Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Saturday, December 31, 2011

This is really amazing

I have never tried to really do origami, but I think it's a beautiful art. Watch as this person creates a beautiful model that changes shape as it is rotated.

Isn't it beautiful? I think origami is a wonderful opportunity to meditate and practice patience, and I could watch people do it for quite some time, it's so relaxing to watch it come together bit by bit. Thanks to PF Anderson for sharing the link on Twitter. And be sure to check out the related videos for more breathtaking uses of origami.

Remember I mentioned Hitchcock movies???

Turns out many of those early ones have fallen out of copyright and are now available freely online. Check out: 22 Free Hitchcock Movies Online. Thanks to Maria Popova for the link. That was serendipity.

I love that you can plug all sorts of things into Google, or Amazon, and

and you'll find what you're looking for, given Amazon's breadth of selection and their partnership with other sellers. For instance, I have a lamp that has distilled water in it that shoots bubbles which whirl around coloured marbles when on and light is projected through a colour wheel to produce a variety of effects. I love that lamp, tacky though it may be. But the light bulb went out on it. I didn't realise I could change it until I looked under the little pads and there were screws to undo the bottom. So I emptied out the lamp, unscrewed the bottom, and discovered an apparatus with a 5 watt, 12 volt halogen light bulb; not the type you can simply pick up at the grocery. So I put the specifications into Google, and it pulled up Amazon, and I was able to order it. It's one of those items I actually pay more in shipping the price of the item, but worth a couple of dollars to prevent me having to hunt it down, especially since I don't have a car. I measured it and all the measurements are the same. We'll see if it works. Since I was doing that, I went ahead and ordered some more screen protectors for my phone, which came with free shipping, so the shipping thing kind of evened out. :) Wish me luck.

By the way

I had time to read over the last day or so and am nearly to the climax of The Hunger Games. It's an excellent book. I definitely plan on getting Catching Fire and Mockingjay. :) I'm interested in how everything's going to pan out.

I had a nice visit overnight

with my mom and grandmother. It was absolutely the best thing to go after the rush of Christmas so that we could really just sit down and talk. It was nice seeing them, and I count it as much better than the hectic environment there was at Thanksgiving. My mom gave my grandmother one of those digital photo frames for the holiday, and my stepfather loaded it with lots of pictures, so we watched for awhile and talked about the family members both here and gone. I got my grandmother a warm snuggly, soft blanket. Really, at 87, a person gets to be hard to shop for, and she tends to get cold easily--she's like a little bird.

My mom has a Kindle, so an Amazon gift card seemed appropriate, and my step-father is a gadget nut who builds computers, so he got one from Best Buy.

I think I've done pretty well at getting folks something small that they'll like and use. One present I'm unsure of, because the person may already have one. We'll see; I kept the receipt. I actually saw something at the library earlier that at first glance I thought he would like, a compendium of early Alfred Hitchcock movies, but then I realised several were silent and he's one of those people who lies in bed with the movie on and a pillow over his eyes. Really. So no good on that, he'll get what I already bought him. :)

I got home today and checked the mail and there wasn't anything from Netflix, and then I realised I was looking at Friday's mail and Saturday's hadn't arrived. It did a few minutes later and there was the comforting little red envelope with A Beautiful Mind in it. I plan to watch that on Monday.

Okay, I have stuff to do, and should get off my butt and do them. I'll probably post around midnight and wish everyone a happy new year. Good night, otherwise, though.

Sticker shock

I am so used to shopping through Amazon (or even the Science Fiction Book Club), that I forget that there is a suggested retail price you pay if you go to a brick-and-mortar bookstore, and that hardcovers can be quite pricey. I did so today, partly because I wanted some books for tomorrow's game, and they had the copies I needed. On the one hand, I helped support a local bookstore, albeit one that had gone sadly downhill in recent years in terms of customer care and selection, although I had an excellent shopping experience today, so maybe they've bounced back from that. On the other, I spent nearly twice I would have at Amazon, and would have received free shipping on the items, although it would have taken about a week to get. Under normal circumstances, that would be no problem--but I've come late to holiday shopping as it is and wanted to give presents tomorrow. I'm not complaining, exactly--I got what I wanted, they pulled them from the shelves for me as I rode the bus out and put them on hold, and I merely had to come to the register and pick them up, one of the easiest shopping experiences I've ever had. I didn't have to wait for them, didn't even have to go to get them from their department. It just shocked me, because I'd priced them in two online arenas and they were much cheaper there, and I had to pull out a couple more bills to cover the total than I'd originally planned.

Of course, I then ate at what they call a bistro [it was easier than walking across a major thoroughfare to the mall, which was going to close early for new year's eve anyway, and I'd spent the money I'd planned to use for some lotion from Bath & Body Works getting the items at the bookstore]. It was excellent, and although a bit overpriced (I spent $20 on an appetizer, soda, and dessert, before the tip), was decently portioned and very well made, a pita stuffed with spinach and artichoke with a salsa and sour cream, along with beans. (I'm not sure how anyone would have had room for that and an entrée, unless they were sharing the appetizer with several people.) And yes, although I shouldn't have had it, I did decide to treat myself to a peanut butter mousse pie that shall be the last big 'sweet' I'll have for awhile, according to my new year's resolution. (I'm not saying I won't have anything sweet, maybe on a special occasion or something, but not every day and generally will strive to eat well for my diabetes). So that was the last hurrah, and a very nice one it was.

Now I'm home. I've rested. I'm going to try to work on some things here before the new year is rung in. Someone in the area has been shooting off fireworks. I'm tempted to take my sparklers out after midnight. I still have some to use up. We'll see.

So what do you plan on doing at midnight for the new year? They say you'll be doing for the rest of the year.

I have been informed

that I got the holiday dinner menu wrong, and am making amends by posting the complete menu here, as sent to me by the person who did most of the cooking [I did mostly prep work and baking, all under his direction], and who designed the menu in the first place.
Appetizers: Spiced Nuts (Sweet Nuts and Savory Nuts), as well as Bleu Cheese Gougers

Soup: Champagne-Onion Soup

Entrée: Herbed Cheese Stuffed Fried Eggplant Steaks with Braised Radicchio, Fennel, and Escarole, as well as Roasted Salmon with Walnut-Pepper Relish

Side Dishes: Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans with Sautéed Shallots, Roasted Red Onions with Butter, Honey, and Balsamic Vinegar, Spinach Pie, Tomatoes Provençal, and Popovers

Salad: Spiced Pumpkin, Lentil, and Goat Cheese Salad

Desert: Sugar Cookies, Ginger Bread, and Coffee

Beverage: Iced Tea, and Water (Iced)

There you go. Correction made. And let me tell you, it was wonderful.

