1. kestrel says

    @Charly: oh, I can relate. I work with sharp things and I’m very careful. Even so, I seem to cut myself now and then and do a *really* good job of it… I guess it’s just a gift or a talent…. I’m going to check out your stropping wheel; currently I’ve got a nice piece of harness leather fastened down really well to a board, and I put jeweler’s rouge on it. That’s how I strop my swivel knife. (Special knife for carving leather.)

    Today I learned about puppy testing! A friend is a dog breeder, and she will never sell a puppy until it is at least 49 days old and it has been tested. She uses the Volhard puppy aptitude test. This way she can find out the puppy’s strengths and weaknesses, it’s talents and abilities. She wants to be sure the puppy ends up in the right home where it will be successful in its new life. Very cool!

  2. kestrel says

    @chigau I love her blog, she’s so funny.

    Hopefully the puppies did a little better than that… :-D

  3. says

    Hedgehog can never be buggered at all.

    Kestrel, I used to use an old leather belt too, and I found out most things work in need -- a piece of folded paper, piece of clott etc. I also own a stropping leather for razor blades. But the stropping wheel is a true wonder.
    I do not have a big enough lathe to make it like Walter Sorrels in the video, so I bought myself a 20x20 cm MDF board, 20 mm thick, drilled a hole in the middle for the grinder axis, strapped the square directly to the grinder and turned down the edges (from the side) directly on there. A bit risky, I do not recommend it, but it worked and the wheel does not chatter at all and polishes the edge nicely.

  4. jazzlet says

    Kestrel kudos to your friend, she is a responsible breeder. Both of our dogs are rescues and the breeders certainly didn’t take that amount of care. The breeder couldn’t sell the bitch or one of her sisters and just kept them in a shed until they were around five months old when they were offered to rescue with the immortal line ‘take them or I’ll kill them’; good breeders will have people queuing up to buy their puppies. The dog was sold to an unsuitable family, I don’t know anything for sure except that they taught him not to growl (!!!!!) and gave him up to a rescue when he was about 20 months old (ie a stroppy teenager), I suspect that anybody that wanted to was allowed to cuddle him which was probably a lot of people as he is a longhaired black German Shepherd, lovely to cuddle if he allows it, but decided in who is allowed to do so, my guress is that having been forbidden to growl he snaped at people who cuddled him against his wishes; good breeders don’t sell pupies to unsuitable homes, they don’t need to.

    We still have snow, most unusual for us.

  5. jazzlet says

    I wish we had hedgehogs round here, we have lots of slugs to keep them well fed, but we also have badgers, and to badgers hedghogs are a tasty snack.

  6. Raucous Indignation says

    My ex-wife used to say I was like a hedgehog. All prickly on the outside but with a soft furry belly.

  7. kestrel says

    LOL, yeah, I think that was your Outside Voice… not the Inside Voice… :-) Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone about your soft furry belly.

  8. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I had hoped to be on my way to Michigan today to visit relatives. Since the weather system saw fit to dump up to 17″ (43 cm) of lake effect snow in NW Indiana and SW Michigan along the route, I decided to hold off traveling for a day. Where I live in Chiwaukee, being on the other side of the lake, there is just a dusting of snow on the ground.

  9. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says

    Got my shots a couple of weeks ago. Then I got a cold. Then I got bronchial pneumonia. Then I got a ZPack and steroids. And, during all that, I rebroke two of my ribs. Right over my spleen. So I am wearing the girdle again.

    Kestrel & Charly:

    Back in college, I spent time selling knives. One of my selling points was that a dull and cheap knife is much more dangerous than a sharp knife with good balance. The worst knife cuts I have gotten have all been from crappy and/or dull knives.

  10. says

    @Giliell, there will be time when you succumb to the temptation …

    I find my workshop pretty inadequate too. I would love to have a properly sized and properly equipped one, but alas that is inconsistent with me having to work and make a living.

    @Ogvorbis, my sympathies, it looks like the fortune decided to crap on you this year.

    On dull knives that I agree completely. Dull knife or knife with inconsistently sharp edge is dangerous because it can easily slip and skip and bury itself in the hand -- or other part of the body. Sharp knife is only dangerous when sloppily handled (like I did). And even then, a cut from really sharp knife heals quickly (mine is closed already, and although the sliced-of thin piece of skin will take time to regrow, I will not have another scar from this).

    A fun anecdote: at approx 17 years old I was visiting one of my friends and they had appalingly dull knives. What they called “sharp” knife was about as sharp as a butter knife. He was cutting some bagels in half and he had to push the knife with all his might -- against his hand! -- to perform the task. They were using some cheapo clip-on-table device similar to this to “sharpen” their knives, which only destroyed the edge over time and made all knives banana-shaped in a matter of months.
    So I taught him how to properly sharpen knives using stones and a leather strap.
    A few days later his mother gave me an earful, because she has cut her hand rather badly. She was not used to sharp knives being really sharp.

  11. StevoR says

    Breaking news from Alabama here -and for once its good!

