did someone muck with the backend here

Re: Open thread

1

I'm still in the process of adjusting to living alone, with both kids off at college (where please let them be safe). I am much chattier with my coworkers -- I hadn't quite realized, but I need a certain amount of human conversation in a day which I was used to all getting at home, leaving me grimly taciturn at work. I'm apparently going to be friendlier now. Weird.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 7:25 AM
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I use unfogged as a more seemly alternative to talking with coworkers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 7:32 AM
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Well, right, clearly me too. But I hadn't realized I needed a certain amount of actual face to face speech in my day. Less than most people -- living with family was plenty -- but talking to the cats doesn't cut it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 7:39 AM
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1: Sounds risky. If your coworkers were all intimidated by your stony silence, being friendly might blow your image.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 7:39 AM
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Maybe the solution is more cats.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 7:40 AM
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We don't know she's being friendly, just that she's talking more. Moving from icy glares to "I will give your heart to my dog to eat, inept fool of a solicitor" is certainly chatter but doesn't damage the image.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 7:42 AM
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I am charmingly approachable, in a bumbling Peter-Falk-as-Columbo kind of way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 7:46 AM
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He was kind of clingy, at least if you murdered someone.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 7:50 AM
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Rewatching a Columbo episode noticeably increases my own chattiness for several days. I was kind of embarrassed when I finally noticed it.


Posted by: Blank Stare | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 7:51 AM
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But you must catch so many murderers.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 7:52 AM
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1: I've noticed this tendency in myself, too. After a day of teaching I don't want to talk to anyone.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 7:53 AM
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Same tendency here.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 8:25 AM
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Also: Any regulars here that want to coordinate for CC, send me an email. (There's a planning conversation at the other place that you should be aware of.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 8:26 AM
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I tend to be taciturn at work myself. But a new hire happens to sit next to me, is a bit adrift during the orientation period, and likes to be chatty. Ignoring people talking around me is one thing but ignoring people talking to me would be too rude, so she's getting me out of my shell a bit. I've found myself initiating conversation now and then. Strange.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 8:43 AM
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The average number of annual deaths worldwide caused by natural disasters has been lower this decade than in the 1970s, according to Our World in Data, even though the global population is almost twice the size.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 8:48 AM
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(Because Cyrus is being less taciturn. Keep it up!)


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 8:50 AM
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I've had offices with doors since 2000 except for one year. Makes life easier.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 8:50 AM
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Why were all the doors installed in 2000?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 8:59 AM
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Because I can't write code while wearing trousers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 9:01 AM
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But what if the customer needs you to work in Windows?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 9:08 AM
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I still enjoy Alexandra Petri's shtick after so many repetitions: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/09/26/trumps-getting-impeached-i-defy-you-convince-anyone-this-cursed-truck-stop/

(Am I right that she's British?)


Posted by: Lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 9:11 AM
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21 is amazing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 9:16 AM
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WaPo is now Toast-like, yet The Toast is no more? Of course. This is the darker timeline.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 9:20 AM
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I'll do this anonymously, for reasons that should be obvious. I've been dealing with a child's mental health issues for coming up on three years, including multiple suicide attempts, and I know more about those issues, and navigating the system, than I ever wanted to know. It's completely gutting to be a parent in that situation (it's largely why I haven't been around here for a while); mercifully, I've been spared what CC is going through. The child in question is currently at a therapeutic boarding school in Utah (oh, my little Holden Caulfield), and she has definitely turned a corner, but she'll be there for some time, which adds to the misery. My children live with the combined fears of school shootings and climate crisis and the collapse of democracy, so (sorry, analogy ban) kids' mental climate seems increasingly threatened. In conclusion, September, bad.


Posted by: Some president | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 10:00 AM
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Last spring, when I was teaching 4 classes/semester, I would come home from work and basically ignore my husband because I couldn't handle any more interpersonal interaction. I have no idea how k-12 teachers or professors with higher teaching loads do it.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 10:02 AM
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When I was teaching in the Peace Corps, I needed a couple of afternoon hours just to stare at clouds. Luckily the available clouds in the south pacific were high quality: white, puffy, drifting across a pellucidly blue sky.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 10:23 AM
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24: That sounds very hard. Hoping in keeps getting better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 10:25 AM
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I don't think that's an adverb.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 10:25 AM
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We just had our sweet, lovable 14 year old cat put to sleep last week. I got him as a four month old kitten right after switching advisors halfway through grad school. He was a great companion, sat on my lap in the evening, sat on a kitchen stool when I cooked, and slept right next to me in bed at the start of the night. Our remaining cat is (mercifully) not as bereft as we feared. We'll probably get another once we can seriously contemplate it without crying.

My father has a very serious girlfriend. He is selling his house and moved in with her. He didn't give me his new address. The new residence is farther from my mother's care facility, so I may need to crash with friends to make visits. Mom's on hospice (for the second time). They've been traveling quite a bit, and he had a conference call with my sister and me to direct us what to do if my mother dies when he's unreachable ("If she dies in the hospital, you can leave her at the morgue until I return. If she dies in the memory care unit, you will need to arrange the cremation."). I don't begrudge him the relationship, but he's become quite a different (in many ways better) person (he traveled to WV to do charity work with her church? He helps take care of her pets when he didn't like animals at all?). It sucks that he couldn't manage that before, and it's really weird. She seems nice to the level of spineless pushover and somewhat tone deaf. Texted us a bunch of photos of her and dad in Hawaii . . . where my parents spent their 25th anniversary. Her name is being used in a lot of "white lady asks for a manager" type memes, which amuses me to no end.

So yeah, not great, but trying to keep a healthy sense of perspective.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 10:37 AM
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I feel like I should know this, but were there a bunch of 'yobbo safari' articles about pro-Brexit numpties?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 10:37 AM
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Pellucidly is in the dictionary.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 10:37 AM
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All the best, Prez 24 (Grover Cleveland, incidentally).


