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November 21, 2010


I'm sorry, but I'm too busy having one right now.

This is good.

I'll say this: The Oakland Raiders have been a pleasant surprise for me this year. There is hope.

Thankgiving: The Final Countdown has begun. Today I buy: the right kind of roasting pan and rack; Grand Marnier; a box of white wine; more turkey backs if the grocery store has them this time.

Everyone else is gone for the day, which means I'm the only one here to clean house. We are not amused.

Must take photo of cat -- he's got to be good for something.

Now reading: What Hath God Wrought, by Daniel Walker Howe -- Ta-Nehisi Coates' current Effete Liberal Book Club selection.

I'm such a good mom I'll wait until Friday to see Harry Potter, when College Student will be home.

High School Student went last night to a late-late showing -- it counted as the cast party for the HS play (she rocked both of her lines). No other major extracurriculars this calendar year -- choir and associated performances are a class for credit. In the new year, ROBOTICS revs up for competition season crazy times.

Got in last night from a dice party for the new Dresden Files RPG - where we packed little Fudge dice into plastic containers to eventually ship to game stories. Was a lot of fun.

Today, I need to vacuum/lawn mower the front yard again, run laundry, start some venison pot roast in the slow cooker, and disassemble a old chest freezer so I can remove it from my laundry room and then we can go shopping for a new one.

This is my exciting, sexy life.

I've decided that our stopover on the Thanksgiving trip back to Tennessee will be a $42 per night motel in a secluded part of Kentucky. What could go wrong? Plus there's a cave nearby not shut down by the White-Nose Syndrome. Alas, Wyndotte Cave in Indiana which had the most awesome tour going is closed for the forseeable future. Part of the awesomeness was in fact the bats swooping around you.
The tours at Mammoth cave are kind of limited in the middle of the week.

Will probably go I-65, but Hwy 41 is so lovely thru Indiana. The stoplights in Terre Haute add a half hour to the trip, and there isn't a quick way to Owensboro from north of Evansville, Maybe von can clue me in on a secret passage where I won't get lost.

When traffic is heavy, we generally go down 57 to Kankakee and go east thru Momence, then 10 to 65. Last time, the road was closed at the railroad before Roselawn and we dove around a big semi-circle north. The Wife wanted me to stop at the nudist colony and ask directions. There was a big crowd at the gate, but I didn't stop

I'm too busy having one right now.

[ladyinadiner]I'll have what he's having![/ladyinadiner]

The week after Thanksgiving I'm off to Orlando to play in the North American Bridge Championships. This is my once-every-five years or so trip to a NABC, and I'm just going to play in the Swiss Teams event.

Does this make as little sense to anyone as DFS' comment about RPG's did to me on first reading, and before Googling "fudge dice?"

If any of the handful of other players - Sebastian, Mike Schilling, who else? - who comment here will be there let me know.

I tracked it a bit Bernard, but then again I've done swiss teams in other tournament formats, and I've just started picking bridge up again. :)

Church in the AM, then lunch.

Then sealed up some leaky spots around the foundation before winter freeze-n-leak season begins.

Cleaned a season's worth of indescribable bird-related stuff off of the suet feeder (yay bleach!), then reloaded it and the seed feeder.

Put the heated bird bath out. We like birds.

Ran major and minor ii-v-i close voicing drills in all 12 keys on the marimba. Worked on changes for "Autumn Leaves".

Gonna smoke-test some code fixes with the last overnight build and then (hopefully) do some quick check-ins so QA folks have stuff to look at on Monday.

This afternoon it's off to hear my wife sing in Boston.

Then, dinner with my wife at our favorite neighborhood Thai food hang, then probably an hour or so of vegetation in front of Masterpiece Theater.

Then zzzzzzzzzz.

The thanksgiving NABC always sounds fun, but I have a volleyball tournament at the same time every year. Are you playing in multiple Swiss Team events, or in one long one? If I remember correctly the special long event is the Reisinger/mini-Reisinger--but Board A Match is my least favorite format.

I've done swiss teams in other tournament formats,

Chess, maybe?

The bridge use of the Swiss Teams format was actually copied from chess around the mid-70's maybe.

(For the uninitiated, the problem is how to determine a winner in an event with many entrants and limited time, so normal elimination brackets or round-robins are impractical. Instead you play a lot of matches and, as the event progresses, you are matched against opponents whose record is the same as or close to yours. At the end the results will be sufficiently spread out that there will be a clear winner. It's a sort of statistical elimination format.)

Actually - geek card games (best known, though I don't play - Magic the Gathering); and war gaming with miniature plastic soldiers and tanks.

Having relatives at both ends of the state means we are doing "early Thanksgiving" this weekend with my in-laws in Pasadena. And then rush back north for Thanksgiving with my side of the family. Ah, the gay mad social whirl!

Personally, I give thanks that we are both blessed with in-laws that we love and enjoy the company of. Way too many people don't seem to have that.

Prepping to start Thanksgiving baking. Pumpkin pie cheesecake is the order of the day. I need to do at least one for Thursday, but I'm trying to decide if my co-workers (most of whom I really don't like, and with good cause) merit making another one for the unit's Thanksgiving luncheon tomorrow.

Pros: I do enjoy baking; I don't dislike all my co-workers; and one co-worker distinctly needs disabused of their benighted conviction that no-bake, from-a-box cream cheese abominations are not only edible, but good, and fit to be called "cheesecake".

Cons: I'll very likely be voluntold to repeat the feat at subsequent events; I do dislike most of my coworkers; I'd of course have the extra cost in terms of time and money; and baking out of spite (even when justified) really is petty and unbecoming.

Decisions, decisions...

Heading out to Park Slope, Brooklyn shortly to hear the Dessoff Choirs perform a gorgeous all-French program of sacred music, including the positively swoon-worthy Duruflé Requiem. I'm singing in a new chorus this year which is proving very challenging (in a totally positive way) and it'll be nice to kick back and hear somebody else sing for a change.

Hit the grocery store first thing this morning for all the Thanksgiving foodstuffs and flourishes.

Now at work, snatching a rare opportunity to get some development coding done while my entire user base is off having a life.
The servers are fast, the office is quiet, the coffee is free ...

Last time we had one of these threads, I did a long descriptive introductory narration of my life.

This time, i feel like responding and commenting on y'all instead, mostly.

Just to say my (almost 30 yo) daughter and her newish (13 months) husband won't be joining us this year. Damn I miss her. He's a wonderful guy, and very much welcome in our family; but they live and work in DC, and his family is all in North Carolina (we are in Southern New England) so we are now in Official Alternating Families in Alternating Years for Alternating Holidays mode. They already have their reservations to come up here for Xmas.

Reacting to youse guys:

Because no kids this year, Thanksgiving will be at my mother-in-law's. We'll stay for as long as I can stand my drunk, racist, gun totin' brother-in-law. He was a teabagger before there were teabaggers.

