Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Thursday, September 30, 2004

You can help send books to Kosovo

Lexington Herald-Leader | 09/29/2004 | Teen refugee sending books to homeland

Ardena Gojani, a teen from Kosovo, is raising money to help libraries in her war-torn native land. She's trying to raise $5,000 to buy books and shop them to her hometown of Gjakova to help replace items burnt during the war.

How you can help:

Contact the International Book Project
1440 Delaware Avenue
Lexington, KY 40505 (USA)

Cheques should be made payable to the International Book Project, but with 'Kosovo Book Project' in the memo line of the cheque. Donations are tax-deductible.

The International Book Project also accepts donations of textbooks, encyclopaedias, and journals for shipment to 100 countries where such items are not easy to come by. I've used them, for example, to find a home for withdrawn texts that were out-of-date for the library's purposes but could be used to help medical personnel and their patients overseas.

Today's Blogsticker: No one wins

So how many weapons does that translate to?

Although I'm happy that the two Italian hostages were released unharmed after being kidnapped in Iraq, I find it disturbing that many in Italy don't apparently see anything wrong with paying a million dollar ransom, which essentially rewards the kidnappers and somehow I don't think it's going for humanitarian causes. How many others will die because of weapons or aid bought with that money?

I applaud the work of soldiers, aid workers, and those who are aiding the rebuilding of Iraq (although of course they wouldn't have to be rebuilding if the US hadn't gone and smashed it in the first place under questionable circumstances)...but, at the same time, they all made a choice to be there. (Well, maybe some of the soldiers from other countries serve under a draft, but ours don't, and even if ours did not choose to go to Iraq, they made the choice to serve in the military, and thus knew the risks.) For those in private business (truck drivers, construction workers, etc.) it is a lucrative move, risky but well-paid. I don't think anyone of them deserves to be kidnapped or beheaded. But I could see where the cycle of kidnap-ransom-return could prove fairly lucrative to the various militias and groups doing this. And I question whether Iraq is really being rebuilt or if it's become a staging ground for a lot of causes or oeconomic opportunities, where the people of Iraq pretty much lose.

It's admirable that the two women would like to return to the work they were doing in Iraq. But I don't see the climate changing anytime soon. I don't know where I'm going with this, but it just seems like a messed up situation on all sides, where the only winners are those with the highest might, and that's unfortunate.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Today's Blogsticker: Off to Hell

Despite my choice in bumperstickers (it was humourous, and I do sometimes feel like I'm being carried away by life around me), I'm having a pretty nice day, actually. I got some books on loan from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, one on writing for the library profession and one on web usability. I've taken care of several patrons today, gotten the books reshelved, filled the copier, and the library looks great. Tomorrow is payday at both jobs, and although most of it's going straight to rent, that means I should be able to get cat and dog food, some minutes on my phone, a little gas in the car, and some bread and peanut butter. At the moment we're out of everything. Friday I think I'll start the task of going through the back journal issues and reordering them, since it's jeans day and that involves lots of squirming around on the floor reordering piles of magazines.

I'm sorry for the lack of posting. I've been spending a lot of time where I'm needed, and not much time playing on the computer, or going to the library to blog. But some things are more important than my daily inane thoughts. Still, I'm trying to touch base a little each day (and check the Unshelved comic). :) Hope all is going fine in your neck of the woods (and if you're in Florida or Japan and are tired of being inudated with hurricanes, I hope the season comes to an end soon!) Take care.

Caught this whilst checking up on my library news

Library book '100 years overdue'

A man from Inverness bought the book in a South African flea market and brought it back to the library.

Cool--so long as it doesn't tumble into our endzone

Asteroid Toutatis to come closest to Earth since 12th century today

Unlike most asteroids, it tumbles like an American football rather than spinning on a single axis. This close pass will give scientists an opportunity to study it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Today's Blogsticker: Breathe

So much for getting a lot done last night. I went home and crashed and slept until this morning. But I needed it, especially after all that insomnia last week. So, I think I'll stick with unpacking and housekeeping a little every day instead. But the nice thing is I'm ahead of schedule, for once. :)

Monday, September 27, 2004

Bouncy, Bouncy

I was getting ready to go to lunch and D came in to let me know she was going to have to run some errands but wanted to pass on a job opening she and E had seen in this Sunday's paper. It's yet another job at the public library, but this one is at Eagle Creek, which is very close to where I live. I called, since I have a recent application on file and asked that I be considered. I haven't actually seen the advertisement yet, they hadn't put it up on their website yet, and it wasn't even in the online classifieds from the paper. So, I got in pretty quickly in the whole process and I think that's really great. Still haven't heard about the part-time positions, so maybe fate has other plans for me. Wish me luck!

An interesting link on women's health

Women's Health Matters Network: Resources

Today's Blogsticker: Naked

And on that note, one of the first things I did today was send an e-maili I'd received on 'how to be a terrorist and buy lots of guns from us' to the FTC's spam complaint line. Argh.

Ah, the dreaded 'worm in the brain'

I'm not particularly a Dave Barry fan, but another librarian indicated he'd mentioned MedlinePlus in his column, and it was hilarious. As to the pickle jar, let a nice single girl give you a hint: rather than wait for a he-man to arrive, take a case knife, knock it lightly around the lid to break the seal, then twist. Even I, with my puny wrists, can open a pickle jar that way. :)

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Today's Blogsticker: Religious Shit

I added the last one. Might as well jab at my own religion while I'm at it.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Today's Blogsticker: Political Shit

There you have it--American politics in a nutshell.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Gmail is causing privacy afficianados to froth

Gmail is too creepy

I recognise the issues involved, but I still use Gmail, even though I consider myself a tiny bit paranoid in terms of web security and rampant governments. There are features that make it worthwhile for me, and I know enough to know that no e-mail is truly ever private. But, on the other hand...if you're not doing anything illegal or embarrassing, then it shouldn't in theory lead to true horror, unless we fall into such a morass that they're setting up concentration camps, etc., at which point I would already be on lists and I could expect neighbours to rat me out anyway, right?

Granted, someday it might all come crashing down and I'll be quite wrong. But more than likely, pressure would shut down the company's initiative before it ever got to that point. IData-mining is an importatnt part of online business, and consumers sell their souls, to speak, bit by bit for the convenience every day. You have to get to a certain balance. And yes, we should educate people that the net isn't a secure place. I know I share a lot of personal stuff here, but I'm cognizant of the risks, too, and try to minimise them when I can.

On the other hand, I'm not going to feel much sympathy for a paediphile who has lots of pictures sent to a Gmail account and then, to his chagrin, he's busted. Nope, not at all. I suspect terrorists and other organised criminals wouldn't be so stupid, but let's face it, there are stupid criminals out there. I use my Gmail account primarily for busy e-mail lists. So, anyone looking at my records would see things I offered or took through FreeCycle, or what I talked about to various chatty librarians, or discussions on Roman religion. That's okay with me. They also all happen to be archived conversations at places like Yahoo!Groups and Topica, so they're just as open to scrutiny.

I have to admit...yes, there's a huge privacy issue with the net, but in some ways, it also keeps us a little more honest, or at least has that potential. People share a lot of private thoughts online, people up to no good are more likely to get caught, that kind of thing. There are records, far more than there used to be. In some ways it's easier to, say, hide an affair from your spouse, since people can get cell phones and pagers to use for scheduling their rendevousz. But it's easier to track when things do go wrong, say if a person is killed over the affair or disappears, too.

It's a very different world than it was not so long ago, that's for sure.

I was helping another librarian with some references on intersex

and found the following:

As Nature Made Him : The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl by John Colapinto. Perennial; (February 19, 2001) ISBN: 0060929596

Lessons from the Intersexed by Suzanne J. Kessler. Rutgers University Press, 1998. ISBN: 0813525306

Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex by Alice Domurat Dreger. Harvard University Press, 2000. ISBN: 0674001893

Intersex and Identity: The Contested Self by Sharon E. Preves. Rutgers University Press, 2003. ISBN: 0813532299

Intersex in the Age of Ethics (Ethics in Clinical Medicine Series)by Alice Domurat Dreger (editor). Publisher: Univ Pub Group, 1999. ISBN: 1555721001

An article examining a case, citing both the original and final results of the patient from the first book above.

Intersex Society of North America

Intersex Initiative FAQ

Celebrate Intersex Awareness Day: October 26, 2004

With my background in sociology, I'm obviously interested in gender identity and the social aspects of things. I've always thought the attempts by the medical community to 'reassign' gender were flawed, based on an incomplete knowledge of the complexities of the processes within the human body. But I'm lucky...I can look at it as an intellectual interest. I don't have to live with the consequences myself.

