Showing posts from February, 2006

This Blog Needs Some Colour

19 February. Me and my wonderful acquaintances (two of them pictures, one taking it) - Julien, myself, and Yves. I invited them over to meet my parents and see how we live. They live onsite at their work, so they are not seeing how it is to live here. My parents adore them and they seemed to have had a good time!
12 February. My birthday gift from my parents. I have yet to sharpen them, let alone to put pencil to paper and try them out. One hundred twenty-five gorgeous colours and all stored in this stunning dark cherry wood box!
24 January. Marin, the third acquaintance, sharing his Christmas with me. In turn, I shared my birthday with him.
13 February. An amazing ice/snow overhang that developed from the high winds. The icicles are all bent in, facing the window. It was impressive! Usually this side of the house is bare, but not this time!
22 January. I'm on the ladder removing my parents' Christmas decorations. My father has been rather lame lately, so I am doing the climbing…

Another Month Gone By!

Where did February go? Cough and you miss it!

Twenty-eight days is a good-sized chunk of time. It goes zooming by like a week even though in truth you had four weeks exactly in which to get things done. And it is not as though I got nothing done. Not so! I ran four payrolls. I ran a multitude of reports, did voluminous research, did more organising, got more bits and pieces of my life straightened out and somewhere in the midst of this, luck turned around and smiled with all her might upon me. (More on that later.)
But time is a fleeting thing and so I live each day as though it were my last. How do I know it won't be? I have no idea. I'm planning to live a goodly long time, but there might be a Number 7 bus with my name on it (oh, what irony that would be) or maybe I'll be run down by an ambulance - talk about something you love out to get you! Or stabbed by a pen, cut by paper, electrocuted by my PC or one of my MP3 players! Who knows?
Do I remember this month? Sure I do! …

Let The Insanity Continue: More of the XX Olympics!

Oh, did you think one post would cover it? Not a long shot. In fact, had I not been laid so low with the little evil bacteriophage and its friends, there would have been tons of postings going on ad nauseaum! Oh, yes -- much to say on this! The Olympics is an ongoing source of amazement to me. The diversity, the fitness, the insanity of the participants is just... well... astounding! What kind of nut must one be to dress in a lycra suit, wear an enormous helmet and then run on ice, throw down a little tiny fiberglass sled that barely holds you and zip along at 85+ miles an hour? Head-first on your belly or feet first on your back - take your pick! And the accidents - some day I really WANT to be an EMT at the Olympics! The athletes took some spills that would make any EMT really put his or her training to the test! Not that I wish that on anyone, but if you have to crash into things, let me be one of those who assists you out of it!
So the insanity of the Olympics goes on. There're …

New Math But Some Wrong Answers

Subject:New Math

Smart man + smart woman = romance
Smart man + dumb woman = affair
Smart, discreet married man + Smart, discreet married woman = Purely physical affair that doesn't interfere with the marriages!
Dumb man + smart woman = marriage
Dumb man + dumb woman = pregnancy

Smart boss + smart employee = profit and happily earned
Smart boss + dumb employee = production
Dumb boss + smart employee = promotion
Dumb boss + dumb employee = overtime

A man will pay $20 for a $10 item he needs.
A woman will pay $10 for a $20 item that she doesn't need

A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

To be happy with a man, you must understand him a lot and love him a little.
To be happy with a woman, you must love her a …

Several Severed Fingers!!

No, no, that was what we were dispatched for. The reality, while unique and my first severed item, was not quite that dramatic. If you are looking at this and the post time is around 03h54, that is right. The hours on this job are not ideal! Still, this was so worth crawling out bed for, even though I'd only recently gotten to sleep...
But this is what EMTs live for. Do we want to see people hurt? No, of course not. But it is fascinating when someone is injured - these types of calls are the most educational and high-intensity and if you are in this service, well, it is the stuff that is discussed and mulled over and exciting to all of us.
Before you start with the faces and "Eeeeeiiiiwwww"s remember that an EMT that is upset or distressed by blood is not one you'd want on your emergency! So of course if it is not disgusting, it is interesting!
This certainly was. It was one digit that was cut diagonally all around the finger but with no visible bone or bone-related defo…

Where Does it End? Religion vs Freedom of Speech

This is an answer to Cogitatum's posting.

