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The past 24 hours of questions at Ask MetaFilter

Published: Fri, 24 Mar 2017 14:15:21 GMT

Last Build Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2017 14:15:21 GMT


Want to adopt a cat, but can't find one!

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 14:15:21 GMT

Since my last question, we've decided to get a cat! However, we're running into the interesting problem of not finding any that we like. Are we being too picky or should we wait? Snowflakes below.

I'm quite keen that I want an affectionate cat that will do things like greet me at the door, sit on my lap, enjoy being pet and played with, etc. Other considerations aren't important, except that as first time cat parents, we don't feel equipped to handle chronic illnesses or major behavioral issues.

Where we are (Boston), the shelters don't have too many cats now. Which is great, since presumably, the cat overpopulation isn't too bad, but there just isn't much to choose from, and all cats that seem like a good fit are adopted out within a couple of days. We've visited different shelters many times, and never found a cat we like of the ~5 healthy ones available. So we have some decisions to make:

1. Should we wait until summer when kittens will come in and make the nice adult cats hard to adopt out?

2. We've only visited shelters, where cats are understandably nervous and shy. Is it better to assess personalities in foster homes? I know some of the skittish shelter cats may turn out to be affectionate, but I don't want to chance it.

Any other advice?

I need a centipede prevention plan

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 14:07:30 GMT

My basement apartment has a house centipede infestation problem. I have an extreme aversion to insects and feel nauseated and panicked for hours after I see a centipede. I attempted to tolerate them until their numbers increased and I was seeing multiple centipedes a day. They have also started to appear IN MY BED. How can I keep centipedes out of my apartment without damaging the structure or endangering my cat?

- I know centipedes aren't dirty or dangerous. I don't care about this; I want them out of my apartment. I don't care if they live in the walls eating other insects, I just don't want to see them. Ever.
- I think they're getting in via large cracks under the baseboards and perhaps through the pipes? There are large holes in the walls around the pipes. I'm not really handy so I don't know what I should buy to seal these areas. I don't want to use anything that couldn't be removed or that could be destructive. Some of the baseboard cracks are around an inch wide. Will sealing all of this stuff keep them out? I can also plug the bath tub and sinks when I'm not using them.
- I have a cat, my neighbours have cats, and there are lots of raccoons, skunks, squirrels, and possums that like to come by. For this reason I'd rather not use a harmful chemical to combat the centipedes.
- My landlords are not willing to help me.
- My cat thinks she's an incredible hunter but she's too slow and uncoordinated to catch a centipede.

I want to look and feel better, what changes can I make?

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:30:32 GMT

I would like to know what changes I can make to look and feel better. I have two small children under 2, I am in my mid 30's ... I don't always feel 100% and I think I could feel better (obviously- I've just had 2 kids!) I want things that have a lot of bang for their buck... For example- daily light stretching or teeth whitening- neither take a lot of time but they do a lot to make me feel and look better. Sauna a couple times a week is a bigger time commitment but is VERY good for my skin and also helps me deal with stress. What other things can I do or changes can I make?

So basically- I feel like I used to be quite energetic and pretty cool... lots of traveling and friends but the last couple of years have been devoted to starting our family and I definitely don't feel energetic or particularly cool anymore. Pregnancy is really tough on me and I feel like crap the whole time and also I was on bedrest for significant portions of each pregnancy and I am very unfit. I gained about 60 pounds! We had a lot of stress during the last year or so my diet wasn't amazing and I was so tired... I didn't worry about weight loss until the last couple of months and have lost about 45 pounds. I think I am making great progress- but since I am on a roll I would love some more ideas of things that make you look or feel great. Here are the things I am doing now: get 6-8 hours of sleep each night, krill oil supplements, vitamins, cutting out bread, drinking water, avoiding sugar (and sugar crashes!), filing and moisturizing my feet, a good skincare regime for my specific issues under dermatologist guidance, facials, a good haircut every 8 weeks, highlights, getting rid of the old clothes I probably won't ever fit again, buying a few things each month that I can wear with my body right now in this weather, I have a few dresses I feel confident in and I can go on dates with my husband, I get time to myself, using my balance ball to strengthen the tiny muscles on my legs, dropping baby off at gym babysitting and sauna twice a week, I went on a solo trip for 2 days, practicing gratitude, eating much more oily fish and vegetables, going on walks (but I still feel seriously unfit- I will start exercising properly soon but wanted to wait until I was a little bit lighter) is there anything else I can do? I still feel a little frumpy and less energetic than I would like to be. Personal anecdotes of getting your personal wellness and identity back as a new mom very very welcome!

D.C. area urologist recommendation

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:28:53 GMT

For a friend: Who did your awesome, quick vasectomy? Looking for that doctor's name in DC or Maryland suburbs.

