Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Dwana and I kicked butt...

I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but as part of a family studies class, D had to write a 25-page paper on a diversity-related topic and present it to her class. She did it on people with disabilities, and asked me to be a guest speaker.

We came through the presentation with flying colours, and I was a guest speaker talking about the challenges and issues of dealing with an invisible disabilty--mental illness. The audience, mostly undergraduates, were very receptive. They actually spontaneously applauded, asked a lot of questions, came up to each of us at the break and said what a good talk it was, etc. It was the first time I've ever talked to complete strangers about living with anxiety disorders and borderline personality. Several people were dealing with similar issues in their own lives either personally or because of a friend, and it apparently spurred continued conversation once the class convened after break. (I stayed outside at that point going over my assignment for a book review for CAPHIS that's due tomorrow. Gee, it's like being in school again!) Needless to say, we were floored by the response. And I'm very proud of D because she did something she's never done before...she self-disclosed about her own struggle with panic and anxiety disorder in front of her classmates.

Dwana started out with a good overview of services and barriers to those with disabilities, what types of disabilities there are, etc. Then she showed a videotape that looked at how local people had dealt with mobility, sensory, and learning disabilities.

Then it was my turn. We especially wanted to underscore that successful professionals could also be dealing with mental illness. In preparation I really had to think in terms of how it impacts me...I don't normally think of myself as disabled, but really, my life is impacted on all levels by my mental health issues. I gave information on the things I deal with (OCD, anxiety/panic disorder, social phobia, and BPD), the therapy that helped me (dialectical behaviour therapy), what it was like being suicidal and emotionally labile, and how it affected my relationships with others and my work. I gave them handouts that supplemented it really well; since many of them were going into teaching or counseling, it seemed to be worthwhile to give them good information they could take with them.

Here are links to some of the resources I used:

Afterwards we celebrated by going over to Starbucks and playing Hear Me Out, with D getting a lot of the 'Sound Bite' spaces where you have to do impromptu speaking, as if she hadn't already presented enough! Then we both went home and I, at least, napped for a couple of hours. At one point we talked on the phone, sort of a debriefing and analysis, and we spoke a lot about our own experiences. It was a really great conversation. We both learnt new things about the other during the talk; I think Dwana saw for the first time what I had been dealing with; she didn't know me when I was undergoing therapy. And I saw dealing marvelously with her anxiety...the only hint that she was nervous was her neck turned bright read and splotchy, which is a physical response that I'm not sure most people could control. Each of us did a really good job, but apparently together we were a kick-ass team. We had lots of questions and I think the teacher was really pleased. We'll be a tough act to follow, and next week there are two presentations, one on female circumcision (that would be hard to talk about, I think) and same-sex parenting.

I really feel that it was important for us to be there, together, today, patially because I think it helped us deal with our own issues, and because there were a few people in the class who apparently were dealing with similar problems and it gave them a sense of where to turn for help. I feel really good about what we did today.

Stupidity (and instant karma) in action

Man Burned After Firing Rocket Inside Car

It's kind of sad when it takes second-degree burns from your feet to your groin, temporary blindness and missing eyelashes to decide that maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.

The problem with laws is that, like computer programs,

they're only as good as the people who write them.

Doctor Says Abortion Method Can Be Safest

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Someone sent this to me, and overall, I have to agree...

Over 25?
All people over 25 should be dead.

To the survivors:

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's probably shouldn't have survived.

Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. (Not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.)

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. Horrors!

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. No cell phones. Unthinkable.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Play Stations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, video tape movies, surround sound, personal cell phones, personal computers, or Internet chat rooms. We had friends! We went outside and found them.

We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live inside us forever.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rang the bell or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law. Imagine that!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever.

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

And you're one of them!

Congratulations to others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before lawyers and government regulated our lives, for our own good.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors?

I might also add that we didn't have cartoons that gave us scripts for playing with cards and action figure merchandise--we made up our own games. We had enough imagination that we didn't need a script. I think it's interesting that even in the role-playing game I play in, none of us (and we're in our 30s and 40s) use miniatures, etc. Battle scenes, when it becomes important to know where everything, are just drawn out on scrap paper.

This may seem like an odd thing to post given my rant for smoking bans, and really, I suppose it's good that Slip-n-Slides have bumpers now and we put plastic thingies in electric outlets so kids won't stick something in them...but one does wonder if we somehow overdid it. Someone I once knew remembered fondly chewing on an electric cord when she was 2, then testing it again to see if it would do it. I suppose it was evolution in action--she survived, learnt not to do that, and probably was more diligent than most about baby-proofing when she had her own children. But it's funny, when I look back at the really fun things I did as a kid, they tended to be fairly dangerous in retrospect. I think most of us feel that way, don't you?

Yay! I can go to Irish pubs when I visit

Yahoo! News - Ireland Goes Smoke-Free with Pioneering Ban

Now if Lexington can just be allowed to enforce the one passed last July, I'll be happy. It's never been in effect because it's been under a series of injunctions while its legality is duked out in the courts. Meanwhile, the legislators of the Commonwealth of Kentucky seem to be doing everything they can to prevent that, drat it. See, tobacco here is big business--well, really, a way of life--nevermind that the average tobacco farmer doesn't really do that well anymore. I'm sorry...I've lived on tobacco farms, and I've watched the fields turn bright gold in the fall and yes, I do consider it part of our culture. But I've also lost two people very close to me due to lung cancer and emphysema; I watched them suffer, gasping to breathe. My paternal grandmother died nearly two decades in age before her parents. In the end her cancer reached her spine and the doctors let her use a morphine pump just to dull the pain. My maternal grandfather, the gentlest man I've ever known, had such low blood oxygen after years of being tied to a pump and unable to do his beloved gardening that he'd begun to hallucinate. He tried desperately to get out of the hospital (and nearly made it out the front door of the VA) and was thankfully discharged home only to die a couple of days later. Until late in his illness, he would go out to his car trunk and sneak cigarettes where my grandmother would not find him, so heavy was the addiction.

Both of them started smoking before we 'knew better'. I don't understand why people still take up smoking since we do know the health costs, but it's their choice. A stupid one in my opinion, but one nevertheless. Some would argue that they deserve such awful deaths. I don't agree. But smoking in public is NOT a personal choice. It's a health hazard. For those of us with asthma or who have to work in a smoke-filled environment, second-hand smoke can be a very real problem.

In America, it's become socially unacceptable to smoke around others to some degree. Gone are the days of Emily Post when you were expected to provide cigarettes to your guests. Now, many people--at least in my age group and younger--step out of their own homes to smoke, whether it's because they have kids or roomates and they're being considerate or because they don't want to stink up their home. A lot of people are shocked when they travel to other countries where people chain-smoke in great numbers. One of my friends is travelling to Bosnia this summer, and really, she's braving heavy smoke as much as landmines. I don't know why smoking is so popular in some places; is it that the health concerns aren't as well-known among the populace? Is it seen as chic? Is it the stress? Is it just cheap and easy to smoke? Maybe some of you know and can comment.

But here, it really is on the way out. Most tobacco farmers (at least those who farm full-time) have been looking into alternatives for decades. A lot of families supplement their income with a small tobacco base on their land. But, there are other ways. Towards the end of their lives, my great-grandparents made money not from growing tobacco but by either leasing the base (and letting someone else grow it either on or off their property) or sometimes they were paid not to grow any by the government. I don't think those government subsidies are so easy to come by these days, but there's also quite a bit of money from the tobacco settlements, depending on how states use the funds.

Most people who smoke know that it's bad for them. A lot try to quit. Health and wellness are the new watchwords for 'cool'. Yet there are dating sites out there for smokers who feel 'stigmatised' by people who don't want to date them. There's an attitude of smokers as some sort of oppressed minority, with many absolutely rabid about their rights to smoke where and when they want. We have a rather absurd situation where tobacco companies--caught at practices where minorities and youths were targeted for marketing--are now paying millions of dollars to produce ads that talk about how bad smoking is for you, as if somehow once you turn 18, those reasons should somehow be invalid. It has always boggled my mind that they can run ads in magazines (having been yanked off the TV when I was a kid) that say things like 'cool, refreshing' and then oh, by the way, smoking causes premature death, complications in pregnancy, etc. It's ridiculous.

In the case of Lexington's ban, it was done by the council, not via referendum--if I understand correctly--because the state prevents such votes. Now it's trying to prent local governments from making these sorts of public health decisions. Mind you, if the federal government tried something similar, the state would howl foul, for it's a long-standing tradition that such matters have local jurisdiction.

