1. says

    Desert Son:


    Summary of my entire experience with watercolors (my youth):

    “Watercolors? Cool. Cool. Hmm. Little runny. Wait. Wait! Too much bleed wtf?! Brush control! This doesn’t look like a Pre-Raphaelite painting WHY CAN’T I MAKE THIS LOOK LIKE A PRE-RAPHAELITE PAINTING GAHNEVERMINDRAGEQUIT!!!”

    (Came to realize my canvas was printed page, my paints were words. I love art: It’s so vast and varied that everyone can go inside, explore, and participate, and once you’ve spent enough time there, you realize that despite capitalism’s best efforts—in the end—art utterly shatters the myth that it’s a competition.)

    Hee. I also use watercolours the right way, and sometimes I use acrylics like watercolours, using gel medium or ox gall. One principal joy is every now and then, discovering a tonne of art supply at goodwill. I snaffle them up very quickly, don’t care what they are. The last such bounty saw me home with a healthy amount of Jacquard products, Dye-na-flow, translucent air brush paints (all the love for those -- I just use a brush), and a couple dozen spray bottle fabric ‘paints’, they’re more like a thin dye. S.E.I. Tumble-Dye and Adirondack colour wash. Those act very much like heavily watered watercolour paints, and dry almost immediately. They mix well with everything else. The Jacquard Dye-na-flow is very thin, and if you want metallics, a bit of pearlescent powder dropped in a small amount gives you great metallics with an easy, light spread.

    Probably one of my worst aspects is that I have a *tonne* of colours, in most every medium, and it’s never enough. I want, need more colours. Then there’s the problem of giving into temptation and going to Kremer’s when I have a bit of pocket money. I could get lost in that store. Forever. I use earth pigments (mixed with glue, preferably hide), I’ve used nail polish (pain in the arse), and cosmetics, particularly eye shadows. You can get huge trays at discount stores for little money, and they mix perfectly with wheat wallpaper paste. I really don’t think there are limits on what can use; it’s a matter of pulling something into your comfort zone while expanding your mind outside it. Half of what I post here leads me to experimenting, “hmmm, can I do that?” Generally, I can’t do what another person does, but I discover something new I can do. It’s always fun, even when it doesn’t work.

    I Have Seen The Moon/Helen and the Moon was finished yesterday, at least the draft on scratch paper, and I received permission to share the words to Helen and the Moon which inspired me.

  2. says

    Also, I don’t know what the time limit is on open threads showing up in recent comments, so whenever anyone notices the comments stop showing, holler, and I’ll set up a new thread.

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Hello Desert Son, Ogvorbis, Raucous Indignation, and new thread.

    More progress here at Casa la Pelirroja. Got my health testing under control, and now have a Cpap unit next to the bed. I also mostly removed red meat from my diet per my cardiologist (prophylactic measure, not because of any heart damage).
    I’m now a certified volunteer driver for ElderCare, and about once a week drive another senior citizen to their health care appointments. Have one Monday who has to be at the hospital at 6:30 am for cataract surgery. Somebody else will drive him home in the afternoon. Might treat myself to a sausage McMuffin after the drop-off for the early drive.
    Started in on cleaning the Master Bedroom, and so far have only got as far as the cheap portable clothes racks in the back of the room. Racks designed for 25 kg with 40 kg of clothes, with bent/broken plastic parts. With shoes under one and purses behind another. The rack in front of the chest of drawers was cleared, which allowed me access to the stack of clothes about 2 ft high on top blocking access to the windows behind it. I have now appropriated chest of drawers, and there is a fan in a window during this fall heat wave. Already donated 11 boxes to Goodwill, and 4 more loaded up (only 4 of the adult diaper boxes fit in the back of my car at once). The remaining clothes from the cheap racks are on a steel rack good for 75 kg. Should be able to actually start in on the closet next week, with the shoes on the rack on the back of the closet door first up.

  4. says

    Glad things are going well for you, Nerd. Boy, that’s an awful lot of clothes to go through and box up. I know goodwill will appreciate the donations. Don’t be eating too many McMuffins now.

  5. rq says

    As much as I love watercolours, they’ve never been my thing, either. Love acrylics, never tried oils. Perhaps one day, for my cats in large format.

    Hello, everyone. It’s funny how 6 weeks can feel like an eternity. Also how little large-group dynamics are between age groups (high scholl vs. now). Learning a lot while still swallowing my principles. Beginning of October, I start wearing the uniform on a daily basis, until February. It will be a relief to return to the original work routine.

  6. blf says

    There’s a UK-published newspaper called The New European, which is basically a single-issue (anti-Brexit) newspaper, whose dead-tree edition happens to be on sale in the French village where I live. Whilst I have some issues with the paper — for instance, it seems to consider a certain C.Columbus a hero — it’s informative about its founding issue, and recently has added a great deal of interesting “European” stuff (cultural history & events, trivia, surveys of issues in non-UK EU countries, and so on), including taking the piss out of hair furor in the States.

    In the latest available locally edition, there is a short but interesting article, Art protests against Trump, about The Sophie Scholl Project, “Thousands of anti-Donald Trump posters inspired by Second World War public information designs have been plastered across Washington DC.” These are anti-nazi WW ][ posters reworked to be about the current fascists in USArseholistan. For example:

    [One shows] a sailor, with his head barely above water, and the message Someone (Donald Trump) Tweeted! It is based on an image printed by the US government in 1942, to discourage people from careless discussion of ship movements, which had the message Someone Talked. Another, similarly-themed poster takes the 1944 image of a snake baring its bloody fangs but changes the message from the original Less dangerous than careless talk to Less dangerous than careless tweets.

    Unfortunately, both of the above links show only two posters, neither of which are the posters described. More posters, including the two described, are in the dead-tree edition. There is a farcebork link which shows all(?) the posters in various “installations” around DC.

  7. says


    Learning a lot while still swallowing my principles. Beginning of October, I start wearing the uniform on a daily basis, until February.

    That’s going to be a long four months! At least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

  8. blf says

    Apropos of nothing at all, when I dabbled a bit in painting, I felt I could control what oils were doing / showing much better than watercolors (don’t recall much of anything about acrylics). Decided, however, I preferred charcoals and india ink drawing, but since then have only occasionally (very occasionally!) done ink drawings. (This ignores engineering drawings / diagrams, which is a whole different thing, albeit still initially drafted freehand in ink.)

