Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Listening to

the radio after getting my friend:

'It's Not My Time' by 3 Doors Down

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm sorry for the lack of posting

A friend has started a new work schedule, so instead of getting him at midnight I'm getting him at 3 am. So I've been coming home about midnight, going straight to bed, getting back up at 3 (intending to blog when I get back from getting him) coming home, going straight back to bed, and generally not getting up early enough to blog, either.

So what did you miss?

Well, the high point of my weekend (other than not getting any drive-offs at work) was re-piercing my ear. I had my ears pierced (the nice, normal, missionary-style way, I suppose, as opposed to up in the cartilage with four or five holes). Nothing else is pierced, just in case you're wondering, and I have no intention of doing anything else. It's just not me. But I do enjoy being able to wear earrings. Unfortunately, the last two years, the left ear's hole closed only in the very back because I wasn't wearing them enough. In the interim, the right hole was trying to as well. I thought about going to a piercer, but then if I had it re-pierced at a shop, I wouldn't be able to give blood for a year.

So I took one of my earrings and was just seeing if I could find where the hole had been, when I felt some pain and got some blood on my fingers, and voilà! my ear was pierced again. I wore those earrings overnight and realised at work the next day that I'd lost the back to one. So I dug around and found the earrings I first had my ears pierced in. They're thicker with a pointy end and have locking backs. I figure if I was going to keep earrings in for awhile to let the hole heal, these would be best. So I put them in, an ouchy on both sides, after cleansing the earlobes and earrings with alcohol pads (something I should have done when I actually pierced it the other day; I hope I don't get an infection). Anyway, the result is I have my original earrings in both ears and hopefully soon I'll be back to wearing different types of earrings on a regular basis.

What else?

Saturday was work. Sunday was the game, and we finally defeated the evil glob thing that assimilated animals and people, was laying eggs and talking, oozing about. The adventure is called 'The Devourer' from the book Lurking Fears. It was the 'Thing that Would not Die.' We had enough problems dealing with the thing with our Elder Signs and ninja abilities...I hate to think what a standard Call of Cthulhu character would do.

Speaking of ninjas, YKWIA found this gem:

'Ninja Librarian' from Letterbox Media

Dare to use a cell phone in the library!

Today I was at a library seminar on marketing, time management, and reaching out to users beyond the walls of the library. It was worth 4 hours of MLA continuing education credit, sponsored by the Kentucky Medical Library Association and hosted by Hospice of the Bluegrass (which is one of only two stand-alone hospices in the country with a medical librarian, as far as anyone knows), here in Lexington. That, plus the Web 2.0 class gives me 12, which is nice. It was a good programme by Diane Wolf, who was very knowledgeable and engaging.

This evening I've had a headache and generally haven't felt well. My allergies are acting up and although lunch was good, it didn't agree with me. So I think I'm going to go on to bed. Good night.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Aha! Perhaps it was the butler

Vikings acquitted in 100-year-old murder mystery

In all seriousness, the article states that the younger woman was not a maid killed ritually to be the companion for a queen in the afterlife as previously thought. Instead, she was a woman of high rank herself, having even used a metal toothpick, a rare luxury. The older woman, long supposed to be the grandmother of the first king of Norway, died of cancer, something that could be determined from her bones. She also had a syndrome that caused hair growth and a thickening of the body due to a hormonal imbalance. The young woman had a broken clavicle that had been healing, but there is no evidence that she was killed.

Hurrah, let's hope they do the same here!

State moves to ban fake testicles on vehicles

That would be Florida, but we have plenty here. My favourite combination was the big red Dodge Ram truck I was saw with the great big testicles and the little tiny pug that kept jumping in the bed of the truck.

Yeah, doesn't that cry manly? I think it cries Napoleon syndrome.

Good night.

Sorry I didn't blog last night

I did my monthly religious obligations to Hekate and then promptly fell asleep whilst in the comfy chair instead.

What I would have told you then was that I got a care package from Hellenion with a colourful magnet saying 'The Gods of Olympos Live!', a bumpersticker with the Hellenion logo on it and the name of the organisation in Greek, and a membership card through September of this year. Mind you, this was a surprise because I joined in 2006 and thought my membership was up and had not been able to pay my dues, but either it was for two years or I got an extension somehow. Maybe I got lost in the shuffle, because I never received a card or anything when I did join. However it happened, I'm grateful. I've enjoyed reading other people's ideas on reconstructing Greek Paganism in the modern era. Thanks, Hellenion-folk!

You know, it's funny

but the night that I blogged about menstrual pads I started my period. When I opened up the new package of pads, I discovered that they no longer say 'Have a Happy Period.' In fact, there's no catchy phrase whatsoever, just an advertisement for their odour-locking abilities.

I guess the letter had an effect. Oddly enough, I am somewhat sad over this.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I got this via e-mail; it's making the rounds

It's absolutely hilarious, especially if you are a woman. It seems to be a real letter, as posted on a blog by Wendy Aarons. And yes, I do use the Always brand of pads, and they do say that on the little sheets that you peel off to stick the pad on your underwear. I know, guys, too much information. :)

Thanks to D for sending this to me!

An actual letter from an Austin woman to Proctor & Gamble, this letter won PC Magazine's Editor's Choice Award in 2007 for 'Best Webmail Letter'--or so the e-mail claims.

An Open Letter to James Thatcher, Brand Manager, Proctor and Gamble:

Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your Always maxi pads for over 20 years, and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core™ or Dri-Weave™ absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from "the curse"? I'm guessing you haven't. Well, my "time of the month" is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my husband likes to call "an inbred hillbilly with knife skills." Isn't the human body amazing?

As brand manager in the feminine-hygiene division, you've no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers' monthly visits from Aunt Flo. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it's a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend's testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey's Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy! The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in capri pants. Which brings me to the reason for my letter.

Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: "Have a Happy Period."

Are you f******* kidding me?

What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness—actual smiling, laughing happiness—is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you're some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything "happy" about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlúa and lock yourself in your house just so you don't march down to the local Walgreens armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory. For the love of God, pull your head out, man. If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn't it make more sense to say something that's actually pertinent, like "Put Down the Hammer" or "Vehicular Manslaughter Is Wrong"? Or are you just picking on us?

Sir, please inform your accounting department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flexi-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending b*******. And that's a promise I will keep. Always.


