Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Saturday, April 30, 2011

I just got off the phone

With someone who doesn't recognise me anymore--at least today, who parroted, 'hi, Lisa' like a child would, and to whom all I could think to say is, 'I love you', in case it penetrated.

When my great-grandmother's mind went via Alzheimer's, it was such a slow progression that we adjusted along the way to the reality before us.

A month ago this person not only knew who I was, she was offended that anyone might think she didn't. Now she doesn't recognise anyone, really. They're talking hospice. We're coming to the end, and I need to learn to let go, I know, but it's so hard, especially given that this person took care of me when I was small, opened her doors to me when I was a teenager, and has been part of the majority of my life. She and I have butted heads over the years, but I love her more deeply than I realised until I heard her just now. I'm glad I got to see her before she came to this, but it breaks my heart, as I know it must be breaking others, to see her this way. She always hoped she wouldn't lose her mind. I guess we all do. I don't think she ever planned to live this long past her husband, but until very recently she's been pretty independent and doing pretty well. I guess it's better to go downhill quickly, even if it's harder in some ways, than to linger in a sort of half-life between the worlds for years. The time of our deaths is determined by the Fates, of course. But I think the best thing one can do is hope for a good life, and a good death, and love those around us while they're here.

Dogs are a gift from the Gods

They are our companions, our guardians, our 'best friends'. In their brief lives, they teach us so much about loyalty, devotion, love, and trust. Dogs and mankind have been together for thousands of years, benefiting from each other in a way unlike that of other animals and man. They work for us, guard us, and keep us from being lonely, asking only to be loved and cared for in exchange. Dogs come in a variety of shapes and colours, are very large to very small. Some people enjoy the company of their dogs more than they do other people, for this reason: dogs love unconditionally.

Sadly, not every dog is lucky enough to have a good human, who will truly take care of him or her with love and attention. Some are bred to fight, to become vicious, to have their natures twisted and turned through pain and abuse. If they're lucky, and are not beyond the power of love, they may be saved and rehabilitated. Many neglected or abused dogs are skittish, afraid, but over time can learn to trust humans again.

With care, dogs may live for many years, depending on the breed. But with companionship comes a responsibility that is both necessary and horrible. Dogs, like us, age and become infirm. Although sometimes they die naturally, there comes a time when debilitation or illness puts them in pain, and we don't want to see them suffer. At that time, we go to a veterinarian and ask that the dog be put to death in the gentlest way possible. Oh, there are lots of euphemisms, 'put to sleep', 'put down', 'sent to the farm' (ever popular when speaking to children), and of course the clinical term of euthanasia. But essentially, we take them and kill them. But it is to prevent their suffering further. And it is a kindness that we deny ourselves and our human loved ones, who languish and suffer horribly in the name of human lives being more important than animal ones.

It is a very sad thing to lose a dog to time. But the important thing is to remember the love, the hope, the unconditional devotion shared over the dog's lifetime. As long as we have memories, they are alive within us, and never really leave. In time the emptiness fades a bit, although there is always a place within us where the feeling of loss is carried. And we are so much the better for having had the experience of being with them at all.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A dying art?

The Case for Cursive
For centuries, cursive handwriting has been an art. To a growing number of young people, it is a mystery.

The sinuous letters of the cursive alphabet, swirled on countless love letters, credit card slips and banners above elementary school chalk boards are going the way of the quill and inkwell. With computer keyboards and smartphones increasingly occupying young fingers, the gradual death of the fancier ABC’s is revealing some unforeseen challenges.
Handwriting was the one class in school I had trouble with. My teacher insisted I write my cursive with a slant, and I naturally write straight up. I finally learned to compensate by turning the paper around so it was at a 45 degree angle from landscape, to deal with her, and reverted to my straight-up writing in later classes with teachers who weren't such sticklers. Of course, this was back in the days when teachers still occasionally tried to make left-handed people write with their right hand.

I love cursive, though. I love the flow, the look. I love calligraphy, too, and I'm fascinated with such scripts as Copperplate as well as the mediaeval ones. I fear that one day, people who are kids today will only know keyboards, or Swype strokes.

Maybe that's why spelling has become atrocious as well, and printing isn't much better for many. Granted, I've seen people my age who are nearly illegible in their writing, but still. Look at your grandparent's writing some day, or your great-grandparent's, and you'll see a world of difference even between my generation and one or two before it.

Of course, it would help if they still taught it properly in school, rather than limiting it to a single grade to focus on preparing for standardised tests that don't really test real learning anyway. It's so very sad when a college professor asks a classroom to raise their hands to see who uses cursive--and no one does.

I did the unthinkable for an Anglophile today

I did not watch the royal wedding.

I did not DVR it.

This from someone who watched both Charles and Diana's wedding and Diana's funeral and recorded the latter on VHS. Who hung on every bit of pomp and circumstance for both.

For some reason, I've been oddly apathetic about this one. I've gathered news accidentally, not sought it out. I didn't feel like getting up so early in the morning to watch, and I frankly didn't want to erase Doctor Who episodes to make room on my DVR, which wasn't going to be a permanent copy, anyway (I don't currently have any sort of VHS or DVD recorder that works).

Don't get me wrong--I wish the couple and country well. I can understand the near orgasmic frenzy in the UK today.

Maybe I'm just apathetic about weddings in general. When I watched the wedding of Charles and Diana, it was 1981. I was 14 years old. I was just the age where fairytale weddings were really interesting and breathtaking. Girls dream about their weddings.

Now, when people talk about weddings they've gone to, I grow bored. I find I don't really care about the dress, the pomp, the circumstance. I find it appalling to see what the average person spends on a wedding, much less royalty. Many people spend the equivalent of what would make a very nice house payment. I can't imagine what could be done with the amount spent on this one.

I think I'm jaded because of my own experiences. I was married, left at six months, and was divorced three months later. Fortunately we didn't really have much money for a wedding, so we kept it very low key. The church was free, because we were members of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Lexington. We bought a cake, punch, and some flowers from Kroger's. My parents took pictures. I think total we spent maybe $75, including on clothes. It wasn't much of a ceremony, certainly not a fairytale one, but on the other hand, looking back, I didn't waste tons of money on something that fell apart shortly thereafter--and lots of people do. And the thing is, even if I got re-married, it's never the same. You can't do a big wedding for a second wedding, or wear a big white dress with train. It's just silly to have a 'do-over', whether it's to the same person ('we're renewing our vows' or to another).

The only good thing about my wedding was the vows, written by the minister when I balked at 'until death do you part'. I was cynical given my own parent's divorce, and deep down I knew the relationship was falling apart (rightly so) and I was just clinging to the tatters. The minister wrote 'as long as love shall last'. So see, I never broke my wedding vows. Most people who divorce do. YKWIA came and witnessed my wedding to see what we would vow. If I had vowed 'until death do you part' he would not have helped me leave that marriage, because he takes the vows so seriously. Ironically, he himself cannot marry because of the stupidity of the laws of our state that will not allow same-sex couples to marry. I find it ridiculous that my marriage was considered valid, lasting less than a year, and yet a couple who have been together for years cannot marry.

But I digress.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll see plenty of coverage on the royal wedding. The pictures I've seen so far were not flattering to the couple, but I'm sure there are better ones out there.

Cynicism aside, I really do wish William and Kate well. I think they're much more practical about relationships than his parents were, and Kate particularly seems to have a good head on her shoulders. I hope they make it work.

It's so purple!

Okay, so after I got the phone I did two things. I went on Amazon and purchased a set of five screen protectors (99 cents plus shipping) and a silicon gel skin to help protect it (oddly enough, also 99 cents plus shipping, as opposed to 15 dollars at one of the stores).

Here's what they look like on the phone:


Front
Back

Of course it would have to be purple. I had a moment a couple of days ago when I couldn't remember if it was silicon or not and had a 'oh, no, I hope it isn't latex, which I'm allergic to' thought, but it is silicon. On the plus side, when I lay it down, it's easier to see. And hopefully if I drop it it'll stay in one piece.

Okay, I know I haven't really blogged tonight, but I did quite a bit this morning. I'm going to take my Lantus and go on to bed. Good night.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Oooohhh!!! It'll be hard to wait till July 15th!

I've suspected this ever since I learned they carried leprosy

And I played with them as a child. They were kind of the like armoured opossums (in terms of their tendency to get hit by cars and their size--they're placental mammals, not marsupials) in Louisiana. Never ate one, though, or had a desire to. Apparently of the cases in the US, most are in Texas and Louisiana, so there was a good chance of a link. Now they've made it.

Armadillos pass leprosy to humans, study finds
Leprosy is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae, a cousin of the microbe that causes tuberculosis. People with leprosy develop skin lesions; severe cases can cause nerve damage or disfigurement in the limbs.

Over the years, M. leprae has proven hard to study, its migration around the globe hard to plot, for a variety of reasons. The bacterium can't be grown in a lab dish. Leprosy has a years-long incubation period and propagates slowly. It is hard to contract — only 5% of humans are susceptible, and even they usually need to have close and repeated contact with M. leprae to develop an infection.

