Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Every Cthulhu hunter should watch for the yellow sign

as opposed to the Yellow Sign from 'The King in Yellow'. No, we're talking a normal street sign, showing a stick figure running from tentacles with 'Cthulhu' emblazoned on the bottom.

Check it out at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gothcandy/143837543/

I have also found two things to get next payday from Chaosium, the makers of Call of Cthulhu, the roleplaying game I play. One is a Starkweather-Moore Antarctic Expedition T-Shirt (although the patch is rather nifty, too). The other is an Orne Library/Miskatonic University book bag.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

In my head...

All day at work I've had 'All I Ever' and the 'Bad Horse Chorus' from Dr Horrible in my head. So here's the embedded video from Hulu to enjoy so you, too, will suffer. My favourites are 'Brand New Day' and 'My Eyes', of course, with 'All I Ever' running third. But the 'Bad Horse Chorus' is so damn catchy....

I'm almost free

In June of 2006 I made a very stupid decision (although not as bad as the one of June 1991, where I got married). I decided to try to get into some healthy habits, so I joined a gym, which was Gold's Gym at the time and later became Urban Active. This, despite having been a member before and not really using it that much. The first time I was a member I paid $24 a month due to a special with my workplace. This was $39, but that didn't seem too onerous, and my first month was free.

So far, so good. But then I made a major blunder. At no point did the length of the contract come up. I assumed I was signing a year contract like I had before. I didn't even know they had other lengths. I did skim through the contract, but my brain--which is not always my friend--did not process that 36 months equals three years.

Yes, I signed a three-year contract. Stupid of me, and my responsibility. But I find it unacceptable that this fact was not disclosed in the initial proposal. I didn't find out about this until I went to cancel my membership after a year, and I was stunned. I went several times back before I started at the store, but working two jobs and doing all the other stuff I do, I don't really have time to go. I can count on one finger the number of times I've gone in a year. Meanwhile, my account's been deducted that $39 like clockwork, and since there have been several times I've forgotten to account for it, caused some distress by causing other things to bounce and having to pay bank fees.

So I go in today (you have to go in in person, no telephone service for you). I read the small print and ask a couple of questions. Then sign it and fill out the nifty why-are-you-leaving-us survey. Unfortunately in order to get the cancellation notice they need your e-mail, so I figure I'll be deluged with 'come back' pleas, but they had it already, so I figured I might as well give it to them.

What I would not give them is my new debit card information. See, it's a 30-day notice to cancel, so they get one more payment out of me. My debit card on file expires tomorrow, so they wanted me to either give them the new information or pay ahead in person. I preferred the latter. I went over to the bank and withdrew the money then went back.

And here is where I get steamed. The two girls operating the front desk did everything they could to ignore me, taking other people ahead of me. Being a passive, polite Southerner, all told I stood there for about five minutes. One at one point said she'd be right with me, then moved to someone else. Another asked if the other was helping me and I said she had said she'd be right with me, so the girl went back to what she was doing, checking in members and flirting with a guy. After the third person (not counting the check-ins, which were brief) had been helped, I told (not asked) the second girl that I would like to go ahead and pay my bill, now. She took care of me. I half expected them to say they couldn't take cash, but everything went through, I made sure I got a receipt, and I left, and plan never to return, even though I just paid for one last month. But the girls weren't overwhelmed with customers or anything--they were working very hard at not seeing me, ignoring me, etc., and I know what this was all about. I was leaving the gym, so they were as passive aggressive with me as they could be. If I weren't already leaving, that would have been the final straw. Unfortunately I'd already turned in that survey. But I'm going to vent here, and if I receive any phone calls or e-mails about why I left, someone's going to get an ear- or eye-full.

I'm sure they work out for many people, but in my opinion, in some ways gyms are rackets. They rely on people like me to pay but not cause wear and tear on their facilities. And it's not just places like this. I checked out the YMCA and they had no contract *but* (it's a big but) if you missed a month and came back you had to pay a more-than-$50 initiation fee again, which equals more than the monthly fees. And depending on how you looked at it, they were more expensive than the gym. I could go to any of the locations of the gym (there are three) for $39 a month. The Y has you as either a member of one or you can pay more and go to all (also three). But the latter costs more than the gym does.

So I think I'm done with gyms for now. I won't swear to never try it again, but I won't so long as my time is so crunched. I won't go back to this one, though. I have an exercise bike and it doesn't cost anything to walk outside or around my workplace, so I think that will be enough for now. (And no, I'm not in to the cheaper option of a church gym, because I don't want to be the subject of their mission.)

Well, it only took $1,404 to learn that lesson, but I think I got it.

I'm not the only one ranting about glowing monkeys

A friend wonders if glowing monkeys fling glowing poo. Hmmm...

A tragedy of errors

cost Lisa Strong all four limbs, the result of a kidney stone that led to septic infection and gangrene, due to miscommunication and misunderstanding of her condition by the doctors who were supposed to care for her. She sued them, and the jury refused to award her the case despite overwhelming evidence. Since it was such a complicated case, they seemed to have difficulty determining blame. Because the evidence was so compelling, the judge threw out the jury's decision and ordered a new trial, something the defendants have appealed.

Amputee gets second chance to sue doctors: Florida judge orders new trial after jury rules against Florida woman

I had no idea that a kidney stone could lead to septic shock. One doctor who never saw her diagnosed her with a gall bladder condition, leading to useless surgery when she was already very, very sick. She had come to the hospital in pain and with a 106 degree fever. She's lucky to even be alive. But her marriage has fallen apart and she's now on disability, things that could have been avoided if the doctors had done a better job. Plus, on top of everything else, she has over $800,000 in medical bills. That's insult to injury. I hope justice prevails on this one.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Two videos YKWIA found to harm me

that are absolutely hilarious. Well, if you've got my sense of humour, anyway. :)

A well-done and well-known TV series opening...which sails right into the Mythos.