Friday, December 30, 2011

It's the only Southern state I haven't been to

and somehow, judging from these stories in this year in review, I think I'm missing something by never visiting the Sunshine State:

Butt injections, angry 92-year-olds, free breast exams: Florida's strange 2011


Thursday, December 29, 2011

I've made great inroads in the whole holiday shopping thing...

Okay, I got a late start to holiday shopping, just starting about 5:00 tonight, but I'm finished with my family, have one friend's together, and another's halfway. I'd like to pick up something for the people in the game and I just couldn't get there tonight, so I'm going to try to go out Saturday so I'll have theirs in time for the game. I also found a top, underwear, and leggings for me for about $20 total. I also got dinner from Subway, some popcorn in a tin for me (I often give it, but rarely get it, and I love it, although I am eating it judiciously), and some wrapping paper and holiday cards that were 50% off.

Now I've eaten. I still must wrap presents, wash dishes, do laundry, and straighten up the house. But first, I'm going to take a break, as I have just now gotten the feeling back into my hands after carrying bags. :)

Last night

I watched Dark City: The Director's Cut. I've seen the movie before, and I really liked it, but really thought this was particularly good. Today I'll return it to Netflix. I've already returned The Kings's Speech, which was my holiday bonus DVD. Next in the queue is another movie with Jennifer Connelly (she played Helen/Anna in Dark City. This one is A Beautiful Mind).

This morning I'm waiting for a friend to take me to the bank and then to work, and then I'll work my last day of the old year (I took off tomorrow). Then it's holiday shopping, something I had to put off this year. Should be fun. I dressed in light clothes today to make sure the bus would see me on my many stops tonight. I'm in khaki/gold, a colour I don't normally wear but was given clothes in that and it will be very visible. On a lark I went through my jewelry box (I only for the most part have silver jewelry). I'm wearing my class ring from high school, which is amazing as I got it when I was about 100 lbs lighter, and it's loose enough to move around on my finger. I have a unicorn pin and unicorn earring that I made into a pendant (the latter is cloisonne), and then I have my original earrings, the ones that I had my ears pierced in. In other words, everything I'm wearing I got as a teen or early adult, and haven't worn for years.

After the shopping I have to do some laundry and the dishes and work on the game notes, since we are gaming on New Year's, yay! So it'll be a long day. Hope yours is fun.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Well, I crashed and burned, I'm afraid

I slept over 12 hours, maybe 13. But I feel ever so much better, and it's sunny rather than drizzly today.

So here we go:

Friday: Finished things up for the holiday at work, and then a friend took me to the store to buy last minute ingredients for dinner for the next night. I stayed at my other friend's house and we made spiced nuts and sugar cookies.

Saturday: Up early and over to my friend's house to start cooking. We prepped and cooked for eleven hours, making several courses and a 14 separate dishes, if you count the nuts and cookies from the day before. This included bleu cheese gougers, Danish onion soup (with a quart of champagne in it), salmon to die for, eggplant steaks with a filling that were then breaded and pan fried, stuffed tomatoes, spinach pie (it was supposed to be spanikopita, but I got puff pastry dough instead of filo, but it came out wonderful), braised onions, a butternut squash and goat cheese salad, and gingerbread cookies. I'm forgetting something, but it was all wonderful. Unfortunately we could only get through about five things that night, so I made plans to come back on Christmas day since the buses were running on a limited basis, in the early morning and then in the afternoon.

Sunday (Christmas Day): I was waiting at the bus stop shortly before 8 am with a little Santa hat on that my skeleton at work normally wears, and an SUV drove up with a woman getting out. At first I thought he was dropping her off (that often happens at that stop, as it's on the edge of where the bus goes). Then she handed me an envelope and said 'Merry Christmas', and got back in her vehicle. It had $50 in it. I thanked them and they drove away. So I was able to get groceries the next day, something that was sadly lacking in my house.

We had the rest of our meal and it was absolutely wonderful. Then I headed home and that night watched the Doctor Who Christmas special, 'The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe'. It was great.

Monday: I went back over to my friends' house and visited, watched The King's Speech, which was excellent, and then I spent an hour and a half making both potato and cheese latkes for Chanukah (one of my friends is Jewish). They came out better than any batch I've ever made. We sat down and ate and had a good time. I headed home and got here about midnight.

So you can see it's been a busy weekend. In a few days I'm going to visit my family for a low-key visit. I was just so overwhelmed at Thanksgiving that I decided it would be less hectic and involve more quality time if I chose a day other than the actual holiday, and I think it worked out splendidly. I hope your holidays went just as well.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I am very, very tired, but in a good way

and I would love to tell you all about the amazing holiday weekend I had. And I will. But not tonight, sorry, for it is late, and I have to go back to work tomorrow, although my evening (so far) is free. Tune in then for a longish update, and good night.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

For those of you who celebrate Christmas...

I hope you have a happy one, and may the new year bring blessings to you and yours. If the video below is blank when you play it, click here.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Up bright and early for a busy day

Last night I didn't get home till midnight because a friend took me shopping for the last-minute food and spirits that another friend needed to cook a fabulous meal today with, and then I stayed and made a couple of the things, an appetizer and sugar cookies. Today I'm up early to go over there and help with dinner, which is going to be an all day process, but first I'm going to go to Kroger to have them refund the amount that I would have saved with my Kroger card yesterday--I totally left it in my backpack at my friend's house. Granted, total savings between us was about $7, but $7 is $7. :)

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a happy one. And this year you can track Santa on your smartphone, via the NORAD iPhone and Android applications. For those who don't have smartphones, there's Google Earth and NORAD. :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

So now the house, the lights, the garland, and I all smell like rosemary

And although there are some parts that are a little brown on the tree, there's new growth, too, so I think it will live. I moved the lights and garland to the entryway and retired the ornaments from the tree. I will leave up the other decorations for now, like the snowflakes on the window and the moose skaters. Yes, you read that right.


