Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

New Zealand is calling...

Actually, it's in the post. I got a postcard from Zabet and Patrick yesterday. "The traditional challenge 'Wero' is performed by a warrior as part of Maori protocol to ensure that visitors come in friendship". The note? "Per your request, we've found a nice New Zealand boy for you. You'll have to learn Maori and weave your own clothes, but you didn't specify!" Hehehehe.

I've been looking at the wonderful pictures they've posted on their travel blog and must say I'd love to go there, too. Zabet even got to pilot a steamboat briefly. She looks about as terrified behind the wheel as Patrick does driving on the left side of the road. Today's her birthday (well, actually, yesterday there, they're a day ahead of us), and it's Bealtaine night here. Definitely quiet without them, although as a general rule most of my pagan friends and I always found we should never plan on being together for this particular holiday, because it never turned out well. We're much better at Samhain (Halloween).

Dwana called me after she got out of class and told me that Baskin-Robbins was having a free scoop night. For every scoop they give away, they also donate money to a literacy programme. So, they basically donate both ice cream and money and people who show up get free ice cream. I guess it's a big tax write-off, but it was much appreciated by those of us who went. We went to one on Richmond Road and had a very short wait. Dwana said the one on campus had a line snaking around the parking lot. It's dead week there (the week right before final exams), so you can bet that the college students were going to come out for free food. :) Since I'm going on a religious diet as of tomorrow (think Lent, although more restrictive), it was sort of nice to have a last ice cream fling until Midsummer's. Then Dwana came in and I showed her the New Zealand pictures while my animals lolled all over her (well, except for Dar-bar. He hid. He pretty much hides whenever someone comes over. Most people would never know I have another cat without my telling them. It's one of those believe-without-seeing situations). Spock just relaxed totally in her arms like a baby and fell asleep with his paw up in the air. Buns jumped on her and then walked down her pants leg. Fortunately she's a cat person. She's not really a dog person but she does well with Cerys (it's hard not to). I always feel like the animals just gloam onto whomever they can. They're certainly not shy. Well, except for Darius.

The Rabid Librarian--Defender of the Environment

Well, I don't know what was in the nasty drum of doom (see yesterday's post), but by the afternoon they had removed the drum and strung caution tape all around the dead grass and the culvert opening. I'm assuming they were going to run some tests. It must have been nasty stuff, though. It's burned the grass over an ever-widening patch. I don't understand why anyone would dump something like that. Well, I do, but it's just so wrong.


I finished Children of the Storm. Very satisfying--so much so that with a few of chapters to go I forewent (is that a word?) the third-to-the-last Buffy. Really, there are always reruns, especially once something has reached syndication. But I had to know if Amelia & company survive with only "another shirt ruined"! And I finally sat down and did a genealogy of the major characters, since they keep coming out of the woodwork.


Oh, gee. I'm a mystery/Aegyptology/Victoriania/Anglophile geek. But you knew that, right?

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match...

Okay, a small bit of weirdness. I sort of have a date on Sunday. Well, more like someone playing Cupid introducing two people who she thinks might get along well, at least as potential friends. We're meeting over coffee at Barnes & Noble. I'm excited, with a dash of trepidation, and a oh, gee don't overdo it sort of chaser. Wish us luck, if only surviving the meet-and-greet-a-total-stranger-without-coming-off-like-a-dork sort of thing.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Being a medical librarian is fun...

Today I have:

  1. Called in a possible illegal dumping of what looked like a 50-gallon drum of some sort of chemical/whatever else next to the little stream I blog about where someone apparently stopped a truck and threw it out, spilling something that stank to high heaven and killing all the grass around the spill/along the path the drum took.
  2. Recommended a book to be used in court to identify a murder victim's prosthetic.
  3. Attended an inservice on smallpox vaccine. (Not planning on that unless an actual case pops up in the area. If you want to know why, do a Google search on "progressive vaccinia" sometime.) Blugh.

On a happier note, it's time for lunch, and we're having free pizza donated by Joe Bologna's!

Everything you ever wanted to know about Internet filters in libraries but were afraid to ask...

Well, at least from the librarian angle. If you are concerned about Intellectual Freedom, you should check it out.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Oh, happy day!

1. Dwana surprised me with a Fazoli Freezi for lunch.
2. I received the last of my birthday presents (this one from myself) in the mail from my book club--Elizabeth Peters' new novel, Children of the Storm.
3. I finally got back online from home.

And in recent news...

My mom got married!!! I called her last night and it was official on the 18th. So John is officially my stepdad, even though I adopted him a long time ago. I don't think they're letting it go to their heads. Ah, young love. :)

One good thing about losing my ATM card is that I have a new one and my credit union's finally gotten on the debit card bandwagon, so I can use it at places other than an ATM--a very good thing when you're a pedestrian and your bank is a couple of miles away. :)

The weather has been great this weekend, especially considering we had a deluge on Friday night. Today it was in the 80s. The ducks are back for the season (they tend to lay eggs around home and work because we're next to a reservoir and creek. The kids in the complex played lots of soccer in the courtyard. I'm not entirely certain the grass will hold up. But it's great to see them out and doing things rather than sitting around playing video games.

I say that somewhat guiltily because that's basically what I did this weekend. Sat around I mean. (And I did play a few video games). This was the first weekend in recent memory when I had absolutely nothing to do. Pretty much everyone I knew was either out of the country or visiting family. I used that opportunity to actually sleep in/get some well-needed rest. Unfortunately, I also got off on my schedule, which pushed my blood sugar up. Even if I eat okay and take my medicine, that can happen. Saturday I moved a lot of my living room around, giving birth to the mother of all asthma attacks (well, one of the worst I've had, but not so bad as to go to hospital, etc.) I've found that taking albuterol followed by going onto the CPAP (which sends a continual stream of filtererd air into you) seems to really help. I usually try it when I'm home because the filter takes out the dust and other stuff that's setting me off.

