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Sunday, April 26th, 2015 09:00 pm
  • Wash the dishes in your sink
  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories
  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast
  • Make your lunch
  • Put your keys somewhere obvious
  • Wash your face and brush your teeth
  • Take your medication/set out your meds for the morning
  • Charge your electronics
  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)
  • Set your alarm
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour
Sunday, April 26th, 2015 04:47 pm

It’s project week! Do you have a project you’ve been putting off? Organizing the garage? Tackling your closet? Finally reorganizing the pantry? This is your week to do it. Each day this week, spend at least 20 minutes on your big project. It might not be completely done at the end, but you’ll have a week’s worth of progress to celebrate.

Sunday, April 26th, 2015 12:31 pm
I'm debating whether or not I should go to the library with Scott and Cordelia today. I'm probably capable of it, and doing some walking might be good for me. On the other hand, walking still hurts, so I don't know.

I wore the brace for about five hours yesterday, and that was simply too long. By the time I put the boot on, my foot really hurt. The boot's far from ideal, but I don't bend my foot when I walk in it, and I don't move my ankle as much. I just wonder whether I'm making a mistake in not wearing the brace more-- It may be that those movements hurt because I haven't done them much in weeks and that I need to do them more not less.

Scott and I finished off season 5 of Leverage yesterday. We thought that the season, on the whole, was weaker than preceding seasons, but it was still pretty good. We enjoyed the last episode quite a bit. I may have to go looking for Leverage fic (assuming I get into reading fic again).

I started this week's [community profile] metanews link finding yesterday and got through about a third of the blog list. I haven't found nearly as many links in terms of just happening on things this week, and I'm kind of glad because it leaves me with more time for other things.

Scott and I ended up staying up way late last night. We usually turn out the light between 11:00 and midnight, but last night we hit 1:00 with the light still on. We didn't get up until well after 10:00. It's a bit after noon now, and we've only just had breakfast. That really throws off my medication schedule for the rest of the day, so I try not to do that, but many Sundays, that's just the way it is.

I'm wondering when I'll be able to go back to volunteering at Cordelia's school. I don't think it will be this week, but I'd like to go back soon. I miss it quite a bit. I'm just not sure how useful I'd be as I couldn't shelve a considerable percentage of the books due to not being able to get down near the floor with my leg in the boot.

I have to call and try to reschedule Cordelia's dental appointment. It's the same day as my next orthopedics appointment, and I really don't want to try to do both in one day. The timing is such that I almost certainly could do both, just looking at that factor. The orthopedics appointment is at 10:30. The dental appointment is at 3:30. Even assuming it takes two hours to have the morning appointment and get home, I'd be in plenty of time to pick Cordelia up from school at 2:30. I just don't think I can face going out twice in one day.
Sunday, April 26th, 2015 07:49 am

Productive week. Very. Also a very bad week. Let me explain.

On the productive side, we -- mostly I, actually -- did some final clearing-out and organizing in the garage, and Kat and Glenn got their piles of stuff out. The maypole's cross-section went from a square with rounded corners to an actual circle, and it looks remarkably Polish now. Colleen got her catheter and bag, so we have a greatly-reduced laundry and garbage load. A lot of the framing in the addition has been done, and the garage portion is a couple of feet bigger than I expected it to be. It was also a pretty productive week at work.

On the bad side, I got into a fender-bender -- my own stupid fault -- so we don't have the Honda right now. And I could have used it yesterday. And Colleen's new prosthetic bladder means that she can't take baths. Which means no walk-in tub. And a screw vibrated loose on the router, which could have been drasticaly bad but wasn't. And my back was hurting for much of the week.

On the in side (where every silver lining has a cloud around it), not getting a walk-in tub means saving tens of thousands on the upstairs remodeling. And it's practically impossible to be depressed while wielding a jointer plane. Found that out last night.

Links in the notes as usual.

raw notes, with links )
Sunday, April 26th, 2015 12:30 am
Ah, yes. It was exhausting overseeing the painting crew for D#2's apartment yesterday.

Lulu and I are simply worn out.

AND I had to shoulder the kitty petting duties as well.

If I must, I must. What a brutal afternoon.
Sunday, April 26th, 2015 01:51 am


this took me a few days, and they partially respawned several times in between bursts of cleaning, but the dishes are defeated

Sunday, April 26th, 2015 01:33 am
So apparently there's a measure that's been submitted to amend or remove the "5% rule" for the Hugo awards. This is a good idea -- that rule was put in place to avoid the case where you have, say, three works that get 50%, 25%, and 20% of the ballots -- and then the next work has 4% or less of the ballots, thus not really in the running for competing with the more important works. But in fact, when a work is saturated enough, the field gets large enough and we no longer have central places where everyone is reading the same things, we end up with situations like Best Short Story -- where for most of the last 5 years we've had fewer than 5 things on the ballot (sometimes as few as 3) with even the successful nominees not getting much more than 5% (or mabye even that; the 5% rule has an exception that you still have to have 3 nominees even if you need to bend it to do so) of the ballot, and thus no significant difference between what made the cut and what didn't -- but a much thinner field than there really should be.

They call it "The 5%" solution.

