Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dear Gods...

it's Cthulhoid doggie clothing.

Speaking of cats...

Here's one up a tree the fire department wouldn't like a call about...

Helping a kitty walk and jump again, through cutting-edge technology

Unlike a person, a cat isn't able to run about on a removable prosthetic--it would come off too easily. So this surgeon gave Oscar, a cat who'd lost his two hind legs in a combine accident, a second chance at life by implanting prosthetics into his limbs.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

By the way, I had a horrible nightmare last night

It was set in some sort of underground building that was dim, with lots of pipes with water dripping, like a giant boiler area or something, but with lots of rooms (wasn't that one of the dream settings in one of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies?) Anyway, there was this thing that was killing women, and it only came out in the dark, but the people who ran the facility didn't believe it. My friend YKWIA had a key to the place because a friend used to manage the place and had given him one, and he and I were investigating the murders. Now, why there were about a dozen women roaming this place, I don't know--it never came up. But they were. The dream was incredibly detailed, visually, audibly--I think smell even came into play. But there was one part where the lights were going out (kind of like Doctor Who's 'Silence in the Library') and that's when the thing could get you, and we were trying to round up the women and get them to safety, and he and I were running hand in hand (and I could run in the dream, but I was a little behind him because he's taller), and then it felt like my head was disintegrating almost. I could see what was going on from outside my body and it was the spectral thing, white and glowing, and it was phasing with its mouth going into my brain and skull. But YKWIA pulled me into the light and we managed to go through a door where it couldn't follow--at least at that point--and I was alright. About that time I woke up, terribly disturbed, and YKWIA called, and I told him all about it.

I haven't had a nightmare in months. This one was really like being there (my usual for dreams, or at least the dreams I remember). I haven't watched anything, read anything horrible, or played any video games lately, although it would make a great scene in all of those. I'm just glad it wasn't real.

Feeling better

Today I did something uncharacteristic. I was working on the data entry and my back and neck were in spasm to a degree that I really couldn't concentrate on what I was doing, so I packed it in to finish tomorrow and went on home almost an hour early. The bus ride didn't help the pain much at all, and I realised I ached all over; it was just worse along my spine. When I got home I took a tizanidine tablet my doctor had prescribed for some neck pain I'd had back in March along with ibuprofen, and I went to bed for a couple of hours. I still ache a little, but the spasms have stopped and my back and neck can move without pain.

Now I've eaten a couple of veggie burgers and some grapes and I feel much better.

So it was a very short day at work today because I went to Frankfort from 10 am-3 pm for a Kentucky Medical Library Association meeting with a seminar on e-Books. I had a lady ask me about a book I'd reviewed, and I couldn't remember the exact title, but was able to look it up for her on my Kindle, which was pretty neat. I also discovered during the break that the number one selling paid product for the Kindle right now is actually a real Scrabble game, for $4.99. I couldn't resist, and had it within about 10 seconds and was playing it until the meeting resumed. Maybe my back messed up from riding in a car longer than I'm used to, I don't know. Frankfort's not very far away, after all.

On the way back, I'd closed my eyes for a second and my colleague, who was driving, suddenly said, 'Oh, my God!' I opened my eyes fully expecting to crash or something. But what it was was a full-sized Angus cow, dead, strapped on the back of a truck, which was rather odd. We also saw turkey vultures on a fence.

It was nice to get out of Lexington for a little while. We had the meeting at the Paul Sawyier Public Library and lunch was catered very aptly by a company in Frankfort called Artiste Catering. It was really nicely done; I heard only good things about the food. The boxed lunches all were named after artists; the vegetarian option was a Van Gogh, for example. It had avocado, herbs, cheese, and a lettuce mix on it.

The library was nice, too. I really wanted to hit their Friends' bookstore. It was small but inviting. The funny thing was in order to use the projector, you had to check out the cord and remote, meaning you had to have a library card. No one was actually there from Frankfort. But fortunately they let our president apply for a card without requiring her to live or work in the county, so it was a nice work-around. :)

Well, that's enough for now. I'm going to look up something for a friend. Good night.

Getting ready for

a Kentucky Medical Library Association meeting on e-Books in Frankfort. It should be interesting. Our president is coming to pick me up in just a couple of minutes. After the meeting I'll go into work and do the data entry. Hope you have a great day.

Monday, September 27, 2010

This weekend

is the re-enactment of the Battle of Perryville at the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site (also a National Historic Landmark). I was born in nearby Danville, also in Boyle County, Kentucky.

The Battle of Perryville was the largest Civil War battle in Kentucky and it was one of the bloodiest of the War. Union casualties totaled 4,276 (894 killed, 2,911 wounded, 471 captured or missing). Confederate casualties were 3,401 (532 killed, 2,641 wounded, 228 captured or missing), according to Kenneth Noe in his book Perryville: The Grand Havoc of Battle (2001). Although the Confederacy technically won the battle, it was a Union victory in that the Confederate general withdrew from Kentucky, which remained in Union hands throughout the War. (Although part of the South, Kentucky never seceded from the Union, but was considered a border state).

The park is over 650 acres and the event includes (besides the actual battle re-enactment) a museum exhibit on the cavalry of the war, a presentation on the ghosts of Perryville, a medicine show, an antique and relic show, and more. For more information, see the Perryville Battlefield website.

Thanks to Angela for reminding me of the event.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A humourous quote from Jody, my friend from elementary school

something she posted as her Facebook status:
When attacked by a circus troupe, go for the juggler.
As many times as carnivals come into play with Call of Cthulhu, I'll keep this in mind. :)

I wish I had DVR'ed the WEG opening ceremonies

I had no idea they were orchestrated by Dr Everett McCorvey, of the UK voice faculty. It was apparently a blend of opera (including Lexington-based Greg Turay), bluegrass, country, and other regional music. Woodie Guthrie's daughter, according to a Twitter posting I saw, led the audience in singing her father's 'This Land is Your Land', and many voices rose to sing 'My Old Kentucky Home'.

I've always liked Dr McCorvey. I auditioned for him once and actually could have taken individual voice lessons at the school as a result, but didn't have the money to really put into it at the time.

One thing that happened (and it wasn't mentioned on any of the news channels that I saw, just on Twitter, was a rider fell and was receiving medical treatment during the show. (Apparently they moved some potted plants to block the view of the audience somewhat.) Here is the official statement on the Games website:
Near the conclusion of the Opening Ceremony for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, a performer had an acute medical problem which required on site care. The University of Kentucky medical staff responded immediately, the patient was transported to UK Medical Center, and doctors have confirmed that he is in stable condition. No further information is available at this time.
That sounds better than it did making the round on Twitter, where CPR, possible fatality, etc. were bandied about. I hope all goes well for him.

I got up for a drink and an update on the rider. I guess I'll go back to sleep for another couple of hours, hopefully. Good night, again. I'm glad the opening ceremonies received generally very good reviews, although several people were upset that the full programme was not available on local television, and it apparently cut out about the time things really got going. But there is streaming video online as well. Just wish I hadn't missed it after all.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

One Saturday night down, one more to go

and my feet are killing me. I'm so looking forward to not standing for eight hours at a time. The first six or seven aren't so bad--it's once you go to stock the cooler and there's just concrete and no relief mat under you that it gets bad.

I did go to Kroger's afterwards and got a few things but otherwise did nothing on my list. I forgot to call Brenda about her guppies, and it's too late now. I didn't set the DVR. What I did was sleep until almost 1 pm then got ready and went to work, went to Kroger's and now I'm home, having a snack. (I had an honest-to-goodness meal from Texas Roadhouse tonight, although it seemed odd not to be getting it with Brandon. Much quicker, though--the man is fairly picky about his food and it takes awhile for him to decide on what to get.) I'm already ready for bed. I just need to get things ready for the game (transfer the notes, gather up the stuff that goes with me like the voice recorder and batteries).

Okay, I'm going to check the news really quick and then get things situated. Good night.