Oh, if you get National Geographic, check out May's issue. The Bluegrass region is highlighted, especially pertaining to the horse industry. It's a very...hmm...good account of a big part of our oeconomy and culture, but just so you know we don't all sip on mint juleps. I haven't actually been to a horse race since I've been back in Kentucky, something I probably should remedy--Keeneland is nearby and it's very unusual these days; it's traditional air is one reason why it was used in the recent filming of the upcoming movie Seabiscuit, starring Tobey Maguire. But I learned a long time ago that I am a terrible bettor (bettrix?), I'm not really into the spectacle of the crowds, and I have...an allergy to horses.

I am, however, interested in an exhibit running through August at the Kentucky Horse Park called "All the Queen's Horses". It includes armour from Henry VIII's horse, giant chesspieces, etc. I'm still kicking myself for not making it to the China display a couple of years ago, which really was a once-in-a-lifetime chance. Many of those pieces have not even been seen by the public in China.

Well, hopefully one of these days soon I'll be able to afford a car that will get me to such things.

Time to go. I have a raging headache (no doubt due to the rain that's due tomorrow) and I think it's time to take something. 'Night.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Quick IQ Test

What religion was John the Baptist???


Think about it.

Got it?

  • If you said Jewish (or possibly one of the ancient Jewish cults, like the Essenes, etc.--that's debateable) you pass and can obviously think for yourself.
  • If you said Christian, you are having a stupid moment. (Yeah, I know, he's a Christian saint--but that doesn't mean he was Christian). Think, people, think.
  • If you said Baptist, you have obviously been brainwashed, are having a stupid moment, and will shortly fall through a trap door to a cartoon form of Hell.

Try this on your friends. It's fun.

Finally, Friday! :)

1. What was the last TV show you watched?
Mummies: The Real Story, a documentary exploring the process and history of mummification in a variety of cultures, narrated by Brenden Fraser. I never realised how soothing his voice is.

2. What was the last thing you complained about and what was the problem? UPS was playing tug-of-war with yet another package someone was trying to deliver to my apartment. Happily, I now have the package safely in hand, and they were very helpful in changing the delivery from home to work. Much better than the last time (check the archives in early 2002 for that saga).

3. Who was the last person you complimented and what did you say? Dwana had cut her hair, and done an excellent job, and I told her that it looked very nice.

4. What was the last thing you threw away? I put some junk mail in our shred boxes, which is shredded and then recycled. Does that count?

5. What was the last website (besides this one) that you visited? Zabet's and Patrick's travelblog, NZin2003.blogspot.com. There are great new pictures posted.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Why do I give blood?

According to this article (available online until May 22nd), dealing with the effect that SARS is going to have in terms of the US blood supply, while over half of American adults are eligible to donate blood, only about 5% do so. Yes, that's not a typo...only 5. This is one of the reasons why I continue to do so, despite having to work around a latex allergy, my diabetes, small, rolling veins, and a tendency to have my hemocrit bottom out on the day I try to donate. I've always felt it was a duty (I started donating at age 17). I don't donate as often as I should (usually once or twice a year), and after reading that statistic I think I'm going to have to try more often. I figure I spent six years with my ex and miraculously didn't come down with HIV--the least I can do is step in for those who might no longer be able to donate.

I knew organ donation was abysmally low, and as someone with O+ blood, this has even more reason to concern me (the trouble with being a near universal donor is that you can only take organs and blood from people with O blood type. That's not so bad for blood, because there are a lot of us out there, but in order to donate organs not only does the type have to be right, the size, etc., but a person has to die in a particular way. I didn't realise it till I went to an inservice but in order to donate organs you really have to have a closed head wound or some sort of injury that causes brain death without destroying the organs. That's harder to come by. People with O tend to wait much longer than others for scarce organs).

What can you do?

1) Donate blood if and when you can. Every region has a blood centre, sometimes through the Red Cross, sometimes through another agency. Often blood mobiles come to workplaces, smaller communities, schools, etc. Never donate blood just to find out if you have HIV--go to a health department for that; it should be anonymous and you'll get better counseling.

2) Sign your driver's licence or other donor card and talk to your family about your wishes. Even if you sign and have it witnessed, a family member can object when it comes time to donate.

3) Consider signing up for a marrow donor programme. Usually you can do this when you donate blood--just tell them and they'll take an extra tubeful. You go into a registry to be matched with patients who need marrow to live. It's unlikely you'll ever be called to donate, but the wider and diverse the registry, the better chance people have for life. It's especially difficult to find marrow donors for minorities. Like other personal health information--in this country, anyway--the info on the registry is private and protected by law.

Why should you do it? Other than the altruistic/humanitarian reasons, the simple fact of the matter is none of us know when someone we love might need a donation. The more people who donate, the better chance we all have at living a fuller life. The article quoted Dr Krista Hillyer of the Red Cross as saying, ``People want a zero-risk blood supply, but the most dangerous thing is not having blood there when you need it.'' That pretty much sums it up, don't you think?

American Library Association assisting with the rebuilding of Iraqi libraries

Check out the link above for more info on efforts to protect Iraq's cultural heritage. Ongoing information will be posted here.

Have a thing for Peeps? Check this out.

This humourous link is dedicated to my friend Dwana, who isn't feeling too well today. Hopefully she'll check this out and it'll help. It's an exhibit entitled Peep Research: A study of small fluffy creatures and library usage that some librarians put together celebrating the 50th anniversary of marshmallow Peeps (no, they didn't just have too much time on their hands, although that's what I thought at first). If you've ever had to plough through pages of computer usability studies (like I'm doing for a journal club right now,), you'll doubly appreciate the humour.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Is it a prerequisite among politicians to pluck your eyes out and refuse to see the world? Or do they just have their heads up their butts?

I am discouraged (to say the least) by comments made by the Russian atomic energy minister, Alexander Rumyantsev, regarding the scope of deaths related to the Chernobyl disaster. 200? Somehow I think there were more than that, and perhaps more in generations to come. At least he recognises that steps taken seventeen years ago to entomb the reactor are crumbling and need to be reinforced. Bully for him.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Great learning opportunity in Louisville...

For those in the area without their MLS who are interested. The pays better than I get with my MLS, and you can go to school, work, etc.!

