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October 17, 2013

1:53
P.M.

Web Hostess Live: The latest from the Web

Total Responses: 48

About the hosts

About the host

Host: Monica Hesse

Monica Hesse

Monica Hesse is a staff writer for the Post Style section. She frequently writes about culture, the Web and the intersection of the two.

Read the The Web Hostess Archive .

About the topic

A weekly chat about the best ways to kill time online. Our Web Hostess, Monica Hesse, sifts the Internet so you don't have to, searching for meaning, manners and the next great meme.
Q.

Monica Hesse :

Welcome back from furlough, everyone. I assume you've all been glued to the pandacam?

We'll get started at 2, with whatever you want to talk about.

Q.

George R.R. Martin

So while furloughed, I got to hang out with the author of Game of Thrones. Not a here's my book to sign hang out, but an actual meal, two actually but one was a group meal. Also saw one of the best panel discussion ever with him, Gardner Dozier, and Howard Waldrop discussing their lives, fandom, and careers. I even got a Gold Dragon from him as a thank you for all of my help. How was your weekend?
A.
Monica Hesse :

Ooh, so were you at New York's Comic Con? Do tell us: how many times did someone pester him about the release date of his next book?

 

My weekend was excellent. I did a cross-country roadtrip to pick up a new car and finished a book (writing one, not reading one). For those of you who were nice enough to read my first novel, STRAY, the sequel now has a release date, FYI. Here's the link to and description of BURN.

 

What did everyone else do? Highlights and lowlights, please.

– October 17, 2013 2:01 PM
Q.

We'll get started at 2, with whatever you want to talk about.

Anything but the furlough. Please.
A.
Monica Hesse :

I've already failed this request. Forgive us.

– October 17, 2013 2:02 PM
Q.

OT: Shoe question

Dear Ms. Hesse: I can't find the fashion chat so I thought perhaps you might help. Can I wear bone-colored pumps through the fall and winter seasons or are they strictly for spring and summer. Thank you!
A.
Monica Hesse :

You can wear them. (Right?)

– October 17, 2013 2:02 PM
Q.

Alexandria

Oh mistress of the web...I know this has been touched on in the past, but could your followers and my fellow readers provide some edification on the better online dating sites? I've tried OKCupid but all I seem to get are very creepy requests for one night hook ups and zero responses to initial emails. I'm a girl reaching out to guys and have had my male friends read over my profiles, help pic photos, etc and so on. But I've also been told that since I'm single and in my late 30s, no one will ever want to date me ever again. Because I'm toast. (For the record, I flicked that person in the forehead and went back to my beer.)
A.
Monica Hesse :

Egads. I'm flicking that person, remotely, on your behalf. As always with online dating questions, I'll throw it out to you guys. With the caveat that different sites likely attract different personalities, and what worked well for one person might not work at all for someone else.

– October 17, 2013 2:02 PM
Q.

House Flip-Out

THIS is what the pressure of Washington DC does to people

A.
Monica Hesse :

The stenographer had a rather mild flipout, all things considered. She didn't throw anything, or punch anyone. I mean really, compared to the behavior of Congress over the past three weeks, it was a very civil flipout.

– October 17, 2013 2:04 PM
Q.

Freemasons

As far as I understand it, a lot of the Constitution's writers were Freemasons, but did they consider themselves a god or godlike? My knowledge of Freemasons is limited to Dan Brown, the National Treasure movies, and the Stonecutters episode of the Simpsons.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Are there any Freemasons on this chat who would like to take today as an opportunity to share all of your secrets and shed some light on this stenographer's public display? We're all anonymous here.

– October 17, 2013 2:07 PM
Q.

You can wear them. (Right?)

Yes. Anything off-white. Which I suppose would include white shoes that got dirty.
A.
Monica Hesse :

We have spoken. (Please don't trust me for fashion advice; my primary criteria for buying clothing is whether or not its on the clearance rack.)

– October 17, 2013 2:08 PM
Q.

With the caveat that different sites likely attract different personalities, and what worked well for one person might not work at all for someone else.

Go someplace more specific to your interests, like Single Book-Lovers or Jewish Singles or maybe Environmental Guerrillas.
A.
Monica Hesse :

I've heard this before, and don't doubt that it has merit. But I'm still saddened by the idea of closing oneself off to all of the non-Jewish book-haters out there.

