1. chigau (違う) says

    and close comments on the old thread
    and make links
    and make me a cup of tea
    with rum

  2. says

    Ours was green, sickly green, in the best 70’s tradition. A little later you could buy an aftermarket push button pad that replaced the rotary dialler but it was illegal to tamper with government issue phones.

  3. voyager says

    We still have an old beige rotary phone. Mr. V keeps it in his office and he still uses it.

  4. Nightjar says

    My parents didn’t have one, but I remember my grandparents’ beige rotary phone. As a kid, every time I saw that they were about to make a call I would run to ask if they would let me dial the number, just for the fun of it. That was a long time ago. Thanks for the good memories, voyager!

  5. DonDueed says

    For quite a while, the phone companies charged extra to use a touch-tone phone. But after a certain point, if you bought your own TT phone and didn’t tell them, they would work fine on any line.

    @Lofty: they weren’t government-issue phones (unless you worked in a government office, maybe). It was worse: they were Ma Bell-issued phones. And they remained Ma Bell property, they just let you use them. If you were a good boy or girl.

  6. says

    We had a black rotary phone. I can even remember being on a party line. And there were letters at the beginning of phone numbers, and no area code.

    Yeah, I’m old. Give me a minute, I’ll put the cat off my lap so I can get my cane and shake it at you.

  7. Jazzlet says

    We too had a black phone with a metal dial and a little drawer underneath that had a thin booklet for phone numbers. That did get replaced at some point by a sickly seventies green one with a clear plastic dial.

    Seems I am now not short of iron, but have an excess of white blood cells for no obvious reason. More blood tests next week then. I actually feel ok, so I don’t know what if anything is going on, it could be drug side effects I suppose.

    Tomorrow I have the joy of taking our two dogs for their annual check-ups. The vets are good with them, we put a muzzle on Jake just in case but he is quite co-operative. Thorn on the other hand tenses right up so it’s hard for them to palpate her stomach or move her legs around to check on her joints, mostly they have to listen to her heart and lungs, then look at her teeth then leave it at that. Neither seem to mind the vaccinations which is good.

    I hope all of you with cold weather are keeping warm

  8. chigau (違う) says

    All is well, I have tea and rum.
    In the Before Time the Government of Alberta owned the phones.
    The Government of Alberta permitted people to have one in their home.
    People needed permission from the Government of Alberta to have more than one.
    Things gave changed.

  9. rq says

    Eldest saw a rotary phone, once. “How do you press the buttons?!” I explained how it works. “But that takes so loooooong!!”
    Indeed. The stuff of horror movies.
    And then I tried to explain what a party line is.

  10. says

    Ours was beige and you rented them. We also only had one phone line and a switch, so when someone called for my grandparents and the phone was switched to our flat, I was sent downstairs to tell them to pick up.
    Kids these days are even confused by push tone phones.

  11. ridana says

    #9) Anne, Cranky Cat Lady wrote:

    We had a black rotary phone. I can even remember being on a party line.

    Same here. Metal dial. We were 3 rings. I still remember the phone number, and unless Alzheimer’s takes me, I will until I die.

    The party line programming took years to get over. Long after I’d moved away, if someone called me just to talk, I’d get really antsy waiting for them to get to the reason they’d called me. Phone calls were not just for chatting, and I always felt pressured to get off the line asap.

  12. Oggie. My Favourite Colour is MediOchre says

    Giliell says

    November 15, 2018 at 11:46 am

    Any one care to guess where this is heading?

    Given the double post, I’d guess twins ;)
    Hoping for the very best.

    S’funny,. Since we found out about the pregnancy, I have been, half-seriously, saying that it would be twins, that she is eating for three, etc. Just had a gut feeling (and this is one of the very few gut feelings that have ever been right for me). Everyone else assumed I was being a butt head.

    So, of course, somehow it is my fault that she is having twins.

    She has an appointment on Monday (calendarnormative) for a high-resolution ultrasound. We are all eagerly awaiting.


    We had a harvest gold table top rotary phone. And an avocado wall phone. I still remember a friend of mine being impressed that (a) we had two phones and (b) we had a phone that could hand on the wall and (c) we had a fifteen foot cord.

    And I do not ever want to go back to a rotary phone. Dial long distance and you have no idea if you dialed it correctly until the call goes through and someone on the other end picks up. I’ll keep my flip phone.

  13. Curt Sampson says

    Dial long distance and you have no idea if you dialed it correctly until the call goes through and someone on the other end picks up.

    Not a problem. Just tell the operator you want to make a person-to-person call.

  14. springa73 says

    Growing up in the 80s my family had two phones, one a then-very-modern touch-tone wall phone in the kitchen, and the other a more traditional rotary phone in my parents’ bedroom. Around 1990 my parents replaced the rotary phone with a touch tone, and replaced the kitchen phone with a *gasp* cordless phone, which made me feel like we were on the cutting edge of technology!

  15. Jazzlet says

    Well I now feel awful as I’ve let Jake lose weight without realising it. Bad dog owner. Still Jake will be happy he has to eat more food.

    We had two phones for as long as I can remember, back when it was very unusal, because of my mum being lame and completely unable to run down stairs if the phone was ringing.

