Free Thread & Robin
January 24, 2022 10:50 AM   Subscribe

It's a fourth Free Thread and this is the one that has Alicia Silverstone in it I guess? I really hadn't planned this whole thing around the Warner Brothers run of Batman movies but it just sort of happened. Anyway, no link, no topic, just come on in and chatter about stuff. Oh, and if you're newish or lurkerish on MetaFilter or just feeling friendly, you should also stop by the Introduce Yourself thread over on MetaTalk and give a wave.

And for the sake of continuity, here's last week's Free Thread.
posted by cortex (150 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
"play free thread!"
posted by chavenet at 10:56 AM on January 24, 2022 [10 favorites]

I can't be the only one that's having trouble pronouncing "fourth free thread." The best I can manage is "Forth Three Fred!"
posted by SPrintF at 10:57 AM on January 24, 2022 [17 favorites]

Man what a weekend for Football. I know it's not some peoples cup of tea but I never expected my Niners to go this far and yet they are in the NFC championship game! Plus Brady getting knocked out and the nonesense that was the Bills-Chiefs game. Just a stunner all around.
posted by Carillon at 10:58 AM on January 24, 2022 [7 favorites]

Every year when christmas rolls around, i say to myself "damn, i wish like 10 months ago i took up the hobby of knife making, and then i could give a nice chefs knife to my parents as a gift" and I think this year I'm actually going to do it. In my office we have a prototype shop, and that has heat treating ovens, grinders, 6-axis CNC mill, Swiss-style lathe, and a wire EDM. A coworker has a woodworking shop in his garage, so I think he can help me make a handle and a box. Looks like I can buy a blank of steel for about $12 if I go simple, and like $80 if I wanna get crazy fancy.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:00 AM on January 24, 2022 [22 favorites]

I just finished reading my Christmas present, All of the Marvels, in which the author reads ALL of the Marvel comics, looking for common themes and threads and how comics changed to keep with society (or lag behind it a bit, or sometimes push it forward).

His general advice for people who might want to get into comics but don't know where to start is: there is no best place to start, but it is definitely not the very beginning. (And definitely don't read all of the Marvel comics, the author says.)
Just pick a series that appeals to you and go for it. You will be lost, you won't catch all the references, but that's okay.

Anyway, it doesn't make me want to read comics, except for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel, and maybe a newer Dr. Strange series if there is one. It does make me want to go back and rewatch the X-Men animated series though -- that's where my comic book nostalgia was invested.

And now I'm reading Dune, which somehow I got to age 50 as an SF & fantasy fan without having ever approached because of friends who told me it wasn't very good and one kid I didn't like who was obsessed with it. 20 minutes or so in, I like it quite a lot.
posted by Foosnark at 11:01 AM on January 24, 2022 [13 favorites]

I played around with Home Assistant all weekend and...everything just sort of works? It found all the oddball things we have in the house and now I have a nifty little portal to see All The Things. wireguard about the easiest VPN ever to set up? I believe it may be. 10/10 for this past nerd weekend. Saw the grandbaby. He was a little grumpy but it was still a hoot. The sun is out today and it's in the 50s. You'd think that spring was here, but no, it's going to get cold again shortly.
posted by jquinby at 11:02 AM on January 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

Is this one has Alicia Silverstone, then we can all admire the clip that makes it look kind of like she's a giant.
posted by RobotHero at 11:03 AM on January 24, 2022 [7 favorites]

Is this the "Fucking fuck" thread? No? I'm gonna pretend like it is anyway.

My 4-year-old is COVID positive. He got sent home from school with a positive test on Friday, and is out until at least the 31st. We're three months from his 5th birthday and vaccine eligibility, but of course a classroom full of mostly-unvaccinated kindergartners is the ideal vector for omicron. After two years of holding our breaths, we were *this close* to dodging it, but god forbid we close the schools for more than a day or two while this incredibly-virulent strain runs rampant through the school building. Gotta keep the economy open, y'all. Ignore the 32% positive test rate across the city, and cram those kids into those poorly-ventilated rooms like sardines--I'm sure we can trust 4-year-olds to maintain proper mask discipline and hand hygiene.

Mercifully, his symptoms are extremely mild. Mostly he's upset and frustrated because he can't go to see his friends at school, or go outside to play, and he thinks he's being punished for something. But now the rest of the (vaccinated and boosted, but still) household freaks out at the faintest sniffle or sneeze, because jesus christ we're in confined spaces with a COVID-positive person ALL THE TIME because you can't exactly ask a kid that age to isolate in his room for a week.

So please keep us entertained, Metafilter, while we endure the long cold dark of COVID winter.
posted by Mayor West at 11:24 AM on January 24, 2022 [51 favorites]

I'm supposed to be going on a cruise (nerd cruise, Jococruise to be precise) the 2nd week of March. It took us months to find a dog/house sitter, and finally have one lined up. Now, what's the under-over on the cruise not being cancelled?

(Let's avoid the whole, "how dumb an idea is this?" discussion. Believe me, I have that discussion a *lot*)
posted by DigDoug at 11:29 AM on January 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

Stay positive, Mayor West. Er, wait. That came out wrong.
posted by mrgoat at 11:34 AM on January 24, 2022 [11 favorites]

My 14yo son got his 3rd shot on Friday, yay!
A friend is going to be Chile's next Minister for the Environment. She's awesome and will kick butt.
She also got COVID and might have given it to us, which meant we had to spend last week in quarantine, but we're OK, though my son is miffed as it's his summer vacation and he couldn't meet his friends IRL.

Foosnark: His general advice for people who might want to get into comics but don't know where to start is: there is no best place to start, but it is definitely not the very beginning.

I just finished re-reading the entire X-Men Claremont run and it's great! I'm starting Morrison's but the art is really bad in spots, very off-putting. I'll probably re-read the original New Mutants and Excalibur runs next. Maybe finally read Generation X?
posted by signal at 11:34 AM on January 24, 2022 [6 favorites]

Speaking of nerds, my boyfriend has no concept of internet culture, and whenever I tell him about anything interesting I find online he hears it as "stuff from that MetaFilter place."

So this means he cheerfully reshares things I send him with his other non-internet-culture friends and attributes everything to MetaFilter. You all know that George Gershwin day bed that was all over Twitter last week? I sent him the photo to share with his woodworking friends, and now it's attributed to the "hipster nerds on MetaFilter." I know we love our fainting couches, but geez.
posted by kinsey at 11:39 AM on January 24, 2022 [17 favorites]

Frankly, all the villains in the Batman franchises are ridiculous.
posted by Alexander J. Luthor at 11:40 AM on January 24, 2022 [9 favorites]

I am on Week 3 of self-imposed WFH lockdown in a desperate attempt to avoid getting the you-know-what from my virus-indiscreet co-workers. Part of me really want to go back, part of me really does not, and another part of me wants to chuck the job altogether. I'm not close enough to retirement age to just say "fuck it", but I'm really done with the daily faff.
posted by briank at 11:41 AM on January 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

In 2019 my birthday present was tickets to a concert scheduled for April 2020. It was rescheduled for November 2020, again for March 2021, then March 2022, and this morning I got an email saying it was being rescheduled again (with no new date set). I hold out hope that at some point I will see They Might Be Giants and hear the words "Why is the world in love again," and, not to put too fine a point on it, the little birdhouse in my soul will get a fresh coat of paint.
posted by fedward at 11:45 AM on January 24, 2022 [32 favorites]

Yeah, hey, Gotham City has to be the dankest spot in our star system. The underworld is in a möbius strip with city elites, and only the Batsh*tinsaneman holds it together. Batman's looks is the only thing holding that franchise together for me, and it is such a teeny bandaid.
posted by Oyéah at 11:45 AM on January 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

If you'd told me at age 25 that this would be my life at age 47, I wouldn't be too shocked, but the GETTING here would make me absolutely crap my pants.

Anyway today is two weeks since my booster and I am grateful to be in a place where that's possible.
posted by wellred at 11:50 AM on January 24, 2022 [9 favorites]

In the online grocery ordering tradition of one green bean I accidentally acquired three pounds of mushrooms instead of the one we needed for the Milk Street Korean Stir-Fried Mushrooms recipe, so yesterday we had an umami party.

In addition to the Milk Street recipe, el_lupino made:
- a mushroom bolognese I reverse-engineered from a recipe Fresh Fields/WFM was selling when I worked there
- a shepherdess pie with a filling of black lentils, onions/garlic/carrots/celery/thyme/sage; my contribution was to struggle out to the kitchen and make a gravy to moisten the filling. I did a butter roux, Better Than Bouillon broth, and enriched it with cup of mushrooms he had made into duxelles.

We have a surplus of the gravy and duxelles for the freezer and last night I said, "How about using the duxelles as a pizza sauce mixed with the roasted garlic white pizza sauce?" [self-link]. We agreed that is a tiny good thing to look forward to in the future.
posted by jocelmeow at 11:51 AM on January 24, 2022 [10 favorites]

The Randomlet has so far dodged Covid, but has seen multiple classmates stay home because of family members getting it, and yesterday had to perform a lion dance routine for a video without their preferred partner because his little sister was still testing positive. Ended up paired with the usual partner of the sister.

It's been a long grind, and just as things were looking up omicron arrived. Very stressful for all of us. Stay safe y'all.

Meanwhile, and not entirely tangentially, a couple free threads ago, comments introduced me to the music of Chvrches* -- not even watching twice in two weekends the feature-length earworm delivery system that is Encanto has knocked "The Mother We Share" or "Leave a Trace" or "Warning Call" or "Bury It" or any of the others out of my mental auditorium. Good stuff, and thank you guys.

* Yes, I pronounce the /v/, even though this makes it sound like bad mock-Russian: tchverch-es.
posted by Quasirandom at 11:55 AM on January 24, 2022 [3 favorites]

also 47 wellred - I'm just going with "The whole damn world has lost it's goddam mind"

Moving near the beach and away from winter (35 years) has made things much easier to deal with.
posted by djseafood at 11:57 AM on January 24, 2022

if anyone wants to join me for a virtual beer or scotch or wine and commiserate over ALL THE DAMN SNOW SHOVELING this January.. I was up on the roof this weekend and between moving snow off the roof then moving snow away from the house (again) I'm really feeling my age today and also doubting my own commitment to Sparkle Motion (that's the best euphemism I got for bloody winter.. when you think about it, it's totally what snowflakes do?)
posted by elkevelvet at 12:01 PM on January 24, 2022 [7 favorites]

I met Real Big Boys' PIPNIC on Neatorama yesterday and while it amused me a great deal, because of the kind of humor it is, I feel like I need to apologize for it in advance. It's also the sort of thing that one posts on fb and none of one's friends really notice and then it goes wildly viral two weeks later.
posted by jocelmeow at 12:03 PM on January 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

In 2019 my birthday present was tickets to a concert scheduled for April 2020. It was rescheduled for November 2020, again for March 2021, then March 2022, and this morning I got an email saying it was being rescheduled again (with no new date set). I hold out hope that at some point I will see They Might Be Giants and hear the words "Why is the world in love again," and, not to put too fine a point on it, the little birdhouse in my soul will get a fresh coat of paint.

I'm pretty sure the TMBG Flood show was the last pre-pandemic show I went to, although I got to see Run The Jewels during this summer's pre-delta, pre-omnicron lull, but I'm feeling pretty good about not having bought tickets to see L'Imperatrice in Chicago this coming April now.

I sort of regret not seeing Chvrches back in November, though - I like to support all the mad bands that come through my small town rather than assuming we want to drive 2 hours to Chicago and back, but the numbers were already feeling sketchy in November, sooo...
posted by Kyol at 12:08 PM on January 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

I barely went to shows even in the Before Times so not going to see bands hasn't been even near my top ten things that have been ruined by all this, but Chvrches going on tour is the one thing there that actually made me sad to be missing. But, yeah. I love them and wish them well but also wish nobody was playing shows at all.
posted by cortex at 12:15 PM on January 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

"Forth Three Fred"

...which by the way is my new sockpuppet name.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:15 PM on January 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

After starting the process back in the summer, we're finally starting the remodel of our bathroom this week. It was fun to think about in the abstract, and then all of a sudden the contractor calls and tells us materials are going to be arriving on our doorstep in a matter of days. Now it's a lot more real, and we're realizing we didn't plan this out all that well.

We live in a fairly small space and it's our only bathroom, so we're scrambling to figure out... where do we put all the stuff that normally lives in the bathroom? We have to move everything out of the hallway to let the contractor store tools and stuff there, where are we going to put that? How do we, you know, shower and stuff?

We thought we'd be back in the office when the work finally started, but I'm looking at continuing my WFH entrapment until at least the end of February so my original plans (use the shower at the office!) have fallen through. And I'm going to have to figure out how to deal with remote meetings while a bunch of construction is going on. So it should be fun!
posted by backseatpilot at 12:16 PM on January 24, 2022 [3 favorites]

jocelmeow made this recently and it was SO GOOD!!! umami overload. gonna have the leftovers tonight with some crusty wholewheat bread.
posted by supermedusa at 12:19 PM on January 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

But on a more "weird fun stuff lately" note: I continue to dip in and out of Cracking The Cryptic's youtube feed when I feel like either trying my hand at, or watching a much smarter person dismantle, a sudoku variant, and my most recent visit has me trying to make stubborn headway on this absolute nightmare of an anti-sudoku.

The fact that Simon's video of his solution is nearly two hours long is a terrifyingly bad omen for my chances—his typical video length is more like 45 minutes, and I end up hitting a wall on a lot of those even—but I'm hacking away at it a half hour at a time anyway because figuring out new implied rules and deductions from alternate rulesets is pretty much my favorite part of these puzzles. I haven't hit a total wall yet so I haven't seen where he even starts on it; when I don't manage to actually get through a puzzle myself, I'll end up going and watching the video up until the point where he frowns, goes "ah HA, oh, that's BEAUTIFUL, that's just absolutely GORGEOUS" and then explains some logical leap I hadn't made yet. And then if I get it, I'll go back and try to make more progress, rinse and repeat.

The best silver-medal feeling I get when I grind to a halt on one of the weirder ones is seeing him work his way through like six different "crikey, look at THAT, how lovely" realizations that I managed to work out for myself before he says something new that I hadn't seen.
posted by cortex at 12:21 PM on January 24, 2022 [4 favorites]

I had to look - the 30th anniversary Flood tour show I saw was March 5th, 2020 (cutting it close, Johns), and they're still trying to wrap up that tour in 2022? Yikes.
posted by Kyol at 12:28 PM on January 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

Yeah. In mid 2020 I gave myself an Instant Fan Club membership as an early 2020 birthday present, and that whole year worth of stuff (album, book, swag, bonus tracks) will be quite complete before I see the show that was my 2019 present. That reminds me I should listen to "BOOK" again.
posted by fedward at 12:36 PM on January 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

I got to see Frank Turner last October 8. It felt like the sun briefly shining through a break in the clouds.

(I think I told this here before.) It was my first real gig in 20 years, and my first Frank show. I took my guitar-playing teen-age son to his first-ever real rock show. It was a great damn concert -- I sang along super loud, and I choked up a couple of times because I was so happy about songs that mean a lot to me.

Earlier that week I secretly dropped off a note and a home made postcard at the venue, asking Frank to wish my son congratulations on making Eagle Scout -- and we got the postcard a few days later! My son was agog, and I was strutting for days. :7)

It'll never be this awesome again, will it? *sigh*
posted by wenestvedt at 12:37 PM on January 24, 2022 [10 favorites]

wenestvedt, I love Frank too! I was keeping an eye out about seeing him, but logistics and covid never aligned to form a window of opportunity for me.
posted by ursus_comiter at 12:59 PM on January 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

Man what a weekend for Football.

Great games this weekend, and congrats on your team knocking out Aaron Rodgers, Carillon! I'm sure there are plenty non-NFL fans around here who can at least appreciate that. The conference championships and superb owl will be a letdown after this weekend, I expect, but I hope the 49ers take out Stan Kroenke's Rams next. :)

I enjoyed the sheer number of "you don't get to complain about wordle posts if you post contextless reactions to sporting events" comments on social media yesterday; we all have our amusements. (I suspect the overlap of wordle results posters and sports reaction posters is fairly significant though)
posted by the primroses were over at 1:00 PM on January 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

His general advice for people who might want to get into comics but don't know where to start is: there is no best place to start, but it is definitely not the very beginning. (And definitely don't read all of the Marvel comics, the author says.)
Just pick a series that appeals to you and go for it. You will be lost, you won't catch all the references, but that's okay.

There are also numerous online sources that can get you at least partially caught up. My approach these days is that, since my local comics shop doesn't do a pull list unless you buy a lot of comics each week (and I haven't been there in a couple of years because of you-know-what) and continuity seems like an impossible mess, I follow the writers and artists whose work I enjoy, and wait until the trade paperback(s) of a series or storyline is/are issued. Then, I'll go back and look online for context, usually necessary only to figure out what big crossover events were all about: the Red Skull stole parts of Professor X's brain and flipped everyone's moral alignment, or for some reason every big muscular character got a hammer like Thor (these are actual "events").
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:06 PM on January 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

At this exact moment I am feeling lazy and sleepy and I do not want to go off to physical therapy after work today I just want to go home and change into my floopy hoodie and read or something.

That is all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:16 PM on January 24, 2022 [6 favorites]

Why don't most people gear their bikes down at stop lights? It's okay, it justifies me making rocket ship sounds to myself when the light turns green.
posted by Alex404 at 1:17 PM on January 24, 2022 [6 favorites]

Had a nice lunch with my younger niece just now; she came over to help me pick a dress for her sister's wedding, and then we ate lunch in the driveway. Except while she was in the house with me, someone stole my folding table from the driveway!

So annoyed.

Then I made friends with two fat corgis who were running down the street, and herded them into their own yard, where their owner eventually came out to get them. People, if you let your dogs loose into a yard without a fully enclosed fence, at the very least put collars on your dogs so people can bring them home!
posted by suelac at 1:24 PM on January 24, 2022 [12 favorites]

Honestly, I think most people don't understand bike gearing. I mean, sometimes I'm caught short and forget, but right? Give it a twist as you slow and blow through the gears as you leave and usually beat the cars to the other side of the street go go go.

The real learning curve is recumbents where being caught out in the wrong gear is a hard problem because you can't stand up and crank 'em over enough to get into the right gear. And attempting to just gut through it usually causes your knees to _literally explode_.
posted by Kyol at 1:25 PM on January 24, 2022 [4 favorites]

I've recently had a big (for me) AH-HA! moment. I realized I didn't actually like coffee, but I really loved some of the sweetened drinks from Dutch Brothers (superior to Starbucks in every way).

What is the difference? They use espresso for all their drinks!! How had I never made this connection? So dear readers, I bought a Nespresso machine and have made my own homemade delicious beverages every day since. Best decision of 2022 so far! I had a couple days were I said to myself, "Hmmm...I would like another delicious beverage!" But realized it was 4pm and that was the definition of a Bad Idea.

In other news, the first of the new seed catalogs arrived today, so I'll probably not be getting anymore work done today.
posted by sharp pointy objects at 1:27 PM on January 24, 2022 [9 favorites]

Paper Kalita filters (for pour-over coffee) are still twice as expensive as they were before COVID. I ran out recently, so I switched back to using my AeroPress for morning coffee.

And boy howdy, is the coffee better!
posted by wenestvedt at 1:31 PM on January 24, 2022 [3 favorites]

I'm a big fan of internal gear hubs for urban cycling, and one of the main reasons is the ease of gear shifting.