  9. says

    I could never cope with oils when I was young, but I love working with them now, it’s whole different ‘verse with oils. Now charcoals, oh, you have my respect. Never been one time I could do the slightest thing with charcoal without making a major mess.

  10. blf says

    I should perhaps make clear I meant black-on-white charcoals, not colored. Actually, more like different shades of grey on white paper. Line(-ish) drawings with some but not very much shading. This is not my work (nor my style), but as an idea of what I mean, Girl in hat (monochrome charcoal, 2009), found at Monochrome by Rebecca West (whom I have no previous knowledge of), including, apparently, technique, as I always(?) had an underlying (ink?) sketch.

  11. says

    Blf, oh I assumed black charcoal. I have charcoal sticks in the studio, and I never touch them. Making a mess is an understatement where I’m concerned.

  12. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I now have a cell phone.

    I went to the dark side myself this year. Fortunately, bluetooth allows for hands free driving in my car. I also bought the navigation SIM chip for the car. I can call for help, and the car gives out my GPS coordinates to the emergency team.

  13. chigau (違う) says

    so far, my only calls and textS have been to the SO
    who is located 18 inches to my left.
    I guess I hafta make some calls…

  14. says

    My sis is currently taking care of one of her patient’s dog (she’s working in mobile geriatric care again and the old lady is in hospital), a lovely little mutt and damn did it do good to snuggle a dog.
    I’m such an overworked emotional wreck that it even looks like Mr would agree to a dog if it made me happe, but unfortunately I’m still a responsible person who knows that overworked emotional wrecks are not suited for getting dogs.
    I will probably also need to have a serious fight with my mum in law about how I raise my kids.
    In her opinion I should put my foot down when it comes to what the kids wear, which I only do when their choice would be dangerously too cold, but heavens forbid I inflict consequences on the kid for deliberately ignoring my NO on any more sweets.


    These people deliberately set you into lose-lose situation.

    Yep, they’re ALL like this. Also, you’re limited by the fucking 45 minutes of class and it is simply NOT possible to do everything they want in that time. There’s always one thing you’ll neglect in favour of another thing. I got simultaneously told that I wanted to do too much but also that I should have done this, this and this on top of that.

    We’ll be miserable together. But I bet you look at least fabulous.

    Probably one of my worst aspects is that I have a *tonne* of colours, in most every medium, and it’s never enough. I want, need more colours.

    Look on the bright side: better than being me and needing fabric, because that’s a serious storage issue.
    Though, when it comes to thread I also always need more colours.

    Yay for progress.
    This reminds me a bit of that afternoon, some time after my grandpa’s brother in law had died, when I drove my grandparents to his sister so they could sort out the wardrobes and my poor grandpa had to try most items to see if they fitted him or would be given to charity.

    Hello and hugs to all of you.

  15. blf says

    As a reminder, the world ends today. But we won’t notice until October. Although those glued to a smartphone perhaps still won’t notice…

  16. says


    I’m still a responsible person who knows that overworked emotional wrecks are not suited for getting dogs.

    Tough call, because on the other hand an interaction with a dog might help you with your overwork and emotional wreckiness. A friend of mine has worked at an animal shelter as a volunteer, taking dogs for walkies now and then. If that is possible in your area, maybe it would give you some benefits whilst not having to own the animal. And sort out better your thougths about whether to own one.

    We always had a dog and now we do not, and I think our household suffers from that. Dogs are great.

  17. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    I use acrylics or enamels for the most basic painting. I use oil paints for dot filtering. I use watercolour paints for pin washes. I use charcoal (white and greys, browns and tans, blacks and greens) for dust and exhaust or gunpowder stains. I use dirt, powdered stone, baking soda, and pigment powders for dried mud. I use thick glossy enamels or acrylics for wet mud. And no, I have no idea how I remember which thinner to use for which paint, or which brush cleaner to use for which paint. And it works.

  18. says


    And no, I have no idea how I remember which thinner to use for which paint, or which brush cleaner to use for which paint. And it works.

    Sounds like me. :D That reminds me, I was looking over my brushes, and thinking I needed to replace a number of them. The fine brushes I have that have lasted the longest (well over a decade) and perform the best were from Games Workshop. Spendy items, but well worth the money.

  19. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    I have one large brush (well, a round brush that is about 3/8″ at the ferrule) that I use for pigments, ground rock, dirt, etc. It cannot be used for anything else as I discovered that, even under a faucet at full blast, it will not get the particles out. Luckily not an expensive brush.

    My problem with brushes is that I frequently need 00 or 000 or smaller. Which don’t pick up enough paint to add the eyebrows. Oh well. FWP, I guess.

  20. says

    I have a number of 000 and 0000 brushes, they don’t last long. The Citadel (Games Workshop) fine detail brush is fabulous. It’s longer than the traditional 00+ brushes, while being very thin, and can hold the perfect amount of paint for what you need. That goes cheap now, around 7 dollars. The small layer brush is $30.00, which is what I paid back in the day for the citadel blue. It’s my understanding the brushes are different now, and unfortunately, splay quickly, like most other fine brushes. (I use sable only for those sizes.)

  21. says

    By overworked I mean the “getting around 5 hours of sleep and only doing the household chores that would pose a health hazard” kind of overworked.
    No way I’m going to become responsible for another living creature now OR volunteer at anything.
    But it’s good to know that Mr seems amendable to the idea of a dog and not divorce level opposed to one. So maybe in a few years I could bring it up again. Especially if my sis gets back into her dog keeping shape and would surely take care of a little mutt when we go on a holiday.
    I agree, dogs are great. Despite never having had one I still grew up around dogs. I’m a dog person and that goes in both directions. If we go somewhere where people have a dog you can usually find it close to me.

  22. says

    Oh, I should say, paint-wise, that I’ve been using Daler & Rowney’s liquid acrylics a lot lately. Lovely stuff, and not overly expensive.

  23. says

    “data” is that what isn’t just chat and texting, e.g. internet.

