Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More on the EPA library fiasco

Scientists set to lose access to EPA libraries

“This makes no sense,” said one agency researcher, who also requested anonymity. “The library is a bargain. Five minutes of a librarian’s time can save me hours.” The researcher’s views are backed by a 2004 EPA report, which concluded that the service saves the agency and the public time and money: ~$2.00–5.70 for every $1.00 spent.

This is such a shame. Perhaps enough hue and cry can help reverse the dismantling of the largest environmental library system in the world.


Stealth Closure of Principal EPA Chemical Library: Unannounced Move Hampers Agency Scientists' Review of New Chemicals

The OPPTS Library was officially closed on October 20, 2006. The library's valuable, paper-only collection has been moved into boxes, which are currently stored in a basement cafeteria. Last week, EPA laid off three librarians and two technical staff. In the meantime, approximately 20 cubicles have been erected inside the library's open space where EPA scientists used to review unique monographs.

Citing budget pressures, EPA has in recent weeks closed several of its libraries across the country, with their collections gathered in three large "repositories," where the works sit uncatalogued and inaccessible both to EPA's scientists and to members of the public. EPA claims to be digitizing these collections in a page-by-page process that has no dedicated budget, timetable, over-arching plan or set of priorities. Unlike its recent closure of its main Headquarters library and despite federal policy (Office of Budget & Management Circular A-130) requiring that the public be notified whenever "terminating significant information dissemination products," EPA made no public announcement concerning the dismantlement of the OPPTS Library. In addition, the OPPTS Library was not mentioned in the "EPA FY 2007 Framework" as one of the several libraries slated to be shuttered.

And Why is EPA Closing Its Libraries from Russell Shaw of The Huffington Post:
These libraries receive more than 134,000 research requests a year from EPA staff. The combined collection of 504,000 books and reports, 3,500 journals, 25,000 maps and 3.5 million information objects on microfilm are available to public and EPA researchers. An inter-library loan program offers materials housed in one EPA library to be transferred to another EPA library geographically closer to the researcher's location.

But that's now history. As of today [October 1st, the beginning of FY2007].

The savings are $2 million. Compare that to the fact that the $2 million saved by the library closures - expressed as a percentage basis- calculates to about 17 minutes of the 2007 Fiscal Year U.S. Iraq War budget.


All this makes me wonder: what does the EPA have to hide? Is the real agenda here to deny the EPA and the public access to historical data that could be used to research and prosecute polluters who are big donors to Republican candidates?

Happy Halloween!

At work several of us are going as various characters from The Wizard of Oz. I'm the tin woodsman. Well, tin woodswoman, I suppose. I've got grey face paint, several sizes of aluminum foil-covered posterboard, and duct tape. We also have Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, Glenda the Good, and the Wicked Witch of the West.

It's amazing what a week will do for fortune. Yesterday evening I was able to get two used tyres put on the car ($55) and groceries ($80) with some money still left over from my paycheque. It's the first time I've really bought groceries (as opposed to bread and peanut butter or animal food) in a long time. I actually have things to pack for lunch. I have fruit. I have pumpkin ice cream. I have sourdough bread and an assortment of cheeses. I have black cherry Fresca. Okay, so I splurged a little. But that's on top of paying the cable modem bill, the phone bill, and filling the car with gas. This week's cheque will mostly go to electric and gasoline, but again, I'm operating ahead. That extra money from working in the lab is really helping. The key this time too is that I'm keeping it tracked in a little notebook so I don't go crazy with the debit card.

I felt really good yesterday. I expect part of it is that I was in bed by 10 pm and got a lot of rest. Last night I stayed up to 2 am, so I don't feel as rested. But I'm excited by it being Halloween. But it will be a busy one--I have to work both jobs and then work on the game notes, then I'll do a little religious observance since it is, after all, a holiday.

Speaking of Paganism, I got confirmation that my membership in Hellenion was approved and I'm now official. Yay!

Well, that's all for now--time to go to work. Hope you have a wonderful holiday.


Mirror test suggests elephants are self-aware, a trait so far found in humans, chimpanzees, and to some extent, dolphins. This is one more reason to fight against the illegal ivory trade.

Monday, October 30, 2006

A good resource

Bipolar Disorder Daily News Blog, brought to you by www.moodswing.org. The main site also includes chat and message boards, as well as information on the disorder.

Hope for a test for Alzheimer's

British scientists have found two proteins that appear in people with Alzheimer's but do not show up in normal subjects. The hope is that a test can be developed to catch the disease early before symptoms are being shown.

Want to nominate books for the Cybil awards?

From Elizabeth Bird (http://fusenumber8.blogspot.com) :

There are many many children's literature blogs out there, just overflowing with intelligence and handy dandy knowledge. With that in mind, we introduce to you the very first book award chosen and bestowed entirely by kidlit bloggers. The Cybils (Children's and YA Bloggers' Literary Awards) strive to reward those books that might not get noticed by the Newberys, Boston-Globe Horn Book Awards, etc.

What we would like is for you to check out our website (at http://www.blogger.com/www.cybils.com) and then nominate your favorite books of 2006, one per category. That means, we'd love for you to nominate one book for each of the following: middle grade fiction title, YA fiction, non-fiction middle grade/YA, non-fiction picture book, fantasy/sci-fi, poetry, picture book, and a graphic novel.

Not surprising, and a reason for us to be teaching proper online evaluation

Pew Internet: Online Health Search 2006

Fully three-quarters of health seekers say they check the source and date “only sometimes,” “hardly ever,” or “never,” which translates to about 85 million Americans gathering health advice online without consistently examining the quality indicators of the information they find.

Latest attempt to save the EPA libraries

Please consider calling your Senators BY OCTOBER 31st, urging them to sign onto the Boxer-Lautenberg "Dear Colleague" letter. Contact information for your senators can be found at http://www.senate.gov/, or by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121.

The following ALA Action Alert from ALA provides additional details, and copies of MLA and AAHSL's letters to Congress on this issue, can be accessed at http://www.mlanet.org/government/gov_pdf/200607_epa_letter.pdf and http://www.mlanet.org/government/gov_pdf/2006epafinalletter.pdf.

American Library Association Washington Office Newsline ALAWON Volume 15, Number 115
DATE : October 26, 2006

Save EPA Libraries!

CALL BOTH OF YOUR SENATORS IMMEDIATELY AND ASK THEM TO SIGN ONTO the Boxer- Lautenberg "Dear Colleague" letter asking the Senate Appropriations Committee to direct EPA to maintain access and research expertise at ALL of EPA's regional and headquarter libraries until the Agency solicits adequate public and Congressional input.

Background: Senators Barbara Boxer and Frank Lautenberg have drafted a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee stating their concern that EPA is dismantling their unique library system (see below). As you know, the government, business and the general public depend on EPA's libraries to conduct research critical to protecting public health, enforcing environmental laws, and promoting sound economic, land-use planning and other decisions. Closure of these facilities will severely limit, and in some cases eliminate, the information resources needed by those investigating issues critical to environmental safety and health. Although EPA's FY2007 budget hasn't been passed yet, this year EPA has already eliminated or reduced library service covering 31 states (see list below below ).

