QC-L Version 4.0

Yes, welcome to my lair of evil thoughts and incorrect speech where I don't let go and move on and I talk about whatever I please. On a blog no one ever tells you to shut up. If you don't like what I say, just go elsewhere.

This blog now has a new background and a new theme. It is also using a remotely loaded style sheet. That is a first. It is lush, heavy, and uses a background that has a theme I have never used here before, though I have used it for pressies. Let the show go on! It always does anyway. And yes, we are powered by Blogger.

I am putting a temporary illustration here until I have a logo for this design. Watch this space.

temporary illustration


The Backfile: this blog's archives.

Ajayu, home of my story, The Sneezeweed Chronicles. Yes, I do fiction.

It will have Oneiro, my own little role play.

Unfettered Soul, my flagship site.

The Silk Purse, my play pretend Brainstorms.

Failed Messiah Religious news never sounded so good.

New York Times. Read the news and be smart.

Friday, July 30, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

The big news tonight is Haldis' main email is bouncing. She learned this when she went to roster her team at the Webleagues. Well she has a spare Yahoo email address and was able by switching addresses to get out the messages she had to get out. That means one comp is good to go. ZOID gets rostered and set up tomorrow night.

There is a letter that I have to respond to on Ladies' Advance It is a delicate matter because the woman writing it refers to a letter she sent the group that was a piece of hate mail. The problem with hate mail is that you can't get anywhere if you call it hate mail. All you do is multiply the ugly. You not only call attention to the hate mail which it doesn't deserve and you call the person who sent that mail hateful. Does this sound like a good idea.

This woman also responds in some of the worst militarist cliches. She aggravates my instincts to rip tear shread. Rip tear and shred is fun but it is the kind of thing that goes on in intellectual communities like Brainstorms and IPCT-L. It is fun until it's your stuff that gets ripped, torn, and shredded and when that is not enough, they come after you. There are good reasons for a policy of kindness. Still I want to take issue with those cliches. The question is how to do it without descending to that oh-so-intellectual rip tear shred.

The woman's cliches are about supporting the troops and how proud she is that her father was a marine etc... Semanticly I can turn her letter inside out. I am trying to hold my tongue and delay my response. That is probably not a good idea because within twenty-four hours I tend to think of way too many good tricks, and those are tricks I wish I did not know.

I am sort of on vacation from Neopets at the moment. I am not trying to stay on the wagon. My shop ran out of food and I had to go out to an engagement tonight. I was glad I went. And then I had to clean litter pans and Haldis needed to take care of Webleagues. I also knew I wanted to blog. It is important not to keep silent, just because I am not on Brainstorms and patter is mortally wounded. Patter may revive any time soon.

Now I am going to say something awful sounding but true. I would have been better off if I had been kicked out of Neopets on Monday. I could have kept a virtual pet without a whole centralized infrastructure. Any one can make up a virtual pet of any species. You can name it, give it a web page, and even set up a scheme of tasks that you do to award the pet points. Using a blog or web page you can have all the imaginary conversations with the pet that you want. Such is the power of the human imagination and the written word.

And all of this wonderful pretend play would be ten times better than Neopets, and this is for different reasons than my Pretend Brainstorms being better than the original. Neopets is wholly and completely nonproductive. In my pretend version I would get points for productive activity such as signing others' guestbooks, contributing recipes, writing fiction etc... Neopets eats at productive activity. A pretend Neopets would enhance it. Great idea...huh....

Then why I am I still on Neopets. The answer is the usual. It would have hurt like you know what to be kicked out. Rejection is ugly even when in the end it leads to something better. There is also something fiercely attractive about being in a place where the lights are on and the joint is jumping, something that is not true for my Pretend Brainstorms though I love it with all my heart and soul. The lights being on the joint jumping was one of the original Brainstorms' main attractions and Neopets is attractive for much the same reason. This is not hot air! This goes in the same category as ninty percent of the job being showing up. I think here though it's more like about fifty percent of the attraction being that I don't have to be the light and the power source all the time.

Most of my interaction at Neopets is with a database rather than real human beings. That doesn't seem to make much difference. I'm just as happy that way and the lack of strife is a plus. The conversational restrictions sometimes chafe but there is enough to do that most times they don't bother me.

Right now I am debating whether to adopt/create a Ruki, Neopets newest offering. Creating a new creature on impulse is an awful idea. The Ruki is an ant, a hymenoptera. I keep telling myself if I can come up with a name for her, I should create her. I had no plans for a third pet, but then the Rukies came along. What am I to do? I'll keep all of you posted. And yes, I have plans to teach Econ 101 to all of Neopets. Well, given all the trouble with getting Haldis to post, that is sidelined at least until next week some time.

Yesterday afternoon I felt like garbage at work. My throat was dry. My head hurt. I ached all over, and my intestines were bothering me. I got home from work and sat down on the toilet and.... You can guess what I found out. It is about five days early but I've got my period. Now it's OK to hurt. It is a nice heavy and crampy period. In fact, it is one of the heaviest ones I can remember. I usually don't get heavy periods but this one is heavy by my standards. Actually, I am both relieved and happy to have my period. I guess this is a thing about being a female in your forties, but it also explained the garbagy symptoms. I'd much rather have a period which is a normal and healthy thing than a bad cold or the crud or whatever. I detest being sick.

I have two short presentations (nothing like Monday's)to do for tomorrow's library retreat. The retreat is supposed to be over by four. I guess that is good news. I hope we have time to do our personal presentations since I worked on mine. A couple of times we have run out of time before I got a chance. That really stank in the worst way.

I realize that I can again go to Atlanta on Saturday. Yes, I just got back from Macon but that was business and this would be pleasure. I am nearly out of tea but not out of veggies for a side dish. I have to figure out what I want to make for a main dish and a secondary side dish. I think waiting a week might be a better idea too. It is hard to say. I am craving traditional creamy cole slaw or pepper slaw/pepper hash. I guess that craving is a good place to start. Of course Lou could show up here this weekend but that is getting more and more doubtful.

The prospective employer who shall remain nameless is trying to contact one of my references. I don't know if she got through to one of the others. They really only need two out there. [Do you think I'm going to publish that here?] I'm on the short list, but do I make it to the shortest list and am I on the government's no fly list? I really do have to worry about this stuff. I protested the war and filed papers with my real name and address with the police. Computers in small towns have plenty of time on their hands to do plenty of talking. Well, you get the idea.

I went to an open house for Kerry tonight. It was at a fairly awful Mexican restaurant. I make much better refritos. Their's are salty. It is weird that people who are supposed to like lettuce always leave it over when they eat Mexican food. It's like the people who don't get pickles and olives or even fancy sauce on their subs. They are losing out on the whole sub experience. Actual, authentic Mexican food has not only lettuce and tomatoes but radishes in the raw mix. The meat can also be offal.

They had the convention on TV. Can I confess it's borning? Can I confess Kerry is not that interesting either but he beats Bush. Kerry is honest, but the Kerry they are pushing is a creation designed to appeal to everyone. Kerry would not have done tax cuts for the rich. Kerry now says the war in Iraq was wrong. Well he voted to let us go into it! Kerry would not have had a Vice President with Halliburton connections. Kerry did not rob a university pension fund in his home state (The fund was UTIMCO and Bush and his buddies made out like bandits by having the fund invest second in limited partnerships that Bush and his buddies invested in first. Bush and his buddies skimmed off the cream and left UTIMCO with the crud.). Electing a President on the basis of "do nots," though, even good seriosu "do nots" is not exciting. Politics bores me. I wish it didn't but it does.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I am still on Neopets. I thought something I wrote in a Neomail would have me booted out but I'm still there. I made a new Neofriend in the wee hours of the morning and it looks like I again making money. I had a new personal best at Chemistry for Beginners today. Rosalita, my grarrl, also went up a level thanks to the Shrine of Coltsan.

I learned today that the LOTH recipe swap has yet to start. I told Evelyn that meat recipes are fine. I can convert them to vegetarian recipes. Besides, I often write recipes with odd ingredients in them and I don't want to be told "no you can't do that."

Actually it's the recipes full of processed ingredients that I can't convert. There is also one baked potato soup recipe that is totally treifness.

In other news, RAOK's site is up again. I feel good about that. And my CD's from BGM arrived. I feel kind of cheated the BGM does not have anything by Kurt Weil. I heard some of his songs on the radio and I'd like a collection of his works in English. It's really neat stuff, but BGM has other things. I got Annie Get Your Gun by the original Broadway cast and the Fantastiks also by the original Broadway cast. I'm not sure I like the Fantastics but I think I am too tired tonight to follow anything new.

The CD's which were a special offer I had to sign up for as part of a sponsor click on Neopets. Sponsor clicks are part of my economic revenge against Brainstorms and its founder's philosophy. It's simple, clicking on Neopets' sponsors not only gives me Neopoints but also helps Neopets which is a wonderful commercial community not a secret elite place for intelligent conversation. It's run by a corporation for profit. It's commercial. It is a part of the wonderful free enterprise system. Why shouldn't I buy its sponsors' products. This is my way of supporting the commercial model of the net which after my Brainstorms experience I believe in wholeheartedly. Long live free enterprise.

If my Neopets membership is still settled and even if it isn't since I don't have to be a member to believe in Neopets, I am going to buy some Neopets merchandise along with my Tupperware and Avon purchases. There is a company called 99 Dogs that sells Neopets T-shirts. I think it would be great to have a t-shirt with either Rosalita or Shanti on it, and by buying a sponsor's product I am encouraging that sponsor to advertise on Neopets. This is what I call responsible investing.

I need to remember that when I get back to doing more patter again and some day I will to click on the sponsors in my MSN communities too. This is really so easy to do. Advertising revenue allows the little person without social capital (Brainstorms slang definition) to enjoy the benefits of community without having to tangle with a self-righteous elite. It's important that the commercial, advertising, portion of the net remains viable. Corporations are doing some good here and looking at their ads is the least I can do.

And no I haven't gotten hooked up with whatever organization helps the families of deployed service personnel but one day I'll get up the nerve to call Fort Benning and find out what I can do there. Revenge rules my life and there are so many opportunities for it. Revenge rocks.

I survived my trip to Macon and Milledgeville and I gave a faiirly decent presentation to a room of fifty librarians. The librarians came from all over Georgia, but mostly the western and middle part of the state. Many of them were from very rural areas. It was one very interesting mix.

The presentation is dwarfed by what happened Sunday night. I slept most of the bus trip out which was fine with me. I awoke at what was a fairly modern bus station in Macon. My directions to my motel went off without a hitch. Scottish Inns are not an expensive chain so I expected nothing fancy. I was a bit disappointed that the pool at the motel was in disrepair and there was a rather seedy sign up at an outdoor window, but hey, this is Macon Georgia near the Greyhound station.

My room was clean though it smelled of smoke. It was large and dark. I managed to get the curtain open and turn the air conditioner on to air the place out. I then went for a walk and bought some junk food and soda at a convenience store up the road. I tried looking for a supermarket but couldn't find one.

About 10pm the phone rings. It's the guy who checked me in. He asked me if I checked in recently. I told him I had. "You look so sexy" he replied. I told him he needed a cold shower and hung up. I slept with the door barricaded using a chair (old trick) a full water bottle by the bed, ready to use as a makeshift club, the air conditioning turned off so I could hear any intruder, and the phone unplugged so the jerk over in the registration booth couldn't call again.

The next morning I complained to the day manager who disavowed everything. I probably need to find out who owns this motel. That is a distasteful task. It probably borders on lost cause.

I got back to Columbus 1am and was too keyed up to sleep. I got to bed around 3:30am and then got up for work at the regular time. I am beyond exhausted right now so if this blog entry is short you'll undestand why.

Actually I do have a bit more. Friday is our librarians' retreat at work. This means we meet in a different place. We meet over at the gym where it is cold enough to hang meat as my colleague/supervisor, Erma, says. We have to do two short presentations. one is about a reading which is fairly superficial. The other is on any library related topic. I was going to do mine on clocks and counters but decided that RFIDs and privacy might be more interesting. I'll have to see what I can find about the threat these cute little radio powered book tags pose.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I just realized how important it was to blog. I mean I thought of blowing it off tonight and then realized that I was blowing it off because I had no "Life Stories" conference to share it with. I forgot about my sweet sisters in LOTH Region Seven. Well if I hang it up, those assholes at Brainstorms win. I MUST NOT LET THAT HAPPEN, so here I am.

Anger is an energy. Anger is a good thing. If you spend energy you get more energy. You better believe that. Yesirree! Remember passion and enthusiasm are still the order of the day here. Yesirree! And you bet your bippy!

