Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Saturday, July 31, 2010

That was quick

I got my $25 Amazon gift card today, and so I went ahead and got the next Sookie Stackhouse novel. I'm up to book 8, From Dead to Worse. I'm still reading Dead Beat by Jim Butcher, but I should be finished soon. I seem to read a little faster on the Kindle, or at least its convenience means I've been getting through books quicker. Prior to getting it, I'd probably read 3-4 books this year; I've already done that in the two weeks I've had the device, plus several short stories to boot.

I thought about getting a book light that is by the same company as my cover, but it would have taken the whole amount plus I'd owe tax and shipping, and I don't really read in the dark, either. Sometimes the bus is a little dim at night or I'm at the bus stop in the predawn hours, but I can live without it for now. I have a booklight that came with my Snuggie if all else fails; it just doesn't slide as nicely onto the cover, and I don't want to mess the cover up or scratch the Kindle's back.

Anyway, I'm happy. I have a new book for when I finish the other, and it didn't cost me anything. :)

Two ways to deal with robbers (neither of which are approved by most companies)

The Sweet Jesus Way

The Psycho Axe Way

I personally prefer the latter, but both are so contrary to what I was taught at the store. The latter especially should be used point-for-point in training for what not to do. :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

There are a lot of good things about the Internet

and one is how available information is directly to the user. Case in point:

Drug given to Stoke-on-Trent woman after web search

A father has persuaded the NHS to give his sick daughter a drug he found on the internet.

Charlotte Durham, 18, from Stoke-on-Trent, who has a rare brain condition leading to severe headaches, described the treatment as a miracle.

Her father Andy discovered the drug was successful used to help 24 out of 26 patients during a medical study in Greece.

South Staffordshire Primary Care Trust has agreed to pay for it on the NHS.
The daughter was facing having a shunt put in to deal with her condition, which was not responding to any other treatment. This goes to show that an informed patient and family can make a difference. The trick is that once the information is found, you must advocate for treatment, especially in a bureaucracy. I have no doubt that a medical librarian could have helped the health care team find this one, too, but I'm glad the father did, and I hope the young woman does very well.

I have a friend that has severe headaches due to fluid pressure on the brain. I wonder if this is the same condition? It's called idiopathic intercranial hypertension. I'll have to ask him. Perhaps there's some serendipity happening here.

Something to check out

Solo librarian and outreach to hospital staff using Web 2.0 technologies.

Med Ref Serv Q. 2010 Jan;29(1):75-84

Authors: Landau R

The part-time librarian at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC) serves physicians, staff, and students. Challenged by time constraints and the need for a physical presence in the library, the librarian sought methods requiring limited manpower and maintenance to reach out to users. The librarian utilized two Web 2.0 technologies, Delicious and Bloglines, to extend library services beyond the confines of the hospital intranet. This article details the process to implement these two technologies in the hospital setting. Informational resources about Web 2.0 technologies are included in the article.

PMID: 20391167 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Really, Mr Hayward, you think so?

BP's Hayward: 'I became a villain for doing the right thing': Firm will recover when 'whole truth of the accident finally emerges,' he says

Words fail me.

Well, so much for cleaning

I did take a small nap. And then I came out and looked at the living room, felt overwhelmed, and retreated to the bedroom to read All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris, which I just finished.

So the plan is to get up early and really get to work. Tomorrow night I'm going over to a friend's, so I won't have a chance to do much here or work on the other two projects I have going.

Also, must remember to pick up Shutter Island tomorrow; it's arrived at the branch library I go to.

Good night.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I had a nice surprise in the post today

I have been placed on the Scroll of Exemplary Service by the Hospital Libraries Section of the Medical Library Association for this year. Here is a description from their awards page:
Scroll of Exemplary Service

Exemplary means serving as an example to others. This award recognizes members who have made a difference in advancing the cause of hospital librarianship over the past year (June - May). Activities such as leadership, publishing, service, and/or management of special projects/events. It is not the quantity of services, but the quality of at least one service that obtains a person a place on the scroll.

The scroll is cumulative from its inception in 2002-once a person has been awarded a place on the scroll it is permament for as long as they are a member of HLS. The names of those who are no longer members of HLS are removed annually.

This is the second time I have won the award (the first being being in 2003). Thank you to the Hospital Libraries section and to the person who nominated me. It is indeed an honour! [and it doesn't look too bad on a résumé, either. :)]

To be honest, I think of myself as a fairly ordinary librarian (I'm not really a mover and shaker, I don't have a lot of knowledge of some aspect of the field that others don't, I don't think I stand out from other people practicing librarianship.) But I guess someone thought I did something worthwhile. I appreciate it.

A great Doctor Who library quote

Thanks to Brian Herzog (the Swiss Army Librarian) for pointing this one out:

'You want weapons? We're in a library! Books! The best weapon in the world!'

Trying to make sanctuaries as an alternative to oil-contaminated natural ones

Feds, farmers create habitats for migrating birds: Goal is to create 150,000 acres of manmade wetlands by Aug. 15
Water gurgling from a well is flooding Craig Gautreaux's rice and crawfish fields, turning the farm into a wetland for migratory birds whose usual Gulf of Mexico wintering grounds are threatened by the oil spill.

Across eight states, farmers such as Gautreaux are inundating fallow fields to provide an alternative for some of the tens of millions of ducks, geese and shorebirds that are beginning to make their way south on a flyway that stretches as far north as Alaska and Iceland.

"Hopefully, we can help," said Gautreaux, who has dedicated 762 acres (more than 300 hectares) about 90 miles (145 kilometers) inland from the Gulf to the project under a three-year, $132,441 contract that likely will cover his costs but provide little if any profit. "I want to keep the birds around."
The tab for the project is $20 million, paid by the federal government. Frankly, I think BP should eventually foot the bill. Of course, I wouldn't be adverse to BP going bankrupt due to this disaster, but I want them to pay for the oil spill first.

Not feeling so great

I feel a little better now that I've eaten, but I'm having one of those crampy, bloaty times of the month [I know, too much information. I can't wait till menopause.] I have a headache to boot. I decided not to go to the concert tonight for a number of reasons and plan to spend time instead trying to work on a couple of projects and clean house a bit. But first I may take a short nap. What am I saying? If I do that, I'll never get anything done. But my head might feel better if I do...

Some good news, and a wondeful reunion

'Emotional' reunion: Mom embraces baby she thought died in Haiti quake: Girl burned before temblor gets life-saving surgery in wake of disaster
One of the charities I contributed to in response to the Haitian earthquake was Doctors Without Borders. It was a doctor with this group that realised the little girl had a life-threatening condition and helped hook her up with another charity that sponsored her to Britain for treatment. Then a journalist went to Haiti to try to locate the child's family, and although some imposters claimed her at first, they found the mother, who had the admission card for the hospital her daughter had been in when the quake hit.

I am so glad that this little girl was saved and is now with her family. And I have to admit, even though the donation I made was fairly small, I feel good knowing that Doctors Without Borders helped save her life, so maybe I helped a tiny bit, too.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Well, here it is

Amazon unveils new Kindle, starting at $139: A Wi-Fi-only model hits the lowest price yet for Amazon's e-book reader
Just weeks after lowering the price of the Kindle e-book reader from $259 to $189, Amazon has unveiled a fully revamped Kindle. It's sleeker, better looking, easier on the eyes — and starts at $139.

This new Kindle, Amazon's third generation, is smaller by 21 percent, and 15 percent lighter too. It has much improved contrast, 50 percent better than before, answering a significant complaint among dead-tree purists who compared the device's e-ink screen unfavorably to real paper. It's available in two colors: graphite and white.

To date, all Kindles have used a wireless connection to a 3G network to get books and manage subscriptions. The new ones have Wi-Fi inside, so that people at home or at a coffee shop could log on via that network instead. One Kindle still costs $189, and has both 3G wireless and Wi-Fi inside. The cheaper $139 model only connects through Wi-Fi — and only comes in graphite.

I don't know; it sounds nice (and I must say, the photo comparing them makes the Kindle 2 look positively clunky), but I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything by getting mine when I did. Now, if I were visually impaired, the new text-to-speech menus would be worth it. Of course I'd probably be getting a Kindle DX if I were having trouble seeing, too, and I don't think that feature is on the new DX. I prefer the 3G wireless (I'm rarely in a wi-fi area, except at work, and we're not supposed to use the public network for computers, etc., and I don't have one at home, so the wireless is the way to go for me. Besides, I like going onto Wikipedia at the bus stop.) The contrast might be worth it. I'd still be paying $189 for the wireless, though. It has enough space for 3500 books, but I don't see myself spending that much money. So I'm happy, but if you're looking for those new features, check out Amazon for more info.

I do think it's a step in the right direction, though, because it puts the purpose of the Kindle to be strictly an e-book reader and not some iPad wannabe.

