Friday, March 30, 2007

Science triumphs!

I have a die-hard scientific outlook in that I believe there is a scientific explanation for everything. Two fabulous bits of info came through my RSS feeds today that really made me smile.

Curiomanic Tidbit #1
"A new study shows that people with memories of past lives are more likely than others to misremember the source of any given piece of information. "

According to an article today at Scientific American, people who believe they can remember their own past lives actually suffer from a memory affliction and "are committing a source-monitoring error, or an error in judgment about the original source of a memory." I suppose this explains why people really truly believe they have experienced past lives.

I was cogitating on this a bit. There are some people who come up with many past life memories on their own, almost always of famous people. These poor folks most likely have the source-monitoring error in their memory. But what about otherwise memory-functional folks who undergo past-life regression? These experiences often result in mundane details about non-famous lives. These details are often believed. Does the hypnosis that precipitates past life regression somehow tigger a source-monitoring error in otherwise healthy individuals? I'd be interested to know.

Curiomanic Tidbit #1
According to a creationist, the absence of spontaneous life in a jar of peanut butter disproves evolution. Hmmmm.

The, um, dare I call it "logic" behind this statement is that:
According to evolutionists, energy plus matter can sometimes create life.
The US food production industry constantly combines heat and matter.
Ergo, the absense of any discoveries of life in a jar of peanut butter disproves evolution.

Ooooookaaaaay. Check out the short video and read the comments. My favorite is:
"Despite a lifelong love of peanut butter (and jelly) I have never once found god inside a sealed jar, thereby conclusively and indisputably disproving divine creation. "

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Few of My Favorite Things

When I was a young gal, I had so many books I decided I needed to catalog them to keep track of them. I organized them and then came up with my own numbering system so I could always get them back on the shelf in the right order. I was a library nerd 20 years before I knew I wanted to become a librarian! Sad or funny?

Needless to say, I am very pleased by today's Learning 2.0 lesson: LibraryThing. You can catalog your own books! Add your own tags to find books with the words you think make sense! I mean, really LCSH folks, who looks for cookbooks under "cookery"? It also seems to be an excellent tool for book talking with and getting recommendations from your virtual peers.

I've cataloged a few of my recent faves, and I think I'll try to review books as a read them to keep this up to date. I've changed my "Guess What I'm Reading" widget to the LibraryThing widget.

Queen of the Universe

Yesterday was my birthday, and I had my first annual 39th birthday. Scary! I know, I know, everyone older than me says "What's the big deal?"

I believe in being a Queen on my birthday, and I've learned to ask for and organize exactly what I want. Saturday was the fabulous Bhangra Bash. On my actual birthday the weather was beautiful, just as I ordered! I slept in, took a nice bike ride around Ballard and Sunset Hill, admired Puget Sound and the Olympics, and generally drank in the spring.

I asked Michael if I could have him for the day and was granted half a day. I consider that a minor victory since I'm somewhat of a software widow. And what do I choose to do with my Michael-time to celebrate my birthday? I went to see dissected human cadavers! Yay! As Michael said when I suggested going to the Bodies esxhibit, "It sounds creepy and gross. You'll like it!" People who know me will agree. I've been known to poke around in dried up road kill to see what's inside. I also laboriously collected and boiled clean the skeleton of a stray cat that died in my yard. One of these days I intend to take it to a taxidermist and have it articulated and mounted in some dramatic pose.

The Bodies exhibit was absolutely fascinating. I've seen lots of drawings and photographs and models of anatomy, but nothing beats the real thing for really understanding how we are put together. If anyone gets a chance to see the exhibit, I highly recommend it. It's only in Seattle for another month.

Tonight one of my favorite bands, Hill Stomp, is playing at the Comet Tavern in Capitol Hill. stop by and lift a glass with me!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tastes like a giant zucchini

Having just listened to two podcasts about, I'm wondering why I might need to sign up for yet another social networking account that gathers all my interests in one place. I've already got a bloglines account that monitors more than blogs (comics, f'rinstance). I already look at friends' blogs to see who/what they link to and follow. I already do the same with MySpace and people's YouTube accounts by looking at their friends, favorites, and subscribed channels. I can already search YouTube and Flickr with their folksonomies of tags.

So as I explore our library system's learning site, I'm still not impressed. Maybe I'm just grumpy today (tomorrow I turn 39, the edge of codger-dom). I'm not really interested in what 297 people have to say about a particular website that someone else has chosen for me.

I can see using this as a branch-wide or system-wide bookmarking system. We could for example, share the best link for the pet-food poisoning recall and not find it only when we have time to check our e-mail. Elusive tax-help websites would be seasonally appropriate, and we could tag them with not only what we and the IRS label the info, but with words that patrons use to describe what they are looking for.

