Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Anyone who thinks abortion is cut and dried should read this

'I'm showing my son mercy'
No matter how you feel about abortion, I think most compassionate people would feel for this couple's situation. It is so wrong that they had to go through so much just to do, what in my opinion, in this case, was absolutely the right thing to do. I am so sorry that they had to go through such a difficult decision made more difficult thanks to badly-considered legislation.

It is so blustery out there

that a tiny amount of wind is getting through my normally decently sealed windows and making the wind chimes in the window chime just a bit with the huge gusts every now and then. The wind is positively howling, perfect for Halloween, I suppose. What have I actually been doing for the last two hours this Samhain eve? Listening to the Pandora 'Loreena McKinnitt' channel I have set up; in other words, enjoying some lovely Celtic music and relaxing. That was in the bedroom. Now that I'm in the living room, and there's no music, the wind is really loud. We're supposed to see gusts over 40 mph, and I think that's definitely happening.

Here's a little appropriate music from Loreena McKinnitt to chase the wind away:

I got some good news today

while at my endocrinology appointment. In July, my HbA1c (the blood test that determines how your blood sugar has been running averaged over a three-month period) was 10.0, but the one I took today was only 7.6, much better and it means my estimated blood glucose came down quite a bit. She told me to keep doing what I'm doing. I also talked to her about changing my Novolog to Humalog because my insurance isn't going to cover the former next year.

Sorry I didn't write last night. I was out celebrating a friend's birthday. We were born the same year, so he caught up to me in age. We went to Alfalfa restaurant downtown. I had falafel, salad, and red beans and rice. Afterwards we went back to their house for birthday cake. Then I went home and went straight to bed, since my appointment was so early this morning (8 am). As it was, I was about 10 minutes late, because I live about as far away from them as you can in Lexington, and I'm not used to cross-town traffic that early in the day. But it all worked out.

Tonight the plan is to spend the evening inside at home. Lexington, along with several other central Kentucky towns, moved their trick-or-treating (which is almost unheard of here) because we're supposed to get some pretty ugly weather this evening.

Okay, I think I'm going to snuggle up with my copy of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Paranormal for a bit, maybe play some Plants vs. Zombies, and watch 'Big Bang Theory' later tonight. Oh, that reminds me:
    Why I do not plan to download the new Plants vs. Zombies 2, even though I love the original:
  1. It is huge. Over 160 MB of space. I have 16 GB on my phone, but that's a lot for one game.
  2. Instead of being a game you just buy outright, it a 'freemium' product with 'in-app purchasing'. Basically, you can play to a point but if you really want to play it seriously, you have to pay for items that will help you win, so you pay more in the long run.
  3. I can't. On the first day it was available for Android OS, I actually had a moment where I hit the button to download and it simply couldn't do it, even over wi-fi.
What can I aay, I just don't think it's worth it. Maybe if any of that changes, I'll reconsider, but not right now.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

We had Chinese food from Jin Jin for dinner

and I got these two fortunes in my cookies:
You will conquer obstacles to achieve success.
Good things are coming to you in due course of time.
Typically ambiguous, but promising.

It's almost 1 am and I'm just getting home from visiting with my friends and watching a couple of shows with YKWIA ('The Originals' and 'Supernatural', plus some YouTube videos, including these:

'Spell Block Tango'

which is a Disney-inspired version of 'Cell Block Tango' from the musical Chicago:

Now I'm sleepy and it's time for bed. My doctor put in an order for a new CPAP machine for me; we'll see if they'll be able to run it through using the sleep study from six years ago or if the insurance company will want another study done. I originally went because I was afraid my 15-year-old machine would give up the ghost, leaving me unable to sleep properly, but the doctor said that with the advances they've had since then, they now have machines that can automatically adjust pressure, which would help my residual daytime sleepiness. My current machine is set at about the lower threshold of the pressure I should be getting. A new one would start there and automatically adjust up as needed. Also, they keep data stored in them for up to three years that help the sleep centre determine best options. He also wants to change my the headgear to a smaller assembly which will be more comfortable and won't require a chin strap. My machine is so old, they had to test it using mechanical means and seemed quite surprised that it was still running. So wish me luck. I did tell them I hoped I didn't need a new sleep study--I hate trying to get the goop out of my hair. I don't mind much else about them, but the goop they use to put the electrodes on your head with takes days to get out; I had a friend shave his head before having one once, but that's not a viable option for me, as I'd look silly (I have a rather flat head). The doctor seemed genuinely surprised that the goop was the stuff I found most annoying about the test. I wonder if he's every had to deal with it--he has a very full head of hair. :)

Anyway, it's time to hook the CPAP back up in the bedroom and go to bed. Good night.

Monday, October 28, 2013

I noticed a little while ago

that Time Warner Cable must have come today, because my cable has been moved from the old outlet (which was working, whereas the new one wasn't fully) to the new one (which is now fine). At least they locked my door back (the subcontractor the other day left it open).

I also noticed that my remote for my television has Braille on the power and a couple of other buttons.

I just put together the package for sending a Robert Jordan book that was requested from me via PaperbackSwap.com. Yes, I know, swapping books defeats the purpose of getting rid of them. But I only have thirteen books posted for swapping, whereas when I weed, I'll have to really cull them. As to the Robert Jordan books, I only have one left. They were okay, but I never finished the series because, well, frankly, they were starting to get repetitive. So it's nice to get them to someone else who might like them better.

I did actually remember to pay a bill that was due tonight. It's good that I'll be paid soon. The only trouble with being more mobile, etc., with the car is that it costs a great deal more than the bus did. But I can go where I want, when I want, and take others with me, and that, as the MasterCard ads put it, is priceless.

I have an appointment with my sleep doctor tomorrow and must remember to bring the CPAP machine with me. I suspect they'll laugh at it. There's no removable card; you're supposed to plug in the machine to something that reads it, and I don't know if they'll still have that ability or not. :) By my reckoning it's about fifteen years old and looks like a grey version of my mom's old avocado-coloured hair dryer.

I believe I am going to check in with a friend via e-mail (it's a bit late to call) and then head on to bed. Good night.


Okay, I can barely walk, as my back is really not happy with me, but everything's been done, including taking out the trash and recyclables, vacuuming, washing dishes, and cleaning the bathroom. My apartment is visitable again. And yes, I may have to admit I have too many books. Keep in mind there are three bookshelves in the bedroom and one in the closet, plus two that are seen here only from the side. There is absolutely no room for expansion. I think it's time to weed a bit, much as I hate to. And yes, I'm aware that my décor is something like post-dormitory in nature. But the shelves are an improvement over bed rails.

Trying to finish up the living room

I just got home about half an hour ago. The loveseat is clear. I need to finish clearing the dining table, take out the recyclables and trash, and vacuum, but my back is hurting and I'm kind of sleepy (I got about five hours' sleep last night). I think I will take a short (less than an hour) nap and then come back to the work to be done.

Okay, the biggest thing I ever knitted was a bookmark

What can I say, I have no patience or talent for crafts, really. But this made me laugh. More power to him:

The Time I Was Questioned by Police for Knitting in a Starbucks

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I've been over at my friends' house most of the day

But I worked on the house for about five hours total last night and this morning, and then came home and spent another hour or so on it. I'm almost finished. The books are more or less where they should be. The plants are watered. The CDs are up on the new rack. I need to vacuum, clean off the dining table, take out the recyclables and trash, and run a load in the dishwasher. I'm not sure I'll be able to finish that tonight. I'm going back to my friends' in about a half an hour to cut the hair of one of them and then watch 'Witches of East End'. It's been a tiring weekend, with lots of organisation of chaos. But I will get it all together. It's definitely taking longer to put things back together than it did to take apart--and it took five hours to do that. :) I also have to figure out if I want to get rid of the bedrails entirely or not. They've been very useful as wooden shelves. Okay, I'm going to do a few things more before I leave. If I don't write anymore tonight, I hope you had a good weekend, and good night.