There was a lof of publicity, too, at the time of the ban's inception that was misleading. A cigar bar downtown was going to have to shut its doors and convert to another form. Patrons came flocking down for one last smoke. I asked a councilmember I know about that one. Apparently the rule was that businesses that made 50% or more of their sales from tobacco sales (like a tobacco shop) were exempt. This one wasn't because the overwhelming majority of its sales were from alcohol; the cigar theme was more of a novelty. Another cigar bar in town, one that did sell a lot of tobacco, was exempt. The council looked at laws such as those in New York City and really tried to come up with something that would be good for public health AND business. And yet, here we are, nearly a year later, and I still come home from Applebee's non-smoking section stinking of the stuff and sniffling, rarely go out to a restaurant, never to bars, curse myself when I forget and get toilet paper from a gas station that's impregnated with smoke, and generally unable to enjoy going out. I'd love to go to O'Neil's across the street for the great pub food and music, but I can't yet. Sigh.

Well, I guess I've ranted for long enough. But that's how I feel about the subject anyway.

Fighting against blog censorship

Living in China is a cooperative blog with authors living in mainland China, Taiwan, and related environs. It is politically neutral, although lately it has been highly concerned with the Republic of China's blockage of foreign and domestic blogging sites, which seem to be aimed at surpressing free expression of political ideas. Check them out for more details.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Dumbing down books can mean taking out their spirits as well

This is an excellent commentary on how our beloved classics are being turned vapid, with a focus on The Wind in the Willows. You can read the whole article if you are a subscriber, or click on a short ad to view the rest of it. It also has some interesting information on the nature of Toad as bipolar, based off of Kenneth Grahame's own son. You'll want to check it out; it's quite good.

Salon.com Books | Abridged too far

This link is dedicated to He Who Knows Who He Is

Yahoo! News - Vermont Probes Man With 70 Goats in House

I love the term 'glut of goats'.

Granted, this is a classic case of people who hoard animals, which is good for neither the person or the animals, and may be an extreme form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. As someone who has OCD and has been the type who, say, hoarded papers and stuff in her home, I can relate. Have I mentioned lately that Paxil is a wonderful thing?

Oh, dear

Peter Ustinov has been making me laugh since I was little, whether it was as Poirot, Charlie Chan, or a host of other characters he flawlessly transformed into. I'm sorry to see him go, but he seems to have left a wonderful legacy for generations to come.

CNN.com - Oscar-winning actor Peter Ustinov dies - Mar 29, 2004

Sunday, March 28, 2004


My favourite foray into Biblical satire is coming back to the big screen: Life of Brian returning to challenge The Passion

All students of Latin should be forced to watch the 'Romans go home!' scene, for one. So, if you had to pick a winner in some sort of battle between the movies--Life of Brian or The Passion, which would you pick? Be sure to vote in the comments.

I can always count on John

to point me towards various oddities. And this is no exception. People, I present: The Ultimate Build Your Own Cow Page!

Mutter, mutter

  1. Pitbull:: Terrier
  2. TD:: Football?
  3. Carter:: President
  4. Japan:: Anime
  5. 50:: Golden
  6. Streak:: Naked
  7. Rifle:: Corps
  8. Trap:: Door
  9. Easter:: Eggs
  10. Mitt:: Mitten

'the point...is that they lived'

watching: Ever After
feeling: Romantic

Despite a somewhat wooden performance by Drew Barrymore in an effort to do the accent, I love the movie Ever After. I can't help to feel all woolly and romantic whenever I see it. TNT is doing an encore, so I'm taping it now.

I'm not sure why I'm so happy at the moment. The weather has been beautiful. I've visited my family and spent a good bit of time with friends, but also have had time to get rested and enjoy my own company.

I don't remember feeling quite this good last spring. Despite everything--the layoff, the ensuing financial worries, etc.--I quite frankly feel more alive than I have since...well, as a child of 8 or 10, maybe more than ever before. I know a great part of it is the lack of depression; in retrospect I've probably been at least moderately clinically depressed most of my life. Now I sometimes wonder if I'm giddy with some form of mania, but I don't think so...I think I'm just happy, and mostly content with my life. If I can get a job that pays me enough to meet my bills, put a little aside, care for my pets' and my own health, and someday have a home of my own with a garden, it'll just about be perfect. If I were to meet someone special whom I could love and would love me as well in all the silly, syrupy, romantic style, that would be icing on the cake...I don't need someone to be complete, but the romantic in me yearns for love. Maybe it's just springtime fever, but I suppose it's a very human want. I want to experience all the joys--and heartbreaks--of living life fully, and that includes relationships. I think I'm finally ready to trust again. I suppose it's about time. But I do have rather high standards. ;)

Anyway, that's what's going on in my head. I suppose part of it is that it's a dear friend's anniversary, and then my mom and John's is coming up soon, too. I have several people in my life that have good, loving relationships--after years of being around dysfunctional ones--and I suppose I'd like that for myself, too. But first, I guess I need to get on my own feet, so I'm concentrating on getting a job.

Still, do any of you have suggestions of where a girl who doesn't drink, can't abide smoke in bars or clubs (and despite the fact that we have a smoking ban, it's been blocked for nine months, so it still hasn't taken effect), who's a non-church-going pagan is supposed to meet anyone? I'm thinking maybe a book club, but hey, I've never really gotten the hang of the dating thing.


listening to: 'Once More, With Feeling' (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: the Musical)
feeling: Rested, awake, and loving spring

On Friday, Dwana and I both got off work early because we'd gotten our hours in, so we decided to run around together. We went over to pick up her husband Eric's paycheque, and wound up volunteering for a resident birthday party because he was so short-staffed. It was fun. I grew up in nursing homes; whenever my father would be away TDY (on temporary duty), I would spend the night at the nursing home my mom worked in, on a cot in the social worker's office/chapel. (Dwana says that they're always pretty much the same room). :) I would play with the residents (one man taught me how to play a mean game of dominoes), sang with sign language, and basically gave them the opportunity to interact with a child. Friday it was nice to see several children visiting, although I wasn't particularly impressed with the rest of the facility. Things have changed a lot since I was a kid. Nursing homes are bigger, busier places. I'd hate to ever be in one. But this was fun. We mixed the punch while Eric blew up the balloons (I couldn't help with that, since I'm allergic to latex), set up the tables, and then called Jingo (kind of like bingo, but with pictures). The residents were a delight, although I'm not entirely sure they had fun. I got the impression it was something to do for a change in routine. Everything's so scheduled, I guess. One lady really did have a lot of fun, calling out the answers and helping the others find the images on their cards. I really liked her, and I'm glad she won one of the games. :)

Since that was a bit of a surprise adventure, and Dwana and I were both pretty hot, we made the deposit and then went out to McConnell Springs, which is Lexington's 'founding spot'. It's a sinking spring that comes up next to a cave, which has become a historical park and nature sanctuary, right in the middle of Lexington's industrial park. It's acres of woods to walk through, with the soothing sounds of birdsong. With the temperature in the mid 70s but a lovely breeze, it was nice to walk around. Dwana hadn't been there, although her brother-in-law had proposed to his wife there, so she'd heard about it. It was nice to escape with the illusion of being out of the city for just a little while. I loved watching the goldfinches and the woodpeckers. We saw whole flocks of the latter, more than I'd ever seen at once.

Then we went to Starbucks and had frappachinos and played a game called 'Hear Me Out', which was quite fun. All in all, it was a nice afternoon, spontaneous and just hanging out.

Yesterday I went home to Danville and Stanford, and it was a very nice drive. My allergies are worse this time of year, but I love springtime. My grandmother had lots of birds in her yard and lots of bulbs coming up in the garden.

So this morning, since I woke up early (I've been doing that since spring started...it's sunny and beautiful and that makes it so much easier to get going...there's nothing quite like spring mornings--and I'm not usually a morning person at all.) I went out to get a bag of birdseed out of my car and fill up my own feeders...the birds and chipmunks will appreciate it, and it'll bring more birds for my cats and me to watch from the patio door. :) In fact, Darius is in stalking mode right now, so they must have already found it. Because of the reservoir nearby and a creek, with woods and grassland due to a park, the hospital grounds, a golf-course, and a house surrounded by lots of trees, we get a lot of wildlife in the neighbourhood...you wouldn't think we'd be nearly in the centre of the city. Anyway, I cleaned out the car a bit, put a tyre back in the trunk because I'd moved it behind one of the seats to make room for a bookcase and it's been driving my passengers crazy by bumping into their seat occasionally. Then I filled up the bird feeder. Once this afternoon comes along, the sun will stream through the patio door (it's the whole length of my living room) and the mirrored hangings outside will cast reflections that move through the house, so Spock will chase those, and the rest of the cats can watch the birds).

