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

LET'S ROLL THOSE OTHER SITES

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, April 29, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

Thadea needs to do an .html to .shtml switch on all the web pages of her team. This is a big job. She also has to get the voting protocol straight. She really does not want to move fighters up in small heats. Single rounds work better as does advancement based on a percentage of the field. Thadea is going to sit on this issue. She remembers fighting at the original Golden Elite and remembers voting there and seeing lots of empty space on many teams. Also what happens if a team gets really large, do fighters just have less chance? Does one add extra heats? Is Thadea the only site fighting administrator in the world besides me with a love of mathematically elegant solutions?

She is tinkering with the pages so the work goes slowly here. Well it's almost done. The team site is only six pages instead of the nine or ten that make up typical Webleagues teams. I'll probably have to have Thadea make diversion and running pages. I hope no one has dropped a bomb on the staff mailing list. I guess Thadea gets to find out in a short while. That makes for a slow blog tonight.

I am playing too much Neopets. It feels like too much so it is too much, but it is hard to break the hold. I found a game put out by a Chinese soft drink company called Mirinda that pays 600NP a day and sometimes a bit more. I'm learning Fyora's Quest, and you get paid while you train. I always wondered why people found Neopets' games so attractive. To me they were just money makers, though I have a way of choosing the dullest cash cows in the herd.

And speaking of cash cows, the Secret Sparkle Body Spray quiz has vanished. The Neopets post is slowly disappearing from the blog which gets very few responses now. PKPeach has not beenn on in three weeks. I almost feel I know what happened. Cash hungry Neopians played the quiz three times a day to get 900NP and even when they reduced the pay out to 450NP, people still milked it. They got tired of their game being so popular. They got ried of all the social engagement their fake Neopian would have to produce and they bolted and pulled the plug on the whole project. I guess I should have seen it coming.

Another interesting sponsor game is the LimitedTooo's Mix and Match. It is a clone of Kiko Match II except you get to keep whatever points you earn even if you run out of time and you can send e-cards for extra NP. This is a very good deal, but I have to stare at a lot of young juniors clothes. I guess this stuff is young juniors if that is what they call it these days. My mother loved young juniors because they had my size. I as always hard to fit. Anyway, my mother also loved the unisex look. Boys courderoy pants were so pretty. They came in all sorts of nice colors. They were dressy and warm and they had slims which was what I wore.

Well I think the Limited Too's clothes are godawful. I have nothing against ten year olds wearing hip huggers and short shorts, miniskirts, and assorted sleeveless tops, but the stuff has planned obselescence written all over it. I can hear my mother's voice echoing as I look at it: "Eileen what are you going to wear that with?" Most of the clothes with the exception of the black shorts and black pants are in strange shades of pink and green that will be impossible to integrate into next year's wardrobe if they still fit or if they have been passed on to a younger sibling, cousin, or smaller sized neighbor. Also with kids wearing school uniforms and having dress codes these conservative days, where does one wear this youth fashion? Do kids grow up with a dual wardrobe? Someone is trying to make good money off of middle schoolers and probably succeeding, and I don't mean just advertising on Neopets. One takes one's neopoints where one can get them.

And I almost forgot. Tonight or yesterday was the one year anniversary of getting locked out of Brainstorms. The official verdict came down three or four days later, but I saw it coming and went straight to work on my play pretend site. That is something I have not regretted. Given the state of the net and the scattered nature of the kind of communities where people don't play ugly intellectual games, play pretend is a great alternative and one I recommend highly. I also am still engaged in vengance work against all things Brainstormish for kicking me out. We are discussing some of this on the Third Rail. I know if I was Christian I would have joined a mega-church. Mega-churches are cool. They are big, approachable, and full of social groups. They don't just limit the fun action to the mucky-mucks in the rich neighborhoods. No one would discriminate against me because I live in a rented apartment. I probably could cook some of the time. I am a Jew and we don't have mega-churches. We are just not big enough and I am not ready to convert to Christianity, but oh I envy those Christians in their mega-churches.

Lysistrata was hard to get out from under the bed tonight, but once I got her, I carried her by the scruff all the way into the pill jail where she served her sentence like a model prisoner. She has been out and about for much of the evening which tonight leaves me feeling rather releived instead of guilty. She is standing right behind me now as I type. She nuzzled my arm with her sweet little face. Her back is arched and she is purring. As the more active cat, I think she will end up ruling the house. Hertzel may be impetuous when he wants to play, but female cats are more serious about life.

Lysistrata begs for food. She likes matzoh which doesn't sturprise me since Georgia also liked it. She is learning her name. She also drinks from the toilet bowl and the bathtub like any red blooded American feline. Lysistrata is staring out the sliding door in the dining room. Lou, my boyfriend, called this watching cat TV.

I hate thinking about tomorrow morning. I will have to again take the prisoner to the pill jail where she will serve her sentence. Only four more days of pills. I swear I am going to have a party Tuesday night.

And yes, I am in the middle of an eleven day week. I will get up early to pill Lysistrata and then go back to bed. Sleeping in should feel good.

