Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sometimes biology trumps good intentions

I started cramping 2 1/2 hours ago and was so uncomfortable I went ahead and laid down. I didn't really sleep. It's one of those slowly unfolding periods, the type that hurt for awhile before you actually start bleeding. Not that you really need to know that.

So I didn't get on the bike (I learned a long time ago that while exercise may be good for some people, it makes my cramps worse if I do so on the first day). I didn't tote laundry around (but I will have to do it tomorrow morning; I'm simply out of clean clothes). I didn't even do the dishes (again, I'll try tomorrow since I'll be up early for laundry). I guess my list is a bust. But, as the saying goes, tomorrow is another day.

I've just eaten something to settle my stomach (I get nauseous sometimes). I'm going to get some water, take my insulin, and try to sleep, or at least read a little before sleep. Wish I had a heating pad or hot water bottle; I think I may need it later tonight. I'm still in the uncomfortable-but-pain-is-only-2-on-a-scale-of-1-to-10 phase. Experience tells me that will probably change. So I may be up and down tonight. If so, I'll try to write about the news or something. But for now, I'm going to try to go to bed. Good night.

PS At least I managed to do two things before bed, while waiting for my water to get cold (I have one of those insulated mugs you put in the freezer and the liquid between the layers freezes, then you pour water into the mug, and it gets cold). I gathered up the laundry and got it ready for tomorrow, and I found a book on disaster planning that I have out of the Greater Midwest Region lending library, which I'd put in a pile with some notebooks and other books near my bed when I cleared off the sofa.

I have been looking for some new furniture, with the hopes of getting some by the end of the year, but haven't found anything I like so far. Everything's so...bland. I mean, I know you can cover it with slipcovers, but they rarely fit well, and I can't afford to recover them just because I am opposed to white, sage, tan, and brown. Occasionally you find black. I'm considering doing a futon rather than a loveseat. We'll see. But definitely a reclining chair of some sort.

Tomorrow is a new month

and one of the things I'd like to do is start tracking my blood sugar better, along with diet, exercise, weight and medication. I can do all those things on my phone. I have a doctor's appointment about mid-month, so I want to be able to give him a spreadsheet like usual. Lately I've been a little sketchy at testing my blood sugar, and I haven't been putting much of anything into my phone.

Look what came up in my shamrocks

Okay, it's a bit blurry. Blame the camera on my phone. It's Leucocoprinus birnbaumii, also known as the flowerpot parasol, plantpot dapperling, yellow parasol, yellow houseplant mushroom, lemon-yellow lepiota, or yellow pleated parasol, Their spores don't seem to be dangerous from anything I've read, but the mushroom itself can cause significant stomach distress if eaten. I went ahead and removed this after I took the picture. I've had to remove several, although this is the first one to mature past the button stage. I must admit, it is pretty. But as far as I'm concerned, mushrooms do not belong indoors unless you're planning on eating them.


Here are the things I plan on getting done tonight. I'm hoping if I write them out publicly, I'll actually do them:

  • Water plants
  • The Help
  • Dinner
  • Exercise bike for 10 minutes
  • Laundry
  • Dishes

That is probably the limit of what I can expect, as it's almost 7:30 now.


I just finished The Help. This is from the author's afterword:
'What I am sure about is this: I don’t presume to think that I know what it really felt like to be a black woman in Mississippi, especially in the 1960s. I don’t think it is something any white woman on the other end of a black woman’s paycheck could ever truly understand. But trying to understand is vital to our humanity.

In The Help there is one line that I truly prize: Wasn’t that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.'
Most of the fiction I read is either mystery or sci-fi/fantasy--in other words, genre fiction, most of which doesn't really get you to think about life, about how people relate with one another, about your own feelings and prejudices.

This one made me consider all those things. It was like eating a fine steak after settling for cotton candy for so long. It wasn't full of gristle--it's not a particularly dark book, not shocking, and indeed, it is hopeful for the change that was coming, but from the moment you start reading, the characters unfold and develop, and you definitely start siding with the protagonists, white and black. Parts pained me, or even made me cry, especially those where black people were called epithets or made to do demeaning things because of prejudice. There's a lot of loss expressed through several characters' stories as well. And there is a universal desire for the antagonist to really get her comeuppance that not only unifies the protagonists but the readers as well.

I read one essay about the movie that called it a 'hackneyed story'. Granted, that was about the film, which I haven't seen. But the book has substance, and I wouldn't consider it that at all. The essay was mostly not so much about the movie as about the essay's author, who obviously doesn't give white viewers the credit to feel pain at racial violence, etc. Funny, I had the same reaction she had to the same parts of the story. And, gee, I did so even though I'm white. Maybe she missed the point, that we're not so different after all.

Anyway, I'm glad I read the book. I'd like to see the movie as well, although I probably won't be able to for a couple of weeks. I hope it's still running in the theatres then. :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I feel somewhat bereft

Okay, bereft may not be the right word, as it is a material object I am lacking. But after a relaxing evening of listening to music rather than doing laundry, I was going to read another couple of chapters of The Help and realised I left my Kindle locked in my desk at work. That's the first time I've done that. Ack! :(

Okay, Walden it is, then...

Listening to a very tender song

Listening to Depeche Mode's Some Great Reward, including...


I want somebody to share
Share the rest of my life
Share my innermost thoughts
Know my intimate details
Someone who'll stand by my side
And give me support
And in return
She'll get my support
She will listen to me
When I want to speak
About the world we live in
And life in general
Though my views may be wrong
They may even be perverted
She'll hear me out
And won't easily be converted
To my way of thinking
In fact she'll often disagree
But at the end of it all
She will understand me

I want somebody who cares
For me passionately
With every thought and
With every breath
Someone who'll help me see things
In a different light
All the things I detest
I will almost like
I don't want to be tied
To anyone's strings
I'm carefully trying to steer clear of
Those things
But when I'm asleep
I want somebody
Who will put their arms around me
And kiss me tenderly
Though things like this
Make me sick
In a case like this
I'll get away with it

© 1984 Martin Lee Gore - Depeche Mode
My favourite song on this album is, quite frankly, 'Blasphemous Rumours', which is about suicide and the questioning of faith that comes in the aftermath, and is quite a bit darker.

Major Tom for a new generation

David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ Transformed Into Picture Book for Kids
The David Bowie song “Space Oddity” probably shouldn’t have been made into a children’s book: The haunting 1969 track about an astronaut who loses contact with Earth to float around the universe would probably give most kids nightmares.

That didn’t stop illustrator Andrew Kolb from turning the space-rock song into an illustrated book. As seen in the gallery above, the artist lays down Bowie’s hit about a spaceman in a “tin can” line by line. It was an odyssey Kolb said wasn’t as easy as one might imagine.

'Space Oddity' by David Bowie (1969)

and let me just throw this in...

'Major Tom' by Peter Schilling (1983) [the English version, a tribute to 'Space Oddity']
I have this (and the German version) on tape. :)

Gee, I thought I was prone to freak accidents

This man takes the cake.

US gardener survives being impaled in eye with shears
An 86-year-old US man impaled through the eye socket with pruning shears in a freak gardening accident is expected to make a full recovery, doctors say.

Go the story for a x-ray showing a handle that went through the man's eye socket and down to his neck.