Woo-hoo (assuming they keep to schedule)

Android 4.3 schedule for Galaxy S 4, S 4 Active, S III, and Note 2 leaks

Mine is 11/25/13 (Samsung Galaxy S III on T-Mobile). I'm interested to see what the new update to Android 4.3 means for my phone. I'm running 4.1.2, I think--they skipped 4.2 entirely. And Android 4.4 will be out soon (aka as 'Kit Kat'), so in the coming months it might make it to the S III, too, I'm hoping. My phone is not the newest model, but it's a pretty decent piece of technology, and still has a lot of life left in it. :)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Another couple of hours, and I'm getting pooped

I still have quite a few books to put up. But I worked steadily for several hours today, with a trip over to my friends' house in the middle to help with the grocery run and some other things. I really hoped to get everything back in place in time for tomorrow afternoon, but I'm not sure that's reasonable. There are still books everywhere, plus the boxes the shelves came in, etc. I think I'm going to take a break and see if I can manage not to fall asleep, then see if there's any energy left to work with. Part of the trouble is I'm trying to at least put them in discrete categories (the literature section, for example, isn't in order, but it's all together). I'm trying to keep the books that were in order together, but I wasn't able to keep them like that in piles, because there just wasn't always room next to each other, so that's an issue. But I'm going to keep working on it, just not at the moment.

You know it's almost Halloween in Lexington when...

Perennial zombies enrich Lexington's downtown 'Thriller'

2013 Thriller & Halloween Parade

They've been doing it for thirteen years. I've never actually been, but it's become a great Lexington tradition. I think Brandon and family went down for the Halloween parade and Thriller performance tonight. Hope they all had fun! Okay...shelves are in place. Now to put those books up.

Well, I've been working steadily for a little over two hours

The computer desk was set up already, although I moved it back a little, tilted across the corner. Then there's the printer stand, the table that had been between the living area and dining area, now with the TV/Cable Box/DVD-R/VCR. To the left of that is a couple of those stackable bookshelves with the DVDs and VHS tapes on them. That goes to the corner. In the small bit of wall on the left of the room, there's a bookshelf. I took the entertainment centre and put it between the living area and dining area. It is facing the dining area, with two of the bookshelves on the living room side. I need to get two more to go above those, so the back of the entertainment centre is hidden. Then I have to start putting books up on the shelves, and they'll go on the entertainment centre as well. What isn't going back up are the bed rails; I could never really reach the books anyway. So there's actually some wall space in the living room. I might be able to put up another painting or so, maybe the ones from the hallway. I'm not sure.

I took a few minutes to eat a salad and some cheese. I really needed some water, too. I think I'm going to stretch out for a few minutes, though, before I take a shower and head over to the store for those bookshelves.

I had a moment looking out the window just now, looking out at the leaves blowing in the wind, and I had a flashback to being stuck in the house last year, where my window was truly my main connexion to what was going on outside. I'm so glad that time is over, and that I'm able to move around and even though I'm probably overdoing it a bit today, at least I am up and able to move things around. I really appreciate how far I've come since I was hurt.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Oh, I'm so happy it is Friday

and the great cable upgrade is, indeed, finished, although the new outlet isn't completely turned on yet (I get the programme guide, and a notice saying the channel will be available shortly--for all channels). But most importantly, I can put everything back, or actually, re-arrange the living room as I like--which I plan to start in the morning.

I just got back from watching 'Grimm' with YKWIA and spending some time over there visiting. We had a good night. Tommorow we have a couple of projects, the grocery run, and maybe, if I can get everything back together, we can watch The Blues Brothers over here. That would be really great. It means that my morning is definitely going to be busy. If I can't get everything back tomorrow, there's Sunday, as Brenda has a doll meet, I believe, so there's no game.

It has been a productive, yet tiring, week, and I'm glad to finally be home where I can snuggle up in bed and get some rest. I went by Kroger earlier for snacks and got a power strip for the bedroom (I'd used one in there for the living room when I moved the computer and lamp over), so I can plug in the TV, RF modulator, and Roku box. I'm also going to put a little DVD player I won as a door prize years ago back there, so I can watch DVDs. But I think what I'm going to do soon is put on Pandora back there, kick up my feet, and enjoy some music for awhile, although I might do a little work in the living room first. At any rate, hope you have a good night. Once I get things back in order, I'll post a picture. :)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I was really hoping the cable people had come today, but no

Instead I got a notice that they were to be here today, tomorrow, and Monday (the original notice didn't mention Friday). I was really hoping they had come, worked, and finished, and that I could get things back together before the weekend, but alas, that will probably not be the case.

So now I'm home, eating black bean soup and a Parmesan bagel, and considering taking a nap because I worked very hard today and I'm a bit pooped. I'm finally making some progress about catching up on things there. I got The Blues Brothers in the mail today; maybe we can watch it at my friends' house instead. I also got the latest Victoria magazine and an entertaining catalogue called Alberene Royal Mail (http://www.albarene.com), which has all sorts of great gifts from Britain and Ireland inside, whether it be green men, illuminated manuscript ties, train station clocks, clan tartans, tea cakes, jewelry, and glass reproductions of famous window panels. They even have my phone booth toffee tin bank that I got years ago, along with others, including one of Big Ben and another of a thatched cottage. You can even get a replica of the Magna Carta should you wish. :) I should show this to YWKWIA and Brenda.

Okay, about that nap....

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tired and achy

It's been a productive day, but the last hour or so all I could think about was putting my feet up, stretching out, and taking a nap. It doesn't help that it didn't get over 48 degrees all day and it's grey and rainy outside. My back has given me some trouble today, although in truth not near as much as I thought it would. I've mostly sat--we had our benefits fair today and our retirement representative gave out little paedometres, and I've walked about 1,706 steps today--a far cry from the 10,000 you're supposed to.

So now I'm home, and with all that work, they obviously did not come today. Oh, well. Anyway, I'm going to take a little nap and try to keep it to an hour or less, so I can call my friend and see if he wants to watch 'The Tomorrow People' and 'American Horror Story: Coven' over at his place tonight. I should be getting The Blues Brothers from Netflix tomorrow--but we're obviously not going to be watching it at my house this weekend. :(

Time for bed

I ache all over, especially my neck and lower back, but I accomplished much (it's amazing what a little incentive can do). The place is a mess, but the objective was met. I did a little cruising through Google News and now I'm quite ready for bed. Good night.


The 8 Habits of Highly Successful Young-Adult Fiction Authors: Best-selling writers including John Green and Veronica Roth share their strategies for crafting authentic, relatable teen characters—even in fantasy worlds
Young-adult fiction, commonly called "YA fiction," has exploded over the past decade or so: The number of YA titles published grew more than 120 percent between 2002 and 2012, and other estimates say that between 1997 and 2009, that figure was closer to 900 percent. Ask a handful of young-adult fiction writers what exactly makes a YA novel, though, and you’ll get a handful of conflicting answers.

At their core, YA books are for and about teenagers and pre-teens, usually between 12 and 18 years old, but sometimes as young as 10. Yet more than half of all YA novels sold are bought by older adults 18 or older, and certain titles published in the U.S. as YA are considered mainstream fiction for adults in other countries. Some authors believe the intent to write for young readers is a prerequisite of YA fiction; others don’t even realize their books will be labeled as YA until after they finish writing.

Cool--kudos to her and other public librarians serving the needs of small communities

Turning A Page Inside A Rural One-Room Library
There's one state highway running through Myrtle, Mo. It's a sleepy town in the Ozarks, population about 300. There's no bank or restaurant here, but enormous oak and persimmon trees loom over a small stone building right next to the road. Half of it is a post office; the other half, a one-room public library.

Rachel Reynolds Luster took over this branch four months ago with the goal of creating a learning hub. She calls herself a curator, not just a librarian.

Her first task? Filtering out some of the favorites of the previous librarian.

"It's been interesting working this transition with her," Luster says. "She was quite upset that the cooking magazines were gone. But we recycled them all, and we kept some holiday cookie editions."

Luster scanned her shelves for the one book she felt every library must have: the Greek epic The Odyssey. "I looked, and we didn't have one — no library in our system had one," she says.
I spent a couple of years in a small town in Kansas, population 1706, according to the census at the time, and the things that kept me sane were my friend Deana and our town library, which was one room. It was there I discovered Susan Cooper and many fantasy books. I appreciate having had that at a difficult time in my life (late junior high, early high school). I am glad that refuge was there, and I'm sure others in small towns are happy that people like Rachel Reynolds Luster care about them.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


I didn't take a break and didn't take my contacts out. But I did take the entertainment centre down partially and it's pulled out about two-three feet. They'll have to live with it. I just need to pull the chest of drawers out in the bedroom and get some things out of the floor and then I'll be finished. But I'm very, very pooped, and my living room is basically unusable except for the computer station. It looks like some strange creature vomited books up all over the place. I had a small moment of temper when I kept stubbing my toe on a large book on the floor at the bottom of a tall pile. I had to take it out, toppling the uppermost books, and I'm afraid I literally threw the book onto the couch. But it's okay. I'm okay. I am sniffly and covered with dust, and my ankle hurts from climbing up on a metal chair, but I'm okay. But I am not happy.