In the past, people with leprosy were confined to leper colonies. Today, it is treatable with a combination of three antibiotics, said Dr. James Krahenbuhl, director of the National Hansen's Disease Program. About 3,600 people in the U.S. have the disease, he added, and they aren't expected to die from it.

Almost time for the penultimate ride

Endeavour's Final Trip: Veteran Astronaut Crew Gears Up for Last Ride

The second-to-last space shuttle mission is set to go, barring delays, tomorrow at 3:47 (1947 GMT). It will be commanded by Mark Kelly, the husband of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who is recovering from being shot while at an event to meet with her constituents. Giffords is going to attend the launch. Kelly is a twin. His brother is also an astronaut. :)

Here's hoping for a safe trip and lovely weather.

The only time I ever saw a Space Shuttle in person was Enterprise, the prototype, which was on a Boeing and also on a tower when I lived at Edwards AFB. That was before any launches. But it was still really neat to see.

Are you ready for the Central US ShakeOut?

Central U.S. plans earthquake drill

It happens at 10:15 CDT (that's 11:15 for those of us in Eastern) and lots of schools and other organisations will be participating. Unfortunately the hospital won't, but then I think they're a little wearied seeing as they spent over an hour in the safe halls during two tornado warnings yesterday, so maybe it's just as well. I did pass it on. I think it's an excellent idea.

People don't really realise it, but several states in the Central US (including Kentucky) may be affected by a strong earthquake from the New Madrid fault. At one point, a quake from New Madrid made the Mississippi seem to run backwards.

The 1811 and 1812 earthquakes centered in the New Madrid, Mo., area caused little damage because the area was sparsely populated then, says Michael Blanpied, associate coordinator of the U.S. Geological Survey's earthquake hazards program. The largest of those quakes probably was about magnitude 7.0, he says.

A similar quake now "will cause damage and will cause disruption," he says. The New Madrid zone is "the most active seismic area in the continental U.S. east of the Rockies," he says. Over the next 50 years, the likelihood of a magnitude-6.0 quake is 25%-40% and the probability of a magnitude-7.0 or greater temblor is one in 10, Blanpied says.

Participants in today's drill include businesses, schools and residents of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee. Indiana conducted its drill April 19. They are modeled on California's annual ShakeOut, which began in 2008, says Brian Blake of the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium, a non-profit group that coordinates earthquake planning.

There is also the Wabash Valley Seismic zone on the border of Indiana and Illinois. So between them, we have potential earthquake activity to consider. Given the recent quakes in places like Japan, Haiti, and New Zealand, it's important to remember how to respond to quakes and seek cover.

The Great Central US ShakeOut page has more information. You've got about 2 1/2 hours to prepare. That's more than most people get. Remember, it's hard to react well in a disaster without some forethought. Yesterday I couldn't find the flashlight/radio that I'd had sitting out just in case of a tornado warning, and I couldn't get the FM radio on my phone for some reason. It's always good to have a backup plan.

Um, really?

An American stereotype of the British is that they have bad teeth (I can't say much, having never had braces, but then I do have mostly British genes). But as Hermione Granger's parents have taught us, the UK has dentists, and I think the stereotype is fading anyway. Well, this is apparently what a dentist will do for you for £1,000 and six hours of work on the eve of the royal wedding.

Royally obsessed: Man gets Will and Kate tattooed on teeth

(Notice that the teeth themselves are straight.) He did it to win a contest, but I don't think there was a monetary prize. The images on his teeth should last about 3 months. Hard to believe in this oeconomy anyone would pay that much for the future king and queen on their teeth--for a short time. Although, I'm sure he'll get lots of attention. I wonder if they just fade away with brushing or come off in bits? Ugh.

It's SUNNNNNNNNNYYYYYY!!!

We're supposed to have about three days of this, although it's supposed to be really windy today. I don't care, so long as trees don't uproot, etc. Which they may, as the ground is so saturated. I just want a few days to dry out, and I suspect those in the Midwest and South agree.

Yes, yes, yes!

Okay, awhile back, when I first got my phone, I downloaded the Barcode Scanner application from the Android Market with the hopes of maybe getting my books into LibraryThing once and for all. I had trouble getting it to work on my low-end Comet (the phone's camera is a little clunky), but discovered it would do QR codes on a monitor with no trouble.

Enter LibraryThingScanner, which uses the Barcode Scanner to enter an ISBN into LibraryThing, bringing it up in the browser, so you can add the book, without typing in all those numbers. After playing with the scanner a bit, I realised that it's just a bit dim in my apartment for it, but if I put the book under bright light, it worked perfectly. So light was the issue; that's why it worked fine on a bright monitor.

So, yay, I can really start cataloguing those books. Since I'm a 'lifetime member' of LibraryThing, it's good to be able to start really putting them in, even if I do have to take them into the hallway or set up a light somewhere more convenient. :)

I'm not sure this is true; it may be one of those Facebook rumours

Okay, I do not approve of beatings, and I'm sure their lawyers will have a field day, if this is true. But, to quote Evie from The Mummy: 'You know, nasty little fellows such as yourself always get their comeuppance. Always.'

Mississippi town figures out simple, effective way to stop Westboro Baptist Church funeral protest

According to this story (and I haven't been able to verify it, as it's making the rounds but has only been picked up so far by FoxNews, which isn't the most reputable in my opinion), one protester who'd come to town got beaten when he started spouting off at a local gas station. Protestors at the hotel discovered that pickup trucks were blocking all the cars with Kansas license plates. Those who did make it to the funeral were quietly requested by the police to come with them to discuss a crime and missed the funeral during the routine questioning.

The story originally came from an Old Miss message board and then to this site:

Westboro Baptist Church Goes To Mississippi – And Loses

My gut tells me that this is not precisely what happened, that there may have been a grain of truth in it, but of course the devil is in the details. I'll keep an eye out for more information.

But, oh, I believe they really will get their comeuppance for all that hate they spew, someday.

By George, I think I feel better

Well, I slept through my 'naptime' alarm, and my 'take my insulin alarm', so it's nearly 1 am, but I feel oh, so much better. The swelling has gone some and I can kind of hear out of both ears now. My throat's a little better, too. Yay! Thank you, modern antibiotics (as opposed the the early antibiotics, most of which I'm allergic to). :)

I was never a big user of Delicious

But I do have an account, and I received this in an e-mail this evening:
Dear Delicious User,
Yahoo! is excited to announce that Delicious has been acquired by the founders of YouTube, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. As creators of the largest online video platform, Hurley and Chen have firsthand expertise enabling millions of consumers to share their experiences with the world. Delicious will become part of their new Internet company, AVOS.

To continue using Delicious, you must agree to let Yahoo! transfer your bookmarks to AVOS. After a transition period and after your bookmarks are transferred, you will be subject to the AVOS terms of service and privacy policy.
So all the worries about Yahoo! dropping Delicious completely and letting it die didn't come to fruition, and perhaps there can be new life breathed into the bookmarking service. I know a lot of people use it, and will no doubt be relieved it will continue. I haven't looked at the policies yet, or decided whether I'll transfer (I need to see just what I have on the service first), but I thought I'd put that out there for those who may not have seen the message yet.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'm having my first real meal of the day

We had a tornado warning this morning, so like an idiot once it was over and I did head to the bus stop, I forgot the tuna and bagel I was going to bring for lunch. I'm waiting for a check from someone right now, but with all the taxes and everything this pay period, I'm down to about $2 in my account until then. So I had a few quarters left over from laundry and that's it.

I did get a ride home, which was great, as it is just now about the time I would be getting on the bus and it's raining cats and dogs. There was pretty strong lightning as well. I am so sick and tired of this weather.

Today was a good day, pretty productive considering I'm sick. It's apparently grant-writing season; I've had more interlibrary loan requests this month than I do normally--about five times as much. I got my badge picture taken today, and although I don't have the badge yet, I got to see what it would look like and it's not bad. I dealt with some computer issues and data entry problems as well. I should probably have enough work to stay till 7 both tomorrow and Friday, which is refreshing. They also had the book fair today, which was fun to browse.

I am pretty tired, though. I've eaten and taken my Novolog (not in that order). Now to take my antibiotics. I might lie down for a bit. I miss being able to listen to music at work (no good on earphones when you have a bum ear). I might listen to some here later. Just in case I don't get back to the blog tonight, take care, especially if you're in the path of the storms.

SETI has lost all but 10% of its funding

Alien search telescope is shelved
A monitoring system for potential extra-terrestrial communication has been shelved due to budget cuts.

The Allen Telescope Array (ATA) in California has been mothballed, according to the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (Seti) Institute.

Funding for the observatory, which hosts the ATA, has been cut to one-tenth its former level.

The Seti Institute was established in 1984 to look for life beyond Earth.

Over the years, on and off again according to how well my computer worked, I contributed computing time to Seti. The sci-fi geek inside is mourning. I can understand why in a budgetary crisis it would be cut, but still....I read somewhere that they hoped to get some funds via donations and doing work for the Air Force, but for now, the project is 'in hibernation'.

