Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Friday, June 30, 2006

Scary--and hands free is just as bad

Talking on Cell Phone as Dangerous as Driving Drunk

I can't say I've never used my cell phone when I drive, but the vast majority of the time I let it ring and get back with the person afterwards. I've had a couple of emergency calls where I had to talk and drive, but if it's a normal phone call, it's not going to hurt me to pull over at a gas station or something and talk there, now is it? I just wish others shared that sentiment.


Panel says young girls should get cancer vaccine; parents can opt out

Although I think those of us who are older who have not yet tested positive for the virus should also be allowed to get it. The panel recommended it for as old as 26.

I think it's also important that girls be made aware that this is not a 'go-ahead' for unprotected sex--it's not like we have a vaccine for AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases. I suppose on that I side with the conservatives, but for different reasons. Still, I know they're happy parents can opt out, but really, not allowing your child to receive a vaccine that could save her life it not responsible parenting. (I feel the same about other parents, who, armed with dire rumours and little facts decide to opt out of vaccines for things like measles and chicken pox.)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The loss of a mind, a memory is a painful thing

To see it happen to one you love is overwhelming. But sometimes, despite everything, the love endures.

Forget Me Not

Deborah Wearing's book about her husband, Clive, the illness that robbed him of the ability to remember, and their enduring love is Forever Today: A True Story of Lost Memory and Never-Ending Love

A rare incidence where the cold sore virus crossed to the brain did irreparable damage to the centres of Clive Wearing's memory. An accomplished musician and scholar of Renaissance music, he was struck by the disease 18-months into his marriage with Deborah, just as they were planning on having children together. The brain damage left him with a memory of about 7 seconds, violent tendencies, etc. He needs around the clock care and supervision, and until Deborah lobbied for care centres, there were none for brain injured persons in Britain. But despite everything, they still have one another, and Clive can remarkably still read music, whereas print reading had been lost.

A sad story, and a poignant one, but also one of determination, of loss, and gain. I'd like to read more.

Still, what a find

Egyptian tomb reveals mysteries but no mummies

Can you imagine President Bush scaling a state trip because two schoolgirls had been murdered?

In Belgium, the entire country is in mourning, the Prime Minister has vowed to catch the killer, and the Crown Prince is scaling back a trip in respect for the girls' families. Granted, the US is a much larger country than Belgium, but I have to say, I feel like I'm in a much less civilised country when violence like this is likely to be on the evening news to be replaced almost immediately by something else, even on a regional basis, where in Belgium a nation mourns the loss of two innocents.

Missing schoolgirls found murdered

Take that, opponents of the smoking ban

The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Man, I'm glad I don't do this for a living

I've wrestled with a computer (not mine, thankfully) for a week now, and I'm a little tired of eccentric hardware and software. Still, I'll plug onward. Not long ago I considered a career in computer technology. Now I'm glad I didn't pursue it--computers are still fun for me (as a general rule, except when they're balky). I'd hate to do troubleshooting every minute of my working day, though. In contrast, I love virtually everything about being a librarian (lack of local jobs and decent pay being the main drawbacks, and now that's generally been reduced to just the former).

Well, good night. I'm going to go relax with my animals and take it easy, then go on to bed.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Checking in

I haven't really written in awhile. Part of it is that I've been pretty busy, but also I just haven't felt well. I've been so sleepy throughout the day and couldn't hardly concentrate on anything. I don't know if it was coming off the ADDerall, getting a little messed up on all my meds, or what. I just wanted to sleep all the time. Maybe it was a little depression. I don't know. Saturday I pulled an all-nighter for a project for the game, and so I was reaaallllyyyyy sleepy on Monday, but that's understandable. The more I think about it, the more I realise the rest of the sleepiness may have been depression.

The important thing is that today I feel better than I have in weeks--but not too well, if you know what I mean. No grand ideas, just simply plugging along. I'm back regularly on my meds. I'm eating well, although I wake up in the middle of the night and make a sandwich because I'm really hungry. I don't know if it's my blood sugar or just cravings. My cravings went up when I went off my Paxil for a week. I had forgotten that although it causes weight gain, it actually cuts my cravings for sweets. Fortunately the Lamictal's not supposed to affect it one way or another.

I'm looking forward to July 4th weekend; I'm taking off Monday at the hospital. I don't know what my work schedule is going to be for the gas station but I'm going to try to get off the Fourth itself, since I like to go downtown to the festival and parade. They're having fireworks across from the hospital this year (after not doing it last year for some reason), so I can go park and watch them from the front lawn. This year I won't bring Cerys; fireworks really upset her and make her shake and pee, bless her heart.

I'm also looking forward to a family reunion in July. There will be cousins I haven't seen for years (or at all, in the case of the youngest ones). I'll try to get some pictures and hope to have some fun.

Well, that's all for now. I have a lot on my plate at work...I'm setting up a book cart to go around the inpatient unit, will be doing storytimes soon in the lobby, and I'm planning a summer reading programme. That's a lot on top of my regular duties at 20 hours a week.

Take care.

I can't say I'm not glad he's gone

Although I don't generally support the death penalty (I don't think it's a deterrent, I think some innocents are wrongly convicted, and I believe there is a tendency for those of certain races and low intelligence levels to be convicted at higher rates than others), I can't say I'm not a little relieved that not only has this person been locked away, he has truly been removed from society. Overall Angel Maturino Resendiz was linked to 15 murders, but here in Lexington he left a survivor, and DNA evidence eventually linked the crime to the killer.

In Lexington he killed a young college student then raped, stabbed, beat and left the girl he was with for dead. She spent five days in the hospital and has had to deal with the emotional and physical damage that he did, especially living in fear for the two years it took authorities to catch him. Instead of choosing to hide, Holly Dunn came forward, not only identifying her attacker but giving talks to other college students about the dangers of rape and its effects.

