Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The game was nice

We've had some downtime but it looks like we've got one, possibly two, adventures starting.  Also, three characters that have been in limbo have finally gotten out of the reality bubble they were in and are pursuing leads on a case. It involves a murder on a train (very popular--we had one already, and then there's the infamous 'Horror on the Orient Express' which we haven't gotten to.)  Our gamemaster has been presenting the stories mostly in order according to alphabet as a way to randomise, although certain adventures have to take place at certain times of the year or before another.)  I must remember how to play my character; it's been so long.  Somewhere I have a small notebook with her abilities; I'm pretty sure I know where it is.  Funny how I organise other people's stuff for a living but have trouble with my own.  It is nice to have a clean house though.  Clean, mind you, but not totally in place.  I should go through the closets and drawers and do a purge. Unfortunately Margaret doesn't have a character for that particular adventure.  But I'm sure we'll have something for her to participate in soon. Also, my character on the train is a cousin to one of hers, and they're both necromancers, so she'll get to see her in action.

I am tired, having gotten up at 3:30 am. I think I'll go on to bed.  Ever since I put the call in to Insight about the wonky cable access, it has worked fine.  Murphy's Law, I guess, but I'll keep the appointment just in case it will be an ongoing issue.

Good night.

It's hard to believe

that Autumn is almost over. The holiday season has started; December is just around the corner, and after that, a new year. Time seems to go by so much faster as you get older. I remember summer vacations seeming to last so long. Now summer passes in the blink of an eye. I suspect it only gets worse as you age.

The picture here is of a gingko leaf. There are lots of gingkos in Lexington because Henry Clay, the famous 19th century politician, had them brought over from China, or so I've heard. I think the trees are beautiful, but the female gingko's fruit smells horrible, and it's especially treacherous to walk on a sidewalk littered by them.

I also took a picture of the last roses of the year, which believe it or not are still blooming, although they've already grown large hips, too. I have no earthly idea why they came out different sizes; they were both taken with my phone.  Anyway, I thought I'd post them here.

So I'm up and on schedule

and pretty tired, having only had 3 1/2 hours of sleep on top of an 8-hour shift. But hopefully it will be a good day. I'm waiting a few minutes before calling a cab and then I'll be on my way.

I so wish I had a car though. I talked to a man the other day who worked at one of those buy-here pay-here places, which I'm generally pretty leery of. But he said they didn't put computers on the car to disable it in case of non-payment, and if something major happened like an engine or transmission blowing they'd replace the car. He said a good down payment would be $500, which is really doable. It might be worth checking out the company, I think.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Internet seems to be up at the moment

I just got in from work and the first thing I did was fill the fish tank up so that I could turn the heater back on (it had gone down a little and I was afraid to leave too much of it exposed). The only problem is, I tried priming the pump, but I'm not getting any flow at all, and not even a sucking sound as usual when it is dry. I may have killed the pump somehow, or it may just have worn out; I've had it for years. Fortunately I live within walking distance of two pet stores.

I'll keep this brief; one, I don't know if the broadband connexion will be dropped again, and two, I have to get up very, very early (in the middle of the night, really) and I should go onto bed. But I wanted to write a little before doing that.

My Internet

and phone service (since it piggybacks on it) is going in and out for some reason. Insight will be over to fix it sometime Tuesday morning. So I'll try to blog, but if I don't, you know why. Thanks!

Friday, November 27, 2009

My coat! I found my coat!

I was going to empty the bags, but then I noticed a sky blue colour under one of them. There it was, yay. I also found two hats, a scarf/hood combination, and two mismatched gloves. :)

Well, I'm home

from Danville and from work tonight. It's cold and frosty outside, so I'm going to look for my coat before bed.

It was a good visit. We stopped in Danville to pick up my grandmother and my stepfather John's mother, and then we went to Stanford to my mom's house and had Thanksgiving dinner. The only things I couldn't eat were the stuffing, the turkey, and the ham (oh, and there were Southern-style beans, but my mom made me some with just butter, and she also cooked some fresh-caught fish for me). There were ten people altogether--my mom and John, their mothers, me, John's son Robert, John's granddaughter, her father, and his girlfriend and her son. The girl's mother died earlier this year or last, I can't remember which.

Oops, sorry, I must change the TV from the Meditation channel. A didgeridoo is playing, and they grate on my nerves, no matter how much I try to like them. I appreciate Aboriginal art and culture, but I can't abide that instrument; it sounds completely alien. I'm more of a bagpipes kind of girl.

Okay, I'm back. We had the meal early so my mom could enjoy the visit before she had to go to work in the early afternoon. We all visited for awhile after she left and then John brought us back to Danville. I talked with my grandmother quite awhile. My grandmother fried up a huge potato that fed both of us. (My cousin had brought her a 50-lb bag of them, plus a 25-lb bag of pinto beans, and she lives alone. She gave me some of the beans.) Later I started to fall asleep on the couch, so I went on to bed around 8 pm. That was when I realised I had made a horrible mistake--I had checked the CPAP humidifier before I left to make sure it wasn't on and heating the water (I didn't want to burn the house down) but it never occurred to me that I would need to take the machine with me to sleep at her house. It shows how much I go anywhere overnight. So I propped myself on the generous pillows and tried to make do, but I woke up ever couple of hours or so, and I slept fitfully at best. I tossed and turned, and stayed in bed until the sky started to get light, because I was too tired to read but couldn't sleep.

Once I got up, I checked my blood sugar. It was only 128! I'd remembered to take my Janumet the evening before (my mom, John, his mother, my grandmother, and I all have diabetes, so we talked at length about that, and it reminded me to take the pill). It really helped. I made a point to do so tonight even with work. My grandmother and I had some oatmeal and a little later John and Momma came by to get me. Once we got back to Lexington, I laid down and slept with the CPAP for about three hours, although I really had meant to finally do my laundry. That will have to wait until tomorrow, when I don't need to be to work until 2 pm and I have no notes to work on since we didn't play last week.

I guess that's all for now. I'm eating some vegetarian chili with cheese and tortilla chips. I was going to have a cheese sandwich, but the Havarti slices were mouldy despite being unopened and having a date for April of next year, so I guess I got a bad batch. Icky. Hope your holiday went well (assuming you celebrated it, anyway; I know some of you are from outside the States).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Remembering those who won't be sitting down with their families at the table today

Military families united by tragedies: Mom of suicidal Marine befriends wife of veteran charged with murder

It is essential that we provide care to our veterans, including the hidden menace of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and other psychological ills. It is the least we can do for their sacrifice, and we should also do it because it is the right thing to do. That's how to support our troops.

One section of the story I found chilling:
Months before his arrest, Windy recalled, a VA counselor told her to get used to having a broken husband.

"She told me, 'Your husband died in Iraq. You're either going to have to deal with that or move on,'" Windy said.

There must be more we can do to prepare these men and women for the horrors of war and to help them deal with the aftermath.

Well, I think I did a pretty decent job

There's still detail work, but the bedroom and bath are nice, the kitchen dishes haven't been done yet but they're in the dishwasher or stacked neatly in the sink for those that aren't dishwasher safe. I still need to do laundry, but I'll do that when I come back tomorrow before work. The printer box is gone. And no, I didn't find my coat. There were just boxes of books in the closet. I didn't touch the other stuff that came from the car, though--that's another day, so it may be there. The house looks lived in without being a disaster. I slept another couple of hours, so I'm not dead on my feet. I'm dressed and ready, and John just left Stanford, so he'll be here in about an hour.

Well, I'm up, if a bit groggy

I think I'll take about half an hour to wake up properly and then sort the laundry, start the laundry, attack the bathroom, then the kitchen, and then the living room, which is the most cluttered of all. It has things like the printer box (I kept it for a little while in case I had to return it) and the stuff that came out of the car. I'd like to get rid of the old printer that doesn't work, but I really can't throw that in the garbage; it needs to be recycled. Maybe Margaret can take me to the electronics recycling centre sometime soon. It has hazardous materials in it and shouldn't go in the dumpster. Maybe I can find room in a closet for now, although my closets are mostly full of books (rather than clothes). The bedroom's pretty much okay except for making the bed and clearing some old receipts, etc., from the top of the chest of drawers. I really shouldn't run the vacuum in the middle of the night (although I am going to run the dishwasher), but I can sweep the bathroom and kitchen, and maybe mop if there's time.

