31 January 2003
More news about how chocolate is health food--well, at least it's good for you!

This is a fascinating article on how food portion sizes have been steadily increasing and its probable relationship to obesity in the American diet. The article contains a chart showing serving sizes for various food items and how the sizes have changed since the item first came on the market. For instance a soda at McDonald's was originally 7.0 ounces, while now a child's soda is 12.0 ounces and a supersize is 42.0 ounces! The article also points out that servings are misleading--typically an American feels that eating 6 to 11 servings of grain is too much, but a single bagel can contain up to 6 servings, which would be your daily servings!

Equality, freedom and justice are what dogs fight for.

(Dogs) don't go in for light social banter; instead, they go straight for home, expostulating on the topics that are most important to them.

I received an e-mail about how President Bush has announced his plan to select Dr. W. David Hager to head up the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. Since I received the message from someone who does not typically send along "those type" of messages, I looked into it and found the following information. I chose three pretty different resources to make sure I wasn't getting just one biased view. This guy is pretty scary.
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights article.
NOW (National Organization for Women) article.
Article in Time.

Yesterday I received an e-mail of "love poems" from a friend (no, not that kind of friend), and I have to say this was my favorite of the lot:
What inspired this amorous rhyme?
Two parts vodka, one part lime


29 January 2003
Indian testicle attack 'is murder'. There's not a thing I can say about this really, that wasn't said in the article--except that it brings back memories of Johnny Dangerously....

And now for something completely different...

Cancer trials for Thalidomide are starting. Thalidomide, which caused birth defects when it was used as an anti-nausea drug for pregnant women in the 50s, has found new life in recent years, to treat a multitude of diseases. Currently it is used to treat leprosy and multiple myeloma, and it is now being tested as a treatment for lung cancer. Interestingly, those who complain about the strictness of the FDA, tend to ignore the fact that thalidomide was never legalized for use in the U.S. in the 50s, and so we did not have the problems that other countries did.


Hmmmm... Are we looking at trading in the Camry for a mid-life crisis-mobile?

Mom & Dad Cruisin'?


28 January 2003
A Spanish art historian has found evidence that suggests some Civil War jail cells were built like 3-D modern art paintings in order to torture prisoners.

And I thought feeling like modern art was torture was just a personal opinion.


27 January 2003
Blogging ecosystem This is pretty nifty.
All Consuming So is this site, which compiles what bloggers are reading. However it does not yet seem to be as inclusive as one would hope. Perhaps in the future. Either way it's a fasciating idea.


26 January 2003
The color is definitely off on my monitor. Something I thought was black, turned out to be dark purple when I viewed it on my laptop, and I have had a heck of a time with the latest batch of pictures I've been printing. Stuff that looked great on the screen looked pretty bad when it was printed--the colors were way to bright and vivid. Blindingly so. Not a big problem for the older monochrome pictures that were the majority of what I was doing, but I did have some color pictures, and they looked pretty bad when I printed them. I managed to the the color tolerable for the pictures I printed, but trusting PhotoPaint over my own judgement, and making stuff what seemed to be overly dark. But it's still frustrating. Luckily Most of the photographs with which I work are old monochrome/black and white. I did get a new collage created and framed. I still managed to get the pictures too small, but wasn't going to reprint 2 small pictures. It'll wait until I print something else (assuming I remember at that point).

Last night was Kenny's (surprise) birthday dinner. I had hoped to get a chance to say hello to/meet Erin's gentleman friend Sean, but alas this was not to be. We were there from 7 until someone asked what time the restaurant closed when we were informed 10--it was almost 10:30 at this point (The waitress, who was a saint, assured us that we were fine, but we pretty much rushed out at that point, it's no fair to keep someone working longer past closing time then they need to be--especially on a Saturday night). Kenny and Tony and perhaps some others went out, but I was pretty tired at that point. Had gotten up early and been running around all day--wasn't conducive to staying up late, unfortunately. It was, however, a lot of fun. I hadn't seen Nancy in ages, and she's very amusing, as is Kim. They are both loud and brash and in your face women--which is a good thing as far as I cam concerned.

Now I am avoiding further studying. I have so much going on for the next month, I really shouldn't be wasting moments with anything fun, but I am and am sure I will continue to do so.

