Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Monday, May 31, 2004

A quick update on the wonders of Mother Nature

By the time I got up this morning, the creek behind my house had receded to a fraction of its engorgement the previous night. Today dawned beautiful and sunny, with a light wind and pleasant temperatures. It was if Nature gave a sigh of relief.

I walked down to the marshy area over by the willow pictured in one of the previous photos, to find the water level making the pond more respectable, and cavorting taking place.

The best guess I can make is that it was beavers, or maybe minks. They were swimming, and given the displacement, maybe a couple feet in length, and turning and churning the water noisily. But they blended in well with the water, and I only glimpsed reddish brown fur, face and ears a couple of times--no tails--and so quick I wasn't sure of what I'd seen. Beavers tend to be active at night, but with all the flooding, they may have been making repairs, and minks might have been fishing. I've seen a mink in the area (near the creek at the old apartment that had been hit by a car, so I know they're in the area). On the other hand, the marsh does look like it's got a dam jutting into it, probably man-made but possibly piggy-backed onto by a beaver colony. Any ideas, nature buffs?

Whatever they were, they were having fun!

Are you an artist? Do you want incentives to relocate? Free business lots? Free web pages and marketing?

Well, there is a catch; you have to settle in Western Kentucky, specifically, Paducah. But, on the upside, Paducah is pretty centrally located for those going to arts & crafts festivals, in the Kentucky-Illinois-Missouri-Tennessee conjunction, and it's on the interstate and the Ohio River. And, Western Kentucky has beautiful landscapes, lots of lakes and caves, recreation areas, etc., etc.

Paducah Artist Relocation Program

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Librarian Approved

This is on my wish list as soon as I can afford $35 on something not rent, food, or bills.

Book Database Software for your book library : Collectorz.com Book Collector

I downloaded the trial copy, which is fully featured but has a limit of 100 books. I put in 50 books in about about an hour, including some older, published before ISBNs or even in the nineteenth century, which is much, much faster than my normal pace of about 10 an hour on a good day. With two collections to catalogue totally about 7,000 books, this could make my life much, much easier.

It would also be great for a small library such as mine at work; we have about 1,500 books, mostly medical texts. The pro version works with PDAs and barcode scanners. I had to cobble things together the old-fashioned way. This would have had me up and running much more quickly.

Silly me

Okay, I was generally distracted by a funnel cloud that went over my subdivision earlier. But once the all-clear was announced and I let the animals out of my bathroom, I took a digital camera I have borrowed and snapped a picture of the water outside, which was making me a little nervous, with all the flood warnings.


Then I decided to check the back, thinking the creek might have risen a little. This is what I found.


Note that the yard normally ends where the bushes begin, and the creek begins about twelve feet beyond that!

To give you an idea of what it's like normally, I snapped this picture a couple of days ago:


Not the same spot, but from about the same distance from the water.

It never fails that when I move

something untoward happens in my new area. Once a man was shot to death a block away when I moved downtown. This area, which has very little crime, was spotlit in the following story about a house invasion and robbery again, within a block or two of my house. Once again, I know this because of Dwana who saw it on the news yesterday and called her friend Heather, who lives on that street. She's become quite the early warning system. Later she passed on the info to me. Apparently this is the second such case in the last couple of weeks.

I did have a couple of young men show up today supposedly doing something for school, although to be honest I didn't listen through the whole spiel. I probably shouldn't have opened the door. Must remember that next time. In my defence it was right before I talked to Dwana, and I was a little startled to hear my doorbell ring (and I'd been in the bathroom) that I just went ahead and opened it. Still no harm done. For the record, I have nothing really worth stealing, folks; my house is pretty much taken up with books, and none that would fetch much on eBay. I've always tended to worry more about my person and that of my animals in the case of a break-in.

Well, I think it's time to turn in. I did (finally) wake enough to unpack about four boxes and go get a friend who'd put in a 14-hour shift at work, poor thing. I feel a lot better. I don't think I quite realised how tired I'd become. I don't know if it was left over from the move or what. But I'm glad I got some rest, even if I did feel like a slug earlier.

It figures

that with our first tornado in 18 years, Lexington-Fayette's silent sirens blamed on glitch or 'human error'.

Still, I'm glad they've gone to the effort of putting in the sirens. Having lived in Kansas, which is plagued by frequent tornadoes, our towns siren was quite a comfort, blaring every day at noon by way of test. Here they go off every Wednesday. I don't know if I can hear any from the new place; I was near enough to one at the old one to hear the sirens inside and the PA system to boot, because I lived near one of the high schools, and that's where it was located.

Since I don't have cable right now, and I can't get any of the broadcast stations to come in, I relied on Dwana to alert me during the second run of storms, and just watched carefully during the first. Fortunately it didn't hit on my side of town nearly as hard. We had hail and strong winds, and a lot of rain and lightning, but nothing else.

Interesting Climatology Article

After a Period of Brightness, Earth Dims, Researchers Say

If he can survive depression, he may have a future in writing spy novels...

Boy Poses As Internet Spy To Plot His Own Murder

One does wonder how the law treats someone who plots their own murder. Obviously the boy he duped made a choice in attempting to stab him to death, and is therefore guilty of attempted murder. But what about his own role? It's definitely conspiracy to commit murder, but is there such a thing as conspiracy to commit suicide? And if you trick someone into trying to kill you, does that negate the person's actions who was following your lead in any way? I wouldn't think so, but it's definitely a tangled legal issue for the British courts to sort out. I just hope they both get help.


It's way past time

for there to be a National WWII Memorial.

I guess part of the reason there was a Vietnam memorial first was because of the US' collective guilt over how the Vietnam vets were treated when they came home. Then came the Korean memorial, another 'police action' that was never really recognised as a war. Everyone tended to take WWII sacrifices for granted, I suppose, because they were so widespread, with everyone pitching in to do whatever they could, either in foreign battles or here at home.

I'm glad the WWII vets have finally come into their own. It's sad that it took so long, and with so many already passed. I have three grandparents who were veterans of that war; all are dead. One fought at Iwo Jima, one was a nurse in Europe; her husband served in the Pacific.

So for them...and the other 1100 vets we lose every day, a special memorial this day of remembrance.

To Edgar Craig, Frances Vanarsdall, and Allan Madison Broadbent, thank you.

And a thank you to those who are serving currently and have served. Although I am usually against war, I deeply respect our men and women in uniform, and the sacrifices they and their families make everyday. As someone who is the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, who grew up on Air Force bases, who always saluted the flag at parades long before 9/11, I was raised to care about soldiers and their welfare. Thank you all.

Today is the real Memorial Day (not tomorrow, which is really just a holiday of convenience, and it makes as much sense to move it as, say, to redesignate Pearl Harbour Day or the 9/11 anniversary so everyone can get a three-day weekend). Take a few moments to think about those who have died to give you a life that--with all its warts--is still one of relative freedom and prosperity.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Today is my grandmother's 80th birthday

She can't believe it, either. Happy birthday, Ma. I didn't go home today, because I really didn't feel up to driving and I had a strong feeling that it wasn't a good day to go (laugh all you want...those same 'feelings' have saved my mom and me on several occasions, usually involving deer; let's not forget it's a holiday weekend with crazy drivers). But I did call and talk to her for awhile. It turns out that my stepdad is about to go to 12-hour shifts and his son and daughter-in-law are coming next weekend, so my mom and he are spending some quality time together this weekend. Also, my aunts and uncles are all coming in the weekend of June 21st, so I'll go home then; we don't get a chance to see each other very often.

I feel blah

First day of a long weekend and I think I've spent a total of about an hour out of bed. Last night I had a terrible headache, sinus but bordering on migraine intensity. Today I'm all achy. I think it's just a reaction to the post-storm temperature drop and the impending new ones that are supposed to hit today. Well, that and a lot of tiredness. Since I have plans for Sunday and Monday, I think I'm just going to take today off for me. Obviously I've already taken care of the resting part. Now I'm to the gee, I'd like to take a bath part. And if I can round up some caffeine and turn on the radio maybe, just maybe, I can manage to take Cerys for a walk and unpack some of these boxes!

Friday, May 28, 2004


WKYT 27 NEWSFIRST & WYMT Mountain News - Storms Moving Through; Extensive Damage

We may have had a tornado touch down in Lexington tonight, and new storms are on their way. The damage was primarily on the other side of town from where I live, although when I went to get a friend from work tonight the subdivision a block south of me had no power.

I know someone who just bought a house in Masterston Station, but it seems to have been a different part of that area. Dwana is a little freaked. In addition to her friend Heather's house in Masterston Station, her in-laws live at Mallard Point, her mom and stepdad live near Sadieville, and we have a co-worker who lives on the north end of town where some of the other damage was.

I've always had a phobia of storms--my baby book lists me screaming when there was thunder before I could otherwise verbalise--but over the last few years it's lessened, thanks in part to a concerted effort on my part to deal with them and the my anti-anxiety medication (thank you, Paxil). But my dog has developed a fear of them now--she pants and licks before they hit, then shakes the whole while. I can see where she might have picked the fear up from me--there were plenty of times she felt me stiffen or otherwise express fear; the thing I don't understand, though, is that this is a recent a recent development (since about February or March), at the very time when I'm not having trouble any more. Weird. Anyway, I just try to cuddle up with her and help her through it.

