Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Christmas cactus is finally blooming

It has two bright pink buds just opening and a few more just starting to swell. Moving it from the office and putting a slice of apple on it (ethene gas is supposed to help them bloom) seems to have helped. Once the buds open fully, I'll take a picture and put it here. Not that anyone's particularly interested, but hey, this is my diary, and plants blooming makes me happy. :)

I'm glad I went to Kroger when I did

because they closed at 9 pm for New Year's Eve. I actually did a real grocery run...$96! Plus, everything was healthy--veggies, fruit, whole grains, a little dairy (but not ice cream), fish, and eggs. I got some of the parchment paper for the steamer and some broccoli to steam with rice to go with the salmon.

I got up and went to Subway for a tuna sandwich and broccoli/cheese soup. Then I got the money order for my mother and mailed it along with my first book to be sent via PaperBackSwap.com. I also got my hair trimmed and got a calendar for the fridge and a daily planner for my ADD. Speaking of which, today was my first day on Strattera and I had no nausea, yay!

Then I went over to some friends' house, took one to work, another on an errand, and we watched lots of older TV programmes on YouTube. Then I went to the grocery and a pharmacy that sells alcohol so I'd have some burgundy wine tonight for a libation.

Wow, I accomplished a lot today. I'm glad I took off work. I just need to pick my friend up from work and then come back home in time for the midnight libation. I may start on the aquarium tonight and finish tomorrow morning. Or I could do notes; I should probably do the latter.

Tomorrow I'm going to watch Hellboy II with a friend. I'm off from the hospital on Friday (but have to work at the gas station). I'm enjoying having some time to just relax and take it easy. Today was busy but it wasn't stressful and I felt like I was accomplishing a lot.

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe New Year.

I have researched the mysteries

of bamboo steamers. You use a cabbage/lettuce leaf or parchment paper to line the steamer to make clean up easier and keep odours from permeating the steamer. (It also solves the problem of making sure rice doesn't fall through the weavings.) So parchment paper just went onto the grocery list. I'm getting some broccoli and have some rice, so I'm going to do a trial run soon. Wish me luck. I don't really cook, can you tell?

Today's fortune cookie

'Love truth but pardon error.'

Okay, the blouse makes me look like a tomato and I need to get my hair cut

but here is a picture taken of me at the Christmas Party for the hospital.

I wore an outfit given to me by my mother. She tends to give me items in colours she likes, such as red and gold, both of which look bad on me. But I needed something dressy and that was it. But this year she actually gave me a blouse that is purple and black velvet with a tie-back sash and flared velvet pants. It's in my favourite colours, ones that look good on me. It's an outfit I would have chosen for myself. Yay! I wore it today for the first time. It's a little dressy for work, but I wanted to wear it anyway.

I also went to my new nurse practitioner today. All the medicines seem fine except I really can't tell that much difference now that I'm off of my Provigil in terms of concentration. We're going to try Strattera instead. It's not a stimulant, so she can prescribe it, but it's actually for ADHD. Provigil is for sleep apnea, which I do have, but also has a secondary effect of increasing focus, but I just don't think it worked out for me; I've been on it for a couple of years and friends say I still have a lot of issues focussing, although it did improve a little.

PS Happiness is finding a can of vegetarian chili when you're hungry and had no idea it was in the cabinet. Yay!

Things I'd like to do tomorrow (or at least within a couple of days):

  1. Sleep in a little bit. (although I only made it until 9:30, which is usually the absolute latest I can get up and make it to work on time)
  2. Sweep the kitchen and bath and wipe down the counters. (I may wait until the 1st on that one.)
  3. Do dishes. (Ditto.)
  4. Take the trash out. (Ditto.)
  5. Make the bed.
  6. Straighten just a little around the dining area and living room. (Ditto.)
  7. Put in a work order for the leaking bath faucet that is still causing trouble. (Wed. or Fri.)
  8. Clean and set up the aquarium. (Definitely New Year's instead.)
  9. Mail a package, a request from PaperBackSwap.
  10. Mail the money I owe my mother.
  11. Get my hair cut.
  12. Get a wall calendar and a daily planner.
  13. Go grocery shopping for some real food. I'm tired of macaroni and cheese.
  14. Get wine for a New Year's libation.
  15. Take a friend for an allergy shot.
  16. Get a friend from work.
  17. Take a ritual bath.
  18. Perform the libation with spring water and honeyed wine with lavendar flowers in it.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Here's the chanukiyah photo I promised to post

Chanukah lights
The flash pictures showed the holder better, but I like this flash-less one because it shows the reflection of the candles in the window. My friend's chanukiyah (a particular type of menorah used for Chanukah, with four arms on either side of a central candle holder) looks like a tree with branches growing in the shape of the arms. It's very simple but nice.

For another nice photo, see Steven's blog, Library Stuff, where he has a lovely photograph for the sixth day of the chanukiyah and the shabbat candles together.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Today is sunny and relatively warm, in the fifties

and so far has been rather pleasant. Going back to work after having several days off seemed a little weird, but welcome. Tonight I'm working at the store (it's one of our truck nights), but hopefully this trend will continue.

I got up early this morning and decided to go to the gas station for some things and was glad I did because there is a police officer who comes in every day that we talk to whose son died about two weeks ago in his sleep (he was 26 years old) and I'd left a note for my boss about it. She got him a picture frame (the kind you can put several pictures into) and a sympathy card and everyone had signed it but me. As I was doing so he came in so we were able to get it to him. I think it really touched him and really took him by surprise. I'm glad I was able to be part of it. I cannot imagine losing one's child, either in childhood or as an adult. I know he's taking it one day at a time. Anyway, my thoughts and prayers are with him.

Yesterday the game was fun. Our little group is in New Orleans now, after nearly having the plane crash over the Pacific when a Star Spawn of Cthulhu burst out of cargo. Gee, we've had a lot of plane crashes this year in the game. I gave the girls their Lovecraft books (I'd already given the gamemaster his) and they all really loved it, since it's a complete collection of his fiction. Brenda gave me a double-decker bamboo steamer that sounds intriguing; you can steam rice and vegetables at the same time, but it's small enough to actually fit in a normal sized pot or wok. Margaret had given me a gift card to a movie theatre last week. It made for a nice holiday.

Also, it was the last night of Chanukah. I don't have time to pull it off the camera now, but I'll post a picture of the last candles blazing that I took. I love Chanukah, and not just because of the lights and latkes. (And yes, the dreidels are fun, too.)

Okay, I've got to go on to work. Hopefully I'll write tonight--last night I was just too tired.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I am somewhat defined by this term

Military brat (or in my case, Air Force brat)

Nice to see that Wikipedia has an article on the pros and cons of having been raised in a military sub-culture. So much of my life was shaped by my experiences on base and moving around so much. I attended two kindergartens, two elementary schools, three junior highs, and two high schools. Little wonder that even though I was in college for a total of 16 years, I stayed in only one.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Well, I got the recorded notes finished

so I just have what I wrote to do, and that was about four pages handwritten, I think. That means I might actually get to sleep tonight. :)

I had a brownout/momentary blackout earlier today, I'm not sure why. Fortunately I wasn't working on anything yet, since I had to reset the modem and restart the computer to get back online. At least I do have battery backup if the power goes out. That lasts for about 15-20 minutes, I think, enough time to save and shut down the computer.

Now I have a little time before I go pick up a friend. I think I'll zone for about 20 minutes in the comfy chair and then go get a shower.

I'm up early this morning

since I got so much rest last night. I'm off today--yay! On the agenda: work on notes, at least what I had recorded (I ran out of battery power last week and had to record some on paper alone, and those are at the game master's house). I'd also like to get the aquarium set back up (this entails a thorough cleaning/filling and treating the water, and then letting it run for a few days before fish are introduced). I'm going to try to get some livebearers from Brenda, who has several tanks, before trying to buy any. At noon I'm taking a friend somewhere. After that I don't really have plans. Maybe another friend and I can finally watch Skeleton Key this afternoon, or he might have a project or two to tackle.

I'm going to have to go to the doctor as soon as possible--Monday or Tuesday, before New Year's, because I have some sort of infection, maybe a UTI, maybe something of the female variety, or some combination (yeah, I know, that's too much information), because in addition to the pain and irritation and having to go to the bathroom all the time, I'm having pain in my back in the kidney area and I'm afraid it might be spreading. I meant to get some cranberry juice when I went to the store just now, but I forgot. Drat.

