Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Sunday, August 31, 2003

Things I learnt from watching TV today

1) During Carter's presidency, he was apparently attacked by a swimming killer rabbit that he had to beat off with an oar. Somehow, even though I was 13 at the time, I missed that one. Of course, this is also the man who may have reported the planet Venus as a UFO. Poor man. His presidency sucked. None of us at the time wanted to admit we liked him, even the Democrats, even though he was imminently likeable (and unlike many other Democrats, seemed to keep control over his libido). He makes a much better ex-President, I think. And yes, I believe the bunny story. I just think it was an unfortunate funny story that (pun intended) came back to bite him.

2) Florida's underground rivers can--with proper equipment and training--be explored by divers. One in particular has a nifty horizon layer between salt water and fresh water where bacteria live that then provide the basis for other lifeforms without light.

3) Anna Kournikova is not just a hot babe who's good at marketing herself, but also a very good tennis player plagued by injuries.

4) Bentleys are probably the most expensive autos to look genteely beaten up you can find on the planet. And somehow fictional inspectors with family money can run around doing investigations in one. Can you imagine Colombo in a Bentley?

5) The computer mouse was invented when I was three--1970. It looked rather like an unwieldy brick. I bet the computer geeks of the day had trouble with them going through the screens at the time. Oh, right, they had computer banks, punch cards, and those type-writer things I used my first year of college where the computer typed back on paper. Isn't it scary that this was the level of technology that put us on the moon? I mean, my old Atari had about the same amount of RAM as those NASA computers. Remember back when we were going to have moonbases (at least until the nuclear weapon stores exploded, hurtling the moon out of earth's orbit on September 13, 1999)? Yeah. And I'm still waiting for my flying car. Oh. Well. Maybe in my lifetime.

Who says TV isn't educational?

I have a cat perched on my monitor

He's been quietly squeezed in between the hutch and the monitor whilst I watch Nature and Mystery! on PBS. Darius loves having something above him, where he thinks no one can see him. When I first moved to this apartment, and I had the cats in the bathroom as we moved in the furniture, he sat under the soap dish that is attached to the wall in an effort to hide from the people who were coming in and out. Silly cat. His favourite spot to hide, though is under the aquarium. He slinks behind it and then sounds so surprised when I open the door to the cabinet and expose him to the world. :)

It's been a lovely, peaceful day, save for a thunderstorm as I was trying to catch the bus earlier. I played the game (cultists! and books! and ghouls! oh my!) and then came home and spent time with the animals watching public television. I'm thinking of going to bed a little early tonight (I stayed up until about 4 this morning, and although tomorrow's a holiday, I don't want to get too far off track in terms of sleeping.

Once work starts back on Tuesday, I'll have only four more days of my original schedule. On September 8th, I drop down to 20 hours per week, from 10 am to 2:30 pm Monday-Friday (at least I still get my lunch). Part of me is like, agh!!! Part of me's looking forward to it, at least temporarily. It's been awhile since I had such a flexible schedule. There were a couple of jobs to apply for in the classifieds today--one at my old haunt as a survey research supervisor, and one as a librarian. Ah, what fun. I guess the classifieds and I are going to become friends. And of course, I have to go next Monday and apply for unemployment. If there's any trouble with that, you'll see lots of panic on these pages, but until then, I'm trying to remain calm and just work on living life and getting a decent job I can find some stability with. And in the meantime I can use the extra time to write, to talk to the professors at school about finishing up, to work on the house, etc., etc. If I start ranting about being bored or start sounding like a slacker, please feel free to write me and tell me to get going already.

Okay, enough for now. If you're on holiday, too, happy holiday.

Hmm...I think I have a shot at this one

Honeymoon Disaster Contest

You know, the honeymoon, for all that I nearly died several times and it included the KKK and other lunatics, was much more interesting than the actual marriage. One of my co-workers insists I should write a book about my life back then (You married a gay man? Who was addicted to sex? And the guy who is still his partner was part of the wedding? What were you thinking?) Maybe I should. It's probably every mom's nightmare of what an otherwise good kid can wind up doing, although at least I didn't do drugs, get pregnant, or (miraculously) anything in terms of STDs/non-fatal or otherwise. I still have to put it down to naivete/insanity, I guess. :)

Favourite quote from a movie I haven't even seen yet...

'I'm not very good at being a dad. I have enough trouble just being me!' or something to that affect from Nicholas Cage of Matchstick Men. I think that probably resonates with every man on the planet who's taken the plunge of fatherhood. I can sympathise.

How bizarre...only in the Commonwealth

The real reasons you never hear the words 'Kentucky' anymore in terms of fried chicken, songs, etc. Urban Legends Reference Page: Lost Legends (Fried and True)

Checking in on a long weekend...

Hi again. My weekend so far has gone pretty well. There was a sleepover with movies until really late last night. Then there was Dwana's and my adventure with 'Dancing with Rottweilers' (yes, it's always an adventure). I'm not going into that, except to say that 1) my general lack of grace and a wet, slick pavement led to me yet again falling down. I'm beginning to think this blog is just a matter of filling space in between spills 2) I really admire Dwana, who has recently had surgery and who has been attacked by dogs something like four times in her life ran after a speeding dog to make sure it didn't get hurt, and 3) if you have a speeding Rottweiler bearing down on you, even if you weigh as much as I do, you cannot expect to stop it. Playing chicken with a Rottweiler is not recommended. This evening has been much more sedate; I took a nap since I forgot my CPAP machine and I never get the rest I need without it--maybe because I could stop breathing at any moment, gee sleep apnea is fun.

I've been watching VH1's 'I Love the 70s' marathon, revisiting my childhood, etc. I was 3 in 1970 and 13 by the end of the decade, so the 70s were my formative years. I think it's why I'm so peace and love and weird. Which is funny, since it was a fairly violent, dirty kind of decade. But I experienced pop culture mainly through kid's shows and folk music. I missed all the pre-AIDS sex and drugs and rock n' roll, being young and in a family that switched to country about the time music switched from anti-war anthems to long, drawn-out guitar solos that can only be the result of too much drugs. One thing about watching the show, though, is you get an interesting look at what was, and through today's commercials, what is. I saw a completely scary commercial for something I don't even remember where a woman dreams about Irish step dancing with a line of William Shatners. That's not a dream. That's a nightmare. Also, what's up with eBay's commercials to 'My Way'? Is the oeconomy so bad that the auction giant has to roll out cheesy commercials about losers who have nothing better to do than buy stuff online? It doesn't encourage me, let's put it that way.

There's a guy on the show Hal Sparks, who is also on Showtime's 'Queer as Folk', who at one point made the comment that he grew up here in Kentucky. Curious, I checked it out, and he's from Peak's Mill, which is roughly between Frankfort and Owenton (where my family lives). I could so connect with his talk of growing up where the next-door neighbour was a quarter-mile away. I grew up on Air Force bases, but whenever my father was overseas (most of the first half of the 70s, with Vietnam) I was with my family, generally in that area or down in Boyle County. Small world.

Right now, they're on 1979 and talking about Pop Rocks. I loved those things--and I remember the allure of eating them with soda and wondering if we'd explode. Hey, it was a more innocent time for dares.

Ah, the 70s. Bad clothes, bad hair. But it was a fun decade. Kids today have no idea.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Wake up calls

I know this may seem hypocritical, as I sit in air-conditioning, but...maybe it's time we rethink the wholesale dependency on power grids, non-renewable/polluting fuels, etc.

USATODAY.com - London, parts of England lose power

Of course, those of us who are concerned about the environment tend to be characterised as unrealistic tree-huggers, but really, how did we go from the 70s where oil was scarce and everyone was urged to conserve to giant SUVs in every garage?

Fun things to do with the day-glow orange groan stick you forgot in your bag

1) Terrorise dogs and cats.
2) Move your bag so it groans and no one knows why.
3) Assure that the bus driver sees you at the stop.
4) Play with it on the verge of annoying your friend and then, when she comments about how annoying they can be, shake quickly and say, yes, but did you know what a groan stick having sex sounds like? This sends the friend into great laughing. Shaking quickly freaks the cats and dogs much more than the general method.
5) Meditate on the sound rather than cursing the new bus routes/schedules which have gone into effect without any printed or online schedules as a guide and no one manning the info line to help. Bad Lextran!

See, that trip to Gattitown wasn't wasted. :)


1. Are you going to school this year?
Probably. Not this semester, but hopefully next I'll be finishing up my last year for my PhD.

2. If yes, where are you going (high school, college, etc.)? If no, when did you graduate?
University of Kentucky

3. What are/were your favorite school subjects?
History, languages, any of the social sciences, humanities, English

4. What are/were your least favorite school subjects?
Algebra. I was a geometry-kind-of-girl. Statistics for business and economics (couldn't I have worked the one for social sciences into my schedule?) Governing and binding theory (which you'd think I'd like, being linguistics, but no, it was terribly tedious).