I know, it sounds like a big job. I kept the house really clean for about 6 months and then back in April I got sick and it just all went to hell. I have to pretty much do a major purge twice a year, since I'm such a pack rat. Now I have incentive, which will help for having the house nice for the ritual to Hekate next Monday. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I won't be blogging tomorrow evening

as I will be away from the computer. Early tomorrow morning my stepfather is coming up to get me and take me to Stanford or Danville (I'm not sure which) so we can have Thanksgiving dinner before my mother goes to work at 2:30 (my mom's a nurse, and that often means working on holidays). I'm going to stay overnight at my grandmother's. She hasn't been doing so well lately. She's walking with a cane, severely diabetic, and has had some serious health issues. I want to make sure I get a chance to spend some time with her now. I'll come back Friday and work at 3:30.

Tonight I worked till a little after 10 pm and I'm home now (obviously, as I'm blogging). I really need to straighten up the house before John comes by, and I'm not sure when that will be. Plus, I need to do laundry. I am thinking of going on to bed and maybe getting a few hours' sleep and then working on it then. It's mostly just picking up stuff that's lying about. I tend to throw everything on the couch when I get home, and I'm terrible at keeping things in their place. Plus, I hang onto things I shouldn't, like printer boxes and recyclables (I have no way to really recycle at my apartment, and no car to take them somewhere like Good Foods Co-op.

Maybe I'll find my coat. :) I suspect it's in a box in the closet. Why I didn't put it on the coat rack, I don't know.

We had a potluck at work this afternoon. I brought fruit salad, something my family always enjoys for Thanksgiving. I used the cherry-heavy fruit cocktail, pineapple, mandarin oranges, with light whipped topping, plus shredded coconut on the side for anyone who wanted that. What I forgot were the bananas and apples, but when I brought the rest home I picked up some bananas from work so that I can put it in mine, anyway. I'll go ahead and mix the coconut in. (That's not part of my family tradition; I just like coconut in my fruit salad.) But we had all sorts of dishes and everyone had a good time.

Well, that's enough for now. I may blog in the morning. If not, and if you're celebrating, Happy Thanksgiving. :)

I was so sorry to hear

that an acquaintance lost his mother yesterday in a terrible car crash as she was doing some Thanksgiving shopping. It is always hard to deal with the death of a loved one, but it is especially hard as the holiday season commences. My sympathy goes out to Bobby. It is a reminder that we can lose someone very precious to us at any time, and should make the most of our relationships each day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The magic of pop-up books has long delighted me

So it's very sad to hear that one of the driving forces behind today's pop-up industry has died--Waldo 'Wally' Hunt.

Pop-up books in the news (be sure to watch the video of an amazing alphabet book, ABC3D

Waldo Hunt dies at 88; entrepreneur revived the pop-up book as art form (He also amassed a collection of at least 4,000 antique and contemporary pop-up titles)

A shame

Remember the census worker found hanged in a rural area of Kentucky? The authorities have ruled it a suicide, although the man made it look like he was killed because he was a government worker. He had apparently taken out $600,000 in life insurance and his family would have been paid and extra $10,000 from the government if he were killed on the job. As it is, the policy is null due to the suicide. I don't know what factors drove him to take his life, but it's a shame that he did so, and that in doing so, robbed his family of security they might have had if he had died (eventually) in some other way.

How one man and his burro are changing lives (and you can help!)

Read more at the New York Times: Acclaimed Colombian Institution Has 4,800 Books and Ten Legs and learn how you can help.

Thanks to Buffy, who shared a post from Gargoyles loose in the library, who in turn got it from Jessamyn West.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Earth Destroyed By Large Hadron Collider; Martian Questioned

I took today off and haven't gotten a blessed thing done all day but sleep and eat. I'm getting up now to go over to a friend's house to visit and watch 'Heroes' tonight. I really meant to clean the house and do laundry, but I wound up catching up on lots of sleep and generally getting nothing done. I am going to pay some bills before I leave though. Cleaning and laundry will have to wait till later tonight.

46 years ago today--the day after the Kennedy assassination--

'Doctor Who' premiered in its first iteration on the BBC in Britain, and brought a little hope into the world.

Nov. 23, 1963: Doctor Who Materializes on BBC

Let's celebrate with the original theme:

If you don't know about it, let me begin by saying that it's the longest running science fiction television show in the world. I first saw 'Doctor Who' back during the Tom Baker days on PBS. I saw just a bit of Peter Davison (whom I'd had a crush on back when he played Tristan on 'All Creatures Great and Small'). The various British series run by PBS in those days ('Omega Factor' was another) really fanned my sense of Anglophilism, and books like Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising sequence did as well.

I've seen several with David Tennant (who I think makes a very good Doctor). I sort of missed the Christopher Eccleston ones. I'd really like to get the DVDs. It's a shame some of the early 'Doctor Who's were lost. It would be horribly expensive to have a complete set, but I'd love to have one nonetheless.

The 11th Doctor is about to start his run. I wonder what they'll do when he runs out of regenerations? I'd hate to see the series close. But even if it did, it really has already lasted through my entire life and beyond, an era of its own and made many firsts. The music in the video above, for example was the first time a series theme was made entirely via electronic means. There have been several spinoffs, the most well-known probably 'The Sarah Jane Adventures' and 'Torchwood' (an anagramme of 'Doctor Who'). Even the TARDIS (the 1950s-style police call box in which he and his companions travel, short for 'Time and Relative Dimension in Space') has even entered the English language and it is more recognisable as itself than the model upon which it was based.

If you haven't watched Doctor Who, catch it on TV or on the BBC's channel on YouTube. You'll really enjoy it if you have any soul whatsoever.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I'm a little out of it

I had been going strong since 5 am, going over to a friend's house and cleaning it in preparation for the game. We didn't wind up having it, because a bout of insomnia meant he really needed to sleep, and it's just as well, because I would have been totally useless. As it was, I went home around 2:30 pm and could barely walk home from the bus stop, I was so sleepy. I got home around 3:40, ate a couple of cheese sandwiches, and went right to bed by 4:30 pm. I set my alarm for 9 pm. About 8:45 my friend called to make sure I was alright. He'd had a dream that I had died and had tried to call a couple of times and couldn't reach me. I had woken up shortly before he called but was still groggy and wasn't making a lot of sense on the phone. I think my blood sugar was a little wonky, because I feel better now that I've eaten again. It doesn't go low very often, but it may have this time. Also, I feel a little overheated from being in bed. My allergies are bothering me, too. So I don't feel particularly great at the moment.

Speaking of blood sugar, I was at work the other day and after lunch felt very bad, very tired, thirsty, and my eyes were blurring. I checked my blood sugar and it was 407, the highest I've ever tested. I'd forgotten to take my meds that morning and had had a baked potato and some cottage cheese for lunch. I guess I need to cut out the starchy vegetables. It was a little scary. I mean, there have been several times I've tested in the 300s without eating a thing, but still. There's something called the sunrise effect or dawn phenomenon that makes you release cortisol at night to keep your blood sugar up while you sleep. That's perfectly normal for someone who isn't diabetic, but for a diabetic it means the blood sugar is elevated beyond normal levels in the morning, before breakfast. There's also something called the Somogyi effect that is a rebound from mid-nighttime low blood sugar. My afternoon blood sugars (before supper) tend to be pretty normal. But the mornings are a problem, and lunch makes it worse, and eating protein and sensibly doesn't seem to really help a great deal, but it does help a little.

