Friday, October 31, 2014
Abandoned America: 50 States, 50 Deserted Places
My cheesecake rocked. I came home with one piece left, and got many compliments. Tomorrow night I think I'll make one for my friends to take to the game, since the springform pan will be free. Now I've got the jack o'lantern lit and the Halloween stuff ready in case I have trick-or-treaters. That will probably be a no, especially with very blustery, cold weather with a threat of frost and snow. I brought the geraniums in just to prolong them a little while, as they are blooming nicely.
Nostalgia is a basic human emotion. It’s an experience that’s practically universal, whether you’re a baby boomer, or you were conceived during Woodstock.As an early Gen-Xer, my first computer was an Atari, the ones in high school were TRS-80s and early IBMs, or maybe an Apple II somewhere along there. I spent many a night using a 300 baud modem, all the way through part of grad school, actually, till I got my first real PC and had a higher baud dial-up through Earthlink. Then I graduated from library school and the Internet exploded, and I learned all I could about it and how to use it. Even in my early years at my job, we were still on dial-up, with the old Grateful Med CD-ROMs. Now, thankfully, we have PubMed and DOCLINE. Wow. Just wow. Kids have no idea these days. Thanks to George Takei for sharing this on his Facebook page.
The YouTube channel SquirrelMonkeyCom takes a love for the 1980s to a whole new level, and re-imagines what many of today’s most popular Internet destinations would have looked like back then. If you grew up around then, you’ll definitely appreciate these hypothetical blasts to the past.
So, put down that iPad, take off your Bluetooth headset, and hit pause on Netflix. It’s time to travel back to when DOS (or Disk Operating System, for you kids out there) was the king of operating systems, and the closest thing to a tablet was this.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
But at least I remembered to go online and verify my employment with my cellular phone provider, as I get a discount that way. Today was the deadline.
In 2014, it is still news when Tim Cook of Apple becomes the first chief executive of a Fortune 1000 company to publicly say that he is gay. Some day, an announcement like that probably will not be newsworthy, and when that happens, it will largely be because it was news today.
I got caught up on other things at work that had taken a back burner to the scheduling training. I'm going to go back up there tomorrow for a couple of hours and spend some time up there next week, as well. Since work, I have:
- Hunted down the ingredients necessary for pumpkin gingersnap caramel cheesecake for the dessert contest tomorrow, as well as a fruit bowl for the birthday baby shower we're having.
- Brought home a small pumpkin to carve for the contest tomorrow.
- Gotten all the groceries in, although of course the one bag I dropped had eggs in it. Only one broke, though, and I was able to salvage it for cheesecake.
- Put the cold groceries away.
- Taken the itchy, hot wig off.
- Returned my hair to something resembling it's normal appearance, so it isn't sticking up in all directions.
- Gotten into shorts and a tank top.
- Taken my dentures and contacts out, and set them both to soaking in cleansers of the appropriate type.
- Scrubbed all the makeup off my face.
- Put all the makeup I had strewn around the bathroom back where it belongs.
- Eaten some Kroger Tuscany bean salad, cheese, and crusty bread.
- Sat down and gone, 'whew!'
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Tonight I took a friend to an appointment and helped him with something. Tomorrow there's the dress-up and trick-or-treat, and I need to wish another friend a happy birthday, as he catches up with me in age. Tomorrow night I will be carving or decorating a pumpkin for a contest on Friday, fixing some cut fruit for a breakfast baby shower in my new department, and baking a gingersnap pecan caramel pumpkin cheesecake for another contest at work. Then Friday night is not just Halloween, but Samhain, a religious holiday for me. I never seem to get kids coming for candy to the door--I live in an apartment, and I guess people just aren't comfortable with that. But I'll get a little candy just in case. But I will also put together a libation and spend some time remembering the dead.
Okay, time to add a couple of touches to the costume--I'm going to print out the Tennyson poem for my cubicle and take a magnifier that doubles as an ornate necklace and copy some knights out of one of my books on the Middle Ages and use that as my 'mirror' tomorrow, hopefully without cracking it from side to side. :) [Image: John William Waterhouse]
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Until a little after 11 a.m. on Monday, Walmart advertised costumes for plus-size women on their website as "Fat Girl Costumes."YKWIA called me this morning and told me about this. Yes, much like the Target 'manatee grey' fiasco where a dress was described like that in the plus-sized clothes line even though the regular sizes were in 'dark heather grey', we have 'Fat Girl Costumes' as a subsection of the Wal-Mart website, with a banner that read, 'Make it a monstrously big Halloween for less.' Yeah, wow, there's a way to get customers to buy your product, right? Who thought this was a good idea? And even if they were somehow costumes made in China labelled that way (and there's no indication I've found that that was the case), someone should have figured putting a subsection online with that name would be, well, bad from a public relations standpoint. Okay, yes, we know we're fat. But if you're going to use the word like this, at least be consistent, like manatee grey for regular sizes or, I don't know, maybe 'Fat Boy Costumes'--I notice it seems to be fat women who are the target here. Which is funny, because that's also the target customer, and one rule of customer service is to not offend your customer. *Shakes head.*
The section name was discovered by a Jezebel reader Kristyn Washburn, who then tipped off the website. The section featured many of the same outfits as the Women's Plus Size section.
The stricken died quickly, sometimes within hours.Terry Foody is signing her book at the Woodford County Public Library, 115 North Main Street, Versailles, KY, from 1-4 pm on Saturday, November 1st. She did a signing recently at the Morris Book Shop, which is an independent bookseller here in Lexington. I'll check with them tomorrow to see if I can get a copy.
Others hung on a few days, but they were so dehydrated they no longer looked like themselves, but rather like skin stretched taut over bones and tendons. Their brains still worked, even as their bodies died all around them.
People passed one another in the street without greeting, fearful that their friends and neighbors would contaminate them. Orphaned children wandered the streets, seeking food and shelter from strangers. Those with means fled to the countryside.
Ebola in 2014?
No. Cholera in Lexington — in summer 1833.
