Metatalktail Hour: Passion July 13, 2019 6:11 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! This week, I want to know what you're most passionate about!

As always, this is a conversation starter, not limiter, so tell us everything that's up with you! And if you have ideas for future metatalks, hit me up!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 6:11 PM (56 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Hey New Yorkers: are you weathering the blackout ok? I was in New York for the 2003 blackout, and it was definitely an experience. Hope this one is over soon!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:18 PM on July 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Right now I am passionate about the linen sheet set I made for the bed. I put them on it about 10 minutes ago and am longingly looking at the clock waiting for bedtime.
posted by hilaryjade at 6:46 PM on July 13, 2019 [9 favorites]

Not only is this the 42nd anniversary of the "Great Blackout of '77", it's one day after all of New York's stock indexes set all-time highs (which apparently didn't help any). And it's one reason I'm very passionate about living in California. West Coast is the Best Coast! And, honestly, I am otherwise lacking passion for anything else.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:46 PM on July 13, 2019

Great. I just wrote a very long post and hit the wrong button and deleted it. Damn! I am passionately ANGRY about that.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 6:53 PM on July 13, 2019 [3 favorites]

Are we allowed to cuss?
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 6:54 PM on July 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

We have a recurring fucking fuck thread for venting about US politics, so yes, I think cussing is allowed on Metafilter. Cuss away! That sounds really fucking annoying.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:01 PM on July 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Well the crux of it was:
1. I am not passionate about anything right now.
2. I am job hunting after moving cross country.
3. I just taught myself the very first piece of coding I ever learned, the strike through, and used it in my now deleted post.
4. I have ordered a beginning embroidery kit as a way to try it out as a hobby.
5. I hate that I missed the Metatalktail post on desks. Here is mine. We are living in my mom's condo following her death in January and the desk was hers. The photo over it is of her at her one year birthday party. We had it blown up to this size from very small and brought it to her surprise 50th birthday party years ago. I just ate some spinach dip and chips.
6. There were some other things, but that's all I will recreate for now.
7. HilaryJade, I am jealous of your new sheets and your sewing ability. Enjoy!
8. That is all.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 7:03 PM on July 13, 2019 [6 favorites]

I literally always want to see people's desks, favorite art, and bags/purses! So post them whenever you've got them, in any metatalktail thread!

(Honestly I'd make the topic "show me your $InterestingObject!" every week if that wouldn't be ridiculously self-indulgent and painfully repetitive.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:06 PM on July 13, 2019 [3 favorites]

I am passionate about my home, and right now, I am passionate about getting rid of extra stuff and appropriately organizing the rest. The current project is paperwork -- for decades I've been in the habit of opening my business mail, either paying what's due or else simply nodding thoughtfully at the information, folding it back into its original creases, and then dropping it into a banker's box where it will fade and moulder for the rest of eternity.

It's bad, guys. Like, there are credit card statements from 1998.

So now I am sick of these boxes, and I'm now finally being ruthless, and I have a ways to go but I've pared it down to a few binders of essential health and taxes and banking stuff. And it feels really good.

In other news, healing from surgery is going well (although I have a weird tender spot for like no reason... not even near an incision... is that normal?). But I have to tell you about this thing that happened.

So one of the most awful parts about having freakishly enlarged kidneys from polycystic kidney disease (and the outsized abdomen such a situation creates) is that people have often mistook me for being pregnant in various stages over the past 13 years or so. It's weird spending over a decade as a non-pregnant pregnant lady. It's all strangers want to talk about. Supermarkets, airports, hospitals, bus stops. Once in inland Alaska, on the desolate banks of the glacial Nenana. It happens all the time. Lots of rude but well-meaning people march up to me and demand to know all sorts of things about me: When am I due? Is it a boy or a girl? Is it twins? Or after looking for a ring and not finding one: Where is my husband/boyfriend?

For the record, I am a fun and clever and loyal person with lots of varied interests and opinions, but for 13 years, all strangers want to know is the details on my Life Within.

So this past week (three weeks after removing Giant Horrific Kidneys and now with my shirt hanging on me from the rapid weightloss and dramatic change in my shape) I was grocery shopping, wandering down aisles with the usual veggies and gluten free crackers in the top of the cart, and I'm minding my own business per usual, when I see Her. I've met lots of versions of Her, always the lady (of any age, any background, any activity) who stares directly at my belly and then whose face lights up, who approaches me to demand details on my perceived pregnancy. This one is in her 50s, in a colorful dress printed with enormous cabbage roses.

She points at me at belly height. Because the usual Her always does. I'm thinking, didn't anyone teach Her not to point?

So here it comes. The baby talk. I take a deep breath. I mean, it's a good morning. I feel fine and friendly. I've often scowled at people, or just gone along with the lie. It's been years since I've run away and cried, but that's what getting used to something will do. I decide I will tell Her it's a medical issue, that I'm on dialysis three days a week because of it, that I will reassuringly coddle her to the point of exhaustion as she apologizes for the faux pas.

And she says, "I like those gluten free crackers, too!"

So, yeah. She wasn't pointing at my belly. She was pointing at my cart. Like a normal person. Like a normal friendly chatty person who was shopping on a pretty summer morning, who happened to enjoy the same brand of crackers. And I took a deep breath, and we chatted about all things GF.

My dear mefi friends, that was one of the first times in over a decade that a person has chatted with me about some normal human non-invasive topic, without making a thousand different assumptions about me and the decades of perceived motherhood in my future. It made my day.

And it was lovely. I mean, the medical aspect of treatment etc isn't ideal, and I have some totally manageable scarring and a weird looking arm from the dialysis, and I can handle that. But my oh my: It's a blessing to feel a little more normal now and start living a life without the unwanted interruptions and inquisition.
posted by mochapickle at 7:27 PM on July 13, 2019 [51 favorites]

I am passionate about trusting myself, and about reading old comment threads on the internet (how do you think I ended up here). Two of my relevant old favorites.