I can hear the new thunder in the distance; I should probably sign off. Oh, one more thing:

Kentucky State Police suspect arson in the 'Castle' FIre, which destroyed one of our local landmarks.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

We did it!

Okay, I'm not sure the sheer joy of this will be understood by those of you who haven't seen the books...but...

Roleplaying books are issued in installments, usually as either resources or advanture collections/campaigns. They are sometimes indexed, sometimes not, which can present a problem when you go to look something up.

Our Cthulhu game incorporates elements from White Wolf publishing's Werewolf series for part of the magic system. There are many, many Werewolf books, most of which are owned by our gamemaster, but still, it can be a little difficult to find a particular gift or rite.

So...over the last few months I have been (as part of my weekly bribe to keep my characters alive) typing in information from the Werewolf books into a series of hyperlinked Word files for easy searching/cross-reference. We started with the basic books, and then on to all the tribe books, with certain changes to meet our game's needs. We now have finished all of these, as of last night. Hoody-hoo! That leaves only the Asian and other shapechanging tribes, and a few scattered ones through the minor books. But all gifts, talismans, rites, and deities are in the computer otherwise. By the end, it'll span dozens of books. Of course, since it's all copyrighted, we can't post it for others, but for our own use it'll really help, and it's already worth it, because we can cut and paste for each character or check off things as we get them. Yay! I ought to do a word count so those of you not familiar with the books have some idea of how much work it is.

I have made a discovery this muggy night

Bear with me, those of you raised on farms or otherwise knowing in the way of wild birds. None of the farms I lived on had geese.

Whenever I walk Cerys late at night, I hear the most unusual sound coming from the nearby wetland. I noticed it the first night I was here, and it seemed like a goose or a duck, but a low, regular, almost humming sound. After a couple of nights, it seemed so regular that I began to wonder if it were some sort of electric equipment; there are a few boxes in the same direction that belong to the phone company and electrical company.

But no, it is most definitely the geese. Check out the Mediaeval Bestiary : Goose for a description of the warning cries of geese, who are quite able 'watchdogs' and can smell humans better than any other animal. Lewis & Clark complained about their noise as well.

In the case of this area, the geese and ducks aren't so noisy as to encroach upon the homes around the pond. I can't hear them from inside, and even with how otherwise quiet it is here, I can only hear them if I come within about 50 yards of the area where they nest on the water. Still, it's kind of interesting. I've heard geese fly overhead at night (sounding like the Wild Hunt), but I didn't realise they made noise on the ground in the dark, too. I find the odd thrumming rather comforting.

By the way, I got most of the kitchen unpacked tonight. But I have inexplicably lost my roll of trash bags. Tomorrow I'll ask the house nicely for them back. It's so nice to have a clean apartment (minus the boxes everywhere) from which to start from scratch. Between Buns' illness and my depression, I let the last one go for stretches at a time. In the nearly two weeks I've been here I've swept twice, mopped once, taken the trash out twice, and cleaned out the catboxes every day-and-a-half, on top of putting furniture and stuff into place. I threw away a lot of junk (and put out some good stuff I really didn't have any room for) before I came here. There are maybe three boxes of papers and another four or five boxes of general stuff to go through. Everything else should be able to go straight to a place. Yipee! Order from chaos!!! And, not to be too anal, but I'm labelling my books as I sort through them with Dewey numbers (a friend is going to help me shelve them) and I'll hopefully be able to enter them into a database for easy reference. With about 3000, after all, I have a good sized personal library. I'm tired of accidentally getting the same book in a series of mysteries I'd already read, for example. There is one Anne Perry book I have bought twice and checked out of the library once, and I can't seem to ever find the one after that. :)

Okay, time to go. 'Night.

Monday, May 24, 2004

I am so harmed by...Bubba Ho-Tep!

Bubba Ho-Tep arrives on DVD May 25th!!!

I'm not sure how I missed this Bruce Campbell flick, but I'll definitely have to check out the DVD. Elvis, along with a black guy who thinks he's JFK, takes on ancient Aegyptian horror stalking his nursing home. Aggghhhh!!!! It's as harmful as the Coon-thulhu stuffed animal a guy I knew brought back from somewhere.

lithograph come zealous eft

Which is an intriguing subject line for a bit of spam I received. I think it would go nicely into spam poetry.

I've posted several links today, but I really haven't written. So, let me do a little bit of a recap.

I woke up from a terrible nightmare that involved classes, missed tests, buses, a dog in imminent danger, bureaucracy, a driver that wouldn't let me on the bus to save my dog no matter how much I paid, etc., etc. In other words, a typical anxiety dream, despite my having taken my Paxil.

At the hospital I spent most of the day in a 70s daze, designing a bulletin board (because I'm the 'creative one') with a 70s theme and listening to disco music for effect.

At the station, I fiddled with a page for 2 1/2 hours, thinking I would be outdone by a table cell, but finally reaching victory.

And now, dear reader, I do believe I should log off because a storm is brewing and my surge protector's phone jacks have be fried before and therefore are of no use in protecting against lightning.


PS I miss Dwana. She has been on vacation from Friday through today. Things have been fairly routine (no odd adventures) at work as a result. :( But she'll be back tomorrow. :)

Madrid bombings case thrown out against Oregon attorney

Because the FBI made a mistake with the fingerprint ID. Oops. That's embarrassing. In a major 'no-of-course-we-don't-target-Muslims' way. I smell a lawsuit.

CNN.com - Madrid bombings case thrown out against Oregon attorney - May 24, 2004

Although, to be fair, fingerprint identification, although a science, is subjective in terms of how an expert interprets the evidence. And this war on terror is being staged in the media's eye, so things that would never have made it into the news years ago are around the world in minutes.

Still, hands up all of you who thought it seemed strangely out of place in terms of all the other evidence found. Good. Some of you were paying attention.

Science news from my old stomping grounds

CNN.com - Spaceport to rise in California desert

I used to live on Edwards AFB, where you get very used to supersonic aircraft. Believe it or not, I would bike 3 miles across rattlesnake infested trail bike paths to go swimming at the poool. Unfortunately, I only got to see the Space Shuttle when it was being ferried around on Boeings; the first lift off into space wasn't until a couple years after I left Edwards. But I remember the stark (my friends would say alien) landscape fondly, and I still love to spot Joshua Trees on movie and TV show sets.

A local story that may make some waves

Former Soldier Claims He Was Beaten During Training Exercise In Cuba

Interested in accessibility? Or just a good use of audioblogging?

This librarian who lost his sight as a child will tell you all about challenges facing library users with vision issues.

Blind Chance: David Faucheux's Library Blog

Maybe it was the PMS

Salesperson for a product I've heard of but couldn't possibly afford on my budget and which our small library doesn't need: Hello, I'm X, from Y, and I'm your new account representative, and so I just wanted to introduce myself to you and see how our product can help you.
Me: But we don't subscribe to Y. How can we have an account? How can you be our account rep?
Salesperson: Well, yes, you see, that's why I'm calling....
Me: I really don't think I'm interested, thank you.
Salesperson acts shocked but exits reasonably gracefully.

Maybe it was rude, but I really don't see any reason to waste salespeople's time or mine by listening to the whole spiel for something I know is out of our league. I learned a long time ago as a telephone survey researcher (academic, not telemarketing) that it takes a direct, 'sorry, not interested' to keep the calls from stacking up in the future.

Also, in the time I've been in this position (seven years! ancient!) I've learned a lot about sneakiness as a business tactic. Oh, I'm not saying they were particularly so--although really, there's a difference between an account rep and a sales pitcher. No, I'm talking about publishers who send books with an invoice making it look like you've had a standing order so the newbie will pay for it--and then send a new 'annual' edition three months later. Or the ones that say 'I talked to X person in your company and they authorised the shipment'...even if it was a secretary or even a non-existent person. Or the magazines that send renewal notices for things you don't subscribe to, on the chance you might. Since it can be difficult to figure these things out, especially if you're new to the position or the field, it works for them quite often. I had one such experience where it was like pulling teeth to send the things, and where I had other department bringing me the ones they'd received, too. I finally did two things: 1) instituted a policy where we do not accept books on review (so I can tell them that up front, and they can send me the literature if they want, but not the book) and 2) any unsolicited item I receive is dutifully catalogued and a letter thanking them for their donation to the library is made. See, unsolicited things received in the mail are not actually required to be paid for or for that matter, returned. I have also made postal fraud complaints in severe cases.

The thing that gets me about the really blatant abusers is that they act like librarians don't all get together and compare notes. We're incredibly tech savvy, after all. Just go the the MEDLIB-L archives and type in 'Faulkner & Gray' if you want an example. I'm sure lots of other lists do likewise.

