Susan’s Salon: 2020 August 16/17

Another open thread for August! Please use the comment section to just chat about whatever you want. Susan’s Salon is posted early Monday (Sydney time which is still Sunday in most places) . It’s fine to be sad, worried, angry or happy (or all of those things at once). Please feel free to post either troubling news or pleasant distractions in the comments for this open thread. [However, no cranky conflicts between each other in the comments. Links, videos, cat pictures etc are fine – be nice to one another!] Whatever you like but be nice to one another 😇

Wear a mask or face shield while posting a comment.


48 responses to “Susan’s Salon: 2020 August 16/17”

  1. Almost done reading the Mission Critical anthology edited by Jonathan Strahan. So far only a couple of stories have stood out, one by Greg Egan and another by Yoon Ha Lee. The rest have been okay, but nothing particularly memorable. After that, it’s time for me to start catching up on the 2020 SFF short fiction magazines.


  2. So, the typewriter that joined my collection produced a new short story this week. Had fun reading it at our virtual monthly Writers’ Meeting. Now I need to scan the thing and OCR is so I can do a second draft.

    Eventually got the weirdness with my insurance and one medication sorted out… at least for another month, so that source of anxiety has gone to a lower part of the pile, for now.

    We’ve got a heat wave going here. I personally melt when the temps hit 80ºF, we’re supposed to break 93º today. When I was younger we only had weather this warm a few days out of the year, so central A/C is not standard. We have one room that we can keep cool, so I’ve already retreated to it for a nap. Next up, we’re going to go for a long drive, find a drive-through, and just toodle around in the air conditioned car while avoiding people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My sympathies. We’ve been having a heatwave for almost two weeks now and even though temperatures dropped slightly and we had some thunderstorms and rain, it’s still way too hot.

      Though hurray for the one airconditioned room in the house. I used to have an AC unit that cooled two adjacent rooms, too, until it broke down and we splurged on a system that cools three rooms in the house, five with open doors.

      Liked by 1 person

    • We have an older house so we have two wall units. They work really well, actually–just not in the bedroom. My wife and I both slept poorly last night because of it.


    • Sympathies for the heat too. Growing up in Michigan we didn’t have AC and it was only an issue for about a week at this time of year. We’d just throw on some fans or take a dip in the lake. Then I moved to Florida where AC is essential for up to 9 months of the year. I do not know how people actually functioned there before ubiquitous AC everywhere. The cheap old car I first got there had broken AC so if I ever got stuck in traffic I ended up drenched. Then I moved to coastal San Diego where it’s about 70°F year round, and I was always chilly until I got used to it. San Diegans would be melting if it got much warmer than that. I’d get coffee and they’d ask me how I could drink it. I was finally comfortable. Now I’m back in Michigan, and it still isn’t too bad here most of the summer. We do have central AC though. I think most newer houses around here do. I’m especially thankful for it after mowing the lawn. I’m less heat tolerant these days too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ridiculously prolonged giant heat here too. With no A/C because we didn’t used to need it here. Today’s thunderstorms (another thing we never had) didn’t help but at least we’re a long way from the firenado.

        I could probably come up with a thermometer based on the length and width of the credentials.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Cold baths were my go-to when I lived in places without A/C (especially when pregnant). That, and hanging around in shopping malls, which might be less of an option at the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cold showers have been my only relief. Hose myself down, then remain soaking wet and sit in front of the fan.

        Sometimes I put on a wet cotton t-shirt and sit in front of the fan. The humidity’s been up too, so that makes it worse.

        Ordinarily I’d go to the mall or a movie or both.


    • You guys are reminding me of my years in Utah. You know the old quip about “Yeah, but it’s a dry heat” — tailor-made for Utah.

      That’s where I got introduced to the “swamper”, which is ubiquitous in Utah. Nobody there has air conditioners — they have “swamp coolers”, aka evaporative coolers. Actually very effective, but only in places with very dry air!

