Re: Guest Post - Slackity slack

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who claimed to spend less than half of their work hours actually working

I initially read this as "less than half an hour [per day]" and I thought, yeah, that sounds about right for my old job. And the "opacity" point is totally right: I was the sole tech guy. No one knew what I did or how I did it, or how long it should reasonably take. If a problem came up, I took care of it immediately, and as long as nothing crashed, they left me alone. Eventually they figured out that I was coasting, and we came to an unspoken agreement that I'd get middling reviews and tiny raises and as long as things worked, I could keep my job and take 90 minutes at lunchtime to swim. My god, that was the plummest of plum gigs.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 8:52 AM
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How did you fill all that time?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 8:54 AM
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Are you kidding?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:02 AM
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" 'Doing nothing' while at work can be a very demanding activity requiring planning, collaboration, risk calculation, and ethical consideration,"

Just keeping others from seeing your screen carries a cost of about -50 mouse orgasms/hour by my calculations.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:07 AM
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When I had a full time paid job I never did any internet shopping or watched porn because I was too busy commenting here.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:10 AM
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I spend a remarkably small percentage of my time at work working (I'm not proud of this, just sort of insanely dysfunctional)(and I know everyone here was surprised), and I don't really get how it works -- no one's ever given me a hard time about my output, I get things done, my boss approves of my work, I'm not getting less done than my peers. I do put in long hours when I've slacked myself into a hole and need to meet a deadline, so I don't miss deadlines, but I'm still not working nearly as much as I should be.

My theories are (1) there's a large part of the job that's pretty much useless busywork, and everyone else is doing that kind of thing conscientiously and I'm not. Like, everyone else keeps their filing properly in order, and that's what they do all day? I think this might be some of it, but probably not much. (2) I'm so freakishly brilliant that I literally need half the time my peers do to do the same job. Probably not the case. I'm very unusually fast reading and getting command of information from documents, but I'm a slow, blocked writer. This probably nets out. (3) None of my peers are working either. This is probably it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:10 AM
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If you have an office and bark at people who go into it, it isn't hard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:10 AM
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3: Yes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:11 AM
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My theory is that I get away with it because I'm exceptionally productive when I do work, so much so that I do the work of a full time scientist in only a couple of hours a day. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:15 AM
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My theory (2)? For you, possibly it's true.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:16 AM
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I was actually intrigued by the approach advocated by the woman who wrote Schluss mit Lustig. At her company, conversations about other matters than work are restricted to five minutes; private e-mailing is confined to the thirty minute lunch break; laughing is prohibited; socializing with other employees outside the office is discouraged. The employees clock in at 9am each day, and leave the office at 5.30pm, after clearing their desks - and no work is taken home. To further sharpen the line between work and leisure, employees wear uniforms, and address each other formally.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:17 AM
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11: Griping about management is allowed, but only for two minutes each morning.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:20 AM
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My theory is that for people who work in creative jobs (I almost said "thought workers"), slacking is a required part of the work, allowing the worker to weigh hypotheses and determine a correct plan of action.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:22 AM
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1 explains why there's such demand for tech workers. Their brains are so highly calibrated that they can only work 4 hours a week.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:23 AM
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11: Griping about management is allowed, but only for two minutes each morning

Mandatory. And the "formal address" for that is "Mr. Goldstein"


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:44 AM
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Turns out we're all pikers.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:49 AM
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And woe betide you if anyone hears you refer to him as Emmanuel. Party privileges can be withdrawn, you know.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:50 AM
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16 is impressive. Does anybody remember the story from about 10 years ago about the guy who had two jobs in the same building and used to sign in at the first one every morning and then trot downstairs to the other one and come back up in time to sign out in the evening, having not been missed all day. He was rumbled when somebody important saw him between the two offices, but he'd been drawing two salaries for about a year.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:55 AM
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I had a guy working for me,* years ago, who was basically sick for about 6 months, starting within a few days of him staring the job. He would come in and do just enough days to reset whatever clock HR had to trigger some kind of occupational health/eventual firing process. We were pretty sure, when we eventually sacked him, that he had another job and was drawing two salaries. There was no comeback for him. Presumably his other job was his main job, and he might have been repeating this process, again and again.

* as in I was his line manager, not as in it was my company.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:59 AM
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My parents are telling me to schedule mastectomies/oophorectomies for as soon as I wean Rascal, instead of waiting for summer '16 like I'd been planning. I feel like a jerk doing so to my department, but it's super tempting for entirely slacker-based reasons, not health-reasons which my parents are more concerned with. (On the health, I'm a little concerned.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 10:14 AM
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A friend of mine in the dotcom boom accepted a six-figure programming job, went in to the office to sign the paperwork and get direct deposit set up, and then never went back. He got paid for several months. I think maybe he occasionally responded to an email saying he would be in soon?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 10:18 AM
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There was a legend of a summer associate at Shmebevoise and Shrimpton who never showed up for work and got paid for the full summer. Didn't get a job offer, though. And that's third hand, I don't know if it's true.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 10:25 AM
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My theory is that for people who work in creative jobs (I almost said "thought workers"), slacking is a required part of the work, allowing the worker to weigh hypotheses and determine a correct plan of action.

At this point I'm a pure slacker, but back in my office days, I wrote a lot of proposals and master plan narratives. My process was absolutely to dick around for an hour or two, then pound out 500-1000 articulate, grammatical, and on-point words in 15-30 minutes. I don't think the prose can pour out like that without a lot of gestation time.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 10:30 AM
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That's basically my point of view, except for the "grammatical" part isn't something I can claim well.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 10:32 AM
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For myself I'm not sure how you draw the line between "working" and "not working". Well, obviously reading and commenting on unfogged counts as not working. But reading an abstract, relatively unfocussed googling on a particular topic, staring at the open word document without writing anything...working or not?

I might have mentioned before that my current funded project was born of goofing off instead of working on a grant proposal for a different project.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 10:40 AM
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My theory is that for people who work in creative jobs (I almost said "thought workers"), slacking is a required part of the work, allowing the worker to weigh hypotheses and determine a correct plan of action.

