Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thank you to one of my co-workers

who brought me an RF modulator he had lying about. I have an older TV (it was my grandmother's, and she died in '93), without RCA jacks. So in order to run my DVD player to my TV, I had to run it through my VCR. Sadly, my VCR died.

I've hooked everything up, and if I turn on the DVD player, voilà, the RF modulator turns on and the DVD screen comes up. Yay, I can watch discs on my TV again. So, thanks to Garry, and thanks to Radio Shack for still making the suckers. :)


Kindle Fire

[Everyone seems to be ignoring the Kindle Touch that was also announced today, although I think it's rather nifty.]

There are now are now seven types of Kindles:

Kindle [$79 with ads, $109 without]
Kindle Touch [$99 with ads, $139 without]
Kindle Touch 3G [$149 with ads, $189 without]
Kindle with Keyboard (the type that's been on the market for a year) [$99 with ads, $139 without]
Kindle with Keyboard 3G [$139 with ads, $189 without]
Kindle DX (the large one) [$379, 3G/no ads]
Kindle Fire tablet [$199]--this is a wi-fi device, no 3G

All of these include wi-fi (as opposed to my Kindle 2, which just has 3G--but I can get books or browse the web from the bus). :)

If I were to get another device, it would be the tablet. At $199 I think it will be very popular. There's a nice comparison of the different models on the Kindle Fire page (the link above), as well as the specifications. One of my co-workers (who had been saving up for an iPad) pre-ordered one today; I'll look at hers before any final decision, but for now I'm resisting. It's not so much reading books on it that has me interested--I like the e-Ink of the regular Kindles better than backlight. It's all the stuff you can do with it. I would have to set up a wi-fi network at home, though. And it would make sense to get Amazon Prime. Still...

I love this passage

from Elizabeth Peters' Borrower of the Night:
In recent years, students have done a lot of complaining about 'relevance.' No one can quarrel with the basic idea: that education should have something to do with real life and its problems. The trouble comes when you try to define the word. What is relevant? Not history, according to the more radical critics. Who cares what happened in ancient Babylon or medieval England? It's now that counts.

They couldn't be more wrong. Everything has happened before--not once, but over and over again. We may not be able to solve our problems through what are pompously called 'the lessons of history,' but at least we should be able to recognize the issues and perhaps avoid some of the solutions that have failed in the past. And we can take heart in our own dilemma by realizing that other people in other times have survived worse.

Listening to:

A slightly longer version appears on Linkin Park's album A Thousand Suns. I think they did a good job incorporating elements from other videos related to the album as well as those from the Transformers: Dark of the Moon movie, the soundtrack of which has this song featured.

This is so cool

Dialect Map of North America

I wonder what they'd make of my accent, having grown up in all sorts of states, mostly in the South, but including the West and Midwest?

Thanks to Maria Popova for the link.

A unique calendar for 2012

Men of the Stacks not only features male librarians who buck the stereotypes, all of the proceeds of sale go to the It Gets Better project.

Thanks to Sarah Houghton, the Librarian in Black, for the link.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Today I finished and returned

my first book checked out on the Kindle from the Lexington Public Library. It was called The Poison Diaries, by Maryrose Wood, Duchess of Northumberland. I went ahead and checked out the following:

Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters (the first Vicky Bliss novel; I've read all of the Amelia Peabody series but not Vicky Bliss)
The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo
Running the Books by Avi Steinberg

which, all in all, is a little ambitious, as they're good for one week. :) But I read faster on the Kindle, mainly because I can read on the bus...regular books make me carsick. I also put a reserve on a couple of e-books and one print one--the latter being Death in the Devil's Acre, by Anne Perry. So my reading is going better than it had for awhile. There were a couple of months where I really didn't feel like it.

The process of getting the Kindle books was pretty easy, although it takes several clicks and in my case a download to the computer and transfer via USB cable (I have a Kindle 2; it has 3G but not Wi-Fi, and library books are delivered only through the Wi-Fi, not 3G). You go to your library site's Overdrive section, browse or search for books, find one you like, put it in a cart, click on a button to get the book, which opens up a window to Amazon, click on a button to get the library book, and it is either delivered (if you have Wi-Fi) or downloaded, easy as pie. To return a book before the borrowing time is up, you go to the area on Amazon where you manage your Kindle, go to the list of books, which includes the library books, clearly marked as such, choose return this book, and there you go. If you don't plan on checking it out again or purchasing it, you can remove it from your library. Amazon has it set up so that your notes and highlights remain if you check the book out again or purchase it, so presumably if you want to do that, you should keep it. I don't know about the Wi-Fi Kindle, but on mine I also need to remove the book from my device. It sounds complicated, but really it isn't. All in all, I'm excited and pleased to be able to do this. Thank you Amazon and the Lexington Public Library!

Also, I got my second DVD from Netflix today, I Am Number Four. The idea is to watch that tomorrow, return it Wednesday, and have Beastly in by the weekend so I can watch it with YKWIA. I didn't realise when I did that that the main star is the same for both movies. Both are also based on young adult novels.

Okay, it's the middle of the night. I fell asleep earlier without my insulin, but also got up because it's my night to do a libation, doubly appropriate because it is also dark of the moon. Must attend to that. Good night.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

'Trust me, I'm a librarian'

I was on my way home tonight on the bus and there was a man, a regular bus rider, with a DVD that was due back to the library today. The library was closed, there was no layover for the bus like there is during the rest of the week (usually it sits for a few minutes at the library stop, and if that were the case he could have walked up the hill, put it in the drop, and come back down). The last pullout for the buses was 8:20 and we were on the 7:20 bus [the penultimate bus], meaning he couldn't get back and transfer to another bus if he got off, because the next bus (coming in an hour) would have simply headed back to the garage after that stop.

He and the bus driver talked about various ideas along the way. When we got to the library stop, she said she wouldn't be able to do a layover--the bus was right on time, not early. Since I was getting off to go home anyway, I told him to give it to me and I would put it in the drop box. 'Trust me,' I said, 'I'm a librarian.' I've always wanted to say that.

The surprising thing is he did, handing me the DVD case after making sure both discs were inside. I guess I looked trustworthy and, well, like a librarian. Most people wouldn't trust a total stranger to do something like that for them. But he did. I climbed up the hill, put it in the drop, and walked home. When I called YKWIA, he was astounded that anyone would just hand over the DVD.

We got to wondering what evil I could put my trustworthy face and occupation to (okay, just kidding, mu-ha-ha-ha).

Years ago, I wound up at someone's place after work, staying till quite late at night, without calling a friend. He had the police out looking for me, both campus and metro. Usually of course, they wouldn't have done so, it being a few hours at most. Could I be in a bar? No, she doesn't drink. On a date? Hah! But he used the magic words, you see, 'She's a librarian.' Turns out the policeman's wife was a librarian, and this spurred him to action. Meanwhile, I came slinking home at 4 am after being quite naughty to find my friend pacing in my living room thinking I was dead. I think he's finally forgiven me for that. :) Maybe. But I think I almost got throttled that night.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Gearing up to watch Doctor Who

Only one more week till the series 6 finale, 'The Wedding of River Song', airs. Here's a preview:

Looks quite exciting, eh?

In honour of the 75th anniversary of Jim Henson's birth...

