Open Thread

Retention policy update:

Here are the latest poll numbers: 

94 total
29% / 28     don’t care
35% / 34     3 months or shorter
35% / 34     6 months or longer
The administrators have decided to go with 4 months public access, starting July 1.  It will be 4 previous months plus  the current month.      Older posts will not be permanently deleted immediately, but held for at least a year as private.

 

Since education is the most popular topic by far, occupying the Open Thread two weeks ago and the Politics page (perfectly civil discussion) last week,  we will try out Education Thursday to go with Relationship Monday and Open Tuesday.

Offline, we received a observation that some types of topics don’t get a lot of traffic with the implication that we would be better served by providing different ones.    So we are asking people outside of the usual group of 5-8 to submit things of interest to them with a story or a link.     And be aware that summer is slow.   Fewer people are in need of a workday time-filler.

Topics for the rest of the week:

Wed-  Paying workers off the books

Th—   Alternatives to College

Fri–   Pair Novels with your Destinations

 

 

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76 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. Ooh,, looking forward to the Friday topic. I will try to think of my favorite books and destinations.

  2. I don’t care about any other posts, but there are some great travel trips and itineraries posted by totebaggers. I hope someone has saved those ideas.

  3. I guess it’s not a hijack, because it’s open thread far, but this seems a bit hyperlocal to start the day.

    Anyway, mosquito repellent favorites? We are camping in B.C. and getting killed by mosquitos. The kids look like they have measles. I’m letting them spend hours on screens inside grandparents RVs, to keep us sane.

    Related to yesterday, attractions here are surprisingly puppy friendly. We will be going to a government interpretive center today that explicitly allows dogs.

  4. Ada,
    Off wipes. Also, I don’t care if I look like a dork, but nets over hats to covr face and neck! Me and kid are bug magnates. Anecdotally taking B1 helps people like us attract less bugs over long term.
    Deep Woods Off is effective.

  5. Oh, we’re using enough deep woods off for me to fret about “toxins”. The 25% deet stuff.

  6. Besides the education topic, investing, cars, and boats are all topics that generate a lot of enthusiasm

  7. From their FAQ
    ” Smart meters record and transmit your energy consumption regularly throughout the day (via a secure wireless network) ”

    Oy, this does not sound good. How are they anonymizing us? I should ask our cybersecurity specialist what he thinks.

  8. Ack, my last comment was intended for a Facebook conversation (which is actually on an interesting topic and one I might ask about here)

  9. Ada – I use Africa strength DEET containing repellent. Off sportsmen deep woods is 98%. So called “family strength” DEET containing repellent is 15%. I believe the strongest DEET concentration legally sold in Canada is 30%, and there is some literature that stronger concentrations don’t actually do more, but you do need to reapply more frequently than the package suggests. So buy 30% and reapply every 4 hours. If you are worried about the littlest ones, you can try non DEET products, but they won’t actually work very well.

  10. You can also burn eucalyptus or citronella torches (or whatever is allowed) at your campsite. But those sorts of forest mosquitoes are hard to dissuade. They don’t call the mosquito the Minnesota State Bird for nothin.

  11. Ada: REI sells clothing with mosquito repellant built in. I cannot comment on efficacy–but my sister and her family like them.

  12. The bugs love me (per Finn, it is because I am a fatty ;) ). The higher %s of Deet only make it last longer, they don’t work any better/stronger. So, reapply often, put Picaridin on clothing, use light colored clothing and avoid being outside during dusk hours. I have yet to find a magic bullet. Skeeter stick (the adult kind, not the kid kind) helps my bites go from quarter size and bigger to much smaller overnight.

  13. Thanks for the tips. We don’t usually deal with mosquitoes where we usually camp. I definitely could up my afterbite care. And I’d forgotten about permethrin.

  14. I do not generally like coleslaw, with the exception of blue cheese coleslaw, but I keep trying different recipes in search of the winner. Found it last night.

