posted 2 days ago on metafilter
After 20 something years of never getting hives, I've now had three temporary attacks of hives in the past three or four months. Could you help me work out what is going on? Many details inside.- As long as I can remember, I've always gotten whatever cold is going around. I've also had mono three times (confirmed by doctors). The only times I remember not getting sick all the time was when I was spending a lot of time alone working on my thesis. - I cannot recall ever getting hives before this year, in all my 27 years. - The first bout of hives was in mid-February. I was getting over a cold/sinus infection. It was localised to just my ankles and when I put some aloe vera gel on it, the swelling/itchiness/etc reduced quite quickly. - Second bout would have been in March or April. Was also quite localised to my ankles. Aloe vera helped. I might have also been getting over a cold, because I remember that I had a couple of hot toddies the night before and wondered whether I might be having some kind of reaction to rum (I have since ruled this out). -Third bout started today. I woke up with hives covering most of my lower legs. I wondered whether it could be due to having dry skin and possibly shaving rash (I shaved my legs last night). I had a shower and moisturised and it helped slightly. But I am now getting some hives on my arm. Things that are constant: - One of my cats does sleep in my bed with me. - The hives seem to occur when I've just shaved my legs within a couple of days - The hives seem to occur when I have maybe been lax in changing my sheets (I am for every two weeks at most, but I might have waited longer this time). Things that have changed in the past several months: - I started a new job in November in an office of about 150 - 200 people. There are a lot of colds that go around. I've also been missing exposure to sunlight, and am probably not eating the best (a lot of frozen meals for lunch). - I love my job, but find it very stressful sometimes. - I started taking the pill (Yasmin) in around October. I am about to head to the doctor (albeit not a very good one), so I will be asking for a medical opinion. In case it matters, I tested negative for all STIs (including HIV) last year. I have had a couple of new partners since then, but am fastidious about condom use. I don't think that any condoms have broken or anything. But I have health anxiety about HIV, so I am very paranoid about it.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Jurassic Parkour. Also American Ninja-Saurus. And T-Rex doesn't want to be fed; T-Rex wants to dance. Yes, T-Rex is a pretty ballerina. Want to try it yourself? Amazon has you covered.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Did you experience a worsened case of bad breath when you got braces (as an adult)?I already have major problems with halitosis. It's been a problem for years. Nothing has worked but what helps a tiny bit is vigilant flossing and swishing with a saline solution (along with other regular brushing, etc.) My question is specifically about how getting adult braces will make my breath even more difficult to maintain. General info regarding maintenance of breath health is also welcomed. Will my breath suffer worse for having braces? What advice do you wish you'd been given about breath maintenance when you wore braces?

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Every winter in Russia's east, the rivers that vein the enormous open spaces of siberia freeze solid. Photographer Amos Chappel joins one group of men who make a living on these frozen highways.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
My partner and I are flying from the US into Melbourne on the first of July and leaving two weeks later. The arrival and departure flights are booked, and now we're looking to lock down our travel schedule within Australia and between Australia and New Zealand. How ambitious is this itinerary?What we know: We want to spend time in Melbourne, Sydney, and Auckland. We're ok with flying between cities and are planning to rent cars in Melbourne and Auckland so that we can visit nearby destinations as well. Current plan: 5 days in Melbourne, 2-3 days in Sydney, 5 days in and around Auckland (and then fly back to Melbourne for departure). Key things we are hoping to do: Encounter animals we don't have at home, drink wines, find queer and/or lesbian establishments, see awesome nature, learn about the history and cultures of these places. Our questions: 1. How ambitious is it to try to see these three different cities in fourteen days, as well as taking day trips from Melbourne and Auckland? 2. Given the interests outlined above, should we be reconsidering the balance of time spent in each place? Specifically, will we regret only spending 2-3 days in Sydney? We've read a whole host of previous questions, and have been furiously dog-earing our Lonely Planet guide, but are always open to further activity recommendations (especially queer/lesbian recs!). However, what we're looking for here is validation on the feasibility of this schedule, before we go purchasing more flights and booking Airbnbs.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Violinists of mefi, can you suggest any etudes, scale studies, or other exercises that you have found helpful in preparation for playing the d minor partita? ThanksI'm checking in with previous teachers, but thought you all might have some insight.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
The only limit is yourself. [via mefi projects]

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I would like to convert a custom-built paid membership website to Wordpress. What is the best paid membership plugin?Ideally, it supports Stripe.com payments and allows donations on top of the memberships (it is for a non-profit.) The current site has a private news area, some static pages, and the ability to email paid members from the admin area. It also has some publicly-facing pages. I would like to bring over a feature that lets a new member say which fundraiser/membership director got them to sign up when they are signing up/filling out their profile, but it is not absolutely necessary. Budget is probably up to $500 for the right plugin, but hopefully it's not that much. Free is okay so long as it is really solid handling money.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Dance of the Little Swans - auditions and the first years at the Vaganova Ballet Academy. Each year to remain at the school, dancers pass an exam: Class 0. Class 1. Class 2. Class 3. Class 4. Class 5. Class 6 (1, 2). Class 7 (1, 2). Graduation exam. The Goal: Ballerina - a documentary following 5 dancers from the Vaganova Academy at different stages of their career Mariinsky Company Class The Kirov (now Mariinsky) Swan Lake Diana Vishneva (a Vaganova Academy graduate) as Aurora in Sleeping Beauty

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Not too long ago I saw a production of West Side Story and as you might expect, the choreography was similar to what was in the film, what the other revivals have done, etc. I presume that it was being true to the original choreography as well, but now I'm very curious about how dance/choreography is preserved and passed on. How is it generally done? I assume that film/video recordings preserves a lot of choreography/dance, but what what was done before film and video recordings?I guess I've always assumed that in the cases of famous ballets such as Swan Lake, it's just passed down from one generation of dancers to the next. How is choreography that isn't currently being "used" preserved? Is there a notation for choreography similar to music notation? Are there different methods of "preserving" different types of dance?

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I'm heading out on a US west road trip soon (Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah) and was digging out my old radar detector when it occurred to me that perhaps there isn't any point to them anymore. I haven't used it in about 5 years. My detector is an old BEL 980 (X, K, KA, and laser). I'm not interested in buying a new one. I typically disabled the X and K bands, too many false alarms. The laser warning never went off, not sure it even works. But 5-10 years ago the KA band warnings were very effective. Still worth hooking up for the trip?

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
In the northern Romanian region of Maramureș, roadside crucifixes are part of the countryside landscape and a symbol of people's spiritual views. Traditionally, they were handcrafted locally and so they were also visual displays of local art. But local handcrafting skills are quickly disappearing and their preservation hardly encouraged. And so the locals switch to representations of Jesus mass produced somewhere in the world. The new plastic Jesus does not reflect the old spirit of the villages but a new trend instead, a mix of consumerist practicality and kitsch. In an ongoing series, photographer Vasile Dorolti tries to capture these People and Crosses, before they disappear. More crucifix photos (FB login required). Interview with the photographer. More photography by Vasile Dorolti.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
20+ drones; 16,500 LEDs; 3 shamisen players; 1 Mt. Fuji: Filmmaker Tsuyoshi Takashiro orchestrates a performance combining drones and the Oyamakai shamisen ensemble.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I want to take my family to the beach in LA for a vacation in July. Which beach will be less crowded and best for my daughter to dig giant sandcastles?We'd like to stay somewhere near the beach (and getting to LAX easily via bus/subway/taxi would be a bonus). We won't have a car. I can find a number of guides detailing different beaches down the coast, but not one comparing them. We don't need super calm water, but Éppaulette likes to jump waves near the edge of the water, so if that's possible for an ~4 1/2 foot person & not where we'd get in the way of surfers, that'd be awesome. (We're from Seattle, so cold water is not an issue.) Any recommendations for how to have a beach umbrella (rent, buy an easy to carry one, day use?) would be great too. The most important thing is being able to construct detailed sand villages that won't be stepped on and ruined while she's still working. (I'm happy to dig moats around them, but on busy beaches that's often not enough.) Mr. Epps and I will do some wave jumping or swimming, as the water permits, but otherwise just want to read a book and relax.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I want develop a taste for coffee. I taste it and I'm like, ugh, how do people even drink this? But my wife drinks a pot of coffee every morning, there's a goddamn Starbucks on every corner, and in the office, there's a line at the coffee machine. Clearly, I'm missing something. Assume I'm a total newbie. Assume I could buy every gadget or type of coffee on the planet. Where do I start?