To Island: No one is unimportant. I disagree with that.

To Cogitatum: I live in a country founded on the principle of freedoms - of speech, of rights to live, etc. Unfortunately, when it comes to religion, it seems that all will sweep aside those rights to defend their beliefs as the only ones to be of any value. People die all the time in these skirmishes. I have no idea what the exact right answer is. In hindsight, I am sure someone at that first paper realises it was folly and an open invitation of disaster to print those cartoons. But where does it end? And why is it that religion is the one thing that pushes humanity not to its best, but clearly to its worst, behaviour?

I don't know. I do know why I am a poor believer in any religion - this seems to underscore that. I just can't help but feel that anything that causes this much turmoil in its own species is something that has lost its value.

It certainly seems good, doesn't it…

Thinking About Gender

OK. I watch a lot of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. I watch all three of them. I love them all (although David Caruso is terrible; he is the only one I don't care for). And they all make me think - how many television shows now make one think? Not just during the show - but after as well.
There is an episode in the fifth season of the original CSI (Las Vegas) that is called Ch-Ch-Changes, and it revolves around a murdered woman who was a man. She (and yes, it is appropriate to call her "she") had gender reassignment surgery and became a woman. I realise that this is telly and not necessarily reality, but in this case, people really do have gender reassignment surgery - if he or she is deemed mentally fit to do so. How anyone is truly qualified to know that is beyond me, but I understand that there is a long psychological process before the "corrective" surgery can take place.
Humans being the terrible creatures that they so often are do not understand this kind …

HONK if You Love Me...

Well, I want to write more. But the energy just is not there. I will do this tomorrow.

It's tomorrow... in fact, it is over 24 hours since I put this post here (as a draft) so I would not forget to write it.
No, I don't mean you should honk if you love me. I mean Bob does. This is sort of an ode to Bob - Bob Heinzerling, my lieutenant.
He's the best. And I'm not saying that to suck up (I doubt anyone except one disgruntled crew person would say that about me) - he just is. We get along very well, always joking and having fun, even on-scene. That might sound inappropriate to you but trust me, patients find it reassuring - if he or she were in really dire straights, we wouldn't be busting each other's chops. Bob in November at a friend's wedding. He hates having his photo taken, so this is the best one to pop in here!
And he is good to me - always giving me tips and tricks and things to know - I'm still extremely new to being an EMT - 300+ calls over three yea…

Life is What Happens While You're Busy Making Other Plans - Part II

Yes, I've been sick again.

It wasn't something I ate this time, so in a way it's less stupid -- I did not actually do this to myself. Instead, some tiny little airborne germ that should have been eradicated long ago managed to leave its host... in search of me! And after over a year and a half of not getting any upper respiratory infections - WHAM! It found me and managed to break in, wreaking havoc on the immune system and my head and body...

As usual, my immune system started with my voice. A sure hint from the gods that I talk too much. The voice went and I hoped in vain that it was all that it would take. Occasionally I get laryngitis with no other side effects. Not this time. The voice disappeared late Monday night but around 09h00 Tuesday morning, the head began to ache (starting at the top and working its way into my face - definitely a sinus infection), the ears began to ache, my balance deteriorated (I almost walked into walls like a drunk so I began to minimize my …

Wreaking Winter Havoc

My interns are always making fun of us dopey Americans. My pen friends make fun of me, too. I do a fair amount of whinging in the winter and why shouldn't I? It gets bloody cold here! It is annoying to get all kinds of snow. But my interns are from France (portions of which do get plenty of snow - French Alps, anyone?) and my pen friends hale from such frigid places as Keene, NH; Stavern, Norway; and Jilemnice, Czech Republic, at the foot of the Giant Mountains. I used to have a pen friend in Iceland, outside of Reykjavik. Oh, she would tell me how they were out in their tee shirts in the high 50s as that was a typically warm summer day! Yikes!

