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How can I improve the readability of my writing?

I think I write in a confusing manner. Folks seem to have a hard time wading through my sentences and paragraphs. Maybe it's because I use peculiar words. Maybe I phrase things awkwardly. Maybe I just don't understand how to properly structure a sentence. I don't know. Do you have any advice about how to write in a way that's easy to read and understand? [more inside]
posted by sam_harms on Apr 20, 2015 - 23 answers

Tractor work for two?

A teenage you works on a farm. A romantic interest visits and expresses interest in riding on the tractor but ideally you'd like to get some chore-like thing done at the same time. The two of you do what together on a tractor? [more inside]
posted by pie_seven on Apr 19, 2015 - 19 answers

So, I have a math question

I'm trying to do some online landscape planning but don't have all the information I need. I have problems with simple math. Can y'all help me out? [more inside]
posted by patheral on Apr 19, 2015 - 8 answers

Nice Rack

What is this rack-thing on my new kitchen wall? [more inside]
posted by decathecting on Apr 19, 2015 - 3 answers

Please help identify this mystery plant taking over our property

This plant is taking over. We first noticed it about three years ago growing in a patch about five square feet (near the hen house if that matters). Now it covers several hundred square feet (mostly in shady areas but it doesn't seem to mind the sun either). [more inside]
posted by Beti on Apr 18, 2015 - 5 answers

Last-minute Maui Windsurfing?

I have a few days left here and have not planned ahead at all. I'd love to make it out somewhere though. My rental car can't carry gear, so I need a windsurfing rental shop close enough to a launch point on a good beach that I can carry the board and sail over. It seems like this shouldn't be that hard to find but Google is failing me. [more inside]
posted by doteatop on Apr 18, 2015 - 2 answers

Who signed this baseball?

Who signed this baseball? [more inside]
posted by FallowKing on Apr 18, 2015 - 9 answers

Canceling an appointment on short notice. Charge a fee or scot free?

My client bought a gift certificate for Valentine's day. She made an appointment/reservation with me over 3 weeks ago, to redeem the certificate tomorrow. She didn't respond to any reminders until 2pm today. Do I charge her a cancellation fee, as outlined in my company policy? [more inside]
posted by ChefJoAnna on Apr 17, 2015 - 16 answers

Is it possible to preview a font in a gigantic size?

ont-nerd-filter: I'm doing an art project that requires an enormous ➌ and ➒ (those characters specifically, not just a circle with the numeral inside it) in specifically either Helvetica Neue or Freight Sans. Is there a site that will do this for me? [more inside]
posted by Quarter Pincher on Apr 17, 2015 - 7 answers

No-Kill pet shelters in Oregon or California?

A very good friend has requested that I make a donation in memory of a loved one who unexpectedly passed away, preferably to a no-kill pet shelter. I can Google or search Yelp, but I was hoping that people here could suggest a shelter they recommend from personal experience - I'm in Portland, my friend is in the Bay Area, and I'd prefer to find a no-kill shelter in one of those areas (but I suppose it really doesn't matter much).
posted by Auden on Apr 16, 2015 - 14 answers

Is this lyric an example of a a metonym?

U.K.'s song Rendezvous 602 begins: "It's five o' clock/Driving down Park Lane/As London leaves/For the weekend again"? Is "as London leaves" a case of metonymy, or is it something else? No prog rock shaming, please
posted by thelonius on Apr 16, 2015 - 6 answers

NPR Fund Drive Timing

It's fund drive time at my local NPR station (WOSU) and something I just heard on the radio got me wondering: do all, or most, NPR stations have their fund drives at the same time? [more inside]
posted by noneuclidean on Apr 16, 2015 - 6 answers

Come and meet the baaaybee! In search of a meet up venue in Chicago.

Chicago Mefites: What public, family-friendly space would work for a casual gathering of a big bunch of friends? [more inside]
posted by sundaydriver on Apr 16, 2015 - 6 answers

Talk to me about crib bumpers and the risk/benefit analysis.

