Thursday, August 28, 2008

My, my how can I forget you?

Mom and I went to see Mamma Mia!

We enjoyed it very much. I think most of the movie's charm came from the location (some gorgeous Mediterranean island) and Meryl Streep. Of course, you can't forget Colin Firth, who will never be able to completely shed his Mr. Darcy stigma.

If only our lives were filled with song and dance numbers...

I mentioned this to Jon. He said nothing, which says a lot.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The name's Bond

After two years of pestering, I finally got Mom and Dad to get a cat. He's a slim, debonair looking little fellow, in his tuxedo coloring, mostly black with a white underbelly. His official name is James Bond, but we call him Jimmie. Though I sometimes call him Hitler because of the white moustache he has.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Art in the park

We walked around the Woodland Arts Fair yesterday, basking in the variety of arts and the even more diverse population of fair-goers.

Some artists that I liked:

--Kent Ambler (I particularly liked his woodcuts)

--Mary Lou Hess (Her art has a dreamlike quality)

--Angela Bond (I especially liked her "Sinuous Kitty," under the 'Cats' link)

--Mark Traughber (I love his technical expertise)

Oh the absurdity of it all

Jon decided he didn't have enough marks on his face, so he went and plowed into the back of a minivan on his bike.

He was at an intersection and when the light turned green, the minivan started moving, and Jon started pedalling, looking over his shoulder to see if a car was coming up. He didn't know the minivan had stopped while he was doing this, so when he turned his head back, there was the wall of minivan in front of him, and he had no chance to brake appropriately. First the bike, then his head, slammed into the back window.

Helmets are supposed to protect your head, but it turns out that the force of impact made the helmet-strap cut into the bottom of his chin. He wound up needing six stitches.

He didn't even realize he had a gaping wound on the bottom of his chin. He was telling me about the unfortunate event, saying, "No, no, I'm fine, I'm not hurt," then he moved the paper towel at his chin and revealed the brilliant red wound, skin hanging down like the beginnings of age, and I said, "No, I think you need stitches."

I started laughing at this point. He said, "Oh, don't cry!" To which I snickered, "I'm LAUGHING at you!" Because that's what I do when I'm under any kind of stress--it just bubbles out in laughter: oh the absurdity of it all!

For those of you who don't know, this is the third wreck Jon has been in that has required stitches (and sometimes more). He has scars on his eyebrow, the top of his chin, and matching slashes on both of his cheekbones (from two separate accidents) so that he looks like he is a gang member. Now we can add the bottom of his chin to this list. I told him he needs to get scars on his nose and lips so that he has all the major parts of his face covered. Now do you understand why I started laughing?

So we ended up spending over six hours Friday night in various waiting rooms, trying to find someone who could stitch him up.

Is there someone out there that could patent bubble wrap for cyclists' faces?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Man and the machine

I feel like a cyborg with this new hearing aid.

All these controls and buttons, such a finely attuned machine that works to convert the chaos of noise into a comprehensible string of sound, and it still doesn't compare to a normal person's hearing, even though it's improving things on my end.

It's better than my old hearing aid, especially in picking out the nuggets of voices out of the vast turmoil of noise (I was so surprised that I could actually hear a patron over the screeches and whirrings coming from the construction of the new library wing, that I forgot to listen to what she was saying).

I'm still adjusting, but it's been good so far.

Moving on

I got a job at a university library, where I worked as an intern. We are absolutely thrilled, and I am looking forward to the challenge of working with "online stuff", as well as working with a cool bunch of people.

On the downside, this means I have to leave my current public library job (obviously).

What I will miss:
--Updates on the price of milk and orange juice from a certain curmudgeon lady patron
--Children so antsy for the books they are checking out, no sooner do they lay them on the counter, they snatch them away again, before I can check them out
--Showing folks how to use a mouse
--Learning some odd tidbit of local history
--Calming a nervous patron down as we work through the process of figuring out some medical terminology for a scary disease
--Working with a crazy, lovable group of folks
--Seeing shy teenagers peruse the stacks and come out with a towering stack of books to read

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's a zoo in here

Salato Wildlife Center is a very pleasant surprise.

--You get to watch two bald eagles sit on their perches, no more than ten feet away.
(What we saw: 1 of them calling out in a weird guttural, trilling voice, perhaps in greeting to us? The other one coughing up something--the motions very similar to a cat)
--You get to watch two black bears lolling around in their lazy glory, grown rather fat (they reminded us of the people from Wall-e)
--You get to see two very shy bobcats (they act like cats, whadya know!)
--If you get there at the right time, you get to see the rat snakes being fed (Jon and I knew it was time to get to their enclosure when all the kids started shrieking)
--You get to see an alligator snapping turtle up close (like the ostrich hiding its head in the sand, the turtle seems to think it disappears when it sticks its head behind a branch, never mind the monstrously sized body that takes up most of the tank)

I'm a sucker for animals. Those bald eagles captured my heart.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Society news

"Little Otis Pace is in shool again after having been ill for some time." W. Sun, March 5, 1905

(You never know what you'll come across while looking at old newspapers.)

We are always dancing

Even though I am a thoroughly clumsy dancer (at those rare moments I compelled to dance--and even then, I am not as bad as Jon), my outer ear cells are skilled at dancing. Scientists cannot come up with a better term for describing how the cells of our outer ear propel and amplify sound before it enters the innermost parts of our ears. They dance to coax the sound waves to expand as they transform into electrical signals, so that when the brain is ready to translate what it receives, it has the best copy available, so to speak.

Thanks to D. for bringing this to my attention.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Great whites in TV

Last week was sharkweek on the Discovery Channel.

Since I am an animal lover, I think even sharks are beautiful. But I'm still afraid of them. Especially the great white. So much so, that when there were shots in open water (without the barrier of a shark cage) of the great white passing by, my stomach was tight with fear. To give you an idea of how much this fear has always troubled me, when I was a child, I used to be afraid of great whites in Lake Ripley in Wisconsin. Illogical as this seems, it goes to illustrate the point that fear is beyond rational thought.

The funny thing is, I'm not afraid of swimming in the ocean. At least there, I can handle my fear. Watching a great white approach on camera, unable to do anything about it, limited to the scope of the camera, my imagination runs wild. What if...What if...?

This is why I do not watch scary movies.

Friday, August 01, 2008

To dethrone google

There's a new search engine out. Cuil

What I like:
-the layout of the search results page is interesting: a three column spread with pictures next to many of the results, with a suggestions box that gives you ideas on how to tweak your results further.

What I don't like:
--The search algorithm (like the millions of pigeons clicking on keyboards over at google) needs to be worked on. Some searches turned up interesting results, others fell down the rabbit hold. For instance, a search on "christian classics" (I was thinking of the "Christian Classics Ethereal Library) brings up a long list of various university database pages that include links to the CCEL, in addition to the homepage of CCEL. While the fact that a search engine appears to be searching university library pages, and putting those near the top of results, is interesting--does it need to list every university library out there that has this one resource listed on its website? Compare this to google, which has hits beyond just those relating to the CCEL.

--Where are the pictures coming from? Some of the pictures appear to have been plucked randomly from the sea of the internet, not from the website they're supposed to represent.

--The brief paragraphs accompanying each hit make no sense--they're just strings of words that don't necessarily have anything to do with each other.

They have a long way to go before they can dethrone google.

Waiting time

One day at work, the big guy was helping a patron with his studies. Fannie came in and took a seat at the reference desk. She waited twenty seconds, then said very loudly, "Well! I can't wait!"

He just ignored her.