Clearly, there is no sympathy there.

Photo: Winter storm of 12 February 2006.

Not that I get much from those in southern climes, either. Several Australian pen friends were envious (?!) and my on-again-off-again pen friend in Malaysia wishes to see snow. He won't have to shovel it, and therein lies the difference. My British pen friends re…

The Revenge of the Chain E-mail...

...apparently, it is a bug. Yes, this teeny, weeny germ that I cannot hope to see and consequently slam something heavy down upon it, has me laid low and requires me to summon up more energy that is imaginable just to sit here, in a big comfortable chair, to type! Who'd have known? So. This is pretty bad, I suppose, since I have not been sick like this in a long time. Other that sucking on some Vitamin C and using an effervescent tablet called "Airborne" that has a funny but lemony taste, I am not medicating myself - no pills, no analgesics, no Cold-Eeze with the anti-histamines that might make me sleep three days. If, by the end of tomorrow I am not feeling better, then I will worry that this little bug is too much for me to kill on my own and then I will get out the big pharmaceutical guns. Until then, I am doing what anyone should do - let my body fight it.
Well, yes, I konw that the drug stores and the medication counters at the supermarket have all sorts of items on …

A Word A Day - Parrhesia

Wednesday, 26 October 2005

This week's theme: There is a word for it.


(puh-REEZ-i-uh) noun

1. Boldness of speech.
2. The practice of asking forgiveness before speaking in this manner.

[From New Latin, from Greek, from para- (beyond) + rhesis (speech).]

From political leaders to business heads, very few like to face the truth. Some claim to want candor but follow the dictum of filmmaker Samuel Goldwyn who said, "I want everybody to tell me the truth, even if it costs them their jobs."
If you're not entirely sure about your boss, we recommend starting with parrhesia (sense 2), before giving in to parrhesia (sense 1). Preface your opinion of how pin-headed your supervisor's idea is, with: With all due respect... If I may be so bold...

A Word A Day - Vagitus

Tuesday, 26 October 2006

This week's theme: There is a word for it.


(vuh-JI-tuhs) noun

The cry of a newborn.

[From Latin vagire (to wail).]

A newborn child's cry is called vagitus. Babies' cries have been heard even before their births. It's rare but vagitus uterinus has been observed on occasions when the membranes rupture, allowing air to enter the uterine cavity.

A Word A Day - Accismus

Monday, 25 October 2005

There is a Word for it.

With the largest vocabulary of any language, in English we have a word to describe almost everything. And when we can't find one, we're happy to borrow from another language (from German: schadenfreude, pleasure at others' misfortune), or just make one up (petrichor, the pleasant smell of rain after a dry spell).
Having said that, let's not gloat over how many words we have. English's poverty shows in many places, for example, when it comes to words to describe relations. How useful is it to introduce the woman with you as your sister-in-law when the term could mean any number of things?
This week we visit a few terms that make one say, "I didn't know there was a word for it!" We start with:

(ak-SIZ-muhs) noun

Feigning disinterest in something while actually desiring it.

[From Greek akkismos (coyness or affectation).]

If you've ever uttered something resembling any of these expressions, you've pr…

Happy Valentine's Day (Almost)

In my paycheck there were a couple of interesting facts:

Did You Know...
73% of people who buy flowers for Valentine's Day are men, while only 27% are womenabout 1,000,000,000 Valentine's Day cards are exchanged each year. That's the largest second card-sending occasion of the year, next to Christmas. about 3% of pet owners will give Valentine's Day gifts to their pets15% of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine's DayOK. Let's examine these bullet points closely. I like Valentine's Day well enough. I even go through the effort to wear red and look feminine (not my normal M.O.). Granted that tomorrow I am off the hook for doing anything, really... My husband is in Georgia, so I can find something nice (and non-edible) during the week. Normally I would send him flowers and give him a heart-shaped box of chocolates. This year the flowers would be off (wrong day) and the chocolates would just be cruel. He is still eating so healthy and losing weight and …

An Answer for Anonymous...

