Sunday, May 31, 2009 misses the big picture

Here's a screen shot of from earlier today.

I can't decide if someone is cruel, clueless or has a strong sense of irony.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Here's a crazy story

This woman, who says she's a Roman Catholic priestess, despite there being no such thing, tried to use her press credentials to lobby against gay marriage. Of course it would be completely unethical to do such a thing and never mind that press credentials aren't there so you can get close to the president; none of that seemed to bother her.

Here's one article and here's a snarkier one from Gawker, with some amusing comments:

Be sure to read her "column" which badly needs a copyeditor and someone who can spell. How did she get press credentials with this sort of writing sample? It boggles the mind.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Oh what a crazy cat

When Titan was still alive I wasn't sure who it was that loved to drag things into the litter box, often crazy things, like a bottle of water, I mean what cat has the tools to do that? It could have been Titan or it could have been George, Chris' ginger cat. Now that Titan is dead and George's anxiety is amped up it's obvious that it's George.

Yesterday I spilled some water on some clean launder and had to hang it up to dry in the bathroom. I went in there around four in the morning and there was George, balanced on the side of the tub, meowing like mad as he tried to claw the clothes down from the bar so he could put it in his litter box.

Then he got hold of a roll of paper towels, which wasn't even anywhere near his box, dragged it into the bathroom, unrolled it and gently laid the paper towels across his box in a very neat pattern. I guess he's an artist like his owner.


Thursday, May 28, 2009


This is one of the films I'm very much looking forward to.

If you've been reading my yearly roundup of short animated films up for Oscars you'll recognize this little guy. He's the steampunk awesome!


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tell me something I don't know

Today BBC News published an entirely unsurprising article stating that compression stockings don't seem to be effective at preventing blood clots.

The Edinburgh team studied over 2,500 stroke patients in the UK, Italy and Australia.

All received routine care, including aspirin and assisted exercise, and half were offered surgical stockings as well.

After 30 days there was no significant difference in the blood clot rate in the two groups.

However, the group given stockings experienced more skin breaks, ulcers and blisters than those without.

Have you ever had to wear the wretched things? The pair I had made bruised my legs from thigh to ankle, which can't be healthy. I've got enough problems with iron deficiency without deliberately doing something that's going to cause more bleeding.

I will say they seem to be effective at helping with the symptoms of post thrombotic syndrome so it's not like they're completely useless but I loathe them.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Odd article about sauropods

Here is a weird article in the Guardian saying sauropods are carrying their heads all wrong. And I quote:

The controversy goes to the heart of our perception of the largest of the dinosaurs, the sauropods, which became widespread 150m years ago in the late Jurassic. According to the researchers, the beasts did not stick their necks out in front of them as so often depicted, but held their heads high on majestic, curving, swan-like necks.


"Unless sauropods carried their heads and necks differently from every living vertebrate, we have to assume that the base of their neck was curved strongly upwards," said Mike Taylor, a palaeontologist at Portsmouth University in the UK, who led the study. "In some sauropods this would have meant a graceful, swan-like S-curve to the neck, and a look quite different from the recreations we are used to seeing today."

I'm not sure what living vertebrates he's talking about. Horses, goats, deer, moose and other largish herbivores carry their heads out in front of them, sometimes lifting them higher for whatever reason. But if you think about them moving quickly they sure don't carry their heads up in the sky. Even giraffes don't carry their heads high above them, but sort of at an angle.

I'll need to hear more about this, or a better explanation, before I do much more shrug and feel baffled.


Monday, May 25, 2009

What are you thinking

Why is it whenever someone is in danger on TV or the movies someone says to the friend or relative "Take my car" just before the person rushes off to be at the side of their loved one?

Why? Should someone who is that upset be driving at all? Of course not. And here you are, asking them to drive a car they aren't even used to driving. It starts to rain, they're already crying or whatever, they fumble through the tears for the windshield wipers and bam, now you're the one rushing to get to the hospital, driving someone else's car. Why not just offer to drive them?


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Interesting anxiety dream

I had a new twist on an old theme last night. You've got your classic anxiety dreams about being naked where you shouldn't, being unprepared, being chased, things like that. This dream was no doubt brought on by our recent plumbing problems.

In this dream I was babysitting for two children, a boy and a girl. It was raining pretty heavily. Everything was going fine until the water started to rise very quickly. It came up the steps and was starting to lap at the top step going into the front door when I got very nervous. I had the kids get their things, their teddy bear and their doll, etc, and stand on the stairs going up to the second floor, ready to run up. (The house was on a hill so it was already the tallest thing around, we couldn't safely go for higher ground.)