Nice quote

Via Blake at LISNews:
A library was a place that suggested the most perfect order, with every book allotted its exact place, and a record kept of its every movement, in and out, and yet a library eventually converts its readers to the view that the world is not in perfect order at all, that most things are increasingly difficult to understand, that no two books ever quite agree; it seemed designed to be a polite hint that the god Chaos is still very present in the universe, unveiling new forms of chaos all the time. ….visitors who spent long enough in her library would become connoisseurs of misunderstandings, not just of authors and readers misunderstanding each other, but of the universal dither, of how people changed their minds about what they meant, of how words were used in ways no one could make sense of….a library was very far from being a place where nothing happened, for in it the world was rearranged a million ways; rigidities dissolved, and reformed and dissolved again; a library was a great mountain of lies as well of truth.
[From Happiness by Theodore Zeldin, as quoted at the The What's Next: Top Trends Blog]

I meant to blog about this the other day, when the news broke

but with all that was going on, forgot to. I think it's great news, and my public library does use Overdrive. :) So just in case you didn't catch the news....

Amazon announces e-book loans for the Kindle
OverDrive's Burleigh said this service helps make library services available to new groups of people, who may not be inclined to go to a physical library to check out hard copies of books.

"Libraries have always been at the forefront of making new forms of reading available," he said. "It's helping them do that and to reach more people in their communities."

I am currently at 98,910 visitors to this page

I wonder what the chances are that it could be 100,000 by October 14th? That will be the 10-year anniversary of the Rabid Librarian. A lot more people have higher numbers, I know, but considering readers put up with posts about pus-filled ears, I guess it's doing pretty well, and at least I'm consistent with my blogging for the most part. But it would be nice, don't you think, to have a nice round number to go with the anniversary? :)

Sad what people do in the name of hate

Via Joe.My.God.:

Barn Fire Kills Eight Horses in Ohio. Anti-gay words were found spray-painted to the side of the barn. That anyone could kill innocent animals in the name of hate is not really surprising, I guess, but it is terribly sick and sad.

Seven adult horses and one foal died as a result of an arson fire at 874 West Richards Road in McConnelsville just after 11:30 p.m. on Sunday. Owner Brent Whitehouse said he woke to discover the barn engulfed in flames and immediately called 911, but it was too late. "I couldn't get the door open I could still hear the horses kicking and I tried as hard as I could to get them out and I just couldn't get them out in time," he said. Those who know Brent believe this was a hate crime, explicit words relating to his sexuality were spray painted in large white letters on the side of the barn before the fire was started. "They obviously don't know him very well, because he's a sweet-hearted person and how he lives his lifestyle is nobody's business but his own," said friend Bobbie Nelson.

An excellent take on the Brian Cooley controversy

I can always count on Michelle Kraft for thoughtful posts. Here's one on recent comments made by CNET's Brian Cooley regarding libraries:

Brian Cooley: Libraries Are for the Very Old or the Very Unemployed

A post on LISNews first directed my attention to the latest controversy hitting the library world. Brian Cooley, CNET’s senior technology commentator and editor at large, in the April 20, 2011 “Buzz Out Loud” podcast (about 14:00 min. into the show) gave his less than stellar opinion on libraries while discussing Kindle’s new library services.

I listened to the show to see whether Cooley really said what people in the library community said he did, or if they were getting their feathers ruffled over some minor comment. Wow! All I can say is that for a smart tech guy Cooley comes off as pretty stupid. If you have ever seen the T.V. show, The Middle, Cooley’s statements sounded a lot like Axl Heck, a self absorbed teenager who makes statements like “Eskimos aren’t even real. They’re just in stories like leprechauns and trolls.”

Definitely one application I won't download

Even Michael Vick wants Google to dump dog-fighting app
Raise your Dog to Beat the Best!" reads the Android App Market description for "Dog Wars," by Kage Games. "A GAME THAT WILL NEVER BE IN THE iPHONE APP STORE!!!"

If animal welfare advocates have their say, "Dog Wars" won't stay in the Android Market, either. The ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society and the Humane Society of the United States have all issued statements condem[n]ing the game. Even Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick — who served 21 months in jail for operating a dog fighting ring in which dogs fought to the death, were hung and killed by repeated slamming into the ground — released a public statement against the free app, currently in beta testing.
The article has information on contacting the folks at the Google Android Market in an attempt to have the application pulled.

A bedtime story for harried parents


Want another bedtime story, sweetie? Here's one: 'Go the F@#k to Sleep'
When "Goodnight Moon" just isn't cutting it... one dad and novelist has written a bedtime story to warm the hearts of sleep-deprived parents everywhere: "Go the F@#k to Sleep."
This one is squarely for parents, not children, and even though it doesn't come out till October, it's high on Amazon's sale list.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

According to YKWIA

I was pretty incoherent on the phone just now, as I walked home. I am so tired. I'm eating; which hurts, as my jaw is swollen, too. I just took the Bactrim DS that I got instead of the Spectracef, took a couple of Advil, and I'm going to go on to bed for awhile after I'm finished eating. But the pain is nowhere near where it was this morning, at least, and my ear is draining now, which is gross but I suspect good, since there's so much pressure built up inside.

Sorry to go on about being sick, but it's a little all-consuming right now, although I did get quite a bit accomplished at work despite feeling like crap. I'll try to get up a little later so 1) I don't have trouble sleeping later and 2) to do some interesting blogging, rather than going on about ear stuff.

PS The badge photos got moved up to Wednesday and Thursday. Joy. Oh, well, at least we're having a book fair tomorrow. :)

I am feeling a bit better

So maybe the ear drops are helping. I still don't have an oral antibiotic yet. They didn't have the one prescribed so they had to fax the doctor for an alternative. I should be able to pick it up when I get off work.

Okay, enough of playing with the phone on break. It is almost time to switch jobs. At least I feel decent now.

I looked in the mirror

earlier and of course everything's so swollen on that one side that I look a bit like I have the mumps. So of course we're having pictures made for our name badges at work on Thursday or Friday. I'm thinking Friday is the way to go, and hope this has gone down a bit by then.

I'm up (mostly) and ready to go to the pharmacy. I didn't sleep well as you can imagine. I feel very blah. But I'm going to do what I can today. I've got some interlibrary loans to do and I'm actually behind on the data entry, since I came home from the doctor's office yesterday. Hopefully I'll be able to focus okay.

It's still pretty cloudy

but this was the first night since I got the phone that I could see any stars (more precisely, two). So I took it out and brought up Google Sky Maps and discovered that those two stars are part of Ursa Major. Yay!

I keep getting tweets about the International Space Station going over my area, bright to see, but of course it's been lousy for viewing with all the rain. But at least a got to play a bit with the sky.

I've had a lot of rest but still feel drained. I just don't feel like doing much other than eat and sleep, and even sleep is getting harder now because I've already had five hours' worth tonight and it's just after midnight. Usually sleep is not an issue for me--I fall asleep with no trouble [unless I've consumed a 2 litre of soda :)], but the pain's making it difficult. I actually took some Darvocet I had left over from a neck injury last year and that helped me sleep. It's still dulling the pain. I forgot to ask about the CPAP and how it would affect my ear (I did that last time I had one of these, too, but had no ill effects. I have discovered, though, that it hurts a little more. Even outside today was windy, and it hurt going up into my ear.) And of course I use my CPAP to sleep, so there's a little more pain. Not much, mind you, just a little evil icing on the cake, so to speak.

PS This has, at least temporarily, solved the headphone situation. I can't use headphones at all. :)

Excellent blog

Mindpop. My mind disappeared. When it came back, it was not the same... by Nina Mitchell
I am a quirky young woman whose Mind went Pop. I was 26 when a stroke took away my limbs and speech.

This stroke comic book is designed to make you think. Mindpop. Strokes are hell. They have dark comedy too.

I live in Boston, in rehab, beating my stroke.
She has excellent taste in choosing images to evoke what she it talking about, discusses in short posts what it's like living after a stroke, etc., and busts stereotypes about age and strokes, as well as disability. I'm adding it to my subscriptions.

Via @leaghaire, an 'Evil atheist librarian interested in web design and technology' on Twitter from New Zealand.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Remembering Ella Fitzgerald on her birthday



This delightful animation from BBC4 features Ella in a duet with Louis Armstrong. Classy. You just don't quite get music like this anymore.

Via Maria Popova (@brainpicker).

:)

10 beloved cartoon characters reimagined as Cthulhu - Snoopy, Garfield & more

These are great. I especially like Garfieldthulu.

Pain

So I do indeed have a case of otitis externa, with some throat involvement, too, so they put me on ear drops with Cipro in it and an oral antibiotic I've never heard of called Spectracef. They sent me home with the ear drops and I've taken those. The oral antibiotic will have to wait until tomorrow morning on the way to work--I walked out in front of a moving car earlier because I was feeling so bad that I did not see it (and I certainly didn't hear it!) I didn't feel like navigating over to Walgreens and back. Instead I went on home, ate, and went to bed, where I slept for three hours. I'm not running a fever but I was having chills anyway.

