1. chigau (違う) says

    I tried shaving for a while, back in high school but I have fine, blond hair
    so before and after didn’t look all that different.
    Now I’m old and most of my body hair is gone.

  2. says

    Growing up, I was raised as female, and body hair was a painful problem for me. I wrote about that in more detail here: I didn’t want to remove my body hair, because I had no desire to be hairless for my own sake. Shaving felt like a waste of time and an annoying chore. Waxing was unacceptable for me, because I refused to endure pain for the sake of beauty. Yet I simultaneously also felt all this social pressure to conform. It took me years until I finally became courageous enough to wear shorts in summers. By now I’m proud to be hairy in public (for the same reason why many homosexual people are proud to be openly gay). I can’t visually pass for a man, so most people mistake me for a hairy butch lesbian instead.

    Also, shameless self-promotion: if you enjoyed this video, you will probably also like this article that I published a while ago. In it I mentioned how a century ago makers of razors convinced women that body hair is ugly. But I’m also talking about various other products that are marketed towards women by convincing them that their natural bodies aren’t beautiful enough.

  3. voyager says

    I hope you’re feeling better.

    I hope you’re doing better, too.

    When I was in my mid-thirties, I stopped shaving in the winter. I wore pants and tights and no-one knew. The Mr. didn’t mind at all. Sometimes he’d call me “The gorilla of my dreams,” in a cute way. Now, in my late 50’s, I don’t need to shave my legs anymore. The body hair has migrated to my face where it’s a lovely peach-fuzz with the occasional long bristly whisker sprouting up. It doesn’t make me any less beautiful. I try to wear my age with confidence and composure.
    I’ve never been a girlie-girl and I’ve managed to avoid most of the beauty product industry advertising, but I do need the odd bit of stage make-up and some basic stuff. When I shop, I’m always gobsmacked by how many products there are and how much they cost. There are dozens of companies all jammed up side-by-side selling the same products and everything costs too much. Lipstick, $20 and up. Blush, $12 and up. The lighting is soft and the mirrors twinkle, and there are ads up everywhere with beautiful women and if you buy their product you can look that beautiful, too. And it’s not just make-up. There’s shampoos and conditioners and hairbands and deodorants and nail polish and on and on ad nauseam. It’s obscene. The personal care stuff fills more than half a large pharmacy. As for razors, around here women’s razors cost more than men’s. Why? Because selling stuff to women is a huge industry that successfully uses conditioning and ubiquitous negative, competitive, social pressure.

  4. voyager says


    I think they’re always open to allowing new writers and the person to contact would be PZ at I’m not really sure what the procedure is, but I think they’d be looking to see a bit of your writing. The three of us inherited this blog, but we’d all been writing here for a while when that happened.
    I would certainly be open to publishing your writing here if you’d like to submit something. I think adding a bit of new blood is energizing. The address is in the sidebar.

  5. says

    voyager @#4

    As for razors, around here women’s razors cost more than men’s. Why? Because selling stuff to women is a huge industry that successfully uses conditioning and ubiquitous negative, competitive, social pressure.

    I have written about this topic as well:

    My own personal solution to this problem is that as a consumer I choose to buy whichever product is cheaper, regardless of the packaging. I can use any shampoo or razor, I don’t need it to be packaged in either pink or blue.

    By the way, when it comes to razors, I strongly prefer an open comb safety razor. I prefer to keep my legs hairy, but I do remove armpit hair about once per week. That’s a personal preference—I don’t care about the looks, I just don’t like how long hair feels there. An open comb safety razor works a lot better than all those cartridge pieces of junk, especially when I have longeish hair that would otherwise clog up a cartridge razor. Safety razors and razor blades are generally marketed towards men who shave their faces, so this is where I wouldn’t even have a theoretical choice between a men’s and a women’s product.

    As for make-up, I never used it. I couldn’t bring myself to use it even before coming out as genderqueer.

    The Mr. didn’t mind at all. Sometimes he’d call me “The gorilla of my dreams,” in a cute way.

    That’s cool. I’m also lucky. I met my partner (male, heterosexual) before coming out as queer, so he got to witness my gradual shift towards masculinity, and so far he haven’t been complaining about it.

  6. anat says

    A researcher in the area of dementia hypothesized (informally) that more use of cosmetic/personal care products, both in total amount and variety may have something to do with higher risk and earlier onset of Alzheimer’s Disease in women vs men.

  7. says

    I used to shave my legs, but most of the times I don’t bother. I do shave my armpits because (TMI), I tend towards the stinky side and no hair = less surface, less stink. Which is, btw, the same routine that Mr does except for him also shaving his face. Except for shower gel (he uses something lemony, the kids something sparkly, I use soap) there’s a “one product fits all” approach in this house, so Mr and I share a razor and our hair always smells amazing of apricots and honey or something.

    It’s getting better and better. I have a household help (though that means I also do a lot of cleaning and things have never been that clean) and still two weeks of sick leave. I might burn down the house to finally kill the mouse. It didn’t let me sleep all night and once when i turned on the light it was sitting next to me in my bed! I now put the mousetrap into the bedroom. I also found a chocolate stash (KIDS!!!) which probably drew it to my bedroom. Hopefully it will now go for the Nutella sandwich in the trap.

    BTW, I didn’t hear back from you about the custom necklace.

