12.27.2006

Damage Reduction

Every hour, we have a changing of the guard. The staff at one area will leave to another area. It happens every hour, on the hour. At the same time, we must log off the computers we are leaving and log back on at the computers we are coming to for security reasons. It takes roughly five minutes to log into the computers, wait for the scripts to run, and log onto the library system.

During the change today, a patron came by and was in a hurry. We directed him to the self-checkout machines, which are ready to go, all the time.

He responded that he was alumni and thought that people should do their jobs.

He's lucky he said that to one of our students or he would have gotten an ass chewing from the rest of the staff.

We have a name for the self check out machines. It's damage reduction. The library has the second highest injury rate after the office of the physical plant. That's right. The library. My unit alone sucks up half a million a year in worker's compensation doctor's and physcial therapy bills.

As an alumnus of the university I work for, I'm getting tired of all the other alumni acting so damned privileged. Unless you are donating a million or more a year to the university, I don't care that you once had classes here. Having paid to be taught here ten years ago makes you squat. The only reason you have access to our library is the land grant and the grace of the board of trustees. Both of which could change in a New York Minute.

As pissed off as I am by this attitude, I take some small satisfaction in knowing that most of the tuition he paid way back funded the physical therapy of someone who worked before me.

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a great holiday!

At the university, you can get a painted wood block of any of the buildings on campus. I know there are alumni out there with full sets of these blocks set up to look like the campus so that they are never far from 'home.' The library is actually three seperate blocks. The excuse for that is that we are three different builidings. While this is techniquely true, the truth is that we are just that damn big.

My sister in law, Holly, gave us a block for the eastern part of the building. The block has a description of the building, the fundraising involved, and a history of it's name on the back. On the front, along with the building are painted little tiny people. They aren't any specific people. (Hell, they don't even have faces.) But I'll probably name them after historical university figures so I can mock them without leaving home. ;)

12.21.2006

Gripe, Bitch, Moan

It's the end of the semester and so begins the phone calls from international students who cry on the phone because we close for Christmas. Sorry, kid. I know you can't go home, but all the international student groups have tons of holiday stuff for you to participate in.

Today, I got the usual 'when are you open during the break?' call when it diverged into weirdness.

Caller: So the break is only two weeks in January?
Me: Yes. (For future reference, it has always been two weeks. No more, no less.)
Caller: I'd like to leave a comment with you. I think it's a shame. How are the kids going to get Christmas jobs if they only have two weeks to work. (President's Name) really isn't concerned about the students and the university should do something about it.

What?

Okay, when I was an undergrad, I always had a Christmas job (which I hated working), no problem. Hell, I had Christmas ruined one year because I had to work. If a student wants a job during break, they can find one. It's not hard in a university town.

But as for bringing the President of the university into this: slow down. He doesn't set the calendar for the year. The calendar is set according to how many days the students must have class and how much expansion of summer semesters need. It's got nothing to do with him.

But, you know, I know why our caller was angry. He was angry that we (as in the library) was closed at all. God forbid that we get a well deserved break after the end of a semester to relax, recover, and see family. Geez. How terrible of us!

So here is a tip to everyone who has a complaint or comment to file with anyone: Tell it to the right person. Don't call a library to complain about a science lab. Your efforts go no where fast.

12.19.2006

More Java Problems

After testing for weeks and the promise of going live with Java Sirsi in january, it has been indefinitely put off. Thank God.

But why has it been put off?

It takes 12 seconds for slips to print.

This doesn't sound like much until you see us work. In twelve seconds, we can charge or discharge between 10 and 15 books. We already process materials faster than the system can handle. Slips that print too slow is a no go and must be fixed before we can go live.

Sirsi always has this brilliant ability to fix something only to break something fundamental. Try our new interface! It can do anything!

Snake oil salesmen.

12.13.2006

Vista on the Horizon

Look out libraries, we are in for a large hit to our donation-funded wallet!

Even though Vista has an interface so easy to use a caveman can do it (pardon the expression), there are a couple things that will cause libraries forced to use it some problems:
  • Upgrades - All previously usable computers, if not upgraded within the last 6 months, will need to be replaced to run Vista. Though you can upgrade from XP, it takes some serious computing power to handle Vista.
  • Vista rates the system software you have so it will run appropriately on your computer. It takes a minimum of 512 MB of DRAM to run Vista. This minimum only rates a 2.9 out of a score of 5.9.
  • You need a high-powered graphics card, such as the Nvidia 6800 Ultra, to run the Window's Aero experience. The new graphics are pretty, but current Linux looks just as pretty.
  • Vista will not install peripherals it doesn't consider 'good enough' for the system. Which means another equipment upgrade for printers, speakers, and, if you are a big university library, media equipment.
  • Parental controls, and therefore content controls (important for public libraries attempting to keep pr0n from kids) is based on language. You can block English language sites but not anything in another language.
Even though Vista installs quickly and easily, it doesn't do much more than XP already does with a little fiddling. The problem arises in that many libraries have deals that let them get new Microsoft products at a discount so long as they get those products as soon as they are on the shelf. Vista is not only going to cost a lot of money, but a few jobs as well as libraries try to pay for the new software.

Man, it sucks to be us.

12.11.2006

Overdue Notices

With the advent of widely available internet access, many libraries have instituted the service of sending you a notice, via emial, when your books are due. This didn't really kick into high gear until 2000. Before then, you had to be responsible and pay attention to when your books were due.

Today, we had a faculty member come in, complaining about his fines. He had several books that were overdue from 1996 and 1997. He complained that he never knew they were overdue. It's 2006I If your books were checked out ten years ago, they are overdue! It doesn't matter if you get a notice or not. Your books are due when they are due. When we pointed out that the books were ten years overdue, he started complaining about his grad students using them, which still doesn't make any sense.

Even with returning the books, which significantly reduces your fines at this library, he still owed over a $100. My library, as well as every other library in the U.S., has written into their policies that email is unreliable and therefore you are responsible for knowing when your books are due, regardless of whether or not you get a notice.

So let's review the lessons we have learned:
1. Pay attention to the date your books are due.
2. If the book was due ten years ago, it is overdue.
3. If you are a tenured professor, you are obviously not a moron. Don't hide behind excuses, grad students long gone, spouses, or the tenured faculty 'god-complex.'
4. Be responsible about your library books.

12.03.2006

Things People Say

Besides it being inappropriate, private conversations held in public bathrooms can be entertaining. Inbetween the many conversations over heard was this slip: "The library should re-do their bathrooms."

I'm going to ignore the fact that she was using a restroom for staff convenience (and therefore very small) and I'm also going to ignore that she could easily have walked out the door and gone twenty steps to a bigger bathroom.

Instead, I'm going to talk about money. She obviously believes that the library has a money tree growing in a super secret, force field protected green house on the roof.

Just because a library is attached to a university or college, doesn't mean they actually get funding from said college. Sure, employees get paid from the university, but nothing happens in the library without donations from an increasingly less generous public. State funds often find their way back to the state through several 'One-Time Give Backs.' Technology updates and student abuse of the system lead to million dollar hemorrages.

And somehow, somehow, we are supposed to fix the bathroom that you shouldn't be using in the first place.

Well, sweetheart, cough up the dough and we'll name it after you.

Java (of the Workflows Variety)

At work, we've been getting into the habit of gently reminding patrons that they must bring the appropriate materials to pick up holds, i.e. their ID card and the call numbers of the books. We've also been making a habit of thanking people who do bring in the required items. The positive reinforcment has been working. So long as it isn't sabotaged by the administration, we will soon have a large set of our patrons using the library more actively and responsibly.

