Friday, December 26, 2008

big smile for the day

via my friend matt's livejournal, a story on DIY adjustable glasses. the idea is to help all the people without access to opticians and corrective lenses. can you imagine having to retire when your vision started changing due to age? or even not being able to read at all because your vision was never so great?

at $1 per pair... i, for one, would happily put in $30 or so to get a pair, for pure glee at seeing how they work. (and, well, with no more vision insurance, $30 would be a steal for a spare pair of glasses.) wonder if one laptop per child's give one get one idea for capitalizing on the neat-o factor could be used to help raise funds... give twenty-nine, get one?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

for the grammar geeks

all of you are reading the nytimes blog after deadline, right?

back in college, one of my pastimes was marking up the student newspaper on the friday afternoon after it came out. just for fun, more than out of any desire to help or criticize; it was a relaxing activity like working a crossword. the oracle of that era was an easy target... during the 2000 election controversy, they had a headline about "flordia."

it tickles me, though, that somebody gets to do that for the new york times--the publication that frequently served as our paragon of style and good editing when putting together honors program publications. and gets to count it at as part of his job. that rocks.

quick admin note

i suspended the loudtwitter service for now. i put a gadget (complete with annoying ads!) in the sidebar here in case anyone not on twitter was all that interested... but, um, there seems to be a lot of overlap between the people who follow twitter feeds and the people who follow blogs, so i thought i'd quit repeating myself.

Monday, December 22, 2008

monday morning

cold, so cold. and three buses in a row were headed to newport news this morning, none to norfolk. (we're pretty sure the 8:15 was a newbie bus driver going the wrong way.) so i was an hour late to work, but not all that upset over the prospect of skipping going out for lunch to make up the time. staying inside is good. second cup of coffee, and my fingers are almost thawed.

i don't want to move to florida. but some days it doesn't sound so bad. (and a lot can happen in the years it's likely to take to get the carrier up to snuff and to make mayport carrier-ready, anyway...) they were planning to take the boat to norfolk today for the first time, but the newspaper says they're putting it off. not sure what that means for when/whether i get to see jesse before i leave for tennessee. it's strange how quickly it's gone from being normal to see each other every four to six weeks to having two weeks apart seem like a horribly long time.

speaking of which... madcap adventures to come! i'm flying to my parents' the 24th, driving to crossville the 27th for nicci's wedding, on to asheville the 28th for lindy focus, back to cookeville on new year's day to catch some of the reunion, then back to the parents' and flying home in time for work on monday. honestly, i'm a little exhausted thinking about it, but it'll be so much fun once the momentum gets going... once i figure out just how exactly to pack for all of it and how to get myself to the airport...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

mumbles and factoids

  • 09:09 migraine yesterday = i went to bed after work. now bouncing around on 11 hours of sleep!
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

mumbles and factoids

  • 14:28 investigating and eliminating potential duplicates in the database = not so entertaining. but it needs to be done.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

mumbles and factoids

  • 11:08 making sure all our employment resources are up-to-date... the newspaper's sending people our way!
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

mumbles and factoids

  • 05:46 up before 6 a.m.... after sleeping... on a saturday?!?
  • 10:31 granola with yogurt is much more satisfying than chex with yogurt. (discovered AFTER pouring cereal that there's no milk, oops!)
  • 20:08 no-show DJ for richmond tonight... jesse's car's not feeling so good, too late to get another ride.
  • 23:09 ice-skating! it was fun until i took off my skates and accidentally kicked jesse's knee with the back of the blade... yowch.
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Friday, December 12, 2008

mumbles and factoids

  • 11:08 i've got a bruise and/or a sore muscle in the palm of my hand. how do i do stuff like this?!?
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

new venue!

last night was the debut for us dancing in the douglas high studio in hampton. this place is under a mile from my apartment, which is a nice feature when one does not have a car. the fred, where we usually dance on wednesdays, had other holiday plans. wendy found the doug for us back when jesse was trying to get a performance team started... that fell apart, at least for now, but we still had contact info. i hate organizing, but it sounded too good to waste.

