Patterico's Pontifications


Open Non-Coronavirus Policy Non-Trump Non-Politics Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

This morning I was chatting with some folks on email about how tense people seem on Twitter, and how partisan and divisive and angry and, well, lonely they seem. I said that one thing I have noticed is that when I go for a walk in my neighborhood, which I do every day at noon, more people are out and about and they are friendlier. There is a real sense of everyone being in this thing together as you walk around. That’s very different from half of Twitter.

Also, we are typically discussing politics and current events on Twitter. If I stop and have a brief chat (at a distance of ten yards) with a neighbor, it’s invariably about the dogs I am walking, or the weather, or how they’re holding up in all this, or how they are doing in their recovery from a recent health issue, or how crazy the supermarkets are and how long it takes to check out, or when they built that structure in their back yard. That kind of stuff. It’s not about how Trump is handling the coronavirus. If it were, odds are the discussions would be … different.

So why don’t we have a discussion like the kind I might have with my neighbors at a safe distance? The rules are: no talk about coronavirus policy, although you can talk about how it’s affecting your daily life. No mention of Trump. No mention of politics.

I’ll start. My niece started a neat game among the family that she created entirely on her own (with the help of an app called GooseChase) that is a scavenger hunt style game. But the idea is that each team (consisting of people in the family scattered throughout the country) must perform certain tasks my niece made up. Examples: “Take a picture showing a change you’ve had to make in your normal routine. Please explain in your caption.” Or: “Take a video of you trying to lift something very light but pretend like it’s heavy.” Or: “Tell a knock-knock joke [on video]. 5 bonus points if it makes me smile, groan, or shake my head!” It’s well-done and fun. My team is not doing too well though.

What’s up with you?

110 Responses to “Open Non-Coronavirus Policy Non-Trump Non-Politics Thread”

  1. I’ve been working from home since the first week of March – my company responded quickly. I’m an introvert, and somewhat antisocially inclined – I’m comfortable being alone. I also live alone, and my partner has been stuck in Austria. I’ve left the house about once every 5 days on average so far.

    A month of solitary has been pushing how isolated I can stay. Of course, the risk is still rising, so doing something about that is not advisable. I’m starting to remember the plots of dumb “last survivor” horror books I read as a teen.

    Otherwise, doing fine. My house is cleaner than it was before I moved in. I’ve gotten two house projects I was putting off done. I tend to miss “stop working” cues until the sun goes down, so I’ve been super productive. Just at risk of becoming (a much poorer) Howard Hughes for the new century.

    john (cd2753)

  2. My friends and I have set up a private online poker club – we’ll play a couple times a week, after the babies go to bed. That’s been awesome.

    Reading the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and missing the days when I had more ready access to psychedelic drugs.

    2020 has been a great year for music so far

    Leviticus (28a6ca)

  3. He can’t keep up with what’s been going down
    He thinks his heart must just be slowing down
    Among the human beings, in their designer jeans
    Am I the only one who hears the screams
    And the strangled cries
    Of lawyers on drugs

    God sends his spaceships to America, the beautiful
    They land at six o’clock and there we are, the dutiful
    Eating from TV trays, heavy on teh starch
    Then setting out on teh Chinese Lung March
    Oh, the anguished cries of
    Of lawyers on drugs
    Ooh sha lala ooo ooh
    Ooh sha lala ooo ooh
    (Aah ohh)
    Ooh sha lala ooo ooh
    Ooh sha lala ooo ooh

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  4. Hahahahaha. That’s good.

    Leviticus (28a6ca)

  5. You might think this is a Golden Earring lyric

    Faded the tinkling music of the minuet
    And when its mincing cadences were sped
    There echoed through that ballroom of the dead
    Two ghostly voices in a dark duet

    but it’s not.

    nk (1d9030)

  6. I saw Golden Earring open for Johnny Winter, king of the slide.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  7. I played a GoToMeeting version of online 3-man (drinking game) over the weekend. 4 of 7 of the participants had to put kids to bed mid-game. I think my ex got freaked out by my apt buildings local rep for housing med and nursing school students and hence the daughter is visited at her house mostly for dinners, keeping away from both sets of olds.

    urbanleftbehind (3155e2)

  8. Johnny Winter was one of my guitar heroes when I was young. Stevie Ray Vaughn too. My wife and I were habitues of “Buddy Guy’s” (where he was flying to on the night he was killed) but I never got to see him. Bonnie Raitt has been called the best slide guitarist living not all that long ago.

    nk (1d9030)

  9. I actually bartered with a neighbor today. I (not kidding) traded raw russet potatoes for toilet paper. She really wanted gloves, but would only part with two rolls. When I saw that the rolls where industrial-size (about8″ across), I gave her the spuds as well 😉