Someone massacred a Christmas tree in the hallway at about 2:30 in the morning. I heard them (there were several people, I think), but didn't know what it was at the time. This morning there are pine needles all over the hallway floor and a tree by the dumpster. The trees are always so sad-looking after Christmas. I've got a few branches that have dried out (Norfolk Virginia pines tend to shed the bottom branches), but I'm glad I have a potted tree that will hopefully make it until next winter.

My amaryllis at work leafed out nicely but hasn't set a flower stalk. Maybe I didn't water it enough in the resting phase (I forgot about it, in truth.) But my Christmas cactus has a few buds on it, and they're getting big, so I think it will bloom any day. Yay!

Okay, that's enough. I'm actually starting to get sleepy again and I have a lot to do. Have a great day.

Hi there/sorry for the silence

I lost my Internet connexion last Saturday and didn't get it back till a few hours ago, whereupon I waded through over 1000 RSS news feeds on libraries, technology, and other topics. But I'm back. Here's what I would have posted if I'd been able to:

Sunday, Dec. 21st


Today is the first day of winter, my holiday, and the first night of Chanukah, a friend's. I was there for the lighting of the first candle. It's a lovely festival of lights that I must admit is superior in its simplicity and wonder. If it weren't for the fact that the prayer includes 'Adonai' ('my Lord') I'd celebrate it myself. I guess I could say 'haShem' 'the Name' like the Orthodox do. But still, I'm not sure how the G-d of the Jews would feel about a pagan girl lighting the chanukkiyah.(It's not really a religious holiday per se...it celebrates a miracle, yes, but it's not up there with Yom Kippur. Christians assume it's an important holiday because it's around Christmas and they see that as important (ignoring the fact that Easter is a far more religiously important holiday for them), but it's rather minor. It is, however, fun, with dreidels, latkes, and family.)

When I got home from the game I put the holiday lights on and lit every candle in the place that would burn. Here's an especially lovely holder I have:
Candles burning
Basically I played soothing music, listened to a fountain, and enjoyed the lights. I didn't make any offerings or anything this year, but I will for the liminal point of New Year's, since my Patroness governs those.

Monday, Dec. 22nd

Today I worked the only day this week I will at the hospital. Brrr!!! It's cold. It's 6 degrees outside this evening and very, very, cold. Winter is definitely here.

Tuesday, Dec. 23rd

Today we had our Christmas party at the gas station. I took off from the hospital to go. We were raising money for the Children's Miracle Network, which helps hospitals such as UK Children's treat young patients. There was cake, music, and we even caroled. My boss wanted us to sing, but then kind of chickened out and had us singing in the office and I moved her out into the public area, which I was rather proud of seeing as I have terrible stage fright of my own. It was fun, although slow to get going.

As part of our holiday decorating, we decorated the bathrooms. Supposedly there is a contest within our district or region for the best decorated bathrooms. Two of us have gone to about five or six stores in our region and found not a single decorated one. We are beginning to think someone is pulling our boss' leg. But the bathrooms have been a real hit with customers. Women have come up and complimented us and one guy said 'Holy cow!' when entering. Here's a couple of examples--one from the women's (which was done in a green and red theme with evergreen garlands around the ceiling, stockings on the wall, garland around the mirror, and this setting on the commode:)
and the sink from the men's room (done in a blue and white theme, with lots of icicles and snowflakes)
Later in the night, we had rain that froze to the ground. Not freezing rain per se--the cars never had ice on them. The ground was just so cold from the last couple of days that roads, driveways, and walkways became a solid sheet of ice. I was the third person at work tonight and spent a lot of time salting the lot and acquiring more salt. Even so, those of us working nearly fell several times. (I almost did carrying a full propane tank, which would not have been good.) Needless to say, walking in the mulch was a good strategy. I-75 was totally shut down, so we got a lot of people asking for ways to get to I-64 or the Bluegrass Parkway from Man O'War, since we're not far from the exit where they'd routed people off the interstate. Turns out the split to I-64 was totally shut down because it was a solid sheet of ice. Even emergency vehicles were sliding. I later found out that a man was killed after stopping to see if someone who'd run off the road was okay. The first person was fine, got out of their car down in the embankment, and looked up to see a car stop up at the top. Then when the Good Samaritan up there got out of the car, he was struck by a truck and killed. Sad. New Circle Road wasn't much better. I sent one guy going down to BG parkway through town and out Versailles Road rather than try the limited access highways.

Fortunately by the time I went to get A that night, it had warmed and everything melted.

Wednesday, Dec. 24th

I got paid and went Christmas shopping, hitting three places with minimal trouble, including two in 'the world's biggest strip mall', also known as Hamburg Pavilion. You could not have dragged me to the mall, though, and although Bath and Body Works was out of something I wanted in Hamburg, I did not pursue it at the other location. I went to Barnes & Noble and picked up presents for three friends and then went to Sqecial Media for one friend and my mother and grandmother. The latter two got carved wooden boxes. My friend got an incense holder and nag champa incense. I won't tell you what I got at B&N since not everyone's opened their presents yet, but since they are all members of the game, you can probably guess if you've been reading. I'm also now a B&N member, so I get discounts. It was $25 but I saved over $7 in one transaction, so I don't think it will take too much time to recoup. And although I have much history with Joseph-Beth (our local chain), they just have gone downhill in terms of having things in stock and in their service and efficiency. I have long since concluded that they only hire idiots at Joseph-Beth (and the women all seem to have a similar 'look'), something supported by the fact that neither I, a professional librarian with good customer service skills, nor a friend, who is a reader and book collector who admittedly is not a people person but who is very efficient at finding things in the store and has walked employees through their own computer system) could ever get a job there.

Barnes & Noble, on the other hand, seems full of efficient people. Although I like the setting of Joseph-Beth better, B&N actually has books in stock, so you're not always having to special order. Which is interesting, as I'm pretty sure J-B has more space.

Anyway, having shopped till I dropped I made one final stop for wrapping paper, then came home and napped. I called my mother to let her know when I could come to Danville but got her as she started report at work and she called me back a couple of hours later. The 26th was best, so that's the plan.

Then I helped someone make green goo. It's a long story that doesn't bear repeating. Let's just say that spinach does not chop well in a Cuisinart. And I even got to take some home. :)

Thursday, Dec. 25th

Finally, a sunny day. It was quiet on the roads, of course. I worked for eight hours, from open to close on our abbreviated schedule at the gas station. We still had cake and music, and people were in the Christmas spirit and were very sympathetic to anyone working on Christmas day. I had volunteered; it's not my holiday and unlike some of the others, I don't have little kids to stay home with. Plus, it was double time, so it's as if I worked 16 hours in terms of pay, but it was a very easy shift.

Friday, Dec. 26th

I went to Danville to visit my mother and grandmother. My step-father was laying tile. (I'd brought his Chop House gift certificate as well--the one I won at the hospital Christmas party). It was a nice enough visit. I missed out on the meal they had yesterday, although my mother brought me her jam cake. Well, not quite jam cake--she forgot the jam this year! But it's a rather nice spice cake, anyway. :)

Everyone's fine. They liked their wooden boxes. My mom gave me an outfit, and it's actually purple and something I would buy for myself. It's a little dressy and would work well for a party. The pants are black velvet and a little flared. The blouse is purple velvet with a tie-back waist and the blouse has a definite shape to it, something you don't find in a 3X too often. The purple has little gold ornament on it.

Well, that's my week so far. Whew! It took awhile to write this post, as you can imagine. Hope your holiday was pleasant, and that you have a wonderful new year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

This is the season for getting together with extended family

but if you think yours is convoluted, look at Barack Obama's. Talk about multicultural: Africans, Asians (both from Indonesia and China (including one by way of Canada)), British, etc. They've moved around even further, studying in a variety of places abroad like Germany and South Korea. Religions include Roman Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism, other forms of Christianity, and through his wife, a branch of relatives that are African-American Jews. Whew! Didn't he say something about his family being like the United Nations? He was right!

The Wikipedia article includes a nice genealogical chart to keep everyone straight. With polygamy in Africa and a series of marriages and divorces throughout the family, there are lots of 'steps' and 'halves'.

I have a tiny family by comparison. I can't imagine everyone getting together at one time for his family celebrations.