I am not sick of eating matzoh even though it is late in Passover. I really do want some fried brocoli rabe or kale, but I made Passover anise slaw instead. I do have to remember to post the recipe to my board and then to various groups. I have a secret dream of running my own gourmet show, but no cooking channel will have me because vegetarian cooks are not wanted.

I had home worship tonight and it was elegant and uplifting and I could even concentrate. That was good. I will haave to go back to schul some time. Maybe I'll even go on Friday. The democrats are meeting on campus and I can bring my own breakfast if I so choose. That will be good.

I hope the meeting is worthwhile. I am set to see the gastroenterologist on Wednesday. I wish he would poke and prod me and get it over with, but he won't. I am just hoping I can pill Lysistrata in the morning. She is so hard to get out from under the bed. Well, I'll keep the bedroom door closed. It is better she runs herself to exhaustion in a small space.


Thursday, April 28, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

OK, it is time for another mast head. It was WORTH IT to be kicked out of Brainstorms. It was worth it to be who I am, say what I say, and do what I do, though God knows I was way too polite until after politeness would do any good. I finally told them off but good and started my own play pretend Brainstorms. Play pretend rocks. Everyone should try it. Play pretend Brainstorms beats the pants off the original.

I read about "gated online communities" in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. These are mainly commercial money making networking sites. They DID NOT mention Brainstorms. I am thinking of writing them a letter on what rejection feels like and why gated communities are an evil and ugly idea. I am still thinking this one over.

I am playing a lot of Neopets but not kiling myself to play all the games nad make all the NP I could. This is a good thing. I make enough to train my pets and that right now is all I want to do, that and run potlatches in my store. I found two more sponsor games one of which is a money machine much better than the gambling for which one pays because one can always just do the game over if one does not like one's score. It is 600-750NP every day. It is for a Chinese softdrink called Mirinda. I would love to try Mirinda, but there is no way I am going to find it in Columbus, GA.

I also have a VENGANCE VICTORY to report tonight. I bought myself PSP 9. I did not take advantage of a free download. I can't explain why the freebie was not good here, but to have used it would have been Brainstormish behavior indeed. I am proud of myself for getting out the old debit card and forking over the bucks. I'm going to consider myself having spent some of my Christmas money.

The software does not run on my home computer which no longer meets system requirements. I hate this planned obselescence. I wonder if any one else does too. I guess I am going to need a new computer. I loathe all the backing up I'll have to do and the software I'll be leaving behind. I loathe going to XP and having many more security worries than I have with my old Pentium knocking around on Windows 98.I feel as if I'm being forced into this move. I dislike being forced.

Lysistrata is lying on the floor next to my chair. I ought to feel good about this, but I feel profoundly sad and guilty. I don't feel guilty about having Lysistrata spayed and aborted. That was the right thing to do. I was not up to fostering a litter and she was small and it would have been a hardship. There are too many unwanted kittens in the world and now there will be three fewer, thanks to my vet.

Because Lysistrata was spayed when she was five weeks along (a feline pregnancy takes nine weeks so think second trimester abortion plus ovario hysterectomy) she is at high risk for infection. She needs antibiotics twice per day. That means I have to shove a small pill down her throat when I get up in the morning and when I come in from work. This is unpleasant, intrusive, invasive. She hates it. She runs from me. She needs to be taken by surprise or with brutality (Scruffing works.) The second dosage, Wednesday night was an utter disaster. She spat out the pilll three times. I chased her all over the apartment and finally ran her to exhaustion. She swallwed the thing. I then opened up the Pill Jail. Now I put Lysistrata in the dressing room with all doors closed. The dressing room has a brown carpet and no place to hide. If she spits out the pill, I can just dose her again. It took two tries to catch her this mornning. I got her in the pill jail on the first attempt tonight because I dragged her out from under the bed by the scruff of her neck. My vet says this is fine. Both this morning and this evening, I got the pill down her throat on the first attempt. I hope my luck holds.

I am sad because Lysistrata has forgotten what will befall her in the morning. I don't think she has any plans for evading me. She would not be in here with me now if that was how she felt. She is half way between on her side and on her back and is showing the world her lovely shaven belly with a small and excellent incision made with internal dissolving sutures. The vet was very proud of his handiwork and told me that there were three fetuses inside her. He said they were the size of grapes and by that I think he means red globes or ribier, not champaign grapes or even Thompson seedless. I will always wonder what colors they were. I'm glad they will never be born though.

I just wish I did not have to give antibiotic twice a day for a week. It is so hard to look at Lysistrata, relaxed and social knowing that in six and a half hours she faces the pill jail again. The hands that are good for scritching and being nuzzled and naily pets are also the hands that shove pills down throats and force open mouths and even drag unsuspecting kitties or fearful ones from the lovely sanctuary of the spot under the bed.

I tell myself two days of antibiotics are done. There are five to go. I work this weekend by the way. That means tomorrow is day five of an eleven day week. The last time I had an eleven day week was right after I recovered (well sort of) from diverticulitis. Now I have a cat who is recovering from surgery. The only good thing about an eleven day week is the three day weekend that follows and that usually includes a trip to Atlanta though this one may not. I think there will be a Democratic Party meeting that Saturday. I'm going to go but not sure if I will eat the food. I may bring my own high fiber breakfast instead.

