Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Saturday, January 31, 2009

I talked to my mother briefly

She was at work, counting meds (she's a nurse), so I didn't keep her, but apparently my grandmother is with her in Stanford, which is a relief. As far as I know Danville is still without power in several areas, over 6,500 homes affected in the city. According to Wikipedia, 'as of the census of 2000, there were 15,477 people, 6,223 households, and 4,013 families residing in the city. The population density was 378.4 /km2 (980.1 /sq mi). There were 6,734 housing units at an average density of 164.7 /km2 (426.6 /sq mi),' so that's a large bit of town. But it sounds like everyone in my family is safe, yay!

It's nice to know we made the national news with this mess

Ky. orders record Guard call-up to fight ice: 400,000 homes and businesses across the state are still without power

The ice was steadily falling from trees today as warmer temperatures started a thaw. Tomorrow could be in the 50s, which might help in terms of getting electricity and water restored but could mean flooding. I was fortunate to only be without power for a little over a day. Some people are looking at six weeks. I think it will take awhile to get a handle on the full scope of the storm. Some snow is forecast for early next week. One friend told me the wind was supposed to be an issue then for the Ohio Valley. It's supposed to get warmer later in the week, though.

I'm tired of winter weather even though it hasn't been that snowy this year. It has been pretty cold, with a few nice days. It sounds like tomorrow will be one of the latter. But I'm ready for spring.

A sad postscript to the American Library Association's Midwinter conference

If you keep up with library news, you've probably heard this, but I'll post anyway.

Two Perrot librarians killed in Denver crash

A Great Loss in ALSC

Sorrow in Old Greenwich: Visitors mourn loss of librarians

Suspect in fatal Denver hit-run had DUI conviction: Also faces charges for illegal possession of a tiger cub

They were on their way from the conference to the airport to return to Connecticut when their taxi was sideswiped by a hit-and-run driver suspected of being under the influence. Both women were thrown from the vehicle when it tumbled down an embankment.

Kate McClelland, 71, was ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) Vice President. Kathy Krasniewicz, 54, was Notable Children’s Videos Chair.

It was a senseless tragedy. The woman suspected of causing the accident has been apprehended and was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide, one of vehicular assault (for the taxi driver, who fortunately lived), and driving under the influence. She had a previous DUI conviction.

I didn't know them of course, but it saddens me. It sounds like they were very dedicated to improving the lives of children, and the joy and love of reading that they have brought to so many children will live on beyond them. I hope their families, colleagues, and patrons can take comfort in that.

I'm slowly getting up

I haven't been able to get a hold of the blood centre yet to ask about the antibiotic possibly deferring me. I'll try later.

My allergies are bad today; I'm all snotty, which I suppose might be a reason not to donate in case it's not just allergies. But I basically feel like this every morning when I wake up. I'll see how I feel after I've been up a bit and take some Claritin. I think I'll also go by the pharmacy and get some Mucinex at the urging of my friend YKWIA (it will help clear the sinuses and relieve the last bit of pressure that comes and goes with my ears), along with some cotton balls and Vaseline to keep the water out of my ears like my doctor wanted.

Okay, I'm going to check my blood sugar, shower, rub myself down with tea tree foot repair cream because my skin is so dry, get something to eat, take my meds, and then do some notes for awhile, trying out a new format at the game master' suggestion. I'll write later.

My inbox is full of pleas for donating blood

from the local blood centre. The weather is making the supply of blood critical; they're having to get blood from other areas and have had to cancel 22 blood drives in the last few days, losing hundreds of potential pints of blood. I'm O+, so I'm in demand since I can give blood to anyone who's got a positive Rh factor. They're open until 2:30 tomorrow. I think I'm going to call and see if my run of Keflex will disqualify me. I'm pretty much over the ear infection, but I'm still on antibiotics.

I don't really give blood as often as I should, maybe twice, sometimes three times, a year. But in my lifetime I've donated over three gallons of blood that went to help save the lives of others. Even though I hate needles, even though I'm latex allergic and have to be vigilant, I give blood. Here's a promo from the blood centre on the impact giving blood has:

Not everyone can give blood, of course. But if you can, consider doing so. It's really not that bad, and doesn't take much time. They even give you snacks afterwards to make sure you don't get woozy. :)

Another weather post

It's supposed to be 8 degrees tonight so of course my car door latch froze open again. A little WD-40 sprayed into the latch to loosen it and get rid of any ice did the trick after a few minutes. I'm keeping some in the car now for just such instances. I also have a lighter for if the door lock freezes, where I can heat a key, and I've been leaving my car unlocked when it's really cold, because I doubt anyone would steal it and there isn't really anything of value inside. And yes, I know not to mix the WD-40 with the lighter. That would be...bad.

Saturday it's supposed to be in the 30s and Sunday it's supposed to be near 50, so hopefully this will start melting, although it'll be a mess. I figure all told we got about 3-4 inches of snow in Lexington and about 1/2 an inch of ice. The melting is causing big icicles to form and they're falling from the power lines as people drive under. I guess as the thaw happens there's a chance that limbs will plummet still. My power's been holding. Our performance improvement director told me that if it goes back out, I should come to the hospital, plug in the CPAP, and camp out in my office or if they have a free room, there. Some of the nurses had to stay overnight because they couldn't get home and back. She said that was really a medical necessity and I shouldn't hesitate next time. There are some advantages to my job. :)

PS I was off from the store this week but someone quit and my boss called to see if I could help out Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. I have an appointment on Tuesday, so I volunteered to work the other two. I'm working 3-10 on Monday (a truck night) and 3-9 on Wednesday. What didn't I think of? 'Heroes' starts back on Monday night at 9. I cannot believe I forgot. I guess I just can't fathom that it's almost February. I knew that it was coming on February 2nd, but just didn't make the connexion when I looked in my planner. I am an idiot. I guess I'll be watching on the web after the fact. I need to put in a request to not work Mondays, I think.

I'm not really into pop music per se

but YKWIA introduced me to a 90s Irish girl band called B*Witched and I found this video interesting:

'I shall be there' by B*Witched:

The band brought together twin sisters Edele and Keavy Lynch, Sinéad O'Carroll and Lindsay Armaou. You can definitely tell the twins are related. They and O'Carroll are Irish, Armaou has a Greek father and an Irish mother and moved to Dublin from Greece when she was 13. The song features Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I like the blend of Irish and African music and motifs. I must say in every video YKWIA showed me, their costumes are very well done (although their hair is sometimes frightening). Oh, and a star is sometimes shown in the videos and of course they use it as if it were an asterisk in their name, which bothered YKWIA; but if you notice when you type one (shift-8 on a Western keyboard), it prints a five-pointed star on the screen, not the six-pointed figure we normally think of as an asterisk. Anyway, it's a nice feel-good song. Hope you enjoy.

Friday, January 30, 2009

One thing about women

the world can be going to hell in a hand basket, and as long as we have clean hair, it's all good. I'm sure that although Scarlett O'Hara railed against hunger, a good bath and a dress made of draperies helped immensely. After a day of no hot water, I was ready for a shower, and not the regular utilitarian-good-for-water-conservation type that I usually take, but a luxurious one. So now, I am clean and happy. Some people can go more than 24 hours without one and that's fine; I wind up with hair looking like I'm Severus Snape's sister.

It's snowing again outside; it looks like maybe a quarter of an inch or so on the cars, no big deal.

I'm getting ready for work, having a brain again after hours of good sleep. Yesterday is not exactly a blur, but there was a frenetic quality to it, because I was so tired I had trouble sleeping, carrying on a conversation, etc. A friend thinks that the CPAP wasn't the culprit, that I was nervous about the power outage and cold and anxious, and that if we were ever in a true disaster they'd have to put me down for my own good, because I'd be running around like Beaker the Muppet in a panic. He may be right, I'm not sure. I usually handle emergencies alright on the surface but agitated inside, and then I fall apart afterwards. This is one reason I chose not to go into the medical field as a doctor or nurse, although in retrospect my first choice as a kid of optometrist would have been nice, since they make decent money, get to be called 'doctor' and really don't have life-and-death emergencies. Instead I went with librarian because I had a history and sociology degree and seemed somewhat aimless after my divorce, and I sort of gravitated to library school because it seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, I liked books and computers, right? Don't get me wrong; I love being a librarian and I'm good at it, but I've never had much job security or comfortable income to really rely on since I'm underemployed and refuse to travel and leave the ties here at home to another city with better prospects, without a library school churning out new candidates every semester.

