Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Monday, June 30, 2003

Wanna have some fun?

A combination of finally using my webspace and playing with the Hero Machine means that this page gets a nifty mascot, if you will, a superheroine with the ability to pull information out of the ethereal world of the Internet and tame it into useable form. Hence, the wild sparks and whip --what, you thought it was kinky ;)? (Ah, but where else would you find a PURPLE whip?) Anyway, hope you enjoy.

PS I'm sorry I haven't posted much in the last couple of days. I spent a lot of the last 24 hours curled up with stomach cramps and other violent intestinal ickiness punctuated with a meeting and working on files at work. The culprit? Well, it's happened three of the last four Sundays (game days, and the one thing missing during the 'good' day and present on all the 'bad' days was cashews (and yesterday there were pecans, too). It looks like I've developed an allergy to nuts, which is annoying, given that 1) they were one of the things I didn't have problems with--a rare thing and 2) a lot of Indian, Thai, and other cooking I love tends to have them. But I'd rather not feel that sick, either. I'm beginning to think by the time I'm an old lady they'll be putting me not in a home but in a bubble, I already have allergies to so much. Rats. Anyway, so I wasn't feeling much like blogging.

This morning I was sadly reduced to pedestrian road rage. Yeah. I know. How pathetic. This guy nearly ran me down (I'm exaggerating slightly, Momma!) and then, I don't know if I frowned or what, but he made this face like he was about to stick his tongue out. Mind you, he looked like he was in his 40s and thought he was hot stuff--had a shaved head, nice car, etc.) I'm afraid I flipped him off, which I suppose was unladylike but there are few things that annoy me more than people propelling around in heavy machinery without wanting to share the road with the rest of us. My most sustained swearing bout which consisted of about forty uses of the f-word happened when an older couple in a Cadillac nearly careened into Zabet and me. I jumped between the car and her, putting my hand out against it (like that was really going to stop it, I know) and then swore like a sailor, surprising everyone involved. I do normally keep my language pretty clean, but you scare the bejeesus out of me and there's no telling what you'll get.

Fortunately I can't sustain trivial anger. Whilst seriously considering walking over to where he was now parked and asking him what he thought that was all about, I instead turned towards work and started walking. My reward for this was seeing a beautiful orange butterfly and a cedar waxwing (I've only seen one other in the area). What can I say; it's the simple things in life that make me happy, and I'm easily distracted. :)

My day went pretty well, and I've mostly done some computer things tonight. I did have something come into my head on the way home today (believe it or not, this was sparked from misreading an author's name in the checkout at the druggist):


She traipses into dreams, pushing through the ragged strands
Always walking, always watching,
But never truly a part of the sleeper's world.

Here and there she pauses
Picking up a treasured marble shining in the sun
Half-forgotten childhood in an old man's dream.

From another comes fears of failure
In the form of shackles,
or an infant's cry.

All through the dreamlands she searches the sand
Following the ebb and flow of the tide
And collecting the pieces left behind.

Woven together they form humanity
In the shape that seems to swell and change
And breathing into her sculpture

She steps inside
And finds life.

Once the idea came to me, it creeped me out a little. Imagine a creature who can only live, only feel, by gleaning forgotten bits of dreams. What if it chose to steal something central to your memories? Would you lose it forever? There's probably a short story in that, at least.

I talked to my mom tonight. I had sent her an e-mail the other night, and then coincidentally--if there is a such thing--called right after she finished reading it. She read the comments Zabet had made and agreed that I was the better off for it. This led to a discussion of my father (hmmm...could it be the similarities?) and my mom reminded me of my dad's mottos of life:

'Baffle them with bullshit"
'Do unto others and then split'

I'd forgotten that completely. But, yeah, but that says volumes, I suppose. She said it sounded like Dwana was someone who could handle the give and take of a relationship and who understood what friendship meant. She asked me about Heather's baby and I told her Heather was home but we weren't sure how long the baby would be there. She said they normally kept them until they were 5 lbs and it sounds like he doesn't have that much to go, so hopefully everybody will be home and fine soon.

Well, that's enough for now. Hey, you got a nifty picture and a sort-of poem. What more do you want?

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Wanna have some fun?

Try the Hero Machine, where you can make your own phantasy, sports, or super hero/ine. :)

Ha! You thought I was finished with the quizzes already, yes?

...okay, I promise, this'll be the last one tonight.

You are Peace
You are Peace.

You are at peace with your self and the world
around you. You have balance in your life and
exude tranquility from every pore of your body.
People are constantly asking you "what is
your secret?"

What Emotion Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

What's a classicist to do?

Looking over the TV listings for tonight I find...

  1. Warrior Challenge (where modern athletes, police, and military live and train like Vikings)
  2. TNT's miniseries Caesar, which includes one of the last performances of the late, great Richard Harris
  3. Jason and the Argonauts (1963 version)
  4. Clash of the Titans (which I have fond memories of, especially in mythology class when we took apart the script)

Unfortunately I got in after 1 was over, 2 had started (although it repeats later tonight, hmmm), and I've seen 3 and 4 several times a piece. Still, it was nice to see so many classics-inspired offerings.

Since I did come in late, I went online instead of watching TV, which is how I came across the headline regarding the death of Katharine Hepburn. :( People say these things go in threes. First Gregory Peck, then Hume Cronyn, now Katharine Hepburn. I dare say her voice especially will be remembered by generations. She was the epitome of a strong woman who could be sexy and brainy all at once, and she's probably my all-time favourite actress. On a librarian-related note, she played with her long-time love, Spencer Tracy, in Desk Set which many librarians will tell you is THE librarian movie of the century (I still haven't managed to watch it). For more great pictures and a filmography, try Simon Sez and for just about anything else, try this page of links.

I feel happy

I slept in the bedroom last night, which shouldn't be that odd except I've been on the couch for a couple of months now. The couch is actually more comfortable, hence the tendency to stay there, but the bedroom has the added benefit of full early morning sun (much easier to get up) and last night, anyway, no cats or dog. With my allergies being worse, I thought it would be good to take a break (and they were soooo happy to see me this morning).

I talked to Dwana yesterday and she's feeling much better. Her friend Heather's out of ICU. Yay! I went over and checked Dwana's blog and came across the mythical woman quiz below (she was Eve), and well, for me quizzes are like Pringles--once you do one, you can't stop.

I sent my mom a pretty long e-mail last night--caught her up on what sort of things had been going on lately here. You'd think with the advent of technology I would write more often; I'm the world's worst letter writer in terms of real letters. Sigh.

Well, I'd better get a shower. I'm supposed to be over at the game by a little after 11 so I can do some typing before Brenda gets there (the whip cracks!) Of course, with all the transcription I've been doing, I think my characters are safe from demise for awhile. :) Ah, bribery!


...Light Mage...

You are very, very, very powerful. You can destroy
Dark Mages with Sunlight, Evaporate Water
Mages, Turn Blood Mages to powder, even kick
Battle Mages' ass. Good work.

What type of Mage are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sigh. Of course.

You are DORY!
What Finding Nemo Character are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

I'm in a quiz mood!

You are blessed with the gift--and the curse--of psychic intuition. The problem is nobody listens to you. Your intuition was a gift from Apollo, you see, and you turned up your nose at HIM, but took the gift anyway. Angered at your spurning of his advances, he gave you the gift but made it useless. That'll teach you to look a gift-Trojan-Horse in the mouth, won't it?
What Beautiful and Tragick Mythic Woman Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, June 28, 2003


This has been a week of hell all around. Maybe it's some sort of pre-holiday thing. Dwana had some complications from her procedure Wednesday; they had to go back in today and repair some bleeding and she may have a slight infection. :( I think she feels like she's been beaten up inside and outside. I now know about some of the scary things they put you through with it, though--it starts with a needle in the cervix and seems to go downhill from there. But of course it's better than letting things build up and lead to something more serious. Still, I wish just once she could have everything go alright and not have any weird reactions. I'm sure she feels the same way. Argh. Even worse, her friend Heather, who went into premature labour Tuesday night did deliver her little boy, but both mom and son are in the ICU. The baby's doing pretty well--he's 4 1/2 pounds and not quite developed in terms of his lungs, but he'll probably catch up soon. She was far enough along that I think everything on that front will be okay. But Heather also had her vitals bottom out during delivery so they did an emergency Caesarian section and apparently she bled pretty badly during that--they're having family donate blood, etc. (I kind of wish I hadn't just given; unless she's Rh negative I could give to her). I'm sure everything will be okay in the end, but it's a lot of strain during what should be a happy event, and of course Dwana's frustrated because she can't be there. I've only met Heather once but I feel like there must be something I should be doing--but of course if I showed up at the hospital her family wouldn't know me from Adam. But I think the church brigade has been alerted, so I think they'll be okay. Maybe it's just as well little Caleb will be the hospital a bit--it'll give his mum a chance to recover.