– October 17, 2013 2:09 PM
Q.

I even got a gold dragon

I've done the con assistant thing before for free and absolutely loved it, so I'm not making fun of OP at all (lucky you, OP!!), BUT I just want to say that this story shows that the definitive mark of success for a fantasy author is that you can successfully tip people with the money that you invented.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Hahahaha

– October 17, 2013 2:10 PM
Q.

Freemason Club

The first rule of Freemasons is that you don't talk about Freemasons.
A.
Monica Hesse :

I always *knew* that Brad Pitt participated in this chat.

– October 17, 2013 2:11 PM
Q.

Dating site

I am not in the market, but if I were, I'd try one of the sites for book lovers. Or whatever the equivalent might be for your personal passion (sports, travel, etc.). I'm sure there are other niche ones out there. Right away, you would find candidates with which you share a common interest.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Posting.

– October 17, 2013 2:11 PM
Q.

Are there any Freemasons on this chat who would like to take today as an opportunity to share all of your secrets

That big eye will see you and you'll be struck by lightning.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Can the big eye organize lightning strikes? Or can it only, like, cry on you a lot?

– October 17, 2013 2:12 PM
Q.

RE: George R.R. Martin

Actually he was at Capclave in Gaithersburg MD this weekend. I only heard "the question" asked once. Most fans know that that question leads to the death of another Stark. He reiterated that he will announce his finish on his blog, but make no predictions. I learned that there are two porn parodies of Game of Thrones and he is honored by them.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Who wouldn't be?

– October 17, 2013 2:13 PM
Q.

Freemasons

Not a Freemason, but my understanding of the organization is that one of the big requirements for joining is that you MUST believe in a higher deity. Thinking that about yourself would get you kicked out for sure.
A.
Monica Hesse :

That's my understanding, too. Which is an understanding that is also built entirely on Dan Brown novels.

– October 17, 2013 2:13 PM
Q.

my primary criteria

Your primary criterion. Unless you have more than one. I was raised never to pass a clearance rack by, too, and I gradually realized that the cost-benefit ratio of those purchases was never what I had expected, because I was getting great deals on clothes just as they went totally out of style.
A.
Monica Hesse :

You guys. With the grammar. I have already explained. My tiny fingers are typing very fast in order to deal with all of your brilliance. I am going to make spelling and grammar errors in the process. I recognize them almost immediately after they happen. We -all- recognized them almost immediately after they happen. This is a chat filled with precisely the kind of people trained to recognize spelling and grammar errors. You do not need to point them out. You are not helping me. You are just being a weenie.

– October 17, 2013 2:16 PM
Q.

But I'm still saddened by the idea of closing oneself off to all of the non-Jewish book-haters out there.

No book-lover wants to spend time with a book-hater. Maybe a book-indifferent date, but someone who actively hates what you love? Books are more important than, say, one of you loving and the other hating Italian food.
A.
Monica Hesse :

I disagree. I think being a book-lover is really about being a learning-lover, or maybe someone who values imagination. I could see a book lover being very happy with someone who didn't read a lot but who, say, liked to visit museums. Or build fairy castles in a garage. Or any number of other exercises that would flex creative muscle the way reading does.

– October 17, 2013 2:17 PM
Q.

Epic Facebook Thread

A friend posted the following on Facebook: Take a book title. Add one word to ruin it. Go. By the time the thing had run its course, there were over 800 altered book titles. (Examples include: Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret Thatcher; James and the Giant Peach Bellini; The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Waist). It was really addictive and a lot of fun.
A.
Monica Hesse :

I loved this thread. We could also morph it into a Before and After thread, which could lead to some of the most epic books in the history of books, i.e. "Ender's Game of Thrones." Aaaiiiiieeee!

– October 17, 2013 2:19 PM
Q.

Children's Books

I enjoyed your article about Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, but I've never even heard of her Alice books. I'm a 33 year old woman, so I seem to be in the right demographic. I told two friends (who are just a little younger than me and are also from the DC area), and they didn't know about the books either. One of them immediately stated that "it must be a Midwest thing." What do you think?
A.
Monica Hesse :

Intriguing. When I interviewed Phyllis, I actually told her that her books felt a little Midwestern to me. But as an adult, I've met plenty of women who grew up reading the books on the East Coast, so I don't really think it's a Midwest thing. You should read them, even now. Start with Agony of Alice and Alice in Rapture, Sort Of. I reread Alice in Rapture while writing my article and I still thought it was great.

– October 17, 2013 2:21 PM
Q.

speaking of author talks . . .

I took my 9 year old to see Rick Riordan - sponsored by Politics and Prose and held at Wilson High. It was awesome! He is a terrific speaker (a former teacher), and he really knows his audience. The first bunch of kids got either orange "Camp Half-Blood" t-shirts or purple "Camp Jupiter" t-shirts. One of the most interesting things he did was show the cover art for Percy Jackson from a bunch of other countries - really different from the American version. No wonder he's a YA rock star!
A.
Monica Hesse :

Whoa, we had a lot of amazing fantasy writers in DC this weekend.

– October 17, 2013 2:22 PM
Q.

King Lear and I

Prairie Home Companion had a brilliant skit years ago about combination Broadway shows for mixed marriages. Cats! on a Hot Tin Roof, etc. Including bits of song and dialogue.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Excellent.

– October 17, 2013 2:23 PM
Q.

Shoes

Everyone knows you ask Hax about shoes!
A.
Monica Hesse :

I do have good shoes, though. You can ask Carolyn; she'll verify.

– October 17, 2013 2:24 PM
Q.

Because we can never have too many cute cats on the Web

Cat is railroad station master, "Station Master Tama (Wakayama Electric Railway)": AND In the quirky town that inspired Cicely on the '90s TV series "Northern Exposure," "Mayor of Alaskan Town Is a Cat":

A.
Monica Hesse :

Thank you.

– October 17, 2013 2:25 PM
Q.

Quitting Twitter

Your thoughts on Lindhof quitting Twitter? Mine is that I still think the Lost finale sucked.
A.
Monica Hesse :

I didn't follow Lindhof and have no particular feelings. Except that it's frequently interesting to watch celebrities quit, and then rejoin, and then quit, and then rejoin. They get addicted to the immediate feedback and head-pats from fans.

– October 17, 2013 2:26 PM
Q.

I have just two questions about the government shutdown

Do we get a discount on our taxes for the days the Federal government was shut down? Also, is it me, or have the pandas put on some weight?
A.
Monica Hesse :

Baby panda is definitely more roly poly than he was pre-shutdown.

– October 17, 2013 2:27 PM
Q.

Dating sites question

Try Meetup.com. Join groups that suit your interests and meet like-minded souls while doing things you enjoy, or join the numerous singles groups in your area.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Posting.

– October 17, 2013 2:32 PM
Q.

RE: "Did the Baby Panda Put on Weight?"

Great, now we have something else to blame on the Govt Shutdown -- panda body self-image issues....
A.
Monica Hesse :

Pandas want to be roly-poly. They aspire to it.

– October 17, 2013 2:33 PM
Q.

Dear Prudence steps in it

Soooo, I'm guessing you've seen the blowback from Emily Yoffe's rather misguided article that purports to be about alcohol safety but is instead rather apologist.</a> Some of my favorite replies: Here and here.

I suppose my question is, does Prudie really thing no one is telling women not to get drunk? Because, IMNSHO, that's typically the first and sometimes only thing that gets said! We spend a mere15ish years talking about how perhaps since other crimes that happen to you while you are drunk are still crimes against you, and that crimes you commit while drunk (like driving and hitting someone) are still your fault, but here's Prude being "brave" enough to tell it like it was in 1955, as though her point of view is not the dominant paradigm all this talk is rebutting. We still have this collective gasket blow when someone suggests that a rape victim is a victim, pure and simple, just as if mugged instead, and a drunk rapist is still a rapist much like a drunken bar fighter still gets booked for assault.

A.
Monica Hesse :

This is a much bigger issue than I have the time to type out a thoughtful response to. I'll just say that I think I see what Prudie is trying to say, and I also see why it's coming across badly.

– October 17, 2013 2:35 PM
Q.

