Commenter Archive

Henrietta LowellComments by fillyjonk*

On “Remembering The Ice Age

I liked her music when I was a high schooler; my respect for her musicality has grown in recent years. I still like her music.

I really laughed when she reprised/rewrote "Goonies R Good Enuf" to be the ending song of the Bob's Burgers parody/homage to that movie. Some singers would get all hoity toity and either not want to remember they did a goofy song for a goofy movie, or be unwilling to essentially parody it....but she did it.

That said: "Time After Time" has become my favorite piece of hers.

I also liked Duran Duran when I was in high school, though that was partly because a friend of mine was super into them.

I was actually the weird kid who listened to classical music and some jazz, so I barely knew pop music....

On “Weekend Plans Post: The Pizza Stone

I just hope things eventually get back to SOMETHING LIKE normal eventually, but I have days when I doubt it.

I really want to go to the JoAnn's. If I were careful, it would probably be OK. But the level of attention and hypervigilance being in a big-box store like that requires now isn't worth it.

I won't go into my local Wal-Mart until this is over. If I need something from them, I'll put together a $30 order and pick it up.

That said.....I might consider another Kroger run later this month, if I go midweek and as distant from a payday as possible


It makes me a little sad to contemplate that in, what, five months? This regular feature has morphed from "what are you going to go and do this weekend" to "what are you going to stay home and cook?"

Oh, I get it, I get it. But I still long for a time some day when going out to go and do isn't so risky, and you don't have to be hypervigilant against people being too close, or people coughing, or touching things, or whatever.

I don't know. Probably not going to cook this weekend as it's going to be heat indexes in the 110s here and that makes me not want to cook. Or eat, for that matter. I have food ahead and if my Imperfect Foods box makes it to me THIS week (FedEx damaged it last week and strung me along for three days claiming a "delay" until they finally admitted Monday it was undeliverable, so I could contact Imperfect and get a refund - and I hope they demand a refund from FedEx) I will have fruit without having to venture out

One place I am going periodically is the very small local quilt shop - they strictly limit how many people they let in at a time, it's easy to distance (the person who cuts your fabric for you is on the other side of a very wide table) and I want them to keep going. I have a couple quilt tops ready and if I can get a backing put together for one this weekend I might take the quilt over there early next week (they are closed Saturdays and Sundays) and drop it off.

Other than that - continuing-ed reading, trying to prep labs that could be done at a distance, worrying about teaching "in person" this fall. I also restarted a small research project and I have to run over to campus tomorrow to swap out the soil extractions I'm doing.

Resolutely trying to make a few things seem "normal" even though nothing is

On “President Ye?

I very much hope you are correct.

And I suspect you are, given my comment above about "anything that gets someone talking about me is free publicity" in the minds of many celebs.


#3 scares me a little, as I said on Twitter: "I can tell this must be the last season of this show, the writers have gotten bored."

That said, my more reality-grounded interpretation is something that struck me when I was mowing the lawn yesterday: Some celebrity behavior makes more sense if you remember that in grade school there were some kids who would do stuff that got them in trouble because they got attention for it.

I tend to figure when a famous person gets in some kind of foolish trouble, it's that they felt their name had faded a bit from the news, and either consciously or subconsciously they acted out, because, to quote Milhouse van Houten: "Trouble is a form of attention"

On “Sunday Morning! “The Vine that Ate the South” by J. D. Wilkes

I'll have to look this up! I had never even heard of it but I do tend to enjoy the Southern Gothic, especially if it has a comic twist.

On “Weekend Plans Post: On Running A 5K

I would love to walk as a change-up to my regular (cross-country ski simulator/exercise dvd) program, but not right now, not when the heat indexes are above 105F

Back in the before-times, sometimes I would take walking shoes and a change of clothes to campus with me and at the very end of the day do a brisk walk on the loop trail they have marked on campus that is a couple miles. It was nice for a change.

I have to be really careful with running or jogging; I have foot pronation that's only partly corrected by orthotics and the pounding of jogging gets really painful on my hips after a while. Walking is lower impact and doesn't seem to cause problems.

on a good day of working out on the cross-country skiier, I do about 5K on it - 3 to 3.5 miles is sort of typical. At one point I played with the idea of seeing if I could get up to the equivalent of a marathon in a week but, meh, that would me more than five miles a day (I have to do a rest day a couple days a week). It gets boring, even with music, and I don't have a tv or anything to watch in that room, and the thing isn't configured so I can watch videos on my phone while working out.

