Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A good day

I just got home after driving with the radio turned up and singing to Three Days Grace's 'Never Too Late' and Daughtry's 'What About Now?', two of my favourite songs on the radio these days. Today I got 1) finished the notes early this morning, 2) got a friend from work at 7 am, 3) got all my pre-game activities finished in time, 4) had to go home to get the digital recorder because I forgot it, 5) played in the game, 6) read some Lumley, and 7) worked on some pesky tables in Microsoft Word that are giving me fits. So, it's been pretty productive.

I'm enjoying the game even though we don't really know what's going on in this campaign as of yet. We have pieces of the puzzle, but haven't come to any real conclusions yet. We'll see. In them meantime, I've learnt much more about Tonga than I ever knew (of course, I thought at first that it was in Africa, so that shows how much I knew. It's in the South Pacific). There were just three of us at the game today; one of the women is sick, and the two players were a little brain dead (that includes me). The gamemaster is, of course, never brain dead, which is frustrating, because he's always several steps ahead of us. But that's what makes a good gamemaster, so I can't really complain.

Anyway, it's been a lovely day although it's been cold and rainy most of the day. Tomorrow there's a chance of snow. I'm going on to bed; I have to pick up a friend who got called into work about 3:30 am. At least I'm not on the verge of collapsing like I normally am on Sundays. I did stay up and do notes yet again, but I got rest in the evening and early morning, getting up about 2 am to start work and getting an hours' rest from 3:30-4:30 am, then finishing by 6 am. I really need to start spacing this out during the week. Today was a fairly short session, though, so it shouldn't take long, which is good because I'm supposed to be working on the old stories as well.

Well, good night.

I don't usually cook

But tonight I made a crock pot full of rice and lentils that should last several days, at least until I get paid again. I did forget to put salt in it, but that can be added later, of course. It's pretty tasty, actually. It has garlic, curry powder, cumin, lemon juice, celery seed, and ginger in it. I'd like to have had some peppers or onions in it, but oh, well. The celery seed is the primary herbal taste, but I really like celery seed. Someone I knew used to make a chicken and dumpling soup with celery seed that I really liked; I should try to figure out how to make a vegetarian version. It would really just mean using different bouillon and leaving out the chicken. I don't think tofu would work that well. Anyway, I'm fuelled up now for a few days. Crock pots are amazing things. You just put the ingredients in, turn them on, and walk away for a few hours. It's kind of like a bread machine. I miss having my bread machine (it died some time ago, and I finally pitched it in the Great Cleaning Purge). I'll have to add bread machine to my list of things to acquire.

PS YKWIA told me I should have gone easy on the celery seed and eliminated the lemon juice, since it just makes vegetable dishes acidic. I'll keep that in mind the next time.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What the...?

Kentucky law requires Homeland Security credit God (link good for a few days)

And I quote:
Kentucky's Homeland Security office must publicize God's benevolent protection of the state in its reports under the 2006 law that organized the department.

Under the law, Homeland Security's religious duties come before anything else the department does, including distribution of millions of dollars in federal grants and analyzing possible threats.

The law lists the office's initial duty as "stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth."

I'm a ninth-generation Kentuckian; I'm very proud of my heritage and I think my state is often unjustly maligned. But then there are cases like this. Sometimes I think the people (and leaders) of the Commonwealth of Kentucky are just loopy as a bowl of fruit, to use a phrase that's become popular amongst my circle of friends.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What kind of people

would tear a store's doors off their hinges and trample an employee to death just to get a bargain?????

Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death by Customers

Three other shoppers were injured and a pregnant woman was taken to the hospital for observation. Some witnesses said she miscarried, although that was unverified when I saw the story on the television.

Really. I know that we are a nation of consumerism, but why such behaviour just for a chance at a new DVD? And granted, it was at a Wal-Mart, which doesn't cater to the highest members of society, but it's also in one of the richest counties in the country.

That poor man. He was a temporary worker hired for the holidays., 34 years old, and died needlessly because of other people's greed. I doubt the police will catch everyone involved, but I hope members of that mob never escape what they have done.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I am utterly relaxed

having eaten not merely one tasty and filling meal, but a second of leftovers, burnt incense and candles, put on low lights, listened to reed pipe music, sat in a comfy chair with heated massage, and generally allowed myself to let any stresses of my life drain away.

Considering I rather dreaded Thanksgiving, this is in and of itself a reason to give thanks. Going to visit relatives is always a bit of a crap shoot, I suppose. And I was a little anxious over the car and lack-of-cell-phone-minutes as well, for which a friend mocked me, since after all the majority of my life, and that of human existence, has gone along quite nicely without that sense of security given by a cell phone. (I believe Conestoga wagons even came into that discussion.)

I got up early, forewent cleaning out the car and the time it would take, deciding that if my grandmother wanted to harp about its state, she didn't need a ride to my mother's. As it turned out, my stepfather came and collected my grandmother, his mother, and myself from Danville and brought us to Stanford, along with a table and extra chairs for some unexpected family guests.

I used my limited funds to get another quart of oil, for a total of two to go into the engine today, put the rest into gas sans two dollars for a loaf of bread, and managed to get my gas pumped with the price still at $1.59 (they had a gas 'restoration' scheduled later for $1.75). I also used a free drink coupon to have something for the trip down, and so made the trip on very little money. I was early for a change, giving me time to have a good visit with my grandmother, who was not feeling well today. She showed me her new teeth and talked about her cataract surgery. She did at no point mention my mother lending me money for the rent. Either she doesn't know (which is unlikely--she knew about the gas card my mom gave me at the same time) or has had enough difficulties this year herself that she had some sympathy. We discussed how difficult things are right now for many people, including ourselves. Also, apparently my stepsister Amy, whom I had never met, died recently. I asked my mother later and she died two weeks ago. Amy was a very large woman, tall like her dad, but nearly five hundred pounds, and apparently her heart gave out on her. I think she was about my age or more than likely younger.

John came and picked us up and then his mother. On the way over to her house I saw I big Rottweiler in the back of a truck with its tail intact. It looked like a big baby. :)

John's mother is a delight. Oh, she talks up a storm, but then so do I, so I appreciate the need for someone to listen and did so. She's very fragile, and sometimes can't remember a name or two, which irritates her to no end. I can sympathise. Of course, she's in her 80s and I'm in my 40s. Like my grandmothers and mother, she was a nurse. But she has a very vibrant personality--and isn't afraid to give a whole parcel of her mind on the subject of her family's shortcomings--not in a mean-spirited way, but just speaking from the hip. No one is pulling the wool over that woman's eyes.

Dinner was nice. There were: my mom, my stepfather, his mother, her mother, me, two of his sons, a girlfriend, and two grandsons. The kids were relatively well-behaved (they even managed not to break John's iPhone) and one was quite proud of his toy night-vision goggles that opened up to look like something out of Robot Chicken.

I had a little bit of quite a lot, enough to be pleasantly full without being uncomfortable. And then I was able to take another plate plus desserts home with me. As usual, since I don't eat the turkey, ham, dressing (due to the broth), or gravy, my mom made me some fish. I didn't try the oyster dressing; it just isn't my thing, although I gather that if you do like oysters it is very good (I tried some last year and it was not bad). Then there were mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (candied with Splenda), cranberry sauce, rolls, green beans (without meat, so I could have them), and best of all, deviled eggs. I love deviled eggs. :) Plus there were Splenda-sweetened pumpkin, butterscotch, and chocolate pies. I had to laugh; my step-brother was very put-out by the lack of a pecan pie. One of my friends had a similar grievance about his Thanksgiving menu. But apparently Splenda doesn't do well in pecan pie and my mother swore off sugar-free ones with sugar alcohols because, well, if you're not familiar with the results of sugar alcohol-laden food, go try some, but don't go too far from a bathroom.

We visited for awhile. The kids and their folks went at one point and left us to catch up on things. I told my mom about some long-term changes being proposed for the hospital which may affect my job within about 5-10 years. Boyle County's library is expanding to about twice its size. They're over in a storefront or industrial site building for now during the building renovation. So they may be hiring soon.

