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No Signal

Posted by Alameida
on 01.14.12

Unfortunately, although the fever is over, I have been having migraines every day. This morning I was just in agony, really, and though I was asleep I knew that I was dreaming, and that within arm's reach on the bedside table were a wonderful pill and a glass of water. But I couldn't wake up! I tried yelling at myself, pinching, more or less fainting so the people in the dream would take my problem seriously [logic error at work here]; and dreaming that I had woken up and taken the pill but then recognizing that the semi-basement apartment I was in, with its bluish, short-looped wall-to-wall carpeting, was not real, and therefore I had not woken up. (They call them "English basement" apartments in D.C., where they are common; there are usually windows high on the wall through which one sees people striding past the security bars and, perhaps, geraniums, as may be.)

Then I had the brilliant idea of calling my husband and asking him to wake me up! So I got out my phone and called him but got the standard recording: "the Narniatel mobile customer you have reached is not available. Please try again later. Goodbye!" This last is said with rather excessive cheer, and the whole thing is in the quasi-British accent which characterizes the acrolectal Narnian's speech. Then I remembered that I was asleep so the entire idea was idiotic. I looked at my iPhone and saw the curious truth: no bars of Narniatel coverage whatsoever, but a full pie-slice of curved lines indicating wi-fi. Why? Because I could get onto the dream internet no problem but lacked the ability to call outside my sleeping brain.

Eventually, through strenuous effort, struggling up from the depths like a diver risking the bends, I woke up. Merciful Christ but my head hurt. I had only one great pill left from the neurologist (he gave me 12 pills in 3 prescriptions of 4 each, and the pharmacy couldn't or wouldn't fill them all at once), and so sent my maid on a last minute, hail-Mary pass to get secondary triptans from my local GP--it was 11:25 and he closes at noon on Saturdays. She succeeded and I took two more of those, an hour apart, which is more than I'm supposed to take (2 is the max, including the 1st one). I also took the maximum possible dose of painkillers (4x the prescribed dose, but, tolerance, much?) Success! Almost no headache for a good several hours. I got some gentle exercise in the pool. (I am aware that looking at the internet all day is a poor idea and I do not do so, despite appearances.)

No hope of working this weekend as I had wishfully imagined. I have a photoshoot on Monday with a fashion magazine at 11:30, so I must bestir myself and allow a professional makeup artist to paint the pink of health onto my rather wan face. They always do a great job with the fake lashes; maybe I'll learn something. Is this going to go on forever? I am officially bored now. Over a month of bed-ridden, painful illness. I made a gratitude list and actually almost everything in my life is wonderful and I am an extraordinarily lucky person blessed with happy children and a wonderful husband and a beautiful home in a place I love, and a job I enjoy, and a trust fund to pay for my children's education, and on and on. However, I would like to have fewer crippling headaches which make me dig my nails into my hands until I get a row of bloody crescents on my palms as a distraction kthxbai.


 

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Is there a blowhard on the committee?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.13.12

I'm filling out a recommendation form. How would I rate the candidate on the following characteristic?

Demonstration through words and deeds of benefiting society through work in and dissemination of science and technology

For an undergraduate summer project, of course.


 

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Occupied

Posted by Stanley
on 01.12.12

Well, that's something:

About two-thirds of the public now believes there are strong conflicts between the rich and poor in America, making class a likelier source of tension than traditional flash points of race or nationality, a study from the Pew Research Center found.

The nonprofit think tank in Washington released a study Wednesday that reported a growing number of Americans say there are "very strong" or "strong" conflicts between the rich and poor -- a number that has risen by 9 percent since July 2009.

OWS has The Big Mo.


 

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Easy Answers To Stupid Questions

Posted by LizardBreath
on 01.12.12

Yes, if pointing out when a public figure is telling a verifiable lie makes you a 'truth vigilante', the NYT should be a truth vigilante.

Arthur Brisbane, the public editor of the NYT, asked:

I'm looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge "facts" that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.

And I think literally everyone in his comments said, yes, you idiot, if the reporter or editor knows that something said in a story is false, you should report that as well rather than passively quoting the uncorrected lie. I've never seen that kind of unanimity in a newspaper comment section. I wonder if anyone at the Times is paying attention.


 

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Boston meet-up!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.12.12

Gabardine Bathyscape writes:

At least two out-of-town commenters and at least one lurker will be in Boston late next week and are in favor of a meetup on Thursday the 12th, 8:00ish, somewhere walkable from the red line. Can we have a thread?