    YES! Reason and decency have prevailed here and the Republicans , Moore, Bannon and Trump have lost this time! Phew.

    Live updated figures here :

    Seems Alabamans do have their limits and haven’t sent a child-molesting fool in and that the voter turnout was high (50%ish) with lots of African-Americans and younger voters turning out.

    Oh & there’s alreadya Moore Loses twitter thingy :

    Which could be entertaining / informative / hopeful here maybe.

  12. kestrel says

    That twitter thingy is interesting… I saw more than one Republican pouting about “sexual allegations” and how that is the way to defeat someone politically. It’s like they can’t grasp that that shit is illegal. And saying that you got the mother’s permission does not help in the least.

    So hooray for Alabama, let us hope that this is a good start for good news ahead.

  13. rq says

    It is only a matter of time, then. We planned a dog a few years in advance, but wouldn’t you know it, we had a little New Year’s wonder about 5 years too soon. I hope you find your own JustRightForUs dog a little bit sooner than you hope. :)
    As Husband says, it will never be just the right time for kids or new pets. I try to use this against him with every rescue-kitten post I see on Facebook; no luck so far but considering Elder Cat is pushing 10, I think there is hope.

  14. rq says

    Also this appeared on a municipal government building (warning for Nazi-like imagery), shocking the public. Now that sign has a long and colourful history in Latvian folklore, but seriously, some of the Latvian SS squads were considered among the most brutal, and nobody thought about this? I admist, I like the symbol for its old meanings (cross of thunder, cross of fire, symbol of power and independence, etc.), and I have it on jewellery and traditional knits (with appropriate traditional alterations to the basic design and plenty of nearby context -- it’s usually incorporated in a larger design), but holy shit, hanging it up like that on a gov.building… Plus the EU-like colouring and accents, and I’m astounded somebody official approved of that. Happy holidays!

  15. jazzlet says

    Rq it is really surprising it was approved, and it can’t just have been one person either.

    We weren’t planning on getting our first dog, but then a friend bred her German Shepherd and Mr Jazz had always wanted one. and she’d done all the right things, and her bitch had an excellent character, and I was out of work so could look after a puppy, and there we were with our first dog.The dogs since then have been secondhand one way or another, but we may well get another from our friend, she is still breeding the same line, and being careful to reduce the chances of the various inherited diseases GSDs are prone to which is so important.

  16. says

    But didn’t you know, past is over, no reason to be sensitive anymore, especially not now at Chanukka!

    I know what kind of dog I want: a medium sized rescue mutt that is already basically trained, good with kids and can stay alone for some hours.

  17. jazzlet says

    That’s a fine age Charly, you must have done a great job of caring for your dog, but it’s never long enough is it?

  18. jimb says

    I apologize in advance for the long venting that follows.

    I tried, I gave up, I tried, I’m about ready to give up again.

    I’m on an email list of essentially car enthusiasts. It’s been around for 20+ years and I’m one of the original members. But we talk about many topics, including social issues. Not always directly, but maybe as a result of something someone said. There are several RWAs and similar who write a lot when these subjects come up.

    I can’t do much in terms of activism on social issues, but I can try to have an impact on this small community. I would engage in a civil manner (most of the time), but several people just can’t engage honestly. But I would try and do my part. But it would end up getting me upset -- I’d write and reply etcetc until I couldn’t sleep, ignored work tasks, etc. And then I’d realize that despite some encouragement from some quarters, I just couldn’t anymore and would actively not engage when such a discussion would crop up.

    But today, I felt I had to re-engage and just the couple of hours I’ve been involved is too much. Someone sent a sexist joke to the list and the list owner (and close friend) very subtly called it out (unfortunately while we agree on a large number of issues, getting rid of some of these RWA types isn’t one of them). Took a while for the person to get it, but then others started the not-uncommon “it was a joke” comments. Well, I decided to weigh in, unsubtly. And using what I’ve learned over the years here and elsewhere. But I can’t continue even after a couple of hours -- usually this sort of thing can go for a day or so.

    One respondent literally said “I think sexist jokes are wrong, I don’t support them, but stereotype jokes are funny because that’s what humor is.” Another actually accused me of pre-judging people and then wrote at the end of a long reply “But I doubt you’ll agree or even try to understand this perspective.” There are not enough facepalms.

    Aside from the initial pushback from my friend, I’ve been the only one on my side of this so far. But again, I’ve spent time on this at the expense of a work task. I’ve probably written/done all that I can. Made my case, rebutted arguments, indirectly called one person a “sexist asshole”, so maybe I’m done (again).

    Anyway, just wanted to vent a bit. Thanks.

  19. rq says

    I’m not sure. The kidses are still too young (they don’t have actual history class yet), but I’m keeping an eye out for that. But a general lack of proper historical education is much bemoaned on all sides, so you can imagine what sorts of proper history gets proposed every now and then.
    Priecīgus Ziemassvētkus to you, too.

    I have made some delicious christmas cookies and I think you should take a break and have some, with a hot drink of your choice.

