posted 1 day ago on metafilter
You are neither my doctor nor my trainer. But for the past week and a half I've had random transitory ( I've looked at the description of sacroiliac joint injury that a MeFi search turned up, but that doesn't seem to quite describe the pain. There's no radiation of pain anywhere. I don't have a fever so it's not a kidney infection, and I've had kidney stones before so I know I'd be writhing helplessly in pain if it were that. So... random painful spasms in the one place. What gives?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I'm already a professional writer, and have been for a decade, but I've been slowly trying to shift stakes. I feel like going for an MFA would offer valuable guidance, validation, and permission to try new things. But I also feel like maybe I'd be better off lighting thousands of dollars on fire. MFAs of MeFi, please observe my snowflakes and tell me what to do!I read back to 2011 and found no "should I get an MFA" questions (which shocked me!) but many "I'm about to start an MFA" or "I just finished an MFA" so I think you guys probably have the expertise to help me out here. I have a BA in not-English and an MA in English -- I thought I was going to be an academic, lol. I've been writing and editing professionally since leaving grad school in 2005, and over that time I've been slowly and sometimes painfully trying to zero in on the kind of writing that I'm best at/most capable of, going from reporting to opinion to essay. I'm relatively happy writing essays, but there's not as much call for that in the online economy; people still call on me to write reported pieces and opinion, but the former is not my strength and the latter makes me stressed and unhappy. Most of my money comes from editing. What I would really like to do is add in some fiction, but I have been slowly overcoming a lot of mental blocks about creative work; it was only a couple of years ago that I was able to even articulate that I wanted to write fiction. A year ago I couldn't even have written this question! So in a way I've already come really far, but in another very real way I've only published/been paid for one fiction piece in my adult life. I know I am pretty good at many aspects of writing, but I also feel that I lack some fundamental fiction techniques -- basically, I think I have talent but need more skill. To build those skills I need guidance (I'm relying on a couple of fiction writer friends, and that's not fair to them); I need to be told "yes, this is an okay thing to do and you are good at it"; and I need a structure where it's all right to fail. (Right now, since I write for money, I have a hard time writing things that won't end up being published.) I'm also extremely ADHD and don't have a ton of writing discipline. All of this seems to point towards an MFA being a good idea. Things that give me pause: - I used to be mediocre at essay writing, and then suddenly I was pretty good. It basically happened overnight, and it happened by writing and reading and editing a lot. If I could get over my hangups enough to practice fiction more, that might happen here too? (Although I can't overstate the importance of editing other people's essays in my own development, and I don't have the opportunity to edit other people's fiction.) Basically, it would be foolish to spend a ton of money on something I could do myself if I would just buckle the fuck down. - I do not want to hang out with a bunch of 22-year-olds. Sorry 22-year-olds. - OH MY GOD THE MONEY Things that do not give me pause: - The fact that there's no money/jobs in fiction writing either. I know! I know. But unfortunately writing and editing are my only skills and I am not really cut out for normal jobs. Getting recognized as a fiction writer might expand the types of editing people will hire me for. At some point I would like to add in teaching at someplace like 826, and this could help there too. I'm in New York and not going to leave in the next year; I've been peeking at the Hunter and Brooklyn College programs. I will be willing and possibly eager to go somewhere else within the next two years, though also willing to stay in NYC long enough to get a degree done if that's how it shakes out. Thanks, all!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I was discussing my driving difficulties with an aunt, who told me that at least four other family members share these same traits. I am wondering what neurological or physiological issue might explain these traits.I am not interested in getting myself medically tested here. But I know they have a lot more diagnoses for things than they used to, and I am wondering if there might be something which explains some difficulties I have always had. I'd like to be able to explain it better to people like my husband, who sometimes finds me behaviour around these issues frustrating. My best guess is some kind of spatial processing deficiency, but the two most likely Google finds (dyspraxia and dyscalculia) didn't quite fit. So, here's what I've got. What could this be? 1) The most obvious thing is a sense of direction which goes beyond merely being 'bad' and is truly appalling. People told me this would improve once I was driving. It hasn't. Example: my driving instructor routinely takes me to a dead-end side street a few blocks away from my home to practice three-point turns. I could not tell you how to get there. It is near my home and I have been there lots of times. No clue where it is. Paying more attention hasn't seemed to make a difference. I just can't seem to visualize the layout of the streets in this manner. Thank goodness our car has GPS built in! 2) If I am out walking and I am near a subway route, I can distinguish North and South using the subway grid as a guide. But questions like 'are you North or South of X intersection' bafflle me. Husband once tried to get me somewhere and kept asking me, with varying phrasing, if I was on the North or South side of the street. I was in tears when he finally got there. 3) I don't see patterns when I look at a map. I can follow it (I had a compass on my keychain for years and now have a phone with one) but I can't conceptualize the bigger picture. Once, the map directions had me walking around various side streets for about 20 minutes. When I got to my destination, it was pointed out to me that I could have simply walked a straight line up a main road and gotten there in half the time. It had never occurred to me. I double-checked the map before I left and simply never saw it. 4) I cannot distinguish cars either. I still read the license plate on my husband's car to double-check it's the right car before I get in. And I am very anxious about how I will find the car in a parking lot when I am driving by myself. 5) My driving instructor often complains about my depth perception, for example, being too close or two far away from the curb when parking. A big issue has been that while I can and do stay safely in my lane, I am not close enough to the yellow line and he is always telling me to move over. I don't know how to see this correctly. I can't understand how to look at the road in a way that the car is the right distance from the line. I don't know what I am doing wrong, nor can I identify how to fix my behaviour so that I am consistently in the right spot. I have worked out coping strategies as best as I can and as I said, I am not interested in medical testing. But given that others in the family share these traits, I am just curious about whether there actually might be an explanation. Any armchair diagnosticians want to give this a try? :-)