Musicals to listen to in the car with the kids

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:22:36 GMT

We've had to ban Hamilton from our lives, temporarily, because it was starting to make us all crazy. So, I'm looking to find some new musicals we can listen to in the car. One of the things that really worked with the Hamilton soundtrack was that the kids could follow the plot. It wasn't just a series of songs that only made sense if you already knew the story. What other Broadway soundtracks share that quality and might be appealing to kids ages 5 to 11?

Helping a plant in a zone that's too hot?

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:12:23 GMT

I'm not sure if it's possible but I'm trying to grow the beach roses (Rosa Rugosa) of my Maine youth, outdoors in the ground, here in central South Carolina (zone 8a). They're going to get a lot of afternoon sun. Are there things I can do to help them live through the summer? TYIA!

Help me identify this Korean condiment!

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:56:50 GMT

We went for Korean food recently, and with our grill we were served a red dipping sauce - it was bright red, had a paste consistency, and tasted slightly spicy and quite salty/savoury. The waitress said it was called 'dengu', but I must have misheard as nothign comes up when I google. Any idea what this was?

How do I make peace with my neighbour?

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 11:07:44 GMT

I have a neighbour (in a small community) who is high-strung and nervy and now has some kind of strong reaction of dislike and judgement towards. It's her own story, and she does this regularly with people. I've been ignoring it but I find my response is to avoid going where I will be around her and to withdraw into my shell. It affects me more than I would like it to. I would feel much better if I could somehow make peace. Ideas?

An Earth so old it's practically a myth

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 05:55:30 GMT

Sci-fi filter: I'm looking for far-future stories where Earth existed, but for whatever reason, it's not in play anymore.

I've tried searching old sci-fi recommendation threads, but I'm not finding exactly what I'm looking for.

The premise
1. Earth (Terra, Sol-3) existed
2. Earth existed a very long time ago
3. In fact, it was so long ago (or currently so far away), the characters of the current story aren't even sure if it was real
4. There are explicit or heavily-implied details to this mythical/legendary planet that readers could recognize it as our-Earth, but the information wouldn't necessarily be important to the protagonist or their culture
5. This serves as more of a wink-nudge easter egg from the author for the readers

tl;dr I'm looking for far-future sci-fi that has links back to Earth but only in passing reference. Any medium will do: books, comics, movies.

e.g. Le Guin's Hainish Cycle would not count, as Earth/Terra is still an active world in the Ekumen

Am I too responsible to qualify for a mortgage?

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 05:32:41 GMT

Is it possible to get a mortgage when you work for yourself? How do I really figure out what I can afford?

Although I've been thinking of buying a house for a few years but am paralyzed by the process and making any choices that would move me forward. Market (and rapidly increasing prices in Chicago) aside, I'd like to look into the possibility a bit closer.

I've been self-employed for 13 years, except for ~5 years in which once client paid me via W2, but I also had 1099 income during that time. That ended in 2015, so I have one full year of 100% 1099 since then. I've heard that lenders have a lot of rules around around things like this and am concerned that my self reliance will throw up one too many red flags. Coworkers in my same line of work have had major issues getting mortgages or refinancing as 1099. I'm single, so no spouse to help in this regard. I don't qualify to bank at any credit unions.

Do I need to do anything to prepare myself to look better for lenders? Fortunately/unfortunately I have 0 debt so I have no history of payments other than paying my credit cards off on time in full for 20 years. As a city dweller I've never owned a car, and never had students loans but maintain a high 700s credit score... how much is this going to be a problem?

A friend has a realtor and mortgage lady they love, how early do I start talking to someone like that before I'm really ready to be serious about buying?

Honestly, I don't understand how people can know what price point to be looking at. I can estimate what my income might be, although it shifts a bit year-to-year, but I don't feel comfortable putting all my (non-IRA/retirement) cash into a down payment—how much % of savings is ideal for people to save overall for whatever? I definitely would put down 20% but like the idea of putting more down.

I want to read radical works...but have the attention span of a flea.

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 04:56:35 GMT

I am in the mood to read some radical works - on anything, from community organizing, to race relations, to feminism, to alternative economic models, to lgbtq, to anarchism to whatever...the more left wing, the better. But I have no time - nor an attention span for more than 500 words at a time. Can you help?

I'm in the mood to read about some interesting, radical, left-wing ideas...

But given my current lifestyle I have a very short attention span and/or time - 20 minutes here, 5 minutes there. I can't handle complex sentence structures, long articles/books etc. or even...big words.

Podcasts would be ok too - or audio books - but it would have to be really peppy and engaging, because...attention span.

Is there anything out there for me?

Are the cheap massage places in the (east) bay all skeezy?

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 03:30:07 GMT

And more importantly, are they fronts for human trafficking?

I ask this because in NYC there were "tui na" massage places that didn't strike me as happy-ending joints and, though I may be totally wrong, I didn't have a gut feeling they were fronts for anything shady. So I went sometimes because a $40 massage is kind of a great thing if you don't have $120 to fling around at all times.