Her take on the execution, which she did not attend, choosing to spend the day with friends and family in her home state of Indiana?
"I have to say that I guess it will be a relief when he's not in the world anymore," Dunn said in a written statement. "But I'll live with the emotional trauma whether he's in the world or not."

That pretty much covers it. To Dunn and the families of his other victims, the Railroad Killer's death might give a certain sense of closure, but never will it undo what happened. As someone who used to walk across those very same tracks in the wee hours of the morning on her way to work (just four years before the attack), I want to thank Dunn for coming forward and for helping put Resendiz in jail. We all felt a little safer to know he was behind bars. Now we feel a little safer knowing he will never get out into the world again, although unfortunately the world has an unhealthy share of similar violent criminals in it, so we can never truly be safe.
'Railroad Killer' is executed in Texas

Can you help?

I am trying to locate a used laptop for a teen with disabilities who is writing a book. He doesn't want anything fancy; Windows 98 is fine, a CD-ROM, floppy, and maybe a USB port would be great. If you would like to donate one or know of an organisation or individual who would do so, please let me know. Anything serving either Kentucky or West Virginia would be especially helpful.

My email address is: eilir.rowan@gmail.com

I know many of you are librarians so maybe we can mobilise the troops, so to say, and find a resource that will help this person in need. Thank you so much.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Having older brothers a factor in boys becoming gay

It's not a social force, either, but rather the very fact of the mother carrying boys in previous pregnancies that may change the womb environment to produce a child who is going to be gay. There is thought that the woman's body reacts to the XY chromosomes as more foreign than if she were carrying daughters, and so for each brother a boy's chances of being gay go up by about a third, according to the study. Having sisters has no effect, and likewise does not effect girls who become lesbian. In lesbians, there seems to have been a higher amount of testosterone than normal in the womb. Both of these findings support homosexuality as a result of genetics and prenatal effects rather than as a lifestyle choice.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Libraries Remember

I'm writing today to ask for a bit of free

On September 11 each year, we keep our library open for the entire 24 hours as a symbol that libraries are antithetical to everything that caused the 9/11 tragedies in New York City.

We also try to provide some special programming, and this year we are so pleased to be able to present Marion Lazan, author of Four Perfect Pebbles, in an
Online Auditorium. She will speak for about 30 minutes, and then respond to questions and comments. We believe her story of tolerance, hope, compassion,
and kindness is a perfect way to commemorate Sept. 11.

This program is totally free of charge, and it will be open to anyone in the world with an Internet connection. How wonderful it would be to have participants from all 50 states, Canada, and other nations of the world. This may be one of the last
times children will have the opportunity to talk with a Holocaust survivor.
Although I'm working with no budget, I do have an enthusiastic staff, and we are publicizing the event as best we can through e-mail, but the job is overwhelming.
I'm hoping you will give mention to the event in your weblog. Notice in library weblogs would indeed help get the word out.

You can get all of the information at:
www.librariesremember.net and if you could refer people there, they will get their questions answered and find a place to register for the program.

Thank you very much for considering this request.

Bill Erbes
Assistant Director
Bensenville Community Public Library District
200 S. Church Road
Bensenville, IL 60106

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Our esteemed governor (you know the one who's been indicted over hiring practices), Ernie Fletcher, or rather his administration, blocked state workers from reading many political blogs after a prminent political blogger was critical of the governor and was featured in a story in the New York Times. The government says that it was part of a more general ban on entertainment and other sites in an effort to restrict Internet access to sites necessary to conduct business at taxpayers' expense.

That could be partly true, but the timing does rather indicate that there is more to it.

I don't care for Internet blocking anyway, but as a part-time state employee I have to question how the state knows what I need access to. As part of my job, I've searched some pretty weird things, and yes, that might include blogs, albeit not the political ones (I'd probably need access to art and culture ones). But what constitutes culture and what constitutes entertainment sites? Hmmmm....

State workers denied access to political blogs

Someone very sick is out there

Missing cat found slain, cut severely

Someone in Meadowthorpe of all places (a pretty quiet neighbourhood in Lexington) disemboweled a family cat and left it under a neighbour's bush for the owner to find.

I'm wondering if it were just a random incident or if the fact that the two women living together were being targeted because someone thought they were lesbians. (I don't know if they are, I'm just saying someone might think so). In that case, it's not just a viscious case of animal cruelty, it's also a hate crime. Unfortunately, the owner didn't allow a necropsy to find the exact cause of death (she said it was obvious and didn't want the necropsy), so the authorities will not investigate it. (I personally would like to have known if this was done before or after death, to know if my pet suffered. Of course, I don't believe personally in letting cats wander outdoors except maybe on a farm (indoor cats have a lifespan of about 20; outdoor ones have one of only 2 years), although Meadowthorpe is one neighbourhood you would think would be okay.

One good thing is that neighbours have taken up a collection for a reward leading to information about crime.

I can't imagine how awful it would be to find a beloved pet violated this way. Cruelty towards animals is often a sign of sociopathic behaviour that will escalate to harm against humans (it's one thing you find in the background of serial killers, for example). I hope they find this person and put him (statistically it should be male, but I suppose I should say him or her for completeness' sake) away. Unfortunately no one's going to do that for 'just a cat' and it will probably have to be something considered more serious for the perpetrator to go to jail.

Man, what a crazy world.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

An excellent resource

Bipolar II, Mood Swings without Mania; Brain Tours; Stress and Depression; Hormones and Mood; and more...

Happy Summer Solstice!

