Saturday, April 30, 2005

my new favorites

Funny Flash Movie

Amplified Bible - May not be safe for work.

Words cannot describe it.

Friday, April 29, 2005

friday cat blogging

The pollen is so bad around here that even the cats are effected.

It's so bad that Noah is loosing his belly hair.

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Well, the brain MRI I had Tuesday didn't show anything. I knew it was empty up there, so no shock there. Still doesn't mean anything, it simply doesn't confirm that the vertigo and crap is MS. So, next will certainly be a LP, a spinal tap. Whee. In the mean time, I'm trying to enjoy my time off work.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Monday, April 25, 2005

it's official

I've officially resigned from the Rescue Squad, for health reasons. There are some other medical issues going on, which I won't discuss right now because there are some people I haven't had a chance to talk to yet, and I don't want them to find out through here. I didn't realize it, but 2 weeks ago was my last shift. So, I guess I'll have to scan in my old photos and give you the greatest hits. (no pun intended, honestly).

This doesn't mean I'll never be able to go back, resigning rather than taking a leave of absence lets me be free from all responsibility and lets me concentrate on getting better. I can re-join and hopefully quickly return to the position I held as of earlier today.

the vatican and the cats

While many catbloggers have noted that Pope Benedict XVI is an ailurophile, he is not the first pontiff to have an affection for cats.
Micetto, the Pope's Cat
Vicomte de Chateaubriand (1768 - 1848)

I find myself at the same time in a Monastery, a farm, an orchard, and a park. I have as a companion a fat red-grey cat with black cross stripes, born at the Vatican in the Raphael Gallery: Leo XII brought it up in the skirt of his robe, where I used to watch it with envy, when the Pontiff gave me my audience as Ambassador. On the death of the successor of St. Peter, I inherited the cat without a master, as I have told you in writing of my Roman Embassy. They called it Micetto, surnamed the Pope's Cat. In this capacity it enjoys an extreme consideration among pious souls. I strive to make it forget exile, the Sistine Chapel and the Sun of Michael Angelo's dome, on which it used to take its walks far removed from earth.

Since Benedict XVI is noted as an excellent Church historian, he undoubtedly knows of Micetto. There may yet be a Pope's Cat in the Vatican again. Micetto II perhaps?

In reading this passage, can't you just imagine an old man and his kitten, hiding in the hem of his robes when he has visitors, peeking out at them. Playing with his feet anytime he shifted them, and the consternation of the housekeepers who would have to repair the pricks of tiny claws in the papal robes. Or as an adult cat, exploring all the high places it can climb, going anywhere it pleases, an entire city to its self. Or, as Leo XII neared death, Micetto keeping him company, curled up beside him - an old man and his beloved cat.

Update 5/3/05 - Micetto, Italian for nice kitten (male). Micetta, nice kitten (female)

Sunday, April 24, 2005


Well, tomorrow I will be going back to see Dr. F, since the vertigo hasn't gotten any better. He said last week that it could still very well be an inner ear infection if it doesn't improve by Monday. Unfortunately, at this point I'm starting to think of the other things that aren't so innocent that could cause the same symptoms - meningitis, brain damage from multiple concussions, MS. It's just a viral ear the worst viral meningitis which also is something that has to be waited out. That's what i'm going to keep telling myself.

On a related note, I'm afraid that Rescue Squad blogging will soon come to an end. As recent posts have shown, I've been having fits with my health, and won't be able to continuing volunteering as an EMT and still be able to work my regular job. So, I will most likely be taking a minimum of 3 months off, up to 6 months. If the chronic infections and such don't improve after 6 months, then that will be the end of my time at the Rescue Squad.

There are ways I can continue to volunteer as an EMT, and therefore keep my license, which will require less time from me, and I will be able to choose to respond when I feel able. Since the Rescue Squad staffs our truck in 12 hour shifts, 365 days a year, we must be able to work regular shifts. There is another group of volunteer EMTs that I can work with and set my own hours.

Right now nothing is official, although the leave of absence will probably start soon. And, of course, update, rants, raves, and such will be posted here.

carnival of the cats #57

Welcome everyone to my little corner of the world. I've lit a few more candles so it's not quite as dark as usual for all of my guests tonight. I know it's a little cramped, oubliettes aren't really made for entertaining, but we'll manage. I've brewed up a fresh batch of catnip tea for any of our guests, feline or human, and there are some trays of snacks so help yourself.


Kimberly from Number 2 Pencil kicks off the Carnival with Alice sunning herself

Larry from BlameBush! presents (ahem) a tail of Cat Hunting in Wisconsin

Elisson at Blog d'Elisson shows us Hakuna and Matata, Guardians of the Staircase and a RFOAC

Barry at enrevanche presents Mr. Gato in kitty heaven

bothenook at a geezer's corner brings us installment 2: cat blog friday. Definitely must be nice to be able to sleep anywhere

Continuing the napping kitty theme, Chuq Yang at 7610 presents After Midnight (technically Friday) Cat Blogging Shh...sleepy kitty

Russ at Boxing Alcibiades presents Rudy, friend to plush animals who is a faithful steed to Entbunny

the Robot Vegetable at Middle-Fork presents Sabaki and the Mystery Guest

Kimberly at Music and Cats shares a beautiful shot of Lyra and Sahsa and meditates upon posing cats, or, more accurately, the inability to do so

Nuthatch at Bootstrap Analysis has Earth Day cat blogging with some information on keeping cats indoors

Barry at enrevanche decides that Anybody who loves cats is probably an okay guy

At Striving for Average Tommy attempts to train a cat

Susan at pages turned provides her favorite excerpts from Jubilate Agno with her catblogging