24 January 2003
As I was walking into work this morning, I wondered what it would be like to see through someone else's eyes. Now this did not come completely from nowhere--as I walk in the building I first take off my gloves, then unbotton my coat (so I can put my gloves in my coat pocket), and then I can take off my sunglasses. I was thinking that despite wearing sunglasses inside, and despite the fact that the hall way was not all that bright, I could see perfectly well. While I have friends who only wear sunglasses on the brightest of days (like a sunny day over snow), because they say otherwise it's too dark. I've read that sensitivity to light may be due in part to eye color. I have light colored eyes, and my friend who never wore sunglasses had very dark brown eyes. But this does not always hold true, for Michael has blue eyes, but doesn't freak out when it's sunny and he does not have his sunglasses (It actually hurts my eyes and can give me a headache. I can't read outside, except in the shade, for the glare of the sun off the pages of the book hurts.) SO I wonder what it would be like to see through another's eyes. To not be so sensitive to light, but also to not be able to see as well in dim light.

Of course there would be a lot of other interesting questions that would resolve for me, but light was the only question I had this morning.


I feel like a mental misfit. Some days I think that everyone feels that way, and there's nothing wrong with me in particular, other days I don't. Today is one of the don't days.

You know, all things considered, I should just be happy that Michael and I have jobs, and are not out on the streets are something equally awfully. Perhaps I just need perspective.


One entry found for abattoir.

Main Entry: ab·at·toir
Pronunciation: 'a-b&-"twär, -"twor, -"tor
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from abattre
Date: 1820



23 January 2003

Well, it's warmer in Moscow than it is in Morgantown right now. It's also warmer in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan right now than it is in Morgantown. At least it's colder in Irkutsk, Siberia. And in case you were curious, here is a list of cities in Siberia that are on the web.

Do they get a lot of tourism there or what?

Since my cousin is currently living in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, here is the current time in Bishkek, a website for the city of Bishkek, and this site has some pictures of the Bishkek and Kyrgyzstan.

Locus Online's Best of 2002. The Hugo Awards. The Nebula Awards. The World Fantasy Awards.

The Crystal Heart A Vietnamese Legend. Here is a different rendition of one of my favorite folktales The Boy Who Drew Cats. Both come from this website, Folktales (or Folk Tales). This version of The Boy Who Drew Cats or closer to the version I remember.

Well, I guess I can't sing the Smurf Song anymore. But I can listen to it.


22 January 2003

Chocolate lowers cholesterol and fights cancer! (Like I needed the excuse.) Not only does this news articles tell of the wonderful health benefits of chocolate, but it also has recipes!

I've been updating and changing things in my site--layout, adding buttons, things like that. If you have an opinion, please let me know, for I am insecure and need affirmation. (grin)


21 January 2003

It's a Tuesday that's a Monday.


20 January 2003

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Life's piano can only produce melodies of brotherhood (and sisterhood) when it is recognized that the black keys are as basic, necessary and beautiful as the white keys.
-- MLK, Jr.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed and non- violent redemptive goodwill proclaimed the rule of the land. And the Lion and the Lamb shall lie down together, and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid. I believe that we shall overcome."
- Martin Luther King
1964 Nobel Peace Prize

The King Center



Just finished Charles de Lint's Tapping the Dream Tree. Excellent. You can read more of my opinion here.


18 January 2003

Got pictures developed. Two entire rolls.

I did not, however, scan that many.

Since I have no explanation for any of those pictures, I guess I can do so here. I walk with Kim on my lunch break most days, partially for exercise, and partially because we like to talk. Mike is Kim's guy (is that an okay description Mike?), and the four of us sometimes go out (as much as Michael and I go anywhere) and it is Kim and Mike who go to see Falling Run Bluegrass Band with us (So Mike, do you have a secret Napolean complex?).

Shelly is a friend from college, who left Morgantown years ago, but we've stayed in touch, and they were in town for a day, so I got to see her for the first time in over 4 years. Jeesh! It was a short, but very nice visit.

Let's see.... family, family, family. That about covers it.

You might enjoy reading this.


17 January 2003

School Spirit.

What causes it, and why do I have none? I see people who proudly wear sweatshirts and post bumper stickers on their cars, proudly proclaiming where they went to college, but that type of brand loyalty is completely alien to me. Sure, I graduated from college, but I don't see what the conglomerate that is WVU had to do with it. It was the individual teachers who inspired me, not the concept of school spirit. Does this go back to high school? Probably. I vaguely remember having some school spirit in high school, but it's long gone. Perhaps because once I escaped I realized how horrid the entire experience was. Perhaps because my high school disappeared soon after a graduated. Hard to be an excited alumni when your high school is filled with bratty elementary school kids. Not that bratty high school kids were that much of an improvement I suppose.

So I see people who wax poetic about high school, and college, and wonder if it's them, or if it's me. Am I just that much of a cynic or are others just that naive? Did I really miss something, are they delusional, or is it a combination of the two.

Not that it bothers me, mind you. I'm quite content not having shell out mega dollars to have WVU on my clothing and car and all over my house. It's just an odd sort of feeling to know that there is something fundamentally different between me and many of those around me.

Besides the obvious of course.


Punk is dead
Punk is really dead
Punk is now the darling of MTV
How depressing

Bible Code author to be assassinated! Clues to his death and the deaths of others found in Moby Dick! Read all about it!

Saw an article on the BBC website on Sorted Patterened Ground and wanted to find out more about it, but there is not a whole lot out there unfortunately. Which is too bad, it looks both interesting and beautiful.


Main Entry: wont
Pronunciation: 'wont, 'wOnt also 'w&nt, 'wänt
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English woned, wont, from past participle of wonen to dwell, be used to, from Old English wunian; akin to Old High German wonEn to dwell, be used to, Sanskrit vanoti he strives for
Date: before 12th century
1 : ACCUSTOMED, USED (got up early as he is wont to do)
2 : INCLINED, APT (revealing as letters are wont to be -- Gladys M. Wrigley)

Websters On-line


16 January 2003


I feel like I am surrounded by secrets. My secrets, other people's secrets, things I can talk about with some people, but not others... and some things that are not secrets at all, but simply common courtesies that keep one from saying what one really feels. And believe it or not, I do bite my tongue and not say what I feel. At least sometimes. Which probably leads you to wonder why it is that I could possibly NOT be saying.

Let's just say you probably don't want to know.

But the two types of not talking about things are different. I don't tell secrets, because it's not my place to share, even if I was not explicitly told something was a secret. But the other type of not talking is politeness (for lack of a better term): Not saying things because you don't want to be fired, or because you don't want to hurt someone's feelings.

But sometimes it feels like there are just too many secrets and unsaid words building up, wanting to be said, but kept down for civility or politeness or friendship or love. Too many words that want to come out, but can't, so that other words that should come out end up all blocked up as well. Losing the ability to differentiate between what should never be said, and what is okay to say.


Article Title: Is Gay A Four Letter Word?
Gina: Of course not! It's THREE letters!

And into the realm of the wildly inappropriate and childish:

 Button saying ABC News is Gay

Worm Sex receptor is found!


I was trying for amusing, but ended up further down the alphabet at irritating.


Walking sticks (the insect) lost their wings and then re-evolved them later. I think this means that if we try *really* hard, we too can eventually evolve wings and fly.


15 January 2003

While I was looking at Charles de Lint's site yesterday, I came across the Greenman Press, which is the home of the illustrator/publisher Charles Vess. Vess has been doing the cover art for Charles de Lint's books, and other publications.


According to the Chinese zodiac, I am a dog.

Month 5 Chinese CharacterMonth 5
You are very caring about other people and sometimes let their problems become your own. Try and maintain some distance.

The description of dog sounded about right, except for the bits about making lots of money. I apparently haven't reached that point yet.

Other signs can be found here.


13 January 2003

The Unknown Soldier by Luc Sante

Heard this on Selected Shorts
Read it
(or Hear it)


I recently picked up (but have not yet read) the newest book by Charles de Lint, Tapping the Dream Tree. His books seem quite difficult to find in this area, though the Bookshelf carries some of them. He writes urban fantasy set in a fictional Ottowa town. It's not the urban fantasy where there are things going on that no one knows about, but instead the urban fantasy of the type that I think exists but to which I am just not party, kind of like the fact that most of us are not party to "secret groups" that are populated by the rich and powerful who run this country. Only in this case it is a society of not the rich and the powerful, but of the typically voiceless. I'm not sure I've done a good job describing the book in a way that would make you want to read them, but I really love his books. Apparently Tapping the Dream Tree is another collection of interrelated anthologies, and I can't (but will have to) wait to read it.


Monday the 13th.

So over the weekend I finally got and read Steven Brust's Issola, which is another in the Vlad Taltos series. I probably should have reread the other books the other books in the series first, so it was somewhat confusing, since I'd forgotten what happened to whom, but it was still good. I also saw a movie (I know, shocking isn't it)--of course it was only a rental and thus a movie that's been out for ages and everyone else in the world had already seen, but it was never the less a movie. And that started me thinking on why I don't like to watch movies, and I think I may have put my finger on it finally.

When I read a very good book, I really get into reading, and it sometimes takes me a bit to "come back to reality" when I've put the book down. I get really involved in what is/was happening, and it takes me a bit to shake my self out of that world and come back to where everyone else is. This isn't a bad thing per se, but it can be inconvenient, especially where there is stuff I need to do (like sleep) that I don't, because I'm reading.