Then I looked around, trying to figure out what was most important to the parents. What in all of the family photos, trinkets, papers on the table, etc. should I try and save? Then I looked at the kids, who were fidgeting, and it was all clear. The kids were the most important things. Nothing else really mattered. So I got them up the stairs and eventually up on the roof and we waited.

It's nice to experience a little clarity now and then.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mad Crazy Day Today

It's getting awfully late and I still haven't worked out. I still need to finish my column (currently 750 words) and work on this story idea I came up with today. I need to get ready for Balticon, which starts tomorrow afternoon and our toilet backed up so that needs fixing before we leave. I am also desperate for a haircut as I haven't gotten one since October. My bangs are down to my chin.

How much of this will I be able to accomplish? We'll see.

In the good news I found a guest blogger for shoestringliving who is interested in writing about how to have horses without going broke. That's exciting.

Okay, time to work out.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I was super pleased to get a tweet from one of my followers yesterday that included a link to one of Norman Thelwell's pony cartoons. I grew up reading his books and hadn't run into any of his work in a long time. Some of his drawings are online and you can access them for free here



Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Don't forget to check saving money blog

Don't forget to check in with, my saving money blog. Recent blog posts include a free download of the new Coldplay album, a new website that will help lenders with empty homes and people who need a temporary home, free software for small businesses, free admission to the Art Institute of Chicago, upcoming free smoothie event at Orange Julius, loads of free music, free and low cost health insurance for children and assistance finding a job.

And that's just since the tenth of this month. There are loads of other helpful posts.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Vitamin D

I can't remember if I blogged about my last visit to my enocrinologist, which was a couple of weeks ago. Everything looks good, my thyroid levels were good for the first time in years, my kidneys and liver were good, which is super awesome, but there is a question about vitamin D defeciency.

My doctor said that everyone north of Georgia in the US doesn't get enough sun for vitamin D after September or so. The sun is at the wrong angle and not strong enough to do its job. Milk products can help but he said unless you're drinking it all the time you aren't getting enough D. He also said supplements aren't much help.

New studies are strongly linking obesity, metabolic syndrome and vitamin D deficiency, especially in teens and children. The darker the skin the greater the deficiency as melanin does its thing and keeps the sun from activating the vitamin.

Here's a disturbing article the BBC ran that talks about how widespread this deficiency is.

Among the 50 to 70-year-olds living in China that the scientists studied, 94% had a vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) deficiency or insufficiency and 42% also had metabolic syndrome.

It's even worse than I had heard. You might want to talk to your doctor and where you stand.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Is there a movie you can't wait to see?


Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Best Horse

Dead chuffed about Rachel Alexandra winning the Preakness. Calvin Borel rode a fantastic race and says she's the best horse he's ever been on.

It may not have been a wire to wire win but it looked pretty close to me.

Mine That Bird came from last to second in his trademark come from behind move.

I'm so happy over this race I could cry.


Friday, May 15, 2009

A few interesting things

I've read lots of interesting things over the last couple of days and I'm going to link you to a couple.

Here is the abbey of Porno. You can see the image of the ruins here. The Wiki post is here. The deal is the friars had an abbey in this town, which is nicknamed Porno. Poor brothers.

Here is an amazing image of the sun. It looks like one of those Lemonhead candies. It's the first time I've really seen the sun as a three dimensional object instead of the flat disc it usually looks like to me.

This is an interesting article about two men who were found guilty of chanting homophobic rhetoric at a football game.

And finally some nice pictures from @EquinePractice.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Oh noes! A plot to kill me!

Here's the text of an email I just received:

From: JFH MAYI []
Sent: Thursday, May 14, 2009 6:14 PM


This is the only way I could contact you for now. I want you to be very careful about this and keep the secret with you until I make out an arrangement for us to see, You have no need of knowing who I am,or where am from. Although i will like you to know that later. I know this may sound surprising to you but it's the situation. I and my group, have been paid a ransom in advance to kill and eliminate you with some reasons listed to us by my employer, it's one I believe you call your associate.Do not contact the Police or try to send a copy of this to them, because if you do I will know, and might be pushed to do what we have been paid to do.

I and my group have followed you closely for a while now and have seen that you are innocent of the accusation leveled against you. It is only because of selfish interest. But that's not the main reason why we don't want to execute the job of killing you. After i was handed to do the job, my mind disapproved it and this has never happened to me in any job given to me. And this is the first time i turned out to be a betrayer in my job not minding being the Leader and Head of my group. I took pity on you and i have made up my mind to help you if you are willing to help yourself.