Someone sent me an anonymous comment to one of my blog postings, and while it took a long time to isolate what it was Anonymous was commenting on, I finally found it. And so here is the comment, and my answer to it.
Anonymous said...
"Most mentally disturbing for the kid? In what way? Since you're into science... do you have some evidence...not anecdotal or emotional?"
Anonymous, it turned out, was writing in response to my posting Just Because YOU find it Boring... dated 29 January 2006. I read it over and found the only reference to kids:
"Don't laugh - this is juicy stuff! This is the stuff of real life! Yes, I know, Angelina Jolie is pregnant with Brad Pitt's baby. No offence, but really - who cares? People have babies all the time - but volcanoes are not constantly spouting in the Cascades or in Alaska. Well, they really are - at least, worldwide - but still much more exciting than Angelina Jolie's impending doom - I mean, parenthood. All I want to know…

Ya, Yellow Kitty, Yaaaa!

I went on the most distressing call that I have been on in a long time.

Thursday night is my night, and most Thursdays I am out there meeting people and doing something I really enjoy and that - surprisingly - is often fairly easy. Being an EMT means that the 99% of the calls that one has are very mild to somewhat serious and are all practice for the 1% that are bonafide, honest-to-the-gods emergencies and someone's life may be in the balance. This Thursday night was surprisingly busy - two calls in two hours with a total of five patients. It is not as impressive as it sounds. The first call, occurring at approximately quarter to 19h00, was an MVC (motor vehicle collision) with three people. The one patient with his/her son was fine and refused any medical treatment. Both seemed to be fine and I went through all the steps and had them sign off on RMAs. The other participant needed to be boarded and collared (although some idiot woman who was a witness to the incident and told Bob th…

Let the Games Begin! The 2006 Winter Olympics

I never watch sporting events, live or televised. Welcome to never say never. What I should say is I never watch any regular sporting events live or televised with the exception of the Olympics. Any Olympics, winter or summer. Here is something where people from all over the world come together to compete in a healthy fashion (that is the idea, anyway) and then separate and return to normal life. These are amazing!
My grandparents were the ones who got me into this incredible display of prowess, physical fortitude and amazing drive that pushes these staggeringly dedicated people to show what they are made of, what they can do! It is an honor to watch this. What these individuals achieve is beyond just laudable.
I do not watch every waking moment and I do not watch every event. Especially with it televised mostly live and with it taking place half a world away, it is not possible to get it all. It is embarrassing to admit that tonight I watched some weird variation on skiing that a Canad…

What is it With Chain E-Mails?!

I always hated chain letters. When I was a kid, my cousin Renée and I would write letters to each other and she would send me chain letters. This was before the advent (and easy access) of photocopiers and my parents did not own a mimeograph (look it up, young people). I did do it once and then suddenly had an epiphany - no one cares, and the dire threats in the chain letter of whatever pestilence will strike one dead if all is not done never occurred. Nor did $10,000 magically appear at the door in small, non-sequential unmarked bills (not that the average 12-year-old really needs or would know what to do with $10,000).
Once is hopefully all it takes for me to learn most lessons. This was one such example.

I never got sucked into that again, and upon receiving the next one, I happily burned it in effigy and told my belovèd cousin that under no circumstances was she to send me these odious things any more.
Now, in the "enlightened and modern" age that we live in, no one receive…

A Word A Day - Nirvana

Friday, 10 February 2006

This week's theme: loanwords from Sanskrit.


(nir-VAH-nuh) noun

1. Freedom from the endless cycle of birth and death and related suffering.
2. An idealized state or place free of pain, worries, etc.

[From Sanskrit nirvana (blowing out, extinguishing, extinction), from nis- (out) + vati (it blows). Ultimately from Indo-European root we- (to blow) that is also the source of wind, weather, ventilate, window and wing.]

A Word A Day - Sutra

Thursday, 9 February 2006

This week's theme: loanwords from Sanskrit.