Terry Foody, a public health nurse who has lectured about cholera for the Kentucky Humanities Council for the past decade, has written a book about the 1833 epidemic in Lexington: The Pie Seller, The Drunk, and The Lady: Heroes of the 1833 Cholera Epidemic in Lexington, Kentucky (Self-published; $18.33).
Also, today is the 100th anniversary of polio-vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk's birth. Google honoured him with a Doodle, but there was also this, which I think is dead on--with the restrictions we have today (many to protect research subjects) and with the anti-vaccine nuts out there, such a large double-blind trial (of 2,000,000 school children) would not happen today.
Jonas Salk's Polio Vaccine Trials Would Be Hard To Repeat Today
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Friday, October 24, 2014
So my upcoming agenda is as follows:
- Do game notes.
- Watch 'Grimm'.
- Watch 'Haven' with a friend.
- Help said friend bake something (and since we did the store run yesterday, that is over and we don't have to tomorrow!)
- Watch 'Doctor Who', or at least catch up on some I already have recorded.
- Help get the house ready for the game.
- Play the game.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Today was about playing catch-up at work, since I didn't have to train in scheduling today, so there was time for the library and data entry stuff I needed to do, or at least most of it. I'll have to finish up some tomorrow. But I got a lot done anyway. Today was also our benefits fair, so I came home with lots of information and some fun swag. There was also a kickoff luncheon downtown (I didn't attend) for the campaign for the new hospital, with the mayor, our Congressman, and various other candidates in attendance. By all accounts, it went really well.
I've been updating my tablet and Kindle and charging my phone, in which for the first time I let the battery completely die. But it's charging quickly, almost to full and that's in less than two hours.
I think my betta may not be much longer for this world. I came home and he was on the floor of the aquarium and has scarcely moved at all, and he's usually very active. He's lying in front of the bubble stone. In fact, it could be that the bubbles are moving his fins, rather than him, and he's actually dead. It's hard to tell. I've had him for at least a year-and-a-half. Brenda was just saying the other day that they don't live much more than a couple of years. So I guess it's about time. But I've really enjoyed having him, and I'm sad at the thought of losing him.
Okay, it's after eleven and I'm really struggling to stay awake, much like this critter. I love when the meerkat falls over and then pops up, looking all around it, like, hey, did anyone notice? :)
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
The Kentucky Senate race comes down this: whether voters are more willing to vote against a Barack Obama who is not on the ballot, or a Mitch McConnell who is.Now I'm not saying I would vote for anyone to get Mitch McConnell out of office. But yeah, close to that...and I feel just about as strongly about getting a challenger to Rand Paul. I am embarrassed by the senators from my state--terribly embarrassed anytime I see the headlines.
Project leader Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London explained to Discovery News that the Siberian man belonged to a population that was closely related to the ancestors of today’s Europeans and Asians. He carried only slightly more Neanderthal DNA than they do.
“But his genomic segments of Neanderthal ancestry are on average about three times the length of those found in genomes today,” Stringer said.
This is highly informative, he continued, “as the chunks of Neanderthal DNA have been gradually broken up each generation since the time of interbreeding.”
He and his team charted the rate of that change to the present, when all living non-Africans possess 2 percent Neanderthal in their DNA. Going backwards in time, the researchers could then see that the mating with Neanderthals took place 7,000–10,000 years before the Siberian man lived. This means the human/Neanderthal interbreeding happened no more than 60,000 years ago.
(And for 'Doctor Who' fans, one of the gentlemen is Sylvester McCoy, who, while he is Radagast the Brown in the Hobbit movies, played the seventh Doctor.)
UNC report finds 18 years of academic fraud to keep athletes playing
For 18 years, thousands of students at the prestigious University of North Carolina took fake "paper classes," and advisers funneled athletes into the program to keep them eligible, according to a scathing independent report released Wednesday.
"These counselors saw the paper classes and the artificially high grades they yielded as key to helping some student-athletes remain eligible," Kenneth Wainstein wrote in his report. He conducted an eight-month investigation into the scandal, which has plagued the university for nearly five years.
Four employees have been fired and five more disciplined because of their roles. One other former employee had honorary status removed, Chancellor Carol Folt said Wednesday.
Wainstein is the former federal prosecutor hired by UNC to independently investigate the academic fraud brought to light by CNN, the Raleigh News & Observer and other media outlets.
In all, the report estimates, at least 3,100 students took the paper classes, but adds the number "very likely falls far short of the true number."
But I'm going as the Lady of Shalott for Halloween. I have a beautiful cranberry long skirt in velvet and satin, along with a blouse that has a sort of fantasy mediaeval look with flared sleeves in the same colour. I just used a cashback bonus with Amazon for a dark red wig. We'll see how that looks.
Okay, so I'll be a somewhat rotund doomed fae, but still...we'll see if anyone at work is familiar with Arthurian legend, the famous poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (or the song by Loreena McKennitt based upon it), or several pre-Raphaelite paintings with her as the subject, including the one with her in the boat by John William Waterhouse (which I've included here.) :)
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
If only I'd been able to rig wings. Big, green bat wings. :) Happy (almost) Halloween! I'm not sure at all what I'm going to dress up as this year. I'm just glad we have a work environment where that's okay, even expected. I think my favourite costume anyone did ever was the information services people came as keys from a keyboard, and a late and sorely-missed colleague, who was very likable and full of joie de vivre, came as the 'any' key. :)
Monday, October 20, 2014
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Ancient Scottish fish 'first to have sex'
Saturday, October 18, 2014
This morning both of my bosses came to the library and asked if I would be willing to temporarily (for 8-12 weeks) take on yet another job for the hospital, scheduling patients, as there are several pregnant women in that department who are ready to give birth pretty much all at once, and they need a temporary part-time person to do it. So next week I'll be training there from 9 am-1 pm Monday, Tuesday, and maybe Wednesday. This will mean cutting into my library hours, as those are in the morning. We're not doing anything different with my pay or the process I use for clocking in and out and doing a labour transfer from one job to the other, so the pay will be the same, which is good, as the library rate is probably higher. So I need to juggle the library, the scheduling job, the charge entry and reconciliation, and obtaining doctors' referrals so everything gets done. It'll probably be a little more stressful, but overall I think it's doable. Meanwhile, I have a replacement physician appointee for my library committee, and I have to try to schedule a meeting soon. I hope everything works out pretty well.