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
"This is the most convoluted middle finger to Man of Steel ever written, and it took 20 years to get there."

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Misplaced.Design Eleven New York City landmarks have been misplaced, their current location unknown. Photographs of unclear origin appear to show them scattered across the globe – on sand dunes, mud flats, "lunar" plains, and rocky beaches. Nobody knows exactly what happened or why

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
We have Netflix and Amazon Prime. What should we watch? Shows we have liked: The Wire, Gilmore Girls, Deadwood, Battlestar Galactica, Community, Arrested Development, House of Cards, Orphan Black, Twin Peaks. Shows that we didn't like under the fold.We have tried and disliked: Grimm, Fringe, Six Feet Under, Bosch, Lost, Boardwalk Empire, 30 Rock, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Sopranos was close, but maybe a bit too violent. We like smart, well-written and well-acted stuff, I guess. My spouse has a lower tolerance for fluff than I do... I would have happily watched Lost and Buffy but he just wasn't into it. Preferably something with many seasons! Because last night, we literally spent an hour trying and failing to find something to watch and I want to not have to deal with that very often.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Is there a site like Stack Overflow which allows for more open-ended questions? Kind of a technical version of AskMeFi? Bonus points if it's focused on web development.Stack Overflow is a great resource, but they mercilessly delete any question that doesn't have a specific, technical answer. You can't ask questions like: "What tool would you recommend for X?""I'm trying to solve problem Y; what general approach should I be taking?""I keep painting myself into corner Z in the course of projects; do you have any workflow strategies for avoiding that?""I'm trying to decide between tool A and tool B; what differences should I be aware of?" I totally understand why it's like that, and it's absolutely the correct policy, given the nature of that site. But I often need to ask those more open-ended questions, and I don't know where to do that. I've occasionally asked them here on AskMeFi – and although this is a pretty technically savvy community, it's not specifically a technical site. And so questions about more specific tools or scenarios aren't likely to get helpful answers. And if my question is about a specific tool or technology, then I look for a forum or mailing list for that tool. But sometimes my question isn't about a specific tool: it might be a question about how to structure my CSS to avoid a certain maintainability problem down the road, or how to design a workflow that allows me to collaborate effectively and painlessly with my designer, given the parameters we're working within. So: is there a Q&A site that's more lenient about open-ended questions than Stack Overflow, but more explicitly technical than AskMeFi? Thanks!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Should I let people know that one of my colleagues (in a male-dominated STEM field) is big into the pick-up artist scene?I work in a male-dominated STEM field. A colleague of mine from a few years back came recently to give a talk and while we were catching up the first night, he told me that he had recently read "The Game" and was really into the pick-up-artist scene. I let him know that night that I wasn't really into that (specifically mentioning my discomfort with the Men's Right's advocacy connections), and we had a further discussion later where I tried to be as clear as possible why I'm not a fan of the scene. So it's not like he doesn't know how I stand on this. What's more important is whether or not I should be letting other people know about this. While he was visiting, I saw how he interacted with women in our department and it seemed... predatory, to say the least. In particular, there is one post-doc here who he seemed quite