Also, to a lesser degree, my dog, tending some of my old grudges, the greatness and beauty of my friends and family, trying to do the right thing, and sandwiches.
posted by sallybrown at 7:38 PM on July 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

mochapickle, my mom died with a similar amount of old financial docs I'm going to have to address this year. I may just take them all to someplace that shreds by the pound and be done with it.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 7:54 PM on July 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

In order not of importance but of how it occurs to me:

* They Might Be Giants. I don't think of myself as a band obsessive, but I really have allowed this band to wallpaper my life, and I can't say as I regret it.

* Ancient Egypt. The hideous minutiae of the family tree of the Amarna Period, which is more like a thicket; the meaning of funerary ritual in the Ptolemaic and Roman period, where the river of Egyptian belief met the sea of Greek and Roman practice.

* Research: that gorgeous moment when there is a piece of history and you know how to find out what you want to know and you are searching, and then it is in your hand. Finding something in an old newspaper or archive, or, oh, in an unlooked-for object, it makes me feel beyond time.

* Writing fiction: first, the moment it locks. Second, the moment someone reads what you have written and expresses their delight. Or terror.

* Fandom. This passion comes and goes; right now, it's here because it's a coping skill, if a weird one. Will trade AO3 names upon request.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:55 PM on July 13, 2019 [5 favorites]

i like big butts and i cannot lie
posted by entropicamericana at 8:00 PM on July 13, 2019 [7 favorites]

SallyBrown: I love sandwiches! What are your favorites?
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 8:09 PM on July 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

In no particular order ...

--Safety. Its my job, I love it, and am very passionate about making improvements and driving change through positive interaction. Not by being the Safety Police.

--Animals. Especially my pets, but really, all of them. Big, little, cute, scary, creepy, all of them.

-- Luge.

-- Food. Cooking, eating, high end, low end, whatever.. add beer and wine in there too.

-- This community. Y'all are the best people, truly. I evangelize about Metafilter a lot.
posted by Fig at 8:13 PM on July 13, 2019 [8 favorites]

KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat, I am so tempted to do the same! There's a place nearby that will process the contents of a bankers box into the teensiest little shreds for just $7 a box while you watch, swooning in a dizzying cocktail of delight and relief, and I can hardly wait!

But! I have to find a few more SocSec letters and tax papers from the past few years before I get there.... In the meantime, it's true crime podcasts and sort piles! It's OK!
posted by mochapickle at 8:38 PM on July 13, 2019 [4 favorites]

Food! Restaurants, cooking, food traditions, the whole lot. I just ate what I'm pretty sure was a 5 lb burrito.
posted by capricorn at 8:51 PM on July 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

I really, really love my job. It is not a long-term passion -- I am working in Quality Assurance and I would like to eventually move back to clinical work -- but it is the right place for me to be right now in order to get our mental-health system on track. One of my big responsibilities is documentation training, and I have discovered that I can evangelize about appropriate client care because it all relates -- if you are providing medically appropriate care in order to help a client function better in the community, if you just write down what you did and why, you pretty much create documentation that meets requirements. The issues has been that people are providing care that does not meet requirements, and then getting weird about how they are documenting what they did.

I did a new-employee documentation training on Thursday and it was nice to be able to weave in themes of client-centered care, recovery-oriented treatment, community re-integration, and respectful language. We work with clients with severe mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia) who also have major impairments in life-domain functioning (like homelessness) and I am so passionate about treating our clients respectfully and effectively. Because they can get better, but not if we are treating them like they cannot. I even managed to sneak in an admonition that part of our clinicians’ jobs is teaching community-based providers how to work with our clients, so that they don’t get siloed into county services forever.

The job I have is new for us, and no one has really done a structured new-employee training in the past. It was my idea to start it, and I love that I can be a voice with some authority early in the process saying, "Our clients matter. Their desires, strengths, and preferences matter. Work WITH them when designing treatment. Pay attention to their goals and strengths. Advocate for them and with them for the services they need and want. Teach them the skills they need and connect them with the resources they need to succeed. Set them up for success; do not just assume that they will never get better and so your job is just to keep them safe. Encourage them to take risks. Prioritize their goals, not your comfort."

So yeah. I am passionate about that.
posted by lazuli at 9:54 PM on July 13, 2019 [14 favorites]

*gestures in the vague direction of the backyard*
Do... I even need to say it?

The meet-up went great! I brought way to many plants even if everyone who rsvped had shown up (no shade here, life is complicated ttly understand if you can't hoof it to the Excelsior.) But I made some more local friends by handing out plants at the bar to neighbors after. I'm hoping to do this like quarterly? Maybe by the fall I'll have some houseplant cuttings of my many and varied pothos. I'm probably going to have a houseplant post up eventually, as I am a convert. Plants... inside my house... as well as out back... What a concept!

Not much went on this week because of the utter insanity that is San Francisco weather. It is raining... in July. What is this fucking England? I did have some adventures with a chayote, and then took some pretty pictures of some wet plants, because I had nothing else to do! I am despairing of my tomatoes. Pumpkin vine looks kinda neat though, and the corn is soaking up the rain. I don't know though, utterly unpredictable weather used to be the norm for SF, and... It's kinda nice that climate change hasn't killed that yet. Would like it if the constant damp would stop giving everything powdery fucking mildew though.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:02 PM on July 13, 2019 [6 favorites]

  • Donating blood. My blood type can probably save your life. Humans only please (no Vampires).

  • Travel. A Tardis would be nice. Would let me pack more than 3 ounces of shampoo.

