Archive for January, 2007

Late Bloglines notifications: You’re not alone

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

A while back, someone sent me email (or maybe commented?) that they hadn’t seen a post from this blog in Bloglines until three or four (or was it six?) days after it was posted. They were gracious enough to say that this was troublesome, that they wanted to know about my posts. (Well, they’re infrequent, which may help.)

I suppose the title of the post tells the story. I just now–that is, at about 10:15 a.m. on Saturday, January 27–found the C&I 7:2 announcement post in Bloglines. That’s four days, and it’s not atypical. I’m never surprised when my egofeed of comments from W.a.r. shows the comment before I ever get the egofeed of the post itself…although comments also show up only sporadically.

And yet I’m clearly getting prompt notification for some? most? other blogs, including others on LISHost, along with Bloglines’ occasional trick of providing the 25 most recent posts whenever there’s a new one.

I’m not ready to give up on Bloglines. I tried the recommended Firefox-extension alternative and really didn’t like it. I like the way Bloglines works–enough to tolerate, for now, the extent to which it’s flakey.

I would suggest load leveling as a cause, or maybe that it picks up blogs more or less frequently depending on whether they have lots of subscribers. But I’m solidly within the B list among libloggers–over 300 Bloglines subs in all (split between feeds), and an absurd 1,200+ sessions per day (more recently). So unless it’s an inverse relationship (widely-subscribed blogs get polled less often?), that doesn’t make sense.

If this post seems hectic, well, it’s in that just-before-grocery-shopping interval, and Blake just managed to solve a problem that had me shut out of all three domains (followed by a related problem that kept me out of writing/administering here), and hey, it’s Saturday.

Things will get better. They usually do. Ah well, I managed to break a post-Midwinter writer’s block yesterday (writing a brief chapter for the probable-book I’m working on), so that’s good news.

Quick update Monday, January 29: I received this post in Bloglines this morning (marked as a 6 a.m. Monday update). At 10 a.m., I received a Comments feed–with comments ranging back as far as January 24. That’s fairly typical; I seem to get one Comments feed a week, more or less.

C&I 7:2 available

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large volume 7, issue 2 (February 2007) is now available for downloading.

The 22-page issue (PDF as always, but each section is also available as an HTML separate from the C&I home page) includes:

  • Bibs & Blather – Cites on a Plane and other oddities
  • Perspective: Predictions and Scorecards – Back to a roundup of some other people’s forecasts and outcomes, after missing a year
  • Perspective: Conference Speaking: I Have A Little List – Conference speaking arrangements have become a bit more transparent, and it’s time for a Lobachevskian job on the Gordon/Salo/West works.
  • Finding a Balance: The Balanced Librarian – Discussing a prerequisite for balanced libraries.
  • Following Up and Feedback – three items.

COAP has flown away

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

As promised, Cites on a Plane is no more.

The goof has joined the PDF eternal.

COAP is an ex-document.

With any luck at all (Gaia willing and the creek don’t rise), Cites & Insights 7:2 (February 2007), a real issue with new content, will appear right around January 24, 2007–at least in the U.S.

Back from Midwinter

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

This isn’t a “Midwinter report” (and there may not be one), but a quick note:

COAP will disappear within 24 hours.

The next issue of C&I (prob. Wednesday) will include a note on COAP, with the total downloads. I already know it’s an absurd number.

Later. Newspapers to catch up on (and 600+ posts to skim through, which isn’t all that many for four days)

The power of the [e]press

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

All links are good (I guess). Some links are better than others.

I picked up on that last May 3, when Library Link of the Day pointed to a 13-year-old speech on my personal website. For January-April 2006, that site averaged about 150 sessions per day, and the talk had been accessed 104 times during those four months–quite a bit, considering how old it was and how obscurely it was linked.

On May 3, there were 1,388 sessions. On May 4, there were 276. Then it went back down to roughly 150 a day. During May 2006, that speech was accessed 1,966 times. (From June 2006 through yesterday, it was accessed another 711 times–but that’s over 7.5 months.)

So let’s come forward to, oh, last week, when I posted Cites on a Plane as a goof of sorts, and gave the non-issue the same casual publicity I give regular Cites & Insights issues: A Topica post, a post on two blogs (this one and the special C&I Update blog), and the same post in my vestigial LISNews journal. Forwarding the Topica post the next day to three lists and a couple of people.