Gilda Sue Rosenstern reviews Robin Spriggs's Wondrous Strange: Tales of the Uncanny


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Does anyone other than me think this is just *wrong*???

Glowing Monkeys Make More Glowing Monkeys the Old-Fashioned Way
The first genetically modified primates that can pass their modifications to their offpsring have been created by Japanese scientists.

The marmosets...express a green fluorescent protein in their skin. The gene for producing the glow was delivered to the first marmoset embryos via a modified virus. But now that modification method could become unnecessary. One male marmoset, number 666, fathered a child...that also contained the transgenes.

666? Oh, the wingnuts will have fun with that! But seriously, I've been saying that transgenetics is a dangerous thing because of its capacity to reproduce in the wild. What happens when this happens outside of a lab? And these are primates, our cousins. What's next, making our kids glow green under UV light? How will they feel about it? Like a freak? And how will those who don't have the novelty of glowing green feel? Normal? or freaks? Argggh!

It looks like, from the pictures, that the child glows stronger than the parent. What also disturbs me is that glowing transgenetic animals aren't made that way just to prove our scientists can. They're made to study all sorts of human diseases. Although I do believe scientific work to cure disease is important, I have trouble with the idea of creating an entire line of designer animals just so you can experiment on it. Not to sound like a religious zealot, but I think there is a point where we have wonder if some people play God in the name of science (As I'm sure you realise from reading this blog, I'm a great advocate of science. But science can run amuck, as its study and manipulation is in the hands of humans, who are in essence imperfect. I give to you the atom bomb and its unforeseen effects.)


Cat in China grows a pair of wings: Feline was born normal but developed appendages at age 1, family says

Well, at least something that looks like wings, although the cat cannot fly, of course. The strange thing is another case has been documented, also in China. Some think it has to do with chemicals ingested by the mother, which given the recent problems China has in its exports, I really worry about its environment. Anyway, there's a picture for you to judge for yourself.

Listening to

I'm trying out Google Chrome because Adobe Flash Player installed an update and I can't get anything to play from YouTube in Windows Explorer. So far I like Chrome. It seems pretty fast and automatically checks my spelling in this post, something I need. :) Anyway, enjoy the Dave Matthews Band. The video is pretty much just their album cover, but it's directly from the band's channel.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Belgian eID in the library

For more about the eID card--a national ID card which all Belgians 12 and over should have by the end of 2009, check out the English website. Also check out the page on what you can do with the eID card. Whether it's getting tickets to a show, gaining entry to your house, showing a conductor your credentials on the train, or keeping a child safely surfing the net, the applications are varied, and several videos highlight these and other uses. Thanks to YKWIA for showing me videos related to the eID, including this one.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sad circumstances

One of my co-workers is going to a funeral on Friday for a young man killed in a car accident in Glasgow, Kentucky. The girl driving was texting on her phone, went through a stop sign into a semi truck. She came out without a scratch. The semi impacted on his side, and he died. He was only fourteen. I'm pretty sure she's being charged in the case.

I don't understand why people insist on using their cell phones when driving. I won't say I've never done it, but I can count the times on one hand, and yes, it's a distraction. I usually wait until I can find a place to pull over and call the person back. But to text on a cell phone is even worse, because you're looking away from driving and at the screen. It's stupid and irresponsible, and it can cause someone (maybe even the texter) to die.

Before you use your cell phone when driving, think of the devastation of this family, and ask yourself if it's worth it.

PS 5/30/09 I talked to my co-worker about how the funeral went. A lot of people were angry because the girl who was driving came, and mostly talked about how she'd broken her tail bone, ignoring the fact that a supposed friend had died. So she didn't get out without a scratch, but it was minor compared to what he went through. Apparently right after the incident happened she showed up at the hospital, didn't ask about the young man, but rather asked about her phone. That's cold. This is so sad, and they had to drive by the scene of the accident to get from the funeral home to the cemetery.

A milestone: this is post 5,000

Wow. Nearly eight years ago I started this blog, right after the events of 9/11 when everything seemed uncertain and I felt like trying to get my thoughts down somehow. Who would think that I, who have never been able to keep a diary more than a few pages long, would wind up writing nearly every day for years?

I try to mix some library-related things and news into it, but essentially this remains a personal account of what's going on in my life, my interests, and what I'm thinking of at the time. But somehow, despite such mundanity, I garnered readers--people I have never met for the most part but at the same time I am grateful for their them. Because of them, I am not typing into a vacuum but rather spitting out words that others connect to. So for what it's worth, thank you so much for your readership. I hope to continue for quite some time more. I never have felt bored by blogging, or like I'm under some sort of scrutiny. I still have fun with my blog. So I hope to make it to post #10,000 someday, Gods willing.

Possible future librarian extraordinare!

From a post on Yahoo!Answers:
Is it OK to run an illegal library from my locker at school?
Let me explain.

I go to a private school that is rather strict. Recently, the principal and school teacher council released a (very long) list of books we're not allowed to read. I was absolutely appalled, because a large number of the books were classics and others that are my favorites. One of my personal favorites, The Catcher in the Rye, was on the list, so I decided to bring it to school to see if I would really get in trouble. Well... I did but not too much. Then (surprise!) a boy in my English class asked if he could borrow the book, because he heard it was very good AND it was banned! This happened a lot and my locker got to overflowing with the banned books, so I decided to put the unoccupied locker next to me to a good use. I now have 62 books in that locker, about half of what was on the list. I took care only to bring the books with literary quality. Some of these books are:

>The Perks of Being a Wallflower
>His Dark Materials trilogy
>The Canterbury Tales
>The Divine Comedy
>Paradise Lost
>The Godfather
>Interview with the Vampire
>The Hunger Games
>The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
>A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
>Animal Farm
>The Witches
>Shade's Children
>The Evolution of Man
> the Holy Qu'ran
... and lots more.