  20. jimb says

    Thanks rq! One of the things I look forward to during this season is MrsB’s family would spend a day making a truck-load of christmas cookies for when the whole family gets together. And there are always plenty to take home afterwards.

  21. jimb says

    Good news, Onamission5! I’m sure rq won’t mind if I pass along some of the christmas cookies they offered to you.

  22. StevoR says

    Congrats Onamission5 (#31), well done.

    @19. kestrel : So hooray for Alabama, let us hope that this is a good start for good news ahead.

    Definitely seconded -- really hope it marks a key turning point in US politics and culture.

    @20. rq. Good luck and hope you find the ideal one for you.

    If it helps I’ve had quite a few different dogs in my life since I was a small boy. All were great family members, all different & with their own personalities and quirks from a beautiful little Australian terrier Chihuahua mix when I was a very young kid through Staffies, one of the most loyal but also behaviourally difficult dogs I’ve had, to the little champion of a Jack Russell cross Fox terrier that I lost earlier this year; to my current now nine-year old, sweet natured, ball & stick obsessed Kelpie. Best dog we ever had was a border collie cross others (Labrador plus?) mix that our family got from the pound as a rescue dog decades ago -- just the most wonderful, gentle, funny old boy.

    Pets are great company, great for you if sometimes exasperating and heart-breaking and I wouldn’t be without one now. I probably owe what little of my sanity I have to an ancient tortoiseshell cat that helped get me through high school and there’s nothing quite as soothing as having a purring at on your lap or quite as joyous as seeing the bliss exude from every bit of fur of happy dogs racing around and loving life at the beach.

    So, yeah, I recommend dogs and cats and companion animals for sure and wish you the best again here.

    A few science news stories here if folks are, hopefully, interested:

    With this red dwarf sun K2-18 being located 110 light years away “nearby” is somewhat of a misnomer but a great discovery nicely discussed and with some interesting implications :

    Whilst this has implications for how often we see superflares like the 1859 Carrington event :

    (If folks haven’t heard of that, I’d highly recommend reading Stuart Clark’s The Sun Kings book on that event and much more.)

    Oh and a sad and worrying development for the world’s largest and possibly oldest organism :

    A set of ancient natural clones that are being eaten alive.

  23. chigau (違う) says

    The recent archived Sciblogs imports over to Pharyngula are interesting.
    I’m currently looking for mine own contributions from 2010.
    My current gravatar is there over my old ‘nym.
    Other current gravatars are also there and some are not.

  24. StevoR says

    D’oh! Um, sorry, that’s meant to be my best wishes and advice on dogs and cats for (#15) Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk rather than (#20) rq which was responding to that. Although best wishes to rq as well anyhow.

    @21. rq : Found a somewhat amusing (mis?)translation here at the end of that article :

    Articles on the same topic:
    The gardener in the gardens of the Riga Castle spit out a bonfire to make it better


    Another trio of science news stories of note :

    Silk road and Parthian empire lost Afghanistani sites seen by satellite :

    From much further back in time -- a delightfully duck-like & odd aquatic relative of velociraptor, Halszkaraptor, has been discovered :

    Finally from very far away in space and who knows how old in time; interstellar asteroid (or is it?) Oumuamua is giving off a rather Ramaesque* vibe :

    Its probably just a natural body but still intriguing and fascinating either way.

    * As in Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama series’es eponymous spaceship.

  25. Onamission5 says

    I’m about to start screaming and I might never stop.

    It is too early in the morning for “Latina woman is currently rich therefore she’s jumping on the #metoo bandwagon AND is personally responsible for singlehandedly making sure waitresses in Peoria don’t get sexually harassed, and if you try to get me to understand why my attitude is problematic, you’re illiterate and can go fuck yourself.”

    Mind, it’s 11 AM, but it is always too early in the morning for this shit.

  26. says

    I’m the good girl? FFS. My last was to point out that the Peoria waitress is the same as Dear Muslima. It’s beyond absurd when you are faced with repeating all of fuckin’ history one more damn time, because this guy somehow missed it the first gazillion times.

    Most of my life, abuse, especially that of a sexual nature, was in the ‘we don’t talk about that’ category. That massive edifice of silence is crumbling now, and I could not be more happy about it. So many people find themselves in an isolated and untenable situation, and it can be so damn hard to find the strength to cope, and with every person who speaks up, there’s a deeper pool of strength and support for people to hold on to and draw from.

  27. says

    OMG, Caine, don’t say something like that or you’re worse than Hitler!

    Here’s something funny for a change:
    My new kitchen has oiled birch wood countertops. The stove is reaching into the room. Therefore, it was a three weekend job to install the hood. There’s also a small glas panel behind the stove top to keep pots from falling off and people from being doused in fat.
    Last week I noticed some stains on the wood. You could clearly see where the liquid had run down and then dried. Only it didn’t make much sense since the countertop is an even surface, but we thought that maybe something that was not visible before had reacted with the new beeswax I had applied, so we tried to polish it out. And I tried some more, but to no effect.
    I was coming to terms with having to live with some ugly stains in the wood when I magically vanished them by cleaning the small glass panel.
    The exhaust hood has some lights and where there were no shadows before, there are so now.
    At least the countertop is nicely polished now.