Throughout the visit there was much dog action on the part of my grandmother's dog Bo and my mother's Sassy. They weren't together but both are very spirited smaller dogs. Sassy didn't really like the children. One of them scolded her at one point and she just really let him have it, and didn't care for him the rest of the visit. She's a chihuahua-rat terrier mix, it looks like. She didn't like me at all when I first came in but at one point I went outside and patted the outside dog, Shadow, who seemed forlorn because she knew Sassy was getting bits from the table. Once Sassy smelled the other dog on me, it's like I had some sort of key. I must be okay after all. My mother's cat, Trouble, even put in an appearance. We are concerned though because she's sixteen years old and sleeping in the litter box, a bad sign of cats going downhill. I really wish I had a picture though of John asleep on the couch whilst the rest of us were visiting and Sassy was up in the crook of his arm out cold, too.

We wound up watching a good bit of One Night at McCool's, which was a comedy and goofy, but not bad. maybe a little better than average, about a woman who is pure poison to the men around her. It had Liv Tyler, Matt Dillon, Michael Douglas, John Goodman, Paul Reiser, and Reba McEntire (the last interestingly enough as a psychiatrist). Let me tell you, Paul Reiser looks good in bondage leather get-ups. After the movie, we decided to let my mom get some rest since she has to work tonight and went back to Danville. Since it was getting dark, I pretty much just came on home.

The drive back was uneventful, although a little busier than the drive down. I stopped and got some medication on the way and then sat down and watched 'Heroes'. It was a very good episode, well crafted. The ending startled me, because although the possibility had (yes YKWIA, I know you'll say I'll say this) occurred to me, the picture given was much more effective than what I had imagined. I so want to watch part two, and I'm working, so I'll have to watch on the web again. :(

Anyway, that was my Thanksgiving. Turns out I found I had a lot to be thankful for, not the least good food and good company. Hope yours went well and was safe.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just a quick note

I'm here! I've just been really tired/busy and haven't blogged when I've gotten in at night. But I'll try to tonight (I'm getting ready to go to work right now) and definitely will try to catch up tomorrow, since it's a holiday. Thanks!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yes, we can...with a twist

On December 21st, Jews will light the first candles of the menorah. This video, from Jewish Malibu, plays on the this year's popuular 'yes, we can' mantra for the upcoming Chanukah season, drawing upon the theme of a rabbi's speech which predated Obama's use by several years.

Here is a transcript of the video.

Although I myself am not Jewish, I have a very dear friend who is and as you may remember, I completed a minor in Judaic Studies. I think lighting the menorah at Chanukah is one of the best and uplifting traditions of the winter season. I know it's a bit early, but best wishes to all of you who celebrate it.

Thanks to Steven of Library Stuff for this one.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

These are fun

Michelle Kraft posted a list of blog analysis sites (not the in-depth ones like Walt Crawford's, but ones to that are computer generated). Here's how this site fared on the sites she mentioned.

Typealyzer is a site that will do a Myers-Brigg analysis on a blog. Now, I have taken Myers-Briggs tests many times, and I come out INFP--but this blog is:

ESFP - The Performers
The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

The enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.


You know, I can't really argue with that one. They say as you get older you start to get closer to the opposite quality (in my case from introvert to extrovert, intuition to sensing, feeling to thinking, perception to judgement). Looks like I may be half-way there, or at least in terms of how I write.

Then there's one that tries to recognise the gender of the author. The GenderAnalyzer says:
We think http://rabid-librarian.blogspot.com is written by a man (70%).

Okay, so they're wrong. :) I think they're still in beta testing, after all.

Finally, there's the Blog Readability Test, which shows this blog is written at:
blog readability test

TV Reviews

I put a few sites through it (it's not limited to blogs). What was I doing again?, the blog of a former friend who trashed me online and is very, well, pompous about her understanding and use of language came out elementary school. I admit a certain amount of glee. Granted, she could just be trying to write to a lower-reading audience. :) David Rothman, another librarian blogger I respect immensely, was at the same reading level as Michelle Kraft and I. So we're apparently writing to similar literacy levels. Then I looked at some of the news sources. Wired, despite talking a lot about technology, was on an elementary level. Slashdot, which has a lot of science news, was on the undergraduate college level, too. FoxNews, which I don't care for (being on the liberal left as I am), comes out at high school. CNN is written at a junior high school level, as it the BBC general site aimed at Americans (but the British general site is high school). The Guardian, which I visit often, is written at a high school level, too. But MSNBC, the main American news site I pay attention to? Genius! So was the BBC News website, another I read a lot, but that's not surprising, is it? I don't know if their sites in incredibly complex by the terms of the algorithm or what. I don't have any trouble navigating them.

I know they say things written for a general audience should be written for fifth or sixth grade, but I just don't believe in dumbing down my personal writing (although, yes, if I were making a brochure, I would try to make it understandable to those with lower literacy). But I'm happy with where mine falls. I wouldn't want it to be so fraught with complexity that you'd have to be a genius to read my blog, but some basic college education and understanding of big words is nice. Or does that make me an elitist?

Anyway, go have fun with these. Thanks to the Krafty Librarian for the links!

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's out!

Liblog Book
Walt Crawford's book The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: A Lateral Look has been published and is available for purchase. The book looks at 607 liblogs, as Crawford calls them--blogs posted by 'library people' rather than by libraries--and compares various statistics from 2007 to 2008. And you know what? This blog is one of them! The book grows out of Crawford's work with his Cites & Insights online magazine.

Find out whether your blog is included in an online listing.

For more about the book, check out his entry on LISNews. From now through January 15, 2009 is available for $22.50 plus shipping. After that, it'll be $35.00. I'll definitely have to order the book as soon as I can.

Up there with holographic touchscreens...but here

Remember the computers Tom Cruise used in Minority Report that were manipulated solely by gesture? One of the science advisors on the film is also a founder of Oblong Industries, a company whose g-speak, a spatial operating system, uses gestures much in the same way to manipulate objects on a computer screen. Here's a video demonstrating it:

g-speak overview 1828121108 from john underkoffler on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ah, home, thank goodness

We're having our first real snowfall (real=accumulation in my mind). I didn't have a coat with me today so of course I was out in my work shirt (long-sleeved, but rather thin) and no gloves scraping snow of my car once I got off work. At least I found my scraper without too much trouble. :)

I did pay my rent today, so I get to live indoors. It took two loans to do so; I borrowed the bulk of what I needed from my mother, and then realised I'd miscalculated and left out a $50 charge that was added on. I managed to come up with the rest by raiding my bank account and borrowing from a friend. So I'm going to go into the negatives in my bank account. But did I mention I get to live indoors? November is so hard for me every year. But in December I should be on time; I go back to my normal paycheques (sans AAA dues--which hilariously is listed as 'Flower Fund' on my pay stubs) and I'm working an average of 23 to 26 hours at the store, for a total of 43-46 hours per week. Anyway, I've dodged eviction twice in one month. That's enough for me. Here's to going back to being able to pay on time and keeping the house tidy.

I'm really sore and tired. There were only two of us at the store (usually there are three on truck night) and instead of our normal 25-45 boxes, we got 83. Someone from another, bigger store was filling in for my boss, who was is on vacation. I think she ordered like she would for her store. My boss comes back tomorrow. I think she'll hit the roof, but we got what we could put away. The storage area was particularly difficult, trying to get large, bulky boxes (some heavy) into a small space and keep it all neat, which is why I'm sore. I have only ever thought of walking out of my job there maybe once before; today I seriously considered it. But I need the money a lot. I think it was the perky note asking second shift to get everything put away so my boss will be less stressed tomorrow. But the assistant manager came in to take over tonight and he was really understanding.

Well, I'm going to do some things I need to. I washed dishes earlier today but I still need to fold that laundry, plus work on notes awhile if I can manage to stay awake. I go get a friend in a little while, though. He's excited by the prospect of snow and wants 20 inches. I think he's a loon.

A very productive day

I actually got up early today. No yoga, but I did have a nice bath that put me in a good mood. I'd cooked macaroni and cheese last night and saved some for today, so I packed a lunch, made the bed, and did a few things around the house. So far it's staying very neat. I just finished doing a few dishes. I need to fold some laundry, but that's it.