The reason for the following one verse filk, therefore, should be obvious.

(Also, thank you, [personal profile] drcpunk for remembering to write down my brainstormed chorus couplet so it was still around when I finished the verse and got around to writing the chorus).

"The Five Percent Solution"
TTTO: "I Never Do Anything Twice/The Madam's Song", by Stephen Sondheim
By Joshua Kronengold

Before I was a neo,
I don't recall the date,
We made a rule for our premier award,
Even if it made the cut, a nomination met its fate,
If one in twenty didn't think it scored

At first it proved a good rule,
Avoided the long tails,
But later, when the field ballooned in size,
If our population fails,
To all read the same tales,
Where the ballot's concerned there's too much for the prize,

Then, yes, the genre was small,
Now, though, you can't read it all,
Then, tastes were more concentrated,
The best stories rated,
And found themselves slated

We must this rule amend,
At this point, it's hard to defend,
I think that it makes no sense,
To limit works by five percent.
Saturday, April 25th, 2015 12:27 am
The other day, Ana commented that I looked "sinister" standing in the alley with my hands behind my back waiting for the girls to get back from the corner store. I said that this is because I am sinister, but of course, then I had to explain the joke. Well, any chance to squeeze some more etymology into their day!


The shocking cost of stingy pay in America

Who actually makes the minimum wage in America today

Nepal earthquake: Death toll passes 1,000

Giant cosmic tsunami wakes up comatose galaxies

Why I fled: New migrants in Italy share their stories

U.S. restarts refugee program for Iraqis

The corrosive cult of compliance in our schools

Thoughts Can Fuel Some Deadly Brain Cancers

India Stays World’s Top Beef Exporter Despite New Bans on Slaughtering Cows

Islamic State strengthens ties with Boko Haram

Poetry is going extinct, government data show

U.N. invites Syrian parties to Geneva peace talks in May (but not ISIS or al-Nusra)

ISIS loses control of key bridge to Iraq forces

Bark Beetles Are Decimating Our Forests. That Might Actually Be a Good Thing.

Cuba has had a lung cancer vaccine for years

Report: Income Inequality Most Apparent During Fifth-Grade Classmate’s Birthday Party

None of the 19,000 homes in Gaza destroyed during last summer’s war with Israel has been rebuilt.

Parting the brown sea: Sewage crisis threatens Gaza's access to water

Yes! Researchers have created glasses-free 3D holograms using graphene

Baltimore protest after death in custody turns violent

When mom serves herself as dinner

“Music was better back then”: When do we stop keeping up with popular music?

Woman misdiagnosed with cerebral palsy gets cure after 33 years

Mitochondria editing tried in mice
Saturday, April 25th, 2015 09:00 pm
  • Wash the dishes in your sink
  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories
  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast
  • Make your lunch
  • Put your keys somewhere obvious
  • Wash your face and brush your teeth
  • Take your medication/set out your meds for the morning
  • Charge your electronics
  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)
  • Set your alarm
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour
Saturday, April 25th, 2015 07:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

Olive on bean bagThis comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. (This one is truly non-work only; if you have a work question, you can email it to me or post it in the work-related open thread on Fridays.)

Book Recommendation of the Week: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon. This is a perfect book. I will tell you nothing else about it. Just read it.

weekend free-for-all – April 25-26, 2015 was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Saturday, April 25th, 2015 06:00 pm

Posted by PJ Jonas

Quote Post Greyden: “What is k-12 education?”
Fletcher: “I think it’s public school.”
Saturday, April 25th, 2015 11:17 am
I'm trying the lighter brace this morning. I already have a problem with it-- Bending my foot as I walk hurts. That is, in fact, the main thing that hurts when I walk. This brace is great at supporting my ankle but does nothing at all for my foot. I'm also finding that, as I sit at my laptop, I tend to rest my toes on the floor and lift my heels which, of course, bends my foot in a way that hurts. I can't do that when I'm wearing the boot. I don't know. I'll probably be back to the boot later in the day and be glad of it, even if it is uncomfortable, too.

Scott had to work late last night. We weren't expecting it, but one of the guys on second shift had a family emergency (his mother was in an accident) and couldn't come in. On the plus side, Scott working late got him out of working today or tomorrow, so there's that.

I managed to cut up the chicken so that Cordelia and I could put it on salad greens for dinner. There was enough left for Scott to have some, too, when he finally got home. Cordelia didn't complain nearly as much as she usually does. She was unhappy, earlier in the day, when I wouldn't let her eat any of the burger buns. I pointed out that Scott will probably make turkey burgers again this week and that one package of ground turkey generally makes four burgers. That's exactly how many buns we have left, so I want to save them.

I've been thinking about [community profile] metanews policies. We pretty much always ask for permission before we link anything on LJ, DW, or AO3 (the exception is an LJ or DW account that is clearly identified as an author's professional journal. Even then, we'd probably ask. The only reason this exception came up is that we wanted to link to a post with comments turned off that was written by an author who had blocked PMs). We don't ask permission for Tumblr (I'm not even sure how we could) or blogs. Most people say yes, but some people do say no or don't respond at all. If we get no response, we hold the potential link for two weeks and then delete it because we figure that a silence that long is meant to be a no.