  16. Oggie. My Favourite Colour is MediOchre says

    I had forgotten about the touchtone phones. Which, with the primitive phone lines out in Western Maryland, and New Hampshire, one had to switch to pulse so, even with the convenience of tapping the numbers, we still had to wait while the phone went “brr, brr, brr, pause, brr, brr, brr, brr,” etc.

  17. voyager says

    I had a small laugh about Jake losing weight. Sorry, but every single time I have ever taken take Jack to the vet we get the talk about needing to lose weight. I hope Jake complies with his new diet and makes good gains. How did Thorn make out? Has she finally beaten the mange and grown back her hair?

  18. says

    I’m old enough that not only did my parents have a rotary, but I was old enough to “solve” it. The old rotaries made numbers by rapidly breaking the connection N times in a row -- there was a time when I would occasionally amuse myself by bypassing the dial and phoning someone by going taptaptap…taptaptaptaptaptap…taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap… on the hook switch.

    I wonder if that still works at all?

  19. cherbear says

    Aside from the old-fashioned feels, I think there may be 2 rotary dial phones left in Cape Breton, but since everything is digital now, i don’t know if they would work.

  20. says


    So, of course, somehow it is my fault that she is having twins.

    Blame it on me.

    Urgh, getting home tonight was not fun. We had about 30 cm of snow, which never gets cleared in our road, so this morning it was solid packed snow. The temperature rose and it started to rain and our street doesn’t have “valley” in it for nothing and I live at the lowest point.

    Re: phones
    Did you also know people whose phones had a lock?Because phone calls were expensive as fuck back then.

  21. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 24

    A lock in the phone? Never heard of such things.

    My parents had a burgundy Dialog rotary phone and I learned how to use a phone with it. I’m not sure if it was rental or did my parents own it. AFAIK, both things were possible.

    The telco system here in Finland was a bit complicated, there was the state-owned phone service, but also local “phone associations” in more densely populated areas. The phone associations worked much like co-ops, but buying the membership could a sum that would be close to average monthly pay. One could also have a “rental” phone service with higher monthly fees and call prices. When I moved on my own, I bought a second-hand* HPY (Helsingin Puhelinyhdistys, Helsinki Telephone Association) membership for 3300 marks (about 600 euros) and got myself a landline phone (with buttons).

    * = Those things could be resold (they were at the time cheaper second-hand than it would have been to buy a new membership), as I did about four years after that.

  22. Jazzlet says

    voyager,The vets usually congratulate us on the dogs weight, they obviously spend a lot of time telling people their pets are overweight. Thorn is doing well, the fur is growig back although you can still see where the mangy patches were. Thorn actually encouraged my SiL to stroke her when she was round yesterday! SiL has been very careful to respect Thorn’s boundaries and Thorn has clearly decided she can be trusted, so now she must become another Thorn Slave.

  23. says

    Ice Swimmer
    Long before young people got broke on mobile phone ringtones, they got broke on local calls. In Germany, costs were a monthly fee plus call-by-call. A local call in 1996 was between 3 and 8 Pfennig for a minute (1 Pfennig = 1/00 Mark, 1 Mark = 0,50€), so a teen who talked on the phone could easily spend 5 bucks each day, so when the bill arrived it could easily be as much as 150 Mark, which would equal about 100€ today while people earned about 50% less, so you can see why that was a problem. So the parents installed a lock on the phone. You could always accept incoming calls but needed a key to make a call yourself.
    My sister was lucky: since we had family in the GDR, my parents were used to huge phone bills and also we basically paid no rent. I never understood how you could get off the bus, say bye to your friend, walk up the street and then immediately call that friend.
    I still don’t know how I ended up in a job where I have to make so many phone calls.

    Talking about phone calls, yesterday at work I got one that lets you despair at humankind in the small petty way. Our school has two locations: the main location where the secretary is 4 out of 5 days, and the satellite location where I work and where we have to do a lot of fucking secretary work, like answering the damn phone. We regularly get calls by people who dialled the wrong number. Yesterday somebody called from the city administration. I told her that sorry, she’s in the wrong place and she said: “oh I know. I got a letter from you and I couldn’t read the phone number on the stamp so I decided to call you and ask!”
    I took my phone and opened the tab where I have the school homepage open all the time just because of that damn number and told her, asking myself why I had to do that instead of her just using fucking google?

  24. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 28

    The prices of local calls here were dependent on where you lived. In Helsinki Area, HPY had at one point local calls which only cost 50 penni* or so to start with no minute fee, but due to the popularity of modems for internet use, they added a minute fee that would start to run after 30 minutes. I have no idea what local calls cost in Lahti, where I grew up (there was also a telephone association there, PHP (Päijät-Hämeen Puhelinyhdistys, Päijänne Tavastia Telephone Association).

    * = The Finnish mark (Finnish: markka, Swedish: mark) was divided to 100 pennies (penni in both languages). 1 mark = 1/6 €.

  25. Oggie. My Favourite Colour is MediOchre says

    For USAnians:

    Happy Ground Hog Day! The day we celebrate pork sausage!