My apologies to Penguin Books (and thanks)

When I first got my Kindle, I checked on the Dresden Files series and the books weren't text-to-speech enabled. Now they are. I don't know if something changed, if there was a mistake, if I misread something, or my bitching helped, but the ones I've looked at are, now. Woo-hoo. I prefer the option. Also, I've had two books out from the library that I just haven't been able to progress with that I've broken down and gotten via Kindle: All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris (one of the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries) and Dead Beat by Jim Butcher, one of the Dresden Files.

I also stopped by the library and got three CDs to listen to, and put a hold for Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. I figure stories that start out as books are normally better in that form than the motion pictures modelled after them; it seemed intriguing. (Conversely, stories that start out as movies are often better than their novel adaptations.)

I almost forgot to tune into WUKY 91.3 to listen to an old friend on 'Curtains @ 8'. He's playing music from his CD at Mia's downtown tomorrow night at 8 pm. If you like Irish music, you should come. The CD is I Bhfad ó Bhaile (Far From Home). I am somewhat amused by how Nick Lawrence, who has a rich radio voice, pronounces 'Liam'. 'Course, I pronounce it 'Bill', because that was the form of William he was using back then. :)

Anyway, that's where I'll be tomorrow, and I promise not to play in traffic this time!

I think it enriched her life

UK's oldest Tweeter Ivy Bean dies at 104

Most residents of care homes, especially those who have reached the ripe old age of 104, are lucky if their family or friends visit. For someone who is a very social person, the Bingo games and other activities to help while away the hours just don't cut it. But for the enterprising resident...

there's Facebook and Twitter.

Ivy Bean joined Facebook in 2007, and then Twitter a year later. She soon became a celebrity as UK's oldest tweeter and had over 56,000 followers, who received the sad news, through the feed, that Ms. Bean had died. Her posts primarily talked about her daily life and her friends. It sounds like she was a very engaging lady who had friends and admirers both in the real world and the virtual one, and she enjoyed the attention of the media. This comes just two weeks after an Australian woman, 108, dubbed the 'world's oldest blogger', died.

In both cases, the women were in nursing homes. In Ms. Bean's, the computer was originally meant for staff development but was opened up for residents' use. I think that's wonderful. As we age we become less physically active and it's easy to become socially isolated, which can affect the mind and increase the chance of senility, in my opinion. Engaging in interactive computer services may keep the mind sharp and foster a greater connexion to the outer world. All care homes should consider making computers available. I think many assume older people would not adapt well. I think there are people of every generation who are willing to try new things, especially when its uses are demonstrated. Although according to one study only 3% of social media users are 65+ I suspect that will change quickly as the Boomers reach that age (my mom, born in 1947, turns 63 this year, and she's on Facebook). 10% were 55-64. The largest group is my own, the 35-44 one, which has 25% of all users on social media sites studied. Indeed, 64% of Twitter’s users are aged 35 or older, 61% of Facebooks’s users are aged 35 or older, and the service with the greatest number of older uses is Classmates.com, indicating that re-connecting with old friends is a major thing for older users. 8% of its users are 65 and older; 78% are 35 or older. [Which makes sense, since the younger ones are still interacting with a lot of their high school friends in real life. :)]

Think how much your life revolves around the use of a computer now, either on the Internet or off. How would you feel if you were in a nursing home without access to one? No wi-fi, not even a desktop station somewhere? I hope adminstrators are considering this for the near future....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Okay, how do you forget a full-sized adult in a hot van?

I have never understood people who apparently 'forget' their child in a hot car, leading to terrible tragedy. And people leave pets without really considering the heat. But how can a caretaker forget a 20-year-old autistic man they were supposed to be looking after? Did she assume he came on inside, even though she entered the building with just one person? Isn't there some sort of check-in process? It's not like it was a large group--she was responsible for two people, and lost one. But instead, he wasn't found missing for hours, and by then, it was too late. I hope the investigation can help keep such a tragedy from occurring again.

Autistic man dies after being left in hot van: Pa. police say temperatures reached 150 degrees inside vehicle
LANGHORNE, Pa. — An autistic young man who didn't speak was left in a scorching van at a residential treatment home, where his lifeless, overheated body was found more than five hours after his small group returned from an amusement park.

Brian Nevins, 20, was not deemed missing until a nurse looked for him to give him medication around 4 p.m. Saturday, as temperatures in suburban Philadelphia reached the high 90s. Nevins had returned with two other counselors and three other clients around noon from a brief trip to nearby Sesame Place.

Nevins was found in a parked van at Woods Services, a treatment home about 20 miles northeast of Philadelphia where the native New Yorker had lived since he was about 14.

His twin brother, also autistic, also lived at the center, authorities said. The surviving twin, who had not been on the outing, left the home with relatives after his brother's death, Middletown Township Detective Jeffry Sproehnle said.

The counselor responsible for Nevins on the trip also served as the van driver. She has been suspended, Sproehnle said. Woods Services did not return several calls seeking comment Tuesday.

A little sick and wrong, but who knows, maybe Freud was right

You Are Sexually Attracted to Your Parents, Yourself
In a series of experiments where subjects viewed photographs of their opposite-sex parent or a photo morphed with their own face, researchers found that people are turned on by photographs of people who resemble their close genetic counterparts.

“People appear to be drawn to others who resemble their kin or themselves,” said psychologist R. Chris Fraley of the University of Illinois, lead author of the study published July 20 in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. “It is possible, therefore, as Freud suggested, that incest taboos exist to counter this primitive tendency.

Awww, I hope it gets better

Found in Suburban Philadelphia Book Drop: a Kitten
Those of you who have read Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World know that he was found in sub-zero temperatures in the town's library book drop. Someone has apparently dropped a kitten into one in the Philadelphia area. (Funny, animal shelters have drop-off boxes, too, you'd think they would have used one of those.) Anyway, the unnamed kitten is six- to seven-weeks old and suffering from dehydration, eye infection and diarrhea, but is being treated with fluids and antibiotics. So here's to a full recovery and finding a good home.

Huh! Who knew?

Australia's marsupials 'have American roots'

The characteristic koalas, kangaroos, possums and wombats of Australia share a common American ancestor, according to genetic research from Germany.

A University of Muenster team drew up a marsupial family tree based on DNA.

Writing in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) Biology journal, they suggest a single marsupial species moved from the Americas to Australia.

Marsupials differ from other mammals in that mothers carry their young in a pouch after birth.

As well as the familiar Australian species, the family includes the opossums and shrew opossums of North and South America, and also has a presence in Asian countries including Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

"I think this is pretty strong evidence now for the hypothesis of a single migration [to Australia] and a common ancestor," said Juergen Schmitz, one of the research team

A really nice day, kind of lucky even

I took an earlier bus over to the bank (it's just about two blocks, but that way I don't have to walk in the bicycle lane on Richmond Road; there's no sidewalk for about half of it). The bus overshot my stop but let me off a little ways from it, and on my way I ran into a former co-worker who offered to wait for me and then take me to work. The teller went ahead and cashed that $10 cheque despite the fact that I didn't have that much in my account, so I had something to eat on today. Fortunately I get paid tonight and tomorrow night. I got to work almost a half hour early and decided to wait to clock in and just have breakfast, which instead of my normal Pop-Tart was a bagel, cream cheese, blackberry preserves, a banana, and blueberry yoghurt. As a consequence I ate lunch later than usual. I sent off the request to have those cheques re-sent. I got quite a bit done for the library, including some more cataloguing and shelving. It occurred to me about 20 minutes before it was time for my break and then transferring to the data entry job that our book vendor is running a special 22% discount on one book order until July 31st, which is almost upon us, so that's on the agenda tomorrow.

After work I took the bus home and stopped by the library, where I discovered I missed an e-mail on a book hold and had been charged a fee. I'm usually good about getting my holds; this one had a fairly long queue and I guess I missed the e-mail. So I paid the fine and had them renew my books, which all come due this week (there are three; just because I have a Kindle doesn't mean I'm spurning libraries). Actually, I also managed to read one poem and short story by Poe and another short story by Conan Doyle, in between lunch and bus rides. I love being able to read on the bus, although I have to keep a sort of kinetic sense of the turns to remember to stop when I need to.

Oh, and I noticed on the walk home that our apartment complex has added Rosies to the dumpster area (Rosie is the name of our city's recycling container). Yay! It's an incentive to straighten up and get some of the paper I'm drowning in out of the house.

I must remember to call my doctor's office tomorrow and cancel or reschedule Thursday's appointment, which I can't make due to the new schedule. I also need to decide whether to go to a friend's on Wednesday or Friday; I'm leaning towards Friday, as I have that project to finish. I've done the research for most of it, and some outlining, I just need to go online and start typing. I'm going to start that in a little while.

Hope you had a nice day, too.

A unique research library threatened by oeconimic issues

Warburg Institute, Saved From Nazis, Faces Bureaucratic Threat
A great cultural foundation that was saved from the Nazis is now under threat from a different, more insidious menace: the bureaucratic policies of modern British higher education.

The Warburg Institute at London University is renowned throughout the scholarly world for its remarkable library, founded over a century ago. Yet today its existence as an independent entity is in doubt, and may be decided in court.

The story is a long and sad one. “Everybody has a feeling of disbelief that we have got to this point,” the director of the Warburg, Charles Hope, said in an interview. “The university has said that it wishes to change the Trust Deed, according to which the Warburg was originally handed over to the University of London in 1944, and is talking to its lawyers -- and we are talking to our lawyers.”
Like its founder Aby Warburg, I believe that art (and literature) must be understood from the cultural context from which it hales. He, and later the Institute, developed a wonderful library supporting that study, and managed to save it from seizure by the Nazis (as it was considered a Jewish entity). Now the University of London is trying to amend the original trust deed so that the university does not have to retain the library as an independent entity, as a cost-saving measure. The concern is that the library, if merged into the system, will largely become a book depository rather than the open-stack model that it is at present. I'm not familiar enough with the inner workings of the Institute or the University of London to judge the merit of this argument, but it sounds like a fascinating collection. I hope that something can be worked out so that it can continue without destroying its essence. It is incredibly important in the research of mediaeval and Renaissance studies, and I'd hate to see it character changed.

People tend to think of courtly love in the Middle Ages, and not the fact that many women worked to support their families

Women workers could be found on the medieval construction site, study finds
According to a recently published study, women could be found working on construction sites, if only occasionally, including in specialized roles such as carpenters and masons. The research is found in the article, “Appropriate to Her Sex?” Women’s Participation on the Construction Site in Medieval and Early Modern Europe,” by Shelley E. Roff.

Monday, July 26, 2010


'The Black Cat' by Edgar Allan Poe. I haven't read that one in years. I forgot how totally creepy it was, but then it is Poe, and he is a master at the genre, and a huge inspiration for HP Lovecraft as well. They both had a very good sense of showing the small leap from sanity to madness.

Two videos YKWIA showed me

'Occupied', an Austrian film about a resourceful woman's quest


'The Black Hole', from Britain, where someone isn't quite as resourceful as he thinks he is...

I thought both were well done. Check out Future Shorts for these and other short films.

Thanks YKWIA!

Sometimes you can be so intent on something

that the obvious escapes you. Blogger has a new feature that allows you to share posts through a variety of ways: via e-mail, blogging about it, sharing it on Facebook or Google Buzz, or tweeting about it. This buttons are now located at the end of each post.

To get them there, however, I had to reset my blog template and clear my cache, but it didn't appear to work. So I reset the widgets as well, as per the Real Blogger Status blog's directions (a very useful blog, by the way). No dice. Then I went back to the Page Elements settings and found that I'd unchecked the box next to that particular function, since it hadn't been showing up anyway. :| So I checked it again, and everything works. I was half afraid I'd wipe out the whole blog just to get a few buttons on there. Fortunately I backed up the template and the content of the blog is backed up itself at least through May. I probably need to back up June. But all eight-almost-nine years' worth is stored on my computer and on an external hard drive, too.

Anyway, enjoy, and share!

Apparently my flexible spending agency has sent three cheques to me

and I did not realise it. Two are missing, and a recent one for $10 was in my in-box. I thought they were one of those explanation of benefits sheets (my insurance company is the same one that does the FSA). I opened a couple of notices today and found forms for the other two so they can re-issue them.

While looking for them, I also found two of my medicines (one for cholesterol, one for ADD, both of which I thought I was out of and needed to refill when I get paid) in a pharmacy bag. I so need to clean my house.

I just spent the points that I had connected to my debit card

for a $25 Amazon.com gift card. Yay! I'm pretty sure it can be used on Kindle books, there's just another step since most items for the Kindle are bought through the 1-click method. So far, a week after the Kindle arrived, I have 40 books on it, all but a few free, and the combined total of the others were about the same as a hardback book. Elizabeth Peter's A River in the Sky (which was excellent; I've already finished that one) was the most expensive at $12.99. Then there was a $6 collection of HP Lovecraft stories and poems, a $4 collection of Edgar Allan Poe stories and poems, a $4 Latin grammar, and a $4 collection of all 15 Wizard of Oz books, which I've never read. Everything else has been public domain books such as the Iliad, the Odyssey, Plato, Aristotle, Marcus Aurelius, several works by Wallis Budge, and then horror and fantasy such as Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, HG Wells, and Jules Verne. So it's pretty varied. Plus I've been able to put PDFs, including the game notes on it, and I have two Loreena McKennitt albums to listen to whilst I read. I'm enjoying it.

I got up just a bit early, enough that I'm ready for work and can do a little writing, but I didn't get up early enough to work on a project I need to finish that is woefully overdue. I'll try to get that done later today.

I am triple-booked for Thursday, it occurred to me. I have a doctor's appointment which I need to move because it's during the evening data entry job (I didn't have it when I made the appointment). An old friend is playing an Irish music concert down at Mia's (although that would mean another foray into the sidewalkless downtown) that night about 8. And without thinking, I told a friend I could come over then. That may need to be moved to Wednesday or Friday.

Otherwise I have to get the project done, and there's notes to do, and my house really needs to be cleaned up. So I have plenty to keep me busy this week outside of work.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Insane, and not in a so-crazy-they-let-you-off sort of way

Woman charged in Facebook-feud fatal crash: Rivals for affection of prison inmate were involved in high-speed chase
A woman who had been feuding with another over a man serving time in prison saw her rival as a passenger in another car and started chasing the car madly through Pontiac, Michigan. She had her three-year-old daughter in the car with her. Police clocked the cars going nearly a hundred miles per hour, and before they could intervene, the car being chased ran a red light and crashed into a dump truck, knocking the truck over. The truck's driver is alright, but the driver of the car being chased--who had nothing to do with the feud--was killed, and the passenger was critically injured. The woman who instigated the chase is being held on charges of second-degree murder, assault with intent to do great bodily harm and child abuse.

This is just crazy, and over some loser in prison that neither woman could be with anyway. I hope they throw the book at her; she doesn't need to be out on the streets and she certainly doesn't need to have custody of her daughter.

Thanks to YKWIA for telling me about it.

How to save a life

Broadway turns out to help sick 'Lion King' actress: Shannon Tavarez, 11, needs bone marrow donor to beat leukemia
Katharina Harf, co-founder of the bone marrow registry DKMS, said it was particularly difficult to find a perfect match for Tavarez because her mother is African-American and her father is Hispanic. For bone marrow transplants, minorities and those of mixed ancestry have a more difficult time finding good matches. There aren't as many people from those groups signed up as potential donors.

"It's very hard to find donors that are mixed race," said Harf, who helped organize the drive. "You're looking for a genetic twin. It's like finding the needle in a haystack." She said it would take at least three weeks to find out if there were any matches from the drive.
I'm on a bone marrow donation list and have been for years. How about you? You can sign up at your local blood bank. They take a phial of blood from you and put you on the registry. For more information, go to the National Bone Marrow Donor Programme.

I hope this talented young girl gets her match. I've known people for whom a bone marrow transplant really was an absolutely life-changing event, who are now free of cancer that otherwise would have killed them.

I'm supposed to be at on the bus right now

But I didn't quite get up in time to get there. Once I got ready, I had 9 minutes to get to the bus stop, and it takes about 15 to get there on a good day. I wasn't going to go there and then wait outside in the mugginess for an hour at the stop, so I'm on the computer. So I'm up, having taken my medicine, gotten everything packed up and ready to go, and I'll have to catch the 6:30 bus instead. I have a half an hour before I need to leave.

So although I'll be 'on time' for a normal Sunday, I'm late for when I was supposed to be there today (there is apparently a lot to do to get ready for the game this time, so I was coming over an hour early.) Ah, the story of my life.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Moving on, but with a purpose

Teen wins in late sister’s car at Soap Box Derby: Browns maintain sister Carol Anne ‘was with us all the way’
Real life beat Hollywood to the finish line at the 73rd Annual All-American Soap Box Derby on Saturday.

With actor-director Corbin Bernsen filming the movie "Hill 25," based on the Soap Box Derby, 14-year-old Sean Brown rolled to victory in the Rally Super Stock Division in a way that no script writer ever imagined.

He won in the car that had been driven by his late sister Carol Anne. She was 18 when she committed suicide last year on Easter Sunday.

Carol Anne had bipolar disorder. Her family set up a website to educate people about the disease at: http://bipolaraware.org/.
Bipolar disorder, or manic depression, affects three of every 100 adults in America. Researchers believe it's even more prevalent, and that 75 percent of cases go undiagnosed. Ten percent to 15 percent of people with bipolar disorder commit suicide (taken from: Parents reach out through their grief)

I have what's known as Bipolar II Disorder. This means that I tend to have episodes of depression and something called hypomania, which is not full-blown mania but can be just as problematic. Fortunately I take a couple of different medications that help keep my emotions on an even keel. Sometimes it's hard to believe that I have this disease. Other times I look at the time before I started the medication and realise that my behaviour indicated it clearly, in retrospect. Still, my experiences could have been far worse, and there is, of course, the suicide factor. Fortunately my suicidal thoughts have always been very spontaneous (I could just run my car into that tree) than really plotting out my demise thoroughly, and it's been years since I had those.)

Anyway, it's a difficult disorder to live with, and it touches families and friends as well as those who have it. I'm glad this couple chose to use this tragedy (and triumph) to increase awareness of bipolar disorder.

Poor thing--but does car insurance cover bears?

US bear takes short ride in car and leaves it wrecked
A bear climbed into an empty car in the US state of Colorado, sounded the horn and sent the vehicle rolling down hill with the terrified animal still inside.

The car's owner, 17-year-old Ben Story, took a snap of the panic-stricken bear as it demolished the inside of his vehicle in its bid to escape.

Police in Larkspur, near Denver, eventually freed the animal by opening the door from a distance using a rope.

It is believed the bear was attracted by a sandwich left on the back seat.
The bear was last seen running away from the car, apparently uninjured. Here's hoping the young man's interior is covered for acts of bears.

Aha! I was right!

The $126 slunk out of my bank account sometime last night without being pending or anything. It's good that the company got paid. I just wish money flowed out of the bank consistently. I will never understand banking processes fully. Oh, well, as long as everything remains positive and balanced, I'm cool with that.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Okay, the answer's obvious, but...

What do you do when you find you have $126 extra in your account? You look to see what's missing, of course, and find that the bill you paid yesterday is not in pending or anything. So you call the bank, and they say there's nothing on their end, that the company must have released the hold on the funds for some reason and that you should contact them. You contact the company to find out that your account is in good standing and all is well, and that the payment posted.

So what do you do?

Well, I'm not spending the money at this point, that's for sure. For it is surely a snafu that will be eventually remedied, and I don't want it being taken out unexpectedly.

Still, it's funny when you tell someone there's money that should be theirs sitting in your account and all they say is, no everything's fine on our end, you might want to talk to your bank.

At least it didn't get lost in the aether so that neither they nor I have it. This is the drawback to electronic bill pay, of course. :)

That's two strange financial snafus that have not been my fault (the other was being overpaid at work and the subsequent repayment out of next cheque). Hope there won't be a third.

I crashed again :(

I was asleep by 9 last night; I just got up at 8:30 am. I've been trying to wake up and get out of bed since five this morning. Go figure.

Unfortunately I have a lot to do today, so it may mean staying up late tonight to finish everything. Granted, I've stayed up pretty well this week--Tuesday was the concert and I didn't get home until 12, Wednesday was the long errand, when I also got home at 12. I thought maybe I was getting back into a decent routine. But I've also been getting up early to do laundry, for example. Today I need to go to the bank, for example. Fortunately there's still time for that.

I'll be working late tonight to offset leaving early for the concert. I also have to get my time fixed; apparently I've been clocking out for a half hour for lunch and the program is taking another half hour again. We will eventually get this down.

Okay, I'm going to go take a shower; I'm bleary eyed and can barely type because my fingers are stiff. Might as well go start my day.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kind of cool, actually

Longest Eclipse Ever: Airplane Chases the Moon’s Shadow
Eclipse hunters set a new record on July 11 for the longest eclipse ever observed by civilians chasing the moon in an airplane. While hundreds of eclipse enthusiasts flocked to islands in the South Pacific to watch the moon blot out the sun, astronomer Glenn Schneider and colleagues climbed to 39,000 feet to spend 9 minutes, 23 seconds in the moon’s shadow.

“We cheated Mother Nature by two minutes beyond what she could normally produce,” Schneider said.

Theoretically, the longest total solar eclipse that can be viewed from the ground is 7 minutes, 32 seconds long, a limit set by the geometry of celestial mechanics. Total solar eclipses happen when the new moon passes in front of the sun, casting a round shadow on the Earth that turns day to night. During the few minutes when the moon is directly in front of the sun, called totality, viewers get a rare glimpse of the solar corona, tendrils of gas that dance around the sun’s outer atmosphere. Although a solar eclipse is visible from somewhere on Earth every 16 months or so, totality is only ever visible from a narrow swatch of the planet.

I'm not sure how I feel about

a modern re-make of Sherlock Holmes (set in 2010).

Getting Sherlock Holmes role a 'joy and worry' - Cumberbatch
Sherlock is a series of three 90-minute films created by Doctor Who writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.

The first story - A Study in Pink - sees the eccentric detective join forces with Doctor Watson (Martin Freeman) to solve a string of apparent suicides in London in 2010.

In a faithful nod to to the original story, Watson has just returned home after being wounded in Afghanistan.

Cumberbatch described his Sherlock as "a man of action and a great, great thinker".

He said: "He has a razor sharp wit that can push people off a pedestal and gain the upper hand in the space of a second. It's so enjoyable to play."

The actor said that during filming he tried to avoid the classic TV and movie versions of Sherlock Holmes.

"Once you start to play with the ghosts of those brilliant incarnations you're in trouble. It's a not a sane thing for any actor to do," he said.
But it is the BBC, it's creators are the writers who do such a bang-up job on 'Doctor Who', and I do love the various incarnations of Holmes. So if it comes to BBCAmerica, I'll probably give it a go.

Listening to:

No, she didn't do it during the concert the other day, but it's been in my head nonetheless:

Strange story of the week

Whale of a tale! 40-ton mammal lands on yacht

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Fortunately no one (including, apparently, the young Southern Right Whale) was injured.

Nothing like a five-hour errand (that should have been an hour, tops) to tire you out

One of the few bad things about my new work schedule is that it makes it difficult to do errands. I can either get up very early (which is always iffy for me, although I'm up doing laundry right now), and run errands on the bus before work and hope I get back in time, or I can do it afterwards, when the buses run hourly. Last night I needed two items from two different stores to take to a friend, install one of the items, and come back. That was it. In order to accomplish it, I:
  • Got off work at 7 pm.
  • Waited for the bus until 7:30.
  • Went to the grocery.
  • Walked to another store.
  • Waited a half-hour for the bus going into town (8:50). Note three different people jaywalked across Richmond Road while I waited on the bench. I could have crossed and gotten the bus going out, enjoying a little more air conditioning. I planted my butt on the bench instead and went nowhere near traffic. I can learn. :)
  • By this time it was dark. I took another bus to my friend's arriving about 9:40.
  • Delivered the items.
  • Installed the one item.
  • Left to catch the last bus out at 10:30.
  • Transferred to my bus and left the station at 11:20.
  • Arrived at my bus stop at 11:40.
  • Walked home, arriving at midnight.

See what I mean?

And the Richmond Road bus runs hourly on Saturday, so I can't run them easily before work, either. If I'd driven, I'd have made my purchases within 20 minutes, driven 10 minutes to the friend's house, installed the one item, and could have either been back within a short time or stayed and had supper and visited.

So things I owe are most important with the new salary, but a close second is saving for a car. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad we have public transportation, and during the day, when it's running every half-hour, it's not too bad. But at night it can be a pain. Not to mention you're more exposed to the elements and to possible muggers.

But one nice thing was as I was walking from one store to another, this big butterfly landed within a foot of me and actually stayed long enough for me to snap this picture. I would have missed that, driving. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

So despite my brush with death, I got to go see Joan Baez

There were two standing ovations and three encores (including one where she did 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' and another where she got the audience to sing 'Amazing Grace'. One of the best received was the 'Flora, the Lily of the West', which is set in Kentucky. Here's a video (not of our concert--cameras weren't allowed):

Her backing band was very talented. One guy played piano, mandolin, banjo, and fiddle, for example.

She was very engaging with the crowd as well. This was part of the Troubadour Concert Series, an all volunteer, community run show which has been running since 1993. Thursday they're having the Indigo Girls at the Kentucky Theatre, and in October Patty Loveless is coming. Some of the performers in the past include Arlo Guthrie, Alison Krauss, Don McCLean, Shawn Colvin, Riders in the Sky (I love their radio show--used to listen every Sunday at the comic store), Gordon Lightfoot, Suzanne Vega, and Lady Smith Black Mambazo, to give you an idea of their music.

I will say I was one of the younger people in the audience, and none of the twenty-somethings I mentioned the concert to really knew who Joan Baez was. But one of my co-workers plays her music regularly in her office and was thrilled with the prospect of her coming to Lexington. I hope she got to go.

Another great thing is when I bought the tickets from Ticketmaster I asked for it to search for best seats, as I really don't know the layout of the Lexington Opera House well. I wound up on the third row centre, very close to the stage but not too close. Joan was right in front of me. I also discovered that being on the sides had a problem in that the guitar in the spotlight reflected out to the audience, probably blinding a few people, something I'll keep in mind if I go to other concerts. I did find the constant changing of guitars distracting. She had one that was normal and one that had a clip to change the sound of the guitar, and a woman brought each out as needed, but they changed it every song. There was a guitar stand there; I don't know why it couldn't have been used instead. But that was the only distraction. Everything else was wonderful.

Anyway, I enjoyed myself thoroughly. I haven't been to anything to do with the arts or culture since the Petrie exhibit at UK's art museum, and that was last summer, so this was fun. And believe me, after my afternoon foray into traffic, I rather got into the singing of 'Amazing Grace'.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fat girls shouldn't run into traffic

Especially ones who sucked at those time-distance math equations in school. Almost every sidewalk downtown is being torn up and put back together again, and although I am 1) usually completely law-abiding when it comes to crossing the street and 2) take the time to go down to the corner to get from the transit centre to the library, which was my objective at the time, that seemed rather treacherous, as barrels lined the street, there was no pavement, and Vine and Limestone was actually blocked off on the Phoenix Park side. So, I decided to try to cross the street the most direct route, waiting for a break in traffic. No such luck. I did finally get a point where all the cars were down at the light, and I started across, but misjudged how fast they were coming, so I ran as quickly as I could.

Pandmonium ensued.

Fortunately, the person I scared within an inch of his life had good brakes, because the car stopped with about two feet to go before hitting me. Let me just say that my demise would have been entirely my fault for such a lapse in judgement, and I'm sorry I probably panicked him. Also, fortunately, the car behind him was far enough away that they just had to slow down rather than stop. I hurried my butt to the library as fast as I could, went upstairs to the second floor, and just, well, texted the last message here as I calmed down.

I haven't been that close to mortality in a good long while. I didn't fall apart, didn't panic, didn't dwell excessively on how close I came to being squished--just a bit. Mostly, I was upset because if I had died, I 1) might have taken someone with me, causing a pileup, and 2) it would totally have been my fault. Somehow it's better to die through no fault of your own, rather than through your own stupidity.

Anyway, that's what happened. Obviously I've lost the ability to jaywalk that I learned in college, although I will say they come in packs there so drivers slow down. This car was going at a goodly pace.

I've wrenched my knee a bit; I hope it doesn't stiffen up on me. But it's so better than the alternative could have been and I only have myself to blame.

There goes another of my (hopefully) nine lives. Afterwards you better believed I obeyed all street lights and navigated through all the torn up construction, with all its treachery, rather than jaywalk again.
I almost died just now. Not exaggerating. Details later.

By the way

I went into work this morning and had thirty, count them, thirty interlibrary loan requests on our system. 29 were from the same person; 28 were from the same journal, which far exceeds copyright guidelines. If you're new to the profession, or just confused about copyright (aren't we all?) there is an excellent FAQ on the Medical Library Association's website which explains the CONTU Guidelines' 'Rule of Five', which is essentially this: No more than five articles may be requested from the last five years from the same journal within a given year.

So what did I do? I asked the librarian to give me the five she wanted most, with a link to the FAQ, and when she said nevermind, I rejected the requests for copyright compliance problems. Unfortunately I accidentally marked the one that was from another library that way, too, but I sent them the article and an apology and I think they'll resend the request prefixed to me so we can get the statistics right in the system.

I normally get, oh, maybe six ILL requests at once. When I saw all the notifications of ILL requests this morning, my eyes popped out of my head, I'm sure. 'Course, if they'd been from different journals, I'd have filled them all. All of those requests were from the same patron, too. I think that person needs to get a personal subscription to that journal, and that's what I would have told a patron of mine. :)

Anyway, it's just one of those little things you deal with as a solo medical librarian. Thought I'd share.

Oh, about the snafu

I was informed today that I got too much money in my last paycheque. They paid me at my library rate for all the hours, rather than at the lower rate for the data entry. They have a solution worked out for how to avoid this in the future, involving how I clock in and out, but in the meantime my next cheque will be short the amount I was overpaid. I should still be able to pay my rent, though, because that's a full pay period.

I had figured the amount I would get paid and what I actually got was not far off because I had figured the taxes on the same percentage even though I figured it would be somewhat higher. I did not expect, when comparing the two pay stubs, that the federal taxes would by 5 times what I had been paying. The real pay will be somewhere in between, of course. This means I won't know my real pay for sure until mid-August, although I'll have a better idea of the taxes at the end of the month. I have a spreadsheet I can easily plug things into to help budget with.

In a way it was nice because I was able to pay off one debt completely and buy the Kindle with this cheque, along with paying some bills. Next cheque is slated for rent and taxes. Mid-August I'll pay bills again, get another bus pass, and pay off some more debt, plus start my savings up again, assuming I can do all that with the cheque. I hope so. There is an old debt (as in from the late 80s, early 90s) I have that is offering a settlement for slightly over $300 and I'd like to take them up on it and get that taken care of. I just don't know if I can pay that much at one time. If it's two payments, it doubles. I know that it's better to pay off completely than as a settlement, but this is old debt I haven't been able to pay on in years; this is the most expedient way to deal with it, I think. The idea is to pay off everything on my credit report and taxwise within 6 months. I'd hoped to do the debt in 4, but with the higher tax bracket, may have to go with six. I'll refigure next month when I get my first regular paycheque.

Finances hurt my brain. The Kindle was the one splurge I plan on, though. Everything else is all about repairing my credit and saving for a car, taking care of my bills, starting to pay my student loans, etc. I won't have any more disposable income than I do now, but my life should improve, anyway. :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

I am so glad I got in before the heavens opened up

I literally got in the house about three minutes before the rain starting coming down in sheets. Yay, for me. Now let's hope the electricity stays on.

Forgive me for being so sporadic of late. On top of work, notes, and the game this weekend, I had a major distraction. Wednesday night I got my first paycheque from the new job (more about that later, turns out there was a snafu) and I went ahead and ordered, after waiting through two models, a Kindle. It was at my desk by Friday morning, and I had not paid extra for postage (the two-day service was free for a limited time, but it came in one). I guess they want you to get your hands on it as quickly as possible so you will buy books. Plus, I happen to live in a city with an Amazon warehouse.


[A good while longer]

Well, the lightning was causing brownouts, so the power supply shut the computer down to protect it. I took said Kindle, a booklight, and a flashlight that you crank that has a radio on it into the bedroom. It was absolutely black outside. It was a long storm. A friend called me on my cell phone about 9 pm and we talked quite some time. and then finally the storm passed. By then I was sleepy from the rain and just succumbed to sleep for several hours, getting up at 1:45 am to come out here and finish this post.

About the Kindle: I love it; I adore it. The only thing that threw me was at first I thought I was missing the USB cable. It's connected to the charger. You can charge by hooking up the cable sans charger into a computer as well. Fortunately a co-worker who has a Kindle showed me the secret. I'd already sent an enquiry to Amazon and they responded with the same information in a timely manner. I'm really quite satisfied with their service.

By the end of the day I'd downloaded three books, one full-priced (but still half of what I'd pay in hardback), A River in the Sky, by Elizabeth Peters, the latest Amelia Peabody novel, which is part of my favourite mystery series and quite possibly my favourite series of any genre (I've read all of them, and there's something like 20 books). The other two books were just around $4-6. One was the complete stories of HP Lovecraft, plus poems and author biography, and a wiki, and the other was actually a collection of all 15 Oz books, which I've never read but have meant to for some time. A friend has them all, but they're from his childhood; I would never ask to borrow them. So for $4 I got the complete set. :)

I downloaded PrimoPDF, which is free, and created PDFs from my Word files for the game notes and two character-related information my gamemaster had sent me. I loaded those on. They work pretty well. On those, you can't adjust the text in the same way, and it fits it to the screen, making the print rather small (unless you start out with a large, large font on the Word file, which helps). But you can magnify areas by selecting a section and clicking it to make the text of that area bigger, so that's helpful. But I could read it without having to do that.

I put a couple of Loreena McKennitt albums onto the device to play when reading. The Kindle only plays .mp3s, so I downloaded a nice converter that changes .wav files to .mp3s and came with another program that would rip a CD straight into .mp3 files. Most of my music collection is in .wav format, having been taken from my CDs through Windows Media Player.

Saturday night I added a bunch of free books, things like Arthurian legends, the Iliad and Odyssey, fiction by Wells, Verne, Stoker, Conan Doyle, Carroll, among others. I also added a Latin grammar for a nominal fee.

Sunday I surprised people by reading the notes from the game on my Kindle. It worked better than bringing it up on the computer and leaning over to read it.

A few impressions. The text is very clear and easy to read, even with bifocals (another story--I picked up my glasses this morning and have been walking into walls all day, but otherwise have not tripped or hurt myself). It can go up in size or down. I love the text-to-speech feature, and even though it's a bit tinny, you can adjust the speed and gender, and it's rather good considering. All the stories I've downloaded have this feature enabled. Note to publishers: I'm much more likely to purchase your book if this is available. I looked up some Jim Butcher ('Dresden Files') books earlier and they were not. I'd like to finish reading that series, but frankly I'll probably get them from the library, since the reading feature isn't available.