(SOO-truh) noun

A rule or formula; aphorism.

[From Sanskrit sutra (thread). Ultimately from Indo-European root syu- or su-(to bind or sew) that is also the source of sew, suture, couture, Kamasutra, and hymen.]

A Word A Day - Ahimsa

Wednesday, 8 February 2006

This week's theme: loanwords from Sanskrit.


(uh-HIM-sah, uh-HIN-sah) noun

The principle of refraining from harming any living being.

[From Sanskrit ahimsa, from a- (not) + hinsa (injury).]

Vanity Is Too Much Work

It really is... I cannot understand how people can waste their time so.

I have a few vanities. I love my hair (some days more than others...) enough to get it colour treated and keep the grey hair at bay. I won't over process it, though - it is colour treated and that is it. I may, on particularly humid days, use a tiny amount of Biolage to keep it from frizzing too severely but I do not use mousse, gel, hairspray, or any other gook. I also don't perm it (which would be ludicrous with naturally curly hair) or straighten it. There was a time when I did straighten it, but it never did become straight so why bother?

Photo: Christmas Day: plain old me, with my normal facial regiment... nothing! The colours and the oily sheen is all mine.Make up is a plane of existence I never visit and don't care if I never got there again. I don't wear it; or so infrequently as to not matter. I don't mean that I put on a bit of blush each day and that is it - I really mean I don't w…

A Word A Day - Mantra

Tuesday, 7 February 2006

This week's theme: loanwords from Sanskrit.


(MAN-truh) noun

1. A sound, word, or phrase that is repeated in prayer and is believed to have mystical powers. 2. An often repeated word or phrase that is closely associated with something; a slogan, byword, or a watchword.

[From Sanskrit mantra (thought, formula). Ultimately from Indo-European root men- (to think) which is the source of mind, mnemonic, mosaic, music, mentor, money, and mandarin.]

There's Nothing That Fur Can't Fix!

No, before the animal activists go nuts, I don't mean wearing a fur coat! I don't really mind fur coats, but on the other hand I would not seek one out. I also wouldn't toss red paint at it. I don't like fur coats but it has nothing to do with my sympathies to the animals... they are usually raised in animal farms specifically for that purpose. Is it nice? No... but it is regulated and meant solely for this purpose. I may not agree with wearing a useless fur coat, either. Seems pointless.
But this is nothing about fur coats. This is all about how the wonder of fur can brighten even the darkest day. I have two cats, Ariel and Chelsea. I love them to pieces. They are the closest I will ever willingly get to having children. They are happiness and joy and comfort and let's face it, the worst day in the world can be cheered by their fuzzy presences.Both are 14 years old and both are showing their old age in different ways. But they still have basic behaviours that don&#…

A Word A Day - Dharma

Monday, 6 February 2006

"One of the hardest things in life isn't solving complex algebraic equations, it's not coming up with creative campaigns for a new client, it's not conquering a mountain peak. It's to sit still and do nothing. I recently attended a ten-day meditation retreat. In this residential program one is secluded from the outside world for the first nine days: no email, no cell phones, no reading, no writing. And no talking. When one sits still and tries to focus, the mind becomes turbulent. It mounts its horse and starts galloping in all directions, north and south, into past and future, to places real and imaginary, and who knows where else. Gradually, though, it does begin to be reined in. There were calmer moments too. The silence is relieved on the last day. I was one of the last ones to come out of the meditation hall. When I entered the dining area I expected little talk, a gradual easing into the world. What I encountered instead was a cacophony…

More Musings About Law Enforcement-Related Things

I have a gazillion more questions for the people I know in law enforcement. And of course I thought of all of them while in the shower. I do an amazing amount of thinking in the shower as it is wasted mental time as a function (who doesn't shower on auto-pilot? Do you really need to think about something that you do daily and the same way for the most part? Really now...) I need to write things down while in the shower as once out, I usually forget half of what I thought of whilst there!
So back to the actual topic... I need to put down a synopsis of the different topics relating to this post as we are shortly going out... I thought a lot about the gun toting thing - remember how one person told me he had to carry a gun everywhere as he is considered to always be on duty? [See posting Guns - Why Do We Have Themdated 20 January 2006] Well, he is out of the country now... so what does that mean? And the Constitutional right to bear arms. And the criminals in the US having that right …

This is My Life...

