electricland: (don't panic)
Huzzah! The Internet is restored to me! (I unplugged the router overnight to let it think about what it had done. This seems to have done the trick.)

Jen is Out West in crunchy-granola-land, as is her dad and my parents, so the dogs and I are hanging out by ourselves. (My entire family has abandoned me. For Family Day. Hmph.) So far it's been pretty good -- it helps that this is a long weekend so I've been able to sleep in ever since driving Jen to the airport at a hideous hour Saturday morning. BLISSFUL SLEEP. This afternoon I plan to get dull but necessary things done, such as: cooking! Changing the sheets! Putting my laundry away! Cleaning all the things! (I'm not THAT crazy.)

Tomorrow: new office down the hall from the old office. My OWN office. With a DOOR OMG. Hopefully this will do wonders for my productivity, although I will miss having officemates.

Have succumbed to the lure of iTunes and am enjoying:

Brigitte Saint-Aubin, Les Reves a l'envers

Ingrid Michaelson, Be OK (as per [livejournal.com profile] heroineaddct's suggestion)

Thea Gilmore, Murphy's Heart - long story here, but I discovered her during a downloading binge at Christmas and have been very much enjoying her stuff.

There is a certain similarity about these three. If, like me, you enjoy the work of talented girl singer-songwriters, go to!
electricland: (don't panic)
It never occurred to me until I read this (via [livejournal.com profile] pretentiousgit) that T-shirt bras were anything to object to. As someone who has, in the memorable words of Susan Isaacs, "those over-enthusiastic nipples men go crazy for, the ones that look like the erasers on number 2 pencils," I love 'em. Others clearly disagree, as is their right. Your thoughts?

Site has still not launched. Maybe Monday. I need to reclaim my life from meetings.

I have realized that one of the great boons of Goodreads is that I can take notes on why I'm reading a particular book. I have 40 or 50 books on my library hold list at any one time and I try to arrange things so that it's a first-in-first-out deal (you can make holds inactive in the TPL and you can only have things on hold for up to 2 years). The trouble is that by the time a book comes up in the reading order, a year or 18 months later, I often have only the haziest idea of why I put it on hold in the first place. I usually want to read it still, don't get me wrong, but it would be nice to know where the spark originated. We shall see.

Science Tarot card of the day: Ace of Cups (Endosymbiosis). Did not notice anything particularly relevant, although it's a hopeful sign.

a thought

May. 3rd, 2010 05:48 pm
electricland: (Betan Astronomical Survey)
The Codon Alphabet would make a good name for a thriller, no?

The Andromeda Strain
The Bourne Identity
The Codon Alphabet
The Pelican Brief


It fits perfectly.
electricland: (Boromir)
So I brought in my action figures to work, in order to have them out while saving them from my demon dog. (I bet I didn't tell you about that. My dog found and chewed up Rose and the Ninth Doctor and K-9! Less than two weeks after I bought them! I was heartbroken! And pissed off! Then I texted the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] life_on_queen to please please find me some more at San Diego ComicCon, AND SHE DID. My friend rocks, if you didn't know.) Anyway, new!Rose and new!Nine and new!K-9 and my Tardis money bank and Theoden and Eowyn and Boromir and Sam and Lucy Pevensie (I know, one of these things is not like the others) are all hanging out on top of my bookshelf. Then one of my colleagues saw them and said "Hey! I have Aragorn! He should come visit!" So Aragorn is visiting us. For some reason he has no cloak and no sword, but that's kind of OK because he is gesturing in a very manly, shouty way so it sort of works. The trouble is, his balance is lousy, and he keeps falling on his face and upsetting the others. (Literally. Not emotionally. Sam just fell on the floor. Sam's balance isn't the best either.)

...that's all, really.

I SO WANT [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda's computer woes to be over so she can update the Secret Life of Dolls. (Also because they sound agonizing. I'm not totally selfish. But I do miss the Secret Life.)
electricland: (Alien)
I always love getting this:
Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, answerline@torontopubliclibrary.ca and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.
Apache/2.0.63 (Unix) DAV/2 Server at catalogue.torontopubliclibrary.ca Port 80
There's the judgement, of course, but also the touchingly optimistic assumption that I, J. Random Library User McPhee, may be sufficiently versed in computer technology to help them debug whatever's going on. (Although who knows? It's a big library system serving a couple of million people -- there must be some non-zero number of experts out there that actually COULD give them useful information.)
electricland: (me by ohi)
Zooborns: baby animals born in the world's zoos. OMGSOCUTE. (Via [livejournal.com profile] smartbitches.)