I also noticed that my yarrow has greened up, my miniature roses are leafing out, and the irises, hostas, and the peony I planted last year are all coming up. I'm hoping the peony blooms this year; last year, before I put the ammunition boxes in front of the bed, the mowers had a tendency to get overzealous. I don't think they necessarily know what is and isn't supposed to be growing. So best to block it.

I've taken Cerys out. She's tried the tastiest bits of new grass, although she didn't do her normal morning roll...I guess it's still too wet. What can I say, she's nearly thirteen...she's fairly sedate in her pleasures, although she'll run like a bullet if I call out 'food!'

I think now I'm going to get something to eat (I'm actually hungry and not nauseous...maybe that medicine is working), clean the cat box, and take a shower, then head over to the game. I think I'll take Cerys with me, since I was gone most of yesterday. She's getting used to the other dogs and they're doing the same. She likes visiting the rest of her pack.

Have I mentioned how much I love being back online? Have a good day.

Saturday, March 27, 2004


listening to: 'Downfall' by Matchbox Twenty
feeling: Tired but happy

Thanks to my wonderful step-father, John, my computer is up and running. He had a spare hard drive that we could put in to get it going again. It's nice to know I called the problem right. I went home to visit today and brought the computer with me; he took it and coaxed it to life by the time I was ready to leave (and went ahead and downloaded the Windows updates while he mowed the lawn...the man is industrious).

Anyway, I had a great time at my grandmother's and my mom's. I played with my grandmother's dog, a small tootsie-roll with large ears that defies description. My mom's dog wasn't quite sure whether I was friend or foe, though, and she lunged at my throat when I pulled some loose hair off of her (like many long-haired dogs, she 'blows' her coat in the spring. So much for obsessing on tidiness; I annoyed her, and can't really blame her, but I'll be careful about that in the future. Besides, I think she's a one-family dog, devoted to 'her' people and treating anyone not pack as a potential threat. Such is the nature of dogs.

Now, I'm tired. I've downloaded my Real Arcade games and I think I'll play a little of Feeding Frenzy and then get some sleep. 'Night.

Friday, March 26, 2004


John (Cumisky, as opposed to my step-father) nearly killed himself last night. I've been reading his blog about dealing with depression for awhile now, ever since Dwana happened across it.

It's funny how you really don't know people online, yet some people really touch you deeply. Because of my own experiences with depression, I can relate. I have had several loved ones who have fought it throughout their lives as well. It's truly insidious; I'd almost call it evil, even though I know a scientist would look at it as a matter of unbalanced chemicals. Depression eats away at the spirit, not just the mind, after all.

I included this in my comment to John:
When I was suicidal, my greatest fear was that I would have a moment of total despair and just do it, with no chance of backing out. I wasn't the type of depressed person who thought about suicide all the time. I had emotional 'storms' where--if I could just get in bed and hug something and wait it out for about a half-hour, I would be alive. Not okay, really, but alive. It was almost like a seizure of self-obliteration. I really feared having one whilst driving. Fortunately, things transpired where the car died and it wasn't as likely.

For a moment, even though it's a sunny day and it's Friday and I'm really quite happy, I was back in that place again. It never truly leaves you, I think. Now it's something I can draw strength from, at least. But I know, too, as Sarah MacLachlan sings, that it's 'one mistep before you know it', and that it's easy to be dragged back into the hell of depression.

On Wednesday, I'm going to talk to a class as part of Dwana's presentation on diversity and people with disabilities, to explain what barriers there are and stereotypes a person has to deal with when dealing with mental illness. One thing that I think is very important in mental illness issues is that the individual himself is likely to dismiss his own strengths, to buy into an idea of being 'damaged' or not 'strong enough' because of the illness. I'm sure people with physical disabilities feel like that sometimes, too, but I think the stigma with mental illness is so strong that it is worse when dealing with mental illness.

In some ways, depression is like cancer. We talk about fighting. We talk about someone 'succumbing' to depression, just as with cancer, like it's this thing that if they're just strong enough, they'll overcome. It implies that those who do die somehow fail, or were weak.

It's not the survival that makes you strong, so much as the living. How you live your life when dealing with something as overwhelming as depression or cancer says more about your character than the final outcome.

The difference is that whereas there comes a time in some cancers that the patient and family must come to grips with the final, mortal outcome, and may (hopefully) prepare for this through hospice, depression really need not be terminal.

I have really mixed feelings on depression and suicide. On the one hand, I do believe that each individual should have the final choice of whether or not he'll live or die. For some, I could see suicide as a blessing, especially if the pain or imminent mortality of the physical body, such as with a terminal illness, is really too much to bear.

But depression is a terrible trickster; it makes us lose all hope even when hope exists. It drags us into the belief that life itself is not bearable. It ignores the fact that time changes the circumstances of life, and that even depression, no matter how severe, usually remits on its own, eventually. The trick is getting through that period when there seems to be nothing to live for. Sometimes having the support of loved ones can help. Sometimes medicine can. But in the end, I think it's what goes on in the person's head that's most important, because no one else can truly understand what's in there at the moment, even if they've dealt with similar issues; we all live inside ourselves differently.

If you haven't dealt with depression, I hope this helps you understand it a little. If you have someone you love with it, find out everything you can about what you can do to help; don't dismiss it as something minor, or easily overcome. Think about how you would feel if they told you they had cancer. It really is that big. Learn patience. Help the person get medicine or therapy or deal with the little everyday things (like bills, or bureaucracy) that overwhelm someone with depression. Listen. Express hope. Never let go. But understand that in the end, the final decision rests with the person. If you lose them, do not blame yourself. Do not second guess what you could or could not have done, but care for those left behind, or volunteer for a suicide hotline. Find a way to take this evil and transform it to good.

And if you do come out of depression, having faced your daemons, do the same. You'll appreciate life more fully. You'll love more fully, once life has light in it again. You can understand others who are in pain, and it can be frightening to go back to that place in order to help them. But it isn't a defininition of who you are. You are not depression. You are a person who as part of your life has struggled with darkness. It can be a foundation of great strength in having that second chance to live. Take that strength and use it to work out underlying issues and care for the mind, soul, and body on a daily basis as a way to prevent a recurrence. Live. Love. Shine.


I don't know what disturbs me more about this...that someone dyed an iceberg red (and is that environmentally safe?) or that it's the same dye the use on meat to make it look fresher. I'm kind of glad I haven't eaten red meat in over a decade. Ewww.
Iceberg Off Western Greenland Painted Red

Sadly, there is no Friday Five

So you will have to content yourselves with a story and picture of an adorable four-eared kitten. Isn't she cute?

And this is why

I drink Highbridge Springs, locally bottled, where I can visit the actual spring if I so wish.

Treated Tap Water Won't Fly in Europe

Thursday, March 25, 2004


The Making of a Palestinian 'Boy Bomber'

And even sadder that, if he does have developmental delays, that both sides have exploited him, although anyone who straps a bomb onto a kid and promises him virgins in heaven is, as far as I'm concerned, the far worse of the two.

Mind you, I don't really support Israel's stance on things, either. I'm the one who always said that maybe the Holy Land should just be taken away from both sides and the Eskimos could be given it as a vacation spot.

And, yes, I know it's a terribly complex problem, and one that as an outsider, I can afford to be flippant and don't really have to live with every day of my life. But if there's to be peace, if the killing's to stop, people are going to have to stop doing stuff like this.

It's hard to believe in this day and age

that a woman's past sexual history should be considered relevant in a rape case. Come on, guys, that really won't do much to establish the innocence or guilt of your client. If she'd had sex with anyone else within that timeframe, there should be forensic evidence of such, and if there wasn't any forensic evidence, that protects the accused, too.

Kobe's Lawyers Want Sex Details Included in Trial

Sort of reassuring

Study finds today's children safer

...which makes sense, since we didn't have things like child seats or child-resistant medicine caps or bike helmets when I was growing up. Although it seems they're safer when it comes to violent crimes, but more likely to suicide. Sigh.

Little changes bring big results

Food for thought in evolutionary clue
The evolutionary split between early humans and apes may have begun with a tiny mutation in a gene for jaw muscles -- a lucky break that allowed the skull to grow and make room for the enormous brain that would eventually become the hallmark of Homo sapiens.

Yay for weak-muscled ancestors. :)


NASA discovers remains of salty sea on Mars

I am not Christian, nor am I Black, but...

I have long been concerned with the rise of HIV/AIDS among minorities and also the crippling epidemic in Africa itself. I'm glad to see that organisations--especially religious ones--are taking steps to educate their communities about the disease. I came across Balm in Gilead, which sponsors a Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS, which just completed its 15th year. They also provide AIDS Facts and other educational materials, and run an HIV testing campaign. Given the number of African-Americans in this country who are Christian and involved with a church, this is a wonderful way to reach people. I hope they will mind that my own prayers and thoughts are with them.