Well, that's all for this morning. It's 9:20 and I want to finish getting ready, get the snow off my car, and get to work early so that I can hopefully leave a little early today to run some errands. Have a great day.

Okay, one last thing after all, then off to bed

I don't think I've taken this one before...

Your result for The Chess Mess Test...

The Queen's Knight

Congrats! Only 4-5% of the population score this!

The Queen’s Knight is armed with rose-colored glasses. The mundane comes to life and nature becomes expressive of spirit. The interesting thing about this Knight is the ability to switch from fantasy to reality. There are exceptions to the rule, but this is the type that may have had imaginary friends as a youngster. Their stuffed animals also were great companions. The Queen’s Knight will see the good in almost anyone or anything – but their depth of emotion can remain hidden even from themselves. Circumstances tend to reveal sudden responses.

Not all life is rosy and this Knight is not exempt from disappointment or frustration with humanity. They may feel incompetence when dealing with their own ethical values. Things aren’t simply white black, but a grand battle of Good versus Evil. Evil must be reckoned with but Good shall eventually win. It is not that they fight evil, but that they fight for the essence of moral good. Doing something good is quite satisfactory for them and indeed increases their happiness. It is when something is not reciprocated to them that they are saddened and disappointed by others. They learn that others aren’t as self-sacrificing.

The Queen's Knight is dominated by an inner world of intense feeling and deeply rooted ethics. They seek to form their life based on their views. They are highly curious of those around them so are readily accepting of others unless their values are being threatened. They promote insight and understanding amongst others and contribute well thought ideas. They however can be a bit too idealistic.

Check out my other tests!

Changeling Type | Mage Sorter

Take The Chess Mess Test
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I just got a friend from work

and came across an area that had no power earlier today, then power, and now it's out again. On the plus side, the Buckhorn area seems up again. Mine seems to be holding for now. Tomorrow there's a chance for more snow but on the plus side Sunday it is supposed to warm up to 49 degrees (followed by more possible snow Monday and Tuesday).

I've gotten a little rest, although not as much as I'd like, so I'm going back to bed. But I thought I'd check in.

By the way, I must say RIP Yuletide tree. After a valiant attempt at resuscitation (thank goodness for spell check--I can never get that one. If I were in a spelling bee, it would disqualify me), the tree has dried up and died. I've only managed to keep one alive for 3 years, but this went quicker than normal. It had a little glitter on it; that may be part of it. Or maybe I just didn't water it enough. I don't know, Norfolk Virginia pines just seem tricky.

I guess that's all for tonight. I'll try to write something not weather-related tomorrow. Good night.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The roller coaster ride of an ice storm

So, my power's been out for 24 hours, and I haven't gotten any sleep because I couldn't use my CPAP (the machine that blows pressurised air into my nose to counteract my sleep apnea). I haven't showered. I feel icky. But the power just came back on a little while ago, so I plan to go back to sleep, or rather, go back to bed and hope I sleep this time. I thought I'd write just a short post in case it goes back out again.

We got some big fluffy snowflakes yesterday that translated to another weight for the trees, so more are going down and power is out in much of the area. Some cities are out almost entirely; here in Lexington there are pockets throughout the city (and I was lucky enough to live in one of them). All told, there were over 600,000 homes without power in Kentucky last night, according to the paper.

Last night I had another problem. I got off from work at about 9:20 pm and discovered that both front door latches were frozen so that the doors would not close again. It took about an hour and some WD-40 that a co-worker was nice enough to buy for me (I got paid today, and didn't have the money) to get going again. Then, of course, I came home to darkness. A customer had warned me that the Easthills and Buckhorn areas were out, so there was a good chance that my area, which is not that far away, was out as well. And so it was. I had to use candles to find my flashlight (I thought I put it by the door, but had moved it to the table near the recliner the night before when I'd been in the dark). Now it's in it's spot near the door, just in case.

I called in to the hospital today but spoke with the secretary since I thought my boss wouldn't be able to make it in (she lives southeast, in an area pretty hard hit, and hadn't been here for the last couple of days), but there was a communication problem and she did come in but didn't know where I was, so she called me to see if I were in an accident or something, which was nice of her. I assured her that I was alright but just had not had any sleep and wasn't working on all thrusters.

Okay, that's all for now. If I can, I'll blog more after I get some rest. At least I have some food in the house that won't spoil and a comforter (although no blankets, really--I don't normally sleep with much cover), so if it goes back out I can hopefully do alright. If worse comes to worse, I can shower at the gym, and my boss from the store has offered her place if I need somewhere to stay. But with any luck, the power will stay on. It's still pretty cool in the house (it's 20-something degrees outside), so I'll bundle up. And so, even if it is midday, good night. :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Making important history accessible

Holocaust recordings put online by British Library-- Audio recordings made by Jewish survivors of the Second World War go on the British Library's website from today to mark National Holocaust Memorial Day (January 27th).

The recordings can be found at http://sounds.bl.uk

On January 27, 1945, Auschwitz, the notorious Nazi death camp, was liberated.

Well, it looks like we dodged the rest of the storm

It's just been normal rain--no sleet or snow so far. Of course, it could change over this morning or in the afternoon, but for now, things are slushy but workable. Still, we're not out of the woods yet. The trees are overladen, so there's plenty of chance to lose limbs or power. And the water! It's running in channels between the slush and collecting on roads. Here are some pictures from this morning:

Pine with fallen branches
(This pine has lost several branches.)

Icy trees
(It is pretty, though, the ice on the trees.)

Water on the snow
(This isn't a small creek--it's water sitting on the snow in front of my apartment.)

Also, it's supposed to get down to 18 degrees tonight, so naturally all this water is going to freeze. Tomorrow should be really fun. :)

A week of remembrance for space pioneers

January 27, 1967: Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger B. Chaffee died in the Apollo 1 fire on the landing pad.

January 28, 1986: The Challenger disaster--where Dick Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Judith Resnick, Ellison Onizuka, Ronald McNair, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe (meant to be the first civilian and teacher in space) died shortly after lift off.

February 1, 2003: A second space shuttle, Columbia, suffers disaster as it breaks up on re-entry. Killed are: Rick D. Husband, William C. McCool, Michael P. Anderson, Ilan Ramon, Kalpana Chawla, David M. Brown, and Laurel Clark.

All three of the great NASA disasters happened within one calendar week, in different years, of course. I was born the year of the Apollo 1 disaster. Before 9/11, the Challenger disaster is the one galvanising moment in my lifetime, the type where people know exactly where they were when they experienced or found out about an event. I remember that day vividly and the emotions that went with it. The Columbia disaster was equally distressing.

These men and women were pioneers, and their accomplishments should be remembered. Moreso, learning from the tragedies can help prevent further deaths as mankind continues to reach for the stars.

Thank you, KU

I came home from work tonight during an ice storm to a dark house, but Kentucky Utilities had my power back on within an hour after I got there. Some others are not so lucky, including my hometown of Danville:

Danville, Berea expect to run out of water

Hustonville, another city in Boyle County, is already without water. The problem with Boyle cities is that they get their water from Herrington Lake, and the pumping station is without power and KU can't find the power lines that were down. But generators are on their way. In Danville, downed power lines and trees led the city to ban any traffic on the roads except emergency vehicles. Berea is in similar shape.

This morning it took me a half hour to chip out my car, twice as long as normal to get to work, and about 5-10 minutes to get in the building, because even with two groundskeepers and all the efforts to clear things, the parking lot and sidewalks were a solid sheet of ice. I got in and realised I'd left my badge, with which I clock in and out, back in the car. Needless to say, I didn't go back. My boss can put in my time, thankfully.

It was even worse when I came back out. The snow had settled to a perfectly flat surface covered with ice. You know how if ice is on the pavement you can walk in the snow to avoid falling down? Not today--it not only bore my substantial weight, it was slick as anything and nearly impossible to walk in without digging in your heels and praying. Then it was time to chip out the car again.

Then it was to the gas station for work and icing the sidewalks and wishing the people who'd come out for cigarettes, beer, and milk (oddly enough, no bread) well and to be careful in the craziness of the weather. My co-worker was nice enough to 1) take out the trash and crates I had left over from doing the cooler, since the dumpster area was icy and I am a complete klutz and 2) chipped out my car whilst on a smoke break.