We've found that this 'patron training' will be vitally important when we switch to the new Java version of Workflows.

In our current client, we have only have to click the mouse twice to locate the call number of a book on hold. It can take as little as 15 seconds. In Java client, it takes two minutes or more just to find out what books are on hold let alone the call number, which is hidden.

Call numbers are a serious problem in the new java client. You'd think that a company that builds systems for libraries would think that call numbers (the thing by which you locate a book in the library) are important. Apparently not. It can take five to ten frustrating minutes to coax a call number out of the Java client for any book. It sucks and will seriously impair our ability to serve our patron community.

After complaining about this, we got an email from a rep with a screenshot of the new checkout, showing us how to get the holds from just that screen. It took two seconds to figure out that the rep was using a different version of the test client. I hope that when we go live, we will get what the rep was using. Of course, that screen didn't have call numbers either.

So library computing problems aside, we will have another problem altogether just on the administrative side. Java is implemented in a whole slew of online video games. In an effort to curb 'play time' at work, most office computers are stripped of both Java and Flash. Both of these programs are vital to the office and marketplace. It took months to convince the admin that they were necessary just for the websites we use everyday to do our job. Our online training facilities use Java and without it, most of the work force cannot complete their annual reviews. And most of the computers here don't have either program.

With a new Java version of our system coming online in another month, even a caveman (pardon the expression) can figure out that Houston's going to have some problems.

11.29.2006

The Saga of the Self-Checkout

Wow! An actual library post! Doesn't happen as often as it should. Bad me.

Our self-checkout machines are finally working again. They've been down since Sirsi upgraded Workflows in august. This, of course, has ticked us off to no end.

The original self-checkout machines were made by 3M. They were 12 years old, which is seriously out of date, and the law doesn't require parts manufacturers to provide for anything over ten. So we had to ditch the old ones. The nice part about throwing out the old is getting to interview the new.

We interviewed no less than 5 different self-checkout machines. Each one was utterly different from the last and each had their own pros and cons. After much debate, we went with Libramation. This is the model we went with. Pretty spiffy, huh? Though the older of the two sells reps for Libramation wasn't all that nice, the product was enough to speak for itself. It has a built in two language function (we're set to English and Chinese) and the screen placement allows for checkout of materials with strange barcode locations.

After moving in these beauties, we got a high customer satisfaction rate from them. They are essentially stupid-easy to use. Even if you select the wrong language, the graphics are self-explanatory. And I must say that checking out your books in Chinese is much fun.

So on to the Upgrade of Doom.

Upgrades are the most dreaded thing we get from Sirsi. We never know how even the simplest patch will effect the entire system. An upgrade made to fix a glitch in cataloging can screw up everything in the reserves folder. And we won't know until it happens. So here comes an upgrade and low and behold: Everything is working great! The system is loading a few seconds faster, records aren't scrambled, and the system is finally synced properly with the catalog. It was great! An upgrade has never worked so well!

And then we noticed that the brand-spanking new self checkouts were down.

We and Libramation contacted Sirsi about, but didn't expect much movement on our problem. If you want Sirsi to fix or change something, you have suggest it on their forum where everyone else who uses Workflows can say whether or not they think it's a good idea. If everyone thinks it's a good idea, you might see the change in three years. Emphasis on might.

Amazingly enough, Sirsi shot off four patches to attampt to fix the situation almost immediately. (I could say a few things about why this happened, but I'll be nice today.)

None of the patches worked. After months of no news and failed attempts to reboot and sync them, we have the self-checkouts back.

It is now November 30th and the machines are back on-line. Finally. We are calling it our Christmas miracle.

11.16.2006

Birthing Cats and Dogs

A Brazilian couple claim that their cat Mimi gave birth to cat/dog hybrids after mating with a local dog. The Passo Fundo University plans to take blood samples to determine if this is true.

Here's a picture of the cat and her... puppies?

11.13.2006

The Legend of Bloody Mary

Everyone knows about Bloody Mary. South Park spoofed it a few weeks ago, with Biggy Smalls and the Hell on Earth party.

Here's the legend:
"Bloody" Mary Worth was a slave cathcer in Illinois. She would catch escaped slaves and torture them using witchcraft. She was caught and burned at the stake.

Why this makes no sense:
1. No witches were burned at the stake in the use. We hung our witches (Salem being the most notorious place).
2. Mary Worth was buried in a Catholic cemetery. She wouldn't have been buried in any cemetery at all if she'd committed this sort of crime before the pre-civil war era let alone a Catholic one.

So was "Bloody Mary" just a legend built up like the boogey man?
Dan Moran has an interesting update on the story.

11.12.2006

11.06.2006

Stem Cells

Few people are aware that embryonic stem cells, the harvesting of which kills children, have zero ability to help anyone in anything according to scientific research. And it isn't for lack of trying.

We have two ethical approaches to stem cells: adult and cord blood. Both of which have been found to advance cures for many diseases.

For example:
British scientists have grown a liver from cord blood stem cells.

Here are links to articles on it.
Scotsman
Daily Mail
Metro
BBC
Life Site
Catholic Exchange

Notice how the big media outlets aren't reporting it. They won't. Successful research like this doesn't support their claim that only embryonic stem cells will help us.

Be wary. People are trying to fool you into doing something terrible.

11.05.2006

Woodland Houses

Low Impact Woodland Homes use the environment around them, natural forms, and very little money to create cozy homes. Many of them look like hobbit houses!

Here's a site with pictures, including construction pictures.
Here's another site with a similar project.

The low impact homes are part of the green building initiative for sustainable living. There different levels, or classifications of green building (Platinum, Gold, Silver, etc.). Several of the buildings on the University Park Campus of Penn State are green or green committed, such as the Stuckeman Building.

The idea behind these buildings and homes is to bring the outside indoors and the indoors out. You use as much as you can from the immediate environment to support local businesses. You recycle all the materials you possibly can and use environment safe equipment. The Stuckeman Building, for example, used recycled tires for the patch carpetting. Why patch? So when a square wears out, you only have to replace the square and not the whole carpet.

11.02.2006

Faking It

The photo, people. Get your minds out of the gutter.

Here's a post-Halloween post.

Jenny Chisney is an Information Designer with Kodak. On the A Thousand Words blog, she teaches us how to fake a paranormal photo.

Spook your relatives with some after Halloween delight!

10.30.2006

For All the Halloweenies Out There!


Pumpkin Carving!

Here are the amazing pumpkin carving stylings of Patrick Moser!

Here are the insane pumkins of Extreme Pumkins!

Check out Scott Cummin's Pumpkin Gutter!


For the intrepid pumpkin carver to be:
Pumpkin Carving 101
Pumpkin Masters and Spook Master Patterns
(when you want to look awesome without the practice)

And for those of you who want to carve without the mess:
Game Garage Pumpkin Carver
Primary Games Carve-a-Pumpkin
Toilette Humor's Pumpkin Carver

The Intimate Life of the Norwegian Squid?

Here's an interesting news article from the english version of Aftenposten.no.

10.26.2006

Tupperware

I have a coworker who is a tupperware fiend. She traded me tupperware for my expertise in sewing. So I sent her a few, very cool tupperware links. Specifically, 'Translations in Tupperware' links.

Check these out:
Catepillar
Formal Gown
Another Formal Gown
Birds in Flight
Swing Set
Doing Laundry

These wonderful pictures are from snackblogs. Scroll down to see more tupperware goodness!

10.25.2006

Evil Librarians

But also sexy librarians!

No, this doesn't actually have anything to do with libraries other than it mentions super sexy librarians.

Who are evil.