Job Posting
University of Louisville Ekstrom Library

The Library Minority Internship provides the opportunity to pursue the Master of Science in Library Science degree while gaining valuable experience in a large academic library system. The purpose of the internship is to increase the diversity of the libraries' professional staff and to encourage the involvement of under represented minorities in academic librarianship. It is offered in cooperation with the University of Kentucky School of Library and Information Science and is designed to prepare individuals for success in the profession by providing appropriate professional and academic experiences in a supportive environment. The program offers the equivalent of a full-time beginning position as Librarian in Ekstrom Library, the main campus library. This is a non-tenured Lecturer position. The intern will receive a broad-based orientation to the complexities and opportunities of academic librarianship in a rapidly changing environment. Flexible scheduling will support the intern's pursuit of the library science degree in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Kentucky. The University Libraries are committed to fostering the intern's professional needs, goals, and interests by providing mentors and financial support to attend appropriate local and national conferences, seminars, and workshops. Upon successful completion of the MSLS program, the intern may receive a twelve-month, non-tenured, renewable appointment at the rank of Instructor and be paid an appropriate salary with full faculty benefits.

Responsibilities will be assigned according to the Intern's interests, and may include:

  • Providing reference services to library patrons, using both print and electronic resources.
  • Creating curriculum resources and teaching information skills.
  • Liaison assignment in an appropriate academic discipline with a librarian in a mentor relationship.
  • Project work in Rare Books and Special Collections
  • Cataloging and processing of materials.

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Member of a federally recognized minority group
  • Acceptance into the Graduate School and the degree program for the
  • Masters in Library Science at the University of Kentucky.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Demonstration of genuine interest in academic librarianship.
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status.
  • Preference will be given to individuals with prior library experience.


  • Starting salary $28,000
  • Comprehensive range of benefits
  • Tuition remission for six credit hours per semester.

Application Procedure:

Applicants should send a letter of application and the following documents to the Libraries Personnel Officer as indicated below:

  • Resume
  • Verification of acceptance into the Library and Information Science degree program at UK.
  • Two letters of recommendation addressing previous work experience.
  • A 2-page essay describing their interest in librarianship and the Library Internship Program.

Review of applications will begin April 28, 2003 and continue until the position is filled.

Gwendline Chenault, Libraries Personnel Officer
203 Ekstrom Library
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292-0001
Fax: (502) 852-7394

The University of Louisville is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer committed to cultural diversity. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

Ah, my people!

My friends have always joked that seals were my people--it has something to do with the expression in my eyes and the fact that I am more graceful/at home in the water than on land. I come from a long line of Scots, with their legends of selkies--seal-people, usually women, who marry mortals. Seals and salmon both have long-standing importance in Scottish myth. At the moment, however, a wily seal named Andy has decided to follow the salmon upstream and is causing quite a ruckus. Only the Scots would make a concerted effort not only to save the precocious seal but to ensure he would be able to pursue seal sex in the safety of a colony. :)

Friday, April 18, 2003


1. Who is your favourite celebrity? I don't really care that much for celebrity, so I don't know. Maybe JK Rowling or Elizabeth Peters (Barbara Mertz), because I love their books. I certainly don't get celebrity based on some idea of what's in vogue at the moment. Besides, that's so fleeting.

2. Who is your least favorite? At the moment it's probably George W. Bush.

3. Have you ever met or seen any celebrities in real life? Well, I went to school with Ashley Judd. I was rather impressed by her. I seem to remember her being in student government, and doing a great job. Does that count?

4. Would you want to be famous? Why or why not? Not really. Well, maybe if I were already dead. Who wants to deal with paparazzi?

5. If you had to trade places with a celebrity for a day, who would you choose and why? Hmmm...maybe JK Rowling. I would be interesting to see what sorts of things she has to go through on a daily basis, but then I'd like to go back to my oh-so-unknown life.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

I think there's an error in this:


My understanding (which is not, of course, a lawyer's, but I have worked in a bookstore) is that it is illegal to sell stripped books, but donations may be another matter. Also, as far as I know, anything in the trash bin is fair game so long as you don't, say, steal someone's identity and use it fraudulently. That's why police are not required to serve warrants for things in people's trash cans. The International Book Project gives away books that have had parts of their covers cut off--I have several that were given away to college students years ago. Now, if you ever see those same books at a thrift store or used book store and they're being sold, that's illegal. But as far as I know "destroyed" generally means stripped and tossed in the trash, as opposed to burnt, shredded, or otherwise unusable. I may be wrong, but I do think it's a shame someone didn't get them before they went into a landfill.

Go, team!

Some interesting aspects of the looting of Iraqi cultural institutions, including a possible organised effort by black market traders to acquire items for private collections

Read this really excellent article

It outlines the problems librarians and patrons face concerning the USA Patriot Act, and underscores that warrants are still required to gain information from such sources as libraries, bookstores, or your own home, for that matter, under the Act.

Can we do something about this?

Big cats are starving in the Baghdad zoo (or what's left of it, anyway).

You know, if they let the big cats out of their cages, too, the looters would probably cease to be a problem.

Still--we need to get humanitarian aid in and some stability in place, too. I think the US forces (and everyone else) were somewhat caught off guard by how quickly the regime in Iraq fell. The troops cannot be expected to fight fires (as in the trashed and burned National Library), etc.--they do not have the training or the equipment to do so. Neither do the majority of Iraqis. But the Coalition administrations better get some people in there soon to prevent further crises. Let's worry about who gets to rule what/UN role/who to blame/who pays for it later. People are dying. Priceless cultural treasures are being destroyed. I've never experienced true anarchy, and so it just flabbergasts me that anyone would destroy these sorts of targets, along with hospitals. It's one thing to be scrounging for your survival. It's another thing altogether to be killing your society in a free-for-all. But those of us who do have the resources should do what we can. I guess what is needed, though, is an organisation that can get the money and materials to where they need to be before it's too late.

A typical exchange

Zabet: Did you want to do laundry/run around with me as I panic and do last minute things tomorrow night? [She's leaving for New Zealand the next day]
Me: Yeah, I do need to do laundry. Wasn't sure if you'd be running around maniacally or not--but I'm willing to brave you in panic mode. Gods help me.
Zabet: Hehehe. You are either very brave, or running out of clean underwear. :)

Damn. She caught me. This is when you know someone knows you too well.

Do you think you could outrun Dave Barry...um, assuming you'd want to?

Okay, I couldn't, but it's not my age that's the problem, just my conditioning. Check out the comment on aging librarians towards the end of this piece. It's a pretty cool article. I would never have recognised Amy Tan in rocker gear. My thanks to Ann Doyle for the alert. Ah, how appropriate given the earlier remarks here on the greying of the profession. It's a good thing most librarians have a sense of humour. Otherwise Barrry might find himself felled by a book (or the dreaded sharpened CD shurikens) and find himself under a pile of us. 'Course, he'd probably love it. :)

It's one of those the-universe-does-not-realise-that-it-is-not-Monday Thursdays

Well, the new copier is down for the second day in a row with the same code that was supposedly fixed yesterday. I'm hoping copiers are like cars and need some attention at about 25,000 copies and then they settle in fine. I have a set of sticky notes for just such an occasion:

Things I need to do today:
1. Breathe in.
2. Breathe out.

The other day I took the test that keeps appearing in the ad on this page to see if as a librarian I qualify to move to Australia. The librarian part is fine but the only way I could get enough points would be to have a shitload of money to deposit in an Australian bank. How many librarians do you know who have that? Oh, well. I'm assuming librarians are given extra points because the profession is greying. Our average age is in the 50s now I think and a big percentage will be retiring in the next few years. So hopefully they'll be more jobs out there here, too.

On a brighter note, I finished Laurell K. Hamilton's new Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter novel, Cerulean Sins. It was a birthday present that came in a little late so I didn't get it until Tuesday night, then finished by yesterday afternoon. Yea! I enjoyed it immensely. I pretty much devoured it in about three bites, reading at breaks, etc. The Anita we know and love is back and is both more accepting that she's not quite human and regaining her humanity at the same time. Laurell Hamilton was positively restrained--no sex or drawing a gun for at least 12 or 13 chapters (but what sex and violence there is is well done). I think she realised that Narcissus in Chains was a little over the top for even die-hard fans. And while they don't explain it, I think I finally understand how Gregory and Stephen, twins, wound up as shapeshifters--the first a wereleopard, the second a werewolf. But if I'm right, it's sick. What's new? The thing I love about this book is that there is no gratuitous anything--it's a very neat, compact story where every detail fits into the puzzle correctly, no loose ends, no plot errors, etc. It's a little more focused on Anita's personal life than preternatural crime, but really Anita's personal life has gotten so complex that it's got more plot possibilities.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Ho hum

I spent the morning making changes to our website at work, or at least cataloguing the changes so some poor schmuck at corporate can go in and make the changes.

Yesterday I just did not get around to re-arranging the living room. It was not worth it at the end of the day. I did pick up some medication (and had to sign a new spiffy HIPAA-inspired sheet to show that I'd received the pharmacy's privacy notice. I also wrangled a light bulb for my aquarium. The poor fish have been in the dark for awhile because the bulb wouldn't stay lit. I thought there might be something with the assembly, since the transformer would light it--and then it would go into strobe mode if the transformer was in or settle down, then die if it was taken out. But after checking with my stepfather and the maintenance guys at work, the consensus was that the bulb was bad. Still, I can't complain--I bought that aquarium in 1988 or 1989 and the bulb lasted this whole time. Apparently they normally last a year or so. Wow.

I also picked up a few packets of seeds. I'm itching to garden. I now have four sprouts of the Golden Egg plant given to me for my birthday by Zabet and Patrick. I'm trying to decide if I should keep it in the study (which I've blocked off from the cats for now) or if it would be safe in the little greenhouse.

I was checking an almanac entry on my PDA for yesterday and suddenly realised why my historian-trained brain was percolating everytime I saw that we had to be HIPAA compliant by April 14th. That's the date of the Titantic sinking and the shooting of President Lincoln. Seems oddly appropriate. :)

Monday, April 14, 2003

What's going on in the Rabid Librarian's World (just in case you were wondering...)

1. The copier inservices did rather well. There were no takers the first day but we had a good session on the second day. I love our new Lanier. It does practically everything but talk to you and copy in colour. Hoody-hoo! One of my favourite bits was when the guy came from the office supply store to train me and I had already pretty much figured out the copier--I could show him things he didn't even know existed. When he asked me where I learned all this tech stuff I was able to say, "Library school." "Really??" Oh, yeah, there's not much difference these days in terms of what you learn about technology in getting a Master's in Information Science or one in Library Science. Some programmes do both. We have to learn about databases, thesauri, programming, user interfaces, internet searching too, you know. We just have more emphasis on getting information to the user. And we learn about the traditional information routes as well." :)

2. Speaking of tech abilities, I have some changes to make to the website and I think I impressed my fellow team members by producing a packet ahead of time that they could review easily. They see me as the editrix, basically, and seem to be confident in the job I'm doing. It's always nice to show people that librarians are flexible and useful. :)

3. Today is HIPAA D-Day, at least in terms of privacy. That means that everyone who uses or has access to protected health information in this country had better damn well be in compliance regarding the privacy aspects of the act by today. I am hearing lots of cursing of the name of HIPAA, but really, we started working on this a long time ago and are in very good shape. Many organisations that just didn't realise they were covered have been scrambling to comply.

4. Tomorrow is tax day and I've already got my refunds back from the state and the federal governments. I went to the Co-op and Kroger this weekend and laid in some basic supplies, especially rice and spelt flour and bread yeast, some fresh and canned vegetables, and various things I can eat on my restricted diet come may. Periodically I go vegan temporarily as part of a religious purification (think Lent), and this time I'm also cutting out wheat, which I'm allergic to. It'll run from May Day to summer solstice, so I wanted to make sure I was good to go. In the meantime I got some ice cream that I can eat for now. :)

5. Tonight I'm going to rearrange my living room. Right now I have books just piled almost to the ceiling and I really need to move them into the study. At some point I really need to find some tall bookshelves (maybe 8 feet tall) to put things on. I think I'm going to weed some of the books while I'm at it, though. One of these days I want to build stackable barrister bookshelves (the type with glass doors on the front) for easy storage/moving. But you really need a garage/workroom for that, and if I had one of those, I'd probably have more room for books anyway.