I agree.

As I've said before, this is something I think about fairly often, and wonder if I end up driving myself crazy about it.

because (a) I'm aware of a wide range in my own productivity from having days where I might get one small thing done all day to (much less often) days where I'm doing stuff that might take someone else most of a week completed in a couple hours (b) I'm self-aware of my own mental states and feel like I can track productive and unproductive moods reasonably well.

From that I agree with the quoted passage -- down time is important and you can't function at maximum focus all the time. But I can't quite get myself to feel good about that. I still feel guilty whenever I'm filling out my time card for the days when I'm basically mentally checked out, even though I know rationally that it's all part of the process.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 10:52 AM
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Here's what I've discovered, if I come in a and stay focused and work all day I get a lot done. It's totally fucking depressing.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 11:03 AM
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Creative people are creative rationalizers.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 11:05 AM
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Thank God.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 11:05 AM
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27: Wow, I've been meaning to attempt that experiment for years but it never quite comes off.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 11:12 AM
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I maintain that's a spurious correlation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 11:34 AM
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The use of the term "soldiering" in the article is really interesting. It's an old term, of obvious derivation, and is prominent for instance in Fredrick Taylor's Scientific Management already a hundred years ago (I personally agree with David Riesman that Taylor gets a bum rap; he was interested in productivity, and expected workers would be paid more for conforming to his exacting methods which would probably keep changing)

As I say, the derivation is obvious. Anybody who's ever been a soldier, or who's heard a veteran talk, will know how much slacking is common, and a legitimate response to how much shear makework there always is. When I was an actual soldier, I happened on the comic novel The Revolt of Gunner Asch, in which the characters, prewar German soldiers, have developed this to an art form. No doubt this celebration of "bad attitude" was a release and entertaining to the postwar Germans. I actually picked up some useful tricks from it.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 2:06 PM
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6: I wish that I could read as fast as LB. I'm a slow, blocked writer already, so I'd benefit if I could read faster. If I could write quickly and well, that would be awesome.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 2:33 PM
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For myself I'm not sure how you draw the line between "working" and "not working".

All of the activities you described, except commenting on unfogged, are obviously working. It's simple. Ask yourself: "Is this what I would be doing right now if I'd won the lottery?" If the answer is no, then you're working. If the answer is yes, then you're not working.

(Not coincidentally, this is why people who have absolutely no financial need to work are correct when they say their jobs are not "work" to them (and are wrong when they pretend their jobs are work). They're not work, they're a passion. If they weren't, they wouldn't be doing them.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 2:47 PM
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34: So, by your definition work is only what you do for money that you need. So a rich person can't work. Right?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 2:49 PM
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Right. A rich person can't work in the same sense that a non-rich person works, which is the sense in which most people work.

I realize that, by my definition, surreptitiously napping at my desk is "working". I stand by that definition.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 2:53 PM
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Offices with doors fucking rule.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 2:54 PM
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I realize that, by my definition, surreptitiously napping at my desk is "working". I stand by that definition.

This was a joke, in case that wasn't clear. Napping if I'm tired is exactly what I would do if I won the lottery. Therefore it is not working. The fact that it's happening surreptitiously at my desk doesn't disqualify it, it just means I'm sneaking in some "not-work" while I'm supposed to be working. (Spending an afternoon commenting on the internet falls into the same bucket.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 2:59 PM
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Right. A rich person can't work in the same sense that a non-rich person works, which is the sense in which most people work.

Don't a lot of people work out of unchecked expectations of normalcy? I mean, someone who is semi-rich isn't devoting hours trying to figure out how to game the system so that they can quit working. (Obviously some do.) But I'd guess that there's a bright line above living paycheck-to-paycheck, and that group extends all the way to include a lot of really rich people.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 2:59 PM
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Don't a lot of people work out of unchecked expectations of normalcy?

Sure, but you've answered the question for them: what those people would do if they won the lottery (which if they are independently wealthy, they effectively have, in one form or another) is spend time mimicking an ordinary working life in an effort to satisfy unchecked expectations of normalcy. I'm not sure why they are choosing that, but it's their choice.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 3:02 PM
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I've actually wondered about whether I'd be happier with a job if I didn't need the money. On the one hand, I don't like working. On the other hand, I'm astonishingly motionless by nature if I don't have any obligations, and I might lose all will to ever get out of bed if I didn't have to show up somewhere.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 3:03 PM
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37: That is my one work-related ambition.

But - I imagine that if I ever was granted this most precious of privileges, I would manage to slack off so badly that I would get fired.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 3:04 PM
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41: what you would almost certainly do is find a job that you actually did like doing, presumably for a good cause, where you could make a positive contribution, but with mostly fairly minimal actual work requirements.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 3:05 PM
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I'd build a cob house.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 3:07 PM
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I find it useful to think 'billing' instead of 'working.' Stil haven't figured out who to bill for commenting on Unfogged. Ogged, maybe?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 3:08 PM
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I may built my own lightweight backpacking tent. That seems like an easy introduction into the world of building shelter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 3:08 PM
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I find it useful to think 'billing' instead of 'working.'

No no no no no no. Two completely separate things. Not just for lawyers, but for anyone who bills clients. You have to do tons of work that is unambiguously work, that you're doing only because of your job, that isn't billable.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 3:11 PM
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Or maybe I'll just try to make my own stove in the garage next to where I store the oily rags. Anyway, lots of instructions.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 3:11 PM
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I work in bursts. Sometimes in between, I'm genuinely slacking, and could or should be working. And I do feel guilty about that. But other times, I am doing the sort of gestating, and thinking that others have talked about above. I'm often reading things around work topics, or talking to colleagues, or whatever in those down times, but sometimes I'm just time wasting. There's probably a limit to how much work I could do, in terms of non-slacking hours, before it began to eat into my quality and quantity of useful output. But I'm definitely not at that limit.

I am both a very fast reader, and a very fast writer, though. So I find writing reports and dealing with lengthy email correspondence, easy, and I'm very quick at it. So for things like that, which are maybe 50% of my job, I'm very productive indeed. Hilariously so when compared to most of my colleagues. They'll write some half-arsed 3 line email, and I'll reply, within literal minutes, with a 500 word structured reply, with links, data, conclusions, etc.