And the weirdness continues...

My mother woke up this morning around 0915, tested her blood sugar and discovered it to be 34. This is low - really, really low. Like "get the paramedics right now" low. So what does she do? You would guess that she would drink some orange juice; have a glass of milk; maybe a bowl of Cheerios to jack up the ol' blood sugar. You would be right to do that. So what did she do, you ask? She shot herself up with 60 or 70ml of insulin!
Ray called me up sounding a little panicked. Ma shot herself up with a blood sugar of 34. Now he's feeding her jelly beans... Yikes! Is she slurring her words or sound or move like she's drunk? No. Any headache, nausea or vomiting? No. Hmmm. Well, you should really take her to Morristown Memorial, get her checked out. Just to be safe. You know, before she passes out and you can't pick her up...
Fine. No, wait, she seems okay. We'll keep feeding her and see what happens... Not my advice, but people are …

Another Survey - 2006 Getting to Know You...

1. What time did you get up this morning? 0510

2. Diamonds or pearls? Garnets – I refuse to own any jewelry I have to insure

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Ummm. Not sure, it’s been that long. Maybe Harry Potter? The last one. Money wasted…

4. Favorite T.V. Show? C.S.I. (the Las Vegas one)

5. What did you have for breakfast? Hot tea and Triskets

6. What is your middle name? I don’t have one. When I changed my name I dropped it.

7. Favorite cuisine(s)? Tex-Mex (the kind IN Texas), Japanese

8. What foods do you dislike? Anything that looks disgusting… like cottage cheese – eeeeiiiiiuuuuu!

9. What is your favorite chip flavor? Chex Mix Hot (I can’t get it in Joisey!)

10. What is your favorite CD? Goodness, I have a thousand favourites. Right now, Coldplay’s “X&Y”.

11. What kind of car do you drive? My baby – a 2001 silver Acura CL Type S

12. Favorite sandwich? PB&J Or a wrap with ham and honey mustard with a zing…

13. What characteristic(s) do you despise? People who cannot…

Head Lights, SUVs, Morons with License to Drive

The life of a commuter is not an easy one. It is one fraught with danger and aggravation beyond imagining! Everytime I buckle myself into my car, I am well aware of the gauntlet that I am preparing to run. I am also a conscientious driver. I'm not saying I'm a great driver, but I am a defensive and more often polite driver than most, due to two big factors.
1. On 1 September 2001 at 20:22 I was struck by an SUV - on foot. It is no great leap to say that the irresponsible driver of that fiasco was not by any means driving safely. He was going well in excess of the speed limit, jumped a lane or two to get to the exit ramp that I was on (my car had run out of gas. My first and last time that that ever happened. I learned my lesson about how dangerous it is to run out of gas, ha, ha!) and locked up the brakes before striking the police car safely parked behind mine and then hitting my as I ran fast to get away from him. Had I remained where I was, he'd have struck me head on an…

More Trouble with Weather...

When do we start worrying?

"ATLANTA - Climate experts on Thursday confirmed the start of a mild cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean known as La Nina.
It's too early to tell how that will affect spring and summer weather, they said, but often La Nina conditions coincide with stronger and more numerous hurricanes, wet weather in the Pacific Northwest and dry conditions in the South.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center made the announcement at the American Meteorological Society's meeting in Atlanta, confirming the slight cooling of parts of the Pacific Ocean and changes in the jet stream.
Internationally, La Nina typically creates more rainfall across Indonesia and northern Australia and the Amazon basin, said Edward Alan O'Lenic, chief of the operations branch of the Climate Prediction Center.
La Nina is the opposite of the better known El Nino, a Pacific warming. The last La Nina was in 2000-2001."
Or there's this: