I’m Painting Walls

Yes, I DO know who also painted walls: Anyone too poor to pay a painter.

Though right now our biggest problem is even getting estimates for ANYTHING.  Apparently all the Americans who still have jobs are doing home improvement.  Which makes sense, if you have to work from home.

I just waited in a line of 10 to get paint mixed at Home Despot Depot.

Kate Paulk helped talk me out of a dead end in plotting yesterday.

Also oh, yeah, tomorrow I’ll be presenting one of the Prometheus award at NasFic and after will be on a panel. F. Paul Wilson will also be there.

Also, if Overgrownhobbit reads this, can you resend the post.  I can’t remember your real name, so I can’t find it. (sigh.)

I think that’s it.
Sorry for more or less skipping out on you, but I want to be done with home stuff so I can write.

205 thoughts on “I’m Painting Walls

    1. Actually, the colorless dog (black is the absence of color). You win if you start seeing him in violet (preferably with aquamarine polka dots). He is like that Harry Potter monster that you used the ridiculous spell on.

  1. Glad I’m not the only one who calls it Home Despot! Ran down there with Papa Raptor yesterday… don’t even get me started.

    1. I’ll call it Home Desperate; there’s a regional chain that’s good competition for much of what Depot sells, so my money can go to a local vendor, and regional manufacturers.

      My niece’s husband works at a Sherwin-Williams plant, so I went to their store in town. Had to match paint colors and the guy was really fussy; the automatic system does a fair job, but his experienced eyeball got it dead on in a few iterations.

        1. We’re lucky here. There’s a local Ace maybe 5 min. away that was an independent family owned store, and still has that character. Haven’t had to set foot in a Home Despot for years.

    2. I like shopping at HD because I saw an article some time ago in which it stated that the FedGov came to them and said, ‘Sign up with us! You’ll get lotsa our (well, the taxpayers’) money!’ And HD said, basically, ‘No thanks. Our market is the consumer. And we don’t want to have to deal with the red tape.’

      Unfortunately, their variety of stock isn’t as broad as the other major chain in the area and their prices seem to run @ 10% higher.

      1. It was better than that. They actually refused to sell to the FedGov or any of their employees to prevent being subject to a bunch of laws.

    3. So do we … and in the next couple of months, we’re likely to embark on a grand repainting of the interior … before Neighborhood Handy Guy starts sorting out the ghastly popcorn-texture ceilings, and installing the vinyl flooring that I can only afford a rooms’ worth at a time…
      Painting’s not a bad job. I did enough of it in the military, as the unit facilities manager. It’s just tedious, doing the preparatory taping up, and moving furniture and everything off the walls, and patching the holes. After all that, the painting is a doddle.

  2. Read several stories where a painting was a doorway to another place (or world).

    Perhaps, you should create a wall painting that leads some other place. 😀

      1. While Roger Zelazny used them, they exist in other fantasy.

        In Alma Boykin’s Familiar Tales, one artist created such paintings.

        Fortunately, her paintings lead to nice places. Even more fortunately, the inhabitants allow her to visit but not stay. 😉

        1. It has been many a year since I read any Lovecraft but I do not doubt he would employ such a concept.

            1. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath is full of nice places to visit, and has a good moral at the end.

              Of course, there’s also a lot of beings that would suck your soul, but there you go.

              1. The University that sponsored the expedition to Antarctica had to have had some amazing facilities and faculty to produce the cold weather engine, drill, etc., given the tech of the day.

                If, back in the day, you wanted to become an oilman, there probably would have been worse places to study engineering.

                And he used some places that were or are fairly lovely locations to visit in RL.

      2. Zelazny was definitely not the first to use that. Heck C.S Lewis used it to get our protagonists back to Narnia in Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Beloved by my daughters partly for its first line: “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”)

      3. There’s the Pattern in the dungeon under Amber, the underwater Pattern at Tir-na Nog’th, the uber-Pattern in the Grove of the Unicorn, and Corwin’s Pattern at the edge of Chaos…

        1. No, the underwater pattern is in Rebma. Tir-na Nog’th appears in the sky over Kolvir when moonlight strikes the first three stone steps leading to it. If a cloud passes in front of the moon, Tir-na Nog’th vanishes and anybody in it falls into the sea. Dworkin’s Primal Pattern is in the Grove Of The Unicorn, one layer of reality above Amber. The Uber-Pattern exists within the Jewel Of Judgement.