I’d figured that maybe 50 to 100 people would find the goof amusing enough to download. C&I averages about 200 sessions a day–issue readership grows over time–with predictable spikes on the two days in which a new issue is publicized. That was the case this time, and although the spikes were a little lower, I was surprised by their size: 564 sessions on January 11, 347 on January 12. Through January 16, COAP had been downloaded 518 times–a lot more than I’d ever expected.

Then came AL Direct. Yesterday’s issue had a little mention of COAP.

There were 854 C&I sessions yesterday. Eight hundred and fiftyfour. A handful of those came before 5 p.m., which is about when people got AL Direct. 262 were between 5 and 6 p.m. 117 between 6 and 7, trailing off from there.

COAP was downloaded 582 times yesterday. The running total is now 1,100–just about what a typical issue of C&I gets over the first week or so. But in this case, it’s pretty clear that most of those downloads can be traced directly to AL Direct.

I’ll update this post next Wednesday, the day after I kill the goof. I’m guessing that today will see a few hundred additional downloads and that it will trail very rapidly after that.

Final download figure: 2,082…nearly three-quarters of which came after the AL Direct item.

And, as I said in email to George Eberhart, I’ll think carefully about what I want to do with C&I for Annual 2007 and Midwinter 2008!

[This is probably the last post before Midwinter, although who knows?]

Updated January 23, 2007: Hyperlink removed, since COAP no longer exists. My guess above was a little off (depending on how you define “a few hundred”), but I’ll add the final figure tomorrow–and it will be in “Bibs & Blather” in the February 2007 Cites & Insights. [Final: 2,082, as noted above–so “a few hundred” equates to 982.]

50-Movie Classic Musicals, Disc 3

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

This one’s more like it. Four black-and-white movies about and featuring music, all with all-black casts, all marketed primarily to black audiences. Which may be why only one of the four is otherwise available on DVD—and that only because The Duke is Tops, Lena Horne’s first movie appearance, was reissued years later after she became a star and is available on a twofer DVD. The prints vary from very good (with a few missing frames) to poor. But the music? Ah, the music!

Paradise in Harlem, 1939, b&w, Joseh Seiden (dir.), Mamie Smith, Norman Astwood, Edna Mae Harris, Merritt Smith, Francine Everett, Percy Verwayen, Babe and Eddie Matthews, Lucky Millinder and his band, Frank Wilson, Alec Lovejoy, Madeline Belt. 1:25.

The plot centers on a would-be dramatic actress who’s stuck doing blackface (yes, a black actor doing blackface in a Harlem club, playing Uncle Tom), and who witnesses a mob hit. The mob tells him to get out of town, which he does, becoming a traveling drunk. Eventually, he comes back, gets the chance to do Othello, and comes to a remarkable scenic climax with the aid of impromptu a cappella gosel (and an absurd ending to the crime plot). Quite a bit of excellent music along the way. Some damage. $1.25.

The Duke is Tops, 1938, b&w, William L. Nolte (dir.), Ralph Cooper, Lena Horne, Laurence Criner. 1:13 [1:15!]

Lena Horne’s first movie, as a singer in shows produced by her boyfriend—until she (and only she) gets a chance at Broadway. He trumps up a scene so she’ll leave him and goes to work with a traveling medicine show—eventually coming back to rescue her from a bad show and make everything right. This one’s also mostly music and some comedy (Cooper does a fine medicine-show routine). Lena Horne was still young and a bit low on star power, but the music’s nonetheless excellent. $1.50

Reet, Petite and Gone, 1947, b&w, William Forest Crouch (dir.), Louis Jordan (and the Tympany Five), June Richmond, Bea Griffith. 1:07 [1:10].

The plot doesn’t amount to much—rich dying father, industrious bandleader son, wicked lawyer, faithful butler, daughter of the father’s first love—but it also doesn’t take up much time. This movie is really about music—14 complete songs filmed head-on, with good sound and a good picture. If you want to nitpick, the dancers in one or two numbers seem to be doing random steps, but who cares? Jordan’s a showman, the music’s first-rate, and this one’s all about the music. Even with a few missing frames, I give this a solid $2. I’ll watch it again.