Not sure I'm going to try a recumbent bikes anytime soon based on your description. My knees are in bad enough shape without introducing any unseemly detonations.
posted by Alex404 at 1:34 PM on January 24, 2022

I think I'll say Hi here instead of the introduce yourself thread on MeTalk. I avoid MeTalk because I already spend too much time on my computer. But I've been lurking MF since the beginning of 2017 and it's led me to so many interesting (and horrifying) things I would have been very unlikely to have discovered on my own. In my years here I've read many, many threads but only commented 20 times and never created a post. But I want you all to know how much I enjoy you and all the smart, witty banter (and occasional...maybe more than occasional) snarky sniping that happens here. You are my people.
posted by Plafield at 1:39 PM on January 24, 2022 [33 favorites]

I had to look - the 30th anniversary Flood tour show I saw was March 5th, 2020

We saw the 20th anniversary Flood show and a couple others since then, but it's been a while!

I had tickets for a Kraftwerk show in summer 2020, which of course got cancelled. They announced new dates but I've since decided I'm not going to bother -- it's the whole 3D gimmick, it's not "really" Kraftwerk anymore, I've decided I very much liked their older material before they started remixing it, and they don't have any newer material. So I just bought myself copies of The Man-Machine, Trans-Europe Express and Radio-Activity.

It's possible the last show I've gone to was the 2014 Eye vs. Spy tour (Youth Code, Haujobb, Front Line Assembly, Skinny Puppy).

I need to get out more, just... not quite yet.
posted by Foosnark at 1:40 PM on January 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

Oh, and I'm pretty sure I'll never be going to another show of any kind in a theater again. I'm sad about it but grateful that there's so much great content available to enjoy in the safety of my own home. My big foray out into an indoor space anywhere since the pandemic began was to the MFA in Boston for a collage show. It was summer, I was fully vaxxed (before boosters were available) and we had that 5 minutes when we thought we were probably protected by the vaccines and wearing masks. I'm glad I went but I'm not rushing to get indoors with groups of strangers any time soon, maybe never.
posted by Plafield at 1:57 PM on January 24, 2022 [8 favorites]

Has anyone ever noted cat strange reactions to glockenspiels? I dug out a glockenspiel the other day from the excess instruments room (as one does) and I soon as I started to play the cat suddenly showed up. At first she just watched, then began to rub against my ankles and meow, then started to climb onto my lap, and smoosh her head into my chin. When I stopped playing she remained on my lap and chest for over 20 minutes, which is very unlike her. The sound really seems to generate some pleasurable sensations for her, but why?
posted by Paid In Full at 2:01 PM on January 24, 2022 [12 favorites]

Not sure I'm going to try a recumbent bikes anytime soon based on your description. My knees are in bad enough shape without introducing any unseemly detonations.

Well, it's usually not that bad if you understand things and your balance is good. If you forget to shift into the slowdown _and_ your balance is lousy, you're sort of up a creek.

Trikes are better for that, but then you're really getting into the fringe. If you do a lot of open road touring or distance trails, they're great. Commuting around the city and they really don't fit into the mold - their turning radius is challenging, it's hard to do the various everyday bike acrobatics that come naturally on an upright, they _feel_ like they take up far more space than they really do, etc.

But ... yeah, it's a lot easier to overstress your knees in a lot of ways on a recumbent, either overloading them, overextending them or overflexing them. They're great for making miles disappear if you get the fit right, but oh man there's so many ways you can be a mis-fit misfit.
posted by Kyol at 2:03 PM on January 24, 2022

I just got out of a zoom meeting in which I offered to do something to benefit the team, and then I saw on the boss of my boss's screen (he was screen-sharing) a pop up from my boss saying she didn't think I should do that. That is, my boss told HER boss in chat, not me, that I shouldn't do what I offered to do. So I called her out on it (privately). At first she was like, "not my intention" and "sorry for the miscommunication" but I kept explaining why it wasn't ok. That my agency and judgement as a professional ought to be respected. That "pH will do X" and "pH, could you do X?" are very different to me, even if the result is the same. Finally she got it, and I got a full and (I think) sincere apology. That was nice. It's always nice when you fight the power, and the power blinks.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 2:05 PM on January 24, 2022 [16 favorites]

It appears that I've dodged another cardiac-related bullet. The defibrillator installed is doing what it is supposed to be doing, my heart beating as it ought. That and the latest greatest medication, it seems like these docs know what they are doing. I'd been told that there were to be two wires from the defibrillator, one on either side, but turns out that I've got three of them. I wouldn't care if they'd put in seventy of them, whatever it takes to get back to where I am now.

I've been locked in here, terrified of COVID or anything else, too, and while I'm going to keep on the straight and narrow with masks and hand washing and all the rest of it, I just no longer feel that there's a pistol aimed at me. The relief is palpable. I love my cardiologist, he's younger than I am so I always bust his ass, call him a kid, he's got this huge, festive laugh that I've heard every time I've been in for whatever, these past 15 years just a yearly check-up / check-in, heard that laugh every time I walked through his door until five months ago, give or take, there was no laughter that day, no merry eyes, no pat on my shoulder as I walked out. He was wearing a mask so I couldn't see all of his face but even what I saw was *not* a look you're going to want to see on your cardiologists face.

I've felt that it was a life sentence but now feel that a reprieve has come in, a call from the governors office saying hey, it was all just a big mistake, get back into your life now. My doc set me free -- ride the bicycle hard as I want, go on to the gym, ET CET.

I'm very, very lucky and I know it. Grateful as I know how to be. Bella Donna had an AskMe about home made soups or what have you, I cooked up a big honkin' pot of pinto beans and another pot to the brim with brown rice and these orange lentels that I like so much -- peasant food, filling, nourishing unless I miss my guess. My little ex-wife was from Arkansas, we were all the time broke, corn bread was I think nine cents for a box, crumble that up in a bowl and cover it with pinto beans and whatever else is at hand and be happy, peasant food or not. I don't have any cornbread but I pretended I did and so far it's just as good as if I had some, though if her hands prepared it nothing could come close, she had a way. Arkansas people are pretty damn great, in my experience, maybe next time I cook this stuff up I'll pretend I'm from Arkansas and see how that works......
posted by dancestoblue at 2:23 PM on January 24, 2022 [42 favorites]

As a way to tongue-tie a Scotsman, “fourth free thread” ranks up with “rare purple murder.”
posted by sixswitch at 2:26 PM on January 24, 2022 [3 favorites]

Or "Eleven".

Been looking for a place to drop that, and this ford of firth seems as good as any.
posted by vers at 2:43 PM on January 24, 2022 [6 favorites]

It's my Saturday. I'm halfway through a very good sandwich. I work at a venue and after a 23 month hiatus, we've returned to welcoming the public to come see shows. It has been awful and terrifying! We have to fight people to pull their masks up, fight with them about the vaccine policy they did not read and want exemptions to, fight them about when the window opens, and fight them about all the usual things we had to fight with them about before the plague. A customer complained to me about all the extra steps we were asking of her and her family, saying they were inconvenient. I told her "living through a historic disaster is always inconvenient." She didn't like that! But the call ended soon after.

The first weekend of shows is behind us. We offered staff comps like always, and hardly anyone took them. I sure as hell didn't. I'll figure out what to tell customers soon when they ask "Is it safe?" because I'm not really allowed to tell them the plain truth - "Of fucking course not!!"

But I like this sandwich, and I'm safe at home today, and I can read Metafliter as long as I want. Hi everyone.
posted by EatTheWeek at 2:48 PM on January 24, 2022 [27 favorites]

The dirty secret of comics is that the allusions to previous events are almost always more potent and interesting than the original comic stories where they appeared. When you pick up a comic in the grocery store and there are confusing comments about relationships ("...Simon has similar feelings for Wanda since the Vision's mind was based on his brain patterns from when he died betraying the Avengers...") and portentous references to events ("during the Kree-Skrull war") or characters and items ("...even Galactus fears the Ultimate Nulifier!") it makes the Marvel Universe seem like a huge place with a rich history.

But if you go back and read the stories being referred to, they are seldom as good as the things you imagined. Sometimes they're surprisingly bad.

I thought about getting some movies for my kids to watch to bring them up to speed before the latest Spider-Man movie, but I looked at some clips on YouTube and they weren't as good as I remembered and I think the new movie is just as good or better if you experience it like I did one of those comic books when I was a kid.
posted by straight at 2:51 PM on January 24, 2022 [10 favorites]

MetaFilter member for a while but only recently active. Deleted my "social" media accounts and am finding I like this community much more. I'm retired and fortunate to be able to stay home as much as I want/need with my dog and cats. Picked up cross stitching again 2 years ago after a 30+ year hiatus and am enjoying creating while binge watching Netflix and Hulu.
posted by Scout405 at 2:51 PM on January 24, 2022 [15 favorites]

I woke up trying to remember the last time things didn’t feel like one step forward, two steps back, and I came up with mid-2016. Sigh. But today I went for a walk and listened to some music I like, and it wasn’t too cold, and January is almost over, so.
posted by scratch at 3:09 PM on January 24, 2022 [8 favorites]

I'm not making a post about this because posts about 2-hour YouTube videos tend to get filled up with complaints that 2 hours is too long for a YouTube video, but if you have two hours, I highly recommend Dan Olson's magisterial Line Goes Up: The Problem with NFTs. Despite the length, it's not highly technical, and is more about the sociocultural implications of web3 and the crypto economy than anything else.

Lately I'm getting into cryptic crosswords. I always thought they were too hard for me, but the one in the New Yorker's games issue was really fun (though I didn't manage to solve it all), and since then I've been trying out the Guardian's Everyman crosswords and the Daily Mail crosswords (which I only dare visit with an ad-blocker installed, both because I don't want to give the Daily Mail any advertising revenue and because the sheer amount of advertising makes the site completely unusable). They are kind of the perfect combination of regular crosswords and extremely bad puns, and they're hard enough that every answer I manage to find makes me really impressed with myself.
posted by Jeanne at 3:32 PM on January 24, 2022 [4 favorites]

I think it’s generally good to have these not be Fucking Fuck threads, but that’s just me.