      Here in TN, I haven’t had AC in about ten years. When I bought the place it had central air, but when that broke down I never bothered to replace it. I do fine so long as the air is moving, so I always have fans running. I’m comfortable as long as the temps stay below 90. Sadly we’ve had a lot of over-90 temps this year, but I’m still getting along okay!


  3. Denied the opportunity to watch “Cast a Deadly Spell” until I master the Turkish language, I dug up “The Last Action Hero” on Netflix.

    I don’t think I be seen it before and had heard fire things about it but, accepting that it’s an Arnie comedy, I didn’t think it was that bad. Arnie was out acted by everyone and Charles Dance hammed it up in the best tradition of English baddies, but it had enough story and laughs and action to be worth the two hours. Arnie as Hamlet alone, was worth watching the whole thing for.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, some good news on the pain in the side (quite literally). My doctor had me do some fecal tests. (Trust me, fecal tests are awful to deal with. That said, it led to some great sh*t jokes with my sister the next day, as she had to deliver them back to the lab. I won, as just before she got her door to her car closed, I called out, “Thank you for taking my sh*t!”)

    Anyway…the results came back, and one of them was that I’m positive for H. pylori. That bacteria is responsible for stomach ulcers, among other things. My doctor and I don’t think it’s the full cause — my gallbladder still has some suspicion aimed at it because that’s the side with the most pain — but it might be a major cause, so we’ll see. Once one of the two medications I need comes in stock at the pharmacy, I’ll start taking them and hopefully I’ll have an appetite again.

    I also see a gastroenterologist tomorrow, so I’m moving ahead on all fronts.


    • I highly recommend cholecystectomy. When I had my gallbladder out I did a bunch of reading, and I was shocked at how mysterious the functioning of the gallbladder still is. It seems that there are all sorts of problems that can end up being caused by one sort of gallbladder malfunction or another, and lots of doctors still don’t catch on.

      In any case, I hope they figure out your problem and get it conquered. If you do end up getting that gallbladder out, expect a few months before your guts really get used to the new situation. I haven’t had any trouble with mine, after about four months post-op.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Even if all the tests come back indicating there’s no problem with the gallbladder? That’s where I’m at right now.

        Anyway, I saw the gastro this morning, and she suspects it’s a combination of the H. pylori, some constipation issues, and an aggravated muscle — she said something about nerves, too. So the plan at the moment is to treat the H. pylori and the constipation, and refer me to the pain clinic for the pain in the side. Fingers crossed! (Something is very clearly going on in my guts because we just got the inflammation test back, and it’s through the frickin’ roof — but again, that could easily be a certain stomach bug.

        Thanks everybody for your well wishes!


        • Here’s hoping this will solve your issues and give you a much better quality of life. 🙂

          (I’m another for whom a cholecystectomy cleared things right up.)


      • @katster —

        “Even if all the tests come back indicating there’s no problem with the gallbladder? That’s where I’m at right now.”

        I am not an MD!

        But when I was doing that reading, I was amazed at all the wide-ranging and mysterious GI problems that ended up being due to gallbladder issues. Just something to keep in mind if your doctors’ current course of therapy doesn’t solve the problem. If you haven’t had actual attacks of bile colic — and you would know it if you had! — you can afford to try their plan and see what happens.

        (There is much more than stones that can be wrong with the gallbladder — mobility issues and infections and so on — and it seems that even in these “modern” days, nobody really understands all the effects it has on the GI tract.)

        “Anyway, I saw the gastro this morning, and she suspects it’s a combination of the H. pylori, some constipation issues, and an aggravated muscle — she said something about nerves, too. So the plan at the moment is to treat the H. pylori and the constipation, and refer me to the pain clinic for the pain in the side.”

        Good luck!