Tortilla Coast

I was kind of astounded to find out that Tortilla Coast is a place for movers-n-shakers. I always thought it was a quick lunch spot or place for staffers/interns to do happy hour before hopping on the metro. I've never ever been impressed by the place. I would have thought the big guys preferred to rub elbows someplace without drink specials on the windows.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Lawmakers like pitchers of margaritas just as much as the next crew.

– October 17, 2013 2:36 PM
Q.

Speaking of the Shutdown [Unpopular Opinion Alert!]

While I'm glad that the federal employees won't be losing any money for the shutdown, what with the back-pay and all, can I add that I'm a little peeved that the shutdown now amounts to a 2 week paid vacation for all of the furloughed government employees -- or are they going to have to make up the work, say by actually working on their flex Fridays until they account for the all the compensated time?
A.
Monica Hesse :

Why would they? They didn't choose to be out of work. These were circumstances entirely beyond their control. I can be jealous of someone else's two-week vacation (and, in fact, I think that's a normal human response) without wanting to get punitive about how they should "account" for their time.

 

Say that it wasn't a shutdown that forced people out of work. Say that it was something like, I don't know, an office fire. Their building caught on fire, and they had to evacuate for several days while the mess was cleaned up. Would you still feel that when they came back, they should have to work weekends or whatnot, because they got "lucky?" with a fire?

And also...I don't know what you mean by "actually working" on their flex Fridays. Only a small percentage of government workers get flex Fridays at all. And those who do only get them because they're working much longer days the rest of the week. It's not like they just randomly get a vacation day once a week.

– October 17, 2013 2:40 PM
Q.

Alice Books

I'm 32 and I'm really sad about the end of the Alice books. Alice and Elizabeth and Pamela started off as my pals and now they're like my little sisters. They got a little more Afternoon Special towards the end, but I'll never forget when Alice and Patrick first kissed. Or did more outside at UChicago's campus, incidentally where I took my engagement photos. Anyway, Alice is the best.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Agreed.

– October 17, 2013 2:40 PM
Q.

Larry King Drake Hands

O mighty Web Hostess, I have been waiting a week, A WHOLE WEEK, to share with the class this most glorious of videos:

A.
Monica Hesse :

LARRY.

– October 17, 2013 2:42 PM
Q.

dating in late 30s

I've had some luck with OkCupid (as a woman aged 37-38), but I also have girlfriends between 35 and 40 who've had luck on Match and EHarmony. And - SERIOUSLY - any "friend" telling you you're toast is no friend at all!!
A.
Monica Hesse :

On this, we are all agreed.

– October 17, 2013 2:42 PM
Q.

pass a clearance rack by

"pass by a clearance rack." JUST SAYIN'.
A.
Monica Hesse :

I'm laughing, but not in a mean way.

– October 17, 2013 2:42 PM
Q.

I've been told that since I'm single and in my late 30s, no one will ever want to date me ever again. I flicked that person in the forehead and went back to my beer.

I don't know anything about dating sites, but I think this should headline your profile. At least, it made me think you would be a cool person to hang out with.
A.
Monica Hesse :

This.

– October 17, 2013 2:43 PM
Q.

NSFW. really.

Punch line is pretty good, though.

A.
Monica Hesse :

Yep.

– October 17, 2013 2:46 PM
Q.

Prudence isn't wrong

1st: Prudence points out that the binge-drinking culture harms both males and females. Everyone would be wise to moderate their drinking. 2nd: Let's be honest - there is still a double-standard. Men get a pass for drunken behavior and women get blamed. None of this means we shouldn't aggresively go after criminals, it just points out that it's a good idea to not drink until you are past the point of good judgement and can't protect yourself.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Yes, but "there's still a double standard" seems to me like it would be more of a call to change that double standard, rather than to sigh and say, "Oh, alas, there is a double standard, but I suppose we must work within it."

– October 17, 2013 2:47 PM
Q.

Back in my day, we only met people in person, and then we'd go the speakeasy....

This is to the woman who had guy friends look over her profile: Do her guy friends know any guys they could recommend she date? Or do people only date people they meet online these days?
A.
Monica Hesse :

In the romantic comedy version of this, starring Katherine Heigl, she would actually end up falling for one of the guy friends.

– October 17, 2013 2:48 PM
Q.