    Yeah, we had fun.

    felipe (023cc9)

  10. Bonnie Raitt is wonderful, and I’d kill for her voice, but she’s no Stevie Ray or Johnny Winter.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  11. My friends and I have set up a private online poker club… Leviticus (28a6ca) — 4/2/2020 @ 8:56 am

    Same here! We paypal to settle up.

    felipe (023cc9)

  12. Thank you, Patterico.

    Simon Jester (6067ca)

  13. My wife is crazy into 3D printing. So we are designing little tokens that describe our neighborhood as being “XXXX Strong Together.” She will print them, I will disinfect, just in case, and we will just leave them in various places on our walks.

    Simon Jester (6067ca)

  14. I love hearing about what others are doing in this strange, new world.

    I’ve been walking miles and miles throughout the day. Visiting with neighbors is comforting – we encourage them, they encourage us, we all laugh about the neurotic squirrels making the dogs go nuts, and wonder if anyone has seen the red fox lately. Also having ongoing text chats with several groups of friends, and relatives. A fun thing happening with the relatives is, given that they live in various places far from me – on the ocean, in the woods, in the big city – we’ll do video “tours” of our seasonal gardens, or vids of blue skies, or snow or hail storms, or gorgeous vids of the ocean while taking walks, etc.

    Trying to study something new every week, and work on various house/photography projects so I don’t visit the kitchen too much. This week it’s the history of Maori art, which has resulted in me having to reist the urge to purchase some prints because I love All Of It so much.

    One of the healthcare workers at the facility where one of my parents lives has tested positive for coronavirus, so now I’m keeping extra busy to tamp down the anxiety.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  15. Best wishes, Dana. In some ways, I am glad my parents have passed. My mother would be paralyzed by fear, and my father would be out trying to help. Both would be in the cross hairs.

    Teaching online is really bizarre. Some of the folks who are silent in class normally talk to me a lot via tele conference.

    But at least my wife and sons and I are under the same roof.

    Simon Jester (6067ca)

  16. P.S. Dana: I adored New Zealand. First place I ever went oversees, when I turned 54.

    The Maori I met and talked with were wonderful. And the art….OMG.

    I wear this around my neck: it means family to Maori. Infinity to me. So it fits.

    Funny part is that I got this (and one each for my wife and my sons) many, many years ago, before I ever traveled there.

    Simon Jester (6067ca)

  17. Does anyone else have that weird sensation of normalcy, almost forgetting that there is a pandemic? I am looking out my office window now, and see three people animatedly chatting together on the sidewalk under a giant oak tree, and the only give-away that something is different is that they are about 8′ apart. That is the only sign of the enormous change that has taken place. Everything seems the same, but everything is so very different. I am constantly having to remind myself of this…

    Dana (4fb37f)

  18. Nice pendant, Simon. It reminds me of a Treble Clef.

    felipe (023cc9)

  19. Bonnie Raitt has been called the best slide guitarist living not all that long ago.

    Ry Cooder hands down…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  20. Actually, Dana, I do, and in a twilight-zone way.

    felipe (023cc9)

  21. I’m a Roy Clark man, myself, Colonel.

    felipe (023cc9)

  22. Being retired and a long-term geek, I find this forced isolation to be nothing much. It’s going outside that’s the problem, with all those folks out there acting as if nothing has changed.

    My friend in Chicago is improving and is maybe coming off the respirator soon. My wife and I are still healthy and avoiding most social contact. Apparently you can transmit this virus just by exhaling, so masks, glasses and gloves when outside — “social distancing” seems a half-measure.

    I worry about my friend in London who is undergoing chemo. They may even pause the chemo due to the danger of him going to hospital and their need to focus on virus cases. He has a very aggressive cancer that is, however, easily knocked back by chemo. I’d like for him to have all the time possible; nice and selfless guy.

    I hope that everyone here stays safe from this thing. Even if you are young and healthy, there are ways it can get at you, such as triggering an autoimmune catastrophe.

    Be well.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  23. I’ve had a lot of time on my hands in the last week. So I’ve been teching myself a few new board games and working on my (piss-poor) backgammon game. I have neither the attention span nor the patience to be any good at poker, but I’ve played backgammon for money, though not over the internet. I wasn’t and am still not ready to make a career out of gambling of any form.

    Gryph (08c844)

  24. There was this TV show, now ended, called Counterpart about an experiment that split out world into two parallel ones. Quite good, actually, and worth streaming. In one of them a terrible “flu” had killed millions and transformed public policy to a great extent. I thought that that world was “the other one.” Now maybe not.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  25. 24. I remember that show. I was a fan of JK Simmons since before he played J. Jonah Jameison.