Winning images from the Nikon Small World competition, which recognises the best microscope images each year, judged on both artistic and scientific merits.

and, um, technically this made me happy yesterday, and "happy" is in fact not exactly the right word, but it did make me laugh and groan and then laugh again: Warring monks threaten destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre describes the insane factionalism that, well, threatens the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre:
The keys to the main entrance of the church have been held by a Muslim family since the 12th century because the Christians do not trust one another.

The dispute over the Deir al-Sultan monastery is a more recent phenomenon dating back to Easter 1970. When the Coptic monks, who had controlled the area, went to pray in the main church and left the rooftop unattended, Ethiopian monks seized the opportunity to change the locks at the entrances before the Copts returned.

Relations between the two groups have remained tense ever since, with the Coptic Church refusing to relinquish its claim to the monastery and posting a single monk there at all times. In the midst of a blistering heatwave in the summer of 2002, the Coptic monk on duty moved his chair from its agreed spot to a shadier corner. The move was taken as a hostile manoeuvre by the Ethiopians and 11 monks needed hospital treatment after the ensuing fracas.
Seriously, guys, Jesus is probably not amused.
electricland: (Death java)
It is impressive, she mused, seeming impressed out of all proportion to the size of the revelation, how small things can make a large difference in your life.

For example: Jen regularly forgets her keys. (Six times in the six weeks after she moved in to the house.) So she bought a key safe. Result: elimination of forgotten-key stress. (Except briefly when it froze this winter, but we managed.)

I am not at my mental best early in the morning, and the changing weather has meant frequent changes of coat. So I've put together a walking-the-dog bag, containing extending leash, treats, clicker, plastic bag supply, emergency squeaky toy, spare keys, and Starbucks card. Voila! Peace of mind on morning walks.

I also keep lip balm, a pack of tissues, and a small bottle of hand sanitizer in every coat I own, plus my bag. When you have rhinitis triggered by absolutely everything, the tissues in particular are very important.

For some reason, the moment when I figure out some solution like this is always a moment of stunning insight, instantly followed by "why on earth didn't I think of that sooner? Duh."

How about you? Any small things you've done that have improved your life?
electricland: (Default)
I have a long list of things to do, most of which I don't feel like doing. But one of them is "Update LJ" (no, really). So here I am.

Via [livejournal.com profile] spacing, interesting article on the future of suburbs.
In the first half of last year, residential burglaries rose by 35 percent and robberies by 58 percent in suburban Lee County, Florida, where one in four houses stands empty. Charlotte’s crime rates have stayed flat overall in recent years—but from 2003 to 2006, in the 10 suburbs of the city that have experienced the highest foreclosure rates, crime rose 33 percent. Civic organizations in some suburbs have begun to mow the lawns around empty houses to keep up the appearance of stability. Police departments are mapping foreclosures in an effort to identify emerging criminal hot spots.

The decline of places like Windy Ridge and Franklin Reserve is usually attributed to the subprime-mortgage crisis, with its wave of foreclosures. And the crisis has indeed catalyzed or intensified social problems in many communities. But the story of vacant suburban homes and declining suburban neighborhoods did not begin with the crisis, and will not end with it. A structural change is under way in the housing market—a major shift in the way many Americans want to live and work. It has shaped the current downturn, steering some of the worst problems away from the cities and toward the suburban fringes. And its effects will be felt more strongly, and more broadly, as the years pass. Its ultimate impact on the suburbs, and the cities, will be profound.
I'm in a bit of a slump at the moment myself, although not of epic proportions. I spent Tuesday home sick and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and Februaryish and lacking motivation. Also, time has been behaving really weirdly; I keep being surprised by how much or how little time has passed since event X. But I'm chipping away at work, I bought lipstick and got a Clinique bonus (hey, whatever works), today is sunny and gorgeous, my dog seems to feel all is right with his world now that Jen and Tilde are home, and the family birthday is tonight. So life could be much worse.