Today is Summer Solstice, sometimes called Litha by Wiccans. Here in Kentucky, summer has begun in earnest; we're expecting temperatures in the mid-90s (Fahrenheit). D and I are planning on going swimming with the little one (J is a little over a year old) if the weather holds and no storms blow up.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Monday, June 19, 2006

Want to know where your money goes?

Try The Mint

Yay! Go, Dwana!

D just got a job as a social worker at our place of employment (as in, same employer, different department). That means she'll be in the field she got her master's in, and I'm sure she'll do a really great job. We should celebrate.

She and I and baby are going swimming on Wednesday. Maybe I can do something for her then. :)

Another clinician, another diagnosis

I went to see the psychiatric nurse practitioner today (my former psychiatrist is moving out of state). She was struck by the sheer variety of meds I'm on. Judging from the types of meds and the reasons I was put on them, she suspects that I'm actually being misdiagnosed and am bipolar type 2, with mixed episodes of depression and mania. She is putting me on Lamictal, with the idea of eventually decreasing and possibly getting me off of Adderall, Paxil, and Abilify. Particularly important to her were the racing thoughts I have (supposedly from the OCD), my varying ability to concentrate, and periods of sleeplessness and sleepiness that seem to cycle. She also found it interesting that I do get truly manic when put on Lortab. The idea is that the Lamictal should help with the emotional ups and downs without weight gain (I gained 80 lbs after going on Paxil) and the cognitive issues (such as concentrating). I feel mixed on the diagnosis. On the one hand, I've suspected I might be subclinically bipolar. And of course, I collect diagnoses; each one makes me more 'special' in some corner of my mind. But it's a serious disorder, and not a fun one by any means. But I keep hoping for a diagnosis that explains it all. Maybe this is the one.

So now we wait a few weeks whilst the Lamictal kicks in, hopefully without the rare 'deadly rash' side effect. A friend is already kiddingly getting back at me for all those years of obsessing on diseases, drugs, and allergies by suggesting it every time I seem to itch (which given my skin, is fairly often). If I do turn out allergic, I may get a rash, but the one to watch out for is a very rare syndrome where the skin sloughs off. Yuck. Please don't put me down for that. It is, I repeat, very rare, and only happens when you first go on the drug. So, one pill down and five weeks of ramping up to go. Wish me luck.

Taking a chance to resume work on the space station

Spaceflight Now | STS-121 Shuttle Report | Shuttle launch date set despite safety objections

Klimt's 'Golden Adele' sold for record 135 million dollars

Klimt's 'Golden Adele' sold for record 135 million dollars after being restored after a legal wrangle to the heirs of Adele Bloch-Bauer after her Jewish family was forced to flee the Nazis. For a nice picture of the painting, see this article. The painting, along with four other Klimt works, will be presented by New York's Neue Gallerie beginning July 13.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Cerys just enjoyed a hearty meal of beef chalupas

which for some reason I was given instead of bean burritos. Sigh. Oh, well, she gets meat so rarely, at least it didn't go to waste. I didn't feel like driving back to complain, and at least I got some nachos and sauce and an empanada.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Using science to justify killing endangered whales

Humpback Whales: Licence to Kill

Bad Japan. Everyone knows they're exploiting a loophole in the moratorium on hunting whales. Maybe it's time to close that loophole.

A hodgepodge of things

  1. According to my therapist, I heal through radical acceptance that my father was never the father I wanted or deserved. As a special bonus, if I could do that, I'd stop trying to please a man I haven't spoken to in thirteen years. I suspect it would also help me stop identifying him with someone else, an unfair thing I've done which strains that relationship.
  2. I've gone to the gym four times this week, and worked out with stretching, cardio, and weights. Go, Lisa!
  3. As a special treat, I am enjoying almond coconut ice cream (although not all at one sitting). :)
  4. I am not looking forward to working a ten-hour shift from 11am-10pm tomorrow.
  5. My digital music channels are finally working. Yay! New Age music, here I come. It had been really jerky and kept going in and out. My cable got reset (I was a little late in paying) and that did the trick.
  6. I feel so much better today than I have the rest of the week. I feel like I could sleep, but I also feel like I could stay up a couple of hours and work for the TV station. Since I'll be working so much tomorrow, I vote for sleep, and no gym tomorrow.
  7. The game is cancelled on Sunday, but I'm going to go over and work on past notes. I may soon be down to one active character. I think I'll wait to name the child of one of my characters until I know whether some are going to bite the dust, and then I'll name the child after the lost characters by way of remembrance.

That's it for the night. Have a good one.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The only trouble with going back on

metformin is that it tears up my gastro-intestinal system, making me sick to my stomach and causing frequent trips to the restroom. But at least it's helping my blood sugar, which is far more important in the long run. At least the side effects tend to lessen with time, or so I'm going to tell myself.

I like the postscript of rules of life from Bill Gates in this story

Bill Gates will step away from Microsoft

The Lighter Side of Business: Bill Gates' Advice to High School Students to Breakthrough Performance

You may have heard this advice from Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, Inc., but it's worth hearing again.

Rule 1: Life is not fair — get used to it

Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $40,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping — they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades, and they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off, and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.


Study Shows Aquatic Origins of All Modern Birds

You are getting unsleepy...

Finally an explanation for my extreme daytime sleepiness...I haven't been on my metformin for a couple of weeks--yes, I know, bad Lisa--and finally got it yesterday and voila! today I feel awake. So my blood sugar must have been wonky, which I figured, since I was starting out sleepy from the get go and getting worse after I ate. Yay for meds!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Well, at 39 I can hear it

It's an annoying, grate-your-teeth high pitched sound. If I heard it in a store, I'd want to leave, too. Hah, take that kids. Now, I'm not sure I'd hear it if I were talking in a busy classroom, but the headache would be a sign.

NPR : Teens Turn 'Repeller' into Adult-Proof Ringtone

Can you hear it? Download the .mp3 from NPR here.

