guilty

There are bad people and good people — you can tell just by looking at them — it's almost like black and white. Bad people do bad things. If a bad person is suspect, they're guilty. If they're not suspect, they just haven't been caught yet. Good people don't do bad things. If a good person is suspect, it is a misunderstanding and it will be cleared up.

#116 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2019, 10:17 PM:

More on American culture:

It is considered highly unusual, even in "volatile" neighborhoods, for riots to break out because somebody won or lost a sports match.

Cooking outdoors is seen as adding value and enjoyment to life even when/where temperatures make it perfectly comfortable to cook indoors.

American food tends to be sweet except for chocolates and desserts, which tend to be less sweet than the analogous or ancestral dishes in other countries (but there are exceptions). When a foreign dish is adopted into American cuisine, it tends to become sweeter and less hot-spicy, and if it didn't have a sauce before it will have one now. On the other hand, American cuisine features some very strong non-spicy tastes, such as vinegary tomato-based sauces and well-aged cheese.

Beating the heat means slathering on sunscreen and removing as many clothes as local mores will permit (as opposed to staying out of the sun and wearing light-colored voluminous cotton and an airy wide-brimmed hat).

This part applies mainly to smaller towns and rural areas: If a window is intended to open, then it probably has a screen to keep out the bugs. If it doesn't have a screen, it used to. In the same way, it's normal for your front door to actually be two doors. The outer front door is made at least partly of mesh, while the inner one is solid wood or a facsimile, or steel. That way you can open your front door for fresh air without bugs getting in.

If you have a garage, your car is still parked in the driveway, because your garage is used as workshop space (remember, craftsmanlike hobbies are a sign of competence and self-reliance) or storage space.

#117 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2019, 10:29 PM:

Just remembered:

When eating at home, the main meal of the day should be "square." That is, there should be a meat or something that is understood to be a meat-substitute; a starchy food; optionally, something bready in addition to the starchy food; and two vegetables or one vegetable plus one fruit. Anything else on your plate is extra. (Burgers, fries, coleslaw, and melon constitute a square meal. So does macaroni and cheese from a box with tuna fish mixed into it, frozen macedoine, and fruit cocktail. If you want to get fancy: roasted beef or chicken, mashed potatoes, salad, and a hot cooked vegetable; the other vegetables, gravy, pie, etc., are extras.)

Affluence is signaled by surrounding your house with as much green open space as possible: not a garden, you understand, just a lawn. Gardening is a specific hobby, but lawn-keeping is a sign of civilization.

A real home, no matter how small, has at least one potted plant in it. People who can't keep potted plants alive are embarrassed to admit it.

#118 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2019, 11:08 PM:

My mother was unusual in her family for having a brown thumb. Most everyone else is capable of keeping plants alive. (There's a photo of her great-grandmother, who died in 1912 at 80-something, with a table full of plants, and more on the floor, some of which are recognizable.)

#119 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 06:35 AM:

Devin #108: Over time, some of those side effects become consensus norms and some don't, and that's where we get "culture."

A fair point, but the problem is, a lot of those side effects are strictly regional; insofar as they produce culture, they are generating a collection of regional protocultures... and in some cases, generating new conflicts thereby.

Others are in fact status/wealth markers, open space around one's home (especially lawns) being a major example, and increasingly a problematic one. Screen doors and windows probably count too, as they need maintenance and normally need to be taken off/put on with the seasons, and stored when not in use. Battered or tattered screens count against you.

And re: craftsmanlike hobbies are a sign of competence and self-reliance... well, carving wooden knicknacks as a hobby is one thing, but making your own clothes is seriously declasse. If you're good enough at it to make people think they came from a store, it can pass, but you wouldn't normally tell people about it unless you're actually going into the trade.

Nancy Lebovitz #114: Americans tend to believe in punishment-- as far as I can tell, they see punishment as morally required whether it accomplishes anything or not. / They also tend to believe that if you're a suspect, you;re guilty, and if you're guilty, you deserve whatever punishment people want to impose on you.

AIUI, that comes from a mix of colonial-era Calvinism, "frontier justice", and interracial conflicts which have occasionally reached the point of outright war.

Note that the Constitutional prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishment" is very much in the same spirit as the original "eye for an eye" law -- a constraint on unlimited and vindictive punishment. Even now, attempts at rehabilitation tend to founder on the public thirst for vengeance.

TomB #115: There are bad people and good people — you can tell just by looking at them — it's almost like black and white.


#120 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 10:45 AM:

Dave Harmon (119): Screen doors and windows ... normally need to be taken off/put on with the seasons, and stored when not in use.

Not in my experience. Storm windows maybe, although my parents had some put in that were essentially another set of sash windows and didn't need to be removed for the summer. We did take the panes out and wash them every year, but then they went right back in. Storm doors (a Northern thing not seen in the South) normally stay on all the time, too.

#121 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 11:53 AM:

People take off screen doors and window screens? Must be a regional thing - in California, I haven't seen it. (It's possible people do it in the higher mountains, where there's lots of snow.)