  26. voyager says

    People are lazy. And I think it’s ridiculous that a teacher is answering phone calls. That’s such a waste of resources. Stopping and restarting a lesson must be difficult.

  27. says

    Oh, nobody stops a lesson. We only pick up the phone when we’re in the staff room, though that often means stopping whatever you’re doing and then restarting that. Though we’ve got parents who are angry if they call a teacher and leave a note and then that teacher doesn’t call back within 30 minutes because of, uh, lessons. They would of course also be angry if the teacher cancelled class to call parents…

  28. Onamission5 says

    My recollections of the before touch dial times are spotty, but I do remember party lines. Specifically, I remember the click which let one know that another party line member had picked up to dial, heard someone speaking, and hung up. Or not. I also recall that my grandmother worked as a rural phone operator and for some reason she was always up to date on local gossip. Gosh don’t know how that could possibly happen. (bad Grandma, bad)

    I don’t remember renting our phones. I do remember moving house and the only thing left from the former residents would be a single, non-operating telephone still plugged into the wall. If it was a home built around the 30’s-60’s it might even have its own wall nook with a shelf for the phone book! I also remember, I think, that each residence had an assigned phone number so you couldn’t take your prior number with you, but rather had to change numbers every time you moved.

  29. Ice Swimmer says

    I saw a hare when I was coming home from the learning centre. Even though the street was icy and the hare was running quickly, it didn’t slip at all.

  30. Oggie. My Favourite Colour is MediOchre says

    Yesterday, Boy and his wife went to see the an area specialist in high-risk pregnancies, Definitely twins. Girls. Unfortunately, the ultrasound also showed some issues — one fetus significantly smaller than the other, and a major difference in amniotic sac volume. Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

    Tomorrow, we all go to Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. She will probably be going for surgery on Thursday. About a 80% chance both fetuses will survive. About a 95% chance one will survive.

  31. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oggie, hoping for the best with the twins.

    My mother-in-law worked as a long distance operator prior to area codes and direct dialing being instituted. She has some interesting stories.

    I think I recall us having a party line for my early childhood. Went through the usual progression of phones over the years. You can tell I live in an old house as there are phone jacks in every room. Only one is being used as the basestation for the cordless phone attached to the landline. I finally got a cellphone after the Redhead died. It has bluetooth, so it connects to the car’s communication/entertainment system for handsfree calling on the road.

  32. says

    Fuck interesting times.

    I feel like someone started sticking pins into a charly-shaped doll recently. A few minutes ago wind tore a few polycarbonate panes out of our greenhouse. No biggie, it happened multiple times already. But when I was repairing it with my dad, wind gust tore one of the panes out of his hand and it struck me edge-vise on the side of my head, right next to my left eye. I was literaly a few mm from becoming blind in one eye. Again. It looks now like I had a brawl in a pub.


  33. Jazzlet says

    Charly you are having a bad time of it, your fingers can’t be completely healed yet. I hope your luck changes, no more injuries for Charly!

    And yes fuck interesting times. I know reading all the Brexit crap isn’t good for me, but somehow I can’t not read it, so most days I am despairing and fearful for my country’s future, as well as worried that the drugs me and Mr Jazz need to stay healthy and pain free-ish will not be available.

  34. lumipuna says

    OMG. I just had a chance to talk with a local expert on non-avian dinosaurs, specifically about something I’ve found deeply intriguing for a while. That is the subject of mesozoic dinosaurs living in polar areas, which then had temperate climates combined with a polar style light environment. I previous tried some research on my own -- Here’s a quote from a paywalled paper:

    For the North Slope, Parrish and Spicer have constructed a mean annual temperature curve spanning the last 35 million years of the Cretaceous based on the leaf shapes of flowering plants [HN7] (5). They inferred a maximum temperature of 13°C and a minimum temperature of 2° to 8°C. For comparison, the mean annual temperature in Portland, Oregon, is 12°C, and that in Calgary, Alberta, is 4°C.

    The dinosaurs on the North Slope [HN8] closely resemble contemporaneous ones farther south in Alberta, Montana, and Wyoming, but there is a profound difference in the animals associated with them. On the North Slope, the remains of terrestrial, cold-blooded forms such as lizards and crocodilians are conspicuous by their absence. These missing components constitute a major part of the more southern faunas, supporting the idea that at least some nonavian dinosaurs were warm-blooded [HN9] (6).

    This site in northern Alaska was even closer to the North Pole during late Cretaceous than today, with months of polar night during winter. Further, it’s been estimated that the climate was extremely cloudy year round, with cool summers and mild winters (with perhaps occasional snow cover), much like modern Scotland. Can you imagine how dark it must have been in these polar coniferous forests during winter! Still, some dinosaurs (avian and non-avian) apparently lived there, and were active year round.

  35. lumipuna says

    (continued from above)

    This dinosaur in particular had piqued my interest:

    Unfortunately, the accompanying illustration is kinda dubious -- a clear sky (with northern lights or not) would’ve been highly unlikely, and while the animal itself may have been featherless as an adult, the babies could hardly have survived without some kind of body cover.