I do think that LJ and DW, for most people, have a certain expectation of a relatively small audience, so I think asking permission makes sense. I'm always a little sad when someone says no, but I can understand not wanting a sudden influx of strangers. I'm not so convinced that we should ask about things posted unlocked on AO3-- That's a very public forum and doesn't come with the same expectation of a controlled audience that LJ and DW do. Of course, we haven't done anything with AO3 since the first week of March because the person who was doing that had to quit. I just didn't feel like I had the time to pick that one up, too.
Saturday, April 25th, 2015 07:43 pm
For all those times when well meaning people ask if you have tried natural or holistic approaches, or rant about the evils of "Big Pharma" near you.

“Big Pharma” & Privilege: Or Why I Wish Allies Would Stop Using This Phrase, by Camilla Laurentine
Those of us with disabilities who are on medication regularly depend on “Big Pharma” to stay alive. The reason I wish people would just stop throwing the phrase around is that they are only looking into a fraction of what’s wrong with the medical system when they talk about it. And even if they’re not about to spout off some unsolicited advice or some shame to any disabled person happening upon them, they are in a minority of those who don’t use the phrase to shame people for doing what it takes to survive.
Saturday, April 25th, 2015 12:30 am

Usually I like shopping at my local Fred Meyer store. It's one of those places that carry darned near anything you could possibly want. It's close by, convenient, and it always has several motorized shopping carts waiting by every entrance.

But I think they may not want me to shop there anymore. I have history with Fred.

Last summer I was zooming around in one of their motorized shopping carts. I zipped through the produce department, took a right at the toiletries, and knocked over an entire display of sunglasses. It created a spectacular crashing mess.


I'll bet the store manager had the entire incident captured on surveillance camera footage and alerted the staff to ban me from plopping my fanny in one of those motorized things. I suspect that they have my face posted on the Fred Meyer version of WANTED posters back in the stock room, so I've been kind of avoiding using their putt putt carts. 

Until yesterday. My dumb stupid knee was acting up, and I thought enough time had passed that it was safe to shop in this store and use their motorized shopping carts again......but I was wrong.

Because this go around after speeding through the produce section, I rounded the corner into the snack aisle and almost killed Captain America.

Yeah. With one of their trusty AMIGOs.

There Captain America was, looking all super-hero-like and standing watch over his Doritos display, when......WHAM. I smacked into him going full throttle.

Lucky for the big guy, I only bent one of his corners. 

I'm thinking that I may have escaped notice this time since cardboard and potato chips are much quieter than a huge sunglasses display when rammed with an AMIGO shopping cart. Somebody should talk to good old Fred Meyer and tell him that their carts simply go TOO FAST. This couldn't have possibly been my fault, could it?

Saturday, April 25th, 2015 04:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Should I share my resume with people who might want to base theirs on it?

I am starting to get requests for informational interviews about my current position and the path I took to get here. As we’re ending, I’ve had people ask both A) “Could I take a look at your resume?” or B) “Would you mind if I sent you my resume for you to critique?”

The latter takes more time because this involves more than the verbal “Focus on these strengths” or “Cut it down to 2 pages” that I can say over the phone after a quick glance, but instead some (general) changes via Track Changes. However, the former also feels wrong, like they can “copy” my resume, which I’ve worked hard on over the years. Should I just get over that feeling and simply send them my resume, especially because it’s less work for me?

I’d like to say that you shouldn’t have to worry about people copying your resume because resumes are such personalized documents, but I’ve seen enough of it happening to know that people do, indeed, copy other people’s resumes.

That said, most people aren’t going to do that, so I’d make a judgment call about whether the person you’re talking to is lazy/naive enough to try it. If you think they are, you could always say you don’t have a current version. But otherwise, I don’t think you really have to worry too much about it — and it doesn’t sound like these people are your competition, if you’re giving them informational interviews about your field.

2. Should I call out this hiring manager for being rude?

I recently applied for a management position at a company I worked for four years ago as a full-time team member, before going back to school to earn my degree. I received a response saying that I might be a better fit for a different managerial position. I thought, hmmm, not what I was hoping to hear, but definitely not that big a deal either. So, I emailed the hiring manager back and reiterated my enthusiasm for the original position I applied to, but I also asked if he could clarify the differences between the two positions so I might have a better understanding of why I was deemed a better fit for one over the other.

The reply that I got was very curt, saying that his decision to not consider me for the original position was final, and that I could just read the job description to find out more. Obviously, I’m not an idiot and I’ve already read the job descriptions, on top of having knowledge as a previous employee. The corporate culture has definitely changed since I was employed with this company.

Was I wrong to reiterate my preference for the original job? Was I wrong to ask for a comparison between the two roles? Is it worth emailing back this hiring manager and calling him out for being rude?

No, you weren’t wrong to reiterate your preference, unless he had given you a clear “no” for that first job in his original email. (It’s not clear to me whether he did or not.) But ultimately he just sent you a brusque response, right? You might decide he’s not someone you particularly want to work with, but it doesn’t sound like it’s worth calling him out for rudeness (especially since doing that risks harming your ability to return to that company working a different manager).

