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Saving Time Through Efficient Movement

   You're probably feeling rushed. Why? Maybe because you haven't instituted a Motion-Conservation Regimen (MCR). A strict MCR will eliminate unnecessary and inefficient movements. If you have an MCR you can save five, eight, ten seconds here and there, which can really add up over the course of an hour, a day, a year, or a lifetime.

    I take my coffee black now because, as you probably saw recently, a new study has revealed that the average American spends more time searching for the Half & Half in the refrigerator than reading classic literature. I sleep now with my cellphone earpiece in place, so I don't have to struggle with it when I get in the car to drive to work. That's at least a minute saved right there (someday I'll tell you the story about how I got so tangled in the earpiece wire I had to get extracted with the Jaws of Life).

   Before I followed an MCR, I fed each of the cats individually, which required a lot of roaming from bowl to bowl, back to the pantry for a new can of food, etc. -- just a lot of chaotic motion -- but now I keep a huge bag of chow right there on the kitchen counter and once a week dump it into a feeding trough.

   When I closed off the upper floor of the house, as well as the attic and basement, there were some complaints from the other members of the family. They felt crowded living on just one floor. I showed them, on a chart, the numbers of steps we're saving, collectively, but I think it will be a few more weeks before they've fully adapted to our new way of living. Although having bunks in the dining room and beds in the living room and foyer has led to some congestion of sorts, it also reduces the amount of floor area that can lure a person into unnecessary ambulation. Because there's no shower or tub now available, we wash as best we can in the kitchen sink, but that too is efficient, because you can simultaneously do the dishes.

   I don't think it makes sense to take these motion conservation ideas to an extreme. There are people who not only have the next 30 dinners planned, but already prepared, arranged on a plate and frozen. We're only set for the next week or so (OK, I'm kind of winking when I say "or so" -- we're solid for probably 17 or 18 days).

   By moving more efficiently I feel like I've gained an additional day of the week. I get so much more accomplished, and feel more in control of my life. Writing while driving, for example (this piece is being composed on my way to work), may be technically against the law, but I'm fully capable of steering with my knees.

     Sometimes when I visit my boss in her office and eat my lunch throughout our conversation, she asks if perhaps I'd like to meet later, after I've eaten. I keep trying to explain the very simple concept that talking with one's mouth full is efficient.

   I'd go on but I need to parallel park, and I can't do that (yet) with knees alone.

By Joel Achenbach  |  October 21, 2005; 10:48 AM ET
 
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Comments

Perhaps you were feeling rushed, but:
In the first para (the one with the weird font):

Is it "Regime," or "Regimen"? [This is one of those things that really get my goat.]

Also, "A strict MCR will elimination [sic]"

Possibly more TK . . .

[I'm starting to feel like a right pain in the neck, probably with good reason.]

Posted by: Tom fan | October 21, 2005 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Is that a foy-yer, or foy-yay?

Elapsed time before getting off topic: 0.2 seconds. Look at the time I'M saving!

Posted by: jw | October 21, 2005 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Also:
"if you have an MCR you that [sic] can save"

[You're doing this on purpose, aren't you Achenbach! Either you're humoring me, or this is some twisted joke. I must say I kind of like it.]

Possibly more TK . . .

Posted by: Tom fan | October 21, 2005 10:58 AM | Report abuse

He's saving time by having you proof-read. You fell for it!

Posted by: jw | October 21, 2005 10:59 AM | Report abuse

for Joel's mansion it is probably a foy-yay. I try to stay bored, it extends one's life since time passes so slowly.

Posted by: LB | October 21, 2005 10:59 AM | Report abuse

TomFan/Joel
Psst... Font change between 1st and second graff, and "got" in second.
(But then again, you were driving. Happy Friday.)

Posted by: RA | October 21, 2005 11:00 AM | Report abuse

This blog needs more "Mama Cass" Cass Sunstein jokes.

Posted by: Huntsman | October 21, 2005 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I changed it to regimen but now I dont like the way it looks. I liked regime. As for typos and glitches, it saves SO much time if one simply decides to be sloppy.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 21, 2005 11:04 AM | Report abuse

We would save much more time if we divided the proof reading among the 15.

Maybe have everyone take 23 words each?

Posted by: TV Presenter | October 21, 2005 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I changed it to regimen but now I dont like the way it looks. I liked regime. As for typos and glitches, it saves SO much time if one simply decides to be sloppy.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 21, 2005 11:06 AM | Report abuse

We would save much more time if we divided the proof reading among the 15.

Maybe have everyone take 23 words each?

Posted by: TV Presenter | October 21, 2005 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Main Entry: re·gime
Variant(s): also ré·gime /rA-'zhEm, ri- also ri-'jEm/
Function: noun
Etymology: French régime, from Latin regimin-, regimen
1 a : REGIMEN 1 b : a regular pattern of occurrence or action (as of seasonal rainfall) c : the characteristic behavior or orderly procedure of a natural phenomenon or process
2 a : mode of rule or management b : a form of government c : a government in power d : a period of rule

Posted by: omnigood | October 21, 2005 11:07 AM | Report abuse

*fan isn't the only suckup on the boodle: Joel IS a genius...

Posted by: omnigood | October 21, 2005 11:09 AM | Report abuse

*fan isn't the only suckup on the boodle: Joel IS a genius...

Posted by: omnigood | October 21, 2005 11:11 AM | Report abuse

And now for the more persnickety edits:

I would probably change "people who not only have the next 30 dinners planned, but already prepared, arranged on a plate and frozen" to "people who have the next 30 dinners not only planned but already prepared, [etc]."

[The correct placement of "only" is another one of my pet persnickety peeves. So I'd probably also be tempted to change "We're only set for the next week or so" to "We're set for only the next week or so." Well, maybe not; that's just going too far. Or is it? . . .]

This concludes today's grammar lesson. My apologies to those who could care less [sic].

Posted by: Tom fan | October 21, 2005 11:12 AM | Report abuse

As as corollary to LB's comment, I know a sure way to make time seem infinite. Go on a diet. Then the distance between your skim milk and dry toast at 7 a.m. and your lettuce leaf with lemon juice at noon will be so long that you could read War and Peace in the meantime!

Posted by: Reader | October 21, 2005 11:12 AM | Report abuse

SCC meant to say kissup, and sorry about the caps on "is" woulda used italics if I could. And what's going on with boodle and multiple postings?

Posted by: omnigood | October 21, 2005 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Maybe a bug, maybe a bug having fun.

Posted by: jw | October 21, 2005 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"A strict MCR will elimination unnecessary"

How did Tom Fan miss this one?

Posted by: Reader | October 21, 2005 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Mmm...lettuce. I might have a salad for lunch.

Posted by: Sara | October 21, 2005 11:17 AM | Report abuse

oooh, sorry, she didn't miss it. My bad...

Posted by: Anonymous | October 21, 2005 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Its doing it again.

Posted by: dr | October 21, 2005 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Mmm...lettuce. I might have a salad for lunch.

Posted by: Sara | October 21, 2005 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I swear I only hit post once.

Posted by: Sara | October 21, 2005 11:18 AM | Report abuse

The Typepad software is being difficult. It's timing out, it's being persnickety...I fixed the "got," but I'm going to leave the horrid sentence cited by Tom Fan, because although she is totally correct, and I could tell, typing, that it was dysfunctional, at this point it would feel like cheating to go back and make it better. Plus I really would have to start giving Tom Fan full benefits, including a 401k.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 21, 2005 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Some Ann Tyler book--was it Accidental Tourist? Had a character who, after his wife left him, came up with all these efficiency schemes. My favorite was, when he took a shower, he started with all his clothes on. He would get all wet and put soap on his clothes, then take them off and walk on them while he showered. No more laundry!

Posted by: Reader | October 21, 2005 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Anne Tyler, but you knew that

Posted by: Reader | October 21, 2005 11:22 AM | Report abuse

What wonderful idea! From now on I'm going to save time by eliminating all vowels, spaces, and capitalizations from mu posts.

vflnsfhnhgnvrgggjlffytdqrfdtpzkdnmfhblcyhjgprjvjljgrhhgjphhcxnmmnkbdlkbkblkkbnpljkfhgrtncmqzvchtynvlhjgghtytvblkpjfhj

Posted by: krswgy | October 21, 2005 11:24 AM | Report abuse

You know it's the boodle doubling postings and not the boodler posting twice (or more) by the time stamp. Sara's are 40 seconds apart, and mine was 121 seconds apart.

Posted by: omnigood | October 21, 2005 11:24 AM | Report abuse

wouldn't that be:

whtwndrfld!frmnwn'mgngtsvtmbylmntngllvwls,spcs,ndcptlztnsfrmmpsts.

Posted by: omnigoof | October 21, 2005 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Typepad was kicking my butt the other day.

Posted by: LB | October 21, 2005 11:27 AM | Report abuse

...But did he wash his feet first?

Posted by: allbetsareoff | October 21, 2005 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I tried using the MCR of bulk feeding my cats (excuse me, my wife's cats!). However, since they live outside, I ended up feeding raccoons, stray cats, flocks of crows, some strange rat-like creature that lives near my pond, and my dogs (once again, the wife's dogs).
So now I'm back to measured morning doses (and all of the rat-like creatures they can catch).

Posted by: esskay | October 21, 2005 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I must admit that I sometimes save time at work by proofreading only every second page.

(OK, I'm kind of winking when I say this.)

