This is my random collection of random thoughts. fnord
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Friday, May 23, 2003
When I was young I used to read about the decline of Western civilization, and I decided it was something I would like to make a contribution to.
     -- George Carlin
So we may go see "Reloaded" again this weekend with Erin & Sean. Erin was stunned when I suggested it, but I know there are things I missed, that I want to try and catch. Of course Michael will be just as surprised when I tell him, but that's all right, it's good to keep him on his toes.

Dogs are more irritating than cats....

...if you have allergies.

More on the wonders of Green Tea and it's antimicrobial properties. This is the real reason Michael never gets sick--he drinks lots of green tea!

According to researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine, the good news is that use of antibacterial products does not seem to be raising antibacterial resistance. The amusing news is that it's no better than regular cleaners at killing bacteria (which we already knew).

Backpacks may not cause back pain after all. So this means that I didn't carry all my books back and forth to class because I am lazy.

I really like having a functioning CD walkman. Today I listened to XTC Waxworks. Didn't get to hear "No Thugs in our House" but I did get to listen to "Senses Working Overtime" which I love.

Thursday, May 22, 2003
The workers at the Federal Mint went on strike today. They are demanding to make less money.
     -- unknown
Hair Envy

I realized that I am in the midst of another case of hair envy. I've pretty much come to terms with my hair being the way it is, but watching "The Matrix Reloaded" created residual hair angst. Why? Because everyone in that movie has the absolute coolest hair. They get into battles and car chases where they are racing down the freeway at incredible speeds for extended periods of time, and they still have perfect hair! Damnit! If I ride in a jeep with the top down, my hair is a mare's nest that takes hours to untangle. But people with straight hair--perfect. Gorgeous. It falls right back into place.

Not only that, but I think it's hard to be taken seriously with curly hair--at least hair curly like mine is. I look at myself in the mirror and I don't see serious professional--I see mad scientist! Sure, I have a sense of humor and all, but really now. I think that curl hair conspires against me to make me look foolish where I should be smart, silly where I should be serious.

I was trying to think of stars--you know, the beautiful ones--who have curly hair. The only one I could really think of is Marilyn Monroe--and look what happened to her! I mean, there are comedic actors, like Hugh Grant and Robin Williams, who are sexy and have curly hair, but serious actors? Even Avery Brooks looks better bald than with hair--although I have to say extremely curly hair is a little different. If you have really curly hair you can keep it really short and it looks great, and really short is just as good.

Perhaps one day I'll get the nerve to get my hair clipped to an inch--or even shave it. Perhaps that will look good, and even if it doesn't at least I'll be able to participate in a car chase and without fear.

I should be studying, or reading to relax, or doing anything other than typing, but I finally found some numbers I was looking for regarding the president's insane tax plan.

I frequently disagree with the editorials in US News & World Report, but the final editorial this week by David Gergen looks at the numbers involved in the proposed tax cut.

What the hell are we doing?

I was telling Kim the other day that the president reminds me a bit of "Red" in Good Omens wherever she went, war broke out. It seems like the president is a bit like that--any area he focuses on immediately goes up in flames: Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea (re relations with S. Korea), Israel/Palestine, Saudi Arabia...things have even gotten more contentious in Ireland.

Okay, now my wrist really aches, so I'm going to end and try not to read any more news. (I can't listen--public radio is off the air for some unknown reason.)

Certified Liberal

I am now officially a card carrying member of the ACLU. My card and newsletter came in the mail today.

I'd say more, but my wrist aches, so that's all for now....


There's something that's subtly wrong, about the fact that Michael felt guilty when we bought him two new pairs of shoes last night (both on sale). His sneakers are I don't know how old, and they are what he wears every day, and are totally worn out. So we bought him a pair of sneakers to wear day to day, and a pair of sneakers to wear to work out. And he feels guilty about spending the money. And we bought me another pair of sneakers (also on sale) and I got to feel guilty about that, because we spent ~$50 earlier in the week on a new CD walkman. There's something disturbing about the fact that we both work full time, but feel guilty and spending money on anything other than food, utilities and the house.

I'd forgotten to mention that I finally got a new CD walkman, which means that I got to listen to The Wonder Stuff Eight Legged Groove Machine today! Happiness! I started listening to The Crow but it was a bit too dark for right now.