3. Can I still accept severance if I’m about to take another job?

I originally really liked my current job, but for the last six months or so things have been very unstable — and getting worse. I’m talking about multiple moves across divisions, rollover of the entire senior management team, and contracts falling through. In just the last two months they have had us start on two separate projects — throwing out our previous work — and then changed their minds after only a week or two and start something completely different.

You can imagine how scary it is to work with this kind of uncertainty, especially because this is a large company that has laid off teams in the past without warning. So I started looking for a new job. This week I even flew out for an on-site interview and that company has indicated to me that they’d like to make me an offer, but we are still negotiating the details.

The problem is that this same week my current company announced ANOTHER reorg for my project and are moving most of my team to a new division entirely. They’ve said that they want a few of us in the same functional role to stay in the old division, but they don’t know what they want us to work on yet. My manager is flying out to our office on Monday, and to be honest, I suspect she is going to lay us off. (Having a manager come out and tell you in person is how this company handles layoffs.)

If I do get laid off, what are my ethical responsibilities, both to my current company, and to my new one? Can I still accept severance if I’m finalizing the details of my offer? Should I proactively let the new employer know that I was laid off since they’ve already made me an offer?

You can indeed still accept severance even if you’re about to accept another offer — in fact, even if you’ve already accepted another offer (assuming that there’s nothing in your severance agreement that prohibits that, which there probably won’t be). There’s also no ethical obligation to alert the new employer that you’ve been laid off (although you of course can’t lie if it comes up somehow).

4. I took a counteroffer but now regret it

A couple of months ago, I received a good job offer to go and work at a company I was really excited about. They were stable, had a great working environment and I knew a few people that already had ties to them with great reviews. Upon receiving my offer, I was ready to resign from my current company, where I’ve been for 12 years. My employers were shocked the next morning when I resigned and came back to me with a counter offer, including a huge raise and 2 employees to help spread the workload I had been bearing. After deliberating for hours, I decided to stay with my current company, hoping that this would satisfy the reasons I was leaving the organization. I contacted the HR contact at the new company and very politely told them that I had decided to stay put for at least 6 months, but that I would be open to any opportunities in the future that might be a good fit.

Now, nearly 3 months later, I am truly regretting my decision not to go ahead and accept the other position. Although my company did fulfill the promises they’d made in our agreement, I feel in essence that that structure and the management of the organization isn’t a good fit for me anymore. I’ve shown great loyalty over the last several years, but it’s time for me to move on.

I’ve noticed on the careers section of the new company’s site that they are currently looking for the position that I had received the offer for previously (a few slots actually). Would calling the HR contact at this point back and telling that I’d like to throw my hat back in the ring an option? Or is that door closed?

You can give it a shot but they’re pretty likely to be skeptical. No harm in trying though. But realize that if they do make you an offer, you’re pretty much going to have to take it this time or that bridge will be forever destroyed.

And yeah, this is why you shouldn’t take counteroffers.

5. Working with my new manager after a demotion

A couple years ago, I was received my first promotion within the contract company I work for, supervising the other professionals in my certification area. During the first year of a particularly large contract, my company realized that we needed more managerial staff than we currently had, and asked me to assist with this contract, as I had particular skills that met our company’s needs in this contract.

It became clear in my first few months working with the new contract that, due to the increasing demands of my newly adopted responsibilities, I would be unable to continue both managing both the professionals in my certification area and the new contract. As a result, we began training someone to take over my first set of managerial responsibilities, and were set for her to take that role in the fall.

At the end of the summer, the new, large contract abruptly ended. Most of the staff working with that contract (over half the company’s operations in this state), including all the contract-specific managers except me and one other person, were laid off. I was only spared because I would be able to take my pre-management role (displacing someone else with less seniority in that role). The person who I trained to take over my original managerial responsibilities kept that role; my boss and I agreed that she was better suited to it even though there were no specific complaints about my job performance.

So now, due to rearrangement of contracts, I’m working under someone who used to work under me, and my responsibilities involve sometimes consulting with her regarding the job performance of our co-workers in specific areas. There aren’t any particular problems, but it feels really weird, and I’m frequently worrying that I’m stepping on her toes (again, I know of no complaints or comments about this). Should I wait until a problem is mentioned to me, or is there another way to approach this?

If you’re fine with it and she seems fine with it, I’d assume everyone’s fine with it and move forward. It sounds like you’re assuming that there must be problems in such a situation, but if everyone involved is reasonably mature and doesn’t let ego get in the way, there’s no reason it has to be problematic. If you’re not seeing problems, assume you don’t need to worry.

should I share my resume, should I call out a rude hiring manager, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Friday, April 24th, 2015 12:40 am
A Drone Program That Has Killed Hundreds Of Civilians Finally Killed Some That The White House Regrets

Religious freedom laws suffer another blow — in public opinion

This 'Harry Potter' fan theory might explain why the Dursleys were the worst

Search for Ancient Teotihuacan King's Tomb Takes Mercurial Twist

War games off UK coast not response to Russia, says NATO

Destroying chemical weapons 100 years later in the US

Navy Makes Armor Clear As Clay Well, transparent clay, that they made armor out of