I’ve started applying for full time jobs, freelancing in the performing arts is just no fun anymore. Hoping I‘m senior enough to nope out of whiteboard interviews. Learning some new origami tessellations and trying out crochet with some recycled copper wire.
posted by sixswitch at 3:34 PM on January 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

>I played around with Home Assistant all weekend.

jquinby, I just bought an old Dell USFF and stuck Ubuntu and pi-hole on it and it works! But I managed to kill my network and had to reset my routers twice before I figured out what I was breaking. DHCP. I broke it twice. What I'm slouching toward is that I keep seeing Home Assistant and I think I want to learn it, but I'm frequently an idiot, and I've got 40+ things chatting with my router and I deal with them using Smart Life and Alexa mostly. Some weekend I'll probably try to install HA on that Dell. Congrats on getting it set up; it sounds very useful.

Setting up the Dell was part of my Most Productive Two Weeks Ever. I took a short vacation around the solstice and new years and I don't think I've ever gotten so much done in two weeks. Ever. I think I might figure out this how-to-adult thing soon. I'm over 60, it can't come soon enough.
posted by Wilbefort at 3:35 PM on January 24, 2022 [4 favorites]

In these three free threads tree fleas flew

Fox in socks, sir.
posted by mrgoat at 3:43 PM on January 24, 2022 [9 favorites]

Seconding Jeanne's suggesting for "Line Goes Up"; I might bit the bullet and make a post out of it just for the hell of it at some point if someone hasn't already, but 2+ hours is a lot of video. But it's very good; I've been watching it in like half-hour chunks.
posted by cortex at 3:50 PM on January 24, 2022

When I was a pre-teen in the early 80s, my cool aunt (who also gave me a subscription to OMNI magazine at a questionably young age for all the softcore porn and transhumanism) gave me a book that fascinated me at the time, and that I’d occasionally wondered about and idly searched for in recent years, but had never been able to identify. I remembered its conceit was that dragons existed in the world today, and it was written like a completely deadpan popular science book about them, including photo plates of ordinary objects captioned as though they were dragons in disguise.

Well, this weekend I was somehow inspired by MonkeyToes’s Weird Old Book Finder thread to look again. The amount of dragon content out there makes cursory googling useless. But a different book-finding thread led me to the Library of Congress advanced search page, and I knew the title included “dragon” and that it probably dated from within a few years of 1980, based on my memories of the graphic design. It turned out there were only 482 matching titles between 1960 and 1990, and after a couple of hours googling other possibilities, I found it!

Dragons: An Introduction To the Modern Infestation [] by Pamela Wharton Blanpied [goodreads] [another review].

It was gratifying to see those familiar pages again. (Also that the design was in fact exactly from the year 1980, and quite of its time — I had the hardcover as seen on
posted by mubba at 4:15 PM on January 24, 2022 [17 favorites]

I finally got my winter holiday present! This Tacx Antares bike roller!

I've been riding bikes all my life, and a road bike with clip-in pedals for at least 10 years. This roller thing is a very new and very fun adventure, just for the practice of mounting and starting off, and then learning to ride without grabbing the door frame. I want to recommend such a toy/trainer/hobby to anyone else with bikes and desire for a challenge! Snowing? Bike ride! Dark? Bike ride! Don't have 2 hours? Bike ride!
posted by Snowishberlin at 4:25 PM on January 24, 2022 [5 favorites]

Because of a recommendation in another free thread, I have been watching YouTube videos by Todd In the Shadows. He's a pop music reviewer and commenter who produces strangely compelling content. I forget who linked him, but thanks.
posted by One Hand Slowclapping at 4:32 PM on January 24, 2022 [3 favorites]

Oh good. Somewhere I can put the fact that maybe the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists should have waited to update the Doomsday Clock until after the U.S. announced it might be sending 8,500 troops to back NATO in case Russian invades Ukraine, and also and perhaps more importantly just what are the best 80s songs about dying in a nuclear war anyway.
posted by bixfrankonis at 4:46 PM on January 24, 2022 [5 favorites]

"Forever Young" - Alphaville

Should meet all dystopia needs
posted by riverlife at 5:08 PM on January 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

But I managed to kill my network and had to reset my routers twice before I figured out what I was breaking. DHCP. I broke it twice.

I flailed with getting wireguard to work for a day or two before dimly remembering a message during the installation that said 'you should reboot' which I ignored completely. Turns out that the pi needed to load some kernel-level stuff for it to work. So I did reboot and then everything worked.

HA, for its part, is running on the NAS as a Docker image. This sounds terribly impressive, but turned out to be a two-click process:

1. Install Docker (click)
2. Install the HA image (click)

15 minutes later it was up and running. I couldn't believe it at first. I'm still sort of not believing it. I would have put it on a Pi if I had one to spare, and didn't want to shoe-horn it into the one that's already running Pi Hole.
posted by jquinby at 5:09 PM on January 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

For anyone in need of a good background YouTube channel, I cannot recommend Cracking the Cryptic enough. Not only are his sudoku solves absolutely amazing if not nigh impossible, his soothing voice and analytical approach does wonders for my anxiety after a long day.
posted by lock robster at 5:25 PM on January 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

I can't be the only one that's having trouble pronouncing "fourth free thread." The best I can manage is "Forth Three Fred!"

Funny thing is... when I do get it right, it sounds like I'm actually trying to say something else.
posted by clawsoon at 5:49 PM on January 24, 2022

Forth is a nice lil language for telescopes and stuff. I've never actually taken the time to learn it, so I suppose I'm technically Forth free.
posted by joeyh at 5:58 PM on January 24, 2022 [3 favorites]

I was chatting with a friend, and we were talking about class/meeting/etc introductions, and I said I hate having to do that straight out of the gate. But if you could do introductions at the 2nd meeting? I'd be all for that.
posted by curious nu at 6:03 PM on January 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

(or at the end of a one-off, as a wrap-up. I'm sick of icebreakers, let's have cool-downs)
posted by curious nu at 6:09 PM on January 24, 2022 [3 favorites]

Ok, I have to post due to the Batman teaser. I have not watched any of the movies since Dark Knight, but for the past month and a half I have immersed myself in an epic watch of the entire Adam West series (1966-1968). That's what I watched in reruns as a kid, but of course I didn't get any of the satire, which is ... amazing. I'm, uh, 66 episodes in (part 2 of the Catwoman/Sandman team-up) and I have rarely enjoyed TV this much. I watch it during my evening stretching/chillout routine and I have laughed out loud or said "what the FUCK" so many times already. Highly recommended. A couple of choice quotes:

From the "Shame" episodes (yes the Western guy is a nod to Shane): "Shame on you, Shame!"

Or this amazing sequence from season 1:

Chief O'Hara : [trying to locate millionaire Bruce Wayne] I've called every rich man's club and eatin' place in Gotham City; he's in none of them.
Commissioner Gordon : These millionaires... it's hard for us to comprehend the sort of lives they lead.
Chief O'Hara : Yeah, it's true, Commissioner. Heh! I'll bet Mr. Wayne is out on some yacht, eatin' shebert and changin' his clothes.

posted by freecellwizard at 6:32 PM on January 24, 2022 [12 favorites]

Thirding recommendations for Cracking the Cryptic. I discovered it over the pandemic and there is something so soothing about listening to those two fellows solve high quality logic puzzles. In fact, I think I may go watch one now.
posted by Advanced_Waffler at 6:41 PM on January 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

I don't want to break anyone's mind here, but I use Melitta's brown, cone coffee filters at least 4 times each. This old lady I knew would just make her next coffee on top of her old coffee. I found that gross. I learned through experimentation, you can rinse the coffee out of the filter to whatever destination you choose, right, but rinse it out enough to remove most of the visible coffee, take it out of the melitta cone, and rinse the outside. Drape the wet filter over something, even an inverted coffee cup. I have an old Braun gold mesh filter that is perfect for this. Air dry the paper filter and use it tomorrow. After the second use hold it up to the light to look for holes that may have formed. When you see those, start with a new filter. Someone up thread mentioned the expense of filters.
posted by Oyéah at 6:46 PM on January 24, 2022 [5 favorites]

For those of you who get actual snow that has to be dealt with, this Lifehacker post tells you how to make a tool that will get the snow off your roof while you remain on terra firma. The link to the professionally made product isn't doing anything for me, but I've got my computer locked down pretty well. A search for "Avalanche snow removal tool" will get you results.
posted by bryon at 6:47 PM on January 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

I just had my 61st birthday *happily waving* and decided among the list of You Should Do This items is getting a shingles shot, or two, since they are taken two to six months apart for maximum effectiveness.
So after filling out a form at my local Wal-Mart, I mentioned that I'd had a mild case of COVID-19 at the beginning of the month (Team Moderna, the husband and oldest daughter tested positive, the state health department lost my test). The pharmacist suggested that I wait until February before getting the shingles vaccine.
So now I am waiting for another week or so to get this organized.

By the way, COVID-19 is a completely different animal after vaccination. We had it back in February 2020 when it was not supposed to be in Oklahoma and no one was testing for it. The bone-shaking coughing spasms and the days of constant grinding fatigue are no joke.
(I am not a doctor and I do not play one on Metafilter).
This time I took Robitussin DM -- it immediately tamed the cough. The next day I decided to switch it up with Dayquil (same cough suppressant and expectorant, plus fever reducer and decongestant). A two-hour nap later and I felt fine.
I still had about four days of mild fatigue and poor concentration, and lost my senses of taste and smell, but it was nothing like the eight to ten days I endured before vaccinations were available.
posted by TrishaU at 7:03 PM on January 24, 2022 [10 favorites]

The best I can manage is "Forth Three Fred!"

Forth three Fred,
Both of us together,
One each end and steady as she goes....

posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:48 PM on January 24, 2022

@freecellwizard, thanks for mentioning the Adam West Batman series — I went looking for it and it's available for free on Tubi!

Speaking of Batman, we had some excitement recently in Gotham City, Missouri.
posted by Tehhund at 7:57 PM on January 24, 2022 [3 favorites]

Mr Zumbador has started taking the train to work again as, due to an injury, he can't cycle. It's a bit of a mixed blessing. Means he doesn't have to drive, which is excellent, but the train system doesn't inspire confidence.
Apart from being unreliable and stopping without warning or explanation, there's also the detail that they never figured out who was setting the trains on fire on our line just before the pandemic. A lot of trains got completely burnt out.
But so far, so good, apparently. He's getting to work on time and safely.
He made me a lock box for my bicycle so I can now cycle to the beach for a swim, having a safe place to store my sandals and towel. Can't just leave things on the beach while you swim, they won't be there when you get back.
So I might go for a swim again today.
It's just the best feeling. The waves have been quite big, so you have to give yourself over to them.
I have managed to get on a roll with writing my new book and it's just so much fun. I'm at the stage where new characters keep appearing and twisting the story away from what I thought it would be.
Oh, and we might have some bats living under our eaves! I haven't seen them, but I found their droppings. So amazing.
posted by Zumbador at 8:15 PM on January 24, 2022 [10 favorites]

Sorry, have to add this although my post is already quite long.
Apparently the type of bat that might be living in our roof is very small, and they have a sort of webbed tail as their wings stretch between their legs as well.
The females give birth to the bat babies (puppies? batlings? kits?) by hanging horizontally and catching the baby in their tail. The babies are incredibly small but they are born with adult-sized feet so they can cling to their mothers.
The mother bats take the newborn babies flying with them for the first few weeks.
When the babies are big enough, they stay behind while their mothers go hunting.
So there is a good chance there might be a tiny, huge-footed baby bat just a few meters from me, sleeping with their mother.
posted by Zumbador at 8:24 PM on January 24, 2022 [10 favorites]

bat babies (puppies? batlings? kits?)

posted by Greg_Ace at 8:44 PM on January 24, 2022 [3 favorites]

dancestoblue, very very happy for you!

Having spent two pandemic years working in the jumbled mess of my "sewing" (ask me when the last time was that I sewed anything) "room" (that is more like a closet with no door) with the most hideous yellow paint (a "surprise" for me by my ex-husband), I have finally decided to take the matter in hand. My car is now in the driveway, all of the non-work contents of the room are on the garage floor, the dust and cobwebs have been cleared, and the switch plates have been removed. This weekend, I paint!

Then I'm going to buy some cute block print voile off of Etsy and make curtains (with my sewing machine!), and also a doorway curtain to keep the heat in. And then I'm going to replace the hideous rug. And then I'm going to keep working from my sweet little home forever and ever and never go back to an office as long as I live.
posted by HotToddy at 9:29 PM on January 24, 2022 [10 favorites]

I asked for and am now negotiating a pay increase that would make a dramatic difference to my life. We have foster kittens that are up for adoption but have stolen our hearts with their absolute cuteness and I am debating exactly how many cats is too many cats.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 11:56 PM on January 24, 2022 [13 favorites]

EatTheWeek: I work at a venue and after a 23 month hiatus, we've returned to welcoming the public to come see shows. It has been awful and terrifying! We have to fight people to pull their masks up...

Hold the line! You're doing the Lord's work!

We got last-minute tickets to Hamilton on Dec. 8 through a contest, and just decided to go for it. We were in the...seventh row, I think, dead center, at PPAC. It was glorious.

What really made it, though, was that two tall ushers strolled down the centre aisle partway through Act I and forced a beefy old white guy to pull up his mask. They strollllled away when he complied -- and then they returned a short time later when he did it again, and must have threatened ejection because he then behaved.

NFG, 100% enforcement. They must have been usign night-vision goggles. I was delighted.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:59 AM on January 25, 2022 [8 favorites]

I have moved to Maine and although I couldn't be happier with my new place, I am concerned about my pup's adjustment. The move made her terribly clingy, which is normal, but it also makes it difficult to work from home -- even to do chores -- when she now cries about being crated right next to me. Still, she's only six months old; we can sort this out. I just hope my neighbors' patience holds.

On the plus side, I found out she likes watching TV! Cartoons in particular! It is hilarious to watch this little dachshund concentrating on We Bare Bears like a small child. And it buys me some peace at night.

(Incidentally if you are in southern Maine and would like to friend-make, drop a line. I know it's a huge state but it's as close as I'm comfortable saying right now)
posted by Countess Elena at 6:08 AM on January 25, 2022 [8 favorites]

I'm in as long as we don't have to drink that cherry brandy stuff
posted by thelonius at 6:17 AM on January 25, 2022

A friend sent me this cartoon today and now I'm singing it to the cats.

posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 8:06 AM on January 25, 2022 [7 favorites]

The last week has been pretty rough here at home. My dog, Huck, had something go wrong with his caboose area, and he was down for the count. Hiding under desks, couldn't walk right, etc.

We got a foot and half of snow, which complicated the vet situation. And I had to go out to drydock to keep the tour boat I work on in check. Which meant a lot of shoveling on my part, just to get the damned jeep out.

We had the police and such at drydock (which I've never seen before) because a crew member on one of the other boats (not mine) OD'd on some opioid or such. Word is they are okay.

We did the whole flood/drain cycle in 15º weather, which takes about 90 minutes overall, and then we had to do it (of course) all over again because one of the contractors wasn't happy (The reason we were out there is they were moving a huge-ass dredge boat 44' so they could work on the hull).

But! We found this great Doorbell Vet outfit, who do house calls, and Huckleberry seems to be doing much better, which is a relief as you can imagine. I finally got some sleep. And my appetite seems to be coming back. So:

valkane’s you can't tuna fish but you can tune a guitar sandwich

1 can tuna (I use the veggie oil, but water is fine)
2 tbs. shallot (minced)
4-5 salted almonds (roughly chopped)
1/2 tsp. sesame seeds
Couple of shakes of Red Pepper flakes
Scant shake of Cayenne Pepper powder
Big pinch kosher salt
Lots of grinds of fresh ground pepper
2 tbs. Mayo (one squeeze if you’re modern)
1 hardboiled egg, chopped (I use the 11-minute solution, and Tammee’s jar-shake peeling method)
1 slice Lacey Swiss cheese

Drain tuna (if it’s in water, I add back a shot of olive oil, because I can).
Mix in all ingredients, except lacy Swiss & egg. I typically dump the drained tuna in a bowl, add all dry ingredients, then I add mayo and mix. Once it’s all wang-jangled up, I add the roughly-chopped egg, and stir so as not to break up the egg too much. I stole the Swiss cheese slice from Wegmans. But their tuna sandwich is basically just mayo and fish, so…

Cook’s note: I serve this on Monk’s White Bread, with a slice of the Swiss cheese on top of the tuna salad.

You can use any bread you like, and skip the cheese if you want. Heck, you can eat this straight out of the bowl with a fork. I’m telling you, it’s that good.
posted by valkane at 8:11 AM on January 25, 2022 [10 favorites]

Since folks on the blue have such amazing taste in music (Ive gotten introduced to so many bands and musicians here, such a wealth of wonderful people) I thought I'd throw these folks in: Calexico is quite Desert Southwest and Border music, but so so good. Seen them 4? 5? times - each time a little different and a little better. Last show before the big pandemic life STOP. Not sure if they've been on here before, so I thought Id return the favor on all the music recs. I should probably do a post (read them for 20 years) but I'm pretty intimidated given I'm not sure I even copied in the link correct, but they rule.

Minas De Cobre:
Close Behind:
posted by WatTylerJr at 9:06 AM on January 25, 2022 [5 favorites]

I just watched The Sparks Brothers, a documentary about a band that has consistently pushed the boundaries of pop music for nearly 50 years. Few bands have continually demonstrated musical artistry and integrity the way Sparks has. I mean, can you imagine another song that seems so simultaneously of its time and out of time?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:12 AM on January 25, 2022 [3 favorites]

re fedward above: They Might Be Giants' 2020 Portland, Oregon concert is now scheduled for 5/4/22. I have high expectations as the last time I saw them, Flansburgh high-fived me twice. I have a ticket for our local string quartet on Sunday and I might go to that; it's a pretty risk-averse crowd.

You may remember me from previous free threads as the guy who was hospitalized for chest pain a couple of weeks ago (I was in when the first free thread dropped) but couldn't get cath'd because the cath lab staff had had a party and a bunch of them were out with Covid. Well I finally saw my cardiologist yesterday (I was seeing her when this free thread dropped). She asked "Why didn't they cath you when you were in the hospital?". Yada yada, I'm waiting for her nurse to call me to schedule it. ASAP, please. I can't even walk the dog as I am now. ... Two high-fives to dancestoblue.

I've so far seen just one of this weekend's football games. Today I'm working on loading the others onto my iPad so I can (if needed) watch them in the hospital. (The cath should be an outpatient procedure but one has to be there for a few hours after the procedure.)

My cousin texted me at the crack of dawn to say that Elvis Costello's new album The Boy Named If is really good. So I just bought it.
posted by neuron at 9:49 AM on January 25, 2022 [6 favorites]

Calexico is indeed awesome. Second the rec. I still haven't caught a live show, though.
posted by Quasirandom at 9:50 AM on January 25, 2022 [3 favorites]

Sparks is on tour.
posted by neuron at 9:50 AM on January 25, 2022

neuron, those games might not be the best possible choices for someone hooked up to heart monitors.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:08 AM on January 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

neuron, I'm sad to report that all of the spring 2022 TMBG shows have been postponed. At this point I won't be able to take my son to the Philly show because he'll probably be away at college. And here we were thinking we'd have to "sneak" our almost 16 year old into a 16 and up show way back when.
posted by mollweide at 10:23 AM on January 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

I just sent in a form for HR that I had been procrastinating for so long that MY OWN BANK called me to remind me (HSA enrollment). What a load off my mind, yay!

It was no big deal and took about 5 minutes. I don't know why I have this crippling fear of paperwork, but I'm going to chalk this up in the victory column and sleep well tonight.
posted by Horkus at 10:50 AM on January 25, 2022 [6 favorites]

Two free threads ago, I said I would get a picture of the neighbor's miniature donkeys, especially Luna who is the best donkey in the whole world and I will brook no argument about that. And then we got a boat-ton of snow.

But FEAR NOT, MetaFilter, I have for you a picture of the best donkey, Luna (right), and the second-best donkey, Heidi. (And a tiny bit of Lily the super-floof old german shepherd.)

Her face is SO SOFT and her snout looks like she's dipped it in hot cococa and they're both really gentle and quiet and donkey.
posted by introp at 10:52 AM on January 25, 2022 [23 favorites]

Nursing a re-re-re-dislocated left shoulder. Original injury occurred in the 80's, outside of a convenience store in Houston, seeking Michelob. [Remember: it was the 80's.] Stepped up on a wet, slick curb and my flip-flopped feet flew out and I fell straight down, landing on my elbow-locked left arm. OW. MRI in two days.

Tendinitis in the left knee, too. Unrelated to the shoulder; no story either. Just wear and tear.

So my left side is having a hard time. My wife likes to say, "Well, now you're all right."


Off to troubleshoot the dishwasher and find out why my mom cancelled an important appointment.
posted by conscious matter at 10:53 AM on January 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

Two and a half years of isolation (starting before the pandemic) have hit me really hard. I live by myself. I have plenty of close friends, but only two in my city, and I hardly ever reach out to anyone. It terrifies me how much I don't even want to be around people anymore. The pandemic has been really good for my social anxiety/RSD in a way, because if I don't interact with people then I don't experience any of the pain of interacting with people. But at this point, I've become so agoraphobic that even going to the grocery store is a monumental, terrifying thing, not because I might catch the plague but because it involves existing in public where people might see me.

I've gotten really into Lord of the Rings Online lately, though, which is an MMO I first played in 2010 but only rarely dipped my toes into since. I love it - there is so much joy for this Tolkien nerd in running around an incredible, faithful, expansive recreation of Middle Earth. Playing it was pretty lonely in the past. The player base is really small relative to the size of the world, and most people are at level cap, so it's hard to find anybody to run content with at your level. But this time I switched servers to one with more of a community focus on group content and joined a really chill kinship (guild), and it's so nice. It's so nice! I can actually find people to do instances (dungeons) with me, and join up when people are looking for groups, and help out lower-level people with quests and such. There's usually some level of chatter in the kinship channel. I can chime in without feeling anxious. I have somewhere to share the jokes that pop into my head while I'm playing, or talk about Tolkien, or complain about the game. I still have so much anxiety about existing in the real world, but I can at least exist in this fictional world with other real people, and I've needed that so so badly.
posted by cosmic owl at 11:42 AM on January 25, 2022 [26 favorites]

Coronavirus -- omicron update -- boosters work. My 14yo had 2 doses, was very mildly ill, but neither I nor my SO tested positive (though I was sick with something else FFS)

Comics -- where to start -- Isn't nearly everything better in media res?

TMBG -- saw them in the mid 90s when they were one of my favorite bands. Very little production, barely a band, maybe a person or two + the Johns? Still a great memory even though it was more like the quality of their OG dial-a-song days

Drip vs press coffee -- Little known fact, paper filters remove oils that raise cholesterol levels. If that's important to you, drip is superiour to french press and other non-filtered preparations.

Docker/Containers -- really magic when they work. Saved so much down when installing Airsonic and Nextcloud onto a new server

Dystopian songs of the 80s -- spoiler warning -- Modern English's "I Melt With You" is about being immolated by a nuclear war
posted by jclarkin at 11:43 AM on January 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

Someone mentioned WeWork to me the other day and I had to dig out my favorite article on Robert Caro's 1970s co-working experience at the NY Public Library.
One day in 1971, I came across a magazine article describing the Frederick Lewis Allen Room. It said that the only requirement for admission was a contract from a publisher, and that its 11 resident writers were allowed to keep books and other research materials at their desks.

The last statement was the one that caught my interest. Users of the Main Reading Room on the library's third floor, where I had done research, were required to return their books every night and to request them again the next morning, a procedure so time-consuming that I had given up on it, and had stopped using the Reading Room entirely. As soon as I read the article, I applied for the Allen Room, and, after a wait of some months, was assigned one of the 11 desks.

Being able to keep material at your desk was wonderful, and so were the materials. There seemed to be no document or report you needed that was not housed somewhere in that great building on Fifth Avenue or in one of its annexes, and that would not appear with seemingly miraculous speed on the cart just inside the Allen Room door after you had looked it up in the card catalogue, written your name and its call number on a pink slip and handed the slip to one of the always helpful librarians upstairs.


After a while, the writers of the Allen Room invited me to lunch, which we thereafter ate almost every day in the employees' cafeteria in the library basement. These writers included not just some who were already famous, but some who were, at the time, little better known than I was, like John Demaray, Lucy Komisar, Irene Mahoney and Susan Brownmiller, who was working on "Against Our Will" and would sit at the desk adjoining mine for the next two years, her petite feet, clad in brightly striped socks, sticking under the partition that divided our desks, giving me an odd feeling of companionship.

The cafeteria setting could hardly have been more grubby -- or more gratifying. The talk was often about problems of research and writing: about the mysteries of our craft, our shared craft. Suddenly, just by being given a desk in the Allen Room, I had been made to feel a part of the community of writers.
Sanctum Sanctorum for Writers, The New York Times, May 19 1995
posted by Monochrome at 11:59 AM on January 25, 2022 [15 favorites]

What really made it, though, was that two tall ushers strolled down the centre aisle partway through Act I and forced a beefy old white guy to pull up his mask. They strollllled away when he complied -- and then they returned a short time later when he did it again, and must have threatened ejection because he then behaved.

Thank you for sharing this story, wenestvedt, it warms my heart almost more than I express. I've been telling our newer staff to go ahead and offer refunds and cancelled tickets to folks who get uptight about our safety requirements, and I'd say about 90% of them back down immediately. I'm really lucky to work somewhere that understands that we legit don't want some people's business.
posted by EatTheWeek at 12:40 PM on January 25, 2022 [5 favorites]

Cosmic Owl, you may want to try something I've decided to try myself: Lettermo. It's kind of like Nanowrimo, except that you pledge that you will send out one piece of snail mail for every day that the postal system is operating in February. (So it's only 24 things!) You also have to reply to anyone who writes to you (but the response can be one of your 24 pieces of snail mail).

I signed up to have something to DO with all the random pieces of pretty paper I have accumulated over the years, and to get myself back into an analog habit. I think it may be a good idea for you as possibly a safe-feeling way to expand your circle a bit and reach out in a safe way (you have the option of ripping up the stuff you write down if you panic and think "oh god no I didn't want to say that after all").
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:46 PM on January 25, 2022 [6 favorites]

I saw "eleven" and thought of this.

I can't get voice activated things to work for me either. I'm convinced they only work for male voices because they somehow can't ever hear or understand me.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:00 PM on January 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

OK I finally tried wordle today. I was fumbling around, turning my phone around, then I got it going, and solved on the third entry. Spelling Bee helps, and crosswords.
posted by Oyéah at 2:22 PM on January 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

Well hey! If anyone has been on pins and needles waiting to hear if I'm moving across the country the answer is no BUT in a surprise twist I am instead moving to ....Kitchener. I am moving for work (same company, different job, more money). I got the call today that I was approved for the apartment I applied for, the pet friendly one with the balcony and the hardwood floors. I have booked a U-haul. It has been a bit overwhelming but this picture of my cats is helping me keep things in perspective.
posted by janepanic at 5:41 PM on January 25, 2022 [15 favorites]

Congrats on the new job! Beautiful cats, thanks for sharing.
posted by Bella Donna at 7:12 PM on January 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

OMG introp you warned me, but I was not prepared for the sheer intensity of that donkey cuteness! Such fluff!
posted by Zumbador at 8:11 PM on January 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

RE: Missing long-anticipated shows

I feel you all. Back in June of 2020 I naively bought tickets to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds that October.
posted by bendy at 8:46 PM on January 25, 2022

In the late 80's or early 90's I was very excited to buy tickets for a show featuring both Andy Summers and Al DiMeola, in what was by far the acoustically best venue in town. But for some (non-Covid-related, of course) reason the tour fell through. :( At least I got a refund. At that same venue during those years I did get to see other fantastic concerts including Al DiMeola (twice), the Flecktones (twice or three times) and Dixie Dregs, so still some good memories.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:58 PM on January 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'd been told that there were to be two wires from the defibrillator, one on either side, but turns out that I've got three of them.

The third one keeps you grounded.
posted by bendy at 9:00 PM on January 25, 2022 [6 favorites]

Greg_Ace, Andy Summers' I Advance Masked is possibly my most frequently played album. When I go looking for some perfect background music while I need to concentrate on something, I scroll my artist list and it's right there in the As.
posted by neuron at 9:06 PM on January 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

Hello it's been such a weird week for me though I think I've got most of it out of the way. I'm looking down the barrel of probably having to do international travel again and I'm not looking forward to it to be quite honest with you.

In the meantime I've decided that spinning sedate handsome colours is no longer the thing and I'm just fully embracing neon chaos. Chainplied a sample and it already looks well-suited to something with a lot of slipped stitches.
posted by cendawanita at 3:22 AM on January 26, 2022 [3 favorites]

Lately I have been listening to a lot of MUD, who I somehow never even heard of until recently.
posted by wittgenstein at 9:35 AM on January 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

My cat Trilby died in September. I've been looking at the cats on the Toronto Humane Society site in a desultory way ever since, but it was only recently that I've begun to feel ready to get a new cat (a feeling that, er, was very likely spurred on by the fact that I've begun to have mice problems at Swan's End again). None of the available cats ever seemed to grab me until this past Saturday, when I saw one listed that I was immediately dying to have. I filled out the THS application form right away, and their site basically says if they don't contact you in some way within a week of applying for one animal, you should consider other adoptees. It's been four days and I haven't heard a word. A note has been added to the page of the cat that I want saying that there's been a lot people interested in adopting it and to check out other animals on the site. So... I'm thinking someone got ahead of me, and I won't get the cat.