I submitted a book review to a medical library journal today, five days before the deadline, yay. On the work front, there were several questions about equipment and I showed someone how to go through our annual computer-based training. I filled a couple of rush interlibrary loans. I was somewhat frustrated because one of the copiers needed its waste toner receptacle changed and when I checked the one bottle I thought I had was mislabelled and it turned out I had three of the one I didn't need, but none of the one I did. So I ordered some and it'll be here tomorrow morning, but in the meantime no one can make colour copies. :( On the other hand, it did scan, so I was able to fill the rush requests.

My mom and stepfather are stopping by in a little while. They're helping me out with my rent. Then I'll go get a money order and then to the leasing office to pay them. After that, at five, is work until ten tonight, and it's truck night with only two people. But afterwards I have a little time to work on my own projects--I don't go anywhere until I go pick a friend up from work at midnight. I put the laundry on the bed so I couldn't go to sleep without doing it. Of course, at this point it's probably moot. I did laundry during 'Heroes' on Monday and didn't really have a good place to fold clothes at the time.

Anyway, it's been a busy day and I haven't been sleepy as is my wont, even with a gloomy sky and cold. Here's hoping the rest of the day goes well.

Good grief!

Blind woman threatened over unpaid 1-cent bill: 74-year-old resident of Attleboro, Mass., told lien would be placed on home

Granted the letter was computer-generated with no human review, but I thought the City Collector, who already sounded defensive on that bit, came off worse in the interview, making it sound like it was horrible this woman didn't pay her bill on time, when no doubt the cheque was written a cent off or something. I mean really, that's such an innocent mistake for someone to make. And the idea of putting a lien on the house and charging $48 if it's not paid on time is ludicrous. So is sending a letter that cost 42 times the amount of the bill to mail. Goodness. Well, at least it should be easy enough for the lady to pay.

Listening to

Missy Higgins' 'Where I Stood'

She has a very lovely voice and the song reminds me of some of my own feelings when I left my marriage so many years ago [not exactly, because I knew there was no love left on my end any more than on his, but close, and of course the pronouns would have to change for the other person. :)]

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One last thing. This is nice.

Tweet from the Mars Phoenix team:
[We'd also like to note 1300 NEW followers since Phoenix went to sleep last week. Not one of you has dropped. Best group EVAR! Thank you!]

Even with the probe shut down, they're still updating us on new stories, etc. on the probe. As they put it, 'veni, vidi, fodi'--'I came, I saw, I dug'. And through digging it found ice and made other discoveries, putting it into the history books. I will remember the Phoenix mission fondly, if for no other reason than those Twitter updates.

Sorry it's been awhile

Saturday was a 10-hour workday, plus notes to do; I managed to fall out of a chair onto a concrete floor for a big ouchy. I leaned over to pick up a fallen quarter and the thing rolled right out from under me. I am such a klutz.

Sunday was the game, where we're starting a new campaign in sunny Tonga. ('Campaign' is a word players in Call of Cthulhu dread. It means an intensive adventure, often spanning several chapters and locales. The Antarctic adventure of which I've written was the Campaign from Hell, a full inch or more in terms of book width. This one is much smaller, but that doesn't mean it's less sinister.)

Monday--well, I don't remember much of Monday. I know I felt very lethargic through most of the day and ate peanut butter and spreadable fruit sandwiches and then macaroni and cheese in the evening. Of course there was Heroes! (Yay, and a good episode!) YKWIA and I also worked on a project to do with the game, read more of Lumley (one chapter and an epilogue to go!) and I did some stuff around his house. By the time I got home I really just wanted to go on to bed.

I meant to get up early this morning and blog but failed and was just about to rise at 9:30 when the doorbell rang. I struggled into some clothes and let in the maintenance man who had come to (yet again attempt to) fix the leak in my tub faucet. Apparently they had a new washer to try. This meant that I didn't get a chance to shower (although I did manage to brush my teeth in the kitchen.) Of course, I could have asked him to come back in half an hour, but I didn't.

Today they had a free steak dinner at work for the employees. Of course, I didn't have the steak, or the green beans (which had ham), but there was salad, baked potatoes, and blackberry cobbler to be had. In the (long) line to get in, my mom called. Being a tad bit psychic she called to check up on me on the very day I was going to call her to help with a situation I'm in (I need to borrow some money for my rent). So I stepped out of line and went back to the library to talk with her (and my grandmother), and then went back and got some lunch.

I worked at the store tonight and it went smoothly. I really like the substitute manager who's filling in for my boss, who is finally on vacation. I'm working Monday--no Heroes! :(--but I'm hoping that I'll be off on Thanksgiving so I can go to Danville and visit my family.

Well, that's all for now. I'm going to go on to bed, I think, with hopes once again to get up a little earlier, maybe do some yoga. I need to do a few dishes, although I've been faithfully making the bed. And I have clean laundry to fold as well.

Good night.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I nearly forgot!

Three videos for your viewing pleasure.

An excellent Tim Burtonesque short film called 'Spring Heeled Jack' directed by Geof Wolfenden.

It is based on the urban legend of Victorian England. Thanks to YKWIA for introducing me to the video and the legend.

Then there's Graham (somegreybloke)'s latest video, 'Jesus and me'. I love his videos on religion because they look at the inconsistencies found in them. Again, YKWIA showed me this, although I have a subscription on my own, too.

Finally, I haven't included any Simon's Cat episodes in awhile. This is called 'TV Dinner'. It shows the wonder of Velcro Kitty. Those owned by cats will appreciate it. Enjoy.

Okay, that's enough for now. Have a good night.

I'm wet and cold and ready for bed

A friend of mine works second shift, so the best time to make the every-two-weeks grocery run is midnight, and it usually lasts two hours. Tonight was normal, except it's raining pretty hard. Don't get me wrong, we've been in a drought and need the rain. But with loading two cartfuls into and then out of the car, I got pretty wet. And even though it's in the 50s, it is a cold rain.

Now I'm home and have changed clothes. My mood has been somewhat mitigated by a lovely tangerine, the first of the season that I've eaten. I picked them up because they looked nice and were a very good price, then shared some with a friend, since I won't eat a whole bag fast enough.

It's been a good day. I found out that I passed the inspection. They thought the apartment looked very nice. Yay!

I got home early tonight (8 pm) and tried to work on notes, but just couldn't focus. I guess it's not close to the deadline enough to panic and get some adrenaline. I really have to get over this procrastination. So, instead, I'm getting up early tomorrow to work on them (or at least, that's the idea).

I applied for a job at the branch of the public library that's down the street (within walking distance) of me. It's a reference position that pays $33,000-$52,000 a year. I think I'm pretty qualified, and I have my certification now, so that won't be a problem. The only stumbling block I see is my misdemeanour record when I was having trouble with cheques I'd written. I addressed that in my cover letter. The application says that it isn't necessarily a disqualifier, and of course, I think a felony would be far more a problem, but I didn't get the job at Jessamine County because of that record. The nice thing about the job is although it's primarily reference, it also has got a cataloguing component, which is what I actually specialised in school. I miss cataloguing. It also deals with authority control, which is what I did as a graduate assistant. I have to admit...I love authority control. There's something very satisfying about correcting incorrect entries and making them uniform, bringing order from chaos. :)

Good night.

PS I found my old webcam and tried it out, getting the above picture. It's not great quality, but it was still fun to play with it. Somehow I don't see me going onto YouTube anytime soon, though. :) I definitely need to get my hair cut before I go on any job interviews, that's for sure, to give it some body.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Today's 'Slice of History' mentions an ill-fated Antarctic expedition

On November 12, 1912 the bodies of Robert Falcon Scott and two of his fellow expedition members were found by a search party, eight months after their death in a blizzard as they returned from the remarkable feat of reaching the South Pole, although they were the second team--the first having been Norwegian Roald Amundsen's, who arrived four weeks earlier, to the Britons' disappointment.