On “Harsh Your Mellow Monday: Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth Edition

"Do masks suck? Yes they do. They suck less than the COVID."

Quoted for m(onkey) f(ishing) truth. I wore one for an hour today in 90+degree heat with a dewpoint in the 70s while I carried around Meals on Wheels to people. I wanted them (many of them medically fragile) to be safe; I wanted to be safe. It was uncomfortable but I was able to do it. Yes, it was a relief to get home and be able to wash my hands and remove the mask. But maybe that just gives me another little reason to be grateful for getting home at the end of the day?

Some people on a board for academic fiber-crafters I am part of thought my idea of buying one of those plastic face-shield things (like dentists use) and wearing it WITH a mask when I really can't distance in class (like labs) seemed a sensible idea; I may consider doing it. I am going to wait a bit to see what my university decides. Right now the policy is "masks on indoors except when you are alone in your office" and I can live with that.

the plan is also to have all meetings over Zoom, which I don't love quite so much, but whatev's. There's a pandemic on.


Someone I know (in the local AAUW chapter) had someone mock her for wearing a mask in the grocery store, telling her she was afraid of a "hoax". She stepped back and informed that person that she was the caretaker for her elderly, ill mother (which is absolutely true) and she knew people who had gotten sick, and she needed to stay healthy for her mom's sake.

So those people are out there. But since I spent roughly from age 8 to age 17 or so being mocked on the regular, I expect some rando accusing me of being "afraid" (Hell yes, I'm afraid! I think it's reasonable to be scared enough to want to take standard precautions here) is not going to make too much of a dent.

It just baffles me that someone is going to go up to a total stranger and bug them about it. Back in, say, 2018, if I had seen someone in public with a medical mask on, I might have been slightly taken aback but my reaction would have been to think, "Well, maybe they're undergoing chemo or are a recent transplant patient and need to be really careful not to get sick." but I'd certainly never go up to them to specifically talk about the mask.


I am not that smart when it comes to politics and all, but I want to say your first part ("Anecdotal Evidence, but Admissible") really resounded with me. I have not been the past three months. I have seen a little impatience here and there, lots of unmasked people. I am bracing for the ridicule friends have said they've gotten for going out masked. I see the video of people having meltdowns that would embarrass a 3 year old and I wonder; is this some kind of awful and bizarre performance art and nothing more? Surely no adult feels entitled to act like that in front of God and strangers.

but apparently they do.

I am apprehensive about the future. People seem to be on their last nerve in a lot of places and don't seem able or willing to extend grace to others. Or maybe that's what gets the press, in which case - shame on the press for exclusively showing the worst 2% of us.

On “Weekend Plans Post: Making a Homemade Fancy Schmancy Pizza

If you buy a pizza stone, then you need a pizza peel
Once you get a pizza peel, then you need 00 flour
Once you get 00 flour....well, you get the idea.

"If you give a mouse a cookie" is not just a kids' book


there's probably only about as much mummy dust in the cloud as there are bug feces in a bag of corn chips. It's fine, it's really fine.

On “Pity Parler

The streaming-service model, except for social media.

Problem is, if you have friends on three different media platforms (and each only on one platform), you're gonna have to either not keep up with friends, or keep up with three platforms. Well, at least the platforms are mostly free, unlike Netflix/Hulu/Disney+/HBO Go/NBC streaming/CBS streaming/whatever started up this week to yank its content off the other platforms and charge a separate fee...

On “Weekend Plans Post: Making a Homemade Fancy Schmancy Pizza

I always cooked my pizzas partway with sauce and toppings (except for really really delicate veggies, like spinach, if doing that - that goes on at the very end) so I am meat-under-cheese because I do the cheese at the end for like the last couple minutes or so.

but I also do a lower temp for pizza - old oven, have already replaced the heating coil once, don't want to do that again. So I go more like 350-400 F for pizza. Also I have crap teeth so I would rather have a soft bready crust than a hard crispy crust


They're really been playing up the Sahara dust cloud (dubbed Godzilla, at least locally) on the news. I guess it's a change from coronavirus. (This is not something to worry about. Yes, this one is unusually big, but this kind of thing happens every few years. It's not, like, blowing mummy dust onto us or something)

Supposed to rain this weekend so I guess I do this weekend what I do every weekend now: faff on the Internet, maybe knit a little bit.