I'm on four diabetes medications, and although I don't always eat as I should, I've been doing better without any improvement. I really think I may wind up on insulin soon, and that has a whole other set of issues to it. I wonder if another injectable drug, called Byetta, might be an option. My stepfather swears by it, and he's done very well on it. Interesting fact: Byetta (Exenatide) 'is a synthetic version of exendin-4, a naturally-occurring hormone that was first isolated from the saliva of the lizard known as a Gila monster.' So some diabetics owe their lives to a poisonous lizard. :)

Another reason I don't want to ride on a subway

I don't like the idea of cramped spaces underground where you hurtle forward on trains. I don't even like tunnels, and something like the Chunnel is right out. But then there's the wackos on the subway, too.

Police: Man fatally stabbed over subway seat: Passenger killed in front of horrified riders in Manhattan, authorities say

I am far too provincial to survive in a city the size of New York. The only comparable place I've visited was Los Angeles, and I didn't care for it at all. Lexington is just right. As of 2000, there were 260,512 in the city (although it's grown substantially since then, so it should be interesting to see what 2010 brings). I can immediately find countryside within the county line, with horse and cattle farms nearby, but it also has a robust arts community. It's within a reasonable drive of Louisville and Cincinnati for big-name concerts and other activities, too. Although it certainly doesn't have the heterogeneity and cultural opportunities of New York, it's a nice place to live.

Now granted, something like this could have happened on a city bus, I suppose. Still, there's something about being trapped underground with a crazy guy with a knife that just creeps me out. Your commute should not involve dying over a seat.

Now that's a bargain book

Rare Darwin book kept in toilet
A first edition of Charles Darwin's Origin Of Species, which was kept on a toilet bookshelf, is to be auctioned.

It is hoped the book, which was bought about 40 years ago in a West Country shop for a few shillings, will reach £60,000 in Tuesday's sale.

The book was kept on a bookcase in a guest lavatory at the owner's family home in Oxfordshire.

Just 1,250 copies of the work were produced in 1859. In April one sold at auction in Norfolk for £35,000.

Celebrating coming home, and the love of a dog

Lt Andrew Schmidt posted a video over a year ago of his dog's welcome when he returned from deployment back in 2005 that has recently become viral. The sheer exuberance of the dog and the emotion of coming home are heartening.

Gracie was saved by the Alexandria, Virginia animal shelter in 2004 and Lt Schmidt has used the video to promote their work and is donating any money from the ad clicks to them.

Okay, I admit it, I cried. The sheer joy of the dog reminded me of the loss of my own. But I'm aunt to several and they, too, greet me much like this. I wish every dog had the opportunity to love their human companion so avidly. Sadly, that is not the case. Perhaps this video will encourage more people to adopt pets who otherwise would never know a loving home.

Thanks to Buffy for sharing the video.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Despite going to sleep at a fairly reasonable hour (about midnight or 12:30 am), I'm pretty groggy this morning and really just want to sleep in, but I have some things to do before work--mainly game notes, so I'm up. Tomorrow I need to go somewhere at 6 am, meaning I'll have to get up at 4:30. I can't put them off any longer. I wish I would just do a little over the week instead of at the end, but it's difficult to make time when you're working 12 hours a day or, on my days off, when you're trying to get everything else done, too.

I also need to pay some bills today online and check my library books. One is due soon, and I don't think it's able to be renewed, as it constantly is on hold. I did renew a book the other day using the phone number (859) 514-RENU. That was useful, easy to do, and kind of fun. I happened to be away from a computer and didn't want to get a fine.

Then there's the aquarium. It needs some water added so the fishies do well. My group of fire platies are still going strong, despite a tendency to have high nitrates. I still want to get a couple of golden snails and maybe some catfish, but I don't know if the scaleless ones will do okay with nitrates. I guess there's one way to try.

Okay, if I'm going to do stuff, I should go do it. Have a great weekend.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I missed blogging about this on the actual day but...

Three days ago was the anniversary of August Ferdinand Möbius' birth.

Nov. 17, 1790: A Rather One-Sided Affair

Möbius is best known for his strip or band with one side and one edge. As a character he plays a crucial role in Brian Lumley's Necroscope series, providing Harry Keogh with the mathematical formulae to travel from place to place through a void, including to the world of the Wamphiri.

In other news of the scientific variety, Museum finds astronomer Galileo's lost body parts
Two fingers and a tooth belonging to famed astronomer Galileo Galilei have been found more than 100 years after going missing, a museum in Italy says.

A collector bought the items, lost since 1905, at auction and gave them to Florence's History of Science Museum.

The museum said it had no doubt about the authenticity of the items.

Scientists cut the parts - plus another finger and a vertebrae - from Galileo's body in 1737, almost 100 years after he died.
Kind of gruesome, really. There's a picture of his middle finger in the article.

Oh, I forgot

I recently mailed two books to other members of Paperback Swap, and they've both received them, so I had two credits to spend on books of my own. I chose 100 Hair Raising Little Horror Stories (which is on its way) and The Runes of the Earth (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant) by Stephen R Donaldson. So far, oddly enough, I've put in for books that happen to be hardcover. I have the second Thomas Covenant book, but not the first. I loved the prior two trilogies, even though Thomas is not a particularly sympathetic character. They are excellent reads, though. The horror stories book contains short stories by classic horror authors, including HP Lovecraft. It happens to be a companion volume to the first book I got through the club, which was a collection of ghost stories. If you like to read and have some books you don't mind sending to others, be sure to check out their website. It's fun and free.

Sorry I didn't post yesterday

I got home after 1 am and went straight to bed. I'd felt yucky for most of the afternoon, because I'd forgotten to take my diabetes medicine, ate a baked potato and cottage cheese for lunch, and my blood sugar shot up to 407, making me extremely tired, thirsty, and my vision a little blurred, which was ironic as yesterday was also my second trip to the ophthalmologist for a field of vision test. According to Dr Kielar, although my ocular pressure is elevated, there's no indication of damage to my vision and it's not severe enough to warrant medication. He told me I do not have glaucoma, but a cousin, ocular hypertension. We'll check the pressure again in 6 months. I'll probably have to do that a couple of times a year just to be on the safe side. My mother apparently also has high ocular pressure, and shortly before his death my grandfather was diagnosed with glaucoma. Both my grandmother and mother have macular degeneration as well, so I made sure I told the doctor that. He said the vitamins they prescribe for the disease works well for those who have it, but they are useless as a preventative if you don't already have it, and they are quite expensive. So I'll just stick with my Flintstones vitamins for now.

When I was in the waiting room they had a TV going (they've removed the reading material due to the flu pandemic). It was on the Hallmark channel, and the first episode of 'Little House on the Prairie: A New Beginning' was on. Two things struck me: one, I actually relaxed as I watched it, as it took me back to my childhood, where I read all of the books and watched both series and all the made-for-TV movies that followed. 'Little House on the Prairie' was probably my favourite series of my childhood after M*A*S*H. Third was 'Battlestar Galactica', by the way. But the other thing was that the show was pure treacle, and a friend is right, not only is it sickeningly sweet, there's always some tragedy and melodrama involved. The locusts eat the wheat, people get horrible diseases, etc. He was horrified when I told him that in 'Little House in the Big Woods' the girls play with a blown-up pig's bladder. And the men are always hugging and everyone emotes. Still, I have to admit, I had a great deal of nostalgia watching it.

Today was pretty nice, although long. I'm only working two days a week at the hospital next week though. The plan for Thanksgiving is to be picked up by my stepfather early in the morning on Thursday, since my mother will be cooking and she has to work at 2:30 pm (sometimes it sucks being a nurse). Then I'll stay overnight at my grandmother's, something I haven't done in years because I had the animals to take care of, but since they've all gone to the Great Beyond, I'm free to spend some time with her, which is good, as she is 85 years old, severely diabetic, and apparently bleeding from her kidneys, so she's not doing so well. I haven't been to Danville since--well, I'm not sure--February, maybe? May? Anyway, it's been several months. I'll probably be working Friday night, so they'll take me back Friday morning.

Well, I guess that's about it for now. I think I'll check the news and see if there's anything blogworthy. If not, have a good night.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hey, I got up early!

Which is good, as I need to go to the pharmacy. I'm out of my 'smart medicine' as a friend puts it, as well as my cholesterol medicine.