PS I checked with three other people in my office. Of them, three of us could hear it, and we're all over 30. The one who couldn't is a junior in college. :) But she apparently listens to music a lot with headphones, so she may have some damage to her upper range of hearing. We had to turn it all the way up for her to hear anything.

Looking at the religions of superheroes

Beliefwatch: Holy Superheroes? - Newsweek Periscope - MSNBC.com

For more, try Comic Book Heroes Faith-by-Faith; for a complete list, go to the source, adherents.com.

How do I heal?

I think that's going to be a question for my therapist tomorrow. Over the last few days I've had quite a few conversations where the upshot is that I need to take responsibility for making my life better, because I am my own worst enemy at this point; certain things that were put into place as I was growing up set the stage, but I'm the one who continues the abuse and neglect of my childhood.

I was listening to Blue October's "Hate Me", which captures mental illness pretty well and always stirs up feelings because I've been that person who thinks that others would be better without her, and I've been the person that would be better without the crazy people in her life, too. It especially brings up memories of my father, my ex-husband/ex-bosom companion (long story), my own issues. I mean, I know that I have certain chemical issues--a tendency towards depression, anxiety issues, OCD, ADHD--but so much of my struggles aren't because of that, which is relatively easy to take care of with medication. No, it's far more deep-seated issues from my childhood that built a series of coping mechanisms that now imprison me rather than help me.

I was essentially an intelligent, precocious, and precious gift--a healthy child full of curiosity and personality. Unfortunately, the people who were my life--my parents--were caught up in their own lives, their own struggles, and frankly didn't want to be bothered. That, coupled with the isolation of always moving and starting over, meant I had very little stability outside of school's structure. So I grew up as one friend put it, 'raised by wolves', in a sort of social vacuum where my only real encouragement was in school and I somehow evolved the idea that like school, I could win accolades from the people who were supposed to love me by being certain things. I became a quiet, "good girl" who didn't cause any trouble because she never took chances. I became passive, following my mother's lead. I became, in some ways, invisible, because I knew from a fairly early age that I was not really wanted and was in the way, especially in relation to my father, who on top of not really being able to interact comfortably with a child, being overly critical, and being emotionally crushing and abusive, couldn't handle having a child who he perceived as smarter than he himself. Unlike the natural tendency for parents to encourage and want their children to go forth and blossom beyond their own limitations, he competed with his child and under the guise of teaching criticised every attempt to grasp higher concepts that I had. It left me with a loathing of logic and algebra, for example, two things he tried to 'teach' me and essentially crippled my ability to think quantitatively and qualitatively because I was so scarred by the experience. I went from being a toddler who was operating in 3rd to 4th grade math to thinking of myself as a failure and unable to do algebra...it took me three years to finally 'get' it through school. To this day I tend to compartmentalise so that I can analyse and do well so long as I'm doing it in an academic setting (teachers were the few adults who encouraged me, and even a few of them really thought I was showing off instead of being a sponge for new ideas), but in my everyday life, I don't really think. Most people don't, of course, not really. Our minds are full of details of small talk and schedules, rather than higher questions of the universe or figuring out and solving problems. Mostly we react to situations and other people. But the sad thing is I know I'm capable of working on a higher level of philosophy and ethics, of success through problem-solving, of having a real genius for thought and a zest for life...and yet I'm crippled by all the emotional issues I carry from that warped childhood. I feel ashamed because I watch one friend who aspires improve herself in ways I'm not sure she's quite capable, but she's trying, and through sheer determination rather than natural talent, she may succeed, whereas I have the talent but not the drive, and furthermore am wracked with lots of self-doubt and tend to stumble out of sheer fear of success. So instead I come off like an idiot in things I say and do, and I don't live up to my potential, either intellectually or in life. I'm just learning to take the risks in meeting new people and developing relationships, but I haven't taken it to the level of a romantic relationship as of yet. That still frightens me. I'm emotionally crippled as well as intellectually, and the thing is, most people think I do pretty well, but I know I'm only coasting through life and doing what is necessary rather than doing what I can--and I'm tired of that.

And the sad thing is I realise how much my experiences crippled me, and yet it could have been far worse--and for many children who struggle to adulthood, it is so much worse, and I wish I could make a difference in terms of those who can be saved, but I'm afraid that if I got involved in a child's life I'd just repeat the mistakes of my parents, so maybe it's good that I don't have children of my own and am unlikely to have them. And I know there are adults who are far more scarred and who do so much better in some ways than I do. I'm not sure I can do anything about them. What I can do is do something for myself.

Some part of me has tried to recapture my childhood, both in my actions and in my orientation in life, which tends towards the past rather than the future. I watched a programme with a little girl with ADHD trying to get attention from her mother and realised I act the same way exactly...not a pleasant thing in a grown woman in her 30s, nearly 40. The thing is, my childhood will never be what I wanted, and what I deserved. I need to let it go. There are good things about being in touch with an inner child, but that child shouldn't rule your adult life.

I wish I could just rip out the parts of me that aren't pretty, aren't functional, but they're a part of me and I don't think it's so much like weeding out the unwanted as taking the good out with the bad...it's too integrated at this point.

But I'm the one who has been choosing not to live up to my potential in all aspects of my life--jobs, friendship, thinking, relationships. It's time to heal and move on, and become more forward-thinking. It's time to really be me and to let myself take a chance and become something beyond what I am. In many ways my parents raised a troll who cowers under the bridge away from people and tries to keep them at bay. They could have raised a butterfly (as one friend put it), but they didn't, and that's sad. And I built a cocoon to keep out the world, a wall between myself and others, rather than a chrysalis of transformation. It's up to me to create that butterfly (which is a little ironical given the name I chose when I changed my name, Eilir, means butterfly, renewal, rebirth, and spring). I need to finish the transformation I began when I left an abusive relationship, cut off ties with my father, changed my name, and started down the road to a better life. I'm the only thing keeping me back at this point. No longer. I choose to become the person I was supposed to be, a thinking person who blends emotion and rational thought in wise mind, who takes risks, who lives life. Anything less is unacceptable. That is the first step to healing, to taking me life back. It's time to take charge and learn to not only go with the flow, but to swim forward.

