October 04, 2005
WebVerbix is an online source that works as a conjugator calculator. For example, here is the conjugation for the German verb sein ("to be"). I wish I'd stuck with studying German. I guess I can always take it up again.
Cats in Need of Good Homes
I'm helping a friend whose mom has been seriously ill. She's a cat lady and would help find homes for cats and kittens. Now there are too many of her own buy Viagra without Prescription cats to care for. There are about 7 adult cats of various ages. We're also looking into no-kill shelters. I've put up photos on Flickr and will update as soon as I can manage to get pictures of the other camera-shy cats. If you're interested, feel free to get in touch.
October 05, 2005
APD - Apparently it's ok to be a dick
I apologize for the crassness. Preston, a friend of Fat Asian Baby, had a run-in last night order Viagra without Prescription with the Atlanta police, who found a way to arrest him for having a problem with one of the cops parking in a handicapped parking spot AND blocking the access ramp. All so he could go get a cup of coffee with a bunch of other cops. Just guess - guess! - whose side the other cops are on. Shitheads, assholes, dicks, all of them, including the supervisor who was called to the scene.
This is NOT acceptable. What can we do to publicize this further?
No not me, not yet anyway. I dithered too long about whether I wanted to go see Death Cab for Cutie with Stars as the opening act at the Tabernacle. So of course it's sold out.
October 06, 2005
Dead and nearly dead things, and thoughts about dying
Leaving work yesterday, I found a small bird that lay dead on the sidewalk, its tiny feathers fluttering in the breeze.
At the train station, just before I passed through the turnstiles, there was a dragonfly flattened on the pavement.
In the night I woke up, hearing some noise from the kitchen. Figured it was the new cat exploring and making a ruckus and so I went back to sleep. While feeding Ulysses this Viagra without Prescription mastercard morning, I saw a bird, coal-black, flying around the kitchen in desperation. Ulysses, in hunt mode, jumped up on the stove, trying to get close. Before we could react, the bird had fallen down the side of the washing machine, and Ulysses leapt down and came out with the bird in his mouth. There was a low, terrible moaning sound.
Ulysses dashed around with his prey, then hid under the bed. Scott grabbed a broom to get him out, and we managed to shoo him out the back door.
After a while, watching through the window, I saw the cat open his mouth to check out his catch. The bird suddenly sprang and flew off. Ulysses ran close behind. I hope it got away.
Tonight I'm going to stop by our friend's mom's house. I will clean litter boxes, fill up the food and water bowls for the cats, see if there's anything else I can do to make things a little easier for her. I will pretend to be cheerful. I will try not to be distressed that there's only so much I can do. I help buy Viagra without Prescription not because it makes me feel good, but because to not help, even a little, makes me feel bad. I grit my teeth and try not to think about questions that have nothing to do with me.
I don't think I've ever been afraid of death. It's the dying part that scares me. How you live your life can have an awful lot to do with the way you'll leave this world. Sometimes, anyway.
October 07, 2005
The New Reds
Bush on Iraq: "God told me to" I guess we have to run the country with the president we've got.
Isn't it ironic that Republicans have claimed the color red, that there are red states? It wasn't so long ago that to call someone a "Red" was to accuse Viagra without Prescription online the person of being that ultimate of evils, a Communist. Now Republicans are the new Reds.
No, but thanks
Next Month: My Stint as a Hack Writer
And how would that be different from my usual blog posts, you ask?
This time around, I have a writing partner. We haven't exactly worked out the details of the partnership, but it will involve encouragement, competitive comparisons of word count, perhaps even forced readings of each other's material. Yikes.
October 10, 2005
Starting the hearing loss young, I see
I still read the Metropolitan Diary in the NY Times, for those "only in New York" moments. One of today's submissions surely must phase even the most jaded:
While jogging in Central Park on a recent morning, I found myself following closely behind a man, also out for a run, pushing one of those fancy, three-wheeled sports strollers and listening to his iPod.
We were going at the same speed and, as I kept pace behind him, I began to realize that the runners passing us in the opposite direction were doing a double-take as they looked into the stroller and then at the man pushing it.