After I came home I lit some candles and sat in the comfy chair. I wasn't cold yet or anything. The power eventually came on and I turned the computer back on and primed the aquarium filter. Then it was out again to pick A up from work. There were a lot of limbs down, and he was freaking as we went down Cooper Drive with all its low-hanging branches and old trees. The main roads weren't bad but the turn lanes and secondary roads were pure slush. I didn't dare pull into his driveway for fear of getting stuck. Then he climbed on all fours up the hill to his house, which was hilarious, but given the slickness, pretty smart. I thought the big maple tree he was under was going to get him. It's hard to bend down and keep your balance on ice, and I think that's about the time he dropped to all fours. But he got in safely, and so did I, and I'm glad to be in for the night. It seems to be raining now (rather than freezing rain), but it's supposed to change back to sleet and snow. We're supposed to get at least another couple of inches of snow by sometime tomorrow. Then the temperatures plunge. They've been steadily around freezing, but tomorrow night they'll be in the teens, so all the slush will turn to ice and the salt won't be as effective.

I would say it's time for a snow day. We'll see what it's like tomorrow. I'm not essential personnel at the hospital. But regardless, I have to work at the station, and A is essential personnel (I think) at his job, so I'll get him again around midnight, so I might as well go into work in the morning. I think if it's really bad someone from the hospital can come and get him, but I'm not sure if you're not just trapped there if that happens. :)

My ear is doing much better after days of pain and pressure. This evening the sense of pressure and fluid finally went away, and I can finally hear normally out of the ear. Not to be gross, but stuff that looks like crusty earwax is coming out of it, which hopefully means the infection is nearly over. (And no, I'm not digging in my ear, which is itching a lot...just occasionally cleaning the outside of the ear). I now have a great deal of sympathy with little kids who scream with earaches. It was terrible, probably the most painful illness I've ever had. I'm going to be much more careful about how I treat my ears and try to keep water out of them, too.

Well, that's enough. I'm catching up, as I obviously got my connexion back tonight. If you're in the winter storm area, I hope you stay safe and warm, and you have electricity and water. Be careful on those roads, too.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It would figure

that with being sick I have a little more time to be on the Internet (although in truth, I'm mostly sleeping a lot, taking my medicine when I should, and eating a little), but my Internet connexion went down last night when Insight restricted it. I'll be able to get it back on Tuesday or Wednesday, but I'd hoped that by changing my billing cycle I'd avoid these episodes. At least when it's restricted I have a week before it's actually disconnected, so I don't have to pay to get it back on or anything.

So I'm in the library that is near my house blogging a couple of posts and checking to see if I had any voice mail from my co-worker about coming in a couple of hours for me tomorrow (since my home phone also doesn't work without the cable connexion). But now I'm going to go back home, eat something, and head on to bed for awhile because I'm tired.

This might be useful if you're interested in becoming a librarian

Some links to US News & World Report's rankings of library schools for various programmes:

Top Programs in Library and Information Studies
Archives and Preservation
Digital Librarianship
Health Librarianship
Information Systems
Law Librarianship
School Library Media
Services for Children and Youth

Links courtesy of Kip Altman of BusinessHistory.com.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Well, it was my favourite show during my childhood/teen years

Your result for The MASH 4077 Test...

Commanding Officer

You scored 87

A true fan. You probably have seen every episode more times than you can count and still watch it in syndication or own it on vhs or dvd. Not much of anything slips by you. You are the boss with the brass.

Take The MASH 4077 Test
at HelloQuizzy


I have a severe case of otitis externa, which is a fancy way to say I have an infection in my ear canal that is also called 'swimmer's ear' because exposure to water can be a cause. My doctor suggested that in the future when I wash my hair I take cotton balls with petroleum jelly and put them in the very front area of the ear (not the canal itself) to help keep moisture out.

I've contributed greatly to the problem myself. My left ear has itched a lot for some time (although that in itself is a symptom of early infection), with dry flaky skin, and I've been obsessively trying to clean it, trying to be careful since I know it's bad to use cotton swabs or other implements to remove the ear wax, etc. Doing so damages the thick skin of the canal and makes it more prone to infection. The nurse suggested a remedy called sweet oil (which is essentially olive oil) that you put a drop or two in the ear every couple of weeks to keep the flaking and itching down (although not during the infection). I picked up some of that at the pharmacy as well.

My ear is swollen to the point where it was difficult for the doctor to put the scope in, and I'm in a lot of pain, including the outside of the ear and the lymph nodes behind the ear. My throat's hurting too, which isn't that surprising, since they're connected. There's a lot of pressure built up due to fluid and pus, and I can't hear well in that ear. It's nearly eight o'clock in the evening and I'm finally (after taking corticosteroid ear drops four hours ago and going to sleep) able to eat a sandwich, if I chew carefully, because of the pain. I haven't had much appetite anyway, which is unusual for me. I need to keep a careful eye on my blood sugars during my illness because diabetes can lead to a rare but potentially lethal case of otitis externa, potentially causing deafness, paralysis of the nerves around the larynx necessitating a tracheotomy, or osteomyelitis (bone infection) [the latter two can be fatal]. Isn't it great to be a medical librarian with access to the Internet?

Although I'm not really feverish, I've been very tired, and my doctor gave me a note to be off work until Monday. I was off from the hospital and the store today, and will be off from the hospital tomorrow. Our schedule at the store on Saturday is such that I couldn't trade with anyone, but my boss reduced my hours and we're trying to get someone to come in a couple hours early to cover. If not, she said she'd come in herself. That would halve my hours anyway so I could get some rest. If I didn't work at all it would really leave them in a bind.

Except for going to the doctor, talking to my bosses, and going to the pharmacy, I've slept all day. I need to work on the notes tonight since I have time, even if it's for a little while, although I really just feel like going back to bed. So while I'm off for a little while, I'm not sure how much blogging I'll do. If I sleep a lot, it may not be much. If I can't concentrate on anything else, it may be a lot.

Anyway, that's what's going on with me. At least I haven't been sick enough to be knocked off my feet in a very long time (not since before I started at the store three years ago). And at least I'm not contagious (they checked me for strep). So hopefully the antibiotic and ear drops will take it out pretty quickly. I'm on four Keflex a day, which sent the pharmacy in a tizzy because I'm allergic to penicillin, but I've taken it before with no trouble, so here's hoping I'm not allergic to it, too.

Speaking of Doctor Who...

I took a quiz on which Doctor Who companion I would be. I'm Adric???? Okay, so I would be kidnapped--a lot. But I'm hopeless at math, let me tell you. YKWIA might agree with this assessment, though. He has to deal with me on a regular basis.

Your result for The Doctor Who Companion Test...


You are Adric. Let's be honest: only Tegan likes you. You get into all kinds of trouble, and the Master's constantly trying to kidnap you to use in his evil schemes. You're not even very pleasant to be around, what with your short temper and constant questioning of the Doctor's orders.

Still, there's no getting around the gold star for mathematical excellence. You have math skills that are second only to the Doctor's himself. I guess that's why he keeps you around.

Take The Doctor Who Companion Test
at HelloQuizzy


From 'Little Britain', a British series (narrated, incidentally, by Tom Baker of 'Doctor Who' fame)...

Dafydd Thomas, despite encountering other gays in various episodes, insists that he is the 'only gay in the village'. Here he takes on his local library.

Thanks to YKWIA for the link. Oh, and yes, I know it's humour based on stereotypes, but keep in mind that creator and actor Matt Lucas is himself gay. And being bisexual myself, it was nice to see bisexuals included on the sign.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I got this from Steven over at Library Stuff, who in turn got it from someone else. I suspect it's making the rounds:

Dems celebrating

PS If you need to know how to make sure animated .gifs display through Blogger pages hosted on Blog*Spot, check out this post.

Monday, January 19, 2009

An interesting test

Your result for The Cultural Identity Test...

The Intellectual

69% Traditionalism, 82% Knowledge, 80% Diversity, 28% Contemporary and 30% Untraditionalism!


You Scored 82% The Intellectual, Congratulations!

Ah, the intellectual. Pure, unadultered science is what motivates you. The world is an interesting place, and you want to pick it apart and see how it works.

You are probably not all that impressed with the Untraditionalism of traditionalists or liberal philosophers, and see instead a third path to enlightenment: that of logic and reason. Modern ideas do not interest you, as you know that every fact is accompanied by an irrefutable opinion, and there is simply no room for such romanticism.

History, philosophy, and a multitude of cultures are all familiar to you, and you revel in the delight of learning even more. There is simply no limit to your understanding, except what you are able to read. The intricacies of language is second nature to you, and you probably can speak more than one. Which is useful, because you love to travel to places where you might need it. While others are content to revel in the intellectual impoverishment of our time, you set your sights higher--probably with the aide of a sextant. Because you're an intellectual, and you probably have one.

Editors Note:

Although it's now taken over twenty hours to complete (and if you calculate in all the years I've spent compiling this information for my own purposes a good deal longer), I'm very pleased with how this test has turned out. Yet even more gratifying are the responses I've been getting from people. If you were wondering, I am a traditionalist, and knowing about my heritage and celebrating my customs is one of the most important aspects of my life. It has been since I was a child, and in reality I created this test more for my own interests and curiosity than for entertainment value. If I succeeded in both then that's just a bonus.

The greatest compliment I've gotten from people is that this test has made them consider their own heritage more deeply, and want to find out more about where they came from. This wasn't a necessarily a goal I had in mind when I created the test, but to hear that I've sparked some interest in a person's lineage, however small, is an incredibly rewarding experience. Our lives are so determined by where we have come from, our past, that to learn more about those indelible links is often times an overwhelming experience. To know that my great, great, great grandfather was a signer of the Declaration of Independence helps me appreciate the history of my country, America, in a much deeper and more personal way. And, like as not, amazing links can be found in almost anyone's history.

Whatever your score, whatever your ideas on the issues I've raised here, I want to sincerely thank you for spending the time to take my test, and hope that you've enjoyed it.

I also have a ton of resources for learning about your own history, and I'd be happy to share them with anyone who was interested. And feel free to send me your thoughts and comments, or even your ideas for the test! I love to read them, and might even post a few in the test itself.

Viel Glück,

- Errantblue

Answers to the Geographical and Historical Questions:

Q 24: The Five Pillars Of...

A: Islam

Q 25: Historically, the "dollar" draws its origins from...

A: Germany and Scandinavia. Specifically, from the Thaler.

Q 26: Some easy geography. What country is this?

A: Japan

Q 27: A little trickier. What country is highlighted by the red dot?

A: Nigeria

Q 28: You live in Romania and you travel directly south. What country are you in?

A: Bulgaria

Q 29: Mao Tse Tung...

A: Was a communist Chinese military leader

Q 30: Rome ceased its expansion into Britainia because...

A: A and B

Q 31: What famous building is this?

A: St. Basil's Cathedral

Q 32: If you went to South Africa, could you speak English?

A: Yes, you could.

Q 33: Where do you think this might be?

A: Northern England

Q 34: Aryan...

A: Is an ancient Indo-Iranian word refering to a caste of nobility.

Q 35: Which mythological cycle describes a creator god who emerged from an egg and split himself into two people, one male and one female?

A: Indian Mythology

Take The Cultural Identity Test
at HelloQuizzy

Okay, I'm very tired. I got 2 1/2 hours of sleep last night due to my own procrastination on the notes. Hope you had a good weekend. I don't get off for the King holiday tomorrow but will be off for a doctor's appointment on Inauguration Day. Yay for a new President!

PS I really like the picture the quiz writer used. :) I've always wanted a skull in my library. Oh, that's right, I have an entire skeleton (although it is of plastic). But the skull by itself is way cooler, and you can recite Hamlet for fun.

Rescue and tragedy

Calif. woman killed by train after rescuing kids: Teen also injured after helping pull five children from car stopped on tracks

Thank goodness the children are safe, but it's a shame that the woman was killed and a teenager injured after pulling the kids from the car.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Brr...i-i-it's c-c-old...

Today I participated in a web seminar on how to do podcasting put on by the Greater Midwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. It was fun, I enjoyed it, and I know a lot more than I did (which was almost nothing) of what podcasting can do and how to make them. My only complaint is that being in an office with several other cubicles, I couldn't just put my phone on speaker but had to hold the receiver to my ear for an hour and a half. I'd rather use some sort of conferencing software that just played the audio over the computer that I could listen to via headphones.

One nice thing about the meeting was that none of us had to travel. In fact, the instructor was doing the presentation from home using an iPhone. Considering it was the Midwest Region (even though Kentucky is really part of the South, it tends to get lumped into the Midwest often), people traded temps outside and one lady was somewhere where it was -35 degrees Fahrenheit. I so could not live there. I might be conflating but I think she was the one who walked to work and didn't see why they closed the schools. Those Midwesterners are a tough lot.

After work I took a couple of friends around for errands. Then one of them and I did what any sane person would do when it's 6 degrees outside--we took three dogs to Incredipet, a local pet store with a dog wash area, and bathed them. Don't worry, they got good and dry between the towels and the drying cage (one really, really liked that, which is surprising, as she's the one that doesn't stay in place much, but she just kept going back in when we tried to get the others to). One whinged all the way to the store because it was dark and the aliens might get her. She's the only dog I've ever known who was afraid of the dark. The largest dog is usually hard to get up the ramp and into the sink, but she was a real trooper and surprisingly went right on up. When all was said and done (and they'd had treats as a reward), we went back to their home, and I was the one in wet clothes freezing in the weather, although it's amazing how warm a car can get with the heater on and three dogs in the backseat steaming up the windows. Yes, it was an adventure.

But now I'm home and ready for bed. I've caught up on news and on mail. My schedule changed for the store tomorrow so I will be working 10 hours rather than five, which sort of sucks, but hey, it's extra money, which I could really use.

Oh, I got my W2s from the hospital on Thursday. I hope the store's are on their way, although since I didn't file a new W4 until late in the year, I'll probably have to pay extra again this year rather than get a refund. I also got paid Thursday and I found out that with the raise and the higher flexible spending account deduction I pretty much evened out and I'm making just a few dollars less a pay period than I did last year. But I've got over $3,000 to use for medical expenses, so that will help.

Thursday I also paid my rent, and managed to get a break because neither I or the leasing agent can do math. I figured up the late fees twice and got two different amounts, so I called her for the official total before getting a money order, and she gave me the lower total. Later, she said not to worry about the extra five dollars I did owe since she made a mistake. Yay for getting to live indoors for less! And I didn't have to pay as much as I have the last two months, so maybe I can finally get caught up. We'll see.

Well, that's enough for now. I'm going on to bed and plan to get up fairly early to take care of some things around the house. I really need to do dishes and take out the trash, for example. Good night.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I've never really watched 'Desperate Housewives'

although it sounds like a fun show and I'd like to, I'd just be lost since I didn't follow it from the beginning. But I have a couple of friends who really like it and give me tidbits of information about what's going on in the shows they're watching (I don't think they're the new ones, but rather those in syndication). So I thought I'd take a quiz to see which Housewife I'd turn out to be.

From what little I know, I guess this is not that surprising. I am certainly not Gabrielle, but I came out pretty even on the rest of them, with Lynette edging out the others.

Your result for The Desperate Housewives Test...

You scored 50 Bree, 25 Gabrielle, 59 Lynette, and 50 Susan!

From your score the highest score is who you are most like.

Take The Desperate Housewives Test
at HelloQuizzy

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Something to read

A Look at Recessions and their Impact on Librarianship

Thanks to Blake from LISNews for the link.

What he said

T. Scott, a librarian I admire, has an excellent entry on his opinions of the Bush Administration and his hope that the damage done may be repaired, called Truth and Reconciliation. Check it out.

This is so sad, but there's hope for a young life

Miracle baby born two days after mother’s ‘death’: Doctors kept mom’s heart beating; 2-lb. infant delivered premature

Born at 25 weeks after her mother collapsed from a brain hoemorrahge brought on by an undetected tumour, little Aya Jayne Soliman is not out of the woods by a long-shot. My best wishes to her and her father, Mahmoud, in this difficult time.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Two science fiction greats are dead

R.I.P. Patrick McGoohan, The Prisoner's TV Visionary

Number Six is gone. 'The Prisoner' was an intelligent and somewhat surreal British science fiction series that I watched in re-runs as a child. McGoohan starred as a former intelligence agent trapped in the Village, given a number, and spurred to explain why he resigned. It included elements of the 60s counterculture and was rather strange and utterly British. McGoohan was also known to audiences as 'Danger Man' or in the US, 'Secret Agent'.


Ricardo Montalban, Wrath of Khan's Classic Space Villain, Dies at 88

I love this quote from the article:
While Montalban's TV appearance as Khan in the original Star Trek episode 'Space Seed' was based on controlled menace, his older, angrier big-screen version was bat-dropping crazy -- a raging force of nature.

And Montalban played it to the hilt, a very different character than Mr Roarke on 'Fantasy Island'. He had a very distinctive voice, as well.