I need to check and see what other sorts of similar organisations are out there, including those targeting the Hispanic community.

I remember the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, when the only activists tended to be gay because the disease had been labelled a 'gay disease' and they fought the prejudice and slowly people began to realise it was a more mainstream problem. We've made great strides since then, but there is still so much to do, especially with minority populations, younger people who think of it as a chronic illness (those meds are quite complex, you know, and subject to the virus gaining resistance) and older people who now are a growing population (divorce after years of marriage or the use of drugs for male impotence has changed the playing field so that educators are now going into nursing homes to explain the ways to prevent HIV infection).

AIDS activism is not pass&eacut; by any means. Keep fighting the good fight. Take precautions. Don't have unprotected sex. Don't share needles. Talk to friends and partners. Keep in mind that different cultures have different barriers to HIV education. Bridge prejudices. Remember those lost. Someday, we might be able to look at the AIDS epidemic as a distant memory.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004


Library Acquires Alan Lomax Collection

I love folklore, folksongs, and folk cultures of all sorts. This is a true treasure to have in our national library.

Quotes for the day:

A few of my favourite Quotes About Librarians:

"As a general rule, librarians are a kick in the pants socially, often full of good humor, progressive, and naturally, well read. They tend to be generalists who know so much about so many things that they are quite the opposite of the boring old poops they have been made out to be. Most of them are full of life, some even full of the devil." -- Bill Hall, editorial page editor, Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune, Sept. 9, 2001.

"In early days, I tried not to give librarians any trouble, which was where I made my primary mistake. Librarians like to be given trouble; they exist for it, they are geared to it. For the location of a mislaid volume, an uncatalogued item, your good librarian has a ferret's nose. Give her a scent and she jumps the leash, her eye bright with battle."
(Catherine Drinker Bowen. From: Adventures of a Biographer, 1959),

"In the nonstop tsunami of global information, librarians provide us with floaties and teach us how to swim." -- Linton Weeks, Washington Post, Jan. 13, 2001.

"Everyone loves libraries, but library workers can't live on love alone. Just ask our landlords, doctors and families." -- ALA

Today is beautiful

listening to: 'My Immortal' by Evanescence; 'The Man with the Child in His Eyes' by Kate Bush
feeling: Wonderfully Happy

It's sunny, it's warm, it's springtime. I'm drinking Diet Sprite and eating saltines to appease my ulcer. It's almost lunchtime. I've had a busy morning looking up things like Scheuermann's kyphosis and figuring out enlargement ratios on the copier.

I talked to my mom last night and I'm going to go home on Saturday. She said maybe I'd get a new hard drive for my birthday, which rather floored me, since they've done so much for me lately. I was hoping my step-dad might have an older one lying around, since he builds computers on the side.

I feel that things are turning around for me. I hope so, anyway. ;)

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

So far today I

  • Got up early, waking before my alarm went off, which is rather rare.
  • Picked up Dwana to run some errands before work.
  • Had a supportive friend help with the apartment situation.
  • Had to go 4 places just to get a money order, including my own credit union where they refused to give me one without proper ID (I'd left it in the car) even though I had cash in hand and was having it filled out to my apartment complex.
  • Paid my rent just in time so the apartment complex called their attorneys and called off litigation so I wouldn't have to pay court costs for another eviction attempt. Have I mentioned that all things considered, they've been very understanding of this lay-off and its results?
  • Got my apartment complex to agree to take my cheques again, now that I have overdraft protection, so I won't have so much trouble with the money orders. (When I first moved here, I had the first two cheques returned right off the bat. Part of it was pure mismanagement on my part--I thought the money was there and it wasn't. At the time, the credit union would not pay a cheque, unlike most banks. That was three years ago.)
  • Finished applying for the latest slew of jobs, except that I have to get letters of recommendation/transcripts for one.
  • Had a supportive friend help me with the job situation.
  • Mailed the job applications, praying as I sent each one.
  • Applied to a temporary agency so that I might be able to get some more money coming in.
  • Decided that maybe my luck was changing and that all in all, despite the stress, life is pretty good.
  • Especially since one of the other people who was laid off completely has lost her house and is living with her family, and is still trying to find work, and frankly, deserved a whole lot better.
  • And at least I didn't have to go all over creation on the bus, or walking, instead of the car. That would have taken all day.
  • And all the people I've known this week having issues with family, etc. make me realise that I'm just lucky that lack of money is my main problem.
  • In the meantime, I'm trying to get work, even if it's temporary, so money's coming in.
  • And I think I need to go to a doctor who will check into the ulcer thing more thoroughly. I'm tired of being nauseous all the time.
  • But at least I can go on towards my birthday without being afraid of being evicted.


Later I think:

  • I should call my mom since I've been avoiding her since last month when she had to help me keep from getting evicted.
  • And while I'm at it see if John, my step-dad, has any older/smaller hard drives lying about that he'd let me borrow until I can afford one.
  • And thank Momma and John and D and D for all they've done for me.

Someone should:

  • Hire me!
  • Please. I'm even better in person than I am on paper, even though I sometimes have a hard time tooting my own horn.
  • I'm a dedicated worker.
  • I have a wide amount of academic, life, and work experience.
  • I want to put all this energy to good use.

PS One good thing about carrying crackers around for when I'm nauseous--Dwana took me out to Max & Erma's last night and there were two ducks outside the restaurant when we came up. I fed them a few crackers and they came right up to me. :)

Monday, March 22, 2004

Quick catch up

LunaNiña.com | Unconscious Mutterings:
  1. Wife:: Beater
  2. Criminal:: Mastermind
  3. Campaign:: Manager
  4. Infection:: Antibiotic
  5. Portland:: Oregon
  6. NASCAR:: Hick
  7. IMAX:: Theatre
  8. Martian:: Duck
  9. Nike:: Swoosh
  10. Trial:: Date


Monday Madness:

  1. What was your favorite TV show as a child? Battlestar Galactica
  2. What show did you hate? Dynasty
  3. What show did your family gather around the TV to watch? Um...none that I can remember. I can remember watching Hee Haw, Lawrence Welk, and Andy Griffith with my grandparents, but I don't really remember watching TV with both my parents. Maybe Buck Rogers or Knight Rider? The funny thing is we do have similar taste in shows--especially science fiction--but I can't remember watching things together.
  4. What show is currently your favourite? Charmed
  5. What show do you hate now? Elimidate

Hello again

listening to: 'Toccata and Fugue in D Minor' by Johann Sebastian Bach
feeling: Sigh

Well, apparently my hard drive has more than likely died a slow, horrendous death. So, until I can get that straightened out, I may not be updating quite so regularly. I wish I could do like John, and blog by phone. Well, techically I can, but it would be audio, not written, and it wouldn't be free.

So, I'll try to catch up whilst taking a short break. The music is not actually playing at the moment...it was what I drove home to last night, cranked up like those guys with the booming rap music, because, well, it's the only way to truly appreciate Bach. I wish I had a record player; I have an older LP that was recorded in a cathedral and includes a quadrophonic speaker setup diagram so that you can get the correct effect. :)

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Happy Spring!

listening to: 'Salisbury Hill' by Peter Gabriel
feeling: Productive

It's finally here! Yay! (Well, some of you may have just hit Autumn). But here, we're finally getting spring. Yesterday turned out to be nice, anyway. It was much warmer and sunny in the afternoon. It was, however, a little frustrating, because my computer has--yet again--crashed. It seems to be the hard drive itself. I need to check with my step-father and see what he thinks.

So, I'm borrowing a computer to B-L-O-G. Someone who had seen the article asked how I had the time to do so much. Well, for one thing, I don't watch a lot of TV. I tend to go online instead, play games, do research, etc. I tend to like the interactive quality of the Internet better. I can usually just sit down for a couple of minutes whenever I think about it. Unfortunately, that's not possible right now. I'm not sure exactly when I'll be able to get the computer back in action. I need to finish some job applications, too, so I may have to do that by borrowing computer time. Sigh. Today, anyway, I am being productive today, over at a friend's house. :) Tonight I think I'll boil some eggs and colour them (yes, it's really a pagan thing).

It's also new moon, so it's the beginning of a lunar month. A good time for new beginnings. A time for job applications, for looking at the future. My mindset regarding change has really improved. I'm not as afraid of it. I'm looking at the good I can do with steady work and a decent salary. Things like looking at getting a house, or at least not worrying about keeping a roof over my head, and travelling, and even this. No, I don't plan on doing that today, or even in a few months. But maybe in a couple of years, if I can find the sort of stability such a job could offer.

