cat-vacuuming

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Ray

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Mar 12, 2002, 5:30:06 PM3/12/02
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I keep seeing the "cat-vacuuming" expression. Is this a European
expression, something unique to this group, or something else.

Having actually vacuumed a cat before, I can readily imagine its meaning.
The cat generally ends up with more loose fur than before, and the cat
vacuumer generally ends up with a little less blood than before.

Still, now that my cat is shedding her winter fur, I think that a good
brushing every day is indicated. She enjoys it, but it does tend to loosen
more fur than it removes. The best thing is that my skin tends to remain in
its "unbroken" state, and my blood stays in my body.

Ray

Dorothy J Heydt

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Mar 12, 2002, 10:00:48 PM3/12/02
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In article <Ojvj8.437640$eS3.33...@bin3.nnrp.aus1.giganews.com>,

Ray <rDrovouil...@comcast.nospam.net> wrote:
>I keep seeing the "cat-vacuuming" expression. Is this a European
>expression, something unique to this group, or something else.

In the first place the original form was "hoovering the
cat," meaning the same thing, only in rightpondian dialect which
we Yanks were a little slow to comprehend.

What it means is all the multitudinous things you will suddenly
find need doing, when you're looking for an excuse not to write.
You need to clean the floor, and the grout in the bathtub needs
to be scrubbed with Tilex and a toothbrush, and you really should
organize all the recipes in your file by category and in alpha
order, and my gosh, how long has it been since you vacuumed the
cat?

I think it's original to this group, and who was it first came up
with it? Jo Walton? Someone here will know.

Dorothy J. Heydt
Albany, California
djh...@kithrup.com
http://www.kithrup.com/~djheydt

Jim Bailey

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Mar 13, 2002, 4:18:40 AM3/13/02
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djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J Heydt) writes:
>
>In article <Ojvj8.437640$eS3.33...@bin3.nnrp.aus1.giganews.com>,
>Ray <rDrovouil...@comcast.nospam.net> wrote:
>>I keep seeing the "cat-vacuuming" expression. Is this a European
>>expression, something unique to this group, or something else.
>
>In the first place the original form was "hoovering the
>cat," meaning the same thing, only in rightpondian dialect which
>we Yanks were a little slow to comprehend.

No, the first reference I'm pretty sure was to "vacuum". The brits naturally
reworded it to the 'proper' form. ;-)

>What it means is all the multitudinous things you will suddenly
>find need doing, when you're looking for an excuse not to write.
>You need to clean the floor, and the grout in the bathtub needs
>to be scrubbed with Tilex and a toothbrush, and you really should
>organize all the recipes in your file by category and in alpha
>order, and my gosh, how long has it been since you vacuumed the
>cat?

Right.

>I think it's original to this group, and who was it first came up
>with it? Jo Walton? Someone here will know.

Other candidates: Patricia Wrede, Mary Gentle, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, with my
foggy memory putting Patricia as the front runner, though she might have been
quoting somebody she knows, perhaps from her workshop.

Best,
Jim Bailey
--
Elysian Fiction (Fantasy short story e-zine)
http://www.elysianfiction.com/
First Issue now available

Darkhawk (H. Nicoll)

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Mar 13, 2002, 4:22:45 AM3/13/02
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Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@kithrup.com> wrote:
> I think it's original to this group, and who was it first came up
> with it? Jo Walton? Someone here will know.

I think it derives from an offhanded comment by Teresa Nielsen Hayden,
originally; someone blam^Wcredited me with putting it into its current
formulation at one point, but I'm _sure_ I swiped it from someone.


--
Heather Anne Nicoll - Darkhawk - http://aelfhame.net/~darkhawk/
When the day is long and the night, the night is yours alone
When you're sure you've had enough of this life. . . .
--REM, "Everybody Hurts"

Magnus Olsson

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Mar 13, 2002, 4:25:44 AM3/13/02
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In article <1f8yus4.tv...@h000a2789fa80.ne.client2.attbi.com>,

Darkhawk (H. Nicoll) <lila...@subdimension.com> wrote:
>Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@kithrup.com> wrote:
>> I think it's original to this group, and who was it first came up
>> with it? Jo Walton? Someone here will know.
>
>I think it derives from an offhanded comment by Teresa Nielsen Hayden,
>originally; someone blam^Wcredited me with putting it into its current
>formulation at one point, but I'm _sure_ I swiped it from someone.