          The implication is that Corwin’s Pattern has spun off a new center of Order, and is no longer at the edge of Chaos. There are intense Shadow-storms as the new 3-pole multiverse settles out.
          “I give you this withered rose that I have borne through Hell, casting it into the abyss. I leave you the rose, and the twisted colors in the sky. I will miss you…”

          1. Rebma. The squishyware refused to cough that up yesterday… I need to re-read the series again, obviously.

            I still wish Zelazny had followed up on Corwin’s Pattern. Though it might have been as bad as the Merlin series.

    1. A certain Coyote has had the ability to paint portals, though they didn’t work 100% and that wasn’t his intent.

      1. I suspect it wasn’t his paintings that created those portals but the roadrunner creating the portals. 👿

        1. Possibly, but I do recall at least on instance of something coming through the portal to hit the Coyote.

      2. His were selectively functional, in accordance with the Rule of Funny.

        (And yes, it did take a Will save to keep from linking to TVTropes for “Rule of Funny.”)

      1. Y’know, I sometimes think Wile E. Coyote doesn’t get half the sympathy he deserves. Dude just wants to eat and the very laws of physics keep cheating to screw him over…

            1. Or that ACME is a division of Roadrunner Enterprises. That was on the side of the delivery truck in the last cartoon.

          1. The gods first make mad those whom they would destroy. Poor Wile E. Coyote he really never gets a break. Kind of like a comical Sisyphus. Really one of Chuck Jones greatest creations.

      1. I don’t want a doorway to summer, for chrissake! I’m in Texas! I’d settle for a doorway to a temperate spring or fall, thankyouverymuch.

        1. Dean Koontz offers a door to December, but that probably wouldn’t be much better.

          1. December? I understand it is a lovely time for visiting Australia, New Zealand, Buenos Aries …

              1. One of the coldest July days I’ve had was down at Wilson’s Promontory. Nothing between us and the South Pole but Tasmania, and I think Tasmania had gone on holiday to Perth!

    2. Well, get Fluffy to start the fire, sit around, toast marshmallows, get the aardvark into the right mood, and he’ll tell you stories about some of the places that such doors led to.

      Much better to check the big book of doorways and use an existing one. Then you are prepared.

  3. Check; OK. 10-4.

    I’m so caught up at work, I think I’m going to go home to either persuade or cajole my wife to go to the doctor (every thing hurt yesterday) or clean something.

    1. Wife claims to be okay so I extracted the tow strap from nephew’s old car (long story) and am contemplating cleaning my office.
      Oh! Received a contract (or a link thereto) via email for old house so I most likely will be referring those of you needing housing in the Old North State, near sea level (the altitude, not the town), elsewhere. I don’t know, eg, if cuz has sold her aunt’s old house, but there is a large place three miles away that some horsey people have for sale; sort of Georgian (square columns, brick, two story).

  4. While it can be very satisfactory from an emotional standpoint, I am told that painting the walls with the blood of your enemies does not produce an enduring result, even if you do three coats.

      1. That whole “blood-red” thing has always confused me. Do they mean Venous or Arterial? Huge difference. Not to mention, often when I hear that phrase used to describe something that is red, I want to ask “You haven’t seen much blood splatter have you?” 🙂

          1. Appropriate yet potentially unsettling, like the time I pulled into the parking lot and realized the radio was playing “Bleeding Love.”

            Well, okay, that one still makes me giggle.

      2. The guys who redid our bathroom did stone gray with a sort of black-gray and blood red accents. Blood red instead of the black-gray would have been rather nice, if odd.

        I’ve tried to get pictures, it’s too small to do it justice.

      3. You’d have to put the polyurethane on really fast to preserve the color. Maybe just to a small section in blood, then poly over it and work your way around the room.

        Probably ought to do some test panels first.

    1. given the tone of earlier messages, I laughed when I saw this title thinking of Frank Sheeran who’s’ supposed to have killed Hoffa. They would ask of a hit man: “I hear you paint houses.” With blood of course.

  5. I hate painting. Yet I’m the one who still gets stuck with it. The only way painting gets paid for around here is if my other half dies. Since I want to keep him around … sigh …

    1. Painting is much preferable to the plaster work you have to make sure is done before hand.

      1. Right?
        Having done it a few times in home renovation, the mud work requires experience and a deft hand to do well. (And swiftly.)