Next week I also get to see the gastroenterologist who will not be poking and prodding at me. He saves that for another appointment. I told the vet that were I a cat with this complaint, I would be considered cured. The antibiotics and the diet worked. I am pain free for hours on end. I am going to probably skip a period due to having been so sick in March. This makes me feel old and dried out. I am going to ask the gastroenterologist about this and also about having to peel my apples and whether I also have to peel pears. At least I'll get some good advice for my time and maybe he will consider me resolved. I can hope.

I just rubbed Lysistrata's belly. The place the vet shaved which is much larger than the incision feels warm and slightly sticky. Cats have a body temperature of 101.2F so they give off heat like radiators and they don't sweat. Hair like peach fuzz is already growing back. Lysistrata has a fine, thick, plushie coat. She is a beautiful little girl and sweet too. It is so sad that this business with surgery and pills has to happen to her. Oh well, it i's a long long time until morning.


Sunday, April 24, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

Ephraim, my bruce, the apple of my eye, got his golden feathers at 3am this morning. Don't ask me where I was when it happened. I was there utterly legally or I could not be telling you. I now have reached a major goal on Neopets and of course the question is "what next?"

The answer is some form of moderation. I play too much Neopets. Success is addictive. Is there any way to break that heuristic? With site fighting, it is very very hard to go backwards from high committment and high winnings to playing only part time. So far, work hasn't taken a serious hit due to Neopets. The rest of my online life or parts of it I should be pursuing are what has borne the brunt. This is not good.

There is also a second part to the "what next?" question. With only one active account, and four painted pets with petpets, a Neohome, and good stats for all the pets, I have basicly fulfilled most of Neopia's goals. There is a small space for personal expression. I can update pages, improve pet stats, buy an item here and there that I fancy, hold a potlatch in my store one or two times a week, but compared to saving for a big ticket item, this is small stuff. The most interesting thing I can do with my pets now is write about them outside the walls. there really is not much that is next.

I learned in the last few days that I cna not use an MP3 player with this computer. The software needed does not work with Windows 98. How do you say planned obselesecence. It wasn't that way a few years ago. There were real differences in how thse machines worked asthey improved. There are no differences now except speed so instead of just realizing this, the software and hardware makers just refuse to support older machines and earlier versions. The alternative of course is to buy/order CD's. They make discmen as well as i-pods.

What I would like to do is replace most of my MP3 collection with CD's and then destroy what I donwloaded illegally before I developed my current respect for intellectual property. This will be a big VENGANCE VICTORY.

Today though was a victory of a different sort. I bought four or five CD's of music for Thadea. She likes techno/dance/trance and 20th Century classical. I had a hard time finding the classical she likes at FYE's at the mall, but I had a good time buying the techno records. I can order the classical and some of the humor I am missing via Tower Records later this week.

Buying CD's now is different from when I used to buy records. I got to listent of samples of all the tracks at a contraption set up with a laser and earphones. This try before you buy approach got me to bring home a variety of music. Now when I score as Thadea, I can put her best of trance CD in the machine and I'll feel like I'm in Iowa City. When I get more show tunes, humor, and world music, I will feel like Haldis when I score. My avatars, at least the two younger ones, have always had their own musical tastes.

OK bad words for the rabbi. Why? I went to Saturday morning services this weekend and we ran over time. He did not even finish or even start the musaf service. He spent a lot of time making us read together and even more time with sermons about how the evil vicious have nots have ot learn not to be selfish. Of course all mmankind has to learn how not to be selfish to bring in the Messianic era. Well, those who have nothing should not be asked to give. It is the fat cats in Sears Wood, Green Island, and North Columbus (though that is a bit arriviste for the crowd at my schul) who have to hand over some of their heaping helpings. How dare any one who sleeps aat ease in a big house in Columbus' toniest burbs agree that the have nots should be content with their lot. Come the day of judgement if there is such a time, the have nots will be totally justified in not only taking the extra off your plate but maybe smashing the whole thing over your head (my head too. These rented digs are pretty posh) or maybe urinating it and trampling it underfoot. We can all be equal in our misery in the end too.

If a personal messiah comes, he will be a messiah for the have nots. Don't look for him in Sears Woods or Green Island. He'll be down at the bottom of Rigdon Road near St. Mary's Road nad Brenden Ave. in the housing projects that look like they are made of cardboard by the plastics plant by the railroad tracks. He'l be over the river in the projects of Phenix City, Alabama. He'll be in the refugee camps of Gaza and among the refugees from the ruined city of Falluja. And if the rabbi asks "why aren't you with us? We are the good people who revere life," he will answer: "Whose lives did you value? Did you value the lives of children killed during years of Iraqi sanctions, the slain in Rwanda, the ones killed by our bombs in Iraq, the poor dying in the slums of Haiti, and back home the working class families without health insurance dying of diseases that they might survive if treated early?"