What curiosity was there to see? I wondered. A particularly cute baby? A small dog receiving the royal treatment? No, I decided, as I sped up to solve the mystery, my guess was that there was a distraught baby inside, crying incessantly, but to no avail because its father's ears were plugged with headphones.
All my speculations were proved wrong as I overtook the man and looked inside the stroller to see a girl no older than 2, listening contentedly to an iPod of her own - mini, of course.
Julia L. Gatto
October 11, 2005
The History of Love
by Nicole Krauss, ISBN: 0393060349 [Amazon]
I finished this a few days ago, but today I flagged passages I loved and cried as I re-read the final section. Have you ever felt so moved that it's as if you're possessed? Reading The History of Love was like having my chest cracked open, the words flooding into me:
The floorboards creaked under my weight. There were books everywhere. There were pens, and a blue glass vase, an ashtray from the Dolder Grand in Zurich, the rusted arrow of a weather vane, a little brass hourglass, sand dollars on the windowsill, a pair of binoculars, an empty wine bottle that served as a candle holder, wax melted down the neck. I touched this thing and that. At the end, all that's left of you are your possessions. Perhaps that's why I've never been able to throw anything away. Perhaps that's why I hoarded the world: with the hope that when I died, the sum total of my things would suggest a life larger than the one I lived. [p. 165]And this:
Every year, the memories I have of my father become more faint, unclear, and distant. Once they were vivid and true, then they became like photographs, and now they are more like photographs of photographs. But sometimes, at rare moments, a memory of him will return to me with such suddenness and clarity that all the feeling I've pushed down for years springs out like a jack-in-the-box.... [p.192]The novel unfolds through several character viewpoints, through different narrative forms - first person accounts, journal entries, excerpts from a novel within the novel itself called The History of Love, even poetry. There is a literary mystery, at the heart of which is a love story that inspires other love stories, so that the novel itself is a history of love.
One more line, one that caused the words to swim on the page for me: "The truth is the thing I invented so I could live." [p.167]
October 12, 2005
One Book, One Chicago - A bit late on this, but Pride & Prejudice is the current selection. [Thanks to Richard Novak]
And for font fanatics, may I present the Jane Austen font.
October 13, 2005
I got a ten-minute chair massage. It was a treat provided by the office, except I hadn't scheduled an appointment. I kept stopping by the conference room to find other people waiting. But I did get one eventually, and the very nice man, a chiropractor, worked the tension out of my upper back and lower back. Ahhh.
The building is removing equipment from the roof. Being directly underneath, we have been subjected to mechanical sledgehammer-like sounds ALL DAY. It's supposed to go on for THE NEXT TEN DAYS. I think I may go postal.
In the meantime, my long weekend begins now. Off to visit old friends for a few days. I've got friends looking in on the cats, including that gray bastard who scratched up my right arm yet again and also sunk his teeth in, breaking the skin.
October 17, 2005
A pretty(?!?) cover of "Baby Got Back"
Still in beta mode, meebo is a web-based tool that lets you log into your various IM accounts simultaneously. Not yet perfect, as I can't log in using both my AIM and ICQ accounts simultaneously, but I can use one of those along with a Gtalk login.
October 18, 2005
LibraryThing - An online tool, still in beta, that allows you to catalog your books. Media (cds, dvds) seem available too, but not quite as numerous. This may involve my editing my catalog entries, but it's worth exploring. I'm thinking about ponying up the $10 for a lifetime membership (which also allows you to catalog more than 200 items).
Time magazine picks top 100 novels since 1923 to present
article on weblog usability
October 19, 2005
Librarians Love Lucy Liu
(click on image for larger version)
I spotted this Intel ad today on the homepage of the New York Times. Naturally I was curious. Apparently this is part of a new ad campaign.
Let's check against the stereotype. Glasses. Check. Cardigan. Check. Clunky shoes (which I like actually, they look kinda cool). Check. Yeah she's cute, but she's not the ravishing creature seated on her lap, as indicated by her rapt expression.
