Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Need to ship to a military loved one overseas?

DefenseLINK News: Postal Service Offers Free Shipping Materials for Military Families

A little bit of humour from D

Listening to: WEKU
Feeling: Stressed but holding

One of the best things about e-mail. :)

A police officer pulls over a speeding car. The officer says, I
clocked you at 80 miles per hour, sir."

The driver says, "Gee, officer I had it on cruise control at 60,
perhaps your radar gun needs calibrating."

Not looking up from her knitting the wife says: "Now don't be silly
dear, you know that this car doesn't have cruise control."

As the officer writes out the ticket, the driver looks over at his
wife and growls, "Can't you please keep your mouth shut for once?"

The wife smiles demurely and says, "You should be thankful your radar
detector went off when it did."

As the officer makes out the second ticket for the illegal radar
detector under it, the man glowers at his wife and says through
clenched teeth, "Darn it, woman, can't you keep your mouth shut?"

The officer frowns and says, "And I notice that you're not wearing
your seat belt, sir. That's an automatic $75 fine."

The driver says, "Yeah, well, you see officer, I had it on, but took
it off when you pulled me over so that I could get my license out of
my back pocket".

The wife says, "Now, dear, you know very well that you didn't have
your seat belt on. You never wear your seat belt when you're driving."

And as the police officer is writing out the third ticket the driver
turns to his wife and barks, "WHY DON'T YOU PLEASE SHUT UP??"

The officer looks over at the woman and asks, "Does your husband
always talk to you this way Ma'am?"

******** I love this part.... **********

"Oh, heavens no, officer. Only when he's been drinking."

Monday, November 29, 2004

How it's going


  • Had a great four-day-weekend with lots of rest.
  • Had a good visit with my family. I had just enough gas to get home and Momma sent me back with a full gas tank. Thanks! :)
  • I changed my headlight in the car, asked John to help with the taillight, and picked up the new insurance card from my mom. They're going to go get the registration updated this week. Turns out they never got a bill and when they renewed my mom's truck in August, no one mentioned that they had another registration to take care of. Momma thought it was up-to-date and that they'd just paid extra when they first registered it.
  • I got stopped the day after Thanksgiving 50 yards from where I was headed by another police officer, who wrote a warning, since I handed her the last citation. :) As such, I'm feeling a bit cursed, but hey, it's all workable, and the new registration should be on its way back to me soon.
  • Went to see National Treasure on Saturday. It was very fun. Nice to know that with the exception of stealing the Declaration of Independence, I could have figured out most of the clues, although it would have taken a lot more time. Because it's a movie, it has to ignore things like how intricate archaeology is (I bet there are lots of archaeologists who would love to just go to a spot, dig down a foot, and find a plaque saying, yes, this is the ship you're looking for, and how did they suddenly unearth the ship with no apparent tools....? But it was generally believable with enough details not to get in the way and the mother of all treasures sure to give any historian an orgasm at the end of the run, and it was well worth the ride.) I was, however, the only person geeky enough to exclaim with glee during the trailers when the Earth blew up and it said 'Don't Panic'...apparently not many in the audience had read Hitchhiker's Guide, which is coming out as a movie next year. Or at least, not many others made the geek noise in response. :)
  • Am exploring the Dreamlands in our Cthulhu game.
  • Am getting a little nervous about the surgery but am doing a lot to get ready for it.
  • Was actually seven minutes early for work this morning, the earliest I'm supposed to be able to clock in.
  • Really want chocolate and a diet cola.
  • Am escaping now whilst between jobs. Ciao.

Kentucky Amber Alert




I'll update, but if you're in the region, please keep this alert in mind. Also, at that height, many people would mistake her for an adult. Scary.

[Update: Robby Lovins has been charged with rape in this case. He was apparently a family acquaintance and one of the people allowed to take the child out of school. I won't add links at this point to the news stories since some identify the girl (and I've deleted her name from the original post) and most are still very sketchy. But she is safe and back with her family, and he was arrested a county or so away after police negotiated the girl's release and his surrender.]

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Didn't manage to post yesterday

listening to: 'Nothing Else Matters' by Carol Tatum (yes, it's the Metallica song set to harp); I heard it last night on Echoes and really loved it; I love the song itself, but I am particularly fond of harp/folk/mediaeval style music, and this rendition mixes all of the above. [Although be sure not to let it loop...it will depress you terribly, just as with the original if you do that].
feeling: A mix of gloomy and optimistic. The first from the weather (grey and icky) the second is because I really believe in making an effort to dispel the former.

Yesterday I was off from the hospital and returning a favour of getting up at an ungodly hour to help out a friend. I did work at the phone bank, and did respectably. Fortunately the rest of the time I was able to catch up on some sleep.

It's been a surprisingly busy day at work today, given that it's the day before Thanksgiving and most people seem to be gone. I'm going to have to work a little harder to make sure I keep straight to my schedule; I've had a warning on tardiness and they're going to start counting as absences. I had been doing much better for awhile, but I've been running a few minutes late more and more often--it's crept up on me. This time of the year, with the light waning, is always a little harder for me. But I can't argue that it's an issue. My job used to be more flexible--what mattered is that I worked the necessary number of hours and adjusted to working a little later if needed. Actually, one of the hardest things about the job these days is getting away on time, since I often have patron needs crop up at the end of shift. It used to be I could 'average' that out by coming in a little later or leaving earlier. But, that flexibility's gone, and I need to face it. Since I eat and work with some people who have more flexibility, I'm going to start timing myself at lunch with the PDA and make sure I leave right on time, even if I need to start the process of leaving a little early to be back there in time to clock out. I'm also going to have to remember to take my break. But getting here will be the hardest...I've set my clocks ahead, etc. I think it's psychological. I've always tended to run behind, but I actually do better at jobs where I'm not governed by the timeclock. I think I start to stress about being late because of some 'magic number' and it seems like, no matter how early I start out for something, there will be traffic jams, or something will come up to put a snag in things. I used to have the same difficulty in classes where the teacher was absolutely adamant that we be there on time. Otherwise, I was usually early or just on schedule. Maybe it's an anxiety thing, maybe it's some residual passive-agressiveness; I don't know. But I'm obviously going to have to work on it to keep my job, since eight occurrences pretty much leads to termination and technically anything after 10:07 is an occurrence. Sigh.