Movies do something similar, but slightly different. After I watch a movie it's hard to come back into reality, probably because I don't just have thoughts, words and ideas, but also pictures to distract me. So I spend hours after a movie thinking about it, re-feeling the things I felt in the movie. Not that big of a deal if it was a good movie, but quite bothersome if it isn't a good movie. It's as if I become emotionally involved with the characters, to a degree that is (to me) somewhat frightening, and the characters, for a while at least, inhabit my mind the same as those around me.

I think what it comes down to is that I don't want to invest that much emotional energy into cinema, but it's almost impossible not to; so I avoid movies and TV, and keep my functionality.

The only thing that bothers me is that I can't read fun stuff during the week, or when I'm in school. There are too much else going on for me to be able to spend an entire weekend or stay up all night, reading a book (I am way too cranky if I don't get enough sleep.)--no matter how good it is.

Anyway, that was just what occurred to me this weekend after both reading a book I enjoyed and watching a movie.

(In case you were curious, the movie was High Fidelity with John Cusack. I wanted to see Grosse Point Blank, but it was not available.)


12 January 2003

The Unseen Gulf War

A glimpse into what may happen if we again go to war against Iraq.


As I look through old pictures, I've come to the conclusion that primarily men took pictures. Lots of pictures of women and children, but few pictures of men, which means that as I search through my grandmother's pictures, I find few pictures of my grandfather. I also decided that it meant that men acceded to the wishes of women. (it was a different time then) My grandmother has mentioned that her mother disliked having her picture taken, while her father loved to have his picture taken, so there are many (relatively) pictures of my great-grandfather, and almost no pictures of my great-grandmother.

I wonder how my great-grandmother would have felt about pictures if she knew that her great-granddaughter wished to know about her, but knew little from the pictures left behind?

I think about that sometimes, when pictures are taken, and I feel like I look terrible and don't want my picture taken. Of course for me, there are plenty of pictures around, though fewer in past years I must admit.

The more I look at these pictures, the more I realize that the best pictures are not the ones where everyone looks their best, and is sitting looking nice for the camera. The best pictures are the ones where you feel like you know something about the subject, the pictures that evoke memories and feelings.

Sure, you look your best in a studio portrait, but does that really tell the person years later who you are?


10 January 2003

10:32 p.m. Another entrance clog at the Tavern Row taxidermy museum, where glassy-eyed critter husks stare vacantly down at the antics of the living.

Freda the Elephant Finger Puppet.  Dinosaur Finger Puppets!

How do worms reproduce? Here's how!


09 January 2003

Todays discussion topics: microwaves and pacemakers, current events, Winston Churchill  quotes, the Titanic, job hunting, taxes, dogs, and Penn and Teller. Working in the environment we do gives us plenty of time to really go off on some strange tangents. How else could absinthe have come up on two separate occasions?

"Now that hip-huggers are back in fashion, physicians can expect to see more patients with tingly thighs." Not only are hip huggers ugly, they're bad for your health. Ha!

The feeling of being drunk is partly in the mind. We want to know if the hangover is also all in your mind, and can be overcome by simple willpower.

Read an interesting (if depressing) article in the NY Times today, one of a three part series, about safety issues in pipe companies. It's quite depressing, if unsurprising, how horrible management can be regarding health and safety issues. The idea that it's cheaper to train a new worker than to treat workers well (and give them adequate safety and health protection) churns my stomach, and yet the idea is predominant through many industries, especially anything related to the fast food industry. What would happen if all these companies decided to treat their workers well? Decided to half their multi-million dollar salaries so that those on the bottom made a living wage?

We'd be living in utopia I guess.


08 January 2003

Pasta provides glimpse of earthquake fault friction forces. "He will test spaghetti, spaghettini, vermicelli, capellini and angel hair."

This should be a surprise to no one, but should say something to our current health care situation. A new study has found that lacking health insurance, even for a short time, leads to less preventive care. It doesn't seem like that big a deal until you realize that lacking preventive care leads to a greater utilization of emergency and other expensive services. People gripe about the costs of socialized medicine, but seem not to understand that it is cheaper in the long run, then having unpaid emergency visits. Far better to pay for a doctor's visit for a cold than to pay for emergency room care and hospitalization when an untreated cold turns into pneumonia.

Erin sent me this link last month, and if you are interested in folk tales, this is an excellent resource. The Endicott Studio Forum.

Sur la Lune site for Fairy Tales. Includes annotated tales and illustrations from different versions of the tales.

