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Bike thread

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.21.12

E. Messily sends along this link, about a mother of six who bikes her kids all over tarnation in a crazy-ass-fangled contraption. That is a woman with a lot of energy. (I think the older two at least pedal.)


 

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William Perry

Posted by Stanley
on 07.21.12

I just made some toast. Sourdough bread, bit of butter; one piece with peanut butter, the other with raspberry preserves. And a slice of cheese.

When I lived in Chile, I was pleasantly surprised by the (new-to-me) practice of combining cheese and jam. Is this something commonly done in the US? And elsewhere? Regardless, if you haven't tried the combination, I urge you to do so forthwith. It's delightful.

In other culinary news, I've learned I have a proclivity to refrigerate things that don't really need refrigeration. Things I like to put in the fridge but really don't need to: peanut butter, soy sauce, various types of vinegar. I blame my mother.


 

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ATM - takes a village edition

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.20.12

A longtime commenter writes in:

I logged into Facebook this morning and was sickened to see that a young adult relative I'm very close to had posted status updates mocking the people killed in the theater shooting. Sadly, this isn't out of character for him (although it is the most extreme example I've seen.) I am floored that he's grown up to be so callous and unable to empathize with other people. Is there any way I can help teach empathy? Or is someone a lost cause by their 20s if they haven't developed it already?

All I can say is that that is super shitty, and I'm interested to hear what the Mineshaft prescribes.


 

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A Very Wholesome Guest Post, In Contrast

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.20.12

Sir Kraab writes in:


A game!

In downtown Austin the main north-south streets are named for rivers and M/tch and I have a hard time remembering the order of some of them. We need us an acronym.

There is an underlying logic to the order: They follow the river sources from north to south, from Red River, up at the Oklahoma border, to Rio Grande, down Mexico way. But who -- other than geography and water nerds -- can keep track of such a thing?

So help a person out.

Rules:
You can go from east to west or vice versa.
You can break for Congress and start a new acronym.
If you don't break for Congress, you need to include it in the acronym.
You can go eastward on one side of Congress and westward on the other.
You can include 35.
You can use 1 or both of the initials of the two-word names (e.g., Red River).

[Rte 35]
Red River
Neches
Trinity
San Jacinto
Brazos
[Congress]
Colorado
Lavaca
Guadalupe
San Antonio
Nueces
Rio Grande


 

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And now the Arab Summer.

Posted by Apostropher
on 07.19.12

While we're all having sex, not having sex, trying to make babies, or trying not to make babies, yet another Middle East regime appears to be on the brink.

Assad has lost territory in Idlib, Aleppo, Deir Ez Zor, and Homs today. But he's also losing battles right in his own capital and its suburbs. [...] The pace of FSA victories is simply shocking, even for those of us who have been arguing that the Assad regime is far weaker than it appears. The FSA is close to fully encircling Damascus, and the regime is rapidly losing territory elsewhere. Without a drastic change in strategy, Assad could find himself completely surrounded in short order.

The Iraqi government also announced that every single border crossing from Syria into Iraq is now under control of the Free Syrian Army.


 

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AWB is Always Right 'Bout--Wait, That Didn't.

Posted by Alameida
on 07.19.12

I really haven't had sex with very many boys, considering. I'm older than AWB and thus right in the middle of the doomiest and gloomiest "Everybody's Got A.I.D.S." period. Every boy I've ever had sex with (save my lovely and reasonable husband) wheedled me into not using condoms, on the grounds that I was on the pill (almost always true!) and hadn't had sex with very many boys (diminishingly true!). Other excuses given were that it was only oral sex (popular!), or that we were a couple now (true, but in these cases we were still far out from the 6 month danger zone). I had sex with a gay man in 1994 and he didn't even gesture in the direction of a condom (RTFA. Basically, we were in a group sex situation and everyone was making out and suddenly he thought it would be interesting to have sex with a girl. It was interesting enough to have potentially given me a venereal disease and a baby, and he wanted to call his mom and tell her all about it, but he showed no signs of subsequent keenness on the gender.) I never went to get HIV-tested until I had shared needles like a giant not-very-smart person and gotten Hep C as a result. So much whining about the raincoat and the shower and the feeeeelings and the velvet hammer of the unwrapped man. I was pretty much convinced by all these guys that condoms were the worst things ever and you might as well not bother having sex. And I had a bisexual friend who worked doing sex ed on campus at Columbia, who said they advocated dental dams for oral sex between new female partners and when I asked her if she really did that she looked at her girlfriend and said "no one ever does that." My husband explained that they were no big deal.
UPDATE: My 29-year-old friend just came up to lie in bed with me (not like that). She says, in re: weaseling out of using condoms "they always try, but then they're afraid of pregnancy."