@Eric Martin
...Oakland Raiders have been a pleasant surprise...

Yeah, especially for us Pats fans looking at the Raider's first draft choice (for Seymour) go down the toilet.

@ Bernard Y
The week after Thanksgiving I'm off to Orlando to play in the North American Bridge Championships.

I used to play a lot of bridge, when I was single. Not at your level, though. Good luck!

What a polymath! All that and front-page blogging besides!
You own a marimba? You must have a large house! I always liked that sound. In instrumental arranging class I was a champ in percussion, even though I never played it/them. And "Autumn Leaves." Wow. I haven't even heard the title, let alone the song, in decades.
This afternoon it's off to hear my wife sing in Boston. Who? Where?? We've been in RI for eight years, but are both Bostonians and very much in that milieu. This morning (and every Sunday)I broadcast from a Boston church with a professional choir. My wife sang for over twenty years in several well-known Boston chrouses, and managed one. I'm betting we have crossed paths.

@Uncle K I love the Durufle OK, but its not necessarily swoon worthy.

And changing subjects really, really quickly: Everyone associated in any way with the Houston Texans needs to be disqualified from ever being associated in any way with football. All the coaches, all the players, every-fncking-one.
(For those not watching, Houston came back to take a 4-point lead with 55 seconds left, Jets w/no time-outs, then allowed the ferkakte jets to go 72 yards in 40 seconds for the win.

May they all rot.

i'm waiting for my wife's cold to catch me.

My wife is waiting for my cold to catch her.

Looking up turkey brine recipes, running a metric assload of laundry, union email, chasing cats, reading Njal's Saga. Discarding old mail. Fretting over a meeting on Wednesday, and hoping the dean lets us go home early.

Don't have to cook this year - I'm glad, and I suspect some of the kids are likewise glad: I almost never make a turkey, and they're a little offended by that. Not that they LIKE turkey particularly, but, you know, tradition. Last year I made a beautiful pernil (Puerto Rican pork roast), and a couple before that, an Argentinian matambre. Brother is losing his house, so it will be the last Thanksgiving there. Very sad.

Preparing for a gig on Thanksgiving weekend - a nice little trio playing afro-cuban and Brazilian music. No bass player, just me on keys, a singer, and a wonderful percussionist from Venezuela. Less is more, baby!

Hope everyone has some fun!

@ jonnybutter

Did you get anywhere with that website I sent you to a few month ago?

Looking up turkey brine recipes...

Alton Brown's brine seems tough to beat


Did you get anywhere with that website I sent you to a few month ago?

No. I looked it over, but didn't send any scores. I did keep the link, and will investigate further when I have a little more time to spiff up a couple scores. I look forward to holidays because I know I have a good month to do 'useless' things like compose!

I do appreciate your directing me to it, and certainly haven't forgotten..

Ran major and minor ii-v-i close voicing drills in all 12 keys on the marimba.

You own a marimba? You must have a large house! I always liked that sound.

Next May, my new chorus will be doing "A new cycle for chorus and marimba, by Jacob Bancks, David Bruce and Akemi Naito, for chorus and marimba, in English and Japanese on texts by Walt Whitman, Saigyo Hoshi (1118-1190) and others."

I sense a theme here...


Are you playing in multiple Swiss Team events, or in one long one? If I remember correctly the special long event is the Reisinger/mini-Reisinger--but Board A Match is my least favorite format.

Just the three-day one at the end that runs concurrently with the Reisinger, though I'll show up a day early to get warmed up.

Board-a-match is an interesting format. I like it myself - it was much more common when I started to play - but it can be brutal. In a national B-A-M event it's easy to put up a single-digit session score without feeling like you've played terribly. I've done it more than once. (To explain to non-bridge players, that's something like striking out nine out of ten times at bat.)

Here are my traditional Turkey Day recipes, including brine -- also Chestnut-Rice-Rye Stuffing, Roasted-Garlic Gravy, and Two-Cranberry Sauce with Grand Marnier. I have them all saved up in a multi-page document that I'm printing out now. I'll tape it to the kitchen cabinets for use the coming week.

The point of Tradition is to not have to make any decisions.

My life has become overwhelmed by dogs. I drove a dog to a rescue yesterday. He is a seventy pound lab/newfie mix (who ought to weigh about one hundred but was being starved by his owner). The owner got him as a pup, tied him to a tree and left him there for four years. He only got fed intermittantly and got no attention. The neighbors (off the grid survivalists who run a meth lab) called animal control about him several times.

It was only the second car ride of his life. He barfed, slobbered, ate my seatbelt, clambered incessantly fome the back seat tothe front seat tothe back seat to the front seat ,made repeated attempts to climb into my lap, and finally collapsed on my gear shift after slalivating all over the dashboard.

I did manage to get him deliverd to a a foster home. I left him with his foster mom. They were standing in the driveway. he had his front legs wrapped around her thigh and was desperately humping her knee.

He actually is a very sweet dog but he has a lot of learning to do.

Holy bleep.
Based on the evidence on this and previous posts, we have at least two legit composers (jonnybutter and Uncle Kvetch) in this commentariat.
My degree is in theory and comp, but I and all my teachers recognized that I couldn't write an original phrase to save my life (but I was a demon orchestrator - india ink and pen nibs, too. No computers/software. Uphill both ways in a blizzard, barefoot.)
I chose theory because it was the only music major which required neither piano class nor a foreign language. Hey, I wasn't in college, in the mid-1960s, do to any work, ya' know.

von, you're retired? I knew who you were once (long since forgotten) and I somehow thought you were early 50ish.

lessee, I quit my land use /water law job about a year ago. (no work. at all.) In January, a friend offered me a job as a patent prosecutor. (Very different substantive law, but the basics -- dealing with experts, technical writing, managing regulators -- should be the same.) As it turns out, I needed two semesters of college chemistry to qualify to sit for the patent prosecution bar exam. So I'm in my second semester now at a local community college. I'm 20+ years older than most students and 10 years older than the professor (sigh).

So I'm studying freshman college level chemistry and prepping the house for my parents and inlaws.

Who? Where??

Mystic Chorale, Tremont Temple. Mystic is basically a low-bar-to-entry community chorale, no reading required, you just have to like to sing. My wife got involved with them when Ysaye Barnwell led their gospel concert last year.

My wife also sings with a more classic-repertoire-oriented community chorale based up in Salem (MA).

Who do you sing with ef? I'll tune in next Sunday.

My marimba is an old 4-octave Musser, it fits in my office pretty easily. I'm playing jazz on it. Most guys who play jazz on mallets play vibes, I just like the sound of the marimba.

Autumn Leaves is a beautiful, beautiful tune. Pretty straightforward changes, so a good tune for beginners, but it weaves back and forth between major and minor, so there's more to it than meets the eye.

a nice little trio playing afro-cuban and Brazilian music.

Heaven. Where you working johnny?