#122 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 04:18 PM:

My family (Midwest) normally swapped out the screen door and windows for a storm door and windows when fall rolled around, and vice versa in the spring. This relies on having storm/screen windows that can be removed and replaced from inside the house, if I remember correctly, since my parents' house is multiple stories.

The house that I rent has screens on some windows, storm windows on others, and neither on one or two. We don't ever swap them out, partly because they're not swappable from inside and it's a multi-story house.

#123 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 04:27 PM:

Jenny Islander @116: It is considered highly unusual, even in "volatile" neighborhoods, for riots to break out because somebody won or lost a sports match.

It is? Ask DPD about that the next time the Broncos win the Super Bowl.

American food tends to be sweet except for chocolates and desserts

...not that I've encountered...? Non-desert foods have a range of sweet-savory, tending toward the latter. I can't think of a dessert that isn't sweet, and still labeled a dessert...?

Beating the heat means slathering on sunscreen and removing as many clothes as local mores will permit (as opposed to staying out of the sun and wearing light-colored voluminous cotton and an airy wide-brimmed hat).

Where? Around here, people slather on sunscreen, remove clothes, add hats, but I've never encountered that as "beating the heat."

craftsmanlike hobbies are a sign of competence and self-reliance

I've mostly encountered craft hobbies as a sign of craftiness. IME, competence has a wide range of explicit markers.

Jenny Islander @117: A real home, no matter how small, has at least one potted plant in it. People who can't keep potted plants alive are embarrassed to admit it.

They do? I know many people who have brown thumbs/can't be bothered/not interested. Haven't sensed any embarrassment about it.

Dave Harmon @119: making your own clothes is seriously declasse. If you're good enough at it to make people think they came from a store, it can pass, but you wouldn't normally tell people about it unless you're actually going into the trade.

It is? I haven't encountered this attitude, and I've made my own clothes much of my life, and talk freely with others about it.

P J Evans: Me either. I can only report on Colorado, New Mexico, and Minnesota, but window screens, IME, stay on year round. I have observed swapping out screen front/back doors from screened in the summer to glassed-in in the winter. The latter case serves sort of an airlock function to retain heat in the winter.

#124 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 05:16 PM:

@Jacque no. 123: There's often sugar in...

*Packaged fresh guacamole

*Canned soup, including "healthy" brands

*"Plain" cottage cheese

*"Plain" yogurt

*"Plain" sour cream

*So-called deli-style cold cuts (turkey, etc.)

*Soy sauce

*Ordinary bread and buns (not explicitly sold as sweet bread or buns, and there's more sugar than the yeast needs for activation)

*Pasta sauce

*Plain or savory crackers

*Frozen potato products (fries/chips)

*"Plain" canned beans

*Canned corn

We take in astonishing amounts of sugar while eating a theoretically unsweetened diet...

#125 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 05:45 PM:

Jenny: Ah, so you're referring to primarily processed food, not necessarily the general cuisine, then...? When you say "American food," I presumed that encompassed home-made & restaurant food, as well as packaged processed food.

#126 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 06:37 PM:

My parents' house in west Texas had one set of double-glazed windows, with another set of single-glazed outside those as storm windows - the windows were openable, but there was a screen outside the panes. Outside doors were storm/screen, steel; the main front door was steel with no actual window, though the back door had a window (also double-glazed, IIRC).
It was a well-insulated house, framed with 2x6 lumber rather than 2x4.

#127 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 06:47 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @114

"Better that a thousand innocent should suffer than that one guilty person escape free." (paraphrased, probably) from The Space Merchants

"The suspect apprehended at the corner of Rossmore and La Brea was found guilty of three counts of being a suspect and one count of being apprehended. Apprehended suspects are liable to a sentence of not more than twenty years in the correctional institution at Soledad."
--Bob and Ray

#128 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 08:09 PM:

The storm window thing depends on the age of the house as well as on the region.

Long ago, everybody had to put the storm windows on before winter started and replace them with screen windows in the spring. But for quite a while most new construction has them all built in together where it's just a matter of sliding up or down what is already in the track.

When we moved out of our old house (built around 1910) and rented it out because we couldn't sell it, I had to go over to take down the screens and put up the storms because the tenants didn't have a clue.

#129 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 01:06 AM:

@Jacque no. 125: Not exactly...I once had the infuriating experience of finding DEXTROSE as the second ingredient in the fresh, wholesome, hand-cut, super healthy low-fat blah blah blah pork tenderloins. The "unseasoned" ones.

Also, people don't generally make their own cottage cheese and sour cream--do they?

#130 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 08:45 AM:

A lot of American food is sweetened, but I'm not sure it tastes sweet. I was recently blindsided by some barbecue sauce which just tasted spicy, but which turned out to have HFCS as its *first* ingredient.

I don't know whether people who usually eat sweetened food find unsweetened food to taste drab or something.

I was reminded by this (14 minutes, interesting story) that the US has hardly eliminated bigotry, but at least we're trying and have had some partial success.

