Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Some folks have no sense of adventure

I'm talking about the Author's Guild, which cried foul when Amazon unveiled the Kindle 2, saying that it would undermine the audio books market with its text-to-speech function. (Because of course we all know there is no difference between a book eloquently read by a rich human voice and an artificial computerised one.) I think the Author's Guild would make reading aloud to children a violation of rights if possible. If for no other reason, the innovation is great for those with low vision. Now Amazon, although maintaining their text-to-speech functionality is legal, is caving in to a degree by allowing rights holders to determine whether their books will have the capability of speech or not. I guess it's a win-win situation, but I hope they indicate on the Kindle store site so people can choose books based on whether they want text-to-speech or not. I'd really like a Kindle 2 and this functionality is important to me.

Amazon agrees to cripple the Kindle 2

Thanks to jdscott50 on Twitter for the link.

If you click on the ClustrMaps icon at the bottom of this page

an interesting chart pops up:

Current Country Totals
From 14 Jun 2008 to 22 Feb 2009

US - United States 4,054
GB - United Kingdom 301
CA - Canada 229
AU - Australia 110
IN - India 82
DE - Germany 69
IE - Ireland 43
PH - Philippines 39
NL - Netherlands 36
FR - France 33
CN - China 30
PL - Poland 25
EU - Europe 23
AE - United Arab Emirates 23
SE - Sweden 22
MX - Mexico 22
ES - Spain 20
NZ - New Zealand 18
JP - Japan 17
SA - Saudi Arabia 17
MY - Malaysia 17
SG - Singapore 16
DK - Denmark 16
RO - Romania 15
IL - Israel 15
NO - Norway 15
TR - Turkey 15
EG - Egypt 14
PK - Pakistan 14
IT - Italy 14
CZ - Czech Republic 13
AT - Austria 12
CH - Switzerland 12
BE - Belgium 12
TH - Thailand 12
GR - Greece 11
HU - Hungary 11
FI - Finland 11
RU - Russian Federation 10
RS - Serbia 9
ID - Indonesia 9
BR - Brazil 8
HK - Hong Kong 8
BG - Bulgaria 7
KR - Korea, Republic of 7
UA - Ukraine 7
ZA - South Africa 7
TW - Taiwan 6
PR - Puerto Rico 6
JO - Jordan 5
KW - Kuwait 5
AR - Argentina 5
PT - Portugal 4
SK - Slovakia 4
TT - Trinidad and Tobago 4
VN - Vietnam 4
VE - Venezuela 3
CL - Chile 3
DO - Dominican Republic 3
BA - Bosnia and Herzegovina 2
HR - Croatia 2
MK - Macedonia 2
DZ - Algeria 2
KE - Kenya 2
IR - Iran, Islamic Republic of 2
CO - Colombia 2
GH - Ghana 2
NG - Nigeria 2
LY - Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 2
PE - Peru 2
EE - Estonia 1
CM - Cameroon 1
BJ - Benin 1
UY - Uruguay 1
GY - Guyana 1
MU - Mauritius 1
UG - Uganda 1
TO - Tonga 1
LK - Sri Lanka 1
BY - Belarus 1
LT - Lithuania 1
ZW - Zimbabwe 1
SD - Sudan 1
GE - Georgia 1
BM - Bermuda 1
PS - Palestinian Territory 1
MA - Morocco 1
LB - Lebanon 1
TN - Tunisia 1
CY - Cyprus 1
BD - Bangladesh 1
OM - Oman 1
YE - Yemen 1
MT - Malta 1
AG - Antigua and Barbuda 1
SI - Slovenia 1
KY - Cayman Islands 1
VI - Virgin Islands, U.S. 1
GT - Guatemala 1

That's so cool. Who would have thought that people from that many countries would be reading this blog? 99 countries! If I'm doing my math right that's 5,758 hits over the last 8 months. Wow! And it still surprises me that I have over 77,283 visits over all since I began in 2001, and more than 107,716 page views. At the moment I have five followers through Blogger and 64 subscribers through Feedburner. Thank you so much for reading. It's a little weird to think about that many people tuning into my personal life and things that strike me as worthy of comment, but kind of nice, too. This blog is in its eighth year and I really appreciate that I'm not just writing in a vacuum, but that real people take the time to read what I write.

Reason #326 for subscribing to your own blog in a feed

Almost every time I write a post, I spell check it, then preview it, scanning it for errors. But invariably there is the occasional mistake, and I've found the best way to catch such mistakes it to read the post in my Google Reader. That catches about 98% of them. Another 1% are caught by my friend YKWIA. But since I usually have Google Reader open at home, I get the early warning fairly quickly so that I can change the text before too many people see it. So if you see a glaring (or not-so-glaring) error in your reader, chances are it either has been or will be fixed shortly (I can't blog at work, so I have to wait) on the actual blog. But if the mistake's still there, feel free to comment. I hate making grammatical or spelling mistakes because I'm such a card-carrying grammar police member. Misplaced apostrophes and typos bother me quite a bit. I'd rather admit the mistake and fix it as soon as possible than to have it staring out into the aether of the Internet for years and years.

Hmmm...well, it got me through years of college

A Sketchy Brain Booster: Doodling
Doodlers may appear distracted, but in reality they are probably paying better attention than those whose pencils are still. By occupying the brain just enough to keep it from wandering off into a daydream, doodling can improve memory of what the ears are hearing.

A blast from the past

YKWIA found my favourite scene from 'The Young Ones', a British comedy from the 80s. I faithfully watched the show on MTV in college, but Neil's letter to the bank manager was, in my opinion, its finest moment, one I vividly remember over 25 years later.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Grrr, arrr

I had my fish tank's water tested yesterday and it's still showing nitrates through the roof. Two fish are still alive, including (surprisingly) one that is pregnant. The pet store suggested doing a 20% water change and cutting back to feeding every other day. I went to another pet store to get a no-mouth-suction vacuum (I hate my old one; it's just not good to suck on something that's had dirty fish water in it) and they offered to check with an actual kit rather than test strips. I also bought a no-scratch scrubby pad at the grocery store (rather than the more expensive pads at the pet stores) and scrubbed off the algae that was occluding most of the tank. It's still there, but it's not on the sides or front. There's an algae shelf in the back that the fish like to hide under, so I left that. I vacuumed the gravel (having a devil of a time getting it started, even so), removing the desired amount of water, filled it up with treated tap water (which I had also had my tap water tested, and there are no nitrates in it, just a tiny bit of chlorine, and the treatment takes care of that), put some more bacteria in, and we'll see what happens from there. The fish are more active, so maybe that will help. They suggested waiting a week or two and retesting before adding more fish. I still don't know why this has been so difficult; I've kept aquaria for over twenty years and have never had this sort of problem. Maybe I've lost my touch. I used to sometimes go for long periods without water changes and still had a healthy tank, with a nice established bunch of bacteria, I guess. I'm wondering if the pregnant one will have her babies soon (she has the signs), and if they'll survive in a high-nitrate environment. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Thanks.

Some news of interest (to me, anyway)

Octopus sets off flood at aquarium (ah, the wily octopus!)

1.5 million-year-old human footprints found

Fungus threatens famed Lascaux cave drawings

Philip José Farmer, Science Fiction Writer, Dies at 91

Poll: 1 in 4 delaying medical care due to cost

13,000-year-old tools dug up in Colorado yard

Best Reason To Get A Kindle 2

Bizarre fish poisoning sparks alarm

Injured good Samaritan ticketed for jaywalking

Iraq to reopen museum looted in US invasion chaos

First Solar Eclipse Recorded From Moon (story has a link to a video which showes a glowing ring around the earth much like the ones seen when the moon passes between us and the sun)

Cache of Ice Age fossils found in Los Angeles

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nice to see this being discussed in the media

In Tough Times, the Humanities Must Justify Their Worth

One idea that elite universities like Yale, sprawling public systems like Wisconsin and smaller private colleges like Lewis and Clark have shared for generations is that a traditional liberal arts education is, by definition, not intended to prepare students for a specific vocation. Rather, the critical thinking, civic and historical knowledge and ethical reasoning that the humanities develop have a different purpose: They are prerequisites for personal growth and participation in a free democracy, regardless of career choice.