While I was waiting for 'Supernatural' to record, I moved the computer desk, which was now free of the bed rails with books, and that entailed unhooking everything and moving things around so that the desk is angled. The computer tower is now under the printer to the left of the desk, rather than in front of the window, and a floor lamp that was too close to the curtains has been moved to a better spot. I'm not quite sure what I'll do with the rest of the living room, but I don't think I'm going to put the books back up on the rails. Anyway, it took quite more time than I expected, and this means I still have to undo the entertainment centre, and it's 11 pm. I'm wondering if I can get the books off the top and then angle the actual entertainment centre so they can get behind it without undoing the whole thing. I doubt it. What I do know is that, late as it is, I have to take a break and take my contacts out, as things have gotten blurry with all the dust I've uncovered. :(

Ha, ha!

I've gotten the bed rails with those books down, plus the bookshelf cleared off and moved. When I took it out of its place, there was a fortune cookie fortune underneath it that said, 'All the effort you are making will ultimately pay off.' I hope so. I still have the entertainment centre to go, but I'm going to wait until after 'Supernatural' is off (I'm recording it), in case I have to move the cable box around. Ugh. It's a good time to take a break, anyway, as my back is now bothering me. But at least I have the radio to listen to.

Well, drat...

I was getting ready to go over to a friend's to watch 'The Originals' and 'Supernatural' with him, when I decided to stop by the house and get my mail and change into some more comfortable clothes. On my door was a note from my landlady explaining that our cable company had subcontracted a company to come in and install new cable lines in our apartments, starting as early as 9:00 tomorrow morning. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Monday they can be here any time between 9 am and 5 pm. The note goes on to say where the new outlets will be and then says (in bold and italics), 'If you have items that sit in front of these areas, please move them away from the wall so the techs have easy access to those locations.

This is not so much a problem for most of my neighbours, many of whom have fairly minimalistic decor (or at least the ones who leave their blinds open seem to). But I have books. Many books. In fact, along the wall in the living room that must be cleared, I have an entertainment centre with a bookshelf above, with a bookshelf next to it that holds up two wooden bedrails with books on them that spans to the computer desk. Yes, I was thinking of rearranging my living room, but I wasn't expecting to have to do it, especially with that little notice! They gave me two days' notice that the exterminator was coming, but one day (which really translated to fourteen hours, since I was at work and out until 7 pm) for this???

YKWIA said I should just call them in the morning and tell them this is unacceptable. Unfortunately, I'm too much of a 'good girl' to do that. But still, it does irk me. Anyway, I should start that process. Wish me luck!!!


eating sugar-free popsicles in the middle of the night. Monday is a kind of catch-up day for me in terms of sleep, so I laid down about 7:30 pm and now it's after midnight and I'm up. I'm going to try to get up and go to work early to make up for an appointment today, as I'm still a bit behind.

I can't really report anything really stupendous happening today. I did forget my phone at home (I had it in my pants pocket, then took it back out to put in my jacket, but then got distracted; it sat all day next to where my purse had been). This caused me a bit of uneasiness; I mean, I had my tablet, I could do anything normally, including listening to music, that I'd wanted short of getting calls or texting. Still, I swung by the house and grabbed it on the way to that appointment. Years ago, before I had a cell phone but after they had become fairly widespread, a friend wound up in the emergency room while I was uncharacteristically out at the mall. I came back to find a message from several hours before, and he was still there. I felt like I'd let him down, at the time, although he had called someone else so it wasn't like he was alone. But I like to be better prepared in cases of emergency.

I'm still sleepy. I suppose I should take my insulin and go back to sleep. Good night.

Monday, October 21, 2013

So good

To finally be able to lie down and prop up my feet. There was no game today (Brenda had something out of town), but I cleaned house at my friends', visited for most of the day, watched part of the Bengals-Lions football game with one friend, and then watched Vampire Diaries, H2O: Just Add Water, and Witches of East End with the other. I was there for over twelve hours and although it was fun, I'm glad to be home.

I really do prefer to watch TV and movies with others. Last night both of them came over to my house and we watched the movie Vibes. We had it out as a DVD from Netflix. Next up is The Blues Brothers, which, believe it or not, I've never seen.

Okay, I have to get up in a few hours. I should go to bed. Hope you had a nice weekend.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

This is one that every young person should hear...

Never let someone keep the light inside you suppressed and chained. Trust me, I've been there.  YKWIA, I think you'll like this. Thank you for helping me reclaim my world.

She is a pyramid
But with him she's just a grain of sand
This love's too strong like Mice and Men
Squeezing out the life that should be let in

She was a hurricane
But now she's just a gust of wind
She used to set the sails of a thousand ships
Was a force to be reckoned with

She could be a Statue of Liberty
She could be Joan of Arc
But he’s scared of the light that’s inside of her
So he keeps her in the dark

Oh she used to be a pearl
Oh yeah she used to rule the world
Oh can't believe she’s become a shell of herself
Cause she used to be a pearl

She was unstoppable
Moved fast as like an avalanche
But now she’s stuck deep in cement
Wishing that they never ever met
She could be a Statue of Liberty
She could be a Joan of Arc
But he’s scared of the light that’s inside of her
So he keeps her in the dark

Oh She used to be a pearl
Oh yeah she used to rule the world
Oh can’t believe she’s become a shell of herself
Cause she used to be a--

Do you know that there’s a way out
There’s a way out
There’s a way out
There’s a way out
You don’t have to be held down
Be held down
Be held down
Be held down

Cause I used to be a shell...
Yeah I let him rule my world
My world Oh yeah

But I woke up and grew strong and I can still go on
And no one can take my pearl
You don’t have to be a shell, no
You’re the one that rules your world, oh
You are strong and you’ll learn
That you can still go on
And you’ll always be a pearl

She is unstoppable

Friday, October 18, 2013

Went out with some of my co-workers tonight

as a goodbye to one of the women who's leaving. We went to the Shamrock Bar and Grille in Patchen, and I although I didn't have any alcohol (I was driving, and besides, I don't like alcohol as a general rule), I did get some decent fish and chips. I haven't actually been in a bar in a long time. I think the last was with Bill and Liz years ago at McCarthy's downtown. Several of the guys played darts, and the rest of us visited. I was there about an hour and a half and then came home, but it was pretty fun. Maybe I should try socialising more.

So now I'm home and I have the windows cracked a bit. In just a little while, I may go outside and see if I can see the moon rising, as the partial lunar eclipse is supposed to hit its peak at about 7:50 pm.

Today was busy yet productive. I'm still behind on my referrals (there are just so many, and I only really am supposed to work on them for about an hour, maybe two, a day), but I finally got some things finished and got some books out of the way that were on the library tables in boxes. I did what I could to get everything ready for Monday, and then closed up shop and went to visit with people at the bar. I won't say I managed to totally relax (social situations make me a little anxious, although this wasn't too bad as I knew almost everyone and have for years).

I was originally going to try to do two doctor's appointments on Monday and take off the whole day from work, but that really wasn't feasible. There are several high-volume clinic days next week, and I'll have lots to do. So I moved my sleep centre appointment to Tuesday of the next week so they wouldn't be too close together. I did fill out my paperwork for that appointment, though, including my tendency to fall asleep early and then wake up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night. That can't be good for you. There was a thing in the news today (Sleep 'Detoxes' The Brain, New Research Suggests) about how sleep is when our brains clear out the beta-amyloid materials that cause the plaques seen in Alzheimer's, as well as other waste products. I really fear getting dementia as I get older (I have a family history, and the diabetes can contribute to it), so I probably need better, uninterrupted sleep. I'm tired now, but I'm going to try to stay up for awhile more. Of course, one reason I'm tired is being the geek that I am, I stayed up working on two computers updating to the new operating system. So that's totally my fault. But I've held up pretty well as the day has progressed.