It's just something like that which scares the bejeesus out of me if I think about it too much. Maybe I'm a little psycho because my mom had so much trouble carrying me (although at least the delivery was a piece of cake). I can remember as a teenager being afraid things would go horribly wrong during pregnancy. Then I was told I might not be able to have kids (although I think that's poppycock--my hormones are a little screwy but everything else seems fine, especially when I have my blood sugar under control). That was a shock but a little bit of a relief. Then I was in a marriage but so needed to not be breeding, and the subject's been pretty moot since then. I'm sorry to say that in my case I think it's a control thing. Once you become pregnant, control flies out of the window. You can do all the right things and still run into snags, whilst moms strung out on cocaine can have perfectly fine babies. I guess the only way to deal with that fear, though, is to focus on the end result and the good aspects of it all, then deal with the crises if necessary.

I've actually been doing okay--I read furiously Monday and Tuesday, I've taken advantage of the lull at work to go through and purge, organise some old files, typed furiously a couple of nights in a row, and I've had some problems with my asthma and allergies. But none of that should make me so tired, right? Fortunately tomorrow I have the whole day to myself, so I plan on getting some rest, doing some laundry, and working on the house. This morning I learnt not to gasp for air whilst walking between a road and a forest/creek area. I inhaled a bug straight into the windpipe, with an albuterol chaser. Ugh. I always thought the Jains had the right idea of wearing a veil or some other barrier between them and the insects outside. They don't want to unnecessarily kill another creature, no matter how small.

Oh, gee, it's getting late and I am soooooooo sleepy. I'm sure I'll write tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm sure I'll blog tomorrow. 'Night.

Friday, June 27, 2003

It's been a long and busy day...

...but I couldn't go to sleep without posting a Friday Five--and they made it adaptable no matter where you are in the world. :)

1. How are you planning to spend the summer [winter]?
It's sort of sad--my summers really aren't any different than the rest of the year these days. I'll swim more and go walking of course, garden, etc., but the days of just doing fun things over the summer are long behind me. I am looking forward to the Fourth of July festival next week. It's my favourite 'public' holiday--I usually spend it downtown watching the parade, sifting through the booths, and listening to the music. Later I catch fireworks; I used to watch the ones downtown when I lived there; now I can go over to work and watch the ones that the golf course down the street has.

2. What was your first summer job?
Volunteer-wise I gave tours at the Ephraim McDowell House and Apothecary Shop in Danville, Kentucky. (Dr McDowell performed the first successful surgery to remove an ovarian cyst at the turn of the nineteenth century. He is considered the 'Father of Abdominal Surgery'. Ironically, his patient outlived him and he died of--appendicitis.) In terms of money, I processed incoming freshmen meal cards at UK, but that only lasted a couple of weeks during the conferences. The first all-summer job was dressing in an orange-striped blazer and stocking toys at Toys 'R Us.

3. If you could go anywhere this summer [winter], where would you go?
Ireland and Britain.

4. What was your worst vacation ever?
A trip to visit family, then the Smoky Mountains, followed by a giant pagan gathering. We were invaded by Ku Klux Klan and hit with one of the worst thunderstorms in recent memory--and having standing in water during lightning strikes trying to save lunch (Beanie Weenies) during a campout--and you happen to have brontophobia. Imagine having your Chevette full of five people die whilst crossing a four lane highway returning from getting menstrual pads for one of the kids who'd just started her first period. Imagine taking a Chevette over fields whilst patrolling against the KKK, or guarding the gate and having guys with rifles in their trucks drive up. Imagine trying to find a place in the bushes to urinate when a Georgia State Trooper is just 20 yards away whilst your friends chant 'Lisa has to pee!' Imagine having dogs running through the camp (again, the KKK) only to be chased off by the local pagans who are just as gun-happy. Imagine having a guy with a sword tucked in his video equipment catching fireflies to read his watch (this was way before those Indiglo commercials). Imagine people running seminars on Welsh paganism who can't even pronounce their Craft names and string together stupid shit that when translated means So-and-so son of (but a female) the husband's name, indicating a bizarre incestuous homosexual relationship just because they didn't get their facts right. Imagine Lakota crashing the party and idiots who don't know the difference between sage and sagebrush getting all huffy because he was explaining (rightly so) that they were stealing Lakota culture and debasing it--like running 'sweat lodges' for so much a pop. Did I mention this was my honeymoon?

5. What was your best vacation ever?
Same one, actually. It was so awful, we all bonded.

Okay, heading to bead now. I have three cats lined up asleep--one between my hands, one lying on my wrist, hanging off the shelf nearby, and one curled up with his head on the middle one's rear. I wish I could snap a picture, but I can barely type--they've taken all the circulation out of my hands, I think. :)

Thursday, June 26, 2003


Academia Thules is a website devoted to the study of ancient Roman culture and its modern devotees. It was established in association with one of the provinces of Nova Roma. They have even recently added a Temple to Minerva. If you have any interest in the ancient world or Roman paganism, you may want to check them out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003


By the way, Dwana called me earlier today to let me know she's on her way home and doing well. I think she's really tired, but otherwise okay, which is good. Hopefully she'll get some rest. She deserves a little. Somehow I suspect she'll sneak back to the hospital to be with Heather, though. :)

With school and health and everything else, I don't see how she does it. She blogged the other day about what she's like as a friend--and every word is her to a T. I've never known someone like her. On the one hand, what you see really is what you get, she's pretty even-keeled emotionally, and supportive in all sorts of ways. She's sweet but with a backbone. She doesn't mindlessly pat you on the back when you're being a git, but on the other hand she doesn't go flying off the handle or get caught up so much in her own world that she either ignores or takes out her frustrations on others. She's had to learn the hard way how to take care of her own needs and not put all of herself into everyone else. She's deeper than most ever probably give her credit for--I think some dismiss her as a 'goody-goody' church girl, and she's so much more than that, if they'd bother to pay attention. There's also a very quiet, very stubborn strength underneath all the other layers--which is good, because it'll leave her in good stead for dealing with the challenges of life. Well, that and her sense of humour. :)

If you've been reading this blog for very long, I guess you could understand why we get along so well. Frankly it's a relief to have all the poisonous personalities I've known out of my life. My ex was the worst but by no means only. It's great to have people you can depend on to be honest with you, to support you without denigrating you, but without turning a blind eye to your faults. For years I've been blessed with that kind of friendship, but it is a harsher, different sort of thing that I really can't describe. It's like having a mirror that not only reflects back but remembers all the good and bad you've ever done, so sometimes it's hard to feel like I've made progress in the eyes of those who have known me for so long.

Of everyone in my life, Dwana is probably the gentlest, but sometimes I need that. She accepts me as I am--not how I was (although in truth she also didn't know me when I was a selfish, angst-ridden basket case, and in fact has a hard time imagining me as such). But even if she had, I think she would accept the changes. For so long I've been out on a wire emotionally, getting counseling and taking control of my life, but not having someone who really understands where I've been. She does, and for the first time I have a friendship where the other person and I are on equal footing, supporting one another to be independent yet understanding. I don't know if I'm making any sense, but I just want to let her (well, and I guess all the rest of you out there) know how much I appreciate her coming into my life. Friends should make your life more complete, have more substance, richer. Dwana's done all those things, and I can only hope I can do the same for her.

'You can't kill people to the Lion King!'

That is the most memorable line from a discussion my neighbours and I had last night. I wound up not taking a nap after I blogged but took Cerys out and joined several other people who were doing 'torch night'--sitting on the patio with tiki torches lit, drinking and talking about who knows what. The kids were running in and out talking about a computer game that's a sort of paintball-shoot-and-go-after-the-flag thing, and one of the guys was talking about how he was playing a networked game and making a run for the flag when suddenly 'Hakuna Matata' came over the speakers. Turns out one of the female neighbours had plugged that in, much to his consternation. :)

I met one of my neighbours, a guy named Gail (and I feel for him--he must have had a very difficult childhood), who is pagan, a little odd (but then...), seems to have a fetish for swords, etc. We were trying to explain to the others what paganism is. He knows my exes, but hasn't seen them in over a year, so at least he seems to realise they're crazy, which is a point in his favour. I also explained libations, which one of the guys asserted was 'alcohol abuse'--because you pour the drink out onto the ground as a gift to the Gods rather than drinking it yourself.

I also discovered that the creepy guy at Meijer's who greets people (and whom I've never seen in the daytime, which led to discussion of him possibly being a vampire) is apparently an ex-bank president who suffered a stroke several years ago leaving him somewhat sweet but odd and living with his mum (one of the people in the group works there). He's still a bit creepy (he smiles and in a very queenish voice goes...'heellloooo'), but at least I know why now. I've always tried to smile and say hi to him anyway. I have to admit, it's good that places like Meijer's and Wal-Mart have greeters, because it's probably the perfect job for someone who has low skills or is retired.

Speaking of vampires, there is apparently a neighbour who has all sorts of printouts and books in his house on vampirism, was quite convinced he was a vampire, who would hiss if anyone came to the door whilst the sun was shining and acted like he would be burnt. Apparently he was out at the pool the other day. I guess he got counseling. I have to admit, it fascinates me that we live in little boxes within a stone's throw of our neighbours and usually haven't a clue what goes on in other people's lives. We'd probably like some of them (and run screaming from others), but most people don't open up easily these days, and usually keep things under wraps even if they do present some sort of 'public' front.