Today I must remember to leave work a little early and go have a field of vision study done at the ophthalmologist's office. I'm not sure how long that will take. After that, it's over to a friend's house, and I'll probably stay later than usual and take a cab home. Thankfully, it's payday.

I just ate a banana without thinking of checking my blood sugar first. Oops. But I feel a little better than I have the last few days, probably since while I ate late, it was a tuna sandwich, and not just carbs.

Okay, I need to check a few things online and then it's off to shower. Have a good day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

So tired...

Okay, today I only worked ten hours, not twelve, and two hours of that was a webconference on mobile technology for medical libraries, but I am very tired, and I hobbled home, no doubt because I walked around campus going back and forth to the conference. Also, it took me two hours to get from the University of Kentucky to the gas station (about 4 miles, all told), because one bus was late getting into the transit station and the bus I needed left just as I drew up to it, forcing me to wait another half hour. Thankfully, I'd built that two hours into my schedule, figuring that I would grab something to eat, etc. That didn't happen. Instead, I got off work and walked over to Subway, got a sub, and then walked on home, eating said sandwich whilst catching up on news feeds. And now I just feel like curling up with my feet up and going on to bed. I have some things I still want to do, though. I'm debating as to going to sleep for a little while and getting back up (doubtful) or getting up early (equally doubtful).


I guess I'll head on to bed and try to get up in an hour or two. But just in case, good night.

I decided to wait

to do a full Hekate offering until November 30th, the Festival of Hekate Trivia (Hekate of the Crossroads). The main reason is I really should have the house more together than it is (I have stuff everywhere, and it really needs to be straightened up and taken care of). Hekate is a Goddess of purification; the ritual space should be clean and uncluttered. So...there you go.

In the meantime, I found a nice video done by a young man who has a very good grasp on the Goddess both in terms of history and religion. It was the first video he did, but it's pretty nice. For those of you unfamiliar with the Goddess who are interested in watching, it will give you a good overview. And he's right; She was not in any way associated with a Crone aspect until modern Wicca, but was rather seen as a Maiden most often in Greece. She was a Mother, but generally is not paired with a God, but rather has Her child Skylla as a Virgin. Her most famed priestess was Medeia.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Something for the den

Han Solo Frozen in Carbonite Desk

Yeah. You read that right. The picture is intriguing.

A fun game

Despite having memory issues at times, I'm pretty good at the 'Memory Game', where you uncover pictures and match them. Well, I happen to have studied Greek, so I was happy when someone made a free Greek Alphabet Memory Game. Maybe if I play these sorts of things enough, my memory will improve.

Another fun ad

'The home of the bagpipe and penicillin. We've been inhibiting the enemy for generations.' (It's from Scotland Development International, trying to get businesses to come to Scotland.) I saw it on the news feeds from Wired.

As someone with a lot of Scottish ancestors, who loves the bagpipe but is unfortunately allergic to penicillin, I was amused, especially with the graphic with the injection needles integrated with the pipes. :)

Now I have 'Scotland the Brave' in my head...and you should, too:

And in proper Hippo/Dog fashion:

Well, I can't blame them, really

Working around the public and taking public transportation with underlying health conditions bothered me more than my status as a hospital employee. Given that I work in a tertiary care unit and have minimal patient contact, I was pretty confident on that point. It's being out on the front lines of working with the public that is a bit scary, and if you happen to deal with thousands of snotty children, well, you're a better person than I, Santa.

Better not cough: Santas lobby for H1N1 shots: Group asks for priority since exposure to kids, being overweight raises risk

Forget cookies and milk. Santa wants the swine flu vaccine.

Many of the nation's Santas want to be given priority for the vaccine and not just because of those runny-nosed kids. There's also the not-so-little matter of that round belly. Research has suggested obesity could be a risk factor.

Infection control is such a big issue. We're handling our Santa visit a little differently than in past years. And I noticed this morning that there was not a single magazine in the lobby. Since I'm in charge of putting them there, and I'd had experience as a patient of Lexington Clinic where they'd removed theirs, I checked with the powers that be and we are holding off on magazines for the near future, which I think is a good idea. Every hospital I've seen has taken measures to strike a balance between good infection control and making things an antiseptic nightmare. I love what one of the Santas in the article said: 'I've had my H1N1. I've had my seasonal flu shot. This is my year for my pneumonia booster. I don't know what else I can do except encapsulate myself in plastic.'

Hopefully he won't have to do that. But I can tell you something that every parent can do to help protect Santa: If your child is ill, don't take him or her to see the Jolly Old Elf and interact with other children. Skip the trip to the mall. Come back another day. That helps keep everyone healthy.

I disagree with the statements, but support the right to state them

Steven clued me into this in a few of his posts:

The controversial post that's getting quite a response: An Economic Case Against Homosexuality

One response, calling for the conservative government information and political science librarian at Purdue University to be fired: Purdue students protest librarian's blog post

Another, rebutting the oeconomic arguments as made: In response to the "Economic case against homosexuality"

I do not think a faculty member should be fired over free speech written on a personal web log, as some students are requesting. Bert Chapman is certainly allowed his beliefs, and nothing he says would constitute hate speech or incitement to hate, per se. But his arguments are, well, flawed, and the FGI rebuttal outlines this pretty well. There's a big assumption that HIV is pretty much the result of rape and 'morally aberrant' sexual practices (it's easy to condemn practices as 'morally aberrant' due to religious definition, but since morals do vary from culture to culture, I'm not sure you can blame a global crisis on such).

In my opinion, Mr Chapman is taking a belief that is primarily religious based on his interpretation of dogma and is trying to legitimise it by making it seem to make good oeconomic sense. Such an argument may win over those who don't know how to think, the type of person who may be swayed because something 'sounds good' (primarily those who would agree with him on religious grounds in the first place), but the numbers do not support it, so it is doomed to failure. At least when you argue from religious belief you rely on statements that may or may not be argued against, depending on how they are stated. (You can't, for example, logically argue with a statement that starts with 'I believe...' because that is an opinion.) When you argue oeconomics, the numbers really must support the case--and these don't.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Oh, this will be fun...

I stopped by the store I work at and discovered we have new scanners. We have new scanners because they read the backs of driver's licences and state IDs. I don't know about military IDs, foreign ones, etc. But they can't get their beer or tobacco without having their ID, even if they're 60. This is potentially a good thing, but one of the guys demonstrated the scanner by using my ID and it took about 1-1 1/2 *minutes* to pick up the information.


I expect a lot of complaints when I work tomorrow.


Support public access to research we fund

Nobel Prize-winning scientists support online access to federally funded research results to spur innovation
Last week, 41 Nobel-Prize winning scientists issued an open letter to Congress, calling on lawmakers to ensure that the results of scientific research conducted using taxpayer dollars be put online, and made accessible to and useable by the public. As extraordinary as it seems, at a time when you can get information on just about anything on the Internet, the results of our substantial national investment in science – over $60 billion per year – are not readily accessible to those who paid for it.

Here's the text of the letter itself. There's more on the Federal Research Access Act (S. 1373) from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, too.

There's really something wrong when publishers can make megamillions or even billions on research funded by our own taxes. Public access through depositories such as PubMed Central are an important step to making that research available.

Thanks, Steven.

How absolutely horrible

Girl in prostitution-kid case found dead: N.C. mother accused of offering her 5-year-old for sexual services

Shaniya Davis was being raised by her father, but he had decided to let her stay with her mother for awhile. I feel so sorry for him, for the outcome of a decision that was well-meant and so terribly tragic.

As for the mother and the man who's being held for Shaniya's kidnapping, we'll see how things play out, but if they were involved in offering her up for sex and in her killing, then I hope justice is served. I also wonder if drugs were involved. So sad.

PS Update 11/20/09 Cops: Girl raped, killed on day she was taken--
29-year-old man faces sexual assault, murder charges in 5-year-old’s death

I don't generally support the death penalty, but this one is one where I would consider it. There are times I think some people just should be removed from the planet, and those who prey on children are at the top of my list.