It's been ages since I did a book update, so here's one, although it may be missing some items.

Cut to spare those who really don't care what I've been reading since the start of January )

Sheesh. I should be an Amazon affiliate.

Incidentally, the library's new hold/account interface is up and running. I have to say I hope they continue tinkering with it because, while the options to change the pickup location and put items on hold for a specific length of time are cool, it's missing some functionality that I really appreciated in the old version, specifically:
- items ready to pick up showed in a different section of the Holds page
- holds could be sorted by title or expiry date
- renewals showed up instantly (in the new version you have to log out and log in again, although it's possible this was due to startup bugginess)

It would also be good if its privacy certificate checked out properly. Just sayin', TPL.

What was interesting while they were switching over and the hold system was down was how empty the hold shelves in the branches got after just a couple of days. Really an impressive reminder of how many books cycle through there!

More lists of media consumed, just for completeness )
electricland: (sunrise ohi)
Got the paper done-ish. It required the intervention of the Black Sweatshirt of Sleep Deprivation, my traditional garb for all-nighters. Then I slept pretty much all day yesterday. But hey, paper is done-ish! (Except for the bit from the person who didn't do the assignment and clearly didn't read the requirements and was like "You didn't say anything about a critique!" But. We shall prevail.)

Am excited about the upcoming improvements to the library catalogue, especially the emailed hold notifications and being able to change the pick-up location for your holds. /geek

It is, btw, frickin' freezing out there. Dog doesn't care. I am swaddling myself in many layers, which works OK, but occasionally one must walk against the wind and then, ow.

Via [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda I have discovered TV Tropes, which apparently everyone else already knew about. It has already, as advertised, Ruined My Life. But in a good way.

Also, I've started an account on Ravelry (which I learned about via [livejournal.com profile] brisingamen). It was the needle inventory (shot 25) that sold me. Pretty darn awesome.

Book update coming -- I'm feeling the need to be complete, which is slowing me down.

So. What's new with you?
electricland: (Eowyn)
1. When I am queen of the world, cheap headphones that force everyone else on the streetcar to listen to your music will be outlawed.

2. Damn, it's windy.

3. CSI: New York's plots continue to get more ridiculous with every episode. And not in a good way. I got home from choir in time for the last half and spent most of it going "Dude!" Because what I wanted to say ) was too long.
electricland: (books too many)
Time for a post of silliness! I am so grateful to the CBC for posting this story:

Judging books by their very odd titles

which informed me about the Oddest Titles Prize, offered by The Bookseller magazine. The nominees:

  • Tattooed Mountain Women and Spoon Boxes of Daghestan

  • How Green Were the Nazis?

  • D. Di Mascio's Delicious Ice Cream: D. Di Mascio of Coventry, An Ice Cream Company of Repute, with an Interesting and Varied Fleet of Ice Cream Vans

  • The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification

  • Proceedings of the Eighteenth International Seaweed Symposium

  • Better Never To Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence
Needless to say, this delights me. There's a poll on their homepage (scroll down) where you can vote for your favourite.
electricland: (Sigh no more)
Happy entertainment news: Veronica Mars renewed (OK, not exactly news any more, but still happy)! Slings and Arrows Season 1 on DVD, finally.

Amusing entertainment news: Muslims to protest The Da Vinci Code.

Sad entertainment news: Three of the Festival theatres are closing. Fire causes $30,000 worth of damage at Ajax library.

Irksome non-entertainment news: Teacher told off for teaching theory of evolution in northern Quebec.
electricland: (me by ohi)
Side benefit of a late night and bed gravity keeping me out of the shower this morning: my hair was so filthy I decided to go get it cut at lunch just so I could have it washed. (Sorry, that's probably more than you wanted to know about my personal hygiene.) It looks great and I've had many compliments, except from my parents, who haven't noticed. So here's hoping it still looks great tomorrow.

Gave my dad an emergency Outlook tutorial last night. When I entered the room he had 3 instances of Outlook and about 20 message windows open and was complaining that things kept disappearing. Turned out he was minimizing the Outlook every time he wanted to close a message in the preview pane, and then wondering where it had gone. Suddenly these complaints make a lot more sense. I explained about the bold-with-blue-numbers indicating unread messages and he was indignant. Still, I feel we've made some progress with the parental Luddism.*

Choir good. New Mozart, not filthy this time. I have Thoughts on choir which I may share at a later date. It'll probably involve pontification, so don't look forward to it too much.