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 10:47 AM
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24: That's rough. I hope she continues to improve and also that she gains the ersources to keep her safe and happy in the future.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 10:47 AM
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32: Way to rub it in, dude.


Posted by: MC | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 10:49 AM
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Chemotherapy is shitty. I am unbelievably exhausted all of the time. I'm watching Schitt's Creek on an endless loop and waiting for it to be March.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 11:02 AM
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Hope you get some energy back.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 11:19 AM
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I'm dreading March for political reasons.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 11:20 AM
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I'm dreading January for political reasons.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 11:35 AM
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Right. That too.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 11:39 AM
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I can't say that October and November are looking great, politically.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 11:46 AM
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September is always my most hated month, to the point where I get a little euphoria when the damn thing finally ends.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 11:55 AM
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My sympathies to everyone going through tough times right now.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 11:57 AM
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Sympathies to you all experiencing losses and hardships. I think this year is probably better for me personally than last year was, but I know a lot of people for whom that is definitely the opposite. I feel undeservedly lucky -- I know "undeserved" is implied by "lucky," but I hate boastful gratitude talk and want to make it explicit. The wheel will turn again, and I should be careful to use the leverage I have now, but good luck makes me lazy.

New dog has recently not shared in our good fortune: she got a nasty GI bug, and according to the vet's scale I underestimated her body weight by 33% and have been feeding her way too little. She is now wolfing down 14oz cans of bland-formula wet food with a dusting of probiotics and cleverly hidden pills, and has much more daily kibble in her glorious future.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 11:59 AM
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On a whim, I got a picture book about gender identity for my daughter, not because I agree with everything in it but because it at least lays out the "people make a guess about your gender when you're born" point clearly, and the rest we can discuss. But in a way, its simplified and affirming account reminded me of Marie Kondo: throw out all the pieces of your gender identity that don't spark joy! Maybe that is a useful frame, though, that most people's gender identities are jam-packed garages full of random shit and reified obligations.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 12:09 PM
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I couldn't decide if this was bad timing or good timing, so whatever.

The WHO pointed to studies in Sri Lanka, where bans on pesticides have led to a 70% drop in suicides and an estimated 93,000 lives saved between 1995 and 2015.


Posted by: MC | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 12:15 PM
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44: Can you post a link to the book? My five year old has possibly been asking when she has to decide whether to be a boy or a girl. I say possibly because I think her father put her up to it as a way to make me break-up with my gender non-conforming boy friend. But maybe she also has gender confusion.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 12:37 PM
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I just got back from my 2-week "vacation" visiting my mom in the "holy land". I'm so fucking tired.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 1:09 PM
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48

Did they try to make you form a government?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 1:14 PM
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49

It's this one, I think. I should say that this is out of character for me, because this isn't how I personally think about gender, but "how I personally think about gender" is not a constitutive component of the world outside our house. Also, my daughter has a remarkably strong cisgender identity and sometimes I like to try to tug on it a bit, in a "you know, boys aren't actually from Mars" sort of way.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 1:14 PM
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Take two toy dump trucks and call me in the morning.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 1:19 PM
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48: Yeah, I would be stuck serving as prime minister, but then I remembered to tell them about my shiksa wife, so they let me go.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 1:41 PM
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NMM to Joe Wilson, opponent of Iraq war runup and ex-husband of Valerie Plame


Posted by: chill | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 1:48 PM
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While I of course am gut-punched along with everyone else about the recent tragedy (and thanks to J Robot for including me at the other place), but since it seems on topic if it's alright with everyone I'd like to share where I'm at--which is very, very good for the first time in a very long while. Stop reading now if that's not what you want to read today.

First, the long depressing part: So some of you know some of this from posting back in the day and hints at the other place (but only hints, because I've fallen into the trap of only sharing the happy stuff there), but back in 2014 I was drinking too much, depressed as hell, unable to do a good job at work, and got fired. I moved back from California to Minnesota for a contract gig ahead of my family and slept on a mattress on the floor of a friend's spare bedroom. After a couple months, my wife and I decided to get divorced. She kept the kids in Cali for an extra 5 months and then moved to really limit my parenting time (ambushed me during the required arbitration session with tales of my drinking and depression, some of which were fair but painting an unfair picture overall).

For the next couple years I managed to cobble together a bit of a living, renting an apartment in a friend's duplex and picking up occasional contract work while constantly, constantly. job hunting. My participation here dropped to near zero because I was just too ashamed of my situation--anything honest about my life was negative. I managed to maintain some semblance of a relationship with my kids, always paid child support and rent on time, but eventually burned through every last penny of my savings

So I gave notice and moved in with a kindly former professor of mine in exchange for handyman work/dogsitting, but the place was too far from my kids' school to do anything but every other weekend. I was essentially couch-surfing and about as low as I could get short of moving in with my mom in another state (no shade on those who have/want to do that, it just would have been really bad for me). I managed to catch a DUI in here and my romantic life was nonexistent too--things really sucked.


And now the happy stuff:

This spring things started to pick up when I landed a contract gig for an extended period, put the pay was low enough that I couldn't afford a place of my own and my situation with my professor/friend had to end because she was moving in with her girlfriend).

Then in April or early May I got a call from a contract recruiter to cover a maternity leave in the UK (from the U.S., remotely)--a couple rounds of interviews and a background check later, I had the job--it's Work from Home and at a really good rate that would let me meet all of my financial obligations and have an apartment near my kids.

So I moved in the first week of June and it has been nothing but up since. A new VP for my group came in about a month after I did and immediately latched onto me because we were seeing all the same things wrong with the organization . She gave me tons of responsibility, I ran with it, I'm knocking things out of the park (from her perspective--I've also made some necessary enemies) and I have turned the maternity coverage into the promise of a permanent Director of Marketing job come January at a salary something like 50% more than I have ever made.