I went in early and got off an hour early today. The weather was beautiful, 70 degrees and sunny after days of cold rain. Then I went by the grocery, took YKWIA to an appointment, got something from Long John Silver's, took him to get a couple of things from the grocery, and then helped with the squash and clafoutis. Now I think it is time for bed. Good night.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
And washed dishes, wrapped the herb bread that I baked, and filled my pill box for tomorrow. It'll just be easier than doing them when I'm rushed tomorrow. So that just means getting up, showering, getting dressed, and getting gas on the way without all those little things that leech time in the morning. And with that, I bid you adieu.
Tomorrow I'm going to go over and take A on a grocery run for a dinner they're having with a cousin and co-worker (one and the same) on Saturday. I can get toilet paper and other things I need then, thankfully, but the gas will really have to be on the way to work tomorrow. I wonder if the price will be the same. It was a low $2.99 when I went by this afternoon, and the pumps were filled. So, anyway, between that and the dishes, which I'm not up to tonight, I need to get up early tomorrow. So, I'm going to head on to bed. Good night.
However, reports of placements in special libraries have fallen off in recent years, dropping from 6% in 2011 to 3.6% in 2012. This may signal, as some suggest, that hospital and corporate libraries, among others, are becoming obsolete, or it may indicate changing roles and titles within these situations.Approximately 2017, my position with the hospital will cease as it moves to a new building near the university and a new ambulatory care model without a library. In the intervening time, I and my library committee will have to find an exit strategy of sorts for the library, while providing services and resources up to the bitter end. In the meantime, I am looking at jobs in other areas of the library world, albeit in this geographical area. I've applied to the public library, but they keep promoting from within, which is a good thing unless you're on the outside. :) I've also applied with the state. I keep looking each week actively. The good news is that there are more jobs now than there were during the Great Recession. The bad news is that while I am mid-career (almost 18 years in this position), I am a solo librarian, and while I have supervised some, I haven't held an actual managerial job whose supervision of others was a major component of the job description. I think that's hurting me. I think people are reluctant to hire me in a Librarian I position because that's entry level, even though I'd still probably get paid more since it would be full time (I currently have two jobs at the hospital, one with a librarian pay grade, one with a data entry clerk pay grade, so they average out lower than a full-time librarian would make), and with my experience, they would have to pay more than someone just out of school, or so they think. And I am worth that, although frankly, I'd work for a little less than I'm worth in exchange for a real full-time job with benefits. But a Librarian II position often includes departmental and even branch managerial duties, so that may be beyond my reach at the moment. The field is very competitive in my area because the university here has a library school. It took me four years just to find my current job, which I started out at with an abysmal wage for a job requiring a master's degree. (It improved greatly when they started including medical librarian in our salary surveys in comparison with other hospitals). Then in 2003 I was reduced in hours from 35 to 20 due to some lay-offs. For years I worked my 20 hours and then also at a gas station. At least I got benefits at 20 hours, although they cost more for part-timers. In 2010 I got the data entry position where I do charge entries and reconciliation for billing, as well as acquiring doctor's referrals. That brought me to full time. But while it does (barely) pay the bills, I'd really like to be doing a library gig full time, for one, with other librarians around, and I've got about two years to find a position that's a good fit. I have deep roots in the region and loved ones I can't move away from, so it'll have to be here (besides, I love living in the Bluegrass). Wish me luck!
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Meanwhile, a friend of mine was going to go to an appointment tonight and I was going to try to take him, but he cancelled it. On the one hand, that's good, because I could go straight home, as my gas light came on and I only had to drive about a mile or so to get safely home. On the other hand, I was planning to ask to 'borrow' (more like beg) for a roll of toilet paper since mine ran out this morning. Since I didn't go over there, I didn't get it. So I'm like, okay, I have some tissues, I can use them, and just not flush them down the toilet. So imagine my surprise when I did go and yet, despite nothing going down the bowl but a little urine, the thing floods the whole bathroom, and it took me several minutes to plunge it so the water would go down. So now my rug is soaked, I had to mop all that water up, and my evening just isn't going very well. Hence the mantra above.
Ah, First World problems. I really shouldn't whinge about my day when there are so many worse things out there. But writing helps, what can I say? So now I've taken care of everything (and I ate the last of the spaghetti while on hold). I'm going to try to salvage the rest of my time this evening, and hope that tomorrow is a brighter and better day. :)
PS Speaking of worse things, why on earth, if you had treated an Ebola patient and were within the incubation period, would you get on a jetliner? And if I'm reading the timing right, that was from Cleveland to Dallas, after treatment of the man who died in Dallas, so presumably there was a trip from Dallas to Cleveland as well. But the plane trip was the day before the newest diagnosed patient presented with a fever. I just don't get it. If I have a bad cold or the flu, I stay home from the hospital I work in and don't expose my friends. Why would anyone who had dealt with Ebola go flying to another state during the potential incubation time? Aren't these people supposed to be being monitored? I'm sorry to say, but it looks like the hospital had its head up its arse, given the things the nurses are saying and the fact that two people have caught the disease from the initial patient there. And while I realise that only four hospitals in the country have the ultra-isolation rooms and intensive training that are good for Ebola, this was still in a major metropolitan area. What happens when people go to the local hospital in smaller places? I have not been in panic mode at all over Ebola like some (there was a great editorial cartoon by Jack Ohman of The Sacramento Bee I saw where the fat guy with the big gulp drink and cigarette and beer is screaming in panic about Ebola when the deaths from obesity, smoking, and drinking are so high), but I am getting concerned, I must admit.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Now I think I'll retire to the bedroom and work on the game notes and get a little relaxation in (without falling asleep, hopefully). I don't know if I'll blog any more tonight. If not, have a very good night.