Wendi Aarons
Austin, TX

No, I'm not going to switch. But I still found it funny. Maybe they can put different phrases on them like fortune cookies or Dove chocolate. :)

Another Cthulhoid animated film

based on Frank Belknap Long's 'The Hounds of Tindalos', the first Cthulhu Mythos story written by someone other than HP Lovecraft himself. (And it even has a librarian in it, presumably Armitage.)

Los que velan en silencio ('Los Perros de Tíndalos') [The Ones that Watch in Silence ('The Hounds of Tindalos')]

Good night.

Shoe crisis averted...whew!

Listening to: Three Days Grace 'Never Too Late' (embedding disabled)
Reading: Detection by Gaslight: 14 Victorian Detective Stories, edited by Douglas G Greene

No, the shoes weren't mine. But if they had not been found, I would have been getting up at 6 am and probably would have been late for work. Don't ask, I'd only have to kill you.

So I came home, took a shower, and had spa Lisa time, especially working some lotion into my feet. They feel much better. It was quite a long day, and I spent a good part of it in the car, mostly sitting waiting for my passengers to come back out of various buildings. Fortunately I mostly found parking in the shade and there was a breeze. But after about three hours I was starting to feel like a dog abandoned in a car.

It's also been an odd day. This afternoon I looked at the clock, thought it said 2:30 pm, and so I signed off my computer, turned off my desk lights, and headed out the door. I was halfway out the building when I passed a clock that said 1:30. I thought, oh, that one's wrong. Then I passed another. At this point I realised I did indeed have an hour more to work and turned back to the library, preparing to call my errant clock into maintenance. Then I got back to my desk and lo, the clock was right. I just had momentarily lost the capability of telling time. But it was a beautiful, gorgeous day outside, the type you hate to spend inside, and apparently someone was thinking very strong thoughts that I should leave work early. :) But I stuck it out and then went through a series of events that led to the shoe crisis.

I'm glad to be home. I'm going to sleep now.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cute cat playing a theremin

YKWIA found this; it's a featured video for YouTube.

For people playing the actual instrument (the cat pretty much makes noise rather than music), see:

'Song of India' on the Theremin (Glenn Sparks) (YKWIA found this one, too)


a cover of Gnarls Barkley's 'Crazy':

(That one I found) :)

According to Wikipedia: 'The theremin is one of the earliest electronic musical instruments, and the first musical instrument played without being touched.'

Cool, hmmm?

Interesting idea

The new library fad: borrow a person--A new library allows readers to borrow people for a 30-minute chat. Here's the experience of one man who offered himself as a human book

Thanks to Birdie for the post to LISNews discussing this nifty idea for getting to know someone outside of your normal experience.

Thinking of a friend, A

when I heard this on the radio--

Five for Fighting's '100 Years'

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What's really going on when peas roll on your plate

'Peas' by Vincent Prijent

Have a good Pesach (Passover)

Listening to: The Bravery - 'Believe'
Reading: Grave Peril by Jim Butcher

should you celebrate it. My favourite seder moment: when my best friend, who is Jewish, introduced T, another friend, to both gefilte fish and horseradish. T put the horseradish on the fish in a fairly generous proportion instead of to the side. I loved her face when she bit into it. That was the dinner where we chopped vegetables for hours. Now he has a food processor, yay!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I'm apparently earthquake deaf

Because I've been through about five or six relatively strong quakes in California and here in Kentucky, and probably a dozen small ones, and I've never once felt the earth shake. Of course, don't get me wrong, I don't want such a big one that the damage is staggering. But it would be nice to at least feel a bit of a shake.

This morning I slept as a 5.2 magnitude quake hit Illinois and was felt throughout the area. We're not far from the New Madrid (that's pronounced Ma'-drid, not Ma-drid') fault, which was responsible in the 19th century for a quake so big the Mississipi River ran backwards. That one was felt as far away as Boston. This one was felt as far as Florida by one account I read.

5.2 earthquake rattles skyscrapers, nerves across Midwest

I geeked out (quietly) in the library yesterday

when I visited this link:

Kyle Banerjee's Cataloging Calculator

You type in a name and it automatically calculates the cutter number in a variety of styles, including Library of Congress. Yipee!

I was trained as a cataloguer under Dr Lois Mai Chan, who literally has written the book on LC cataloguing and classification. So, you've got to figure I'd like this. Since I was surrounded by students and co-workers, I had to contain myself. But I so geeked out. :)

Thanks to Kyle Banerjee for making this available and to Stephen Pomes for the link.

An excellent short film

about a mother descending into dementia, and a daughter struggling to keep things together. It's called 'My Name is Lisa' (this won the best short film category in 2007 on YouTube).

The sad thing? Judging by the comments, the vast majority of watchers had no clue that the mom was descending into Alzheimer's. Jeesh.

I actually found out about this because YKWIA (who finds all sorts of things on the Web) found the version with German subtitles:

and of course my name is Lisa (Eilir is my middle name), so he thought he'd found a German counterpart.

It's by Shelton Films and has won several other awards. It puts a lot into a very short video.

Anyway, it's sad, but very good. My great-grandmother had Alzheimer's. I saw her slip away over fifteen years of the disease. This is right on. We think about Alzheimer's as being a disease of the old, but it can strike much younger. According to the film's website, 250,000 children ages 8-18 are caring for someone with Alzheimer's. They suggest the website http://www.actionalz.org for more information on this disease.

Just to prove you can't believe what you see in print

Research ghostwriting common, insiders say

Researchers are lending their names to reports written by ghostwriters hired by pharmaceutical companies to promote their product. This happened with Merck and Vioxx, but some say it's fairly common.

It's a disservice to real researchers, a disservice to science, and most of all, a disservice to patients whose doctors rely on studies to know whether and how to prescribe medications.

I hope some change comes out of this.

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's amazing what a nice hot shower can do

to aid your mood after a long, long day. I've been going and going like the Energizer bunny since a little after 9 this morning, working late at the hospital and then working truck night at the store, where I put away everything in the cooler, the cigarettes, and about half of the floor boxes, too. This was followed by notes and chores, a big Kroger run, an increasing annoyance on my part in dealing with someone, and a small meltdown. But I'm finally home, I'm showered, I'm going to bed, and I'm sleeping with the window open. I'm taking some ibuprofen for the pain in my arms and shoulders from all that lifting. And I get to sleep for five whole hours, whoopee! Good night.

PS I so need to work on getting a life.