  28. says


    OMG, Caine, don’t say something like that or you’re worse than Hitler!

    I know! Jesus, the gay dude who is claiming blanket discrimination -- fuck, I had no idea the three of us had such immense power.

  29. Onamission5 says

    @Giliell: My new kitchen has oiled birch wood countertops Oh. Waaaant.

    That is a very funny story and sounds much like something I’d do.

    I love how being bi and hypothetically-in-the-future forgoing relationships with men providing they don’t change their violent, entitled, and obtuse behavior between now and then is blanket discrimination. Is this because A) women are community property anyway and B) bisexuals in particular are required to sleep with everybody they could in theory have attractions to it said so in the manual? Your preferences have to mean what random internet dude wants them to mean, you are not allowed to choose your dating partners judiciously or else you’re JABA MGTOW. /snark

  30. says

    They were not any more expensive than the usual laminated countertops. Plus we could fit them to our needs.
    But I admit that the moment when you first oil them is magic. The wood looks pretty dull, but then the oil brings out the grain and it shines like gold.

    But yeah, men’s supposed entitlement to female bodies knows no bounds.
    Here’s the difference to MGTOW:
    MGTOW “we’re no longer trying to fuck women”
    Women “good riddance!”

    Women “if the question arose in the future, I would abstain from men”
    Men “the 21st century human rights struggle!”

  31. says

    I have to go to town on Tuesday, so I did a weather check. This is going to be the first xmas here without snow. Over 20 years here, and haven’t seen this. People are going to be all manner of grouchy.

  32. says

    I’m in such a wonderful Christmas mood
    Who knows, I might even fuck a dude.
    Because not shagging them, you see,
    Is a terrible form of bigotry!
    They may hurt you, harass you
    Mansplain your whole life
    But you mustn’t go through
    With not being a wife.
    So be generous these holidays.
    You can care for the dudes in many ways.
    Clean and cook,
    (Mispronounce) fuck.
    Only remember that true equality
    Has never heard of male sexual misery.

    I call it the Giliean Sonnet

  33. jazzlet says

    Good laugh from that Giliell, thank you!

    We have beech strip work surfaces and solid wood cupbaords with ash door, a friend made them to fit both our old kitchen and particular kitchen kit. Having chipboard cupboards would just have meant repairing them regularly as the cast iron pots we have wreck the shelves. It didn’t work out any more expensive than a normal one would have, it has already saved us money on repairs and will certainly save us more money on repairs in the long run. Luckily the cupboards will all fit in the space in our new kitchen though we’ll need a couple more and a ‘it’s not a wine rack, it’s storage for long thin things like foil, the roling pin and the wand mixer’. A couple of the cupbards are fitted, when the rest will be who knows?

  34. says

    To be honest, Caine, Giliell, I do not believe you when you say “should I ever be looking for a partner again, the guys are out”. That is, I believe and understand the sentiment, but not the literal statement. I take the statement as a form of poetical hyperbole akin to when one says after a painful breakup “I will never date anyone again”. And why? Because I do not think it is possible to have conscious control over ones emotions, especialy over who one falls in love with. If it were possible, life would be much easier for everybody.

    I understand the reasoning behind the statement and I agree that the counterarguments proferred were rather poor. Especialy the “discrimination” one was a hoot.

  35. says

    You’re free to believe what you like, Charly, but it takes a hell of a lot of nerve to tell us we have no control over our choices. If my dating pool is women only, then I’m likely to find someone I can be happy with in that pool. I’ve dated women before, I’ve had sex with women, and truth be told, I’m much more relaxed and easier in mind and spirit with a woman.

    I don’t “fall in love” at the drop of a hat. It takes time. It’s up to me whether or not I spend enough time with someone for that to happen. I’m perfectly capable of making a conscious choice of who I spend my time with. There are plenty of women only spaces I’d be more than happy to be in, right now as well as in the future.

    If you aren’t capable of controlling yourself to any degree, fine, but don’t put that off on me or Giliell, or anyone else. You also seem to be mixing up lust and love. As far as I’m concerned, it is not any sort of poetical statement, it’s a factual one. And not that you deserve details, but I had a long talk about this more than 10 years ago with my best friends, both lesbians, where I said the exact same thing: that if I ever find myself alone again, I would not consider being with a man. Again, my reasons are my own, and you have absolutely no fucking business questioning my choices.

    If it was anyone but you, Charly, you would not be getting this restrained of a response, and you should probably be grateful for that one.

  36. chigau (違う) says

    Rob Grigjanis #53
    I googled something like “Pharyngula 2009” and there they are.
    I am navigating by clicking the previous post links.
    It takes patience.
    and rum

  37. says

    @Caine, I am grateful for the restrained response. I am sorry for offending you. I was not questioning your capability to control your choices or implying you fall in love on fall of a hat or even making your choices my business. I only have problem with categorical statments in principle.

