Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sometimes you just have to step in and save the world

Warning: I'm about to majorly geek out on you and babble about things which you probably neither understand nor care about, which is the game I play based on the fiction of HP Lovecraft. It's my main hobby. You have been warned.

Today was a good day. Okay, so I didn't finish this week's notes despite a marathon session last night of six hours (but the game master was benevolent). And I didn't arrive when I was supposed to be somewhere this morning (I was a minute late). And I didn't finish some work I was doing for someone on time.

But the game absolutely rocked. For those of you who play Call of Cthulhu and intend to go through the campaign Beyond the Mountains of Madness, you should read no further. This is a friendly spoiler alert.


So we've been playing the Antarctic adventure for MONTHS, from checking and re-checking the ship's manifest to exploring the citadel of the Elder Things. Last time we explored the great pharos tower in hopes of finding our lost comrades, only to find evidence of their deaths.

For years one of the non-player characters has had visions of this mission; she's insisted all along that she had to be on it and went to great lengths to assure this. She also insisted that she would die on the mission in order to save the world, although she didn't know how, and that is why she had the visions. Each day we got closer and closer to her doom, with her getting more and more depressed. She didn't want to die--but if she didn't, it would be the end of everything. One of the player characters is in love with her, and kept trying to find a way to save her. I have to admit, I did too. I didn't want Sarah to die--she's been in the game for years and we're very fond of her. But it couldn't be as simple as pushing her out of the way at the right moment; there was no way of telling if in doing so we would doom everyone, for if it didn't work, reality itself would be sundered and the world, the universe, would end (and the game, too, unless our game master did some sort of alternative timeline). The stakes were pretty high.

I'm an incredibly passive player, often to my detriment. My character on this mission isn't as fleshed out as the others, although he was slowly coming out of his shell and I've enjoyed that. It is only his second mission, although he'd survived a plane crash (yes, he was the one who fell out of the sky en route to his first attempted mission so many months ago). He has at least one dark mark on his soul due to his sword being used to kill someone after being stolen. He has family, but isn't married, isn't involved with anyone, doesn't have the ties that the others have (one is married; another is in love with Sarah). He has become fond of Sarah and has a lot of respect for her. Unlike the player characters, she never took an oath to protect humanity. He considers her an innocent to protect, along with the ordinary folks they have in tow.

So when the moment came, he took it. The character in love with Sarah showed his Elder Sign when confronted with a shoggoth and a couple of Elder Things. Now the Elder Sign was created by the Elder Things. It surprised them that lowly humans could use it. I had already considered that if we did show the Elder Sign to them, they might recognise us as sentient, and that is what happened. Sarah could read and write their language. They asked if she, too, had the sign, and my character urged her to show hers, which she did. I was thinking that if she were considered sentient, then they couldn't use her in their organic machine to contain the Outer God they'd snared so long ago.

She offered herself up to them to make the machine work, and they indeed, told her that they had never killed anyone within the Unity of the Elder Sign. Then they asked about my character, and he did not show his Elder Sign, and told her that there was no need for them to know he had it, too. The other options were for one of the three ordinary humans along with us to die, or our other compatriot, who was not there at the time. He told her to tell them that they offered him (the Elder Things assumed he was a normal human, and the others' food source) up to the machine to keep the great horror sealed inside the Pit. Reluctantly she agreed. He also asked her to seek safe passage for the rest of them in return for this, and it was granted. Then he was taken away, stripped naked, and fed to a shoggoth alive, going insane at the end. Then his head, with his brain and neural webbing were incorporated into their machine just as the horrible thing began to escape, the power of the creature being such that mountains toppled. But then everything quieted as my character became part of the machine, the central processing unit upgrade that could power it for years to come. Somewhere his soul, with its Elder Sign, will reincarnate eventually. But the remains of his body power the machine at the heart of the Antarctic waste, standing guardian on that which would burst from the Earth and destroy reality.

It was a good death. I have a martyr complex, and I guess it's times like this it comes out. It's only the second character I've lost in the 17 years I've played Call of Cthulhu. The first went insane when she saw Shub-Niggurath and was stepped on by the Black Goat with a Thousand Young. Oddly enough, both characters were Jewish. I feel good about it, although a little sad, too. You get attached to characters when you play them as long as we do. Ours is not the brand of Cthulhu where you run a game now and then, but a continual universe that has developed for nearly two decades, with an excellent game master to bring that world to fruition.

Of course, the campaign isn't over for the others. There's still the Germans to contend with, and getting back home alive. There's another 30 pages left in the module. But it's over for me, except for taking notes and cringing when I think of something that the others don't, and I can't address because technically I'm not really there as a character. But I like to listen to the story unfold even when I can't play, and I want to see the end of this huge, long campaign.

It's moments like this that I really love about roleplaying. How often in the real world do you get to make a difference on this scale, after all?

Want a taste of what we've been doing? Here is a faux trailer for a fictional movie for HP Lovecraft's 'At the Mountains of Madness' (upon which the campaign is based) put together by a game master for another group. I think the person did an excellent job.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I have my car back! Woo-hoo!

I had my car towed (via AAA and David's Towing (out of Nicholasville)) to Mitch's Auto Repair on Industry Road. I told them what I needed--brakes that were safe, but not a lot of unnecessary charges. They knew I was on a budget and if the estimate was over what I had I'd have to wait to have it fixed at least until Wednesday.

Well, it turned out the estimate was within my grasp, despite the fact that my rear driver side brake was, well, non-existent. Metal was grinding to metal and the brake finally broke entirely, which is why the fluid leaked. Some parts had just disintegrated entirely. He showed me what it looked like, and although I don't know anything about cars, I'm thinking powdered metal is not a good sign. I got new brake drums, hardware, well, everything that goes on a rear brake assembly, for both sides of the rear. The front ones are still okay, thankfully.