Now listen,I and my group was promised to be paid (£12,000 GBP) for the job. And we have already receive deposit of (£4,000 GBP). So the remaining (£8,000 GBP) will be given to us as soon as we finished carrying out the job. Out of the (£14,000 GBP) to be paid to us, am to get (£4,000 GBP) as the Leader of the group and the rest of the group will share the remaining (£8,000 GBP) for this job. And i have given my groups reasons why we should not carry out the job. But my group did not agree with me not to kill you. They told me that they can only stop if you will pay them their own share of the money. I mean if you will pay them (£8,000 GBP). As for me, i will not collect any money from you, unless if you want to give me.

So i will arrange for us to see one on one but before that, I need you to pay the amount of (£8,000 GBP) meant for the rest of my group. I will come to your home, or you determine where you wish for us to meet. I repeat do not arrange for the police/cops. if you play planks or try to deceive us, it will get worse and it will be extended to your family. Also do not set any camera to cover us or set up any tape to record our conversation.

My employer for this job is in my control now and disturbs me a lot to execute the job. So an account will be provided for you to make a payment of (£8,000 GBP) which will serve as a guarantee that you are ready to cooperate,then one of my boys will deliver a video tape or i can even download it to you then.It contains the request for me to kill you(the tape recorded our conversation)which will be enough evidence for you to take any legal action against him b/4 he goes employing another person for the job. You might be required to pay extra amount in cash once he delivers the tape to you or i send it to you,beware of business associates and friends,


you do not have much time so get back to me as possible.

To confirm this, i can send you other details about you which our employer provided to us.

Contact me at



Oh dear! And here I was planning to go out and return a library book. Shoot! My plans are ruined! Ruined I say!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Some Random Stuff to Read

I have a few things for you to read. It's hard to tell which one is the best. This one definitely vies for top spot. It's about thousands of dolphins driving off some pirates. No, really, I kid you not. Here's my favorite quote:

The pirates could only lament their littleness befor the vast number of dolphins. The spectacular scene continued for a while.

Hard to top, right?

But then this piece about giant flesh-eating spiders from the future is quite awesome. Even just the title is curiously pleasing.

2060: Humvee-sized, bulletproof meat-eating spiders attack
That's not all though. How about a story about feuding undertakers? Again I'll just give you the headline:

Funeral director stole hearse keys from rival company

Undertakers had to hot-wire Rolls-Royce to transport deceased to cemetery

It puts me in mind of one of the films up in the short animated category for the 2009 Oscars. You can reread my column about them here if you like.

That ought to keep you going for a bit.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dear Twitter Please Fix Your @ Replies

Dear Twitter,

Your upgrade today is taking away a huge percentage of what makes Twitter fun. I didn't join to follow more than one hundred people; I joined to follow one person, who led me to others, who led me to still more people.

Just today I gave someone fashion advice that was useful. She wasn't speaking to me, but I saw her reply to someone else and was able to help her.

I learned about a book giveaway via another reply directed to yet another person and now a book is on its way to me so I can review it for my weekly column.

None of this would have happened if you had already implemented your settings change wherein you removed my ability to see all @ replies of the users I follow.

I would likely still be following just one person and not having anywhere near as much fun.

Please make your new change optional for those of us who feel it hurts our Twitter experience.

Thank you,



Monday, May 11, 2009

Still sick

I got very little done today. Am starting to wonder if I have a sinus infection. Pain on left side of face from cheekbone down to aching molars. Quite annoying. I've pitched out all the flowers in the house so it shouldn't be allergies, unless its allergies coming in from outside.

I leave you with this charming Wild Things bento.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sick in bed all day

Did not get up until 7:30. Went right back to bed to read. Thankfully I have plenty of books to keep me busy. Starting a Michael Chabon thing called Maps and Legends.


Saturday, May 09, 2009

Who would you take to a deserted island?

An interesting tweet from Barry Lyga today asking what two YA characters we would take when we're exiled to a desert island and why. My answer is here.

I chose the protagonists from the Hunger Games and from Scott Westerfeld's awesome Uglies series. (I've commented about both of these at my Quality Time column if you're interested.) Not coincedentally both of these books/series rank up at the top of my list of much loved books. If you're going to be stuck with very little company you're going to want to get along with that company.