#131 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 08:47 AM:

Better phrasing:

"The US hasn't eliminated bigotry, but we're trying and have had some partial success."

#132 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 08:51 AM:

HLN: Area retiree experiences a geophysical awakening. 4.6, somewhere in Snohomish county, according to the local seismological site--I think, there is a lot to re-check. Gratitude is expressed for the quickness of measuring/reporting systems. It wasn't even 10 minutes before I had the preliminary data. Might have been less if this computer wasn't so slow--it needs intervention.
Hopes were expressed that the Big One would not hit this century.

#133 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 09:20 AM:

Allan Beatty @128 - Yeah, or the age of the windows/doors. My parents' house was built in 1941, and when I was growing up Dad would routinely replace the screen door's screens with glass in autumn, and remove the screens in the windows for winter. They have since replaced both with more modern versions that don't require it.

#134 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 10:56 AM:

Many pre-WWII houses in some central areas of Austin have an interesting approach to screens--they are treated as a decorative architectural feature, so that the framing rather resembles the stone-lead part of medieval stained glass windows.

I am informed that as far as window manufacturers go, they've given up on calling things mullions and muntins, instead treating the whole affair as an independent grille, applied over the glass. This works perfectly with the Austin approach to screens, where the wooden grille is applied over/to the screening material, and then painted some trim color or other, sometimes matching the window frames, sometimes not. Some of the designs are quite striking, involving curved wood.

They are definitely removable (hung with hook-and-eye hardware) but are never removed except for repair or replacement.

(I know more about this than I should, as spouse rebuilt some on a c.1930 house we rented. And repainted them where needed.)

#135 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 11:52 AM:

A really odd "screen door" sort of thing, which I've only seen in a few Pittsburgh area apartment buildings (older, pre-AC-was-common) :

The INSIDE door of the apartment -- that is, the one facing into the hallway you enter the place from -- has a louvered wooden "screen door" in addition to the heavier primary front door.

This is for ventilation in the summer. You open the inner door so the stuffy air in the (apartment has another way to escape.

Anyone else seen these?

#136 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 01:02 PM:

Stefan Jones (135): I haven't seen that, but the screen door on the front of my parents' house* sounds similar. It has narrow wooden louvers over the outside of the usual screen, so that you can leave the inner door open for ventilation but still have privacy from passersby. The space between the inner and screen doors is also wider than I've seen elsewhere, at least 15" instead of only about 4". (I guess that means the wall is thicker, but it's not otherwise noticeable.)

*the one I grew up in, in suburban Atlanta

#137 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 05:04 PM:

Quill @92 I read "the refrigerator can type" as a refrigerator capable of typing, and was briefly very impressed with its skill!

Heh. I had to go back to the original post to see what I meant. I guess that's what happens when you let your refrigerator connect to the internet.

#138 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 05:17 PM:

Any fans of M.C.A. Hogarth's Dreamhealers series here? (If you aren't, and you like cozy/kind SF, I recommend the series highly. Mindtouch is the first.)

She is running a kickstarter to fill in some shorter pieces in the associated universe, and has added as a super-stretch goal a new novel in this series. I would really, really like to read this novel and encourage fans to chip in.

Kickstarter link here

Note for those looking for cozy/kind reads: The Kickstarter is for pieces in the Prince's Game series, which interweaves with Dreamhealers and is excellent but not cozy/kind. I don't want anyone to fall down a black hole they didn't mean to go down.

#139 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 11:24 PM:

Stefan Jones @135
I first saw one of those in San Antonio, Texas, back in the 1960s. It's also a feature of the dorm room doors I saw at Durham College in Durham, England, but those open onto a hallway rather than outside.

#140 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2019, 01:31 AM:

Jeremy @109
A couple years ago is when Cali passed a law saying that all single occupancy restrooms *must* be all-gender.

#141 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2019, 10:12 AM:

Fans of Good Omens may enjoy this clay tablet from Slightly Alive Translations.

#142 ::: Pete ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2019, 01:38 PM:

Haven't visited for absolutely ages (it's not you, it's me), and yet when I saw this plum-related homage I immediately thought fondly of here. Memory's a funny old thing...

#143 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 01:18 AM:

Here's a ghost story for untrammeled capitalism and the Age of the Megacorps. Warning: There is not a speck of gore in this but it's not for the hyperempathetic. I may have a bad night tonight. It's beautifully written. I give you "The Complaints Line" by Calum P. Cameron.

#144 ::: Patricia Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 04:31 AM:

I'm trying to remember the title/author of a serial that appeared in Analog, probably in the 60's possibly in the 70's. Almost certainly from the 1960's. An astronaut returns from Mars with a couple of Martians (who die during his capture) and is put on trial for treason. He escapes, manages to talk to a few people, causing some doubt about his guilt. I can't remember author or title. I thought it might be Mack Reynolds from the style, but it isn't included in lists of his fiction. No particular reason for this right now, it's just itching at my brain that I can't remember more. Does this ring any bells for you?