            1. Amen!

              Actually, the more I work on this house, the more I’m convinced it’s also for contractors to hide the fact that they were smoking the wacky tobaccy, and not a single room is square. The alcohol involved in dealing with un-plumb everything leaves me plumb tuckered out…

              1. *shakes head*

                My 1908 *has* plumb and straight corners, edges… except where the 1960-70ish “renovation” borked things. I really need to find more minutes in the day to shunt towards home repair and maintenance.

              2. When my parents had curtains made for their house, the reaction of the estimators who measured it was “My God, the rooms are square. That NEVER happens. Who built this house? I want to hire them!!!!”.

              3. My house is pushing 75 years old and, before us, was owned by a single family that was well-supplied with DIYers. The structure is sturdy, but every time we have to have an electrician/plumber/HVAC in, they always just walk out shaking their heads…

                1. I have not (yet) truly encountered that. Perhaps that is for the best.

                  I already have $HOUSEMATE a bit… bemused/concerned/horrified.. with what I try to keep around and do drink. (ANYTHING anise/fennel/licorice flavored is all mine. He *insists*. Vehemently. Repeatedly. Pointedly. But prefers I partake in his absence. Preferably a few miles upwind. And, well, he likes *sweet* and I seem to have a fondness for ‘bitter’ – but NOT the EVILBITTER of grapefruit. And more than one person claims I have some strange fondness for ‘medicinal’ flavor. Humans are weird.)

    2. The garden shed is using metal siding because we’re tired of having to repaint every few years. I loathe the Home Depot paint-with-primer in it with a burning passion. If I don’t stay with Sherwin-Williams, I’ll have to check the local competition. They sell the Behr brand, but I don’t know if the integrated crap was a HD special or Behr’s half-bright idea,

        1. Diamond Home Improvement for us. K-falls and Grants Pass. They sell a lot of Oregon product and deliver for a fair price. (Not cheap, but $75 to move a truckload of lumber to our place (40 miles from town) can be cheaper than getting it myself. The woodpecker resistant siding comes from Roseburg, and the .wp-proof stuff comes from near Portland. Works for me.

          1. I once happened across a recipe for making DDT and it was amusing as it used a particular NOW hard to find item as it was the more readily found item. “Progress”… I didn’t go chasing to see how to synthesize that item.

      1. Other than the whole “Does DNA survive?” question, painting your house with traditional oxblood paint (“for historical reasons”), and just including the blood of your enemies, would probably be a good way to frustrate people testing for body fluids in your house. I mean, presumably the whole house would show up as one big Luminol flare. Maybe vary the coloring proportions if you paint your flooring, so it wouldn’t look so suspicious. And I suppose veterinarians or a lot of farmers are used to drawing blood from cows without killing them. It even worked for the Bantus.

        That said, I bet there are reasons they stopped using oxblood in paint. I wonder if it attracts animals?

        1. Actually, now that I think about it, wouldn’t traditional buttermilk paint also constitute a body fluid? Does it show up on Luminol tests? (“Asking for a friend…” – Nah, just curious.)

            1. Once upon a time to the power plant (a ‘peaking plant’ so operation is intermittent) had a tour and gave away “blue” LED flashlight thingies… that did a dandy job of lighting up bleach & detergent boxes & paper… and, well, anything with fluorescent additives to try to make it BRIGHTER. Proved amusing… for a few minutes, anyway.

              1. Down in El Paso I found out that scorpions glow in ultraviolet. (So does cat pee and a bunch of other things.)

                So the kids all got UV flashlights.

                Really freaky results on bleached clothing!

                1. At a con that is no more (long before COVIDiocy… more TSAidiocy and such) one of the con runners thought he was being clever by disguising his gin & tonic in a typical water bottle… overlooking how much UV lighting there was and that tonic fluoresces. *Ox* noticed….

                  [That con was also amusing as ox was inebrai.. inebari… snockshe,.. smashed – and talking with head fo con security, when ConSec got a call about someone. It was summed up, roughly, “You might be drunk. We have to go deal with disorderly.” Ox slow, but not so slow as to not realize that was a Really Good Time to switch to water. After Mr. Disorderly was dealt with, that was noted… with appreciation.]

  6. I used to have a big hardware store just a few blocks away from me. But it was an OSH, so…

    It doesn’t look like Ace will be putting in a replacement store at that location.

  7. This is a bizarre summer for construction. My parents are building a house, and they got stood up by two different concrete contractors to do the foundations.

    So they’re doing it themselves… Happily, step-father has years of construction experience.

    1. We honestly can’t get estimates. They come, look at the porch, say they’ll email an estimate…. and disappear.
      And WE NEED the window sills (some of them over the porch, but all of htem, really) replaced. And we can’t do it ourselves.

      1. Guy I talked to in the neighborhood the other day – construction truck, small company – was doing a covered patio at the back of a neighbor’s house. He said he has NEVER been busier.

        1. Son is working 4 – 10s Monday through Thursday, then working another 10 Fridays for 50+ hours (he’s shift supervisor so he clocks in early & clocks out late for paperwork). Works for local cabinet building company. Was some complaints on NextDoor app that those whose home’s original contractor used the local companies cabinets won’t do any small custom jobs locally. We had no problems getting a small custom cabinet for the bathroom 30 months ago (our cabinets are custom from this company, in 1990). Really suspect they weren’t turned down, just it would have been scheduled way, way, far out. Or came out “sorry we’re currently too busy”. VS “we don’t ever”.

          Reminds me of when we had to take out our trees out front due to the 2017 ice storm that roared through. We contacted 8 tree services heard back from 6 of them, finally. Four were “sorry too busy thank you”. Two bids, one was 1 1/2 the other one, if we delayed. The other one was less than 1/2 the other one if we took an immediate time slot. We took the immediate time slot. Paid $4k instead of 9 – 10K. For about 18 months tree services were unavailable as they worked through their back logs.

              1. You might be surprised. Urban Lumber in Springfield Oregon does just that and uses them to make furniture. It’s a way to get hardwood relatively cheap.

        2. A friend of Sib and Sib-in-Law came over to talk about something else and saw the play-house S-i-L built for Red 2.0. “You do anything else?” S-i-L showed him some framing, some room-finishing, and other things. Until regular work resumes, S-i-L now has a full time job helping the friend build custom super-treehouses and play-houses at “Dang, that’s great!” per hour.

      2. See also: roofers, concrete guys, plumbers, and electricians

        Around here, concrete guys are the flakiest. They’ll often actually show up. Then a couple of trucks dump loads of sand and socks on your lawn. Various trailers with equipment appear. Then a couple of guys will make a mess of everything they can reach for an afternoon, and vanish. The contractor won’t answer his phone or return a message. After a couple of weeks the equipment vanishes, leaving the mess behind. A week or two after that, they present you with a bill, usually including a substantial extra for “helpers” you didn’t agree to and who never showed up anyway.

        The trick here is to get some handyman outfit to give you a quote for cleaning up the mess, which you mail to the concrete guys instead of a check. Though nowadays they’re all probably set up for credit cards or one of those phone-app-payment schemes.

      3. We had that sort of thing last year. Insurance company kept demanding “Do, X, Y, and Z!” and finally $HOUSMATE called InsuranceGuy and asked if they really wanted that done, WHO to call about it, since MANY (and not 1, 2, Many counting, either) would answer the phone… and do nothing. Or MAYBE come out.. and THEN do nothing. Finally found a new business (Nextdoor was useful at least once… ) that dealt with it… and then we told that insurance company to go [modulate] itself.

        I think more would have been done, but The Great COVIDiocy screwed everyone over.

        1. I had that last year, the Insurance Co. cancelled my policy as my roof was “too old.” No one else would cover it either (I looked.) Roofers said “this roof is in great shape, why are we here?”

            1. I did metal as well, hurricane and fire resistant, and nice and shiny to repel a bit more Florida sunshine.

      4. Sad thing is, sills are easy, but pretty much require spendy tools. I do wish y’all were closer, that’s a “couple a day” job for this particular amateur.

        1. I’ve had to do a few of mine.
          The house was “stuccoed” by nailing expanded metal lath over the existing clapboard siding then layering the concrete on . . . over parts of the trim, sills etc so in some places there is an inch or so of trim showing of a 4 inch wide trim board.
          Yes, I do curse a lot when working on the place, why do you ask?
          The last two windows I worked on I managed to not have to replace the sills or trim . . . epoxy was involved though.

    2. Construction was getting busy in 2017 and was full-blown backed up in 2018. When the economy started to recover, people around here started to think about construction, and got contractors. I did a new well in late 2016; no problem. The trench to connect it to power and to the house lines occurred a couple of months before I was ready, because it was get it done then, or wait a long time; July 2017.

      By ’18, it took 6 months before I could see the contractor for my solar system mount. (Needed some deep holes and skilled people to set the whacking big posts in concrete.) That guy could not get a trench done for his septic system, nor get a plumbing contractor in.