interested in, and made at least some pursuit of her. (As an aside, it's worth noting that I may not have really noticed this if he hadn't told me about his interest in this book to begin with, but being aware of that made it patently obvious.) Anyhow, there is an upcoming conference that he and I will both be attending, and this postdoc is interested in joining as well, and I'm wondering if I should be letting her---and others, I suppose---know about his interest in the PUA scene. So here are my questions. This is predominantly directed towards women in STEM fields, but I'm happy with opinions from everyone. 1. Should I tell her (and others) about this? If you were in her position, would you want to know? 2. If so, how should I go about doing this? In some sense, part of me wants to leave him be; its his life, etc. But I also don't want to be a bystander to toxic behaviour in a field that already is at time not great for women.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I need to see a therapist but I have NO idea how to find one. I live in Brooklyn and would go anywhere in Queens/Brooklyn/Manhattan (but mid/down town and northeast Brooklyn would be best.) I would prefer to see a woman, maybe someone who specializes in emotionally abusive relationships. I have Oxford insurance but I dont know if that even covers therapy. I could pay up to $100 a session out of pocket, I guess. I need to see someone as soon as possible.I hate do do this with my sockpuppet but... too many people know about my other account. I just had a toxic relationship explode on me and I feel like I'm falling apart. I'm cycling through every possible emotion constantly and it's killing me. I really need to see a therapist to help calm me down and focus on how to heal. I have ZERO idea how to find a therapist. I've only seen a therapist once before (years ago) and that was a recommendation from my friend. It was super awkward because the therapist kept bringing my friend up and that made me feel like there was no confidentiality. I only went twice and then stopped. So for that reason, I can't really ask my friends for recommendations. Any suggestions would be really appreciated. Especially if they could see me asap.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
"Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering are two different games, but that doesn't mean their Multiverses can't meet." Direct link to the PDF

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
So, I screwed up and didn't pay a medical bill basically forever. I ignored statements and phone calls and eventually I got a letter from a law firm saying they'd been authorized to start a lawsuit. I immediately went into the medical system's website and paid all outstanding balances. But it didn't stop there...A few days ago I got a business card from a process server taped to my apartment building door with a number to call them. I checked the county court website and indeed there is a suit filed against me in small claims court with a court date in late May. What do I do now? As far as I can tell I've paid all my debt. Do I... 1. Call the process server? Do I have to, since I already know when the court date is? 2. Call the law firm? Send something in writing with the receipts from my payments? Are they likely to drop the suit then? 3. Call the original creditor (hospital system)? Or go there in person? (I'm concerned that doing this in writing is not enough time prior to court date.) Do they have the power to call off the suit? Let's say this goes all the way to small claims court. What happens then? Do I need a lawyer? Do I show the judge that I've paid it off, the judge says yeah ok, case dismissed? Could I be punished further? The amount itself is no big deal ($650) but I don't want to pay it twice. I know this is a very dumb terrible stupid thing to do, and I am very financially responsible in all other areas of my life, so no lectures please.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Nagpur Junction: A Short Tragicomic [via mefi projects]