They did the whole job for $368--exactly what they estimated, including adding a quart of oil (my car has a slow leak and had been sitting, so I asked them to make sure there was oil in the car before I left), checking my other fluids, plugging a tyre that had picked up a nail, and...fixing the door panel on my driver side that's been falling off for nearly a year. I was afraid it would be more like $500. This left me some money to get some gas and groceries. Kenny and Tom were great. I would really recommend Mitch's Auto Repair [1253 Industry Rd # 120, Lexington, KY 40505, (859) 254-6398].

It's a little weird driving again. I'm getting used to how the new brakes are adjusted, and well, just driving after being a pedestrian for three weeks. It's good to be mobile again. The first thing I did was get some gas. Then I went and got a couple of friends from a restaurant, since my 'taxi service' was back in action. And it was very nice to go to the grocery late at night and not have to haul the heavy stuff home by hand.

Once I did get home I had to resist a very cute, laid-back calico cat that was outside my building who immediately ran over when I put my groceries down to see if there was anything for her. She obviously was used to people, unlike the feral (if well-fed) cats in the area, who run at the sight of any car or person. Alas, I have no cat food, no litter pan, and more importantly, no business having a cat at the moment, so I resisted pretty well. But it was hard, especially as she was obviously interested in going inside. She's pretty young, maybe a year, with nice patches against white. Sigh. No, I can't....

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I guess that makes me certifiable :)

Several weeks ago I applied for state certification as a librarian. I do not need certification for my current job in a medical library, but it is a requirement for public libraries, and just to apply at Lexington Public Library requires the certificate. Since I periodically attempt to get a full-time job at the public library, it seemed a good move, especially as it is only $5 and for anyone with an MLS that's pretty much all you need to prove to get the initial certificate. As for renewal, that requires continuing education, and mine isn't public library focussed, of course, but rather tends to be medical library specific, so I don't know how best to proceed on that one for now. But the initial certificate is good for five years, so I have some time to find out if I need public library continuing education credits, etc. I got the certificate today from the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, duly signed by the head of the Board (my former teacher, Dennis Carrigan, the one who blew up on the phone when he got my answering machine with 'Happy Happy, Joy Joy' on it but then we hit it off quite well once we met in person) and the Secretary of State. Only problem? The spelling of my name is wrong. Sometimes it's difficult to have a relatively common name with a not-so-common spelling. Mine's Elisabeth, not Elizabeth (Eilir is my middle name). This despite the fact I threw in my name change paperwork when I applied since my degree was granted under my former name (even though my name had been changed with the university before I graduated). Oh, well, I'm rather used to the mistake. As long as no one calls me Liz....

I do finally have a decent portfolio to seek accreditation with the Medical Library Association's Academy of Health Information Professionals, having authored a book chapter and article, done selections for Doody's, and acquired a lot of continuing education credits, but it also requires $175, so I can't do it just yet. I wish they took into consideration income on that like they do on dues. I'd like to have 'MSLS, AHIP' after my name on my business cards, and most MLA members seek Academy status as they get further into their careers, to the point where it's almost expected. I put it off for awhile, unsure of how long I wanted to pursue medical librarianship, but I figure I've been one for over eleven years now, so I might as well get on the bandwagon. Besides, I've done the work needed to attain it, I might as well go ahead with my application. You watch, about the time I am granted AHIP membership, I'll change jobs out of the medical field.

Ever wonder what YouTube would have been like in 1985?

Thanks to YKWIA who was playing around on Michael Buckley's website and found this gem.

Oddest thing I've come across on the Internet in awhile

Funny or Die has an Asian commercial that has commentors debating racism. Um...the point of the commercial seems to be that you can't judge by appearances, therefore, I can't really say it's racist. On the other hand, I think the people from the agency that came up with this one had to be on drugs--or maybe the commercial is best viewed that way. I'll let you decide.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bad, bad

I should have done notes after I came home and read the news in Google Reader, since I'm woefully behind, but I got sucked into the last part of the fourth Harry Dresden book, Summer Knight, by Jim Butcher. How can your resist a war between the Courts of Faerie? The sad thing? It's almost midnight and I find myself pining for bed, and I still have a couple of chapters to go, so that must wait until tomorrow. It looks like I'll have some extra time to work on notes on Friday, at least.

I have a slew of stories and other oddities to blog about as well, but I'm just too tired. It hasn't been a rough day, really, although I got up early this morning and did laundry, then fell asleep and missed the bus, so I was late to work. After work I finished all the stuff I didn't get done before the game on Sunday. Hopefully tomorrow will be better; my plan is to get up early and go on in on the bus ahead of the one I normally take so I can stop by Walgreens for some supplies and cash. It's looking like Friday's the day for getting the car towed and the brake job estimated. I'm not sure I'll be able to get it done then; I may have to wait depending on how large a bill it will be.

Gah. It's always something, isn't it?

PS We're really close to the climax of Beyond the Mountains of Madness. It's looking to be sad and dangerous. The suspense is getting me already.

I've gotten sucked into an application on Facebook

It's Dungeons & Dragons Tiny Adventures. I am an elf ranger named Esidriel Greenleaf. I've gone on one adventure. The computer basically does the work, but you have control over equipment and stuff like that. Unfortunately my rolls didn't go so well on my first adventure and although I did fine up to the end, I wound up having to run away from the Stronghold of the Drow. Still, I'm about a fifth of the way to the next level and I have a better armour, some potions of glibness, and a little more gold, so it was worth it. :) It's not a bad little diversion. Nothing like real roleplaying, of course (and by that I mean dice and table), or even like the more complex computer games. But still, for a Facebook app, it's pretty sophisticated, and I'm enjoying it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

What if

a much abused computer struck back?