ACTION: CALL BOTH OF YOUR SENATORS TODAY AND ASK THEM TO SIGN ONTO Boxer- Lautenberg "Dear Colleague" letter! The letter asks the Appropriators to direct EPA to maintain access and research expertise at all of EPA's regional and headquarter libraries until the Agency solicits adequate public and Congressional input. The deadline for signing the letter is November 1st, so call today! Tell your Senator's Office that they can arrange to sign the letter by calling Grant Cope (4-7931) or Daniel Rosenberg (4-7225) and that they must do so before November 1st.

Letter to Senate Appropriations Committee: October 26, 2006
Honorable Thad Cochran, Chair Appropriations Committee U.S. Senate
Honorable Conrad Burns, Chair Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies U.S. Senate
Honorable Robert C. Byrd, Ranking Member Appropriations Committee U.S. Senate
Honorable Byron Dorgan, Ranking Member Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies U.S. Senate

Dear Colleague:

We are writing to request that you direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restore and maintain public access and onsite library collections and services at EPA's headquarters, regional, laboratory, and specialized program libraries while the Agency solicits and considers public input on its plan to drastically cut its library budget and services. Government representatives, businesses and citizens use information in these libraries to protect public health, enforce environmental laws, and promote sound decision-making. We are concerned that EPA is already dismantling its unique library system without including the public or Members of Congress in the decision-making. Congress should not allow EPA to gut its library system, which plays a critical role in supporting the Agency's mission to protect the environment and public health. EPA has already eliminated or reduced library service to the public in seven EPA regions covering 31 states and is planning to close its Headquarters' library and maintain it only as a repository. (Attachment) EPA has also closed its pesticide and toxics program library, reducing access to unique materials needed to assess pesticides and other chemicals' potential health effects on children. EPA is implementing these devastating closures on the grounds that they expect to save $2 million.

EPA's libraries provide far more benefits than the minor cost reductions resulting from their closure. A 2004 EPA report found that "[c]alculated conservatively, the benefit-to-cost ratio for EPA library services ranges between 2:1 and 5.7:1." The report noted that libraries saved EPA professional staff $7.5 million and non-EPA personnel $2.8 million, in 2003; and that one-third of the libraries' work gave EPA $22 million in benefits.

The American Library Association, American Association of Law Libraries, and Special Library Association strongly oppose the cuts, pointing out that EPA has "unique collections, including an estimated 50,000 one-of-a-kind primary source documents that are available nowhere else." Notes provided by the American Library Association that recount a meeting with EPA on the library closures state that their warnings that the Agency should develop a new system before closing libraries "fell on deaf ears." Unions representing 10,000 EPA scientists, engineers, and other staff have similar concerns. They note that "[t]he ability of EPA to respond to emergencies will be reduced because important reference materials may be unavailable or take significant time to receive from storage or another library."

A document from EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) about the library restructuring expresses concern about the Agency's failure to adequately assess costs and funding needs, maintain critical information, and ensure data accessibility. OECA notes that the libraries have information important to specific regions, states and locales, and unique data on industrial processes and analytical methods. OECA has indicated that it fears that dispersal of this material without proper tracking and access could undercut rulemakings and the ability to "substantiate and support findings, determinations, and guidance." We are extremely troubled that EPA is rushing to eliminate or reduce library operations without adequately consulting Congress or the public. We respectfully request that you direct EPA in the FY 2007 Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill to restore and maintain public access and onsite library collections and services at EPA's headquarters, regional, laboratory, and specialized program libraries to the status they held as of January 1, 2006. We also ask that you direct EPA to solicit and consider public and Congressional input, in an open process, prior to making any decision to close a library, cut services, or dramatically restructure the Agency's library system.

Sincerely, Barbara Boxer United States Senator, Frank R. Lautenberg United States Senator

CC: Senator Ted Stevens Senator Arlen Specter Senator Pete Domenici Senator Christopher Bond Senator Mitch McConnell Senator Richard Shelby Senator Judd Gregg Senator Robert Bennett Senator Larry Craig Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson Senator Mike DeWine Senator Sam Brownback Senator Wayne Allard Senator Daniel Inouye Senator Patrick Leahy Senator Tom Harkin Senator Barbara Mikulski Senator Harry Reid Senator Herb Kohl Senator Patty Murray Senator Dianne Feinstein Senator Richard Durbin Senator Tim Johnson Senator Mary Landrieu

Status of EPA Regional Library Closures and Reductions in Service:(Specialized Libraries Not Included)
1. Closed
Region 5, which served Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Regions 6, which serves Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Iowa.
Region 7, which serves Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.
2. Closed to the Public with Reduced Hours to EPA Staff
Region 2 Library, which served New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. 3. Reduced Access to EPA Staff and the Public
EPA Region 1, which serves Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
EPA Region 9, which serves Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations.
EPA Region 10, which serves Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Native Tribes.
EPA Headquarters

Friday, October 27, 2006

Are you a library goddess?

Looking for a great place to share your love of books with others?

The Library Goddesses Blog is looking for contributors and subscribers.

Library Goddesses share their favorite books...what's new, funny, tragic, poignant, and everything in between... We currently have sections for picture books, early fiction, fiction, and nonfiction and will be adding sections for teens, booktalks, and programming ideas in the coming weeks. --Bonnie Peirce

It sounds like a really great opportunity to collectively share books aimed at kids.

What, is it the week for jerks?

We have Rush Limbaugh (always reliable as a jerk on the lunatic Conservative fringe) poking fun at Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's disease and an Australian Muslim cleric comparing scantily-clad women to 'uncovered meat' who invite rape. Both men have sparked furor for their remarks, which is at least comforting. Sheikh Taj Aldin al-Hilali, who has been forced to stop preaching for up to three months due to the controversy (he also said the world should be 'cleaned' of the White House), at least apologised to women he might have offended with his remark. He claimed he was trying to uphold the honour of all women.


Separate but equal

seems to be the ruling of the New Jersey Supreme Court regarding gay marriage, which has given the state legislature 180 days to provide rights to gays but left it up to that body to decide whether the term marriage should be extended to same sex couples. On the other hand, they also say there was no constitutional guarantee within the state for the right to marry, meaning it's not a protected institution for heterosexuals either, I'm assuming. The state legislature has been told that it must come up with a law giving gays all the rights and benefits accorded to those who are married, without necessarily making marriage itself legal. That means the state will likely go the route of civil unions, which is is a stumble in the right direction. The vast majority of New Jersey residents believe that gays should be able to celebrate their commitment to one another formally. But hey, they might surprise us all and go the marriage route, although I'm sure there will be a lot of protest, especially from outside the gay-friendly state.

Here in Kentucky, I'd be surprised if they get civil unions through in the next decade at least. Marriage itself is on the distant horizon of possibility. We have a state politician even now who is trying to bar state schools from giving domestic partner benefits to their employees and their families--yes families, although he wouldn't see it that way. Imagine the furor if someone tried to push marriage through.

It is my hope that one day we will look back and think, my, what a backward time, much like we do when we see pictures of 'white-only' water fountains and businesses.

A nifty find

Emotional impairment linked to cognitive deficits in children with bipolar disorder

By doing brain imaging during trials in which children 12-18 associated positive or negative words with colours, it was discovered that in unmedicated bipolar subjects who had normal mood, the words triggered the emotional centres of the brain. Specifically, negative words, compared to neutral words, stimulated the amygdala, which is apparently over-sensitive to negative stimuli in bipolar people. Positive words triggered the part of the brain that is associated with pleasure and addiction. In healthy subjects, positive and negative words both stimulated the areas for reasoning, thinking, and learning.

So in bipolar children, there is apparently an emotional overreaction and a cognitive underreaction.

Hmmm...this could explain some things in my own experience. I am very much driven by my emotions, for one, and tend to overreact to what people say and give them emotional values that are not necessarily how they were intended. And as I've written recently, I find that my emotional side interferes with my ability to think and reason, and it seems to be getting worse.

The question then is whether the medicine that helps keep my mood even could help my brain chemistry so that it's not as likely to do this, or if it's simply an aspect of brain development and structure that can only partially be controlled. Alternatively, can I through training in logic and self-control change how my brain reacts to stimuli, or is it set in stone? I'd like to think it would be the former.

The more I learn about this, the more I realise that 1) the diagnosis is correct and 2) it's affecting a huge chunk of my life, even though I'm not a truly severe case. It also underscores that this disorder rather sucks. It's not as glamourous as one might think, given the stories of mad inspiration of poets, artists, etc. I am a creative person, but not exceedingly so; I seem less creative on the medicine, less able to make leaps. But it's a good tradeoff, since the ups and downs are so deceptively enticing (in the case of the ups) and eroding (in the case of the downs), plus I'm not having trouble getting to work or things like I do when I tend to be more depressive (which is the direction I lean to, anyway). Still, I have to admit, I miss the mania a little, although I don't miss the results (overspending, euphoric plans, bad decisions). But at least with the medicine change I am having the full range of emotions; I don't think I was on Paxil.

Which reminds me. I have to get my Lamictal and Provigil filled today. Let me go find those prescriptions....

Thursday, October 26, 2006

You know, it's one thing when you're being mocked

by a person. It's another thing entirely when the universe is mocking you. I finally have the money to fill up the car, and what do I wake up to this morning? A flat tyre. Ha very ha. Should I start looking for aliens with bad poetry? I walked over to the bank to get money for the bus and stopped in at my other job and my boss gave me a ride into work, so I got here earlier than I would have otherwise. Thank heaven for Good Samaritans.

My air compressor doesn't seem to be working anymore, so rather than do the tow to the tyre shop I'm going to stop by on my way home and get a new compressor--it's probably less money and can be used over and over. Goodness knows I've needed one consistently and shall probably need it more. Also fortunately, I don't have to be anywhere until somewhere around 2 in the morning (a friend is working late and I'm giving him a ride), so I can take my time and get this taken care of.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I ran out of gas (again) last night

this time picking up a friend from work. We had to push my car back up a hill to get it out of the way of the hospital shuttles, and it took both of us to do it. In fact at one point, we had to let go and I ran to get the brake on, then got to level ground and was able to start the car long enough to get it back into a parking space. Then we walked to a nearby gas station. But then it turned out that neither of us could pay, and so a Good Samaritan went ahead and paid for $3 in gas so we could get home. Thank you! Let's say it was an adventure. But were were able to go to the grocery and get a little more money for gas. Hopefully I'll get paid today and can fill up. I'm going to have to start budgeting about $35 a week for gas, which is painful because for awhile there I was allowed to use coupons to essentially get free gas. That only lasted over the summer, but it got us through quite a bit. Now I'm spending about $5 a day on it. :( At least I get paid today (hopefully) and tomorrow (definitely), and it should include more money from working in the lab.

All told I wound up being out till almost 3 am last night so I'm a little tired this morning.

A medical quandry

Circumcision, Religious Freedom, and Herpes Infections in New York City (free with registration)

Several cases of herpes simplex I infection were found in infants circumscised by a single mohel (the figure in Jewish practice that performs the bris, or circumscision ceremony) in New York City.

Under Jewish law, the mohel is required to draw blood from the circumcision site, ostensibly to remove what the Old Testament refers to as "impurities" and what we might interpret today as germs. The thought, back then, was that a flow of blood away from the circumcision site would carry these potentially dangerous entities away from the baby. But the traditional way to do this, a practice called Metzizah bi peh, calls for the mohel to use his mouth and suck out the blood.

In adults, this herpes virus is fairly benign, the majority of those 40 and over already have it, and it may not show any symptoms as to whether it is contagious. But in infants, it can cause a systemic infection that is difficult to treat and can include death or brain damage. In the case above, one of the infants did in fact die; another suffered brain damage, with the rest recovering. The mohel in question has been persuaded to take a break from his calling for now.

But given the seriousness of this case--rare, a few babies out of the thousands circumscised in New York, but deadly--the New York public health department would like to regulate circumscisions better. But the bris usually happens in the parents' home, not a hospital. And although most mohels now use a glass tube to suck out the blood without actual contact with the baby's skin, the ultra-Orthodox do not agree with this practice--and the ultra-Orthodox have a powerful voice in New York politics. So it really is a quandry as to how to handle this issue, which involves public health and traditional religious practices.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Mammogramme rates dropping

Of course, I'm overdue for a PAP smear, so I suppose I can't say anything.

How appropriate

DailyOM - Coming At Conflict With An Open Heart
The key to finding the wisdom concealed in conflict is to ask yourself why you clash with a particular person or situation. Your inner self or the universe may be trying to point you to a specific life lesson, so try to keep your ears and eyes open. Once you have explored the internal and external roots of your disagreement, make a conscious effort to release any anger or resentment you feel. As you do so, the energy between you and your adversary with change perceptibly.... Consider that each of you likely has compelling reasons for thinking and feeling as you do, and accept that you have no power to change your adversary's mind. This can help you approach your disagreement rationally, with a steady voice and a willingness to compromise.

Last night I got so frustrated with someone that I had a full-blown two-year old foot stomping, flailing-arm fit, something that I haven't done in a long, long time. I'd like to blame it on the fact that I hadn't been on my meds for a couple of days. But the fact is that frustration is an incredibly difficult thing for me to handle, and my emotional control slips when I feel that everything I say is being cooly examined logically and that I cannot seem to express myself and carry on a conversation with this person as I get more and more frustrated. In other words, I'm approaching things irrationally and cannot seem to communicate without getting emotional.

I'm acutely embarrassed by my behaviour and want to change it. But I also want to converse without feeling like I'm in a Socratic exercise. Let's just say I understand why the Gadfly was asked to drink poison. But this person is also a great part of my life, a true, honest friend, who helps bring truth and enlightenment into my life. I just don't know how to keep my cool sometimes.

It's my reactions, usually emotional, to what is said--often things which are rather benign--that are the problem, sometimes to a point where I'm really no longer listening to what is said, but rather what I think in my head is going on with the conversation. The more logical the other side gets, the more emotional I seem to.

Well, I'll just have to persevere and hope that I can get a little more emotional control (grow up, as it were). I'll certainly have the practice, unless I cross a line somewhere where we can't recover the friendship. Let's hope that never happens.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I'm taking a quick break

from work, since I didn't take a lunch today. We've been pretty busy in the lab, and it's finally dying down.

I started out my morning to find that I had run out of gas, although at least the car was parked in my apartment parking lot rather than running out on the road. So I had to wait about an hour and come in on the bus. I had just enough money to take the bus here and back, but none for gas. A friend gave me $7 to help out, so this afternoon when I get off work I'll go home, get the gas can, walk to the nearest station, and then try to get some more gas. I'm not looking forward to it, as it's quite cold (it's snowing a county or two above us, at least in flurries) and windy.