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Phillip Kives, the founder of K-Tel International, has passed away at age 87. (previously) In 1962 Mr. Kives founded K-Tel International which sold such products as the Veg-O-Matic and the Record Selector. Shortly after that Mr. Kives added a line of records. UHF TV in the 1970s would not be complete without K-Tel commercials, one of which even featured Robby the Robot.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
How laxative teas took over Instagram, one $250,000 celebrity endorsement at a time

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
We have struggled for three weeks to name our rescue dog. He will be ours Saturday so we have to decide soon.Our rescue pup came with the name Clyde. Although I like the feel of the name, I don't like the actual name. I would like name that is two syllables and/ or ends in "y" o r"ie". His older sister's name is Lulu . Names that are close but rejected include Roscoe, Rufus, and Woody. He is a goofy, loving puppy who will probably grow up to be quite large. So far we have stuck with Clyde because it sort of fits, but it doesn't feel quite right.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I have heard that Psilocybin Mushrooms have shown to have clinical benefits for depression and addiction among other things. I have had recreational experience with it in the 70s-80s but have not used it since then. I am interested in exploring a clinical treatment with Psilocybin Mushrooms but have no idea where to start looking. Does anyone have any experience with this clinically or have any suggestions of direction to take? Thanks Hive...Be well

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Is it possible in excel to create a formula that says "if a value in this column is in this range of numbers, put label x in a different column."That's basically it. I don't want to do this by hand because there are a lot of data. I want it to do a thing where it's does something like: if G6 is greater than 30 but less than 50, put the word "moderate" in H6. Is that possible? Thank you beautiful nerds!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Grateful Dead home movies filmed by Justin Kreutzmann (son of drummer Bill) on the road late 1987 to Sept 1988.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I am interested in writing up some kind of self-assessment, to be completed annually or every six months or so (ish) to get a rough idea of whether my eternal quest for self-improvement has been going well over time. I'm not exactly looking to gather literal, usable data, but that would be interesting too. What should I ask, and how should I format it?I'd be interested to look at examples of this sort of thing, but any attempt at Googling "self assessment" inevitably returns information about work self-assessments or psych evaluations. While there are elements of each that I might include, this isn't quite what I'm after. I am thinking of focusing questions across a few categories: Family/Relationships, Work/Education, Health/Fitness, Emotional/Psychological Health, and Hobbies/Travel. Is there anything I'm missing? I am planning on hosting this online (I probably will not keep a hard copy), and I would like it to be relatively comprehensive; I'm picturing this taking a good couple hours to complete, if not more given time allowed for self-reflection. Thanks for any and all input!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
One of Africa's most well known and influential musicians, and an international style icon, Congolese singer Papa Wemba died suddenly during a performance in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on April 24, at age 66. Aside from the video clips contained within this NPR obituary, I'd recommend the entertaining feature film from 1987 starring Papa Wemba, La Vie est Belle.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
The American Revolution looks easy compared to the problem of grey squirrels. Linked in the article: But over time the red squirrel became beloved in Britain. It supplanted the realm's old icon, the lion, as the symbol of a gentler, more evolved nation. There was Squirrel Nutkin, Potter's irreverent playful red, and also Tufty Fluffytail, the Safety Squirrel, a public-service creation whose warnings about danger on the road began in the early 1950s and lasted until the '80s. As the red rose in popularity, the gray sank in public esteem. Potter's attempt to follow up Squirrel Nutkin with a story about a gray squirrel, Timmy Tiptoes, did not achieve the same success. In 1922, a government permanent secretary was quoted in The Times of London calling grays "sneaking, thieving, fascinating little alien villains."