    “plan” is a guaranteed monthly amount the phone company gets off you for an agreed amount of talk, text and data you may consume before being charged lots more. A big monthly plan is cost effective for big users but wasted if you don’t need it. The cost for usage above your plan can be pretty horrifying. Plans appeal to phone companies because it’s guaranteed income not variable. Small plans require due diligence on your behalf to not get ripped off by extra charges. Read all the fine print.

  24. lumipuna says

    CN: Body horror dreams, penises.

    Last night, I had an extremely weird yet realistic dream involving mild body horror. (mild for a cis man at least)

    You might perhaps describe it as “spontaneous penile replacement”, if such a thing existed. I went on my business for a whole day with two penises, a new smallish one above the old one that seemed to start atrophying. I had only one functional urethra, though.

    After waking up, I felt a recurring need through the morning to grope myself for reassurance.

    CN ends.

  25. blf says

    chigau, WiFi does not require a plan at all, or indeed even a (phone-)connection. I myself have never used the data part of my plan, instead using WiFi — but only when a (WiFi-)signal I trust is available — or else just using the fecking thing for its intended purpose as a phone or a spoon.

    And yes, the cheapest contract / plan that covers your anticipated usage is very probably the way to go, with the caution (as others have said) any plan-exceeding usage can be very very expensive (and, as is the case with my plan, limited). Some companies allow easy / cheap changing the plan, so you don’t have to “get it right the first time”, so to speak.

    Also, if you anticipate using the spoon in other countries, pay some attention to the “roaming” provisions in the contract / plan. Roaming is another minefield, unfortunately.

  26. rq says

    I could tell you I tended and groomed the garden today out of a deep sense of responsibility towards maintaining a tasteful yet luscious spread of greenery in the backyard, but that would be a lie, since I only chopped down all the peonies out of a deep need for de-stressing. It worked, too, for the most part, and the weather has been wonderfully cooperative the past couple of days (I mean, it could do worse, after all that flooding).

  27. rq says

    I ran out of things to chop, but I got enough good feelings out of it to last the upcoming week. I hope you did too, Giliell!

  28. says

    Theoretically I still have a few acres of brambles and stinging nettles to chop, but I’m afraid they must wait.
    In the bad news, the apple tree recovered enough to sprout lots of apples, but not enough to carry them to harvest.

    Really bad news: 13.5% for the German fascists.
    Media looked at the US media during the last election and thought “wouldn’t that be fun?”

  29. blf says

    I ran out of things to chop

    Thanks for eliminating the horses! I certainly haven’t seen any today (although there was an oyster that wouldn’t hold still). And I am impressed you apparently didn’t use a flamethrower — perhaps that is the secret… (for horses, that is, not oysters)?

  30. blf says

    I’ll be taking a couple of days

    The mildly deranged penguin is quite upset you didn’t avail yourself of her offer for months and months of surplus Mondays. She’s got a large inventory of those days, mostly due, probably, to her highly popular “Year without Mondays” timelines / calendars.

  31. says

    Have a good time, Caine!

    Oh dear, I’ve got an “I’m not a racist” student in one of my classes.
    Today we were talking about the Stolen Generations, talked about that they took the children because they thought that white culture was better than Aboriginal culture and that the term for this is racism.
    And he was “oh, yo you’re saying I’m a racist!” I said “no, I’m saying that this is the definition of racism” and he went on “This is wrong. I believe my culture is better, but I’m not racist” and then he wanted to start a discussion about muslim women wearing headscarves and what do I know but I wasn’t having it.
    Yes, I know he thinks he’s better than everyone else. Sometimes I wished i could turn students into ferrets.

  32. blf says

    Sometimes I wished i could turn students into ferrets.

    The mildly deranged penguin has noted and is now working on “Instant Ferret Spray”. The idea, apparently, is to spray it and get ferrets. She envisages range of Instant <critter> Sprays and thinks that “Instant Full Grown T. rex Spray” will be big thumping hit. Perhaps especially the “… with Extra Sharp Teeth” premium version.

    I’m not entirely sure she gets the desire, however. She hasn’t mentioned anything about turning anything — students or other — into the critter. I believe she’s planning on, basically, compressed critter. Releasing it from the refillable pump action spray bottle (more eco-friendly than a spray can) “inflates” the critter(s), so to speak. Sort-of like forty-foot high killer rat in a spray bottle.

    (From the sounds, she’s currently trying “Instant Duck Spray” and the duck is not cooperating.)

  33. blf says

    His can of deodorant snarls and jumps around?

    (It could be awhile. She still hasn’t managed to get the duck in the spray bottle. The duck is even more loudly still not cooperating.)

  34. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    Apparently, today is International Drive-Like-A-Fuckwit Day and I missed the memo.

  35. jimb says

    Ogvorbis @ 57:

    Apparently, today is International Drive-Like-A-Fuckwit Day and I missed the memo.

    Sorry to hear. On my daily commute the day that falls on seems to be governed by a random number generator. Or random fuckwit drivers, same difference.

  36. says

    @Ogvorbis, I often think that every day is the “International Drive-Like-A-Fuckwit Day”. And today I am afraid I was one of those fuckwits because I was extremely tired when driving home from work.

    My uncle is in retirement home now and I try to visit him as often as I can. He seems more and more confused every day and seems no longer able to discern facts from his imaginations.

    However he gave me permission to let clean up his house and pay for it from his money. It had cost almost all of his savings and it is still not done (about 50% of my yearly income, and I am not poor by local standards). By today almost 200 cubic meters of garbage had to be hauled out of there. I wonder what can cause a person to collect garbage in such ammount. Not odds and ends, not “maybe usefull” stuff, but literal garbage -- wrappings, spoiled food, bits of paper mixed together with defunct utensils, dirt, dust and even dead animals. I also wonder whether we could do anything about it had we known sooner -- probably not, because he has not admitted any visitors for 30 years, always pretending not to be home. But the thought is nagging at me anyways. He has not even collected it in some meaningfull fashion -- he just piled stuff higgledy-piggledy in a room untill it reached ceiling, then went to another room, then to another, until the whole house was full and essentialy unusable.

    What scares me most is that I see my possible future in that. Dying alone, abandoned, destitude. At least I have not set my siblings against me, but that is little comfort. I certainly hope to not become garbage collector, but what if something snaps in my head and I too will not care for living in dirt?

    I have not slept properly for weeks by now.

  37. blf says

    Apparently, today is International Drive-Like-A-Fuckwit Day and I missed the memo.