      ’19 was better, partly because the trades kept hiring, and outfits from depressed cities (Portland, Medford, Roseburg) were coming over and taking jobs.

      It all blew up with Kung Flu, but I’m seeing more contractor trucks out and about. Not so many as before; the county gummint offices were jammed beforehand, and they went to a limited restaff. I’d also assume that some of the contractors closed down for good; why should the restaurants be the only ones to get screwed?

      So for 2017 to early 2020, you can blame Trump for difficulty in getting contractors. The guy just had to get the economy rolling, donchaknow?

      1. I’m at the opposite end of the regulatory stick – though the budget for the panels and inverter has slipped through the cracks, I’m still doing the wiring. The Code Gestapo declared they have no interest in anything that runs on less than 110V or is DC.

        Unfortunately I’m not in a good location for solar, but I can mount enough panels to run basic lighting, some USB and cigarette-lighter charging sockets, and dump the excess into the 48V element in the water heater.

  8. Ah, the joys of home maintenance. (Mine starts next month – even the $SPOUSE$ does not insist on my working very much in triple-digit temps.)

    I would observe, though, that painting a wall is at least marginally more enjoyable than banging one’s head against it.

    1. Banging my head against the wall is what plumbing does to me. I hateses the plumbingses, yesss.

      I suppose a new install would be OK – but getting into and behind and unsticking the stuck, and redoing the weird because something 50 years old could not be unstuck within the constraints of cabinet and reach, is very much not my thing.

  9. Day late, dollar short, but I can’t recall where I parked the TARDIS. Mrs. Hoyt, here’s something more immediately practical on the beating the black dog, than my go-to Germanic fatalism.


    Sending the post. (My user name is my e-mail addy for future ref. Myself, I require forgetting a name at least four times before I remember it. Wrong. A kid I know spent three years paying me out *awesomely* for that.)

  10. My brother was painting our house the past two weeks but today he had his appendix out instead. I’m glad he is going to be okay.

    1. The filking was also very nice. Some really good songs, and I can listen to Cecilia Eng all night.

      Tom Smith as room host explained that things shouldn’t get political, and people abided by that. (I like people being civil and adult. It’s like, normal and stuff.)

      I have no idea what the other panels and parties and activities were like, but Friday night seemed pretty good.

  11. “Oh, during World War Two I know them all
    There was Roosevelt and Churchill and De Gaulle.
    But one day I nearly fainted
    I was having my house painted
    There was Hitler hanging paper in the hall!”

    From, “The Liar” by Tommy Makem, based on an older song recorded by Elvis, among others.

  12. I am glad you are feeling better! I have learned many things from your blog over the years. E.g., tonight, with son’s help, I learned how to set up and use a Discord account so that I can watch the award presentation and panel in the morning (10:00 a.m. my time.) Thanks! 😉

  13. meanwhile in China. Chungking China is under water. Chungking to give some perspective has about the population of NYC. The three gorges dam is downstream. More rain is expected. Agricultural losses are immense. China was facing famine before and is now facing catastrophe.

    1. Chungking is far enough upstream that it might not reach the dam.


      If the dam bursts, then poor Wuhan is going to get clobbered again. And the flooding might even reach all the way to Shanghai, on the coast. That would be horrific.

    2. Meanwhile, China is holding out on addressing its problems via cutting deals with the USA in hope of a more biddable Biden Administration come the new year.

      I expect the Trump Campaign to press Biden on taking explicit stands on his (son’s) Chinese paymasters that will paint him into a corner precluding such deals, although, as we know, our Mainstream Narrative operatives are quite adept at painting over awkward promises.

      This same dynamic will also affect our negotiations with the EU, Iran and other state actors.

      1. Eh…

        Unless Dr. Jill has particularly good political skills, her husband won’t be president for long. Any promises that Joe makes will be null and void at that point…

          1. Speaking of avoiding poison … this was the first of several segments featuring Dr. Harvey Risch, professor of epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the Yale School of Public Health, with Mark Levin on ‘Life, Liberty & Levin.’
            In later segments Dr. Risch expands on his argument for HCQ and rips Dr. Fauci’s handling of the AIDS crisis.

            Searching for Dr. Risch on the internet does generate a prompt for “Dr. Harvey Risch quack … which certainly gives pause to consider why an eminent medical school like Yale would have such a person on their faculty.

            Of course, we probably can essay reasonable conjecture as to that, eh?