And know kung-fu.

10.17.2006

10.15.2006

Portals to Other Dimensions?

Interesting 'human interest' story from the Tuscan Weekly. They could find the place or verify the info, but the story was cool and here it is. Thanks to Paranormal News Magazine for the entertaining find.

10.08.2006

One Post to Rule them All!

I saw too many things to post on today, so I am giving you a SUPER POST! Enjoy.

Abducted By Aliens? Call now for consultation!
That's right, people! You were abducted: now get your money's worth!

Fish Egg Miracle
Sounds like a Barnum fraud, but it was found by legit scientists.

World's Biggest Ghost Hunt
Of the Guiness Book of World Record kind.

Of course, Guiness is getting a lot of heck for their recent declaration of Stargate SG1 being the longest, consecutive running, sci-fi series. The MST3K people are in an uproar, but the true claim to fame should go to Dr. Who: with 30 years of consecutive running (not counting the radio show or the new series). Yeah. We geeks are angry.

10.05.2006

Vista and Libraries

Wow. I need to post more often...

Anyway, Libraries beware! The Vista upgrade is coming (if the SirsiDynix one doesn't scare you already).

At my library, we've been concerned with funding issues and were relieved when Vista was put off a year, because it meant we didn't have to upgrade the computers right away. This, by itself, would save us a few million in tech costs.

But not for long.

Vista may cost us $3,000 - $5,000 a terminal and we have about 250 terminals in the building. All of which will need an upgrade or replacement to even run Vista. Our budget will go down the drain before we even get money from the State (which the state always ask for back in two to three 'one-time give backs' *snort*).

With elections coming up, this might not be problem for long... so long as Rendell is kicked out of office. He's been running the state into the ground at the expense of Philly, who got him into office. Rendell wanted to be the 'education govenor.' He ended up taking so much money from school and library budgets for cockameny schemes that he'll be known in Pa history as Philly's other fanatic.

But back to Vista.

We don't even know yet if SirsiDynix will even work with Vista. Sirsi Unicorn, in the latest upgrade, doesn't even work with our self-check out stations. Here we are, with brand new stations and no one can use them. Grrr...

To make matters worse, SirsiDynix runs on Java, which the tech department is loathe to even put on computers because so many video games run on Java as well. We have the same problem with Flash, and yet we can't do our job with it either.

Because, you know, it's really professional to run a beautiful website that no one can use because they aren't allowed to have something that programmers use for video games on their computers.

Look out Libraries. Vista may kill us.

me out.

9.18.2006

A Big Production

Do you ever notice how people like to make big productions of little things?

For example, at the library, it is a simple thing to pick up a book on hold. You come into the library, present your card and the call number of the book, the desk staff retrieves the book, and checks the book out. It's a process that can take as little as 60 seconds, including thank yous and chit-chat.

But you always seem to run into the person who takes the 60 second simplicity and turns it into the 5 minute walk of hell: They have to explain to you why they are there, instead of presenting you with the materials you need to help them.

I had a patron take ten minutes to explain to me that he wanted to return a recalled book directly to me at the desk. I never got a chance to tell him that returning such a book directly to the staff is standard procedure and failure to do so results in fines.

I've come to understand that there are two types of people who do this:

1. The Unfamiliar Patron
This is a person who literally has no idea how a library works, but never goes so far as to find out. Attempts to educate this patron about library processes falls on deaf ears. When they must remember what they were told, they become confused. They feel an inexplicable need to explain everything to the desk staff, who figured out the problem five minutes into the ten minute explanation.

How to deal with this type of person: Let them talk. Let them say everything they need too. When they finish, do what you need to do to serve them quickly and explain anything you need to using short and simplified answers. Tell them to have a nice day.

2. The Know-it-All Patron
This is a person who believes they know everything about how libraries function, and believe the staff have absolutely no clue how to do their jobs. They read the library policies once, five years ago, and are still angry about the card catalog to computer conversion, no matter how much fast or more thorough their new ability to search is. Some of these patrons once worked in a library and harbor the notion that all libraries are one library.

How to deal with thise type of person: Let them talk. Let them go on and on and on. When they finish, give them prompt service and ignore any snide remarks about your performance being slow. Tell them to have a nice day and do not take it personally. Even if the head or dean of your library were the one at the desk, the patron would have acted the same.

These answers may sound insulting, but they aren't. We are dealing with people who are intelligent, but honestly don't give a hoot about how the library works, and they don't want too. Give them up for lost causes. If your lucky and work at a university, they won't be there for too long anyway.

9.10.2006

Disabled

I know that word, but what does it have to do with me?

You're going to need Quicktime 6 to see a kid with more mad skilz than you'll ever have.

9.07.2006

I can't believe I ate the whole thing!

Me neither.

Privacy, Lies, and an Auction Block

Your privacy is not the first concern of the companies you shop from.

The pattern that emerges is not pretty. Most companies claim that privacy is a priority—chiefly because they believe consumers are more willing to do repeat business with them if personal information is carefully handled. But in reality, many companies are woefully inept at protecting privacy. Some companies view robust data protection as too expensive to consider seriously, so half-hearted steps are taken instead. Others see the penalty for data breaches and privacy failures as too low to generate much concern. In many instances, management of privacy policies is handed off to chief privacy officers who report to the corporate lawyers, not a C-level executive, and whose main responsibility is to make sure the company's data policies are in line with government regulations and industry benchmarks. In other words, privacy is regarded as a risk that must be mitigated, not a strategic imperative.

Take it as a warning.

This is disgusting.

Seriously.

But now I'm curious, dang it.

9.06.2006

Circlemakers

Here's the site of the Circlemakers: a group of crop circle making specialists in England.

You'd think a group like this would be anti-ufo, but they have a section of the site dedicated to the weird stuff they've seen.

Enjoy!

9.05.2006

Best Response Ever!!

I had the best response from a coworker today:

Comment: I know where you live now. I can toilet paper your house. MWUHAHAHAHAHA!

Response: Bring a ladder.


Go Lee!

9.04.2006

We'll Miss You Steve

Steve Irwin died after being hit in the chest with a stingray barb.

Every boring night in front of the TV was immediately erased with the appearance of Steve and his incredible way with animals. His enthusiasm for animals and conservation will long out live him in the hearts of those who became zoologists, veterinarians, and conservationists because of him.

We'll miss you, Steve.


Obituary by Brian Cassey

Someone is trying to compete...

...with Tom Cruise.

Way to go Madonna! We knew you could do it!

Headline of the Day!

Man Arrested after Crotch of Pants Explode!

8.28.2006

Ever Watch the Venture Brothers?

Here's a man who actually suffers from Rusty Venture's condition: Fetus in Fetu.

Wow, this is creepy.

8.24.2006

How to Make a Panography

Are you bored? Here's something fun and cool to do curtesy of Wiki-How.

How to Make a Panography

Do you ever look up at the sky, a towering office building, or an expansive landscape and wish your photos could capture everything you can see with your eyes? You can do this, by creating a panography, taking dozens of photos of a scene and assembling images that represent what your eyes see.