I turned over the store three times today which makes me feel pretty good as far as Neopets is concerned. I decided to stuff my pets full of food and hope for the best rather than pay for a hotel room for them. I will only be gone two days. My real life cats are also on self sufficiency. I just won't be gone that long.

I blew up the lab playing Chemistry for Beginnerson Neopets as well. I haven't done that in ages. Shanti, my grundo, saw it happen. Oh well. I think she's seen it twice. Poor pets. I wonder what they think when an owner humiliates herself.

I realized I can't keep this up for six months. No matter what is going on in my real life, I can't keep this up for six months. It is just not going to work out in the long haul. The committment is too long, too tedious etc... I need to shift paradigms or so to speak and find a social angle to Neopets so I am not drawn to wanting and wanting, gaming and gaming and gaming, earning Neopoints, spending Neopoints, and then starting the same cycle over again. It is going to get old. It may take a while for it to get old, but that is inevitable.

I recommended my guild to a teenager last night. I had one interesting discussion about economics yesterday. Webleagues is closed next week so Haldis doesn't have to score when I get back from the conference in Milledgeville late Monday night. I feel relieved. I am posting to Ladies Advance and when I can think of something to say, I post to ZOID and Cbask-l. I try to read the more interesting parts of my email but throw a lot of it away unread.

Jeanne is a better Joe Lemmon substitute than YB George. She writes more personal stuff. George became a list owner and acts like one and mostly posts forwards. I hooked up with YB George when he was acting like a real person.

I don't know what to do about my brother in spirit, Ingo. I find his posts hard to respond to. If I try to tell the truth to Ingo he will not listen. Ingo received his life back but is in the thrall of some very powerful supernatural being. God is too benevolent ever to take a person's freedom in exchange for giving them back their physical life. God also would not take a person's ability to earn a living in exchange for saving their life. Jesus, according to Ingo, who channels him (and I mean Ingo channels Jesus), saved Ingo from cancer and now Ingo has dedicated his life to spreding "God's love."

Ingo's spiritual information is at a big variance with mine. I'm not sure how to begin with the I disagree. I feel that Ingo came back into my life five years too late. Well maybe not. Lately I am seeing a lot of Marisa again. Marisa is not his real name. I am not sure I want to use his real name on the blog. I knew him when he was alive but not well. I am seeing Marisa again because I am doing artwork. I was up painting last night and some of my work as well as some stuff in pastels and charcoal is on display on this web page. Note: there is a mistake on the page that I'll fix when I get back from Milledgeville. Marisa (This is not a woman's name though it is a very flowery formal greeting in Universal which I am using as a psudonym) had art therapy right after he died so I think the art has drawn us together again. Stuff like that happens.

My intestines should be exploding given the fair amount of Pepsi I drank tonight when I had the pig lunch for dinner at Blimpie. I think Blimpe's makes better subs than Subway. They make four kinds of vegetarian sub, three with veggie burger strips. I had the Meximax with chipotle sauce and no jalapenos. In a sub store it is quite weird how few people get everything on their sub. I get everything but jalapenos. I must make the poor sub guy easy, but most folks stick wtih lettuce and maybe lettuce and tomatoes and they don't even know all the special sauces that both Subway and Blimpie have. Blimpie by the way has their own brand of chips and about eight or nine sauces. Subway only has four. This is why Blimpie is better than Subway.

There is a Quiznos way down town. I would like to try eating there, but six miles is a long way to walk just for a sub, and yes, I have made my own subs at home. You have to have a lot of ingredients and yes you can use regular whole wheat bread.

I guess it is fun to write about food. One thing I learned when I was painting last night in the wee hours of the morning is that I don't have enough brushes. All I had was one cheap kiddie brush. I needed multiple sizes. I felt embarassed asking the nice help in Hobby Lobby about cheap brushes. She sent me to the children's art supply section and sure enough I got my cheap set of multiple size brushes. I also got a palette for mixing paint colors so I don't waste so much acrylic paint. The stuff is not cheap.

One of the part timers at work also suggest I try drawing with oil pastels on sand paper so I got an assortment pack at WalMart which is in the same shopping center as Hobby Lobby and Blimpie. I also indulged myself and got a fuzzy pen with a feathery top. It was only two dollars, and I could not resist.

Sometimes an evening of getting and spending just feels good. That is how it was with me today. It has taken two days to unwind. Tomorrow if I can get out of here by or before 10am I will walk to the bus station and save a cab fare. My pack will be heavy because I will be carrying water. Maybe I can even buy lunch at Quiznos. My bus is a 1:20pm to Atlanta where I will switch to another bus to Macon. Monday morning Beth Broyles picks me up and takes me to Milledgeville and at 1:15pm Monday I do my presentation.

I am not scaird about this because I am blanking. I am past the point of hurting. I know I'll be plenty scaird again once I'm on the bus and on my way to make a big fool of myself. Wish me luck all of you.

Friday, July 23, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I am a sinner who is ready to become a saint. Neopets beware. I spent 40,000NP for a ghostkerfish, a petpet (a little pet for our pet). This is a lot of money but a ghostkerfish is one of the rarer petpets out there. A ghostkerfish is white with frilly fins and an angry expression. It is harmless though and that is very important. Originally I wanted to buy a magtile but Michele who is an old timer talked me out of it. She said she did not know about magtiles but their description says they like blood. I did not want to own anything that might hurt one of my pets.

I gave the ghostkerfish to Rosalita, my grarrl and I named it Bahiti. I use baby naming sites a lot. Bahiti is an Egyptian name meaning good fortune. I wanted a name that meant good fortune and the moment I spent the money and did the deed, I was profoundly disappointed. It is not anticlimax or the fact that I am leaving town Sunday. Part of me just plain knows I can't do this forever...

But Neopets sets you up on the trail of wanting. A user ranted on the board about restockers, profiteers if you will. I neomailed him (internal mailing) system on the evils of laissez faire capitalism. And speaking of economics, I would love to see what a Lawrence Curve for Neopets looks like. I have no idea but it probably bows in. I don't know where the really poor Neopians hang out but there have to be a lot of us. Not everyone has the time or determination (It takes both) to rearrange their life to knock themselves out on the games. And gambling on Neopets is like gambling everywhere. THE HOUSE ALWAYS WINS!

RAOK wants graphic donations. I am not sure how this will work. I intend to try some watercolors tonight. Candi does not want any copyrighted material and the art project I have been working on for several weeks has yielded a lot of pressie suitible desgins but nothing that will work for a sympathy graphic. I have acrylics and water colors in the house plus brushes. I just have to get set up and go. Maybe I can paint something that will work for a sympathy design. Sympathy designs are important in RAOK because one of the ways that RAOKsters can claim attention is to lose a loved one. I know that sounds awful. Let's put it another way. RAOKsters tend to mark a lot of sad rites of passage. That is OK. That is how it should be. RAOK, replaces the old time village or small town we wish we lived in and which probably never existed.

The scanning part of all this is the part I dread. I can not scan quietly. The scanner is in circulation. I need to log out of my computer, go over to the circulation desk, get the password and then log into the scanner computer and do the scans. Usually there is no line so I'm not depriving of any one who wants to scan stuff for academic use. It's all my own art work so I am not violating copyright. It is just I want to keep my sidework even when done on my own time private, and the scanning is being done on my own time. The drawing I have done at work but I need something to keep my hands busy at the desk.

Tomorrow is a Saturday and after 1pm I can bite the scanning bullet. Making pressies will be a good change from Neopets. Besides that RAOK may have its web site back. If that is a dead link, don't be surprised. I don't want to go into the whole situation. There are things I can not discuss even on the left side of this blog.

Today I had an attack of black thoughts. The fact that I thought about something embarassing I actually did still did not keep the thoughts from being black and crazy. I don't want to describe the embarassing thing I did. It was quiet enough at work and I was there on my own time. I was off today. I was sitting in a high backed chair with my back turned so no one could have seen it even if someone did walk by. Chances are very good no one saw what I did. It was not illegal by the way, just embarassing. I spent the whole afternoon and most of the evening worrying about this. I could not stop worrying. The psychiatric name for this is rumanitive thoughts. I was very afraid I'd get in trouble at work for the embarassing thing. I was afraid someone saw me and will tell Callie. As I just figured out the chance I was seen was next to nil, still I worried.

Ruminative thoughts are a symptom of OCD which I have. I take meds for this but sometimes the thoughts break through. The old time fear thoughts as simple as this were new to me. Usually my black thoughts are less scarey and more unhappy and deal with rejection and usually there is not one bit of rational basis for them. This one as I say revolved around an embarassing thing I reall did. Please don't ask me what it was.

I took myself out to lunch today at Subway. I love their sandwiches. I had a veggie delight with American cheese and everything but jalapenos and with chipotle sauce. I had it on wheat with chips and a big Dr. Pepper. The Dr. Pepper set off my irritable bowel. My large instestine has been having fire works. Fortunatley, I'm not doubled over in pain. That part comes twenty-four hours later. I figured my irritable bowel was already bothering me badly enough there was no way I could make it worse.

I just had black bean soup with rice for dinner. This black bean soup is flavored like my mother's chicken soup so it's not the Cuban kind. It's the Jewish kind. Anyway, the brown rice and cooked beans should provide some soluble fiber which is the key to getting my bowel to become quiet again. That is going to take four to seven days. I am going up to Milledgeville with a screaming large instestine. Woe is me.

I did not mean tonight's entry to come out like this. I actually had a pretty good time today. I played with kittens in the pet store, I bought a soap eraser in Office Max, and I had good luck in Publix' produce department. I bought bartlett pears, greengage plums (Yes, the green plums taste good and they sort of blush when they are ripe), and pluots (marked down by fifty cents per pound). All this means I have a house full of food. This is not a bad idea if one is going to be travelling. I even have rice cakes for my trip.

I'm still scaird out of my wits about my presentation. Poor Deborah Stanley thinks she has recruited a hot shot. I'm just a little scrubby half-assed information literacy librarian who really wants to be a science reference librarian. Woe is me. I'll say it again. Say it three times fast.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Is the anticipation greater than the event? I am wondering this via my quest for an expensive petpet (a pet that your pets can own) on Neopets. There are hundreds of species to choose from instead of the fifty or so there are for Neopets themselves. Some are expensive. Owning an expensive and rare petpet is a sign of distinction and wealth. But once you've done it, what then.....

My life outside of Neopets is a shambles. My work life is intact because I have taken pains to deal with it. I also am doing my laundry right now so I'll have the shirt I want to wear to the Big Conference on Monday. I made the images Haldis needs for her prospective upper level fighters today. And tomorrow, I'll make the award graphics. Tomorrow night, Haldis puts her team to bed.

It is my online life that is a shambles. I hardly touch the outer circle of the patterage, and it is with my patterage that I belong. I belong there even though it is harder work and there is no audience. It is more secure. It is mine, yet here I am helpless before Neopets social engineering. I'm pondering all this. I can't really figure it out.

I'm coming up with new petpets I want to own. Some of them are more affordbile than my original choice. I want those who bother to do a lookup on Rosalita and Shanti to know their owner is a woman of stature. You an theorize why I'm as drawn to all this as I am. I kind of know and can't go into it on this blog.

OK, time to retrieve the laundry and get this blog published. I'm going to cut this session short.

What do you do with a lap full of cat? You sniff the head and shoulders and inhale the sweet clean no-smell smell of cat fur. There is something very sweet about all this.

It is late evening. I'm eating roasted buttercup squash and blogging. I was fairly productive at work today. I timed my presentation and it comes roughly to half an hour and it worked out much better with the Powerpoint on CD. I'm still very nervous about presenting on Monday. There are only three presenters on Monday and I am right in the middle, in the sandwich after-lunch slot.

It is going to be interesting to hear lots of information literacy jargon. It is to me a foreign language due to when I went to library school and the fact that I never had a bibliographic instruction course. Of course all the jargon changed just as all fashions do about ten years ago. It will change yet again.

There is a phone call in my voice mail from [I'm not telling you where]. They want to know if I'm still interested in the position. This means I may have survived the first cut. Surviving the first cut does NOT surprise me. The first cut is usually those who are working in the field and roughly meet the qualifications set forth in the advertisement. It's the next cuts I don't survive. So it goes.

Tomorrow I get to call [I'm not telling you where] back. If [I'm not telling you where] is NOT planning on hiring an internal, a very distinct possibility from the way the ad was worded, I have a shot. I knew I had a shot when I sent in the resume. I qualify for this position as if it is made for me. Of course qualifying is absolutely no guarantee of being hired.

Of course I don't want more of the same. I am going to be asking them a lot of questions should this thing ever reach the interview stage. I wish I could get more specific but there are things that SHOULD NOT go on this blog.

