Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Friday, February 29, 2008

A couple of more quizzes before bed

Your Score: The Rabbit Spirit

You scored 46% Creativity, 62% Compassion, 45% Strength, and 50% Intelligence!

You are a Rabbit Spirit. You are very sweet and kind, and can be creative. You are sometimes nervous and shy, and are very alert as to what's going around you. You have a couple good friends, and love frolicking in the meadows. Don't forget my two other spiritual tests: Sitakaliism Test Paganism Test, my political test: The Fruity Commie Pinko Liberal Test, and my Biology Test

Link: The Spirit Animal Test written by sitakali on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(sitakali)

Not particularly surprising. Did you think I'd be a predator? Ha!


Your Score: Pagan Extraordinaire

You are 90% Paganism Expert!

You know Paganism like the back of your hand! Maybe you even attended a few rituals, or organized some of your own. You understand how special this religion is, and keep it close to your heart. You know that it's the most ancient religion in the world (save animism which technically isn't a religion), and you want to get back to your roots. Merry meet again! Don't forget to take my two other spiritual tests: Spirit Animal Test Sitakaliism Test, my political test: The Fruity Commie Pinko Liberal Test, and my Biology Test

Link: The Paganism Test written by sitakali on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(sitakali)

Well, I am Pagan (not neo-Pagan), so I know a few things about mythology, although I'm a little weak on Indian myth.

Okay, I can't argue with it

...and I came out like YKWIA. Maybe that's why we get along so well--although I don't see his geekiness as that high. I always rather liked Niles, although he was neurotic as hell. Oh. Okay, maybe we are alike. :) I think David Hyde Pierce did an excellent job acting, by the way. I think it's nice that he's been with his partner, Brian Hargrove, for over 24 years. That's impressive.

My score on The "Which Frasier character are you?" Test:


(You scored 67% Geekiness and 24% Attention Please!)

You are Niles Crane, a geek at heart just like your brother Frasier Crane, but unlike Frasier you are not constantly screaming for attention. The latter is something you have in common with your wife Daphne Moon and your father Martin Crane. Your hobbies may seem dull to some, but you enjoy them without having to need to share them with everyone around you. Sometimes you are jealous of more extroverted people like Frasier. There is no need to be jealous... is Frasier really a happier person than you? Nurture your eccentric hobbies, but make sure you keep on socializing enough!

Link: The "Which Frasier character are you?" Test

View My Profile: eilir

(OkCupid Free Online Dating)

Here's an example of his work...'Going Up'--Niles in an elevator

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Here he comes to save the day...

Ever wonder where Mighty Mouse got his powers?

'Mighty Mouse: Mouse of Tomorrow' (Terrytoons)

Thanks to Sue Monroe from the Chatty Librarians list for sending this out.

Classify your pet with Dewey Decimal collars, confuse your friends

Cat Collar


Dog Collar

Thanks to 'Reading Kelly' from the Chatty Librarians list for passing on the link to the cat collar.


Record-High Ratio of Americans in Prison

My own commonwealth tops the list for growth of prison population.

The largest percentage increase — 12 percent — was in Kentucky, where Gov. Steve Beshear highlighted the cost of corrections in his budget speech last month. He noted that the state's crime rate had increased only about 3 percent in the past 30 years, while the state's inmate population has increased by 600 percent.

The rate of increase in the money on prisoners is six times that spent on higher education. In fact, four states--Vermont is the top one--spend more on prisons than colleges. On average, states spend more to house one prisoner than I make in a year. Heavier incarceration failed to affect recidivism or crime rates. Many states are looking to decrease costs by concentrating on imprisoning violent offenders and finding other ways of dealing with non-violent or relatively minor offences.

One in 30 men ages 20-34 are in prison, but for Black men of the same age it's 1 in 9.

The United States is number one in terms of numbers imprisoned, even outstripping China, which has a much greater population. It also is sixth in the world in capital punishment.


This morning when I tested my blood sugar, it was 230. Then I took the glipizide that Dr Nesbitt prescribed along with my other meds. I just took my blood sugar again before dinner and it's 105. That's within normal range. It's been a long time since I was actually testing normal.

I also went to the dentist today to start the process of getting a crown. They had to do a filling on the tooth behind it and then work on the tooth to be crowned, take impressions, and put a temporary crown on. The impressions will go to a lab and in about three weeks I go back and get the real one put on. It took a couple of hours. This is the first time I've met the new dentist, and I liked him, although I had to be vigilant about the latex gloves (he finally put the box of nitrile ones on top of the latex so he'd remember) and I'd forgotten to tell them I was allergic to Lortab, so he had to re-write me a prescription for Darvocet. The crowned tooth was broken and a piece came out from deep in the gums, so he thought I might need it--although normally I'm pretty good with that kind of pain. (Really intense shooting pain, I'm not so good at.) It was about $340, so thank goodness for flexible spending accounts, although they do break things down in payments for people. The next appointment to get the crown on should take about 15-30 minutes and I'd only have to pay any residual that the insurance won't. But they're supposed to pay 80% for fillings and 50% for crowns, so I should be okay. The nice thing is I could go ahead and eat dinner immediately, since I don't have too much time between work. I just can't have anything really chewy.