Maybe it's just as well I'm almost finished with my tenure at the store

Back in December I bought the requisite belted Dockers-style work pants in black, which I had difficulty finding in my size, but finally managed to procure ($50 from Land's End) and belt ($30 from Lane Bryant). The belt, which looked braided but really wasn't, snapped in June even though it was a little big for me. It couldn't handle being worn at the buckle, and the fibres separated. I went to put on the pants today and the zipper broke.

I've had much cheaper clothes that have lasted years before. I found a belt I didn't know I had, a braided leather one left over from the 1980s, big for me as well, so I've been wearing that. But the pants were a problem today because I only have only one other pair in requisition and they need to be laundered. So, I'm wearing elastic pants with my shirt out today. Oh, well, I think I'm the only one who really tucks my shirt in like we're supposed to, anyway, although these uniform shirts make it very hard.

Still, I'm not impressed by the wearability of either article of clothing, which should have lasted at that price at the very least a year, and both from places that are supposed to have good quality clothing. I'm not sure I'll be buying anything from either of them for some time, although they both send me catalogues and e-mails to do so.

I never heard my alarm :(

I woke up at 9:30 am, exactly a half hour AFTER the movie started. Oh, well. Pancakes do not a diabetic diet make. The question now is do I want to go do the pet store thing now and come back, or just screw that and go over to the shopping area a little before work and do the rest? Brenda actually offered some of her guppies awhile back. I think I'll call her later. That gives me two-and-a-half hours before I have to get ready for work and errands, and I think given the state of the house, I can fill that pretty well.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Yay, I finished!

And it's only 11:30 pm, so getting up for an early movie and enjoying a Saturday morning before work may be doable. :)

Note to self for Saturday:
  1. Take back some library books.
  2. Go to movie/breakfast.
  3. Go to Kroger and get a couple of things.
  4. Stop by the pet store and get some feeder guppies or goldfish, something cheap to stock the tank with to see how they do.
  5. Send out payments on my taxes.
  6. Come home, get ready for work.
  7. Set the DVR to record the opening WEG festivities, just in case it's interesting.
  8. Go back, this time to the store.
  9. Come home.
  10. Transfer over the notes to the Kindle, etc. and get things ready to take to the game.
  11. Sleep!

If I work and get the game notes done tonight

I can make the 9 am showing of Despicable Me at Movie Tavern tomorrow, where they serve breakfast and a movie for $10.50 total. I live very close and can just walk over. But I have to finish the notes and then there's the getting up early on a Saturday morning. The movie is supposed to be great and it's not showing anywhere else in Lexington presently. I've never been to Movie Tavern. It might be worth going, though. We'll see.

But I'm tempted to go just for the minions. :)

A BRIEF welcome to Lexington for those attending the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

The Games start tomorrow and Lexington is pulling out all the stops. Be sure to check out their main website. LexTran is offering round-trip shuttles to the Kentucky Horse Park for $2, and it's only $25 to get in to the grounds, and although yes, there are the venues/events, there are lots of vendors, art, jewelry, etc. I'm thinking about going just for the day sometime. Some of the events are pricey, but other are about $25 (that was one of the para dressage, for example, which sounds interesting). The website has event schedules and a little guide to coming to Kentucky for the Games that among other things describes what can't be brought into the park. Umbrellas are a major one. I guess they startle the horses. I'll think about it. Of course one must-have for me if I go is an inhaler--I'm terribly allergic to horses. And there's no way I can afford much of anything, but as one of my co-workers put it, it's definitely worth going down to see the sights. There's lots of stuff going on around Lexington, too, some of which is free. I picked up a paper today so I could look at what all was going on. I will be free the last weekend of the Games after all, so I'll concentrate on that Friday (I might be able to take off) and Saturday.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Plucky. I'd defend my dog, too, though.

Montana woman fights bear with courgette
A woman from the US state of Montana has fought off a 200lb (91kg) black bear with a courgette from her garden.

The bear attacked one of the woman's dogs on the back porch of her home late on Wednesday evening, Missoula County Sheriff's Lt Rich Maricelli said.

When the woman tried to stop the attack, the bear bit into her leg.

The woman, whom police have not named, grabbed the closest object - a courgette from her garden - and threw it at the bear, causing it to flee.
A courgette, for those of us in the US, is a zucchini squash. As gardeners know, zucchini tend to quickly outstrip those veggies you see at Kroger when you grow them at home. Hers was 14 inches long, and no doubt was quite a surprise to the bear. I'd leave too if a woman were madly throwing squash at me, wouldn't you? Glad she was just hurt a bit and the dog made it through without harm.

Speaking of loonies...

someone let one get up and speak in front of the United Nations today...

9/11 words by Iran leader lead to U.S. walkout at U.N.: U.S.: Ahmadinejad 'delusional' for citing those who believe U.S. was behind attacks
The U.S. and several European delegations walked out of the U.N. speech of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday after he said most people believe the U.S. government was behind the Sept. 11 terror attacks in order to assure Israel's survival.
That's as crazy as believing the Holocaust didn't happen, either. Oh, yeah. He does, doesn't he?

I know a lot of people have a lot of beef with the United States, and in many cases it's rightly so, but I am so glad to be an American. (Even that bozo...uh...President George W. was better than that guy, in my opinion.) And that comes from someone who is pro-Jewish but not-particularly-pro-Israel who thought George W. Bush was the worst President in living memory. But you know what? At least in my country I could say George W. Bush is a bozo and that's okay. I love that whole free speech bit. Other countries should try it. Believe it or not, it sows less unrest than you would think.

Sometimes Mother Nature just needs a hand

Texas Tail Saves Florida Panthers, for Now
In a rare story of conservation success, a last-ditch effort to save the Florida panther has slowed, if not reversed, the marvelous animal’s decline.

Fifteen years ago, America’s last eastern panther population had shrunk to several dozen individuals, riddled with genetic defects and too inbred to survive much longer.

Conservationists introduced eight female panthers trapped in Texas. Between 1995 and 2003, the newcomers bred with native cats; as described in a September 24 Science study, the gene pool was replenished. The Florida panther’s future is hardly assured, but it certainly looks better.
(There's an adorable picture of three cubs in the article.)

I can tell it's full moon (and not just by looking outside)

I decided to stop by Gabriel Brothers on the way home tonight, assuring that I'd be getting home after dark had fallen. As the big harvest full moon (coinciding with the autumnal equinox, happy Mabon!) as well as Jupiter rose above Wal-Mart (which I did not go to, as they are the Evil Empire, in my opinion), I walked up to the bus stop to wait. This was no mean feat, as I was uncustomarily in two-inch heels today, which worked okay for walking around the hospital, sitting at my desk, etc., but after standing for a half-hour waiting for the bus, then walking around the store (scoring one blouse, one shirt, a sweatshirt, a package of underwear, and Dove bodywash all for under $25), my feet were definitely ready to go home, and more to the point, to sit at the bus stop. Unfortunately there was a scary guy talking to himself about stalking adolescents sitting there, and he smelled, so I stood discreetly away, over by the shelter, which did have a seat, but I once watched someone about my size sit on it and break it at that very spot, and I wasn't taking chances.

Then a little older lady walked up and I was like, great, I'm not alone with the pervert, and she asked about the connector bus, which I know almost nothing about, and then said she'd know if it were the last one coming in a bit. I asked her didn't it pick up on the other side of the road. She said yes, but she was just going to stand there. Then the bus came and went (on the other side of the road), and she waited a bit and then quietly shuffled off with her bags up the street in the direction it was headed. Right after this, the guy got up and muttered to himself (he'd been quiet while she'd been there) and then shuffled off in the other direction. I sat down on the other side of the bench and waited for the bus, wondering which one was loopier (the man seemed potentially more dangerous, so he won hands down). I know most people who are mentally ill are perfectly harmless, but it just takes one violent looney to ruin your whole day, so I was very happy to see the bus come.

After I got off, I walked a bit in my stockinged feet, but put my shoes back on and they felt better. I'd dressed up today in a purple top, a long satin-and-velvet-banded skirt (which was fine this morning but hot tonight, although I got many compliments on it, which is funny because I got it for $5 at Gabriel Brothers a few months ago), knee high stockings, my shoes (which look like Mary Janes from the front but are heeled and backless), even jewelry (nothing expensive, but sparkly). I even wore makeup. Tomorrow it'll be a black skirt in a light material, one of the new tops, and my normal sandals. No more heels for me for awhile. Saturday the plan is to do laundry so I have more stuff to wear. You knew I was putting it off, didn't you?