So here's to a better day tomorrow, and thanks to D for helping out.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Happy Diwali!

My neighbours are celebrating Diwali, a festival of India where people put up lines of lights (in this case, brightly coloured electric lights, such as you usually see at Christmas) all about. It celebrates the triumph of good over evil, and is celebrated about this time every year over five days, with the apex at the new moon. My neighbours also have a beautiful silk butterfly on their door and reflective balls on the windows and a garland about the door. They live across from me, and another family lives in the next building, and they often get together for dinner. Tonight they are in their finery and the smells coming from the apartment are to die for. I'm tempted to wish them a happy holiday and see if they'd feed me. :)

Anyway, for those of you who celebrate this holiday, I hope it goes well. And for those of you who celebrate it as new year, happy new year!

Friday, October 20, 2006

A new health search engine


One of the great things about this is that it allows you to use filters such as basic vs. advanced reading, gender, ethnicity, whether a professional or consumer, etc. If you put in a disorder it automatically creates tabs such as 'diagnosis', 'treatment', etc. It's still in beta testing but well worth a look at.


Kentucky couple jailed in Illinois in slain social worker case

The baby is fine. The car they stole broke down on them and they were living in a camper and were out of food and money. No word on when they'll be extradited back to Kentucky, but I'd say it'll be soon.

I wonder what my grandfather would think of it

They survived the war, but Iwo Jima marked them for life

Flags of Our Fathers is getting a lot of hype these days. It's about the Battle of Iwo Jima, in which my grandfather, a Marine with a tank group, fought. He never really told me the horror of the war. He did always make clear that the famous photo was staged, that the original flag was planted earlier and then a flag was replanted in front of the camera for greater effect. He talked of tanks mired in the sand. And he talked of refusing to volunteer for a dangerous mission on the front line. He would have gone if ordered, but he had a wife and baby to come home to, and told his commanding officer that he wouldn't volunteer to go there.

That's about all I know about Iwo Jima from my grandfather's perspective. But I know it had a profound effect on his psyche; you could tell that despite the rest of his life Iwo Jima haunted him to some extent when he spoke of the war.

My grandfather's generation fought a different war than we have today; it was one where the very survival of the world seemed to hinge upon it. I'm glad that, now, when so many World War II veterans are dying, that we pause and reflect upon what they did. The WWII memorial in Washington should have built way sooner. Vietnam was an upopular war that threatened to be forgotten, but veterans and others were very vocal about a memorial. WWII sort of slipped through the cracks because so many served, so many had tried to put that service behind them, and a memorial didn't seem so important whilst so many living memorials existed.

I don't think it's coincidence that this and other movies about war are being made today. We always look at history through the lens of our own time. Some will be patriotic, tacitly supporting the war in Iraq. Others will examine the horrors of war. Clint Eastwood seems to be trying for a realistic view of war and how it affected real people--and also how it was manipulated. I don't know if there's a judgement call in this film. I won't say I'll run out to the theatre to watch it, but I'd be interested in seeing someday, if nothing else than to understand my grandfather, who has been gone six years now, a little better.

One thing I find interesting is that Eastwood is also working on a companion piece, Letters from Iwo Jima, that tells of the battle from the Japanese perspective. That makes me think he's trying to be fairly balanced in his depiction of the battle. I applaud that. We sometimes get so hung up on how war affects 'our side' that we lose touch with the fact that there are casualties, both physical and psychological, on both sides of a conflict.

Um...mentally alert, no

You Are a Seeker Soul

You are on a quest for knowledge and life challenges.
You love to be curious and ask a ton of questions.
Since you know so much, you make for an interesting conversationalist.
Mentally alert, you can outwit almost anyone (and have fun doing it!).

Very introspective, you can be silently critical of others.
And your quiet nature makes it difficult for people to get to know you.
You see yourself as a philosopher, and you take everything philosophically.
Your main talent is expressing and communicating ideas.

Souls you are most compatible with: Hunter Soul and Visionary Soul

I'm pretty general, apparently, with a touch of Southern

not surprisingly, as I was born and primarily raised in the South and still live there (anyone who says Kentucky is Midwestern is crazy. Well, except for Louisville, which might as well be Indiana.)

Your Linguistic Profile:
70% General American English
20% Dixie
5% Yankee
0% Midwestern
0% Upper Midwestern


Your Political Profile:
Overall: 10% Conservative, 90% Liberal
Social Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Oh, yeah

Your Candy Heart Says "Get Real"

You're a bit of a cynic when it comes to love.
You don't lose your head, and hardly anyone penetrates your heart.

Your ideal Valentine's Day date: is all about the person you're seeing (with no mentions of v-day!)

Your flirting style: honest and even slightly sarcastic

What turns you off: romantic expectations and "greeting card" holidays

Why you're hot: you don't just play hard to get - you are hard to get

Well, I don't know about that...

You Have Good Karma

In general, you like to do the right thing when it comes to others.
Your caring personality really shines through.
Sure, you have your moments of weakness - and occasionally act out.
But, all in all, you're karma is good... even with those few dark spots.

For one thing, there really isn't good karma. But if there were, I certainly have enough screwy stuff in my life to make one question whether I did something horrendous in a past life. On the other hand, there's things like, oh, selling cigarettes, that probably impact my karma these days.

More on the Saige Terrell case

FBI issues warrants for Ky. couple

The search continues for the infant, his mother, and the mother's boyfriend, who disappeared after the social worker who had brought the baby to visit his mother was found dead. The social worker's purse was found in Illinois, about 75 miles east of Saint Louis, and the last credible sighting was in that city.

One thing I don't understand was this: the child had been in foster care since he was just a few weeks old--he'd been taken from his mother for neglect. Yet he has a rug burn on the back of his neck and a scratch on his face. It seems he wasn't faring well in foster care, either.

Apparently he was going to be adopted soon, and the mother had recently found this out. That may have been the catalyst to this killing and the subsequent flight.

I so hope they find this couple (and the baby) very soon.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sometimes I feel like I'm losing my mind

And I don't mean the crazy part. Okay, so I am a little crazy, but at least I'm not psychotic.

No, I mean in terms of my memory, which has worsened terribly over the years, my intelligence which seems to be slipping, just all sorts of cognitive things. It scares me. I know part of it is that I'm not actively in school being challenged to think. And part of it is a mental laziness left over from being able to coast through most tasks. But...this may be part of it too:

1: Bipolar Disord. 2004 Jun;6(3):224-32.

Cognitive impairment in euthymic bipolar patients: implications for clinical and functional outcome.

Martinez-Aran A, Vieta E, Colom F, Torrent C, Sanchez-Moreno J, Reinares M,
Benabarre A, Goikolea JM, Brugue E, Daban C, Salamero M.

Bipolar Disorders Program, Clinical Institute of Psychiatry and Psychology, Hospital Clinic, Barcelona Stanley Medical Research Institute Center, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, Spain.

