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It's That Time Of Year

Posted by LizardBreath
on 04.02.11

BCP%202011.jpg

Buck's birthday Boston Cream Pie, 2011. I've got it down to a routine -- my standard BCP is superior to his best friend's when he was eight mother's BCP. Took me a decade to get here, but it's on rails now.


 

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Alex is coming to San Francisco

Posted by Ben
on 04.01.11

Perhaps you would like to come to a meetup with him on Sunday. Perhaps not! Just pretend you haven't seen this post and no├Âne will be offended.

Josh has suggested a location.


 

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I need my line breaks

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.01.11

I wrote a chapter for an in-house book being published by Heebie U. I just received the version formatted to match the rest of the chapters. All the paragraph breaks have been changed from skip-a-line to indent. Oh my god is it ugly.

I think I had used a combination of both - skip-a-line when the content shifts, indent if the paragraph continues from a previous paragraph. This pure indent formatting (except at titled section breaks) makes me feel like I've lost control over pacing the reader's experience, and it's all crammed together. Terrible!


 

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On this day, circa 1986

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.01.11

When I was about eight, I decided to put Saran Wrap over the toilets for April Fool's day. Hey eight year old Heebie: Saran Wrap is see-through, not invisible. All day long I lurked around corners whenever anyone went to the bathroom. I experienced no cognitive dissonance that apparently no one used the bathroom all day, even when I saw them go in, and heard the toilet flush.

That afternoon, my older brother left the bathroom and I scurried in to check the toilet, and there was an enormous bowel movement, sitting on the Saran Wrap. I think I screamed with delight, and maybe flapped my hands.

Both of my brothers poked their heads in. I sort of fumbled, feeling like I should cover up what I was doing.

The eldest waltzed right past me, over to the toilet. Then he picked up the poop.

Then he took a bite out of it.

I think I hyperventilated. I'm pretty sure I blew a gasket in my brain. The eldest passed it to the middle brother, who also took a bite. It turns out that peanut butter and chocolate powder make exceedingly realistic-looking excrements. Use this knowledge wisely, my friends. The end.


 

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Pants and bad posture!

Posted by Ben
on 03.31.11

This Ask Metafilter thread is fascinating and horrifying. Frowner (assuming the identification is correct) is one of the few people to talk anything like what I can recognize as sense.


 

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Dyer Maker

Posted by Stanley
on 03.31.11

For the Easter partygoer who simply hates fun:

yolker.jpg


 

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The semantic paradoxes go to Washington

Posted by Ben
on 03.31.11

The implication of the measure's language was that the Senate would pass the House's budget if it did not pass a budget, or that if the Senate did not pass a budget then the Senate would have passed the House's budget.


 

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Is Economics a Science?

Posted by LizardBreath
on 03.31.11

This time it's Emerson asking. Conclusion? Sure, whatever -- doesn't mean it's reliable, though.

A bunch of Emersonia on economics collected at the link. Worth reading.


 

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Mindless blogging

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.30.11

Do you have countries you root for, for no particular reason? 'mI kind of fond of Russia. If there was a Team Russia pennant, I'd put it up on my wall.


 

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Don't Die!!

Posted by Alameida
on 03.30.11

Someone who's not my sponsee but is a little "pidge" of mine (my husband calls them pigeons) came over today. She told me last night that she had been so sick, couldn't keep anything down, throwing up, etc., but that she didn't have money to go to the doctor. So I told her to come over today and I'd give her money for the doctor because I'm like that. She then said she was worried I'd "be mad at her," and I "had to promise not to be mad," which, haven't I earned the benefit of the doubt here by now, O person to whom I have talked on the phone for hours at 3 a.m. when you were perched on the edge of the kitchen window and I could hear the air rushing up the shaft to the 18th floor? (I know, that's manipulative behavior to threaten suicide, like a dick. But we all know I'm a fucking sucker.) So she confessed: she took 40 Ultracet one day and 40 the next and a few more the following day (starting Saturday). Thats 13 FUCKING GRAMS OF PARACETEMOL one day and 13 the next, and whatever. To get high! But Tramadol sucks and doesn't get you high anyway; you fucking moron if you're going to die over it pick heroin at least! I thought, OK you lived after the first 2 days, you're fine, but then, I present, wikipedia:

The signs and symptoms of paracetamol toxicity occur in three phases. The first phase begins within hours of overdose, and consists of nausea, vomiting, pallor, and sweating. However, patients often have no specific symptoms or only mild symptoms in the first 24 hours of poisoning. Rarely, after massive overdoses, patients may develop symptoms of metabolic acidosis and coma early in the course of poisoning.

The second phase occurs between 24 and 72 hours following overdose and consists of signs of increasing liver damage. In general, damage occurs in hepatocytes as they metabolize the paracetamol. The individual may experience right-upper-quadrant pain. The increasing liver damage also alters biochemical markers of liver function; International normalized ratio (INR) and the hepatic transaminases alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase rise to abnormal levels. Acute kidney failure may also occur during this phase, typically caused by either hepatorenal syndrome or multiple organ dysfunction syndrome. In some cases, acute kidney failure may be the primary clinical manifestation of toxicity. In these cases, it has been suggested that the toxic metabolite is produced more in the kidneys than in the liver.

The third phase follows at 3 to 5 days, and is marked by complications of massive hepatic necrosis leading to fulminant hepatic failure with complications of coagulation defects, hypoglycemia, kidney failure, hepatic encephalopathy, cerebral edema, sepsis, multiple organ failure, and death. If the third phase is survived, the hepatic necrosis runs its course, and liver and kidney function typically return to normal in a few weeks. The severity of paracetamol toxicity varies depending on the dose and whether appropriate treatment is received.

Puking up blood? Tenderness in the upper-right quadrant? Profound feeling of terrible illness? Yes! So I gave her money for the ER and sent her to T/an To/ck Sen/g. I would have gone too, but I have pneumonia so I'm really tired. But maybe I should have gone to hold her hand. Anyway, that's happened already. I talked to her briefly, and they rushed her from triage to the gurney and the IV and all, but the doctor said both doses were above (potentially) fatal for her bodyweight, and it was late getting the antiagent in there now, and FUCKING FUCK. Now I haven't heard anything for hours. My gut feeling is she'll be OK, and it's the kind of thing where you live and then everything's OK because your liver is very resilient, if you don't die.

UPDATE: I talked to her in the hospital and it seems like she's going to be OK, though she'll have to stay in the hospital for 3 or 4 days at least. Some level in her liver panels was supposed to be 100 and was 1700; she said the doctors were visibly still anxious. She's still in the danger zone. She didn't want to tell her dad at all, but 4 days away would be hard to spin and I told her she had to let them know. She couldn't handle calling, so I did it. This was too much fucking excitement for me--but then it's not really about me, is it. Insh'allah, all will be well. Poor thing, she really is a sweet person. Maybe this will be the last for her.


 

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Dealing with fear

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.29.11

Conservatives seem to be so incensed by the possibility of free riders that it outweighs their support for social programs. Every time corrupt officials want to drum up support against a social program, this is the propaganda they use: people who don't deserve your sympathy are getting something for nothing.

Typically, the liberal response is "You're wrong, this is not a problem. Welfare queens truly do not exist. Families buying Cadillacs and houses way beyond their means do not make up the bulk of the people in trouble over the housing crisis." And the liberal response is accurate - these are bullshit stereotypes designed to drum up people's fears.

However, that doesn't assuage the fear. If you don't deal with someone's underlying fear, you'll never get anywhere. So the response needs to have two pieces - one that deals with the inaccuracy, and one which deals with the fear. Aside from saying that no such phenomena exists, we also need to be saying "Providing welfare to families who need it is so important that it's worth it if a few lazy people get welfare, too."