I don't know why I thought to listen to this today, but it makes me cry every time I hear or see it

Ah, the days of my youth

Okay, I finally did drop out of grad school--at the age of 33. :)

Wow, he had a good thing going till the cops showed up

Cops find thousands of stolen library items in DuPage apartment
A man with an extensive criminal record faces trial for theft, after police reported finding thousands of items in his apartment he apparently stole from area public library districts to sell over the Internet...Jackson is accused of stealing the items, as opposed to legally borrowing them using a library card. He allegedly sold them online through an undisclosed web site. Other libraries whose items were recovered were not named.

James Jackson Arrested In Large-Scale Suburban Library Theft
Jackson's Amazon.com account included a long list of books he had for sale, along with another list of items he didn't have on hand, but promised he could "acquire" for interested customers, Wilke told the Daily Herald.

Man, talk about brazen. There were so many books, DVDs, and other materials they had to take them away in a box truck. He apparently also researched books to see which were expensive and could be sold online readily.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

That was a fun Doctor Who episode

It answered questions, and it brought up a slew of new ones, and generally kept me riveted to my seat the whole time. Now that's good television.

Today I went by the store, thanks to a friend who took me, and got some things for the game, some food for me, and some items for another friend. Then I delivered said items and helped with some projects and managed to get home before Doctor Who came on. The game notes are all finished, as of yesterday, although I still need to move them to the Kindle. I'm starting to get sleepy, and 4:30 comes early, so I am considering heading to bed. I really need to do laundry, and managed to get a roll of quarters at the store (amazing, really; normally they're quite stingy, especially on weekends), but I'm just not up to it tonight. Perhaps tomorrow.

If I don't write again this evening, good night.


Amazon Tablet to Launch in Fall

at a much lower anticipated cost than an iPad. Powered by Google's Android system and reportedly in one article I read with Intel innards, it could really challenge Apple.

I really want to see what it looks like and what it will sell for, and whether it's a successor to, or companion of, the Kindle.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Yay, I finished the notes and it's just 10 pm

I have eaten, paid bills, done the notes, and spoken with a friend over the phone about a grocery list I'm to fill and bring over tomorrow. Earlier I played a little Civilization IV, too, so it hasn't been all work. I haven't been on the exercise bike tonight, and it's a bit late now, but I plan to do about 10 minutes tomorrow morning.

I think I'm going to read a little Thoreau before bed. The Help will have to wait. All that posting about thinking made me want to go back to Walden. And my Borges book is in, so hopefully I can get that tomorrow from the library. I also have to get some medicine. I haven't had it in four days because I kept forgetting to refill my pill box, and then couldn't find the last few pills today when I did remember. That's not good, as it's the skin-sloughing-potential one. That should be ready by the time Kroger pharmacy opens tomorrow, so yay.

Good night.

Freaking bizarre--thank goodness they've been stopped

Bolivian Mennonites jailed for serial rapes
A court in Bolivia has sentenced seven members of a reclusive conservative Christian group to 25 years in prison for raping more than 100 women.

The men, members of a Mennonite group, secretly sedated their victims before the sex attacks.

The victims' lawyer said the 2000-strong Mennonite community where the rapes happened welcomed the sentence.

The group follows a strict moral code and rejects modern inventions such as cars and electricity.

An eighth man was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years for supplying the sedative used to drug the women.

The rapes happened in the Mennonite community of Manitoba, 150km (93 miles) north-east of the city of Santa Cruz.
The women weren't just drugged individually. Entire households were put to sleep with a derivative of belladonna sprayed in the windows and then the women and girls were raped. Talk about a sick scheme.

The next step

I'm not trying to push this on you, but I really have rather been taken with the idea that together, we can make sure everyone has one of life's absolute basic necessities, clean water. Now charity:water is turning five in September, so they've decided to try to raise enough money for equipment needed to drill more wells. Here's the appeal:

The 2011 September Campaign. Our 5-year-anniversary video from charity: water on Vimeo.

A very thoughtful essay

What can we do to foster the love of reading in boys? What's wrong with what we've been doing? Author Robert Lipsyte has some ideas...

Boys and Reading: Is There Any Hope?

Thanks to Vanessa Irvin Morris for the link. She is the author of the blog Street Literature, as well as a book, The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Street Literature (2011, ALA Editions).

Okay, I resisted, but I will post an incredibly cute animal video

It is up to you to decide whether you want to play it.

Ah, youth. When chimpanzees and tiger cubs are both adorable, before they grow up to maul you. [Most people see adult tigers and expect them to be dangerous, but we see chimpanzees on television almost always in their babyhood/youth because they're easier to manage. Until the one lady was mauled so terribly by one, many folks didn't realise what a full-grown chimpanzee was capable of, or that they could be dangerous, which I don't get, because they share 98% of our genes and we're dangerous, and they're stronger when grown.]

I fell asleep six hours ago and now I'm awake and a little restless, even though it's 2:30 am

I went outside to stretch my legs a bit, get some air, and go to the laundry room for a soda to have with some of the squash. Here and there, people are still up watching their televisions and the like. The hallway smells like someone burnt their dinner (not me, it smelled that way when I got home).

I didn't mind falling asleep earlier; I was legitimately tired and I'd overslept this morning, waking up 10 minutes before the normal bus got to the stop. I got in at 10:30 or so, got some money from the ATM, and something to drink, and stopped by the front desk for the library's paper, when I suddenly realised the normal receptionist was not at her desk, but rather a fill in for when we have departmental meetings. I'm still not used to being part of a department. Plus it was the second payday of the month, when we schedule them. Anyway, I went to the meeting, even though I was late, and it all worked out, I was embarrassed. Apparently I should have called that boss, too, but since I don't normally start that job until 2:30 in the afternoon, it never occurred to me to call.

Today was pretty decent despite the rough start. I went to an inservice on recycling, because we're transitioning from the Rosie recycling containers to a full-blown recycling Dumpster. They gave us these little miniature plastic Rosies (they're blue bins), and I'm using mine for the tons of paper clips I pass back and forth with the operating room with the data entry sheets. I took a couple of pictures, and might update this later with one. But since I've been fascinated by miniature things since I was a child, this kind of gave me a little uptick in the day. It's about the size of a Coke can and would be about the size of one for a doll house. Strange that tiny recycling bins would make me happy, I know.

I got a ride home and after getting on the bike for a few minutes and facing a bare pantry, decided to take a chance and try to cook. I couldn't find a recipe for what i had on hand, so I just went with logical ingredients. I used a tiny amount of dill, some garlic powder, some parsley flakes, and a sprig of oregano from my pot in the front window. A little white wine in it would have been nice, actually.

I would have read for a bit, but I was tired and went ahead and turned in for awhile. Last night I was up till 12:30 doing some genealogical research, and I was so proud of staying up, but apparently I didn't get enough sleep or I wouldn't have been late this morning.

Now I'm up to take my insulin and catch up on a thing or two. I think I'll check the news. If I don't write any more tonight, good night.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I cooked something! In fact I whipped something up without a recipe that tastes good!

The Apocalypse must be nigh.

Not sure what to call it, but it's patty pan squash, yellow and red peppers, and an onion sauteed in olive oil with herbs and then Parmesan and shredded cheese mixed in. Yummy! Didn't have much of anything in the house and didn't want to order pizza. :) It's tasty and filling. I'd bring some to work for tomorrow but I think it's a bit messy with the stringy cheese. Still, it turned out quite nice, especially for someone who is clueless in the cooking department, despite being a Future Homemaker of America. Yeah, really. But I can bake!