Speaking of the list, I also got a couple of reminders that I wasn't able to get approval to go to the Medical Library Association's annual meeting. One of my counterparts at another hospital called me from Washington DC to ask me if I'd like for her to look at some of the job openings, which was rather nice. I doubt I could take a job in another hospital due to my latex allergy, unless the facility was latex free like my current workplace. But it's worth a look. Another colleague who didn't get to go was out there asking for a bit of a chat. He deals a lot with health information in Spanish, so I told him about the efforts here in Lexington to promote a new branch serving primarily a Spanish-speaking populace.

Came across this whilst researching the 70s for a project at work

Have A Nice Decade: The '70s Pop Culture Box - liners

It's a decent overview of of the decade.


Scotsman.com News - JK Rowling & Harry Potter - Rowling goes undercover to test Harry Potter plot lines

and apparently her suggestions for the 7th book were dismissed by the fans in the chat room.
In the end, I gave up trying to impart any gems of wisdom and joined the discussion about SpongeBob SquarePants.

If I were a wildly popular author, I'd do that. I sometimes wonder, for example, if Barbara Mertz, who writes the Amelia Peabody books under the name Elizabeth Peters, incorporates some of her fans' comments and questions into her writing, because often it seems the next book will answer some great curiosity we tried to work out at some point before on a discussion board. She seems to have a good rapport with fans. It's an important skill that most writers probably don't think about in the beginning.

I think any bestselling author has to remember that whatever the reasons for writing--an inner impetus, to pay the rent, whatever--it is the fans who buy the final product, and publishing goes through phases and fads just like anything else, so just because one book is a great hit, it doesn't mean all will be. It still means--hopefully--good writing (although to be honest, that's not always a prerequsite to sell books), characters people can identify with, and the right balance of elements to draw someone in for a time.

There are some (probably not so wildly successful) authors who would not deign to talk about a cartoon in lieu of their own book ideas. It's kind of refreshing.

Tell us what you really think

about France, America, and Michael Moore. Two-faced, this French kissing of a slob - Paddy McGuinness - www.smh.com.au

Actually, unlike many librarians, I'm not a fan of Michael Moore. I do consider him rude, crude, and just as biased as any right-winger. And although the delivery's a little simplistic, there is a lot of truth in this particular commentary. Maybe more Americans need to pay attention to the rest of the world's rhetoric.

With tongue firmly in cheek

Check out The New Alphabet: From the Warrior Librarian.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Garroting oneself to death by shoelace with a spoon to tighten it nicely?

Sounds like a job for Sherlock Holmes! Just because someone is paranoid doesn't mean no one is out to get him. One does wonder, as it's a particularly odd way to commit suicide.

TheStar.com - Intrigue surrounds Conan Doyle's papers, mainly in the death of the scholar obsessed with the collection's fate.

Blogger: User Profile: Eilir Rowan

I like the new Blogger Profile, especially the statistics area...

Avg posts per week=10
Posts written=1,456
Words written=431,455
Outbound links=2,927

My it's been a busy almost-three-years!

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Everything I've read indicates that the folks in Atlanta are probably cracking open the bubbly...

...and rightly so.

LISNews.com | Atlanta PL Director Mary Kaye Hooker Fired

Although it's sad when it takes an act of the legislature to enable such a divisive director to be fired. You can check out the AFPL Watch site for details on how the people under her felt. It's also sad that AFPL's system problems go way beyond the upper management; Mary Kaye Hooker was just one in a line, and the unwieldy board, politics as usual, and idiosyncratic division of authority all contributed to the implosion of the institution. Here's hoping there can be some healing now.

Friday, May 21, 2004

More than anything

this shows the power of the Internet's immediacy, the problem with disseminating complex information that often is related as if black and white, and the danger of people's tendency to act based on what they read rather than checking things out for themselves.

Salon.com Life | Curve ball [choose a free day pass to see the whole article and read it carefully].

The author compares the Curves crisis to that of the former head of Domino's Pizza, and asserts that that boycott was based on true info. Well, not exactly. At least not these days, when Tom Monaghan sold his part of Domino's some time ago, and it was never the pizza company making donations, but a separate foundation. Check out the Urban Legends Reference Pages for the skinny on Curves and Domino's before storming out in righteous indignation. For the other side of the coin, look up the entry on similar accusations on the pro-choice side. Oh, and keep in mind the difference between X person supports Y cause and X company supports Y cause. I think most of us would agree that how an individual chooses to contribute his or her wealth is up to that individual.

I feel punky

...as one friend puts it. Achy, especially in my joints, feeling like my hands and feet are swollen, headache, a little clammy, blah. I thought maybe my blood sugar was off, but I ate and didn't feel any better. So maybe it's hormonal; I'm about a week before my period, which usually is when I have PMS symptoms. Whatever it is, I wouldn't say I'm sick, per se, I just don't feel like doing anything.

Thinking that maybe I had just been inactive and at the computer too much at work, I did go out briefly with my dog and walked her around and down to the little reservoir on our side of the road. I saw butterflies, dragonflies, and startled several frogs. I suspect there will be a huge crop of mosquitoes, although there are fish in the water, so most will be eaten before they have a chance to get airborne. There was a kid playing baseball with himself, where he'd throw the ball up in the air and hit it. I kind of felt sorry for him, like maybe he needed someone to be his pitcher. On the other hands, these days random adults probably shouldn't be coming up and introducing themselves to kids.

Part of me would like to at least do a little unpacking. I have the furniture where I want it and some labels to help organise the books. But I just feel blah, even with the reddish light from the sunset streaming in from my window. So I'm going to take a nap, and maybe get up later and do some reading. Blah.

Quote for the day:

from Cameron Tuttle's Bad Girl calendar [well, actually it was for yesterday, but I'm just getting around to typing it in]:
If you don't follow through on your big idease, someone else will.

What a great idea

Those who know me know that I tend to hoard things, beyond the packrat status, especially stuff that 'could be useful' but not to me. I don't like to waste things. Paxil helps, and certainly this last move jettisoned much of my clutter, but I still hate the feeling of throwing away something that someone could use. In the past, your best bet was set something out to the kerb and wait for art students to scrounge 'found objects'. Or, you could do what a friend of mine does--pick a random person out of the phone book and send unwanted but useable stuff as a gift. Now there's an alternative.

Freecycle.org, whose motto is 'changing the world, one gift at a time' allows you to post things you'd like to get rid of and others can post what they're looking for, so long as it's free. There are about 260 freecyclers in Lexington, and I'm about to make it 261. :)

What a hoot

I was listening to Bob and Sheri on the radio whilst wending my way through the backroads to avoid construction on Richmond Road and they had on Ruby Ann Boxcar. 'She' was hilarious. 'Her' website is even more so, and it brought back memories of elementary school gym, where they taught us to dance to that tune (is it the Alley Cat?) Be sure to take a tour of the two-story double-wide trailer.

The character is such a caricature of 'white trashness'--rather than just Southern culture--that it's funny rather than offensive, especially since it's obviously meant to be humourous, and, of course, being done by a 'big ol' drag queen'--although I do wonder if there are some out there who would be fooled by Ruby's sheer womanliness. :) It definitely added some pep to my day.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Interesting bit of 70s trivia

I'm doing some research for an upcoming event at work and came across this from 1972: Super70s.com: Stewardess Survives 33,000ft Crash!

But to be fair

neither is this: More on prison abuse; US attack on village kills 40

I'm not an expert

But surely this isn't the way to go?

Scotsman.com News - Latest News - Israel Ignores Outcry and Pushes Deeper into Refugee Camp

Then the rainstorm came...

Well, it was more like a deluge, starting with a few big dollops of rain just after I got into my car for the small yet never-the-same commute home. Just as I pulled in to the space the rain broke in sheets, and I went flying into the house as quickly as I could. After making sure that the computer was tucked away for the storm, I settled down for a thunderstorm nap, an amazing accomplishment given that I have a long-standing phobia of thunder. Still, the rain hitting the window was quite relaxing.

Today has been a fairly good one. Dwana was having a much better day, for one. She called the county clerk's office and they changed her vote where the guy had been so clueless. Yesterday she'd received word that her office was being co-opted for another duty. Today she's a little more used to the idea of the change and although she will be moved back to an office with three other people (one of whom is extremely difficult to work around), they're going to try to make accomodations.

I've gotten a little more unpacked. I'm filling up the aquarium a little at a time so that the fish won't get too shocked. Granted, I have the chemical that neutralises chloramines, but still, it can't hurt to be careful. I found my can opener today, so I was able to enjoy some canned pears. I was able to shift several boxes from the living room and thereby gain some room to manoevre. At one point I took Cerys out to the grassy area near the small wetland behind the apartments. She rolled and ate some of the grass, meaning she's back to normal. I sometimes think she's part horse, rather than merely dog.

Having grown up in Louisiana, I'm used to a sub-tropical type of swamp. The marsh nearby has a lot in common with the ones I played in...trees rising from the waters, large numbers of birds moving about, the sheer variety of plants, and that swampy smell. But the trees aren't cypress, they're willow, sycamore, and walnut. Instead of beds of water hyacinth, there are tall irises and cat tails. And of course, there are no alligators. We are supposedly out of the range of cottonmouths.

There's no easy way to get down to the marsh from our side. You can go over to the other side and walk down there. I could probably make it down on our side with stout boots or a weed-whacker, although I'd prefer to leave it undisturbed and watch from a distance.