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
What Happened to Country Music? Lyrical themes of Billboard #1 Country hits, 1965-2015. [via mefi projects]

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Romantic evening in London in mid-May. I'd like some recommendations on classy restaurants.So, Mrs. Lips and I will be in London for our 5th Anniversary. We'll be staying at the DoubleTree Dockside (Rotherhithe / Canary Wharf area) and would like some recommendations on where we can have a nice anniversary dinner. We'll be dining on a Saturday evening. Requirements: - Relatively simple to get to from the hotel - we will not have a car but can navigate the Tube, bus or taxis within a reasonable distance. - Must be relatively quiet and romantic - light ambient restaurant noise is fine but no live/loud music. - Should have a decent selection of both steak and seafood. - Upscale is preferred. Within decent reason, cost is not a concern. - I'd prefer to make reservations online. Bonus if they have crème brûlée for dessert :) Thanks for any suggestions!

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Parasites Are Us: How biological invaders challenge our idea of self and other The maggot was never invited into Coyne's head. For those weeks it lived there, however, wasn't the maggot in many ways literally Coyne? After all, other than the tip of its breathing tube, the maggot existed completely inside his body. Besides, the maggot was flesh-and-blood Coyne in the most literal sense: Almost the entirety of its physical bulk consisted of Coyne's tissue. "It was eating my muscles and tissues and scalp," he said. "It's turning human flesh into fly flesh." "And when I went swimming or took a shower, it would sort of freak out because its airhole would be cut off, then it would really go nuts. You know, make a lot of pain. So I tried to avoid getting my head under water." Botflies feed on the mammal's tissue until, after about six weeks, they've grown big enough to survive on their own, and then they exit through the hole in their host's skin. Coyne happened to be the host this time around.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I moved to Germany last week after an extremely busy and stressful few final months in the US, and I am now realizing that I never worked out how to deal with my medication situation. I've been taking Vyvanse and Sertraline (generic Zoloft) for ADHD and anxiety, and I'm wondering what to do in a few weeks when I have gone through the supply I had when I left.I defended my dissertation on April 25 and flew over to Germany on the 27th. This was always an insane plan and now I'm realizing that I left quite a few things unresolved. The meds thing is probably a good first priority. My psychiatrist (up to this point I guess) is in Atlanta (GA, USA), and my mom still sees her on a regular basis. I will be back in the US and seeing my parents in late May, so I think I could probably get her to fill at least one month of each. I'm actually not sure on the health insurance logistics of this: I think my coverage is probably ended now that I'm not a grad student anymore, but could my mom fill it using her insurance? Ideally I'd like as much of a supply as possible; what are the rules in Georgia like for that? I would think Vyvanse would be more controlled considering it's a stimulant, but I don't know. More long-term, I'm seeing conflicting things online about whether Vyvanse/Elvanse is approved in Germany. I'd like to see a doctor sometime next week to work this out, but for now I'm hoping the Green can fill me in. Also, should I be looking for a psychiatrist here, or is this something that a GP would be able to help me with? Sorry this is so poorly thought out and rambly. After realizing my mistake, I went without the meds this weekend, and so I'm quite unfocused at this point.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
"Is what we offer love? It is when our clients don't know the difference. And, in this emotional economy, I'm not sure I know the difference either. I don't come to Showgirls just for the money, though it might have started that way. I come to be held and hotly desired, comforted and supported. I come to be needed too."

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
we are driving around in Italy this month and would love suggestions for the must-see, the off-beaten-track, the deliciouswe are spending 3 weeks in Italy this month!!!! yay! we have a loose itinerary with some open areas, so I'm interested in suggestions. we spend the first week in Modena, and that section is pretty planned out. then we drive to Monte Conero to visit a friend. we may stop at Terme di Saturnia in Tuscany on the way. From there it gets a bit more open. we are going to drive to Pompeii area from there, with some flexibility of time and route along the way. we will spend a day or 2 in Pompeii area and then we continue down to Tropea, Calabria. here too we have some time and flexibilility re route and stopping to check things out. so we are interested in suggestions for the routes between Conero and Pompeii, and then Pompeii and Tropea. our interests: Ruins!! ancient, Roman, medieval, neo/paleolithic cave art interesting cultural sites historical or modern, architecture food!! wine!! people!! museums, beautiful sites and countryside. bonus points for weird off-the-beaten-track stuff, medieval stuff we have been to Rome but never to Naples is Naples proper worth a visit? we plan to see Herculaneum, Oplontis, we could pop into Naples for a while... there seem to be many paleo/neo cave art sites in southern Italy, such as Grotta del Romita. we'd love to see at least one of these sites on our way from Naples area to Calabria. we are also contemplating slightly wackier ideas like taking a ferry down to Malta, if that is even a thing (our research hasn't gotten that far yet) thanks so much for all suggestions!

