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My favorite shoes are dying. Help me find replacements.
If you're open to chunkier shoes that are similar to but not ballet flats, Trippen shoes are resolable and very sturdy. Here is a different pair.

These are really not ballet flats, but they are feminine and have ballet flat qualities: I had a couple of pairs of Trippen Viviennes that I wore alternating, daily, for a couple of years. I wore those shoes hard and I wore them year round - I wore them to bike, I wore them when I was walking 4.5 miles a… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:00 AM on September 1, 2015

Do I have to break up with my Moop?
I bet you could consign that baby at a fashionable consignment place if you're in a big city. Or if there's a part of metafilter (or metachat?) where it's appropriate to post that you're selling something, I bet a moop backpack would go. Yeah, you won't get $197 for it, of course, but if it's in good shape...if I were looking for a nice secondhand backpack from a moop-level maker, I would be willing to pay ~$45 if it were in good shape.

If this were me, I'd take the… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:15 AM on August 31, 2015 marked best answer
Or hey, here's a thought - it's canvas, right? If you do replace it, fold it small and take it to Prague with you. When I worked in China, neither time did I take my favorite backpack and both times I spent a lot of time wishing I had it. You may find that you have a better feel for what's a safe bag, or you may find that you need a big backpack one day, etc.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:18 AM on August 31, 2015

How to disinfect leather dress shoes
I would wipe the interior down with a rag liberally dampened with rubbing alcohol. If I were really anxious, I would wipe them down with a soapy rag, quickly rinse them and let them dry away from heating elements.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:44 PM on August 30, 2015

Do you trigger warning? Would you want one?
I struggle with this very problem in a class I run! Well, with different materials.

I haven't found anyone to refuse the material. Mostly what I've found is that by preparing students, I create a mood in class where the topic is treated respectfully, and I tip students off that I am not just uncritically supporting [problematic thing].

When I write the course description, I include a short paragraph saying that the class will… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:38 PM on August 28, 2015

Can we keep our relationship intact?
If she's really committed to the relationship, she - like you - will need to accept that "open relationship" usually isn't "have sex with anyone you want at any time". Sometimes that means that you can't act on feelings you have, even though you are technically in an open relationship. I think that's difficult to get one's head around at first - it's quite possible that she's not actually being villainous or breaking up with you or whatever. Maybe she's just confused and… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:31 AM on August 26, 2015

Mention possible bedbugs to roommates?
I have gotten summer mystery bites at night. Several were pretty severe and took weeks to stop itching and disappear. Once, it turned out that a housemate's pet had fleas. Other times, I have no idea what it was. However - it wasn't bedbugs!

Now, this could be bedbugs, as far as I can tell from obsessive research, because bedbugs can be weird.

However, the bedbug growth cycle takes about 40 days and as I understand it,… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:17 AM on August 25, 2015
Also, if there are enough bedbugs to be staining the mattress, you should be getting more bites. Mattresses can accrue tiny spots.

Basically, if there are enough bedbugs living in your bed to be making multiple visible spots on the mattress and we know that you get itchy from bites, you should be seeing a lot more bites. You might be getting bitten quite a lot and still have trouble spotting actual bugs, but it seems unlikely that… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:23 AM on August 25, 2015

My email is in the Ashley Madision leak. Should I care?
At my university, you can request a change to your university email address. If the address you used on AM isn't too revealing (ie mhar008 rather than melissa.harkness) you could probably just change your email on your end and ask the people who maintain your program webpages to change it. This wouldn't totally do away with the possibility of being found, but over time it should provide some help.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:29 AM on August 20, 2015

First World Problems
I feel a lot of guilt! I mean, if it helps. I live in a poor neighborhood and have a pink collar gig with good insurance.

I think this is a good idea:

Perhaps a budget would help, where x% goes to help those around you, y% goes to retirement, z% goes to mad money for eating out etc. When x is gone, it's gone. This way things are balanced and you don't have to think about it too much.