This is so cool

Tiny tattoos could help diabetics ditch needles--New sensor acts like a mood ring for glucose levels in mouse experiments
The new sensor may be more like a mood ring than a tattoo since it reflects changes in a person’s skin. As it turns out, when blood sugar levels rise, glucose levels increase everywhere else in the body, from the eyes, to the kidneys — even to the outermost layer of the skin.

Each tattoo sensor is made up of millions of tiny rubbery beads that can be injected into the skin like the dye that makes up a regular tattoo. The beads are so small that 600 of them placed end to end could fit across the diameter of a hair.

The tiny beads are infused with two substances. One is a molecule that can pull glucose into the sphere and bind to it. The other is a special fluorescent dye. With no sugar present, the two molecules bind to each other and turn the sphere yellow. When sugar levels rise in the skin, molecules with glucose attached jettison the dye and the sphere turns purple.
If it works in humans (so far they've just used it in mice, and not even diabetic mice, so it's aways from practice), it could mean the end of pricking fingers for blood glucose tests. Especially for a very sensitive diabetic--like the little girl in the article, who had to be tested five times at one birthday party--it can do a world of good, keep sharps phobic people more compliant, and prvent the side-effects of frequent testing on the fingers. I know when I test, I use a special lancet to test on the side of my palm, which helps a lot. But this may be better. I'd have it injected, if it pans out. And with the incidence of diabetes on the rise, it's a welcome possibility.

Controversial new guidelines

New advice: Wait until 50 for mammograms--Government panel says benefits of early screening don’t outweigh risks

I actually had my one and only mammogramme at 38, when a doctor ordered it due to breast pain, so there's a baseline. (I was told that I had perfect breasts, something you don't hear every day. Apparently they come out so clear that if I had a tiny tumour they'd be able to see it immediately, whereas women whose breasts are dense and fibrous have issues in having theirs read.) I've meant to have another since I turned forty, but put it off, and now I'm 42 and they're saying not to bother, and they also say breast self-exam is pretty much worthless in terms of evidence. To be honest, I'm not quite sure what to believe. It does actually bring the US in line with international guidelines. I think this is where evidence based medicine can help. I think I'll do some of my own research and go from there.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Potentially interesting book

The Auschwitz Kommandant: A Daughter's Search for the Father She Never Knew by Barbara Cherish

From the product description:
Detailing an uncommon upbringing of relative wealth and comfort in World War II Poland, this record spotlights the childhood of a prominent Nazi’s daughter. Depicting her father’s ascension to command Auschwitz, the most infamous of all concentration camps, the author reveals his relationship with his family, his unceasing love for his mistress, and the very separate life he led as a senior officer of the S.S. Chronicling his capture at the end of the war, this narrative also documents his imprisonment at Dachau and Nuremburg, his sentencing at the Auschwitz Trial in Krakow, and his subsequent execution. Recounting a shocking tale with clarity and without judgment, this riveting autobiography embodies one woman’s unwavering mission to resolve her own past.
According to The child of Auschwitz's Kommandant, Ms Cherish carefully includes the bad along with the good to paint a complex picture of a man whose actions resulted in a death sentence, a man who voluntarily joined the SS but apparently was haunted by the faces of women and children coming through his camp.

As you probably know, I have an interest in Holocaust studies. It sounds like something to check out at the library, but they don't have it, at least not yet.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Okay, one more funny video before bedtime

I'm almost 100% sure I've linked to this one before. It is so me (hippo) and A (dog) singing together.

Enjoy, and good night. I have to up very, very, early tomorrow to take the bus over to the house of game playing.

We need some levity this morning, or at least I do

Fortunately Monty Python allows you to embed killer videos...

I want the Rabbit with Big Pointy Teet Bunny Slippers made by Toy Vault.

Musical shifts

I got a phone call from my shift leader a few minutes ago asking if I could come in on my original schedule today (10 am-6 pm) and have her take 2 pm-10 pm. It's for a good cause--her son is waiting at the airport in Louisville having come in from Afghanistan, and this way he won't have to wait until about 8 pm tonight to come home.

I'm glad I didn't stay up too late, although I had plans for this morning and was waking up just as she called. I did have the humidifier turned up a little bit too high last night, so I feel a bit saturated and coughy. And of course, I just feel like I normally do in the mornings. A hot shower should help with that.

So, I guess I'm going on in to work. Wish me luck. It seems to be an adventure this weekend. Last night we were inundated due to a basketball game. I don't know if there's a football one or not todyay. Sports, hmpf!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Although it is, as far as I can see, a spurious date

whose source is the neo-Pagan The Goddess Book of Days by Diane Stein (which is flawed, since it really isn't perpetual as it doesn't take in lunar calendars at all, and doesn't list primary (read 'real' sources) for its dating), I think I will celebrate a feast for Hekate on November 16th not because Ms Stein (and a host of neo-Pagans) says it is a 'Night of Hekate', but because it is dark of the moon in November. (There are two dates better attested to Her, August 13th and November 30th, and of course the lunar last day of the month and the changing of the year, Hekate being a Goddess of liminal times and places). Among offerings I have, spring water, burgundy wine, garlic, lavender, honey, and a pomegranate (the last being more of a celebration of the coming winter, and Hekate had a role to play in reporting the rape of Persephone. I always offer up a pomegranate each year as the cold weather sets in, usually in September when the Eleusinian Mysteries would be played out, or Halloween, but this year I'm doing it mid-November instead. Halloween night just didn't 'feel' right to me, perhaps because it was almost full moon. Now the nights feel more in keeping with the sacrifice, and She is associated with the dark moon, not full.

What can I say, Paganism isn't always cut-and-dried.


Splash! NASA moon crash struck lots of water

Google is celebrating with a moon-themed logo. I think it's the same one from when NASA blew up the dust in the first place, last month.

An odd sort of Friday the 13th

Today I woke up pissed over several little things and walked to the bus stop just dreading going to work today. But as the day unfolded, that really evaporated. Here's some details from my day:
  1. The bus that was supposed to come pick us up broke down, so they sent a small shuttle bus around instead, so I got to work on time. I did feel sorry for the young woman and man who always get the same bus I do in the Idle Hour loop--the shuttle was full so it just didn't run through that part of the route, so they were stranded. I wasn't able to get a bus pass from Kroger (apparently they aren't being sent them anymore), so until I can, I have to pay $1 a ride.
  2. I try to sit on the side of the bus nearest the side of the road in the morning because of the reservoir. I always look for the ducks who live there, as they cavort about. Every now and then I see a heron or a turtle. Today there were many ducks fishing and swimming in the water.
  3. I was annoyed that the ATM at work didn't have any cash in it, so I wouldn't be able to eat lunch in the cafeteria, and I really couldn't order out. I did get a bagel, cream cheese, and some sugar-free grape jelly, along with a drink, and still had enough for the bus ride back.
  4. Instead of eating, though, I went straight to work on a request I'd been unable to complete the day before. I put Spanish language books back on the book cart (I do wish they'd decide whether they want them or not), filled up the rest of the cart, and 45 minutes after I started, finally returned to my desk and signed into the computer.
  5. I was going to eat my bagel, but wait! A message had gone out an hour and a half earlier that H1N1 vaccine was available through infection control. Now I had known they got it yesterday, but I think they were giving them to those in direct patient care first, because there was a lot of activity around the office. I was afraid they'd be out. So I checked, and no, there still was some, so I FINALLY GOT MY SWINE FLU SHOT! Yay! Plus, I haven't had any reaction, even soreness at the injection spot or a headache. One person I knew had a severe reaction, but she was allergic to an antibiotic that the health department apparently didn't disclose as a contraindication, whereas our sheets had it listed. Anyway, I'm glad I got my shot, especially as I went in to my other job later and one of the employees with whom I haven't had contact in about a week is sick with what he thinks is H1N1 flu. Lovely.
  6. We got new copiers in the library today! They're more compact than the others, as is the wont of new technology, but they do the same thing, plus WE CAN SCAN TO E-MAIL. Do you know how much easier that means an Interlibrary Loan is now? I got to try one out, too, on the colour copier, and whereas the last machine had to be told whether an original was colour or not, this one senses it automatically. Whoopee! But I no longer have to go into Microsoft Scanning, scan to .tif, convert to .pdf, and then e-mail from a computer. Now the machine just scans it as per a copy and sends it straight to my e-mail, and I can forward that on to whomever needs it. Yay! They also seem to operate faster and smoother than the old ones.
  7. Then it turned out that because of the seminar/meeting on Tuesday, I was ahead on my time and had to clock out by one. I left on the 1:30 bus and got home a little before 2 pm. I ate something, since I had not had lunch, and then I took a short nap.
  8. I nearly tripped over a wooly worm on my way into work at the gas station. :)
  9. Unfortunately one of our co-workers never showed up, and we couldn't reach her, so we worked extra hard on putting the truck away, and I got to do the cigarettes (sort cartons, climb on a ladder, and put the cartons together like Tetris blocks or those puzzles where there's a square of tiles except for one space, and you move the tiles around until a picture forms.) I had a lot of boxes to date as well. But we got everything put away and I was only scheduled until 9, so I left about 9:15 after letting the other cashier take care of any necessities before leaving him by himself.
  10. My boss at the gas station had asked if I could switch hours due to the sick co-worker and so tomorrow I'll be working 2-10 like I have been lately. I still don't think I can swing the book sale, but the time works out for me better, and I should be able to get some laundry done before I work, too.