Killer Diller, 1948, b&w, Josh Binney (dir.), Dusty Fletcher, Butterfly McQueen, Jackie “Moms” Mabley, Ken Renard, Nat ‘King’ Cole and the King Cole Trio, and many more. 1:13.

The sleeve talks about a “loose storyline,” and that’s almost an exaggeration—it involves a show producer, his fiancée, a slapstick magician, four very slapstick cops, and maybe 10-12 minutes total of what’s essentially a filmed revue. (Butterfly McQueen’s only in the “plot” portion.) Moms Mabley is cleaner than I’d expect (but it is a movie), Nat King Cole is—well, Nat King Cole, even if he’s doing lesser-known numbers. Other musicians, dancers, and singers keep it going—including one great performance of “Ain’t Nobody’s Business But Mine.” Unfortunately, there are continuous projector-damage lines throughout the film, and the soundtrack’s even distorted at times, which reduces this hour+ of comedy, dancing, and mostly music to $1.25.

Third time’s the charm/three strikes you’re out

Monday, January 15th, 2007

This is a mostly-blind item/mostly-hypothetical. Feel free to ignore it.

I wanted to comment on a post. I wrote a clear comment. I looked at its probable implications if read uncharitably. I didn’t submit the comment.

I came back at coffee break. Wrote an even clearer comment. Found that uncharitable reading would again cause problems. Didn’t submit.

And just now, lunch break, wrote a truly eloquent comment. Which would also cause problems if read uncharitably.

I think the idea of reading blog posts and comments charitably is great, in theory. I almost feel bad when I point out that a blogger has directly contradicted themselves between a post and a response to a comment on that post. I suppose a truly charitable reading would be that most blog posts and comments are done so much on the fly that internal consistency is too much to ask even within one stream–but at that point, you get to the level of “well, this is all just talk with no thinking, so why bother?” That’s not true, so there’s a limit on charitable reading. I also know that I’m incapable of reading a blog without taking into account the context of the blogger’s other posts and publications (and real-world persona, if I know it), and I’m pretty sure people do the same for me.

And, of course, my desire to read other posts and comments charitably won’t necessarily be reciprocated.

So, just to get it off my chest, I’ll just say this:

If you sign your blog (and it’s surprising how many pseudonymous blogs wind up “signed” because the blogger gets excited about an achievement or something and posts an identifying page or post), it is not possible to divorce yourself entirely from your place of work.

Period. Can’t be done. Our minds just don’t work that way. (OK, maybe some people can internalize such a work:life split so thoroughly that the connection never occurs to them–but I’ll bet a lot more can’t.)

Worst case: James X, who works for coffee-store magnate S, says something on his blog that really offends Fred Y. James X is clearly writing the blog on his own time and may even have an explicit disclaimer–you know, “Opinions expressed here may not reflect those of S Coffee.” But Fred Y finds the comment so offensive that he says “You know, I’m not going to get coffee at S anymore; they hire people I don’t want to be associated with even indirectly.” He starts going to P’s Coffee instead (or S’s B Coffee, for that matter).

Or, even worse case: Fred Y is a long-time acquaintance of James X’s boss. He may be terribly tempted to call up that boss and say “Are you aware of the idiots you have working for you, and what terrible things they’re saying?”

Maybe even worse than that: S Coffee is actually a membership organization and Fred Y is a member, and Fred Y regards the comment as a personal attack.

But–and it’s a big but–that’s an inappropriate action for Fred Y to take, if Fred Y believes in free speech.

Not free as in “without possible consequences,” but free as in “no advance censorship, and consequences should be rationally related to the speech.”

If James X starts badmouthing customers at S Coffee as customers, it’s entirely appropriate for Fred Y to call his boss–and for James X to wind up Dooced (doncha love jargon?) or, in English, fired for inappropriate online behavior.

But if James X writes negative comments about something that’s not directly related to S Coffee’s business, and those comments aren’t obscene or hate speech, then Fred Y should recognize that James was on his own time and should have the same rights as anyone else.

It’s a hard line, fuzzy, gray, likely to get crossed from time to time. For now, though, I believe it’s the right line to take.

There’s another question: Should James X think about the consequences of some people being able to completely separate his blog and comments from his job? As an employee, I’d say yes. As one possibly offering advice on blogging, I’d say you betcha. As a general ethical call–no, I’m not willing to make that call.