    I can’t find another illustration I’ve seen (by Maija Karala, the Finnish expert I mentioned above) that has the three-ton hadrosaur covered in dark brown bristly proto-feathers, looking amusingly like some cross between a moose and capercaillie. (It is thought to have eaten mainly conifer twigs and needles, just like the moose and capercaillie do during winter.)

    This was the largest animal in its environment, though there were several other non-avian dinosaurs present. Similar environments existed also in southern polar region, and had comparable faunas. How the animals navigated in winter darkness, is unclear. Some hypsilophodontids show evidence of having had extra acute hearing -- echolocation, perhaps?

  36. lumipuna says


    The most intriguing question to me is how the large polar non-avian dinosaurs were able to reproduce, since their eggs would require several months’ incubation in a warm environment. Smaller theropods (up to maybe 200 kg) are thought to have often brooded with their body heat like modern birds, regardless of climate. (Some oviraptorosaurs between 200 and 1000 kg would lay inside a ring of eggs, rather than directly on the eggs, to give them some warmth). Large theropods and non-theropods generally buried their eggs in soil or litter, and relied on warm sunny weather, like modern crocodylians.

    Particularly in North Slope ecosystem the summer would’ve been too cold, short and overcast for earth-covered nesting. Karala mentioned me there’s this hypothesis that these animals relied on building self-heating compost nests like modern megapods. Modern birds do this compost thing rarely, and only in warmer climates -- now it occurs to me that it’s probably because they find it easier to use body heat. Perhaps compost nesting wasn’t uncommon among larger non-avian dinosaurs, even outside polar regions?

  37. Oggie. My Favourite Colour is MediOchre says

    Boy and his wife are back down in Philly today at CHoP. There is one placenta, two amniotic sacks. Unusual. The umbilical insertion points are extremely rare. One fetus has a larger room and very slight enlargement of the heart from pumping more blood. The other fetus has a smaller room and is developing completely normally, though is about a week behind where she should be. We are still at about a 50/50 as to whether surgery is indicated. If the numbers stay the same or get better, they will be going to Philly every week. If the numbers get worse, it triggers the need for surgical intervention.

    Luckily, they have insurance. Luckily, Boy’s boss understands and, though it means losing commission sales, he is good for time going to Philly.

    Limbo is no fun.

  38. says

    Oh Oggie, I know it’s not. I’m so hoping for the best for the little Ogglings. Thank goodness Boy has a human being for a boss and insurance.

  39. voyager says

    Limbo is full of worry, but it sounds like they have good doctors who are monitoring things closely. I’m glad to hear that they have good insurance. In Canada no-one would even worry about the financial end of medical care. I hope the loss of commission won’t hit them too hard, though. I will keep good thoughts for both of your granddaughters.

  40. voyager says

    It probably doesn’t feel that way, but you were lucky it spared your eye. I hope your karma improves.

  41. voyager says

    That’s really interesting. Compost nesting seems like a plausible hypothesis. I wonder if there’s any evidence of what bacteria were present during this period?

  42. Jazzlet says

    Limbo is tough, glad the little Ogglings are doing ok so far and I hope that will continue for as long as possible. Glad they have insurance and an understanding reasonable boss.

    I have been partially making marmalade, partially because I have been spitting up the process and freezing the fruit when I’m not doing something to it. Hopefully this will mean I can make three batches without losing one to mould because I just didn’t have the oomph to finish the job. I’ve no idea why it took me so long to think of this solution, but I’m blaming it on the bloody drugs.

  43. Oggie. My Favourite Colour is MediOchre says

    Numbers are better for both amniotic sacks — the smaller one is relatively larger, the larger one is relatively smaller — and the weight and growth estimates for the fetuses are staying a week apart in mass, no differentials in development.

    Next week, see if the numbers continue.

  44. lumipuna says

    So I felt angry at myself this morning, after yet another poorly slept night, and gathered the motivation to call for a medical appointment, to discuss my various chronic health annoyances: slowly developing insomnia, depression, general tiredness, irritable bowel etc. (I vaguely remember I had most of these investigated around 10 years ago, and nothing in particular was found.) I made the call just before leaving for work.

    Only I forgot that calling to the local public health service early in the morning usually gives an automated response of “we’ll call you back soon, when we have time”. So I went to work and then got the call back and explained my irritable bowel etc. and gave my social security number within the earshot of some coworkers. It could certainly have been done some other way, but I’m too tired to act smart right now.

  45. Jazzlet says

    Iumipuna cut your self some slack, you aren’t well and you are sleep deprived. I hope the medical people can do something helpful.

    I had more bloods taken this morning, I am beginning to think they must be keeping a Borrower-sized vampire.

  46. lumipuna says

    Jazzlet -- a Borrower vampire would be like a large bedbug.

    voyager -- Why, any reason to assume litter decomposition was different in the Mesozoic?

  47. voyager says

    That’s wonderful news. Fingers crossed that it persists.

    Ugh, I hate when people at work overhear, but it’s good to be getting things checked out. There can be many physical causes for all of those symptoms. I hope your doctor figures it out quickly and that it’s easily remedied.

  48. voyager says

    I’m curious about how the polar light conditions and very short growing season would affect composting and if the bacteria themselves made adaptations.