OBJECTIVE: Cognitive impairment in bipolar disorder may be a stable characteristic of the illness, although discrepancies have emerged with regard to what dysfunctions remain during remission periods. The aim of this study was to ascertain whether euthymic bipolar patients would show impairment in verbal learning and memory and in executive functions compared with healthy controls.
Secondly, to establish if there was a relationship between clinical data and neuropsychological performance. METHODS: Forty euthymic bipolar patients were compared with 30 healthy controls through a battery of neuropsychological tests assessing estimated premorbid IQ, attention, verbal learning and memory, and frontal executive functioning. The effect of subsyndromal symptomatology was controlled. RESULTS: Remitted bipolar patients performed worse than controls in several measures of memory and executive function, after controlling for the effect of subclinical symptomatology, age and premorbid IQ. Verbal memory impairment was related to global assessment of function scores, as well as to a longer duration of illness, a higher number of manic episodes, and prior psychotic symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Results provide evidence of neuropsychological impairment in euthymic bipolar patients, after controlling for the effect of subsyndromal depressive symptoms, suggesting verbal memory and executive dysfunctions. Cognitive impairment seems to be related to a worse clinical course and poor functional outcome.

PMID: 15117401 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Related Links

Cognitive function across manic or hypomanic, depressed, and euthymic states in bipolar disorder. [Am J Psychiatry. 2004] PINT:14754775

Do cognitive complaints in ethnic bipolar patients reflect objective cognitive impairment? [psychotherapy psychosomatic. 2005] PINT:16088267

Neurocognitive function in unmedicated manic and medicated ethnic pediatric bipolar patients. [Am J Psychiatry. 2006] PINT:16449483

Neuropsychological function in ethnic patients with bipolar disorder. [Br J Psychiatry. 1999] PINT:10645326

Cognitive impairment in ethnic bipolar patients with and without prior alcohol dependence. A preliminary study. [Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1998]

And these are just a few of many, many articles in the medical literature about cognitive complaints in people with the various types of bipolar disorder. Euthymia refers to normal mood, that is, a bipolar person is in remission, being neither depressed nor manic. The other two states can make the cognitive issues even worse. The same group of researchers has also looked at comparing bipolar I and bipolar II patients in remission with controls and found that bipolar I is effected in a more pronounced way. Also, from what I can tell just browsing through a few articles, the more manic or depressive episodes, the length of the illness, and the presence of psychotic episodes all exacerbate cognitive dysfunction. It only seems to get worse the older you get, too.

I feel like I'm being screwed by my brain chemistry. At least there is medication, and I'm on it, so I'm not quite out there. But it bothers me that I seem to be slipping in terms of being able to think. Add in variations in blood sugar and it's like living in a fog. :(

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A local Amber alert has been issued in this case

Police looking for missing baby after finding social worker dead

This came onto the TV last night after an Amber alert was issued. It took place in Henderson in Western Kentucky. The social worker, Boni Frederick, 67, had taken the baby to visit his mother, who does not have custody. The social worker did not return to work and the police were called to the house, where she was found dead. The mother and her boyfriend are missing and presumed to be with the baby.

The mother, Renee Terrell has family in Louisville; Evansville, Ind.; and Fort Wayne, Ind.; and in New York, police said. Frederick's car was missing, and the dispatcher said Terrell, her boyfriend and the boy may be traveling in it. It was described as a 2000 white Daewoo Nubia station wagon with Kentucky license plate 675-DRV.

Renee Terrell, 33, was described as white, brown hair, brown eyes with glasses, 5-foot-5 and 240 pounds. Christopher Wayne Luttrell, 23, was described as white, blue eyes, 6-2 and 150 pounds with tattoos on his arms.

Saige Terrell, 9-10 months, is white, brown eyes, brown hair, 27 inches tall and 19 pounds. Police said the boy is developmentally disabled and has a scratch on the right side of his face and a rug burn on the back of his neck.

For more information, including pictures of the suspects, the child, and a representative photo of the car, pleas click on http://codeamber.org/terrellky/. I know it's a longshot that anyone reading this blog would also see something, but if you do, please call your local police.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Okay, last one for the night

You Are the Very Gay Velma!

She might not even realize it...
But Velma is all about Daphne... not Fred!

She is the only sane one of the bunch

You Are Lisa Simpson

A total child prodigy and super genius, you have the mind for world domination.

But you prefer world peace, Buddhism, and tofu dogs.

You will be remembered for: all your academic accomplishments

Your life philosophy: "I refuse to believe that everybody refuses to believe the truth"

'I am not an auditory learner'

Sorry, inside joke. But according to this I am:

You Are a Visual Learner

You tend to remember what you see, and you have a good eye for aesthetics.
You excel at art, design, and computer programming.
You would be an excellent film director - or the next Bill Gates!

In actuality I'm probably a cross between visual and kinesthetic--I learn best by doing, like sitting down and figuring out how to do something on the computer, which makes it really difficult to explain how I did it later.

Not surprising

You Are Not Scary

Everyone loves you. Isn't that sweet?

I think a friend came out to be something like, 'You are so scary that the scary people are scared of you.' I wouldn't be surprised at that, either.

Really? Well, I came into the world in 1967, so that's close, anyway

You Belong in 1968

If you scored...

1950 - 1959: You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

1960 - 1969: You are a free spirit with a huge heart. Love, peace, and happiness rule - oh, and drugs too.

1970 - 1979: Bold and brash, you take life by the horns. Whether you're partying or protesting, you give it your all!

1980 - 1989: Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You're colorful at night - and successful during the day.

1990 - 1999: With you anything goes! You're grunge one day, ghetto fabulous the next. It's all good!

Not my favourite, but then I'm really not the type

to sit for a Maxfield Parrish or pre-Raphaelite artist, or a Renaissance painter for that matter. For one, I'm too porcine. :) So Picasso will do.

Who Should Paint You: Pablo Picasso

Your an expressive soul who shows many emotions, with many subtleties
Only a master painter could represent your glorious contradictions

Oh, yes, so true...and I didn't fall for the orderly purple one

Your Brain's Pattern

You have a dreamy mind, full of fancy and fantasy.
You have the ability to stay forever entertained with your thoughts.
People may say you're hard to read, but that's because you're so internally focused.
But when you do share what you're thinking, people are impressed with your imagination.

Well my psychiatric nurse practitioner thinks so

You Are 84% Bipolar

You have some serious ups and downs, maybe to the point of endangering your own life.
Consult a doctor to see if you may truly have bipolar disorder.

Thankfully, I've been feeling rather good on the medicine mix she's got me on now--Lamictal and Abilify for the bipolar issues, Provigil for the ADD. I have a wider range of emotions than I did on Paxil, but not out of control ones. I'm feeling sad when it's appropriate, and happy when it's appropriate, too. The Provigil makes a huge difference in how my days go in terms of productivity and just feeling up to socialising or being able to focus on anything as simple as a conversation. Without it I feel dull and sleepy, like I just want to shut down, but my thoughts race so I can't. It also makes a difference it working on the notes or in playing in the game. I'm almost paralysed ut work by comparison without it. But it doesn't make me feel too 'up' like the ADDerall sometimes did, and I don't feel manic or too productive. So those are pluses. The only drawback? Each of these medicines cost me $45 a month. That's going to make things pretty hard in terms of keeping on my meds. Martha Pearson (my nurse practitioner) has been able to get me some samples and coupons to help with that. And my old psychiatrist had done a lot too...I think I've been on Abilify for two years and until now I've never had a regular take-to-the-pharmacy prescription for it, just one for samples--and then this month's was free because the maker of the medicine allow coupons to be used for three months' supply per year. That's pretty remarkable. And the folks who make Lamictal apparently have a thing where you register with them and they send a $10 coupon out each month to help with paying, too. So there is a silver lining to that cloud.