Meanwhile, if I was in a position to make the other kind of call, I’d like to think I wouldn’t. Not that the situation has ever occurred, of course: Then I’d have to put my beliefs into action, never quite so simple.

Giving up on Norton

Monday, January 15th, 2007

A momentous change in my personal computing environment yesterday, albeit partly to test the waters for my wife’s notebook:

After many years using Norton AntiVirus and, more recently, Norton Personal Firewall (and Norton Utilities/Norton Systemworks, but I never picked up Norton Internet Security as a suite), I switched to ZoneAlarm Suite 2007 yesterday.

I finally got tired of the five- to ten-second delay in opening a Word document while Norton scanned it (even though it was already scanning every email attachment and doing monthly full-disk scans). I was bemused by the extra minute or so on startup before Norton would agree that things were OK and free up resources for me to use. I found the monthly disk scans to be slower and slower… And while the firewall protection was good (in addition to the router’s hardware firewall, of course, and with Windows XP Firewall turned off), I knew that ZoneAlarm has a reputation for having an even better firewall. And for using less of system resources. (And it was time: my AV signature subscription only had 30 days to go, and Norton was hounding me several times a day…)

Economically, of course, this wasn’t the best choice. Depending on where I pick up TurboTax, I could probably get Norton Internet Security for next to nothing–or CA Suite, but I’ve seen the ratings for CA suite, so that wasn’t a realistic possibility. But, you know, sometimes you get what you pay for…

The real impetus was that, on my wife’s relatively slow notebook, it wasn’t five to ten seconds: It was/is up to thirty seconds to load a Word file–and sometimes, for no apparent reason, Norton would simply start using 99% of CPU resources for a few minutes. But she has 200+ days on her subscription, so wanted to make sure this was a worthwhile change.

I read the manual’s comment about five-minute install and connecting to the internet first, but I didn’t see anything about it automatically deleting competitive products, and I know what happens if you get two AV or firewall or spyware products running simultaneously. So I disabled the internet connection entirely, went through the slow, slow, annoying, slow process of uninstalling NAV and NPF (and disabling LiveUpdate–I’m keeping Norton SystemWorks 2003 for now, as a convenient way of cleaning the Registry and shortcuts from time to time), turned SpySweeper’s live scanning off…

And installed it. Started out with pretty much default settings, but turned off real-time spyware scanning (because most reviews say that SpySweeper is better), and reactivated SpySweeper scanning. A surprisingly fast install, at least after Norton’s marathon sessions.

The first restart felt like a disaster: The desktop background loaded–but no program icons, no Start menu, no Taskbar. Finally, after a minute or so, things showed up, and ZoneAlarm pretty much insisted on doing a full antivirus scan…all quarter million files (what are all those files? I’m responsible for maybe 2,000 of them). But it was only using about 14% of system resources, so I did some other light work while that was going on–and it was reasonably fast (maybe half an hour?). A spyware scan was very fast–less than five minutes–and flagged a few tracking cookies that had gotten past SpySweeper.

The second restart had another minute delay.

But the third one, and at least one since then, was back to normal, but better: Much less startup overhead. (OK, I did go through the whole msconfig Startup list, using web tools to check each name, and disabled a handful of startup things that I just don’t need). And it’s taking about two seconds for a Word file to open. ShieldsUp seems to think ZoneAlarm is doing a good job, which is in keeping with ZoneAlarm’s reputation.

So far, I’m happy. I’ll do another post in a month or so if I have other conclusions. And then, maybe, with crossed fingers, think about spending another $50 and doing the same for my wife’s notebook…

By the way, I’m now long past the point where my “new PC” has lasted longer than any other PC I’ve owned (two to three years was typically my cycle; this one, the least expensive PC I’ve ever owned, is now 4.5 years old)–and I still see no particular reason to replace it, at least until/unless Vista’s been out for a while, I’m not sure what that says.

An advance mini-review

Saturday, January 13th, 2007

I’ll probably post mini-reviews for Disc 3 of the Musicals 50-movie pack just before going to Midwinter. It’s a much better disc than Disc 2, comprised entirely of movies made with all-black casts for black audiences, and two of the three I’ve watched so far focus on some great music.