My life has become overwhelmed by dogs

There is no better company to be had.

Based on the evidence on this and previous posts, we have at least two legit composers (jonnybutter and Uncle Kvetch) in this commentariat.

Well, I *try* to be legit.

I love the sound of marimba too, but when writing for a large ensemble, you have to deal with the problem of its cutting through on its own. No matter how hard the mallets, it tends to get buried.

Marimba and chorus sounds like a lovely combination, however.

Currently feeding the baby while my wife puts away the results of a marathon Trader Joe's trip and gets started on some chili. Friends over for boardgames later. This weekend has been all about getting ready for Thanksgiving - 11 for dinner, the first time we've hosted. So: logistics-dominated, on the usual baby timetable. Pretty much like every weekend for the last 18 months or so... Starcraft 2 has been sitting next to my computer since the day it came out, so you know it's serious.

Well, I guess there was a brief break for Yo Gabba Gabba. Bring earplugs. Pretty good show though.

My brother- and sister-in-law and their two excellent daughters are staying with us from NYC from Tuesday, which is going to be awesome but may test the 7:1 bathroom ratio.

No composing around here. I had to stay up half of one night just to finish Hull Zero Three (Greg Bear's latest) and that's about as creative as it has gotten lately.

Still having the best time of my life though.

Francis - I think von means retired from the Obwi front page.

Gee wonkie,

You're making me really really want to go to the shelter and get a dog. I'd have taken that lab/newfie in a second. Good thing I don't live in Seattle any more, or I'd be your biggest sucker.

Bless you for the work you do.

"Must take photo of cat -- he's got to be good for something."

Experiment with attaching food items by tape before taking pictures; it's worked well before.

"[ladyinadiner]I'll have what he's having![/ladyinadiner]"

Estelle Reiner came up with her own line: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_Harry_Met_Sally...#Deli_scene

[...] When Estelle Reiner died at age 94 in 2008, The New York Times referred to her as the woman "who delivered one of the most memorably funny lines in movie history".[10] This scene was shot again and again, and Ryan demonstrated her fake orgasms for hours.[8] Katz's Deli still hangs a sign above the table that says, "Where Harry met Sally... hope you have what she had!"

This classic scene was born when the film started to focus too much on Harry. Crystal remembers saying, "'We need something for Sally to talk about,' and Nora said, 'Well, faking orgasm is a great one,' and right away we said, 'Well, the subject is good,' and then Meg came on board and we talked with her about the nature of the idea and she said, 'Well, why don't I just fake one, just do one?'"[3] Ryan suggested that the scene take place in a restaurant[11] and it was Crystal who came up with the scene's classic punchline – "I'll have what she's having."[3] In 2005, the quote was listed 33rd on the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes list of memorable movie lines. Reiner recalls that at a test screening, all of the women in the audience were laughing while all of the men were silent.[4]

I don't suppose anyone knows a work around for how to get open NAT on your network when you aren't going to be able to have access to the router (this is not a technical issue, so please don't make any suggestions that include doing anything whatever to the router itself). or anything other than your cat-5 cable, short of running a whole new internet connection into the place, which is also not an option.

I think I'll be cut off from my preferred online gaming while I'm here, meanwhile, but that's a trade-off I can live with.

"von, you're retired?"

From officially being a member of the ObWi blogging collective, and blogging here at all regularly. Not from his professional work as a lawyer, last I heard.

@ russell
I know the Mystic Chorale. If its the one I'm thinking of, a former conductor was best man at my first wedding and I at his (I think he had only one) in the late 1960s.

My (current) wife was in Back Bay Chorale from the 70s into the 90s, singing for the late Larry Hill and for Bev Taylor. She also spent forever on the board as (volunteer, of course) personnel manager. She also sang in Coro Allegro, many Harvard Summer Choruses, and more recently (since we moved down here) in RI Civic and Providence Singers. Messiah in Providence next Sunday.

Me? In spite of the fact that a major Boston institution saw fit to issue a music degree in my name, I don't sing, never did. Always a band & orchestra guy (trumpet) and since the early 80s, exclusively played the microphone, in 20 years on the radio and announcing all kinds of public events, mostly concerts.

I broadcast and record the service on Sundays, my wife occasionally sings with the (semi-professional) choir. In real life I do back-office work for a major financial company.

Dave C, wish I could help, but I'm no good 'round those parts these days. I do suggest to everyone, however, that they avoid the speed trap(s) set up along US 31 near Rochester, IN. If they didn't want us to speed, why did they make the road so straight and empty? I call entrapment.


Actually - geek card games (best known, though I don't play - Magic the Gathering); and war gaming with miniature plastic soldiers and tanks.
For those interested in more detail; "CCG" is all you have to say.

Oh, and my life is, as of November 11th, living in the present, totally wonderful, and utterly changed, and it's hard work, and the best possible thing.

Mind, this is a temporary house-sit alone until the end of February, than sharing the house with the owner for a period of some weeks, to be determined, and then he sets off on yet another of his innumerable sailing trips and stays on remote islands in the South Pacific, or remote places elsewhere in the world, to DX from, until August, and after that, well, I hope to have plans before that, and at this point staying in the Bay Area would be my preference, but that's all I can say for now.

Except that life is always today, tomorrow always tomorow, and the unknown, but my todays have been great since the 11th, and they show strong signs of continuing that way.

Though it would be incredibly premature to over-project from such a small sample.

Still. Better than a poke in the eye with any kind of pointy.

But, wait, let's bore you to death with the quotidian, as stolen from Facebook, of yesterday, which didn't amount to all that much, save that it's all still an absolute wonder and joy to me -- you can't begin to imagine, and I don't care to elaborate much here, so away we go with the cutting and pasting:

On the other hand, all I've gotten done today is:
1) rising promptly at 8,

2) shower, basic groom, basic tidy, dress only in undies, sweat pants, tee shirt, and sweat shirt, while I do chores.

3) study recycling guide again. Spend endless time trying to decide if now empty dry cat food bag goes in recycling or garbage, along with many other constant puzzles I go back to the guide for, since the system is highly different from North Carolina. Finally conclude tentatively that it's garbage, not recyclable, but put aside for further study before Tuesday.

4) successfully do basic morning chores, cleaning, including cat feeding, make and have coffee, have cereal. Trust me, the chores are minimal, just mildly time-consuming. Just going up and down stairs is sometimes time-consuming.

5) continue to make constant multiple trips up and down stairs as I remember things and look for things and need to move things.

6) spend a lot of time on the looking.

7) intermittent cat snuggling petting time throughout day. Shackleton has been sleeping and spending much of the day in my room for about 3 days and nights now, after some earlier experiments, while Allegory is still mostly staying in the kitchen downstairs, though they both make occasional checks whether Doug's in his room. But Allegory, while friendly enough when I pet her and am friendly with her in the kitchen, is still otherwise not coming into my room, where I always keep the door open for them, of course.