          2. And by “Political” you mean “avoiding poison”

            Or strangling himself with a blanket? Exactly when ALL the security cameras have ‘technical problems’ and ALL the guards take a break?

      1. Another 3-4 inches of rain fell today on the headwaters if the Yangtze. If one of the upstream dams should go the surge might take out the 3 gorges dam. They’ve already lost bridges up there.

        Having the big dam go would be catastrophic but they’ve already lost the rice crop and had lost the wheat crop

        Mandate of Heaven. Good question. Plague, flood, famine, check. Perhaps the typhoon about to hit Shanghai would be the topper. I don’t know if the two floods would meet but wow

        Given they’ve caused huge damage to all their neighbors already by building these dams this could all be cosmic justice

      2. It’s a superstition.

        We are talking about it as a short hand for something, and have not nailed down exactly what we mean by it. At least not this thread.

        Whatever is going to happen, forecasting depends partly on a couple factors we don’t really know.

        Mao and maybe some others made an attempt to eliminate the old superstitions. How effective has this been for the younger cohorts? Secondly, what are the dynamics of the brainwashing, etc, that the current regime is engaged in?

        My sense is that the regime is stirring stuff in the US, and that may be a sign of desperation.

            1. Thinking depends on having enough information to draw good conclusions from, and enough time to draw it. Which is why I have to explain to my kids “do not walk under the ladder, there can be stuff on it that can fall” and then spend twenty minutes arguing “but I can’t SEE anything” and “but nothing happened last time,” or it can be shortened to “walking under ladders is bad luck.”

              Being brained by a falling hammer is, indeed, very bad luck. (In a manner that rhymes with Heinlein’s bad luck, even.)

              1. There are many quotations, from John Milton to Ben Franklin to Branch Rickey, all to the effect that Good Luck is the residue of design/preparation/hard work.

                It would follow, then, that Bad Luck is the residue of poor planning, failure to anticipate, and sloppy work.

                All of which are under the individual’s control.

            2. I had China explained to me many years ago using Hong Kong as an example, Keep in mind that US Cell phone usage at the time was probably about 10% of the population.

              “Half the people in Honk Kong use mobile phones and half the people in Hong Kong genuinely believe in dragons. Those are not mutually exclusive populations.”

              The Chinese are very superstitious. Mao failed utterly in eliminating that, In fact the only thing he succeeded in was killing a lot of people. He was good at that. Really, outside the cities, and not all the cities, the country is still much the same as before he took over.

              The Mandate of Heaven is the label Chinese scholars put on the inconvenient fact that imperial dynasties are not immortal. Since that removal has historically been caused by floods, famine, and disease, it’s still a very useful way to discuss possible regime change. The country is overwhelmingly rural, overwhelmingly poor, and in the midst of floods, famine, and disease. The rhythms of Chinese history are, if not immutable, obdurate.

              1. It’s also a way of identifying regimes that aren’t up to the job.

                Yes, the trigger event – if it happens this go round – will be extreme bad luck in the form of catastrophic flooding, on top of other bad events this year. But people will grant a lot of leeway in those sorts of things if the response by the government is a good one. Sure, a flood might have wiped out your village. But the government evacuated everyone beforehand, and got relief supplies in quickly. As a result, the people are sad, but also grateful for the government’s help.

                The government of Communist China has had a number of problems hit this year, and has not exactly been responding well. That’s where the potential problems start to arise, and when people start to wonder if perhaps its time to start thinking “regime change”. If Three Gorges Dam breaks, and floodwaters wipe out everything between the dam and the ocean (which includes Wuhan and Shanghai), then there’s a good chance that China will fumble the response. Even ignoring the difficulty of handling that scale of a disaster (and imo, even the US – which is the country that does the best job of handling logistics – would be hard-pressed to do so), there’s too much corruption in China, and too many people will be tempted to take “their share” of the poorly watched (at least, initially) relief funds and supplies.

                And the irony of it all will be that one of Xi Jingping’s signature issues has been attempting to combat this very corruption.

                1. Problem with talking about Winnie’s attempts to ‘do something about corruption’, he’s a communist and a wannabe nutjob Mao.

                  Corruption is baked into the thieving totalitarianism of communism. That he is brutally and methodically jealous of sharing power just absolutely ensures that information flow and decision making is going to lag serious difficulties.

                  1. Corruption is baked into human nature. Communism (and totalitarianism in general) merely fails to account for this.

                    In any case, Chinese will tolerate a certain low level of corruption. It’s even expected, as government officials tend to be poorly paid. Xi Jingping has been publicly going after some of the more spectacularly guilty, assuming his claimed reasons for picking his targets are correct.

