Re: Does this make me old?

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I can't do it all night (side sleeper), but it really helps with my lower back, which has been killing me for the past 5 months after I strained some ligaments moving 10 yards of dirt around my yard.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:02 AM
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If I saw you on my lawn, I'd at least think twice before I yelled at you to get off it. So yeah, I think that does make you old.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:03 AM
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I can't do it all night (side sleeper)

Me too. I shift around, but it has still been transformative. Transformative!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:03 AM
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1: This place was getting way too backsleeponormative lately, so thanks for speaking up. Side sleepers represent! Woo, hook em!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:04 AM
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I've always wanted to play on M/itch's lawn.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:04 AM
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I can't do it all night

Definitely a sign of advancing age.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:05 AM
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5: Whoa whoa whoa. Who said anything about playing? I was only talking about mere presence thereon.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:06 AM
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What brand of pillow are you using?

Magnesium is supposed to help with muscle spasm stuff. It helped my BF for a while, but then he had problems with its laxative effects. I'm trying to find information on what forms of magnesium are readily absorbed and don't have this "problem," but I haven't had much luck. (My search has not been terribly systematic.) Soaking in a bath w/ epsom salts does raise blood levels, but the our tub isn't big enough to make that comfortable for him.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:07 AM
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What brand of pillow are you using?

Old yellow.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:08 AM
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I'm playing on M/tch's lawn right now.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:09 AM
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I had similar problems throughout my teen years and early 20's, then switched to sleeping on my stomach and everything got better. It seems to stretch my back out the opposite way from how it's curved all day in office chairs and the like.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:11 AM
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I can't do it all night

Neither can I, because I get complaints about my snoring if I do.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:12 AM
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I use a pillow like this, both under my knees when I'm on my back and between them when I'm on my side. It's a big help with back pain.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:13 AM
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re: 11

That's the recommendation in the various McKenzie books on back pain. Not specifically sleeping on the stomach, but doing face down stretches for the back.

Doesn't work for me since I have upper back pain, rather than lower, but lots of people swear by it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:14 AM
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Yes, pillow between knees while side sleeping is great! Sadly, I find that it rapidly makes its escape.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:21 AM
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I can't do it all night

...laydeez.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:42 AM
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Glad to see my LHF put to use. Heebie, my PT has me doing a lot of lower ab/core exercises--don't know if it would help with your issues, but it may be worth looking into.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:09 AM
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I bet it would, since part of pregnancy is that your abs get shot all to shit.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:20 AM
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a lot of lower ab/core exercises

Ditto on this, and I have to get back to that for lower back problems as well; it works, the idea being that you train yourself not to use your *back* to do various things, but your core body muscles. Yep.

If this is the physical ailment thread, anyone have a thought about what to do for what I think might be a pinched nerve in my shoulder/upper back on the right side? My right arm continues to ache off and on, two weeks after whatever damage I did, and my right index finger is occasionally numb. I diagnose a pinched nerve somewhere next to my shoulder blade in the upper back. I'm getting a little tired of it!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:43 AM
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Ooh, an aches and pains thread! That should win out over crimes against the state.

I'm starting to get aching wrists again. I assume its repetitive stress injury. This website from Rice University offers the bizarre and unworkable suggestion that I stop typing. I assume that even though it looks academic and informed, the site is really run by a crank.

Anyone have better advice?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:51 AM
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You could wear those dorky wrist braces that dorks wear?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:53 AM
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20: I think a commenter here whose pseud changed quite recently had a similar problem; he might have advice. I ... don't think I have his email address to give him a shout-out. Or maybe I do (without knowing whether it's still active), if a shout-out is desired.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:56 AM
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I actually own one of those from the last time this acted up, but now I can't find it.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:57 AM
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13 gets it right.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:57 AM
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When I was in high school (and all high school sports, everywhere), there was a huge emphasis on stretching and warming up. Now that I'm old and creaky and really need to stretch and warm up, I find it kind of funny that they waste all that time with those young stretchy bodies. Kids only pull muscles when they really do something crazy, not just throwing or kicking leisurely on a cold muscle like us old folks.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 12:00 PM
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Workers comp claim- partial disability! Money for nothin' & chicks for free!


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 12:07 PM
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19: That sounds much like what I'm dealing with right now. In my case it's a ruptured disk in my neck, impinging on the nerve root. Numbness is a sure sign that you need to see an actual doctor with an MD, not take advice from a bunch of clowns on the net.

You could, of course, do what I did and sort of ignore it, improvise solutions along the way, and let it get bad enough that by the time you go to see a doctor it's a near certainty that you'll eventually need surgery. It's not actually working out that great for me, but could be you get lucky.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 12:08 PM
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27: Oh, man. I was hoping to avoid a dr's visit right now; too much else on my plate. It does actually mostly abate for days at a time, to my great relief, but then flares up again; posture, including sleeping posture, seems to have a lot to do with it.

Well, shit. Okay. It's only been 2 weeks, so I'm going to improvise a while longer. Thanks, though; I'd been thinking doctor and resisting, and probably needed a kick in the pants.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 12:17 PM
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TLL, you scoundrel! It's genuinely good to see you.

On the stretching tip, now that I go the gym for the first time since... well, anyway, now that I go to the gym regularly I find myself stretching a lot less than I probably should and instead substituting the "warm up" cycle on the stationary bike. Am I slowly destroying myself by doing this?


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 12:18 PM
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Various trustworthy-looking fitness sites I've read say that stretching before exercise doesn't reduce the likelihood of injury and in fact might increase it. Warming up is important, plus stretches after a workout.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 12:24 PM
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My recent sleeping woe isn't back-related but rather arm-related. I'm a side/stomach sleeper, and I guess I occasionally pull my arms in to my chest during the night and then sleep on my folded-over arms. The result: I wake up with arms that are both asleep. It's weird.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 12:26 PM
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29: Yeah, what 30 says. I think stretching is only important if you're going to be flinging some limb or torso in a crazy direction.

I think bodies work a lot like play-doh. When it's warm, it's pliable. So if you just do the motions you plan on doing, but slowly, you'll be fine.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 12:28 PM
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I have all kinds of problems with my arms as a side sleeper, including a somewhat wonky right shoulder. But sleeping on my stomach hurts my back, and sleeping on my back has proved impossible.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 12:33 PM
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28: Aleve and careful attention to your posture might buy time until you can see someone who knows what they are talking about. I'm gradually developing some expertise in the area of fucked up spines, thanks to degenerative disk disease up and down the whole damn thing. One thing that comes up time and again is "if it hurts, stop doing it." You'd think someone with a fucking PhD would be able to figure that out on his own, but apparently I'm a bit of a slow learner. Good luck, and I hope it turns out to be something really minor.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 12:34 PM
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The Emerson solution, I suppose, would be just to get the arms amputated. "We all lose our arms eventually. Why postpone the inevitable?"


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 12:34 PM
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My wife endorses the 13 approach as well. While she does indeed experience far less lower back pain this way, it means that any adjustments in orientation or position during the night result in a certain amount of hoppy big-gestured moving aroundness as both pillow and sleeper are repositioned. Said adjustments do tend to wake up any co-sleeper in the bed, luckily I fall back asleep fairly easily after jostling and don't hold much of a grudge.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 12:46 PM
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I've had success using a foam pillow topper. It conforms to your body so it supports the small of your back, but it's firm so it doesn't create the problems associated with soft mattresses.


Posted by: Elizabeth | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 1:01 PM
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Does anybody know how to get rid of plantar fascischusciscia?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 1:10 PM
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25: Your warning when I asked for advice must have been foreshadowing. I was warming up before our game last week, took what I thought was a gentle shot and pop, there goes my quad.

At least I discovered that I'm pretty much two-footed as a result.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 1:12 PM
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Next up on Unfogged, Age Spots: hot or not?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 1:12 PM
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34: Good old DDD (d3, as I affectionately call it)! Yeah, in my lower back. Erm, surely I just pulled a muscle in my upper back, though. Surely. There's a big ole knot there next to my shoulder blade, which I keep massaging.

Right, well, I'm going to pick up with the core body exercises. And tog, while "if it hurts, don't do it" is sort of obvious, my PT for the lower back issue was clear that counter-intuitive things are sometimes called for. With the lower back problem, for example, he was worried only when my sciatic nerve was pinched such that I had leg pain. If no leg pain, just central back pain, that's not bad (the back doctor said the same: it's called "centralization" or something?)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 1:15 PM
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This may be a by-product of pregnancy, since it really started over the summer. This one is not very embarrassing, at least.

Your baby is nothing to be embarrassed by.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 1:17 PM
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Does anybody know how to get rid of plantar fascischusciscia?

Yes, but it took me a while of trying various things.

The simple thing to do is some combination of orthotics, stretching, and ice massage. That combination definitely worked better than either stretching or icing my themselves.

That worked for several years, but my feet have actually gotten much better, lately, as a result of doing more work stretching and strengthening my lower back. The person that I have worked with was saying that plantar fasciitis can be caused/aggravated by the compression of nerves in the spine. That sounded odd to me, but the work has definitely helped my feet a lot, so I'll pass that along.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 1:18 PM
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38, 40: We're rocking in our chairs and nodding here.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 1:19 PM
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||

Parsimon, by the way, I sent you an e-mail yesterday

|>


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 1:21 PM
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Does anybody know how to get rid of plantar fascischusciscia?

There's a stretch you can do, which helps it stop hurting on a given occasion and can get you over a bout of it if you do it regularly. You stand on a staircase, facing upstairs, with the balls of your feet on a step and the heels hanging off into the air, then slowly ease your weight back so the heels come down to about a 45 degree angle. Hold on to the banister!

Apparently there's another stretch recommended too, which I'd never heard of before. See here.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 1:24 PM
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45: Apologies. I hadn't seen it. Thought I had everything all forwarded this way and that to my main accounts. But received!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 1:27 PM
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thanks Nick, red! I've been stretching some and it's improved some, but I get impatient.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 1:35 PM
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I've been very productive, but why is my time-waster so quiet today? Are we feeling okay?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 2:47 PM
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why is my time-waster so quiet today? Are we feeling okay?

Spoken to someone who has been recreationally gagged?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 2:51 PM
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49: My rheumatism is acting up in this weather. Don't even ask about my hips and failing eyesight.


Posted by: Aging Unfoggetariat | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 2:57 PM
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Next up on Unfogged, Age Spots: hot or not?

Followed by: the year's best ointments. (Including a preview of the 2010 models!)


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 2:59 PM
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33 - fewer or better pillows might help.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 3:17 PM
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Some fraction of the Unfoggedtariat is presumably atoning. Although now that I think of it, probably not that big a fraction.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 3:47 PM
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We're a remarkably sin-free bunch?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 3:50 PM
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No, shameless.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 3:51 PM
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Good grief, I started atoning like 23 hours ago - how wicked do you think I am?

This is, of course, completely untrue, but could be true from the keyboard of a Jew.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 4:00 PM
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the last year i've been sleeping on a minicouch. my legs sort of hang off the end, i need to be carful they don't fall asleep while i'm asleep.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 4:30 PM
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After trying out my in-laws', I have an intense desire for a Tempurpedic mattress. We don't have the money to get one, but it's on the list as soon as I'm employed. Anyone have any experience with the knockoffs?


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 4:37 PM
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Does anybody know how to get rid of plantar fascischusciscia?

Arch supports in my running shoes and wearing Birkenstocks around the house and on weekends did the trick for me, although it took a while.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 5:07 PM
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Fast: broken!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 5:23 PM
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Quick: nestle!


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 5:24 PM
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Rapid: transit!


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 5:32 PM
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My lame attempt at generating comments on another thread has failed.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 5:39 PM
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I'll help.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 6:23 PM
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This really hits home.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 6:25 PM
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67

That's an adorable comic, and so, so true.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 6:28 PM
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(Though she should just say something to him first, of course, only, what's going through her mind is a mirror of his, so it's all a farce and we should just give up and go Emerson-style.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 6:29 PM
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Emerson-style it is!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 6:33 PM
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Okay everyone, I have a cooking dilemma! I want to bake some sort of dessert. I have like six or seven eggs, a half-stick of butter, 6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, a cup or two of milk, enough baking soda and baking powder, and a bunch of sugar and confectioner's sugar. I have no white flour (but plenty of whole wheat!), no vanilla extract (but almond extract!), no almonds or walnuts (but pistachios!), no cream, no brown sugar, and no fruit (except for dried pineapple). What can I make, besides a souffle?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 6:40 PM
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Whole-wheat brownies?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 6:48 PM
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Are they good? or does the whole-wheat fatally compromise the dessertness.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 6:49 PM
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You said bake -- would you be interested in a chocolate custard? I'm not sure of a recipe that would work with those ingredients, but it doesn't look impossible.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 6:50 PM
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70: a mousse.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 6:50 PM
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Oops, looks like I skipped right over the "bake". But fuck baking. Make a mousse.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 6:52 PM
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I see no reason why whole-wheat brownies wouldn't be good, but I'm won over by Jesus's suggestion.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 6:52 PM
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If you wanted to go crazy, Chocolate Pistacho Torte? I think you've got everything but a half-stick of butter.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 6:56 PM
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Evidently Parenthetical has never eaten anything containing whole wheat.

Go with the mousse, JM, and save the whole wheat for applications when all one wants to taste is, well, wheat.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 6:57 PM
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The recipe: my link in the last comment didn't work.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 6:57 PM
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Chopper, we bought one of these and it turned a very uncomfortable mattress into pure awesome.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 6:57 PM
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I can't do the pistachio torte, even if I halved the recipe for my limited quantities of chocolate and butter: I have no cream.

The mousse idea is a winner, however. Now I will google mousse recipes.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:02 PM
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78.1: So not true. I just happen to like it; one of my favorite cookies is made of whole wheat. I'll give you that it's not for everyone.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:03 PM
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Custard would take too long---I want dessert NOW.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:03 PM
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83: How many almonds do you have, JM? Can we do a sort of chocolate frangipanne?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:04 PM
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no almonds or walnuts (but pistachios!)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:05 PM
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Ah, I have found a chocolate mousse recipe that does not require cream!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:06 PM
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85: Durrrr. Thanks, teo!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:07 PM
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Anyone have any experience with the knockoffs?

I just bought a Keetsa Cloud, and it's made of pure awesome.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:08 PM
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Thanks for your help, everyone! I am off to mousse!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:10 PM
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one of my favorite cookies is made of whole wheat

Recipe? I'm sure the sugar in it won't make it totally suitable for my diet, but I'm at least intrigued.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:11 PM
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Evidently Parenthetical has never eaten anything containing whole wheat.

Whole wheat is fine in brownies, so there.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:13 PM
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90: It's your typical chocolate chip cookie, but with whole wheat. The recipe I have calls for half and half on the flour, but I make it with just wheat on occasion (admittedly, when I'm out of white) and enjoy it (but, I really like the nuttiness of whole wheat, so take this as a giant caveat). If you want it, I could email it to you. (Still close to two cups of sugar, white and brown.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:16 PM
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I left a recipe for souffle in comments here a long while ago, possibly in that person-wants-to-impress-date-with-cooking thread, and it works just great for mousse, just without the cooking. I'd link it for you, but it appears to be lost in the hoohole.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:17 PM
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20: I think 22 is my bat-signal. My pains were/are slightly different than yours -- not concentrated in my wrists, but in my forearms. Still, maybe there's something in my tale of woe, redemption and growing up that you can use.

I left my office in October of 2006. I must have spent the preceding six years in an expertly designed ergonomic environment, because aside from a little neck stiffness at the start (wearing a tie for the first time?) I never had any problems.

After four months of writing and websurfing at home, I was experiencing steady pain in my forearms. I started using a wristguard, then two. BAD IDEA. I started sitting on an exercise ball... not, it turned out, helpful, though bouncy and fun. I bought a faux Eames Manager's chair. Not helpful (the armrests weren't adjustable, was the chief objection). I installed the only keyboard tray I could find that didn't require severely damaging my antique desk. Lowering the keyboard was quite helpful.

Then I got serious. I set up a private lesson with a yoga instructor, saw a physical therapist through my health insurance, and hired an ergonomist who ended up letting me trade guitar lessons for sessions.

The key changes that helped me:

1. My yoga instructor located the source of my pain upstream from my forearms, specifically in my neck and in my (?) hamstrings. She wrote down a 15-minute daily series that is very helpful when I remember to do it.

2. My physical therapist gave me a number of stretches, including chin tucks, wrist bends, and traction using a towel hung from a door handle. She also recommended alternating hot and cold packs, fifteen minutes at a time, once a day.

3. My ergonomist took me shopping for a new chair and a new keyboard which I tilt forward by placing the wrist rest under the top of the keyboard. He also recommended several mouse options, but the good old mac mouse has worked fine.

4. I installed Time Out, and do my recommended exercises every hour that I work, and little arm/wrist stretches every ten minutes.

Currently, I'm at a point where if I do my breaks exactly right and go to yoga once a week, I am fine. More typically, I will skip yoga and half of my breaks, and I feel it, but it's not prohibitive the way it was for a while. I also just started working on a laptop for the first time (mostly plugged into a desktop setup, but occasionally in cafes) and that may change things.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:18 PM
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|| So, just the other day, this fella with whom I was conversing handed me his card should I like to have lunch sometime. I would like to have lunch. I have spent 45 minutes working on an email. So far I have "Hi [fella]". I am so lame. |>


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:28 PM
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"Hi [fella],

It was nice to run into you just the other day. You mentioned lunch. Let's do it. What's your next week like?

DK

P.S. WHO WANTS TO SEX MUTUMBO?"


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:30 PM
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Let's do it.

Always important to include some low hanging fruit.

Substantively, "There's this restaurant I've been meaning to try -- do you like [Kasakh] food?" gives you a topic of sorts, if you can come up with a plausibly interesting restaurant.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:35 PM
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Why not send a poem?

I suggest this one:


Come with me, my lovely, as we start The Lover's Dance.
Take hold of my hand, and rise up with me.
Our wings spread wide, and our passions laid bare.
Higher we soar, with each heated breath.
And upon the clouds we sit, looking over our kingdom below.
Me upon you, for we have begun The Lover's Dance.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:35 PM
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||

Someone's OKCupid profile says, "I wear a necklace that says FHL." Can someone explain this to me? I presume it is not Family History Library.

|>


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:35 PM
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"For His love"?

"Fuck his life."


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:39 PM
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are her intials FHL?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:40 PM
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Fuck Howard (Phillips) Lovecraft?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:40 PM
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or her initials, even


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:40 PM
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67: The tweet from m.leblanc on the exact same comic was "I used to like xkcd. What is this shit?"

Different perceptions of male longing? I know leblanc has talked in the past about the amount of street hassle she gets and how much she hates it.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:42 PM
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It's probably Fontana Herbert Labs


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:42 PM
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or his initials even?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:42 PM
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The mousse is chillin', by the way. As I was in the middle of the recipe, I figured out that 6 of the required 8 ounces of chocolate did not reduce to 3 of the required 4 eggs, and I accidentally added the original 2 tablespoons of extract (substituting almond for vanilla), so we'll see how it turns out.

When I was much younger, my friends suggested that I host a public-access show to be called "Dubious Foods, with Jackmormon." The tagline was going to be: "it's really quite good, actually." I had thought I was somewhat beyond that stage in my culinary education, but apparently not.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:44 PM
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Because dating someone who wears her own initial on a necklace would be awesome. "No, I'm serious - tell me what you think about me!"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:44 PM
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96 is good! Thanks. 97 would be good, too, if I could think of a restaurant to suggest. Where's PoMo these days? Who can direct me to an interesting Loop restaurant?


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:45 PM
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JRoth, I hate your baseball team (and can't believe that I'm directing some fury this year at a success by the Pirates). We were supposed to be celebrating today in LA!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:47 PM
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104: Yeah, I was totally thinking that that cartoon was shading into Nice Guy territory.

Near as I can tell, online feminist discourse doesn't allow for the existence of guys who are nice. Any guy who appears to be nice is actually a misogynist Nice Guy. It's like Say's Law - Nice Guys have driven out all the nice guys. Or something. But the bottom line is that a guy who is awkwardly afraid of talking to a woman he doesn't know is, ipso facto, a douchebag.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:48 PM
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Different perceptions of male longing? I know leblanc has talked in the past about the amount of street hassle she gets and how much she hates it.

Huh. Yeah, obviously I wouldn't expect her to have quite the same reaction, but this particular comic seems really typical of xkcd, so I'm not sure what the deal is. She doesn't seem to comment much here anymore, does she?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:48 PM
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Faith, Hope, and Love. Wow.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:49 PM
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online feminist discourse doesn't allow for the existence of guys who are nice

Thin ice, dude...


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:49 PM
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113: And the greatest of all these is love, man. Didn't you listen to my song?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:50 PM
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||

Oh nattering yes nabobs of negativism yes! Oh Woppers Jr! Yes. Oh yes! I and yes I said yes I will Yes!

[/rulebreaking]

|>


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:50 PM
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110: A couple years ago the Mets came into town needing just 1 win to clinch, and the Pirates swept them in front of crowds full of New Yorkers*. It's a terrible team, but evidently has a certain degree of pride.

I gotta say, Robert - the Dodgers played like absolute shit this weekend. Terrible fielding, mediocre pitching, and unimpressive hitting. I know Manny (and I guess others?) were resting, but still. Watch out for the Cards.

* I might note here that the Mets are my team of birth, and I would have celebrated them winning.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:51 PM
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104.2: I dunno. I get almost no street hassle. (The occasional whistle and semi-homeless elderly man hitting on me, that's about it.) Perhaps the men of my town are more polite, or I am not sufficiently adorable enough.*

Perhaps more to the point, I know lots of shy guys, and this reminds me of them.

*For the humorless, this is a joke.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:52 PM
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118:

It really is.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:53 PM
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67: The tweet from m.leblanc on the exact same comic was "I used to like xkcd. What is this shit?"

Different perceptions of male longing? I know leblanc has talked in the past about the amount of street hassle she gets and how much she hates it.

I wouldn't care to put words in her mouth, but when I've said that about xkcd, it's generally been a matter of "ugh, how trite and/or treacly," rather than anything else. It's also generally been years in the past, because (as Teo says) this is not a new trend.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:54 PM
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So, just the other day, this fella with whom I was conversing handed me his card should I like to have lunch sometime. I would like to have lunch. I have spent 45 minutes working on an email. So far I have "Hi [fella]". I am so lame.

Start with "you sure can do a lot of pushups in the sauna!"


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:55 PM
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111: I think there's also a introvert/extrovert split among women. I get hostile catcalls/remarks occasionally, but I pretty much never get strangers actually making social approaches to me in public (and never did when I was younger and single) -- I figure it's some kind of body language/demeanor thing. People who look friendlier, like m.leblanc or other friends of mine, get a lot of pickup attempts. So, a friendly pickup attempt from an actually pleasant person sounds actually kind of nice to me -- I could imagine myself in the shoes of the woman in the cartoon, too shy to say something. For someone who people try to pick up all the time, on the other hand, I could see it being just straightforwardly irritating, and the cartoon looking like "Oh, this is how irritating people psyche themselves up for it, by convincing themselves women are just waiting to be picked up."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:55 PM
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but when I've said that about xkcd, it's generally been a matter of "ugh, how trite and/or treacly," rather than anything else. It's also generally been years in the past, because (as Teo says) this is not a new trend.

Yep, I've heard this a lot. It's forced me to realize that I like trite. Sad, but true.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:56 PM
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Parenthetical-pwned, mostly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:56 PM
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I was totally thinking that that cartoon was shading into Nice Guy territory.

Kind of, but just in that the guy's train of thought could easily lead him that way, not that it actually does by the end of the cartoon. And the last panel clearly seems to undercut that, in that if he does end up as a Nice Guy it's because he was totally wrong about the situation.

Thinking about it more, though, I suppose you could interpret it such that the stuff he's imagining in the fourth panel is only in his head because of feminism making it so hard for guys to hit on girls or whatever, which would definitely be a Nice Guy thing to think. That's not how I interpreted it when first reading it, but I can see how someone like leblanc could interpret it that way.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:57 PM
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112: I'm with teo on the "this is really typical of xkcd" line. People's parallel misperception of each other is a common theme for him, particularly misperception on public transportation.

If there is creeping Nice Guy-ism here, it is driven by putting socially recognizable stereotypes into a proven comedic formula.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:57 PM
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Thin ice, dude...

Oh, I know. Best part is that I have no intention of sticking around tonight, and I'll be away from the computer literally all day tomorrow.

I'll just add one thing, to clarify: I completely, 100% get how Nice Guys are misogynists advancing a misogynist discourse. I have no problem with the Nice Guy designation as such. I just think that it has crept to the point where it has made the possibility of the existence of guys who are nice seem impossible to a lot of people. Also, in case it wasn't clear: when I read that xkcd, I didn't think, "Oh no, the feminists will really hate this;" I thought, "Hmm, I don't know about this." IOW, I don't think m. was crazy to react the way she did. I just kind of think her reaction was what you would expect in a world in which no guys who are nice can exist.

And I can't remember the last time she commented here. Too wrapped up in wedding planning, presumably.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:58 PM
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I like trite too! Just other directions of it, as it happens. I also find xkcd incredibly exasperating when it attempts to comment on any humanities or social sciences. So I just don't read it, and read Dinosaur Comics instead! Problem solved.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:58 PM
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The necklace linked in 113 is impressively ornate. That's all I have to say about that.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 7:59 PM
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And exclamation! points!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:00 PM
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125: If I were going to read the cartoon as objectionable, I'd think that the male character is doing just fine, correctly surmising that the woman doesn't want to be picked up, but the cartoonist is encouraging guys who share the male character's beliefs to doubt those beliefs and go out and hassle more women. It doesn't actually come off that way to me, but I could see reacting like that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:00 PM
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and read Dinosaur Comics

Comity!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:00 PM
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123: It's forced me to realize that I like trite.

When I had this liberation, it was liberating. There are formulas that I like. I just don't get sick of them. Surf Guitar. Fried starches. It is a blessing to be easily pleased.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:02 PM
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131: Yeah, that's another possibility that I hadn't considered. Quite possible.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:02 PM
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109: Eff the Loop. Go to Great Lake pizza in Andersonville. It's in the New Haven-Trenton league.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:02 PM
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When I was even a bit younger, I used to get more of the "Nice tits" or "Smile at me, baby" stuff, but not anymore. Now I tend to get more pleasant lines like a flirty "Have a lovely evening" or "Oh, that's my favorite book." Definitely getting older has meant that I feel less like an obvious target for power-games like vulgar/rude comments or do-something-for-me shit. Also, my sort-of "hard" facial expression that I got when I first moved to the city has turned into a "genuinely not paying attention to you" expression of relaxed lack of interest, so I get far fewer comments or flirts overall.

Not blaming anyone for getting harassed at all, but I do think that there's a cycle wherein other people sexualizing you all the time makes you feel defensive, which is, in turn, goddamn it, really sexy to the kind of guys who pull this shit.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:03 PM
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On xkcd generally: when I first discovered it, I was kind of impressed by the treacly stuff - maybe it was just the unexpected combination of naked math geekery with emotionally open (if over-earnest and unrealistic - but at least not totally subverted!) things. I still find the funny ones funny, but the treacly ones mostly just seem treacly now.

That said, this one struck me as mostly being a punchline, not an attempt at depth.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:03 PM
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133: Totally agree. Turns out it's not such a bad thing to be predictable.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:04 PM
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and hey shrub. I heard about your prognosis. Congrats! Girl babies are fun.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:04 PM
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Interesting to see the range of reactions to xkcd. I've found that it's definitely trite and treacly at times, but I'm totally a sucker for its specific brand of trite and treacly.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:09 PM
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Of course the thread picks up right when I go offline. FWIW, I've never had wheat brownies but wheat bread has never hurt the sweetness of PB&J sandwiches I make.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:10 PM
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People who look friendlier, like m.leblanc or other friends of mine, get a lot of pickup attempts.

By the way, wearing a bike helmet really cuts down on street hassle. (While riding, I mean. Not just out and about. That would be silly.) Apparently I look mean with one on.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:10 PM
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I don't particularly like xkcd, but I do think he's attempting, in his way, to make a girl-friendly statement about the possibility that men think they are the desiring ones who are disgusting losers, but that women also often think of themselves as the desiring ones who are disgusting losers. And that's an equivalency that could be useful for the kinds of mathy nerds I grew up around who thought women had to do all the flirting, if any was to be done at all, because the men themselves would only face hideous rejection and all women must know how desirable they are. But it's also an equivalency that is irritating to the imagined MLB position that dudes really shouldn't be encouraged to imagine that unsuspecting ladies in public secretly want to do them.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:11 PM
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139?!?!?!?!? WTF?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:11 PM
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140: Yeah, it hits my soft spot for gooey sentiment as well. And when it's funny, it's funny.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:13 PM
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I pretty much never get strangers actually making social approaches to me in public

This prompts me to ask (why yes, I am mining the same LB comment over and over) whether or not people here get talked to while in line at the store. While I don't get hit on, I do apparently have a sign that says, "Please talk to me. I'm interested in anything you have to say, from whether or not you're going to be late to temple or your gluten allergy. Also, please feel free to ask me about the contents of my cart." Is this normal?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:15 PM
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Parenthetical looks like a bad ass, with or without a helmet.

She scares me.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:16 PM
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Apparently I look mean with one on.

I, on the other hand, just look totally goony.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:16 PM
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146: Never happens to me. I think I may just seem singularly unapproachable.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:18 PM
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wheat bread has never hurt the sweetness of PB&J sandwiches I make.

Well of course not. PB&J is all about the contrast - sweet, fruity jelly vs. salty, umami-y pb, plus, if you make it right, tender crumb vs. hearty crust. I'll eat PB&J on any bread but Wonder (actually, I think that super-dense German seedbread screws up the balance, but it's still OK).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:18 PM
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How is that folding bike doing? I thought of LB when I ran across David Byrne article about his biking.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:18 PM
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A little old lady did ask me to get something down from the top shelf for her a couple weeks ago, though. I was happy to oblige.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:19 PM
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Aha! A plausibly bike-related thread!