Over the weekend I updated my software and now have access to features like collections (where you can organise your books into folders), find places in books that other people have highlighted (although that can be turned off if you find it annoying; I think it's okay). Plus, you can share clippings too, through Twitter and/or Facebook. I did that with and Elizabeth Peters quote today, if you check out my Twitter feed on the sidebar.

I've read the Kindle, as of today, on the bus, and it didn't make me carsick like a regular book does, so that's a plus.

As far as the web browsing goes, it's a little slow, but considering 1) I don't have to pay for a wireless connexion that is found just about anywhere and 2) it's experimental, it does quite nicely. I can even read my blog on it; it doesn't present the sidebar or videos, but otherwise is readable. I've tweeted from it, but frankly that's easier to do by phone. I even used it to get to some Facebook statistics for a patron which were available on the site, which is blocked by our system. Now, I can't update my status, and it's a bit jumbled to really check out others, so I don't think employers need to worry about workers whiling away the time on social networking sites via the Kindle in the workplace. But for getting a simple press release with status from their site, it worked fine.

I was at the bus stop this morning, reading the Iliad, which reminded me that I'd tried to remember who in Greek myth had been a man turned into a woman for a few years, and thought it was the blind prophet Tiresias. I went to Wikipedia and looked it up, and lo, I was right. It was nice to look something up right on the spot in the middle of nowhere, no wi-fi in sight. One of my co-workers has a Nook (well, apparently several do in one of the other departments as well, whereas at least three of us have Kindles). But she has to be at a wi-fi hot spot to get her content, or at a Barnes and Noble store. One of my co-workers with a Kindle goes down to a lake and still manages to download things there. I haven't found anyplace yet where I didn't get a wireless connexion yet. I usually keep it off when not in use, though, to save the battery.

Two things I learned over the weekend that may be helpful: One, how to tell which Kindle you have. On the back, the Kindle 1 has a serial number with a 4 at the beginning, the Kindle 2 US has one with an 8, and the global Kindle, which I have, has a series of logos above the serial number that is missing from the others. I came across this information when manually downloading the new software. Amazon includes pictures to help one easily discover which one to choose for your device. You can tell what version of software you have by going to Menu>Settings and looking in the lower right of the screen. The latest update (as of today) in a version 2.52. To be frank, I didn't pay attention to how to tell the difference between the two DX models, but they're listed as well when you go to download the software from the Kindle area of your account on Amazon.

The other thing is that I had read that a drawback to the Kindle was (unlike the model 1 or some other eBook readers), the battery was not replaceable. That's not quite true. The battery is not user-replaceable; it must be replaced by Amazon. But they will do so for free if in warranty (either original or extended) and for a fee later. But it's suppose to last awhile and have greater life than the old one.

I did not buy the extended warranty (at least not yet; I have 30 days to do so, but I'm not that into extended warranties, frankly, although it does replace the Kindle from one incident such as a drop, which is nice). I did, however, buy a sturdy cover for it, which is, of course, purple. It looks like a small portfolio when I carry it, and it's not apparent that I'm using a Kindle if I keep it half-open, such as on the bus when I don't want to advertise that I have an electronic gadget worth stealing.

Anyway, that's what I've been playing with. Sorry, I promise I won't forsake my blog over this. :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I'd like to see the actual paper before casting judgement...

Seems a bit tenuous, and I'm sceptical, but then these 'forensic history' cases are tricky, and ultimately can not be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, in my opinion. Even so, I find them fascinating.

Alexander the Great killed by toxic bacteria?: May have been the poison that caused conqueror's death more than 2,000 years ago
According to the study, calicheamicin, a secondary metabolite of Micromonospora echinospora, is what gave the river its toxic reputation.

The Styx was the portal to the underworld, according to myth. Here the gods swore sacred oaths.

"If they lied, Zeus forced them to drink the water, which struck them down. The 8th-century B.C. Greek poet Hesiod wrote that the gods were unable to move, breathe or speak for one year," co-author Adrienne Mayor, a research scholar at Stanford University's Departments of Classics and History of Science, told Discovery News.

Another account by the Greek geographer Pausanias (110 to 180) reported that the river could ruin crystal, pottery and bronze. "(The) only thing able to resist corrosion is the hoof of a mule or horse," he wrote.

It's storming

and I'm up early to work on the game notes, although now that I'm up, I'd rather like to go back to sleep and just chill out to the rain.

I have been very busy lately, hence the sporadic posts, and next week will be as well. First there's the game tomorrow and all that entails. On Monday I need to go pick up my contacts and glasses at the optician's/optometrist's office. On Tuesday is the Joan Baez concert, so I'm leaving a little early from work, which means I'm staying late otherwise to make up the time. Tuesday is usually a very busy day in the hospital so I'll have to catch up a little. Plus, I have to have several entries of a guide to health information resources in by Friday. That's in addition to any normal stuff. I'll try to blog anyway. I'm getting better at getting up early, although I still want to sleep a bit early, too, although last night I took a short nap and got up and did some things, so that was good. I'll be glad when I'm truly used to the new schedule.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Wow, what a long day yesterday was

I did a lot of catch up work at the hospital and got a lot of stuff put into the computer. I was really tired, but I actually went over to a friend's after work (and after a Kroger run), getting over there about 9:30 pm and staying till almost 3 in the morning. But it was good to visit, and he served an excellent meal. I didn't manage to get up early again this morning, but I'm up on time and ready to go again. My glasses and contacts are ready to be picked up and I think I found a Woodhill-Richmond shortcut, as on the last regular run (8:20), the Woodhill bus transfers passengers to Richmond *at my home bus stop*, even though at that point its not on Woodhill's route. That's what happened last night. So I'm going to try that. If that won't work, I'll have to wait around an hour for the combo route to pick me up, but there are things like Office Depot to browse, so it's not like I'll be standing out there the whole time. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I actually got up at 6 this morning

Which is rather remarkable because I was very tired when I got in (lots of looking at small print and computer screens) and a friend called me when I was on the bus and we chatted for over an hour. I was in bed by 9:30 pm again, but at least this time I woke up in time to do things.

Kroger's customer service desk opens up at 8. I'm going to walk over there and get a bus pass (yay, today is my first payday since adding the new job!) From there I may go ahead and go over to the optician and pick up my glasses. It would be easier to do so now that the buses are running on the half-hour than when I get out of work, and involves some tricky connexions or going downtown for a transfer, but I think I have time before I have to be at work.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Gary Corby shared this wonderful film by Amarildo Topalis and I just had to do likewise.

Many people (except those of us who are Classics geeks in some way, I guess) think of ancient art as all white marble, when in fact, the ancient world was colorised in bright hues we might even consider garish. And this video captures what they might have looked like. The music is rather stirring, too [I think it may be Vangelis--that's what pops up on the YouTube page]. There's actually a whole series of videos, including Crete and Aegypt. Enjoy!

Interesting idea....

Historians locate King Arthur's Round Table: Historians claim to have finally located the site of King Arthur’s Round Table – and believe it could have seated 1,000 people
Researchers exploring the legend of Britain’s most famous Knight believe his stronghold of Camelot was built on the site of a recently discovered Roman amphitheatre in Chester.

Wow--half of all human deaths from a single organism

The Tenacious Buzz of Malaria: Humans have underestimated the disease for millennia; new research, and new worries
The malaria parasite has been responsible for half of all human deaths since the Stone Age, and one in 14 of us alive today still carry genes that first arose to help protect us from its ravages. Malaria has shaped our trade and settlement patterns, and our demographics. Today, it sickens 300 million every year, and kills nearly 1 million, despite the fact that we've known how to cure it (with parasite-killing drugs) and prevent it (by avoiding mosquito bites) for over a century. And even as the fight against malaria gains momentum, research reveals that malaria's tentacles continue to dig ever deeper.

I'm so tired lately, and I'm not sure why

My blood sugar has been reasonable. I do have a UTI, and am on antibiotics for that; I guess that could make me a little more tired. But last night I got home at 8:30 and was in bed by 9:30. That's okay, you say, you just got up and did stuff instead, right? I managed to finally get up at 9 am. Maybe I'm still hung over from my lack of sleep on Saturday night, I don't know. But the fact is, I have a lot to do in the next couple of days and can't afford to keep falling asleep like that.

It's very dreary outside right now. That may have been part of my unwillingness to get up; the sun was not greeting me.

Today I'm going to a meeting of the Kentucky Medical Library Association, along with a CE on promoting libraries through social media. Then it's back to the hospital for data entry. I'm lucky I remembered that it will take $2 to get there and back; I don't have a bus pass at present until Thursday and so it takes a dollar to ride anywhere. Still not a bad deal, but good to remember before you spend too much of your cash on hand.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I would love to post something witty, charming, or otherwise interesting

But I'm too tired to do so. I couldn't sleep for the longest time last night (wound up after work, plus a two-hour late phone call), overslept and woke up at 7 rather than 6 am. Prepared the game master's house for the game, went on two Kroger runs (one major), and played for several hours. I'm beat. But I love the fact that I have my favourite and most competent character back after a year and three months of game time (but about 3 years in real time--we spent so long on that Antarctic campaign, after all).