Oh, I found out today that in March I'm going to get a 4% raise at the hospital. That translates to nearly $.75 an hour or about $75 net extra a pay period if I did the math right. Yay!

What else? Oh, about a week ago I joined a book club and when I received the confirmation, I realised they'd truncated my apartment number and the books had been shipped to another address. I left a note for the resident at the other apartment and he called me and told me he'd let me know when they come in. Woo-hoo.

Listening to

'Everybody Hurts' by REM

Today I felt crappy. My blood sugar was 343 this morning, 210 this evening (although on the upside I not only remembered to test both times but took my Janumet for both doses, something I don't always remember to do). Normal is 60-120. I got a phone call this morning from Dr Nesbitt's office with the results of my bloodwork. My hA1C (which measures blood sugar over a three month period, was 8.3 (normal being less than 6.0)). In other words, my diabetes is out of control. Dr Nesbitt is putting me on an additional generic pill to help, and I take it in the morning, which will be much better in terms of me remembering to take it. In the afternoons I get caught up in things and barely remember to eat, much less test and take medicine. But Dr Nesbitt specifically mentioned this as an alternative to insulin, which I don't want to be on. Today I didn't have anything sugary except for some spreadable fruit on a peanut butter sandwich, but I haven't been really cutting out sweets and empty carbs lately. I need to do better, maybe have a couple pieces of chocolate at the game but not many, for example. I really need to take this seriously.

On a positive note, my cholesterol went down from 190 to 138. And I always have blood pressure on the low end of normal and a good resting heartbeat.

I also had therapy today, most of which dealt with my lack of self-esteem, my need to find reasons to like myself and come up with goals in my life (and put them into practice), and the bizarre life that was my marriage. I think it was really useful. This is the first social worker I've seen who was perceptive and listened to me without pushing a personal agenda. Of course, he's also the first male social worker I've seen, so maybe that's part of it.

I'm going to go onto bed, I think. I'll try to write someting more meaningful tomorrow, assuming I'm not tired after getting a crown put in at the dentist and working on truck night. Good night.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Speaking of deaths

Barry Morse, from Space: 1999 died on February 2nd. :(

(Photo by Anthony Wynn)

Remarkable, especially for her time

Pearl Witherington (or as she was after her marriage, Madame Cornioley) led a faction of the French Resistance during WWII, working as a spy for the British government. Given a civilian award because it was not possible then for a woman to receive a military equivalent, she returned the award saying that she had done nothing remotely 'civil' during the war.

That was later rectified, and she received others, but the one she cherished most was her parachute wings, for the jumps she'd made six decades before.

She definitely sounds like someone I would like to have met. She died on Sunday.

You don't really think of Britain when you think of earthquakes

Nevertheless, they have them (and had one on Wednesday the 27th shortly before 1 am local time, measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale with an epicentre in Lincolnshire).

England Hit by 5.2 Quake, Biggest in U.K. Since 1984

Interesting articles on depression and antidepressants

Antidepressants Only Benefit Certain Depressed Patients, Study Suggests

Does It Help To Continue Antidepressant Drug Treatment For Preventing Recurrence In Depression?

and an older one: Pain May Interfere With Depression Improvement

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oh, this is soooooo wrong

I found News For Blondes through a comment on Pakistan's blocking of YouTube (and subsequently temporarily blocking it for everyone else), when someone suggested that Burqa Speed Dating may have been the offensive material. But then I found this gem...

Warning: this may offend you if you have no sense of humour. You have been warned.

'Mistaken Rapture'--News for Blondes

Sunday, February 24, 2008

You never know about that mild-mannered library assistant in your department

Man who shot cop in '69 allowed to pay $250,000 to police fund

For about three decades, Pannell raised a family and worked as a research library assistant near Toronto under the alias of Gary Freeman. He had been fighting extradition since 2004. A graying Pannell, now 58, wore a hearing aid in each ear as Circuit Judge Daniel Darcy placed him on 2 years' probation in addition to imposing 30 days in jail. An attempted murder charge was dismissed.

The police officer shot did not die, but lost much of the use of an arm and had to retire early from the force. The officer himself was one of the people who came up with the idea of a payment into the fund as part of an agreement to lighten the sentence, figuring nothing would be served by the man spending a lot of time in jail. Joseph Pannell has already served over six years in custody in Canada, where he fled to after the crime, and the US. The fund helps support families of officers who are severely wounded in the line of duty, including scholarships for their children. It is the largest payment ever made to the fund.


I found out why Felicia Day from 'The Guild' looks so familiar. She was one of the potential Slayers (Vi) in the last season of 'Buffy: the Vampire Slayer'.