    Of course if you restrained to “women only” places etc. and actively seeked partner there, it would have great impact on the probability of the outcome, and I do not doubt your (or anyone else’s) capability to do so and follow through with such a plan. But I do not believe that it is a fool proof way, because there are no fool proof 100% ways, only ways to shift probabilities one way or the other.

    Neither did I imply that I cannot control myself to any degree, only that my degree of self control -- and from what I learned anyone elses -- is context and situation dependent. For example there are things that I am extremely unlikely to ever do because I have high self-control in that regard -- like commiting violence towards someone. But I know if someone pushed me far enough in a corner, I would snap, so I cannot say I am incapable of violence, even though I would never choose violence consciously.

    I also thought I can never fall in love with a woman who smokes, because I very strongly detest the stench of cigarettes (it is an instant put off for me) and I confine myself to “no-smokers only” environment. I followed consciously through for years and it worked until I coincidentally met one woman who was determined to seduce me for the hell of it and manipulated me subtly over the course of a few months just to find out if she can succeed. And she succeeded, even though I loathed the stench of cigarettes the whole time.

  38. says

    This isn’t about you, Charly, and you’ll pardon me saying, but you have not lived with a man, intimately, for 40 fucking years. Or 10 years. Or any years at all, so you don’t know what you’re talking about. So, I’ll thank you to stop talking about it.

  39. says

    Okay, I’m headed off to hospital today. I haven’t gotten anything set up for tomorrow, and I don’t know how I’ll be feeling this evening, so things might not start at the normal time Wednesday.

  40. jazzlet says

    Caine I hope you don’t feel too washed out and that you just feel in less pain after hospital.

  41. says

    Caine, best wishes!

    Our kitchen is a combination of old pieces and new ones. When we planned it Mr and I cut out cardboard pieces the sizes of the cupboards and pushed them around the room.
    Given that there’s a chimney in one corner and the window is lower than most cupboards and you still need to be able to open the dishwasher, we needed to find quite some creative solutions.
    I must say I love Ikea for this: affordable and they even had lots of good advice.

  42. says

    Thank you all so much, I’m home and fine. More tests coming up in mid/late January, including the colonoscopy. Things discovered today: red blood cells are abnormally large (probable B12 deficiency); platelets are indicating mass inflammation; there’s a possibility of Crohn’s; possible malabsorption issues.

    More lab tests are being done. I am so tired of this.

  43. Ice Swimmer says

    The mills are grinding slowly (too slowly). Hopefully there will be a definite diagnosis and treatment in the end. My warm thoughts.

  44. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says


    re: colonoscopy

    I lucked out. My doctor (she is wonderful!) was on me that ‘at my age’, colo-rectal exams are important. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Yeah, she’s right. No, I really didn’t want to go there because of my past. I did get an exam. Shit in a bucket and UPS’d it to Minnesota. Came back with no abnormalities.

    I’m sorry that you are still in the ‘what is going on’ stage, not the ‘here’s what is wrong, here’s how to deal with it.’ Hugs to you.

  45. says


    No, I really didn’t want to go there because of my past.

    Yeah, same thing here. That said, my colonoscopy just got upped to this Friday.

  46. Onamission5 says

    Ugh, Caine, I do not envy your turns around the medical diagnosis hamster wheel at all.

    Here’s hoping you get actual answer-answers, with actual solution-solutions, in the immediate future, and none of it is as bad as anticipated.

  47. says

    Thank you. Got the Friday appointment set, but I can’t get a time for it until tomorrow, so I don’t when to start drinking the gallon of goop. Oy.

  48. says

    Well, I don’t have celiac disease (duh). The latest labs all look fine, so now they are figuring out what other tests I need. Imma go bang my head into a rock.

  49. jazzlet says

    While I wouldn’t describe a colonoscopy as fun if they let you see the screen it is interesting seeing your own insides (well technically your own outside that is inside you) and also quite distracting from the process. Anyway I hope they can work out a diagnosis soon, having your hope raised that this test will finally give you answers and then dashed when it doesn’t time after time after time is exhausting and stressful.

    I ended up with a diagnosis of exclusion, they knew I had had previous scarring, there was nothing on any of the tests and the symptoms fit adhesions so that is most probably what it is. It might not be adhesions, but unless any of them come up with something new to test for I am treated as if I have adhesions, ie given pain control as there is no treatment, but it took years to get to this point while all sorts of theories were eliminated one by one, so I really do feel for you.

  50. kestrel says

    @anyone receiving medical treatment: may it go well. Great sympathy to Caine for having to go through tests and labs and so on, with still no diagnosis. The Partner (who works in the ER) says that is very frustrating for them, too, because (most of the time) the reason they have that job is they want to help people. They want to make the patient happy (usually… I will not say there aren’t some bad people out there who should not have that job) and they want the person to be as healthy as is possible for that person.