  49. Ice Swimmer says

    lumipuna @ 61

    Concurring Jazzlet, I hope the doctors can find things that will help you. Ole armollinen itsellesi.

    While I have very little to complain about the health care here, the phone things are rather, well, governed by their own laws. My observation has been, for example that if the doctor is going to call you about blood work results or something during a specific time window, you can 99 % sure that they will not call during that time, it’s always some time after.

    The polar dinosaur thing is very interesting, especially the compost nesting thing. One of the animal things that fascinated me as a kid were the megapods and their compost mounds.

  50. says

    My mum passed away earlier today. She was 92. I just, I don’t know. I’m the executor, and I’m the eldest kid, so I guess I’m in charge. I guess I’ll figure out how to deal with everything as it comes along.

  51. voyager says

    I am so sorry to hear about the death of your mum and I hope her passing was peaceful. I wish I could give you a real hug with my condolences.

    I’m sure you’re feeling a bit dazed by grief, but it will all fall together somehow. The funeral home should be able to help you figure out what to do and how and when. When my dad died they were an invaluable resource and even gave me a booklet with really useful checklists.

  52. Jazzlet says

    I am sorry about your mum, it is no wonder you are feeling dazed, do delegate -- it will take some of the pressure off you and be good for your sibling(s) to have something to contribute.

  53. rq says

    I always have hot tea and your favourite cookies on stand by. ♥ and condolences, one day at a time… *hugs*

  54. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    More condolences for you Anne. I’ll second Voyager that the funeral home can be a big help.

  55. says

    Thanks, everyone. I will take as much of your advice as I can, because it all looks good to me.

    She went on her own terms, in her sleep, in her own bedroom.

    I’ve been contacting family and friends today. Sometimes I really hate having to be the grown up.

  56. Ice Swimmer says

    I found this film from 1936. It’s a 16 mm film taken by an unknown Englishman and it’s partly a colour film. Helsingfors is the Swedish name for Helsinki.

    The voluptuous statue is the Mermaid statue in Helsinki Market Square a.k.a. Manta (Finnish) or Havis Amanda (Swedish). Much of the film happens on the Market Square and its vicinity, apart from the footage of the Central Railway Station (the building with the male statues bearing the spherical lamps) and the footage from the return trip to Hull via Copenhagen on board the ship Arcturus.

    Sea gulls are still today numerous in the summer on the market square.

    The young woman in 8:59 is wearing a student cap and as the cockade is so large (probably 22 mm), she’s probably a Swedish speaker. Finnish speakers still use a smaller cockade (14 -- 16 mm).

  57. says

    More hugs to you, Anne. I can imagine how hard it must be to voice that terrible news over and over again.

    Yesterday we had a much needed Day Out
    We met with friends and went to the zoo. Later we had coffee and cake* at our place, followed by dinner (mac and cheese and chicken nuggets). The weather was brilliant. Sunshine and in the sun it was almost 20°C. We had pic nic, which drew many envious glances, because when we pic nic, we pic nic. Three families each bringing something makes for quite an opulent meal.

    *The British have their five o clock tea, we have “coffee and cake”. I made cardamom-coffee marble cake and Peaches and almonds cake.

  58. Nightjar says

    After an exhausting week at work I decided to spend the whole weekend gardening and I’m feeling more tired than I was on Friday. But the weather is warming up and things needed to be sown, potted plants needed to be planted or repotted and fences needed to be built to protect seedlings and other growing things from the cats and from hungry big slugs and snails. The Camellia tree is in full bloom and attracting all kinds of insects and insectivorous birds. I spotted my first flower spider of the season and by the end of today I saw it had already caught a little fly. It’s beginning to look a lot like spring already and there’s still a lot to be done outside.

  59. lumipuna says

    I started my spring allergy medication today -- the earliest date on record. Southwestern winds have apparently already brought trace amounts of alder and hazel pollen up here. Locally, those plants usually begin blooming in March.

    Thanks to the thick snow cover and the recent unseasonally warm weather, we’ll likely have a very long and draw-out snowmelt season. The snow is still around 30 cm deep, but hardened enough that you can walk on it without leaving a trace (an extreme level of the crusty spring snow condition known as hankikanto in Finnish) Walkways have been incredibly icy, and streets have 10 cm deep ice potholes in some places. There’s been a lot of gritting, and now the walkways are gradually beginning to turn ice-freeand dry in many places. Dust from the grit will be a bigger than usual air quality problem this spring, since it’ll be likely too cold to sweep and wash the streets until early April or so.

  60. says

    Well, we got the first snowbells and crocuses.
    And when I woke up this morning it was already really light and the birds were singing. OK, maybe that was because my phone died during the night, the alarm didn’t go off and I slept about 2 hours late…

  61. rq says

    I want to apologize for bad posting, work is trying hard to kill me right now, but I think I see an end in sight. If this week doesn’t end up lasting forever, I’ll have two weeks of instructing in Macedonia to recover, and hopefully I’ll bring back some nice photos for y’all.