The first one I went to in the bay area was gross--lots of tentative ass-groping despite lots of big NO body language on my part and at the end, when I was eager just to get the hell out of there, the person working there didn't think a 20% tip was enough and practically didn't let me leave. I tried a place in Oakland Chinatown and it was grimy and sad. Mostly I'd love a place that does 15-minute chair massages, but there's a curious absence of them and a curious preponderance of iffy-looking places with no windows.

Are these places all likely to be unsatisfying/weird-boundaried or worse? I just want a resolutely platonic massage and to know I'm not supporting anything bad. Does this not exist here? If it does exist here, by all means tell me where.

Does anything on the market actually give you thicker hair?

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 02:38:21 GMT

I have fine, wavy/curly, thin hair, and I desperately want it to be thicker. Do any of the products, home remedies, or magic tricks on the market actually make hair thicker? I don't mean, "look thicker", I need there to actually be more hair on my head. Is there any hope?

I've always battled with my hair. It's very fine, and there's not much of it. My only saving grace is that because of my natural wave, it has a decent amount of body. But the older I get, the stringier and limper it gets. Even the tiniest rubberbands can go around my ponytail twice. It's really sad.

Recently, I (drunkenly) purchased some real hair clip-in extensions, and holy hell. When I put in even 2 or 3 of the 8 wefts that came in the set, it doubles the amount of hair on my head. They aren't longer than my hair, they just add so much glorious volume! And I get all the complements! I want this feeling all the time.

I have an amazing hair stylist, so I'm not looking for haircut suggestions. And I've tried probably every bodifying/thickening styling product out there. I eat ok, take a multi-vitamin, and limit my use of heated styling tools. What I am curious about is if there is anything in existence that would really and truly give me more hair. A vitamin supplement? Rogaine? A sacrifice to a voodoo priest? I'm desperate here.

Other notable info: my hair is very dark brown, it grows ridiculously fast, and I'm starting to see my first sparse greys. I don't *think* I'd be interested in actual hair extensions. My current style is bangs with hair a few inches past my shoulder. Kinda Zooey Deschanel, but with 1/4 the volume. It doesn't look thin at the roots (yet), but when it is down or in a ponytail, it looks very sad. Help!

Swordfighting Cats Comic

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 02:25:01 GMT

I remember seeing a one-off comic strip a few years back, in a sketchy style, where two cats were either fencing or dueling with swords, in panel one they adopted the en garde stance, in panel two they lunged at each other, and in panel three they were both on all fours curiously sniffing at the tips of the swords as all cats tend to do to any outstretched finger or object

I'm looking for either the image itself or somebody who knows the artist/series/site it's from. It's a great visual gag that loses a lot in being described.

OCD with intrusive, obsessive thoughts: what next?

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 01:03:15 GMT

After years of wondering why I am constantly experiencing intrusive, obsessive thoughts about things I'm failing to do or otherwise screwing up, I have come to suspect that it is highly probable that I may have a form of OCD. I will be bringing this up with my therapist and psychiatrist, respectively, when I see them next. In the meantime, I'm seeking some advice from those who have been diagnosed with or are familiar with the condition.Quick context: 30 year old cis het woman in the US, already diagnosed and treating for ADHD Inattentive Type, Depression, and Anxiety. I take medication for the three aforementioned diagnosed conditions, and have undergone several years of CBT. I have always allowed my anxiety to run my life, especially before I was aware of/diagnosed with ADHD. I used my anxiety to overcome the hurdles of ADHD. In other words, when my ADHD made me withdraw or fail to act, I'd let my anxiety go full blast so that I'd be so worried about what it was I wasn't doing or getting done that I'd have no choice but to actually get it done. This is how I got through high school with very good grades, as well as how I made it through both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I only owned up to my anxiety a few years ago, after already being in treatment for depression and ADHD. My psychiatrist heaved this sigh of relief and said that he's observed that I am highly anxious and was glad to hear me acknowledge it (I had previously brushed it off when he attempted to discuss it with me- I'd dismiss what he called "anxiety" as "hyperactivity from being ADHD"). I take Ativan (1mg up to 3 times a day, as needed). I also engage in vigorous daily exercise and am part of a Zen meditation group. Despite treating my anxiety with not only medication but also CBT, exercise and meditation, I find myself in a near-constant state of "what am I forgetting to do / what will happen because I already know I didn't do this or that / what will happen if I make that mistake / what would my life be like if I'd done this instead / why am I worrying so much / does the fact that I am worrying so much mean something else is going on / what can I do about this / ... " and so forth. It is a loud, never-ending ticker tape of BREAKING NEWS ANXIETY. The thoughts are not only obsessive, they are also intrusive and will pop into my mind without any kind of meaningful prompting. I definitely have an obsessive sense of impostor's syndrome, as well. I know that I've always had obsessive thoughts and worries, but in the last three years, it has really, really escalated into something where I am basically paralyzed from doing most things I love. I'm too paralyzed by my worries to read a book. I am too paralyzed by my worries to put on a record I enjoy and just chill out listening to music. I am too paralyzed by my worries to get back in to the job search, which is why my 'career transition' has been ongoing for like five years. I am too paralyzed by my worries to exercise some days (and so while I'm still fitter than the average person, I'm way less fit than I used to be and would like to be for my health and happiness). I am too paralyzed by my worries to address actual, real obstacles and dilemmas I am facing and use the obsessive worries as an excuse to shift focus away from the reality of said problems. Sometimes I even have intrusive thoughts about bad things that could hypothetically happen to other people, and feel immediate shame (and consequently a spiral of anxiety, worry) over the fact that such a terrible thought popped into my head. I also have a tendency to obsess over faux pas or embarrassing mistakes I made years and years and years ago that, logically, I[...]