    Gryph (08c844)

  26. My friends and I have set up a private online poker club – we’ll play a couple times a week, after the babies go to bed. That’s been awesome.

    I’m curious about the platform. It’s not something I’ve investigated, and it seems frought with risks.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  27. JK Simmons

    He was also in the recent “Veronica Mars” mini-series update on, I think, Hulu. Also worth watching, if you remember Veronica Mars (and if not, go stream the original series, too).

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  28. Best wishes, Dana. In some ways, I am glad my parents have passed.

    My parents would be centenarians if they still lived. My mom made it to 96 and a day but her last few years were so terrible (she never left her bed in the last 2 years and her lucid moments were rare) that this might have been a blessing. Then again, if I get to the same place, I might think differently.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  29. Does anyone else have that weird sensation of normalcy,

    Briefly. But mostly I am full of tension and worry. Not for myself, I’m safe, well-fed and comfortable, but for my family.

    nk (1d9030)

  30. One DIL has her hands full in SoCal with a 5 year old, a 3 year old and a 4 month old. The other DIL, along with our daughter, are nurses on the frontlines in NorCal.

    Our oldest son is responsible for an area covering most of SoCal for a major residential housing developer/builder. He has his hands full with calming the fears of buyers who are second-guessing their purchases. Our other son is an optician in NorCal, and he’s been working one or two days a week for the last three weeks.

    Thankfully, all are healthy, so far.

    My wife and I are retired and keep busy with projects around our home, walking the dog and making sure our elderly neighbors – we have quite a few in our neighborhood – are okay and not in need of anything.

    We have an abiding faith that we will get through this. We are reminded that one can never know what’s heading this way from around the corner.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  31. 29. Myself, not really. Within days of losing both my jobs to this thing, my wife started working full-time again. There won’t be a lot of wiggle room for fun money, but this is as close to normal as it gets for us right now.

    Gryph (08c844)

  32. 21… Roy Clark was fantastic, felipe! Absolutely fantastic. And the man enjoyed his cocaine for much of his professional life, hence his devilish, mischievous grin.

    Who knew?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  33. I was disappointed that Counterpart was cancelled, great show. Kept me on my toes keeping up with what was going on.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  34. Our IT Contractor has been overworked lately. I get setup for telecommuting this afternoon. In the meantime, we are “social distancing” at work. This is easy as we all have our own offices. The family is doing well, even the ones who are still going to work.

    Harmon (5921b0)

  35. I have every conceivable thing that you can get by Roku on my TV; plus an amplified antenna to get all the broadcast stations and a flash drive to record them, pause them and replay them. I watch 15 minutes of Disney Plus at lunchtime and another 15 at dinner time. My brother recommended “The Sisters Bothers” on Hulu. Probably the only decent Western out of Hollywood since the Coens’ remake of “True Grit”. I watched about half an hour of it, then I went and read the book.

    nk (1d9030)

  36. Slide guitar talk with no mention of Derek Trucks or Sonny Landreth? Geez! Actually, I have watched the Youtube of SRV playing Voodoo Chile several times while being distanced, and it makes me thrilled, amazed, and glad more and more.

    Fred (c46b99)

  37. “I’m curious about the platform. It’s not something I’ve investigated, and it seems frought with risks.”

    – Kevin M

    It’s a “Home Game” feature through Probably is frought with risks – you have to download a package to your computer – but I haven’t seen any indications of malware at this point.

    Leviticus (28a6ca)

  38. I think they just hope for it to be a gateway drug for their online money games.

    Leviticus (28a6ca)

  39. 36… man, how could I forget Derek Trucks, the guy is amazing. His fluid style is sooooo reminiscent of Duane Allman. Trucks playing on the old AB classic “Dreams” and his band’s “Midnite in Harlem” are gems.

    Colonel Haiku (9e91a2)

  40. In the old days, Cooder, Lowell George and Allman were hard to beat.

    Colonel Haiku (9e91a2)

  41. Dana, have you ever heard of Dave Hole, a slide guitarist from Perth, Australia? Due to an injury he had while he was learning to play, he developed an “over the top” style of playing that just looks wrong to watch. I saw him play a couple times back in the 90s and aughts. Helluva show.

    I saw Johnny Winter open for George Thorogood in 85 on the Maverick tour. It was at the Iowa State Fair, and when the local DJs announced the show the winter before, they were like “Jesus, he’s still alive?” He put on a helluva show too.