Those born into an ambiguous sexual state are stigmatised in a way few of us understand. Ironically, parents, health providers, etc., all worry more than a child about the 'abnormal' quality of his or her physicality. Many children, having never experienced what society considers 'normal'--say a facial difference or limb deficiency--adapt in ways that amaze adults. But because there is such shame and secrecy, it's so difficult to talk about openly, and there's also a huge risk that the patient will not be seen as a person, merely an extension of that ambiguous genitalia. Those with intersex conditions don't really fit most people's ideas of 'belonging to a group'. They are seen as neither one or another, yet they tend to identify with either male or female, but that identity can often be quite different from what science predicted. Even genes fail to tell the whole story, because some people may have multiple X or Y chromosomes, and even those who are XY are sometimes, due to their conditions, essentially girls in identity.

Additionally, some within the intersex population are transgendered, but not all transgendered people have intersex conditions, and they have very different needs in terms of health and emotional support.

I think as people become more aware of the issues invovled, they'll start to rethink their assumptions about a lot in life. I'm just glad it's starting to come out in the open, because in my experience in other areas it is the secrecy and shame that it far worse than any perceived abnormality. I think as our views of diversity grow, we'll begin to accept people more for who they are rather than what they are. Of course, there are a lot of pigheaded people who fear and loathe anything they don't understand, which usually turns out to be the rest of the planet, so we're far from some sort of universal harmony. :)

Ooh, nifty resource

Okay, it is limited to those of us who are members of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, but there's a Lending Library where you can request various titles for professional development.

I've requested Jakob Nielsen's Designining Web Usability and Walt Crawford's First Have Something to Say: Writing for the Library Profession, both of which I'd like to read but my position at the moment doesn't really justify buying them for the library, and I can't for myself.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love libraries and librarians? Really? I have? Well, you can never put too much emphasis on the wonder that is librarianship.

News to use

The TripDatabase, a medical research tool that searches medical literature, is now available for free to those in countries defined as low-income countries by the World Bank. This includes:

Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Dem. Rep Congo, Rep.
Cote d'Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana
Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Korea, Dem Rep., Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

If you're not in these countries, though, anyone can do a maximum of five free searches a week, which isn't bad.

Today's Blogsticker: We are Spirits in a Material World

(Yes, obviously I'm in a better mood. I got three hours' sleep yesterday evening, with CPAP, and felt gobs better, although a little groggy, needed more. I started enjoying music in the car again, for one, and this was all pre-meds. Then I took my medication, had a happy tummy from a burrito from Taco Bell (you should always take Paxil with something in your stomach, otherwise it can cause nausea) and then went on to bed for the rest of the night. So this morning my headache's gone and I feel like I still need a little rest, but that can wait for the weekend). I wasn't able to reach my mom, though, so I think I'll e-mail her today). :)

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Today so far

    The Good:
  • I woke up a very comforting kitty who was acting like a feline heating pad, always nice when you're cramping.
  • I've applied for two jobs today and I'm considering a third (it's in Louisville, which means a pretty heft bill for gas for a seminary position that may be full or part-time, doesn't list its salary range, and although I do have the required skills plus the added bonus of ancient language knowledge (Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, even) and a good grounding in religious studies (especially Hellenistic/Judaic/Christian) I'm not sure they'd like a Pagan employee).
  • I'm going to be able to pick of my medication tonight, yipee!
  • My mom called to check on me last night. I didn't get a chance to talk to her (I'd accidentally left the phone in the car) but I'll try to reach her tonight. Apparently we were on the same wavelength.
  • I got several things ordered for work, helped someone navigate an unusal copy job, and possibly helped negotiate a deal with Ovid so we can keep our institutional online access to our core journals. So it's been a productive day despite the fact that I'm not feeling so great physically. Which brings me to...

    The Bad...
  • I'm very, very tired (oh, hell, I'm exhausted). I haven't had more than 5 hours of sleep for days and can't seem to sleep when I have the opportunity. I think it's partly lack of meds, so that should improve.
  • Last night I was parked on a slope with the gas tank on the high end and couldn't get the car started when I went to pick a friend up. I was able, with his help, to walk down to a gas station and get a couple of gallons. I am now the proud owner of a 2-gallon gas can, or at least once I pay him back. It used to be you could just put a deposit on one at the station and bring it back. I'd put $5 in on Monday and another $1 yesterday, but to no avail. I think my gauge is a little wonky. The light does this thing where it comes and goes immediately after it dips below a fourth of a tank, and you just have to hope it doesn't dip too low. I'm thinking the intake to the fuel line must be situated oddly on a Taurus, because every change in level seems to make a difference. Note to self: Park on the street if the only place left on the parking lot is a 45-degree angle. :)
  • I managed to douse myself fairly thoroughly in the process, so since tonight was a worship night and I needed to bathe anyway, I had extra reason to get clean.
  • All I've had today is water and a few Hershey's Kisses, since I was out of most portable food at the house and haven't had much chance to cook some beans or something up.

    and the Ugly.
  • I'm having a very weird hair day. Maybe it was the gasoline. Maybe it was sleeping on it after the bath and not bothering to comb it. I'm not sure whether it's a good hair day or bad one, but it's rather ugly. :)

Still, I'm feeling better overall. I talked with D about some things that were stressing me out, and that always helps. Neither she nor E were up for the great gas adventure last night. Bless her heart, I did call her on the off chance I could just leave the car and get a ride home and she fell asleep whilst I was talking to her. :) But she helped pick up my mood today.

Well, that's all for now...I'm off to take out Cerys (so there won't be a repeat of contemplating walking five miles in the middle of the night to make sure my poor dog can go out) and maybe get my CPAP machine, in case I get the chance to nap later at a friend's. Yesterday I fell asleep during a brief wait, and caught myself snoring. So, I definitely need to take care of this deficit. Still, soon it will be the weekend and maybe I can play catchup. And in the meantime, I have a lot of love and caring in my life, and money stuff can be endured where the lack of such a caring environment can't, right?

Today's Blogsticker: A Stupid View of Feminism

I almost forgot today's blogsticker! I actually own a shirt with this one on it.

By the way, I love the current story arc in Unshelved, in which a man is fervently anti-libraries but the librarians are doing their best to help him. I particularly like:

Man: What is this, the Twilight Zone?
Dewey: No, a library. We don't have to like you to help you.

Good boys don't sexually assault the little old lady next door

CNN.com - Boy, 11, charged in sexual assault of woman, 76 - Sep 22, 2004

Outside court, his adoptive mother had this to say: 'I'm very hurt because my son was raised as a good boy.' She complained that police abused the boys to obtain confessions. What's her definition of good, the fact that he used a condom?

What is the world coming to, anyway? This has all the hallmarks of a 'Law & Order' episode.

A bit of humour to brighten what started out as a sucky day

Yahoo! News - Court Rules a Horse Is Not a Vehicle:

The dissenting opinion, by a judge with a sense of humour and quite a talent for rhyme:

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
but the Vehicle Code does not divorce
its application from, perforce,
a steed as my colleagues said.
''It's not vague," I'll say until I'm hoarse,
and whether a car, a truck or horse
this law applies with equal force,
and I'd reverse instead.

Personally, I'd rule that no, a horse isn't a vehicle. A vehicle doesn't drive around on its own when you let it. A car doesn't kick you when it's upset at a drunken lout, either. This would fall under public intoxication, as far as I'm concerned. But I do love the ditty. And to think, all those lawyers who have to quote the judge in other cases. In front of a courtroom.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

For what it's worth

I'm feeling a lot better (it's amazing what good company can do), except that I'm very tired and still can't sleep, so I'm borrowing someone else's Internet connexion and catching up a bit. I called the doctor's office earlier and my new prescription should be at the pharmacy, so that should help.

I've realised a few things the last few days:

  1. I miss my family--my mom and John and Ma. I miss being able to at least talk on the phone. I think it's time to go home for a visit, probably not this weekend, but at least next. I haven't talked to my mom since right after John had his heart attack, and my lack of a land line and minutes on my cell phone has meant I haven't been easy to reach. I may call tomorrow on the cell and then see if she can call me back at another number, since it's a local call for her (she has a special area plan), but not for me.