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Back when I worked at a college bookstore, I was lucky enough to pick up the first collection of Fruits postcards, depicting amazingly eclectic and inspiring street fashion in Japan. Shoichi Aoki's photos have been above my living-room couch for the past 10 years. The question: Are there any other street-fashion or similar world-culture postcard sets like this you'd recommend?I also own the second edition, Fresh Fruits, which I'll probably add to the wall when I have more space. I love the people in these photos. I know there's a performative, hyperexaggerated aspect to the costume-like outfits teens have chosen to wear in Harajuku, and I am mindful of the fact that displaying these on my wall as a white, Midwestern U.S. resident could be seen as objectifying, Orientalism, or exoticism. As the daughter of a ceramic artist who minored in East Asian art history, I think about that a lot, and how to appreciate other cultures without appropriation. (This question is actually what made me think to finally ask about this. See also.) I'd like to diversify and add to what I have on the wall with other photos that respectfully and joyfully celebrate fashion and the lived experience of people from cultures around the world, because the set is inspiring and captures something I love about visiting other cities, seeing what ordinary people are wearing and how they live. I just bought a sort of related set depicting people's everyday lives indoors, Kyoichi Tsuzuki's Tokyo Style. I'm interested in that as well—cross-cultural photo collections like James Mollison's Playground or Where Children Sleep, only in postcard form. I've considered buying those books and then just taking them apart, but I'd rather have postcards or small prints. I've also considered just going on Instagram and finding photographers that way, then seeing if they sell prints, but I'm not sure what hashtags might be best for this. I'd also accept answers that specify those. Otherwise, any pointers to postcards or print sets you love that depict people's lives and fashions around the world would be appreciated!

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I am trying to find a knitting pattern for the sweater in this set of pictures. Does anyone have any pointers?Alternatively, does anyone know what the right search keywords might be to increase my chances of finding it? It seems to be a hybrid cowlneck/wrap/poncho type... thing with one notch where the sleeve would go and with only enough vertical width to cover two-thirds of a person.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
My wife and I are going to Montreal for our anniversary, and are trying to figure out whether or not we should bring our skateboards.From what we can gather, skateboarding is permitted on bike paths, on paths in parks, and at skateparks, but nowhere else. We're not doing any tricks and are relative beginners so just looking for a place to practice cruising around while on vacation. Skateparks don't really work since we don't do tricks and just need some space to coast: no need for stairs or half pipes or anything. My wife may or may not be comfortable skating on bike paths. So are there just regular parks that we could go and practice in? We're staying in Le Plateau. Or should we just leave our boards at home?

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Mr. BlahLaLa and I each have an iPhone 4s -- same phones we've had for years. Just in the last few days we're experiencing a weird phenomenon when both phones ring at once.Our phones will be hanging out near one another on, say, our living room table. Both phones will start ringing at the same time. We will each look at the screens and see that we're receiving a call from someone we know. Say, my mother. We'll both try to pick up but neither call will go through. Invariably a minute later my mom will call on our house phone, saying she tried MY cell but the call didn't go through. Meaning, this was a legit call that somehow rang both phones at once. Note: there is another situation when this occurs that is entirely different. That's when both phones start ringing, and we look at them and see the same fake or spoofed number calling. If one or both of us pick up it's clear that this is some stupid telemarketing call, no doubt enabled by an auto-dialer on the marketer's side. Those calls will connect as two separate calls, so I think this is not related to the double-ring scenario. So, what's the deal with both of our phones ringing at once? Our phones do have numbers that are one digit off -- xxx-xxx-xxx1 and xxx-xxx-xxx2. Is that part of the reason? Is it because they're so old? IS IT A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX? Please explain. One more data point: Kid BlahLaLa also has a 4s but his has an entirely different number: xxx-yyy-yyyy. His phone is never affected.

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