I do think I'm going to go listen to some music and see if I can get my muscles to relax. I'm not usually in to supplements, but I did some research on glucosamine sulfate, which is supposed to help joints that have osteoarthritis, and I decided to try some. Clinical studies have been a mixed bag, but it sure is helping a friend's dog, and I'm willing to give it a bit of time to see if I can benefit. One of my co-workers takes it and chondroitin and says it really has helped. Most of what I read indicated that for some people, glucosamine sulfate helps, but that adding other things doesn't necessarily boost the efficacy overall. So I'll try just that for now. I lucked out, too--a bottle at Rite Aid with 60 pills was labelled $24.99, and they were buy one get one free with a wellness card. I used my card, and in fact, it rang up at $10.99, so I essentially got them for about $5.50 a bottle. Not bad. The name-brand stuff was terribly expensive. I just hope this has a decent amount in it. Some of the studies pointed out that being a dietary supplement that is essentially unregulated, the amounts on the label and in actuality vary widely from brand to brand. Anyway, we'll see if it will help my knees and other joints noticeably.


Windows 8.1 is now running on both computers. I went on to bed while it finished downloading onto the laptop, then got up just a few minutes ago and finished the installation. Yay! Granted, it was a long process (hence why I slept through part of it, as I started about 7:30 last night, so over all, it took several hours, even if you don't count the sleep). I'm hoping it will be worth it. The Start button pretty much just toggles between interfaces, rather than being a true start button, but it a bit reassuring I'm sure for those who hated not having one. Both computers seem to be loading faster when programs are chosen. We'll see from there. I'm going to go back to bed for about a half an hour and try to get a little more sleep. :)

As an extra bonus

One thing I lost when I upgraded the desktop from Windows 7 to Windows 8 was the ability to install and run my National Geographic DVDs (I have a set of issues from issue 1 in the late 1800s through 2010). I love those DVDs, and was terribly frustrated, although at least they did work on the laptop, oddly. Well, on a lark I tried to reinstall and guess what? It works! Yay! Also, the download is happening quicker, probably because many people on the East Coast are now asleep. I'm up to 71% already. :)

Well, I'm officially running Windows 8.1 (at least on the desktop)

Which seems much faster, thankfully, and everything appears to be working correctly. The download took a long time, and in fact after an hour or two I was at 27% so I just went on to bed about 10 pm, got up at 1:45 am, and there was a terms of service screen ready, and after that it was less than five minutes and I was up and running. I still need to do it for the laptop; I had some major updates to do (I'm not on the laptop every day, so they piled up), and I'm having trouble getting the Windows 8.1 to come up in the store for it. I'm restarting again to see if it'll come up. That seems to have done it, and I'm trying to download the update as of now, although it glitched a bit at the beginning. So I'll let that download for awhile and get some sleep, then get up early and finish it. Ah, fun. :) If you're trying to download the Windows 8.1 update, I suggest 1) run Windows Update first and get all the normal updates out of the way and 2) restart a time or two if needed afterwards and it should show up. If it tells you that something went wrong with the download, just hit try again. That seemed to work for me on the laptop. Good luck.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Disturbing numbers, but something we need more awareness of and need to end

Thirty million people are slaves, half in India: Survey
Some 30 million people are enslaved worldwide, trafficked into brothels, forced into manual labour, victims of debt bondage or even born into servitude, a global index on modern slavery showed on Thursday.

Almost half are in India, where slavery ranges from bonded labour in quarries and kilns to commercial sex exploitation, although the scourge exists in all 162 countries surveyed by Walk Free, an Australian-based rights group.

Its estimate of 29.8 million slaves worldwide is higher than other attempts to quantify modern slavery. The International Labour Organisation estimates that almost 21 million people are victims of forced labour. "Today some people are still being born into hereditary slavery, a staggering but harsh reality, particularly in parts of West Africa and South Asia," the report said.

"Other victims are captured or kidnapped before being sold or kept for exploitation, whether through 'marriage', unpaid labour on fishing boats, or as domestic workers. Others are tricked and lured into situations they cannot escape, with false promises of a good job or an education." The Global Slavery Index 2013 defines slavery as the possession or control of people to deny freedom and exploit them for profit or sex, usually through violence, coercion or deception.
Here is a link to the actual Walk Free Foundation -- Global Slavery Index. The United States, by the way, linked 134 on the list, with a calculated number of enslaved at 59,644, with a minimum estimated at 57,000 and a maximum of 63,000.

Why my insulin will have to change

Express Scripts stops covering key Big Pharma drugs on clinical, cost-effectiveness grounds

Specifically, they stopped carrying Novo Nordisk's NovoLog FlexPen, which I inject before each meal. I did check, and there is a version of Humalog (which is on the accepted formulary for 2014) that has a pen version, called Humalog KwikPen. I'll ask my endocrinologist about it when I see her on Halloween.

So it's time to sign up for benefits for 2014 and I've been to my seminar on changes for the coming year. My insurance is changing to a co-insurance model, something that I've never had before with United Healthcare. There is a deductible of $150, a maximum of $1500 out-of-pocket expenses (for the individual plan), and medicines are 20% of their total value. I checked with my pharmacy and it looks like I will pay over $500 a month for my meds for the first three months of the year, after which I'll hit my max and they will be covered at 100%. I don't have an extra $500 a month for that, but I do have a flexible spending account, which takes pre-tax money out of each pay cheque but the elected funds are available to draw via a card on January 1st--so that will save me. Actually, I think I'll pay less out-of-pocket with this model than with my co-pays as they are now, which is a relief. Also, the pricing per pay cheque for the health insurance went down a bit for those of us who don't smoke and who agree to fill out an online health assessment (which I've already done). So that's good. There were lots of rumours and fears, I think, and of course smokers are not happy. But it took a couple of days to really sink in and understand the new plans. I think I'll be okay. And for those who grumble about the Affordable Care Act (also known as 'Obamacare') spurring the changes (and I know there are several doing that), granted, there were liable to be repercussions, but since I probably won't have any health insurance in 2015 through my job, unless I find a new position (as the library and I are not going to the new building once it's built and they move), I for one am happy there are alternatives out there for people with pre-existing conditions like diabetes to buy health insurance and get help paying for it. (Although the best of all possible outcomes would be finding a job before that comes to pass that includes health insurance benefits.)

They should name it Forrest (if a male), because it was a thrilling run

Runaway sheep apparently bound for slaughter is spared
A sheep apparently bound for slaughter darted around noon through an open bay door at Nortown Collision & Glass Co. Workers corralled the animal and fed it before turning it over to the city's animal control department.

"All of a sudden I'm looking out, and a big sheep is running through the door," said Nortown Collision owner Eugene Oleszko. "He's running in between the cars and knocking things over."

Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody said the roughly 4-foot long, 3-foot tall sheep with a numbered tag in its ear and a purple paint stripe down its back, was seen running on Eight Mile Road before it entered the shop.

"It did have the tagging and branding that would suggest that the animal is properly licensed and sold to a butcher or slaughterhouse," he said.

Authorities have not determined who owned the sheep, Woody said.

The animal will not be slaughtered. It is to be adopted by SASHA Farm Animal Sanctuary in Manchester, Mich., according to the Michigan Humane Society, which took the animal after it was captured at the collision shop.
My best wishes to the sheep. May it live a long life far away from the slaughterhouse. :)


Your results:
You are Deanna Troi
Deanna Troi
Jean-Luc Picard
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
Beverly Crusher
Will Riker
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
Geordi LaForge
Mr. Sulu
Mr. Scott
James T. Kirk (Captain)
You are a caring and loving individual.
You understand people's emotions and
you are able to comfort and counsel them.
Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Quiz

Thanks to Angela Allen for sharing on Facebook.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A sad but compelling story

Oregon Father’s Memorial Trek Across Country Ends in a Family’s Second Tragedy
As he made his way across the country, Joe Bell walked through rain squalls, slept in ditches and talked to anyone who would listen about how his gay son had killed himself after being taunted and bullied at school.

Mr. Bell’s artificial knees ached and his feet were mapped with blisters, but he told friends and strangers that he was determined to make it on foot from his home in eastern Oregon to New York City, where his son, Jadin, 15, had dreamed of one day working in fashion or photography. “I miss my son Jadin with all my heart and soul,” he wrote on Facebook in late May. “I know you’re with me on this walk.”

But last Wednesday, Mr. Bell’s American journey — one that drew attention from local newspapers and attracted thousands of followers on social media — ended in an instant on a two-lane road in rural eastern Colorado. He was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer whose driver had apparently fallen asleep, the state police said.