  2. After years of hoping to be special, and then realising it's better to just be myself, I realise I am, at heart, a little odd and have a somewhat different outlook on life than many of the people around me, and I also realise that I'm feeling a little isolated as a result. At some point, due to a wonderful mentor who managed to teach me a lot despite the fingers in my ear and the la-la-la-ing, I've acquired a somewhat more philosophical bent than most people and I'm more interested in nature and psychology and history and religion than what's in, say, the new season lineup. I also tend to look at things from a different cultural perspective than I once had, something so ingrained now you'd expect that I'd been steeped in it from birth, but really, it's only been about fifteen years. :) I can't really explain it, but it's left me sometimes being surprised by people I meet who don't think the same way. It's not necessarily superior, just different, and it's rather old-fashioned to boot. I read an interview in Newsweek with Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket, the children's book author), and it expressed my same sense of humour and outlook. I would do well conversing with him. But he's definitely an oddball, too. So, where do I find like-minded oddballs who aren't raging loons, at least here in central Kentucky?

    I also realise that there's only one person I know who's my age, and we have a few points of similarity but not a great deal of them. Everyone else seems either older or a good bit younger. But on the other hand, most people I encounter in their late thirties seem...so old. They have teenagers and mortgages and I'm still fresh out of college (the 15-year-plan) but with some of the maturity you gain when life bites you on the rump. I just don't know where I fit in anymore.

  3. I feel bad because although I'm happy for someone else's good fortune, I find that I'm also a little jealous because some part of me wants to be in a similar position, even though I'm conflicted over the whole idea and can't say that I'm willing to dedicate the same effort to obtain it. I'm not even where that goal could even seriously be pursued. Realistically, it's going to change things, although that's not bad in and of itself. I can't really go into it here, but I supppose some part of me feels like I just won't be needed or wanted as much, and I know that's silly, but it's still there, percolating underneath. I know that's just a very human reaction, but I have to admit, I'm a little ashamed by it.

  4. I feel just a little less connected to others lately and actually feel like being a hermit might not be so bad. But I'm not providing such good company for myself, either. I think a lot of it has to do with boredom. I just don't find my work particularly challenging, although I suppose you could say the rest of my life has been, although that's just underscored a lack of security. I'm hoping that one of the job prospects I'm being considered for will work out, and that will give me something to exercise my brain and skills more--plus give me some modicrum of security, too. I've tried filling in some of the lack by reading and studying, but that's just satisfying on an intellectual level. I need something that satisfies on all levels--professional, intellectual, emotional, whatever.

So, that said, I haven't had a chance to look up new jobs on Kentucky's library jobline, and I'm thinking maybe that would be better than moping about it. :)

An interesting article on ADD, Ritalin, questioning whether it's better

to have unmedicated kids with the full range of personality, or drugged kids that are easier to deal with but feel like they're in a fog.

Whose Prescription Is It, Anyway?

Medscape articles are available with free registration. I can relate. Fortunately, in my experience with Paxil, there's no 'over-medication' effect. I believe that the ideal drug is one that makes someone with abnormal brain chemistry normal. Period. Not zoned, not depressed, not fogged. The trick is finding the right combination, which seems to be different for each individual. They're learning all sorts of things about how differerent genetics mean a different response to psychotropic drugs. Maybe, someday, people won't have to waste time figuring out which is right, and doctors can just do a blood test.

Seems to me this young man needs some therapy to deal with the fallout of his treatment, though, and won't improve, really, until those feelings of resentment are acknowledged and he is given some control over his own life.

Didn't intend to go into a day of medication musings. Nor do I want anyone reading this (especially prospective employers) to think I'm a raging psycho. But I do find that my medication helps my ability to concentrate, allows me to have the full range of emotions without swinging one way or another, etc. Like the boy in the article, I sometimes feel that I have all these distractions all around me, and my medicine helps. I think in my case it has more to do with anxiety and OCD (where my thoughts just race inside my head, almost unknowledged, in a sort of paralysing spiral without my meds), but who's to say that ADD/OCD aren't somehow chemically similar? I was once sent for evaluation of ADD and they realised my blood sugar levels were off. Then they realised my serotonin ones were, too. (Incidentally, the two can be related, since serotonin interacts with things like hunger and the endocrine system can affect the neurotransmitters). I think one of these days we're going to realise that the things we call mental illness (certainly the Axis I) disorders are just like diabetes--controllable and physical, albeit with emotional clinical symptoms.

John really sums things up well

I did a quick check during lunch on John and found this: Cumisky...Life sucks

I'm worried about him. The other day, his dog died quite suddenly, due to a heart attack. I think it's caused his depression to deepen, and he's had some weird experiences and is considering entering a hospital to figure out what's wrong.

It seems like a lot of people are feeling worse these days. Maybe it's the turn of season, or the state of the world, or our own mucked-up brain chemistry. I haven't experienced depression to such a disabling, truly suicidal level myself. Years ago I had sucidal thoughts, emotional storms that later turned out to be panic attacks, and they scared me a great deal. I've suffered major depression, but I worked the entire time I was in the midst of my 'breakdown', and eventually things got much better, and I was able to deal with life's curveballs a lot better.

But I've seen it suck the joy, the wonder, the very substance of life from others, and it's hard just to watch in someone else. For the person dealing with depression itself, it seems like such a weight dragging one down like a maelstrom. It leaves you unprepared for dealing with every day's ups and downs. What can you do to help? There's no magic wand to wish it away, no 'getting them to snap out of it'. Medication and therapy may help, or not. Depression itself seems to be some huge ocean with waves the ebb and flow and crash against you, too, then suddenly, one day, it may calm and go away, and we don't really understand why...they just call it remission. And those of us on the periphery can just watch, and sometimes just be there as a reassuring presence. But still, I wish the remission would come sooner rather than later, because after years of endurance, I think it erodes away at the human spirit, and the solace of death looks more inviting. It's not a cure, of course--depending on your beliefs, suicide can put you at risk of eternal suffering, or in my case, doing the whole thing over again with variables and a more screwed-up life. It doesn't solve anything, really, but I have to admit, every day I'm afraid that someone I love will decide the pain is no longer endurable, but when someone deserves so much in life, you can only hope that, eventually, the joy, the colour, the breath of life will return without taking that final step. I know, when I suffered from a milder form of depression, that was the case. I can only hope that for those who suffer more deeply, that it will eventually get better, even if it takes a little longer.

If you are contemplating suicide, please consider getting help. Tell someone you love. Yes, it is a burden, to some degree, but if they care about you, they will see that you get what help can be given and hopefully see you through this dark time. Seek professional health. In most cases, depression can be treated. Depression almost always eventually lifts on its own; the trick is making sure the person lives through the course of the disease.

My own feelings lately are mild, a normal reaction to the season, my hormones, my medicine. I'm sure they'll get better soon, especially if I take care of myself by getting better sleep and spending some time to decompress. I owe it to myself, but I also owe it to those who rely on me. I just wish that there was some sort of magic wand for others who are truly suffering.

Today's Blogsticker: Conservatives

Trying to reach some sort of equilibrium on the equinox

listening to: 'Patterns' by Simon & Garfunkel (my theme song as a child; I was a very sad child--see below)
feeling: Abyssmal, but hopefully will improve

Happy Autumnal Equinox, for those on the north side of our rock in space (or Mabon, if you're so inclined). I'm sure Aussies and other Southerners are looking forward to spring. I saw something on the news last night where it was snowing on the last day of summer in Colorado. That would be a little annoying, but hey, it's the weather. You deal with it, and high mountains get snow. Maybe they just went skiing.

I haven't felt well physically or mentally the last few days, hence one reason for the dearth of posts (although I've tried to at least post something each day). Fewer posting opportunities are part of it. I miss my home Internet connexion and feel somewhat isolated without it. I didn't realise how much I valued the interactive aspect of being online. I went to UK's Young Library the other night, but found out that they only allowed students of UK/LCC after 10 pm (I guess faculty are screwed?) It's a security measure that makes a little sense, since they're trying to keep down assaults and people preying on students late at night. I did actually get to come in for awhile, since I am still on the rolls of the history department's grad students, even though I don't have an updated ID and haven't paid tuition. Since I was on campus to pick someone up later, I was grateful. No one really verified any of that, but, on the other hand, it's a new measure and I suppose I look like, well, what people think of when they think of librarians, not like what people think of when they think of serial killers (seriously, though, you know, they can look just the same--as Wednesday said in the Addams Family movie (the second one, I think), serial killers look like everybody else).