A list of the Articles on Russian Connections to #45 and his Campaign?

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:51:28 GMT

Has anyone kept a list or know where there is an online list of the major articles on the Russian connections to #45, his campaign, campaign personnel, nominee's and family? Anything on potential Treasonous activities, too.

I am preparing for tomorrow's demonstration (Friday, March 24) against Paul Ryan here in Chicago at the $50,000.00 a plate fundraising dinner. I remember several of the articles, but want to make sure to include as many as are possible and relevant. I am making a one page flier and on one side I want to list relevant articles, on the other I want a simple sign about it that demonstrators can hold up if they wish to.
Thank you in advance!

How feasible is it to put a regular desktop in a rackmount case?

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:51:02 GMT

I have a couple boxes and I'm wondering if it might be worthwhile to try and condense them down to a rack but am I getting in over my head?

I currently have three PCs that I use regularly; a Windows machine mainly used for games, a Linux everyday driver, and my NAS. They do require quite a bit of space to be able to arrange them such that they and my desk are usable so I've been considering shifting them into some 4U rackmount cases and buying a second-hand rack off Craigslist.

I realize I could theoretically condense these all down to one machine with VMs but I'd rather have three machines running less of a load with cheaper parts than one bleeding edge machine.

While I know this is feasible, is there any potential problems with doing this that I'm not aware of or things I'm going to have to take into account?

No one eats like Gaston

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:45:48 GMT

How many chickens were employed, at minimum, to provide a steady supply of eggs for Gaston's breakfasts?

I am told that when he was a lad, he ate four dozen eggs every morning, to help him get large. As an adult, though, he ate five dozen eggs for breakfast. What's the smallest number of chickens that would have been needed to provide a stable supply of eggs for Gaston's breakfast habits, both when young and as an adult? Serious answers only, please. I am a busy man.

What to do in southern Thailand?

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:35:54 GMT

I'll be spending the month of april in Thailand. We will be spending the Thai New year with friends in Ko Phi Phi and we are planning on island hopping for the rest if the trip. Have you been to southern Thailand? What MUST I see / do / eat?

We are 39 and 30. Definitely budget travelers. My husband is a veteran at this stuff so he's lined up several places for us to stay and now we are filling in the gaps.
My husband loves to snorkel so we will be doing a lot of that. I'm happy to walk alone on a pretty beach or nature trails. We don't plan on eating out every meal but we will go out if it's cheap. Our tastes in places to stay lean more toward camping and "rustic" than resort. Any specific recommendations?

Should I quit tindr?

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:20:57 GMT

After several years as a devoted okcupid user, I branched out to also try tindr and bumble. I've spent a fair amount of time on both apps for several weeks but have only met one person from the new apps - from tindr - it didn't work out.

Often I get mutual likes with men but then they don't respond when I initiate conversation. I understand that some people just swipe right on everyone and see who writes back. No big deal.

Then there are the men who chat briefly and then want to move the conversation to kik. This feels really weird to me and I always just unmatch them. A couple of times I've asked why they want to go to kik and I've never gotten an answer that seemed legit.

Then there are conversations that just kind of peter out for no apparent reason.

I'm already kind of frustrated with the app - there are lots of people in my area who are republicans, are married, or who can't spell, so I feel very cautious and defensive and I'm sure that's not helping my success rate.

I'm ready to dump the site but I understand it's a different medium and maybe I need a different approach. What does a successful tindr exchange look like (assuming a hookup is not necessarily the desired result)?

High quality ceiling fans without fancy remotes

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:15:40 GMT

Are there any companies making high quality (meaning quiet, good looking, and reliable for many years) ceiling fans without fancy wireless remote systems? I want one that is operated solely by a pull chain. No lights.

It seems that anything beyond the absolute cheapest ceiling fans now have wireless control systems requiring remotes, proprietary wall control panels, or something similar. I really don't want a fan that operates or looks like the absolute cheapest thing on the market, but I also don't want complex controls (because I want it to be able to be turned on and off with a standard toggle wall switch and/or by a pull chain)*. I do not want any lights on it. I'm becoming convinced that this combination does not exist. Please point me in the direction of an examples to the contrary!