For nearly six months, Mr. Bell, 48, had been on the road, sharing his son’s story and trying to salve his own grief. He spoke at motorcycle rallies and college bars, schools, diners and gay-outreach centers, telling people about his sensitive, artistic son who hanged himself from a piece of playground equipment on Jan. 19.

This song makes me happy :)

...and I rather like the video, too.

He makes some very excellent points

Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming--A lecture explaining why using our imaginations, and providing for others to use theirs, is an obligation for all citizens
Do not discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is a route to other books you may prefer. And not everyone has the same taste as you.

Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child's love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian "improving" literature. You'll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I just woke up on the loveseat

all cramped and sore, after falling asleep two hours ago while listening to a happy Celtic channel of Loreena McKennitt and similar music on Pandora. The windows are open and I think it's sprinkled a bit outside. I have my fan and CPAP out here in the living room. That means I didn't watch 'The Originals' or 'Supernatural', but I did record them. Now I'm going to turn over the TV to the local news because I am curious as to why the police had a road I was on earlier shut down (and no, it wasn't the situation with the person hit on New Circle Road--this was another part of town). There were something like eight cruisers across the road, two on the way, and about twelve police officers in the yard of a house when I had to turn around.

No word on the news about what was happening. Oh, well. I guess it didn't make the cut. Maybe it will be on the Herald-Leader website tomorrow. Time to move the fan and CPAP back into the other room and close the windows. I did finally figure out the settings on the TV to make it widescreen. Good night.

Monday, October 14, 2013

I will not write at great length

of how tired I am after a full day that started at 5:30 am so I could take a friend to where he was having a medical test, a busy workday, and errands after work, getting home about 7:45 pm. It was a busy weekend, too, and I just can't keep my eyes open. I'm just going to turn off my Pandora and head to bed, even though it's not even 9 pm yet. Tomorrow I need to get up again a bit early and have my boobies smushed (i.e., a mammogramme). Good night.

Terribly sad and disturbing

Abandoned: Mark Twain Branch, Detroit Public Library


The Mark Twain Branch of the Detroit Public Libraries closed in 1996 for renovations and never reopened. What originally started as minor roof repair project grew into a total rehabilitation that went unfinished. Various efforts to revive the building never got past the drawing board, with the main concern being the "discovery" of asbestos. Some of the books left behind when the library closed were taken out and made available at the Mark Twain Annex, which is now facing permanent closure in 2011.

A final community meeting in July of 2011 sealed the fate of the Twain library. Over the objections of community leaders and residents, the DPL board confirmed that despite passing a tax levy that explicitly included funds to renovate the Twain library, it intended to demolish the building instead. Asbestos abatement started in September with demolition completed by October.
Thanks to Åke Nygren of the group on Facebook called Library related people for the first link, and Kelly Hall of the same group for the second one. I pray this is not the future of libraries.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Exactly one year ago today

at about 8:21 am, I was hit by a car while walking with the light in a crosswalk across Richmond Road at Eagle Creek on my way to catch the bus. The driver was a young Indian man who lived in my apartment complex. He was turning left on a yellow flashing arrow and his front left tyre ran over my foot, breaking two metatarsals, and while my leg was trapped, the side of the car hit me, causing my ankle to break and knocking me down. I was lucky it wasn't more serious (my glasses didn't even come off of my head), but it sidelined me to my apartment using a walker for three months. At first I had a splint, then surgery, another splint, eventually a boot. I didn't put any pressure on that foot until December 13th. Coincidentally, that was when I was finally allowed to bathe, although I had to use a shower chair. I finally returned to work on January 2nd, using a cane. The case was settled in late March, after my insurance company had eventually been billed and paid for my care (he had only minimum insurance, which was not enough for my medical expenses).

I'd like to thank some special people who really helped me out when I was down. First, my surgeon, Dr Bradford Fine of the Lexington Foot & Ankle Center, who did an excellent job of the open reduction and internal fixation surgery, where he put two screws in to fix my ankle. Secondly, I'd like to thank my lawyer, Julie Butcher, who brought me vegetarian chili, came to my house for consults and signing paperwork, etc. Without her help, I'd have so many medical bills that were still unpaid.

Brandon and Brenda took me to my appointments, on those rare times I went out, laboriously helping me climb the stairs outside my apartment on my hands and knees because I couldn't get up any other way, and they manhandled wheelchairs and kept me from falling. YKWIA and Brenda lifted me over the one step I couldn't get up into the apartment building on the day I was released after surgery. Brenda also bought me the best-tasting baked potato from Wendy's after 36 hours of nothing but ice chips. Bob McCray was my home health physical therapist, and he was excellent, although I still have his cane--we've never quite been able to meet up for me to return it. YKWIA called and played videos on YouTube that I would 'watch' along with him on my own computer. The folks at work were fabulous, showering me with food and cards and really making me feel cared about. My aunt Sharon sent me a care package of books, popcorn, nuts, and tea. There were so many people who helped me, and I'm sure I'm missing someone, but if I have, I'm sorry. When I was about to come back to work, I sat down and wrote out a ton of thank you cards, but let me just say, I still appreciate everything people did for me. And I'm glad that some of you kept up with my very boring life those three months. Granted, I don't live an exciting life at any time, but at times the time I was off would drag and become mind-boggingly tedious. I spent a lot of time with myself, thinking, and listening to music. I didn't manage to read much or watch videos on Netflix, etc. For those who made it through that period with me, thank you. May I never have to deal with anything like that again. :)

Bleh. I'm awake.

I was helping a friend look some things up on the Internet last night and got to a point where sitting in the chair really hurt, and we were basically finished and I went on home, took some ibuprofen and a small bit of muscle relaxant, and I was out for the night. I didn't manage to get up early and work on the notes (and we are playing). But I got up early enough to have some veggie sausage, some Greek yoghurt, and an apple (a big breakfast for me, especially on a weekend). I have a lot to do with my friends today, so I thought I should power up. :) I also have a lot of laundry to do over there, so I'm going to go get ready and put that in the car. Hope you have a good weekend!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Having a pleasant evening

  1. Took a short nap after work? Check.
  2. Broke down the window boxes and repotted the remaining plants and brought them in? Check.
  3. Swept the porch and window ledges? Check.
  4. Discovered maintenance had indeed put up a ceiling in my walk-in closet and that my air conditioning thermostat now works properly again? Check.
  5. Watched a hilarious episode of 'The Big Bang Theory' where Amy ruins Raiders of the Lost Ark for Sheldon by pointing out that Indiana Jones was totally irrelevant to the outcome, and he tries to ruin something of hers, finally trying to undercut her through 'Little House on the Prairie' critiques? Check. YKWIA successfully did that for me years ago.
  6. Read some earlier? Check.
I really should do the notes in case we play the game on Sunday. I'm not sure we are. But it would be nice to get it out of the way. Saturday will be pretty busy, and I'm not sure what I'm doing tomorrow yet. It shouldn't take long, really. I'd also like to do some reading. Also, I have to figure out where to put the plants that were outside. Ideally, it would be on the table in front of the bedroom window. Right now I have some stuffed animals that were displaced when I moved the old TV back there. So they need to go to other places around the house.

I am so glad tomorrow is Friday. It has been a busy week. I feel like I'm not really getting anywhere at work, like I'm spinning my wheels, even though I should be progressing.

In light of the fact that we will probably have some changes to our insurance this coming year, and I probably won't have any insurance the year after that due to the move and my library position not going, I think it's time for a new CPAP machine. Mine is quite old, so old I'm not sure how long I've had it. It may be nearly 15 years old. It is still working now, but doesn't have a built-in humidifier or the newer features that help with comfort and managing the sleep apnea. It could go out at any time. To give you some idea, when I called the sleep centre, they said it had been seven years since I was last there. At that time my machine was easily 5-8 years old. It looks like one of those 70s hair dryers like my mom had, with a hose and it's big and clunky. It just needs the bonnet and a warming unit and I swear it would work just like her dryer. I was told they normally last 3-5 years and that mine was already pretty old then. Since I literally can't sleep without it (I am the rare individual who uses her CPAP religiously, even for naps), and could die from not having it, and with it being so long since I've been seen they may require another sleep study before writing a script for it, which takes time to schedule, etc., I can't take the chance on it dying suddenly. If it dies and I have no insurance, then I won't be able to afford one. Sleeping without it could damage my heart or worse. So I made an appointment and we'll see. I've been very lucky. Here's a link to a suggested CPAP/supply replacement schedule. Granted, it's from a supply company, but I think I've been very lucky to get the life out of mine that I had. I just don't want to be caught without one.