I wish he were still with us, but his Muppets live on. :)

This was on the status of a high school classmate on Facebook

An exchange:

Dear Wife, ... ... I’m writing you this letter to tell you that I’m leaving you forever. I’ve been a good man to you ... for 7 years & I have nothing to show for it. These last 2 weeks have been hell. ... Your boss called to tell me that you quit your job today & that was the last straw. Last week, you came home & didn’t even notice I had a new haircut, had cooked your favourite meal & even wore a brand new pair of silk boxers. You ate in 2 minutes, & went straight to sleep after watching all of your soaps. You don’t tell me you love me any more; you don’t want sex or anything that connects us as husband & wife. Either you’re cheating on me or you don’t love me any-more; whatever the case, I’m gone. Your EX-Husband P.S. don’t try to find me. Your SISTER & I are moving away to West Virginia together! Have a great life!


Dear Ex-Husband Nothing has made my day more than receiving your letter. It’s true you & I have been married for 7 years, although a good man is a far cry from what you’ve been. I watch my soaps so much because they drown out your constant whining & griping. Too bad that doesn’t work. I DID notice when you got a hair cut last week, but the 1st thing that came to mind was ‘You look just like a girl!’ Since my mother raised me not to say anything if you can’t say something nice, I didn’t comment. And when you cooked my favorite meal, you must have gotten me confused with MY SISTER, because I stopped eating pork 7 years ago. About those new silk boxers: I turned away from you because the $49.99 price tag was still on them, & I prayed it was a coincidence that my sister had just borrowed $50 from me that morning. After all of this, I still loved you & felt we could work it out. So when I hit the lotto for 10 million dollars, I quit my job & bought us 2 tickets to Jamaica But when I got home you were gone.. Everything happens for a reason, I guess. I hope you have the fulfilling life you always wanted. My lawyer said that the letter you wrote ensures you won’t get a dime from me. So take care. Signed, Your Ex-Wife, Rich As Hell & Free! P.S. I don’t know if I ever told you this, but my sister Carla was born Carl. I hope that’s not a problem.

:) Thanks, Connie.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Didn't see this until today--this man gave us the world--for free

Michael Hart, Project Gutenberg's e-book loving founder, passes away

It began with the text of the Declaration of Independence typed into the computer in 1971. 36,000 books later, his legacy lives on in the form of eBooks available freely, in a variety of formats, from a project begun long before Kindles and Nooks and iPads. Project Gutenberg is a wonderful resource. It was all about putting content in the public domain in the hands of the public.

Here is a obituary as well on the Gutenberg site, and one from the Los Angeles Times.

RIP, and thank you for working nearly my entire life to help others grow their minds through words.

Today's feel-good story

from the Today Show, of course....

Deformed puppy, rescued from trash, learns to walk: 11-week-old Harper is doing swimmingly thanks to hydrotherapy and lots of love

Good luck, Harper.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

A cute quote from 'Being Human' (UK)

Mitchell: 'I never know with you if its Jewish guilt or werewolf guilt.'
George: 'They're pretty much the same thing.'

Gives me a whole new view of Jewish mothers. :)

Here's another:

George (werewolf): 'Don't you see what you have done? You've turned us into a hello, how are you programme with the whole sorting neighbourhood.'
Mitchell (vampire): 'We're valuable members of the local community.'
George (werewolf): 'Yes, until we inadvertently kill one of them.'
Mitchell (vampire:: 'Jesus, lighten up, will you?'

Thursday, September 22, 2011

So I've gone into bronchitis

That lovely stage of illness when you're not really contagious any more but you cough like mad. Fortunately I'm not coughing every moment, but if I go without something to drink or a cough drop (which I am now out of, should have picked some up at the store earlier), within about five minutes I start to hack. It's enough to make me tired, but generally I'm feeling better than I had, even pre-cough.

I've taken a co-worker's suggestion and gotten some garlic and honey to mix for nighttime. I feel like something's just sitting on my chest. I went in for a diabetes check-up today, had my insulin adjusted, and they gave me a shot in my hip that really hurt, although I'm not quite sure what the point was, since it was an antibiotic and the original infection was almost certainly viral, and it probably just contributes to antibiotic resistance. I guess with my asthma they didn't want to take a chance of it worsening. I've never had this antibiotic before (it's in one of those families where if you're allergic to penicillin they warrant caution). I do know it hurt quite as much as I remember them hurting as a child; haven't had one as an adult. But I kept a stiff upper lip and wasn't a weenie, for which I was proud. When I was a kid, I'd cry, scream, and run and hide. Now I remember why.

I just hope it clears up soon. When I was younger, about every 3-5 years I'd wind up with a case of bronchitis for about 6-8 weeks at a time. :( And things don't get better as you age, let me tell you. On the other hand, I haven't been sick in awhile, so I guess I can't complain. Even my allergies have been...okay. After this clears up and once October starts, I'll take my flu shot, too.

I so should have watched the last episode of the 'Being Human' disc I have out tonight so I could mail it back tomorrow (it's easier to mail things from work; I have one of those keyed mailboxes that aren't conducive to outgoing mail, and no mail drop box nearby). But considering I had little sleep last night I suppose I should be happy I've been productive. And we did a big grocery run earlier and I got my own groceries for a change, enough to hopefully last a couple of weeks.

Tomorrow I've got to put this place back into some semblance of order, as my illness means I pretty much have strewn things all over. At least I finally watered the plants. I may have lost a couple, though. Thank goodness the only pets I have at the moment are goldfish. :)

Okay, I think I'll go on to bed. Have a good night, and a good tomorrow. And hey, it's the end of the week to look forward to.

An excellent (and might I say daring, given the time) episode of 'The Twilight Zone', with a librarian hero

'The Obsolete Man'

Part I:

Part II:

Thanks to Sue Bradley, who pointed me to this episode, which was linked on Dean Giustini's blog. Sadly, it came up on our list because of yet another health sciences library closure.

I've always liked Burgess Meredith, who plays the protagonist. He also played a bibliophile in another episode of 'The Twilight Zone', who finally had time to read the books he loved in a post-apocalyptic world, but is unable to do so through a cruel twist of fate. In 'The Obsolete Man', Fritz Weaver delivers an excellent performance as the State's rigid Chancellor as well. 'Twilight Zone' had such quality acting and writing, you don't see style like that any more.

Another theory may be standing on its head

Faster than light particles found, claim scientists: Particle physicists detect neutrinos travelling faster than light, a feat forbidden by Einstein's theory of special relativity
It is a concept that forms a cornerstone of our understanding of the universe and the concept of time – nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.

But now it seems that researchers working in one of the world's largest physics laboratories, under a mountain in central Italy, have recorded particles travelling at a speed that is supposedly forbidden by Einstein's theory of special relativity.

Scientists at the Gran Sasso facility will unveil evidence on Friday that raises the troubling possibility of a way to send information back in time, blurring the line between past and present and wreaking havoc with the fundamental principle of cause and effect.

Particle traveling faster than light? Two ways it could rewrite physics.
European scientists are shocked by an experiment that showed particles moving faster than light. The result, if confirmed, could challenge Einstein's signature theory on relativity or point to a universe of more than four dimensions.

New understanding of the dispersal of modern humans

Lock of hair pins down early migration of Aborigines
A lock of hair has helped scientists to piece together the genome of Australian Aborigines and rewrite the history of human dispersal around the world.