My prickly heat is feeling a bit better. I washed the whole area with soap and water this morning and had a bath last night, and tonight I get another bath. I bathe every few days, not every day. I don't have the time and I figure I stay clean enough. Now I have to live in the stinking bath tub, but soap and water (preferabley hot water to open the clogged sweat pores) is the cure for prickly heat. I may take my bath tub plug to the conference with me. I'm staying overnight in Macon and I'll probably need a bath. I detest showers. Motel bath tubs never have plugs, and some motels don't have bath tubs. The Thirty-Thirty where I stayed in New York when my brother got married, had only a shower though it was a great place to stay. I want to go back to New York again.

Near the end of the summer, I am going to have to indulge myself in a vacation. I am going either to Montreal or New York City. Why you may ask? Simple, I want to see if I can fly. I'm not scaird of flying. I'm scaird enough to find it less than pleasant and dislike it, but I'm not that kind of scaird. What I'm scaird of is that I'm on the No Fly list. Yes, remember that. It's probably still out there. I protested the war in Iraq and in order to demonstrate legally I had to file papers with the police. That means my name and address are in a file, and one computer talks to another and you get the picture, especially since the computers in Columbus don't have a heck of a lot to do and can do lots of talking. Flying somewhere for pleasure will let me know if there is trouble BEFORE I have to fly for a job interview.

by Eileen Kramer

Neopets is Brainstorms on steroids. Neopets is Brainstorms and QC-L on steroids. Neopets is Brainstorms on steroids though none of those snotty snobs over at Brainstorms would ever want to admit it. Here is why. Secret communities go through great lengths to maintain confidentiality. Have trouble in one of these communities and the pressure is hideous due to the isolation. It is natural and human to want to rally your friends from all over when you are in trouble, but a bond of confidentiality prevents that and it can hurt like a knife when you are being screwed.

Neopets has solved that problem. It does not ask for a bond of confidentiality but it has its own language instead. Some of that language, the names of the pets and pet-pets is copyrighted so someone kicked out could not start their own play your Neopet over email mailing list or virtual pet site using Neopian names, but that is not the real problem though it's one I can feel because I am itching to produce some Neopian fan fiction that may be less than complimentary of Neopets.

The real way Neopets keeps its secrets is that if you try to use the language to outsiders, it comes out sounding like gibberish. For example, I own a grarrl and a grundo. Unless you have been inside the Neopets site, you don't have the slightest idea what I am describing. A grarrl is a big lizard that looks an awful lot like the monster that used to advertise Sunkist oranges. Rosalita, my grarrl, is about my size, and has a cast iron stomach and a voracious appetite. She is extremely strong and fairly bright. A grundo is a mutant alien from the space station. A grundo has short arms, huge hands and feet, a wide smile, two huge eyes, and two stout antenna atop her head. Grundos are born dimwitted and have sensitive stomachs, though Shanti now has average intelligence thanks to the fact that I read her books (This last doesn't mean what it does in the real world.) Shanti, my grundo, is white. Rosalita, my grarrl, is red. It took nearly a whole paragraph to explain these two words, and there is still more explaining to do.

Get kicked out of Neopets and you literally have a language that no one else speaks except those on the inside with whom you no longer have contact because the mailing system is internal and you don't see email addresses. Try explaining what you have lost to outsiders and run into a brick wall as each word that you think in has to be defined.

That's not really what I wanted to write about. I wanted to write fan-fic. A lot of what goes on at Neopets goes on inside the owners' (If you have a pet you are an owner) own heads. To a lot of the kids, the pets are dogs and cats and they are cute children. I guess the kids have not had very much history. To me Neopia is Europe in the first days or just before the Industrial Revolution. There is no: public school, health insurance, or any of the amenities normal middle class Americans are used to. Pets labor along side their owners. I mean if Shanti or Roanna are active and I'm stocking the store, who do you think is hauling the goods from the inventory to the store. Yes, I keep a store on Neopets. Neopia is a nation of "shop keepers."

I don't see Neopia as a dark Satanic mill though. I see it more as a raw new development with a pretty central core and the rest of it....Well you can read that below. Note: I'm going to write as much of this in English rather than Neopian for obvious reasons and because given the way this story is going to start, I don't think it is exactly what Neopets' public relations department wants. It is just my take.

My breasts are covered in prickly heat. This means I can't wear a bra. The prickly heat doesn't look like much. I've noticed only one or two prickles. They are small and pink, but they itch way out of proportion to their size.

Adults are not supposed to get prickly heat and no one is supposed to get it in the summer. You know what I say to that. Summer is the season for nightsweats. I don't like the noise the air conditioner makes or to be blown on so I turn it off and wake up with my nightie or t-shirt sopping. I guess I did that one time too many and bathed one time too few.

Prickly heat is stopped up sweat glands. Not many of them have to get stopped up to make you miserably itchy. Prickly heat is supposed to happen under over bundled children's scarves, especially around the neck. I get it wherever my clothes are tight, though last summer I had it on my back from sleeping on my back in a sweaty t-shirt.

I don't know how I got it in front except I may have sweated under my bra. Now I have a presentation in less than a week and I'll need to wear a bra for that. Right now the thought of that makes my skin crawl. I have the world's worst skin.

Today I found out the Powerpoint I made for the presentation was too large to go on a floppy disk. I tried doing the presentation with several floppies and crashed Powerpoint which had trouble loading one presentation after another. Fortunatley, someone sent a letter to the BIG (stands for bibliographic instruction group) list thanking the owner for mentioning what computer equipment was available. The letter had a copy of the old letter in it and the owner's old letter stated that the compters at Georgia College have CD drives in them. I asked Jon down in the media center to burn my presentation on to a CD so I now have the Powerpoint all on one disk. That is a big relief. Tomorrow I try running my presentation from the CD.

I decided not to do laundry until Friday. I am off Friday. I will have plenty of time then. I have enough clothes to make it through the week.

I haven't been out to the mall for an Auntie Anne's pretzel in days. I guess that is good. I have sunflower butter for sandwiches and that is good stuff.

I am reading Tom Wolfe's, A Man in Full, which happens in the magic city of Atlanta. The book could be called Why Males Should be Neutered. There are four men so wrapped up in their manhood that they are busy clobbering themselves to clobber each other. The most manly of the men, is the littlest and the one in the worst shape. His name is Conrad. He is currently (at least as far as I've read) in jail for assault. He decked two guys who were bigger than he was, one of whom was a bastard of a police impoundment lot attendant who was trashing Conrad's precious car. Conrad is my favorite character though I also think he is a bit of an ass.

I think in the end Conrand will wreack utter and destructive havoc, but I have read too much Zola and that is the way Zola would write it. He likes to leave a pile of dead bodies at the end of his books. I don't think Wolf goes in for blood bath endings.

It was also election day today. I went and voted in the Democratic primary. I used a touch screen machine that felt a lot more bug free than the last couple of times I tried it. I like voting with a touch screen. It feels smoothe and efficient. I know that the touch screen machines can be hacked very easily and elections thrown but Georgia is a state Kerry is writing off in November. That hurts being that I am a Democratic committeewoman. Tha's not a big thing. Pay your twenty dollars and they put you on the committee but I am going to be volunteering for Kerry in the fall. That's as political as it gets on this blog, at least right now.

OK, start off by imagining a slab of concrete. Atop this slab are ten apartments set in two rows of five. The apartments are back to back with each row facing out. Then imagine another slab atop the ten apartments and ten more apartments atop this, making twenty to a block all together. Atop this second set of apartments, a third slab of concrete serves as a roof. Outdoor stairs connect the two stories.

Now imagine hundreds upon hundreds of these cookie cutter apartments scattered over hilly terrain. Those nearest the gate are the oldest. Their owners use them like offices, and the buildings sport custom paint, tile or wood trim, and there are even trees and shrubs growing between them. The newer apartments are on the periphery, and the place is always expanding. Construction goes on all the time.

The newer apartments are raw concrete and little else. The owners gradually add to them. Some of the round outdoor lights that hang down above the stairs have already lost their spherical plastic covers and a plain sodium bulb glares like a mean little eye at night. There is no grass around the newest apartments, just raw naked earth the color of coffee with not quite enough milk.

The gate is the gate to the public parts of The World and to the retail complex. Pets can not pass through the gate unaccompanied by their owners unless they have a housing pass, which means their owners have built a house and now use their apartments only as offices. Otherwise when the owners are away, the pets have the land of apartments to themselves.

The gate sits on a hill at one end of a ravine. At the bottom of a ravine is the entry check point. Owners come through there. Standing on the side of the ravine, it is possile to see the owners come inside. The owners then come up the wooden stairs and head across the complex, retrieve their pets, and head for the public areas or the retail complex. Somtimes the owners stop to pick up their mail, feed a hungry pet, groom or play with a pet. More occasionally the owners read to their pets. That is the way it is. Some pets can wait days for an owner. Sometimes the wait is hours. An owner can only take one pet through the gate, so since most owners have more than one pet, there are a lot of pets waiting even when an owner has come through the gate.

Rosalita watches her owner head down the stairs and out the entry gate. She has been decent enough to walk her home tonight and Rosalita is grateful. They did not work in the store or go to the golf links where the owner gets paid to play. Instead, they played a math game or rather the owner did. Watching the owner calculate numbers outloud and sweat and stew was mildly amusing but all that math makes Rosalita's head spin. "They made me learn my times tables in school," explains the owner.

The owner does not teach Rosalita any math. Rosalita is a Sauro-2. Sauro is short for sauropod. There are three types of Sauro in The World. Sauros are supposed to be fairly common in The World, but there are none in the part of the apartment complex where Rosalita lives with her sibling Shanti.

Shanti is an Alien-1. She has thick antenas, big hands, and big feet. When Shanti was born she was nearly incapable of speech, a ball of pain and sentience but barely that. It did not help matters that she got sick due to gambling with fairies gone bad. The owner got all high and moralistic about it afterwards swearing to never gamble again. That made Rosalita a bit sad, since she liked playing blackjack with the owner and somtimes beat her.

"Anything good happen tonight?&qout; Shanti asked from the second floor walk way. "Onwer made ninty-five dollars at the lightening calculation booth. They give her bonuses."

Shanti shrugged. She had two new points of constitution given to her by a dark fairy but the quest that gave that reward put the owner in a foul humor because it had cost $200 the owner did not have, having dumped most of the night's store profits in the bank. You get the idea. It was not in Shanti to gloat or to dream of stealing food or to do much of anything.

"You think we'll really get our minipets?" Shanti asked Rosalita.

"Beats me. Owner said ten more days and now she is saying eight but she is talking about being out of town early next week which means we get stuck here for two days."

Shanti shrugged and stared. "Our grass is finally growing in," she commented. "Yugi says they are going to turn the sprinklers on tonight. We get to run in the sprinklers. Sound good!"

"If we run in the sprinkler, won't we trample the new grass?" To be continued...

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I want to do the mast head so let's have a mast head. My Pretend Brainstorms is the best. It was worth to be who I am, say what I said (and I was damned polite!), and do what I did (same as for saying what I said) to get kicked out of Brainstorms. My Pretend Brainstorms is just as good and in fact much better.

And Neopets leaves Brainstorms in the dust! It is commercial. I am a fan of free enterprise. Commercial communities funded by advertising like the Sunday paper and similar publications, give access to the little guy who can't afford or doesn't have the expertise to pay his/her own weight and can't get into some place exclusive. Commercially funded communities are for people like me with little social capital (Brainstorms slang definition). I like commercial communities.

Neopets censors language and restricts conversation, but it's their right. It's a private community. Such restrictions go a long way toward keeping the peace and making Neopets a place any body can join. I think those who run Neopets do the right thing with these restrictions as onerous as they sometimes are (Try playing Word Poker and having sex among your letters. Sex is not a curse word.) Keep in mind Neopets is not the government. Private clubs can have rules that restrict free speech. Try picketing at the mall. Yes, people say this is terrible, but the mall is a clean well lighted place where everyone can gather. The net needs more clean well lighted places such as Neopets.

I met an interesting woman on Neopets. She claims to be from France though her profile lists her as an American. She was advertising in French on the Shop Ads board. Some of the teens attacked her. Others, including me, talked to her. I suspect she is playing with both language and identity. I think she is very cool. Anyway, Loretta, is now one of my Neofriends.

With Neopets I have fallen off the outer wheel of my patterage. I don't have the time for it. I am also doing less side work. Neopets takes an intensity of concentration that makes it a poor choice for side work. The games are physically tiring. I napped tonight and woke up and realized that Haldis needed to score Webleagues.

Her team is now all scored for the night. She even voted since it is a new day.

I am doing well with economic revenge. I don't always click ad sponsors though I really should. If I want to suppot the commercial model of the internet as opposed to elite communities, I need to put my mouse clicks where my mouth is.