Both will be missed.

Warning: a post on women's plumbing

I survived my doctor's appointment. I don't have a urinary tract infection, yay, although I have a raging yeast infection (I know, too much information), a by-product of my diabetes. The nice thing was that they didn't have to do a Pap smear, since I've always had normal Paps so at my age I can go 3-5 years or so. I do need a mammogramme, though. Also, I am apparently at risk for GYN cancers due to my size, although since I have regular periods, that's probably not an issue yet. If I start menopause or get really irregular, she said to come in for progesterone to counteract that. The doctor also gave me an article on bariatric surgery, given my risk factors. I don't think my insurance company will pay for it, though it wouldn't hurt to find out. They didn't a few years ago when one of my co-workers went through it, but maybe that has changed.

I'm grabbing some salmon, lima beans, and applesauce for dinner and then heading for the pharmacy for my meds and glucose test strips.

In the course of the last ten years

I've been given a plethora of diagnoses in an attempt to figure out my psychology. Obssessive-compulsive disorder, generalised anxiety, social phobia, borderline personality disorder, and bipolar II, all possible pieces of the puzzle. I guess it just comes down that I'm a little bit nuts, although high-functioning nuts, and with medication and counseling I do much better. I don't know if they've ever figured out what's really wrong with me, which diagnosis should stick, or if they're all right. But I do know one thing...

Of all of them, borderline personality is the most difficult, intractable of them all. It won't just go away with a pill, although they can help. It isn't simple brain chemistry. Some researchers suggest that along with a genetic predisposition, environment can have a lot to do with it, especially abuse in childhood or even more nebulous but certainly no more damaging, neglect of emotional needs where the child is constantly told that things are not as he or she perceives them to be and that his or her feelings are invalid.

Some people with BPD cut themselves or otherwise do self-harm, just to feel alive, because they're empty inside. A goodly proportion kill themselves, more than in the mood disorders, which I'm assuming includes depression. BPD patients tend to swing radically emotionally and have black-and-white thinking where something is all good and then all bad depending on the moment. Their relationships are very rocky. Get two of them together and it's much worse. They tend to do damaging behaviours like spend money, break laws, drink or do drugs, etc. And they're absolutely the worst patients because they tend to be needy, roller-coaster bundles of emotion who are draining and often drop out of therapy when the real work begins.

I got to thinking about all this again because of a Time article called The Mystery of Borderline Personality Disorder.

It provides an excellent overview of BPD (better than I could do here) and talks about the hope of a particular course of treatment called dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT). DBT was created by therapist Marsha Linehan. I spent a year or more in it a few years back, and I must say, whether it's BPD or bipolar disorder that I actually have, it really helped. DBT works on mindfulness (being in the moment and being aware of what you're doing so you can have better control over it) and distress tolerance as a couple of its main aims. It helps brings the emotions under control. It gives the tools needed for people who didn't get the coping mechanisms in the first place to learn how to deal with their lives better and reduce the drama. It's quite often a life saver. I would actually suggest anyone would benefit from DBT, especially children.

Of course, having been diagnosed and having gone through DBT, I knew about the subjects covered in the article, and was just admiring what a decent job they did, when they brought Linehan in the picture. She is apparently (as I believe the saying goes) 'one tough broad'. My favourite quote from the article runs like this:
If the patient says, 'I'm going to kill myself,' the therapist might reply, 'I thought you agreed not to drop out of therapy.'

I really admire that.

If you think you have BPD, read the article, and please see a professional. It can be treated. You can get your life back again. There are lots of resources and support groups online, too.

Not surprising

Any time I take a test based on Myers-Briggs, I wind up INFP. :) The multiple intelligences quiz is based on the work of Howard Gardner.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Thanks to MK of Organization Monkey for the link.

Okay, it's very, very late and I have been up for 19 hours, 20 minutes, 12 hours of which were spent working and a good bit of the rest has been running errands or doing some tasks for a friend. Now I'm finally home, it's warm (outside it's supposed to be 12 degrees Fahrenheit tonight; Thursday night it's supposed to be -1 and Friday the HIGH is expected at 15!) Good night.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

10 library blogs to read in 2009

For three years, Blake from LISNews has chosen 10 blogs librarians should read. Here are this year's:

For descriptions of each, read Blake's post.

Okay, I have not done dishes, or trash, or even sat in the comfy chair. I blogged for an hour instead. I am such a geek.

Oh, good grief

For millennia in human history, at least in several cultures, the bride price was a tradition where a man paid his prospective wife's family in exchange for her hand. It is still practiced in several areas of Asia and Africa, for instance.

When the marriage partners of age, I don't see anything to be bothered about. But...

It doesn't work that well in America when the girl is underage, where we have laws about minors marrying and sex with minors. When it's a child under the age of consent, it's called human trafficking. So the following story has gotten some people into a lot of trouble.

Man accused of selling daughter for cash, beer: Police say father tried to get 14-year-old back after plan fell apart

The total sum was $16,000 plus 100 cases of beer and several cases of meat. I don't know how I would feel about being traded for beer and meat, but there you go. But the girl was only 14, too young to marry in California. The father is being charged with human trafficking and the 18-year-old groom was arrested for statutory rape.

It amazes me how boneheaded people are. There was no indication of ethnicity or whether this happened among immigrants or others from a culture that traditionally practices arranged marriage and bride price, but authorities say that these sorts of marriages have become a problem in the area.


I'm up early to run an errand and although I first woke up at 6 am and managed to sleep until 7:45, I feel crappy. I'm achy all over, feel like a dried out paper towel that's frayed at the edges, and generally am not functioning yet. I'll feel better after a shower and maybe some food. But even though I couldn't sleep anymore, I feel tired. Of course, between the two jobs I worked about 12 hours yesterday, so that might have something to do with it. Man, I feel old sometimes.

I am getting more unbroken sleep now, mainly by sleeping on my back. My shoulder's been bothering me for some time and I usually sleep on my side with my arm under the pillow. I'm thinking that position is aggravating my shoulder, and so the pain is waking me up. It is getting better, so I don't think I need to see anyone about it, but it is annoying.

Oh, the caffeine is starting to perk me up. I'm not much of a coffee drinker, but a soda in the morning will do it for me. Yay, diet Sunkist. I have one of those mugs you put in the freezer and then pour the drink in so that it's cold without diluting from ice. It has the secondary effect of freezing bits of the soda around the edges, which I rather like. What can I say, I am a fairly simple person. Small things amuse me.

What I really should do with my extra time is take out the trash and put the dishes in the dishwasher. Maybe I will. I don't have to be anywhere until 9 am. But right now I'm just concentrating on waking up, and it's happening much more slowly than usual. I usually can get up from sleep or a nap and be ready to go just like that, a useful skill in my shuttling people around. I used to get up at 3 am and pick up YKWIA from the scary studio art building at UK years ago (ghosts, stairwells that collapsed, homeless people settling in, and oh, yeah, it's a 19th century tobacco warehouse with lots of allergens plus art supplies that can be toxic, what fun, although I hear they're finally doing something about the Reynolds building), and of course there was that spate when A was working at 3 am.

Okay, I think I'm going to spend 10 minutes in the comfy chair getting a back massage and then head to the shower. Have a great day.

Sweeping legislation has its drawbacks

Congress bans kids from libraries?:
New safety law may prohibit children under 12 from libraries – or make many books illegal

Would Lead Ban Threaten Kids’ Access to Libraries? Probably Not.

Last week librarians were panicking over their books and the regulation of lead in items meant for children 12 and younger that is set to go into effect next month. Publishers are scrambling to get their products tested. Consignment shops were also up in arms, I saw in our local paper, although they apparently got a reprieve.

This sounds like one more law that is well-meant but will be a logistics nightmare, and very expensive in a crunched financial climate.


Pass the tofu: 1 in 200 kids is vegetarian: CDC study is government’s first estimate of how many children avoid meat

Actually, the article does a nice job of 1) looking at the various types of vegetarianism and how people define themselves as vegetarian, 2) that it can be nutritionally complete, and 3) that it does not have to be low-fat/low-sugar, hence you can eat a poor vegetarian diet as well as a healthy one.