Armenia marks centennial of massacre of 1.5M by Turks

Why Turkey won't say the G-word when it comes to the Armenians

It wasn’t just the Armenians: The other 20th century massacres we ignore

Bill to ban fining Californians who let lawns go brown in drought

California’s Drought Grabs Headlines, But Other States Face Water Woes Too

Mexican girl forcibly sent to US returns home

These Animals Might Go Extinct Because No One Wants To Eat Them

115 children killed since start of Saudi-led Yemen offensive

More fighting, air strikes in Yemen, civilian death toll exceeds 550

Iranian ships turn away from Yemen

Yemen’s refugees pose a threat to Somalia

Yemeni refugees fleeing Saudi air strikes find peace but little else in Somaliland

Night train kills 14 migrants 'sleeping' on Macedonia tracks

Health Officials Worry as HIV Cases in Indiana Grow

Genome study reveals lonely end for the world's woolly mammoths

7 Lost American Slang Words

Forget CSI: Real-Life Crime Labs Are a Total Mess

Fears of New Offensive as Putin ‘Ramps up Pressure’ on Ukraine

Pentagon dismisses Moscow claim of U.S. troops in Ukraine combat zone

Nigeria military says still in Boko Haram stronghold despite mines

Study: Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism Even In High-Risk Kids (source: The Onion)

A Greek exit from the euro may soon become inevitable
Friday, April 24th, 2015 09:00 pm
  • Wash the dishes in your sink
  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories
  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast
  • Make your lunch
  • Put your keys somewhere obvious
  • Wash your face and brush your teeth
  • Take your medication/set out your meds for the morning
  • Charge your electronics
  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)
  • Set your alarm
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour
Friday, April 24th, 2015 04:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

Remember the letter-writer in February whose freelance client was constantly pestering her and micromanaging her every move — and treating her very much like an employee rather than a contractor? Here’s her update.

I have a follow-up to a question you answered about a client who was treating me like an employee rather than a contractor, as well as not paying in a timely fashion. 

After drafting several emails in which I became increasingly nitpicky about the legal definitions of “contractor,” “employee,” and “invoice,” I finally opted just to loosen my ties with this client. I sent an email letting them know that I was going to be devoting more time to my in-house employment, that I’d need to reduce my time commitment to them by 50%, and that I would no longer be available as a de facto one-woman 24-hour call center.

Surprisingly, they took it pretty well — since then I’ve received assignments in appropriate ways and the all-day harassment about my whereabouts has stopped. The reduction in hours seems to have solved the pay issue, too; it appears that if I work more than XX hours/week I won’t be paid on time, but as long as I’m working fewer than XX hours I receive a check every week as promised. (I suspect this is an issue of income versus payable accounts.)

In sum, all is now well, and the advice I received from you and the commenters really helped me get a grip on the whole mess. I feel a thousand times better with this arrangement.

update: my client constantly pesters me and micromanages my every move was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Friday, April 24th, 2015 03:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

It’s the Friday open thread! The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on anything work-related that you want to talk about. If you want an answer from me, emailing me is still your best bet*, but this is a chance to talk to other readers.

* If you submitted a question to me recently, please don’t repost it here, as it may be in the to-be-answered queue :)

open thread – April 24, 2015 was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Friday, April 24th, 2015 10:59 am
Cordelia and I ate leftover pizza last night, so I escaped having to do any food preparation. We'll have salad tonight when Scott's available to cut up the chicken. Scott picked frosties on his way home, so we had a nice treat after dinner. I should probably see if I can make jello today so that we have something for dessert tonight. Cordelia's not as insistent about dessert every night as she used to be, but it's nice for all of us to have something of the sort.

I poked around on the [community profile] metanews Tumblr yesterday. I think the reading list there may be too big for any one volunteer. I spent over an hour to go back about 24 hours, and anyone doing Tumblr for us would have to go back a week at a time. That's an awful lot of time for one person, especially given that there's a lot of stuff that we haven't yet found that we ought to be following. The current reading list is mostly Sherlock (with very little meta) and A Song of Ice and Fire. A couple of weeks ago, I added some Buffy stuff, but Tumblr is a fire hose, and I'm not at all sure we can sip from it.

Our cleaning lady is regularly working more than two hours (usually about two and a half), but she won't let me pay her for the extra time. She says it's her choice to do it. And it is, but... Her time is worth money. At least, if I do ask her for extra time to work on the basement (once I can actually go down there again), she'll let me pay her for that.

I think I forgot to water the plants last week. They seem to have survived, but they were very, very dry when I watered them yesterday. I always feel torn about the plants. I don't actually want either of them. Well, the Christmas cactus isn't so bad. It's got a nice, convenient spot, right by a window. The other plant is something annoying that Cordelia brought home from camp two or three years ago. It grows constantly with a singly runner that seems to want to extend infinitely. I've wrapped that around the pot as well as I can. I tried cutting it to stop the growth, but it just sprouted a runner from another point. None of us like the dratted thing, but I can't bring myself to kill it. (I once had a poinsetta that I kept for years. It was green the whole time. I just couldn't bring myself to kill it or abandon it.)