I have watched more TV this week than I usually do in a month

Part of that is I prefer to watch TV with other people, especially YKWIA, and part of it is that there are several supernatural shows this season that are either premiering or returning that we wanted to check out.

  1. Sunday: 'Witches of East End'--Interesting, kept me watching. Mystery mixed with witchcraft and curses. I really like Ingrid, but maybe part of that is because she is a librarian. :) The only downside to watching is that my Sundays are already very full with game prep and game, and it is on at 10 pm, so that's a late night before returning to work on Monday.
  2. Tuesday: 'The Originals'--I haven't watched 'The Vampire Diaries' beyond a few episodes (and that was recent), but I found this an intriguing series. I love how Claire Holt and Phoebe Tonkin--whom I watched as teenagers on 'H2O: Just Add Water'--are all grown up. Holt is the vampire, one of the Originals, Rebekah. Tonkin is a werewolf ensnared in a war between witches and the vampires of the French Quarter. They're both doing a good job.
    'Supernatural'--I like this show a lot, but I've pretty much watched hit or miss over the last eight years. I need to catch up via Netflix. I was a little disappointed in the season 9 opener, but it wasn't terrible, or anything, and set up what could be an interesting story arc.
  3. Wednesday: 'The Tomorrow People'--Let me preface this by saying that unlike the majority of the audience, I have actually seen both British series upon which this is based, and dearly loved the original from the 70s, especially. I see the CW is continuing to raid Australia and specifically 'H2O: Just Add Water' for actors and actresses, as Luke Mitchell, who played Will on that series, plays John in this one. The jury is out on this one--I am willing to give it a few episodes before making up my mind. But they kept the inability to kill in Homo Superior, and there's Tim, the artificial intelligence. They've added some intriguing aspects to the story as well. We'll see.
  4. 'American Horror Story: Coven'--I haven't see the first two seasons of AHS, although maybe I should watch, as much of the cast recurs even though the story and setting change, and there's some good acting here. It seems off to a good start. Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange were superb in their roles. The girls seem to very under-developed moral compasses, and with the exception of the Headmistress, it seems most of the witches portrayed so far do things primarily for self-interest or in response to strong emotions, and several seem, well, capricious. I didn't instantly form an attachment to any of the characters like I did with Ingrid of 'Witches of East End'. So we'll see.
Tomorrow night is 'The Vampire Diaries', but I haven't watched them for the most part, so I think I'll skip that. 'Big Bang Theory' is on tomorrow at the same time. 'Grimm' returns in a couple of weeks. I realised last night when I was freeing up space on the DVR that I have all 'Grimm' episodes but the pilot, and I really need to sit down and start watching them. I also have all but the first episodes of 'Once Upon a Time' on there. How I'm going to fit those in, I don't know, and the fact of the matter is, I prefer to watch with others. And I still have two seasons of 'Downton Abbey' to finish.

The problem with late-night TV, too, is that I'm home, yes, but I got home at midnight and it takes me awhile to settle down, so it's almost 2 am now and I have to get up at 7 or so. But they were fun (although the AHS was a bit disturbing, especially the slave scenes at the beginning.)

YKWIA also discovered that I've never seen the 'Blues Brothers'. We will have to put it in the queue from Netflix. I have 'Vibes' out right now, which I have seen but not for years, and we're going to watch that with A, who hasn't seen it, I don't think.

Okay, I think I should definitely go. Have a great night, a good week (hey, we're over the 'hump'), and at least the weekend's coming soon!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Dinner was going so well...

until an old glass baking dish decided to explode, through no fault of the cook at all. Fortunately, no one was hurt--it was in his hand when it shattered, and thank goodness YKWIA had glasses on. The only thing left to do was order Chinese food and let this mess cool before cleaning it up. I didn't actually witness the event, as I was off at the store buying some fettuccine, but I'm told it was spectacular. Cats disappeared, husbands practically teleported away in a tizzy, and dogs had to be gated away from the kitchen due to a penchant for finding a shard or two left after the sweeping. I must admit, it was a fairly exciting evening, although YKWIA is extremely frustrated. The green beans were cooked perfectly al dente, and then the glass spoiled everything.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Actually, it was kind of a fun day

A and I did the grocery run, then YKWIA and I watched some 'Vampire Diaries', the pilot episode of 'The Originals', and then (moving to my house) Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, the last of which had some good moves for the game. After I took him home, I listened to some Richard Marx on Pandora. Now I think I'm ready for bed. It's just as well I didn't go to the sale today; I don't really need to bring more books home--I have far too many, really--nor do I need to spend the money right now. I'd go thinking I might find one or two really special items and come back with a slew of new items.

There's no game tomorrow, so I'm going to wait to do the game notes. I'm still going over tomorrow to work on the house and bring a few things over.

Okay, I know that wasn't the most riveting post, but I'm sleepy and it's getting harder to compose. Hope your weekend is going well. Good night.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

It's amazing

how much better you can feel after a warm shower and a chance to relax and calm down. I feel better. Still a bit rushed, and I don't know if I'll get to go to the book sale or not today, although it is open the rest of the week for a couple of hours after I'm off work (though you're not required to be a member on those days). I'm going to get what I can get done and go with that, and try to let go of any other expectations for the day.

I feel totally derailed

I managed to move a couple of bookshelves, get those back together, put my clothes in the closet rather than on the drying rack, and then I got a phone call and now I feel like there's no point to doing anything I wanted to today, because I'll feel rushed and not enjoy it. I know that's mainly my psyche, but that's how I feel. I've spent the last half hour trying to get some food in me (I don't have much appetite, actually) and then trying to jump-start back into what I was doing, without success. I think I'm just going to take a shower and go from there.

I kind of relate...

Thanks to YKWIA, who showed this to me, and introduced me to the Capitol Steps years ago.

The quest for coolness

The other day I ran my air conditioner when it was a little cool (but stuffy inside), and it leaked into the walk-in closet (which might as well be called a utility closet, as I can't keep anything important in it because of the tendency to leak), filling up a bucket, a tub, and the bottom of a laundry basket. At first I thought maybe I screwed up, but I was afraid to run the air conditioner despite the summer-like temperatures we've been having. Today I turned in my rent and asked them to give it a look. Turns out it was on the fritz. The guy put something into the pipe that expelled more water and some orange goo, told me to run the air conditioner and call if there were any other problems. That was about quitting time on a Friday evening (I was only home because my gynaecology appointment got out a little earlier than I expected, and there was just about 45 minutes left of work time, so there was no point going back). Turns out that when I run the air conditioner, it doesn't kick in on 'auto', but just sits and makes a kind of gurgling sound. It is leaking just a tiny bit, so the stuff in the closet is still moved out of it and a bucket and tub are in place. All that's left are some plastic things like the shower chair and bedside commode from last year's injury. I've turned off the air conditioner after running it for four hours straight because it's finally cool in here. I will be checking in with the leasing office tomorrow, but I'm not sure if they can do anything until Monday. At least one perk to renting is that I have maintenance on hand. And I can get the air conditioner to work when I put the fan to 'on' rather than 'auto'. The guy asked me how come I didn't have boards in the ceiling of my closet. The last time this happened (this is the third time in ten years--the last time I had clothes that got horribly wet and I didn't find the leak at first), they simply didn't replace this. That apparently makes everything work harder and you can get problems up into the line. He promised I'd have some by next week.

So while this has been going on, I have stuff all over the apartments, like a vacuum cleaner, a tub of winter clothes (fortunately unscathed), canvas frames, boxes from items like the TV that are still returnable to Amazon, etc. It had been such a trying week (four appointments, lots of running around, and very busy at work, with not much time to myself) that I simply made sure I wouldn't trip over anything and then turned on the fan in the bedroom, propped my feet up on the bed, and promptly went to sleep. This was about eight. I didn't even try to pretend to listen to music or otherwise engage my brain. I just went to sleep, and I woke up a few minutes ago feeling much better.