6. It's beautiful outside today (it's supposed to be in the 80s), sunny, lovely. I ate outside at lunch. It's perfect weather to open up all the windows and get things done, but I love sleeping in sunshine, too, and part of me wants to just curl up with the cats in a sunbeam. :) And I want to go over to Home Depot and get some more potting soil and start some of my seeds. My Golden Egg plant from my birthday has a couple of sprouts and I got a little mini greenhouse the other day--it's only about three feet tall but it has room to start flats and a heavy plastic cover to keep the cold out. It's basically a cold frame, but still, I can put it to good use.

7. I got to play in our game for the first time in a couple of weeks yesterday, and it went so well I think it's contributed to my mood. Two of the characters were killed last time we played, but the wonderful thing is that with science fiction there are often ways around such things. Since the characters had gone to the future to save the world (remember, I blogged about this at the time) we were able to pull one of those Back to the Future things by writing a note warning them when and how it would happen. One character was still unable to dodge at the crucial time, but another one lived. It happened to be the one that my character was partnered with. In the ensuing celebration, my character became pregnant, which is always a complication when you're a holy warrior ninja for the Light. Still, it made all the silly romantic bits of my personality go ping. I guess virtual romance is better than no romance at all. I guess all the bribes I brought (Terra chips, veggie jerky, etc. helped put the powers-that-be on my side.) If this sounds totally weird think of the it this way: I've been participating in an ongoing, interactive story for twelve years and I'm just really happy with how this chapter went.

8. In terms of the real world, I'm really glad that the missing POWs were found, and I'm sure their families are ecstatic. Here's hoping that the US doesn't push things and start getting involved with Syria, too, or I don't think anyone's going to convince the Islamic world that we are not pushing some new form of crusade. Besides, there's still plenty of work to do in Iraq for there to be peace and stability. I got an e-mail today where people are planning to wear red in support of the troops on Friday. I don't have much red (it's an awful colour for me), but I was thinking of going along until I read the organiser's remarks about those who rally for peace being un-American. Why is it that people just don't get that you can be against war and still support those who happen to be fighting it? When has it ever been un-American to question your leadership or debate the future of the country? Our country was founded on the freedoms to do just that. Gee. I just don't get some people.

Hmm..what a shame they didn't feed an arm through while they were at it

I've heard of a lot of truly horrible things done to animals before, but putting 30,000 live chickens through a wood chipper AND getting away with it? Just when I think that humans can no longer surprise me with their actions, I find something like this. Arrrgghhh!!! I'm not sure which makes more angry--that anyone would do it OR that anyone would "give permission" for it to be done OR that anyone would absolve them because they had permission. This is WRONG. Period.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Come on, Salam, blog to us

No word on where Salam Pax is, if he's okay, etc., etc. He blogged from Baghdad early in the war but hasn't been heard from since March. Hope he's okay.

And there was much celebration...

Not that you need to know this in any way, shape, or form, but I started my period, which means that while my body is a little less comfortable my brain has slipped out of super-bitch mode. I can understand why early doctors thought a lack of sex or childbearing caused hysteria in women. I also understand why some societies have special huts for that "time of the month". And no, I don't think men made them go live in tents. I suspect women thought the men were clueless and just wanted a break. Whenever I hear anyone going on about ancient matriarchal societies that were all peace and light I think of a whole bunch of women all on the rag at the same time. Trust me, it's not pretty. Besides, isn't it better to rule the world from behind the scenes (who raises the kids, instills the ideas, etc.?) Sneakier, but better. Less likelihood of assassination, for one. Well, except from other women, anyway. Ever read about the lives of the sultanas? The harems were not all lying around perfuming your body. Those ladies were viscious.

From Jay Leno's monlogue Wednesday night...

Jay asks the Iraqi Minister of Information how Saddam Hussein is doing--

[Dubbed reply]
He is alive.
He is resting comfortably--
with his eyes closed
and his heart stopped.

:) Let's hope so, anyway.

Yea! It's Friday!

1. What was the first band you saw in concert?
Sting's Dream of the Blue Turtles tour, 1985.

2. Who is your favorite artist/band now?
Hmmm...Loreena McKinnitt, probably.

3. What's your favorite song?
1--Don MacLean's "American Pie", 2--Simon and Garfunkel's "Scarborough Fair/Canticle", 3--The Rolling Stones' "Paint it Black". All are great to drive to. Can you tell that I grew up in the 70s?

4. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?
Sitar. I have loved the sound of sitars since I was little and listening to all my mom's hippie records. I was very happy to find a sitar on the latest CD I got, Live's V.

5. If you could meet any musical icon (past or present), who would it be and why?
Probably Paul Simon. One, his music has had a huge influence on me. Two, he seems pretty down-to-earth, stardom aside. Three, he's obviously intelligent and we could have a very good conversation. Four, I suspect we have at least depression in common. Have you ever actually listened to Simon and Garfunkel songs? Oh, yeah, the tunes are beautiful, but many of the songs are actually references to suicide.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

How do you counteract bitchiness? By doing something useful.

So I'm passing this on:

Dear Friends,

The emotional impact of war and other trauma can have devastating effects on the mental well-being of individuals of all ages. As much as possible, we must maintain our daily schedules and routines during difficult times, but it is important also for us to take care of our own emotional health, as well as that of individuals in our care.

The Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) designed a special Web site, Coping With Traumatic Events, to help families, schools, community organizations, and the general public deal with traumatic events. Located at http://www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/cmhs/TraumaticEvents/, this Web page is intended to assist parents, teachers, emergency workers, and the community in general to learn ways to cope with mental and emotional stress, and to communicate effectively in times of crisis.

Parents visiting the Coping With Traumatic Events web page will find articles written especially for them on how they can provide proper mental health support to their children. Available at http://www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/cmhs/TraumaticEvents/tips.asp#parents these articles contain tips and suggestions on the most effective ways to respond to children of different ages; describes signs and symptoms to watch for that may indicate stress or fear in a child, and coping strategies for dealing with fear and anxiety. A similar set of articles for teachers are located at http://www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/cmhs/TraumaticEvents/tips.asp#teachers, while emergency workers can learn about managing job-related stress and more at http://www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/cmhs/TraumaticEvents/tips.asp#workers.