I'm about to turn 37. I'm not giving up on finding the right 'someone', but I'm not sure it'll happen whilst I'm still able to have children. It's something to think about, anyway, and only $50 to register, and $185 a hit, so to speak. ;) I do like the amount of information you can get from the website, and the fact that it's non-profit. It does seem odd shopping for semen, though.

I don't know if I'll do it. It may be moot, as I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, and that can cause fertility issues. But I have regular cycle, and Dwana, whose much more knoweldgeable about this stuff, says that's a good sign. And she has a great doctor, should I need to have tests run.

Friday, March 19, 2004

You gotta love limericks about Saddam Hussein

Go Aaron! This is what working late at night will do for you, right?

Happy Friday!

If you...

1. ...owned a restaurant, what kind of food would you serve?
Indian/Middle Eastern

2. ...owned a small store, what kind of merchandise would you sell? Books, herbs, and plants

3. ...wrote a book, what genre would it be? Fantasy

4. ...ran a school, what would you teach? Humanities

5. ...recorded an album, what kind of music would be on it? Celtic

What a fun Friday Five!

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Drumroll please...

Here are the web links to the Herald-Leader article by Heather Svokos.

Lexington Herald-Leader | 03/18/2004 | The evolution of the blog
Blog This (sidebar)

I really enjoyed the interview, and I enjoyed the article even better--I thought it was a very good overview of the pluses and minuses to blogging. It starts out with quotes from me, discusses other local blogs, and weaves in the details from the more general world of blogging. I think it'll do a nice spot for introducing people to blogs and also maybe getting people to realise it's not just about vicarious or voyeuristic reading or people who have too much time on their hands...it's about community and communication.

There's even a picture of me on the phone at my desk. My first words to a coworker when I picked up the paper were, look, I'm in the paper...and I'm under a really cute guy. (Fellow blogger from Louisville Justin Walker.) :) The pictures aren't on the website, but it's still nice to see yourself in print. (Now...if I just work on my writing, maybe I'll be one of those bloggers with a book deal.) :)

Anyway, have a great day. Obviously this has me in a happy mood, which is nice, since I'm still nauseous. It sucks to basically have morning sickness when you're not pregnant. Somehow, delivering an ulcer just isn't the same.

Also, I'd like to say it's a beautiful morning here in Central Kentucky, but it's actually rather chilly and gloomy and my allergies are running wild. Still, I hear it's supposed to be in the 60s tomorrow. Do I dare hope for sun?

Do you think I can patent this approach to weight loss?

listening to: 'Careful' by Guster
feeling: Cheery, except for the part of me in pain

Take a relatively normal, overweight person. Add stress. Stir until she gets both an ulcer and irritable bowel syndrome.

I've lost 7 pound in about two weeks, although not on purpose. Granted, I can afford to lose the pounds. I just wish it didn't involve pain, cramping, medication, and a constant need to be near a bathroom.

I'm paying for the fact that I forgot to take my medicine two days in a row. I did take it today (and in fact, I took my optional second dicyclomine for good measure), but I'm having the combination burning pain, crampage, and nausea. I'm discovering that saltines, the first defence of pregnant women with nausea, is also good for this. Unfortunately I was at the grocery earlier and forgot to get some. I've cut back on caffeine and fried foods. I did break down and had fries with lunch today, and that was a mistake. I also had lo mein later in the day, which seemed relatively bland, but again, ouch. I seem to do best with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and (of all things) Taco Bell burritos. This is not good for a girl who loves Indian and Thai food more than anything else. As N said today, the hallmark of a good meal is whether or not your sinuses run by the end of it.

I also found out today that one of my favourite restaurants, Aladdin, may be closing. At least there's a 'For Lease' sign up. They serve Middle Eastern food (I think it's primarily Lebanese). Oh, no! For one thing, that's my birthday choice, and it's just around the corner! Of course, they may be moving. I'll have to find out.

My cat just came out of the bedroom and meowed hoarsely at me. That's a little weird, because he's very vocal and usually quite loud. Spock is almost sixteen years old. You know how when they get older they occasionally sound like they're long-time smokers? He does that sometimes when he first wakes up...it's like his voice cracks. But he's still quite kittenish in all other regards. I'm afraid he's a bit...well, slow mentally, but he makes up for it in sweetness. Besides, I seem to be the one person I know whose animals are being good to be around today. One person I know has a cat sick and using the bathroom on her down comforter, another has one that very methodically peed on every one of her husband's shoes, one is breaking out because her loving (but allergenic) cat is licking her face in the morning to wake her up, and one's pets had performed a nearly surgically-precise raid...tearing open bread and cookies, chewing up books, and causing havoc with abandon. One of the benefits of having older animals is that they do not play these games. Granted, I do have one cat that is sort of evil on principle, but hey, you take that chance with cats. But otherwise, they're great, although there definitely seems to be a correlation between intelligence and age and maniacal behaviour when it comes to pets. I guess I'm blessed with the stupid (in Spock's case) and the elderly (in everyone's). My 'baby' is thirteen, after all, and he's the somewhat evil one. Loving, but evil. :)

Tomorrow the story should run in the paper. I'm looking forward to it. Other than a story I wrote and a snowman I built that made it into my college newspaper, I haven't been in the paper since a drawing of mine made it into the Mini Pages at 8 1/2. (Yeah, that was the age given. It's funny how when you're a kid that half year is so much more important. Now they fly by.) I know it's really a minor thing, but well...I can't help it, I'm excited to have a tiny blip of fame (and then fade back into the background, which is even better.) So, here's hoping that any of you who might come here based on that story don't 1) get bored, 2) get grossed out by posts on bodily functions, 3) decide to get pitchforks and torches, or 4) think I'm an idiot.

If you're checking out the whole blogging thing for the first time and are interested in starting your own, there are lots of great tools out there that don't require any web design experience. The one I use, for example--Blogger, allows you to insert links, check spelling, preview posts, etc., etc. by just pressing buttons; no coding is necessarily. But if you do know HTML, you can do all sorts of nifty things to your template. It's been a good experience for me to get into the habit of writing regularly, and also coding regularly. It helps keep up the skills I use in the workplace less frequently.

I was always one of those kids who wanted to keep a journal but who would start one, this miss some time, tear out pages, and start all over. Maybe that was budding OCD, I don't know. But I know that this is the first time in my life I've really been able to keep a journal, and I've been writing for over two years, regularly. I so wish that this sort of thing had been available years earlier, when I was in my teens and then later, during my marriage. The nice thing too is that you can journal without showing it to everyone under the sun. You can write a blog and keep it private. You can also have several people collaborating on a blog. So there are lots of options, whether you're getting together to do political commentary, writing songs, raging against the world, or just keeping up with friends. I've even tried blogging as fiction, but it's harder for me to update regularly, so I haven't really gotten it down yet.

Well, it's my bedtime. I took a nap earlier so I could stay up to watch 'Witch Hunter Robin'; I haven't been sleeping well and I just felt so much like getting some rest. Time to put on my chill music (soothing alto flutes and tuned crystal chimes) and head back to slumber. 'Night. And if you're reading this for the first time tomorrow morning, welcome. And, if you're a Kentucky blogger who would like to be added to the 'slice of Kentucky' section, be sure to e-mail me. Or if you have any comments. And thanks to Heather Svokos for looking at local blogs. :)

Well, that's a relief

CNN.com - Pizza pal tipped police to Ohio suspect - Mar 18, 2004

Isn't it time we rethought how we treat mental illness in this country? It used to be that people were locked up for years, sometimes just because no one else wanted them, rather than because they were truly a danger. Then things flip-flopped and it got to be almost impossible to keep anyone in inpatient treatment for very long. The mentally ill swelled the ranks of the homeless. They slipped through the cracks.

I know of one person who desperately tried to keep her father in a psych ward but he was released, and then had a psychotic episode where he killed her mother--after decades of marriage.

It seems over and over we hear about someone who has a history of mental illness going off (often with a gun). Here in Lexington we recently had a paramedic killed by a man who had been hospitalised over 25 years ago who killed his wife, shot the first responders, and then holed up in his house ranting about alien clones.