For coding, less so. I am not really a skilful programmer, so I find doing some of it like pulling teeth. I'm pretty productive with quick throwaway code, but not really very good at anything more sustained and permanent.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 3:14 PM
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I feel like I work a lot at my job. On the other hand, it seems totally surreal that everyone thought it was a good idea to give me a sabbatical.

I read a couple bloggers who are mostly-isolated women in their 60s. No job, either single or in long-distance relationships, and largely anti-social. They are quite content puttering about the house and venturing out now and then. It strikes me that I'd be pretty content in that kind of life, too. Then I feel guilty because I'm certainly not wishing Jammies away, and I'd miss him, but in an alternate-worlds sense, yes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 3:21 PM
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Prepping for the new semester, it's like the sabbatical really did rejuvenate me. I'm weirdly excited to return. It's like I actually like my job.

Related to the OP, though, one of the main things that makes this job satisfying is that there are lots of urgent tasks that are super easy to check off. Prepped for first class! Print out syllabus! look at this diminishing to-do list! None of that longterm vague uneasiness of grad school and research.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 3:25 PM
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51: What research project did you finally settle on during you sabbatical?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 3:59 PM
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Ask yourself: "Is this what I would be doing right now if I'd won the lottery?" If the answer is no, then you're working. If the answer is yes, then you're not working.

Ah, but the answer might often be no, even if you had won the lottery, and were nowhere near any recognised workplace. No getting away from dissatisfaction. Indeed, you need a decent amount of it to motivate a change in behaviour.


Posted by: Charlie W | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 4:09 PM
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I'm going to need 6 yards of silicone impregnated nylon, a sewing machine, some mosquito netting, a case of Genny Cream Ale, and some poles.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 6:17 PM
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I assume 54 is to 52.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 6:38 PM
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I was greatly cheered to find that a place called "Grommet World" exists.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 6:47 PM
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Ah, but the answer might often be no, even if you had won the lottery, and were nowhere near any recognised workplace.

That doesn't make any sense. If you've won the lottery, and you're doing something right now, then by definition that's the thing you'd be doing right now if you had won the lottery.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 6:47 PM
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54 to 37, naturally
56: Grommet World! Grommet World! Sewing time! Excellent!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:03 PM
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Pricing it all out, it would be about $20 cheaper and 20 ounces lighter than this tent (roughly the same size). It's lighter because the fabric is the same as in the version that is $140 more.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:35 PM
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Question for the sewing people. How hard is it to sew a 96" seam in a very light, slippery fabric? It's suppose to be a flat feld seam.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 8:05 PM
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I only sew by hand and doing it that way might well be easier, but not fast.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 8:08 PM
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Not that I know anything.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 8:09 PM
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Thanks, but I think I'd need a machine. I've tried to sew by hand and it seems really hard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 8:11 PM
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Do you have a machine? A straight seam, particularly on something that doesn't have to look perfect, is no big deal. But if you'd have to buy a sewing machine, that'd cost as much as buying the expensive tent, I'd think.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 8:13 PM
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I've heard that sewing slippery fabrics on a machine is the opposite of what a beginner should do.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 8:14 PM
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65: That's what she said.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 8:17 PM
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That is, my wife said that and she has a sewing machine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 8:18 PM
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If I used plastic grommets and the the stakes from my other tent, I could get it down below $100.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:25 PM
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Entertainingly, British people apparently peg their tents.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:27 PM
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"Grommet World"

Where's Wallace, Hick? Where's Wallace?


Posted by: D'Angelo Barksdale | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:55 PM
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6: but I'm a slow, blocked writer.

Does not accord with facts in evidence.

(For blog comments at least.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:56 PM
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We've discussed this before. Blog comments count as conversation, not writing.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:57 PM
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31: a spurious correlation

Speaking of which, I just encountered a fabulous (to me) first world problem* which I will present as an impromptu puzzler.

Setup: My wife and are completing some complicated family holiday travel logistics by means of a car shuttle and visit to one of our kids. Entailed us driving a fair distance "together" but in separate cars--she in hers and me in the kid's. On the way I was plagued with seemingly random drops every few minutes on my iPhone during both a podcast and a Pandora stream. I could apparently get it back by fiddling with stuff like unplugging the earbuds. I entertained several hypotheses of varying rationality, and tentatively concluded that some aspect of my iPhone sound circuitry was fucked and experiencing an intermittent failure**. But when we stopped together at rest area I became enlightened.

*Actually, an easily corrected one.

**I even had a proposed culprit; I first noticed the drops when I plugged it into the aux port on the crappy aftermarket radio in the car, so I worried that had munged a circuit somehow (not sure that would even be possible, but alone in a car on a dark, cold West Virginia night, the imagination roams).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 10:16 PM
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72: You're right, of course we have (but I'd sort of forgotten). Although LB's are far closer to "writing" than anything I ever produce.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 10:18 PM
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So it kept connecting to the wrong car and coming back?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 10:24 PM
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75: Yes, turns out I had Bluetooth enabled although there was no Bluetooth in the car I was driving). at the rest stop my wife said, I kept seeing your phone connecting via Bluetooth, and then proceeded to play my Pandora station for me (I did not even have it launched). Not something I remotely cam close to considering* as it was happening. Turned off Bluetooth and was untroubled the rest of the way.

*This is our first car with the capability and have only had it a few months and my wife mostly drives it so it s not a capability I'm used to thinking about.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 10:35 PM
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Some of my relatives keep their router name on the preset, which I sometimes forget to remove from my phone's list of known networks. On my bus route, someone within wireless range has an identically named network, secured. End result is I get an annoying, undesired password prompt. Formerly, someone had an unsecured router of that name and, if I'm recalling correctly, which cause my phone to connect, but not connect well enough to use it, leading to my internet failing at certain points in my trip.