 

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As long as we're over-sharing

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.18.12

More intimate than Stanley's post, but less than Alameida's: I just had this procedure done. They pump dye into your uterus and up through your fallopian tubes until it spills out. It's very cool looking and mildly uncomfortable. You rock slowly to help get the dye to travel this way and that. (We're having trouble getting me pregnant, and the doctor wants to try Clomid. You get the HSG done to rule out any physical blockage.)


 

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#Slatepitch

Posted by Alameida
on 07.17.12

Female orgasms aren't needed for men to have happy gay marriages. So true. Shearer has rarely been righter. Are female orgasms needed for happy heterosexual marriages? Yes.* But can you get by without them for a little while? Apparently yes, because I just did for 5 months and I'm still happily married. Now, I can't even jerk off. It is really fucking annoying. But it's less annoying than I would have thought before this happened, because I also just don't think about sex all the time. I guess I am now experiencing what a lot of people--and by all reports, many women--experience all the time, just a low to non-existent sex drive.

Normally, if I don't have sex or masturbate for a while, 5 days maybe, I'll have wet dreams, which aren't actually wet in a troublesome way on account of being a girl is so convenient like that what with our mysterious inner recesses and so on. But also normally I think about sex all the time. Not in a bad way, just an idle, I'm in a boring meeting, 'which of these guys would I fuck if I had to fuck one of them' hypothetical. Or moronic sexual fantasies of the sort which, together with moronic superheroic fantasies and moronic fantasies of staggering wealth, fame and/or genius, I take to be the running sub-current of everyone's thoughts, above which we place a stream of reflection and homesickness for youth and idle picking out of details that stream past the taxi window: a fallen tree! A wall black with mildew! A towering cloud, sheared off by the winds at the top of the atmosphere!

So, I used to be a staunch proponent of the notion that there was no point in having sex if there were no orgasms waiting at the end of the rainbow. Or, in my case, the beginning of the rainbow, and then 1/8 the way through and...yeah. But I have also always thought that, barring your feeling really sick or really unhappy, it's always better to just go ahead and have sex if your partner wants to, because sex is better than no sex. I've never had sex with a loving partner and thought, "damn, I wish I hadn't just had sex." And people need to feel loved and cared for. Saying "no I won't have sex with you" for 5 months would be a shitty thing to do to the person I love. And I did learn that if you are not focused on this one thing you can enjoy different things about sex that you maybe didn't pay attention to before. When I was freaking out about having been abused, my husband was afraid to have sex with me, quite understandably, as I was having a nervous breakdown all over the place. But I wanted to, because it made me feel in control of the situation.

I would never tell my daughters: "always have sex whenever your partner wants to, regardless of how you feel." But I would say, "love that person the way you would want to be loved." No one should feel compelled to have sex even if they have an awful cold, or are just tired. But in general if you have the opportunity to have sex with your partner and they want to I'm inclined to say go for it regardless since you'll probably discover more enthusiasm as you proceed. (Oh hey, oral sex is happening!) The unfortunate thing is that this advice is given to women only by every chick magazine ever, and it's axiomatic that if Cosmopolitan displays deep unchanging beliefs about something then it must be false. A lot of sexism gets swept under the rug here. Why is the woman in the relationship typically not wanting to have sex? Why do men who do more housework have sex more? I feel like I can't give the advice in good faith when there's such a gendered context. But it's still good advice!

UPDATE: the housework etc. questions are meant to be rhetorical; it's pretty obvious how that works.

UPDATE: I always end up sounding like Judgy McAsshole when I talk about this, and I don't mean to. *People of all sorts who don't have orgasms can have wonderful marriages. I just only stopped having lots of orgasms all the time very recently so it is freaking me out. My ex cathedra pronouncements are probably better conceived as descriptors. So, I always imagined that they would be crucial for me, but they turned out not to be, and I found it surprising.