I'm afraid I have no long, boring video post tonight. I was soaked to the skin and I immediately put on some shorts and the skimpiest top I own. I won't scare you with that. I was so happy to get the shoes and stockings off and cool off in the air conditioning. I'm going to finish eating and look at the news, and then I think I'm going to read some more of Jim Butcher's White Knight, which I've almost finished. Have a good night. Watch out for loonies howling at the moon, and happy Autumn!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Maybe I can learn to use some of that extra time I'll have now to be more like this guy

Congratulations, Ben. You made me cry. And while you were cute when you were fat, you're gorgeous now, just so you know. And I think a lot of that is how much happier you seem.

Thanks, Grace, for sharing this on Facebook. :)

It may be in a few months I will regret this, but...

I put in my two weeks' notice at the gas station today.


A man. A horse. And a building of trust.

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

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Awful Library Books--which looks at books that should be weeded from public library collections--is an entertaining blog which took a look at a book that wasn't so much an awful library book as an intriguing one whose theme matched today's Talk Like a Pirate Day. I'll have to see if my library has a copy. [Alas, I just did, and they don't.] If not, the Kindle edition of Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How a Generation of Swashbuckling Jews Carved Out an Empire in the New World in Their Quest for Treasure, Religious Freedom--and Revenge is less than $10. It's such a great title. :) Avast ye maties! Find it! Read it! Or ye walk the plank!


I've had very little sleep, I cleaned today, played several hours in the game, then went on the Kroger run of doom with friends but had to be the schlepping dromedary in terms of carrying in stuff since the others are having issues with carrying any weight right now. (Yes, we're in our 40s and 50s; we're all breaking down.) Anyway, I'm sticky, tired, and contemplating a shower. Despite this I feel better than I did earlier in the day, when I was just at the cusp of starting my period and just feeling, well, not well. I went over to the game master's house an hour later than normal but still got everything done before game time, despite feeling kind of crappy. I'm considering taking a shower, going to bed early, getting up and doing some laundry, and do my religious obligations tomorrow night.

On a completely different topic, yesterday I found out Brandon was leaving the store to return to his former job, which is in management. Hopefully we'll be able to stay in contact, but I have to admit, I'm considering quitting myself. I really feel like the store is going downhill, and with our car wash permanently dead now and being unable to do anything to the facility because the building isn't owned by the company, I have a sneaking suspicion that they might just shut it down. There is one other store on the road that I could transfer to, but it would mean a much longer walk home at night. I don't really care much for any of the other people I work with right now, I have to admit. And it would be nice to have a Saturday each week to have on my own. I think I can make it on what the hospital is paying, although the extra $250 or so a month from the store is nice. The main thing is that the hospital data entry job is expected to just last a year, and so I'd have to find another job when that is over. YKWIA thinks I should quit, and his advice is usually sound. I may just have to trust that I can find another job if needed, or that this might be extended. If I put in my notice next Saturday, that'll give them time to replace Brandon and get someone trained, plus handle any increase in traffic due to the World Equestrian Games, which start this weekend, which is kind of like the equestrian version of the Olympics and is being held in Lexington, the first time it's been held outside Europe since its inception. It runs from September 25th-October 10th. I don't know if we'll have any increase in business; we're on the opposite end of town from the Horse Park, but still. Plus my last day would be opening weekend for Keeneland's fall meet. Lexington is very horse driven, you may have noticed. (That same weekend is also a home football game for the University of Kentucky on Saturday and a Nickelback concert on Friday. I'd hate to be a traffic cop that weekend with everything going on at once.) As far as quitting, I guess I'll do some ruminating this week and make a final decision by Saturday.

Now that I've sat down for a little while I think I've recovered enough to get something to eat and check the news. If I don't write any more tonight, have a good one.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Okay, it's not that I condone violence

but an old elementary school friend who still lives in the Shreveport area shared this video (now a couple of years old) on Facebook, and the thought of an entire beauty school full of women beating a robber with curling irons and anything else that wasn't nailed down was...well, I hope he thought better of a life of crime. And they never let you live that down in gaol. The police officer was really trying not to laugh, you can tell.

Thanks, Jody.


My second attempt to do a video where I speak to my readers. Don't laugh too much, I'll work on my monologue. :) [Hey, at least the quality of the video is better, right?] (The picture that shows up will be of my smiling eventually...it takes a bit for YouTube to change the default. I finally changed the default on the other video from last year so it doesn't look like I'm giving birth, too. Hopefully it will update soon as well. In the meantime, I realise that I 1) need a haircut, and 2) am just silly, and not in a good way.)

Interesting puzzle

Forma Urbis Romae fragments drawn by
Giovanni Battista Piranesi
and I'd love to at least metaphorically wring the necks of the mediaeval Romans who destroyed it....

Shattered Marble Map Mystifies Puzzlers
An unintentional jigsaw puzzle made of marble, over two millennia old, and missing most of its pieces has defied scholars and puzzle-solvers for centuries. Measuring 60 x 43 feet and carved in the 3rd century CE, the Severan Marble Plan of Rome captured the groundplan of Roman architecture in minute detail, even down to staircases, but only 10 to 15 percent of the intricately carved map has been found. Excavations for Rome’s new subway line this year may soon unearth further pieces to the puzzle, according to an article from Discovery News.

Roughly on a scale of 1:240, the Severan Marble Plan consisted of 150 slabs mounted on what was once the interior wall of the Temple of Peace (now the exterior wall of the Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian). During the Middle Ages, the Plan was slowly destroyed, parts of it ground up and repurposed into building materials, pieces broken and re-broken over centuries. Some pieces just fell to the base of the wall and were buried by time. The holes where the slabs were once anchored to the wall are still visible.

You have to be pretty desperate to seek an organ donation

and in many cases, it comes out as a miracle cure. And then there's this sort of thing...

Brain Amoebas. Organ Transplants. Brrr.
The CDC’s weekly bulletin today describes that nightmare scenario come true. Last year, four people received the kidneys, heart and liver of a 4-year-old boy who died in Mississippi of encephalitis that was assumed to be a rare reaction to flu infection. Weeks after the transplant, the two kidney recipients developed neurological symptoms — spasms, seizures, visual disturbances — and were hauled back to hospitals for evaluation. MRIs showed ring-shaped lesions in both their brains. That sent investigators back to re-examine the boy’s death — and revealed that while he did have encephalitis, it wasn’t because of flu.

It was because he was infected with a newly recognized pathogen, Balamuthia mandrillaris, a species of amoeba. It had passed to the four recipients via his organs, and grew in them with an assist from the immune-suppressing drugs they were taking to prevent rejection.
First of all, the deaths and illnesses of recipients were the only real clues that anything was wrong. Two clusters are described in the article, with a total of five people dying (including the two donors). The only real treatment was to put the others on a regimen of drugs that includes one not available in the US except under direst emergency.

This shows that 1) any time you deal with human tissue--even tissue that's been carefully scruitinised--you run the risk of passing along a pathogen, because the possibilities, while not quite endless, are there, although in practice it's thankfully rare that something fatal gets through, 2) there are pathogens we know very little about and don't occur much (this one has only been found in about 200 human cases), so they don't get studied much, and 3) there's just something terrifying about an organism that you know so little about that the authorities THINK it might be caught from inhaling amoeba cysts in dust. Yeah. Breathe in. It's things like that that make us hypochondriacs insane. Oh, and the kicker? The little boy was from Kentucky and it's unclear as to whether he caught the amoebic infection here or in Mississippi. Yeah. They could be anywhere, hiding in dirt. Here's to hopefully strong constitutions.