DNA from the hair demonstrates that indigenous Aboriginal Australians were the first to separate from other modern humans, around 70,000 years ago.

This challenges current theories of a single phase of dispersal from Africa.

By contrast, those in the Middle East and North Africa moved out to colonise Europe and Asia about 24,000 years ago. There are also interesting patterns in terms of Neanderthal and Denisovan intermingling with modern man discussed in the article. Aborigines have about the same amount of Neanderthal genes as Europeans, indicating that the interbreeding happened prior to their migration.

Never underestimate the power of books....

A 67-year reunion of wartime survivors, inspired by Google Books

Imagine the surprise of a Jewish Holocaust survivor searching her family name on Google to find that her family was discussed in a memoir of an American bomber pilot who hid in the same safe house to avoid capture by the Nazis. The woman, who was a little girl at the time, the author, and the author's father, who was the pilot, were reunited through Google Books.

Thanks to Alisha Miles for tweeting the link.

Succint look at 47 years of Doctor Who

It was filmed right before the current season.

Now, if I did have $145 to spare

I have to admit, I wouldn't get M*A*S*H. I'd give it to the organisation collecting funds for Charlotte Reid's trip from Australia to consult experts on Trichothiodystrophy here in the United States. They've managed to get partway there, but I think it will take several thousand more dollars. If you are on Facebook, check out this group for more information:

Charlotte Reid's Medical Appeal

If you're not on Facebook, and you're in Australia, there is a charity that is taking donations for Charlotte called The Friends of Sammy-Joe. Their donation page lists several ways to help.

If you live outside of Australia, the best way you can donate is through the following website:

Everyday Hero Australia - Donate to the Friends of Sammy Joe

Then e-mail sammyjo2 [at] bigpond.com.au (put in the @ sign like a normal e-mail address, I'm just trying to make sure they don't get hit with spam) and let them know you made a donation for Charlotte Reid so it will go to her trip.

Anyway, I know I've mentioned this before, but it's a good cause, and the family is quite worried for Charlotte, who has been quite sick the last few days. The sooner we can get her to the US, the better. So maybe if I can donate a little, and a few of you donate a little, we'll get her here.

Okay, that's the last charity plug I'll make for a bit. I don't want to knock you all over the head with such things. But I figure, if you can do a little good in the world by spreading a message, then do so. Sometimes this blog is a little too much about, well, me, and not about people and things I care about. I've never met Charlotte, although I've chatted online with her father on occasion, but I care about her and hope that she does well.

As might be obvious

I am having insomnia, brought on by having caffeine for the first time in days. Lying in bed, the sheets making contact with my legs almost feel like something's crawling on them. I figure if I have this sort of reaction to too much caffeine, imagine what heavy-duty stimulants would do. Glad I've never had the desire to find out.

I probably should have taken it easy with the soda. That's what happens, you see, I get very low on cash and don't drink sodas (I don't do coffee or tea), and then I get paid and it's all feast and famine, and then I don't sleep.

Oh, well. I'll try to go back and lie down again. I have a doctor's appointment in the morning and then I have to pick up my insulin pens and another type of medicine, and from there go to work.

I am not a particularly neat person at home; I hoard, I generate clutter, I'm often just a slob. But at work my desk is always very neat for some reason. I guess I can manage such a small space, and it bothers me to see it cluttered. Today I looked around and it's the worse it's been, perhaps ever. Mail stacked up, sheets just put in no particular place, etc. It's because I've been sick. I'll sort it all out tomorrow, I think. And I've nearly let several plants die here and my kitchen is a wreck since I actually used something other than the microwave when there was almost no food. Fortunately I'm going to the grocery with friends tomorrow so I can rectify that.

Ah, blessed payday. Of course, I've got it mostly spent already and it's not actually official till tomorrow. A big chunk happens to be medicine. Now that my flexible spending account is exhausted, the co-pays add up quickly--most of my meds have co-pays of $50 each. I looked into a programme I'd found for a friend that provides six-month supplies of medicines at a reduced cost, but now that I'm full time, I think I make just over what you can for that, so no such luck. :(

If I had no better use for $145

[which, in all honesty, I can't spare no matter how much I'd like this], I would get this.

M*A*S*H--Martinis and Medicine collection [Complete 11 seasons plus the original Robert Altman film]

In the meantime, I've put the last 2-hour episode, 'Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen' into my Netflix queue. The other DVDs are also available. It's not something I'd watch over and over, but when I was a child, I really latched onto M*A*S*H, growing up in the service at the time, with a father who'd been stuck in Southeast Asia for much of the first six years of my life. I even re-enacted an adapted episode for a monologue in junior high school, and I read the books by Richard Hooker from which the whole thing descended (and let me tell you, I was a little too young for them). j I even used to know all the words to the theme, 'Suicide is Painless'.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'm coughing but generally am back in the land of the living

I actually went over to help a friend with some stuff yesterday, and tonight I've stayed up, watching the second episode of 'Being Human' (the UK version) and going through my Netflix queue and rating movies and series. See, on the 13th I finally made the plunge and started a free month's worth of Netflix streaming and DVD service. Six days later, the company announced that it was separating the two services into Netflix (streaming content) and the silly name of Quickster (for DVDs). Blame me. Yes, sir. I broke Netflix.

The thing is, while that's all annoying, the idea of watching things on my own schedule is really quite appealing. There have only been a few of things I've thought of that I can't find on Netflix ('Cast a Deadly Spell', 'Judging Amy', and 'Lou Grant', none of which have made it to DVD). Many of the things YKWIA has introduced me to, but which we've never had a chance to sit down and really watch now that I'm on the bus, are on there. Whole series I was interested in but never caught, are on one or both services. That's how I watched 'Sherlock' (Brenda clued me in on that one). All those 'Doctor Who' episodes I missed, or the earlier 'Buffy', or 'Eureka', or 'Bones', 'True Blood', or 'Lost'--they're all there. They even have 'H2O'. And it's pretty reasonably priced, even with the price hikes I've heard about. It's a lot less than I pay for cable television--just under $16 a month for both. Maybe it doesn't seem so bad because I didn't know any better, what it was like before. Anyway, for now I'm going to keep it. It's the perfect thing for a girl who's never seen Forrest Gump or Sixteen Candles. (Yeah, I know. I'm the only one in the world, probably.)

News of the day

Good: Amazon Kindle can now check out e-books from 11,000 libraries [Lexington Public Library isn't one of those just yet, but it does use Overdrive and there is a 'coming soon' banner on its eBook page.]

Also good: Two U.S. hikers convicted as spies leave Iran on bail

Inspiring, and I hope everything turns out alright: A woman and her toddler fight dual cancers

Justice done, even though I'm not a proponent of the death penalty: White supremacist executed for Texas dragging of James Byrd, Jr.

Sad to see, but a good way to go: R.E.M. Breaks Up After Three Decades, Thanks Fans for Listening

Truly sad in so many ways: Teenager struggled with bullying before taking his life

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's a brand new day

Much better this morning, except for some stuffiness and the cold sore. It is rather difficult to blog on the bus, though, with the bumping. And it is grey outside, but at least it's not raining. Okay, time to go. I'll write later.