I must admit my only concern with the apartment has to do with water. With the stream and marsh behind us and the parking lot actually about three feet above us, we're on a small floodplain. Although there has been some rainwater standing in the front near the parking, I haven't noticed any problems in the back, so that's comforting.

Okay, I've babbled on a bit. You probably don't care about the little swamp, but if you've known me or read this for any length of time you know I tend to notice the little things in nature most people pass by. Being near water, with the wildlife that results, makes me happy, especially since that was one of the things I thought I might have to give up when I moved. Still, I think it's time to say goodnight. :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

I really wish all primaries were the same day

Because for those of us who vote later in the season, Fayette County Clerk >election results can be pretty pathetic. Only 14% of eligible voters in my county even bothered, which sadly was pretty good given the races available.

I was glad to see Kucinich get 7% of the vote. He would have had one more voter, but a friend was stopped after she cast her vote by the election officer and told that she could, as a Democrat, only vote for Kerry. Apparently someone miscommunicated, since Kucinich is, indeed, a Dem and you could vote for anyone regardless of whether he was still in the race--which Kucinich is. She's going to complain to the county clerk's office about it.

Yay for Alltel

for getting my Internet connexion up and running a day early. So, I am now blogging to you from my new apartment, surrounded by boxes. To be honest, it's been a very long day, and I can barely keep my eyes open, so I'm not going to stay up and type but rather take my dog out and then sleep. Still, I feel a little more 'connected' to life out there now that the computer is up and running and online. :D

What an amazing life

Tony Randall dead at age 84

Can you imagine being married to your college sweetheart for 54 years? Then marrying a second time and becoming a father--for the first time--at age 77?

Tony Randall was one of the classiest 'stars' that ever lived. I'm sad to see him go.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Interested in cultural diversity?

Check out: Diversity Central.

Sometimes dissertations can make a difference

It is easier for a white man with a felony record to get a job than a black man without a criminal record to do so.

This, according to a dissertation by sociologist Devah Pager.

In addition to winning a national award, the study brings up some disturbing issues regarding racial discrimination in hiring that might not normally be caught. Now Ms Pager is replicating the study on a larger scale to see what the outcomes might be with a larger sample.


The nursing students are watching a video on cultural diversity that starts with very peaceful Japanese flutes. I am feeling very Zen.

Three nice bits of news:

  1. I can vote today at my new precinct, rather than my old one, meaning I don't have to see my ex, who is an election officer at the old precinct.
  2. I set the computer up last night, but my Internet service hasn't transferred yet, so I can't do any online work at home. But I called Alltel and it will kick in tomorrow.
  3. It looks like I'll be writing a column for a professional journal.


Monday, May 17, 2004

It's nice to see that just because a person doesn't agree with something,

they're not hateful about it.

In today's news about same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, Ray McNulty, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Family Institute, which opposes same-sex marriage, had this to say:
What's going on down there is legal, and as far as I'm concerned, give those people their happiness for the day.

This is in stark contrast to the likes of Fred Phelps, Sr. and his supporters, who protested the ceremonies. Rev. Phelps is known for his tasteless protesting at funerals/memorial services (such as the one for Matthew Shepard, who was slain in a hate-crime in Wyoming), churches that support gay rights, and any other forum where hate speech against homosexuality can create headlines

An informational entry on searching PubMed references in Google

SiteLines - Ideas About Web Searching, by Rita Vine

Ten Best Things To Say If You Get Caught Sleeping At Your Desk:

(according to one of those e-mail forwards)

10. "They told me at the blood bank this might happen."

9. "This is just a 15 minute power-nap like they raved about in that time
management course you sent me to."

8. "Whew! Guess I left the top off the White-Out. You probably got here just
in time!"

7. "I wasn't sleeping! I was meditating on the mission statement and
envisioning a new paradigm."

6. "I was testing my keyboard for drool resistance."

5. "I was doing a highly specific Yoga exercise to relieve work-related
stress. Are you discriminatory toward people who practice Yoga?"

4. "Why did you interrupt me? I had almost figured out a solution to our
biggest problem."

3. "The coffee machine is broken..."

2. "Someone must've put decaf in the wrong pot..."

And the #1 best thing to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk...

1. " ... in Jesus' name. Amen."

Sunday, May 16, 2004

We did it!

It took until 4:30 on Friday morning, but we got me moved into the new apartment.

I got the key to the new apartment on Tuesday afternoon, and we managed to move three carloads (including a Ford Explorer) that evening, and another on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, Dwana's stepfather Mike managed to come up for awhile, despite a severe allergy to cats.

I took off work on Thursday and Friday, though. Thursday two friends came over, one to pack more things, one to lift, and my mom and stepdad came up with the truck to get the big stuff. At about 12:30 my mom and John had to head back and one of my friends had to go on to work. Dwana came over after work and then her husband Eric came over once he finished up at work and mowed a yard. So, we had stuff moving almost all day. Poor Eric and Dwana had to go to work the next morning; he had to work a full day, but they didn't want to leave with just a couple more runs to go. I spent most of Friday on my mattress, which Dwana had thoughtfully put down on the floor with the phone and CPAP machine nearby. I was so dirty I had to take a shower before I went to sleep, even though I had just the soap that a resident had given Dwana to clean my hair with.

Things I kept thinking about blogging about but wasn't near a computer (and even now, mine's in pieces back at the new apartment).

  1. Krispy Kremes are a great thing for high energy during a move. It's easy to justify the calories when you're lifting and packing like mad. Taco Bell is also good when you have no idea where your kitchen stuff is.
  2. I feel like a Sim. I have a bed. I have a toilet. I have a refrigerator; just the basics. Obviously the bath and food were the most important things to unpack, so I got a least some unpacked first. Of course, I could find the bread, but not the peanut butter, so on Friday I was eating Miracle Whip sandwiches. I finally found the peanut butter yesterday, and nearly cried with joy. Of course, I didn't know where the utensils were, so I had to use my finger. Lowly peanut butter is so comforting, let me tell you. Last night I found the utensils, yay; no more barbarianism. By Friday I had the bed itself set up and the bedroom furniture in place; the dresser had been set in front of the window and I couldn't sleep without the light coming in.
  3. True friends are people who despite work schedules, health problems, stress, exhaustion, etc. still manage to give their all to help a friend move. I appreciate every one of you so much, and once we've recovered and I have a little money, we're going out to eat.

That's enough for now. I'll hopefully get the computer together tonight and fill up the aquarium (my two jobs for the day, after the game). Thanks again to everyone who helped and wished me well.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Yawn...Must. Keep. Going.

Moving is stressful, tiring, and exciting all at once. Yesterday we got three loads over to the new place, which wasn't bad since I didn't get the key till about three. My poor dog, who had been over at my friends' place but I'd brought her over the night before nearly had a breakdown when we took away the couch. She watched us carry it up the hill, and barked, like she was screaming 'my couch! my couch!' She's back at the friends' house, because I'd hate to see how she'd handle it when we take the bed apart.

The new neighbours seem nice. One apologised for not being able to move his truck; he'd been doing some work on it and hadn't quite gotten it to start.

I just want to thank those of you helping; you know who you are, especially my 'packer by candlelight' and Dwana and Eric. Dwana's stepfather is going to help this afternoon, and my mom and another friend are joining us tomorrow. I'm taking off tomorrow and Friday to get it all done. I will be soooo glad when it's finished.

I have a new phone number, but I'm not sure when the Internet service will transfer over, so my apologies if I have any lag time in blogging. Hopefully soon order will be restored. Well, I should probably say order shall reign; it wasn't really there to begin with. :)

This is a good overview of historic Lexington

Welcome Letter, Lexington, Kentucky -- National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary

Nifty facts about my state

(which is actually a Commonwealth, like Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virginia.)

Kentucky Fast Facts and Trivia

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Anna Quindlen so has it right

In MSNBC - An Apology to the Graduates, she looks at the world those of us in the generation born to the Baby Boomers have inherited. Although I'm older than most, I'm one of the first of the Boomlet, a Generation Xer who felt lost in the face of choice. The world we have now is, if anything, less innocent than it was when I first started school; but having spent fifteen years in college, I can say that in some ways thing never changed in those intervening years. Some people got rich on the tech boom; it never hit my area. I have now been through a cycle of supposed oeconomic expansion and contraction three times in my adult life; the first when I was about to graduate high school, the second graduating college, the third now, when I was underemployed in my field but at least feeling like things might improve. Somehow, with that, and with the prospect of a 'war on terror' that will drag on for years, uncertainty, and the full expectation of never having Social Security or similar programmes in place when I retire, I for the most part keep some form of optimism. Sure, there's anxiety, and we may also be the generation known for the sheer amount of therapy and anti-anxiety/anti-depressant use...but through it all I learned a valuable lesson, one that I think others in my generation figured out too...success is survival. Success is never letting your dreams die to obstacles. Success is learning to step back your life to a manageable pace, because no amount of money or materialism is worth eroding your health and your interaction with those you love. Success has more to do with the ties you make and the people you touch than anything that comes back on a credit report. True, in our society where all that does matter, we sometimes suffer from being labelled failures because we don't measure up. But in the end, it comes down to what sort of person you become--inside, and on a daily basis--rather than the empty external trappings that seem to fascinate the lowest common denominator in our society.