Meanwhile, I unpacked and put away and loaded my new Tupperware. One of the containers doesn't fit inside the cupboard but the others do and my freezer is a lot less congested. I open my cupboard that has the Tupperware in it and feel proud. My order came with a catalog of more Tupperware. Next pay check, I'll place another order. Yes, I actually would like the stuff and need it. I want to get a salad spinner and more refrigerator storage containers and more dry storage containers.

Also when I go back to the nursing homne to volunteer in early August, I am going to have to speak to Buddy's niece who sells Avon. I could also ask around and see if any one on campus sells Avon. There is an Avon store in my neighborhood too so if all else fails. I'm not so sure about ordering from Amway. They only thing they have that I want is laundry soap and my box of laundry soap is pretty full.

My colleague, Randy, lost his mother over the weekend. Please keep him in your prayers. The P-word is not a dirty word on this blog. No sirree!

I am waiting for us to take up the usual collection. I sat through a two and a half hour library faculty meeting. The fact that I had to present and that it went off well (at least I think it went well) did not make it any better. By the time the meeting was over, I was ready to jump out of my skin. Two and a half hours is just too long for any kind of meeting.

Georgia threw up yesterday morning and it was loud and it must have been four times. I brushed her tonight. Georgia is my seventeen year old alpha half Siamese blue cream kitty girl. She is into begging and loud meows and being into everything though right now she is amusing herself somewhere in the apartment.

I managed to get more data entry done at work and started the first webliography of the year. I even managed to order lunch for the librarian retreat which is scheduled for the thirtieth of July. I was torn with refusing completely as I've done in other years, but now they have some meatless choices. They still did not have regular cheese on wholewheat bread but I guess this was as good as it gets. I sent in my order and pray the cafeteria doesn't botch it. If they do, I'll just turn around and go to the mall and get a pretzel.

Auntie Anne's pretzels rock but I haven't gotten one in a few days. I have been eating sunflower butter sandwiches at noon and plenty of fruit and of course herbal tea. I don't mind eating the same thing several days in a row. I am a creature of habit that way.

I was going to do laundry tonight but instead napped. I woke up in time to get some stuff done online that can not wait until morning. I also did my hair. Sometimes it is hard to do housework after working during the day. I am not sure why this is.

I am reading Tom Wolfe's, A Man in Full, which takes place in the high and low worlds of Atlanta, the magic city. I won't be back in Atlanta except just passing through until early August. That will be the next big Atlanta shopping trip.

I hope I can do better about housework tomorrow. Sometimes my discipline just breaks down all over the place.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I feel like I've fallen off the wagon, but I'm just plain tired. I'm too tired to clean the kitchen. I'm just eating dinner now. I can do it in the morning when I am fresh. I tell myself this but I know in the morning I will want to sleep. The kitchen really needs to be done. There is also one job ad that needs resume and cover letter. I at least looked at the Chronicle today.

I earned 3,500 Neopoints today and playing the games has left me totally exhausted. That is OK. I don't mind that part. I did the figures and to buy what my heart desires will take another two to three weeks of this work. I also bought Shanti a book and read it to her. Both Shanti and Rosalita are two books away from an intelligence raise. I think I have one of the smarter grundos on Neopets. I still have met only one grarrl owner. Where do they keep all the grarrl owners?

Most of the teens who crawl all over the site prefer pets that resembles dogs and cats, lupes, gelerts, ixis, and aishas. They also like unis and peophins. The most popular pet according to Neopets' own stats is the shoryu which is something cute but neither a cat nor a dog and scorchios are popular too. Lupes and koguras (another felid) are also up there.

As with Brainstorms, there must be whole portions of Neopets I just don't see.

One weird thing about Neopets is it leaves me charged with adrenaline after I've been there. This may have to do with the games, the clamor on the boards, or the desire for what is out of my reach. I haven't figured it out yet.

I had five straight hours of desk today. When it was busy I had some questions where I could provide really useful answers. One patron even called me an "information god." My powers are not divine. They come from living in a library. None of what I show off is really that new. Librarians have been chasing references since there were librarians in academia and references to chase. That's probably about the past hundred years or so.

I even suggested one patron contact Callie, the big boss. The patron is a nurse who works for Hospice and who teaches at a local hospital. That should qualify her as a "visiting scholar."

I managed to go grocery shopping after work and plan a menu. I bought rappini and cooked it up with potatoes and peas. I am eating it right now. I guess I am very hungry as well as very tired. I did not have a nap this evening and I did not sleep well when I went to bed a second time last night.

Tomorrow, after the kitchen is clean, I'll make penne and pepitas salad. I found the roasted and salted pepitas kernels I bought for the trip to capture Lou back in March and they are still good. They make good maindish macaroni salad protein.

Lou says he is coming down here the end of the week. I'll believe that when I see it. Say that three times fast folks. Lou would have come down this weekend, but his friend Ben, lost his lover, Butch. Butch was an alcoholic and Butch died of cirrosis of the liver. Butch also molested several altar boys and Ben, who is an Old Catholic priest (as is Lou by the way) continued to have Butchie work for him. Butchie was what I call rough trade. "chaque a son gout" as they say.

And yes, all of what I am describing was a terrific scandal when it happened which was before I lived in Utica, New York. Old Catholics, by the way, are not Roman Catholics. Old Catholics broke with the Vatican in 1870 over Vatican I which declared the Pope infallible. The movement's intellectual founder is Joseph Ignaz Von Dulinger, a German cleric though the center of the Old Catholic movement today is in Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Lou's succession is through Arnold Harold Matthews, an English Old Catholic priest. This makes Lou a Matthewsite Old Catholic. Old Catholic priests can court and marry just like Anglican ones. Certain Old Catholic sects are intercommunion with the Anglican Church. I bet you didn't expect a church history lesson from me tonight. Well I guess it was sort of necessary.

Anyway, Lou is staying in Utica most of the week. Butchie's wake is on Monday and his funeral and burial are on Tuesday. Lou and Ben have been good friends for many years so even if Lou does not mourn the loss of Butchie (which given what he did is a reasonable way to feel), Lou can mourn Ben's loss and I understand why he is delayed.

The thing with Lou is he will find one more other delay because that is the game he plays. I hope all of you get the idea.

by Eileen Kramer

I did manage to stay away from Neopets as planned. Tomorrow I don't care what happens as long as I get part of this filthy apartment clean. It doesn't have to be all of it though there is plenty of music and that can make cleaning the apartment a bit easier.

Tonight, I have actually been switching off of Neopets to do other things. I mounted a recipe at Ladies Advance and several other places. Mounting recipes is a ritualistic activity if ever there was one, but I try to mount at least one recipe a week. I still have to transcribe poetry but I'll manage to get that done tomorrow some time. I am missing one item on patter for Ladies Advance but that is fine. Haldis opened up her team at Webleagues five minutes late but it looks and feels glitch free.

The break was long enough to bring me back to my senses. Of course I dove right in afterwards but I left enough work done so that it was OK. That is the way I feel anyway. I wore myself out playing games which are mentally draining in an odd sort of way.

I realized tonight it would be a long tough anonymous slog to reach my financial goal. Why I set such crazy goals for myself, I do not know. Some players post a goal and have it in their sig-file. I think that is VULGAR so I won't even tell you for what I am saving my neopoints. I am going to need to get social to survive it, yet Neopets is a rotten place to get social due to all the conversational restrictions and general anomie.

Oh and on the economic revenge front, my Tupperware arrived. It is still in its box, but I hate unpacking stuff. I'll do that tomorrow. This means I can free up some valuable freezer space.

I've decided I owe Monde a letter. It is all right to write to her. It has been a week since she lost her cat, Waa. It has been eleven months since I lost my grandmother but I guess eleven month anniversaries are not a big deal.

I slept through home worship tonight. I just had an overpowering urge to lie down and when I awoke it was midnight and that was all she wrote. I will feel bad about this later in the weekend but right now I don't care. I guess that is all right.

The kitchen is a wreack and I have grocery shopping to do some time tomorrow. I don't know what I want to fix for dinner. I know I would like fried rappini since I have no cooked vegetables in the house. Either that or I want string beans with water cress or some other kind of water cress medley. I have a thing for water cress. Quite often the water cress at Publix is not so great.

The whole apartment needs to be cleaned. I will get to some of it. Saying I wil get to all of it is way too daunting. I also need to do my hair. I always need to do so many things in real life, I hardly have time for the net and that is not meant ironically.

I am at day five/six of an extra-long eleven day week. The fact that I am going to work this many days without a day to myself doesn't sink in or hasn't sunk in yet. I wonder about that. It is a five hour desk shift tomorrow and a six hour one (with an hour break) on Sunday. That hasn't sunk in either. I won't have to pack lunch tomorrow but I'll have to do that for Sunday. I'll also have to get up at a reasonable hour tomorrow if I want to fool around on the fast connection of work before my shift starts.

At least I got that scuzzy squash pan clean. Roast squash rocks but roasting anything leaves behind one very messy roaster.

Friday, July 16, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I am forcing myself to stay off Neopets. I know this sounds like an alcoholic saying she can quit whenever she wants to. The secret is I'm not quitting. When I get five tasks done at work tomorrow and two nonwork tasks done at work tomorrow or tonight at the house, I can come back on. Those five tasks are:

  1. Writing to GCIS for a new password. We let the present one expire. No one has asked for it all semester.

  2. Taking care of the droopy handouts at reference. This sounds like less work than it is since it means getting hold of some fairly esoteric supplies, and dealing with the this is what you get paid for attitude.

  3. Taking care of the paperwork for my trip to Milledgeville where I am giving a presentation on the 26th of July.

  4. Doing 250 data entries on the new pile of interloan data.

  5. Writing up talking points for presenting the pivot charts for the old interloan data which used to be new.

The two nonwork tasks are writing to Donna and writing to Gene. As part of my revenge against Brainstorms and all it stands for, it is important to support low status individuals and befriend them. Brainstorms used the term "social capital" for status. That is slang as far as I know. I'll Google it again to make sure.

Anyway, I want to talk a bit about Neopia. That's where Neopets is. Yes, I know it's on my computer and it's nothing but a huge database, an internal messaging, system, a lot of graphics and a bunch of e-boards. Like Brainstorms, Neopets is closed and large, but unlike Brainstorms kids, working class folks, and inarticulate people are welcome.

Neopets is commercial and accessible. It is big, bright, and busy. It is shrill and nobody worries about identity or asks a lot of questions. That is doubly why I like it.

OK, it's got problems, especially since it bills itself as a community that is good for children and teens. That is something Neopets is NOT. And yes, I am taking this seriously. Neopets teaches a lot of the wrong values.

To start with, Neopets still has its anomie problem. There are less than a hundred staff for over a million users. That means a lot of garbage can happen without the users being caught. Added to the anomie, Neopets, provides very little good opportunity for socialization of new members. There are about fifteen web boards for a community that numbers in the millions. You can guess what happens to posts on the board.

With luck one finds a guild. I haven't had that luck. One guild I joined was utterly dormant and the other imploded and was gone three days later. I started my own guild to get the board where I can leave myself notes. A guild board moves more slowly and people can write to each other on it with the messages still visible hours to days later.

With luck, one finds a Neofriend. I have one and she is partially a mentor though I don't know her very well. There are not graduated penalties for breaking the rules. There is a constant threat of being reported and having one's account frozen. This is a serious sanction because nearly everything created at Neopets is on THEIR SERVER. I should download my pet pages to my hard drive as a precaution. They are largely my own code and will work on any server.

All mail in Neopets is Neomail. If you are kicked out you have no way to contact your Neofriends unless they gave you an outside email address.

Then there is the economy. Neopets has created a consumerist capatalist system with all its vices. When I was on Neopets in 1999-2000, pets actually starved. Food was scarce and often overpriced. Well, the bottom has fallen out of the food market. Pets now also take several days to get hungry.

The feeling of scarcity though, is worse than ever. First, a portion of the food is rotten, half-eaten, spoiled, or just unappealing. Food we take for granted such as apples, carrots, or brocoli commands an outrageous price. Walking into Publix after several hours of Neopets I boggled at the array of affordable beautiful food. I can think in Neopian for what it is worth.

Then there are the high priced goods. For a newbie these are everything, and one finds oneself constantly bombarded with these high priced goods. They include a Neohome which doesn't look that great and which demands more purchases of furniture and garden supplies. They include petpets, pricey additions that can cost in the tens to hundredsof thousands of Neopoints. A pricey petpet is an investment that you can sell in your shop. Yes, nearly everyone has a shop. Mine is a real money maker when I have the time to restock it, but I'll get to that. Then there are paintbrushes. The result is, I always want more.