    Where is the snow? We should have snow by now. This is very odd.

  51. says

    Here it is raining today, the whole day. So what little snow we had is turning into slush and muck. Sigh. I wish for proper winter, with snow and freezing temperatures. I wanted to go for a walk in the forests tomorrow, now that is off, it is dangerous to go in the forest when the trees are covered in soggy soaked snow. Not to mention the unpleasantness of wading through it.

    But happy solstice everybody! The days are getting longer again, yay.

  52. says

    I’ll be happy for water, in any form. It’s exceedingly unusual to go almost the whole year without snow. We’ve been in a drought long enough, and unless winter actually shows up, it’s going to be bad again.

  53. kestrel says

    Yes it’s funny when you are glad it is snowing, or raining… but yes, we need that moisture. Any we can get!

  54. says

    I’d gladly send some water your way were that possible. As it is now, I have a little stream in my cellar and I have to pump it out.

  55. says

    Okay, I got a time for the colonoscopy: 10:15am Friday. I have to leave home around 9am, so there won’t be anything up tomorrow except for the regular stuff.

  56. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says


    Have fun.

    Er, um, well, you know what I mean? Sort of ‘I hope it doesn’t suck to bad?’

    Higs to you.

  57. says

    Wishing you all the best, Caine.

    Well, solstice can go fuck itself.
    Like the rest of the world.
    Sorry, I’m in a REALLY foul mood.
    Got ordered to the seminar today to inform me that my current grades are fat red Fs*. I think the arsehole lady would very much like all of us losers to drop out, because it really looks bad if we go on to the final examinations and the ministry of education is wondering why a lot of people who finished university with As and Bs are suddenly failing. Not a favour I’ll do her. As a result she actually wanted to leave the room without paying me the courtesy of saying “goodbye”. Obviously people with Fs are vermin or something.

    *If I fail twice, I will sue. I got their plain contradictory instructions on paper. I won’t deny that there are still some pretty weak spots in my “teaching**”, but a lot of them stem from having been given contradictory information. Things I was instructed to do before a lesson were not true afterwards, things that I was forbidden to do were the very alternatives mentioned afterwards.

    **Nobody actually teaches like the way you got to do in those graded lessons. Plain unrealistic.

  58. says

    Giliell, my sympathies, that sucks. I wonder how is it possible to leave such important things to be left to the whims of one asshole, one who obviously cannot be reasoned with and uses it to bully people? I have met some shitty mentors in my time, but I only ever got contradictory instructions from managers, never from teachers.

  59. says

    Thank you all! I already peeled all the jewelry off, was told ‘no lotion!’, which is going to be a pain. Don’t start drinking the goop until 6pm, then have to get up at 5am to drink the rest. For the colonoscopy innocent -- they make you drink a GALLON of the stuff. Gad. The stuff is called ‘Go Lytely’, but given the instructions to use vaseline or baby wipes to avoid serious irritation, I’m thinking that’s a bad name. Heh.

  60. jimb says

    That really sucks Giliell. Hope it doesn’t come to suing.

    Caine, you have my sympathies. I went through this earlier this year. And similarly I’m not a morning person, but I scheduled mine in the AM so that I could go home and sleep the rest of the day. Hopefully you’ll get to do the same.

  61. says

    Jim, I wouldn’t mind so much if I lived in town, but I’m an hour out. So now I have to start the goop at 4pm, then get up at 4am to finish the goop, and leave here at 8am. Not sure when I’m getting any sleep in there.

  62. kestrel says

    @Caine: Oh blah. That really sucks.

    I know the feeling: mine was scheduled for like, 7 AM. That meant I have to get up about 4 so I could milk the goats and do chores and then spend an hour and a half driving there to be there on time. On the plus side: the drugs they gave me knocked me out really well, but yet wore off really fast. I had no clue what was going on as I was sound asleep yet woke up very well and very quickly and we were able to have lunch in town. I do agree that you need someone to drive you, but honestly, I felt fine and most likely could have driven the hour and a half home. However, it was nice to have company for lunch, and it was fine with me to not drive.

    Sympathies on the goop you have to drink. It is horrid. On the other hand, it’s good to be really cleaned out well so they can see what is going on in there.

    @Giliell: Crap, that sucks. I hate it when people are just WAITING for you to make a mistake so they can pounce and say AHA! YOU SCREWED UP!! When it was all their fault to start with, because if you learn in a positive way that is totally not needed. Christ of the Andes. Why can’t they just stay positive? We already know that works way better.

  63. jazzlet says

    And teachers potential teachers with negative teaching is even worse as it’s likely to teach them to teach negatively. What a mess, stick it to them Giliell!

  64. Ice Swimmer says


    If the kind of shenanigans they try pull on you are in any way common, I wonder how Germany/that spefic Bundesland manages to have a functioning school system?

    Hoping that you can make it and the assholes will get caught.