I'm not ready for Thanksgiving, really, and I'm positively growly at the idea of Christmas decorations and music playing. I think part of it is that money's tight and I can't really enjoy getting things for people, although I might be able to come up with some nice but cheap or even made gifts. I didn't even do anything special for D's birthday, although at some point I'd like to take her out to eat using my 2-for-1 card I got from KET for my phone work. I'm going home tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to seeing my family. I'm hoping to get some things finished up before my surgery which is (gulp!) next week. I'm only planning to be off a couple of days but I was gratified to realise that I have 21 days of personal leave and over 70 days of sick leave accrued, so I really should be spending some of it and not feeling guilty about it, and I'll have it should I need it.

This morning I had a special treat of seeing two wild duck pairs paddling up the creek behind my apartment. It took me awhile to find the females with their dull brown plumage against the thicket, although the drakes' bright marking attracted the eye easily. It put me in a good mood this morning, and that has mostly continued, despite the counseling about the tardies. I've just felt a little...not down, not depressed, just slightly deflated and tired. I blame the weather, because the sun is starting to come out right now and I'm already feeling better. How on earth did our ancestors make it in caves?

I don't work the phone bank tonight, so theoretically the weekend has begun. I think I'm going to celebrate by getting out and doing stuff rather than fretting about the usual money issues or end-of-the-year anxieties and just, well, enjoy a few days for a change.

If it's a holiday where you are, have a safe and loving one. And if not, hope you're doing well anyway.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Thanksgiving humour

Thanks, N.

Subject: The "Cold" Parrot

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary. Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot.
The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said "I believe I may have offended
you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and
unforgivable behavior." John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"


BookCrossing Programmer Dan Clune missing

Received this as a part of a newsletter:

BookCrossing's lead programmer Dan Clune missing since November 6

Never has the power of the Bookcrossing community been put to the test it has since the November 6th disappearance of our lead programmer, Dan Clune. Dan had worked full-time for BookCrossing in the Idaho office since April 2004. As the news and implications stunned those of us who knew and worked with him personally, we were equally stunned by the incredible support that has flowed in from our extended Bookcrossing family.

Dan was last seen shortly before 2 a.m. at the Long Bridge Grill, which sits at the south end of the bridge spanning the Pend Oreille River in Sandpoint, ID. Those who know Clune know it's out of character for him to miss work or stay out of contact with friends and colleagues, which has them worried for his safety. The Sandpoint community and police have continued to search the area for him, and his family has offered a $2,500 reward for information that leads to his return.

We are incredibly touched by the outpouring of hope and support that has literally poured in from the world wide community of bookcrossers. This is an extremely difficult situation for us, and every day we are faced with situations that bring Dan's absence home. Shortly before he went missing, he shared how amazing he thought BookCrossing was, and that he saw it as something that could change the world.

If you would like to help the family and search effort financially, you have two options. The BookCrossing founders have set up a fund to which you may mail checks:

The Dan Clune Search Fund
Panhandle State Bank
P.O. Box 967
Sandpoint, ID 83864

Or, if PayPal is easier for you, BookCrosser casualreader is managing online donations at his BookRelay.com site.

Thank you all again. We will do our best to keep you updated in our Announcements Forum, though you all have done a marvelous job of searching out news and letting each other know. This is understandably a hard subject for us, and we appreciate not only your prayers, messages of hope, but your hard work in keeping the BC community informed.

For more, including a picture of Dan Clune, check out this story. Mr Clune is 5'6", 140 lbs, with brown hair and eyes. It's a little frightening that someone could be with friends one moment and the next moment they're just 'gone'. Mr Clune was gettting ready to ride home with some friends and went back inside for a sweatshirt he'd left behind. Then, nothing.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Happy Birthday, D!!!!

And remember, 30 is just a milestone near the beginning of a long winding road taking you to all sorts of interesting places. I think this is the best decade of life (but then, I'm still on this side of 40, so who knows? Maybe it just keeps getting better?)

Friday, November 19, 2004

I'm being unsusually efficient

Perhaps in reaction to some screw-ups earlier this month, I have been doing some investigating, planning, and more importantly, carrying through with actions rather than hemming/hawing or otherwise babbling about it. In fact, the only person who knows what's going on is N, mainly because I've mentioned a couple of things in passing and we're working two jobs together, so I've seen her more than everyone else. I haven't really had a chance to tell D or Y about it yet, but it seems to be coming along quite nicely, and I hope they'll be supportive.

The Goal

Return to school, not to hide, not to simply survive on school loans, but to get a degree in a structured programme in an area with a lot of flexibility in terms of jobs and a growing need.

What I've Done So Far

Applied for financial aid. Spoken with financial aid about the difference in my income between last year (the records used for the application) and this year. They are sending me a budget appeal to go ahead and file. I've also spoken with the graduate school about readmission and any requirements necessary.

What I Need to Do

Fill out the application for readmission this weekend (I'm not in the web system, unfortunately). Speak with members of the two programmes (one a doctoral area, the other a graduate certificate)/visit the school. Explain my goals and how best to attain them. Gain post-bacculaureate status for spring, then apply for the doctoral programme and assistantships by January 15th for fall. Set up payment for an account so that I can register for classes. Register for two classes.

The Background

I wallowed for years in the graduate history department MA programme for several reasons 1) it was extremely unstructured, with an advisor whom I dearly loved but who did not set goals or require actions, 2) I suffered from a range of physical and mental illnesses that undermined my ability to move forward, most especially a social phobia of an intensity that oral defence of my entire career was difficult to even think about, and 3) I started right out of undergraduate work and had little life experience and maturity to help me make good decisions.

The Plan

Keeping in mind this background, I am interested in an area where I already have a firm grounding (I have a BA in this area, too) but which is a much more structured programme meant to get you in and through the course of study. The methodology is much more discrete, relying on studies, statistical analysis, etc., rather than history, which is as much art as social science. I am interested not in the theoretical aspects of the field, but the application, and that application can be done in policy making, business, government, etc....unlike history it is not limited to academia or cultural sites. Plus, I could make a real difference in the lives of others and build upon my experience within healthcare as a medical librarian. In a sense, it's a matter of coming full circle, because it's in the field I first studied in college, before going on to other areas. It allows specialisation but has wide-ranging applicability and study topics, and they never fail to excite me when I come across a new book or article that touches on it. It's an area where grants are written and obtained, articles published, and changes are instituted based on the results. And with the burgeoning multiculturalism, ageing, and cyberculture in our lives, it's become even more important.