Steps

  1. Go out into the world and find something interesting to shoot. Pick your point of view, making sure you can see everything you want to shoot without moving from your position.
  2. Click on picture to enjoy the beauty


    Manually set the white balance, focus, f-stop, and shutter speed on your camera. This ensures that it doesn't light meter every shot and your photos aren't all differently exposed. If you want your panography to consist of many individual photos, zoom in a bit. If it's your first try, you may want to stay zoomed out so you'll have fewer shots to assemble at the end.
  3. Point and shoot. Don't move from your position, but do move your lens in all directions. Try tilting your camera to different angles to soften the straight panorama look. Keep in mind that the more your shots overlap, the easier it'll be to assemble your panography later.
  4. Make sure you cover every spot with at least one picture. We tend to only photograph the interesting spots, like lines and busy areas, and oftentimes forget to get the plain areas. Leave a shot out and you'll be left with a hole in your final piece with no way to fill it!
  5. Click to enlarge


    Unload your camera and, using Photoshop, resize your photographs (try width or height of 800 pixels). It's tedious to do this manually for each photo; so to expedite the process, record the resizing and saving of one photo as a new Photoshop Action. Then go to File > Automate > Batch to select the new action and apply it to your entire folder of panography photos.
  6. Create a fairly large new RGB canvas to work on. If it turns out the canvas is too small, you can always add some space later (Image > Canvas). Copy the new 800px versions of your images into your canvas--5 to 10 images at a time ought to be manageable.
  7. Set the opacity of each photo to about 50%. Using the Transform function (Ctrl/Apple+T), start rotating each photo to fit the ones next to it. Be careful to make sure you're rotating (you should see a curved arrow tool when you're near a corner) and not skewing the photographs. Now go photo by photo and assemble your panography like a puzzle. It will take a while to get it right, so be sure to save your work as you go along.
  8. When you're finished assembling the photos together, make final color, contrast, and levels adjustments. Go to the layer palette and add a new adjustment layer of any kind by clicking the round black/white symbol.
  9. To share your panography or post it online, just combine all the layers (Shift+Ctrl/Apple+E), and resize your image. Be sure to save this file separately instead of overwriting the original, which you'll want to keep in case you want to make changes later.


Tips

  • If you want to save the originals, don't forget to duplicate your folder before you resize.
  • Submit your creations to the Panography group on Flickr. But be sure to follow the rules if you do:

    • Individual images are not to be skewed or rescaled.
    • The base color is white.
    • The sides are not to be cropped, even if there is one long strand of shots standing out.
    • The images should all have similar color or contrast adjustments for an even look. This is not Techno.


Warnings

  • The more photos you take, the more RAM your computer will need to make the panography. Also, some cameras don't give you the option of manually setting the f-stop and shutter speed. Sometimes one of your preset modes (for example, landscape mode) will keep your settings relatively uniform. Give it a try. If all else fails, automatic mode still works; the effect is just a little different.


8.22.2006

New Hidden Talent

Apparently, if there is some way to make something geeky, I can do it.

Here's the new hidden talent:

I can tell you what kind of yarn it is by touching it.

Example: Kelly showed me the hat she's crocheting and bid me to touch the soft, soft yarn.

I identified it as Bliss by Caron.

I was spot on!

So what is my favorite yarn?

Sinsation by Plymouth.

that ole' fountain of youth

David Copperfield claims that he's found the Fountain of Youth sought after by Ponce de Leon and hollywood superstars.

"I've discovered a true phenomenon," he told Reuters in a telephone interview. "You can take dead leaves, they come in contact with the water, they become full of life again. ... Bugs or insects that are near death, come in contact with the water, they'll fly away. It's an amazing thing, very, very exciting."


Well, he is an illusionist. Take it with a grain of salt.

Apologies to Ponce de Leon. I didn't mean to compare him to hollywood, who would smear his quixotic search by making a movie about how he was (insert whatever random, insulting, and unhistorical thing you want here).

Headline of the Week

Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God

8.18.2006

Lost Cities

Here's a bit of creepy for you:

How many ghost towns litter the world, utterly devoid of life after the local mining, logging, or industry disappeared?

We live in a world filled with empty towns and boarded up houses. But while these sleepy places rest, larger mysteries, Lost Cities, consume our landscape. Enjoy!

Gold Tooth Cat


In this undated hand out photo, Sebastian, a Persian cat with long black hair, sports gold crowns on his two large teeth, which grew sticking out from his lips in an underbite similar to a bulldog's. Concerned that his cat's exposed teeth could be damaged, Dr. David Steele a dentist from Alexandria, Ind., had gold crowns made for his cat pet. (AP Photo/Dr. David Steele via The Herald-Bulletin)

Wow. Just wow.

8.17.2006

buttons!





















don't mind me, i'm just adding buttons.
feel free to steal!

Two heads are better than one


Aquarium officials at the World Aquarium in the City Museum of St. Louis hope an exhibit that opens next week and runs through Sept. 5 will prompt the creation of a Guinness World Record for the most two-headed animals on display.

Their star attraction:
That's him on the right! A two headed albino rat snake!

Cryptozoology Maine

Residents wonder if dead animal is legendary mystery beast.

The animal was found near power lines along Route 4 on Saturday, apparently struck by a car while chasing a cat. The carcass was photographed and inspected by several people who live in the area, but nobody is sure exactly what it is.

8.14.2006

Flying Spaghetti Monster!

May we always be touched by his noodly appendage!

News Story of the Day!

You're going to love this...

TRANSEXUAL CHICKEN WREAKS HAVOC IN HENHOUSE

I am not making this up, I swear.

8.08.2006

10 Strange Monuments

To go with the 10 haunted hikes.

Strange Monuments

Note that some may be offensive or considered sexually explicit.

Story of the Day!

Okay, okay... Library Story Time!

Get this:

We got a call from a patron saying that she wanted us to hold her water bottle. We determined that her water bottle was not in the lost and found, so we couldn't do anything of the sort. While trying to tell her that we did not have her water bottle, she said that she put drugs in her water bottle and was concerned that someone would drink her water.

Because people do that, you know. Drink from mysterious water bottles.

I would like to know what kind of drugs were in the bottle and if they have anything to do with the belief that someone else would drink the water.

Maybe she needs this drug instead.

Haunted Hikes

10 Great Places to go on a haunted hike.

Early for Halloween, but just right for National Park season. Enjoy!

My favorite huanted hike? The Appalachian Trail around Iron Master's Mansion.

Title of the Day!

Here's the book title of the day straight from the email of my supervisor Greg:

The Men Who Stare at Goats


(psst... it's about conspiracy theories, the war on terror, and psychics)

8.07.2006

The No Religion Guide to Being Pro-Life

It's time for a serious post:

I am tired of Pro-choice activists, Planned Parenthood, media outlets, and main stream lobbyists treating Pro-Lifers like religious lunatics.

We are not.

In fact, most Pro-Life advocates are pro-life for reasons other than religion.

But I just can't say that, can I? The public has been so convinced of the lie, I have to prove it.
So here we go:

The No Religion Guide to Being Pro-Life

After I started writing this essay, I found a report that did a better job than I. The South Dakota Task Force on Abortion submitted their findings to the governor in December of 2005. There report is 71 pages long, does not reference religion, and includes scientific backing for every statement made. It includes the interviews with Planned Parenthood of South Dakota and the testamony of 1,940 women who have had abortions. The report is long and thorough, but it is not written in 'legalize' and therefore not a daunting read.

Report of the South Dakota Task Force on Abortion

If you can read this report, and still be pro-choice, I feel very sorry for you.


Before I sign off, here are a few stories of abortion survivors. And I'm talking about people who survived their mother trying to abort them.
Gianna Jessen also, Gianna's Personal Website and Gianna's Testamony before the Constitution Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee on April 22, 1996
Amy Charlton
The stories (and pictures) of six survivors
The Survivors


And here's some food for thought:
Ten Different Types of Abortion Survivors

me out

8.06.2006

Synchronized Fish

Seriously.

Whether real or fake, it still looks cool.

8.05.2006

Step Away. Just Step Away.


So people are up in arms about this picture. Calling it offensive and disgusting.