Except that I… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:29 AM on August 19, 2015

Disclosing my depression/medications in profile on a date site?
I don't think you should disclose until later on, for these reasons:

1. I think it's ableist for people to say categorically that they won't date someone with a particular very common medical condition - a particular person's depression might be a dealbreaker, true - and I see no reason why you should preemptively seek to make things easy for those folks. Let them put it on their profiles and own that attitude.… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:57 AM on August 14, 2015

Landlord is Trying to Break My "Lease with Option to Buy" for more $$
Consider that you can talk to a lawyer and after that start out pretty gentle: "Friend, I wanted to talk to you about the agreement we signed last spring. When you let me know that you were planning on selling, I went back and looked at it to see what it said. I wasn't sure how your decision to sell fit in with it, so I double-checked with a lawyer and [....]. I'd still really like to buy, and it looks like our agreement is legally binding. What are you thinking?… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:05 AM on August 11, 2015

Fourth engagement by 30 and unsure (again)- what do you think?
I just want to tell you: every guy I ever dated seriously offered to marry me. In general, that made me feel trapped. I could have had four engagements by thirty if I'd wanted to, on much the same pattern that you have. I tended to date nice, serious guys who wanted to settle down and who came from social backgrounds where people married early - so they all would have been perfectly happy to get married. I deterred them as much as possible but felt guilty about it and wondered if I'd wind up… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:21 PM on August 7, 2015

For me it's never "F*ck Yes"
Some questions which come to mind:

1. How are you on trusting people in general? Would you say that you trust people fairly easily based on standard [doesn't seem skeevy, doesn't seem to lie to people, etc] metrics? How do you feel as you go through your day? Do you feel relaxed around strangers? In what situations are you very vigilant?

2. How do you know that someone's attractive? Obviously, you look at someone and want to look again, yes,… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:24 AM on August 7, 2015

What do I do with this video?
From your question, it sounds as though the guy wanted you to record the interaction but you have no way of getting in touch with him? Why not shoot an email over to CopWatch? If he gets out of jail, he might conceivably check in there, for one thing.

Good on you, though - you certainly have the right reflexes. I'm not always very good at it, and I think it's easy to assume that once you start observing cops it's going to be non-stop excitement… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:24 PM on August 5, 2015

My Mother Took Out a Life Insurance Policy On Me Without My Consent
I am wondering - I used to work (in a very entry-level capacity) for a life insurance company, and at least the company I worked for (US-based) would not have issued a policy on an adult child to the parents absent some very compelling reason (ie, parents are disabled, you are their only support). In fact, I remember that the company turned down a case where the children wanted to insure the parents for no particular reason - it was considered "moral hazard", in that the children were… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:10 AM on August 3, 2015

Cooking for Company
You want a jazzed up yorkshire pudding. Make the following changes to this recipe:

1. Any kind of non-skim milk will do

2. Bake in a single dish - I use a different version of this Le Creuset oval dish, but a 9" cake pan will do.

3. After you have heated the dish, removed it from the oven, added the butter and added the batter, scatter on top of the batter any of the following, leaving about a 1.5" gap… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:53 AM on July 30, 2015
(For more people, double the recipe - for 4-6 adults plus kids, I think two puddings would do easily. And leftovers keep very well.)
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:57 AM on July 30, 2015

How to ethically spend/allocate leftover grant funds?
In our grant environment this type of thing is spelled out in the award letter. We definitely have had grants where "extra" funds can be allocated to other organizational needs as long as the project aims have been met as specified - but again, it's spelled out in the award letter. Can you get access to look at the letter without making your boss angry?
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:36 AM on July 28, 2015
(Oh, that's a good question - does the other person support you or people who work on the grant? My salary comes from IDC even though I don't "work on" any grants, what with lacking the relevant pipetting skills, because I support those who do.)
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:37 AM on July 28, 2015
What's more, someone at your organization is writing a report to the granting body to close out the award (unless this is some smallish, very idiosyncratic foundation - but $120,000 is a big award for a foundation so probably not). That person will be accounting for what was spent and they'll need either to assert that it was all spent on your salary and program costs or to explain that there was $3000 "extra" and it went to another area.