From Gizmodo's Wilson Rothman: '"The Wrong Door" is a violent, live-action Robot Chicken prone to the same breezy matter-of-factness that made Terry Gilliam's Python interludes both funny and horrifying.' 'The Wrong Door' is from the BBC, to be shown on BBC Three. It is directed by Ben Wheatley.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The other day I saw a black and blue hummingbird

It might have been a Blue-throated Hummingbird, or perhaps a Black-chinned Hummingbird without much of a light belly. Both can appear black (although actually green) and have a blue mark on their throat.

Either is an unusual thing, as they are generally found in the southwest and Mexico, although they might be found further east as a vagrant, I suppose. Or I could just be misidentifying it. They are technically green and blue, but appear black in many photographs and in poor light. As it hovered, I couldn't see the green sheen--it looked like it was black with blue on the throat. It was fairly large for a hummingbird, meaning the jury would be leaning towards the blue-throated one. At the time I remember thinking it was a big black and blue swallowtail butterfly when I glimpsed it, then I realised it was moving differently and it hovered long enough for me to see the beating of the wings.

It was so cool.

Here are some pictures others have taken of the blue-throated hummingbird that seem very close to what I saw.

And here's a video of a hummingbird cooling off in a sprinkler:

Thursday, August 21, 2008


A Spanish artist has created a writing spoon that uses coffee or soup as ink. See the video here:

Got that one from an article on Gizmodo.


How Twitter would look during an alien invasion, from Kensington Victoria.

Oh, my

The AARP, advocate for seniors, is being sued by a 63-year-old woman for age discrimination, alleging that she was passed over for a series of jobs because she was too old, despite an excellent record.

Innovative idea of the week

Solar Cells — Made In a Pizza Oven using the oven, some nail polish, and an inkjet printer, dreamed up by an Australian woman .

Oh, God, he even looks evil

Cringing jurors watch Duncan torture boy on tape

[Joseph Edward Duncan III] kidnapped the boy, Dylan Groene, and his sister, Shasta, in May 2005 after murdering their older brother, their mother and her fiance in the Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, area.

Eventually he shot the boy in the abdomen and then point-blank in the head, killing him in front of his sister. Dylan was 9; his sister was only 8 at the time.

A quote from the video:
'The devil is here, boy, the devil himself. The demon couldn't do what the devil sent him to do so the devil came himself. The devil likes to watch children suffer and cry.'

The jury is trying to decide whether he is eligible for the death penalty. I have doubts about the death penalty myself, but if there is anyone who needs removing from our society, it's this man.

Gosh, that's tough

Wisconsin woman arrested, booked over library fines

The sad thing? I owe more than her at present. Thank goodness I don't live in Grafton, Wisconsin. But I think I definitely need to start paying on mine.

PS I know, it's a bad librarian who has fines. But I tend to hold onto books and really mean to bring them back, only to put it off.

An unfortunate necessity

Lone Sydney baby whale put down

The baby humpback whale, abandoned by its mother, was trying to suckle boats. The 2-3 week-old, who had been named Colin, had not eaten in a week and his health was deteriorating. Efforts to lead him out to sea and hopefully find an adoptive mother did not work. He was suffering from shark bites and starvation, and rather than have him die slowly, the decision was made to humanely euthanise him. Colin's story has captivated Australia. Apparently there is no way to feed a whale in captivity if it is still breast-feeding. It's sad, but I suppose it's also a matter of survival of the fittest. Still, I hate that they had to kill him.

Here's a video from MSNBC of Colin.

A comic I may have to start reading

Ah, the oecosystem of the library...including bibliodons.

Questionable Content

Another link from Adam Bennington.


World's largest monastery library restored to its baroque splendour

I don't think you'd find such a library among the Franciscans. But the decor is gorgeous. In addition to religious texts, the library contains historical, scientific, and medical texts. Many of the latter were taken by the Nazis to Dachau and although restored, they still bear the concentration camp's stamp.

There are a few pictures to give you an idea of the size and beauty of the library in the article. Thanks to Adam Bennington, the JediLibrarian, for the link.

Stunning voice, great video

and a beautiful woman in her 70s.

'Get this Party Started' -- Dame Shirley Bassey

It's a Christmas ad that was shot spy-movie style. You might recognise her voice from three James Bond movies, but her career spans much more than that. And her version puts Pink's to shame (I like Pink, but Dame Shirley's voice is, wow!) For more on her remarkable story, check out the entry on Wikipedia for Shirley Bassey. You can also check out her official site.

Thanks to YKWIA for introducing me to this remarkable talent.

PS Finished Lumley's Vamphiri!; time to go on to the next one. I'm also reading the fourth Harry Dresden novel by Jim Butcher, Summer Knight.

If I played World of Warcraft (and I do think about it, as I enjoy such things)

I would really have to check this out:

The Libraries and Librarians Guild in Wow -the Largest On-line MMORPG Game in the World

There are great pictures of the avatars of various librarians, too.

Someone needs some sensitivity training; hello, it's 2008!

This from Ponce de Leon, Florida:

Principal’s outing of gay student roils Fla. town: Many in conservative Panhandle community wonder what man did wrong

When a high school senior told her principal that students were taunting her for being a lesbian, he told her homosexuality is wrong, outed her to her parents and ordered her to stay away from children.

He suspended some of her friends who expressed their outrage by wearing gay pride T-shirts and buttons at Ponce de Leon High School, according to court records. And he asked dozens of students whether they were gay or associated with gay students.