These people are sick. They need help. Their families need help. The sad thing is that with proper treatment, many come back to themselves and realise what they've done. Think of the young woman who drowned her children in Texas. It's a terrible thing where your life is caught between psychosis and being sane and realising the full horror of your actions. I can't help feeling sorry for these people. I know what it's like to be depressed and anxious, even suicidal. When I look back at what I was thinking at the time, it seems so...alien. With psychosis, it has to be so much worse. I don't know what it's like to be suffering from psychosis--and I hope never to--but it does seem in hindsight that some of these acts can be prevented--before more lives are destroyed. I'm not an expert on how to do that. But there are experts out there. But we need support from taxpayers and the authorities to make it work. Most people say, 'I don't want to pay for so and so.' I wonder how they would feel if someone came from the future and showed that by doing so, by paying for so and so's treatment, that they prevented, say, the death of a loved one. I think they'd change it to 'I'd pay anything.' But people don't think that way, unfortunately. They don't see mental illness as a society problem, just an individual one. But it's hard for an individual to bear mental illness without any real umbrella or system of support. It's a cold hard fact of mental illness that it pushes a person to the outside, away from the friends, family, and other people who could help. It's hard to take medicine regularly. It's harder to take medicine that seems to suppress some of the perceived benefits of mental illness (like the creative side of mania, for example). There are valid concerns about over-medicating the population, too.

It's hard for people to recognise their own problems, and hard for others to face the reality that a child, spouse, friend, etc. is terribly sick. And even if that reality is faced, it's even harder to get the right treatment for someone, at least until he or she truly becomes a danger to self or others. A lot of people feel that medicine is a crutch, that mental illness has to do with lack of strength or some flaw in the person's character. These are outdated ideas. Every person I have ever known who has experienced mental illness--and received treatment--is stronger because, not despite it. It takes a huge amount of courage to admit a problem, to face it fully. I am resigned that although my depression has remitted, the chemical imbalance that causes me to have anxiety disorder is such that I will probably be on medication for the rest of my life. But on the other hand, the quality of my life with medication makes it so worth it. It's something my body needs, like any other sustenance. It's not quite on the level of, say, nitro glycerin or albuterol. I could live without it, but I would not live fully.

There's something wrong when I can get asthma preventative care better than someone can get the treatment needed to lessen the downward spiral into mental illness. Things are changing, at least. When I was dealing with depression, it cost more for mental health appointments and not everything was even covered, and even now things like therapy are covered under a different branch of my health insurance than medical. That's wrong. Health is health. There shouldn't be a stigma or extra hurdles to seeking help for mental illness. So much of mental illness is actually physical; whether it's someone with schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, or anxiety spectrum disorders, we're realising that it really is a matter of physical brain chemistry.

I was lucky. I had insurance. I was able to get the treatment I needed, we found the right combination of treatment quickly, and now the depression is a distant, if painful memory. I can participate more fully in social interaction. I'm able to focus more on living my life than trapped in some sort of spin inside my head. That's what OCD does to me without the medicine...it's like I'm trapped in a loop and can't get out of bed, can't make a move without the thoughts racing in circles, or without doing compulsive actions like checking the stove or hoarding my things. That, with the social phobia and panic issues, could literally leave me as some shut-in with lots of cats and a house packed to the gills who refused to ever come out or let anyone in. I could see myself as one of those people who make it into the news as they're dragged screaming from a condemned building. But I'm lucky...I got the help I needed.

A lot of other people--if they're treated at all--have to rely on overworked public health systems, get labelled as if they're damaged goods, and a few go on to drop out of life altogether--either literally or figuratively--or turn on others.

Also, we're finally beginning to understand how men and women deal with mental illness differently. Women tend to internalise it, for example. They become physically sick. They may act out in self-destructive behaviours like starving themselves, cutting themselves, racking up debt, stealing, property damage, etc. Men tend to deal with things more outwardly. In depression, instead of being 'sad', men often express it through anger. They may become more violent, dealing with the overwhelming frustration on a slow boil until it all comes out at once. That's where you get people shooting in standoffs, for example. Not everyone expresses depression according to gender lines, but it is a tendency...which means that a lot of people locked up in prison are actually victims of mental illness, and that incarcerating them without treatment and then releasing them to society is not dealing with the underlying cause of the problem.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Can't our lawmakers work on something a little more important

than taking away the rights of local governments and legislating discrimination?

Lexington Herald-Leader | 03/17/2004 | 'I'm sick of being a target'

I mean, they only meet every other year, after all. :(

How appropriate

My birthday (April 2nd) is also that of Hans Christian Andersen It is also Children's Book Day, which celebrates the love of reading and the magic of children's books. They've apparently been celebrating it since 1967--the day I was born.

Check out the website for more information. This year's theme is The Light of Books, and also spotlights Greece.

I guess I was fated to be a librarian. (As opposed to the girl who read my palm during lunch today. She said I was hard-headed and mean!) :) But she had Dwana pegged pretty well. :)

The Changing Face of 'Vegetarianism'

A colleague who fits the description of a 'flexitarian' sent me an article on the changing face of 'vegetarianism'--from a small number of strict adherents devoted to animal welfare to a broader group emphasising health. The latter growth has probably more to do wit the better prices and proliferation of organic and vegetarian foods, which is a great thing from my angle.

Granted, I'm a lacto-ovo-pesce-vegetarian (I do eat fish, so count me as a mediaeval or semi-Catholic style vegetarian, since fish weren't seen as meat due to their apparent lack of sexual union--obviously the Church Fathers had never seen livebearing fish copulate). I did recently think about going back to eating free-range poultry, but it still seemed wrong. My thing was always about being in touch with my food and the effects my life had on the environment. So flexitarianism probably isn't for me; I don't feel like I could kill a cow, for example, so I don't feel I should eat one. I could probably kill a chicken, but I don't really see the need. I'm not generally preachy, because I think it's an individual choice. Still, more power to those who are adding at least a pseudo-vegetarian diet to their lifestyle; it'll help in terms of resources, health, and make it easier for the rest of us to find a gardenburger on the menu.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004


Test Results:

I feel pretty good about it since D was Bill Clinton and N was JFK. :)

This is dead on...

I have issues with...
Take Word Association Test


Okay, this is a little skewed, because I don't have Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, but I do have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. They're actually quite different, but they overlap in some ways. And being Pagan gives you a few eccentric ideas.

The nifty thing is though that I think this is much more balanced than a couple of years ago when I was in therapy and everything came out so high I didn't even post it here. :) Yay Paxil. Yay Dialectical Behavioural Therapy. Considering I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality, it seems much better. :)

Personality Disorder Test Results
Paranoid |||||||||||| 42%
Schizoid |||||||||||| 42%
Schizotypal |||||||||||||| 58%
Antisocial |||||||||| 34%
Borderline |||||||||||||| 54%
Histrionic |||||||||||| 46%
Narcissistic |||||| 26%
Avoidant |||||||||||| 46%
Dependent |||||||||||||| 54%
Obsessive-Compulsive |||||||||||||||| 62%
Take Free Personality Disorder Test

I've been tested several times with Meyers-Briggs

I'm slowly becoming more balanced...years ago I was something like 90% introverted. Now I'm 56% Introverted, 61% Intuitive, 59% Feeling, and 51% Perceptive. Still, I think it's pretty accurate.

Test Results:
INFP - 'Questor'. High capacity for caring. Emotional face to the world. High sense of honor derived from internal values. 4.4% of total population.
Take Free Myers-Briggs Word Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

A related explanation from the Keirsey Temperment Sorter lists me as a healer idealist.

I can see why Dwana and I complement each other.

This is intriguing

I received a head's up about a library position through UK but managing a corporate library, and went ahead and applied. It's grant-funded through December of this year, which may put some applicants off, but may be renewed and pays nearly three times what I'm making now, so it would really be helpful.

As of tomorrow I will have seven years' professional experience running a medical library. The lay-off has been stressful, but it really may be a great thing in the long run, since it'll force me to embrace change.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, and thanks to Mary for sending it so I could get my application in on the first day it was posted. :)

Are you a librarian fluent in both English and Spanish?

Check out positions with the Lexington Public Library for the upcoming Village Branch. There is a main librarian position and one for children's librarian. This is located in a centre serving the needs of Lexington's growing Hispanic community.

I can't really say my Spanish is fluent enough to apply; I could probably sharpen my skills quickly, but not quickly enough to serve the community well. It's a wonderful opportunity, though, in an underserved area.

For more info about the transformation from Cardinal Valley's volunteer-driven Biblioteca Hispana to a public library branch, check out today's Herald-Leader.

I'm not sure if this is good or bad, but it is accurate...

Test Results:

I finally got around to doing one of these

100 Things About the Rabid Librarian

For more about the 100 Things About Me meme, feel free to follow the link. But the webring isn't accepting new members.

It's sort of self-absorbed, but I have to admit I love reading ones that others have written. It's interesting to see what they find important to include. So, I finally broke down and did one. I hope you enjoy.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Sex. Marriage. Discuss.