Erin was bored and took lots of quizzes. So I had to as well. Here are a few:

Boy did someone get THIS wrong....

You are an angel.
What legend are you?.
Take the Legendary Being Quiz by Paradox

I'm not sure how I feel about ibis headed...

What Egyptian Deity are you?
Take the:the quiz!

You are Thoth, the most intellectual of the Egyptian gods. You savor the muses in all their forms, and you'd rather observe than take action. You are considered peerlessly just, and so you are often considered the arbiter of the gods.

I Am

Which tarot card are you?
Spiritual enlightenment, inner illumination, hidden power. Link between seen and unseen. Balance of positive and negative forces. Receptivity. Unseen guidance. A young woman sits on a throne holding a scroll labeled "Tora" meaning "law." On her breast is the sign of the meeting of heaven and earth, the Maltese cross. Her crown is the full orb supported by horns, the crown of the Mother Goddess Isis, who rules all things changeable, shown by the moon at her feet. Her power, upon which her throne rests, derives from the creative principle of duality, shown by the two pillars of light and darkness. To those who know and love her she dispenses the sweet fruit of the world itself, symbolized by the pomegranate.


07 January 2003

Cambodia is marking the 24th anniversary of the end rule by the Khmer Rouge, under which almost one and three quarter million people died.

"it's still entirely possible Clonaid's announcement is part of an elaborate hoax intended to bring publicity to the Raëlian movement." All I have to say about this is: Well DUH! We're talking about people who believe that life on earth was created by space aliens. What about the entire situation doesn't scream out hoax? I actually heard any interesting interview with a magician about this, who said that you'd have to put tight limits to make sure a hoax was not further perpetrated, because switching samples or skewing the results would not be very hard, unless strictly monitored. And as an article on MSNBC said yesterday, why are journalists giving these con artists any credibility?

Illegal Art looks at copyright law in the US. This article in the NY Times discusses it in further detail.

06 January 2003

Lake Superior State University issues 2003 list of banished words.

Erin found and sent me the Penn and Teller website. Nifty!

Main Entry: em·pa·thy
Pronunciation: 'em-p&-thE
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek empatheia, literally, passion, from empathEs emotional, from em- + pathos feelings, emotion -- more at PATHOS
Date: 1904
1 the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it
2 the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also the capacity for this

Main Entry: sym·pa·thy
Pronunciation: 'sim-p&-thE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -thies
Etymology: Latin sympathia, from Greek sympatheia, from sympathEs having common feelings, sympathetic, from syn- + pathos feelings, emotion, experience -- more at PATHOS
Date: 1579
1 a an affinity, association, or relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the other b mutual or parallel susceptibility or a condition brought about by it c unity or harmony in action or effect
2 a inclination to think or feel alike emotional or intellectual accord b feeling of loyalty tendency to favor or support (republican sympathies)
3 a the act or capacity of entering into or sharing the feelings or interests of another b the feeling or mental state brought about by such sensitivity (have sympathy for the poor)
4 the correlation existing between bodies capable of communicating their vibrational energy to one another through some medium
synonym see ATTRACTION, PITY



05 January 2003

Been travelling and reading. More of the later than of the former, which is perfectly all right, except for the fact that I did not manage to get anything else accomplished. I really love to read, and when I get into a book (or books as was the case) I tend not to do anything else. But it was good to lie around and do nothing for the better part of two weeks. Sorry thing is that I was reading books that I have already read. I reread David Eddings' books (Belgariad, Malloreon, Belgarath and Polgara) and they are very good so I tend to get sucked into them. So it was enjoyable, but I didn't get to read any of my new books. The reason I read those books, because current events brought to mind a quote from one of the books, and I couldn't find it, so I had to go back and read all the books to find the quote. In case you're curious, here it is:
Only and idiot tries to fight a war on two fronts and only a madman tried to fight one on three.
--David Eddings Sorceress of Darshiva
Travel was good. The trip to Virginia to visit family was a lot of fun. It may be that we are not all complete lunatics, but it'd be a close thing. There will actually be more pictures, but these are the ones that turned out best with the digital camera. We took almost a roll of pictures (to finish off the roll of film) so we'll see how those turn out when we get them back. (The film goes out with tomorrow's mail.) The trip back was snowy, but quite beautiful. Luckily the roads were quite clear, so even though we had precipitation the entire way, we did not run into any difficulty. I learned that when taking pictures from the car, the clarity of the picture is dependent upon the cleanliness of the car windows. One of the pictures was taken with my window open. Nice picture, but quite cold.

I really do not want to go back to work tomorrow. But at least I have a week until school starts again


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