What is it? I'll tell you eventually. But I'd like to speak with the faculty first. Believe it or not, I'm going pretty cautiously, rather than just jumping in. I've been looking through some articles outlining the field, for instance, and checking out UK's programme. Check for updates.

Some e-mail humour to end the week on a fun note

From N:

by Dave Barry, Nationally Syndicated Columnist

1. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

2. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."

3. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

4. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.

5. You should not confuse your career with your life.

6. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

7. Never lick a steak knife.

8. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.

9. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight saving time. (Ramona's editorial comment: "AMEN")

10. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment

11. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven.

12. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age,gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.

13. A person, who is nice to you, but rude to a waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)

14. Your friends love you anyway.

15. Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.

16. Thought for the day: Men are like fine wine. They start out as grapes, and it's up to the women to stomp the crap out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with.

From one of the ladies at Sistersound (the chorus I sometimes sing with):

Have you ever wondered why A, B, C, D, DD, E, F, G, and H are the letters used to define bra sizes??

If you have wondered why, but couldn't figure out what the letters stood for, it is about time you became informed!!

(A} Almost Boobs...
{B} Barely there.
{C} Can't Complain!!
{D} Dang!!
(DD} Double dang!!
{E} Enormous!!
(F} Fake..
{G} Get a Reduction..
{H} Help me, I've fallen and I can't get up !!

Send this to all that will appreciate it!!

They forgot the German bra...Holtzemfromfloppen!

I'm happy with mine; how about you?

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Geek out!

Google Scholar is a new service that searches journal articles from a variety of services. It's library friendly, too, and explains to people why they can't expect to find everything online full-text for free. :) I must say, the FAQ is a particularly fun read, with questions like 'The description of my article is wrong and I am appropriately outraged. How do I have it corrected?' or 'But I need the article now and the library is closed for Founder's Day.' Check it out.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

A great overview of DBT

I spent a year undergoing Dialectical Behavioural Therapy within a group of people with similar issues. Even though my problems weren't as severe as some, they affected most of my life and I wanted to make a change. It was very helpful. At some point I might incorporate the responses I wrote out as 'homework' into this blog (it's set up very much like a weekly seminar, with worksheets and exercises to complete). But it never hurts to review skills, and lately I've found I've been making some bad choices, not handling stress as well, and I blew up emotionally all over a friend who really deserved better, so I thought it was time to look at the exercises again. I came across DBT Self Help, which includes the worksheets and handouts Marsha Linehan (who founded DBT) came up with, with her permission to post them. If you want to learn more about this type of therapy--which essentially teaches the skills we should have learnt all along but some of were never taught, check it out. I highly recommend them.

Know someone who practises self-injury?

I was looking up some stuff on DBT and found this useful link. The DBT Self-Help Guide has some good alternatives.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

It's sad

when someone who dedicated three decades of her life to improving that of the Iraqi people is repaid for her work by being murdered by insurgents who care nothing for human life. My thoughts are with Margaret Hassan's family and friends--whether Irish, British, or Iraqi--and with those who tried to stop her murder. I think the vast majority of people, including those in the Middle East, would see this as a terrible act, and I can only hope that this sort of killing will no longer be tolerated. We need more Margaret Hassans in the world.

On another vaguely related note, I was driving away from work today when I came to an intersection where a policeman was taking the light offline and bringing traffic along our road to a halt. It was not at first apparent as to why for we sat for a minute or so with nothing happening. Then, slowly, they came.

Most funerals processions in the city are aided by the police to help keep the procession together through the various intersections. The first police cruiser was expected. But this was no ordinary funeral line, for several police motorcycles provided an honour guard accompanying a hearse followed by a painfully long line of mourners, including a fire van and a man on a motorcycle bearing a POW/MIA flag. I knew from the moment I saw the honour guard that this was the funeral cortege of Lance Cpl. Sean Langley, a Marine killed last week in Iraq. His mother is a member of the Lexington police force; his father is the assistant chief of police with the Veterans Administration. The 20-year-old--killed during his second tour of duty in Iraq--had planned to follow them into law enforcement.

Most people sat in their cars with a sort of respectful hush falling over the area. One tow truck drive about a block behind me loudly swerved into one of the side streets and sped away, unwilling to stop for a few moments. I'm not sure he could tell what was going on from his vantage point. But for the rest of us, it was a reminder that sometimes the things we rush towards are not so important, and that sometimes you really just need to come to a halt and consider what is important.

I have to admit, when I saw the hearse, I cried, which doesn't make sense, I suppose, given the fact that I didn't know Sean Langley. But I raised in a military family, and there is such a deep, ingrained fear of what may happen that these families live with every day, and it touches me even though no one in my family is currently serving. I've always abhorred war, but I've also respected the willingness to serve and sacrifice displayed by soldiers. Right then I had a terrible moment where I looked at the procession and thought to myself...'this young man died for me'. One can argue about the reasons or the folly of this war, but the fact is, those men and women serving do so because they believe in making a difference, in learning new skills, but also in protecting our way of life. Protecting their hometowns. Protecting complete strangers. It's true, we at home are not coping with the sort of chaos of a Fallujah. We can only imagine the horror that our soldiers and the civilians caught in the middle are facing. And each of us is responsible, in some way, for their deaths, because we fund the war machine, we elect the politicians who make the decisions, we send them off, and we are the reason they fight. So it's only fitting, I think, to take a moment to remember them, and to bury them with all due honour. I wish we were in a position where no more young men and women had to die. We're not, and we're not going to be for some time, so I just hope that they are given every support needed to come home safely. And even though I hate this war and in the broader view I'm not sure if this is all worth these lives, I also know that things happen, every moment, every choice, that make differences in the world, so that these deaths are not in vain. But I hope we get to a point where Iraq is stable and safe again and there will be fewer corteges bringing everything to a halt. I appreciate that we can at least safely bury our dead, whereas there are many places where families lose loved ones and cannot even be sure of paying final respects without more loss of life. So sad.