Several students rallied around the girl, causing the principal to allegedly go on a 'witch hunt' to ferret out more gays in the school. Needless to say, the ACLU got involved, the principal was demoted, and yes, staff had to go to sensitivity training.

A way to judge your hospital

Hospital death rates for key conditions unveiled

Hospital Compare allows you to find out death rates for individual hospitals by condition.

They also let you compare things like patient satisfaction and number of medicare patients treated for various conditions. Ours, being a tertiary-care facility, isn't in their database, but I checked other primary care facilities in Lexington. St Joseph (the main one) seems to have the highest patient satisfaction; Central Baptist seems to have a higher percentage of meeting standards of care. UK lags behind in both, but I'm not surprised. I'm not impressed by what I've seen of the university's health care system. I have a friend who works there. He never sees the same doctor twice. Their health insurance means they go through UK HealthCare, and there seem to be an inordinate amount of hoops to jump sometimes. I like the choices I have with my insurance better.


Mama gorilla won't let go of her dead baby: Mother ‘is mourning and must say goodbye,’ zoo spokeswoman says

And some people don't think animals have emotions. They do. Especially our cousin primates, including gorillas.


Judge: Copyright Owners Must Consider 'Fair Use' Before Sending Takedown Notice

A gizmo that could save lives

Colorizing technology highlights cancerous tissue

A combination of a dye and electronics leads to cancerous cells 'lighting up' under an imager so that surgeons knows what material still needs to be removed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I want a new drug

This was really fun. Thanks, David Rothman!

A video (which will hopefully work; it's not showing up on preview):

Make your own!

Or a print version:

Make your own!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Interested in digital preservation?


Sustaining Digital Collections
DECEMBER 9-10, 2008
InterContinental Chicago Hotel
Chicago, Illinois

PRESENTED BY the Northeast Document Conservation Center
CO-SPONSORED BY Society of American Archivists, American Library Association, and Center for Research Libraries

TAUGHT BY A FACULTY OF NATIONAL EXPERTS, this two-day conference on digital longevity provides information about the latest developments in digital preservation to help you with the life-cycle management of your institution's collections.

GROUP CONFERENCE REGISTRATION DISCOUNT RATE: Register 3 or more individuals from the same institution at the same time for $340 each.


FOR WEB STORIES AND SAMPLE COMMENTS from past participants of Persistence of Memory: http://www.nedcc.org/about/archives.php

WOULD YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE current information about NEDCC's programs?
Join NEDCC's E-mail Announcement List:

Partial funding for this conference is provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The NEDCC is one of the world leaders in library and archive conservation/preservation. One of my teachers in school, George Cunha (a truly remarkable man who had been a chemist, a sailor, a conservator, and then a teacher), was a founder of NEDCC and had been director. It's not a conference I can go to, but I thought some of you might be interested, especially if you can get your institution to foot the bill. Thanks to Julie Martin from MEDLIB-L for passing this along.

A really neat idea for a search engine

TinEye is a search engine in beta that allows you to upload a picture and it will find other instances of that image for you. For example, I put in the Argentinian flag image and came up with 42 hits.

Thanks to Kathy Evans of Purdue for this one.

I think they used every gay icon in this one

(Liberal use of 'f' word, so don't play if you have trouble with that. It's actually part of the song's name for that matter. The music is from Jerry Springer: the Opera. In the musical, the singer has a dream of being a stripper/pole dancer. But the gay spin really improves it, I think.)

Favourite lyric: 'I want to do some living because I've done enough dying.'

Thanks to YKWIA for this one, too. I'd like to see the musical. It's been quite labelled blasphemous. It's British, and it was protested throughout Britain by religious organisations. (Read the Wikipedia link, you'll understand.) I don't know how well the religious symbolism will go over here in the States, or for that matter, tap-dancing Ku Klux Klan members [again, if profanity, burning crosses, and the KKK bother you--even if the KKK's being made fun of--don't watch]:


about where my ortho doctor was from, I noticed someone had made a bobble head of him that was displayed in the office with a flag I didn't recognise. Now, if you don't know where a flag is from, it can be a little hard to find, but I put in light blue and flag into Google and got the right one. The result? Argentina. I think their flag is lovely.

He didn't like the band the physical therapist gave me. It works, he says, but it has to be so tight that it can irritate the medial nerve that runs parallel to the lateral one that is already irritated. Also he doesn't want them to do e-stim on me; it can apparently tear muscle. Instead, he wants them to focus on postural exercises and for me to find some gentle exercise that I'll like and do. I do love yoga, actually, although water aerobics is another option. Walking is also fine. My elbow is doing somewhat better; he says that most of my problem is coming from the core as well as my neck, shoulders, and spine, with my posture and general lack of fitness. He'd like me to slowly work on changing how I move and my posture, even if it takes years, just making small changes at a time.

A great teaching tool, I think

'Nations of the World' from Animaniacs (specifically Yakko's World)

(Thanks YKWIA for the romp through the countries.)

Then for science, 'The Universe Song' from Animaniacs

Want a new iPhone G3? Watch this first. :)

I want to iSmite!

Thanks to YKWIA for this one.

Tired of people saying the Internet is making us dumber?

David Wolman of Wired has a different view, one I agree with:

The Critics Need a Reboot. The Internet Hasn't Led Us Into a New Dark Age.

Thanks to JediLibrarian for that one.


All these plans about doing laundry and I failed to grasp the obvious--my detergent and softener are where I normally do laundry (a friend's house--the same place as the car, actually). So no clean clothes tonight. (This is what happens when you forget to take your smart medicine two days in a row.)