So, to me, is about as tasty as a giant zucchini. Needs salt. And lotsa cheese.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Bhangra Bash!

Tonight I went to see a bhangra dance competition in Seattle with 6 other totally cool people. It was incredibly fun! The music is really infectious, and you can't help but want to jump around to it. I've been taking bhangra dance lessons and wanted to see the real thing.
Believe me, doing this will make you sweat. The teams did pretty long routines that demanded a lot of stamina. They even made pyramids, and stood on each other's shoulders while playing drums. These folks have quads of steelMy camera is pretty wimpy for theater conditions, but here's a 30 second video clip to give you an idea.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Space Cadet

(image from Piersanti Studios at
I'm jumping on the MyBandwagon with a MySpace account. Actually, I had already signed up for an account a few months ago so that I could see the events calendar for Jules Maes Saloon in Georgetown, but I had never really done anything with my account.

Libraries and librarians need to be MySavvy so that we don't start putting our hair up in a bun and looking at "kids" over the tops of our reading glasses. There has been some hesitation in the library community since MySpace is portrayed as a den-o-iniquity rife with pedofiles or alternately a silly teeny-bopper site with no relevance to the adult world. The internet has always been a social networking tool, and places like MySpace and Second Life just make it easier and more fun. I'm all into easier and more fun, so here I go!

I set myself up at and pimped my site from, a tip I got from SurlySpice who got it from RickObaggins ... OMG, like, social networking LOL! :>

I'm not sure that I'll really continue to use MySpace other than to be able to see band or club info, but at least now I can show the world that I only have 3 friends, one of whom is virtual classroom! Yay! Just like middle school!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Libraries I have loved

I never intended to become a librarian when I was young, but looking back on my personal library history it seems it might have been inevitable. My earliest library memory is climbing the huge stone steps to the Bangor Public Library. We would have a stack of books from the week before to return, and the lure of a new stack of books waiting inside. Inside and to the right was a huge room with what seemed to be all the knowledge in the world. From an imposing desk in the middle of the room emanated the soft echoing *thuds* of books being checked-out and stamped. I remember the day I realized that the library held the key to know everything. I said to my Mom, "You mean I can look up anything I want?" The first subject I remember looking up was witchcraft and spells. I still see young girls come in to the library and ask for these books, and they always remind me of that day.

We later moved to Camden with its beautiful brick library. I have to admit that while I don't hold this library in such awe, it still made a difference in what kind of librarian I am. What is now the Reading Room was once the main part of the library. I quickly worked my way through the children's section. One day I wandered over to the Young Adult section to see what was there. As I was browsing, the librarian came up to me and told me that I was too young for those books and I needed to return to the Children's area. When I explained that I had used up the kids' books and wanted to move on, she insisted again that I was too young. Hah! I read To Kill a Mockingbird and Watership Down (for the first time) when I was about 9. What did she know! She ticked me off. I grabbed The Wizard of Earthsea from the "too old" Young Adult section and defiantly checked it out. Thus my romance with Sci-Fi and Fantasy was born. To this day I am very careful never to assume anything about a child's reading level.

For most of my life after that I rarely went to the library. The school library and the public library didn't have much that I wanted anymore (I thought), and my brother and I bought books about as copiously as most kids buy music or video games. The Owl & the Turtle Bookstore was where it was at. Oooh, and they had the best Tea Room in the store! Then, when I went to college I snagged a work study job at the Hawthorne-Longfellow Library. I found then that I kept working in bookstores and libraries, so when it came time to pick a career, voila! Library school.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Goin' to the Feed Store

Okey-Dokey. So today I have finished this week's RSS feed assignment by searching for and subscribing to a few more feeds. I found to be the best tool, althought the Advanced Search tool didn't quite work as advertised. As with some libraries' OPACS, limits set in the Advanced Search are not always remembered or actually evident in your search results. I'm not saying I actually know any of these OPACS.

For myself I searched for some house rabbit blogs. There are many, of course, and I even found one about a libral librarian with a house rabbit: I can so relate! One of the great features of is the ability to search by zip code. I set up an RSS feed to tell me all about news from my home town, Camden, Maine.

Since I'm doing this on work time, I also have to subscribe to some library-related fields, and I chose Libraryman and The Shifted Librarian in addition to the aforementioned librarian-with-rabbit.
I've enjoyed this week's task, although now I have subscribed to so many feeds I may never get anything else done in life but read feed. Oh well, after all, I *am* an information professional!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Feeding the Most Explosive Tongue

Today I am proud to combine this week's Learning 2.0 lesson -- RSS feeds -- with a Curiomanic Tidbit -- The Most Explosive Tongue.