I understand why kids cry with ear infections. It's very painful. They couldn't even get the scope in far enough to see my ear drum, it's so swollen. It's hurting all the way down to my shoulders, and along the jaw. I feel like I'm living in 'The Tell-Tale Heart', as I constantly hear my heart beat. I only have two more doses of ibuprofen left--I'll have to get more at the pharmacy tomorrow. Unfortunately I can't afford to miss work (I have very little PTO due to having to take so much to fill in hours here and there from where I've been getting done early on many days). The worst part of the ear infection, besides the feeling of liquid rolling around inside like moths to a flame, is that it hurts, but then there are points where the pain increases tenfold for a moment. It's also really bad if you burp. :) I do well with chronic pain, but I'm a weenie when it comes to acute pain.

I got up and talked with a friend for awhile and made my payment to the IRS for this month. I also found a book requested from me through PaperbackSwap.com. I'll send it out tomorrow. Now I'm thinking seriously of just heading back to bed until it's time to take my insulin.

I got little screen protectors for my cell phone today, and the purple gel skin to help protect the actual phone is on its way. I might get that tomorrow or the next day. Even with shipping, it was something like $7.98 for both, much better than if I'd gone through the phone store. I love Amazon.com. I must say the screen protector feels a little stickier so you have to kind of work on lifting your finger a little more and just lightly flicking the screen.

Unfortunately I didn't request a phone number that spelled anything, and YKWIA wants me to give him something to remember it with. Since there are three zeroes in my phone number, that's an issue. I'm going to put it through one of those generators and see if I can come up with anything at all.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I don't feel well

The game went great, I braved byakhees, we got what we needed to restore our powers in the game, and all is right with the world. :)

But....

My ear is really hurting (and itching, too, which only makes me want to touch it, and then it hurts more.) The lymph node next to it is swollen where it meets the cheekbone. My throat and neck hurt, and my other ear is starting to feel painful as well. My head's also hurting, and the neck pain extends to the shoulders, but seems to be radiating from the ear, mostly on that side. I definitely am calling the doctor's office tomorrow morning, early, to see if I can at least get in to see the nurse practitioner.

So I took my insulin and I'm heading to bed, where I will try not to sleep on my usual side, the left, which is where the pain is. Have a good night.

Wow, six hours' sleep before the game

Unheard of. Plus I've showered, eaten, and am ready to go. Blood sugar's a little high, but I won't eat again for awhile, so by then it should be down to normal, hopefully. I think going off the oral meds have had a negative effect, given that even when I'm not eating pizza my starting sugars are higher.

I'm getting an ear infection, the external kind that hurt like the dickens. I can tell. I'll call Dr Nesbitt tomorrow, but even my jaw hurts when touched over there. I obsessively scratch at my itchy left ear, even though I try not to, so I've probably damaged the skin and some kind of germ (the pathogen kind) got in. My own fault, in other words.

Okay, for those who celebrate Easter, enjoy it. I for one am spending my Sunday as per normal, cleaning and gaming. No grocery run today at least. Have a great day. It looks like ours will be a bit on the soggy side, so hide those (pagan) eggs indoors, folks.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

That was the first TV I've watched in...oh, let me think...

Months.

And it was great. I so missed Doctor Who. And I watched the 'Rewind' special before it since I never did see all the episodes of last season. And it was nice to have a tribute in memory to Elisabeth Sladen at the end.

My favourite quote was actually from one of the Insider interviews at the breaks. Steven Moffat said: "Madness is just what a genius looks like to a tiny mind."

Okay, I think I'll head to bed. 5:30 comes early in the morning. And I need to be at my best for dodging byakhees. Or is it byakhee, like deer and moose?

Have you seen this?

Bacterial Ecosystems Divide People Into 3 Groups, Scientists Say
In the early 1900s, scientists discovered that each person belonged to one of four blood types. Now they have discovered a new way to classify humanity: by bacteria. Each human being is host to thousands of different species of microbes. Yet a group of scientists now report just three distinct ecosystems in the guts of people they have studied.
That may change as they study more ethnic groups and people from non-industrialised nations. But it is intriguing. It's also fairly timely. I'm reading a book right now called Allies and Enemies: How the World Depends on Bacteria, by Anne Maczulak, which describes the importance of bacteria in our oecosystem. So often the pathogens are what people think of, and that germs are bad. But bacteria actually protect us from disease, break down our food, and even help bring rain. It's pretty interesting, and it's not some dry microbiology text. It's also free on the Kindle, as opposed to $25 in print. :O)

That's ridiculous

Homeless Woman Arrested for Sending Son to School
A homeless woman in Connecticut has been arrested for one of the most unthinkable reasons imaginable -- she sent her son to school. Tonya McDowell, 33, was arrested last week and charged with first-degree larceny for stealing $15,686 -- the cost of the public school education for her 6-year-old son.

To make matters worse, the child's babysitter, who provided documentation that said the boy lived at her Norwalk address, was evicted from her public housing unit for her role in his education. McDowell and her son had been bouncing between an acquaintance's home in Bridgeport and a homeless shelter in Norwalk with the boy spending afternoons with the babysitter. The school he attended was in Norwalk School District, which had recently decided to crack down on infiltrators.
Because of course jailing and charging her with a felony is the way to solve the situation. And how is she supposed to give any sort of restitution? The problem seems to stem from her crashing at an address in Bridgeport, but she also goes to the Norwalk emergency shelter and the boy is babysat (or was) in Norwalk. I'm not sure this was so much some form of fraud as trying to do what they could to make the best of an awful situation. And would it be better for the child to be wandering around with her in the daytime and not getting any form of education? This woman needs some sort of help, not the book thrown at her.

This is what's coming



I hope that laundry is finished in the next 10 or 15 minutes.

PS Should have done a screenshot--the widget progresses. Oh, well, suffice to say there was a long trail of red about where Frankfort was when I posted. :) And I did get the laundry in just as the first thunder peals could be heard. It was a pretty nice thunderstorm, not too bad. It was interfering with the cable a bit but passed before Doctor Who began, thankfully.

It is apparently tricky


to take a picture of yourself when there's no self-viewer. My flip phone actually had one. Although better phones take better pictures, this one takes better photos than my old one, I think.

I'm almost finished with the laundry--20 minutes of drying and it'll be done. Hopefully that will be before the storms come. Everything else on my list is finished. Plus I've napped a bit (are you surprised???) I'm hoping I'll get enough rest to be ready for hordes of byakhee tomorrow. :)

After I get the laundry squared away, there's Doctor Who to consider at 9. I hope the power doesn't go out during it. I've got the phone charged just in case I need to get alerts, etc. I do charge the phone a lot, but I've been using the battery a lot, too. I'm not sure how it does on long calls yet, but of course the web stuff takes power. I do kill the applications after using them to conserve power and memory. I'll probably talk to our game master on the phone for awhile after the show, and head to bed early. Now, let me check the news and see if there are any blog-worthy items. Oh, and my e-mail.

I agree with the objections wholeheartedly, as a T-Mobile subscriber

AT&T Files to Buy T-Mobile Amid Objections
Consumer group and net neutrality backer Free Press also came out blazing.

“No matter how many high-priced lobbying firms AT&T hires, it won’t be able to fool Americans into thinking the reconstitution of the Ma Bell monopoly is a good thing,” Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner said in a written statement. “Make no mistake, this deal is about eliminating a competitor and nothing more. AT&T has chosen the marketing slogan ‘Mobilize Everything’ to sell this competition-killing deal, but it’s clear their real goal is to ‘Monopolize Everything.’”

The deal would also give AT&T a virtual monopoly over GSM-based phones in the United States, as T-Mobile is the only other national carrier to use that technology.

T-Mobile has long been known for being innovative and having good customer service; while AT&T’s customer service ranks lowest among the big carriers and the company is also locking down its Android devices.

The FCC and the Justice Department will both have to approve the deal before the purchase can be finalized, and citizens and outside groups can file statements in support or opposition to the deal.
I want my phone company to stay T-Mobile. In 12 years I've had one outage. In all that time, I've had three dropped calls, all in the belly of the hospital where I work. I don't think ATT&T has that good of a record, and I don't like this acquisition. As someone who is now locked into a contract for two years, I think I have a right to voice my objections. Where do I file?

Awww--it's so fluffy!

Happy Easter: Pygmy Rabbits Reintroduced to Wild
Rare pygmy rabbits are being reintroduced to their native Columbia Basin in the United States, bringing them back from the brink of extinction. It will be the first time that the endangered species has been seen in the wild since 2004, after a mere 16 of the remaining little fluff balls were taken into captivity in an attempt to save their species in 2001.
Apparently, unlike other rabbits, they do not breed copiously. These mini-bunnies are just adorable looking. I hope they fare well against the raptors and coyotes.

PS You really have to look at the picture via the link. It's so cute.

