Thursday, March 31, 2005
Tux is an old kitty who has seen better days. We think Tux is a he, but since Luke is the only one who can hold him, and then only for a few moments, we're not completely sure. The battle scars on his face tell the story of a rough life. He's a cautious soul, slow to trust anyone. He prefers to sit on the front steps in the sun, or in the flower bed for shelter from the wind. People can go about their business and he's not disturbed, so long as nobody tries to approach too close.
I'm also the Emergency Response Team Coordinator, which is my primary job. I take care of the 13 AEDs in the buildings I work in, make sure they're ready for service. I also train employee volunteers and members of the ERT in CPR/AED/First Aid, and keep up with all that paperwork. I keep an eye on the weather when it may get interesting, and relay NWS watches/warnings. The ERT directs people to the tornado shelters, and makes sure all the offices are clear before we get to the shelter areas ourselves.
With everything I do, I get to be on the phone. I hate hearing the computer-woman saying "...your estimated wait time is 1 hour and 10 minutes." I often don't have an hour to camp out on the phone. Unfortunately, I had to get 2 AEDs exchanged under warranty, so at some point I had to break down and stay on the phone. This morning was that morning. After hitting 2 buttons on the phone once the Physio Control automated system picked up, I was transferred once before I was talking to a real, live, honest-to-God, person. I damn near needed to use one of them on myself. The replacement defibrillators should be here on Monday. Yay, swap-out time.
Is it time to go home yet?
May her family begin to heal, and be comforted by the knowledge that her spirit is at peace.
Death is not the End, nor is it the Beginning. It is the End of a Beginning, one of many stops along the journey each of our spirits is on.
May the blessings of the Divine be with all. Go in peace.
March 31, 2005
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Let's see if I can make it through this week without missing any days. Every time I get over the last round of crud, I either catch something else completely or I wasn't as well as I thought and it comes back. Case in point, the bronchitis is trying to come back, again. Something like the 5th time this winter. I'm rapidly loosing the energy to fight off another round of crud, and to top it all off, Saturday while Tom and I were walking through the grocery store, I started experiencing the sharp abdominal pain that sent me to the emergency room in December with gastritis (stomach flu). I don't need this shit.
I'm constantly exhausted right now, and no amount of sleep will really help. I'll sleep 12-14 hours on the weekends just to get caught up on rest. I get 7-8 hours sleep a night during the week, but that's just not cutting it. Hell, I was basically sent home from work yesterday because I looked like hell. "Do you have to be here? No? Why don't you go ahead and head out then. You look exhausted." Not that it matters, tomorrow's going to be a 12 hour day here, so I needed to leave a little early anyway.
It's sad when doing your laundry, or vacuuming the floors is exhausting. God knows my house could use a thorough cleaning, top to bottom. I don't have the energy to keep up with the cat puke, dishes, laundry, and floors, much less get a good round of spring cleaning done. I'm by no means implying Tom doesn't help out, I'm simply not always able to do my fair share. Or I do, and don't let on just how wore out I am.
It's pathetic when you can't even go visit your family for a weekend because of concern the combination of cold, crappy weather and travel will cause another relapse of the bronchitis/pneumonia. Yeah, Tom and I were supposed to go visit Mom, Dad, and crew this weekend, which has now been scrapped. Arrgh! I've already developed a productive cough, AGAIN, which is why we're not going. I can't do this shit anymore.
Not to mention the Rescue Squad. Yes, I'm still working my weekly shift, for now, although I'm about ready to turn my gear in and be done with it. In the particular Squad I'm a member of, we're all responsible for getting our shifts covered if we can't work it. So, when I've had to call in sick, I've had to beg, plead, and bribe someone to cover for me. Then I owe that person a shift at some future point. You can see how the shifts I owe people can start to build up fast. I love volunteering as an EMT, but it's rapidly becoming too much, especially when we're up half the night and I have to go to work the next day. There are other organizations that I can volunteer with, even as an EMT, that would require less time, less physical stress. It's been 10 years of fun that I think is rapidly coming to an end. The local cat rescue folks always need fosterers for kittens, I can do that. Hell, I'll even go out with Friends of Ferals and trap a few ferals. It's something I can do.
