Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Saturday, February 26, 2011


So I got about 15 hours' sleep total and feel much better. When I did get up, I got ready and went out by 10:20 am to do errands. It took me until 3 pm, but I went to the bank, to Kroger for game snacks and shampoo, to Subway for lunch, to Supercuts for a haircut (not the best I've ever had, but serviceable), Gabriel Brothers (more on that in a moment), and then to Lowe's for something for a friend and to get African Violet mix since I have a plant that's produced two babies at work. I got everything in two reusable Kroger bags, and took the bus three times. The stores themselves are all within about a mile of each other, so I walked a good bit, too. Now I'm home, in my jammmies, and warming up (it's supposed to be in the 50s today but so far it hasn't gotten past the low 40s, and there's a wind), so I'm glad I wore a sweater and my duster, although some gloves and hat would have been good.

As far as Gabriel Brothers, I'm trying to be conservative with money, so I didn't go in to gather but to hunt. I wanted as small a purse as I could find that would hold my wallet, my Kindle, my phone, and my diabetic supplies. All my purses are pretty big. I lucked out because the one I liked didn't have a tag, there was no other with that style, and the clerk, given those circumstances, pulled out a particularly ugly purse from the clearance rack (where I'd found mine) and told me to have them ring up that instead and take the unmarked one. So I got it for $5. Score. It's small enough to fit in my backpack on days when I need my umbrella and Birkenstocks or have other things to bring with me. It's brown (I would have preferred black, but that's okay), but for $5 I am not going to complain. I took the purse I had with me, which was too sad to even give to Goodwill (the strap was broken, and there were several torn places) and just transferred everything there at the bus stop and threw the other away.

So now I'm home. I'm going to take a few minutes to warm up and drink something cold, and then I'll start the game notes. I kind of want a snack, but don't really have any fruit or something small in the house other than the ones for the game, so I'll pass and then have a peanut butter sandwich for dinner. I would have liked to have started transcribing the notes earlier, but the errands really needed to be done and I knew it would take awhile and the bank was going to close by noon. If I start at 4, though, I'll probably finish by 8 and still have some time to do other stuff. I need to figure out how to juggle some money so I have enough for my rent and for food both, since I went ahead and paid my cable bill. Sigh. I haven't really been behind in awhile, but since I quit the gas station, that's about $250 a month I don't have, and it's meant that I've come down to the wire several times, with having food in the house the lowest priority. Still, I've built up some food in my drawer at work and have some canned goods here. But the good news is next pay day I get my raise, which should translate into about $25 more a period, I think, after taxes, etc.

I'd also like to get some reading done. While in Subway I started reading A Discovery of Witches, a novel by Deborah Harkness, and I'm enjoying it so far, if for no other reason than the wonderful descriptions of the Bodleian Library, as it is set at Oxford (Harkness is an historian as well as fiction author). The main character is an historian and witch who has pretty much sworn off her heritage, but comes across a pampliset on alchemy that every supernatural creature in the area seems interested in. A vampire is trying to protect her, and I gather there's going to be some romance. So far she's fleshed the main character out pretty well, and she switches occasionally from her part of the story to his for a fuller picture of what's going on.

PS I was reading my e-mail earlier and found out that Chaosium has a new line of roleplaying books based off of Charles Stross' books about the Laundry (a secret spy organisation within the British government that deals with paranormal and Cthulhoid things). I need to check with the game master to see if he saw this (I know he gets the newsletters, too.) I think it might be good to get some modules for story lines. I don't think the system has to be converted; it seems to be the same we use. I'm not sure he's read the books (although I know the same omnibus I have), but I enjoyed them quite a bit.

Game Master's Day is March 4th (the anniversary of the death of Gary Gygax, who was a creator of Dungeons & Dragons), so I need to see about going to the Rusty Scabbard and getting something for the game master. I missed last year.

Today after I got off the bus

I heard the gentle babble of water falling and looked over at the small creek/ditch across from the hospital in front of the golf course that often has no water in it or little at all. But we've had a lot of rain lately and the water was navigating through areas choked by leaves. So I snapped this photo. I find water very relaxing (well, obviously not torrents of it, but deep pools or babbling brooks are nice, and the ocean is wonderful as well, with its tides).

Here's a soothing water video with harp music I found on YouTube you might enjoy:

So much better

Well, I have 7 1/2 hours of sleep under my belt and am up foraging for food since I never ate dinner. I'll go back to bed in a bit. It's 3:30 in the morning, after all, and I still need to catch up. But getting some sleep really has made a difference.

Friday, February 25, 2011

33 hours awake and on my way to bed

It wasn't too bad today. I was somewhat productive. I only made one mistake in the data entry, and I caught it immediately, putting my error rate at 0.06% for the year, which I think is acceptable but I would obviously like to lower. I'm enough of a perfectionist to cringe when I make a mistake, and some can't be undone without getting another person involved, because I can't undo everything I put in. I did leave early and took someone up on a ride because frankly I was fading and wasn't sure I'd do well trying to come home on the bus. So now I'm heading to bed to at least get a few hours' sleep. Game notes will have to wait until tomorrow, I think, along with paying rent (although I'll still be early) and getting game snacks.

I contacted Sanofi-Aventis (the maker of the insulin pens I use) as well as BD, the maker of the pen tips, to see if there is any latex in them. I'm not sure about the pen needles, although I can't imagine there being any in them, but the pens are fine. So that's not what I'm reacting to. The Sanofi-Aventis people were really good about getting back to me, calling me and sending me information, then answering my questions when I called them back on the phone. They also took down my information as a report of an adverse reaction. So now it's a matter of seeing if BD responds and then if there's no latex, ask my doctor about the possibility that I'm allergic to either of those sorts of insulin. It is listed as a potential side effect, and I'm not sure I'd call it severe, just a bit annoying and worrisome. But if it is an allergy, it needs to be watched at the very least, because they can unexpectedly worsen, and we might be able to try another form of insulin. And if he's right and it's a matter of needle length, I need to make sure I've got the right depth so that I get all the insulin I'm supposed to. We'll see.

Well, that's reassuring

Last night at some ungodly hour I went on my bank's website, and everything looked normal except the balances for my accounts were $0.00. This was a bit disconcerting. I told myself that most website maintenance is done in such a wee hour of the night as this, but there was no indication on the site that it was under maintenance. Everything else was intact, even the points on my card. I checked this morning and everything's back to normal. Whew. Makes you really wonder where all those electronic funds go in the case of an emergency, doesn't it?

Also, I got no sleep last night, except possibly a bit between 8:15 and 9 this morning. I had vivid dreams where I was having colourful images and even some narrative play out before my eyes, but I was perfectly aware of being awake and in bed the whole time, so I wasn't really asleep. I tossed, I turned, I was just--awake. So now I feel incredibly tired but it's almost time for work. I guess the whole cab thing revved me up. Tonight I'll probably crash. I'm used to operating on little sleep at times, but not without any. I'm too old to pull one-nighters like I did as a college student. This should be an interesting day.

Okay, off I go. Have a great day.

I am total geek when it comes to Latin language and the ancient/mediaeval world

For 99 cents I just downloaded Boethius' Theological Tractates and The Consolation of Philosophy, which are presented in both English and Latin text. This was accompanied by a sound somewhere between a cackle of glee and the mu-ha-ha of Dr Horrible when an experiment has gone right.

It's after 4 am. I must sleep before I download anything else.

This is me closing Amazon's browsing tab.

This is me signing off.

Good night.

Okay, I'm not into sports

but for those of you who are, and are readers, or if you're, say, a librarian who knows someone who likes to read sports stories, be sure to check out this week's ESPN The Magazine's 'Fiction Issue'.

ESPN The Magazine’s ‘Fiction Issue’ on Newsstands Friday

Ours for the lobby came in the mail today. It features a vendor serving up books rather than hot dogs on the cover. Follow the link for a list of authors and stories.

It's amazing

just how tiring it can be to wait for over two hours to get home by taxi. I called at 12:30 am and after several phone calls, a threat to go with the only other cab company in town which suddenly produced a car coming for me, and a dead cell phone battery, I walked through my doorway at 2:45.

I wish my old cab company were still in business.

Okay, not to knock homeopathy

Oh, on the other hand, let's, because this is too funny for words...

Then there's:

Thanks to YKWIA for showing these to me earlier tonight. I really quite like Mitchell & Webb.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


and YKWIA would appreciate the colour coordination in terms of organising books. :) Plus the beat is great. Thanks to birdie of LISNews for the link.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sorry I haven't posted

Tonight I came home, took a nap, and then spent a couple of hours on the phone with a friend. I think last night I roughly did the same, except not so much on the phone. I've barely gotten on the Internet other than to check the weather or do an interlibrary loan at either home or work. This is odd, as I pretty much spend most of my day on the computer and a good bit of it online. As a result of my absence, my newsfeeds are backed up already.