Monday, November 15, 2004

This is a wonderful way to promote books

Online Book Club at the Lexington Public Library

It delivers 2-3 chapters to you in the genre you prefer and then entices you to go ahead and come in to the library for the rest of it. Sneaky and smart, and it allows readers who otherwise might not otherwise come across a book to learn more about it. The service is courtesy of DearReader.com. You can then share your thoughts about the book with other readers in the Chapter A Day Book Club Forum.

A bit of e-mail humour to start out the week

listening to: 'All God's Angels' by Kate Rusby
feeling: Meditative

Thanks, N. :)

Smart man + smart woman = romance
Smart man + dumb woman = affair
Dumb man + smart woman = marriage
Dumb man + dumb woman = pregnancy

Smart boss + smart employee = profit
Smart boss + dumb employee = production
Dumb boss + smart employee = promotion
Dumb boss + dumb employee = overtime

A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.
A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need.

A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

To be happy with a man, you must understand him a lot and love him a little.
To be happy with a woman, you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.

Married men live longer than single men do, but married men are a lot more willing to die.

A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, and she does.

A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

Old aunts used to come up to me at weddings, poking me in the ribs and cackling, telling me, "You're next." They stopped after I started doing the same thing to them at funerals.


Friday, November 12, 2004

Things that bug you when you have obsessive-compulsive disorder

  1. In U2's song 'Vertigo', Bono counts (in Spanish) one, two, three, fourteen!
  2. In the women's restroom down the hall is a small bottle of lotion that's 'Passion Fruit' scented but has a picture of a Hibiscus (totally different plant) on it.
  3. In like vein as an OCD gardener, the mural in one of the hallways has Sunflowers on Iris-like leaves.
  4. This isn't mine, it's someone else's, but the WB keeps saying they're 'fresh' episodes to mean new, leading to this constant debate with the television.
  5. Jewell, honey, it should be 'what if God WERE one of us'. Why is it that most British rockers, even using idioms, maintain decent grammar but Americans just can't seem to do the same? Do they not teach subjunctive case anymore????
  6. When your boss suggests changing seats to keep everyone working happily, you panic because you finally got everything 'just so'. (Of course, there was the one day I had to switch because of a massive allergy attack to something at the desk, anyway, and I survived.)
  7. Why do engineers in Kentucky build all these stupid double left turn lanes that immediately go down to one lane???????
  8. And why do so many people in Lexington fail to visualise using turn-signals???
  9. I hate it when people think I'm germ phobic when really I just hate it when my hands feel like they have stuff on them, whether dog drool or even those antibacterial hand gels, which never quite feel clean until you run your hands under water. I don't sit there and think about the germs if someone shakes my hand or even (and yes, this has happened) spits on me. I just think, ooh, that feels icky. I'm very touch oriented and texture oriented and sometimes the textures just are WRONG, and sometimes when I shake hands someone's palm will feel sweaty and then I have an urge to wash, or I think about how many people snot on their hands and then touch magazines, money, etc. It's not the germs. It's the ick, and it takes a lot to school your reaction when you're trying to be polite. ('Oh no! You touched me...I'll have to burn off those digits! AaaaaahhhH!') See, there's a difference. They also feel icky if they get too dry, but putting lotion on them is fine, because that rubs in instead of 'sitting' on the surface. It's mostly hand oriented. I can plop down on a public toilet, stand in mud, even garden in it, but whereas I could easily let mud dry on my feet, I can't on my hands; I'd have to go wash. But I could pick my own nose and not have to, because there's no sense of contamination. Crazy, eh? Fortunately, Paxil is our friend. And what they often don't talk about is that people with OCD often shift whatever bugs them--I go through spells where I clean, or check the stove or door lock, etc., but I even with mini rituals, I don't always stick to the same thing, so they're both locked in constistency and inconsistent at the same time, as anxiety levels ebb and flow. Probably makes psychiatrists crazy, I'd think. :)

Come on, most people at least have tendencies towards OCD (or are just anal retentive Virgonian weirdos)--or both. Feel free to share yours.

A coworker and I decided

that at some point we need to host a 'neuroses party' where everyone can put their neuroses into a piñata and whack the crap out of it. She's agreed to host it. I guess if the piñata breaks we can always exchange neuroses, but there'd better be chocolate, too. :)

Something I meant to blog

Before we decided on doing a 'Gilligan's Island' theme for Halloween, we had discussed doing 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' (hey, that's how Disney spells it). I had suggested updating for the new millennium, although it didn't fly, but I wanted to put it here for future reference. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in the 21st Century

Grumpy is undergoing court-ordered anger management classes.
Bashful is on Paxil for his social anxiety. This has allowed him to become quite a party boy down at the gay bar.
Sneezy is on Allegra and doing quite well.
Happy is considering bariatric surgery, but at least no one had to put him on Prozac.
Sleepy now sleeps with a CPAP machine for his sleep apnea and installed lights in the mine and is quite the energetic dynamo.
Doc is getting rich on all the ailments of his brethren.
Dopey, despite his name, has avoided drugs and is working in a school for deaf children where his muteness is not a problem and he can really make a difference. He does, sometimes, however, dream of running away and joining a rock band as a guitarist and is considering getting a tatoo.
Snow White is a goth chick who runs away from home to get away from an abusive stepmother.
Prince Charming is a motorcycle dude with a leather jacket who arrives to take her away off into the sunset.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

NPR : Families Share Soldiers' 'Last Letters Home'

NPR : Families Share Soldiers' 'Last Letters Home'

I wish I could watch this HBO special. It's a very poignant remembrance. As a military dependent, that 'knock on the door' was a powerful sword which hung over military families.

The Rape of Nanking claims another victim, years later

There are those of us drawn, for whatever reasons, to the darker side of human history, to genocide studies, to trying to make sense of how ordinary people can turn into cold-blooded torturers and murderers. I suspect many of those of us who find some sort of kinship with the victims, who feel that it is important to give them a voice, suffer from depression or other mental illness or perhaps, in some cases, have survived our own private hells. I certainly know that is the case with me. I was drawn to the Holocaust and stories of Armenian genocide when I was just a little girl. At one time I thought it may well be that I lived through the destruction of Jews during the Holocaust, so great was my identity with its victims. That still may be true. Perhaps it is a matter of reincarnation...even Jewish beliefs state that those killed under great trauma or distress may return and live again. Or perhaps there is some sensitivity of nature or a feeling of kinship in our own experiences that draws us to such a magnified horror, as if in some way it can reduce our own suffering to trivial. I don't know. But it can take such a heavy toll. Certainly witnesses of such horrors who survived often feel guilt, and may, ultimately commit suicide. One such was Primo Levi, the Italian Jewish chemist whose books on the Holocaust are riveting. Another was Minnie Vautrin, an American witness to the 'Rape of Nanking', a genocidal horror committed by Japanese occupiers in China who later suffered a nervous breakdown and killed herself.