Then there's always the financial side of it. I've been out of work sick, without pay, for half of this past pay period. I used up all of my sick leave and went in the red in December, after going to the ER and being sicker than shit. Every day I stay home sick is a day I don't get paid. Great for blogging, shitty for earning a living.
I've got to go do something else, writing this is getting too depressing. Dammit. Maybe I'll go take some more pictures of spring scenery before my acupuncture appointment this afternoon.
Our rescue truck was requested by the medic unit (ambulance) on the scene for a door pop, which you see the results of. The patient had minor injuries, and was trapped by the driver's door, which would not open because of the impact on the door. While the patient could have been taken out the passenger side, because of the possibility of spinal injury it's best to take the patient out the driver's door. Less movement is involved, which lessens the risk of further injury.
That's the only thing Apollon and I did last night, aside from wash the truck. Well, and get dispatched to another wreck, then get cancelled within a mile of the wreck. Whee. At least dispatch let us sleep through most of the night, which isn't always the case.
Time to get off here, write my reports, and go home. Then go to work for the day. Yippee.
Monday, March 28, 2005
This is too damn creepy:
Nevada taxidermist Jeanette Hall offers an interesting alternative to stuffing and mounting a deceased pet:
Each pet pillow is hand made from the fur of your pet and made into a pillow that you can display. On one side of the pillow is your pet's fur and the other side of the pillow is your choice of fabric. These soft, huggable pillows are a great way to enjoy your cherished pet...
Pillows range from $65 for a domestic cat to $150 for a horse.
This is just plain WRONG! No, I don't want Noah, Eep, or McCullough made into a cuddly pillow. That's too creepy. Admittedly, Eep is already a walking pillow, she's so fat and fluffy, but I can't imagine actually making a pillow out of any of them.
Have I mentioned this is really creepy? Probably also a sign of mental illness.
Gotta hate it when this happens. Passed along by Apollon.
Ambulance Scam Lands One Man in Jail
March 28, 2005 3:40 p.m.
A sting that stretches several states ends with a Huntsville businessman behind bars. And police impound, of all things, ambulances.
WAFF 48 News Special Assignment Anchor Varion Walton was the only reporter on the scene for the take down. This is her exclusive report.
It's an unusal case of buyer beware which stretches from Mississippi to Illinois. Future patients may pay the highest price for the alleged scam.
"Chicago, Illinois sent 7 ambulances to Woody Anderson Ford to be brought here to be turned over into ambulances. They in fact waited and waited to receive those ambulances. Nothing was happening," Huntsville police officer Kenith Walls said...
Oops, busted! What, did he think that Chicago wasn't going to miss their ambulances? Dumbass.
Strong Quake Hits Off Indonesia IslandAll the coverage you could want, and more is here. And you thought the endless coverage was over with. Nope, sorry, wrong answer. Thank you for playing.
Monday, March 28, 2005, 11:27 AM CST
BANGKOK, Thailand - A large earthquake struck off the west coast of Indonesia's Sumatra Island late Monday, and the U.S. Geological Survey said it was a major quake measuring a magnitude of 8.2.
Officials issued a tsunami warning for residents of southern Thai provinces, three months after a tsunami devastated parts of Indonesia and other countries in the region. The quake occurred at 11:09 p.m. local time at a depth of nearly 19 miles, the USGS in Golden, Colo., said.
Sunday, March 27, 2005
If you want even more cuddly kitty cuteness, there is always the Friday Ark at Modulator.
Hopefully wherever you are is better than here in Alabama tonight. It's been stormy all afternoon around here, and I'm happy that the power hasn't gone off tonight. The cats are all happy to be inside tonight, although I think Noah has a secret desire to get out in the storm, at least until he discovers storms are also wet.
I have some pics of the storm as the last line went through the area, which should be on Flickr sometime Monday evening. I'm in the process of uploading 300+ photos I took this weekend, so it will be a little longer before everything is up. In the mean time, feel free to head over and browse through what I've uploaded so far.
Saturday, March 26, 2005
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HUNTSVILLE AL
931 PM CST SAT MAR 26 2005
...SIGNIFICANT SEVERE WEATHER EVENT STILL POSSIBLE LATE TONIGHT AND
SCATTERED SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS AND A FEW TORNADOES ARE POSSIBLE
ACROSS THE TENNESSEE VALLEY...LIKELY BEGINNING TOWARD MORNING AND
CONTINUING INTO THE DAY ON EASTER SUNDAY.