Today I was sleepy and had a slight headache through much of the day. I checked my blood sugar, which was okay, but it finally hit me that I had not had any caffeine today. I had paid my cell phone bill and had something like $3 in my bank account, too little to really access from work and no change for soda. Fortunately I just checked and my direct deposit for my pay has hit the bank, so tomorrow I should be able to pay my rent and some bills and yes, even get a soda or two. :)

Okay, I think I'll take my insulin and head back to bed. Tomorrow is another day. Maybe with a little caffeine in my system I can actually post something meaningful tomorrow. On the plus side, however, I drank the equivalent of 12 eight-ounce glasses of water today, something I don't do nearly as much as I should.

Monday, February 21, 2011

They are rather cute

But the female's got a great left hook. I like how their ears wiggle alternatively.

This is funny

PhD Comics: Professional Trading Cards

There's even a template where you can make a trading card for your own professor. :)

I may not be in academia but I spent sixteen years of my life in it, so I appreciate things like this.

Thanks to PF Anderson (tweeting as @pfanderson) for the link.

Someone needs to come up with trading cards for such librarian luminaries as Melvil Dewey, Will Manley, and Nancy Pearl. :)

Every Monday Matters #8

Help the Hungry

For this one, I refer you to the post I did for Philanthropy Friday #1, where talked about God's Pantry, our local food bank.

Speaking of Philanthropy Friday, yes, I missed it again. This is apparently going to be harder than doing the Monday posts, despite both being on my calendar. As you've no doubt guessed, money has been very tight of late (I owed the state of Kentucky some money and they took it all at once from my last pay cheque, leaving me very low on funds, but at least they're paid off.) I do still intend to keep up the philanthropy, and I still believe it's a good idea, but I may have to 'double up' occasionally due to my ebb and flow of my finances. We'll see.

I overslept this morning

because I'd had 3 hours' sleep on Saturday night and slept through all three alarms. I was a little late for work but got an amazing amount of work done, which is great. I finished my data entry with about 15 minutes to spare, checked the weather, which said to expect rain in buckets in the next hour, so I high-tailed it out of there, caught the bus going towards downtown so I could sit on it down at the transit centre rather than stand out in a windy downpour for a half an hour. It so paid off. By the time I got off the bus, it had let up to a very light rain. I still got a bit wet, but not too bad. I met some neighbours who had just moved into the complex and helped them navigate where to get off the bus and walked home with them. The temperature went from the mid-60s to the mid-40s in that one hour. So I'm glad to be home. I'd like to get a soda from the laundry room, but I'm in my jammies and although my hair's still damp, I am otherwise warm and comfortable, so I don't think I'll be going out. So yay for being home.

Tomorrow morning I have to get up earlier and take the bus before my normal one to Walgreens and pick up some pen needles that are ready for me. I was originally going to go to a friend's house tonight, but we put that off till Thursday because it will work out better for me. So I'm thinking I might do a little around here and then turn in early, since I still haven't caught up on my sleep. But I'll stay up just a bit later, as it's not even 9 pm yet.

Smacks forehead with hand

So there was one annoying detail about this morning I was having issues with. When I tried to go online and my service was suspended, a message came up saying as much. Unfortunately, even once the service came back up, every time I went to my start page, it would do that, even at times other than when my browser started up. Now, if this were an esoteric site of some sort, that wouldn't be a problem, really. But it was Google. I could get to iGoogle. I could search from my Google search bar. It wasn't the functionality I was necessarily missing. But I couldn't get the actual Google website to come up without that stupid message coming up, and it was just annoying. I tried restarting the computer. I tried restarting the modem. What I didn't think to do was clear the cache. Not at all. My brain was dead. It was an easy fix, but I actually had to call Insight and ask them about it because I didn't think of it on my own. For all that I use Firefox I'm not quite as familiar with it as Internet Explorer, although I prefer Firefox. And it's even easier to clear the cache in Firefox than IE, in my opinion, and yet, I didn't know how to do it. Thank you, Insight tech, for answering a relatively stupid question. I mean, I wouldn't consider it a stupid question if a patron asked me, because I don't expect them to be tech savvy. I do expect it of myself, though. Oh, well, at least I learned from it and will know next time. Gee.

I will say one thing for Insight

Yesterday I tried to call my cable company to make a payment arrangement, because I can pay my bill on Thursday but not until, and I suspected my services would be suspended before then, but they apparently are closed on Sunday. So this morning I went to check the weather and lo, the service was suspended (not off completely, just blocked, so there wouldn't be a reconnect fee). So I called, made the arrangement for Thursday, and she said my service would be back up within 20 minutes.

It was one.

My home phone came back online. The TV worked again, and most importantly, the computer came up, although it kept trying to tell me on my home page that it hadn't, but it would go to other pages. So I'm happy with them. I'll catch up on the past due balance Thursday, pay the due balance on the 10th, and be ready for the next one on the 24th. Fortunately even with some of the issues I've been dealing with, that's the only one that was in danger of being cut off.

Okay, I've got to go to work. Have a good day.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Feeling so much better today

Today's been busy, and I still have notes to do because I laid down in the bedroom for 'quiet time' and promptly fell asleep for four hours. I think I'm going to have to give up getting anything accomplished on Friday evenings--the week just catches up with me. Well, maybe Law & Order|UK, but I have to be in the mood to watch TV. But getting some rest really helped my mental health status, let me tell you.

Today I helped a friend use Google Translator to get the gist of many web pages. It's kind of nice to be the tech girl/personal librarian every now and then, even if I do grumble at times. And I learned some things about Google Translator, like the fact that it does well with Cyrillic script. I also learned that a particular Russian word which I do not know how to pronounce means 'year'. But I'll recognise it, I think, from now on. :) Since Russian and other Slavic languages are about the only Indo-European family I haven't toyed with at some point in my academic career, I was pretty much lost, but the program did a decent job. I wouldn't want to operate on anyone or fly an aeroplane according to translated instructions, but in a general way it's fun. There does seem to be a limit in size to the translation capability, however, without any real indication where it left off. I do like that you can hover over the translated text and see the original, both in translated webpages and in text typed into the system. That did help.

Okay, to those notes!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Glad to finally be home

I left work at 5:50. It is now 7:30. I just got home. The bus was running a little behind because there was a trainee driver and all sorts of cars decided to play tag with him, practically, so he was concentrating on getting us places in one piece rather than the time, which I appreciate. But then it took me five lights to cross the street, because every time the light turned green, an emergency vehicle came through the other way through the light. Four of them, total, two fire engines, an ambulance, and a police cruiser. They weren't all going to the same place; it was just one of those things where when they would have had the light there was nothing but normal traffic and when I had the light there would come another siren. Then, after finally getting across that street, I walked across the street where a service road came into the street and nearly got run over by someone turning onto the side street who wasn't paying attention, even though I was in the crosswalk. I am really beginning to hate people in cars. They talk on their cell phones and do all sorts of things other than drive. When I drive I try to look out for pedestrians (even jaywalkers and the like) because I realise I'm driving a potentially deadly weapon. Even a Mini Cooper or other compact car can kill or maim, and people drive giant SUVs like they're bumper cars. I don't get it.

Anyway, I'm ready for some peace and quiet. I'm not sure I'm even up for soft relaxing music. The bus was noisy, and some lady was going on about the evils of pesticides and the predictions of Nostradamus, and some lady screeched to high heaven when she saw someone she knew and like to have jolted me out of my seat. I'm tired of being around people. I've been around people all day. I've been nice. I've been pleasant. I've enjoyed my interactions to a point. But I got to a point where I just felt overwhelmed and wanted nothing better than to come home where the only sound is the aquarium water fall, and even then, I think I'll go into the bedroom where it's even quieter for awhile. Do you ever get that way, when the sheer noise of life around you gets to be too much? This is why I could never live in a city with millions of people. Sorry, I know this was somewhat incoherent and stream of consciousness. That's how I feel right now--full of run on thoughts, anxiety, and a need to ground myself, which I will now proceed to go do.