              2. A Chinese woman recounting how, as part of the Cultural Revolution, she and a friend denounced a factory producing superstitious stuff. They got hushed up fast because it was for export.

        1. “It’s a superstition.”

          It’s also a pretty good synonym for “legitimacy”. And losing it is what us sophisticated moderns call a “preference cascade.”

  14. When what is now my office had to be remodeled due to water appearing where it was not supposed to be, DadRed caught me looking at paint samples at the ACE we were frequenting. “Do you want to change the color?”

    I did, but 1. we’d also have to re-do the trim and the doors and . . . 2. I’d have to repaint everything when Mom and Dad decide to sell the house, because I know darn well that having one room in deep blue-teal with lighter trim would be a no-go for realtors*. Yes, I know it would make the room feel smaller. I like that. I want a snug space for writing. Curse you, reality.

    *I was chatting with a neighbor who had observed the “renovation-looking stuff” that kept coming home in my pickup. He’s a realtor. When I mentioned deep teal on the walls, the look of horror was impressive. “No! Never do that, it will never sell, you need a neutral in the current neutral palette.”

    1. The funny thing is, I’ve heard that advice as far back as I can remember. Along with getting rid of old wood paneling, or the blue/pink kids’ room.

      But when I talk to folks who are actually buying houses (Military and associated) for themselves, what keeps popping up is stuff like “Yeah, I really like that one that had the all burgundy room!” or “You remember, that one with the dark blue walls and glow in the dark stars in the office.”

      1. Because I know my brain works this way:

        All except for one of the cases, the Big No No room was mentioned as a good point by the folks shopping. Only know of one house where they didn’t buy a house identified by a “the realtor looked at them funny” thing. That’s the one that they hired folks to repaint before they moved, so there was some kind of character to it.

        We bought the house with dark brick red and a TON of DIY woodwork in a range of colors, in the same room, and the only room we really want to fix is…the one that was redone for sale.

        1. >> “Only know of one house where they didn’t buy a house identified by a “the realtor looked at them funny” thing.”

          1. Here’s a secret: you don’t need a realtor.

            You can save yourself the 6% in fees by spending a couple hundred dollars for a couple hours of a real estate lawyer’s time and a standard contract.

      2. Last time we were shopping for houses, a bunch of listings had assorted rooms painted different vibrant colors, as if the previous occupants had been a rainbow and each stripe went in and did its own walls. They were very attractive, actually.

        Though what we ultimately did was buy for features unrelated to most of the wall decor and replace a lot of aged wallpaper with… plain white paint. Mostly to avoid clashing with anything else we decide to put in. The one room with wood paneling was definitely a plus rather than a minus, though. I am contentedly surrounded by it right now.

          1. And kitchens! You know all these terribly expensive and irreplaceable marble slab countertops people were putting in ten years back?

            The stupid renovation show let the let homeowners take sledgehammers to them because they’re so “ugly and out of date.”

            People are insane!

            1. Agh. That might — might — be justified if they were unsealed and damaged beyond recovery. But good grief, I tend to feel guilty about removing *plants* let alone breaking up a perfectly good slab of rock. Ugly? MARBLE?

          2. I renovate because we need to replace. We just go one step up. Like the carpet in this house was end of life BEFORE the cats did a thing.
            So, when we found wood cheaper than carpet (BEFORE installation costs even) what could we do? It was on clearance. We need to finish the floor to clear the garage.
            And we need to redo the porch because it’s dry rotted. It was improperly installed. We’re hoping to make it two level, to improve.
            That’s our philosophy and why we usually make profit and sell fast on real estate. When we have to fix, we find how much more we have to spend to “improve.” (Sometimes it’s not even more, like the floors.)
            This house was bought on a short sale and maintenance had been ignored for years, so….
            Oh, the guest bedroom got painted because it was a small room with DARK hunter green walls. It’s now a greenish yellow which is far more cheerful. (Though entire house MIGHT get painted off white before we sell. Who knows?)

        1. That sounds awesome!

          Eventually (TM), we’re going to paint the boy’s room blue, with stars. Over a third of the walls are window, already.

        2. wood paneling

          That is something I wonder about with family home when we have to sell when mom passes away. There is a lot of clear east coast Black Walnut paneling. Inexpensive in 1960, when it was given to dad for the house he was planning. Not so inexpensive now regardless of the lack of popularity of dark paneling. House isn’t dark either, because of the now popularity of large windows, and wall o-windows, that the house also sports.