Next week I deliver Meals on Wheels a couple days and I admit I'm slightly apprehensive about keeping everyone safe, but then again: maybe having a woman who's been keeping strictly at home (except for grocery trips) delivering food to people who are essentially homebound (but might see home-health workers) is about as safe as volunteer work can get these days.

We're seeing some precipitous rises in cases here and I want to wait a bit to see some parsing of the numbers, but for now, I'm staying locked down. Still missing going out for "fun" things.

On “Pity Parler

I'm glad you "took one for the team," Em.

On “Thursday Throughput: Xenon Edition

Can confirm. My garden got invaded by them a couple years ago, and late last summer (when I was distracted by other, horrible, things going on in my life) they totally took over and smothered most of the perennials I had growing. One thing about lockdown? I've been gradually grubbing both the blackberry and the mulberries the birds "planted" by the roots. When I get too angry about what's going on in the world, I go out and visit destruction on the various weeds.

On “The Layered Genius of Miyazaki, Part I

A blogger I read recently made the comment that "the book is like Sophie's remembering what happened; the movie is like how Howl would tell his friends about it" and having both recently read the book and re-watched the movie, i think about that a lot.

I admit I like the sweetness. The world these days is too bitter for me by half and it is nice to just have nice movies to watch some times.


I did not care that much for Ponyo the first time I saw it but on rewatching I saw new things in it. There are more links to the (Hans Christian Anderson version of) The Little Mermaid than I realized at first. I am more fond of it upon rewatching, though it'll never displace either Totoro or Kiki's Delivery Service in my heart.


One of the things I really love about Miyazaki's films is something you touched on - the little quiet moments, often domestic moments. Food preparation, for example - I recently rewatched "Ponyo" and "Howl's Moving Castle" and both of them have cooking (and eating) scenes that maybe don't move the story "forward" in the way a more time-pressed movie would want to do so, but they're wonderful scenes in their own right, visually rich and fun to watch. (I also love the shots of Howl's cluttered bedroom; I admit I share a somewhat similar decorating aesthetic....)

Another thing that strikes me about them is often older female characters are portrayed very sympathetically and matter-of-factly in a way that Western movies don't often do - Granny, for example in "My Neighbor Totoro." They may not be conventionally beautiful - they are wrinkled or have warts or a squint, but the goodness in their character shines through, and many of them are tough and capable in a way that you don't always see in movies. (Perhaps I notice that now because I am beginning to approach "Granny" age)

Many of the films also have some kind of a redemption arc in them, where a character changes his or her ways - or a misunderstood character becomes understood and finds love - not necessarily romantic love, but companionship-love. And I have always been a huge sucker for redemption stories.

I've seen most of the movies. I've never seen Grave of the Fireflies, I am not sure I could handle it based on the descriptions I've seen online. And I've not seen Nausicaa. I've seen Princess Mononoke once or twice. Most of the other well-known ones I have on dvd and have watched multiple times. (I never have seen Porco Rosso but I have a copy of it on dvd and need to watch it some time; I might try to locate a copy of "The Cat Returns" at some point)

I count "My Neighbor Totoro" among my top five favorite movies. Not top 5 animated movies or "family" movies, but top 5 movies. One thing I love about it is that you can identify what genus of plants (And I suppose, if you were a botanist familiar with Japanese plants, the specific species) in his countryside scenes. There's so much attention to detail; you get the sense the studio really wanted to get everything correct in the movie, everything accurate. I also find the more-episodic nature of it restful - it's not go, go, go like some cartoons are.

I enjoyed this piece and I eagerly await part 2.

On “Covid Nostalgia

I will admit I am not confident (at this point) in the plans my university has to re open "in person" in the fall. One of my older (early sixtiesish) colleagues (and an MD at that) has already declared his intention to do all lectures online....I am considering it despite being younger (and female, which is apparently a point in my favor for surviving COVID).

I will be teaching in a mask. I am not sure what faculty can do if they have a student who needs the cue of being able to read lips. Petition for one of those plexiglas face shields, I guess? Request an ASL interpreter, if the student knows ASL?

I suspect a LOT of higher ed closures are looming. Right now we seem to be OK and I am keeping my fingers crossed that that remains AT LEAST until I hit eligibility for early retirement (6 or so years depending on how much grace period they give; I could retire without needing early retirement in 2029)


I miss the feeling of something-like-hope I had early on, where I thought "Well, maybe if we all lock down really well for a month or two, this will burn itself out like SARS did"

I admit I am feeling somewhat dismayed at the behavior of my fellow citizens in this.