Last night's candidates meeting made the paper. There was a photo in the print edition. I don't think I was visible, but I'd only have been about 2 pixels high in any case.

*He claims it's not being a Luddite, as the Luddites smashed things because they worked. I say, if you can't bother to figure out how they work and then complain about it, isn't that just as bad? Although not, of course, to his face. Ah, parents.
electricland: (Captain Jack)
[From a chapter on corpus callosotomy in my big fat textbook o' epilepsy, a.k.a. The Treatment of Epilepsy: Principles and Practice, 3rd ed, pp. 1178-1179]

A disturbing complication known as alien hand syndrome has been reported. In this syndrome, poor cooperation or even antagonistic behavior between the left and right hand is noted. The verbally dominant hemisphere may express displeasure with the actions of the ipsilateral extremities. The phenomenon is usually short lived and is usually seen only in the immediate postoperative period; however, on rare occasions it may persist....
Is your non-dominant hemisphere plotting revolution? And how would you know?

Thoughts

Oct. 5th, 2005 03:43 pm
electricland: (Default)
It has not escaped my attention that this journal has been really, really, really boring of late. Really. The house has taken over my brain; that and my largely unsuccessful attempts to spend less time on the Internet have basically made this a dull, dull place to be. Sorry about that.

A few random thoughts on the news:

1. How do you run up a cool three-quarters of a million in expenses as head of the Mint? What does the head of the Mint have to do? Go to lunch meetings to persuade people to use more spare change? I don't get it. Also: severance? For why?

2. CBC returning! Tuesday! Hallelujah!

3. I am not as intrigued as I should be by the whole City Hall mess. I gather the judge's report kicked ass, but I can't be bothered by the subsequent revelations.

TV thoughts:

1. Definitely watching: Veronica Mars, The Closer

2. Can watch without guilt (when they come back) because of item 2 above: Doctor Who, This is Wonderland, Da Vinci's City Hall

3. Watching when I can: Corner Gas, My Name is Earl

4. Maybe watching: Bones, Commander in Chief

5. Watching only when someone else forces me to: Lost, House, Prison Break, Alias, those alien-invasion thingies

6. I'm not going to tell you about: all the home-improvement and makeover shows that seem to make their way into my schedule

I think I've forgotten some, because I haven't had my own TV and TV guide since Friday. But Tuesday and Wednesday appear to be the heavy nights. There are some things on specialty channels and so forth that I'd quite like to get into -- BSG, Rome

Other random thoughts:

1. My hostess is taking Russian lessons and informs me that the Russian for "brother" is "brat". She said that as an only child I would not understand this, but she found it highly significant. She is also learning the Russian for "hooligan" sorry, that was house-related.

2. Saw A History of Violence last night. Holy shit. Go see it.

Paraphrased conversation with colleagues:

Colleague 1: I cut my hair. Behold the new me!
Colleague 2: Did you tell Colleague 3 why you cut your hair?
Colleague 3: No. Why?
Me: Lice?
Colleague 1: No. Worse.
Me: Oh. I remember. Richard Simmons?
Colleague 1: Yep.
Me: Being told you look like Richard Simmons is worse than having lice?
Colleague 1: Yes. Because lice go away, but that Richard Simmons comment will stay with me forever.

stuff

Sep. 26th, 2005 11:18 am
electricland: (tea talisker)
Good (ish) morning! It is raining here -- tail-end of Rita.

Cousin Jen and I went to Sears and bought appliances on Saturday. Many, many appliances. The salesman forgot to put my stove on the bill, but noticed we were missing the stove even before I did, so I'm going in today to buy it.

My mother and I packed loads of stuff yesterday and I am now up to 33 boxes but there's still so much to do that I feel quite bowed down by care. I did give in to reality and put all my receipts in the recycling (shredding the ones with my full credit card or bank card number and/or signature on them -- my mum was very taken with my baby shredder).

Getting rid of things I don't use any more is very therapeutic, but I really need to do more of that. Maybe when I move in.

I managed to get splashed in the face by a passing car this morning WHILE SITTING IN A TAXI. And I dried my hair this morning and everything.