Cool site

Came across this blog today:

Morbid Anatomy: Surveying the Interstices of Art and Medicine, Death and Culture


I'm definitely subscribing to it in Google Reader.

Well

the notes only took an hour, the sun is shining, and it's turning out to be a nice Saturday. And I did check and if I make a PDF with font size of 24 I can read it on the phone--although it's very small. I think I'll just keep taking them via Kindle; it's not like I don't keep it with me.

I think I'm going to get away from the computer for awhile. Hope you're having a nice weekend.

I almost forgot the biggest to-do of the day!

DOCTOR WHO returns tonight at 9 pm EDT!

YAAAAAAAAAAAY!

'Course, they've been running LOTS of last year's episodes on BBCAmerica (follow the link for an interesting Dalek costume photo at the bottom of the page) and I have to check the DVR to see if there is any room. But I plan on actually watching it live tonight--no more interference from the gas station.

Wooooooo WHOoooooooo!

Okay, you may now return to a non-exciting hum-drum human existence. :)

I did manage to go out to get some groceries during a lull in the weather. Now I've eaten, and I'm really ready to tackle things. The notes shouldn't take too long--We just played for less than four hours and most of that time was me running away from hordes of flying Byakhee with two Elder Signs in hand resisting the obvious choice to flee. :) Really.

PS

Listening to: 'When They Come For Me' by Linkin Park (I know, you wouldn't think so, given the liberal use of the 'mf' word. People just don't think of librarians cussing, or listening to swear words. I used to amuse a co-worker at the gas station if I was startled and let out the 'f' word. But they are particularly basic and integral parts of language, even if calling someone might get you hurt. It's all about knowing when and how to swear, and not do it so much that you can still be a lady.) :)

I found the other headphones (within a minute or so of looking) and they work much better at grabbing into the jack. Using it in my purse is still useless--too much motion, but I tried a couple of pockets and it did. I think when I was trying to put in my jeans pocket yesterday I was putting it all the way in and the headphones were being dislodged. If I put the whole phone straight in, but leave the headphones peeking out, it works better, but that's on my CHANGE pocket of my jeans. It doesn't work in the deep pockets.So if any of you are having the same trouble, try other headphones, or other pants. :) Mine aren't earbuds (those tend to fall out of my left ear). They're the size of earbuds but have a connecting plastic piece to keep them in place. I don't remember what the brand was; I got them one day at Kroger.

One nice thing is dispensing with the giant adapter I had to use on the old phone. It had a 2.5 mm jack, not 3.55 mm. It got caught on everything, as it made a right angle.

I awoke to hail this morning


Well, more properly, I was lying in bed waking up after my alarm went off and an odd noise started. It was hailing against the window. Apparently we've had severe thunderstorms all night (oddly, for a mostly former brontophobe, I sleep well during thunderstorms, as long as they're not rocking you out of bed).

It's just getting light outside and I ventured out to the laundry room for some caffeine. It has rained a lot over night--the front walk, which steps down to get from the parking lot to the front door by three steps, is flooded. I haven't even tried looking at the creek out back (always a concern, but there's a high bank, although I've seen it almost crest before). The lightning is apparently 4-5 miles away and getting closer. I decided to sign up with the Weather Channel for text alerts. My notifications tone won't wake me up or anything, but I'll have more info if I'm awake.

It's odd to up so early on a Saturday. But I woke up at 4:30 am mostly rested, and reset the alarm for 6 rather than 9 as a result. Here's the agenda for today:

  • Laundry.
  • Game notes.
  • Kroger run.
  • Trash/recyclables.
  • Clean up my computer space.
  • Water the plants.
(Now this is how a hoarder's mind works--I went to type 'recyclables' after trash and almost typed collectible instead. Coincidence? I think not.) Since it's raining at the moment and the thunderstorms are supposed to be scattered, I'll hold off on the Kroger run a little while, although I don't have anything else in the house to eat and will eventually get hungry enough to go out and do it. Laundry and cleaning I'd rather do when there's more light and less rain, since in involves trips across the parking lot. So I guess it's game notes for now. Incidentally, my phone came with the read-only version of Documents to Go and I thought, what the hell, let's see what the game notes in PDF look like on the phone. Tiny. Oh, you can make it bigger, but it doesn't flow well; you have to drag the screen around quite a bit. Granted, when I prepare a PDF for the Kindle, I make the font big at first and that helps. I haven't tried that with the phone. Only problems I've had with the phone so far:
  • Figuring out where to add music, documents, etc., or where the images you take are. My Nokia had specific folders set up on the memory card. The Comet is very much just an extra disk from the computer's point of view, and there's nothing that automatically sets up that tells you where the camera images are going, or where to put the music or documents. Plus, to access the memory card you actually have to do some stuff on the phone that is simple but not intuitive, and it is discussed only briefly in the manual. But hey, I figured it out. (PS The image on this post was the first one I took off the phone. It's my desk at work. The cat is a very realistic pillow. I'm used to the stares (from the cat, not from people who wonder why I have a cat pillow next to my monitor). There's a Himalayan on the other side of the screen. Yes, I'm weird. I don't have cats so I have fake cats.)
  • The music player. Apparently Android 2.2 has problems with WMA files, or at least maybe WMA files that have digital rights management, I'm not sure which. That was the belief of someone on the Internet who was answering a question similar to my own. I didn't realise so many of my CDs have it. The songs show up on the player, but not the tag information and says it can't play that kind of file. I had to convert them from WMA to MPG using a free converter, which was fine for a couple of albums, but if I'd had 5,000 songs like some folks out there?
  • The manual and getting started kit are very basic, and cover nothing about Android, even though it's an entry-level Android device. I guess they figure there's the Internet for that, and you can get that on the phone. Still, if I hadn't watched videos, surfed, etc., I'm not sure I'd figured out how to use it.
  • I'm having headphone issues. I've tried a different couple of headphones, one of which is meant for the computer. It works better. Generally, it's incredibly easy to dislodge the headphone connexion just enough to stop the player. If I'm at my desk, no problem. If I'm on the bus or walking and trying to either put the thing in my pocket or purse, it shuts off. It doesn't feel like the plug is seating well in the jack. Maybe I just need to see which headphone is best. I've got something like five pairs. I've tried turning off the screen before putting it away to see if it's something about the display being touched by the pocket, but that doesn't seem to help. I remember having this trouble at first with my other phone and found a good pair of headphones that until a few days ago I was still carrying in my purse, but I'm not exactly sure where they are at the moment. I'll try to find them today and see if they do better. The only trouble with them is the cord is fairly short. The computer one is so long I have to bind part of it up. The ones that are just right in length seem to pop out of the phone. Go figure.

But generally I'm very happy with it and have already done lots with it in terms of experimenting and I've found very helpful things about it. Not bad for less than 48 hours. I'm so glad I got the unlimited plan, though. And I made sure I got an application killer to help with battery charge/memory. The latest one I got, though, was one for keeping track of my bank account. See, I don't write cheques except maybe to the bank to withdraw money. But I wrote two for my tax bills. Plus I have the IRS back payment coming up. So I wanted something portable to tell me how much money was really available (there's a huge difference between what's in the account right now and what I can actually spend). So I downloaded that, popped in the information, and it's very simple to update, plus it doesn't contain any account info or anything I'd want to be very secure, just a running total of balances.

I haven't bought an application yet. Or even downloaded a free game, although there was one called Bubble Buster that looked a bit like Snood that sounded fun over on the Amazon Android market. But some people said it made it very sluggish when returning to the main menu and even with the program that turns off the applications, I didn't want to risk any issues since mine has a slower processor than the high end phones. I'm really more of a utilities girl myself. I don't want a phone to play games and waste a lot of time; I want a phone that will help me do things easier. Games are okay, I guess, and I have a few on the Kindle for when I'm at a doctor's office and don't feel like reading. But they are silent, and the ones on the phone probably have sound. Taking off the sound takes off a fun part of the game. But they're pretty clear on the bus that they don't want you to play a lot of noise without headphones. And there's the headphone issue.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Surprise, I'm back!

You thought I'd be down for the count after so little sleep, didn't you? As it was, I had a nice two hour nap during a thunderstorm and apparently a lot of rain. Everything's in that newly washed mode outside. I got up and took a short walk around the complex, and the air feels much more lighter and less stuffy. I remember a few beginning peals of thunder as I drifted off.

I feel quite a bit better. Now I just have to figure up what to do for the rest of the night. I still need to put contacts into my phone, and there's the ever-present game notes. :) I think I can work on the contacts and then at least get a start on the notes. I haven't even transferred them to the computer yet.

Why is it a big surprise

that Apple and Google can track you on a GPS phone? What did they think GPS was for, just so they could play FourSquare? Hello, people, that was a no-brainer, as is the fact that once you have data, the police and other law enforcement authorities can get a warrant for the records. What do people think all those little applications do, and if the applications can keep track of where you are, surely the big honchos can, too, right?