#145 ::: Sunflower ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 05:27 AM:

Quill @100: 'Oh, hey, speaking of national culture - my mom and I visited Montreal (we're American) a few weeks ago, and the hotel we were staying at was hosting multiple, formal high-school graduation parties. Is that a thing?

They seemed pretty high-end, to judge from the dresses and the hotel itself. The U.S. does proms, but not (as far as I know) school-sponsored graduation parties.

Of course, it may be a Montreal thing, and I don't know where you are in Canada. :)'

I'm in Calgary, so, most of the way across the country. The grad dance, usually dinner-and-dance, is absolutely a thing, in cities anyway. (I don't know, but am guessing, that it's a very different event in towns small enough that the school's graduating class has only a dozen or so members.)

As I recall it, from my own long-ago teens, the original idea was to try to discourage (private) grad parties, which involved the new graduates going to a secluded, often outdoor/rural, location and getting stinking drunk. It didn't work; the kids would dress to the nines and go to the grad dance, then afterwards head to the boonies for the grad party (not always having the sense to bring a change of clothes to the grad dance, or stop off at home on the way, because teens). Correction: it had not yet worked; my knowledge is many years out of date, so it's possible that the formal grad dance gradually replaced the grad party - young folks being what they are, though, this doesn't strike me as all that probable.

Dave Harmon @119: 'A fair point, but the problem is, a lot of those side effects are strictly regional; insofar as they produce culture, they are generating a collection of regional protocultures... and in some cases, generating new conflicts thereby.

Others are in fact status/wealth markers....'

The phrasing of your post implies, perhaps unintentionally, that you consider status/wealth markers to be distinct from culture.

HLN: Area geek receives final judgement papers for hir divorce, nearly seven years after hir now-ex-spouse told hir he wanted one. When asked about the lengthy delay, sie said, 'This is what two people with executive function issues divorcing looks like.' Private celebrations are planned.

#146 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 07:08 AM:

Screen doors, #120, #128, #133 etc. My home growing up was on Long Island (so Northeast, very coastal), and the house itself was built in 1950 or so (one of the original Levittowns). I can well believe that the tech has improved over time.

My current apartment in central Virginia does have screens perma-mounted outside the panes, but between climate and allergies, I almost never open the windows to begin with. Some other people in the development do seem to do so.

Sunflower #145: The phrasing of your post implies, perhaps unintentionally, that you consider status/wealth markers to be distinct from culture.

Fair point, but I was trying to contrast the status/class stuff with the regionalisms. Society can be sliced up in several different directions....

Jacque #123: Speaking of which, the making-your-own clothes thing was totally a status/class marker, as per my lower-middle-class-but-aspiring upbringing.

That said, women get some slack (so to speak) precisely because of "traditional roles". And knitting (or anything the ignorant can lump as "that's like knitting, right?" ;-) ) gets a pass, exactly because it's not a "practical" way to supply clothes, versus middle-class or better funds.

#147 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 07:58 AM:

Tentative about American culture:

Americans believe in their intuition. This can lead to people realizing they're being abused when everyone around them is saying they aren't or shouldn't be hurt, and it can also lead to believing the earth is flat.

Other modes of knowledge (experts, tradition, culture) are also risky, but the balance between them might vary by culture.

#148 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 08:08 AM:

As a man who makes some of his own clothing, I think the key to social acceptability is that it's a hobby.

If you're making your own clothing as a way to have clothes because buying "regular clothes" isn't an option, that's one thing. If you're making your own clothing because you like knitting so you made a sweater, or because you wanted a very specific thing and nobody makes them for sale, that's a different thing. The second one is broadly acceptable, the first can get pretty dicey socially.

#149 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 09:29 AM:

Devin @ 148 - re: Making one's own clothes

Based on family stories I’ve heard from relatives one generation older than me, even this has changed. For me, making some of my own clothes because I want to (both as a hobby and because I can’t always find things I like in a size that fits) provokes comment, but always complimentary.

According to my dad's cousins, when they were in high school (mid Sixties to mid Seventies), making your own clothes was Not Done. They said it was perceived as not having enough money to buy clothes at the store. Likewise, if (God forbid) you did have to make your own clothes, they had better be polyester, which was modern, as opposed to cotton, which was cheap and old-fashioned.

I’m not really sure when this changed, or how evenly this change has occurred. But there definitely seems to be a class/wealth issue in play here.

Speculation: at least some of the markers of American culture we've been discussing are related to not appearing Poor (whatever that means locally). I’m guessing this is tied up in the ideal of the American Dream (where anyone can be (financially) successful), a certain strain of Protestantism (wherein material blessings are a sign God approves of you), and probably other stuff I'm not thinking of.

#150 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 10:33 AM:

As I understand it, these days it costs more to make your own clothes than to buy them.