So very first world problems. Not even a problem, more of a curiosity.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 10:44 PM
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My phone tries to connect to wifi networks it thinks it's connected to before, even if those networks are ones at stores/restaurants and require a login before you can actually go on the rest of the internet. So I've had it drop the data connected in a Panera because months earlier and hundreds of miles away it once connected to another network called Panera.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 10:48 PM
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That doesn't make any sense. If you've won the lottery, and you're doing something right now, then by definition that's the thing you'd be doing right now if you had won the lottery.

But this shows that the definition is too restrictive and doesn't capture the notion of work. What the definition says is that nothing can be work, once a certain satisfaction of material needs threshold is crossed. This can't be right. There are lots of things a lottery winner might find him or herself continuing with, even while wanting to stop, and perhaps even after saying 'Hey, I could pay someone to do this'. Painting the house, parenting infants, taking care of old dogs, etc. All of them work, or potentially so.


Posted by: Charlie W | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 4:25 AM
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If I win the lottery, there is no way I'm doing any house painting ever again.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 5:02 AM
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I switched from teaching to an office-based job, in which I worked for a year. I hadn't realised when I accepted the offer, but this was the first purely office-based thing I'd ever done. I was very motivated initially, but there were (at least) two periods during the year when I spent several weeks literally doing nothing. Like, answering queries about when stuff was going to be ready with vague assurances, and otherwise wasting time on the internet and sending personal emails. At the end, I got lauded by several colleagues for how much I'd achieved in the year. That was when I realised that people's productivity in offices is really low. And this was in an environment where people had invested significant time and resources to be there, lots of volunteers, not just a normal 9-5, "got to pay the next bill" kind of situation. So I think LB's (3) in comment 6 is the answer, even in offices where everybody is actually quite interested in what they're doing.

Though maybe there's something in (2) as well - it's better to work smart than work hard, because working on something pointless is functionally equivalent to dicking about on the internet.


Posted by: Seeds | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 6:13 AM
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On the other hand, I'm currently being paid a handsome day rate, but I don't get paid at all if I don't come up with the fairly nebulous deliverables in a month or so's time. So this could be an interesting test of whether my feeble level of productivity is in fact acceptable over a short timeframe in the real world.


Posted by: Seeds | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 6:17 AM
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69: Wait, how do other people secure their tents to the ground?


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:10 AM
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Duct tape.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:21 AM
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51: What research project did you finally settle on during you sabbatical?

I ended up collaborating with my grad school advisor on things in the same ballpark as my dissertation. It ended up being a nice project, but got cut short what with Rascal and me not being able to solve the next part.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:23 AM
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Can Rascal sew a long, straight seam?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:27 AM
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83: Obesity.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:28 AM
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I'm watching a Pokemon-knockoff that is literally the stupidest thing ever. They animate all the card battles, including the math parts, and narrate every single thought.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:34 AM
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88: so, pretty much the external monologue of my 6yr-old


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:48 AM
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How often does your kid use the phrase "now I will use my dark magician card"?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:52 AM
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Is there a cheat sheet for the ages and genders of the Geebie menagerie?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 8:03 AM
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Plus, they gave a blond, preppy kid a Guido accent.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 8:14 AM
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79: "work", as most people use the word in their own lives, means "that which is done only in response to economic pressure", and consequently describes whatever it is you would not be doing if you were free from all economic pressure. If you are in fact free from all comic pressure, then you do not work, at least not in the same sense that most people work. You may perform work-like activities (and you may even earn income from doing so), but if you are performing those same activities purely by choice, rather than in response to economic pressure, that fundamentally changes the nature of the activity being performed. It's not work. (If it were, you wouldn't be doing it.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 11:15 AM
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comic pressure

Picture a big, floppy red shoe trampling humanity forever.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 11:17 AM
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93 is why I find is bizarre how many times I've heard people refer to long term relationships as a lot of work (or that sort of thing). I think by now the term tends to encompass "anything involving regular long term activities (involving effort) that is fulfilling in some (not direct hedonic) sense. I assume this is because of protestants and capitalism.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 11:23 AM
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95: right, to be clear, it's not that I think there's anything wrong with using the word "work" that way, that's just a different usage, which isn't relevant to the original question at hand (whitch activities am I doing at my job that count as real work vs don't?).


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 11:34 AM
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Surely this is the semantic distinction between "work" and "job". Work is anything that involves physical or mental effort. Job is how you pay the rent, whether you actually do any work or not.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 11:45 AM
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Remember when all discussions used to turn into bike threads?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 11:54 AM
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I've decided to go with a polyester tent. The silnylon stuff is lighter, but so much more expensive (unless if you build it yourself without fucking up). $100 to save a pound doesn't seem reasonable given that I'm talking about walking distances that are feasible with an eight-year-old.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:00 PM
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I could also use it for bike camping, to stay on topic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:01 PM
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I can buy a tarp tent and then add (with velcro attachments) a floor and a bug net.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:02 PM
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So that would be about 4 pounds (less if I decide to cheat on the stakes or something), plus ten pounds of sleeping pads/bags (for two people), five pounds of cooking stuff, and a three pound bag to carry it. Twenty two pounds plus food and extra clothing doesn't seem that bad. And I can probably put about ten pounds on the kid.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:09 PM
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Spreadsheet available on request.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:10 PM
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Interesting topic, the OP, that is. I slack, no doubt about it, and these days the principal reason for it is that my boss (not technically my boss, as I'm self-employed, but our senior member) does it constantly, and I'm damned if he gets to go grocery shopping in the middle of the day, or take his car to have the oil changed, or bring his mother to a doctor's appointment for 4 hours, or take several social calls for half an hour at each stretch, etc., if I'm not equally allowed not-quite-work time.

That said,

13: My theory is that for people who work in creative jobs (I almost said "thought workers"), slacking is a required part of the work, allowing the worker to weigh hypotheses and determine a correct plan of action.

There's something to this: last week I worked from home, and got done in 3.5 hours what I would have done in a full day on-site. If I'd been on-site, I'd have put in additional time essentially doing research, weighing possibilities for future action.

On preview, pwned by many.

81: That was when I realised that people's productivity in offices is really low.