  65. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Had my own bout with the colonoscopy people. The laxative instructions said the second clean-out was to start at 12 am. What that meant, was the effects stopped about 4:30 am, and I had to be up/showered/dressed by 7:10 am when my drive was coming to take me to the appointment. So I had an all-nighter, which the last time that happened was when the Redhead passed. Not a good memory. When I got home, and ate, and then sat down to take a nap, it was about 11 am. I was awoken by a telemarketer about 11:30 *hulk smash*. Obviously I was a wake for the count. Got 9+ hours sleep by Cpap machine that night, but still not up to normal.

  66. kestrel says

    @Nerd: Telemarketers??!!! GAAAAHHHH. Last time they called it went something like, them: “Hello little girl, is your mother there?” Me: “Fuck you and the sheep you rode in on!!!” SLAM

    That’s the sad thing about cellphones. You can not slam them down in a satisfactory fashion. Just clicking on the screen is so unfulfilling.

  67. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says

    I got telemarketed yesterday. It was (I kid you not) for aluminum siding.

    Once I knew what he was selling, I said, “Are you a time traveler?”

    “Er, no?” he answered. “Why?”

    “Because aluminum siding salesmen is a joke from the 1970s.”

    “Just doing my job, sir.”

    I said, “Happy holidays. Goodbye.”

  68. says

    Ah, were getting tons of calls from all across the globe, trying to get us to call back.
    And the usual Microsoft employees from India.

    Today I had a very weird moment. We spent the whole day cleaning, so after dinner I stood in the kitchen and there was nothing to do.
    Big cooking will start tomorrow with the whole family to come on Christmas day.

    I also finally got some nice pics of the jays who finally realised that there is easy to get food and they are missing out.

  69. Ice Swimmer says

    There’s an aquarium in a amusement park in Helsinki. There’s an electric eel called Raipe* (pictured in the article) in the aquarium. One member of the staff accidentally dropped a flashlight in his tank and he, being attracted to things electrical swallowed it, before they could recover the flashlight. As Raipe poses an electric shock hazard, they couldn’t just quickly dive into the tank and snatch it.

    They had make a few phone calls to find someone able to to get the flashlight out of his gut, the animal hospital of University of Helsinki took him in and the vet Okko Sokura there anaesthesized the electric eel and managed to ease the flashlight out of him, having consulted a scientific article on the discharge of electricity by electric eels during anaesthesia. The operation took about half an hour.

    Raipe seems fine as he has started to eat again and appears to behave normally.
    * = Named after a former ice hockey player (who had a long successful career) and now coach Raimo “Raipe” Helminen.

  70. Raucous Indignation says

    Caine, I hope you are doing well. Use the PCA as much as you need to, if you have one. I hope you aren’t under-medicated for pain. I would attend on you if I could. I just found out. Don’t mind me hovering around nervously. I’m just gonna helicopter around the thread until everything is alright again.

  71. kestrel says

    StevoR, those are great! Listened this morning, a great way to start the day. Thanks for the links. Loved the Sound of Silence parody.

    Still no snow. :-( Very sad about that… On the other hand, my plan to grow tomatoes indoors is working really well. My plants are in their final containers and have recovered from being transplanted, and are starting to really put out the tomatoes. I’m also growing thyme and rosemary. Very cheering to see plants blooming and fruiting indoors.

  72. says

    Great day of cooking
    I belatedly remembered that my new brother in law is selectively Jewish (I did remember when deciding on the main course) and of course all my gelatin is pork.
    I made a small batch with alternative thickeners, but since they all require boiling his dessert is not as nice as the rest.

  73. says

    Merry Giftmass, everybody.

    By a coincidence a few weeks ago I had a rare opportunity to visit a bookshop and by another coincidence they had some books on bobbin lace which I thought my mother would enjoy. I was not mistaken and she was very happy to get them (as in “teary eyes” happy). I hate obligatory giving of meaningless presents just because the tradition demands it, but giving of meaningfull presents when the opportunity arises, that I like very much. This is one of those presents that has more impact on holiday than it would have during a random time of the year.

    The hand-made kitchen knife I was making on occasion the whole year was a mere sideline occurence after that. That is one of those things suited for random giving whenever one can.

    What I did not like is that I could not help with preparing the christmass dinner as much as I would like to, because my nose decided to change into a water hose for a few days again and I could not work for five minutes without reaching for a hankie or sneezing, so handling food was out of question. I was barely capable to dismember and de-bone the fish, which my parents cannot do. At least I could mop the floors since that requires no special hygiene.

    Originally I planed to do some work in the garden and my shop over the holiday, but instead I have spent the whole time so far trying to sweat out the bugger that periodically plagues me for the last two months.

  74. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 123

    I like your philosophy on gifts.

    The only good thing about runny nose is that it mostly stops being runny at some point.

    Giliell @ 124

    125 g of meat/person. Back in the 1980s when I had Home Economics at school (grades 7 -- 9, I was 13 -- 15), the recommended serving size of meat was 100 -- 200 g/person, so at your party people were in the normal range. 8-) However, I probably wouldn’t have wanted make too little, either.