5. Have you ever had a favorite teacher? Why was he/she a favorite?
Hmmm....of the official ones...Mr Amos at Belle Plaine once spent 45 minutes coaching me to stand on my head in gym. He was very patient with the uncoordinated brainy types. He also had a great assignment called a 'Famous Amos' test that essentially gave us a chance to do creative writing and get some extra points. Also, my long-time advisor, Dr E. Randolph Daniel for sheer staying power. And I loved George Cunha, who helped found preservation management in this country and who was this chemist-turned retired sea captain-turned conservator-turned teacher who was teaching Four-Week in his 80s. I've been pretty lucky with my teachers all together. The person who taught me the most about life, philosophy, etc., etc., however is more of a mentor than an official teacher, and I wouldn't have it any other way. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2003

On the agenda...learn to tell time

In my excitement for almost Fridayness, I jumped the gun and went to the Friday Five a little early. No, I'm really not this pathetic normally. I was SOOOO tired when I came in from work that I went straight to bed, and got up at ten. Then Dwana called and we caught up on her surgery follow-up, etc. Now it's a little after eleven and I'm munching on a soy chicken pattie (with mustard) because my blood sugar's running high. It does that if I go for hours without eating, especially if I sleep. You'd think it would do the opposite, wouldn't you? Eating gets my system flushing through with insulin. So, it works that way. Ah, the things you learn about the body when you need to. I'm just glad that I don't have the issues Dwana has to learn about. The human reproductive system is both a miracle to behold and a mystery. Or, depending on your view, a strange mistake in plumbing. I mean, human cloning is on the horizon and we don't even know how the endocrine system works yet? I mildly lost sanity when I realised the vagina was corrugated. That endometriosis can cause you to bleed in strange places like the nose and knee really sent me for a loop. But I've been truly scarred ever since I learnt that the Fallopian tubes will actually cross the abdomen to catch an egg if the other is damaged. (I can't possibly reproduce the sound of my head spinning here, with a sort of wacka-wacka sound, so you'll have to supply your own).

So, how did my day go? Glad you asked. :) I have now applied for no less than four jobs. Go me! There's one in Richmond (which I think is filled--the posting went down two days after I applied), one in Morehead, one at Frankfort, and a part-time one here in Lexington. Job-hunting is exhausting, and I haven't even started the deal-with-the-unemployment-office bit yet! I was up until three in the morning last night working on one, chugging along, finished that, and then checked the time and said 'holy &^^&%%$! I have to get up in 5 hours!' I finished the not-fun-by-any-means state application today, sent it off by e-mail, and was getting ready to send a follow-up fax when I realised I'd mistyped my birthyear as 1937. Oh, yeah, add 30 years there, bub. I'm not 36--I'm 66 years old looking for work because I've been laid off, with only about a decade of library experience. Sigh. Really. I. Am. Competent. Although when I mentioned the goof to a co-worker, she was surprised they even asked for a birthdate on a job application. I think it's to prove I'm old enough to work. Hopefully they won't think I'm a doofus just because of a typo.

On the flea front, have I mentioned I hate the suckers? Oh, I know they are part of the circle of life, and I generally try not to kill living creatures, and all that, but they mostly seem to serve as population control in the form of plague-bearers. The new medicine isn't knocking them out, either. I don't know if it's just a bumper crop or if like so many other things they've become immune to our pathetic human attempts at pesticide. I think tomorrow I'm going to have to get Cerys to lay down in water until the bugs drown before taking her for a visit. It's a temporary measure, but it has a better chance of working. We're all being eaten alive. The fish may have to be sacrificed for the greater good (if I flea bomb the house), although if I do that I'll do my best to cover the aquarium vents up. Also, it is way to hot to move the animals out to the non-functioning car for a couple of hours. Sigh. I wonder if I could rig things so we could sit out on the porch and no one gets away for a couple of hours. We'd probably just bring more of the fleas inside. :( That brings out all sorts of other things, since eating fleas can cause the animals to get worms. At least I have wormer if they pick those up. I still remember asking a vet if I could pick up worms--you get mostly immune to the idea of dealing with gross stuff when you have pets, but worms are right out in my book-- and she was, like, well, only if you eat the fleas.


Do you ever wonder why I have to approach my life with humour? The only other option is to go bonkers.

Well, I need to do a little Internet research. I'll pop back after midnight. :)

Thought for the day...

Top ten reasons to close the cap on the mustard.

Oh. Doh. You really only need one.

Thank goodness for glasses. They've kept both mustard and flea guts out of my eyes today. Gag.

This, however, is from my odd news pile

I would so sue--and I'm not into litigation as a general rule. But considering some men might just shoot someone over this, I guess lawsuits are preferable.

Yahoo! News - Texas Man Wakes Up After Operation, Penis Missing

This baby's already had a rough time...hope this helps

And no, this isn't from my odd news source...it's straight-up health news. I can relate, though. My friends for years teased me that my twin was probably trapped in my body somewhere, rather than miscarried. Creepy.

Yahoo! News - Chinese Doctors Remove Baby's Parasitic Third Leg

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Attempting to make life safer...but it's a long road ahead

Yahoo! News - Bangladesh Laws No Shield Against Acid Attacks

You know, I wouldn't even know where to get acid, except maybe a car battery. I guess this is an argument that even without guns people will commit brutal acts, but still, why is this so popular a form of attack in this culture? I've seen Indian Dalits ('Untouchables') who had also been attacked. What goes through someone's mind that they go, oh, I think I'll throw acid on someone? And in the case of some of the cases that are not pre-meditated, where does the acid come from? And no, I'm not being sarcastic, I'm just a little insulated, I guess, and I don't understand why and how this happens.

Will the real blackout please stand up?

Many of you probably got an image in your mailboxes purporting to be a satellite photo of the Great Northeast Blackout of 2003. but it's obviously a fake, as it is too dark, like someone just ran over the are with a black paintbrush. For more on this urban legend, along with the real satellite images, try the Museum of Hoaxes site. You can also see the real images (dramatic, but not that dramatic), at: Great Northeast Power Blackout of 2003 or Images from the NOAA.

By the way, if you'd like to see the image from which the hoax was derived, plus a nifty accompanying story on the distribution of city lights on the Earth, go to NASA's Earth Observatory page.

Want to give input on balancing a library career and family for an upcoming book?

Balance Survey

ALA responds to CIPA concerns

ALA | A statement from ALA President Carla Hayden

Interested in information therapy?

Information Therapy Home

It's a shame, don't you think, that our government is in some ways as much a danger to our way of life as the terrorists?

Mr. Ashcroft's Foot Soldiers (washingtonpost.com)


That pretty much sums up how I feel at the moment. I'm coming down from being on the verge of a panic attack, and I'm frustrated with myself to boot because of it, even though I know it's probably a brain chemistry or neural thing, I still feel like somehow I'm just defective. It's like my brain glitched and suddenly I could not tolerate sounds or light or people or any of the relatively normal things around me. I have problems with integrating my senses sometimes. If a TV is on in one room and someone's talking and there's sound in another I have a really hard time picking out just that person's speech and paying attention. Add, say, a radio in the other room and it blows my concentration all to hell.

Today I think I was already a little oversensitive. The nursing students were loudly twittering in that gossipy way that young women do when I came in, discussing their teachers and who was married, and who was not. Still, I got a lot of work done. I didn't really have much trouble until I went to lunch, where everything started to irritate me. One man kept circling around me like a fly being super-careful to keep his space in line whilst filling his salad plate, etc., then waiting impatiently as I fixed a sandwich (I had to tell him to go around me). When I sat down the room was cold (whose idea was it to lock the thermostat at 59 degrees??!) and crowded but we were okay at our table. But more and more people kept coming. One girl had to move her things because a patient had an accident right next to her, and as she was cleaning up someone sat down and moved her chair right into it. Someone else burst out really loudly right behind me as she tried to grab someone's attention. I took my tray up to make room and someone else sat down in my seat even though Dwana told him I was sitting there. Suddenly instead of four or five people at a table we were eight or nine, and I was starting to feel panicky and claustrophobic and agoraphobic and whatever else. So I excused myself and Dwana did too, and we went to her office for just a bit and someone fired up a floor cleaner at full throttle. I came back to my office, turned the lights out over my desk and in the family resource room, and just sat in quiet for a few minutes, and I started to feel better. But although I didn't totally go to pieces, I feel like it inside. Crazy? No, just a little unwell. :)

Dwana checked up on me a little later and I was feeling better. My heart rate's back to normal now, at least. Call it social anxiety, sesory integration dysfunction, whatever, it sucks. Fortunately I'm usually better at tolerating distress than that.

I think part of the problem, too was that I felt sort of cast aside at lunch, emotionally, with my place being taken, and I sort of feel that way about work in general. And I really, really am tired of people asking how the reduction in hours is going when it doesn't even happen for another week and a half. Although I'm glad they care, I also know they just don't understand that I can't just make those hours up with another part-time job easily, at least that will pay equally, so I probably will be leaving. And although I realise it might be a very good thing to go through the change, it's not easy, and at the same time, I don't want to seem like there's no problem, because the whole situation really does rather suck.


Enough of this. I'm tired of feeling sucky. At least writing about it does help. And Dwana, at least, understands. At least we'll still be working about the same time, and even if I have to find another job, we'll still see each other. :)

From the odd news bag...

Yahoo! News - Sometimes Even an Orangutan Needs a Hug
Ah, simian love.

Woman's 13-Day Krispy Kreme Vigil Ends
Don't get the appeal of Krispy Kreme? Well, she does have an autistic son who is obsessed with them. I'd be camping out, too, if it would make him happy. Still...I think they put something addictive in them.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003


After work Dwana and I ran some errands and went out to eat at Gattitown. I've never been there--or any similar pizza and arcade sort of place. I played skeeball (sp?) for the first time. I particularly loved the coconut pizza. The games were fun, although I didn't have much luck with them. But Dwana rocked at a couple. I did get a moaning stick, though, along with a butterfly pen/notebook and some nifty stickers and tootsie rolls. Thanks, Dwana! :) Then we went hunting for a birthday gift, which thankfully met success and headed to Petsmart for something that might knock the fleas in the house dead. I was on PetMeds.com earlier and Frontline/Advantage didn't really seem much cheaper than at the vet's. I compared those with BioSpot and it seemed to cover more. Hopefully, it will work better than the Hartz, which didn't faze the things. This stuff also works against ticks (not a problem) and mosquitoes (sometimes a problem, with a reservoir and stream nearby). Of course, now I'm the only mammal in the house who doesn't have pesticide on me. I'm thinking I may bring out the natural bug repellent I have tonight.

Dwana and I had a really good time, although we were out for about four hours and very tired by the time it was all over. We also kept running into construction, renewed UK traffic, accident scenes, etc. At Gattitown they were showing Cats and Dogs. I love that movie. Dwana hadn't seen it all, and of course we didn't sit there and eat for two hours. So that's a definite possibility for a movie night. We also hunted down the family of a beautiful calico kitten that was running lose and reunited her with her family. That was fun (and removed the temptation for either of us to keep it, given that neither of us has room for another cat.

Well, my cats and dog are pining for attention, so I think I'll go ahead and close. 'Night.

Started my day off with a bit of a tear jerker...

But hopefully one with a happy ending. I was reading the Wall Street Journal about a man who built a research company to try to find a cure for two of his children who suffer from Pompe's Disease. Over the years he's gotten investors, created a company, and then sold it to a larger one and run their Pompe programme with the hope of getting the medicine, an enzyme, produced faster. In order to get the medicine through trials quickest, he had to sign off an order that would set up trials, but for groups too young to include his own children. Attempts to set up trials where they could be included were hampered by his position with the company, so he left to spend more time with his family. Now, the children are in a trial and, although responding differently from the medicine, there's hopeful signs of improvement. I won't link to the Journal article, because it's only available to subscribers...but if you want part of the story, check out: KRT Wire | 03/12/2003 | In race against time, dad works to find cure. It shows what committed families can do, given networking and drive. And granted, you could argue that not every parent has a background in finance or is a Harvard alum--but getting the word out and sheer stubborness counts for a lot, I think.


I'm including a new link under the Kentucky Blogs on my blogroll. Seems Dwana's friend Aaron has entered the world of blogging. Be sure to check out This Space for Rent.

Oh, and despite our differences, I still read Zabet's blog. (Sorry, there's no permalink to link to, and I don't want to link straight to the picture. It's 8/25/03, under 'refurbished'). What can I say? It's ingrained in me to keep up with people from my past. I still keep occasional tabs on my father (whom I haven't spoken to in 10 years) and my ex (ditto for about 12 years). It's not obsession, more like, knowing where all your Legos (TM) are, you know? Like, okay, I took the red one out of the building, where did it go? Anyway, I was somewhat shocked to see that Patrick shaved off all of his beautiful hair. Granted, I figured he might, since he's job hunting, but still...wow. The man had hair women would kill for. There are some women who might mourn that hair. Still, I guess whatever works for him is what matters. :) Still, he was one of the few guys I've seen who could wear long hair successfully and not look like it was a reaction to balding or trying to look like a rocker.

Sorry I haven't been posting...

By now you should know I had a big weekend followed by the requisite crash last night, right? But I'm up now and my blood sugar's all funky from sleeping so long, but it's coming back to normal, so I should be somewhat coherent.

Hmmm...Saturday I visited with my family in Danville. Everyone's doing pretty well, although my grandmother looks a little frailer each time I go home, and that's upsetting. My mom had worked the night before but she wasn't super tired and seemed much healthier and happier. She was so excited about my coming home that she forgot to clock out and had to go back, then forgot to make a delivery on her way home and had to go back for that. :) We don't see each other terribly often (about every 2-3 months) but we're pretty close--not so much as when I was young but healthier, you know? Now we're two independent adults with our own lives, where it used to be we were very enmeshed, followed by a time in my 20s where we barely saw each other. I'm glad to see her happy, and I'm happy to have the relationship we have now. We've been through a lot together, after all.

I love my stepdad, John, by the way. I think that he's part of my mom's happiness, for one. He's got all the good points of my own father (such as 20 years in the Air Force--so we all connect through that and the techie-geekness) but none of the bullshit. Well, a little, but it's not the same. It doesn't belittle, for one, and it's honestly funny. :) We were talking about the new Kentucky licence plates (it's time for my mom to get hers) on the way home and John and I definitely hate it. It looks like this:

stupid happy smiley face sun

It was created as a partnership between the Transportation and Tourism Cabinets. You can check out the info sheet and the governor's office announcement if you're interested. Suffice to say, though, many Kentuckians (and John and I are two!) hate the thing. To me, it looks like it belongs on a cereal box, or maybe in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? when they drive off into the sunset in Toon Town. Apparently there's been a huge increase in people getting alternative plates, like the environmental ones, or ones with horses on them, etc. Granted, I'm glad that if my car were working, I wouldn't have to get one--I had one that supported victims of child abuse, and although it also has a smiley sun on it, it's a crayon drawing that's meant to look like a four-year-old did it, rather than some slick professional advertising billboard. One friend couldn't figure out why they didn't just have a contest for a design with that theme--it's not like we don't have plenty of great artists in the Commonwealth, after all. John had an explanation. He thinks it all goes back to the Transportation Cabinet's computer systems, which were recently hacked and were used for all sorts of porn-related stuff. He thinks this plate was some hacker's joke, and that the state didn't realise it until the announcement was made and decided to go with it. He also suggested that we be issued plain white plates and then given stickers to 'create our own'--sort of like Colorforms (TM). That way my mom, who likes the new plate (she says it's because she's an optimist) can still have her 'insipid smiley sun' and the rest of us can have what we want. Sounds reasonable, I think.

Here's one outsider's take on the plate. Just want the rest of you to know a lot of us agree, and can't figure out what our government was thinking.

The visit home was good. My grandmother's dog tried to steal the show, as always. My mom and I went out and trimmed some bushes and filled up the garbage pails and put them on the kerb. I discovered blank looks when I referred to it as a 'herbie'. See, in Lexington, we have 'Herbie the Kerbie' which is our regular big green container, 'Rosie' which is a smaller blue recycling centre, and 'Lenny' which is for yard waste (as in 'lend a hand'). There's nothing like people looking at you blankly and you're talking and suddenly the words 'I guess...you don't name...your garbage cans here?' comes out of your mouth. Okay, maybe the licence plate is appropriate, after all. But it's bad when you hit a cultural gap with your own family by travelling 35 miles. :)

After the visit I went over for a special game session--a solo adventure where I did not cover myself in glory but at least managed to dispel the giant tentacles that had demolished a house after some ex-frat boys decided to play with a book, masques of various Mythos creatures, and bottles of wine with winged cephalapods in them. Ah, Cthulhu. What other game gives you this sort of fun? My character did go slightly loopy at one point (fortunately after getting everyone out safely) and spend seven rounds screaming 'I told you it was real! I told you it wasn't fun like D&D. But no, you wouldn't listen!' The next day Brenda and I were treated to some down time. One character, who is pregnant, is now engaged and trying to plan a very quick wedding that will satisfy her parents and the team's secretary (a force to be reckoned with in her own right--after all, she's not human, but a technocratic construct who thinks she's human) and just hoping yet another Apocalypse can hold off until after the honeymoon (to be spent in the Florida Everglades. The groom is Australian, and it was his idea. I suspect we'll find some sort of alligator cult to fight there.) The game is so Buffyesque sometimes. Oh, and we found out that we made a small oops that changed the timestream when we went back to the Salem witch trials to save on of our own. Apparently we were a little too flashy and the girls and Tituba, whom we'd inhabited, were then seen as having divinely-inspired gifts for witchfinding. So they've been hanging people and still do at Boston Commons. Oops. (I'm catching a lot of flack, being a historian, of course). So we need to fix it. It's rather ironic, though, since the five people involved trained as witches to get a witch back before she could be hanged as a witch in the past. (And oh, if you're wondering why there's no witchburning, that's because witches in this country were hanged, not burnt, silly. I hate it when TV shows make that mistake. Although I know of one incident in Kentucky history where it was attempted).

Yesterday I continued my job search. I've got an application into EKU. The state job a librarian had told me about was finally posted yesterday, so I'm working on my application there. That requires (typically) much paperwork. Gee. I hope no one holds my licence plate rant against me. :) The librarian had told me not to laugh when I saw the pay, but it's between $200 and $800 more per month than I make now. No laughing, trust me.