Happy Holidays, and good night.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I just returned from getting something from the laundry room

and my whole apartment smells like falafel. I came home (thanks, Brandon, for the ride on a rainy, icky day) and made some, then laid down and napped for a bit. I hurt all over (did I mention rain), especially in my hips, which woke me up. So I got up, took some ibuprofen, and decided to do some stuff on the computer.

The next few days will be a combination of busy and slow. A friend is cooking a dinner Saturday that sounds like it will be to die for. Sunday is the 'Doctor Who' Christmas special. Oh, and Christmas, for those who celebrate. Either Sunday or Monday I'm going to go over to a friend's and make latkes for Chanukah. Next week I'm going to visit my mom and grandmother too. I thought it would be better to do it post-holiday, so we can get more visiting in--Thanksgiving was just too overwhelming for me. At work, though, there are a lot of people on vacation and almost nothing going on. I have a couple of projects to work on, but it's going to be mind-boggling slow.

My holiday is over, of course, with the sundown. I'm considering taking the lights and ornaments off the little rosemary tree already to make sure it lives. :) But it worked pretty well.

I think I'll do that now. If I don't post again tonight, have a great night. And no matter what holiday you celebrate, I hope it's full of peace and laughter, and a safe one at that.

On a brighter note, for you Anglophiles with Kindles

Amazon Kindle to release the Queen's Christmas speech
In addition to this year's speech Kindle owners will be able to download the Queen's previous Christmas messages dating back to 1952, the year of her accession to the throne.

"The Royal Household is content for other organisations to take this content and make it available on as many other platforms as possible as long as the content is not altered or presented out of context," a spokeswoman at Buckingham Palace told the BBC.

"We would like The Queen's Speech to be broadcast or read as widely as possible, and allowing Kindle to make the text available is just another example of this."

Update: Here are the speeches from 1952-2010, and also for 2011.

Sometimes you shouldn't check your news

The following story appeared on my phone news stream widget and I was curious, so I tapped it. On the surface, it was notable because it is the biggest lawsuit damage award given in this country, albeit largely symbolic, as there is no way to collect the money. But I wondered what had prompted it, and I found myself questioning a person's humanity, and what I found there made me wonder at how any person could do such a horrible thing to another.

Jury awards record $150 billion to family of burned boy

In 1998, Robbie Middleton was turning 8 years old. Two weeks before his birthday, he was allegedly sexually assaulted by a 13-year-old who then, on his birthday, allegedly set the 8-year-old on fire. The attacker threw a cup of gasoline in his face, tied him to a tree with fishing line, and then ignited him. The boy endured many surgeries and was unable to communicate fully about the case. He died at the age of 20 from skin cancer.

The 13-year-old was detained, but later released, and was never officially pursued further in the case, although he is now 26 and is in prison on charges of molesting another 8-year-old in 2001. He is due to be released next year. The family and the lawyers in the case brought a civil suit in hopes of getting the criminal case against his alleged attacker reopened.

I can't imagine what this young boy went through, what he endured, at the hands of a young teenager who had no regard for his life or dignity. That anyone--particularly another child, could do this, sickens me. I certainly hope they get justice in this case.

I am not a wine connoisseur

In fact, I rarely drink any wine at all, except maybe a taste here and there, or mead, which is honey wine and not from grapes at all.

What I do, however, is often give libations of red wine in thanks for the answering of prayers, as well as my monthly religious observations. I try to give decent wine, but since I'm in no real position to determine that, and because my fortunes are sometimes fickle and it's difficult sometimes to get the wine, the quality may vary.

The other day a friend gave me a ride to the store and I'd mentioned getting wine. The closest place that sold wine was a drugstore, and I went in and quickly got a pinot noir that was at least from Italy, but was about $13 for 1.5 litres, so I figured it was probably passable. What I didn't expect was that it was actually corked. I opened it a little while ago, and although I have a super-duper corkscrew (the type where you screw it in and then push down on things on the side to get it out), it was an abnormally long cork that wound up breaking in half horizontally, but I was able to get it out without getting pieces of cork in the wine. Then I couldn't re-cork it, and so I stole a cork from an empty mead bottle I keep for decoration in the kitchen.

Sometimes I think the Greeks had the right idea with amphorae.

Anyway, it was a pleasant surprise. And the wine has a very nice bouquet. I didn't have any (the tannins in red wine don't go well with my taste buds), but I think it worked out fairly well.

I seem to be having all sorts of trouble opening things of late. Yesterday there was the Classico vodka pasta sauce that I could not break the seal on by dinging with a knife and actually had to pry a tiny bit on the lid with a flathead screwdriver until the seal broke.

This is why I am destined not to rule the world. That and I'm minion material, I'm afraid.

Okay, so the solstice is officially here (it was at 12:3O EST). Here's to longer days to come. Good night.

Strange things people do with technology and pets

I suppose that if one has an exotic pet that eats insects for a living, and a device upon which to play 'Ant Smasher', then it's not surprising one might film the pet doing this. But I think the guy with the bullfrog definitely got more than he bargained for...

but the bullfrog gets the big one...

Thanks to the ever-great George Takei for sharing both of these.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Okay, this is a Christmas carol on Solstice night

but it's an unusual one, a Spanish villancico from the 16th century...and it's sung very nicely a cappella by the Monkees. :)

Here's the translation:
River, roaring river, guard our homes in safety,
God has kept the black wolf from our lamb, our lady.
God has kept the black wolf from our lamb, our lady.

Raging mad to bite her, there the wolf did steal,
But our God almighty defended her with zeal.
Pure he wished to keep her so she could never sin,
That first sin of man never touched the virgin sainted.

River, roaring river...

He who's now begotten is our mighty monarch,
Christ, our holy father, in human flesh embodied.
He has brought atonement by being born so humble,
Though he is immortal, as mortal was created.

River, roaring river...

Thanks to Vanessa Irvin Morris for sharing it on Facebook. :)

Happy Yuletide!

Tonight is the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. But with the dawning of the sun, the days will start to lengthen towards summer and with it is the promise of growth and life to help sustain us throughout the winter. Happy Yule!

For more on Damh the Bard's music, go to: http://www.paganmusic.co.uk/. You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. And of course, there's his YouTube channel.

I'm interested in oecology

and I actually do use frankincense occasionally. So this caught my eye:

Frankincense threatened by conditions in Ethiopia
Dutch and Ethiopian researchers studying populations of the scraggly, scrub-like trees in northern Ethiopia found that as many as 7% of the trees are dying each year, and seedlings are not surviving into saplings.