I'm so let down. My life has been so terribly empty for so long, and it's so seldom that I set my heart on anything anymore because I've learned better than to hope. Just this once, for the first time in a long time, I let myself want something in particular and get excited about it... and I won't get it.

I will try again, but it's going to take quite awhile for me to get a cat. The THS doesn't do onsite adoptions these days. You browse the cats online, and when you see one that takes your fancy, you apply. There are so few cats that really appeal to me, and when one does appear I'd basically have to be the first one to see it and apply for it in order to get it, so... there'll likely be more disappointments going forward.
posted by orange swan at 4:12 PM on January 26, 2022 [9 favorites]

My life has been so terribly empty for so long, and it's so seldom that I set my heart on anything anymore because I've learned better than to hope. Just this once, for the first time in a long time, I let myself want something in particular and get excited about it... and I won't get it.

I hear ya, though in my case not about cats :(

I would like to hope that you end up getting the right cat for you. If this one turned out not to be the right cat (could be reasons for you not to get it, you never know), maybe the right one will turn up. Or maybe the hordes asking for this cat will suddenly all move to Sweden, leaving the cat for you, who knows. I cross my fingers that you end up with the right cat as soon as possible.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:55 PM on January 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

if i got a cat right now i would have to name it "free 3fred iv! [my surname][whatever its many other names may be]" but i would just call it free3fred iv, familiarly.
posted by 20 year lurk at 6:01 PM on January 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Meanwhile, across the street and down two houses, a lady has about twenty cats, and some even under the next house, whose owner, has to make a one way window exit, to clear out. I took her a 40 pound bag of cat food my cats wouldn't eat, but I am sure her wild cats will. Lots o' cats right here. She has about six, who are inside cats. There are cats on the loose around here. The neigh or with the cars under the house, has 5 chihuahuas, so he can't make too much noise about beaucoups critters. I live in a neighborhood which has good neighborhood goings on. I was told there was a christmas present for me from my SIL's sisters on the table, I go over to take in packages and let the dogs out once a day. I had to cut myself short upon reading the text, and prevent myself from asking WTF, or huh? Then I was reminded of Terminator I when he is looking through the list of replies, and I just laughed. So I texted that I like his sisters, and how nice of them! And then I texted them, to thank them. I am becoming a curmudgeon, this covid isolation has almost totaled me. I managed to hand the candle off to a neighbor, because I don't do well with fragrances and candles. I am shocked that my first impulse was so neolithic, and graceless. Lord.
posted by Oyéah at 6:38 PM on January 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

I’ve been having some success at work this week. On Monday, my team was hashing out some new team norms, and I made a comment about how we really ought to stop using ADA as shorthand for accessibility, which always bothered me but I never said anything about it. I made a point about how the company wants its products to be accessible to everyone and not just people with disabilities, and multiple team members agreed. Win!

And today I went digging for answers about why a particular training course had been assigned to me, considering that I don’t even have access to the system that the training was focused on. I got that course removed from my course load, and was able to tell my coworkers who were all in the same boat How to get it removed.
posted by emelenjr at 7:09 PM on January 26, 2022 [10 favorites]

The Dregs (they had dropped the Dixie) were my third concert and they were loud. It was the Industry Standard tour.

Summers, I saw in really cool circumstances. He was supposed to open for John McLaughlin Trio, but the venue had big trouble with like the acoustic guitar triggered synth and the complex percussion rig, so soyndcheck went so late that Mclaughlin played first. Most of the audience did not stick around, so 50 or so of us saw him in a pretty intimate setting. He didn’t seem too upset, he’s had worse gigs…..
posted by thelonius at 7:17 PM on January 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

TIL bats have buttcheeks.

The More You Know ミ★
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 8:21 PM on January 26, 2022 [7 favorites]

We made the America's Test Kitchen recipe for pasta alla norcina and I am planning my entire life around eating it again ASAP.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:42 AM on January 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

* reads pasta ala norcina recipe*

*ponders contents of her own fridge*

....Would it work with ground beef instead of ground pork, do you think?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:47 AM on January 27, 2022

Should work. You might have to be a bit more conscious of drippings/grease. But it's basically making a quick sausage out of ground meat, and beef can certainly be sausage.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:39 AM on January 27, 2022

orange swan: "I will try again, but it's going to take quite awhile for me to get a cat. "

I feel you. Yukiko, our cat of 17 years died, and it took us a while to get a new one. We finally got Asami who basically looks like Yukiko's long-lost twin sister, and then got Naga, who's a little ball of sweetness. And evil. Sweet evil.
posted by signal at 11:28 AM on January 27, 2022 [4 favorites]

It was my intention, as my first crop of cats were getting old, that I was going to tick back down to zero and wait a while before getting back on the kitty train. That plan was derailed when I moved into this house about 4 years ago, and there was a mama cat with a litter of kittens in our backyard within the first month. And a second mama with a second litter, within weeks of us getting the first mama TNRed and the first litter into the house. We got the second mama and kittens taken care of too, along with a third mama-to-be that we TNRed before her kittens happened. And then taking in a lone girl kitty wandering the alley a few months later. The three mamas are still around, with some shelters under the deck. Two of the kittens remained with us, the rest finding homes. And that was just year one.
posted by notoriety public at 7:09 PM on January 27, 2022 [12 favorites]

Contributing to cat-talk: we got my slightly rickety 19 year old cat a little heated pad last week and now she…lives on a little heated pad when she’s not wrapped around me and I feel bad I didn’t think of it before. She likes having it up on the bench so she can glare at the dog and survey her domain more effectively.
posted by charmedimsure at 11:11 PM on January 27, 2022 [9 favorites]

My father is 83, and he really enjoys being obnoxious and contrary. When the pandemic first began, he went on and on about how it was all mass hysteria, everyone was overreacting/paranoid, it would have to just run its course, etc. He kept making this argument to everyone he could get to listen to him for the first year. Then came the vaccine and the anti-vax movement. My father remembers the days when people died from or were disabled for life by polio, and he's very pro-vaccination. He abruptly dropped the whole "the pandemic is just mass hysteria" trolling in favour of criticizing and ridiculing the anti-vaxxers. It was a welcome change, let me tell you.

And now there's a convoy of trucks heading to Ottawa. The anti-vaxxers are claiming that the convoy is 50,000 trucks and over 500,000 people, but that is a patent and childish exaggeration. A convoy of 50,000 trucks would be 1000 km long, which is more than the distance between Thunder Bay and Ottawa and more than the width of Saskatchewan, and those cabs won't hold ten people each. New reports are estimating the convoy's actual size at under 400 vehicles, and saying the convoy is mostly personal vehicles, not trucks.

I haven't talked to my dad about the truck convoy thing yet, but he's a former trucker. He spent the last sixteen or seventeen years of his working life on the road. He's going to take a particular interest in this demonstration, and hoo boy, is he ever going to outdo himself when it comes to making fun of those idiots.

I think there's going to be violence -- there's been a lot of racist, misogynist, lawless, and violent rhetoric employed. It's probably going to be Canada's January 6th, 2021. I only hope the OPP/RCMP can handle it. My stomach's in knots over what is to come, but imagining my father's reaction to the convoy does keep giving me the giggles, which is some stress relief.
posted by orange swan at 3:43 AM on January 28, 2022 [7 favorites]

Sadly it doesn't take that many people to disrupt things - the National Butterfly Center has had to close for this whole weekend because of those Q-Anon dipshits spreading a rumor that they were actually smuggling in kids, and it was enough to prompt a Virginia congressional candidate to come and "investigate", an incident which resulted in a bit of a dust-up and the candidate making some dark threats that they would be back as part of the pro-Trump rally in their town this weekend.

DAMMIT I want to punch so many people in the face these days.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:11 AM on January 28, 2022 [3 favorites]

Contributing to cat-talk: we got my slightly rickety 19 year old cat a little heated pad last week and now she…lives on a little heated pad when she’s not wrapped around me and I feel bad I didn’t think of it before.

Oh man, I had the same thing with the last one from my elderly crew. It instantly became her second favorite thing, where she spent all of her last few months except when actively eating, pooping, or curling up in bed with me at night.
posted by notoriety public at 6:00 AM on January 28, 2022 [1 favorite]

I got our elderly cat a heating pad maybe 3 years ago, when we were in our old apartment. She loved to sit right by the radiators, and I felt bad when they would get turned off in the spring. So one year I got her a heating pad. But she was not a cat who was into new things, and she showed no interest in the pad and would walk away immediately if placed there.

Then we moved to our current house, which lacks any radiators. When the weather turned a little chilly in the fall, she finally stayed on the heating pad long enough to figure out its inherent coziness and it became her spot for the last 18 months of her life. We lost her about a month ago, but I'm glad she got to have her heating pad for those months - the time of day when the sunbeams hit the heating pad spot was always the best time of day.
posted by the primroses were over at 6:25 AM on January 28, 2022 [8 favorites]

I have been having trouble finding *any* estimates of the size of the convoy, orange swan, so I'm curious where you saw the 400 trucks estimate. Ottawa is bracing for a bit of chaos, because while 400 people is a bit pitiful in terms of a protest, Ottawa has its traffic thrown into chaos on the regular because large trucks have to go through the Lowertown to get from Gatineau to the highway. Having 400 non-cooperative trucks in Centretown will be a complete fuck-up. Having 10 non-cooperative trucks in Centretown would be enough to completely fuck things up.

