Re: The Kindness Of Strangers

1

I was traveling on the interstate once when somebody's bike fell off their car and just about smashed me. I just called him a fucker and kept driving, either because my heart stopped completely while I was trying to figure out if I was going to die or not or because I'm from Nebraska.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:21 AM
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while I was trying to figure out if I was going to die or not

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:29 AM
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An image-search for "Lubbock haboob" supplements the posted photo nicely, if by "nicely" one means "horrifyingly."


Posted by: Stranded in Lubbock | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 9:07 AM
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||

P.S. If anyone would like to meet up in the DC area over the next few months, please let me know.

|>


Posted by: Stranded in Lubbock | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 9:17 AM
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During similar snow or fog-induced driving situations, the deficiencies inherent in having the same signal (hazard lights) mean either "I am traveling significantly slower than the speed limit in the travel lane" (over a potentially wide range of speeds) or "I am stopped on the shoulder (or what I hope is the shoulder)" have impressed themselves on my quite forcefully.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 9:17 AM
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my s/b me


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 9:17 AM
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AB was once traveling behind a truck that lost... something big. I think an extension ladder. No time or space to react, but the ladder kicked off to the side and no harm was done.

A couple years ago we were driving across the sand hills of Nebraska, like you do, and had a tire blow out at ~85 MPH. AB was driving, had no idea what had happened, but got us very neatly pulled off to the side. In the ~20 minutes it took us to empty the back of the car to get out the (full size, thank you VW) spare, I'm pretty sure the only thing that passed us was a state employee on a tractor.

Last summer we were driving northeast from Denver and ran out of gas just shy of Fort Morgan. Fortuitously, I had my bike with me, so I rode towards town (we were right by an exit, so I was on the highway shoulder for like 100 yds) past all these farms and things (super hot, blazing sun, big winds, no water). Luckily there was a machine repair shop with a very nice guy who lent me a gas can (which we managed to bungie strap to the bike). Super nice Coloradan.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 9:35 AM
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The language of miracles and charity is also quite appropriate within the specific context of panhandle weather, which has often been described to us as biblical. The next meteorological level-up after dust-storm/haboob is mud-rain, and let me tell you, a barrage of wet, falling mud-clumps does nothing to undermine that description.


Posted by: Stranded in Lubbock | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 9:40 AM
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4: Well, that's not very specific. Perhaps I'll wait for other DC folks to chime in, or did you want a series of weekend engagements with each available commenter?


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 9:49 AM
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May I be the first to suggest Fresh Salt? Damn, doesn't work.

StInLu, pick a couple of dates; interested DC commenters who are aware of possible venues, identify such, and then you should all be off to the races.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 9:53 AM
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Does anybody want to have a sand hills of Nebraska meet-up?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 9:56 AM
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9, 10: Sorry, I just didn't want to threadjack with a detailed exchange. We're in town until May 15th or so, so we can be pretty flexible as to the specifics. If people aren't comfortable taking the conversation to email, of course I'll be happy to respond here as well.


Posted by: Stranded in Lubbock | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 9:57 AM
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For the last time, Moby, were not going to participate in a cob-raising.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 9:59 AM
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I could use some help with an apostrophe raising, though.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 10:00 AM
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You can't build cob in the sand hills. The soil is just sand. There's no clay content to hold it together.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 10:00 AM
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That's too bad; I was just playing hard to get. A meetup spent building a house sounds incredibly fun, if a bit unsafe.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 10:02 AM
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And you have demonstrated plumbing skills, even.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 10:04 AM
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I don't want to brag, but get me drunk enough and I'll stick my hand in any hole, no matter how filthy.
I tried to write that sentence without the innuendo, but I had to give up.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 10:10 AM
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Because I'm genuinely afraid of not following LB's instructions, I will suggest the following specific dates. Maybe Saturday, 2/15, or Saturday, 2/22? Either afternoon or evening could work for us.