Well, I'm feeling a little better

I took a nap, then got up and watched 'The God Complex' 'Doctor Who' episode, which aired this weekend but I had to DVR it because I was just so tired. It was quite creepy. After that I watched the third and last (to date) episode of 'Sherlock'--'The Great Game'. YKWIA was telling me the other day that Moriarty was, well, far more vicious in this incarnation than in the original Conan Doyle stories, and boy, he was right. And what a cliffhanger! Three more episodes are set to air in 2012. I sincerely hope so; it's an incredibly well-done series.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Eating patty-pan squash with onion, garlic, Parmesan, and pepper jack, along with some Zatarain's red beans and rice. It's very hearty, and the steam is trying to open my sinuses.

Yesterday I stayed in bed for about 16 hours. Today I feel a smidge better. I went to work, and did get some things done, but I'd be lying if I said I'd been really productive. One of my co-workers took pity on my and gave me some cough drops she had in her purse. Some were sugar-free, from Hall's, and they had little sayings on the wrapper like, 'Be resilient', 'Dust yourself off and get up'. I am wondering if the people responsible for those little sayings were also the ones who came up with 'Have a happy period' on Always menstrual pads, obnoxious little buggers, I say.

I'm heading to bed for a nap. I don't intend to sleep the night away; I never do. But still...must sleep a bit.


It's September 19th, maties. That's mean it's Talk Like a Pirate Day. Enjoy!

And here are some silly pirates (and a kid in a some sort of animal costume that knows how to torture drunken sailors with a current musical act). :)



to get something to drink (water, in fact) and take my Lantus. My blood sugar's holding steady at about 230, which is high, but better than this morning by a longshot, and Lantus is a sort of long-acting basal insulin, so it should help overall.

I've slept hours now, and I think I really needed it. My headache's gone, even though I haven't had any ibuprofen in several hours. The feeling of hot and cold is gone (which was annoying, as the highest my temperature actually read was 98.7 degrees). I'm still coughing occasionally, and my eyes are watering, but overall, I think I just needed a day in bed,

Okay, now for some water and ibuprofen (I am still achy) and I'm back to bed, hopefully to face tomorrow as a brighter, happier day.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I just woke up after sleeping five straight hours in the afternoon, so I could get some ibuprofen and eat something. With being sick I had sadly gotten off my meds, and so I was sick, tired, getting somewhat depressed and labile, and my blood sugar was 332. Now it's about 100 points down from that and I feel better, just really tired and stuffy, with a headache, sore eyes, and a nose sore from blowing.

I should stay up for awhile, watch something or maybe read some more of the book I've been reading, Alex Ford's The Friend Request (which every user of Facebook should read, although it's only on eReaders like the Kindle and Nook for now). It's about a man who worms his way into a classmate's past to try to destroy his life, using Facebook to gather information about him and the people around him. It amazes me how many stupid people (well, in this case, I'm afraid it's stupid Americans) rate the book poorly on grammar because they haven't any idea of this thing called British English, that it exists, that Americans are the ones who changed their spelling, and that the spellings in Britain are also used in, oh, the entire rest of the world. And the sad thing is they have no idea they're being the 'Ugly American' and stupid to boot.

Thing is, when I'm sick, I don't really feel like doing much of anything. I can maybe watch something; that's passive. And I read on the bus to pass time. But generally I want to just curl up in bed and rest as much as possible. That's what I'm doing today, in the hopes of being better tomorrow.

Okay, I've reached my limit of writing for now. I think I'll go back to bed for awhile. The computer screen is hurting my eyes.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

But one last thing for the night....

A friend from high school posted this the other day on Facebook. It is so true, something YKWIA taught me and one of these days I'm actually going to get the hang of it:
If you don't go after what you want, you will never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you are always in the same place.

Thanks, Deana for sharing this, and thanks YKWIA for keeping at getting this through my thick skull all these years. :)

Day four and I think it's definitely a cold

although there's been no fever. I feel so tired. I got in a few minutes after 'Doctor Who' started and was considering watching it at midnight but I'm really just ready for bed. I had the recorder set and it's already captured this episode, judging from the red light earlier, so I may actually skip it tonight--I'm just that wiped out.

Today a friend took me to pick up my contacts, go to the bank, and then I went with him to Meijer's for awhile. He dropped me off at another friend's house, where I watched X-Men: First Class, which is a fun movie if, like me, you don't know the actual Marvel history or care about its continuity (I'm more of a DC girl). Then I took the bus to Kroger, picked up a few things there, and walked home.

There's no game tomorrow; Brenda's got a doll meet, so I don't have to get up so early. Yay!

Okay, as much as I'd like to see the last episode of 'Sherlock', or play the 'Doctor Who' that just recorded, I'm going to bed. Sorry I'm not much fun tonight.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Got a chance to watch

the original British series 'Being Human'. The disc has three episodes on it, and I've watched the first, but have some time to watch the other two. I'm considering watching the second episode of 'Sherlock' tonight.

Still sneezing and sniffly, but I think it is allergies. I'm not running a fever and my throat feels better. I think it was also the weather change.

I've started the book The Friend Request by Alex Ford, which I downloaded back when it was free (it's only 99 cents now, though). I also downloaded several free books from Amazon, including one on a Victorian asylum for the criminally insane, Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, and some self-help ones.

Tomorrow is 'wear purple' day at work. I think it's cool enough to wear my velvet pants even though it's jeans day. That means I have a purple top, purple sweater, purple pants, and purple shoes, not to mention the undies and bra. Is that too over the top? :)

PS Sadly, I do not own a pair of purple socks. This will have to be rectified soon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I don't feel so well tonight

I have a scratchy throat, stuffy nose, and I'm aching, plus that virus-y feeling you get, but no fever. It could just be allergies, I guess. I don't know. This morning I had to use my inhaler because I was having trouble breathing. That's often a sign I'm coming down with a cold. I was tired after dinner so I laid down and I think I'm going back to bed anyway.

I finished Room: A Novel. It was very good. That's three particularly good novels I've read this year--The Pericles Commission, The Help, and Room. The first two were first novels from their respective authors. Gary Corby's second in his mysteries series set in ancient Greece, The Ionia Sanction, comes out in November. I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Terribly cute

Almost too cute to post here:

This will probably be the next movie I go to

(with that other ticket).

It sounds like part Logan's Run, part Robin Hood. Thanks to YKWIA for showing me the trailer.

By the way

Last week we got our employee appreciation gift from work, which were two prepaid admission tickets to a local theatre chain, so on Saturday I went to see The Help. I enjoyed the movie a lot, although I liked the book better. Two things in particular bothered me about the movie--how they handled Constantine's daughter [and every person I know who has the read the book agrees with me on that one] and I didn't think that Skeeter's mother was right for the part, or at least was not played true to form. A Jewish friend was somewhat disappointed in a lack of Jewishness in Mrs Stein's portrayal (okay, she said 'chutzpah' once, but still...)

I cried several times throughout the book, but only once during the film. I identified most with the character of Mae Mobeley. While I was reading the book, Hilly was the character I despised the most, but during the movie, it was Elizabeth. I think the acting was for the most part quite good overall. I think the movie was also more 'feel good' than the book.

Anyway, that was my take on things. I would recommend both. If you plan on doing both, read the book first--you'll be able to laugh at the funny parts before the rest of the people at the cinema. :)

Just watched

'Sherlock', series/season 1, 'A Study in Pink' and really enjoyed it. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the story being updated to the present era, but it worked well. The acting is well done, and the writing was as well. I think one episode is enough for tonight, but I will definitely watch more.

Okay, I think it's back to Room: A Novel, a book I've had on my Kindle for some time but had put aside for a bit. I'm almost finished. Oh, and I need to straighten up the house a bit. But first, popcorn....

Monday, September 12, 2011

On a lighter note

I found this somewhat amusing....

A few of Supergirl’s everyday problems that you and I don’t have to worry about

There is constant vigilance

and there is also just plain racial profiling...

Some real Shock and Awe: Racially profiled and cuffed in Detroit

Shoshana Hebshi had the misfortune of looking a bit too middle-eastern on a plane on September 11, 2011. Half Jewish, half Arab, and fully American, she was taken off the plane, cuffed, strip searched and basically given a whole lot of harassment not due to any of her behaviours, but rather how she looked. That shouldn't be the legacy of 9/11. I know the authorities need to be careful and run down leads, but this seems way overkill. Read her blog post for more.

I know someone who is a fairly dark-skinned woman who is constantly pulled out of line and asked to strip down to her bra. Her husband, also Jewish but lighter in skin, sails through without a raised eyebrow.

Terrorists can't be profiled by how they look. Look at Timothy McVeigh, for example. Not all threats to homeland security come from abroad.

I'm supposed to fly to Chicago in December, the first time I'll be on a plane since 1993. I've never had to deal with pat downs and TSA/Homeland Security regulations and the like. Fortunately I am light-skinned, WASPish in appearance, and basically look innocuous. So I don't anticipate problems. But in a post-9/11 world, you can't make assumptions. Shoshana Hebshi and her family had joked about flying while ethnic, but never seriously expected trouble like what she got yesterday.

One of the better tribute videos I saw on YouTube

set to Evanescence's haunting song, 'My Immortal'.

In some ways yesterday was a matter of routine. I went over and prepped for and then played the game, just like any other Sunday. But I listened to the NPR coverage of the memorial ceremonies. I know they're not supposed to have dead air on the radio, but it really bugged me that each moment of silence--when I was trying to compose my thoughts and pay tribute to those lost, the hostess for the programme kept butting in, sometimes just a few seconds in, going 'and now we have a moment of silence....' It really hampered the act of remembrance, I think.

On September 11, 2001, I was walking to work when the first plane hit the World Trade Centre. Someone mentioned it when I got in, but at first I thought it was a small plane like before, a mistake, not an airliner. Once it was apparent that the planes were part of a terrorist attack I was not so much stunned or surprised that it had happened, but embarrassed that we had been caught unawares.

However, what I really had no concept of what the number of people packed into that site. Although I have visited large cities (but not New York), the largest city I've ever lived in is Lexington. I've never been in a building taller than 30 floors and the highest I've evacuated from is twelve. In my naïveté I truly thought most everyone had gotten out. It was not until days later that I realised how many people were there, and what short time they had. I couldn't grasp even the number of rescue workers who had been killed, much less the thousands still trying to make their way down those towers. The sheer enormity of it stunned me, after the fact. I have lived in towns with fewer residents than those killed in just the New York attack. The population of my hometown would have fit in the World Trade Centre complex. Even now, that's the only way I can visualise the number of people who died.

Listening to the names being read, I was struck by the variety of ethnicities and religions represented. It made me very proud that so many people from so many different backgrounds could come together in one place and work together, a true American melting pot. Not all societies can claim such pluralism or cosmopolitan unity.

Of course, in the aftermath of the attacks, many Americans conveniently forgot that Muslims who had done nothing other than to show up to work that day were killed, too. People stupid enough to take out their frustration on others they perceived as at fault were often wrong, not even getting the ethnicity of their victims right, while perpetuating hate. And don't even get me on the invasion of a country that had nothing to do with Osama bin Laden. Two wars and thousands of military and civilian lives later, we are less free, more fearful, and we've changed. The world itself--not just America--is very different from the one that might have been should that the events of that day have never happened. In the long run, there are things for the better, things for the worse. But I think it's fitting to remember that beautiful late summer day when things changed, the lives lost, and the legacies left behind.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Appropriately enough

Today's 'Word of the Day', according to my phone application, is elegiac, meaning in remembrance or mourning for the dead. Way to go guys.

One hour to go until the anniversary of the first impact and memorials really start on in earnest. I'm at the bus stop, up later than I intended. But I thought the word was a nice touch. Good day everyone. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones, today and always.

I was looking back at the first anniversary, and what I said then

This blog started in October 2011, a month after the attacks, partly because I felt afterwards that I needed a place to put my feelings and reactions to the world around me down. So I was not blogging at the time of the attacks, but on that first anniversary, this is what I did and wrote.
I find I keep coming back here when I try to focus my thoughts of remembrance regarding the events of September 11th last year. I suspect hundreds-perhaps thousands-of others will write in their own journals today. What will historians of the future write about our nation's pain, I wonder?

One of my coworkers/neighbours commemorated the attacks with a small cannon that fired at the time of the impact of the aeroplanes into the twin towers. Because I live nearby and walk to work, the first boom came just as I left the apartment--the second came just as I reached the hospital. So little time for our lives to have changed so.

On the way, I prayed. It's funny, I don't really pray that much, which I suppose is a little odd for a priestess. But usually I worship monthly, and most supplications that I deliver are not my own, but for others.

There is a stream along the road to work. I found that as I was walking the following came to mind.

Lady Hekate, grant that those who lost their lives find peace, and that those who love and miss them find comfort. May no more acts of hatred break the peace of this day.

I picked up four stones, and went over to a pool where I often watch the fish swim. Four stones, one for each attack. Four stones dropped into the pool.

May those who did these terrible acts find not the heaven they sought, but the perdition they deserve.
May their organisation be plundered.
May those who remain have their hearts turn from violence.
May our world come together in peace, not bloodshed.

At work our flag is at half-mast. We are wearing red, white, and blue, or black in accordance with our wishes to honour those who died. A television in the auditorium is showing the memorials live for those who wish to view it, and I placed a list along the wall of the names of those who died. We will observe a moment of silence at noon.

For now I am listening to Mozart's Requiem, and finding that I can't think about much else at all.

So many lives. So many changes.

I watched the unfurling of the flag at the rebuilt wing of the Pentagon. That day, somehow, I couldn't comprehend the enormity of the collaspe of the twin towers, but as an Air Force brat, I felt like someone had attacked my family when the Pentagon was hit. And the one victim that I know of from Kentucky, Edward Thomas Earhart, died in that place. The Navy recently named a mountain under the sea for him; he was an aerographer's mate first class. It's good to know that his name will live on. He was only 26 years old. After the national anthem was sung, I saluted him and the others who served, and died, and those who survived as well.

Somehow the thing that is getting me the most today are pictures of loved ones placing flowers and mementos down into the pit at the Ground Zero site.

In some ways it must have been better to have died. Many were with others. For many, it was quick, although terrifying as well. But for the workers who spent months sifting through pieces of bodies, for the families who have no closure, for the children who were born not knowing their fathers--the pain will go on for so long. I cannot imagine what they feel. I cannot imagine what those who were there saw. My heart goes out to them as well. I hope today brings them comfort. I saw families coming together in Pennsylvania, most of whom did not know each other before their shared tragedy brought them together. I pray that some good comes from all this.

Ten years ago

This was the original tribute featuring Live's 'Overcome' airing the week of September 11, 2001, days after the attacks. Whenever I listen to my copy of the album, I cannot separate it from the images of that day, that week, and those that came after.

It's late, just barely 9/11 here in the eastern part of the US, and I must go to bed, but I wanted to leave something here for now. But I plan on pausing in my normal Sunday activities and remembering those who were lost, and how our world changed.

Google/You Tube and the New York Times, have collaborated on a channel that allows videos to be uploaded with views on September 11th and its legacy. The channel is Reflections on 9/11 - Ten Years Later. If you want to share your memories/reflections of that day, you can do so there.

Friday, September 09, 2011

I tend to forget I have a sociology degree

It was always a companion major, first to biology (I was going to go into oecology, looking at how humans interact with their environment), then to history, where I studied primarily social and women's history. But stuff like this really interests the budding sociologist in me, and the title certainly attracted me....

America's Next Top Sociologist: A daylong photo shoot for Vogue pays only $150, women are like milk cartons, and other insights from the academic study of modeling
There's a long tradition among academics of embedding in an occupation to study it. In the middle of the last century, social psychologist Marie Jahoda worked in an English paper factory to learn about about the lives of factory girls. More recently, sociologist Loïc Wacquant studied boxers by becoming one, while Sudhir Venkatesh spent seven years with a gang in the Chicago projects. One academic worked as a cotton picker, another entered prison as an inmate.

Ashley Mears embedded as a model.
Her book, Pricing Beauty, shows the world of the aspiring model from the inside, where (mostly) women are utterly dispensable unless they have just the right quality, are often in a form of indentured servitude, and chasing a dream that for most never materialises. The more lucrative forms of modeling are eschewed for low-paying jobs that might mean more prestige. It sounds like a fascinating subject, from a sociological standpoint.

Well that's an unusual take on Shakespeare

Outcry over Hamlet novel casting old king as gay paedophile: Publisher showered with complaints over Orson Scott Card's Hamlet's Father
Subterranean produced its limited edition, signed, 1,000-copy run of the book this spring, with the release largely falling under the radar, apart from a damning review from trade journal Publishers Weekly which said that its focus was "primarily on linking homosexuality with the life-destroying horrors of paedophilia, a focus most fans of possibly bisexual Shakespeare are unlikely to appreciate". This is a view Card has espoused in the past, writing in 2004 that "the dark secret of homosexual society – the one that dares not speak its name – is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally".

Just for the record, no, the book should not be banned or otherwise challenged. And I probably shouldn't be surprised, given some of the details in his bio. I can't comment on Card's abilities as a writer (I'm familiar with his fantasy writing through a friend, and I know it actually includes some man/boy love themes, such as in Songmaster, but I haven't read his work.) But it does rather sound like he has an axe to grind somewhere along the way.

Is this a shameless attempt to shake off the anti-Semite image?

What Is Happening? Mel Gibson To Make Jewish Historical Epic With Joe Eszterhas
We’ve heard about actors or filmmakers trying to do some course correction to rejuvenate or repair their ailing career, but this is ridiculous. Deadline is reporting that Mel Gibson has teamed up with Joe Eszterhas to produce and potentially direct a script about revolutionary Jewish historical figure Judah Maccabee, to be produced under his Icon shingle and released by Warner Bros. Huh?

The story of Maccabee does fit within the Gibson wheelhouse, with its wide historical scope, morally outraged warrior protagonist and bloody battle sequences. Maccabee led a Jewish revolt against the Greek-Syrian armies that conquered Judea in the second century B.C. The sticking point for most, though, will be the hero’s religion, especially after Gibson the filmmaker was lambasted for the palpable anti-Semitism in “The Passion of the Christ,” not to mention his drunk rants which included such memorable gems as “Fucking Jews… The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” The question remains: is Gibson trying to get back in the game or just recover some of the luster from his tarnished image?

Count me as an unbeliever. Gibson has proved over and over again to be an ranting anti-Semite. I shudder to think what he'll do with the Maccabeean story.

Drunken Bullwinkle goes up tree looking for Rocky?

Here in the United States, there is the proverbial calling of the fire department to rescue a poor kittie trapped in a tree. Of course, cats can (usually) climb back down. Not so with moose. Apparently it is not terribly uncommon in Sweden for moose to eat fermented apples, get terribly barmy, and climb up the apple trees (looking for more delectable apples, no doubt.) So this man was coming home and lo!, a moose was twisted in a small apple tree. They had to cut most of the tree away to rescue the moose, then allowed it to 'sleep it off' there.

Drunk Moose Gets Stuck in Swedish Apple Tree [PHOTOS & VIDEO]
A drunk moose, intoxicated from eating too many fermented apples, was stuck in an apple tree in Sweden before being spotted by a Swedish passerby and rescued.

The moose was found by Per Johansson in Saro just south of Gothenberg in Sweden while on his commute home from work, stuck in a tree, drunk from eating apples.

Drunken moose ends up stuck in Swedish apple tree
It was a dark, windy and rainy night when Per Johansson returned from work to his home in Saro just south of Gothenburg, Sweden.

"It was raining really bad. In the wind I heard something screaming with a very dark voice," Johansson told CNN. "At first I wondered if it was the crazy neighbors, but then I heard it again and went and checked. I saw something really big up in a tree in my neighbors' yard and it was a moose. It must have been drunk after eating fermented apples and as it was reaching out for more fruit it must have slipped and fallen into the tree."

Silly moose. Squirrels often live in OAK trees, not tiny apple ones.

Thanks to YKWIA, who called me tonight with this truly blog-worthy story. :)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Waiting for a ride

to the bank and then to work today. It's still gloomy, cool, and rainy outside, as it has been for days. We needed the rain, and it's a relief considering we had heat indices in the triple digits this weekend, but my, I'm sick of the rain.

I'm listening to 'Distant Early Warning' by Rush, off my favourite of their albums, Grace Under Pressure.

Tonight I'll need to work on the house a little and then maybe get an early start on the game notes.

Yesterday I did something uncharacteristic, something I've done only a few times before. I bought a lottery ticket. I had an overwhelming desire to help a couple of families I know going through very hard times, and I wanted to be able to help them as much as possible. Guess my intentions were good, but the ticket was a bust. Still, it's chasing a dream, and as long as you don't do it overly often, I guess it's not a bad thing. But it was fun while the dream lasted.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Women rising, but still there are some frontiers

10 glass ceilings yet to be shattered
Jill Abramson takes over as the executive editor of the New York Times on Tuesday, the first woman to do so in the paper's 160-year history. So what other top jobs have yet to be taken by women?
Some of them may surprise you.

One of many such tributes

9/11 10th anniversary: Stories from the embers

These are seven people, seven stories, of how lives changed, what was lost, and what was gained.

Okay, I know I'm fat

but this is so sad, and sick, and pathetic (not to mention unhealthy in the extreme).

No one should have to be 'fed' by those who admire them sexually (and certainly not by their own teenage children). I realise there is a fetish community out there (just as there is one for people who want to become amputees because they are attracted to that--I find that more than odd, too), but these women are killing themselves in the name of a stupid record and title that essentially are meaningless things that get you into a book, maybe have your 15 minutes of fame on the weird news, and leave you weighing half a ton. And then you die.

I guess anyone has the right to do this. But, gee....