So, think up something to amuse yourselves. I'll be back in form tomorrow. Take care.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Heh, heh, heh

Neil Gaiman and a bunch of other folks have been coming up with Lovecraftian ice cream flavours on Twitter. Which is funny, because ice cream is particularly popular in Arkham in our game of Call of Cthulhu, and we're convinced it 1) has mind changing properties and 2) it is derived from the milk of Shub-Niggurath. :)

My favourite so far is 'At the mountains of mintyness' by @davidmulqueen.

A bit of Latin humour to start off your day...

One of my contacts on Facebook posted this joke:
Did you hear about the Roman centurion who went into a bar and ordered a Martinus? The bartender said,"You mean a martini" and the centurion said, "If I wanted two I would have asked for them!"

To which I replied:
I knew there was a reason for me to pursue a Classical education. All those Great Books courses and Latin paid off in the end. :)

I suck at telling jokes, but I dearly appreciate them. Especially Latin ones. :) Okay, off to work I go!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

I just finished watching 'The Lovely Bones'

and rather liked it, although I know it got mixed reviews. Saoirse Ronan was very good. Actually, I thought most of the acting was very good. Now I can return it to the library. Somewhere I have the book. I know there's some differences (the mother's affair, for example), and I'd like to see how different the film is from the book and see how it's written. So, I should probably find it. When you have as many books as I do, especially since their not in order at the moment (and some are still in boxes), it can be hard to locate one easily. Must finish putting my library into LibraryThing. I've only got 233 books in, and I have quite a bit more than that. :)

PS Well, that took two minutes. It was actually in my mystery section, but there are two stacks lined up on the shelf, one behind the other, and it was in the back one. I'll go ahead and put it into the catalogue as well. :D

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

I think I'm going to like this new schedule

So I worked my first full day from 10:30 am-7 pm today. [I came close on Thursday and Friday, when I left at 6:15.] Then I waited a half hour for the bus. [It only runs hourly at that time.] I stopped by the store I work and Brandon took me home when he left. Now I'm going to eat some Morningstar Farm's sweet and sour soy chicken. :) The first time I had it the soy chicken was a little mushy. I suspect it would do better in the oven; I cooked it in the microwave.

Okay, what did I do today?

I was trying to figure out a way to eat something at work without over-drafting my account, as I only had a little over $4 in it [I'd just paid my rent this weekend], not enough to get out of the ATM at work (which miraculously does $5 bills, when it's full, anyway). I checked and my Papa John's account had enough points for a free pizza. I still had to pay tax, delivery charge, and tip, but I got a large three-topping pizza and had 28 cents left in the account. Fortunately I get paid tonight, albeit for two days last week, for a total of 15 1/2 hours. Next week I'll only get paid for 5 hours because of going to the 4th of July festival, but I'll get paid at the hospital, so I'll be able to pay bills. The next cheque after that will be my first full one at the hospital, just in time for rent but hopefully allow for something fun, too. I hope so anyway.

Today I catalogued 14 books and cleared out the things under my desk that need to go in my limited, but proper, storage. I figured if I were going to spend four hours typing in numbers, I'd better make a nice workspace. I rearranged my desk and storage place to comply with HIPAA regulations, since the forms I type from contain protected health information that needs to be stored securely. I also ran down some people with the authority to make decisions about forms about which I had questions. I learned to use the verification process for assuring that I put in the correct information. Accuracy is very important. As it was, though, I managed to put in everything I'd gotten today. The time worked out well.

Tomorrow I have plans for more cataloguing (I'm trying to get the family resource books out from behind my chair), to do some inter-library lending (I had a loan request come up after I'd started the data entry job), and get those boxes into storage. I also need to shelve the new journals and do a bit of shelving of older materials. Plus there's a cooperative reference encyclopaedia where the deadline is fast approaching for contributions. Then there's the data entry to work on.

Okay, I rented Lovely Bones Saturday, still haven't watched it, and need to before I take it back to the library and pay my fees. But I'll try to write a little later. I need to work some more on the game notes, too. And clean. But not all tonight. :)

Monday, July 05, 2010

Hope you had a nice July 4th weekend

This is what I got to see (well, a bit of it). Every year the Idle Hour country club does a show, and since I work at the hospital, I can park in the parking lot, and the hospital is right across the road. It's a big event with lots of people out on the front lawn. This year I didn't have a car, but Brandon and Angenette just got a van and we made plans to go. Their 18-month-old was quite taken with me, and a little girl about the same age kept coming up to me, too. Angenette doesn't understand why I wouldn't want children, especially as I seemed to be a kid magnet. I pointed out it was kind of like people who are allergic to cats get the brunt of cat love. That brought some laughs. Anyway, the fireworks were wonderful. The grand finale was the great, and the fireworks hung in the air, big and beautiful, as if right on top of us. It was probably the best of the Idle Hour fireworks I've been to. It's my camera, so I'm sure there could be better shots, but enjoy anway.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

When I was in college, my first majors were biology and sociology

because I was interested in building sustainable oecosystems where people could live off the land and sea in ways that would do less damage to the oecology and provide for their continued livelihoods. (I also thought of going into the Peace Corps for those same reasons). After I changed my biology major to history (I burnt out on chemistry and had a professor kill a rat in front of me to dissect, which kind of put me off biology), they came up with a programme called FEAST at my school I otherwise would have gone into (I think it meant 'Food, (o)Ecology, and Society Together').

Well, the Congo could desperately use some graduates of similar programmes.

In Congo forest, bushmeat trade threatens Pygmies: Demand for game meat takes toll on Central African forests
The genteel clan leader does not want to talk about the change sweeping the continent, or the dangers of over-hunting. "The forest will always be there," he says. "For the forest to disappear, for the animals to disappear, the world would have to end first."
Their world may come to an end. They are overhunting the bushmeat, due to a voracious demand from outside their forest homes. With the trade, their society is changing, as well. Their way of life is threatened.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Poor thing...


BP disaster may now be worst spill in Gulf history
Many fishing boats signed up to skim oil sit idle in marinas. Some captains and deckhands say they have been just waiting around for instructions while drawing checks from BP of more than $1,000 a day per vessel. Thousands of offers to clean beaches and wetlands have gone unanswered.

BP and the Obama administration faced mounting complaints Thursday that they are ignoring foreign offers of badly needed equipment and making poor use of the fishing boats and volunteers available to help clean up what may now be the biggest spill ever in the Gulf of Mexico.

Based on some government estimates, more than 140 million gallons of crude have now spewed from the bottom of the sea since the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, eclipsing the 1979-80 disaster off Mexico that had long stood as the worst in the Gulf.

Help save the LSU School of Library and Information Science

Sign a petition at: http://www.PetitionOnline.com/SaveSLIS/

I did!

For more on the situation at Louisiana State University, check out: slis.lsu.edu.
We need your help to win this fight to save SLIS.

Thanks to Michelynn McKnight of MEDLIB-L for passing on the links.

I am #1619 on the petition. Here are my comments:
Although I am not currently a resident of Louisiana, I did grow up there and I believe it's important that the state have a school of library and information sciences to provide high quality graduates to its public, school, academic, and special libraries, which in turn support the residents of this great state. Please keep the school open!

I'm downtown at the Central Library

So far I have:
  1. Enjoyed a funnel cake.
  2. Watched belly dancing.
  3. Gone to a petting zoo (and taken lots of pictures of goats for YKWIA. I also tried to keep a goat from eating the cone of a snow cone a child had given it, but to no avail. I hope it's okay.)
  4. Wandered through various informational booths, shops, and the like. There seems to be more food vendors and music than anything else this year, but that may just seem the way because the stuff that is normally down Vine Street has been moved.
  5. Gotten some food from Subway. (Seemed cheaper than the vendors.)
  6. Checked out a copy of The Lovely Bones DVD since I'm off tomorrow.
  7. Found a book called Hiding in the Mirror: The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions, from Plato to String Theory and Beyond by Lawrence M Krauss.
The parade is in about a half-hour, then I think I'm going home. It's okay (and the weather is exceptional), but there have been better years. Still, the goats and llamas were fun. :)

Okay, I have SPF 50 sunblock on

and am ready to take a ride downtown to the Fourth of July Festival to see the sights, watch the parade, etc. I don't have much money for stuff, but I do want to get a funnel cake (hey, I know, I'm diabetic, but it's a once-a-year thing). Wish me luck!

The week in review

This week was strangely out of the routine, as I switch to a new schedule. It's got me a little flummoxed. On the one hand, it was an incredibly light week marked by intensity; on the other hand, I wasn't quite sure what to do with the extra time.