Gee. Having just purchased a GPS phone, I knew this going in, before the wave of stories and righteous indignation of users started. I bought it knowing my location could be pinpointed and tracked. It's a no-brainer, and I don't know why people think it needs a big disclosure statement from the companies. Oh. Right. We have to put warnings that coffee may be hot on cups for stupid people, too. Don't get me wrong, disclosure is great. But these are companies who make money by amassing information, and I don't see how people can be so naïve as to believe that they won't do anything with it. Do people trust corporate America more than their government?

Okay, I'm obviously cranky. I'm going to go nap.

I gave up

trying to get anything meaningful done at work today and came on home early. It's been a busy day. First I went and got some meds at the pharmacy. Then I went in to work. I did a lot of interlibrary loans today. I don't know what it is about April, but I've been a net lender for months now and then suddenly I get something like 30 requests in less than a month. About thirteen of those were today. Plus I had four lend requests and some article requests I could fill from our collection. I thought I was doing pretty well despite the lack of sleep, but there wasn't anything I was doing that required absolute precision, although I double-checked everything to be sure it was right. But when I got to the data entry job, well, that was a different story. I keep track of my errors. Since January 1st I've made seventeen total. Today I made three, all of changing the date from today to the date of service. Since I can't undo my own work on that set of data, I had to ask someone to remove three different sets. Not cool. I did finish the most complex entries but really at the third mistake I decided to call it a night, come on home and get something to eat, and head to bed for awhile. I'd hoped to work on game notes tonight, but I'm not going to attempt that until I've gotten a little sleep under my belt.

It looks terribly gloomy outside now, although it was actually a little sunny when I came home. Perfect sleeping weather. Tomorrow is another day--and tomorrow is for laundry and game notes. :)

I'm surprisingly bouncy

On three hours' of sleep. At about four it occurred to me that although gadgets have a certain adrenaline spike for me, the fact that I sat at the computer and phone and consumed almost an entire 2 litre of Diet Coke after 7 pm after having precious little caffeine the last few nights probably explained my sleeplessness best.

So I woke up this morning to what will probably become a daily ritual. First it's wake up to an alarm (in this case, a rooster's call--it seemed the most likely to wake me up--I like the chance for multiple alarms [I have one set to remember my Lantus at night and to change jobs at the time clock mid-shift]). Then I check the weather outside and do a quick scan of the news to make sure that civilisation hasn't gone belly up. Then it's a shower, dressing, and the regular stuff.

My blood sugar is not surprisingly high this morning, what with pizza last night, lack of sleep, and late Lantus (at 4 am). But I checked it and put in in to an application that will track blood sugar, meds, etc., and it lets you write in pretty detailed notes. It's like having a PDA again, but on a phone. :)

I have a shopping list for Walgreens ready on my phone, superior to anything on the Kindle, and less bulky.

I promise this blog will not be about how my mind was quickly subsumed by technology. Really. But it's new and fun. :)

Okay, I need to pick up some meds. I've been out of my oral meds for a couple of days and need to get back in the swing of things. Have a great day.

It's 3 am and I'm still awake

I guess I'm still wired from getting the phone. So here I am in bed, writing with the Swype keyboard. I did discover that the Android 2.2 music player chokes on WMA files on several phones. I converted some of my music to MPG and it solved the problem. Okay for me, not for those with a lot of music. Also for some reason my keyboard does not insert spaces automatically like it should. Oh, wait it is. I didn't realise that I had to go on to the next word. Odd. Still, I can see that I am going to have to teach it British English. :)

Okay, my eyes are crossed from holding a small screen to my eyes without my glasses on. Goodnight.

I got it!

I managed to walk out of the T-Mobile store only $50 poorer (for a deposit), with a free phone, an unlimited talk/text/data plan, and protection for the phone. It's a very low-end Android, the T-Mobile Comet, like I had planned on getting. I love it so far.

So far things it won't do but that's okay because I've never used Android:

  • Multi-touch pinching to zoom in and out.
Things I've figured out how to do already:
  • Make a call.
  • Take a call (hey, it is a phone primarily, right?)
  • Download music from my computer to the memory card.
  • Use the music player.
  • Use the FM radio player.
  • Use my Gmail.
  • Use Twitter.
  • Use Facebook.
  • Use the camera.
  • Check the news and weather.
  • Use Google Reader.
Applications I added:
  • Google Sky Maps (although drat, it's cloudy)
  • Compass
  • Advanced Task Killer
  • Amazon Kindle
  • Antivirus Free
  • Barcode Scanner
  • ColorNote
  • Dictionary
  • OnTrack (Diabetes monitoring)
  • Pandora
  • Google Reader
  • Wikipedia
  • Plus a battery consumption widget

It already came with most basic applications like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Weather/News, etc.

The phone is tiny, good for my hands, but still easy for me to read what's on the screen (thank the Gods for bifocals, I guess). I've learned to use the Swype keyboard pretty easily, although let me tell you, going through the tutorial on the bus was fun, with the bumps. :) It will change orientation from portrait to landscape, has a GPS, etc. The main drawbacks are no flash for the camera, no pinching zoom (you can tap twice, though, or use the zoom buttons on the display). Since I'm going from a feature phone to my first Android, I don't find those particularly annoying. It's certainly not fast, but I found mine more responsive than in the review videos. The phone was free with contract, $125 without, so for an Android 2.2 system, I think that's great.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

At some point tonight

Money will magically fill up my bank account, which is good, because today was a peanut butter-and-the-last-of-the-bread lunch and 'oh, yes, we do have penne pasta and the pasta sauce hasn't gone bad dinner'.

Tomorrow I need to get some Roquefort cheese for a friend (was going to do it today, but without money of my own, I'd have had to go there, get money, go to the store, go back, drop off cheese, and returned home--all of which would have taken seven hours to do on the bus, with me leaving early at 5 pm and getting home at midnight.) Really. Fortunately he decided tomorrow would be fine.

I'm also going to go to the T-Mobile store and see about trying to get a cell phone. I doubt I'll be able to do, it, frankly. There's a chance, according to a clerk I spoke with on Monday, that since I have been a FlexPay (month-to-month) customer for nearly two years and have never had my service cut off, that I'm on the prequalified list regardless of bad credit. If that's the case I can sign up, get a contract, and walk out with a phone. If not, well, while I could buy the phone and pay for next month's service plus other bills, I'll have no money for two weeks. None. And so that's not going to happen. I'll just have to wait, I guess.

The thing that concerns me is that even though my bill as it's currently done has to be paid by the 22nd of each month, My-Tmobile.com is saying my account is past due and my service is off (today is the 20th). So that may be an issue if they try to run me through T-Mobile's system. Of course, it's probably just a web glitch (I've seen them before, and I've never actually lost service). But it's annoying. I can't even look at the phones while in my account on the web.

If I can get a plan, the phone itself will be free. I'd have to pay $35 and perhaps a deposit of $50. That is doable. I may still get a Comet but if I can, I'll try for an LG Optimus T, which is a step up (and about $100 more without a contract). I'm concerned about the Comet's lower screen resolution meaning some applications might not be able to run.

If I can't then I guess it's pay my normal bill and wait another couple of weeks to get a phone, wasting essentially an entire month's worth of service by not having a phone either the last or next two weeks.

I also got a notice last night that it's time to renew my lease. My rent is going up $16, but I don't think I can really complain, as they didn't raise it a dime last year. Grand total is now $525 for a 750 square foot apartment in a nice neighbourhood, paying just electric, which is probably about dead on normal in Lexington. Signing my lease will mean I get a free carpet cleaning, too, which is good--mine needs it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Video coverage of Elisabeth Sladen's passing



and a lovely fan tribute:

I am so saddened


I grew up watching Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, who went on wild adventures with the Doctor. She'd started with the Third (Jon Pertwee), and then continued with the Fourth (Tom Baker). Later she made appearances with the Tenth (David Tennant) and Eleventh (Matt Smith), and had her own series, 'The Sarah Jane Adventures', a children's show where she, K-9, super-computer Mister Smith, and young teens protected the Earth from alien incursions, using such splendid things as a sonic lipstick. It was great fun and well done, and she brought her classy pluck to it with great vigour.

Sadly, Elisabeth Sladen passed away this morning from cancer. She was 63, but looked very much the same as she had back in the 70s--she had a timeless beauty.

'The Sarah Jane Adventures' ran for four series (that's seasons in America), wrapping up in 2010. A fifth had been planned. The last episode of the programme was, somewhat prophetically entitled, 'Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith'. Of all things, I heard the news on Facebook, because I 'liked' Doctor Who and get updates about the show. I immediately called YKWIA, who also loves Doctor Who and introduced me to her show. He was very saddened as well. Neither of us knew she had been battling her illness for some time.

Elisabeth Sladen--19th Apr 2011

Doctor Who star Elisabeth Sladen, 63, dies after cancer battle

Doctor Who actress Elisabeth Sladen dies

Elisabeth Sladen, From Wikipedia

Goodbye, Elisabeth Sladen. Thank you for all the wonderful times you gave us.