Their paper in today's edition of the Journal of Applied Ecology finds that the Ethiopian trees that produce much of the world's frankincense are declining so dramatically that production could be halved over the next 15 years and the trees themselves could decline by 90% in the next 50 years

Who'd be a wise man? Gold's gone through the roof, frankincense is 'doomed', and as for myrrh...

Times for wise men have never been tougher. Gold prices are soaring on commodity markets, myrrh crops have been hit by drought – and now frankincense could soon be no more.

Solid frankincense resin can be sold at up to £37.33 per kilo, according to the International Centre for Research in Dry Areas. Myrrh is roughly twice as expensive, but prices are volatile – something that can also be said for the Wise Men's third gift. Four days before Christmas, an ounce of gold costs £1,029.20 on the international market – up by nearly 20 per cent this year.

But the worst news for biblical gift-buyers came this week, from Dutch ecologists studying populations of Boswellia in Ethiopia, who warned that numbers of the frankincense-producing tree could halve in the next 15 years and eventually cease altogether if factors such as fire, grazing and insect attack go unchecked.

Excellent article; I want to read the book

The 'Iranian Schindler' who saved Jews from the Nazis
Thousands of Iranian Jews and their descendants owe their lives to a Muslim diplomat in wartime Paris, according to a new book. In The Lion's Shadow tells how Abdol-Hossein Sardari risked everything to help fellow Iranians escape the Nazis.

Fariborz Mokhtari's book is available on Kindle right now, and in print in April 2012.


I was hoping to see Martin Freeman as John Watson in more 'Sherlock' next year. I didn't realise he was cast as Bilbo, but it looks like he's made an excellent job of it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Chanukah!!!

and I couldn't resist...

I just spent a meal reading through the posts at

Damn You Auto Correct! (I know, it's sad, I often eat like a lonely nerd in front of my computer.)

It's not good to do that while eating and drinking, let me tell you. I laughed so hard. My Swype keyboard uses predictive text and it sometimes has a mind of its own as well, although I haven't had a totally bizarre text like some of these yet. Anyway, if you haven't seen it, try it out. Some are just hilarious, others lukewarm.

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's nice when your phone company

sends you a holiday greeting. This video was filmed in the Chicago area at a mall, surprising shoppers. And it's nice to see that many women (including plus-sized) dressed up, happy, and enjoying themselves. Kudos to T-Mobile for including all sizes, shapes, and races. (And I think they did a nice job with the song, too.)

What a loss

A black day for heritage: burning the Egyptian Scientific Institute

Founded in 1798 by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Egyptian Scientific Institute was the oldest institution of its type in the Middle East. It's collection includes the original of Description de l'Egypte. The building burned when a Molotov cocktail which was thrown during protests missed it mark and hit the institute instead.

Updated: Egypt Institute Burns; Scholars Scramble to Rescue Manuscripts
Egypt's oldest research institute caught fire during demonstrations in central Cairo on 18 December, destroying an unknown number of precious books and manuscripts. Shocked Egyptologists call the destruction a "tragedy," and are now trying to locate and salvage the research treasures.

The Institut d'Égypte was founded as a scientific research academy by Napoleon Bonaparte during his 1798 Egyptian campaign, an invasion which brought the country's ancient history to the attention of Western scholars. The collection includes at least 20,000 documents and books, many of which are irreplaceable. Among the books is a rare original copy of the Description de l'Egypt, the first extensive illustrated text on Egyptian antiquities, temples, and monuments.

According to that news story, 35,000 items had been rescued, although their condition was not given.

Words fail me. Thank you to Mahmoud Khalifa for posting to the IFLA list and Soraya Assar for passing it on to MEDLIB-L, alerting us to what had happened.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I want to see

The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe, in theatres February 3, 2012, with additional info at: www.womaninblack.com, based on the book by Susan Hill.

How sad that this should happen over a relatively small dispute

Police Arrest Man in Burning Death of Woman

She fired him from a job moving some of her stuff after accusing him of stealing a VCR and a large cake pan. He claimed she owed him $300 and left an invoice she did not pay in November [although I've heard up to $2,000--still, not worth a woman's life, and in such a gruesome, painful demise]. And this was the result? So sad. Good that he is now in custody, though.


I just realised I didn't check the mail last night when I got home. So I went out and discovered a lovely card from a couple of friends and also that while I chained the door last night, I didn't actually lock it. How bizarre.


It was so nice to sleep in today, as there is no game, so no getting up at 4:45 am to travel for an hour on the bus for what is a 10-15 minute ride by car to the gamemaster's house to clean and prepare for the game, no major Kroger run, no playing for hours and getting home late, then crashing on Monday evening. While the game is immensely fun, Sundays are very long days for me.

Instead, I slept in until after 8:30, had breakfast, and checked out the (albeit disturbing) news and blogged. So the question is, what to do now? I'm thinking about getting ready to go out, walk down to the store for some caffeine, and then working on the house this morning. I have quite a lot of TV to catch up on, and I have an Indiana Jones movie out from Netflix I should return tomorrow.

I'd like to go out and get some presents, but I don't have much left after my bills because they had to take money out of my pay where I'd been overpaid last time (and I pretty much spent that on medicine and groceries). So there's not much money before the holidays. But I'll see what I can do. :)

Okay, I should get going. Have a great day!

How horrible

Woman Is Burned Alive in an Elevator in Brooklyn

It sounds like a strange 'Law & Order' episode opening. A man dressed as an exterminator ambushed a woman in a Brooklyn apartment building elevator by spraying her in the face and on her body with accelerant, lighting a Molotov cocktail, and igniting her with it. He then left her to burn alive and escaped the building. New York police are questioning a suspect.

That anyone could do something like this to another person baffles me. I hope they catch him soon. I want to know if she was targeted for a specific reason or if this guy just wanted to kill someone and she was convenient, an older woman trapped in an elevator, holding groceries.

My heart goes out to those who knew her--family and friends--and again, I hope they catch him soon.

[This comes just a couple of days after a woman was accidentally killed in a New York elevator, when her foot got caught in the door and the elevator moved up suddenly with the doors still open, dragging her to her death, in front of elevator passengers. My thoughts are also with her friends and family, in what seems to have been a freak accident.]