Watching closely with interest

Top Lawyer Urges Voiding California Proposition 8

The Attorney General, Jerry Brown said: 'Proposition 8 must be invalidated because the amendment process cannot be used to extinguish fundamental constitutional rights without compelling justification.'

Another brief filed by opponents to same-sex marriage asks that the roughly 18,000 marriages performed already be invalidated.

No matter how much they try, you can't legislate love. When Barack Obama was born, there were some states that would not have allowed his parents to marry. My own state would not allow it until 1967, when several laws throughout the US were overturned by the Loving v. Virginia decision. Bans on interracial marriage (called anti-miscegenation laws, by the way) are wrong, and so is banning same-sex marriage. It's a matter of basic rights, period. I firmly believe that in my lifetime bans on same-sex marriage will fall throughout the United States and gay couples will be free to express their committed love in the same way heterosexual couples can.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm thinking

I might get the Dr Horrible DVD and CD from Amazon.com. If I throw in one of the Avatar: the Last Airbender DVDs I owe someone, then that brings the grand total to $34 with free shipping. I think that's doable, although not this week per se. I'll see. In the meantime, they're sitting in my Amazon cart. A lot will depend on how my holiday shopping goes next week. But soon...muhahahaha!

Sad, so sad

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry has died. For those of you who aren't fans of 'Star Trek' and therefore have no idea, Majel Barett was part of every incarnation of the show--from the original pilot, the classic show, the animated series, the movies, and later series. She was Nurse Chapel on the first series (and was the original 'Number One' in the pilot), Deanna Troi's mother on the second, and was the voice of the computer in many of the Enterprise incarnations. She even did computer voiceovers for the upcoming movie. When her husband died, she continued to foster his creations, including the series 'Earth: Final Conflict' and 'Andromeda'. Her wit and charm always showed through no matter what character she played. She always struck me as tenacious as well. She died early Thursday morning of leukemia. She was 76 years old.

Of his mother, her son Eugene 'Rod' Roddenberry, Jr said: 'My mother truly acknowledged and appreciated the fact that "Star Trek" fans played a vital role in keeping the Roddenberry dream alive for the past 42 years. It was her love for the fans, and their love in return, that kept her going for so long after my father passed away.' (San Jose Mercury-News)

[Picture courtesy of and copyrighted by Taric Alani.]

Requiescat in pace.

Sometimes I think we're so backwards for a 'first world' nation

US balks at decriminalising homosexuality: Sixty-six nations wage campaign to better deal with discrimination
Alone among major Western nations, the United States has refused to sign a declaration presented Thursday at the United Nations calling for worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality.

Favourite quote, from Dutch foreign affairs minister, Maxime Verhagen:

'Human rights apply to all people in all places at all times. I will not accept any excuse.'

In all, more than fifty countries opposed the symbolic, non-binding measure, but 66 signed it--including all of Europe, Japan, and Australia. Opposition was mainly seen in Islamic areas, Asia, and Africa. According to the article, in over 70 countries that are members of the United Nations, homosexuality is a crime, and in some of them that crime can be punsishable by death.

Some justice prevails

Rwanda's Bagosora sentenced to life for genocide
The Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) had accused Theoneste Bagosora, 67, of being in charge of the troops and Interahamwe Hutu militia who butchered 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 100 days [emphasis mine].

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I got it!

I managed to get the Lovecraft book today from the store. With the $10 gift card from National City bank from my rewards programme, I spent a total of $3.73 for a hardback with over a thousand pages of text. It is a complete and unabridged collection of his fiction (minus the poetry and letters, I suppose, then). I was afraid it would have tiny text, but the typeset is actually rather nice. It's a substantial book, a nice size. Yay!

I also got my latest book from PaperBackSwap.com (although in truth it was a hardback--also a Barnes & Noble edition, incidentally). It's 100 Ghastly Little Ghost Stories. Many of the authors I don't recognise but there's also O Henry, HP Lovecraft, August Derleth, Ambrose Bierce, and Oscar Wilde. I'm hoping someone will want one of mine so I can get Antonia Barber's The Ghosts, a book read to us in fifth grade that I enjoyed very much and which is out of print.

Fun! I'm raring to start them, although I have several books on my plate right now, and the Lovecraft isn't as portable as say, the Perry book. :)

Good night, if I don't write further. I'm going to do some notes (really, this time) and then get A from work.

PS I watched 'Legend of the Seeker' on Hulu. It is based on two books of Terry Goodkind's, beginning with Wizard's First Rule. I haven't read them but they sound interesting. I'll have to seek them out.

I miss Cerys terribly sometimes

like just now, when a woman was walking a black and grey dog in our parking area. Cerys was black, but greyed quite a bit as she got older, and I guess even though it wasn't a Labrador that triggered the memory and the grief.

I went out early to get a money order for my rent, which is thankfully paid. I don't have much left over, but more than I thought I would, especially once my grandmother's Christmas money clears tomorrow. Yay for that. So groceries are an option, and so is that Lovecraft book if it's available.

Okay, I'm off to hit the shower and get ready for work.

Oh, no!

The book I got the Barnes & Noble card for, HP Lovecraft: The Fiction (Library of Essential Writers), which was published in October, is already sold out online in the time it took me to get the card. Eeek! I've requested a reserve at my local store if at all possible, so hopefully they'll have it. I'm not sure if the card can be used in store or only online, but hopefully it will be the former. That might actually work in my favour, since in order to not pay shipping I'd have had to have an order totalling $25, and this would be about $14 before the $10 gift card, if the price is the same as it was online. Granted, I'd considered getting the next two Jim Butcher Dresden Files books that I don't own (#6 and #7), but things are tight and I can get those later.

I like today's Quote of the Day

'Genius is eternal patience.'--Michelangelo

I try the patience of genius every single day. :)

Adrift with only history behind them

After 146 Years, a Brooklyn Convent Is Closing
Behind the red-brick walls encircling the Convent of Mercy in Brooklyn, generations of nuns have taught the illiterate, sheltered the homeless and raised orphans. They are known as the Walking Sisters, ministering in the community as well as inside their convent.

Now, after 146 years, it is time for the small band of sisters, most of them retired, to walk away from the convent. The leadership of their order, the Sisters of Mercy, decided to shutter the place and scatter the sisters to other homes and nursing facilities after realizing it would cost more than $20 million to fix serious structural and accessibility problems in the fortresslike building on Willoughby Avenue in Clinton Hill.

The building is not considered a landmark (although judging from the photos, the interior of the chapel is lovely and the exterior is interesting), so there's a good chance that if sold it would be 'developed' (read, torn down and something put in its place).

The Walking Sisters cared for a lot of children in their years in Brooklyn, and they refused to stay confined in the safety of their convent, but went out into the community to deal with issues like poverty and disease. They touched many lives and I'm sure that many people will remember them fondly.

The problem in this case, of course, is the building. It's a shame that the women will be scattered to the four winds, when this has been home to them for so many years. But even though I'm not Catholic, I find it also sad that so few young women are entering the orders to help sustain their vitality. I have great respect for nuns, sisters, monks, and priests. If I were Catholic, I'd be very tempted to become a nun (although I'm a little short on obedience sometimes). :) I wish the ladies well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tracy is absolutely amazing!

Never mind that she was really driven to study in college and chose really good internships because she's really, really smart, with several of us slackers by comparison. Never mind that of all of us she's probably the most successful out in the world. Never mind that her job entails sending up projects to study Mars and stars light-years away.

She can really belly dance!

I don't get to see Tracy anymore, since she lives in California now, but she mentioned videos on YouTube of one of her performances to a friend and we were truly wowed. Here she is (she's the one in blue):

Here's one with her on her own:

Wow, the girl can move! Enjoy!

Ready for the day

  1. Woke up? Check.
  2. Took bath instead of shower because I was sore? Check.
  3. Took medicine? Check.
  4. Took out trash? Check.
  5. Washed dishes? Check.
  6. Checked that my pay from the store came in, and that I have enough with tomorrow's for my rent, plus some to live on? Check.

Ready for the day? I think so. I have my laundry ready to go, but I think I'll wait to get it after work so I can check that maintenance (who are changing filters today) don't leave the tree lights on. I've got my lights set up to have the tree, the window lights, and two floor lamps come on with a flick of a switch. Last time they left that switch on, but there was really no problem. This time I have bulbs on a small live tree; I don't think I want to keep them on for hours on end. So it couldn't hurt to stop by and get my laundry afterwards.