Monday, April 18, 2011

This night's blogging

is hereby interrupted by allergies. I'm sneezing, coughing, watering, and snotting all over the place, rather suddenly. I'm going to go put on my CPAP for a little while and see if they calm down. I don't know what it is (I'm allergic to most things, and it is worse in spring and fall). But my eyes are swelling up and it's definitely time to try to put the brakes on it. I don't have allergy meds since I haven't had much trouble the last few years, but this is a bumper allergy season this year and central Kentucky is horrible for allergens anyway.

This bothered me today

Sarcastic or serious? Missing subtle cues may signal dementia: Gullible sufferers may fall for lies, scams more easily because of brain disease

See, on top of having a somewhat squishy memory, I am terribly gullible and way too trusting. And although I usually spot sarcasm, it's sort of a crap shoot. I have more trouble determining these things in person, observing cues, rather than in writing, for that matter.

Dementia is a great fear of mine. I've spent years with some issues, probably a mix of blood sugar issues, 'fibromyalgia fog', and occasional lability, but having had a great-grandmother with Alzheimer's--and having watched how it unfolded, it is, I suppose, a very real fear of mine. On the other hand, my memory is good for some things--numbers for instance. Things that don't carry much emotion. And I compensate by writing things down (or lately, jotting them into my Kindle, so I don't just lose the papers) or trying to keep essential items, like keys and bus passes, in special designated places.

Well, if I lose my mind, I guess I'll blog bravely into it. But seriously, if you every see a post and wonder what I could be thinking or it doesn't make sense, let me know.

And for those with some pocket change, a mediaeval Italian village

For sale: entire medieval Italian village for £485,000
But for anyone tired of Britain's crippling property prices and inclement weather, £485,000 will buy the historic village of Valle Piola, which is surrounded by wild and mountainous terrain in the heart of one of the country's biggest national parks.
I guess I'll add that to something I might do if I won the lottery. Apparently Italy is littered with abandoned villages that could use some fixing up. :)

You, too, can be buried with Doctor Who

Check out British company Creative Coffins for carton-board coffins in a plethora of styles. Via Joe.My.God.

Hmmm...

Nature to Get Legal Rights in Bolivia
After decades of exile to environmentalism’s legal fringes, the notion that natural systems could have legal rights is receiving serious attention.

Bolivia’s Law of Mother Earth is set to pass. On Wednesday the United Nations will discuss a proposed treaty based on the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth (.pdf), which was drafted by environmentalists last year. Both mandate legal recognition of ecosystems’ right to exist.

It’s highly unlikely that the United Nations would pass any such treaty in the foreseeable future, and the discussion has been criticized as a time-wasting political maneuver. But the intellectual argument for nature’s rights isn’t necessarily a patchouli-soaked Gaia fantasy translated into legalese. Some say it’s a practical extension of ecological insight.

Sounds from the past

Recreating the sound of Tutankhamun's trumpets
Tutankhamun's trumpet was one of the rare artefacts stolen from the Cairo Museum during the recent uprising. The 3,000-year-old instrument is rarely played, but a 1939 BBC radio recording captured its haunting sound.

Among the "wonderful things" Howard Carter described as he peered by candlelight into the newly discovered tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922 were two trumpets, one silver and one bronze.

For more than 3,000 years they had lain, muted, in the Valley of the Kings, close to the mummy of the boy king. Found in different parts of Tutankhamun's tomb, both were decorated with depictions of Egyptian gods identified with military campaigns.

Both became exhibits at the Cairo museum, but when it was broken into during the recent uprising, the bronze instrument vanished. Luckily, the silver one was away on exhibition tour.

Egyptologists were already reeling from the loss of many of the country's antiquities, and many found the theft of one of the oldest surviving musical instruments in the world particularly poignant.
Fortunately the missing trumpet as well as other missing antiquities were found in a bag recently. If you want to hear the trumpets, played on BBC Radio in 1939, you can hear it by clicking on a player in the article. It's quite beautiful. I think the bronze one has a richer tone to it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I'm sorry I haven't been blogging much lately

I hope tonight I've managed to alleviate that a bit. Now I need to work on game notes. But I'll probably come back later because I still have 933 items in Google Reader.

Wow

2011 marks the 30th anniversary of the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game produced by Chaosium. They're celebrating with a spiffy collector's version of the current edition, which I can't afford but would love to give to my game master, because as of July of this year, we've been playing a continuous campaign of Call of Cthulhu for twenty years, mostly every week.

Found this on LISNews

(LISNews.org)- Click a couple of times to enlarge

One reason I don't like the location functions on websites

Just how creepy is 'Creepy'? A test-drive
You probably know that some Internet and cell phone applications like Foursquare or Twitter can broadcast your location to the world. And you might know that Web sites with names like PleaseRobMe and ICanStalkYou have been created with shock value in mind to call attention to the potential consequences of broadcasting such information. But those sites picked on random individuals and exposed their whereabouts one at a time.

A new software tool created by Greek programmer Yiannis Kakavas goes much farther in the shock category. Called “Creepy,” Kakavas' tool makes it easy to gather all the location-based digital breadcrumbs that people leave online and plot them on a map. The map and associated time stamps make it easy to discern their routines -- “It looks like Bob goes to this coffee shop every Friday morning around 10:30” -- a tool of incalculable use to a would-be stalker. For Web users who loyally leave breadcrumbs everywhere ("Now at Whiskey Bar!" "Now at Park Diner," "Finally home") it's possible to recreate much of their daily lives using Creepy.

What's more, unlike ICanStalkYou, users can search for any Foursquare, Twitter or Flickr user they want. Kakavas tool also adds a handy handle-search tool, in case you only know your stalking subject by their real name.
As someone about to buy a GPS-enabled phone, I am not turning on location data for Twitter or playing Foursquare for just such a reason. I know it's probably easy enough to tell the area where I live from my writing here(and obviously there's a link to my resume on this page, so you can tell where I work), but I don't want everyone else to know exactly where I am at any given time. Why would anyone want to? That's what I don't understand. Isn't it enough that the phone companies and who knows what other entities know where we are?

So sad

Mom in NY drownings tried to back out, son says: She also posted 'forgive me please for what I'm gonna do' on Facebook
The suicidal mother who loaded her four children into a minivan and drove it into New York's frigid Hudson River announced her plan on Facebook and then reportedly tried to back out at the last second but failed.

Her 10-year-old son, who swam ashore as his mom and three siblings drowned, said his mother told her children, "you're all going to die with me," but then changed her mind and tried, too late, to reverse the van out of the river, according to the woman who found the sopping wet boy.

The Facebook message, obtained by MidHudsonNews.com, was posted on LaShanda Armstrong's page at 7:13 p.m. Tuesday. It read: "I'm so sorry everyone forgive me please for what I'm gonna do.... This Is It!!!!"

Just before 8 p.m., Armstrong put her children into the van and drove into the river. Armstrong and three of the children, boys ages 5 and 2 and an 11-month-old girl, died. Ten-year-old La'Shaun Armstrong escaped.

I especially feel so sorry for that young boy. I hope he gets the counseling and love that he will need to deal with this tragedy.

Want to know where your US taxes go?

Use the tax-receipt tool announced on the White House blog. Or you can try it right here (it puts some white space at the end of this post, so just scroll down for the rest of them):

Ah, those college memories

Maybe because I loved Mr Moose on Captain Kangaroo (although my absolute favourite part was Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings, as apparently I was fascinated with the British even then), I really enjoyed a tradition at the University of Kentucky that happens a bit before the Kentucky Derby called, not surprisingly, the Little Kentucky Derby. One of the features of the celebration is to drop thousands of ping pong balls in the area of the Patterson Office Tower from a helicopter, where students (and probably a few faculty as well) scramble for them in the hopes of winning a prize.

The tradition faltered but was revived a few years ago, and this year's ball drop made it into the campus newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel. It brought back fun memories. I always felt sorry for the physical plant people, who were probably finding the things for months, and of course it's probably not the most environmentally sound thing to drop three thousand plastic balls to the ground, but I have to admit, I always had fun.

This is cool

Okay, surely I'm not the only one who thinks so. Or maybe it's a medical librarian geek thing...

Belly Button Diversity

Thanks to Nikki Dettmar of the Eagle Dawg Blog for the link!

One reason I'm glad I don't eat meat

Multi-Drug Resistant Staph in 1 in 4 Meat Samples
A team of researchers from Arizona bought meat and poultry in five cities across the United States, tested them for bacteria, and found this: 47 percent of the samples contained the very common pathogen Staphylococcus aureus, and 96 percent of those isolates were resistant to at least one antibiotic. Of more concern: 52 percent of those staph isolates were resistant to at least three antibiotics that are commonly used in both veterinary and human medicine.
I know, you can get E. coli from vegetables and fruits organically grown in manure as well, but meat just isn't appealing to me on so many levels. And although I can't prove any relevance, I will say that I haven't had a strep infection (which I got so often when I was younger that I couldn't get my tonsils out because they weren't free of the infection) since I stopped eating meat twenty years ago.