I fell asleep last night

without taking my insulin. It's 174 dl/mg right now, which is better than it had been but high for me now, and I feel very groggy. Not sure what to do. Seems like the safest thing would be to just skip the dose and do it right tonight. I'll check with my doctor's office to be sure. With 20 units of long-acting insulin, I don't want to accidentally double-up tonight. But man, I feel hung over, like when my blood sugar would be 300 before. It's funny how your body gets used to a certain level. To give you an idea, it was 117 this time yesterday, although it did go up to right over 200 before lunch because I had a peanut butter sandwich with a little spreadable fruit on it for breakfast, and that was apparently too much carb-wise. Sigh. I had a piece (not big) of cake the other day for an open house and did just fine. I eat a PBJ sandwich and it goes through the roof. I don't always get how this works. I am taking my morning meds right now rather than waiting till I get to work so that they can start working on it, and eat just a little. That should help.

PS I did call and was told to go ahead and take it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I did something I had not done in a long while. I studied a chapter of a language book. Ancient Greek, to be exact. I took 1 1/2 semesters of Greek ages ago (the aorist conquered me, I must confess, and I dropped the second class), but I have a vested interest in learning Attic Greek, being a pagan who, well, worships a Greek Goddess primarily. (Okay, She's probably not truly Greek in terms of belonging to Greece proper, but still....) My Latin is rusty, especially if someone speaks it to me (reading is much better), but I had a total of five semesters of Latin (four classical, one mediaeval), so I progressed further on it.

My Greek text (I have both volumes I and II) is Athenaze: An Introduction to Ancient Greek by Maurice Balme and Gilbert Lawall (apparently I have the UK edition; there's another on Amazon with a different cover). In it you follow farmer Dikaiopolis (or Dicaeopolis, depending on your transliteration tastes) through various exercises. I found that I could still read the text pretty well, although I needed to refer to the vocabulary occasionally.

It was nice to stretch my brain a little. I need to do more. And one of these days I will conquer the aorist tense.


is scraping the bottom of your news reader and realising that you have no more items.


This is the first time in about two weeks I haven't had over 1000 items. But now I'm caught up. Yay!

Saw this on Steven's blog

So You Want to Be a Law Librarian

Thank goodness you don't have to have an MD to be a medical librarian. But then, some do. Nursing, too. But I noticed when I read The Accidental Health Sciences Librarian that most respondents to their survey had history or English degrees (I have the former). I wonder how a survey of law librarians would come out?

Via Library Stuff.

Florida needs a bevy of Maxine Grays

Did you ever watch the TV show 'Judging Amy'? The mother of the title character is a social worker working for child protective services who will stop at nothing to, well, protect children.

It's a shame Maxine is a work of fiction.

Father of dead girl, poisoned boy held on $1 million bond: Twins allegedly abused; judge criticizes child welfare workers

When a tip said the twins were kept in a bathtub taped with duct tape, a case worker was sent out to investigate. The father and the twins were missing. The mother said she and her husband were separated and she didn't know where they were. Authorities believe she was covering for him. She got irritated when the case worker tried to interview the other two children in the home, and the case worker left. When asked why she didn't pursue the matter, she said it was 9 pm on a Friday.

A few days later the boy was found with some toxic substance on him that has burned part of his body and was so awful responders were overcome and had to be treated from the fumes. The father was nearby, doused in gasoline, but hadn't gone through his apparent intent to kill himself. Inside the truck was the body of the boy's twin sister.

To make it worse, these were not their biological children. They were adopted, which means these parents went through a vetting process. And then, when the children needed protection the most, they were let down by someone who decided it was too late at night before a weekend to pursue the matter further or at the very least, notify authorities.

Wasn't Florida the state that lost a child completely in its foster system a few years back?

I realise it's a difficult job, sometimes without a great deal of training and often low pay. I couldn't do it. But some in the field shouldn't be in social services either. Really, heads should roll over this one. The system truly failed these children.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It was 62 degrees earlier this afternoon

and at one point I went outside and walked around the hospital to get my mail from the back mail room. No mail, which is odd, but it was worth the walk. When I got home I opened the windows and started working on some things. I got all the trash out. The recycling bins outside are full (they'll be emptied tomorrow, so I'll take that out then.) I also started a new file for my flexible spending receipts for 2011 and one for 2010 to gather up all the receipts I have in various places throughout the living room. I straightened up the living room just a bit and went through some papers. I also pared down my newsfeeds and Gmail inbox, both of which had over 1000 items. I moved a clip-on light to my computer desk so I could see the receipts clearly. Then I called the IRS.

So I've accomplished a bit tonight, although I'd hoped it was more. I napped in the comfy chair for just about an hour, too.

I talked to my mother earlier today. My grandmother's going in for surgery on Friday, so I'm keeping her in my thoughts. My mom sounds a bit frazzled, for good reason. My grandmother's been in the hospital for five weeks now, dealing with some complications from diabetes. It's one reason I've been more vigilant about my own health.

I went to the doctor today and he tweaked my insulin (both types) a bit and I'll see him in two months. He really likes the spreadsheet I have that I bring in printouts from. (He thought it was an iPhone app--he just got one and is going crazy with it. He loves gadgets. I remember how excited he was about getting a digital stethoscope.) Anyway, if I continue to do well with the insulin, he's going to try to take me off of Janumet and Actos so I'll have fewer medicines (Right now I have 6 oral meds, including one that I take twice a day, plus shots three times a day.) That'll help, too, when my flexible spending account runs out, because my meds currently are running $310 a month (that's with insurance). That's not including the cost of lancets, test strips, and pen tips. That would take it down by $75, anyway.

Okay, I'm getting a bit sleepy, and it's 11 pm. I think I'll take my insulin and head to bed, or at least read a bit and then turn in. Have a good night.

Taking some fiscal responsibility and selling my soul to the IRS for the next few months

The first thing that the Money Girl book suggested in dealing was debt was to take care of 'dangerous short-term debt' like taxes. I hadn't mentioned it lately, but if you've read for awhile, you know that I've had trouble with not having enough taxes taken out the last few years because my W4s were messed up and it took awhile to iron out, leaving me with tax bills I've struggled to pay over the last few years. It's been so overwhelming that I tended to fall back on my old habits of losing the information and pretending it wasn't the sword of Damocles hanging over my head.

Last year the state of Kentucky took what I owed out of my bank account and I found out on my birthday, which was not the birthday surprise I preferred. This year they attached my wages, which was not so much a surprise except that they took it out all at once. So this past paycheque almost $500 came out, which didn't leave a lot, so I've got to juggle some bills to not get far behind on anything else. The good news is that I'm paid up with the state and although I do have to pay this year for 2010, it will be much less. Plus I have one job and I've gotten my W4s squared away, so I might be looking at a refund next year.

But that left the IRS, which frankly gets a bad rap; I can't complain because any time I've dealt with them they've bent over backwards with good customer service. Plus they didn't just take the money or try to put me in gaol. Kentucky has been much more aggressive. But the thing with my paycheque reminded me of that hanging sword.

I went online to try to find out how much I owed (I haven't gotten a notice in a very long time, and never for the full amount.) That wasn't helpful beyond giving me the contact phone and hours to call. Tonight I called and once I got through the almost interminable computerised menu that was terribly not helpful when you don't have a number from a notice to type in (try all 0s), I spoke with a man with a somewhat funny name who was very, very helpful. I found out that I owe taxes back to 2006 (I didn't for 2007 because of those stimulus cheques. Mine went straight to my tax bill, although it was apparently applied to one year instead of back further). Basically, I've had trouble ever since I started working at the gas station. But that was still a surprise, because I had made payments and there was that stimulus, so I didn't realise there was still a balance from that far back, and the last notice was for the current year. Turns out I owe just over $2000. So once I got over that shock we set up an agreement for a monthly debit, which is a somewhat convoluted process, but he explained it very well. I also have to make sure I pay my 2010 taxes on time to keep the agreement in place, but I think I'm going to owe about $125, and I have time to budget between now and then.

I also got a free credit report from all three bureaus last night so I could tell what I had to deal with on that. I've taken care of several things over the last few years, so that's in my favour. The good news is most of it (other than my student loans) is small. I have one medical bill I didn't even know existed for $42, for example. The largest is $600. There are a couple of other larger accounts in collections, but they are not on my credit reports and are very, very old (almost 20 years) and they want to settle, so I'll work on prioritising everything and figure out whom I can pay and what to repair my credit. But right now I'm concentrating on the IRS.

Next step is to get a budget together. I'm full-time at a job for the first time (I've worked over 40 hours at up to three jobs at a time, of course, but this is the first time I'm full-time at one place.) I'm not sure that will continue, because the data entry job was meant to be six months to a year to possibly longer. July will be a year. I have a performance appraisal tomorrow for that job, and I'm going to ask about it then so I'll have something to base my budget on before I make too many plans. If it's not going to last, I need to start looking for another part-time job, since the store closed, and the closest is not good for walking from to my home at night.