[Shakes head and tuts, and not in a conservative-keep-everything-from-kids-prudish-sort-of-way]

Remember the case in Jessamine County where the two library paraprofessionals basically broke library rules and abrogated a patron's rights because they believed that a graphic novel was too graphic? Here's some more:

Library employees fired over censorship of graphic novel

I could write about this further, but I happen to agree with one commenter, writing as 'dkm', whose opinion is quoted below:
According to the original article: "Both women say they remain baffled as to the reasoning behind their dismissal.

... According to the Employee Manual, grounds for dismissal can include insubordination, theft or misuse of the Jessamine library's property, breach of confidentiality information and any other violation of library policy."

Considering that the two women were guilty of insubordination, misuse of the library's property, breach of confidentiality and being dopes, they can't be too bright if they don't understand why they were fired. Since they obviously are not too bright, they certainly have no business working in a library and I wonder if they got their jobs under false pretenses.

My favourite quote from the article is that one of the women who said, '"People prayed over me while I was reading it because I did not want those images in my head," she says.'

Here's a thought. DON'T READ WHAT BOTHERS YOU. But keep your small-minded opinions to yourself and do the job required of you--or quit if you find it conflicting with your beliefs.

This was the same library that offered me a job then yanked it out from under me over something that had nothing to do with my ability to do the job. Granted, I'm a tiny bit bitter, but apparently they had no trouble hiring people like this, much to their present dismay. Oh, well.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I really have to admire Charla Nash' will to live, despite the chimpanzee attack that left her blind and horribly mangled. I hope so much that she and her daughter prosper, and that her story shows the dangers of keeping exotic animals as pets.

See The Will to Live, where she appeared on Oprah, revealing the damage done to her face, which she keeps veiled normally. I hope that people accept her despite the changes, because she is, inside, the same woman as before the attack. I hope she can get a face and hand transplant, and lead as normal a life as possible. I offer her my best wishes.

Get ready!

It doesn't matter if it's electronic, card, board, role-playing game, or whatever--if you want to play, visit your local public library on Saturday, ALA's 2nd annual National Gaming Day.

For more information, check out National Gaming Day @ your library and ilovelibraries.org!


So, remember that the Friends Book Sale is 10 am - 6 pm Saturday? Guess who's working 10 am - 6 pm that day for the first time in weeks?


Oh, well. A friend of mine thinks I have too many books, and he probably has 2,000 more than I do [but a lot more room]. :)

On the other hand, I'm just working till 9 pm on the truck nights and on the night of an MLA webcast it's just 6-10, so that's nice.

Well, that worked

Last night I went to bed for a little while and woke up devoid of moisture in my throat. I use a CPAP, and a humidifier isn't really necessary the majority of the year, but in the cold months it is essential, so I set mine up. It's not an integral part of the CPAP--it is separate and hooks on with a hose, as my CPAP machine is quite old (about six years, but still running strong) [the sleep doctor was quite surprised]. I feel much better than I have the last few mornings. I can't take the water basin completely apart though, so it's a little difficult to clean. Also, I have to remember to turn it off, because the heater is somewhat like a hot plate and I don't want to start a fire. Theoretically if all the water evaporated it might. But I'm pretty good about all that. Anyway, it's nice to be able to breathe clearly this morning and swallow well.

Here's another nifty Sesame Street video--how crayons are made

Cool...squeezable computer interface!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I did a well-meaning oops today

I've been wanting to join the American Library Association again for awhile now, and at my level of income, it's only $46 a year. Today I got paid and decided to go for it, even though it wasn't a pressing matter. I filled out my form, brought out my debit card, and whoopee, I'm now a member again for the first time since 1998. (My workplace pays my Medical Library Association and Kentucky Medical Library Association dues, as they are directly related to my work there, and in the latter case ensures reciprocating interlibrary loans.) But I'm on my own for the ALA and the Kentucky Library Association, which is the next one I want to rejoin.

Only one trouble--afterwards, as I looked at the calendar, I realised that my next paydays are the 18th and 19th. Before that happens, my phone bills (Vonage and cell phone) will apply to my account as pending (the cell phone won't go through until at least the 19th, but it 'gobbles' up the money from available funds as early as the 16th, even though the due date is the 23rd.) Now there is a way to get around this. I have enough time to end the EasyPay automatic debit programme with T-Mobile and just pay by the 23rd of each month (the real due date), which I was thinking of doing anyway, since it caused some problems for me when I first discovered they could access the money that early back in August. But it's a little more expensive ($4.99/month). On the other hand, they can't grab money a full six days before it's actually due, and if I don't, my oops will leave me with about $12 to spend this coming week and among other things, I need a $30 bus pass by Friday. You see the problem, yes?

So, rather than risking a bounce, I'm going to go over to T-Mobile and see if I can change from EasyPay to normal. Wish me luck. I really must look at the calendar though before making unusual expenses. :) I should have waited until after the 19th to join ALA, because I'd have two paydays in a week and would have extra money to spend.

PS Funny how it's easier to come up with solutions when you write things out. So anyway, I went to the website and couldn't get EasyPay discontinued, but then called customer service and spoke to a computer and managed to delete EasyPay from my account. It updated immediately on the website, which now expects me to make a payment manually by the 23rd. Yay! Now we'll just see if it plays out as it should, or if they try to take the money out anyway. Am I a little distrusting of Big Business? Maybe a little.... :)

An irreverent look

at the history behind Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night (November 5th; I'm a little behind):


YKWIA showed me this over the weekend. It's from the Catherine Tate show on the BBC:


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Interesting initiative

I don't drink wine (although I do use it in libations), but Fledgling Wine has a very interesting philanthropic idea to selling wine:
The Fledgling Initiative aims to make awesome wine for the benefit of Room to Read, a non-profit organization extending literacy and educational opportunities to children worldwide. Every case sold will provide approximately 60 local language children’s books and promote education in the world’s poorest regions.

You can follow them on Twitter at @Fledgling.

Another way to support Kentucky libraries

The Kentucky Library Association is working to bring a new library license plate to Kentucky. In order for the Division of Motor Vehicle Licensing to produce the plates they must receive 900 applications. So far over 500 library lovers across Kentucky have made the pledge to purchase at least one plate. Those who committed will be asked at a later date to complete an application and pay a $25 application fee. Once the plates are available, each person will need to request the plate when renewing vehicle tags at the local county clerk's office.

A portion of each registered plate will be used to support Kentucky’s libraries.

If you want to show your support for Kentucky libraries by pledging to purchase one or more plates please contact Linda Kompanik at linda[at]loganlibrary.org.