  • Harry Potter. Sometimes I feel that Metafilter is the Hufflepuff of the Internet. It's the more kind, accepting part of the internet. Reddit is definitely the Slytherin of the internet. No question.

  • posted by mundo at 11:10 PM on July 13, 2019 [7 favorites]

    Finding ways to make our dumb ass broken healthcare system occasionally work.
    posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:33 PM on July 13, 2019 [14 favorites]

    I think of questions about passions as a very American thing.

    I was at a meeting at the university where I work recently where we were getting to know a new guy who had just arrived from silicon valley, so not very conversant with Australian culture or academic norms. He asked if we could go around the group and say what we were "passionate" about.

    Most of us rolled our eyes but obliged. Then we get to one of my favourite colleagues, who without missing a beat responded deadpan, "I'm in cultural studies, not tech, so instead of being passionate, I'm a cold, dead, hollow shell."

    So yeah, I feel a cultural inability to respond to this writing prompt. But if I had to, my answer would probably be cheese.
    posted by lollusc at 1:41 AM on July 14, 2019 [16 favorites]

    Oh, and libraries. Libraries are pretty neat.
    posted by lollusc at 1:43 AM on July 14, 2019 [12 favorites]

    Not a passion.

    TexMex food in the middle of the night, sitting on patio outside at Las Cazuelas Mexican Restaurant last Thursday night. (Friday morning, actually, but Thursday night for me.) Las Cazuelas is 24 hour Thursday-Sunday, I ride 11 miles every day (that IS a passion, but that's another story) I ride 11 miles every day, or every night, whatever, sometime between awakening and falling out, I take a spin. If it's like 3 AM or 4 there's usually not too many other people there and almost never anyone else outside, which is where I like to sit, lock my bike to the wooden table, go inside and order, load up a plate at the salsa bar and head outside and sit down, there on East Cesar Chavez Street, plug the headphones into the cell and listen to Barbara Kingsolver as she reads "The Poisonwood Bible" to me (a luxury, at a price I can afford, being read to by the author -- I love it) and go to town on a meal which would have my cardiologist fire me if he knew about it, so don't tell him.

    There is one sauce from the salsa bar that I have only eaten once, it is the hottest salsa I have ever eaten, it's not red but orange, I forget what pepper it is but that salsa is Death. It is Death. I have learned to love hot food since moving here from yankeeland but this is Another Thing Altogether, this is A New Level, it is perhaps A Plateau, it is to me The End Of The Line -- I am not going back to it. It is A Challenge I Will Not Face Up To. Though I have said that about every challenge that has come my way re hot TexMex, and have always returned.

    I asked Christina, the waitress there at Las Cazuelas, we're standing together at the salsa bar Thursday and she's telling me to try this one and that one and which is her favorite and to use lime, use lime, lime lime lime, and I had that big honkin' jalapeño on my plate and I asked Christina if many gringos shove those things into their head and she just laughed and said "No way." Though fact is that cooking them as they do does take a lot of the sting out of them. That jalapeño was as always the first thing I attacked, once back at the table, Kingsolver in my ears, I squeezed lime on it and downed that beauty in three big bites, threw the stem out into the street, clapped my hands together, rubbed my fingers together gleefully, and commenced to attack the chips.

    The enchiladas? Same as most any other TexMex joint. Doused in various salsa makes them sing of course. The rice is disgusting but the rice is disgusting at any other TexMex joint also. Dousing it with hot green salsa helps things along, in a big way.

    As I reported when posting those pics onto imgur, I came home from that ride 2.4 pounds heavier than when I left here, and I damn sure do sweat like a beast on the rides. (Though I replenish with water heavily dosed with electrolyte garbage in it so the sweat might be a wash.) As bad or worse than the weight is that I'm so damned stuffed with trashy, disgusting food that I don't want to stop and do my pushups etc and *that* is a problem. So I can't stop every night. But I *will* stop if I'm hungry, so tonight I've eaten a good fill of brown rice and lentils, thus I'll be able to just wave as I go by.


    It's really fun to ride ATX in the heart of the night -- I own the town. Not tonight, but on Sunday or Monday nights, it's mine. I love it. It's a beautiful city, a brand-new skyline, and many people complain about the change and wish it was "how it was" and/or "how it used to be" but that Austin is long, long gone. And I love love love the new Austin, though it definitely has lost its small town vibe. (Though all I've got to do is drive to Houston and spend a day or two there and I can't wait to get my ass back to my little city, where things are slow, and traffic isn't *near* what it could be, and is, just two hours away.) (I love Houston but I love to leave it, too, and head back home.) I don't always notice the beauty of my city but I've a lot better chance of seeing it in the middle of the night, no one else about, the hike/bike trail has some really beautiful turnouts and it's worth stopping and looking, and hopefully actually *seeing* what I'm looking at. So easy to look but not see -- if people noticed the beauty which surrounds us every damn day we'd be so happy as to kiss the ground. Or something. I try to see it.

    But. I'm really, really starting to want to listen to wailing, screaming, screeching music again as I ride, it's so pleasurable, I miss hell out of it, but it takes me out of the ride. And I know myself well enough to know that I *will* be taken out of the ride -- it's an altered state. Which is what I miss, obviously. It lets me, or makes me maybe, it lets me work so much more, ride hard as hell, blast the hills, etc and etc. But the asshole that lives in me is really freed when I'm in an altered state, and I'm more prone to foolishnesses of various description, and I'm prone enough to them anyways, especially if I don't meditate before I head out on the ride but even if I do. So far I've not given in to the music. But it's really hard, and moreso in the summer it seems.