  62. says

    Well… Delegating only works if the delegatee is reliable. My professionally helpless sister… isn’t. So she just ends up causing more confusion and stress and work for me, and on top of that she wants to spend hours in heartfelt discussion of trivia. Like whether or not we should throw out that pile of trash yet. And I got to break the news to an old friend of my parents because he never got my phone message and got worried that no one was answering at my mum’s.

    I’ll be in the pillow fort with my tea and chocolate. I brought plenty to share, too.

  63. says


    Have some Toffifee

    I’ll take some as well. My father in law has again played taxi for #1 who missed the bus because she didn’t get her ass out of the bed. It#s eating Toffifee or committing murder…

  64. Jazzlet says

    Bringing coffee and pastries to the pillow fort, along with a couple of furry lunks that love being cuddled by their people, and you my friends are all ‘their people’. This will mean you will all have to devote at least one hand to dog tickling, but it’s a very soothing occupation.

  65. says

    That’s OK. On my walks I’m always torn between appreciating people who train their dogs to mind their own business and wanting to pet them all. The dogs I mean, not the people.

  66. Nightjar says

    I can bring chocolate-dipped clementines to the pillow fort, I have plenty right now and they are delicious. The cockatiel on my shoulder and the cat on my lap are always available for scritches too.

  67. says

    Thanks, all. Things didn’t go too badly today -- we picked my brother up at his hotel and went up to mum’s house. My sister didn’t show up until later, but she did show. And it looks like the caregiver will be taking mum’s cat, which is the best of all possible things because they adore each other.

  68. says

    Anne, I hope things will go smoothly. It is good thing that the kitty has got a home.


    My latest problem related to my parents is completely trivial and inconsequential, yet annoying anyway. Their PC started acting up the previous week (more than usual), to the point that the OS (Win. 10) was not working properly and could not be either updated or repaired or reinstalled.
    I knew the motherboard is defective for some time. I was planning to buy decomisioned PC from work. But no desktop was available and this weekend I realized that waiting any further is not an option.

    On Sunday I ordered the components, on Tuesday they arrived and I built the PC fortwith. All components are new except the power supply, which I was confident is OK.

    It does not work. It cannot be turned on. Reasons might be different
    1) either I was unlucky and I got a defective component.
    2) or I was stupid and bought incompatible components.
    3) or I was stupid and connected something wrongly or keep overlooking something.
    4) or the power supply is not OK.

    I have built well over 10 computers over two decades, for me and for others, and repaired/refurbished about as many too. They always worked Never ever did I encounter 1) , 2), or 3). I checked again and again and I am confident that 2) and 3) can be eliminated. I took my multimeter and measured all wires on the power supply and all voltages were OK and in range, so 4) seems unlikely. I am left with 1), but I am not confident enough to discard 4) completely.

    I wrote to the technical support at the e-shop where I am buying components. Over the years I gave them enough money so hopefully I will get some usefull info from them. So far the only answer I got was along the lines “we hope to give you an answer soon”.

    So my parents are without a computer, and they are starting to realize that they were actually using it more than they dared to admit.

  69. Jazzlet says

    Glad things weren’t too bad today. That is good news about the cat having a good loving home, that kind of thing helps with all the horrid stuff doesn’t it? Have some oomph to help you cope with your sister.

    How bloody frustrating, I hope the e-shop can help jolly soon.

    I am frustrated that I don’t have the stamina to make a batch of marmalade as quickly as I used to, splitting up the tasks is working, but I would like to be done, to have the finished product stored away to mature. It will get done, but oh so slowly.

  70. voyager says

    I’m so glad the kitty has found a good new home and that your sister showed up even if it was a bit late.

    I hope there’s room in the pillow fort…I need a place to slow down for a few minutes. I’ve got shortbread cookies and Early Grey tea to share.

    Spring flowers! Now that, is exciting news!

    You must be so frustrated with your father-in-law. Could you make it so there is some consequence at home for #1 when this happens again. I does seems like you can’t win in this situation because if you do discipline for this then you end up being the bad guy.

    Good luck! I hope the problem is easily fixed.

    I love clementines, but I’ve never dipped them in chocolate. I bet they are very, very good!

    I love to cuddle with big dogs. They’re so warm and soft and lovely. Has Thorn’s face improved?

    I’m sorry you’re frustrated with having to slow down. I hate that, too. The fibromyalgia has me set a pretty slow rate to do things, too.

    I hope you can find some space to take a deep breath and relax.

  71. Jazzlet says

    Thank you for asking, I think Thorn’s face has improved, whatever it was is certainly not spreading anymore, but her fur seems to be taking a very long time to fully grow back. There are also a couple of tiny scabs, I think what is happening is that without the protection of the full complement of fur when she scratches as normal it’s too much for the skin in some places, so I’m keeping the area clean and watching closely. She’s fine otherwise, she goosed my SiL today when we were walking round the field! Thorn tends to quietly get on with her sniffing while Jake needs more attention, partly because he would run up to people barking and we obviously try to forstall that by seeing anyone before he does and recalling him before he barks, but it can mean that you suddenly think ‘where’s Thorn?’ as looking around you can’t see her, usually because she is right behind you. SiL found this out when Thorn decided it was SiL’s rump that needed a thorough sniffing :-)

  72. says

    Hugs for all who need or want them. We are having a quiet day at home for a change.