Matt at The Tattered Coat continues the admiration of a particular excerpt from Jubilate Agno with cat-poetry blogging

As an interlude, I now present my tribute to Christopher Smart's excerpt from Jubilate Agno

Jubilate Feles

For I will consider my cat Noah
For he is the servant of none but himself
For at the first glance of the Glory of the Sun in the East, he goes back to sleep
For he is not a morning cat
For when he finally awakes he begins his day
For Firstly he stretches the last of sleep away
For Secondly he goes in quest for food
For Thirdly he seeks drink
For Fourthly he cleans himself
For Fifthly he rubs to claim what is his
For Sixthly he sharpens his claws upon the post
For Seventhly he pauses to listen to the noises of the house
For Eightly he scratches
For Ninethly he perches upon the couch surveying his domain
For Tenthly he considers what he shall do that day
For having compleated his ritual, he seeks mischief
For he seeks McCullough to taunt her and chase her around the house
For then he must run blindly for no apparent reason
For having taunted his sister and run through the house, he seeks a spot for a nap
For while he can be taught things, he refuses to perform upon command
For he has taught me many a thing
For he is the most elegant in his movements of any creature
For this is not true when he falls off the window sill
For his eyes are of pure gold
For his fur is the color of the deepest night
For his kisses are the sweetest of any cat
For he is a faithful companion
For he stays by my side in illness to provide what comfort he can
For he plays with me when I am well
For he likes to travel to visit family
For if he meets another cat, he will approach warily
For while enjoys his friends, he defends against his foe
For there is nothing more amusing than when he fluffs to defend his territory
For he is the killer of paper-balls
For he can run like the wind
For he can creep


And now, back to the Carnival.

Storyteller at Scribblings celebrates the return of the sun with Feline Friday: Purr in the sunshine

Michael at Curiouser and Curiouser presents a very relaxed Tinker reclining on her favorite chair

Josh at Josh's Weblog gives us a fuzzy kitty who found a fuzzy unicorn

Lab Kat catches Pica with a suspiciously innocent look

SB at Watermark gives us in addition to photos of Boo and Spike, cat translated into English a very handy resource indeed

In a Carnival of the Recipes crossover, Ogre at Ogre's Politics and Views submits a most unusual confection

Darcey at Dust My Broom has one pissed off cat

NYC Babylon for a day turns her blog over to MJ Cat, who is in love

Brian at Musings from Brian J. Noggle contemplates why he can't get any work done

Lauren at feministe decides that The Family That Studies Together Annoys Each Other

Laurence at This Blog is Full of Crap, and founder of the Carnival, uses discreet surveillance techniques to catch the commission of Grand Theft Nardo

frightwig at Sundappled Wood has happy news that Isabella is feeling Much Better

Zed Pobre at Resonant Information is a newcomer to catblogging Late Friday Cat Blogging. As he will learn, catblogging is not limited to Friday.

maggie katzen at maggies meanderings blah blah blah.... catches a farm kitty napping

srp at Melange has a computer-savvy kitty

Ellen at AMCGLTD.COM presents a cat and his maniacal laugh

Shelly Brisbin at Shelly's Podcasts has something a little different, The Friday Podcat

John at Living With Bengals has a warning for trespassers and risks life and limb to skritch a tummy

Moses at Yowling from the Fencepost relates the tale of Saturday Cat Blogging: Crouching blogger, hidden mertcat edition.

Mog of Mind of Mog spends Saturday cleaning with no help from the cats, catches a kitty by surprise, enjoys some peace and quiet, and Psycho Cat finds someplace else to terrorize

Tinker at The Secret Life of Shoes shows off a gorgeous variety of Disney Hats

Martin at EGO presents Dinner Time!

Ferdinand T. Cat at Conservative Cat relates the story of his human pet Bruce's close call with the Interloper

Creeping in under the wire, Brainwise at Prophet or Madman gives us an insight to the TV viewing habits of Otis, and Milo is being a little aloof

One more late entry, due to a power outage, Sissy at Sisu shows Babe going for some not-live prey, and reports cats are invading the Holy See

And finally, my own submission for the Carnival, the uneasy truce continues between Noah and Maleficent

I hope you enjoyed this weeks Carnival as much as I have hosting it. Being able to check out everyone's posts ahead of time. The kitties, well have been kitties, and want to know when they can have my lap back.

As a note, with anyone who is using Flickr to host their photos, the pics may be temporairly unavailable since Flickr has been having some fits lately.

Next week's Carnival will be hosted by Running Scared. And as always, don't forget the Friday Ark at Modulator.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

full moon

Happy Full Pink Moon

It's called the Full Pink Moon because this is the time of year when phlox, with it's pink flowers, blooms.

thunder over louisville

Well, last night there was more than just thunder over Louisville, it's been confirmed, a tornado did touch down in downtown briefly, blowing the roofs off of a couple of buildings and causing a little concern. This morning, WAVE3 TV is not reporting any injuries or major damage. The biggest problem was the 5,000 Louisville Gas & Electric customers that lost power.

So, today the clean-up begins, and the show must go on. The Thunder Over Louisville Airshow has been scaled back, due to a low ceiling, and will not start until 3:45pm EDT. WAVE3 TV is the official broadcaster of TOL, so their website will have updates throughout the day. Even better, for those of us not anywhere near the broadcast area of WAVE, not to mention not braving the windchills in the 30s to actually watch the show, there will be a webcast of the fireworks. If that link doesn't work, go here, and click on the Watch the Live Broadcast banner located just under the main headers of the page.