How far do we, as a society have to have fallen, to consider a picture of a breast feeding child offensive and disgusting? The fact that a few parenting groups are raising their red flags, shows that they don't really understand what's happening in our culture to make them react this way.

We live in a world that treats pregnancy like a disease. Mothers are treated like shit in the work place because they have children and given significantly lower wages and leeway for time needed off. Affordable child care is non-existant in most places. Men and women with families are passed over for lucrative jobs and promotions. Women who want to have children are treated like second class citizens by feminists and childless women. Hell, women who marry are often denied jobs and promotions because employers assume they will have children.

All of this has led to a culture of disrespect. Disrespect for children. Disrespect for mothers and fathers. And disrespect for life.

So now we have a picture of a breast feeding child. The child is doing what every baby does when breast feeding: eatting and looking up at mommy. Mommy is showing less flesh than most bathing suits. The picture is tastefully done and gets the point across.

So why is this disgusting and offensive?

Because of the culture of disrespect, that wonderful picture of motherhood is considered sexual. Mommy, in our culture, is little more than an object. Showing a woman, even part of a woman, doing something that is nurturing and natural makes her a person. The baby, looking up at her, confirms that mommy is a real person and not simply an object of desire.

But not only is the picture considered sexual, it's considered offensive because it shows a baby doing something that proves its a living, breathing person. We live in a world where babies are disposable. Don't want it? Kill it! And because mommy is an object for sex, we see the baby as doing something sexual rather than eatting.

Because, you know, babies don't eat.

Only in our oversexed culture, where everyone becomes an object to be used and discarded, does a picture like this become 'offensive' and 'disgusting.' Only in our oversexed culture do people hide pictures of breastfeeding from their children and then let them watch the scantily clad women of MTV. Only in our culture would we hide a picture of nurture and laud a picture of desire.

If you think this picture is offensive and disgusting, you need to reexamine how you see the world.

Really think about it.

Because if you are uncomfortable (or 'grossed out') with a baby eatting, you should watch yourself in the mirror when you eat. Yeah, the baby is much less disgusting.

And cuter.

Here's more sane people talking about the cover:
Rachel over at Women's Health News
Rob over at Unspace
Lindsey over at Theology and Geometry
And The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog

8.03.2006

A Sigh of Relief

Usually I'd post something like this over on I Roll 20s, but this seriously affects my job as a library drone.

Windows Vista is not ready.

Not by a long shot.

This is great for my library. It means we are going to save a huge wad of cash by not being forced to upgrade this fiscal year. In a time when library budgets get tighter and tighter while services expand further and further, this brings a sigh of relief.

It also means we can put off, for one more year, the massive headaches that will cripple us when we attempt to integrate the library's operating system with Vista. We have so many problems just getting the operating system to work properly as it is.

8.01.2006

Beauty: What it does to us

We all want to be beautiful.

We all want to be attractive.

But more than that, we want a partner that is beautiful.

Having a meaningful relationship was easy in the past. We weren't exposed to hundreds of picutres of beautiful men and women everyday. The people we met made up the pool of potential husbands and wives, and though their were plenty of attractive people, they weren't any knock outs.

Now we come to the modern era. Billboards, magazines, television, and movies give us picture after picture of beautiful men and women. Each of one of them is highly unattatinable, but in our minds, they are potential mates. Men see these pictures and think less of their partners. Women see these pictures and think less of their partners as well as themselves.

The end result is a whole lot of unsatisfied people who crave air brushed and computer altered pictures rather than the real people. We crave these images because our brain associates them with health and good genes, which are things we want for our children. But the emotionally fulfilling relationships we need to live happy lives eludes us in the pursuit of beauty. People with whom we would have long lasting and fulfilling relationships become people with whom we would never interact because they do not compare to an image that doesn't exist.

With the rise of mass media and prolific availability of contraception, the divorce rate sky rocketted. Not only could we attempt to have that beautiful starlet or hunk, we could sleep with them without the 'pesky' risk of children, and therefore successfully cheat on our partners. The end result is a whole lot of selfishness from a distorted mind set, and a culture filled with unsatisfied people who build relationships on sex rather than on love and commitment.

For a commentary on beauty and studies on it, go to Psychology Today for Why I Hate Beauty.

7.12.2006

Diamonds do not suck.

With Stumble Upon, you find some interesting sites. You also find a few that leave you speachless.

For Example: Diamonds Suck

The site claims that moissanites are better than diamonds, and that you should never buy a diamond.

As a jeweler with intimate knowledge of the whole diamond issue, I find this site offensive.

Moissanites are not a naturally occurring gemstone and they do not resemble any type of meteorite. The only gems that come from meteors are moldavite, tektite, and meteorite.

Moissanites are a synthetic diamond substitute created by Charles & Colvard Ltd. These stones, because they are synthetic, have an optical quality known as hexagonal polytypic. In non-jeweler's speak, this means that the facets inside the stone reflect against each other making it look like a disco ball.

Diamonds are the hardest natural occurring material known to man. They are used in industry for saws, sanders, and drills. I own a small diamond drill for widening the holes in string pearls. Out of the millions of diamonds mined every year, only a handful are quality jewelery material. Learning to cut a diamond is a ten year process in which the prospective diamond cutter spends years watching the techniques of diamond cutting masters.

Diamonds, in general, are not hard to come buy. A finely cut diamond is hard to come by due to the small amount available for the jewelers market, mining processes, and the consumption of time it takes to cut the diamond properly.

The De Beers Cartel: The cartel fell apart in the 1990s. 2004 saw its death blow at the hands of the US Justice department in an anti-trust suit. Of course, the cartel only involved industrial diamonds: diamonds used for drills, sanders, and saws. Russian, Canadian, and Australian companies have gained a large piece of the diamond market since the 1990s and most diamonds you see in large chains are from Canada.

Yes, De Beers is responsible for the idea of a diamond engagement ring. Of course, it wasn't that hard a sell in 1938. That was still a time when a man was supposed to show his intended that he could support her symbolically, which involved a gift of great expense. The diamond engagement ring was all that and something your blushing bride could show off to the neighbor.

Of course, diamond haters will tell you that people only look at the setting of the stone, not the stone. I don't know what planet they came from, but apparently they never sat in a group of engaged women comparing stones. The only time the setting is appreciated is when the whole ring is an art piece, such as my engagement ring.

As for the resale of diamonds: If you are looking at an engagement ring as a monetary investment and you aren't a jeweler, your marriage isn't going anywhere. You buy an engagement ring to give to your intended as a gift. Older women who cannot wear those beloved rings anymore still keep them and cherish them. They are passed on to beloved daughters, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren.

Diamonds are a real investment. Of course, just like real estate, stocks, and bonds, you have to know what you're doing. A great deal of engagement rings, especially those sold in large chains, have a real diamond top and a false bottom. The end result is not a real diamond and your investment hopes are crushed.

But while I'm on it, here's some advice from a married jeweler:

For guys and gals looking at that big wedding in the future, you should never spend more than $2000 for a ring. In fact, if you are spending that much, you are looking at the wrong rings.

The purpose of an engagement ring is to show your beloved that you have the monetary means, career success, and ability to save money that is necessary to by the ring and therefore support a marriage. For many people, both the blushing bride and proud groom work, so the ring should, instead of having a large price tag attached to it, should reflect your committed relationship. You guys may find that your bride doesn't want a diamond anyway.

Don't go to a large chain store for a ring. Go see a small shop or an artist to make one for you. That's what my husband did.

