Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Wed 27 Jul 05 13:58
So many amazing, amusing, and thought-provoking conversations can be found on The WELL. Some samples from them can be found here.
A POST FROM "PUFFBALL" (cdb) Wed 27 Jul 05 14:05
From the Generation X <genx.> Conference: "Open letters" Response #2 (puffball) Dear Persons Driving In The Far Left Lane Coming Off 80 West At Fifth Street, My desire to merge into your lane from the 2nd-to-left lane is not, in fact, part of a colossal daily conspiracy to make you miss the light and arrive home late, to be fought tooth & nail as a heroic battle of wills and micron-sized gaps between your front bumper and the next guy, but simply that I want to make a fucking left turn on 5th to go to my HOUSE and have not been able to change lanes until now. Though I am sympathetic to the extent of your enormous frustration given your belief in this conspiracy you (collectively) display, in light of the real situation maybe you wouldn't mind not being a dickhead for five seconds of your miserable life and letting me in. And whilst those obscene gestures, dirty looks and mute yelling may seem proportionate if, in fact, the whole world was out to get you, since it's not they do seem a little embarrassing, don't they? Perhaps this note should be displayed on one of those big flashing boards that everyone ignores down by the exit, hmm? Yours, Walter PS You, yes, you, on Friday, in the minivan reading your notes off a piece of paper on the steering wheel while talking on your cellphone and not looking at all at the road, full marks for letting me merge in, but I am afraid you get docked several million points for nearly crashing into me owing to your deep concentration on those very important notes. Perhaps reading AND driving in heavy traffic is not such a good idea. ******************************** As seen on The WELL, quoted with permission of the author.
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Wed 27 Jul 05 14:13
From the San Francisco <sanfran.> Conference: "Barriers for the Golden Gate Bridge" Response #830 (name withheld for privacy) I've listened, and read, and pondered, and listened and read and pondered some more. For me - and mind, I don't mean to come off as callous - the numbers just don't add up. There are, regrettably, a handful of lives lost every year on the GGB. If we tracked down and modified everything that took just that many lives every year, we'd live strapped in an egg crate, cushioned with foam. I keep coming back to a moment I remember from a night I spent in Venice, walking those endless bridges and canal sidewalks. We walked down one path that gradually descended right into a canal! Here it's a sidewalk - a few steps later, it's underwater. I was struck by how matter-of-factly it was allowed to be that way. No one shrieking about danger to children, no obnoxious expensive system of detours and bright-light warning signs to protect pedestrians and thus the city, nobody looking out for hopeless dumbasses. Sure, it's dangerous. The water level goes up and down, leaving slick green goo in its wake at low tide. You could slip right in, and lord knows what you would catch in that water. And probably, at some point, someone has done just that. "Hey, life's a risk," that old unguarded sidewalk seemed to say, "be sure to watch out for yourself." And that pleased me immensely. Suicide is so sad, so tragic. I tried it as a teenager, and have been tempted to several more times in my adult life. It's not a mental place I want to revisit. But I'm pragmatic about it: my death would be a terrible hardship for that handful of people near and dear to me. Were I in that place again, I wouldn't want precious city or state resources spent to alter the GGB on my behalf. There are too few of me - of them, I guess I must say now - to justify that level of spending, plus the inevitable alteration of a superb landmark. And I never expect any family member of a successful suicide to see it the way I do. ********************* As seen on The WELL, quoted with permission of the author.