From the main Coping With Traumatic Events web page visitors can also locate local crisis referrals and national mental health sources; view or download other material for school personnel; and link to related publications and other Web sites. A link for military families at http://www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/cmhs/TraumaticEvents/links.asp#military provides access to assistance available especially for them.

Individuals needing additional information, services, or materials to help understand and talk about the emotional effects of trauma can call SAMHSA's National Mental Health Information Center at 1-800-789-2647; (TDD: 866-889-2647)--services are provided by a bilingual staff.

Please make this valuable resource available in your communities--to staff members, parents, parent associations, listserves, and visitors to your Web sites. You can put a link directly on your Web site to http://www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/cmhs/TraumaticEvents/, or to any sections that are of specific interest to you.

Thank you for lending your support to our efforts in helping our community, especially our children, to cope with the stress of difficult times.

Cecile Douglas
SAMHSA's National Mental Health Information Center


The National Mental Health Information Center (http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/) is a service of SAMHSA, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Call 1-800-789-2647 for bilingual information services; (TDD) 866-889-2647.

Things they never expected you to use math for:

Yucky Weather+Raging Hormones+Elevated Blood Sugar+Busy Week+Problems with EBSCO=1 Bitchy Librarian

Can I go home now? Please?

Is it Friday yet?

Actually, it hasn't been that bad of a week so far. I'm ready for a Friday meeting already, and I think the two inservices I need to teach this week on using our new copier should go well. It's rainy, foggy, and cold, but hey, you can't have everything. Still, I have a desire to brighten stuff up with quizzes. Ergo:

You are Carl Sandburg
You see the world in a different way than your peers and are able to find beauty in the most unusual places!

Take the Which Poet are You? Quiz - brought to you out of boredom and pretention!

Sam is the faithful servant of Frodo Baggins. He cares an awful lot about his master and would probably give his life for him. Though Sam meets many marvelous people as he journeys with Frodo, he still wishes he was back home in the Shire.

Take the "Which Hobbit are you?" quiz created by Cora Black!

take the Which Munster Are You? Quiz
by tiffanie

You prize nobility above all else, striving to be reunited with your prince. Apart from this, you treasure your friendships most of all. Unwilling to compromise your values in search of your dreams, you often seem to create more trouble than solve it. However, your persistence is what sets you apart from all others.

Take the "What Magic Girl are you?" Quiz

Enjoy! (And don't forget to use the comments to tell me how you did!)

Sunday, April 06, 2003


Happy birthday to my kitty, who's fifteen today! (Yeah, we're both Aries).

Oh, and by the way...

This weekend my attention was brought to the websites of a couple of people I used to know. I would link to them, but really, no sense in pointing you here. Suffice to say 1) one has started a new website that is fairly austere and includes a picture of him with some sort of rainbow-coloured stole, a necklace with many different religious symbols, a big wheel-shaped amulet, and he looks like someone who might be hopping onto a comet. Lovely. I wonder if he's using his "religious credentials" to meet men? 2) The other's website, meanwhile gave some clues as to where he's working (always nice to know, since he eventually got a library science degree and I'd rather not run into him) and a link to a gay-men-with-guns site. He sounds even more bitter since I knew him. Apparently now he's bitter and most likely armed. Again, lovely. Have I mentioned that I live only a short distance from them? Granted, it's been 12 years, but it still makes me nervous. I swore to have nothing to do with them years ago. I'm so glad I have saner people around me now. :) The people who know me now who never knew me then apparently think I'm down to earth and can't imagine me being in such an weird relationship. Suffice to say I was much younger, more naïve, and had a tenuous grip on reality that could be easily influenced. Here's to being 36, having gone through years of therapy, and generally discovering that I had a right to be happy. Oh, and I have daily acquaintance with reality, now, thank you.

Ah, weekends...

It's been a busy but very nice weekend. Friday was laundry night over at Zabet's, but it started earlier than normal because I got off work early and she and Patrick had to go up to Louisville that night. I wound up going to sleep by 9:30 pm (I was very sleepy) and then went home to Danville to visit with my family. We had a good visit, and my grandmother's dog just stole the show. Today we didn't have our game because one of the other players is costuming A Streetcar Named Desire for Actor's Guild, so I got to have a relaxing Sunday. I just got in and watched "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". Several people had told me it wasn't very good. While I'm not sure it's quite up to the movie, I enjoyed it. So now I'm online catching up on the news. I had heard that the main correspondent I've been watching (I don't have cable, and NBC the clearest station I get) for the news in Iraq died--David Bloom. Despite the fact that he was in a war zone that shocked me, somehow. I checked and he wasn't killed by gunfire or anything like that--but by a pulmonary embolism. Maybe the stress of riding in a tank all those long hours, etc. contributed--no one's sure. But he died doing something he apparently loved, and he saw the gates of Baghdad first. I guess that counts for something.

The last few days have seen rain and cooler temperature but it's really bringing out spring beauty (and allergies). This morning I was walking down a street and these little dust devils of pear petals played along the sidewalk. The grass is so green--only a couple of weeks ago everything was still brown and looking demolished from the ice storm in February. There's still plenty of damage but the trees are flowering and budding out. I did get some dirt the other day and created a raised bed near my patio. I moved my roses, irises, yarrow, and hostas and added a peony and clematis. Hope they do well. Everything's been hanging on in pretty compacted clay; I don't know how it'll do with rich soil. :) I also planted (inside) a gift from Zabet and Patrick. It's an egg-shaped terrarium with an expanding peat pot and an eggplant that produces white veggies that then turn yellow as they ripen. It's supposed to get three feet tall. Neato.