The fact is I loathe and detest the rabbi's sermons. There is only one schul in Columbus that does a traditional service and that is why I go there and put up with him, the fat cats, and any thing else. Saturday though we did not have a real or complete service. Perhaps this rabbi believes that people really don't want to pray the liturgy and won't pray it on their own if just turned loose in it to follow along. There is much to say for achieving your own rhythm as you move through teh prayers with others around you reading. Getting herded along breaks that flow. I think the rabbi thinks that most people don't want to pray the liturgy anyway. Maybe he is right, but I want to and that is why I have an Art Scroll siddur at home. I think given what I saw this Saturday, that it is a good idea to go back to home worship. I may bring the topic up in the Judaism thread of another board I'm on, but in the end the decision will be mind and be mine from week to week.

I was really feeling down today so I went to the mall. I hadn't been to the mall since right after Christmas except maybe to pass through it. I wanted to see what kind of CD's I could buy nad to learn about i-pods etc... Actually, I just enjoyed feasting my eyes and all my other senses. Whoever said malls were bad places hasn't really been to one in a while or when they were down.

The art of advertising in a mall has become so well honed that it provides someone who is only browsing with hours of just perfect sensory stimulation. I started out in Victoria's Secret. They have a new line of lingere and underwear called Pink. This is supposed to be for colleg egilrs who want to dress like little girls. In reality, it is for any small to medium size (not super humungalous) woman of any age. They don't have the pajamas right. There are not enough tops with sleeves. I mean if you are wearing long legged summer pajamas, you need a top that covers your shoulders. Also there were no nighties. As my mother taught me long ago, when a woman has a man in her life, she switches to wearing nighties for obvious reasons, and some women wear nighties out of wishful thinking. I fit in this last category.

Now when it came to panties, though, Pink got everything right but the price. The panties come in various styles ranging from classic bikinis and thongs to high cuts and in all kinds of really beautiful patterns. Best of all they are amply cut and made of a nice cotton knit that feels soft and warm. They are sold on a flat panty bar that invites rummaging and touching. The price is a bit more than what I would spend for panties. I buy my panties in the bargain bin, but the Pink panties are definitely nicer. They are even nicer than comprably priced panties in Pennys where they sit displayed on round tables.

Now if you are a guy or a ver nonfussy woman or an older woman you may ask what is this panty thing. It's really quite simple. It all started in middle school where we hada to undress for gym. Other girls saw your underware so having nice panties was a must. Then came high school which also had gym and finally in college you lived in a double room and ended up getting undressed in front of any one female. Underware and socks were important fashion items. Well here is all that half a life time ago, but the inner adolescent likes pretty panties even if the outer adult sends her to the bargain bin.

I still remember the panty bar set up in the junior department of Macys in White Plains. This ingenious bit of advertising was located right smack dab next to the regular junior department. The real lingere departmentwas on the other side of all this. The panty bar ws against a wall and the panties were all on hangers arranged by size nad color. Believe me this store knew their clientele. I used to spend some of my Christmas and birthday money at the panty bar all throughout high school. Pink reminds me of that panty bar.

Then we have Bath and Body works. This is my favorite store. I go in even when I do not need anything. I want a free sample to rub on my fingers which often have eczema. Their products are a sovereign treatment for eczema. I keep a tube of their hand cream in the bathroom. It works as well as anything I'ev ever used, but I'm really in Bath and Body Works for the smells. They always have new products on big display tables with testers. Sniff, sniff, and enjoy. Like most Bath and Body Works customers I have several favorite scents, but usually I do my sniffing and sampling from among what is new, trying to expand my repetoire. After all, life can't be all spiced apple and vanilla sugar.

boyfriend can not stand Bath and Body Works. He does not understand what all the sniffing frenzy is about. Smells feel so good though. Males though don't have good sense of smell or else they are not trained to use them as well. It is really amusing to see the males who wwander into Bath and Body Works around Christmas time to buy gifts for wives, daughters, and girlfriends. The place is utterly alien territory. The help is female the scent names (which are ingredient names) mean nothing and the smells mean even less.

The odd thing is that Bath and Body Works is designed to be utterly unintimidating. The perfume counters in department stores with the crypticly named scents, pushy help in white coats, makeovers in chars ("may I have a volunteer please?") , and make up intimdate the heck out of me. Bath and Body Works is different. The scents are named for what is in them. Tangerine mango is tangerines and mangos. Lemon grass ginger is spicey and lemony. Gaardenia is gardenia. The most popular scent is vanilla sugar. The products are grouped by scent and displayed on shelves or big tables with the tester bottle handy and a hand washing sink at the ready with tester soaps on it. The help stays mainly at the check out counter, wears pretty red aprons, and is helpful but not pushy. You are free to come in adn sniff and test and ask questions. Someone is making a lot off of Bath and Body Works and they deserve it.

Yankee Candle works on the same principle as Bath and Body Works except that the smells of candles and wasx pot pourri perfume the air not one's own skin. Smells that you wear every day are a part of you. Smells in the house are different. There are smells for every female taste, in a rainbow of colors. Many also come in just to sniff and the males are absent except at holiday time or if a female drags one inside. Again, most of them are clueless. Males are poor sniffers. Taking my nose window shopping is a real pleasure.