8) about half an hour's more unpacking, half an hour's more sorting, and a whole lot more time, and continued study of the guide to recyling. Where did my scissors go? Yes, I have the box-cutter. Yes, I've seen several of Doug's scissors. No, I don't want to do more than go and use one where it is and put it back, because that way I can't misplace it. Lots of stupid stuff like that. How slow is the kitchen drain supposed to drain? Hmm, I guess that trap underneath is supposed to work that way. Etc., etc., etc.

9) Intermittently trying to check email and a bit of Facebook, and at least headlines and a couple of news stories. Try to do some online errands and stuff of immediate relevancy, like locate other local thrift shops and neighorhood places to get certain things done.

10) Constantly running back to computer to write down new things on lists of To Do, Buy, and other categories. Need to get dressed, with index cards in pocket and other equipment necessary to function; haven't even stuffed reading glasses in sweat shirt pocket after bathroom time, because forgot and haven't gotten to yet. Same for phone, which is in bedroom. Haven't yet taken keys from window where solar flashlight is charging in brief sun before it turns rainy.

11) Had figured on more breakfast, but it's now past 1, and I still haven't called Tracfone to deal with getting voice mail started.

12) Waste stupid amount of time on Facebook. Get distracted noticing Loscon is next week, and spending intermittent time that adds up to an hour before deciding to quit wasting time, I'm definitely not going to think about going.

It's now almost 2, a bit late for me to get out before 10 a.m. for my walk.

13) Other stuff, other stuff, other stuff, all good.

14) It's now past 5, and I'm feeding cats and doing chores again. Chop a cucumber to throw onto what's left of yesterday's salad as start of dinner, no lunch. Clean. Go back upstairs.

15) I'm now writing this, and now it's 20 after six. Time to pee, start eating salad, and get back to getting nothing much done.

Walk-failure, shop-failure, even putting on regular pants, let alone sneakers, failure, respond to email, even read responses to only what I've written on FB, haven't had a moment to do anything blog related or news reading beyond maybe ten minutes I previously mentioned, let alone get to all the other stuff.

It seems to take a lot of time to get nothing much done.

Among today's lessons: never, ever, ever fail to put your phone in your pocket even just to walk downstairs. Never ever ever fail to put your reading glasses case (one of a bunch) same same.

Dress fully for the outside world ASAP.

Plus side: no feet problems (though no exercise/test outside of house), no digestive tract problems, various and many other common or constant negatives didn't happen.

Oh, wait, gotta go take in the mail and sort. And then....

That was Saturday.


There are worse experiences than easing your aching back and pained feet in the rocking chair in front of the roaring fireplace, reading Patrick O'Brien, and sipping your coffee, with cats purring nearby.


[...] I'm presently only doing 15-20 minutes in front of the fire every other or every 3rd night.


Tonight I finished unpacking and sorting and putting away the very last box of clothing, barring one teeny little other one.

Next on that front, the two tubs, which will take a few days, I suspect, though maybe only a day if I'm super efficient. But I suspect I have to get on hand a bunch of lesser storage/sorting solutions before I can successful repackage some of that stuff. But, again, will see.

Then will come the filing cabinet. Another probably day to five day job.

Then more general organizing of the room, and packing up the remaining empty boxes. Then getting the books at least consolidated. Then consider some kind of low floor-based, balanced, earth-quake-safe, bookshelves that are light and strong and green and cheap.

So that's not very much, but it'll still take another week or so, given all the other stuff to take care of, so that I can only devote so much time a day to the above. But that's fine.

It's all good. Everything is all good, or too trivial to mention. I am very lucky and happy.

With a huge amount left to learn about living here. And about The New Me.

There. That ought to hold the little ba--

"Southern New England"

I don't know if it applies to you, but I've never seen a better euphemism for Hartford.

Francis, I'm only retired from the front page. Had I retired from my real job, I would be blogging -- free, as it would be, to say what's truly on my mind. At the moment, however, my mind is still rented by the tenth of the hour. I've made the decision that my clients (and, more importantly, those of my partners) don't need me blundering about too much on the intertubes. (To prevent questions: No, no one asked me to stop. Indeed, to my knowledge, no one at my firm even knew that I was blogging.)

But I'm really enjoying catching up with everyone. (Congrats, Gary!) For me:

This weekend featured my two-year-old's birthday. She celebrated by getting a nasty stomach bug. We celebrated by comforting her while she expelled from both ends. Parenting!

My almost five year old is spoiled. Not terribly so, but enough to grate. When I was his age, we didn't have a lot of money: getting a happy meal from McD's was casue for celebration. By the time we* had him, I was making more money than I ever dreamed possible. ('Tho, in fairness, my dreams were pretty limited.) How do you deprive a child when you can give him (or her) what you wanted, but were deprived of?

Seriously, folks, I want advice: I don't want to create someone whom I'm going to hate in twenty years.

Well. Dang, y'all composers, theorists, singers, marimba players, and various musicians.

I'm a recovering academic music theorist myself (walked away from last phase of PhD due to being sick of school and/or the dim state of academic music job market). (Also lots of Bostonions on the thread; did my MM at New England Conservatory over on Huntington Ave.) Gave up on that; now writing highbrow, little-read intertextual classical music webcomics [linked at my name for interested parties].

Longtime reader, infrequent commenter. Appreciate the open thread. Happy turkeys; go Cowboys.

Was just in Nagoya for a conference. About 15 years ago, I had a student from Nagoya who said that the place was a 'cultural valley', by which he meant something like a cultural desert. However, going there now, I enjoyed it, especially cause they have lots of ji-beer (local breweries) THe place I tried to get into 3 nites in a row and couldn't was this. Let the video play through and you'll see they have a Chocolate Stout, a Chocolate Weizen and a Coffee Stout. Trying to figure out how to get up there in December...

As far as music goes, I was a performance major at a southern university. It might have been a huge mistake to do that, but it was 3 years of fun, so it's hard to imagine not having done it.

As far as spoiling kids goes, make sure that the kid clearly states he wants something in a polite way, and then get it for them. for extra points, make them explain why they want it and if it is some bogus reason ('I just want it'), shut em down. Even a 5 year old is smart enough to know that a Happy meal is basically the change in your pocket, so it will seem to them that you are just being a jackass. But saying 'well, you can only get one thing, so what do you want' forces them to s. My younger daughter can be a bit of a brat and is spoiled in a way that my older daughter was not, and the age dynamic is different, but if one realizes that whenever you get something, they have to suggest something that the other child gets, they start to realize that it is not simply their needs that need satisfying, but the needs of others. You still end up with a huge pile of crap, and you feel like they are always getting something, but at least they can start to get the basics of negotiation and understanding. FWIW

"How do you deprive a child when you can give him (or her) what you wanted, but were deprived of?"