  8. says


    I wonder. I just searched at Pharyngula and found a different address listed for such things. That posting was three and a half years ago, so I don’t know if that address is still valid.

    But the main reason I am posting it here is it also happens to be, in the comments, the moment when Caine applied to start THIS blog, which I thought the locals might appreciate seeing.

  9. rq says

    Hey all, the home computer should be resuscitated soon and then I can finally get back to posting the usual irregular content.
    In the meantime all my best wishes to everyone, I have been thinking about you all, and I hope to return to more active participation in the community soon.

    Not in the mood for hugs, sorry, but I suppose that will pass with time, as well. For now, picture me like this, but a lot shorter.

    Here is a song.

  10. Ice Swimmer says

    rq @ 10

    I’d like to picture you as tall as the picture suggests. It’s a commanding presence. Just don’t bang your head on eaves.

  11. StevoR says

    When thunderstroms cause ripples of staggering scale in the sky :

    Classic old footage from the launch of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) when it destroyed a parhelia -- if you haven’t already seen this its’ pretty jaw-dropping and awesome :

    The best view we’ve got of the side of Pluto that was in darkness when we flew past it :

  12. says

    Oh gods, I’m mush
    Last night #1 got sick. And while nobody does that on purpose, I have no idea how she managed to puke straight upwards against the canopy. While making the bed I discovered that the mouse got into the big bedsheets and duvet covers wardrobe, so now I have about 5 more loads to wash after washing everything that was puked on.
    I also threw out about 100 bucks worth of food the mouse had gotten into and then spent another 100 bucks on jars and boxes. The beast even ate the cotton bag I kept my gran’s old meat grinder in…

  13. Jazzlet says

    You have my sympathy. #1 must have been projectile vomiting, I have only done this once, when drinking some aniseed contrast solution prior to a scan, I really detest the taste of aniseed and apparently my stomach agrees with me as after downing a litre of the stuff, with another litre to go, my stomach rebelled, the next thing I know there is a stream of aniseed water shooting out of my mouth over the whole length of the bed I was sitting on one end of, entirely missing the bed and neatly landing on the hospital floor! I apologised to the nurse whose response was “Don’t worry about it, but do try to finish the contrast solution”. I hope #1 is feeling better today.

    I am on alert for any signs of incursion, and keeping a close eye on Jake who often picks up the first signs of the seeminly inevitable autumn rodent invasion. Every year we find and block more points of entry, and every autumn I hope that this year will be rodent free, but no luck so far, Jake was sniffing suspiciously at the gap between the dishwasher and the cabinet last night. *sigh*

  14. says

    Giliell, I hope everyone is feeling better and you have gotten some rest.

    We are in the middle of the weirdest October weather ever -- howling Santa Ana winds, single-digit humidity and highs in the 90s. So of course there are brush fires everywhere. Not near Brea, thank goodness, but all over Southern California.

    On days like this, I like to reread something Raymond Chandler wrote about this weather in a story titled “Red Wind”:

    “There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.”

  15. says

    My sympathies. Our house itself is rodent safe IF the doors are closed. Only in summer the wonderful people who built our terrace and stairs of course had to leave the door open. Within the house, there are always ways. It also seems that the mouse knows exactly what a mouse trap is, because that’s the only food left untouched…
    I need the people who are developing a vaccine against cat allergies to hurry up…

    As a reward I did some resin work (voyager, the initial cast is done!). I got myself some new pigments. The blue is amazing but sadly the gold does the same as always and sinks. My only hope is the resin I got from the same manufacturer as the pigment, maybe it’s a bit denser…

  16. lumipuna says

    Perhaps dark humor, but this seminar announcement popped in my university email and the title reminded me of the “Fuck cancer” series on this blog:

    Seminar title: “Affinity targeting of solid tumors with homing peptides”

  17. StevoR says

    @ Anne, Cranky Cat Lady : FWIW Here in Adelaide it is currently 36.6 degrees Celsius (97.8 Fahrenheit.) Yesterday it got to 35 C (95 F) and today it’s going to get hotter still being about 2 pm and the maximum genera;lly coming hour s later than that. Its also only the final month of spirng a swe count it here. (Sept, Oct, Nov) with all of Summer looming ahead. I work outside on a casual basis (opted to work yesterday rather than today based on forecast) and am dreading Summer.

    I hope you are safe from the Californian wildfires and as an Aussie living in a bushfire prone area, you have my thoughts and best wishes. Stay cool and stay safe.

  18. StevoR says

    ^Aaargh! Apologies for all the typos there.

    Meant to be :

    “.. the maximum generally coming hours later than that. (2 pm now, ) Its also only the final month of Spring as we count it here.”

    Of course.


    Most of the eastern half of Oz has been suffering from severe drought. Even the Maquarie Marshes, one of our nations largest inland wetlands have been burning :

    When European explorers reached these marshes back in 1818 they first thought they were the verge of an inland sea and the first evidence of bread-making anywhere in the world is located nearby.

    Learnt the Wiradjuri (Indigenous people of that area’s) names for the main rivers the other day too -- the Maquarie is the Wambool meaning Winding river, the Lachlan is the Kalare and the Murrumbidgee, the Murrumbidjeri. Sadly, two of those were renamed for Australia’s last convict era governor, Lachlan Maquarie who ordered massacres of some our Indigenous peoples. I don’t know if, like Uluru (ex-Ayers rock), and Kati Thanda (Lake Eyre), these rivers have been given joint Indigenous names or re-named but I hope that will happen.