I'm having a quiet night alone again. Dinner will be more spaghetti (I made several servings at once). I think I may watch a little TV--I'm sorely behind on 'Doctor Who', and I'm intrigued by the last episode with mummies on the Orient Express. :) I have them on the DVR. My DVR is actually almost full of things I should really watch. And I'm going to start on the game notes, maybe even finish them if I'm lucky. That would put me way ahead for the week.
Tonight I need to do those things and arrange for a payment of a bill. Tomorrow will be somewhat tough. I'm hoping I have enough gas to get to work and back. But Thursday is payday and I can fill up the car and pay some bills. That would be very good. Thursday and Friday there are appointments to go to, so it will be good to have gas. :) I also need to make an appointment with the gynaecologist, which if I'm lucky I can get in maybe next week. I haven't heard back from the psychiatric practice. It occurs to me that I may have given the wrong phone number. (The prefix for my home phone and cell phone have the same numbers, in different order). I'll call back tomorrow. I don't know what the weekend looks like yet. As far as I know, we're playing the game Sunday, but anything beyond that is somewhat up in the air.
I have to admit, I'm a bit pooped. I did very well at work today, despite the lack of sleep. But my brain is trying to shut down. I wonder if I can lie down for an half hour without wasting my whole evening? Experience tells me no. Maybe I should just eat a bit and then take it from there. :)
Monday, October 13, 2014
Which I think will help me be much better at helping someone I love dearly. It will start in January and run eleven weeks, meeting once a week. I refuse to burn out and be useless to either of us. Now if I can just keep things together until then, that would be good.
I don't normally sit and eat at the table, with just me. But that was fun. The only thing that would have made it better was Parmesan cheese. I thought I had some, but apparently it was thrown out in the great refrigerator purge a few weeks ago. Oh, well. I couldn't eat all the bread--I'm saving that for later. And you know the funny part? Although it's dark outside, I feel like going for a walk. Weird. Pasta does not normally have that effect on me. :)
WATCH LIVE: Kentucky Senate candidates debate issues
Kentucky’s major party candidates for U.S. Senate will meet for a moderated conversation on Kentucky Educational Television’s signature politics program Monday, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m. EDT, in what is expected to be their only face-to-face event before the Nov. 4 general election.You can watch the livestream online thanks to KET (Kentucky Educational Television), if you don't get the station (although it does cover the entire Commonwealth, I believe, being one of the largest public television networks in the country, if I remember from when I was an employee there). Then there's this:
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), who are embroiled in one of the most contentious national races in the country, will appear live on “Kentucky Tonight” with host Bill Goodman. Libertarian candidate David Patterson will not be present, following a short but heated legal challenge against KET.
Tonight’s debate will not be open to an audience, but viewers with questions for the candidates may send them via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the message form at KET.org/kytonight. Viewers may also submit questions on Twitter via @BillKET or on KET’s Facebook page. The phone number for viewer questions during the program is 1-800-494-7605. All messages should include the first and last name and the hometown or home county of the submitter.
Clifford the Big Red Dog looks fabulous on an iPad. He sounds good, too — tap the screen and hear him pant as a blue truck roars into the frame. “Go, truck, go!” cheers the narrator.I particularly like this example:
But does this count as story time? Or is it just screen time for babies?
It is a question that parents, pediatricians and researchers are struggling to answer as children’s books, just like all the other ones, migrate to digital media.
For years, child development experts have advised parents to read to their children early and often, citing studies showing its linguistic, verbal and social benefits. In June, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised doctors to remind parents at every visit that they should read to their children from birth, prescribing books as enthusiastically as vaccines and vegetables.
On the other hand, the academy strongly recommends no screen time for children under 2, and less than two hours a day for older children.
At a time when reading increasingly means swiping pages on a device, and app stores are bursting with reading programs and learning games aimed at infants and preschoolers, which bit of guidance should parents heed?
Patricia K. Kuhl, a director of the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, led a study in 2003 that compared a group of 9-month-old babies who were addressed in Mandarin by a live instructor with a group addressed in Mandarin by an instructor on a DVD. Children in a third group were exposed only to English.I have a co-worker whose child is not yet a year and a half old. She reads to her daughter, and the child does not watch TV. She knows Elmo and Mickey, but not from cartoons. I think that's a good step. At work, I coordinate an early literacy programme called 'Reach Out and Read', a national initiative to bring age-appropriate books to children 6 months to five years old who visit our clinic, and to encourage parents to read to their children. I know kids are fascinated by screens both small and large, and it's easy to let them be babysat by a device, but it's much better to interactively read from a real book, in my mind, where they can touch the pages and interact with both parent and book. We'll see what the research eventually says. But my gut feeling is that books are the way to go for young ones. At least one study I've read says people comprehend much better from a physical book. I have to admit, I tend to skim more when I 'read' an e-book myself. If adults don't fully engage with the words and pictures in front of them, what do you think toddlers do? Just my two cents' worth, anyway.
“The way the kids were staring at the screen, it seemed obvious they would learn better from the DVDs,” she said. But brain scans and language testing revealed that the DVD group “learned absolutely nothing,” Dr. Kuhl said.
“Their brain measures looked just like the control group that had just been exposed to English. The only group that learned was the live social interaction group.”
In other words, “it’s being talked with, not being talked at,” that teaches children language, Dr. Hirsh-Pasek said.
At work I spent the morning planning out what books I need to update in the library (with a grant that we will hopefully get) for next year, as well as our family resource centre updates and access to electronic resources. I worked at a good pace at my data entry job, including referrals, reconciliation of charges, putting in charges, and the like. It's a detailed-oriented job, and I managed to catch something that could have cost the hospital reimbursement. So I felt good about that aspect of my job today. But the day flew by, and I felt alert and energised all day. Usually by this time of day I'm dragging and ready for a nap.
When I got home I spent a little while caring for my indoor garden (spacing the houseplants out and taking off dead flowers and leaves). I opened all the windows. The Christmas cactus has a bud on it. Only the prayer plant is blooming right now; the African violets did for a long time. I did have to toss a croton because it had been killed off by those dratted little white mealybugs. The other croton might live; it has one leaf left. The violets have them, too, and they're hard to eradicate from fuzzy leaves. But the others seem resistant, thankfully.