Great quote from NYC Mayor Bloomberg

No matter who wins the presidency in November, 'at least we'll have an adult in office who can lead and accomplish something.'

Take that, Bush!

Of course, Bloomberg refused to say he was criticising President Bush. Instead he said his focus was not on the past, but on the future.

What this country has to do is not judge George W. Bush on the last eight years. The public voted him into office twice and then he governed for eight years. What is before us now is a very important decision: who do we want to lead for the next four years ... that's what we should be focusing on.

Bloomberg: Next president will be 'adult'

Yet another death at UK

Student dies Wednesday after fall on sidewalk

Brian Hardin, 27, a physiology grad student, tripped and fell at the corner of Woodland and Maxwell early Wednesday morning. He died of traumatic brain injuries. Earlier this week a freshman co-ed was struck by a hit-and-run driver. (They have a pickup truck impounded on that case, at least). There's no indication of foul play in Hardin's case.

My alma mater is having a very bad week, and the deaths of these two young students is very sad.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Listening to...

women burning down houses. No, really.

I was listening to Shawn Colvin's 'Sunny Came Home' on the way home tonight. It's a great song. But I truly love Martina McBride's 'Independence Day'. It really captures the emotions involved. (Both of the official videos have embedding disabled by request, so there's just superficial links to them, sorry).

I wasn't going to blog tonight. I was going to go straight to bed. Not a lot happened today, although I finished Jim Butcher's Fool Moon and watched two movies I enjoyed--The Brothers Grimm and Nancy Drew. I didn't know the former was a Terry Gilliam film until afterwards, but it so made sense. :) They were both fun--although it's a little weird watching Heath Ledger, who has only recently died, immortalised in film. The Wikipedia article on Gilliam's film has a nice listing of the various fairy tales and legends that were incorporated into the film--although they missed the 'Snow Queen' reference of the spike driven into the heart that YKWIA immediately recognised. And the caretaker in Nancy Drew really was creepy, and I couldn't place him, but he was Coach Schneider of Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, so that may be it. Okay, enough trivia--I'm going to go to bed now. Good night.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Listening to Dave Matthews

Dave Matthews Band 'American Baby'

Dave Matthews 'Gravedigger (Long Version)'

Dave Matthews 'Save Me'

(Embedding disabled on all of them, but well worth the look)

Good night.

I hope they find the person who did this

UK student killed in hit-and-run near campus

Connie Blount came to the University of Kentucky from Utah because of her love of horses. She was on the equestrian team and was majoring in equine science, planning a future of working with horses.

Those dreams died early Sunday morning as she and a friend walked near UK's campus. A light-coloured late-model extended cab pickup truck came barrelling down the road and struck the girl, fleeing the scene, narrowly missing the friend. She died two hours later.

On the same day her parents travelled to Kentucky, their other daughter gave birth to their first grandchild.

She was a beautiful girl who was by all accounts a wonderful person. My thoughts and prayers are with her family, with her friend who witnessed this horrible event, and with those whose lives she touched.

Monday, April 14, 2008

New word for the day: decolletage

I heard it on a local news story today. My gay friend was amazed that I didn't know what it was (the part of the bosom that you see in plunging necklines, in case you're wondering), since I have one. Then it shows up in this story:

JK and the bust that nearly got away

I heard of this through LISNews.org. I especially love the comments Great Western Dragon posted to accompany the link:
Okay, so it's not Friday and I'll not post this under the Friday Funnies topic. Besides, there's nothing funny about J. K. Rowling suffering a "wardrobe malfunction" at some kind of red carpet extravaganza because she wore a dress with a low neckline which was utterly incapable of containing her breasts.

It's also not funny that her agent gallantly leapt into action to protect the modesty of a woman who is far richer than the queen of her country. And it's not funny that he did so by valiantly grabbing and, um, manually containing the (ahem) offending breast.

It's not funny.

It's hilarious.

Okay, technically it was her publicist. And he says he doesn't remember touching the breast, but that perhaps the angle of the photo merely makes it look like it. But you must admit, it was gallant. (Oh, and the pictures are work safe. The wardrobe malfunction seems to have been averted.) It's totally trivial, of course, but I hope it makes your day a little brighter.

96 years ago today

the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage, sinking in the early morning hours of April 15th. More than 1,500 people died.

The ship, called 'unsinkable', has been the subject of legends, of documentaries, of movies, and of research. There is one living survivor, Milvina Dean, who was 2 months old at the time of the disaster.

It's a reminder that mankind's technology may be great, but nature's forces are still greater.

It was a sad day...

I'll explain it if I get the permission of the person who would be impacted the most in the telling. But suffice to say, we have a limited time with those we love. Grief is hard to bear, but it's part of what makes us alive, too, and it reminds us of how deeply we love.

Listening to

Peter Gabriel 'In Your Eyes'

Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush 'Don't Give Up'

Kate Bush 'Cloudbusting'

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Turning the tables

Welcome to Gaytown (episode 1):

There are four episodes so far--they come out on Wednesdays. Okay, it's based on stereotypes both gay and straight galore. But what if the tables were turned? What if heterosexuals were constantly having to change themselves to fit in?

I wonder where bisexuals fit in in Gaytown? I guess I'm just an outsider regardless. :)

What a wonderful day

--much better than yesterday. First, I got all of the things I do before the game to get the house ready for guests finished before the appointed time. My blood sugar was great today, and I went easy on the chocolate, just having a little. I brought whole-grain Goldfish crackers that are baked, have real cheddar and no artificial preservatives, and have a serving size of 55 (I get full on about 30 at a time). I also ate veggies and Tostitos--but everything in moderation compared to normal Sunday grazefests.

The game was mostly trying to figure out how to kill about 50 rat-snake-spider things that are venomous, fast, and the size of a Pekinese to make sure the goo that is assimilating people and animals in Arkham will not take over the world. Meanwhile the folks headed to Antarctica nearly got smashed against the ice pack by a killer storm and found a ship embedded in an iceberg. Creepy. We finished early because Brenda is down to one car (brake trouble in the other) and had to go pick family members up. So I got my two hours of notes in and I'm home early, too. I'm going back out for a bit at 10:30 but I don't anticipate being late getting home tonight. Yay.

I generally feel pretty well today on all fronts. I was a little fuzzy this morning but finally woke up properly. The only trouble with having the new mattress is that I'm reluctant to get out of bed because it's just so damn comfy. :)

PS D's coming back to work tomorrow after being off for several weeks after surgery. Yay!