Part of it, too, is that if I were a Sim, I'd be a depressed Sim, because my little Social bar would be completely red. Most of the interaction I've had has been very superficial at best. D has been very busy (today is her 3rd wedding anniversary, yay!) and we haven't been able to talk more than a few minutes each day. We definitely need to plan something fun, but we haven't really had any money to go out to eat or something like that. Maybe we could just hang out together some night soon or spend some of the gorgeous weather at a park, but finding time when we're both free has been nigh on impossible. I'm also realising that part of it is that I'm at least mildly depressed, and I'm just not taking as much pleasure as I did in things I usually enjoy. The game and watching Charmed with a friend are about it right now for enjoyable social stuff, and I think that's because I'm totally occupied with the activity at hand. I know others out there dealing with much worse, but I think when people are all at a low ebb it's hard to help each other. I just don't feel like I'm doing so well at being emotionally supportive, because I'm distracted by what's going on in my own head, and I don't know how to snap out of it.

Which brings me to the album I'm listening to. It's my favourite of Simon & Garfunkel--Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, & Time. It starts with Scarborough Fair/Canticle (the Canticle part is very important--I struggled in the days before liner notes to get all the words down). I love every song on it...Dangling Conversation, Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall, A Poem on the Underground Wall (okay, maybe not great to listen to when you're depressed, since it's about a man throwing himself under a train, but Simon & Garfunkel's music always makes me feel better...their poetry and the music itself counteract the dark lyrics, and overall the music eases my mood). But my favourite, the one I clung to throughout my child, was Patterns.
The night sets softly
With the hush of falling leaves,
Casting shivering shadows
On the houses through the tres,
And the light from a street lamp
Paints a pattern on my wall,
Like the pieces of a puzzle,
Or a child's uneven scrawl.

Up a narrow flight of stairs
In a narrow little room,
As I lie upon my bed
In the early evening gloom.
Impaled on my wall
My eyes can dimly see
The pattern of my life
And the puzzle that is me.

From the moment of my birth
To the instant of my death,
There are Patterns I must follow
Just as I must breathe each breath.
Like a rat in a maze
The path before me lies,
And the pattern never alters
Until the rat dies.

And the pattern still remains
On the wall where darkness fell,
And it's fitting that it should,
For in darkness I must dwell.
Like the color of my skin,
Or the day that I grow old,
My life is made of Patterns
That can scarcely be controlled.

You know, in retrospect, I was a child dealing with a lot on my plate. I was both neglected and abused emotionally, violated sexually and betrayed by those who should have protected me, lived in an environment with a lot of upheaval, strove to escape through a rich inner fantasy life, suffering from anxiety and depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Most of the adults in my life were at best indifferent and at worst cutting every shred of my self-esteem out from under me. I was ashamed of a lot, and I blamed myself for everything. I was the human equivalent of a dog that has been beaten, who expects any loud noise to be the next blow and cringes in anticipation. Not surprisingly, I suppose, in my 20s, the main album I identified was Pink Floyd's The Wall. But I survived it all and now I'm just trying to be me.

Even after years of therapy, the strides I've made, the coherency I've established, I'm still putting that puzzle back together and hoping to feel whole. The depression I'm feeling now is so mild in comparison to what I once felt. But I suppose I'm afraid of spiralling back to that, even though my life has changed so much. I'm not that frightened little girl anymore, for one. But I still keep away from any real intimacy because not only have I been hurt too often before, but because some part of me still doesn't trust myself to protect me. I've come to realise it isn't that I'm not ready to trust others, it's that I still don't quite feel I can trust myself, even though I think from a more rational level that I can.

So I've been trying to work out some of those issues, use the skills I've learnt the last few years to support myself. So far, I think it's helped in the long run. But when you bring up those memories, examine the emotions, it's like lancing a boil...you can't just put it back into a box and close off awareness of it. It oozes and bleeds and is painful, and slowly it heals, leaving a scar.

[Caveat: I know the next little bit isn't really the 'ideal' from a medical standpoint. I would prefer to not have this going on, and I wouldn't recommend it to others, but sometimes you do what you need to.] The last week or so have been a little more difficult because of where I was in my menstrual cycle, and after somewhat unconsciously rationing out my medication for awhile (I checked--a 30-day supply was filled in early July) and now I'm out. Last night I was having some withdrawal, a really bad headache and I also had a panic attack, where I couldn't sleep, my mind raced, I just sobbed, felt like running away--or worse--but I just used my skills to embrace the anxiety and control it, ride it out, and then, like that, it was over.

I have had someone offer to get my medication for me, but currently it's $25 for my co-pay, and I'm not sure when I'd be able to repay him. I'm trying to rely more on my own resources and stretch them out rather than being too beholden to others (Yes, Y, the word you seem to hate :}). But...I did check with the pharmacy and I may have a solution. I take Paxil CR (extended release), but apparently there is not much clinical difference in effect between the CR and regular, which is now in generic form. We switched me to the CR when I was at the worst of my depression a couple of years ago, when I was having trouble waking up in the morning, because it needed to be sustaining throughout the day (Paxil has a short half-life). Since I'm just in a maintenance phase now, the regular would probably be fine. So I'm going to check with my doctor and see if he'll call in a new prescription. That takes it down to $7 a month, which is much more doable, and it's smarter than trying to stretch it out.

Just writing all this has made me feel better, and listening to the music, oddly enough. Now I think I'm going to get something to eat and get on with my day.

Take care.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Monday, September 20, 2004

Today's Blogsticker: Good

Not a standard bumpersticker, but something a friend and gifted philosopher taught me, something that seems particularly important today, as someone took offence that I described another as having a good heart, and she felt that I was saying she did not. That wasn't what I was saying, but I also don't think she sees things in terms of the above distinction. I do. I have spent years of my life both trying to overcome tendencies for apathy and to become a positive force for good, with mixed results. And unfortunately, intent is not enough; actions are. I'm sure a lot of fine Germans during World War II didn't intend to become accomplices to genocide, but it was those who actively tried to save Jews, who hid them, fought in resistance, or tried to assassinate Hitler and his officers [no matter for what reason intended], who actually did good in the end. Without that kind of courage, you're just part of the evil, no matter how much we'd like to rationalise otherwise.

And for those interested in such things (as I am) this is a really nifty site

USGS Earthquake Hazards Program-Home

Not only does it show earthquakes in the US, but it gives you recent ones around the world, and there are archives.

This was a sad story I saw over the weekend

Father's agonised choice saves one child, another dies

He could just have easily lost them both.

Throughout Ivan's wake, choices, some seemingly simple, made the difference in life and death. Some lives turned on three words, for example.

We had some flooding (and death) as a result of Ivan, followed of all things by an earthquake in the southeast of the state (our main fault line is in the southwest)

All I can say is, nature is a beautiful yet terrible thing, and anyone who thinks they can control it is a fool.

Oh, good grief

I don't generally trust everything I read unquestioned, but there are certain news organisations that have greater credibility than others. Even they are not immune to deception. So the story of the Bush documents that broke a couple of weeks ago may be true, may be faked, and I'm not sure anyone knows for sure.

CBS, Rather Apologizes for Bush Guard Documents

Which is why you write history awhile after the fact, and even then, it's tricky and subject to revision. Sigh.

TechnoUsability: How do the Presidential Campains Measure Up?

Bush vs. Kerry: Email Newsletters Rated (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Today's Blogsticker: Almighty Bumperstickers

Yes, I know, somewhat irreverent. But, I think those 'God is my copilot' are as well, and they're also just stupid. Plus, they're generally referring to some sort of narrow über-Evangelical view of God. For those of you not living in an area overrun by this sort of mentality (and I do, living in the Bible Belt), you'll find such gems as 'In case of Rapture, this vehicle will be empty'. I'm sure it's a nice sentiment, although I also think there are a few out there who might be suprised when the big day arrives. So, instead, I like:

and, given the terrible state of driving in the Commonwealth of Kentucky (which requires absolutely no training--it used to be 30 days on permit, no driver's ed required. Now they at least require six months of driving on permit):

and in response to the ubequitous 'What Would Jesus Do?' stickers:

Somewhere, there's people thinking that a Pagan making fun of those bumperstickers on a Sunday is going to get me sent straight to Hell. But then, if that's the case, they've got too much Devil and not enough God on their minds, and should really be looking themselves over instead, don't you think?

PS I checked this post, and had accidentally typed 'Dog' for 'God' on the first one. I don't think I'm dyslexic, but I seem to get that one wrong a lot, which is not good. Of course, one nice thing about recognising the feminine side of Deity is that I can't do the same to 'Goddess'. Silly English language. The Romans never had this problem.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Friday, September 17, 2004

Today's Blogsticker: Latin Vampire

(Never say 'bite me' to a vampire)


I'm off today, and waiting for a friend, so I'm over at the library blogging. I am enjoying electricity thoroughly...I have washed dishes, mopped, vacuumed, and had my first good sleep in over a week due to the CPAP.

We've had a couple of days of gentle rain with nice breezes thanks to the remnants of Ivan. The water's not high in our creek like last May, but I know some other people concerned about flooding. The mountains will be the worst, of course. But it's supposed to start clearing this evening.

Well, I know this is quick, but just wanted to say hi, and that I'm doing a little better (hot water can work wonders for your mood).

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

I want to know what's going on

I recently read a letter from the Social Security Administration explaining to a Medicare beneficiary that the state of Kentucky is no longer paying Medicare premiums for lower-income and disabled recipients, and therefore those premiums (in this case $66.60 per month, an appropriately unholy number) will instead be deducted from the monthly Social Security amount.

Is this happening across the board? And if so, why isn't it hitting the news? I can't find anything out there (granted it may be buried) on the Kentucky website, etc. I need to ask some other people I know on Social Security if they've received similar letters. Cosidering how low the monthly income tends to be and for many, that's the only income, this is going to really hurt our families. I know many already rely on other family members for basic necessities like food because the prescription drug issue is a joke.

And it's only going to get worse. Next year, the premiums are expected to be $78.20/month. In fact, our illustrious President is presiding over a 17% increase in premiums, the largest in Medicare's history, yet telling seniors (who make up a large voting bloc) that recent legislation is a boon.

I also wondering who made the decision in Kentucky, and why. I'm assuming it was someone in Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration (ironically, the governor, a Republican, is also a doctor).

Mind you, for many, it may seem a fairly small amount, but for seniors or disabled people who rely on this, that's a cut of nearly 10% worth of income.

So I'm wondering, by the time I'm 70 (because I won't be eligible until then), will there be a Social Security and Medicare, or will the whole thing just go back to the government as an insurance premium, or what?

I did come across this, Families USA: Families USA-Shortchanged, which talks about how the buy-in that was legislated in the late 1990s didn't necessarily reach everyone it was meant to cover.

Anyone know more about this issue or can point me in the right direction? I'm really tempted to call up the local ABC affiliate that does investigations in the kind of thing and let them loose on the politicians.

Ooh, I hope Sharon and Terry will be okay

My aunt and uncle live in Bainbridge, Georgia, not far from Tallahasee, Floriday. Right now, they're slightly to the right of the projected path of Hurricane Ivan, but you never know how exactly it'll hit until it does it. And my cousin Steve is in Mississippi, but I'm not sure which town.

Regardless, it looks like most of Alabama is going to be hit. Eventually what's left is supposed to get up to us, although by then it shouldn't be too bad, since we're far enough inland.

So, good luck to all of you in its path.

Today's Blogsticker: Change

She seemed, in essence,

just an ordinary girl, a little plain, a little plump, still quite young at 22, and working a minimum wage job at a convenience store that barely covered her car payment. The kind of girl-next-door trying to live life as best as she could, with a unique spirit (as we all have) that is now only a memory. The baby of the family, her father sobbed on television, crying for the senseless loss of a child gunned down in broad daylight during a robbery. His home was modest, his family obviously not well off, but giving the sense that they'd held out through other crises. And now this.

Who knows what she might have become? What sort of desperate insanity causes someone to walk into a store at a busy intersection with a sawed-off shotgun and shoot the employees? It doesn't sound like they were resisting. He'd sent them into a cooler. Why not just take the money and run? Why did Ashley Cason, who'd moved to first shift from the more dangerous third and was in a store with two other employees and a customer, die, when the others didn't? It's a tragic intersection of lives, and I suppose it's always fascinated me how a couple of moments can change or end a life. But I can go on with mine; Cason's father only lives a block away from where his little girl died, and that store will haunt him. Dwana told me that the news she watched said it was her last day there, and that her mom was coming in later that day to work. What a difficult time this will be for her family. So sad, and we seem to have had so many more shootings than normal this year already.

I don't often get a chance to watch the news, but I did last night, and there was something about the girl that I felt a kinship. Maybe it was a slight resemblance between us from when I was that age. Maybe it was my own experience in working with dead-end jobs and wanting something better in life. But for whatever reason, I felt a stir of empathy with the girl, with her father. If I'd just stopped for gas, I don't know if I would have had the same reaction; it's not like you get much interaction during a simple transaction. She seemed the type of girl who would chat with a customer, friendly and open. That was my impression. Next week or after that there will be some other clerk in her place, and life will seem to go as normal. But store regulars will remember, and of course her family and friends.

I've often thought that if we could just peek into another person's life for a day, we wouldn't kill each other, or hate, or take stupid chances. (Well, maybe there are a few society want want to remove because they'd just be so wrong inside, but we'd know it up front). But overall I think we have more similarities than differences. We just want a decent life for ourselves and our children. We want to raise families without too much tragedy or grief. I think we'd appreciate that unique personality, the struggles, the humour inside each person better if we could do that. That's one reason I like blogs. You get little slices of people's lives that flesh out other humans beyond a face, a name. When I was in high school I can remember sitting in English class wishing I can embrace the minds around me, know them intimately, know what they were thinking. In retrospect, you can know too much sometimes, and there are some things that should remain private. But reading blogs is the closest I can come to seeing all sides of the human experience.

And if you're like me, and you get the same thing out of blogs, consider Ashley Cason, her life, and death, and what potential might have been extinguished. The sad thing is there are probably lots of people who saw the story as a mere blip (it wasn't even the 'big story' or lead for the night, a prison uprising got that slot). They might looked down on her for all I know. But the inherent worth of a person isn't in what she makes, or what kind of car she drives, or anything like that. It's her essential character, it's her potential, it's how she treats others. I didn't know this young woman well enough to judge that, but I do know, given her youth, she had so much ahead of her, but fate (and a criminal with a gun) ended that.

Store employee killed in robbery

Man arrested, charged with murder in robbery

PS They said today (updating 9/16) in the paper that she'd decided to leave the convenience store and that she only had an hour and a half left of work before she'd be finished with the job. It's amazing how things can change so quickly.

Her Obituary (with links to a guest book)

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


You can finally search the Lexington Public Library's catalogue by location (branch)!!!!

Okay, maybe only a library geekazoid would find that exciting. But since I live right across from one of the branches, I'd like to be able to check what's there.

Actually, the whole website got upgraded along with the catalogue. Check it out at: Lexington Public Library. And if you're over in the Versailles Road area Saturday, the new Village Branch is having its grand opening.

Okay, I'm kind of selling out

I've added some text ads at the bottom of the sidebars, where hopefully they won't bother anyone if you don't want to click, but if you feel so inclined, I might actually get a bit of revenue from it. I doubt it'll make me a millionaire, but given my recent lack of money, it might at least give me something to eat on. Thanks.

Today's Blogsticker: Life

listening to: 'I'm Like a Bird' by Nelly Furtado, 'Collide' by Howie Day
feeling: A bit glum

T-2 days until electricity, T-1 till I get some money on my cell phone, so the abject poverty (as opposed to just normal lack of money) is almost over. I survived traffic school last night. I didn't really learn anything new per se, but it helped to be reminded of a few things, and there were some interesting anecdotes. I came out of there so OCD about my driving that I slowed down for green lights and signalled far too much in advance. I'm back to my normal decent driving today. Before the class, I got a lot of reading done on some of the options for carpal tunnel release and also got the first chapter of the Introduction to Logic class from MIT read. I also released my second book through BookCrossing at Kentucky Inn last night, right before traffic school.

I've lost a total of 26 lbs since July, not so much for trying but a combination of being a little mindful in the beginning and not having the money for junk later. But I have to admit, I feel better for it. I brought in some Slim-Fast for lunch today, not because I'm trying to lose weight, but because it's fairly balanced with vitamins, etc.

I've had a lot of puckish sense of humour moments, both my own and those of others, and generally I'm okay, but I'm just a little down. I did relent last night and let the animals sleep with me, so I may be a little tired; I didn't sleep as well, but it was worth it for the company and cuddle factor.

We had this e-mail floating around today and I'll include it. I think it's one of the reasons I'm a little down. I don't have a lot of good memories of high school and college. Feel free to leave your own answers in the comments.

1. If you could build a house anywhere, where would it be? Aberystwyth, Wales

2. What is your favorite article of clothing? A much-washed, much-bedraggled purple sleep shirt

3.a High School Memory? Well, I can't leave it at just one...here are the high or low points: Being dragged out of bed at 4:00 am to be initiated into FHA; Eating graham crackers and Duncan Hines frosting for lunch with Deana; Opening my locker to find fish guts in my biology book; Putting a fire out in organic chemistry lab by blowing it out after lugging the fire blanket over to the ring assembly as 'Burning Down the House' played; Having my entire body from the mid-back down fall asleep from leaning against a concrete wall during lunch whilst reading; Enjoying the wonder that is matrix algebra; Being called 'Orez' (zero spelt backwards) by a guy who in retrospect probably had a crush on me; Travelling about for academic bowl; Watching Mr Cottrell (the basketball coach) run his hands through his hair as he taught me to drive with his knees folded nearly to his face because it was a bench seat and hitting the brakes on his side the whole way, then, once he found I'd never been behind the wheel, weakly pointing to a church parking lot and croaking 'pull in here'.