The good news (at least from what I can tell with my library performance appraisal) is that we're actually getting a raise this year. Last year we didn't. So that'll help a little, too.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The problem with relaxing is you tend to think...

You know, I didn't mind being alone on Valentine's day until it occurred to me that it's been 20 years to the day since I celebrated it with anyone, and that was with someone I was about to marry but didn't love. I am suddenly sad. :( Still, I have hope for the future.

How about zombies? Do they address zombies?

A Legal Manual for an Apocalyptic New York
Quarantines. The closing of businesses. Mass evacuations, warrantless searches of homes. The slaughter of infected animals and the seizing of property. When laws can be suspended and whether infectious people can be isolated against their will or subjected to mandatory treatment. It is all there, in dry legalese, in the manual, published by the state court system and the state bar association.

The link goes to the .pdf of the manual. I couldn't get it to load, most likely due to the traffic from it being profiled. Excerpts can also be found at: The New York Times' website.

Thanks to Sarah Glassmeyer for the link.


Well, I've got the laundry and part of the living room done. I had just enough dryer sheets to do five loads, then trekked back with the giant hamper on my shoulder and the gym bag hanging from the other. I wish there were a laundry room in my building, but we don't have a basement or anything. I think I need a week off to really accomplish everything, but I'll try to work a little each morning evening and see if that will work. I did finally find that greeting card set I was going to send a sympathy card from, the one I pulled the living room apart in the first place looking for. It was on top of some books where I'd checked before, but couldn't see because it was right under the shelf and there's an overhang. Ugh.

It's been 7 hours and I'm not particularly hungry (I had a footlong tuna sandwich at Subway. Probably should have gone with the 6" but the footlong is cheaper and I knew I'd probably work it off in activity.) I'll probably wait an hour and have some cheese and crackers, something light.

I think I'll read a little, listen to some music, and wind down a bit. I may try to do dishes later tonight. I don't know. But I definitely need to gather the trash from the kitchen and bath and take the recyclables out by tomorrow morning. There's not much trash, I recycle so much, but there's some fruit leavings in the trash and those dratted fruit flies are still trying to plague me. I can't seem to get rid of all of them.

Later tonight I need to go out and give my monthly libation. Fortunately I still have some wine, a merlot instead of burgundy, but it will serve. Plus I put honey and some lavender flowers in it. :)

Okay, I'll probably post something later tonight but for right now I want to be away from the computer, not be cleaning, and just do something fun.

Hope you're having a good Valentine's Day. I haven't celebrated in years, but practically everyone else seems to be. Do something sweet for your sweetie.

I'm such a classics geek

I found this funny from In Rebus' Latin Quotes, Sayings, Tattoos, Phrases & Mottos
Toyota has people voting on the plural form of Prius.

The options include prius, priuses, prii, prium and prien. Sic!, Sic! and Sic!

Oddly, the actual correct Latin masc. and fem. plural for prius - priores is not even in the running!

Shouldn't corporate hijacking of Latin grammar cause some sort of public outrage?
I so agree.

One of the best 'It Gets Better' videos I've seen

this is from the employees of Pixar...

If you're not gay, please watch as well. Maybe you'll understand your friends, your sibling, the kid at school, or the person on the street that much better.

Via ACLU of Kentucky.

Okay, it got cloudy and I got sleepy

So I took a nap. But now I've got five loads of laundry in the wash (it took my large collapsible hamper and a gym bag to get it there to the laundry room). I'm going to check up on the news, since that's less likely to make me lose track of time. I hate it when people leave their clothes too long after the washers or dryers stop, especially if they're doing a lot. Also, it's good I got more quarters today because I had about half a roll and that just didn't cut it.

Every Monday Matters #7

Write a Letter to a U.S. Military Hero

I think this is a wonderful idea. Coming from a military family, I know that my father (who sent taped messages back home from Vietnam) seemed so lonely and tired on those recordings. I'm sure the same is true for many soldiers overseas today.

I have a co-worker whose husband has deployed several times and is active in veteran's organisations. I'm sure she could help me find someone to write to. There are also these suggestions from the Every Monday Matters website:

  • Send a free postcard to soldier.
  • Send an email to soldier.
  • Send mail to an anonymous soldier.
  • Donate a book to a soldier.

We have a drop-off point at work that takes up magazines for soldiers. I think it's a programme through the Marines.

Anyway, I'm going to check into seeing what I can do. I have a lot of sympathy for soldiers, even though I'm very anti-war as a general rule, and anti-war in terms of the ones we're in now. But I don't have to bring that up. I can talk about other things, ask questions, and hopefully give them a break from the very difficult situation they're in. And you can, too.

Book #5 for the year: Money Girl's Smart Moves to Deal with Your Debt

This is an e-book that explains steps one should make to prioritise which debts to deal with first, how to free up money for paying off debt, how to do a budget (she calls it a spending plan), etc.

Although I've read other financial books, this one was in easy to understand language, didn't throw jargon at you, and was really straightforward. I really enjoyed it and understood it. It doesn't go into a lot of nuts and bolts of how to do something, but it explains what can be done and resources to help you figure out how to do it. The author, Laura D. Adams, has a podcast and financial tips and resources at her website: http://moneygirl.quickanddirtytips.com/. She also has another book/e-book called Money Girl's Smart Moves to Grow Rich, the first bit of which is included in with the one I read.

This e-book was admittedly a bit of a lead in for her other book (available as both a paperback and e-book, the latter in several editions for different e-readers). But it was only $1.99 for the Kindle edition, very coherent, and helpful. So you may want to check it out.

The website, incidentally, has other experts on pets, grammar, legal issues, work, nutrition, etc., so it might be something worth considering when you have questions and need a little expert advice.

I'm off today and so far I've gotten quite a lot accomplished

I woke up at 8:35 am, which would normally be fine, but I had an appointment at 9, so I rushed through getting ready, checked my blood sugar, ran out of the house with my hair wet (not all that unusual for me), and walked quickly over to St Joseph's Breast Centre for a mammogramme, arriving just 5 minutes late. I was so discombobulated that I couldn't fill out the paperwork correctly. I put my e-mail under my mailing address, my birthdate for today's date, that sort of thing, but I finally got it all corrected and went to have my boobies squished. I forgot that you have to take off any deodorant or powder you have on, or I wouldn't have put any on this morning. But I used the supplied wipes and then they had also helpfully supplied a spray-on one for when you got dressed again. I also forgot the odd angles they put you through, although the only time I was truly uncomfortable was when they were trying to get the lymph nodes of the underarm in addition to the breast tissue. That was at an awkward angle. Anyway, so that's how I started my Valentine's Day.

Then I went back out into the wind (it's nearly 50 degrees but very windy; my hair is comparatively full-looking today as if it were blown dry, which it was, essentiall)y. I went over and read in the bus shelter (I'd just missed a bus) and then took the bus over to Man O'War Place. I deposited a cheque into the bank, took out some quarters for laundry, and then headed over to Subway, because at this point I was very hungry/thirsty.

This was the first time I'd been out to eat since starting my insulin. I thought I might have to go into the bathroom to take my shot, but it was just 10:30 so there were very few people in the store. I went to a table around the corner where I was out of sight of the counter and checked my blood sugar. I'd worn a short-sleeved velvet shirt under my sweater, so I took off the sweater, readied the pen and needle, and gave myself my injection in my upper arm, where I've been doing the Apidra lately anyway. It took just a moment, and I didn't have to worry about showing my belly or grossing out anyone with needles or such.

I had a very satisfying tuna sandwich (I hadn't eaten out since before Christmas), finished my book (more on that later), and then headed over to Kroger's to get some things I needed. I managed to make the bus just in time, although I had to endure a couple of minutes of some kid practicing rap (well, he was either that or talking to voices in his head) in which every other word was the f-word (a perfectly good English word, when used effectively. This was not.) He told the bus driver something strange that I can't really remember about it being a dark day of dominion or some such. In other words, he was in his own little world. The bus driver just nodded, smiled, and said oh, yes. I'm sure they have practice. :)

Now I'm home, and it's just after noon. On the agenda today:

  • Laundry--a must; I have nothing that is really clean.
  • Do dishes, clean counters.
  • Clean out the refrigerator.
  • Take out trash and recyclables.
  • Get caught up on my newsfeeds.
  • Go through some papers to shred, recycle, or keep.
  • Straighten up the living room. [Working on it!]
  • Clean the bathroom.
  • Straighten my dresser in the bedroom; clear the kitchen table of books and other things that need to be put up.
  • Clean out the fish tank and add new water.
  • Work out some financial things in preparation for making a spending plan (aka budget).
  • Read the next book to go back to the library.
  • Get an early start on game notes so I'll be inspired as what to do next time.