    Russ from Winterset (4fe966)

  42. Speaking of guitarists, check out this brief blues ‘lesson’ from Johnny Hiland, a country picker from Maine who is legally blind.

    harkin (b64479)

  43. And speaking of slide, I was fortunate enough to catch Robert Gordon at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz around ‘80 and his guitarist was Danny Gatton. Whenever he played a slide section he just used the bottle of cold beer sitting on his amp.

    harkin (b64479)

  44. Yeah, Dave Hole is great. And it’s indeed, very awkward watching him do it wrong.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  45. 2- Leviticus – I ran into”The Merry Pranksters” in Marin County, quite a party.
    I’ll take Duane Allman on slide.

    mg (8cbc69)

  46. 46. There’s a Twilight Struggle app available through Steam. It’s a great little program, cause that way you don’t have to set up or tear down when you’re done.

    Gryph (08c844)

  47. Thanks to the medical miracle playing with my granddaughter is the best therapy going.

    mg (8cbc69)

  48. I’ll take Duane Allman on slide.

    Put me down for Dave Gilmour.

    Dave (1bb933)

  49. It’s a great little program, cause that way you don’t have to set up or tear down when you’re done.

    Is truth.

    But harder to pound shoe on table.

    Dave (1bb933)

  50. Nk,

    I believe I remember you paying respect to a prolific science fiction/fantasy fiction writer a while back and recommended some of his specific works. Do you happen to remember the writer and the works? Looking for more reading material.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  51. 50. That’s where Discord comes in, Comrade. I use it for pretty much all of my realtime digital gaming communication needs. 😉

    Gryph (08c844)

  52. For those of you (like nk) who like slide guitar, you might look up recordings by Tampa Red, who played a National Tricone better than anyone before or since. Not acutally a slide guitar, but a unique sound.

    Out here on the Eastern Shore of VA, I’ve been forced to take emergency steps given the expected onset of cabin fever. I loaded a Solitaire program on my wife’s computer that has over 250 different games and a Mahjong game with over 300 different boards.

    John B Boddie (286277)

  53. I will bury you, comrades.

    I very much doubt the game correctly models the economic reality that allowed the US to CRUSH the Soviets. Namely we could borrow as much as we wanted and they had to pay cash. So we started an insane arms race and they went broke trying to keep up. I’ve always thought that “Star Wars” was the greatest hoax in history.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  54. I love threads like these. Hardcore politics can seem oppressive at times.

    Remember years ago when Jack Dunphy, as a guest blogger here, asked for ideas about where to live when he retired from the LAPD? The answers and information were voluminous.

    I retired two years ago at the ripe old age of 54. My original idea was to move back to Utah, where I grew up, and where my mother and two siblings reside. However, I was disheartened to realize just how much Utah’s population had grown in the quarter-century I had been gone. Driving around in Utah, I felt like I was in the Bay Area again! I concluded that Reno, to which I moved from the Bay Area in 2009, wasn’t so bad after all.

    I’ve been in my house 10+ years now, and it’s the first house I’ve ever owned. Soon after moving into it, my friend asked me if I’d met the neighbors yet, and mentioned how awesome neighbors can be. Over the years I discovered just how true that was. My neighbors across the street have had me over several times for dinners/games/chats. They have a fire stand in their back yard, so even if the weather is cold we can still get together. The wood they burn is from my back yard tree that blew over last year, and which my neighbor helped me haul away!

    My neighbors to the side of me are a young couple with two little kids. The wife is an avid runner, and she assembles a caravan to go running. One kid is in a stroller, and the other follows mom on a bike with training wheels. Bringing up the rear is their beagle, with her white-tipped tail pointed straight up. It’s cute as hell. Anyway, this couple is a great pair. They did not get upset when my tree blew down, even though two-thirds of it was in their yard! (The insurance company company, by the way–Travelers–told me that my neighbors were responsible for two-thirds of the cost of the fence repair, because most of the fallen tree was on their property. Yeah, right! I was not about to try and sell that to the neighbors. I just paid for the repair myself. I ditched Travelers when my next premium was due.)

    The hardest part of this shutdown is not going to the gym. Now that I’m retired, I have plenty of time to work out, and I had been going regularly for the past year. There’s something about leaving the house, putting forth some effort, and coming back home that gives me a “reset” feeling.

    Also, I’ve never really had a problem feeling lonely, but now that I have to isolate, it doesn’t sit well. I’m thinking about asking my brother if I can take temporary ownership of one of his dogs. I did this before with my mom’s dog. We meet in Elko, which is halfway to Utah, and do the exchange. My brother has two Australian Cattle Dogs. Recent comments indicate that some of you guys have also had these “heeler” dogs. What an amazing breed! They’re smart, just the right size, and super athletic.