I also have a copy of Skeleton Key, which I enjoyed immensely, in my purse so our gamemaster and I can watch it if he likes tonight. Since it looks like our Cthulhu campaign is moving from Tonga to New Orleans, I thought it might be appropriate, although I should be more careful about giving the gamemaster any ideas. He's a genius and does an incredible job on the game, all on his own, but giving him ideas to run with can be bad for us.

Doing notes will have to wait for tonight, I guess, as it's 9:36 now and I need to stop by the bank on the way in to work. Have a great day.


I finally got to see those last two episodes of 'Heroes'. They were very good. I'd predicted some of it when a friend told me tiny bits and pieces without trying to give it away, but not everything. I like a certain new power that's cropped up, and I'm glad my favourite hero got something back that he lost.


Okay, time to go to bed. I got everything I wanted done, although I should have worked on the notes longer. Plus I got some rest. But I watched the webcast, watched 'Heroes' and its rampant carnage, rearranged the dining area, went through some papers and threw out some more things. I found out that National City had sent me the Barnes and Noble card I was looking for in the mail, I just overlooked the envelope. Now if I could just find that freaking Obama sticker. :) The plan is to get up early enough to work on notes more. Good night.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A rare afternoon/evening at home

I got home at 4 pm and I'm in for the night except for getting A about midnight. The roads weren't too bad this afternoon but there was a moderate amount of freezing rain and sleet at the time, so it may be bad tonight.

Predictably, I went to sleep as soon as I got home, but only for a long nap. I was still dragging from getting only 2 1/2 hours of sleep on Saturday night. I've fixed dinner and am eating that now. There are several things I'd like to accomplish with my evening: 1) watching the last two episodes of 'Heroes' that I missed due to working, 2) watching a webcast on disaster planning in libraries (if it's still up; it technically was supposed to be up through yesterday, but it was still up this morning when I checked...I couldn't get it to work at the hospital, something about being redirected to a new location), 3) get some work on the notes in, 4) if I have time, rearrange the dining area and figure out how much work setting the aquarium back up is going to take (it has a layer of evaporates on the glass, salts that should be removed), and 5) starting Bluegate Fields, the Anne Perry novel that I got through PaperBack Swap.

Okay, it's still autumn

but there's a wintry mix of snow and ice out there this morning, so the roads should be interesting. We didn't get that much of either by the looks of it last night, and I scraped a lot then so I shouldn't have to do as much this morning, but it can still be treacherous. I skidded once last night on my way home. A couple of weeks ago, in the middle of the afternoon, we had a scant amount of snow that really did a number on the secondary roads. Our road crews are usually better than that; I was really surprised.

Oh, well. Time to go out and scrape the car some more and go on to work. Just one job today (yay!)

'I believe acknowledging the truth benefits us all'

It was said by Dewey in today's Unshelved comic strip, but it's the mantra of a friend of mine. I suspect he rather liked today's strip. The scene could easily be an exchange between us.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Listening to

Duffy's videos for 'Mercy' and 'Stepping Stone'. They're reminiscent of Motown standards. I could see Diana Ross doing the second one, especially. Sorry, embedding is disabled, but well worth a listen. (I'm not particularly wowed by the videos themselves, though. She touches her hair far too much in the second, for one thing.) YKWIA, I think you'd like them--she has a nice voice and I think you'd like her style. [And she's Welsh! :)]

Friday, December 12, 2008

Seen at Joseph-Beth

and now on my wish list:

Weird Kentucky book
Weird Kentucky: Your Travel Guide to Kentucky's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets by Jeffrey Scott Holland

Okay, I am up way past my bedtime and have a library committee meeting tomorrow, so good night.

I'm probably the only one on the Internet who had not seen this, but just in case

you haven't, I thought I'd share, because it's really, really great...

Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog:

It was directed by Joss Whedon (of 'Buffy: the Vampire Slayer' fame). Neil Patrick Harris (best known from 'Doogie Howser, MD') plays evil genius, monologuer, and future overlord Dr Horrible. Felicia Day (who played one of the potential Slayers on the last season of Buffy and stars in and produces The Guild) plays Dr Horrible's crush Penny. Nathan Fillion plays Captain Hammer, Dr Horrible's self-absorbed nemesis. Did I mention it's a musical? Enjoy!

Thanks to YKWIA for letting me in the loop and introducing this to me. My favourite is 'Brand New Day', when Dr Horrible snaps (for the first time).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Strange fact of the day

Adelie Penguin
From my Useless Knowledge gadget for iGoogle:
The female Adelie penguin, desperate to obtain the stones she uses to build her nest, visits the nest of a bachelor Adelie, goes through the entire courtship routine, and mates with him. But once the two have had sex, the female collects the stones she came for as a sort of payment, and waddles back home to her actual mate, who’s been keeping the nest nice and warm for her return! She then stays with him for the rest of her life. Sometimes, especially cunning females engage in the courtship ritual, minus the mating part, grab the rocks, and dash home. Luckily, the males of this species, unlike humans, do not seem to bear a grudge.

Adelie Penguin Photo © Samuel Blanc, licensed under Creative Commons

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Today is International Human Rights Day

Universal Declaration of Human Rights 60th Anniverary-Sudan Poster
Credit: UN Photo/Tim McKulka

And with it we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Drafted after the Holocaust and other atrocities of World War II, the text outlines basic human rights for all peoples. That spirit is still sorely needed; the poster to the left is of patients at a hospital in the Sudan, which has been torn by civil war and genocide.

My favourite is article one: 'All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.'

For more on the declaration, see the Wikipedia article.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

This is wonderful--I'd like to read some of the letters

Librarians helped tame Wild West
A timid, hair-wrapped-in-a-bun, pince-nez-wearing spinster.
Is that the image you have of a librarian from 100 years ago?
Try this one on instead:
Gun-toting, horseback-riding, walk-2-miles-to-work-in-a-blizzard type of woman.
Those were the kind of librarians who settled the West.
Around the turn of the 20th century, graduates of the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science (then called the Illinois Library School) headed to places like Texas, North Dakota, Idaho and Oregon.

Click on the link above to read more. Okay, this time I really am going to go to bed!

I wonder

why my feed subscriptions through Feedburner have dropped by 1/3 in the last few days. Is it too much gay stuff? Not enough library-related stuff? Are RSS readers just fickle, subscribing then moving on? What? Let me know!

I itch

I'm beginning to wonder if I have a new allergy. I have a small rash on my lower legs that can be maddening. At first I was very concerned, because about a week ago I went back on Lamictal after being off it for about 5 days, longer than I ever had been. Lamictal can cause Stevens-Johnson syndrome, which begins with a rash, can cause blindness, and your skin sloughs off. (Yes, gross, but also very dangerous and possibly fatal). They really warn you against a rash when on Lamictal. But despite my hypochondriac panic, I searched out the symptoms and it didn't seem to be the right kind of rash (Stevens-Johnson hives are crusty, for example). It would bear watching, but probably wasn't THE rash. So I decided it may just be my new bodywash, which has ground up bits of coconut shells. I'm not allergic to coconut as far as I know, but they could irritate the skin, although why it would affect just my lower legs I'm not sure, beyond the fact that they're dry already.

Well today it's been really decent, no itching. Then I ate a double helping of cinnamon almonds. And my legs are itching like crazy, along with itching in my ear canals, on my side, my back, face, etc. I have lots of allergies. I don't remember if tree nuts were on the borderline or not. But it might be best to leave off the almonds for awhile to see if this gets better, then reintroduce and see if there's any effect. I've been eating far too many of them lately anyway. Also, it may be that the rash is appearing at night--so far it's worse then.

Anyway, itching sucks. I'm going to put some lotion on it to see if that calms it down and go on to bed. And maybe take some children's Benadryl (the adult one knocks me completely out, so I don't keep it in the house). I feel calmer after vegging out in the comfy chair for awhile with my comforter tucked around me. My headache is almost gone but the aches are still there, and the sniffling. But mentally I feel a little better, too. Amazing what a little 'me' time can do. Now that my house is clean, I really take pleasure in being here, whereas I used to avoid it at all costs. It seems like a home, not just a place to dump my stuff.

Okay, I've rattled on too long. Good night.