    You’re visiting France?

    (Some progress on the prototype Instant Duck Spray-in-a-bottle. The duck flew off complaining loudly awhile ago. Some mysterious thuds in the direction of the mildly deranged penguin led me to investigate. Apparently, she’d put on her duck-proof armoured suit, which then, somehow, got folded in half (with her still inside) and partly stuffed into the spray bottle. She was jumping around trying to either unfold the suit or get the bottle off her head. I left her to get on with it, mostly as the thuds are far less distracting than her normal calm & quiet self. Besides, she’s quite experienced in using explosives as can- and bottle-openers.)

  38. StevoR says

    The Vangunu rodent -- quite some rare rat :

    On the plus side, Lavery hopes that awareness of the rat’s existence and endangered status could help keep its valuable surroundings protected. “Recognition of this rare mammal will increase recognition of the value of the area,” he says.

    Although Lavery doesn’t have a definite estimate for how many of the rats there might be, they’re only known to exist on Vangunu and they require the rainforest habitat to survive, of which there’s only a small portion left. “They have giant white-tailed rats in Australia that are similar to this species,” Lavery says.

    Good discovery.

  39. Onamission5 says

    Hallooo, and happy first of October, all!

    If you’ll pardon me, I need to vent for a moment in a place where folks will be able to comprehend what I’m getting at.

    Why is it that, in any conversation regarding emotional labor and disproportionate distribution thereof, when someone complains “I am so frustrated with spending so much of my time trying to see things from my husband’s POV, managing his expectations, and being concerned with his needs while having my own needs ignored if I don’t explain them *just so* in a way that doesn’t make him get defensive and shut down, for once I would like him to put effort in my direction without me having to do all the work to get him there, for once I would like to not be the point person for relationship management because it’s exhausting,” the response is always, always “Have you considered explaining this to your husband perfectly enough that he doesn’t get defensive or shut down, and expending even more energy empathizing with him? You know this will never change unless you do all the work. Husbands aren’t mind readers, no matter how often you have explained yourself. He can’t possibly be expected to just know what your needs are if you don’t explain them in the same way that you pay attention to him and anticipate his needs, you should have to justify why they are important, and then tell him how to meet them step by step. His needs are important, too. Where is your empathy and total focus on your husband? Maybe you should lower your expectations?”


  40. says


    Why is it that

    Because men are raised to be entitlement minded shits people who must always be coddled, and most everyone else has drunk the ‘must be coddled’ koolaid. Men, the most delicate of critters.

  41. says

    Onamission 5
    My favourite part is when they act hurt when you bother to do the explaining stuff.

    Who allowed puberty to start at years already apparently?

    BUt we had a nice walk in the autumn sun. Be prepared for about a trizillion pics.

  42. says


    Be prepared for about a trizillion pics.

    Good! I need them, people have been lazy, attending to their own lives and stuffs, instead of taking photos for me. Guess I’ll go sulk or something. Or not. :D

  43. Onamission5 says

    Huuunnnngh. Currently it’s two women doing the “so you say you’re tired of doing all the emotional labor and your husband doesn’t listen, have you considered doing all the emotional labor to fix it or maybe that you are very unreasonable?” spiel. I’m like okay great I am glad the men in your life are perfect and never ignore you or act like you’re a big ole nag or just sit there while you whirlwind yourself into a frenzy then get put out when you ask for help and that you’d never put up with that but will you hush already you are not helping.

    Okay, I am done.

    How is everyone’s weekend?

  44. says

    Onamission5, you have all my sympathies. Last year sometime, me and mine were talking in the kitchen, and at one point, he says something about listening to me. I whirled around so fast, he physically backed off, my voice dropped about 3 registers, and I said, very quietly, “when have you ever fucking listened to me? When?” Seems he finally got a clue, and when setting up his business recently, he depended on me on every decision. Only took 40 years. Just a walk in the park, right?

    I had a good weekend!

  45. Onamission5 says

    Caine, OOOH PRETTY

    I am in awe of your art skills. Alas, the ability to see a thing in one’s head but not to produce it in any medium. Only thing I can paint is a wall. :P

  46. says

    Seems he finally got a clue, and when setting up his business recently, he depended on me on every decision.

    Funny enough, I wanted to stop him depending on me for everything and decided it was time that I could depend on him.
    Have you two by any chance read this one? Pretty good article.

    Already uploaded them and about to sort into albums.

  47. rq says

    I think I’m glad I missed this conversation, I would have talked all over everyone…!
    Onamission5, you have my sympathies. In my case, Husband expects me to read his mind, too: “No, that’s not what I meant when I said what I said, I meant [this], it should have been obvious, don’t you know me at all?? I’m so offended!” Thanks for that article, too, Giliell. I hadn’t seen it yet. Gold.

  48. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    I’m at a lose for any other way to contact Chigau…

    There’s been a possible terrorist attack in Edmonton, some asshole in a rented van hit some people during a high speed chase. He’d previously ran down a cop and then stabbed them.

    Chigau, I hope you and yours are all safe, and that the injured recover swiftly.

  49. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Thanks for that Caine. If they posted that recently I’m pretty sure they’re alright. Still waiting on a couple of other Edmonton friends….

  50. chigau (違う) says

    Thank y’all for your concern.
    The SO and I are away from home right now, so we missed the whole thing.
    the stabbed cop is FOAF

  51. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Glad to hear you’re okay Chigau. I hope your friend, FOAF and everyone else affected by this recovers swiftly and completely.

    It’s a weird thing, knowing that people got hurt, and hoping that it isn’t someone you know. It shouldn’t matter, the suffering is no less real, no less horrible regardless of the victim’s relationship to me. But there it is, the narcissism that’s always lurking despite my best efforts.

    Ah well, despite that asshole with a murderous ideology, and despite the ones in Las Vegas it was a good day.

    My little family road our bicycles 15k up the valley. Ate an unhealthy quality of fresh berries, ice cream and whipped cream and rode 15k back to our cosy home.

    Along the way we saw ducks, kookaburras, ibises, rosellas, king parrots, cockatoos, swallows and more. We dipped our feet in the river and skipped stones. Frogs were heard but not seen, and there was even a baby blue- tongued lizard that consented to a little pat before scurrying off.