Competition Brews To Become 'World's Heaviest Woman' In Guinness World Records

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

I also found this picture

Spock was already 12 by this time. His Star Trek-shaped grey spot on his forehead, from which he got his name (hey, pointed ears?) had faded by then. His right eye was blue, hence the reflection from the flash. He was the sweetest cat I've ever met, and also the dumbest. Sweet and dumb seem to go hand in hand. He was the one animal I did not have to have put down; he died in my arms at the age of 17. I think he was a little cross at wearing a bow, or at least as cross as he ever got.

There was one more cat, but he never came out when I had company, for the most part. It wasn't until maybe the last four years or so he'd come out to be with me; he was a very shy, retiring cat. That was Darius. He came to me in the backyard as a kitten while I was giving my monthly libation, meowing to be let in. She (Hekate) is known for a connexion with dogs, but hey, I decided to take it as a sign and took the little fellow in. Oddly enough, he bonded like glue with Cerys, and to her dismay took to sitting on her often.

In my adult life, I've only had one other pet, Basil, a beagle-basset cross that I found wandering in the Chevy Chase area. I had to eventually find a home for him, because he was absolutely incapable of being housebroken. Cerys was much happier, too. It broke my rule that pets are for life, but there you go. I gave him to a family that could be with him longer hours of the day and walk him more frequently, and did disclose his issues. I hope it worked out. I have to admit, there was a lot of relief on my end. I hope they did not curse my name too much afterwards.

For the first time since I was about 13, I am petless, unless you count a few goldfish. Sometimes I think of getting a kitten, but I'm not ready yet. And I don't know if any dog could be such a good match for me as Cerys was. Plus, Cerys came to me at 8 months, already housebroken and past (most) of the destructive stage. I'm not sure I have the energy for a puppy. :) But maybe a kitten. Someday.

Half of Americans will suffer from mental illness over a lifetime

It's 4 in the morning, so I'll likely write about this in full later, but here are a few links. The report points out that stigma and high costs impede treatment.

The actual report from the CDC:
Mental Illness Surveillance Among Adults in the United States

What others are saying about it:
CDC: Half of Americans will suffer from mental health woes

CDC: Mental Illness costing Americans $300 annually

Half of Americans Will Suffer From Mental Illness, Southeast the Worst Off

Why is this one fashion rule so hard and fast?

If You Must Know: Why We Can't Wear White After Labor Day
The post–Labor Day moratorium on white clothing and accessories has long ranked among etiquette hard-liners' most sacred rules. As punishment for breaking it in the 1994 movie Serial Mom, for instance, Patty Hearst's character was murdered by a punctilious psychopath. But ask your average etiquette expert how that rule came to be, and chances are that even she couldn't explain it. So why aren't we supposed to wear white after Labor Day?
Thanks to Brandon for the link.

PS 09/06/11 It's cold and rainy here today and so I didn't wear my Birkenstocks in to work, since I didn't want them getting wet, but rather my athletic shoes. I always buy black athletic shoes, but someone was giving away a pair of new shoes their grandmother had in her closet and they fit me, so that's what I have. And they're white.

So this morning I'm on the bus, and I look down, and I suddenly freeze, hoping that Kathleen Turner wasn't about to jump out and kill me.

Monday, September 05, 2011

We'll see it tomorrow, but here's a preview

for those in the US, or just a fun replay for the rest of the world:

Today is the 65th anniversary of Freddie Mercury's birth. Mercury, whose orginal name was Farrokh Bulsara, was a British citizen born in Zanzibar of Parsi descent, primarily growing up in India. He died of AIDS twenty years ago, but made a remarkable impression on popular music. He had a four-octave vocal range and flamboyant performing style. Google honoured him across the world today with a doodle, but left the US web page unadorned due to the Labour Day holiday, with plans to put up the Mercury doodle tomorrow instead.

Google will rock you: 'Doodle' celebrates Queen's late frontman

Look what I found

I've been going through my bedroom drawers and came across this picture from the winter holidays of 2001. Cerys was 10, already greying around the muzzle, but I'd have six more wonderful years with her. Buns, the cat behind her, was starting to have some problems with his skin, due to a type of cancer that neither the vet or I recognised at the time. She thought it was just allergies.

But, oh, my Care Bear. That face just lit me up all over when I saw the picture. This month marks four years since her death, and I feel her absence still, although I've learned to sleep in the middle of the bed finally and remember to pick up dropped popcorn kernels. I can't believe it's been four years. I can't believe I was blessed with her for 16. She was such a wonderful dog.

Anyway, it really brightened my day to see this. :)


Why Amazon's tablet will challenge Apple in a way that Google cannot: The key difference between Amazon and Google is that one of them holds millions of credit cards and is a famous name in retail
The rumours are unstoppable: Amazon is going to unveil a tablet in the next few weeks, and if the hands-on description of an internal prototype by MG Siegler over at Techcrunch are even vaguely correct, then it's going to be a 7in device with a colour touchscreen running a forked version of Android, at a price around $250. (UK price still unknown).

Note that "forked" bit, because it could be crucial.

The expectation around Amazon and its entry to the tablet market has been building, partly because it is the first – and possibly the only – company that people think could pose a serious threat to Apple in the tablet space.
If you're remotely interested in it, read this article, where the author purports to have held and used one of the preview devices, and also go to the Techcrunch link. It seems to have some advantages, but with some major pauses, too. I'm keeping an eye on it, though. One thing, though, if I got one, I'd definitely have to set up a wi-fi network, which I currently don't have, at home. But that's not too bad, just need a router.

Out of tragedy, transformation

'Dreaded area' transformed in 9/11 victim's memory: Once-notorious Manila slum is now an orderly village named after Marie Rose Abad
A street sign in Manila shows an American businesswoman and Sept. 11 victim smiling down on a community whose transformation would have warmed her heart: Children frolicking on tidy brick alleys near brightly colored houses.

Unlike many victims of the 2001 attacks who are remembered mostly by their family and friends, Marie Rose Abad's legacy lives on half-way around the world in a once-notorious Manila slum now turned into an orderly village that carries her name.

Her Philippine-born American husband had the community of about 50 one-story houses built in her memory in 2004 as a tribute to their 26 years of marriage and her unfulfilled desire to help the poor in the Philippines.
Lost after watching the tower in which his wife, who had been on the phone several times with him over the course of the emergency, collapsed, Rudy Abad turned to philanthropy to honour her memory in his native land, half a world away from where she died, making a difference in the lives of others.

Want to do a good deed?

Please consider helping out a little girl from Australia who desperately needs to come to the US for medical testing. Her name is Charlotte Reid, and she has Trichothiodystrophy. You can join or visit the Facebook group 'Charlotte Reid's Medical Web Appeal'--https://www.facebook.com/groups/240917565943397/ for more information on how you can help. For more about Trichothiodystrophy, check out the Genetics Home Reference page on the condition. It is extremely rare, with something like 100 known cases worldwide. Some of the leading experts on the disease are here in the United States, but Charlotte lives in Australia. For those of you not on Facebook, there is a charity organisation in Australia that deals with TTD, as it is also known, called Friends of Sammy-Joe. Donations tagged with Charlotte's name will go directly for her trip. Thank you.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Took a quiz for the first time in awhile

It was a 'Which Doctor's Companion Are You Quiz' (but not updated past Rose and Captain Jack). The ideal companion would probably be Sarah Jane Smith, but I came out as:
Your result for The Doctor Who Companion Test ... Romana I You are Romana I. Smart and feisty, you can take care of yourself in most dangerous situations, and perhaps provide some wit to boot. Yet you are not one to dote on the Doctor or hang on his every word, since you're smart enough to know that at least some of his words are wrong. You're also not fond of doing The Doctor's dirty work for him. Given time and patience, The Doctor may eventually grow to enjoy your company. In the meantime, however, he'll probably just be annoyed that you continually contradict him and refuse to do things his way.
I rather liked Romana. It didn't hurt that she was actually from Gallifrey and was also a Time Lord (Lady). And she was companion to the Fourth Doctor, who was the Doctor when I was growing up. :) Hmmm: 'The Doctor may eventually grow to enjoy your company. In the meantime, however, he'll probably just be annoyed that you continually contradict him and refuse to do things his way.' That sounds so familiar, somehow.....