3.b College Memory? Getting my thumb trapped in the hinge of a car door on an icy February night after going out to watch Beverly Hills Cop. After the girls started panicking, we ran over to UK's ER, me holding my thumb in place just in case. Being afraid they wouldn't treat me because I was just 17 and didn't know how to reach my mom at work. After much X-rays and debates over stitches (and much Dynasty for the girls waiting), I was sent home with a pressure bandage.

4. The Last CD that you bought/burned? Live, V.

5. Where is your favourite place to be? A friend's bedroom. It's very soothing, it has a couch, and his cat comes over and sits on me, starts purring, and I fall right to sleep.

6. Where is your least favourite place to be? Anywhere near crowds and clowns. Oh, make that Hospital Day. :)

7. What is your favorite place to be massaged? Wrists. They hurt a lot these days, and cramp up into my shoulders.

8. What is most important, Strong in Mind or Strong in Body? Strong in Mind. Which is good, since I don't think Strong in Body is ever going to be the case for me.

9. What time do you wake in the morning? About 9-9:15 am on weekdays, 10-10:15 am on weekends; i.e., about 45 minutes before I have to be anywhere. (Hey, I know it's late, but that's what happens when you have screwy work hours).

10. What is your favorite kitchen appliance? Quisinart. Which I don't have, but I love playing with someone else's.

11. What makes you really angry? Being treated like I'm stupid or worthless.

12. If you could play an instrument? I am instrument-challenged, but I can sing. I'd like to play the Celtic harp, but I'd settle for being able to do the Mountain Dulcimer.

13. Favourite Colour? Purple

14. Which do you prefer, Sports Car or SUV? Neither. Both are asinine. I prefer an electric-gas hybrid, such as the Prius or Honda Civic.

15. Do you believe in afterlife? Yes, and life again.

16. Favorite Children's Book? The Dark is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper.

17. What is your favorite season? Spring

18. If you could have one super power, what would it be? Manipulate things on a molecular/atomic level. You could do practically anything, with incredible ability to heal or destroy.

19. If you have a tattoo, what and where is it? I don't have one. I can't get past the 'but what happens when I'm old and wrinkly?' bit.

20. Can you Juggle? Only when the 'stars are right'.

21. The one person from your past you wish you could go back and talk to? Me. I'd love to slap some sense into myself and undo some of the damage before it happened.

22. What is your favorite day? Sunday, because I get to save the world from extradimensional horrors (or, play in a roleplaying game).

23. What's in the trunk of your car? My laundry (from Thursday, groan). A car emergency kit with everything from first aid, jumper cables, air compressor, flashlight, to coupons for free road service). My spare. Another spare (full-sized, extra tyre)--can you tell I've had bad luck with cars and want to be prepared? Windshield washer fluid. Ice scraper. Map and tools folder. Caddy.

24. What do you prefer, Sushi or Hamburgers? Um. Neither, really, although I can handle cooked or vegetable sushi. Wasabi, however, is wonderful. And I have bad associations with hamburgers beyond the whole dead cow thing.

25. Who did you receive this from? C first, I think.

Today I have a computer to fix, but I also have something great to look forward to...Charmed's season premiere. So, we'll see how the rest of the day goes. :)

Um, how do you rinse LIVE crickets???

I was looking up what crickets eat for someone and came across this recipe for making cricket snacks from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency:
25 live adult crickets
4 squares of semi-sweet chocolate
Rinse the crickets, pat them dry and freeze them for half an hour until they're dead. Once they're dead, take them out of the freezer and pull off their legs and heads. Then, put them in an oven set at 250 degrees until they're crunchy (about 15 to 20 minutes). While the crickets are baking, melt the semi-sweet chocolate in a double-boiler (keeps it from burning). Once the crickets are done, dip them in the melted chocolate and put them on a sheet of wax paper so the chocolate can set. Then, once they've cooled off, invite your friends over for a treat!

I like crickets too much to eat them, and I'm not sure of the pesticide levels in wild crickets, but I understand they're a good source of protein, although not kosher. :) Oh, and in case you're interested, crickets pretty much eat anything, and apparently hang out in bathrooms due to the moisture.

Monday, September 13, 2004

T-3 days and counting

listening to: 'Stairway to Heaven' by Led Zeppelin, 'Black Jack Blues' by Fleetwood Mac
feeling: Mellow (see abovementioned song) :)

Till I get my electric back on. This is the longest I've ever been without electricity, including storms, cutoffs, and camping. Some things I've learnt from roughing it:

  1. I could tell even from outside the apartment when the electric went off. It's actually somewhat soothing, as being around electricity there's always a little hum or whine I just get used to, and it was totally still. Those big transformers make me positively jumpy.
  2. Sleeping is still hard without a CPAP, but your body does eventually adjust, especially if you banish all animals out of the bedroom. (I'm allergic to them, and Spock has an annoying habit of trying to sleep on my face. Not bad when I have a mask and fresh air (it's like SCUBA for your bed), but not good otherwise. Of course, this means they're all pining, because they can't cuddle up with mom.
  3. You can sit in the bathroom (no windows) and just imagine being in a cave, it's that dark, without even light coming under the door. But there must have been infinitesmal bits, because I could just make out the corners. Having been down in Mammoth Cave when they turned the lights out, it's quite different, really. The cave is almost...thick, sliceable darkness, and you can feel the weight of the earth above you. But sitting in the bathroom, I could be in the dark and contemplating for longer than they kept us in the dark at the cave.
  4. The worst thing is the cold water in the shower. But, on the other hand, you're more likely to be to work on time because there's no reason to linger.
  5. Cell phones are excellent for alarms. Even if it goes off to conserve power, it will come back on to give you the alarm. And if your cell phone runs down, a PDA is a great back-up.
  6. I love listening to music in my car. The sound system is better than at the house, and of course I can't listen at home anyway at the moment.
  7. I discovered cats can be afraid of the dark. I couldn't figure out why Darius was going on the kitchen floor (very difficult to clean by flashlight) even though I gave him brand-new (albeit cheap clay) litter. Then it occurred to me that even cats need a little light to work by, and I moved one of the boxes out to the kitchen. Problem solved. Good boy!
  8. It is really hard to study by flashlight. And even more than the computer, I miss being able to read, and candlelight just isn't enough. I have a greater appreciation for pioneers and people away from electric grids. Plus, I'm getting all synchronised to the sun, which is a sort of added benefit when you're Pagan.
  9. I also have a much greater appreciation for my apartment, and once I get the power back on, I plan to finish unpacking and get everything in order.
  10. It's amazing what a treat television elsewhere can be when you don't have TV or electricity. And how much it can let you down that nothing's on. Still, I got sucked into a 'what happened to the kids from 'Diff'rent Strokes?' show. Sad.

All in all it hasn't been that bad. The lack of phone has actually been worse, because people can't reach me when their work schedule changes, or to check up on me, or to chat. I can at least get a little money on my cell phone this week, although I think it'll be awhile till I can get the phone back on at the house.

But, there's a lot worse out there, and it'll just mean I'll appreciate it more when things are better, right? :)

Meanwhile, I'm off to the station for more work and then to the exciting fun of traffic school (although I feel a lot better about it now than I did last month, when I had to reschedule. Of course, I'm also not puking my guts out.)


Today's Blogsticker: Dealing with Crazies

listening to: 'How Soon is Now?' by the Smiths
feeling: Happy

Okay, there's a bumpersticker I didn't plan on incorporating. But...

Friday night, I had some drunken college student lean out of a car (I had my window cracked, rather than fully down, at least), going:
Ma'am, ma'am...I just want to tell you, whatever you do, don't vote for John Kerry. It would be a big mistake.

I have no idea why...I don't have a Kerry sticker on my car or anything. Maybe I just looked like a Democrat? Maybe he just was being an ass and didn't care who he was talking to. I wasn't about to get into a shouting match with a drunken Republican at a stop light. But I'm afraid I did make a very unladylike gesture as I drove away, which very much surprised him.