I was reading Tubbs' Not So Saucy blog and came across an entry on 'saving' oneself for marriage. I left a comment there, but I thought I'd post here, too, since I put some thought into it.
I think the choice of waiting or having sex is something that each individual makes for him/herself, based on a whole slew of reasons. Certainly the idea of 'saving yourself'--and I do agree that that phrase does, in fact, say a lot about how we view a woman's worth, since women are usually the ones expected to do so--simply because it is socially acceptable is ludicrous.

If I had kids, I'd urge them to wait until things really felt 'right' (and take precautions if they do choose). If that's sixteen, fine. If that's twenty-six, that's fine, too. It's about respecting yourself, not whether others respect you. Maybe I give kids too much credit, I don't know. And I'd be up front that the first time is never how you imagine it. It's usually messier and stupider. :)

I didn't wait for marriage, and I struggled with the idea that my image as a 'good girl' had gone out the window. I'd also not taken precautions the first few times, like a stupid git. Fortunately I didn't reap any consequences from that.

On the other hand, I think it's kind of creepy to vow 'death due you part' to someone you haven't even slept with. You have no idea if you're compatible. You have no experience to compare it to. There's lots of room for 'what ifs' later. But that's just me.

That's my opinion, anyway. I was such a naïve geek about sex when I was a teen. I was eighteen when I 'lost' my virginity; (Why do they call it that? Where does it go--where socks do in the laundry? I didn't lose it--I gave it up somewhat clumsily.) I was nineteen when my dad decided to bring up the subject. (Eight when my mom did, although it consisted of looking at her nursing books on how babies are made. You know what we could really use? Real sex education, where adults tell teens how to handle guys pressuring you or what to do when a girl tries to 'trap' you by saying she's pregnant. Maybe it's cynical, but it happens.

That was eighteen years ago. Did I ever regret it? No, not really. The main mistakes I made were 1) not taking precautions and 2) marrying the first guy I ever slept with, because I felt I should--both because of that tenuous idea of being a 'good girl'. Good girls fall hard, let me tell you. I'd prefer a daughter of mine to be more of a middle-of-the-road-kind-of-girl who makes her own decisions in that grey area between good girl and slut, mind you--it's more grounded in reality. That's the more feminist choice, too. Feminism is about having the ability to make you own way despite societal constraints, regardless of whether you choose traditional or non-traditional paths. The world isn't black or white, despite the tendency for society to label women either virtuous or fallen. Waiting for marriage doesn't make you superior in morality. Sleeping around with anyone and everyone because you think you need to 'fit in' or because you don't have any self-esteem is stupid, too. Choosing your own destiny (and taking responsibility for those choices, which are hopefully not based solely on impulse) is putting yourself on the path to maturity, regardless of whether the choice is sex or abstinence.

Quote for the Day

No artist is ahead of his time. He is his time; it is just that others are behind the time.--Martha Graham


Possible 10th planet discovered

They've named it Sedna, after the Inuit Goddess of the Ocean. It's 3 billion km past Pluto. The debate is whether it qualifies as a planet (some people have tried to yank Pluto's status, due to it's size, or lack thereof).

I've always thought there were 10 planets in the system, and that someday we'd have the technology to see it. Hope Sedna gets to keep the distinction.

A worthy cause

From my mailbag; you no doubt have seen the ticker at the top of this screen. Here's some information from the folks who run it. there's been a lot of debate over 'knee-jerk' legislation like this; certainly the wording should be carefully crafted so as not to hobble the whole system. But should people who molest our kids really just be let out after a few months? Rehabilitation of sexual predators is a very difficult (and some would say, impossible) task. I'm not sure you can treat this type of criminal the same as, say, a serial robber or drug offender.
*** Joe Brucia wants to keep sexual predators behind bars and
*** Code Amber does too.

On Tuesday, March 16 in Jacksonville Florida a convicted child molester will be released from prison after serving only 8 MONTHS of a ONE YEAR sentence. This man was only sentenced to ONE YEAR after pleading guilty to THREE counts of child molestation! Each count COULD HAVE resulted in a FIFTEEN year sentence, a total of 45 years.

Instead, he will walk the streets again after only 8 months.

Draft legislation for Carlie's Law will be introduced at a press conference on Tuesday, March 16 in Jacksonville.

March 16 would have been Carlie's 12th birthday.

In addition to the draft Florida State legislation being introduced on Tuesday, there is currently draft federal legislation in process to provide the same stringent sentencing guidelines and accountability for judges not only in sentencing but parole and bail issues as well.

Code Amber together with Joe Brucia will be working diligently to do whatever it takes to get these laws passed at the Federal and State levels.

We expect to have the full draft of both bills available later this month. At that time we will open a new site, carlieslaw.org. We will publish the proposed bills along with links for you to email your legislators to show your support, and to encourage them to support the legislation.

Code Amber supporters are a force to be reckoned with and together we can make a difference.

You can read more about Joe's position and our joint effort on the Code Amber web site http://codeamber.org

Monday Madness for the Ides of March

1. What is your solution for cabin fever - you know that feeling of being penned in the house all winter? I look at seed catalogues and dream of what I'll plant. As soon as possible, I throw myself into gardening, even if it's in starting flats or digging in newly-thawed dirt to lay the foundation of beautiful landscapes. Then there's simplifying clutter, or persuing art, exercising at the gym, or reading; I've learned to enjoy being home, but it's lovely to be able to get out.

2. Who are the people in your neighbourhood...in your neighbourhood, in your neighbourhood.....? I live in an apartment complex with about 200 apartments, with 4 to a building. My neighbours are from all over the world--I often hear Bosnian or Spanish voices and music. The surrounding area is very upscale--an established neighbourhood with a lot of college professors and professionals. I live at the border of Chevy Chase and Idle Hour. Within a block or two there is: a high school, a tree-intensive park, a water company, a reservoir, an exclusive gated community on an 'island', which is really a penninsula, a historical mansion, a fire house, a hospital (my workplace), a golf course/country club, a sweet but neglected creek that needs people who can help clean it up, and a sad mall that is largely vacant.

3. What's the best thing about spring? That everything is renewing--flowers bursting from the soil, animals with new young, warm sun on your face. It's my favourite time of the year. (One of the reasons my name is Eilir, which is Welsh for spring).

4. Any Easter traditions? Being non-Christian, not really, although I tend to listen/watch Jesus Christ, Superstar around that time out of habit. I sometimes celebrate Passover with Jewish friends. Since I'm Pagan, Ostara (the Vernal Equinox) is a great time to boil eggs and colour them with onion skins and other natural dyes. [The egg traditions and Easter rabbit are survivors of the fertility aspects of the old Pagan religions.]

5. How old were you believing in the Easter bunny? Hmmm...I'm not sure. Even at 5 (when my birthday fell on Easter), I knew the eggs were made and hidden by my mother. (That year they hid them in the house, because I'd sprained my ankle badly and had to be carried everywhere. But that day it was better, so I got to do two hunts--one inside and one outside). But I think I still believed in the Easter bunny in some way.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Happy Weekend

listening to: Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey (audiobook on the Lexington Public Library channel)
feeling: Nostalgic

  1. Old Navy:: Annoying (commercials)
  2. Out:: (of the) Closet
  3. Indecent:: Exposure
  4. UPN:: Star Trek
  5. Pupil:: Eye
  6. Toothpaste:: Crest
  7. 1999:: Space
  8. Passion:: Love
  9. Social security:: Card
  10. Cliff:: Diving

I've spent part of the day listening to one of my favourite books from my teenage years--Anne McCaffrey's Dragonsong. Written primarily from the point of view of a fifteen-year-old, it really sent me back to the same age, when I first read it. I think it helps to read it at that age; it really captures how teenage girls think.

It's been a nice weekend. Friday was Cranium night at a co-workers. Saturday I had a chance to get caught up on some sleep. Today was the Cthulhu game. Tomorrow I'm off from the hospital to take care of some errands. I need to see if I can work from home for KET tomorrow night if the errands run late, since they involve other people and it's a rare day when we're all off.

Yawn. I think I'll go ahead and turn in once I get to the end of the recording. It's winding down now. 'Night.

Saturday, March 13, 2004


I was watching the A&E series City Confidential tonight, and after the show they ran a memorial for Paul Winfield, the narrator. Apparently he died from a heart attack last week. He was only 62.

He had a deliciously humourous style on the show, which spotlights the cities behind murders. His voice reminded me of Vincent Price's; in fact I'd often thought about looking up his bio to see if he were born in St. Louis, like Price. But I hadn't gotten around to it.