Talk to me about crib bumpers and the risk/benefit analysis. [more inside]
posted by olinerd on Apr 16, 2015 - 19 answers

Board Kitty or Hire a Cat Sitter?

We're going on vacation for 16 days. Our cat can't come. Should we board her in a kennel or hire a cat sitter? [more inside]
posted by firemonkey on Apr 15, 2015 - 22 answers

Cat Tree Shopping Help

Kittehs need a tree. I've found one I like ... spoiler alert, doesn't ship to my country. [more inside]
posted by hilaryjade on Apr 15, 2015 - 7 answers

How often do you replace your vacuum cleaner?

It's pretty simple, really: how often do you replace your vacuum cleaner? [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Apr 15, 2015 - 23 answers

Do I have any recourse with the local power co-op over this matter?

The local power company cleared the ROW along our property but left a mess - who is responsible for it? Snowflakes & ice inside........(long) [more inside]
posted by dukes909 on Apr 15, 2015 - 3 answers

Is there a plane with a 3-5-3 seat configuration?

Does any airline currently or previously have a seat configuration with 3 seats on each side and 5 seats in the middle? I could have sworn I was on such a plane a few years ago, but all my searching has only yielded images of 3-4-3 layouts and the proposed 3-5-3 layout for the A380.
posted by spreadsheetzu on Apr 14, 2015 - 17 answers

Comic strip with a dog-shaped suitcase?

This has been driving me crazy. I have a strong memory of a comic strip, I think it was a The Far Side by Gary Larson. I can't remember the setup or punchline, but there was a picture of a suitcase shaped like a dog, with a handle on top of the dog's back as if you could put a dog inside and it would fit exactly. (The dog would probably suffocate unfortunately, but hey it's a cartoon) [more inside]
posted by piers on Apr 14, 2015 - 12 answers

Can I give blood and not pass out?

There is a blood drive coming up at my workplace and I have always wanted to give blood. I am hesitating, though, because when my blood pressure drops, I tend to faint. Is there any correlation between donating blood and low blood pressure? Or do people who faint tend to do so due to dehydration or low blood sugar? [more inside]
posted by Ink-stained wretch on Apr 14, 2015 - 22 answers

Where can I buy Dutch Crunch bread in SF to make my own sandwiches?

I want to make sandwiches for work on Dutch Crunch bread -- it's amazing. However, the only places I've had it are sandwich shops that are selling finished sandwiches, not the bread itself. Please tell me where in SF I can buy loaves of this crunchy goodness!
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto on Apr 14, 2015 - 18 answers

Summer road trip from Chicago with infant

My wife and I have a new baby and a serious case of cabin fever/wanderlust. We're considering taking a road trip this summer. Is this a terrible idea? If not, where should we go? Would Gatlinburg, TN be fun? [more inside]
posted by jordemort on Apr 14, 2015 - 9 answers

What Should I Do When I Give My Elderly Parents an iPad?

My sister and I are planning on giving our parents a combined Mother's and Father's Day gift of an iPad. What can I/we do to help ease their transition from Luddites into users of tablet computers and the Internet? [more inside]
posted by skitchen on Apr 14, 2015 - 19 answers

Mac OS X application crashes, but only for one user. Why?

Fairly gnarly Mac debugging / troubleshooting question, concerning an app that crashes on launch consistently, but only when run by a single particular user. So far, it's stumped everyone. Lots of gory technical details inside. [more inside]
posted by Kadin2048 on Apr 14, 2015 - 13 answers

Who was this surrealist?