    Further downstream the Barka (European name -- Darling ) river is in a very dire state indeed :

    Due to a combination of the drought and appalling -- frankly corrupt -- mismanagement by our horrid excuse for a govt.

  19. says

    While I still feel some pain in my leg I’m back to work on Monday. It’s not like more rest is going to do anything but drive me up the wall.
    That sounds like a miserable way to start summer. Here it has finally cooled down. Straight from what felt like late summer to early winter.

    I love my husband, but sometimes I don’t know how he survived until now. He’s definitely none of those dudes who will do a chore badly so he won’t be asked again. He just sometimes does them badly to an extent that leaves me wondering. Since we’re still mouse proofing everything, I asked him to go to Ikea and bring some more of the plastic boxes we already have. the plastic boxes where all our garden tableware is in. the plastic boxes I bought last week and that have been standing while waiting to be packed around and that he had to move around several times.
    He bought the wrong ones.

  20. lumipuna says

    Halloween weather has certainly been scary, it seems, in California and South Australia, with or without hellfire.

    Here, I’m trying to enjoy the second sunny day of this week, as there likely won’t be any more for a long while. It hasn’t snowed yet, or rather the snow melted immediately upon falling on ground.

    Since Uluru was recently in the news (as they finally forbade climbing), I’ve been reading stuff and studying maps of that area -- very fascinating. I often practice this kind of armchair travel, and on several occasions it has involved Australian locations.

  21. Nightjar says

    Hi everyone. Sorry for being absent lately, I’ve been very busy with work and spending most of my free time gardening and trying to reconnect with a few meatspace friends I had been neglecting for a while. Not much time left for anything else. I do have a few bird pictures I want to share, hope to get to them soon. I recently observed and photographed a shrike for the first time!

    Today was the first day this autumn that I was both at home (national holiday here) and unable to do any gardening because of the rain and wind, so I finally did something I’ve been meaning to do for a while… uncovering my parents’ old turntable that has been buried beneath a pile of stuff for years and figuring out if it still works. It does, apparently, but I suspect the needle may need to be replaced, although I have no idea where I’m supposed to find a replacement or even how to replace it. My father doesn’t remember, I’m definitely too young for vinyl (tapes I do remember well!), and if this turns out to be too much of a hassle I suspect the poor thing will end up neglected and buried again. But hey, at least that corner of the house got cleaned like it hadn’t been in ages so not all was lost. We’ll see.


    I hope your return to work goes well. Is the mouse still living with you or are you mouse proofing everything just to prevent future invaders?

  22. Ice Swimmer says

    Nightjar @ 26

    I wish I knew better than I do about the needle and turntable. Needles/styluses and other phonograph parts are available again nowadays from the net as well as in some specialty shops, as you probably know already, but I don’t know how easy it is to find ones that fit your equipment.

    In the turntable my parents had, the stylus could be removed by pulling the stylus (along with the little connector box the stylus is permanently attached to) from the cartridge (the thing on the longer end of the tone arm).

    I still have some vinyl albums and EPs, but I haven’t had a player for them in ages. My teenage years were just as CDs started to become more common than vinyl records and C-cassettes. What I like about vinyls is that the covers and sleeves are big and can have nice artwork, but the scratches and the grooves getting worn is something I don’t remember very fondly (C-cassettes have next to no upsides, so vinyl is much better than them).

  23. says

    How young are you?
    I remember vinyl well from my childhood. There’s still a ton of old children’s vinyls at my parents’ place. Fairy tales and audiobooks and such. Changing the needle used to be simply pulling it out and then pushing the new one in. As Ice Swimmer said, they’re available again.
    As for scratches: my dad often copied my records onto cassette tape so I wouldn’t ruin the tape within weeks.

    Mouse proofing: the mouse is still here and annoying. The proofing is about saving our food stores and stuff. Maybe if there’s no more easy to get food around it will finally eat the Nutella toast in the trap. Or maybe we should just store our food in mouse traps?
    If it doesn’t let itself be caught we’ll need to put out poison.

  24. StevoR says

    @24. Giliell :Thanks. Mercifully it has cooled down a lot to reasonable temperatures over the past few days.


    I don’t suppose there’s a lot of Formula One fans here* but Lewis Hamilton has an amazing life story and is likely to win his 6th World championship title tonight / this morning despite suffering enormous prejudice and more than his fair share of haters :

    Note that article is outdated and was from last weekends race and he now needs only needs 4 points to claim the title and his teamate and main rival Valteri Bottas needs to win to stay alive in this year’s title fight at all.

    Gotta admit I’m a bit of a Hamilton fan tho’ mainly a Danny Ric (Ricciardo) one.

    Meanwhile, in Australia this week there’s a whole lot uglier & vatsly overhyped cruel competition coming up as this “Honest govt ad”” shows :

    WARNING : Animal cruelty and suffering, confronting images and facts, distresing and confronting material.

    If folks can see it? Apparently they’ve been taking this down?

    Suffice to say I think its time horse racing went the way of cock-fighting and bear-baiting as a “sport” / form of gambling.