It's a first step (not quite literally)

Okay, I get that my foot hurts when I walk, so walking is out as an exercise for awhile. But I'm walking at a crawl, and if you stop moving, you stop living in many ways. So.....

Enter my grandmother's exercise bike.

I came into the house from work and within two minutes was on the bike. I stayed on for 10 minutes (hey, you've got to start small), between 10-15 mph at intermediate gear, for a total of 2.2 miles.

It's a start. :) The goal is to eventually work myself up in terms of gear and speed, and doing at least 30 minutes a day, maybe twice a day if things work out really well.

Oh, I was starting to get mad

I got paid tonight so I looked at my bank statement and all was fine and good till I looked down the page and saw an insufficient fund charge of $36 for the balance of my purchase of The Help, which after the tax and the rest of the gift card balance, was 40 cents. One, I thought that it had already gone through, with my account positive, although it must not have, because it didn't get out of pending until day before yesterday, and I purchased the book on the 16th. Two, $36 for going under 20 cents with a 40 cent charge? Come on!

Then I looked up a bit and I saw an automatic refund of the insufficient fund charge, leaving my account at negative twenty cents before I got paid. Whew! That was close!

So I am reassured that my bank does not charge such a high amount for such a small debit. I don't know what the thresh hold is (that's what it was called, a fee thresh hold refund), probably $1 or so. But whew!

But at least I have money for the IRS, my remaining bills, and food. The rent will be a couple of days late, going with next payday, but after that I think I'm back on track.

PS Update (8/26/2011): I got a letter today from the bank telling me what they did. The thresh hold is apparently $5, incidentally, which I guess is good to know. Hopefully I won't be down that low for awhile. Which reminds me, I have to pay a couple of bills tonight. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Came across this on Facebook

Okay, the MJ bit is a little creepy. I'm not a fan of his. But I do generally agree with the ideas in this video.

I've had a mentor trying to instill the need to think for myself and stop being a sheep for 20 years. Sometimes it seems harder to than others. We're taught so early to conform, to judge others, to divide ourselves into 'us' and 'them'. But he's absolutely right. And the key to changing how you think, or more importantly, thinking in itself, is to do it. It's like exercise. You can plan to do it. You can think about doing it. But unless you start doing it, it doesn't do you a bit of good. Maybe I'll finally get the hang of it sometime before I die. :)

Thanks to Jody for the link to the Facebook page We Only Have One Race ~ the Human Race, which featured the video.

So far this week has been very productive professionally

I'm taking over the chair position of a section committee for our national organisation, and yesterday the former chair and I talked and she sent me some useful documents, explained how things worked, and has some files to bring over to me soon. But now I have the names and addresses of the committee members, an idea of what needs to be done, and materials to help me prepare for my first report in October, etc. Yay.

I've also become the state representative on the regional advisory committee of the Greater Midwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. Sometime this fall we'll have a meeting in Chicago and I'm really excited to be able to go. It'll be sometime in November or December; we're in process of comparing dates. I've only been to Chicago once, and never got out of O'Hare airport, so this is great, and I'm interested in working with other librarians to help support the needs of our region's libraries.

I've also started a subscription for my hospital to the Kentucky Virtual Library, which is a great resource for databases.

Last week was very productive. This week I've divided what I wanted to get done on a day-by-day basis. Today was interlibrary loans--borrowing and delivery--and reclaiming my book cart with some materials to withdraw from the library and go into storage until I find homes for them and a shelf of old magazines (as opposed to journals, a subtle but distinct difference) that needed to go to the recycling containers out back.

Then, of course, there was the data entry. I had plenty to do and could have actually stayed over, but of course the next bus doesn't come till 8 pm and I didn't want to stay that far over. I read a little of The Help while waiting and then stopped by the library to return a CD and put a request in for Jorge Luis Borges' Labyrinths, which contains a story, 'The Library of Babel', that came up on one of my professional lists (his anniversary of birth being celebrated as a Google doodle today). I am somewhat familiar with Borges' work (we read some of his work in the Honours Programme, and I used to know someone who was a PhD candidate in Spanish, although he was more concerned with Federico García Lorca, as I recall), and of course, Borges is always on the famous librarians lists, as he worked in that field in addition to lecturing and writing.

Okay, I have gone to the library, fixed the phone, and now a bit of blogging. I think I may go get a drink from the laundry room and read some more of The Help tonight.

One of the things I like about the Android OS

Is that when things go wrong, the answer is only a Google search away.

For example, my applications stopped updating to the SD card on my phone. I did a search and the thing that worked was this:

Connect your phone through the USB, click on the folder /sdcard/.android_secure and there's a temporary file called smdl2tmp1.asec. Delete that file (it's safe because it's a temporary file) and you should be able to download and install updates again.

This idea was courtesy of Alex_I on the Android forums.

It worked like a charm for me. :)

One more thing

I love the Simon's Cat videos on YouTube. I've featured some of them here. I missed this one; it came out around Easter.

Incidentally, he did a RSPCA advertisement on the dangers of overfeeding animals that featured a dog. I think it turned out quite well.

Okay, off to bed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ah. I have defeated the dreaded weapon of the Spanish Inquisition--the comfy chair

I have achieved success with clearing off the bed, which is good, because I think the comfy chair is on its last legs. The bottom of the recliner hasn't gone back down in awhile. Now it pitches upside down when I try to get out of it. :( 'Course, considering I found it by a dumpster 7 years ago, it's doing pretty well. But it is time for new living room furniture, that's for sure. Something to save for, anyway. But then, I have the whole car fund that is one cent at the moment, too. :)

Anyway, having re-conquered my bed, I think it's time for insulin and then to go on to sleep. I didn't sleep Saturday night, spent Sunday night in the recliner and Monday night on the loveseat, so I haven't stretched out and properly slept in days. On the other hand, I didn't fall asleep more than about 30 minutes tonight, so maybe it 'reset' my sleep mode. :)

This brought a smile to my face today

It's before The Muppet Show, before Sesame Street--it's Sam and Friends:


Less than five more days!

Ooh, I'm so excited. :)

I'm home at last, I'm very tired, and I'm going to bed (well to comfy chair or loveseat, whichever is more comfortable). Good night.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Home from the game

We played late, since we had the big grocery run today and got a late start. I've been operating on a half hour of sleep and doing rather well. This morning my 'gentle' alarm woke me up at 4:30 but I stayed in bed till 5. Then I took the remaining things that were on the loveseat and kitchen table and put them on the bed. I will get to them, I have to, in order to get the bed back. There's not a lot, but it's little stuff that I have to find places for.

In the meantime, I've fixed up the fan, CPAP, and the cell phone (which has my alarm on it) in the living area, and I'm going to sleep in the comfy chair, since there's no way I'll get to the bedroom stuff tonight. I'm going to a friend's house tomorrow, and may be there late, so I'm not positive if I'll be able to clean then. The kitchen and bath need mopping, the shower and tub need cleaning, the aquarium needs cleaning, and the bedroom, although the latter, besides the bed, can wait. Plus I need to do laundry. So hopefully I can do all that Tuesday or Wednesday, with the priority of getting back the bed.

So now I'm listening to relaxing wood flute music and hopefully will get to bed soon. Hope you had a good weekend.

I have insomnia

Okay, all that energy I had came out of a bottle of soda, and I've had too much caffeine, and now I'm having a hard time coming down. I would consider cleaning some more (even tackling the shower) but...I have to get up in just a few hours, three or four to be exact.