I believe this is so. So-called 'presentism' is a huge problem.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:19 PM
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102: how far are you going?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:26 PM
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Apparently that's actually called presenteeism. In any case, the requirement that one be present for (roughly) 8 hours per day regardless of what's accomplished. It's a form of control, obviously, and equally obviously resented by many when the job itself doesn't seem to demand it. Such a huge amount of fakery goes on, chiefly by salaried employees, in such circumstances.

I'm interested in IDP's remark at 32:

I personally agree with David Riesman that Taylor gets a bum rap; he was interested in productivity, and expected workers would be paid more for conforming to his exacting methods which would probably keep changing

Which Riesman? I have a copy of The Lonely Crowd in the house but haven't actually read it. Taylorism is fascinating to me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:27 PM
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105: I don't know exactly how far you can go with an eight-year-old. The internet says about five to six miles in hilly terrain. That seems about right to start. The most obvious hiking trail near here has camping sites about every six miles.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:36 PM
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I should probably see how much the DS weights.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:38 PM
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Is there a cheat sheet for the ages and genders of the Geebie menagerie?

Hawaiian Punch is a five year old girl.
Hokey Pokey is a four year old boy.
Ace is a year and a half old girl.
Rascal is a two month old baby boy.

When I write it out, it does seem hard to keep straight.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:39 PM
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That said, there's lots of photos of them at my personal blog, which I'd think helps.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:40 PM
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If you ever meet them, you can just say "Hey there chief."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:44 PM
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Cheat sheet: HPs have been around for a long time. Ace was part of Babysplosion Unfogged. Rascal is barely here.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:47 PM
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I was envisioning them more as two 2-year-olds and two newborns. Time floies.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:49 PM
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I think I started here just before girl-HP was born.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:50 PM
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Heebie, I must say you have far more fortitude than I would ever have.

Those kids -- girl, boy, girl, boy -- are going to be, well, whatever they may be, and any number of families have a similar structure, of course. If unfogged is around in 20 years (doubtful?), it can debate middle child, oldest child, youngest child, and all that. Best of luck to your family.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:53 PM
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Those kids -- girl, boy, girl, boy -- are going to be, well, whatever they may be, and any number of families have a similar structure, of course.

Thanks! You're very kind.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:57 PM
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Moby, if you want to sew a long flat-felled seam, look into glue or tape to hold the first overlap together while you're sewing. Look for ones meant for sewing, that won't gum up the machine. Lay the seam out quite flat and not under tension as you bundle up the cloth on either side (big binder clips, hair claws, etc.) There shouldn't be any strain in the cloth as it goes under the needle.

And you still might have to do it over, but hey, learning.

The Dwarf Lord has started modifying his lifting kites with my sewing machine. All my worldly goods, etc, but I wasn't thinking of the bobbin tension set screw. Hey, learning.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 12:58 PM
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What does he lift with kites?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:06 PM
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119

I just googled that. He lifts himself?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:08 PM
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Not yet! Mostly cameras, wistful thoughts of cliff fishing.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:12 PM
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Apparently, the Great Allegheny Passage connects to the Laurel Highlands Trail and also (via the C&O Canal Towpath) to the Applachian Trail or to Washington, D.C.

It's very Hobbit like.

Roads go ever ever on,
Over the Mon, just past the beer distributor down the block.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:12 PM
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120: Seems more saner that way, but who am I to judge.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:13 PM
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'Lifting' rather than 'sport' or 'art', is all. A voluminous but lightweight pastime.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:14 PM
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Why, Frodo my lad, the same road that goes to the shitty Target connects with the trail that goes to Maine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:15 PM
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116: It's kind of ideal, in a way. One wouldn't want to get ahead of oneself (who knows what will happen), but it's a good structure, according to a lot of wisdom, which may be old wives' tales or something, who knows. I'd already have been terrified even before the fact, but you have a lot of courage. Money helps there, I assume.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:17 PM
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cliff fishing

If this has something to do with kites, I am intrigued. But google doesn't seem to be turning up anything?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:18 PM
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Does anyone else have no idea what parsimon is talking about?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:21 PM
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Parsimon, I am generally more in tune with your New England eeyorism than the rest of the blog, and Why look at those birds! Do you suppose it's because of the funny weather?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:22 PM
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126: I think like this.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:22 PM
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126: New Zealand, sharks.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:24 PM
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That's got to be way more efficient than the old-fashioned rifle/scuba tank way to getting a shark.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:27 PM
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I'm cracking up at 116. Congratulations on your family structure, heebie! It's one that's often found in society.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:34 PM
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I almost bought a book of coastal kite photography recently, before remembering I'm still too much of cheapskate to buy books of photography.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:36 PM
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(that's the partitive use of "cheapskate")


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:37 PM
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129: wow.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:43 PM
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128: Maybe! It's fucking freezing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 1:47 PM
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I mean, imagine if heebie went girl-boy-boy-girl. Shudder. One wonders if even money could help one cope.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 2:35 PM
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My family was boy-boy-girl-girl. Fortunately, I was in the crucial eldest position.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 2:39 PM
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Two thirds of the rest of them went to law school.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 2:43 PM
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via the C&O Canal Towpath

I think the towpath would be a good place to hike with an 8 year old, because its all flat. I've done most of it on a bike, at various times. The Appalachian Trail has hills that can be pretty brutal to a kid. I remember the section around Harper's Ferry kicked my ass when I was a Cub Scout.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 2:43 PM
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Either one is too far for a start. The Laurel Highlands trial is close.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 2:52 PM
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A place I would quite recommend for a starter is Bear Run Nature Preserve run by the Western Pa Conservatory. To a large extent it is the "across the road and up the ridge" portions of the Kaufmann property on which Fallingwater was built along with some further additions. In particular campsite 5 on the map at the link is a great campsite right on Bear Run, a beautiful rocky stream running through rhododendrons, and which forms the falls at Fallingwater. Only about a mile walk in, and serves as good base camp for other hikes in the Preserve (or you can drive a few miles down the road to Ohiopyle). A great starter place, and for kids the stream is real plus.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 6:11 PM
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OT: my girlfriend has what sounds like a beeping smoke detector in her apartment, but can't find it. She had her landlord over to look for it, but after checking the obvious smoke detectors the landlord gave up. Anyone have a clever idea for how to find the source of the beeping?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:06 PM
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143: Tell the cops to pull up the floorboards.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:09 PM
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Something under the floor, something not in the plans, I don't know.