I also found out more about the circumstances of Bert leaving. Apparently, according to him--and I'm not saying the source is impeccable--our apartment manager is embezzling a great deal, doing things like ordering things with the rental property's money that then goes to her house or having the maintenance guys work for her on company time. Apparently the owner is in Ohio and comes down on a monthly basis to get the money but otherwise isn't that involved and would like to sell the place. At one point as an incentive he set up accounts where for each person who stayed he put in $500 per 6 months with the idea that when the place sold they'd get the money. Bert's was up to about $4000. Some people had been here much longer. Apparently, though, it was set up rather like a tontine--whomever was still there at the sale would get the money. So...the rental agent has apparently decided that Bert 'hasn't been happy with his job and should leave' and that everyone else who has been there for awhile should go, too. We have a new secretary, and three new maintenance guys coming in, all at lower pay. The new maintenance supervisor, who has 40 years' experience, is only making 50 cents more than the techs. Meanwhile, Bert had a job fall into his lap out at Rabbit Run, a very new, ritzy place which shouldn't have all the issues that our older apartments have. So that's good for him and his family. They found an apartment first, so for now they're not going to be living at the same complex, but that also means that he won't get paged as easily, I guess. One of the good things for us as residents, but not so good for the workers, is that we could get maintenance in about 2 minutes flat if there were a problem.

I hope this doesn't mean the complex is going to hell in a handbasket. So far I've been very happy with the service, the location, etc. Anything that's gone out has been fixed quickly. One problem that is ongoing is drain flies--these little black hairy flies that look almost like moths but don't bite--but Bert says they cleared out water from underneath my building a couple of weeks ago so that should get better. Otherwise I have no complaints. It's right next to work, it has a pool, there's decent neighbours, and they allow pets. :) I like having the courtyard where the kids can play or Cerys can roll around and I like the multiculturalness of my neighbours--lots of different languages, music, etc., but not loud music late or anything like that. And I can plant my garden around the patio--they even give out plants as an incentive, so that's good.

Now I know why Harry isn't in Ravenclaw

Okay, after having a night to let the latest book sink in, there is one thing that is bothering me. A lot. The entire conclusion of the book relies on Harry doing something incredibly stupid. He is specifically given something that he should use, but he doesn't even bother to open it until it is far too late--and unfortunately, Hermione doesn't know about it, and she can only work with what she knows. I know that Harry's heart and his bravery are his greatest gifts--not his brain--but still....I'm trying to decide if Rowling used this as a device to show that sometimes people get caught up in things and just don't see the obvious, or something to burden Harry with in terms of guilt, or what. It could easily have been left out completely otherwise. I can understand the mistakes Dumbledore makes--and I've seen those coming for a long time--but I don't understand this one. Perhaps that will become clearer in the next book.

Still, all and all I really enjoyed the book. One of my co-workers put a review on my desk this morning that describes it as wordy and full of cliches, and I can't say they're wrong. But I really did love every moment of reading, and at least I didn't get bogged down in something akin to the epic Quidditch sub-novel of last time. Rowling's strength, like most of my favourite writers, is her characterisation. She writes about people you can identify with, enjoy meeting in the pages of a book--or at least enjoy when they get their comeuppance, in the case of some of her more horrid characters, of which this book has a doozy of one. And frankly, I don't think most fans will care if its a bit unwieldy. My only regret is that we're two books away from the end, and then what will we do? :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2003


You know, librarians are pretty sensitive about their image. So I'm sort of surprised I don't hear more grousing about Miss Pence, the librarian at Hogwarts, who loves to shush the students, and in this latest volume is horrified that someone brought chocolate in the library. But then, I think we all have run into a Miss Pence at some point, right? Mine was the Kern County librarian at Edwards Air Force Base 1978-80, who absolutely would not let me read in the adult section despite the fact that I was reading on a college level in junior high. But then, I was asking to read John Jakes' The Bastard series, so I guess it's somewhat understandable. But hey, it was on TV. :)

My other experiences with librarians were much different. I worked as a library volunteer in elementary and junior high school. I remember our teacher at Forbes Junior High was very nice. I don't remember her name but I remember that her son, who had come home from the Air Force Academy, died on the motorcycle he'd just received for his birthday. And I remember my librarian at Belle Plaine who did charge me for a book that I had already returned (but apparently someone got before it could be checked in--my only 'lost book'), but I respected her a lot because there was some book challenge and she refused to ban a book from the library. Watching her in action was probably my first clue to what librarians actually did, beyond shelving and cataloguing.

Well, that's enough for now. Talk to you later...

Okay, I know this sounds New Agey, but...

My friend Dwana is going thorough a just-this-side-of-surgery procedure on Wednesday, plus her friend Heather went into premature labour and they're trying to make sure both mom and son are stable before he breaks into the world. So, it'll probably be a day full of worry for both of them. So, if you are reading this, take a moment to think good, happy thoughts in their direction, say a prayer, or whatever you think might help. I know I will. It probably couldn't hurt, at least. :) Good luck, you two (whoops, three)! At least they're taking it in stride--Dwana's worried about Heather, Heather's worried about Dwana and trying to cancel her workload for the rest of the week. (It sounded like her boss brought flowers and took away her planner. :) Dwana cracked me up with a description of the baby on the sonagramme. He's sitting in it's momma's womb, hiccoughing and holding his penis in his hand. Wow, I knew they started early, but gee. Hehehehe.

I feel rather demented...

I just finished HP 5 and I must say, I rather feel like a bunch of dementors were sicced on me. No joy. No hurrah for surviving yet another battle with evil. As most of you know (since I don't see how you could have escaped the hype), one of the main characters in this book dies. JK Rowling is said to have sobbed just writing it. I bawled at the end of the fourth book with its death. This left me...empty, numb, rather like I really feel when someone close to me really dies. I only bawl when it's fiction, right? Well, I guess it hit me on a deeper level, and with the lack of a body (and that's all I'll say about it), there's no closure.

I handed the book back to the woman who loaned it to me and reached in for a jar of leftover Easter chocolate. That did make it a little better, I must say. Ironic, hmmm?

I'm not sure if I can stand waiting and absorbing two more books. I must say she has a real talent for capturing the angst of adolescence without overdoing it, and just how more complicated life gets as you get older. And she certainly gave practically everyone a chance at biting it along the way. So much so that when it happened, I had to blink and re-read it just to be sure.

Brava. I'm going to take a nap and see if happier dreams can break my mood.

'Step right up to the greatest show on earth. See a lady sawed in half—whoops, it’s the librarian!'

Anna Quindlen's latest column talks about the shell game our government is playing with public libraries, tax cuts, the war, etc. So the question is, in addition to voting the idiots out of office (which I will do my level, personal best to do as elections come up), what can we do to keep America's best qualities from crumbling away under rhetoric? What ever happened to honour and an attempt to make a better society for all? I have to admit, I'm getting very disillusioned with my country--but think it's time we started making it uncomfortable for the hustlers and the dealers to work on our street, don't you?

How to know when you've really made it in your profession: when a student interviews you

Seems like only yesterday I was talking to people 'in the field' myself. Wow. That's the biggest shocker I've had since the high school students called me "Miss". Just in case this could possibly help any other students out there...
1. What is your educational background?

I received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Kentucky in 1989. My majors were: History, Sociology, and Honours Programme (that's basically Humanities). Then I worked on a history grad degree for awhile. Went through a divorce and switched to library science, pushed through in a year, earning a Masters of Science in Library Science (MSLS) from UK in 1993 (planning to be an academic cataloguer). Unfortunately I graduated during a bad budget year with lots of hiring freezes, and could not leave the area. So after a semester of selling bagels I went back to school, finished another undergraduate major (Classical Civilisation), a minor (Judaic Studies), and worked more on the History grad degree. I basically need to take qualifying exams and finish a dissertation for a phD in History (emphasis on ancient/mediaeval), although frankly I'm not sure I'll finish--I'm (finally) a bit tired of school. I'm also one annoying class short of an undergraduate Linguistics major, but it's only taught during the day.

2. How long have you been a medical librarian?

Six years.

3. How many staff members does the library have?

Just me. Manager. Grunt. Solo. :) Occasionally I may have a student from the local high school's experiential learning group do some shelving or even some database work for me.

4. Do you or anyone else there ever make hospital rounds with the doctors?

No. But then I'm not sure if we really have 'normal' rounds. We're a small hospital (50 beds). We have 6 attending physicians and 5 residents.

5. Who are your most frequent user groups?

Residents, nurse mangers, nursing students, family members, attendings, research, motion lab, physical therapy, dietician , administration

6. To what extent does the hospital staff make use of the library services?

Well, most of the people I see are actually using the photocopier, but...we have a broad customer range. I've taken the library from a sort of 'doctor-only' business to one where anyone is comfortable coming in. I had people working on their GEDs or people from non-clinical areas ask about a diagnosis. The bulk is still the resident/student use, though. The place is usually hopping from the time I come in to, say three, and then it starts to slow down. The most crucial services involve acquiring articles through interlibrary loan (we use the National Network of Libraries of Medicine's DOCLINE--www.docline.gov) and literature searches.

7. What are some of the current challenges the the library faces?

For the first time in the history of organisation, we're facing a budget crunch. We are not only non-profit, we provide free care to the kids who come here for treatment. Everything is paid for by the Shriners fraternity. That makes us pretty unique in the world of health care. But much of that is based on investments, and with the market the way it is it's forced everyone to be careful with money. With the way subscriptions go up every year, I'm not sure I'll be able to keep all the journals we subscribe to at the moment (about 60).