At long last, thogh I came to the store with CD's and I disovered you could sample tracks. This is a mixed blessing since the samples may not sound anything like the album. In the case of what I am playing now, the album sounds better, very sad and just melodic enough. I bought very sterile stuff, Philip Glass, Carl Orf's Carmina Burana, and three records of techno/trance/dance. This kindo of very cold music appeals to me. Philip Glass' second symphony plays as I write this. It is so sad. It is the sound track to a grey movie. Philip Glass did the sound track to the movie Candy Man, a really fanttastic horor movie set in Chicago.

FYE, the store where I bought the CD's was the one place where I did not feel completely at home. Actually there was one more, but I'll get to that. It is not good to be older or smaller. I can live with being older. I can live with being smaller. Retailers, with the exception of Victoria's Secret's Pink who have done a pretty good job of hitting my tastes and size on the rump, do a terrible job with small size mature women.

FYE's classical and Broadway colletions were seriously wanting. I have been listening to the local classical station which makes it a point to play a bit of everythingand I've taken downt he names of composers whose songs I liked. I wanted to try Barber, Villa-Lobos, Holst and a few others. Most were not there. There was also only one Gilbert and Sullivan CD and that was excerpts. Come on. There's a lot more out there than what these people stock. And yes, I was one of the oldest people in the store. I find the classical that is most accessible to my rock and techno trained ear drums is 20th century stuff.

Then we have Dillards. Now folks I am forty-two. I am not thirty something. I am not still in college. I work and need business clothes. My tastes are those of an older woman. I like pretty colored shirts. After a certain age your skin goes grey (or at least mine did) and black no longer looks good. Bright blouses or shits and dark or neutral skirts are the rule. Well folded on a table to invite feeling and rummaging were the most lovely shirts. There were blue ones and melon ones and pale yellow ones. All had scalloped necks and lots of embroidery around the necks. I've had and worn blouses like this before. There was only one problem. The blouses looked huge. I started looking at size tags. Oh yes, oh yes, there has to be a size small somewhere. It may run large but at least let me find it. The blouses were size 2x and 3x, otherwise known as superhumungulous. Then I looked up and foudn I was in teh women's department. They'd omoved it.

I sauntered over to where I remembered the petites had been. This was where I found my dress for my brother's wedding last winter, only now it was a Ralph Lauren boutique. There was no more petite department in sight. It may be around somewhere, but Dillards is doing the right thing taking the petite department off of center stage. There are just not that many small women shopping for good clothes. there are just not that many size six forty, fifty, and sixty somethings out there. We are getting fatter and that makes it harder for those of us who buck the trend, because we are too old to dress like teenagers. It's OK to be a small mature woman.

The odd thing about this is I had no empathy for my mother when she was going through the same thing I face now. I felt really proud my mother had kept her youthful figure, except for a small paunch. (I've got one too. It's just there.) I'd tell my mom "You are oldest woman in teh junior department" where we would shop together. She did complain of the loud music in some stores. It was not her music. The jeans and sweaters may have fit especially after about 1979 when baggy pleated jeans came into style, but women in small sizes weren't suposed to be that old.

I also used to brag: "Mom, you're the smallest woman in the Mises Department." Like me, mom had to hope to be there on the night when they opened the turtle neck boxes so the smalls would not all disappear. They never put out enough smalls, and how many times did mom look through a meager supply of size six or size four (in better clothes your size goes down.) dresses or suits. Then of course Mom and I would go to Rave to buy sweaters and every one including the help would be less than half mom's age and by then even younger than I was since I was in grad school at the time. Today mom is seventy-one years old and still very skinny. I don't know where she shops, but it is not easy. Just because I am getting older does nto mean I am size humungulus.


Thursday, April 21, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

Well taking care of business is not a source of vengance victories or setbacks, still Thadea, took care of business last night with this. This means that except for a running page which the team may or may not need and a privacy policy which for web site competitions are extremely byzantine though probably less so for the Golden Elite which is more centralized, the team is complete. The team is in late alpha/early beta. It probably needs an edit and a proof reading. It probably also needs an edit due to the competition rules becoming finalized which they aren't right now.

My post is still up at Sparkle Body Spray. Go figure.

Second, I am NOT addicted to Neopets. Addiction is a medical term. I am not sick. I am rational, way too rational for my own good. I wanted to play Neopets tonight after work but made myself go home and clean out another fraction of kitchen cupboards and ready the bath tub in the kitty bathroom so that I can clean the fridge tomorrow. I am going to shoot for cleaning out the whole rest of the kitchen which in addition to not being ready for Passover is very scuzzy. That takes precedence but that hurts. I have 77,000 Neopoints on the way to a number tht lies somewhere between 115,000 and 150,000. I wanted to earn 10,000NP today but did not have the time. I felt bad about that. I still do. Success is self-reinforcing. I've gotten good enough at Neopets to make money. All it takes is time on a fast connection. I want more time than I have.