Yes! But not this one.


 

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Because ttaM Cracked Me The Hell Up

Posted by Alameida
on 01.12.12

With his link at 82 in the nunnery thread. Thus, I offer you, the Mysterious Alameida at 12, left, with my favorite cousin and baby sister. I think I am unrecognizable but I guess you could tell me different and I'd take it down.

mysteriousal.jpg


 

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Get Thee To A Nunnery, But Not the Slutty Kind

Posted by Alameida
on 01.11.12

OK, what is the deal with the society-wide contention that fathers of baby girls/girls generally can and should insist that their little girl is never going to have sex, ever, and that if any boy challenges this dictum he will be summarily executed by shotgun? I was watching a lame TV show and after the ultrasound the characters were teasing the prospective father about the "Player's Curse," i.e. that he would have a girl to protect as revenge for all those fathers whom he wronged by fucking their little girl. In the same show, his pregnant wife was headed to see her mom for the first time during the pregnancy and meditatively reflected that it must be kind of special to see your own daughter great with child, and that perhaps if their child was a daughter she too would experience this in her own time. At which point the husband said that no boy would ever get close enough to future girl to get her pregnant, so the point was moot.

This is not merely a comic trope in entertainment, but a thing people actually say; joking references to shotguns are common in discussions of the parents meeting teen boyfriends. Really though, what the fuck is up with that? I imagine that we have an unrepresentative selection of fathers here, such that few or none are on the "my child is forbidden to have sex, ever" tip. On the whole my husband and I agree with Chef:

I don't want my daughters to have sex when they are 12, because I think it's too young. In general, IME, the younger the girl, the more likely the situation was coercive in some way, or the partner was older, or whatever. And having had so many bad experiences I feel a little at a loss on how to tell my daughters that there are lots of bad people out there who want to hurt them without coming off as a crazy person who hates men and boys. Generally I just told them the age-appropriate truth about sex from whenever they first asked, and have taught them their body belongs to them, and no one can touch it without their express permission, and if anything is making them feel bad or weird they should leave, and that I will never be mad at them about anything like this.

Having said that, sex is fun, or at least can be really fun done properly, and I don't see any particular reason why it's bad for teenagers to have sex, provided they use condoms. Teenagers are bored and really horny; sex is entertaining. But the "no one will touch my little girl" thing seems to hypothetically extend beyond the teen years to a timeless horizon of ever. Do these men not want grandchildren? What's the deal? I mean, comment 1 could be "I blame the patriarchy" and then the thread would be over, but I hope you will entertain me more than that.


 

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Bubo scandiacus

Posted by Stanley
on 01.11.12

Hey, neat. You can see Snowy Owls in parts of the US.

I totes want to see one.


 

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The Daily Grind

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.11.12

On the subject of the kids and their dancing, I read a blurb about a high school principal who was ending school dances altogether because they couldn't get the kids to stop grinding.

Is grinding a problem, when you're talking about high school kids? I know it's pervasive. But is it a problem? It totally squicks me out, because I never wanted to grind on the dance floor, and resented guys who tried to finagle such things.

On the other hand, it's so classically Victorian and anti-Elvis and establishment to find the young people's dancing too overtly sexual, and to have to fan yourself because you're overcome.


 

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Bite me, insurance.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.10.12

It makes me feel better to document this kind of thing here. I just got a bill for some procedure which occurred almost two years ago. I called the lab. The person looked up my invoice.

Apparently my insurance paid the bill on time. Then, a year and a half later, they asked for their money back. (Those are the words she used.) So the lab gave the insurance company their money back. Then they billed me.

"Why?" I asked. "Why did they ask for their money back?"
"It doesn't say," she answered. "You should call them."

Yes. Fuck you all. Now I'm patiently continuing to hold while I find out why my insurance company changed their mind, and why the lab complied and cheerfully returned their money.


 

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File Not Found

Posted by Alameida
on 01.10.12

So I saw the neurologist today, who was very nice, and thoughtfully didn't interrupt me while I was telling him things. And because we have better insurance now it was only $15 to see him. And I said, "I bet you're about to tell me about a magic new drug that will make me never have migraines again, ever, right?" And he said, "er, no."