8....and some of the current trends?

I've seen the attendings take a more active role in the library, especially through the library committee. Now that they have a library that is more than just a collection with an occasional secretary, they are buying into a sort of library ownership. Also, we recently opened a family resource centre so I'm seeing more patients and their families searching for information. That opens up the whole idea of library promotion. I've slowly marketed my abilities to the staff over the years I've been here (mainly by working librarian magic, participating in teams, open houses, etc.) But to market to the public is something entirely different. Most of the staff know where the library is (even if they've never been here). The public have to be educated from the ground up.

9. What changes would you like to see in your library and/or its services?

Well, I'm pretty happy with the scope of service. I did suspend table of contents service for awhile and after checking up on some of the copyright issues, etc., I think I may start it up again. I'd like to get our catalogue onto proposed intranet, along with a promoting page with links, info, etc. I'm just now getting around to some of the essential behind-the-scenes stuff like solidifying policy and coming up with a preservation/disaster plan addressing the collection.

10. We've been talking about Evidence-Based Medicine and the role of an Informationist in class. Any thoughts on how these concepts apply to your environment?

There is certainly an expectation for the residents to research the conditions they're treating. Most of the attendings subscribe to various core journals as part of their professional memberships, so I don't have as clear idea of how they incorporate their research into their practice. Nurses, however, are very big into researching standards of care based on reliable evidence. Certainly most of my interlibrary loan requests stem from a desire to practice evidence-based medicine, even if no one particularly calls it that here (I've only heard the term in school and library literature. I know it exists outside that, but I've never heard it here).

11. How has the Internet changed the way your library "does business"?

When I first came here we searched MEDLINE using a dialup connexion straight to MEDLARS and the National Library of Medicine. Interlibrary loans were tedious, through Grateful Med. Now we not only have PubMed, we have the DOCLINE interface for which uses PubMed to find an article and then allows you to order directly from within the search. It has made my life a thousand times easier. No more looking up our local consortium holdings in a paper directory and faxing off ALA request forms. Also, with DOCLINE we also participate in a reciprocal lending group called FreeShare which means I can borrow from all over the place and am much less likely to get charged for an article. It's like having the world opened.

Originally if someone came in looking for info on cancer or things outside our purview (we're a paediatric orthopaedic facility), I could only send them to a more general hospital or the public library. Now I can find loads of decent information online (and teach them how to tell the difference between good and poor information).

It's also helped me expand my role. I'm the acknowledged Internet expert in the hospital--they'll call me no matter what they're searching, and I've given classes and individual instruction in how to deal with the Web.

12. Any other thoughts and comments you'd like to share are most welcome!

Medical librarianship is one of the most challenging and rewarding careers I think anyone could choose. I sort of fell into it--a lot of us do. I probably spent the first year just trying to stay afloat. Most of us didn't take classes on it in school (I did after I got the job). Library programmes often emphasise the academic and ignore what else is out there. But where else can you make such a difference? When you know the information you're giving is being incorporated into patient care, there's a lot of responsibility, but a good feeling, too. When people come to me with their own diagnoses, or the diagnosis of a loved one, information can help with the anxiety involved. You have to be careful to make it clear you're not giving medical advice, of course. But sometimes just having someone who will listen to a concern and then help find a support group, some basic reliable information, or just someone who's willing to tell them that they need to take an active role in their healthcare and ask the doctor these questions, can help. The terminology, the acronyms, etc.--they all come with practice. But it's amazing how much you can change people's minds about what a library can do for them when you're their first link to information.

One thing that I would definitely recommend to anyone going from library school into a hospital environment, especially given that so many of us are solos, is to become involved in local consortia or other library groups. It really matters when you're managing things on your own and you don't have anyone else at the next desk to ask a question. A lot of adjustment for the librarian is learning about healthcare culture--the accreditation surveys, the fact that most people won't even know what you do, etc. Your supervisors aren't normally librarians--they're nurses and administrators. It makes a difference. You find you have to justify decisions that would seem obvious to a librarian--but you also have to think out why you do things the way you do as a consequence.

I really had to work to not be seen as a secretary/bulletin board lady. Yeah. Really. But as a result I deal not just with medical librarianship, but consumer health, patient education, and an early literacy programme where we give books to children 6 mos. to 5 years old. So flexibility is a must.

Okay. It's lunch time. Who needs food? I'm on chapter 23 of Harry Potter. :)

Here, here!

Scientists take on big publishers by making science public domain

Okay, so they've obviously never heard of interlibrary loan. But still, doesn't it seem strange that we pay taxes so the government makes grants, that go to scientists at public universities, but then some publisher holds all the rights? Or a pharmaceutical company benefits, but then markets their product at prices so high that the people who really need it can't afford it? Oops...that's the closet socialist coming out, isn't it?

Monday, June 23, 2003


Maybe there's something to say about fiscal responsibility. I chose not to pre-order Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix because I decided it was better to pay bills and I decided there really was no need to be 'first' in the feeding frenzy--I couldn't go to any of the parties because of the buses not running late enough, and I'm not sure I'd want to be in the middle of a press of screaming kids and adults. I get paid this Thursday, so it's not like I'd have to wait long, right? Of course, come Saturday when I was in the presence of a book that I could not tear into myself, I must admit I wavered. It was even harder because I started Saturday out being entertained by a dream of going to Hogwarts on a flying Holstein (where you had to stop and milk the cow--good for potions, and low fat!) But I consoled myself. Nevermind that it seemed everyone around me was either deep into the book or had already finished by yesterday. Fortunately, they were good and didn't spill anything. Today, though, I went into work and one of my co-workers announced that she had something for me. Seems she had picked up a copy and started it, only to realise she didn't remember who all the characters were and that she should go back and re-read the others. So...she brought me her copy to read. :)! So, I'm on chapter fourteen and going full-steam ahead (although I refuse to stay up all night like some people did this weekend!) Considering I walked into a library with a jammed copier where it was being very Monday all over the place, that helped. So did Dwana, who bought me breakfast so I didn't have a total breakdown myself.

PS Word on the street is that if you want a book cheaper than the local booksellers, you may want to check out Kroger, where it was selling for about the same as Amazon with no shipping. :)

Meanwhile on the karma front, remember the maintenance guy who was saying one thing to me and another to the rental office (which cost me $50 in lock-out fees)? Seems he was fired and has to be out by the end of the month. Now, I'm actually not thrilled by this...I like Bert and his family. But it does seem like things came back around, if you know what I mean. Bert's got a new job, and they're moving over to Versailles road, so I think things will be okay for them. However, I get the impression though that they're just turning their cat Salem out. He's a black cat with apparently a tendency to spray. I can't possibly take him in (I've got four animals), but I'm going to keep an eye out and put food out if he needs it. They are trying to find a home for him, but I wouldn't put it past them to just leave him behind. :(

Yea! Canada

I somehow missed the landmark approval by the Canadian court that allows gay marriage. Yes, marriage. Not civil unions. Not some sort of watered-down silliness. But true committement, and without a residency requirement. Men and women here in the states can be married in Canada and (if living in Canada) have all the same rights of other married couples. If not living in Canada, it is a possible wedge for gaining those rights locally. Someone in our local paper commented that thirty years from now, we'll be looking back and questioning why we ever had barriers to allowing people of the same gender to finalise committed love. It'll be looked as assinine like laws barring people of different races seem today. I hope so. This makes me so happy!!!!

From the intellectual freedom front

Attorney General defends USA-PATRIOT Act

Submit your written comments to repeal the USA-PATRIOT Act. National public hearings will take place on July 3rd. This is sponsored by a coalition of groups concerned with the abrogation of our constitutional rights under this act.

Defence panel debates spying safeguards

'Imagine a world where the actions of your government could no longer be examined by the press or the public. Politicians and bureaucracies could act in secret, without the healthy sunlight of outside scrutiny. '

Article from The Nation regarding the outcry against the FCC's ruling to allow greater media monopoly

Rumours of retirement fly as the Supreme Court wraps up its current term

High court term to end with a flurry: affirmative action, gay rights, minority voting, free speech and the Internet

ALA denounces Supreme Court decision regarding Internet filtering

One Georgia teacher finds using the First Amendment more challenging--and more rewarding--than just talking about it

Friday, June 20, 2003


I am a sniper/professional killer.

Which cat that thinks it's human are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Oh, this is just too priceless. Remember Sen. Hatch's comments?

According to this story, Sen. Hatch's own website is running unlicensed software, so that would make his system a candidate for the search-and-destroy method of dealing with copyright violation, right?

Okay, with a headline like Aaaaaaaaagggggghhhhhhhhhhh!!!!
--I had to look.

And I even knew about it already. But just for the record, I think the last line of this quote says it all:

"I like the way it looks," he said, listing his reasons. "Two, I think it will be more fun during oral sex and the girls will get a kick out of it. Three, everyone and their mother has their tongue pierced and four, I'm an idiot."

I'm not into tatoos and piercings, but I don't have any trouble with it. But having someone without any medical credentials slicing up an area that rich with nerves and blood vessels? Ugh. Not to mention what it'll do to speech, etc. I admit, a forked tongue kind of looks cool, but you have to wonder about anyone willing to do that, don't you?