This is something I definitely want to do if I get a car again soon.

Books! Books! Books!

From the Lexington Public Library:
Friends Book Sale has 115,000 books

The annual Friends Book Sale will take place from Saturday, Nov. 14, through Sunday, Nov. 22, at the old Dawahares store in Gardenside Shopping Center on Alexandria Drive.

This year’s sale includes 115,000 books with a sale price as low as a quarter per book.

The sale begins Saturday for Friends of the Library members only from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friends memberships are available at the door.

The sale continues from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, through Friday, Nov. 20.

Two-for-One Day will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, and the sale will end with Bag Day from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22 ($2 buys a bag and all the books that fit in it).

Hardbacks are priced at $1 for adult books and 50 cents for children’s. Paperbacks are priced at 25 cents. Other items--including compact discs, videos and magazines--are individually priced.

Last year, the Friends of the Library grossed $266,250 from the sale of used books at its book sale and at the Book Cellar, their used book store open six days a week plus each first Sunday of the month in the Central Library’s lower level. The Friends are the primary sponsor of the library’s Summer Reading Program and provide funds for a number of library events and special projects.

For more information, call the Friends Book Cellar at (859) 231-5505.
I doubt I'll be able to go; the game is Sunday and I'm not a member, although I could join and go on Saturday. It's only $10 for an individual membership and for those interested, $20 for a household. For $200 you can be a Friends member for life. :) I can get out to Alexandria Drive on the bus. It will depend on my work schedule, I guess.


Also, in the current season, they're teaching kids to love the Earth. (See: Sesame Street Goes Green at 40--But Warming "Too Scary") from National Geographic.

And just for nostalgia, I give you the 1-2-3 red ball sequence from when I was little:

How do you define 'Jew'?

Who Is a Jew? Court Ruling in Britain Raises Question

The basic test in Judaism for who is Jewish isn't what you believe, or what you practice--it's whether your mother is Jewish. This is a long-standing practice, but the different denominations of Judaism (yes, there are, for those who didn't know) approach the question differently. So then you get into the question of 'how Jewish is the mother?' At the heart of this matter is can an Orthodox school exclude a child because the mother, who is a convert to Judaism, converted in a more liberal synagogue than the school recognises, a matter that in the United States, would probably fall into the area of a private decision by a religious school, but in Britain becomes an issue because it, like many other religious schools, receive public funding. The parents who sued lost the first round, but an appellate court ruled that the child was not being excluded on religious grounds (as in practice) but rather on ethnic grounds (his mother's non-Jewish ethnicity). It will no doubt go up the chain.

It's an interesting question. Religions are entitled to their beliefs, but throw the public funding issue in and it becomes more complicated.

But here's the thing--unlike Christianity, Judaism isn't based on belief, but rather observation of laws, as well as ethnic identity. So you can't define an admissions policy based on beliefs, and ethnicity is out in this case. So it would have to be practice. There are lots of Jews, however, who would argue that eating a ham sandwich doesn't make you less Jewish. And as the article states, you have to be creative about figuring out which children went to synagogue given that Orthodox and Conservative Jews don't write on the Sabbath. So the whole thing opens a can of worms involving the British government, the school, and the various denominations and its leaders all trying to find some correct meaning for the word 'Jew'. It's making people question the very meaning of Jewishness, and who has the right to determine it. As a liberal rabbi put it, 'The Orthodox definition of Jewish excludes 40 percent of the Jewish community in this country.' Who has the right to exclude? How inclusive can you be without making the label meaningless?

I will say one thing; part of the point of education is to get people to think about these sorts of issues, so in a way the school is fulfilling its mission--but not like it expected to.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Today's Google logo Muppet was Oscar the Grouch. :) It's my favourite so far; I love Oscar (we're both packrats, for one).


Saturday, November 07, 2009

In today's era

I found out about the House passage of the health care bill not from traditional news sources--but from Twitter, specifically:
'So, now we have health care like most of the free world...maybe AT&T will release the IPHONE and we can choose our carrier.'--David N. Wilson


'RT @repblumenauer House did its job, now the ball is in the Senate's court. Don't let America down and let's get this done!'--Barack Obama
Only then did I go to Google News and see:

House passes health care reform bill; Vote garners only one Republican

Parsing the House Health Bill

and this video from the White House on YouTube:


I decided to splurge and get a real meal tonight on my way home. I called in an order to Texas Roadhouse [which oddly enough, got its start in Indiana, according to the menu we have at work, but there's one next door to the gas station where I work] and then walked up to Kroger to get a few things, coming back just as the order came up. I'd hate to be the person who sweeps up the peanut hulls at night--he looked a little shell-shocked, no pun intended. I went ahead and walked home and proceeded to have grilled salmon with lemon butter, a baked potato with butter, cheese, and a little sour cream, rolls with cinnamon butter (yes, there's a lot of butter in their meals), and a house salad with French dressing. I love their croutons. The fish was tender, the baked potato lovely, and everything was very filling. I feel pleasantly full and a little like drowsing. It's the first real meal I've had at home in awhile. I've mostly just had snacks. But I got some garden burgers, cheese, bagels, and cream cheese to help with that for a few days.

Okay, I have achieved culinary bliss. Now I must do a few things before bed. I have to get up early to catch the bus so I can prepare for the game tomorrow. Good night.

It always seems more real when you put names to faces and to stories

Fort Hood victims: Sons, a daughter, mother-to-be

Several people were apparently getting or helping with physicals and vaccinations for deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. One woman was three-months pregnant and had been transferred to Ft Hood just last week because of it. They each represent ordinary Americans who felt a duty to serve their country. Some made a career out of it, some had and remained in the Reserve; others were trying to get money for school. Each had a dream; several had children. Each potential future was shattered by a gunman, one of their own, and that is the most devastating rub of all. Soldiers are prepared to give their lives when fighting an enemy. They know they may even be part of 'collateral damage' in friendly fire. But when an officer and army physician/psychiatrist turns his guns on his comrades, that's another thing entirely.

Having grown up in the military, I understand the shock this must leave. My thoughts are with the dead, with the wounded, their families and friends, and for a community that has undergone a terrible blow.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Pagan candidate wins race in New York

Halloran beats Kim in council race

The Republican candidate for the District 19 City Council won with a lot less money and endorsements primarily because his Democrat opponent slung a lot of mud, and there was a voter backlash. One of the things the opponent attacked was Dan Halloran's Paganism. Halloran apparently is a reconstructionist Pagan, a part of Théodism, which is related to Ásatrú, rather than a Neo-Pagan or Wiccan, which I find a little refreshing, as I identify with reconstructionists myself. I found out about Halloran's victory on the Hellenion list, which is run by the Greek Pagan religious group of that name.

Quote of the day

'The illiterate of the future are not those who can’t read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and re-learn.' – Alvin Toffler


On November 10th it will be the 40th anniversary of the premiere of 'Sesame Street'. The show debuted when I was two. By the time I was three I was reading, in part due to Jim Henson's Muppets. Google celebrated yesterday with a logo with the 'l's being Big Bird's legs. Today they have Burt and Earnie on the logo. I can hear the strains of 'Rubber Duckie' in my head. Want to bet that Kermit will be featured on November 10th itself? 'Sesame Street' is the longest-running children's programme in US television history.

Here's to 40 more years! :)

The term is 'pescetarian', actually, and I am one

The rise of the non-veggie vegetarian

Why do I eat fish but not other animals? Because I have and can kill a fish myself. I can't bring myself to do the same for other animals, and I believe that if you're going to eat it, you should be willing to do so. People nowadays buy meat in pre-packaged cuts and really have no connexion to their food animals anymore. But that's also why I don't mind responsible hunting--so long as the meat is being used for food, and the animal is hunted judiciously. So I'm certainly not your average vegetarian, although I have described myself as a 'vegetarian who also eats fish' because it's just easier.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

You'd never know from the last few posts

but I've been in a very good mood of late. My feet aren't hurting quite as much (still some, but I'm not hobbling home for forty minutes and three blocks). I got a call from the UK medical library regarding a job interview (yay!). I'm generally pretty happy with life right now. So just wanted to let you know I'm not becoming a curmudgeon. :)

Backorders are not fun when you're waiting for something

I am not the most patient of people, although I would say that I've become more patient as I've gotten older. But I know the mail takes time, so as I waited for shipment on an order, it actually took 10 days of not receiving it before I began to wonder where it was. When I checked online, it said the order had been 'booked'. Today I called the company and apparently it has been processed, but they're currently out of the item and it's on backorder. They get a shipment next week and the week after, so it could be another two weeks before it is shipped.