    Plus that is an excellent youtube channel worth checking out if folks wish.

    * Got hooked on it from 1985 and seeing Ayrton Senna throw his car around the Adelaide circuit. I know it has its flaws but it is a marvellous sport and bit of an escape from other aspects of life for me. Hamilton is a flawed personality, sure, but also I think a good person and a staggering talent.

  25. says

    Hi, still here, just grumpy and tired all the time. Hugs to all of you who want them.

    We aren’t near any of the big wildfires, but there were three smallish ones in the Brea/Fullerton area, four if you count the one out the east end of Yorba Linda, all in the same 24 hour period. Fortunately they were all stopped before they got big.

    I don’t remember having this long a stretch of low humidity (under 15% constantly) ever before. Even Shadow’s tired of it; she found the backyard bird waterpark, played in the spray and came in soaking wet.

  26. Jazzlet says

    Vinyl was what I grew up with, although we rarely play it since Mr J transferred all of our records and tapes to the now dedicated computer (very very old, made for us by our BFF that has MS, back when doing so saved a shed load of money) and to CDs, but the stack is sitting in the corner behind me with the turntable on top. The reel-to-reel isn’t connected up, but it could be should we ever have a party again, our party tapes were always on seven inch reels, lots of music without any effort during the party apart from flipping the tape, with no risk of our records being damaged, plus the fun of putting the tape together.

    I am waiting for the letter from the Psychiatric Advanced Practitioner (speicialist nurse) I saw a week and a half ago becasue I keep nodding off in the middle of things if I’m sitting down, things like typing a reply or cleaning my glasses or reading a post, also because I am still quite depressed. She reckons that the Mirtazipine I’m on for depression is soporific at low doses, but not at higher ones so my dose should be increased, but a) I can’t remember what to and b) I shouldn’t really do it until my GP prescribes it. The nodding off is disconcerting to say the least, and obviously potentially dangerous, but I do have spare of the dose I’m on so could double it (which is what I think she said to do) as soon as I get the letter. Hopefully the letter will come tomorrow morning as we’re off for a weeks holiday and I’d rather not spend it half asleep. The whole situation is frustrating as I should really be seeing a team that specialises in people with both physical and mental health problems and therefore with complicated drug regimes, but they have a nine month waiting list This is fucking infuriating, they would always be a specialist resource, but the Tory cuts to the NHS have made such resources even more scarce and therefore waiting times ridiculously long; I can’t say I was a fan of the Blair Government, but they did put more money into the NHS and as a patient I experienced the difference it made, all now undone. There are over 100,000 staff vacccancies, we aren’t training enough home grown nurses, doctors or other health professionals, but have been getting away with that by importing fully trained staff from other countires, a lot from the EU, but that is being well and truly fucked up by Brexit for the EU staff and by the Home Ofices ‘Hostile Environment’ policy for the rest of the world, not a week pases without another story of some specialist being refused an extention to their visa because they got some minor detail on the ridiculously complcated forms wrong, then appealing and after public pressure being granted the extension, it’s such a waste of time as well as being horrendously stressful for people who have come to this country to help look after us because we have fucked up our training systems so badly. I really hate the Tories. sorry rant over.

  27. Jazzlet says

    Sorry I did mean to say I hope everyone that is struggling in whatever way gets a little easing, at least, of their problems

  28. Nightjar says

    Ice Swimmer and Giliell,

    I think I’m on the right track now. Found out yesterday that a long time friend of my father who used to be a nurse changed career paths a few years ago and now owns a record store and sells vinyl, so I got in touch with him and he told me about two shops in the city that can help me find the right needles. So I will try that before turning to the internet.

    I was born in 92, I have cassette tapes from my childhood and CDs from my teenage years. I think my parents pretty much shelved their vinyl records shortly after I was born because I don’t even remember watching them play any. Between LPs, EPs and singles I found over 40 records in the shelf beneath the turntable. Some are in better condition than others, obviously. If it turns out that replacing the needle is feasible, my plan is to get a brand new needle and a brand new record and see how that goes. Just out of curiosity and because I never had that experience. Then I’ll see where that leads.


    Mouse traps: I’ve heard that the most effective bait for a mouse trap is a sausage that we here call chouriço, apparently they like its intense smell. But I have no direct experience with that, luckily none of us has cat allergies and having two cats seems to work pretty well.

  29. Nightjar says

    Jazzlet, I’m sorry to hear that, sounds really frustrating. I hope the dose can be adjusted to let you enjoy your holiday.

  30. Jazzlet says

    Thank you.
    That’s good news about the local shops, it’s always easier if you can take the old cartridge in and show them what you need, we still do that :-) Regarding the old records you might want to clean them before playing them, it is quite amazing how much crud can accumulate on stored records; you will probably be able to tell if your parents only held records by their edges or if they touched the playing surface, by the accumulation of dust on the grease marks their fingers left all those years ago! Isopropyl alcohol on a lint free cloth works well. Also something to watch out for is that the playing arm needs to be balanced for playing, this should already be set so that the needle cartrige adds just the right weight, but this doesn’t always work, so if the needle skips when you try to play a record you need to adjust the balance. The playing arm may have a slider for the weight on the end opposite the needle to do this, but if it doesn’t you’ll need to resort to the old trick of adding a small weight above the needle, back in the day in the UK this was a penny or half penny held in place with a small blob of blu-tac, but anything similar would work. Hopefully this won’t be a problem, but it would be a shame to try and be stymied if it did. Oh and if the needle does skip don’t panic just lift it off the record, it is unlikely to have done any damage, but you could do damage if you lunge to get the needle off in a panic! No, I haven’t done that myself, but I’ve seen someone do it.