The press for having the job-the mate-the baby, etc., etc., where you try, like the girls on 'Friends' to plan everything out tends to fall away with two realisations: 1) You can have goals, you can work for success, but you never really have absolute control over the outcome and 2) the important things aren't easily qualified. When you're young and in school, it's grades, it's SAT scores, it's how many teams you were on, how many activities. As you mature, you realise that truly, size doesn't matter--what you do with it does. After college, no one cares if you got a B or A in biology. After a few years in the job market, most people don't even care what your GPA was. What matters is your real-world experience and the lessons you've learnt in life. And even that can get thrown into complete discombobulation with job cuts. Nothing is permanent, except death. Sometimes good things happen to people who really don't deserve it. Sometimes terrible things happen to people who are good. Reality doesn't really always take those things into account. All the little quantifiers of success we as humans create in our society are as artificial as how we keep time. Time happens. So does success. But it isn't always what we label it to be.

And, that, I suspect, is the wisdom of my generation, or at least maybe we come to realise it sooner, since everything in life has sped up, we've just fast forwarded to the moral of the story. A pity it took so much time and effort in all the wrong ways to find out, hmmm? The truly wise, having figured out all that (and thankfully, I had a lot of help from my mentor), also realises that there is still so much in life to be experienced, to learn, that we can't let ourselves burn so brightly to burn out early.

So don't feel too sorry; we'll stick it out. I've been told that youth is wasted on the young. I'm hoping to use those potential extra years to keep my youthful passions going, and I don't know anyone who's ready to give up the ghost quite yet. But thanks for noticing. I think you'll find there are many who are choosing to opt out of the rat race, if they can afford to. Now if only those raising and teaching kids would, and then maybe we could make sure the next generation doesn't burst under the pressure of two generations.


Fire Destroys Historic Landmark "The Castle"

It looks like everything inside the main wall of the Castle was gutted. And they think it may have started with a lightning strike to one of the inner turrets, which would make sense, as there was one (the rear right one) that was totally involved when we were there.

There are four large turrets, one at each corner of the outer wall, and before the fire four smaller ones rose inside. I can remember that for years one of the larger turrets had its roof lying off to the side. But eventually the cap went back on.

The backstory of the Castle has romance, loss, eccentricity, and tragedy. But most of all, it's a dream that while not exactly shared with the community (it was never open to the public, which I always hoped for, being a former member of the SCA who thought it would be great for gatherings, weddings, etc.), still inspired the rest of us and virtually anyone who came to Lexington via the airport or along Versailles road. It's sad to see it gone, although you know, by all reports that home was so Rex Martin's baby, and one has to wonder...as indeed Dwana said last night...someone else buys it and puts his name up on the gate and lightning strikes nine months later? Hmmm...that's going to be one more piece of folklore attached to the Castle.

Had to

feeling: Cuddly

Earlier I took all but two of the packed boxes and put them into my car, ready for tomorrow. I discovered that I'm incredibly out of moving shape, especially in the small of the back. Dwana's going to help me pack more boxes tomorrow, and we're going to make several trips with my car, hers, and her husband's Explorer. I may see if we can round up others for the other days, since Eric is only tomorrow. I have another person who can help if I do have to take off on Wednesday or Thursday, since he works second shift. Yay. Tonight I went over to visit my Cerys-Bear. Cerys seemed quite happy; she's been eating and drinking water, despite the frenetic pack she's visiting. But I so missed cuddling up with her last night. And she tried following me out when I went to leave...I decided since I can't do much else towards the move until tomorrow, I'd take her on home for the night. She's quite happily in a battered recliner (which is not going with the move, so I'm sure she'll not be quite happy over that, but okay so long as the bed doesn't go away, too), enjoying having a house and a water bowl (mostly) to herself. She could probably use a little peace and quiet. Okay, I'm going to go onto bed and the cuddling shall begin. Last night I slept with an overstuffed elephant plush toy. Sad, I know, that here I'm almost 40 and I'm essentially sleeping with a security bear. But Cerys is that for me, and I missed her last night, even if I did make it through the night without the covers being stolen. :)

Monday, May 10, 2004

Battlements afire

John, you know how you said you couldn't go 5 miles without bumping into a castle? We may have just lost the only one we had. WKYT 27 NEWSFIRST & WYMT Mountain News - Famous "Castle" On Versailles Road On Fire

I will confess that I was one of those people parked along the road watching it burn. Dwana and Eric knew the Martin family (between the two of them, they may know everyone in Lexington). Dwana called me and told me about the fire, and that they were going over to check it out. I called it ghoulish, but then, I did go. But they were going out of respect for Rex Martin's memory; there were a lot of people lined up, out of their cars, some with videos. We stayed in the car with the windows rolled down. One of the turrets was completely engulfed. We stayed a few minutes and then headed down Versailles road to turn around and come back. That was when we finally saw the fire trucks.

For those who don't know, the Castle is a landmark in the area. It isn't a real castle, but it has crenelated walls and turrets. Think of it as a fairy tale castle inspired by the real things. Inside was a house, mainly underground, and a pool.

In the dark, it was hard to tell how much was involved, but it seemed to be limited to the interior rather than the outer wall. Still, hopefully no one has been hurt and it can be contained. It had recently been bought and was being renovated; perhaps some of the construction touched off the fire, much like the gutting of the upper floors of the UK administration building awhile back.

Shaking head

With all the impending personal doom of the eviction, I got behind in the news and really haven't commented on the fiasco at Abu Ghraib. I did some of my catching up by reading Back to Iraq 3.0, which also has some commentary on some photos being put forth as real (but pretty certain to be porn, for reasons listed here.) Even if the latter are fake, it seems certain that the photos of the prison abuse are real, and it's the sort of spark that might touch off a powderkeg.

I've avoided most of the most graphic photos myself, simply because I'd rather not see anyone humiliated. I could certainly understand why this will only inflame Iraqi passions against coalition forces. But I have to ask...

Okay, so the argument is that the soldiers involved with this case were not trained to deal with prisoners? Although that may, indeed, lead up the chain of command, one also wonders what on earth would cause a person to so let go of their basic human decency that they would abuse another human being in these ways, revel in it, and most significantly, be stupid enough to have pictures taken to document it.

Some would argue that in wartime, regrettable things happen (although technically, isn't the war over, or so our President told us?) We look at things like the behaviour of some ordinary Germans during the Holocaust or US soldiers in incidents such as My Lai (and yes, see, I said some; some also performed heroically; the vast majority are somewhere in the middle, whether in society as a whole or in the military itself.) Those regrettable things are still wrong, and crimes that should be prosecuted, apologised for, and most importantly, the system that allowed it to happen should be fixed to prevent further occurrences.

I suppose the longer any conflict drags on, the more likely that things will get muddier, that noble rhetoric will be sullied by real-life horrors, that it gets harder to tell 'good guys' from 'bad guys', and in the end it takes its toll on everyone involved. It has amazed me how innocent many Americans have been about the war, as if it wouldn't have real consequences. You'd thinked they'd never watched M*A*S*H. Or seen images of children running through napalm. Or buried loved ones to the sound of 'Taps'. I suppose I could understand if the country were just full of people too young to remember messy wars. I'm 37. I remember not knowing if my daddy would ever come back from Vietnam. I remember not being able to touch him if he were asleep because he'd come awake violently. And even though I was little during the war, there are plenty who remember Vietnam, Korea, WWII, and all the various 'conflicts' too. Do people just conveniently forget history? Or how it impacts people's lives?

Getting used to the New Blogger

feeling: Yipee!!!!!!

I went to make a quick post to let you all (in the Southern sense, rather than in the 'I'm sure you were biting your nails to learn' sense) know that I officially have a new apartment and can begin moving in tomorrow. Yay. I was feeling quite stressed to have a Friday move-by date and no place to move to.

In the midst of making that announcement, I came across the changes on Blogger. Haven't decided yet whether I like it better or not. But I appreciate that they try to keep things going well for us.

Okay, back to other things. :)

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Um...but first, a rant

In an article discussing the recent outbreak of HIV in the North American porn industry, TheStar.com - `Do it, or we'll find another girl who will', an actress who did on-film scenes of unprotected anal sex states, 'Someone did something wrong or I wouldn't have HIV' and appears to be considering a suit.

Let me just state for the record than no one 'deserves' to get HIV, that I'm not virulently against porn (as long as it involves consenting adults), and that I'm rather impressed by how quickly this outbreak was caught within the porn industry. I also took stupid chances when I was young and naïve in terms of use of protection and choice of partners, and I'm thankful I made it through that stupidity without lasting consequence, either in terms of pregnancy or disease.


Someone did do something wrong. At least three people in that scene had unprotected anal sex, knowing that there could indeed be consequences. The producers weren't twisting arms or holding guns to their heads...they were dangling money, money that anyone could have walked away from. Not wanting to let a producer or agent down is no excuse. In the end, the only person she let down was herself, because her hopes and dreams are in a shambles as a result of an irrevocable decision.