      • btw — when I said “I highly recommend cholecystectomy”, I didn’t mean that to come across as “you should definitely get a cholecystectomy”. I meant it as “cholecystectomy been berry berry good to me!”.

        Sorry for not writing more clearly!


  5. Other than being overly hot all week, it hasn’t been too bad here. Although I’ve been sweating in places I don’t recall sweating in before. Nearly 10 PM and it’s still 85 indoors. Ice cream time.

    I was extremely happy with the ending of Agents of Shield and haven’t deleted it off the DVR yet b/c there are some bits I want to watch again.


    • It’s been ugly here, too — temps right about the 110 (43) mark the last few days. The one thing the valley has that the bay doesn’t is built-in AC, so that’s made things a bit more tolerable. Last night, we had a spectacular light show and thunder that shook the house about 1 AM — I hear our friends in the bay got the same show a few hours later. That’s a bit uncommon for a California summer. Right now, it’s warm, a bit on the humid side for CA, and an 18 mph/29 kph wind out of the northwest blowing a whole lot of hot air.

      Yet more strangeness in what is already a very strange year.


      • The thunder woke us all up Sunday about 9. It’s so uncommon it took me a second to recognize. Didn’t see any lightning though. And then it sprinkled for a few minutes while the house was in a sunbeam. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        The humidity is killing me and no lovely breezes from the ocean either.

        Still, could be worse — we’re not near either the firenado or the highest temperature ever recorded on the planet.

        2020.. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


  6. I ran 29 miles last week. Maybe. It was probably more. I finally moved into the modern era and got a GPS run tracking app as opposed to figuring out route distances via using Google maps. It turns out that the GPS says that running route that I thought was four miles long is actually four and a half miles long. I’ve also been running considerably faster than I thought I was. I’ll be running what I thought was my five mile route tonight, and I won’t be surprised if it isn’t longer than that.

    I also signed up for a virtual running event called “Run the L”, which is “run the distance covered by Chicago’s L-train system before October 4. This was, in fact, the genesis of my using the GPS app, so I can track the miles online and send them to the event website. So I am now 4.5 miles in to a 131 mile running event.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So our parsley is as tall as me now (admittedly, not a very great feat). I am not sure if the parsley really likes that particular spot, or if I have accidentally bred a variety of gigantic parsley, but I have almost given up trying to grow anything else in the herb garden. There’s some sage and rosemary clinging to life, but everything else just gets smothered by rampaging parsley.


      • So, our parsley is as tall as me now. Last night it came knocking on the kitchen window. It was too dark to see properly, but I’m pretty sure it was the parsley because chives have not worked out the trick to uprooting themselves yet….

        Liked by 2 people

        • angharad: So, our parsley is as tall as me now. Last night it came knocking on the kitchen window. It was too dark to see properly, but I’m pretty sure it was the parsley because chives have not worked out the trick to uprooting themselves yet…

          And then the murders began.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Of course, it turns out the parsley is just trying to warn us about the mint, which has undermined the entire house.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Chives were last planted here in the 90s.

      Every year, at least one stalk shoots up to about 3 feet, flowers a glorious purple, and then …

      The bulb uproots itself. Seriously, you pull on the flower to snap it off before it dandelion-seeds and it’s right on the surface.

      So if I were an editor (which I am!), I’d have to ask for a rewrite right up front here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My chives rarely get to that point. They did actually flower last year because it was a very mild Spring and Summer (in between occasionally bouts of stupidly hot) and the parsley didn’t go berserk. But mostly they cling to straggly life somewhere underneath the parsley.


      • Mr. LT suggests an idea for a sequel or prequel:

        “the parsley didn’t go berserk”

        … this time


    • I read this sub-thread to Mr. LT and by the time I finished saying “uprooting” and before I got to “themselves”, his facial expression could only be described as:

      “He gave a knowing smirk.”


  8. Meanwhile Alta California is on fire and Baja California is soaking wet from a hurricane.

    Proof that averages aren’t.


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