With the exception of one year where I lapsed into eating poultry, I have eaten only fish, cheese, eggs, and milk in terms of animal products since 1991, when I was 24 years old. My rule of thumb is that I only eat what I can kill...I think that we have in our modern age of refrigerators and supermarkets gotten too far away from where our meat comes from. I don't oppose hunting per se, as long as the meat is being used and the animal isn't being sought just for it's pelt or antlers, although I have greater respect for bow hunting than with guns (although I've read an article about how hunted animals are having to mate earlier and the weaker, smaller ones are actually winning out in evolution over the big and powerful.) That disturbs me. I think we should affect the natural world as little as possible, (although I recognise that man's ability to control his environment has made us the dominant species on the planet), but let's face it, most Americans hunt for enjoyment rather than necessity.) It's the people who never give a second thought to where that burger comes from that bother me, although I don't impose my beliefs on others.

According to the story, children tend to turn vegetarian once they are aware of how animals are killed, as opposed to looking for a healthier diet. YouTube videos of slaughter and animal husbandry conditions may have something to do with the number that have decided to cut out meat from their diets. Whatever the reason, I'm all for it. It takes fewer resources to raise crops rather than livestock and if done right can be healthier than a meat-based diet.

Happy birdsong

So I get up this morning, turn off the bubble lamp that I sleep to (it has coloured plastic marbles that travel up the bubbles while at the same time different coloured lights project through the water), and come out to the living room, and I hear the sounds of happy birds singing. I think, how nice, you don't hear that as much anymore, and certainly not this time of the year. Then I realise that it's the new screensaver.

Well, at least I did figure it out after that first moment or two. Hey, it was right after I got up and before I took my smart medicine. What do you expect?

I must admit, however, it's quite relaxing, especially paired with the waterfall of the aquarium.

Speaking of which, I checked with the pet store today and there are bacterial solutions that can help deal with the nitrite issue. I should have bacteria breeding in the aquarium now, but it will take 4-6 weeks to cycle so it's ready for fish. The solution may help kick-start that and reduce the time. If I have any money left over from rent that isn't earmarked, I'll get some. I've never had this much of an issue setting up a tank before. I guess I hadn't tested the water for nitrites and just got lucky with the fish, since I only waited a few days each time before adding them.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sleep...must get sleep

My sleep has been somewhat disturbed of late. I don't know if it's the new medicine (although it's not listed as a symptom) or what, but I can't seem to go an entire night asleep. I especially wake up from about 7 am onward. Where I've been home more lately, I've gone to bed about 10:30 pm, gotten back up at midnight, gone to bed at 2 am, etc. Granted, I get A at midnight, so that explains that, I suppose. Last night I did some notes and was up and down for that reason.

So anyway, I'm tired. I got more sleep than normal on a Saturday night but not enough. I did the prep for the game and then played in the game itself, then came home and worked on trying to calibrate the bigger monitor so it isn't as dark. I downloaded some free animated screensavers that are very soothing. Now it's definitely time to go on to bed. Good night.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New Year's resolutions that wouldn't be hard to keep

New Year's Resolutions for Readers! from Shelf Talk. They're fifteen resolutions regarding books, reading, and libraries. Check them out. Thanks to Blake of LISNews for the link.

A proposed commission to investigate activities of the Bush Administration

According to Librarian, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) has introduced legislation to create the National Commission on Presidential War Powers and Civil Liberties. The purpose is to investigate policies of the administration and potentially 'rolling back its expansion of executive power'. Yay for Representative Conyers.

Here's the draft.

Home for the night

As I do not have to pick up A until 7 am. I went over to a YKWIA's and watched Hero, a Chinese film with Jet Li. It has absolutely beautiful cinematography, interesting martial arts scenes, and a haunting, moving story. (Romantic tragedy always gets me; I cried at the end.) It felt like the audience doesn't merely watch but goes into another time and another culture. YKWIA pointed out that the colour changes that happen with each flashback sequence correspond to the colours of the Chinese elements. According to Wikipedia, there is some controversy over the translation into English:
There has been some criticism of the film for its American-release translation of one of the central ideas in the film: (tiān xià). It literally means 'under heaven' or 'under the firmament', and is a Chinese phrase to mean 'The World'. The translation 'Our land' seems to denote just the nation of China rather than the whole world....Another problem with translation is the title of the film itself. In Chinese there are no singular or plural tenses, so the original title does not imply as to which it refers — 'Hero' or 'Heroes' — thereby giving the western title an unnecessary distinction that does not correspond to the original mystery.

If you haven't seen it, you might give it a try. It has a slower pace than Western films, even though it's only 98 minutes long. Time seems to stretch out, but the film is never boring.

Be sure to catch the moon tonight

Saturday night special: Biggest full moon of '09: Moon will be nearly full, rising earlier Friday night and later Sunday night

Basically it will be at perigee, the closest point to Earth this year. We're supposed to have clouds for rain and snow, but I hope it peeks out at some point tonight.

So far today I've

  • Blogged
  • Checked my blood sugar, which was over 300, which isn't good at all
  • Had a hearty breakfast of eggs, cheese, bread, and a banana
  • Gently rebuffed a couple of soliciting Mormons
  • Listened to the radio
  • Made the bed
  • Taken a candlelit bath with the fountain on in the background
  • Taken my medicine

Not bad for a couple of hours. I still need to do lots of notes today. I should also take out the trash and do the few dishes that are in the sink. Now I'm heading to the grocery for a couple of things and then over to a friend's to help out with a couple of things.

No shaking necessary

The Polaroid camera is back, in digital

It's essentially a digital camera with a built-in printer for instant (or at least, on-the-spot prints). The paper's a little expensive but less than film for an old Polaroid camera, and there's no toner or ink to buy (not sure how that works). But it's interesting. I love the gadgets that get introduced at the CES (International Consumer Electronics Show).

The watch phone gadget is really here

Move over Dick Tracy or James Bond. It's really here, although I think it can be improved, obviously. But here it is in action:

Get more info about it at: LG Watch Phone is for Real from Wired.

I still want those flying cars.

That's impressive

Bacon, butter fuel fastest South Pole trek: Adventurers set new record by completing 700-mile expedition in 33 days

The three Canadians broke a record set by an American just last month. One of the explorers said that he really, really wants some pizza. He had previously done a run across 4,300 miles of the Sahara. They didn't use dogs, apparently, but pulled 170-pound sleds with one man going along on snowshoes as the other two skied, sometimes through whiteouts and temps as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Congratulations, I believe, are in order.

Speaking of animals

You might want to take a look at 'Last One', an article by Verlyn Klinkenborg, with photos by Joel Sartore.

Did you know there were only 195 ocelots left in the US, with less than 100 in the wild? How about only 300 wolverines left in the lower 48 states? There are only 3,500 polar bears estimated left in Alaska, and less than 2,000 Mexican spotted owls. There are only 40 of the woodland caribou in the lower 48 states. And of the 320 Mexican grey wolves left, only 60 are in the wild.

We should all care about this. Oddly enough, I write this as a fur advertisement airs on the radio. We can't let the loss of environment send these species and others into the oblivion of history.

The photographer's wife developed cancer a few years ago and although she's healthy today he said, 'Kathy’s cancer made me realise how little time any of us really has.' National Geographic Editor in Chief Chris Johns adds, 'Time, our most precious currency, is the most valuable thing we humans can spend.' Well said, and it applies equally that what we do with our time matters, especially if it's aimed at making the world a better place for it. Conservation of endangered species and support of efforts to do so are one of those things that we can do to make the world a little better.

I eat fish, but I just can't bring myself to eat lobster

since they're cooked alive. So it was nice to see George get a second chance at life. Besides, it seems weird to eat something that lives longer than humans.

140-year-old lobster's tale has a happy ending: NYC eatery set to release 20-pound crustacean dubbed 'George' into wild

The 20 lb. lobster was caught off of Newfoundland, but he will be released back into the wild near Kennebunkport, Maine, in an area where lobster fishing is forbidden.

Good luck, George. And thanks, City Crab and Seafood.

Very sad

I loved social science so much as a kid that I went on to get a sociology degree and took classes in linguistics and anthropology as well. When you're in school and studying social science, you don't really think that one day you'll be in constant danger pursuing your career. It's not like everyone's an Indiana Jones. But it depends on what path you take, and some stray far from dry academia and really experience the world of other cultures.

And sometimes that can get you killed.

US anthropologist set on fire by Afghan dies

Paula Loyd, 36, was an anthropologist who was embedded with the US military to help soldiers better understand the customs of the populace. Two months ago she was talking to a man about fuel prices when he suddenly doused her with burning fuel and set her afire. She suffered second- and third-degree burns on 60% of her body.

A graduate of Wellesley in cultural anthropology, she travelled extensively abroad and served in the army reserve in Bosnia.

