Friday, July 3, 2009

I've moved

My new digs are at KCL: Keepingintouch

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thinking about moving to KCL

Tomorrow's a holiday, so I may have time to look into it.

Of course I'll let you know if I do that.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Evening on the Coast

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The pelicans were spectacular!

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pics as promised

These are a few shots from Sunday -- As promised.
What I didn't know when we went there was a piece of family lore.
Many years ago my grandparents were walking along this beach and a seal came shooting out of the water onto the beach behind them. He was followed by an enormous shark, which bit it in two and dragged it back into the water...

Thing2's response to this was to tell me "I told you that beach was dangerous.
When we were there we didn't see any sharks, but there was a world-class kite surfer out in the big waves.

One of the little beaches

There were lots of interesting plants too.
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No pics this morning

My wireless mouse apparenetly was insulted by my desktop ncomputer and has decided not to speak to it.

Until I can get them back on speaking terms there will be no pictures.

Sorry :(

Monday, June 29, 2009

It's so good to be back

I knew that I missed reading all of your blogs, but I had forgotten the little bonuses that come from writing about our daily activities and interests.

For example, I never would have learned about the history and architecture of Asilomar if I handlt posted my previous short little note. (I haven't forgotten about the photos... I did find time to upload them, so tomorrow morning I'll post them.)

And while I was doing that search, I ran across several great web sites.

One was a talk on gender in the visual arts: Oh What A Difference A Difference Makes

The other is a site that bills itself as a web search for women. I'm not sure if it's actively maintained, but it's full of interesting links.

All in all, I have to say it's nice to be back.

Good Morning Everyone

I don't have much to say.

Later I will post some pictures from yesterday. We had a really great day at Asilomar State Beach and Conference Center. Interesting factoid -- it was originally developed by the YWCA as a women's conference center. It has a wonderful feeling, perhaps that's why.

A very nice lady who was attending the national Qigong convention struck-up a conversation with Thing2. It felt like a day that was meant to be.

Check back for pictures later...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A much needed blogging vacation comes to an end (probably)

The last few months has been quite a journey. And I'm sure it's only the beginning.

Thing2 and I are trying to get out every weekend for some good walks. (Not hikes, I HATE hiking- I've hated it with a passion since I was 5-years old... but that's another story.)

Here are two photos from the walk we took yesterday on the coast. The first photo is from the beginning, when there was still fog blowing through the top of the trees. The second one is from the end of the walk, when the fog had completely cleared.

Learning of the day: Always look at the menu before being seated at a restaurant that is new to you. (I don't have time to write about why, but I think you can guess.)

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Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Overlook

Saturday, May 16, 2009

In Which Thing2 Makes an Amazing Recovery

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Life has taken an unexpectedly good turn in the last few weeks.

Over the last weeks Thing2 has gained weight is now a normal healthy skinny weight for her height.

Better yet, her last blood tests revealed that her liver scores have returned to within 2-points of normal.

And best of all, her mind is clearer than it has been in years!

I'll finish with this gratuitous kitty picture in which girl kitty says "hi" to the camera and asks "Whatcha doin?"
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Monday, May 11, 2009

Superficial food safety article in NY Times misses the mark

Outbreaks Put Worry on the Table - Readers' Comments - NYTimes.com

The subtitle to this article is
Experts believe the food supply is safer than in the days before pasteurization and refrigeration, but new dangers have emerged.


It seems to me that disease levels pre-refrigeration and pre-pasteurization is a very, very low bar for our modern food safety.

This article is nearly devoid of useful analysis - providing only statistics since 1996.

How about comparing US food-born illness risks to those in other developed countries?

And how can they not even mention the reduction in funding the FDA has experienced while the import of food has exploded?

Friday, April 24, 2009

May it Please the Court - for BethanyC

This wonderful piece at the NY Times blog of Maira Kalman reminded me of BethanyC's work.

May it Please the Court

It is an illustrated story of a day spent visiting the the Supreme Court and Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

How One Woman Saved 2,000 Frames of Early Moon Missions

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The image taken by Lunar Orbiter 1 had never been seen at its full resolution until its retrieval by an Ames Research Center team.


From the LA Times:
NASA's early lunar images, in a new light

Pictures from the mid-1960s Lunar Orbiter program lay forgotten for decades. But one woman was determined to see them restored.

Altogether, nearly 2,000 frames were photographed by the five missions, each of which ended with a silent crash onto the lunar surface.

Although the original high-resolution images were saved on 2-inch-wide tape, those pictures weren't seen by the public.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Teamwork triumphs

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Our condominium is currently having its siding replaced.

Two-weeks ago they replaced the board on which our DirecTv dish is mounted. Not surprisingly, in the unmounting and remounting process it was no longer properly aligned. It took us several days to notice because we were watching local TV or Tivo programs.

Last weekend I tried to align it, but I didn't have a compass -- and I wasn't able to get it fixed.

I called DirecTV and found out we get one free technician visit a year, so I made an appointment for next Friday.