But I thought it was worth a little advance notice on a movie I thoroughly enjoyed (and the IMDB reviewer from France can turn up their nose all they like): Reet, Petite, and Gone, 1947, starring Louis Jordan in a dual role (although one part’s only on screen for a couple of minutes).

There’s a plot–rich dying father, last-minute will, crooked lawyer, all turns out well–but it’s trivial and takes up very little of the movie. Out of 69 minutes, I’d guess that at least 55 minutes are devoted to 14–count them, 14–complete songs, with all the attention on Jordan, the Tympany Five, and occasional guest singers. Jordan appeared in a few other films, but as far as I know this is the only one that focuses almost entirely on his first-rate, varied music. It’s also a pretty good print with clear sound and only a few missing frames. This one, I’ll watch again…and I’m still hearing some of those songs in my mind’s ear as I write this. I gave it $2; but for the missing frames, it might have been even higher.

One of the songs (which range from ballads to hot jazz, and make clear that for Jordan’s style of band in the 1940s, the guitar was just part of the percussion group along with the standup bass) surprised me: The Green Grass Grew All Around. Yes, that one. Not what I would have expected, and Jordan does a great job.

[Someone who knows what I’m trying to do might suggest that I’m procrastinating on the next chapter of my possible-book. Maybe, but this really was a fine movie, mostly as a documentary of Jordan’s music.]

[Oh, and just for giggles: You know Cites on a Plane, the phantom non-issue I put out Wednesday night that has no new material? I spent easily an hour total putting it together and posting it, mostly for fun and in the expectation that 50 or 60 people might actually download it. Ahem. Through yesterday, the PDF’s been downloaded 390 times. I have no idea what to make of that: Guess those plane rides really are boring, or a lot of people are fascinated by AutoSummary.]

Win:win situations, infinite possibilities, and lemonade

Friday, January 12th, 2007

I’m trying to avoid uncritical me-tooism (and I’m really trying to stick to my resolve to “Take the high road”), but I do feel the need to link to very recent posts from two libloggers who I respect, frequently disagree with, and have never felt any desire to steamroll or slag. They’re semi-related posts.

Dorothea Salo talks about ‘Infinite Success’ here. I’ll particularly call attention to this paragraph (following some discussion of people who seem to feel the need to be King or Queen of the Hill, which of course means that others have to be less successful):

But what if success is—at least potentially—infinite? The entire equation changes. You have to decide which flavors of the limitless abundance you care for, and you have to sort out for yourself how much is enough. At that point, you can happily and without the least whisper of personal loss lend a hand to others who are doing the same.

While admitting that the “C” in “Walter C. Crawford” (the only time I’m likely to use my driver’s license/passport name in this blog!) does not stand for “Consistency,” I certainly agree with and try to live by this as a general rule. And I will claim that I’ve done my part to “lend a hand” at least by quoting and pointing out newish voices who have interesting things to say–even when I’m disagreeing with them. I do that mostly in Cites & Insights, to be sure, but I try to do it elsewhere as well.

It feels good. It particularly feels good when a “discovery” turns out to be a gem. And since I’ve probably had more than my share of traditional high-profile gigs (particularly for a pseudo-librarian in the library field), I’m only too happy to see (real example) Meredith F. getting a column in a magazine that dumped my own column [there’s absolutely no connection], (not real example as far as I know) Joshua Neff or Steve Lawson or Sarah Houghton-Jan or Sandra Stewart or… getting a keynote at an association I’d love to speak to, or, well, you name it.

Caveat: I do not claim that I’ve ever had any role to play in making any of those named more visible or getting such gigs–well, with one exception, where I submitted a list of three outstanding people in the field for a possible keynote. They all happened to be women, the first one on the list accepted, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

I’ve never been a formal mentor and probably never will be: The whole contract and formal agreement thing doesn’t work for me. I don’t believe I’ve ever been a formal “mentee.” But I’ve certainly been on both sides of informal help.

The first I-believe-publishable study that I ever did was, at the time, taken over by the head of the department as something that had to appear under that person’s name; it never reached the light of day. The second possibly-publishable piece that I did was while working for Sue (Susan K.) Martin (Ph.D.) in the UC Berkeley Library Systems Office; she nudged me to make it happen and suggested the place for it, and Sue would never, ever try to claim credit for someone else’s work. It did appear; it’s one of very few peer-reviewed articles I’ve ever done, and I believe the only post-college publication bearing the fuller form of my name. At other key stages, I’ve been nudged by people to take a chance on some activity–sometimes by people who could easily have done it themselves.