    1/2 head of green or red cabbage, cored and sliced very thin/shredded
    1/2 red onion or one whole shallot
    1/2 cup chopped parsley
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    6 tablespoons olive oil

    Put cabbage in colander with 2 generous pinches of salt, let sit for 20 minutes in sink to pull out water. Dice onion, put it in the lemon juice and let it sit during those 20 minutes as well.

    After the rest period, toss the cabbage, onion, and parsley together. Don’t add the lemon juice yet, only the lemon-juice soaked onion. Add vinegar and olive oil and another pinch of salt. Toss well and taste, and then add lemon juice in small quantities until you’re happy with the taste.

    We had this with chili dogs last night, and it would be an absolute perfect topping for the pork carnitas I posted a few weeks ago (and lucky for me, which we are having tomorrow).

  15. Does anyone have the Bissell Crosswave for pets? If so, pros and cons. I need another light weight vacuum. My 2004 Dyson for pets is still going strong but it is very heavy especially with RA. I also like that I can do my floors at the same time as vacuuming and won’t have to haul out my steamer to wash my floors. Any feedback is appreciated..

  16. I’m looking forward to Friday’s post, paring novels with destinations.

    I just caught up on yesterday’s posts.
    Kerri, congrats on your new addition! We have cavalier-bichon mix and it’s a good combination: small, doesn’t shed, very social (even with strangers) and he’s not a yapper.
    Swim, what an awful story. Pitbulls are good with families but they are very protective. Something about the ref freaked out the dog, but it’s ultimately the dog owner’s responsibility to control the dog. When I was kid I was bit in the butt by a friend’s German shepard who was a guard dog in her father’s shop. They warned me not run around him and I just forgot: I got out of their pool and ran towards my towel. The dog went after me. I still have a scar. I’m used to dogs, so it didn’t bother me too much. He had a job to do and he did it. Fast forward, though, I would never allow a dog like that to be around other people.

  17. Thanks again for the toasteroven recs. I really wanted to support our local, higher-end, cooking store but the least expensive one was $120 after a 20% coupon. For essentially toasting and rewarming stuff I just want one that works; fancy not needed. I ended up getting the one Houston suggested: https://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-TOB-40N-Classic-Toaster-Broiler/dp/B004JMZGM2/ref=sr_1_12?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1529080543&sr=1-12&keywords=toaster+oven

    – $79 less BBB’s 20% coupon
    – approximately the same dimensions as the one that just failed
    – and so far it toasts great!

    The next one up was $99. I think for the extra $20 I get bigger (not needed/wanted) and a 3yr (vs 2yr) warranty.

  18. one thing leads to another…my hip replacement was so successful that my shoulder on the same side is jealous. The pain started a few weeks ago; no traumatic event that I can remember, it just started hurting. I just made and apt to see a shoulder specialist in a couple of weeks, and I was surprised I could get in so quickly!

  19. Mémé, July, could we have a bit longer before you remove the older discussions? I’d like to have a chance to review and pull out information and tips.

    I also like to read my old posts because they often remind me of things I intended to do, and still should do, but haven’t yet done.

    Also, with the history much more limited, any thought to keeping some posts or threads that people might want to reference? Recipes and travel advice are often brought up in this context.

  20. AM – you mean https://www.dormroommovers.com/

    They don’t play at any of my kids’ schools. What are you thinking of shipping that you’ll need them for Freshman move in? You can buy everything you need locally where you are at Bed Bath & Beyond and/or Target and then pick the stuff up when you get to campus.

  21. continuing – if you’re thinking things you already have that won’t really work to take as checked luggage on the plane, I’ve never had a problem sending boxes of stuff thru the good ol’ post office. Insurance available. I did that when I went to grad school and they held it for me at the post office till I got there to claim it. You can send things to ‘general delivery + ZIP code’ and they’ll hold it for you for 30 days.

  22. “ou can buy everything you need locally where you are at Bed Bath & Beyond and/or Target”

    Ikea is another place a lot of college kids buy stuff when they move in.