I also have an ailing fish. The fish actually made it through the Time of Low Water and No Filter pretty well, but when I filled up the tank yesterday, I found that one had become stuck in the java moss. I freed it and cleared out a lot of the moss. It's pretty, but it can be pretty invasive. So since then, that fish has kept to the bottom and is slowly dying. I'm sorry for that. Fortunately it's a 19 cent feeder goldfish, but still, I feel guilty for letting the moss overgrow, and letting the water get low enough that it became a problem. That leaves me four-and-a-half fish, the betta in the bedroom's 3-gallon tank, and the goldfish in the 29-gallon long tank. Once a few days pass, I'm going to vacuum out the tanks really well and test the water. If it's doing pretty well, I'll maybe add some feeder goldfish. They're actually a nice size and pretty, and don't require an awful lot of babying. I'm used to livebearers, but they haven't done well in the tank since I set it back up a few years ago. Even with a staggered biological filter, water changes, and the addition of nitrogen-eating bacteria, I've had trouble with nitrates. That's not as bad as nitrites, but the fish don't flourish as well. I used to do much better at keeping fish, and livebearers reproduced readily. But sadly, this is not the case since the tank was set back up, and as a result, I've tended to let it get a little too dirty. So after a few days so I don't totally freak the fish out, since vacuuming means adding more new (although conditioned) water, I hope to rectify that. But just getting the filter back up and running has helped immensely. I'd had a power outage from a storm about a month ago and couldn't get the thing to pump the water up from the tube, even though it was clear, and isn't really the type that needs priming (but I primed it anyway, to no avail). This time, after being off for awhile, it started right up and pumped immediately. So I'm not sure what the deal was at the time. But I didn't mean to keep the filter off so long--I was just really, really busy.
I am very low on gas for the car, and have $1 in change to put into it tomorrow, which might get me to and from work through Wednesday. I haven't been quite this broke in awhile. I think I have a total of fifty-two cents in my checking and savings accounts combined--so that's part of the stress lately. So I'm saving the gas if at all possible. Still, I should call a friend and see how he is doing. I'm not sure things will get a lot better when I get paid, but they will get better. I called Friday and got several doctors' offices to agree to return co-pays I mistakenly paid (this is the first year I've had insurance with a maximum out-of-pocket expense amount, and I didn't realise that once I met it, co-pays were not to be collected. This came to the tune of $180. So sometime in the next six weeks those refunds should trickle in. That would help.)
After talking with YKWIA last night, I decided that my mood was a little less stable than it had been and with the shorter days and perhaps being a little further into perimenopause than I thought I was, my medicine might need adjusting. So I called the practice I used to go to a few years ago and asked if I could get an appointment. The receptionist said he would check my records and with the doctors and get back with me. He didn't today, but I hope he'll call tomorrow. The nurse practitioner I was seeing is gone from the practice now, but that's okay. I was going until the car died, and then really couldn't get there, even though it's only a short distance from my house. Now I think the connector bus does go by, but I don't think it did then. So my general practitioner has been handling my meds. I think they need a little fine tuning.
Okay, it's nearly 6:30. Time to get some of that bread and some peanut butter, I think. Or maybe spaghetti with vegetarian meatballs. Mmmmm. I have the ingredients, including frozen soy meatballs in the fridge. I've never had soy meatballs. Yeah. I could do that, and take anything left over to work tomorrow. :)
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Friday, October 10, 2014
Historians, curators and moviemakers are delving into the histories of Middle East archaeological sites, some now destroyed or inaccessible in war zones, and resurrecting the stories of swashbuckling characters who dug there.As much as I love archaeology and Aegyptology, I have always seen the Europeans as erstwhile plunderers of ancient civilisations, often ignoring the wishes of their modern-day descendants. But given the instability in the Middle East, I have to admit, perhaps it better for an artefact to be in some Western museum than dynamited by radicals. On the other hand, instability can hit just about anywhere. But still, I fear a good deal has been lost in some of these war-torn areas. I admire the people who are actively trying to save their culture, though, whether locals or others.
The early 1900s archaeologist and diplomat Gertrude Bell, a daughter of a British baronet, will soon be the subject of a Werner Herzog film, “Queen of the Desert,” starring Nicole Kidman; a book by the Canadian archaeologist Lisa Cooper; an exhibition at the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle Upon Tyne, near her hometown; and a documentary “Letters Fom Baghdad.” The documentary’s makers, Zeva Oelbaum and Sabine Krayenbühl, are drawing upon Bell’s photos and writings from her global travels and negotiations with tribal leaders and shaky governments.
In 1926, two days before her 58th birthday, Bell was found dead in Baghdad after an overdose of sleeping pills. Her family preserved her papers, and Newcastle University owns the bulk of them. Other artifacts have recently emerged in the hands of descendants and collectors, including Bell’s Kurdish weavings and her silver cigarette case.
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Today I took a friend to a doctor's appointment and worked on the notes while he was in there. I'm almost finished with the game notes; I've got about 45 minutes of game play to transcribe, and it's not like I do it 'blow for blow' or anything. So it shouldn't take too long. I would work on it now, but I'm tired (I have been all day, it's like I never slept last night), but I'm relaxing to some of Bastille's music.
So we got back to his house and watched an episode each of 'Fringe' and 'Haven'. Now I'm home and seriously thinking of going to bed. One reason I'm sleepy is that I got up early to watch the eclipse. I even got a not-so-great picture (I've never had a camera that could do justice to the moon), showing the red shadow of the lunar eclipse. I was one of the lucky ones who were in the area experiencing a selenelion. The arrangement and trees were such that I couldn't see the moon and sun at exactly the same moment and position; but if I moved a pace back and forth, I could see each within a few seconds of one another. It was fun.
Okay, time to relax. Good night.
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Speaking of scary viruses, hopefully parents out there are taking note and teaching kids the basics of infection control (and especially handwashing)
Eli Waller’s parents thought it best to keep their 4-year-old son home from school, worried that he might have pink eye and could infect other children.