I doubt I'll get it all finished, but I'd like to get a good start on them and work on them throughout the week. The laundry has to be done; it's the main reason I took off today. I don't like doing my laundry at night, and I prefer to clean in bright sunlight, so laundry and the front rooms with windows are good afternoon tasks. I think I'll take a little break and then get started.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


My blood sugar went down to 111 mg/dl today. That's AMAZING for me. That's the first time it's been that low in years. Even with noshing at the game all day (including grapes), it was only 143 mg/dl, which is really good because I was eating almost to the very end and so that's postprandial. For a diabetic, anything less than 180 mg/dl after eating is considered good, and lower than 130 before eating is good. Yipee! This is even better considering my fasting value this morning was 179, so it lowered as I went along. Plus, I only had one dose of Apidra since I didn't have a dinner per se. Now to keep it up. I just took my Lantus. I feel much clearer than I have in the past. Of course, getting some sleep last night before the game probably helped a great deal.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's amazing either country made it into space

Do a third of Russians believe the sun spins around Earth?: Survey points to low science literacy ... but Americans aren't brilliant, either

Can you determine the truth value of these statements correctly?

  • The Earth goes around the sun.
  • All radioactivity is man-made.
  • Humans lived at the same time as the dinosaurs.

I don't know how they were worded in the surveys, but of course the answers are True, False, and False.

Trouble is:

Russians surveyed--
32% said Earth was the centre of the solar system.
55% said that all radioactivity is human-made.
29% said the first humans lived when dinosaurs were on Earth.

Americans (in different but similar surveys)--
72% said Earth goes around the sun.
63% knew there was radiation that was not man-made.
59% said dinosaurs and humans did not live at the same time.

That leaves a lot of people who don't know squat about basic science in both countries.

Protocol got in the way of saving a life

Man dies feet from ER after hospital says to call 911: Heart attack victim crashed car in parking lot, had to wait for ambulance to arrive to get help

Two police officers began CPR. A third went to the ER to notify them and was told to call emergency services. The hospital says it was unclear the man was having a heart attack and protocol calls for 911 to be called because in car crashes the victim may need to extricated. Trouble is, although they say they dispatched security guards with a defibrillator and a paramedic went outside, no one apparently provided medical help until the ambulance arrived except the police officers and the man died despite their efforts.

What a shame. I hope they investigate it thoroughly. I suspect there will be a lawsuit, and to be honest, in this case going by what the report says, I can't blame them.

The moon has a ring around it tonight

I wish I had a camera that could take a proper picture. I love it when I look up and see that.

Philanthropy Friday #6

Shriners Hospitals for Children: $5

I'm cheating a little with this one. I happen to work for a charity. I purchased something that was needed with my own funds (long story) and decided it was such a small amount I wouldn't worry about getting reimbursed.

In case you didn't know, Shriners Hospitals for Children is a system of 22 hospitals throughout North America specialising in various areas of paediatric care, including orthopaedics, burns, spinal cord injury rehabilitation, and cleft lip and palate. (Follow the link to see which hospital does what). The hospital I work for is an orthopaedics hospital. Care is provided at no financial obligation to the patients or their families.

What a long day

I had to get up very early this morning for a podiatry appointment, at which I got a clean bill of foot health. She also checked my circulation. I was a little concerned because under the office's bright light and with my feet being cold, they looked a little blue to me, but she said they were fine, that they were hanging down and the pulse was strong when she got me to stand up and felt it. But given my foot problems, she told me to keep the boot and not get rid of it any time soon. :)

Since I was next door, I went over to my doctor's office and asked if I could see the nurse for a moment to ask a question. They took me in just a few minutes later and I told her about the itching and showed her the splotches on my abdomen. She said that was not normal and went to consult with the doctor. He doesn't think it's an insulin allergy, because I'm not reacting on my arm. Instead, he thinks the needles I was using were too short on my abdomen and I was actually injecting intradermally rather than subcutaneously. So they gave me some needles that are a millimetre longer for the abdomen. If I use my arm or thighs I'm to use the shorter ones I have.

Then I went over to the public library and renewed a book, paid a small fine, and got some books on preventing diabetes complications and eating well with diabetes.

I went to work, had a very busy day, and then went to the bus stop early so I could go get my meds (I'd actually realised I had one day left of everything, and the Apidra pen was at less than half, so I'd called in the ones I already had on file earlier). One of my co-workers shouted to me and got my attention, then took me down to the pharmacy. I had to fill the Apidra with a paper prescription, so I just had her drop me off rather than wait, which is good, because it took an hour to fill, they were so busy. Well, I'm not sure it took a whole hour to actually fill. They never called my name and at an hour I checked and it was ready. So I picked everything up and grabbed a couple of things on the way out and headed to the bus stop. I did forget bread, unfortunately, but I was afraid I'd miss the bus.

The bus was coming over the hill when someone from work stopped and had me get in. She took me home. So I had two rides on the way home today.

I turned on the news, something I rarely do, and they had the jubilation in response to Mubarak's stepping down as leader of Aegypt. I hope that there will be democracy and freedom there and that it will remain relatively stable.

I blogged and ate some dinner, then got sleepy and decided to lie down for about an hour. Four hours later I woke up. I'm sleeping through my cell phone alarm, so I changed the tone from "Real World '09" by Rob Thomas to "How Far We've Come" by Matchbox Twenty (same singer, though). Well, that worked. Ten minutes later I was shocked out of bed, got up, checked my blood sugar, filled out my spreadsheet, and took my insulin using the new needle. I have a little trouble giving myself shots in my upper arm because it's awkward, and I wind up having to hold it nearly upside down and press the pen plunger up. I usually accidentally pull the needle sideways just a bit, which hurts. I'm working on perfecting my technique a little so it's fine. I just do that with the Apidra, where I'm doing very small doses. The Lantus is 16 units. I'd never get the plunger to go down that far using my arm, so I continue to use my abdomen for that.

I'm learning a lot about what works and what doesn't with these injections. According to the instructions, for example, you don't pinch the skin up with the tiny needles but you do with the minis.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I am very against smoking (and I'm from a tobacco state), but...

I think this is wrong.

Hospitals Shift Smoking Bans to Smoker Ban

and as the article states, this is why:
One concern voiced by groups like the National Workrights Institute is that such policies are a slippery slope — that if they prove successful in driving down health care costs, employers might be emboldened to crack down on other behavior by their workers, like drinking alcohol, eating fast food and participating in risky hobbies like motorcycle riding. The head of the Cleveland Clinic was both praised and criticized when he mused in an interview two years ago that, were it not illegal, he would expand the hospital policy to refuse employment to obese people.

“There is nothing unique about smoking,” said Lewis Maltby, president of the Workrights Institute, who has lobbied vigorously against the practice. “The number of things that we all do privately that have negative impact on our health is endless. If it’s not smoking, it’s beer. If it’s not beer, it’s cheeseburgers. And what about your sex life?”

Smoking (and dipping, which is even more disgusting in my book) are filthy habits. Smoking produces carcinogens in the air and aggravates asthma. (I am very sensitive to cigarette smoke, and would almost certainly not date a smoker, because this is my preference.) But, I also realise it's a powerful addiction, that people often must try to quit many times before they succeed. And even then, it's tempting. My mother quit for six years before starting back again, for example.

That being said, although I am very much in favour of bans on smoking in public and don't think people should smoke around their children, refusing to hire people, firing people for tobacco use, and testing employees for nicotine goes too far. It is a drug, yes, but a legal one. Unlike illegal drugs and other legal ones such as alcohol and prescription drugs, it's not going to cause potentially deadly accidents that will affect others, impair judgment, or incite violence.

Some companies even ban nicotine patches, something people use to try to kick the habit. How is that productive? What if a person smokes for 30 years, then quits a couple of months before being hired? Isn't their health also in jeopardy?

Where do you draw the line in terms of trying to keep down health costs? What about obesity? Diabetes? Multiple sclerosis? High blood pressure? Depression? Does that mean only svelte young people with no health problems or medications deserve to work? Do the rest of us just go on disability or welfare and strain the system further? Shouldn't those be reserved for people who really need it, rather than people willing and capable of working?

It's a complex issue that seems to make a certain amount of sense, at least in a pecuniary way, but really is a slippery slope, and I agree that discrimination of this type should not be allowed.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Poor thing, and it's my fault

Some time ago, I picked up some fish food, and since I have seven goldfish, I naturally got goldfish food.

I forgot about the one surviving platy.