So, residents of the blogosphere, enjoy one of the 5 largest fireworks displays in the world from your armchair, in your pajamas. I will try to get some screen shots of the show, which may or may not work.

Friday, April 22, 2005

severe weather blogging

Things are going to hell right now in the southeast. Just heard on the Weather Channel a spotter confirmed tornado in DOWNTOWN LOUISVILLE, KY. While I'm glad that I decided to not go to Louisville for the weekend, I hope my family stays safe.

Update 18:26 - The warning for Louisville has been allowed to expire. Apparently I know more via the National Weather Service website than the locals do via local media outlets. Mom and Dad had no idea that there was had been spotter confirmations of a tornado. Still not clear if it was on the ground or not.

friday cat blogging

The uneasy truce between Noah and Maleficent continues...

Maleficent contemplates taking Noah's spot on the couch. Noah gives her the Evil Eye.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

some people just don't get it

Once again, I am home with yet another infection. Inner ear infection this time. Little fever, a lot of vertigo, to the point where I won't drive myself anywhere until it's over. Occasionally while walking I have to stop and grab a counter, my husband, or whatever is handy until the wave passes. Aside from that, I feel fine; 100% of the problem is in my head. I saw Dr. F yesterday, he said it was viral, and the only thing he could do is give me some stuff to help with the nausea and make the vertigo more bearable. I have to wait it out.

Last night at 10:00 my boss called me, wanting to know if I could come in to work today. I explained what Dr. F said, and that he said I wasn't to go back to work until Monday. Then I was asked if there was any way possible I could come in, another employee was out sick, or something. I calmly explained that I won't drive because of the vertigo, and the prescriptions aren't something I can drive while taking either.

I think I'm going to have to explain an autoimmune disorder, yet again, and immunospuressive medications, yet again, to my boss. It's not that hard of a concept. I have 2 autoimmune disorders,(disorders where one's own immune system attacks the body's tissues, causing inflammation) Crohn's Disease and Ankylosing Spondylitis. To keep them under control, I take immunosupressants (medications which artifically supress the immune system to prevent immune system from attacking the tissues). The result is I am somewhat more prone to infections than the average person. I'm not making this up, I don't like being sick and having to stay home, staring at the same 4 walls. For some reason my boss doesn't seem to believe that I'm not just staying at home, partying or something.

Aaaargh! Time to pound my head into a wall for a while.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

habemus papam

We have a Pope
Joseph Ratzinger
Who imposes the name of
Benedict the Sixteenth
- translation of the latin headline

L'Osservatore Romano, the Roman Observer, the official newspaper of the Vatican

The circus is over, everyone can go home now.

pope-a-thon webcams

For those who don't have access to a TV today, and want to stay on top of the latest papal developments, I provide the following webcams:

Yahoo's Sistine Chapel ChimneyCam

View of the chimney only, and the pigeons hopping around on the roof. Has audio.

Official Vatican TV Web Broadcast
At time of posting this, showing a wide shot of St. Peter's Bascilla and Square. Also has audio.

Monday, April 18, 2005

gonna take my bill and go play someplace else

Looks like Senate Republicans are getting their panties in a wad about the Democrats threatening to fillibuster judicial nominations. Their panties are in such a twist, that Senate Republicans want to change the rules to suit them, to make it easier to break a fillibuster.
GOP countering judicial filibuster threat
One group labels Senate Democrats as 'against people of faith'
Friday, April 15, 2005 Posted: 8:15 PM EDT (0015 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Republicans are moving to put some muscle behind their pitch to eliminate judicial filibusters after watching liberals push out TV ads against them in anticipation of a showdown over who sits on federal appeals courts...

...Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, after vowing last fall to stop Democrats from blocking the most conservative of President Bush's nominees, will appear in a telecast later this month with leaders of social conservative groups.

According to a flier for the Louisville, Kentucky, event, it will focus on how judicial filibusters are being used "against people of faith."...
Republicans are afraid they won't get their way for every judicial nominee, even though Senate Democrats have blocked only 10 of 52 judicial nominees. Since Republicans may not get their way, they will change the rules instead, to be sure they get their way. Hmmm, where have we witnessed this before?

As far as filibusters being used "against people of faith", Frist is getting the cause and effect mixed up. These "people of faith" are Senators who have no concept of separation of Church and State, who parade their faith and try to legislate their faith on the people of this nation.

kentucky derby festival kickoff

This weekend I will be visiting my family in Indiana for the kickoff of the Kentucky Derby Festival on Saturday. Saturday afternoon is the Thunder Air Show, one of the nation's top 5 airshows, featuring a wonderful selection of military aircraft from WWII to the present.

An F-18 Hornet

After dark,the real treat begins. Thunder Over Louisville is the nation's largest fireworks display, and usually one of the 3 largest in the world.

The US 31/Second Street Bridge

The Ohio River, Second Street Bridge, and
Louisville, Kentucky in the background.

The fireworks display is created each year by Zambelli Internationale, one of the world's premiere pyrotechnics families. Eight barges, 4 on either side of the bridge are used as the launch platforms for the display. The entire display is choreographed to a rock/country/showtunes soundtrack. Yes, there will be loads of photos, but probably no liveblogging of the shows. Kinda hard to get a good connection to the web from the top of a floodwall.