    I want to listen to Cobain scream. I want to listen to Bleach. I want to listen to The Stone Coyotes, listen to Barbara Keith wail on that guitar, and sing like the rockin' angel that she is. I have always *hated* hip-hop and/or rap, I've made a point to loathe it, a couple of years ago Microsoft gave away 15 records every year, a kid calls himself Logic had a record The Incredible True Story which I listened to grudgingly and ended up digging fuck out of it, so my pride in loathing this stuff has taken a hit, and I'd love to listen to it LOUD on the ride tonight.


    My condo is absolutely right-side up, I re-financed it, 4.5%, dragging a bunch of money out of it. And I'm scared as hell; I don't want to waste that money. It's a weight. I close on it on Friday afternoon. I have spent hours and hours getting together all of the information which the mortgage company needs; it's a different land. I have this *huge* folder of paperwork from closing when I bought this place but I didn't have near what was needed by the mortgage company, so they have had to dance around with lawyers and lenders and make everything work, which is their job. I know I'll get hosed one way or another, as I don't know what/where this broker has his thumb on the scale with this closing cost or that one; I will learn from this. Ben Franklin: That which hurts, instructs. The broker is incredibly busy, he works with a real good friend of mine who makes his living in real estate, and a very good living, too, and he's known and worked with this broker over 30 years. I know my friend has my back but still, I'm a sheep among wolves here.

    I have obvious things -- this condo needs love and it's going to get it, already a new A/C system, I'm pretty sure I got hosed on the cost but it does help that the money is free, 0% over three years, I wanted to shop more but the A/C was dead and it's summer in Austin, I closed my eyes and told them to go on. I need to change out the electrical panel, because this thing was built in the 70s and it's got aluminum wiring and all of the boxes and switches inside the condo have been re-fitted but the main system needs changed out. One of my best friends is a contractor and I get to use his people and get his price, which is sweet. When installing the new electrical panel I'll run a heavy gauge wire up through my storage, through the attic, down the kitchen wall, and I can then have a tankless water heater; the current wiring isn't heavy enough. The contractor friend can install a water heater in his sleep, so once the wire is there he's on it. Another friend owns a cabinet shop, and these cabinets are garbage, and I think he'll let me use his shop to build new ones, and I'll tear out the old, blow out a few walls, install the new. This place is small, just barely enough room for two pair of shoes, but I've seen others do magic in this same unit by opening things up. I've worked in the trades most of my life, it's not like this is nothing but it's not huge, either.

    I intend to start in the john and then move to the bedroom and then attack out front, kitchen/dining room/living room. The john a total piece of cake -- a new vanity and sink and faucets, a new toilet, some electrical work but not much -- again, my contractor friend can do it in his sleep. I like my current light fixture and I've got a big honkin' mirror, which makes the room twice as large, the light fixture goes from dim to bright as fuck, which also makes that room huge. Then paint. Done. I put new tile on the floor and surround the tub/shower 19 years ago and it's like new. Five hundred bucks, max.

    The bedroom also a piece of cake. The biggest weight is that I'm letting go of a four poster oak bed which I intended to keep until I died, a beautiful oak wardrobe that I bought same time I bought the bed and intended to keep til I die, a walnut desk I bought along with the wardrobe, and, you guessed it, intended to keep until I died. The bed was the first thing I bought after my little ex-wife and I split the blankets, the wardrobe and desk inside a month after that. And they really are keepers, they really are life-time items. Except they are dark -- that is one thing; the bed and wardrobe medium dark, the walnut desk is brown. Dark makes small. It's a small room. That stuff is going to go. Also really nice side tables with okay lamps on them. Gotta go.

    And it's not just that the items are small. They carry with them 40+ years of emotional weight and I wonder what it'll be like to let them go, and I'm going to find out. I intend to build a new bed, four-poster, out of 4x4s and 4x6s, painted white, of course. Dead simple design, gorgeous. The carpet in there is in perfect condition, and will stay. Paint. Done. It's called a bedroom, see? So I'd like just to have a bed in it. A bedroom. A bed. Get it?

    Paintings on the wall, naturally, and I'm letting go of some gorgeous framed prints because I want paintings, not prints. And I'm almost praying for one sculpture, I'm doing my best to con my friend out of; he built it, he is an artist who works primarily in wood -- he's astonishing. I'd love to have that sculpture on my wall. I have another of his which is going to go out in the front area, smaller, absolutely gorgeous.

    Gene is something else, one of these people who are pure artists, he cannot stop creating, no matter what -- I've known only a few of these people, I've known a lot of artists but very few who just never stop, seems they can't. Obviously no one wants to but these people can't. Something else. Gene works mostly 3D but he got into paint for a while after running online into a painter I'm absolutely crazy about, Hans Hoffman -- I had no idea, I stop by Gene's place and it's filled with these amazing paintings.

    So anyways. Please pray that I can somehow break his hold on that one sculpture, though probably that's just a pipe dream, this thing is remarkable and he knows it and loves to live with it and I would to, were I in his shoes. Which probably would fit my feet, he's big as I am, a big honkin' galoot...

    Anyways. I'm afraid of money. What's really funny is that my credit is absolutely outstanding and I had no idea -- I just pay my bills ahead of time (goddamn, do I ever hate credit card interest) (or any interest, for that matter) and stagger on my way. I read one time a person said to think about money a little bit every day and then you don't have to make some big production out of it every month or week or year or whatever, and I didn't do that for years but in recent years it seems I take care of it. Online calendars absolutely rule, I've got reminders out the wazoo, I get pegged with emails every day, and they sure help.