I used to think I liked touch screens

Listening to: Ferras 'Hollywood's Not America' (embedding disabled)
Reading: Fool Moon by Jim Butcher

until I spent a 10-hour shift either fighting one because the calibration was so far off that I couldn't make the button that allows you to calibrate come up and the other part not on the register because it was completely locked up and a technician had to come and totally change out the monitor, whilst people piled up to the door and I tried to clean and stock without seeming to be ignoring them, apologising the whole day for the inconvenience. Plus, we had a drive-off, and I think my co-worker, under whose name it was (obviously, since I couldn't set pumps) very nearly quit on the spot.

But it all worked out. The thing was still giving me fits after the guy replaced it, but at least with a lot of effort I could get the keys to work, hitting them in the upper left of each button. I got it down almost to a precision, so things were working out. Then the guy coming in for me managed to get the calibration button to work and the whole thing worked like it should.

Ugh. I am ready for bed. I should have known it would be a bad day when I went in and my first customer asked me where everything he needed for his coffee was, even though he was within a foot of each one. It's one thing if a person overlooks an item like stirrers, or cups, or lids. It's another if you have to ask for each and every one, unless you're visually impaired. He wasn't. And all the coffees are labelled (and there is a standard of orange being decaffeinated amongst restaurants and retailers), but each one and its difference had to be discussed--and I don't even drink coffee normally, so I don't much to draw on as to nuances. I am a helpful creature by nature, annoyingly so at times. But even I have limits. I thought I was going to have to pay for his coffee and drink it myself--he needed everything else shown or done for him.

Of course it's better than Thursday when I went in and found that a woman had just left the bathroom, basically spreading foeces all about the toilet, on the wall, in the sink, in the trash can, on the trash can--you get the idea. And we're not talking small amounts, either. I don't even know how she got some of it where it was. I probably should have checked the ceiling. What person does this in a public restroom? Who would even do it at home? Argh.

It's days like this I wonder about whether I should be in a service profession. But I feel much better for venting. Thank you for reading.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I feel sorry for their loss, for their grief--and for their shame

As Wednesday's anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting comes round, it's good to remember each young life lost and feel sympathy for the families that loved them. But one family who lost a son that day has grieved in seclusion, unable to reach out to other families--because their son, Seung Hui Cho, was the killer. I hope they can eventually come back to the world, and learn to live again. Many people blamed them after the massacre, because there was no one else left to blame. Many more offered sympathy to them, recognising that their lives, too, had been changed irrevocably. This outpouring has, by all accounts, overwhelmed them. Let me add my sympathy to that stream of well-wishes.

A Year After Massacre, Family Lives 'in Darkness': Parents of Virginia Tech Gunman Secluded

The Washington Post has a page devoted to the Virginia Tech shootings. There you can see victim profiles, timelines, and related news.

It's got to be a difficult time for the school and for the victims' loved ones. My prayers are with them all.

I was glad to see this pop up on the news last night

Fugitive Marine Captured in Mexico: Cpl. Cesar Laurean Faces Murder Charge in the Death of a Pregnant Fellow Marine

Friday, April 11, 2008

How awful

Woman Jumps To Her Death At Salt Lake City Library

Thanks to Steven of Library Stuff for the link.

RIF (Reading is Fundamental) is in danger of losing federal funding

Bush Budget Would Eliminate RIF

Founded in 1966, RIF:
has been funded by Congress and six Administrations without interruption since 1975. It is the oldest and largest children’s and family nonprofit literacy organisation in the U.S.

Not the greatest thing for the administration of a husband of a librarian to be doing, hmm? I love the last thing on the above news snippet that Birdie wrote:

Save RIF's funding by contacting your representatives in the Senate and House. I sent a message to: Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY), Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Representative Ben Chandler (D-KY 6th).

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Well, it's official

Listening to: 'What Ever it Takes' by Lifehouse (can't embed, sorry)
Reading: Storm Front by Jim Butcher (yes, I found it!)

I signed my lease, so I'm here for another year. I like my apartment complex. It's quiet, neat, and they're very prompt with maintenance. (Yes, it would be nice to own a home, but those unexpected expenses can get you, too.) We're the only apartment complex in the area (there are townhouses and duplexes, but mostly single-family homes) and it's convenient to most of east and central Lexington. It's mostly families and single professionals (partying students are not encouraged) and I have a police officer who lives on my floor who also serves as a courtesy officer. As a special bonus, they're throwing in a complimentary carpet shampoo, which is about $45 otherwise. My rent is going up $15 a month, but that seems pretty par for the course these days.

Well, that's all I have for now. I go to do the shipment at the store in about an hour. Hope your day is a good one.

PS I was looking up Lifehouse, and got to this (the song is by lead singer Jason Wade as is called 'From Where You Are'). It's a pretty simple yet strong auto insurance commercial from Allstate regarding parent-teen driving contracts.

Yay! I'm caught up

with class, having learnt to play with Google Docs. I even found out how to create and publish presentations to a website such as this blog. See?:

It's just a simple set of comments on what I've been learning.

What else have I been up to? Yesterday I watched a videotape of a made-for-TV movie called 'The People', starring William Shatner and Kim Darby. It was based on Zenna Henderson's stories of aliens who live in isolated communities who have special powers they hide from outsiders. The movie was nice, although the stories are far better, and they have the perfect blend of isolation and alienation so that virtually anyone who ever felt like an outsider would identify with the People. There's also an interesting website out there discussing similarities between Henderson's work and the later books by Alexander Key, such as Escape to Witch Mountain (my favourite being The Forgotten Door). Some have accused Key of lifting from Henderson. The website says the themes may be similar, but the plots were very different.

Henderson's firsts were also in portraying children as they really are, rather than small adults (she was a teacher and had a wealth of experience in that department) and she was one of the first women sci-fi writers to write under an obviously female name. She was quite remarkable.

I also got my mattress today. It's a Serta (you know, of the Counting Sheep), really thick, with a pillow top. Heaven! I'm headed there right now. Good night.

An update

Remember Brenda Biesterfeld, the library aide who was supposedly fired for tipping police to a paedophile looking at pornographic images of children in the library? This is the Tulare County (California) Library's side:

'Ms. Biesterfeld received an evaluation following three months of her employment and received an overall rating of 5 on a scale of 10. Goals for improvement included the proper completion of the cash report, proper documentation of the collection of fines, the importance of seeking clarification of policies and procedures, developing clerical skills, working on assigned tasks and keeping her supervisors informed of all problems and community complaints. Ms. Biesterfeld failed to improve...'