What I've been up to

    Over the last three days I:
  • Worked five hours on the notes Saturday night to get them finished in time for the game.
  • Found out Sunday that there would be no game, because B's sheep got out and she had to mend fences, and M had some sort of family thing going on.
  • Did do my normal Sunday chores and then read a couple of chapters of Lumley's Vamphiri! before heading back home before the buses stopped running.
  • Got up early today to go to the pharmacy and get as many of my meds as possible before the flexible spending card goes on it's three-week blackout. Only really important one I couldn't get was Lamictal (too soon to refill), which is at least generic now, although I think it's in Tier 2, meaning a $25 co-pay. But I saved nearly $100 by getting what I could today. And at least I can get reimbursed for that $25 when it comes time to get it).
  • Was very happy that National City would cash a FSA reimbursement cheque for $10 even though I had 24 cents in the bank. Yay, I can eat the breakfast-for-lunch menu at the cafeteria tomorrow.
  • Ate very little early in the day (pre-$10) but had pizza for a meeting at the store, which I then continued with later for dinner, since it got left. Pizza Hut cheese pan pizza is pretty greasy, but it was good, and I'd been craving pizza.
  • Accepted an invitation to be friends on Facebook from Bill, then superpoked him with congrats for the birth of his daughter. Read a funny exchage between him and his ex-wife regarding speed bumps, babies, and cat bells.
  • Figured out how to tweet from Facebook. Now up to three friends. Always open to connecting to more. I thought MLA's group would be on my profile, but it's not. Maybe I never made it all the way into it. Hmmm...
  • Got a unidentified phone call that is most likely from Insight. Fortunately I can pay my bill Wednesday. Let's hope they don't restrict the service before then.

Tomorrow I'll go into work (hospital) early so I can leave early to make it back over by St Joe's East and walk over to Bluegrass Orthopaedics for my doctor's appointment. It's about couple of blocks' worth of walking--not too bad. Then it's over to YKWIA's to read more Lumley.

I keep putting off my laundry. I could have done some during notes tonight but just didn't feel up to it. I'm all achy from work. Tomorrow night I really do need to do some, though.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Did you know that

this is post number 4,407??? That's a lot of writing. Granted, it's been almost seven years, but in blog terms that's ancient, or at least very old. Just thought I'd mark the march of time and words. :)

Oh my God...

It's happened. Bill Hart has procreated at last. I got this in an e-mail from him today:
Kitty and I would like to announce the birth of our daughter, Flora Jean McKenzie Hart. She was born at 11:30pm on 8-10, and was 5 lbs 8 oz. Since she arrived a bit early, she will be in the hospital for a little while yet, but she is doing great!

Congratulations! Judging from the photo that he sent she's just a tiny thing, although she may have his cheeks. Considering that Bill was something like 13 lbs when he was born, Kitty's lucky. :) Anyway, I wish everyone well and I'm sure her father will give her every opportunity to learn and love music. So, to Flora, céad míle fáilte romhat! ('A hundred thousand welcomes to you!')

While I appreciate the fact my tub faucet is no longer leaking

It would have been nice if the maintenance man had:

1) Closed the hot water tank closet,
2) Turned off the kitchen light,
and (here's the kicker)
3) Not left water all over my bathroom floor, especially as a mop was out and right next to the tub.

Fortunately I caught myself as my legs started to go in two different directions, so no real harm done. But still, grr.

Must remember to blog and not just tweet

(Sometimes when I get home I'm so tired the little micro-blogging of Twitter is appealing. The updates show up on the left panel of this blog, too, if you're interested.)

Anyway, here's what's going on in my life:

1) Tuesday I had a seminar on searching EBSCOHost's CINAHL with Full Text. I must admit, I was somewhat bored, but aspects of it were interesting. And they had ice cream. :) I went over to a friend's and read, did some stuff, then came home by bus and crashed.

2) Wednesday...wait, what did I do Wednesday? Oh, yeah. I went in a little early to work to stop by Walgreens for a Luna bar only to find they were out of Lemon Zest. I walked 20 minutes to work (I'm REALLY out of shape--it's like two or three blocks) only to open up my desk and find...a couple of Luna bars. Sigh. I was surprised by how grown up the little creek I used to walk by had become; a small catalpa tree has soared, intertwining with wild rose. I couldn't see any fish at all, it was so shady. I returned a phone call from a genealogist working on my family tree (no relation; he's doing it for his nephew, who's my distant cousin) and I cheerfully anwered all sorts of questions/volunteered quite a bit even though I don't know this guy from Adam. That's me, alright. Maybe I warmed up to him so quickly because he's gay. I also let slip that a now-deceased great-uncle was actually adopted by the grandparents when one of their daughters had the boy out of wedlock. In the report the guy sent me, it listed me as the source of that one. Hopefully I won't piss off anyone in the family. Then I worked, went home and napped, then went to job #2 till 10 pm. One of our employees has given in her two weeks' notice. :( I got my schedule for the week. Then I came home and crashed.

3) Today I woke up early (although not quite as early as I intended), walked to bank, went through drive-through, withdrew money (couldn't get a money order via drive-through but the lobby wasn't open yet), walked to the gas station, got a money order for my rent, and then my boss drove me back over to my rental office to drop it off since she was doing a gas survey and then took me on to work. :) I worked at the hospital. I moved my PT appointment to tomorrow, since there was no way to bus out there and back in time for job #2. I talked to the mechanic whose name I was given. He's thinking from what I told him it may be in the $350 range, but of course he hasn't seen it yet. I came home and talked to my mom and grandmother on the phone. My mom is trying to quit smoking, yay! Her asthma's been really bad. My grandmother is having cataract surgery next month. Then I took a brief nap. I walked to work for truck night. I talked to one of the truck drivers who is also a mechanic. He suggested I get the 'with-everything' estimate and then I plan to get the 'what-will-be-the-least-I-can-spend-to-make-it-safe' estimate, too. I'll have about $500 to spend on brakes at the end of the month. The garage guy said that if I didn't have enough for what needs to be done they could store it for a couple of weeks so I can get the money together.