I used the new income to initiate a discussion about equal parenting time with my ex backed by the credible threat of a lawsuit if she didn't accommodate me, and after a week of tense discussion we arrived at a staged plan to arrive at 50/50 parenting time by January.

My kids are doing great and my relationship with each of them feels better and stronger than it has since California--and I can sense their pride in my professional accomplishments. I'm no longer the embarrassing underemployed dad who can't make a home for them. My new place has a pool, which has offered endless hours of giggles.

I am working my ass off, but I love my job--I'm making real change happen, and I'm trusted and rewarded.

To top it all off, I reconnected with an old girlfriend from three years ago recently and it looks like she's becoming my new girlfriend.

I feel like all of the determination to hang on, to not settle, to keep pushing for the right job that would let me excel at what I'm good at (which is a really weird mix) have paid off--to the point that when I talk with my shrink, one of the main topics is I don't know what to do with the absence of constant negative stress. It's somewhat alarming that my life has so quickly become so good.

I won't make any claims that my life is perfect. But it is so, so good.

I can't promise I'll be back here much (even though I miss it) with the nutso workload I've got these days. I hope to be back a little more often though. As sad as yesterday's news was, the way everyone has rallied reminded me just how much I love you guys.

Sorry to have rambled so much. Thanks if you've read this far.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 2:06 PM
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Should probably have put my handle at the top of the giant wall of text. And I should also say that my heart is with everyone sharing their tough times in this thread. Please please reach out if there's anything I can do, even just commiserate.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 2:08 PM
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That's terrific -- I'm so glad things are going well for you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 2:19 PM
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Hooray.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 2:30 PM
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I'm so happy to hear all that, Choppy! That's really great to read. And I'm glad you're back-ish.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 3:12 PM
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Although I got confused over

She kept the kids in Cali for an extra 5 months and then moved to really limit my parenting time (ambushed me during the required arbitration session with tales of my drinking and depression, some of which were fair but painting an unfair picture overall).

because I wasn't sure when they ended up moving to MN.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 3:12 PM
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It's really worth everyone's time for me to get this timeline exactly right.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 3:14 PM
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53: Yay. Glad to hear things are good, Chopper. I remember the girlfriend from 3 years ago. Didn't realize you guys had broken up.

54: Your style is distinctive. I, at least, knew it was you from the first paragraph.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 3:40 PM
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Thanks everyone!

58/59 - I should have used another word than "moved" - she and the girls came back to MN in July 2015. She took action to limit my parental time in the divorce proceedings, finalized January 2016.

60: Thanks BG--you have an excellent memory.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 3:49 PM
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Are your kids moving to Minnesota young enough to get the accent?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 4:19 PM
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Congrats Chopper! (A promise in writing I hope?!)


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 4:35 PM
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62. They were both born here, but spent their transition from toddlers to elementary kids in NoCal. The inner suburbs of Minneapolis don't really have the crazy out state accents, but I do find myself using long Os sometimes, so maybe I just am not noticing it.

63. No, but if I can't trust this boss I have badly misjudged her and I don't want to work for her long term. At the moment I feel like I could spend the next 15 years following her from job to job. If I'm wrong, I make decent enough money as a contractor. A few years at this level of experience I will be able to make a jump. Not perfect, but still such a vast improvement.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 6:59 PM
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I'm casting a primary-school version of Fargo. Just keeping my eyes open.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 7:05 PM
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Also, Ydnew, your situation with your mom always sounds so tough, and I'm sorry your father is complicating things.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 7:32 PM
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53 is nice to read, and thanks for tipping it at the other place.

My life is normal and basically fine, so I won't go into any detail. But tonight I showed the family the video of the kids saving the dog (who looks just like ours) from the anaconda, and both AB and Iris were completely freaked out, so good job me.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-27-19 8:08 PM
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54: I'm sorry to hear that things were so rough for awhile, but really glad that has reversed so decidedly. I hope it is clear that my household will always have your back, lemme know if anything comes up that we can help with.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-28-19 6:44 AM
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49: Thanks! That looks really good.

53: What a lovely update!


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 09-28-19 7:29 AM
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35: I'm so sorry. Just wanted to say you've been in my thoughts, too.

66: Thanks. It's agonizingly slow-moving, so there are tiny new horrors that just crop up every so often. I'll refrain from elaborating, but if I could sign a euthanasia order, I'd do it in a heartbeat.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-28-19 4:08 PM
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35: You've been in my thoughts, too.

66: Thanks. It is agonizingly slow, and new horrors crop up periodically. I'll refrain from elaborating, but if I could sign a euthanasia order, I'd do it immediately.

53: I am so happy things are coming together for you. I was worried. I'm so glad (and impressed) you clawed your way back to a good place.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-28-19 4:11 PM
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Ugh, refreshed three times and figured the first got eaten so rewrote. Enjoy the low fidelity duplication.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-28-19 4:12 PM
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I've just learned that a problem Amtrak has is that it lets passengers couple their own personal carriages on to the back of its trains, and this has been causing delays because it takes time to complete the coupling. (New CEO is limiting this practice and charging more for it.)



Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-28-19 11:25 PM
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How adorably 19th century of them.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 3:16 AM
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Who has their own railroad car and why would they hitch it to Amtrak? Am I being provincial? Is this an east coast thing?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 7:56 AM
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OMG everyone Eggplant rides in the ...common people carriage.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 8:11 AM
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Apparently it's mainly charter companies rather than eccentric millionaires.
On which subject I am watching the SpaceX update and there can be few more awkward public speakers out there.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 8:13 AM
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Anything interesting there?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 8:49 AM
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Starship test flights within the next two months, orbital flights within six. And they're stepping up Raptor production to aim at one every two days, to support high rate production of Starships and boosters. Talking about it being feasible to launch the same Starship 2-3 times a day, and the same booster 10-15 times a day...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 9:26 AM
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there can be few more awkward public speakers out there.