I'm getting a little more nervous about the lay-off. T-13 days and counting. I hope the unemployment kicks in without too much trouble. Sigh. In the meantime, it should be easier to get things in as they come up--I have a good cover letter that I can make small changes to, and that's the part I hate the most--even more than the interview. And, Dwana has offered to help me get to interviews outside of Lexington. If I get a job, I can get a car, but until then.... At least initially I should have more time for writing. I also plan to attack my study (with whip in hand)! And, I'm going to spend this semester talking to the folks in history to see about going ahead and finishing my phD, now that my health's back on track. I'm only a year or year-and-a-half away, after all. I can get a reading list together and start studying for qualifyings, too, even if I'm not officially back in school. So, I won't be bored. :)

Well, I've blogged enough for one morning, I think. My hands are falling asleep and I need some caffeine. Take care.

Mars Attacks!

For all the best news and tips for viewing Mars as it makes its closest swing-by in, oh, 60,000 years, check out Space.com. And for a really fun rundown on the differences between Mars and Earth, check out: Earth vs. Mars: The Two Planets Weigh In.

Friday, August 22, 2003

This is great. Now here's a candidate I can get behind (tongue firmly planted in cheek)

King Arthur Announces Bid for White House

Although I accept the artist's desire to make sure people never forget...

T-shirts and magnets depicting images from Auschwitz just seem so wrong. After all, we usually buy these items to show our agreement with a slogan or glorify an interest. If you have a T-shirt that says 'Arbeit Macht Frei', that sends the message (to most people viewing it) that you agree with the slogan. It seems to be more something a neo-Nazi would wear rather than someone concerned with genocide. There are things that could be done to make the statement clearer--adding something like 'never again', for example or depicting artwork of children of the Holocaust, etc. Decide for yourself. Check it out at: Yahoo! News - Auschwitz 'Souvenirs' Spark Controversy



DEADLINE: October 1, 2003

The editors of Transformations are seeking review essays (books, film, video, performance, art, music, etc.) for our spring 2004 issue. Review essays should examine resources for teaching a specific subject. The author should describe the various resources (books, film, video, performance, art, music) and offer a rationale for the usefulness and application of the resources. The review may focus on one medium (e.g., movies) or several (e.g., movies, websites, novels, and paintings).

Send submissions (3,000 8,000 words) and inquiries to: Jacqueline Ellis and Edvige Giunta, Editors. For submission guidelines contact the editors. Transformations explores and promotes inclusive pedagogy and curriculum transformation. Representing a variety of cross-disciplinary interests, both theoretical and practical, the journal is designed to create a dynamic exchange among diverse scholars. A variety of approaches, everything from theoretical essays to short descriptions of pedagogical innovations, will assist teachers and scholars at all levels who are committed to integrating recent scholarship on gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and other identity positions.

Bonding through hair

I have never gone with anyone else to have my hair done. My hair has been getting quite long *yay* but that means it's likely to turn into my 70s geekazoid hanging limply natural do. So I had been thinking of getting some layers put in around Halloween. But with the job search on, I moved up my plans. Dwana was going to get her hair cut today, so I tagged along. It was a lot of fun. I'm not a particularly girly girl, but apparently I do enjoy doing girly girl things with a friend occasionally. I really love what they did to her hair--she's got a lot of natural curl. It's funny, our hair is almost exactly the same in terms of colour, texture, and sheer stubborness, although mine's more wavy than curly. I got a lot of layers put in with the back still pretty long (they didn't take more than a half-inch or so) but then soft layers going all the way up to my chin. I can still put it up if it's hot but it's got some life. (I have baby fine hair. It's a challenge. Especially when your body type is, well, big and fairly butch.) It can be flipped down for a professional look and up for a softer, fun look. :) At the moment, it looks a little beaten (it always does when it's first cut) so I'm interested to see what happens when I wash it tomorrow. And since it is a very different look for me, it was nice to have someone other than the person who came at me with the scissors reassuring me that it looked great).

What's next, a slumber party where we do our nails? :) I guess those years of reading Seventeen magazine counted for something.

Reason why you're meant to be friends #45483

You're working on a project and Bette Midler's 'The Rose' comes on the radio and you both stop in your tracks and sing along with every ounce of your beings.



Reason #45484

You're in the car at a stoplight and you see a guy driving a small steamroller down the sidewalk with a racecar shirt that says 'Asphalt Attack' and both collapse in giggles.

A preservation librarian's nightmare

LISNews.com | Tabloid archive to be destroyed

Okay, so it's a giant collection of the weird and smutty. But it's a valuable collection. And it points to a preservation librarian's nightmare: preserving collections in an era of bioterrorism.

I was very fortunate to have the late, great George Cunha as my conservation/preservation management teacher. He had a solution to damn near anything that could be thrown at a library collection. A chemist, career naval officer, and ground-breaking conservator in his 80s who looked a little like Burl Ives and whose lectures were like a combination of a sea captain's tales by the fireside and Mr Wizard, I could just imagine him bringing in reams of photocopies on proper techniques for dealing with anthrax-exposed collections.

Mr Cunha, we could use you back.

I think most people have no idea how incredibly complicated public libraries can be

And, thankfully, I don't know that firsthand, having been a medical librarian with internships in academic and government libraries or working for private companies. Although I love the idea of public librarianship, and I wouldn't mind working in one, I'd absolutely hate to have to direct one, simply because of the issues in balancing state, local, and library board concerns, endemic budget shortfalls, etc., etc. Oh, and for almost no pay, especially in a small town.

LISNews.com | TN County kills library funding

It sounds to me that there a lot of issues in this story. Why was a security system vital in a bad budget year and bought from operations funding rather than as a capital expenditure? How could things get to a point where by cutting funding the state could literally come take away the books?

It's so easy to cut funding, shut down a library, reduce hours, etc. But once you actually get to a point where positions are cut, facilities are closed, or materials are shuttled away, it costs WAY more to try to get that all back later. It's like the business adage of retention = savings because it costs a lot more to train a new employee than to keep an experienced one. I know I'm not the biggest financial or business genius, but I grokked that pretty easily from my management courses and it's certainly has proved true in real life. So why do they do this? I remember the last recession (lucky me, when I graduated from library school) and California was shutting libraries down right and left. Now we see it all over the country. You can't ever get back what you lose. Don't they know that? It's never the same, and it takes years and years to build up the necessary programmes and patron confidence again.

And yet, as in this case, I can't just blame the politicians. It sounds like there's a breakdown somewhere in management, too, whether at the county level or the library level. It's like watching a pileup on the Interstate--lots of things interact to create a disaster, and if you had to try to determine what the one trigger that could have prevented it could be and stop it in time, it would be very hard to do.


Finally time for the REAL Friday Five

1. When was the last time you laughed? Earlier today, talking to Dwana over dinner.

2. Who was the last person you had an argument with? A friend. But it was a philosophical one, not personal.

3. Who was the last person you emailed? A client who needed a reference for a diagramme.

4. When was the last time you bathed? This morning, before I went to work.

5. What was the last thing you ate? A couple of slices of Stuffed Crust (TM) Veggie Lover's Pizza from Pizza Hut and cheesy garlic bread. Very good. Very filling. I had to save the rest for lunch tomorrow. Thank goodness we split a pizza.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Apparently we weren't that far from being part of the Blackout of 2003

We were just 2 cities away from the cascade.

...which was all brought to home a little while ago when the power went off. Apparently various places around New Circle Road and even in Harrodsburg (a city a couple of counties away) were out, but people near UK were alright. It only lasted a few minutes. I've been through three during work hours and about six total since I moved to this section of town, between ice storms and local tranformer issues, so I just grabbed my flashlight and continued as normal. Still, I have windows in the library. I feel sorry for the lady who was in the bathroom when it happened. :)

Today so far

What I'm listening to at work: Gaelic Voices (at the moment Niamh Parsons' 'Fear a Bhata'.
Good things of the day so far: 1. Payday. 2. Getting a lift from Dwana as I was coming in. Today's Unshelved warmed the cockles of my little Trekker (not Trekkie) heart. I love hortas!!!
Plans: Now that I've gotten my catalogue and interlibrary loan tracking databases on my handheld, I need to do a requisition for the actual program. (DataViz' SmartList to Go--highly recommend this; it has a lot of easy plug-ins, including for barcode tracking. :) Also have a request for an article we're lacking. Later, I need to go to the credit union. I'm considering taking off tomorrow and giving the house a good cleaning tomorrow. It's driving me crazy, and my mom is coming up on Saturday. Granted, she knows I'm a slob, but I'm also a slob bothered by messiness. Go figure...

Oh, I forgot to write last night about three nifty things. Yesterday morning I heard/watched a woodpecker (relatively quiet one, actually) going after some insects in some of the deadwood left from our ice storm. Lots of other little birds were ready to pounce at anything it left. I love the variety of wildlife we get in my little pocket of Lexington, because of the reservoir and woods.

Also, we went to Rincon Mexicano to celebrate a co-worker's birthday (she wanted a good margarita). I hadn't eaten there in awhile. Very yummy, and only mild tummy trouble afterwards (thank goodness for Tums).