What Wikipedia has on Vi:
Vi is a Potential Slayer who arrives in Sunnydale in the seventh season, and is played by Felicia Day. Vi was trained by her Watcher prior to her arrival in Sunnydale, but her experience with the supernatural amounts to seeing a blurry photograph of a vampire. Introduced in the episode, "Showtime", the timid Vi initially seems unfit for her calling. However, she proves to be a courageous fighter during several battles, including the final battle in the Hellmouth. She survives it and, though having been wounded herself, helps treat other wounded such as Rona and Robin Wood in the aftermath. She appears in the comic story "The Chain", starring alongside Andrew Wells in a television commercial informing recently activated Slayers about the Watchers' Council.

If you haven't seen 'The Guild', you really should, especially if you have any interest in gaming online or off, because you'll be more likely to get the jokes. It's up to episode 7 and they just keep getting better and better.

I wish my Hebrew was better (but then I only learnt Biblical Hebrew, and that was years ago)

'Pop Goes the Weasel' by Alon Chitayat

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bad blogger, no cookie!

Listening to: 'I'll Be Waiting' by Lenny Kravitz--who I didn't realise is older than I am; he wears it well--(sorry, can't embed)

I haven't written since Wednesday night, a much longer hiatus than I'd prefer. Mostly I've been sore and exhausted when I came in, so I just didn't feel up to writing. Here's what you missed:

Wednesday I was off from both jobs so I could go to the dentist. I need a crown to fix a broken tooth that had had a root canal; I go in for that on Thursday. Joy! I also did animal wrangling and transport for a small herd. Given that I fell Monday, that and animal wrangling left me a little sore.

Thursday we had an ice storm. It wasn't as bad as the one we had several years ago that shut down the town for a week; however it was a bloody nuisance, glazing everything. I thought it would be bad to drive in, but actually it wasn't. However, I fell twice--once down the three steps from the parking lot to my apartment before working the truck, and once on a walkway at a house afterwards. Fortuantely I did not fall at work, since the paperwork is always a pain any time I've done so at a job. Each time I bounced on my butt, which fortunately has lots of padding but also lots of room for bruising. And at some point I must have hit my elbow. So I'm sore and feel rather like I've been in a minor car accident. It hurts to turn the ignition in my car, and a little when I've sat for any length of time, because I get stiff. Mind you, that was three falls in one week, the first being a trip over a dog onto hardwood--better than concrete, I suppose, but still...I'm really beginning to think it might be time to go to a chiropractor again; I must check and see if my insurance covers it. The funniest thing about the ice? Having a friend have to scoot into his house on his butt to avoid falling, and throwing the mayonnaise we'd bought at the store inside so I wouldn't have to do the same.


What did I do Friday? Oh, I had to get up V-E-R-Y early, about 5 am for something. Then I worked at the hospital, did notes, primed some shelves, and did some dishes, then came home early and sat in my comfy recliner with the massage cushion going, then picked a friend up from work, delievered him, and came back to fall right to sleep. I got nine hours' sleep plus a bit of a nap in last night. Woo-hoo!


I worked at the store, but only until 4 pm. I had someone who had been calling maniacally apologise because he misunderstood a situation, which was nice. I had firmly been following company policy and he was freaking, then realised there was no reason to freak, and called back to apologise. Score one for the day. Then I escaped and did a major grocery run with a friend and then notes, and I did some mopping. Now I'm home, and I'm going to go to bed early because I have to be over for game preparation at 7 am tomorrow. But first I may run that massage cushion for about a half hour.

Hope that catches you up. I know my life is fairly boring, so thanks for reading anyway.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Home at last

I'm listening to the radio and checking the news and my e-mail. Tomorrow it's back to work at both jobs (today I was off for a dental appointment). Turns out I've fractured a tooth (I had a root canal some time ago and it's become brittle), so I need a crown. I have an appointment next Thursday for that.

I came across this. It's still not on DVD, but if you're a fan of the show Lou Grant, you can download either individual episodes or an entire first season from Amazon.com.

YKWIA was telling me of an episode of 'American Dad' that deals with atheism. Here's a clip:

And on a related note, I think this is hilarious--it's a Family Guy 300 trailer:

More seriously, here's an excellent computer animation clip that is being featured on YouTube. It's about a futuristic, broken world and yearning for a different time. It's in French but subtitled in English. Enjoy.

Good night.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Watching the moon

I didn't quite get outside to see the height of the eclipse, but I did manage to see the sliver of it coming back. The moon wasn't red like other ones I've seen--it was just dark, as if it were new moon. That's so neat, but weird and vaguely wrong at the same time. Hope you got to see the show.

[PS 3/3/08--If you didn't get to see it, or if you'd just like a quick recap, check out this time-lapse video.]

Sounds like a fun read for your favourite child in your life

Where the Deep Ones Are, coming soon from Atlas Games. Hail to my game master for pointing me to this one. Here's the blurb:

After refusing to eat his fish like a good boy, young Bobby is sent to his bedroom without any supper at all. But Bobby escapes when the Manuxet River runs right through his room carrying an old boat that takes him to Innsmouth. When the Deep Ones come for him he flees, but when he eventually joins their wild rumpus under the ocean, they crown him the most Deep One of all.

Welcome, Poof!