I think I'll play with a couple more quizzes and then spend some time with Cerys before getting a friend from work. 'Night.

I feel a little guilty

about taking a night off from the notes, but my plans are to work on the current ones tomorrow, then the older ones Monday-Friday, even though I'm working until 10pm on Tuesday and maybe Thursday or Friday. But I think that will be okay, because even though I'll work 12 hours total on Tuesday, it's doing very different things--a sit down job for six hours, followed by six hours on my feet, then an hour or so of typing. On the days I don't work at the gas station, I can work longer on the notes, at least 2-4 hours. I know it's too late to really make up for lost time, but every hour puts me closer to finishing, and that's what counts. Still, every girl needs a day off. Saturdays seem best, since I get 2-4 hours of alone time after a 10-hour day of standing and making pleasantries with a variety of people, some wonderful, some very difficult, some just repulsive. That leaves me with 10-20 hours of working on the notes per week. Each game session is taking about 2 hours unless there's a lot of investigation/research to record (action and downtime take less time). So that's 5-10 weeks of game play per week. That could take me through about one to two years' worth of game material before the end of the year. That's a far cry from fifteen, of course. Let's see...if I can work at that pace, on average it will take me six weeks of typing per year of playing, so I could finish by...September 2008. Plus add more time for having to fill in so much of the early notes and it probably will go into 2009. Okay, that's not encouraging. That's missing two years or more of the game. :( I should have done this math last year when this project first came up. Of course, it indicates that I couldn't have finished in one year, even if the notes were simply being transcribed, but that doesn't really matter anymore. I could have asked for and gotten an extension. Sigh. Too late now, of course. In the meantime, my characters will fade to black and white and go forward without me. Maybe I'll get to come back in time for the characters caught inside Yog Sothoth to come back. :) And of course, I'll know what's going on at least as they go through things, because I'll be keeping up with the notes all along.

I wonder if there is some negotiation I could make with the game master to stay in the game so long as I am diligently working on the notes. Oh, Gods, what I am saying? Bargaining with the Devil (okay, not quite that bad, but my goodness, it's close) has gotten me into SO many inextricable situations (although admittedly, my bargaining skills suck).

Still, the road ahead of me is more than a little daunting, isn't it?

Fake glucose test strips recalled

"Lifescan" test strips recalled over concerns about reading accuracy

I'm not sure how these fakes made it into retailers, but the FDA and Lifescan (which makes the OneTouch products such as the one I use) say there is no guarantee that the fakes measure blood glucose accurately, leading diabetics to be off in their glucose control.

So, make sure yours are the real thing. The counterfeits are sold in 50-count packages and the fake Onetouch basic profiles are lot numbers 2-7-2-8-9-4-a, 2-6-1-9-9-3-2, and 2-6-0-6-3-4-0 and the Onetouch Ultra lot number is 2-6-9-1-1-9-1.

If you have any questions you can call Lifescan at 1-866-621-4855.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Life sucks this week

Yesterday I had a very unpleasant look at a situation of my own making, which is demonstrative of virtually every other problem I cause in my life. I truly realised that I would be losing the game until I can put together fifteen years of notes that at times are bare bones at best. I told myself all that time I was taking good notes (and recently they have been on par with what they need to be) but for most of those years I also doodled when I should have been writing. I told myself I was taking notes for my own benefit, but I'd been the de facto note taker for the game from the beginning. So I lied to myself and I lied to the game master as a result, and now I'm being made to live that lie out as if it were the truth. Like always, I put things off until it has become a crisis, mainly because it is a daunting task that I really don't want to do (which seems to be passive-agressive). I was given a year to do them (starting in January) and didn't start until August, and even then, it's been difficult to consistently work on them with my work schedule, and I've found it hard to work around that well, even though there must be ways. If I'd been trying hard throughout the year, the game master would have granted me an extension, but I didn't even think of this until he brought it up. I just let myself feel paralysed every time I thought of doing them, and then shunted them away for later.

I knew in theory that if I didn't complete this by December 31st, I wouldn't be able to play in the game. But the reality of it really didn't hit me, truly, until recently. For one, I didn't realise that I'd still expected to come over to prepare for the game and also be coming over to put the notes in the computer from that day, so every week there will be a tangible sense of being left out. Even if I do stay and work on the notes in another room, I can't participate, or socialise with my friends. The game is my main social outlet. I hadn't really realised how cut off I'd be from everyone else, or how much it would hurt. Last night I totally broke down, and even now it just hurts almost as much as putting down Darius.

So now I've screwed myself, and the only thing I can do is trudge on and hope that someday I'll be able to present fifteen years' worth of good notes and be allowed to return to the game. But that may be years at the rate I'm going. We've had 68 missions in 15 years, each of those multiple game sessions, and I'm averaging two game sessions a night, maybe three nights a week. I need to start coming over and working for an hour or so after I get off from work at the gas station, too. Between the new hours at the hospital, the gas station, the notes, and the impending return of my indentured servitude (long story--something that also sprang from my 'getting my way' and not backing down when I was wrong), I just don't know how I'm going to make it. My friend insists that I'm lazy and not living up to my potential, and that I just need to do my best. I'm not sure I can do that; after all, I have years of coasting behind me. But the game is important to me, more important than I even realised, so I hope at some point I can come back. But now, today, I'm miserable--and it's misery of my own making.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Checking in (again)

Listening to Ella Fitzgerald, 'This Love of Mine'

I didn't post yesterday because I worked a 13-hour shift between the two jobs and just didn't feel like getting on the computer after I got home. I'd been up since 7 am and didn't get to bed until 1 am. So I thought I'd update now.

Putting Darius was hard, but good for him and for me. At the time I could just cry and think of how empty things would be. But I have to admit, as reality has dawned, I had a sense of relief. We'd both been pretty miserable. The vet office was very good; I'll definitely take Cerys there when I can affort to. Unlike my previous vet (the one who held the remains of my cat Spock hostage until I paid the bill), they were very attentive to my needs and went above and beyond the call of duty, since Darius totally lost control of his bowels (what control he normally had) in the carrier, and they had to hose it down to weigh it and clean him off. They definitely agreed that it was time. They also offered to have the city take him and cremate him at no cost, which lightened a burden on me, since I live in an apartment and it would have been difficult to bury him. Dr Sears never offered that...it was cremation without remains for $60, with remains for $80, or I had to bury it.

A friend went with me, and he was a great comfort. He took me out to eat afterwards, and we spent a quiet evening after that. Coming into the apartment was difficult that night, without any cats. Darius was the last of my kitty babies. I've lost one a year in the last three years. No cats for Lisa any time soon.

That night I'd found a note on my door indicating that the apartment people were doing their annual walk-through either Wednesday or Thursday, and so I got up early Wednesday morning and threw away the cat boxes and scrubbed the bathroom down really well where he'd been staying. The whole house smells like Citrasolv now (which is a pleasant orange oil cleaner). I did keep two cat toys, a crinkly ladybug and a small ball. Maybe someday I'll be ready for another cat. In the meantime I have a little memento.

Yesterday was my first day working in the motion lab, taking foot pressures. It went pretty well, although there were some glitches in the computer. There's apparently either a rush of them or down time, so I got some library work in as well, trying to come up with updates for the family resource centre. Then it was off to the gas station for the evening. I came home and did my normal sit in a recliner with a massage cushion going. Darius used to sit on me everytime I did that, so it some ways I missed him even more last night.