Well let me tell you, there's some big bike news in the Blume/Sifu household. Why, I finally have a dorky fixed gear like all the kids rode three years ago, and Blume has her very own Mixte, on which she intends to ride to work tomorrow!

Heady times indeed. I've already hurt myself on the fixed gear and everything!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:19 PM
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I thought of LB when I ran across David Byrne article about his biking.

Me too!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:19 PM
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I like looking in other people's carts and asking them what in the heck they are going to do with the things in their cart.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:19 PM
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With one thing and another (court, a bad cold that's been lingering) I've only ridden in one day in the last two weeks. I'm finally shaking the cold, though, so maybe tomorrow. Except that I'm still at work, so I may be too tired.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:20 PM
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This article, in case anyone hasn't seen it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:21 PM
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153: Do you have brakes, or are you doing the full-scale stop with your feet fixie thing? And how does that work? -- I think I'd get myself killed instantly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:21 PM
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Sifu:

Did you buy a TImbuktu pack?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:21 PM
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139: Thanks! They seem to be what we produce as first children in my family, now that I reflect on it. Always nice to keep with tradition.

144: Yes?

I do apparently have a sign that says, "Please talk to me. I'm interested in anything you have to say..."

Boy, same here.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:24 PM
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146: Oh, I think that's totally a personality type. I have no idea what the markers are (and I don't get talked to myself*), but they're there. My MIL - who will herself talk anyone's ear off - has this happen to her all the time. What's interesting is that some people who are gregarious attract this while others who want to be left alone also attract it.

* I'm usually either intently engaged (whether in doing something or simply in my own world) or ready to make a passing comment to the person beside me. Mostly the former, but I'll definitely make a (friendly and/or funny - I never complain to strangers, part of my whole anti-FML attitude) comment to the next person in line at the store. But as a general rule I move through the public as a man on a mission, with no interest in human interaction. Self-scan my groceries? Why thank you!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:24 PM
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158: I have brakes, and don't intend to remove them. As far as the stop with your feet thing, there's two ways to do it: you can either just slow yourself down by resisting the cranks on the up stroke, or you can lock the rear wheel -- basically, you shift your weight forward a bit and then stop down on one of the cranks mid-way through the up-stroke -- and skid to a stop. The latter technique will stop you much faster -- the former is really more a way to control your speed -- but is somewhat more difficult. For instance, while I was trying it today, I did it successfully once, and then managed to drop the chain the next time I tried.

So yeah, hanging on to those brakes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:25 PM
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135: The loop is mutual work territory. Traveling further than a 5 minute walk is definitely second date stuff...


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:25 PM
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Congrats, rfts!! Great news.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:25 PM
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Yeah, there's no way to be friendly that isn't also hassling. It depends entirely on the attitude of the person approached.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:26 PM
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Oh, and if we're talking bikes: Iris & I rode to the Bucs game today (she on the trail-a-bike), about 9 miles total (and a few hundred vertical feet, all in one place). Then I rode Kai to the store in the bikeseat on AB's girly bike, another couple miles (I took the scenic route because he loves being on the bike SO much). Most riding I've done in a month. It was great.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:27 PM
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162: You've seen the great thing about gearing ratios and how quickly you'll wear out your rear tire, right?

If Heebie ever teaches Math for Hipsters, that would be a great section on fractions.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:30 PM
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1671: no?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:30 PM
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Oh, and before I go, I haven't had the chance to congratulate RFTS and SO - congrats! I'd offer you baby things, but AB has already thriftily sold it all or given it away to more local (and nonimaginary) friends. But if I spot something still around, it's yours!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:31 PM
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Follow-up to 93: I found the recipe. The recipe d l'escalier, I should call it, since JM's already gone and made her mousse. Anyway, it's incredibly simple, as you can see, especially when you skip the cooking and just park the thing in the fridge for a while.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:31 PM
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Uh 167.1

I surely hope this thread doesn't go that long.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:31 PM
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I even briefly considered getting this shirt (speaking of xkcd), but then I realized that I actually am kind of antisocial, and I don't want random people coming up and talking to me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:32 PM
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Yeah, that's puzzling. Your feet are doing different things than they would be if you had gears, but your tire, I'd think, is behaving exactly the same as on a geared bike.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:32 PM
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Inspired by LB, I've been riding to work every other day or so. Three out of five days last week. I've found a route that doesn't take me through the fearsome traffic of downtown Brooklyn, plus I've been getting up early enough to wake myself up with tea and breakfast, so I feel much less likely to die than the last time I tried to get a bike-to-work thing going.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:32 PM
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173 to ???


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:32 PM
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168: I just remembered - it's in Urban Velo, probably online. But the basic point is that, if you have in irreducible ratio between front and rear, you'll get far more contact patches wearing down. Whereas if you were to ride, say, 48:12, you'd get 4 patches and quickly wear out your tire.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:33 PM
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173 to 167.1, and I didn't understand 176 at all either. Slower, with shorter words?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:35 PM
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173: Since you always lock up your rear wheel with your feet in the same position (level)*, you skid with the tire at either (say) 0, 90, 180, or 270 degrees. Excess wear.

* I gather that most hipster always lead with one foot, so you wouldn't get doubled patches on non-symmetrical ratios


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:36 PM
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176: ahh. It is online. Clever!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:36 PM
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178: Ah -- now I understand.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:37 PM
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Sorry, can't explain more, must go. G'night.

(on preview, thanks Sifu)


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:37 PM
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Oh, and browse around Urban Velo. It's awesome (and Burgh-based).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:37 PM
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Embarrassingly, I have no idea what the ratio on my bike is.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:38 PM
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180: so you understand 167 now, too?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:39 PM
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Wait, is 139 inthe plural??


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:41 PM
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My plural was just meant to be a generic. Girl babies in general are fun.

(Actually, mostly I had been thinking about girl first borns, since I have one of those, and I've been wondering about interactions between gender and birth order effects.)

(Also, I'm about halfway through *Y the Last Man* and thinking about how the fact that Yorick has a big sister plays out for the portrayal of his masculinity.)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:47 PM
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185: I believe not -- I accidentally said something plural when I saw the announcement, and was corrected.

184: I think I do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:47 PM
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Ah. Got it. I, too, heartily endorse girl first-borns. So happy for you, rfts and snark!


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:50 PM
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All of the best people have more than one baby at a time. Except for that one crazy lady, and maybe a few others.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:52 PM
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I realize the thread has wandered on, but when I like an xkcd comic, it's usually because it feels earnest, whimsical and/or charming. And he's closer to matter-of-fact feminism than any other cartoonist I ever read, which I appreciate.

This specific cartoon seemed more cute than insightful. It actually made me think of non-intrusive ways to indicate interest in someone. Megan's old posts about dropping notes on tables for strangers, maybe. I think I recall heebie having a similar story too.

I figure it's some kind of body language/demeanor thing. People who look friendlier, like m.leblanc or other friends of mine, get a lot of pickup attempts.

I don't think that's all of it. I think on some occasions it has more to do with who people feel entitled to approach. There's a strong unconscious presumption that some people's time is more valuable, and/or their demographics are more intimidating.

It's akin to feeling entitled to getting a smile from someone -- a broad sense of what is "legitimate" to expect. I've heard friends complain under their breath about someone being rude, and taken a while to understand that in this context, "rude" meant "not sufficiently obsequious or smiley." In those instances it's often racial. Ugh.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 8:58 PM
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I don't think that's all of it. I think on some occasions it has more to do with who people feel entitled to approach. There's a strong unconscious presumption that some people's time is more valuable, and/or their demographics are more intimidating.

Spell this out a little more? I'm mentally comparing myself to friends of mine, who are women of around my age and apparent class. (Not that I have any apparent class, of course.) Are you thinking of subtler demographic factors, or mostly just age, sex, ethnicity, and class?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:00 PM
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178: 173: Since you always lock up your rear wheel with your feet in the same position (level)*, you skid with the tire at either (say) 0, 90, 180, or 270 degrees. Excess wear.

Except you don't always lock up with level feet. It's possible to lock up in just about everything but the one foot above the other position. Your point is taken tho (2/3rd's of the tire is going to experience excess wear). But it is fairly easy to change a bike tire (tyre!) - one flat-head screwdriver and two butterknives will do the trick.

max
['You can also shift the chain, if needed/wanted.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:02 PM
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The only strangers who should talk to each other are effervescent people with other effervescent people. All else leads to misery.

As someone who doesn't seem friendly at first, I definitely feel like if I ever approach someone, I am coming off as the person who feels entitled to their time no matter how pointless or boring my statements are.

This is why I've always followed the "Obviously you know how cool and interesting you are, so you must realize that I like you. So it's your job to make it clear that for some mysterious reason you like me." policy that works so well.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:07 PM
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It would be nice having better picking-people-up skills. The mother of one of Newt's classmates, who's also on Sally's swim team (and is a very charming child herself), has been a friendly acquaintance for a while. And she seems like the sort of acidly nerdy person who has real friend potential, but I'm really bad at making social advances. I think I may have to suck it up and have a dinner party if I'm going to try to actually become friends.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:11 PM
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The mother of one of Newt's classmates is a charming child who's on Sally's swim team?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:14 PM
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My datapoint: I apparently seem eminently approachable in stores and am very likely to be mistaken for an employee. My dad gets this, too. It doesn't bother me, really, but it's a bit odd.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:15 PM
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Newt's classmate is on Sally's swim team. I am considering attempting to socialize with Newt's classmate's mother. As an introverted weirdo, I find this sort of thing terribly effortful, and usually end up being friends only with people willing to put the effort in to stalk me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:16 PM
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163: Eff the Loop, ditch the guy, and go have the pizza. It's that good.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:16 PM
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While strangers never attempt to socialize with me, I am the person on any subway platform designated to give directions to tourists. I think I look harmless.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:17 PM
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162: Locking up the rear wheel stops you faster? That's not how it was taught for motorcycles. The dogma there was maximum stopping power is attained just before the lock and skid.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:17 PM
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200: Static friction is stronger than sliding friction.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:18 PM
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LB, could you just invite her over to dinner, family style, as opposed to going to the trouble of a full-scale dinner party?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:19 PM
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My sense of 'dinner party' is pretty low key -- clean napkins for everyone, and open a bottle of wine.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:23 PM
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(201 was meant to agree with 200.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:23 PM
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And I hate writing this thing I'm stuck on. Argh, argh argh argh.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:24 PM
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203: Yeah, after I wrote that I realized we might have different definitions. (Dinner party implies something super formal to me.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:25 PM
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200, 201: on a fixed gear bicycle that you're trying to stop with just your feet, specifically. This is because it's impossible to apply consistent backwards pressure on the pedals throughout the whole stroke.