THE STORMS WILL OCCUR LATE TONIGHT ALONG AND SOUTH OF A WARM FRONT...
WHICH WILL MOVE THROUGH THE AREA BY SHORTLY AFTER MIDNIGHT. SCATTERED
SUPERCELL STORMS CAPABLE OF LARGE HAIL...DAMAGING WINDS AND AN
ISOLATED TORNADO WILL INITIALLY BE THE PRIMARY THREATS TOWARD
SUNRISE. AFTER 6 AM...THE TORNADO THREAT ACROSS NORTH ALABAMA AND
INTO SOUTHERN MIDDLE TENNESSEE WILL INCREASE WITH THE STORMS. ALSO...
LOCALLY HEAVY RAIN OF 1 TO 2 INCHES IS EXPECTED THROUGH MIDDAY SUNDAY
MORNING. SO ALTHOUGH FLASH FLOODING IS NOT A LARGE CONCERN...SOME
MINOR FLOODING COULD OCCUR.
OF PARTICULAR CONCERN IS THE THREAT OF TORNADOES FROM EARLY
EASTER SUNDAY MORNING THROUGH THE MID AFTERNOON HOURS. AS STRONG LOW
PRESSURE MOVES FROM LOUISIANA INTO MIDDLE TENNESSEE...AN UNSTABLE
AIRMASS WILL OVERSPREAD THE TENNESSEE VALLEY. AS STRONG HEATING
OCCURS BY LATE MORNING INTO EARLY AFTERNOON...THIS AIRMASS WILL
BECOME PRIME FOR THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT ACROSS WESTERN ALABAMA.
AS A COLD FRONT MOVES INTO THE REGION BY LATE AFTERNOON...ANOTHER
ROUND OF SEVERE STORMS IS POSSIBLE...WITH DAMAGING WINDS...LARGE
HAIL BEING THE MAIN THREATS.. THE THREAT OF SEVERE WEATHER
SHOULD DIMINISH ACROSS THE AREA BY SUNDAY EVENING AS A COLD FRONT
SWEEPS THROUGH THE AREA.
THIS IS A POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS WEATHER SITUATION. IT WOULD BE WISE
TO REVIEW TORNADO SAFETY GUIDELINES NOW...AND BE READY TO IMPLEMENT
ACTION SHOULD A WATCH OR WARNING BE ISSUED. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE
FOR THOSE WITH ORGANIZED ACTIVITIES...WHETHER INDOORS OR OUT.
Keeping in mind the NWS usually tries not to over-hype stuff, so they can't be accused of "crying wolf", this is gonna suck. Or be really cool, depending on how you look at it.
Friday, March 25, 2005
A man met a beautiful lady and he decided he wanted to marry her right away. She protested, "But we don't know anything about each other."
He replied, "That's all right; we'll learn about each other as we go along."
So she consented, and they were married and went on a honeymoon to a very nice resort.
One morning, they were lying by the pool when he got up off his towel, climbed up to the 10 meter board and did a two and a half tuck gainer, entering the water perfectly, almost without a ripple. This was followed by a three rotations in jackknife position before he again straightened out and cut the water like a knife. After a few more demonstrations, he came back and lay down on his towel.
She said, "That was incredible!"
He said, "I used to be an Olympic diving champion. You see, I told you we'd learn more about ourselves as we went along."
So she got up, jumped in the pool and started doing laps. She was moving so fast that the froth from her pushing off at one end of the pool would hardly be gone before she was already touching the other end of the pool. She did laps in freestyle, breast stroke, even butterfly! After about thirty laps, completed in mere minutes, she climbed back out and lay down on her towel, barely breathing hard.
He said, "That was incredible! Were you an Olympic endurance swimmer?"
No," she said, "I was a hooker in Kentucky and I worked both sides of the Ohio River."
Thursday, March 24, 2005
The fountain after I cleaned and refilled it, ready for use.
Eep has a turn...
Noah, who is the reason we bought the fountain in the first place, refused to take a sip when I had the camera out. Figures.
1520 - I think I've found part of the problem with changing the size. The site is back to 800 x 600 for a little while while I work out the bugs.
1530 - If you didn't already know this, checking 817 lines of XHTML, comparing the screwed up document to a known good document, line by line is really freakin' tedious.
1922 - About damn time. I think I have the major kinks worked out now.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Ok, I'll go back inside the Oubliette now.
Update - I made an impression. Eep was a very sweet kitty when I got home from work this afternoon, eeping at me, purring, headbutting. Overall, I would have to give this afternoon's behavior a
1 on the Eep Pissed-O-Meter. And you thought I was never going to do it again.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Impact on driver's side of the vehicle.
Passenger side of the vehicle. Vehicle was on the sidewalk, partially in a parking lot. The group of silver horizontal stripes on the left side of the photo is the Scotchbrite on 3 of the firefighters.
Police cruiser parked across 2 lanes of traffic.
Yes, I know they're all kinda dark. That's what happens when one works nights. It makes working the wrecks a challenge, too. It's harder to see what's going on, where the involved vehicles are, where the patients are and how many there are. Always a challenge, and I love it.
Update 3/23/05 08:37 - That was the only thing we did last night.
So, here are the pics I took before I went on duty tonight.
The view to the east, heading toward the station.
The sun setting, from the station.
Today's Front Page Exhibit is the Newseum's most popular exhibit, both online and physical, where over 300 daily newspapers from all over the world transmit their front pages via the internet to the Newseum each day. Then the Newseum chooses 68 of the pages to print and publicly display each day. The online exhibit has all of the pages submitted that day to view.
Newspapers large and small contribute to the Today's Front Page Exhibit, and I find it's fascinating to click through the pages, seeing what's newsworthy in the various cities. The site seems to be a little slow, or it could be my computer today, I'm not really sure which. It's Flash intensive, so be warned. There are several different ways to sort the pages of the exhibit - there's a Flash map that shows the location of each newspaper that contributes, an alphabetical list, or a thumbnail view with the papers in alphabetical order by region, which is the default. Check it out, I think you'll enjoy what you find.
Monday, March 21, 2005
Unless you've been living in a cave and haven't been keeping up with the news, which happes to me from time to time, you've heard about the legal battles concerning the fate of Terri Schiavo. If you haven't, there are plenty news stories for you to catch up on the whole thing. This Yahoo article is the one am specifically reading while writing this.
Yesterday afternoon, Schaivo's feeding/hydration tube was removed, in accordance with a federal court's ruling, and despite Republican lawmakers' desperate legal efforts to keep the tube in place. With the removal of the life support of the feeding tube, thus begins the 1-2 week process of Schavio's body dying.
What truly horrifies me about this entire situation is the behavior of the Republican Party throughout this ordeal. They are being bullies, trying to impose their morality on individuals through any means at their disposal. Schaivo's husband is trying to exercise his authority as Schaivo's legal guardian by removing her from life support, due to her "persistent vegetative state". There's a reason it's called a "vegetative state", a person in such a state has the same higher brain fuction as a stalk of broccoli. It is perfectly legal for a guardian to remove such a person from live support, to allow the husk of a body to die, since the mind no longer exists.
M. Schaivo is fully within his rights to have the feeding tube removed from T. Schaivo. He claims that prior to the episode that left her in the vegetative state, his wife told him she would not want to be kept alive in such a situation. T. Schaivo's parents, who are not her legal guardians, claim not that she would want to be kept alive, but that she could with proper care get better. They are also using their Roman Catholic beliefs as justification for trying to wrest legal guardianship from T. Schaivo's husband by appealing to Republican politicians. T. Schaivo's parents have no legal standing in trying to keep her feeding tube in place, so they are trying to get the law changed to suit their desires.
This battle between Schaivo and his in-laws has been going on for 15 years now. Through that entire time, T. Schaivo has remained in the same state. She shows reflexive brain function only, no signs of any sort of higher brain function. Yes, she can breathe on her own, she can also track and object with her eyes, and most likely responds to painful stimuli (such as withdrawing from the pain, i.e. pulling a hand away that is pinched), but those are reflexes, no higher brain function is required. Even tracking a moving object with the eyes is a reflex, our brains are designed to see movement better than a static scene, it's hardwired into our brains, we do it without having to think about it.