Who manages awards… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:23 AM on July 28, 2015
I will say that I know people who have worked at small nonprofits where what you describe goes on - spending excess project funds on operational costs, for instance. I think it is pretty common in small nonprofits, and I expect that there's some informal recognition of this by granting bodies. From people I know, I've never heard of the money being used unethically - for personal stuff or for something that does not harmonize with the project - and I… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:21 AM on July 29, 2015

Kids left in car??
Like a lot of people of my generation, I was routinely left in the car when my mother ran short errands - in fact, I'd often ask to stay in the car so I could read and not stand in line at the post office, etc. This was certainly happening by the time I was eight. We left the car doors locked and the windows cracked if it was warm. Sometimes I got a little nervous, but not nervous enough to want to stand in line. A kid can feel nervous without it being a reasonable fear… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:10 AM on July 27, 2015 marked best answer
(Oh gosh, I for some reason misread this and thought it was nieces visiting....my feeling is still that this is not a crisis, but that your partner certainly does have more standing to talk about it. Again, I would probably bring it up because I'd be worried about my ex getting arrested and the impact that would have on the girls rather than because I'd be worried about the safety of the kids in the car.)
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:16 AM on July 27, 2015

My Mom and Dad aren't in the fairy tale marriage I thought...
Just a thought: your mother is only what, 44? That seems pretty old when it's a parent and you're in your twenties, but it's not really very old at all. It's certainly young enough for it to be realistic to major changes in your life, or to realize that what you thought you wanted when you were young and comparatively helpless doesn't make you happy.

That doesn't mean you should be your mother's confidant, of course, and the other suggestions in this thread about bowing… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:34 AM on July 25, 2015

What do I do with this money?
Mail it back to the accounting department with a letter explaining the situation. You can even address it to Engineering Firm/Accounting Department/1500 Engineering BLVD/Industrial City, if you like. The mail room will sort it out.

It doesn't matter where the money is - refunded, with the state, still attached to the check. This will become the company's problem, or not become a problem if they've already dealt with it.

If you don't want to do… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:20 AM on July 23, 2015

Weird Furniture Phenomenon: Please Explain
Two thoughts:

if you moved it yourself, you may have pulled on it in a one-sided way so that it wobbled around and everything is now at an angle to where it should be. If that's the case, try going in and tightening all the screws - many have probably worked loose.

Is your floor crooked? Try rolling a marble - does it roll quickly to one side of the room? If so, you might need shims to equalize the legs of the dresser. An uneven floor could… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:58 PM on July 17, 2015

I've got 25 miles and a very sore bum [Long distance biking question]
The only new bikes I've ever seen in the neighborhood of $200 are from Target or Walmart. I had one once in a pinch, and it got me around town, but it was heavy, uncomfortable and didn't handle well.

Locally (MPLS; you're out east so I imagine things are more expensive) I've started seeing some adequate bikes for around $350 - Jamis, mainly.

Your total round trip is ten miles? If you're not planning on riding in the snow, a $350 Jamis would… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:04 AM on July 16, 2015
Also, if you're starting a daily 10 mile bike commute, make sure you can fix a flat and carry supplies to do so. Also, get used to carrying minor bike kit stuff - you'll be far enough from home/work that it will be a huge drag to have to walk your bike if it breaks down.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:06 AM on July 16, 2015
On the used bike front - if you're getting a cheap enough used bike ($150 range including all fixes) it probably makes more sense to just ride the $150 bike until it dies and then replace it, rather than putting a lot of money into fixing it. That might, all around, be the cheapest way to do this. Of course, then you're bike-shopping every ten months or so.

Bike costs for me, past five years - I ride every day, some years about 10 miles a day but right now only five or… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:32 AM on July 17, 2015 marked best answer

Befriending the Ex
I became good friends with a partner's ex, despite feeling pretty hostile to her initially. Actually meeting her and spending time with her allowed me to see her as a person and to observe how she interacted with my partner rather than to build her up as a menacing figure in my head.