I signed up for an account at Bloglines and I have subscribed to a number of RSS feeds. So far it hasn't worked as advertised in that I haven't found any little orange RSS buttons on the websites I want to be fed from. So, I feel a little lazy in that I've just added the URLs in to my Feed list. I haven't clicked any RSS buttons and seen XML code. Whatever works, I guess. I wanted to add a feed from my bro's YouTube site, but it didn't seem to be available. Maybe there is a way?

So anyway, in addition to adding feeds from my favorite blogs I also chose from a list of feeds suggested by Bloglines. One of these is National Geographic News: Animals & Nature which brings me to:
Today's Curiomanic tidbit:
According to the National Geographic News, "The giant palm salamander of Central America (Bolitoglossa dofleini) captures fast-moving bugs with an explosive tongue thrust that releases over 18,000 watts of power per kilogram of muscle."
You may notice that this guy isn't exactly "giant", but when you can pack that kind of power, size really doesn't matter.

My tongue gets tired just from eating a double scoop ice cream cone.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Flickr Fun

This week's learning task at work was to explore Flickr and its Mashups. I used retrievr to find shapes and colors, and I made my name:

Gold and Squids

Today's Curiomanic Tidbit #1:
An intact specimen of the colossal squid Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni was caught by New Zealand fishermen:

This baby is as big as a sperm whale, and in fact, probably eats them. Click the photo below for a video.

Today's Curiomanic Tidbit #2:

According to The mining News, an 18 carat gold ring can creat 20 tons of mining waste. Wow.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog

Never underestimate a rabbit. As relatively new rabbit owner who is very familiar with the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog, I have been cautious. Jo-Jo seems so soft and sweet, but we never let our guard down. We keep her full of cilantro, and so far she hasn't tried to eat us.

Scotland isn't the only place with killer rabbits, so it's not just a one-time-monster-fluke kind of thing. Case in point: Gabrielle on Xena: Warrior Princess locked in a fight to the death.

And you think you're safe in the great country of USA? You are not, sir. The fine art house film Night of the Lepus will cure you of that misconception. Here's the "plot" outline, from an IMDB comment:

"In brief: Somewhere in the American Southwest, ranchers are losing their crops to hungry herds of Jackrabbits. A scientist, attempting to figure out a way to slow the reproduction rate of the rabbits, injects an experimental hormone into some test animals. One of the test rabbits escapes and begins mating with the local bunnies, resulting in a horde of giant killer mutant rabbits with a taste for human flesh. You CAN'T make this stuff up, kids! From there it's long-eared, low budget mayhem of the highest order, with scenes of regular-sized bunnies rampaging through miniature Western towns (complete with dubbed-in squeals and roars on the soundtrack) and hungry bunnies (played by stuntmen in full body rabbit suits) attacking unlucky townspeople, until the military is called in to neutralize the threat. Anyone who makes it more than fifteen minutes into this movie without cracking up is a better person than I am. You can almost imagine Janet Leigh during filming, smoking cigarettes in between takes and asking DeForest Kelley "What the hell are we doing in a movie about KILLER RABBITS? I worked with Alfred Hitchcock for cryin' out loud! I am going to KILL my agent!" I had pet rabbits growing up and never found them scary in the slightest. Maybe that's why I love this movie so much. To this day, I wonder if the studio person who green-lighted this project and allowed it to be made still had a job when his superiors saw the final product. Do yourself a favor and check out NIGHT OF THE LEPUS, an unjustly forgotten slice of early 70s drive-in cheese. You may love it, you may hate it, but I promise you, you will NEVER forget it! "

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The edges of the US fall off

I play Cajun and Zydeco music (which is from Louisiana) with some folks here in Seattle. We frequently play for some civic events which shall remain nameless to protect the not-so-innocent. Tonight at band practice I heard that there was a small problem in our being hired for the event when someone spoke with the event organizer and said
"Bande Pastiche? Cajun music? Why don't we have American music?"
The fabulous organizer straightened the person out forthwith.

On a similar note, I get e-mails at work about weird reference questions from around the country. I don't remember the exact words of the question, but it went something like this:
"I need to do a report on New England. It's not in America, it's another country."

Well, golly gee, I guess global warming has already knocked off New England and Louisiana from the continental US!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Things That Make You Go "Hmmmm..." or How My Bladder Saved the Day

I was originally thinking of calling my blog "Things that make you go Hmmm..." to describe my interest in random bits of knowledge, but

1) It's one of those overused phrases that is, like, sooooo OVER, and
2) It makes me think of vomiting in Thailand. Well, doesn't it for you?