October 21, 2005
I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn, etc.
Shopgirl / In Her Shoes
This week I've seen two movies based on books I haven't read. Yet. Two nights in a row I've left a screening room wiping away messy tears. (It's not pretty when I cry. When I've had a long jag, the next day I've got frog eyes.)
Shopgirl has the quality of a modern fairy tale. And like true fairy tales, there is darkness that causes pain but also generates transformation. But then life is like that too. Claire Danes is a wonder as Mirabelle Buttersfield, with great turns by Steve Martin and Jason Schwartzman as well. Yes, this film is a romantic comedy, but it strikes a sharp, fine balance between the surreal and the all-too-real experience of love.
In Her Shoes is another movie I went into without expectation. Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette are Maggie and Rose, sisters who love and exasperate each other in equal parts. Rose is an overachiever who rewards herself with gorgeous shoes she never wears. Maggie gets by on her looks and borrowing from Rose's closet without permission. A sudden rift forms between them, forcing each sister to face the highs and lows in their lives on their own, to find themselves and yet somehow find a way back to each other. Shirley Maclaine is the grandmother they rediscover. So it's a movie about sisters, about family, about loss and hurt and finding a way to get past that, about reinvention and taking chances with life.
October 24, 2005
Death Cab For Cutie Webcast Tonight on NPR
The band's entire set tonight at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC will be webcast live as part of NPR's ongoing 'All Things Considered' Concert Series. The webcast begins at approximately 9:45 pm and can be accessed here.
October 25, 2005
So this partner calls. He wants a copy of a foreign court's decision. All he knows are the companies involved and that it was "recent." There's nothing more he can tell me.
I have no idea where to start. I search news databases to see if I can find any articles that will give me more information. I call a database help line, and the person helps me find a single newswire article, which isn't in English. I feed the text into Babelfish to see if it's relevant. It is. So I've now gained a little more information - an approximate date, which is more informative than "recent."
I find a website for the country's court system. Again, not in English. I look to librarian mailing-lists for research ideas. A few responses trickle in, but nothing particularly helpful. I call a document service to see if they can obtain a copy of the decision for me. The ballpark estimate is $1000, with translation services at $100/page if I so choose.
Back to the court's website. I start feeding text into Babelfish to help me find my way around. Eventually I find a page that allows users to search for judicial opinions by various fields. I type in a party name and a date range....
I found it! I get a rough translation from Babelfish to make sure, but yes, it's the document I need. I send off an email with the document attached, explaining that the partner would need to get the decision translated.
And the response? Zip. Zilch. Nichts. Nada. A mere "thanks" would have sufficed. A "Wow! That's incredible! Thanks!" would be even better.
A lot of this is way too technical and boring. But it's a big deal to me personally. It's the librarian's equivalent of pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
Anyway, I'm sure something will stump me today, so I better not let my head get swollen. Like anyone would notice, anyway. :p
Yesterday was Take Back Your Time Day. And I was at work, being dutiful when I should've just gone home. No more of that! ;)
The site has some cool posters you can print out too.
[via Emily at chocolatespoon]
Words from Madonna
From Jeannette Walls at The Scoop
Love and marriage, and Madonna
Madonna has revealed that she and her hubby went through such a tough period she said they almost split, and she now says there’s no such thing as a perfect "soulmate."
"I got married for all the wrong reasons," she says in her documentary, "I’m Going To Tell You A Secret." "My husband did not turn out to be everything I had imagined him to be. I just wanted to end everything."
But, Madonna says, she came to realize that she had unrealistic expectations of marriage. "There is no such thing as the perfect soulmate," she said. "If someone and you think they are perfect, you had better run as fast as you can in the other direction. Your soulmate is the person that pushes all your buttons. The person who [bleeps] you off on a regular basis and makes you face your [bleep]. . . . I thank God every day that I married a man who makes me think. That is my definition of true love."