ArtFilter: I'm trying to figure out who created a number of surrealist images. I remember inversion/fusion of right-side-up and up-side-down things as the main theme, with a lot of castle-islands, boats sailing through the sky, etc. Along the lines of this image. [more inside]
posted by switcheroo on Apr 14, 2015 - 16 answers

Catch-all email forwarding

I'd like to forward anything@mydomain to one address. This should be easy, shouldn't it? [more inside]
posted by roll truck roll on Apr 14, 2015 - 3 answers

How to moderate a potentially contentious discussion

I will soon be moderating an election for the leadership in one of my hobby groups, in which candidates are discussed after they leave the room. I have never moderated a discussion before. We're usually a pretty harmonious group, but in past years these discussions have sometimes gotten heated and devolved into personal attacks behind candidates' backs, leading to general unhappiness for all, or people have gotten sidetracked on issues irrelevant to the election at hand. What can I do or say to help keep things under control if people start to say inappropriate/hurtful/irrelevant stuff?
posted by st elmo's fire on Apr 13, 2015 - 14 answers

Yet another book recommendation

I'm desperately searching for a new series. I'm in the mood for an academic leaning fantasy romance, which is almost too specific. Help me not go crazy in my search? [more inside]
posted by Krop Tor on Apr 13, 2015 - 37 answers

Where can I get a Middle English edition of Le Morte d'Arthur?

I'd like to buy a copy of Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur that was or at least contained the Middle English text (basically this; example of the first section). What edition should I be looking for? [more inside]
posted by edeezy on Apr 13, 2015 - 2 answers

Durable, utilitarian, repairable men's shoes?

I'm tired of buying $100 shoes which don't last any longer than the $35 shoes I used to wear. It's time to put the Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice to work for me. What are some well-made men's shoes that I can wear every day to walk the two miles to my casual academic-environment workplace and back, plus wear at work, without them wearing out immediately? I should be able to get them repaired or re-soled when they do have problems. Under $500 would be ideal. [more inside]
posted by hades on Apr 13, 2015 - 37 answers

Things to do in Rhodes (ideally including dancing)

We are going to Rhodes for a week in June. What should we do and see? We are enthusiastic ballroom and Latin dancers, so we would be especially delighted if we could find somewhere where we could engage in a bit of partner dancing. Any particularly lovely spots for swimming would also be wonderful. We would love to hear about a wide range of options, though. [more inside]
posted by sueinnyc on Apr 13, 2015 - 1 answer

Do you even leggings, bro?

I want to get in on the leggings trend (seriously I would wear my snug yoga pants all day if I could get away with it) but I have never bought/worn/thought of how to wear them successfully. Anxious fashionable snowflakes within! [more inside]
posted by Kitteh on Apr 13, 2015 - 19 answers

Neat place to stay between DC and Winterthur?

We want to stop overnight somewhere around Winterthur, so we can wake up, drive to the museum, see the gardens, and head back to the City. What towns along the way are worth staying in? Any notable hotels or B&B's? We're driving back from DC to NYC around June 22. [more inside]
posted by musofire on Apr 12, 2015 - 3 answers

I used to make money writing. How can I do that again?

I like to travel. I also like to make money. I have always heard about the internet being a great tool these days for doing both. A very long time ago, I made money doing journalism writing for legit media outlets. I don't have a degree, just a natural talent. For the better part of the past decade, I have focused on screenwriting and have even optioned a script but other than that I haven't made any serious traction. What resources exist for doing this remotely and where should I look? What would I need to do get started? I do still have articles from my journalism days that I could provide as samples. I would also be open to other forms of writing/online work if it was easy to pick up on. Thanks!
posted by signondiego on Apr 12, 2015 - 3 answers

Headphone recommendations to replace Koss TD-80s?

I have a beloved pair of Koss TD-80s that I now have to admit are ready for retirement - and of course they've been long discontinued. What should I replace them with? [more inside]
posted by Chichibio on Apr 12, 2015 - 12 answers

What's this picture book about an invisible dog?

ASKING FOR A FRIEND: She is trying to remember the name of an old picture book that was about an invisible dog. We think it was originally published in the 30s, then re-released in the 90s at Costco as part of a set of three picture books, one of which was about a lion. [more inside]
posted by exceptinsects on Apr 12, 2015 - 3 answers

Any idea who created this teacup and saucer?