The article discusses the particular challenges to the humanities and those who choose to study them in hard oeconomic times. Faculty positions get retired rather than filled, jobs are hard to come by, budgets shrink--but the essence of the humanities is that they are even more relevant in a society where greed and unethical behaviour has brought the oeconomy down, and a well-versed and well-read President struggles to bring hope back to the country. Marketing the humanities is especially important now.

I love the humanities. Although I was a sociology major as well, I majored in history, then went back to school to complete a major in classical civilisation and a minor in Judaic studies. I was one class short of a linguistics major and also studied German, Latin, French, Ancient Hebrew, and Ancient Greek (I'd studied Spanish in junior high and high school). I went on to be 'all but thesis' for an advanced degree in mediaeval and early modern European history (it wasn't the thesis or the classes that were my downfall--I did well on papers and in class; it was the oral exam, of which I was terrified. Now I've gotten through much of that anxiety, but I'd have to start all over on my doctorate and I don't have the financial aid available for that). I spent years in school, and I have the student loans to prove it. Maybe I don't have the greatest standard of living in the world, but I'd never change my choices for what I studied. The breadth and depth of humanities is greater than any other course of study I could have taken.

I use it every day, from my Latin aiding my medical terminology, to research skills (honed through library school, too, of course), to an appreciation of art, literature, music, language, and history. I would recommend the liberal arts to anyone going into school, and if they're worried about not being employable, a double major is quite doable and a benefit, so you can do business and language or philosophy, and that may be the extra umphf that cinches a job offer.

I always planned on teaching and researching at a college. I never planned on being a librarian. But I've found it very fulfilling and I'm good at it, and although I am a medical librarian, I'm never very far from the humanities I love, either. When I first got my job, the chief of staff emeritus saw that I'd studied Latin and immediately shot some at me, which I answered in kind. We bonded over that and he is a great believer in the library, a staunch supporter I can draw on when times are tough.

Thanks to Steven over at Library Stuff for the link.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I can hear!

Any of you following this blog for the last month or so knows I had a horrible ear infection at the beginning of February. Even after the infection let up, I had a lot of fluid in both ears, especially at night and in the morning. Well, I finally went to the doctor today, and he did indeed find fluid there. He had them give me a steroid shot and prescribed an oral form of the same thing to help with that.

But he also found that my left ear was completely full of ear wax (see what happens when you're good and don't dig at your ear for a month?) For that, they put drops in my ear that percolated as they loosened the wax, then used a Water-Pic-like device that shot water into my ear and then sucked it back out, and then the person used some sort of glowing instrument (it was clear with a bluish light going through it) to remove the wax. It took a couple of times to get it out; a large plug was impacted right next to my ear drum.

Whilst the drops were doing their thing, I suddenly felt some of the pressure release, and could hear more clearly from that ear. Once she got the wax out, I could hear the heater running. I didn't realise how hard it had been for me to hear. I kept having to ask people to repeat things, and it sounded muffled, but some sounds were just gone, like background noise. My hearing's actually a little sensitive to loud sounds like the radio; I'd apparently had the volume way up on the way to the office, because I had to turn it down quickly once I got back in. My ear's a little irritated, but otherwise it feels so good!

Also, the infection didn't linger, so that's a good thing, too. It's amazing how delicate and yet important your ears can be. Tomorrow I'm going to get a dropper for the sweet oil they say will help loosen wax before it gets that bad.

Ah, Tofu Goodness

also known as Tofu in Sesame Sauce--from Great Wall over on Waller Avenue--is a wonderful thing. Basically it's fried tofu with broccoli in a sesame sauce with peppers and sesame seeds. My stomach is very happy. I got two fortune cookies:

'Don't let statistics do a number on you' and 'It's better to be the beak of a hen than the tail of an ox'.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I actually got quite a bit of rest last night

despite going to bed fairly late (it was almost 3 am). I think it was because the straps of my CPAP masque were perfectly adjusted and did not come off once. (I often wake up and have to adjust it.)

Today I'm back to work at the hospital (I took off yesterday to help some friends with a project). I need to receive some ILLs and get them to the patron. I left the copiers full and happy, so hopefully nothing blew up during my absence. I have a very long list of things to do this week at work, so I'm just going to throw myself into it. I also need to wrap up some things for an online class if there's still time. Technically I think it was over yesterday, but I of course was elsewhere. We'll see. It would be nice to get credit for it but also it was good to learn more about Google Docs, sharing documents, and using it for surveys.

Okay, that's all for now. Have a great day.

PS It doesn't look like I can get credit. Yesterday was the last day. I just got way overwhelmed by the 200+ requests to take surveys from the other participants and didn't have much time at home and certainly not at work to wade through them and finish up the last part of my work. Oh, well. It was still useful, and I've got more than enough CE credit to try for AHIP status (Academy of Health and Information Professionals).

Do you tweet? Or at least follow people on Twitter?

Check out the Just Tweet It Librarians Directory. I'm listed under Eilir Rowan (http://www.twitter.com/eilir).

Thanks to David Rothman for the link.

How horrible

DA: Blanket is evidence Pa. boy planned to kill

Jordan Brown is accused of taking a youth hunting shotgun, a Christmas present, covering it with a blanket to hide it, and shooting his father's sleeping 8-months pregnant girlfriend in the head.

He is eleven years old.

Afterwards he got onto the school bus and went to school like normal.

He is to be tried as an adult; Pennsylvania has no provision for criminal homicide in the juvenile system. He is being kept in a separate area from the adult inmates in jail.

Please tell me this is a mistake

The Kindle title Practical Variable Speed Drives and Power Electronics (Practical Professional Books) by Malcom Barnes is ludicrously expensive, according to Amazon.com's website. The price? $41,916.00--reduced from $52,395. Now let's see, that's about 117 Kindle 2s, or as the lone reviewer says, more than a really nice car. Granted, it's a title with a narrow focus for mechanical engineers, but my goodness, are they serious? Thanks to Bibliofuture of LISNews for the link.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hmmm...the plot thickens

Octuplet mom, doctor benefited from alliance: Nadya Suleman's birth record boosted fertility clinic's success rate
Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that between 2000 and 2006, Suleman's children accounted for five out of 24 live births to women under 35 who underwent the same procedure at Kamrava's clinic. (She had six children in all during that period, including a set of twins, which are counted as one live birth in CDC data.) The figures do not include 2005, when Kamrava did not file with the CDC.

Medical ethicists have questioned Dr. Michael Kamrava's implantation of six embryos in the in vitro fertilisation that produced the octuplets rather than the two generally regarded as desirable according to standards in the field. (Although in his defence, only two of those embryos produced the babies; the embryos split, producing a total of eight foetuses.)

It should be interesting how this story will play out.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I had to drive home with the car door open again

even though I sprayed WD-40 in it and waited awhile. It is highly annoying, but the car is 14 years old with over 260,000 miles, so I guess it's to be expected. I'll be happy when the warmer weather comes; it only does this when it's very, very cold, like the 20 degrees out there now.

Today I slept until almost 1:30 pm, took a bath (making sure not to get my ears wet), and blogged for awhile before going over to a friend's house. Now I'm home and I just made tapioca pudding (it's chilling). I'll eat some in a little while. I'm trying to figure out if I want to go to bed, blog for awhile, do surveys for an online class I'm taking, watch an episode or two of 'Heroes', or do my taxes. Blogging is winning for now, so I'll check my RSS feeds to see if anything particularly blog-worthy has made it in there.