Happy Friday

1. Is your hair naturally curly, wavy, or straight? Long or short? It has a large 's' wave to it. I never noticed it, though, until after a rather ugly permanent when I was younger.

2. How has your hair changed over your lifetime? Colour-wise it's stayed basically the same-- if you hold my hair up to the hair from my first haircut, it's the same sort of chestnut. But sometimes it seems a little blonder in the highlights, and sometimes a little redder. If I'm very ill, the colour seems to leech from my hair and I'll look almost blonde. When I was younger I had all different types of hair--thick coppery ones, nearly black ones, silver. It eventually settled into a more uniform look. During my 20s I had an unfortunate period where I tried dyeing my hair to more of an auburn. One thing my hair has changed is lengths. It was usually long until my mom got tired of dealing with the tangles and then it would get chopped off to my ears. I had hair to my butt in high school but had it bobbed when I graduated, and then started this cycle of growing it out and then bobbing it whenever I graduated, got a job, etc. It's in the grow out phase now and about half-way down my back.

3. How do your normally wear your hair? Long, with the hair parted on the side (if I'm trying to look decent), down the middle if I just don't care.

4. If you could change your hair this minute, what would it look like? I always wanted red, curly hair, sort of like Tori Amos. My hair has all sorts of colours in it, but overwhelmingly if you look at each individual strand it'll be dark red. Taken together, though, it comes out brown. I have actually tried to change my hair colour to the colour of mine in the sunlight. But I've never managed to get the right shade.

5. Ever had a hair disaster? What happened? Oh, yeah. The two worst were 1) The time at 16 that I decided to cut my hair and got upset with one bit that was refusing to cooperate so I cut it down really close; it grew out to a random 1 1/2 inches just in time for my first college ID picture two months later. 2) My mom gave me the second of two permanents. I like the idea of curly hair. I hate the actuality, at least on me, and at least with a perm. I cut my hair down to a very short 1/2 inch or so and everyone said I looked like a 'dyke'. When you have very short hair and a very big body, you pretty much look like a Weeble (remember, Weebles wobble but they don't fall down?)

Quick note regarding Thursday--I actually got a lot done so I didn't get a chance to blog:


  • Received a muffin from a grateful patron
  • Discovered said patron, who is often annoying, volunteers with AIDS Volunteers of Lexington once a week by taking a woman living with AIDS out on Fridays and spending time with her. Damn. She's annoying because she's one of those people who seems just too sweet to be for real. I think maybe she's just a decent person.
  • Discovered that a very sweet girl at work (who gives me rides home sometimes) is dealing with cancer in her family (a 20-year-old brother with not much chance given) and one of our co-workers is putting together a benefit garage sale to help with the expenses. Her mom's on unpaid leave to be with her brother, she let her parents have her car to get back to St Jude's and back and now their car, the one she was driving, has died. Plus she has a 4 year old to take care of. I'm going to make signs for the garage sale and donate some things, maybe help out running it if they need me. I suggested a few places we could have it (not sure we can use the hospital grounds). I also suggested she talk to Dwana, who on top of being a social worker has gone through something similar. What an awful thing to be dealing with. One thing I'll say about my workplace--they do tend to be supportive and come together when someone's in need. We have two employees and one volunteer that I know of dealing with breast cancer at the moment, too.
  • Filled several requests, including one where I snuck onto a website (they're in process of passwording their abstracts but haven't finished yet, so if you type in names of doctors, you'll eventually get in) to get an abstract for someone. I'm not sure of the ethics of that, but it's not my fault they set it up so any random weirdo could go in a set up an account for a doctor without any proof of who he is.
  • Went to an interesting inservice on pain amplification syndromes in children. I found out, among other things, that children presenting with fibromyalgia or refexive neurovascular dystrophy often are overachievers who have a parent with whom they are way too enmeshed (mother and daughter may dress alike, or see each others as 'sisters'). Hmmm...well, that certainly rings true from my childhood, and I have fibromyalgia. In kids the way you treat it, regardless of whether the trigger is injury, illness, or psychology, is to train the body through agressive physical therapy to react normally again. This is hell for the kids (and the parents who watch, I'm sure), but then they're doing cartwheels fairly soon when they can't even put a sock on at first. Interesting. I wonder how that translates to adults?
  • Caught up on professional reading and did some administrative planning. Things are a little slow (this is the three-week period almost everyone goes on vacation, and our patient load is low).
  • Read the newspaper's spotlight on Harry Potter. Oooohh. We're down to less than 24 hours!
  • Came home, did laundry (yay, clean clothes!), went for a swim. Despite the fact that it was 70 degrees outside, it felt great. Last year I reacted very badly to the pool chemicals--they actually thought I had pinkeye and kept me off work; then when it happened again when I swam we figured out that was the problem. So at the end of last season I bought some goggles. So here I am, no glasses, in the water, trying to adjust the damn goggles to fit my head (I think I should have gone up a size larger) and wondering if the big rubber band thing is actually latex (which I shouldn't be wearing), when I snap the rubber band right into my eye. Ouch! Then in determination I shove the things onto my head until it feels like my eyes are bugging out. Remember that scene in X-Men when Senator Kelly pushes his head in between the bars? Now imaging a large woman in a blue swimsuit being attacked by a pair of goggles and then trying to go for a Powerpuff Girls kind of look. Right. I took the damn things back off and went ahead and just swam. So far, so good.
  • Thought about watching the movie Gods and Monsters with Ian McKellen and Brendan Fraser, but decided I didn't really want to sit down and watch anything tonight. Hopefully I'll be able to catch another showing (it was on Encore).
  • Talked to a friend for awhile on the phone. She hasn't been feeling well lately and was checking in.
  • Played on Yahoo!Games for just a bit. By the way, that Bookworm game finally ended yesterday, at just under 6 million points. Wow.
  • Put some finishing touches on a Mage character for Cthulhu. Was a little freaked out because I decided her family had been killed in an earthquake and then found out there really was a quake at the right time period in India, on a religious holiday dedicated to Durga, who is also worshipped in the form of Kali as Shanti (peace). The name I had already chosen for the character? Shanti. It's a little freaky when real life imitates art. Started thinking about the Mummy character. Haven't gotten very far on that one but will probably have it together by Sunday.
  • Have now lost all feeling in my hands due to a warm fuzzy cat pressing down on them while I type. Must do a little stretching before bed.

    And now, to sleep. :)

  • Thursday, June 19, 2003

    Quiz Time!

    Hehehe...yeah, I have to admit it, it's me...but at least I'm not the whiny Sarah I used to be. :)

    You are the Wiseman - Or not so wise perhaps.  You take so long getting to the point of what you are saying that you forget what the point is.  You have nothing really useful to s
    You are the Wiseman - Or not so wise perhaps. You
    take so long getting to the point of what you
    are saying that you forget what the point is.
    You have nothing really useful to say but you
    give off the impression of wisdom somehow,
    people coem to you for advice but you just end
    up wasting their time. You may well get paid
    to talk crap.

    "Which 'Labyrinth' Character are you?"
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Hangs head. Yeah. I love Buttercup. But I am Blossom.

    You're Bubbles! Awww..aren't you cute

    <-------------------WHICH POWERPUFF GIRLS CHARACTER ARE YOU??----------------------------->
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Gee. You think?

    A Dark Story. Edgar Allan Poe may have written you,
    you are dark and you live on his writing... if
    u havent read Poe, you prolly didnt get a few
    of the answers i put on there, and somehow you
    still got this... read some Poe... and maybe
    some Anne Rice too...

    *What Type Of Book Are You?*
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Ewwwwwww....the hazard of going organic, I suppose

    So I'm pouring myself a glass of orange juice and rummaging for something quick and light for a bedtime snack when I suddenly realise that there is movement directly in front me. I have some storage containers with dry beans and rice and on top of that was a ziplock bag of mung beans I'd bought from the Co-op with the idea of sprouting them and using them in salad and spring rolls (because, as we've already established, I love spring rolls).

    Apparently a little beetle/weevil whatever-the-hell unauthorised fauna hatched in the bag, because nothing else had an infestation. Don't get me wrong, I like bugs, but not in my food.

    Anyway, the baggie is on my porch for tonight and I'll put it in the dumpster first thing tomorrow morning. But all I can say is...ew, and I think that's it for me and co-op mung beans. Now I'm glad that I hadn't eaten them yet.

    Wednesday, June 18, 2003

    Blog Poetry

    I found Rob's Amazing Poem Generator and punched in this blog. Here's the result:

    The Rabid Librarian@links not
    so great little
    girl who used
    to lose a kamikaze
    weirdo on the hospital. People
    have become a matter
    so big on
    librarians. // raveth The Rabid Librarian@16:26 rave back 16.at
    the Renegade Librarian Spinster Librarian
    Medlib The%burst of a couple
    of dying, right pages. For
    something like how it
    has it on
    how do the Street Librarian 18:may have work
    Sigh. //

    The sad thing? This actually sort of describes my life. Hmmm...'renegade spinster librarian'? I particularly like the sigh at the end. :)

    By the way...