PS If you're reading this and you have a child in your life, think about what you do to honour the gift you've been given. You are that child's world--so much of what you do will affect him or her. Take time to encourage the unique gifts of a child. So he bangs on the piano. Don't tell him he can't play--get him lessons, even if it's inconvenient. Interests nurtured can have lifelong results.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Well, at least mine didn't show any and had the fewest side effects

Antipsychotic Drugs Linked to Pituitary Tumors (free with registration)

Aripiprazole (Abilify) is an anti-psychotic drug that I'm on actually for cognitive issues with OCD. It's nice to know of all of those studied, it had the fewest side effects. Doctors aren't suggesting that these be discontinued by any means--their benefits outweigh the risks. They just want physicians and others to know the risks involved.

Helping children exposed to war, terrorism, and conflict

Psychosocial Consequences - Children Exposed to Terrorism (free with registration)

Some scary statistics from an article by Barenbaum, Ruchkin, and Schwab-Stone (see the references, number 12, of this article):

    Some approximated facts related to the decade 1993-2003 are the following:
  1. Two million children were killed and six million children were injured or permanently disabled in war zones.
  2. Of war-exposed survivors, one million children were orphaned and 20 million displaced to refugee camps or other camps.
  3. Civilians comprise 80-90% of all who die or are injured in conflicts - mostly children and their mothers.

This Medscape article, reprinted from Current Opinion in Psychiatry, by Richard Williams, looks at the impact of war, disasters, and terrorism on children, psychosocial results, and how to create policies to combat these effects. It answers such questions as: What are the 4 universal characteristics of children's psychological responses to trauma? How can you provide psychological first aid? How can you identify those who need long-term interventions? Check it out for more infomation.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

My name in print is closer and closer

as an author for a chapter in a book described on LIScareer.com -- The Librarian & Information Professional's Career Development Center. The book 'A Day in the Life', for Libraries Unlimited, is being edited by Priscilla Shontz and Rich Murray. The table of contents is listed, and I'm in the special libraries section under 'Medical Librarian' under my first name, Elisabeth (I write here and mostly on the web under my middle name, Eilir). Yipee! The final draft should ready by sometime in September.

That'll give me one state publication compilation, one article, one book chapter, and reviews of orthopaedic books for Doody's in terms of professional writing. That's a good start, yes?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Slug guts

I was watering my tomato plant in the pot on the front porch tonight when I heard and felt the tell-tale sound and squish of a slug under my feet. Ew. At least I had shoes on. I hated killing it unecessarily, but at least it won't eat my tomatoes.

This has been a busy but productive weekend. The game took some strange turns that really are going to cause us grief, but of course we are masochistic players who come back for more mayhem. I visited a friend on Friday and helped him with some things. I worked at the gas station on Saturday and today, worked on game stuff, prepared for the game (mostly housekeeping, my form of bribing the game master), and that was pretty much it. The only bad thing that happened was that I fell asleep Friday night a couple of hours before I was supposed to pick up a friend, was apparently super tired, and slept right through until 4:30 in the morning. He had to take a cab. He couldn't call me because my phone doesn't have any minutes on it at the moment. I apologised and he's forgiven me, but I hope that doesn't happen again, or at least not any time soon.

That's pretty much it. I'm going to try to get into a regular gym routine this week. On Tuesday I talk to the nurse practitioner who's replacing the psychiatrist I have been seeing (my doctor and her husband are moving their practice to New York to be closer to their son, who is going to college there--can we say there is a little enmeshment going on there?) Thursday I see my therapist. So it's a good mental health week.

Other than that, I don't have plans except to set up some payments for the latter part of the month and see if I can get my meds without going negative.

My Cerys is stretched out on the floor at my feet. I haven't seen much of her this weekend. I think it's time to head to bed and cuddle. Good night.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Some good news

Mike from the gym just called and he has a one-day special where if I come in today and redo my paperwork, they'll waive the amount that we postdated (the fee for joining and the last month's dues) after all (which came to about $69), leaving me free to enjoy the gym without paying anything until next month. Yay.

I also found some extra money in my bank account that I didn't know I had. Apparently I deducted too much at some point. Woo-hoo.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Random thought

I love my dentist. She specifically went to look through a drawer to find me a purple toothbrush, because she noticed I wear purple so much, and had asked me if I liked it. Observant and sweet.

It was after 8 pm

and I'd taken a nap after going to the dentist for a cleaning and having some fettucini alfredo with broccoli and tomatoes. I still needed to go to the gym. I told myself if I went I'd get some ice cream afterwards. So I set the cable box to record a programme on the Waverly Tuberculosis Sanitorium in Louisville (it's supposedly one of the most haunted buildings on the planet), stopped briefly at the library to return a book and check out some on walking, stretching, yoga, weight training, and water fitness. Then I hit the gym. A surprising number of people were there late. I bicycled a cardio programme for 20 minutes and thought I'd never get through it. But I did make it. Then I walked for fifteen minutes. I didn't do the weight circuit, after all, since I'd done the cardio workout and was feeling jazzed but a little done in. I think I may add the weights after a couple weeks of getting used to the treadmill and bike again.

So then I hit Kroger, but I didn't buy ice cream. I didn't really feel hungry for it after my workout. Instead I got a French baguette and some caraway havarti (one of my favourite cheeses), some fruit, and something to drink, especially water.