During the week Thing2 found a compass and today we gave it another shot. With Thing2 helping by calling-out the signal strength I was able to find the right angle. It's a great feeling of accomplishment when we can successfully tackle these little projects together.

The image is of the Stanford dish.

The Congo Memoirs

I hope that none of my readers thought the title of this post had anything to do with my home life right now. Happily, it doesn't. Life is uneventful but busy. Thing2 continues her slow recovery.

The title of the post comes from an amusing blog I ran across while over at Science Blogs
Congo Memoirs
Here's a bit from the first chapter, which finds our hero in knee deep water.
On dry land, an angry hippo runs quite a bit faster than a frightened human, but the hippos can't climb trees like a human being chased by a hippo can. In knee deep water, the hippo runs as fast as it does on land while the human slogs along in a dream-run. Like in one of those nightmares, no matter how hard you try you just don't get anywhere, while the monster bears down on you. And there are no trees in the lake.


The rest of the chapters:
The Zodiac

The Big Park

Pirate Island

The Crater and the Crocodile

The Story of Wally the Waterbuck

Zorba and The Crew

How to make an elephant turn invisible

It Had to Be Snakes

The Lion That Ate The Earthwatcher

Peter and Greg Piss Everybody Off

Biker and Greg get Eaten by Lions

Fire On the Mountain

The Greg Layer

Kenyatsi. Place of evil.

A Hippo Runs Over Rudy

A Day In the Life (Bathing with the Hippos)

Out of the Flying Plain and Into the Fire (Congo Memoir)

The Mountain Giveth, The Mountain Taketh Away

If You Build It, They Will Fly Away

On Edge

Gunfire at Night

The Lion, The Tent, and the Anthropologist

Return Of The Green Pickup

Ready ... Aim ... Fire

The Crossing

The Empty Truck

Friday, April 3, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

She's home

Thing2 was discharged from the hospital today.

She's much better than she was, but there's still a ways to go.

Hopefully life will gradually return to something resembling normal.

(I keep hoping to see video of the Alaskan volcano eruption, but so far I haven't run across any. Please share the link if you know where it can be viewed.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's called delirium

I'm convinced that Thing2 is suffering from delirium caused by one or more of her medications and possibly her liver disease.

Yesterday morning she threw a wheelchair and something else out of her room. By this afternoon she was calmer.

They have reduced one of her medications, but they have increased another one. The silly nurses think that it's helping calm her. They don't realize that the agitation comes and goes. She's taken the medicine before and it didn't work then, why would it magically work this time? They don't listen to me -- actually they do listen, but then they do what they will anyway. Why do they feel they must use medicine? Isn't it enough that they keep her safe until we understand what's going on?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Home Sweet Home

The 14th district is where I live. I feel sorry for everyone if we're the most contented. It must be bad all over.

Bay Area ranks high in contentment survey
In a time of downer headlines and depressing recession news, California's 14th Congressional District - home to Silicon Valley - has something to "wahoo!" about: It is a comparative bastion of contentment and well-being, according to a new Gallup Poll.

The region that stretches from Belmont to near Santa Cruz was ranked as the nation's most contented congressional district in the country in Gallup's latest "well-being" study - a detailed poll that ranks dozens of factors in American life, from emotional health and work quality to job satisfaction and typical body mass index.

Thing2 update

Last night they moved Thing2 to a more intensive-care area where there is a lower nurse/patient ratio. It's a good thing too.

When the nurse (C) tried to give her medicine this evening, Thing2 became combative and knocked it out of her hands. C first cared for Thing2 6-years ago and knows her well... and C was stunned by this behavior.

When I arrived, C was anxious to talk with me, and I confirmed that Thing2 has very recently been combative at times. Thing2 is so tiny at this point that its more scary than actually threatening to anyone but her. However, it's so out of character that C and I are very alarmed that this might be a result of her liver disease, or some other medical problem that has been missed.

I'm so very glad that Thing2 is in the hospital right now, but I would be much happier if I felt like we have a grip on what's going on.

I suggested to C that perhaps they should reduce all medicine that she is taking down to the bare bones, leaving only that which cannot be safely withdrawn. That's what Thing2 wants. She doesn't want to take all the meds. I want to follow her wishes, as much as possible, and as long as no one has a better idea.

I've outsmarted me again

In late January and early February when all my tax documents were arriving in the mail I recall feeling very satisfied with myself that I was carefully collecting them and setting myself up for a quick and easy time doing my taxes.

Fast forward approximately one chaos-filled month.

Do you suppose I can find any of my tax documents anywhere?

Nope. Nada. Nothing.

That's what I've found, with the exception of one late-arriving document from the state.

That's absolutely the last time I try to be organized. It always comes back to bite me.

Monday, March 9, 2009

What is your favorite love song?

All morning I've had this song stuck in my head.

I think it may be one of my favorite love songs of all time because it captures the essence of love for me -- wanting the best for someone else, and all the wishes and longing that come with love.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ela Bhatt - An Empire for Poor Working Women

The Saturday Profile - An Empire for Poor Working Women, Guided by a Gandhian Approach
BORN to a privileged Brahmin family, Mrs. Bhatt charted an unusual path for a woman of her time. She earned a law degree and chose the man she would marry. She began her career as a lawyer for the city’s main union for textile workers, the vast majority of them men, and broke away in 1981 to create a new kind of union for women.

Early on, she won higher rates for women porters, then a landmark legal victory that allowed women to sell fruits and vegetables on the street without harassment from the police. The fishmongers and quilt-makers who were SEWA Bank’s earliest customers sometimes stashed their checkbooks in the bank’s steel cabinets, she recalled, lest their husbands discover they had money of their own.

At first, the women’s ambitions were limited, she said. They wanted toilets, hair shears or sewing machines for work and money to pay for their children’s school fees. Slowly, she noticed, they began to dream big. Mothers now want their daughters to learn to ride a scooter and work on a computer.

“They didn’t see the future at that time,” she said. “Expectations have gone very high.”

Not long ago, Mrs. Bhatt recalled, she asked SEWA members what “freedom” meant to them. Some said it was the ability to step out of the house. Others said it was having a door to the bathroom. Some said it meant having their own money, a cellphone, or “fresh clothes every day.”

Then she told of her favorite. Freedom, one woman said, was “looking a policeman in the eye.”


Here's her biography page at Wikipedia: Ela Bhatt. I may never have heard of her before, but she sure travels in exalted company -- from Nelson Mandela, to Jimmy Carter, to the trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation.

I needed a laugh, and this gave me several

Gail Collins is an OpEd columnist at the NY Times, but I've never read her before this morning when I read this gem on the current state of the republican party and its leadership. Just Steele Yourselves

This is snark on a grad scale. Don't read it if you are at the library, I dare you to read through and not break-out in uncontrollable giggles more than once.

She's going on my must-read list today!

Her recent book also looks interesting: America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines which gets 5 stars from 99% of the Amazon reviewers. It looks like it deserves its own post.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I saw red today

I briefly left Thing2's bedside this morning, and when I returned the nurse told me that they were going to be sending Thing2 home today.

I was shocked. It had been my understanding that when she was medically stable, she would be transferred to the 'Behavioral Sciences' (Psychiatric) unit where they could manage her medicine and mania.

After numerous frantic phone calls, a run down 4-flights of stairs to trying to catch the idiot who made the moronic decision, I finally got them to admit her by refusing to take her home. I said "Well, I don't know what you think you're going to do, because I'm not taking her home." At that point the idiot said, "well we can admit her if you say that she can't come home. "

I quickly said, "Fine. She can't come home."

And so it came to pass that she was still in the hospital this evening when she told me that she was having chest pain, radiating up to her left arm. She's never had the pain before. I notified her nurse and they brought the crash cart with one of those automatic defibrillators. After a minute, the machine announced that a shock was not necessary. Still, they continued taking vital signs and drew a blood sample. Eventually, the pain subsided. I suppose we won't ever know exactly what it was.

Still, I think that Thing2 was quite relieved to be in the hospital when this happened.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I feel so guilty

I continue to feel terribly guilty about missing Thing2's symptoms of seizure.

I'm more and more convinced that she had one or more seizures starting sometime last week...

She saw a neurologist today. He said the mania she's experiencing is likely an effect of the seizure. He ordered EKG and MRI's. I assume we'll get the results tomorrow. It's disconcerting how regularly and seriously they ask me if she as a Durable Power of Attourney and advance directives.

She is such a sweetie. It breaks my heart to see her so ill. When she was admitted, she weighed only 90 pounds. That is more than 10 pounds less than she weighed about 10-days ago. Most of that weight loss likely happened after the first undetected seizure.

This whole experience brings home for me something that I've always known. When you have a mental illness, it's very hard to get optimal medical care. Even those who know you well can miss signs of illness that would have been unmistakable in someone else.

One blessing, the nursing care she has received has generally been good. The main problem has been their failure to order and deliver and in timely fashion medicine that she needs for regular function of bladder and bowel. This morning I snapped at her nurse when she suggested that Thing2 should just try sitting on the commode again. This after taking 2-hours to get medicine that should have been scheduled and available for her to take first-thing in the morning.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Thing2 update

Thing2 has been admitted to the hospital.

She has been behaving oddly for the last few days, and her doctor and I thought that she was manic. I tried to get her to agree to let me take her to the hospital, but for the first-time in 31-years, she refused.

Eventually I had to call the paramedics. Shortly after they arrived she had a seizure.
After she got to the emergency room she had another one. It was terrifying and I have to admit that I got a little hysterical when the nurse ran out of the room when it started and left me by myself for what seemed like hours, but was probably a minute, two at most.