Oh, and here's a nice fact from Wikipedia (which needs some updating in some areas of the article, but this was nicely attributed*):
'Balamuthia is most easily identifiable in a brain biopsy performed on an individual suffering from Balamuthia meningoencephalitis. The amoeba cannot be cultured on an agar plate coated with gram-negative bacteria because unlike most amoeba, Balamuthia mandrillaris does not feed on bacteria. Instead the amoeba must be cultured on primate hepatic cells or human brain microvascular endothelial cells, or HBMECs, the cells that constitute the blood-brain barrier.'

Um. Am I reading that right? It eats brains cells? Well, I guess something other than zombies have to, but yuck!

*Martínez AJ, Visvesvara GS (March 2001). "Balamuthia mandrillaris infection". J. Med. Microbiol. 50 (3): 205–7. PMID 11232763.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Three men lost decades of their lives--and one died in prison an innocent man

Miss. judge frees 2 men wrongly jailed 30 years
A judge on Thursday freed two men who spent three decades in prison before DNA evidence showed they didn't rape a woman and cut her throat in a grisly 1979 attack.

A crowded courtroom erupted in applause after Forrest County Circuit Judge Robert Helfrich's ruled to set aside the men's guilty pleas, ending what some described as a 30-year ordeal for the imprisoned men.
One of the men had been released for medical reasons last month. He has lung cancer and a brain tumor. A third man jailed for the crime died in prison in 2002.

The only witness to the murder, the victim's then 4-year-old son, has always maintained that there was one attacker. DNA evidence not only absolved the man, it matched someone who is already imprisoned for a rape in 1981.


Remember the woman I mentioned who had acid thrown in her face? Turns out she did it herself, then blamed a black woman for doing so. One thing they didn't mention in the original news story that tipped off the police? She was apparently wearing sunglasses at night.

Woman admits acid attack was self-inflicted: Vancouver, Wash., police say discrepancies led to story's unraveling

Need some cheering up during budget cuts???

This is making the rounds...

After a hectic day of demands, the video goes into a version of 'I Will Survive' we can all get behind.

Thanks to LISNews for the link.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I may turn in early tonight

I'm still not finished reading my RSS feeds, but after work I went and did a big Kroger run (for me--6 canvas bags chock full of groceries). The last time I went on a grocery run for me (rather than getting an item or two) was about 4-5 weeks ago, so it was way overdue. I've been eating pizza, which is probably one reason I've put on a few pounds. With the exception of one 20 oz. soda, everything I got was very healthy--fruit, vegetarian patties, some ready-made Indian food, canned and frozen vegetables, various juices (orange with added calcium and vitamin D, V8, and light cranberry), yoghurt, cottage cheese, Special K cereal and milk--even the goldfish crackers were multigrain. Hopefully they'll last awhile. On the one hand, I got a ride from work to the store. On the other hand, I walked about three times my normal distance home because I decided to stay on sidewalks rather than the side of the road since it was dark. I'd planned ahead (bringing my cart on the bus to work with me, along with the bags, dressing in light-coloured clothing, etc.) and with the exception of the abysmal bagging and the detour, everything went pretty well. So now I have a kitchen full of food, some of which I can take to work. I'm spending way too much on lunch (I tend to get salads, and the heavier stuff like cottage cheese, so it's ridiculous. Today I had two slices of tomato with an otherwise light salad and it weighed almost two-thirds of a pound. I wound up paying $6.35 for milk, V8, yoghurt, and the salad. And that's with an employee discount. Plus I got a little macaroni and cheese during dinner and three cans of Diet Coke throughout the day. It's averaging about $10 a day. I can cut that a lot by bringing my lunch.

Essentially they didn't believe him because his English is poor

but he was born in the United States. He just spent a lot of his childhood in Mexico. But considering he had several forms of legitimate identification, it's a shame that they pressured and deported him.

Wrongfully deported American home after 3 month fight: U.S. birth certificate wasn't enough to persuade border authorities
A Texas-born U.S. citizen who was detained, questioned and deported to Matamoros, Mexico, in the middle of the night has been allowed to re-enter the United States, ending a nearly three-month ordeal.

Luis Alberto Delgado, 19, was carrying his American birth certificate, Social Security card and Texas ID when he was pulled over in a routine traffic stop on June 17, according to Houston immigration lawyer Isaias Torres, who represented him in his legal battle for repatriation.

A South Texas sheriff’s deputy who apparently believed the documents were not authentic handed Delgado over to U.S. border agents. After eight hours of questioning, Torres said, Delgado felt pressured to sign a document agreeing to voluntary removal from the country and waiving his right to a lawyer. The Border Patrol then drove Delgado to Matamoros and left him, he said.
Granted, he did sign a document allowing them to deport him, but I'm not sure how much he understood about what was happening. At nowhere in the article did it mention whether he was given an interpreter. There are plenty of citizens out there who have broken English at best (and not just Spanish-speakers), and although that's a debate in and of itself, it's no reason to throw someone out of a country where he was born and had a completely legal right to be working and living.


Via Joe.My.God.

Of course, scientists can be a bit creative, too

Scientists create face for ancient Greek girl

She died of typhoid fever in Athens about 430 BCE, at about 11 years of age. Now scientists have reconstructed what she may have looked like. It's quite interesting.

Most creative use I've seen for an iPad so far...

Making Future Magic: iPad light painting from Dentsu London on Vimeo.

As seen in Stop-Motion Animators Use iPad to Paint With Light.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I love the Horse Mania 2010 horses around the city

(a public art project), but realistically, I can't go see them all. But this mother-daughter team cycled around Lexington to track down each of the 82 horses. Here's the result:

Thanks for putting up the video!

Here's a link to Horse Mania 2010. This time there are also foals, many of them in the public libraries, as part of a project called Horse Play for Arts Education. Here are pictures of those foals. When they are auctioned, the proceeds will go for school arts education programmes.

[I wish we had a video of the original Horse Mania, which was ten years ago, although here are some photos.]

Sunday, September 12, 2010

It was merely pining!

The fish I thought was dead was, in fact, alive, and is sitting near the bottom of the tank in a totally different position, face up, and everything, so I put a bit of food in. Yay! Not sure about the other one though. The tank is heavily planted and has Java moss and duckweed in it, too, lots of things to hide behind and in, since fish like that sort of thing. But yay!

Ah, that's better

Have you seen this?


The first time I took it, I accidentally put in that I was five inches tall rather than 5' 5". My BMI was in the 7 thousands! It said I had a half a year to live. But this is better. I should still exercise and eat better, though.

Poodwaddle Life Clock

Your Age: 43.4 years
Projected Life Span (total years you will live): 74.5
Projected Life Expectancy (years remaining): 31.1

Life Expectancy Factors
The average life span for your region is 78. Your life span is 3.5 years less than average due to your medical conditions and lifestyle.

GENDER: +2.5 years
Women live 5 years longer than men. Gloat if you like.

Your family history puts you at a greater risk of the same conditions.

SMOKING: 2 years
Since you are not a smoker you gain 2 years over the average life span (15-25 years longer than smokers). If you recently stopped smoking it will take 10 years for the risk of lung cancer to return to that of a non-smoker and 15 for heart attack risk to return to normal.

DRINKING: 0 years
You could benefit from drinking one or two glasses of red wine per day [But I don't like red wine. Could they put it in a pill?--Ed.]

WEIGHT: -10 years (BMI: 45.8)
Your BMI score classifies you as overweight. Being overweight raises your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancers, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease, and so many other conditions. Now put down the twinky and go do some exercise.

HEALTH: -5 years
Hypertension, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar are like a ticking time bomb with a busted clock. You don't know when it's going off but if you don't do something it's gonna blow up in your face.

DIET: 0 years
I won't lecture you on what foods you should be eating. I'm sure you already know. Is 0 years of life worth the sacrifice? Your choice.

EXERCISE: 0 years
Exercising 20-40 minutes each day can add many years to your life.

HAPPINESS: 4 years
As Emerson said, "Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself." Keep smiling :)

EDUCATION: 1 years
Not surprisingly, higher education equals longer life.

DRIVING: 1 years
You're no fool. The average person has a 30% chance of being in a serious accident in their lifetime but your odds are lower than average.

“Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today.” - James Dean

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Really? Because she didn't cook his eggs right?