    I suggest local thrift stores or similar. At DS’ school, there’s an organization that collects stuff when people move out, then sells them during move-in week.

  23. Finn – There is a significant group of regulars who feel VERY strongly that a short retention time is the way to go, and are waiting, some without adding recently to their history of comments, to see that we don’t drag our feet on this. Many of us see the site primarily as an electronic version of break room or water cooler talk, without the sports. So if you have thought of it as a form of personal journal, just prioritize a few hours time in the next 2 weeks to do your archiving. As for culling posts and setting up public recipe or travel resources, or serving as librarians to search through the retained but not publicly accessible posts, July and I are doing this as a labor of love. The recent kerfuffle has definitely increased temporarily the ratio of labor to love. We are not looking to make the situation permanent.

  24. Mémé, fair enough.

    WRT the recipe or travel resources, or any other reference resources, I am not suggesting you or July do any culling and serving as librarians.

    I’m thinking more along the lines of something set up once, then largely self-sustaining. Perhaps a tab or tabs on the home page for recipes and travel, with posts there being kept, so anyone posting there can keep that in mind in deciding what to post and what not to post there.

    Were we do go that direction, it would be easily searchable if everyone who posts there makes sure to include a key word in your posts. E.g., in a travel section, any posts discussing WDW could include WDW and Disney somewhere in the post.

    This isn’t a well-developed proposal, just a thought that I’m hoping we can discuss.

  25. Finn – July and I have been considering a number of new ideas, and will open up a discussion in the Fall when everyone is back on regular schedule.

  26. I spent part of my work day this morning on the Ticketmaster website trying to get tickets to Hamilton when it comes to Boston in the fall. (The “presale” started today.) My first two attempts were unsuccessful, but the third time was a charm! We’ll be going in October. My kids have never seen a Broadway-level professional show, and come to think of it I’m not sure DH has either. So we’re excited!

  27. Re. Totebag posts, whenever I see something that I want to save, either for now or for future reference, I just print it out. Maybe we can all train ourselves to do this, rather than counting on being able to refer back to old posts online?

  28. or just copy/paste the content you want into a word document you can save on your computer’s desktop.

  29. Fred, my experience with referring patients to specialist is that Orthopedics is the one that is the easiest to get into very quickly. When people need to see an orthopedist its usually something that’s fairly urgent so they work their schedule so that they can for people in. Neurology is the toughest to get in as a new patient. It usually takes months.

  30. What do people think about those bicycle sharing things? It popped up in the Denver a couple of months ago and they’re all over the place. I like the idea in theory it is a great way to get people moving around on bikes and potentially reduce traffic a little bit. But they really are an eyesore when you see these bikes just all over sidewalks.

    One of the companies was trying that shared electric scooter thing downtown and the city impound all of their scooters. The city is working with the companies on a controlled rollout and better way to do it rather than just dropping scooters all over downtown.

  31. @DD – I like the ones with the physical docks better than the newer ones where the bikes are strewn all over the place. I use the original bike share with the docks fairly regularly. DH uses them daily to commute.

  32. “Maybe we can all train ourselves to do this, rather than counting on being able to refer back to old posts online?”

    “or just copy/paste the content you want into a word document you can save on your computer’s desktop.”

    Good ideas, but not necessarily mutually exclusive with also being available online.

  33. Denver, I’d use them more if I could count on there being a bike waiting when I need it. E.g. I would have ridden a bike to the train station to catch the train to the airport, but I can’t count on there being a bike at the station when I get back.

  34. I really like the idea of electric (and human-powered) scooters for transportation.

    But I’m not crazy over the way the scooter rental companies just dropped a bunch of scooters in various location, including here, with no coordination with local government, and no training of users. I’m also not crazy about a bunch of scooters randomly left all over the place, although that’s usually only a day at most, as the scooter companies pay bounties for gig workers to pick them up and charge them.