I'm going to be patient, but considering they got a payment the first day and I'm waiting almost a month for something bought and paid for, it's a little annoying. If it were a book or clothes or something, I wouldn't mind as much, but it's actually the pepper spray, so I'd like to have it on my walks home at night. Soon, since night happens earlier now. Oh, well. I'll wait. But I'd have appreciated at least an e-mail letting me know of the hold up.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Grumble, grumble

According to the local flu vaccine initiative for H1N1, there is a delay in vaccine, so clinics are subject to change. They've removed what was a schedule through December off the website and just have this weekend's planned clinics.

I appreciate what they're doing, but I think they overlooked something. Here is an e-mail I sent tonight:
I am in a fairly high risk category for developing H1N1 and its complications given that I work in a children's hospital, also work as a cashier in a busy gas station, have diabetes, and asthma. The last two prevent me from getting the inhaled vaccine that is available through my workplace, so I of course was interested in coming to a clinic.

Unfortunately, the two clinics which are to be held this Saturday are both at high schools that are not easily accessible by bus, and with the delays in the vaccine, the original schedule has been canceled and whether or not they happen will depend on availability of vaccine, so people are being urged to get vaccinated early. Please consider making sure that any future offerings be located in an area that does not require a mile or two walk to get to. Whether a person rides the bus because of choice, disability, or socioeconomic reasons, that should not be a hindering factor to receive a vital vaccination; if anything, those people are often more at risk, because their health is likely to be worse than average and they're packed into large moving vehicles with others who are sneezing and coughing away. Ironically, the health department is easier to get to than this weekend's clinics, but the vaccine is not available down there.

I am going to try to find a ride for this weekend. But please, make sure that everyone who needs it has access to the vaccine, and not just the people who can drive there.

Thank you.


We didn't have an election on Election Day. There was no one to vote for, no race to watch. It was an off year, without even local races. Even the Secretary of State's website for the Commonwealth of Kentucky featured only ballots from last year. How odd. It's like everything happened all at once last year and now it's going to take two years to get over.

Like Doctor Who? How about Blackadder or Mr Bean? Or maybe you just want a laugh?

Here's a classic bit from Comic Relief for Red Nose Day in 1999, with Rowan Atkinson, among others, as Doctor Who.

Doctor Who: The Curse of Fatal Death (Sorry, embedding is disabled, but it's well worth going to the link.)

Thanks to YKWIA for showing it to me.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

One of my new sweaters still had the security tag on it

I don't think it was Gabriel Brothers', as I saw nothing else tagged like that. Wherever they got it from didn't remove it, so I had to, being very, very careful with a pair of scissors. Unfortunately, the tag itself had left a small hole in the fabric. Fortunately, it has an oversweater, but I need to close the hole before I can wear it so it won't spread, since it is knitted.

I really must find or replace my sewing kit.

I was up early again today, and as a wonder went to bed at 10:30 last night, no doubt because I was still sleepy from the couple of nights before. I almost got up at six (I kept waking up), but settled for eight. So I'm all ready to go. I had to pack a lot of stuff into my backpack, since I'm working (and I'm in pocketless pants, so I couldn't keep my wallet on me if I didn't bring another pair of pants, and of course there's my work shirt). I also have some items I need for a post-work project, plus I need to stop by Kroger today and get a couple of things, so I have another bag for that.

So I think I have everything--both work badges, my backpack, the stuff in my purse. I just have to get my cell phone from the bedroom. Here's to being prepared and not having to do things at the last minute for once. I could get to like this getting up early thing.

PS I can't promise to post more interesting things like news or videos tonight (I probably will come home about 2 or later), but definitely will try to do so tomorrow. Bear with me.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Adventures in bus riding

This morning when I was on the bus we pulled up to a stop and a woman was talking on her cell phone. She got on, stopped, and continued her conversation without showing a pass or putting in the money. When the bus driver asked her to pay, she said he was copping an attitude with her and argued with him. He then had to ask her to step aside to let someone else on. She finally fished out a dollar and put it in the receptacle, saying she had a pass but left it at home. She asked his name and said she'd report him for giving her attitude.

The driver did nothing wrong. She was the one with attitude, and her dallying kept us waiting for about 3 minutes. She could have easily had her dollar ready for the bus and then just dropped it in, continuing with her cell phone conversation. I mean, really.

I said something to her when she continued to talk about him being rude about how I just wanted to get to my destination and didn't appreciate being held up. She tried to blame the driver for the delay. She honestly had no clue that she was the one who was to blame, and there was obviously no reasoning with her.

When I got off the bus, I handed the driver my business card (I rarely get to use them, but I had a portfolio and happened to have some with me) and told him that if she got him into trouble, then have LexTran call me. I don't know if she just gave an empty threat, but her rudeness set off my righteous indignation button. If they do call, I'll set them straight.

I rode over to a friend's without incident, but catching the bus back was an adventure all its own. The bus was about 12 minutes late and most of the other buses had come and gone. It was the last half-hour trip; it looked like I'd have to wait for an hour before transferring to the bus home. But it turns out it was late, too, by about 20 minutes, so I was good to go. Apparently there was a UK basketball game that was playing havoc with traffic, especially the closer one got to downtown. The trick then was to get the bus on track. We rode as far as Wal-Mart and those who were going to Kroger or St Joseph East got into a van for the rest of the outbound route, allowing the bus to head back up Richmond Road and get back on track. I got off at Kroger, got some money for laundry, and then walked the rest of the way home. Although it was inconvenient to be later getting home than I would have been, at least 1) I wasn't going to work or anywhere important and 2) they did what they could to get us where we were going and get everything back on track. I appreciate it. I know the drivers take a lot of abuse for LexTran's shortcomings, or things beyond their control like construction or traffic. And some people are just plain rude, like the woman this morning. But the majority of bus riders seem pleasant enough, and most of the drivers are friendly and do a good job. Anyway, that was my fun riding the buses today.

I'm up and ready at a time when I'm normally just awaking

So that's one good thing about the time change. I am having trouble going to sleep, though. Last night I was in bed by midnight and I went to sleep about 2 am. So my sleep has been off a bit.

I'm wearing a new sweater, a sage green, and I even had time to do makeup. I got a compliment the other day from one of the nursing directors about wearing makeup. I've been doing so most weekdays--just enough to even things out and bring out my eyes and mouth. Apparently it got noticed.

The time change is going to be a challenge for leaving my friend's house before dark. It's getting dark about 6 pm now, and even if I leave work at my normal time, I'll get there about 3:40, so that's just over two hours.

Tonight is 'Heroes', but I am still sadly behind, so I'll record it and go from there.

Well, I should probably go set that. Have a great day.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

I think I improved my foot situation

Yesterday while I was out I bought some new shoes, since the toe in the pair I usually wear was splitting. These are actually boys' work boots from Sketchers, with a non-skid sole. They're high up on the ankle so my foot doesn't roll over like it has been doing. I wore them for the first time today. Other than the normal breaking in, my feet feel so much better. They'll be great for the store, I think. They're black and fairly unobtrusive (they're not exceedingly blocky and they're fairly small, boys' size 7), so I think I can wear them to the hospital, too, so long as I'm not going for anything dressy. I got them at Gabriel Brothers for $30, which seemed reasonable, compared to the $100 or so I'd have paid for most shoes. Plus, if they work out, I may not have to spend the $360 on orthotics. We'll see. But the tendons especially feel much better tonight; there's just a little pain on the soles of my feet from the plantar fasciitis.