One good thing about the car being out of commission is I'm getting more rest. I'm hoping to get my house a little better together; my landlady mentioned that it needed some work. I am such a slob, and yet I hate living in a messy house.

Well, that's it for now. The plan is to get up by 6 am (I was in bed from 10 pm-midnight, but got up since I was hungry) and get some work/laundry done. I found some useful things for the game that I'd like to give the other players. We're nearly at the climax of the Antarctic adventure. The other day at the seminar, one of the librarians mentioned she was going on an Antarctic cruise around Christmas (high summer for there) and someone asked how cold it would be and I piped up and told them, given my now reasonably decent knowledge of Antarctic summer conditions. One thing I will say about this module; they did their homework in terms of research. Now if they'd just laid the thing out better!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

True devotion

Dog guarded owner's body for weeks after death: German shepherd protected body for up to six weeks, investigators say

Cash was spotted by a rancher, thin and dehydrated, who investigated and found the body of his 25-year-old master, who died of an apparent suicide. It is thought the dog lived on small game and protected the body from coyotes. Cash has been reunited with the man's wife and 2-year-old daughter.

Dogs are amazing. YKWIA once told me of a dog who threw itself into electrified water, giving up its own life, before the owner could step into it. These sorts of stories are one of the reasons I prefer dogs to some people. They're much less fickle.

Just bizarre

Cloned puppies expose old mystery: Dog owner admits links to Mormon sex slave scandal 31 years ago

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back home at last

I left a note for my boss at the gas station that I'm on foot/bus, so I can't get from job #1 to job #2 in the fifteen minutes it normally takes, therefore she should schedule me at 4 pm or later. I got some quarters and money for the bus pass. Then I headed over to GB Shoe Warehouse, where I found of all things a pair of black New Balance shoes on 75% off sale, meaning what was $72 originally was now $18, and the only pair happened to be in my size. Woo-hoo!

After that, I met a very helpful woman on the way into the transit centre who told me of her various ailments due to bus accidents but also ins and outs of bus riding, which was useful as I'm out or practice.

I got my bus pass and brochure, made it to my destination without incident, did various things like reading the second Necroscope book with a friend (we're doing a chapter at a time), then headed back. I did go to the wrong stop, but a helpful bus drive informed me of it and the bus I did need came a few minutes after, so I didn't miss the right one.

Whilst I was waiting, five youths came up and waited as well, working on rap songs they'd heard. They weren't bad, as rap goes, meaning they had good rhythm and cadence. It did stray into some vulgarity concerning how a woman cannot shake her backside with a man's member inside, but I chose to ignore them. But the amusing thing is that they kept getting attacked by a bat. I saw it fly in when they were across the street. Suddenly one cried, 'Bat! Bat!' and they scattered. Then they came over and waited with me. Once we went back to the other side of the street to wait for the inbound bus, the bat returned. I never moved, but they panicked. It was a little amusing. Later, when I called YKWIA to let him know I was home safely, he said I should have said in a low, creepy voice 'The bats are my friends.' :)

There was a man on the bus with a beer belly who was wearing a shirt five sizes too small for him. Why do people do that?

Anyway, it was somewhat of an adventure. I got various things from my car during my visit, including my work badge for the hospital, work shirt for the gas station, and umbrella for rain. I happened to have a backpack in the car (for the gym, with my swimsuit and workout clothes), so I put some books in there and everything else I could fit. It's good to have that off my shoulders.

Okay, I need to do notes and then head on to bed. I have to get up tomorrow since I need to go downtown and then transfer to the Nicholasville Road bus to get to my consortium meeting. It takes awhile to get anywhere with our bus system. They run every 30 minutes during peak times and every hour otherwise. It occurs to me that I haven't the faintest idea where at Central Baptist this is happening, and there are several buildings. I plan to go to the medical library there and hope there's someone with directions.

Here's a LexTran commercial for beating gas prices:

Got a clean bill of health from the podiatrist

and some samples of a foot cream that soaks in through the thick skin of the foot. It's over the counter but kept behind it in the pharmacy.

I'm about to go on an adventure on the bus for the first time in a couple of years. I'm going to get a 20-punch pass for $15 dollars and a brochure with all the times and maps in it if possible. Coming back home from YKWIA's is a bit of a challenge; the night service runs on a different route, and it's unclear from the map which bus stop at the designated crossroad I take to go back in.

But first, I'm at the library right now (it's near my doctor's office), I'm going to head over to the bank and gas station to get money/laundry quarters and check on whether there's a new schedule or not, and maybe go by GB Warehouse to see about some sturdier shoes since I'll be walking more. My sandals and New Balance athletic shoes are both in sad shape. I don't have much to spend, maybe $20, but it may be enough to find something that will work for now. Fortunately, although I have to cross two major roads, I live near a grocery, several eateries, clothing and department stores, etc., etc. Another good thing, at least I don't have to worry about gas for the next couple of weeks at least. :)

Tomorrow I have a library seminar/consortium meetingn for the Kentucky Medical Library Association at Central Baptist. I'm glad it's in Lexington and on a bus route, at least. But I'm not going to be able to do both that and my physical therapy. :( I'm not sure if the bus even goes down to Tates Creek Centre yet, so that may be a challenge.

I'll write later. Remind me to tell you about the game. Have a good day.