    Anyway, one of my brother’s heelers is blue, and one is red. I really like the blue one. Her name is Vixen, and she lives up to the name. She has energy galore. She is fond of retrieving balls, and is as fast as the wind. I’d love to take her hiking. One of the greatest pleasures in life is taking a dog hiking off leash. People here do it all the time, and nobody seems to mind that the dog is off leash. I’ve discovered that when dogs are hiking off leash, they are so happy to be out in the wild that they couldn’t care less about other people.

    norcal (a5428a)

  55. 54. Twilight Struggle has nothing to do with economics. It’s a political/military game that mainly models the razor’s edge of mutually assured destruction. That’s why I think DefCon is one of the most important mechanics in the game; if you can’t manage that, nothing else matters.

    Gryph (08c844)

  56. Just remembered the author was L.E. Modesitt Jr. Don’t remember the name of the book.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  57. I finally got around to reading some of the homebrew books I bought when I first got into the hobby a while back. I’ve been brewing beer for a couple of years now, but always with kits or from recipes online. My local home brew shop is excellent so I placed a large order with them and intend to try some of my own tweaks whenever it comes. My wife and I are making it a point to order food from local places as much as we can, so that was all the justification I needed!

    I also got my wife into video games through Animal Crossing. She’s loving it.

    We have been in the process of adopting and just finished our video profile two weeks ago. Obviously, that’s delayed now. We aren’t sure whether this would have been a great time to have a newborn in the house or not since we’re both working from home! We’re disappointed that it’s been delayed but if that’s the worst thing we go through we’ll be lucky indeed.

    JohnnyAgreeable (1b878e)

  58. Twilight Struggle has nothing to do with economics.

    I get that, but it was the difference between the economic systems that supplied the real-world victory, despite all the military-political maneuvering.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  59. mg, I’m so happy you are able to spend time with your granddaughter. It sounds like she is doing well.

    norcal, I hope you are able to babysit your brother’s dogs, at least Vixen. That breed of dog will certainly keep you moving – even long after you need a rest.

    PS, I agree re dogs off leash. It’s the best. Unfortunately, if our huge German Shepherd is let off leash on the trail, he will go after any other dog he sees on the trail. Even if the dog is minding its business and enjoying its off-leash romp. In other words, he is the very dog you hope not to have an off-leash encounter with, if you’re a dog. If you’re a person, though, then you’re just a wonderful opportunity to push up against for pets and scratches and adoration.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  60. 59. You can’t realistically model everything in a game. Even the old dogs in the War College have to admit that. 😛

    Gryph (08c844)

  61. Johnny Agreeable,

    Apparently your handle is a good reflection of you, in light of the adoption process delay. You’ll need that agreeable nature when a little one comes to live with their new mom and dad. Good luck with the adoption journey.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  62. 55… hey, norcal… spent many a summer in my youth during the 60s and 70s in the Provo-Springville area… great memories. Most of our extended family live there, last time I was there was Dec’12 when we laid my father to rest in the Springville cemetary… yes, the area had grown but a far cry from Bay Area, at least back then.

    Colonel Haiku (0aee87)

  63. NJRob @51, 57. If it was L.E. Modesitt, Jr., I think it’s Kevin M who is the fan. I have never read him. Kevin, can you help NJRob out?

    On my part, I can enthusiastically recommend Jack Vance’s Lyonesse Trilogy — 1. Suldrun’s Garden, 2. The Green Pearl, and 3. Madouc. An epic that competes only with Lord Of The Rings. And wins.

    nk (1d9030)

  64. My husband retired after 41 years with the same company the week before this hit. What a way to start retirement. Granted he is not worried about losing his job. lol Our plans were to spend as much time as possible with our 14 grandkids and love on them. Before we know it they will all be grown and gone. They range from age 1 to 14. Well the virus definitely put the brakes on that but we decided we could still interact with them. Using Zoom we have “time with Grandma and Grandpa” meetings. Now the little ones under age 6 usually just look at themselves on the screen but the older ones really get into the spirit of it. Yesterday we spent an hour playing hangman with the older kids and it was a lot of fun. Last Sunday we had a full family get-together which was 23 of us on the screen at one time. Can we say chaos? It was a typical Sunday because on pre-virus Sundays everyone would go to church and then they all show up at Grandma and Grandpa’s house for lunch. The kids play or swim, the adults sit around and talk and occasionally play a game. So the chaos went from being at my feet to on my screen.

    Some day this will all be over and we will get to hug those grandchildren for real. Never before has 15 miles seemed like a thousand miles to me.

    Marci (405d43)

  65. NJRob, for more high-quality fantasy, I can recommend Gene Wolfe’s 1. Soldier Of The Mist and 2. Soldier Of Arete but not 3. Soldier Of Sidon, and also his 1. The Knight and 2. The Wizard.

    nk (1d9030)

  66. Dana,

    German Shepherd is my other favorite breed! It’s too bad your dog goes after other dogs on the trail. I thought it was the domain of pit bulls to be aggressive to other dogs but not humans.

    norcal (a5428a)

  67. Colonel Haiku,

    What a coincidence. My mother grew up in Springville, and lives in Provo now. About the population, I remember as a kid riding in the car from Salt Lake County to Provo. I-15 was only two lanes in each direction, and wasn’t crowded.

    My favorite uncle (my mom’s oldest brother) is buried in the Springville cemetery. He was a professor of English. Enlisted in the Marine Corps with his younger brother on December 5, 1941. Great timing, huh? He was in the Pacific (including Okinawa) during the war, while his younger brother spent the war in Philadelphia as a clerk!

    This favorite uncle of mine was a real cutup. On the subject of astrology, he would ask, “Do you really think all those stars up there give a sh*t when you were born?”

    norcal (a5428a)

  68. My apologies nk, thanks for the correction. And a double thank you for the recommendations.

    Kevin, do you remember the scifi book you mentioned on a previous thread that you highly recommended. I believe it was written by L.E. Modesitt.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  69. By the way, Colonel Haiku, were you raised Mormon? I was, but long ago became inactive.

    norcal (a5428a)

  70. 68… good stuff, norcal. A good chance my dad knew or knew of your relatives, small town and all.

    I remember loading the hay on my uncle’s ranch, picking cherries, riding horses, trout fishing in Hobble Creek, Provo River, Strawberry and Starvation Reservoirs… learning to drive in the snow (MG Midget)… it was paradise for a California kid.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  71. You’re welcome, NJRob. If you want to revisit Robert E. Howard, you can find all of him here, for free, to stream or download as EPUBs. I particularly recommend the Solomon Kane stories on that list — I wish he had written more of them.

    nk (1d9030)

  72. 70… yes, I was. inactive for years, as well, but I’m feeling a need to get closer to the Lord.

    My mother called a couple nights ago to let me know the church leaders had issued a directive that all their missionaries around the world are to go home to their families. Doing that’s a big deal.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  73. So here’s a cooking tip: If the can says to drain the canned vegetables and bring them to a boil for a minute in a small pot with fresh water, drain the canned vegetables and bring them to a boil for a minute in a small pot with fresh water. Should you choose to spoon them right out of the can on top of your Spam and rice with soy sauce, make sure you have an adequate roll of toilet paper and maybe half an hour’s worth of reading material in your bathroom for four o’clock in the morning.

    And I’m still wondering if I could have gotten away with it if I were younger.

    nk (1d9030)

  74. Dana,
    Her progress is remarkable. We are so thankful to be together during these times. Love is a drug.

    mg (8cbc69)

  75. But Pat said Love was a Battlefield

    AJ_Liberty (165d19)

  76. Just purchased Soldier of the Mist by Gene Wolfe. The Lyonesse trilogy isn’t on kindle so I’ll have to read it the old fashioned way.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  77. @69 Do you remember what he said it was about? I’ve read all of Modesitt, so I might be able to help you out.

    Nic (896fdf)

  78. And thank you so much for the Conan links. Haven’t read those since I was a kid. Time to revisit.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  79. Nic,

    he said it was the best SciFi book he’d ever read. I’ve been hesitant to read Modesitt because of the way he focuses on his opinion of morality, but I’d rather read than watch tv, so I’m on a buying binge.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  80. Nic,

    I googled it, but came up empty. I see you previously praised his “Imager” works, so I may visit those shortly.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  81. Do you like near future? Far future? Space opera type? More Planet based action?

    Nic (896fdf)

  82. Imager is more sort of early industrial revolution fantasy w/ rules based magic, if that is something you like.

    Nic (896fdf)

  83. You know what? I think I’ve found the thread NJRob means:

    And perusing the comments, I see that I (very) likely misidentified the Modesitt fan. I think it’s Nic not Kevin M. But go through the comments and see what strikes a chord for you, NJRob.

    nk (1d9030)

  84. If it was me, then it’s probably Octagonal Raven– Action oriented near future sci fi. Fight the Oligarchy (kinda). It’s what I recommend anyone who is into sci-fi who hasn’t read anything by Modesitt before, unless I know more about their personal bent.