[Note my shameless imitation of Joel's brilliant method of inserting a joke tag without using an emoticon.]

Posted by: Tom fan | October 21, 2005 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Just imagine how much less house cleaning you have to do with the smaller space! Add to your list of time saving tips, cook all your not-ready to go meals from one pot, and gather round with a spoon. Think of how much time you will save doing dishes! I have formally adopted this at home.

Posted by: dr | October 21, 2005 11:28 AM | Report abuse

elimnate puncs to improve your efficiency rating eve more:

whtwndrfldfrmnwnmgngtsvtmbylmntngllvwlsspcsndcptlztnsfrmmpsts

Posted by: omnigoof | October 21, 2005 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Are all double postings 40 seconds apart? If they are, way to pay attention omnigood. I wouldn't have thought to check time stamp patterns. But that slightly involves math and I avoid math at all costs.

Posted by: Sara | October 21, 2005 11:29 AM | Report abuse

SCC ah the heck with!

Posted by: omnigoof | October 21, 2005 11:29 AM | Report abuse

In relation to dr's post, I save time at college by eating out of the pan. Or, in most cases, the plastic tv dinner tray. With a plastic fork.

Posted by: Sara | October 21, 2005 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Food should come with edible packaging...

Posted by: esskay | October 21, 2005 11:32 AM | Report abuse

TV Presenter had one 118 seconds apart, so there's some variableness to it. That's ok on the math, I have a calculator right by left hand and home and work.

Posted by: omnigood | October 21, 2005 11:32 AM | Report abuse

my wife gives me holy hell if I put something on the table that I warmed it up in instead of a serving dish.

Posted by: LB | October 21, 2005 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I'd just as soon eat the meat off of the grill

Posted by: LB | October 21, 2005 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad to see others are finally jumping on the time-saving bandwagon - I've been spending week nights sleeping in my car parked in the Starbucks' drive-thru lane for the last 2 years, to be the first in line when they open at 6 am. So far, I figure I have at least 320 extra hours on the books...

Posted by: slats | October 21, 2005 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I like BayouSelf's posting before Joel posted his new Kit:
"Time-saving tips for the Bush administration?"

Couldn't Rove have spoken two years ago--saved us grand jury time and lots of money?
Now high-priced lawyers are involved--making each day's revelations odd and funny.
All the finely parsed language about Rove and his media ties, wrapped into legalese,
For those involved, just cut the sleaze, can't you just hold a press conference, please?

Posted by: Loomis | October 21, 2005 11:42 AM | Report abuse

At my house, the cooked food is on the stove, and you stop by there on your way to dinner. We all meet at the table with the food already on our plates, and praise the Lord and pass the ketchup. Serving dish? What is that.

Posted by: Reader | October 21, 2005 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm moving in with Reader

Posted by: LB | October 21, 2005 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps a more efficient MCR would be to drive with your hands and type with your knees!

Posted by: janet | October 21, 2005 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I passed a guy the other day driving 70 mph with an open book in the middle of his steering wheel. It may have been Joel.

Posted by: LB | October 21, 2005 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I tried typing with my knees once, but they can't spell worth a damn.

Posted by: jw | October 21, 2005 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I find it kind of annoying when people read books whilst [sic] walking. (Maybe I'm just jealous because I haven't yet figured out how to do that.)

Posted by: Achenfan | October 21, 2005 11:56 AM | Report abuse

My cats' tastes are too persnickety for the dump in trough method. Not only do they require (demand) individual food bowls and water dishes, but their dried food, 3 different brands, must be mixed with people tuna (StarKist dolphin-free of course) in a "just so" manner. The slightest deviation results in refusals to eat, pathetic howls, acts of revenge ("Hey guys, let's play "Go In and Out the Window" between her feet til she trips; or let's jump up on the bathroom counter and bump her arm while she's applying mascara and ends up with tarantula-like eyes"). All this every morning, with me rushing to make it to work on time. My dad used to say, "Just dump the food in a bowl, if they're hungry, they'll eat." Anyone with cats knows this is simply not true and I'd hate myself if I woke one morning to cat skeletons. Anyway, one day, all out of tuna, I tried substituting bacon and even a pork chop from last night's supper. They stalked me with a vengeance until I exploded. All right dammit, you win, you always win don't you, drove to the convenience store, got the damn tuna, back home, fed their persnickety little behinds. As I backed down the driveway on my way to work, they sat watching me with smug satisfied expressions. Without thinking, I thrust my arm out the car window and flipped them the biggest most vehement bird I could muster. That was my first bird flip. It felt pretty good. No wonder so many folks do it.

Posted by: Nani | October 21, 2005 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Joel, maybe you should hire IBM to do one of their good-old-fashioned Time/Motion studies.

Personally, I employ a Time Conservation Regimen (TCR), and MCR is part of that.

For example, I usually look at the shortest distance between two points when driving (a straight line, naturally), and then factor in the number of stop signs and lights, and the nature of the traffic in that area at that time of day.

I try to use the brakes as little as possible when cornering, and I take a racing line around turns, attempting to lose as little speed (and time) as possible. If I don't execute a perfect rev-matching downshift and kiss the curbing at the apex and exit of a corner, I grit my teeth and vow to to better at the next intersection.

A drive anywhere that can be executed without stopping between the start and destination is a fullfilling experience for me.

If I set a new low ET (Elapsed Time) for one of my regularly scheduled trips or regularly scheduled tasks, I'm giddy for several minutes.

My co-workers know better than to be anywhere near me when I'm hustling from office to office, taking that same racing line around hallway intersections, kissing the walls with my shoulders.

How do you think I make the time to post to the 'boodle?

bc

Posted by: bc | October 21, 2005 11:59 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "fulfilling".

Damn my eyes.

bc

Posted by: bc | October 21, 2005 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Still controversial?

Gloria Steinem's essay, "The Time Factor"
(from her 1983 book "Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions")

Planning ahead is a measure of class. The rich and even the middle class plan for future generations, but the poor can plan ahead only for a few weeks and days.

I remember finding this calm insight in some sociological text and feeling instant recognition. Yes, of course, our sense of time was partly a function of power, or the lack of it. It rang true even in the entirely economic sense the writer had in mind. "The guys who own the factories hand them down to their sons and grandsons," I remember a boy in high school saying bitterly. "On this side of town, we just plan for Saturday night."

But it also seemed equally true of the women I knew--including myself--regardless of the class we supposedly belonged to. Though I had left my factory-working neighborhood, gone to college, become a journalist, and thus was middle class, I still felt I couldn't plan ahead. I had to be flexible--first so I could be ready to get on an airplane for any writing assignment (even though the male writers I knew launched into books and other long-term projects of their own) and then so I could adapt to the career and priorities of an eventual husband and children (even though I was leading a rewarding life without either). Among the results of this uncertainty were a stunning lack of career planning and such smaller penalties as no savings, no insurance, and an aprtment that lacked basic pieces of furniture.

On the other hand, I had friends who were married to men whose long-term career plans were compatible with their own, yet they still lived their lives in day-to-day response to any possible needs of their husband and children. Moreover, the one male colleague who shared or even understood this sense of powerlessness was a successful black journalist and literary critic who admitted that even after 20 years he planned only one assignment at a time. He couldn't forget his dependence on the approval of white editors. ...

Obviously, many of us need to extend our time sense--to have the courage to plan for the future, even while most of us are struggling to keep our heads above water in the present. But this does not mean a culturally masculine habit of planning ahead, living in the future, and thus living a deferred life. It doesn't mean the traditional sacrifice of spontaneous action, or a sensitive awareness of the present, that comes from long years of career education with little intrusion of reality, from corporate pressure to work now for the sake of a reward after retirement, or, least logical of all, from patriarchal religions that expect obedience now in return for a reward after death.

...If men spent more time raising small children, for instance, they would be forced to develop more patience and flexibility. If women had more power in the planning of natural resources and other long-term processes--or even in the planning of our own careers and reproductive lives--we would have to develop more sense of the future and of cause and effect.

An obsession with reacting to the present, feminine-style, or on controlling and living in the future, masculine-style, are both wasteful of time.

And time is all there is.

Posted by: Loomis | October 21, 2005 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Whenever I use the microwave oven I only punch one number one or more times to get approximately the amount of time I want. For example, suppose I want to cook something for about a minute. I might press 55 to get fifty five seconds, or I might press 111 to get a minute and eleven seconds. Interestingly, 66 gives sixty six seconds. This is easier and quicker than pressing 100 to get exactly one minute.

Posted by: Dan | October 21, 2005 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Dan
Whatever you do, don't press 666

Posted by: LB | October 21, 2005 12:24 PM | Report abuse

nani - i had tears from laffing so hard! my dear cat Gomez (rest his soul) was SUCH the persnickety little guy! He would only eat Fancy Feast and it had to be meat, not seafood and he had to have a full bowl of dry Chef's Blend at all times day or night. if not, he would perform his operetta at full volume until he got what he wanted. fortunately Aristotle (sweet little kitten face) eats anything and everything i give him (trying to keep him on dry food) and even tries to eat my food. it's much cheaper and saves much time - now if i could only keep him from peeing in the bathtub! bleh!

as a single woman i have many, many time saving rituals - i've even tried that microwave-in-the-pouch rice - most of it is bleh! but i have found a basmati one that is really good. that and food delivery men are tools of my culinary expertise!