    I remember making a (savoury, filled with various cheeses) sandwich cake (voileipäkakku), half of which I had to consume as leftovers.

    Quadricolour Panna Cotta! Looks very fine.

  75. says

    Ice Swimmer
    Current recommendations are 200g per person, and since there are some good eaters in the family, I decided to be on the safe side.
    Well, it’s 2017, freezers exist and stuff will come in handy.
    The pannacotta was nice indeed. The fruits nicely set off the heavy pannacotta. I wouldn’t make it for 4 people, because it’s a lot of work, but with 20 people you need to make more than one batch anyway and I had something to do in the cooling time.
    The voileipäkakku looks like a good thing (maybe as a starter in three years when the flock returns?). I remember making something similar for the little one’s second birthday, because back then she didn’t like sweets.

    Charly, I share your philosophy.
    Mr and I got “each other” two mildly expensive household items.

  76. Ice Swimmer says

    Voileipäkakku is nice because you can fill it and garnish it with pretty much anything you like. Two things not mentioned in the recipe linked to on the Pffft page: The crust of the bread slices is usually removed and to make it easier to cut the cake the bread slices are wet slightly with vegetable stock, fish stock or bouillon, just like you wet sponge cake with fruit juice.

  77. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says

    Hi, all.

    Happy Holidays.

    Yesterday may have been one of the most boring days of my life. Wife and kids and future son/daughter-in-laws all in Florida. No cable. The NFL game at 4:30 sucked. Too cold and windy to out for a cigar. I ended up watching CometTV’s Martian marathon. In the evening, I tried watching The Grinch (not the great cartoon, the more recent abomination) and decided that Santa versus the Martians was a better choice. Those Whovillians are evil. Made myself popovers for breakfast (halved the recipe) and had a nice steak for dinner. And stayed up until after midnight. Not doing anything fun, just, every time I came close to falling asleep I’d realize Wife wasn’t there and, well, boom! Wide awake.

  78. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Now that the weather is cold, time to start emptying the basement freezer. With the cold weather, I don’t have to worry about stuff thawing and smelling before it is picked up. Since we bought the freezer back in the ’80’s, it is energy inefficient, but works in an unheated basement. I suspect my electric bill will go down 25-30% once it is hauled out, and the electric company’s energy conservation program will pay me $50 to haul it away.

  79. Ice Swimmer says

    chigau @ 133

    I first thought the cats are in a place in which it’s +28°C. Probably they are trying to find one…

    Here, it was below 0 °C for a short while (5 hours) and it snowed. Now it’s +4 °C and the rain has been liquid. No snow on the ground anymore.

  80. kestrel says

    My holiday was dramatic. An elderly neighbor, who is now seriously confused due to dementia, was having a hard time because his sister (who normally cares for him) was in the hospital for pneumonia. So some nice other neighbors were watching him and told him they’d come pick him up Christmas morning. They arrived… but he was gone. With no coat, no keys, no phone, no wallet… and he had not taken his medication… Eventually the entire neighborhood was out looking for him. It was relatively cold (about -6 C) and we had no way of knowing how long he had been out in it. We could not find him, finally called in state police. The officer found him fairly quickly, he had walked up the mountain to a cabin (we’d been looking on the road! Never imagined he could hike cross-country!!), and was on the porch trying to get in. He had fallen and cut his hand fairly badly and the porch was covered in blood… finally the ambulance came and took him to the hospital. Not sure what will happen to the guy now, he has not been brought back home. Yikes. Really sad. So far the sister is too sick to talk to me. I’m waiting for her to get a little better before I visit; don’t want to wear her out. A sad situation.

  81. says

    Kestrel, my sympathies.
    In our old flat, we used to have a neighbour who slowly lost her mind, 9n a sad and literal sense.
    For some reason I stuck in her head, to the extent that she believed me to be one of her daughters.
    After one particular incident her actual daughter decided that she couldn’t leave her alone anymore and she moved to a nursing home.

  82. says

    Caine, I have sent you five successive e-mails, four with similar titles, so check your spam folder if something gets stuck there.
    I will completely disappear from the internets tomorrow until 1. January at least since I am leaving to celebrate New Year with my friends.

  83. kestrel says

    @Giliell, #137: Yeah… it is really sad to see that. I guess it’s a reminder that we all need to try and make plans for worst case scenarios. Not a fun thing to do, but it can be really necessary. In the brother/sister case that I just had to deal with, they knew for quite a while that this day would come… they just did not want to face it. So instead, they dragged everybody else into it, including the state, and I think what happens in these cases is that the state takes over and starts making the decisions. I doubt the state is going to make a better plan for them than they could have made for themselves. That short-sightedness is really going to cost them now, I’m afraid.

    Trying to think of something cheery to say… my Zygopetalum (think that’s how you spell it) orchid is blooming. It is not much to look at, but it smells FANTASTIC. My Oncidium and one of the Phalaenopsis are also blooming right now. Such wonderful plants, orchids!