Livebearers tend to eat herbaceous food. Sometimes you can find food formulated for them, but if all else fails, tropical fish food is better for them than goldfish food. Meanwhile, I don't think tropical food would hurt goldfish; it's just more expensive. Now he's got a swollen swim bladder and he looks like his spine is crooked. I'm pretty sure it's a nutritional thing. I don't know if it's reversible, but I'm going to pick up some of the right food and start serving a mix.



I totally forgot the dinosaur lecture was tonight. And I even got off early enough to go. Oh, well. Maybe I'll read the book. I wonder if the library has it?

Quick check...

Yes, and now I have a hold for when it comes back from being checked out. Yay!

Ah, that so did not work

I'm looking at my Twitter feed and there's this tweet from CNN:

It is not clear that #Egypt transition is "immediate, meaningful or sufficient," Obama says http://on.cnn.com/g5fxoXless than a minute ago via web

Only one trouble: if you click on the link, you get:

Spider-Man replacing Human Torch on new 'FF' team

That's a pretty odd oops. Okay, let me go see what really DID happen today with the crisis in Aegypt.

An excellent article about how to prepare for (and survive) a shooting at your library

I read an article today that had good guidelines for what to do in the event of a shooting at your workplace. It was written with libraries in mind, but any place, whether library, campus, hospital, business, etc., would benefit from reading it. I thought it would be helpful in devising education on workplace violence and made the appropriate person aware of the article. It was just published and is available freely under a creative commons licence. Here's the link:


Here's the citation: Kautzman, Amy and Jennifer Little. Active Shooter in the Library: How to Plan for, Prevent, and Survive the Worst (and Selected Bibliography). Library Leadership & Management, Vol 25, No 1 (2011)

The bibliography included this book:

Ripley, Amanda. The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why. New York: Crown Publishers, 2008.

I downloaded the Kindle edition, which incidentally is the first book I've bought for the Kindle that did NOT have text-to-speech enabled. (It also cannot be lent, which is unfortunate, because the person I forwarded the information to does have a Kindle and I would have liked for her to read it when I was finished.) But I digress...

It deals with the psychology involved when people are caught up in disaster, types of reactions, and what helps a person survive. It also stresses the power of interactions within groups and how people going through the emergency really are the first responders. One example she gives of this last point is a gas explosion that ripped through a large part of a city in Mexico a few years ago. People within the community were doing things like jacking up rubble with car jacks and using garden hoses to get air to those trapped, little decisions that meant survival for some. Of those who survived, almost all were recovered within the first two hours. Although emergency response teams were organised, that took time. The first rescue dogs, for example arrived over a day afterwards. Likewise, when looking at the 7/7 bombings in London, it became plain that emergency plans were made for the authorities, not for the people undergoing the emergency. There was no way for passengers to let authorities know of the explosion, the doors could not be opened by passengers, and first aid kits were kept in station offices rather than on the trains themselves. While these were apparent with hindsight, they never were caught in the actual planning scenarios.

Ripley uses interviews with survivors of disasters large and small and experts who work disasters, analyse them, and plan for them, to get a sense of how people do or do not survive disasters. Sometimes, of course, no matter what you do, nothing really can help. But although we put a lot of blame on nature, God, or the authorities, there's very little preparation for the general public on how to react. For example, how many of us have received training on surviving a terrorist attack? Of course not--we're just given colour-coded alerts that frighten us momentarily and then we return to business as usual, as Ripley points out.

I've only read the introduction and part of chapter one and I'm already hooked. I think it will be well worth the read. But you may want to check into it too, if you're interested in psychology, disaster planning, etc. And check out the article, too. Thanks to Susan Yowell for sending the link to the DISASTR-OUTREACH-LIB list.

I'm having a slight reaction where I inject my insulin

My abdomen is a bit itchy and blotchy with small red areas where I've been injecting. I'll check with Dr Nesbitt to make sure it's not a sign of allergy, but it may just mean I've irritated the skin by relying on just my abdomen so far, so I've rotated to my upper arm. It's best, apparently, to keep to one general area (but rotate within) for one to two weeks before moving to a new one so your blood sugars don't vary too much. But I've been injecting just in my abdomen (after all, there's a lot of it) since I started on insulin about four weeks ago, so I figured it was time to change.

As far as I can tell, the SoloSTAR pens, which are used with Lantus and Apidra (although separately, of course), don't appear to have latex in them, which is a concern for me. So, I'll see what my doctor says. It's itched since about the second or third day, but I didn't get the red spots until the last day or two. Of course, it may be getting red because I'm scratching occasionally, although I'm trying to avoid that. I go back next Wednesday. Like I said, it's very mild, but I'm going to call tomorrow just to be on the safe side, assuming I get out of my podiatrist appointment before they close up shop (it's their short day). Come to think of it, my podiatrist is right next door (literally, in the same hallway), so I could just stop by and ask.

Meanwhile, I've decided to come clean to my podiatrist and just show up sans boot and explain that I haven't worn it for about a week to ten days, so I've been non-compliant. But my joints in that leg were hurting worse than the foot due to the change in gait. My foot does feel much better, with just twinges now and then (in other words, about normal).

We have a really light clinic day on Monday. I'm thinking about taking off that day, although I still have to get up early for a 9 am mammogramme. (Yes, I know, the only thing I'll be showing my breasts to on Valentine's Day is a machine that squishes them. Sad, yes, sad indeed.

Okay, I'd better eat something. I took my Apidra a few minutes ago.

Sorry I didn't post last night

I spent a lot of time on the computer, a bit on the phone, and a little in the comfy chair with fleece blanket and Snuggie over me. But on the computer I was doing things like updates and maintenance, plus going through and doing some financial stuff and looking up some things for a friend.

You're used to me not posting on Sunday nights, since I'm usually so tired from the game and possible Kroger runs. This week I was not just tired (I'd had three hours' sleep) but I was positively in shock. Our game master has waited 12 years to spring something on us that changes the entire gameplay, and he did it by luring us in with, of all things, a school pageant and the domesticity of childcare. Our faces must have been worthwhile. I still don't know where to go from here, and I've been thinking furiously because my character is in charge. We're facing our greatest challenge in all the years we've gamed, the biggest apocalypse with the scariest Cthulhu cultists, and our mystical abilities are just--gone. Even our special ninja swords are simply silver curios at this point. It changed everything. So I don't know if we're going to beat this one. The game master has always wanted to play a post-apocalyptic Cthulhu game....

Okay, off to work. No jeans day despite snow--the kids are on a 2 hour delay. I wonder if I could wear jeans for the first two hours I work? :)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

I really love this quote I came across today

From How to Build a Chickenosaurus: Extinction doesn't have to be forever, according to a renowned dinosaur expert visiting UK
"Kids really like dinosaurs, and the really neat thing is, kids can understand what I talk about," Horner explained. "They know more about dinosaurs than adults do. Sometimes, if I get too many adults in the lecture hall, I have to dumb it down."
Jack Horner is giving a talk at the University of Kentucky on genetic engineering of dinosaurs from their modern-day descendants--birds. The lecture is based on his book, How to Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn’t Have to Be Forever. It's at 7:30 pm on Thursday, February 10th, at the Singletary Center for the Arts, and is free.

If I left work a little early, I could go to it. Hmmm....

I love Google's 'doodle' for today

It's honouring the 183rd anniversary of Jules Verne's birth. On the Google webpage, the actual logo can be manipulated using the lever on the right to move the Nautilus from the surface of the sea to the ocean floor. Be sure to check it out. If you're using a device with a built-in accelerometer that uses Firefox or Chrome, just tilt and it'll work, too. Enjoy exploring!

If you miss a doodle, they have them listed for viewing here: http://www.google.com/logos/.

Interactive '20,000 Leagues' Google Doodle Honors Jules Verne's Birthday

Monday, February 07, 2011

I agree this is blogworthy

YKWIA called me and had me watch this, which if you're familiar with 'Space: 1999' will make you smile (or more). Enjoy. That's all for the now. I'm going to take my insulin and head on to bed. Good night.

Every Monday Matters #6

Get Rid of Junk Mail

This is one I haven't done much about yet (although I have added my phone to the Do Not Call registry, whose number is also listed on the website).

I don't get a huge amount of junk mail except during election time. And then there are some local ads. The one that I really hate is the weekly Herald-Leader ads that are sent out. If I wanted them, I'd subscribe to the paper.

Still, the website has good suggestions for where to get your name off of lists. Some are free and some are for a nominal fee. So check it out and do what you can to reduce wasted paper.

Okay, let me just remind you I'm from the South

And I've lived in various states of the South for 39 years of my 43. I've even lived in South Carolina. But this is absolutely hilarious, and this poor woman has no clue. Be sure to watch part 2 as well.