* The "why" isn't really important to answer the question, but I'm sure some people will wonder, so here are three of my reasons. First, I don't like the aesthetics of the busy-looking proprietary fan controls in a gang box with a bunch of standard switches. Secondly, the remotes tend to get misplaced or the batteries die at inconvenient times. Thirdly, these fancy electronic fans seem to have more things that can go wrong with them, and then the parts are discontinued when you need them. I have several in other rooms, so I know the tradeoffs intimately. For this one, I want simple!

Hex Map Math

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 22:16:45 GMT

I'm totally blind, and interested in a number of tabletop games which use hexes to regulate movement. I don't have an actual tactile map at this point, but have a giant Excel spreadsheet which is a somewhat cumbersome equivalent. I'm wondering about mathematical ways to tell the distance between two hexes, given (X, Y) coordinates, and determine what hexes are in, say, a 60-degree arc from a sepcific hex?

The spreadsheet is rather annoying to use in a number of ways, but most obvious is that I can't use a visual scan to count hexes quickly. I have to move over each hex, and the "borders," between them, one by one, which is why I was hoping for mathematical solutions of some sort.

The grid uses offset hex coordinates, with each even column offset, apparently. It's rather hard for me to picture mentally, unlike with a square grid.

Please help me optimize my plans for healthy weight loss.

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 21:20:19 GMT

I have about 3.5 months in which I'd like to transform my body. Given a lack of flexible time (full-time job + mommying), I have some specific questions that will ultimately factor into how I stay consistent, enjoy my exercise time, and make sure I don't fall off the wagon.

In the last year or so, I've gained about 35 lbs. It's come to the point where looking in the mirror is depressing. While I understand that pregnancy and motherhood ravages a body, this body's been recovering pretty nicely - what's left is definitely a combination of a poor diet, exhaustion and laziness. I have a history of inconsistency when it comes to working out, mostly because running is my choice of cardio (and does work for me), but I intensely dislike it. I don't know how to swim or ride a bike.

1. Is rowing a good cardio substitute for running? I'm more likely to stick to that than the HIIT running I do. I plan to include strength training in my workouts, and attempt to incorporate interval training as much as possible, but need a good option for cardio.

1a. If running is the Best Cardio Thing Ever, how do I begin to like it? My quads burn out in less than ten minutes, and that's the part I detest the most - other pain I can deal with. I really want to love running.

1b. What kind of professional would I consult that could correct my running form? It feels like when I run, most of the stress is on my quads and shins and I barely feel my glutes/ core engage. This happens on ellipticals as well.

2. Outside of portion control, what should I be eating more of? I know what I should be eating less of, but I'm interested in knowing what's worked for you when you need to snack/ be less hungry during the day, that also provides the stamina for two 30-minute workouts a day (morning and evening) plus a full day of work and mommying. I'm not breastfeeding.

3. How do you psych/ discipline yourself to a long-term exercising and strengthening plan? Many of us are juggling a million balls during the day, and many of us find that the easiest ball to drop is the fitness one. Help me not be that person.

4. General tips and tricks to making this goal a success. A number isn't as important as being able to fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes and looking phenomenal in them. As in, the bridesmaid's dress I have to wear in three months is backless and the wedding guests may like to be spared the (to me, at least) offensive back roll that's developed there.*

*Please no discussions on body positivity - I don't hate my body, but I do know that I could be taking a lot better care of it and my goals are what I've decided work for me.

As always, thank you, MeFites!

Urgent care tonight or quick clinic tomorrow?

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 20:49:04 GMT

I have a yucky rash that may or may not be getting infected. Can't decide whether this is very urgent or not.

So I have a scrape. It's healing. I bandaged it, only to discover that I've got some kind of allergy to the bandage or the adhesive. It's red and swollen with some little white bumps. The whole thing is moderately hurty and itchy, and there is a red area to one side of the allergic place which seems to have grown. The forearm itself (this is an arm thing!) is meaningfully hotter next to the allergic area.

I am uncertain whether this is an infection or just the allergic reaction sort of cresting. My initial thought was to go to the quick clinic early tomorrow, but I'm not sure - is this the kind of thing where it's actually flesh eating bacteria or MRSA and needs to be addressed ASAP so I don't lose a limb? Should I go to the urgent care after work, or wait?

You are not my doctor. If it changes condition in any dramatic way I'll go to the urgent care tonight, but assuming it's stable, what do you think?

It's my party and I'll give you a present if I want to

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 20:35:16 GMT

I have a milestone birthday coming up (think 30) and my dearest friends are flying in to celebrate. It's been a particularly challenging few years and they have been the ones to pull me through. I want to get them something as a fun thank you - think like bridesmaid gifts sans wedding. Thoughts? Ideally want to keep it under $50/person.

I seem to be losing my mind, and then my job, in that order. Help?