Then, on Sunday, the Deborah called over right before the game (she used to play in it and no doubt expected we'd be there)--you know, the crazy woman I had written about earlier. The caller ID listed a cell phone with a 606 area code, so I was pretty sure it was her, so I answered. She was all perky, asking me how I was. I told her I was fine, but I didn't see where it was her business, since I hadn't seen or talked to her in 5 years, and asked her why she was calling. 'Oh, I just wanted to check on you,' which was, of course a lie, because when she asked why I didn't seem happy to hear from her, and I explained, she got very defensive, asked for specifics (which I'd already given her), then said she said well, I actually called to speak to...at which point I told her I didn't think he was available (he was standing there, but didn't want to talk to the psycho either), and then she said that she really wanted access to his library, not him.

So, she's been calling because she wants a book? Mind you, he wouldn't let her borrow books even when he saw her frequently, and now she wants a book????? I suggested she use a public library. She was still playing all coy and just couldn't understand why we weren't being more helpful. I pointed out that if she didn't understand, then she was still crazy, and we didn't want to talk to her. Then I told her goodbye, hung up, and my friend call blocked the number.

I was firm, assertive without being bitchy, fairly polite (all things considered), and used every ounce of backbone I've been growing over the last few years, and it felt really, really good. :)

Ah, it draws closer

Noah Wyle's The Librarian coming to TNT December 5th.

Granted, the write-up plays a little into the librarian stereotypes, but I'm still impatiently waiting for the movie, and I hope it might wind up as a series. Noah Wyle's character, 'Flynn Carsen is an unlikely hero, a man who has multiple master's degrees but has never held a job.' (I can relate, with all those years of academia and little employability). He has landed the dream job of all librarians...he takes care of a secret depository under the New York Public Library with items such as Excalibur and The Ark of the Covenant, akin to the archives in Indiana Jones and X-Files. :)

Some tips on standardising the design of your (library) website

The Need for Web Design Standards (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Today's Blogsticker: Leather

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Today's Blogsticker: Human Condition

Today is a day for remembrance. Here's a site that has some of the remarkable stories of that clear almost-autumn day three years ago.

I suppose, that by Camus' standard, I err on the fool's side. I don't believe in a perfect world where we can all get along famously. I'd like to think it's possible, but humanity embraces just as much error and greed and violence as it does wonder and creativity. We will always struggle with some seeing themselves better, entitled. There will be gaps between rich and poor. There will be people willing to kill for what they want.

But I do hope for a more general recognition that we are, in essence, brothers and sisters, one where people do strive to do and be good, where the less fortunate are cared for rather than reviled, the elderly are respected rather than shunted away, where no one dies from negligence or abuse, and diplomacy is used to the upmost before any shot is fired.

Does that make me a fool?

Friday, September 10, 2004

Today's Blogsticker: Reality

Doing pretty well today. I have clean laundry (yay, and thanks to Dwana. I slept a little better last night, especially with clean sheets (better for my allergies), although I'm thinking my bedroom is going to have to stay dog-free and cat-free until I can use my CPAP again. Spock got unceremoniously ejected this morning after repeatedly trying to sleep on my face.

Tomorrow is September 11th. Wow, that it's been three years. Our paper made it sound like hardly any commemoration is being done here, but I think people will choose to remember in their own ways. I know I will. On the other hand, it's about time the politicians and media stopped hyping everything up with images of that day, and let people mourn in peace.

Someone at work said that things must be going really well for me, because I seem so happy. I laughed, explained that no, they were really not, but that I'd reached a point where no amount of feeling sorry or depressed was going to really help the situation, and that there are a lot more people dealing with a lot of worse things. I'm sure somewhere somone will happen across the last week or so of writing and go, 'stupid American cries because she doesn't have electricity when my people live like that all the time.' I try to keep that in mind. There are a lot of people in darker places than I am. At least I have good friends, decent health, and a healthy outlook on life--that's worth way more than money. And, really, I think it's important for people to go through tough times, because it makes it easier to sympathise with those less fortunate. It also helps us grow as individuals. So I guess, despite everything, I'm okay.

I'm not sure if I'll be able to blog over the weekend; hopefully I will. The library in Lexington is closed today for an upgrade to their system, but they should be open this weekend. But if I don't get back on here, hope your weekend goes well. I'm going to 'post-ahead' the next couple of blogstickers, just for fun.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Well, it did finally happen

Yesterday, when I came home, the power was off. Also, the cheque I'd been waiting for from the medical reimbursement had not arrived. I went on over to a friend's house and called work for the number of FlexBen (the company for reimbursement), and after bouncing around several places, I wound up tranferring over to Dwana, who was kind enough to track it down for me.

Turns out they never got my fax, even though the transmission did go through okay and I got a verifying report. :( This means no cheque is on the way, I have to dig around in my purse (I'm carrying my satchel now) to figure out what I did with the paperwork, and resubmit. It also means that the earliest I can expect it will be about the time I get my two paycheques, and the dire need will have expired.

On a positive note, a friend got me some cat and dog food, so the animals are in good shape. I was even able to squeeze some regular cat litter out of the amount, so they have clean litter, although Darius isn't particularly impressed.

Also on the food front, yesterday I wasn't going to eat lunch, but Dwana gave me a couple of dollars and I got a little tuna, cottage cheese, a couple of pieces of bread, an apple, and Cheetos. Later I had some peanut butter sandwiches over at a friends, and then he took me out to eat a Perkins last night. Today I remembered to bring the talipia fish and brussel sprouts I'd had in the freezer and the and yams I had in the fridge. I fixed some of the fish in the microwave with some of Upsorn's yummy Athenos basil pesto dressing (she keeps it for general consumption amongst the group) and had it and the yams, then scraped enough change out of my pocket for a roll. All in all, I've had much better meals in the past 24 hours than I have in awhile. And, I realised I still had a coupon for a free loaf of bread from Great Harvest, so that and peanut butter and the stuff I brought in to work should keep me for awhile.

The only truly bad thing about last night was not really being able to sleep. First, I'm used to the CPAP, and I also keep a fan on me at night, and neither of those were possible. I forget how awful my allergies get without the mask. Also, Cerys and I were both kept awake by fleas. I finally moved out to the recliner this morning around 7am and slept much better as a result...I'm definitely going to do that tonight.

Otherwise, despite the fact that this is the lowest I've been, well, probably ever, financially, I'm doing okay. It's only for another week, after all. Then I can get the electric back, get some money on my phone, take care of the fleas, hopefully, that kind of thing. In the meantime, I'm getting a dish drainer through FreeCycle in a bit and doing laundry/spending time with Dwana tonight, so that's pretty nice.

Odd thing about yesterday: a woman we hadn't heard from in 5 years called out of the blue, apparently both at the office (but didn't leave a message) and at a friend's. I'm not exactly sure why; usually in the past she called due to major anxiety issues or when she was on various meds. But, she was one of the craziest people I ever knew--and I've known some doozies--and it sounded like she was her old, borderline, psycho self. Since I've spent that amount of time divesting myeself of crazy people (and a good bit of my own craziness), I don't really feel like talking to her. I'm glad for the warning. But Deborah, if you happen to be reading this, um, well, there's a reason why people call blocked you. You were a lying, treacherous person who sucked the life out of everyone around you, who manipulated just to stir up trouble. You tried to interfere with a committed relationship, get between them and break them up. You obsessed on people in an almost stalking kind of way. You were extremely attention-seeking. You threw up in my backyard (because you didn't want any of us to hear you in the bathroom; I'm assuming due to bulimia) but then denied it, even though we heard you anyway. You threw a wrench into the game, totally ignoring the premiss and causing all sorts of problems. You poisoned several people at the game (although that may have been an accident--thank goodness I don't care for pasta salad). The guys wouldn't be alone with you in the same room because it was quite possible you'd cry rape. Actually, most of us tried to keep a witness on hand. That's not friendship. That's toxicity. Funny, I've had other relationships with toxic people, and I could always remember something good--even with the guy I married. Not so in your case. And the only reason we didn't end things sooner was that we thought it was our duty to help you. The sad thing is I could never tell if you believed the lies you told, or just didn't care about anyone else. I admit that you might have changed, especially if you've gotten counseling. But otherwise I don't think any of us really are up to chatting, and I'm just glad I got some warning before you called me at work. As far as we're concerned, we hope that you will have a long, happy life far away from us, like, say in Taos. I doubt that death cult is still after you, since I also doubt it ever existed.

Friendships tend to 'happen'. People click. But I've noticed that the best friends are people who aren't afraid of seeking professional help and who aren't completely self-centred. I think I'd like to keep my friends (and even acquaintances when possible) coming from that category, and I'm in it as well, and hopefully have learnt to be a better friend, too.

What's your library doing on September 11?