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nifty fun thing to do if you have Firefox or Chrome as your browser

  1. Go to Google.
  2. Type 'let it snow' into the search box and either hit the [Enter] key or click on the search button.
  3. Watch the results with glee.
  4. Enjoy.
  5. [Defrost] if necessary.
:) You can also type 'Hannukkah' or 'Do a barrel roll' for interesting results. The Hannukkah one works in Internet Explorer but the others may not. They definitely do in Firefox and reportedly (of course, given it is Google's browser) work in Chrome. For more, check out PCWorld's Best of Google 2011: Gags, Easter Eggs, Pranks, and Games :).

Friday, December 16, 2011

I had two of the best meals I'd had in awhile yesterday

The type that make you feel warm an relaxed and pleasantly happy. For our department meeting (I'm still not used to being part of a department!), our boss sprang for Texas Roadhouse. I had grilled salmon, a baked potato, and a house salad, and it was excellent. After work, I went to my friends' house and we had a lovely root vegetable, cabbage, and bean soup, potatoes, some veggie sausages, and a bleu cheese, apple, and spinach salad. Considering Wednesday's evening meal was steel cut oatmeal, yesterday was pure heaven. My friend is an excellent cook, and tends to cook recipes that are French country from books by Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourette, a monk. I have enjoyed almost everything that has come from those books.

Anyway, I didn't get home till midnight last night, so I took some Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea and just went on to bed.

Today we're having our holiday meal at work, and they're serving some main course the pescetarian can eat (I've hear alternatively fish or shrimp.) Many people bring desserts. I will have to be judicious and try maybe one or two small pieces at most. But it should be fun. I'm wearing a snowflake mock turtleneck that is the closest thing to holiday wear I have.

Okay, time to go to work. Have a great day!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I feel like myself again

Yesterday I was still in trip anxiety mode a bit, and felt beaten down and just almost hung over. Can you get jetlag on one hour difference in timezone? But I had two flights in two days, and lots of new stuff to absorb, so I guess it makes sense.

This morning it's warm (high 50s) and raining. It doesn't feel like December at all. I usually feel more in the holiday spirit with a little warm-up (having grown up in warm places like the deep South and the California desert for at least half of my childhood, where a dusting of snow was a rarity and meant days off from school). But not this time.

We're having a department meeting today where we're having a holiday meal from Texas Roadhouse. I have visions of salmon dancing in my head. Then tomorrow is the big holiday dinner for the hospital, where everyone brings homemade desserts and they provide the rest. I thought about making pumpkin cheesecake, but 1) I'd have to take it on the bus, 2) I'm going to be busy tonight and don't have time to get the ingredients and a springform pan, and 3) I love pumpkin cheesecake but shouldn't eat it myself due to the diabetes. So I think I'll skip again this year.

I'm going in to work early so I can leave a half-hour early. Have a great day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tonight I got some rest

and then talked with a friend on the phone for a good long while. Now I'm wondering how much my paycheque will be this time, as last pay day I was overpaid, so this time they're taking that money back--just before the holidays.

Now that the trip is over, it's time to start thinking about things like holiday cards and presents. I have some idea for most of the gifts, but I'm stumped on one or two. We'll see.

I did manage to get both the office and home decorated for the holidays, at least. I have to get a couple of addresses for sending out cards.

But that's something to figure out tomorrow, when I have a better idea of how much I can spend. I must keep enough for food and incidentals, so this will be a challenge. I think I'm at least good on medicine until my flexible spending account kicks in again January 1st, thank goodness.

Well, I'm rambling. I should go back to sleep (after taking my insulin). Hope you have a good night.

Still a little tired from the trip

and of course there are two days' worth of work to get caught up on. I had 13 e-mails in my inbox when I left on Friday. This morning there were 138. Plus lots of sheets for the data entry gig as well; we had large clinics on both days. So even though it's only 6:30, I'm going to take a nap. The plan is to get up in an hour and watch either some DVR'ed shows or Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull (which I have out presently), something that doesn't take much mental effort and is relaxing. We'll see. I'm setting two alarms...I'll write later.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


There's a reason you haven't heard from me for a couple of days. Monday morning I flew to Chicago for a meeting of the Regional Advisory Council (RAC) of the Greater Midwest Region (GMR) of the National Networks of Library of Medicine {N/NLM) (say that three times fast), of which I am the state representative for Kentucky. I had not flown in over twenty years, certainly not since 9/11, so this was an adventure. Years ago I had a layover in O'Hare on a flight to Minneapolis, but I never got into the city itself. Oh, and I've never taken the train before, either elevated or subway. So this was definitely going to be an adventure--a quick one, as there was the RAC meeting yesterday and then a seminar today on mobile applications and devices in libraries, after which I headed back to O'Hare and took a flight home (thanks to Brandon and his family for picking me up and stopping by Subway so I'd have something to eat for dinner).

It was also a chance to meet my counterpart in Chicago for the first time, after corresponding with her and talking to her on the phone for nearly fifteen years. Turns out she's retiring in a little over a week. So we were able to get together. She was kind enough to meet me at the airport and orient me to the L, Chicago's elevated-subway train system, and had a pass for me, too. We also ate dinner later in the day and got acquainted. So that was good. Overall it was a fun time, although I spazzed over a few small things along the way.

Prior to the flight, I worried because of a fear of flying, the new security rules, and my size, which I was afraid would be an issue. Yesterday morning I ate just a few wheat crackers to settle my stomach. Fortunately I took the LexTran Keeneland/Airport bus to the terminal and that gave me some time to settle down. I've never been to the Keeneland racetrack and at least got to see what the buildings look like. Then it turned out that one of the local librarians I know was also on the council and was heading up just one seat behind me. As it turned out, I fit fine in the seat, didn't need an extender on the belt, or anything. I was calm and actually managed to read some of Gary Corby's The Ionia Sanction on the way. The plane was a small commuter one (I'm not sure how many seats it had, maybe 50?), with an aisle that was only about eighteen inches across. I did put my hand on the seat ahead of me a bit nervously during the landing, but I think I can be forgiven that due to the fact we were hurtling towards the ground.

I was a bit late to the meeting because it took awhile for me to find my colleague, (yes, I wandered around like a tourist with a terminal map in one hand and a rolling bag in the other) and we also had some trouble finding the building on the University of Illinois campus where it took place. The ride from O'Hare to the Medical District was interesting. They give you very little time to get through that door (and I had a rolling carry on). They're fairly jerky and loud. But overall I thought it was a good experience. After we'd walked all over the western campus, seeing just about every hospital there in the district, I was able to go to the meeting and fortunately they were still doing introductions. I managed to grab a little of the lunch I'd missed as well.