I'm proud of myself. I went ahead and did something good for me even though I didn't feel much like doing it, rather than (as a friend put it) lying there listening to my thighs spread. Now to do a little reading and pick up a friend from work, and then I'm ready to head to bed.

I happen to be up

And I'm debating on whether to go to the gym before work or after work. I have a dental cleaning appointment today at 3:30, so if I go it will be during 'peak' evening hours as opposed to the normal early afternoon. But I'd rather pick a time and keep to it. Of course, on the weekends I have to go in the morning, but generally I'm not great at getting up ahead of time in order to have plenty of time before work, so afternoon is probably better.

I've also been looking over the classes. I'd like to take Spinning, the Aqua Action & Agility, and Urban Yoga, but I think I'll have to build up to them. Yesterday I did 15 minutes on the treadmill and 15 minutes on a bike. Today I'm going to do 20 minutes of each with a mild weight circuit in between.

The key to losing weight through exercise seems to be 1) consistent cardio workouts, even for short periods of time and 2) doing it every day or at least almost every day. Last time I joined the gym I tended at best to work out three days of the seven. I toned up, but really didn't lose weight. So, the idea is to spend some time at the gym every day doing cardio work, plus three times a week doing strength training (it helps to rest between sessions on that). I'm paying more now that they've gotten rid of the corporate rate, so I have a better incentive to go.

Well, I think I'll go back to sleep until about 7 and get up and do some yoga and get ready. 'Night.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Today I:

  1. Wore my shirt wrong side outwards for the entire time I was at work, discovering only after I'd clocked out and gone to the bathroom that the tag was not merely sticking up, but was on the outside of the shirt.
  2. Was really sleepy this morning and overslept without actually being very late. I think my blood sugar was wonky and didn't get better until I ate lunch.
  3. Signed up for the gym and worked out. The bike isn't totally free (you have to pay shipping and handling) but is worth about $400 so that's not too bad. It's still less than I would pay for a bike myself.
  4. I have thought all day that it was Wednesday and that it was the 5th, rather than the 6-6-06 so many people are going on about. Although given the weirdness today, maybe there's something to it.
  5. I stepped into my dog's water bowl.
  6. I really wanted to swim at the gym or at the apartment pool, but I'm bleeding heavily so no dice.
  7. I had quite a nice nap and now I've eaten, and I'm going to work some for distance learning.
  8. I am so glad I got the computer working again. Now if I could just find a driver for the sound card....

Tell them what really matters to you

Dear Friend,

I just signed this petition to stop the divisive "Federal Marriage Amendment."

It's an election year, and Republicans are in deep trouble. Instead of addressing the things Americans really care about, they're trying to change the subject and use wedge issues in hopes of distracting from their failures and dividing Americans to win elections.

This time, LGBT families are the pawns in their political game. And this time, the American Constitution is their political playing field. They want to amend the Constitution to deprive gay people of equal rights under the law.

With your help, we can a powerful message to Republicans that legislating discrimination defames good people. Please join me by signing
this petition:



Monday, June 05, 2006

Oh, this is so cool

I missed the gym promotion last month where they were giving away free mountain bikes with a membership, but...

I talked to a guy, Mike, at the gym, and he still has some bikes left over and has signed up a couple people who didn't want one, so he's having me come in tomorrow to reactivate my membership, set up payment for the second payday of the month, but be able to work out immediately, and he's going to try to get me one of the bikes. Yay! Wish me luck.

It has gone up some since they've built a fourth gym, but it'll probably go up again soon with the tennis courts and other improvements, so it's better to lock in a deal now. Plus, it's still cheaper than sitting on my butt watching cable. :)

A story with a lot of irony

UK chemist's dying wish gets new life

We had the game after all, which I enjoyed

The highlight:

One of my characters was grabbed by a mafia boss and jerked from her chair to standing. She slipped out of her silk shirt as he held her as a shield, then crouched down and elbowed him hard in the gonads, causing a very high-pitched yelp and instantly dropping him, very nearly killing him.

She may be a self-centred dilletante with too much money and not enough sense, but she doesn't like to be manhandled, and after all, she is taught in self-defence and martial arts. Go, Celeste!

Of course, the fact that this pleased me so well is probably some sick inner lesbian feminazi man-hating thing buried deep in my psyche. But it is also tempered with the knowledge that if the goons can figure out who our characters are, we are so going to be targeted by the mob, especially darling Celeste.

Oh well. This adventure has petty criminals, Yog Sothoth, Deep Ones, earthquake-causing cthonians, an immortal Chinese man, disappearing women, strange 'black madness', grizzly bear shamans, and an outfit called New World Industries all nestled in the hills of San Francisco. What's a mob boss to the mix?

It's so going to be a smoking crater by the time we finish with it. Thank goodness this is just a game.

Some interesting proposals

The problem is, of course, implentation, especially promoting widespread circumscision and building a society where prostitution is not necessary to eat and men do not commit dometic violence and rape. I like this quote by a Harvard specialist, Dr. Jim Yong Kim: 'Treatment is relatively easy, but prevention is rocket science.' Unfortunately prevention must be the key in Afria and elsewhere, because although we do have a complex coctktail of drugs that work, the body can build a resistance to drugs, and eventually the virus may do so as well. It's frightening to think that young people both in our own society and elsewhere think of AIDS as a nuisance rather than the deadly disease it can be, and don't necessarily take precautions as a result.

Ten steps Africans can take to curb AIDS epidemic - The Boston Globe

A handy list

2006 National Health Observances

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Speaking of Charlize Theron

I've always rather liked her; she had an abusive father whom her mother shot in self defence in front of her, not a usual background for a glamourous actress, and of course she's probably the best known South African actress, but a comment in the Wikipedia article on Charlize Theron caught my eye. She said she wouldn't marry her long-term boyfriend Stuart Townsend until same-sex marriages were recognised. Way to go!