Still sad about the death of Mr. Robbins. I wish that we could go to Cincinnati, but between the car acting up, (sigh) and money, and Michael's classes...

Bah humbug.

Otherwise, I've been obsessively reading about "The Matrix". This is why I avoid movies and TV, because I get sucked in, and become dysfunctional, which is not the best state if you are working and going to school. But I really have read some fascinating stuff:
Goliath by Neil Gaiman
Philosophy & The Matrix
Gnosis and The Matrix
Matrix Essays
Forget sci-fi and guns - The Matrix is really about religion BBC article
Essay on The Matrix by Mike Athreton
Screenplay for The Matrix

Wednesday, May 21, 2003
Strange things happen when you're in debt. Two weeks ago my car broke down and my phone got disconnected. I was one electric bill away from being Amish.
     -- Tom Ryan
"The Pentagon is about to embark on a stunningly ambitious research project designed to gather every conceivable bit of information about a person's life, index all the information and make it searchable" " The embryonic LifeLog program would dump everything an individual does into a giant database: every e-mail sent or received, every picture taken, every Web page surfed, every phone call made, every TV show watched, every magazine read. All of this -- and more -- would combine with information gleaned from a variety of sources: a GPS transmitter to keep tabs on where that person went, audio-visual sensors to capture what he or she sees or says, and biomedical monitors to keep track of the individual's health."
(via Zenarchery)

When I have had free time, I haven't had anything interesting to say. Now that my summer class started, I'm finding interesting stuff again. Typical.

According to an article in the BBC "ghosts really are all in the mind". "Dr Wiseman thinks that people are responding unconsciously to environmental cues and the general "spookiness" of their surroundings." What the study found was that there were certain areas where people experienced "unusual phenomenon" and that these phenomenon were consistent with these areas, whether the individuals knew if those areas were "haunted" or not. A different article found that "variance in local magnetic fields was highest in the areas thought to be most haunted, and lowest in areas where people typically did not record experiencing ghostly phenomena.".

Howard Robbins

- 20 May 2003

Mr Robbins with hat

Michael, Mr Robbins, Susan

Howard E. ROBBINS, beloved husband of the late Emily Hulton Robbins, dear father of Susan B. Robbins and Todd Robbins, brother of Belle Sutton and Edna Klotz, brother-in-law of Shirley A. Hulton, grandfather of Rachel, Emily, Amy and Matthew Robbins, also leaves many other loving relatives and friends. Tuesday, May 20, 2003. Memorial service from the Chapel of the Transfiguration, 495 Albion Pl., Glendale, Ohio, Wednesday, May 28 at 2 P.M. If so desired, memorials may be made to the Shriners Burn Institute, 3229 Burnet Ave., 45229. Schaefer & Busby in charge of arrangements.
from the Cincinnati Enquirer/Post

Mr Robbins was Susan's father, and we had the privilege of spending time with him when we would visit Susan.
He was a kind, generous, and amusing man, and we will miss him.

Monday, May 19, 2003
Mom has Truly Entered the Digital Age

She may not understand the technology any better, but my mom has truly entered the digital age. I get a call this morning (6:28 am to be exact) because she can't get any of her e-mail this morning. (She was able to check her mail yesterday.) I eventually discover that one of her e-mail servers is not responding, and explain this to her.
Me: It's only one account mom. If you're only getting one pop-up box asking you for your password, only one e-mail account is down, the other two are working.
Mom: But I didn't get ANY e-mail!
Me: Yesterday was Sunday Mom.
Mom: But I was expecting responses!

This from the woman who would not check her e-mail for weeks at a time when she first got it.

Why Men Drive Women Nuts

Sunday is laundry day, and when I gather the whites, I don't always get clean towels hung up immediately. Yesterday after doing laundry, I go up to the bathroom and wait for Michael to leave. I realize that I forgot to hang up the towels, so I go to do so, only to discover that the top towel is damp. "Something is wrong!" I cry, "This towel is damp, something must be leaking!"
"That's because I dried my hands on it. You weren't supposed to come into the bathroom right after me" he explained.

We've discussed it, and he says he will now hang up the towels if I have not yet done so.

Why don't I believe him?