But the study of such a difficult topic can also get into the soul of someone who comes to it years later, especially if the person identifies with the events on a deep emotional level. And so it was was very sad to hear of the death of Iris Chang, whose book cast light on the Rape of Nanking, which had largely been ignored in West at the time it happened. She had grown up with stories in her family of the horrors. She had been suffering from depression and had recently been hospitalised. She apparently shot herself earlier this week. She left behind a husband and a two-year-old son. A colleague who spoke in an interview on NPR theorised that her work had taken a toll on her mental health. He said her study was like a shrine to the suffering in Nanking.

She was just 36 years old, a year younger that I am. Her work included various areas of Chinese history and culture. The world has lost a talented historian and advocate. Have I mentioned how terrible depression is? So sad.

For Remembrance Day

From Big Country's album, The Seer:

"Remembrance Day"

In your fine green ware I will walk with you tonight
In your raven hair I will find the Summer night
Upon far flung soil I will run you through my head
In my daily toil all the promises are said
Chorus: For I know the weary can rise again
I know it all from the words you send
I will go, I will go, I will leave the firelight
I will go, I will go, for it’s now the time is right

I will sing a young man’s song
That you would sing on Remembrance Day
I will be the sacrifice
And bells will ring on Remembrance Day

I must leave this land and the hunger that is here
But the place I stand is the one I love so dear
Like a flower in some forest that the world will never see
I will stand so proud for I know what we can be

Chorus repeat

This day I will remember you
This way I will always return
This day I will remember you
This way I will always return

Chorus repeat


Today is Old Samhain Eve. Orion and the Pleides are dancing each night off to the east before I go to bed, and winter is coming. When I go outside at night I hear the waterfall of the creek over an old fallen timber and occasional night birds off along the boggy area. The lack of leaves on the trees means that there is a little more noise from Richmond Road as cars race out of Lexington towards Athens or to parts unknown, but it's dark enough outside that on a clear night I can see all Seven Sisters, and it makes me happy.

Today is Veteran's Day. Hug a veteran.

Today it is raining, so no constellation spotting tonight. It's a grey, grey day, forboding in its gloom as we descend towards winter's half-light, but at least it is not too cold. If the rain continues, we will soon be in the top ten of wettest years on record here. Last week I saw a bit of the UK-Georgia game, and the natural turf is still bright green. Actually, most of the grass is still pretty green; only the treelines show up as brown or grey. Even the roses are still in bloom.

Today it seems that each day my hand is getting worse. Today I'm having trouble pushing myself out of my chair without pain shooting up to my shoulder. I'm dropping things. I can't feel small things between my fingers...I haven't always for a long time. I gave up sewing years ago, for example. But now I'm having to rely on my eyes to pick up a piece of paper. The pain only serves to remind me, though, that in a couple of weeks I'm going to have to be even more careful. I'm nearly ambidextrous, but there are certain things I do much more naturally with my right hand. The left is bothersome, but the right is really getting severe. My writing, basic hygeine tasks, etc. are already suffering, and it'll only get worse, at least until everything heals. I absolutely won't be able to lift anything for awhile, and even after if heals, I'll have to be careful of my wrists because that hard sheath that protects the nerve will no longer be in place. Overall it's going to make my life better, but I'm not entirely prepared for this. I think I finally bolstered myself up for surgery and now the challenges of recovery are starting to hit. I know it's a really minor procedure, and many people who have endured far worse probably would just think I'm a big wuss. But I've never had anyone cut into my body. I've never even had stitches. I've never been on any pain meds beyond advil or tylenol. I'm just not sure what to expect. Some of the people I know are planning for our annual Christmas party, what they'll wear, etc. I'm wondering what you wear when you have to keep your hand in an elevated angle like the bicycle signal for 'right'. Chiffon? I'm thinking I should definitely banish the animals from my bedroom after the surgery. I'd hate to get cat or dog hair stuck in the sutures. You know, that's the kind of weirdness that's going through my head today.

Today I'm reading, as an escape from my own impending medical procedure, a book by John Calapinto called 'As nature mad him: the boy who was raised as a girl'. I remember the case being brought up in high school social studies; identical twins where a botched circumcision led to one of the boys being surgically 'assigned' a female gender, being raised as a girl, and how this case had been seens as a triumph of nuture over nature. But it really did fail, because by the time I heard about it, the boy--a couple of years older than me--had already reassumed a male identity and was taking measures to reclaim his masculinity. The book examines this from the family and the child's point of view--a side of the story not put forth into the medical literature until recently. It shows that the complexity of our sexuality is such that we cannot necessarily put all cases into neat boxes...for example, the same treatment that may help a transexual who feels like a woman trapped in a man's body cannot necessarily be projected with similar results to a child who is born with an intergender issue or is the victim of a similar accident. (And what an accident. It wasn't a slip of a scalpel. A doctor inexplicably used a machine with an electric current in a way that today would have been treated as highly litigatious and _incinerated_ an 8-month-old's genitalia in the bungle. It was carbonised. The sad thing was, the twins were undergoing circumcision due to an overgrowth of the foreskin and after the accident, the other twin (who was not circumcised) eventually had his condition resolve on its own. So not only was it unnecessary in the long run, but it wound up becoming a central issue in the life of this child, his family, and medical debate. I recommend the book...it's written by a journalist and utilises interviews, transcripts of an on-camera interview with the doctor, and transcripts of tapes from the man's medical records. It's not fictionalised or melodramatic. Overall I'm pleased by it so far, and I have immeasurable respect for the struggle that this young man and his family went through.

Hope you're having a good 'today'. Take care.