I finished reading both of the books I was reading and have started a new one. The new one is a biography of someone who lived about a century BC, and the author admits that she's speculating a lot because the sources are so thin. This one is an interlibrary loan book, so I'm giving it priority for now. I do, however, need to read the graphic novel that I've already renewed once that's due a week from Sunday.

I canceled my hold on one book that would have had to be picked up Saturday at the latest. I didn't want to make Scott make an extra trip downtown. I put a new hold on it, but I won't get it for many, many months as there are 22 copies and about 200 holds. Oh, well. There are many other books I want to read. I can wait.

Scott is listening to Whales on Stilts on CD. He says it's basically a Phineas and Ferb episode but longer and darker. I think that's fairly accurate. He hasn't decided yet if he likes it. He will probably finish it before the end of next week, and I haven't put a hold on anything to replace it. He says that's okay because he's got an audiobook on his iPod that he wants to listen to.

I've been having a lot of trouble with my mouth being dry. It's been going on for weeks now. I'm a little concerned that this may mean something's screwy with my blood sugar. I don't seem to have other symptoms of type 2 diabetes, but I can't help worrying. That's something I definitely don't need. Ah, well, I'll get my fasting blood sugar done in early May. That will tell me.
Friday, April 24th, 2015 02:00 pm

Posted by Brett Jonas

Unlike Jericho (read about her birth story), Idina was clearly pregnant. She is a very active, very curious goat but throughout the last month of her pregnancy, she became more protective of herself and spent more time in the stalls than she usually does.

She’s usually one to be out in the woods, leading the herd on a wild adventure to the best greenery to browse on. She also was dropping very low (that’s where the does keep their babies).

Idina did a great job giving birth. We were sure there was more than one baby, but we’ve also learned that you can never guess how many are inside a momma doe.

The first baby to come out was a buckling who had some difficulty coming on. It was a normal presentation, but just a slow process. We helped clean the baby and got him off to the side and Emery was checking for another one and we were shocked to find nothing else inside her. Idina was huge, and we were positive there was more than one. First fresheners typically have one or two babies, but its not unheard of to even have three.

We named the buckling iGoat! What a funny name with there being an “i” everything in today’s world. Our surprise was quickly resolved when we weighed iGoat. He weighed a whopping 11 pounds and 7 ounces. Now it made sense why she only had one, but looked like she had 6! iGoat was a quick eater and a super strong buckling.


We were very proud of Idina, and she was very proud of what she had done!

2015 kid count: 28 doelings, 28 bucklings
2015 doe status (33 total): 24 does kidded, 9 left to go
2 set of quads, 8 sets of triplets, 10 set of twins, 4 singles

Signature Greyden



Friday, April 24th, 2015 12:30 am
How fortuitous. I happen to have several juicy lemons in my fruit bowl. 

Personally, as someone who has issues with osteoarthritis, particularly in my knee; I think that the Universe is telling me something important by releasing both of these news stories on the same day.

First, this:
Sugar as a Stress Reliever 
APRIL 23, 2015 
Many people consume sweets in response to stress. Now researchers may have discovered why. Sugar reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Continue reading here
I know what you're thinking. Julia, you're thinking. What? You're off your rocker yet again, woman. There's no connection between sugar and the osteoarthritis in your bum knee.

Ah. But you're wrong. Read on:
Patient's own fat cells transplanted to treat osteoarthritis may be effective 
Osteoarthritis (OA), a debilitating and painful degenerative disease, strikes an estimated 14 percent of adults 25 years of age and older, a third of adults age 65 and older in the U.S. alone. Those who suffer from OA may one day have a new and effective cell therapy, thanks to a team of Czech researchers who studied the effectiveness of using an OA patient's own adipose (fat) cells in a unique transplant therapy aimed at reducing the symptoms of this prevalent and difficult to treat condition as well as healing some of the damage caused by OA. 
The Investigational Review Board of American Naturopathic Research Institute/Naturopathic Oncology Research Institute and local ethics committees-approved study, carried out with 1,114 OA volunteer patients who received autologous (self-donated) fat cell transplants after giving their informed consent, saw their symptoms improved by the therapy. Continue reading here
See? SEE??

You don't?

OK. I'll spell it out for y'all. So researchers have been able to show a link between sugar and stress relief. When I employ this stress relief benefit by chomping into one of my delicious lemon cookie bars and in response my less-stressed body grows adipose tissue, I am in effect GROWING MY OWN treatment for the osteoarthritis in my knee.

Wow. Thanks, Universe! Man. I knew my lemon bars were therapeutic.

Do you need to grow your own osteoarthritis treatment? Here's my (and Ina Garten's) recipe. That'll do it.

Lemon Bars
Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten and found on Food Network here.


For the crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For the filling:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.
Friday, April 24th, 2015 04:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My manager uses IM to monitor me

I hate work instant-messaging. My manager uses IM as a time tracker for me and sets alerts to let him know when I’m away and when I’m back (even though I sit in front of him in a half-cube). I’m a senior manager at a large corporation – aren’t I paid to do the job? I do my job well and get kudos from coworkers regularly. I volunteer for more work or to help team mates when my workload is light.