I have experimental theories, based on the writings of others, and extremely limited observation, to put it mildly, but aside from something too minor, and also invading someone else's privacy, to be worth mentioning here, no experience whatever, so my opinions wouldn't, I think, be worth very much.

But it's great to read up on what you and your family are up to, von, and everyone else! Apologies to all for not engaging in more individual responses for now!

But saying 'well, you can only get one thing, so what do you want' forces them to s.

Hmm, not sure what I was thinking there, but I wanted to suggest that forcing kids to think about the choices they make is A Good Thing.

Patrick O'Brian! You can tell I was tired.

Today (now yesterday) in brief:

Got up, went to Duke Chapel, sang (with the choir) introit and two other anthems (plus hymns and responses, etc.) The big piece, with brass, was Vaughan Williams "All Hail the Power" (to the tune "Miles Lane"), which is not entirely to my taste, but boy the congregation knows they've been in church!!

Came home to grab a quick sandwich, pick up my wife and go off to Duke women's basketball game, an 82-55 romp over Western Kentucky. Undefeated so far and looking good. (Men's team is also outstanding, but every game has been sold out for twenty years and there's a 15-year waiting list for tickets.) This Is Basketball Country, which is good because Duke FB sucks.

Glorious fall weather, with extravagantly colored leaves on drives both AM & PM. We keep reminding ourselves that many people pay good money to see fall colors like we have in our neighborhood.

Returned home to check on NFL scores briefly; little real interest since Carolina Panthers are so awful. Then while wife watched recording ice-skating, I checked e-mail; sent message to choir director explaining how they had slightly misidentified the lyricist for "All Hail the Power" (after learning from the interwub that the British sing the original text, while Yanks sing a revised version - who knew?) and other arcane trivia.

Then was delightfully interrupted by long phone call from Eldest Son, AKA The Inestimable Anarch. Covered many topics from whether or not he's coming here at Xmas (maybe) to sports to how Dancing With The Stars has been corrupted by politics.

Had some soup, watched bits of recorded TV ("Terriers," Theatre Talk, etc.) and end of the NFL game, in which Giants obligingly crumbled. (I tend to operate on the general principle that every loss for New York teams is a victory for humankind.)

And so back to the internet, and here we are.

It's A Wonderful Life.

Gee, there are more musicians here than I realized.

I saw Marimba Spiritual performed by Adesso a few years back. It is an amazing piece.

Here is a pair of You Tubes of another performance (I don't know why it's split in two). I hope you enjoy it.

P.S., Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

"Then was delightfully interrupted by long phone call from Eldest Son, AKA The Inestimable Anarch."

I'd be very pleased if somehow or other he and I found ourselves commenting in the same place again, somewhere; please tell him I send felicitations, and that thought, if you'd be so kind.

I'd love to see him commenting on ObWi again, but in fairness I've barely managed to do more than skim posts and a few random comments, in the past couple of weeks, myself.

But I'm entirely sure many others would love to see him around here again, too.

And I also entirely understand that other priorities likely make more sense. :-)

Glad to hear things are going well, Gary.

von, I have no advice except to say that I worry about similar things. But I sometimes remind myself that because I grew up in a very financially constrained household, my feelings about the value of things and the value of money and what I am entitled to possess may be "warped" in some way as well.

Appreciating the value of things is very important, but taken to an extreme is the motivating behavior of hoarders. (I'm not a million miles from that myself in some ways.) Things are just things, in the end, and it is just as much of a mistake to overvalue them as undervalue them.

The desire for material gratification may only be a phase in discovering the true value of physical things.

Oh, and-


We played Chez Cthulhu last night, which is to the serious dramatic roleplaying game Call of Cthulhu what beer pong is to Wimbledon. I wish we had time for RPGs, but not lately...

> It's A Wonderful Life.

Yeah, it kind of is. I mean the world is far from perfect, but this isn't the worst early 21st century one could have wound up in.

Gary, great to read that you are housed and occupied and enjoying life. Keep at it!
No holidays here in Australia until Christmas, which is when we eat turkey, but it's summer, my zucchini are flowering and I'm counting down days till December 17 when I start my five weeks of holiday at the beach. Between then and now I've got an issue of a scholarly journal and 80,000 words for a historical website to edit, but it will get done. Or not.
Von, I have managed to persuade my kids that Macdonalds is a very special treat that you sometimes get on your birthday, but only for breakfast. Consistency is the key ;-)

Based on the evidence on this and previous posts, we have at least two legit composers (jonnybutter and Uncle Kvetch) in this commentariat.

Yikes -- very sorry to give that impression, but I'm nothing of the kind! Just a little ol' baritone in a chorus. Although I was the main songwriter in an indie rock band in my late 20s, and I still do some random noodling on GarageBand now and then.

The Duruflé was lovely yesterday -- the chorus in question was surprisingly skewed (fully twice as many sopranos as basses!) but they acquitted themselves well.

My life has become overwhelmed by dogs.

Then I can't recommend this highly enough. Hilarious and poignant.

Weekend fun fact: The Hubby and I have become addicted to long afternoons of Wii Golf on the weekends -- it lets us procrastinate about our respective household chores while enjoying quality time together. We played so much this weekend that my intercostal muscles are sore this morning.

Jacob, there's something to be said for beer-n-pretzels gaming. I've got that on a once or twice a month D&D game with some friends, where the game is mostly the socialization device while we enjoy each other's company with some structure.

I'll stop here before I start talking gaming - after Saturday I've been feeling the meta-gaming-discussion bug hit hard.

mmm gaming!

well, kinda.

i recently bought the latest version of One More Turn Civ. lucky my wife's sick and in bed... otherwise, i'd feel bad about spending all my time adjusting my citizen's productivity.

Designing fish cages and breakwaters to get out of here, doing miscellaneous labor and dressing up as an elf (Santa kind, not RPG kind) on the weekends, all in the noble pursuit of food, housing, and a piece of paper that hasn't quite gotten me a job yet.

First, this was probably not the Sunday morning to praise the Raiders.

Second, efgoldman, after what you did to the Raiders in terms of Randy Moss alone (giving us a shite draft pick for, trading to the Vikes for a better pick despite him being older, slower), you should just keep your words to yourself.

And I'm not even talking about "The Call Whose Name We Will Not Speak."

Which was, probably, the worst call in the history of professional sports - because they got it right on the field, then had a chance to review it, and then got it wrong AFTER reviewing it.

Any team other than the Raiders, as owned by Al Davis, would not have that call go against them.

PS: Tom Brady's hair. Seriously?

It's snowing! Which is not a good thing...the Great Washington Demolition Derby will start soon. I wish I didn't have to drive in it but needs must. On days like this I wish I had a Humvee.

Shorter Eric: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!


Ugh, I'll cut you.


The words "I'll cut you" must, must always, always be followed with the word "fool."