October 26, 2005
Nursery Rhymes for Trust Fund Tots
From Page Six:
October 26, 2005 -- IT'S not enough to dress the results of the recent baby boom in Dior and Burberry and push them around in Bugaboo strollers that cost as much as a car. Now there are posh new nursery rhymes to recite to the spoiled sweeties. In "This Little Piggy Went to Prada," Amy Allen rewrites childhood standards with a designer bent. "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," becomes "Twinkle, Twinkle Diamond Ring." But our fave — to the tune of "Frere Jacques" — is, "Louis Vuitton, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Burberry? Nappy bag dilemma — Lulu, Kate or Anya? Shopping spree, buy all three." Talk about training consumers in the crib.
If you're so gung-ho for this war, then get your ass over there and help finish this thing. Unless you think dying for no reason isn't worth dying for. The reason we went in - a bogus reason - is not the reason we're still there. The original reason we were given for going to war has everything to do with why somebody leaked the identity of a CIA operative when her husband wrote an op-ed column in the New York Times challenging the White House's claim [addendum: made via a report from the British government] of yellowcake uranium.
We have a volunteer army, it's argued. A volunteer army is better to have than a conscripted one. Well how much of a volunteer are you if the military is the only option for you to escape poverty, if you don't have the option of going to college? How much of a volunteer are you if it's illegal for you to quit the military once you join?
If the draft was reinstated, then people would take this war more seriously. Then people would realize they have something at stake, if they or their children actually had to fight in this war, or any other war. Then people might realize what sacrifice for the sake of your country really means. Things seem different when your own life is at stake.
Sure, people would go to Canada or some other country claiming asylum or conscientious objection. The wealthy and well-connected would find ways to escape their obligations. (Chickenhawk Cheney skipped Vietnam because he had "other priorities.") Fine - somewhere it will be on record and the press can expose them and challenge them on why they were exempted from fulfilling their duty as citizens.
As an aside, I find myself increasing angry with the New York Times and the case of Judith Miller. Miller isn't a saint protecting the freedom of the press. She's an irresponsible, reckless journalist who allowed herself to be used by sources to drum up justification for this war. She's damaged the field of journalism and she's damaging the credibility of the NYT (at least in the eyes of those who don't already view the NYT as part of that liberal media, a liberal media owned by such prominent liberals like Rupert Murdoch). She ought to be fired, not allowed to take a leave of absence and then resign to "pursue other interests." Fire her ass, and let her try to explain that her work and her practices weren't dishonest and fraudulent.
October 28, 2005
NaNoWriMo almost upon us
I started out so well this month. Taking notes on index cards. But I still don't have an outline or much of a plot and now I'm thinking of new ideas.
Who all is doing this? Are you listed at NaNoWriMo? Let me know and I'll look you up.
Lewis "Scooter" Libby Indicted
Copy of indictment available here. He's also resigned from his position at the White House.
Where in the World is Robert Novak?
October 31, 2005
My Letter to Target
According to Planned Parenthood, a Target store pharmacy refused to fill a birth control prescription to a customer in Missouri on September 30. I sent an email through their action page and got a brief, generic letter from Target about how Target respects the diversity of its employees.
Now I've just read about a woman in Arizona who was raped and her prescription for emergency birth control was refused by the pharmacist for "moral" reasons. This decision was supported by the pharmacist manager, who offered to fill the prescription himself, if the young woman and her friend accompanying her could get to the store within 10 minutes - because his shift was ending. This incident happened at a Fry's Food Store pharmacy in Tucson. Arizona doesn't have a shield law protecting pharmacists with delicate consciences, but many of the pharmacies there have corporate policies that allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions based on moral grounds.
What I'm wondering is why such people are in this profession. Find another career. If denying birth control to women, including women who've just been raped, so offends you, then get out of the field.
I haven't let the horror of this story sink in yet. To divert my attentions, I finally wrote my reply to Target:
I am extremely disappointed with this lackluster response. I have been a loyal Target customer for years. I really enjoy shopping at your stores and I am extremely upset about having to give that up. There was a location that opened near where I live and I was really excited about it. But ever since I learned of the incident at your store pharmacy in Missouri, I have stopped shopping at Target, because I am very angry about your policy.