Sunday, May 18, 2003
Dear God,
hope you got the letter, and...
I pray you can make it better down here.
I don't mean a big reduction in the price of beer
but all the people that you made in your image, see
them starving on their feet 'cause they don't get
enough to eat from God, I can't believe in you
Dear God, sorry to disturb you, but... I feel that I should be heard
loud and clear. We all need a big reduction in amount of tears
and all the people that you made in your image, see them fighting
in the street 'cause they can't make opinions meet about God,
I can't believe in you
Did you make disease, and the diamond blue? Did you make
mankind after we made you? And the devil too!
Dear God, don't know if you noticed, but... your name is on
a lot of quotes in this book, and us crazy humans wrote it, you
should take a look, and all the people that you made in your
image still believing that junk is true. Well I know it ain't, and
so do you, dear God, I can't believe in I don't believe in
I won't believe in heaven and hell. No saints, no sinners, no
devil as well. No pearly gates, no thorny crown. You're always
letting us humans down. The wars you bring, the babes you
drown. Those lost at sea and never found, and it's the same the
whole world 'round. The hurt I see helps to compound that
Father, Son and Holy Ghost is just somebody's unholy hoax,
and if you're up there you'd perceive that my heart's here upon
my sleeve. If there's one thing I don't believe in
it's you... Dear God.
Believe it or not, I just got back from seeing The Matrix Reloaded. Yes, that's right, I saw a sci fi movie in the theatre.

My first thought is that is was all too much. At a certain point I just wanted the fight scenes to end, it was just too overwhelming. The second thought was that I'm glad I make it a habit to sit through the credits of movies.

Saturday, May 17, 2003
Susan's Dad had a serious stroke Thursday. They're not sure if he'll survive, but if he does she says it looks like there will be serious health problems.

He's such a wonderful man. I wish there was something I could do....

Thursday, May 15, 2003
...I started wondering ... what would a George W. Bush resume look like exactly? Listed below is what I came up with.
George W. Bush Resume (via BoingBoing)

Wednesday, May 14, 2003
"Dogs believe they are human. Cats believe they are God."
My website, transformed by the Eater of Meaning. Makes about as much sense as the original.
The Eater of Meaning

And Yes, I know it's a site dedicated to a Sci Fi movie, but it's still interesting: Matrix Essays. And Besides, I read the Physics of Star Trek and the Metaphysics of Start Trek.

A company have developed a new tool for removing landmines that is cheap and effective. It is essentially a modified tractor that detonates and removes the mines, leaving the area clear for immediate cultivation. This is fantastic! One hopes that such a device will soon be used in Afghanistan and other heavily mined areas as well as areas of the former Yugoslavia where it is currently being used.

For more information on landmines:
International Campaign to Ban Landmines
An article from Human Rights Watch on Cluster Bombs and Landmines.

Student Information effective from Spring 2003 to the End of Time

Main Entry: 1de·spite
Pronunciation: di-'spIt
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old French despit, from Latin despectus, from despicere
Date: 13th century
1 : the feeling or attitude of despising : CONTEMPT
3 a : an act showing contempt or defiance b : DETRIMENT, DISADVANTAGE [I know of no government which stands to its obligations, even in its own despite, more solidly -- Sir Winston Churchill]
     Webster's Dictionary On-Line

Good news! Hoorah!
Apparently Iraqis trusted neither the US military or people in Baghdad, and managed to hide many of the documents and books that were in the Baghdad library. (Making Light)

I was reading about the mass graves found in Iraq, and it reminded me of the mass graves found in the Belgrade, in Kosovo, and in Bosnia. According to a 2003 BBC, "An estimated 40,000 people are still missing and presumed murdered following the Balkan conflicts of the early 90s."

To me, this is just one further reminder of manipulation of the American media as to what is reported. The finding of mass graves in Iraq receive huge media attention in the US, but the finding of graves in the former Yugoslavia has been under the radar for years. I'm not belittling the loss in Iraq, I am instead wondering why so little attention has been paid to crimes committed elsewhere. (The atrocities in various areas of Africa are also horrifying, as well as underreported, but that's a subject for another time.) The war crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic has been going on for almost a year and a half now (and will probably continue for years more), but the only news reports I read about it are from the BBC. What makes Sadaam Hussein deserving of so much American media attention while the crimes of Slobodan Milosevic are largely ignored?