In 1992 my mother and I went to visit my brother Aaron and his wife Colleen, who were living in Bangkok. Colleen's brother Kevin was also visiting. We decided to take a trip down to Pattaya, and stay at the yacht club Aaron and Colleen belonged to. All 5 adults crammed ourselves and some luggage in a Jeep for the two hour drive. Needless to say, it wasn't comfortable.

We tried to keep ourselves entertained and we were listening to music and talking. After about an hour we were starting to get punchy. A flat-bed truck carrying some sort of bizarre pre-cast concrete alien space ships passed us as the song "Things that make you go Hmmmm..." came up. For some reason, we all thought this was just The Most Funny Thing Ever and we all giggled and laughed, including my usually taciturn brother. I think those things were probably enormous septic tanks.

Colleen soon got very quiet and complained of a major headache. Meanwhile, I really had to pee, but my lovely brother would *not* pull over. Then my Mom started feeling ill. I kept asking Aaron to pull over but he wouldn't. I started to feel ill too, and I said I had to pee so bad that I was getting a headache, this was damn serious, and I don't care if we are 20 minutes from Pattaya, PULL OVER!

Aaron finally pulled into a gas station. There was a bizarre chemical smell in the air. My mom and I booked it to the line of toilets. In SE Asia, most of the toilets are squatty-potties, not seats like we have. I remember squatting there thinking that I was sooo comfortable and tired, and didn't really think I would ever get up... I pulled myself together and came out just as my Mom did. She reported having the same strange feeling in the toilet. Were they magical Rip Van Winkle toilets?

Then a shout! Colleen was down! She'd just keeled over from a standing position and hit the ground, out cold! Aaron was yelling for someone to help, and Kevin was standing there dazed. Mom and I came over, feeling very weak and light headed. My heart began to pound. Colleen slowly came to, but couldn't stand up. My mom felt worse.

We thought that maybe the strange chemical smell in the air was making us sick, but why was no one else at the gas station sick? There were plenty of Thai and farang (foreigners) around, and they were all fine. Did we get food poisoning? No, we'd all had different food for the last couple of meals. We didn't even eat at the same restaurant. Finally someone opened the back hatch of the jeep to get something and realized that a strap from one of our bags had lodged in the hatch breaking the door seal. We'd been sucking in exhaust for an hour and a half, and we all had carbon monoxide poisoning. Luckily we had no AC and Aaron, our driver, had been driving with the window open so he was the least affected.

We all piled back in the now well-sealed jeep, and slowly drove to a nearby hospital with Aaron sticking his head out the window the entire way. We spent 30 minutes or more arguing with the doctors who told us we had food poisoning, which we deduced to be impossible. Finally, on our insistence they gave us oxygen and some sort of mysterious pills. Meanwhile my mother developed nausea and constant vomiting.

Hours later we made it to the yacht club. Colleen and my Mom spent the weekend vomiting and headachy, and the rest of us lounged around weakly in the surf. A friend drove us gals back to Bangkok in an air conditioned chauffeured car, and Kevin and Aaron drove back in the Jeep with all windows open and alert to danger. A mechanic checked the Jeep later, and it turned out there was indeed a hole in the muffler.

We are all alive and well today despite our brush with death by deadly gas. What would have happened to us if we'd stayed in the car and not stopped so I could pee? Colleen had already been sleeping, and the rest of us may have slipped under soon. I like to think my small bladder saved the day! Still, when ever I hear "Things that make you go Hmmm..." I think of those alien cement pods, and the carbon monoxide that made us loopy enough to think septic tanks were funny.

Friday, March 2, 2007

I made it pretty!

I am incredibly excited to have figured out how to make my Blog look good! A big shout out to Petula Darling, from whose website I studied the HTML to make this &$*%$ page do what I want.

Today's Curiomanic Tidbit:

"In the eleventh through fifteenth centuries, poor people often used pigs in place of hunting dogs, as the latter were permitted only to the English aristocracy."
--from The good pig: the extraordinary life of Christopher Hogwood by Sy Montgomery

Controlled entry into the Blogosphere

Thanks to KCLS' Learning 2.0, I'm entering the blogosphere! Hopefully I won't burn up on entry, and the landing will be safe. I plan to explore the latest advances in digital communication way beyond this program, much like Spirit and Opportunity have exceeded their mission.

I've been meaning to catch up on the latest technology but haven't had the time to do so. I'm very excited to begin now! As soon as I get a handle on setting up the blog in a way that I like, look for more posts about my work and life.