I don't know why Raider fans are still whining about that game. It would make a little more sense if it was, say, the Superbowl or AFC championship game such that greater glory ahead was guaranteed, but who remembers losses that would have otherwise resulted in a trip to the AFC Championship game?

And you were in the Superbowl the next year. Sheesh.


An extremely useful tool in our (apparently successful) campaign to not-spoil our kids was the FAO Schwarz catalogue. We used this to introduce the crucial concepts of "we can't afford it" and "costs more than it's worth". For things like Happy Meals, I've found that even quite young children are able to grasp evironmental externalities (often better than adults do). So, one doesn't get a Happy Meal because it's wasteful, or it makes junk that then someone has to clean up.

I can't quite remember about age 5, but by age 7 we were talking about ads with them: how the thing looks more fun in the ad than in real life, how easily the thing is likely to break, etc.

@ von
"Southern New England" in my case is, since 2002, live in Cumberland RI, work in Smithfield. Born and brought up in Brookline, MA. Spent 18 years as a married adult in Belmont, brought our daughter up there. My wife is from nowhere, MA (Whitman, which is at least 1/2 hour from any major highway ramp). Got her music degree, in her 40s, from UMass Lowell. Her college graduation and our daughter's from Belmont High were the same day in '99 - some fun logistics, let me tell you.

BTW we knew we were bringing up our daughter exactly right when, the same day, my wife's mother told us we were way too easy on her, and spoiling her rotten, and my mom told me we were way, way too hard on her. SCORE!


Because the previous season, despite having the far superior team, we were bounced by the Ravens when Siragusa quite literally bounced on Gannon, knocking him out of the game for a bit, and limiting his efficacy when he came back (PS: NFL changed the rules the next year to outlaw Siragusa-style hits on quarterbacks).

The Ravens went on to beat a hapless Giants team that the Raiders would have undoubtedly walked all over too.

Then, the shot at redemption the next season gets snatched away by the crappiest call ever. The rest of the competition that year, again, looked very, very, very beatable.

When we finally got to the big dance the next year, we had the remarkable luck of playing the team coached by Jon MotherFing Gruden, who was our coach up until that year.

Meanwhile, Bill "The Genius" Callahan didn't significantly change offensive playbook, or even bother to change the audible calls or sequences, thus allowing Gruden's knowledge to keep us stymied.

So Raiders fans are bitter because in a 3 year window when our team had a legit shot at winning it all, we were denied in cruel fashion each year.

It hasn't helped that our team has been breathtakingly miserable ever since.

@ Eric Martin
Or, maybe Raiders fans are bitter because the Tuck game was payback for Ben Drieth phantom roughing-the-passer call (and the equally egregious holding non-call on Phil Villapiano) in the '76 playoff game.

Just get over it already.

Its football, not bleeping Vietnam or Iraq.

The rest of the competition that year, again, looked very, very, very beatable.

I don't know, I think the Rams might have smushed you that year (you were only 10-6).

How is it that you're a Raiders fan? I think you explained at least once but I forget.

(I really don't have a team, but having grown up in the midwest w/o a local NFL franchise and lived on both coasts, I can come up with a sort-of-legit claim to any of the 49ers, Raiders, Cardinals, Rams, Vikings, Bears, Chiefs, Patriots, Ravens and Redskins, one of which is usually halfway decent at any point in time).

the Tuck game was payback for Ben Drieth phantom roughing-the-passer call (and the equally egregious holding non-call on Phil Villapiano) in the '76 playoff game.

And who could forget the undersea, unexplained mass sponge migration viewed by a certain Dr. Stantz, or the Philadelphia mass turbulence of 1947 involving symmetrical book stacking.

How is it that you're a Raiders fan?

I knew a guy who was a Raiders fan because as a young child, he thought they were the Oaklyn (NJ) Raiders, representing a nearby town of roughly 4000 people. By time he realized they were the Oakland Raiders, he was too invested to change teams. I'm pretty sure he went so far as to get a Raiders tattoo on his arm.

I lived in the Bay Area from ages 1-7, and developed a hankering for the Raiders and SF Giants.

Lost the latter when I came over and was rooting for the Yanks to beat the hated Dodgers in 1981. Kept the Raiders.

Its football, not bleeping Vietnam or Iraq.

It's precisely because this isn't Nam, elfy. There are rules.

My almost five year old is spoiled. Not terribly so, but enough to grate. When I was his age, we didn't have a lot of money: getting a happy meal from McD's was casue for celebration.

When I was his age, there weren't any Happy Meals. You got a burger and fries and brought your own toy, and you liked it!

I feel your pain, though. Our youngest isn't exactly spoiled, but she wants what she wants when she wants it, and is crushed when she doesn't get it (which is usually). She was that way at 10 months, when we first met her, and has been that way since. Some aspects of personality you don't have much to do with.

She also does an uncanny imitation of Violet Beauregard, from either the Gene Wilder or Johnny Depp Willy Wonka, on demand. At age 9, this doesn't bode well for prospective significant others, or current daddies.

Relative to when-I-was-a-kid land, though, the kids are both spoiled rotten in nearly every respect. One of which is that they have parents that encourage them, teach them, read to them, and bring them to professional hair care establishments for their periodic shearing. As opposed to, recall, the chair and electric trimmers (with plastic clip-on guards set at Short, Extra Short, and Third Degree Scalp Sunburn).

@ Eric Martin


Where'n hell THAT come from. I've been called a lot of things...

There are rules.
And Ben Dreith was such a good referee that he knew what the damned roughing-the-passer standard would be 30 years in the future, and called THAT rule!

[and damn, I wish ObWi would go to some other system that would allow hilite/press a button for html formatting]

Dear Great and All-Powerful American Retail Industry -

I realize that it's that time of year again, and while I admire those of you who continue to hold the line and not put the Christmas sh1t out before Halloween, with notable exceptions to be dealt with later (*cough* Target, *cough* Macy's), which is easy enough to do because that gives you EIGHT FULL FNCKING WEEKS for the Christmas shopping rush/season/extravaganza/orgy, Christmas being on the same day each year in all (it's Jesus's Birthday, dontchyaknow), would it hurt that much to, you know, put out just a single roll (or two) of Hanukah-themed wrapping paper amongst the reams and reams of Christmas-themed said paper, Hanukah starting December 1st this year and all?

It does? Nevermind then.

@ Slartibartfast

...you forgot that's the way it was, and we LIKED it!

Also get off my lawn.

Hey, my kid kicked me out of the bed before she was born. Fast asleep, my (8 months pregnant) wife and I rolled into each other, fast asleep, in the middle of the bed. WHAM!!. Kicked me right in the kidneys, the little unborn bugger did. I was in HER space, dammit, and she wasn't having any!

Same kid, when she was eight or nine, sitting at the table as I started something: "Daddy, is this really important or is it just another when I was your age story?"

Oh I was doomed. She's almost 30 now and married, and I'm still doomed.

Its football, not bleeping Vietnam or Iraq.