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 20:00:57 GMT

I'm looking for advice on dealing with what feels like cognitive decline, though it's all tangled up with anxiety and depression and it's hard to tell where one stops and the other begins.Background: I've been struggling with anxiety and depression for 20+ years now, but since 2011 I've been experiencing increasingly severe cognitive issues: forgetting things, difficulty understanding things, difficulty picking up new skills and retaining information. Ten years ago I could pick up a new skill / language / technology pretty quickly, in fact it was one of my strongest professional skills, but that's no longer the case. I've worked around it for as long as I could but I'm now at a crisis at work; there are things I'm expected to know and to do that I just can't seem to get my head around. This crisis came to a head several weeks ago, at which point I took a medical leave from work because I could see my performance deteriorating and I felt like I had to either take some time off or quit. During that time off I worked with my GP on adjusting my meds and started seeing a new therapist. I'm back at work now and unfortunately I'm right back in crisis mode. The adjusted meds have helped improve depression and reduced overall anxiety a bit, but I'm still struggling here, and nothing we've discussed in therapy so far is helping. The only thing I've had limited success with so far has been a combination of beta blockers and high doses of caffeine - I think maybe the caffeine is helping me think better/faster and the beta blocker is helping to get the anxiety out of the way and counteract the physical effects (twitchy/anxiousness) of the caffeine. I've also seen some limited success with various kinds of music through headphones as I work, though not so much lately. (I mostly stopped doing the caffeine/beta blocker thing because it was affecting my sleep.) I've been taking Wellbutrin XL (bupropion) for several years, with mixed efficacy, and beta blockers (propranolol) as needed for acute anxiety (particularly for work meetings and such). Doctor started me on Paxil as well about 6 weeks ago, which seems to be helping improve my overall mood but which is doing very little for anxiety or cognitive stuff. I also got a couple of weeks of Klonopin, which was intended to help while the Paxil was ramping up, and I find that the Klonopin is much more effective at addressing the anxiety, though I haven't been able to see how well it might help address the cognitive issues yet. (Both the Paxil and the Klonopin have been making me very sleepy also, though I'm told most people get used to it.) Finally, late last year I started using a CPAP machine since a sleep test showed that I wasn't breathing well at all during sleep. This is helping me sleep better and wake up more refreshed, but it doesn't seem (yet at least) to be helping much to address anxiety or cognitive stuff. I understand that you are not my doctor or therapist or neuropsychologist. That said, I'm looking for any advice anyone can offer, particularly first-hand advice, in any of three directions here: Has anyone been through these kinds of symptoms and have any anecdotal advice on correcting or dealing with them? Among other points, I'm struggling to figure out whether the cognitive symptoms are related to anxiety/depression, or completely independent. From experience my impression is that there's a negati[...]

Source for green Connemara marble beads?

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 19:36:28 GMT

I want some green Connemara marble beads. (8mm, round, nice green color...) Can anyone suggest a reputable source that's not too expensive? Time isn't a factor: I can wait.

I love the color and backstory of the stone, and I would like to have some of these to make jewelry & things for myself and my kids. So I guess if they are 8mm beads then maybe...thirty of them? Maybe more if they're not too dear.

eBay has some, but I never know what I am getting with eBay. I haven't shopped at any of the many online bead/jewelry supply places before, so I don't know whether they're better or worse in terms of price or quality.

Thanks you for any suggestions!

Are nonprofits suffering in 2017? If so, GOT SOURCES?

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 18:47:19 GMT

I'd swear I recently heard a news segment about how smaller nonprofits not focused on human rights or health or the environment are seeing massive drops in charitable giving because those funds are being funneled elsewhere. Is this true?

My Google Fu is failing me. Tons of articles from November speculate on the election's effect on nonprofits, but they emphasize federal cuts and talk about the large national nonprofits. Some of those articles focus on how nonprofits will benefit, but they're talking about the ones that have been seeing a surge in support as a direct result of the threats of the current administration: PP, ACLU, Sierra Club and others.

I'm more interested in learning if and how smaller nonprofits are suffering as a result.

Specifically, has the surge in individual donations to the aforementioned organizations been a result of citizens redirecting their charitable giving dollars? Are smaller (especially local and regional) nonprofits taking a hit? Surely there have been surveys that looked at year-end giving, or the first couple of months of 2017. Looking for articles and documentation on the subject. Thanks!

Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris.

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 18:25:05 GMT

I wish for translation to be done, from Latin.

I'm trying to put more effort into a joke than it's really worth, but I have come upon an etymological quandary.

What I would like is for "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" - "Who watches the watchers/watchmen?" - to refer to pedants instead of watchers. Who will pedant the pedants? Yes, this is awful construction, but I like verbing nouns inappropriately.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like 'pedant' has a direct Latin translation, and is at best a Medieval Latin term filtered through Italian and French.

The joke doesn't REQUIRE 'pedant' pedantry, but something visually similar to 'pedant' would be best so more people can recognize the meaning without looking it up. If a Latin form of 'pedant' could be properly used in a proper quasi Latin quote, that would be great. If there are similar actual Latin terms with all the bile and zing of a properly used 'pedant', I would love to hear them.