How big is the Big Event? Is this more like a panel at an SF convention or more like a large dinner party? How emotionally significant is the Big Event? If it's a big but not… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:46 PM on July 16, 2015 marked best answer

workplace woes: my boss seems to love correcting + debating minutia
I had something like this - someone would push me for very detailed information at the drop of a hat. (Not exactly like, but it did often result in me spitballing.) After a couple of months of me saying "I don't know without checking on [X]; let me look at my files and I can get you the answer in [time]", it all stopped.

I would say, get in the habit of being super precise or else signposting "I am thinking about this and would like to look at my data… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:21 AM on July 16, 2015

How can I wear earrings again?
I have exactly this problem intermittently. I've gotten captive bead hoop earrings in stainless, titanium, niobium and gold over the years (the gold ones are from before gold prices went nuts; they were $65 and I thought that was a lot). Basically, when my ears are acting up I wear the captive bead ones day and night for a few weeks. I clean with alcohol occasionally.

Here are some teal captives from Body Artforms, which is a very reliable seller - I've bought all… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:49 AM on July 16, 2015

Why might people want more sex in my writing? Why don't I?
What are you writing? Is it a genre which conventionally has more sex scenes? Does your plot depend on some kind of sexual experience by your characters?

Who are your readers? What do they normally read?

Frankly, I read relatively little serious fiction with explicit sex in it - the kind of books that I tend to read don't really depend much on explicitly describing sexual acts. If I regularly read slash fanfic, erotica, many subgenres of… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:15 AM on July 15, 2015

All-purpose classy-looking daily shoes/boots that will last for a while?
What you want is to break the bank and get a pair of the made-in-France goodyear welted Mephistos, as here. Many Mephistos are ugly and even the "classy" ones don't, IMO, have the grace of a proper dress shoe. But I've actually got a pair of the linked ones (second hand via eBay) and they're good, solid, comfortable shoes. I don't think they'll fall apart on you even after a year of heavy wear.

Frankly, I have some really sturdy boots from French and… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:04 AM on July 15, 2015

Tell me about your favorite sophisticated-looking backpack.
Cote & Ciel bags are really spendy, but I've seen them on sale for high-reasonable prices on other websites. In my heart I kind of want one but they're some kind of funded-by-Apple thing and so I have hesitated because tech bros, but they sure look neat.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:35 AM on July 13, 2015

Question on the ethics of storytelling
White person, here. Terry Bisson, who is white, wrote a well-regarded science fiction novel called Fire On The Mountain which is set in a (sorta future, partly alternate history) South which is majority black. He drew very heavily on his experience in the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee, work in Black-led radical organizations, his life in the South and just...basically being a white guy with a substantially Black and POC social circle.

Honestly, I… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:56 AM on July 12, 2015
As I've been thinking about this, I've been thinking about several of the comments here that have said that men write women characters all the time, and I've been wondering whether this is really a good parallel to your situation.

I was thinking - I read many male authors who write women characters, but I would find it distinctly odd if a man wrote a future-US SF novel set in a society where there were only women. It would feel creepy to me, no matter how well done.… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:59 AM on July 13, 2015

Help me maximize fat loss without bulking up more
I just want to say that as an AFAB person not on hormones, I started lifting weights and "bulked up" enough that I'm having trouble with my clothes fitting. I am visibly bigger and different looking than I was six months ago. I haven't "bulked up" like a competitive lifter and - being kind of pudgy - I don't have a lot of muscle definition, but I do look different. This is perfectly possible for women, depending on your body type and how easily you put on muscle.… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:47 AM on July 12, 2015

a big ole bag of confusion, a possible engagement, and me
The only way this would work would be if it were a...a...marriage of convenience or a mariage blanc, where you were intentionally getting together for the economic security and companionship and both comfortable seeking sexual relationships elsewhere or both uninterested in sex. I have seen this kind of thing work when both partners are truly emotionally onboard - not without its own issues, but all relationships have issues. But unless that is something both you and your… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:36 AM on July 8, 2015