Now she's in TCU (one step down from ICU), and I'm rethinking whether all the apparent psych issues she's had in the last few days might have been a medical problem instead. But no one knows what the problem is. And now they are stopping a lot of her other meds, so who knows what will happen.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Me and Katherine Hepburn (we're both ISTP's)

Following in Kate's footsteps, I took the personality test.

My results follow:

Your Type is ISTP
Introverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving
Strength of the preferences %
33 12 1 11
Artisan Portrait of the Crafter (ISTP)

The nature of Crafters is most clearly seen in their masterful operation of tools, equipment, machines, and instruments of all kinds. Most us use tools in some capacity, of course, but Crafters (as much as ten percent of the population) are the true masters of tool work, with an innate ability to command tools and to become expert at all the crafts requiring tool skills. Even from an early age they are drawn to tools as to a magnet-tools fall into their hands demanding use, and they must work with them.

Like all the Artisans, Crafters are people who love action, and who know instinctively that their activities are more enjoyable, and more effective, if done impulsively, spontaneously, subject to no schedules or standards but their own. In a sense, Crafters do not work with their tools, but play with them when the urge strikes them. Crafters also seek fun and games on impulse, looking for any opportunity, and just because they feel like it, to play with their various toys: cars, motorcycles, boats, dune-buggies, hunting rifles, fishing tackle, scuba gear, and on and on. They thrive on excitement, particularly the rush of speed-racing, water-skiing, surfing. And Crafters are fearless in their play, exposing themselves to danger again and again, even despite frequent injury. Of all the types, Crafters are most likely to be risk takers, pitting themselves, or their technique, against chance or odds.

Crafters are hard to get to know. Perhaps this is because they tend to communicate through action, and show little interest in developing language skills. Their lack of expressiveness can isolate them at school and on the job, and even though they hang around with their own kind in play, they let their actions speak for them, and their actual conversation is sparse and brief.

Crafters can be wonderfully generous and loyal to their friends, teammates, and sidekicks, often giving up their evenings or weekends to help with building projects or mechanical repairs-house remodeling, for example, or working on cars or boats. On the other hand, they can be fiercely insubordinate to those in authority, seeing rules and regulations as unnecessarily confining. Crafters will not usually go against regulations openly, but will simply ignore them. More than anything, Crafters want to be free to do their own thing, and they are proud of their ability to do it with an artist's skill.

Bruce Lee, Michael Jordan, Woody Allen, Alan Shepard, Chuck Yaeger, Michael Douglas, Lance Armstrong, and Kathrine Hephurn are examples of Crafter Artisans.


This is all fairly accurate, except for the part about risky activities. I *really* don't like pain, and I am careful about my activities.

However, the test nailed my most prominent personality trait/skill, and that is the ability to use tools. Although generally I stick to the software variety, rather than the hardware.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wired for Books: Interviews with Great Writers

Wired for Books: Celebrating Books, Reading, and Literature
Listen to the voices of many of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.


This looks like an amazing site!

Interviews with award winners of every literary prize imaginable, Booker Prize, Edgar Award, Pulitzer, Nobel...

I guess this is my day for blogging on books. I'm not doing it on purpose, it's just what's being thrown my way.

Kindle text to speech fight




Amazon Backs Off Text-to-Speech Feature in Kindle - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com
Amazon announced today it will let publishers decide whether they want the new Kindle e-book device to read their books aloud.

The text-to-speech feature allows Kindle owners to have books read to them in a male or female computerized voice. ... the Author’s Guild ... said [it] undermined the market for the professional audio books that are sold separately.

Amazon maintains that the feature is legal, and that it would in fact increase the market for audio books.

I think the Author's Guild must not listen to their own audio books. There is a huge difference between having someone read a book, and having the computer do it.

The best audio books add to the story. For instance, the audio version of Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Ann Petry included not just the slave song verses as written in the book, but the actual songs being sung. I suppose not every book can be so enhanced, but many can be.

There are also many books that are read by the author, Home by Julie Andrews is one example, where the audio experience immerses you in the book in an entirely unique way. After listening to Andrews book, one feels as though you just spent several hours having tea with her while she reminisced. In addition, she could add-in musical moments and vocalizations not possible in the written form.

Friday, February 27, 2009

"Must have" books and DVDs for ocean lovers

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(Picture taken in Santa Cruz last year.)


In another wonderous moment of 'pulling on a google thread' I found this list on Amazon.

Amazon.com: "MarineBio.org's "must have" books and DVDs for ocean lovers"

All the five-star books on this list may be real treasures. Certainly those by Carl Safina are wonderful.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

WOW!, Just WOW

I just finished listening to Obama's speech. It was incredible and I know that I will remember this speech for the rest of my life.

I already have a sense that tomorrow things will be better, and the day after that will be better again.

I think this must have been something like what it was to watch one of JFK's historic speeches. I am too young to remember him, let alone Roosevelt.

If any of you are old enough, please tell how it compares.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Google Health - Check it out

Things continue to improve with Thing2. However, we continue to have significant health challenges to manage.

Yesterday I explored Google Health for the first time.