 

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Asymmetry

Posted by Stanley
on 07.17.12

At the risk of wildly oversharing, I learned recently that I'm in possession of a deviated septum. Too soon to tell whether I'll be having my face ripped off or however it is they go about fixing that problem surgically. But the otolaryngologist (is that the best doctor title? it's gotta be up there) did give me free rein to invent a heroic backstory to explain how my nose got jacked-up. I solicit the Mineshaft's assistance in crafting that tale.

The true cause, of course, is probably much more boring. Either something that just happened as I got older, or it's that time when I was a kid and took a metal playground swing to the face.

In any event, if the doctor does opt for cutting, I'm told she'll also be trimming my turbinates, which sounds quite simply thrilling.


 

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Guest Post - Sifu Tweety

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.17.12

A while back I asked in a thread for advice about what barefoot running shoes to buy, in an effort to stave off the knee pain that had kept me from running for over a year. Stormcrow gave me advice (to get I think NB Minimus shoes?) which I ignored, and instead got Merrell Trail Gloves, which are yet more hardcore (the Minimus are 3mm drop from heel to toe, whereas the Merrell's are zero drop). The first couple of times out I took it easy, but the gait was super confusing and my calves ended up killing me. Finally I was like "ahh, heck with it" and ran my whole usual route. This caused excruciating pain in my left achilles tendon. A couple of weeks after that, I sprained my foot from the weird hobbling gait I'd adopted to deal with my sore ankle. I went to the doctor and explained the situation. "Oh yeah", she said, "we're seeing a lot more injuries from those barefoot running shoes." But I got injured in regular cushy running shoes, too! Am I just too old and decrepit to keep age and decrepitude at bay?

Anyhow, I wasn't going to take some stupid doctor's word for it, hell no. A few weeks later I tried again, but this time I kept my knees way, way bent, and barely lifted my feet, adopting this profoundly stupid looking duck walk-ish gait in an effort to absolutely minimize the impact of my foot striking the ground. And you know what? It worked awesome, and now it feels totally comfortable and natural, and I can feel the road surface (and adapt my gait to it) perfectly, and I am feeling like I might be able to just keep up this running thing without injuring myself. Barefoot running: one. Doctors: ZERO!

I recommend this plan for everybody who 1. keeps injuring themselves and 2. doesn't mind injuring themselves further in the hopes of 3. injuring themselves less at some future point.


 

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Slow day

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.17.12

Some days it feels like we've talked about everything. All I have in my queue of topics is this, which is a (rather boring but honest) rant about being very pretty, written by that model who notoriously tweeted being hit on by that airplane douchebag.

My thoughts:
1.Young girls are being accurately perceptive and rational when they believe that many people around them are assessing her worth based on her looks. Obviously Melissa here is an extreme example.
2. If they internalize that belief - that your worth is based external opinions - life will become unbearably competition-based, and the competition is rigged because the judge is external, amorphous, and there are infinitely many other pretty girls. Here I'm talking about your typical pretty girl in high school or college, not the model who is literally being paid for her looks.
3. Being young and pretty also greases a lot of wheels, obviously.

The only other thing I have in my queue is: Do you wear glasses? Contacts? I don't wear either. (I have a memory from childhood of being able to comfortably read books which were maybe an inch or two away from my face. That time has passed.)


 

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History's Greatest Monster Mash

Posted by Stanley
on 07.16.12

Don't worry, everyone. Pomplamoose has done a mashup of that Gotye song and "Call Me Maybe". So now you can listen to both songs and watch a really weird Pomplamoose video simultaneously.

I know. You're as excited as I was when I found out.


 

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What a curious graph!

Posted by Ben
on 07.16.12


 

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I'm Alive

Posted by Alameida
on 07.16.12

So, I'm alive. I went through a really bad patch there in uh...those months I don't remember. The CSI: Miami ones. But I have a good pain doctor and all, and actually have been improving just lately (turns around and knocks on teak headboard). I was taking a small amount of valium (2.5 or 5 mg per night), which my psychiatrist said could even be contributing to the headaches since it's a vasodilator, so when I ran out I figured I'd just quit. And that was OK except it precipitated me into an attack of brutal headaches, and 60mg of Oxy at a time was as naught, and I tried to go to work but I just had to go home because it made everyone sad to look at me and they were afraid I'd fall off my stool and die. 9 days of this and then I said screw it, got valium from my ordinary doc, took it and the headache retreated, and it has never gotten as bad again yet (knocks ostentatiously)! So maybe this'll be it and then I can taper down and then just be regular sick like before. God, I didn't realize how great it was just being that sick, that was so awesome. Remember? Stomach pain? Only having to go to the gastroenterologist? Man. Good times.