My thoughts are with her family and colleagues. She must have suffered greatly--burns are a terrible thing. And it was just so senseless.

These look absolutely Cthulhoid, especially when the plate is placed on its side like this

Haeckel artwork of fungus spores

It's the The 63rd plate from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur, (1904) depicting Basimycetes, from WikiMedia Commons. You can click on the picture to make it bigger. They look like they came straight out of the Cthulhu Mythos.

I came across the illustration in Wired's The Magic of Mushroom Spores by Brandon Keim.

Of course, if you've read Brian Lumley's Necroscope books, you know that evil vampiric spores can be very, very dangerous.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Yay for being home and having a few hours to myself

I had to get up very early in order to go downtown as a witness in small claims court. I was a little nervous, but everything went fine, I only had to say eight words, and the side I was testifying for won.

I stopped by the store and their entire computer system had gone down, apparently for several hours. The credit cards worked at the pump but everything else was offline. A technician wound up having to replace the computer system. One of my co-workers made a great sign for the door. It said 'Store Out of Order'. :) There's been an upgrade to new software in the past few days that has kept things interesting. I'm glad my shifts haven't corresponded with the worst of it.

I came home and took a nap, since I'd been up so early and had gone to bed at 2:30 am. I made an appointment with a doctor for Wednesday afternoon. Then I went over to a friend's for awhile. We watched a very interesting 'Wife Swap' on TV (where do they find these people?) One family were Wiccan and didn't know a gargoyle from a dragon and were way too wrapped up in fairies, elves, covens, and magic that they really didn't spend time with one another. I'm pagan and I understand Wicca pretty well, but they were over the top and not particularly grounded in reality. And they'd named their daughter Lwaxana after Deanna's mother on 'Star Trek: the Next Generation'. Yeah. Really. I'd like to see the episode where they swapped a woman with a gay man. The husband in that case was not happy and sued the network. Then we watched an episode of 'Starlost', a Canadian science fiction series from the 70s, on YouTube.

Now I'm home again. I'm off tonight, which is a rarity, as it's truck night. The plan is to relax, maybe do some dishes and notes, and generally have a quiet night at home.


'Rat Loves Cat' by chibudgielvr

The rat really loves his cat. The cat seems to be tolerant, though, although a little freaked. I guess I would be, too, if I were a cat. It reminds me of my cat Darius, who glued himself to Cerys, my poor long-suffering dog. He'd sit on her back when she was laying down and nuzzle up to her face and was generally velcro kitty when it came to her, which she learnt to deal with but never really liked. I think she was sort of relieved when I had Darius put down, even though they were together for about fourteen or fifteen years. Thanks to YKWIA for a head's up on this one.

Two great things today, one not-so-great

I have my meds! My card works now, although one of the reps tried to tell me the problem was on the hospital's side, when the necessary paperwork was sent to Ceridian in October. This also means I can go to a doctor about the pelvic/lower back pain that I'm experiencing. I'm going to call tomorrow to see if I can get in for Wednesday; that's my first opportunity with my schedule.

I found out today that I'm getting a market raise effective this pay period of $1.12 an hour. Plus, we're getting a better-than-normal raise in March of 4.25%, so that's another 84 cents. Whoo-hoo! If I were working full-time, I'd be pulling over $42,000 a year. Alas, this is not the case. But this will certainly help, especially with medical costs going up this year.

Finally, I found out this afternoon that I have to go to court tomorrow morning as a witness in a case. I'm not looking forward to it.

That's it. Hope you're having a great week. I have to go on to bed as I'm up way too late considering I have to be up at 6 am. Goodnight.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Oh, I don't feel so good

Not to sound like a weeny, but I'm having some unusual pelvic pain that really needs a doctor's attention. I still haven't had a chance to go since right before the holidays. Last night it was much worse and now it's running up my lower back. I think I may have an infection of some sort. Today I got paid and although I really need all the money I can spare, I may have to make an appointment and nevermind whether my flexible spending card is ready or not. My meds are also still over at the pharmacy. One is the main diabetes medicine that seems to work on my blood glucose the best. Yesterday my glucose level in the morning was 355, way into the danger zone. No wonder I felt like crap. I managed to push through and get a lot of interlibrary loans through at work, do a lot of other stuff on my list, and then went to a friend's and did my laundry, but I was very tired, and today I'm achy and don't feel like I even got any rest. I didn't even bother to make the bed.


Well, I should go ahead and get my shoes on and leave for work. I've had trouble getting up the last two days and I've been a little late. I want to be early today. On the other hand, today I went up on my Strattera samples to 25 mg, so hopefully that's on the right track.

I'm a little disappointed in someone

but I can't help remembering how I've disappointed others in the past myself. I suppose doing what you say you will is a sign of maturity, something I strive to do now but didn't do so well at in the past. Maybe this person will turn around, too. Of course, that may be contingent upon me asserting myself with some consequences. We'll see.


Gladiators to ‘fight’ again at Rome’s Colosseum: Fights will be serious and historical — not a ‘Disneyland-like attraction’

I don't think they'll be able to capture the brutality of the games, much like a Civil War or mediaeval re-enactment just can't quite capture death, plague, and the general tendency for life through much of our history to be 'nasty, brutish, and short' as Thomas Hobbes asserted man's natural state to be.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I came across this video on MRI safety

when looking for something for a patron. Using a watermelon, an MRI, and a ferrous-based cylinder, it demonstrates the dangers of metal objects near the imager. There was an actual case a few years ago of a six-year-old boy killed because someone overlook just such a cannister. It's a little graphic (if you remember that someone died in a similar manner), but well worth remembering.

via videosift.com

Monday, January 05, 2009

Here's my Christmas cactus blooming

Christmas cactus blooms
I had no idea my little plastic cart that it's on was so dusty, though. It's amazing what a camera picks up. But aren't the blooms pretty? I hope it sets more and that they last awhile.

Librarian listed as one of the best careers of 2009

by US News & World Report. See the article here (and read the comments; they're interesting).

Maybe someday I'll actually 1) find a full-time library position and 2) match that median income for over 8 years in the field--I have 12 and make way under that.

Thanks to Jessamyn at librarian.net.

This is just the sort of thing I'd do without thinking

if I saw an animal in distress--especially one of my own or one I was close to. I know someone else who would do it, too. We're crazy, of course. I'm so sorry this woman died. Her heart was in a good place, but not her head.

Woman drowns retrieving dog from pond: N.J. police say woman, 61, plunged through ice; animal survives

Sunday, January 04, 2009

I was playing on Hulu

and discovered under their science fiction section that they have all 12 episodes of the Dresden Files, a show I only got to see a little of, although I've read three of the books and plan to read more. Here's the link: http://www.hulu.com/the-dresden-files?c=Science-Fiction

There are many other series, too, including Sliders, of all things.

This is great and very funny

especially if you're a Doctor Who fan. It's a skit from Comic Relief 2007 with Catherine Tate (who plays Donna Noble) and David Tennant (who plays Doctor Who). It's from the BBC. You can donate to the cause at Red Nose Day's website. Thanks to YKWIA for finding it.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

I am covered in flour

I just spent about two hours baking cookies. A few things I found out:

  1. Splenda doesn't really work for sugar cookies very well. The dough is crumbly and difficult to roll. It breaks apart very, very easily. It's easier to form flattened little balls of dough rather than try to roll it and cut shapes.
  2. Those little confetti balls probably work very well on frosting but do not work on straight cookie dough. Ditto for chocolate or confetti sprinkles. You just amuse your friends by trying to make them work. Stick with coloured sugar.
  3. I forgot how relaxing I find baking (although the Splenda dough balls were a challenge and I didn't relax quite so well). It was nice and I had a friend to talk to, so it was a pleasant evening, which was good after spending seven hours doing various tasks for one friend and shuttling the other around town. I'm really tired, but I still have to do notes. I think I'm going to rest for about an hour and then start. Right now I'm eating peas and potatoes (I didn't feel like a heavy dinner, as I had fish and fries earlier.)

I know during the holidays I've blogged about personal stuff and a little news. I plan to put more about libraries/librarians/books on here, for those of you following due to me being a librarian. In the meantime, bear with me.

There's a reason

my temperature gauge was going up near 'H' yesterday as I idled at a long stop light on the way to work last night. I didn't have any antifreeze (or at least, very, very little) in the car. I couldn't really see last night, so I kept an eye on it and drove very little, then went over to the station this morning and wound up putting a whole container of antifreeze into the receptacle. Fortunately I had one in the trunk that had never been opened--antifreeze is expensive and I didn't really want to have to shell out money for it, although of course it is a necessity if you're driving a car. It's the one fluid I forget (obviously) to check. I checked the oil and put one quart of it in, too.