But they could not have suspected that their son was harboring a much more troubling virus, one that has been spreading across the country with unexpected virulence and is being investigated as a possible cause of severe respiratory illness and other complications.
When Eli went to bed on Sept. 24 in his family’s home in Hamilton Township, N.J., he seemed healthy. By morning, he was dead.
“He was asymptomatic and fine, and the next morning he had passed,” said Jeffrey Plunkett, the township’s health officer. “The onset was very rapid and very sudden.”
Six astronauts lie motionless in a row of compartments with medical monitoring cables connected to their bodies, as their space ship cuts through the silent blackness that separates Earth from Mars.Can I just say, wow, cool?
They're sound asleep and will be for the extent of their six-month trip, having been placed in an artificially induced state of hibernation called torpor.
This is the way a NASA-funded study sees space explorers traveling to Mars -- unconscious, with their metabolism switched into slow motion.
Sending astronauts that far into space would be too challenging, costly and grueling without it, says space engineer John Bradford, whose Atlanta-based company SpaceWorks wrote the study for NASA.
"Ultimately, it's what we'll have to do," he says.
"There is one article in the medical literature that discusses the presence of antibodies to Ebola in dogs. Whether that was an accurate test and whether that was relevant we do not know,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said at a news conference Tuesday.Dog of Ebola-stricken Spanish nurse set to be killed over fears of virus spreading
"We have not identified this as a means of transmission," Frieden added, although scientists do know that Ebola can infect mammals and the virus can spread that way.
The Spanish mixed-breed dog, Excalibur, will be euthanized in a way to avoid suffering and its body incinerated, the government said. The nursing aid's husband, who is also under quarantine, posted the dog's photo on Facebook and denounced the move.
"I think it's unfair that for a mistake they made they now want to solve it this way," he wrote. "If they are so worried with this issue I think we can find another type of alternative solution, such as quarantining the dog and put him under observation like they did with me. Or should they sacrifice me as well just in case?"
Both pet and hunting dogs in West Africa have tested positive for the Ebola virus, but none have showed signs of being infected, getting sick or dying from the virus, Michael San Filippo, senior media relations specialist for the American Veterinary Medical Association told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.Yes, Ebola is one scary disease. Really scary. But I don't think this is the right thing to do. I agree with the owner, quarantine the dog, but don't just kill it due to some sense of danger that isn't necessarily based on science.
There are also no documented cases of dogs passing the Ebola virus to people, San Filippo added.
“There is more concern about fruit bats and non-human primates,” including gorillas, chimpanzees and monkeys, he said.
Using your phone's cyber-slave by voice while focusing on the road? You're not as safe as you think, according to AAA.I've watched people using their 'hands-free' technology in the car, including the Bluetooth through the car console. Often they lean towards the little monitor. They definitely are not really paying attention to the road. Best thing to do in the car? Leave Siri or other assistants and the phone itself off.
The US auto club said it found apps such as Siri, and in-car personal assistant systems, are far more distracting than expected.
A study [PDF] AAA carried out with the University of Utah found that using voice commands to dial numbers, changing the music, and similar tasks while on the road, was more taxing on the mind of drivers than normal tasks, such as chatting to a passenger or listening to the radio.
Monday, October 06, 2014
Today I finished an audit, did all of my regular stuff at work, decorated for Halloween, and sent in that book review and copyright form. Afterwards I got gas (I was on empty), came home, took care of some personal business, making sure my utilities remained on. Then I had some gastrointestinal issues and rested for awhile till the pain stopped. I got up, ate, and blogged. I can't say I have worked on the house at all tonight, but I am enjoying just having a little downtime. Right now I am listening to soft music under soft lighting. I am pretty relaxed. I will probably turn in early. Tomorrow I will check on my friends. Wednesday one has an appointment, so I may take the laptop and with on the notes for the game.
Now I see this: Cult favorite 'Twin Peaks' to return as Showtime event
I particularly like this part, which restores my faith in Hollywood:
New episodes will be set in present day and provide closure to the loose threads that set up a third season that didn't happen. (A 1992 movie, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me was a prequel, and didn't provide any.) "It's not a reboot, it's not a remake; it's a continuation, and we plan to get to the bottom of almost everything we put on the table," Frost says.
Total Lunar Eclipse On Wednesday Will Be a Rare 'Selenelion'
Observers of Wednesday morning's total lunar eclipse might be able to catch sight of an extremely rare cosmic sight.I live on the western area of the Eastern Time Zone, so there's a chance I could actually see the moon in eclipse as the sun rises. I'll definitely plan on getting up and ready earlier than usual so I can enjoy it, if possible. :)
On Oct. 8, Interested skywatchers should attempt to see the total eclipse of the moon and the rising sun simultaneously. The little-used name for this effect is called a "selenelion," a phenomenon that celestial geometry says cannot happen.
And indeed, during a lunar eclipse, the sun and moon are exactly 180 degrees apart in the sky. In a perfect alignment like this (called a "syzygy"), such an observation would seem impossible. But thanks to Earth's atmosphere, the images of both the sun and moon are apparently lifted above the horizon by atmospheric refraction. This allows people on Earth to see the sun for several extra minutes before it actually has risen and the moon for several extra minutes after it has actually set.
The furry black mass lay hidden under a bush near Central Park’s main loop, unnoticed, unmoving and partially concealed by an abandoned bicycle. A dog rustling in the brush drew the first eyes to the bush and a sight rarely, if ever, found in modern Manhattan: a baby black bear, dead.
A call to 911 followed and soon yellow police tape cordoned off the area near West 69th Street as detectives found themselves facing a mysterious crime scene on a sunny Monday morning.
How the animal, a three-foot-long female, got to that spot remained a mystery at day’s end: a cub, probably born this year, somehow separated from her mother and from anything resembling a natural habitat.
Supreme Court Order Leaves Some Same-Sex Couples 'in the Dark'
The Supreme Court on Monday allowed gays and lesbians to wed in at least five more states, but advocates say their work isn't done because same-sex couples in some 20 states are still living under gay marriage bans that deny them many benefits.