A POST FROM PBS (cdb) Wed 27 Jul 05 14:18
From the Cooking <cooking.> Conference: "Kitchen Gadgets" Response #1677 (pbs) My grandmother had the mother of all your Kitchenaids. It was a mixer that stood about three feet high. It stood on its own custom made, by Hobart no doubt, cabinet. The cabinet was fitted with about leventy-seven different attachments. One of the attachemnts that I exumed from the basement when we moved in to her house in 1962 after she died was a cedar ice cream freezer bucket. It made the best damn French vanilla. Anyway, the switch was about four inches long. The end of it was notched with three notches. There was a little lever, the actual switch, that fitted into the notches. The speed was selected by where the big switch was when the little switch clicked into a notch. I wouldn't be surprised if they got the mixer when they moved into the house in 1929. While I was in college or grad school the damn thing broke. I called Hobart in whatever town is their headquarters because that was the manufacturer and the name was on the manual which was still in the drawer. It was Sunday. Someone answered the phone! They wanted to know what model it was. Somehow they no longer had any data on this thing. I surmise that I got someone in their industrial division. Having a 24 hour phone watch for the users of sixty gallon mixers makes sense. We followed up on Monday with Iowa Electric Light and Power's Small Appliance shop. Amazingly enough Hobart no longer had any replacement parts. I'd worked with the Small Appliance guys during one summer vacation. When they came out to bring it back and to deliver the bad news to my mother I happened to be home. I said, "The electrical part of the switch (which was what was broken) doesn't really matter as long as the gear shift part still works. Why not put a regular toggle switch some where and we can turn if off there and shift gears by hand in the regular place." It came back a few days later with a little bent steel panel with one toggle switch in it. They'd made a label, "Smith Special", and put it on the panel. They had to send two guys in the truck to carry the thing up the stairs it weighed so much. I think it used the same size bowl as the K5 does. ************ As seen on The WELL, quoted with permission of the author.
A POST FROM DIVINEA (cdb) Wed 27 Jul 05 14:31
From the Singles <singles.> Conference: "You know you're single when ..." Response #1100 (divinea) I AM brave, rocky. I never knew it till one day a couple of years ago, shortly after Himself wandered off. My toilet ERUPTED. I have never seen anything like it. Think Old Faithful, with ****. I have no idea what my daughter flushed...but she blew. I turned off the water, emptied the unit, got the plunger and busted my butt trying to get it opened up. Nothing. Got the snake, snaked it, nothing. Got the power auger from my plumber neighbor. Got it fixed. Feh. Swabbed the entire room with bleach, showered with bleach, and so on. Walked out into the kitchen barefoot, wearing a towel, and spotted a wolf spider the size of an SUV mere inches from my foot. I'd rather have found a cobra -- spiders BOTHER me. I slammed a jar over it, put some clothes on, took it outside and let it go (resisting the impulse to scream, break out in hives or simply go bowling). Went to the store, bought a six of Guinness, came home. And found another one in the bathroom, even bigger. Dispatched him with a large rubber mallet, which was in the top of my toolbox, and within reach. Went out to my lawn chair, cracked a bottle of stout, put my feet up. All my neighbors wandered over (they can smell an open beer). And here came my daughter, grinning ear to ear, to bellow out the back door, "Mom, you will NOT BELIEVE IT. There is a cute little mouse taking a nap on the porch!!! Come see, you guys!!!". Yup. Dead rodent. On my sittin' porch. With audience. Put him in Himself's cherished ridiculously expensive double boiler, took him to the trash. Drank more stout. And my daughter went off to preschool the next morning, and shared the entire story- poop, naked Mommy, tarantulas, and dead rodent. Bless her little heart. Judas. ************ As seen on The WELL, quoted with permission of the author.
A POST FROM FLANAGAN (cdb) Thu 28 Jul 05 09:02
From the WELL News <news.> Conference "Picture of the Day" Response #834 (flanagan) i had a delivery last night, the dad is an elvis impersonator; and when the baby was born, after i got her all nice and swaddled, i handed her over to daddy, who was sitting on a stool up next to mom at the head of the OR table. he held his little girl up next to mom and then he started singing in this quiet perfect elvis voice 'wise... men... say... only fools... rush... in ...' and sang the whole thing; you could have heard a pin drop in the OR, it was one of the most beautiful things i've seen in all my days and nights of nursing. not a dry eye in the house. **************************** As seen on The WELL, quoted with permission of the author.