So, now, finally, I know his bio. He was born in Los Angeles, in Watts, actually. I didn't recognise his name, but I first saw him as the father in the movie Sounder, when I was eight (I love that movie, but it scarred me at a very young age. If you haven't seen it, you should. If you don't deal well with violence against animals, you'll have trouble with this one; the title character is a dog. The book upon which it is based is a Newbery winner. They showed us the movie--and we read the book--when I was in elementary school. As a kid who was nearly banned from watching 'Lassie', and who to this day hasn't seen Old Yeller--and most likely never will--it really upset me.) He was nominated for an Oscar for his role in the movie. He also played Capt. Terrell in Star Trek: the Wrath of Khan (he was the one who, along with Chekov, got to have one of those worm things put in his ear).

He also played both Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King, Jr. I must admit, I did not realise that the person I was listening to--he's never shown--on City Confidential was black. I rather imagined someone kind of like Price but a little plumper and maybe balding, with a sparkle in his eye. That just goes to show you that impressions can be deceiving. I sound like a young girl, after all. Still, the sparkle was definitely there. That voice is associated in my mind with the show; it just won't be the same without it.

Some people just don't get it...

ABCNEWS.com : Are Gay Rights Civil Rights?

Homosexuals are born (and bisexuals--let's not forget them), not made. No one in their right mind would choose to be treated the way gays are. I'm sorry that some within the black community are offended with comparisons for calls for allowing gays to marry with the civil rights movement of the 60s, but I'm sadder that people who have undergone discrimination fail to acknowledge blatant discrimination of another group of people, not for what they do, but who they are.

Marriage is not about sex. Marriage is about committed love and, frankly, is an oeconomic, social, and yes--sometimes religious, institution. You do not need marriage to have sex (or for that matter, you don't need sex to make a marriage). :)

Nor is homosexuality about sex. It's an identity that is not the end all and be all of a person--just as being female or blackis not the end all and be all of a person--but it's certainly not some sort of perversion designed to be rammed down consertive's mouths.

I am bisexual. It is a part of me. It's not a particularly important part of me. It's actually rather a footnote. I'm not out having lots of sex, thank you; in fact, I haven't had sex in over a decade. I simply am attracted to men and women about equally regardless of their gender. A lot of gays would find that weird, too. I have friends who just call me confused. But for whatever reason--and I believe I was born this way--I find both men and women attractive. I'm not attracted to animals. I'm not attracted to children. I'm not some sort of sexual machine. People use these hateful, stupid, fallacious arguments that if you let gays marry, you'll be supporting bestiality, paedophilia, and other abusive practices. See, that's the key word...those are seen as sick because of their abusive nature. Two people committed in a loving relationship is not abusive, and it is not sick. It's beautiful. Hello. There are more things in life to worry about than what two consenting adults choose to do in the privacy of their own home. And one of them is being able to participate fully in society. Marriage changes where you fit in the rest of the world. It's a major life change, something denied to many.

I'm just a person, like any other, who would like to meet someone, fall in love, and partner with them, maybe raise kids, get a house together, and grow old together. I could pass. I could get married to a guy. In fact, I did that. It lasted six months, because it was a mistake, it was dysfunctional, and neither of us would have flourished. I didn't break any vows. I never pledged until death do I part. (We chose 'as long as love will last'.) As a child of divorce, I balked at promising forever when I didn't know if I could live up to it. I was married by a minister, but it was in a church (Unitarian-Universalist) where divorce is not sanctioned.

We all want a soulmate, at least on some level. I know I do. It's one of the reason's I'm not with anyone--I'm too much of a romantic twit to just play the field. And if I find a soulmate who happens to be female, the fact is that at this point I could live with her, maybe take out insurance depending on where we worked, take certain legal steps to protect our life together, have children (the benefit of having a womb--sperm is easy to come by; it's a little harder for gay men to find a surrogate, but then there's also adoption--where it's allowed) and yes--even marry, religiously if not civilly) because in my faith--paganism--there is no dogma. But if I died, she couldn't receive death benefits. We wouldn't have spousal privelege. No matter what legal steps I took, in the end certain decisions like medical surrogacy or organ donation at death could be pre-empted by family. Family. That's the central point here. Marriage is society's way of recognising a family. You get married, they expect you to 'start a family'. When you're in the hospital and they ask for next of kin, your gay lover isn't considered your family, but a spouse would be. The fact is that some couples are allowed to marry legally; other's aren't. It's not their fault they aren't 'family'. It's the system. And the system is wrong.

And there'd be that nagging doubt of second-class citizenship. You know, 'oh, yes, well, it's not like they're actually married.' I couldn't run a notice for my wedding in the paper, at least here, as far as I know. I couldn't file taxes together or enjoy community property protections. And if we ever broke up, I wouldn't be able to take advantage of the legal protections of a formal divorce.

Until gays are treated like people instead of some perversion of nature, you will continue to see people murdered for what they are--not for sleeping with someone, but because others perceive a difference and hate it. In fact, the perception becomes more important in hate crimes against gays, since there's no obvious difference in skin colour, accent, etc. Some people targeted may not be gay at all. But they're still victims of hate.

And they're black, white, red, yellow--all different colours, races, and background, and often discriminated against doubly. Gay and female. Gay and black (homosexuality is culturally anathema to a higher degree in African-American culture).

It's not so much that gays are piggybacking on the civil rights movement. They're paying it the ultimate compliment by finding strength and inspiration in another seemingly hopeless cause. It's a shame they're repaid with hate.

Nature in action

Via John--Twitchers watch robin served rare:
Birdwatchers from all over Britain who gathered in Grimsby to catch sight of a rare American robin were horrified to see her eaten by a passing sparrowhawk.

I am convinced nature has a sense of humour. Of course, had I been watching, I'm sure I'd have been horrified too. But you can't think of a bunch of people setting up their cameras only to have something swoop down and eat their subject just as they were ready and not think, will isn't that ironic?

I've always wanted to see a British robin. Most people here don't really realise that ours are different from those of the Old World. I'm surprised the BBC chose to run a picture of a sparrowhawk (I'm also very fond of them, due in part to Ursula K. LeGuin's Wizard of Earthsea series, although I've never seen one in person) rather than, say, a comparison in robins. So here's my contribution:

American Robin [Turdus migratorius] [song]

European Robin [Erithacus rubecula] [song]

Note that the American one is quite a bit bigger, the size of a European blackbird. The European robin is about the size of our sparrow.

Oh, and by the way, what's with 'oily black wings' and the description particularly as a southern bird? They live practically everywhere in the US and spend the pretty much anywhere it's not routinely completely frigid. In Lexington, I'd say our three most populous birds are robins, starlings, and sparrows. [Aside: In the winter, starlings come in giant flocks. I think they're pretty, but many see them as 'rats with wings' because of the mess and noise; this is what happens when a species is introduced into a new area. Someone coddled starlings across the ocean because they wanted every bird mentioned in Shakespeare in America, or so I've heard. I figure it's people's own fault for the introduction and the fact that we build cities of concrete that are warmer than the surrounding countryside, in essence inviting them to come in droves.] Yes, we have more robins in spring and summer, but we have them here all year round, puffed out. If it can survive our winters, it should be able to survive cold in Britain. Although maybe not sparrowhawks, since I'm sure it was a bit disoriented.

Incidentally, our state bird is the cardinal. Other birds in the area can be found at the Kentucky Ornithological Society's page, just in case you're interested.

Um...can you tell I love birds?

Saturday Slant: Catching A Leprechaun

The Saturday Slant - New Every Saturday Morning
Legend has it if you catch a leprechaun he is honor bound to grant you a single wish, even as far as to give up his pot of gold. A single wish. The Jin of Aladdin’s tales grant three—room enough to correct mistakes. With a single wish, however, there is no going back. You hold in your grip a spry little man with beard and curls of amber. Annoyed at being caught he glares up at you demanding: 'Aye. What shall ye be wishing then, hey?' A single wish. Think carefully before you answer.

There is someone in my family who has spent years with a very difficult and debilitating illness. I would wish that he were healthy and able to do the things he wants to do.

Things I wouldn't wish for:
  • World peace: You never know, humanity might end and then there you have it--world peace.
  • Lots of money: It's nice, but it really doesn't solve the important problems, and it tends to lead to greed.
  • A job that I enjoy and can support myself/gain stability with: Yeah, that's a good one, but that's something I can do myself.
  • A child for Dwana and Eric: Again, nice, but I have no doubt that this will happen without need for a leprecaun, either naturally or through adoption. And you never know what that sort of open-ended wish can bring. She might wind up raising or brother after a tragedy or something equally traumatic.
  • The end of suffering: That one's easy, but usually it works because that which is suffering dies.