If you're using regular brakes on a bicycle then what you say applies, of course.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:25 PM
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Are you thinking of subtler demographic factors, or mostly just age, sex, ethnicity, and class?

That's a lot of it, but also cues like how you're dressed, if you seem to be "busy" or going someplace (this is related to affect but not quite the same thing), how you respond to initial overtures, and also something in your facial muscles.

I was thinking about this just last night, when I was accused me of looking "mean" in a photo. It's a perfectly ordinary photo, in which I am not smiling. I look slightly serious. But to a person who expects a big, friendly American smile, or a deferential/submissive reassuring woman, it probably does come off as mean.

As an introverted weirdo, I find this sort of thing terribly effortful, and usually end up being friends only with people willing to put the effort in to stalk me.

It took 15+ years of hard work for me to become the blithely chatty person I can be now, and my default on-switch in the world is still I Am Not Interested in Talking With You. Oddly enough, I think it was a deviance exercise I had to do in college that clarified for me that I'm actually pretty serene when it comes to being regarded as weird by others. This helps in developing the above mentioned blithe persona, because your mental voice can be "What's the worst that can happen? They think I'm weird? Screw it, I'm fine with that."

I apparently seem eminently approachable in stores and am very likely to be mistaken for an employee.

I'm sure I've said this here before, but this happens to me almost exclusively at Staples. Like, 70% of my trips there, probably. And I don't even wear red shirts.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:30 PM
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As this seems to be an open thread multi-topic thread, which would you pick?:

1. A room in a fairly large basement apartment with a male undergraduate roommate who seems fairly studious and quiet in a quite residential neighborhood near campus

or

2. A slightly less expensive room in a similarly sized basement apartment but with less common space and three roommates male and female somewhat closer in age, one an exchange student, two working, in a residential area not as close to campus but closer to walkable commercial areas.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:33 PM
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clean napkins for everyone, and open a bottle of wine

Pretty Spartan. What would be the ideal wine pairing for clean napkins? Sauvignon Blanc, I suppose, or a Muscadet, if the napkins are crisp white linen.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:34 PM
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Oh, and the first landlord smokes, but it's a self-contained apartment below the house with a separate entrance and doesn't seem to get any of the cigarette smoke (according to the guy already living there).


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:35 PM
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That guy may not be as sensitive as you. I rarely if ever have smelled cigarette smoke anywhere except a restaurant or a car.

Sorry for the self-pitying and wistful nature of my last two comments.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:38 PM
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209: If my goal were privacy and to spend a lot of time on campus or at home, I'd go with the first; if I wanted to develop more of a social life and spend time out and about not on campus, I'd go with the second.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:38 PM
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On a different tangent, I get asked for directions a lot. Usually in places I'm not from and don't know well or at all.* I've mentioned this before, probably more than once.

*Including three times in one day in Berlin. I think the first time I didn't understand and said so, the second time I figured it out because I had just left that station so I pointed in its direction, the third time I said I didn't understand, the person asked me again in English and I said I didn't know.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:39 PM
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197

... As an introverted weirdo, I find this sort of thing terribly effortful, and usually end up being friends only with people willing to put the effort in to stalk me.

Don't people like that often end up relying on their spouses for making friends?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:41 PM
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213: It seems to come down to whether I figure I'll be like I usually am, which is the first, or if I think I'll change. The latter seems unlikely based on past multi-roommate arrangements, so I should probably call the first landlord soon. Mainly I want to stop thinking about this and get on with life.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:42 PM
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And I don't even wear red shirts.

My dad has a red vest that he likes a lot, but which he has to remember not to wear to certain stores.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:43 PM
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Indeed, and I do rely on him -- Buck is wildly social and approachable, so most of the people we know, he maintains contact with. But, you know, it's a grab bag -- I like the people Buck collects, but occasionally I attempt to socialize independently (and, you know, through a non-text based medium).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:44 PM
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I must give off friendly vibes (which is mostly a good reflection of my feelings) because people talk to me all the time. I used to get really sucked into their loneliness, which made me feel guilty about pulling out of conversations, but fortunately that's gone away.

I think I get an unusual amount of attention from mentally slow/different people. One woman came up to me, took my face in both her hands and stared into my face for probably ten or twenty seconds. The guy at the pool waits in my lane to tell me about his birthday (22!). A very odd not-visibly-homeless woman used to come by my house to ask me for a glass of water. All of them definitely off. I kinda like surreal interactions, so I don't mind. But it is just as well that I think of myself as the big strong person in most interactions.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:50 PM
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as far as the xkcd goes, if there is one thought I have never, ever had it is, "I wish more people would hit on me on public transit." this one time, I was on the bart waiting in front of the doors as we came into the station, and this guy was like, "the doors open on the other side," and I said, "oh, thanks," and moved. as we pulled into the station it turned out I was right, but whatever, (the neg!) so this guy is chatting me up and I'm politely but minimally responding to him. he invites me out for lunch, and I decline, and as we go down the escalator we see a little clot of real (oakland) cops, and he just turns around and gets on the up escalator at the bottom. so, the cops call me over and ostentatiously make me wait while they finish some conversation, and then one of them tells me "that guy you were just talking to? is a convicted sex offender." the cops were total dicks about it too, like it was my fault. and then I realized in my mindless responses to the guy I had come this close to telling him my street, which was only two blocks long at that location. so, great. cute guys that are thinking of chatting me up on public transport? PLEASE SHUT THE FUCK UP. I guess I would give someone devastatingly handsome a pass here, but if that's you, you already know it.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:58 PM
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Whenever strangers find the opportunity to talk to me, they end up telling me about the Worst Thing They Ever Did. Or how their father died due to some bizarre self-poisoning. Or whatever--weird shit. It's not like I start these conversations by talking about my personal problems or issues; I just seem to radiate big fat tell-me-everything vibes.

Mostly, this is probably because my reaction to hearing lurid stories is a sort of wide-eyed fascination that I can't control, mixed with an unlikeliness to freak out. So whenever possible, I ride trains and planes with the earbuds in. Once, someone started in on something and I tried to end the conversation by saying something really unappealing about myself, but it just ended in them confessing a bunch of shit to me. It's very taxing.

But the hardest part about this is that some of these people end up becoming closer friends, when I realize that they're not actually usually this person they initially represented to me at all. And I walk around trying to figure out whether that was some kind of real inner self they revealed, or whether that was some kind of peek into some alternate self they could imagine being.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:58 PM
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I guess I would give someone devastatingly handsome a pass here, but if that's you, you already know it.

But we try not to let it go to our heads.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 9:59 PM
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220: I wonder if my 143 interpretation would make more sense (and the comic itself) if it took place in, say, a bookstore coffeeshop, of the kind where people clearly hang out with the hope that someone might just strike up a conversation, or in a freshman dormitory.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:00 PM
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On the long-distance train or plane rides I try to do an attractive girl a favor by sitting next to her and then not saying a single word or looking at her even once. I can just imagine her relief.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:01 PM
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Otto, sign your comments.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:02 PM
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In addition to being approachable enough to be asked for directions, I also tend to get more than average immigration scrutiny, albeit in Europe and not here. Often the questions are about whether I'm carrying drugs - usually disguised behind question about whether I've been to Amsterdam, or some rock festival the stoned-looking Scandinavian kids who were not having their passports checked probably just came from. There was also the stand here while we take your passport into the back room and run tests on it, and the we're going to search all of your bags at the gate because there's no time to search them here and check them in.

These two tendencies came together in Heathrow where I was asked not just whether I mutilated my passport myself - the lamination had partially come off a previous passport because I'd been carrying it in my pocket while sleeping on night trains and it wore out - but what train tickets I had, what museums I was going to visit and what I wanted to see in them (the agent had not heard of either Turner or Whistler, I can't remember which). Steps past the checkpoint after I'd been admitted, a man with an Irish accent asked me if I knew how to get to the Tube station.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:04 PM
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Catching up... Mazel tov, rfts and snarkout!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:05 PM
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219: I get that too, and I guess I don't really mind. I often have long conversations with older black ladies about their grandchildren. it passes the time.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:05 PM
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here in narnia I mostly just talk to taxi drivers, a la friedman.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:06 PM
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220.--yeah, public transit is a no-come-on zone. Even in Paris, where the harassment never stopped on the street and in most public spaces, the Metro was off-limits---in that you were under no obligation even to pretend to be polite about a come-on. I think the custom has evolved because you can't really get away from an awkward encounter. In NYC, where I've largely calmed down about strangers' vocalizing their sexual interest in me, I give people on the subway the dead-eye.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:06 PM
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a deviance exercise I had to do in college

Please, more.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:07 PM
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Buses are somehow different from subways in this respect, although not nearly so lax as a public ferry!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:08 PM
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I was recently at a beach hotel with my gf, and as we were sitting poolside this older dude started chatting with a 20-something sitting by the pool. He was asking her some not-very-personal questions, and she responded, and it turns out he knows quite a lot about the sport she plays, and follows it enough to know the semi-pro team she is on and who some of the players are. The girl sort of ignored him.

The gf responded by saying that she wasn't really listening, but he seemed to be skeezing on her. She said she wouldn't have thought that before getting to know me and some of my more cynical interpretations of older-dude conversation.

And I said that was weird, because the whole time I was like, wow, this dude is actually trying to have a totally non-skeezy conversation with this woman and has some interesting things to say.

Clearly, if the girl was herself skeezed, that has to be taken into account, but sometimes, people are just making conversation, right?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:09 PM
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sometimes, people are just making conversation, right?
no.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:12 PM
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My experiences lead me to believe that most of the time people are just making conversation.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:15 PM
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Okay, folks. What about talking to your anonymous seatmate(s) on a plane. In or out?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:15 PM
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I've solved one of my biggest problems recently when I started sleeping with a pillow under my knees.