  31. says

    That sounds both frustrating and dangerous. I hope they can figure out what the matter is soon. Those waiting times are horrible (and similar here. You need to wait so long for outpatient treatment that you#re more likely to become an inpatient). And then you got idiots who refuse to be treated be “furrin” doctors and nurses. may they all die of a painful sore on the ass that some swarthy medical provider could have cured in 5 minutes
    I hope you can still have a great holiday. Pet the doggies from me.

    OK, you are a youngster. I must admit to the bad habit of thinking everybody to be older than me despite the fact that I’m 40 already. Call me young at heart. Another thing is that there may be a small container to hold distilled water with a tiny brush to wet the record before the needle. Maybe there#s one with the turntable or you can ask the folks at the shop.

    The little one celebrated her birthday last Saturday. Now, it was a lot of work beforehand, but the party itself was so relaxed. they’re old enough to not need constant supervision and they’re also smart enough not to need it either. In between Mr and our friends were taking a walk and I was alone with the kids and I was bored.
    There will be pictures of cake.

  32. Ice Swimmer says

    Jazzlet @ 31

    I also hope they can figure out the problem and that you can have a nice vacation.

    Giliell @ 36

    I think I have the same thing with thinking people are older than me (I’m almost 45) and then I find out for example that one professor is about your age.

    As for being bored because the kids don’t need constant supervision, I think that must be one of the strangest “rewards” of raising your offspring well.

    Then for something completely different:

    Bothnian Bay (the northernmost part of the Baltic Sea) is starting to freeze. And this year, it’s starting to freeze at least on one spot (a beach on the island of Hailuoto) in a weird and wonderful way. YLE* has made an English language article about it.
    * = Yleisradio (free translation: radio for general public), the state-owned Finnish broadcasting company. Their English language web articles don’t usually feature the most fun news stories, but now they seem to have made an exception.

  33. says

    Jazzlet, I hope your medical people can get you sorted out quickly. Have a good holiday!

    Giliell, a happy belated birthday to your little one!

    All of you youngsters, today I spent an hour or so alternately on the phone and the internet gathering data so I could apply for my HMO’s Medicare. I’ll be 65 next month. It’s a very good thing I’m at least moderately internet-savvy, because I had to start by setting up an online account with Social Security just to get a membership number I needed. The actual Medicare application was even more complex. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll hear about any mistakes soon enough.

  34. StevoR says

    See the 3 minutes 59 seconds mark here especially :

    Don’t know if this will help but do know it certainly won’t if folks don’t know about it and hope it will. And, yes, we get to see Sam Bee’s show here too! :-)

    Please America, not again. Don’t let it happen again. (I know we can’t talk given this year’s election here in Oz but still.)

  35. lumipuna says

    Since Disney’s Frozen II had its world premiere this weekend, I saw this Finnish news story on the film’s Sami connections (Based on the trailers I’ve seen, the film features a fictional people strongly inspired by the Sami, and the backgrounds are very much based on far northern Scandinavia):

    It was reported earlier that Disney is seeking cultural advisory from Norwegian/Swedish/Finnish Sami communities, and will produce a North Sami language dub of the film (to the audience of ca. 30 000 North Sami speakers; the first Disney feature dub ever). They produced a formal cultural sensitivity contract, a short version of which can be seen here (in English):

    Now, the four Sami representatives who attended the premiere in US (with their daughters; see the group photo in the first link) seem to be generally satisfied with the product. The dubs in Scandinavic languages, Finnish and North Sami will be released on Dec. 25. At the end of the Yle story, you can see a North Sami poster of the film, advertising the release date.

    Here’s some further information in English, from Finland’s Sami parliament:

  36. Jazzlet says

    Well the medicne didn’t get sorted, it still hasn’t been a week and some after my rant. Despite that we had a lovely time, even though we got wet through on most of the walks we did, the dogs didn’t mind as much as we did, though I think it slowed Thorn down, she is starting to show her age at times. As well as the friends we were sharing the house we rented with -- Cawsey House -- we saw a couple of my brothers, plus one of their partners and caught up with our closest friends on the way home, so at times we were very busy, but we managed to fit in a lot of quiet times too. Great Torrington, where the house is, in north Devon is rather unusual in that at some point around 1300 someone gave all of the land of the town to a Town Trust and Charity, so they own most of the central buildings, I suspect this is why they have more thriving shops than many small towns -- they don’t have the constant demand for more and higher profits that commercially owned buildings must meet. There were two butchers, two green grocers, two bakers (one did the best cakes I’ve ever bought, we got a perfect Victoria sponge -- you could tell they had used all butter), two gereral grocery shops along with a hardware shop, small clothes shops, a pannier market and a lot of antique shops just to mention the most obvious shops. The Trust also manages common land on three sides of the town so there are plenty of lovely walks to be done on decent paths mostly through woodland all turning colours still; the paths were well used, but not crowded as there are so many. The commons and the walled garden at the the property made it really easy to have a good time with the dogs and even Jake behaved himself with everyone, to the extent that brother’s partner who has been somewhat nervous of him commented favourably. Really the only not very good bit was seeing our best friends, he has progressive MS and there is always an obvious decline when we haven’t seen him for more than a month, it’s a fucking awful disease and I hate that he has it, it’s awful for both of them. Uff. Still I was glad to see them, he’s my oldest friend apart from Mr J and I miss not livining in the same town as him.