Maybe this is part of my problem

Kentucky Rankings: Comparison of Kentucky Public Libraries with Other States

#48 in ALA-MLS librarians, #20 in FTE librarians, meaning we're doing well in library personnel overall but not so well in recruiting those with accredited training at what is generally recogised as the gold standard for the field. Since we do have an accredited school right here in Lexington, the problem isn't a lack of people...it's a lack of jobs, especially those that pay anything like the 30,000 USD that level of education should yield as a minimum. Yep. Many of us with master's degrees who stubbornly continue to live in our state are languishing in underemployment (at my best, before the layoff, I was finally up to about 23K a year, now I'm grossing about 14K) or have left the field altogether. Even my leasing agent at my apartment complex has an MLS.


Still, it looks like Kentucky has slowly been climbing up in several areas. And we do have a very vibrant, library-using community that make it very worthwhile to serve...so long as we have the money to reach out to underserved areas and continue to foster education and technology in our citizens.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Weirdness in the extreme

John's Lucky Escape

It's a picture of his pillow, burnt to a crisp. Mind you, he doesn't smoke, wasn't near flame, had been asleep for hours, etc. How would feel if you woke up with your pillow on fire???

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

One of the better descriptions online

for Carpal Tunnel.

My hands are both acting up today with a good bit of pain and the feeling of a cramping, burning along the nerves at my thumb. The braces help, although I'm clumsier and I keep accidentally hitting the key to sign off my computer for some reason today, even though the braces themselves aren't normally a problem. I think it's my hand itself--the other day I had sunflower seends go all over the place whilst trying to spoon some onto a salad. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to the prospect of the release surgery.

Last night I came home and found that with the phone bank job and the election, I had neglected to either pay my electric or at least make arrangements to do so. Totally my fault, of course, and unfortunately I can't do anything until Thursday at the latest, although I did talk to them today. The sad thing is the actual electricity part of the bill was less than $15. The rest was the required deposit, which they usually put on in installments but went on in one big gush this time, bringing it to $130, and that's what I have to pay to get it back on (well, that and a reconnect charge).

Sigh. This is what happens about the time I think I'll finally get ahead, but again, it's my fault, I'll deal with it. At least I stayed fairly warm last night and actually managed to clean a bit by candlelight. Somehow it seemed more romantic. :) And Darius came up and cuddled with me on the recliner, actually butting me with his head, which is almost unheard of for the feral cat. He seems better now that I've dosed them all for the fleas and the worms they get from eating them, and I've switched his food to Purina One for sensitive stomachs, to see if that will help with his tummy issues. I'm hoping so. And if a couple of days of darkness are the price for getting the meds and the new food, well, so be it.

Last night I talked to a man who didn't want to give his credit card over the phone (understandably) but was from my hometown and we played a game of twenty questions until not only was I able to convince him I was from there but he was able to remember my mom from high school and had his annual handy and confirmed that she was the person he'd remembered. Ah, what a small world we live in. So, he was able to make a donation, I learned a little about what some of my neighbours had been up to since graduation, we both had an enjoyable conversation, and I got a commission all thanks to my mom's senior picture. It was an enjoyable night, where everyone I talked to seemed much more relaxed than the pre-election calling, and many chatted about how much they like public television. Even those who could not donate were still very committed to it and planned to as soon as possible, and I believe they were sincere. I'm enjoying it. We're off Thursday for Veteran's Day but I'm going in to the job at the other building to call some school librarians for another project. Apparently it's a state holiday but not a school one, I suppose since it's so close to Thanksgiving. Having been raised on Air Force bases, I'm used to having it off, but I guess not everyone is. I'm taking off at the hospital for some other reasons that day, so it'll give me a chance to hopefully reach those people for distance learning.

I'm back to my midnight taxi service, but that's fine. I got a lot of rest whilst my friend was on vacation. Today I'm spending with another friend when I'm not at work, but tomorrow I think I may go to the gym (if nothing else, there's hot showers). I won't be able to do a lot of weightlifting with my hand immediately after surgery, but I'd like to build up some cardio exercises before then, which will help with general stress and recovery from surgery, I'd think.

D is going to be 30 in a few days and I need to start thinking about what I might be able to do for her birthday. Having just three years until I hit the big 4-0, I think I'll be kind, because payback is inevitable. :)

Monday, November 08, 2004

Everything one ever wanted to know about Marmite

The Marmite FAQ

The things you learn from public radio...I was listening to 'What Do You Know?' and a British woman living in Illinois waxed poetic for her dear Marmite on toast, which I'd never realised was a spread derived from brewer's yeast (so is the Australian Vegemite, but most Brits think Marmite far superior, apparently).

My first response was, 'ew'. But then, some people probably think the same about Americans' addiction to peanut butter. Marmite's certainly nutritious, with all those B vitamins, though. And, being an admitted Anglophile, I've decided that I should try it at some point. Anyone know where it might be obtained in the central Kentucky area? I'm sure someplace has it.

So let me get this straight

Idiotic, hate-filled extremists kill a film maker because his work is critical of Islam, so idiotic hate-filled reactionaries bomb a Muslim schools and vandalise mosques and Islamic social centres?

Well it's nice to see that neither terrorists nor 'stupid Americans' have a corner market on this sort of thing. But this is so wrong. I guess we can only be glad they weren't done whilst the children were there, right?

Muslim School Bombed in the Netherlands

Speaking of things that make little sense, there's also the Georgia man who somehow made it inside the Ground Zero barricades to shoot himself to death, ostensibly because of the election results, but it seems obvious from this story that there were personal issues, too.

*Shakes head sadly*

Thursday, November 04, 2004

A bit of fun from the e-post :)

Y will be so pleased. This is actually a perennial favourite with a few updates.

To the citizens of the United States of America,

In the light of your failure to elect a President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchial duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy. Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up 'aluminium'. Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and 'neighbour', skipping the letter 'U' is nothing more than laziness on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters. You will end your love affair with the letter 'Z' (pronounced 'zed' not 'zee') and the suffix 'ize' will be replaced by the suffix 'ise'. You will learn that the suffix 'burgh' is pronounced 'burra' e.g. Edinburgh. You are welcome to respell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if you can't cope with correct pronunciation. Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up 'vocabulary'. Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as 'like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up 'interspersed'. There will be no more 'bleeps' in the Jerry Springer show. If you're not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn't have chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary then you won't have to use bad language as often.

2. There is no such thing as 'US English'. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of '-ize'.

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn't that hard. English accents are not limited to Cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier). You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents - Scottish dramas such as 'Taggart' will no longer be broadcast with subtitles. While we're talking about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is 'Devon'. If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American States will become 'shires' e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire, Louisianashire.

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to play English characters. British sit-coms such as 'Men Behaving Badly' or 'Red Dwarf' will not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience who can't cope with the humour of occasional political incorrectness.

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, 'God Save The Queen', but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.

6. You should stop playing American 'football'. There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American 'football' is not a very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays 'American' football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American 'football', but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US rugby sevens side by 2005. You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the 'World Series' for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game called 'rounders' which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.

7. You should declare war on Quebec and France, using nuclear weapons if they give you any merde. The 97.85% of you who were not aware that there is a world outside your borders should count yourselves lucky. The Russians have never been the bad guys. 'Merde' is French for '5hit'. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler. Because we don't believe you are sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 2th will be a new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called 'Indecisive Day'.

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean. All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips. Fries aren't even French, they are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium. Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called 'crisps'. Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat. The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat. Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.

12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all, it is lager. From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as 'beer', and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as 'Lager'. The substances formerly known as 'American Beer' will henceforth be referred to as 'Near-Frozen Gnat's Piss', with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be referred to as 'Weak Near-Frozen Gnat's Piss'. This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in Pilsen, Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.

13. From December 1st the UK will harmonise petrol (or 'Gasoline' as you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2005) prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon - get used to it).

14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.

15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.

Tax collectors from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).

Thank you for your cooperation.

Give a whole new meaning to 'dig into books' :)

Got this via a librarian list: The New York Times > Home & Garden > Library Science, Home Depot Style talks about several libraries that lend tools. Yes, tools. As in shovels, saws, wheelbarrows. Tools. Never would have come up with that.

I was at the doctor's when Kerry made his concession/thank you speech

But I read the speech in total on the John Kerry for President - Official Web Site. Very nice. Very classy. Thank you, too, for a good race and wonderful debates, Senator Kerry.

With that I'll take the Kerry campaign banner off this blog. But I think it'll be obvious that I still have hope for the progressive side of things, and it should be interesting to see how things change over the next four years, especially in the last two of the new term, after congressional elections and in a lame-duck part of the presidency.

Well, I guess we at least live in interesting times, right?

Ancient secrets revealed

Ancient Roman Skin Cream Gave Women Beautiful Complexion

The ancients were pretty savvy. Roman women also had access to a plant (now thought to be extinct, due to the demand) that provided fairly reliable birth control. It was, of course, very expensive towards the end of its run, but scientists believe that is one reason for relatively small families among prosperous Romans (and hence, part of the reason for their prosperity). I remember an article in Archaeology magazine quite a while ago. I think most of my magazines did not survive the move, but if I can find the exact citation I'll list it here in case you're interested.

As an aside, I've mostly recovered from the circus that was the 2004 general election. I'm glad both sides are talking reconciliation, although I'll believe it when I see it in action. I don't get how anything that close can be considered a 'mandate' for the Republicans, but then, it's just spin, which means it's mostly meaningless.

I went back to work at the phone bank and did pretty well in terms of donations, talking with several very wonderful people (and only a couple not so-wonderful ones), brought in a respectable amount, and then went home and read for a bit before going to bed. This morning I woke up before my alarm, took a long bubble bath, even took the trouble to make up, etc. I'm wearing red, which isn't usual for me, but I can do it so long as it's blue-red rather than orange in foundation. But a little makeup helps, whereas purple usually just does a lot on its own.

I haven't seen it yet, but there's a new programme on PBS called 'Regency House'. Remember '1900 House', where people lived as a family and their servants in a Victorian setting? Apparently there was a Colonial version (missed that, unfortunately), and now they're into the era of Jane Austen. I would like to see it. Must check and see if the public station falters onto my dormant television. I haven't bothered since I moved, since most channels don't come in without cable, and it has a weaker signal than others. But I really do like public television, and since I'm talking about it so much, it's sort of like how I got into comics or toys when working in stores that specialised in that. (I never had the same response with the grocery, at least). :)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I told myself to wait

feeling: Disappointed

to not emote crazily concerning the wild ride we had during last night's election returns. Having finally driven home and gone to bed by 4 am, I was too tired to feel much more than numb at the overwhelming gains made by conservatives and Republicans (note, I don't necessarily equate them) during the day.

I was 99.9% sure that Bush would win, after all. I knew that going in, having received prognostication from an impeachable source. But I'd hoped the Democrats could have changed the face of the Senate or House. I'd have been happy if in our local race Mongiardo had been able to roust Bunning, the Republican who repeatedly made gaffes with negative yet bizarre attacks. It was close--just about 22,000 votes. If it hadn't been for the intervention of Republican guru Mitch McConnell, Dr Dan might have pulled it off. At this point though, I don't know if our local smoking ban will even weather this election. About the one good thing that came out locally was support for our bus system, which desperately needs help. It was surprising, given the raise in property taxes that would fund it.

In terms of gay marriage, I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but Kentucky's amendment was at once spurious and far-reaching. On the one hand, it's already illegal in this state for two people of the same gender to marry. The amendment succeeded mainly in preventing courts from striking down the legislation that had made it so. But this measure also removes protections from heterosexual couples who are unmarried, making it more difficult for a woman to get an emergency protective order, for example. I commisurated with one young Republican who is socially liberal who was quite taken aback by how overwhelmingly it passed, and who was also upset that her own demographic (under 30) failed to carry forth in greater percentages. Overall, though, I've tried to steer clear of politics today; I really feel like we're licking our wounds as Democrats.

Certainly this sort of measure was used throughout the country to get out the evangelical, conservative vote in far greater numbers than we've previously seen. Voters were told in some areas that Democrats would take their Bibles away from them and other such nonsense. Unfortunately in many of these churches, the narrow interpretation of scripture is held to more strongly than faith enriched by critical thinking or embracing diversity. The people on the coasts seemed shocked. Those of us in the Bible belt were not. I know people who made decisions solely based on issues such as abortion--or even 'partial-birth abortion', a term that in itself is debatable in accuracy.