I also think though I CANNOT prove that the presence of subsidized long term users or perhaps shils adds to the artificial scarcity. Poverty is relative and the shils/subsidized long time users are rich as Croceus. There may even be a bot on the board that says it has a multiple of ten thousand Neopoints to spend on goods.

Then we have vice....perfectly legal vice. There is no booze, cigarettes, drugs, or sex on Neopia. Even the pets are sterile, but that leaves plenty of room for vice. The first vice most newbies encounter is gambling. There are lottery tickets, Diceroo, Tombola, BlackJack, Poogle Races and more. The most deadly of these is something called the Wheel of Excitement. You can win from two hundred to one thousand Neopoints, but you can also make your pet quite ill. Yes, you are gambling with the welfare of your pet. This is something I did and I watched my white grundo, Shanti, suffer. This is something that would clearly NOT be OK in the real world.

In addition to gambling, there is theft. This is a sophisticated vice and I have been practicing it with abandon. The Shop Wizard is a device that searches segments of the many small shops for the lowest price merchandise. If you can work the wiz you can find food at surprisingly cheap prices. For example, a box of wheat flakes costs 1NP. I take that box over to my store and sell it for 20NP. Call it mark up. Call it profit margin. Call it what you will. People buy the stuff and over time on volume, my store makes a profit. Of course my prices are inflated and chances are good, I am busy ripping off fellow newbies.

Of course Neopets itself rips off users regularly. The rip offs are called quests. I used to do them for Jhudorah and the Kitchen Quest. The first Kitchen Quest had an excellent prize, but the second one cost me 3,000 Neopoints and returned a prize worth one third of that. Jhudorah's quests cost me around 300 Neopoints and returned a prize worth one or two.

Now, those who run Neopets insist there is choice. They will tell you the whole thing rests on free choice. They are right. You can first of all not venture into Neopets at all if you don't care for the way it is run. You can always leave and even if you stay, you can avoid the gambling games, play only games of skill, keep saving your money in the Neopian National Bank and just enjoy the site. You don't have to own everything fancy or buy everything that comes your way. You can do role playing on the board that they have for that and email your Neofriends or talk in your guild or whatever.

There is, however, very little incentive and many road blocks to being good on Neopets. First, is the above described anomie. Finding people to just spend time with rather than get and spend is hard. Second, Neopets is a totalitarian world on private property. Those who run it make the rules and if you don't like it go elsewhere etc... and the rules make it hard to be good. The safety tips actively DISCOURAGE cooperation. They warn against user created contests, games, and giveaways. This encourages users to distrust one another and to think twice before giving or receiving charity.

Neopets, also heavily censors conversation. You can not discuss politics or religion, yet McDonalds, General Mills, Glophone etc... can all advertise. The advertising is built right into the site. Being unable to discuss politics or religion means that you have to be careful if writing historical fiction or role plays. You can not discuss current events, and a bunch of Neopians can not gather for a prayer circle or to discuss the weekly parsha. For all that they can lead to fights, discussing politics and religion, are valuable alternatives to getting, spending, gambling, and stealing.

I am going to stay with Neopets a while longer. I do have an alternative guild set up but right now my shop is eating all my time. That is going to stop. That has to stop. I want to buy two very expensive petpets or atleast one and then just give them to my pets, Rosalita and Shanti. If someone picks up my userID, they won't see much initially but let them click on my pets and they'll get an eyeful. I want to be filthy rich and fairly discreet at the same time. Give me a pile of excrement and I will want to climb to the top.

Neopets does a job on my buttons and switches. I have spent the last ten days feeling them pushed and stroked and knowing that I am being manipulated and unable to resist. It's not going to stop tonight. I told myself that if I did not want Neopets to get me in trouble, it had to stop for a few hours. I miss it a bit tonight but I know it is not going to be gone forever. Tomorrow on my lunch break at work, I'll be back earning Neopoints.

The cats are sleeping somewhere in the apartment. It is nearly 2am but blogging is important. When I got kicked out of Brainstorms (no euphemisms here!) I swore I would not be silenced.

Hertzel is in a white kitty hunch up. He is quiet now. Earlier I had a bath, and both kitties stopped by to drink from the tub. They stood on the tub ledge on their little paws and leaned into the water and lapped. Georgia, my seventeen year old blue cream half Siamese alpha female kitty, even greeted me with a little burble before she found a comfortable drinking position. About six months ago, Georgia fell into the bathtub while trying to drink from a half full tub so she is a bit cautious.

I bought cat food tonight, cleaned litter pans, and cleaned up barfed hair balls. Remember, Georgia is old and has a weak stomach. Hair balls probably mean some form of inflamatory bowel disease but the food she is on stays down most of the time and she doesn't lose her appetite and maintains her slim seven and a quarter pounds.

I did not do as much cleaning as I would have liked but that is OK. At work, I found out that a password we occasionally use is out of date and I'll have to write to get another one. I'll do that in the morning. By write, I mean email.

Last night I made TVP rissoto and I also roasted a buttercup squash by seeding it, cutting it in manageable pieces and coating the pieces with olive oil. It came out sweet as sugar. I can't resist scarfing it. I adore winter squash. It is the Upstate New Yorker in me coming out all over, and Publix had buttercup squash last week for .89 per pound.

Georgia just settled in over by some plastic shelving. She is in a side cur. She looks wary. I think she would like me to go to bed.

I'll do that in a while, but I want to write a bit more. I had to deal with a half-working xerox machine at work today. I am involved with a big interloan project where I do a ton of data entry, make pivot tables and present results at meetings. I just got done with a pair of pivot table charts and put them in Word documents, but when I tried to get them xeroxed, one of the pages came out upside down and the second time I tried, the title of one page partially got cut off. I got sick of wasting paper and just collated the whole business. I guess that will be OK. The meeting is Monday. I'll need my talking points. I even wrote to Callie, the boss, and got an agenda item.

I also mounted my page for my presentation at BIG today. If you want to see it, it is at http://facstaff.colstate.edu
Yes, this is what librarians discuss at meetings. The weird part about this is that I don't have an education or an information literacy background, but I've taught that one credit course five times. I guess that is good for something. I always said it would be good for a paper one day, or at least a presentation.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Skip a day and what can I say. It was Neopets hard at work or me hard at work at Neopets. I've forgotten how hard I can work and how motivated I can be. Neopets has much the same heuristic as site fights with quick and small and fairly predictable reinforcement. It's a heuristic (and if I can't spell too bad) that I am utterly and completely susceptible too. Seeing those Neopoints pile up and being able to buy rewards with them is wonderful. Having Neofriends who are doing the same thing and who care about the same thing (Most talk about outside topics such as politics and religion is forbidden) reinforces the rat race. I can see that I'm stuck yet I am helpelss to extricate myself. I need to extricate myself.

First, my patterage and my Pretend Brainstorms are more important. There are those with little social capital (Brainstorms definition which is not the accepted scholarly definition.) who need my support since these are my people! There are guestbooks to sign and two low social capital friends who need daily emails. I have been slacking on this last big time. There is also economic revenge.

Howard Rheingold says that his smart mobs are going to replace traditional social structures such as direct marketing. Well not if I can help it.... I get paid every month and every month I'm buying something from a direct marketer. This month I bought some Tupperware. I always wanted it. I know it lasts forever and I need the containers. Next month I'll either buy Tupperware or Avon. There is a woman who visits her uncle at the nursing home where I volunteer who is an Avon distributor. Well, she has a customer. I'm also going to stay a member of my schul. There is nothing more traditional than that old time religion. I still have to figure out what is going on locally to support families of servicemen. I don't support the war, but it is tough for military families of deployed personnel. The military is also a hierarchical and traditional social structure. Where there's a will as they say, there's a way.

I'm still thinking of doing the pretend Brainstormer thing on the Third Rail board. The board isn't seeing much action so this would be a good way to give the board a personality. I actually thought of how Joe Lennon would respond to something Haldis said. She is marooned in the South this summer. I also worried about Susan Hazan who is in Tel Aviv. There was a recent suicide bombing there. I'm sure Susan is OK. I could put all those people in pretend version on my board and have a great time talking with them and hearing about their lives. I could even talk about what they are saying.

Right now though that is half a patterage wheel away, and oh...yes... there is real life too. The Democratic primaries are Tuesday, and I haven't looked in the Chronicle since the weekend. The apartment is a mess, but cleaning has fairly low priority except on Thursday nights.

I can smell the vegetables for rissoto cooking in the kitchen. They smell terrific. Georgia purrs and dozes by the computer monitor. I skipped a day of blogging and a day without blogging is like a day without sunshine.

Well I guess we all need a little rain some time. I figured out why I make such scruffy pivot tables in Excel at work today. I simply don't have enough information to make real good pivot charts and tables. Making regular charts might be a solution but I didn't do it that way. I made the charts and put them into Word. I have to debrief Erma, my colleague/supervisor, and ask Callie for an agenda item for the meeting on the 19th. Once a month or so we have these awful librarian faculty meetings. I call them awful because all meetings give me hives.

Well here it is a day later. Blogger decided to go down for repairs and that was the end of the blog...well not quite. Erma looked at my pivot tables late this afternoon and noticed data entry errors. They are no big deal to me but they need to be fixed before Monday. It is one more item for the do-list.

I took a morning off from the computer this morning. I made myself treck through the hot sun to Country Life, this area's natural food store. I wanted some soynut butter. They did not have soynut butter, but I bought almond butter and sunflower butter of all things. I like fancy nut butter sandwiches and I have a cold again. That means I'm better off without dairy. That means my sub habit gets nipped in the bud.

I also got short grain brown rice and I got something called soy curls and I got yellow grits. I am now broke but I don't care. I can go to the ATM machine tonight at the mall and draw out some more cash. I get paid by direct deposit. The fact is, except for tea, I no longer need to make a trip to Atlanta. That is a big relief.

My plantar fascitis is quite a bit better. Of course I'm dosed up with naproxen for the cold. If it is not one thing, it is another.

And here is an image....

red cana thinking of you

Monday, July 12, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I am starting revolution number four around the patterage. I am doing this in spite of the fact that Neopets pushes and strokes every cognitive button. They even have a game called Chemistry for Beginners that reminds me very strongly of a certain kind of geometry or trigonometry problem. Add the pieces according to a complex series of rules. Make patterns and gain points. So far by personal best is 550 points. I need to have 820 points to get a trophy.

My guild on Neopets imploded. I found myself guildless when I went to visit my guild today. I am not sure how I want to pick out a new guild. I am thinking of starting my own. It costs nothing. I made about 2000NP today but I had to work brutally hard to make it. I may either use some of it to buy books for my pets to raise their intelligence level or I may go on the Kitchen Quest when I have between 12,000 and 20,000 NP to my name. This last yields fantastic rewards. They are also NOT the kind of rewards that show. Keeping my wealth a secret if I become wealthy or keeping my poverty a secret is good form. I get tired of all the bragging and begging and a combination of both and the offers to haggle and the offers of prizes that may or may not be there.

I have a ton of Neofriends but they seldom write. Everyone is too busy with either "real life" or earning Neopoints. I met one very antisocial grundo owner this morning. Her grundo was even painted. Some grundos look good in some paing and some very clearly don't.

Right now I'm itching to play Chemistry for Beginners again. I want to practice and get really good but the game won't load on my 28.8 connection on a crowded backbone on a Sunday night.

I am thinking I may really bring pretend versions of some Brainstormers on to my second web board. I was thinking today what Joe would answer to a comment that I made to Haldis on the Run Amuck Board. I think I will keep "Joe" and the other pretend Brainstormers on the Third Rail. I'll be able to continue my postings and conversations there and my Pretend Brainstorms will feel even more like the original.

I am also the assistant manager of this group. I made a page for them and yes the front page is a mess. I think though that as lowly assistant manager, I am not going to be allowed to redo it. Cleaning it up is out of the question since MSN Groups' editor and I don't agree. I'll have to write some email and see what happens.

I got to preach and sing at the nursing home because Reverand Claude came late. We did peace hymns and we did &quout;He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." and included all the countries. I said it was important to sing hymns in Hebrew and Latin because God is a God of all peoples and all languages.

Then along came Rev. Claude. His service included not only the Battle Hymn of the Republic but My Country T'is of Thee and God Bless America. The only cool part was Rev. Claude arrived just as we were singing Down by the River Side. You know the chorus of that one goes "Ain't going to study war no more." It was a perfect study in contrasts. In the back of my mind I imagine Rev. Claude and I in a pitched political battle.

Now let me give my schpiel about Battle Hymn of the Republic. If any hymn deserves to be retired, this one is it. First it was born in blood. It was the song Union soldiers sang (and I think Confederate ones too) before they went off to slaughter fellow Americans. Second, it has been horrificly parodied. Here is one version.