On the bright side, I totally forgot my insulin and it was only after tossing and turning and watching videos on my phone and such that I came out to clip an nail that got roughed up in the bathroom scouring and realised that, lo, I had not taken the Lantus. So now I have. Unfortunately, it will not make me miraculously sleepy. :(

Okay, back to bed to try again. Good night, this time for real.

Excellent piece about Kathryn Stockett's past from before her book came out

This Life: Kathryn Stockett on her childhood in the Deep South
But it was later that she made the greatest impact on my life. When I grew older and awkward, when my parents divorced and life had gone all to hell, Demetrie stood me at the wardrobe mirror and told me over and over, ‘You are beautiful. You are smart. You are important.’ It was an incredible gift to give a child who thinks nothing of herself.

It was probably the most intimate relationship I’ve ever had with someone who wasn’t related to me. And yet, as much as we loved Demetrie, she had a separate bathroom located on the outside of the house.

I never once sat down to eat with her at the table. I never saw her – except the day she lay in her coffin – dressed in anything but that white uniform.

I am ashamed to admit that it took me 20 years to realise the irony of that relationship.
Kathryn Stockett is two years younger than myself. Like me, she was raised in the South (and through a lot of my childhood I was also in the Deep South). But my folks weren't really well off enough to employ domestics, although my father had a black nanny for awhile when he was growing up. We were of the class that took pride in taking care of their own home, and my parents struggled when they were young and he was merely an airman and she an LPN in their twenties. Still, I moved in a mostly white world and don't really understand things from the 'other side', if you will.

But I've glimpsed a little of this life through others. It's so weird for me probably because instead of a Demetrie, I had television as my childhood companion, with all the 1970s peace and love and equality propaganda that was on at the time, something that had a far-reaching effect on my development. And when I learned racial differences, I learned the term black because it was associated with Black Power and a whole movement of leaving other names behind. I never quite got caught up in the African-American thing, just like my grandfather always called them coloured, not maliciously or anything, just because that's what he was familiar with. I knew a few black children in school, and played with them like any of the other children, but on base at least officially there weren't differences, and of course, I was in the protection of the Air Force for so much of the time. I don't know what life outside the base was like down in Louisiana, where I lived from the time I was 6 until I was 12. I do remember one of the boys I played with had a father who was retiring who was very upset they couldn't afford a house in a better part of Shreveport because the area was primarily black. I didn't understand it until I was older. I do remember being jealous because little black girls could do all sorts of things to their hair, and mine pretty much just came in short and long. I didn't find out till I was an adult how much they had to go through for those braids and pigtails. I've had several friends who were black or mixed lament about their hair, when I thought it was wonderful.

The most racist place I ever lived was not the South, nor even the Deep South, but in the Midwest, in Kansas, of all places. I lived in a small town where not one person was of another race, at least until a Vietnamese family finally came in and opened a restaurant right before I left. There were racist jokes told at school, and one of my teachers nipped that in the bud during class one day by explaining exactly what it was like to be living in Detroit, where she was from, during the race riots. And I admit is was odd to return to Kentucky where the world was not simply white. I felt ashamed that I was ill at ease with people who were no different than I except for the colour of their skin, and quickly acclimated again, but that brief two year period and the aftermath taught me the problems with isolation, with 'sticking to your own kind'. When I went off to UK, even though there was no official segregation, the fraternities and sororities were, largely, and blacks and whites ate in separate ends of the lunch room--with the whites having the more desirable booths and the blacks the less desirable old cafeteria tables. Really. That was in 1984, twenty years after the Civil Rights movement. I'm glad to say that now, and for the last decade or so, that seems to have changed. We're a much more plural and global society.

I've only just begun The Help and the characters are already springing to life and I definitely have my likes and dislikes. I feel like I'm looking into a world that was somehow parallel to my own, or maybe the right word is juxtaposed, really. What is good is that I think we've come a long way from those differences, and I'd like to think we see each other as people rather than as colours.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


It's the anniversary of HP Lovecraft's birthday. It also would have been my parents' 45th wedding anniversary, but they only made it to 16. However...Sunday is my aunt and uncle's fortieth anniversary, and I wish them all the best. (Yeah, August has always been a busy month in my family, at least when I was young. My parents were both born then, as was an uncle, and a grandfather, although I never knew him [he was estranged from my father much as I am], and the two anniversaries.)


I've cleaned out a closet, washed dishes, cleaned the kitchen except for policing the fridge and mopping, cleaned the bathroom except for the tub (which frankly I'm waiting till Monday--it scares me) and mopping, worked on the living room, taken out two tubs and a bag of recyclables and one bag of garbage. There are still some things on the table and the loveseat I haven't quite found a home for, but most of it has either been put away or thrown out. I've watered and fertilised the plants as well. Oh, and I've kept meaning to get a black ink cartridge for my printer and just haven't had a chance to go out when I've had the money and as I was straightening up I found one, unopened, in an actual correct place, but something else was placed over it. And, I decided where to put the bookshelf--exactly where the friend who is giving it to me suggested, alongside the loveseat opposite of the other. I realised there was, indeed enough room to get into the living area. It'll be a little book-lined corridor about three feet long. I also took one of the wire carts I have and am using it as a corral for library books and other media. Now I'm burning some lavender incense and listening to the album 'Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald' that one of my co-workers gave me years ago for the holidays. Here's a sample:

(I'm not sure if this is the same version--I don't think so by the sound--but 'It's Only a Paper Moon' appears on the album.)

I'm starting to get sleepy now, and of course tomorrow comes early (4:30 am). But I'm going to try to read a bit of The Help before bed. Amazing what happens when I stay up one evening. :) Good night.

Although this is my favourite Live song

[Warning: this has footage of 9/11's Ground Zero and the aftermath of the attacks. The song was widely played, with that footage, as a memorial after the tragedy.]

It's fitting to remember it, as it's less than a month before the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Listening to:

'Forever May Not Be Long Enough' by Live (from the movie The Mummy Returns)

'My friend, there is a fine line between coincidence and faith.'

--Ardath Bay, The Mummy Returns


Yes, we've made it to the next movie. But you know, I have them as a set and never have, and I'm not sure I will, see The Scorpion King. It's not just the setting that made the Mummy movies fun, it was the interplay between Rick and Evelyn. The last Mummy movie came out after I got the set, so I don't have it. I did enjoy it, but I missed Rachel Weisz, who was really Evie as far as I'm concerned.

Note to self:

If trying to stealthily sneak into the ancient ruined city of Hamenaptra, do not fire your gun at the small scarab that almost ate your companion's brain.

Can you tell I have The Mummy on while doing housework? I love that movie (and not just because it has a main character who's a librarian). We're right past the 'nasty little fellows such as yourself always get their comeuppance' and about to head into the mummies on the loose section. :)

It has been an extremely productive week

For example, of thirteen things on my to-do list for yesterday, I got 12 of them done (still need to take some withdrawn books to storage/clean off a book truck at the library).