Best way to pay a medical bill

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 18:13:48 GMT

I received a bill for ~$4000 for a surgery I had 8 weeks ago. (After insurance was applied.) I was laid off a few weeks ago and while I could pay the amount out of savings, I'm wondering if it's better to set up a payment plan with the hospital. I have never done this.

I assume they'll ask me how much I can contribute every month. I have no idea what to say. I am getting some severance pay but that will stop in a few weeks, then I'll have to apply for unemployment. At that point I'll be about 1.5x of FPL (federal poverty level) and I will have to use savings to supplement that in order to pay my bills.

In addition, I haven't gotten a bill from the anesthesiology group yet and I have no idea how much it will be, or if they're in network (if they are, it will be "free" since I've met my max out of pocket). I'm trying to get contact info for them.

If I don't qualify for a payment plan, my options are:

- pay it out of savings, which will greatly affect my liquidity
- get a loan from my 401k
- use CareCredit (I have already qualified for this amount, it's 0% for six months and then ridiculous afterwards)
- use a credit card, 16% interest (I already know this is dumb, but it is an option)

I know I don't qualify for their Financial Assistance Program because my provider is not covered. This is very clear in their documentation.

If it matters, I'm on COBRA with the same insurance company that covered the surgery.

Storing CDs In The Cloud.

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 18:06:38 GMT

Time to free up house space, so time to get rid of my CDs. Please help me sort out my options. Details inside.

Must have: Music stored in cloud only, not on my computer. Apple hardware access.
Nice to have: Access from Android phone and Fire HD 8. Willing to pay. Willing to spend the time loading my CDs into computer. Thanks.

Why am I moving my legs off the bed while I sleep?

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 17:40:16 GMT

I fall asleep on my side, but recently I've started doing something odd; rolling onto my stomach and moving my entire body down to the end of the bed so that my feet and legs are hanging off.

I've had various issues with sleeping soundly for a long time, but this is a new one; a few months ago I noticed that I was sometimes waking up on my stomach with my feet hanging off the end of the bed, even though I always fall asleep on my side. I used to sleep on my stomach and always liked having a foot hanging off the edge of the bed, so that part wasn't too unusual. What *is* unusual is that lately I've been waking up with not just my feet but also my legs hanging off the end of the bed; sometimes my kneecaps will be at the very edge of the bed. This places a lot of stress on my leg muscles, and means I must be moving 2-3 feet down the bed in my sleep in order to wind up in this position, even though it's uncomfortable; the last couple of weeks it's been uncomfortable enough to wake me up in the middle of the night a few times, and last night I woke up because of this at 2 AM, went back to sleep at the top of the bed and then woke up again at 5 AM in the same position.

Nothing has changed about my sleeping conditions recently - same room, same mattress, same pillows. My wife does spend, on average, 3 nights per week out of town right now, but last year she was away from home almost full-time while she began her PhD and I slept just fine.

I tried searching online for information on behaviour like this, to no avail. To the best of my knowledge I do not have restless leg syndrome, and my wife has never noticed me kicking or moving my legs while sleeping. Has anyone else experienced this, and/or is it indicative of anything?

It's His Party (And I'll Cry if I Want To)

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 17:37:04 GMT

One of my oldest friends makes a high-drama (and expensive) command performance out of his birthday dinner every year, and I'm unclear how to handle it going forward. (excruciating detail within)Nick is someone I've been friends with since we were in elementary school, and since we're firmly middle-aged now, this is substantial relationship. In a way, it's almost like having a sibling, someone you stick with because of lifelong ties, despite knowing each other's flaws intimately. So I love him, but he's a high-maintenance sort of person, to put it mildly. Nonetheless, he has a tight-knit group of friends with whom he wishes to celebrate his birthday. Each year, he selects a restaurant and then invites this group of 8-10 people, myself included, to "take him out" to dinner. By which he means: pick up the check. His control-freakitude usually results in him ordering a variety of dishes for the table that he prefers, which everyone samples from. I freely admit to having some relatively picky eating preferences, but I've noticed I'm not the only one who takes a bit of each and leaves unsatisfied and lighter in the wallet. Last year, Nick selected a restaurant that was wildly more expensive than even the usual places he chooses. We're in a large city with extensive restaurant options in virtually every cuisine imaginable, so it is not terribly taxing to find a place that is (a) big enough for a party of 10, (b) offers terrific food, and (c) is reasonably priced. One of the group, Jacqueline, is on a somewhat more limited budget than others, and when Nick announced this year that he was planning to have us return to the same place, she sent him a private note saying it had been beyond her budget, so she would be happy to meet up with the group later in the evening for dessert. When Nick mentioned this to me recently, I told him I agreed – that the place was really very expensive. This seemed to be news to him, because he sort of shrugged and said "Hm, when I eat lunch there it is a great bargain." (Apparently he's oblivious to the fact that lunch and dinner prices can be hugely different.) He then proceeds to send an email to the entire group saying that the high cost of the restaurant has been brought to his attention, and that it might be that this great lunchtime "bargain" may just be more expensive for dinner or for the private room that seats the larger group. He goes on to suggest that a restaurant specializing in specific Asian cuisines should be chosen, but it needs to meet certain parameters including: not barbecue, a big table, Saturday night, not too noisy. He says he will consider options, but everyone in the group should be working on this too. He suggests that we keep prices down by sharing dishes (see above for my issues with that), which he thinks will keep the cost to $10 per person (in our city that is just a completely off-the-wall notion) and that perhaps we should not make a reservation because if we mention that this is for a group celebration, the restaurant will charge higher prices (um....) By now, I'm pretty fed up with Nick's manners. To me, if you extend a dinner invitation to people, you don't decline to pay for your own meal, even i[...]