Doomed Expedition to the South Pole, 1912

An excerpt from Scott's diary, dated February 17th, regarding the first death as they made their way home on skis (unlike Admundsen, Scott had dismissed the use of dogs in favour of horses, which died in the extreme conditions):
After lunch, and Evans still not appearing, we looked out, to see him still afar off. By this time we were alarmed, and all four started back on ski. I was first to reach the poor man and shocked at his appearance; he was on his knees with clothing disarranged, hands uncovered and frostbitten, and a wild look in his eyes. Asked what was the matter, he replied with a slow speech that he didn't know, but thought he must have fainted. We got him on his feet, but after two or three steps he sank down again. He showed every sign of complete collapse. Wilson, Bowers, and I went back for the sledge, whilst Oates remained with him. When we returned he was practically unconscious, and when we got him into the tent quite comatose. He died quietly at 12.30 A.M. On discussing the symptoms we think he began to get weaker just before we reached the Pole, and that his downward path was accelerated first by the shock of his frostbitten fingers, and later by falls during rough travelling on the glacier, further by his loss of all confidence in himself. Wilson thinks it certain he must have injured his brain by a fall.

On March 29th, the following entry was written:
Great God! This is an awful place and terrible enough for us to have laboured to it without the reward of priority...We took risks, we knew we took them; things have come out against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint, but bow to the will of Providence, determined still to do our best to the last...Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale...

Subsequently, Scott has been both championed as a great English explorer and criticised as an heroic bungler. Reading his story, I see a lot of the roots of Beyond the Mountains of Madness, the campaign we played for so many months.

Today, the US research station at the South Pole is known as the Admundsen-Scott South Pole Station, in recognition of these men's endeavours.

I do feel much better today

So maybe it was just some sort of allergy/sinus thing. I also did yoga this morning. Oh, Gods, I am so out of practice! I have nowhere near the flexibility I used to have. I don't think my weight is different; I just didn't stretch enough for far too long. So I'll have to build up to better results. I also had a lot of breathing issues, but then I've had trouble breathing normally for several days now due to the congestion in my head. The good thing is my sense of smell came back suddenly this evening at work, but the bad was that it was oversensitive. I could smell cigarette smoke even with small traces and the mustiness of the boxes I was working with.

Anyway, here's to feeling better. Cheers.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

This so frightens me

A friend who has known me 20 years has urged me to tell my family doctor about my memory issues and general trouble thinking. Although we sometimes joke about it, I think he really is worried about my having some sort of early-onset Alzheimer's. My great-grandmother had the disease for fifteen years. I watched a vibrant woman of my childhood become more withdrawn to the point of losing either the ability or inclination to talk towards the end. Sometimes it wasn't so bad. She had vivid memories of her youth and talked about her beaux. At some point I remember her telling me about how the people on the TV came and took her for a ride. But it got steadily worse. And as happens sometimes in these cases, on the day she died she seemed to have a sudden burst of clarity, but fleeting.

When I was growing up, I was always the 'smart one'. That identity has lost ground since the person I spend most of my life with is about 40 or so points ahead of me in IQ (and I'm pretty high, he's just off the charts). But even so, learning things used to be my greatest joy, and now I worry because it seems I've retained so little. It's like the things I know are draining from me. And that scares me.

Maybe I should speak with Dr Nesbitt about this. I had an MRI a few years ago, but it was normal--but the only real way to diagnose Alzheimer's is autopsy. It just doesn't show up on scans, generally.

Here is the story of a man who started his battle with Alzheimer's at about my age, and the effects it has had on him and his family:

When Alzheimer's Hits at 40: Early-Onset Sufferers Juggle Children, Job and Dementia

I guess part of my fear, too, is that I don't have a spouse or anyone to really care for me if this were to be my future. And I watched my grandmother burn herself up caregiving for her mother--she was dead within two years of her, even though she was more than two decades younger. I would probably spend my time in some sort of nursing home on Medicaid. I so don't want that life. And because I fear it, I haven't talked to anyone about it rather than my friend--and now here.

I'm sniffly, sneezy, achy, and although I don't think I'm quite ready for Nyquil

I think I must admit to myself that I'm not just having allergy or sinus issues or reacting to the cold and rain, but rather that I have a light cold. I've had congestion for about a week. Now I'm sneezing and my throat's getting scratchy. I just hope it stays in my head and doesn't migrate to my chest and doesn't worsen. I'm starting to cough, so that may be a vain hope. All I know is I feel as the saying goes like I've been hit by a Mack truck--indeed I feel almost flattened. Sleeping helps, but I have too much to do to sleep everything away. Using the CPAP clears out my sinuses briefly, too, but again, that would mean just sleeping a lot. Which if it gets worse I'll consider, I suppose. At least it's been a long time since I've been sick--and the symptoms so far are pretty light. I haven't had to resort to medicine, yet, but that may be in the cards tomorrow.

This afternoon I came home from work early (I was ahead on my time) and slept between jobs, which helped, but I was virtually useless at either one. Tomorrow I work from 10 am-10 pm between the two, and it's truck night, so I have to be able to keep it together.

I'm going on to bed. I'm going to try to wake up early to do a few things. And maybe the aches will be helped by a little yoga, now that I have space to do it. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Time to sleep

The last couple of nights I've averaged 4-5 hours' sleep. I had about a 45 minute nap this afternoon after work. So even though there are several news stories I'd like to blog about, I'll have to defer to tomorrow.

Tonight is Old Samhain (the Celtic New Year, last harvest, and remembrance for the dead)--oh, and it's pronounced 'Sow (rhymes with 'cow')-un' rather than 'Sam-hane'. Tonight I need to leave an offering to my Patroness. I have a nice ripe pomegranate and some honey.

And it's Veteran's Day/Remembrance Day, too, of course. I am the grand-daughter of three World II veterans (my grandmother was also a veteran, a nurse in Europe who lost a kidney during her service. One grandfather was a Marine at Iwo Jima. Another was somewhere in the South Pacific, I believe. I never knew him) and the daughter of a Vietnam veteran/career Air Force non-commissioned officer.

For such a peace-oriented person, the military has always meant a lot to me. It's kind of like a second family--I spent many years of my childhood on Air Force bases around the country. (I unfortunately never got to live or visit outside of the US). And in my own way, I'm pretty patriotic. I really appreciate that the freedoms I have as an American citizen are being and were defended by men and women who have served their country.

On the radio this morning, the disc jockey talked about a young man she'd dated, who at 21 died in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, only 6 weeks after he'd arrived.

There are many stories like his, and others of those who returned, some suffering physical and mental wounds, some changed beyond recognition. With a new war, there are plenty of veterans who need the funding and programmes to support their safety during service and their needs when they return home. So, thank you.

Kentucky has a beautiful Vietnam memorial in Frankfort that is a giant sundial. It was created by architect Helm Roberts. On the anniversary of each Kentucky soldier's death, the shadow of the gnomon falls on his or her name. The Herald-Leader had a nice story about it yesterday (Memorial built with sunshine and shadow). I don't think they keep the stories publicly available past seven days, but if you see this before that, check it out. They explain some of the process of how it works. Oh, and by the way, it happens to be on a wind-swept field next to the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, where I worked as an intern one summer and became acquainted with the memorial.

Okay, I'm going to go make my offering and then go to sleep. Good night.

Another concern about one of the Mars missions

NASA rover low on power from Martian dust storm
The solar-powered Spirit produced only 89 watt-hours of energy last weekend, half the normal amount it needs to function. The culprit was a dust storm that moved over Spirit's site near the Martian equatorial plains, blocking sunshine from reaching its solar panels.

To prevent Spirit from depleting its batteries, ground controllers commanded the rover to turn off heaters that warm various instruments. Engineers also instructed the spacecraft to cease communications with Earth until Thursday.

"This is a very dangerous time," said project scientist Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the mission. "If we don't hear from it on Thursday, we'll be extremely concerned."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Oh :( The little probe that could has faded to oblivion

Nasa Mars mission declared dead: Nasa says its Phoenix lander on the surface of Mars has gone silent and is almost certainly dead

It lasted two months longer than planned, found water ice in the soil, sent back over 25,000 pictures, filmed a dust devil, and found chemicals that are capable of harbouring microbes. I followed it on Twitter during the better part of its mission. Located in the high latitude near Mars' northern polar region, its systems were expected to shut down due to temperatures reaching -212 degrees Fahrenheit and the fading light, made worse by a dust storm.