    Yesterday my sister set a record for arriving late -- about a half hour before we’d planned to leave. So we left much later and got to drive through the rush hour traffic with bonus freak weather -- we got torrents of rain, plus everyone who, like us, was dodging the snow flurries in places where no snow should be, like Rancho Cucamonga. Kitty said she got lightning and thunder at school, and poor Shadow was creeping around with her tail down.

    The pillow fort is infinitely expandable, there’s always room for more. Dive in!

  73. says

    The tech support told me the components should work together, with maybe possible exception of the RAM. Not entirely helpful information, not entirely useless information either. It kinda confirmed that I chose proper components, but with a caveat that I might not have.

    So I have taken the power supply out of my PC and tested the new one with it. It worked. So it seems that the older power supply is indeed defective, despite having completely OK readings. I ordered a new one and hopefully the problem will thus be resolved.

  74. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 98

    Maybe the old PSU can’t supply enough current, either continuously or for peak loads. I wonder if there are defective caps there.

  75. Jazzlet says

    I wonder why your sister bothers to turn up at all? Family can be so difficult. Glad you got home safe even though it was a horrid journey.

    That is annoying, but at least you have a solution. I hope the new PSU arrives quickly.

    We have had absolutely lovely weather here today, blue skies, and so warm I went round the field with the dogs without a coat or hat. It felt more like a nice April day than February. I went t the local garden centre with SiL and came back with some purple primulas. We have yellow pimroses that have spread though the hedge from our neighbours garden so I’m hoping the purple primulas will be happy too. Most of the primulas were … I think ‘ruffled’ would be the word, petals frilly or twisted with some very odd colors, these were the only ones I wanted, but I like them very much.

  76. says

    Spring is definitely rushing, so I hope it won’t get a literal cold shower, although it has only been two nights without frost, so I hope that whatever is growing now can deal with that.

    Your sister’s a time vampire, slowly draining you and your brother of yours while happily spending hers on whatever she wants to.
    I once had a friend who did that. He would simply let us wait because he had other things to do and then be upset if anybody dared to be angry with him.

  77. StevoR says

    Well, this is rather worrying :

    Excerpt :

    PETM rates of carbon dioxide emissions were already astronomical as the giant lizards breathed their last, but it’s still nothing compared to the destruction humans have caused. If these rates continue zooming upward, the emissions Gingerich projected into the future (starting when carbon dioxide emissions were first recorded in 1959) showed that we will be entering a whole new PETM in just 140 years. 259 years from now, it will hit an all-time high.

    This is really grim :

    Without even Yemen on that list or the plight of the Uighurs, Rohingya, etc ..

    This, though, is very well done and a good analysis (& meta-analysis) albeit of a now old~ish minor issue & controversy :

    with a good narrative and character investigation and a lot of well, I think interesting stuff, very aptly illustrated. But I am a Star Wars fan who liked The Last Jedi and Solo too for that matter.

  78. StevoR says

    PS. Folks may have to scroll back on the youtube clip to the start to see the full thing. Worth seeing if folks have the time and interest.


    One really remarkable and rather lightly funny good news story here :

    A person and amazing set of stories I’ve just heard of for the first time the other day :

    I’m actually surprised we didn’t know of this from observation since the year (metaphorical) dot but still. Maria Sibylla Merian has an awe-inspiring life story and is far too little known.

    Plus thinking entomological discoveries :

    I love this find and that the Megachile pluto name also describes the eponymous planet 9 too! Well capitalisation necessarily aside anyhow. Thanks Carl Linnaeus!

    Meanwhile in other science news (availiable from this news source and lots of others too), Neptune has a new moonlet confirmed too -- little icy Hippocamp, its 14th and so far smallest (ring-particles expected) moon.

  79. StevoR says

    ^ That’s ring particles excepted natch. D’oh!

    Plus this next linked item here is a story we can perhaps now help shape, kinda? For my fellow Aussies especially :

    A heads up that the Q&A news discussion and participation program is having the vile, transphobic, alt-reich cult figure Jordan Peterson on their panel this Monday -- might be an idea to ask and get a lot of good tough questions prepared and asked for him here. The Murdoch paper has been pushing his lastest tour -seems his fifteen dragging on minutes of “fame” are still going here in Oz sadly.

  80. rq says

    Having a 9 year old birthday party is like hosting a very selective herd of locusts.


    Damn, that’s exactly what you don’t need.

  81. says

    Giliell, time vampire is perfect. Thank you, I shall use it from now on.

    This morning, I emailed the siblings and told them that if there are any VHS tapes they meant to grab, I need a list of titles today, because Monday we’re going up there and tossing all of them. These days you can’t even donate the things, so it’s into the rental dumpster with them.

    Then I called Caregiver M, because my sister the time vampire (hee) had gone on and on about M wanting to clean the refrigerator out herself because Reasons and we can’t possibly touch it without her being there. Actually, no, she has no problem with us tossing everything in there. M is going to try to get there to pick up some things I found for her, though.

    It’s going to be a very long week.