Well, there's one inside joke shot to hell

Think You're An Auditory Or Visual Learner? Scientists Say It's Unlikely
We've all heard the theory that some students are visual learners, while others are auditory learners. And still other kids learn best when lessons involve movement.

But should teachers target instruction based on perceptions of students' strengths? Several psychologists say education could use some "evidence-based" teaching techniques, not unlike the way doctors try to use "evidence-based medicine."

Psychologist Dan Willingham at the University of Virginia, who studies how our brains learn, says teachers should not tailor instruction to different kinds of learners. He says we're on more equal footing than we may think when it comes to how our brains learn. And it's a mistake to assume students will respond and remember information better depending on how it's presented.

Thanks to PF Anderson, who retweeted a link from Ray Schroeder.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Interesting photo essay

Where Children Sleep

Recently, the charitable organization Save the Children asked documentary photographer James Mollison to come up with an idea to get people thinking about the rights of children around the world. What he came up with was an unusual, but powerful project: a photo essay of more than 200 children and their bedrooms, called "Where Children Sleep."

"I found myself thinking about my bedroom: how significant it was during my childhood, and how it reflected what I had and who I was," Mollison, who was born in Kenya, writes. "It occurred to me that a way to address some of the complex situations and social issues affecting children would be to look at the bedrooms of children in all kinds of different circumstances." The book has sold out since its initial printing last year, and Mollison says his publisher intends to reprint it later this year.

The link above shows a small sampling, including one girl from Harlan County, Kentucky. But to see more, go to the author's site. There are actually two from Kentucky. The second one, a boy's room, frightens me more than any other child's room in the essay, mainly due to the decorative use of guns and camouflage, although the room of the little girl from Japan whose mother spends $1000 on her wardrobe comes a close second.

Thanks to Sarah Glenn for the link.

:) Don't know the veracity, but it's a nice story

Man Carves Wife a 6,000 Stair Path in Mountain
A weird love story has come out of China recently and managed to touch the world. It is a story of a man and an older woman who ran off to live and love each other in peace for over half century.

Over 50 years ago, Liu, was a 19 years-old boy, fell in love with a 29 year-old widowed mother named Xu. At the time, it was unacceptable and immoral for a young man to love an older woman.

To avoid the market gossips, the couple decided to elope and lived in a cave in Jiangjin County in Southern ChongQing area.
Snopes lists its status as true or false as 'undetermined'--as of 2008. It's sweet, regardless of whether it is fiction or not, although I must admit, I'd like to know which it is. :)

I was reading Thoreau last night

I haven't gotten very far in Walden, just as far as him finishing the building of his house. But among the various passages that struck me was this:
I had three pieces of limestone on my desk, but I was terrified to find that they required to be dusted daily, when the furniture of my mind was all undusted still, and threw them out the window in disgust. How, then, could I have a furnished house? I would rather sit in the open air, for no dust gathers on the grass, unless where man has broken ground.
That passage says volumes about our need for useless things around us while our minds lie empty and dusty. I suspect it was these words and similar ones that caused a friend to give me the book. I tend to surround myself with things (not expensive things, but things most people would not find sentimentality in, that I invest emotion into and hoard), but I have a largely untrained mind. Oh, I went to college, had a classical education in the humanities, etc. But so much of my day is spent reacting to the things around me rather than in quiet contemplation. Like my house, my mind is organised in piles and shelves that lean, and compared to my friend, is most likely quite dim. I'm probably more self-aware than most, and maybe even think a little more than most, but I realise I could be more. And my memory, alas, my memory. It's like everything I knew--those useless facts, those overarching paradigms, are running like sand through an hourglass away from my thoughts. Maybe that's age, or the blood sugar's effect on my brain, etc. I don't know. I seem to be able to remember numbers best, but have no reason to.

Years ago I fell into a trap whereby I compared myself to someone who is extremely intelligent, beyond the chart, has an excellent memory, as well as a trained mind. I feel quite stupid in comparison, and that, coupled with the attempt to disabuse me of my need to feel special by latching onto the genius label I was given as a child, meant that after awhile I started feeling like I was, well, dumb.

Socrates said (or at least Plato told us so) that he was wise, as the Oracle of Delphi had pronounced, only because he recognised his own ignorance. He also said, 'The unexamined life is not worth living.' It is a mantra that has been repeated to me so often over the years by my mentor, who is also the one who gave me Walden and Other Writings by Henry David Thoreau.

It may have taken years for things to really settle in, years of examining my life and the world around me with training wheels and a steadying hand, but it's high time I started really thinking and analysing on my own. I've been very fortunate to have two very special educations, and it's time I started really exercising both mind and body. Now that I'm older, I'm a little wiser and more mature, and can appreciate all this better than when I was younger. So much of my time when I was younger was spent surmounting my baggage and my irrationality, my mental issues and psychology. Now I can concentrate on how I think about and interact with the world. And I need to do some housecleaning in my head first, dusting off and pitching a few things. :)

Using DNA to answer questions regarding historical archaeology

Hunting for a Mass Killer in Medieval Graveyards
The agent of the Black Death is assumed to be Yersinia pestis, the microbe that causes bubonic plague today. But the epidemiology was strikingly different from that of modern outbreaks. Modern plague is carried by fleas and spreads no faster than the rats that carry them can travel. The Black Death seems to have spread directly from one person to another.

Victims sometimes emitted a deathly stench, which is not true of plague victims today. And the Black Death felled at least 30 percent of those it inflicted, whereas a modern plague in India that struck Bombay in 1904, before the advent of antibiotics, killed only 3 percent of its victims.

These differences, as well as the fear that the Black Death might re-emerge, have prompted several attempts to retrieve DNA from Black Death cemeteries. The latest of these attempts is reported Tuesday in of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by a team led by Hendrik N. Poinar of McMaster University in Ontario and Johannes Krause of the University of Tübingen in Germany.
The scientists are looking for what aspects of the mediaeval strain of Yersinia pestis, confirmed to be the culprit, made it so deadly. Of course, in the first waves, there the lack of exposure, the lack of immunity. Plague has been implicated on the European continent in Roman times, but not later, until the 14th century outbreak, to my knowledge. Other news reports on this story ran headlines like, 'Bug that caused the Black Death extinct!', which is technically true--it is believed that that particular strain is, but of course Yersinia pestis and plague do persist, including in the American West, and by studying how the bacterium might have changed over history, then we might get a better understanding of how it, along with other bacteria, could evolve into more virulent strains. I'm interested in what further research will find.