    There’s apparently one scooter rental company that has worked with local governments, and has not had any cease and desist orders against it.

  35. “I’d use them more if I could count on there being a bike waiting when I need it.”

    RMS, that’s where scooters could work well. Many non-electric scooters fold and become fairly easy to take with you. If electric scooters could similarly fold (I’ve looked into it a bit, and I couldn’t tell from websites if they fold) , they’d also work pretty well.

    Electric scooters start from under $100, which might undercut the rental market.

  36. I’ve never seen a good way to lock scooters. Those little cable locks can be snipped through in seconds.

  37. “I would have ridden a bike to the train station to catch the train to the airport, but I can’t count on there being a bike at the station when I get back.”

    That’s where a bike locker or other secure bike storage makes sense.

    I saw some really cool bike storage in Asia. Something like this:

  38. “I’ve never seen a good way to lock scooters.”

    But if it folds, you can just take it with you.

  39. I’ve used docked bike-sharing in NYC and Chicago, and dockless in Ithaca. I like the orderliness of the docked systems better, but I liked the payment system of the dockless. In both NY and Chicago, as tourists we paid a flat fee for one day of unlimited rides, but no ride could be >30 minutes or there was a surcharge. That meant that every 20 minutes or so, we had to check the app, locate a docking station, ride to it, check the bike in, and then re-check it out. This was a real pain as we were riding the waterfront trails in both cities, and most of the docking stations were off the trail by several blocks. (I think the systems were designed with commuters in mind, not tourists.)
    With the dockless system, we were charged per half-hour – much more convenient. I think the ideal solution would be a blend of the two systems.

  40. Just popping in to say hi!

    We returned from Lake George and now I’m in a giant week at work with a program review AND an office move. So busy weeks.

    Lake George changed so much in the last 10 yrs. But the little town we used to stay in is eerily the same. One restaurant changed. That’s all. The antique store we always went into is now only closing after 40 years.

    My dad visited all the appropriate places, and the experience wasn’t sad. It was oddly freeing. We enjoyed Ticonderoga and Saratoga. My kids loved the resort. They had a giant playground outside their front door. By 8a every day we were there. We talked about visiting again when the boys are older. And I bought new plates at the outlets! That made me happy! Ha!

  41. I, too, agree with Meme. The sooner the old posts are deleted, the better.

    I like the new Suggestions tab, and try to contribute topics more regularly than I have in the past.

  42. “I would have ridden a bike to the train station to catch the train to the airport, but I can’t count on there being a bike at the station when I get back.”

    That’s where a bike locker or other secure bike storage makes sense.

    “I’ve never seen a good way to lock scooters.”

    But if it folds, you can just take it with you.

    With the shared system, you either have to pay for the time you lock the bike or take the scooter with you, or you are cheating the system, and will likely be found out after enough times that someone can’t find the one you just rented because you are hiding it somewhere.

    I think the docked systems are better, but as Flyover mentioned, it doesn’t make sense to limit the time. The Denver docked system lets you use the bikes as long as you want, although it’s kind of pricey. With the docks, you can be pretty sure that there will be a bike available when you want one.

  43. DD, when I wrote about folding up the scooter and taking it with you, I was referring to one you owned, not a scooter share scooter. With electric scooters starting under $100, I think many people who found a regular use for them, e.g., between home and train station, would buy their own.

  44. “With the docks, you can be pretty sure that there will be a bike available when you want one.”

    I’ve heard that a complaint about the local bikeshare, at least initially, was running out of bikes at popular locations. I heard they were trying to address it by moving bikes around, but haven’t heard how well they’d addressed that issue.

  45. I love the free floating bikes. I’m charmed by all the random people using them. I also like to imagine that the bikes are scattered everywhere because the bike people all got raptured.

    In my city they do a lot of daily rebalancing – the bike tend to be used for down hill purposes. RMS – I think you can look with the app to find the closest bike. Give enough density, there will always be one within a block or two.

  46. “In my city they do a lot of daily rebalancing – the bike tend to be used for down hill purposes.”