I just came home in a cab

because my brakes failed tonight--although fortunately I was in someone's driveway when it happened, and I was able to shift gears quickly, since my brake pedal was on the floor with nothing working. I'm really glad it didn't happen when I was out on the road, especially during rush hour or anything. Now the question becomes when I can fix it; I might be able to swing it at the end of the month and be late on my rent, or it may be a couple of weeks after that. I figure it'll be $400-$500. Gack.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

This is funny

'Barack Roll' by Hugh Atkin (to Rick Astley's 'Never Going to Give You Up')

Thanks to Steven. YKWIA, be sure to show this to A, will you?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Just came in

Reading: 'At the Mountains of Madness' by HP Lovecraft (for more about this novella, see the Wikipedia article)

from picking up a friend from work and running by the store in the middle of the night. I got some Luna bars for breakfast over the next few days (much better than Pop-Tarts) and some food I can take with me for lunch and dinner.

On the one hand, my pants are all loose and I fear they may fall down sometime at the gas station since I keep my wallet on me when I'm there, and that weighs my pocket down. On the other, I had lost 25 lbs but I've gained a little of it back over the last few days, so I need to start making better choices.

I went to physical therapy today between jobs. Last time the therapist did a really deep massage to my elbow to break up the fibres that grow crosswise at the tendon which can cause pain and limit mobility/strength. Despite being a great big wuss-baby when it comes to acute pain (I do pretty well with the chronic kind), I didn't come out of my seat wailing at how much it hurt, but I had to put ice on it later and it's been swollen ever since and really tender. I told them this today and the aide massaged it but it wasn't quite so deep, although apparently the tendon is very tight around my elbow proper (the pain itself is centred about 1-2 inches below the joint). This time they did the massage first, then iced my elbow during the e-stim treatment, and that really helped (although I really liked the heat last time--it was very soothing). Also, last time they gave me a band to wear on my arm that somehow cuts the pain. It really has helped.

Tonight was truck night at the station and we were fortunate to be back to three people rather than two, since there's a new employee that just started this week. We got all the order put up before I left at 9, so that was much better. The last two or three weeks, my co-worker and I have been swamped by customers whilst trying to put everything up. We'd been pretty short-handed.

Tomorrow I'm off from the store. At the hospital, I need to take some children's books to clinic and put them on the cart we have for our early literacy programme, where books are given to children 6 months-5 years old who come in. I also need to clean out my closet and put the remaining books there--I have a small wall of boxes still to be unpacked piled at the end of my cubicle. I also need to download/print off some reports and finalise our journal renewals through our subscription agent. Then there's a need assessment to design, work out some budget details, and schedule a library committee meeting, but that may be for early next week.

Saturday I'm working a little later than usual; I don't have to go in until 11 am, but I get off at 7 pm. Then a friend and I will make a large grocery run, so not as much fun as last week, where I actually got off early enough to go to a matinee of the new Mummy movie. Let me tell you, Evie is really just the deal-breaker on this one; it's just not the same without Rachel Weisz, and the chemistry didn't quite work. But I enjoyed the movie overall and will probably get it on DVD/go to future ones. The girl who played the son's love interest was very good, and the action scenes were well done, althought I thought the special effects were not as good as in the past. Also, no mummies were harmed in the movie because there, well, weren't really any mummies--terracotta warriors, yes, and skeletal remains under the Great Wall, but no actual mummies. Still, it had its moments. And never take a yak on a small plane, or at least if you have to, don't sit next to it. Thanks to M from the game, who gave me a gift card to the Regal theatre for the winter holiday. I like the Regal, although their popcorn is not that good.

Sunday should be fun. We're getting nearer to the climax of Beyond the Mountains of Madness. My character was nearly eaten by a couple of shoggoths last week, all because the most-annoying leader of the expedition, Captain James Starkweather, the Great White Hunter and general all around incompetent prick, had to shoot a giant albino penguin down in the bowels of the city of the Elder Things. Ignoring my pleas to leave (I could hear the distant 'Teke-li-li!'), he started to truss up the penguin, no doubt so he could have it stuffed and mounted. When the shoggoth showed up, he fortunately went temporarily mad and ran out of, rather than deeper into the caverns. Despite being much faster, I couldn't very well leave him behind no matter how much I wanted to (okay, I could, but there are those vows to protect humans from Cthulhoids), and in process, got trapped between two of the creatures, but my companions showed up in time and we exploded one with concentrated use of essence to power the Elder Sign through our swords. Yay for me--my character didn't die because of that idiot. Now the question is where Starkweather has run off to, since we are on oxygen, and whether the shoggoths will start coming up to the surface and attack the camp. This so isn't good--but it is fun. We're at a point in the game that the Lovecraft story on which this was based, 'At the Mountains of Madness', is encouraged by the writers to be read, so I'm doing that now.

Oh, by the way, I finished The Somnambulist. I enjoyed the style quite a bit, it was a good mystery, although the ending was not quite satisfying and more than just a little fantastical and well, bad. Oh, and all the descriptions and reviews that I've read keep calling it a Victorian setting, when it's Edwardian--the Queen was dead, long live the King and all that. Ah, history is not the friend of some.

Well, it's 5 am--I should head back to bed; I had an hour's sleep earlier, but I need more. Thanks for letting me ramble. Good night.

PS One last thing...I know this post is pretty long, and this is going to make it longer, but I thought this was an interesting short film set to Loreena McKennitt's 'The Mask and the Mirror' made by Mirrormask. Judging from the tags, the person is influenced by Neil Gaiman, particularly The Sandman, and certainly the visuals show that is the case.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A moment, a place

This is a rather mesmerising video, set to Loreena McKennitt's 'Between the Shadows'. It was created using time-lapse photography at a certain place along the Thames River in Komoka Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. It is by John Martineau. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


'Salad Fingers 2: Friends' by David Firth

Thanks to YKWIA for finding this. Yes, we both have morbid senses of humour, as does this British animator.

Be sure to pick up a 'I like it when the red water comes out' T-shirt or thong.

Monday, August 04, 2008

File under ingenious ancient inventions

2,100-year-old gadget tracked Olympics

Researchers have found that in addition to calculating astronomical data, the Antikythera Mechanism--which looks much like a clock with gears inside, also kept track of the timing of the Olympics, which is significant in that there is no real need to do complex calculations for a simple four-year cycle; it was a societal, not heavenly, event, but incorporated into the device. It also tracked eclipses and the Metonic calendar. Also, the month names used on the device are similar to those used by Corinthian colonies in Sicily, giving some idea as to its origin.

PS Speaking of eclipses, I didn't mention the total solar eclipse that happened on the 1st because it didn't affect us here in Kentucky (damn the bad luck; I've only seen partial eclipses of the sun and would love to see a total one). It would really have been remarkable in the Arctic, where it was centred, since they've got the midnight sun thing going on right now. Here's a video of the totality, by http://www.astroscopio.com, an astronomy website:

Oh, my

Tonight I had a brochure on my door when I came home. A menu, in fact, for Tandoor, the nearest Indian restaurant and one of the best in town. With great happiness I read the following: 'Now we deliver to your door.' It's within a three-mile radius, with free delivery for orders of $25 or more, $4 extra for orders less than $25. But you can have wonderful Indian food without leaving the house. Now if I just had money. :)

My favourites from the menu are peshwari naan (which has nuts and a sweet raisin stuffing) and vegetable korma, which is in a cream sauce with nuts. I've also wanted to try the fish tikka masala, which is salmon cooked Tandoori-style in a tomato and cream sauce.

This menu is definitely going up on my bulletin board for future reference. Yum! I wonder if the hospital is within three miles?


Sunday, August 03, 2008

A test!

Take the HP Lovecraft Historical Society's SaniTest. Then get back with me once you get out of Arkham Sanitarium...oh, yeah, just meet me there, come to think of it. I'll be looking for the secret laboratory.

My score:

Your SaniTest(TM) Results

Your score is: 134
For easier understanding, the HPLHS SaniTest assessment algorithm converts your raw score to a scale of 1 to 10. This number is your INSANITY INDEX.

INSANITY INDEX 7.55 Well, the SaniTest(TM) algorithm probably can't tell you anything that you haven't heard before: you're out of your mind. You score at the high end of the middle of the 'spectrum of madness,' in an area that's difficult to classify with precision. Test answers suggest a certain morbidity and even malevolence. Not that there's anything wrong with that. You are also willing to take risks that a saner person would shy away from. Other notable people who score at this level include Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett, mountain climber Sir Edmund Hillary, and cuneiform expert/Assyriologist Hermann Volrath Hilprecht.


Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: At the Mountains of Madness


Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The Dunwich Horror

Each from the folks at the HP Lovecraft Historical Society. :)

Brain HURT!

'Chainsaw Maid' from Takena (as featured on YouTube)

Brains! Brains!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Amazon is acquiring AbeBooks

Those of you familiar with the used bookseller AbeBooks may be interested in news that Amazon has reached an agreement with the company to purchase it in the fourth quarter of this year. Sources say the idea is that AbeBooks will remain an independent arm of the company, based in British Columbia as it is currently, and maintaining its present CEO.

Thanks to Birdie at LISNews.

I meant to show these off ages ago

African Violets

I was downloading some pictures from my camera and came across my African Violets that I keep at work. After a year of no blooms, they suddenly burst forth (and there was great rejoicing). They're still blooming, months later.

Friday, August 01, 2008


News Flash From the Cover of Esquire: Paper Magazines Can Be High Tech, Too details the magazine Esquire's plans to celebrate 75 years of publishing with an electronic cover complete with E Ink, the substance that allows Amazon's Kindle to work without a backlight.

Only real drawback? The magazine cover will lose its battery power in about 90 days. So how do you preserve a dynamic magazine cover?

Thanks to Bibliofuture from LISNews for the head's up.

Now if we could only close the gaps in life-expectancy by race

Gender seems to be doing so.

From the newsfeed for what's new on PubMed:

Life expectancy for Americans surpassed 78 years for the first time in 2006, and life span increases occurred for both men and women, the National Center for Health Statistics recently reported. American women continue to outlive men. The record life expectancy for both white and African-American women was almost 77 and 71 years, respectively. But male life expectancy jumped too (at 76 and 70 years respectively for white and African-Americans)...

You can also listen to the NLM (National Library of Medicine) Director's Comments on the Increase in U.S. Life Expectancy. The transcript is also available.

An interesting online historical resource

The Map of Early Modern London, also via anderskb.

Ah, historical humour

World's oldest joke traced back to 1900 BC

The jokes presented in the article are part of a 'Top 10' list from the University of Wolverhampton, as commissioned by the British television channel Dave. You can click on the last link to go straight to the list.


The Social Security Administration has a baby name site that lists most popular names by decade, etc. For the 1960s, the most popular girl's name was 'Lisa'. Yes, just like me (I go by Eilir online, my middle name, and of course Elisabeth is my first name--but my birth name was Lisa, and I still largely go by that, since it's short for Elisabeth. I changed it when I chucked my father's name in 1993. Full birth name: Lisa Kay Broadbent. Full name now: Elisabeth Eilir Aranea Rowan. That might help if you're someone from my past who Googles me. Anyway, you get the picture.) Check out the site.

Thanks to anderskb from LISNews for that tidbit.