#151 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 11:48 AM:

Most patterns run about $10 or more; Vogue can run up to $30 (but if you're going for Designer, it may be worth it; there's one that I tend to follow). Fabric is in the range of $10 to 20 per yard, but a lot is now 54-inch-wide instead of 36 or 44/45 inches.
I knit socks for me and for my sister, because that way I can get socks that fit. One pair of wool socks costs as much as 8 or 10 pairs of machine-made cotton socks, which may or may not fit well.

#152 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 12:59 PM:

Re: making one's own clothes, there's probably a factor of how hard the individual "audience member" finds it to buy suitable clothes. To me, it seems absolutely a proper thing for someone to make their own clothing, because I have enough trouble finding clothes that meet my criteria (weird highly atypical body shape, dislike of wearing slogans, no leather) that I've often considered it myself. I do make my own pajama bottoms and have come close to creating a pattern to make the tops; just haven't had the spoons, but I did get the roll of sturdy paper. If I could make my own running shoes, I would, because getting reasonably sturdy no-leather running shoes that aren't eye-searing and (to me) goofy-looking is a bloody pain. I do not need a 21st-century design with a pocket of UF6 in the sole for extra bounce, thank you, and frankly, I resent what they cost.

#153 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 05:24 PM:

Singing Wren @149

Wouldn't surprise me if you're right. (Fits my thesis, even: in the 70s there was still a considerable legacy population of people who were home sewers for thrift; it's much less common today so the default assumption may have shifted from "you made that? You must be poor" to "you made that? You must be crafty.")

But I think school is also a factor: I am many years past high school but from occasional contact with students/school shoppers, "Mom/Dad made me their version of the thing all the kids are wearing" is very much as popular as it was in my day, or your dad's cousins' day. Which is to say, not at all welcome. (Thankfully, today polyester is more realistically understood as a sometimes-fabric.)

Joel Polowin @152

Yeah, and I do tend to run in circles where odd clothing is appreciated. I'm sure if my people were the sort where "good taste" meant "the right brand of polo shirt in the appropriately eye-searing pastel" it'd be quite different.

(Once you've got a pattern dialed in, tagboard/cardstock is quite nice for durability. I still use my old fencing jacket pattern as a base for all kinds of stuff. And you probably know this, but if you've a top that fits right but is wearing out, well, a little bit of tedious disassembly and you can trace it for your pattern.)

#154 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 06:18 PM:

Devin (153): It's out of print*, but Patterns from Finished Clothes by Tracy Doyle is great for recreating garments. Disassembly not required.

*available used for not much money

#155 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 07:37 PM:

Interestingly, even though the default of an adult who makes their own clothes is now "crafty" rather than "poor", the notion remains (especially among non-crafters) that making something yourself is cheaper than buying it off the shelf. Which, as P J Evans nicely illustrated, is generally not the case. And that’s before taking the time involved into account, especially if alterations are necessary.

And I agree that school is definitely a factor. At my age (early 40's), I can get away with a sense of style that is both clearly defined and only occasionally overlapping with current trends. High school students rarely have the former, and if they insist upon the latter, are still expected to fall into one of a limited subset of standard rebellious patterns. (Which may still produce some mockery, but also still have a place in the school hierarchy.)

#156 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 09:05 PM:

Over on the Learned League message board, a question about "The Little Engine That Could" resulted in somebody jokingly complaining that the title gave away the end, and then a thread of people suggesting new titles for children's books that didn't give away anything that happened after the beginning of the story, including:

The Little Engine That Is Statistically Unlikely To Be Able To
Alexander and the Day with Potential
Oh, the Places You Are Currently!
How the Grinch's Plans Were Only in the Idea Phase
Say, I Wonder If There’s Anything on Mulberry Street
The Cat Eyeing a Hat Meaningfully
My Brother Sam is Not Feeling So Hot
Just the Wardrobe

#157 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 09:12 PM:

Devin @153, re: And you probably know this, but if you've a top that fits right but is wearing out, well, a little bit of tedious disassembly and you can trace it for your pattern.

In general, I can see how the shapes have to be to fit together well enough to not have to disassemble. I can figure out what the seam allowances have to look like, etc.

A while back, I worked out my basic pattern for pajama pants by measuring the lengths of the edges of the pieces, then creating "molecules" with bond lengths scaled to those values in a computational-chemistry software tool. Running the simulation gave me the necessary angles for the pattern. You use the tools you have...

A few months ago, I was becoming increasingly aware of the wearing-through of the shoulders of my pajama tops. As in, almost every time I put the tops on, my hands risked going through the holes. I picked out the seams that attached the arms to the body, and replaced the arms using fabric from the legs of another pair of pajamas that had worn through in the butt. The colours/patterns are utterly unlike, but the fabric feels the same, which is the more important factor for sleepwear. IMHO.

I really hate shopping for clothes.

#158 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 09:14 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 116: I acknowledge the tendency of US food processors to put sugar and/or salt in everything that passes through their hands. However, I don't know when chocolate started to be mixed with sugar, but it certainly was not in either Mesoamerica (where it was first cultivated) or in its original sally into Europe; note that both of these areas drank chocolate rather than eating it. I am deeply suspicious of any claim that European chocolates are either more or less sweet than US chocolates, because there is such a huge variety.