Posted by: ripley | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:12 PM
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I had this happen to me once and the culprit was actually a stud finder that came as lagniappe with a cordless drill. During some attitude change it had ended up with weight on its button. For some reason when the battery ran down it was enough to set it off incessantly for two days. I had no idea that could possibly be going on. Thought my neighbors were dead or something.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:21 PM
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I've had to find something like that, and just played warmer/colder with the noise until I tracked it down. I'm not much at echolocation and it took a long time.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:31 PM
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Sound travels better in water. It's easier if you flood the place first.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:36 PM
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Wow, that would make me absolutely crazy-angry-ballistic. (TLC's never-released follow up.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:36 PM
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Is she sure it's in her apartment? Sometimes it's hard to tell from the way sound carries. It could be a neighbor's alarm or smoke alarm (you may recall the story of the abandoned beeping house behind mine).


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:41 PM
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And the pile of rats.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:42 PM
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147: Decibel-measuring app helps with that, but a smoke detector battery chirp would go off every couple minutes, making it an exercise in meditative patience (or more homicidal rage).


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:48 PM
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That's exactly how it was. Luckily, I am a mysterious and meditative oriental.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:55 PM
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I kept hearing a beeping sound coming from a box of electronics as I drove across the country a couple of years ago, but it only happened once a day. I eventually learned that I had an iPod dock that, while not battery powered overall, had a battery to keep the time going and the sound was the alarm going off at the same time each day, adjusted for time zones.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:55 PM
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Did the sidebar disappear?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 7:59 PM
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That happened to me for a little while about an hour ago, Moby, but then it came back.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 8:00 PM
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Never mind.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 8:00 PM
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Maybe the server is beeping.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 8:01 PM
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But, it came back for me also.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 8:03 PM
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Still, glad to know it wasn't just me. Thanks.

The next time I see a gremlin chewing on the engine of a plane, I hope you're on the same flight. Unless we all die.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 8:06 PM
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Two people next to me are having what would be, if recorded, a master class in UMC dating. He's drinking something served in one of those cooper mugs and she's talking about the peace corp. I'm trying to think of a polite way to give them this URL.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 8:13 PM
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Not umc. More swipple, but that term confuses me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 8:15 PM
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I'm trying to think of a polite way to give them this URL.

Paper airplane?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 8:44 PM
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142: Thanks. I hadn't heard of that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 8:58 PM
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Do the camp sites have drinking water.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 9:05 PM
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161: You're in Shadyside tonight, right? You should expect that. (Says the guy who was at a Shadyside bar on Monday drinking a drink in a copper mug. Not sure if I'm more UMC or swipple, though.)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 9:05 PM
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I was at the non-smoking, not-hipster bar in Squirrel Hill. That's why I was a bit surprised.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 9:10 PM
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I was in Shadyside earlier, pre-gaming a church dinner.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 9:11 PM
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166: Moscow mule?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 9:14 PM
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168: I had never considered it, but in retrospect of course that would deserve pre-gaming.

169: Yeah, with kaffir lime leaves in it. Very tasty. (They're not used for any other cocktails, are they? I'm not really a cocktail guy.)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 9:16 PM
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Pre-gaming a trip to the grocery store turns out to be interesting but not good for either health or finances.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 9:30 PM
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Please. Makrut lime leaves.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 9:41 PM
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172: I was explaining to my drinking companions that it's really weird that it's named after an ethnoreligious slur, but no one believed me. I also kind of thought I was making that up. Yes, I am no fun to drink with. Thanks for the proper name.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 9:47 PM
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How did I miss this posting that is about my life? I work fairly little. Right now it's because we don't get many referrals. At my last job it was some of the time because I'd gotten good at doing things quickly so I could spend more time doing nothing and part of the time because I just put things off until I HAD to do them quickly. So this means I spend a lot of time doing nothing. Like nothing. Like clicking between email addresses and fb and a few other things. It isn't enjoyable, and it makes me resent having to be at an office doing nothing for hours and hours.

At that job, I don't think anyone could see how little I work. At this one, I have a cow-orker who seems not to have the prohibition I assume everyone has about reading over people's shoulders, so she's actually reacted to stuff on my screen, which makes me very cranky. And it makes me think she knows how little work I do, and so self conscious about that.

I should read the links, though. I just suddenly noticed there was a thread where people were copping to how little or much they work.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 10:07 PM
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me me me obviously me


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 10:07 PM
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It was girl-girl-girl-girl in my family, and no polo ponies to be found, I fear.

IME, most people are happy with how their kids wound up being spaced, and they all have justifications about why their spacing turned out so well, and it doesn't seem to matter at all.

That said, mad props to you, heebie, for managing a newborn and a toddler, because Ace and the Calabat are the same age, and I'm still too tired to think about getting pregnant.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 10:35 PM
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Due to prior slacking, I'm probably going to be up until 3 AM on a Saturday night reading grad school applications. I feel like the fraction being sorted into "definite deny" just keeps growing as it gets later. Sorry, students! Your future depends on my state of wakefulness.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 10:38 PM
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the sound was the alarm going off at the same time each day

I have a clock in a box in the basement that beeped at 9:45 every morning for over ten years. It might still be doing it; I haven't been down there at that time for a while.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 11:15 PM
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My students were disappointingly rubbish at pranks. The only imaginative one I experienced was someone taking the trouble to set the alarm function on all of the lab stopwatches to go off at different times throughout the day.

Tying the thread together, I always intended to switch them off but never got around to it, so I taught to the accompaniment of beeping stopwatches every day for three years.