How to best raise a child far away from family?

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 16:58:16 GMT

Recently pregnant, and living a 6+ hour plane flight away from both our families. What tips and tricks do you have to help our future child(ren) build and maintain close family ties with distance keeping us apart for the forseeable future?

My husband and I are ecstatic to finally be expecting our first child after several years of trying. We're finally mid-second trimester and starting to realize that this is actually happening, and suddenly I've moved on from worrying about the practicalities of raising a kid itself.

We've always lived some distance from our families, but it recently increased from a 30 minute flight to a 6+ hour flight. I'm pretty close with my family, speaking on the phone to my mom/dad 2-3 times a week and texting daily with my siblings. My husband is slightly less close with his family, but they are still important to us both.

I'm starting to wonder how we can foster a strong relationship between our future child(ren) and our families given this distance. We're likely settled this distance away for at least the next few years, if not longer. It probably isn't reasonable to expect we'll be able to fly out to visit them more than ~2x a year, and while I expect we'll get visits in return (especially from retired new grandparents), I know our kid will have a very different experience with extended family than I did growing up. What can I do to make sure they have the best chance possible to form bonds? What worked or is working for your families that live far away? Is this as simple as frequent facetime and Skype calls, or is there more we should prioritize to help foster strong family relationships*?

Potentially relevant details: This will be the first grandchild on both sides of the family. We both have siblings (there are 7 total between both families) who will likely eventually have children though maybe not starting for 2-3+ years. We want to have more kids, but don't take anything for granted.

(*By the way, to be clear: if the kid, as they grow up, indicates they don't want these relationships we won't force them or anything, but I want to give the best chance for them to develop in the first place. I loved my grandparents and cousins and aunts/uncles and had the great privilege of being able to see them all at least once a month if not more frequently growing up, and still consider some of my cousins my best friends.)

OCR on MacOS?

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 16:35:41 GMT

I have some scans (currently TIFFs) of old newspapers I would like to OCR on my Mac. Can anyone recommend a good solution? I tried PDFPen but it seems to choke on some of the larger broadsheets. Is that my best option? Web services? Anything?

Old obscure songs / band ID request

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:46:27 GMT

Can you ID this (80s?) light rock band based on one anti-apartheid song ("how can we afford to condone a racist government?") and another slow one ("Think I'll write myself a letter / maybe then I'll feel better")?

This stuff came on a tape cassette and I listen the heck out of it on my walkman back in the day.

Most of the songs were energetic / punky rock with a clean guitar sound, maybe a little compression and/or echo on the drums and a prominent bassline.

Apart from the 2 songs above I remember one about some specific person being a badass but sadly not their name ("X is always doing Y"), with a repetitive bassline.

So, easy question, right?

How do I print A4-sized images?

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:36:47 GMT

I have a number of pieces of art that I would like to print as either a photo album (a la Shutterfly) or a self-published book (a la

They are scans of paintings that are mostly (but not all - some are slightly different sized, irregular shape or larger) A4.

8.5x11 would be the closest size with a service like Shutterfly, which would make the images a bit smaller, from 11.7" to 11". I suspect doing a print at that size would change the art significantly - is that intuition correct? If so, what is a website or service I could use to print the images as an A4 sized photo album or book?

Unique, not-to-be-missed shops in the Baltimore area?

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 14:54:49 GMT

I'll be visiting Baltimore, MD + points north for a few days. I'd like to buy a gift for a female friend while there (specifics inside, but think middle-aged-crafty-lady tastes). Especially seeking interesting items (not souvenirs) that wouldn't necessarily be available via the standard online channels or at my local mall back home. What area shops should I check out?

I'm not interested in souvenirs or "local specialties" per se, just in shopping of the general form "You were in Baltimore? OMG, you should have visited ____, they carry such great _____." Anywhere within a half-hour of the city, or of the 95/83 corridors, is fair game.

General interests/potential gifting categories include:
-- Standard "pretty stuff": scarves, jewelry, decor
--Exotic/luxury ingredients for cooking and baking
-- Quilting, fabric, fiber arts
-- STEM and design