Æon Flux - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I never watched the original animated series, but I remember looking through the graphic novel back when I worked at the comic store, and I really enjoyed Æon Flux the movie, which is loosely based on its antecedent but in a nice coherent way. The physical moves are similar to what characters in our game can do, so it was nice to see a demonstration of things like rolling with impact, jump kicks, and leaps. If you like science fiction and unarmed combat (and armed for that matter, as quite a bit of gunfire happens as well), it's well worth a look. Charlize Theron does an excellent job as Æon.

Can you imagine the explosion and subsequent changes

in wake of a meteor the size of Sydney hitting what is now Antartica, explaining how Australia was born, killing off 95% of Earth's species, setting up the rise of the dinosaurs? That's a lot bigger impact than the meteor that supposedly led to their decline.

It's amazing we're even here to contemplate it.

And of course, Australia being severed from the greater land mass helped set up the marsupial continent's strange fauna, such as the platypus. :)

Boo Hiss

Bush Calls for an Amendment Banning Same-Sex Nuptials


  1. Don't we have more problems to deal with than the supposed threat to marriage that same sex unions pose? You know, things like, oh, I don't know, a war with no exit strategy????
  2. Why muck with the constitution to use it deny rights, when traditionally it's more likely to use an amendment to expand them?
  3. Heterosexuals have pretty much brought marriage to its supposed endangered status
  4. I would argue that marriage is not endangered, just that it has evolved to meet society's needs. It other cultures, marriage has varied in terms of whether divorce is allowed (an ancient institution, not a recent development), its oeconomic benefits have often been more important than love, etc., etc.
  5. People aren't avoiding that leap of hope that marriage is forever and that marriage is for love. It's just not the most realistic of ideas, but still a worthy one.
  6. I'm really tired of Republicans, who have pretty much mucked up everything since they got control of the White House and Congress, using gays to try to fire up their constituents to ignore their failings.

'No one needs permission from Adobe' except Microsoft, apparently

Bowing To Adobe, Microsoft Strips PDF Support From 2007 Office

Microsoft will still have a patch available to users who wish to export data into PDF or its own XPS format, and is removing the bundling of XPS from Windows Vista in Europe to keep down controversy over product bundling which has gotten them into problems before. But they wanted to provide access to Adobe's de facto standard, too.

I know Microsoft is the evil giant of the computer wars, but it's brilliance is it's attempt to provide everything a user needs at his or her fingertips. I think it gets a bum rap sometimes for this. This might be one of those cases. And it's not like Adobe is a little fish in the market, either.

A normal Saturday night

Listening to: 'Hate Me' by Blue October; 'Unwritten' by Natasha Bedingfield; 'Where'd You Go?' by Fort Minor (a rap song I actually like, since it also involves music and good lyrics)

I worked a rare 8-hour Saturday shift today, and although I did take a nap afterwards I wasn't really wiped out like usual. I got to use my Spanish today when helping a man with a phone card. I could read the card's fine print and was able to direct him to a Mexican restaurant in broken Spanglish. I explained that I could read Spanish and understood him, but didn't really speak it well. He appreciated it a great deal and shook my hand, then went on his way. And before any of you say anything about how people in this country should know English, he was using every bit of his English and trying very hard to be understood, and had a phrase-book where he could show me a word he didn't know. It wasn't that different from how I'd be a tourist in, say France, except he was probably more fluent than I would have been. :) If I could just get over my embarrassment at speaking Spanish, I think I could do pretty well with fluency. I always hated getting up in class and speaking, even though I had a decent accent and did really well. But now that I'm rusty, I'm too hung up on making mistakes. I really should go to one of the bilingual cafes they have over at the Village Branch library and practice more to get my confidence up. And I'm not like this just with Spanish...German is the same way. Also, I think the part of your brain that you use for second languages must be slightly different from your native tongue...sometimes I find I go to think of a word in one language and can just remember it in another one, not English. Of course, my grasp of English is somewhat idiosyncratic, too. :)

It was also our day to be a honest-to-goodness service station. The guys hepled change a tyre for one woman who was stranded and then one of them gave another one a jump right afterward. Oh, and I got to be a Good Samaritan yesterday by giving someone water for their radiator when I was out driving. I still had water from working on the battery, and she was stranded without any more. What can I say, what goes around comes around.

Well, I think I'll play on the computer for awhile. 'Night.
So, I'm home now and having had some cheap pizza (Little Caesar's hot-and-ready cheese carryout deal for $5 can't really be beat when you're hungry and not wanting to spend a lot) and a nap I'm listening to the radio and watching Cerys roll on the floor. She's doing much better today; the limp is gone completely and by yesterday evening she was leaping from the bed (which may have been the problem in the first place). She's being cute, putting her muzzle up on my leg. :)

The computer is apparently fixed. Yay!

Tomorrow there isn't a game (long story to that which I won't go into here; suffice to say it's on hold until I can solve a technical problem with my e-mail, of all things), so I think I'll do some work for distance learning so I can go in Monday with both tapes I've been working on and exchange them for some more and maybe do some things around here. Cleaning my bathroom seems a capital idea, for example. Or maybe I'll do some reading. Anyway, I think I'll play on the computer some and then head on to bed. 'Night.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I miss the gym

Isn't that funny, in a woman who weighs about 270 lbs and never was good at sticking to diets or exercise? But I miss working out. Now that I have a chequing account (and more importantly, the almighty CheckCard, which allows you to set up monthly payments as if on a credit card (oddly enough, I got the CheckCard today, the cheques yesterday, even though it was supposed to take the card half the time...I guess the holiday threw things off), I'm going to check into signing up again.