    Nic (896fdf)

  85. Yes, I’m almost definitely sure that it’s you, Nic. My apologies for misidentifying you with Kevin M, but as Mike Resnick said in Santiago (that’s a space western you all might like), all good-looking people look alike.

    nk (1d9030)

  86. I imagine others have thought the same thing, but I swear I came up with this on my own.



    norcal (a5428a)

  87. Colonel H @73,

    Yes. The Mormon church sending all its missionaries (last I heard there were about 40,000 around the world) home is when you know something is up. By the way, I served a two-year mission in the Boston area.

    norcal (a5428a)

  88. My wife instituted a “family coronavirus challenge” where we earn points for doing productive or positive things: chores, playing with the kids/dogs, reading a book (but negative points for phone use after 10pm) etc.

    It’s been a good reminder to try to take this as an opportunity to focus on the positive things we enjoy.

    nate_w (5efffe)

  89. Agreed and your choosing to serve a mission is worthy of praise in my view.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  90. I just finished a ten year project in the Ogden-SLC-Provo corridor.

    As recently as 2010 there was still a feel to it that was like the late 80s and 90s (except the Farrah Fawcett hairstyle that every other woman had was gone).

    Then all of a sudden it blew up. I would be there at least once a month and every time I returned the traffic was just a bit worse. That’s how fast it happened. Not as fast as Orange County post-Viet Nam but pretty fast.

    I know a lot of lifelong residents of the Wasatch front looking to get out, but where?

    harkin (b64479)

  91. I get that, but it was the difference between the economic systems that supplied the real-world victory, despite all the military-political maneuvering.

    For a game to be fun, both sides need to have a chance to win, and this is not a “design for cause” Rand Corporation simulation, but a “design for effect” strategy game that attempts to represent the main themes and flavor of the Cold War. I think you underestimate the designers’ cleverness.

    The game uses event cards to model the differences between the two sides. Some that represent the West’s economic superiority include:

    Marshall Plan (the Commies have a much weaker “COMECON” card)
    Five-Year Plan (Soviet economic inefficiency)
    Kitchen Debates (allows the US player to poke the Soviet Player in the chest and score victory points!)
    One Small Step (gives the US ability to catch-up in the Space Race)
    Grain Sales to Soviets (represents the Soviets’ inability to feed themselves)
    Star Wars
    North Sea Oil (screws OPEC)

    Generally speaking, the most dangerous part of the game for the US is the early-mid game; the Soviets gain footholds in a lot of places (“Decolonialization”, “Fidel”, “Portugese Empire Crumbles”, “DeGaulle”, “Willy Brandt”). The US has to play whack-a-mole in the Third World while trying to avoid losing it’s grip on the all-important Western European countries.

    In the later game, it’s the Soviets who are on the defensive against cards like “The Iron Lady”, “Tear Down This Wall”, “An Evil Empire”, “Solidarity”, “Pope John Paul II”, etc. If the Commies are ahead, the Gorbachev related cards can help them hold on.

    Dave (1bb933)

  92. Gryph (08c844) — 4/2/2020 @ 1:17 pm

    There’s a Twilight Struggle app available through Steam. It’s a great little program, cause that way you don’t have to set up or tear down when you’re done.

    I was glad to see it go on sale. I haven’t had a chance to play it yet but I’ve heard good things. I’ve got some buddies playing online games alongside zoom but I think it is 1:1 so it hasn’t made it into the rotation.

    I’m used to working from home but not for this long. I don’t think my car has moved in 2 weeks and I can’t remember the last time I wore shoes. I’m not even sure where my shoes are. I probably need to just crank the car and let in run for a bit. I’m starting to worry that the ozone is getting a second wind.

    frosty (f27e97)

  93. Do you like near future? Far future? Space opera type? More Planet based action?

    Nic (896fdf) — 4/2/2020 @ 7:33 pm

    Space Opera, far future, alternate universe, imaginary worlds. Anything SciFi or Fantasy as long as the writing is solid.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  94. I’ve got some buddies playing online games alongside zoom but I think it is 1:1 so it hasn’t made it into the rotation.

    For multi-player (1-4 players), my current favorite is Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization

    Available for mobile, PC (Steam) and on paper. Also just released an expansion with additional cards.

    The digital version is buy-once, play-anywhere, which is nice.

    Dave (1bb933)

  95. harkin,

    Utah used to be a fairly insular place, but I guess out-of-staters started to realize that there was more to Utah than Mormonism. Maybe Robert Redford started it all.

    You are right. It blew up. I would return about once a year or so and was amazed at the changes that took place between each visit. My cousin, who is older than I, and who has been in Provo his entire life, has talked about moving to Santaquin, which is about 20 miles south of Provo, and still has a rural feel to it.