Oh, and a little heads up for you people who want the big ring anyway: starting marriage in debt from any part of the wedding, including the engagement ring, is a good sign of divorce in the future.

me out

P.S. - Go to marriage classes!!! Don't think you don't need them!!!

7.11.2006

It all makes sense!

You scored as Ms. Bitters. You are the creepy Ms. Bitters. Always floating around, bringing doom upon your poor students.

Zim


100%

Ms. Bitters


100%

Gaz


100%

The Allmighty Tallest


67%

Professor Membrane


50%

Gir


33%

Dib


33%

Which Invader Zim Charecter are You?
created with QuizFarm.com

Creepy Injection

It's time for a creepy injection.

Here's what I've got:

Fiendish Curiousities

Strange Dolls

7.10.2006

A Paper Clip for a House!

Kyle MacDonald has done it! He has traded one giant red paper clip, and after a year of trading, has managed to get his goal: a House!

7.09.2006

Another Blonde Joke

When you're a natural blonde, you get tired of the dumb blonde jokes after a while. So here's one for us! And remember, as Mandy says, "If blondes have all the fun, brunettes must ber miserable."

A blonde walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the loan officer.

She says she is going to Europe on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000. The bank officer says the bank will need some kind of security for the loan; so, the blonde hands over the keys to a new Rolls Royce. The car is parked on the street in front of the bank. She has the title and everything checks out. The bank agrees to accept the car as collateral for the loan.

The bank's president and its officers all enjoy a good laugh at the blonde for using a $250,000 Rolls as collateral against a $5,000 loan. An employee of the bank then proceeds to drive the Rolls into the bank's underground garage and parks it there.

Two weeks later, the blonde returns, repays the $5,000 and the interest, which comes to $15.41.

The loan officer says, "Miss, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely; but, we're a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a multimillionaire. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000?"

The blonde replies, "The airport wanted to charge me two hundred dollars to store my car. Where else in New York City can I park my car for two weeks for only $15.41 and expect it to be there when I return?"

Not all blondes are dumb
.

7.06.2006

J.K. Rowling Gets an Honorary Degree

For her work fighting Multiple Sclerosis.

Did see that coming, did you?

As someone who knows many people afflicted with MS, this just makes me a more dedicated Harry Potter fan.

If you don't have a sense of Humor...

... Your just not going to make it.

A little humor for Christian gamers and horror fanatics.

What makes you a person?

Here's another beautiful thing to go with the rainbow.

Thank you, Ted Harvey and Gianna Jessen for your courage. Praise God!

Gianna is a beautiful woman.

That's what abortion is killing.

Not the 'unborn,' or the 'fetus,' or a 'mass of cells.'

It's killing beautiful women and men.

On a secondary note, I have two coworkers who became pregnant, one as a teen and one in a failed marriage. Both chose to have their beautiful baby boys. Though having a child in difficult circumstances was trying and limitted their personal freedom, they found real happiness and real success because they took the hard path.

Trust me on this:

God rewards those courageous enough to take the hard path.

Fire Rainbow

This beauty occurs when you have a sky full of cirrus clouds, at 20,000 feet in the air. If you have just the right amount of ice crystals and the sun hits them at 58 degrees, the sky becomes... heavenly.

First Beads, then rides...

Geez. Whenever I wanted a longer ride on a ferris wheel or tilt-a-whirl, all I had to do was smile pretty. If you need to go this far, what does that say about you?
Next time you want a longer ride, girls, cough up the cash.

Pizza Bear!

In this photo provided by Jerry Patterson, a bear cub sits in a vintage red Buick convertible in a Lake Tahoe neighborhood, in Stateline, Nev., in this Sunday, July 2, 2006 file photo. The bear drew a crowd of spectators as it munched on barbecue-chicken-and-jalapeno pizza in the back seat of the 1964 Buick Skylark. It also apparently washed it down with a swig of a Jack Daniel's mixer, an Absolut vodka and tonic, and a beer taken from a cooler, the vehicle's owner said. (AP Photo/Jerry Patterson via The Tahoe Daily Tribune)

This is so awesome! Coming from the wilds where bears take walks into town and climb up our trees, this picture brings back memories.

6.28.2006

Kanji Vs. Ink

A lot of people walk around with kanji tattoos, all of them chosen from tattoo shop flash, and none of them actually meaning what they want them to mean.

Here's what I want to know: why do you need to have a tattoo in another language? Since when was that cool?

If you want to show strength and courage, why not a tattoo of a tiger and dragon?
If you want to show purity, why not a tattoo of a unicorn?

Have we really lost all sense of human symbolism? Do we really need someone else's language to convey a concept, that, because it's in a strange tongue, the general populace cannot read?

If you must have something emblazoned on your body in another language, find someone who speaks that language and ask them what the word means.

When it makes me want to shop...

There's advertising. And then there's advertising. The kind that actually makes you want to buy the product advertised. Axe and Dial made body wash for men cool, as the recent change in my husband's buying habits attest too. Advertising agencies have gotten the hint. Consumers want to be entertained.

But there is a fine line between entertainment and making Joe Average want to buy a product.

For example, my favorite commercial is a Levi's jeans one from the 90's. It involved two good looking teenagers getting into an elevator. As they look at each other, they fall into a daydream into where things get hot and heavy, and then their meeting the parents, and then there's a baby, and then the elevator dings and they both run out scared. Awesome. Exceptionally entertaining, but it didn't sell me on the jeans.

Let's look at another example, one that succeeded: Dial created a bodywash to compete with Axe. But instead of appealling to the 16 to 25 metrosexual set, Dial targetted to the manly man with commercial that involved older men of the married variety invading the house of a young, recently married man and saving him from his wife's attempts to make him less manly. It was funny, it was highly entertaining, and it was in my shopping cart on grocery day.

I honestly don't mind rampant advertising. Even if I never buy the product, the entertainment value will stick with me and a different commercial may make me run back to buy.

I do have my complaints, but the only one worth mentioning is the amount of sex in advertising. In the 80's and 90's, sex sold. Now, sex is old hat. It doesn't sell squat. All it does is titulate. What product was the half naked girl selling? Who knows? She was half naked.

Advertising has, on a good day, 30 seconds or less to sell a product. If your 30 seconds is taken up by a set of boobs, you are not going to sell your product.

I am not interested in how good the Victoria's Secret models look. I don't look that good and the cute undies aren't going to make me look that good. On the flip side, I am not interested in how good that guy looks in the briefs. My husband won't look that good in them, so the point is moot.

You have 30 seconds to tell the world about your product. If you actually tell me about your product and entertain me, I am very likely to buy it. If you flash sex in my face, I won't. Several companies have gotten this message. Now if only we could get Calvin Klein to give those girls a sandwich...

6.27.2006

Pirates 3

With the immanent release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, news of a third release is already circulating. Including... an appearance by Capt. Jack's father Keith Richards.

No, I'm not shitting you.

The disaster of the 'I want it' button

The 'I Want It' button is a new thing in many libraries. Library adminstrators are under the impression that since it's used a lot, it must be successful. WRONG!

A little background:
Libraries big and small run on three things: allotted tax dollars, grants, and donations. Starting in the 1990's donations started to fall away. In the year 2000 and after, funds from taxes started shrinking and in Pennsylvania, many libraries have atrocious hours because they don't have the money to stay open.

As sources of money started shrinking, library administrators started scrambling for ways to bring people into libraries in the hopes that they could turn current users into future donors. The idea they cam up with was the 'I Want It' button. This button appears in the catalog next to the entry for a particular book. You click the button, sign in, specify where you want to pick the book up, and then wait for notification that the book was ready.