I'm sure there is shared culpability that might be addressed, since an environment was created and in a cut-throat business there is substantial pressure placed upon struggling actors. But I don't understand the denial of self-responsibility. I mean, I'm fat, and yes, I have some medical issues that contribute to that, but I have also eaten like a pig in the past and not exercised enough, and I live with the consequences. McDonald's didn't make me fat. Peer pressure didn't make me fat. Family interaction didn't make me fat. There were a whole lot of variables that went into the mix--and my behaviour is a very real part of it.

They say gluttony is a deadly sin. So is avarice, and in this case it really seems to be what is at the core of this outbreak--avarice in the industry, avarice in the producers, avarice in the performers. They may be very nice people with very real expenses and the same sorts of pressures to make a living that everyone else does...but there are lots of ways to make money that don't put your life on the line. A soldier or a police officer can't sue because they were put in a position where they might be shot at; it's understood that it's a hazard of the job. How can you sue over a recognised hazard of your chosen field? In what reality have people convinced themselves that HIV isn't a hazard of having unprotected sex? Sure, it may be a more 'chronic' condition than it once was, but that's totally dependent on a very complex drug cocktail that could go down the tubes once the virus develops resistance to the drugs. Having a light blow out right over you during a scene causing injury is an unusual, albeit possible, hazard that would be considered unlikely. If someone hooked up the wiring wrong, causing injury through neglect, that's something you could sue over. If an actor knew he was HIV+ and did not disclose his status, that would be grounds for a suit, and possibly criminal prosecution, depending on the jurisdiction. But the whole point of a porn film is to show sex...not simulated sex, but the real thing. It's something you go to work expecting to do. Ideally, you negotiate a salary--and what is expected for that salary--ahead of time. I could see it easily becoming an 'on the spot decision' to up the ante. But it's still a conscious choice.

If I had contracted HIV when I was being young and stupid--and even worse, in terrible denial--I probably wouldn't have wanted to take responsibility for my own actions, either, mainly because of the denial. People can convince themselves of totally irrational things. They'll tell themselves, 'it's just this once' or 'they have meds for that now'. They'll ignore the fact that the person who may be tonight's snuggle-bunny--or even the 'love of your life'--may have slept with someone else despite disavowals or assumptions otherwise.

When I first started having sex--in 1986--we didn't really know about or understand HIV. The worse thing that could happen to you, we thought, was an unwanted pregnancy or getting something and having to take antibiotics. But it was still stupid to go unprotected. Unfortunately, when you're a 'good girl' who's not really supposed to be having sex, you tend to do just that. But we learned quickly that wasn't the case. Testing was slow to develop but condoms were something even our grandparents had access to.

I haven't done the sustained dating thing in a good long while, but I cannot imagine just sleeping with someone without protection until I'd been in a relationship for at least six months and was absolutely sure that it had been monogamous--and we'd gone through the ritual of being tested. I know my status, and I'd love to believe someone about theirs, but the fact of the matter is that trust takes awhile to grow, too. I'd love to believe in a world of perfect love and perfect trust--but it only exists in delusion.

I can't imagine wanting to go into a profession where I would be regularly expected to have sex, but even more so, I can't imagine going in with the idea that I could have unprotected sex and get away with it. That's like playing Russian roulette, and no amount of money is really worth that. I understand there may be a demand for it, and that it may pay more, but it's a personal decision, and one that shouldn't be made lightly. Even if a person didn't care about her own health, there is the very real consequence that an HIV+ status is going to essentially end that potentially lucrative career, unless there's some specific niche for porn where all the performers are HIV+. That deflates the whole idea of taking the risk for money.

I am sorry to see this happen, and I'm glad that it was caught so early, before more performers were infected. It will also make it easier to treat the performers who were so that they may not go into full AIDS, for example (although it's not just going to go away, and maybe there needs to be better education of the nature of the disease if anyone thinks that's possible). But we live in a society where it seems personal responsibility has gone down the drain but litigation has gone through the roof, and this seems to be an example of it.


Actually, I was counting the powerball number as if it were one of the white balls. So, it's not a winner. Remember the phrase 'rank amateur'? Oh, well, it was fun while it lasted.

My numbers: 03 13 24 37 42 PB 17
Winning ones: 03 09 17 37 43 PB 39

Well, someone in Pennsylvania is probably very, very happy tonight...there was one winning ticket sold there.


I just found out that those 3 matching numbers = $7. If I'd gone with 43 instead of 42 like my first impulse, I'd have won $100. Oh, well, I'm still $6 richer. :)

What a day. A week. A life.

listening to: 'Fell in Love with a Boy' by Joss Stone
feeling: Tired. Very tired.

D's reception went off without a hitch, so far as I could tell. Snapshots in my mind:

  1. The sheer happiness on her face that finally, she could truly celebrate, and the relief evident
  2. The collages; one of D and family members as she grew up, one given as a gift to show her how terribly proud they were
  3. The interesting blend of people she knows from all areas
  4. E explaining to a small child that D was opening presents because it was her 'school birthday' since 'graduation' was over his head
  5. All the babies on the periphery in D's life, and my hopes for one of her own
  6. The beautiful setting, which wowed everyone but put them at ease, too
  7. Knowing virtually everyone even though I hadn't met most of them because D's talked about them and they're so important to her; knowing that some loved ones were absent but there in spirit
  8. A colt playing with a horsie chew toy and then chasing N up and down the fence

I also realised that with all that's been going on I hadn't taken my Paxil but that I'd gone through an intense job interview, the impending eviction, and a party of dozens of people without a lot of anxiety. I hope D did okay at the party, too. She certainly seemed to be doing great. I really think without the trigger of classes, her anxiety issues may fade. But she never let her struggles with emotional and physical health, the death of her beloved brother, the fertility issues, nursing home fiascoes, etc. during school ever keep her down. She's the first in her family to get a master's, and she earned every bit of it. She is an extremely strong and classy lady, although I'm not sure she realises that. I'm very grateful to have her as a friend and I'm proud of her accomplishments. I only hope now that she has a little more time for self-nurturing.

After the reception I spent some time with friends. We were all in the kind of mood where you just sort of bask in each other's presence and don't really 'do' anything. If it were winter, it'd be great to have had a fire. As it was, we had dogs on a mad frolic. I had a face massage, and some of the tension I'd built up over the last week fell away, and it felt wonderful. Eventually we turned on the TV and some of that tension returned. We saw part of a CNN special on the sex trade involving children in Romania. It was very disturbing. I don't have words to describe my feelings, watching it. As much as I felt I should watch it, I was relieved when another show came on and they turned the channel. You never really appreciate what a basic wonder it is to be able to live life without exploitation and abuse. There is no way to truly punish those who would steal a person's childhood and manipulate their affections. We had the option to change the channels. A lot of these kids and young adults don't. They're either tricked into prostitution and kept in line through threats of violence, virtually slaves, or treated like a commodity to be used and discarded. This is wrong. It makes me also appreciate someone I know who went to Romania and adopted a child who might otherwise have wound up in this sort of situation, or like the kids in another programme I once saw whose lives were so utterly hopeless that spending it stoned on inhalants was better than trying to live life. How do you tackle such a monumental task of restoring stability so that kids can be truly be kids?

Now I'm home in the room of boxes--some packed, others providing a wonderful playground for Spock, who had been sliding down inclines and riding small boxes down to the ground after launching them from the table. He's draped on the computer now, his head hanging down to the CD player, completely relaxed now that I'm settling in for the night. Cerys, meanwhile, seems to recognise the impending move. I think I'll take her over to stay for the rest of the move with friends. She gets terribly worked up, especially once the bed gets taken apart, and I get into a sort of moving frenzy and it makes it hard to spend any real quality time. This way she'll be in an environment she knows well, with people she loves, and won't have to deal with the chaos.

I have to admit, I'm tired and a lot of it is actually just from the intensity of the situations around me. I wish I knew for absolute certain that I had a new place. I don't think it will be a problem, and I found out that there is one first-floor apartment (good for my knees, good for the move) and not just second-story ones. But I've done a lot (and so has my mom) to ensure that it comes through, so at this point all I can do is pack, and hope, and wait, then contact them first thing Monday and go from there. I also went ahead and listed one of my co-workers who lives there as a referral and if everything works out we would each get $25 off the rent. Yipee.

The thing is, I know that a week from now I'll be even more tired, but Gods willing, so long as I'm still on the planet, I'll have survived that uncertainty, and ready to start anew. If I can get this job, things really would be looking up for the first time in so long, and I've come to realise that I really do deserve some stability in my life, that I've put in my years of rat-infested apartments, Ramen noodles, and never quite knowing if I'll be able to make it. For years I was underemployed because I couldn't admit that I deserved to be treated better. This is an opportunity to have financial stability, but even more importantly, to be in a collaborative environment with other members of my profession, to have the institutional support to develop professionally, and to do something that I'm very good at AND love dearly that has the benefit of helping others every day. What more could you ask for in life?

That would be even better than winning the Powerball, which I have to admit with everything going on I was actually enticed to shell out a dollar for a ticket. After all, as they say, 'someone's going to win...it might as well be [me]'. And I did actually match 3 of the numbers, and would have matched a 4th except I went with a friend's current age rather than the age after this year's birthday...which was my first impulse. Not bad for a rank amateur. :) Oh, well...at least I didn't do what the guy ahead of me in line at a gas station did--he bought $55 worth of tickets; I've known of others who literally play the lottery with hundreds of dollars a month, and these are people who make even less an hour than I do. People, you're really not upping your chances considerably by blowing that much money on such a longshot. Still, I must say, it was worth a buck for the thrill of potential.

Well, it's late and I'll have another full day tomorrow. Hope things are going well wherever you are, and D--congratulations again. I'm so glad your hard work and sheer persistence paid off. You and E have both overcome huge obstacles in your lives and I hope your road gets a little easier from now on. 'Night.

Saturday, May 08, 2004


Okay, this is a quick update...

  1. My interview went great. It was over 2 hours long and I really enjoyed meeting the staff. It's a wonderful library, and I really feel it could be the answer to my prayers. The position does not officially close until Monday, so I may not know the outcome immediately. But, I do feel it would be a very good fit in terms of what I can bring to the library and in terms of what they're planning over the next few years.
  2. I'm going over with my mom at 3 to do the paperwork for the apartment. I had some trouble getting a hold of them and finally staked out the office and talked to them this afternoon.
  3. Dwana's graduation is this afternoon and her reception is at 5:30. She passed her comps unanimously, which is quite rare. She did have a crisis last night (she was ironing the gown, following the instructions, but where she'd tried steaming the wrinkles out earlier and it was still a bit damp, it melted. Fortuantely Heather still has hers and they are about the same height. Whew!

Friday, May 07, 2004

Good news

My mom is going to co-sign on my lease, so unless there's something unforeseen lurking in her credit report, I should be able to get the apartment. Have I mentioned how great my mom is? Yes? Well, let me just repeat it. My mom rocks!


Quini Dies Veneris mortus est!

Okay, I suppose I could come up with five questions per week. But the point is that a lot of different people do the same questions, and then you can go from blog to blog learning a bit about others. Ach, so sad.

Still, it was fun while it lasted. Thanks to the Friday Five for making my weeks a bit more bearable. :)

Thursday, May 06, 2004

May I say

that after everything, I have just received the gentlest eviction notice on could imagine.

Dear Ms. Rowan,
Please be advised that there wa a court ruling against you this morning. The court has given you 7 days to vacate your apartment. On May 14th, the constable will come out and set your belongings on the street if you have not turned the apartment over to us. Please clean your apartment and turn the keys back to the office. Thank you and good luck.

I had planned to actually thank the leasing office staff for their patience during the post-layoff struggles I've had paying my rent. I opened the door fully expecting to find a lifeless court order tacked onto it. After reading this on the bright green paper, I went on over and talked to Nancy, the director. She was very nice. I explained that I had just found out that the layoff was permanent and that I didn't think it was fair to them or her to prolong things by continuing being late, that I have a job interview tomorrow, and that I was grateful for the time (I actually have until the 14th; I thought I'd have to be out the 12th). She said that once I got settled to get back with her and they would work out a payment plan with the back rent owed/termination fee, etc. so I can pay that rather than be turned over to a collection agency. Granted, she can afford to be gracious, because they'll be able to hopefully rent my apartment to a tenant who can pay on time, but really, they've worked with me repeatedly and could have thrown me out months ago. I do really believe they wish me well. And after all, despite everything, I've been here three and a half years and have been a quiet tenant who until the layoff generally paid my rent on time and even when I did start having problems, always paid, even the late fees and in a few cases court fees to avert eviction. So in the end, I was probably a more stable tenant than many.

I would definitely recommend Heritage/Canterbury Apartments in Lexington. to anyone looking for an apartment, especially if they have pets or children; there are courtyards within each group of buildings and lots of greenspace. They made an exception for me when I had more than the two-pet maximum, although I did have to pay separate deposits and pet fees for each. But most places wouldn't have even considered it. And for me, it was imperative that I be near work, since I had a car that was slowly dying a terrible death. I wound up a block from the hospital and able to walk to work and to a pharmacy across the street for necessities, and then take the bus for everything else. At that time in my life, they were a godsend. I only hope now that my luck with cars has improved and that I will be able to find somewhere else. And of course, there is the job interview tomorrow, which despite all that's going on, I feel confident about.

Speaking of which, I heard back from the apartments I applied for. As I expected, my credit is (in her words and mine) 'a train wreck'. Despite that, they are willing to rent to me if I can get a co-signer for the lease, so I'm going to call my mom and see if that's a possibility. I do believe if I can get in to a place that's cheaper, and with the bigger cheque next week, I can start from scratch and do well in a lease.

You know, in retrospect, I've rented five apartments in my life. The first had a landlord who literally hauled a new refrigerator several blocks from another apartment on a dolly. It was a temporary sublease, and we got along fine. The second was in a complex, no problems; I left during a divorce but actually had someone take over the lease, so I left in good graces. The third was an alcoholic student ghetto slumlord with a rat-infested house who hadn't even bothered to repaint the place after someone blew their brains out in the living room, so that was probably the worst--it was like pulling teeth to get anything fixed, and he was cantankerous, but until the end we generally did okay, the fourth was an overpriced apartment that I convinced myself was 'charming' where the landlords tried to make me a party to bank fraud and turned my gas on and off when I didn't comply, but even we got along fairly well otherwise and bonded over fallen tries and birthday cakes, and then this place. One thing's for sure, I may sometimes have problems sticking up for myself, and goodness knows I've had my share of problems in the past, but I think I could probably get along with a serial killer at least on a few points--not just in terms of my response, but theirs as well. Surely that must be a marketable skill? :)

Okay, enough musing. Back to boxing.


I was checking out a blog by a library administrator, Marian the Librarian is Dead, and she mentioned the AFPL Watch, a site devoted to the problems within the Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library System and their much-despised library director, Mary Kaye Hooker.

They should make all library students read this in management class, if for no other reason than to understand what not to do. Wow. The power of the Internet has really been brought to bear, and they've been careful, I think to make sure she can't sue them for libel. I may have to ask my aunt if she knows anything more about this; she's not in Atlanta but she is at a Georgia public library; I'm sure it's made the rounds of their library community.

Things have been pretty bad; a couple of years ago a library manager in the system was murdered and the worker who was being disciplined committed suicide. Apparently a series of events led to the tragedy. Scary, isn't it? It's things like this that make me realise that even with the problems I sometimes encounter, there are a lot worse things that can happen whilst attempting to navigate a career.

Oh, by the way

Dwana finished her last final!

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S ! ! ! Wana-D!

That means that all that's left is to graduate. It also means she can watch the last 'Friends' tomorrow rather than working on that last assignment. She called earlier and asked me to come along to babysit the car while she turned the paper in (no sense getting towed last thing). Bless her heart, she called me during a nap and I was a little groggy. She seems to have a talent for calling whenever I'm asleep, but then I have a talent for calling people during sex, so I think it's better when she calls. She also bought me dinner. That's the second free meal today; I ate at Blimpie's earlier since I was shuttling someone around on errands. That's probably good, because when I go into move mode I forget to eat entirely. Tomorrow Dwana's stuck in a conference all day, but as a result, she's off on Friday and it looks like she'll be able to help me and I can take her a few places since she's letting a friend borrow her car while his is being worked on.

Ah, thank goodness for a great support system; it works like eddying currents, coming together in confluence, but it slowly gets you down the stream. :)

Must. Take. Break.

listening to: 'I Need Love' by Seal
feeling: Invigorated

I just finished packing my seventeenth (or is it eighteenth?) box of books. Mind you, those are just the ones that were on the table. I haven't even started with the study, where the majority of them are. Last time I estimated, I was at about 3000 books. I think it's grown substantially, despite the fact that I don't think I've bought more than ten books since I moved here. I think they reproduce like bunnies. Actually, I lucked into a schoolroom giveaway and I've had several people give me books since I moved in 3 1/2 years ago. Fortunately the majority of my stuff is books, so once I get them up, a lot of anything left is furniture, paintings, or clothes. A lot of the rest can usually be thrown away.

The animals are terribly intrigued. I'm not sure they recognise the signs yet. Pets react in all sorts of ways when you move. Last time I had responses ranging from howling maniacally when I tried the 'I'm-allergic-to-you-so-I-won't-let-you-into-the-new-bedroom' to 'you-can't-see-me-because-I'm-hiding-under-a-soap-dish'. Cats are especially challenging to move. Cerys tends to stay with friends during the whole take-the-house-apart, because she gets very neurotic if she can't get on the bed, but then when I take her to a new place, she's just laid back, like 'cool, new smells'.