So I've changed the cat picture on my desktop, which led me to wonder: If cat's could use cameras, would they have pictures of their humans everywhere? Would they have websites dedicated to the silly antics of their humans?

I actually have been walking recently, but my schedule has been weird. What I've listened to most recently while walking is Jesus Jones Doubt, EMF Schubert Dip and today, Billy Idol Rebel Yell. They're all absolutely fantastic albums for walking, since almost all the songs are upbeat and fast paced. Oddly though, listening to them, especially Jesus Jones, has put me, for the first time in ages, in the mood to go dancing. In the mood to get dressed up, go out, and have fun. Not that there's a place around here that plays what I want to hear, but still.....

Tuesday, May 13, 2003
"the inspector general of the Interior Department is investigating possible conflicts of interest involving a top Interior official who used to be a lobbyist for the oil, gas and mining interests he now regulates....the official, J. Steven Griles, deputy secretary of the interior, had "met with oil and gas industry officials whom he once represented and who have financial stakes in department decisions.""

Of course some of us have been yelling for quite awhile about the fact that many in this administration are in bed with big oil. Unfortunately, nothing seems to come of these investigations and queries. Case in point, I have not heard a thing all week about Haliburton and the contract to rebuild Iraq.

"If you print out the U.S. Constitution, it's two pages," said Aaron Turpen, one of the event's organizers. "It took the government 131 pages to screw it up. . . . And we're the ones who are letting it be torn up." This quote from the Salt Lake Tribune gave me pause for thought. Has the computer age accelerated the bureaucracy's spiral out of control?

If congresspersons had to write out their bills and amendments by hand, do you think they'd be so long? Would the Patriot Act be 131 pages?

If nothing else, we'd be able to tell from the handwriting who watered down the Organic Foods legislation, to allow non-organic food to be labelled as such. (Weinraub J. Chicken Feed Politics. Washington Post 2003 March 19, 2003;Sect. F01 and Wednesday Staying Organic. New York Times March 5, 2003; Section A p22 )

Monday, May 12, 2003
I'm not bitter.
     --Dave Krovich
When I got my hair cut last week, the lady who cut it said she thought it looked a bit like Adie McDowell in 4 Weddings and a Funeral.

Upon further reflection, it does remind me of 4 Weddings and a Funeral, only less like Adie McDowell and more like Hugh Grant.

"At least he's cute!" said Gina.

Never the less, I still like my haircut.

THIS is GREAT! You can purchase giant stuffed microbes! For only $5.95 You can have THE COMMON COLD! (found via Dave Barry)

You can also build your own safety signs to say anything you want!

I haven't ranted about politics in, what is it now, minutes? Hours? Days? And part of it is that I am so absolutely and completely frustrated that I can't formulate coherent thoughts. I just get madder and madder until all I can do is sputter "Bad! Bad!" And it's not that I'm simply reacting to some moral judgement lacking in reason, but just that there is so very much wrong, that I can't even begin to elucidate it all, and I'm left sputtering indignantly to people who already agree with me.

Where to begin? The environment? Health care? Big business? Aggressive foreign politics? Haliburton and the contract to rebuild Iraq? The military (let's not forget the revival of Star Wars)? Tax breaks for the rich? Connections to Enron and other white collar criminals? The growing homeless rate? Rules to make single mothers go back to work while reducing child care benefits?

The list goes on, but I think right now what has me maddest is his blatant use of the office for campaigning. Such as the tailhook landing and photo op (See below) and the fact that the Republicans are holding their convention 1 September in New York. Talk about blatant political pandering. And that is ignoring the fact that having the convention so late means that to be on the ballots of West Virginia, Alabama and 3 other states, the republicans will have to force rule changes to allow Bush to be on the ballot in these states. What kind of bullshit politics is this? States will be forced to change their voting laws so that the president can be in New York city as close to the anniversary of September 11th as possible?

This just makes me wonder even more about the "rules are for other people" mentality and what other rules are being ignored, bent and broken?

We are reminded in the gospel of Saint Luke, "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required." Surely the same can be said of any American president. We expect, nay demand, that our leaders be scrupulous in the truth and faithful to the facts. We do not seek theatrics or hyperbole. We do not require the stage management of our victories. The men and women of the United States military are to be saluted for their valor and sacrifice in Iraq. Their heroics and quiet resolve speak for themselves. The prowess and professionalism of America's military forces do not need to be embellished by the gaudy excesses of a political campaign.