    It was the magic hour as we made our way back. The sun coming in sideways and golden under the gums, lighting my daughter’s flying hair as she powered away, arms bent, ten year old knees pistoning.

    She’d been promised a piece of coconut/lime slice if we made it home before twenty after. A piece she could cut herself to any size she wanted. The transformation was startling. One minute flagging, the next flying, with Ms. Fishy and I struggling to catch her, laughter taking too much out of our breath.

    People suck, except the ones who don’t.

    The world sucks, except when it doesn’t.

    Seeing that these days is so hard though.

  52. says

    FossilFishy, what beautiful descriptive prose!

    We had a good Sunday too -- Yesterday was Younger Daughter’s birthday (she’s 25, gack). Drove down to visit Elder Daughter for October birthday-palooza*, talked about her grad work, looked at her photos, had lunch, exchanged gifts.

    *Both daughters and husband, all in the first ten days of the month, old friend and Aged Mum plus our anniversary later in the month. Octoberfest!

  53. says

    Our walnut tree got bonkers in last few years. This weekend we collected walnuts. We have over 40 kg year, and we have not finished eating those from previous year yet. I am at a loss what to do with them. I wish I could grow beans or potatoes in such quantities and with such ratio of work to output.

  54. says

    Charly, wish you could toss a large quantity our way -- everyone in this house loves walnuts. Plus, I have an ancient recipe for walnut catsup. Can you not take them to a local market or such?

  55. says

    I will try and sell some for a reasonable price to some colleagues at work. I am not aware of any market possibilities locally. I will have to look into it, but I am not cut out for businessy thingy at all.

  56. Desert Son, OM says

    Hello thread readers, thread writers, threadfolk,

    Today was terrible, for all the terrible reasons. I have been calling senators and encouraging them to vote against healthcare repeals. I have been sending research articles with statistics about gun violence to family with lifetime NRA memberships. I have been having conversations with friends about racism. I have been asking after the health and well-being of friends who have loved ones in Puerto Rico. I have apologized to another friend to whom I—like a complete jackass—mansplained just the other day. I have been trying to find a job. I have been trying to get regular exercise. I have been trying to follow Nerd of Redhead’s example and donate things I no longer wear/need to a local charity that raises funds for a nurses’ clinic. I have been trying to take care of some “admin:” the term I apply to basic life paperwork that causes me an astonishing amount of anxiety (for no good reason, but it’s not like my anxiety’s ever needed particularly good reasons anyway). I have taken my medicine against what feels like the beginnings of a migraine this evening.

    Today I lost hope. And I don’t know what else to do.

    So, I stopped by to send love, because I don’t know what else to do.

    I love you. I love you without asking something of you. I don’t ask your name, or your whereabouts, or your medical history, or a detailed explanation for what hurts or why, or even a response. Just . . . I love you, however you might need that:

    A digital pounce-hug

    A kind word

    A precious silence

    A relenting of the storm

    A memory of something wondrous or soft

    A crisp autumn breeze or a light spring rain

    A scent of petrichor, or the sea, that makes you think of home

    A dish cooked warm and hearty and pure

    A dream of flight

    A blanket against cold

    A poem, or several:

    A reflection in awe:

    Or a song for joy and sorrow, in equal measure:

    Tom, if you’re gone, it’s awful, and it’s o.k., and that’s really me just telling me, anyway.

    Still learning,


  57. says

    Desert Son:

    Today I lost hope. And I don’t know what else to do.

    Breathe, Robert, Breathe. We are living in an ugly time. People are afraid, so they do what they always do, and look for others to blame and play the dominance game. No matter just how ugly a time might be, those who can offer a kindness, whether by word or gesture, those who can still appreciate the beauty in and around us, those people are the treasure of a laden table, providing sustenance and succour for us all. Don’t despair. You’re one of the pillars of our world, whether you know or not.

  58. says

    Also, if you have not watched A Brand New Testament, watch it. If you have, watch it again, and remember Ea, the apostles, and the Goddess.

  59. chigau (違う) says

    Desert Son
    Have a hug.
    As Caine says, you are a pillar of my worrld.
    Take care of yourself.

  60. blf says

    This is about the UK, so some translation is perhaps desirable. (I’m also unconvinced, but that may be due to being old enough to have learned out to use a slide rule in school, and before that, learning touch-typing on a manual typewriter.) A guide to the chores we can no longer do — from changing a lightbulb to resetting the fuse box:

    According to the Good Housekeeping Institute, people have forgotten how to wash up by hand. But it’s not the only household skill we need to scrub up on

    […] According to the Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI), people have become overly reliant on dishwashers and don’t know that there is a correct order to do the dishes (glasses first, roasting pans last). […]

    The washing-up is not the only thing we need help with. According to a new YouGov survey, the majority of 18- to 24-year-olds don’t know how to bleed a radiator or change the fuse in a plug.

    By “radiator”, they mean the steam-powered heating units; bleeding is releasing the air pockets / bubbles which can accumulate. Well, Ok, not quite steam-powered, hot-watered…

    And “fuse in a plug” is the peculiar British and Irish electrical system where, in addition to a central fusebox (or circuit breaker-box), each wall-plug (the thing you insert into the socket in the wall) contains its own fuse. Whilst seemingly-bizarre, this is actually quite a good system, safety-wise — as long as the wall-plug’s wiring and fuse installation is done competently. That is not always the case, and almost the very first thing I do when moving into a new flat is check any and all wall-plugs for being properly wired and fused. (I have several horror stories!)

    ● Changing a lightbulb: According to YouGov, 11% of people don’t know how to change a lightbulb […]. The hardest part is knowing which bulb to buy. […]
    ● Sewing on a button: Only 65% of people feel confident replacing a button […]
    ● Making a bed: Just 3% of people don’t know how to make a bed […]

    Ok, I myself don’t feel confident about buttons. And a nearly-made bed is pointless, not the least when there is a mildly deranged penguin who wakes one up most days by turning the entire bed — with one’s self still in it — upside-down and then jumping up-and-down on the overturned bed shouting “Wakey! Wakey!”

  61. says

    Today marks the first day of christmas preparations.
    Since I’m hosting this year’s family dinner I needed to try out the meat course, part one. Filled turkey breast. German term is “Rollbraten”, which means “rolled roast” since you roll it obviously. Some more seasoning and less time in the oven, but otherwise nice. I had to throw away the feta because it had gone off and use cheddar, which I quite liked.
    In a fortnight or so I will try the second variation which is chestnuts and raisins.