I'm a fan of Fairly OddParents, but I don't have cable, so I missed the 'movie' Fairly OddBaby, where Cosmo and Wanda have a baby, Poof, thanks to Timmy's wishes. It sounds like a good premiere of the latest season. Hopefully I'll be able to catch it at a friend's house. If not, there's YouTube. (Picture of Poof thanks to Aaron).

And thanks to Rob at the gas station who told me about this, and YKWIA who looked it up on his computer when I passed it on.

Badgers! Badgers!

This is a Superbowl ad (something I missed since I don't watch pointy ball, as a friend calls it) from this year that demonstrates the quiet cab of the Toyota Corolla. Enjoy.

I heard about this from Tammy via YKWIA, who searched for it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


You are a highly trained Ninja who secretly protects humanity from horrific extradimensional beings. You managed to deal with the Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath, kill the cultists who were invoking the Dark Mother herself, and then send the foul eldritch horror back to whatever place she comes from. In the process you 1) decapitated two Russian immigrants whose chanting nearly killed you, 2) reanimated them and then set the house on fire, creating zombie flambé, 3) took out two Hollywood directors, a gifted animator made of bugs, and a scary femme fatale (and by the way, their cabin got burnt to a crisp, too.} You desperately need to find a girl you think is trapped inside a motion picture reel, meaning you need to shakedown the studio head for a safety deposit key to retrieve the film.

Now, what are you going to do about that police detective that keeps calling you? He just knows about the two burning zombies and that one of the people you called a cultist has disappeared (granted, on a different coast than he was supposed to be on). How do you explain it in a fashion that lets you (and your accessories-after-the-fact) off scot-free?

Any suggestions, because Sunday's game is going to get rather ugly, I think, with the consequences on this one, and we still have an innocent to save.

(Errata: I made two oopses in this post. One, we didn't take out the gifted animator--the cultists took out one of their own. Two, he wasn't made of bugs--he was flesh and blood (a lot of blood), but had bugs around him all the time. At some point the 'made of bugs' possibility came to mind and it stuck with me despite evidence to the contrary. My game master pointed out the error, and I stand corrected. We still need to come up with a solution to our problem of vigilante justice, though. Thanks.)

PS We think we have the solution. You take all of the questionable assets your paranormal investigations company has--blood diamonds, gun-running, drugs, plutonium, everything but the llama milking farm--courtesy of the insane yet weirdly competent secretary, and transfer it to said dead cultist (who happens to be Russian) and then tell the police that he has links to the Russian Mafia and they probably killed him and the others because their little cult was threatening to expose the Mob's activities. Whew! It's not fool-proof, but it's enough to hopefully keep Margaret's character from dying in the gas chamber (I think California still has a gas chamber) and my character (who is almost five months' preganant) from delivering her baby in jail due to accessory after the fact without trying to explain Mythos beings to civilians.

Grace, they name is not Lisa

Despite the fact that I had a dog for 16 years and cats for 27, since I've become petless I've apparently become complacent about watching the floor for potential furry hazards. Usually I have issues with kamikaze cats, but tonight I walked into a dimly-lit room to turn on a light and stepped on/tripped over a dog, falling to the hardwood floor and narrowly missing a sturdy bed and nightstand. I managed not to fall on the dog, which is good, as I outweigh her by about 200 lbs. I think she's okay, and with the exception of a little soreness in my neck and back, so am I. But I think I scared us both.

I hope the weather's good

for Wednesday's total eclipse of the moon.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

See, crazy

Queens Man Is Arrested in Killing of Therapist

39-year-old David M. Tarloff, whose fingerprints were found on items at the scene and who talked of grievances with the psychiatrist who came to the aid of Kathryn Faughey, the cognitive-behavioural therapist who was killed Tuesday night in her Manhattan office. Nothing so far indicates any grievance with Faughey--she may just have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

According to his statement, he planned to rob Dr. Kent D. Shinbach, Faughey's officemate. He supposedly blamed Dr Shinbach for having him committed in 1991. Shinbach came to the aid of Faughey and was injured and hospitalised.

I'm assuming the fuzzy slippers and diapers found at the scene belong to Tarloff's ailing mother, who is ailing and recently went to live in a nursing home.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Fruity Cheerios (TM) goodness

I haven't actually whigned about this, despite it being a health matter (yes, I know, I'm a hypochondriac/somatotise all my ills), but I suppose that my foot that was broken is still in the process of healing and it's been giving me some trouble lately. I can walk on it--it's not like I'm limping along--but I'll turn it the wrong way and there will be a sharp pain or it aches after I've been on my feet all day. And one thing about that peanut butter diet--you don't get much calcium.

So, I'm turning up the calcium intake to help it heal some more. I have milk in the house (mainly to be paired with cereal) and I'm trying to eat more green leafy vegetables. Today at work I had tilapia, a baked potato, and broccoli--not bad, especially as it was less than $3, much cheaper than when I get the salad bar.