      3. Thirty years later, I still talk about the house with the house with the tiger-striped yellow and mirror-silver wallpaper.

    2. You know, you can always just buy a lot of wrapping paper in your preferred colors and tape the wrapping paper on the walls. Like having a giant poster, except a lot lighter.

      1. I guess Athena’s feelings about posters would be important to know. And it’s not the safest if there’s a fire, although millions of teenagers cover their walls with posters without incident.

        1. Oh, and if you want to podcast or livestream, you can paint foam or eggcartons in your preferred colors, and put them on echo-ey or noisy walls for a sound dampener. Not recommended for all walls unless you are building a recording studio, but it would be very cozy.

          1. When I have to be on G-Meet, I move various stuffed animals onto the stacks of books on the dresser behind me. Thus far no one has commented, so it might be time for the life-sized lemur to make an appearance. (Or maybe I should get the wombat, put a little pulling harness on it, and see if anyone notices and comments.)

    3. Long ago I saw a room wallpapered with a massively blown-up picture of a forest scene, with a stream through the middle. Looked pretty cool to me.

      My neighbors’ living room ceiling is patterned in shades of gray like light clouds.

      When I remodeled my bedroom I painted the walls light green, and the ceiling light blue. The door frame is royal blue, and the window trim is oak.

      To me, paint on wood is a shame. Stain and varnish, always!

      1. Shower curtains work nicely, too– I was looking at the removable wallpaper, and ran into this:

        It’s now in the girls’ room, after the last curtain rod died a twisty death.

      2. In general, I agree with you about wood (indoors) if the wood is at all interesting, or covers a large area (moldings are generally pretty boring wood). But I have a soft spot for a certain kind of painted floors. The house I spent my childhood summers in had floors painted in dark green with white speckles. The paint was boat-paint, formulated to resist salt-damp (we were near the shore) and the white speckles were flicked on from a mostly dry paintbrush after the base coat dried. When the white speckles started to wear off, you knew it was time to repaint the floors soon.

    4. I was disappointed when $HOUSEMATE insisted that the ‘machine room’ be painted a dull beige rather than left the obvious “child’s bedroom” with ‘sky’ upper walls and ceiling. The machinery doesn’t care. And if it distracts the gremlins….

    5. What realtors believe and how people act are not necessarily one and the same. That said, I would not be surprised to learn the industry has studies/experience indicating buyer preferences for “blank slate” houses.

      OTOH, realtors often deal with folk who learn they’ve been relocated, fly in, look at a dozen houses in a day and pick one. Such buyers probably hire decorators to repaint everything.

      Only the very cynical would note that a realtor will often stage houses for sale, including bringing in his nephew a professional paint crew to redo all painted surfaces, taking the expense “off the top” when the house sells.

  15. Oh, hey, when I woke up this morning, WildEarth’s livestream from Africa had a pangolin show up. The pangolin was very cute! He came right out in the open!

    The amusing thing was that, probably because of their armor, pangolins move in zigzags — they walk this direction, then they stop and move at an angle, and then they stop and move at a different angle. Because they don’t have rear-view mirrors or much of a peripheral view.

  16. How long will I wait for the next Sarah Hoyt novel? Has the universe collapsed yet? If not, I can wait.

  17. My oldest son, as a young child, once painted the walls in base housing with the contents of his diaper. Neither Mom nor I were happy campers.
    And, Oh Lord! was that a mess to clean up and repaint. (I still think the Civil Engineers Housing Office was secretly laughing their butts off at us.)

    He’s now a professional artist.

    1. oldest son did that TWICE. Once the inside of the rather elaborate jogger-carriage, on the 40 minute long walk from the library to our place.
      I put him AND the carriage int he bathtub, hosed both down.
      Put carriage in veranda for further hosing down while he was asleep. washed kid THREE TIMES with soap.
      He was tuckered out and fell asleep, leaving me to wash carriage with hose-sprayer and detergent.
      Second time he was talking and walking at maybe one and a half and I DON’T KNOW WHAT POSSESSED HIM. I was on a call with an agent (one of the first to show interest) and he got bored, is my best guess. ALL OVER THE WALL OF HIS ROOM.
      Washed it and painted it.
      Weirdly second son never engaged in that type of endeavor, even though he’s FAR more visually inclined.
      Who knows?

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