Later, we walked to the hotel. It was the first time I've every checked into a hotel on my own (I feel like such a yokel saying this.) [Even when I was a kid, and we went on the several moves across the country, we tended to stay in motels, usually the type where all the rooms open to the outside.] I didn't expect the $40 fee from my debit card for incidentals (of which I had none, so they'll refund it to me sometime this week, but that put my already limited funds further limited). I really had trouble with the keycards, especially in trying to get up the elevator. I finally got it to work correctly this morning after breakfast, my last ride up the thing. I could get to the lobby fine--that didn't require it, but each time I went to my room I had to rely on some stranger who was going up. And yes, I did everything they did, I just apparently did it poorly.

I got into the room (I stayed at the Marriott at UIC). It was lovely, but the only wall light switch was in the very entrance and it took me several minutes to locate any other switch in the room. There were several plates, all smooth. The switches were at the base of the various lamps, I just had trouble seeing them. So I felt totally like an idiot.

The room was lovely though, and while the sound of traffic would normally have bothered me, the CPAP covered that. Also, it was very nice of them to give us each our own room.

My librarian colleague and I met up and ate at the hotel restaurant and then I came back up and made a couple of calls to friends, and headed for bed by 9ish Chicago time (10 pm mine).

Today was much better. I woke after a good sleep, took a nice bath rather than my normal shower, had some oatmeal at the restaurant, then checked out of the hotel (after finally getting that keycard to work!) and rolled my little bag several blocks to the meeting area. We had a very good symposium, followed by a nice lunch, and then the librarian I'd flown with and I took a cab to the airport rather than the L. We got there very early because we weren't sure about security issues going back. But you know, the security stuff was easy going and coming, even with my CPAP and insulin and stuff. The only trouble I had on the way to Chicago was that I'd forgotten to take off my Medi-Alert bracelet, which I figured would set off the alarm. I tried and tried and couldn't get it off. They had me go through and it was fine. It took me 20 minutes to get it off last night, but I did. :) They have strange clasps that are meant to stay on under emergency circumstances. Anyway, Chicago, of course had longer lines, but they went quickly. I didn't go through a metal detector, I went through a body scanner. And then I collected my CPAP (which had to be out for inspection), shoes (Birkenstocks which slip off), little quart bag stuffed with liquids (I worked really hard to put in the citrus ginger lotion from the hotel in, but I had to leave behind the shampoo and conditioner they had), rolling bag, satchel, and coat. I think I had four bins and each airport. We found our gate without too much trouble and I started 'The Hunger Games' on my Kindle (that stayed off during the flight, though). I was a little more nervous on the flight back because of all the traffic at O'Hare and the fact it was cloudy and getting dark (I think it helps to be able to see the ground), plus there was more turbulence and a harder landing. But all in all, the flying was really rather fun.

All in all I enjoyed my trip, although I felt like an utter rube the whole time. But now that I know what I'm doing, I'm looking forward to next time. UIC has the contract for the GMR for five years, and the RAC meets yearly. So hopefully next time I'll be able to navigate better. I did a lot of prep work that made things easier, having information at my fingertips both in a folder of printouts and on my phone, at least. But next time I'll know more and I'd also like to maybe stay an extra night or two at my own expense and see some of Chicago, such at the museums or downtown. We'll see.

Anyway, I'm very glad to be home now, to be in familiar surroundings where people smile and acknowledge each other a little. The Chicagoans weren't rude, they just seemed preoccupied. The hotel staff and airport people were very helpful, I must say. But it's good to be home.

On that note, I am seriously considering going ahead and going to bed. If I don't write any more tonight, have a good one. Sorry I didn't update there; to be honest, I didn't want to announce to the world that my apartment was empty just in case someone unscrupulous out there knows where I live. It may sound paranoid; I call it good sense. Good night.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Doing some late Sunday night laundry

to get ready for an exciting week, of which I'll write more later. My, it's been a busy weekend. Today alone I woke up at 4 am, after much snoozing of the alarm, did some game preparation till about 5:20, got on the first bus, did much housework for someone, helped someone put up a Christmas tree (it's quite lovely, in purple and gold), went on a major grocery run, and played in the Cthulhu game until almost 10 pm. Fortunately I've had a whole two-litre of soda to perk up. But I must admit, I'm ready for bed and it's just almost time to take the clothes out of the wash and put them into the dryer. So no sleeping until about 1:30 or so.

Tomorrow I need to leave by 7:30 to make it to a committee meeting in time. I'm looking forward to meeting a fellow librarian I've been conversing with for almost 15 years, but whom I have never met in person. Turns out she's retiring soon, and this is probably our last chance to get together, so that should be fun.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Guess what I came across?

I loved this as a child...and still do. And I miss Burgess Meredith. His voice brought back good memories.

Okay, I'm not Christian

But this is the season that Christian music comes into it's own, and I do love music. Here are some my favourites:

(This version is by both Andrea Bocelli and Mary J Blige. It is, of course, the same tune as 'Greensleeves'.)

(Although Sting made it popular, it is based on a mediaeval Basque carol.)

(I also have a fondness for anything by Rankin-Bass, and this was my favourite of theirs when I was growing up, although for a nice almost pagan-y Christmas story from them, be sure to check out their version of L Frank Baum's 'Life and Adventures of Santa Claus', which I discovered only as a young adult.) :)

A post about blogging

or, more, how the mainstream media saw blogging shortly after I started blogging:

When the Mainstream Media First Met the Blog
Blogs are such an accepted form of media now that every major newspaper and most Fortune 500 companies have them. Magazine editors blog and federal department heads blog. Gwyneth Paltrow blogs and so does your mom.

But it was only a decade ago that blogs were seen as some strange beast rising out of the Internet abyss. The following press accounts recount early traditional media encounters with these reverse-chronological dragons that indicated the edge of the media map.

Thanks to PF Anderson, who tweeted the link.

Every student's favourite

from the Carmina Burana.

Here's another version, with several views of various (unrelated) manuscripts:

For the Latin and translation, you may click on this Carmina Burana website. Many of the rest of the songs are there as well.

For more on the Goliards read:

The Wandering Scholars, by Hellen Waddell, a classic
Wine, Women, and Song by John Addington Symonds
The Goliard Poets: Medieval Songs and Satires in New Verse Translations by George F. Whicher (a treasure I found in a used bookstore in Louisville)

Wikipedia, Goliard
Goliards by Melissa Snell at About.com.

What can I say? I was trained as a mediaevalist and I'm a Latin Geek. :)

Friday, December 09, 2011

Interesting, and a little eerie...

Library of Dust: Reflections on Life Through the Unclaimed Dead
I was reminded of the work of photographer David Maisel, who explores the subject from an unusual, almost surreal angle in Library of Dust — an artful depiction of copper canisters containing the cremated remains of individual patients from the Oregon State Insane Asylum, a state-run psychiatric hospital, who died there between 1883 and the 1970s, their bodies never claimed by their families. Maisel photographed many of the 3,500 canisters with incredible detail, their multicolor blooming corrosion reminiscent of nature’s wonders like vibrant sunset skies or rich bedrock textures or the aurora borealis.

They're beautiful and yet eerie at the same time. A very different 'coffee-table' book.

So wrong...

Thanks to Jen Campbell for the link.

PS It's really just through Deathly Hallows, Part 1...

Hurray! Let's celebrate 50 years!

Macmillan to Mark 50th Anniversary of 'A Wrinkle in Time'
A year-long celebration of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time kicks off in January, when Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group releases 50th anniversary editions of the novel: a Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover, a Square Fish paperback, and an e-book version. Another e-book, due next May, collects L’Engle’s celebrated essay, “Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?,” and additional “Madeleineia.” And fall 2012 publications include the first A Wrinkle in Time graphic novel, created by Hope Larson, from FSG; and Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices by Leonard Marcus, an FSG adult title.

This is such an excellent book--one of my favourites from childhood. Everyone should read it at least once.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Just a quick note

to apologise--nothing witty or unusual to report tonight. I had a migraine, well, have a migraine, all sick and light-sensitive and splitting headache, and went to bed in a nice dark quiet room for a couple of hours, then got up and it had eased enough for me to watch tonight's episode of 'Grimm', but my head's hurting again, so it's back to bed I go. Hopefully I'll be able to post something good tomorrow.

Good night.

It just keeps chugging along...

NASA Rover Finds Convincing Evidence of Water on Ancient Mars
A well-traveled NASA Mars rover has found some of the best evidence yet that water flowed on the Red Planet's surface long ago, researchers announced Wed., Dec. 7.

The Opportunity rover, which landed on Mars nearly eight years ago, has discovered a thin, bright mineral vein along the rim of a huge crater called Endeavour. This mineral is almost certainly gypsum that was deposited by liquid water billions of years ago, researchers said.

"This is the single most powerful piece of evidence for liquid water at Mars that has been discovered by the Opportunity rover," Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Opportunity's principal investigator, told reporters here today during the 2011 winter meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

:) Keep it up, Opportunity.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

How many of you think shoggoth when you read the headline below?

Researchers find new creature with 16,000 eyes
A team of scientists have discovered a strange new creature that reportedly had 16,000 eyes when it lived during the age of the dinosaurs.

Working on Kangaroo Island in South Australia, the team of scientists announced the discovery, saying they have turned up a Cambrian predator with 16,000 eyes. Anomalocaris is one of the weirdest and fiercest creatures from the Cambrian period, when multicellular life first evolved over 600 million years ago. The animals were about a meter long, and shaped as a flattened oval, a bit like a modern flounder.

I did. But then I play a Lovecraftian role-playing game each week. :)

Here's a more in-depth look at the creature, including an artist's rendition, from Discover magazine:

The sharp eyes of Anomalocaris, a top predator that lived half a billion years ago
Before killer whales and polar bears, before sharks and tyrannosaurs, the world’s top predator was probably a bizarre animal called Anomalocaris. It lived in the Cambrian period, over half a billion years ago, when life was confined to the seas and animals took on bizarre shapes that haven’t been seen since.

RIP Harry Morgan

Colonel Potter or M*A*S*H, who gave me lots of laughs over the years.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


I so better be home on Christmas night. By 9 pm. Just saying.

'Sometimes, I guess there just aren't enough rocks.'

That's my favourite quote from Forrest Gump, which I finally saw for the first time tonight. I made it almost to the end before I started bawling. I'm proud of that. There were lots of times I could have, but still...I finally lost it and as the credits played had to blow my nose and wash my face.

I always thought it sounded unbelievable and terribly, well, overly sentimental, but there is a wonderful interweaving of story and personalities, and although it pushes the envelope in terms of belief (the running across country so many times almost did me in), at heart it's a very tender, deep story. I'm glad I saw it. I think both Tom Hanks and Robin Wright did an excellent job. I have another film with Wright, The Princess Bride out from the library. Perhaps I'll watch that tomorrow. I have seen it several times, but it never grows old.

The next Netflix title in my queue is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which I understand really does push that envelope regarding suspension of disbelief, but I'm willing to give it a shot. :)

Monday, December 05, 2011

Twenty years ago today

I took a step that utterly changed me life, for the best. I left a loveless marriage to set out on my own. I couldn't have done it without having a friend who questioned the double standards in my life and sat up with me late at night watching Star Trek: the Next Generation and asking me hard questions I couldn't easily answer. Twenty years later, that friendship is still deep, while the marriage--whose relationship lasted six years, although the actual time married was about six months before I left--is only an unpleasant bunch of memories. Sometimes I pull out the wedding photos to prove to myself that I was that naïve, that stupid. But on December 5th, every year, I thank the Gods for my friend and for the day my brain kicked back in.

I married June 15th, 1991. I'd been the one who had pushed for the wedding. In my desperation, I felt that it was the only way to make the last few years' experience valid, as crazy as that sounds. By September I sought therapy, but the social worker was more interested in childhood relationships than the one I desperately needed to get away from. By October, I'd had my epiphany, during the famous scene in Ghost while 'Unchained Melody' played, when I realised how I had something much more bitter and sick in my life than that simple love. I announced my intent to leave. By November I was actively looking for an apartment. By happenstance the apartment that connected to my friend's came open, and on the 5th of December I moved.

So here's to freedom, and to courage, and to good friendship. I hate to think where I would have been without it. My spirit had been on its way to dying already; I had handed my personality and my brain over long before. December 5th I took it back, and although thinks have sometimes been a bit rocky on my own, I am very pleased by how things have turned out, compared to what they would have been, praise the Gods, and thank you, my dearest friend.