Didn't somebody mention some time back that her cat actually *liked*
being vacuumed?

--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se, m...@pobox.com)
------ http://www.pobox.com/~mol ------

Brooks Moses

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Mar 13, 2002, 4:35:54 AM3/13/02
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Jim Bailey wrote:
> djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J Heydt) writes:
> >Ray <rDrovouil...@comcast.nospam.net> wrote:
> >>I keep seeing the "cat-vacuuming" expression. Is this a European
> >>expression, something unique to this group, or something else.
> >
> >In the first place the original form was "hoovering the
> >cat," meaning the same thing, only in rightpondian dialect which
> >we Yanks were a little slow to comprehend.
>
> No, the first reference I'm pretty sure was to "vacuum". The brits naturally
> reworded it to the 'proper' form. ;-)

Nope, neither. First reference was to _waxing_. See below.



> >I think it's original to this group, and who was it first came up
> >with it? Jo Walton? Someone here will know.
>
> Other candidates: Patricia Wrede, Mary Gentle, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, with my
> foggy memory putting Patricia as the front runner, though she might have been
> quoting somebody she knows, perhaps from her workshop.

Teresa originated the concept, Jo provided the mutation from waxing to
vacuuming.

I quote from the bowels of the archives of the once and future
FAQ-rewrite process (speaking of which: Michelle, are we going to get
back to working on this?) -- this being the rewrite that the previous
FAQ maintainer had done somewhat independently:

A. Freed <fre...@pond1.com1> wrote on Fri, 30 Nov 2001 16:25:04 -0500:
>
> 3.17 What is "cat vacuuming," anyway? And is it dangerous?
>
> "Cat vacuuming" is a term first introduced to rec.arts.sf.composition in
> the form of "cat waxing," in December of 1999 by Teresa Nielsen Hayden:
>
> Writer's Displacement Activity? Is that the term? We call it
> "waxing the cat". As in, you're supposed to be writing, but
> first you have to wash the dishes. And sweep the floor. And then
> the dust on that shelf really gets to bothering you. And while
> you're at it, you could wipe the grime off the switchplates and
> the door moldings.
>
> Next thing you know, you're eyeing Fluffy and saying "Gosh, how
> long =has= it been since I got around to waxing the cat?"
>
> This definition applies equally well to the later "cat vacuuming,"
> introduced by Jo Walton less than a month later, presumably derived
> from "cat waxing":
>
> I sometimes forget to eat when I'm writing, and then get starving
> hungry and have to eat in a hurry. But once, I was stuck, and I
> made myself roast chicken for lunch, but by the time it was done
> I'd come unstuck and didn't stop, just put it on a plate and took
> bites while typing. It was when I realised that I'd done this
> without looking at all, or really tasting it either, that I knew
> that when I just "had to" stop because I was hungry at lunchtime it
> was actually a special form of cat vacuuming.
>
> The term has since become a regular part of the rec.arts.sf.composition
> lexicon.
>
> And, yes: literal cat-vacuuming can be dangerous, and its safety procedures
> are beyond the scope of this FAQ.

- Brooks, who notes that the actual FAQ ought probably contain
message-IDs for the quotes. And probably obtain permissions.

Del Cotter

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Mar 13, 2002, 1:29:18 PM3/13/02
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On Wed, 13 Mar 2002, in rec.arts.sf.composition,
Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@kithrup.com> said:

>Ray <rDrovouil...@comcast.nospam.net> wrote:
>>I keep seeing the "cat-vacuuming" expression. Is this a European
>>expression, something unique to this group, or something else.
>
>In the first place the original form was "hoovering the
>cat," meaning the same thing, only in rightpondian dialect which
>we Yanks were a little slow to comprehend.

AFAICT, the original form was "waxing the cat", introduced by Teresa
Nielsen Hayden in December 1999 in the great R*ck*ids thread, whereupon
Mary Gentle immediately gave her household's version of it as "hoovering
the cat" [1]

Oddly, Julian Flood then appears to have been the first to substitute
"vacuum" for "hoover", in March 2000 [2]. I say "oddly" because the
usual explanation for the change is that Americans didn't like the use
of the proprietary name, yet Julian's English. But perhaps that's the
reason why this now appears to be the most popular form.