Had to spend some time talking myself out of finding new things to stress about.

I hope the spray foam guys don't mind the humidity.

I'm going to have a limited wardrobe for a while -- packed a whole bunch of clothes yesterday.

Moving day is Friday. I have taken the day off. Apparently it's not going to rain. I hope that's true.

And that is what is on my mind. Mostly.
electricland: (Mononoke HA cleolinda)
How do you know how many days are in a particular month?

A colleague says she never learned the English months (she's from Iran). I use the rhyme. I always assumed everybody uses the rhyme, but I just learned it's possible to count the months on your knuckles and never bother with the rhyme. Are there other methods I'm missing?
electricland: (Kirsty)
Still simmering quietly over my ER visit. I don't mind so much about me -- I knew I wasn't in imminent danger of death -- but when nobody at all seems to be moving out of the waiting room, there does come a point when you start to think "OK, seriously. There are no doctors working at this hospital, are there?" For instance, waiting with me were a mother and her teenage daughter, who had cracked heads with another girl while playing soccer and was now woozy and vomiting. They'd been there since, I'm not exactly sure, but no later than 9 p.m., and they were finally called around 3 a.m. That is Just Not Right.

The triage nurse told me it wasn't that they were especially busy -- and I could see they weren't -- but nearly all their examining rooms were full of people waiting to be admitted. Which, I'm sorry, is just a sign of basic bad management. Not underfunding, not understaffing, nothing to do with how our health system is funded -- just inefficiency and a lack of will to change. Meanwhile, nurses are sitting over at the desk chitchatting. I should add that not one person came to check on the girl with the head injury while we were waiting.

At 9 a.m. they opened up a section (which to add insult to injury was called "Minor Treatment") and started calling us in batches of five. And it didn't exactly go fast, but as I mentioned it took a doctor all of 5 minutes to come in, ask me a couple of basic questions, poke and prod a little, measure the circumference of my calves and send me for a Doppler ultrasound. Are you seriously telling me that a doctor could not be spared for 5 minutes over the 9 hours I was sitting in that waiting room? Even if the vascular lab wasn't open at night, poke me and prod me, send me home to my own bed and tell me to come back in the morning or if I start to have chest pain or shortness of breath. I can do that. Same with the kid who needed a couple of stitches on the bridge of his nose. Same, I'm sure, with any number of people who needed to see a doctor but would really have preferred not to spend their night in that very un-urgent ER.

So I went hunting and found a couple of interesting sites -- I'm sure there are many more:

Institute for Healthcare Improvement (patient flow section)
Society for Health Systems (a lot of it is members-only, but they've got some good stuff in their newsletters)

Slightly related thought: on Friday at book club I was chatting with SS, who recently had an excisional biopsy following an abnormal Pap smear. She said the doctor was one of the best in the country for what she might have, but she didn't like his bedside manner -- he never said "S, you must be really nervous, don't worry, you're doing great," or anything of that kind. Which struck me because my response to any statement like that would be "Of course I'm nervous, you idiot, I might have cancer. Can we get on with this very uncomfortable procedure, please?" Mind you, I tend to prefer my doctors clinical with a side of flippant, so it sounds like this guy and I would get on just fine.

Bedside manner is such a fuzzy concept. As long as my doctor isn't actually insulting or belittling me -- which is why Dr. Gregory House and I would not get on at all -- my main criterion is competence. Likability is optional.
electricland: (pumpkins _jeze_belle_)
Hmmm. I seem to have inadvertently reacquired my habit of sticking a pen through my ponytail for temporary storage and then, ten or fifteen minutes later, wondering where the hell my pen went.

In completely unrelated news, is anyone else at all concerned that the London police elected to call their shoot-to-kill anti-suicide-bomber program Operation Kratos? As in the ruthless, sociopathic, murderous protagonist of God of War? (OK, also apparently the servant of Zeus who chained Prometheus to that rock. But I'm suspicious.)

Actually, I'm always suspicious when police and military operations get gung-ho names. Desert Storm. Feh. It's a PR exercise, and it seems to me that all PR exercises of this nature have a high risk of the participants believing their own propaganda. If you called something Operation Lollipop it would sound ridiculous but there'd be less risk of the macho posturing obliterating the brain cells.

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