Okay, I should give an update. I went to the apartments over near Dwana's today. Very nice. Much cheaper. Needless to say, I went ahead and applied, and now I'm waiting for the ever-nervewracking credit check. My credit sucks, mainly because I've been underpaid and barely hanging on for so long. But different places look for different things, so it may not be too bad. The good thing? The leasing agent is a librarian. I think we may actually have had classes together--I think she graduated right before I did. So she definitely understood the challenge of getting a library job in this town. She's even worked at our local librarian sweatshop too, which shall remain nameless, but if you're in the area, and you're in library science, you probably know what I'm talking about. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Another bit of good news today; our human resources person called me to let me know that she'd looked at my personal time off hours, which are in the hundreds at this point and unlikely to be used any time soon, and she got approval to let me take a one-time expenditure of extra vacation hours beyond my normal limit so that I'll have some extra money coming up in a week or so. Yay. It won't help my immediate problems, but it'll help me catch up so I won't start a new place behind. As frustrated as I am with the layoffs, it helped remind me of the good at the hospital, too.

*Yawn* I'm getting sleepy. Tomorrow I should hear about the apartment. Which is good, as tomorrow is also the day I should receive my 7-day notice to vacate. I've run errands the last couple of days, but tomorrow I should be able to pack, pack, pack and post some things on E-bay as a sort of virtual garage sale. I have just a little to do before bed and then I think I'll turn in so I can get an early start tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004


listening to: 'I Get Knocked Down' by Chumbawamba (Irony, that)
feeling: Post-breakdown ebb

Not surprisingly, the answer to my request for a reinstatement of my hours was a no. I was given a circular argument that the volume of work was not expected to grow enough to warrant adding the hours. Mind you, when I was working my full load, I had plenty to do and still not enough time in the week to take care of everything, but specifically in response to my lay-off I resigned from various committees and other projects in order to focus on the core library services. Also, I'm the only person with any data on the 'before' and 'after' volumes for the department in terms of the reduction, and yet I'm told that the volumes are not sufficient.

But I did learn valuable information. Like that despite the impression I was given at the time of the layoff, it was a permanent reduction in force, with no chance for regaining hours. There are apparently no plans at this time to reduce the position further, but the administrator did agree that the position had eroded below that of a professional level librarian, although it was not supposedly a deliberate move. I was also able to clarify some issues concerning access to my employee file.

I realise that hospital management has to look at what's best for the organisation overall. But I still don't see how the small amount I was cut--small in their scale, large in mine--really helped the hospital. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect now that things are better and we are hiring more positions and getting a raise where none was budgeted to at least make the attempt to regain my hours.

I have to admit, I did break down after my meeting. I guess I'd put a lot of effort into just trying to 'get by' until I could get my hours back; even though I was looking for other jobs, I never let go of that hope. Remember, I liked my job until all this came about. (Fortunately, I was actually on vacation, rather than on the clock, so I felt more free to do so, and at least momentarily there was no one in the room). One of the secretaries had told me to check my desk, that someone had left an envelope on it. It had $20. I was very grateful, and I don't know who did it, but I just sat down and bawled. A couple of the secretaries came in to check and make sure I was okay, then my boss came in, and soon there was quite a crowd. One of the women who I've always gotten along well with basically took a tack that I suppos is meant to be comforting and logical, but just isn't. You know, thing like, 'Well, don't you understand the oeconomics of health care?' Yes. I do. I also understand the oeconomics of living on one-half an income instead of a two-income household. And although I have applied for secretarial, retail, and temp agency positions--although nothing has borne fruit yet--people treat me like I'm somehow selfish that I fully expect to be employed in my field. A friend of mine says it's essentially a sexist concept. A male doctor losing his job wouldn't be expected to start flipping burgers; but a woman is supposed to 'make do' at anything because her career isn't really all that important and no one understands all the technical and specialised expertise in the background that makes the library really work. I spent seven years trying to show them what a fully trained librarian could do for the mission of the hospital, but I'm not sure it was to any avail. Those in a position to make the decisions...who don't see the day to day running of the library...seem to think it's just all on the Internet out there for free. I think they're in for a rude awakening, especially given that most of our core journals will be available online only with hefty fees. The position (and pay) is such now that I think they'll be lucky to fill it with a library school student. I half expect them to add the duties to one of the secretaries, as it was originally structured that way before they aspired to hire a professional librarian.

I think I marketed the library well to everyone who used it, but maybe I could have done better with the administration. I firmly believe this would not have happened under a former supervisor who really went to bat for me regularly. Unfortunately things are now structured that I don't have enough clout to get through. But, dealing with the lay-off has been just as educational as dealing with the position's scope. :) Still, I have to admit I'm looking forward to working in a job where I'm employed by librarians and don't have to justify my very existence to people who speak an entirely different managerial language.

On a brighter note, I have a job interview on Friday!!! at the public library job I applied for the other day. They're going to call me back tomorrow with a time. And, since I took off for the move preparation, I'll be free to go. I'm excited about the position's description, about working in a library with other librarians, and about getting paid a living wage. Oh, please please please please please please please...may all my endeavours be crowned with success. I really do feel that things are coming together, and the despair I felt earlier today has given away to hope.

Also, I'm going over tomorrow at 10am to see some promising apartments (the ones near Dwana. The coupon isn't still in effect (and they thanked me for telling them it was still on a website) but it's still quite a bit cheaper than my present apartment, about a savings of $150 per month. And I talked to my mom and she's offered to help with any of the big stuff I might need to move (she has a truck) and will look and see if she can help me financially at all so that I start off on a good footing with the new place, wherever it may be.

Anyway, I think things are going better. I start packing tomorrow, since I couldn't get any boxes today.

Breathe, kid, breathe.

I'm a little jealous

that those of you in the eastern hemisphere get to see a total lunar eclipse tonight. We'll miss it entirely. Oh, well, we have another one coming up this fall that will be visible from North America.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


Library Haikus

I'm a great librarian!

It occurs to me, in light of today's Unshelved, that a truly great librarian knows where all the books are (even when the computers are down) and can deal with the computers, too. I can actually say that. :) Of course, our book collection is probably around 1200 books at the hospital, so it's not like having a large collection memorised. Still...it's pretty nice to just whip out a book magically from the shelves after someone has looked a couple of times. It's really fun to have someone ask for books on Cerebral Palsy and rattle off WS 342 as the shelf number without batting an eye or 'looking it up'. :)

Monday, May 03, 2004

An eventful day

feeling: Galvanised

Today I put several wheels into motion. Although I actually started looking for apartments online and in various print sources, driving around a few, today was the first day I actually visited a complex. I started at a former place where they still have a deposit because my roomates never left. But it turns out that they have only one available, its not much of a deal, and there's no way to re-assign my deposit so I'd still have to put down the full amount. So, I'm thinking that's a no.
I asked for details on some other apartments online and tomorrow I'm checking out some in person. Dwana has me all but moved into some between Man O War and Squires Road called Cove Lake. I was intrigued by the location and told her about it, and it's not that far from where she lives, so she drove over there, then took me over tonight to get a feel for it. There aren't balconies or patios but there are fairly large windows. One of the online guides is offering a coupon for $150 off the rent for six months for that particular complex, which could be very good.

I asked receiving to save me boxes and asked for the rest of the week off from work. I have over a month's vacation saved up, and there's a conference later in the week that will tie up many of the staff, so there wasn't any trouble. I let several people know, in a matter-of-fact rather than emotionally broken-down kind of way, and several have offered to help. I'm handling things better emotionally this week, I guess because my hormones have shifted. Yay for menstrual rather than pre-menstrual.

I also talked to the hospital administrator in an attempt to get my hours back. I don't know if it will bear any fruit, but it couldn't hurt. We're in a better position in terms of the budget than we'd expected; we're actually getting a raise and they're hiring more positions, so it was a good time to ask, especially since they'll be doing the budget for next year soon. Turns out the committee that would make that decision is meeting tomorrow, so I should know by tomorrow afternoon.

I also put in an application with Walgreens as a pharmacy tech or photo processor. It's nearby and I think my knowledge of medical terminology would help (with the former); they don't require experience; they'll train. They ask for the last three jobs, which weren't in retail in my case, so I'm not sure if they'll call. I really do have a lot of experience as a cashier and merchandiser; I even helped run a comic store for a year, but it didn't really come out in the application and there was no 'what else do you think will help' section, unfortunately. Still, it's a foot in the door. And no, it wouldn't help to go to the store directly and fill out an application there...they direct you to a computer and have you do the same thing. :)

So, anyway, I'm in an apartment/job hunt mode this week. I'll probably blog somewhat sporadically, although I may have to let off some steam. Wish me luck.

I also helped Dwana pick out a dress for graduation. It was probably the fasted shopping experience the store had ever seen, but it's a beautiful bright blue dress that really brings out her eyes and is short enough not to trip over. And apparently it's comfy. Can you go wrong? :) I'll find her dresses, if she'll find me apartments.

I also remembered while working at my second job that I had to get my driver's licence renewed today. The sad thing, of course, is that I'll have the change the blasted thing in a week or so after I get a new address, and that's another 8 bucks. But, sure as anything, if I let it expire I'd 1) be pulled over for something and 2) have to go through some sort of rigamorole to get a new one. So it just seemed safer to get it done. Ironically, the picture of me is great, although the way they tend to blow up the face compared to the old style is a little unnerving. Oh, well.

Well, goodnight. I need to send an e-mail to my mom and let her know what's going on.