This is the way Leonid Brezhnev slept toward the end of his time as General Secretary of the CPSU.


Posted by: K | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:17 PM
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236.---OUT.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:17 PM
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236: By the age of 19, I'd heard things that singed my ears. Dabbled since then, but mostly avoid. Sexual harassment cases, experiences of child abuse, what Manhattan streets one must carry a gun on, etc.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:18 PM
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I think they're often just making conversation. (Although, I get the lonely ones, not the cruising ones.) I think they really do just want some chat in their days. I'd be psyched to happen to run into someone who played a sport I followed closely. I'd definitely follow up that conversation. Even men, I'd say, aren't that different.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:18 PM
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236: eh. I'm ok with it. you have to be willing to shut up after a while, though. I take a lot of 18-hour flights.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:19 PM
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231: RTA.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:19 PM
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236: That's why I like flying with the toddler. I like to talk on flights and he never stops talking.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:19 PM
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224 to 236.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:19 PM
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I saw something like 233 on the metro in DC. A guy struck up a conversation about something like an iPod with the woman sitting next to him. (I don't think I hear exactly how it started because I had just gotten on, but it was about some piece of technology like an mp3 player or phone.) He was probably in his 30s, she in her early 20s. Then this moved to talking about what they did in DC, turned out she was either an intern or new employee at a place that worked on the same issue he did. He clearly had a lot of knowledge about it and wasn't just BSing his way through the conversation, but he was just as clearly skeezing on her. He made some gestures towards being obvious about trying to pick her up, but never quite came out and asked before she left. She seemed to be humoring him, in a sort of "this passes the time on the commute, but that's it" kind of way.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:20 PM
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244: Unsigned comments don't count, based on this rule I just made up right now.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:20 PM
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236: I'm amenable to the idea, but I've the tendency to talk too much so I never, ever initiate conversation. Last time, though, I listened to an Indian man from Fiji discuss his views on god and life and share his home-made okra roti, so it worked out nicely. (Even though his take on the history of Fiji, Polynesians, and race relations was definitely idiosyncratic and not just a little racist.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:20 PM
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Anonymous seatmate: You could make a couple friendly statements if you have good reason to think you're of a kind (similar shoes, also read that book), but if they aren't returned, you must not speak again during the flight.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:21 PM
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248: But I can still sell Amway, right?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:23 PM
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Pretty much the only time I've ever gotten into a sustained conversation with an airline seatmate, I was flying back to college in Boston, and after talking to the guy for about an hour, it developed that he knew the co-op I lived at -- that is, he'd been friends with a bunch of people who'd lived there about five years before. (People who I sort of peripherally knew, or at least knew about enough to confirm that he'd actually known them.) Then the plane was delayed enough that the T shut down for the night, so I couldn't take it home from Logan, so I hitched a ride with this guy back to the co-op. It seemed like a slightly dumb thing to do, but on the other hand, what were the odds that I'd be sitting next to someone on the plane who was not only a friend of several friends, but also an ax murderer.

But generally I don't end up talking to people on planes, and they don't try to talk to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:26 PM
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I had a pleasant conversation while waiting for the flight to depart with a middle-aged Belgian man once. We commiserated over being searched. He'd been pulled aside at the gate; he figured that since he shaved his head because he was mostly balding anyway and it looked better that way, he was getting searched for looking like a skinhead (this was not the first time).


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:27 PM
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I've had a few conversations on planes and waiting for them to depart, but they've been very rare. Not a problem for me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:30 PM
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Happy birthday!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:32 PM
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Thanks.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:32 PM
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243: I love traveling with my daughters. They're fun to talk to, and they prevent strangers from trying to talk to me.

I've had a couple of interesting conversations in years of traveling on planes, but mostly my seatmates have been crushing bores. The most interesting one was in shackles and accompanied by law enforcement types, but he didn't speak much English. Seemed like a friendly guy, though.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:33 PM
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Happy Birthday, teo.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:34 PM
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everyone wants to talk to me on the plane, but it's true small children are a nigh-foolproof dissuader.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:35 PM
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Thanks, Jesus.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:35 PM
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happy birthday! there's something funny looking about 258. like, you should have just been cured of blindness or something rather than felicitated on your birthday.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:36 PM
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How do you know I wasn't?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:37 PM
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And thanks.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:37 PM
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255, 257: Mine starts conversations with strangers pretty much at random. It makes shopping hard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:38 PM
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¡Feliz cumpleaños teófilo (and, if memory serves, BG?)!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:39 PM
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Gracias, Estanley. And yes, BG has the same birthday. Happy birthday, BG!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:40 PM
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I recommend making funny faces at kids on the train or plane if they're gaping at you. But there's always the risk that they will try to alert their parents to your funniness.

Communicating via funny faces is something you can do even while wearing earbuds!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:40 PM
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Happy birthday, fellow Librans.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:40 PM
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Happy birthday, Teo. You've grown up so much!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:43 PM
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265: I remember a friend making faces at some stranger's baby for a full dinner. They never noticed. I think they were just happy to eat. And then I had to stop my friend from chasing after Michael Keaton who was walking in as we were leaving.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:44 PM
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Happy birthday, teo!

Happy birthday, BG!

Congratulations, RTFS and SO!

(Did I miss anyone?)


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:44 PM
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Thanks, eb, Megan, and (). I'm going to bed now, so I won't be able to do any more individual thanks tonight, but I'll try to catch up to any more tomorrow.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:46 PM
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236: Definitely out. I am one of those people who is both terrified of flying and thinks it's terribly silly to be terrified of flying, though, so I tend to have an invisible-to-me sign on my forehead that reads, in large neon letters, JUST TRYING NOT TO FREAK OUT, MAN.

I do apparently have a sign that says, "Please talk to me

As noted above by LB and others, I get asked for directions all the time. I also occasionally draw the Surreal Stranger card. Sunday morning Rah and I went to a local place for brunch. I was wearing this t-shirt. A woman in her 70's approached, put a hand firmly on my arm and said, voice low, "I'll ask you about your conspiracy theories..."

I completely clammed up and said, "Um, well, it's glow in the dark and there's an alien face and uh..." She smiled faintly and walked away. Later, as she and her husband were leaving, she stopped at the table and said, "I'll be back later to ask you again. Maybe it will be dark then."

My long-time friend KJ, who occasionally comments here, tends to hear people's life stories before takeoff. On the way to Russia, about an hour into the flight, we went to the smoking section of the plane and she said to me, "So, the woman next to me? Yeah, I'm the first person she's told about her pregnancy."


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:58 PM
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And happy birthdays to teo & BG, and congratulations to rfts & snark!


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 10:59 PM
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People also like to tell me about their relationship problems without ever saying anything happy or joyful about the relationship. Everyone else seems only to have heard happy and joyful things about the relationship, including the partner in question. It then becomes really really difficult to engage with that person's partner or other friends when/if the need arises.

This usually makes me feel, first, that I'm getting the "real" story, and then, later, that I'm the portable real-life Unfogged of the world, where people go to create personae that may or may not have any relationship with the rest of their lives, and where they go to say regrettable things about loved ones. Also, like Unfogged, a lot of people use me as a place to practice flirting before finding "real" people to sleep with.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:07 PM
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I think I have a version of the AWB-esque talk-to-me-ness, and I've been wondering if it's tied to my (very much self-aware) reluctance to make snap decisions. I hate-hate-hate being asked about my immediate reaction to something, because I just don't know, usually. I'm much better off giving you my opinion the next day or a week or month later.

I figure it ends up looking like an immediately outward non-judgmentalism that's inviting to other people. But at the same time, it makes me feel rather indecisive if put on the spot.

Despite the cliché, I really do like to sleep on any major decision.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:17 PM
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I'm pretty certain that most of the conversations I've had on planes had no sexual component, or at least not between us (one woman went off in some detail about what she'd do when she got to finally see her long distance boyfriend). I've certainly never tried to hit on someone on a plane. Last plane ride I had two sets - one with the teenager sitting next to me resulting from me translating for her, one from overhearing the two older women sitting behind me discussing having run the same mountain marathon my mom just had. Nor do I think the guy who commented on the book I was reading on the subway was hitting on me - just a genuine expression of interest in me reading the eighteenth century chinese novel that he'd just read.

Cafes and bars are a different story, though even there the majority of conversations are just folks passing the time.


Posted by: terez kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:20 PM
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I'm not sure how I feel about 274 and its unsettling likeness to me. I'm going to sleep on it.

But before I do that, I will also say that I get asked directions quite frequently. Including where to find things in stores. I don't know if I just look like a generic employee, or if it's that I (falsely) look like I know what I'm doing so people figure that I must know in which aisle the twine is).


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:23 PM
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That makes sense, Stanley. I don't tend to evaluate situations, but instead describe or analyze them. So I don't often tell people what to do; I just say back to them what they just said in different terms. It's a great habit as a teacher, but would be confusing in a casual conversation, maybe.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:24 PM
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And yes, that's the proper way to use parentheses. You knew that, didn't you?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:25 PM
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There's a passage in The Moviegoer that I remember being directly relevant to the xkcd, which I thought had been previously quoted somewhere, but I can't find it online.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:27 PM
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I think I just look friendly, and that's why people talk to me. I have had people tell me I look intimidating, but I think I must have had my game face on for some reason.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:27 PM
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Happy birthday, teo and BG.

I think I must look very antisocial, because people never talk to me. Except to ask for directions, which might have something to do with how I walk very quickly and thus seem to know where I'm going?

Random people also seem to talk to me much more when I'm in foreign countries. I give directions to other tourists all the time. Some old dude was trying to keep up with me while rambling about something yesterday, and my repeating "Non ho capito" and "non parlo italiano" a few times didn't make a difference.