Well, I think I may take a little nap and then start reading another gift I received for my birthday--the Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix (Sabriel, Liriel, and Abhorsen). Another book, Cerulean Sins by Laurell K. Hamilton, is still on its way. She's signing books tomorrow night at Joseph-Beth and I'm tempted to go, even though there's no sense in me buying one of the books to get them signed since I know I'm getting one soon. I just want to tell her to re-order one of her plots so a car doesn't get wrecked, driven, and then is unusable. I love her books but she needs a better editor/editrix. :)

Well, enough for now.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

The Unquiet Grave

I am stretched on your grave, and you will find me there always; if I had the bounty of your arms I should never leave you. Little apple, my beloved, it is time for me to lie with you; there is the cold smell of clay on me, the tan of the sun and the wind.

There is a lock on my heart, which is filled with love for you, and melancholy beneath it as black as the sloes. If anything happens to me, and death overthrows me, I shall become a fairy wind-gust down on the meadows before you.

When my family thinks that I am in my bed, it is on your grave I am stretched from night till morning, telling my distress and lamenting bitterly for my quiet lovely girl who was bethrothed to me as a child.

Do you remember the night when you and I were under the blackthorn tree, and the night freezing? A hundred praises to Jesus that we did nothing harmful, and that your crown of maidenhood is a tree of light before you!

The priests and the monks every day are angry with me for being in love with you, young girl, when you are dead. I would be a shelter from the wind for you and protection from the rain for you; and oh, keen sorrow to my heart that you are under the earth!

This translation from the book entitled 'A Celtic Miscellany', Penguin Books, Penguin Classic Edition 1951.

The above is an Irish lament. A song based upon it is "I am Stretched on Your Grave", which has been done by several artists. In every version I've ever found it is haunting.

I find myself drawn to it today. I went home to visit my family, and my grandmother had CNN on all day. So I saw images of the men and the woman whose bodies were recovered during the rescue of POW Jessica Lynch, as well as the hundreds if not thousands of remains found by British soldiers in Basra--remains that may be years old, and an execution centre. Perhaps they are some of the thousands of Iraqis that have "disappeared" during the regime of Saddam Hussein. Regardless of their origin, it would seem they should have had more dignity than to be stacked up in a warehouse of coffins.

Each of those individuals--American, Iraqi, or whatever nationality--lived out a life and probably died a tragic, early death. Each person had family somewhere who mourns their loss. Perhaps there is a lost love, or a son, a daughter, a brother, a sister, keening a lament in whatever language and according to whatever customs they keep. For the Americans, their families know they are dead. The dead are hopefully at peace. Those of us who watch the news, who did not know them, can still feel loss. As for those whose remains are in Basra, though--at this point we do not know who they were or whether their families know their fate. They truly are the unquiet dead. Until someone who knew them can mourn properly, I offer this lament from my own heritage. Rest in peace. Salaam aleikum (my apologies if that's not appropriate--it's the only Arabic phrase I know involving the word peace). May you be avenged.

Friday, April 04, 2003

Happy Friday!

Well, I showed up to work an hour-and-a-half early for a meeting that isn't until the 18th, so I might as well do the traditional Five. Here goes:

1. How many houses/apartments have you lived in throughout your life? 22

2. Which was your favourite and why?
I don't really have a favourite. Our house in Kansas was the only one that was ours as a family, and I could walk anywhere in the town. Living with my grandparents in Danville had its drawbacks, but I moved into a basement "rec room" and was able to have virtually an apartment of my own minus bath and kitchen, which was great when you're sixteen. The apartment I'm in now is the first that 1) wasn't a complete hovel--rat infested or full of horsehair plaster that made me sick and 2) has two bedrooms, one for me and one for my library. Maintenance is great, the location is wonderful, and I can plant flowers around the patio. I guess where I am now is where I'm happiest since becoming an adult, anyway.

3. Do you find moving house more exciting or stressful? Why?
More exciting, really. Moving has always brought new possibilities, and when I was younger and we were often moving across country it was the closest I came to a vacation. Now that I have to organise the moves myself, I find that I go into supercharge mode and barely eat, etc. That's stress but it's also the most revved up I ever get.

4. What's more important, location or price?
Until I start making a better wage, price. But location is very important, especially when you don't have a car.

5. What features does your dream house have (pool, spa bath, big yard, etc.)?
A yard that I can create a cottage garden. Actually a cottage style house or bungalow would be great. A bath is a must--I spent three years in an apartment with just a shower and consequently didn't have a good way to relax away my stress.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Widdle Wabbits

A precious little girl walks into a pet shop and asks, in the
sweetest little lisp, "Do you keep widdle wabbits?"

The shopkeeper gets down on his knees, so that he's on her
level, and asks, "Do you want a widdle white wabby or a thoft
and fuwwy bwack wabby, or maybe one like that cute widdle
bwown wabby over there?"

She puts her hands on her knees, leans forward, and says in
a quiet voice, "I don't fink my pet python weally gives a thit."

(Please don't flame me with "how could I post such a cruel thing" e-mails. Although I love snakes, I've never kept one precisely because I don't want to feed little mice or rabbits to them. I'm not sure I could even feed them crickets. It's a joke, you know, about how adults assume a lot of children--mainly because they don't remember being a child themselves.)

My birthday's off to a shaky start. I woke up fifteen minutes before I was supposed to be at work and got there only a couple of minutes late, but I had to work to do it. The newsletter that I specifically started because people wanted to have more info on the library was first changed to quarterly from the higher ups and now is to be "consolidated" into the main hospital newsletter. In effect, it's been canned. I wish they'd make up their minds. Grrrr....

Still, I got flowers and a couple of meal gift certificates from my co-workers, and hopefully the day will improve. :) The e-mail I received above, though, helped.


In about five hours my it will be my birthday. Okay, technically I suppose it is already, but I never really got used to this whole change-the-date-at-midnight thing. Seems it should at least be daylight, you know? It never seems official in terms of birthday until you get to the time of birth, and in my case that's 8:14 in the morning. Which is kind of freaky, because when I wake up on my own (no alarm) it's usually...yeah, 8:14. I wonder if anyone's ever done a study on that? Of course, since I'm not a morning person I usually go right back to sleep. Maybe I should have been born at night. :)

I searched the web for a nifty birthday quiz, but they were mosty self-absorbed sorts of things, and if you've been reading this blog for any length of time you should know that I'm trying to get away from some of that. (I found one where the girl went on about the colour of her eyes being blue with a distinctive yellow ring...gee that seems so familiar. Like, who else cares?) Anyway, I thought I'd spare you that and fall back on my specialty, useless trivia.