As a mission, it was a great success, especially coming after two failures. See the graphic below for locations of the various missions. Click the pictures to enlarge them for better reading.
Locations of Mars missions


It's supposed to get down to 29 degrees Fahrenheit tonight

So I guess it's time to turn the heat on for the winter.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Yes we did!

MoveOn.org is offering a free victory sticker about the size of a postcard to celebrate Barack Obama's election to the presidency. You can get yours, too. Here's what it looks like (the design is by Shepard Fairey—the same artist who designed the world-famous, iconic "Hope" poster for Obama.):

What can I say, after a dearth of quizzes, I'm on a roll

But I'll cool it for a bit. I don't want to bore you with personality tests. Here's one last one for awhile:

Your result for Howard Gardner's Eight Types of Intelligence Test...


18% Logical, 24% Spatial, 41% Linguistic, 39% Intrapersonal, 24% Interpersonal, 25% Musical, 20% Bodily-Kinesthetic and 41% Naturalistic!

"Verbal-linguistic intelligence has to do with words, spoken or written. People with verbal-linguistic intelligence display a facility with words and languages. They are typically good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words and dates. They tend to learn best by reading, taking notes, listening to lectures, and via discussion and debate. They are also frequently skilled at explaining, teaching and oration or persuasive speaking. Those with verbal-linguistic intelligence learn foreign languages very easily as they have high verbal memory and recall, and an ability to understand and manipulate syntax and structure.

Careers which suit those with this intelligence include writers, lawyers, philosophers, journalists, politicians and teachers." (Wikipedia)

Take Howard Gardner's Eight Types of Intelligence Test
at HelloQuizzy

A nice quote I found today

'Properly, we should read for power. Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one's hand.'~Ezra Pound


11 trash bags, 2 bags of recyclables, various boxes--all gone. I even made the bed. :)


Here's the plan

I went over to a friend's at 9 pm to do an hour project and just got in at 1:30 am. :) So there's still the dining area to do, a little in the living room, and the big closet. Plus I need to take out the trash and vacuum. But I have to work at 10 am tomorrow, and the leasing office opens at 8:30 am, so they could inspect that early.


I'm going to bed. I'm setting my cell phone clock, my digital alarm clock, and one of those big old-fashioned manual alarm clocks (it's about 9 inches across and will wake me up) just to make sure I don't oversleep, since my cell phone petered out on me this morning and that's why I got a late start. The plan is to get up between 5:30 and 6 am and finish the job. Wish me luck.

A diversion

Your result for The Find Your Philosophical Era! Test...

The Modern

31% Ancient, 6% Medieval, 38% Modern and 25% Post-Modern!

Congratulations! You are: a Modern!

(Keep in mind, by Modern, I mean the era which began around the 17th century and ended in the 20th century.)

Throughout the Modern era, philosophers and scientists were forced constantly to do battle with the forces of censorship, philosophical conservatism, and pure inertia.This was the age in which “innovation” was a bad word, and the Moderns were all about innovation. Despite all the opposition they faced, Modern philosophy is the most optimistic of any era. The Moderns seem really to have believed that, for instance, giving men freedom from kings and priests and tyrants will make men happier and better. Their goal was a political community based on reason. But while some Moderns concentrated on becoming more and more scientific, rational and civilized, others, such as Wordsworth and Rousseau, reacted against this trend by turning back to what they saw as the pure, uncorrupted truths of nature. However, the Romantic and the Scientific trends in Modernism are two sides of the same coin. The two are united in their disdain for the status quo and for social norms, and their search for more real, trustworthy truths upon which to build the new society they all dreamed of.

Some modern philosophers: Newton, Voltaire, Bacon, Hume, Rousseau, Hobbes, La Rochefoucauld, La Bruyère, Darwin, J.S. Mill

Some modern artists: Da Vinci, Molière, Shakespeare, Bernard Shaw, Mozart, Cervantes, Swift

Typical modern art forms: opera, comic plays, portraiture, the concerto, the confessional memoir, descriptions of nature

Take The Find Your Philosophical Era! Test at HelloQuizzy

Funny that I've mostly studied mediaeval and ancient philosophy, yet my outlook is modern and I scored REALLY low in the mediaeval category. YKWIA, who told me about this quiz, came out as mediaeval, which didn't surprise me. But then he's the true philosopher. I just go on intuition, mainly, rather than thought.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Another interesting election

John Key: victory for New Zealand's multimillionaire political novice

Like Barack Obama, he was raised by a single mother without much money (she was an Austrian Jewish survivor of the Holocaust). Although he only has six years' experience in government, he has managed to bring his party nearer to the centre and his rags-to-riches story and financial acumen has a lot of respect among the Kiwis. It should be interesting to see how he does.

Okay, back to work!


No one was hurt in that robbery I mentioned last night, thankfully. The assailant did produce a gun. The new story I just read didn't mention a description of the man, but a friend said when he saw the news they mentioned he was large with mutton-chop sideburns. Who wears these in this decade? I suppose he'll probably shave, if he's smart.

It has been the week for stories of horrible death by chemicals

Today, of course, is news of the twenty people who died on a Russian nuclear sub of freon poisoning after the gas was released as part of a false fire alarm. About 21 other people were poisoned but have not died. Freon can be a very dangerous poison and lead to a range of awful symptoms.

But the one that truly horrified me were the Mexican kidnappers who killed a five-year-old boy by injecting him in the heart with acid when his parents went to the police. That's beyond inhuman. Five have been arrested. The nature of the crime has prompted many Mexicans to demand the reinstatement of the death penalty.

A menagerie of things I've found so far

  • The plug to my salt shaker.
  • My cookbook stand.
  • A box of beautiful cards with orchids on them. At the time they were given to me, I wasn't into orchids. Now I'm trying to coax two to bloom at the office.
  • A fold-up chair that was an employee appreciation gift one year.
  • A larger skillet I forgot I owned.
  • Ritual tools.

I have not found the elusive Obama bumper sticker yet, however. I think the house took it into whatever black hole socks go.


I usually balance my bank account every two days or so, and I do debits rather than cheques for the most part (it's taken me three years and a half years, but I'm finally on my second-to-last book from the box I opened my account with, to give you an idea of how many cheques I write. Most are to the bank for money orders or to withdraw funds.) That usually works, but with getting paid I had several payments to make plus gas and food, and had not balanced my account when I went to Kroger for a second run and wound up spending about $10 more than I expected). It occurred to me later than I had not done a proper session of balancing, and I realised I'd cut it close. So I sat down during my lunch at work yesterday and did it, then realised that I wasn't sure if I had the right starting balance. I really needed to do it with the computer. I just checked, and although one debit is still out, but everything else is accounted for. That leaves me slightly over $5 when the other debit comes out. Yay. I get paid on Wednesday. I can't spend much, though, over the next two weeks because I'm trying to make my rent and there will be late fees. But next month my pay days align well and I should be on time and that will gvie me a chance to catch up and hopefully not be late for the rest of the lease. That's assuming my cleaning the house meets their standards, of course.

I know, my life is a mess. This is why I am in therapy, on medication, and trying to change my life. Of course, as Yoda would say, there is no try, only do.

Had to take a break

My kitchen and bathroom are clean, my bedroom is almost there, and quite a few of the boxes (of books) that were in the living room floor have been moved to the bedroom closets. (I have no clothes in my closets; it's all books (some on shelves) and various miscellaneous stuff that need to be gone through. But not today.)

I'm up to 7 lawn bags of stuff I'm throwing out plus two of recyclables. I still need to work on the living/dining room (which has a lot of clutter) and the walk-in closet. The walk-in closet is going to be mostly just loading clothes in bags and throwing them out. Some time ago my air conditioner leaked in the closet, and got the clothes wet, so the inevitable happened. I don't think there's any salvaging to be done. They were mostly old clothes I couldn't wear anymore that I hadn't gotten around to giving away yet, although there was a good interview dress and a few favourite tee shirts, too. I haven't gone through them before this because I'm very allergic to mildew. I know, keeping them hasn't been the best for my allergies, either. But I'll keep my inhaler nearby and wash my hands a lot.

As part of renewing my lease, my landlords owe me a free carpet clean, so once everything's off the floor and vacuumed, then I'll try to schedule that. But the floor's in pretty decent shape, actually, since I haven't had pets for over a year (and I had the carpet cleaned myself after Cerys died, since she'd had a couple of accidents on it towards the end). There's very little hair, for example. Around the computer's the worst, actually, because I eat there and have been messy when it comes to crumbs. Since I've had the books all over the place, I haven't vacuumed in awhile, so it's built up. But I'll vacuum tonight or tomorrow morning just to get anything else up.

I'm a little tired, but I found that putting things on the comfy chair and bed have kept me from trying to nap. :) But I am going to cook something to eat, get a drink and sit down and take a break.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I want to see this film

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (or The Boy in the Striped Pajamas here in America.)

Watch the trailer.

It's a fictional story of the Holocaust told from the point of view of an 8-year-old son of Auschwitz' commandant. The boy forms a friendship with a boy his age who lives in the 'farm' at the end of the back garden, who always wears striped pyjamas. The ending is supposed to be extraordinary, although perhaps not to be viewed by young children.

I have always had a fascination for, and a great emotional connexion that I cannot really explain, for the Holocaust and for Judaism, even though I am not Jewish. I had no family involved. Perhaps it was a past life; I do not know. I feel very strongly about the telling of things that happened during that time, and after being drawn to it early by such works as Anne Frank's diary, I learnt what I could about genocide, in the Holocaust and in other times and places.

I've read many books, seen several films and plays, but I haven't read much true fiction on the subject, except some children's literature, and even the majority of those were fictionalised but based on real accounts. This film is based on a poignant book by the same name written by an Irish novelist, John Boyne.

It sounds like it will be tragic, yet a good 'end of innocence' piece that, as the trailer points out, can lead to the discovery of humanity. The only actor I recognise is David Thewlis, who played Remus Lupin in the movie adaptations of the Harry Potter series.

Its general release date for the US is next weekend. I'll have to check the paper to see where it is playing. It sounds like it might be something that the Kentucky might show. I watched Schindler's List there many years ago. It made the film seem even more real because I was sitting in an historic theatre that had shown films at the same time as the events of the movie. I'd like to see it there if at all possible.

Anyway, I thought I'd share.

I need to get up early in the morning to do a last-ditch effort to get my house clean before my landlords inspect it. I'm going to have to miss the game to do so, unfortunately. The kitchen's finished but nothing else is, and I've let the clutter pile up too much. I hate this tendency to hoard worthless stuff. Maybe it's just how I'm wired, that I attach an emotional 'safe' feeling if I can build up walls of stuff to keep people away from my personal space, and then get overwhelmed and it's so hard to tell what to get rid of during these periodic purges. Gods, I'm the Junk Lady from Labyrinth. :(

UPDATE 4/17/09:

I finally got to see the movie, although not in the theatre. It was very powerful and moving, a juxtaposition of innocence and horror. I did think the ending--which was a surprise--was contrived and not particularly believable, although it made for a very sad ending that brought it all home. I bawled, of course. I thought that it would somehow involve a death, but had no idea just how poetic a death it would be. Sometimes death comes without real warning, and that's the case for the characters involved. But for those of us watching, the horror builds for we do know the meaning behind the setting, and we know that for the story to be complete, a horrific thing would have to happen. In this film, nearly every life portrayed was destroyed in one way or another. The film focussed on life through the eyes of an eight-year-old boy, and presented details of German life during World War II that made it very real, with very little of the brutality we think of from similar films--although used sparingly, it is used well. There is a lot of subtlety in the film. A maid scrubbing a floor tells of death, a man's admiration for his father turns quickly into a sentence, an opposing view must be expressed privately and with caution. An interesting development in the film is that of the mother, who goes from dutiful soldier's wife who wilfully ignores a the signs to someone awoken to the true horror around her, and her awakening and the subsequent disintegration of her marriage play out slowly in the film. The pace of the film is slow by American standards, and involves very little action per se; I always find that rather refreshing myself. One needs plot, rather than explosions and special effects, for a decent movie. But the tale here was told via details and subtlety, and it works, even with such an improbable ending. It was well-worth seeing, and I will have to add it to my collection.

One of the other gas stations down the street from us was robbed tonight

I don't know the details, but it's a little unnerving, especially as it happened during hours we were open and working. There's always that bit of worry in the back of my mind when working as a gas station attendant that there will be a robbery.

I hope no one was hurt.

A quiz over breakfast

Your result for The A-Muse-ing Test...

Your muse is Melpomene!

50% Melpomene, 0% Calliope, 0% Thalia, 10% Urania, 20% Clio, 0% Erato, 20% Euterpe, 0% Polyhymnia and 0% Terpsichore!

Melpomene is the muse of tradgedy. She is also known for her singing and as the "chanting one." She is a guide for the lost or those seeking a way to something, but they just can't quite figure out what or where. She can beautifully wear a tear or a smile, for she understands life to its fullest extent.

Call upon Melpomene when you are searching and need to heal yourself.

Sit somewhere quiet where you can be alone with your thoughts. Light a candle and gather some paper or your journal. Sit comfortably and allow yourself to fully feel the pain you have inside and ask Melpomene to help you bravely face it with honesty. Write what you are feeling and what you have experienced. Express your loss in yoru own way, with your own words. Now determine to be creative and use that energy in a new way. You are ready to create something beautiful out of your sadness and loss. Paint, sculpt, write, sing, or just explore a new place. Artistic creation will help you refind joy and reexperience life in a new way.

Take The A-Muse-ing Test at HelloQuizzy

Now, back to cleaning!

Friday, November 07, 2008

I may have taken this one before, who knows? It sounds a little familiar...

But it's been a long time since I took an online quiz, and this one sounded fun. It's the What Golden Compass Daemon are You? Quiz.

Here are my results:

Independent Soul

You are calm and logical, but not unemotional. You are an introvert, at heart, preferring to read alone than be subjected to the crush and noise of a big party or bar. You have a few friends and family, whose presence you welcome - to a point. Even they can wear on your nerves eventually, and you need to retreat back into your personal space for a while so you can recharge. Your energy comes in bursts, after which you need a long nap or a couple of evenings at home to recuperate.

You are comfortable with yourself, and reasonably confident. You want the friendship and goodwill of others, but you are not willing to sacrifice your principles in order to get it. If your close friends need something that you can provide, however, you will be the first to offer it.

You are a good and sympathetic listener, and are aware of your friend's emotional states. With your very close friends, you will open up, but rarely - you don't like to burden people with your problems. At the same time, though, you are honest and are not willing to alter the truth for the sake of convenience. Among strangers you are reserved, and may resort to making jokes to disguise your true feelings.

While you are not afraid of conflict, you do not seek it, either. When you are hurt or insulted, you feel that you have a choice to make. You can choose to take the up on it and defend yourself, or you can let it pass. Your decision may depend on how well you know the person, how personally you take the insult, or simply what mood you are in that day. Your friends may not always know how you are going to react, for that reason. Whatever you reaction, though, you will be logical, rational and unnervingly accurate: a measured strike.

Your daemon's form would represent your calm, introverted nature, your cool logic, and your impatience with crowds of people. He or she would probably whisper ironic comments in your ear, give logical advice and try to hide his or her soft side from everyone, even you.

Suggested forms: Peregrine Falcon, Snowy Owl, Snow Leopard, Siberian Tiger, Osprey.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Not surprisingly, I did something really stupid yesterday

Anyone who has had AAA knows that when they send you a card for the new plan year, the only real difference between the cards is the printed year that it's good through. I had both my old and new ones in my wallet during the transition between October and November and yesterday had the bright idea (at the gas station, when I stopped in for gas, oil, and the newspapers) to get rid of the old one.

Only I cut up the new one.

Fortunately I looked one last time before I put it in the trash and saw the '2009'. Today I called them, and they're sending me a new one within 14 days. In the meantime, my number is still good and everything, and I still have the two halves of the card, so she said that would be fine as proof should I need road service.

But that was a silly thing to do, even for me.

I'm so glad I got mine first thing Wednesday morning

I picked up a couple of Lexington Herald-Leader newspapers this morning (hey, I was a history major, I knew this was a momentous occasion and they'd go quickly), one for a friend and one for myself. Good thing I did. When I was at the store working later in the day, dozens of people came looking for papers to no avail, and surrounding stores were out as well. One lady said she'd go cruising neighbourhoods looking for one in a stand.

Apparently Lexington was not alone in this phenomenon, which isn't surprising.

Extra! Extra! Barack Obama's election win sends newspaper sales soaring

Let's face it; I may get my news primarily online, but a newspaper is a tangible piece of history, a document that can be archived (in acid-free materials, of course). A lot of people felt today that they wanted something they could show their grandchildren, something they could touch and remember the moment America elected a president of African descent. It amazes me some of the prices major papers were fetching on eBay. Wow.

Okay, I'm up way too late, and it's back to work at the hospital tomorrow morning. Good night.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Here's a text message making the rounds

'Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Barack could run. Barack is running so our children can fly.' Thanks to desertlibrarian for passing it on.

So what happens to those who did marry?

Same-sex marriage ban wins

Another author has died, this time Michael Crichton

Family: Michael Crichton Dies of Cancer: Novelist Michael Crichton, author of 'Jurassic Park,' 'Timeline,' dies of cancer at 66

A doctor with a medical degree from Harvard, he also gave us 'ER' which has been running since 1994 and is just now in its last year. And then there's The Andromeda Strain, a medical thriller, and Congo, which in some ways parallels HP Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness. For more on Crichton, check out his Wikipedia entry.

Some thoughts

I really wish Kentucky would extend its voting hours. 6 am-6 pm (at least in many areas--we have a variable schedule--some areas have until 7 pm) doesn't work for many workers or parents trying to get their kids to and from school. I took the day off just in case of problems. Not everyone has that luxury.

I apparently belong to one of only two precincts in Lexington with less than 100 voters registered. I know this because a news story mentioned that there were two with only one voting machine because of this. I guess that means if I don't want to encounter lines, I have to stay put. :)

I really think McCain lost this election not because the oeconomy tanked in September (let's face it, it's been doing so for months now--it just became more palpable due to Wall Street tanking), but because 1) his campaign never really found a direction to go forward with (chasing issues from here and there, not really presenting what John McCain himself stood for well, not like Obama's platform for change and slogans that included people like 'Yes, we can') but even more importantly, 2) the choice of Sarah Palin as running mate. No matter how much he might have been liked by many voters, it proved to be a very telling about his judgement, and I think many voters could not stomach her being a heartbeat away from the presidency--not because she is a woman, I think that has nothing to do with it--but because she is Sarah Palin. She has some very scary ideals that believe it or not do not resonate with the majority of Americans, and is obviously unprepared to be vice-president, much less president.

I think the gender card got played way too much during this race. I did not favour Hillary Clinton based on her personality. It had nothing to do with her gender. And I found the selection of Sarah Palin as a vice-presidential candidate insulting, knowing that there were many other Republican women who would have served very well. It seems like some people had an idea that as long as someone had the female plumbing than we are all interchangeable, which is not the case. I would love to have a female candidate I could really have gotten behind like I did with Obama. But whilst I won't say I would have voted McCain over Clinton in this election, I certainly wouldn't have wanted to vote for her, and would only have done so out of necessity. I could not have voted for McCain, however, once he selected Palin, because among other things I question his judgement strongly over that one. I'd rather have a candidate I can believe in. I found that with Obama.

Also, I'm happy that in the end, race was not as important as say, oeconomy. Obviously there was a huge turnout among blacks and apparently a very good one among Latinos. And looking at the breakdown in Applalachian counties (at least in my state), the numbers for McCain over Obama were very strong--but it's unclear whether that had to do with race or if they're just such Republican counties). But one of the pundits also pointed out that a different demographic which Obama did well with were college-educated whites, a group Democratic candidates have not done well with in the past. Since I'm part of that demographic, I'm glad we were able to make a difference.

Nice to know that in this oeconomy

Voters still supported a $275 million bond for expansion of the Atlanta library system.

Thanks to marleedorn for the head's up.

The day has dawned beautiful

and of course I'm happy with the presidential election. I am still watching the California Proposition 8 decision, which is still undecided) with a little over 90% of precincts reporting but another 3 million in late absentee and provisional ballots that may be counted afterwards.

One more concern

With 17% of precincts reporting, those 'For' are leading those 'Against' on Proposition 8, a proposed ban on gay marriage, in California. Here's hoping that as more precincts report, the ban will fail.

I have a restored faith in America, I have to admit

It just feels so good to have Obama as President-Elect.

It feels good to be an American tonight.

I think Obama's speech

was excellent, too. He spoke to just about every person, every group, Americans and beyond, especially the part that America is not the strength of its arms or the scale of its wealth, but the power of its ideals.

His anecdote about the 106-year-old woman was well spoken. His inspiring talk of hard work and sacrifice gives hope. Wow, the man can speak. Now let's see if he can run a country--he's got a lot of work to do, or more properly we have a lot of work to do.

For text of the speech as prepared, see the Wall Street Journal's transcript.

I find it telling

that when McCain was talking about Obama, his supporters booed, but when Obama talked about McCain, his supporters cheered.

Anyone else notice that?

Of course, McCain clearly didn't approve of the booing, because he's a classy guy. In other days I might have voted for him--certainly against George W. Bush.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Kudos to John McCain for a wonderful concession speech

I am so pleased that Barack Obama will be our next president. McCain's concession speech was very classy, too. Although my state, Kentucky, was the first race to be called, and for McCain, my county went for Obama by 52%.

Of course, McConnell kept his his seat, and I would have like to have seen his defeat.

For a transcript of McCain's speech, try the Turner Report.

That's nice that her wishes will be recorded, even if because of a technicality

Hawaii officials to count Obama grandmother's absentee ballot
Although the law would normally require that an absentee ballot cast by someone who dies before election day to be discarded, Kevin Cronin, the Hawaii elections chief, confirmed that it would still be counted, as the elections office did not receive a list of deceased residents - which included Dunham's name - from the state department of health before Tuesday.

Keeping up with the election results online

PS A someone without cable TV and questionable broadcast reception, thank you MSNBC for broadcasting live via the Internet. :)


even as a child I didn't really ask for gifts at Christmas because, well, I thought it somewhat presumptuous and frankly was much more passive than I am now (and that's saying a lot). But if you don't ask, you don't receive, so here is my list of things I'd like for Christmas/Solstice/Yule. :) Best colours for the bathroom or kitchen are black, grey, or purple. Best for the bedroom are either lavender, grey, or purple. (PS I don't really expect total strangers to send me things. But if you're a friend or member of my family and are thinking, what could she possibly want, here's a wish list. And it's my own reminder about things I need.)

1. Cookware (doesn't have to be expensive, but I only have a 1.5 quart saucepan, a small frying pan, and a larger shallow oval pan to cook with). Do you know how difficult it is to cook pasta in a tiny saucepan?
2. Wooden spoon. Hey, it's cheap but necessary.
3. Pyrex liquid measuring cup. I've been using a gravy separator for years. I have no idea why I have a gravy separator when I don't have the other basics.
4. Towels and washcloths. I have one of each. Really.
5. Thick queen-sized sheets. I have one set, which are in sad repair from the springs of the old mattress.
6. A decent digital camera that actually takes sharp pictures.

I'll get around to getting them eventually, but if you're feeling generous.... :)

I voted!

(okay, I really tried to get a sharp picture and just couldn't get the camera to focus well enough on the sticker, but there it is, anyway)

There was no line for my precinct, as per usual, but the other precinct that also votes at the Eagle Creek library was out the door and maybe thirty people beyond that. A lot of people had brought their kids with them, which was nice.

I did pretty well until I got to the soil conservation board. I mean, how much do you hear about that sort of race?

But we have a couple of very hotly contested races: Obama-McCain of course, and Lunsford-McConnell. McConnell is one, if not the, most powerful Republican in the Senate and has been in office for over 20 years. Lunsford does have a few drawbacks, but the Republicans attacked him over stupid things, at least from what I saw, like having homes in other states (he lives primarily in Louisville, though). I saw one of their ads and it was attacking him on it, and the very document they had circled on it also listed his Louisville address. Sheesh. You think they could do better than that.