A C-130 Hercules from Kentucky Air
National Guard from last year's airshow

early cotc reminder

This Sunday I will be hosting the Carnival of the Cats, so be sure to get your catblogging posts in. You can submit your posts by way of the oh, so handy Carnival Submission Form created by Bruce, the pet human of Ferdy, the Conservative Cat. You can email your post to either the Carnival email, cats(at), or my personal email oubliette.mira(at)

I will let y'all know now that I will be traveling back to Alabama from my parent's in Indiana Sunday afternoon, so the Carnival may be posted a little late.

hey, y'all

Your Linguistic Profile:

45% General American English
35% Dixie
10% Upper Midwestern
5% Midwestern
5% Yankee

Yep, I speak a real mix of English. Not suprising, since I was born and raised in southern Indiana, have family in Maryland, and have lived in Alabama for the past 10 years.

And while I'm taking quizzes, this one isn't that suprising. The line between redneck and country girl is sometimes a fine one. Yes, I know how to drive a tractor, learned when I was 10.

You Are 55% Redneck

You're just about as welcome up in town as a hair in a biscuit.

Ain't no hidin' your redneck roots!

the pope-athon continues

The doors to the Sistine Chapel are now shut and locked, and CNN has the live Chimney Cam in the corner of screen during their broadcast. Or you can watch the live Sistine Chapel Chimney Webcam. Of course, there are many, many more online resources for those who are keeping track of the Papal selection process, including the Pope-U-Lator. Once again, thanks to Brainwise to staying on top of the circus at the Vatican.
Update - I had to remove the link to the Chimney Cam, since apparently the link only works from the CNN page.

Update #2 4/19/05- Yahoo News has a Webcam with a permenant link, and audio. You can listen to reporters and other pilgrims chatting, and watch the pigeons on the roof of the Sistine Chapel while waiting for the next smoke emission.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

jihadi cats are here

This week's edition of the Carnival of the Cats is being hosted by fellow members of the Unitarian Jihad, Sister Peaceful Neutron Bomb of Moderate Joy and her feline companions, Sister Garrote of Forgiveness and Brother Trebuchet of Kind Equanimity.

Brother Straight Razor of Hope, The Dagger of Compassion, and Sister Katana of The Short Path have joined the Jihad. They were given their names earlier today by the Jihad Naming Committees.

that's comfortable?

That cat sleeps in some of the most interesting positions.

Facedown is comfy?

Saturday, April 16, 2005

busy day

The day started off innocently enough...mowing the grass. Something had to be done, since we didn't cut it last week and it had started to get a little out of hand. While Tom cut the grass, I decided to take out the privet at the side of the garage. In this area privet is well and truly a weed, that will eat small children, houses, and even entire neighborhoods if left unchecked. The privet was at the top of a retaining wall, occupying the space the Landscaping Master Plan (as interpreted at this moment in time) dictates there will be azaleas. This is the The South, therefore there shall be azaleas. I believe this is a law. As I cut down the privet, I realized that I had underestimated the magnitude of the infestation. Nevertheless, I perservere, using merely a pruning saw. Luke saw what I was doing, and proceeded to use the loping shears to remove the smaller branches.

After about half an hour, all but the main trunks of the Massive House-Eating Privet had been cut down, and piled at the curb. Tom sprayed the stumps and the Poison Ivy that we discovered when we had the area cleared with some liquid woody-stemmed plant death. After our labor in the yard, we went to a nearby family-owned eating establishment for a tasty cholersterol-saturated breakfast. After consuming our meal which will hasten our deaths, we decided to go to Lowe's to look at the plants.

Ah, such a bounty of plants. The gardens had not yet been tilled and prepared for planting, but we perused the plants anyway. First, I was going to purchase a couple of herb plants. Then I saw the tomato plants, Luke spied some corn transplants. What started as just a couple of plants ended as fern-leaf dill, chives, sage, bee-balm, lemon balm, sweet corn, jalapeno peppers, sweet banana peppers, eggplants, grape tomatoes, an heirloom vine tomato, and bush tomatoes. In addition we picked up several packets of seeds - zucchini, green peas, broccoli, oregano, thyme, cilantro, parsley, marjoram, lavender, and catnip. When we arrived back home, we put the plants up, and decided that a nap was in order. I awoke to the sound of a tiller; Tom and Luke had decided to till up both the vegetable and herb planting beds.

We planted both gardens, the only thing we didn't plant was the broccoli and zucchini seeds. Everything else went out this evening. The herb garden should be fairly low maintenance once everything sprouts, most everything is perennial, and I hope the rest will self-seed. Once the vegetable garden starts producing, we will be up to our eyeballs in fresh produce.

I have no photos of the gardens right now, we worked until after dark to be sure we had all of the plants in place, herbs sown, and everything watered. After all of that, and we still didn't get any azaleas to put where we eradicated the privet. We will have to see tomorrow if I am still immune to the effects of Poison Ivy. Like Dad, I can handle the stuff with my bare hands. We shall see in the morning if this is still the case. Luke also says he is not effected by the toxins in the plant. Ah, well. I have cortisone cream and benadryl if anyone needs it tomorrow.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

thursday night catblogging

Maleficent is slowly learning to tolerate Noah. She wanted on the back of the couch, Noah could care less, he simply refused to leave his spot. A grudging truce resulted.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

last night's shift

Last night was fortunately a rather quiet one. We were dispatched to 2 calls total last night/this morning. The first was a vehicle vs. utility pole, possibly someone still trapped in the car. We had just started that way when dispatch told us, the ambulance, the ambulance service supervisor we could cancel, they had the driver(occupant) of the vehicle in question who said no one was hurt or trapped. We didn't even get our lights and siren turned on before we were cancelled.