News from Jackson, Kentucky of a man who killed not only his wife but four others, and then himself, over a spat that started with breakfast.

Victims' kin: Spat began fatal Ky. rampage: Sheriff says gunman killed five before killing himself on porch

I really wonder about people sometimes. You never known when the person next to you is about ready to snap. There has to be more to this story. I guess the breakfast was the trigger, but there had to be some emotional seething going on for some time, surely. My thoughts are with the families of the dead.

Moving pictures

Stills, actually, but a slideshow of pictures from today's commemoration of the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is very moving.

And here is video from today, in New York City:

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

and one of a speech by the President, which I found well said:

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

I'm all for giving him asylum

although the fact that the Saudi government has been an ally to the US in many ways may prevent it, depending on how the politics go, we'll see. I will say at this point there's no going back--if his request is denied, things could very badly for him, between Islamic law condemning homosexuality and his threat 'to expose what he describes as politically embarrassing information about members of the Saudi royal family living in luxury in the U.S.'.

Saudi diplomat seeking asylum: 'My life is in danger': Envoy says he fears persecution if he leaves the U.S. and returns home
A ranking Saudi diplomat told NBC News that he has asked for political asylum in the United States, saying he fears for his life if he is forced to return to his native country.

The diplomat, Ali Ahmad Asseri, the first secretary of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles, has informed U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials that Saudi officials have refused to renew his diplomatic passport and effectively terminated his job after discovering he was gay and was close friends with a Jewish woman.

It began like every other day

At 8:45 am, when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center, I was walking to work. It was a beautiful day. I'd stopped by the little creek and watched the fish. Everything seemed peaceful. I clocked in about the time that United Airlines Flight 175 hit the South Tower. Someone told me a plane had hit the WTC, but that had a happened before, and I assumed they meant a small plane. Everyone seemed calm, and the enormity hadn't hit yet, nor had word of the second.

I was over near the clinic when one of the secretaries told me a plane had crashed into the Pentagon. The first words out of my mouth, I am ashamed to say, were 'Well, that's embarrassing.' I mean, it's our military centre for our country, so you'd think they'd be able to defend it. She explained that jets had hit the WTC and the Pentagon, and that's when I went to find a TV, which people were slowly starting to filter to.

Looking back, I can't believe the naïveté I had that day. On the one hand, I was not surprised that people would take jets full of fuel and make them bombs. That was perfectly understandable. But that a coordinated effort to hijack four or more planes at the same time was a little harder for me to comprehend. Also, you must understand that I've never been to New York. The largest city I've ever been to is Los Angeles, and that was a brief school trip. The largest city I've lived in is Lexington, which has about 300,000. The population of five Lexingtons could fit in Manhattan alone, in a much denser environment. Our tallest building is 30 stories. One thing I found on the Internet said that by 9 am, about 35,000 workers were at their desks at the buildings of the World Trade Center. That's over twice the the population of my hometown.

So when I watched the the first tower collapse, I understood that it was horrible, and that many people had died, both in the tower and on the ground, but I didn't understand how many people were affected until several days later. I couldn't comprehend. It couldn't understand how long it would take to evacuate those towers...that so many would still have been inside. Actually, I was watching the television with a resident from New York City. He may have been Middle Eastern, come to think of it. He pointed out where his cousin lived in an aerial shot of the area. For him, he was watching his home be destroyed, the heart of his city, and didn't know the status of his family or friends. I stayed in the room for awhile, partly because it was so hard to turn away from the TV, and partly because I didn't want to leave him alone in distress.

A friend of mine later told me that his wife tended to walk by the WTC at that time every day, but for some reason didn't that day. There were probably a lot of 'near misses' out there, too.

It was a surreal day. People were in shock. I wouldn't say I was, totally. I mean, I'd seen plenty of terrorism reports during the 70s, for example. And I didn't immediately put the blame on the Muslim terrorists, because after all, the Oklahoma City bombing was domestic. But the enormity of the situation and the sheer number of which died was numbing.

Later that day I went to a meeting of the Bluegrass Medical Libraries and we tried to have a normal day. Both towers had come down by that time. I remember the programme was on PDA use in libraries, but not much else. I think we were mostly going through the motions, trying to hang on to a sense of normalcy.

I wasn't personally involved 9/11 in the sense of knowing anyone who died, who went through that harrowing day, etc. I was safe thousands of miles away. I can't imagine the hell that people endured. I suppose you could say I was affected indirectly by the oeconomic downturn, as I was partly laid off within a couple of years due to it, and although it certainly made a big difference in my life, it is insignificant compared to what others suffered. But it did affect me psychologically, like most Americans, although 1) I've never underestimated that people hate America for both irrational and rational reasons and 2) like I said, it seemed a natural progression to put a hijacking and the suicide bomber mentality together as a form of terrorism. I knew we were vulnerable, having not endured the violence found in say London during the heyday of the IRA, or Israel, etc. But I was still overwhelmed. I ate a lot of comfort food. I had all these feelings and ideas and no where to really put them. I'd watched history unfold in a big way, and as a student of history, I felt the weight of that.

About a month later, I started this blog. Although I didn't post much at first and it never really explored those feelings about 9/11, it was part of the impetus to journal my experiences.

So here we are, nine years later. I can't say we've come a long way. Two wars, whackos affecting the security of American soldiers by threatening to burn the Qur'an, people largely outside the area screaming over a mosque to be built near Ground Zero despite the fact that nice Muslim office workers died in those towers, too, a tanked oeconomy--all turning on that day to some degree.

Next year the children of 9/11, the ones who were unborn at the time, who never knew their fathers, will be turning 10 or thereabouts. They were born into a world a little more uncertain than it had seemed to be. But that sense of safety was always an illusion. Every generation has its trials. So far, I don't think we've done such a good job on this one. It's been almost a decade, and Osama bin Laden is still out there. There's a good chance he'll escape justice.

But it's not like we live in a hopeless world, either. One thing I've learnt about history is that despite ever tribulation, things do eventually get better, at least for awhile. And it's how you handle the events of your life that help define you, whether they're personal struggles with cancer or with raising kids (not to put them on an even keel, mind you, just they're both defining things in people's lives) or with great events of history.

I know this has rambled, and doesn't have much point to it. Let me just say that I want to acknowledge what happened, to remember this day, and to pay tribute to those who died and those who struggle with their experiences. I don't know if the scars of that day will ever truly fade, so long as those who experienced them are alive. I hope that someday we can feel safe again, with all our liberties intact, mind you, and that the hatred and bigotry can be defeated on all sides. I know that's not realistic, but one can hope, can't one?

Friday, September 10, 2010

So mind-numbing tired

The problem with short work weeks is that you wind up fitting five days' worth of work into four days. This, despite the fact that it was employee appreciation week and we had lots of fun activities like a dunking booth, cookouts, and an ice cream social. And I swear data entry is energy-sapping in a way that four hours of it will make me feel like I worked eight hours at the store. I know lots of people do really hard labour, and so I don't want to seem, well, silly, but I'm simply quite tired.

Today I fought to stay awake enough on the bus ride home to remember to pull the cord. I came home, took out my contacts, got into comfy clothes, and went straight to bed for a nap (do not pass go, do not collect $200). I just now ate dinner and it's almost eleven. I have a project to do (not game notes this week, but a gaming character sheet), but frankly I am tired and achy, and I may just have to work on it tomorrow, although I'm going to have to leave early for work tomorrow to get something for a friend and maybe some non-perishables at Kroger, so the bulk of it may be after work.

We had the photo contest at work this week, but I didn't turn an answer sheet in. I am sad to report I knew who one person other than myself was. Several people got them all, though, and more power to them. It was fun, though. But I rather like the picture I submitted. I was a cute child. Pity it didn't last.

Okay. I'm going to contemplate going back to bed. I won't guarantee that's all for tonight, but still...good night.

You've got to love little plastic men taking heads to great Scottish music

Someone set Silly Wizard's song 'Donald McGillavry' to ROBLOX, a Lego-like online game.

:) Now there's a find produced through insomnia. Good night (well, what's left of it). Really.