Well, that's all for now, I suppose. I've got a busy few days ahead of me, but I'll try to blog. Just in case I don't get to, though, have a happy Friday the 13th tomorrow. Be sure to keep away from guys in hockey masques!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Today is going to be a difficult day

I'm putting my cat down at 4 pm today. Last night I gave him a special meal of Fancy Feast; today it was tuna for a last meal. He is miserable and I am miserable, and I think it's past time. But oh, for a cat who was so timid for so many years he's become quite loving, and I'm going to so miss him. He'll be the third cat in three years to die, and the last. That will leave me with Cerys, my dog, who's also fifteen and really showing her age. As much as pets enrich our lives, this is the hardest time. I come in wondering if I'll find one dead, passed away in his or her sleep.

In Darius' case he's grown really thin, is fecally incontinent, and has to spend almost all his time in the bathroom. It's no life for a cat. He can't keep himself clean. I did start to bathe him last night but decided it wasn't worth the trauma to him (and he's perfectly capable of clawing--his movement is not impaired a bit). Last night I let him cuddle up with me for a couple of hours and then he slept with us in the bed.

I so don't want to do this, but it's time. YKWIA is going with me, and then I guess I'll have to find a place to bury him. That's always hard, too. I have a place in mind where a pine tree was recently taken down, so the dirt should be fairly easy to dig.

I hope your day is better.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Just one quiz tonight, then off to bed

You Are a Life Blogger!

Your blog is the story of your life - a living diary.
If it happens, you blog it. And make it as entertaining as possible.

But we knew that, right?

How many 'English' would be so quick to forgive?

Amish join mourners for funeral of schoolhouse killer

The tragedy in Pennsylvania has shocked the Amish and non-Amish communities alike. But what I find deeply moving is that members of the Amish community very quickly expressed condolences and forgiveness to the family of the man who killed five girls and wounded five others. I admire the depth of their religion and beliefs, even though I do not share them. I don't think I could forgive so easily, nor would most people I know. It's an expression of character, though. And although the idea of 'grief counseling' is an alien one to them, I have no doubt that the girls and others involved will get loving support that may ease their emotional pain.

The sad thing, too, is that this was a man who was by all accounts mentally ill, although much of that may have been hidden from family and those who knew him. If only he had been able to get help, perhaps this would have never happened. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to mental health care or realises that they should avail him- or herself of it. It's also rather sad that in the end this father of three became a sort of bogeyman, a monster who caused great suffering and destroyed lives including his own.

It may seem strange, but I do feel sorry for him, just like I feel sorry for terrorists and mass killers. Maybe I shouldn't. But it seems like there was a wrong turn taken somewhere along the way and factors which led to that turn. Of course, the choices of direction lie with the person. I'm not saying he or she is not responsible. But the mindset that brings about those choices is a chilling thing, so far out of the norm. It's hard to believe that one day in the past the killer was an innocent child. It's so awful to have known that child and try to reconcile what the adult person was like.

My main sympathy here is with the victims and their families, and also the family of the gunman. But I am rather glad that he was remembered by others at his funeral. I hope there are good memories along with the bad. And at least, now, he is no longer tormented by his past and can move on to work out his issues in a new life. May it be a better one for him, although of course his actions may spill over into the next life in terms of karma. But still...there is always hope, and always a chance that things will turn out better, and that different roads may be followed, roads that lead to a form of salvation.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Just for fun, but ewww!

I came out to be my least-favourite X-Men member. Okay the power is cool so long as you have the nifty glasses, but Scott is such a 'dick' as Wolverine would say that I never liked him in either the movies or the comics. I like Gambit. Or Mystique. Hell, I even like Magneto more than Cyclops.


You Are Cyclops

Dedicated and responsible, you will always remain loyal to your cause.
You are a commanding leader - after all, you can kill someone just by looking at them.

Power: force beams from your eyes

A values test that seems pretty much on target

Your Values Profile


You value loyalty a fair amount.
You're loyal to your friends... to a point.
But if they cross you, you will reconsider your loyalties.
Staying true to others is important to you, but you also stay true to yourself.


You don't really value honesty.
You do value getting your way, no matter what.
And if a little lying is required to do that, no problem.
A few white lies never hurt anyone (at least, that's what you tell yourself!)


You value generosity a fair amount.
You are all about giving, as long as there's some give and take.
Supportive and kind, you don't mind helping out a friend in need.
But you know when you've given too much. You have no problem saying "no"!


You value humility a fair amount.
You tend to be an easy going, humble person.
But occasionally your ego takes over.
You have a slight competitive streak - and the need to be the best.


You value tolerance highly.
Not only do you enjoy the company of those very different from you...
You do all that you can to seek it out interesting and unique friends.
You think there are many truths in life, and you're open to many of them.


You Have a Melancholic Temperament

Introspective and reflective, you think about everything and anything.
You are a soft-hearted daydreamer. You long for your ideal life.
You love silence and solitude. Everyday life is usually too chaotic for you.

Given enough time alone, it's easy for you to find inner peace.
You tend to be spiritual, having found your own meaning of life.
Wise and patient, you can help people through difficult times.

At your worst, you brood and sulk. Your negative thoughts can trap you.
You are reserved and withdrawn. This makes it hard to connect to others.
You tend to over think small things, making decisions difficult.


Well, I'm probably better than average, but sometimes we're not even sure that English is my primary language. Since I was raised by wolves, a lot of the words have idiosyncratic spins.

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

Yes, one of those reasons I wound up with fish guts in my locker

Brainy Kid

In high school, you were acing AP classes or hanging out in the computer lab.

You may have been a bit of a geek back then, but now you're a total success!

Well, okay, that and I was an insufferable know-it-all without a life.

Happy Friday

I was off work today because I needed to get the car towed and a used tyre put on. I happily succeeded, with the tow running $25 and the tyre and balancing at $23. So, I got off relatively cheaply. My hope is that in two or three weeks I can get used tyres put on the spare and the back driver side. At the moment I'm running without a spare, which is not good, I realise. It would have saved me the tow if I'd gone ahead and gotten one this past week, although with all I was doing, I'm not sure when I would have the time.

I checked on all my bills and they're in order, and next week both paycheques will be mostly rent. I should start getting more hours at the hospital soon; the woman for whom I'll be covering is due to have her baby in a couple of weeks at the latest. We've gone over what steps I'll need to do and she's written everything out, so hopefully I'll do fine. It'll be 12 more hours a week, which is more than half again as much as I get now. I'm hoping I'll be caught up my rent with that plus be able to start paying some back debts. Alas, it'll only be for 12 weeks, but I hope to make that count.

Generally, my life is going pretty well. I mean, yes, there are glitches. The tyre for instance, or the fact that early next week I'm going to have to put my cat down. But all in all, things are pretty non-dramatic. What I'm frustrated with is my utter lack of intelligence around the one person who means the most to me. I say the stupidest things, over and over, without giving any thought to them. I apparently do this for negative attention, because he's male and that's how I interacted with my father. We know this from several talks on the subject. And some of it is also that I feel stupid by comparison (he's probably got an IQ around 200, with a trained memory and an extremely logical mind, which is damn annoying when you've got an IQ in the 140s, have a memory like a sieve, and very fuzzy, emotionally charged thinking). (Can you think emotionally? Well, you hopefully get what I'm talking about). Thing is, I'm used to being the smart one; it's a good bit of my self-esteem, and most people think of me that way, but around him I'm substandard and mentally lazy. I don't pull the stupid act with other people, just him. It's like everytime I open my mouth, my mind checks on the absolute worst thing to say and tells my mouth to say it. Plus, I tend to speak very indefinitely (probably, maybe, etc.) or make universal statements that can be easily challenged. It doesn't help that they are scrutinised until I have to admit I was wrong, and then I get mad for having my words put under a microscope.