As far as the Cheerios (TM) goes, I like the Fruity variety because it tastes a lot like Fruit Loops but it's whole grain, being a General Mills product, and it's also sweetened with real fruit juice. I don't know if Fruit Loops is or not.

Funny, but I almost always eat cereal at night. I guess I modelled after my grandfather, who would sit at the table and enjoy a late-night meal of Kellog's Corn Flakes (TM) or Cheerios (TM). It's a little nostalgic, I know, but in a way I made it a tradition in my life, much like he did. Funny the things that trigger those sorts of feelings.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A donation form letter many librarians would like to write

The Well Dressed Librarian: of course its cashmere: Letters, Form

Okay, really going to bed this time. It's almost 4:30 am!!!

Oh, one more thing I learnt this week

Came across this in an e-mail and verified it through Snopes' Urban Legends Reference Pages that it's true.

Popular sweetner is toxic for dogs

Within 30 minutes of consuming a small amount of a xylitol-sweetened product, the ASPCA says, dogs can experience a dramatic drop in blood sugar, and they usually begin vomiting, become lethargic and can have difficulty standing or walking. Some have seizures, develop internal hemorrhaging and lesions and suffer liver failure. As few as two or three sticks of xylitol gum could be toxic to a 20-pound dog, the ASPCA says.

Keep in mind liver failure can easily equal death, and there have been several deaths reported. The amount that could be deadly varies according to the amount of product (often undetermined in terms of how much xylitol is in a portion) and the weight of the dog. A package of gum could easily be fatal to a 65 lb dog, from what I've read. A couple of sticks might be fatal to a small one. There are supportive things a vet can do to help prevent death, but it may not be readily apparent that the dog has consumed xylitol and the delay in treatment could be costly.

So please--do not keep xylitol-sweetned products around your dog, do not feed him muffins baked with xylitol, etc.

How was your Valentine's Day?

Mine was okay. I even got a Valentine from one of the girls at work, a Harry Potter one. But you know what? It's really hard for me to even remember it's a special day. That's because I haven't celebrated it in 16 years, not being with anyone when it comes along.

I actually rather thought I had a chance this year, because I finally met someone with which I had a good bit of chemistry and who actually ignited my sex drive for the first time in years. But the cons outweighed the pros, and I had to let my head drive instead of my hormones this time. Don't get me wrong, he's a good guy, but our issues are too similar and being together would only magnify them; there's a 15-year difference in our ages that would be an obstacle, too. Neither of us have time for any real relationship--it would have to have been a 'friends with benefits' sort of thing, and I have to admit, I want more that that. Plus, he smokes very occasionally--but that still counts, and as a rule smoking puts someone off my 'list', although I wouldn't say I wouldn't date someone trying to quit, at least. But really the issues and need for some good mental health care was the deal breaker. I still like talking to him, but it's like once I made up my mind, the door shut on the giddy way I felt when I was around him, just like that.

Funny, I lost my virginity on Valentine's, and I became engaged on Valentine's, too. (In retrospect, these were both terrible mistakes, but that had to do with my partner in those endeavours). So maybe Valentine's isn't all it's supposed to be. Maybe it's better to be alone than with the wrong person.

But I don't want to grow old waiting for the right one, either. Or at least some idea of 'right' that's so perfect it'll never be. Instead, I want to get to a point where I'm open to a relationship with someone who really cares about me, who loves me, who wants to be with me not because of some agenda, but because of love. I want someone I can be romantic with, someone I feel safe with, someone I love with all my heart. Surely there's got to be someone out there to fit the bill. I just have to find him or her.

Anyway, thanks for putting up with a little self-pity. I went home tonight after witnessing a couple of friends exchange gifts who really love one another, and I cried. I want that, too, but I'm not at a point where I know how to get it, although I do realise that I deserve better than I have had, and that's a start, I suppose. I have too much baggage from past relationships that I still need to work out, too. But I have hope, anyway, hope that I will be able to enjoy a relationship, and hope that I will find that special someone. And without hope, there's nothing but misery.

Happy Valentine's Day, and good night.

'Valentine's Day' by Linkin Park

Kind of fit my mood.

To paraphrase YKWIA:

Why can't these people just shoot themselves and get it over with rather than mowing down countless others first?

Gunman kills 5 and then himself at Illinois college

The gunman, a former sociology graduate student, killed five and injured 18 (4 critically), before turning a gun on himself. He stepped out onto the stage of one of those big lecture halls and started shooting. He had a shotgun, two handguns, and plenty of ammunitition, doing a lot of damage in what amounted to a very short time. It was one of those introductory classes, so most of the students were probably freshmen and sophomores. And it wasn't a sociology class or teacher, either.

I just don't get that mentality, which is good, because usually if you can understand the crazies really well, it indicates you're crazy, too.

Speaking of crazy, there's the butcher knife hacking/stabbing death of a Manhattan therapist and the slashing of her office mate, with these new details...

Friend Is Questioned for Eight Hours in Killing of Therapist

He's not officially a suspect. I don't know who did this, but whoever did had their own brand of crazy to contend with. And what's with the fuzzy slippers and adult diapers?