I also feel a twinge of nostalgia for February 29 - the last day I went out for "fun" shopping (as opposed to quick runs to the grocery or the home center for things I absolutely needed) and how at the JoAnn's, looking at some of that ridiculous color-shifting cake yarn (other knitters/crocheters will know what I mean) and going "Well, it's on sale, and also, if we have to lock down, it might be good to have yarn ahead for another afghan" and I remember even thinking with something like excitement (which seems kind of sick to me now) about "on lockdown, I will get so much knitting and sewing done!"

Reader, I have mostly been either too anxious/unhappy or too wrapped up in "pivoting to online teaching," I have not finished a single thing during this time. The yarn still sits in my yarn-storage room, untouched.

On the upside? My garden is going well because apparently I can still cut brush and weed if I'm sad or angry

I have a few low-level risk factors and people here are absolute crap at mask wearing and social distance, so I am staying locked down as much as I can. (I will most likely be back teaching in person in August, but until then - at home except for necessities)

On “Weekend Plans Post: Thinking About What I’ll Miss

(pounds rhythmically on table)


(and dogs, too....let's be equal opportunity)

(I do not have a cat. It was a big big deal last night at the "socially distanced outdoors" meeting I was at when the meeting-host's neighbor's cat sauntered over and deigned to let us pet her)


I JUST said on Twitter I was planning my weekly trip to the grocery for supplies, and figuratively pouring one out for the before-times, when a Pruett's run was something I did a couple times a week on my way home from work and I never thought much of it.

One thing: I write grocery lists now, which I never did before, because the idea of missing that ONE thing is no longer a "grumble and go back out," it's more of a "meh, the risk of exposure for one thing isn't worth it" and you learn to live without.

Especially now, when yesterday my state had the highest R0 in the nation.

So my energy today will be expended on getting food for the coming week. If I have remaining energy after that I might do some continuing-ed reading.

Though I also have to call a florist today; one of the women in my women's group at church lost her husband earlier this week, apparently they are doing services for him, and they are to be Monday, and I guess I am now the designated person to arrange for the floral arrangement. So I have to call a florist in town and I have no idea what to ask for and....yeah, that's another thing that will eat some emotional energy for me.

One thing this thing has really taught me is that I don't like uncertainty, like, I dislike it a LOT, and also that a lot of the operating in this is just DEALING with uncertainty.
Next month I am going to tentatively restart research, in the hopes that we're not chased off campus again before I complete this project.

The last week of this month I'm scheduled to help deliver Meals on Wheels and that's another source of anxiety; what do we need to do to keep the (often ill and always elderly) recipients safe when we have to go to different houses and in some place go into the house to drop off the food?

On “Me and Three Women in a Garden

Nice piece. As one of the "potential morons" in the faculty of a university, I admit I have some of the same concerns, some of the same distrust of "management" (administration and our state legislators). And I am also a bit concerned about reopening and what will happen with the virus. And yeah, I've had bitch sessions with my colleagues about particular administrators who "just don't get it" or similar.

I do notice some of the folks working on campus - well, when I am on campus and not working from home*. One of our groundskeepers is a graduate of our department (Botany), she and I would talk some times. (Our head horticulturalist is very cool - she grew up in American Samoa, has served in the military, has great stories, and is very knowledgeable about organic landscaping, she's my go-to person when I have a question). I do remember something I overheard that made me simultaneously proud of my department, but otherwise sad - a new custodian was moving to our building from another one and I overheard our soon-to-be-retired past custodian talking to him - "Oh, you'll like working in this department, " she said, "They say 'hello' to you when they see you and talk to you"

I mean, I never thought of us as the most polite or cultured bunch but really? Not saying hello to a fellow human being because they work a slightly different job from you? Weird.

(*I don't teach summers and am not paid, but I do research - though not this year I guess - and prep for the fall. This year that includes trying to figure out ecology labs that could be done as online simulations. I have a few but I admit I am not happy with the idea of maybe having to teach that way, though I'm not sure if I'm less happy with the idea of teaching in a mask and being very aware of staying 6' away from everyone and washing my hands after every class)

*Comment archive for non-registered commenters assembled by email address as provided.