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November 28, 2004


Solar Powered Clip Fan for about $12.00

Solar Powered Exhaust Fan for about $27.00.

That clip fan may be worth further investigation.

The simplest solution might be to get 2 or 3 sets of rechargeable alkaline batteries and an alkaline battery charger. Your other idea seems sound if you can match the voltages, it wouldn't be to complicated to try.

Hmmm, Hilzoy, no practical question is pointless...

These are a bit pricey, but the one at the bottom may fit the bill when combined with the proper USB socket and one of those USB fans (they are quite popular here) More expensive than knobboy's solution though.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am now torn between both ideas. -- It didn't occur to me that anyone actually made tiny solar powered fans. I have this absent-minded professor side which apparently disables this part of my brain, leading to such problems as: the year or so it took me to figure out that when I lost someone's phone number, this was not automatically disastrous, since they might be in the phone book.

I, my orchids, and my plastic animals are in both of your debt.

"If anyone else has any arcane questions, feel free to use this thread :)"

Don't buy a lot of shoes, but did yesterday. Do most peoples feet get bigger in middle age? I was shocked when the shoe size I had had for decades no longer fit.
I feel liquid or something, I am scared to measure my height. I am meltinggggg.....

I don't know whether it's generally true, but my feet are about a size bigger than they were in my 20s. More horrifyingly, I have gotten shorter. -- I mean, as one of the short members of a very tall family (of the children and grandchildren of my paternal grandparents, only three are below six feet, and that includes seven girls; one of my distant relatives played Lurch in the movie of the Addams Family, or so I'm told), I am aware of the difficulties faced by very tall women, but I liked being 5'7 1/2", darn it; I always thought 5'9" would be better still, and now I am below 5'7". Hmmph.

Make that eight girls, five over 6'. (And all the four boys.)

I'm guessing you are spending a lot of time in front of a computer screen. Improved posture might not get you up to 5'9", but you might get to 5'8". I've been doing iaido for 3 years now and at my last health checkup, I was 2 cm taller than I was two years ago (I missed my checkup last year) While I wouldn't recommend iaido (it involves drawing and sheathing swords without looking) yoga might give you back the lost height.

Ditto Alexander technique, which exercises a different "skill set" than martial arts; utterly useless as exercise in itself, but absolutely great for enabling you to exercise or do, well, anything.

So if my feet get bigger as I age (and they have, by almost a full size in the last 12 years or so), and you know what they say about the size of mens feet, does that mean that...

Oh never mind.

one of my distant relatives played Lurch in the movie of the Addams Family, or so I'm told
Ah, Dutch ancestry, that explains the tall family too ;-)

Don't worry about the legoblocks: boys will use anything. Yesterday my six year old took a bishops-staff (we celebrate st. Nicholas here, so we have those things as dressup toys) and transformed himself into God with a magical Gun. His 4 year old brother was in heaven with him as an undead- no, an angel - no the spirit of a dead hero and changed the plastic dentist mirror from his doctors suitcase into a lasergun... They than decided that the one playing God could not be killed, since everybody would end up with the devil. So older brother "beheaded" younger brother, to make him into god too, and chase all the bad guys...

This is what I get for turning off all violent movies on the television and limiting the amount of fighting toys?

Speaking of solar power, here is the press release for SolarPC's $100 computer, created in response to a challenge by Steve Ballmer.

Like all SolarPC computers, the SolarLite operates on 12 volt DC power and can be run from a solar panel, car battery, or human powered (with a bicycle-based generator). The cool and quiet SolarLite uses approximately 10 watts of energy, just a fraction of what a standard PC consumes.

I also suggest, hilzoy, that you get a decent book on raising orchids (assuming you haven't already got one). Orchids require widely different lighting, watering and feeding depending on type. Most orchids you can leave completely alone, provided the air is sufficiently humid and provided they're getting a good supply of fresh air. I've managed to kill a couple of phaleonopsis, for instance, by failing to take proper care not to let water get into the crown area and sit.


Did your feet get longer or just wider? Sometimes, in order to get wide enough shoes, one ends up getting a bigger size. A dance teacher of my acquaintance who spent all day on her feet "sucking up the floor through her toes," as she put it, ended up being able to fit her feet only in thongs and workboots.

Maybe this isn't reassuring to you...

JohnInDC over at Americablog.com does a bit of orchid blogging from time to time.

He might have some helpful comments, observations.

I can testify to the wide feet = longer shoes. I wear 1 - 2 sizes larger shoes because my feet are so wide (and not to mention they are tall as well. That high instep thing(I think that's what it's called when the top of your foot is breaking through the laces.)).

Gee, I wonder if I got the punctuation on the end of that correct...

Slart -- being an academic and all, getting a book was the first thing I did, before repotting (first time ever, and I wanted to do it right.) (And boy, did they need it, although I think I might have done something bad to my dark purply red paph in the process. It does not look very happy now. For one thing, I hadn't meant to divide it, but it sort of fell into two bits...) Then there was fertilizing (again, first time ever, and boy was I glad to have the book then, what with all the warnings about taking care to flush out the salts and not overfertilize lest you kill them all...) Also, moving to more appropriate lighting (at least, I hope it is.) Now, the little aquarium (about 10"x20"X maybe 16"high) -- too small for anything in spike, supposing they ever do decide to bloom again, but good for the ones that are picky about humidity.

We shall see if it works, but it has certainly been good post-election therapy for me. Next: planting daffodils.

I don't have any paphs, so I'm fresh out of advice. Dendrobiums don't have any problem at all with separation, nor do cymbidiums. I'm guessing that you repotted at some inopportune time (I forget just now, but I think repotting is supposed to take place just at the end of the dormant phase) or used some media that the paph didn't take well to. Most of my orchids are now vandas, which don't require much in the way of maintenance at all, including repotting. I've got most of them hung in what's left of the big oak tree, now.

It's hard to tell when exactly the dormant phase is when your Paph hasn't bloomed in years... Actually, judging by the way it fell apart, the fact that it did so was a sign of underlying problems of some other sort.

Isn't this weirdly stunning, in a this-flower-is-actually-an-alien-life-form sort of way?

"Dormant" doesn't mean the opposite of "in bloom". The growth phase of your orchid should be marked by some sort of visible growth in the foliage, plus new, green tips on the roots (provided you can see them). The dormant phase is when all this activity stops, typically in the winter (for the orchids I own, anyway). When the growth phase begins, that's normally the time to repot.

But don't take my word for it. There are thousands of people who care for their orchids much better than I, although I seem to be the orchid version of the Humane Society of late. Someone else is bound to have raised paphs in a similar environment to yours. It's also possible that you have an orchid that won't thrive in the climate you've built for it, one that needs a greenhouse environment to come back to bloom. In that case, you're either going to have to build a suitable substitute, sell it (or donate it), or kill your orchid.

Orchids are fascinating, true. There's such an enormous variety of orchids that one could spend a lifetime studying them. Oh, as an aside: if you've never read The Orchid Thief, you might want to give it a try. Also rent yourself a copy of Adaptations, which is a movie derived from the book (with some interesting twists).

Also rent yourself a copy of Adaptations, which is a movie derived from the book (with some interesting twists).

Perhaps the loosest use of the phrase in history...

"Make that eight girls, five over 6'."

Sounds like you had the makings of a good women's volleyball team. :)

Funny you should mention that -- one of my (female, straight) cousins used to play on a quite good gay men's volleyball team...

One of my best buds is 6'5" and his wife is about 5'13". Their oldest is twelve and already pushing 6'. Thin as a stick, and strong as an ox, too. Just about a year ago (at 5'7"; quite a growth spurt in progress) she could lift her dad completely off the ground. I doubt she weighed much more than eighty pounds, which means she was hoisting about three times her own weight.

And no, she's not on a volleyball or basketball team. We've both been pushing swimming, but no dice there either. For some reason, physical attributes that others would kill to use don't necessarily mean they'll get used by the owner. If I had my youngest daughter's flexibility, for example, I'd have been a LOT closer to being the Olympic athlete that I used to dream of being. Or at least, so I tell myself.


It's an inch taller than 5'12". Which, in turn, is sometimes preferable to 6', for those self-conscious about their height.

Good idea -- I'll have to make a point of suggesting to a certain friend of mine that he start describing his height as 6'-4".

It's an inch taller than 5'12". Which, in turn, is sometimes preferable to 6', for those self-conscious about their height.

Reminds me of the time I was working the bar and some girl ordered a virgin daiquiri...

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