I may have missed a post between 12/1999 and 03/2000, however, so here's
your chance to beat Del at the game of googling, y'all :-)

--
. . . . Del Cotter d...@branta.demon.co.uk . . . .
[1] groups.google.com/groups?selm=83e5vd%246gb%241%40plutonium.compulink.co.uk
[2] groups.google.com/groups?selm=na.ee7065499c.a700d0julesf%40argonet.co.uk

Ray

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Mar 13, 2002, 7:14:36 PM3/13/02
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"Magnus Olsson" <m...@df.lth.se> wrote in message
news:a6n5uo$a7n$4...@news.lth.se...

> In article <1f8yus4.tv...@h000a2789fa80.ne.client2.attbi.com>,
> Darkhawk (H. Nicoll) <lila...@subdimension.com> wrote:
> >Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@kithrup.com> wrote:
> >> I think it's original to this group, and who was it first came up
> >> with it? Jo Walton? Someone here will know.
> >
> >I think it derives from an offhanded comment by Teresa Nielsen Hayden,
> >originally; someone blam^Wcredited me with putting it into its current
> >formulation at one point, but I'm _sure_ I swiped it from someone.
>
> Didn't somebody mention some time back that her cat actually *liked*
> being vacuumed?

We had a cat that liked to be vacuumed. He was really stupid in other ways,
too.

My brother had a white cat that loved it. That cat was deaf.


Ray

Brenda W. Clough

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Mar 13, 2002, 7:18:14 PM3/13/02
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Ray wrote:

My husband had a boxer dog who adored being vacuumed. Of course that was in the
days before beater bars.

Brenda


--
---------
Brenda W. Clough
Read my novella "May Be Some Time"
Complete at http://www.analogsf.com/0202/maybesometime.html

My web page is at http://www.sff.net/people/Brenda/


Julian Flood

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Mar 13, 2002, 7:30:02 PM3/13/02
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gon

(M) Banks used to talk about vacuuming the fluff under the bed.

> English

Very, I hope.

JF

Oh, yes, why the fractured post? Because Bill Gates software refused to
write (M) without being powered down and restarted from scratch. Amateurish
junk, The man should be ashamed of the people who work for him.

JF


Julian Flood

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Mar 13, 2002, 7:23:47 PM3/13/02
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"Del Cotter"

>
> Oddly, Julian Flood then appears to have been the first to substitute
> "vacuum" for "hoover", in March 2000 [2].

Ian Banks (look, I know I'v

gon

on about

Del Cotter

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Mar 14, 2002, 1:31:53 PM3/14/02
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On Wed, 13 Mar 2002, in rec.arts.sf.composition, I said:

>AFAICT, the original form was "waxing the cat", introduced by Teresa
>Nielsen Hayden in December 1999 in the great R*ck*ids thread, whereupon
>Mary Gentle immediately gave her household's version of it as "hoovering
>the cat" [1]
>
>Oddly, Julian Flood then appears to have been the first to substitute
>"vacuum" for "hoover", in March 2000 [2]. I say "oddly" because the
>usual explanation for the change is that Americans didn't like the use
>of the proprietary name, yet Julian's English. But perhaps that's the
>reason why this now appears to be the most popular form.
>
>I may have missed a post between 12/1999 and 03/2000, however

And so it proved: I've since found a "vacuum the cat" reference prior to
Julian's, in early January 2000 [3]. It's from Jo, who referred to "cat
vacuuming", which I forgot to search for (google doesn't do wildcards,
dammit, so I couldn't search for "vacuum*")

--
. . . . Del Cotter d...@branta.demon.co.uk . . . .

[3] groups.google.com/groups?selm=947287663snz%40bluejo.demon.co.uk

John F. Eldredge

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Mar 18, 2002, 1:32:11 AM3/18/02
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-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

On 13 Mar 2002 09:25:44 GMT, m...@df.lth.se (Magnus Olsson) wrote:

>In article
><1f8yus4.tv...@h000a2789fa80.ne.client2.attbi.com>, Darkhawk
>(H. Nicoll) <lila...@subdimension.com> wrote:
>>Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@kithrup.com> wrote:
>>> I think it's original to this group, and who was it first came up
>>> with it? Jo Walton? Someone here will know.
>>
>>I think it derives from an offhanded comment by Teresa Nielsen
>>Hayden, originally; someone blam^Wcredited me with putting it into
>>its current formulation at one point, but I'm _sure_ I swiped it
>>from someone.
>
>Didn't somebody mention some time back that her cat actually *liked*
>being vacuumed?