    But I didn't start that paragraph to talk about calendars, I started that paragraph to talk about fear. Of money. Of foolishness. I have obvious things -- condo updates, a *lot* of dental work, some legal work to get nailed down, so if I die unexpected things happen the ways I'd want them to.** I'm pretty sure the dental work is going to be done in Mexico or Thailand, both countries have dental tourism down to a science. My younger brother got this major bridge and crowns and blah blah blah done in Tijuana for a thousand dollars, which is just insanely inexpensive. Daniel lives in Ocean Beach, he takes a train to the border, walks across, a taxi to the dentist office. Thailand is less expensive by a considerable amount but it's a little bit further away.
    **I've got four of my friends who have promised me that if I'm ever slack-jawed in some backroom braindead from a bike wreck or whatever, I've got four friends who've promised they'll take me out. All of them are clean/sober junkies, and while they are clean/sober a junkie never forgets*** how to get the goods, and they'll ease me out the door.
    ***Something that's really fun is riding around with a cleaned up junkie on a nice day, and listening to them as they tell you about how easy it'd be to steal that boat, and those ladders, and that outdoor furniture, and on and on and on. You can't imagine what they see -- they see *everything.* I'd guess cops see everything also.

    Warren Buffett says that if you want to see your money safe and growing put it into an account tied to the NYSE and while I'm not at all fond of Trump it seems the market sure likes him, but while I trust Buffett more than any other money person I have had terrible, terrible experience putting money into other peoples hands, into stocks, no matter whether I went with conservative or growth stocks I've always ended up hosed. And ever since I heard Buffett say that on a video online, my condo value has outstripped the NYSE, and by a considerable percentage, too -- there is only so much private land on the Colorado river here in ATX, and I own a tiny slice of it.

    My friend who set me up with this broker is working with another friend, buying houses at the bottom, fixing them and making them pretty and selling at the top, or close to it, and it's tempting to throw in with those two men, who I trust implicitly, and who would welcome an infusion of green. I've never really made money, other than when saving the world for Y2K and then in the 18 months immediately after that, when people loved my wingtip shoes and Eddie Bauer clothing and good haircuts and my bright shiny truck but the bottom fell out mid 2001 and I got deeply involved helping family, and then I went nuts, and then I died, and blah blah blah blah blah, and now here I am, 3:30 AM and I haven't ridden yet. Which, as you know if you've read any of this blather, is fine by me. So anyways, all of that has kept me busy, head down, watching my feet as I walk, riding the bicycle hard as I'm able.

    Telling you people all of this is scaring the fuck out of me, because what if I fall on my face and end up sitting on my couch, slack-jawed, drooling, scratching myself, listening to Dan Carlin tell me about WW2, and watching Bosch on Prime, and writing here for no real reason other than to show off my pics of that TexMex dump across town and look where it's taken me. Damnit.

    But I don't want to just toss this, though I'd guess you're not reading it by now. Regardless that, I believe I'm going to hit Post Comment (or whatever it says on that button) and meditate, then gear up for the ride, and head on out, leaving that MP3 player here, leaving the good headphones here, going to head out into the morning trying best I can to hold to whatever comes of the meditation -- sometimes I carry peace right on out the door with me, which is awfully nice, as you might imagine. We'll just have to see.
    posted by dancestoblue at 2:59 AM on July 14, 2019 [11 favorites]

    I feel a cultural inability to respond to this writing prompt.

    Haha I feel you! (You do not want Germans to get passionate about things.)
    posted by The Toad at 3:02 AM on July 14, 2019 [10 favorites]

    It has been years now since I worked directly for an AIDS service organization but I am passionate about defending the rights of people living with HIV. I have a copy of the Denver Principles posted in my cubicle at work and it is still relevant today over 30 years after it was written.

    today I am having some friends over and one is involved in the U=U movement (undetectable equals untransmissable). hopefully I can figure out a way of helping out. I would love to see the persecution of people living with HIV diminish in Ontario, which has a bad record in the criminalization of HIV transmission.
    posted by biggreenplant at 4:53 AM on July 14, 2019 [6 favorites]

    For many years, I've been really into biking and motorcycles. Not all motorcycles though; mostly my own eclectic fleet. In recent years, this passion has fallen by the wayside somewhat, mostly because life got in the way. But currently, we are the proud owners of TWO broken cars, and so I am putting my motorbike back together today so I can ride it to useful places in the coming week.

    Tinkering is not what it used to be. I've forgotten a LOT. And I wear glasses nowadays, and when I get sweaty and greasy they keep slipping down my nose, and I don't want to touch them with my grubby hands.
    Nevertheless I managed to get the engine back in the frame, now I'm taking a break from the usual, finicky job of getting the carbs back into place; it all sort of fits once it's where it should be, but until it is, it all looks like it will never ever fit, no way, no how.

    Fun times. I decided I deserve a big mug of Yorkshire Gold. It's the kind of tea that'll put hairs on your chest even if you're a reptile or a fish. After that, I'll go back to the bike and keep putting stuff back in place and connecting stuff to other stuff until there are no leftover parts and I have a functional means of transportation.

    I still love this bike though. It's the same one that carried me all the way around the Sahara, way too long ago. So many memories.
    posted by Too-Ticky at 6:07 AM on July 14, 2019 [6 favorites]

    I’m passionate about access to books and literacy development. All of my long term jobs have involved these in one way or another—teaching, retail book sales, educational publishing, and now, public library associate. I’m also a volunteer ESL tutor. It’s hard for me to imagine working at a job that doesn’t involve literacy development and/or book access in some form. It’s part of who I am.
    posted by bookmammal at 6:20 AM on July 14, 2019 [10 favorites]

    I may be a tiny bit passionate about social work stuff, but mostly I just get angry and rant about how city/state/organization is Doing.It.Wrong.

    My coworkers get subjected to the revenant rants alot. Here i I'm generally more chill, usually because I'm not being confronted with the absurdist reality of American social service in action.