My agenda for tomorrow:
  1. Attend the Friends of the Lexington Public Library annual book sale. Try to be judicious.
  2. Go to the Bluegrass Farmer's Market (maybe).
  3. Work on the house:
    1. Take out the recyclables (got the trash this afternoon)
    2. Put things away from the dining table
    3. Do a few dishes
    4. Clean the bathroom
    5. Get the stuff back into the closet if I can
    6. Work on some things in the living room, rearranging a bit
    7. Pot up the plants from the window boxes that are still alive individually, and retire the window boxes for the season Vacuum
  4. Do the game notes (I really was just too tired tonight; but not a lot happened--mainly a character dealt with learning she was pregnant, so it shouldn't take long)
  5. Do the grocery run with a friend
  6. Have a friend over to finally watch Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, which I have out from Netflix
So really, quite a busy day. I'm going to shoot for 2-3 pm for the grocery run, so the morning will be very busy, indeed. I'm going to try to get up very early and start on everything. So I suppose I should finish my water, go back to bed, as wake-up time is set to 5 am.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Did you see this?

Who's Afraid of Peer Review?
A spoof paper concocted by Science reveals little or no scrutiny at many open-access journals.

On 4 July, good news arrived in the inbox of Ocorrafoo Cobange, a biologist at the Wassee Institute of Medicine in Asmara. It was the official letter of acceptance for a paper he had submitted 2 months earlier to the Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals, describing the anticancer properties of a chemical that Cobange had extracted from a lichen.

In fact, it should have been promptly rejected. Any reviewer with more than a high-school knowledge of chemistry and the ability to understand a basic data plot should have spotted the paper's short-comings immediately. Its experiments are so hopelessly flawed that the results are meaningless.

I know because I wrote the paper. Ocorrafoo Cobange does not exist, nor does the Wassee Institute of Medicine. Over the past 10 months, I have submitted 304 versions of the wonder drug paper to open-access journals. More than half of the journals accepted the paper, failing to notice its fatal flaws. Beyond that headline result, the data from this sting operation reveal the contours of an emerging Wild West in academic publishing.
Not that open access itself is necessarily the problem; you can still have academic rigour with this model:
The rejections tell a story of their own. Some open-access journals that have been criticized for poor quality control provided the most rigorous peer review of all. For example, the flagship journal of the Public Library of Science, PLOS ONE, was the only journal that called attention to the paper's potential ethical problems, such as its lack of documentation about the treatment of animals used to generate cells for the experiment. The journal meticulously checked with the fictional authors that this and other prerequisites of a proper scientific study were met before sending it out for review. PLOS ONE rejected the paper 2 weeks later on the basis of its scientific quality.
But this does expose the flaws in a system where the OA has been milked as a lucrative pay-to-publish model that essentially acts as a vanity press charging often exorbitant author's fees in exchange for one's name in print, preying especially on academics under pressure to publish to attain tenure, etc.

YKWIA showed me several of this lady's videos

They're all very entertaining, but this one in particular made me laugh a lot. I think you'll like it, too:

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

This is my week for health

Monday: Took a friend to a medical appointment
Tuesday: Had a colonoscopy
Wednesday: Had a flu shot
Thursday: Am signing my will, durable power of attorney, and living will
Friday: Go back to the gynaecologist

Then next week there's my regular doctor, the 15th there's a mammogramme, and on Halloween my endocrinologist. October is my 'get healthy' month, apparently.  I also checked with the YMCA, and I can do a programme called Fit for You that is free with my membership with four training sessions to help get me started. I'm going to try to start next week after I run it by my doctor. Yay!

What she said....

Thanks to Brandon for sharing.


Terrifying Lake Turns Birds Into Statues
Lake Natron is an insidious ​trap for the birds of northern Tanzania: The terrifying lake turns to stone all birds that are foolish enough to immerse themselves or unlucky enough to fall into its deceptive water.

Volcanic ash from the nearby Great Rift Valley contaminated Lake Natron with sodium carbonate and baking soda to the point that only extremophile fish like the alkaline tilapia can survive there, while other animals that take a dip will soon thereafter feel their bodies begin to calcify and harden until they look as if they've had a run-in with the White Witch or Medusa.
There's also a slideshow at: Deadly Lake Waters Turn Birds to Stone

The photos of birds and bats are strange and eerie. They are by photographer Nick Brandt, who took dead, preserved animals and put them in life-like poses on natural perches.

I don't normally watch the advertisements before YouTube videos

But this was absolutely, positively hilarious....

Learn more at PooPourri.com.


Prolific Author Tom Clancy Dies At 66
Tom Clancy, whose high-tech, Cold War thrillers such as "The Hunt for Red October" and "Patriot Games" made him the most widely read and influential military novelist of his time, has died. He was 66.

Penguin Group (USA) said Wednesday that Clancy had died Tuesday in Baltimore. The publisher did not disclose a cause of death.

Clancy arrived on best-seller lists in 1984 with "The Hunt for Red October." He sold the manuscript to the first publisher he tried, the Naval Institute Press, which had never bought original fiction.

A string of other best-sellers soon followed, including "Red Storm Rising," ''Patriot Games," ''The Cardinal of the Kremlin," ''Clear and Present Danger," ''The Sum of All Fears," and "Without Remorse."

Clancy had said his dream had been simply to publish a book, hopefully a good one, so that he would be in the Library of Congress catalog. Four of his books, "The Hunt for Red October," ''Patriot Games," ''Clear and Present Danger," and "the Sum of All Fears" were later made into movies, with a fifth based on his desk-jockey CIA hero, "Jack Ryan," set for release later this year.

His 17th novel, "Command Authority," is due out that same month from G.P. Putnam's Sons.
Clancy invented 'techno-thriller,' reflected Cold War fears
"Tom Clancy defined an era, not just of thrillers but of pop culture in general," said Jon Land, marketing chair for the International Thriller Writers group and himself an acclaimed author. "No one encapsulated the mindset and mentality of the Reagan era more, as the Cold War was heating up for the last time and we were entering a new age of modern warfare. Clancy's books tapped into our fears and helped define our psyches, even as he reinvigorated the thriller genre by bringing millions of new readers into the fold.

"Very few writers can lay claim to creating a genre," Land added, "but the techno-thriller — that all falls at the feet of Tom Clancy. He was so ahead of the curve."
Tom Clancy, Best-Selling Master of Military Thrillers, Dies at 66
It was all a far cry from his days as a Maryland insurance salesman writing on the side in pursuit of literary aspirations and submitting his manuscript for “The Hunt for Red October” to the Naval Institute Press in Annapolis, Md. An editor there, Deborah Grosvenor, became mesmerized by the book, a cold war tale set on a Soviet submarine.

But she had a hard time persuading her boss to read it; Mr. Clancy was an unknown, and the publisher had no experience with fiction. She was also concerned that the novel had too many technical descriptions, and asked Mr. Clancy to make cuts. He complied, trimming at least 100 pages while making revisions.

“I said, ‘I think we have a potential best seller here, and if we don’t grab this thing, somebody else would,’ ” Ms. Grosvenor, now a literary agent, said in an interview on Wednesday. “But he had this innate storytelling ability, and his characters had this very witty dialogue. The gift of the Irish, or whatever it was — the man could tell a story.”

The press paid $5,000 for the book, publishing it in 1984.

“The Hunt for Red October” became a runaway best seller when President Ronald Reagan, who had been handed a copy, called it “my kind of yarn” and said that he couldn’t put it down.

But its details about Soviet submarines, weaponry, satellites and fighter planes raised suspicions. Even high-ranking members of the military took notice of the book’s apparent inside knowledge. In a 1986 interview, Mr. Clancy said, “When I met Navy Secretary John Lehman last year, the first thing he asked me about the book was, ‘Who the hell cleared it?’ ”

No one did, Mr. Clancy insisted; all of his knowledge came from technical manuals, interviews with submarine experts and books on military matters, he said. While he spent time on military bases, visited the Pentagon and dined with military leaders, he said, he did not want to know any classified information.

“I hang my hat on getting as many things right as I can,” Mr. Clancy once said in an interview. “I’ve made up stuff that’s turned out to be real — that’s the spooky part.”

Speaking of marking your calendars, have you noticed Thanksgivukkah is coming?

Hanukkah And Thanksgiving Fall On The Same Day This Year — The Next Time It Will Happen Will Be In 77,798 Years
The Jewish festival of lights and the American festival of thanks and gluttony will overlap this year — and the next time it will happen will be in the year 79811.