Today I have gone to the bank, gotten some laundry money, gone to the grocery, and then had Taco Bell, which I was craving (thankfully, I was ferried around by some friends to do all that, and back home in just an hour or so). I checked the news. Then I finished the game notes. The next step is to take a small break and then...dum, dum, dum...put on some move-around-to-it music and straighten up the house. This last week I've been so busy I've just been throwing things wherever I happen to be, and that's just bad. I've already cleared up the computer station, but there's the couch and dining table to do. Plus I need to make room for a bookshelf a friend is giving me and do some dishes and clean the bathroom. But if I diligently do all that, I've promised myself that I can finish reading the next chapter of The Help. :) [Yes, I did find a use for that Amazon gift card. I bought two books and two games for the Kindle--Gail Carriger's Heartless, Kathryn Stockett's The Help, Yahtzee, and a suite of puzzle games.] And while I'm reading, I may (or may not) do laundry (it is one of my least favourite chores, because it involves schlepping everything over to the laundry room, which is under the leasing office). I wish I had a washer/dryer in the apartment. Oh, well.

Okay, that's all for now. I do expect to post some later--I've been remiss, I know.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Make that Whoo-Who! (Sorry, couldn't resist.) This is the prequel to the next episode, 'Let's Kill Hitler', airing on BBCAmerica on August 27th!

I have to keep reminding myself every few minutes that it is NOT Friday

That I do not have tomorrow off and that I can't just stay home and not go places. It feels like a Friday, so much that I had to check my pants, which were not jeans, to remind myself.

I had a bit of success today. I managed to get my doctor to change one of my medicines to deal with the high A1c. The receptionist ran interference, so I went around her by asking for the nurse who does the diabetic teaching, whom I knew would understand what a 10.1 A1c meant, and had her go to the doctor. He wants to change my medicine one at a time until my blood sugar comes down. So I'm upping the Lantus to 50 units and going back in a month rather than three.

It has been a very busy week, as you can probably tell from my lack of posting. I have come home the last three nights and been in bed by 9 pm and up at around 8 am. I haven't had any energy. But I'm hoping to stay up tonight (of course, I said that last night, too, and look where it got me.) :)

Okay, I think I'll get comfy (meaning clothes--I don't want to get too comfy or I'll go to sleep). I'm not eating dinner now (I had a peanut butter and spreadable fruit sandwich earlier, and a tomato just now as a snack), so I'm hoping my blood sugar will stay okay and I won't just get tired and crash. I really think it's been a blood sugar issue. And yes, I've been avoiding sweets, although I coveted a friend's apparently delicious chess pies greatly. :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Over a million dollars

That's what Rachel Beckwith's campaign for charity:water has raised. This was the story on NBC's Today show:

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

To donate yourself, or just see the tally, go to Rachel's charity:water campaign page. The campaign has 45 more days to go.

Sorry I haven't posted

Saturday was a mad scramble to finish the notes and then go to a friend's house to move more books, which also included dusting. But I'm getting a book case out of it. I got home late because there was a storm and I waited until it passed. It was eerie being in a neighbourhood without power, and wending through the streets on the bus. About 20 feet in front of me as I was walking to the bus stop a skunk ran across the road. I'm glad he and I didn't meet face to face. :)

Sunday was the game prep, a small Kroger run for just a few items, and then the game, in which we finished an adventure. I got home around nine-thirty, but was terribly tired, and went straight to bed, waking up just long enough to have a short conversation with the game master over my thoughts on it--short because I faded out on him so quickly.

Today I was still tired. The weekend is usually very draining for me. That may be why I spend so much time sleeping during the week. I got about four hours' sleep Friday night and three-and-a-half on Saturday night. It was all I could do to stay awake during work.

I made a conscious effort to eat healthfully today. No ice cream or chocolate or Pop-Tart for me. Instead I have a Luna bar for breakfast, veggies, milk, and shrimp for lunch, an apple for a snack, and for dinner it was a toasted bagel and cream cheese and a banana. Granted, they are still pretty carb-laden. But it's a start. Tonight my blood sugar was down below 200 for the first time in awhile (granted, it was 195). My results from my doctor's appointment are in but I can't get them online until I get a username and password, which they're supposed to be sending me. (If I don't get them, I'll call back tomorrow, and just ask for the a1C over the phone and remind them to send me the e-mail.)

After work I visited a couple of friends for awhile and finished up a project I couldn't finish this weekend. Then there was the bus ride home. In the mail I got my Amazon gift card that came from the points from my debit card. Woo-hoo! Still am not sure how I'll spend it, but I'm going to go ahead and put in on my account before I manage to lose the card. :)

It's almost time to take my Lantus and head to bed. I have to get up a little early tomorrow and go to the bank. Then Wednesday I see the neck doctor.

Okay, that's all for now. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be home early enough to really do find some blogworthy news. And the rooster alarm on my phone just scared me half to death to tell me to take my insulin. Good night.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Yesterday I wrote

a long post about how several people I knew of tangentially had died recently and how important it was to live life to the fullest, and how it got me thinking about how much I react to life rather than living it.

Blogger ate that post.

It had been a bad day, one in which I'd felt totally ignored by my doctor, had felt bad due to high blood sugar, managed to make it through work and get things done but accomplished nothing at home, that sort of thing. Oh, and I started to cry at the drop of a hat for all sorts of things, and I shouldn't be hormonal right now. I was just oddly labile, for no good reason. I guess I forget that even though my meds keep me on a fairly even keel (I am bipolar), there will be bad days. And I'm sure the sugar issue didn't help. Insulin is a hormone, and so maybe my hormones in general were messed up. YKWIA also suggested that I look up perimenopause and its effect on blood sugar. My periods are getting shorter and more closely spaced, and I'm 44, so I may be starting to have issues. It's a good suggestion.

Anyway, today was much better. I felt clearer and could think straight. I felt well, both physically and emotionally. I got up early for my last session of physical therapy, and that helped my neck a great deal. My foot did hurt a bit, but ibuprofen helped. And I did get a lot done at work. I hope to get some things done tonight here at home as well.

Speaking of which, if I'm going to, I need to sign off of here for now. I may write a little later. If not, good night.

If I didn't have two sets of game notes to do tonight

I would have seriously considered going to the B-52s concert at the Singletary Center for the Arts at the University of Kentucky tonight. I've had 'Love Shack' in my head all day. :)

As it was, I got a ride home and my very nice co-worker even took me by Kroger so I could pick up my Lantus (long-acting insulin). Plus I still had money in my flexible spending account so I didn't have to fork over $50 from my bank account.

Speaking of banking, I looked at the points I get for using my bank card and (woo-hoo) I had enough for a $25 gift card to Amazon.com. It shipped today, so I'm hoping I'll get it by Monday or Tuesday at the latest. I haven't decided if I'll spend it on lots of little Kindle books or put it towards something else I might need. I mean really, Amazon sells just about anything, from books to clothes to electronics to home supplies. My headphones, for example, have a nick in them, but I haven't noticed it being a problem yet. And there are a couple of books I would like, both for the Kindle and in print. There's a bread machine in my wish list, and that would take care of half the cost. We'll see. It's not a huge amount of money, but it was basically a free perk of using my card for things I would have paid for anyway. :)

Remember Rachel Beckwith, the little girl who wanted to raise money to give others access to clean water?

She was the subject of a New York Times op-ed piece:

Rachel’s Last Fund-Raiser
When it was clear that Rachel would never regain consciousness, the family decided to remove life support. Her parents donated her hair a final time to Locks of Love, and her organs to other children. Word spread about Rachel’s last fund-raiser.

Contributions poured in, often in $9 increments, although one 5-year-old girl sent in the savings in her piggy bank of $2.27. The total donations soon topped $100,000, then $300,000. Like others, I was moved and donated. As I write this, more than $850,000 has been raised from all over the world, including donations from Africans awed by a little American girl who cared about their continent.