All I can say is Wow! If it had been available when all this started, maybe things wouldn't have gone so far before we realized what was going on.

If you take any medications, you should check it out. Building-up an easy-to-access health record could save you if your health status changes and you need to analyze what has changed.

I also found that it's fairly easy to create a daily medication schedule/log in Google Calendar. My only warning is that there are some bugs in the WYSIWYG functionality in the print module.

Pending Listening

This post is my running list of podcasts and other on-line items that I intend to list to.

Invisible Handwriting - Podcasts from the presses at Harvard, MIT, UC

Invisible Handwriting: A podcaster's blog bills itself as:
The blog for Heron & Crane Productions. Information about The Invisible Hand Podcast and the podcasts for the following University Presses: Yale, Harvard, M.I.T., California and Chicago, as well as general thoughts.


This looks like an excellent blog for someone like me, who loves to read.

Katie Couric at The Daily Beast

Katie Talks Katie - The Daily Beast
The summary reads:
The CBS News anchor talks candidly about facing off with Sarah Palin, being lied to by Alex Rodriguez, how she landed Sully, why George W. Bush is smarter than you think—and of course that new haircut.


Katie Couric is one of our top newscasters, and therefore an interview with her has significant import. The summary made me wonder, will we ever get to the point that comments on womens' appearance will be considered as uninteresting and non-newsworthy as similar commentary on men's appearance?

Update: Now that I've read the interview, I feel a little better about the summary. Here's the relevant part:
As the first sole woman anchor, what’s that experience been like? Have you felt that unique role in anything you’ve been doing?

Sometimes. I think sometimes in the way people analyze what I do. Making note of the color of my khaki pants or things that I think are—

Hair is very big, isn’t it?

Yeah, I got a haircut, which obviously created an international incident, and you know I think you’re just probably scrutinized a lot more closely. And other than that, I haven’t experienced anything major being the first woman. I think obviously I bring my own sensibilities to the broadcast, but so do Charlie and Brian, so I don’t think that’s necessarily gender-specific.

It used to be that women sort of couldn’t stay in television beyond a certain age. That’s completely different now, isn’t it?

I hope so.

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On a side note: The Daily Beast looks like a great site, I don't know why I've never heard of it before. Do any of you read it? Do you like it?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Thing2's ongoing progress

At her lowest, Thing2 weighed 98 pounds, plus or minus a few ounces. She is 5' 5" tall and a normal weight for her is 135. At 115 she is very skinny. At 98 pounds she has no fat. Her BMI is 13, and it's not because she has a lot of lean muscle, it's because she has no fat left. None. No butt, no nothing.
She is now about 101.5 pounds. On Monday we realized that we should research the proper protocol for someone who is this skinny beginning to eat normally.

I found that this process is called 'refeeding'. Unfortunately, there are some serious risks mentioned in the web articles, and now Thing2 is freaking-out about it.
I'm almost sorry I looked. But it was probably important to know that carbohydrates can cause blood chemistry imbalances, and that a high-fat diet is most helpful. So that's what we're doing.

I called her doctor today to ask if he would do a full blood panel to make sure that the refeeding process is going OK, and that her blood chemistry is in the normal range. Unfortunately, he never called back.

Monday, February 16, 2009

News Analysis that doesn't make me crazy

Over at Firedoglake Prof. James K. Galbraith's post What is to be Done? Next Steps for Economic Recovery is a good start.
His analysis of the stimulus package
We have a bill. In the most likely case, it will slow the collapse but not stop or reverse it. And it will come into effect alongside a bank rescue plan that stands very little chance of reviving the credit markets. So we have one part of a recovery plan that is helpful but probably insufficient, and another part that most likely will not work at all. The prospects for an early exit from the slump are therefore not encouraging, just yet.


His straight-to-the-heart-of-it comments on the moderate senator's actions are refreshing in their clarity and sensibility.
It is difficult to know what the so-called moderate Senators were thinking. Do they have special insight into this crisis? Do they have their own forecasters, with deep understanding and good track records in these matters? Do they have their own models? Do they have, in other words, any ground for believing that less than $800 billion, spread over two years, will be enough to bring the economy back? If so, they weren't saying so, so far as I could tell.


He has some cogent and simple recommendations for next steps which make a lot of sense.

News 'analysis' is making me crazy

It drove me crazy to listen to Cokey Roberts' uncritical validation of republican complaints about Obama's failure to deliver on his bipartisan promises on the stimulus package during her so-called analysis piece on NPR this morning.

Her entire analysis consisted of nothing more than tired old spin-rich in-side politics pablum.

I don't think it's overstating the situation to say that the world is on the brink of an economic precipice.

It's my fervent hope that in a year's time we'll look back, wipe our brow and say "Whew!, that was a close one.", and then blithely continue on in our lives sure in the knowledge that we have secured our long-term financial security, both personally and nationally.

It is my deepest fear that in a year's time we will look back on this time as a missed opportunity to avoid going over the economic cliff.

In this environment it is nothing less that imperative that the press use every reporting and analysis moment to educate and inform the public on the arguments and facts in support of all meaningful arguments put forward by credible sources on all sides of the political spectrum. When Cokie Roberts focused on and supported Lindsay Graham's and John McCain's claims of partisan-ship on the part of Obama, as she failed to cover more substantive aspects of our current crisis, she let all of us down.

More rain


You shouldn't be surprised the hear it rained all night.

The only good news in this picture is that there seems to be some clearing in the west.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I saved a frog tonight


It has been raining for 10-hours straight!

This is our current weather map. Our weather moves from west to east.
As you can see from the massive rain to the west, it looks like we are going to keep having rain.

When Thing2 and I took our walk (in the rain, of course) this evening, in the street light reflecting off the wet pavement I could see a frog hopping down the street. There was a car coming, so I picked it up and put it on the sidewalk near a lawn and some bushes. He happily hopped into the lawn. I'm sure he was looking for a nice stream to swim in. I have no idea where he came from, but I hope he finds a comfortable place to live.

Fantastic News on Thing2

Thing2's doctor recently had her stopped taking one of her medications, and suddenly her health has dramatically improved.

She is back to her old self. She is thinking clearly. She is eating normally!

We are thrilled!!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

The flames were 6-inches high...

Tonight I started a small fire in our oven.

I put some cheesy garlic bread on to broil, with the intention of just warming it up.
I got distracted for a few minutes and when I turned around there was smoke pouring out of the oven. When I opened the door, the toast was fully engulfed in flames.

I tried blowing it out, but it was way past that stage.

Thing2 was yelling at me to put water on it. So I pulled-out the rack, and swatted the flaming toast with the pot holder. That put out the fire, but it was still smoking like crazy, so I put it in the sink and ran water over it.

Then we had to run around opening all the windows and doors. For some reason the smoke detector never went off. I hope it isn't broken.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Life goes on... to music

I have missed everyone and I've thought often of posting, but life has just not cooperated.

I have had a little time to relax on-line, and thanks to hsack's recommendation of Pandora Radio, I've been able to create some custom radio stations and listen to just what suits me.

Here are a few of my radio stations that you can access if you wish. This is not music that you are likely to find on any commercial radio station, which probably says something about its general popularity. But I've never been one of the cool kids :)

Women of Broadway Julie Andrews, Barbra, Sarah Brightman, Patti Lupone, Bette Midler with the occasional Josh Groban and Michael Crawford just to keep it interesting.

Women of Country Classic female country artists with a few modern ones thrown in for variety.

Chanteuse Radio Julie London, Rita Coolidge, Jane Olivor

Women in Big Bands Peggy Lee, Doris Day, Marilyn Monroe, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Girl Kitty is hungry but patient

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(Stock photo of Girl Kitty)


For some reason unknown to me, I seem to be incapable of reacting in a timely fashion to the signs of the inevitable need to buy more cans of cat food for Girl Kitty.

She has switched to a diet of entirely soft-food since her unfortunate accident last year and the subsequent discovery of her tooth disease and removal of 5-teeth.

Since then I have proven over-and-over again that I won't go buy more cat food until I have used-up the last can and she is meowing to be fed. Last night I opened the last can, and this morning I fed her the last of it. Since she finished licking-out her bowl, she has been curled-up in front of her dish patiently and hopefully waiting while purring encouragement for me to get her more food.

Update: Food has been acquired, applied and appreciated. All is good and purry with the world.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

OMG - I totally forgot our 31st anniversary

I was just over at JadedJ's place where his format puts the date of the post in nice big letters. When I saw January 16, I thought -- "wow, I can't believe it's already January 16". Then a thought kept niggling at me about the date. And then it hit me. OMG - yesterday was our anniversary, and with all the hullabaloo, I completely forgot. And I think Thing2 did too. (If she didn't, I'm in Big trouble ;)

Just when you think it can't get any worse...

I've long subscribed to the belief that one should never say/think that things can't get any worse, because in my experience, that's just when the unthinkable/unexpected will happen and you'll find yourself in even more dire straights.

Yesterday we spent much of the day in and out of the local urgent care clinic. Thing2 was pushing-off with her hand, while getting out of the aerobed, when she slipped and her hand slid thumb-first into the floor with all her weight on it. She knew her thumb dislocated, but unfortunately x-rays showed that she broke her thumb and a bone in her hand. So they slapped a cast on her hand to protect her thumb.

Since this is her only hand, and it now has a cast on it -- she is almost helpless.

She can't open cans or bottles to get boost, gatorade or gingerale to drink. She can't lift and pour any pitchers or cartons to get any milk or juice. She has to hold everything between her four fingers on her right hand and her little left arm, which means that when she reaches out to put it down, her reach is limited to the lenght of her arm to her elbow. She is also unable to pull any boxes out of the cupboard unless it's on the lowest shelf right in front.

I'm thinking I may have to take some family leave to take care of her.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

If you're not in your right mind, are you in your wrong mind?

Thing2 used the phrase 'If I was in my right mind I wouldn't have...'.

It got me to thinking, where are you when you're not in your right mind? Are you in your wrong mind?

BTW - Thing2 was not in her right mind because it's late and she's very tired.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Only half the story on increased shark attacks

From the LA Times Shark attacks: 2008 figures could indicate troubling trend for West Coast
There were five unprovoked shark attacks along the West Coast, slightly more than double the number for 2007. All involved great white sharks...
The 2008 figures bring to 42 the total number of authenticated shark attacks along the West Coast during the first eight years of the century -- more than five times the 20th century annual average.

It might be simply because more people venturing into the ocean. It could also be that more white sharks are milling off Southern California, perhaps taking advantage of an exploding population of California sea lions. Or it could be that both factors are in play.


One thing I learned about the controversies about the impact of shark tourism on shark behavior when I read The Devil's Teeth : A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks. Researchers speculate that great whites could begin to associate human presence with food, and there are other problems as well.

I should write more on this, but it will have to wait until later.


The Devil's Teeth A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks

Monday, January 12, 2009

On the trail of 'Ramona' in California

The LA Times has a long article, On the trail of 'Ramona' in California, about Helen Hunt Jackson, the author of the popular novel Ramona, published the 1880's. A poet and travel writer, when she became concerned about the treatment of Native Americans she turned to the pen, and wrote a fictionalized account of life in Southern California.

Several movies have been based on the book.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Feeling a little blue

I'm feeling a little blue right now.

Mostly my worries about Thing2's health are not front-and-center for me, but sometimes it breaks through. Tonight I was cutting her hair, and when I looked at her face in the mirror, right next to mine, it was obvious that her face did not have a healthy rosy look to it.

She has been asleep for about 2-hours. I promised I would wake her up at 10 so she could take her night-time medicine, but when I tried to get her up she couldn't stay awake long enough. I'll try again at 11.

We went on a nice long walk around our neighborhood this afternoon. It was sunny and relatively warm. Thing2 was comfortable in shorts.

I don't know if I've mentioned this, but she has been eating better in the last week and she's gained about 5 pounds. If she can keep it up I will be so happy.

The last few weeks have been quite difficult in parts for me, and I've lost a few more pounds. I haven't been this weight in more than 10-years.

My total weight-loss is now over 40-pounds.

Sunday morning

I didn't wake-up until nearly 9:00 this morning. Thing2 had been awake all night and was rum-dum with fatigue.

Sweetheart that she is, she had made coffee. But, I didn't go shopping yesterday and we are out of nearly all essentials, so we had to get creative with the cream for our coffee. Usually we use half-and-half. This morning we had the following choices: heavy cream, light whipped cream from a bottle, or low-fat chocolate milk. We chose to mix all three and have a rich mocha latte. It was very good!

I've been perusing journals and playing linez.

Oh, and I checked-out the JS eBay auction and saw that someone swooped in at the last second and picked it up for $5600. The next chapter of the JS saga is in their hands now. I checked-out the value using swiftappraisal.com and for small markets it estimated $6K to $14K, and for medium markets $14K to $22K. We shall see...

Now I need to head off to Costco for the necessities:
Calistoga (various flavors, not plain)
Kirkland organic chocolate milk in single-serving boxes
Paper towels
Woolite laundry detergent
Sour French Bread
Fresh sliced mango
Fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries
Odwalla Orange Juice
1/2 gallon Half-and-Half
Thermacare hot-packs for the lower back (if you haven't tried these, you are missing the best invention since massages.)
Kirkland brand ibuprofen in capsules
Bandaids (Thing2's fingers are splitting at the corners of her nails and we're using buckets of bandaids because they have to be replaced every time she washes her hands.)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

It's all the little things, and it's starting to get to me

The auction for JS ends in about a day, and if someone buys it and puts-up a site anything like the old JS -- I'm there.

While I'm enjoying the use of a standard tool that plays nicely with all the blogging tools out there, the lack of the social networking features are killing me.

I can't easily click on the list of viewers who have visited and go see their sites.

When I visit a blog, I have to leave a comment so the blogs that I visit know I read and care, instead of having the knowledge that they will see that I've visited in their statistics. I'm not good at quick comments, and it's slowing-down my blog reading something fierce. It would be faster if I just posted a reading list here. Hmmm, maybe I'll do that.

And finally, the inability to PM people. I didn't use it much, but when I did, it was a very nice way to communicate more openly and deeply within the JS community.

Friday, January 9, 2009

And so ends the first work week of 2008 2009

This evening is the first normal, nice evening we've had this week.

We're just sitting back and watching TV. Thing2 is a little manic and she's very chatty so we watch a few minutes of our show, pause TIVO, chat, and then resume the show.

And tomorrow will be more TV. With all the football playoff games happening this weekend, we're not going to get much done. But it will be fun!