Jewish mothers across the country have been circulating a mass email lifted from this January blog post by Jonathan Mizrahi explaining "Thanksgivukkah," but here's the gist.

Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November. This year Thanksgiving is on November 28th, which happens to be the first day of Hanukkah (the first "night" of Hanukkah is the night before).

As it happens, November 28th is the latest Thanksgiving can be and the earliest Hanukkah can be.
Here are some interesting suggestions for combining the two holidays food-wise: How To Celebrate Thanksgivukkah, The Best Holiday Of All Time

As it so happens, I have been invited to the home of a Jewish friend for Thanksgiving, so I'm excited to see how we'll celebrate. Each Chanukah I usually make latkes (both potato and cheese). In fact, I wasn't able to last year due to my ankle fracture, but did so when I was finally up and moving in January. :) We'll see how Thanksgivukkah plays out this year.

Mark Your Calendars

Friends of Lexington Public Library

Annual Friends Book Sale
October 5-13, 2013
Family Circle Drive

Friends Day: Saturday, October 5, 10 AM - 6 PM (Members only. Memberships available at the door. No strollers, please.)

Sunday, October 6, Noon - 5 PM

Monday, October 7, to Friday, October 11, 10 AM - 7 PM

2 for 1 Day: Saturday, October 12, 10 AM - 6 PM

Bag Day: Sunday, October 13, Noon - 5 PM (Bags provided. No strollers, please.)
Memberships start at $10 for individuals, $20 for households.

Guess who can actually go this year? :) And who just became a Friend of the Lexington Public Library? Of course, for a bibliophile who hoards books, that may be an issue. :)

This made it on my regular newsfeed, not the one devoted to libraries'--interesting

Now at Your Library: Streaming Movies, Music
There's a new source to stream movies and other digital content, and it's not a tech company with tens of thousands of titles. It's something more familiar, and might even be just down the street: the public library.

Often thought of as stodgy brick-and-mortar havens for bibliophiles, libraries are trying out a new service that allows patrons to check out streaming movies, music, TV shows and audiobooks from anywhere they want.

It works similarly to Netflix: Through an app on a tablet or a browser on a personal computer, users can peruse dozens of movies and click on a film to "borrow" it. The content starts streaming, for free.

While libraries are already loaning e-books, the move to streaming is part of a larger shift for them to remain relevant in a digital world where more people are using tablets and smartphones.

Libraries are "meeting patrons where they want to access content," said Kirk Blankenship, Electronic Resources Librarian for Seattle Public Libraries, which is using the service called Hoopla.
I wonder when and if we'll get it here.


I have made a discovery that, while surely is not something original, is still exciting to me. When you wake up in the middle of the night thirsty and a little hungry, pull out a sugar-free Popsicle from the freezer and eat it. It shouldn't raise blood sugar (mine rises at night anyway, so I don't need to raise it any more). Plus, it relieves the thirst. I often wake up warm despite sleeping under a fan year-round, too, so it  cools me off. Guess what is going to be a new staple in my household? :-)

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Guess what I got in the mail today?

The instructions on prepping for the colonsoopy! You know, the ones that they had to fax to my pharmacy yesterday? The ones I could have used as much as five-six days ago? Thank goodness for the Internet; because I used that, since I had no instructions to speak of (and didn't even know who my doctor was to look her up on my insurance website till yesterday), I had a great pre-prep, and everything went smoothly despite the snafu with the paperwork. Apparently my low-fibre diet several days before along with tapering off on food and then going to clear liquids really paid off, as my prep (which was MoviPrep) went smoothly and quickly to the desired results. But I was beginning to wonder what happened to that lost paperwork, and when they left a message to pre-register last night, it had a callback number that was inoperable. Fortunately, they called back when I was home in the midst of the prep and we were able to get that done.

I will say the team who actually took care of me before, during, and after the colonoscopoy, were excellent. I especially liked the humour of the anaesthesiologist, Dr Haas. I did well with the sedation, and was able to walk out a few minutes after the procedure was finished. The practice is Saint Joseph Gastroenterology Associates. The doctor who did my scope was K. Susie Jennings Conklin. Everything was over within a short time, and I woke up, and it wasn't too long after that I was discharged and sent home.

Also I'd like to thank Brenda's husband, Mike, who took me there and back. She would have, then remembered her master gardener class, which she's quite excited about, and made arrangements for him to be my ride so I wouldn't have to reschedule. It's not everyone who will take a near stranger to something like this for about three hours (we were a little early). Fortunately he brought plenty of reading material. :)

So since I've been home, I've been reintroducing some food to my system and getting some rest. The first thing I had was applesauce. :) I worked up to some high fibre-cereal just now. I still want pizza. :)

Just in case you, too, have to go through a colonoscopy, and you're looking for things to help you with the preparation, here are the links that helped me:
  1. I used diet tips from Todd’s Six-Day Colonoscopy Prep Guide [PDF] (but I used the MoviPrep as my doctor's directions said).
  2. I followed a clear liquid diet on the day before the colonoscopy.
  3. I felt better because of Dave Barry's column: Dave Barry: A journey into my colon -- and yours
  4. And this was really great; it even shows you how well your'e doing with the prep by colour of what's being excreted, and provided a good general overview: Getting Ready for Your Colonoscopy: Once and Done [PDF]
I loaded up on liquid diet items a couple of days before, including Frost Gatorade that's white but cherry flavoured, apple juice, sugar-free Jello (I'm diabetic), sugar-free Popsicles, and some Diet Sprite (Sprite Zero) soda. According to my directions, you should avoid red, blue, and purple foods, so I just ate orange Jello and Popsicles, not the cherry, strawberry, and grape flavours. During Monday, a workday, I ate two Jello cups for breakfast and a small thing of apple juice from our cafeteria; same for lunch, and then that evening I ate some Jello a little before I started the prep. I never actually got into the Gatorade or apple juice at home. Be sure to get a Gatorade flavour that isn't red, blue, or purple if you plan on that. Orange juice isn't a clear liquid, either, nor is coffee or tea with cream. I just went ahead and went with clear soda without caffeine for the last 24 hours or so.

The way my prep worked was there was a 32-oz. container in which you mixed two powders together with water. Ideally, you then refrigerated that for several hours. But I didn't have that luxury with the first batch because I didn't get my prep and instructions till right before I had to start. The referigeration does help a bit, but I was able to get the stuff down even without that. I then drank four ounces every fifteen minutes for about an hour and a half. Nothing particularly happened for almost an hour, then about every 5-10 minutes I went to the bathroom. I had little cramping, and since I'd prepared by changing my diet several days ahead, never had to deal with much other than liquid, which eventually got to clear to a urine-like colour (which is good). About 10 pm I was actually able to go to bed, and only got up a couple of times that night with the urge to go. In the morning at six, I had to do the same thing again, not that there was much of anything inside by that time. Judging by the pictures they presented me of my colon, everything worked like a charm. I do remember lying in bed at 6:10 this morning going, oh, great, I have to start it all over again. But really, it wasn't that bad. I also discovered Popsicles can be an excellent reward. After the first bout was over, I had a couple of orange Popicles to celebrate and felt better for it.

Everything went well, but they did find a polyp, which they removed, and I should know in a week if there's any concern about that. The blood they found before was most likely from some internal haemorrhoids (I know, too much information, what can I say, it's the curse of being middle-aged and overweight), which I knew about, but there other than those two things, everything looked fine. I don't have any history of colon cancer in my family that I know of; I think they were surprised to find one, though, between that and the fact I'm not yet 50. So I may need to be screened more often. We'll see when I follow up on that.

So you now know about my colonoscopy experience, including more than you probably want to. I won't put pictures of my colon and rectum up online, at least. One of the nice things about this test is you know immediately how it went, whether they were good images, and what they found. They even give you a sheet with your happy colon pictures on them. I also got one of the polyp before that was removed, which I find a little odd, but it does support my love of stuff medical (hey, there are reasons I like being a medical librarian). :) But in all seriousness, please, if you've been putting it off, consider getting one. Even the prep for me went fairly smoothly. It is the worst part of the whole thing. You won't remember the procedure at all, quite likely. And it could save your life.

Well, I'm off in a few minutes

to have the dreaded colonoscopy. The prep, which was split between last night and this morning, wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, although it was very much like drinking pledge. Hopefully everything will go as well. And I am looking forward to some solid food, something sensible like crackers rather than the pizza I'm actually craving. :) Wish me luck!