Tomorrow morning is the day. I hit the kitchen. I clean the fridge, stove, counters, and floor. This is a big job. This is hard work. This is brutal work. This work does not make me happy. This work is necessary before Passover starts. This is a yearly ritual and it teaches you what it felt like to be a slave under Pharaoh in Egypt. I am always really glad when Passover starts and all the work ends.

I fear that Lysistrata is pregnant. In fact, I strongly suspect she is pregnant. I could not tell if she had pinked up. This is when the female cat's vagina gets pinkish, but I saw a couple of nipples peeking through her white belly furn when she rolled on her back tonight. Lysistrata has let me touch her belly and her paw pads. She even let me pick her up though she gets stiff and unhappy. She is not the kind of kitty who likes to be picked up.

As distasteful as the thought is, I am going to have to get Lysistrata a combination abortion/spaying. I really don't want to foster another litter. Also Lysistrata won't be a good mother to a large litter. She is a little six pound girl who by the time the kittens are four weeks old will have to make her body weight in milk every day to feed a large litter and the little cats always seem to have big litters.

At least Lysistrata is not in heat. That can be a very sad thing. Some cats get silent heats like my Stingie did, but Georgia was in heat when I got her and she was in misery. I guess I should be grateful. Tomorrow I need to call the vet. Hertzel also needs to see the vet so I'll set up both appointments. Now May 4th I see the gastroenterologist. This is the season for everyone getting medical attention. Lysistrata, however, is the only one of us who is going to have surgery. She does not know that yet. I do.

My health card (the first one I have had since my university switched to the PPO) finally arrived a few days ago, and I have to have that to see the gastroenterologist. I don't want to put that thing in my wallet. I guess I don't want to be poked and prodded any more than Hertzel or Lysistrata do.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

This is the story of the shil on Neopets. I found her quite by accident. I love playing sponsored games on Neopets. Sponsored games are part of free enterprise on the net, and sponsors keep Neopets in business and accessible even to those without money, pull, high status, and special skills. And the Secret Sparkle Body Spray Personality Quiz is a great game. It is a giveaway of 300NP three times a day for a total of 900NP per day. If someone hands me 900NP per day for thirty mouse clicks, of course I'm going to click my mouse. I also became curious about the web site and the product.

Face it, I'm a woman and my arm pits still stink. It took me a while to figure out that Secret Sparkle Body Spray was a deoderant. They never use the word. Heck, I used Right Guard when I was a teenager. I thought it smelled good, and teenage girls are seriously stinky. I mean are we so squeamish that it is taboo to talk about smelly arm pits and what can make them less smelly. Well, here is a product I might be able to use and it is also available in a roll on. I have had some trouble breaking out from deoderants (So I ended up using and swearing by Tom's of Maine). My skin may have become less sensitive though and I'm tempted to try the roll on that comes in all these nice scents, and their advertisements help keep a place I care about in business.

Well one thing led to another as it always does and the web site has a blog on it, and after a brief read I was in hog heaven. Let's just say this is the home of avatars for fun and profit. A bunch of advertising women are pretending to be the kind of teenagers that middle schoolers idolize. These have about as much resemblence to real teenagers as the ceramic kitties on my file cabinet have to Hertzel and Lysistrata. The teens who talk on the blog remind me of the teens that middle schoolers role play. I have done high school role plays for reasons of nostalgia and my teens are always the "realistic" type or what adults recognize as realistic. I'm not sure what middle schoolers know about sixteen to eighteen year olds. All I remember of what I knew of older teens when I was eleven are the things that turned out to be correct later. I think most of my older fantasies revolved around going away to college, and the fact that high school would be open campus.

Anyway, I found a post on the blog about Neopets and left my userid and an invitation to send email. I also checked out the account and pets that the Peachy Keen had put on the blog and sure enough the userid and pets were all real. I decided to buy newbie, Peach Body Spray, a gift, since I am all for avatars and personnae. This should have been a VENGANCE VICTORY big time and maybe in a way it was. I sent the gift and then sat down to write an ice breaker Neomail. Neopets said the email would go through, but when I clicked to send, it said that the user had not received parental permission. I wondered what gave. She seems to be an adult user until one hits send. I guess Neopets set up some kind of special dummy account, figuring no one would want to send a Neomail.

Well, I felt disappointed. This is not the way to run a personna. It needs to be three dimmensional and since no photograph is required (though with an advertising budget I'm sure someone could create one that is not going to get confused with stock photography.) this should be easy. If the woman behind Peachy Keen (Peach Body Spray, Peach etc...) feels uncomfortable posing as a fifteen year old, she can be eighteen or nineteen. She should be free to receive and send Neomail and maybe even appear on the boards a bit. There are verisimilitude problems with all the Sparkle Girl teens but a good actress can get past that.

Anyway, I visited the Sparklebodyspray site today. Call it moth to a flame if you will and left a comment on their blog. I realized after I left it, that whoever is putting this advertising campaign together does not know Neopets as well as I do. Of course no one really knows Neopets becasue it is large and probably one of the most diverse online communities ever. Large and public means incredibly diverse.