P J Evans @ 121: I spent the 1967-68 school year at Millbrook (most known, to the extent that it's known at all, as the location set for the school scenes in The World According to Garp). There were two afternoons when everyone turned out to set up or tear down from winter; some of this involved laying boards on brick sidewalks, but a lot of the work was exchanging screens and storm windows, the latter forming a tight seal against the window frame. This used to be standard in areas that had serious winter; it was replaced first by dual-purpose frames (a solid seal around 2 panes (1 sliding) and 1 screen, such that exchanging was simply sliding the 2 moving panels -- cf Allan Beatty) and then by better window/frame sets (ours, from ~2002, seal tightly enough that storms aren't needed.)

Jacque @ 123: Denver is not alone; there is usually some vandalism when a Boston team takes a title, although so far there's been only one death (a policeman was ordered to use a pellet gun they weren't trained for -- "you'll put someone's eye out!" turned out to be true.)

#159 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 10:19 PM:

"Zebra Is A Good Start"?

#160 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 06:25 AM:

Paul A. #156

Some books are like that. Even in Australia.

#161 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 09:38 AM:

Sunflower @145: Thanks!!

I did wonder if part of the purpose was to keep the celebrants under some kind of supervision. Since the families all seemed to be staying at the hotel overnight, one presumes it worked for the most part.

Congratulations on your divorce!

#162 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 11:45 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @131: "The US hasn't eliminated bigotry, but we're trying and have had some partial success."

When I would whinge "I'm trying!" an old (loved) teacher would joke, "Yes, you're very trying."

& @147: Americans believe in their intuition.

Just ran across a reference to the book Thinking, Fast and Slow, which sounds related. Haven't read it, but looks potientially interesting.

& @150: it costs more to make your own clothes than to buy them.

This is true of most of the things one can make. The trade-off (for me) is a) is it fun for its own sake? and/or b) can I find the thing I'm looking for at the store? The latter is usually the motive that drives me to make my own.

Devin @153: a little bit of tedious disassembly and you can trace it for your pattern.

I actually did this with an old pair of Levis that fit me perfectly, and made probably half a dozen pair from the pattern.* It's a pain. (And making jeans is a pain!) Also, I've lost any tolerance for any kind of pressure over my lower abdomen. (Plus, I long since grew out of even the expanded version of the pattern.) Nowadays, I'm probably going to start making plain drawstring pants, since they seem to be basically impossible to find at a reasonable price in the stores. The closest I've found is Chico's Travelers, but I resolutely hate the fabric, so even there, I wear a pair of cotton pants underneath. (Which is not a disadvantage, as I tend to freeze at work.)

Another irritating evolution of the DIY landscape is that Boulder no longer has any really good fabric stores. The one that's left seems pitched primarily at quilters and costumers. I.e., crafty, more than practical. The other two I know about are small, seriously high end, and waaay out of my price range.

* Anybody know the secret of building zippers so that they don't pull open that top half-inch?

Joel Polowin @157: "molecules" with bond lengths scaled to those values in a computational-chemistry software tool

Wow. That's some next-level geekery, right there. 8D

I really hate shopping for clothes.


#163 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 11:52 AM:

I was taking descriptive geometry, way way back, and realized that sleeve tops and armholes are covered in it, as developments of intersecting cylinders (or cones very near to cylinders).
Clearly, you use the tools you have....

#164 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 02:18 PM:

In re: making your own clothes and patterns...

I think there are, socially, different levels of markers with regard to making clothes:

1. Making your own clothes because you are thrifty
2. Buying pre-made clothes
3. Making your own clothes because you want something that can't be bought off-the-rack (due to sizing, pattern, etc).
4. Paying someone else to make your clothes

These distinctions have been around for a long time. O'Henry wrote of poor urban professionals ironing creases into their clothes so they would look like they were newly bought at a store (where they would have sat, neatly folded and pressed, on a shelf long enough to get creases), rather than be uncreased, indicating they were old or hand-made, and therefore you couldn't afford store-bought trousers and shirts.

As for patterns, I have been a member of Freesewing, a site that generates custom measurement-based clothing patterns.

Each of the 23 basic patterns that they have comes with documentation on how to make it, sometimes tutorials on specific techniques, lots of pictures and illustrations of the process. You need to input the measurements required for the pattern ("Simon", the "highly adaptable shirt pattern for men", requires 13 measurements), tell it the details of your printer paper (A4, US Letter), and download PDFs that you can print out, tape together, and cut to get your custom pattern.

Unfortunately, I have yet to make a proper "model" of myself (making up to 23 different measurements of my body), so I haven't yet generated a custom pattern. I don't know for real if it is as good as it looks.

#165 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 06:32 PM:

The Suck Fairy hath visited yet again...

I've re-started a project I laid down [mumble] years ago, reading my way through the most-reprinted poets of the 20th Century. I have an Everyman Library edition of Donne, with a lot of his poetry, some of his prose, and some of his letters. Finally cracked it.