Monday, December 08, 2008

I don't feel well

physically, mentally, or spiritually for that matter. I don't know what's wrong. I ache all over, even in my toes. I'm sniffly. Maybe I'm coming down with something. But I'm also on the point of crying for no reason. I just feel beaten-down, stressed, even though most everything's alright for now. Maybe it's depression, although I thought that was doing better. I don't know. But I'm going to try to de-stress. I've put the holiday lights on, lit a potpourri burner with an evergreen scent, put on a New Age CD, and I'm going to go sit in the comfy chair with the massager and heat on. Maybe that will help. Oh, and maybe some ibuprofen before bed. Good night.

Have you ever had a night

where you felt not only like a disappointment to others, but to yourself? I realise that I really don't like the way my life is going--too pathetic, not assertive enough, etc. I understand all of these things logically every day, but tonight the emotional component really hit me hard. Maybe that means I'm ready for change? I think it was more than depression or self-pity happening, but rather looking hard at myself and the many facets of my life and finding it wanting.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The last chapter in the Von Bülow case, but the mystery remains

Those of you in your twenties or even early thirties will not remember the celebrated trial of Claus von Bülow, who was first convicted and then acquitted of trying to kill his wife with insulin injections after she was found unresponsive--she was found in 1980, after all. But I do, since as you've no doubt figured out, I have a fascination for murder and mystery, and I suppose I did even as a teenager, although I didn't read mysteries back then.

Martha Crawford Von Bülow--called Sunny--an heiress, died today after almost 28 years in a coma. I can scarcely imagine spendng nearly half of one's life in such a state.

Their daughter, Cosima, is my age. She was initially disinherited by her maternal grandmother for siding with her father in the case, but was supposed to be reinstated after Mr Von Bülow renounced any claim on his wife's money. She still had to spend three years litigating the case to receive her share of the inheritance.

Mr Bülow's guilt or innocence was hotly debated at the time and tore the family apart, with the two children from Mrs Von Bülow's first marriage encouraging prosecution. It was not quite as celebrated as the OJ Simpson murder trial, but it was in the news quite a lot. The second trial presented the defence that no insulin was injected (the needle had insulin on the outside, but not the inside, according to his Wikipedia article) and that her symptoms of confusion and altered mental state, then coma, fit an injested drug overdose combined with alcohol. (A few weeks before her final coma, for example, there were over 60 aspirins found in her stomach, which would indicate her mental state). Also, she had bouts of depression, despite seeming to have a perfect life from the point of view of many. And records eventually released showed the Von Bülow did not favour taking his wife off of life support as was alleged.

But there were two trials. An appeal was granted, but a great deal of the evidence that was presented in the first trial (in which he was convicted) was held back in the second (in which he was acquitted).

I don't know if we'll ever know what really happened between the Von Bülows, the family, the maid (a major witness), etc. Claus Von Bülow and his daughter both live in London now, and their lives have gone on.

But Mrs Von Bülow's's life for all intents and purposes ended that day right before Christmas in 1980 when she was found unresponsive. That she lived on for nearly 30 years is amazing, but it's sad that this is how things turned out. She essentially became a footnote to a historical trial. But I'm sure those close to her will mourn and remember her, as it should be. But some of us ordinary folks remember to, and can sympathise over the situation, even though we do not understand the life lived by princesses and heiresses.

For a detailed look at the Von Bülow case, check out the Crime Library's article. Most of what I've given here is from Wikipedia, but this examines the evidence in greater detail and goes through the specifics of the two trials.

All I can say are there are such fiends out there as most people cannot imagine

and one of them lives in my town...

Ky. Toddler Who Was Raped And Beaten Dies

Brian Matthew Crabtree, 18, has been charged with first-degree rape, first-degree sexual abuse and first-degree assault after admitting that he raped the child, although he's pleading not-guilty. She was only two years old.

The strangest video I have seen on YouTube so far...

via Steven of Library Stuff:

I do not want to meet this lady in a dark alley.

Hmmm...an interesting move

Amazon Starts Renting Out the Human Genome (via the Jedi Librarian)...

Forget books, MP3 players or vacuums. Amazon.com wants to offer you a copy of the human genome this holiday season.

Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, has started offering access to large collections of data. Business customers and scientists can take the information, which ranges from census databases to three-dimensional chemical structures and the genome, and use it as the basis for computing jobs. By gathering and storing the information, Amazon says that it can save businesses the step of assembling and managing data on their own.

What I'm doing

Listening to: Live, 'Forever' (no video as of yet that I can find, but it's the first song that plays at the Friends of Live website, if you're interested.) I heard it for the first time on the radio tonight. Fortunately Ed Kowalczyk has a very distinctive voice, so I realised what band was playing.

Reading (or re-reading for the nth time): Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising. Yes, it's that time of the year again, when winter is coming quickly upon us. I love this series; it is my favourite fantasy series (even better than Harry Potter, although Earthsea might be a close second in my book). It was also the first I read, at least that I recognised as part of the fantasy genre, and it spurred a life-long enjoyment of many, many books under that banner, so that might account for my bias. They made an awful movie called The Seeker by butchering Cooper's story. Okay, the movie wasn't awful. It would be alright if it hadn't in any way attempted to draw from the book and then totally ruin the story and suck the spirit of British folklore out of it.

Viewing: Tomorrow I'm going to try to go see The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which has been held over for one more week at the historic Kentucky Theatre. I mentioned it last month on this blog.

Friday, December 05, 2008

So much for waking up early this morning

Although I was still up in time to take a nice relaxing bath. Fortunately the house looks great, there's only one dish in the sink, trash is done, and I've got everything I need for the day ready to go when it's time to leave.

I'm happy it's Friday. I am off at the store for three days and from the hospital for the weekend. And of course Sunday's the game, which promises mayhem as always.

Well, that's it for now, just a short-but-more-than-Twitter post. Have a great weekend!

Day Without a Gay - 12.10.08

Day Without a Gay banner

From Join the Impact:
  1. Wake up for work on Wednesday December 10th... and call in GAY.
  2. Go to the bank and take $80 out of your account... put it in your pocket and KEEP IT THERE.
  3. Do not go get your morning latte
  4. Do not purchase anything
  5. Do not contribute to advertising revenue: Meaning, spend 24 hours of your life without TV & Internet
  6. Do not use your cell phone, even if you have unlimited minutes
  7. Instead, DO volunteer. Give to the community and reach out to those that don't understand our community. Check your state page for local volunteer opportunities.
  8. If you must spend, only do so at an LGBTQ owned establishment with an LGBTQ clientel
  9. You have weeks to prepare, so go grocery shopping now.
  10. VOLUNTEER. We are fighting for human rights, so let's take a day to fight for the rights of those in need. Check your state page for local volunteer opportunities

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE? Anyone who wants to make an impact and drive a message to our government that WE DESERVE CIVIL EQUALITY. This means the LGBTQ community and it also means our amazing allies!

WHY THE NAME "A DAY WITHOUT GAYS"? The name was inspired by the film A DAY WITHOUT A MEXICAN and the nationwide strike in 2006 called A DAY WITHOUT IMMIGRANTS that protested against proposed immigration laws.

WHY STRIKE NOW DURING AN ECONOMIC DOWNTURN? While one day won't destroy the economy, it will send a clear signal that we are serious about getting our rights. Also, strikes and boycotts are more effective in an economic downturn because business owners have more to lose.

WHY A STRIKE AND A BOYCOTT? General strikes and economic boycotts have been a powerful form of non-violent protest in the history of civil rights movements, from the Montgomery Bus Boycott to the anti-apartheid boycotts in the 1980s. For many of those protesters, their actions came at a great sacrifice but they were willing to risk everything to obtain their rights.

WHAT IF I CAN'T MISS WORK? That's OK. It's important to note that many states still do not have anti-discrimination laws on the books with regards to employment discrimination against sexual orientation. If you are afraid to miss work, if your pocket book can't handle it, or if you work for a great LGBTQ advocate and friend, then go to work. All we ask is that you PACK YOUR LUNCH. It's that simple. This boycott helps to increase our visibility if we don't go to work, but you can participate in the economic boycott by simply not consuming

It's an interesting idea, but it might open those whose jobs are not protected to losing their jobs. Most employers will not appreciate someone calling in for activism. But I hope that measures such as this help people understand that gays are people like any other, with the same aspirations and problems, and they deserve equal rights under the law and to be able to express their love through legal marriage.