Good news from the heavens

Smaller Version of the Solar System Is Discovered

Okay, so it's 5,000 light years away. But it has two gaseous planets with room for warm rocky planets in the intervening gap between the gas giants and their sun.

There are times

I think humans are a virus upon the planet. Not all the time, mind you, but I do find stories like this somewhat troubling--that we've become so widespread, so numerous, and so adept at affecting our environment (one of our main adaptations that led us to the supposed exalted position we enjoy today) that there is no region left of the sea that has not been touched by humans.

No Pristine Oceans Left, New Map Shows

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


So, I had never heard of a mankini before today, when I saw the outfit (popularlised in Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat, a film I have not seen and frankly never intend to. Of all things, the picture I saw was of John Mayer in one.

The mankini is an abomination, and I can't believe it could be comfortable. But hey, I don't have the equipment--maybe it is. You be the judge.

We need to get the word out regarding years of oppression in Burma

And this is one aspect of the crisis there, the medical challenge in an area plagued by forced evacuations, rapes, killings--and deadly parasites, and what some wonderful people are doing to counteract the disease killers in spite of the human ones. Please read this article in Men's Health.

The Doctor, the Dictator, and the Deadly Mosquito

Snow and hot chocolate

Ice pellets were coming down earlier after an evening of rain, but that was okay because the ice had not built up on my car too badly and the roads (I was using main roads, except for the one I started out on) were in really good shape.

A half an hour later, 1/4-1/3 inch of snow lay on top of all that, and that made for a harrowing trip home, trying to see the edges of Man O'War through my freezing windshield and in one case nearly spinning out on Armstrong Mill. Fortunately not only did I come to a stop short of the intersection (and I was being really, really careful, mind you), but I managed to stop on the pad I couldn't see that triggers the lights. Otherwise I could have sat there all night. Across the street, someone turned from Man O'War onto Armstrong Mill and did a 360 degree spin out, but managed to stay in the middle of the street away from anything dangerous, and there were no other cars. The only one I really encountered was a semi-truck (sans trailer, thankfully) which nearly sideswiped me.

So now I'm home, I'm in, I'm having the hot chocolate that's five years old I found in the back of my cupboard. And now I'm going to bed. It's been a long day and my neck is hurting where I carried all the tension of driving in it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Captain Kirk ponders a career in librarianship


Adventures in the middle of the night

Listening to 'Lost Highway' by Bon Jovi. (Embedding disabled).

This time with a wintry mix of snow, then freezing rain, then sleet. For awhile, as I slowly made my way up the road on slush to pick someone up from UK at midnight, the precipitation was freezing as soon as it hit my windshield and forming ice that I could barely see through. I did a lot of driving by sheer intution.

I think we're supposed to continue this stuff into the morning, then have rain, then get it back tomorrow night, with a 90% chance of precipitation with possible thunder.

In the meantime, I am cooking some Zatarain's red beans and rice (one of the few things I have left in the house, as I'm out of bread for my peanut butter sandwiches and have a hoppin' john mix and some plain pasta and saffron rice, plus my mom's home canned green beans and tomatoes. The cereal and tuna helper require milk, which I don't have (and presumably tuna for the mix)). That's it except for little packages of raisins and some dried chickpeas and rice. I am so going to the grocery on Thursday when I get paid.

So once I eat, I'm going to go to bed and stay warm. Good night and stay safe.

Bothered when you see a dog who spends all its time outside on a chain or in a pen?

Received this in my e-mail today:

We are striving to raise awareness for chained and penned dogs in a positive way...by delivering Valentines, a brochure and a treat coupon to dogs living outside all over the U.S. and into other countries where we have representation, such as Canada and Australia.

Send addresses for Chained or Penned Dogs. This is so CRUCIAL! Please, take the time to find out the address of that chained or penned dog near you, even though it takes a little time.

To make our goal, we need to mail at least 10,000 Valentines. Send address via mail, call 877.636.1408 to report addresses, e-mail them to info@dogsdeservebetter.org. or fill out the form, at http://www.dogsdeservebetter.com/Valentines2008.html (preferred). You remain anonymous!


Thanks & pass it on!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Off from work today and came across this quote

from the Chatty Librarians' list:

"Then I used the most valuable and unlauded investigative resource in the United States, the lowly reference librarian. Their salaries are wretched and they receive credit for nothing. Their desks are usually tucked away in the stacks or in a remote corner where they have to shush noisy high school students or put up with street people blowing wine in their faces or snoring in the stuffed chairs. But their ability to find obscure information is remarkable and they persevere like Spartans."

James Lee Burke
Tin Roof Blowdown, 2007

Thanks to Magnoire La Chouette for the quote.

Okay, time to go to doctor's appointment #2 for the day.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Listening to

'Scarborough Fair/Canticle' by Simon & Garfunkel (this one also has Andy Williams)

('Canticle' is just as important to me, so I had to find a version with both. I like the addition of Andy Williams in this one, so I replaced the original one I had here.)