The fact that Governor Bush, the Florida Legislature, Congress, and President Bush are all willing and more than happy to interfere in what should be a very private matter scares the hell out of me. Lawmakers have no right to dictate the manner in which a person lives or dies, no right to invade the private lives of citizens. Republicans are trying to demonize and make illegal a legal act - withdrawing the life-support of an individual in a vegetative state at the request of the person's legal guardian. T. Schaivo's parents are no longer her legal guardians, that changed when she got married. She would have had to filed a Power of Attorney or a similar legal document to have her parents be her legal guardian and not her husband.
M. Schaivo is the legal guardian of T. Schaivo, and her parents should accept that fact. They are trying to justify their actions based on their personal religious faith, T. Schaivo would want what they want, despite M. Schaivo's position that he best knows what his wife would want. T. Schaive would not be the first person in history to as an adult adopt different moral/ethical/religious views than those of the parents and what he/she grew up with. Why is so inconceivable to T. Schaivo's parent that she would as an adult hold different religious/ethical views than they do?
In the end, everyone who has interferred with M. Schaivo's decision to remove his wife from life support should be ashamed of themselves, especially at this point. The case has already been before a judge numerous times, and M. Schaivo's position as the legal guardian has been upheld each time. There is no reason for this to continue in the legal system, and definitely no reason for Congress or the President to get involved. At this point it is bullying and harassment, plain and simple. It is the conservatives trying to impose thier standards and ethics on the rest of us, against our will, and you should be mad as hell about it.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
I learned about the Carnival by way of my husband. He sent me a link to an article at Lair's site, and while I was there, and I found the cats, Edloe, Nardo, Piper, and Frisky, and read about their exploits. While I was there, I discovered the Carnival of the Cats. I was immediately hooked, the Cat Crap category of went into my bookmarks, and I tracked down past Carnivals. I didn't have a blog yet, but that soon changed. Yes, I started blogging because of catblogging in general. So, in that case, whose blogchild am I?
My two submissions for this special edition of the Carnival were a little late due to Noah begging for Beef and Broccoli for dinner tonight. McCullough the snuggle-kitty is also featured in today's edition, being she is a former Margin Model for the Carnival of the Cats main page.
Friday, March 18, 2005
Noah eating a piece of broccoli
Noah goes for more from my bowl
What? I'm not doing anything.
Update - Friday Ark at Modulator. Good stuff. Go, surf and enjoy cuteness.
McCullough's dainty little paw.
Update - The Friday Ark is up at Modulator. Lots more kitty goodness for your viewing pleasure, now with 30% fewer carbs than before!
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Update, 16:00 - Flickr is back up.
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
You Are Best Described By...
By Salvadore Dali
Although sometimes I am...
By Salvador Dali
Very cool, since Salvador Dali is one of my favorite artists.
Irises with a border someone made from natural stones found in the cemetery.
The Erksine Mausoleum
Architectural detail of the Erksine Mausoleum.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Sunday, March 13, 2005
The stars are visible as streaks instead of points of light because I used a 64 second exposure, the maximum my camera will do, for each of the above pictures. I had the camera on a mini tripod on the top of my car. Since this camera will do pretty respectable job at photographing the night sky and other low-light situations, I think I'll need a full-size tripod to go with it. Oh, yeah, I can easily see the Oubliette becoming a photoblog.
Friday, March 11, 2005
The show discusses why networks love reality TV, and like many things in this country, it boils down to $. Fiction shows cost much more to create than reality TV. With a scripted fiction show, there's writers, screenwriters, and actors to pay. With reality TV, all you need is an idea and some people. No writers or actors to pay. Reality TV is quick, cheap, and easy to produce; a fast way to fill a slot in a schedule. Which Americans are more than happy to oblige.
Thinking about it, I guess that's why I'm not a great fan of reality TV. I like watching a well-crafted story. The only exceptions are Trauma: Life in the ER and Paramedics, both of which show on the Learning Channel, and even then I don't watch those shows that often. I would much rather watch a fictional show that is set in that kind of environment. Although, like most people, it's hard for me to turn the channel when it lands on some of these shows. Kinda like the proverbial train wreck, and with my EMS background, I can't turn away from those, either.
I'm still a little behind my holidays, I know. I'll be dragging out Mardi Gras pictures well past Easter.
Steve has posted today's edition of the Friday Ark at Modulator, where critters of all sorts can be found in one place, for your convenience. Be sure to check out Lair's ongoing graphical analysis of cats vs. dogs posts at the Ark. If you check out his site, I'm sure there's some commentary in there somewhere.