Suddenly, the button was used like crazy! Libraries were forced to hire computer and technical staff to keep up the demands of the button pushing fiends, but library funds kept dropping.

Why?

Simple.

In the United States, there are two types of library users: One small group, who has used the library from a young age; and a second large group, who haven't used libraries at all, are indignant at being forced into the unneccesary contact, and don't care if the books are there or not until they need them.

Libraries have a stigma: it's a place where only nerds, geeks, or the privileged go. There are college students who brag about never having checked out a book in their entire college career. And in the case of some libraries, they are seen as scary, dark places that you never want to go.

For this second set of library users, who aren't really users at all, the 'I Want It' button and its ilk have given these people away to use a library without ever actually interacting with it. They need a book, they click the button, they pick it up, they never actually see or do anything in the library. A simple button to click on a computer screen has single handedly kept a large section of the population from actually becoming real library users, and, by extension, future donors.

Libraries, instead of offering a way not to interact with the library, should work to dispel the image of a dark, foreboding place where old men with long white beards research endlessly. They need to create common areas that allow users to be loud. They need to offer designated eating areas, or relax food policies.

They need to advertise what they've got.

Does your library have videos? How about cds? Wireless access?
Does your library offer game nights?
How about non-alcoholic alternative programming for teens?
How about a movie night?
Does your library have hours that correspond to when people can use the library? Bankers hours are of no help to a floundering library.

Teens want to be seen.
They want to be alone, but not lonely.
They want a place to interact that allows them to learn while having fun.
They want edutainment.
Libraries are in a unique position to offer it.

Get crackin!

Speed Dating

Guess what, guys! You've got thirty seconds or less to impress me. That's right. 30 seconds.

The International Science Festival in Edinburgh found that women make there decisions about whether a guy is a potential partner or not in 30 seconds or less. See the test results here.

If you're gonna search for ghosts...

You gotta do it right!

Psychologist Richard Wiseman chose the International Science Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland to test for ghostly activity. Edinburgh has a long history of hauntings and Wiseman will take the ghosts to task there. Here's the scoop!

Curse! Curse! (It's funnier if you've seen ATHF)

Can a launch pad be cursed?

The people at Vandenburg Air Force Base wonder.

Attention college kids!

Need to convince your parents that you're eating well, when you're living on a diet of twinkies? Fear no more! The Twinkie Cook Book is to the rescue!

Now you can tell mom that you've been eating lasagna and other healthy foods!

Genpets!

Need something goofy, and a bit creepy, to brighten your day? Then check out Genpets!

Now you can have your own genetically engineered pet that will love you forever!

(No. The site is not real. Geez!)

6.25.2006

Too much fun with fingers

The new finger puppet.

I particularly like the one on fire.

Getting ready...

So, as I am only four days away from the Origins Expo and ready to go on vacation now, I started checking out some interesting hotels. No, the hotels have nothing to do with the con, but they're still freakin' cool. Here's what I've got:

Library Hotel
Yes, there is one and it is filled with books. Each room has a designated Dewey Decimal number and the books in the room correspond to the dewey number. As such, you can have a room with your favorite subject surrounding you: arts, literature, religion, technology, language. A fascinating and fun place to stay. Very small and very chic.

Aurora Ice Museum
Here's a place I will never go to (because I'm cold intolerant). But it is the fervent wish of a former co-worker of mine to visit the ice palace. You can stay in polar bear beds and take three day ice sculpting workshops. You can also get married in this frozen monstrosity.

Aurora Express
Here's an old fashioned B&B with a twist: you stay in railroad cars! Each car is fully restored to its particular time during the Alaska Gold Rush era. Most have chandeliers and painted ceilings, and all are breath-taking! Read up on the history here.

Ariau Amazon Towers Hotel
This hotel is a tree house! Sweet! Built at the level of the rainforest, you can enjoy the great Amazon from above the forest floor. Catwalks exstend 70 to 110 feet above the forest. The hotel boasts tour guides and 360 degree view of the Rio Negro River.

Airstream Europe
Miss the 70s? This hotel is an caravan with vintage chrome RVs. Each RV is retro inside and out. Enjoy a beer as you sit on a sun bed and watch a black and white tv. Tons of organic produce (for the true hippy) and cricket matches for guests.

Beckham Creek Cave Haven
A hotel in a cave! Cave dwelling and underground jacuzzis! Go hiking, canoeing, and fishing. Take a day trip to Eureka Springs and check out the phenomenal wildlife.


6.24.2006

He was *this* close...

Saddam gives up his hunger strike after missing one meal.

Somedays, news like this can make a bad day into a great one. ^-^

6.22.2006

Delicious and Adventurous

The scoop (literally!):

Yesterday, meaning wednesday, I was asked to stay an hour later in order to cover for a missing supervisor. No big deal, I stay late anyway. So today, to reward my 'extra' effort, the supervisor I covered for got my a ice cream certificate.

Now don't scoff. Ice cream at PSU is a big deal.

So off for ice cream I went, thunder crashing. I had predetermined that I would have Strawberry, but the Palmer Mousseum with Almonds was tempting. Strawberry won and I walked out the door to a lightning strike in the parking lot beside Ag. Engineering. The rain fell soon after. Forced under shelter, I visited the inside of a building I had walked passed, oh, a hundred or more times in the search for Creamery goodness: Patterson. Lo and behold, Patterson has a Gallery with the ART020 class projects displayed. Sweet!

I finished my ice cream, got another bedraggled walker in the building, and had a look around. The summer ART020 class is attended by people filling up electives and non-degree students looking for some fun. The class had made several sculpts, fascinating mixed media wall art, and wire dolls. The dolls were the best! One was an awesome ballerina with a leg flipped up and tutu all askew. Another was titled Art Professor and the wire armature was bent forward, hand out as if examining the empty space. Sweetness!

I still had to run back in the rain to make it back to work on time, but I found out that I'm still a good sprinter and can cover short distances pretty fast.

Ice cream and art. Can it get any better? I submit that it cannot!

The BEST Goth Accesories!

Barbie, as victim of serial killer, as jewelry.

Check out the necklace section!

Uncomfortable?

Here's a bathroom in Thailand made to make the user feel... uncomfortable.

You have to honor them...

Best headline today!

Wow. Just, wow.

6.21.2006

Cute Overload

I needs it.
I wants it.
Give me the cute!

Cute Overload

And while we're on the subject, here's more cute... and creepy.

Childrin R Skary

6.20.2006

Time Waster!

Found this thanks to that most wonderful of Firefox add ons: Stumble Upon!

Water Attractors

6.18.2006

Banning Piglet?



But I love Piglet!!! How can anyone ban Piglet?

Well, apparently, if you couldn't tell, a timid baby pig who is washed and loves his friends is somehow considered offensive to Muslims and Turkey (following the footsteps of Britain) has banned him. Poor little guy. Who's going to save Pooh Bear now?

Sounds crazy huh? More at Sand Monkey!

6.15.2006

School's Out

High school let out yesterday in my neck of the woods. How do I know? They were playing hide-and-go-seek in library.

To be perfectly fair, my place of employment is a great place for hide and seek. We've got a total of 18 different floors, miles and miles of stacks, tons of hidie-holes, and plenty of dark passages.

However, the game wasn't so innocent: whenever one kid found another, they had to make out. They were also turning of the lights for the floors, which effectively turns off the power in the central building. And they messed with the book shifts. After some corralling, they got the lectured by Wertney(aka attack supervisor), who, when angry, becomes the avenging Hand of God. He had the kids scared shitless before they were marched out of the building, and he didn't raise his voice once. That's a super power if I ever saw one.