War is not theater, and victory is not a campaign slogan. I join with the President and all Americans in expressing heartfelt thanks and gratitude to our men and women in uniform for their service to our country, and for the sacrifices that they have made on our behalf. But on this point I differ with the President: I believe that our military forces deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and not used as stage props to embellish a presidential speech.
   --Senator Robert C. Byrd

Sunday, May 11, 2003
I would sooner read a timetable or a catalogue than nothing at all.
     --W. Sommerset Maugham
Despite the rain--lots of work. I probably should be relaxing, but there was so much to do, and so much that has been undone recently, that this weekend felt it was for catching up. Caulking the tub after Michael replaced the stems (he replaced washers in the kitchen earlier, to stop leaking there), baking a pan of brownies for Mark (he seems to be a little better than he sounded, but I think he's happy for painkillers), cleaning the bathroom top to bottom, patching the holes and cracks in the basement floor, using the new weed eater and clippers to trim around my plants, vacuuming (as usual, vacuuming sucks) and managing to read. (Yeah!)

I finished Giant Bones by Peter S. Beagle. I picked up Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn to read next, but it's rather unsettling, so I'm not sure if I'll finish it right now. After all, I still have From Dawn to Decadence 1500 to the Present 500 Years of Western Cultural Life to read.

Saturday, May 10, 2003
"Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods.
Cats have never forgotten this."


Friday, May 09, 2003
I received an e-mail from my cousin in Krygyzstan yesterday. I was thinking about the e-mail I've received recently, and it's making me feel quite parochial. Mail from Ben in Krygyzstan, mail from Sergi in Switzerland, mail from Fan in China, mail from Hammer in Japan.

I love learning about the lives of others, learning about things that are so different from my life--I am completely fascinated by it, but it makes me feel a bit bland and boring, living only a few miles a way from my parents and my brother, and only a few hours away from my extended family.

But I supposed I am doing something about it. I've filled out the paperwork for getting a passport, we need only to get our pictures taken and the paperwork filed.

Nothing is achieved by sitting and thinking, only by doing, so I'd best get moving and start doing.

How to make a golem from the comfort of home! This is the Jewish clay figure that can be created by Rabbis, not another sort of golem. Found this like on Making Light.

Thursday, May 08, 2003
Last final today. It only took me an hour, I was one of the first done, but I didn't think it was that hard. I hope that doesn't mean I'm doomed. I double checked my math, and wrote everything out, in case I got that math wrong twice. I felt comfortable with everything, so I hope that bodes well.

Of course now I am completely at loose ends. I've got a week and a half before summer school starts, and I don't know what to do with myself. No big house projects, because we've now got to save our pennies to save for Michael's classes. Don't want to work on the website. Don't want to garden. Don't have any books that I really want to read. I don't particularly want to do anything, but I also don't particularly want to do nothing. Bah humbug.

Guess I should work on my sister-in-law's website--'cept I don't really know what she wants. I supposed to could some up with an idea and fill in the details later. I guess that's what I'll do for now.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003
And I will eat them in the rain
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good,
so good you see!
     --Dr. Seuss
Apparently, today is hair day. Michael decided to cut his hair to donate it to Locks of Love. He is planning on growing his hair back out, so his hair isn't nearly as short as mine was when I got mine cut--he can still pull his hair back into one of those goofy puff-ball ponytails. The braid was about 12 inches though, so it was still a lot of hair.

I'm supposed to be studying. Instead I have played on the computer, done some pruning of various shrubs and bushes, gotten my haircut, eaten lunch, trapped an ant under a glass (fun surprise for Michael when he comes home) taken a multitude of pictures of my new haircut (it is very difficult to smile when taken pictures of yourself, and the more pictures you take, the harder it gets.) e-mailed Kim lots of times, and done laundry.

Well, I did study a bit. I went through the practice test. Again.

I'm tired of studying.

On a different front, Michael's boss will allow him to make up time he misses for classes, so assuming his application gets filed in time, he'll start taking CS classes when Summer I starts. So it looks like we're not going to do any projects for the house for quite a while now--no time and no money. But if this will help Michael get a better job, I'm all for it.