    Some northern Utah residents are fond of retiring and moving to St. George (Florida for Mormons!) which is at the southern tip of Utah, and has Las Vegas type weather. From his recent comment, I guess Colonel Haiku is also keen on St. George.

    norcal (a5428a)

  96. @86 No problem. 😀

    @93 Then you’ll do fine with any of Modesitt. Some of it is a little more quietly philosophical than I prefer, but it’s all good. He’s got a pretty wide variety from space opera to noir to planetary settlement to alternate history to more traditional or less traditional fantasy. The first 2 books in the recluse series are OK (he’s still working out how to write fantasy in those), but aren’t my favorite. If you are very LDS or very Evangelical, some of his thoughts in some of the sci fi books might be a little hard to take. He lives in Utah and has… opinions… on the LDS church and fundamentalist religion in general (and Islam), though they aren’t necessarily in your face and don’t show up in every book.

    Nic (896fdf)

  97. St George is very nice and has a unique climate zone, but I wouldn’t want to spend summers there.

    harkin (b64479)

  98. I’m still classroom teaching every day here in Saudi Arabia. Other schools in the country are teaching online. There’s talk that next week will be our last week–then our students get sent home, whereupon we get a three-week break. There is a 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. curfew, which is (one hears) strictly enforced, It’s now 24 hours in Mecca and Medina, and 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Riyadh. Since Arabs use a hose attachment on their toilets, toilet paper’s not an issue. Only hand sanitizer and masks are hard to find. Since Saudi night life isn’t much to speak of, my life hasn’t changed much. We can only get takeout at the very middling restaurants here. I’m grateful for my job, which seems pretty solid.

    Golden Eagle (8e3954)

  99. harkin,

    I guess I’m just an odd fellow, because I love hot places. I could even live in Phoenix. In the summer.

    norcal (a5428a)

  100. Golden Eagle,

    Thanks for the update on Saudi Arabia. What do you teach there?

    norcal (a5428a)

  101. Norcal: Generally speaking, I teach English. Are you from northern California? I grew up in Berkeley.

    Golden Eagle (8e3954)

  102. Golden Eagle,

    I used to teach English to Chinese people. It was rather fun.

    I lived in the Bay Area (Millbrae and San Francisco) for 15 years, and moved to the Reno area 11 years ago. For the sake of consistency regarding people like Dana, with whom I’ve traded online comments since I was in the Bay Area, I’ve kept the same handle. Besides, Reno is just a hop, skip, and a jump from northern California.

    Berkeley is nice. I remember how all the good art house movies were in Berkeley, and the restaurants weren’t bad, either. In addition, the Berkeley rose garden, and the mansion where Cal’s chancellor used to live, are both beautiful places. Every time I’m down there, I try and hit Asha Tea on University. Their Hong Kong Milk Tea is out of this world.

    norcal (a5428a)

  103. People will energy and time and opponents can try Ultimate Tic Tac Toe. It;s complicated.

    9 boards. Wherever you pay on one board determines the board opponent plays on. Rules can vary.

    Might be interesting to explore.

    Not for me now.

    Sammy Finkelman (337057)

  104. “ I guess I’m just an odd fellow, because I love hot places. I could even live in Phoenix. In the summer.”

    When I was younger it didn’t bother me much, trips to ‘the river’ (Parker AZ) in July and only starting to be bothered when it got above 115.

    Then in my 40s I worked a project in Apache Junction in the summer. Never again.

    I have family in Gilbert AZ and I love the place, but in Oct-April.

    Easter time is my favorite time in the Sonoran Desert, everything green and alive before the big heat.

    harkin (b64479)

  105. Norcal: I lived in Berkeley from 1963 to 1979. There used to be lots of families until the mid-70s. I think the only time I went to Milbrae was when I rode BART out there just for the heck of it. I knew San Francisco well, of course. It’s quite a contrast from Saudi Arabia, eh?

    Golden Eagle (8e3954)

  106. One of the things i’ve been doing to help keep myself sane during this nightmare is listening to live music. You’d think that would be impossible, but musicians are bored and need morale boosters too, and so there’ve been an incredible number of live stream living room performances over the last several weeks.

    aphrael (7962af)

  107. If one of them can set these lyrics to a calypso tune, aphrael, …

    Nut-brown baby, you got rovin’ eyes.
    You don’ say nothin’ but yo’ sure is wise.
    You don’ say nothin’ with dem honey lips
    But yo’ sure say plenty when you swing dem hips.
    Ah feel de knife in ma breeches when yo’ swing dem hips
    At dem high-yaller bastards off de sailin’ ships.

    nk (1d9030)

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