    Forgot to comment on your uncle update. I’m glad he’s in care now and that things are moving. You’re a great person, you know? Even though he did everything to push everybody off, you still care.

    Desert Son
    Do not despair. And take breaks.

    Fossil Fishy
    What a nice day out you had. We did something similar, only that it’s autumn here and we were just walking.

    I also took the girls to the “Inka Gold” exhibition. Exquisite works from the Larco Museum in Peru. Do click on the erotic pottery link. They were probably a bit young to fully enjoy it, but I thought it would be an opportunity wasted not so see it.
    What I didn’t enjoy was one of the mummies. Not that I have something against them, only that this particular one originated from the “adventure museum” by a “globetrotter”, i.e. a colonialist graverobber.

    Aaaaand in “The Endless Variations of Murphy’s Law”:
    I wanted to add a board above the crafts table today. Unfortunately, the full length would have ended slightly to the left of the 4 power sockets. Would there be an electrical line? Where was it exactly? Of course I took pics when they did all the cables so I can tell exactly where all the lines are, only that in that picture and that one picture alone there is a chair in front of that fine detail…

  62. says

    ● Changing a lightbulb: According to YouGov, 11% of people don’t know how to change a lightbulb […]. The hardest part is knowing which bulb to buy. […]

    Hey, I spent some hours figuring out which LEDs to buy to replace the old “energy saver” light bulbs because the label always said for which conventional light bulb I had never used it was a replacement.
    Also, idiot Brits use bayonet mount bulbs which are a Pain In The Ass

  63. blf says

    idiot Brits use bayonet mount bulbs which are a Pain In The Ass

    And many other systems as well. Actually, I myself rather like bayonet-style bulbs, perhaps because it’s impossible(?) for eejits to over-tighten them in the socket; hence, the bulb’s glass doesn’t break free from the bulb’s base when removing them — leaving the bulb’s base with glass shards and whatnot stuck inside the socket. (I’ve had a screw-in CFL do that to me, it’s not just a problem with incandescents.)

    Don’t recall having any problems deciding on which LEDs to buy to replace my CFLs, albeit we may again here have the slide-rule / manual-typewriter effect, as I can still estimate what I want using incandescent wattage ratings despite having not used any (with a few rare exceptions) since c.1990.

  64. lumipuna says

    Fuck, now this looks like I took them specifically to see the erotic pottery, right?

    Harry Potter fanfic, that great hoard of cultural treasure.

  65. lumipuna says

    In other relevant news, I just tried re-sewing a trouser button for the first time in my life. I’m not feeling “confident” so much as “optimistic” about the result.

  66. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Desert Son, hang in there, taking it one day at a time.
    First Wednesday of the month, so a trip over to the “Stitch and Share”, taking over two tubs full of yarn, and hopefully only bringing a single full one back. Also found a stack of knitting books in easy reach, so grabbed the top four to take over too.
    Cleaned out the “Closet of Doom” in the upstairs hallway, where the Redhead stored bags of old cosmetics, nail polish, hair stuff, and many empty used plastic bags. Every time I opened this closet, things would fall out, hence the nickname. This stuff can’t be donated, so it was tossed. Found a couple of corded electric razors that look new, and a couple of other things in their original wrappers that could be yard sale items. Enough stuff to fill the garbage bin for two weeks. A bankers box will fit on the a shelf with a little room to spare on the width. That’s how I will store things, so my toes aren’t in danger.
    Tomorrow I drive another senior to their doctors appointment, then I get to start filling up the four boxes for next weeks Goodwill donation. Keeping busy.

  67. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    Yesterday and today we had 4th grade classes visit the park for the same programme that I was preparing for when I had my accident. Luckily, I am only doing the part in the park, I am not going to the river (we have a new ranger doing that part of it). We have also moved the river part of the programme to a place with no traffic (we had a student get run over by an out-of-control bicyclist the first year we presented the programme) and a gently sloping shingle beach into the inside of a bend of the river.

    Yesterday, I surfed on the edge of a panic attack the entire time I was working with the students in the park. Today, I did a little better. Surfed on the edge before the programme, lost myself in the programme, and then panicked afterwards.

    I am tired of being broken but the only way to end it is to die.

  68. lumipuna says

    My maternal grandmother just died at age 88, the same as the other grandma (who died four years ago). They both were long widowed.

    Roughly three years ago, my parents moved to Mom’s native city so she could be closer to her mother during Grandma’s final years. (Previously, Dad had been fairly occupied supporting his own mother, who thankfully had a somewhat decent life quality until almost the very end.)

    Just after that move, Grandma’s health started declining more quickly, so Mom ended up increasingly being her caretaker. Grandma’s dementia also very soon disrupted their relationship. It sucked, but at least it didn’t last for too many years.

    Grandma had a “do not resuscitate” will. It probably made little difference for her total lifetime, but saved some suffering at the end.

  69. rq says

    Desert Son

    *gentle support*


    Everyone seems to be doing something and I’m just vegetating away in the advancing winter darkness because there is no Time.
    Uniforms are never as much fun as they look on TV. And I hate systems that are created to be ponderous, unwieldy and generally unfriendly to people. So much to fix but no one to fix it. Getting good marks, though, I guess that’s something.
    *hugs* to everyone!

  70. Desert Son, OM says

    Hello, Endless Threadites,

    First, my deep thanks to Caine, Nerd of Redhead, chigau, Giliell, Ice Swimmer, and rq for your kind words and gestures of support. I am grateful, and took heed. After my migraine cleared, I took some recovery time. Also, I have been getting some exercise, which for me is very important, as it gets me in a different head space and gets me moving. I also added listening to music I enjoy, some cleaning (nice to have measurable tasks where the progress is really obvious), and a breathing break from the world. Thank you all again.

    I would welcome thoughts/suggestions/perspectives/ideas on dealing with these our Dumpster Fire Days.

    Part of my anxiety stems from a sense of duty that good citizenship requires staying informed. But the news . . . the fucking news . . . is . . . GAH! And it’s GAH! every damn day.