My eyes have sen the glory of the burning of the school
We have tortured every teacher
We have broken every rule
And tomorrow afternoon we will hang the principal
Our truth is marching on

Glory glory hallelujia
Teacher hit me with a ruler
The ruler turned red and the teacher dropped dead
And that was the end of school.

Here is an even more violent parody. In three lines kids on a school bus can pack a ton of violence into a song. We'll use my name as the example.

I like Eileen with a rope around her neck
A knife in her back
And a bullet in her chest. I like Eileen with a rope around her neck
Hanging from the George Washington Bridge -- UNDRESSED!

I don't know if kids can sing stuff like this today without getting in trouble or if today's TV and internet soaked generation has the wherewithal for this kind of thing. Anyway, Battle Hymn of the Republic needs to be retired big time. I hope you can see why.

In other news, the woman in the nursing home, the one with skinny little legs like match sticks was out of her bed and sitting up in a wheel chair and she didn't look half bad. I hope she wasn't too doped up but maybe she was just old and weak as opposed to just old. That is good news.

Georgia also did her business where she was supposed to today. She didn't even throw up today. I gave her a good hard brushing and she leaped to the counter twice without the stool. She is asleep or half alseep by the vacuum cleaner now.

I am wondering if it is too soon to write to Monde who lost her cat last week. I wrote to her once but I think follow up is a good idea. If she were the card type, I'd send her a card. She is not the card type and now is not the time to change her mind.

I have a place to stay for Sunday night July 25th so I can get up nice and early with a decent night's sleep to do my presentation in Milledgeville on the 26th. I have to call Beth who commutes from Macon to Milledgeville and tell her when and where we will meet. The motel which is a transient housing type place is located less than a mile from the bus station. I can meet at the bus station at 9am and then we can take off for a whole day at the conference. I promised Deborah Stanley that I would get my presentation outline on the web. I guess you can say taht tomorrow I've got my work cut out for me.

by Eileen Kramer

I am starting revolution number four around the patterage. I am doing this in spite of the fact that Neopets pushes and strokes every cognitive button. They even have a game called Chemistry for Beginners that reminds me very strongly of a certain kind of geometry or trigonometry problem. Add the pieces according to a complex series of rules. Make patterns and gain points. So far by personal best is 550 points. I need to have 820 points to get a trophy.

My guild on Neopets imploded. I found myself guildless when I went to visit my guild today. I am not sure how I want to pick out a new guild. I am thinking of starting my own. It costs nothing. I made about 2000NP today but I had to work brutally hard to make it. I may either use some of it to buy books for my pets to raise their intelligence level or I may go on the Kitchen Quest when I have between 12,000 and 20,000 NP to my name. This last yields fantastic rewards. They are also NOT the kind of rewards that show. Keeping my wealth a secret if I become wealthy or keeping my poverty a secret is good form. I get tired of all the bragging and begging and a combination of both and the offers to haggle and the offers of prizes that may or may not be there.

I have a ton of Neofriends but they seldom write. Everyone is too busy with either "real life" or earning Neopoints. I met one very antisocial grundo owner this morning. Her grundo was even painted. Some grundos look good in some paing and some very clearly don't.

Right now I'm itching to play Chemistry for Beginners again. I want to practice and get really good but the game won't load on my 28.8 connection on a crowded backbone on a Sunday night.

I am thinking I may really bring pretend versions of some Brainstormers on to my second web board. I was thinking today what Joe would answer to a comment that I made to Haldis on the Run Amuck Board. I think I will keep "Joe" and the other pretend Brainstormers on the Third Rail. I'll be able to continue my postings and conversations there and my Pretend Brainstorms will feel even more like the original.

I am also the assistant manager of this group. I made a page for them and yes the front page is a mess. I think though that as lowly assistant manager, I am not going to be allowed to redo it. Cleaning it up is out of the question since MSN Groups' editor and I don't agree. I'll have to write some email and see what happens.

I got to preach and sing at the nursing home because Reverand Claude came late. We did peace hymns and we did &quout;He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." and included all the countries. I said it was important to sing hymns in Hebrew and Latin because God is a God of all peoples and all languages.

Then along came Rev. Claude. His service included not only the Battle Hymn of the Republic but My Country T'is of Thee and God Bless America. The only cool part was Rev. Claude arrived just as we were singing Down by the River Side. You know the chorus of that one goes "Ain't going to study war no more." It was a perfect study in contrasts. In the back of my mind I imagine Rev. Claude and I in a pitched political battle.

Now let me give my schpiel about Battle Hymn of the Republic. If any hymn deserves to be retired, this one is it. First it was born in blood. It was the song Union soldiers sang (and I think Confederate ones too) before they went off to slaughter fellow Americans. Second, it has been horrificly parodied. Here is one version.

My eyes have sen the glory of the burning of the school
We have tortured every teacher
We have broken every rule
And tomorrow afternoon we will hang the principal
Our truth is marching on

Glory glory hallelujia
Teacher hit me with a ruler
The ruler turned red and the teacher dropped dead
And that was the end of school.

Here is an even more violent parody. In three lines kids on a school bus can pack a ton of violence into a song. We'll use my name as the example.

I like Eileen with a rope around her neck
A knife in her back
And a bullet in her chest. I like Eileen with a rope around her neck
Hanging from the George Washington Bridge -- UNDRESSED!

I don't know if kids can sing stuff like this today without getting in trouble or if today's TV and internet soaked generation has the wherewithal for this kind of thing. Anyway, Battle Hymn of the Republic needs to be retired big time. I hope you can see why.

In other news, the woman in the nursing home, the one with skinny little legs like match sticks was out of her bed and sitting up in a wheel chair and she didn't look half bad. I hope she wasn't too doped up but maybe she was just old and weak as opposed to just old. That is good news.

Georgia also did her business where she was supposed to today. She didn't even throw up today. I gave her a good hard brushing and she leaped to the counter twice without the stool. She is asleep or half alseep by the vacuum cleaner now.

I am wondering if it is too soon to write to Monde who lost her cat last week. I wrote to her once but I think follow up is a good idea. If she were the card type, I'd send her a card. She is not the card type and now is not the time to change her mind.

I have a place to stay for Sunday night July 25th so I can get up nice and early with a decent night's sleep to do my presentation in Milledgeville on the 26th. I have to call Beth who commutes from Macon to Milledgeville and tell her when and where we will meet. The motel which is a transient housing type place is located less than a mile from the bus station. I can meet at the bus station at 9am and then we can take off for a whole day at the conference. I promised Deborah Stanley that I would get my presentation outline on the web. I guess you can say taht tomorrow I've got my work cut out for me.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Neopets is down right now so I am working hard to make up on lost patter. Making up the patter feels very good. Before the downage which is temporary (I remember one much like it on Brainstorms) I was finally at the total cost of about 2000NP able to raise my grundo, Shanti's, intelligence. I am proud of this.

I also gave myself a good self-talk on Neopets. I said, this is worse than Brainstorms. You get kicked out. They even have a euphemism for it "frozen." Heck it's not frozen, it's purged! You're booted out and because Neopets will not let you remotely load anything except images and everything including your web pages are created inside the community with little opportunity to back up and a crippled format that is hard to reproduce, any one booted out takes a much bigger hit.

I even figured out how to get kicked out for something that is not gross vandalism. I could start an alternative guild to provide a refuge from the get and spend, capitalistic, consumeristic culture that Neopets provides. I wonder how long I'd last if I tried something like that. Of course writing only a modestly Neopian adventure full of dark disturbing content could get me booted too. Learning to draw my pets and keeping pages about them on my own server, might be a good idea. I an always have pretend Neopets via a blog any day of the week and there are tons of gaming sites out there now that I've discovered I like certain games.

Learning to not be so dependent on recognition of others for achievement would be very nice. Neopets is addicting because you get recognition so easily. Site fighting works this way as well. And yes, I am job hunting. I'll write more about that on the right side of the blog.

What fuels Thadea and the others and my Neopets addiction is a need to be a str achiever the way I was in high school and even college. I am not that way at this job for reasons too complicated to explain. Looking for another job is a very good idea.

I have one resume ready to mail and I thought I had another one on disk ready to convert, but my Word XP can't seem to read it. I suspect since old formats are usually covered and convertable that I got an old sour disk. I am out of diskettes at home. You can guess what I am buying at WalMart tonight. I am hearing my computer try once more to read the crippled disk. It sounds as hopeless as it is. I could always send the files in their current form. Actually, it looks like only one fie is sour and Word did something weird when it saved it, so I can go home and get a fresh copy of that file and save it as a different name etc... That is a relief. I'll get the first resume in the mail, when I get off my tail and go to Wal-Mart.

I skipped a day blogging and I feel bad about that, but it is good in a way. I had pleasant home worship last night and even got the apartment vacuumed before that. I found a large cat turd on the "go away" mat. The culprit is wonderfully feckless. I suspect she did her business in Hertzel's spot as the result of a fight. She is not acting one bit sick. She is so much herself it isn't funny. Thank God for pet stain remover. It also gets rid of the odors so that no one gets any ideas about staging a repeat performance or going the other cat one better.

I made spinach salad last night too. It came out pretty good. I have bleu cheese in the house to make bleu cheese dressing but there is still some thousand island left that tastes good so I'll use that up first. I had a sub for lunch today and nothing after that. I have leftover spinach and what I call bad karma pickles. Bad karma pickles are made by Mount Olive which does not treat nonunionized farm or factory help well. There is a boycott of Mount Olive products going on. The problem is that Mount Olive banana peppers taste terrific.

I've decided the resume will go out late tonight and I will buy some fresh disks, and computer glitches just happen. I managed to make over forty PowerPoint slides on Friday for my presentation. I still have to find a motel in Macon that is reasonably close to the bus station. For some reason I have a block on that. I am getting a ride from Macon to Milledgeville on Monday morning July 26th for the presentation. To say I am scaird is the understatement of the year.

I guess I'll get over my fear in time. I'll make the motel reservation and spend most of the 25th of July travelling. I'm not thrilled with any of this. On top of it all Monday begins an eleven day week. I work both days on the weekend and they will be long shifts. Erma has that pleasure this weekend.

And if you want to know where I'm sending resumes, sorry that is priviledged information.

Friday, July 09, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

The RAOK guestbook is a mess! It got vandalized some time this afternoon. When I tried to get into Alxnet's site to clean up the guestbook, I was told that the control panel is down due to a system upgrade and to come back in fifteen minutes. I guess I'll give it another go in a little while. Meanwhile, I'll email Candi and tell her I know about the problem.

I made peace with my brother in spirit, YBGeorge. I don't have to read his posts every day. I probably did not read Joe Lennon's posts every day when I was on Brainstorms. Just having him send me stuff and knowing his posts are there is enough. With Yahoogroups, I can always go back and get George's posts on the net. I tamed the bandwidth tiger by putting George's group on digest. This cuts the bandwidth amazingly. I may do the same with Godsmanna. I'm still debating that one.

I also got rid of a list that I never read called Languages and More. I don't miss it now that it's gone and it was really clogging my Inner Circle. My spam lands in the inbox. I gave up on that a long time ago. Having an inner circle keeps the good stuff away from the spam and that really is all any one needs to do to return sanity to one's email.

I made over a thousand Neopoints on Neopets today. I also made a friend, a fellow white grundo mommy. Her white grundo is a male. Her husband is into Neopets too and he has a grarrl. She warned me that grarrls steal when they are hungry. A grundo is a cute little pudgy alien with plump antennae and big hands and feet and short arms. They come in seven colors instead of the usual four. They are also the easiest "restricted pet" to adopt. Grarrls look like the monster from the old Sunkist oranges commercial, big lizards that walk on two feet. My grarrl is a red one and you don't see that many grarrls either though they are more populous than grundos.

Part of making money on Neopets is not spending it. That is difficult. Temptation abounds everywhere. Neopets is a nearly perfect model of capitalistic consumer culture. As such I like it though I do wonder what a socialist society on the net would look like. I also wonder what a Lawrence curve at Neopets would look like. I bet it's bowed in like a part of a circle. That means there are a few very rich players while all the rest of the Neopians just scrape by.

My friend, Monde, lost her cat, Waa, either today or yesterday. The cat was a red tabby half Siamese spayed female about thirteen years old. She had had lymphoma for a year and a half. Monde is hurting right now. I know how it hurt when my Evander was sick with feline leukemia. FeLeuk is the infectious scourge. It is a virally caused cancer that is contagious between cats though not between cats and humans. Once you have a positive cat in your household, even if he or she is asymptomatic all the cats in your household must be kept indoors on lock down. This keeps them from spreading the disease in the neighborhood.

About a year ago, Monde lost a different cat, Aerr-Aerr, a neutered tom who had diabetes. Monde is now catless. The thought of her in an empty house devoid of meows and purrs makes me shudder.