Libraries participating in a special remembrance project will stay open to celebrate democracy, citizenship, and patriotism.

Libraries Remember

The September Project

Libraries to stay open all night to remember Sept. 11

Today's Blogsticker: Feminism

More Fallout from Released Records Re: Bush's Stateside Service

Democracy Now! | Shirking Duty in a Time of War: Documents Reveal Bush Received Special Treatment in National Guard

Bush's Guard Record Raises Credibility Questions

New Bush military memos released

I can't really blame someone for wanting to avoid going to VietNam. If I'd been a guy of the right age, I'd definitely have stayed in school for as long as that was possible. I very well might have gone to Canada. I don't know. I definitely wouldn't have supported the war in Southeast Asia, although I've always had the upmost respect for those who did serve. I've listened to the tapes my father made in Pleiku, the statistics, the emptiness in his voice. I never heard the one my mom destroyed, the one with mortor fire where you actually could hear it in the background (I'm not sure, but it may have been the time he was wounded by shrapnel). My stepfather, John, served during VietNam, also in the Air Force, but he put in for a long assignment, and of all things they sent him to Panama. But he could just as easily wound up in the Asian theatre. And he fufilled his commitment and went on to eventually retire from the service, too.

I guess coming from a background where most everyone had fathers in the service for their entire careers, I'm not used to thinking of soldiering as something people do for a few years and go onto other things, or part-time. But my understanding has always been that each time you sign up, or 're-up', in the military, you're making a commitment that if you do not fulfill (as in, go AWOL-Absent Without Leave), you can be prosecuted, or, in wartime, even shot for desertion.

But...it's a different matter entirely when strings are pulled based on your connexions to get out of the most dangerous assignment--a war where thousands are dying, particularly those who were too poor to be in college, or a minority, etc. Oh, sure, there were people who were gung-ho to go, and a lot who volunteered out of patriotism. A lot volunteered to get some control over where they might go, too. But a lot of men were drafted, and had no choice, and no powerful connexions to help them along. Granted, the military is a lot about hierarchy and connexions, but even more so, it's about skill and service, a forum where a sharecropper's son can, theoretically, work his way up to a good pay level and high responsibility.

The least a person who did get those sort of strings pulled for them could have done was be where he was supposed to be, follow all the rules, and serve out his entire assignment. Anything less shows either a great flaw in character, cowardice, some sort of underlying issue (was he drinking then, for example...or, if he were working on campaigns, did he get proper permission?)

I don't know the truth, but there are those who do. As much as I think Kerry sometimes over-emphasises his service, he at least went. He was there. He touched lives. What did George W Bush do while he was supposedly serving his country? I think we have a right to know. And I think the men and women who are serving in Iraq--and their families--have an even greater right to know.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

:( :)

listening to: 'Shadows' by Simon & Garfunkel
feeling: Slightly frustrated

None of my posts today have been showing up...that is, they're making it to my area in blogger, but the whole publishing thing seems to be wacked. Hopefully it's a temporary issue.

I lost my internet connexion at home last night, so even if I do have electricity, I can't blog from home for awhile. But that's okay. As Schwarzeneggar would say, 'I'll be back'. In the meantime I have a few other places, including the library across from my house to blog from. Gods bless libraries.

Still, I'm feeling pretty good today, despite the gloom (we're getting ragged bits of what's left of Frances, which may explain why Cerys' arthritis was bothering her yesterday). It was really nice to just take a night off and read. I finished the book and brought it back to my co-worker today (I think she was a little surprised).

So, I'm assuming you'll eventually see this post. Hope you're all having a good day.

Well, drat

Capsule from Genesis Space Probe Crashes in Utah Desert

Genesis Space Mission Ends in Disaster

Curioser and curioser

CNN.com - Lawsuit uncovers Bush Guard records

Can you believe that they're having to tell kids to get 5 hours of exercise?

But it's nice to know that they're starting to think maybe being active is more important than being thin.
Studies Add to 'Fat-but-Fit' Debate for Women

Today's Blogsticker: Money

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

I'm obviously blogging like a maniac

because I still have power and I'm not sure that will last. I broke down the offending boxes so that I shouldn't trip in the night. Cerys isn't feeling too well...I think she's having a spell with her arthritis. I gave her some carefully rationed Rimadyl, despite several attempts for her to spit it out, and wrapped her up nice and comfy. This morning, I figured she'd be on the couch when she wasn't in bed, but she was on the floor and I startled her when I went to step off that side. Now the other side is clear, so hopefuly tomorrow won't be a repeat. The cats, however, are on the couch; they love the poofy back.

I'm eating some red beans and rice and checking e-mail, etc. I did exchange e-mail with the lady from the library and they had gone ahead and posted a couple of the positions for clarification's sake, but I am in the running and will be notified when the final decisions are made. I hate to sound neurotic, but a lot of times placed don't let you know any more that a position has been filled. The only thing worse than getting a rejection letter is nothing at all. Anyway, I'm still being considered, woo-hoo, and there are a couple more openings to apply for in the area, too.

Meanwhile, Cerys has been roused by the clinking of my spoon on my bowl, and is already seeming more perky. I gave her the medicine about an hour ago. Nice.

And, to top off the red beans and rice, I have the newest Sookie Stackhouse novel borrowed, so I think I'll sit in the recliner and read that for awhile and just keep the animals company. :)

This is just too nifty for words (pun intended)

The Visual Thesaurus, a Dictionary of the English Language

Someday, I will have a DVD player and the money to feed it

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Seventh Season Comng Soon

Oh, and if you happen to have not seen season 7, don't read the reviews, as there are plenty of spoilers.

I think I oscillate between the 7th circle (those impure thoughts and depression) and purgatory

and even occasionally limbo.

I re-took this as part of a poll over on the Curmudgeony Librarian site.

I don't know if I'm finding redemption or do too much rationalising of my past. :)

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)Low
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Low
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Divine Comedy Inferno Test

Although if St Peter agrees and I eventually wind up in Paradise, there will be a lot of pissed off Christians wondering why I got let in. :) So far we seem a lustful lot, but not particularly greedy or treacherous. You can view the results without taking the poll by clicking on 'View Stats' at the bottom of the poll page. It has a nice bar graph.

Christopher is also running a Tournament of Champions

I chose Ninjas over Pirates, Dinosaurs over Nazis (most did),Samurai over Cowboys (way cooler), Werewolves over Hockey Players, Vampires over Rednecks (well, at least they're necks are easy to get), Zombies over Wrestlers, Vikings over Rappers (pleeassse!), and Civil War Soldiers over Mafia Guys. Okay, the Mafioso would probably win. But could they survive maggots in their legs for days?

From J, with permission

listening to: 'Richard Corey' and 'A Most Peculiar Man' by Simon & Garfunkel (believe it or not, these keep me from getting too depressed, despite the fact that both involve suicides)
feeling: Pretty decent, all told

Well, Dr W hasn't seen me in awhile, so he can't send anything. I could see if Dr N could, but at this point if it's already off, a letter won't get it back on. Instead, I think I'm going to go home, check if my medical reimbursement is in, get cat litter if it is, and then get the house ready (i.e., break down boxes) for a dark night.

But, on a happier note, I'm not the only one who finds adventure in everyday life...I give you this e-mail from J:

Help me out with this one...I was doing some laundry last night and I looked over at my basket and saw this weird bug crawling around. I had never seen a bug quite like this one, he looked like a giant ant with wings. I called for David and asked him if he knew what it was. He bent over and studied it and said it looked like a queen ant. The bug then took flight and we both gasped as it flew in a circle around us and then landed right between my eyes. I didn't know what to do. I was scared. I didn't want to die, I'm only 28. The bug just sat there and it tickled. I had Rudolph eyes, they were crossed and falling back into my head making clinking noises. I then saw Dave's hand coming towards my head. I thought, thank God! He is going to lovingly pluck this bug off of my face and take it outside. But that was not the case. David flicked killed the bug. Right between my eyes. Flicked it. His fingers are huge and he has this hidden strength that most people wouldn't know about. He flicked killed the bug and I stumbled backwards, not knowing what just happened except that he flicked the bug and it hurt really bad. I was speechless with my mouth open wide, stunned that my husband flicked me in the forehead that freakin hard. He then wet his finger with saliva and wiped the bug guts off of my face. There was still a leg embedded between my eyes that I later had to remove with tweezers. I had a huge red splotch between my eyes for the rest of the night. Later, we had a huge laugh, he said he saw that I wasn't going to do anything to get the bug off of my face, so he took matters into his own hands. Is this true love or just the actions of another clueless man?

I'm trying to convince J she should blog. :)