Rest in peace, Rachel. I hope somewhere you know how much you inspired people to care about the plight of their fellow humans.

A look at the good things going on in London

Happy Things

Jen Campbell lives in London and works as a bookseller, and her book Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops is coming out soon. Her blog, this is not the six word novel, is well worth a read.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Two links shared by Vanessa Irvin Morris, a fellow librarian

Publishing Gives Hints of Revival, Data Show
The publishing industry has expanded in the past three years as Americans increasingly turned to e-books and juvenile and adult fiction, according to a new survey of thousands of publishers, retailers and distributors that challenges the doom and gloom that tends to dominate discussions of the industry’s health.

What People Don't Get About Working in a Library

Thanks for the info! :) Check out her website.

This was posted on Facebook

by Graham Murkett (Some Grey Bloke). It's not one of his videos, but it is a 'A film held in reserve for times of crisis', so he thought it would be a good time to link to it.

These are nice

Lost Cities Photos

I have been fascinated with ancient ruins since I was a little girl. These photos capture several 'lost cities' and structures around the globe.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Turnabout is fair play

If Male Superheroes Posed Like Wonder Woman

I'm particularly happy that Dream was included in that mix. Now Sandman, that's how comics should be.

Be sure to look at the comments for the picture of a icky-looking Captain America on steroids. Yes, it does work both ways. But it amazes me that men can look at pictures of women and never think, 'you know, I've never seen a woman with a Z-shaped spine with legs to her boobs and boobs that defy gravity'. Maybe that's the problem--they don't see enough real women.

I got a special e-mail from my investment company that handles our retirement plan today

It closed with: 'Most importantly, we want to encourage you to remain calm, and to stay focused on your retirement savings goals, investment time horizon, and proper portfolio diversification.'

Which I do plan on doing, but on the other hand it both amused and distressed me that my retirement folks are basically telling us 'don't panic'. I don't know about you, but I'm grabbing my towel just in case.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Double :)

Armchair archaeologists wanted, no experience necessary
Would you like to transcribe ancient Egyptian papyrus fragments written in Greek? Oh, you don’t know Greek … not a problem. Researchers at Oxford University have devised a way for you to help them transcribe these documents, even if you don’t know your thetas from your omegas. Hundreds of thousands of images of these fragments, owned by the Egypt Exploration Society, have been posted online, and a simple web interface can guide you in identifying most of the Greek alphabets.

Pieces of papyri, written during a period when Egypt was controlled by Greek settlers, were recovered in the early 20th century at the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus, known as ‘City of the Sharp-Nosed Fish’ (a sacred fish of the Nile). Victorian archaeologists excavating rubbish mounds left by the city’s inhabitants collected the fragments, mostly written in Greek, and well preserved in dry desert conditions. To this day, many of them have yet to be transcribed.

Ancient Lives Project web site

Interactive tutorial to get you started

Via PF Anderson (@pfanderson).


Calligraphers still going against type: In a fast-paced world dominated by computers, these masters of handwriting continue to make art from letters. For them, the pen is still mightier than the keyboard
Singh has been practicing her craft for more than 30 years and is fluent in nearly 20 formal lettering styles. Keyboards and keypads may dictate the terms of the written word, but Singh's hand lettering is a reminder that words are not just a means of communication, items of sheer utility, but personal expressions of beauty and persuasion.

"Calligraphy is an art; typing isn't," she says. "When you see letters that have been handwritten, you make a connection that doesn't occur with type. Hand lettering leads to a broader, richer relationship to language."

But in a world bent upon frugality and speed, calligraphy is becoming a marginalized skill, more hobby than profession.
I love the beauty of calligraphy, the elegance. It's a hobby I have practised to some small degree, and so I understand how satisfying it is to create such beauty. But I am a mere amateur; true calligraphers have letters that are nuanced with skill and art. I'm glad that in these days of downloadable fonts, the art of beautiful handwriting is still recognised.


NASA Rover Nears Rim of Giant Crater on Mars
They even named Opportunity's planned arrival point at Endeavour crater after the sister robot. Opportunity is headed to Spirit Point, a vista at the southern point of a ridge called Cape York on the western side of the crater.

"Spirit achieved far more than we ever could have hoped when we designed her," Steve Squyres of Cornell University, the principal investigator for the rovers, said in a statement. "This name will be a reminder that we need to keep pushing as hard as we can to make new discoveries with Opportunity. The exploration of Spirit Point is the next major goal for us to strive for."

The Spirit and Opportunity rovers have made countless discoveries on Mars, including detailed investigations into how flowing water shaped the planet's surface in the ancient past.

The rovers originally had a 90-day mission. Poor Spirit got mired in Martian soil and eventually shut down, killed off by the Martian winter and pronounced dead this summer--but with years of science under her belt. Opportunity continues to chug along, adding to our knowledge of the Red Planet. Here's wishing the folks of NASA and their intrepid robot a lot of fun and discovery in the time to come.

Well, that didin't work

I totally overslept this morning, missing physical therapy and making a trip to the bank out of the question. On the other hand I am on track for getting to work fine.

I think, depending on how things go, I'm going to try to clear out a bookshelf at work today and take the materials to storage, then put some of the children's books I have under my desk there. After all, I've been shifting books for days, it seems. :)

I need to look up something for someone, I just remembered, so I'm going to try to do that before I go. Have a good day.

I'm up briefly to take my insulin and blog

I just couldn't keep my eyes open when I got home. That's been the case the last few days. See, on Saturday I spent fourteen hours taking books off shelves, dusting them, reordering them, and reshelving them in a different configuration. This was not work-related. I take care of a private collection that is larger than either mine or my workplace's collections. When it came down to it, neither the owner nor I had any real idea how many books we were dealing with, and how long it would take, even with his help. I started about noon and ended about 2 in the morning, took a cab home, and then got three hours' sleep, just to go out again to take the bus to prepare for the game. I never got the game notes done. I cleaned house, and then when Brenda arrived we went on the giant Kroger run that we do every two weeks. Then we played the game for about five hours.

Brenda and I are convinced that we are missing something vital in putting the clues together in the adventure. Perhaps it will occur to me when I do two sets of notes this week. When I got home, I thought there would be a chance I'd get the post-game phone call, so I sat in the comfy chair and was just gone within five minutes.

This morning I discovered a miscalculation on my part that meant that if I did not put $2 in the bank (well, really $1.40), several things were going to go thud in my bank account, so I had to make an emergency stop at the bank and catch the next bus, making me a little late to work, but saving my finances.

Today I went back to the site of Saturday's endeavour because in my tired state I'd somehow missed a few books and put the Ws on a shelf containing Ms. I worked those back in. But I also got some wonderful soup and salad, traded some winter squash that a co-worker gave me for an onion to go with my tomatoes and patty-pan squash for a nice sautéed dish, and was given reimbursement of cab fare for the other night, which was very appreciated. Do you think it would be amiss to put this type of thing on my résumé, given that I have worked very hard on it, even though I get paid in food and love and affection of various pets?

Anyway, the weekend was very hard on my body and on my sleep cycle. I have PT in the morning, which is good. I had told the physical therapist that I planned to shift a lot of books Saturday, but that I'd be sure not to lift too many at once. I also only have money for another two visits, so originally she had suggested going once later in the week and then going the next week, spacing them out to see how I do. But after telling her about my plans, she suggested keeping tomorrow's appointment and seeing how I was doing Monday. Since I am still sore and my neck has been bothering me, I'm going tomorrow. We're going to transition to a home exercise programme. I am going to miss my neck traction. Alas, I only have $100 left in the flexible spending account, and that will cover the two visits plus my primary care physician appointment on Thursday, where we'll discuss my diabetes. My blood sugar has been in the range it was before going on insulin, since I was taken off my oral meds, so it will no doubt be adjusted.