Posted by: Seeds | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 11:47 PM
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170: Reading that word makes me do a little double take. It's been a long time since I've heard someone just toss it off.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 5:47 AM
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180: me


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 5:57 AM
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my upstairs neighbors went on vacation leaving their alarm clock on, so for about 2 weeks I was woken at about 6:30 every morning by 15 minutes of beeping. When they got back they realized their error and bought all their neighbors $10 cards for Dunkin donuts.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 6:03 AM
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Oh for fucks sake! Is it really so hard to remember the pseud, computer? Really?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 6:05 AM
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God, that link to New Zealand fishing -- towing livebait out 2km under a kite, and then driving up and down the beach in a 4x4 dragging the the poor fucking baitfish as you do so ... I had always associated the island with the delicate stalking of gigantic trout in tranquil streams.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 6:45 AM
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173 - I don't know if it's named after the slur, really. It certainly had the name before kaffir was considered a slur specifically, which is pretty recent and localized. For example, there are these people. So it's probably just a holdover from when the Portuguese were wandering around trading with everyone and a bunch of things ended up with that name attached to them.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 6:57 AM
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||

No more masturbating to Anita Ekberg. Sorry, but there you go.

The future of growth in the United States is now entirely down to Brigitte Bardot and Sofia Loren.

|>


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 6:58 AM
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186 Came here to post that. And after Rod Taylor just a few days ago. Damn. RIP.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 8:20 AM
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||

Amusing to me: Wikipedia's list of films that most frequently use the word "fuck.". Curiously absent, Merchant and Ivory's Hurt Feelings at Fuck Manor and early talkie Fuck Follies of 1929. This irrelevant thing brought to you by us having watched all 569 iterations of the terminology last night.
|>


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 12:22 PM
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Link fail. I think maybe I forgot the closing " in the tag.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 12:41 PM
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186. Borgnine kicked it in 2012 so it's moot.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 1:08 PM
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184: A friend of mine is writing his PhD on the introduction of trout to New Zealand. Fascinating, crazy idea.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 1:31 PM
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Right. Emily Post says you always introduce New Zealand to trout.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 1:34 PM
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A friend of mine is writing his PhD on the introduction of trout to New Zealand.

Seems like an ecological nightmare. Are the trout driving out the native Asian carp?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 2:38 PM
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Introducing trout to New Zealand was kind of evil but also really impressive - shipping a species to the antipodes in 1870-ish was difficult! It's also maybe the fiftieth worst ecological nightmare, and maybe like, the 20th worst species introduction to NZ? (Rats, cats, mice, dogs, stoats, ferrets, rabbits, possums, etc etc etc were a really dumb idea.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 2:46 PM
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Some of those seems like somebody might have thought they were useful (dogs, trout) and some seem like they would have happened accidentally (rats, mice). But I'm wondering if somebody didn't wake up one morning and decide to mail order a stoat from Britain.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 2:56 PM
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Didn't they bring in bees on purpose when they realized some plant they wanted to grow wasn't getting pollinated?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 3:01 PM
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I am currently slacking off but not by choice. I've been volunteering to sign people up for Obamacare (I'm a certified application counselor for the federal marketplace, I'll have you know) and today is really slow, especially for those of us who don't speak Spanish. (We also have a Vietnamese translator here one day a week and an Arabic translator every weekday. Austin is a beautiful mosaic melting pot!)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 3:11 PM
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Actually I'm doing some work work to pass the time. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Alanis Morissette!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 3:25 PM
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197: Your potential callers are probably debating what is required for a catch.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 3:45 PM
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I called the exchange a weeks or so ago, because I needed a password reset,* and the stupid phone menu sent me to the Spanish speaking operator. We had a laugh, and then she got stuff done. Maybe SK, I'm not the only victim of this.

Then the temp password didn't work, so I called and had the guy who answered do the thing I wanted at the outset: change from silver to gold.

(The change will be effective on Feb 1. I wonder how the expenses for my Jan 8 ER visit and surgery next week are going to play against my deductible and OOP limit. Does anyone know?)

* Apparently I wasn't answering the security questions correctly. Don't ask someone in their 50s to name their favorite pet. Although I suppose I might have originally spelled my mother's native city Elpaso.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 3:56 PM
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200.3: you ok, man?


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 4:04 PM
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Oh, hey, 197, Blue Shield is raising my rate $60/month but the exchange is only raising the same plan (BS Gold PPO) $10. Can I call BS and get them to give me the lower rate or do I need to cancel BS and sign back up through Covered CA?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 5:05 PM
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They introduced rabbits in the 19th century for food/sport. But they bred like rabbits, and got out of control, so they then introduced stoats as a way of cutting down the numbers of rabbits. Given the choice between hunting fast moving kicking things, or eating birds that didn't know to run away, and nested and raised eggs on the forest floor, the stoats knew what seemed a better plan.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 5:34 PM
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201 -- Sure. Broken ankle (actually the leg bones where they meet the ankle), so I'm bedridden until they can do the surgery next week, and maybe home bound some hereafter. A friend just dropped by with a watercolor set, so I can maybe take up painting if you people prove insufficiently amusing.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 5:44 PM
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204: How'd you do that? My uncle just had a nasty fall and pulled some tendons while fracturing his leg. Surgery tomorrow. Luckily it was in the course of working, so workmen's comp will pay.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 5:53 PM
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I didn't realize you were injured. Hope you feel better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 5:57 PM
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Hope it all heals up nice, Charley.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 6:00 PM
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I slipped on a very small patch of ice in the dark. Lying on the ground, I noticed that my foot was 90 degrees off center. Wrenching it back into alignment did not solve the problem, though, and they couldn't do the surgery (plates and screws are needed) because I'd had dinner a little before.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 6:05 PM
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165: Do the camp sites have drinking water

They have water as in being alongside a stream, but need to boil/treat it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 6:07 PM
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Thanks, guys. I posted about it on FB a few days ago, Mobes, so everyone but you already knew.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 6:10 PM
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Eeek. Hope you feel better soon!


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 6:23 PM
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(And lk, and hordes of other people, obvsly.)

Just about ready to take another percoset.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 6:31 PM
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Have you considered living in a warmer climate?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 6:34 PM
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209: I probably want coffee anyway. May as well boil it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 6:49 PM
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Jesus Charlie. That's awful. I hope at least that you had reading that wanted catching up on.