PS When I went to write the name of the chemical, I accidentally wrote 'WS-40' which is funny because WS it the National Library of Medicine's classification notation for paediatrics, and I use it a lot since I have a paediatric orthopaedic library. There is no WS 40, but WS 39 covers handbooks related to paediatrics. Okay, I guess the librarian/cataloguing humour is probably lost on most people, but it was a slip that made a bit of sense to me after I read it.

I must say, subscribing to my own blog in Google Reader helps me catch these little typos or more grievous errors.

A dramatic gesture

The Consumer Product Safety Act, despite a deadline delay, is still very much in the news, as evidenced by the following:

Library Director Barbara Hegr holds a sheet covering about 1,000 books removed from the shelves of the children’s library of the Morton James Public Library in Nebraska. Photo by Dan Swanson, used under a non-commercial Creative Commons licence.

Librarian quarantines books

The Act limits access to materials for children under twelve to protect them from items containing or suspected of containing lead. According to the article, although the Consumer Product Safety Commission suspended the deadline for one year, they also said that penalties would not be imposed for libraries distributing 'ordinary children’s books printed after 1985'. So the books under the sheets are this library's pre-1985 copyright books, quarantined until it can be determined when they were actually printed.

For another take on things, though, read Stop! New law doesn't require book burning (but also be sure to read the comments for stories of what libraries and thrift shops are doing in these people's hometowns)--thanks to Steven of Library Stuff for the link.

It should be interesting to see what other librarians are doing over the next few months, or whether the law will be revisited with an exemption for libraries. I think we agree that testing library collections themselves for lead is cost-prohibitive and unwieldy. It's probably not much better for the publishers.

Although I am a medical librarian and normally wouldn't be affected, I also deal with an early literacy project that involves buying new books from a publisher (fortunately only one), but also we get donations of gently used books (and toys, and all other sorts of things--we're a children's hospital, after all). This may be an issue. I'd hate to think we weren't able to use donations because of a slim chance of lead contamination in a book. The children I serve with the literacy project are 6 months to five years old, too, so firmly in this age group and at the highest risk for lead-related complications.

I hope this gets resolved in a way that can protect children without preventing them from learning. Some of the books we get through donation are out of print and may become childhood favourites.

Thanks to Bibliofuture of LISNews.org for the link to the story on quarantining books.

Random quote to meditate on

from the song 'Sober', sung by Pink (songwriters Marcella Araica, Kara Dioguardi, Nate Hills, and Alecia Moore (the last of which is Pink)):

I don't wanna be the girl who has to fill the silence
The quiet scares me 'cause it screams the truth

I thought all my fish were dead

but it turned out that two of the platies were hiding. I really thought I saw one belly up, but couldn't find the body later, and I didn't see one for something like three days. Oh, well, here's to small miracles. On Thursday I'm going to have the pet store check the water and if it's okay I'm going to put in some plants and get a scrubby pad to take down the front of the tank's algae, and then I'll see where to go from there. Brenda's offered to give me a sponge filter full of bacteria to help supplement mine, and some fish as well.


I was rummaging through the very topmost shelf of my kitchen and found a package of farfalle, of which I cooked some and then mixed in a little olive oil and some Italian herbs. I do wish I'd had some Parmesan cheese about. I also found several ancient Alfredo and noodles/Parmesan and noodles mixes, all of which require milk, which I do actually have in the house (thanks to YKWIA), so this is good. I even found a package of tapioca pudding and some Jello. Since I am terribly broke until Thursday, I'm living on this, bread and (salmonella-free) peanut butter, and if need be, the beans, rice, and lentils I usually keep more for decoration/in case of no money.

The first thing I'm going to do once I get paid is lay in some canned goods and other nonperishables so the cupboards aren't so bare. Still, although I've been eating frugally this last couple of weeks, I can't say I've been starving or anything; I've managed to avoid being very hungry. There are a lot of others making the same choice I did (rent and electricity over food), more so now that the oeconomy has tanked. But it's nothing compared to people with almost no resources. I know things will get better in a few days. A lot of people don't. People starving in Africa cannot see a brighter future; poor parents struggling to feed their children all over the world may feel trapped in an endless cycle of poverty and hunger.

Anyway, my flirtation with having no money at all has given me a better perspective on hunger and poverty. It's also caused me to really look over my finances. If I weren't so behind, I really think there is no reason I wouldn't be able to live reasonably comfortably with the two jobs. If you look at my predictable, budgetable monthly expenses (rent, Internet, phone, gasoline, and food, plus the end-in-sight mistake of a gym membership), that totals about $825. My electric needs to be put on a budget plan, because it varies from about $40 to $120 a month through the year and right now it's one of the reasons I'm hurting. But I take home about $920 a month from one job and about $400 a month from the other. So, as long as I'm not behind, there should be money to pay for necessities, put away for savings, and maybe start paying down student loans and old debt. It's the being behind and getting hit with late fees that has me in trouble, and I'm not quite sure how to get out of it. But I definitely can't keep going like this. I've been behind due to unexpected expenses like car tyres or brakes and just general tendency to not plan well. I'd like to get to a point where I had enough savings to take care of unexpected problems or a problem meeting my rent, etc.

Well, having assuaged my hunger, I'm going back to bed until A calls me. Hopefully the snow has stopped; we got more than that inch, judging by what was on my car earlier, and the parking lots were pretty icy. Good night.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I think I may be getting sick (again)

My ears are still giving me problems (stuffed up, the feeling of fluid sloshing about, and a hard time hearing). But my throat also hurts, as does my head and the back of my neck and shoulders. I feel achy and sinusy and a little feverish. It was worse last night; maybe it will just be a short, 24/48 hour thing, but I think I definitely need to go back to the doctor about my ears.

Okay, time to get ready for a 10-hour shift at the station. They expect an inch of snow today and there's a UK basketball game going on now, so maybe it will be slow--but the weather's pretty nice right now, so they may be madly gadding about. Who knows?

Interested in mediaeval English cooking?

Check out The Forme of Cury, A Roll of Ancient English Cookery. It was compiled about 1390 CE by the Master-Cooks of King Richard II, and presented afterwards to Queen Elizabeth I by Edward Lord Stafford. It was later published by Samuel Pegge in 1791, and his name became associated with it.

You can also access the Forme of Cury at the Project Gutenberg site, including downloading zipped files of the text for reading offline.

I actually found this looking up information about hedgehogs after watching some cute videos of them which popped up as related to the cat videos below. There's a recipe for hedgehog sausages in the collection.


This kitten really likes his box, and defends his kingdom against all comers:

But all things must end...and eventually the peasants will overrun things...

The thing about having a friend who works second shift

is that your big once-every-two-weeks grocery runs happen after midnight. The grocery store is a little weirder at night, but not as weird as this:

Fortunately there's a woman there at the store who sees us coming with our two carts and opens one of the non-U-Scan lanes for us, so checkout goes smoothly.

Now I'm home and ready for bed. But seriously, check out the Chad Vader series--they're pretty funny. Thanks to YKWIA for showing them to me.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I so lucked out yesterday

The last several days my car has made an alarming thumping noise from the rear passenger side. Since I am terribly broke at the moment, having chosen rent and electricity over anything else, I was concerned that it would be expensive and/or dangerous. Fortunately I have a good repair shop and I called them to ask how much it would be for them to take a look at it, maybe test drive and listen to it. They said just to bring it on in and they'd be happy to look at it.

Well, I took it in yesterday and the mechanic and I took an interesting test drive, swerving back and forth down Industry Road. It could have been the bearings needing to be repacked, but he wanted to check something first. So he jacked it up and tested the wheel and it was a little loose. He tightened up all the wheels with a power driver and put air in the tyres as well. Then we went for a second drive and everything was fine.

No one's worked on my car since August (them, actually) and it's unlikely that it was left over from that since it was so many months ago. He said it might have been someone trying to take the tyre, with the oeconomy so bad. Anyway, it's fixed and they didn't charge me anything.

If you live here in Lexington, Mitch's Auto Repair is a great place to go. They don't gouge and don't 'find' other things wrong with the car that don't need to be fixed. When they fixed my brakes they also threw in plugging a tyre and fixing the door liner, which kept falling off. Plus they're very friendly. I highly recommend them. I'm so glad it wasn't costly and that they went ahead and looked at it right there on the spot. It rather sounded like the wheel was ready to come off and apparently I was right, or at least it was on its way. Here's their address:

Mitch's Auto Repair
1253 Industry Road Suite 120
Lexington, KY 40505
Phone number: (859) 254-6398

If you need to get your car repaired, they're a great place to go.

PS My car passed a milestone the other day--260,000 miles. :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Remembering my grandfather

On February 19, 1945, my grandfather, Edgar Craig, from Danvile, Kentucky, was a 21-year-old Marine who worked with tanks. That day was the beginning of one of the most famous (infamous, really) battles of World War II--Iwo Jima--and he was there. At the time he was married with a small son at home. He survived, went on to father two daughters, including my mother, and lived until 2000, dying of emphesema. He was the best role-model I had as a child, and I miss him terribly still. But his experiences at Iwo Jima marked him, although he said very little about it, enough that I can put it all into a small paragraph:

A lot of other Marines never made it off the volcanic beaches which my grandfather described to me as miring the tanks and keeping them pinned down for a long time. The famous photograph, he told me, was actually the second one, one that was staged. A smaller flag had been planted before that. He related to me a story where he was asked to volunteer to go up the hill into some of the worst fighting, and he told his commanding officer that he would go up if ordered, but that he had a family at home and would not volunteer for the duty. It wasn't that he wasn't patriotic; he just wasn't going to throw his life away without orders.

That's it, in a nutshell. He told the story matter-of-factly. I knew he had seen a lot of horrific stuff, but I really didn't understand the scope of what they faced on Iwo Jima. Today I was on a YouTube 'today-in-history' blog and found this interview of two Iwo Jima veterans in the St Louis area. I wish I had interviewed my grandfather; I had taken oral history and have always been interested in it. Here's the St Louis video:

I would like to see Clint Eastwood's films Flags of Our Fathers (from the American perspective) and Letters from Iwo Jima (from the Japanese one). Although each has had some minor criticism, they sound like they were well-done and unusual in that they are companion perspectives of an event from both sides of the war. I think it's important to remember that thousands of lives on both sides were changed during that battle, with ordinary men whose lives interconnected in a twist of fate.

I never heard my grandfather say anything bad about the Japanese in general or the ones they fought against. I remember when Toyota came to Kentucky, he was the one who pointed out to me that many Japanese cars are made in the US, but American cars are also made overseas. He did tell me about the Bataan Death March, of which our neighbouring town of Harrodsburg had many men, but he talked about conditions, not the captors. I think he realised and imparted to me that whilst the leaders may have been hard-core military men, the soldiers were generally conscripts who dreamt of returning to their families just like he did. Or at least that's the impression I was given.

Anyway, on this day of remembering the Battle of Iwo Jima, and the lives lost, I'm also remembering a survivor who went on to play an important role in my life. He was a true father figure, and I miss him.

Oh, Gods, I'm tired

Yesterday I spent from 7:30 pm to 3 am moving furniture and lots of other stuff. Today I worked 10 hours and then moved stuff again for another 2-3 hours. That's a lot of work, but it should be well worth it. Still, I was very sore this morning and tomorrow will no doubt be worse.

I've got a lot of stories and websites in my news reader to tell you about, but no energy to blog. Most of them were found via Steven over at Library Stuff. If you don't read his blog, you should. It's a great collection of random stuff, most of which relate to libraries.

The strangest thing in Google Reader tonight was news that relatives of famed Apache leader Geronimo are suing the Yale secret society called Skull and Bones (which supposedly includes in its membership both Presidents Bush). The suit alleges that members of the society stole Geronimo's body.

Geronimo's kin sue Skull and Bones: Relatives of legendary Apache want secret Yale group to turn over remains

Okay, I'm going to bed now. Tomorrow is a free day for me; I just work at the hospital, so I may feel more up to posting. Good night.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This is a great parody

'We're the Government--and You're Not' by David McElroy

What if the government made a propaganda educational film to teach good citizenship and why America is great?

Thanks to YKWIA for finding this.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I am so tired and achy

Over the last 15 hours, I have cleaned a house (not my own), including doing dishes twice, run errands, watched videos on YouTube and three episodes of the Cosby show on TV--all on four and 1/2 hours of sleep. Granted, I got so little sleep because I put off doing notes, but I did finish at least. But that meant the normal prep stuff I do for the game took much longer, as I was moving slowly. Unfortunately the game was cancelled this morning, but that's okay because I really wasn't up to it--of course, it may have been moot as my character has an infected gunshot wound to the gut and is under a voodoo curse that had yard-long water moccasins coming out of her, so she wasn't going to get much play, and Margaret's character is insane, so that leaves Brenda to brave the village of potential cultists.

Okay, that's all I can type. I ate some pretzels and now I'm going to sleep. Not bad--it normally takes me an hour to wind down. This time it's something like 12 minutes. :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Well, phooey

I went to feed the fish tonight and apparently I lost a fish (two days after the guarantee was up). But the rest are doing alright. One platy seemed weaker the whole time; I think it was this one. I'll check with Brenda and see if she can bring me some more fish. The algae's a big problem; it's covered everything. I hate to use an algaecide; the pleco eats algae. Perhaps I can get one or two of those little silver algae eaters later in the month when I have more money. For now, it's hard to see the fish. The pleco especially blends in.

PS Actually, I finally found the pleco. He was belly up, too. It was tangled in what little Java moss I still have in the tank, but it may or may not have been an issue. Something is apparently wrong with the tank, so I'll hold off on fish from Brenda and wait to see what happens to the others. I'll get some algaecide as soon as I can; maybe the ammonia/nitrates went back up after the fish were introduced. That can cause an algae bloom. I don't have any more of my test strips, but the algae does seem a little worse. I'll go ahead and put in the monthly treatment of bacteria just to be on the safe side.

Sigh. I used to be so much better at this. Am I just out of practice?

Friday, February 13, 2009


I don't normally write about work much, but here's what I was reticent to write about earlier, now that the results are in. Joint Commission has been at the hospital for several days. (Joint Commission, or JCAHO as it used to be called (pronounced 'Jay-Co'), is the main accrediting organisation for hospitals. Its name makes medical people's blood run cold at the mere mention. Surveys by them are a big deal, and most people try to keep quietly in their cubicles away from the hallways. Okay, I exaggerate a little. But it is a big deal.) :) I had no doubt we'd do well; we educate our staff, we strive for best practices, have excellent ratings by families, and because we are small and so focussed in scope, do a wonderful job of working efficiently together compared to many hospitals. I really like my hospital and for the most part have enjoyed my experiences there (okay, there was the reduction in hours, but I'm mostly over that). Anyway, we passed with flying colours. Yay for us. I am a little disappointed they didn't come into the library, or at least not when I was there. Sometimes they ask questions like how prepared you are in case of Internet or utility loss to have backups for getting information, that sort of thing.

It turned out to be a nice Friday the 13th. I'm part of group meeting once a month for the hospital newsletter and we got a free lunch that was quite good, including vegetarian fare (pasta with artichoke hearts and olives, pimiento cheese on croissant, and tomato basil soup). There were two soups, one for everyone else and one made especially for me without chicken broth, because the woman putting on the lunch knew I didn't eat chicken. She even sent the rest home with me. It's quite good.

After work I ran some errands with a friend. I've been home awhile where I ate and rested a bit, but I've also been working on notes for the game. A got a ride home tonight so I didn't have to go out again.

Tomorrow I work at 2 pm till 10 pm so the plan is to get up early, work on garden plans (I need to have them ready for tomorrow night), and also notes. I hopefully won't be staying up all night tomorrow. I left it until last to do again despite having more time this week to do them. Sigh. I will get this down eventually.

Good night.

Ooooh! Friday the 13th?

Dare I even go outside? Me, the klutz who falls off perfectly level sidewalks?

Well, I have to; too much to do and besides something important has been happening at work this week and I want to see how it comes out. I don't know if it's okay to write about it until it's over, so mum's the word for now. I'll explain later.


Yesterday was a rare Thursday that I was off from both the store and my normal after-work activities, so I:

  1. Paid my rent.
  2. Made the bed.
  3. Worked at the hospital.
  4. Went to the pharmacy to get something to counteract one of the main side effects of Strattera. Funny how multivitamins or calcium pills aren't covered under flexible spending accounts, but fiber tablets plus those things are.
  5. Basked in the sunbeam that was in my living room like a cat.
  6. Gathered and took all the trash out.
  7. Washed dishes. Twice. My dishwasher has a few issues.
  8. Straightened up the house. I still had papers out from looking for the W-2s and things had gotten just a little messy from being sick and then busy.
  9. Re-potted plants from work using soil from the dead Yule tree.
  10. Fed and watched fish.
  11. Did some errands.
  12. Watched the first episode of 'Heroes' that I missed last week.
  13. Got A from work.
  14. Went to bed early knowing I'd done a great job and feeling a little more secure about things, since I'll have a roof over my head again.

Today I'm up early to work on some notes. I went to do yoga and discovered that it may be time to replace my old VHS A.M. Yoga with Rodney Yee; the tape came out of the cassette and although I wound it back, the machine won't rewind it now. Fortunately it's on DVD. But I went ahead and put on some meditative music and went through the routine anyway; I've done it enough I remember it pretty well.

At work I need to distribute my needs assessment, print out some surveys, shelve the books and journals, and then whatever else comes up. I'm ahead on my time quite a bit (I haven't really been eating lunch much, so I haven't been taking the time off), so I can leave about 1:15, which is good because I have some errands to run with a friend.

I also need to work on some garden plans later today because I promised I'd have them ready by Sunday. I hope I still have the yard measurements; it's pretty muddy out there right now.

Well, it's getting light. I should start on things. Here's to getting rest the other day, for it is the foundation of productivity. :)

PS Woo-hoo! I do have the measurements!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

An art quiz with somewhat surprising results

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Simple, Progressive, and Sensual

7 Ukiyo-e, 5 Islamic, -15 Impressionist, -12 Cubist, -12 Abstract and 5 Renaissance!

Ukiyo-e ( Ukiyo-e), "pictures of the floating world", is a genre of Japanese paintings produced between the 17th and the 20th centuries. it mostly featured landscapes, historic tales, theatre, and pleasure. Ukiyo is a rather impetuous urban culture that has bloomed in popularity. Although the Japanese were more strict and had many prohibitions it did not affect the rising merchant class and therefore became a floating art form that did not bind itself to the normal ideals of society.

People that chose Ukiyo-e art tend to be more simplistic yet elegant. They don't care much about new style but are comfortable in creating their own. They like the idea of living for the moment and enjoy giving and receiving pleasure. They may be more agreeable than other people and do not like to argue. They do not mind following traditions but are not afraid to move forward to experience other ideas in life. They tend to enjoy nature and the outdoors. They do not mind being more adventurous in their sexual experiences. They enjoy being popular and like being noticed. They have their own unique style of dress and of presenting themselves. They may also tend to be more business oriented or at the very least interested in money making adventures. They might make good entrepreneurs. They are progressive and adaptable.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test
at HelloQuizzy

I like Impressionism quite a bit (although the choices didn't grab me like some of the others, so the low score on that was surprising but understandable). It was the non-representational art that I really liked, which is also surprising, as I didn't 'get' abstract or cubist art for the longest time. But I've never really gotten into this style of Japanese art per se. Hmmm...maybe my art appreciation is finally maturing/expanding. I must admit, however, much of the description is right. I don't think much beyond the now, I don't like to argue, and I tend to be somewhat pleasure-seeking (mostly to do with food, rather than sex, though). I would not make a good entrepreneur, however, as I have no head for finances whatsoever (which you've probably figured out by now--I look at a prospectus from my retirement fund and it's worse than Greek to me--I at least had two semesters of Greek and did pretty well until we hit the aorist).

By the way, this is post 4,800. Only 200 more to go till 5,000. Whew! I've written quite a bit in nearly eight years.

Miep Gies turns 100 on Sunday

If you don't know who Miep Gies is, then you don't know your Holocaust history. She was one of the office workers who hid the Frank family (including Anne Frank, whose diary became one of the most famous documents of the period) in the Secret Annex of an office building in Amsterdam. She is the last surviving of these 'helpers', who risked their own lives to try to save Jews from the Nazis.

She is also the one who rescued Anne's diary after the the Annex was raided and the family taken away, keeping it for Anne, and when Otto Frank was the only one of his family to return, giving it to him. The diary was later published in many different languages all over the world, and Anne Frank remains the voice many people think of when they consider the Holocaust. Miep Gies has continually told her story over the years in an effort to quell Holocaust deniers. She is a woman of remarkable courage and humility and many would do well to emulate her. I have to admit I had no idea she was still alive. It's nice to know that she has had a long life. I wish her good health and a happy birthday.

See the article Rescuer of Anne Frank's diary marks 100th birthday for more.

I have a copy of the book mentioned in the article, Anne Frank Remembered: the Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family. Released in 1987, according to the article, a new edition is due out this year. It is an excellent memoir and well worth reading.

Thanks to Steven at Library Stuff for the link.

I shouldn't forget to mention that today

is the 200th anniversary of the births of both Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin, something you should only be unaware of if you do not read political, historical, or science news. This whole year is a fest for Darwin; 2009 is also the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of the Species. Funny that these two great men should be born on the same day, eh? So anyway, the Americans and the Brits get to celebrate their native-born sons. One was a statesman who steered the country through a bitter civil war until his assassination in 1865; the other was a naturalist who brought about a revolution in science with his theory of evolution contributing greatly to our understanding of the world and how it works, despite the naysayers.

By the way, did you know Darwin was from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, the setting of the Brother Cadfael mysteries of Ellis Peters (the pseudonym for Edith Pargeter)?

I also find it amusing that many places are claiming Lincoln as their own here in the States. Illinois is known as the Land of Lincoln, but let's not forget he was born here in Kentucky, the first president born outside of the original 13 colonies (Kentucky was the 15th state, after Vermont. It was originally part of Virginia.)

25 Famous Librarians Who Changed History

25 Famous Librarians Who Changed History is a nifty list that Brian Herzog of the Swiss Army Librarian blog passed on. Laura Mulligan wrote it on a new blog called OnlineBestColleges.com.

For instance, did you know that J. Edgar Hoover was a clerk and cataloguer for the Library of Congress whilst putting himself through night school?

One of the nicest nods is to Jessamyn West, of librarian.net. It's great to see a present-day librarian making history, too. And Nancy Pearl (of librarian action figure fame) is listed as a present-day history maker, as well.

Whenever the ticker at the top of the page is yellow

There's an Amber alert in place (or being cancelled), and it's always good to check on the details by clicking the ticker if you're anywhere in the area. Tonight one drew my attention and it turns out it involves a child who was abducted from her own home in the middle of the night. A five-year-old girl named Haleigh Cummings disappeared from her bedroom some time after 3 AM Tuesday morning in Satsuma, Florida. Satsuma is approximately 75 miles east of Gainsville. We're not in proximity, but it's easy to get from Florida to Kentucky via I-75.

Haleigh is a white female, 3 feet tall, weighs 39 pounds and has blonde hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a pink shirt and underwear. Anyone with any information are urged to call the Putnam County Sheriff's office at (386) 329-0808 or dial 911. A picture can be found at: http://www.codeamber.org/cummingsfl/. For more information about the ticker and the service, go to http://www.codeamber.org. You can put a ticker on your own website or be alerted on a mobile phone as well.

One thing Kentucky does that I had no idea about until I became a gas station atttendant is that Amber alerts come over the lottery machines. Most gas stations in the state sell lottery tickets, and it's a perfect way to alert people who are most likely to see suspicious vehicles and persons along a roadway.

Defensive parking

First it was the ice storm; now we're encountering strong winds (up to 50 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph) and storms that have the potential to knock down trees weakened from the ice and create more power outages (and there are still people without power from the ice storm here in the state). It hasn't been too bad in Lexington today, although we had hail, but it sounds like a path equal to the highest destruction during the ice bore the brunt of today's storms, with tornado warnings, although as far as I know, none touched down.

During all of this, it's been very important to park and drive thoughtfully, avoiding trees, especially large ones. There are a couple of decent-sized trees that overhang my parking lot, for example, or the mature trees in the Chevy Chase area, where I often drive getting a friend from work. Today instead of parking in a driveway I parked in front of the next house. That house had already lost its tree in the ice storm, so there was nothing to fall. It sounded better than my car getting hit by a tree or being trapped in the driveway.

Oh, well, at least we had several nice days of warmer temperatures and a little sun but at least no rain. Today a cold front came through, so I don't know if temps will stay mild or not.

I'm ready for some boring weather.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

An Australian Smokey Bear

Sleeping Koala
Koala rescued in wildfire-scarred Australia: Firefighter: 'He kept reaching for the bottle, almost like a baby'

Okay, she's not really a bear, but Sam the koala, like many of her kind, was injured by the horrific fires sweeping through sweltering Australia. A firefighter noticed her walking on burnt paws and offered her some water. Koalas rarely drink, getting what they need from the leaves they chew, but she was in dire need. Koalas are particularly vulnerable in this situation because they are so slow on the ground.

She's been rescued and is expected to make a full recovery and be released back into the wild. [Oh, and the picture, although of a koala, is not of Sam, but was taken at the San Diego Zoo by photographer Sanjay ach, and appears as part of the Wikipedia Commons with free licensing given.]

Smokey Bear-Only You Poster
Although the US Forest Service's own Smokey Bear (the 'the' in Smokey the Bear is actually wrong, having gained popularity from a song where an extra syllable was needed for rhythm) predates the living symbol, in 1950 a black bear cub was rescued in a New Mexico fire and later taken to the national zoo, where he lived until his death in 1976 (I remember when Smokey died.)

Here's to Sam and her good health. The article spoke of kangaroos running from flames on fire. It sounds horrible down there. My thoughts are with all the people, livestock, and wild animals affected by these fires, and may the temperatures and dry conditions break soon so these will come to an end.


Millions of animals feared dead in Australia: Intensity of fires, and vast area covered, leave 'no doubt,' expert says

Many who survived the fire initially will slowly starve to death without food. Animal rescuers are doing what they can, but many of the animals are too far gone and must be euthanised to end their suffering. The death toll among humans may be as high as 200. It's an awful situation.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

So let me get this straight

I have avoided any comment on the controversies regarding the recent birth of octuplets. But this latest revelation was too much.

Octuplet's mom on food stamps, publicist says: Three of Nadya Suleman's older kids also get federal support for disabilities

This after she assured Ann Curry in an interview that: 'I'm not receiving help from the government. I'm not trying to expect anything from anybody. [I] just wanted to do it on my own. Any resources that someone would really, really want to help us, I will accept, I would embrace.'

I'm sure she would; 14 kids is a lot, especially for a single parent. Don't get me wrong; I don't want her children to starve, and certainly if they have disabilities, SSI is appropriate. But it does constitute receiving help from the government, which means she out and out lied, although her publicist has made it an issue of 'she isn't on welfare, therefore she doesn't get government aid.' Who does she think pays for food stamps and SSI?

So not only does she already have six very young children (I think the oldest is seven) three of whom are disabled, she chose to have eight more, surely knowing that such a high multiple birth would put the children at risk for major disabilities or death [the father, according to Suleman, is the same for all fourteen children, but while open to being a part of their lives at some point, is not presently.]

Her own mother says she is obsessed with having children and that it was inadvisable for her to have this many. Medical ethicists are concerned that any legitimate fertility doctor would 1) have given fertility treatments for someone who had so many children already and 2) did not use proper techniques to prevent such a large number of eggs to implant. The medical board of California is investigating. In many multiple birth situations gifts are showered upon the family by corporations, but there are many who believe she did this just to get money in the form of such gifts, book deals, movie deals, that sort of thing.

The psychology of this really bothers me. I am not privy to Ms Suleman's psychiatric profile, but this seems not so much just a desire to have a large family as an obsessive need for it. Let's face it, if these were cats instead of children, we would call it hoarding and the humane society would come and take them away because the well-meaning but mentally ill owner would be unable to care for many felines in the house. I really wonder if this is a similar disorder.

Sure, some people such as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt seem to collect children, but they're well able to afford them, taking care of every material need (although I question how much parental attention each individual child gets the bigger and bigger the family, so psychological needs may be another matter).

There are some who would say this is none of our business, that this is her choice. Well, one, I think we should all be concerned about the welfare of all fourteen children, just because a society should care about its children. But also, one estimate says that it will cost between $1.5 million to $3 million before the octuplets are even able to leave the hospital. I hope she's independently wealthy, because otherwise I'm thinking that this is not a bill Ms Suleman is covering herself, unless she has stupendous insurance. Even mine, which pays for all to do with a pregnancy and delivery but the first co-pay for an office visit, would balk at that. (Although they also don't pay for infertility treatment, which is also not cheap.) And unless some corporate sponsor comes in and takes care of it, the hospital will have to write it off or the government will have to pay somehow, and that means either public dollars being used, or higher health care costs due to such cases that strain the rest of our wallets.

According to the story Birth of octuplets worsened mom's back injury, she was a psychiatric technician at a mental hospital from 1997 through December, much of the time unable to work due to a back injury on the job in 1999. During the time she has been on disability, she has received $165,000 in payments, which sounds like a lot, but that's about $18,000 a year, and she does live in a state that has a high cost of living. All fourteen children were conceived in vitro. The story says that after having three miscarriages, the birth of her first child made her hope that it would be good for her marriage to Marcos Gutierrez, which lasted from 1996-2008, although they separated in 2000. But if she felt the pregnancy would help her marriage, and all fourteen children are from the same father, doesn't that imply (barring adultery or a sperm bank, the latter of which is unlikely as she apparently knows the father and talks to him occasionally) that Gutierrez is the father? Or is my reasoning flawed? His whereabouts are apparently unknown as yet, but I'm sure the media will ferret him out to find out if he is, indeed, the father, because I'm thinking if it's not just some random sperm from a bank the father has parental rights and a responsibility for child support, although fourteen children would probably bankrupt anyone. I don't get how she could afford the in vitro. I've known someone who went through it and it is not cheap. To have gone through it several times requires some serious cash. Maybe this questionable doctor gave her a bulk rate. Okay, that was unfair. But still, it makes you wonder what kind of money trail there is and what the arrangements were for all of this.

There are just so many questions in this case. I don't know what Nadya Suleman really wanted out of this, but her life is going to be under the microscope until people are satisfied that the best interests of the children are served, and also, I suspect, for as long as the media keeps an interest in this story.


Taxpayers may be covering octuplet mom’s bills: Hospital where 33-year-old gave birth asking state to reimburse its costs

Told you so. As if California isn't in the hole enough already--I mean, they already have workers on furloughs and they may be paying for this instead of vital services or allowing state workers to actually draw a paycheque? I hope some very hard questions are asked of this woman and the doctor who helped her have these children, and I hope a close eye is kept on the welfare of the children, as well, because they're so delicate and will need a lot of care, both medically and through nurturing. I don't know what kind of nurturer she is, but it really doesn't sound like she's in a position to pay for the children she wanted, and I don't think anyone's going to come rescue her at this point--there's been so much negative press.

Monday, February 09, 2009


Well, the electric issue was resolved at 7 this morning. I now have until the 20th to pay. Our payroll clerk gave me duplicate W-2s as well, so I'm good to go on my taxes (although I suspect I'll owe again like I have the previous two years; it took me awhile to figure out my W-4s were filled out so that less was taken out). I got everything done at work I wanted to except for contacting the serials vendor. I'll do that tomorrow. I filled out a questionnaire for a library school student as well. That reminds me; I need to do that Nielsen survey. They paid for my breakfast this morning. :)

Now it's to work at the store for truck night #1 of the week. With it being in the 60s today, I'm switching back to a short-sleeve shirt (Didn't we just have an ice storm? That's Kentucky weather for you.) Unfortunately I couldn't find my nice roomy one. It may be in the car trunk. But I have a spare.

Well, that's it for now. It's time to go.


I cannot find the W-2s anywhere. So tomorrow I must:

  1. Call at some ungodly hour (also known as 7 am) about my electric.
  2. Take out the trash.
  3. Do the dishes.
  4. Request copies of my W-2s to be issued.
  5. Contact the serials vendor regarding a page linking to electronic journals.
  6. Distribute the needs assessment I created last week.
  7. Print off our peformance improvement surveys.
  8. Work at the store for truck night.
  9. Miss 'Heroes' another week in a row.

I'd hoped to watch last week's episode tonight, but was so tired when I came in I went straight to bed obstensibly for an hour or so. That was at 10:30 pm. It's 2 am now. I've eaten a bit and I'm going back to sleep. The fish are fed and happy. Good night.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

'Come for the validation, stay for the cookies.'

That's the motto of the West Lahunga Retropolitain Community Church, a fictional religious institution from the Logo network's Rick & Steve: the Happiest Gay Couple in All the World. We watched a couple of episodes tonight. YKWIA had found it on the cable company's On Demand service. It was great. It was hilarious, yet harmful, sort of like Morel Orel. Like it, Rick & Steve is a stop-motion programme. It's made in Toronto. Think multicultural gay Lego (the company actually sued them) people, all in a town that's mostly gay.

It's not for everyone, but here's the one embeddable clip I could find...the 'Sperm Song'.

The show airs Tuesdays at 10 pm on Logo. Unfortunately we don't get this channel per se on our system, but the episodes are run on the On Demand service a short time afterwards. So, check it out if you can.

Two good things

One, I came home to find my electric still on. Two, the apartment hadn't been burgled. I accidentally left my bedroom window open and didn't remember until later. Granted, I live in what is essentially a quiet suburban neighbourhood with a police officer living catty-corner across the hall, but you never know.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

This just isn't my day

I went through some recent mail in my inbox to see if the W-2s might be there, and discovered a Kentucky Utilities disconnect notice with a final payment dated for yesterday. Their customer service line isn't open on weekends, so all I can hope for is to have power until Monday and then call first thing in the morning to make a payment arrangement, because it's a big bill (they won't make a payment arrangement once it's disconnected, and this week is my rent paycheque--I can't afford to pay this). The strange thing is I didn't receive the original bill--trust me, I would remember a bill for $121--that's huge for my apartment, which usually runs $40, and it wasn't in with the other stuff. And it wasn't a double bill for that amount. Maybe the ice storm issues led the mail to go astray. We didn't get service for a couple of days. Hopefully the technicians are still dealing with the fallout from the storm so they're not readily availble for turning off people over the weekend. I so should have opened this when I got it, but it was late and I assumed it was a regular bill because I'd made a payment on 1/19, so I figured I'd open it the next day, then forgot. Argh.

I am so tired of being behind on things. I just can't seem to get ahead.

Well, just drat

I thought I had solved the mystery of the vanishing W-2s, but alas, no. It made sense. I was waking up from a nap when it occurred to me that I received them with my paycheque on a Thursday, and I usually work at my second job on Thursdays. I wouldn't have wanted to take them in to the store in case someone took them, so I thought there was a good chance they might be in my glove compartment (where I keep my chequebook for the same reason). Filled with zeal at my turn of logic, I went out to the car to look, but sadly there were no W-2s. I did find out that I am carrying around an expired insurance card, which with my luck in the past indicates I am due to be pulled over, perhaps for the tail-light I discovered out the other day whilst knocking snow off my car. I have insurance; I just need a new card. I'm under my mom's policy, so I'll have to get her to print one from the website (I don't know the username and password).


Well, I know what I'll be doing as soon as I finish eating--looking for those forms. It was on my to-do list anyway. But it had made so much sense in my head.

I did get a survey from the Nielsen rating company about my radio listening habits. They enclosed two dollars, so that was nice.

Well, I'm finished eating. Time to turn the apartment upside down without making too much of a mess at the same time. Wish me luck.

I'm too tired to write much intelligent tonight

so I thought I'd do a quick quiz. Little did I know it was over 40 questions long! Here it is:

Your result for The Social Orientation Inventory...

The Groupie


You scored 51% Attention-desiring, 67% Other-directedness, 60% Attachment-desiring, 77% Emotionality, 33% Romance-seeking, 74% Range, and 28% Secureness.

Your Bonding Quadrant: Merging

Summary: You seek validation in the forms of both quantity and quality in your friendships. You can never have enough people with whom to forge lasting bonds. You become very invested in your friends' issues. You are likely to fear abandonment.

Here is a glossary to help you understand the cryptic, septapartite notation of your SOI type:

-Attent=low desire for attention, acknowledgement, and/or interaction

+Attent=high desire for attention, acknowledgement, and/or interaction (specific attentional needs vary from type to type)

Self=more interested in oneself than in others when interacting

Other=more interested in others than in oneself when interacting

-Attach=does not seek out long-term attachments

+Attach=seeks out long-term attachments

-Emo=prefers unemotional relationships

+Emo=prefers emotionally intense relationships

-<3=low desire for sex and/or romance

+<3=high desire for sex and/or romance

Narrow=interacts with few people

Broad=interacts with many people

Insecure=expects negative evaluation from others

Secure=does not expect negative evaluation from others


Merging=High attachment-seeking, high emotionality (merging types are prone to obsession; devotion; identity crises; offspring)

Companionate=High attachment-seeking, low emotionality (companionate types are likely to be loyal, cool-headed, and dependable, with a long-term temporal orientation)

Acute=Low attachment-seeking, high emotionality (acute types tend toward extremes, and temporal orientation is mostly immediate)

Distant=Low attachment-seeking, low emotionality (distant types are the most autonomous and the most avoidant)

Take The Social Orientation Inventory
at HelloQuizzy

Friday, February 06, 2009

Jeans mortus est

Today is jeans day at work (first Friday of the month) and I was all set to wear mine when I noticed that the small rip in the crotch had turned into a wide tear going three-quarters around the pants leg on the back end. Now, I never went for the torn jeans look even in the 80s, so this is not acceptable. Unfortunately this is the only pair I have. So, next time I go clothes shopping (which is about twice a year with my funds), that'll definitely be on the list.

Those jeans have been troopers for several years, although they're elasticised all around, so I don't know if they're jeans proper. My old ones that still fit have paint all over them. I'd like to find some in that style, sans paint.

Anyway, it's time to go to work. I woke up at 8 am, fed the fish, watched them and it so relaxed me I went back to bed for supposedly ten minutes and that turned into an hour. But I feel rested. Hope you have a great day. It's warming up here, so things are looking up.

I'm interested in seeing these films

Being a fan of Neil Gaiman's since Sandman, I was happy to see a novella of his has been adapted into a stop-motion feature directed by Henry Selick, the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas. It looks like the pain-staking artistry has paid off. Here's a trailer for Coraline:

I have a gift card to Cinemark studios, but they aren't showing it in 3D, whereas Hamburg is. So it may be a couple of weeks before I can afford to go. On the other hand, another movie is coming out this weekend that YKWIA is interested in going to, and I can use my gift card there if we go. It's called Push and features a group of young people with psychic powers being hunted by a government agency (sort of like 'Heroes', hmmm?) Here is its trailer:

Thursday, February 05, 2009

I have fish!

I got one common plecostomus (yes, they get big, but it's the difference of $4.49 vs. over $30 for something more exotic that doesn't) and four platies (livebearers), the latter of which are bright orange. I prefer swordtails, but they didn't really have more than a couple, and I didn't care for their colouring. I'm starting with just a few to see how they do in the tank--you shouldn't start with too many at once. Besides, I was trying to keep the price down, and got all of them for a little over $11. If Brenda's fish survived the storm (she was having to put wood on the fire to try to save fish in several tanks), she may have some other livebearers for me later, should the tank prove to work well. I'm glad I didn't have fish in the aquarium during the power outage; the people at the pet store told me of measures like a woman who put her Betta bowl on one of those diffusers with a candle under it, and someone who used candles to heat an aquarium. Here's hoping to no more weather on par with last week to interfere with this tank. Yay for fish!

I must recommend a product called Stability that took care of the nitrate problem and made it negligible on tests.

I went to look at the fish and had a devil of a time finding one of the platies, which is between some Java moss and a rock hiding. It's a little shy. That's fine; it will come out once it becomes comfortable with its new environment. I mean, it just got netted and put in a plastic bag, then landed in a much bigger aquarium. It's a 'George! George! What happened to George?!' kind of thing, stressful for the fish.

Okay, I've straightened up a bit during the wait to get them acclimated before letting them out of the bag; now I'm taking about a thirty-minute nap.

On the agenda for the day

  1. Create a needs assessment form for the hospital library.
  2. Finish some interlibrary loans, both borrowing and lending.
  3. Contact our serials vendor about a webpage with links to all our electronic resources.
  4. Go to the pharmacy to pick up meds/get a new one filled.
  5. Go get a few fish! The aquarium nitrates are finally gone thanks to a product that jumpstarts bacteria. I definitely need a plecostomus, since I have a lot of algae due to the nitrate situation. Then I'll get a few others, just a few, to test out the tank with.
  6. Take a short nap or look for W-2's, one or the other.
  7. Go to work at the station for truck night.
  8. Go over to a friends' after 10 and do some things with him.
  9. Get A from work around midnight.

I'm not as tired as I was yesterday, having gotten more rest last night, about 10 hours' worth. I actually feel well, although I could have slept even more. I'm chronically short on sleep; maybe I just need to get more like 10 hours every night. Like that would ever happen. :)

Okay, that's a fairly busy day. I must get on with it.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

My friend A would just die if he saw one of these

Ancient snake was as long as a bus: Reptile slithered about South America's rainforests 60 million years ago

He has ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), which like all phobias, seems, well, irrational by definition. But if I encountered one of these out foraging for food, I think it would scare the daylights out of me, too, for I am a slow morsel and probably quite tasty. Fortunately this behemoth is thought to have been an aquatic snake that came out occasionally to bask.

YKWIA, be sure to show A the picture after following the link to the story.

Okay, I have supped and quaffed after working eleven hours. I am going to bed until A calls me for a ride. :)

As much as I hear Americans complain about emergency rooms...

it pales to the situation in Japan, which has a doctor shortage:

Injured man dies after rejection by 14 hospitals: Case of 69-year-old man in Japan underscores country's doctor shortage

The worst case, according to the article, was a woman in Tokyo who was denied care 49 times. She, too, was elderly, although I don't know if that's a factor or not.

Not particularly looking forward

to working 10 am-9 pm tonight. Oh, it could be till 10 pm, like on Monday night. But even though I got almost eight hours' sleep last night, I feel tired, still hung over from going to bed at 4 am the night before. And the roads were pretty bad last night (we had about 3 more inches of snow, and the temperature was around 10 degrees, so salt didn't do much and even the main arteries were pretty snow covered). I slid any time I was not absolutely driving at maximum attention with hands at 10 and 2. I can drive in snow pretty well but I don't really like to, and I have to admit my anxiety levels have been higher with the ice and snow. And now I get to do the whole thing again. Hopefully it's a little better since the ploughs have had time to get ahead of the snow, but it's only 9 degrees now. I'm so glad I don't live any further north. These arctic blasts are enough for me.

Given the ice storm and snow, I found this quote from Obama's inaugural speech comforting: 'With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.' One of the librarians on the MEDLIB-L list had it on her signature line and it seemed appropriate given Kentucky's problems over the last week or so.

Okay, I have to get ready for work.

PS In retrospect, I realise I am whigning, and that it should not be indulged. And working 11 or 12 hours a day is better than no job at all. And the streets weren't bad later on at all. I think I'm still just very tired from staying up too late the other night and I'm having a giant 5-year-old moment. Sorry. :)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


I finally got my W-2s from the gas station only to find that I have no idea where the ones from the hospital are. They are not in the tax place (yes, there is one), nor are they in any of the cubbyholes I usually put important things into. Perhaps they have gone the way of the Obama sticker. I shall have to look more thoroughly when I have time. But argh!

Can you tell I'm a little biased?

Here's a MacIntosh rant that is hilarious. Favourite line: 'Mac killed my inner child.'

Thanks to YKWIA for showing it to me.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

A relief

Thanks to Steven Cohen of Library Stuff for the following link:

Libraries read positive signs in postponement of children's book lead testing

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is postponing lead testing requirements that would have affected libraries, consignment stores, and handmade toy makers, among others. The requirements would have gone into effect on February 10th, but have been postponed for a year to give those affected more time to figure out how to handle the requirements and hopefully for there to be some exemptions made.

This was an act in response to news of lead in toys and no doubt seemed like a good idea at the time, but had far-reaching effects not forseen at the time.

Still, StephenK points out on LISNews that the one-year postponement is not engraved in stone and some caution should remain. A press release is not a guarantee of action.

It's good that this is getting attention

Before the gas chambers were up and running, Hitler's troops systematically killed millions by going into villages, rounding up citizens (mostly women, children, and the elderly, those who could not do slave labour), and shooting them to death, creating mass graves, many of which have not been identified. In my study during a class at UK and my own readings, this was clear, but the general populace's ideas of the Holocaust focus on the death camps. (If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know that Holocaust and genocide studies is an area of interest for me.)

Enter Patrick Desbois, a French Catholic priest who interviewed over 800 people in the Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, scoured Soviet archives, and uncovered hundreds of mass graves, two-thirds of them previously unknown to scholars. The result is his book, Holocaust by Bullets. and an exhibition at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City.

For more on his work, see:

Priest uncovers ‘Holocaust by Bullets’: Book includes details of previously unknown mass exterminations

I'm definitely interested in getting this book

The main road hazards that remain

include the many, many cubes of shattered ice that litter the streets under power lines and especially tree-lined areas that act like slippery ball bearings. I slid a little on Tates Creek turning onto Cooper getting a friend from work, so I took Alumni on the return trip. Chinoe was also bad, with several lights out. It amazes me that many people still don't get that dark lights are treated like four-way stops.

Not all of the damage is the result of acts of God, either. A small locally-owned pharmacy, Bondurant's, was broken into and smashed up whilst the power was out. Basically it was a looting. They're going to be closed several days so the damage can be assessed. They use a large rotating system to store the drugs and that may have been damaged as well, which I'm sure will be expensive. I hope this doesn't hurt the business beyond recovering; they already have a Walgreens that has come into the neighbourhood and a Rite Aid is being built. The pharmacy has a lot of history and was built in the shape of a mortar and pestle.