It's official. Both fish died. :( But the tank looks so much better; I guess it was just the shock, like overfeeding a starving man. I'll try to work on the nitrates before restocking.

I'm up at Gods know when again

Listening to: 'Fire on the Mountain' by Rob Thomas

I'm very physically uncomfortable in a way I won't go into (it relates to an allergy), so even though I'm still sleepy, I can't sleep.

Last night when I came in I spent over two hours working with the gamemaster over the phone put in a genealogy using a free program called Family Tree Builder, which worked rather nicely, although it claimed to find matches to real people even though these were fictional. Considering I'd spent all day on the computer, I was so tired when we were finished that I went on to bed. This was a little before midnight. Now it's a little after five in the morning.

So far it's been a good week, although I received word yesterday that once again an error in my time was made (the extra hours that I'd docked myself by clocking out in the middle of my shift were put in as overtime, so I got paid time and a half), so once again I'll have money taken out next time. I told the lady, who apologised profusely, that I just wanted a normal paycheque by Halloween so I could budget. I mean, I've been working the new job two months and haven't yet.

At work we've had employee appreciation activities. For one thing, we get to wear jeans every day this week. Tuesday there were Krispy Kreme doughnuts before I got there, then a cookout put on by the local Shrine club. Wednesday were more doughnuts in the morning, plus it was 80s day. There was a lot of hair gel to be had. Yesterday was a catered lunch with a dunking booth, where various people including the administrator volunteered to be dunked. There are door prizes each day and a contest for trying to figure out whose baby picture goes with whom, and my picutre's in it. Once the contest is over, I'll post it here. :)

I'm working my full allotment of hours, now, which is rather fulfilling. I've got three different gigs there at the hospital, so there's a lot of variety.

Uh. I'm so hypersensitive at this point that my nose and eyes are just running and I'm itching where my wrists hit the support in front of the keyboard. Maybe it has latex in it. I hate having an allergy to latex. It's hidden away in so much.

Well, I think I'll try to go back to sleep for a couple of hours.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

I was looking at my classmates from high school on Facebook

And both of the cousins in my class are there. We're, oh, let's see, our grandparents were siblings so second cousins? There's a picture in one of our albums of me with one of them up against a wall kissing him at about age 2, so I guess we really are 'kissing cousins'. I haven't requested them as friends because frankly I don't know if they'd know me from Adam--we never hung out in high school together and of course my name's changed completely, so I'd have to add an explanatory note (but I have to do that with most people who knew me as Lisa Broadbent).

One of the things I like about Facebook is that's it's easy to connect with people. My mom's on Facebook, as well as my aunt, uncle, two cousins, some high school classmates, some friends from college, people I've worked with, etc. I don't have a lot of Facebook 'friends' because I actually choose people I know as a general rule to add one, although there's a couple of librarians I know only through Facebook or online. The main drawback I see to Facebook is that it's a--how did Betty White put it in her SNL monologue--'complete waste of time' I think, in that the games can suck you into wasting hours or even days of your life, which is why I haven't played any since I waited four hours for an eagle chick to hatch in Zooville. :)

Funny dames

A bit of fun I'm sure is aimed at Irish carrier Ryanair, among others, as it gets 20% of its income from 'ancillary revenue':

Thanks to Bill for the link.

I havent' been on a plane since 1993, thank God. I hate flying. Well, once you're up in the air above the clouds, it's not bad. It's the going up and coming down (hopefully in one piece) that I mind. I can't imagine going overseas on one. I even looked at going to Britain via the Queen Elizabeth II or a similar Cunard ship, one time, but I just don't have thousands of dollars and extra vacation time just to get across the pond. I'd probably get seasick, too. :( Maybe carrier pigeon?

Going to bed early + pizza before bedtime = being up at 3:30 am

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I don't feel sleepy at all. I did take the time to call in some prescriptions for tomorrow morning. I'm out of two meds and my glucose test strips; fortunately they all are the cheapest co-pay, but I've put the strips off for awhile and have no idea how my blood sugar's been doing as a result. I know I've been drinking a lot, so that's not a good sign. I feel like life is a series of vignettes between bathroom trips. Also, although I have increased my water intake as well, one side effect of working 8 hours a day is that I'm drinking more soda to keep perky. That may be why I'm crashing about 9:30 or 10:00 at night. I've never had an energy drink in my life, but I've gone from about two cans of Diet Coke a day at work to about five. Not good (she says as she enjoys a glass of soda.)

I think I've lost one fish, the one that actually looked the most robust. It was a female. I'll have to check on the other to see if it's male or female. It's fairly shy. Fortunately with livebearers it's easy to tell--one has a rounded belly and no dangly bits, and one has a sleeker look and dangly bits. :) If I lose both I'll let the aquarium run for a bit and then do a couple more water changes, vacuum it really well, and see if I can get the nitrates down at all before putting any more in. But I don't know--this tank setup has been more trouble than 20 years' worth of setting up the same aquarium, and I don't know why. I don't want to totally start over, as there are biological aspects of having an older tank. Which reminds me, I have some stuff that has nitrate-fixing bacteria in it. I should add some to the tank.

I renewed the DVDs from the library earlier this evening. Maybe I should watch one. Or I could clean. It might be a good time to take those electronics and put them away. I'd like to move the old printer and put the newer one in its place; then I'd have a whole tabletop in front of the window that could be clean and happy, and not have any electronics showing in my front window (I tend to keep my curtains open, although I have sheers, and I don't like having anything obviously computer-like in the open, even cheap little printers. It's a little early to take those boxes and the recyclables out (yes, I forgot to yesterday). I also want to run some errands later this morning. Then tonight I can work on a character sheet for the game. At least I don't need to do game notes this week. I'm not sure what I'll be doing on Saturday as a result--maybe taking in some water to be tested with a chemical set rather than test strips for the aquarium, since there's a pet store in the same shopping centre as the gas station...which reminds me, I need to call in the morning and see if I'm working my normal time on Saturday. It's been the same for months now, but you never know--may availability really is for any time within a 12-hour period.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Good lord!

Bomb squad called after librarian unearths huge arms cache in her allotment
She just wanted to do a spot of gardening, but when librarian Joanne Radley started digging, she found a gun, and then the police got involved, and well, she basically found an arms and ammunition cache. The person who had let her use the allotment had asked her not to dig too deep because his dog was buried there.

Via Bibliofuture at LISNews.

Speaking of folic acid, and therefore B vitamins....

Vitamin B 'puts off Alzheimer's'
A new study suggests high doses of B vitamins may halve the rate of brain shrinkage in older people experiencing some of the warning signs of Alzheimer's disease.

Brain shrinkage is one of the symptoms of mild cognitive impairment, which often leads to dementia.

Researchers say this could be the first step towards finding a way to delay the onset of Alzheimer's.

Experts said the findings were important but more research was needed.
Let's hope so. It would be a cheap way to help prevent a horrible disease that robs not only the memory but also the spark of personality in so many people.

Yay! This is one reason I'm proud to be a member of the ALA

Fighting Fire with Free Speech: ALA Will Protest Book Burning with 9/11 Qur'an Reading
Book burning is the most insidious form of book banning, and just as the American Library Association is preparing to celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, along comes one Rev. Terry Jones of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. The good reverend’s idea of world outreach is to commemorate the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001 with a public burning of the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book.

Via Librarian.

Remember this year's motto for the upcoming Banned Books Week (September 25−October 2, 2010) 'Think for yourself and let others do the same.'

Many women of childbearing age know folic acid is to be taken

to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. But researchers are looking at another nutrient that may help as well, called inositol. In the study, women who have had children with neural tube defects and are contemplating another pregnancy have been invited to participate. That's not really as good as a random sampling, but it does seem to be a blinded study, at least.

Study to test nutrient ability to prevent birth defect

Spina bifida affects 7 out of every 10,000 live births in the United States, according to the Spina Bifida Association, although of course the incidence may be higher, as some pregnancies are terminated due to the disorder. It would be great if this study pans out, further reducing the incidence. As mentioned the other day, Aaron Fotheringham, the extreme wheelchair sports figure, has spina bifida, and he can do some amazing things, so it's certainly not the end of the world to be diagnosed, but if something as simple as a nutrient can help prevent it, that's all to the good.