    Not only for the content (which is obviously cratering), but for the method itself. Whether it’s 24-hour cable news streams that have to fill time with vacuous pundits, Twitter (who’s origin waters aren’t exactly pristine to begin with, and all-too-quickly pass through industrial-grade levels of sewage), or numerous primary source outlets that refuse to honestly label things like racism or white-supremacy or gun-culture terrorism because of some manufactured pose of “neutrality” (and I use that word quite wrongly), or because revenue generation has supplanted fact.

    (And I STILL have days where I wake up and think, “The Nazis? Really? Really?! . . . Again with THESE fucking guys!”)

    A simple drive to the grocery store takes me past mundanity in deceptive calm: the auto mechanic, the drug store (do people still say drug store?), the dry cleaners, the neighborhood residences. And this Yondu’s-Needle of tension rockets through me, an urge to run into these places and scream, “What the hell, people?! Do you NOT SEE WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON OUT HERE?!”

    I have to own my own flaws and failings: Part of my anxiety stems from a form of arrogance. “Shit! The world’s awful! I have to fix this TONIGHT!” The paralytic self-imposition of fantastic burden to solely alter the planet’s axis, with a bit of magical thinking thrown in to really dance hallucinatory.

    So, what do you think? Schedule a set time in any day to consume some portion of the Dumpster Fire Days, center and move through it, and get on with other things? Does that provide enough awareness? Is it even possible to be aware enough?

    Earlier in the week I sent an email trying to reach my parents about the gun terrorism gripping our nation (my family has many NRA supporters). I had to try. The response I got was loving, but did not engage with anything I said, and ultimately amounted to “we must agree to disagree.” Nothing about the statistics I cited, the studies, the comparisons with other nations, the absurdity of an “inviolate” Constitution that already has 27 amendments, the fact that the CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE. And we must “agree to disagree?” Why? Why must we “agree to disagree?” Why does that feel like insinuation that both perspectives on this issue are valid?

    My family is . . . immune . . . to me.

    I still recall the moment almost 12 years ago at the holidays, my father—unsolicited—said, “You know, I think we ought to legalize drugs in this country.” I wanted to take a victory lap around the house. I was stunned (my folks were Ron and Nancy voters). But I also knew that it wasn’t all the arguments I’d made over the years about de-criminalizing drugs and dealing with addiction and related issues as public health problems rather than criminal justice ones. It was something else Dad had read, or someone else he had talked to, or his own eventual stumbling from evidence to conclusion. (My father is a retired physician who loves science, and always wants to read the evidence in science and medicine . . . and then ignores the evidence when it comes to things like gun control and reads cover-to-cover the latest Glenn Beck or Dinesh D’souza [spits] book my eldest brother gave him for Christmas. And my family reeeaaallllly loves to put the “Christ” in “Christmas.” Christmas, extra Christ.)

    I know it’s comic (in both senses of the word) to ask, “How do we battle the forces of darkness?” But . . . how do we battle the motherfucking forces of darkness? Every hour in Dumpster Fire Days there is some new indignity: kleptocratic, hostile-foreign-power born, libertarian lunacy, internally insidious, buffoonishly boorish, gleefully sociopathic, callously mercenary.

    I’m trying to reimagine how I conceive of hope. For decades I have rendered it from saccharine-coated naiveté. I’m trying to reformulate it, synthesizing evidence and resources and reality alongside those moments of human beauty like adaptation, grace, kindness, courage, love, empathy, learning, innovation, cooperation, humor. And I’m trying to remember that my long and extensive privilege has been not just insulation, but blinder.

    Thanks for reading. Still here. Still fighting.

    [stands with]

    Abiding condolences to lumipuna on the loss of your grandmother.

    For Ogvorbis, a poem about peace amongst trees:

    Still learning,


    P.S. The William T. Horton images. THE WILLIAM T. HORTON IMAGES. Great Cthulhu, but they are pouring oil rendered from haunted demon dreams on my imagination and lighting it with LSD-infused dragonfire!

  71. says


    I have to own my own flaws and failings: Part of my anxiety stems from a form of arrogance. “Shit! The world’s awful! I have to fix this TONIGHT!” The paralytic self-imposition of fantastic burden to solely alter the planet’s axis, with a bit of magical thinking thrown in to really dance hallucinatory.

    So, what do you think? Schedule a set time in any day to consume some portion of the Dumpster Fire Days, center and move through it, and get on with other things? Does that provide enough awareness? Is it even possible to be aware enough?

    It’s easy to be too aware, if you ask me. A couple of people know this, but not long ago, I was very close to killing off Affinity and walking away. When I started, I was chasing stats, and I was doing good at, but in order to do that, I had to be 1) chained to my computer, and 2) immersed in the worst of the worst news every day.

    It took a while for the penny to drop, but I finally realized it was breaking me in little pieces, and like Ogvorbis, I’m already a broken person, so I wasn’t far from doing the compleat breakdown thing. I backed off, decided to post less every day, and focus on things I enjoy, art and music, with occasional forays into the bad shit. Predictably, my stats fell into the root cellar, but I’ve reached a point I don’t care about that anymore, especially as PZ is rather laissez faire about paying us.

    This doesn’t mean I don’t care, I do, but I have limits, and they have to be recognized. I’m not alone in this, either. I know Marcus has been trying to cope with the bad effect blogging has had on him, and right now, one way of dealing is taking time off at Dragonfly Forge in Oregon, learning how to make a Japanese sword. For some people, immersing themselves in activism is a good and welcome thing, but even there, most people limit themselves to one or two specific bits of activism. I’m not one of those people -- the more immersed I become, the worse it is for me.

    I’m extremely introverted, and my social capital is tiny and easily exhausted. Keeping Affinity going uses up most of it. The best I can say here is that this is a time where ‘pick your battle’ is sterling advice. Focus one one thing, and use your energy there, but not to the point of exhaustion. It’s times like these it’s more important than ever to absolutely devote time to those things which are capable of rejuvenating your exhausted self -- in my case, art work; in Marcus’s case, learning. (Also learning for me, my love for it is unbounded, and Marcus also needs time out for artistic pursuits.)