Fogging up the pool

A bunch of guys throw liquid nitrogen into a swimming pool to make fog. Completely pointless but totally awesome!

Also, a dog on an escalator. Even though he isn't touching the floor, he still thinks he should be moving his feet. So cute!

6.12.2006

Argyle and PMS

As i was walking back from lunch at Qdoba's today, I saw an argyle sock in brown and tan drapped over the lion head on the massive urns outside the library. Crazy college students.

Oh yeah!

Saw this site: Mom's Break PMS. Totally cool.

6.11.2006

The Spirit Never Leaves

The spirit is never lost, just postponed.

6.07.2006

Catapult to Space

No, seriously! Scotland wants to attempt catapulting items into space. A project headed by the University of Glasgow is exploring the ability to catapult raw materials into space for building and mining. Check it out here.

Venison - its what's for dinner.

Living in PA, you have your fair share of stupid animal encounters. Possoms on the road, raccoons in your trash, and deer in your house. I hope they ate the bugger.

6.06.2006

Trauma Bucket

At work we were voluntold to watch a video on ergonomics. Thirty minutes of the video concentrated on wrist injury. As I currently suffer from two wrist injuries, the video was mostly intolerable. I squirmed like a worm on dry pavement.

The video, while being mostly educational introduced me to the idea that my body was a bucket. A Trauma Bucket, to be precise. You see, everybody is a trauma bucket. Apparently, our ability to heal trauma depends on our trauma bucket's ability to drain the trauma out a spicket with a very slow drip, drip. If we have more trauma than can be drained, we end up with injury.

In non-trauma bucket speak, if you do something that doesn't injure you once, such as over extending your arm to reach the top shelf, you're fine. If you do it everyday, forty times day, seven days a week, you end up with an injury.

This is very simple to understand. Why I had to be turned into a trauma bucket, I'll never know. For years down the line, everryone at work will be a trauma bucket. We'll have trauma bucket Amy, trauma bucket Jason, and trauma bucket William. We're all trauma buckets.

6.05.2006

In Laws and Visitations

My sister in-law visited over the weekend. She wanted to see the sites, so we took her to the Creamery, Lion Shrine, and the Library, where I did my best impression of Betsy.

(Yes, I know doing an impression of Betsy is disrespectful, but when you literally live with this mystery everyday, you have to learn to make light of it.)

So, we took Holly(the in-law in question) to 2000 Degrees, where she painted a ceramic cat to memorialize her recently late cat, Melody. She took her time and did a great job, using a lot of pictures she had of her cat. I painted a vase and a coffee shop mug. I can't wait to see how they turn out. Julia and I painted a tea set there when the place first opened.

Norman came to visit us again to tell us about the latest trials with Ann, and gab about X-Men 3.

Update!

I got my mug and vase and they look awesome! I am so good!

5.31.2006

Three Armed Baby

A baby boy with born with three arms is being examined to determine whether or not to remove the third arm. The boy's name, by the way, is Jie Jie. He's a little cutie!

Links!
Picture
ABC News
India ENews
BBC News

5.30.2006

Restoring Stonehenge


When you see Stonehenge, you feel transported back in time, as if you are seeing with ancient eyes. Unbeknowest to the tourists who flock the site, Stonehenge has seen some restoration over the years to keep it from falling into total ruin.

Honestly, do you think that all tourists are respectful of the sites they visit?

The picture on the right is from 1901 and shows some work being done on the site.

Interesting links on Stonehenge:
Stonehenge Rebuilt
Restoration Under Attack
Wiki Entry

In case you ever wondered...

What if you fell into a tube through the earth?

Fun with Maps


The Piri Reis Map was discovered in 1929. The map was complied by Piri Reis, a Turkish admirial, in 1513 on gazelle skin. The map accurately depicts the coast line of Antartica without the ice cap. As the map could not actually have been drawn at the time with the coast line depicted, the map endures as a modern mystery. Piri Reis actually left a few things written about the map, telling us that he worked off of several surveying accounts given to him without ever actually seeing the coast line himself.

Here's some links:
Piri Reis Map Project
World Mysteries: Piri Reis

5.28.2006

Altered Books

One of my many, many, hobbies is altering books. The idea behind an altered book is to turn a normal old book into a piece of art. You can also turn them into albums, scrapbooks, and journals. In this way, you can keep a book from becoming land fill.

There are many webpages and books that will tell you how to make an altered book.

The latest I'm working on is called 'The Haunted Life.'
The basic theme is haunted places I've visited and weird things I've seen made into a creepy scrapbook.

First, I took the book Secrets and Mysteries of the World by Sylvia Browne. I chose the book because it had excellent binding and good pictures to accent my altered book.

Second, I tore out pages to make room for the altered work being careful not to pull out any pictures I wanted.

Third, I added 'distressed' the pages using ink that ages the paper without adding acid. Acid in paper kills its ability to last longer than 30 or so years.

Fourth, I typed out the stories I wanted to include in the book with interesting fonts. After printing, I tore the paper to give it a soft edged look.

Fifth, I arranged the stories with their corresponding pictures and began gluing them into the book.

I'm still on the fifth step: I've got a lot of stuff to add, including a picture of Echo the cat!

When I'm finished, I'll add embellishments and creepy pictures from the Mutter Museum.

Then I'll work on the next book... What ever that will be about...

5.25.2006

Grocery Store Deception

Having worked in the deli of a moderately sized independant grocer, none of this comes as a shock, but if you've never worked in a grocery store, here are the trade secrets.

5.17.2006

Those Slippery Snakes

You know, we all have that fear of a snake coming up the pipes into the toilet we just happen to be sitting on. Or maybe just a few of us have that fear: check it out. God, I love tabloids!

Of course, snakes just appearing in strange places are causes for fear too.

And then we also find them in normal places too.

5.16.2006

They Don't Have a Prayer

On the way to work this morning, my husband and I ran into some very nice Mormons who were very obviously in their first year of missionary work. After a pleasant conversation, they asked if they could meet us again at a not so hurried time to discuss the Church of Latter Day Saints. We said sure and invited them over.

Now, we were nice and explained that we were catholic and they my husband had been in the seminary before deciding that it wasn't the life for him. We didn't explain that my husband is an ecumenical scholar. Those poor kids don't have a prayer.

Did you know that the Mormons believe God is an alien that lived such a good life that the alien gods raised him to godhood and gave him earth? And did you know that they believe that if you are a good mormon male, you can be raised to the level of God and given a planet to watch over?

Update!

They showed up last night and had a run in with the roommie, Julie. Not good for them! She slammed the door in their faces.

So we waited this morning for them to show up when we asked them too and... no show. At first we thought that maybe Julie had scared them, or maybe they wrote down the wrong time. Nope. They just had previous plans on campus. Roaming gangs of Mormons are trying to persuade kids from the governor's school to become Mormon. Though I'm sure we will see them again soon, I thought it was pretty underhanded to show up at our door at an unappointed hour.

Did you know...

That they believe there wasn't a 'True' Christian Church since the time of the apostles until their founder 're-established' it?
That they believe the time inbetween had no 'real' Christians?
That they call this time the 'great apostacy' when no real christians existed and Christ wasn't with us?
That they use the King James Version of the Bible as the only true version, even though it was made in the time of the great apostacy and is translated from the mistake ridden Erasmus papers?

Man. You think they'd at least come up with their own new bible rather than being hypocritical and using someone else's bad copy.


Update!

They came back again! Again, at the unappointed hour. Really. These people just don't know how to follow directions. What part of 10:00am do they not understand?

Anyway...

Did you know that Mormons believe God actually had sex with Mary in order to conceive Christ?