Of course, timing is everything; I need that sort of debit to come out around the 25th of each month so that second paycheque from the hospital has had a chance to hit. So, it'll be about three weeks until I can sign up--assuming nothing else happens to the car or computer. And of course, on top of bills, I hope to go to the new vet. Cerys is limping a little today. It could be a mild sprain...she is having so much trouble getting on and off the bed these days. I'm going to keep her off her feet mostly and see if it clears up in a day or so. If not, then I may be going to the vet sooner than that. I hope it's nothing serious. She did this once a long time ago and then switched feet, making us realise that she was faking for attention. But with her age, I doubt she's feigning this time.

Okay, enough blogging. Off to work.

I think I may have fixed the computer

I decided to go ahead and get a new power supply, since it was only $30. Installation went pretty well although I apparently knocked the hard drive connexion loose and had to tighten that up, and I sliced my finger open trying to pull out the connexion for the floppy drive. So, maybe with a little offering of blood, the automatic shutdowns will stop. I'm going to do some TV work (the video outlining) and if the computer stays on the whole time, I'll be very, very happy. Wish me luck.

My computer is still on the fritz

which is why I haven't blogged many detailed posts of late. Yesterday I managed to get about ten minutes in before it shut itself down. It looks like a power supply problem, so when I get a chance, I'll replace the supply. That may be in about two to three weeks, as I'm saving now for rent and payment for the transmission.

I'm doing pretty well, actually. Last night I had some me time and did a little reading, put on some soft music and lit some incense, and generally just relaxed. I'm reading Emily Craig's Teasing Secrets from the Dead. She's Kentucky's forensic anthropologist. She has an interesting background, beginning her career as an orthopaedic medical illustrator, then becoming a forensic artist, and finally forensic anthropology. It's a fascinating field. When I was a child, I loved Quincy, the TV show about a pathologist, and of course I watch things like CSI and Forensic Files, but being able to glean information from skeletons really appeals to me. I've read Dead Men Do Tell Tales, the book by another forensic anthropologist, William Maples, who works in Florida. I remember freaking out my friends by reading a description of the stratification of a body decomposing in a septic system, with various types of maggots and other creatures contributing.

Okay, so people think I'm weird. Considering the popularity of these shows and books, though, I'm not alone in my morbidity.

One of the things I liked first off about CSI was forensic entomology, the specialty of the fictional character Gil Grissom. As a child I loved bugs and studied them, considering a career in entomology. Even as a college student I started out in biology. If I had realised this field existed, I might have gravitated to it, because I am both fascinated by the world of insects and by the physiological processes of death.

Anyway, back to Emily Craig. I've seen her in the news of course, since she heads up the Commonwealth of Kentucky's (we're not really a state, you know) Medical Examiner office and she gets called out to a lot of cases. I didn't realise how much out-of-area work she'd done. But I wanted to get to know more about what she does.

Believe it or not, that's my idea of a relaxing evening. Tonight I'm going to work some more for distance learning, reviewing and outlining video segments, which is a little mind-numbing but I'm learning more about our class through it and how they define humanities.

That's all for now. Back to work, where I've been finding pictures of the Queen Mary for a patron (and you thought medical librarianship was boring).

An opportunity to do some good

The following request for medical books for medical providers from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas was passed along by Lily Liu recently to one of our librarian lists. I'm posting with her permission. Soldiers are collecting medical books to send to Iraq to be used by Iraqi medical providers there. They ask for medical books published after 2000. No journals are needed at this point. There is no time limit, they will collect and ship them as it goes. You can mail books to the following address:

314 Medical Group
c/o SSgt Joseph Williams
1090 Arnold Drive
Little Rock AFB, AR 72099-4399

It's an opportunity to get books that may be extras or weeded from our collections to a place where they could be invaluable. Here's the original request:


If you have any Medical Books that you would like to donate to Iraqi providers, please [send them to] my office....Any and all publications from basic to subspecialty are desirable. Basic science texts for medical students will also be useful. Iraqi medicine is educationally sophisticated but materially poorly resourced. All Iraqi doctors can read and speak English, so don't worry about a language barrier. It's ok if the books are a little old, or a little tattered. Books must be no more than two editions old. (Nothing published before 2000, please) These books will be sent on a C-30 ASAP to be used down range by Iraqi providers in practice. Many of the doctors there have lost their books due to bombings, fires, and civil war. We here at The Rock can make a big difference for Iraq, so please show your support.

SSgt Joseph Williams

Thursday, June 01, 2006

What a tragic case of mistaken identity

Mistaken ID stuns crash victims' families

One family was told their daughter was dead. Another endured the uncertainty of their daughter's recovery from a coma, detailing her progress on a blog.

Now they have found out that the girls, who were remarkably similar in appearance and were in the same car accident, were in fact mistakenly identified...meaning one family has found their loved one alive, and the other must deal with the crushing certainty that the girl whom they thought was making progress actually died in the crash.

Details can be found at the blog for Laura VanRyn. The families have my deepest condolences.

Something you probably didn't know about catnip

ScienceDaily: Catnip Repels Mosquitoes More Effectively Than DEET

D gave me a 'grow your own catnip' mini kit that she got from N. I've soaked the peat pellet, planted the seeds, and let's see what happens.

It only reminds me that N is going away to work on her phD in psychology in Kansas in a couple of months. Hopefully by then there will be a catnip plant to remind me of 'cool Natalie'.

Overwhelmingly people believe that public dollars should mean research is accessible

The Harris Poll - Large Majorities of U.S. Adults Support Easy – and Free – Online Access to Federally-Funded Research Findings on Health Issues and Other Topics