:) I love the idea of a 'kiss-in' as a form of protest

Gay couple say kiss got them kicked out of pub: 'To be made to feel so dirty and cheap over something like that – it’s just wrong'
Two gay men say their first-date kiss got them thrown out of a London pub — and turned them into a Twitter sensation.

Jonathan Williams says he and his date, James Bull, were asked to leave after sharing what they described as a "hands-on-the-table" kiss at the John Snow pub in London's Soho, normally known as one of London's gay-friendliest neighborhoods.

Anger snowballed after Williams tweeted about the incident late Wednesday, and within 24 hours, the story was on the front page of British newspapers and the pair were describing their ordeal on national radio.
Hundreds signed up for a kiss-in protest on Facebook, and about 300 mostly gay men showed up to embrace and kiss outside the pub, which had closed in response to the event.

Remember folks--social media sites are about more than 'I had macaroni and cheese for lunch today.' They've helped toppled governments, and with the ubiquitous cell phones, you never know when an action will be tweeted or posted on YouTube within minutes. Don't let your prejudice (or anything that's going to be hard to live down, for that matter), go viral. The fifteen minutes of fame is not worth it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Yay :) and boo :(

Yay:

Because my blood sugars have been doing better, my doctor took me off of my remaining diabetes oral meds and increased the dosage of my insulin with a target of 100 reading on the glucometer upon waking.

That means I'm down to four pills (I was at 7 for a long time). He also changed my short-acting insulin from Apidra to Novolog since I was still reacting to the Apidra. It's another pen sort of delivery, and my pen tip needles fit both, even though they're different manufacturers.

Boo:

I've had a headache all day that has gradually gotten worse to the point where I'm almost no longer aware of the pain in my foot. I'm generally aching, too, and the bus ride home tonight did nothing good for that. Not to play poor pitiful me, but I think I'm going to just take YNWIA's advice and take some ibuprofen, put something cool on my forehead, and go on to bed. So there won't be much blogging tonight, I'm afraid. I just came in from being over at a friend's house, and being up and about helped a bit (well, not my foot), but I was fading by the time I got home.

Good night.

Make that definitely a zombie

The phone has a life of its own. If I press menu, it blanks and dies, making it useless. 10 days and counting until I can get a new one. :(

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My cell phone is playing zombie

Last night the screen went white, then black, and even after taking out the battery and putting it back in to see if the contact was bad, the phone seemed to die for good. This evening when I got home I tried turning it on again and it did boot up, so I'm charging it up. But there's no guarantee it won't fizzle out again, and it's done it during conversations before. But maybe it can limp along until I get a new one.

This morning I burned some of the music I have been listening to on the phone onto a CD so I can listen at work using the CD player in my computer. As soon as I got home I burned a backup copy of my Office 2010 download file onto a DVD, because even though I have a backup on my external hard drive you never know when there will be an epic failure. A co-worker gave me a DVD so I could try out my drive; I thought it was DVD-RW+ but wasn't sure, and I didn't want to buy a whole spindle just for one thing.

I got soaked going to the bank this morning and then to work in a driving rain and wind. I finally dried out about 1:30 pm. Even my Birkenstocks got a bit wet, and they were in a bag, not on my feet.

I stayed at work until 7 tonight but got a ride home because another co-worker was working late due to a meeting. That means it's still light and now I've changed into comfy clothes and ate some Havarti cheese on a bagel and a banana. I'm ready to do some things on the computer. I need to send a friend something I found on a search and do another search for another friend. It's great having your own personal librarian, I hear. I also need to play a bit with Office 2010 since I've now had some training. But I'm going to check the news and probably blog tonight, too.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I think this is the longest


I've gone without a blog post in awhile, certainly when I do have an Internet connexion. Sorry about that. I've been pretty busy the last three days.

Saturday I was at a friend's house most of the day. I'd brought some items to him that he needed and he fed me some wonderful food. We watched TV and basically had a nice day of visiting, something we don't get to do much with my schedule and lack of car. Best of all, something that has been hanging over my head for about six years was lifted. I'm not going to try to explain how it came to be, or what it was, but there's quite a bit of relief as a result.

Sunday was the Cthulhu game. We rocked! This has been a horrible, horrible campaign. It was written two decades ago and is full of extremely powerful cultists, surprise greater beings, and with the tweaks by the game master completely pulled the carpet out from under our feet in terms of the game's premiss. We really expected to be playing in a post-apocalyptic scenario next. But, we took down two of the most potent evil sorcerors with mere physical skills, and a great net gun idea, killed the bad guys, and an NPC (non-player character) managed to contain the actual coming of an avatar of Nyarlothotep. The campaign is called The Fungi from Yuggoth, a small yet deadly series of adventures, although only a small part of it had to do with Mi-Go. But I am so very happy to have survived it with both characters (although one got her throat slit, and suffered some brain damage). The sanity rewards were also very good for the adventure. Now if we can just get things back to normal, which is a daunting process, as the ritual needed to rekindle our Elder Signs is trapped in a monastery library that has been shut off by tons of stone that can only be raised with the sign. It is a conundrum. But I have faith. It should be fun to do the game notes this time, knowing we won the day.

Today it was back to work. I took an Office 2010 training class today. We upgrade from Office 2003 at work next week, although I have 2010 at home thanks to Microsoft's home use programme that allows employees to download the full professional suite for $9.95. Yay. So I'm going to play with it over the next week and try to get up to snuff, plus I have some library books on the various programs.

I've looked through the news and didn't really see anything blog-worthy, unfortunately. But I will hopefully have something tomorrow other than just things about me.

It is National Library Week, though, so be sure to celebrate and support your local library.

My phone is still doing odd things. It's obviously not the battery. Earlier it went to a white screen and then changed all the tones and theme-related stuff to one I've never used before. I still have my contacts and music, but everything else is different. I am looking forward to payday when I can get a new one. I hope the store has them in stock by then, although I can always go online to get it. I downloaded the Comet user guide/manual today and looked through it. It's much more complex than my phone and does a lot more, but it was understandable and I think I'll pick it up easily. It sounds like it comes with a good number of applications, and of course, it's an Android phone (albeit a low-end one), so I can get more.

I'm enjoying spring, although a cold front went through today with thunderstorms, but it will be a short-lived dip in temperature and not as bad as the one at the end of March.

Wednesday I have a doctor's appointment, a three-month diabetes check. I'm afraid I won't have a great spreadsheet for Dr Nesbitt as I've been less than complete at checking my blood sugar four times a day, but I'm back on track, and with the Excel 2010 I can do a general chart but also something called Sparklines where each day can be shown in graphical form as well. So that's something for next time. But my blood sugar is doing well overall. I'm not sure we can dispense with any of the oral meds quite yet, but the insulin has been a godsend.

Okay, I'm going to go. Hope you had a great weekend.

Friday, April 08, 2011

I have been de-hoarding

No, not my house. But my Gmail account is pared down to about two dozen rather important e-mails. My work account is down to eight. Google Reader has nothing on it, although I starred a few things to possibly link to here. Another e-mail account is cleaned out. So the last couple of days have been streamlining computer-wise. Now if I can just do that to my house.

Well, that may have been a complete waste of time

I just spent about an hour on the phone with very nice but unfortunately not particularly helpful T-Mobile customer service agent located (I suspect) in India. It could have been Nepal or Bangladesh. I say that because I always get someone with a southern Asian accent when I call. But although I had to have her repeat a little, it went fairly smoothly. But most of what she said was, 'please wait while I check that' as her fingers went ticky-tick on the keyboard.

I apparently had a very challenging question. See, I was able to get the contacts loaded back on my phone, by My Faves are missing. Not the interface (I found where I could re-download that), but the Faves themselves. I found where I could refresh them, and one got the name and phone number but then said 'Updating icon'--for 24 hours. The rest never came back. If I go to T-Mobile's web site, they're all there, no problem. But all but one still say 'add' on my phone. If I try to add, it tells me it's a duplicate number. It's very annoying. Yes, granted, I have each fave in my contacts, and as long as T-Mobile knows which numbers are My Faves, I should still get free calls to them, but I don't have quick access to them from the My Faves menu--and should. She finally had me try to add one again and then told me it could take an hour to update and quickly ended the call. I think she was relieved. I'm a bit frustrated, myself, because I felt like we weren't really getting anywhere for all that typing and I repeated myself about eight times as to what the problem was, and told her, indeed, that we did not appear to be getting anywhere, to which she nervously said no, I'm putting this in, let me try this.

We'll see. Maybe in an hour I'll have a Fave back. I don't know. But I'm tired of dealing with it tonight. I've always had good service from T-Mobile, and she was really trying to help, but she was obviously over her head, and I could tell she was conferring with a supervisor or other co-worker or two to try to solve the problem, which is why I didn't push it further. I suspect the phone has just glitched in an unpredictable way and may be stuck that way. It may become moot soon if I get the other phone, but the last day or two the phone has worked well otherwise, so by re-seating the battery I may have solved the problem (although I created a couple of more). :|

Ugh. Technology does so much when it works. Otherwise it's just good for headaches.