Step away from the book

Today's 'Unshelved' comic reminded me of the diligence of librarians, who give little kids placeholders in school (at least they did with us) so we'd learn where to put our books back, but who recognise that few ever learn to actually do so, and so we put out little signs that say 'do not reshelve'. Oh, part of it is to keep track of how many books are being used off the shelf, I know. But part of it is, if given a book, the unwritten law is that the book does not, in fact, go where the person thinks it does. Not that the Dewey Decimal system is rocket science (or in my case, the National Library of Medicine one), but we librarians constantly find books one or two shelves up or over than where they should be. When I encounter a mis-shelved book at the public library, I pull it out and leave it to be reshelved. (Okay, I could just do it myself, but I don't know what statistics they're keeping, they have pages whose main job is to do it, and in seventeen years of being a librarian in this town and numerous interviews, they've never actually hired me, so that's my limit to being helpful.)

I wonder if those school librarians giving bibliographic instruction to 6-year-olds could spot the future librarians. I certainly had a knack for it even then, and I worked in school libraries throughout my school career, although I didn't actually consider becoming a librarian (I was going to be an ophthalmologist) until I'd gone through college, gotten a degree in something I loved, and discovered I was terribly unemployable and with my divorce needed to rely on myself. Of course, little did I know of the ups and downs of employment in the library world at the time. Library school should come with a disclaimer or two, in my opinion. :)

Anyway, thanks, guys at 'Unshelved', for taking me down memory lane. I remember the shelf place holders were very colourful and had different animals on it. :)

Hands on learning

Fire in Chemistry-Physics Building

From now on, students in one lab will remember that water causes ignited sodium hydride to flash. Isopropanol is the recommended agent for putting out the fire. Fortunately no one was hurt.

Back in the day, when I was very much a chemistry geek (I took 2 years of it in high school, a summer's worth of organic, and missed bypassing two semesters of introductory chemistry in college plus the lab by something like 3 points on a test), I remember a fire in our lab. Someone (well, I do remember who, but won't name names) had left their experiment involving napthalene running and had gone to get a coke or something. The teacher was talking to a textbook salesman in the next room. There was a pop and then burning fumes and little flakes of naptha sediment floating about. I ran over with the fire blanket, which was instinctual but not useful, as we were talking a ring assembly. I then looked carefully, turned off the bunsen burner and blew out the fire on the fumes. I then calmly walked next door to tell the teacher, and apparently one look at my face and he went running. No harm done. But I remember those moments in excruciating detail, as if time slowed. And to date this somewhat, music was playing from a radio, and it happened to be the Talking Heads' 'Burning Down the House'. :)

Ah, good times. My point is the kids in this lab will probably remember the incident well due to the burst of adrenaline. I wonder if they had music playing, and if so, what?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Small victories

Last night I succeeded in excavating my sofa, finding a $10 cheque between the cushions that I deposited this morning. Tonight, I tackled the aquarium. The water was very low, has had no pump or heat for awhile, and was gone to duckweed and algae, but one solitary platy had hung on, and so I felt obligated to clean the tank, add water, and get the pump moving again. I'll plug in the thermometer once everything clears. I hope she survives having some fresh water put in. So now, having gotten way too much water, duckweed, and algae on me, and having had to siphon some of the crap out using my mouth on the end of the hose (I have one of those type that you're supposed to be able to move up and down to get going, but alas, have never been able to get it to work like it's supposed to), I have washed my arms and hands thoroughly, brushed my teeth, and after many primings managed to get the pump running like it's supposed to (I bought some material for ammonia and nitrogen awhile back that comes in premixed bags, and the placement of the bag, which is a little bigger than my filter, was apparently crucial. Wish me luck. I'm afraid the tank had gone the way of the apartment. But it's nice to hear the waterfall coming from the dining room now.

I went through a bunch of recyclables yesterday, too, so I'm going to take them out tomorrow morning. I didn't today because I had to run to the bank and slept too late to do both.

I have reached the true understanding that cleaning the apartment is going to take sections of rooms at a time, not a room at a time. I knew that deep down, but it's made it to the forefront.

I have decided one thing that must be done is to take all the non-functioning electronics in my house (an old printer, four old computers [no they weren't all mine], two VCRs, a bread machine, etc., and put it in the walk-in closet so I can get to all the other stuff in the living room. It looks like a computer parts store exploded. Add two functional but obsolete CRT monitors, and I just have too much stuff that can't be thrown in a dumpster and needs special recycling but no way to get there. I doubt the air conditioning will leak again soon and if it does, well, most of them don't work anymore anyway. The monitors I'll try to unload using Freeshare. If I can get that plus the recyclables (including the big cardboard boxes of doom) out of the way, I can get to everything else.

Second plan of attack is to take every CD and CD-ROM in my house and put it in my CD stand where I can go through them later to determine what still works on the computer (I'm running Windows 7, so a lot of old programs won't), what might run for friends, and what just needs to be thrown out. The music CDs are still in good shape, but they're all over the place.

Oh, and I think I need to take my plants from home in to work. All of my work plants are thriving. I remember to water them. The ones at home are pallid shadows of their former selves. I'm afraid right now if it doesn't make noise, I can't remember to take care of it, because there's too much stuff between me and it to bother. Thank the Gods I don't have a kitten right now (the state of the apartment being a major reason for not getting one--it's not kitten proof at all, too many small edible things.)

Most of the books, with the exception of library books and new books, are in their places. But I really need to work on organising things better down the line. It's not like I don't have a lifetime subscription to LibraryThing, after all.

It hasn't all been work today; I played a little Morrowind (wanted to see if it worked on this system), and I'm going to put Riven on if it works, too. Not that I do much computer gaming, but still, I like those a lot. And I must say, I'm looking forward to Civilization V, which will come out later this month, although it may be awhile before I can get it (I was still on Civ II on my last system).

Oh, by the way, two things:


Bad news: I've been clocking out before doing a job transfer on our time clock system, and this apparently means I've been accidentally docking myself an extra half-hour each day.
Good news: They fixed what I had done for this past pay period, plus it looks like I'll get an extra 13 hours or so from prior pay periods put on Thursday's direct deposit.
Bad news: I may never actually know how much I'm supposed to make in a two-week period, since yet again it was screwed up.
Good news: More money to sock to taxes and car fund.


Bad news: I never made it to Danville yesterday.
Good news: I probably needed a day to myself.
Bad news: My attempts to contact my mother failed (she'd left her phone at my grandmother's, had changed her home phone and not told me, and she didn't even think to call me.) On the other hand, if I'd called my grandmother, I would have reached my mom.
Good news: It really gave me some insights into some learned passiveness and also into feelings of abandonment I've had since I was small. Of course, there was that time she forgot to get me from elementary school....yeah, it felt the same.
Bad news: I broke down and cried, feeling unloved and abandoned.
Good news: Brandon cheered me up and getting something to eat and drink helped steady me, too, after waiting for hours for someone to come.
Bad news: Technically, I don't have another day off until Thanksgiving.
Good news: I might be able to take a Friday off if there's a really light clinic that day.

Well, I guess that's all for now. That's how my life's going. Hope yours is better.

Hate is a four-letter word

I cannot understand the depth of hatred that the Westboro Baptist Church spews on a daily basis. A supposed 'parody' of Simon and Garfunkel's 'Sound of Silence' was referenced by Joe.My.God. today on his blog. The person who put it up on YouTube did so to illustrate what the church was doing and included the lyrics, which are rather chilling, as are the signs held at various protests. I couldn't bring myself to embed it here. Go to Joe's blog if you want to see it.

There is so much good in the world. And then there are people like this, who fail to see anything beyond their own noses as good, and who simply cannot understand truly Christian sentiments. (Unlike many Pagans, I don't have trouble with followers of Christ...now Paulists, on the other hand....) I do have trouble with people who profess to be Christian who betray every word Jesus was ever said to have uttered by spewing hate and playing God in determining who should go to Hell and burn. And these people certainly qualify.