If people try to talk to me on planes I try to look hostile and then pretend to be asleep. We're crammed into a tiny space together! I'm trying to forget that you exist.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:28 PM
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I've had quite a few conversations on trains. Planes and trains are different vehicles in so many ways.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:30 PM
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Yeah, it's funny -- women I know with who attract random conversation from strangers tend to be people who I think of as tough. When I talk about it being something to do with demeanor, I think the impression might be that people who look soft or easily pushed around attract weirdos, but it doesn't seem to be like that -- you're assertive, M. Leblanc is assertive, Megan's assertive, the friend of mine I'm thinking of who gets random people picking her up constantly is assertive -- whatever it is that makes people talk to you isn't looking weak, it's something different.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:31 PM
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then pretend to be asleep.

I was sorely tempted to do this when there was a lull in a conversation thinly-veiled monologue by a Norwegian-American who had just visited family. He kept asking me if I'd ever had [tradition Norwegian dish]. Also if I'd had a chance to see the northern lights. Uh, you know it's midnight sun season, right? I stayed awake because it was a scenic train ride and when would I ever be in Norway again?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:34 PM
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I tend to have a strong presumption that people in public don't want strangers to talk to them, because I usually don't. But then there are the times when, in retrospect, I probably should have. That time when I was in line for some museum in Europe and the people in front of me were talking animatedly about hyperbolic geometry! That time I was at a concert by myself and some attractive woman stood very close for a while, then sighed loudly and walked off to stand very close to some other dude who struck up a conversation with her! Maybe I should rethink being a total misanthrope.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:44 PM
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I say hey to anyone reading Tristram Shandy, but that's my threshold. There are other books I like, of course, but that's the only one I feel the need to say hey about.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:46 PM
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Have I ever told the story about the attractive young woman at the museum I was in, where we went through every room in order at almost the same pace, and when one of us got a room ahead, that one seemed to linger until the other had caught up, but we never said a word to each other the entire time? That's pretty much the whole story, except she stood right next to me at the gift shop looking at postcards, and I couldn't think of anything to say.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:51 PM
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In my case, I'm pretty sure it is because I join and hold eye contact. But, like I said, I'm not getting pervy picking up. I'm getting regular chat from most of the people who do want to talk, and strange inappropriate intimacies from not-all-there people.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-28-09 11:55 PM
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I suspect this was something like that. He mentioned how he loved it and that it was the second time he'd read it. We're talking about a five good sized volume novel filled with interjections of verse and going into fine detail on upper class chinese society and thought of the day. Also tons of fun so far, though the first hundred pages were a bit confusing. So, "Story of the Stone a.k.a. Dream of the Red Chamber", recommended.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:00 AM
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287: I have a comparable story I've also almost certainly told here of a woman in Chile who helped me find Rayuela in a bookshop. I subsequently ended up next to her at an intersection and asked her what she had bought back at the bookstore (something by Anaïs Nin, as I recall).

We went for a beer, had a great time, and hung out several more times. Talk to people, I say, but be not-weird about it, if we're adopting a rule.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:01 AM
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289: Some Chinese literature student I was talking to years ago said that they changed translators - this may apply only to the Penguin or a similar edition - a few volumes in, with the result that the novel reads very differently after the switch.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:05 AM
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290: Somewhere I can't find in the archives is a story that ended much differently, where I met a woman in a sewer - ok, storm drain - in Vienna and we ended up walking around for a while until she realized she miscalculated the 24 hour time notation and had to run to catch a train. I'm not always clueless at this. Just usually.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:10 AM
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I'm commenting way too much lately.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:10 AM
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And I have finally finished the piece of shit I was trying to get written, and can go home. Man, I haven't pulled a late night like this in ages (and if I weren't such a screwup, I wouldn't have had to tonight.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:11 AM
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And while I'm waging the case for "sleeping on it", isn't the Spanish notion consultar con la almohada (directly, consult with the pillow) just lovely? Are there other versions of that idea in other languages?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:12 AM
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According to the intro it also switched authors. The first three volumes circulated for a couple decades in manuscript form, becoming increasingly popular. The last two seem to have disappeared, perhaps destroyed by the authors family after his death. Then some folks put out a 'complete' printed edition. Other ones followed, but it's that one which is accepted as the 'real' one.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:13 AM
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294: Felicitations and good night! I should probably go to sleep, as it is, and I wasn't doing anything important.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:14 AM
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296: Ah, that's probably what it is and I misunderstood translator for author.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:15 AM
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It's one of those books I've had for years - probably assigned for a class I never took - that I wonder if I'll ever read it. Periodically I say I'm going to read some more fiction, but I never get to much of it.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:17 AM
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I don't think I've ever struck up a conversation with someone in public* where I had any conscious intentions other than just to make conversation.

Girls used to approach me fairly often, though. Which, even though I wasn't usually interested, was quite sweet. Books and cameras seem to be things that attract comment and conversation from strangers [male and female]. I've had girls approach me a couple of times and ask me to take their picture, because I am carrying some ancient or funky looking camera. Men will express camera-nerdy fascination. Which is cool. I've done the same (once) when I saw some old dude with a particular cool old camera.

* not including bars/clubs, which are a different type of 'zone'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:22 AM
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Periodically I say I'm going to read some more fiction, but I never get to much of it.

I've been that way for years, finally resolved to do something about it, and it turns out it's really great to be reading again...started White Noise tonight. Fun.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:30 AM
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al sidles up near eb in the comments thread. "so, um, hi?"

glad you're done LB. now we reach the unfogged dead zone during which only euro readers are awake with me. I have a fever and it's making me feel a little weird. probably I'll just watch the end of season 3 of heroes. quizno!


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:34 AM
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you should really be reading tristram shandy, parenthetical, but we'll let it slide this time as long as you promise to do so at your earliest convenience.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:35 AM
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insomniac angelenos present and accounted for


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:37 AM
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now we reach the unfogged dead zone during which only euro readers are awake with me.

Careful there. You might clip one of us slow-to-bedders.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:38 AM
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It's on my list; but I needed something short to fill the spaces between long books.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:38 AM
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I'm awake! I'm awake!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:39 AM
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301: I used to love DeLillo. But the trick is to read only the DeLillo books worth reading, because now I file him under "meh" after reading a few of his books that I didn't care for. (I couldn't finish Americana, which was boring and sloppily written. But it was his first novel, I think.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:40 AM
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I obviously over-estimated the sleepiness.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:40 AM
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Or maybe my tastes changed. I was young and stupid in my DeLillo-loving phase.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:43 AM
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I hate delillo.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:44 AM
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re: 308

Yeah. I only really enjoyed 'White Noise'. Most of the rest I hated. I particularly hated 'Underworld' which I file in my 'fat books with far too much fucking baseball' category.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:46 AM
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Well, that validates 310, maybe. (I could re-read and see what I think now, but that threatens to be profoundly disappointing, like re-watching favorite childhood cartoons.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:48 AM
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I seem to remember liking The Names and Libra a lot.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:50 AM
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Well, happy birthday to Teo! Happy birthday to BG! And happy whateveritisbecauseIcan'tfindthecommentdescribingitbutI'mgladwhateverishappenedunlessit'sbad to RTFS and somebody.

max
['Generic salutations and felicitations on the occasion of [describe occasion], [insert person's name]! May you have [insert anticipated positive future event]! Sincerely, [your name goes here]']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:51 AM
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A variation on the theme: because I home educate, I often have children with me when out and about in the daytime. Some people I know get asked, "No school today?" weekly. I've been asked it maybe 3 times in the 8 years since my eldest hit school age.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:52 AM
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Planes: I went to a wedding in Norman, OK last year. I realized late in the game that Norman is a good ways (25 mi) from OKC, and that public transit wouldn't be much of an option for a midnight arrival in that part of the world. So I was on the DEN-OKC leg, and the couple sitting next to me was quite Oklahoman-looking (overalls, for example). The guy struck up a conversation with me, I asked them questions about their trip, and they related their Alaskan experience to me, and expresses awe at the tall buildings they saw during their brief stop in Seattle. After I tell him the purpose of my visit, he asks how I will be getting to Norman. I tell him I don't know, and he offers me a ride, saying they'd be headed that way.

So when we land, I follow this couple through the baggage claim, wait while they bid their friends farewell, take the shuttle with them to the off-airport parking, and get in their car. And, in fact, they give me a ride to my destination, which was quite nice of them. On the way the guy points out an Olive Garden, and states that it's probably the best restaurant in the area, and, upon finding out where I grew up, asks me the name of the "colored fella" who played for the Twins for a long time. (Kirby Puckett, it turned out he was thinking of.) It was interesting--he didn't seem to be concerned that I might be a sneering coastal elitist, and didn't seem to have much awareness of or concern that he might be playing into stereotypes about his area. (Which contrasts with the terrible insecurity I had about the perception of my place of upbringing when I left MN.)

Directions: I'm happy to be approached about them, because I tend to know how to get a lot of places around here, and I like the feeling of knowledgeability I get from being able to spout off a quick answer to a question. In fact, if I'm in a touristy part of town, and waiting for a bus, I'll sometimes even approach people and offer to give them directions, if they look like they might be lost. (Staring at a map for a long period of time is usually a good clue.)


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 1:04 AM
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||
I need to donate to Gary Farber, just for bringing this awesomeness to my attention.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Jzq4UrDvITQ/Sr_Mdmr5pkI/AAAAAAAAAVk/0JfoUN8qIJs/s1600-h/c+ad+council.jpg

|>


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 1:28 AM
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318 is great. Kid A's school are having a big thing about internet safety at the moment, which she is finding hilarious. (She keeps threatening to tell her ICT teacher that her mother flew to DC to meet a bunch of strangers.) I've just printed it out and stuck it on her door.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 1:36 AM
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Americana is a terrible, terrible book. His second novel, End Zone is much better.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 1:45 AM
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When I run an airline, we will licence in and modcop the software from an e-dating site and use it for seat allocation. All the guys on trips to conferences who just want to work on their laptops will be sat next to other guys just like themselves. All the people who are transferring in from a hellish ten-hour overnight flight and just want to sleep, likewise. The chatty/flirty student types will be put next to other chatty/flirty student types. The US foreign correspondents will be put next to articulate foreigners with good punchy 200-word anecdotes about the politics of their home countries. The business traveller will be put next to someone in roughly the same field (networking opportunities!)