The high court’s order applies to Utah, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Indiana and Virginia — where the challenges initiated. The order will likely expand to six other states in the area covered by the three circuit courts that had previously ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, bringing to 30 the number of states that allow gay nuptials (D.C. does, too). That means gay couples in 20 states will feel no direct impact from the court’s action.
“The ruling today means we’ll be left in the dark for who knows how many decades. Mississippi will be last and they will go kicking and screaming when they do,” said Charlene Smith-Smathers, a 63-year-old Mississippi state employee whose wife Dee, 73, is facing serious health troubles. “Dee is probably not going to live long enough to see it and that’s really depressing.”
Saturday, October 04, 2014
That summer, Flying magazine asked Ms. Mock why she had undertaken such a treacherous journey alone.
“It was about time a woman did it,” she said.
The first circumnavigation of the globe by a solo flyer is generally credited to Wiley Post, a Texan whose trip, in 1933, began and ended not quite eight days later at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. Four years later, Earhart, trying to do the same and flying with a navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared over the Pacific and into legend.
Ms. Mock was born Geraldine Lois Fredritz on Nov. 22, 1925, in Newark, Ohio. Her father, Timothy, was a power plant executive; her mother, the former Blanche Wright, was distantly related to Orville and Wilbur Wright, the aviation pioneers. When Geraldine was 7 her parents took her to a local airport for a short airplane ride; enthralled, she declared she wanted to be a pilot. She grew up idolizing Earhart.
“I did not conform to what girls did,” she said. “What girls did was boring.”
I'm really proud of how my community reached out to help a pit bull puppy who'd been abused and chemically branded with the f-word undergo surgery to obscure that and now she has been adopted into what I hope is a very loving home! Now if they can just catch the sick person who hurt Felicity in the first place, I would be very grateful.
Former Kentucky poet laureate Jane Gentry Vance, 73, a longtime University of Kentucky professor who penned a large body of poetry, as well as critical essays and book reviews, died Thursday at Taylor Manor Nursing Home in Versailles after battling cancer.Jane Vance was a professor in the university honours programme, a 'Great Works' curriculum which I matriculated and remember with great fondness. My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I think she was one of the three teachers who taught our very first semester back when I started the programme, transitioning us from high school to the expectations there. But if not, I definitely knew her name in the department. I've also taken a creative writing class from Gurney Norman, another former Kentucky poet laureate quoted in the article. This is the third professor who taught me various subjects whose obituary I caught when perusing the paper, all dying from cancer. Such a shame.
Vance spent 40 years as a professor at UK, where she taught honors courses and creative writing. She won the UK Alumni Association's Great Teacher Award in 1986 and was inducted into the UK College of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame after her retirement last year.
A woman in Sweden has given birth to a baby boy using a transplanted womb, in a medical first, doctors report.Do you sense a 'but' coming?
The 36-year-old mother, who was born without a uterus, received a donated womb from a friend in her 60s.
The British medical journal The Lancet says the baby was born prematurely in September weighing 1.8kg (3.9lb). The father said his son was "amazing".
I did have the whole biological clock ticking thing briefly in my 30s, then a sense of relief that I didn't choose to have a child (although I'm not out of the woods yet, as I probably have a few more years of fertility left). But overall I don't understand this absolute impetus to deliver a biological child yourself, and the things people put themselves through to achieve it, often at great risk to both child and mother, as well as heartbreak. I know adoption can sometimes be a very slippery process, and surrogacy opens up many legal questions. But even IVF can be dangerous. I knew someone who was desperate for a child of her own. She went into congestive heart failure when they went to harvest her eggs for the in-vitro. She got pregnant for about a day and then it failed, then dramatically went on about her 'miscarriage'. She became pregnant unexpectedly and naturally a few months later. After the birth of her child, she became wrapped up with him and dropped people like me without children who had been there for her through the ups and down of infertility and endometriosis, and then eventually divorced her husband, for what I am sure were various reasons, but I couldn't help but wonder if he hadn't just served his purpose, since her eventual need for a hysterectomy meant she'd won her battle against the clock and frankly didn't need him anymore. I know that sounds callous. I know she went through a lot emotionally and physically. In the end, she got her child, but after years of hormone therapy got reproductive cancer which I cannot believe was unrelated. The whole thing could have killed her several times over. I just can't believe the whole thing was healthy at all, either physically or emotionally.
In the case above, the child was born prematurely after complications. We can do so much with science these days, push the envelope. I guess the question is, should we? When do we weigh everything and just say, you know, I love children, but I will find other ways to have children in my life? Or, there are so many children in the world who need loving homes, I will do that. Now I'm not saying that everyone who tries fertility treatment is obsessed with having a child to the point of being unstable. That's not what I'm saying at all. Sometimes the body just needs a nudge here and there, after all. And I'm not saying we should deny the chances of someone born without a womb to have the experience of being a biological mother (I almost wrote natural, but I can't really use that word in this case). I am saying we should really weigh the risks--not just the scientists and doctors involved, but those potential parents. Weigh the options. Decide on the best course of action for your situation, and the best situation for the child. Each of us have to deal with the outcomes of that decision. What if I try something terribly cutting edge and there are complications, and the child has a birth defect? Am I prepared for that? What if we go through the whole thing, and the mother's life is endangered? That sort of thing. And absolutely, the good of the child should be paramount--not of the parent. If it's all because of some desire to be a parent, rather than the child itself, it's not healthy and shouldn't be encouraged.
I guess we all have our lines we draw in the sand that we won't cross. Mine was having a child at all. I am simply not financially able to, for one. I have genetic disorders I would not want to pass on to a biological child, especially diabetes, and my health issues would not help the situation, but I'm not particularly temperamentally suited for being a mom, so adoption is also out even if there was money for it. I like kids in the theoretical sense, but I do not establish easy rapports with them. I wouldn't want to be a helicopter mom and steal all their independence, but I'd be a nervous wreck thinking of all that go wrong. I know this. So even though back in the day I seriously considered dating men who were wrong for me and contacting sperm banks, I chucked it all, came to my senses (with some help), and learned that's it okay to be a woman without a child, it's not that you're somehow unfulfilled, and really, I'm glad I made that choice. I know for others having a child is not just a biological need, but a societal and psychological need. Sometimes that's fine. Sometimes, that's unhealthy. Personally I think all people wanting to be parents (either naturally or not) should be screened. We test for drivers' licences. We conduct home visits to place pets. It's really rather a shame that there's no check and balance to keep unfit people from reproducing and raising children, as Big Brother and pro-eugenic as that may sound. But there's an awful lot of neglect and abuse out there that might be prevented at the same time, and lives and psyches could be saved by it. I'm just saying....