Posted by: mo | October 21, 2005 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Hey! I have never heard of an MCR before and I think I am going to start on today! I am not going to stand up anymore...why waste time standing up and sitting down. If you think about all the time you waste by pulling out a chair from a dest or table and just have ONE chair that you constantly sit you will save....seconds....perhaps minutes in a year! In fact I just got off the phone with my doctor and I'm going to have hime install a colostomy bag on me so I never have to go to the bathroom again. Thanks!

Posted by: Eric | October 21, 2005 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Well Eric, hopefully at some point you will get up to empty the bag

Posted by: LB | October 21, 2005 12:31 PM | Report abuse

You've been reading William S Burroughs, haven't you? Don't lie. This is a philosophy expounded in his novel "Exterminator!"

Posted by: Dedalus | October 21, 2005 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Don't get the surgery! Homer already invented what you're looking for.

Posted by: jw | October 21, 2005 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I have often thought that the "Acme Catheter" would be a great idea for the kids on those long car rides. That may save hours on a single trip!

Posted by: esskay | October 21, 2005 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I would SCC but, I really don't know how to spell 'catheter'...

Posted by: esskay | October 21, 2005 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Re: finicky cats. This is why I have always had dogs. That and the eyes swelling shut from allergy thing.

Eric and the colonostomy bag- careful what you wish for, dude.

Linda Loomis- as a former stay at home dad from age 6 mo to 3 yrs, I can definitely state that my attitudes were seismically adjusted by the experience. Never plan more than 15 minutes ahead, cause you're going to be cleaning up an unexpected mess in 16 minutes. On the plus side, my tolerance for noise and bodily waste has increased exponentially, and my relationship with the women in my life is the envy of all.

As far as the class/plan ahead thing goes, my (thankfully) brief experience as a cabbie in Austin in 1970 leads me to agree. Most people at that time and place who rode in taxis did so because they were too poor to own a car or too rich to drive themselves. Many times I had the experience of being called to an address in East Austin around 6:30 pm on a Friday, picking up a Mom and kids from the shopping center with a week's groceries and wet laundry from the laundromat next door, and taking them home. They carried the dry dirties and walked over, then called a taxi to get home with the heavy food and wet clothes. Later on I would be called to one of the all male bars in the neighborhood to pick up Dad, passed out. He would have drunk all his money and Mom would pay the fare when I delivered him home. Same house, same woman, same day. This was considered good behavior, because he went home and gave her the household money BEFORE he went to the bar.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 21, 2005 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Here's another time saver: business calls while on the toilet.

I won't go there myself, but I have heard guys trying to business over the phone in a men's room stall, having to raise their voice over their self-generated soundtrack of WW II.

bc

Posted by: bc | October 21, 2005 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Here's another time saver: business calls while on the toilet.

I won't go there myself, but I have heard guys trying to business over the phone in a men's room stall, having to raise their voice over their self-generated soundtrack of WW II.

bc

Posted by: bc | October 21, 2005 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Nani- My geezer cat was happy with dry food for years and years. Then something changed, and he started shedding weight (well, shedding too, but he dropped a few pounds). Eventually he stopped caring for the tuna as well. (Even with me standing over him yelling 'Are you out of your mind!?' as he ignores the dish of tuna and looks at me expectantly.)

The new thing for my animal is a couple of spoons of chicken baby food mixed in with the dry stuff. He goes banannas waiting for it. And every time I give it to him I remember my dad mixing a scoop of ice cream up in a glass of Ensure trying to keep my grandfather's weight up....

Posted by: Les | October 21, 2005 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Here's another time saver: business calls while on the toilet.

I won't go there myself, but I have heard guys trying to business over the phone in a men's room stall, having to raise their voice over their self-generated soundtrack of WW II.

bc

Posted by: bc | October 21, 2005 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"a colostomy bag . . . so I never have to go to the bathroom again"?

Looooxxxurrry!

Posted by: Achenfan | October 21, 2005 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Kguy, way to go. There are not a lot of men who do this, there certainly should be more. I know being a stay at home parent was the hardest thing I will ever do, and the most rewarding. Nothing replaces simply being there.

Posted by: dr | October 21, 2005 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Here's another time saver: business calls while on the toilet.

I won't go there myself, but I have heard guys trying to business over the phone in a men's room stall, having to raise their voice over their self-generated soundtrack of WW II.

bc

Posted by: bc | October 21, 2005 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Here's another time saver: business calls while on the toilet.

I won't go there myself, but I have heard guys trying to business over the phone in a men's room stall, having to raise their voice over their self-generated soundtrack of WW II.

bc

Posted by: bc | October 21, 2005 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Business calls whilst on the toilet? Talk about "flagged"!

Posted by: Achenfan | October 21, 2005 1:11 PM | Report abuse

bc - "A drive anywhere that can be executed without stopping between the start and destination is a fullfilling experience for me."

It's much more than that. It's possibly a religious experience, or something akin to "runner's high." It's an MCR orgasm!

Tom, May I suggest you proof every other paragraph?

Loomis, I'm sorry to report that MCR is not at all in fashion with the current administration. In fact, easy, simple and efficient routes are explicitly overruled.

Posted by: Bayou Self | October 21, 2005 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Business calls whilst on the toilet? Talk about "flagged"!

Posted by: Achenfan | October 21, 2005 1:13 PM | Report abuse

WTF is going on with TypePad lately?

I hit "Post" once, and I get an array of posts, some minutes apart. I think this is a Sign.

SCC: add "do" to second sentence.
Ha!

bc

Posted by: bc | October 21, 2005 1:15 PM | Report abuse

YOU COULD SAVE A LOT MORE TIME IF YOU STOPPED WRITING SILLY CRAP LIKE THIS.

Posted by: JULIAN BARRY | October 21, 2005 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"MCRgasm", hmm.

Simple solution to the family trip problem: buy a Honda Element, everybody on the ride goes naked.

Hose it out at the destination, don't forget the bottle of bleach.

No problem.

"Flagged", ha!
Tom fan, this TypePadTourette's is driving me a bit batty, how about you?

bc

Posted by: bc | October 21, 2005 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Wow, a catheter would be great right about now. I'm on the patch now, and I swear it's turned into a bladder on legs. Maybe that's how it works - I'm so busy running to the bathroom i don't have time to smoke...

Posted by: LP | October 21, 2005 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Achenfan, could there be a better definition of "efficient movement" than doing business on the toilet?

bc

Posted by: bc | October 21, 2005 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Hitting "Post" once and getting multiple postings is pretty efficient.

Posted by: Bayou Self | October 21, 2005 1:38 PM | Report abuse

To "JULIAN BARRY":
I have a highly efficient emoticon that might be of interest to you:

","

Posted by: Tom fan | October 21, 2005 1:45 PM | Report abuse

ha ha ha ha

Posted by: omnigoof | October 21, 2005 1:52 PM | Report abuse

kurosawaguy,
Thanks for your interesting post. (Many Achenboodlers have Texas connections, somewhat to my surprise. And k-guy, I've kept up on your observations--the one about your mom working for a Democratic official was priceless.)

I am the bladder on legs, LP, but not thanks to a patch, but genetics. I struggle daily with the hate-hate relationship I have with my body--not because of my external appearance, but simply because internally I don't work right.

That said, I am going to say something heretical to today's Kit. I believe on squandering (yes, squandering) a portion of the day--very selfishly on myself.

I hate it when pool water feels like bath water, so I'll take that mid-day swim in our community pool in the fall when a dip and some laps are so very cool and refreshing.

I'll really waste an entire afternoon at Barnes and Noble reading the papers of choice, but more often looking for that great read that will really please me.

I'll work in the backyard cultivating, weeding, watering, and pruning--to have that colorful, eye-pleasing Garden of Eden around me as I read or relax.

I have so few rules lately: The Golden Rule and this one: Living Well is the Best Revenge.

Posted by: Loomis | October 21, 2005 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Julian, JA lives to write this kind of crap here.

Well not really, he actually has a paying job too.

Posted by: dr | October 21, 2005 1:52 PM | Report abuse

bc,
Abbey Meyers founded the National Organization of Rare Disorders ( a non-profit) because three of her daughters have Tourette's Syndrome.

I may be as frustrated as you and others lately with Typepad, but go easy on the very rare and less rare genetic disoders. Please?

Posted by: Loomis | October 21, 2005 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Two things I've gotta comment on.

bc, be careful taking the phone in the bathroom for those business calls. My boss does that, even after having lost a phone to the toilet.

Cats are not the only persnickety eaters. My grandmother's dogs expect to have their dog food splashed with liquid flavoring that Iam's came out with, before this it was bacon or tuna sprinklings. My mother's dogs are now well onto this same road, considering their dry food now has to be lightly moistened with a bit of water. Really it all comes down to having spoiled pets.

Posted by: TulsaFan | October 21, 2005 2:01 PM | Report abuse

See, this is why jokes about legumes are so popular.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 21, 2005 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I don't think you have really mastered a MCR. You are still inserting useless paragraph breaks, which means hitting the return each time. You could also consider elminating punctuation (I'm not up to that yet, myself) so your words simply run on. Eliminating spaces between words may be a bit radical, but I guess it's the next logical step.

Posted by: PeterK | October 21, 2005 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Is Tourette's very rare? I went to school with a guy who has it--the less noticable version which he blinks a lot and can't sit still.

Posted by: jw | October 21, 2005 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Is Tourette's very rare? I went to school with a guy who has it--the less noticable version which he blinks a lot and can't sit still.

Posted by: jw | October 21, 2005 2:06 PM | Report abuse

SCC: pretty much everything.

Can I apply for an SCC rider-clause? Let's just assume that everything I write is chock full o' errors.

Posted by: jw | October 21, 2005 2:08 PM | Report abuse

TulsaFan:
When I was growing up we had a pug who, when he was feeling particularly persnickety, would "insist" that my mother feed him individual bites of his sloppy canned dog food by hand. Ugh. (That stuff STINKS! [caps warranted here])

Posted by: Achenfan | October 21, 2005 2:08 PM | Report abuse

SCC: pretty much everything.

Can I apply for an SCC rider-clause? Let's just assume that everything I write is chock full o' errors.

Posted by: jw | October 21, 2005 2:10 PM | Report abuse

TulsaFan:
When I was growing up we had a pug who, when he was feeling particularly persnickety, would "insist" that my mother feed him individual bites of his sloppy canned dog food by hand. Ugh. (That stuff STINKS! [caps warranted here])

Posted by: Achenfan | October 21, 2005 2:10 PM | Report abuse

my dog likes to eat squirrels and I don't have to sprinkle a thing on them.

Posted by: LB | October 21, 2005 2:11 PM | Report abuse

SCC: pretty much everything.

Can I apply for an SCC rider-clause? Let's just assume that everything I write is chock full o' errors.

Posted by: jw | October 21, 2005 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I will comply, Linda.

I did stay out of the virus 'boodle the other day, knowing that it was a sensitive subject to you.

Tourette's isn't always genetic/inherited, is it? I thought that symptoms of the various kinds of Tourette's can be brought on by neurochemical imbalances.

bc

Posted by: bc | October 21, 2005 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Achenbach should take the metro, no worries about about parallel parking with your knees. The extra commute time means more time for writing and personal hygenie tasks. And it MCR's your family time as well, if that is such a burden to actually interact with the family.

There is no such thing as saving time.

There is only mimizing the tasks you find tedious to make time for what's important.

A nice reductio MCR ad absurdium argument.

Why even get up in the morning, you'll only waste time getting back in bed again later that night.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 21, 2005 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Infinite time mind
Ah, no, not the lack thereof
Leads to blissful life

Posted by: aroc | October 21, 2005 2:16 PM | Report abuse

TulsaFan, I'd never talk to anyone on the phone while in a bathroom.

That's about the only time during my day when I'm Living Well.

bc

Posted by: bc | October 21, 2005 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod:
"The extra commute time means more time for . . . personal hygiene tasks."
Ha! So true, unfortunately. I've witnessed all sorts of hairstyling, nail clipping, nail polishing, eye painting, lip painting, and nose, er, cleaning on the Metro. I once heard a story about someone flossing his teeth on the Metro, but I don't know if it's true -- could be one of those urban myths; I sure hope so.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 21, 2005 2:24 PM | Report abuse

No squirrels for my dogs to eat, the spiders pretty much keep the squirrels at bay.

I find that comtemplating my constitutional knowledge of new and used camping gear while watching Apocalypse Now takes up way too much of my time.

Posted by: esskay | October 21, 2005 2:26 PM | Report abuse

jw and bc,
I can check on whether chemical imbalances contribute to/ are the underlying cause of Tourette's, but it may take a few days. I have several shelves of a bookcase devoted to books on genetics, so it may take some look-up time there or some Googling. My afternoon is really spoken for.

I do know that Tourette's can be severe or light. I have a friend connected with the U.S. Military Academy at West Point whose son has Tourette's and the son has a light case of the disorder.

My disorder--because it impacts how the body uses calcium--is a multi-organ disorder.

My sister has the extreme muscle fatigue, so badly that she feels she can hardly grip the steering wheel at the end of her work day. But she also has rheumatoid arthritis, and has undergone some chemotherapy treatment to try to lessen symptoms.

Ny nephew was rushed off a California beach several years ago one summer day where he was working as a lifeguard. The thinking was that he needed an appendectomy. Further tests revealed high blood calcium (surprise! at the time) and pancreatitis.

My problems are entirely different than either my sis's or nephew's, yet all fall under the disorder's possible manifestations.

Thanks, bc. If it's any consolation to you, I tore into Howie Kurtz, via the WaPo's ombudsman, for making the same kind of Tourette's joke. Thanks all.

Posted by: Loomis | October 21, 2005 2:31 PM | Report abuse

My mother, to this day, shares her morning toast with the dog. (the dog that is 17 years old. She's no small-breed either, she's a shepard mix) Mom observed a long time ago the dog wouldn't take the toast unless there was butter on it. No butter, and there would an expectant, pleading look, and mom would immediately apologize to her and get up to butter the dog's bread.

And this from a woman who always said "It's not MY dog....."

Posted by: LP | October 21, 2005 2:32 PM | Report abuse

re: talking on the phone wilst in the bathroom. When I worked on a ship, the Captain had a phone in the head (for obvious reasons). Disturbing none-the-less when you would call him from the bridge and he sounded a little out of breath.

Posted by: jw | October 21, 2005 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Interesting movie--if you can find it

The British indie DIRTY FILTHY LOVE offers a quirky spin on the standard romantic-comedy formula with the tragicomic misadventures of its neurochemically-addled hero. Mark Furness (Michael Sheen) is a thirtysomething architect whose marriage and career are threatened by his increasing obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette's syndrome, which include repetitive and completely involuntary activities such as stair-counting, hand-washing, and swearing. When his wife Stevie (Anastasia Griffith) files for divorce and he loses his job to a subordinate, Mark turns to his doctor for help but instead meets a kindred soul, Charlotte (Shirley Henderson), who immediately diagnoses Mark's mental disorders and offers him therapy via her own self-help group. The film's darkly humorous yet poignant tone is carried by Sheen's nuanced performance and an unsentimental script co-penned by Ian Puleston-Davies, whose own experiences with OCD lend authenticity to the proceedings.

Posted by: Loomis | October 21, 2005 2:35 PM | Report abuse

SCC: I seem to have adopted some rather bizzare unintended diction. I have no idea where it's coming from. No listening to the Eagles while writing, from now on.

Posted by: jw | October 21, 2005 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Dogs can be trained. They will be grateful for whatever they get to eat, if it is presented with the right attitude.

Cats cannot be trained. The best you can hope for is to resist being trained by them. My cat eats dry food and doesn't complain about it, and if she stopped eating it I would just wait for her to get hungrier.

Posted by: Reader | October 21, 2005 2:35 PM | Report abuse

This in the KidsPost today:

Give Me Your Blood

As if spiders weren't creepy enough -- did you know that some of them prefer to feast on blood?

There are at least 5,000 types of jumping spiders. They don't build webs. Instead, they hunt like cats, stalking their prey before pouncing.

Some of these spiders live by eating blood-filled mosquitoes, according to Science News for Kids.

Posted by: omnigood | October 21, 2005 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I saw that movie. I think I'll rent it again tonight.

Posted by: omnigood | October 21, 2005 2:42 PM | Report abuse

did i put the boodle in the icr?

Posted by: omnigood | October 21, 2005 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Where's Sara today? She'd love Omnigood's posting above about the spiders, wouldn't she?

Posted by: TBG | October 21, 2005 2:45 PM | Report abuse

First laugh of the day reading the blog...2nd, 3rd, 4th laughs reading the comments.

Thanks to all!

My grandmother feeds our chihuahua some export soda crackers crushed up and soaked in coffee with milk in the morning. The dog simply won't eat meat in the morning and will not eat crackers unless they have coffee. I thought this was bad for the dog (with the cafeine and whatnot) but the vet says it's OK.

Posted by: Frances | October 21, 2005 2:45 PM | Report abuse

SCC:ICU

Posted by: omnigood | October 21, 2005 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I of course immediately thought of Sara when I read that this morning. I can just picture the shivers up and down her spine when she reads that.

Posted by: omnigood | October 21, 2005 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Omnigood, would you prefer a world without spiders? Think carefully. Every spider that's eating mosquitos is your friend, in the same way that every snake eating rats and every vulture removing roadkill is your friend. You may not want to watch them do it, but show some respect for the benefits of their presence. Pompous tree (and arachnid) hugging rant over.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 21, 2005 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Linda, my skin's reasonably thick, thanks for the offer of consolation, though.

jw, I'm glad that all you heard was an out of breath Captian. I've heard much worse on the other end of a phone. I once had to tell a guy that he should call me back when he was back at his desk.

bc

Posted by: bc | October 21, 2005 2:54 PM | Report abuse

suggest wife and children confine you to the basement with the cats.

Posted by: chuck edgar | October 21, 2005 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I actually just got back from lunch/CFMing ("cover for me") for another secretary.

I've said it before and I will gladly say it again, spiders are horrible creatures. Now I associate them with vampires thanks to omnigood's post.

There was a kid that I went to church with several years ago that I think must have had the blinking Tourette's syndrome because he blinked a lot. I never knew that was a type of Tourette's, so thanks to whoever posted that "blinking" post.

He refused to bathe, though. I don't think that has anything to do with Tourette's, so I had a problem with that. Especially when I got to college, walked into my ballroom dance class and there he was, still filthy (now with really rotten teeth) and eager to ask me to dance. Luckily it turned out that he was too tall for me and for once in my life I got lucky and I was partnered with the handsome English man. Of course he was much better at dancing than I am because in Wales they are born dancing--they waltz they're way out of the womb.

Now I will feel bad if refusing to practice good hygiene is a symptom of Tourette's, so I am hoping it's not.

Posted by: Sara | October 21, 2005 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I sense a CowTown/Spider Appreciation Society bulletin coming on . . . Oi can furl it in me waters.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 21, 2005 2:56 PM | Report abuse

kurosawaguy,

I'm pretty sure the mosquitoes in Minnesota eat the spiders. The spiders are no match for the mosquitoes.

Posted by: Sara | October 21, 2005 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I didn't say anything about prefering a world without spiders. My crime is copyright violation in an effort shiver a spine.

Posted by: omnigood | October 21, 2005 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's part of the OCD component, Sara. If I was less lazy, I'd do some research myself rather than get Linda to do my dirty work, because it sounds like the type of disease where there's much more to it than the "funny" part that we all know about.

Posted by: jw | October 21, 2005 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Hey!! Enough about jumping spiders!!!
I going camping in exactly 30 mins from now. Somehow I have convinced myself that there are no spiders in the forests that I camp in - and I'm quite happy with that illusion.

kguy - I do humbly pay my respects to the spider in all that they do - I just convince myself they do it everywhere where I am not.

Posted by: janet | October 21, 2005 3:05 PM | Report abuse

We used to ride our bikes through paths in the woods. We would get up a great amount of speed, especially the downhills. However, the lead-bike would be the one to clear out the spiderwebs spun accross the trail.
I remember hitting those things and trying to determine where the spider was while barreling along. Occasionally it would be one of those huge black-and-yellow guys that get stuck in your hair while you plow into an ancient oak...

Posted by: esskay | October 21, 2005 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Caffeine and chihuahuas doesn't seem like a wise combination to me...

Posted by: Reader | October 21, 2005 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Sara, you had me worried there for a minute that I had misspelled the plural of mosquito, it appears that both mosquitos and mosquitoes are OK. As far as Minnesota skeeters go, I think you're making my point for me. The mosquitos are out of hand due to a shortage of spiders.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 21, 2005 3:06 PM | Report abuse

When I moved onto my broken-down old farm I had a pair of bats living in my barn and zillions of bird-sized mosquitoes hanging aroung the old fishin' hole.
I left the bats alone and now I have hundreds of flying rats swarming all about my barn. And the 'skeeters have dissapeared.
Now I have rabiesaphobia...

Posted by: esskay | October 21, 2005 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh, sorry kurosawaguy. I hadn't even noticed your spelling of "mosquitos." I've always added the "e" but I'm not always right. It's nice that we can both be right.

In my perfect world, there would be a shortage of both mosquito(e)s and spiders.

I've just about decided there is an evil, maniacal mosquito loving genius somewhere in Minnesota that has found a way to inject a growth hormone is most Minnesota mosquitos. (Mosquitoes. Now I don't know which way I want to spell it.)

Posted by: Sara | October 21, 2005 3:12 PM | Report abuse

nothing like pottytalk to get the usual fans and suspects going.

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh that felt good.

Posted by: omnigasm | October 21, 2005 3:13 PM | Report abuse

OK, here's my pet post:

When I was a teen we had three cats. One of which was a tabby. This was one cool cat. I had convinced my friends that he was a witches familiar and that I could communicate with him telepathically. How did I do this? My friends would call out to him, and as cats a wont to do he ignored them. Then I would say now watch this. They would watch me looking at the cat and after a second the cat would look my way, get up walk over and jump into my lap. The joke is on my friends because what they didn't realize is that by playing with the chain on my rabbit's foot lucky charm, the cat's favorite toy, I always could that cat to do most anything. Only other animal I had as much control over was the dog I had as a kid.

Another thing I once did with this cat that totally amazed my mom: when this cat would stand by its food/water bowls and meow my mom would go through a series of steps to figure out what the cat wanted. First she would refresh the water bowl. Not what the cat wanted? Then add some dry food to the dry food bowl. Not what the cat wanted? Then she would get out some canned food. Still the cat meows? A little milk? Her thinking was that she would start with the least expensive stuff least likely to go bad and progress to the milk. So how did I amaze my mom? One day I'm in the kitchen eating lunch and the cat walks in and starts meowing. My mom in a sing-song voice asks "What do you want?" I say he wants some milk. This is when my mom explains her procedure. I tell my mom he just wants milk though. So my mom goes through her process finally ending on a little milk which he slurps up and leaves the kitchen with his tail high in the air curling back and forth. So how did I do it? No lucky rabbits foot this time. When my mom asked I said: "He has a different meow for different wants." She didn't believe me of course, but from that day forward she paid more attention to the meows and eventually realized I was telling the truth when she discovered she could discern four slight distinct variations in the sound of the cat's meow.

Posted by: omnigood | October 21, 2005 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Back to the MCR topic:
My bro' installs phones and had a line in each bathroom in the pre-cell days. He once ask me if I wanted a line into mine and I told him that I just wasn't that important.
Of course, he had a TV in there too...

Posted by: esskay | October 21, 2005 3:18 PM | Report abuse

esskay, the "huge black-and-yellow guys that get stuck in your hair while you plow into an ancient oak..." were probably Argiope aurantia, the golden garden spider. The ones you see are females, about an inch and a half long body. Folks in Oklahoma (and elsewhere) call them "writin' spiders" because their incorporate a zigzag of heavier silk called a stabilimentum in the center of the web that looks a little like writing. The spider has to rebuild her web every morning because the sticky silk dries out and must be replaced. She eats the old silk as she goes. The 'spokes' of the web are left, only the 'spiral' is replaced, cause that is made of a different kind of silk with adhesive droplets attached. She is actually capable of producing at least eight different kinds of silk and now I'm beginning to bore even myself so I'll just shut up thankyouverymuch.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 21, 2005 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Only thing I know is that stress can worsen a Tourette's attack. I once saw a guy have what looked like a tourette's attack, including some cursing.

The woman sitting next to him left hastily. Given the guy had tattoos and a vest and didn't look so cleancut...

Then some kind gentleman in his 60's sat next to him and talked to him and the man was talking to him and calming down a lot.

The disorder does suck. I had a teacher who had a mild form of Tourette's-- I asked him once if he could stop dancing during his lecture, tactfully as possible to avoid embarrassing him (it was EXTREMELY distracting). He kept doing it, so I realized it had to be neurological.

By dancing I mean he'd jiggle and stomp his feet at seemingly random times. (You have to visualize Al Gore at the 1992 inauguration.)

Sometimes the footwork'd be really intense. I got used to it after a while. At least he didn't tic facially, that would have been more embarrassing for a teacher, I think.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 21, 2005 3:23 PM | Report abuse

k-guy

at least the last half of your last sentence was funny

Posted by: omnigoof | October 21, 2005 3:23 PM | Report abuse

How do you know all that kurosawaguy?

Posted by: Sara | October 21, 2005 3:23 PM | Report abuse

That must be it because I remember pulling the 'zig-zag' out of my hair. The rest of the web seemed easier to brush away.
The body, you say, could be and inch-and-a-half. Yes, but add in the legs and they were pretty impressive...

Posted by: esskay | October 21, 2005 3:23 PM | Report abuse

one of my favorite things is to take the dog out in the morning while it is still dark and walk face first into a spider web not knowing if the spider is on your face, in your hair or what. I usually scare the hell out of the dog slapping my face like Curly Joe of the Three Stooges.

Posted by: LB | October 21, 2005 3:24 PM | Report abuse

eeeeppppp spiders! getting in your hair! eeeepppp!!! i have a very very healthy (ok neurotic) fear of spiders but i certainly do not begrudge them their existence... when i find one in my house i very tactfully escort it out of my house... (is holding a glass over it and sliding a paper between the glass and wall to trap it then running to the balcony and throwing it over all the while going eww! eww! eww! tactful?) i try not to kill bugs, animals, humans b/c i don't think it's my right to - i think they all have a place in the world - except roaches... i kill those buggers! can't think of one single good thing a roach does!

and phones in the bathroom? BLORPH! i'm one of those bladder shy females that confound gene... except at home...

Posted by: mo | October 21, 2005 3:30 PM | Report abuse

just carry a stick with a bunch of branches, even leaves are ok, and hold it out in front of you as you walk in the woods. Total loser look for sure, but shore beats spidey web all over your face.

Posted by: omnigoof | October 21, 2005 3:31 PM | Report abuse

esskay, imagine the movie "Jurassic Park" with you as the Tyrannosaurus Rex. That is the perspective of the spider.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 21, 2005 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I was always slightly grossed out by the scene in Spiderman 2 when Kirsten Dunst is waiting on the giant web for whoever played Spiderman right after he defeats Dr. Octopus or whatever his name was. I realized it wasn't actually a giant spider web, but still.

Posted by: Sara | October 21, 2005 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm with mo on those roaches. I've actually discovered the perfect killing machine to deal with roaches. I don't use raid cause it really stinks. I don't use a rolled up paper cause I'm too slow. I use 409 spray cleaner set on stream, take careful aim, and squeeze the trigger (don't pull). Not only does it kill the roach, it also cleans. talk about MCR.

Oh, and Joel, I too liked it better as regime. change it back please

Posted by: omnigoof | October 21, 2005 3:35 PM | Report abuse

well if I was on the T rex's face I would bite him which I'm afraid is what the spider will do to me.

Posted by: LB | October 21, 2005 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Haha! Couldn't have put it better myself LB.

Posted by: Sara | October 21, 2005 3:37 PM | Report abuse

i believe the appropriate action to take is PINCH really hard

Posted by: omnigoof | October 21, 2005 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I recently escorted a bug from the bathroom of my fifth-floor apartment to a garden bed downstairs, by way of an envelope. As I was heading out the door, my husband asked me to remind him that he had to pick up his race bib for a run he was doing the next day, so I decided to call the bug Race Bib. (Is that a cool name, or what?)

[Proceeds to check self into Woodhaven for the umpteenth time.]

Posted by: Dreamer | October 21, 2005 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Joel, what does one do with all the time saved? And I'm not sure about washing in the sink, that does sound kinda nasty? Feeding the cats in a trough sounds like the kind of thing hog farmers do here. Bet the cat doesn't care for that. I love cats, but they can be hard to get along with.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 21, 2005 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Spiderman played by Tobey Maguire. Watch him in "Wonder Boys" if you haven't seen it. Best thing Michael Douglas ever did.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 21, 2005 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Old Steve Martin routine:

I gave my cat a bath the other day. . .they love it. He sat there, he enjoyed it, it was fun for me. The fur kinda stuck to my tongue, but other than that. . .

Posted by: Anonymous | October 21, 2005 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Your husband's a runner? That's cool...is he running the Marine Corps Marathon?

Posted by: jw | October 21, 2005 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Wonder Boys--the Michael Chabon book's quite good too.

Posted by: jw | October 21, 2005 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Three nights ago, I saw the biggest spider ever walking across my livingroom wall. I stood up to throw a shoe at it, but it seemed to see me because it turned and ran at an unbelieveably high rate of speed right into my bedroom. Its body was the size of a silver dollar and the legs spanned a good 4-5 inches. Now this part really scares me: It was BROWN. Was this a brown recluse? I've been sleeping on the sofa ever since.

Posted by: Nani | October 21, 2005 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, k-guy. I kept wanted to call him Jake Grace, a cross between Topher Grace and Jake Gyllenhall, but I knew that any combination of those names would be wrong.

Posted by: Sara | October 21, 2005 3:45 PM | Report abuse

No way, Nani. Fiddlebacks don't get that big or that bold.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 21, 2005 3:46 PM | Report abuse

He is, jw. Maybe I'll see you there! (But I must say I'm kind of dreading the event -- I've heard people cross the finishing line looking like they're about to die after that thing. Might be a bit hard to watch!)

Posted by: Dreamer | October 21, 2005 3:46 PM | Report abuse

That's an impact tremor is what that is...

Posted by: esskay | October 21, 2005 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Faster! must drive faster!!!

Posted by: esskay | October 21, 2005 3:48 PM | Report abuse

licking the cat reminds me of two aggies walking down the road when they see a mongrel dog licking himself where dogs tend to lick. One aggie says "Man I would be in hog heaven if I could do that." The other aggie says "Yeah,I know what you mean, but be careful I tried it yeaterday and he bit me."

Posted by: LB | October 21, 2005 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I've got a couple of the big yellow and black garden spiders in my gardens (natch), some pretty good wolf spiders in the garage, and some real interesting cave spiders in the shed.

I refer to any spider whose legspread approaches the width of the palm of my hand as "Boris".

bc

Posted by: bc | October 21, 2005 3:49 PM | Report abuse

yesterday, but you know what I mean

Posted by: LB | October 21, 2005 3:49 PM | Report abuse

David Sedaris has a bit where he is disgusted by people talking on the phone while on the toilet and his sister says she does it all the time. He asks how she masks the noises and she says she just tells the person on the other end she is trying to open a very stuck jar lid. It dawns on him that she has "opened" a lot of jars while talking on the phone to him.

I forget which book its from, but the live version was on This American Life last week.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 21, 2005 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Nani - sounds like a wolf spider. Harmless to the best of my knowledge but very quick. They seem to feel their impending doom this time of year and come inside to get out of the cold.

Posted by: esskay | October 21, 2005 3:52 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt:
That book is "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim." I *loved* that book -- laugh-out-loud funny.

Posted by: Tom fan | October 21, 2005 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record, Sara, I tried to divert the conversation away from spiders and back to MCR's (3:18:44 PM). I think I failed...

Posted by: esskay | October 21, 2005 3:55 PM | Report abuse

OMG Nani! We live parallel lives. This happened to me the other night but only I was already in bed and a shadow on the floor caught my eye. I was hoping it was a small mouse (not that we have those but ANYthing would have been better than the horrible thing I saw). It was exactly as you described. I sprayed it with Raid and underneath my dresser. Then I waited, it came out from behind the dresser and just sat, staring at me. I waited for a half hour and it still moved so I packed up and went to my boyfriend's house. This was at 12:30AM. I think eventually I'll have to see a shrink for this because I know it's not normal. I know that it probably would not have hurt me but it just looks so scary.

Posted by: Frances | October 21, 2005 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Wolf spider? Bless you. I'm so relieved. As long as its harmless, I'm not afraid. This fellow in my office said it must have been a brown recluse, then called me into his office to look at a site he'd googled on brown recluses and the effects on people who've been bitten. Couldn't get out of his office fast enough.

Posted by: Nani | October 21, 2005 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Achtober is indeed Wolf Spider time of year.

Brown Recluses are pretty small, like Black Widows. I've seen way too many of both in my life.

bc

Posted by: bc | October 21, 2005 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks anyway, esskay. Your efforts are definitely appreciated.

I've never seen a brown recluse, and I hope that I never do.

Posted by: Sara | October 21, 2005 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Achenfan/Tom fan/Dreamer: May I brag just a little? A couple of years ago, my son-in-law (age 50) ran the Boston Marathon. 36 miles I think. Finished I think in 3 or 4 hrs. His goal was just to finish.

Posted by: Nani | October 21, 2005 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Achtober is really zipping by; Achenovember is just around the corner.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 21, 2005 4:15 PM | Report abuse

SCC: 26 miles

Posted by: Nani | October 21, 2005 4:17 PM | Report abuse

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=marathon+in+miles

Posted by: Anonymous | October 21, 2005 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Ooh, sorry, Nani -- I 'boodled out of order again.

That's an inspiring story about your son-in-law. My husband is 45. I wonder if he'll still be running marathons at 50? (The way he's going, I think he'll have worn himself out by then.)

Posted by: Achenfan | October 21, 2005 4:20 PM | Report abuse

[The Achenovember comment, I meant.]

Posted by: Achenfan | October 21, 2005 4:22 PM | Report abuse

ive got 2 minuts while the man is in bathroom. He ws readng. Now hes talking on phone. look i appreciate that you put me in cup and dump into bushes outside . used to scare the hell out of me but its better than what you did to the centipede that got into the bathtub from the drain . ick. one question . how com you scream like your crazy person when im just up on the ceiling tryng to find a warm place. you dnt scrm when dirty housfly lands on your dinner huh? hows that right? im just tryng to get out of stickng cold and away from hungry female and you scream and run to man to get the spider get the spider like im as big as a dog. and im cleaner than dog and dont poop on carpet when your not hom. and xsdvb sdf sorry slipd on keys. msut go now oh gret femal human saw me. get spider get spider. oh wa. sheesh.

Posted by: TheCowChannel | October 21, 2005 4:29 PM | Report abuse

bc,

I only return here occasionally to seek comedic futility reinforcement after I've become completely broken and discouraged by the course of human affairs. Wanted you to know that your "Miers Questionnaire" (in the next blog down) hit the spot.

OK. Guess I'll see you again after we declare war on Syria.

JAG

Posted by: JAG | October 21, 2005 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Ha ha, CowTown! Me waters were right!

Posted by: Achenfan | October 21, 2005 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I was inspired and today I saved so much time that I'm going to head home early.

Posted by: Bayou Self | October 21, 2005 4:32 PM | Report abuse

JAG! I was wondering where you were.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 21, 2005 4:33 PM | Report abuse

hey cowtown, i've been meaning to ask you - can you really tip cows over? do they sleep standing up? and can you really tell if a storm is coming if they all lie down facing the same direction? i apologize for my ignorance - i'm a city girl - closest thing i've come to a cow is in the grocery store... they don't really respond to questions there - must be all of that cellophane...

Posted by: mo | October 21, 2005 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Achenfan,

I often read the blog, but have been in such a foul and humorless mood since Rita haven't had anything fun to say. But remember... I'm watching!! :)

JAG

Posted by: JAG | October 21, 2005 4:46 PM | Report abuse

To: mo
RE: Cow Tipping

Now, bear in mind, I'm not native to this part of the world, so someone may correct me. But, my understanding is that cow tipping is the midwestern equivolent of snipe hunting, if you know what I mean. Your average beef cow weighs about 1,500 lb, and Holtsteins (milk cows) can get bigger. Assuming you could even get close to one (they tend to be shy except with the people who feed them) you'd need to use a tremendous amount of instantaneous force to knock him / her over. A truck traveling at 30mpg might do the trick; but then the effect on the cow would be, well, bad for the cow.

As for how they prepare for a storm, it makes sense that they'd face downwind, and since they spend most of their time outside they're probably pretty good at reading the signs (darkening sky, leaf bottoms on trees showing, change in wind speed / direction). But, I haven't actually witnessed them doing it. During the summer, a storm can come up pretty fast. I'm usually concentrating on getting out of it.

I do like to feed cows, though. But, that's for another time.

Posted by: CowTown | October 21, 2005 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I'll be on my best behavior then, JAG.

I hope you feel better soon. (That smiley emoticon makes me think maybe you're starting to cheer up.)

Posted by: Achenfan | October 21, 2005 4:49 PM | Report abuse

mo,

Here's the Straight Dope on cow tipping and cows sleeping:

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a3_363.html

And here's Wikipedia on cow tipping:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cow_tipping

Sounds pretty suspect to me.

Posted by: pj | October 21, 2005 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Haha...Cowtown, that reminded me of that Far Side cartoon when the dogs kidnap the cats and leave a ransom note. Or something. Can't quite remember.

Posted by: jw | October 21, 2005 4:53 PM | Report abuse

No worries, Sara. The brown recluse or fiddleback is not found in Minnesota. I think Des Moines is about the northern limit of their range. Even if you live where they are common- south central U.S.- you may never see one. After all, they are called "recluse" for a reason. They avoid light and activity. I've seen a few recluse bites in the hospitals where I worked. Most people don't react to the bite, but those who do can have pretty nasty looking wound sites. I think death from a recluse bite is very very rare if at all, but people do in a few extreme cases loose significant tissue as a necrotic lesion forms at the wound site. The tissue dies and a hole forms and grows larger over time. It ain't pretty. Having said that I must add that Pinto drivers and pit bulls present a much greater hazard to life and limb.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 21, 2005 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I remember a Far Side cartoon in which a dog tries to lure a cat into the clothes dryer by attaching a "Cat Fud" note to it. I think there's a mug with that cartoon on it at my parents' house. They also have the "Nerds in Hell" mug. (While the "nerds" are lining up to be admitted to Hell, one of them says to the others, "Hot enough for ya?")

Posted by: Achenfan | October 21, 2005 4:59 PM | Report abuse

My favorit Larson cartoon is probably a reflection of my melancoly (sp?) humor: In the foreground, a woman is spooning dogfood from a can into a dog dish. Behind her two dogs sit in rapt anticipation. One of them says, "Oh boy! Dogfood, AGAIN!"

Posted by: CowTown | October 21, 2005 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, k-guy! I've been wondering if brown recluses even hung out up in these parts. Good to know they don't. A friend of one of my exes was bitten by one on her cheek. Her face is really disfigured now and she got diabetes after she was bitten so they think it had something to do with the spider bite (could be a coincidence, but the timing is kind of hard to ignore)...she was sick for months. It wasn't pretty. That's when I started really fearing the spiders, recluses in particular.

Posted by: Sara | October 21, 2005 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Have a good weekend! See y'all Monday.

Posted by: Sara | October 21, 2005 5:28 PM | Report abuse

if anyone is still around i have an new blog on www.mortiifera.com

Posted by: mo | October 21, 2005 5:54 PM | Report abuse

SCC not a new blog - a new ENTRY on my blog...

Posted by: mo | October 21, 2005 6:13 PM | Report abuse

SCC not a new blog - a new ENTRY on my blog...

Posted by: mo | October 21, 2005 6:14 PM | Report abuse

SCC not a new blog - a new ENTRY on my blog...

Posted by: mo | October 21, 2005 6:15 PM | Report abuse

i broke the boodle! please to forgive!

Posted by: mo | October 21, 2005 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Hi, mo,

I read it. Nice job!

Won't help though. We're wolves and we eat those of our offspring that are different!

Sorry to tell you that, but nice to talk to you.

JAG

Posted by: JAG | October 21, 2005 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Is there an echo in here?

mo, nice article. Arkansas authorities will finally accept goths as equals when they accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. Imagine. Goths for Jesus.

Posted by: CowTown | October 21, 2005 6:28 PM | Report abuse

joel, have you read _cheaper by the dozen_ by frank gilbreth, jr and ernestine gilbreth carey? it's such a classic, and the main character is an efficiency expert whose job it is to cut down the time it takes to do things.

here's the end of the book--

Someone once asked Dad: "But what do you want to save time for? What are you going to do with it?"
"For work, if you love that best," said Dad. "For education, for beauty, for art, for pleasure." He looked over the top of his pince-nez. "For mumblety-peg, if that's where your heart lies."

Posted by: julie p | October 21, 2005 9:44 PM | Report abuse

An important MCR in my house is single-button microwave timing. That is, an item can be microwaved for 11, 22, 33, ..., 99 sec. for items needing more time, MCR settings are 1:11, 2:22 and 3:33. The only permitted variations are some number of punches of the "Instant Minute" button or one press of the the "Popcorn" button.

This really saves time and effort!

Posted by: Roy | October 21, 2005 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I'm tired and cannot figure out now how the spider tangent evolved. CowChannel... brilliant!

Was sanding in an old house the other day. 10 feet above was a daddy-long-legs. I don't like spiders, but this one was different. The vibration of the sander sent this spiderly specimeninto hysteria, exquisitely sensitive being that these critters are (they locate food on their webs through tactile means). He fell headlong through the air only to land next to the sander, and began a panicked whirly dance. Sensory overload!Ordinarily I squash these buggers, but opted for the merciful tactic of whisking him away with the flick of a safety-gloved hand. Discovered him at the bottom of the stairs an hour later, alive but clearly shivering in all 8 of his boots.

Posted by: parrotzmom | October 21, 2005 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Totally off topic, and I'm thinking it's just a little sick that I can type this at 11:15 Friday night and be confident that Tom fan will see it:

Tom fan, guess who had his picture in my local paper today?

http://photobucket.com/albums/a80/kbertocci/?action=view¤t=heraldhuntcropforpb.jpg

Posted by: Reader | October 21, 2005 11:14 PM | Report abuse

parrotzmom:

The spider talk was a continuation from a boodle a few days ago - or maybe longer. It was a real education about all different kinds of spiders from the archenblogspiderexperts.

Charlottes Web by E. B. White is one of my favorite books about spiders, and because of that I don't like to harm them even though they may be dangerous.

Liked your post on the Cow Channel, Cow Town

My cat will only eat dry food, not people food and likes to drink water out of a pail rather than a cup or bowl. I keep a pail of fresh water out for him. He was a stray in his early life, lived outside and may have learned to drink from pails in nearby farmyards. Who am I to try to explain the ways of a cat?

bdl

Posted by: boondocklurker | October 22, 2005 3:59 AM | Report abuse

Nanni
I doubt a brown recluse is that big. They're usually quite small, and like the name, they like to hide, not out in the open. In the small town that I live in, we had a young man to die from a spider bite, and I'm thinking the brown recluse was the culprit. The young man did not seek medical help, and after some days, he died. Garden spiders look bad, but they don't have the potential to do harm like the brown recluse. If you live in an area where you have all kinds of spiders, it is best to shake any items of clothing or shoes, just anything you wear or come in contact with. I live in a mobile home, and the spiders have just about taken over, and the ants, red ants were really bad this summer. And guess what, they bite too.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 22, 2005 8:07 AM | Report abuse

yeeeechhh bugs.

Posted by: parrotzmom | October 22, 2005 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Nani, great story about giving the finger to your cats!

CowTown, as always, I love your stories.

I'm not afraid of spiders, but I don't like them in the house. We've had a ton of spiders this year - webs all over (referring to the outdoors, mostly). I hate walking into a spider web, but they're so beautiful I leave them alone if they're not in my way.

Now snakes are an entirely different matter. I can't even look at pictures in a book - and I hate animal shows on TV because they love to show snakes. I zip past Animal Planet very quickly when I'm channel surfing. Although one of the funniest bits in a movie is in Big Top Peewee when Peewee Herman decides to rescue even the snakes from a burning pet shop (I watch out of the corner of my eye).

If I found a snake in the house, I'd have to move. Which is why I like living in the Pacific Northwest, west of the Cascades, where there are no poisonous snakes (native that is - I suppose there are escaped pets). But it's a remote possibility. I freak out even at garter snakes.

Uh oh, now I've opened up the boodle to creepy snake stories. I may have to move out...

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 22, 2005 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I suppose it's okay to talk about anything but what's on our minds, really. I mean as long as we can pretend that snakes, spiders, or anything else is most important on our minds, then we can forget that thing that is really tripping us out or pretend it doesn't really exist, or if it does,it doesn't really matter. But oh, I forgot this is an exercise in humor, correct?

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 22, 2005 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra,
Somewhere I read the sub-head on Joel's column/blog as "Observations and Humor" from Joel Achenbach.

I tend to make more observations than humorous contributions.

What is that thing that is really "tripping" you out? What is that thing that you think the collective "we" are pretending that doesn't really exist? I love to see you expand and elaborate a bit on this mystery you have presented to us..if you're willing?

What is on your mind this afternoon?

Posted by: Loomis | October 22, 2005 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Linda,

Hope your husband made it home OK.. and didn't mind the dust that collected while you shared your observations with us!

Posted by: TBG | October 22, 2005 3:25 PM | Report abuse

what's on my mind?

wilma
the mold in new orleans
the threatened demise of the mortgage deduction
Miers
DeLay
Bush
more rain here in the northeast
creepy Goth Killers
rapists
rapists who videotape themselves
scott peterson's insurance
college drinking
the price of oil
parrots
spiders
and snakes

anything else?

Posted by: parrotzmom | October 22, 2005 3:43 PM | Report abuse

So THAT'S what Tom the Butcher looks like. He's doesn't look as high strung as I figured he'd be.

Posted by: jw | October 22, 2005 4:26 PM | Report abuse

tgb writes:
Linda,
Hope your husband made it home OK.. and didn't mind the dust that collected...