  72. says

    @Caine, I guess you will understand then when I say that I stopped reading pharyngula for these reasons a month or so ago? I still read rawstory to keep up with Trump news, but I have given up on being informed about feminism, social justice and atheist movement assholes in general, let alone arguing about it with anyone and trying to make any points. It is not that I do not care about those issues anymore, that I am walking over to the other side of the rifts or any crap like that. It is because in addition to my life’s crap it was simply too much for me and I had to choose -- my life, or other people’s. I am still going to call out racist remarks by my brother, or casual sexism by my colleagues, but I am giving up on online arguing with strangers at least for a while, because it was simply taking too high toll on my psyche. So I am currently too concentrating on a little art project, in addition to garden work.

  73. says

    Someone keeps showing up on my search term stats looking for pisshunt kids dot com, and I wish the fuck they’d fall off the world. Immediately.

  74. says

    Can I vent for a second?
    Is there any country that has a sensible approach towards and is good at balancing the rights and interests of violent mentally ill people and those who have to deal with them?
    My cousin is in and out of involuntary commitment. He’s been declared legally insane, which means that whatever he does, he cannot be held criminally liable. But somehow that doesn’t mean that he can be kept in a ward, so he will be committed, get his medicine, become moderately functional, be released, swap his medication for drugs, do something horrible. Which includes trying to rob a casino*, trying to rob a bank, threatening people with a hammer in a shopping mall.
    Currently the best hope we have is that when he finally manages to seriously hurt somebody, it will only be himself.
    Which is horrible and cruel and not OK towards him either, because WTF, how is a mentally ill person being seriously hurt or dead the best scenario possible?
    *The reason he is still alive is that the police officer who was there recognised him from one million domestic violence calls and knew that he was probably harmless and probably not in possession of a real gun.

  75. says

    Jesus, what a mess, I’m sorry, Giliell. It’s rotten, wondering if someone will hurt themselves, or hurt other people. There’s no looking here, the U.S. has a horrendous record on such matters, and it’s not gotten better.

  76. rq says

    It seems I missed some bad news previous comment, an oversight on my part -- my condolences to lumipuna and a lot of moral support to Charly -- as Giliell said, you are a very good person for all the things that you do. ♥

  77. blf says

    Tree Lobsters! This First Dog on the Moon in the Grauniad does a fairly good job of explaining the excitement, Only science can solve the intriguing stick insect mystery (cartoon): “The world is terrible, mainly because of people. But today there is good news — the Lord Howe Island stick insect isn’t extinct!”

    Or, if you prefer, Giant stick insects found on Lord Howe Island a genetic match for ‘extinct’ phasmids:

    Scientists confirm creatures discovered on Ball’s Pyramid in 2001 are the same species rats were believed to have killed off a century earlier

    Scientists have confirmed that giant insects found on a rocky outcrop off Lord Howe Island are a genetic match for the island’s stick insects that were believed to have gone extinct almost 100 years earlier.

    The species were assumed to be one and the same. However significant morphological differences between the Lord Howe Island stick insects collected in the early 1900s and stored in museum collections, and the phasmids discovered in 2001 on Ball’s Pyramid (a remnant volcano about 23km off the main island), created a suspicion the latter could be a related species […].

    That suspicion prompted scientists to map the genome from descendants of the Ball’s Pyramid phasmids, which were bred in captivity at Melbourne zoo. They compared it to DNA extracted from museum specimens held by the CSIRO [Ozland’s scientific research agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation –blf].

    The result was a less than 1% variance, within the range of difference for a single species. Despite their different looks, both are confirmed to be the critically endangered Dryococelus australis.


    Now that they are confirmed to be the same species, [the study’s lead author, Sasha] Mikheyev said the animals could potentially be rereleased on Lord Howe Island, provided the rats were eradicated. This year the Australian government approved a mass rat-baiting plan which will begin in mid-2018.

    The tree lobsters and most of the rest of the native island’s flora and fauna were wiped out by rats from ships. The plan is to saturation bomb the island with poison bait, a technique which has worked on other rat-infested islands. However, some of the people living on the island oppose the plan, apparently due to fears some non-rats (pets?) will eat the bait.

    Mikheyev said it was not clear why the descendants of the Ball’s Pyramid colony look so different to the earlier specimens but it could be due the harshness of that habitat compared with the lush surrounds of Lord Howe Island.

    “We won’t know for sure until these animals are back in their natural habitat on Lord Howe Island,” he said.

    Female Lord Howe Island stick insects grow to about 12cm long, while males mature to just over 10cm. […]


    Kate Pearce, the invertebrates manager at Melbourne zoo, suggested the morphological differences between the four insects that formed the foundation of the captive breeding program and the museum specimens could be a false impression caused by selective collection by the 19th-century zoologists.

    “The specimens in the museum collections were always a lot bigger,” Pearce said. “The legs were a lot chunkier and they had much bigger spurs.

    “Now that we have answered that question {of whether they are the same species}, we think that what happened with the museum specimens is they were collecting the biggest, meatiest specimens that they could find.”


    The entire captive population of Lord Howe Island stick insects, which are also kept at Museums Victoria, on Lord Howe Island itself, and in San Diego and Bristol zoos, are descended from the two breeding pairs collected in 2003.

    This year another female, named Vanessa, was collected to join Melbourne zoo’s breeding program. Her eggs are due to start hatching this week.


    “We can look at pushing for their reintroduction back on to Lord Howe Island without that question of whether we are just introducing a new invasive species,” she [Pearce] said. “We now know for sure that it’s the same species.”

  78. blf says

    This is a test. I have a suspicion the “Recent Comments” sidebar is no longer showing comments in this c.15 days old thread. If correct, it suggests the threshold is 14 days; that is, comments in threads older than 14 days are not shown in the sidebar.

  79. says

    Fuck, a fortnight? That’s it? Well hell. I’ll leave to everyone here to decide -- do you all want a new thread every 2 weeks?

  80. Desert Son, OM says


    [stands with]

    Support for you in this struggle.

    I did some searching for research articles about the questions you ask, and if you would like, I can cite what I found. Sadly, my database access to The University of Texas library system expired after my graduation, so my search capability is more limited, and access to the text of research is no longer free for me. I could only point to the articles and the sites holding them requiring subscription (my finances are very limited at present, with apologies).

    Regardless, I hold thoughts of support for you. I can only echo Caine: the U.S. is effectively no model at all for dealing with what you describe.

    Still learning,


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