    They should let riders who take them uphill use the bikes for free.

    Or in a location with a lot of hills, perhaps the next step is motor-assisted bikes. I’m curious how well the electric scooters work uphill.

  47. Fred – Basically, after receiving much advice, we decided to work backward from move out. If DD#1 needs to do X to store her things over the summer, then we need to move in, in a way that makes move out/storage efficient both time wise and cost wise.

    She has inquiries into the school about the “free” storage space for students who live 400+ miles away. But, it appears that they have a set of dates and you show up their with your stuff and if it is full when you get there, go to Plan B. Which figuring out Plan B the week of move out seems dicey. Having Plan B in advance is so much more totebaggy!

    We have received A LOT of varying advice about move in. Most of which focus around the type of *box* (rubbermaid plastic) or *bag* (Ikea type) to use on move in day. The issue then becomes DD#1 has to store these until move out as I wouldn’t be schlepping them home on the plane.

    When dormroomovers.com came through my FB feed, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to look into it. A 18X18X22 box is roughly $50 per summer and the pick-up and delivery to your dorm room is included in the price. Looking at their list – most of what she would have would be in the same price category. They report the average is 4-7 “boxes” in this price range for a dorm room. Given my DD is on the minimalist side, 5 boxes would be $250 for the summer. Then, of course, you would want the things you need to store to stay within those dimensions or be listed in that price category.

  48. DD, when I wrote about folding up the scooter and taking it with you, I was referring to one you owned, not a scooter share scooter.

    That was very unclear, because you responded to RMS’ comment about not using a shared bike by saying that a bike locker would help:

    “I would have ridden a bike to the train station to catch the train to the airport, but I can’t count on there being a bike at the station when I get back.”

    That’s where a bike locker or other secure bike storage makes sense.

    You said she should lock up a shared bike for the duration of an out of town trip. So it seemed that you were saying people should take shared scooters inside with them as well.

  49. Santa Cruz has just started a bike share program with electric bikes. It’s pricier than the regular bikes, though.

    Finn, even with a folding scooter, it’s an extra thing to take on the plane. However, I agree that it would be useful for other things. I loathe driving to downtown Denver because of traffic and parking hassles. I always either take the train or bus. A folding scooter would help there because I could schlep it on the bus or train and then stash it in DH’s office.

  50. The town next to mine started a bikeshare program. The problem with that is the towns are so small, and are all crammed up against each other, so it would make far more sense to do it on a regional basis. Bikeable errands here can easily span more than one of these towns because of the geography.

  51. AustinMom — I agree that something like dormmovers could make things easier, and if I were in your situation I might just go with them rather than having to manage all the moving parts on my own. Regarding the containers, our kid’s college happened to have good Southwest Air flights. So for the some of the moves to and from, we filled up several big suitcases that traveled at no extra cost on the plane. Two or three suitcases stored inside the big one were kept under his bed. He moved to an apartment after the first year, but all in all he had very few items since he definitely is a minimalist.

  52. Austinmom–

    One of my kids’ schools uses dormmovers for summer storage. Check out their delivery and pick up prices in addition to the storage price. At the school in question, it was $39 each way if you used the one and only one date for each–which may or may not work for you. It was $99 and up (way up) each way if you needed another date. This is on top of the storage charge. Neither the designated pick up date nor the designated drop off date really worked for us, and we were looking at a total of over $1,000 to get what we needed. (The pick up date conflicted with a final; the drop off date in the fall was a week after the kid was required to move in for rush).
    Another parent alerted us to a local moving and storage company that was much more flexible and much much cheaper.

    Your DD’s school may have a much better arrangement.

  53. I just received my Ancestry DNA results, and they are surprisingly different from 23andMe. So different that I acquired significant percentage in a new region such that I feel entitled to dance an Irish jig and a little less flamenco.

  54. July and Anon – Exactly why I am asking! I contacted the company and they sent me a free log in to poke around a bit. That is on today’s to do list.