Musk, or some wretched wonk who's been pulled out of the lab to talk?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 9:34 AM
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Musk.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 9:42 AM
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79: Do they have believable demand forecasts to support that kind of usage?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 1:09 PM
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Those are maximum feasible launch rates. They equate to 150,000 t to LEO per starship per year.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 1:19 PM
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That amount of payload in orbit also equates to about 10,000 t per year to the surface of Mars, though obviously you need a lot of starships for that because it's a six-month trip.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 1:28 PM
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water utilities elsewhere on the Dutch coast are making up for the loss of rabbits with sheep, goats, highland cattle and even European bison and Konik horses.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 2:07 PM
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I should probably also do a general update. The children's mental and physical health problems remain complicated and the girls themselves are fantastic. I'm working two part-time jobs, one (editing) great and one (minimum wage at the yarn shop) tolerable but also annoying. Coparenting with Lee is also tolerable but deeply annoying; she keeps the two younger girls every other weekend and then has two or so hours with Mara each Monday and Selah each Wednesday. She seems to be trusting me more but also still doing ridiculous and counterproductive things, though the girls are old enough to mostly see through her. I have a serious girlfriend with no blog nickname and she's wonderful with my children and even more wonderful in general. We met on tinder last fall and had a big conversation about how obviously we weren't looking for a serious relationship since she's very busy with grad school and I'm very busy with parenting, after which we immediately plunged into what was undeniably a serious relationship. We are very different in a lot of ways, but also her Catullus tattoo is right where my Sappho one is and we have a ton in common and understand each other easily and naturally. It's weird and amazing to have someone who wants to take care of me and allows me to take care of her too. We cook together and spend as much time together as we can and she was part of the decision to add a dog to the family a few weeks ago, though her apartment is pet-free and that limits what she can do on a practical basis with the adorable pit-lab-hound-mutt puppy. (We ascertained this weekend that it's not too hard to smuggle a puppy into her apartment, though, and so that's one option there.) On the whole, I am in some ways barely managing to keep my head above water and in others totally thriving. I read pretty much all the comments here but rarely comment anymore.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 7:20 PM
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I have a serious girlfriend with no blog nickname

I hear your cry for help. How about Smoochy?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 7:27 PM
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Odie! (Odette?) Even if it's a different Catullus quote.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 8:28 PM
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Hey, this "Susan Sontag as queer writer" article fucked me right up, although I'm hard pressed to explain why in full sentences.

Also, a neighbor very, very politely asking me when the construction debris would be removed from my driveway, because she's about to put her house on the market (it is being suited up like every other flipped house in town, dark gray facade and mulched landscaping), has turned me into an absolute firebreathing brat. I want to put up a "Housing is a Human Right" sign on our ugly chain-link fence.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 8:37 PM
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Hip?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 8:44 PM
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Seconding 87. I call for nominations to be closed.

I just realized I have an ATM. Heebs, check your inbox shortly.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 8:44 PM
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Smoochy the Conquerer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 8:45 PM
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What's the "personal news"? What's "the other place"? What has happened? Everything is so cryptic and somber I assume it's terrible


Posted by: Miranda | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 9:53 PM
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http://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_17012.html#2052336


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 10:23 PM
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88: It is not a different one, in fact.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 10:35 PM
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I thought Catullus died before that story was invented.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 10:40 PM
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Yay Chopper that's great! and sympathies to all the people struggling in this thread. I have a problem with my daughter's mental heath that's thankfully less serious than some president's (and I'm so sorry) but still scary and exhausting. She is under terrible pressure with her overly-difficult school and uni applications. She is ok some of the time, but spends the majority of her time endlessly repeating that she doesn't want to be alive any more, she hates everything about her life, she's stupid and deserves to die, she's ugly and fat and no one has ever liked her at school, which proves she really is ugly, she can't do this anymore, she's going to flame out in the third year at uni and become a failure, etc. etc. Her "friends" truly have turned against her and are excluding her from parties and group chats, it's gut-wrenching. She can't fall asleep unless I lie down with her, something I thought we got over at 8 (co-sleeping gone wrong.) I am helping her with school to a suspicious, near essay-writing degree, and quizzing her on chemistry and biology. It's not fair to her sister who's getting less attention even though she arguably has an eating disorder and has harmed herself in the past. She is beyond done with her sister's antics and nocturnal screaming fits. This is taking a toll on my never that great mental heath and I'm afraid I'll snap at some point. I'm taking her to the psychiatrist and CBT psychologist (she has seen her only once so far and it's too bad, maybe I'll try to move her up now.) I'm really at a loss and don't see why she'll get better and can't imagine her getting through even the first year of uni at this rate. Who will come when she screams in existential panic??! I love her so much and I'm so worried about her, and she's being awful to me. FML.


Posted by: a rando first lady | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 11:34 PM
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Sorry for the wall of text and thanks for reading.


Posted by: a rando first lady | Link to this comment | 09-29-19 11:35 PM
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Oh, Rando, that sounds really terrible. All sympathies. Why are so many young people so horrible to themselves and to each other these days? But some things do remit in time. It sounds as if - to be American for a moment - you also need to look after yourself a bit.

As for Thorn — We are very different in a lot of ways, but also her Catullus tattoo is right where my Sappho one is and we have a ton in common and understand each other easily and naturally. may be the most romantic sentence ever written on this blog.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 12:06 AM
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||
Whither Austria?
|>


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 2:12 AM
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Hey rando, that sounds rough. I have a reaction which is maybe unhelpfully advice like and probably you've considered, so, I dunno, disregard to the extent necessary, but, what about just having her do something else besides school for a couple years. Sounds like she needs to get off the treadmill. I dunno where you live but something like Americorps?


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 4:16 AM
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86. Same poem? (φαίνεταί μοι κῆνος ἴσος θέοισιν - Ille mi par esse deo videtur)? That would be truly awesome.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 5:20 AM
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97: I'm sorry to hear that. Wishing the best for you and your family.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 6:02 AM
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100: It has whithered away quite a bit since the days of, say, Ferdinand III. Not sure anyone else is interested in what remains, so it's mostly left to the Austrians these days. Of which, pleasantly, a smaller share has voted for their RWNJs than the last time around.

Another merger with Hungary seems unlikely, and probably wouldn't solve either country's RWNJ problem if it did occur.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 6:07 AM
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Bohemia? A red-and-white knight?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 6:30 AM
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Bohemia? A red-and-white knight?

Is that their new coastal defense?


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 6:33 AM
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I want somebody to create the Australia Hungarian Empire. I think history should be more confusing even at a superficial level.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 6:37 AM
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Rando, I am so, so sorry. That sounds awful.

May I say: if your kid will not buy-in totally to therapy, then you put yourself in therapy and work on what you can do to stabilize the kid. It sounds like you're at a loss for what to do, and I would be too, but therapists know this kind of situation really well and can mentor you through how best to guide your daughter.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 6:42 AM
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107: Eurovision is working on it.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 6:45 AM
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Things are doing OK for me.

Physically, I've been on a weight loss and fitness improving kick since December, which has been going well. I think last time I mentioned this, I conflated two numbers. One, the total amount of weight lost since I was at my heaviest (last summer), and the total amount of weight lost since I started actually tracking it regularly, so it overestimated how much weight I'd lost (in the past N months, not in total). The latter number is a bit bigger since I'd gradually lost about 4kgs between summer and December of last year, without really consciously making much effort, or tracking it properly.

However, since mid December, I've lost almost exactly 23kgs (51 lbs). This hasn't been that hard, in terms of feeling excessively hungry, or in terms of dietary restriction.

I've had some rules:

1) I had to be able to eat normal food. No keto or low carb; no paleo; no cutting out of major food groups; no replacing of meals with meal replacement shakes, etc. All of these things can work for some people, but I know they won't work for me.
2) I had to be able to continue to drink booze, go out and socialise, eat a normal meal out with friends or family without being weird about it.
3) No cheating or kidding myself. I track everything I eat. Sometimes I have to guesstimate, but, every single day, I record what I eat. I don't kid myself that I've not eaten that much that day and skip tracking it. I don't round down or try to cheat the numbers. I know, within a few percent, exactly what I've had, every day, since 8th December.
4) But, if I end up eating or drinking more some days (see 2), I don't care. It's fine. It'll all even out in the long run. I just want to eliminate self-deception and be honest with myself about what I am eating and how much.
5) I deliberately started before Christmas, rather than waiting till New Year. So I lost weight all across the festive season (while still boozing quite happily).

The last two or three months have been hard. Not because I've found the eating hard, but because sometimes progress slows or stops, or even reverses. I just keep plugging on, and it has been fine.

I've also learned, that most energy expenditure calculators don't work perfectly for me. I assume that's because of being hypothyroid (even though I am medicated). For someone my weight, and body composition (I'm about 67-70kg lean muscle* plus another N percent for fat and bone mass), who walks an average of 12,000 steps every day, and hits the gym 3 or 4 times a week, all the various formulae come up with a "budget" of around 2600 kcal to maintain weight, about 2100 to lose 0.5kg a week (which is roughly what I am aiming for), but I really need to be under that. Not a lot under that, but I think the calculators all overestimate my expenditure by about 10%.

I've remembered, for the first time in 4 years or so, that I actually like exercise. I enjoyed doing martial arts, and I enjoy working out. I don't enjoy the fact that my body is extremely prone to injury, so, at this moment, one of my hips is sore all the time (this is an old martial arts thing, I think, certainly predates the last year) and one of my shoulders ditto (which is going on for 2 months now).

* Depending on the time of day I measure it. Which is why BMI calculators and obesity measures are wildly wrong for me. I'd expect a properly in shape me to be carrying a few pounds more muscle than I do at the moment. Not something huge, but I'd guess for my frame, somewhere in the low to mid 70s for kgs of lean muscle, assuming I was in decently athletic shape, possibly more even. The NHS healthy weight range for my height has an upper ceiling of about 76 - 77kgs _in total_, and a mid point of about 65-66kg. So, that's never going to happen. I'd expect to never get much below 85kg (188 lbs), and I'd look pretty athletic at that weight.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 7:17 AM
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Christ, that's long. It didn't look as long in a comment box. Sorry!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 7:17 AM
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There's a lot to say, and that's terrific that it's working out for you. I have to think that being lighter will help with the injury-proneness as well, wouldn't you think? Maybe not eliminate it, but 20-odd fewer kilos is that much less strain on your joints.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 7:22 AM
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Another merger with Hungary seems unlikely, and probably wouldn't solve either country's RWNJ problem if it did occur.

The first time didn't work out too well anyway.

Rando: I'm sorry, that sounds rough. Mrs. Lurker's younger niece (late teens) recently went from outgoing, popular, doing well academically & etc. to a complete implosion: panic attacks, won't leave the house (apparently literally gets sick if she tries) and no one knows what to do. She's in the UK and mental health care services are slow to put it mildly.

I know that anecdotes aren't evidence, but it seems like previously high performing kids have abrupt meltdowns is a trend.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 7:33 AM
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When I lost a bunch of weight four years or so ago, I did it roughly the same way -- food tracking, aiming at a target calorie intake but not stressing too much about hitting it (or about precision. I was putting things into an app on the basis of 'looks about right' and trying to be conservative. And I had a defined custom food called "Large dinner and drinks, no detailed idea" for 1500 calories which would come into play on days when I knew I'd really lost track of what was going on) And yeah, it was slow and erratic with some long pauses, but it worked and the weight's stayed off for four years.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 7:34 AM
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I want somebody to create the Australia Hungarian Empire.

Why settle? Demand the Holy Roman Empire or nothing.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 7:35 AM
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Demand the Holy Roman Empire or nothing.