My father used to have a cat that enjoyed being vacuumed with a
small, hand-held vacuum cleaner. If you turned on the large vacuum
cleaner, on the other hand, she would dash to the far end of the
house.

My weather-alert radio went off tonight, delivering a flash-flood
warning. The sound effects could best be described as "Beep!
Bawwwwp! Buzzzzzzzzzzzzz!", delivered at a considerable volume,
since the radio is designed to wake you up in the middle of the
night, if necessary. My cat promptly departed the room with her fur
standing on end, and wouldn't come back into the room for half an
hour afterward.

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--
John F. Eldredge -- new address jo...@jfeldredge.com
eldr...@earthlink.net, eldr...@poboxes.com still work
PGP key available from http://pgpkeys.mit.edu:11371

"There must be, not a balance of power, but a community of power;
not organized rivalries, but an organized common peace."

Woodrow Wilson

Darkhawk (H. Nicoll)

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Mar 18, 2002, 3:59:07 PM3/18/02
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Magnus Olsson <m...@df.lth.se> wrote:
> Didn't somebody mention some time back that her cat actually *liked*
> being vacuumed?

Mine don't, unfortunately; that's the problem with a black cat, it shows
the dust something terrible.

--
Heather Anne Nicoll - Darkhawk - http://aelfhame.net/~darkhawk/

Dreams are not lost, they merely fall beneath the ashes of what is left
To the soul from where it starts to where it catches.
- "Matter," Josh Joplin Group

Joann Zimmerman

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Mar 18, 2002, 5:25:59 PM3/18/02
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In article <1f98wki.p7...@h000a2789fa80.ne.client2.attbi.com>,
lila...@subdimension.com says...

> Magnus Olsson <m...@df.lth.se> wrote:
> > Didn't somebody mention some time back that her cat actually *liked*
> > being vacuumed?
>
> Mine don't, unfortunately; that's the problem with a black cat, it shows
> the dust something terrible.

I'd never noticed when I was a kid, and had two black cats. I do
occasionally wonder these days why/how a person who wears black as much
as I do got chosen by a mostly-white calico.

--
"I never understood people who don't have bookshelves."
--George Plimpton

Joann Zimmerman jz...@bellereti.com

Darkhawk (H. Nicoll)

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Mar 18, 2002, 5:46:11 PM3/18/02
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Joann Zimmerman <jz...@bellereti.com> wrote:
> In article <1f98wki.p7...@h000a2789fa80.ne.client2.attbi.com>,
> lila...@subdimension.com says...
> > Magnus Olsson <m...@df.lth.se> wrote:
> > > Didn't somebody mention some time back that her cat actually *liked*
> > > being vacuumed?
> >
> > Mine don't, unfortunately; that's the problem with a black cat, it shows
> > the dust something terrible.
>
> I'd never noticed when I was a kid, and had two black cats. I do
> occasionally wonder these days why/how a person who wears black as much
> as I do got chosen by a mostly-white calico.

Lennon loves rolling in dirt piles. If I try to sweep up, he tracks
down the pile of dust and flops in it. So he's often got a light veneer
of embryonic dust bunnies.

The latter is, of course, the simple perversity of cats.

Ray

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Mar 18, 2002, 11:10:45 PM3/18/02
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"Darkhawk (H. Nicoll)" <lila...@subdimension.com> wrote in message
news:1f9956y.84t...@h000a2789fa80.ne.client2.attbi.com...

> Joann Zimmerman <jz...@bellereti.com> wrote:
> > In article <1f98wki.p7...@h000a2789fa80.ne.client2.attbi.com>,
> > lila...@subdimension.com says...
> > > Magnus Olsson <m...@df.lth.se> wrote:
> > > > Didn't somebody mention some time back that her cat actually *liked*
> > > > being vacuumed?
> > >
> > > Mine don't, unfortunately; that's the problem with a black cat, it
shows
> > > the dust something terrible.
> >
> > I'd never noticed when I was a kid, and had two black cats. I do
> > occasionally wonder these days why/how a person who wears black as much
> > as I do got chosen by a mostly-white calico.
>
> Lennon loves rolling in dirt piles. If I try to sweep up, he tracks
> down the pile of dust and flops in it. So he's often got a light veneer
> of embryonic dust bunnies.
>
> The latter is, of course, the simple perversity of cats.

I much prefer that to a dog's habit of rolling in something disgusting.