    If you were going to name a business or even shop at a business, would you name it 'Caveat Emptor'? No offence meant, but, it does mean 'let the buyer beware'. You might want to choose a different spiffy Latin name. :)

    Caveat emptor

    Defrauded eBay buyers angered over seeming guarantee in Square Trade logo.

    Okay, this may be class-A boring to some of you, but here are some tidbits I ran across in health news today (hey, I am a medical librarian, after all). --feel free to skip

    All links to Medscape can be accessed for free; you just have to register.

    Interesting article on the biases found in published literature regarding pharmacological studies.

    National Library of Medicine streamlining access to journal literature
    --This is exactly the sort of behind-the-scenes sort of things that libraries do and no one every really realises the import it has on patient care or other aspects of our libes. As a medical librarian, I'm really impressed with the NLM, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, and all the folks who help keep this running.

    UK government warns against use of paraxotine in patients under 18
    --I may have blogged about this already, forgive me I I did; I've seen it on several news pages. For those of you who don't know, paraxotine is also known as Seroxat in the UK and Paxil here in the US. I take this stuff every day of my life, and it has changed my life immensely for the good. (I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), social phobia, and generalised anxiety. I also used to have major depression. Basically there's a chemical inbalance that causes these, and Paxil and other SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) help with this). The problem is, many medicines affect kids differently, but aren't necessarily studied well in children. And paraxotine seems to have some effects if you stop it suddenly or take it erratically, and it can be hard to make sure a kid takes everything faithfully. Depression, especially suicidal depression, also seems to be more prevalent in teenagers and young adults. So I can see the concern.

    Behavioural therapy may be useful in tricholotillomania
    --Tricholotillomania is a disorder akin to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (which is why I've heard about it--it's thankfully something I dont' have). So it's not surprising to me that it responds well to behavioural therapy. I think many anxiety disorders would do well with some form of BT. They're talking about short-term effects here; I don't think that rules out medication as well as therapy for severe cases or long-term issues.

    New ideas on gene therapy for cystic fibrosis
    --Is it any wonder that those of us who aren't virologists kind of wonder about using bits of an ebola virus and feline immunodeficiency virus to try to save a sick child? It's a little Frankenstein-ish, up there with the spider goats. But it might help sick kids someday. I know just enough about science to understand most of what that article said, but not enough to understand how it actually might work. Sigh.

    Oh, this is priceless!

    I need to find a copy of ROD: Read or Die, an anime where the fate of the world depends on super-powered librarians.

    Hack. Scratch. Atchoo! Sniff.

    I think the rain is finally easing up, which means the mould count is heading up, and this was definitely not a good day to leave my Claritin at home. My people come from an island where it rains a lot but it's generally cooler and not so big on mould. And then of course they moved to the American South. Gack. Here's to the Canadian hight that's supposed to roll in.

    And Gods know we need a respite. In addition to the little girl I blogged about, we've had a caver die in a rain-swollen cave, a little boy struck by lightning, the loss of a firefighter (not here, but in the area), and lots of property damage. And we're not talking the 'why the hell they'd build on a floodplain?' kinds of floods but the type that no one's seen water that high in generations. May was a record 6 in wetness; June's already gearing up to be on the short list, too. Don't get me wrong, I guess it's better than drought, but it's a shame we can't box the stuff up and send it to someone who really needs it.

    One good bit of news (although I won't link to it, because there weren't very many details available yet), a 12-year old girl in Marion County was found alive after her mobile home was swept into a flood. She's been sent to UK but no word on her condition. Still, coming after so many other tragedies, here's hoping for something good in the news.

    Tuesday, June 17, 2003

    Oh, wow...

    Iraqi man lives for 22 years inside a wall.

    Um...Senator, what were you thinking?

    Sen. Orrin Hatch apparently spouted off a possible 'solution' to downloading copyrighted material--have the tech guys make a way to destroy the computer being used in the download. Everybody around him pretty much distanced themselves from that comment, thankfully.

    Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for protecting intellectual property (within limits), but can you imagine the damage that could be done to, say, a library computer when someone downloads a file? Or how do you explain to the executive whose kid downloads a song that the machine with all of his business information is now a giant paperweight courtesy of blow 'em away techniques? How do you account for fair use, etc.? Copyright law isn't just black and white--it's open to a lot of interpretation.

    Tech can make some things harder and some things easier, but it can't solve all the problems out there. So, keep looking for answers, Mr Chairman. Let's hope this is one of those 'I got swept away by emotion and had no idea what I was really saying' sorts of things.

    New funding approach--making corporate sponsors fight over Harry Potter and Winnie-the-Pooh?

    A snippet from an article dealing with fundraising as a means to keep budget-crunched libraries operating indicates that some libraries are asking for sponsors out in the community. I generally hate seeing corporate logos everywhere, but hey, it's really a great idea. Open it up for bidding. I mean, if you could get your bookplate in the Harry Potter books, you'd get far more advertisement than, say, War and Peace (and no, I'm not knocking Tolstoy or the quality of either book--just saying that in terms on quantity, HP probably has it beat). But ideally you could get someone to sponsor a character and then apply it equally throughout the library--that way you wouldn't be faced with the idea of 'selling out'.

    I also like how the article points out that if they were in the private sector, the worth of libraries is such that they in the old dot com days they'd get all sorts of perks. They've apparently been working overboard, possibly due to the burst of the dot com bubble, but personally I think it has more to do with the explosion of the information age in general. But it's nice to see that some people are taking notice.

    And, on the just-too-weird-not-to-mention news front...

    13-year Indian boy hatches beetles in his body, which come out in his urine. Poor kid, as if it's not just hard being 13!

    Think mental illness only happens to other people?

    1 in 6 Americans suffer from depression at some point in their lives.

    GPs prescribing self-help books in Britain

    This article from the BMJ discusses a programme whereby general practitioners (GPs)--the equivalent to a primary care physician in the States--are prescribing self-help books from local libraries to their patients for a variety of mental health issues. Doctors sometimes don't want their patients to read certain things (I can tell you from personal experience that OCD and other anxiety disorders can cause you to fret about worst-case scenarios). Of course the good thing is that having some knowledge gives you a certain sense of control, and a lot of these issues are about feeling overwhelmed by a lack of control in one's life. This scheme allows them pick certain books they think will be helpful, provide guidance to using the book, and direct them to a librarian who can help further. I'm not sure how the decision is made over which are the 'best books'--whether it's physician-approval only or if the doctors and librarians are working together to come up with this. I've heard of several places where doctors prescribe information available in the hospital's consumer collection, but not in the surrounding community. Interesting.

    Impromtu verse

    In the bitter days
    I cried for things lost
    Both past and future

    But now I see the dart of a fish
    The smile of a child
    The sun through raindrops

    And I feel

    A post before bedtime...

    Turns out many of us on one of my library lists collect names, are fascinated by them, etc. I am so glad I'm a librarian. The more I talk to others of my profession the more I realise I'm in just the right field.

    Anyway, someone posted a link for the Name Nerds Naming Convention Quiz. Turns out I'm Classic Unusual in my naming philosophy, which is dead on. (Nearly all my names for future imaginary children and imaginary but slightly more real game characters fit this category, I think).

    Wisdom from Action League Now!

    Master Poo: Remember, the butterfly does not need wings to fly.
    Stinky Diver: Wait. Yes it does!
    Master Poo: You know what I mean!

    I have become a closet fan of this show. It features plastic superheroes in the grand tradition of the games we played when I was a kid--when a Barbie doll was off saving another planet, for example. Or the stuff we did with Star Wars characters. When I was 10 only a couple of the kids in the neighbourhood had actually seen Star Wars (and I got the garbled version--I had one friend who insisted Luke and Leia got married at the end, which if you were to think so, wouldn't it be Luke and Han being married? I guess it was Leia's white dress that threw her off)--but we were all playing with the figures. Anywhere, where else can you find a wickedly funny children's show (as much as any modern cartoons are really for kids) that has a superhero like The Flesh ('he's really big, and really naked')? It's like traipsing back in time.


    I really don't know what to make of the various forms of obesity surgery. I mean, there's something like a 1 in 600 chance of dying, right off the bat. And lifelong health issues and side effects. But for some, it very well may be the best option. And I have to admit, every now and then I think about it. I mean, I'm 267 lbs., diabetic, etc. Granted, I think with me it's a matter of actually working on it (to be honest, I've never really tried to lose weight for any real period of time. I just go up and down depending on how my life's going and my insulin resistance). A few years ago I stopped eating the things I had allergies to and took my medicine faithfully and went down to 198, felt great, and was a size 14/16 (at least I'm solidly fat). But then I got to a point where someone really was coming onto me strong sexually (I tend to keep weight on to keep people away, I've realised), I was having a lot of issues, and I went off my Glucophage, started eating processed foods, and shot back up.