    It really really isn't hard to treat people with respect and provide resources. It is in fact really simple!
    posted by AlexiaSky at 7:01 AM on July 14, 2019 [6 favorites]

    KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat, right now I’m on an old-school PB&J kick, but I’m anticipating tomato season, during which I pretty much only eat sliced tomatoes on thick, dark bread with Duke’s mayonnaise and salt and pepper. Can’t wait!
    posted by sallybrown at 7:07 AM on July 14, 2019 [4 favorites]

    sallybrown - that is MY kind of sammie!!
    posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 7:15 AM on July 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

    I spent several hours over the last couple of days putting photos of aquatic plant displays that I've done into folders. I'm teaching a short course on aquatic plants this afternoon and looking over the photos has reminded me how much fun I've had with them over the years.

    All the things I've learned by trial and error and all the beautiful things I've managed to do during that learning process. I still have a bunch to do in terms of the slide show but I've reminded myself how much I enjoy doing this particular piece of gardening.
    posted by sciencegeek at 7:16 AM on July 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


    Seriously - hand with me for a minute. I have coached all kinds of pool swimmers at all levels and I really like it but the part that I love revolves around questions like “how do I know my program is working”, “how do I decided to change things up?”, “when do you make a break and when do you hang tough?”, “how do I choose for short, medium and long term performance?”, “what are my opportunity costs at this juncture?”, “what don’t I know that I don’t know I don’t know?” And most of all “how do I measure the unmeasurable so that I can semi-educated guess reasonable answers to any of this?”.

    In short what are the Key Performance Indicators for a sport that we don’t have enough physics to model, pushes the limit of what we know about exercise physiology, operates in an environment that makes most equipment useless or extremely unwieldy and may well have little or no definite best practice at all.

    Everyone has a theory or a model or a philosophy but no one can actually prove that they’re right. And I want, no need, to know.

    KPIs my friends ‘cause measuring awesome stuff to make it more awesome is fan-fucking-tastic.
    posted by mce at 9:28 AM on July 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

    Another relevant passion of mine: how much I have loved watching Roger Federer play beautiful tennis over the past twenty-something years.
    posted by sallybrown at 9:33 AM on July 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

    The new library... still waiting for it to open....
    We talked about it with our dentist team at the last teeth cleaning.
    We talked about it during my last eye exam.
    We talk about it at the grocery store while in line.
    We talk about it with the neighbors, when the parents of soccer players make another block to find legal parking before the weekend game commences (the YMCA and the library are next to each other).
    We talk about it with our adult children when they come by to visit.
    I was at the temporary library this week getting reserves. Yes, they have been inside for inspections. Yes, they will be happy with the larger floor space, the updated systems, the areas for programs and computers and storage. And... they don't know when the opening will be, either.

    We walked past it on the way to the local fireworks display on the Fourth of July. Everything looks like it's in order, except for the chain-link fencing and the taped-up book drop (no one is taking check-ins, yet, but some people will never listen).
    The first opening date was fall 2018, then May of this year. There has been no word when the materials will be packed up and moved into the new location. So we are practicing patience, and enjoying the spacious parking in the shopping mall where the temporary library is housed.
    posted by TrishaU at 10:05 AM on July 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

    State of the Bike:
    Throttle cable, seat, tank and I'm done. Pretty good! But I'm tired and hungry now, and Stoneshop is making a nice-smelling stir fry with shrimps and vegetables. Maybe tonight, if the spirit moves me.

    I did get pretty far and more importantly, I got to the point where I was actually enjoying the process. Working on my bike gives me such a strong sense of ownership. I have seen and held pretty much all parts of this bike, possibly all. I can't fix everyting that can go wrong, but I know the thing pretty well. It feels like an old friend. It'll be nice to have it back on the road.

    Metafilter, if you're curious and would like to see what we look like together: this is how we roll.
    posted by Too-Ticky at 10:13 AM on July 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

    I have many interests, but music and food - consuming and producing both - are my only passions at this point.
    posted by Greg_Ace at 10:24 AM on July 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

    Today, right now, I'm passionate about decluttering my space, and I'm making significant progress. And discoveries, things that I'd long thought lost, but I'm not allowing myself to be distracted by them.
    posted by Halloween Jack at 11:51 AM on July 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

    capricorn: Food! Restaurants, cooking, food traditions, the whole lot. I just ate what I'm pretty sure was a 5 lb burrito.

    update: this morning my stomach made me regret the burrito
    posted by capricorn at 3:57 PM on July 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

    I wouldn't say I am super passionate up-to-11 about it but lately I've been enjoying taking pictures of all the subway station art in NYC and posting them to instagram. It's a fun way to see art and try to make my own photographic art/add value to trips I was already planning to take/see some areas I don't usually go to.
    posted by ferret branca at 3:59 PM on July 14, 2019 [4 favorites]

    That sounds awesome, ferret branca, I'd love to follow you!
    posted by capricorn at 4:01 PM on July 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

    Earlier today I was saying I need an obsession. I used to be absolutely obsessed with dog sports but my life has changed and I don't have the time or the money or the heart for it anymore, and nothing has taken its place. I loved wanting something so much, being so avidly interested in every aspect, having friends with whom to endlessly talk about it, and a brilliant dog I adored who made it all possible. I wish I knew how to find my way back to that part of myself.
    posted by HotToddy at 6:56 PM on July 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

    Also, re: the burrito--yesterday I had my first-ever Costco hot dog and I am still experiencing it today. Regrets, I have a few.
    posted by HotToddy at 6:57 PM on July 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

    How capitalism necessitates an oppressed underclass which generates surplus value extracted by assholes who pretend to care about you. Which used to be a hard sell, to get other people other than The Usual Anarchists to talk about, but now people are starting to nod along.

    Which is one of the reasons I'm such a nut about libraries. While I have a side rant about how the shift to getting more information digitally allows for capitalists to creep in like vermin (unfair to vermin!), the public library system in the US (and many other places) really is a pretty magical place.