Anyway, I now operate a little mini-library that no one has access to but myself. Practically a real library, because I keep an inventory log and give people due dates and everything. I would be in so much trouble if I got caught, but I think it's the right thing to do because before I started, almost no kid at school but myself took an active interest in reading! Now not only are all the kids reading the banned books, but go out of their way to read anything they can get their hands on. So I'm doing a good thing, right? Oh, and since you're probably wondering "Why can't you just go to a local library and check out the books?" most of the kids are too chicken or their parents won't let them but the books. I think that people should have open minds. Most of the books were banned because they contained information that opposed Catholisism. I limit my 'library' to only the sophmores, juniors and seniors just in case so you can't say I'm exposing young people to materiel they're not mature enough for. But is what I'm doing wrong because parents and teachers don't know about it and might not like it, or is it a good thing because I am starting appreciation of the classics and truly good novels (Not just fad novels like Twilight) in my generation?

Additional Details
More books I have:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Lord of the Flies
Bridge to Terabithia
East of Eden
The Brothers Grimm Unabridged Fairytales.
...the list goes on.

Twilight is banned also, but I don't want that polluting my library.

As for getting the press involved, reporters are not allowed on campus. Besides, my parents would be so mad if they found out I was doing this.

This kid is awesome. I hope he or she does not get into major trouble if discovered doing this, but all in all, it is certainly worth the risk. Thanks to shelfcheck of LISNews for the story.

Unwittingly, Google's maps lead to furor over derogatory terms for the Japanese 'untouchables'

Google Earth maps out discrimination against burakumin caste in Japan

A handful of innocent-looking antique maps, one offensive word and tens of thousands of offended 'untouchables' have plunged Google into an unspoken class war that has raged in Japan for centuries.

Despite its ambition to be the cartographer of the internet age, the search engine has lumbered into one of the darkest corners of Japan — the bigotry of mainstream Japanese society towards the burakumin, the 'filthy mob', whose ancestors fell outside the caste system of the 17th-century samurai era.

Discrimination against the burakumin continues even though it was outlawed 150 years ago. The untouchable caste is not evident in manner, dress, accent, or even names, so it's hard to figure out who are descendants of this class. What the maps show, however, are ghettos labelled with titles like 'scum town' to denote where the burakumin lived, and that makes it easier for Japanese and their private detectives to figure out whether a prospective mate, student, employee, or even government official might be such a descendant. As an example of ongoing prejudice:
In 2003 Taro Aso, the Japanese Prime Minister, dismissed the chances of Hiromu Nonaka — a burakumin who became Secretary-General of the ruling party — becoming Prime Minister. 'There is no way we can make that kind of person prime minister,' Mr Aso was quoted as saying.


Dying bulldog saves owner from fire: Fire comes two weeks after vet discovers dog’s cancerous tumors

PS 05.27.09

Bulldog who saved owner is put to sleep

Brittney stopped eating on Monday and her cancer caused increased bloating in her stomach. Her owner felt the best way to repay her for saving his life and the kindest thing to do for her was to euthanise her today.

At least she did not suffer long and was able to be a genuine heroine before her death. My thoughts are with Scott Seymore, the nine-year-old bulldog's human companion. I know what a great loss it is, and all I can say is, take care, and know the pain does ease after awhile, but the memories stay, and they are comforting.


Horror story printed on toilet paper in Japan

Each roll contains a nine-chapter novella written by Koji Suzuki, the Japanese author of the horror story 'Ring'. The new story, 'Drop', can be read in a few minutes and takes place in a bathroom.

Listening to

'If Today Was Your Last Day', written by Chad Kroeger, performed by Nickelback

My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day’s a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day
and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
If today was your last day

Against the grain should be a way of life
What’s worth the prize is always worth the fight
Every second counts ’cause there’s no second try
So live like you’ll never live it twice
Don’t take the free ride in your own life

If today was your last day
and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see?
Reminisce of memories
Would you forgive your enemies?
Would you find that one you’re dreamin’ of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

If today was your last day
Would you make your mark by mending a broken heart?
You know it’s never too late to shoot for the stars
Regardless of who you are
So do whatever it takes
‘Cause you can’t rewind a moment in this life
Let nothin’ stand in your way
Cause the hands of time are never on your side

If today was your last day
and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?

Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see?
Reminisce of memories
Would you forgive your enemies?
Would you find that one you’re dreamin’ of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

Here's the video, from Roadrunner Records' website:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ever have one of those days

that is going along lovely until you insert your foot into your mouth several times, get pissy and bitchy, and basically ruin the day?

I did that tonight. I wish I had better control over my mouth and emotions. It was just stupid, and I'm sorry I did it.

I slept 14 hours last night

coming home by 10, going straight to bed without bothering to feed the fish or even taking my phone, which I wake up by, with me to bed. Thankfully today is a holiday and I don't have to be anywhere until 3 pm. I woke up at noon, went out to get some prescriptions refilled and the tofu goodness, and here I am, almost time to go to work for two hours at the store.

Ahh. I have now fed the fish, eaten, and I'm going to sit in the comfy chair with the massager cushion going until time to go. It's so nice to have a break from things.