Update: If you haven't seen the JS YouTube, go check it out at JadedJ's place.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Guide to Ocean Friendly Seafood

The Blue Ocean Institute has compiled a guide to help consumers make appropriate choices when eating fish. Full List of Seafood

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The fish listed as 'red' are:
Atlantic Cod
Atlantic Halibut
Atlantic Salmon
Caviar from the Caspian Sea and wild-caught North American
Chilean Sea Bass
Fresh Water farmed Eel
Groupers
Orange Roughy
Oreos (the fish, not the cookie)
Imported Sharks
Farmed or wild-caught Imported Shrimp
Snappers
Japanese farmed Yellowtail

MSNBC's Chris Matthews won't run for Senate

MSNBC's Chris Matthews won't run for Senate
"He is now said to be mulling a contract renewal offer from MSNBC."

Translation: He opened his latest financial statement and saw that like most other millionaires, he's seen his net worth plummet about 40% and he needs to stay where the pay is highest if he wants to maintain his standard of living.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

There's nothing better than extended family

I had dinner last night with my second cousins (or first cousins once removed... I forget how it works.)

It was a delightful and relaxing evening spent with people I've known all my life, but who don't have an overly strong sense of (what's the word I want here... something that infers the kind of baggage a parent or even a sibling might bring to the table...)*runs off to consult thesaurus* -- vested interest seems to be the closest I can get. I hope you get the idea.

In any case, whatever words are used, it was much needed and much appreciated.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Not a good day -- at all

I wish I could throw my blanket over my head and hide from the world like Linus in the Peanuts cartoons.

Google's ironic AdSense

When I checked the journalspace.com web page today, this is what I saw:
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While this is certainly ironic, I would like to point-out to everyone that while Dylan's lack of complete backup did cause damage to many of us. I dare you to find anyone who hasn't experienced the loss of some electronic material. It's one of those things that happens. So this post isn't intended to heap on the ridicule.
Karma's a bitch, and I don't have everything of mine totally backed-up either. *knock on wood*, *runs-off to schedule a total backup*.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I'm so happy that my fellow JSers continue to trickl in

It's good to feel the ties with my fellow JournalSpace refugees continue to strengthen as we establish our journals again. I'm beginning to feel less shell-shocked and sad.

My one disappointment is that the Googlebot did not archive my 'Cool links' category.. probably not enough non-linky material. I was relying on many of those posts for my own reference. I doubt I've bookmarked even half of them. I've already needed to lookup two of them in the last two days.

Maybe I'll be one of the lucky ones and Dylan will be able to send me a full archive of my old blog. I hope so, but I'm not counting on it.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Still a Work in Progress

I got SiteMeter installed a little while ago.

The feature I miss most about JS are the list of JS users that have visited recently.

On the other hand, I can understand why blogger doesn't offer this feature. Since our google indentities are often used for many different purposes besides blogging, it would not be cool to be tracked when ever we were logged-in to google. I can think of ways around this, like a privacy option for your google identity, but I suppose it's not worth their time.

I still need to spend some time getting my format back to the way I want it. But that will probably take another week.

So far I've spent the better part of a day exploring different blogging sites. Then I spent another day tracking-down and catching-up with all the other JS refugees. There is still a big hole where LostKittens, ToddLite and Magdalene should be. I hope they show-up sometime in the future.

Update: Several of you have asked how to get this. Fitzgerald recommended several sitemeter tools in this post at Dorrie's forum.
If you chose sitemeter, go to sitemeter.com and get an account.
Then go to their help page and follow the instructions for inserting the appropriate html code in your blog.
It should only take you a few minutes!

I must be insane

Dylan has put JournalSpace up for auction at eBay.

For some reason unknown to me, I'm tempted to bid on it.

I'm thinking this must be a symptom of insanity because I have absolutely no experience running a web site. While I have years of software development experience, very little of it would be relevant to owning and running a site like JS.

In the ideal world, I'd like to join a consortium of people who would buy and own JS. However, it's always problematic to coordinate a group effort - so that idea may be even more 'round-the-bend than the idea of simply bidding on JS.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

So That's How It Ends

About 2-years ago my father was changing a light bulb at the community pool when the light pole, against which his ladder was leaning, collapsed. He was at the top of the ladder at a height of about 15 feet. He told me later that as he and the ladder arced toward the ground he thought "So this is how it ends.". Luckily he landed on grass and not on the concrete. So while he did break both bones in one arm and had a ladder-rung shaped bruise across his abdomen, it wasn't the end of him. Thankfully, he's going to have to wait a little longer to find out how he ends.

When I found-out that JournalSpace was no more, I had the same thought about my blogging that my father had when he fell. I thought "So this is how it ends." But now, with everyone establishing new blogs and me needing to find the new blogs and a new blogging home, I'm finding it has invigorated my interest in blogging. So it turns-out it is not the end of my blogging.

Here's to a new beginning *raises glass to all fellow JSers*.

Best of 2008 SFGate Day in Pictures

This is my favorite 'Day in Pictures' site, and they've just posted their best of the year.
SFGate Day in Pictures