  37. says

    I’m glad you you had a great time. I feel with you concerning the fried with MS. My godfather had MS and my childhood was mostly watching him decline. I know all the fun stories about him having himself tied to the luggage rack on a train so he could sleep and so on, but my childhood memories are him stumbling, him using a walker, him in a wheelchair. He was especially delighted when I died my hair green for my youth consecration, which was one of the last opportunities when he could leave the house for gatherings. His mum cared for him until the end and she always celebrated his birthday at the end of November big and all his friends and family would gather. Bittersweet memories.

    Oh what a day. During the second break one of my colleagues called the ambulance because a girl had collapsed. I stayed with her until they came and when they told us where she#d take her and I told her goodbye she started to cry so i went with her and stayed until her dad came (looked like nothing serious when I left). I really wanted to kick the doctor, because when i introduced myself as her teacher, she asked with a disapproving voice “oh, and the parents, they didn’t have time?”. I friendlily told her that the parents were informed and probably on their way, but could hardly have beaten the ambulance to the hospital from their work. Really, this was not just a stupid question but also such an inappropriate one.
    Anyway, ambulances don#t tend to drive stranded teachers back, so I had to take the bus. the first one was easy, but i had to change at the city centre and I didn’t even have a clue where the bus stop was. One of my colleagues coached my via whatsapp on a full 3% of battery.
    Of course I’d missed the bus that goes directly to the school so i had to take one that left me about half a mile from the school. Half a mile uphill with my stamina all gone after the hospital. Now I have that sore throat that you get from breathing cold air too quickly because at the end I was more resembling a magicarp than a human being.

  38. voyager says

    Did she say this in front of the child? Even if she didn’t, it’s still rude. She should have introduced herself and inquired if the parents had been notified because there are issues related to consent. Her outburst was judgemental and inappropriate.
    I’m glad you managed to get back to school. It sounds like a bit of an adventure. I hope you’ve recovered.

  39. says

    Hi guys. I did not want to whine and I hoped that a few weeks will suffice. They did not.
    So this is just to let you know that I dare not touch PC keyboard or mouse for prolonged periods of time. Some issues (sore first joint of both pointer-fingers) with my hands persist and they flare up especially when using keyboard and/or mouse. After over two weeks of not using PC at all and giving my hands all the rest I can I am mostly OK but mostly is not completely. I am waiting for my GP to get back to work (he is sick) to consult what to do next.

  40. voyager says

    I’ve been wondering how you were doing, and I’m sorry to hear that you’re still having pain. I hope your Dr. is back in the office soon, but until you’re able to type without pain, stay away from the keyboard. I enjoy your posts, but not if you put yourself at risk to create them. We’ll be here when you’re back in good form. Take it easy and take good care of yourself.

  41. Jazzlet says

    Charly I am sorry there has been no improvement, I hope your GP gets back to work soon, it’s horrid having a problem and not knowing if there is any help for it.

    I finally had an in depth assessment of my mental health, the assessing therapist thinks I need something more than the usual fixed term treatments, and that I do a lot of self-sabotaging, both of which seem reasonably to me, so now I wait to see what she can actually get for me,resouces being what they are thanks to the tory fuckwits.

    It’s turned cold here, not the kind of cold many of you get, but proper a British autumn, putting on woollies kind of weather. Just as well I finally finished a knitting project, a sort of cape in super chunky merino wool for slinging on over everything else if I’m sitting reading or typing or watching TV rather than turning up the heating or as I tend to do just getting stiff because I’ve chilled down without noticing.

  42. Desert Son, OM says

    Cross-posting from today’s Jack’s Walk, with apologies, as I did not realize The Never-Ending Thread continued (and I should have known better)!

    A brief moment from a rare visitor to focus on something particular and special:

    Today would have been Caine’s birthday.

    My thoughts go out to Rick and all who cherished and admired her. She was one of the best teachers I ever had.

    I miss her immensely.

    But I am grateful I got to encounter her intellect, experience, voice, insight, perspective, and art. I’m grateful for stories about rats, and pictures of birds; for reflections on brush-cutting tools, and for expressions in textile and paint to adorn the halls of amazed memory. What a brilliant light she shone. It still helps me find my way.

    My thanks to voyager, Jack, rq, Giliell, and Charly, who keep this hearth warm with thoughts and images for passing travelers. And my thanks for allowing me a moment’s mourning.

    Skating away,
    Skating away-hey,
    Skating away
    On the thin ice of the new day!

    —Jethro Tull, “Skating Away (On the Thin Ice of the New Day), 1974

    Still learning,


  43. says

    Thanks for reminding me, Robert.
    I’m so bad at remembering dates, but I prefer to celebrate birthdays rather than to commemorate deathdays.