I so want to change. I want to live up to my potential. I don't want to be stupid, or be so afraid of being wrong that I either do something stupid or lie about it, making me even more wrong. But for whatever reason, I keep doing it, indicating that I really don't want to change. Unfortunately it has become second nature. I don't really know how to reverse that other than to do it, or at least work hard on it.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Most reliable search tool could be your librarian

Oy vey!

I had a rather good day through the first part of it today. Then my tyre blew, and things went downhill from there. I currently don't have a spare, so I'll have to tow it in to get a good used tyre or two. I couldn't do that today, so I had a long trek home on the bus. The good news is I'm off tomorrow afternoon and Friday afternoon, which should give me plenty of time to get it fixed. Now, I just need to know how much my paycheque was today and I'll know if I can pay for tyres and pay bills.

It's good to be home, to finally get something in my stomach, and to be able to get some rest.

Plus, I thought my Internet connexion might be down (it is time to pay my bill), but apparently it was just a glitch from last night. So, yay!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


The eTBlast Textual Similarity Search Engine allows you to find biomedical articles by putting in an entire paragraph. It will return abstracts from MEDLINE that match it closely. It is somewhat like PubMed's 'Related Articles', but is more targeted and you can combine those results to create a new query. From their own description:

* We sort our results by relevance, while PubMed sorts by date.
* We save you the time and effort of creating a complicated query.
* We let you iterate your search over several good papers to narrow your focus.
* We provide you the full MEDLINE abstract in our results, and a link to the PubMed page.
* We can send your results straight to your email so you never lose a reference or forget where you found it.
* This absolutely free service is provided by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. No registration necessary!

More on the Amish School Shootings

The gunman apparently had been depressed for some time (he apologised to his wife for being sad all the time). Apparently he admitted during the standoff that he had molested two young relatives when he was about 11 or 12. (Which would perhaps indicate he in turn was molested, since most kids are not so precociously sexual, but those exposed to sexual abuse often are). He also brought materials to sexually assault the girls at the school. In other words, he was much more disturbed than anyone guessed--or if not, there was heavy denial--and this is someone who really needed a major mental health intervention. Unfortunately, that never happened, and five girls are dead, with four others still touch-and-go. One is expected to recover, as she was shot in the back and shoulder rather than the head.

So sad. I know at least one family lost two of their children. One little girl somehow escaped when the boys were let go, but her sisters were injured. The oldest of the girls was only 13. Such young lives, cut short by a disturbed man who apparently chose them due to the remoteness of the school and the lack of security there.

And the gunman leaves behind three children of his own who will never understand what truly happened with their father, and his actions will haunt them, too, in such a rural area.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Need information on caregiving?

This list was posted on MEDREF-L, compiled by Lynne Fox from several contributors.

Medlineplus Caregivers
This site links to caregiver resources at the respected NLM portal to consumer health information. It is also in Spanish at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/spanish/caregivers.html.

Intellihealth Caregiving
Advice from Harvard Medical School's consumer health website.

American Society on Aging ASA
A nonprofit organisation committed to enhancing the knowledge and skills of those working with older adults and their families.

Family and Caregiver Financial Planning
Guidance for caregivers on planning for the payment of present and future medical and living expenses from the Institute on Aging.

Family Caregiver Alliance
Information, services and support for caregivers and families of loved ones with long-term, chronic and terminal conditions. Includes "Hot Topics" and "Fact Sheets" on various conditions (such as dementia, Parkinson's Disease, and stroke) and issues (including end-of-life decision making, assistive devices, and behavior management strategies for dementia patients). The site also hosts several online support groups for caregivers. It includes information in Spanish and Chinese.

Administration on Aging Elders and Families
Although not as easy to navigate as some other sites, the Administration on Aging does have a number of very useful resources and links, including the ElderCare Locator (under How to Find Help), a thorough, practical and compassionate guide for caregivers. Fact Sheets with information for seniors ranging from assistive technology to nutrition to Alzheimer's disease, can be found under Press Room. Includes information in Spanish, Russian and Chinese.

Health and Age
Produced by the Novartis Foundation for Gerontology, this site provides information on a variety of topics related to the process of aging. In addition to basic information on a number of common conditions, health issues, and diseases, the site offers medical news updates, and a primer on aging suitable for use by the health care provider as well as the layperson.
Sources for the information on the site include peer-reviewed medical journals, reviews of topical subjects by recognized experts, and personal experiences reported by patients, caregivers and friends.

The AGS (American Geriatrics Society) Foundation for Health in Aging
This site offers information for the public as well as health care professionals regarding the health and care of older adults. Resources include online guides for caregiving at home, information on Medicare, a physician referral service, and access to the FHA Directory of Agencies and Organizations Addressing the Special Health Care Needs of Older Adults (under Directory).
The Aging In the Know linked site includes the What to Ask series, which helps patients know what to discuss with their health care providers.

CarePages is a free, personal, private Web page that helps family and friends communicate when someone is receiving care. Recommended by the University of Colorado Hospital's Cancer Center.

CaringBridge offers free, easy-to-create web sites that help connect friends and family when they need it most.

theStatus provides Arabic, English, French, German, Spanish language secure, private, web pages with the purpose of maintaining communication between family and friends about illnesses, treatment, and recovery.

An unintentional break

The last weekend was very, very, very busy. Actually, the whole week was, or maybe the last two for that matter. We had someone (my favourite co-worker) quit abruptly at the gas station and so all worked extra hours whilst a new person was being trained. On top of that, I had several early morning and afternoon errands to run, meaning I wasn't getting much sleep.

So last night, I crashed. Utterly. I slept from 3:30-8, got up and got my medicine from the pharmacy (including the Provigil, which helps keep me awake during the day, and metformin, which will help my blood sugar so I don't bottom out in the afternoon), then went back to sleep around 10 and stayed there for the most part until 9 this morning. Monday I'd been kind of out of it because of it. I'm hoping today will be better, especially since I'm working 12 hours.

I've barely kept up with the news this week. The most disturbing, I think, is the couple of school invasions in which girls were targeted for sexual assault, injury, terrorising, and in some cases, execution-like deaths. It's bad enough that gunmen are waltzing into schools with virtual armouries prepared to kill children. It's another that they are targeting young girls. The last case, in an Amish community, seems to have been the result of the gunman's obsession with something that happened twenty years ago. He apparently panicked when police showed up and starting firing. Five girls are dead, several others are wounded, and he turned the gun on himself, so we may never truly understand why it happened. Over the years I've read a bit on criminal psychology, particularly on serial killers. But I have to admit, I don't understand this kind of killer and what goes on in their heads. Maybe that's a good thing.

Well, I'll sign off for now. I hope to be blogging more regularly this week. Hope yours is going well, and stay safe (or as safe as any of us can be).