I've eaten something and it's definitely time to start getting myself together and starting to work. I need to:
Pay my rent this morning. Get some soda so I have some caffeine in me. Set the DVR for 'Doctor Who'.
- Work on the kitchen.
- Work on the living/dining area.
- Clean the bathroom.
- Put laundry away.
- Gather up new laundry.
- Straighten up the bedroom.
- Work on the book review.
- Work on the game notes.
- Get A to bring in the tubs/boxes in my car.
Go to the grocery store. Watch something with YKWIA.
Friday, October 03, 2014
You can see both Earth and Moon. Yay! (PS, the only alteration on the screenshots was that I mucked with a couple of the icons in the folders for the finances folder. You don't really need to know who I bank with, etc.)
Especially purses and clothes, but also desktops. So both my laptop and my desktop at home, as well as my desktop at work, have the Milky Way theme for Windows, and my phone has the Earth & Moon Pro live wallpaper as well, as seen on the screenshot here. Funny, I tried the 'I'm feeling lucky' button on Google today and it took me to photos from the Hubble telescope. I am in a starry mood this week. I do love astronomy. :)
I went over to a friend's to bring him creamer and fix him dinner. We watched an episode of 'Haven', one with a trouble where people were just incinerated. A particularly nasty one, that. YKWIA and I talked for some time and visited. Then I came on home.
Tomorrow the plan is to get up early, take some things back to the library, go pay my rent, and then come home and work on the house for awhile. A is going to help me get the things out of the car (some of which is theirs, old audio tapes I'm going to check). And we'll do the grocery run after that, once the car is clear. No really big plans other than visiting them and working on the stuff I need to.
But for now, I think I'm going to head on to bed. It's nearly midnight and I want to get up very early tomorrow morning, so I can work on the house, do the errands, and work on game notes and the book review that I still need to finish. Good night.
HIV/AIDS Origins Traced to Kinshasa
A new study finds that HIV/AIDS originated in the 1920s in the central African city of Kinshasa, in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Researchers say "a perfect storm" of factors "primed the HIV pandemic," including rail and river transport in 1960s Congo, a booming sex trade and the use of unsterilized needles in health clinics.
The international research team traced HIV's genetic history using archived samples of the virus's genetic code.
HIV was first recognized in the 1980s. Worldwide, some 75 million people have been infected with it. Around 36 million of them have died.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received a complaint that this particular Marriott location was blocking Wi-Fi signals in conference rooms. Once guests would complain to the hotel about the lack of Wi-Fi reception, they would be offered optional high-speed internet services (both wired and wireless) at a cost of $250 to $1,000.This was at Marriott's Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. I'm an infrequent traveler, but when I do stay in a hotel, I expect to be able to use my mobile hotspot/tethering feature that comes with my cellular plan and phone, because really, there's no reason to pay for something I already should have access to. Plus, I've noticed my hotspot is usually more reliable than many 'public' wi-fi you find out there. Good that someone got caught. Maybe the rest of the business world will take note that jamming signals is, well, illegal, as well as just greedy and despicable.
The FCC conducted a further investigation into that matter and confirmed that the hotel was in fact using jamming equipment so that it could upsell hotel guests. However, this practice is a big no-no, as blocking Wi-Fi signals violates Section 333 of the Communications Act.
Thursday, October 02, 2014
I am not: nearly as crazy as I sometimes let on.
I hurt: pretty much all the time, so I mostly ignore it.
I hate: that we're probably going to wind up in a war where the people who give the orders don't have to worry about dying.
I fear: falling back into my shadow life where I wasn't really living and wasn't really dying, either.
I hope: that someone very special to me can get his life back.
I crave: security.
I regret: not ever getting the chance to know my twin.
I cry: pretty much at anything romantic or poignant on TV.
I care: about lots of things--people I love, my animals, and world peace, to name a few.
I long: to be able to just study what I'd like, endow the arts, and make a difference in people's lives.
I feel alone: sometimes, but that's okay.
I listen: to anyone who needs me to.
I hide: in my house, on the computer, doing nothing in particular.
I drive: hardly ever, anymore.
I sing: when I am happy, when I am sad, and when I am walking, or when I'm in the car.
I dance: home alone where no one can see me. I bop to the oldies in public, but only because I forget myself.
I write: when inspiration strikes.
I breathe: regularly, as the alternative would be death. I deep breathe when I need to keep stress at bay.
I play: a little bit every day and twice on weekends.
I miss: school.
I search: for truth.
I learn: whenever possible.
I feel: alive for the first time in twenty years.
I know: that I have flaws because I am human, but I carry in my soul a spark of divinity that echoes and connects with all of Creation.
I dream: of owning a little bookstore/herb farm and writing bestselling mysteries and fantasies.
I wonder: how it would feel if the walls between each of us dropped and we could communicate only truth.
I want: to sleep until 10am every morning.
I worry: about things that don't really matter.
I have: hard-won insight.
I give: help when I am needed.
But you know, I feel much the same about these, even now. :)
From straightening up the living room. I have been steadily working for about an hour or so (previous to that I was fixing my Internet connexion). There's so much to do, but I'm organising as I go. I consolidated my meds, for example. They are usually kept in one place, but I changed that so that now my inbox for mail and my bill keeper/important documents box is within easy access.
I think I'll have a little non-sleeping quiet time and then work on a book review that's overdue on the computer. I have to admit, though, I have been crafting Excel formulae a good portion of the day, so I am not too keen about sitting down in front of the screen and writing. I am on my phone, now, you see. Oh, well. I have to finish. I'll try to write here later, too.