What can go wrong with an exit interview?
If you are pressured and really can't get out of it, say bland things, just as you would for trick questions at a job interview. "I really enjoyed working with Manager and learned a lot". "Oh, no, I didn't really have any difficulty in working for any of my supervisors, so I don't have an example of a conflict....No, really, I can't think of anything." "Oh, I'm leaving because I want to learn some new skills at [place]; this has been a wonderful experience but I am… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:46 PM on July 7, 2015

Déclassé, gauche, or acceptable?
This sounds like it should be a targeted request - pick the people you're fairly certain would like to buy you a little get-well present, like close friends and family. A lot of these "can I ask for [gift]" questions seem to me to be questions about knowing your audience. You can ask for things from close friends and near kin that would be gauche and grabby if asked of your larger circle, precisely because your close friends and near kin have a richer and longer-term relationship with… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:44 AM on July 6, 2015

Does persistent back pain/tightness ever get "cured"?
I had a chronic knot by my left shoulder blade for years - not as bad as yours but always present and it would hurt when I was stressed. Lat raises (not bench pressing, kind of the opposite of bench pressing) cleared it up after about a month. Your situation seems more serious than mine but if you're at the gym for yoga or something anyway, maybe try lat raises? I started out with an appropriate weight (15 pound dumbells) and did two sets of twelve on each side, kneeling/resting my opposite… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:50 PM on July 2, 2015

Can I eat this? Berry edition
In our part of SMPLS - an old/active industrial area - there were arsenic spumes and you have to test the soil before gardening, then do raised-bed if your soil isn't good. On the theory that your part of town probably isn't any better, I would give these a miss.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:46 PM on July 1, 2015

How can I feel comfortable with my psychiatrist again?
Someone could be very good for/to you with one problem - the first bout of serious depression - while not being good for/to you for other problems. Maybe this is a guy who can have compassion when someone is in an extreme state but who is really shitty at dealing with people on a routine "I have low level problems" basis. The guy could have helped you a lot - for real, from a place of compassion - in the past, while hurting you badly now.

You don't know… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:46 AM on July 1, 2015
You're right. I'm really prone to exaggeration and hyperbole. I think I am highly likely doing that here and just writing all of this to get sympathy and incite the kind of responses I'm getting here. I'm sure that he was being totally reasonable. I'm trying to regulate myself emotionally, and I shouldn't have said that. I apologize.

Everything you write here sounds like me, and the reason I do it is because I struggle with a balanced understanding of… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:28 AM on July 1, 2015 marked best answer
If this were me - as avoidant as I am, and only giving this advice because you're at the 'what do I do tomorrow' stage - I would go in, pretend it was a normal visit, say what I needed to say and then do a ghost/slow fade and avoid his calls if any. Surely you can get records transferred by letter or through his admin? Basically, just fake it until you have another therapist lined up.

If you can't "break up" with the dude if you have to hear him tell you that… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:00 AM on July 1, 2015 marked best answer
I'm confused and I'm feeling a little paranoid by the therapists here asking about my motivations in posting this question. Is there something I've done wrong? What motivations could I have? I'm really concerned about this skepticism. I promise I don't have any malicious intentions! I'm not gearing up to be litigious in any way. I just want to be a better person and learn how to have a better relationship with my psychiatrist.

Maybe you can have… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:11 AM on July 1, 2015
What I'd do is ask this question to someone in your real life. I personally doubt that you're delusional to the point where you're radically distorting what happened (not just misinterpreting or being a little manipulative as human beings virtually always are). But if you're so delusional that you're radically misunderstanding your job and your interactions with others, someone in your real life will have noticed this.

Do you have a history of substantial delusion?… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:55 AM on July 1, 2015

Limerance Frequency and Duration
To me this sounds a little unusual but not out of the normal range of human emotions - and mostly what sounds unusual to me is the googling.

I'd say that if you can sincerely consider your actions and thoughts and you're sincerely committed to your wife - and if your interactions with crushes don't take time away from building your relationship with your wife - there's no reason to worry about it.

Honestly, I think it's healthy as long as it's… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:19 PM on June 26, 2015

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