Also, I got my Archaeology magazine and it shows, proof positive, that British pagans can be just as batty as their American counterparts. A guy who thinks he's Arthur Pendragon? Shakes head. I sometimes feel like I shouldn't even tell people I'm pagan. Most people don't draw a distinction between things like neo-Pagan vs. Pagan or Wiccan vs. Witch (and no, they're really not the same things) and I'm just one of those in the minority who tend to ground my beliefs in traditions and what we do know of ancient practices, rather than making it up as I go along. I'm not so hidebound that I don't see room for innovation, but still, I guess I'm just a fundamentalist. And no, I wouldn't be dancing on top of the stones at Stonehenge (the article is on trying to strike a balance between sites as sacred spaces and archaeological treasures). I care too much about the integrity of the site for that. I also think it's generally a bad idea to be in the centre of a monolith during a holiday with lots of gyrating people feeding it chaotically--since yes, I do believe in magic, and yes, I do believe the sites are sacred, and I do believe it's real, rather than an excuse to play dress up and party. But that's just me. I'm a pagan stick-in-the-mud, I guess.

That's all for now. I've passed on worthwhile stuff from my e-mail, and taken a small break, and now it's time to tackle that requisition so that I can then tackle database manipulation for the Palm OS.

Let me tell you, I love the SmartList to Go. It's much easier than some of the others I've tried in terms of using a barcode module in the Handspring Visor. I now have all my books at my fingertips, and I've got another database for tracking in ILL orders, receipt, and delivery, again using the barcode. Much better than writing all of that done, or worse, just collecting files upon files of requests with no ready access to the statistics. I love being a handheld librarian. :)

"Surviving: A Cancer Patient Magazine," going electronic only

From: "Stanford Report," August 20, 2003

"The magazine, edited by Fobair with help from Weisberg, members of the department of radiology oncology and volunteers, includes essay on coping with cancer diagnosis, treatment, and changes in relationships with family, friends and doctors. It also features poems and other articles. The magazine just celebrated a bittersweet 20-year anniversary, which marks the end of its life in print. Lack of donations is forcing the group to publish exclusively online."
Full story

Need to do fundraising?

The Community Matching Grant Program allows local nonprofits to hold a fundraiser at a local Wal-Mart or SAM'S CLUB; Wal-Mart and SAM'S can then elect to match a portion of the funds raised, up to $1,000! Events held off the premises of a Wal-Mart store or SAM'S CLUB are also eligible for funding, when a Wal-Mart or SAM'S CLUB associate is actively involved in the event.

If your organisation is planning a fundraiser that you think could be held outside a store, contact the Community Involvement Coordinator at the location closest to you. Follow this link for a "Wal-mart store locator" for your local contact information. Grant applications are available at your local store. For more details you can visit their website.

Thinking of doing research into library/information services in health care?

Apply now for 2004 MLA Research, Development and Demonstration Project Grants:

If you need support for research, development and demonstration projects that help promote excellence in the field of health sciences librarianship and information science, apply for this award. These grants will not be given to an activity that is operational in nature or has only local usefulness. Grants range from $100 to $1000.

A completed application form must be submitted by November 1, 2003.

For further information on eligibility and an application form please visit this site.

More ambitious? Want $25,000 instead? Check out the same page for the Donald A. B. Lindberg Fellowship, which has a deadline of November 15th. :)

Isn't Anna Nicole single now?

Yahoo! News - Man, 102, Seeks Wife for Good Times

Of course, a 102-year-old gun-toting husband might not be the best thing. It would be bad to be mistaken for a clay pigeon.

I'm just happy 'Muggle' made it into the OED :)

Isn't that just a great dream to have as a writer? To coin a term that makes it into the premier dictionary for the language?

Yahoo! News - Bada Bing! It's in the Dictionary

Flaming Phones, Batman!

Yahoo! News - Woman Hurt as Cellphone Bursts Into Flames

Today's fortune cookie

Courtesy of Bangkok House...

'The philosophy of one century is the common sense of the next.'

My not-quite-Friday Five (I made these up myself)

In honour of the approaching end of summer (or eventual beginning, if you're Down Under), here goes:

1) What is your favourite sound of summer? The cacophony of cicadas on a hazy summer morning. The myriad sounds echo from all around, making me drowsy and homesick for my childhood in Louisiana.

2) Sight? The elusive, glorious, periwinkle stubborness of a chicory flower that springs up despite mowing but cannot survive being cut for an indoor bouquet, with fluttering butterflies tumbling around.

3) Smell? The smell of rich garden loam after a good soaking rain mixed with the scent of early wild jessamine (clematis).

4) Taste? The juicy, messy, acidic bite of a fully-ripe, vine-grown-in-the-backyard tomato.

5) Touch? The supportive embrace of the sun-warmed water against me as I float lazily along.

I came up with this a few days ago...

    What do I want in my life?
  • To learn
  • To be secure but not ostentatious (in my standard of living)
  • To have good friendships
  • To explore spirituality
  • To explore creativity
  • To be healthy (mind, soul, body)

    How can I go about achieving these?
  • To take every opportunity--reading, classes, and experience--to learn
  • To find a job adequate to support me, my animals, a small house, and savings in a sustainable, relatively simple lifestyle that is kind to earth and society
  • To foster my current friendships and keep working on my social skills
  • Learn, practise, read whatever I can to get in touch with my faith; rekindle daily meditations
  • Write, draw, sculpt, perhaps take a class here and there and continue to play in our weekly game
  • Exercise and diet in moderation, take my medicine, see a doctor regularly, foster my mental health, and face the reality of my diabetes and its implications.

Not bad, really--and except for the security, I'm doing pretty well. These are the things most important to me. What is important to you?

Wednesday, August 20, 2003


When I moved to the new Blogger I wound up having a template issue and published with one of the samples provided by that system. Everything I've changed has been built on that, and it contained a really annoying but in the CSS where Internet Explorer would expand the right-side column, sometimes wrapping under the floated left-side column, along with a tendency to not display the postings beyond what could be displayed alongside the right-side column. The only way to read on was to hit view...text size...and then any of the sizes. But now, thanks to the folks at Position is Everything, a site devoted to CSS, its bugs, and how to fix them, it should display as I've always intended it to. I've also shortened the display so the last three days are displayed before you have to go looking at archives. Hope this helps the readability. And, yeah, I know I just technobabbled, but suffice to say, it's (hopefully) fixed, at least until the next bug shows up. And it was fairly painless. Good night. :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Blog! Damn you!

For whatever reason, I just don't seem to be writing much lately. Sorry for that. Instead my blog has become this sort of surreal drive-by of news and quizzes. Last week I was a little slackerish anyway...I didn't go to the gym (but then, I was pretty sore from my dog encounter and probably shouldn't have forced it anyway). And I guess things were still sinking in about the whole job issue.

But as, they say, tomorrow is another day, or a next week is another week, I suppose. I feel much better. I'm trying to figure out how to restructure my services to a 4-hour day. And in the meantime, I'm job-seeking, checking with the unemployment office, exploring the possibility of classes, etc. Yesterday I got word that the state job was approved to be posted, although it's still not showing up when I look on the listings. But soon, very soon. I checked with unemployment and so long as I'm looking for full-time work, it shouldn't matter that I'm in school (i.e., I won't screw up my benefits by taking a class or two). Realistically, I think there's no way in hell to go this semester, but maybe in the spring). To wit, I e-mailed the director of the linguistics programme at school. Figured as long as I was tying up loose ends I'd check on a maddenly elusive class I never seemed to be able to fit into my schedule, either undergraduate or graduate. That is LIN 515, phonological analysis. It's only taught during the day, which made it hard to work and fit it in, and unlike my governance and binding class (grammar, not political science, although I know, it sounds like it), I couldn't take it independent study because you have to be able to analyse sounds in class. This class is the only thing I need for my fourth (fifth? I never can tell whether they considered Honours (read Humanities) as a major or not) undergraduate major. I know. Do you need another major? No. But it's the principle of the thing. One class! Argh! Anyway, I asked the director if there was a chance it would be taught in spring. Here's hoping.

Along the way I noticed (not that I plan on pursuing this, but it made me happy) that they've added an Indian Studies programme, with Sanskrit (the one language I studied that I loved but found most challenging and has enough unique nasals to spin my head) as a basic requirement. Yipee! Glad to see Dr Stump will be teaching Sanskrit regularly. Maybe one of these days I'll actually take the whole thing. That and Greek past the aorist. *Hangs head* Yes, I know...it's my dark secret. I am a dabbler in ancient languages without true mastery over any. Well. Actually, I'm pretty good at Latin, although I need to practise my oral skills.