Thanks to Angela for the link.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Good grief

Catholic Church Issues Guide on How to Convert Witches
Five hundred years ago, the Catholic Church had a simple way of dealing with witches: It burned them alive. The Vatican still views these broom botherers as a danger, but is now calling on Catholics to eliminate the neo-pagan problem in a more moderate manner.

According to a new booklet from the Catholic Truth Society -- the U.K. publishers for the Holy See -- the faithful can convert Wiccans by following a few simple steps. The pamphlet, titled "Wicca and Witchcraft: Understanding the Dangers," suggests that Catholics spark up conversations with these unbelievers about shared concerns such as the environment, The Telegraph reports.
(all links from the article)

Because of course, Harry Potter makes all little girls and boys want to be Wiccans when they grow up. No, really:
The Daily Mail says that the church is afraid the dark arts are becoming ever more tempting thanks to the success of Harry Potter. Dodd [the author of the pamphlet, a former Wiccan] says that any youngster who dabbles in magic risks long-term problems.

Bear with me; it's 2 am as I write this and I have to get up in three hours, so I may ramble a bit.

I will agree that dabbling in magic is something that is unwise to do, because it can have consequences and, like anything, can be used for good or evil, or somewhere in the middle. I will also point out that there is a difference between Wicca and witches, the former being a pagan religion and the latter being a practice of magic. The two are not the same, although many Wiccans call themselves witches, often erroneously, whether they practise magic or not. Also, witchcraft can, indeed be practised by those who are not even pagan. I've known true practioners of magic, and I've known Wiccans and other neo-pagans, reconstructionists, and people on the fringe of paganism (which is pretty far out there). I've also met Christian mystics who practise ritual magic, and see no problem with that in their faith. I have over 21 years of experience in paganism and the pagan community, including heading a local pagan group, attending gatherings, reading both neo-pagan and ancient pagan authors, and have been a worshipper and priestess of the Goddess Hekate for about seventeen years, so I think I know what I'm talking about here. I don't personally practise witchcraft, but I know some of the principles. I've only known one person who was pagan who is so enamoured with Catholicism's trappings that he tries to mix the two religions, and I think when it comes down to it's the hats and pomp and circumstance he loves, not the actual beliefs of Catholicism. So I don't know how effective their pamphlet will be. Many of today's pagans have left other (mostly Christian) faiths and therefore have a bit of baggage when it comes to Christianity. I personally of am of the you-don't-bother-us-we-won't-bother-you mentality when it comes to Christianity, but I've known pagans who were very anti-Christian because of their experiences as Christians. So it's a complex sort of thing.

But in the grand scheme of thing, I agree with the person who posted the link on a list I read that the Church should be more concerned with the more numerous faiths it's losing members to, or indeed secularism itself, rather than the activities of a minority religion that really isn't bothering anyone and who, unlike Christianity, is not evangelical and therefore doesn't try to convert anyone. But I guess I should be happy they're not trying to burn, hang, or press people they perceive as witches under stones like in the old days.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

An excerpt from a book that had me in tears, but wanting more

The dog I rescued, who broke my heart
Three days into spring, just as the mounds of dirty snow had melted into tiny rivers that forked through the hollows of our Michigan woods like country interstates, we found a dog. Our neighbors, who own the blueberry farm and acreage that backs our woods, actually found it, calling us early that evening, just after daylight savings time, when the sun was still perched high in the sky. "We just found a dog lying in our compost pile. Think it's dead." Gary trudged over with a leash and a towel, green waders up to his knees, and a load of optimism. Gary is an optimist. One of those dirty, stinking, the-sun-will-come-out-tomorrow optimists. And, despite my tone, I love him for that. He is the anti-me.

Ten minutes later he was back, leading the wobbly dog, which still had part of a rotting cabbage head in its mouth. The dog was a dirty, dingy, pee yellow, and there were burrs and cuts and dried blood strewn throughout its fur. Its nails were so long, they had curled and bent and grown into his pads, which were infected and raw. His eyes were matted shut. And the dog's ribs were showing -- it was dust bunnies on bones, really -- its midsection so thin, I could nearly encircle it with both my hands.

I wanted to cry, and puke, and scream, and immediately put it out of its misery. I wanted to strangle those who had done this, who could do this. But instead I said to Gary, "You'd kill for a waistline like that," because that's what he needed to hear at that moment, especially since he looked just like a kid who, for the first time, was seeing the grim reality of the world, of the woods. Gary smiled through his tears.

Read the rest of the article, Wonder's story. It is, unfortunately, not a happy ending, but it's how we connect with other creatures of the world that matter, the things we give and receive, and how they change things. And then read the book the Salon article is excerpted from. I know I plan to--it's a new book in our public library..

"It's All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine." by Wade Rouse.

I jinxed us weather-wise

10 minutes after I posted it was snowing so hard visibility was almost nil. It's still snowing a good pace. I went to snap a picture and it slowed down. Crazy Kentucky weather. One year, back in the 80s, it was something like 80 degrees and we had to open our windows because the apartment I lived in didn't have an individual thermostat/heater. Yes--in February.

Philanthropy Friday #5 (already, yes, it's Saturday, but...)

Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program: $8

Because I missed last week entirely, I planned to double up somewhere along the way. My opportunity came today while I was shopping at Kroger. The charity had a list of needed items they were giving out as you came in through the door that you could drop off when you left. It's called Shop & Share for Domestic Violence Shelters. I got a giant package of paper towels. Here's the list:
Personal Care Items:
  • Shampoo (adult and baby)
  • Tampons/Pads
  • Diapers & Baby Wipes
  • Toilet paper and Facial Tissue
Non-Perishable Food Items:
  • Canned fruits and vegetabales
  • Flour
  • Corn Meal
  • Rice/Pasta
  • Condiments (Ketchup, Mustard, Mayo, Salsa, Syrup, Jelly, Salt & Pepper)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Soup (can or packet)
Housekeeping Items:
  • Paper Towels/Napkins/Paper Plates
  • Laundry or Dish Detergent
  • Dryer Sheets
  • Bleach
  • Cleansers/Cleaners
I chose paper towels because, well, they can be used for all sorts of things.

If you're in the Lexington area, they were definitely at the Richmond Road Kroger today, and they may be at other area Krogers as well. You might want to call ahead and see. Outside our area, check with your local shelter to see what their ongoing needs are. You might give money or needed items.

I have been out in the wind and the rain and the muck

I took the bus over to the bank to get a roll of quarters and then to Kroger to get a bus pass and some snacks for the game tomorrow. When I got off the bus, I actually had my coat off. It was a bit breezy, but comfortable, with just a mist of moisture in the air. While I was checking out at the grocery store heavy rain was falling in horizontal sheets as the wind had picked up considerably. By the time I got out it was raining and too windy for the umbrella. I made it to the bus shelter and it lessened, and the sun even came out while I was on the bus. Walking home, I had the sun to my left, in the east, and this sky as pictured to the west. Needless to say, I walked a little faster. I made it home without getting too wet, all things considered. So, mission accomplished. My the weather is being capricious. But then, we were supposed to have ice and snow last night and today, so a little rain won't hurt us.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Who knew they swam?

And they're faster in the water than in the trees. Go, sloth, go! Although he was doing fine and they just kind of plucked him out of the water, which probably confused him greatly. Granted, I've never heard of a vicious sloth attack (well, except my stepfather's story of the slowly attacking sloth scaring the bejeesus out of him when he was stationed in the Panama, but that's a whole other story), so she was probably safe, but probably should have left the wildlife be. And I think the dog really wanted the sloth. It seemed very intrigued.

Philanthropy Friday #4

National Marrow Donor Program Be the Match Foundation: $10

Like I wrote before, I'd been on the Bone Marrow Donor Registry for years but had to go off when I went on insulin, because my health would be impacted should I be called to donate. They understandably take a conservative approach to ensure the health of donors as well as recipients.

But that doesn't mean I can't help in other ways. I'm in between paycheques this week so it's a small donation, but every little bit helps. This donation helps research, recruiting donors, and providing aid to patients who need help with medical expenses.

What could help even more is that YOU could sign up to be a marrow donor. One way to do so is tell them at the blood bank next time you go to donate blood. They'll take an extra phial and your sample's information will be added to the registry. That's how I got to be a donor. Or you can go to NMDP's web page for more information. Especially consider doing so if you are a member of a minority or of mixed race, if your health is good, because there are fewer donors registered who match for these people needing a transplant. Be sure to spread the word about marrow donation as well.

Preserve. Remember. Never Let It Happen Again.