    However, it's too white and it's too neoliberal as an institution, but I've been impressed it's even been allowed to exist at all. So I work to make it more just and more representative of the communities it serves and I'll talk your ear off for a solid hour about all of this if you let me.
    posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:26 PM on July 14, 2019 [16 favorites]

    Food is probably my #1 passion.

    Started making chocolate chip cookies with my older sister when I was in 1st grade. I remember her mixing brown sugar and butter together in a dish, handing me a spoon, and saying, "taste this." And it was good, very very good.

    My Mom would serve us fresh raspberries and cream, sprinkled with a little sugar, as an afternoon snack, or a morning snack, berries and cream. We had a raspberry patch, and the kids picked and Mom made that, plus raspberry pie.

    Every Fall, she would take us on a hike to the top of Mt. Pisgah, a small hill with a fire tower at the top (still there), and then to a local apple orchard to pick apples. Then it was home to make apple pie, apple crips, all the things you can make with apples in the Fall.

    When I was 12 or 13, I started making pies, using my Mom's old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, the one with the red and white plaid checkers on the front. 2 1/2 cups of flour to 3/4 cup of Crisco, pinch of salt, and ice water. My Mom and her mother, my Grammie, said I made the best crust they'd ever tasted, which may or may not have been true, but it encouraged me to try more.

    I started baking bread, which my brothers devoured. Then I was gifted a cookie making book (called "The Cookie Book"), by a neighbor lady who had had me over to help her make cookies. She taught me to cut up dried fruit like dates with scissors, dipping them in a cup of water to keep the fruit from sticking to them. I would make fancy cookies, petit fours, etc., and ice them with different colored pastel icing. Then I would make some instant iced tea, and go out onto the screened front porch, and eat fancy cookies, drink iced tea, and read a trashy romance novel, at our house in Maine, which overlooked a lake. My Mom used to laugh and shake her head at my airs, but I was 13, and lying on a chaise lounge with cookies was my idea of how fancy people lived.

    We generally ate well at home, steaks on Thursday nights (shopping night, Dad would make the steaks, and I would make a salad), a roast of some kind on Sunday afternoons, and a variety of standard American food, mixed with packaged food like Hamburger Helper and those TV dinners that came on the little hard beige plastic plates, which Mom saved for years. She still had about 20 of them when she passed away in 2011. Dad still used them as sandwich plates.

    My son's father was fond of pork, so much so, that I got turned off from it for a while, after we split up. I once counted 30 lbs. of pork products in the freezer, and it wasn't the good stuff, either, he insisted on buying cheap gristly cuts from a store that I didn't enjoy shopping at, mostly because their meat section wasn't up to my standards. My Dad was a butcher for a while, as he worked his way through college, and he knew meat. I'm not the world's expert on meat, but I know I hate chewing gristle.

    My next long-term relationship was with a vegetarian, who was sometimes vegan. I took library books out, books on Indian cuisine, all kinds of vegetarian cookbooks, and learned how to cook tasty dishes that had no meat or fish. It was kind of a bummer not to be able to eat meat at home, tho' I did order it when dining out.

    My current husband, Mr. Mon Dieu, will eat just about anything, except cottage cheese. I'm cool with that. I've run the whole gambit from cream puffs filled with homemade vanilla pastry cream, to apple galettes, to pulled pork and homemade corn tortillas, to naan bread and homemade saag paneer, to Thomas Kellers short ribs cooked in wine sauce. I've tried just about everything I can think of, except I am not a huge cake baker, and I don't decorate cakes very well. Since I now have diabetes (hereditary), I have been watching my cake eating anyway. I've lost almost 10 lbs., and my blood sugar was at its lowest point in months this morning. I did a lot of walking on Saturday at the local strawberry festival, and just enjoyed some cold quick oats with milk, and 4 big sweet strawberries, no sugar. 28 grams of carbs for the oats, a smidge more with the milk and berries (I am allowed up to 45 grams per meal).

    Last night I had tacos made from St. Louis style rib meat, with a fiery jalapeno and pineapple hot sauce that I made 2 weeks ago. I froze some, and kept some out, and it only gets hotter as it sits longer. I have to remember that it's a hot sauce, and to use it sparingly, as it is thicker than most hot sauces, and resembles a salsa. But so good! We were watching the taco show on Netflix, so I had to make some. My husband chose to eat his rib meat off the bone, with potato salad on the side.

    For dessert, we had cherry clafoutis, made with Rainier cherries, and a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. Clafoutis is made with a batter similar to crepe batter, but with more eggs, so it's like a custard. No crust = less carbs. I just calculate the amount of sugar in the recipe (1/2 cup) and divide it by the number of portions, and know that 1 tsp. of sugar = 5 grams of carbs. I'll be interested to see what my A1C number looks like in August, as I've increased my metformin (dr.'s orders, 2 months ago), and been counting my carbs and walking up and down the hill at least once a day. Still a long ways to go in terms of weight loss, but I'm getting there. It's an emotional struggle, loving food and cooking projects, and trying to rein in the sugar and fat and all those things, without feeling deprived. My stupid thyoid was also low, so been taking a pill for that for a year, and it seems to be better now, but it also didn't help in terms of feeling too tired to exercise, metabolism, etc.

    I also love vintage shopping, and am going to 3 shops today with a friend, who is driving up from New Hampshire. I'm taking her to my favorite used jewelry places, and then we are stopping for lunch at a Thai place, which I've never been to, but it has great reviews. Maybe I'll find a secret treasure!
    posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:21 AM on July 15, 2019 [13 favorites]

    Marie Mon Dieu - what a lovely walk through your food history! Thank you!
    posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 6:34 AM on July 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

    Even though my MetaFilter handle is a reference to photography, and I have a small collection of cameras (at this point, they're mostly unused and in need of charging), music is my passion. Electronic music makes my brain go buzzy (in a good way), I love a good beat, baroque music makes me content, and I still dig indie-type rock. Sad music makes me happy, and happy hardcore makes me giddy. Anime was my introduction to Jpop and Jrock, and I love that there's a literal world of music at my fingertips.