'Richard Cory' by Simon & Garfunkel

Depressing, I suppose, but I like it. Of course, I also like their 'A Most Peculiar Man' which also features suicide. I've always thought Paul Simon had personal experience with depression, given some of his writing. I don't know if that's true, although he's listed on those 'famous people with depression'-type lists.

'One Tin Soldier' by Coven

'The Trees They Grow High' by Pentangle

(I couldn't find the Joan Baez version, but I love Pentangle, too. :)

It's a shame I couldn't find a video of Loreena McKennitt's 'Annachie Gordon'; it would fit well with this song. But I did find the audio online. :)

One last thing

Listening to:

'Love Song' by Sara Bareilles (I can't embed it; that's been disabled).

YKWIA, I think you might like this. Pretty decent for someone without formal training in voice or piano, at least according to Wikipedia's biography.

I stayed up to 5 am Saturday morning

doing my taxes, and I'm going to have to pay again, to the tune of $800. I really need to check my W-4s because something's screwy. I'm not totally finished, because I have to get a file I keep in my desk at work of my medical expenditures. The deductions don't help for federal but they do for Kentucky's state, since they exceed the standard deduction. Also, this year I found a version of TurboTax that is free for both my federal and state returns due to my income and where I live.

I ran the numbers and there's no way to have all of it by April 15th, so I'll have to continue paying on a payment plan. That rebate we're supposed to get may just wind up going back to the government, which I think defeats the purpose of the rebate. I also don't know how much I'll get. At one point the house bill was $300 under $23,000 and $600 above, but the combined bill is more complicated and they really didn't explain what was meant by 'seniors, disabled veterans, and OTHER LOWER-INCOME' people getting only $300. Turns out I'm right BELOW $23,000, so if it's the same, I'm screwed, even though it's a matter of about $400 difference in income. We'll see.

Anyway, I've been up late two nights in a row (although at least on Saturday I got to sleep until 1 pm, but I had to work from 2-10). Time for bed. Good night.

So I went onto Gmail to check for a message from someone

and wound up spending 1 1/2 hours going through the whole thing, about 2000 e-mails in my inbox, a bunch of spam, a lot of unread mail that needed to be categorised, etc.

But I now have a total of 3 e-mails in my inbox, and everything has been either deleted or marked read (even if I didn't actually read it, I can search for things to read later).


Friday, February 08, 2008

Listening to

'These Hard Times' by Matchbox Twenty

and from the 80s--
'What's on Your Mind (Pure Energy)' from Information Society

I woke up cramping and promptly vomited a couple of times because I started my period. It happens sometimes that I get really nauseous, usually when the cramping is bad. But I feel rather lucky. One co-worker's husband had an appendectomy, another co-worker had 2 feet of her colon resected due to a tumour (and she's in her 20s!), and then one of my friends is having a hysterectomy/a bit resected from her colon, too, next week. What is it with the GI tracts? Seriously, I hope everyone does well with their surgeries, and it made me feel better about just dealing with a little cramping and nausea.

I feel better now, although I'm a little sore (I had a box fall on my head at the gas station today, and although I think everything's alright, my neck's bothering me a little) and the cramping has eased but settled into my back. I'm headed to bed. The worst thing about picking up a friend from a second shift job is that when he gets paid, we go grocery shopping in the middle of the night. Fortunately the store knows us and opens up a lane when we come up with two cartfuls of stuff. I'm glad we only do it a couple of times a month. I just got bread tonight. I can't imagine actually having a stocked kitchen--or at least it hasn't been in awhile. I hope to rectify that next week. But I'm ready for bed tonight--so much so, that I'm going to do my religious obligations tomorrow night (I can do so within the first three days of my menstruation).

So, good night. Remind me that I have a story about pheromones to tell you tomorrow. Oh, well, I might as well give you the link, now...

Scents and Sensibility


The secret to sexual attraction is in our genes, specifically in the sequence of more than 100 immune system genes known as the MHC, or major histocompatibility complex. Their main job seems to be helping the immune system recognise pathogens. But they also play a big role in choosing a mate. In tests, people chose others based on having some genes in common, but otherwise a very different matrix. That selects for diversity, without being so different as to be alien. They also found that those with too similar of an MHC tended to have higher divorce and adultery rates, as well as miscarriage and fertility problems. Here's the kicker: all this is based on smell, but our society is obsessed with perfumes and scents in practically every product we use, which undermines the MHC's role. And even more interesting, being on birth control pills makes men less attracted to the women, and women more attracted to men with similar MHC patterns, probably because hormonally the Pill mimics early pregnancy. Strippers, conversely, garnered far more tips if they 1) weren't on the Pill and 2) were ovulating. Oh, and women had a more discriminating sense of smell than men in terms of choosing a mate.

Interesting, huh? No word on whether this works for homosexual couples. But I guess the upshot is use unscented products and if you're looking for a mate, don't use the Pill for awhile but rather other means of birth control.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Another way HIV is spread

HIV can be passed to babies in pre-chewed food

In developing countries without access to packaged baby foods, this is a normal practice. It's not the saliva that does it--it's blood from bleeding gums in the saliva. The CDC have confirmed three cases here in the United States.