Because statistically, the person taking advantage of the system is insignificant. But anecdotally, they are very, very real. Dismissing a conservative person's reality just hardens their position. The correct response also includes "Yes, occasionally people cheat the system. And it is far better to take care of our vulnerable people and a few greedy people, than to risk throwing out any vulnerable people in an attempt to weed out the greedy people."


 

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Hello, DEA Minders!

Posted by Stanley
on 03.28.11

On occasion I take a common allergy-D-type medication, consisting of a histamine antagonist plus a nasal/sinus decongestant. And, never having tried the non-D form of the drug, I recently got to thinking: do I really need both?

Which thought took me to a local pharmacy, where both drugs are available separately. I was going to conduct an experiment! But first, I had to take the special card for the decongestant to the pharmacist, who would dutifully collect my personal information, as required by law for all purchases of this particular drug.

Right around the time I was signing the dotted line to verify that I promised not to do the bad stuff with the good stuff, the pharmacist pointed out that I could just by the allergy-D pill to get both medications.

"Oh, I know. But," I cheerfully explained, "I want to separate the pseudoephedrine from the other drug." Which, in hindsight, probably wasn't the best wording to go with in that situation.

All of which seemed like a better story before I wrote it down. How unfortunate.


 

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It would strain charity to credit Richard Cohen with having any thoughts at all, much less too many

Posted by Ben
on 03.28.11

If you saw a drowning person, you wouldn't need to think twice about whether or not to try to save them, so obviously it is correct to drop bombs on Libyans, a course of action which is exactly analogous in every way.

While the column isn't worth taking even this seriously, it is interesting to note that if Cohen had chosen a slightly different instance of day-to-day danger for his tenor, he could have derived a markedly different conclusion. Persons who have fallen into manure pits are also to be rescued, and one needn't (of course) worry about not rescuing others who have fallen into more distant manure pits, or getting permission (of whom would one ask it?) or anything like that. But one still needs to actually stop and think about what one is doing (the same goes for trying to rescue someone caught in a riptide, for that matter); it's not uncommon, when someone's trapped in a manure pit and unconscious from exposure to methane, for others to try, individually, to rescue him—only to be overpowered by the methane and themselves get trapped, with the result that a series of well-meaning people acting individually with little forethought or knowledge of what they were getting into end up dead in a pile of pig shit, because they assumed the rescue operation would be simple and straightforward.

(Via snarkout.)


 

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Here is a pie chart.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.28.11

I sometimes watch an awful lot of Very Mary Kate.

I don't know how widespread the appeal is, but it makes me laugh a lot.


 

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Oh look, Fortune wrote about a moral cretin

Posted by Ben
on 03.27.11

Here, though she isn't the main focus of the article. An especially charming sentence begins thus: "Unfortunately for many employers hoping to use unpaid labor to advance their business goals, there are strict federal and state rules that workers must be paid the minimum wage and paid for overtime, and must abide by other provisions in the Fair Labor Standards Act, which applies to about 135 million people working for 7.3 million employers." Yes, it's quite unfortunate.

Occasionally I wonder why the wrath of the Labor Department, or whoever is responsible for these things, doesn't fall heavily on those industries in which unpaid FLSA-violating "internships" are known to be the norm, as they are, according to my understanding, in publishing, architecture, and many other fields that smack of "culture" and thus have young-but-in-enough-cases-to-make-the-system-feasible-from-well-off-families persons lining up to join them. Perhaps something needs to be initiated by the exploited intern, who fears lest his or her name be tarnished? Or they've all just accepted that that's how it works? (One could imagine a secret intern program, along the lines of secret shoppers.) Or no one with power really cares?

Confidential to Shearer: if you point out that the interns in questions have made the choice to provide their labor for free, and act as if that is at all significant, I will literally have an aneurysm and die.


 

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