My business almost ran aground without me but we're fighting back. A producer is trying to make an "American Pickers" type show about us, but we get to go everywhere in Asia and find cool stuff. I WANT! I even watched myself from the last time we were on TV, on another dude's "Picker's"-like show, and I expected to think all sorts of awful things, but I actually thought: I look great, and am funny--they should absolutely put me on TV. They're going to film a pilot and then shop it around or something? Keep in mind I've never seen American Pickers, but I can see that the principle is sound. I think it's better if I don't see it.

I've gained weight stuck in bed but I think it's partly a drug side effect. They tripled my most hated drug: "Try all 600mg of this Lyrica on for size, and let's see if you can have an orgasm now, miss fancy pants!" Answer: no. They might as well have filled my ladyparts with novocaine for all the good they've been doing me for the last 3 or 4 months. I hope all you scoffers are happy now while I learn important lessons about love and sharing and yes, there is a point in having sex even if you're not going to have an orgasm, great. Can I just get my regular ladyparts back now or do I have to write an article in Salon about it also? Hopefully I'll lose weight as I stop taking it, cause I'll be damned if I'm eating much of anything. I think when we're in BKK we get to explain to the local pharmacy that it's important I lose weight for TV and then it'll just happen. But there's no real weight-loss drugs, are there, besides dexamphetamine? Eh, so awake-y.

Anyway, I missed you all terribly, what's up? Any thrilling developments in the world of snark? Did you guys see that the NYT found a woman whose last name is Quart to write about problems involved with promoting breastfeeding? I mean honestly.


 

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“Does what it says on the tin”

Posted by Ben
on 07.15.12

Indifferent cats in amateur porn. Guess what: it's not safe for work.


 

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So, America's dying to know: how do you unwind?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.15.12

Is it just me, or are interviews about the most boring thing ever to read? Nobody is interesting when they're transcribed.


 

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Guest Post - Nick S

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.15.12

I just started reading a book which had been recommended to me about the politics and social dynamics of noise. It looks interesting though, seeing that the author has written for Harpers Magazine, I would say that it has a bit of the hell-in-a-handbasket tone that I associate with that magazine.

But this paragraph, from the introductory chapter, seemed like it could be of interest to unfogged:

In recent years a new field of inquiry has arisen called "the science of happiness." Researchers have gathered some fascinating data on what makes people happy, on the relative levels of happiness in various counties and cultures, and what individuals can and can't do to be happier than they are*. Much as I respect these efforts -- and much as I want to be happy -- I would prefer a science that explores how we can stop making one another miserable, I suspect that in the long run such a science would actually prove more conducive to happiness. I also suspect that any scientist who took up the study would soon be interested in noise.

*Not surprisingly (to noise researchers anyway), Daniel Nettle reports in Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile that one of the things you can't do to increase your happiness is "get used" to a distressing noise. If anything the noise will make you unhappier as time goes on.

A couple of immediate thoughts: A science of how people make each other miserable is inherently political, dealing as it would with social behavior and social controls. Is it true that happiness research shys away from that sort of explicitly political research? Does, as he seems to imply, happiness research tend to avoid "root causes" in the same way that self-help literature does? I suspect that he is being slightly unfair.

On the other hand, even if he is being unfair, I wonder if part of the driving energy behind happiness research is a frustration with economics and politics as ways of organizing human behavior and collective energy. Considering how dysfunctional politics can often seem (see, for example, the Ezra Klein post about the 112 Congress which Heebie recently posted), I would think it could be really attractive to turns ones research to ideas which offer the potential of helping people figure out their lives and which aren't the focus of partisan debates.

I'd be particularly interested in what Megan has to say, if she isn't offended by the quoted comments about noise, since I know she and her former co-blogger have both spent some time looking at happiness research.

Heebie's take: I am super sensitive to noises. That is my insurmountable problem with NYC - the constant squealing of bus brakes makes me jump out of my skin. It sets my teeth on edge.


 

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