The second call was at about 01:30, a wreck out in the county. The caller to 911 said there were 2 people trapped in an overturned jeep. Then dispatch relayed that the caller thought they were intoxicated. No shock there, that's usually the cause of accidents at gawd-awful early in the morning. Good ol' ethyl alcohol. We were getting close to the scene when the ambulance arrived and let us know there was no one trapped, we could go back to the station.

Yeah, I know I said I would write about last week's shift, too. Ya know what? I was too busy getting my ever-lovin' ass stopmped by orcs, Uruk-hai, and the occasional Nazgul. That's right, I was playing Lord of the Rings: Return of the King all night on shift. It was only the second, maybe third, day I'd had it installed, so I was itching for a good, long ass-kicking session. For all the ass-kicking I received, I only cleared 1 level. I have a bad habit of dying, or else letting Frodo get carried off by a Nazgul.

Remember, when playing Sam, say to your self, "I'm a hobbit, I'm only 3 feet tall. Everything can kick my sorry ass. I must keep pushing ahead or else Frodo is going to put that mother-#&^*in' Ring on and get his sorry hobbit ass carried off by a Nazgul. Again."

Ok, ok. Since there was no liveblogging, last week's shift. We did have what should have been a working call. Minivan overturned in a ditch, nose down in the ditch so the rear of the van was about 3 feet off the ground. Got the mental picture? It looked like it could rock back onto the flat roof at any time, it wasn't safe to be around it until it was stabilized. When I got out of the truck, there was a county firefighter at the side window, talking to the patient. I said that we (my crew) were going to get it stabilized before working on getting the patient out. Make the scene safe for the EMTs and rescuers. I swear by all that is holy, the guy told me "It's alright. I've got a couple of guys keepin' an eye on it so it don't move." What, they were going to stare it into stability? Give it the evil eye? What the fuck? Well, while we were stabilizing the vehicle, the fire department was pulling the patient out, instead of waiting a couple of minutes until it safe. The patient wasn't critically injured, so there wasn't a need to extricate the patient that rapidly.

Now, I'm probably about to shatter some illusions, but it needs to be done. The priorities of an emergency worker should be first personal safety. Second is your partner's/crew's safety. Third is the rest of the emergency responders on that scene. Fourth is the safety of bystanders. Lastly is the patient. Know why? The patient is already injured, part of the problem. Don't make the problem bigger by getting hurt yourself. If someone else gets hurt, resources are tied up treating that person who is supposed to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. An EMT/firefighter/police officer is useless if he/she is injured and in need of care or dead.

Scene safety is my biggest pet peeve, because it's the thing that kills emergency workers. I don't want to be a hero - heroes end up with a flag on their coffin.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

quote of the evening

"Will we ever have peace?"
"We'll have victory."

- Chani, daughter of Liet to Duke Paul Muad'ib Atreides

From Dune by Frank Herbert

it's tuesday...

So that means Rescue Shift Blogging tonight. Time once again to hang out all night and hope dispatch doesn't wake us up after midnight. Tune in here about 19:00 CDT to see what we're up to. I realized I didn't do Rescue Shift Blogging last week, and we even had a working call. Ok, so the call was at 04:00, and it was time to go back to sleep, not blog.

test post

Testing expandable posts.

Read the rest
What, you were expecting something good?

oh, blessed, merciful rain

Now, usually rian isn't something to get all excited about. Usually. Right now it's different, because it's spring in Alabama, all the trees have come back to life and many are in full bloom right now. And that means pollen. Copious amounts of pollen. Pollen on the scale unimaginable to those who do not live in this area, enough so that it is almost a Biblical Plague.

Oh, back to the rain. The air is clean, washed by the sweet spring rain. Outdoor surfaces no longer are coated in a bright yellow powder. The world has returned to it's normal colors, cleansed by sweet, sweet rain.

I didn't get a good picture of the pollen everywhere before the rain washed the stuff away, but Rurality has a great shot of it on the surface of a pond. Now, keep in mind that picture is from 10 days ago, before nature really went into high gear.

Now, here is where I'm not exaggerating. Had to run the windshield washers when I left for work yesterday morning, to get rid of the yellow film so I could see to drive. Had to do the same leaving work, that much had accumulated in 8 hours. But fear not, gentle readers, there will be enough of the Yellow Plague of Respiratory Distress on my car for a good shot later today or tomorrow.
4/15/05 - No pictures of the Yellow Plague of Resipratory Distress since it's rained about every other day since this post. If I catch a shot, I'll post it. Otherwise, you'll have to take my word for it.

Monday, April 11, 2005

behold! a jihad is at hand

I have joined the Unitarian Jihad. I will help spread reason and decent behavior through this country, while noting with love and respect the differences in us all. I will share with you an excerpt of the first message of the Jihad.
Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States. We are Unitarian Jihad. There is only God, unless there is more than one God. The vote of our God subcommittee is 10-8 in favor of one God, with two abstentions. Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation noted the possibility of there being no God at all, and his objection was noted with love by the secretary...

I shall now be known as Sister Inspired Trebuchet of Quiet Reflection. I thank The Machine Gun of Sweet Reason for showing me the path to reasonable discussion.

To join the Jihad, you may get your Unitarian Jihad name either here or here.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

carnival of the cats #55

It's Sunday evening, so that means it's Carnival of the Cats time. This weeks edition is being hosted by Barry at Enrevanche.

As always, there's the Friday Ark at Modulator.

please may i have another?

So, what do you get when you combine a cat hopped up on catnip, a riding crop, and a camera at 11:30 at night?

Nothing good...

Eep sees the evil riding crop.