Okay, speaking of that, I'm going to take my Lantus and go back to bed. Good night.

I think that Rosie and her kind are a good idea

By Helping a Girl Testify at a Rape Trial, a Dog Ignites a Legal Debate
Rosie, the first judicially approved courtroom dog in New York, was in the witness box here nuzzling a 15-year-old girl who was testifying that her father had raped and impregnated her. Rosie sat by the teenager’s feet. At particularly bad moments, she leaned in.

When the trial ended in June with the father’s conviction, the teenager “was most grateful to Rosie above all,” said David A. Crenshaw, a psychologist who works with the teenager.

“She just kept hugging Rosie,” he continued.

Now an appeal planned by the defense lawyers is placing Rosie at the heart of a legal debate that will test whether there will be more Rosies in courtrooms in New York and, possibly, other states.
The defence is arguing in their appeal that dogs like Rosie respond to stress regardless of whether it is reliving painful memories or lying under oath. They say that juries are likely to respond to the presence of the dogs as supporting the idea that the witness is telling the truth.

I don't think the presence and nudgings of a dog would affect my decision as juror, when the evidence is the key to a judgment. (Of course, having served on a jury, I see how people let their emotions sway them. Thank goodness ours was a civil and not criminal case, where you only need agreement between 9 of 12 jurors, because I was the sticking point when they tried to run amok about things that had no bearing on the case, like whether their grandmothers had been treated badly by car dealers. (it was a dealership being sued.) I kid you not.)

Saturday, August 06, 2011

It's really quite, well pathetic

when you fall asleep during blogging. I started that last post Friday night about 8 pm, took a break to watch the ThunderCats, and then had such a horrible headache and some neck pain that I took three ibuprofen and laid down. So there went my night.

But I'm up, getting ready to plan my day, and so I finished the post. Still...it's not like it was even long. :)

Okay, I am very happy for a very simple yet lovely reason

I found the following Android application, for free:

Old Time Radio Player

It gives you nearly 10,000 episodes of over 70 shows from the 1930s to 1970s, with a variety of genres. It includes Sherlock Holmes, the Green Hornet, Perry Mason, the Lone Ranger, Flash Gordon, etc.

I love the old radio programmes. This will definitely be something to listen to. I'm not sure I can do so on the bus, there are so many distractions. It's different from listening to music you know well. It's very easy to miss the dialogue if you're not listening intently.

Friday, August 05, 2011

It would figure

that after I finally bought an application for my phone, a very similar one was offered by Amazon for free. Both allow you to wake up gently, and the features seem to be the same, even down to shaking the phone for a snooze. One thing I really like that Amazon is finally doing, however, is gauging whether or not the application offered is compatible with my device. That should lead to a lot less negative reviews for the applications. I had to delete two that I got--Plants vs Zombies and Pac-Man--because they didn't work. Yesterday I checked on whatever the free one was for the day, and it popped up that it was incompatible. The clock one (Alarm Clock Xtreme) today is. Oh, well. At least judging from the screen shots, I like mine (Gentle Alarm) better. :)

Thursday, August 04, 2011

One reason poorer people tend to be fat

Because macaroni and cheese is much cheaper than fresh fruit and vegetables...

Healthy eating adds $380 to yearly grocery bill, study shows: Fresh food choices can feel like luxury in lean times

If I read it right, that figure is just for adding potassium, although it does point out that the study included Seattle, which is fairly affluent and where people get their potassium from fruits like nectarines that are more expensive than bananas. But still, you get the idea.

I try to at least get bananas and then some seasonal fruit each time I go to the store. Veggies are a little harder, although I've been doing salads, both at work and at home, lately. Cooked vegetables at the cafeteria are a bit of hit and miss, both in availability and quality of preparation. Now that I'm trying to learn to cook, I'm starting to look at fairly easy recipes, though, so I expect to be getting more fresh food more regularly.

Here's hoping they'll be available for other tablets, too

British Library offers e-classics app for iPad
The British Library is making digital copies of more than 40,000 classic books available for the iPad.

Texts appear in fully digitised form, complete with original page markings and drawings, as opposed to the plain formatting associated with other types of e-books.

All of the works date from the 18th and 19th centuries and include novels, poetry and historical accounts.

Users must pay a monthly subscription of £1.99 to access the full collection.
This digitisation project was funded by Microsoft. A new deal to digitise 250,000 public domain works has been signed with Google and are expected to eventually be available in electronic format.

A long way from the drive-in

Tiny Glass Lens Could Turn Mobile Devices Into Projectors
A tiny aspherical glass lens could turn your smartphone or tablet into a Star Wars-style projector.

It may not be holographic, but at least you and your friends could sit around a table or look up at a wall rather than huddling around someone’s palm-sized smartphone to watch the latest hilarity on YouTube.
At 1mm x 1mm x .8mm, it's about the size of a mechanical pencil lead point. That's pretty impressive.

An ancient, enduring triumph

Rome's Pantheon may have been built as a massive sundial researchers reveal: It is one of the best preserved buildings from the Roman world, a 2,000-year-old testament to the immense power and wealth of the empire
But mystery has always surrounded what lies behind the unusual design of the Pantheon, a giant temple in the heart of Rome that was built by the Emperor Hadrian.

Now experts have come up with an intriguing theory – that the temple acted as a colossal sun dial, with a beam of light illuminating its enormous entrance at the precise moment that the emperor entered the building.
The use of the term sundial seems a bit imprecise. It isn't built to mark the hours, etc., but rather to illuminate the entrance on certain occasions. However, it's an achievement in dramatic lighting worthy of the famed Roman engineering. What can I say, they may have had to go conquer people for their culture, but they did engineering better than just about anyone in the ancient world.

Via Medieval News.

Remembering 10 years on...

There will be a lot of stories of remembrance and the human loss of 9/11 in the coming weeks. This is one about some of the cultural loss...

Mystery surrounds loss of records, art on 9/11
Letters written by Helen Keller. Forty-thousand photographic negatives of John F. Kennedy taken by the president's personal cameraman. Sculptures by Alexander Calder and Auguste Rodin. The 1921 agreement that created the agency that built the World Trade Center.

Besides ending nearly 3,000 lives, destroying planes and reducing buildings to tons of rubble and ash, the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks destroyed tens of thousands of records, irreplaceable historical documents and art.

In some cases, the inventories were destroyed along with the records. And the loss of human life at the time overshadowed the search for lost paper. A decade later, agencies and archivists say they're still not completely sure what they lost or found, leaving them without much of a guide to piece together missing history.

Twenty-one libraries were destroyed, not to mention other collections of sculpture, art, historical documents, and artefacts.

Via LISNews.


What's that on Mars? It just might be liquid saltwater: Researchers make case to explain mysterious clusters of dark, narrow lines
Saltwater could be running down some slopes of Mars every spring, researchers suggest.

Such a finding would suggest new directions to search for any life that still existed on the Red Planet.

Clusters of dark, narrow lines that periodically emerge and lengthen on slopes in the warmer regions suggest briny water on Mars might still be flowing in a few rare places on the planet's surface.