Two of my relatives are driving out here from BC "to see the convoy" (but really, at least for one of them, to join the protests) and I'm going to let them sleep on my floor but I'd really rather tell them to fuck the hell off because it makes me so goddamned mad that they are falling for this right wing bullshit.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:34 AM on January 28, 2022 [2 favorites]

Snopes has the best information I've seen on the size of the convoy. They provide a screencap of a tweet by David Akin, the chief global correspondent with Global News, who cited a report from the Ontario Provincial Police that 113 trucks (as well as 276 personal vehicles) were recorded coming into Thunder Bay from Winnipeg.

And I did say under 400 vehicles, not 400 trucks.

It's very generous of you to let those relatives of yours sleep on your floor, Jacq. I would have told them they couldn't stay at my place given the purpose of their visit so as not to enable them.
posted by orange swan at 10:04 AM on January 28, 2022 [1 favorite]

Sorry if my question put you on the defensive at all! I wasn't questioning the accuracy of your number, just wanted to see the estimates because I have been mad googling that shit for days and coming up dry! Totally about my curiosity and interest in your better newsgathering skills and not at all doubt about what you said.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:20 AM on January 28, 2022

I really wasn't bothered, Jacq. I was happy to provide receipts (as I should have done in my initial comment), and I just wanted to make sure I clarified the 400 vehicles thing because I've seen the way things like that can be perpetuated in discussion threads.
posted by orange swan at 10:27 AM on January 28, 2022

Yeah -- that's a really good point. We don't want to be the next source of a 50K truck estimate here at MeFi.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:43 AM on January 28, 2022

here's a link to Kingston Police twitter:

As of 9:35 am all roads have reopened and all trucks and passenger vehicles have departed #ygk and are now EB on Hwy 401.
Our count:

17 full tractor trailers
104 tractors w no trailers
424 passenger vehicles
6 RVs
posted by yyz at 10:45 AM on January 28, 2022

Got forced to sign up for a focus group at work to discuss an overall mission statement thing for the overarching office (not my office specifically, several levels above it). Words cannot express how much I don't care and think this is utterly useless. I will get in trouble if I say anything. Also almost all of the signup times were after work hours or during your lunch, to which I was all "hell no, you are not getting this for free on my own time." There was one 2 p.m. time, I signed up for that and did not give them any other during lunch or after work options to slot me into. Today they signed me up for a lunch meeting, and one where I have an appointment during lunch, no less (and one of our managers was in the meeting as well). I declined. Now I am trying to think of what to say when they reschedule me, as in is there any way I can say "Please don't reschedule me, I don't actually want to do this, I was forced to sign up and if you make me go, I will sit there and not speak," without getting in trouble. There probably isn't.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:06 AM on January 28, 2022 [2 favorites]

Mod note: I don't mind a little bit of zeitgeisty chatter about it but if folks want to have an extended discussion about antivax convoy stuff that's probably better done with a dedicated post. Free Thread isn't mean to be de facto Crappy Stuff catchall, so try to keep an eye on where to draw that line and redirect as needed.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:45 AM on January 28, 2022

Right then.

I've been going up myself and need a distraction anyway. So:

So, lately my birdfeeder has finally started attracting cardinals. The usual crowd at the birdfeeder includes a whole ton of mourning doves, which are bullies and sit on top of the seed like Smaug and chase other birds away; a whole bunch of the usual house sparrows and some house finches; one big pigeon which I always scare away when I see it because dammit give the little birds a chance; a pair of blue jays and now, finally, a mated pair of cardinals.

What's the latest encounter with wildlife y'all have had?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:04 PM on January 28, 2022 [3 favorites]

Yesterday, I was jumping on the trampoline with the Randomlet* when I spotted a Cooper's Hawk on the power lines in the alley. We paused action to watch it, and after a few seconds, it took off straight towards us and flew a couple feet over our heads** into a nearby tree where several doves immediately scattered. It then swooped over to a TV antenna a couple houses further on, perched for another minute, silhouetted by the sunset, before disappearing.

Eventually we got back to jumping.

* We play a game called Don't Get Hit By the Ball, where you get scored a point every time the ball touches you. We usually play to 5, but also do sudden-death rounds to first touch.

** Well, a couple feet for me, a couple additional feet over Randomlet's.

posted by Quasirandom at 2:35 PM on January 28, 2022 [2 favorites]

A combination of weather and work has had me inside and not birding more than I like, but my feeders have been active. This week, the common grackles, red-winged blackbirds, and brown-headed cowbirds showed up, which is a sign of spring to come. That and the house finches, chickadees, and tufted titmice have started signing.
posted by mollweide at 3:46 PM on January 28, 2022 [1 favorite]

Randomly, St. Louis County has a park with elk and bison. So when we are stuck inside due to weather and COVID, which is a lot these days, we put the kids in the car and drive slowly through the park. I wonder if it's enough space for them but it's fun!
posted by Tehhund at 3:51 PM on January 28, 2022 [3 favorites]

I have an on again, off again, hawk in the tree over my front porch, (I did notice the doves are gone, who have been pooping on my front sidewalk.) It took off and swooped up into the tall sycamore across the street. The cheeky parrots, green conyers, get after that hawk, with their mincing cries, pew, kew, pew! It is too early for much other bird song, except asides, and battle cries.

My next door over, neighbor has two german shepherd puppies, about three months old. They busted out of his falling down back fence, and greeted me when I went to bring in my green waste can. I stuck them back in, but to no avail. Later they were gone, and I found them and locked them in my van, while I screwed his fence back together. He was at work. Another neighbor relative, helped and found an extra board, to fill a gap. They are so cute and sweet, those puppies! I mean puppies! Full of puppy enthusiasm.
posted by Oyéah at 8:08 PM on January 28, 2022 [3 favorites]

There's a Jan Frederik (Cape Robin chat) that comes into my kitchen sometimes.
I know because I find its droppings and occasionally see it perched on the doorstep, looking in.
I'm not sure what it's looking for because the kitchen is aggressively clean at the moment as we are (argh) battling cockroaches.
There is a kind of wax bill that comes to my bird feeder sometimes. Tiny bird with a very long tail. Long tail is a breeding season thing and is about 3 times longer than the bird's little body.
Makes me wonder about natural selection as it's always incredibly windy at that time of year and little bird seems to be completely at the mercy of that tail, being blown about so much he does not seem to have any control where he's going.
posted by Zumbador at 8:53 PM on January 28, 2022

Thank you all for the reminder. I've gained a recent interest in birds over the last couple years and have been looking forward to a weekend morning cup of coffee getting to know who's showing up at the feeder in our new place. We're down at ground level now and out of the trees, so I've caught passing glances of new entries for my list. Caught a couple squirrels romping about the other day.
posted by calamari kid at 10:42 PM on January 28, 2022 [2 favorites]

I only saw a squirrel at my feeder once, but I had a novel way of stopping him. Both my feeders are suction-cupped to the windows overlooking the back yard, and one of them is like a little bus stop, with a platform sheltered by a "roof"; and early on, I saw a squirrel climb in and hunker down on top of the platform. But since it was suction cupped to the window...I just opened the window, which freaked him out and he jumped off. He tried again another couple times right after, and I was still home so I just opened the window each time and scared him again. After about four or five tries over a half hour he gave up and I haven't seen him since.

It's been fun getting to know the "regulars". Usually it's the sparrows and finches or the doves that show up first, usually hanging out in the chain link fence around the back yard before swooping in. Some of the finches and sparrows stick to the second feeder (a hanging feeder just for smaller birds, which I got because the doves sometimes hog the other one). The cardinals and jays usually hang back and sit in a tree in the far side of the yard, waiting for a chance when the doves have cleared out; although today the female cardinal was a little braver and staying put at the feeder, tussling with some of the sparrows.

And today I saw a robin hanging out in the tree as well. It never came to the feeder, but he was checking things out. Maybe later.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:34 AM on January 29, 2022

We have a few new visitors here this winter on the edge of this small city. Ravens! Crows are common and numerous here, but several times now I've seen a solitary raven overhead or in the tall trees behind my place. They're not coming close enough for me to start working out a way to make friends, but I'm still thrilled to see them. And twice now at dusk I've seen something large-ish, grey and furry that is probably a bobcat but need a better view to confirm. And lastly, for the first time in about 15 years, a red squirrel is claiming some territory from the greys in the trees immediately behind my deck. Mixed feelings about that one because they're so aggressive to other squirrels, but he's still fun to watch in a Tasmanian devil sort of way. Missing is a pair of red foxes that were around last winter; hoping they found a quieter place to reside.
posted by vers at 7:29 AM on January 29, 2022 [2 favorites]

Ack - there's a little bit of technical difficulty with my bird feeder this morning! I need to feed it daily (the regulars clean it out totally by mid-day) and I have been accessing it by opening the window it's on and reaching through.

But we had that huge storm, and it's cold today, and my window is now frozen shut. I've turned up the heat in the apartment in the hopes of melting things, and will keep trying to open it; and worst case scenario is that I try to go out into the back yard (it's gated at the street, but I have a key because I store my bike back there as well) and fill it there, but that will call for trudging through a foot of snow and I'm hoping to avoid that.

I still want to try filling the feeder because right now there is a flock of doves and finches all sitting in the trees and on the buildings overlooking my building's back yard looking at me like they're pissed.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:51 AM on January 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

I am now forced to set up my new laptop at work today. I got bookmarks transferred but not passwords, and in general this thing that is supposed to make my life easier is only making it more complicated. Also I hate breaking in a new machine and I note that I still haven't 100% transferred everything from my old personal laptop to my new laptop yet and it's been oh...a year and a half at least?

I do not look forward to hauling all of this laptop and its accessories (keyboard, mouse, docking station) back and forth to the office every day "to make my life easier." It does not. It ridiculously does not. I didn't enjoy using a different computer 2 days a week, but it was easier to deal with than this.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:24 AM on February 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

It's a new Free Thread!
posted by cortex at 12:54 PM on February 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

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