I also went back to the gym today. Saw one of my coworkers there. She's doing the personal-trainer-of-doom option. I probably should have kept my workout fairly short since I hadn't gone in a week, but I got there earlier than normal and I didn't want to take the bus back during Yu-Yu Hakusho. So, I walked for about 15 minutes to warm up, cycled under the random setting (aptly named--you never know when it'll suddenly get harder) for 25 minutes (through Cyber 009), and then went back to the treadmill and walked at a slower, but longer programme during Yu-Yu Hakusho. I wonder if anyone else works out to the Cartoon Network? My knees felt a little weird afterwards. I wish I'd remembered to bring my swimsuit; I could have gone into the hot tub. Still, I had fun and hopefully I won't be too sore tomorrow. Then I came on home, after a small detour (the bus as it was leaving the transit centre, got called back to pick up two more passengers who were coming in on a late bus, so we swung around the corner and came back in). Don't get me wrong, I really do appreciate the hard work the drivers and others put in so I can get around town. But if I ever won the lottery, one thing I would do is put someone in charge (and pay them/endow the bus system) with the money needed to have buses covering all major parts of this town, running every 15 minutes during the week, and every half-hour during the weekend. Does anyone else out there have a bus system that runs hourly? It's not like Lexington's incredibly big, either. If you've never depended on public transportation to get you anywhere, you may not understand. But I know I'd probably not bother riding if I were elderly or handicapped (two groups that make up a large percentage of the ridership)--it's just too hard to use and if you can't walk very far it's even harder to reliably get anywhere. Oh, and our cab system is way worse. I've known people who wait for 2 hours on a busy day for a cab. Back when I was a cashier at a grocery I used to take a little old lady home if I were getting off when she was there because it cost her something like $8 just to go three blocks, and three hours to do her grocery shopping because of the wait. It's funny how some people will give you a ride, no questions asked, and others will ask where you're going and can't be bothered to go a couple of blocks out of their way. One thing I figured out a long time ago--unless traffic is gridlocked, you're late for an appointment, or you're running on gas fumes, you can transverse this town in about about a half hour and no place within the city limits is really too far out of the way. As I told the lady when she tried to pay me the cabfare, I'd be driving anyway and didn't have to be anywhere at a specific time, I might as well give her a lift. But if you're relying on Lexington's cabs or buses to get you somewhere, a quick trip that takes everyone else about 20 minutes could take up the better part of the afternoon. And like the people who had to make do last week without all of our electric-powered conveniences, sometimes it's important to get a little perspective on what we take for granted. I know spending years without a reliable car I could take outside of the city has certainly given me that perspective. And although I have to admit I'd prefer the convenience and freedom of a car (especially to take on trips), I'm kind of glad I'm not contributing to the SUV-laden 'bigger is better' mentality out there on the road that'll only serve to put more strain on our natural resources. (And even if I did manage to get a car, I'd try to go for the many mpg and gee, if money were no limit, let's go for a hybrid). :)

Okay, I'm confusing writing with babbling. I should go to sleep and leave you alone. Dwana, if you're out there, hope you're feeling better and I see you at work tomorrow. And thanks, Tracy, for the layoff condolences. May NASA (or at least your slice of it) never fear for funding. (Yeah, I figured that'd get a laugh). :)

Ah. Gives a whole new meaning to 'living off the grid'--if you're still connected, you can actually sell power to the companies.


Yahoo! News - N.Y. Woman Sends Her Power to State Grid

Sad. I just can't understand why people do this.

Yahoo! News - 'Suicide' Truck Bomb Hits Baghdad UN, Kills Envoy

I actually got the news of Mr de Mello's death not from the standard news sources but from Salam Pax.

Here's a smile forward for the morning


Eleven people were hanging on a rope under a helicopter, ten men and one woman. The rope was not strong enough to carry them all, so they decided that one had to leave, because otherwise they were all going to fall.

They weren't able to name that person, until the woman gave a very touching speech. She said that she would voluntarily let go of the rope, because, as a woman, she was used to giving up everything for her husband and kids, or for men in general, and was used to always making sacrifices with little in return. As soon as she finished her speech,all the men started clapping their hands.......


A quiz before sleeping...

Timmy Turner
Which ``Fairly Odd Parents`` character are you?

brought to you by Quizilla

Today was nice...

I was up early this morning so I watched one of my favourite Buffy episodes--'The Wish' where Cordelia wishes Buffy never showed up in Sunnydale and all hell breaks loose. I love watching Willow be bad, although I like good Willow better. And, it's the first appearance of Anya. Grrr! Argh! No Buffy this season!

*Spoiler Warning*

No Anya ever again! While the story possibilities for a spin-off are now virtually endless, there can be no movie or other reunion of the whole 'Scoobie' gang, because some of them are dead, or worse, ash. Waaaahhhhh!!!!

*Spoiler Off*

It was a nice transition from yesterday's Cthulhu game, where our intrepid guardians explored a series of tunnels under a Maine bed-and-breakfast that were chock full of Rat People, unholy flautists, strange idols, and a Great Old One, all of which we managed to take care of, but with the minor hitches of my character beginning to turn into a Rat Thing and both of us contracting bubonic plague. (I survived bubonic plague and all I got was a dumb old T-shirt). Oh, and Brenda's character finally got to use a spell to drown a minion of the Wyrm as a sacrifice to the Bunyip (she has to do that once a year)--which helps take Brenda's mind off of the fact that her 16-year-old just tanked her Internet connexion ('I know what I'm doing!' so she can't get feedback on her Lord of the Rings stories and just got his driver's licence. Is it any wonder we play the game?

Turning from fiction back to reality by using the transitional concept of a 'mythical Dwana'...

Dwana's back, a little bruised and still having some after-effects from her surgery but in a good mood and brightening up things at work. She called this morning and offered me a ride. I spent most my time at work delving into the innards of a relational database. I did call the unemployment office to see if taking a class would hurt my ability to get unemployment and apparently it would be okay. I don't know if I'll be able to get everything together before UK starts next week, but at least maybe if I'm still down to 20 hours, the spring may be a good time to go back. I figure in terms of my programme, I really only need to take qualifying exams, finish (and defend) my dissertation, and fulfill the residency requirement for a doctorate. Now that my health is back on track, I'd like to finish what I started. I may check in on getting a certificate in women's studies, since my main concentration in history is social history/women's history. One of the faculty advisors who was connected to the chorus once suggested it to me, but at the time I wasn't sure I wanted to do any more classes. And although I am a feminist (and by that I mean someone who believes a person should be able to pursue a career or other life choices regardless of gender, thus men should be able to stay at home with the kids, women should be able to be engineers, whatever most fulfills them), I'm not exactly the most 'politically correct' kind out there. So, I'm not sure if I'd do well with a lot of femi-babble. We'll see. But first, I need to talk to the history department about the feasibility of going straight for the phD. After all, I don't need another master's. So maybe the cut in hours is a blessing in disguise. And I would be willing to go a little further into debt for a structured period of time, with another advisor (I love my retired advisor, but I need help in setting a good timeline to get me out the door and through the process), if it could lead to more security and a broader base. Even if I could not find a faculty position, an advanced degree could help in pursuing academic librarianship, mean more money, etc., and certain colleges would be more likely to hire a faculty member with qualifications to teach and manage library services. Several people have been supportive of the idea of my return. For the first time since my health issues became such a problem I feel like I can focus, remember, and deal with the stress of preparing for the orals. Go me!

After work Dwana stopped back by and I took her to Applebee's for half-priced appetizers and dessert. I had a gift certificate for helping out with employee appreciation week. Then we stopped by Wal-Mart where I found dog food, 88 cent underwear, and a putrid green binder (55 cents--and not just because of the colour--there were others that were perfectly normal!)which is much roomier and perfect for keeping my Cthulhu character sheets in. :) (I wonder if I can get a biohazard sticker from work. It would be perfect on the binder! For it also denotes the sign of Shub-Niggurath. Long story. Read Lovecraft or check out Chaosium products.)

Then I went over to Dwana's and we visited, I played with her cats, and I did some laundry over at her house. We discovered even further parallels in our lives. Later, her husband came home from mowing yards and was very, very tired. We were watching Emeril (I've never actually done that) and he was making a yummy beer-and-coconut battered shrimp dish for an audience of all-men. At one point they brought out sandwiches and I pointed out that they were all masticating in tandem. I think Eric thought I said something entirely different. :O

So, now I'm back home, ready to call it a night. Spock and Darius are both spread out on the bag I brought the tomato home in. I don't know if it smells like Dwana's cats or what. I'm not sure what Dar-Bar would do if he met Simba, her 22-lb. attack cat. Run, I think. Cerys is snoring. Buns is lurking in the bathroom ready to jump out at any moment as usual. Hope your corner of the world is as peaceful.


There is nothing quite like a true, vine-ripened, grown-the-garden, juicy, wonderful tomato with just a little salt. Even the Farmer's Market tomatoes didn't have quite the same luxurious wonderfulness. Thank you, Dwana's family!


Sent to info@ap.org:

Please note that in the following story:

Parkinson's Gene Therapy Study Begins by Malcolm Ritter...

there is an error. The University of Auckland is in New Zealand.

Thought you might want to correct that.

Do'ya think they'd hire me? Or just dismiss me as an annoying know-it-all??? Still, I'm sure the Kiwis hate reading stuff like 'the University of Auckland in Australia.'

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Very nice quiz...many results possible.


What movie Do you Belong in?(many different outcomes!)
brought to you by Quizilla

I definitely needed a quiz. I just spent 2 hours trying to catch a bus home from downtown. The buses had to do many detours (so I missed the first one I tried for), then had to fight traffic to line up on High Street (behind the transit centre) in order to pick us up. That's because there's a race tonight (Midsummer Night's Run), and they blocked off Vine Street. But I'm home, finally. :)

Friday, August 15, 2003

Ever BlogChalked?

This is my new blogchalk:
United States, Kentucky, Lexington, Idle Hour, English, Eilir, Female, 36-40, libraries, reading. :)

Didn't expect that one...