Oh, no! The riding crop attacks!

Eep fights back valliantly.

Eep seems to be enjoying this a little too much...

Aieeee! Overcome by the powers of the evil riding crop.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

didn't expect this

It looks like this has started migrating towards a photoblog. At least for this week. I'm trying to not flood any single post with pictures, because I realize not everyone has high-speed internet.

Friday, April 08, 2005

solar eclipse blogging

Here are some photos from this afternoon's eclipse.

This one was a little overexposed, so you can't see the actual eclipse, but I though it looked really cool.

All photos were taken using my Kodak DX7630 digital camera, mounted on a small table-top tripod, sitting on the top of my car, sitting in my driveway. I had the camera set to ISO 100, f 4.8, and varying exposure length anywhere from 1/8 - 1/30 second. (Yes, it's a digital, but it can be set like a traditonal film camera.) I used a shade 11 welding lens as a filter, hand-held, which gives the images the green color. Yep real complicated setup. Proof that you don't need a uber-expensive, complicated setup to do eclipse photography.

Oh, what do I use for my astrophotography? Same setup, minus the filter, long exposures (about 64 seconds). That's it. So far none have made their way into Photoshop, not even for cropping.

On Flickr you can find the all the eclipse photos and night sky photos. If you don't have an account, I suggest signing up for a free one if you look at photos there often.

friday cat blogging

Noah is a sleepy kitty.

So I'll let him sleep.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

semi-random thought

I've always liked the paintings of John William Waterhouse. A couple of years ago I had the chance to see Ulysses and the Sirens when it was at the Birmingham Museum of Art, as a part of an exhibit of paintings from the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. I gazed at the painting, delighted to be so close to the painting, to be able to see the individual brushstrokes. A woman who had been viewing the painting then looked over at me, and struck up a conversation about how beautiful the women always are in his paintings. I agreed, and we discussed the theory that Waterhouse used his sisters as models for the faces of the women in many of his paintings, all of whom have an etheral beauty to them. Then she indicated a particlar siren, and said that she thought I looked like that siren. (The one Ulysses is looking directly at, with brown hair, slightly to the left of center)

So that complement had mulled around in my head for a few years, until I needed an avatar to use online. A Waterhouse painting was a natural choice. The painting I use for my Blogger profile is The Crystal Ball. The underlying theme of the painting is found in many of Waterhouse's paintings - a strong-willed, independent, and powerful woman who is also very beautiful. Women also have access to some deep mysteries, through magic, nature, and religion. Waterhouse often chose stories from Greek/Roman mythology and popular literature. You can find lists of Waterhouse's paintings here and here.

No, I don't know what brought this on either.

5 question meme

Here's how this works. I volunteered for Michelle of When Cats Attack ask me 5 questions as an interview for me to post here. The first 5 people who volunteer to be interviewed will receive 5 custom questions each to answer and post on their own blog/website to continue the meme. Here are Michelle's questions and answers.

Here we go.
  1. What has been your most memorable moment working as an EMT?

    The moment itself won't make much sense until I tell the story leading up to it. I wish this was a happy story/moment. In the late spring of 1998 or 1999 I was working at the Rescue Squad on a Friday day. I was in college full time, and didn't have any classes that day, so I picked up an extra shift. About 10:00, we were dispatched to a wreck, vehicle vs. tractor trailer. Crap, not good.

    We started to the scene, and a supervisor from the ambulance service arrived on the scene, and advised there were 7 patients, all entrapped in the car. Oh. Holy. Shit. The supervisor then advised there were 2 critical patients, 3 critical but stable patients, 2 non-critical patients, and to send 3 more ambulances, in addition to the 2 that were already on the way. All this time my partner and I are listening to the wreck go from bad to worse every time the supervisor says something. The patient priorities (how critical they are) keep changing, and it gets worse each time. Very. Bad. Wreck. It's a miracle nobody's dead.

    We arrive on scene, and see a little Chevy Cavalier, full of teenagers, that had hit the rear axle on the trailer, and bounced off of it, breaking the axle on the trailer. That's a feat, right there. Semi-trailer axles are tough. Later witnesses and the driver said they were driving 80+ in a 45 zone. By the time we arrive, everybody and their brother is there. There ends up being 1 ambulance for each kid, the 911 system is completely tapped out due to this one wreck.

    I started at the front passenger door, my partner worked at a different door. The door came open fairly easy, I think we just used a pry bar, no heavy hydraulic tools. The kid in the seat was FUBARed. His legs were pinned up under the dash, and broken in several places. He was obviously in shock and not really aware of his surroundings; as soon as we opened the door he started pushing himself out of the car with his broken legs. We scrambled to get a spineboard under him, and try to control him somewhat. If his legs hadn't been broken, he would have been trapped, and we would have had to use heavy hydraulic tools to lift the dash off of his legs.

    As we positioned him on the spineboard he looked over at me, directly into my eyes, and then suddenly there was nothing. Lights were on, but nobody was home. That 15 year old boy looked right into my eyes and died, and there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it. That's the moment that will be with me forever.

  2. What is your favorite book and why?

    Ooh, that's a hard one. I literally have a library in my house, and it's overflowing. book.

    Dune, by Frank Herbert. I enjoy the complexity of it, and the themes of the novel. It's science fiction which appeals to the science geek in me. The themes of religion/prophecy, ecology, and statecraft intertwine to create a very complex story that is ultimately about the human potential, how much of a difference can one person make.