Nothing's wrong with my brain, except that I have migraines. Which I had for at least 24 days in a row (not every second of every day, obviously). Admittedly, today is much better, and yesterday was not so bad. Today I've just had a headache all day, but a meagre one. We are on an upward trajectory. He said the continuous fever triggered them and then mumble something don't know mumble. He have me a new medicine to try, which you take when it starts. It's related to anti-seizure medications.

I had a strange experience today, though. I was heading out the door to pick up a friend in a taxi on the way to an AA meeting, something I have done for this particular girl about a million times. And not only could I not remember the name of her road, I couldn't remember the name of the main road off which it branches. We are talking about a spot about 800m from my house, and a road I ride on every day, which forms a part of one of the city's most famous intersections. I had to just stand there looking down at the concrete in the yard, imagining the roundabout. "It starts with an 'R'," I thought, aimlessly and wrongly (Scotts Road, thank you). It was really odd. Then I just suddenly remembered.


 

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A kindred spirit

Posted by Ben
on 01.09.12

What's up with shooting fish in a barrel, anyway? Why do people say "bleeding edge" when that doesn't make sense? How do you take a long walk off a short pier?


 

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Sudoku

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.09.12

I'm just going to put this right out there: I play a lot of Sudoku. I used to play a lot of CrossSums, but I have a great Sudoku app and haven't found a great CrossSums app.

The Sudoku app that I have has a couple key features:
1. Auto-pencil marks, if you choose.
2. Hints, with explanations
3. About 10 levels of difficulty
4. Statistics about how fast you solved the puzzle, under your conditions and hints, compared to the rest of the people.

Observation #1: About 80% of the people choose to play a level that allows them to solve the puzzle in under 4 minutes. This is so weird to me. If you can solve the puzzle at breakneck speed, why not go up to a harder level? If a puzzle doesn't take me 10-20 minutes, it's boring because the moves are all obvious and I'm just picking which one to do next. I just do not get why the vast majority of people, (and n=thousands and thousands) prefer to zip through, as though the manual dexterity of screen tapping super fast is the most important part.

Observation #2: Until the autopencil marks, I didn't realize that the vast majority of the puzzle doesn't begin until you've laid out the legal possibilities for each square. I thought 75% of the game could be done in your head, at least. Also, various hints provided great scaffolding for understanding the game much faster than I otherwise would have.

Observation #3: What I've spent way too much time thinking about is: exactly how do they decide what makes a game have a specific difficulty? My conclusion is that there are not as many different ways to solve a puzzle as you might think. Rather there are finitely many techniques, which they've grouped according to difficulty, and then they decide the difficulty of the puzzle according to what the highest bin of tricks that it requires.


 

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Post Requested by a Presidential Pseudonym

Posted by Alameida
on 01.09.12

You know how when you begin a new relationship, you get the debriefing, or not, on the other's previous relationships? Sometimes it happens that you really couldn't care less, but sometimes you wonder about these mysterious men and women, even to the point of jealousy. This doesn't go away as you get older, even though you know by a certain point there are going to be loads of exes to hear about. What's up with that? Can you tell which one your partner is haunted by (come one, they're haunted by one of them)? Maybe that's the one they tell you the least about?

I'm not talking about the you move in together and start wondering if they've saved letters or something and have idle thoughts of looking in the bedroom closet when home alone--if you're that sort of person. I mean in the more initial stages, like, this is getting serious, here's what's up with my life. Are you actually under any obligation to tell? If the other person just doesn't want to talk about it at all and says, hey, this is now, let's look to the future, are you annoyed or suspicious? I feel as if you certainly need to tell the person if you were married (and it goes without saying that they should tell you if they are married). But why is it different if you were married unhappily for a year as a young person than if you've spent the last 16 years living with a monogamous partner? That can't be right. So maybe you ideally give a big picture overview and that's it? Would anyone really care if their new partner pulled an Elizabeth Taylor "I was the slut of all time!"


 

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Prediction Predilection, Again

Posted by Stanley
on 01.08.12

I predict Bob McDonnell will be the veep pick.


 

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Fungus Amongus

Posted by Stanley
on 01.08.12

60 Minutes is on about truffles this evening. French truffles go for $1,000/lb.? That's too much for a glorified mushroom.


 

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Advice

Posted by Stanley
on 01.08.12

Overheard today at a large American suburban shopping mall: "I mean, it's a first date. You don't take someone to Applebee's on a first date."


 

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