I'm just starting to read The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature. Thinking maybe I'll read the dated chapters on the appropriate date.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 6:51 PM
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Concluding 143: the culprit was a carbon monoxide detector resting on top of the refrigerator in a place that wasn't visible.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 6:51 PM
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I learned about the horsehair worm from that book. Maybe don't read it.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 6:53 PM
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216: Chirping aside, CO detectors need to be lower than where your head is when you sleep. So, in a one floor apartment, they should be in the crisper.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 6:56 PM
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Charley, I was tempted to say this on fb, but the worst part of Mara's ankle break was the week I had to spend carrying her around because she couldn't manage hopping during the week her swelling was going down enough to get it casted. I hope none of your relatives have to be in that role!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 7:05 PM
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Swedish hikers seem well prepared.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 7:30 PM
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Our son is staying with us for a couple of days. He shouldn't try carrying me, but he did have us watch Tree of Life the other night.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 7:32 PM
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I'm sorry to hear about the ankle break too. Keep us posted, please.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 8:07 PM
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Charley, wishes for a quick recovery with no lasting effects. Glad you have an extra set of hands to fetch and carry for you. My parents both made it to 40+ before breaking their first bone (wrist for both after tripping in the back yard), so you're in plentiful company.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 8:17 PM
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I've never broken a bone yet. I don't think my dad has broken a bone in his life. My mom broke her foot, but that was really my fault (she ran out the door to bring me something I forgot) and my sister's fault (see was stealing calcium from mom).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 8:21 PM
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Anyway, it's not like a first heart attack that you can put off for as long as you can but can't avoid.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 8:30 PM
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Yikes, Charley, glad you are (mostly) OK. Healthy wishes to everyone!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 8:38 PM
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224: The boyfriend, after years of youth sports, broke his first bone last year while sweeping the bedroom by stubbing his toe on the bedpost. Just to be safe, you should probably take it really easy on housework.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 8:38 PM
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I hope you have a quick recovery, Charley.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 8:41 PM
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Now that you mention it, my sister broke her toe that way also. I don't think she was sweeping, but just stubbed her toe into brokedness.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 8:41 PM
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||

Today I went to a conference in San Antonio. I left my purse at home. I left the dome light on inside my car, so the battery died. We asked the hotel conference people for help. They looked for a jump box for 45 minutes before saying they couldn't find ours. (The hood of my car was boxed in by walls and other cars.) I called AAA. After 45 minutes, they concluded that they couldn't help me, because I didn't have my ID, even though I'd asked them about that specific detail 45 minutes ago. I called our insurance company, which has a roadside assistance plan. They couldn't find a towing company with a car that could make it in this particular low-ceilinged garage. Finally Jammies loaded up the three children and drove down and gave us a jump. I had baby Rascal with me. He screamed for most of the three hours that we were stuck at the conference. He screamed most of the way home. It took us 5 1/2 hours to go about 30 miles, and I carpooled with two friends so I wrecked their evening too. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 8:58 PM
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Ugh.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 9:00 PM
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208: My uncle sort of did that. He is a town manager and had business at the state capitol. For whatever reason, he wouldn't drop the papers he was holding and didn't break the fall. Luckily, workman's comp should cover it.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 9:14 PM
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Oh, poor Heebie. My mom says some days are like that, even in Australia.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 9:18 PM
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And now I can't find the 'like' button for that comment.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 9:34 PM
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The computer can tell that you are incapable of sincerely liking something, so it won't let you click on it and perjure yourself.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-12-15 2:29 AM
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The future of growth in the United States is now entirely down to Brigitte Bardot and Sofia Loren.

The first thing my mind went to on hearing the news was Dylan, too.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-12-15 5:54 AM
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They weren't even in 90210.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-12-15 7:14 AM
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Bad luck with the ankle: reminds me of my one and only skiing holiday. For the love of God, keep some of the Percocet back for later: it's really good for all sorts of things. What a painkiller should be.


Posted by: Charlie W | Link to this comment | 01-12-15 8:02 AM
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||

Didn't ride all last week, because morning temps were in the low single digits, rode my trainer a few times instead. When cold and dry the bus is reasonably convenient.

This morning the temp is about 20 and there's been a substantial snowfall. This is when the bike confers the greatest advantage: buses tend to bunch up in any kind of snowfall, so that you'd wait maybe more than half an hour and then three would come in tandem.

Carried my bike over drifts to the alley, couldn't ride steadily despite tire tracks until I got to a street. Then there was no problem, despite it not having been plowed, and the main roads had been plowed. Passed several gangs of buses and must have saved nearly an hour.

|>


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-12-15 8:13 AM
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Truly a challenge to figure out which commenter would say something like 239.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-12-15 8:24 AM
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I guess Idp.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-12-15 8:30 AM
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Can't choose whether 240 or 241 is the more droll; each is in its way.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 01-12-15 8:46 AM
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Classic idp.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-12-15 8:49 AM
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Sorry I missed most of this thread, of all threads. My thoughts:

For years I've thought my company got a sweet deal on this government contract and just had twice as many people in my position as are actually needed, because I spent roughly half my time actually working. And I can look over my supervisor's cubicle wall - he's not much better. To give us or our managers the benefit of the doubt, you could justify us as saying that all these people are needed to be really thorough and I'm slacking when I should be triple-checking things, or else that we're all needed as a reserve, so that when a project suddenly gets busy, we could be reassigned to it without being taken away from anything else. But over past couple weeks I started to think like I was just unusually lucky in the past, because I really have been busy. My busiest project these days takes a lot of work by practically anyone's standards, as far as IWNHL jobs go. I'm getting stuff sent to me from five people at once with deadlines measured in hours. I've had co-workers involved with this project before and if any of my other projects need help I'll have co-workers involved again, so maybe all of us really are needed.

But as I write this I realize, no, this project isn't normal at all, the department head normally doesn't get involved like he is today, this project is just uniquely terrible.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-12-15 2:23 PM
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