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Thu 28 Jul 05 12:45
From the Style & Fashion <plumage.> Conference "Sweaters... can you *ever* have too many?" Response #165 (editrix) For me, it would be weird to have five black sweaters the same age. I'd either be watching them grow grey and pilly all together like a pack of old ladies. Or some would remain forever youthful because I never wore them, while others would age prematurely because they were loved too much, and then they would rise up and shred the ice queen pristine black sweaters with their homemade barbs of wire hangers. And that would be weird. **************************** As seen on The WELL, quoted with permission of the author.
A POST FROM KATH (cdb) Wed 10 Aug 05 10:16
From the Pets & Their Owners <pets.> Conference "How is your pet today?" Response #873 (kath) Reminds me of a time my son's hamster got loose in a three story house. Actually there were two incidents. With the first one, we had no experience to draw from and made some feeble attempts at luring her back in the cage. This seemed not to work and we were not optimistic at getting her back. The second evening of her absence, I was in the second floor bathroom, relaxing in a tub of warm water, and could hear my son wailing at the idea that his beloved pet was gone. I got out of the tub to console him, reached over for my robe, which had been hung on a hook by the door. As I put an arm into a sleeve of the robe, this furry hamster fled from the inside of the sleeve, where she had been nestled, running down my wet torso to get to safety. I screamed, jumped back in the tub, sure I had been attacked by a rat. My son ran to the bathroom in time to catch his sweet pet, who, in her fear of being shaken from hiding, managed to fall into the trash can. The second incident found us with more experience and more heart. This time, my son built a little "staircase" of books with a small enough rise between books that a hamster's little legs could navigate. He sprinkled a trail of food on each level and propped a tilted coffee can at the top, with more food in the can. During the night, we heard the can hit the floor to upright itself, and our little furry one dropped into the can after the last of the food. Viola! We have photographs of the ingeniously made staircase leading to the coffee can. Much better than the sleeve experience. ****************************** As seen on The WELL, quoted with permission of the author.
A POST FROM STATIC (cdb) Wed 24 Aug 05 11:28
From the Outdoor Adventures <outdoors.> Conference "Car Camping and Similar Endeavors" Response #695 (static) My VW bus was coming out of the shop, an advanced birthday was happening and I just wanted to get away by myself for an overnight. The designated companion pouted to come along, even though she was a bit unsure of the whole 'camping' thing as well as any logic in traveling in a rusty, 35-year-old VW camper. Many people take their holidays in August. School will be back in session shortly, and this is the last couple weeks of camping 'amateur hour' just before the family campers leave, the campgrounds clear out and the Scrub Jays breathe a sigh of relief. First off, however, one must find a site. I was again reminded of this hard fact: There are no sites to be had. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, any campsite within 300 miles of the San Francisco Bay Area fills on Friday at about noon and doesn't empty out until Sunday afternoon. Campsites along the coast have been reserved since the Carter administration and campsites close-by a bit inland are either filled or just too flocking hot for any camping or relaxing. Even Bluebelly lizards take August off. Thanks to the internet, one can now check for available campsites online. In August, one can quickly check to see how many campgrounds are completely filled, congested or miserable, with possible the exception of desperate campsites near Needles, Barstow and Stinking Creek, all places that are best avoided in August. There is a heirarchy of campgrounds: The National Parks (such as Yosemite) are generally filled except when they are flooded or on fire. Even if you could get a site, they have loud children, grumpy bears and vanloads of Christian youth groups in them. National Parks are best avoided. Forest Service Campgrounds are next. They vary quite a bit in wonderfulness, mosquitos and shade. All the ones within a reasonable driving distance were filled this weekend; infested with raccoons or pimply Christians. The State Parks are generally wonderful, (despite the fact that they are staffed by pissy Park Rangers who hate old VW busses) but any California State Park campground with surf, shade or scenery has been booked for many months. To make matter worse, the raccoons are actually in charge in many of these campgrounds and many of them are armed. I was beginning to get worried. I had to show my non-camping companion what the whole VW Camper compulsion was about and I didn't want to subject her to shrieking children, severe sunburns, raccoons or pit toilets on her first campout. (This time. Pit toilets are next. Baby steps...) We settled upon San Lorenzo Park in King City, which is part of the Monterey County Parks system. Not reservable on the Reserve America system, County Parks are usually unknown. Sometimes they are quite nice. (Usually they are not, but sometimes they are) This particular one has hot showers, clean toilets, lawns, a koi pond and a free T1 connection. The fee is $20 a night. We were assigned a level site with plenty of shade, quite near the showers. The sites on either side of us remained vacant. After we pulled into the level site and I sent the companion on a walk with the dog while I set up camp. I made sure that the table was set, the tablecloth was just right and that the kerosene lamps were filled. I charcoal-grilled burgers and steamed corn on the cob for dinner. That night I made the perfect campfire (thanks to a dry box of Hot Wood brand firewood and an Army surplus fire starter tablet). We looked at the stars and drank red wine. In the morning, I fixed scrambled eggs with home fries and decent coffee with half & half for breakfast. We watched coveys of California quail scamper by our site. The bus ran (more or less) trouble free. We returned along the coast, taking time to wander the beach in Moss Landing and later stopping off in Santa Cruz for lunch. She has asked when our second campout is. ************************ As seen on The WELL, quoted with permission of the author.
A POST FROM ERINBOW (cdb) Wed 31 Aug 05 15:10
From the Writing for Work or Fun <writers.> Conference "And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street . . . " response #799 (erinbow) This weekend James and I were in a drugstore, hunting something down. A few feet away a young man was studying the condoms with a look that said, alternately, "this doesn't phase me," and "please god don't look me in the eye." It's important for the rest of this tale to know that I'm pregnant enough to look like a ship under sail. Strange people - not just strangers, but strange people - touch my belly in public. Watching the poor fellow struggle with his decision - why *are* there forty varieties of condoms, anyway? - I had a huge urge to sail up to him and say "don't get the Trojans, no matter what you do." I confided this urge to James, in a discreet murmur. As I should have foreseen, James thought it was too good a chance to pass up. The poor man turned beet. And I had to beat James about the head a bit. But it was still the best part of the weekend. ************************ As seen on The WELL, quoted with permission of the author.
A POST FROM RLR (cdb) Thu 8 Sep 05 14:50
From the Music <music.> Conference: "Songs that somehow provide comfort after a hurricane" Response #57: (rlr) How about songs that bring comfort during a hurricane? Last year, during Hurricane Jeanne, I think (there were so many I can't remember), I was holed up with my 20 year old daughter and her 25 year old boyfriend, and my 19 year old nephew, who was living with them at the time. They were living in a really ratty mobile home, and I was the safest place to go. We sat here for about 5 days with no electricity or water, living out of the cooler. I had a battery operated radio/cassette player, for listening to the news. The night the storm came through, we all sat up, you really couldn't sleep with the howling winds and the aching trees. I decided to go through my old cassettes, and I came across Miles Davis' Kind of Blue. I had bought it about 15 years ago, and didn't get it, but hadn't gotten rid of it. It was so extravagant to choose to listen to music on batteries, but I decided what the hell. My nephew is a trumpet player, and my daughter's boyfriend Tommy is a drummer. The three of us just sat mesmerized in the dark, with a propane lamp throwing eerie shadows that seemed to match the noises outside. I am telling you, the trees made noises. And we were all so into Miles. We all got it, at once. My basset hound Hank was sitting next to my daughter's boyfriend, and did his trick of standing up on his hind legs. Tommy finally took Hank's paws and began playing air drums with them. Hank just absolutely melted into the music of Miles Davis. I was sitting in the middle of a hurricane, with no power, watching a basset play air drums quite well. I'll never hear Miles Davis the same. Kind of Blue has become hurricane music for me.
A POST FROM ACHIAPPANZA (cdb) Thu 6 Oct 05 08:21
From the San Francisco <sanfran.> Conference: "On the Bus Again - Take another ride on Muni" Response #92 (achiappanza) Today on the 1 California: I'm sitting next to the window and a large man, probably 50's with a grey pompadour and southern European descent sits next to me. He's got the kind of build that makes you think he may well have been Fabio-stunning a couple decades ago. And he's wearing what appears to be a weight lifter's uniform, complete with kneepads, Olympics-style. Dialogue, starting with him: - May I sit here? + Sure. Are you going wrestling somewhere? - No. Kickboxing. + Kickboxing? (Clearly too massive for kickboxing.) - Yes. I fight people from all over the world. All over the galaxy. I have a license to kill. + Really? - Yes. Humans are not good fighters. But Martians are. + Where are you from? - I am from all over... Italy, France, United States. I am God. I'm from everywhere. I came here in 1947 and some people thought I was Jesus Christ. But I'm not; I'm God. + Well what are you doing here? - I am fighting creatures from all over the galaxies. I am also bringing sunshine because sunshine helps clean up all the pollution. If I did not bring the sunshine, the pollution would kill everyone. + I suppose that's not very productive if you're God. - Yes. I have responsibilities all over the galaxies. + Have you met Frank Chu? - Who? + Frank Chu. He carries signs showing that he too knows about the galaxies. Maybe you should compare notes with him. - Is he a big shot? + He knows about the galaxies, that's all I'm saying. - Does he have bodyguards? I have hundreds, thousands of bodyguards, all beautiful women. Of all races and colors. I used to have more white women, but they got eaten by martians. + I don't know about the bodyguards, but he's not dead. That oughtta count for something. - He can't be a big shot if he doesn't have lots of money. + What difference does money make to one who hops the galaxies? I gotta think that doesn't matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. - I only talk to big shots. You should see the beaches on places like Venus and Jupiter. They're just like the south of France. + Venus I can see, but Jupiter's pretty cold. At least it was the last time I was there. - When I go to Jupiter I look at the sun and bring more sunshine. + Say, why does God need to take MUNI? - Do you know how many flying saucers there are out there, waiting to shoot me down with laser beams? + Ah, so you're on MUNI to protect yourself from being seen and targeted. - There are a lot of flying saucers out there. + Are you saying that God can be killed by a laser beam? - (Gets up for his stop, mumbles something nonsensical about the dangers of laser beams.) + Watch out for the laser beams! ************************ As seen on The WELL, quoted with permission of the author.
A POST FROM WIGGLY (cdb) Thu 1 Dec 05 08:16
From the Cooking <cooking.> Conference: "Rice - Two Billion People Can't Be Wrong" Response #1069 (wiggly) Is this the best rice? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide No escape from technology Open your eyes and get a Zojirushi I'm just a poor boy I need no gadgetry Because I'm easy come, easy go, Water high, burner low Anyway the rice boils Doesn't really matter to me, To me Mama, just cooked some rice Thought she'd made it perfectly, Sure that everyone would see Mama, dinner's just begun, But now we've gone and boiled it all away Mama, oooh Didnt mean to burn the rice If guests demure and leave it for the morrow Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters Too late, our friends have come Sends shivers down my spine Will they think the rice is fine? Goodbye everybody-Ive got to go Gotta leave it all behind and serve the rice Mama oooh- (any way the rice boils) They don't want the rice I sometimes wish we'd never made it at all I have to tell you that I love my Zojirushi Use a pot! Use a pot! You don't need another gadget Cooking rice is frightening Stovetop works like lightning for me! Fuzzy logic! Fuzzy logic! Fuzzy logic! Fuzzy logic! Fuzzy logic makes me glow Magnifico-oh-oh-oh! Oh I'm just a poor boy,is it worth the bankroll? He's just a poor boy, trying to fill his rice bowl Spare him his rice from this monstrosity! Easy rice, hefty price - will you let me go? You want it! No! We will not let you go! Let him go! You need it! We will not let you go! Let him go! We love it! We will not let you go! Let me go! Will not let you go! Let me go! Will not let you go! Let me go-oh-oh-oh No no No NO NO NO NO! Oh mama mia mama mia Mama mia let me go Beezlebub has a cooker put aside For me, for me, for ME!! So you say I'll make perfect rice on the first try So you think you'll persuade me, convince me to buy Oh baby, rice just ain't that hard baby Just gotta get out, just gotta get right out of here Rice is really simple, anyone can see Making rice is easy Your logic's far too fuzzy to me (any way the rice boils) ************************ As seen on The WELL, quoted with permission of the author.