Shutdown

I'm also glad everyone's back to work and getting back pay, but I'm especially glad because now I don't have to read upteen posts each from my federally-employed friends on Facebook complaining about it! I did enjoy the ones who threatened - "I'm going to post something like this [article link] every day until it's over!" I especially enjoyed it when they suddenly stopped doing that ... last week.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Also gone are the umpteen posts from certain have-it-both-ways friends who would post a screed about how the government does nothing and they want it shut down forever...and then follow it up with a post demanding that the World War II memorial be reopened.

– October 17, 2013 2:50 PM
Q.

Bizarro World or Twilight Zone on Day 1

Today's touchyfeely articles in the Post have left me totally cracking up at my desk. Each one almost reads like an Onion article... "Federal workers happy to be at work." Next thing you know we'll see articles like... "Tea Partier spends social security check at bar cursing Obamacare."
A.
Monica Hesse :

It would be fairly difficult to get a bunch of people to say, "I'm not at all happy to be back at work; I'd rather be on vacation for another month." Even if that's how some of us feel sometimes.

– October 17, 2013 2:51 PM
Q.

Book haters and being 'alike'

My husband has NEVER been a book person - doesn't read very fast so he gets frustrated. I, on the other hand, am an avid reader. We have been happily married for almost 20 years. Jes sayin'.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Happiness!

– October 17, 2013 2:53 PM
Q.

Furloughed back pay

I understand that it is not government employees' fault that they were out of work, so it does seem fair to give them back pay. On the other hand, it is not exactly right that they should receive what amounts to a windfall for not working for two weeks. My solution was that any furloughed government employee who wants back pay for the shutdown needs to complete 8 hours of community service. That's it. Give a little back to the community.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Okay.

– October 17, 2013 2:55 PM
Q.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I just watched this. Really, I have no words.

A.
Monica Hesse :

Shut the front door!

– October 17, 2013 2:57 PM
Q.

I know this is last minute

But I just want the world to know I am listening to Barry White in my Office. And It. Is. Glorious.
A.
Monica Hesse :

How could it not be?

– October 17, 2013 2:58 PM
Q.

Book haters and being 'alike'

Seems as though the crucial criterion is whether the non-book reader has any problem with the book-reader's book-reading.
A.
Monica Hesse :

I believe you mean "criteritiactiion."

– October 17, 2013 2:58 PM
Q.

Anthrax Vacation

Back in 2001 I worked as a committee staffer with offices in the Hart Building, when it was closed due to the anthrax attacked I got a nearly 6 week "vacation" before they were able to find office space for low level, sub-committee staffers. Nobody (that I know of) demanded that we somehow "make-up" for that time, although having to get the deep nose swab/massive antibiotics probably made up for it. I was talking to a friend this morning who's husband does maintenance work for Border Patrol here on the northern border where I live now. While the BP agents weren't furloughed, her husband was and he will be working extra hard to catch up on fixing everything that got broken and neglected in the last two weeks and the last two weeks of anxiety and wondering when he might get back to work and get paid was no vacation. Rant ended.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Rant posted.

– October 17, 2013 2:59 PM
Q.

Give to the community?

WTF do people think we are already doing? I serve the public as a career because I like feeling like I'm giving to the community every single day. And yeah, I also volunteer with my church, but I am so sick of people not counting PUBLIC SERVICE as a career as a contribution to the community. Good grief.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Posting.

– October 17, 2013 3:00 PM
Q.

My solution was that any furloughed government employee who wants back pay for the shutdown needs to complete 8 hours of community service.

You seem to think that every furloughed worker was a GS-14 who had no mortgage payments. There were people borrowing from their parents and selling their cars to make ends meet for the last two weeks. Shame on you.
A.
Monica Hesse :

And posting.

– October 17, 2013 3:00 PM
Q.

In the romantic comedy version of this starring Katherine Heigl...

...she would probably end up with the guy she flicked in the forehead. Don't be Katherine Heigl!
A.
Monica Hesse :

So true. So true we could probably stamp that phrase on a rubber bracelent. Don't Be Katherine Heigl.

Do come back next week. See you next Thursday! GSTQ

– October 17, 2013 3:02 PM
Q.

 

A.
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