Of course, the purpose of Memorial Day is to remember those fallen in wars (and at least here in the South, we remember all our family that we've lost). I'm not near my family cemeteries this year, but they're in my thoughts and memories, and of course the men and women who have and do risk their lives to protect our country are there as well.

I'll write later.

Today's fortune cookie

I just had tofu goodness (also known as tofu in sesame sauce) for lunch. Here was my fortune cookie:

Talent is a flame.
Genius is a fire.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Oh, good lord

Unconscious Carroll man found after 11-hour search: Sheriff unhappy with Verizon’s ‘line’ on emergency

Police were searching for someone believed to have taken pills and then fled, concerned that they had a medical emergency on their hands. Like good law enforcement, they thought, 'Let's try to track him with his cell phone.' Only trouble? The man owed Verizon $20 and the company refused to turn the phone service on.

'I was more concerned for the person’s life,' [Sheriff Dale] Williams said. 'It would have been nice if Verizon would have turned on his phone for five or 10 minutes, just long enough to try and find the guy. But they would only turn it on if we agreed to pay $20 of the unpaid bill. Ridiculous.'

The department was making arrangements to pay the bill when they found the man--unconscious and unresponsive--after an eleven-hour search. He was later released from the hospital and is presumably okay, but it could have been far worse, and if so, I think Verizon should have been held responsible. He should so be allowed out of his contract and switch carriers. But I seriously wonder how the others would have responded, for that matter.

Does corporate America have any heart whatsoever? Or rather, do its minions?

Sad that people are so paranoid

that the government wants to take their guns away that they'll let a nearly-extinct species die rather than switch to steel or copper ammo. Or even worse, plug them with birdshot due to resentment.

Lead poisoning is still killing condors: Even with lead bullet ban, bird's death shows problem remains

Condors, which after all are large carrion eaters, eat small animals deemed pests that are shot. Eating the lead ammunition, however, poisons the bird. Condor no. 286's death--which is spotlighted in the article--was particularly hard on biologists working to save the species because he was just getting to the point of breeding. A recent ban on lead ammunition seems to be helping, although the birds are still in danger, especially from die-hards who refuse to switch to more expensive ammo or who make it a gun or property rights issue. Lead has been suspect in a few deaths; other birds have required life-saving measures. Sadly, 286 and another condor both showed signs of having been shot at as well.

But amid the concerns, there is some hope. Twenty-seven years ago the last known remaining 22 condors were rounded up for a captive breeding programme. There are now 171 reported living in the wild and another 150 in zoos. Let us hope that the species prevails despite the actions of a few. Most hunters and sportsmen, after all, support conservation and the management of wildlife. But the species is on such a precarious position given its small numbers and tiny their gene pool. It may take a few miracles, but I hope this majestic bird will survive.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Productive morning

I went to bed at 3 am but woke up inexplicably at 6 or a little before. So far I have:

  1. Ordered some items for a friend from Amazon.com that were promised a long time ago, plus the Dr Horrible soundtrack for me.
  2. Paid my electric bill (I paid my cable bill yesterday, so I'm caught up with both.)
  3. Paid my phone bill.
  4. Went to the station and got gas. I met the interim manager (well, I've actually met him before; he's been in a couple of times). The district manager was really happy we passed our quality assurance test yesterday with a 100%. I still don't know how things will go, but I'm willing to give it a try.
  5. Went to the pharmacy to pick up some items, but forgot to get three prescriptions refilled.
  6. Went by McDonald's to get breakfast. (Mmmm...egg and cheese biscuits!)
  7. Scanned through Google Reader and blogged a bit.

My alarm to wake up just went off. I've been up a little over 2 hours and have another 2 before I have to be at work. I think I may nap just a bit and then get up and get ready. I work another 12-hour day, so I should try to get some sleep, don't you think?

History belongs to everyone, but cultures shouldn't be looted by others

So it was nice to hear that Greece is displaying repatriated artefacts, returned from several countries and museums. They're still butting heads with the British Museum over the Elgin Marbles, but that's rather to be expected--they're a lot bigger than a few coins or a vase.

Who knows what kind of thing is going on in Iraq these days, with its rich Sumerian and Babylonian history? With lawlessness comes looting of antiquities, and with war comes their destruction.

Anyway, I'm glad Greece got back some of their cultural items.

Greece displays repatriated antiquities

Italy is also getting some of theirs back--lost Byzantine frescoes that had been ripped from a church 27 years ago and wound up in a private collection in Greece.

Italy recovers lost Byzantine frescos from Greece

Thanks to Melissa Snell's mediaeval history blog for the links.

I am sad

My boss at the store, whom I admire very much, was let go today for reasons I don't agree with, but of course my opinion doesn't matter. It feels weird not to have her there and there's still a certain amount of shock in the air. We'll soldier on, I guess, but will definitely miss her. Of course, now that she's no longer my boss, there's no reason I can't get together with her sometimes and check in on her.

I had an embarassing situation come up that I won't go into and had to come home early to deal with the aftermath. So I'm home and have a bit of a chance to blog. I've been working 50 hour weeks of late, so my writing has fallen off some. Sorry about that.

Time to go. Good night.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


What can I say, I like Steampunk. :) This is a 2004 movie by Katsuhiro Otomo, the creator of the famous manga/anime Akira. It looks breathtaking. I'd like to find it to watch. It ran in a limited number of theatres in the US in 2005 and is said to have been the most expensive Japanese full-length animated motion picture and took about 10 years to make. Fortunately it is available at Amazon including the Director's Cut, which preserves 15 minutes of film cut from the other English dubbed version. Voice talents for the English include Anna Paquin (Rogue from the X-Men movies; Sookie from 'True Blood') and Patrick Stewart of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' and a host of other things). It didn't get a great review from Cory Gross of Voyages Extraordinaires, but that is from the perspective of someone who's a firm Steampunk enthusiast, whereas a newcomer may find it interesting. I'll let you read/watch and decide for yourself. It certainly was very hyped, and may not live up to that, but I'd like to give it a gander.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

But first...

Site Lets Writers Sell Digital Copies
Turning itself into a kind of electronic vanity publisher, Scribd, an Internet start-up here, will introduce on Monday a way for anyone to upload a document to the Web and charge for it.

The Scribd Web site is the most popular of several document-sharing sites that take a YouTube-like approach to text, letting people upload sample chapters of books, research reports, homework, recipes and the like. Users can read documents on the site, embed them in other sites and share links over social networks and e-mail.

In the new Scribd store, authors or publishers will be able to set their own price for their work and keep 80 percent of the revenue. They can also decide whether to encode their documents with security software that will prevent their texts from being downloaded or freely copied.

Scribd has been in the news lately because authors have been highly annoyed to find their works uploaded without permission. The site is working on a filter to prevent that, and their new store--which premieres tomorrow--will allow anyone to upload and sell a document of their own. Interesting, no?

Blackberry winter

I've been cold all day because when I got up at 7 am I thought the morning was just cool and it would warm up, so I wore capris and a T-shirt. But it didn't really ever warm up past the 50s, which is pretty cold when you're used to 70s and 80s during the day.

Today was the game and I had a lot of fun. I'm home rather early (11 pm) for a change. I've fed the fish (I think I have another batch of babies--there seem to be more of the smallest ones today. Livebearers can store packets of sperm for some time and birth their babies in batches for awhile rather than all at once. Wouldn't it be interesting if people were like that?)

I think I'm going to go on to bed, get up early and transfer the game recordings to the computer so I can listen to music without worrying about accidentally erasing anything. Good night.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

This is great

Transcripts/summaries of 'Buffy: the Vampire Slayer' which include body counts for each episode:

The Buffy Body Count

Especially nice is the episode 'Once More, With Feeling' (the Buffy musical episode), because it includes all lyrics.

If you're a fan (or just want to know what all the fuss was about) check it out.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I think I may have found the secret for good rest and getting up early

Keeping my bedroom light on.

Last night, like most nights this week, I have come home very tired, meaning to blog, but ready to crash. Usually it's been in the comfy chair, or just straight to bed with some vague idea of blogging in the morning, then oversleeping. One day this week I was almost half an hour late to work because of that. I've been going to bed about 3 am, and it's playing havoc with my sleep (not to mention my work on the game notes). Last night I meant to just lay down 'for a few minutes' with my CPAP on, but get up and blog. I woke up at 6 am, the overhead light still blazing, feeling fairly rested. Granted I stayed in bed until about 8:45, savouring the comfiness of my mattress and sleeping for another 20 minutes or so several times before waking up again. But when I did get up, I was not slow and ponderous, but at the same time unrushed.

Sorry I haven't posted much this week. Now you know why. I'll try to do more in the coming week. But I guess between working 48 hours, visiting friends and helping them out, and trying to do the notes, I'm not really going to get much sleep either the rest of this week or next week either. We'll see.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Oldest Known Sculpture Is Busty Clue to Brain Boom
From a cave in southwestern Germany, archaeologists have unearthed the oldest known piece of figurative art. More than an ancient artistic impulse, it may signify a profound change in modern human brains.

The small sculpture (about the size of a pinkie finger) is about 36,000 years old and depicts a woman with exaggerated breasts, which isn't surprising as these sorts of depictions, perhaps religious or fertility-related, have been found in other prehistorical digs.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

From the folks at JibJab.com:

Much better

After some rest and a nice shower, my aches have eased up quite a bit. Maybe I'm not getting old after all, just middle-aged. :)

Today is Mother's Day and I need to remember to call my mom, which means I need to set my alarm for the time after she's awake and before she's at work, which is always a little tricky. Today's the game so that's why it's best I set the alarm.

For all those mothers out there, here's to your day--I'm not sure I could do what you do. Sometimes people assume because I'm in my 40s that I am a mother, but I don't feel badly that I'm not. I don't have the stability in my life for a child, and I'm not sure I'd make a good mom anyway, despite good intentions. So maybe it's just better that I haven't had kids.

Okay, I'm going to stop and get some breakfast and then head over for game prep after I feed the fish and take my medicine. Hope you have a good day.

Last post of the night...

Top of the world! They made it there unassisted: First Americans to reach North Pole without aid had to drag all their gear

Also see their own stories of their trip:

http://www.forwardexpeditions.com/ and http://northpole.swissarmy.com/ (the trip was sponsored by the makers of Swiss Army knives)

They ate 8,000 calories a day (10,000 for a final push of 66 hours where they slept a total of three hours), but lost about 30 lbs each over the two-month journey. They each were dragging about 250 lbs behind them in gear and supplies. The trip was a fundraiser for CaringBridge, a Minnesota-based non-profit organisation which sponsors, as they put it, free, personalised websites that support and connect loved ones during critical illness, treatment and recovery.

Great job!

Sick of swine flu?

In Sneeze, you play an influenza virus set on infecting as many people as you can!

Thanks to David Rothman, who includes some nifty pictures from the game in his blog post, including one in a library.

Keep in mind I've been making fun of the PANIC potential of swine flu. I certainly don't mean to trivialise the loss of life that has happened, but it does appear to be a weak virus unlikely to cause a virulent pandemic...unless it mutates.

Criminal, sad, and disturbing

Lost teen's 7 emergency calls prove futile: Australia promises overhaul of emergency response after hiker's death

In 2006, David Iredale died of thirst in 100-degree heat after becoming lost in the Australian bush and repeatedly calling 000--their version of 911--and getting recorded messages or operators who insisted on a street address before they could dispatch an ambulance or helicopter. In addition, the calls kept dropping because he was in a gorge.
The operators "lacked empathy" because they were too preoccupied with the computer, [coroner Carl Milovanovich] said. Operators should be trained to override the computer and to recognize signs of illness or distress in callers.

Let's hope they make the system better.

More from Australia...

Australia to shoot 6,000 kangaroos: Killings intended to protect plants and insects; conservationists outraged
The kangaroo slaughter follows a recent government environmental report that the common eastern gray kangaroos are too numerous in Canberra's parkland and grassland, eating scarce native grass which is the habitat of endangered insects such as golden gun moths and perunga grasshoppers.

The kangaroo overpopulation is also threatening endangered reptiles, the grassland earless dragon and the striped legless lizard, the report said.

Kangaroos are slaughtered to control population throughout Australia, but government agencies have been reluctant to kill the beloved national symbol around Canberra in the past 20 years because of public outcry.

And still more... (*You may not want to read if you're arachnophobic, and certainly don't go visiting the links*)

Giant Spiders Invade Australian Outback Town
Scores of eastern tarantulas, which are known as “bird-eating spiders” and can grow larger than the palm of a man’s hand, have begun crawling out from gardens and venturing into public spaces in Bowen, a coastal town about 700 miles northwest of Brisbane....

While not deadly like other Australian spiders, the eastern tarantulas are venomous and can grow up to 6cm (2.4in) long with a leg span of 16cm (6.3in). Despite their common name, they do not eat birds, but can kill a dog with one bite, and make a human very sick.

They are also known as whistling or barking spiders for the hissing noise they emit when they are disturbed or aggravated at close range.

They creep me out, and I *like* spiders.

My, Australia's been in the news quite a bit this week!

Have any scholars died from ladders at the Bodleian in 400 years?

Just wondering.

After 400 years, health and safety bans stepladders from historic Oxford library… but nobody can reach the books
Stepladders have been banned from part of Oxford University's historic Bodleian library - because of health and safety fears.

The ruling by officials means that students cannot use items on the higher shelves of the Duke Humfrey reading room.

However, the university is standing its ground and refusing to move the books from their 'original historic location' on the room's balcony.

As a result of the stalemate, students have to travel to libraries as far away as London to view other copies.

What's the main thing they teach you in library school? The point of a library is to provide access to information. What's the point of having pretty historical books without anyone being able to read them? Even a collector or book hoarder savours each book he or she owns and reads them on occasion. But in this case they have become mere decoration, no better than when shallow people buy old books they never read to make their house look more intellectual, which is a shame. Sure, the ladders aren't necessarily the best of solutions, but they've worked well for this long, haven't they?

Thanks to Steven of Library Stuff for this gem.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Appropriate for a medical librarian & hypochondriac (who happens to like Mark Twain)

(click on the picture for full-size)

You've got to love these motivational posters from Sloshspot.com. Twain was certainly quite a character.

Thanks to Great Western Dragon at LISNews for the link.

Tired and sore

It's been awhile since I pulled a 10-hour shift at the store. Some days I technically work 12 hours between the two jobs, but the library is mostly a sit down job, whereas I'm on my feet all the time at the store.

The foot I broke last year is really hurting, and I can't really bend it at all. I hope I haven't refractured it. It was my weight and standing that gave me the stress fracture before. I'm sure rest will help. At least that's what I tell myself. :) Maybe the fact is I'm getting older and things are breaking down. I used to be able to stock a cooler without my shoulders hurting afterwards.

In other words, I feel like a little old lady tonight with lots of aches and pains.

Speaking of little old ladies, we had the nicest older couple come in today. I'd say both were in their late 80s to early 90s, fragile but active and still with it, just a little hard of hearing. Assuming they got married when they were young, can you imagine spending that much time with someone over the years? Wow.

Okay, enough about me. I'm going to go looking for something to comment on.

So I'm driving along

and I suddenly get a strong feeling that something is going to dart out in front of the car. So I slow down (having learnt to listen to intuition) and turn onto Man O'War, and I think maybe I was wrong, and start singing to the radio, and there it is--moving so slowly I almost didn't see it moving at all.

So maybe I was wrong about the darting, but I did manage to avoid the baby tortoise that was making its way across a four lane highway. Avoiding a tortoise is somewhat harder to do than you might think, since it's not running away from the car. You pretty much have to straddle the tortoise and hope no wheels make contact. I managed to aim the car so he/she was dead centre (or should I say live centre--sorry it's late and my sense of humour is off). I just hope the rest of the cars out there in the middle of the night managed to avoid it, too. It's dark, but it's also full moon, so maybe that will help.

When I used to drive up to Owenton to visit my grandmother, there was a time in the spring when the road was full of hundreds of tortoises--some dead, some living, as they moved from one area to another. It was a bit of an obstacle course but I managed not to hit any, to my knowledge. I've only hit one animal before, a black cat (on Friday the 13th, at midnight, right after friends played with a Ouija board, no less). It was unavoidable, but I was hysterical for the better part of an hour. I thought it was my friends' cat, so I took it up there, to their house, thinking too that one was an RN who might be able to help it until I could take it to the emergency hospital. But it died in my arms on the way, and I wound up breaking down in their living room. They finally got me calmed down so I could go on home. The guy took care of the cat and then went around the next day searching for the owner. It turns out it was a randy un-neutered male that had just moved to the neighbourhood and wasn't used to the traffic. Still, I felt awful.

But at least the little tortoise was still plugging away across the road the last time I saw it.

This little guy in the video goes a lot faster, but it's relaxing to watch and the birdsong is nice, too. The leaves look like magnolia, which isn't surprising as the person who filmed it lives in Florida.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Okay, one more thing: Walrus Hugs!


This is rather nice and relaxing

At http://www.soundsleeping.com/ they have a mixer that allows you to put together a variety of sounds to help you sleep. Music includes drums or flute. Sounds include a creek, birdsong, rain, thunder, crickets, a bonfire, gulls, the ocean, or wind chimes. You can mix and match, with one space reserved for music and four other channels for sounds.

On that note, even though I should blog more, I'm heading to bed. I've had a root canal today, cut myself shaving, and generally had a rough couple of days--although it seems to be improving. I sleep with a fan, incidentally, and a colour-changing lamp with bubbles and light-weight marbles. But for napping in the comfy chair my screen savers or the Sound Sleeping website work well (since my computer is in the living room). Of course, there I can also hear the aquarium, with its natural cascade of water. I counted again and it looks like I have 20 baby fire platies; there are about five that are still quite tiny and pale, so they blend in. As far as I can tell, I didn't whisk any up during the great water change I did at 2 am the other night. I do need to get the vacuum I saw at Meijer that was battery-powered, though. There's nothing like using your mouth to suction aquarium water (especially when you have a broken filling and who knows what kind of shape that was in before the root canal).

Okay, enough. Good night. I'll try to post more tomorrow; I'm just really tired.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

This is fun and educational

National Geographic created a map of words, indigenous meanings of placenames throughout the United States. Click on the meaning and the word blows up with text underneath that tells you what the place is. My favourite is Topeka, Kansas, 'a good place to dig potatoes'. :)

Thanks to shelfcheck at LISNews.

I've spent some of my time pointing out to people that no, librarians *don't* spend all day reading

...but some do. Check this out:

Booklist is a magazine that reviews books and other media, a selection tool that librarians do read, or at least those in the public library world do. [As a medical librarian, I rely more on reviews in the Journal of the Medical Library Association, Doody's (well, sort of--I have been a selector three years running for the area of orthopaedics but I actually don't have access to the core titles myself...but word of mouth is a wonderful thing), and even extrapolation from the old standard of the Brandon-Hill Lists. Oh, and the pediatric library list circulates a core list as well, and MEDLIB-L sometimes has recommendations. So we have alternatives. But we don't have a video. :)]

Why do good intentions wind up misused?

Last year in June, Eugene Volokh of the Volokh Consipiracy posted about the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act which had been introduced in the House of Representatives. Apparently it has been again, this time as of April 2nd, (coincidentally and totally extraneously, my birthday).

Now, readers of this blog may remember that Megan Meier was the teen in Missouri who committed suicide after being jerked around by a couple of adults pretending to be peers. Let me just say that I was appalled by that case and very sympathetic towards the girl and her family. I think cyberbullying is real, and can be just as hurtful as face-to-face bullying. There was really nothing on the books to charge the adults in this case with in terms of cyberbullying itself. So of course, the good folks in Washington are looking to make one. Unfortunately, this is a case of good intent that could go horribly wrong. I give you:
Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

I think you can see the problems here, both in terms of defining cyberbullying (you go to prison for criticising someone scathingly more than once--what will happen to our music critics?) and constitutionality (that little thing called freedom of speech, related to that thing called freedom of press). I can't imagine it would survive court tests but it would be bad to be the person skewered for the test case, too.

It's definitely one to watch, though. Lawmakers have passed worse ones.

Okay, that's all for tonight. I'm going to get some sleep. You should, too (unless you're driving cross-country or working with machinery, that is).

PS So far all the rest of the fish are alive. Here's hoping...

Entertaining fine amnesty videos

from the San Fracisco Public Library are really fun. SFPL is having an amnesty May 3rd-16th and they're trying to get people to return books through a series of short videos which include Josh Kornbluth pondering I and Thou (an excellent book I must read in its entirety sometime) and Cpt. CB 'Sully' Sullenberger telling folks that the amnesty is great when you really, really need to find a way to tell the librarians 'it got lost in the Hudson River' (Sullenberger is the pilot that famously landed a jetliner in the Hudson without fatalities. He had four books with him, which he was given amnesty for but apparently they were recovered and are going through processing to see if they can be returned.) There are several of these. Check them out.

Thanks to shelfcheck at LISNews for the link.

Mellowed out

This is from a channel I subscribe to on YouTube. I happen to love Spanish and classical guitar (well, virtually any stringed instrument--it's a shame I can't play any instrument myself, but I suppose there must be avid listeners out there who appreciate it as well), so I've been listening to Per-Olov Kindgren for awile, but happened upon this video from before I subscribed....yes, it's 'Stairway to Heaven' arranged for classical guitar. As I'm sure you know, it's rather long.

This is another, also very soothing, from Johann Sebastian Bach:

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Unlikely bedfellows

Warning...do not watch this if you suffer from ophidiophobia!

From the blurb on YouTube:
Snakes usually have hamsters for lunch. But when rat snake Ao-chan and dwarf hamster Gohan-chan met at a Japanese zoo, it was love - and not at first bite. Now, the 120-centimetre snake and gray hamster are room mates, living together in a heated glass box.

Gohan-chan, whose name means "meal" in Japanese, was literally, meant to be the snake's dinner. "When we first found Ao-chan, the snake refused to eat so we went to a pet shop but was told they were out of frozen mice and suggested we try a hamster. However the moment we put it in the cage, it was instantaneous friendship and the snake seemed to have no appetite for it," said zoo keeper Kazuya Yamamoto.