This guy. This priest. This priest who counseled women, sometimes conducting lengthy correspondence with them.

He also wrote a cute little article wondering why "we" imagine that women have souls, seeing as how "they" are basically talking animals with boobs.

The past is another country, and I'm really glad I don't live there.

#166 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 07:50 PM:

WRT comfortable clothing, medical scrubs are wonderfully practical (and have pockets!) but tend to be made of synthetic fabrics rather than natural. IIRC some years ago there was a cottage industry on eBay of home sewers making custom scrubs, but those have probably vanished.

John Marshall wrote a book about how to make your own Japanese clothing, which was vastly simplified by the traditional approach of keeping most of the cloth pieces in their original rectangular shapes and using intentionally temporary seams so they could be taken apart for washing and then modularly reassembled. I think there were some drawstring pants in there (mompe?).

#167 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 08:15 PM:

Buddha Buck @ 164

In some ways, I feel like option 3 has some overlap with both options 2 and 4. For instance, I'm learning to make button-down shirts because garment manufacturers (at least in the US) don’t seem to believe women with a full cup size can also have a small band size and narrow waist. (I’ve learned a lot about inserting darts in the process.) That’s the overlap with 2. You'd buy off the rack, but what you’re looking for isn’t on the rack.

Meanwhile, my new sister-in-law's wedding dress was every bit as high quality as mine (type 4, except as a gift for my grandmother rather than a purchase*), but she made it herself. So that’s the overlap with type 4. You have the skill to make high quality garments, only you're making them for yourself instead of others.

*Grandpa's aunt was the woman you hired if you got your clothes in category 4 back in the 1940's or so. She could take a picture from a fashion magazine and draft a custom pattern for her customers so as to be flattering and fashionable in the fabric of their choice. When her nephew got married, she made Grandma's wedding dress as her wedding gift - pattern, fittings, all the difficult bits gratis. Grandma just had to pay for fabric and notions. I wore the same dress sixty years later, and my seamstress was thrilled to be doing alterations (and not many) on such a well constructed garment.

#168 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 09:33 PM:

It's possible to get patterns for scrubs so you can make your own. They *look* fairly simple, but that doesn't always mean they are. (Pockets, that kind of thing.)

#169 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 09:40 PM:

My scrub-sewing coworker says that it's the V-neck that gives her trouble. I really need to get some; I have been dressing Very Professionally because I'm in a lab and shouldn't have exposed skin but also it's supposed to be unbearably hot this coming week and I need to be wearing less clothing. Summer is my least favorite season even when it behaves reasonably, and this one isn't.

#170 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 10:24 PM:

Try McCall's M6473 - it should be on sale, according to their site. Two types of V-neck, two kinds of pockets in the top, plus it comes with cup sizes, and the pants come with both patch and side-seam pockets.

#171 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2019, 05:15 AM:

These folks do cotton scrubs, though mostly in silly prints.

#172 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2019, 10:37 AM:

As an alternate data point (and looping back to the whole question of USAn summer wear), earlier this summer I was in New Mexico on vacation and saw multiple people wearing dark long-sleeved tops with hoods or separate hats — what I would normally consider autumn clothing — on a bright sunny 95F day. They were scattered around the city and waiting at bus stops or crosswalks, so I assume they were locals engaged in evaporative cooling via sweat.

WRT. scrubs, I forgot to mention scrub *skirts*, which are blessed with pockets big enough for cellphones. Waists usually seem to be drawstring or eladtic.

#173 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2019, 11:05 AM:

Buddha Buck @164: Is this the Freesewing site you meant?

Julie L. @166: Did a search on "mompe" ("monpe pants" was offered as an autofill), and what came up (leaving aside the gathered hems) looked a lot like gi pants, big surprise. :)

I've tried a couple of different scrubs pants.

I had a dodgey go-round with Uniform Advantage. Misinterpreted their sizing instructions, so I returned them. First round: return value = [pants price], select your return shipping label here. Refund amount = $0 Bwah?? Emailed them, turns out the charge for the return label was the same as the return value, "oh, but we'll waive that this time." So I returned them, and got a refund of, like 20% of the return value. Emailed them again, the rest of the return value finally got refunded. So: their returns department, at least, doesn't seem to be operating entirely in good faith.

Tried a second pair from a different vendor, seem to have gotten the sizing closer to right this time, but they felt weirdly tight across the front, like you're never supposed to sit down in them. Just donated those, rather than screwing with the returns song-and-dance again.

Also: seriously not in love with the fabrics they use. (Sensibly, seem to be designed to shed fluids and wash easily. ≠ comfortable texture. :(

P J Evans @170: McCall's M6473 here.

#174 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2019, 12:17 PM:

I was actually looking at the envelope when I was typing that. (I bought it online from them, when it was on sale before. The sale prices are really good, and they generally ship within a week or two.)

#175 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2019, 12:30 PM:

@174: Yeah, like, 4 bucks—! Only reason I didn't buy it on the spot is I probably should maybe get some measurements, first....