'Regarding the specific incident... Ms. Biesterfeld did not tell her supervisors that the patron was accessing child pornography, and thereafter she neglected to notify anyone in management of the events which transpired, including the suspect's arrest until after they had occurred and failed to advise that the library's computer had been seized... There were additional performance deficiencies and policy violations that were discovered which led to her release.'

Thanks to Birdie from LISNews for the quotes and links.

Stories discussing the updated details of the firing can be seen at KMPH and the Fresno Bee.

Although it sounds like there was just cause for her termination, what she did in tipping off the police was still the right thing to do.

Okay, this makes me twitch

but if you're going to tear pages out of a book for art, I guess it's best if you turn the rest of the book into a sculpture...

Artist carves images from books

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Videotaped Florida Teen Beating Prompts Calls To Block Violent Content

My favourite comment, by someone writing as 'Logic' (although I don't agree on the weapons part) was:
The video never made it on YouTube or MySpace but we should ban it because someone said they might do it.

By that logic, Weapons should be banned because kids have said they may want to use them.

Books should be banned because people talk about reading them.

And Love should be banned because people talk about making it.

Last I checked people are guity of the acts they commit not the acts they imagine or talk about. By all means let them post the evidence and get caught.

The Associated Press has a story that incorporates the video. The video itself was not actually uploaded to either site, both of which already have rules in place for reviewing or yanking videos such as this one. I don't think any other body need get involved.

I hope the six girls involved in the beating (and the two guys who stood lookout) get a good dose of justice. They're not going to get it from home, I believe. Apparently one mom went on a morning show defending her daughter, saying only one girl beat the victim at any given time; quotes of the girls at their arrest ('will I get out in time for cheerleading practice') and from MySpace don't show much bloody remorse.

The girl has lost hearing and sight on one side of her head and suffered a concussion. She could just have easily have died, having been slammed into a wall. Bullying has been around for a long time, and has always been disturbing, but beating someone within an inch of their life to make a good video shoot for 15 minutes of fame is even more disturbing.

Let's just say I'm not wishing them a happy time in jail. :)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Well, that's different

Pregnant man tells Oprah: It's a miracle

Thomas Beatie is genetically a woman, but went through testosterone treatments and breast removal/reconstruction surgery to live as a transgendered male. Beatie is recognised by the state of Oregon as a man and is legally married to wife Nancy.

But Beatie never had the female sexual organs removed in the hopes of someday having a pregnancy. That day has come. It was accomplished through sperm from a bank. Beatie's doctor insists it's a normal pregnancy, with testosterone treatments having been halted two years ago and that the hormone levels are normal. This is actually Beatie's second pregnancy; the first was ectopic and required the Fallopian tubes to be removed. The baby is a little girl. I hope all goes well.

'One World, One Dream, Free Tibet '08'

So said a banner hung on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco by some enterprising protesters. Meanwhile, in France, the Olympic torch was extinguished three times on its journey due to protesters.

Beijing should never have been awarded the Summer '08 Olympics--not with China's human rights violations and its stranglehold on Tibet. Now the International Olympic Committee is seeing a preview of the protests against the Olympics, whose founding principles of promoting peace do not mesh with holding the games in an oppressive country.

Protests Halt Torch Relay in Paris

Clearing the opium fields is a good thing, right? But there's some disturbing collateral damage--

From the April 7th Newsweek:

Khalida's father says she's 9—or maybe 10. As much as Sayed Shah loves his 10 children, the functionally illiterate Afghan farmer can't keep track of all their birth dates. Khalida huddles at his side, trying to hide beneath her chador and headscarf. They both know the family can't keep her much longer. Khalida's father has spent much of his life raising opium, as men like him have been doing for decades in the stony hillsides of eastern Afghanistan and on the dusty southern plains. It's the only reliable cash crop most of those farmers ever had. Even so, Shah and his family barely got by: traffickers may prosper, but poor farmers like him only subsist. Now he's losing far more than money. 'I never imagined I'd have to pay for growing opium by giving up my daughter,' says Shah.

The family's heartbreak began when Shah borrowed $2,000 from a local trafficker, promising to repay the loan with 24 kilos of opium at harvest time. Late last spring, just before harvest, a government crop-eradication team appeared at the family's little plot of land in Laghman province and destroyed Shah's entire two and a half acres of poppies. Unable to meet his debt, Shah fled with his family to Jalalabad, the capital of neighboring Nangarhar province. The trafficker found them anyway and demanded his opium. So Shah took his case before a tribal council in Laghman and begged for leniency. Instead, the elders unanimously ruled that Shah would have to reimburse the trafficker by giving Khalida to him in marriage. Now the family can only wait for the 45-year-old drugrunner to come back for his prize. Khalida wanted to be a teacher someday, but that has become impossible. 'It's my fate,' the child says.

This story really bothered me today. Girls as young as 2 months old are being traded to keep the rest of the family safe when a loan is defaulted. Sometimes the husband-to-be waits to take the bride until she is of marriageable age. Sometimes the girl goes to the man's home and is a servant in the intervening years. If the family is lucky, there may be a bride price paid on top of forgiving the loan, following the custom of a dowry given to the bride's family. But most, having made the loan to keep their family from starving, don't see much choice (although I don't agree with that). Some of the young brides choose suicide over marriage. These aren't people who do not love their daughters; they see it as a sacrifice for the greater good of the family, of being between a rock and a hard place. It brings a loss of honour to the girl and to her family to go through one of these marriages, but it is deemed necessary given that lives could be lost.

I know it's a different culture, one in which women and girls are little more than chattel. Change, if it happens, will really have to come from within that culture. But it's times like these I feel fortunate to have been born in a country where women have so many more advantages, maybe not in relation to men, but certainly in relation to those in some other countries.

I think it's sad that a girl's entire future has been taken out of her hands, as in the case of Khalida, and even sadder that the number of stories like Khalida's is growing, and that thousands of young women are opium brides. I suppose in some cases their lives may get better, at least in terms of standard of living, since the traffickers often do better than the farmers. But as the article points out, even the traffickers are struggling. Should the government stop its opium eradication programme? Of course not. But it should offer more support for alternative crops to fill the vacuum, and it should outlaw forced marriages. The government is at least talking about the practice. President Hamid Karzai said in a recent speech:

I call on the people [not to] give their daughters for money; they shouldn't give them to old men, and they shouldn't give them in forced marriages.