Small children will ride in the hold.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 3:18 AM
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||

Happy Birthday, Teo.

|>


Posted by: Bostniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 5:05 AM
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I like Gaddis much better than DeLillo, myself. One more voice for Tristram Shandy, as well. I have been enjoying 17-18th century diaries and letters lately-- Pepys, Mme de Sevigne, Mary Wortley Montagu are all interesting.

Doesn't happen all that often, but my kid and I are in the massage-chair section of department stores occasionally waiting, which is a hotbed of male conversation, not usually sports.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 5:26 AM
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319:

Asilon, did you tell her that you were the bigger danger to the strangers?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 5:36 AM
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Looks like I missed out on some hott sidling action.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 6:41 AM
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Sidling rivalry?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 7:13 AM
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324: She tried to sidle up to us, be we had seen all the PSAs about sidling, so we were prepared.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 7:23 AM
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Ajay - put me down for a ticket on your inaugural flight.

Will - oh ha ha. I don't think *I* was the one grabbing butts.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 7:32 AM
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321: My ideal airline would involve IV sedation at the terminal, dropping the passengers into self-contained little pods sort of a mix of intermodal shipping container and coffin, and waking up at the destination all refreshed and ready to go. Book through my online service and we'll do the sedation at your house and wake you up at your hotel.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 8:23 AM
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When I've tried striking up conversations with strangers, I think there has always been that hope of picking them up, even if the conversation was pleasant and worth continuing after it became clear that no picking up would ensue. (For example, after she introduced me to her boyfriend.) I'm not so chatty that I strike up conversations with people with no ulterior motive at all. On the other hand, I don't think I'm annoying about it (but then, who does?). As far as I can remember I've only struck up a conversation with a stranger on public transportation during commuting hours once. She was reading a Steven King book - the third or fourth in the Dark Tower series, I think - and I asked her about it, a legitimate question since I had only read the first two books in the series and wanted to know what she thought of the rest.

That seems to be another problem with the scenario in the XKCD comic. A tiny problem, of course, but 330 comments in, what else are we talking about? What I mean is, "cute netbook"? Unless there are bumper stickers on it or another personalized touch, or unless it's some really trendy model beloved by hipsters, that's just vapid.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 8:41 AM
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329: Ever watch True Blood?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 8:42 AM
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One more voice for Tristram Shandy, as well. I have been enjoying 17-18th century diaries and letters lately-- Pepys, Mme de Sevigne, Mary Wortley Montagu are all interesting./i>

This is embarrassing to say, but the problem with Tristram Shandy is that it's too much like work reading. I need my for fun books to not be so historical. But I'll get there, really.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 8:54 AM
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I'm pretty sure I've written comment 329 before. Maybe more than once.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 9:08 AM
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Ah. Here.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 9:10 AM
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329: hmm, nice idea, but I'd always be worried about waking up half way there. CLAUSTROPHOBIA PREMATURE BURIAL FAIL.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 9:17 AM
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#318. That's why I don't try to chat up strangers.

I'd pick The Names, Underworld, or Great Jones Street as my favorite DeLillo books. But it's been more than a decade since I've read any DeLillo at all and it's possible that I'd like them all a lot less now. I couldn't bring myself to read Cosmopolis at all.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 9:22 AM
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335: For instance.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 9:22 AM
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Actually, once settled in, I kind of like having a crappy red wine and either watching clouds or reading or talking with my kid if he's along. He is happy with a book or handheld videogame for a while, though.

What's occasionally harrowing is the last 5 miles of travel in a new place-- finding your lodgings for the first time while tired and irritable sucks, especially if you need to worry about roving packs of teens and your luggage or driving someplace new. Flights longer than 7 hours are very trying, IMO better off with a plane change and chance to stretch legs. Of course, doing that exponentially increases the odds of lost luggage. What I can't understand is why not ship changes of clothes by cargo? Being able to carry just a little bit of stuff knowing that the rest is waiting would make flexible travel sooo much easier. Logistics exist, why not?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 9:31 AM
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332: (a) The first few chapters are the hardest.
(b) If you don't "get" something, let it go, because it will come up again later.
(c) Only read a couple of pages at a time. Leave it on your toilet, or only read it on the train, or whatever.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 9:40 AM
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Further to 339: I watched the movie version with Steve Coogan a couple years before I tried the book. It turned out to be pretty helpful, especially with the action of the first few chapters, and it's a pretty good movie.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 9:45 AM
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320: Americana is a terrible, terrible book.

I actually kinda liked it back in the day (and a lot of his early stuff, End Zone, Great Jones Street (I was amused when relative moved to that very short street)). But for terrible, try Ratner's Star (aka A Massive Book Conclusively Demonstrating That I Am Not Thomas Pynchon). I barely muddled through that one, and then Running Dog put me on a 20-year hiatus from him. But just recently I caught up with White Noise and Underworld based on some stuff Bérubé wrote. Really enjoyed those, although I agree with the "too much baseball" criticism of the latter.

Of course TS rules all.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 9:45 AM
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333: Because you are super smart, like me.

||
And in other news, there are worse things to do at work than comment here.
|>


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 9:46 AM
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342.2: "He even offered, among other explanations, a humanitarian defense, suggesting that he frequented the porn sites to provide a living to the poor overseas women."

Because he was a feminist.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 9:52 AM
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Given that this sort of thing is apparently not allowed if you are a government employee:

chatting online with nude or partially clad women without being detected,

I would like to request that anyone commenting from home go put some pants on. Well, not Apo, that would be unreasonable, but everyone else.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 9:53 AM
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You know, like Roman Polanski.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 9:53 AM
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345 originally to 343.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 9:54 AM
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Everyone except Apo is like Roman Polanski?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 9:54 AM
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Tne Steve Coogan movie was a brilliant adaptation to film, a really nice translation from one medium to another, much more than just a retelling with sets.

It pointed me to 24 hour party people, which I liked a lot as well.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 9:58 AM
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re: 348

's Winterbottom, innit. He has a pretty fine track record.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 9:59 AM
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I would like to request that anyone commenting from home go put some pants on

What about those commenting partially-clad from work? Lifeguards? Marine biologists? Strippers?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 10:03 AM
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In my worst plane-chatting experience, the guy sitting next to me hinted early on that he'd done advance work for Clinton in China. It sounded like an intriguing story, so I walked across that burning bridge, allowing conversation instead of securing the mumble zone around me.

It turned out very shortly into the flight that his politics weren't anodyne-Dem-booster, or even loathsome New Dem apologist, but straight up Ayn Rand robot. He'd gotten the gig because he'd been at the scene and spoken Chinese, and slowly wormed the conversation over to his absurd and unassailable beliefs.

I got out of it by asking him to time me while I took the practice tests from his LSAT prep book. Interactive, but on my terms and with long runs of silent, absorbing conversation. "Those logic puzzles can be pretty hard. Do you know how to grid them out?" Screw you, Greenspan, you're just sweating because I'm outscoring you on every one.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 10:06 AM
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Relative to 344, I am wearing a pink bathrobe made of bamboo. Very comfy.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 10:07 AM
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A few weeks ago the wife (heresoafter "HJ") and I spent the night in San Diego. She took the car to work and I took the train home. I plopped down on a bus between Union Station and the Men's Jail and opened up my copy of Infinite Jest with its twin bookmarks, feeling not a little bit self-satisfied about doin' the DFW on the MTA at nine in the morning.

And then the hipster girl next to me opens her copy of Gravity's Rainbow. Boom! Grand-comic-novel-public-transportation-trumped.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 10:16 AM
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Everyone except Apo is like Roman Polanski?

Yes. I'm like Russ Meyer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 10:22 AM
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my child and I are in the massage-chair section of department stores occasionally waiting,

This is an ingenious solution (though unavailable if there is no furniture section, I suppose). While perennially waiting for my sister and mother to finish shopping, I spent way too much time as a kid sitting next manikins, because they stood on raised platforms that were the closest thing to seats in department stores made without waiting areas (no doubt by design).


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 10:24 AM
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Thanks for the TS advice, AWB and Bave.

White Noise is the only DeLillo I've (partially) read, but I love it so far...


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 11:16 AM
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329: I liked Hudson Hawk, too.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 11:32 AM
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OT:
7.9 Richter scale earthquake just off Samoa. There's a tsunami warning.

Damn, I hope everyone's okay. I don't know how built up it's gotten since I was there -- back in the early 90s, there were very few buildings over two stories, so not much to damage in an earthquake.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 12:50 PM
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I keep wanting to mention things I've heard here on Unfogged, but I'm never sure if I heard it on Unfogged in the first place. For example, I wanted to ask LB if she heard that Samoa just switched from driving on the right to driving on the left, so that they can import used cars from Australia, but for all I know the only reason I know this is that LB mentioned it on a thread here.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 1:25 PM
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I don't think I mentioned it here -- I saw it, but couldn't really think of why anyone but me would be interested.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 1:29 PM
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I enjoyed DeLillo's Mao II.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 1:35 PM
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I don't think I mentioned it here -- I saw it, but couldn't really think of why anyone but me would be interested.

Somebody mentioned that fact here, and I thought it was LB, but don't recall for sure.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 4:32 PM
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Maybe I did? I dunno.

Who are all you people? Where am I? And where did the emu come from?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 4:34 PM
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You did mention it, LB. Or someone did, because I had heard about the Samoa thing before.

max
['You're part of the collective unconscious.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 5:08 PM
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so that they can import used cars from Australia

Ohhhhh, is that why? I was wondering.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 5:14 PM
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Way up at comment 80:

Chopper, we bought one of these and it turned a very uncomfortable mattress into pure awesome.

Apo, thanks for this link! I've got to look into this memory foam mattress topper thingamajig!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 5:40 PM
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I followed a link for some fancy bedding recently and discovered that it was being made in what used to be the general store where I bought penny candy as a kid. Hmm.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 09-29-09 6:53 PM
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366 - we have one too - very nice.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09-30-09 12:54 AM
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Us two too.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-30-09 1:29 AM
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I read Mao II and it didn't excite me that much. It might have been the first DeLillo I read, though.

I'm surprised that Libra is as good as it is. It seems like such an obvious subject for DeLillo, and so fitting his worldview, that in actuality it should lead to a lazy, shitty book. But I liked it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-30-09 3:41 PM
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