All that said, Georgia, my seventeen year old half Siamese blue cream alpha kitty girl, tried my patients tonight. First she barfed in the t-hall, the hallway that runs down the center of this posh southern apartment. Fortunately, she threw up her hairball before I cleaned up all the cat vomit. It's gone now.

Then I refilled the litter pans which I had just cleaned (Thursday night is clean up night though I did very minimal clean up this week.) and Georgia had to test drive the green one in the closet. She got in and aimed for the side of the pan to mark the wall. Female cats, especially territorial alpha kitties, like to mark stuff with pee and the litter pan wall is no problem. And she overshot the target and peed on the carpeting. I got out the pet stain remover and cleaned up the mess after cursing out Georgia, but good.

Then I went and got the cat brush. No more nice human waiting for Georgia to come into the bathroom and be brushed which is part of her routine. I scruffed her and gave her the brushing of her life. I was not in the mood to be gentle. I just wanted her brushed and it done and overwith and.... She purred up a storm. She loved every minute of it.

I then decided I was really going to let Georgia have it. I was making a sub sandwich to take for lunch tomorrow. I am sick of nut butter and I adore those veggie delight sandwiches at Subway and the vegiburgers at Blimpie. I know Georgia loves mayonaise and cheese and she was not going to get a chance to snatch them. I put her gently off the counter and took the stool she uses to reach the counter these days (Remember this cat is seventeen years old) and put it out in the t-hall. Georgia was not going to get on the counter to beg tonight.

Then I heard a "whump!" Georgia had leaped to the counter without the assistance of the stool. She lay by some of the drying dishes while I made a sandwich and only gleaned what she could from the plate and knife (and there wasn't much) after I had wrapped up the sandwich. I feel like saying "foiled again!" Of course though I love and appreciate my Georgia. She is a tough little kitty girl with a lot of heart.

In other news, we got in a huge gift book pile a few days ago at work and I went back to the gift book area to pick out books to put in the collection. I figured it was just a few boxes and in half an hour I would be out of there. Nope... It is shelves and shelves of mainly mental health books. I am being ruthless. Anything more than fifteen years old does NOT go in the collection.

Of course having to climb up to high shelves is not fun. I have plantar fascitis as the result of my "weekend warrior" activity over Fourth of July. (I walked six miles each way to see the fireworks.) It hurts to stand for a long time. It hurts less if I walk around a bit. It hurts most when I first stand up. I also didn't bother taking naproxen today. That actually helps heal the inflamation.

Plantar fascitis is a form of arthritis in the feet. I use doughnut heel pads which help a lot, but I need to dose regularly with NSAIDs. Arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis that sets in in late life) runs in my family. Osteoarthritis when you are very old also runs in my family. Live long enough and you get crippled up. I hope they have good treatments for this when I really start getting it badly. This is a real quality of life issue. Right now I just have plantar fascitis in the right foot. And yes, I went grocery shopping tonight but it is only two miles each way to the store. That's a four mile round trip. I'll take 400mg of naproxen before I go to bed. I'm not hurting badly but I want the anti-inflammatory effect.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I'm double tasking Neopets. It's not as bad as it sounds. I have the money to buy groceries and I'm supposed to cook tonight. I feel like doing none of that. I also know I need to look in the chronicle. I'm due to go to Caringbridge.org on the patterage. The patterage feels lifeless compared to Neopets.

I am making myself do at least some patterage activities. If Neopets goes bust the patterage is mine and all mine and no one can take it away from me. That is something I have to remember and my Pretend Brainstorms is the best. I am going to repeat that forever. I am going to shout it loud and proud because it is true.

Last night I was frozen out of Neopets for about five minutes. I did not and still do not know what happened. I was role playing and suddenly it said I was logged out and did not exist. I closed my browser, reconnected, and got back on again fine. I have not been on Neopets long enough to break any rules. No one even knows who I am but the role play was gone. I think whoever was in control dispensed rough justice for innapropriate writing which means anything that distracts from Neopets' commercial mission.

I felt an awful knot in my stomach and a surge of anger. I guess Brainstorms is not entirely out of my system, which reminds me it is time for economic revenge...no not tupperware yet. And whoops...I had neomail. I am going to support the commercial end of Neopets. I am going to click on sponsors. Capitalism allows the little guy with no money and experience to have something resembling a community until he/she and his/her buddies have the money and know-how to pay for something better. Commercial sites do not require social capital (Brainstorms definition).

Wikkipedia's definition of social capital is groups acting together for political purpose. It has nothing to do with the way that Brainstorms used the term. Social capital is not listed in the social science encyclopedia from the 1970's. It is a relatively new term. I want to do more research on it but for right now my operating definition is the Brainstorms one which means status, power, and seniority in plain English. It is possible to gain status fairly quickly with the right markers. Power and seniority by their very nature take time. Commercial communities give those without these things a chance to enjoy themselves and find fellowship on line. I want to support commercial communities. That means I'm willing to listen to salespeople and receive commercial email. I believe in free enterprise. I want to help make market driven communities work.

I wish we had a sociology department on this campus. I think they could help me. We'd also have more sociology books in the library. This is the peril and pitfall of doing any kind of independent research in the summer time.

I talked to Jethro last night. I found his number again. I promised not to call him more than once a week. He was very nice and polite but said next to nothing. I told him all about my revenge plans. He said Brainstorms taught me who my people were. Your people are the people you choose and the ones who won't chase you away. I just made a wrong choice with Brainstorms. Jethro says he is happy I'm politically active in this way. I'm going to take Jethro at face value. I just signed up for a free kit for prevocid, a drug used to treat heartburn. I don't mind receiving advertisements. Of course it's not exactly targeted, but I'm happy to listen to people who sell me stuff if I get something valuable like Neopoints in return.

I haven't eaten my lunch for two days. I've been going out at lunch on various errands, mainly to the mall to mail a resume and today to hit the ATM machine at Wachovia. While I'm there I get an Auntie Anne's pretzel and a lemonade. Nothing tastes better. I don't even eat my breakfast any more. I know I need to grocery shop but feel way too unfocused to do it. I guess that happens from time to time. The kitchen needs cleaning. It's not clean. I know I have to make soup and rice tonight. The CALL FOR FIGHTERS has not gone out at ZOID yet either.

I want to do a few graphics before I leave work. I figure I have about an hour to do what I want and then I'll work more seriously tomorrow. I started the Powerpoint presentation and spoke to the person who is going to give me a ride to Milledgeville for the conference. Tomorrow some time I'll go look at gift books and sort them. This is not my favorite job because sometimes the books can be dusty and smell bad.

I also did a big chunk of interloan cards for the data entry project. I found very few cards that were not on the spreadsheet. I will be about half way through all the cards when I get done with one more pile. This is dull clerical work but I get to listen to the BBC.

I am on the desk for four hours tomorrow so I'll probably do some drawing with my pastels and maybe some graphic work again. If it is busy that is even better. My plantar fascitis has acted up again. It hurts from time to time. It was what I got for walking twelve miles on Sunday and six on Monday.

I am not sure what I even want to buy at the supermarket. I want to make ratatouille later in the week. I guess it is the season for it. I could even make it with TVP or tofu. That might taste very good. I am also thinking of making black bean soup later in the week but I am going to make miso and peanut butter soup tonight. I have all the ingredients for that, but there is no fresh fruit in the house and nothing for another side dish. You kind of get the picture. I could also use more carrots.

I also know the cat litter pans need cleaning. I could have one fun evening if I put my mind to it. I guess that had to happen some time or other. Oh well, I know what else I should be doing tonight and it is more important than all the patter in the world. I'll get to that next.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

OK, the big news this afternoon is that I found Jethro's phone number when I straightened up this desk for a friend who never called to say she was coming and then who no-showed altogether. I could call Jethro. I could have called him tonight. I probably could still call him. The thought of being able to do that is very nice. Actually doing it is another matter. I remember how awkward our last conversation was. He is inside. I am outside. I have my Pretend Brainstorms that I neglected a bit this weekend in favor of Neopets.

That has to stop. My Pretend Brainstorms is where I should be, but it takes hard unrecognized work. I have to make up ways to recognize that work myself. This is not bad. It is inner directed and it is a smart thing to do. It keeps me from relying on others approval, recognition, social capital (I will do that research when I get desked tomorrow. I promise.) to say my piece and say it freely.

Brainstorms is the wrong kind of community to support, though it is open and commercial, two things I like. Remember my big change of heart. The problem is that those who run the community are not the members. There is a good chance that at least some of them are members of the secret elite.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the secret elite this weekend and I think I am going to do a web site about them to let people know they are out there. This will be my "Brainstorms Sucks" web site. My story is unimportant unless it can educate others and most of the others I know are not potential Brainstorms or other elite secrete community members, but people to whom those people are enemies. I know this sounds like a very strong word, but what do you call people that run the venues you frequent yet do not deign to socialize there and who do not have your best interests at heart, who marginalize you, and who have no idea of the culture you are creating? That is an enemy if ever I have heard of one.

I'm thinking of adopting a white grundor on Neopets. I think Rosalita, my grarrl should have a little sister. Watching myself on Neopoets and watching Thadea (Haldis had finals when Webleagues consolidated.) work on her team let me know something about myself. Think of the song from Annie Get Your Gun. "Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you...." Yes, I can. Yes, I can. Yes, I can! Whether it's masked or unmasked, on the net, I am an overachiever.

I want to be one in real life. I want to be one at work and due to a whole bunch of circumstances that are off limits to talk about on either side of this blog, I am not. It is not entirely my fault. It is mostly not my fault, but I have to live with this situation. I need to change it. Change may take close to a year.

In the meanwhile, I sort of have an outlet for my desire to achieve. Instant gratification is great.

The big news today is I did another resume this evening. Don't ask where I am applying. I don't ever state that information publicly. I do really qualify for the job which is a nice feeling. There are few things that beat looking at an employment add and being able to answer "yes yes yes yes." This ad fell into my lap via the ili@ala.org list. ILI stands for information literacy which is the new word for library skills or bibliogrpahic instruction.

I also took myself out to dinner tonight. I went to Blimpie's which is much maligned but very good. Erma just doesn't like sub shops and I think submarines are one of my favorite eating out foods. I think I am going to get the ingredients to make subs at home. Blimpie's has several vegetarian choices. I had a veggie burger that tasted like tofu loaf that was a great delicacy back in Ithaca New York. Blimpie's subs are softer and runnier but they have their own brand of chips available in more flavors. They also have root beer instead of Dr. Pepper in their shops. There is something about Dr. Pepper and subs. All in all I think Blimpie's makes a good change from Subway.

I bought more art supplies for making scannable backgrounds. I want to use some of these with Neopets. I still have to do a new template with a new background for my blog. That shold be interesting. I want as much of my web art as possible to be my own hand and mouse drawings. I am not a great artist but I can draw well enough for my own needs. I am curious what kind of pictures I might make with oil pastels. I figure it was worth six dollars to try and find out. I also bought a miniature sketch pad. Since I'm going to be working on the web, small is beautiful.

I also have to proofread somewhat carefully my presentation outline and start thinking about what I want to Powerpoint version of it to look like (Yes, pardon the grammar but it is nearly two in the morning.) I wonder if I am desked first thing. It still doesn't really feel like a work night.

I hope Blogger does not give me grief when I publish this. Last night I had five duplicate messages to contend with.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I managed to tear myself away from Neopets this morning. The server was overloaded and I decided I had been on long enough. I now have more food than I can sell and stock in my store moves slowly. This means my Grarrl, Rosalita, will never starve. The Grarrl's full name is Rosalita of Roanna. She has red scales and I think she is quite handsome. She has a face only a mother could love.

I dreamed I was doing pure anger with Brainstorms last night and I know the dream came from my involvement with Neopets. The two communities have a lot in common. They are big, crowded, and take care of most of your social needs under one roof. Both pretend to be inclusive and of course neither of them are. Neopets takes kids. Brainstorms doesn't. Neopets has coversational restrictions and message length restrictions that are a bit wearing on someone who is as verbose as I am.

I wrote a very good essay about Neopets back in 2000. I found it and read it this morning. About sixty to seventy percent of what I wrote stil holds. I still like Neopets every bit as much this time around.

What I don't like about Neopets is how the power structure which is every bit as shadowy and malign as MSN wants to prevent users from setting up their own social structure. In a community that boasts over a million members this is bound to happen. The powers that be discourage informal trading. There is a prohibition against links to outside(private) chat boards. The boards at Neopets are so overcrowded topics are buried within minutes to hours. More board space whether it is inside or outside the community would be a good thing. Of course people sometimes resort to their worst instincts in such situations and you know what that means.