My first reaction, beyond the numbness, was the utter vehemence that I will maintain faith in my country despite a lack in faith of the essential intelligence of its electorate. Oh, I'm not saying every person who voted for Bush was stupid. There are many who agonised over the decision. Kerry never truly captured a populist spirit, and there a lot who feel more comfortable with a known quantity, and damn the consequences, than change midstream in the midst of a war, even if the main war we're mired in was manufactured by the Bush camp. I feel marginalised, because I know that in order to succeed, the Democratic party may have to step away from the more progressive ideals and pursue a rhetoric and substance more in keeping with Middle America's sensibilities. I'm not sure that there are any Democrat leaders who can really capture the balance necessary to win back those red states. Hillary Clinton? She was divisive as First Lady. I can almost guarantee that the South will not stand with her; running her would be worse than Kerry. Edwards might be able to pull it off, as he resonates with the South, the good-ol'-boy vote, and his wife appeals to women. Northeastern intellectuals don't cut it. They don't resonate with the heartland, and too often the pundits forget all those 'little' states in terms of electoral votes add up. We need someone who can appeal in both urban and rural areas, someone savvy without being condescending, someone who understands the roll of faith, can speak to many different groups and ethnicities, and who doesn't have a long senate record to be used against him (or her). In other words, a 'new Clinton' without quite the ego or randiness.

Anyone up for the job?

I'm truly bothered by a situation where the president, both houses of Congress, and more than likely the Supreme Court are all in danger of sliding right. It's not just that the Republicans won so sweepingly. It's that of those new seats, several were far right of the president and the bridging, somewhat conservative southern Democrats fell away. This leaves us with a terribly polarised country, and I'm not sure how much compromise--the grease that runs the Great Machine of governance--is going to offer forth. I worry for the environment given the outcome. I worry as my rights as a woman and as a free citizen. I worry about conflagrations throughout the world. At this point, I'm even a teensy worried about Armageddon, with a president who believes he carries out the will of a God I do not subscribe to and just enough crazies out there with their own jihad to fuel another great conflict.

I don't know where we'll be in four years. But for now, I'm not happy about it...and although I've always tried to stay politically informed and have voted in almost every election since I became eligible (the Bush/Dukakis was the one that disgusted me to a point where I hiked in the country that day), I think I need to look at what I can do next go around--volunteer, donate, whatever, to make a change and protect that voice of minority in the hopes that we will still be heard. It would be easy to move to someplace where I fit in more thoroughly--San Francisco, Canada, whatever. But there's something to be said with being the oddball on the front lines, right?


feeling: Small bits of trepedation/panic

Just got out of my appointment with the hand surgeon. Surgery on my right wrist has been set for Thursday, December 2nd. That was quick! The EMG (the nerve conduction test) showed that there were changes going on in the muscles and so we need to move on it before it worsens. Welcome to carpal tunnel syndrome. Given the repetitive motions (especially typing and shelving books) and high number of women in our profession, I wonder what percentage of librarians deal with this. The good news is that I shan't be off work more than a day or so barring any complications, that it should relieve the pain, and shouldn't return once room is made for the nerve. We'll be doing it early in the morning (first scheduled) due to my latex allergy. My doctor looks a little bit like Anthony Edwards from 'ER'. I've never had surgery so this will be quite a new (and hopefully not harrowing) experience. Wish me luck!

Hate is a scary thing

Rally against filmaker's murder

Theo van Gogh (distant relative of the painter), was shot and stabbed to death in Amsterdam, apparently in retaliation for a movie he made about Islam's treatment of women.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I'm back

listening to: Tip-tap of other computer users at the library
feeling: Rested

from a bit of a holiday and rest. Basically I took yesterday and today off from all jobs, it being the start of the holiday season for pagans such as myself. Actually, I practise a little differently...Halloween night starts Samhain season but I celebrate Old Samhain (the night it fell on before the calendar change, which today is November 11th for the Eve and the 12th for the day itself). Still, I decided to get a good start for the new year by taking a long weekend and straightening up the house a little bit each day in the hopes of having the books in order and things nice for the winter by Samhain itself.

Today, of course, is election day, and I cast my vote here at the library a little while ago. Fortunately for me, I apparently live in a tiny little precinct, so although the ones in the neighbouring one had to wait in line, I went right in. I also discovered that my councilmember, who was apparently running unopposed, did actually have a write-in candidate against him. Although I don't have much issue with Cegelka, I was annoyed to find him in favour of revisiting and possibly repealing the smoking ban, and so cast my vote for the write-in. Otherwise, it was pretty much as I stated the other day. I chose Duncan for school board representative. I hate to say it, I was never able to find much on the school board positions, but what little I found was on Duncan's civic service. Plus, I'm a little biased towards the name, coming from Duncans myself. Everything else was well-thought out on a variety of issues, and went as I said I would the other day: Kerry, Mongiardo, Westrom, Stinetorf, Dove, no on the anti-gay amendment, yes on a tax to support public transport. I got a phone call from my very political friend whilst in the voting booth (didn't answer, by the way, but called him back afterwards). Ah, the era of cell phones.

Well, I'm going to pick up some books here, then go over to work (yes, on my day off) to get quarters from the change machine for laundry and check out the book fair with D, and maybe get lunch. Later in the day I'm going to Alfalfa's (vegetarian-friendly restaurant of happiness) for a birthday dinner followed by watching the election returns and seeing if we'll even know the outcome of the Big Race tonight. :) Tommorrow it's back to work at both places and a visit to the hand doctor to boot.

May I just add that I love Orajel. My wisdom teeth are acting up again, due to their proximity to my sinuses. It tends to happen every autumn. This year, though, I think I'm finally over my fear of surgery (I'm actually looking forward to the carpal tunnel surgery). Early next year, after we start a new round of reimbursement eligibility, I think I'm finally going to have my wisdom teeth out and some other dental work I've put off. The reimbursement is done by withholding pre-tax dollars, so it saves quite a bit of money, and since I don't have a lot to spend, it may be my only chance to do it.

Hope you all are having a great day (and some of you, like those of us who are state employees, may actually be off today). :) And remember, if you're in the States...get out and vote!

Update: Mr Cegelka has commented that Snitch magazine misstated his position, meaning so I apologise for going with the mistaken assumption that he might favour repealing the smoking ban.

I wish it were easier to find information on local candidate platforms and positions. Does anyone know of a good site that provides an overview of such? If not, maybe we can create one, at least for Central Kentucky.