Potentially Earth-Like Planet Has Right Temperature for Life
For the first time, astronomers have found a planet smack in the middle of the habitable zone of its sunlike star, where temperatures are good for life. “If this planet has a surface, it would have a very nice temperature of some 70° Fahrenheit [21°C],” says William Borucki of NASA’s Ames Research Center here, who is the principal investigator of NASA’s Kepler space telescope. “[It's] another milestone on the journey of discovering Earth’s twin,” adds Ames director Simon “Pete” Worden.

An interesting line of investigation

I spent much of my childhood battling strep infections. I don't know if my OCD is related to this, but the idea that it could be is pretty intriguing. (I wasn't diagnosed as a child, though I had some symptoms then. I might check with my mom and see what she remembers.)

Childhood disorder prompts study of infection link to mental illness
Brody Kennedy was a typical sixth-grader who loved to hang out with friends in Castaic and play video games. A strep-throat infection in October caused him to miss a couple of days of school, but he was eager to rejoin his classmates, recalls his mother, Tracy.

Then, a week after Brody became ill, he awoke one morning to find his world was no longer safe. Paranoid about germs and obsessed with cleanliness, he refused to touch things and showered several times a day. His fear prevented him from attending school, and he insisted on wearing nothing but a sheet or demanding that his mother microwave his clothes or heat them in the dryer before dressing.

So began a horrific battle with a sudden-onset mental illness that was diagnosed as pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcus, or PANDAS. The puzzling name describes children who have obsessive-compulsive disorder that occurs suddenly — and often dramatically — within days or weeks of a simple infection, such as strep throat.

Here are a couple of other interesting articles about causes of abnormal psychophysiology:

Scans Show Brain Damage in Abused Teens
Adolescents reporting a history of abuse -- even nonphysical forms such as emotional neglect -- had deficits in gray-matter brain volume in numerous regions compared with other teens, researchers said.

Among 42 teens without psychiatric diagnoses, scores on the self-reported Childhood Trauma Questionnaire were inversely correlated with gray-matter volume in brain regions including the prefrontal cortex, striatum, amygdala, and cerebellum, as well as cortical regions associated with sensory function, according to Hilary P. Blumberg, MD, of Yale University, and colleagues.

Moreover, the specific patterns of gray-matter deficit measured via high resolution MRI varied according to the type of abuse participants reported, the researchers indicated in the December issue of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

ADHD - Four Genes Linked To The Disorder
Four gene variants, all members of the glutamate receptor gene family, appear to be involved in vital brain signaling pathways in a sub-set of children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), researchers from the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia reported in the journal Nature Genetics.

Terribly overplayed but excellent

Listening to

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Putting together a playlist

As part of my advanced planning, I decided to just burn a CD of songs I thought appropriate at any memorial service for me. Here's what I have so far:

'Scarborough Fair/Canticle' by Simon & Garfunkel
'Dust in the Wind' by Kansas
'Now Comes the Night' by Rob Thomas
'If Today Was Your Last Day' by Nickelback
'Gravedigger' by Dave Matthews
'Leave Out All the Rest' by Linkin Park
'My Immortal' by Evanescence
'Flowers Never Bend With the Rainfall' by Simon & Garfunkel
'Iridescent' by Linkin Park
'Life is Sweet' by Natalie Merchant
'Someday' by Rob Thomas

What would you choose?

For those of you with Android phones

concerned with the Carrier IQ software that some carriers have installed into phones that can purportedly send lots of information back to the carrier, and even log keystrokes, there is an application that can detect it called Carrier IQ Detector that is very small, free, and easy to use.

Here's more on the detector: New Android App Finds Carrier IQ Fast, Free, and Easy

And about Carrier IQ itself:

What Is Carrier IQ? (Updated)

Carrier IQ: Researcher Trevor Eckhart Outs Creepy, Hidden App Installed On Smartphones (VIDEO) (UPDATE)

Removal of the software is not to be taken lightly, as it involves rooting the device, with its own set of risks, and you probably don't want to do that unless you know what you're doing. Thankfully, mine came back negative. :)

In the holiday spirit

Nearly every year for the past fifteen or more, I have gotten a Norfolk Virginia pine tree in a pot for Yule. For about six of those years, I had a single tree that lived for quite some time and then eventually died. Unfortunately, lately they've been spraying glitter on the trees, which make them sparkle, but they're dead by January.

So I wanted something different this year, and today I got a small rosemary bush that has been trimmed in pine-tree shape and decorated it with these little tiny decorations I had, a small string of lights, and some icicle garland. What do you think?

I took the bigger ornaments that have some sentimental value and placed them in among the other plants. I have a pair of flickering battery-operated candles in the living room window, and another in the bedroom one. The moose is one of a pair in skating outfits that I got a book fair years ago. (The male has a sign that says Chris-Moose, which I found hilarious at the time even though it's not quite Yule-oriented as much as a certain Other Winter Holiday). But, hey...

I strung some bells in the entryway as well. Wish I had a wreath for the door like we got last year at work. That was lovely, and the whole hallway smelled so nice.

Okay, I have some stuff to do that isn't holiday related before I head to bed, but I wanted to post about that. Have a good night, if I don't write more.

Two interesting things shared on Facebook

by someone I knew in the old days.

Britain's rudest place names (amusing)

Men Photographed in Stereotypical Pin-Up Poses (read: silly)

Thanks, Bill!

Although I love e-books, as a bibliophile I love the physical book, too

especially when there's beauty to be had. I remember the pleasure of opening The Map of Time (in the library, and even though I haven't read it yet, I do intend to) and being surprised by the beautiful endpapers that were much like the ones I saw in multi-volume Burton translation of A Thousand and One Arabian Nights. And I remember thinking, I'd like to buy this book just for that, although of course the story is also very important.

Selling Old-Style Books by Their Gilded Covers
Even as more readers switch to the convenience of e-books, publishers are giving old-fashioned print books a makeover.

Many new releases have design elements usually reserved for special occasions — deckle edges, colored endpapers, high-quality paper and exquisite jackets that push the creative boundaries of bookmaking. If e-books are about ease and expedience, the publishers reason, then print books need to be about physical beauty and the pleasures of owning, not just reading.

“When people do beautiful books, they’re noticed more,” said Robert S. Miller, the publisher of Workman Publishing. “It’s like sending a thank-you note written on nice paper when we’re in an era of e-mail correspondence.”