So, I was listening to CNN's Carol Costello for updates on the blackout and she was supposedly talking to someone on the phone from the power company and when he said power would be up in an hour or two she asked him how sure he was of this because the last they'd heard it was supposed to be up by 1 am and he said, 'would you bang Howard Stern?'. Needless to say, she asked him to repeat, he did, and then she cut him off fairly professionally with a 'that's disgusting' and then moved on. I don't know if he was with the power company or what. If so, he may not be much longer. :)

Happy Friday

Here's the latest Friday Five:

1. How much time do you spend online each day? This is frightening, but keep in mind that I'm a librarian, so it includes a lot at work...maybe 7-8 hours.

2. What is your browser homepage set to? At work, it's My Yahoo!, which is the personalised version of Yahoo!; at home, it's set to the entry page for Alltel users.

3. Do you use any instant messaging programs? If so, which one(s)? Yes. Plain, generic AIM.

4. Where was your first webpage located? http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7296 (since 1996)

5. How long have you had your current website? This site has been up since October 2001.

Do you have asthma?

FDA issues warning to users of asthma drug salmeterol (Seravent Inhalation Aerosol, Serevent Diskus, and Advair Diskus)

Keep in mind that they say abruptly stopping a steroid can also be dangerous. But check out the story, and talk to your doctor if you're taking these medicines. The potential problems seem to have greater incidence in those of African descent.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Do you ever feel like the world's turned upside down?

Here in the South, I'm sitting in relative comfort listening the coverage of the massive blackout hitting the Northeast US and Southern Canada. I'm glad that it doesn't appear to be caused by terrorism and that (so far) people seem to be taking things relatively calmly. I hope that holds. I wonder how some people I know in New Jersey and New York are doing. I'm not sure if my cousin is still in Pennsylvania, or if he'd be affected. But here's to a safe blackout without rioting, etc. Our multi-day outage from February is still fresh in my mind (ice storm, if you haven't been reading). I had been one of the lucky ones without power for only a day, but it took awhile to get everyone back up, with power workers coming from out of state to help. Of course, those were downed lines at issue. This seems to have been a rolling cascade, but a quick one (such a large area out in about 3 minutes!) I was surprised that one hospital in NYC required generator to be brought in from outside. I guess I'm used to our building, which has fuel oil and generator capacity for several days, food, water, etc. laid in at all times. Of course, we're tiny by comparison, so it's easier to plan. We've got a plan for just about everything. The one thing I don't think is written up in the policies is what we'll ever do if we have a chemical spill or airbourne pathogen and we've sealed up our rooms, broken out the playing cards--and then realise there's nowhere provision for using the bathroom (I guess we pee in the plastic box all the supplies are kept in). Before you laugh, consider that the overwhelming majority of people in the hospital are female). Yeah. I know. I think of these things in the shower. But back to the disaster at hand.

I first heard about it when I was about to leave work; one of my co-workers was called by her son, who had be watching CNN. I realise that New York is a very major city, but I was tired of hearing only about NYC, so I went online to see what was going on in the rest of the cities that were affected. The CBC posed a somewhat insipid question of 'how are you being affected by the power outage in your area' which leads to a forum for discussing memories of other outages, tips for coping, etc. Insipid in the sense that most people affected won't be able to respond, and judging from some of the replies, many of those who are away from the fray couldn't care less. Still, there are isolated pockets of people reporting and some genuine humour (my favourite: 'it's my daughter's fault--I told her not to touch that wire'. :)

Another weird thing is the bizarre weather they've been having in Europe. They're saying 3000 people may have died in France. I was reading one BBC story about power outages where they did an oops and said the temps were near 90 degrees C in New York and Canada. That's Fahrenheit, of course, really, and thank goodness. Temps in Europe are running near 30 degrees Celsius, into the 100s F, and it's got to be miserable. Believe me, I do sympathise. Back in the 80s I spent an excruciating summer in the Midwest, in southern Kansas, where the temps topped 100 F every day for over 60 days. My mom cooked on a Hibachi in her swimsuit. It was awful, and people were dropping like flies. The state and cities were giving away fans and air conditioners, especially to the elderly, who are more sensitive. I had moved to Kansas from the California desert; it was hot but dry. Here in Kentucky (and in the other states I've lived in, Louisiana and South Carolina) it's the humidity that will get you. The other day I was able to open up the apartment without trouble. Today is very muggy, and going without the air conditioning messes with my asthma. Hard to believe, but I don't really remember air conditioning growing up. I know in California we didn't have air conditioners, we had water coolers that worked through evaporation on the tops of houses. Even thirty years ago, most houses here didn't have central heating or cooling, and my mom and I were always the type to run around with the windows of the car down rather than cranking on the AC. But at least we have consistent hot, muggy weather. For those people who are experiencing a once-in-150-year (or for those with the power outages, maybe a once-in-30-year) bit of unbearable heat, good luck, run cool baths, and wear as little as possible.

A night neither fit for man (read woman) nor beast...

It's a toss-up I'd say. Which would you find more invigorating?

Being thrown to the ground and dragged by a rambunctious, strong, dog who sees another dog and wants to play?

Mind you, it's not just mud. It's more like muck, with dog shit, moss, algae, maple seeds, etc., etc., and I'm still picking it out of my ear and hair and teeth and nursing the shoulder, head, and butt I fell on. Trust me to find a tree root with my shoulder. The good news is that I managed to only get a little scraped, I don't think anything was broken--merely bruised, and I held onto the dog so she wouldn't run out into traffic. And no, she isn't mine, and no, I've never had this happen before. My motto is generally 'constant vigilance!' but she still managed to surprise me. I was heading in one direction and she suddenly went in another, dragging me up and out of my shoe and onto the ground. At least she didn't pull me down the hill into traffic. Still, I did manage to pull her back and I think I convinced her that she is not an alpha female after all. Later we made up and except for being a little sore, all is right with the world. In retrospect I wish I could have seen it happen--it was definitely rather cartoonish, I think. And no, she isn't a giant dog--maybe 80 lbs, tops. But her centre of gravity is much lower than mine. Don't you love science in action?

Or would you prefer having a cat suddenly start gushing blood all over the place?

Spock decided to lay down on Buns, which generally pissed Buns off, seeing as he's about 7 lbs and Spock's about 12 lbs. As I was trying to extricate the Stupid One off the ailing one, Spock's rear claw sliced into one of Buns' trouble spots (he licks his fur until he's raw). It took me a moment to realise that Buns was bleeding profusely--he ran away hissing and Spock had clawed me in the process. (Mind you, I'd just trimmed his claws, but I must have missed that one). Anyway, after a couple of paper towels didn't work too well because they stuck to the wound, I got my non-stick gauze pads and Co-Ban (a bandage wrapping that sticks to itself; they use it on your arm when you give blood to put pressure on the site) and wrapped him up really well. I think he's doing better. Once he'd stopped leaking all over the place he went to eat and is acting pretty normal, except he's giving Spock a very wide berth. He's sitting between my hands right now. I don't see any evidence of the blood making it through the bandage, so here's hoping the pressure's enough to get it stopped. I've stayed up a little later to make sure.

I love animals. Really. Truly. But they are sometimes an adventure. Sigh. Buns is okay, I think. I'm going to bed now...

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Because I'm feeling a little depressed myself today...I need a little boost

So, here's a little quote for the day:

To believe is to know that every day
is a new beginning.
It is to trust that miracles happen,
and dreams really do come true.
To believe is to see angels dancing among the clouds,
To know the wonder of a stardust sky
and the wisdom of the man in the moon.
To believe is to know the value of a nurturing heart,
The innocence of a child's eyes
and the beauty of an aging hand,
for it is through their teachings we learn to love.
To believe is to find the strength
and courage that lies within us.
When it is time to pick up the pieces and begin again.
To believe is to know we are not alone,
That life is a gift and this is our time to cherish it.
To believe is to know that wonderful surprises
are just waiting to happen,
And all our hopes and dreams are within reach.
If only we believe.

--Author Unknown

Sorry to be missing in action...

Both Monday and Tuesday I was asleep by 8pm with the idea of getting up in an hour and slept until 4am. I seem to be incapable of taking a nap when I feel this drained. Anyway, I feel much better. I'm trying to decide if I'm slipping back towards depression or if I'm just emotionally exhausted. I have been taking my medicine faithfully, though, so hopefully that will help. Things that have been going on in my life.