    I was a college radio DJ for a decade, where I did everything from the midnight shift to general manager and program manager, then after I graduated from college, I still came back for a weekend shift to play a range of electronic music (and gothic music, for a while).

    I constantly consume new music, and I crave new sounds. There are some albums and songs I can listen to on repeat, but then I think "I should listen to something new." I keep thinking I'll make a weekly or monthly mix, but ... not yet. For a while, I wanted to make really good mixes, the full "take you on a journey" type mixes, but that takes time and dedication I can't promise now, so I think I should just make "things I've enjoyed this week/ month," both to share, and to remind myself what I listened to last week, last month, last year.

    And live music ... it's the best. I sort of learned piano, and we have a little kid-sized accordion, but I'm not really a musician. My wife is, which is pretty keen. But I love dancing, and I love that my kids are uninhibited about dancing to music that makes them want to move. Next up in life: more family trips to see and experience live music.
    posted by filthy light thief at 8:19 AM on July 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

    Making ceramics, particularly matching a person with the perfect mug for their hand size and shape and what they think is beautiful. I think drinking from a mug someone you know has made is a powerful kind of intimacy, and Manly Potters make fun of me for saying this, but there it is.

    Mastering useful new skills. Using my privilege and voice for the public good. Burning down the good parts of my life.

    Well, I’m not actually passionate about that last one, but it’s what I’ve been spending the last month or so doing, so I might as well add it to the list. I am having Difficulties. Sigh.
    posted by centrifugal at 12:43 PM on July 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

    Uh oh. I’m sitting on a bench outside my therapist’s office (appointment in 12 minutes) and I think my passion is healing. My own and others’. What do I do with that information? Guess I will ask my therapist...
    posted by wellred at 2:49 PM on July 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

    Success at the one estate jewelry place today! Sterling silver estate jewelry was $2 per gram weight. I picked out 5 rings, for a total of $52.60. My friend was into the silver chains, so she was happy.
    posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:38 PM on July 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

    Marie Mon Dieu, I also loved the meander through your food history.

    And those rings! $52.60 ÷ 5 comes to $10.52 for each of those beautiful rings -- Score!

    As I read your food history meander I kept thinking of "Making Pies" by Patty Griffin, which is a beautiful song, though sad as hell; sad or not, any time I hear or read about "making pies" this song comes to me.

    And now, should you choose to click that link, it'll come to you, also, through the magic of zeros and ones.
    posted by dancestoblue at 9:42 PM on July 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

    posted by 20 year lurk at 7:39 PM on July 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

    I've felt weird about the word "passion" for decades because I spent most of my teens and early twenties being told that I should be passionate about falling in love, and then a good chunk of the years after being told that I should be passionate about my job.


    But I do have really strong, really intense interests -- I've been in fandom, on-and-off, since I was thirteen, from the time of mailing groups on through the heyday of tumblr, and have the scars to prove it. When I was in my early twenties, I was very into baseball for four years, which confused the shit out of my Hong Kong-born parents, who also spent two decades watching me vigorously run away from any kind of organized sport. And I've spent the past seven months making paper flowers. A while back, I made a little flower tiara for the birthday of a kid with gold leaves, yellow roses, pink ranunculuses, and red-and-white cosmos, and the mom loved it so much that I made her a grown-up version of it, so they can have mommy-and-me times. I finished that up earlier this week, so next on the list for the summer are, in rough order of when I expect to get them done:

    - A summer wreath for my mother (because I'm working on a series for her, and have winter and spring done -- right now, I'm planning peonies, roses, echinacea, lavender, and clematis, and if I can figure out how to do it, lotus, because my parents used to grow lotuses on the deck).

    - A project of undiscloseable nature for bookmammal.

    - A New Orleans-themed flower crown for a friend who hosted my husband in New Orleans and got me an incredible Glitter Gals 504 shoe.

    - A Rothschild's slipper orchid for a friend.
    posted by joyceanmachine at 12:55 PM on July 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

    posted by bookmammal at 7:38 PM on July 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

    I'm passionate about unlearning--and "unteaching"--the myths and lies of our historical narratives. I don't do this professionally (not a history professor, though I am occasionally tweedy) but I got the chance to do this in a personally meaningful way recently when I participated in a "sermon in conversation" at my historic downtown church. I and my pastors laid bare the lie that our church was founded by abolitionists, and discussed what the revelations mean for us and our congregation. It was refreshing!

    I'm passionate about civic engagement and political engagement. When I lived in Rockville, MD, I made a bunch of fliers that listed the representatives at various levels of government and included their contact information and ways to get engaged. When I moved to Greenbelt I did the same again, and I've been posting the fliers on local community bulletin boards and leaving them in gathering spaces. Here's what it looks like. There's a front and a back side. Pretty basic. Also, I reached a milestone yesterday: I've now officially been arrested in all 3 US Senate office buildings! I'd say "hooray" but the things I was protesting are all terrible and still happening.

    I'm passionate about spreading whimsy and committing random acts of goofballery, whether that be in the form of limericks or workers' poetry about pooping.

    I'm passionate about food and cooking, especially ice cream. I made some strawberry sherbet this week with vanilla bean and sumac. It's tasty! Next I want to make some honey ice cream with toasted almonds.

    I'm also a big fan of the firepit in our backyard, and if you're into firepits and want to hang out and toast s'mores, seriously PM me, you should come over and do that with me.
    posted by duffell at 6:53 AM on July 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

    posted by duffell at 6:54 AM on July 19, 2019

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