    But now I've gone through counseling, and I feel so much more active and better. When I went out on a date awhile back I found myself not pigging out or eating emotionally at all--in fact, I was cleaning house, taking care of myself, and generally felt completely normal. The one person who tended to put me down for my weight while seeming to understand is gone from my life. Everyone else pretty much accepts me as I am, and no matter how much or little I weigh, it won't matter to them--they love me as I am. I think for a long time my weight has been a way to separate me from the rest of the world, to push people away, and in a way, a passive form of suicide. But you know what? I want to live life to the fullest now. It doesn't matter so much how much I weigh as whether or not I can do the things I want to. I don't want to push people away anymore. I want to connect with people, and I do now, and it's natural and non-threatening. I'm not the shy little girl who used to hate herself. And besides, the rest of America has supersized itself, too, so I'm pretty much part of the norm now. :)

    So, I have to admit lately that I'm feeling that it's time to get a handle on my health, to work on my energy, and the best way seems to be working on my body as a whole. I've always been very wary of 'dieting'. My mother went through so many when I was a child, and it wreaked havoc with her health at times. I can remember her on one in the 70s (Atkins or Pritkin, I can't remember which), where she looked anorexic. And as someone who can gain or lose 20 lbs. of water weight in a couple of weeks, I've never really understood obsessing over a pound or two at a time. But I want to become more active, and I want to feel better, and so I think it's time to put all that theoretically knowledge of nutrition, etc. into practice.

    That said, I was reading one of my lists and saw an announcement of a woman who had lost 167 lbs. There was a link to a great little journal that shows the ups and downs of having such a gastric procedure. Not that I'm anywhere near going under the knife (I think that's definitely a last resort for me, and frankly I've not reached a point where I hate being fat more than I fear surgery). But her story was very inspirational, and maybe I could use her as a role model. For all the people who fail at losing weight, there are those who do make it. There's no reason I can't be one of them, right?

    Monday, June 16, 2003

    This is so sad...

    Right before I left work I read the paper for the first time in a couple of days, and they had a story of a little girl who'd been swept away in a flash flood. Remember the torrential rainstorms from Saturday? Searchers have been hoping against hope that they could find the girl, a six-year-old with cerebral palsy who was snatched from her grandfather's arms by flood waters, alive. The grandfather suffered a heart attack trying to reach the girl and has been in the hospital. People came from seven counties to help with the search. Her picture shows such a cute, bubbly girl. I can't imagine the emotions her family and friends have been going through, but it must be a terrible place to be in.

    Today they found her body, still clutching a teddy bear.

    What an awful way to lose a child. She seemed to touch the lives of everyone around her. They called her a 'miracle baby' because she beat the odds and lived when no one was sure she would. How horrible to lose her, especially this way. I think this is a family that definitely needs to be in our prayers and thoughts. I pray they find comfort, and that she finds peace.

    You know how they always say parents don't care about education anymore? Or that no one values librarians?

    Well, check out this story of a group of parents who raised and donated the amount needed to keep their school librarian.

    Yay, brains!

    Okay, if you're not a fan of Invader Zim, the Nickelodeon cartoon, that headline might not make any sense. Suffice to say that I'm feeling great and happy after a weekend where I wasn't trying to fit umpteen million things into a very small space and actually got some rest--Saturday, especially, as we had a couple of torrential downpours (one of which I slept to, the other I waited out at Walgreens). Yesterday we didn't game but I did work on a new character and a hypertexted directory for the game that will help in finding all those nifty abilities when we need it. See, the thing about game publishers is that they're great about having creative writers, but not so great with editors, indexers, etc. In fact, it's always a blessing just to find a book with an index--even if the terms don't point to the right pages. You'll find that you can't get rid of previous editions because they invariably leave something important out of the new one. I've found this especially in titles from a certain publisher. White Wolf, hire a librarian, or at least a good editor. Actually, hire me!

    There was something I came across at some library-related site but now cannot find where I got it from at all that, while I'm sure proves that some people have WAY too much time on their hands and live to be annoying, was actually hilarious when taken together. I had to go back and check my history at work. Here are some comments of a kamikaze weirdo on eBay. And whilst many were quite unamused by the comments, some of the people get into light banter with him later.

    Okay, enough for now. Happy Monday. I actually have work to do. :)

    Sunday, June 15, 2003

    Uppity librarians unite!

    A great article dealing with the changing images of librarians, just in time for what the guys over at LIS News call the 'few, the brave, the Toronto-bound'. For those of you who don't keep up with such things, SARS is causing a major headache for Toronto, which has seen all sorts of concerts, conventions, etc. cancelled over fears of contracting the disease. However, the American Library Association is going forward with its plans for a joint conference with the Canadian Library Association, and apparently the Toronto media are grateful. :) I'm not an ALA member--I can get work to shell out money for the MLA, our state association, and our local consortium, but that's about it, and I can't afford ALA and SLA memberships, even though I'd love to join. I couldn't get travel money to go to our San Diego conference and I'm sure Toronto would be right out as well, so due to budget crunches I don't get to go play with thousands of other librarians. But I think the ALA did a great job of working with people who did cancel and those who reinstated their plans, too. Because of my membership in KLA I get a lot of the news releases from ALA, and I'm really impressed with all the work they did (and thank the Gods I wasn't involved with having to plan the meeting!)

    Saturday, June 14, 2003


    I just slogged through about 300 e-mail messages (okay, so I forgot to check my home e-mail for a few days). I learned that

    • Some libraries actually keep collections of cake pans and check them out. Returning them without washing them is subject to a charge akin to a rewind charge. :) Actually, it's a great idea, but I would never have thought of it.
    • Librarians are notorious for keeping items past their due date. Fortunately, many institutions apparently do not charge their staff overdue fines. Sign me up!
    • That story about the library worker who was a possible bombing suspect sparked a huge debate regarding elitism, etc. regarding the terms 'librarian', 'libray assistant', 'paraprofessional', 'library worker', etc. I told you librarians were sensitive on the issue. I'm one of those people who believes, however, that we should not sacrifice our library workers without master's degree in the hopes of legitimising ourselves. I've met assistants who were much more knowledgeable and together than some of the MLS holders I've known. And having two LPNs in the family, I know there's a similar controversy on what makes a 'nurse'.
    • There's a job opening I plan to apply for that pays $25K at .5FTE--no benefits but it looks like telecommuting is possible, so it would work really well with my current job and yet more than double my salary. Wish me luck!
    • No list is safe from the Nigerian bank scam--even ones that discuss ancient Roman arts and literature.
    • I have got to find a copy of "The Lustful Turk", a nineteenth-century...titillating novel...that's often mentioned by Barbara Mertz/Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters in her books (yes, all three names are the same person).
    • The chorus--or, as it was described, a 'herd' of troublemakers (their words, not mine) have banded together to free their pianist in one of those charity lockups.
    • A SCA event is planned next month at the Kentucky Horse Park in tandem with a Renaissance Faire/the 'All the Queen's Horses' exhibit. I think it was slated for July 26th, but I'll double-check.

    A few other comments before I head on to bed:

    • Do any of you have an ice cream truck that goes around the neighbourhood around 10 pm when all good kids should be inside? I'm beginning to wonder if it's really a front for drug dealing, or such. Actually, nearly every ice cream truck I've heard in Lexington has been late in the evening.
    • If you are getting ready to go to sleep and have removed your glasses and turned out the lights, only to realise you have not fed your fish, do not freak out if you reach in under the aquarium and touch a warm furry body. Cats seem to like it in there. But man, it scared the bejeesus out of me last night.
    • I'm wondering how Dwana and her husband will do on their trip to Belterra (sp?), a casino boat that operates out of Northern Kentucky and on the Ohio river. She was very excited about going--they managed to score free hotel rooms for a start. Of course, the last time they went away for a weekend together we had an ice storm. Here's hoping there won't be some strange disaster this time. :)
    • Yep. The comic is back. I found I was forgetting to read it, and I got an e-mail thanking me for promoting it, so I'm putting it back up. I don't think it was the problem with the loading. I hate to say it, but I think that had to do with the javascript for the Code Amber ticker. Or maybe just having it all going at once.
    • I had a very strange dream last night where a man piloted a space shuttle mock-up into the high atmosphere only to crash into an Ezekiel-wheel kind of space station and a talking dog and I watched the shuttle streak through the sky afterwards. This dream also had a town with children who were being hunted down by things kind of like that one Buffy episode 'Hush' with the creepy men who stole voices. At some point Brendan Fraser was there and there came a point where he had to sacrifice himself and he asked for some reassurance that it would be worth it and this roulette wheel of the children's names came up showing him who would survive if he died. The kids, meanwhile, were trying to use a giant spot light to keep the things at bay, because they could only come in darkness. Then the hero was sacrificed and every thing was fine. I promise, the only TV I've watched lately has been documentaries on storms, Vikings, etc.--no strange fantasy/science fiction etc. I was so deeply asleep with this one that I overslept this morning and was a little late to work. I must have slept right through the alarm. Anyway, it was very odd. Sometimes I think our brains just squeeze out random Play-Do sorts of images than seem coherent at the time. It's a shame though; if I'm going to dream about Brendan Fraser (who, along with David Duchovny, is sort of my 'type'), you'd think my brain could have found a better use for him. :)
    • I figured out how to change the size of check boxes in Microsoft Word today. Not a major wah-wah moment, I know, but I've never had a document where it would be useful. I also accidentally at one point inserted multiple rows into a table at once. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how I did it. Any Word gurus out there? I guess that's an easy enough help search. The only problem with being one of those 'hands on' learners is that it's almost impossible to explain how you did something, especially to the kind of computer users who want to write every step down. But it's bad when you're not even sure what you did. :)

    Well, that's all for now. Good night.