  82. Jazzlet says

    Sorry Sister Time Vampire continues to live up to her reputation, and that you have to manage that behaviour to get the necessary things domne without too much upset. Have some cherry and plum triffle -- it’s got sloe gin in to help you relax ;-)

  83. StevoR says

    Well, we’ve had a big story (finally!) breaking in Oz right now :

    The suppression order has been lifted with some remaining charges dropped -I don’t know why but suspect because the victims are now too old or sick to be put through a trial.

    Still at long last the stupid, see-through curtain that should never have been imposed to prevent some few people in Oz knowing has finally been ripped away to expose Pell for what he is a child molesting piece of excrement. I’d say about time, but, well, its decades later than it should have been. We all know now why he refused to come home to face the victims and justice and cowered in hiding in the Vatican so long.I really feared they were going to wait till he’d died (or worse his victims had all died -- too many already have) without being (here) publicly exposed.

    Cardinal Pell remember was the most senior Catholic in Australia, the erstwhile third highest ranking man in the Vatican and the Vatican treasurer. He was also a man who said that that “Abortion is a worse moral scandal than priests sexually abusing young people.” See :

    Whatever the Church does now I thinks it is far too late for them. Anything they do now will clearly be done only because they’ve been publicly exposed and pressured into doing.

    That said, I think they absolutely do need to take decisive action and apologise to the people and strip Pell of every title, every bit of wealth and power and support he’s ever been awarded. They need to defrock him and excommunicate him and reveal and publicly apologise for every last secret of the crimes he committed. (Without hurting victims more of revealing their identities natch.) Pell should die in jail now in total and abject disgrace his true nature as a piece of shit child molester exposed for all to see and smell.

    So to Pell and all those who defended him, enabled him and helped him cover up crimes and rise to the top of his religion; this song is for you :

    WARNING : Swearing. Lots of well-justified swearing, references to sex crimes. cartoon genitalia, NSFW.

    PS. Apologies if this comes through twice. Tried to post this before but it vanished.

  84. says

    That’s good to hear. It made me sick to listen to all those catholic bastards on the news going on and on about how they need to combat child abuse in the church and in the workd, always stressing the elsewhere.

    I cleaned the bathroom, praise me. And I don’t mean regular cleaned, I men capital C Cleaned.

  85. says

    Well, if coffee doesn’t get your system going, the sound of a crash and the scream of your 89 years old neighbour certainly will.
    Thankfully she didn’t hurt herself beyond a scraped knee.

  86. lumipuna says

    Giliell -- I once swore really sharply after breaking a thermometer (not a mercury one) on the floor at work. It was a quiet evening at the university campus, I was sorting some stuff in a cold storage room and I knew there were exactly two other people working within hearing distance.

    After a moment’s hesitation, I felt it necessary to peek out of the cold room and awkwardly half apologize for the swearing, half announce that I wasn’t in any distress, just in case you thought that. The two women in question seemed amused. I didn’t know their names, and I spoke English because they were obviously international folk who probably wouldn’t speak Finnish, beyond probably recognizing basic swearwords.

  87. says

    Today we took the kids to the cinema to see Wreck it Ralph II, which was their treat for the good school reorts.
    I wanted to ask Mr for the popcorn, but what came out of my mouth was “Can I have some cock porn, please?”

  88. StevoR says

    @Jazzlet & voyager : No worries. Too long in coming indeed for too many of his victims who have already died. :-(

    @11. Giliell : Yikes! Quite so. Glad she was okay.

    This news here :

    After two years of supercomputer calculations, the researchers observed a sudden transition when the simulated CO2 in the atmosphere passed 1200 parts per million. The stratocumulous clouds broke apart and disappeared, leaving blue skies. This would cause a sudden spike in temperature as the heat that would have been reflected into space would be absorbed by the ocean instead. The loss of stratocumulus clouds would add another 8C of warming on top of the amount already predicted, the researchers concluded. Under this scenario, the Earth would warm 14C above the pre-industrial level. That’s a huge amount. Remember that a 4C increase in temperature has been described as “the end of human civilisation in its current form”.

    That’s just apocalyptic really. Especially given how bad things already were :

    Meanwhile on a whole other note :

    Such a difefrent and I’d argue more enlightened view of gender here with the bissu and yet now sadly very threatened.

  89. says

    I had visitors from another plant at our lab today. Naturaly first conversation was about the planned layoffs, and most conversations after that too. Practicaly any talk that was not about the task at hand was about the planned layoffs.

    And I have seen conclusive evidence that the only, and I really mean only, reason why our company struggles to get contracts is the greed and feeling of entitlement of our corporate owners. There are enough contracts to be had, if they did not have unreasonable and sometimes downright ridiculous demands on the customers. Acting like primabalerina when you are barely able to dance anymore won’t win anybody favors, but they just do not get that.

    A once proud company, big player on the field and reputed inovator renown for their quality has been and continues to be slowly worn down. We are no longer proud, no longer a leader in innovation, our quality is frankly crap and if it continues like this, we will be not any longer anything at all. The trend that has begun by our previous (too american) owners has not been reversed, but accelerated. It took twenty years to get down to this sorry state of affairs where we have barely half the personell (and contracts) that we used to have, but it won’t take another twenty to destroy the remaining half completely.

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