A POST FROM FLANAGAN (cdb) Thu 15 Dec 05 08:51
From the News <news.> Conference: "Thanks" Response #8 (flanagan) when i found out my brother Michael, that's James Michael Flanagan of Boston, Massachusetts, lately of San Clemente, California, had suffered a heart attack at the end of a distance run, a regular little 6 mile run, 52 year old healthy guy- it was a shock and it didn't make any sense, really. he was in vegas, on business, and got back to his car and it hit him out of nowhere, and it was big. Someone was right there and saw the instant it hit. He only took the time to ask Michael if he was alright, and when Michael said, yeah, it's just gas; the guy said no it's not, your color is terrible, we don't have time to wait for 911, get in my car now, i know right where to go and we're going. Michael got right in. The guy called the hospital, which was just five minutes away, got the ER, said "i am in my car headed to you and will be arriving in four minutes with a witnessed heart attack, be ready to receive him." and they were. outside the doors of the ER, with a gurney, oxygen, monitor, portable defib, doctors and nurses, and they bypassed the ER and took him straight to the cardiac cath lab, where they were also waiting for him. i found out the next morning. the cardiac cath procedures didn't work, he needed open heart surgery, and i made it there before that. he did great. an *amazing* surgeon. but what is the most amazing thing in the story is the guy. when michael called me, to tell me this had happened, and that he was in the hospital and how he got there, and that he was waiting to recover from the hemorrhage (4 unit bleed) he'd had during the angioplasties so he could undergo open heart, I got together just a few of the photographs he's sent over the years, as he's traveled everywhere on earth, just about, every country, visiting every UNESCO World Heritage Site he could get to, hundreds of them- I took a few of them and put them in an email asking my friends and his to keep him in their thoughts. Just about all of those thousands and thousands of air miles over the years were flown on UAL. Who was it that was the quick thinking, life-saving passerby guy in Las Vegas, that saved the life of James Michael Flanagan? He didn't stick around, or leave his name, we didn't know. but tonight Michael got to talk to him, and this fellow's an Irishman, and he's a UAL pilot. Michael's met his real true guardian angel, and he's an Irishman with real wings. thank you, thank you, thank you, Irish UAL guy, thank you thank you thank you, for saving my brother's life. ************************ As seen on The WELL, quoted with permission of the author.
Jeff Loomis (jal) Sun 18 Dec 05 04:26
Wow. Great story.
A POST FROM SUSANPECK (cdb) Wed 4 Jan 06 09:01
From the News <news.> Conference: "The Weather Report" Response #158 (susanpeck) this isn't exactly weather - but I'll attempt to make it relate... ...beacuse of the mild winter we're having ("mild winter" being a relative term) there are a lot of moose in town. This morning I opened my front door to go start my car (at the ungodly hour of 5a) to find a young moose laying peacefully at the foot of my front steps. It had been dining on my leftover halloween pumpkins. My dogs dashed out as they always do when I open the door and then followed a comical scene of me trying to reign them in and push them inside, me slipping on the ice, the moose being startled, and my 16 year old deaf almost blind dog being oblivious to it all.... she wandered right up to the moose and sniffed it. fortunately it was a young and mellow moose, and it did not stomp my old girl into a smudge. The moose was contentedly munching on my hedge when I left. ************************ As seen on The WELL, quoted with permission of the author.
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