  3. How did your kitties get their names and what are their stories?

    Noah - My husband and I adopted him from a no-kill cat shelter called the Ark. Oh, yeah, we were real creative. LOL I was sick with an active flare of Crohn's Disease, and home by myself while hubby was at work and school, so we got a kitty to keep me company while I was at home alone.

    McCullough - She is named for the street she was found on. A good friend of mine took her in, but her cats didn't like McCullough much at all. One kept chasing McCullough under the kitchen sink, which is where she ended up living for a month or so, until we took her in "for just a little while", which was 4 years ago.

    Eep - I found her on the side of a busy street on my way to a meet a client for work. I saw this small ball of fur tumble off the sidewalk into the gutter. I whipped the car around at the next safe opportunity and commeced a rescue. I found a tiny ball of fluff chewing on a dried up rat's foot. I scooped her up, hurried home, dashed inside, almost threw her at my husband and said something like "Here, it's a kitten. (like that wasn't obvious) I gotta get back to work", and dashed off. She was only about 3 weeks old we determined, so we bought some kitten formula for her. She was too young for shots, so we waited a couple of weeks to take her to the vet. Big mistake.

    When we took her and the others for their shots, she was tested for FIV, and tested positive. We had a choice, to put her down immediately, or to raise her in isolation. Since she wasn't sick at that time, and FIV+ cats could live several years before they developed complications, we took her home and isolated her in the master bedroom/bathroom. In a 2 bedroom apartment. At the time we had, in addition to Noah and McCullough, Amon, now deceased. Cramped was an understatement. Well, long story short, the test isn't reliable in kittens under 6 months old, since the antibodies can come from the mother, even if the kitten doesn't have the virus. We had her re-tested when she was spayed, and she tested negative. 6 weeks later, she was tested one last time, to confirm the negative result, and she tested negaive again. She rejoined the others. Unfortunately, since she spent most of her kittenhood isolated from other cats, she's somewhat antisocial, and sometimes takes it out on people.

    The long version for each: Noah, McCullough, Eep, Amon

  4. If you didn't have any kind of monetary constraints, what career would you choose and why?

    I would choose to be a full time EMT on the Rescue Squad. Alabama Rescue Squads are all volunteer, so by the time you calculate gas to/from the station, food on shift, etc, I actually pay a fair chunk of change each year for the privledge of being on the Rescue Squad.

    Due to my Crohn's Disease and Ankylosing Spondylitis, I know I won't be able to be an active EMT/Extrication Specialist forever. It's all going to catch up with me sooner or later. So, my other choice of career would be fine artist - a painter and/or sculptor. Yeah, I'm a graphic designer, but I don't get to do much of that at work, and it's just not the same as having a brush in your hand, the smell of linseed oil, the feel of canvas.

    Or maybe blogging.

  5. Is it hard living so far from the rest of your family, and do you get to see them often?

    It's been harder at some times than others. I've always been a very independent person, so I don't think my decision to stay in Alabama after college was that much of a shock. My family lives in southern Indiana, and I live in northern Alabama, so we're not that far away, a little less than 300 miles from my driveway to my parent's driveway, and 99% of the trip is up I-65.

    When I've been sick is when it's been harder living so far away, because the only family I nearby is my husband and brother-in-law. I don't get to see them as often, since I don't travel as much when I'm not feeling well, although Mom and Dad will come down and visit, or, when it has been really bad, help take care of me for a weekend, to give my husband a break.

    I talk to my parents every couple of days, in addition to emails. Mom tends to distribute progress reports to my extended family. I chat online with my sister and some of my cousins by IM.

Anyone who wants to volunteer for 5 questions, let me know in the comments of this post, and I will create a set of custom questions for you.


Home from work, again. Same shit, different day. So, while I'm resting, I have Yahoo IM, AIM, and MSN Messenger up, so feel free to send a shout my way. If I don't respond, I finally fell asleep.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

do it yourself living will

Here's a do-it-yourself generic Living Will that you can use regardless of which state you reside in. We've all seen how important it is to have such an advance directive in place.

I, _________________________ , being of sound mind, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means.

Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of peckerwood ethically challenged politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on it.

If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to sit up and ask for a cold beer, it should be presumed that I won't ever get better. When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my spouse, children and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a day.

Under no circumstances shall the hypocritical members of the Legislature (State or Federal) enact a special law to keep me on life-support machinery. It is my wish that these boneheads mind their own damn business, and pay attention instead to the health, education and future of the millions of Americans who aren't in a permanent coma.

Under no circumstances shall any politicians butt into this case.

I don't care how many fundamentalist votes they're trying to scrounge for their run for the presidency; it is my wish that they play politics with someone else's life and leave me alone to die in peace.

I couldn't care less if a hundred religious zealots send e-mails to legislators in which they pretend to care about me. I don't know these people, and I certainly haven't authorized them to preach and crusade on my behalf.They should mind their own business, too.

If any of my family goes against my wishes and turns my case into a political cause, I hereby promise to come back from the grave and make his or her existence a living hell.

____________________________________ Dated___________________



In all seriousness, everyone needs to have an advance directive in place, and make their wishes known, whatever they may be.
- Brainwise at Prophet or Madman has a list of Living Will resources.

happy anniversary mom and dad, a day late

Yeah, yeah, I should have posted this yesterday. It's not like I was there for it. And don't feel bad, I have a hard enough time remembering my own anniversary.

You refer to this as your chicken anniversary, and while there is no traditional gift of poultry, in Germany, cattle is a traditional gift. Since cattle can be used interchangably with the word livestock, cattle (chickens) are a gift given at the 5th, 9th, and 10th anniversaries. Oh, well, only off by 20-25 years.