The reason is the new job. I'm still a librarian, of course, and still maintain my twenty-hour-a-week job at the hospital library as a solo librarian. But for the first time in, oh, ever, our system is starting to get into insurance billing as a way to cut costs and ensure our continued work. [There is still no financial obligation to patients or families, though--no co-pays or deductibles, and insurance is only billed with the family's consent. Obviously if someone doesn't have insurance or for some reason doesn't want theirs billed, all care is still provided for free.]

It's a completely new arena for us, and as so often is the case, we are one of the pilot hospitals in a new process. We went live on Thursday. The reason this matters to me personally is that I have been hired as a clerk for another 20 hours a week to enter charges for certain things. What this meant for me is that I was suddenly part of conference calls, had to have training in the computer program's use, and have had to work with the team when issues have come up.

Since it was the first week--and Go-Live wasn't until July 1st--I wasn't needed for a full schedule every day, but needed to be flexible (one day I came in early for a few hours, even though normally I work in the afternoon, for example).

What I found was that the new schedule has some pros and cons, and some challenges.
  1. I work late morning till early evening, which makes scheduling a doctor's appointment somewhat challenging (especially as my optometrist doesn't see patients until 9:30 am).
  2. The natural break in my schedule for a lunch is at 2:30 pm--when the cafeteria is closed. Today for example, I grabbed some mac and cheese at 12:15 pm from the lunch room (I'm used to eating lunch at 11:30, so I've been eating a little something later each day) and ate it at my desk, took a lunch at 2:30 and ate hummus and pita I'd brought from home, along with a couple of deviled eggs from the salad bar.
  3. I haven't been over to my friends' house all week. This means lengthy but enjoyable phone calls almost every night.
  4. The buses only run every hour once I get off work, so that makes errands a little challenging.
  1. I probably am working the best schedule for a night owl who has always worked best from about 10 am-7 pm (I used to work that at the survey research centre, for example).
  2. I'm not standing on my feet 28 hours at the gas station a week. That's now cut down to 8.
  3. Instead of working three 12 hour days and two four hour days during the week, I'm now working 8 each day, so there's more continuity.
  4. It's nice to be there full-time. I feel more connected in some ways to my co-workers at the hospital than I had been (which after 13 years, I thought I was pretty well connected to everyone already).
  5. There's no need to run and catch the bus to another job in the middle of the afternoon. I can take my time going home if a rainstorm blows up or if I need to run errands.
  6. I'm home by 8 pm instead of 11 pm. For now, that means it's still daylight when I get in.
  7. I only have to walk from the store one night a week.
  8. Oh, yeah. More money. And it goes into my retirement, which I've increased to 6% before I have a chance to miss any money that might go in. They're resuming matching our retirement, too, so this is a wonderful thing.
So what did this mean for this week?

Monday I worked at the library, then stayed another hour or so or a conference call. Tuesday I came in at 8:30 and went through some of the process with some people, then worked until about 12-4:30 at the library. Wednesday was the last actual half-day I had, so I went to the eye doctor, got contacts, ordered glasses, and then got my hair cut. (I would have gone over to my friends' house but they were doing something with the family.) Thursday was mostly to schedule; I left a little early once I finished up everything. Today was the same--but I also had a nice neck/backrub by a massage therapist as part of a de-stress thing they were doing at work. That was really nice. She was really surprised how tight my muscles were (they always are; my friend can't touch me without causing pain because of it, but she was really gentle and got them to relax. I really should consider getting a monthly massage. Their group is having a special of $35 for an hour right now, apparently. It's out by Hamburg, so I could get there on the bus. I just don't know if riding the bus after a massage is the best thing; they're kind of bumpy. I used to hate doing so after the chiropractor back in the day.)

What I have been doing that's a bit strange is I've come home, eaten, and then slept for an hour to three after getting home. I think it's because I'm trained to come home, eat, and then it's already time for bed when I was coming home at 11 pm. So I need to get over that. Plus, I was probably sleep deprived early on in the week. I have managed to actually get some reading in, too, though.

So what are the plans for next week? Tomorrow I'm going to the Fourth of July festival that they're having on the third :) downtown, then I work a short (5 hour) shift in the evening at the store. Sunday is completely free; we're not playing the game. I have Monday off, too, so my plan is to go over to my friends' house then, since the buses will run on a normal schedule and I'll get to stay later. I also need to pick up my repaired glasses on Monday. Tuesday-Friday should be my first days at full schedule. (Tuesday will be especially busy, it looks like). Then next Saturday I should be back to the eight hour store schedule, and then next Sunday we should have a game.

I've got part of the notes done from last week's game; I still need to work on those. I'll probably finish on Sunday, since I'll have a free day, and do some cleaning around the house, too. I also have a project that absolutely is due by July 15th, where I'm contributing many entries on ac couple of subjects to an encyclopaedia.

Okay, my computer keeps reminding me that there are updates and wants to shut down (I finally told it to come back and see me in an hour.) I should go back to sleep--it's almost four (but I went to bed at 10. See what I mean?)

Friday, July 02, 2010

Talk about a flash dance :)

75 teens from DANCE This! did a flash mob dance at the Seattle Public Library yesterday. Thanks to Nikki at the Eagle Dawg blog for the head's up. It looks like it was great fun.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Apologies are long overdue...and for many, may come too late

Unfinished Business: For 65 years, Japanese corporations have escaped responsibility for abusing American POWs during World War II
Lester Tenney entered World War II as a strapping 21-year-old, weight 180 pounds. By the time he emerged from Japanese captivity in 1945, he was a shattered, emaciated cripple. His left arm and shoulder were partly paralyzed due to an accident in a coal mine where he'd been sent as a slave laborer. His overseers there -- civilian employees of the Mitsui Corp., not members of the Imperial Army -- had knocked out his teeth in repeated beatings with hammers and pickaxes. At war's end, he weighed in at 98 pounds. It took him a year in U.S. Army hospitals to regain something like a semblance of his old well-being.

Sixty-five years later, Tenney and his fellow ex-prisoners of war (POWs) -- the rapidly diminishing group of those who remain alive, that is -- are still awaiting the full fruits of victory. The Japanese companies that once abused Tenney and his fellow prisoners have never acknowledged responsibility for their crimes, let alone offered compensation or regrets of any kind. (The companies needed the POWs to compensate for a wartime labor shortage.) The Japanese government has only just begun to offer its regrets for what happened -- far too late for most of the veterans, but, still, something. Perhaps most depressingly of all, the U.S. government has spent years allowing the Japanese to get away with it -- a policy of complicity that has its roots in the two countries' complex postwar relationship. There are signs that this, too, may finally be changing. Hope never dies, as they say.
Just like businesses that reaped the benefits of Jewish slave labour in German areas of Europe in World War II have a moral obligation to apologise and offer reparations to those who suffered (and in several cases, that has been the case), so do Japanese companies who used American POWs.

Survivors of Japan's WWII POW Camps Call on Japan for the Same Treatment as Siberian Internees
World War II former prisoners of war of Japan are calling on Japanese government and industry to provide the same commitment to the memory of their suffering and forced labor. The call comes after Japan's parliament approved on June 16th $200M to benefit Japanese veterans who survived the Soviet Union's post-WWII Siberian labor camps and to provide an accurate historical account for future generations.

Three past commanders of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (ADBC) applaud Japan's government for taking action now. Dr. Lester Tenney, Mr. Edward Jackfert, and Mr. Ralph Levenberg all survived Japan's notorious prisoner of war camps and endured brutal forced labor, providing profit for some of Japan's largest corporations during WWII. Over 60 well-known Japanese companies, such as Mitsui, Sumitomo, Kawasaki, Mitsubishi, and Nippon Sharyo, used American and Allied POW labor in harsh conditions to sustain their war production.

I'm practicing

Today is my first full day at the hospital as we go-live into the process for which I'll be doing data entry four hours a day in addition to my part-time library duties.

So, the good news is that I get to go in a half-hour later that I used to. I'm up and dressed and I've already gone through my Google Reader stories. I have to leave about 9:50 to catch the bus in to work, so I have a bit of time.

This is also the first time I've had the multifocal contact lenses in for more than five minutes. Things do seem clearer than with the monovision (and apparently my prescription changed, too, at least from the last pair of glasses to the new ones).

According to my optometrist, multifocal lenses are built around the fact that when you look at different distances, your pupils change size. Thus, when you look far away, your pupil dilates. When you look close up, it contracts. This is why you need good light to read by with them, and sunglasses if you're outside on a bright day, though, because of course light also affects your pupil size.

I find myself blinking a bit more and adjusting my distance a little from the computer screen, but all in all, things seem readable, which is good, as I'll spend four hours or so today putting in numbers and other entries.

Anyway, wish me luck. I'm not used to being at that one place for so long in the day. It's nice not to have to rush over to the store, and of course, I'll get off earlier than when I was working at the gas station during the week.