Ray

mary_...@cix.compulink.co.uk

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Mar 19, 2002, 3:39:43 AM3/19/02
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In article
<1f98wki.p7...@h000a2789fa80.ne.client2.attbi.com>,
lila...@subdimension.com (Darkhawk (H. Nicoll))) wrote:

> Magnus Olsson <m...@df.lth.se> wrote:
> > Didn't somebody mention some time back that her cat
>actually *liked*
> > being vacuumed?
>
> Mine don't, unfortunately; that's the problem with a black
>cat, it shows the dust something terrible.

You could return to the old manual methods and use a duster,
surely?

Mary

Darkhawk (H. Nicoll)

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Mar 19, 2002, 3:49:56 AM3/19/02
to

The last such thing that got within reach of the boys was dismembered.
Admittedly, it wasn't a feather-duster, it was a furrything acquired at
a local leather fair, but it seems the sort of thing that I'd worry
about generalizing given the joy they take in attempting to mangle
anything else even remotely fuzzy or fluffy.

Stuart Houghton

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Mar 19, 2002, 7:37:09 AM3/19/02
to
lila...@subdimension.com (Darkhawk (H. Nicoll)) wrote in
news:1f99x41.wjz...@h000a2789fa80.ne.client2.attbi.com:

You could return to the old manual methods and use a duster, surely?
>
> The last such thing that got within reach of the boys was dismembered.
> Admittedly, it wasn't a feather-duster, it was a furrything acquired at
> a local leather fair, but it seems the sort of thing that I'd worry
> about generalizing given the joy they take in attempting to mangle
> anything else even remotely fuzzy or fluffy.
>

I cannot tell you how disturbing this sounds out of context.

--
Stuart Houghton

mary_...@cix.compulink.co.uk

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Mar 19, 2002, 12:52:05 PM3/19/02
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In article <Xns91D6804F84F13...@130.133.1.4>,
stu_ajh-utter...@hotmail.com (Stuart Houghton)
wrote:

*snork!*

It was at 'local leather fair' that my eyebrows began to
climb towards my hairline...

;-)

Mary

Stuart Houghton

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Mar 19, 2002, 12:56:38 PM3/19/02
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mary_...@cix.compulink.co.uk wrote in news:a77ts5$rtl$1
@thorium.cix.co.uk:


>> >
>> > The last such thing that got within reach of the boys was
>> > dismembered. Admittedly, it wasn't a feather-duster, it was a
>> > furrything acquired at a local leather fair, but it seems
the sort
>> > of thing that I'd worry about generalizing given the joy
they take
>> > in attempting to mangle anything else even remotely fuzzy or
>> > fluffy.
>> >
>>
>> I cannot tell you how disturbing this sounds out of context.
>
> *snork!*
>
> It was at 'local leather fair' that my eyebrows began to
> climb towards my hairline...
>

Quite - this is obviously some leftpondian custom I was previously
unaware of.

Do you think we should be crossposting this to some of the alt.*
newsgroups now? :-)

--
Stuart Houghton

Darkhawk (H. Nicoll)

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Mar 19, 2002, 4:25:14 PM3/19/02
to
> > The last such thing that got within reach of the boys was dismembered.
> > Admittedly, it wasn't a feather-duster, it was a furrything acquired at
> > a local leather fair, but it seems the sort of thing that I'd worry
> > about generalizing given the joy they take in attempting to mangle
> > anything else even remotely fuzzy or fluffy.
>
> I cannot tell you how disturbing this sounds out of context.

Oh good; I did it right then. ;)

Charlie Stross

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Mar 20, 2002, 4:28:37 AM3/20/02
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Stoned koala bears drooled eucalyptus spittle in awe
as <stu_ajh-utter...@hotmail.com> declared:

>>> > furrything acquired at a local leather fair, but it seems
> the sort
>>> > of thing that I'd worry about generalizing given the joy
> they take
>>> > in attempting to mangle anything else even remotely fuzzy or
>>> > fluffy.
>>> >
>>>
>>> I cannot tell you how disturbing this sounds out of context.
>>
>> *snork!*
>>
>> It was at 'local leather fair' that my eyebrows began to
>> climb towards my hairline...
>>
>
> Quite - this is obviously some leftpondian custom I was previously
> unaware of.

Actually, they happen in the UK as well. Or at least in Edinburgh.

You must have had a sheltered upbringing ;-)


-- Charlie

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