With a capital situated in the remains of the legendary speed trap, New Rome, Ohio.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 7:53 AM
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Best of luck, rando.

We've spent a lot of time thinking about what we might have done differently. It wasn't really clear to us how bad his illness really was until he was already 21, and in a toxic co-dependent relationship. Looking back, we see warning signs of one kind of another. Still after 18 -- so we'd have had HIPAA and 'we-give-autonomy-even-to-people-with-impaired judgment'* issues -- but a timeline without the specifically toxic relationship is imaginable. The semester before his 21st birthday we were engaged, but not quite enough to see that encouraging him to skip the semester was the right call.

Every kid is different, of course. And hindsight, while never really 20/20, makes stakes clearer.

* I support this policy, because the contrary is so easily subject to abuse. My God is it frustrating, though.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 8:00 AM
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I was really sorry to hear about your son, Charley. I hope you and the rest of your family are OK.

My brother has had long term mental health issues, with several very long stays in residential hospital. Sometimes initiated by him but sometimes initiated by legal compulsion. I think everyone involved who cares about him has had long periods thinking about what we could have done better at various times, but I'm not sure there's any easy answer. My mother is an ex psychiatric nurse, and is a social worker whoever specialises in dealing with people with mental ill health. So, she has about as much professional experience as anyone could reasonably have, but I think she's been just as confused about what's best to do as anyone else.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 8:11 AM
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I have an adult relative with some mental health issues -- elderly now, but the issues have been consistent for decades, they're not new in old age. And after a whole lot of discussion with other relatives, there really doesn't seem to be anything effective that can be done without the cooperation of the affected person unless it's at a point where legal process is available and appropriate, and that is a line very far past where serious problems are obvious.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 8:20 AM
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Hey all. I haven't been here just very occasional lurking in the last... ages. I do drop by once in a while inconsistently, today was one of those days.

Charlie, I am so sorry for your loss. It is a terribly difficult thing to watch in a friend, I can't imagine how it is for a child.

Thanks to whomever linked context above as I don't think I know what the other place is.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 8:27 AM
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Thanks so much for sharing that, Charley. I'm in the early stages with at least one and possibly both of the older girls (13 and almost 12) of getting disability information on file with the state so that they can access services now (or whenever they get off the waiting list, so years probably) and be eligible for support as adults, when I won't get to make medical decisions anymore. We're also restarting wraparound services, so there will be therapeutic support in the home or the community, not just the therapists they see at school, and I will allegedly get some help and advice from someone who knows what services are available on how to access things I may not know about. The series of hospitalizations we dealt with this summer were frustrating on my end because the specialists kept saying that I was already doing everything I should be doing or else they had unrealistic or contradictory advice. It's so tough when there isn't a right answer and there isn't something magic you can do to make things better. I do have my own therapist (who also thinks I'm doing really well at all this, which worries me, but whatever) and agree with heebie that it's essential support. some president and Rando, I'm sorry you're dealing with such difficult situations and really appreciate that you talked about it here.

102: I have the last fragment of the Greek version. Hers is not the twinned poem, just "odi et amo," as guessed above and which she just sent me in text message format but for coordinating decisions made before we even met it's still pretty impressive. (Less impressive but maybe more stereotypical is that on our way to comparing them for the first time there was a brief pause after a hoodie was unzipped for "Oh, I like your shirt! Is that from Target? I have one just like it and it's sooo comfortable" and related conversation, but at least we weren't actually wearing the same shirts at the same time, so it could have been worse.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 8:28 AM
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120: Soup Biscuit!

"The other place" is Facebook. I think people sometimes say "the other other place" to refer to Twitter. Also, Standpipe doesn't really have a blog.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 8:48 AM
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122: Ah, that makes sense. I probably knew that at one point but didn't really use FB for ages, and am not connected there I guess.

This was an interesting thread to drop in on randomly, with all the personal updates. I'm hoping better things for random president and others struggling right now. And celebrating the better things for Chopper & ttaM.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 8:52 AM
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Three bits of news:
First that the Selkie is probably moving in shortly; both somewhat nervous about this but overall happy;
Second that my normal day job of (remembering blog convention on discussing jobs) orchid growing has given way to a different job of crocodile wrestling for the next few months, which is proving busy but good fun;
Third that if anyone wants a cheerful family board game of politics and betrayal based loosely on Renaissance Italy for Christmas, I will shortly be publishing one and will be taking orders.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 9:20 AM
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Congratulations on the cohabitation, and I should make sure AWB knows about the game -- her partner is a serious board game hobbyist. I just spent hours this weekend playing something at a level of complexity that nearly blew out a blood vessel in my frontal lobe.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 9:43 AM
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IYKWIM.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 9:51 AM
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This game is very definitely lobe-safe. But the artwork is amazing. (I didn't do it.)


Posted by: Ajay | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 10:03 AM
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re: 112

That definitely was true up to a certain point. When I first started, maybe about 4 or 5 months in, a lot of chronic pain I'd had, went away. I think that was just being lighter and putting a lot less stress on my body.

Now that I've stepped up how much I exercise -- I hit the gym fairly hard about 3 - 4 times a week* -- I am finding the pain is returning, but it's specific. I mostly know why and how, and when. Which is better than before. It's just irritating.

* mostly because I want to and I enjoy it, and I want to get strong so I can do things -- like returning to kickboxing, or climbing/lifting/throwing things with son, or whatever -- rather than because it's an adjunct to weight loss.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 2:41 PM
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throwing things with son

"The Buckfast bottle is traditional, but they all smash the same."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 2:49 PM
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her Catullus tattoo is right where my Sappho one is

Okay, why isn't there a text hieroglyph for swooning like for shrugging? More swooning, less shrugging.

ttaM, I remember from discussing shoes that you don't wear your shoes out as fast as most people. Lower friction, higher efficiency, you don't needget to eat as much.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-30-19 3:16 PM
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110: I have recently lost enough weight that both gym trainers and ballet teachers have noticed, and I can only attribute this to the fact I no longer live near a good kebab shop.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10- 1-19 4:44 AM
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Is there an amount of weight loss that a gym trainer would notice but a ballet teacher would miss or is it the other way around?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-19 6:23 AM
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Some of the shit that has gone down this year is still impossible to discuss, even presidentially but a couple of nasty milestones have been my daughter unfriending me on facebook so I now have no means of uncreepily contacting her and I won't creep; also, just this morning, the discovery that my ancient mother now has so little strength in her legs that I can no longer lift her in and out of her wheelchair.