Oh, here's my new haircut:

Now I think I'll go do the bills....

Oh--Mark's surgery is today!
Good luck Mark! I hope you feel better soon!

Boring pictures of gardening things we've done.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003
No, I don't understand my husband's theory of relativity, but I know my husband and I know he can be trusted.
     --Elsa Einstein
So.... Michael applied this evening to WVU to get a second bachelor's degree--computer science of course. He talked with some people in the CS department today, and they said he probably wouldn't be able to get into the master's program with his forestry degree. So back for another bachelor's degree. Much of what will happen will depend upon his boss and how flexible she is going to be with his schedule.

Personally, I think he is just trying to get out of cooking dinner all the time.

What this means is that things are going to get even more hectic around here, at least for now, assuming that he can start taking classes Summer I. It looks like he could get his Stats class out of the way.The good thing is that because he'd be an undergraduate again, we're looking at about $175 per credit hour (as opposed to the more expensive graduate credits).

This means is that we'll be open to any cash donations people would like to make to the "Michael and Michelle back to college" fund.

Seriously though, both of us can not quit our jobs, because then we will be left without health insurance, and that just will not happen. Between Michael's allergy medication and my fear of getting ill, I do not want us to not have health insurance. So, we'll make do with what we can. Since he already has most of his credits for an undergrad degree, he only needs to pick up the CS classes, so in theory (!) it shouldn't be too difficult or take too longs.

I suggested that he make sure he keep looking at Ruby, even if there are no computer jobs open, because a comparable paying job might be worth his time, since they may have more flexible hours, and I believe that they give tuition reimbursement.

But it once again reminds me--when did life become so complicated? When did fears such as health insurance and money become overwhelming decision factors in life choices? Though upon further reflection, this is probably not a bad thing. There are far worse factors one could consider.

But we're still open to those donations....

There is an interesting article in FindLaw on Attorney General John Ashcroft's repeated flouting of gag-orders in terrorism cases. Despite gag orders, Ashcroft has repeatedly made public comments to the press--and in one instance on the Letterman show--about terrorism cases. Once again, Ashcroft has managed to show us exactly why so many were opposed to his appointment as Attorney General in the first place. What is most disturbing is that the actions are ignored and allowed to continue.

These are the kind of abuse of power that leads many of us to worry about a recurrence of McCarthyism and the gradual (or even not so gradual) erosion of our civil rights.

Monday, May 05, 2003
The distance is nothing; it's only the first step that is difficult.
     --Mme. du Deffand
I received another e-mail! This time from Sergej's wife. Her English is better, so this message was a little longer than previous messages. I am still having trouble finding the words to describe how excited I am about this.

Okay, to talk about this a little more rationally, his name is Sergej and he is from Russia, but now lives in Switzerland with his wife, who is Swiss. He is a singer, and from what little I was able to hear, it seems to be traditional/classical. If you want you can go to the website for his band/group. The site is slow--even at work, but the one song I was able to hear yesterday was lovely. I'm going to try to download the songs so I can get them on tape and send them to my grandmother. He also has a personal website, with pictures of a visit from his father. (Lots of pictures, very slow downloading.) There are pictures of him, his wife and his father. I don't have a clue what the text says on either site. I found the music by clicking on "Willkommen" (obvious) the "archiv" ("uber uns" is a picture of the band (or at least I am assuming that is the band!)) button leads to a page with the more obvious "AUDIO " link, which lead to music choices. Again, this is a slow site that requires patience.

Mostly though, it is just fantastic to discover that there is someone on the other side of the planet with the last name Klishis, someone who almost certainly has to be related to me. I think the reason this is so exciting, so fascinating, so wonderful for me, is because the Klishis family is so small. My aunt says there may be people in the midwest who spell the name with a "y" and/or "z" but I wasn't about to find anyone on the internet with a cursory search. But the point is that I have such a small family, that it's almost amazing to find out that I do still have relatives elsewhere, though the extent of the family I could not even guess.

Anyway, I have a response to make, so I'll go!