If your pharmacist is incapable of doing his or her job based on his or her personal beliefs, that is a problem. That person has no business being one of your employees. If a customer comes in with a birth control prescription, written by her doctor, it should be filled without comment. It's one thing if there's a professional concern, such as if the customer is taking other medication and the new medication could interfere with that. I agree with that - your pharmacists SHOULD exercise their professional judgment. But as for their personal judgments, those are irrelevant and SHOULD NOT come into play when a woman comes in to get her prescription filled. What the pharmacist thinks personally is irrelevant!
It is not acceptable to refer the woman to another pharmacist or another pharmacy. What if the store is the only store in town for miles? What if the medication is needed as soon as possible? By allowing this behavior, Target practices bad customer service by interfering with a woman's private choices. Because Target allows its pharmacists to choose not to perform their jobs, jobs which are given state licenses in order to practice, Target chooses to provide substandard service to its customers, which is appalling.
This corporate policy is unacceptable. I don't even care if in this particular incident in Missouri is shielded by state law to protect a pharmacist's conscientious objection. I live in Georgia where such a law exists, and that law is wrong. If your organization can't be bothered to hire professionals who are capable of performing their jobs, then I will have to take my business elsewhere. I have already told friends and family about this, and they feel just as strongly as I do. So you have many disappointed customers who will also be taking their hard-earned money elsewhere because of this policy. I strongly urge you to please reconsider your policy.
Got up early on Saturday to help some dear friends move in together. Unlike me, they didn't have boxes and boxes of books and they were incredibly organized and got other people to help as well. They have the cutest little house and I will be visiting regularly for their company and high-speed internet. ;)
In the afternoon, we hit Little Five Points for some costume ideas. In the end, I didn't find anything. I did have a backup idea, which I ripped off from reading in a gossip column: The Light at the End of the Tunnel. I would dress in black and tape a big white circle to my torso. Scott picked up a black robe for his costume as Harriet Miers, which ended up just being Next Supreme Court Nominee since he didn't find a gray wig and some brown paint for his nose. I came away with a Jane Austen action figure and the Avenue Q soundtrack.
Later, I went out with the Mingaling who had a spare ticket for the Death Cab for Cutie concert at the Tabernacle. Many thanks to Lori for inviting me and to her sister for giving Lori the tickets for her birthday. By the time we got there, Stars had already started their set. Apparently the Tabernacle is all about shows beginning on the dot, which in this case was 8 o'clock. Great, great show, so awesome. Both bands were more about playing the music than interacting with the crowd. The crowd, which sat during the Stars set in the balconies, stood up once Death Cab took the stage. We stood in the uppermost balcony and leaned against the rails - much better than tiptoeing for a glimpse behind people's heads. People were definitely into the show, but it was all intensity. People clustered together, leaning towards the stage. Some head-bobbing, singing along, with eruptions of applause at the end of each song. Much less startling than when I once saw Tori Amos and the young women would scream "I love you Tori" hysterically.
The evening didn't end there. Lori and I met up with Scott and then we walked over to the biggest, craziest Halloween party I've ever been to (which hasn't been many). People went all out with their costumes. Dogs were roaming, including a giant rottweiler named Samuel that sported devil horns - he was very friendly, but his size made him daunting.
There was a live band, kegs of beer and a full complement of liquor, as well as all the stuff in the fridge. I sampled a sugar-free Red Bull, which was ok. I was more of an observer in all the revelry. Out back in the enormous back yard there was a bonfire. People were playing bongos and costumed women were dancing to the primal rhythms. At several points a woman would trot out a flaming hula hoop and spin the hoop around her waist, around her neck, kneeling back at an angle, and even lying down and twirling the hoop about her wrists. Ran into Hollismb as well as Scott and Lisa, who came as King Kong and Fay Wray (excellent!).
We left around three a.m., just as a cop showed up to investigate. Later we heard from our landlord that he saw somebody passed out in the yard later in the morning, with a bottle of something clutched in his hand. Good times.