I'm curious as to how things will turn out tonight. I'm taking a friend or two to the polls at 3 this afternoon. Their precinct tends to be pretty crowded. There was a mayoral (yes, mayoral--not presidential) race where we got stuck at the polls for something like three hours there. We're trying to go before people head out from work this time.

Remember, be sure to vote!

Get ready, set, go!

My voting precinct is small and includes mostly just my apartments and some townhomes, a population that doesn't NORMALLY vote. Of course, this is no normal election. So, just in case I get trapped in line:

1) Bathroom (check)
2) Comfortable shoes (check)
3) Taken medicine (check)
4) Eaten something (check)

Can't really get any caffeine (although Starbucks is apparently giving out cofee to those who have voted, in a possible legal violation). [Check out Krispy Kreme and Ben & Jerry's for general election day freebies as well]. :)

But otherwise I think I'm ready to hit the voting machine.

Oh, and it was so sad that Obama's grandmother died so soon before the election. I wish she'd been able to see the outcome, whatever it may be.

Whatever else you do today, and however you do it, be sure to VOTE! and exercise your right as an American. (Oh, and if you're not an American, be sure to watch the candidates duke it out as the rest of the world waits to see how bone-headed/smart we are.)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Tomorrow's to-do

1) VOTE!
2) Take a friend to vote!
3) Take some things back to the store for exchange.
4) Clean!
5) Notes!
6) Read 2 chapters of Lumley.
7) Keep a weather eye out for the election returns.

I would so have thrown this person out of our store, regardless of the consequences

[begin righteous indignation rant]
I was working with putting up cigarettes in the back room when my co-worker waited on an Hispanic man buying beer. He didn't hand her the money but rather put the it down on the counter and told her to get it. She put his change on the counter. He then told her he didn't like touching black people. He left before she could say anything, she was so shocked.

I was angry on her behalf. Nevermind the fact that my co-worker's mom is white, dad is black, with a Puerto Rican grandfather thrown in, too. All people of black African descent are black, even if it's a bit, right? No one had ever told her such a thing before. Also, as one of our other customers put it, even if you thought it, why say such a thing? I think it's wrong either way. What surprised my co-worker the most about it was that the man was Hispanic, another minority, but that didn't surprise me so much. Prejudice isn't something confined to WASPs, that's for sure.

I'd like to see what would have happened if he pulled that on our manager, who is biracial. My co-worker said that one of these days he's going to say something like that to the wrong black person. And whilst I do not condone racial violence, I think every racist deserves their comeuppance. Hmpf.
[end rant]


Which is better, a smaller, yet brighter screen, or a larger screen that's good for text but is sometimes difficult to watch videos on because the brightness is lower and yet it's on the highest setting?

I have two monitors with these qualities. I've switched them for now to see how it affects my browsing experience before making a final decision.

What's your opinion?

Today's to-do

1) Get some rest (14 hours of sleep!)
2) Start cleaning the house (living room is being torn apart so that it can be put back together again)
3) Reschedule an appointment (made it for next Monday)
4) Check on my electric bill, as I got a phone call from Kentucky Utilities this morning (called and got a one-day extension for Thursday)
5) Call the state of Kentucky regarding some funds I owe them/transferring them Thursday (called and set up a payment for Thursday)
6) Work at the store (worked truck night)

and maybe some game notes if I feel like it when I get home.

Okay, I went a little heavy on the whole sleep thing, but it's the first day of a three day vacation, so it's not that unexpected. Actually I got a fair amount of sleep over the weekend for a change, because I got home early on Friday (9 pm is early as far as I'm concerned), I got to sleep in late Saturday (worked 2-10 pm), was going to stay up working on game notes all Saturday night but the game was cancelled, got an extra hour of sleep due to the time change, and then came in about three hours later than I'd originally planned to help out a friend with cleaning (I usually do that for the game anyway). I got home about oh, 7 or 8 pm last night and was in bed by 10 pm). Okay, enough for a quick update. Time to carry on.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The man whose books introduced me to oral history is dead

Author, activist Studs Terkel dies at 96

Also a story from the Chicago Tribune.

Be sure to check out Studs Terkel: Conversation with America sponsored by the Chicago Historical Society. Then there's Wikipedia's article on Studs Terkel, too.

I first encountered Studs Terkel's work in a history class when I read The Good War: An Oral History of World War Two. His writing and expertise really brought the stories alive. I've had an interest in oral history ever since, both in history classes and one in library school. He must have had a wonderful talent for rapport to have gotten so many people to talk about often harrowing or difficult experiences.

Because robbers usually knock politely on the door at Halloween

Police: Man feared trick-or-treater was robber: Boy, 12, shot dead in S.C. after approaching home; father, brother wounded
SUMTER, S.C. - An ex-convict who thought he was being robbed gunned down a 12-year-old trick-or-treater, spraying nearly 30 rounds with an assault rifle from inside his home after hearing a knock on the door, police said Saturday.

Gods, can't people with AK-47s at least invest in peepholes? Or does this just go under a case of a paranoid ex-convict (for drug charges) shooting first and damn the consequences? I mean, okay, it's within the realm of possibility that someone might try a home invasion during trick-or-treat hours, but what is it with people shooting first before even looking at the person they're shooting at? We've had one of those cases in Lexington recently and the person was acquitted. They're dangerous, loose cannons, as far as I'm concerned, if they shoot a gun without even looking at the person at whom they're shooting. There's no sign that he was on drugs or alcohol at the time of the shooting, although a woman in the residence ran away with thousands of dollars and has been charged with obstruction of justice, so that may explain the paranoia of robbery, but you also have to wonder why anyone would keep that sort of cash in the house.

Seriously, though, my thoughts and prayers are with T.J. Darrisaw's family. It's a horrible tragedy, and I hope the shooter is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Oh, my God

Militants stone to death Somali rape victim, 13: Amnesty: Stadium packed with 1,000 spectators watched horrific slaying
Dozens of men stoned Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow to death Oct. 27 in a stadium packed with 1,000 spectators in the southern port city of Kismayo, Amnesty International and Somali media reported, citing witnesses. The Islamic militia in charge of Kismayo had accused her of adultery after she reported that three men had raped her, the rights group said.

Somehow I don't think the rapists (assuming they're caught) will suffer in any way as much as this child did. How horrible that things like this happen in the world, especially in the name of religion.

Goodnight Opus, and goodbye

When I was in college, Bloom County was my favourite comic in the newspaper (well, back then it was in our campus paper, not the city one). I loved the penguin Opus--as did a friend, to whom I gave a stuffed one one year. I am an initiate in the Bill the Cat society (I cannot give details of that moving ceremony, for it is most secret). Then Bloom County ended and life was sad.

But then Opus returned in the eponymous comic strip, this time graduating up to the city paper. And Berkeley Breathed continued to entertain with his creations. But now the comic is retiring, and today was the last strip, and it went out in a way that made this librarian cry. (Okay, I cry at the drop of a hat, but still....)

Be sure to see the last published strip, then go to the Humane Society's web page to see the last frame. Thanks Great Western Dragon from LISNews for the links.

Always good to know the Air Force is on top of things

Well, except that whole live-warheads-over-your-hometown thing. Well, and I still wonder about Project Blue Book.

Wannabe Bond Villains' Last Line Of Defense

But what happens to the maintenance crew? Do they get trapped inside? Really, though, in defence spending terms, $10 million to secure the 450 Minuteman III silos is well worth it in my opinion, having spent a couple of years living in the midst of missile silos (I think ours were Titan II's, in Kansas) and another 10 or so on Air Force bases (read, Ground Zero for nuclear conflicts [a child of the Nuclear Age and Cold War, I didn't so much worry about surviving a nuclear war until I moved to Kentucky]).

But check into the plug if you plan on having a secret underground base from which to achieve world domination.


Check out Livio De Marchi's Casa di Libri. The sculptures are magnificent. Imagine an entire house where common things like beds or tables are made in a book motif, and appliances are hidden in a secret place behind bookshelves, too.

Thanks to Librarian for this site.