With web publishing, outlets for professional activity really are effectively “infinite.” Even without it, though, we benefit from a broader range of voices and ideas. I’ve probably seen 50 articles and 5 books in the last decade where I have two reactions: “I could have done a great job on that” and “Didn’t they do a great job on that!” When the author is a relative unknown, the second reaction is particularly pleasant. (OK, once in a while there’s a “They did an awful job on that,” and sometimes I’ll try to do a better one. Because I’m inconsistent, human, occasionally mean-spirited and all that I might even take a public swipe–ideally but not always at what they did, not at who they are.)

The second post, also from yesterday, is Charitable Reading by Meredith Farkas. She quotes (with permission) email from Joshua “Goblin” Neff, which I’m in turn going to quote as fair use:

Having spent years on web forums where people got in the pissiest, snarkiest arguments I’ve ever seen (and sometimes been a part of), I’ve picked up on one thing that I think is crucial for any kind of internet discussion: charitable reading. Read what I’ve written assuming that I mean the best possible thing, not the worst.

This is great advice. It’s also damnably difficult at times–particularly when you’re being fisked or, shall we say it, uncharitably read. Or slagged. I make no claims at all to sainthood on this account. I will cheerfully read a post or comment within the context of the writer’s past posts and comments, and for that matter their print publishing record and, if I know them, their persona. Such reading-within-context is sometimes less charitable than Neff’s optimal (but hardly inevitable) suggestion.

But it doesn’t hurt to try. Farkas’ discussion is excellent. I’ll quote one more paragraph (this one by Meredith Farkas, not a requote from Joshua Neff):

How would you like to see people? We have a choice in the way we view and react to things. I don’t think we should constantly worry about being polite and agreeing with what everyone else says by any stretch of the imagination. What’s so great about the blogosphere is the dialogue; not a monologue. But when has someone changed their mind after being attacked? Who has said “well, now that you’ve jumped down my throat, I really see your point and agree”? They may feel intimidated (especially if the blogger is a major A-lister or a well-known librarian) and raise the white flag, but chances are, you won’t change their mind. What will change their mind is a persuasive argument… a smart criticism. Jumping down someone’s throat has little benefit other than to let you vent your spleen. Is it really worth it?

And I’ll try to remember to reread this post from time to time. Maybe I’ll even use it as the springboard for a Bibs & Blather. (I’m already using some related material for a chapter in the probably-gonna-be-a-book I’m working on…)

[A total non sequitur here, gleaned from the comments on MF’s post: I somehow missed this April 1 item, one of the most cleverly/fiendishly planned ones I’ve seen. Of course, it did create another dozen ghosts in the blogosphere, but what’s a few more out of perhaps 100 million + ghost blogs?]

So there we are. For those who haven’t followed various threads, I should point out that Dorothea, Joshua, Meredith and I hardly form a mutual admiration society or echo chamber. I believe that all three of them have disagreed with things I’ve written publicly and forcefully, and I’m pretty sure I’ve done the same for all three of them. If I haven’t yet, I imagine the time will come. The Venn diagram with our four sets of professional interests and beliefs would show some overlap, to be sure, but not all that much [what is it with me and Venn diagrams lately?]. But I think I’ve been consistent in respecting the three people involved as thoughtful, literate, interesting, innovative forces within the field. If I’ve ever attacked one of them as opposed to disagreeing with what they’ve said, I apologize.

So there it is: A Friday lunchtime post that isn’t a quiz or a meme or a movie review.

Two more things:

  1. Lemonade? Well, life among libloggers has been tossing up enough lemons around lately…and if you don’t know the old saying, you can probably look it up. (My wife and I give away dozens of Meyer lemons almost every week during the season, and we’re hoping the current weather doesn’t end this year’s crop–and I’d guess Meyer lemons would make lemonade requiring very little sugar. Yes, they’re pesticide-free. No, they’re not for mailing; sorry.)
  2. A note to MFFX–Meredith Farkas’ Friend X: Come on in. Most of the time, the water’s fine.