Friday, April 28, 2006

OK, Is It Just Me, Or...

OK, I have been at a contract job for almost 2 hours now; I was scheduled to meet with one of the programmers this morning (general time). I let him know around 11:15 that I was here and ready to work. He emailed me files around 11:30, and said he'd be down. At 12:15, I went up, stood in the doorway, and said, "Whenever you're ready...?" which he acknowledged. It is now 12:43, and still no sign of Blow-Off Programmer.

Is it me, or is it not clear enough that I'm here and ready to work? I could tell my Bro-in-law, who is in charge here, but I don't want to be a snitch, and he'll be mad and yell at the BOP, who will then resent me. But it's almost 2 hours WASTED that I could have been working elsewhere!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

What Are You?

Interesting little 10-question quiz that pinpoints your political leanings with reasonable accuracy. Apparently I'm a centrist, but I pretty much knew that already...

Monday, April 24, 2006

My angel babies

Easter, 2006. Aren't you jealous? Despite the bash on the noggin my little strawberry got 2 days before...

Friday, April 21, 2006


Really interesting - saw on that the area around Chernobyl is becoming a nature preserve - the animals are thriving! Take a look. Apparently that line from Jurassic Park about how life or nature "finds a way" is truer than we knew!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Dangers of Novel-Reading

I'm having a dismal morning - absolutely nothing going wrong, all ducks in a row, all is dandy... but I feel lousy! I can't tell if I'm ill, depressed, or stressed. Could be all three. I should be absolutely delighted - I have three jobs lined up for this afternoon, and yet I feel tired and just... off. Soured.

I'm inclined to blame it on novel-reading. It's funny, I could never understand why when novels first became part of popular culture in the 18th century, novel-reading was considered unwise, especially for young women. The romantic, gothic-influenced fiction of the time was pretty innocuous if you ask me, but it apparently had a demoralizing effect. All these young ladies who had been reasonably well-behaved and obedient to parental direction and arranged marriages started rebelling, I suppose. When you read about a heroine being swept off her feet and rescued from dire peril by a handsome, dangerous nobleman, it does tend to make you a trifle dissatisfied with a marriage proposal from the balding local cleric or sitting around mending torn hems.

When I was younger, I read novels incessantly. And I was miserable. At the time, I thought it was because of my home life and hating school and loneliness. But when I stopped reading 7-10 books a week after college and started watching more TV, and having more of a social life and getting a job, I became much happier. I thought it was just because of improved circumstances. In addition, I lost interest in novels because it became more difficult to find stories I really liked. I did discover audiobooks and have been checking them out pretty steadily for the last 7-10 years, but the majority of them have been nonfiction; biographies, history, memoir, travel.

Well, recently I re-discovered a novelist that I had once thought rather tepid when I was younger named Georgette Heyer. Jane Austen will always be on the top of my novel list, but for books of a similar nature in a similar style, Georgette Heyer is as good as it gets. Plus, she wrote about 33 of them, so you can re-read them on a regular schedule and it will take years before you have to repeat one. Well, as I mentioned a month or so back, I gave up almost all TV for Lent and so I had to find something to fill the time, and so Georgette Heyer came to my rescue.

Or so I thought. There's a negative kickback to romance fiction; It makes you dissatisfied with your life. It makes you long for an unrealistic relationship. And if it's historical, it makes you pine for the clothes and the lifestyle and the idealized vision of how life used to be for a woman, where you could be weaker and not be despised for it. I forgot how I used to feel about previous eras - that I used to think I would be so much better off in the 18th century.

I know better now, of course - I appreciate the independence and the advantages of modern life. But the sense of dissatisfaction that has grown in me over the last few weeks is going to take a while to dispel. And my goal to collect all of Georgette Heyer's novels... well, I think I'll let that go for now.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Ha ha!

A very interesting story...

I have such an interesting story to tell!

While reading one of my favorite websites, a reference was made to something called
"The Oak Island Money Pit". In a nutshell, this is an island near Colchester, Nova Scotia, where back in the late 18th century some boys found a man-made shaft, and started digging. Since there are various layers of oak trees and man-made materials, it's been believed that a treasure is underneath, and there have been many attempts over the years to try and dig down to it - bits of gold and parchment have been recovered in later digs with exploratory bores, which has only fueled the interest in the site. However, it's an amazing feat of engineering, as they have discovered that the pit has booby traps at various levels, and there are shafts that flood the main pit whenever they get down to a certain level. Various attempts to excavate have been given up after wasting tons of money. They've made more progress every time, but whenever they think they're about to finally get something, the pit floods!