    From the school parent FB page, the “rooms are really small” keeps coming up and the lack of storage is the next sentence. We only saw rooms in one dorm on our tour, and they didn’t seem so small, but others have mentioned individual room oddities, such as pipes in a closet that limited space. I know it is sort of like the comments I read about “it is unbearably hot here (NY) in August” is referring to upper 80s to low 90s. Yea – Austin, unbearably hot = 100+

    We are traveling up via Southwest and I will come home with empty suitcases. We are also doing the BBB ship and hold. DD#1 has a question into housing about how mail works before her actual move-in date. We were thinking about shipping (amazon or from home) things to her at her local address, if it can be held for a week or so before she arrives.

  55. Boys seem to take much less stuff to dorm rooms, but after having done this with three kids (granted, just 15 minutes away), my advice would be to take as little as possible. Nearly every item that makes small dorms rooms more livable can be found online and you will get great ideas from checking out the rooms of the returning students who are already moved in and helping with the new kids. Just make sure she brings a tape measure.

  56. Scarlett – Agree! I also don’t want her to accumulate too much stuff during the year that has to be stored. Right now she has a “box” (milk crate size) that she has decided are her limit of wants but non-essentials from home (it has a couple of pictures, her knitting needles, one stuffed animal, etc.).

  57. Every August I see local Moms shipping tons of college items at the UPS store. These are bulky items too. I wonder why they are doing this, when you can buy at the destination. I can say that I was a minimalist at college and didn’t decorate my room because I had no access to a car, there was no Amazon. Those who decorated has tons of stuff.

  58. I was just reminiscing with a friend about how, in 1984, I drove from California to North Carolina in a two-door Corolla with a friend and her stuff to get to grad school. I had half a Corolla’s worth of stuff! How did I do that? All the closets in my house are full now.

    I read that Swedish Death Cleaning book and decided I wasn’t close enough to death to get rid of all my stuff. I mean, knock wood and so on.

  59. When I moved out of the dorm after my first year at law school, we managed to fit 5 adults and all my stuff in the Suburban. It was a pretty tight fit – some tourists (this was NYC) stood and took pictures of us packing it all in!

  60. In college, we had storage “cages” in the basement dormitories to store our stuff over the summers. The worst items were the desktop computer towers and their CRT monitors.

    I can’t remember by what process I disposed of that computer, but I never took it with me, and after graduation I moved with my new laptop. Similar to Rocky, I fit everything I owned into the back of a Probe (including snow skis and a mountain bike), and I bought everything for my apartment once I actually got there.

    I brought that bike in for service the other day, and the kid at the bike shop commented that it was really nice for “such an old Trek. This was top-of-the-line technology when it was new,” he marveled. I realized that he would have been an infant, maybe, when I bought it, and felt really old.

  61. “the “rooms are really small” keeps coming up and the lack of storage is the next sentence.”

    That seems self-consistent to me.

    “We are traveling up via Southwest and I will come home with empty suitcases.”

    Are you going to get her at the end of the semester? If not, I suggest you see if you can leave at least one or two suitcases with her to bring her stuff home then, especially if she’ll be on Southwest. A common place to store suitcases are on top of a closet.

  62. “DD#1 has a question into housing about how mail works before her actual move-in date. We were thinking about shipping (amazon or from home) things to her at her local address, if it can be held for a week or so before she arrives.”

    You could also ship the stuff to her after she checks in, or time the shipment so it arrives after she arrives, so that isn’t an issue. She can live on what she brings with her on the plane until then.

    When DS first went to school, all he took was a carry-on suitcase and a backpack. The program he was in limited the kids to one suitcase and one backpack, and he didn’t want to pay the fee to check in a suitcase. It did help that it was hot and he didn’t need blankets, and the program gave each kid a pillow.

  63. DD, I wasn’t suggesting locking up a bikeshare bike. If you have secure storage at the train station, then it is practical to use your own bike.

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