She's not at the stage that ydnew's mother seems to be but it is still distressing. On the other hand, good things have also happened. Not all of them involve Ume's cat.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 10- 1-19 9:52 AM
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Re: 130

Kidding aside, there may be truth in that. A lot of calorie burn is non essential fidgeting and inefficient movement. I also walk/move very quietly.* It pisses my wife off when I just (unintentionally) ninja up beside her and she is oblivious to my presence until she jumps. I do this multiple times a week.

* my Dad hated unnecessary stomping and noise at home, so it is probably learned behaviour.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 1-19 11:38 AM
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133: That sounds really rough, I'm sorry.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10- 1-19 5:57 PM
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133. NW, that's hard. You have my sympathy. (I am now wondering about what's happening with the cat.)


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10- 1-19 8:18 PM
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Using this as an accountability thread to say that as of tonight we're up one more psych admission. I'm at the ER myself now waiting to get related injuries evaluated. It's not that bad this time, I think, but I didn't get help when I should have in more severe scenarios this summer and I am atoning for it now. My girlfriend is keeping the other two girls and the dog, since Lee didn't want them at the ER but thought picking them up was too much to ask of her. She doesn't want them at my girlfriend's either, but she'll survive. It sounds like she's back to trying to find ways to blame my parenting for the troubles the girls have had, but I'm not overly worried about that tonight. She's still the worst but we get by.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 1-19 8:48 PM
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Sorry to hear that, Thorn.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10- 1-19 8:58 PM
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Oh, Thorn. Not that bad this time sounds like you should have been on Wellington's staff at Waterloo: "By damme, sir, I've lost a leg!" — "By damme, madam, you have."

Admiration and sympathy


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 4:27 AM
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133.1: Ouch. I'm sorry about your daughter. I keep hoping she'll come around. And I'm very sorry about your mother, too. I hope she's not in too much distress; you're clearly giving her the best you can. It's hard, because we grow up thinking that our efforts will be rewarded with progress, but it's all decline that is completely out of your control.

137: I hope you're OK and your daughter improves and gets to return home soon. It's nice that you have a reliable extra adult around. I won't even ponder what Lee thinks appropriate parenting in your situation would look like.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 4:38 AM
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137: Sorry to hear that. Wishing the best for you and the girls.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 5:09 AM
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137: Oh, Thorn! Sorry to hear this. Hoping for the best for you and your girls.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 6:07 AM
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139: I have a mild TBI, no perforated eardrum. The latter is the part I'd worried about. Definitely better than earlier iterations. They haven't found a bed for my daughter so she's in the psych ER, which she likes very much. It may well mean she goes outside the children's hospital system we're used to, but the alternative on our side of the river is way better than the one that was there before and so I think that would be okay. I get to spend the day sleeping mostly, so that works. Everyone is calm and coping. Well, except Lee, who's still being ridiculous and back to thinking I must bring this on myself by not being a good enough parent. But I don't care what she thinks.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 8:11 AM
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(I swear I'm repeating myself out of exhaustion and it's not a sign of injury. Argh.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 8:51 AM
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That sounds great Thorn! As long as you can hear the ringing in both ears.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 9:00 AM
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"a mild TBI... definitely better than earlier iterations" -- okay but Jesus Christ that's not good. You've been having less mild traumatic brain injuries? No one can do more to ensure your physical safety than this? I'm a little concerned.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 9:30 AM
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A child that can't inflict a concussion hasn't been adequately fed. It's right there in the adoption manual.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 9:39 AM
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Adequate medication made all the difference with the first extremely violent child this summer. It would be nice if that could work again, but this iteration will probably be me learning how to parent differently to be less triggering of anger, plus possibly some residential treatment center or something. The bad parts have been really, really bad. But there's plenty of good too. I refused this summer to wear Kevlar sleeves and a helmet around the first child, thinking that sent the message that I expect violence and that's not any way to run a family. This latest was an aberration in its severity but needs to be dealt with. And all this is why I've been more isolated and exhausted than I'd like.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 9:43 AM
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Could you conceal the Kevlar sleeves under a hoodie or something?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 9:44 AM
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Coming a bit late to this thread. Congrats to Chopper for turning his life around, ttaM for the incredible weight loss (I've been trying and succeeding but not nearly fast enough), and Thorn on the gf situation (also been trying...) and anyone else I missed. Sympathies to Thorn, rando, NW, Charley, and anyone else I missed.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 9:49 AM
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I wonder if the cortisol hangover is as bad when you're a kid; if I knew, I can't remember. I'm truly sorry, but yeah obviously you shouldn't wear a fucking helmet around your kids. I'm curious about what's making them so angry, but of course you don't have to spill your children's thoughts and feelings out here.