So, happy Pearl Anniversary, a day late. Here's to another 30 years.

(P.S. - You can leave comments if you want, to this post or any others.)

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

once in a lifetime event

On this Friday, April 8, 2005, individuals in New Zealand, South and Central America, and Southern parts of North America will have a chance to witness a hybrid solar eclipse. This type of eclipse is both total (sun completely hidden) and annular (ring of sun visible around the moon) along the path of totality, depending on where the viewer is located on the curvature of the earth. Where the viewer is physically closer to the moon, the eclipse will be total, where in other areas the eclipse will be annular.

More detailed discussion of the mechanics of a hybrid elcipse can be found at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and a general article on solar eclipses at Wikipedia.

For those who live in the Southern US, the eclipse will be visible as a partial eclipse, meaning the sun will appear to have a piece cut out of it - the moon will not completely cover the sun. Those living in south Texas and south Florida will have the best view, although a 5% eclipse will be visible along an arc approximately from Washington, D.C.; Cincinatti, OH; St. Louis, MO; Southern Kansas; Texas/Oklahoma Panhandles; Central New Mexico; Phoenix, AZ.

Click for larger image

Table of over 100 US Cities, to get detailed viewing information for your location. Example for Huntsville, AL below.

If I'm truly nuts, I'll haul-ass south to get a better view/pictures.

I don't think I'm that nuts.

Some links from NASA Goddard on solar eclipse photography and videography. Yes, there will be loads of pics here and on Flickr of the eclipse. Maybe even some eclipse liveblogging, you never know.

And a thanks to Basil for helping spread the word.

Monday, April 04, 2005

and now, some star photos

As I promised in the comments of this post at Running Scared, here are some of my newest astrophotos, in honor of the photography of the first planet outside of our solar system this weekend.

Both photos are of the southern sky. The bright "star" in each photo is actualy Jupiter. The photos were taken on April 3, during the opposition of Jupiter, when the Earth was directly between Jupiter and the Sun.

Jupiter appears to be in the constellation Virgo, the virgin, in each photo. The parellogram to the bottom and right of Jupiter is the constellation Corvus - the Crow. At the bottom of the photo, stretching out of the frame is the constellation Hydra, the water serpent.

blog stuff

Slowly, this site is wandering away from the Blogger Scribe template I initially used, and evolving into something else. I liked the antique feel of Scribe, the parchment and leather tones and feel, but it needed some customization. Which brings me to the current revision. I'm now using 100% custom graphics, and the CSS has been changed so much it doesn't resemble the original code anymore.

So, now's your chance to say whatever you want about The Oubliette. I especially want to know about any trouble anyone has had loading/viewing the page. Or turn it into an open thread, whatever.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

carnival of the cats #54

The Carnival of the Cats is up at Kitties. Lots of kitties. Oooh, kitties.

If that's not enough kitty goodness for you, then there's always the Friday Ark at Modulator. And if that's still not enough, you freak, then you can go to the Carnival of the Cats main page and look at past carnivals, then admit you have a problem.

hey, this is some good stuff

Noah gets hopped up on catnip.

in memoriam

While I'm not a Catholic, I have a great respect for spiritual people, regardless of their faith, and John Paul II is no exception. I may not agree with the theology and policies of the Church, John Paul II was a spiritual man who was deeply devoted to his faith, and to the people who he led. He was a good man.

John Paul II is now freed from his physical body, freed from the disease which racked his body so badly in recent weeks and years. His soul found peace long ago, now he is free from the pain his life was undoubtedly filled with at the end.

Father Karol Jozef Wojtyla
Pope John Paul II
May 18, 1920 - April 2, 2005

Saturday, April 02, 2005

oh, holy crap!

I'm scrolling through IMAO, no big deal, when I see that FrankJ has a book deal. Hey, good for him, congratulations. First he and SarahK are engaged, then a book deal, in less than a week.

Then I scrolled down.

Oh, dear Lord, I think I'm blind. Thank God I can touch-type. Really. I can't see anything while I'm writing this.

since i didn't do this one yesterday...

Hmmm...When did Instapundit become a groupblog?

And no, there wasn't a tornado in every county of the state of Alabama yesterday. While there did end up being some severe weather in the state later in the afternoon, severe thunderstorms with hail and straight-line winds. I'm not aware of any damage reports at this time, although I did witness the heavy downpours and ponding on roadways myself. The tornado warning graphic is from a state-wide tornado drill during Severe Weather Awareness Week in February.

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Friday Ark is up at Modulator
A little Friday Catblogging

Usually, Boing Boing is a pretty good read, but it's really starting to go downhill.
Oh, holy vortices, Batman! The weather just went to hell around here.

All of Alabama in a mock tornado drill
Something smells kinda funky in my office today. Must investigate.
Huntsville Utitlies, Haz Mat and Huntsville fire are being called out to check on a small gas leak right now on Andrew Jackson Parkway in Huntsville. The CVS Pharmacy near that location has been evacuated. There are at least three other buildings in that area affected by the smell of gas.

Reporter Jeff Gray is on the scene and will report about the incident on WAFF 48 News at Noon.

Update - The fumes are actually coming from an adjacent restaurant. What the hell is Santiago Juan-Carlos cooking up there today??
Alabama will be wiped out by a tsunami, once the waters receed from the 40 days and 40 nights of rain. Time to start growing gills.
Thalia and Ebby get a new chew-toy. Now they just need a blender.
The question is, is this allowed in a carry-on bag, or is it too sharp and pointy?
A new source for whatsits, widgets, and thingamajigs. Good, 'cause I'm getting low.