Posted by: Stranded in Lubbock | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 10:11 AM
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It would have been contrary to the spirit of the blog not to wallow in it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 10:12 AM
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19: Either date works for me.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 10:14 AM
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11: The Nebraska Sandhills is one of the US geographies I've sadly missed so far. Intend to rectify that someday and probably link in some further time in the Flint Hills and the Badlands. Except boring as hell. But that's also kind of the point.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 10:20 AM
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Well, I'm going back for my high school reunion this summer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 10:24 AM
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You're a gem, Eggplant! And I'd drive to a cob-house-raising meetup for sure.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 10:32 AM
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The sand hills really blew me (and AB) away. Hard to explain, but just amazing.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 10:36 AM
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Vaguely on-topic:

@samuelpepys
I sitting in a dark place, a lady spit backward upon me by a mistake. After seeing her to be a very pretty lady, I was not troubled at it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 10:42 AM
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25: "Hills of sand covered in grass grazed upon by cows" is technically accurate.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 10:43 AM
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In southern NM, there are lots of signs on the highway instructing you that, in case of dust storms, you should

1. Turn off your lights
2. Pull onto the shoulder
3. Stop

Which makes enough sense but still spooks me.

Scomber mix and I were driving through a few years back and encountered minor dust storms and massive tumbleweeds. First and only time the driving skills of my native state have proved more useful than his. Then we got a tiny bit of snow and I was back to comparative uselessness.

In other news, this business of having a feverish child for days is pretty overrated.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 10:43 AM
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28 last: What are you supposed to do when you encounter a tumbleweed on the highway? My guess would be "not swerve" but it's never happened to me.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 11:00 AM
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I mean second-last.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 11:00 AM
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Interesting. I didn't see any of those where we were, but there were fewer dust storms. Stopping would make me very, very nervous.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 11:02 AM
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When that ridiculous haboob came through Lubbock a couple of years ago, you couldn't even walk outside, let alone drive. The dust was so thick, it was setting off smoke alarms.


Posted by: Stranded in Lubbock | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 11:16 AM
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I totally forgot about the huboob. My friend who moved from Michigan to Arizona and is posting nonstop updates about how everyone back home should either stop whining about the weather and move away, she was certainly whining then.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 11:18 AM
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It was amazing, honestly. Haboob rolls in, chases everyone inside. Dust from outside seeps inside, thickly enough to set off the smoke alarms and send everyone rushing out again for fear of fire--right back into the dirt and whipping winds of the haboob.


Posted by: Stranded in Lubbock | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 11:24 AM
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I've mentioned it here before, but if you want a book that starts bleak and gets bleaker, you can't go wrong with The Wind (1925). The author spent some time in Sweetwater, Texas as a child and it clearly left an impression.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 11:51 AM
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Thanks, JP. Hadn't actually seen that before.


Posted by: Stranded in Lubbock | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 12:03 PM
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29: yep. Don't flinch, don't swerve. We hit a couple of tangled many-tumbleweed masses that day that were the size of a couch, but even at that scale they still just shatter on impact.

31: understandably, and obviously stopping with your lights on is a terrible idea. I think that's part of the reason the signs are so frequent, so that you can have a reasonable expectation that everyone will know what to do and do it.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 1:33 PM
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19/21: Either is fine for me, too.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 7:41 PM
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Each time I see the word "haboob" in this thread, I throw up my hands and shout, "Hooray!"


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 7:48 PM
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Standpipe! Bridgeplate!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 7:54 PM
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Haboob.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 7:59 PM
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Hooray!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:07 PM
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Haraay!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:10 PM
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Boehner. Darker-skinned than Obama?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:11 PM
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Dunno. I refuse to look at either of them unless they take off their superhero masks and assure me they're friendly.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:15 PM
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Oh, I have that dream. Then there's that cool car and the guy with the... it might be cake? I don't think it's maybe cake, no.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:18 PM
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Boehner appears to be made of fine Corinthian leather.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:19 PM
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Dark sulky thug glowers in background as President addresses nation.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:25 PM
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Boehner appears to be made of fine Corinthian leather.

And gin.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:25 PM
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Standpipe!

Anyway, I have a few stories along the same lines as the OP, but it looks like this has become the SOTU thread so I'll save them for later.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:29 PM
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The Wind is a pretty good silent film, IIRC.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:34 PM
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But what about the bikes? Did they get sandblasted? Did they need work? What model were they, anyway?