I hope they get true Judgment in the end. I rather think they'll be surprised, though.

Don't do this at home...but go, Aaron!

Video: Wheelchair Phenom Nails First Double Backflip

Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham is an 18-year-old who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair. He uses his wheelchair to do amazing backflips. Check out the videos in the article, and also Aaron's own website.

Spina bifida happens to be one of the disorders we treat at the hospital I work at. Our kids aren't sick, they're just a little more challenged than some, and we work to make sure their quality of life is the best possible. Walking through our hospital, you're liable to be run down by active kids in chairs, using walkers, or using orthotics or prosthetics.

Sometimes as adults we forget how absolutely spirited kids are, and just because they can't walk doesn't mean they can't be active, as Aaron proves. Granted, not many kids in wheelchairs can do what he can do, either--he's obviously practiced very hard and is very driven, and has athletic ability. Nor, if I were his mother, could I have watched the practices without my heart lurching into my throat. But I'm glad it worked out for him, and that he has so many well-wishers cheering him along.

This quote from his bio really captures the spirit of the kids I see every day:
Aaron never let anything stop him. Even as a baby and small child, he did anything anyone else his age could do, he just had to figure out how to make it work for him. He rolled over, sat up, and even crawled (on hands and belly, no leg action) pretty much on schedule. Within days of receiving his first “walker” he was off and running. Next came crutches, which he mastered quickly. He would put on a “Superman” cape and blast down the hall on crutches believing, as any other 4 year old, that he could fly.

Monday, September 06, 2010

I love this bit

Every now and then 'Every Sperm is Sacred' creeps into my brain. Now that I have VCR again I can watch Meaning of Life, Holy Grail, and Life of Brian, again, as I don't have them on DVD yet. :)

and then there's this, which I think is doubly funny because, well, Graham Chapman (my favourite of the six) was the member of the troupe who was gay, and he always seems to play the straight guy.

A look at violence and the mentally ill

Bipolar disorder 'not to blame for violent behaviour'
Good news: Those with mental illness, including bipolar disorder, are no more likely to be violent than the general population, despite public perceptions otherwise.
Bad news: In cases of violence, substance abuse is the main contributing factor, a factor that those with mental illness tend to be at risk for.
Good news: The rate of violence between substance abusers, whether mentally ill or not, is basically the same.

Or so went my reading of this article. A similar study came to the same conclusion regarding schizophrenia. Both bipolar disorder (in some instances, although not generally) and schizophrenia can produce psychotic episodes (losing touch with reality, hearing voices, etc.).

But I thought these two quotes were quite appropriate:
Paul Farmer, chief executive of the mental health charity Mind, said the research would reassure people with severe illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

"The link between mental illness and violence is often grossly exaggerated when in fact people with mental health problems are far more likely to be the victims of crime than the perpetrators.

"This kind of stigma damages lives," he said.

The charity Sane said it was "surprised" the research appeared to overlook the "realities of severe mental illness".

Its chief executive Marjorie Wallace said: "We accept that alcohol and drug abuse can exacerbate the more acute symptoms and that such abuse is more widely responsible for criminal acts.

"We also accept that the majority of people with mental illness are never violent and the chances of a member of the public being attacked at random extremely rare.

"However, we do not believe it is helpful to underplay the extreme pain, paranoia and denial of symptoms such as command voices which those with psychosis can experience and which may trigger damaging behaviour."
Not that I thought I was going to run out whacking on people like they were zombies just because I'm bipolar. :)

I have not laughed this hard, in oh, I don't know long

A Date with Trevor is a commercial in Canada. There's also A Date with Brad and A Date with Ryan. I applaud these men for being able to do a maxi pad gig that is, well, lame and totally unnatural, and still remember their lines and not crack a smile.

I would so go running for the hills if this were my first date, although Trevor is certainly beautiful, if a little OCD about moisture and cleanliness.

Via Joe.My.God.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

I'd heard about this being used before, but the demonstration was interesting

The authorities in Britain and now New York City have installed sound makers that produce an annoying tone that can generally be heard only by young people as a means to keep away young loiters. On the other hand, some young people use sound at a similar range as ringtones so teachers and other adults can't hear their phone ring.

But this video demonstrates the ranges. Can you hear all of these sounds? I can hear all but the last (the one for under 24s). (But then, I'm 43.)

(I will say that in most of the YouTube videos purporting to have this stealth sound on it, I can hear it. Of course, I can hear whines from televisions and monitors when they're on, if there's no other noise. But this one I couldn't, and one other that claimed to be at the same level.)

Via Joe.My.God.

I wish this young man and the other students of his school--Asian, black, or whatever--a bright future

Racial violence changes student — and school
PHILADELPHIA — Duong Nghe Ly can't wait to begin his senior year at South Philadelphia High School. A day of violence there last year changed his life, and he wants to learn if his school has been transformed as well.

Last Dec. 3, after years of attacks on Asian immigrant students, something finally snapped.

Fueled by rumors, a group of students roamed the halls searching for Asian victims until one was attacked in a classroom. Later, about 70 students stormed the cafeteria, where several Asians were beaten. About 35 students pushed past a police officer onto the so-called "Asian floor," but were turned back. After school, Asians being escorted home were attacked anyway by a mob of youths.

Almost all the attackers were black — but few observers believe the violence was due to racial hatred. Instead, they cite isolation of different groups within the school, certain students' warped "gangster" values, and for some, simmering resentments over perceived benefits for Asian students.
As poor ethnically Chinese growing up in Vietnam, Ly and his family faced an uphill battle. His parents spent years and carefully saved money to come to this country legally, working long hours to make sure he and his brother got an education, something they never were able to do. Attacks on Asian students have been a problem for years, but in this largely immigrant population, it was considered better to keep your head down and your mouth closed. That changed last year. Ly, like many other students, responded with a boycott. Steps are being made to more fully integrate the students, and the new principal--a black Philly native who seems to really understand the forces at work there--is trying to change the conditions that led to the violence.

I wish Ly and his family the best of luck. They represent the pursuit of the American dream in action and I hope they attain it, making all the sacrifice worthwhile. And in the meantime, I hope his senior year will be much better both for Asians and for the other ethnicities as well.

We didin't play the game today

But I still went over early and cleaned, then came home about 4:30, meaning I got home about 6 pm, and I just crashed for four hours--which brings my sleep for the last 24 hours up to about 8 1/2 hours, so I needed it.

It was so strange being home in the evening on a Sunday, but kind of nice. The weather was beautiful today, although this morning I could have used a jacket, as it was pretty chilly at 6 am.

I tried calling my mom earlier but couldn't reach her. I'm not sure if she gets her voicemail or not; she once mentioned that she had trouble reaching it. So at this point I don't know if I'm going to Danville or not tomorrow. We'll see. If not, I'll work on the house. Goodness knows, it needs it, and I still have to sort through the things from the closet to see if anything's salvageable, although I'm starting to think it's a no.

I'm making some macaroni and cheese, which is about all I have in the house. I don't really cook, as you can probably guess, although today I made a poached egg on toast for someone using directions in an old Betty Crocker cookbook and got a compliment. Apparently I did it right the first time. So maybe there's hope of me learning to cook. My friend, who is an excellent cook, has offered to teach me. It's kind of funny--I was in Future Homemakers of America and took quite a bit home oeconomics in junior high and high school, but they mainly teach you to bake, not cook. They certainly didn't teach you to cook anything like meat, which is expensive compared to baking materials. Of course, I'll probably never learn to cook much meat, being a pseudo-vegetarian, although I need to learn to cook fish. I've had some success broiling it before. I'd love to learn to do salmon steaks, maybe marinated. Mmmm...maybe grilled. We have charcoal grills around the apartment complex and although they've been used for meat I could line them with aluminum foil. Of course fire, charcoal, and I are probably a dangerous combination. Maybe I'll leave grilling to someone else, and just keep to baking and broiling my fish.

I'm still a bit groggy from such a long nap. I think I'll go check the news (my Google Reader queue was quite long yesterday, and I haven't done anything to bring it down). I may blog some more but if not, good night.