the venue's great. sprung wood floor, lots of space, mirrors, not too pricey. we could easily use it as an exchange venue or for regular lessons.

the sound system didn't show up.

still, after a quick run home to get a cord and a handful of cds (for until we figured out the setup), we got things going on the house system. it wasn't a huge crowd, but it was enough to try out the place. and beth brought incredibly yummy cupcakes. next time, we can confidently go all out on promoting and getting people there, i think.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

jimmy carter vs. the worms

i first saw this on saturday... i didn't get around to writing about it then, but it's been making me giggle every time i see a caduceus on signs around town ever since. share the mirth, right?

it really sort of sounds like a comic superhero sort of battle, but jimmy carter has a death warrant out on a parasitic worm that grows up to three feet long in humans and has to be painfully, slowly reeled out when it blisters through the skin. nick kristof blogged it on saturday when carter announced that we're down to 5,000 cases worldwide. it's looking likely to be the first disease in history eradicated through behavior change, without the use of vaccines or a cure. proper water filtering techniques do the trick. jimmy carter's winning.

if you go from there to the wikipedia article on guinea worms, the story gets even cooler. seriously, beyond the usual getting public health aide workers into remote areas to educate people and hand out filters... carter's negotiated ceasefires to fight these things.

i don't recommend an image search for the queasy of stomach.

the caduceus connection? according to wikipedia, the caduceus (and the less commonly used but probably more correct staff of asklepios) may actually have evolved from a picture portraying worms wrapped around a stick, not snakes. guinea worms. the still-standard medical treatment involves wrapping the worm around a stick or piece of gauze as it's extracted, so theory goes that the symbol comes from a picture of one of the services offered by ancient doctors.

so now every time i see a caduceus, it's not just "doctor's office here." it's "hah! humans are winning this one!" go jimmy carter.

mumbles and factoids

  • 06:22 had to drop jesse off at work to keep him from being late... on the up side, i'm awake now.
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Monday, December 8, 2008

mumbles and factoids

  • 14:08 not dancing this afternoon after all... oh well, hazard of not having a car. the bus system on sunday's not really a viable option.
  • 21:02 just put in the e-mail to announce dancing in hampton this wednesday night... no turning back now!
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Saturday, December 6, 2008

mumbles and factoids

  • 09:20 oops... finished my book on the way to work. usually try to anticipate this and bring an extra...
  • 09:53 starting my morning with a tantrum on the database issue log... always fun!
  • 02:33 went to bed at 9 p.m., but back up ever since jesse left for work around 1 a.m.
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

russian tea

tang plus instant tea plus spices (or in the particular case, cinnamon candies that melt when hot water is added)... i hadn't heard of it before, but a co-worker brought some yesterday.

the name intrigues me. i'm obsessed with hot beverages anyway. this leads to research.

wikipedia, illustrious source that it is, claims:
"Tang is a featured ingredient in Instant Russian Tea (a variation of Wassail), a hot drink mix popular in the Southern US made with Tang, instant tea, ground cinnamon and cloves, and sometimes instant lemonade. Instant Russian Tea is often given as a holiday hostess gift."

shannon, who grew up in illinois, knew it. i, born and raised in tennessee (albeit by non-southern parents), didn't. i don't think it tastes that different from what my parents used to call "percolator punch" --warm and fruity and spicy-- but it's been ages since i've had any of that, and there was certainly no tang involved!

the question i still can't figure out, though, is: why russian? tang wasn't around until the late 50s, so it's hardly an old, traditional recipe. i find all sorts of links around the interwebs from articles talking about samovars to recipes for this stuff... but no one's explicitly saying how or why you get from A to B. i did find at least one reference to tea in russia frequently being served with lots of lemon and sugar, but that's about as close as i got in a casual web search...