Everything and anything hangs out and passes through Neopets. Just because they can't speak their minds on the boards or to each other (we'll get to this) doesn't mean they aren't there. Peach's post on the blog announcing she is a Neopian released a groundswell of comments, some thirty-four of them in a week. Because one does not have to have parental permission to talk on the blog (Typekey has a COPPA examption because it is a one time application.) Neopians who are muzzled by COPPA, now have a board, and a persistent one.

Also there are all kinds of Neopians. There is me. Twenty percent of Neopians are adults, and that is probably an under estimate. My numbers come from a study done in 2002. I am at the right end of the age curve but there are even senior citizens who play, and with a product with wide appeal such as deoderant, the web site is likely to get a wide variety of female visitors. Today it had me and today I left a comment. I was not rude. I did not use foul language. I did not commit vandalism. That said, the comment won't be up there long.

Here is a copy of it....

First, let me preface this by saying I am one generation older than most of the people here. I did not go to my high school prom. I have never bought a formal gown in my life either.

My brother got married last year and it was formal wear optional. I fell in love with my dress as I walked in the door at Dillards. It was street length, bright red, and like a very fancy suit, tailored with lots of brass buttons. Since I knew how to buy a suit and the thing fit like it was made for me, I had my dress.

Given my bias, my question is this: if some students find it a hardship to get formally attired for the prom, why don't school officials step in to make the whole practice less extravagant?

For example: why not hold a semiformal instead of a prom? Why not even hold it on school grounds to cut expenses further? A smeiformal is a dance at which the women wear nice dresses though not formal wear and the men wear suits or sport jackets and ties instead of tuxedoes. This is an old idea, though probably one that is no longer fashionable.

In the spring of 1976, my high school did not have a prom due to lack of interest. The boys did not want to spend the money to rent tuxes and the girls and some of the teachers supported them.

When I was in college my dormitory held a semiformal. I remember going with my mother to buy a dress for it. I got a bargain at an outlet store. Suffice it to say it was no financial hardship. My date already had a suit and we walked up the hill to where the dance was held in a private room in the student union.

I think it would be nice if high school students could enjoy the same elegant but pressure free kind of event as I enjoyed that first semester in college. What do the rest of you think?

I suspect I may wind up getting banned from the blog. More likely, the powers that be will just pull the post. The ironic thing is that it would not take a forty-two year old woman to leave this post. A geeky teen or college woman could write such a thing. If you leave open the gate, all sorts will walk through. Well, I guess if I buy the deoderant, the web site and blog will have done their job as well as the daily helping of Neopoints. We'll see how this turns out.

Lysistrata nuzzled my heels and nibbles my fingers. She demands attention even though she often hides under furniture. She is a real underneath kitty. She is afraid of my face. If I try to kiss her on the head, she backs off and flinches, though I can kiss her pretty striped back and rump. She purrs all the time.

This morning she tried the tricky track toy, the one with the ball suspended in the plastic ring with holes so the cat can bat it around the ring. She also wanted to play with my knees. I don't know what Hertzel makes of Lysistrata but I know she doesn't get up on the bed for snuggles. Hertzel comes under the covers with me and purrs in my arms.

Lysistrata had plans to get out of the apartment this morning. This morning she learned what a loud "NO" meant. I felt bad about that, but I know she is safe at home in the apartment. Even if she was going to be an indoor outdoor kitty, she would still be on lockdown for two weeks. And yes, I need to clean the litter pans. It is getting a bit close in the apartment. I guess that is tonight's job, though I also have to hit another cupboard. Yes, I have really started cleaning up for Passover though it doesn't feel real yet. This holiday is kind of sneaking up and hitting me from behind. I guess it just does that some years.

I won't have Lou with me for Passover. He is still waiting for a job that may be hanging fire. The man who makes the hiring decision is in Ohio. Nothing ever moves fast enough when you want it to.

Hopefully if I clean the kitchen systematically for Passover, it will be painless at the end without a lot of rushing. I will see. The big job, the fridge, still awaits. Compared to cleaning for Passover, cleaning cat litter pans is nothing.


Monday, April 18, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

It is hard to believe that during this time last year, the due process at Brainstorms had already begun. I survived that but got kicked out any way which is bizarre, but no more bizarre than the workings of any nasty high school clique. I miss the noise, the action, and the fairly good quality of conversation. Yes, I can't stomach glurge and forwards. People who step up to the plate and actually write something, anything (It does not have to be particularly "intelligent") are a rare breed.

That said, I put up with the glurge, mainly by deleting it unread these days. The new community of boards is interesting but I am wary and on guard in that place. No crit is a legitimate answer to the question of how to keep people getting along on the net. We make it up as we go along and kick out those who have different ideas while pretending to be tolerant, is another idea. No crit often works better. No crit lists are really often less judgemental provided one stays on topic or within the rules. Of course no crit does not let "intelligent" folks play their games. They find it no fun. It can feel like a straight jacket if verbal tussle is your thing and you are fast on the trigger with the written word. Having to sheeth that sword hurts. On the other hand, not getting cut feels terrific. This is why I like Ladies Groups. I have been cut up one too many times, and one was not one too many. It took several times and a few deep wounds.