Now if he can only back up those words with action.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

An interesting test

Harvard's Project Implicit has an online Presidential Candidate test that measures how positive or how negative you view the presidential candidates. Mine rated high on the 'more positive' side for Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton was way down on the 'more negative' side, with John McCain even lower (which surprised me a little bit; I actually thought I liked McCain better than Clinton). It was pretty interesting. It has you choose one key for positive words or the candidate that you're supposed to choose for that segment. Another key is used for negative words or one of the other candidates. I had a little trouble with hitting the wrong keys, but who knows, that may have been subconscious, which seems to be what they were studying.

Ancient poop turns back clock on first Americans

Humans in North America earlier than thought: DNA from fossilised foeces in Oregon provides evidence that humans inhabited the area 1,200 years sooner than theorised

Okay, technically they're coprolites (an excellent candidate for word-of-the-day). This pushes back the earliest accepted evidence of humans in the Americas to 14,300 years ago. (I'm aware of one claim for 48,000 years before present in Brazil, for example, so that's why I say 'accepted'. That claim is from radiocarbon dating of hearth remains. This is a mixture of DNA and radiocarbon dating for the Oregon site discussed in the article.)

Nifty, hmmm...?

Good night.

Things I learnt from roleplaying games

Today's word from Dictionary.com is camarilla, 'a group of secret and often scheming advisers'.

I discovered this term years ago from White Wolf's Vampire: the Masquerade. The Camarilla is a sect of vampires in the game going back to the 15th century. Having not heard the term before, I checked on its meaning. See, games can be fun and educational, and more than just whacking monsters and getting treasure.

The power of librarians

The medical librarian community has been buzzing for days about a discovery that POPLINE, a reproductive health site which bills itself as 'the world's largest bibliographic database on population, family planning, and related health issues' had made the term 'abortion' a stop word. For those of you unfamiliar with search jargon, a stop word is a word that is ignored by a search engine. They're normally common words such as 'a', 'an', and 'the'.

This upset virtually anyone concerned with censorship who heard about it, and POPLINE was suddenly facing the ire of librarians and researchers who contacted them, wrote in blogs, and publicised the move. Apparently this had effect; the dean of the school where it was developed has ordered it restored and is investigating why it happened in the first place. Now it's made it into the general media:

Web Site Restores "Abortion" Search Term: Reproductive Health Site Funded By Gov't Was Slammed For Restricting Use Of Word In Searches

When asked by one librarian why this happened, POPLINE administrator Debra L Dickson wrote: 'Yes, we did make a change to POPLINE. We recently made all abortion words stop words. As a federally funded project, we decided this was best for now.'

You see, POPLINE is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Due to an order by President Bush resurrecting a Reagan-era practice, the agency 'denies funding to non-governmental organizations that perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations', as the article put it. This is effectively a gag order preventing federally-funded organisations from discussing abortion. Of course, by making it a stop word it meant throwing out 'spontaneous abortion' (miscarriage) and the alternatives suggested were too broad for meaningful results. So, it's good to see 'abortion' as a term back.

Yay for Dr Michael J Klag, who restored the term.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Forty years ago

Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

U2 Pride (In the Name of Love):

Despite the tarnish of plagiarism issues and infidelity accusations, Martin Luther King, Jr was a remarkable figure whose spirit and dreams may hopefully one day be realised. Unfortunately, that time has not yet come.

A nice opinion piece:

Four decades later, urban black poor are worse off

Reason #5,634 NOT to go to Wal-Mart

I found out about this via YKWIA, who in turned heard about it from T:

Brain-damaged woman at centre of Wal-Mart suit

The human cost of Wal-Mart's great prices

Debbie Shank vs. Goliath

Wal-Mart Rethinks Its Move on Deborah Shank

Summary: Eight years ago, Deborah Shank was stocking shelves for Wal-Mart. She went out visiting yard sales and was hit by a large truck, nearly killing her and leaving her with permanent brain damage and memory issues. She is currently in a nursing home receiving care.

Shank's family sued the trucking company and won enough money to pay legal fees and put money into a trust fund to take care of her future care. That's when Wal-Mart stepped in and sued the family based on something buried in the fine print that allows them to recoup medical costs through covered employees' settlements. Most people would never see that fine print, and if she hadn't signed that agreement she would not have had any health insurance. They wanted more than the trust fund could cover, leaving the family with no way to pay for costs and actually further in debt. The family lost the case at every level. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case, giving Wal-Mart the victory.

Mr Shank divorced his wife so her Medicaid benefits would be greater. A survivor of prostate cancer himself, he works two jobs to pay for his family.

A week after they lost the case, they lost something far greater. Their eighteen-year-old son, who had been deployed in Iraq for two weeks, was killed. Even though his mother attended the funeral, her memory is such that she will speak as if he were alive and when reminded of his death, grieves anew as if being told for the first time.

Apparently after all the bad publicity (and who wouldn't have predicted that), Wal-Mart has now come out and said that they won't take the money from the Shanks.

That's good. But it should tell a lot of people to look at the fine print of their own health care plans (or at least look at the laws in your state--many prohibit this kind of thing). It does make you wonder why Wal-Mart even tries to rehabilitate its image. It puts its foot in its mouth at every turn.

The only time I step into a Wal-Mart is if I've received a gift card (as the money has already been given to the company). I'm rethinking that. I could just pass it on to someone who will use it gladly. I have to think of my own conscience, whether it's for Bangladeshi workers, gays who face discrimination in the job, or the Deborah Shanks of the world.

Here, here

Poll: 81 Percent Think US on Wrong Track

Okay, I'm not graceful

but is it wrong to wish for just a shred of grace?

I went to leave a friend's a few minutes ago, going out into the storm and the cold rain. The rain has been falling for a couple of days so the gutter above the door was overflowing. I dodged the cascade of rainwater (I had a book in my purse, which doesn't zip, so that was of main concern), then realised the wind had grabbed the screen door. I went back to push the door shut and then stepped back--and off the porch entirely. I think I brushed one step before skipping the other entirely. I careened down the small hill partway into the yard, twisting my ankle as I went, finally coming to rest about a foot from a tree, nearly hitting it. I fished my wallet out of the grass and threw away a couple of things I'd been taking out to the trash. I looked back through the window. My friend was quietly reading, oblivious to the comedy going on in his front lawn. I limped over to the car, got in, and made it back home without incident. I was soaked to my skin and I'll no doubt be sore tomorrow. Fortunately the book made it through without any damage (the important thing when you're a librarian, right?)