I have a beautiful teacup and saucer that looks to be English in manufacture, but unlike all the other bone china i have this one has no manufacturer or mark of any kind. Can anyone point me to a reference for finding out this information? Thanks. [more inside]
posted by ptm on Apr 12, 2015 - 3 answers

Self-publishing a children's book

Thinking of trying my hand in the on-demand self-publishing space with a kids' (0-3) book. But I am more or less a noob, so lay some knowledge on me. [more inside]
posted by pyro979 on Apr 12, 2015 - 4 answers

Chromebook media player question

Does the Chromebook media player display timing info when playing audio? [more inside]
posted by popcassady on Apr 12, 2015 - 1 answer

Short corporate workshop ideas

Our team hosts a monthly forum get-together for team members at a similar stage of development. I'm hosting the next one (which is more informal), and I'm at a loss about what I should do. What are some 60 minute-ish corporate workshoppy things with general skills you have done that were actually useful? [more inside]
posted by smoke on Apr 10, 2015 - 7 answers

How spoilery are the Battlestar Galactica podcasts?

I'm working my way through BSG (just started season 3) and I've learned of the existence of Ronald D. Moore's BSG podcasts (details here). How spoilery are they? Should I wait until I've finished the series to dive in, or is it safe to listen episode to episode?
posted by freem on Apr 10, 2015 - 8 answers

Battle-ready or removable-blade lightsaber?

Is it more important that my new lightsaber be battle ready or have a removable blade? And is ultraforce still the go-to source for all my lightsaber-shopping needs? [more inside]
posted by MrMoonPie on Apr 10, 2015 - 3 answers

Tell me how to go to a concert by myself

So there's a concert I want to go to at a dive-y bar in my big city (for Toronto folks: Lee's Palace). None of my friends like the music that's going to be played, or at least none of my friends here. I want to go anyway. How do I go to a concert by myself? Do I? [more inside]
posted by hepta on Apr 10, 2015 - 36 answers

Resume Objective Statement for someone looking to switch careers

This question isn't for myself so much as it is for someone I know very well who is looking for a job that will hopefully be a radical departure from her previous career. For the sake of argument, let's refer to her previous job as a position within what I will call the "bartgage industry" from here on forward. The challenge for her will be to frame her resume in such a way that effectively illustrates her prior experience while also emphasizing her desire never to work in the field of bartgage ever again (so help her God). [more inside]
posted by surazal on Apr 9, 2015 - 10 answers

Chromebox Compatibility Issue with Fidelity website

Sudden problem with Chromebox and fidelity.com [more inside]
posted by jcworth on Apr 9, 2015 - 0 answers

Indesign quarks the photo

InDesign: why would the file name be visible within the photo placed in a doc? [more inside]
posted by artdrectr on Apr 9, 2015 - 3 answers

Introduction to the Marvel B-List

I'd like to read some of the graphic novels that are behind the new Netflix/Marvel series that are coming out, but with all the re-boots and multiple story lines I have absolutely no idea where to start. [more inside]
posted by kanewai on Apr 9, 2015 - 13 answers

Ghost in the Machine

My laptop is being wacky. Without me touching the volume keys when typing, the volume keeps re-adjusting--up, off, down, whatever. Additionally, iTunes is opening up when I have not tried to open it. I can quit, force quit, restart, whatever. It just keeps happening. MacBook Pro mid-2012 running Yosemite 10.10.2. iTunes 12.0.0.140. I could update iTunes, but I am out of the country with limited bandwidth. Any ideas what is going on?
posted by Stewriffic on Apr 9, 2015 - 9 answers

Letting go of something on your bucket list?

What's a good way to 'give up' an item on your bucket list without feeling resentful? I don't mean giving up a life-long dream (like becoming a successful writer) or an impossible wish (like being an astronaut), I mean giving up something small like 'Before I die, I want to go to Paris for a few days' (my actual example is something else that's about the same level of effort as visiting Paris). [more inside]
posted by Mogur on Apr 9, 2015 - 12 answers

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