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:37 PM
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A country of high winds and sun...
and of little rain


Posted by: Pare Lorentz | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:39 PM
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The back wheel on each bike was bent and needed to be replaced; otherwise, not a scratch on either. My wife's bike is a nice enough Fuji cross bike. Mine is an IF Planet X (thanks Wafer!).


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:40 PM
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39: The haboob consultants are very pleased.

21, 38: Great! How about Saturday, 2/22, then? Maybe a late-afternoon amble through one of the museums around the Mall, followed by drinks/small-plates at someplace like Cava Mezze, near Eastern Market? Other suggestions? Anybody else?


Posted by: Stranded in Lubbock | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:45 PM
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Oh, the SOTU is tonight? Is the state of our union strong?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:50 PM
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Also, Standpipe!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:50 PM
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I believe the state of our union is somewhere around Illinois.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 8:54 PM
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55: That sounds great. Yay meetup in DC!


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 9:45 PM
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Also there should be other folks around. E. Messily? Cyrus? md 20/400?


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 01-28-14 10:02 PM
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59: Woohoo!

Powers that be, could we have a dedicated thread?


Posted by: Stranded in Lubbock | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 6:29 AM
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Remind me a week beforehand. Or, actually, remind the frontpagers generally -- I'll be on vacation from the 14th on, and may not be responsive.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 7:05 AM
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I'll be on vacation from the 14th on, and may not be responsive.

Ketamine sensory deprivation tank spa!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 7:13 AM
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62: Will do. Thanks!


Posted by: Stranded in Lubbock | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 7:17 AM
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55: Excellent, sounds like a plan. Might be easier to eat at Gallery Place than Eastern Market from the Mall, but I guess that would depend on how many we have and from where in the area.

59: I think you're missing a half-dozen, but I'm not sure the bat signal is working.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 7:57 AM
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I'm in the vicinity, and can probably do a field trip to DC proper depending on my generally crappy health. Tentatively count me in!


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 8:00 AM
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65: Indeed, I forgot Turgid Jacobian, Bonsaisue, and probably several others. My limited unfogged social network, let me show it to you. Also, lurkers?

Is there anywhere around Gallery Place that won't be crowded on Saturday night? Another possibility might be to go to U Street.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 8:10 AM
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65, 66: Awesome. So, so far, tentatively, we have me, togolosh, ydnew, torrey pine, and E. Messily for a late-afternoon meetup at the Mall on 2/22. Who else?


Posted by: Stranded in Lubbock | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 8:15 AM
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I'm totally open to other food/drink suggestions, btw. I was just thinking Cava Mezze would be a good place for an indeterminately biggish group with mixed preferences for food--particularly if we do something on the eastish end of the Mall, e.g., the National Gallery.


Posted by: Stranded in Lubbock | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 8:20 AM
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67.2 I was figuring everywhere would be crowded on a Saturday night, but Gallery Place/Metro Center might be easier transit-wise since folks can easily hop on any line to go home. No big deal for me either way, but it might be for others? Zaytinya (Greek tapas) is good for groups, although it would be smart to do a reservation with a reasonable estimate of headcount.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 9:11 AM
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It's unlikely that I'll be up for much in the way of walking around, but I'll meet up with everyone when they get to a place with foods and drinks.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 9:27 AM
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Zaytinya would work well --it's surprisingly not noisy even when it's crowded. And it's close to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which scores highly on the all-important metric of art per cubic meter.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 9:59 AM
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it's surprisingly not noisy even when it's crowded

Way to make acoustical engineers cry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 10:00 AM
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it's surprisingly pleasantly not noisy even when it's crowded

I have to get better at saying these things.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 10:17 AM
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You shouldn't take me so seriously.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 10:18 AM
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American Art + Zaytinya sounds like fun to me, and I agree with ydnew about the desirability of a res for a larger group.


Posted by: Stranded in Lubbock | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 10:55 AM
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It's unlikely that I'll be up for much in the way of walking around, but I'll meet up with everyone when they get to a place with foods and drinks.