Thursday, April 03, 2008

An update on the 14-year-old stripper case

2 charged in case of underage stripper

The woman who allegedly gave the teen pills and drove her to the strip club (where the girl presented a fake ID and was hired) is the girl's AUNT. Tina G. Hobbs and her boyfriend, Jimmy R. Kiger, have been arrested on charges of an unlawful transaction with a minor. The girl apparently argued with her mother over spending money, which she did not get. Hobbs said the mother knew about the stripping, but the police say there's no evidence that is the case. Another relative supposedly tipped off the mother and stepfather, who went to the club and found their daughter sitting at a table in dancing clothes. They didn't explain what Hobbs' boyfriend had to do with the whole affair.

The paper identified both the relationship of the woman to the girl and also her mother by name, so I guess it would be easy to tell who the girl was. I'm not going to identify the mother here, though. Hopefully the girl gets away from drugs and this sort of influence, and this can be chalked up to a youthful indiscretion. She's lucky nothing worse happened.

(Shaking head.) Gods, I'm old, I have the urge to go tut...tut.

A nice birthday

I went to bed for an hour's nap three hours ago. I was so comfortable I had a hard time getting back out, and I suppose I probably should just have stayed in, but I wanted to blog and maybe do a little classwork.

Today I:

  • Read some more of Club Dead. I'm enjoying re-reading them. I'm at the main cliffhanger right now. (There's apparently an upcoming television series based on the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries called 'True Blood', but it's on HBO and so I wouldn't get to see it. It's being done by the creator of 'Six Feet Under'. It stars Anna Paquin (Rogue from the X-Men movies), which I can't quite picture as Sookie, but then, you never know, it's Hollywood. I wasn't aware she was a Canadian-born actress who was raised in New Zealand before coming to Los Angeles as a teenager. She is the second-youngest Oscar winner, having won Best Supporting Actress at age 11 for The Piano, and the first Canadian actress to win in that category). Don't you love trivia?
  • Ate at India Garden. It was a wonderful buffet. The naan was very fresh and buttery. As always, I really enjoyed what I think is korma (potatoes in a curried sauce). The only glitch in the day was that some of that curry wound up on a white sweater, and I may or may not have ruined it, but that's what I get for wearing white to an Indian restaurant. I stopped by the house and changed.
  • Did some errands with friends and helped them dose their animals with flea and heartworm medicine.
  • Napped off some of lunch.
  • Talked to my mom and grandmother over the phone. My mom's ordered a mattress (remember my Christmas present? That apparently fell through so she's getting a new one) from Sears to be delivered next Wednesday. I'll be working, but she'll meet them that day, since she has a key to my apartment. She and my grandmother are well. I asked her about the insurance card for the car (I need a new one). She'll get it to me. We're going to have to change insurance by June because of my stepbrother's DUI. He's in jail for 97 days because he didn't pay his find and as a wonder my stepfather told him he wouldn't bail him out this time. Go, John! Robert is in his 20s and needs to learn about consequences. He was almost paralysed in one accident and yet he still chose to drink and drive. He's just lucky no one was hurt.
  • Dropped something back over at my friends' house.
  • Stopped by the store to get my schedule. I'll be working 19 hours this coming week.
  • Took a co-worker home.
  • Stopped by Walgreens to get some glucose test strips, some macaroni and cheese, and deodorant.
  • Came back home, made said macaroni and cheese, drank V-8, and blogged--lots of blogging.
  • Went to take a small nap (when left to my own devices for a day I sometimes stay up for three or four hours at a time, nap for an hour, then start the cycle again, actually sleeping maybe four or five hours at night plus a few hours during the day). Apparently I was more tired than I thought.

Now I'm going to head back to bed. I had thought about going to the gym today, doing some cleaning, working on class, calling D (who's home recovering from a hysterectomy) and watching some 'Secrets of Isis' (my birthday present from last year) But there's just so much time in a day. I'll have to make time to do those things, at the beginning and end of the days coming up. Tomorrow it's back to work at both jobs. I'm working Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Wednesday at the store. Good night.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

'Let's buy devil boxes rather than hire more librarians'

I love Unshelved, particularly today's strip.

Public health, not censorship

Library burned books in 1905

In 1905 the Grand Island, Nebraska, public library burnt books. A library burning books, you say? No, it wasn't censorship, or some response to a community outcry. The reason why Austen's Sense and Sensibilty and other works were burnt was because of concerns over scarlet fever and its transmission (you know, the same reason the toys of The Boy were taken away in The Velveteen Rabbit).

An interesting bit of history, that. I know in medical libraries we often face infection control in terms of library book carts that go from unit to unit, especially to the immunosuppressed, such as cancer patients. It's a perennial request on the medical librarian list, MEDLIB-L.

Listening to Anna Nalick

Breathe (2 am):

In the Rough

Wreck of the Day:

One thing I agree with John McCain about

...there shoudn't be special earmarks inserted into bills. Bills should be about a specified subject and any extraneous stuff should be excluded.

New Pig Book says Hillary Clinton's tops in pork spending, Barack Obama's 2nd, but John McCain had none!

Of course, I also believe lobbyists should be banned. :)

This case is getting weirder

Woman charged in case of girl, 14, caught stripping

Last month a 14-year-old girl was caught stripping by her parents at Camelot West, a club on Alexandria Drive. She had stripped for two nights before getting caught. I'm sure she's at the very least grounded as we speak.

The manager of the club, Robert Shields, was cited for endangering the welfare of a minor because the fake ID the girl used to get the job did not resemble her.

Now it turns out a 32-year-old woman, Tina G. Hobbs, has admitted to taking the young girl to the club after giving her some pills and then said she later received money from her after she finished stripping. She was charged Tuesday with third-degree unlawful transaction with a minor.

If I were the parent in this case, I would be so utterly pissed with my daughter and the adults involved. I don't care if an adult strips; that's her or his choice. But a fourteen-year-old? It never should have come to that.

A UK professor calls into question drugs using RNA silencing techniques

Study Is Setback for Some RNA-Based Drugs

From at UK press release:

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 2, 2008) − A recent study published in Nature by University of Kentucky physician and researcher, Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati, is featured in today's edition of the New York Times.