Diabetic klutz

I am the only person I know who could be putting a cap on a lancing device, have it deploy with the cap off, drop it, have it spin in mid-air, catching one of my fingers, then catching it. I have also nicked my finger whilst giving myself a shot in the abdomen with a pen needle. In that case, my breast obstructed my view and I nearly gave myself my shot in my finger.

Sigh. Grace, thy name is not Lisa. I think the insulin gods are laughing at me.

But first--my thoughts exactly

This also might explain why cricket never caught on here.

YKWIA calls American football 'pointyball'. I think that about covers it. I used to watch English premier football occasionally, and did get into it, although I didn't play favourites in terms of teams, really. And as to American football, I have never really wrapped my head over what downs are. I guess it's because while in school I did play soccer (I had a talent for being hit in the head by balls, and they told me to stand in front of the goalkeeper (note, protecting them, not the goal) and make sure my hand didn't intercept the ball) but being a girl, football was out (at least at that point in time).

I love John Cleese, and this was so right on. YWKIA, be sure to show this to you-know-who.

Good to see a little right done in my hometown

Kentucky School for the Deaf honors black students once denied diplomas
The Kentucky School for the Deaf became the first state-supported school of its kind in the nation in 1823. But blacks were segregated into the KSD "colored division." They did not have the same expectations or opportunities as their white counterparts, and were not held to the same academic standards.

Students at KSD could stay until graduation or until they were 21 if they had not qualified for graduation, said Carolyn Gulley, whose mother, Margaret Marshall, taught black deaf students. All KSD students at that time graduated with an eighth-grade education, Gulley said in remarks to the assembly.

Integration came gradually at the school. First-year classes were integrated in 1959, and in 1960 it was carried out in all academic classes, Gulley said. Full integration in dormitories and dining halls came in 1963.

It began with a duck

More precisely, a large female duck swimming in our pool. Those of us who saw her were a bit bemused, although a little concerned that she was drinking the pool water. I had noticed her because I was walking back and forth to the laundry room doing my laundry this morning (see, I didn't manage to get up at an ungodly hour Tuesday, but the more sedate 7 am worked Wednesday).

Anyway, there was the duck. The sky was cloudy, but not remarkable, that is until I got to the bus stop. As I waited, a horribly dark cloud formation crept above us, with strange bands of light and dark. I've never seen the like. It was very eerie. I snapped a somewhat fuzzy picture that still shows you what it looked like:

The strangest thing was that I was surrounded by five other people, none of which seemed intrigued by the clouds or darkening sky. They just chatted away. Now in their defence, they were from Africa and South Asia. Maybe they haven't been here long enough to realise that it was weird. Fortunately the bus arrived just as the heavens started to open up.

Unfortunately, I had to get off the bus. The umbrella was nearly useless. Cars were going around something I couldn't see, slowing traffic to a near halt, meaning I had to stand there getting wet longer. I realised when I went home later and they were putting on the finishing touches that one of the grey light poles split and fell into the road. There was a lot of thunder and lightning. I had to take my shoes off and go across the road, walking through about six inches of water there at the corner. I got in, carrying my shoes and umbrella, with a soaked backpack that's still wet in places. All in all, I did pretty well--just my feet and some on my back, and then my entire right sleeve were soaked.

One of the regulars on the bus, a retired Vietnam veteran, was going to ride it back around, thinking it would be a short thundershower. I doubt that helped. I'd looked at my phone and seen the storm coming in from the north; there was a wide band coming from the north that was all red and pink on the radar.

Despite a rocky start to the day, I got quite a bit accomplished. No one was getting off at the same time I was tonight, so I figured I'd be riding the bus home, but I did get a ride when someone went out for food for people in her department. So that worked out nicely.

The most important thing to remember today was to call my mother. It's her birthday. We talked for awhile. She was in Nicholasville; they'd gone out to eat and were at the store loading something into the car. She'd gotten my card and seemed quite happy. I'm glad she had a good birthday. We talked about family for a bit and then signed off. Then I took a 'nap'. Yeah, I know.

Now I have gotten up to take my Lantus, fix a thank you note for a co-worker who was very kind to me during the time-of-no-money (I love having a collection of cards for every occasion), and get ready for tomorrow.

I am thinking it is time to change when I eat at work, as I don't have enough time between breakfast and lunch for my blood sugar to register anything but high. I think if I ate an hour later it would be better.

Okay, I'm going to take my insulin and go to bed. I hope you have a good night. Tomorrow game notes are on the agenda, as I have some stuff to do on Saturday involving re-shelving books (so good to be a personal librarian--must put it on my résumé at some point--I've cared for a collection larger than my own, or the hospital's for about two decades now.) Does it count if you get paid in love and affection?

Monday, August 01, 2011

Came across this photo today

I was three years old, and apparently quite taken with flowers even then.

Today has been a little, well, odd. On the one hand, several things happened that made me feel good emotionally. On the other, I've been physically feeling a bit blah, with my stomach a little touchy and my blood sugar elevated. My appointment is next week, so maybe we can take care of the high glucose, which has been a problem ever since they stopped my oral meds. But hey, it's Monday, what could I possibly expect? I did eat very healthy for the most part (I did have an ice cream treat midway through the day, and I suppose that blows healthy eating all to hell).

The weekend went well. I schlepped up and down Richmond Road getting lots of errands done Saturday, then got up early Sunday (5 am), went to Kroger, went over to prepare for the game (clean house), and then played the game until about 10:30 at night. I was so tired when I got home, and my blood sugar was even worse yesterday, and my insulin pen ran out of medicine; I didn't realise how low it was and didn't have another one me. So I'm surprised I was coherent at all. I did fairly well early in the day but kind of slid as it progressed.

It's been a quiet night. I meant to do laundry, but didn't manage to make myself do it. I'm going to try to wake up early so I'm not up late doing it. I have physical therapy at 7:30, and so I'll have to get up at 5 or 5:30 to get it done.

I went outside just a little while for something and the air is alive with the sounds of insects and the hum of air conditioners. It's been hot, but not nearly as bad as the last couple of weeks. Tomorrow it may get up to 96, but without the treacherous humidity spiking the heat index. I feel so sorry for the folks in the Midwest who are in triple digits. In the summer of 1980 I lived in Kansas when we had over 60 days of over 100 degrees temperature. It was awful. My mom cooked on a hibachi in her swimsuit to keep the house cool. People were dropping like flies and people who were elderly or shut ins were checked on and given fans or air conditioners if needed. Thank goodness for air conditioning and the electricity to run it.

I've been taking a class on mobile resources in libraries and sat down today to do the second segment, then went back to the first and watched the videos, which included histories of the PDA, the mobile phone, and mobile computing. I had to watch the videos, ironically enough, on my phone because YouTube is (understandably, I suppose) blocked at work. The class runs till October, I think, and so far has been very interesting.

I sat down and really planned out what I need to accomplish in the library this week. One of the things is to tackle an area of withdrawn books and general I-don't-know-where-to-put-this stuff on shelves so that I can get it looking better, remove old manuals that people might think are up-to-date, clear up some room for my binders on my desk, and make room for some children's books (I have a medical library, but I oversee an early literacy project in the clinic as well) that are currently under and next to my desk. It's the only area of the library that is questionable in terms of being in order. I've recently straightened up my storage cabinet, my storage bins, and desk, so it seems a good time to do that.

Okay, if I'm going to get up really early, I should try to go to sleep now. Have a good night.