But the love is obviously is shared only by the snake and the hamster. Hanna-chan, a mouse-hunting cat, has been eyeing Gohan-chan ever since Ao-chan decided to befriend it.

I used to raise hamsters and sell them to pet stores. I can't imagine feeding one to a snake (the only real reason I don't keep snakes; I'm rather fascinated by them...I could maybe do crickets, but not mammals). But these two seem to get along pretty well, although if I were their keeper, I still would always wonder if Ao-Chan might finally decide to have dinner, though. (Note: I gave up hamsters when I got kittens...I didn't want to have a hamster taken apart in the house by an overly-exuberant feline).

Okay, I think it's time to say good night. :)

Don't Panic!

Graham has done it again...

I do subscribe to his channel, but YKWIA showed it to me before I got around to it myself.


Thanks to Steven at Library Stuff for the link.


A map of the land of books

Thanks to Blake of LISNews for the link.

Best quote of the day

'It costs us about the same as mowing, and goats are a lot cuter to watch than lawn mowers,'--Don Hoffman of Google, which is using goats rather than machines to care for its fields occasionally. (Follow the link and you'll see a picture of the goat herd. There are about 200 goats and one border collie that have been working on this project.)


I lost my male swordfish today without any warning. He's been very active. I can only guess the nitrate levels are running high again--that can happen when you introduce fish or increase the amount you're feeding. Like the others, he lasted just over a week. The platies seem acclimated, but I'm worried about the female sword now. I'll have Animal House check the water for me Thursday and in the meantime I think I need to do a water change, although I haven't since the babies were born because I was waiting for them to get bigger. I don't want to suck them into oblivion and there's still a couple of nearly transparent tiny ones in there. I'll just have to be careful. I've added some more nitrate-fixing bacteria for good measure. If I can get the water balanced I'll introduce a catfish or two to clean up some of the detritus, and some sort of algae eater. But for now, I might just go with plants next.

Yesterday I finally got some rest. Our game got cancelled, so I went home and slept for five hours, went back to do the weekly housecleaning, and then went home early and fell asleep to soothing music whilst sitting in the comfy chair. I woke up about 1 am and moved to the bed. This morning I had a dream that a friend and I were touring the university's campus on a 1930s tour. There was an open-air bus that had a full-sized replica of a '30s car and a speakeasy bar (serving soft-drinks, however). It was very strange. I've noticed that when I dream of UK I tend to dream about the south campus, near the twin residential towers, the place I first lived when I came up to Lexington for school.

Today has been pretty productive. I'm trying to get the library on the EFTS payment system now that the National Network of Libraries of Medicine are giving out grants of up to $200 to start out, plus the same amount to sustain. That would take care of my interlibrary loans for the year (I get most of them through FREESHARE, a consortium of libraries which do not charge for articles, but large resource libraries, universities, and the National Library of Medicine itself charge about $11 per ILL, and I have about 10-15 bills a year.) But they're only giving out 100 awards this year, and so I've asked our financial officer if it would be possible for us to apply. The nice thing about EFTS is you deposit funds via one cheque (I don't think we're set up for a credit card) rather than writing a whole bunch of little cheques throughout the year, which costs money in itself. One quote I read was that it took about $110 to cut a cheque when you figured in manpower and other hidden costs. So it's a money saver, and for me it would be great to get one of these grants because my books/journals budget pretty much goes for journals these days. I'm using another grant to help pay for book updates this year. Even so, I'll still be a little over budget in that area, although I'm usually under budget in other things, so maybe it will be offset. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Sunday, May 03, 2009


With 'Bird' in hand, Borel charges to win

Unlike many Kentuckians (and quite a few guests to our Commonwealth), I was not at Churchill Downs, or even watching the Kentucky Derby in simulcast at Keeneland, Lexington's historical track. I didn't go to a Derby party--I worked instead, but I was at a friend's house at Derby time and like no doubt millions of others, we switched the TV over to watch the most famous 2 minutes in sports.

What a run! I had gone with Dunkirk (because I like grey horses, although bays, being more prevalent, win more often), and my friend had picked him because he liked his particulars. But out of nowhere a 50-1 long shot came barreling through along the rail to win the 135th Derby--a horse bought for less than $10,000, with good breeding but not a great background in terms of races. But Mine That Bird also had an excellent jockey, Calvin Borel, whom at first I thought was French by his accent, then recognised the Louisiana accent I grew up around.

The article above is by former Lexington-Herald Leader writer Billy Reed. (The H-L only keeps their articles public for 7 days, so I found another source to link to.)

There will be no stud fee for Mind that Bird, or offspring for that matter, as he is a gelding, one of only two that have won the Derby in my lifetime.

What a run, though....I wonder how he will do (if they enter him, of course) in the Preakness and Belmont.

Didn't see the race? There is an official Kentucky Derby channel on YouTube, and they've posted a replay (and graciously allowed it to be embedded):

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The day I wouldn't want to be the guard at the security desk

I had heard about the impromptu rave at UNC-Davis but this somehow slipped under my radar despite happening in my city at my alma mater in the main campus library on April 29th, as students were preparing for finals. I've seen numbers around 1,500 or so--certainly hundreds--who found out via word of mouth and texting what was going to happen and came to be a part of it. Police arrived and it looks like the crowd dissipated fairly well, although someone pulled the fire alarm.

Crazy kids, right? Gods, I feel old. [But I have to admit, it sounded kind of fun, although I can't imagine actually joining that mob--certainly in a library.] I hope no damage was done to anything or anybody.

Thanks to YKWIA for telling me about it and Bibliofuture at LISNews for the video link.