'Ravages of time' leave Auschwitz decaying: Global campaign seeks to raise $165 million to create 'perpetual fund' to allow repairs
The red brick barracks that housed starving inmates are sinking into ruin. Time has warped victims' leather shoes into strange shapes. Hair sheared to make cloth is slowly turning to dust.

Auschwitz is crumbling — the world's most powerful and important testament to Nazi Germany's crimes falling victim to age and mass tourism. Now guardians of the memorial site are waging an urgent effort to save what they can before it is too late.

There is no other place on this earth where the chilling crimes of the Nazis and their 'Final Solution' to the 'Jewish Problem' can be seen so plainly. Auschwitz is forever burned into the memories of those who endured it. For many Jews, it is a place where family members died and were buried or cremated, and while not holy, should be respected as a place of the dead. But even more so, for the rest of us, it is a reminder that we can never let this happen again, that the massive wholesale and orderly efficiency with which so many people were murdered is still a form of butchery. It is a bastion against those who would deny its existence, and that of the Holocaust itself. It is an opportunity to teach new generations of the horror that can come when ordinary people do extraordinarily evil (and to be fair, in some cases heroic things). It should not be allowed to crumble to dust, but rather be preserved for the present, and for the future, with the hope that this will never happen again.

Says museum director Piotr Cywinski:
"There are no more remains of Treblinka, Kulmhof, Sobibor and Belzec," Cywinski said, referring to extermination camps that the Nazis destroyed in an effort to hide their crimes. "Let us not allow the biggest of these death camps — and the only one that is still recognizable — to fall into decay due to the ravages of time and our indifference."

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Hmmm...tiny rant ahead

So I get an e-mail from CNET offering to put me in a giveaway for a Kindle if I resubscribe to their newsletter. Now, although I have a Kindle, my curiosity was piqued and so I read the small print, which said the contest ended on January 31, 2011. The drawing for it would be held on or about February 1st.

Um...this was sent to me on February 3rd.

Needless to say, this does not encourage me to subscribe. Of course, the subscription link is in large letters, the promotion period explanation in *tiny* ones, encouraging someone who didn't read on to just click on the link. I'd call that a little underhanded.

Now, to be fair, perhaps they extended it and didn't update the fine print. It did say 'Last chance to win' in the subject heading. And they did send me one on January 27th (which I didn't see). But still, it makes me wonder.

Couldn't resist

Hammy the railway station hamster in hunt for owner

Hammy - which the vet looking after the rodent freely admits is a pretty generic name for a hamster - is thought to be around 12 months old so assuming he'll live for around two to three years, we've done the detailed maths and, in human years, we make him 27.

Despite having been through his experimental teenage stage and now entering the late 20s realm of long-term relationships, house buying and then, possibly, kids, Hammy's adventurous side still endures.
There's an adorable picture of him in the toilet paper tube.

Via Annie of London Underground's Twitter feed, @AnnieMole.

PS Then there's the 3-ft-long boa constrictor found on a Boston subway train a month after her owner lost her. Glad she and Hammy weren't in the same station. I love the 'A commuter spotted Penelope the snake around 10:00 a.m. and alerted a train attendant at a Red Line station.' That was probably a surprise. Or not. It's the Boston subway, right?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Okay, I know it is totally ludicrous to be sad about this, but...

Okay, I get that I'm on insulin. I'm giving myself the shots. I feel so much better. All that is fine. But today I got an e-mail from the bone marrow registry saying that as a result of my health update, they were removing my name from the registry and my tissue type will no longer be used to search for matches. I know they do this for donor safety. I know that it's a good thing. But it makes me a little sad, and I guess tonight I'm feeling that in some small way my life has changed. Granted, I'd probably never have been matched with a recipient, but still, that little insulin pen means I never will be.

On the brighter side, there's no reason I can't donate blood. And I really am feeling much, much better. And now I'm glad I signed up for AFLAC when I did, because I probably couldn't now. :)

If you're interested in replacing me on the registry, go to http://www.marrow.org. You never know when one small step could mean saving a life.

Something I'd like to read more about

Did Vikings navigate with 'sunstone'?
Vikings could have navigated the oceans in inclement weather with the aid of a crystal that pinpointed the sun's location behind banks of clouds and fog, a new study suggests.

Such a tool, known as a sunstone, is known from legend, but until now experimental evidence that it could actually work as hypothesized was lacking.

Researchers led by Gábor Horváth of Hungary's Eötvös University decided to see if the legend has real world legs. Their results were published online on Monday in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

You can read the actual journal article for free at their website. The issue is actually devoted to new directions of biological studies on polarised light.

Here's the citation if you'd rather look it up in print:

Gábor Horváth, András Barta, István Pomozi, Bence Suhai, Ramón Hegedüs, Susanne Åkesson, Benno Meyer-Rochow, and Rüdiger Wehner. On the trail of Vikings with polarized skylight: experimental study of the atmospheric optical prerequisites allowing polarimetric navigation by Viking seafarers. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B March 12, 2011 366:772-782; doi:10.1098/rstb.2010.0194.

So does that make Anubis wolf-headed?

Study shows canid is 'wolf in jackal's clothing'
DNA analysis has shown that the Egyptian jackal, previously believed to be a subspecies of the golden jackal, is a relative of the grey wolf.

Genetic information shows that the species, Canis aureus lupaster, is more closely related to Indian and Himalayan wolves than golden jackals.

Writing in Plos One, researchers said the renamed "African wolf" was the only grey wolf species found in Africa.

They also called for an urgent assessment of its conservation status.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

I am soaked to the skin, especially on the back side of my body

the front being merely damp. I stood for a half hour (with an umbrella, mind you) in a driving downpour waiting for the bus.

However, I'm not going to complain, because it could be coming down as snow, since this is the southern swing of the storm causing major ice and snow over a 2100 mile stretch of the US, and look at the people of Australia, who are fleeing a major cyclone when their land is already waterlogged from flooding rains. So yes, it could be much, much worse. Still, I'm going to curl up in the comfy chair under the Snuggie and try to get warm.

Oh, and here's a NOAA picture of the US storm, which may affect up to a 100 million people, or a third of the US population:

Wow! Can I just say I'm glad it's 50-something degrees outside? It seemed much colder out in the wet and wind, but at least it's keeping the snow at bay.

Bravely protecting history

Human Shield of Civilians Protects Egypt's Museums
Egypt's ancient treasures appear to be safe today, after citizens, and later the military, banded together to stop looters amid an uprising that left some of the world's most prized artifacts perilously vulnerable to common thieves.

Egyptians, desperate to protect their country's heritage from the kind of mass looting that devastated Baghdad's museums in 2003, created a kind of human shield around Cairo's Egyptian Museum this week, linking arms in front of the historic site and chasing down vandals who had managed to enter the building after it was abandoned by the country's police.
And it's not just museums...
Ismail Serageldin, the director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, thanked Egypt's young people for protecting the library's historic collection. "The library is safe thanks to Egypt's youth, whether they be the staff of the Library or the representatives of the demonstrators, who are joining us in guarding the building from potential vandals and looters," Serageldin wrote on the library's website.

Hurrah for these volunteer guardians!

Social networking has been a major player in this crisis, and continues to be

One of my friends, who never really saw the point of things such as Facebook and Twitter, admitted the other day that he had no idea that they could help topple governments. So far the Aegyptian leader still seems to be in place, but that could change. In the meantime, Internet and even cell phone use have been cut off by the government. For those who can get to a regular phone, there is some help for trying to get messages of what is going on to loved ones and to the world, also using the social networking tool Twitter:

Techies make way for stranded Egyptians to be heard

For those stuck in Egypt without the Internet, Google, Twitter and SayNow have teamed up to create an innovative voicemail system: Call a number and leave a message, and the system blasts it out into the universe in the form of a tweet with the hashtag #egypt.

Links in the tweets go to the actual voicemail, and volunteers are translating the tweets.

I hope that this can end peacefully and that it will not usher in some ultra-conservative religious party in a grab for power. I'm also keeping a co-worker in my thoughts--she is from Iraq but some of her family went to Aegypt looking for stability, so I'm sure this is tense time for her.

More on the destruction of Aegyptian antiquities

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

A wonderful device for your reading pleasure

Thanks to @CanuckLibrarian for the link!

(It has English subtitles, so close any ads that pop up at the bottom to get the translation.)

YKWIA showed us this some time ago--it's so wrong, really...

but it wound up in my recommended videos and I enjoyed it all over again. I can't remember if I've posted it before here or not. Years of Cthulhu playing have taught me that while large tentacled monsters don't respond well to conventional weapons, you can often cut down an evil sorceror with a gun before he can utter a curse or complete an invocation--and most magic users in roleplaying games have puny hit points.

'Honestly, Ron, just pull the trigger!'