My manager has already confronted me once for being away from my desk too much or coming back from lunch five minutes late. This isn’t an hourly position and when a project warrants, I work through lunch or whatever is required to deliver on schedule. Basically, I’m a responsible grown-up. Is IM the new punch clock? And as a salaried employee, should I worry?

This is a problem with your manager, not with IM. I’d say this to him: “I’m meeting all my goals and excelling at X and Y. Have I given you reason to worry that I won’t manage my own time well?”

But someone who treats a senior person like this? Doesn’t bode well for your quality of life there.

2. My coworker keeps complaining about my schedule

Two months ago, I took a new job with the understanding that I would hours slightly different from the norm. I work from 7-4, while most everyone else works 8-5 and a few work 9-6 (I’m the only 7-4). When it’s really busy, I come in at 6 or even 5 a.m., or work from home in the evenings, but can’t stay past 4 due to a personal commitment and that was understood by my manager when she hired me and, frankly, she’s been great about it.

The problem is one of my coworkers is spreading the word that the “new guy is lazy because he leaves early every day.” I want to nip this in the bud, but at the same time my hours really aren’t any of his business. Sometimes this guy is passive-aggressive and schedules me to attend meetings from 4-5 pm. I decline the invites and simply say “please check my calendar to see my availability.” If he did this, he would see that I work 7-4.

Is this something I should mention to my manager? Should I just let it go? Saying “I work 7-4 and when it’s busy I come in at 5″ sounds defensive, and I don’t think I really have anything to be defensive about. Thanks.

This guy is obnoxious.

At a minimum, you should say something to him like this: “Fergus, I work 7-4. Sometimes I come in earlier than that, but I leave by 4. I negotiated this schedule with Lucinda when I started. Do you have concerns about this?” (That last part doesn’t indicate his concerns would matter; it’s there to force him to either state his beef or stop complaining.) You should also make sure that you’ve been clear about your schedule with your coworkers, so that they know what’s actually up if they hear any weirdness from Fergus about it.

3. My company wants me to work during my FMLA leave

I am the only software developer at my employer. That means I am the only person with the knowledge, experience and skillset for several projects within the company. My wife and I are expecting our first child in the next few weeks. I will be taking time off under FMLA (which I am eligible for), and I verbally notified my company of this fact 6 months in advance of the due date. I also filled out the requisite forms 2 months in advance (as required by company policy).

In a department meeting, my boss casually mentioned that one of the executives was concerned what would happen if something broke during my absence. My boss told him (without consulting me), that they could call, and have me “VPN in” to fix something if it was broke. In my boss’ words, “he will still be around. He’s not going to be completely unavailable.” This conversation took place without any input from me. Is this a reasonable expectation, or would it constitute “FMLA interference”?

My understanding is that it’s reasonable to field short phone calls while on FLMA, as it’s considered a “professional courtesy”. For instance, if somebody needed to know where a file was, or needed to know the password for a website, it’s perfectly reasonable to call the employee and ask them. Doesn’t the water get murkier if they are asking me to log in and actively do work (even if it’s a “work emergency”)? Does the law (or court rulings) say anything about whether work can be done if the employee is the only one who knows how to do something?

In my mind, the company had 6 months to prepare a “contingency plan” for my absence. There was talk of adding another developer at one point (which would address most of these concerns), but that fell by the wayside. This is a major life changing event for my family, and there is no way that I will be available at my company’s beck and call. How do I gently tell my boss that my availability will be extremely limited and remind him of the FMLA regulations that they should abide by?

You are right. There’s no right to be left absolutely alone during FMLA leave; courts have ruled that fielding occasional calls about your job is a “professional courtesy,” as long as it’s “reasonable contact” limited to things like “inquiries about the location of files or passing along institutional or status knowledge.” However, asking or requiring you to perform work while you’re on FMLA is what can cross the line into interference.

I’d say this to your boss: “I want to make sure everyone’s on the same page about how things will be handled during my leave. I can definitely take an occasional phone call to give some quick info in an emergency, but the law on FMLA says that I shouldn’t be doing actual work. I don’t want this to cause any problems once I’m already on leave, so I want to make sure everyone is clear on that ahead of time, and that there are solutions lined up for whatever work does come up.”

4. Was I naive in offering honest feedback?

After our big annual event, the director of operations asked us for feedback and suggestions, saying all feedback would be compiled anonymously and used only to improve next year’s event. I replied with mostly positive feedback and a small suggestion to improve last minute communication. The director of operations immediately emailed me back a 6 paragraph response that boiled down to 1) Not my fault 2) There was no communication issue anyway 3) She was way too busy to think of the minutia 4) This didn’t affect you anyway, did it? (It did) 5) Thanks for the feedback. Let me know if you think of anything else.

I was clearly being naive in offering honest feedback. Am I right that I should just not respond and keep my mouth shut next year?

Apparently, yes (unless you’re senior to her, in which case you should both continue to give feedback and address the unhelpful response).

Believe what people show you about themselves. This person showed you she’s defensive and doesn’t take feedback well.

5. Was this bad reference for the wrong person?

My boyfriend has been interviewing at a city attorney’s office for months now. He was told the job was his, they just need HR to check references (2 supervisors). The first supervisor was from a job 3 years ago, which ended amicably. He reached out to his old supervisor to confirm he would be a reference but he never replied.