But even more importantly these girls, Katniss and Tally, both know how to survive adversity and are creative problem solvers. While it might sound romantic to be cast away with hunk or babe a, you really need to be more practical. Starvation, cold and exposure isn't exactly conducive to romance so I'm going to pick people who know what the hell they're doing and hope that my medical and other knowledge will help me pull my weight.


Friday, May 08, 2009

Just After Sunset

I'm reading Stephen King's Just After Sunset. I'm only two stories in but the second one is a powerhouse. Called The Gingerbread Girl, which is the perfect title incidentally, it's about a woman who is coping with the death of her baby when she runs into a killer.

What follows is a fantastic story that raised my pulse almost as much as if I was the one doing some of the running in the story. The heroine is brave, strong and determined, but doesn't come off as impossible or a super woman.

As I've mentioned in some of my columns, there's something very satisfying about a horror story or film where the person in danger does the sensible thing. None of this "I'm going to put this shotgun and lantern down and go in search of my friends who have vanished one by one" stuff. There was really only one thing this heroine does that made me cringe, and that may be just because I'm on the paranoid side when it comes to being hunted by a mad person.

Anyway, pick up the book and indulge yourself. Just make sure all the lights are on and the doors are locked.

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

I am very surprised

I'm reading the 2009 handbook for friends and family members of inmates in the North Carolina prison system and I'm surprised to read this:

As of January 1, 2006, the use of all tobacco products and tobacco materials inside all prison facility buildings is prohibited. Tobacco products include cigarettes, cigars, snuff, smokeless tobacco, chews, or any other substance containing tobacco. Tobacco materials include rolling papers, pipes, or other products used to smoke, inhale, or ingest tobacco products.

I'm not a fan of tobacco or any of its various products but it does seem if there's one place you should be allowed to smoke it's a prison. What else are you going to do to keep from freaking out? I'd be sucking down a stogie every two minutes to keep from having a claustrophobic panic attack...


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Didja misplace any money?

According to the Credit Union Journal Daily Briefing someone misplaced some money while at GECU in EL PASO, Texas. How much money? $120,000.

Another member found it outside the credit union's ATM the other day.

Luckily they didn't make off with it and if it's yours you should be able to claim it. Good luck!


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Getting slightly caught up

I'm finally starting to get a little caught up after Script Frenzy. Paid most of my bills today, wrote half of my column for Friday, worked out, took Cam to get his allergy shot, watched a funny video about cats, that sort of thing.

I'm reading the second Sookie Stackhouse novel and enjoying it very much. Sookie's a firecracker and doesn't take crap, despite her appearance and attempts to be polite. Although again, if it were me I'd take the werewolf over the vampire. He's more interesting, at least to me.

Speaking of werewolves over vamps, I saw the boy who is going to play the werewolf in the second Twilight film and he's okay. The dude who plays Edward Cullen is mucho creepy but this actor looks right for the part. I'll be curious to see how he goes over.

And now my Cullen is home from school. CYA.


Monday, May 04, 2009

An amusing press release

If you go to this page and download the press release for April first you'll get a laugh.

1st April 2009: An extreme adrenaline junkie got more than he bargained for yesterday after a visit to the nation’s Thrill Capital, THORPE PARK, left him, quite literally, in a permanent state of shock.

Duncan Meadows, aged 28, screamed so hard when riding the brand new extreme G-force rollercoaster, SAW – The Ride, that his face got stuck following a sudden change of the wind whilst he was at the crest of the ride’s nerve-shredding 100ft ‘beyond vertical’ drop.



Sunday, May 03, 2009

A couple of things for you to read

First, David Mitchell's column about food, particularly breakfast cereal.

Save me from Kellogg's Bran Scabs

Then read this, Saki's fantastically funny story about a horrible breakfast cereal and how one man got people to eat it.

Filboid Studge

The go together like Lucky Charms and milk.

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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Too much homework

We're getting near finals for the college kids and Cam has tons of homework for high school. The total list of projects due for everyone, me included, is pretty ridiculous so a great deal of today was spent trying to sort out what is due when and working on the projects due Monday.

It's not all work of course. I'm also reading Zoe's Tale and I watched the Derby today, which was a fun race, unless you're poor Dunkirk of course.

Tomorrow I'll try and hit the Sheep and Wool Festival if this blasted headache goes away.


Friday, May 01, 2009


There was a group at UMBC today trying to get some of the students to pretend to rally in support of oil. They had all these cardboard signs and were exhorting random passersby, asking them if they wanted to be in a video. They had signs that said things like "Nature's Nectar" and "We support oil".

One of them made the mistake of asking Cullen and was the recipient of a popular, but negative, hand gesture. Silly people.