  • Finished both my resume and curriculum vitae. Now, for the worst part...cover letters. I hate writing cover letters.
  • Have a line on three jobs. One is with the state, but hasn't posted yet. One is at EKU. One is...and I can't say this without smiling, just because I have a novel character I've worked on with this background...but one is paid training to be a private investigator for $27-$35 an hour. Now, before you laugh, consider that 95% of private investigating is not driving Ferraris, but is doing tedious research, something at which I excel. It would be interesting work that I could do part-time whilst keeping my current job/benefits. I figure, nothing ventured, nothing gained. And here in Kentucky you only have to be 18 years old to be a PI--there aren't any other requirements. I know one other librarian who has made the jump to that profession.
  • Was somewhat surprised to find I had no electricity this afternoon when I came home--surprised because I'd called the company at the end of last week to make sure I was not in danger of being shut off and was told I had until the 20th. Apparently that was a mistake, although they're going to pull the call records and credit my reconnect fee if they can verify it. The good news is that since I planned to pay it this week anyway, I was able to pay over the phone and get it back on within the hour. Is it just me, or do I have awful luck sometimes? I am getting to a point where I see no reason to believe anyone anymore--or at least maybe just three people--my mom and my closest friends. Is that jaded? On the other hand, something told me not to go straight to the gym but come on home, and I would have otherwise not come home until after customer service ended.
  • Dwana made it through surgery okay and is recovering at her parents' house in Harrison county. She called me yesterday to let me know. On the one hand, I'm glad she's doing okay. On the other, work seems sadly empty without her around. However, in her absence, you're going to get an eyeful with the next bullet, because I just have to vent.
  • I have reached that point where, although I appreciate their concern, if one more person asks me 'how are you doing' in that concerned, hushed tone of a workplace shocked by cutbacks, I think I'll scream. I think part of it is that no one can quite believe that the cuts are over for now, although we're supposed to be safe through 2004. And although I know it's partly concern for me, a lot of it is concern for themselves. One guy asked during the town meeting whether I'd been give a severance package, and I know he was motivated by his sense of justice. But someone else just walked up to me the other day and asked point blank, no expression of concern, just wanting the info. I think others are afraid that even if they aren't laid off, per se, they'll have a reduction in hours which could be potentially worse. I had a couple of days of denial, followed by a small breakdown where I got my emotions and my brain on the same level, and now I'm working to move on. That said, I know there's still a lot an emotional morass to deal with. Yes, I feel betrayed. Yes, I'm sad. Yes, I'm angry that for years I was told to accept abyssmal wages ($9.02-$13.37 an hour for a professional library position) because the benefits, work environment, and stability of our jobs offset any deficit. And damn it, I was beginning to believe them. So, yes, I'm disappointed; that's only natural. On the other hand, I don't blame anyone in particular, and I oddly enough don't seem to have the negative attitude that some of the others at work have. I've been up front about my feelings, but I'm tired of revisiting the issue every few minutes. If I need to vent about things, I have this blog and my friends and family. I don't want to deal with the emotions whilst at work, but just focus on my job. If they want to vent, well, I'm not feeling particularly sympathetic to fears from people who aren't losing their job or hours at the moment. I've had people come up and say they were surprised they weren't cut. In some cases, so am I. But I don't want to get to a point where I start looking at every co-worker with this critical eye of 'why not them?' or going down hallways and looking at murals that in better years cost more than I make in a year (but of course it's easier to get a donation for something like that rather than to keep people). I'm starting to feel that way, and I don't want my experience at work marred by that. I think I'll work past it, but only if I'm not constantly reminded by everyone else. Does that make any sense? At the same time, I'm not a fan of people going 'let's not talk about anything because you might offend her' so I guess for now, I'll just weather the encounters as they happen. Over the years, I've become the sort of 'bartender in 10 forward' [Start Trek: Next Generation reference--think Whoopi Goldberg] for the hospital, the place everyone, from co-workers to parents, talk and vent, and I've always been conscientious of listening, because it might be the only outlet a person has, and they know it's not going to go further with me. It's one of the ways I've become so interconnected into the hospital. With everything, I guess, I still want to be there for people-both in terms of services and the unofficial ways, too. But I don't know how well that'll work after my hours change.
  • That said, I'm hopefully not going to make the same mistake by sending one of the women who was laid off a card. I didn't know any of the others well, but I really wish I'd had a chance to say goodbye to Jayna. The card has a picture of Garfield that reads: 'When life is getting you down, sometimes it helps to seek out one of those cheery people who never stop smiling...and kick their butt clear into next week!' I think she'll appreciate that one better than something happy and 'you'll make it' sort of drivel. She has that sort of sense of humour. When I was perusing the classified Sunday I found a job more suited for her, public relations/writing for the Department of Education. So I'll send that clipping. I figure if she doesn't want it, she can just throw it away, but I don't want her to think we don't care--because of all the cuts, that's the one which made the biggest impact, since she was full-time, a public relations director, and involved in just about every aspect of the hospital and in many ways our line to the outside world. You can't go to any other organisation with which we deal without someone mentioning her. She has a very engaging (but not overly perky or annoying) personality. She's also had a lot of ups in down in life over the last few months, so I'm worried about her.
  • It's so freaky to hear stories of the Matterhorn being closed due to heat or British motorists giving themselves frostbite with a car air conditioner. Here, where it's quite normal to be hot and muggy in August, it's a little cooler than normal. I don't even have the air conditioner on in the house.
  • I'm reserving judgement on the new Mel Gibson movie, Passion. On the one hand, as a classicist, I'm intrigued that someone has shot a film in Latin and Aramaic that attempts to stay faithful to the literature surrounding the death of Jesus, and the shots I've seen have been cinematically interesting. On the other hand, there are concerns that elements of the film will incite anti-Semitism by blaming the Jews for that death. Gibson apparently practises a conservative, pre-Vatican II form of Catholicism, and Vatican II among other things removed this stigma from the canon of Catholicism. Since the film has not yet been through a final edit or release, this is just speculation. But it will be interesting to see what happens. I think sometimes people forget that Jesus was Jewish or that the Roman occupation of Judaea made for a very complex set of circumstances, or for that matter, that according to Christian doctrine, this was the plan of God all along.
  • Yay to the American Bar Association, which voted to support state laws allowing gays to adopt their partner's children. This gives the kids the benefit of two parents and legal protection in terms of being able to get insurance, benefits, etc.

Can you tell I've been listening to CNN? I'm leaving out macabre details of Ted Williams' post-mortem or waterspouts, or dramatic rescues from a river in China. You can check those things out for yourself. I guess that's all for now. I'm going to go back to bed until the sun comes up, anyway. I just needed to get something into my system and feed the animals.

Monday, August 11, 2003

I am Chim-Chim Bubblehead

Which is imminently better than my birthname, which produces Snotty Gizzardhead. :)

From the e-mail rounds: This only takes a minute and its fun. Please don't be a bore and ruin it. Send it onto everyone you know including the person
that sent it to you. Sometimes when you have a stressful day or week, you need some silliness to break up the day. Here is your dose.... Follow the instructions to find your new name. The following in an excerpt from a children's book, "Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants" by Dave Pilkey:

The evil Professor forces everyone to assume new names...Use the third letter of your first name to determine your new first name:
a = poopsie
b = lumpy
c = buttercup
d = gadget
e = crusty
f = greasy
g = fluffy
h = cheeseball
i = chim-chim
j = stinky
k = flunky
l = boobie
m = pinky
n = zippy
o = goober
p = doofus
q = slimy
r = loopy
s = snotty
t = tootie
u = dorkey
v = squeezit
w = oprah
x = skipper
y = dinky
z = zsa-zsa

Use the second letter of your last name to determine the first half of your new last name:
a = apple
b = toilet
c = giggle
d = burger
e = girdle
f = barf
g = lizard
h = waffle
i = cootie
j = monkey
k = potty
l = liver
m = banana
n = rhino
o = bubble
p = hamster
q = toad
r = gizzard
s = pizza
t = gerbil
u = chicken
v = pickle
w = chuckle
x = tofu
y = gorilla
z = stinker

Use the fourth letter of your last name to determine the second half of your new last name:
a = head
b = mouth
c = face
d = nose
e = tush
f = breath
g = pants
h = shorts
i = lips
j = honker
k = butt
l = brain
m = tushie
n = chunks
o = hiney
p = biscuits
q = toes
r = buns
s = fanny
t = sniffer
u = sprinkles
v = kisser
w = squirt
x = humperdinck
y = brains
z = juice

Thus, for example, George W. Bush's new name is Goober Chickenshorts. Now when you SEND THIS ON... use your new name as the subject. And remember that children laugh an average of 146 times a day, adults laugh an average of 4 times!

I love the British...

Even when they find they must charge to remain in business, they do it with typical wit:

bmj.com Delamothe and Smith 327 (7409): 241

An excerpt:

. Non-BMA members whose libraries do not yet subscribe to the BMJ have nearly 18 months to persuade them to do so, or to save up for a personal subscription.

:) Although it's a shame they're going to have to charge for access, I find I can't really complain too much. The BMJ has bucked current trends for years by allowing anyone to access their content online, for free. They seem to be dedicated to keeping that access free for those practising in developing countries who do not have the other resources for information available here. How many publishers do you know that still feel a mandate to get information to the places it's most desperately needed, for free? :)

On a sadder note, for me, I was going through some of my back mail and realised I'd overlooked a notice that Victoria magazine, devoted to all things Victorian and the charm of that era, has ceased publication. It was an American publication, but full of much Anglophilia. I've both subscribed and gathered them like fresh vegetables at the grocery store; they're sort of a secret vice, full of cottages, writers-in-residence, quaint stores, etc.--all promoting a certain lady-like entrepreneurship for those of us who haven't sold our souls to the latest fads but prefer the timeless classics--Victorian style but for a modern age. Most 'home' or 'fashion' magazines I've read were recycled or discarded quickly. These I've kept, because they cheer me whenever I go back through them. Sigh. It makes me want to fix a lovely tea in memoriam.