  44. voyager says

    Desert Son,
    Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave this message. Caine was one of my best teachers, too, and I miss her every day. I keep this blog active so that her words and art will always be nearby.

  45. lumipuna says

    Thanks, everyone, for keeping this community going. The blog isn’t as rich as it was in Caine’s day, but it’s been slowly growing towards something new. I think much of this growth took place while Caine still lived. There’s been continuity.


    Speaking of blog continuity -- Voyager, I thought your Russian adventure series was rather interesting. Would it be possible to continue posting it? Also, thank you for sharing your and Jack’s adventures.

  46. voyager says

    Thank you for your ongoing readership. It means a lot to all of us. The Russia series fell by the wayside after Caine died, mostly because I was suddenly swamped trying to figure out how to manage the blog. There was a steep learning curve, but now I’ve mostly figured out the time management part of the equation, and I have been thinking about resurrecting the Russia series. Your comment is just the encouragement I need -- thanks. I can’t promise when, but I’ll have something up soon.

  47. Desert Son, OM says

    The briefest follow-up before I retreat once more.

    Thank you for kind words. Warmest and gentlest consenting *pounce-hugs* offered to those who so desire, and hearty greetings ever and elsewise.

    I have care of a delightful, sweet, and wiggly dog named Dot, and had to spend much of the afternoon at the vet as she struggles with the thoracic-lumbar wear of 13 good, active, and love-filled years. She’s resting comfortably, belly full, blankets awash, and periodically insisting that she’s perfectly fine, and that it is we bipeds that should really be worried about our strangely configured spines relative to our centers of gravity. Hence my late reply.

    I shall make a bit more effort to stop in and bid hello and offer to pour a drink or two at the digital bar (where the beverage always arrives exactly as what you want it to be, alcoholic or otherwise, all temperatures and flavors and colors and containers) now and then. I have some anxieties about the Internet, and my life right now is largely characterized by holding on with my fingernails, but I’ll try to stop in more than once a year.

    Here’s to Caine’s memory.

    I hope this finds you all delightfully surprised by something beautiful.

    Still learning,


  48. voyager says


    I like some Christmas music. I was in the church choir with my best friend when I was a teen and singing Carols was always the best time of year. I was already an atheist, but I liked the singing, so I stayed a few years longer than I otherwise would have.

  49. lumipuna says

    I don’t like Christmas music in November either. Praise Santa that I can generally spend my time hiding in quiet holes.

    (I don’t like November generally. This year, November began over a month ago and, according to a long term weather forecast, might very well continue past Christmas.)

  50. Jazzlet says

    Last night we had to put Thorn down, she had been well for a twelve year old German Shepherd, but suddenly became weak, barely able to stand and clearly uncomfortable, an ultrasound revealed a large mass on her liver, but crucially the vetinary hospital couldn’t get her pain under control. So we let her go, she even went quietly and neatly settling into a curl, we are both damp weepy messses. Jake is subdued.

  51. voyager says


    I”m so sorry you’ve lost your beloved Thorne. She is at rest now, free of pain and you were there for her when it mattered.
    I’m sending a big hug for both You and Jake (if you want them)

  52. Ice Swimmer says

    Jazzlet, my condolences!

    As for Xmas or Xmas music, not a fan of them.

    November became a bit better for the last day, some snow, which means that there is more light. I swam in the sea on Friday while snow was falling. It felt, well, different, snow falling on the head makes for a funny feeling while swimming. Today, the studying will go on along with laundry because I had managed to put on too much clothes on multiple days this week and have ended up with quite a few sweaty shirts. As I’m going to sit with 4 to 5 people in the same office starting next week, I’d better not smell bad.

  53. Jazzlet says

    Thank you, we have got over most of the ‘firsts’, but are missing her terribly, for such a quiet dog she had a big presence.

    I’m also feeling dread about the probable result of the election here, I fear Boris the Liar will win with a clear majority, and that in particular the NHS will be ravaged as a result, along with climate change not being atken seriously, wealth inequality increasing and all of the other awful things that will result. Uff.

  54. StevoR says

    Short notice I know and apologies for that but in case any other Adelaideans are interested there’s an Extinction Rebellion sign-making event on at 1pm today :

    Adelaide: Crafternoon 1/12
    Public · Hosted by Extinction Rebellion South Australia and Extinction Rebellion Australia

    Come join us for an afternoon of crafting fun. We’ll be painting placards, stencilling flags and crafting pieces for our upcoming actions and events. Nocrafting skills or experience required, just enthusiasm! Tell your kids and your friends!
    This venue is wheelchair accessible. Cups of tea will be available. Bring a plate of afternoon tea to share if you wish! Free.

    Today at 1 PM – 5 PM
    Starts in about 2 hours · 16°C Mostly Cloudy
    The Adelaide Remakery
    18-28 Young St, Adelaide, South Australia 5000

  55. says

    I’m so sorry to hear about Thorne. I know you did the best for her, and in her time, she did the best for you. Here’s to a good girl.

  56. chigau (違う) says

    I am a thrill-seeker and rebel.
    You know how packages of batteries and some battery-run thingies tell you
    DO NOT MIX batteries?
    Well, I mixed. Three different orphan batteries in one thingy.
    Perhaps I will report back tomorrow…

  57. Raucous Indignation says

    Good morning from the Hudson River Valley. (I’m actually just over the geographic divide between the Hudson and Harlem rivers, but whadya gonna do?) I’ve missed you all. I will be more present in the future, I think.