And then I need to find fabric... :(

#176 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2019, 12:35 PM:

Jacque @175 - Maybe see if you have any bedsheets that are wearing out in the middle, but still have good sturdy fabric around that?

#177 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2019, 02:46 PM:

Joel: ...bedsheets—! O.O

I forget about bedsheets....

#178 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 12:32 AM:

"The Times, They Are A-Changing" has a whole new resonance now, what with the lines about rising waters. (I recommend the cover by Runrig.)

#179 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 01:08 AM:

Jacque @177 -- It can sometimes be worth looking in second-hand stores (Goodwill, Sally Ann, etc.) for sheets, blankets, quilt covers, etc. suitable for use as raw materials. For all that I'm somewhat allergic to cutting up a Perfectly Good [item] that someone else could be using as-is for its Proper Purpose.

#180 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 01:43 AM:

Wait, isn't "fabric cheaper than by-the-yard" one of the proper purposes of Goodwill bedsheets?

I've been doing it wrong all these years.

#181 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 07:53 AM:

Jacque @173:

Yes, that's the site I meant. I idly wonder what I typed

#182 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 10:24 AM:

The gnomes appear to have eaten my last post (or at least deemed it potentially tasty). If the powers that be could release it (and ideally let me know where I went wrong), that would be lovely!

#184 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 12:12 PM:

Jacque @ 162: Anybody know the secret of building zippers so that they don't pull open that top half-inch? Does flipping the tab down not work? That's what I was taught when young, possibly because it makes the top bit bend so the head can't slide so easily.

Jenny Islander @165: was the article serious, or satirical? And how does its date line up with the correspondence? English classes used to teach that Donne was a late-reformed rake, although ISTM that this reading was crumbling even when I studied him half a century ago; his attitudes may or may not have changed. OTOH, Metaphysicals that were taught admiringly in the days before ~2nd-wave feminism sometimes got re-evaluated afterwards; IIRC, there was a noise in the early 1970's about a student's straightforward-and-unadmiring reading of Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress".

Arriving in a ... timely ... fashion (i.e., only a week after my comment): Yankee's history of and mutilated recipe for switchell

#185 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 01:31 PM:

CHip @184 in re: Jacque @162:

In my experience, zippers which lock that way have a small nub on the zipper pull which gets pushed into the teeth of the zipper preventing it from moving when locked.

YKK's website shows 8 different types of locking sliders with 4 different kinds of locking mechanism (including one type with a small key). The type I was familiar with is just one type.

What gets me often, however, is the zipper pull going all the way to the bottom and gets stuck under the fly flap and locks there. Because it's locked, you can't pull it up to free the zipper pull, and that means you can't close the fly, either. I don't know how they get that way.

#186 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 02:48 PM:

That's poor zipper installation. You want the stop to be far enough up from the end of the fly so that doesn't happen. (It's possible to use thread to make a stop: stitch over the coils multiple times at the point you need the stop.)

#187 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 07:26 PM:

Jacque @ 183 ...
Thank you. I was sure I'd missed/forgotten something, but couldn't think what it was.

re: zippers pulling open at the top, using something to take up any strain, like a hook-and-eye or button is also an option. Some zippers really like to start to open given any hint of sideways pull (which is a great effect when you -want- it to happen, and really annoying if you don't).

#188 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 11:22 PM:

xeger: The only solution I ever came up with was to move the button at the top of the fly outboard by half an inch or so. My recollection is that that helped, but didn't solve it. Even with the locking zippers, it seems that the topology creates a bulge that unlocks it at the slightest provocation. It's an issue I ran into even with commercially-made jeans.

#189 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2019, 07:19 AM:

Jacque @188:

One solution I've read for the problem is to attach a loop to the zipper pull and put it over your pants button before buttoning (so the loop is behind the fly flap). That keeps the zipper from unzipping. I've seen a lot of variations -- use a hair tie, or a ball chain, or a key ring -- but they are all basically the same idea.

#190 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2019, 10:15 AM:

Buddha: Huh. That might actually work.

#191 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2019, 12:32 PM:

Over on my twitter, among all my other noise, I've been posting a moon-related poem for every day of the Apollo 11 mission. I haven't posted today's, yet, but it was written by Daniel Elder as the words for a really gorgeous choral piece that I thought folks here might like.

Ballade to the Moon, by Daniel Elder, performed by the Westminster Choir

Every time I listen to it, I have a new Favourite Bit. Right now it's the glorious tenor around the three-and-a-half-minute mark.

#192 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2019, 01:41 PM:

There are two wolves inside of you.

One is white.

One is black.

But who cares what color they are. They don't. They're wolves. Also, it's dark in there, so you can't tell colors apart.

The point is, there are two wolves inside you. That's pretty fucking metal.

Also maybe a health hazard.

#193 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2019, 08:36 PM:

I made my husband a yukata from the Japanese clothing book mentioned above. It worked, though I screwed up the measurements at first and had to add extra panels.

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