    Friday, June 13, 2003

    Happy Friday!

    1. What's one thing you've always wanted to do, but never have?
    I've always wanted to but have never visited another country, even though I was a military dependent for 23 years. Then I was married. Then I had pets and other responsibilities. Of course, at the moment, I'd be happy if I could just get in a car and travel to another state occasionally. :)

    2. When someone asks your opinion about a new haircut/outfit/etc, are you always honest?
    I try to be. It's something that took me years to learn. I had that form of low self-esteem where I was so was afraid people wouldn't like me [and yet oblivious that they didn't anyway] and I didn't think my taste was necessarily any better, etc. Now I pretty much tell it like it is, and according to my friend Dwana (who never knew me in the pathetic years) I'm 'direct, but not bitchy', which apparently is a skill that's difficult to develop.

    3. Have you ever found out something about a friend and then wished you hadn't? What happened?
    No, not really. I think it's important to know the truth about your friends, don't you? And if it's something that you can't live with, then they shouldn't be your friends anymore. I had one person who I thought as a friend who suddenly decided someone she had known and been "friends" with for years--but whom she hadn't known was Jewish--couldn't come into her house (that polluting Jewish influence, I guess). If you'd ever asked me if she were an anti-Semite, I would have said no, there was never any real indication. When my ex finally told me the truth about how he'd never loved me, it hurt, but it was good to finally get the truth out of him. I've had several friends who'd turned out to be stark raving mad. There was the woman who stalked one of our professor's children at daycare and her ex-husband and used a car I'd sold them as a pull toy in the divorce. There was the guy who spouted off about non-electric radios and intelligent viruses who huffed away when we wouldn't bob our heads and agree. And there a lots of things that aren't friendship-ending per se that can help you either empathise with the person more or helps put them into perspective. It just depends on what it is. I recently discovered someone I knew made one sad, pathetic attempt at cow-tipping in high school, and I would never have guessed that. But she was young, stupid, and going along with the crowd. I don't necessarily think it detracts from her basic character, which is very caring. It doesn't automatically put her into the serial killer animal abuser category. (Besides, the cow won. Never try to tip a car when you barely break 100 lbs. If you run very fast, you basically bounce down into muck and everyone laughs at you. I think she learnt her lesson.)

    4. If you could live in any fictional world (from a book/movie/game/etc.) which would it be and why?
    I would do very well in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. There you have evil to fight but it's not going to cause the pure sanity loss of say, our Cthulhu game. It really wouldn't be fun to be a superhero, like in the Marvel universe, because you'd treated like dirt for being different. There's bias and all the faults of this world in Harry Potter, but you can always beat the Malfoys of the world in Quidditch, etc.

    5. What's one talent/skill you don't have but always wanted?
    I've always wanted to learn to ride a horse. I've always loved horses--but from a distance. It occurs to me that living in the 'horse capital of the world'--or at least one of them; that's a contested title--this is something I could probably do. There are plenty of riding stables around. And while I'm not the size of say, Pat Day, I don't think my size would be a hardship for a horse. My main hurdles are that 1) lessons cost money, 2) Horses really bring out my allergies--much more than dogs and cats, and 3) I'm a little afraid of the height involved and the sheer unpredictability of tandem movement with another creature. But I figure eventually I'll make enough for lessons, I can always take shots, and I should probably wear a helmet if for no other reason than my natural lack of grace. :) So I'll eventually ride, even if I don't do it well.

    Thursday, June 12, 2003

    Settling in for the evening...

    I had a fairly uneventful day at work. I had a co-worker who was so happy with some of my work that she hugged me. That was a little freaky, but I find that as I learn to open up more, I not only deal with huggy people better, I'm learning to like it. It was just a banner for her son (who didn't have to go to Iraq, and is coming home), so I think the happiness was mostly for him. But I just patted her on her back and told her I was glad her son was coming home. I'm sure she's relieved. But mostly my day was spent on the computer, filling requests, etc.

    Remember the choose-your-own adventure books? Well, the normalcy at work was an interesting backdrop to the drama going on behind the scenes (if you really want to read the drama, check out this). If you'd rather have no drama, click here. Otherwise, read on for a teensy bit of drama. Yup, I'm the person who apparently eats ice cream in a disgusting manner. No, I have no idea how that differs from anyone else's technique. I'm sure somehow it's all my fault in the end, it's always is, isn't it? . I was going to take the 'high road' and ignore this, but since I haven't been able to talk to her, and I don't want to waste any more of my time trying to get some closure, I guess I can go for a little drama of my own. I'll make it short. It's just as well, I suppose, that this has happened. I've been walking on eggshells for far too long around Zabet, who was the last of a long line of people with similar issues in my life. By way of illustration, she once sold me some videotapes that were going to a garage sale but would not even let me touch a book that was going into the sale because, in her words, 'I had enough books'. And that's a fairly minor example. In the years I've known her she has driven away nearly everyone she's ever been close to, and then blamed them--and blamed me for not going away, even though I would have at any time if actually asked-yet refused to get therapy and started to truly despise me once I did. She would often decide that current events, TV shows--anything she does not have control over in the conversation--is verboten in her house, but you wouldn't know until she blew up and told you not to speak about something. When I asked for help made me a project she could micromanage. She once literally took a keyboard out of my hands and then redesigned my blog because it didn't suit her otherwise. And yeah, I let her, so I suppose I deserved it. So then she had yet another blow-up (and for once, I didn't lay down and take it, so now what I thought was a nine-year friendship is over, which given the fact that despite the fact that I have cared for her, this by her own admission is not how she felt) just because I made a comment that a particularly disturbing dream was both sick and creative (let's face it, dreams are the product of our own minds). Instead of calling or otherwise contacting me directly she ripped her comments off her blog and had a temper tantrum and then posted the aforementioned diatribe. Considering at any time when she's had problems she has actively pushed everyone around her, I think that I did my best, considering that yes, I was dealing with issues in my own life, and quite frankly had other responsibilities to people who did not bring anything down on themselves or abuse me, and she supposedly had other great friends to help her. Friends she later treated like dirt and pushed away. She had singular moments of empathy for other people, but they were rare. When the Oklahoma City bombing took place, she was like, 'well, so? I didn't know anyone there'. She really only relates to cats well, and even then, it has to be on her terms. She takes it personally if they're not loving back. Despite the fact that I told myself she was growing up and getting better and defended her at her worst on many, many occasions, it was ultimately not worth it. When she felt she was left out I made time and this only led to her apparently despising me. She had done a lot for me but only on her terms, at her whim, and apparently without remembering all I've done for her in return. Sigh. I wonder if anyone has done a study on "break-ups by blogging"? I tried to phone several times, but could not reach her. I'm sure she's more comfortable with this. And before anyone cries foul, I have comments and she's welcome to leave whatever accusations she'd like on them, because I can ignore the irrational and not take it personally. Well, I wish her well (and therapy), and Patrick as well, since she apparently speaks for him. I hope they get what they truly want in life. I'm just not sure they'll be happy with it. And I do hope that he draws the line on occasion; she once told me his mom treats his dad like a remote-control carrying boy, and she does the exact same thing to Patrick.

    Now for a little less drama.

    Today I gave blood. This is always an adventure, but today I was prepared. I raided our lab, clinic, and occupational therapy departments for large latex-free gloves, cor-ban (the stick-to-itself bandage they use to wrap you up at the end), and a tourniquet. You'd think that if they're sending a bloodmobile to a hospital that is virtually latex-free, and they themselves are at risk for developing latex allergy, that they'd have better supplies. But their nitrile gloves are normally available just in small, which sucks for the phlebotomist who gets me. They used to have to put a blood pressure cuff on me instead of a tourniquet. Last time we went with paper tape since they didn't have cor-ban without latex, so they used paper tape and I had a bad bruise for awhile. This time, I had everything put together before I went in, and they were pleasantly surprised. I was halfway afraid I'd be deferred due to low blood iron or such, but thankfully, no. My blood pressure and temp were actually a bit low, but the blood drop sank right down the solution. They always have to ask my occupation because apparently 'librarian' is not one of the standard professions they have in their database, and I think it always surprises them that a hospital would have a librarian. There were new questions (there are always). Last time the new questions were about smallpox shots. This time it was about SARS. There are some benefits to never having left the country or having...ahem...had sex for awhile, because it makes it so much quicker to answer the questions. The guy who took my blood had 'never met anyone with a latex allergy'. Aaron? Are you reading this? Hello, don't they give you all inservices? Maybe you should introduce yourself to the day shift? :) The nice thing is I didn't bruise at all this time. Maybe that scouting 'be prepared' thing has some merit.

    After work I paid bills and bought a Father's Day card for my stepfather. Oooh. The first year as an official stepfather. Well, I adopted John awhile ago, of course. But he deserves a doubly-good day this year because he's now got his youngest out of high school and peace may eventually reign. Then I came home and made some phone calls and caught up on some game-related posts. I've been listening to a Geographic special on the sinking of the Lusitania whilst blogging. Now I think I'm going to do a little reading and head to bed a little early...of course, if I do that, I won't be doing the F5 at midnight. Oh, well, sometimes there are more important things than being first.