    Annnnd well done Chigau!! Did you wear an eye-patch and have a parrot on your shoulder when you popped in those batteries?

  58. says

    Hey my wonderful people. After a weekend full of amusement, can I now have one to relax?
    I guess i can sleep when I’m dead…
    Today my aunt celebrated her 60th birthday and I brought profiteroles (I made real creme diplomate and I think it’s an achievement that I actually filled the little choux and did not just sit down with the bowl and eat it all myself). When we left I wanted to collect the baking dish I had used to transport them and had two people argue with me that the one they wanted to hand was indeed my baking dish. Why do people do that? I mean, it had the right size and colour but mine doesn’t have a pattern.

    Bold. But I don’t remember ever having read that one. As ling as you don’t mix a rechargeable one and a normal one in your phone as my gran once did, i think you’ll be fine.

  59. Jazzlet says

    Thank you all, I am still missing her terribly, but I’ve got past just remembering her last day and am remembering good times, which is better. But I cried when I looked at the photos a friend sent me of her as a puppy.

    I’d not heard that one either, I don’t seem to have got much ‘wisdom’ like that passed down to me.

    Ooooh those profiteroles sound most excellent.
    How could you be expected to know your own crockery, I mean it’s not as if you ever use it in your own kitchen or anything /s

  60. StevoR says

    So. Me? What I want?

    I want to live a good life. In both senses of the word. Ethical and comfortable and happy.

    Ideally, I’d just like to sate my curiosity, have fun and understand, well, everything really. As much as I can. As much as I can make sense of. To enjoy wonder and rapture and contentment and love. To be happy. To find balance and peace and be satisifed with who I am and what I do in this world.

    To make the world better not worse for my being in it.

    To make people, as many people as possible, happier and better off for having known me.

    To enjoy life as me by indulging in my passions (obsessions even! ;-) ) and the things I love, cricket, Pluto, science esp. astronomy, to read and love and feel awe and wonder and joy. Bliss. Jubiliation. Rapture. The instant of things clicking and understanding and stay in just those moments

    I wish things weren’t so bad. I wish the world was better and I will do what I can to make it better. For everyone. Because why wouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t you? Why not me? Why not anyone? Because F knows there’s already so much so effin’ wrong with the world that, well, why would you leave or make things worse when you could make them better?

    Now, okay, “better” is subjective and a judgement call.


    Look at the world and do your best to be better and make things better for as many others as possible. Because, again, why wouldn’t you? What’s the alternatives to that?

    So, think and be kind.

    To everyone. Every living thing you reasonably can be kind and good to. As much as one can. Because, well, see above, do I have to say it agian?

    I am fortunate by birth -- I could not wish for or find better family or circumstances of birth than I have -- and thus am privileged and it doesn’t really hurt me to face that reality and state the obvious. So many others are NOT so lucky and that is NOT their fault.

    But it also doesn’t mean I should forget that or speak out for those who can’t or try to be ethical. To remember the forgotten, to help those who are struggling. To offer a hand up rather than a kick to those who are down through no fault of their own.

    And if you are lucky by circumstance, luck of birth, grace of god etc .. -- like me and privileged then, yes, I think you have an ethical duty to help those who aren’t. To understand your reality and, well, reality for others as they will experience it as much as you can and act on it in a way that makes things better not worse for as many as possible.

    To be a good human being.

    This seems so axiomatic to me.

    It also seems to have so many implications that, well, so many don’t seem to follow?

    Yet I look around at the world & .. feel I have to state the Capt’n Obvs anyhow. Because …somehow ..too many still don’t get it.

    Why? Dunno. Did think people knew and were better but evidence of who gets elected & what keeps getting repeatedly wrongly said keeps disproving that proposition? Whole other story. Whole other rant.

    Anyhow can we not think and be good (both senses of word again) and hope to live well too?

    Can we balance our interests as individuals and parts of society and communities incl. fb and just listen and be kind and learn and be.. like .. decent (for personal, individual, didn’t think that hard to see, values of that word) to everyone and the world, the pale, suffering, struggling, all encompassing blue dot lost amidst the vastness of The Black we all share?

    I’m a long way from perfect for sure I know but .. Does this not make sense? Is this not something we need to strive for and be as much as we all can be?

    Pls feel free to adapt and share and use as best suits.

  61. says

    I turned 65 over the weekend. I am officially a senior citizen. Discounts at the fabric store, here I come?

    The same day was also the tenth anniversary of my dad’s death, and I still have boxes of stuff from my parents’ house I’m sorting through, not to mention financial paperwork. So it’s all kind of weird. But it was still a pretty good day.

    Hugs, love, tea and scones (Paul’s been baking) are all on offer.

  62. Jazzlet says

    Congratulations, baking sounds good!

    Makes sense to me, but obviously not to all too many. We vote here in the UK tomorrow and I am fearful, I am contemplating (with disgust) tactical voting as there is a good chance we could get rid of the odious Tory toddler who is our MP at present, but it would mean voting for a Lib Dem, and they lie, they will say whatever will get them elected and then happily, gleefully ignore the commitments they made.