All of this is very interesting, but what caught my eye was the fact that when the 3 boys who found the site came back to do a serious dig 9 years later, their partner was a man named Simeon Lynds - of course the last name caught my eye, as well as the fact that this was in Nova Scotia. This man IS my cousin - I checked the
main Lynds genealogy website for connections, and he is the brother of my great-great-great-great grandfather, John Bunker Lynds! Also, in a later dig, his brother David replaced him as a partner.

Oak Island website is really well done - has all the stories of the various digs and what they've found, as well as a page full of various theories as to who buried the treasure in the first place, and how. Those who have read "The DaVinci Code" or seen the movie "National Treasure" and have heard the various stories about Masons, the Knights Templar, etc., will find various references to them in to some of the more romantic theories for the pit. There are even claims that part of the gold taken from the temple in Jerusalem when it was sacked by Rome in 70 AD has ended up there.

It's a really interesting website to read, and quite entertaining!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

In Which I Am Quarantined

I have strep throat, which I haven't had for almost THREE DECADES. The reason I know exactly how long it's been, is that it was a particularly memorable period in my childhood. [Oh goody! a story, a story!]

When I was in third grade, I came down with strep throat... then again... then again... at which point, I lost count. Back in the 70s, the routine was this: You get a sore throat, they take a swab to test it for strep bacteria, the following day they let you know if you have it, you go back and get a penicillin shot. You then are quarantined for 3 days, and 2 weeks later you go back for another swab to make sure it's gone. Well, it never did go away! The symptoms disappeared after the first round, but every fortnight the tests said I still had it.

It really became quite dreadful, and I mean it - Full of Dread. I was in my most needle-phobic stage at that point, and so when I would go for a swab, the next day I would be more and more scared as the day progressed until lunchtime was over, when my class would line up at the door to leave, and when the door opened, my mom would be there to take me back to the doctor for another shot.

I missed a LOT of school that year; my mom would sometimes leave me with a neighbor since she was doing something [hmm, that's a puzzler - she wasn't working, so why did she need a sitter? odd...] and I would play with their kids' toys and neglect the homework I was supposed to be doing. They even swabbed everyone in the family, to see if my parents or sisters were strep carriers... which they weren't.

After 4-5 rounds of this, one day after a swab I came out of the lunchroom, and my mom wasn't there waiting. I was almost giddy with relief! I could barely wait to get off the bus after school, and I raced into my mom's room where she was sewing and said "I'm not sick!" to which she replied "actually, you still are," and explained that she had persuaded them to give me oral penicillin instead since I so dreaded the shots, and that I would have to take it for several days. Fine by me! We pretty much just let it drop at that point - I never did go back for another test, since the symptoms had long since disappeared, and we never did figure out why the disease had continued to show up.

I haven't had any kind of sore throat except for allergy-related sinus drainage since that time, and I had become rather smug that my childhood experience with strep had built up UBER-immunities. So when I woke up Monday morning with a sore throat, I went "oh darn - allergy-time!" and proceeded to treat that. But by Wednesday, my throat had gotten much worse, and I realized that my allergy hadn't progressed like usual, so I went in for a swab that afternoon. It was funny - my nurse must have apologied 3 or 4 times that the swab was going to make me gag (which it did), and when I asked her what the treatment was nowadays, she said penicillin pills for 10 days, I just laughed and said swab away - I could think of MUCH more uncomfortable things than a gag reflex!

So I am isolated at home for the next 48 hours, which is quite a nuisance, since I've probably already exposed several dozen people to it, what with working on people's computer keyboards and attending social events, etc. AND, that means 2 precious days I could be working, and can't. Plus my TV watching is curtailed for Lent, so no consolation there!

April 18: I didn't mention that I suspected that I caught it from my sister's family; some of them had it a few weeks back. Well, now almost all of them have it again (4 kids and my sister) so I will probably be catching it again in about 2 weeks. *sigh*

Ice, not Water!

Well, I'm sure this makes them feel so much better to have explained away one of Jesus' miracles - wonder what BS they'll come up with for Feeding the 5000?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I Love Lileks

Sometimes I'm a little "ehhh" about his entries - coming up with something interesting EVERY weekday is impossible, of course - but then there are ones like today's where he shreds King Kong that are irresistible. Take a look.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


At last, the prize is won. Found one on eBay that I could actually afford. Hurrah!