What is it they say about academic politics? It's so bitter because the stakes are so small?

When I was his age, there weren't any Happy Meals. You got a burger and fries and brought your own toy, and you liked it!

Actually, this is true. I did like it, partly because going out for a burger was a rare treat - these kids today!! - and partly because the burger surely tasted better than today's fast food offerings.

@ Ugh

I'm in Northern Rhode Island, where my Stop&Shop simply ignores the page of Jewish holiday specials in the appropriate weekly circular. The matzoh specials at Passover? Never heard of it. Gefilte Fish? If its not in the canned goods or ethnic aisle, we don't have it.

Yeah, I've had conversations with the store manager. Might as well ask Benedict to stock menorahs in the Vatican bookstore. Ain't gonna' happen.

On the other hand, the Target in the same mall has a couple boxes of Hanukah paper (and also non-Xtian themes) mixed in with the wrappings that are in the weekly special. I'm guessing the whole aisle came that way from the warehouse, and every store got the same mix.

Which brings me to my RANT!!!
Who was the bleeping genius who decided to start programming the damned holiday music - on the radio and therefore in the stores - the damned week before bleeping THANKSGIVING!!!

He (and I'm certain its a he) MUST be tied to a chair, in a soundproof room, earphones stapled to his head, and listen to EVERY FNCKING MINUTE OF IT

And I say that as someone who loves the music. But in my almost 20 years on the radio, we waited until the first fncing weekend in December, at least.

I'm still doomed

If I ever got a tattoo, it would probably say something like that.

Oh, and the wedding ring tat because I lost two wedding rings in the first year or so of marriage. That I haven't lost any (permanently, that is) in the 15 years or so since is something that doesn't MATTER, you know?

efgoldman, this one's for you.

Suddenly It's Christmas by Loudon Wainwright

Jacob's wise, insightful, and correct words:

[...] Appreciating the value of things is very important, but taken to an extreme is the motivating behavior of hoarders. (I'm not a million miles from that myself in some ways.) Things are just things, in the end, and it is just as much of a mistake to overvalue them as undervalue them.

The desire for material gratification may only be a phase in discovering the true value of physical things.

I have fair amount to say about this topic, eventually.

Meanwhile: I don't recommend this to anyone, nor do I suggest that similar events or circumstances would produce similar results in anyone else, other than possibly, but my purely personal and subjective experience has been that two things -- among others - drastically changed my entire view on life, and possessions.

1) Near-death experience. Including:

a) Short and intense: being trapped five stories high in a an apartment building fire with very strong reason to believe for several minutes that there is no escape;

b) Prolonged over several weeks: unconfirmed by strong tentative diagnosis with prognosis of death within the year (turned out they were wrong):

c) ~ 48 hours of being told you must be operated on as immediately as possible to prevent something that could at any moment cause your death within several minutes, and that you've been in this condition for months; this diagnosis was correct.

2) Losing all your possesions in life in two stages, when you had one of the top ten collections in private hands in the world of a certain small, but not tiny, field, a huge library of your own work, a much huger library of tens of thousands of books, including hundreds by people you have long mutual personal histories with, and many unique and singular items, including the original manually typed manuscripts of works by reasonably well-known writers of significance to at least some tens of thousands of people, if not a couple of hundred thousand, some items by seriously important writers with millions of fans, and major critical reputations and life work that were one of perhaps 4 known surviving copies, and... much more.

Yes, everything is temporary.

We never actually "possess" anything.

All we can do is place it in our proximity, and make use of it, and choose how we will behave towards others who wish to interact with it.

It can go at any moment.

It's important to know this.

I don't recommend my methodology for truly knowing this.

I do recommend everyone find a way to also know it, in their own way, in their bones, their forebrain, and their heart.

A good, safe, undamaging way.


That was my attempt at bringing the Big Lebowski into it, but my dyslexia is showing.

Funny, and it makes zero sense, but I've been reading your name as "elfgodman" instead of "efgoldman" for all these many years.

So you got "elfy" instead of "effy" which was a play on "smokey" from the movie.

Vat's it all about, elfy?


I'll stop here
Please don't.
before I start talking gaming

Please do. ObWi is a Geek-Safe Space, a Geek-Safe Blog. It should be a Safe place for all who don't cross certain lines.

Moe Lane, bless his shriveled heart, established the geekiness of this with his founding posts. Which included much about his gaming, science fiction and fantasy, and allied topics. You can click on the archives to see for yourself.

I intend to, without turning this into a primarily geek-focused blog, neither Boing Boing nor Gizmodo, nor any other existing blog, nor to change ObWi in any significant way, but to emphasize that this blog is also a place to write and discuss intelligently on, and back and forth about, popular culture, subcultures, alternative cultures, unpopular culture, genres, the foolishness of genres, the glories of genres, science fiction, comics, gaming, geekdom, robots, toys, collecting of any sort, geek culture, dorkishness, the geek hierarchy, and all manner of such topics as freely as high culture, academic literature, public policy, dire politics, civil liberties, human rights, foreign policy, domestic policy, outrages, philosophy, law, SCOTUS, Congress, torture, detention, war, peace, hobbies, books, semiotics, all sciences, psychology, neurology, astronomy, sociology, anthropology, history, art, music, weird science, news of the strange, blogging, metadiscussion of any kind, and plenty more.

That's what they got when they hired me, insofar as I have any say about, at least, what's welcome in my threads and insofar as I have any right to my say on general ObWi policy.


- after Saturday I've been feeling the meta-gaming-discussion bug hit hard.
Fire away.

Don't expect me to be back to respond, but go for it and I hope someone else will.

On an open thread, in particular, anything that isn't over the line by way of the usual reasons is open.

That is, I certainly don't speak for von, and it's entirely up to him to tell me I'm full of it.

But that's my understanding of what we mean by an "open thread" around this blog: not that people should self-censor because of fear their life and interests are too boring.

Yours are not, reader. Not until you cut and paste in long irrelvant rants you post in multiple copies throughout blogdom, violate the Posting Rules, cross certain lines, are a dangerous lunatic, or one of the front-pagers here tells you otherwise.

The other front-pagers should, as moved, tell me if I've gotten anything wrong here, in their view, please.

I like "elfy". Anyway, nickname recipients only get a veto, not a vote, isn't that how it works?

When I was his age, there weren't any Happy Meals.
I think we've probably had these exchanges on this blog several times now, but one can't make certain links enough, so this is my favorite version, though there are close seconds that others may now explain they prefer.

I really do have some thoughts on teaching kids some ideas I have about money and possessions and responsibility, but I have thoughts of all sorts on what and how to teach kids, and little or no practical experience. Perhaps I'll decide to throw my suggestions out there at some time, with that caveat, and actual parents can tell me how stupid my notions are, but definitely not now.

The words "I'll cut you" must, must always, always be followed with the word "fool."
The word "fool" must always be preceded by "I pity the." It's in the Chicago Manual of Style.