Neopets is slowing down the Patterage but not as much as I thought it would. I'm pretty much getting the inner circle completed and I'm three quarters done with the outer circle. I made myself go back and do some patterage tasks this morning. I kind of took myself in hand.

I am every bit as vulnerable at Neopets as I am at Brainstorms. I do feel lost in a crowd and conversational restrictions are protective, but I am still vulnerable. When all the eggs are in one basket and the powers that be steal the basket, you go hungry. Having my Pretend Brainstorms and the patterage solves all of that by keeping me in charge of my own social space, keeping that social space diverse, helping smaller user generated communities, aiding those with lower social capital though I do that on Neopets too, and in the end keeping me a lot less vulnerable. Do I ever learn?

And yes, I do need to read up on and learn about social capital. I'll work on that a bit during the coming week

You know you are in rough shape when you have traction but can't feel yourself digging in. I got out a resume yesterday. Yes, only one but I couldn't find any other positions I qualified for. Sometimes the jobs run and sometimes they don't. At least the ads in the Chronicle are fresh and hot. I've had experience with stale ads, ones that run after the opening is filled.

I got my presecription. I did not clean the kitchen but I did straighten the counter somewhat. The kitchen can wait. I may make bok-slaw this morning since I am out of side dish. I'll eat that with a sandwich and head out to see the fireworks and enjoy the street fair that preceeds them. I'll bring my own bag lunch because the food at the fireworks is known for being awful and overpriced. Having my own food or even sneaking some in from a couple of convenience stores that at least offer a selection is a good idea.

Being out in the sun may cure some of the way I feel. I talked to my boyfriend this morning and that helped. I want to talk to my mom who was an assistant personnel administrator before she retired. I'm just feeling a ton of bad vibes about work. No I won't give you the details. You might think this is just the way it's supposed to happen but not in my profession and not in academia. I was unionized up north. I wish we had a union at my job right now. Unions guard against some of the garbage I've sen at my present job.

I am going to see about applying to work in the New York Public Library system. I'm not sure I can live on the pay, but those librarians have a union. Also it's a large enough system they should be able to make use of someone with an academic library background. I don't know why I never considered this before. I do know. New York is one of the most expensive places to live. Also I don't really like the idea of living so close to family they can mix into my affairs. I really enjoyed the city as a tourist, but you know that joke about the infernal regions.

I would also like to work and live in Atlanta. I think Atlanta is one of the most beautiful cities out there, but as any one who likes to kibbitz my job hunt as half-assed as it is forgets and they do forget, you can't apply if there is no opening. I do not have pull. I am not networking behind the scenes. I have to rely on what gets advertised. That is all.

Yes, I was a bit disgusted with the Chronicle but this is July 4th weekend. Ili won't be up and running for another week. Ili is ili@ala.org It is an information literacy list that often has jobs for which I qualify. Much against my will, I am morphing into an information literacy specialist rather than a science librarian. It happened from teaching Libr1105 five times.

Writing about job hunting rather than doing it makes me feel better though the odd thing is I actually made myself go to the Chronicle yesterday. I guess the New York Public Library is my next stop after I get this blog up and mounted.

Then I am out of here to see whatever is going on down by the river six miles away and partially in Alabama. I'm going to keep the political message toned down. Crowds here tend to be civil to middle aged women in pony tails, even crowds fed drivel. I can always bring my own music and my own walkman. I am going to pick up Priest in the House by Zola which I am reading and my cell phone both of which I left in my office at work. I am going to find my pink triangle button and my God Bless Humanity button but I'm going to wear something other than my anti war in Iraq shirt. I'm thinking pink or tourquoise. I was thinking green but I'm not sure why I don't feel like that color.

Oh well I'm needed in the kitchen and a thousand other places. Have a great holiday y'all.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

OK, let's start out the blog with a mast head. My pretend brainstorms is the best. I love it with all my heart and all my soul, as I should love any creation of mine. You should love your creations that way too. It was worth it to get kicked out of Brainstorms over my avatars. It is worth being who I am and saying what I said.

And that mast head is not lie. Sometimes I leave out the more subtle grumbles. I fell down on the job blogging yesterday. I just melted down completely. I fell asleep on the break room couch. Then I discovered or rather rediscovered Neopets. Neopets ought to be called Capitalism. It is commercial as you know what. I'm about to see more spam in my inbox but my inbox is pretty much defiled anyway and I needed the neopoint nest egg to start a store. I don't have the store yet. I will get one. Right now I am out hunting for stock.

Neopets feels cleaner and safer in some ways. Of course I've had a big change of heart since what happened to me on Brainstorms. Let's start with the fact that I like open commercially supported fora. I used to decry this sort of thing, but commercial sponsorship means access to people without social capital. I'm glad to help Neopets out by signing up wtih sponsors. It helps me support the right kind of thing on the net. It is great to make an ideological statement so easily.

Since I just got my bills in the mail last night, my next installment of economic revenge is going to have to wait but not for long. Tupperware, here I come. I'm sick of keeping rice, beans, and pasta in the freezer for fear of the dreaded mealie moths.

I am about half way around the Patterage. I am going to pick up where I left off. I am also going to do a bit more search and destroy which will help with the balance. Excessive bandwidth in my inner circle is a problem. It is my problem. It does not mean that YB George is not my brother in spirit; for he is. I also have to remember to write to my penpal who may have low social capital. I also thought of another great way to be on the side of those with low social capital. I can support site fighters. I can just ask them if they want my vote.

By the way, it does occur to me that I ought to read up on the idea of social capital. At the time due to the circumstances of the flame war at Brainstorms, I assumed I was just being diddled which was a reasonable assumption. I decided social capital was a Brainstorms word for power, seniority, popularity, and status, none of which I would have had as a newbie anyway, so saying I didn't have or couldn't get something that I obviously couldn't have in the near future no matter what I did was BS. Now I am beginning to wonder if my definition is accurate. If I really learn what social capital is I can do my best to support those without it and to be the enemy of those who have it.

Neopets looks like a great place for those without social capital so it's my kind of place. That much I think so far. And this reminds me I need to write two special emails to other fellow sufferers. Revenge is hard work but revenge is my life.

I had a melt down yesterday. It ended up, as it usually does, with me sleeping on the break room couch and then not sleeping well last night and then having a spate of ugly nightmares. Some of this is hormonal, but I have reason to be very upset.

There are things I can not write on either the right or left side of the blog and what I am facing at work is one of those things. The problem does not effect me personally. Wait it does effect me very personally but it does not effect me directly. I can not give details. I am angry. I am frightened. I am scaird. I am disgusted. The person who benefited, well the junior person who benefited, is not a bad sort. She could have benefited without this problem happening though. And this problem is NOT her fault.

My question is what to do about this problem. I have a piecemeal on again off again job search that I started for other reasons. Starting it up again and sending out a few resumes somewhat regularly might not be a bad idea. I am NOT going to be able to fix this problem. Walking away from it would be one of the best things that could happen.

I also wish one of my colleagues was not so shortsighted about this problem. When there is blood on the tracks and there isn't this time around, but there has been and recently, the next victim could be you.

I finally paid my bills last night. When I went over to Davidson to put them down the mail drop I found the mail drop was blocked. They are doing construction to the mail room/vending machine area. That means there is no mail drop on campus any more. That expletive deleteds. I mailed the bills from the box on the corner of Edgewood and University. They got picked up this morning.

I blew off home worship last night to play Neopets. I think I am on the learning curve with that. I thank God that I am not the type who likes to go to bars or drink at home and get totally wasted or I would have gone on a bender. Playing Neopets at least does not give one a hangover.

If I really can't bring myself to do resumes or I get done with them quickly, all possibilities. I ought to see if the music library is open and go down there to dub a tape of hymns. Remember that project... I'm not sure the music library is open on weekends and the listening stations at my library aren't very reliable.

Tomorrow is the fourth of July and if not much is happening at the nursing home, I may go down early to Thunder on the Hooch. I'll watch the entertainment and propaganda as I did two years before. Last year I went to schul and Rochelle was mourning the stillbirth of a grandson so I was kind of glad to skip the fireworks. I like crowds. I like big celebrations. I am glad to be going out though right now I pretty much still don't feel glad about anything.

Now some of this, especially last night's insomnia, could be PMS. It is day thirty-three of my cycle and I'm sort of ready to get my period. I'll be glad when it gets here. I think given the way I feel now it will be a classic bad one. I get those from time to time. At forty-two I'm still very glad I menstruate.

Friday, July 02, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I guess it's time for a wish list for my Pretend Brainstorms. Doing the mast head all time is a bore. I can do the mast head some other night, and don't worry I will. Well some new web rings for the Life Stories conference might be a good idea. The two I have are fairly good but I'd like more. You can't go back every three days and sign the guestbook though you can do this with blogs. Go figure. I realize I am replacing depth with breadth but so be it. Assumptions are different in different parts of the net.

My brother in spirit, YB George, wrote some interesting testimony on his list tonight. It was strange and sad to read. It makes me feel George is a bit intense. I'm glad I know him only at a distance, but I am also VERY glad that I know him.

I'm on cycle three of the patterage. That feels good. I also put up a new patter prompter for Ladies Advance. This is a monthly event. It was just plain time.

I know some time tomorrow or Saturday I'll find out if the folks who run Our Sigs and Designs will make me an assistant manager. If the answer is no I get to find out whether the assistant managers they do pick are competent as well as just their friends. If the group gets run into the ground which it pretty much is right now, I have my own group Owning the pass key has big advantages though I loathe MSN groups all the more for having to mess with them. Sometimes a peek below the surface doesn't make you feel any better about something.

Orelle thinks she may be site fighting at something called the Prowl Challenge or with a similar named. It is a nonvote exchange Survivor-themed competition. With two ISP's there is really only room for one vote exchanging fighter at a time. Haldis has a small campaign but I don't want to carry a hundred supporters and neither do Haldis or Thadea. Orell probably doesn't know enough. Anyway, Orelle is waiting to see if they approve her. My hunch is they will since Orelle has a decent site. It is even fairly recently revised. The only avatar with a somewhat stale site is Haldis.

I paid my bills tonight and did not take them to the mailbox. I'll mail them from Davidson Center at work tomorrow. I also cleaned litter pans and cleaned up the cat vomit and made delicious string beans with radishes and watercress to have with my sour bean soup and sour rice. Sour soup is a summer treat. Yes, I'll write down and post some of these recipes.

Some jerk left a box of junk right outside my door. There are two tennants moving out of my complex. One if the family right above me. It consists of an enlisted man and his Korean wife and their two small children. I call the oldest girl thumper because I can hear her going thump thump thump thump as she runs across the floor of the upstairs apartment. I will miss Thumper's family. They vacuumed all the time but other than that they were the sort of respectable neighbors one likes to have.

Linda is also moving out. She has a miniature Boston Bull Terrier which is the most overbred and fearful little thing. She yips and prances around and has never gotten it throgh her canine pea brain that she lives in a complex full of other humans who sometimes come out of their apartments. Georgia and Hertzel figured this out though Georgia had to learn not to go visiting in other people's apartments.

When Georgia was a young cat in Utica, New York she liked to visit businesses in the neighborhood. These included the Belle Shop. I remember walking with Georgia one winter night in December and Georgia getting on her hind legs to look at the Christmas lights in the Belle Shop window. The Belle Shop sold bridal and formal dresses. I don't know if it was a money laundry. I kind of suspect it was.

Georgia also visited the woodworking place at the end of the block. One time I went with her and introduced her as Georgia, the wonder kitty, which is an apt description. Neighbors both on Walnut Street and Tracy Street all knew Georgia. Everyone knows Georgia wherever I have lived if I let her outside because she is an alpha cat who likes to maintain a high profile, sitting on cars, coming into yards to pick fights with other cats etc... When Georgia came home with her belly and paws dry and a wet spot on her back, I knew she had been off getting into fights with a cat whose owner retaliated. Water dries and it is harmless. I would not want a marauder from half a block away fighting with my kitty either.

The reason I am not writing about work tonight is that something happened there that may be better off not discussed. Something did happen. It did not happen to me. I kind of admire what happened. I think it was an oddly clever solution. I'm not sure it is legal. I did not do it. I am just a spectator. That is all I can say.

I did write to Deborah Stanley and she wrote me back saying she'd get someone to "pick me up" She does not want me "taking buses all over Georgia." If a bus went to Milledgeville I would have taken it. It's not the buses that are the problem. One can even work in a shopping trip (Shopping in Atlanta is not expensive. Getting there is.). It's the hundred and thirty dollar cab rides that are the problem. Say that four times fast.

I guess I am making progress. I am even thinking of going to schul on Saturday morning. I also want to see the fireworks. I don't mind walking six miles each way to do it. I have to find out whether they are on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday night. They shoot them off over the Chattahoochee River. They are beautiful to watch.