Your post is making me laugh, tgb. We often have arguments about what is an acceptable level of dust in the house. Since I'm the one who does the dusting, my level of "dust acceptability" often wins out--by sheer negligence. I am beyond help in this because I hate housework so much.

Of course, it doesn't help that this year we're about 10 inches behind the normal ranfall totals--so there's more Texas dust than ever. I got some of the dusting done--but not all, but hubby was so happy to be home after a week away! San Diego was great, it even rained while he was there, but the old adage still rings true--"There's no place like home."

I found an interesting article/link to share with the Boodle but will wait 'til Monday when the Kit is fresh.

Posted by: Loomis | October 22, 2005 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Loomis,
It probably is not the collective "we", just me rambling. I suspect my perception of everything in this country is bent or sort of off because I see it in terms of my being, and that said, does not explain a lot. Everyone here seems to be so "light and upbeat", and I'm not saying this a bad thing, just seems like a delusion of the worse kind. I can't seem to shake the feeling that this country is going to wake up one morning and find the biggest upheaveal and mess, the worst nightmare, that no one has ever dreamed of, and there will be nothing to help us or save us. Perhaps I am just a doomsday person, perhaps depressed, but I don't think so. Therefore we talk about silly stuff, and ramble on about this, that, and the other, and maybe it's just me with my offbeat psyche.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 22, 2005 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra S:

I think we all feel that way in one way or another. It's just horrible the direction this country has taken in just a few short years and I hope that the 50.1% of the people who elected this president are waking up to that.

It's nice to have a wide variety of people here in our weird Achencommunity to share our thoughts and feelings with. It's also nice to be able to range in those thoughts from anger, to sadness to frustration to silliness. We need to be able to share it all.

Hope you feel better and have a good weekend. You have some friends all over the country now who enjoy your "offbeat psyche."

The one thing I've learned since my family started taking rambling road trips all over the country, not taking Interstates and stopping in all sorts of different towns and cities: very few people live like we do. Some live much better; some live in much worse conditions. America is just full of different places and people.

And I'm glad that we've met each other in the Achenworld here to also see how much we are the same.

And remember, sometimes you just want to talk about spiders.

Posted by: TBG | October 22, 2005 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra,
As a person who reads a lot, I was interested in NTY op-ed columnist John Tierney's main pick (one of four) for October for his "Book of the Month," Garreau's "Radical Evolution." (deals primarily with the evolution of four technological fields...)

So I picked the book up and perused it while I was at Borders several weeks ago, and the following pasage caught by eye--and bothered me and amused me at the same time, so I wrote it on a scrap of paper and have resurrected it from the bottom of my purse in response to your last post:

To whom can I speak today?
The iniquity that strikes the land
Has no end.
To whom can I speak today?
There are no righteous men,
The earth is surrendered to criminals.

What both bothered me and amused me was the last line:

--Written circa 2000 B.C. in Egypt's Middle Kingdom

Posted by: Linda Loomis | October 22, 2005 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I've been very depressed and stressed since about the time Katrina hit. Some of it is the natural disasters, the lack of government response, the feeling that we are vulnerable as a nation. My local community is in an earthquake zone; our traffic is gridlocked every day. Add to that my personal stresses - my son's car was stolen, he broke up with his girlfriend, our car insurance company didn't want to renew our policy, work is stressful beyond belief, my car's rear windshield was shattered by a BB gun (I think), my dishwasher leaked surreptiously and had to be replaced. It's always something, although my troubles have been nothing compared to others'. So I enjoy the humor and silliness, along with the serious discussions here.

And we do turn on a dime and veer off to all sorts of places. I usually get here late, so I tend to comment on the more tangential stuff.

LL, nice quote.

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 22, 2005 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I meant to say, too, that you hit the nail on the head when you say that talking about spiders and snakes instead of the more overarching problems is a way to keep ourselves from facing those.

Some indictments would make me happy, but I don't want to get my hopes up. And I really don't want to talk about snakes - forget I ever brought that topic up, please!

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 22, 2005 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Linda Loomis:
You always amaze me with your knowledge of books and things. How you can always find a book or a quote that is relevant (sp?)to anything being discussed.That quote from 2000 BC was wonderful. It proves "there is nothing new under the sun."

Cassandra:
One thing I like about reading this blog usually late in the day is that the topics and comments range in many directions and are about seemingly inconsequential things, as TBG points out. But one always learns something - like no poisoneous snakes (sorry mostlylurking) in the Northwest to lots of spiders and red ants in your area. It also makes one aware that there are lots of people in the rest of the country who will save Wash DC when it falls apart. (That's meant to be humor.)

TBG:
When I travel with my cousin in Wisconsin we always take the back roads and have found more wonderful areas and communities and the best places to have pie.

Mostlylurking:
I get here late like you do. I do hope your luck or life gets a little better. I have been saddened by our govt's response to Katrina although I think the "people" in this country have really responded. The veering to and fro on this site makes it worth visiting. Good luck.

bdl

Posted by: boondocklurker | October 23, 2005 1:04 AM | Report abuse

I can totally, like, relate to where Joel is coming from on the desire to optimize motion. I have this precise routine worked out to minimize the amount of time needed to get into work each the morning. This way I avoid traffic and get the good parking spaces. I am so proficient at this that I can easily function for the first 90 minutes after I get out of bed without actually being legally awake. The downside is that those minutes essentially become meaningless. I am pretty sure that if I tried to make each morning, and day, a bit more unique, my life might be more interesting. Further, time would probably seem to go by a bit more slowly. Which sounds like a nice philosophy, except that I really like getting those good parking spaces.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 23, 2005 9:38 AM | Report abuse

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/23/magazine/23wwln.html

Since we'll be talking about Rough Draft tomorrow, I'm dropping this in today--it's about virtual reality, and it's very interesting.

The Times author quotes a character from a new French novel about the subject:

"What we're trying to create is an artificial humanity, a frivolous one, that will never again be capable of seriousness or humor, that will spend its life in an ever more desperate quest for fun and sex - a generation of absolute kids."

I think about virtual reality a lot because of the amount of time I spend in the blogosphere. But that quote really struck me, because the virtual reality I find here is full of seriousness and humor, much more so than my everyday "real life" existence. I read the article because I hoped it would address the issues I am interested in--what is the nature of a "relationship" if it is purely intellectual and the people involved are entirely interchangeable--if one leaves, another takes his place (in the kaboodle, that is--of course Joel can't be replaced; that has been demonstrated.) As it turned out, the article addressed other aspects of the future of human relationships, also very intriguing.

Posted by: Reader | October 23, 2005 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Another paragraph from the above-cited article:

Human interactions of all kinds, especially those that involve caring for others, appear less and less worth the trouble. Houellebecq is fascinated by young couples who have pets instead of children, and by the French heat wave of 2003, which killed thousands of senior citizens who were forgotten by their vacationing children and abandoned by their vacationing doctors. Daniel1 mocks the newspaper headline "Scenes Unworthy of a Modern Country." In his view, those scenes were proof that France was a modern country. "Only an authentically modern country," he insists, "was capable of treating old people like outright garbage."

Posted by: Reader | October 23, 2005 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Reader:
Thanks for the link to that NYT article. I think I like the "reality" reality better than the virtual kind. The following are random thoughts on the subject with some non-sequitors (sp)so bear with me.

When we use the internet to really connect with one another like grandparents e-mailing grandkids, military personel overseas connecting with loved ones at home and visa versa, families interacting, or generally using e-mail rather than "snail" mail to communicate with one another, I believe we are reviving the art of letter writing in modern way.

Dependence on electronic communication - even relying on cell phones rather than land based ones, has had both positive and negative results. If they work, as they did in many of the Asian tsunami areas, people can let others know world wide how they are faring. If they don't work as is still the case in some areas of the gulf coast, people are isolated and help is delayed.

It was interesting to learn how quickly aid got to the people in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 when the teletype message went out across the country and railroads transported people and supplies to the damaged areas. Short wave radio networks have helped in the present gulf disaster but it almost seems a forgotten art. The tendendcy is to toss out the old ways and only accept the new. I think we need to utilize the best of both and not forget "real" reality while accepting the virtual.

Thoughts on a Sunday.

bdl

Posted by: boondocklurker | October 23, 2005 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Just saw the movie "The Librarian-Quest for the Spear". One of my favorite lines is "We even read those accursed online blogs." haha, lol, really I did laugh out loud.

Posted by: omnigood | October 23, 2005 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Linda Loomis,

Nice quote from the Middle Kingdom. Since recorded human history is only about 5,000 years, the world has apparently been going to hell in a handbasket for a loooong, loooong time. Maybe that should make us feel slightly optomistic.

Posted by: pj | October 23, 2005 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I just opened up the blinds to my living room window, and a spider had spun a web between the sill and the window frame. How cool is that? I think I'm going to keep her as a pet.

Posted by: jw | October 23, 2005 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Reader:
It took me awhile, but I am now sufficiently recovered from my swoon to be able to say thank you for posting that photo of THE Tom.

And jw:
It's Tom the *Surgeon*, not Tom the Butcher. Sheesh!!!!!

Posted by: Tom fan | October 24, 2005 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Read "The Principles of Do Easy" by William S. Burroughs. It will make you obsessive about saving steps.

Posted by: UBHenry | October 25, 2005 10:09 AM | Report abuse


For the best uncensored news site go to: http://takingaim.info/shows/audio.html
of www.onlinejournal.com

Posted by: Che | November 1, 2005 12:02 PM | Report abuse

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