I'd never mislead you on this.

@ Gary Farber
The word "fool" must always be preceded by "I pity the." It's in the Chicago Manual of Style.

Ahh, but what does Strunk say?

Apologies for multiple messages, but frankly I've been in a lot of pain today, and having a Stay Inside day, and am unsure at the moment whether I can finish anything longer than a sentence or two at a time.


What is it they say about academic politics? It's so bitter because the stakes are so small?
Narcissism of small differences. It's everywhere, and it's crucial to be able to spot it.

Hmmm... no guffaws, not even a snort. I must be losing my touch.

@ ral

missed it the first time thru.

made me groan.

surely your true intended result.

and don't call me...


heh heh heh You just wait -- my next post will be your fault. I love pre-emptive blame-shifting. *is cryptic*

Oh, well, then, for some Jewish readers, or any who might sympathize at this time of year, unless, of course, you're offended, so, you know, have whatever reaction you'll have, whomever you are, and thanks and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Re: nonspoiling kids --

Hmmm. A lot of this sounds hard to do. Being consistent, talking to them, teaching them things ..... sounds like work. I think I'll just convince them that they have a terminal illness, trap them in a high-rise fire, and thow away all their possessions once they get out. Seems to do the trick.

In sincerity, thanks for the ideas. This parenting thing is hard. And, tho' I kid a little, Gary has a good point that certain things can only be learned through experiences that were definitely unwanted at the time. I've been lucky that none of my experiences even came close those survived by others.

On an unrelated note:

Rhode Island, represent. Me? Born: Providence, RI. I spent many a summer vacation there visiting the family, and I was back in Westerly not too long ago -- albeit, regrettably, to celebrate the life of someone who's gone.

OK then: my favorite place in the whole world is Block Island. I've gone there almost every summer since 1972. It's not the same now that the Surf Hotel is closed, but it's still where my heart is.

"I think I'll just convince them that they have a terminal illness, trap them in a high-rise fire, and thow away all their possessions once they get out. Seems to do the trick."

Now, if I had thought someone was deliberately doing this to me....

I can also say as safely as anyone can that I'm not suddenly going to change my beliefs about what life is and isn't, and what death is and isn't, when confronted.

I'd like to buy Christopher Hitchens a drink, and tell him in person that this is one of the points we see eye to eye on, and I'll hope I get the chance.

The most unlikely part is that he'd bother to talk to me, unless, of course, there were no one else around, and I had the bottle.

I didn't mention what was, in fact, the greatest lesson I've learned from the events I mentioned above, and one of the greatest lessons of my life.

It took almost twenty years for this lesson to finally break through, until I was ready for it, which is to say, only in the last year or so, but which I don't think I would yet have reached without those experiences, and, frankly, the right medications, which I've only been on for the last two years.

The lesson is not something you can think, it's not something that you can gain from reading it, hearing it, or being told it -- you can only come to it on your own path, in your way, and know it because you feel it, as well as understand it, and the former is what can't be taught.

It's that these cliches are true:
We all truly die.

And that's okay, in the end.

There's no more to fear in death than there was to fear in your existence before your chromosones formed.

We go out as we came in.

I'm full of flaws, fears, the ability to change for better or worse; I have no desire to die in the foreseeable future, and would much prefer eventual uploading as an AI if that becomes an option, and I'm not saying I won't experience fear whenever Death next comes to pay a personal boo-ya directly at me, because I absolutely will, and panic, and worse.

But I've learned that, that, too, won't matter.

It's only sometimes that this makes a big difference to me, but when it does, it does.

I think there are as many paths to really feeling that, or not, as there are people and feelings.

That was a small part of mine.

Rhode Island, represent. Me? Born: Providence, RI.

Are we talking Rhode Island now?

I myself spent five years at the Providence Hebrew Day School, with half of each day devoted to biblical translation.

That was OK, but I do remember being outraged to learn that other grade schools got out for summer a month or so earlier than we did, because we needed the extra time for secular subjects to meet state accreditation requirements.

That sort of soured me on the whole deal.

Sorry. Here is the whole song. (Blossom Dearie is a much underappreciated singer, IMO.)

On a more minor point, my own reaction to omg omg omg omg i'm about to die when opening a door to face pitch blackness of carbon, beyond which lies intolerable heat, and flame you know only by its sound, its smell, and the heat, because in a true fire, in true smoke, there's no sight: the air is opaque, is to not have my life flash before my eyes, but to slam the door shut, dive for the floor for air, think omg omg omg omg i'm about to die and simultaneously imagine every possible alternative action available to take -- this not being the hard part, given the quite small number of possible actions that made any sense at all, which boiled down immediately to one and a half -- and then crawling simultaneously as fast as imaginable in utter darkness, coughing your lungs out and choking anyway, along the floor, to the other room, where you can smash over everything in front of the window, smash open the sealed, painted-over, window, having remembered several years after you slammed your front door shut, after first having made it through the choking blackness to the bathroom, turning on the shower and faucets, dismissing the idea of trying to wait there to be rescued, that there is an actual fire escape beyond that hidden, sealed, window, get through the broken glass, on to the fire escape encased in inches of thick ice, covered with several inches of snow from one of the heaviest days of snowfall of the year, dressed solely in jeans, and a tee-shirt that you snatched on when you woke from your sleep from the sounds of people screaming, and sirens, and your sudden choking, maneuver in your bare feet, with your ambloypia, out onto the fire escape, even though you see that the only way down is to go through the flames stabbing several feet out of the window of the apartment below you, pause, make up your mind, go through the flames from the fourth floor window, get to the third floor level of the escape, slipping and catching on the ice, realize there's a woman and child in front of you, screaming, help them through their window, onto the frozen metal, and solely though an adrenaline reaction I hope to never again have in my life, somehow break free the ladder at the second floor level from not-been-moved-in-decades stuckedness, underneath the ice, enough for it to drop down, help the woman and child down through the ladder to drop and be caught the remaining number of feet (14? 18? Don't ask me, I wasn't there at the time), then drop down myself, barefoot, into a conveniently large pile of snow, and then, helped by others, make my way across the street, which was, of course, jammed with onlookers enjoying watching our half of the building burning down, well supplied by a near-by food vendor cart who moved from his usual position around the corner and a block away to meet the demands of the crowds for food to go with the late night entertainment. The neighborhood dope dealers also did well.

Then, after a while, a woman notices you're barefoot, in a tee shirt, in the snow, and brings you a pair of her boy's sneakers, which is very nice indeed of her.

Then you start to realize you're going to live.

Eventually you get to put on underwear again.

That's how it works for me, anyway.

Most people's mileage varies in this, I suspect.

Others may find similar events less memorable.

Oh, and this may be a good argument against sleeping naked.

Also, it turns out that, as usual, the news from 1910 is the same as the news was in 1991, and I suspect still is today.

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