It bothers me that I was married for nine months and my marriage was considered valid, yet I have friends who have been together for years upon years who are treated as if they're relationship is nothing, worthless. That's wrong. And as a bisexual, I find it disconcerting that I can marry a man legally but not a woman, when the person who is right for me might be of either gender.

Okay, that's enough activism for the night. I don't usually make a point about my sexuality because 1) it doesn't define me and 2) I haven't been in a relationship in years so it doesn't really come up. But if I find someone, I want the right to love him or her and even marry if it's something we both want to commit to.

Final thoughts: if you oppose gay marriage, please at least really think out your reasons why and put them to the test, LOGICALLY, not merely scripturally or based on fickle emotions, without dismissing the good in favour of the bad outright. And if you are a supporter or gay yourself, then consider this boycott if it's something you think would be okay for you.

Good night.

This is a great, short, musical about discrimination, scripture, and people who like to rain on others' parades. Oh, and Jack Black as Jesus!

"Prop 8 - The Musical" starring Jack Black, John C. Reilly, Neil Patrick Harris, Margaret Cho, and many more:

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I'm up early

I've showered/brushed my teeth, gotten dressed, taken my medicine, made my bed, did the dishes, gathered up the trash from the kitchen and bathroom, and taken some pictures off my camera and put them on the computer, all with two hours left before I have to be at work, so I'm going to do some yoga and work on notes as well.

Last night I did some holiday decorating. I strung lights in the window (normal, multi-coloured ones, replacing the white icicle ones that no longer lit. I can now close my curtains in the living room. I couldn't before because the string had caught on the mechanism. Here is a before and after shot of the tree, which is a Norfolk Virginia pine in a pot:

tree bare

and decorated:

tree decorated

If you look carefully, you'll notice a few top branches removed, because I tried in vain to get my tree topper on it (so I hung it from the window--it's the star). I did tie the removed bits to my equal-armed reed cross that hangs on the door. The tree looked like Charlie Brown's tree with the topper on it, bent over (okay, it still does, a little bit). But it's a live tree that hopefully I'll be able to keep alive for a few years, as long as I remember to water it, because they like moist soil. That's two plants in the house right now--the other being a Christmas cactus I'm trying to get to bloom. My mom says the secret isn't so much dark and cool environment like you normally see but putting an apple slice with a bag over the plant to release ethene gas. I'll have to try it. It's kind of nice not to have cats so I can have plants without worrying about them being eaten.

(Just in case you're wondering, yes I am pagan, but so is the so-called Christmas tree. Ancient pagans in northern Europe brought in evergreens, after all. And in many cultures light is important at this time of the year to symbolise the return of the sun.)

Last night, in fact, was my night to give an offering to my Patroness. I put out two halves of a pomegranate, with spring water poured over it, then honey, then lavender petals sprinkled over that. I had taken a cleansing bath beforehand with sea salt in it. I do this every month at the time of my menstruation, and have for, oh, I don't know, maybe 15 years.

Okay, that's enough for now. It's time for notes!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A good start to the day

First of all, I got up early enough to not have to rush and was able to do a few things. I would have done yoga but I started my period last night and the video recommends against that. I learnt a long time ago that exercise on the first day was very bad for me. I also have to be careful of chiropractors' massage tables. I once wound up on the floor of the comic store writhing in pain so bad that I though birth was imminent. At that point, ibuprofen barely touches it. Same with any heavy exercise, like working out at the gym. So I avoid it. In a couple of days, however, it's usually okay. This morning I had a little time so I used a heated (gentle) massage cushion to ease the pain and relaxed quite a bit. I also got the trash ready to go out, made the bed, and got ready for work. I didn't manage to do the dishes; that will have to wait until tonight.

Another nice thing is that today is the first of two paydays for the week, and beyond that there was a debit that was supposed to come out of my account two days ago that is still in the pending column, so it didn't bounce after all, which means more money and I can actually afford some groceries plus toothpaste and body wash, which I was getting terribly low on. Yay!

Yesterday was the day of pizza. I had some for lunch, then we had more at the store meeting. I didn't get a chance to eat (and was stuffed from lunch anyway) because I ran the register whilst the others met (let's face it, I have been there three years, I know the spiel, having attended many of these). So, since my boss always gets a cheese pizza so the vegetarian can have some and they saved that for me, I got to take a whole pizza home with me.

I also found out yesterday that I'm getting a 20 cent raise at the store. I probably would have had 25 cents, but I got downgraded on my lack of suggestive selling. (I hate being suggestive sold to, and unless someone is already getting something similar or one item when it's a better deal for two, I don't do it very well.) We do make bonus on it, though. Fortunately there are several people who do it much better, so we do usually make goal, but there you have it. That brings me to $8.55 an hour, which yes, is still low, but I'm making almost as much as a shift leader without the responsibility, and let's face it, it's a low retail position. Fortunately I make a much higher per-hour amount at the hospital. If only it were full-time, I'd actually be pretty comfortable and could save more....

Well, I'd like to get to work a little early, and I need to stop by the bank briefly and get some cash. I'll blog later tonight, most likely. Hope you have a stress-free and safe holiday season, by the way.

Venus + Jupiter + the Moon = a wonderful conjunction (that smiles or frowns depending on where you are)

This is from Thailand (I love the singing--it was fun--so I used this one). In Asia and Australia the image was of a smiley face. Here in America it was an upside down face that seemed to frown. Try AstroEngine for more information from this continent and an overview of the conjunction itself. In Western Europe one planet was occulted briefly, too (I think it was Venus being occulted by the Moon, but don't quote me.) I didn't see it last night, but I saw the moon pretty close to the planets tonight, and it was still wonderful.

I found a nifty website today

PaperBackSwap.com - Our online book club offers free books when you swap, trade, or exchange your used books with other book club members for free.
called PaperBackSwap. On it you post books that you no longer want that you are willing to mail to another member, and then you get credits for each book that you can then spend on a book for yourself. You get two free credits to start with when you put 10 books into the system. Since I need to weed the home library, I went ahead and posted a few and I've ordered my first book (Anne Perry's Bluegate Fields, which I keep missing in the bookstores and have never gotten around to special ordering). The only drawback is that you're giving some total stranger your mailing address, but it can be any legitimate one. I could use the hospital, but I thought it would be easier to just have it sent home. So we'll see. Hopefully I won't wind up with some bibliophile stalker.

Oh, and the nice thing, too, is that it's free (although they do reserve the right to charge in the future, they also promise to give plenty of warning should they go to that model.) Anyway, try it out. It sounds like fun. I'll update when I know how things turn out from my order.

PS I just put in for my second book, 100 Ghastly Little Ghost Stories, which includes stories by Lovecraft and Bierce among others.

Strange things you find out by reading Wikipedia

One of my favourite mystery writers, Anne Perry (a pen name for Juliet Hulme and who writes the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series), was convicted as a teenager along with her best friend of murdering the friend's mother. She was fifteen at the time and not eligible for the death penalty in New Zealand. She and the girl were released some years later on the condition of never meeting again. Later she became a flight attendant and then award-winning author. I went to look up the list of her books and found a much more fascinating piece of information as well.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Listening to:

honeyhoney's 'Little Toy Gun' (video directed by Kiefer Sutherland, who appears in it as well)

Okay, WAY past my bedtime. Good night.

Maybe this will encourage mental health programmes

1 in 5 young Americans has personality disorder: Fewer than 25 percent of college-age suffers get treatment, study finds
Almost one in five young American adults has a personality disorder that interferes with everyday life, and even more abuse alcohol or drugs, researchers reported Monday in the most extensive study of its kind.

The article also mentions that '[a]ccording to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 1 in four U.S. adults suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.'

The study also looked at anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and other non-personality disorders. Personality disorders are especially difficult to treat, because they are complex.

College counseling programmes need to really work at reaching those in need. Also, since those 18-25 tend to work in lower-paying jobs, it is also important that programmes be made available to young people outside of colleges who may no longer be on their parents' insurance and otherwise could not afford treatment. Let's face it--psychiatric treatment is expensive, even with insurance. If you meet a counselor every other week even with a $10 co-pay, that's $260 a year, plus the cost of medications. Without insurance it would be more like $75-150 a session. Treatment of the young is also important because untreated mental disorders tend to worsen as we age, plus this is a time when students and others are establishing themselves in terms of education and career.

I am fortunate to have access to decent health care--but even I struggle with medical costs. This coming year my co-pays have doubled, so I'm having about $3000 taken out of my pay for my flexible spending account. Much of that has to do with mental health. That's about 13% of my salary at the two jobs. I wish I'd had access to it when I was younger--if I had been treated for my various issues at an earlier age I might have succeeded in getting a PhD in mediaeval history like I planned. My anxiety at doing the oral exam/thesis defence was so great, but I didn't realise how bad it was until I was put on medication once it was too late to use my credits for the degree. I have a mix of illnesses that really make my life difficult sometimes, but treatment has helped immensely. My anxiety, social phobia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are much improved. I'm also had a year-long intensive group dialectical behaviour therapy for borderline personality disorder and am on medicine for bipolar II disorder. Throw in medicine for attention-deficit disorder, too, although I don't know if the researchers in this study would consider that a mental disorder. I still have a lot to deal with in terms of childhood issues and other topics for counseling, but my brain chemistry is much better. :) Anyway, you can see I have a personal perspective on this issue.

(I know, I sound absolutely crazy if you go by my diagnoses. But hey, I'm what they call 'medically managed', and I'm working and paying taxes and all that, plus I'm not living on the street. Yet, anyway. I know I've had some close calls on that front. My point is there's a stigma attached to mental illness, but people being treated can lead productive lives. It's when they go off their medicine or stop counseling that they tend to go off the deep end before they know it.)

Monday, December 01, 2008

Remembering...World Aids Day

Red AIDS Ribbon

and all the people who have died...and all the people living with HIV/AIDS...and all the people at risk this very moment. Please, take precautions. Learn everything you can. Have compassion for those with the disease. Do everything in your power to eradicate it--and maybe someday we won't have to wear red ribbons or have a day devoted to a disease.

Thanks to DB Mathews for the graphic.

Okay, one quiz

The Window Shopper

Random Gentle Love Dreamer (RGLD)

The Window Shopper

Loving, hopeful, open. Likely to carry on an romance from afar. You are The Window Shopper.

You take love as opportunities come, which can lead to a high-anxiety, but high-flying romantic life. You're a genuinely sweet person, not saccharine at all, so it's likely that the relationships you have had and will have will be happy ones. You've had a fair amount of love experience for your age, and there'll be much more to come.

Part of why we know this is that, of all female types, you are the most prone to sudden, ferocious crushes. Your results indicate that you're especially capable of obsessing over a guy you just met. Obviously, passion like this makes for an intense existence. It can also make for soul-destroying letdowns.

Your ideal match is someone who'll love you back with equal fire, and someone you've grown to love slowly. A self-involved or pessimistic man is especially bad. Though you're drawn to them, avoid artists at all costs.

Your exact female opposite:

The Stiletto

The Stiletto

Deliberate Brutal Sex Master

Always avoid: The Hornivore (RBSM)

Consider: The Gentleman (DGLM), The Loverboy (RGLM), The Boy Next Door (RGLD)

Link: The Online Dating Persona Test | OkCupid - dating services | Dating
My profile name: : eilir

YKWIA told me about this one. I haven't had as much experience as it indicates, but otherwise I think it may be pretty accurate.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A good day

I just got home after driving with the radio turned up and singing to Three Days Grace's 'Never Too Late' and Daughtry's 'What About Now?', two of my favourite songs on the radio these days. Today I got 1) finished the notes early this morning, 2) got a friend from work at 7 am, 3) got all my pre-game activities finished in time, 4) had to go home to get the digital recorder because I forgot it, 5) played in the game, 6) read some Lumley, and 7) worked on some pesky tables in Microsoft Word that are giving me fits. So, it's been pretty productive.

I'm enjoying the game even though we don't really know what's going on in this campaign as of yet. We have pieces of the puzzle, but haven't come to any real conclusions yet. We'll see. In them meantime, I've learnt much more about Tonga than I ever knew (of course, I thought at first that it was in Africa, so that shows how much I knew. It's in the South Pacific). There were just three of us at the game today; one of the women is sick, and the two players were a little brain dead (that includes me). The gamemaster is, of course, never brain dead, which is frustrating, because he's always several steps ahead of us. But that's what makes a good gamemaster, so I can't really complain.

Anyway, it's been a lovely day although it's been cold and rainy most of the day. Tomorrow there's a chance of snow. I'm going on to bed; I have to pick up a friend who got called into work about 3:30 am. At least I'm not on the verge of collapsing like I normally am on Sundays. I did stay up and do notes yet again, but I got rest in the evening and early morning, getting up about 2 am to start work and getting an hours' rest from 3:30-4:30 am, then finishing by 6 am. I really need to start spacing this out during the week. Today was a fairly short session, though, so it shouldn't take long, which is good because I'm supposed to be working on the old stories as well.

Well, good night.

I don't usually cook

But tonight I made a crock pot full of rice and lentils that should last several days, at least until I get paid again. I did forget to put salt in it, but that can be added later, of course. It's pretty tasty, actually. It has garlic, curry powder, cumin, lemon juice, celery seed, and ginger in it. I'd like to have had some peppers or onions in it, but oh, well. The celery seed is the primary herbal taste, but I really like celery seed. Someone I knew used to make a chicken and dumpling soup with celery seed that I really liked; I should try to figure out how to make a vegetarian version. It would really just mean using different bouillon and leaving out the chicken. I don't think tofu would work that well. Anyway, I'm fuelled up now for a few days. Crock pots are amazing things. You just put the ingredients in, turn them on, and walk away for a few hours. It's kind of like a bread machine. I miss having my bread machine (it died some time ago, and I finally pitched it in the Great Cleaning Purge). I'll have to add bread machine to my list of things to acquire.

PS YKWIA told me I should have gone easy on the celery seed and eliminated the lemon juice, since it just makes vegetable dishes acidic. I'll keep that in mind the next time.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What the...?

Kentucky law requires Homeland Security credit God (link good for a few days)

And I quote:
Kentucky's Homeland Security office must publicize God's benevolent protection of the state in its reports under the 2006 law that organized the department.

Under the law, Homeland Security's religious duties come before anything else the department does, including distribution of millions of dollars in federal grants and analyzing possible threats.

The law lists the office's initial duty as "stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth."

I'm a ninth-generation Kentuckian; I'm very proud of my heritage and I think my state is often unjustly maligned. But then there are cases like this. Sometimes I think the people (and leaders) of the Commonwealth of Kentucky are just loopy as a bowl of fruit, to use a phrase that's become popular amongst my circle of friends.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What kind of people

would tear a store's doors off their hinges and trample an employee to death just to get a bargain?????

Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death by Customers

Three other shoppers were injured and a pregnant woman was taken to the hospital for observation. Some witnesses said she miscarried, although that was unverified when I saw the story on the television.

Really. I know that we are a nation of consumerism, but why such behaviour just for a chance at a new DVD? And granted, it was at a Wal-Mart, which doesn't cater to the highest members of society, but it's also in one of the richest counties in the country.

That poor man. He was a temporary worker hired for the holidays., 34 years old, and died needlessly because of other people's greed. I doubt the police will catch everyone involved, but I hope members of that mob never escape what they have done.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I am utterly relaxed

having eaten not merely one tasty and filling meal, but a second of leftovers, burnt incense and candles, put on low lights, listened to reed pipe music, sat in a comfy chair with heated massage, and generally allowed myself to let any stresses of my life drain away.

Considering I rather dreaded Thanksgiving, this is in and of itself a reason to give thanks. Going to visit relatives is always a bit of a crap shoot, I suppose. And I was a little anxious over the car and lack-of-cell-phone-minutes as well, for which a friend mocked me, since after all the majority of my life, and that of human existence, has gone along quite nicely without that sense of security given by a cell phone. (I believe Conestoga wagons even came into that discussion.)

I got up early, forewent cleaning out the car and the time it would take, deciding that if my grandmother wanted to harp about its state, she didn't need a ride to my mother's. As it turned out, my stepfather came and collected my grandmother, his mother, and myself from Danville and brought us to Stanford, along with a table and extra chairs for some unexpected family guests.

I used my limited funds to get another quart of oil, for a total of two to go into the engine today, put the rest into gas sans two dollars for a loaf of bread, and managed to get my gas pumped with the price still at $1.59 (they had a gas 'restoration' scheduled later for $1.75). I also used a free drink coupon to have something for the trip down, and so made the trip on very little money. I was early for a change, giving me time to have a good visit with my grandmother, who was not feeling well today. She showed me her new teeth and talked about her cataract surgery. She did at no point mention my mother lending me money for the rent. Either she doesn't know (which is unlikely--she knew about the gas card my mom gave me at the same time) or has had enough difficulties this year herself that she had some sympathy. We discussed how difficult things are right now for many people, including ourselves. Also, apparently my stepsister Amy, whom I had never met, died recently. I asked my mother later and she died two weeks ago. Amy was a very large woman, tall like her dad, but nearly five hundred pounds, and apparently her heart gave out on her. I think she was about my age or more than likely younger.

John came and picked us up and then his mother. On the way over to her house I saw I big Rottweiler in the back of a truck with its tail intact. It looked like a big baby. :)

John's mother is a delight. Oh, she talks up a storm, but then so do I, so I appreciate the need for someone to listen and did so. She's very fragile, and sometimes can't remember a name or two, which irritates her to no end. I can sympathise. Of course, she's in her 80s and I'm in my 40s. Like my grandmothers and mother, she was a nurse. But she has a very vibrant personality--and isn't afraid to give a whole parcel of her mind on the subject of her family's shortcomings--not in a mean-spirited way, but just speaking from the hip. No one is pulling the wool over that woman's eyes.

Dinner was nice. There were: my mom, my stepfather, his mother, her mother, me, two of his sons, a girlfriend, and two grandsons. The kids were relatively well-behaved (they even managed not to break John's iPhone) and one was quite proud of his toy night-vision goggles that opened up to look like something out of Robot Chicken.

I had a little bit of quite a lot, enough to be pleasantly full without being uncomfortable. And then I was able to take another plate plus desserts home with me. As usual, since I don't eat the turkey, ham, dressing (due to the broth), or gravy, my mom made me some fish. I didn't try the oyster dressing; it just isn't my thing, although I gather that if you do like oysters it is very good (I tried some last year and it was not bad). Then there were mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (candied with Splenda), cranberry sauce, rolls, green beans (without meat, so I could have them), and best of all, deviled eggs. I love deviled eggs. :) Plus there were Splenda-sweetened pumpkin, butterscotch, and chocolate pies. I had to laugh; my step-brother was very put-out by the lack of a pecan pie. One of my friends had a similar grievance about his Thanksgiving menu. But apparently Splenda doesn't do well in pecan pie and my mother swore off sugar-free ones with sugar alcohols because, well, if you're not familiar with the results of sugar alcohol-laden food, go try some, but don't go too far from a bathroom.

We visited for awhile. The kids and their folks went at one point and left us to catch up on things. I told my mom about some long-term changes being proposed for the hospital which may affect my job within about 5-10 years. Boyle County's library is expanding to about twice its size. They're over in a storefront or industrial site building for now during the building renovation. So they may be hiring soon.

Throughout the visit there was much dog action on the part of my grandmother's dog Bo and my mother's Sassy. They weren't together but both are very spirited smaller dogs. Sassy didn't really like the children. One of them scolded her at one point and she just really let him have it, and didn't care for him the rest of the visit. She's a chihuahua-rat terrier mix, it looks like. She didn't like me at all when I first came in but at one point I went outside and patted the outside dog, Shadow, who seemed forlorn because she knew Sassy was getting bits from the table. Once Sassy smelled the other dog on me, it's like I had some sort of key. I must be okay after all. My mother's cat, Trouble, even put in an appearance. We are concerned though because she's sixteen years old and sleeping in the litter box, a bad sign of cats going downhill. I really wish I had a picture though of John asleep on the couch whilst the rest of us were visiting and Sassy was up in the crook of his arm out cold, too.

We wound up watching a good bit of One Night at McCool's, which was a comedy and goofy, but not bad. maybe a little better than average, about a woman who is pure poison to the men around her. It had Liv Tyler, Matt Dillon, Michael Douglas, John Goodman, Paul Reiser, and Reba McEntire (the last interestingly enough as a psychiatrist). Let me tell you, Paul Reiser looks good in bondage leather get-ups. After the movie, we decided to let my mom get some rest since she has to work tonight and went back to Danville. Since it was getting dark, I pretty much just came on home.

The drive back was uneventful, although a little busier than the drive down. I stopped and got some medication on the way and then sat down and watched 'Heroes'. It was a very good episode, well crafted. The ending startled me, because although the possibility had (yes YKWIA, I know you'll say I'll say this) occurred to me, the picture given was much more effective than what I had imagined. I so want to watch part two, and I'm working, so I'll have to watch on the web again. :(

Anyway, that was my Thanksgiving. Turns out I found I had a lot to be thankful for, not the least good food and good company. Hope yours went well and was safe.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just a quick note

I'm here! I've just been really tired/busy and haven't blogged when I've gotten in at night. But I'll try to tonight (I'm getting ready to go to work right now) and definitely will try to catch up tomorrow, since it's a holiday. Thanks!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yes, we can...with a twist

On December 21st, Jews will light the first candles of the menorah. This video, from Jewish Malibu, plays on the this year's popuular 'yes, we can' mantra for the upcoming Chanukah season, drawing upon the theme of a rabbi's speech which predated Obama's use by several years.

Here is a transcript of the video.

Although I myself am not Jewish, I have a very dear friend who is and as you may remember, I completed a minor in Judaic Studies. I think lighting the menorah at Chanukah is one of the best and uplifting traditions of the winter season. I know it's a bit early, but best wishes to all of you who celebrate it.

Thanks to Steven of Library Stuff for this one.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

These are fun

Michelle Kraft posted a list of blog analysis sites (not the in-depth ones like Walt Crawford's, but ones to that are computer generated). Here's how this site fared on the sites she mentioned.

Typealyzer is a site that will do a Myers-Brigg analysis on a blog. Now, I have taken Myers-Briggs tests many times, and I come out INFP--but this blog is:

ESFP - The Performers
The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

The enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.


You know, I can't really argue with that one. They say as you get older you start to get closer to the opposite quality (in my case from introvert to extrovert, intuition to sensing, feeling to thinking, perception to judgement). Looks like I may be half-way there, or at least in terms of how I write.

Then there's one that tries to recognise the gender of the author. The GenderAnalyzer says:
We think http://rabid-librarian.blogspot.com is written by a man (70%).

Okay, so they're wrong. :) I think they're still in beta testing, after all.

Finally, there's the Blog Readability Test, which shows this blog is written at:
blog readability test

TV Reviews

I put a few sites through it (it's not limited to blogs). What was I doing again?, the blog of a former friend who trashed me online and is very, well, pompous about her understanding and use of language came out elementary school. I admit a certain amount of glee. Granted, she could just be trying to write to a lower-reading audience. :) David Rothman, another librarian blogger I respect immensely, was at the same reading level as Michelle Kraft and I. So we're apparently writing to similar literacy levels. Then I looked at some of the news sources. Wired, despite talking a lot about technology, was on an elementary level. Slashdot, which has a lot of science news, was on the undergraduate college level, too. FoxNews, which I don't care for (being on the liberal left as I am), comes out at high school. CNN is written at a junior high school level, as it the BBC general site aimed at Americans (but the British general site is high school). The Guardian, which I visit often, is written at a high school level, too. But MSNBC, the main American news site I pay attention to? Genius! So was the BBC News website, another I read a lot, but that's not surprising, is it? I don't know if their sites in incredibly complex by the terms of the algorithm or what. I don't have any trouble navigating them.

I know they say things written for a general audience should be written for fifth or sixth grade, but I just don't believe in dumbing down my personal writing (although, yes, if I were making a brochure, I would try to make it understandable to those with lower literacy). But I'm happy with where mine falls. I wouldn't want it to be so fraught with complexity that you'd have to be a genius to read my blog, but some basic college education and understanding of big words is nice. Or does that make me an elitist?

Anyway, go have fun with these. Thanks to the Krafty Librarian for the links!

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's out!

Liblog Book
Walt Crawford's book The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: A Lateral Look has been published and is available for purchase. The book looks at 607 liblogs, as Crawford calls them--blogs posted by 'library people' rather than by libraries--and compares various statistics from 2007 to 2008. And you know what? This blog is one of them! The book grows out of Crawford's work with his Cites & Insights online magazine.

Find out whether your blog is included in an online listing.

For more about the book, check out his entry on LISNews. From now through January 15, 2009 is available for $22.50 plus shipping. After that, it'll be $35.00. I'll definitely have to order the book as soon as I can.