Patients getting aggressive diabetes treatment have higher death risk

Just so you know

we weathered the storm pretty well. I slept through it, actually, waking to a telephone call--my mother checking up on me. Some of our schoolkids were sent home because they were on emergency power and there was wind damage and downed lines, but all in all it was very mild. A friend of mine had her window screens blown off, and she, her husband, and son huddled in the bathroom since their house isn't rated for a lot of wind.

Other parts of the state and surrounding ones didn't fare so well. There's a college in Tennessee whose main dorm complex was virtually destroyed. In another town they found a baby covered in debris but alive, with no word on its parents. One woman in Arkansas was found yards away from her family home next to the body of her 14-year-old Labrador. She'd been in the hallway of their trailer. The rest of ehr family survived, at least. Scary.

Of course, one of the most dangerous things to be in if you're hit by a tornado or high winds is a trailer. When I was a kid, we lived in one at my grandmother's and actually as part of base housing when I lived in South Carolina. I hope never to live in another--they just aren't safe. I know other houses and buildings can go to kindling, but they don't normally lift up and wind up yards away from where they'd been.

In the apartment building I live in now, I'm on the first floor and have a couple of interior rooms I can go to, like the bathroom and kitchen, away from windows. If the roof came off, I'd more than likely be okay. Of course, I slept through the storm, so who knows...

To those injured or affected by the storms, and certainly to those who lost loved ones, my thoughts are with you.

Storms brought devastation

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

See what happens when you aerosolise pig brains and blow them onto people?

A Medical Mystery Unfolds in Minnesota

You could not pay me to do this job, even without the nerve damage.


An Altar Beyond Olympus for a Deity Predating Zeus

It is very W-I-N-D-Y and

67 degrees in February, storming slightly--although some of my friends have already lost power tonight, and now it's back on--but look what's coming towards us (Lexington is printed in orange--click to enlarge):

I can tell the thunder's getting closer. It's hailing and my lights keep flickering. That big red line is a little scary. I just hope my power stays on. I'm parked next to the building rather than the trees, at least. And most of all, I hope we don't have any tornadoes like those that have been hitting some of the surrounding region.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Two random Christmas videos in February

Because I like them...

'New York City Christmas' by Rob Thomas

'Christmas Greeting' by Graham (somegreybloke)

So this week I lost five pounds

making it a -15 for the last couple of months. My secret? Peanut butter. Lots of peanut butter sandwiches, because since I've been paying a $100 a month dental bill for a few months it's been pretty tight moneywise. But I'll be finished with that in March, at least. This week has been peanut butter sandwiches, small cheesy baked potatoes, macaroni and cheese, a little tuna, and one splurge thanks to a friend of Vietnamese food from Pho BC in Regency Centre off of Nicholasville Road. The last was really good. I had fried tofu in tomato sauce over white rice, two vegetarian egg rolls with tofu inside, and I split an order of tofu fried rice. It was surprisingly mild but they had chili sauce you could put on it to spice it up. Hmmm...nummy.

So, nutritionally speaking it's probably not great--no real fruits or vegetables--but I hope to rectify that in a week and a half. Still, I can't say I'm disappointed in the weight loss at all. At some point last fall I was at my all-time greatest weight--291. Now I'm 275 and losing. Yay. Now if I could just get to the gym...

Monday, February 04, 2008

I was in a Pogues mood

For Bill, who introduced me to them.

'Young Ned of the Hill' by the Pogues

'Turkish Song of the Damned' by the Pogues

(Okay, nevermind that the actual video is from Gangs of New York...I love the music but I couldn't look at Shane MacGowan's teeth for too long. (He's the lead singer.))

'Thousands are Sailing' by the Pogues

Warning: Shane MacGowan's teeth do briefly appear in this one in a really goofy picture.

I don't have perfect teeth, either, but my God, it makes me want to go brush. He was raised in England and Ireland. Do they not have dentists?

The live ones aren't great in sound quality. I may have to take my copy of 'If I Should Fall from Grace with God' to work and listen. :)

Óiche mhaith. (EE-hah WAH) ['Good night.']

I didn't realise

that Saad Eskander, the director of the Iraq National Library and Archive, is a British citizen who returned to his native Iraq to do what he could to save the library, which was heavily damaged early in the war and maintains a precarious positon in Baghdad. His story is remarkable, as is that of his staff, who have stayed despite the hardships. He is also a Kurd trying to build a library to serve all of Iraq's people, regardless of ethnicity.

Baghdad's brave librarian

Friday, February 01, 2008

Did you wear your red today? I did.

(Even thought it's an awful colour for me.) Okay, technically it was a female thing, so you guys are off the hook. But just in case you wondered why some many women were wearing red today, check out the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women website. February 1st was National Wear Red Day in hopes of raising awareness that heart disease is the number one killer of women.

(Now if I can just find a cause that has you wear purple, my favourite colour and incidentally one of the best ones for me to wear. Purple ribbons are worn for a host of causes; I guess I could pick one of them.)