In 1967 (with thanks to Infoplease)

The world had 3.485 billion people on it.
US life expectancy was 70.5 years.
China tested its first hydrogen bomb.
The US and the USSR proposed the first of a series of nuclear nonproliferation treaties.
The median US household income was $7,143 (in today's dollars).
US unemployment was 3.8%.
The US government spent $157.46 billion a year.
A first-class stamp cost 5 cents.
Race riots wreaked havoc in Detroit, New York City, and Birmingham.
The first black Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall, was sworn in.
Rolling Stone and New York Magazine debuted.
Movies included The Graduate, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night, and Cool Hand Luke
Song of the year was "Michelle" by the Beatles.
Astronauts Col. Virgil I. Grissom, Col. Edward White II, and Lt. Cmdr. Roger B. Chaffee were killed in the Apollo I fire.
The Six Day War was fought between the Arabs and Israelis.
Pulsars and quarks were discovered.
The first successful human heart transplant was performed.
Che Guevara, Spencer Tracy, and Upton Sinclair died.

Now that I've paid homage to the rest of the world...

It seems a little odd to be turning thirty-six. I do, finally, feel my age, as opposed to the years when emotionally I pretty much was stuck at 15-17. (And, I must admit, it's a little gratifying that most people don't believe I'm 36--they think I'm about 26-28. I guess looking like I was 16 through my 20s is starting to pay off.) But when my mom was 36 she had just gone through a divorce and had a 17-year-old heading off to college. So, I'm in a totally different place in my life than she was. On the other hand, I don't have a teenager to deal with. :)

This past year or so has probably been the hardest for me, after the year of my divorce and that of my parents. I mean, I sort of went crazy, although at least not in a lock-'em-up-and-throw-away-the-key kind of way. Well, maybe. At least no one, including myself, got hurt during my breakdown. I want to thank those of you out there who have put up with me, helped me, guided me, etc., etc. I really am glad you're there, and I hope I can return the favour.

But this year is looking up. I'm working on finally getting a handle on building up some financial security (hence the Suze Orman book listed to the left). I'm consolidating my student loans. That will free up some money and I might actually be able to get a car payment out of that. I have some debt (although thankfully, not nearly the average) left over from when I was married, and I've discovered that they have passed the statute of limitations. That doesn't mean I don't have to pay them, but it does mean that no one can sue me to get it and win. I'm going to get a copy of my credit report and check to see what still needs to be deal with, and talk to a credit counseling agency to make sure I take care of what's left. Really, I think that puts me in a much better position creditwise. It even might mean in a few years I could get a house, which would be VERY nice. Although, I don't think I'll be able to do it so long as I'm just barely floating over $20000 a year. Sigh. I love my job--I hate my pay. The latest job to post in the area, though, is ideal with the exception that it is out in the middle of nowhere--Hyden, which is nearly to Hazard, Kentucky. The pay is great, and it's a nursing/midwifery school with a glorious history, etc., etc. But it's too far for a commmute, the big roads don't go straight there, and somehow I'm not sure that a liberal bisexual pagan girl's good to go in Eastern Kentucky. So, until a job opens up that pays and has a comparable array of benefits and work environment, I'll probably work a little on the side to help build up some savings, etc.

I've been working more on the spiritual side of things, too. I'm taking better care of myself physically, too. And when I compare my schedule with a couple of years ago--well, there are some reasons I hit a breaking point.

I feel so much better emotionally. My house is reasonably organised. I have a pretty decent circle of companions, including my four-legged ones, but people as well. I feel competent. I'm finally feeling like dating. The world itself seems to be going to hell in a handbasket, but my little piece of it seems better. Go figure.

I'm finding that what I want most for my birthday this year is dirt. Yeah, I know, world peace would probably be better, but not very practical. Besides, you never wish for world peace when the genie pops out of the lamp. There's always a catch to those wishes anyway, and the best one for world peace is if everyone's dead so they can't fight amongst themselves. So, back to what I can manage. Keep in mind that I garden. Every year at this time I get in gardening mode, but I'm usually too broke for the essentials. I want to use my ammunition boxes to build a raised bed near my patio since none of my dirt around the apartment buildings is great. (Yes, I use ammo boxes for flowerpots. Such a nice, hippie-kind-of-thing to do). I figure some Miracle-Gro potting soil would be lovely. Although, I must say, even with the poor soil, my roses are already leafing out well--and I put them in the ground a couple of years ago when I moved in November. I've never seen miniature roses take off like that. But a raised bed would also help keep the guys who take care of the grounds away from some of my plants that get mowed every year, like the yarrow. (Really, it just looks like a weed.)

Well, it's four a.m. and my cat is staring at me to tell me it's time to go back to sleep. If your birthday happens to be tomorrow, happy birthday, too. Oh, and a big thanks to my mom. She had a difficult time with me (not so much in delivery, but in the months leading up to it) but she pulled through. I sometimes wonder how many times she wanted to just put me back (as you've no doubt figured, I was one of those kids who chattered incessantly, was a little too smart for my own good, but had no concept of social skills. In other words, major geekazoid.) She's getting married this month (?!) to a great guy and I think she's pretty happy herself. She deserves it.

Hope sometimes follows through

Jessica Lynch, a POW listed as missing in action, was rescued yesterday.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003


A chemical commonly found in plastic products may be linked to birth defects.

Concerned about your freedom to read, especially in light of the USA Patriot Act?

You should be. Here's what's going on to deal with it: http://www.bordc.org/freedomtoread.htm.

The problem with legislating technology is that people in power generally don't understand technobabble

Check this out. Happily, it's being pursued on a state, not federal level. Still...


"If you have a home DSL router, or if you use the "Internet Connection Sharing" feature of your favorite operating system product, you're in violation because these connection sharing technologies use NAT. Most operating system products (including every version of Windows introduced in the last five years, and virtually all versions of
Linux) would also apparently be banned, because they support connection sharing via NAT."