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Peter Frampton performs a Tiny Desk Concert on NPR for 17 minute of pure joy.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Earlier this year, I arranged to rent a beach house for a week in Rehoboth Beach, DE this summer. Yesterday, the owner contacted me to inform me that he was cancelling my reservation because he found a tenant who wanted to rent the house for the whole summer. At this point, my vacation is pretty much ruined, as I'm unlikely to find a comparable rental at a similar price this late in the year. What recourse (if any) do I have with the owners? Did they break any laws by doing this?Some more details: I arranged everything via email. We mutually agreed to the terms of the rental, although there was no ink-on-paper signature involved (apart from the one on my $1500 deposit check that covered 50% of the cost of the rental). I'm acquainted with the owners, and we worked directly with them instead of through their agent (which, in hindsight, may have been a red flag). This is their first time renting this house. As far as I know, they cancelled 4 other reservations along with ours.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Jenny Diski, author, essayist, diarist, former MeFite, has died. The future flashed before my eyes in all its pre-ordained banality. Embarrassment, at first, to the exclusion of all other feelings. But embarrassment curled at the edges with a weariness, the sort that comes over you when you are set on a track by something outside your control, and which, although it is not your experience, is so known in all its cultural forms that you could unscrew the cap of the pen in your hand and jot down in the notebook on your lap every single thing that will happen and everything that will be felt for the foreseeable future. Including the surprises. I got a joke in. 'So – we'd better get cooking the meth,' I said to the Poet, sitting to one side and slightly behind me. The Poet with an effort got his face to work and responded properly. 'This time we quit while the going's good.' Since her cancer diagnosis in 2014 (previously), Jenny Diski had been writing a series of memoirs in the London Review of Books, covering her responses to her illness: And then the weariness. A fucking cancer diary? Another fucking cancer diary. I think back to cancer diaries I have read, just because they're there. You don't seek cancer diaries out, they come at you as you turn the pages of magazines and newspapers or thumb through Twitter and blogs. How many have I read? I can't remember, but they've spanned decades. and her experiences of having a terminal diagnosis in public: I have a feeling that if I describe my daily life, 'the reader' will react with sympathy for the blank, sedentary existence my condition causes. The thing of it is, though, that my daily life is (with obvious exceptions) very close to my idea of a perfect existence. as well as exploring the period of her youth that she spent living with Doris Lessing (previously), or in psychiatric hospitals. The LRB have opened their archive of her 150 contributed articles and 65 blog entries, which includes all of the memoir pieces, as well as reviews of (among many other things) Orange is the New Back and Downton Abbey, and biographies of Nina Simone, Martha Freud and Stanley Milgram. You can hear an interview with Diski that was made for a 2015 BBC radio series about dying and fear of mortality here. The Guardian have an obituary here.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
There was a period of time in the early 2000s when I was only riding the bus [in Los Angeles], and there was an absolutely distinguishable network of transgender, transsexual transients on the bus. I'd see a lot of these recurring characters and many of them spoke to the old Hollywood, this flickering flame that hadn't completely burned out ... But there was something delicate and non-threatening about them. So the ... sounds are dreamy and ethereal, the look is playful and kind of clown/harlequin/mime, but then I try to be more threatening with my facial gestures. Not like metal threatening, but more stern. Deb Demure is "L.A.'s most glamorous freak," according to LA Weekly. As the ritualistic and symbolic body for Drab Majesty, she produces gothic, occult-tinged, retro-futuristic, shoegazing synth pop. Drab Majesty's entire sonic output to date was released as Completely Careless (2012–2015) last month [Spotify link]. Live footage Unknown to the I (Glendale, June 2015). Hallow (Los Angeles, March 2016). Everything Is Sentimental (2014; location unknown). Saint Vitus (NYC, June 2015). The Heiress (Warsaw, April 2016). Full live set (San Diego, October 2015). Streaming music Unarian Dances (EP, 2012). Unknown to the I (cassingle, 2015). Careless (LP, 2015). Additional links Drab Majesty discuss their fascination with Californian UFO cults, especially the Unarius Academy of Science. Drab Majesty's other incarnation, drumming with Marriages, 2015 (full session).

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