Ambati's research challenges some long held beliefs about RNA interference, or gene silencing, based on a 1998 discovery that won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2006. Ambati's critical discovery, though not without controversy, is quickly gaining national and international attention for its dramatic new findings.

To view the video of Dr. Ambati explaining the discovery, visit here.

To hear Dr. Ambati discuss this work, visit Nature Podcast.

Go online for more information on Dr. Ambati's lab.

From the folks at Save Darfur

A video that would make many people pause and think.

I came across this in my inbox (I received it on the 25th, but didn't read it until today. I can find no record of this vote already happening on Legislature's website or through the Bill Watch tool.)

Help Kentucky Divest for Darfur!

The Kentucky Senate will vote on a crucial divestment resolution THIS WEEK. We need your help to make sure the Kentucky Senate approves the resolution and passes it into law!

Call 800-372-7181 to send your senators a message TODAY!

As you know, we have been working - with your help - to get states to withdraw public funds from companies that help fund genocide in Darfur.

The campaign is gathering steam every day! 24 states have already divested for Darfur and now it's Kentucky's turn!

Kentucky's House of Representatives has passed a resolution to withdraw public funds from companies that work with Sudan's genocidal government. The state Senate must now make the resolution legally binding so Kentucky can divest from genocide.

The Kentucky Senate will vote on this resolution THIS WEEK. Please call your state senator today to help Kentucky divest for Darfur!

Just follow these simple steps:

Call 800-372-7181 between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.
Tell the staffer who answers the phone that you are calling to urge all senators to:
Support H.B. 703, Kentucky's targeted Sudan divestment resolution that the House of Representatives passed two weeks ago.
Strengthen the resolution to make it legally binding.
Click here to report your call back to us (this step is extremely important for organization purposes. Please don't skip it.)
Strong divestment legislation in Kentucky can create economic pressure on Khartoum to end the genocide. It will require Kentucky's pension funds to divest from companies that have a business relationship with the Sudanese government, fail to support Sudanese civilians, and fail to enact strong corporate governance policies regarding the genocide in Darfur.

Divestment strategies helped end apartheid in South Africa, and they can help end genocide in Sudan.

Make sure the Kentucky Senate meets our responsibility to act against genocide. Click here to send your message TODAY!

After you have sent your message, please click here to ask your friends and family to join you in urging their senators to help Kentucky divest for Darfur.

Thank you for your continued commitment to the people of Darfur.

Best regards,

Colleen Connors
Save Darfur Coalition

Damned if you do,,,

Glaxo's HIV Drug May Be Linked To Heart Attack Risk - Study

GlaxoSmithKline's Ziagen, which has as its active ingredient abacavir, may be linked to increased risk of heart attack, according to an article published Wednesday online at The Lancet. Researchers studying six HIV medicines found Ziagen linked to a twofold increase in the risk of heart attack. Abacavir is also found in the combination drugs Trizivir and Epzicom. Another drug,
Videx, produced by Bristol-Myers Squibb, was linked to a 50% increased risk of heart attack.

Well, that's different

Avatars at House hearing on virtual world

The founder of virtual world Second Life assured lawmakers that these environments can police themselves in response to concerns of exploitation of minors and recruiting for terrorism. The meeting itself was held in both the real and virtual worlds, with Representatives having their own avatars during the session. It was informational only, but it's a first.

Libraries, universities, and businesses are exploring Second Life, which has hundreds of thousands of users (including me), as a means of reaching clients. At least a couple of countries have virtual embassies there, if I remember correctly. Maybe soon the US government will have its own presence. Let's just hope it's benign. :)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

It's a beautiful day

Reading: Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

although I slept through some of it, given that that Saturday and Sunday nights I had four hours' worth of sleep each and last night I had a complete emotional purge and breakdown when some very deep psychological wounds were opened up and debrided. I think in the long run, I needed it. It let me know some of the things I have to change in my life. I was up pretty late with that, and overwrought, then came home and left my usual monthly libation to Hekate, praying I would find my way. I suppose it's good to approach a Goddess of madness when you're dealing with strong emotions, because afterwards I was calm and drained. As a result, today I overslept by over two hours and missed an appointment that unfortunately wasn't mine to miss (I was taking someone to theirs). So it wasn't a good beginning of the day.

I wound up doing my couple of hours of notes and then coming back home to rest, sleeping from 1 pm to about 5:30. It was nice to have an open window with the sun and a breeze streaming in, the forsythia outside blazing yellow. I went out to get some distilled water, quarters for laundry, and laundry detergent. As I was driving I noticed a big soap bubble drifting on the breeze, then another. Apparently someone was making bubbles, but there was no one in sight. There's no telling how far those bubbles made it. It was a cheering thought.

My clothes are drying now and then afterwards I'm going to head over to a friend's for awhile. In addition to laundry I also did a little organising. I'm trying to find two books. One is a collector's book for those state quarters, of which I have a few to put in. The other is Wizard for Hire, a compilation of the first three books of Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files series. I'd like to read that once I get through re-reading the three Sookie Stackhouse mysteries I own. But I can't find it anywhere...just its dust jacket. I have the second three now and I'd like to finish the first three, but I have to find it first. I actually ventured into my closets, which mainly contain comics and literature/general fiction/children's literature.

I'm off tomorrow (I've actually been off Monday and today, too) for my birthday and I'm thinking of going to the lunch buffet at India Garden, a new Indian restaurant near me. Afterwards maybe I'll sort through and straighten some things and see if I can find those books. I also need to get a haircut and renew my driver's licence soon.

I feel like tomorrow is a new year. I guess it is for me personally. I'll be forty-one. It's time for me to really embrace my age, to let go of the bad things about my childhood (which comprise most of it) and work on doing things I've dreamt about. I need to really get a sense of self, so that I can finally have some self-esteem and perhaps a relationship. I feel so empty sometimes. For years I was a mirror to anyone else who paid the slightest attention to me. I've worked very hard at being what they wanted me to be, to not living up to my own potential so that I would not surpass them, to turning off my brain and refusing to use my intelligence. It's left me with incredible depths of anger and resentment. I tapped into those last night, and they didn't so much scare me as sadden me. I am more than just anger. I am more than just neurons firing randomly to produce emotions. It's like inside I am a charred, twisted child afraid of the light, yet at the same time I have a luminous and good spirit. I need to heal the one and join them together. I haven't been living life very deeply, and I need to while there is still life to live.