Likewise. My mobility is limited right now by a major flareup of back pain (could barely even walk yesterday, which made getting home from work super-fun). Also I'm a bit of a philistine when it comes to art, so I blaze through museums at too rapid a rate for connoisseurs. I do look forward to seeing everyone though. This should be fun.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 11:30 AM
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Sounds good! As we get closer to the 22nd and know our numbers and timing better, I'll call in a reservation.


Posted by: Stranded in Lubbock | Link to this comment | 01-29-14 11:41 AM
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I have a cobbing clay deposit a couple hundred meters from a gravel hill to build on (thank you, recent glaciation). I ever get around to building with it, I'll invite all you all.

Which reminds me, if I were going all-out on this, I'd plant thatching rushes in the local wetlands now. Maybe the native plants would work.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-31-14 3:07 PM
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I know you're not serious, but yeah, looking for a native species is probably a better idea than introducing something from overseas. Thatching rushes probably aren't kudzu, but who knows.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-31-14 3:12 PM
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79: My cousin's actually done some work with using alternative rushes for thatching. Not sure how the experiments turned out, but he was really into it for awhile.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-31-14 3:23 PM
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The PNW is reasonably well endowed with wetland species despite our infamously depauperate flora, but not all the native species occur in every wetland, especially someplace still getting over its second clearcut.

There's a harder puzzle in figuring out whether the risk of introducing a species is better or worse than the definite harm of bringing in roofing material from offsite. Pre-Columbian thatch would have been cedar bark, but I don't have enough big cedar trees, because clearcuts. Pity; even in its native clime they're amazingly rot-resistant. I was trenching once and hit what seemed to be a seam of red clay, which was not at all what I expected -- but actually it was a buried cedar log, about six feet in diameter, being reduced to humic materials in situ. Still smelled faintly wonderful.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-31-14 3:26 PM
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I tried making a frith wood, but it didn't survive my being gone for six years (and not knowing how in the first place, and it probably isn't usually done with alder, but still).


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-31-14 3:27 PM
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What's a frith wood? Googling, the first page of hits are all specific place names or frith as an archaic synonym for 'wood'. Coppicing, or something like that?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-31-14 3:32 PM
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Grafting branches on different trees cambium-to-cambium so that the whole grows into a resilient and nigh-impassable barrier. Like hedging, which I also adore unreasonably, but fewer species and more live bonds.

The Normandy hedges that stopped tanks (until redesign) might have been frithwood.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-31-14 3:41 PM
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Oh, neat. I used to daydream about building a treehouse sort of like that -- grafting adjacent branches to each other until you had a structurally sound platform/network that you just needed to put flooring on. But then I remembered that I didn't own any trees.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-31-14 4:01 PM
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Random and off-topic: I was just asked to write a movie review (about a documentary on a subject I have some expertise in) for a fairly widely read publication. This sounds like fun except that I have no idea how to write a movie review. But I guess I'll probably do it. Although I'll be tempted to do stupid things that amuse me like working in a way to say "I am Pauline Kael!" or something.

Maybe I should just read some reviews and try to channel the good stuff? I don't even know that I've ever even read a movie review that comes from a professional viewpoint like this.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-31-14 4:28 PM
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"It's no Veronica Mars, but..."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-31-14 4:30 PM
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Here are my rules for reviewers from when I was an arts editor:

1. No "I" anywhere in the story.
2. Starting sentences with gerunds is not allowed.
3. Keep plot description below 30% of the total words.
4. Differentiate between the actors and the characters they are playing.
5. Think about the mise-en-scène -- art direction/production design/editing (and nowadays visual effects) are critical aspects of the production that don't just magically appear because the director thinks them up.
6. Even really bad movies can be instructive. Dismissive reviews can be fun to write, and occasionally fun to read, but they're not really advancing the discourse.

You could ask SEK about it too.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-31-14 4:34 PM
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89.1: Ctzen Kane


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-31-14 4:36 PM
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Quite.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-31-14 4:36 PM
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Starting sentences with gerunds is not allowed.

Isn't it?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-31-14 4:47 PM
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``No! You can't hear the `boom' in a vacuum!"


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-31-14 5:16 PM
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92: No, cause, ya see, cause...


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-31-14 5:45 PM
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