The employer contacted him and told him that this old employer gave him a really bad review, although no idea what he said (the second supervisor at his current company of 2.5 years was very positive). The current position he is interviewing for is still on the table but being reviewed by the “higher ups” and definitely at risk. He has a friend who works there and is fighting for him fortunately but isn’t any guarantee.

Should he reach out to that old employer and find out what happened and why he gave the bad review? There was a bad employee that worked at the office also named Jason that the reference maybe got confused with. Is it worth contacting him?

Yes. He has nothing to lose by reaching out, and potentially a lot to gain if it turns out that they were thinking of the wrong person.

my manager uses IM to monitor me, my coworker complains about my schedule, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 10:29 pm
Cardiff University scientists discover asthma's root cause

Police union throws a self-pity party in Baltimore: Freddie Gray protesters are a “lynch mob”

10 Years Before Freddie Gray, Baltimore Police ‘Accidentally’ Snapped a Perp’s Spine

Bees may become addicted to nicotine-like pesticides, study finds

GM, Ford, And Others Want to Make Working on Your Own Car Illegal

Child malaria vaccine: Final trials bring hope

Sen. Warren to Those Promising TPP Would Be So Great: 'Prove It.'

The American Dream is a myth, says Nobel-prize winner

Two huge magma chambers spied beneath Yellowstone National Park

Mediterranean migrants crisis: EU triples funding

Mixed Signals: Why People Misunderstand Each Other

Chinese scientists just admitted to tweaking the genes of human embryos for the first time in history

Human Rights Watch demands intervention as year-long kidnapping of herders continues in Central African Republic

Blind users with service animals: Uber refuses to serve us

It's Time to Invest in the United States Rail System

It's Not the 1 Percent Controlling Politics. It's the 0.01 Percent. About 125 Americans* control more than 40 percent of election contributions.

US admits two hostages killed in al-Qaeda raid in January

U.S. Strike that Killed Hostages Could Change Drone Policies

9 basic concepts Americans fail to grasp

Dallas Mildenhall used obscure science to crack cases all over the world. Then a murder took place in his own backyard.

Sophisticated tools may have spelled doom for Neandertals

Washington State Is So Screwed
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 09:49 pm
"I hate review! I already did this, why do I need to review it?"

She then needed me to prompt her for each question. When I pointed this out, she went "Not the first one!"

I glanced at the first one. "A mile is 5,280 feet long. Estimate how many inches in a mile, then calculate the correct answer."

She had written 10 and 12. "Yeah, Connie, there's 12 inches in a... oh."

This, sweetie, is why we review.

(I tried pointing that out to her, but she and her sister just tackled me. Geez.)


Congress Just Launched Its First Strike Against Women and LGBT People Under the Guise of Defending Religious Liberty.

Blue Bell: We haven't laid off anyone in 100 years and we won't do it now

Syrian Kurds see Islamic State threat to city in northeast

Rebels launch new offensive in northwestern Syria

Iraqi forces fight to rout Islamic State militants from Ramadi

Focusing on privilege diverts attention away from the real villains.

The surprising reason why Arctic warming could be worse than previously thought

Earth Day: scientists say 75% of known fossil fuel reserves must stay in ground

Amid Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen, Houthis call for peace talks

Saudi-led coalition bombs Yemen despite calling off air campaign

Teens Who Get The HPV Vaccine Do Not Have Riskier Sex

Homeless Millennials Are Transforming Hobo Culture

Why Rich People Think They’re Middle Class

What is it like to be poor at an Ivy League school?

The world’s languages, in 7 maps and charts. When you lump together all 'dialects' of Chinese as one language, of course you get a large number of native speakers! China's a freaking big country!

3D-printed aerogels improve energy storage

Edward Snowden Unpopular at Home, A Hero Abroad, Poll Finds

South Africa Deploys Its Army to Halt the Killings of Foreigners

Hidden cameras reveal airport workers stealing from luggage

Boko Haram crisis: Nigeria begins Sambisa ground offensive

Millions of Ukrainian Children at Risk From New Epidemics
Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 09:00 pm
  • Wash the dishes in your sink
  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories
  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast
  • Make your lunch
  • Put your keys somewhere obvious
  • Wash your face and brush your teeth
  • Take your medication/set out your meds for the morning
  • Charge your electronics
  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)
  • Set your alarm
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour
Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 03:59 pm
Woke up at 2:30 this morning. no idea why. Wasn't the cat; might've been that my white noise generator's timer had run out. Who knows.

But the email that normally rolls in around 2:30 was there, which meant that the most critical part of the overnight batch had run, unlike the other day. So I went back to sleep, and when I got up again to feed the cats both of the overnight messages remaining were waiting for me, and nothing crashed or bluescreened.

Some mornings it does not take much to make me say "this is a good morning".
Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 06:00 pm

Posted by PJ Jonas

Quote Post Greyden: I think we should take a nap in the woods today.
Emery: Great idea! I’ll bring a chicken, they’re nice and fluffy.
Greyden: I’ll bring fickle, she likes to cuddle.
Emery: Hey Hewitt what would you bring?
Hewitt: Um, my pillow?