MSN, Microsoft's net portal, has compiled a list of the least popular search terms that only a handful of people, in some cases only one, have looked for. The list provides a slightly unsettling insight into the lives of a few British web users who are seeking information on some very esoteric subjects.
Walking with woodlice
Sausage calories
Monkey origami
Queen's Blue Peter badges
Black pudding throwing

A study of pediatric residents found that lack of sleep impairs driving just as much if not more than intoxication. The only positive note was that the fatigued drivers realized that their performance was diminished, a trait that is lacking in intoxicated drivers.

Sunday, May 04, 2003
I heard a disturbing, but yet unsurprising piece of news on NPR this morning. I found a similar article here. Subhankar Banerjee, a former scientist at Boeing with a photography hobby, recently published the book "Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land." It was this book that was held up by Senator Barbara Boxer of California during debate on drilling for oil in ANWAR. After a loss in that vote, Alaska Senator Stevens said that he would repay (not his exact word, NPR gave the quote, but it isn't archived yet) those who stopped the vote he desperately wants. Soon after, Banerjee was told first that his exhibit at the Smithsonian was cancelled, and then told it was moved from the rotunda, where he was told it would be exhibited, to "the basement" because of Boxer's politicization of his book. Also, many of the captions were changed or removed. For example, one caption described a bird and its travels from South America to Alaska, but the new caption. simply gives the name of the bird. The Smithsonian and the Republicans are denying political retribution. but Banerjee says he was given a map that shows his exhibit on the rotunda.

We were discussing dreams last night--all gruesome and horrid--and I wondered whether dreams are windows to other realities, and our other lives in those realities, and those of us who have violent disturbing dreams are being picked off in reality after reality but those with a nefarious plan of such giant scale that we can't even comprehend it.

I hate it when I wonder things like this.

Saturday, May 03, 2003
You must know the story of your culture and be proud of your ancestors
     --Romana Banuelos
I am very excited! Today I received an e-mail from a Russian gentleman whose last name is Klishis! He found my website and sent me an e-mail! Now I really with that I had been able to take Russian, so that I could better converse with him, but I can't yet. I replied to him immediately, and I hope that he will respond.

I don't think I've really adequately expressed how excited I am about this, but I really am excited!

So much for any studying this morning!

Friday, May 02, 2003
To be successful, the first thing to do is fall in love with your work
     --Sister Mary Lauretta
Transcript of recent conversation with the cats:
This is not your bed!
This is not your bed!
This is not your bed!
Get off!
This was, of course, entirely ineffective. The problem is that I have a very lovely quilt my mom made that is on the bed in the spare bedroom. It is all very bright colors, which means it shows cat hair like you wouldn't believe. So I decided to consider alternatives:
I could put down material, but that kinda defeats the purpose of having a pretty quilt. So I decided to try to come up with ideas.

I could discourage them for a bit which might break the habit!
I could put down paper...
study break cat relaxing on mail

That won't work.

I could put down plastic! That's not comfortable!
cat on plastic

Wrong again....

At this point I gave up and went to lunch.

One down, one to go!

I just took my Environmental Health exam (multiple-choice portion) so I'm now done with that class. Which is almost too bad, because I have really enjoyed that class a lot. Much more than any other class I've taken in a ages... Excluding the comparative religion class last spring, but that doesn't really count in the grand scheme of things, since it doesn't open up any career opportunities, if you know what I mean. Unless of course you know a way to combine my interest in public health with an interests in comparative religions and folklore, in which case I'm all ears.

But seriously, this class truly sparked my interest, and meshed well many of my interests--the environment, health, infectious disease... I guess the point is simply that I really liked the class, and really liked the material, and almost any of the subject material covered would be something in which I would be interested doing for a career--well, some more than others. I don't think waste treatment was that fascinating....

Anyway, I remembered that I do have things to do, so I'd best be off!

Thursday, May 01, 2003
I started with this idea in my head, "There are two things I've got a right to, death or liberty."
     --Harriet Tubman
So yesterday I finally joined the ACLU. (I even added a link to my main page!) I've talked and thought about it for quite a while, but didn't do anything about it until yesterday. I think partially it was because I didn't know how much it cost. The answer to that, was that they would take any size donation, but for $20 you will become a card-carrying member of the ACLU. So in a few weeks I'll have an actual card. It wasn't painful or anything, especially since I could do it on-line, so if you've been considering it, I can tell you the step from consideration to action wasn't that painful.

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