On a brighter note, I went by the pet store and got some multi-purpose liquid that removes chlorine, ammonia, and nitrates (my other apparently just did chloramines), so that should help now that I've treated the water. I asked them for some Java grass and they gave it to me for free (it replicates like bunnies--I used to take some out and use it as fertilizer for my garden, in fairly large amounts). This is a small bunch but it will multiply, and take some of the harshness of the light down and give the fish somewhere to hide. Yay for free.

Okay, still more to do before noon. Bye.

Good morning

Once again I woke up early, about 6 am, then went to bed until I woke up again a little after 8. I actually got out of bed at 8:45. So much for sleeping in on a rare Saturday off.

I went straight to taking down the decorations from the tree and trimming any dry branches off (that's a downside to Norfolk Virginia pines--they dry out and shed easily). It took about 45 minutes. I know, Christmas isn't really over until the 6th, but mine isn't a Christmas tree but rather one for Yule, so it was time. I didn't want the tree to dry out too badly, because I'd like to keep it for awhile. I kept one alive for about four years. It's now sitting on an end table near the window but not central to it, and I've watered it thoroughly. I did keep up the window lights, because I like them and I've done so in the past, but my old lights stopped working. These new ones are multi-coloured and cheery. I left the star at the top, too, the one that's really the tree topper that wouldn't fit on the small tree.

I moved the clock back to its position and decided to put a black multi-photo frame on the other side to balance the black of the CD player. Since I was doing that, I took out a couple of pictures of D, since we're really not friends anymore, mere acquaintances, and replaced them with one of Cerys and another of my grandparents at my graduation from college. There's also one of a couple of friends with their pets and one of Tracy and her husband Ted (whom I've never met).

I checked the fish tank earlier and everything's fine for livebearers except there's a little too much ammonia. I'm going to stop by the pet store and get some liquid for that and maybe some plants to start the nitrite cycle going and maybe introduce some good bacteria (although plants often bring in snails, but I don't mind so long as they don't take over). I'll ask Brenda and Margaret if they have extra fish. Each has several tanks, so there's a good chance. If not, I'll get some in about a week or so.

I ate an unconventional breakfast of vegetarian chili with cheese, then made the bed, swept the kitchen and bath, and took my medicine, adding Claritin for my allergies, which have been bad the last few days. Since I called the leasing office about my faucet yesterday, I got everything accomplished on my to-do list and more. Yay!

At noon I'm going over to a friend's to help him with a couple of projects. I've got some things to do before that, so I should get ready. Have a great day.

That's three calls to Ceridian

The status on the card is active and I have an available balance of $3,120, but it just won't work when I try using the card for my medicine. I've called three times. The first two were helpful about checking out the account, but they assured me it would work and that it was just a holiday glitch, but it was denied when I tried again to get my meds this afternoon.

The third time the person put in a trouble ticket. I am apparently not the only person from the hospital who has called today, she said, but she checked and there wasn't any problem on the hospital's side. I was very direct that I wanted to know what was up with my account and wanted it resolved as soon as possible, as I'm on a medication that I can't go off and then on again--it could be life-threatening. I'm out of that as of Monday. I can probably go 2-3 days without it, but not very long. I was polite but insistent, and she was very competent. I got her name. They should be notifying me once the problem is resolved. I am somewhat sceptical, but we'll see.

Friday, January 02, 2009

99 Things

I won't call this a meme, because 'meme' really means something different than you see it used on the Internet (although I'll tag it that way to find it later). But here you go...

Things you’ve already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicise
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - plain font

1. Started your own blog.
I started this blog in 2001.

2. Slept under the stars.

3. Played in a band.

4. Visited Hawaii.

5. Watched a meteor shower.
In the California desert, no less, on top of a car, with excellent viewing.

6. Given more than you can afford to charity.

7. Been to Disneyland/world.

8. Climbed a mountain.
Well, if you count Roan Mountain in Tennessee, which is pretty small.

9. Held a praying mantis.
I actually rescued dozens of baby ones that hatched in my mother's dining room and were on the wall. We took them outside. I've held lots of adults, too.

10. Sang a solo.
Yes, one of my most embarrassing moments in childhood and the source of my stage fright.

11. Bungee jumped.
Oh, no, not happening.

12. Visited Paris.
I've never traveled outside the US, despite being an Air Force brat.

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.

15. Adopted a child.

16. Had food poisoning.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
I've never been to New York. I'd like to do this in theory, but really, with my asthma and being out of shape, it's not practical.

18. Grown your own vegetables.

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.

20. Slept on an overnight train.
I've never been on a train. I'd like to do this, though.

21. Had a pillow fight.

22. Hitch hiked.

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.

24. Built a snow fort.

25. Held a lamb.
And fed them; my great-grandparents had sheep.

26. Gone skinny dipping.
No, but does sex in a lake and a swimming pool count?

27. Run a marathon.
You're kidding, right?

28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.

29. Seen a total eclipse.
No, but I saw one partial that was really, really close.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.

31. Hit a home run.
You're kidding, right? I got hit by baseballs and softballs in the head so many times as a child and couldn't hit worth anything.

32. Been on a cruise.
Actually, I want to go on the round-the-world cruise on the Queen Elizabeth II. Maybe if I win the lottery--it's several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
Well, I've lived in areas where nine generations have been. I'd like to go to Massachusetts where one ancestor came to the Plymouth area on the Fortune, the ship that came next after the Mayflower.

35. Seen an Amish community.
Just Amish themselves.

36. Taught yourself a new language.
Well, not fluently, but I keep trying with Welsh and Irish.

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.

39. Gone rock climbing.
Again, are you kidding? I am so not coordinated, and I'm afraid of heights.

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person.

41. Sung Karaoke.
Only at home, to Dr Horrible songs on YouTube.
No way.

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
I so need to travel more--although that takes money.

43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.
No, but I have bought strangers some gasoline.

44. Visited Africa.

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
I've been to the beach, but never at night.

46. Been transported in an ambulance.

47. Had your portrait painted.

48. Gone deep sea fishing.

49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.

52. Kissed in the rain.

53. Played in the mud.

54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
Many times.

55. Been in a movie.

56. Visited the Great Wall of China.

57. Started a business.
But I have no business sense.

58. Taken a martial arts class.

59. Visited Russia.

60. Served at a soup kitchen.

61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.
I was allowed to be in 4-H or Girl Scouts; I chose the former.

62. Gone whale watching.
I'd love to do this. Back in the 80s I adopted a humpback whale through an organisation where you donate and get a picture of your whale. :)

63. Gotten flowers for no reason.

64. Donated blood.
Over three gallons' worth.

65. Gone sky diving.
Not even if you paid me.

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.

67. Bounced a cheque.

68. Flown in a helicopter.

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.

71. Eaten Caviar.

72. Pieced a quilt.

73. Stood in Times Square.

74. Toured the Everglades.
Only in the game, and that came with alligator men. :) If I ever do for real, hopefully things will go better.

75. Been fired from a job.
I have been laid-off, though.

76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.

77. Broken a bone.
Tailbone and foot.

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
Never, ever will I get on one unless I'm forced at gunpoint or something like that.

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.

80. Published a book.
Just a chapter in a book and a journal article.

81. Visited the Vatican.

82. Bought a brand new car.

83. Walked in Jerusalem.

84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
Several times, plus artwork when I was 8.

85. Read the entire Bible.

86. Visited the White House.

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
I've fished, but not prepared the fish for cooking.

88. Had chickenpox.

89. Saved someone’s life.

90. Sat on a jury.

91. Met someone famous.
Well, local celebrities, anyway.

92. Joined a book club.I've thought about it, but never have.

93. Lost a loved one.

94. Had a baby.
I don't plan on it.

95. Seen the Alamo in person.
Somewhat possible; I have family in San Antonio who could put me up.

96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake.
I'm not sure how I feel about the concentration of salt--or Mormons, for that matter. (No offence meant.)

97. Been involved in a law suit.
Does a divorce count?

98. Owned a cell phone.

99. Been stung by a bee.

Thanks to the Swiss Army Librarian (Brian Herzog) for this. How would you do? I obviously have a lot of stuff I'd like to do, mostly involving travel.

Okay, got to go. I'm doing this instead of working on the notes.