Idly, I wonder if Lil Nas X has given equine therapy new cachet? My mom ran some sessions for kids and claimed that they had a great time.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 10:29 AM
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Take two horses and call me in the morning.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 10:40 AM
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"Horse thief camp" is equally fun, but different.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 10:46 AM
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The Catherine the Great joke is left as an exercise for the reader.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 11:10 AM
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136: The cat has almost given up pissing on the bed. We thought it had given up entirely until a couple of days ago. It has also largely given up pouncing on any toes it finds exposed in the middle of the night and demonstrating on them how to kill small animals with a single swift bite. Actually, I find the process of establishing communication fascinating.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 12:27 PM
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||
The closer journalism gets to power the further it gets from truth
BUT
The further it gets from power, the less it understands


There are exceptions -- sometimes what you need to understand is only that the people in charge are crazy. But even then it's worth knowing why they are doing and saying crazy things and what they think the alternatives are.

|>


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 12:30 PM
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156 is interesting, but I think needs detailed explication.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 2:24 PM
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151.1: the main problem is that I ask them to do things they don't want to do. But it's the underlying anxiety and other stuff that escalates it. And they found a bed for her tonight in the same facility we've used before. Fingers crossed her insurance won't kick her out way too soon this time.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 3:49 PM
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Dropping back into the thread to extend sympathy to all going through rough times. Hugs from MN.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 7:11 PM
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Hooboy, Thorn, I'm also feeling both concern and admiration for all you're doing as a parent. I know you're putting the recent events in perspective, but it's still a lot.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-19 7:53 PM
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157: An awful lot of the time you know things or learn them on condition that you don't spread them. This is not especially sinister in itself. Some people do have legitimately private areas of life. If I knew that one of the most prominent Catholic journalists in Britain had had two babies by IVF [illicit under JPII] I would not print it and not just to protect my source. Examples could be multiplied. And, when you're dealing withou powerful people as a journalist, you're always trading favours. Either there are the corruptions of genuine friendship or the corruptions of negotiated arrangements. Both tend to supproess news which the public might find legitimately interesting.

BUT

If you have nothing to do with decision makers, you cannot understand the decisions they make and the choices they think they are making. History can only be understood in the light of what didn't happen (but which everyone expected might or must). And that's invisible from the outside. If you don't know that, you can't print it, and, again, the audience is deprived of material essential to understanding what's going on.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 3:56 AM
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You need access journalists. Bob Woodward serves a purpose. But modern journalism is lousy with practitioners who prize access over truth.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 5:36 AM
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It's a very rare journalist who will turn down access if it's offered. And, as someone said, you can tell who talks to Woodward by seeing who doesn't appear in the story. And that in itself is interesting. One underlying question is why anyone should ever talk to a journalist at all. What do our victims get out of it? Often, usually, we are simply megaphones or conduits "ways to get the message out"


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 5:49 AM
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161: Well, yes. I just think your phrasing is too cute by half. (Sorry. But you knew we bite.)
In your fist line what you mean by "truth" isn't actually truth but the ability to publish it (perhaps "truthfulness", in dealing with the public); and not truth in general but particular truths about the powerful. And there I would ditch talk of "truth" (moral connotations, we hates them) in favor of "knowledge".
Similarly the second line isn't about understanding in general but understanding of the powerful*; so, the further journalism gets from power the less it knows and understands about power. I'd also want to ditch the use of "understanding" on the grounds that understanding arises from a combination of knowledge and thinking; since you're talking about journalism's distance from power, I'll assume the thinking ability of the journalists is held constant, and the changing variable is access to knowledge.
I'd say the closer journalism gets to power the less free it is to indulge in deontology (or, if consequentialist already, the more consequences it is bound to consider), where the one rule (/consequence) presumably is "inform the public". Or, less abstrusely:
The closer journalism gets to power the more it knows of power, AND the more it is bound to restrict access to that knowledge.
*As you well know journalism-from-below can and does learn and understand things the powerful never even notice. (But I share the assumption I take to be implicit in your analysis, that journalism-from-above is most valuable to the public, because the actions of the powerful are of the greatest consequence.)


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 5:57 AM
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It's a very rare journalist who will turn down access if it's offered.

With national journalism in the US, this is true but regrettable. I understand the tradeoff that you describe in 156, but these situations also involve negotiation -- and some reporters negotiate with more spine than others.

Honest journalists turn down access all the time. Source says: I will give you x bit of info if you honor y condition -- when often, "y condition" is "on the condition that you don't publish it." Or "with the understanding that you will treat me kindly despite the facts." The dilemma for Washington journalists is that a source can always walk away from that negotiation. Even the NYT has to be conscious of the fact that the Washington Post and the broadcast networks are out there, and a principled journalist who isn't willing to adopt a source's spin is left out in the cold.

The correct answer is to be willing to be left out in the cold, and to hope that your colleagues are similarly ethical. And you can make a living that way, but you don't get to be Maggie Haberman.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 6:17 AM
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Does no one remember Izzy Stone?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 8:02 AM
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I do! I found myself wanting to say that there is no modern Izzy Stone -- but really, there are a lot of them and they write blogs. (Or, sadly, now they tweet.)

Jay Rosen is the indispensible media critic of our time, but he's no I.F. Stone.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 8:46 AM
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I am disproportionately proud that the things I derived from reading reports and plans and thinking are all confirmed by Mark Arax's in depth on-the-ground reporting. Like, I figured in my head that since there were no people living in a water district, the board of directors is the same as the landowners, and since I saw in a report that the GM is a hired engineer consultant, I derived that he is wholly owned by the landowners and does their bidding. Then Arax reported in an interview with the GM that the GM is all 'well, I straight up for work a couple landowners, even though this looks like a water district' and I KNEW IT.

I also had a distinguished reader compare me to Izzy Stone and once I looked up Izzy Stone, I was proud of that too.


Posted by: Nagem | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 9:40 AM
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Arax and I coincide so much that I was sure that he reads my blog. But then my friend asked him and he had barely heard of it, but did see that time when I reviewed Arax's articles. Oh well.


Posted by: Nagem | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 9:41 AM
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In your fist line what you mean by "truth" isn't actually truth but the ability to publish it (perhaps "truthfulness", in dealing with the public); and not truth in general but particular truths about the powerful. And there I would ditch talk of "truth" (moral connotations, we hates them) in favor of "knowledge".

I'm with you up to the first full stop. But I far prefer "truth" to "knowledge". Both words are slippery but truth I find easier to hold on to.

Your last two paras - - comity


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 1:55 PM
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