That said, I am behind on my e-cards, not that I am doing formal support, and I blame Neopets. I haven't played that much of it either, but I long for it which is what hurts. I now can feed my pets for absolutely nothing. I can make 10,000NP given enough time. It is hard work, but the laborer is worthy of her hire. At this rate, I can save up enough for a golden paint brush and repaint Ephraim. Not only do I get paid on Neopets, I have something to show for it.

Do I feel like a rat in a cage pressing a bar? Sort of, but not really. I wish I could say more of why getting appreciated regularly and seeing a clear road to a benefit is such a fantastic attraction for me. Suffice it to say, I am not always getting these things in "real life."

I want to write about something much more disturbing on Neopets: random events. These are fine. I got 10np and a new avatar tonight. That is great except there are events with bigger prizes, free gambling in a sense, and one waits on this every day. There is tombola which sometimes pays off well, and often with a free item or trade good. A trade good is a junk item used to pay pure NP for objects since the Trading Post requires one object. There is the Snowager who is as often closed as he is open. He occasionally gives out something valuable. I once got a scratch card from him and won 5,000NP. Then there is Coltzan's Shrine where pets can get level raises, you can get money (Neopoints of course), or occasionally a valuable object like a dubloon. Shanti got a level raise today. Then there are straight random events. Finding a map square usually pays off well as do bottled fairies and code stones. The best random event of all is a quest from the Fountain Fairy, Fyora. If you complete this quest (which means buy an object with the help of other players) you can paint one of your pets any color you wish at the Rainbow Fountain.

Lately those who have received Fountain Fairy quests, put a screen shot of their good luck on their userlookups. Getting a Fountain Fairy quest is like winning the lottery. It is just not going to happen, but I have already decided I am painting Rosalita orange when the time comes when I get my quest.

Why am I even thinking this way? Simple. Random events on Neopets have made me oddly dependent. The fact that I actually (and even a newbie) can actually do better by the sweat of her brow playing games of skill and avoiding the gambling, particularly the wheels has sunk in, but the hope that some big random win is going to help me out (and I have found treasure map pieces and got a ten dublooon coin worth 12,000NP from Coltzan last week) has found its way into my head. I even figured out a way to encourage random events. Run through the pound. This increases reloads which increases the likelihood overall of random events. If you have more random events, you will have more good ones. The logic is impecable. That I have actually done it is a sad case of learning to think Neopian.

For any one who is curious, I have amassed 49,000NP. I need between 110,00NP and 150,000NP to paint Epharim golden. This is a doable goal. An orange paint bruh sells for 800,000NP. Where is Fyora when I need her?

Last I looked, Lysistrata was in the living room. Her eyes glowed. Hertzel had the couch. Lysistrata sat on the floor. When I got back from grocery shopping tonight, Lysistrata greeted me with a mournful mew that turned sweet only when she came out from under the bed and let me pet her. She no longer fears the kitchen, and she drank from the toilet in the "kitty bathroom" (These posh southern apartments come with two bathrooms. I don't need the extra one. This means Lysistrata now has her card in the Feline Union. In this house, Hertzel is Feline Union shop steward. Of course I think Lysistrata thinks Hertzel is nuts for letting me rub his belly. I touched Lysistrata's belly very gently today and did not get scratched. Lysistrata's belly is white.

I did not do all that much today. I played Neopets. I threw out some old jars from the fridge (This is the beginning of the Passover house cleaning. I'll work on it more this week.) I went grocery shopping. Publix did not have any dried peaches. I filled out a special request card. I only eat dried peaches in teh spring when fresh fruit becomes scarce and expensive.

I several kinds of apples, cat food, light bulbs, and fancy mushrooms and other ingredients for making green pea soup. I learned my neighbor, Gene's, daughter, Brianna, only eats shells with velveeta mix. I asked Gene if he could use a box and a half of white pasta. Gene told me about his daughter's predilication. I blinked. Pasta is like bread or rice. I asked if Gene never makes soup or stew with pasta and he says he can't be bothered. There is a big pan of green pea soup in my fridge. I need to transcribe the recipe to Ladies Advance. Poor Brianna has never tasted green pea soup.

My guts are bothering me. It is not the little bit of green pea soup I just ate. Homemade food is fine. I ate a veggie delight sub at Subway tonight. It was delicious. I brought my own soda, a can of Publix cream soda (no cafeeine) and bought some snow peas to eat instead of chips. The cramps started after I got home. I did my business and they got a bit better, but there are drawing pains in the legs and I am more sore than tender. It has been thirty-six days since I last menstruated and my face is breaking out. Draw your own conclusions. I don't think it was the sub but if it was, I can live on my own cooking.

Given what I can tolerate, I can't think that there was anything in the sub that should set off IBS cramps. I started with roast fennel as my first cooked vegetable and graduated to fried greens and potatoes. That's kale folks. Cooked vegetables don't get any more heavy duty than that. I have since moved on to anise slaw and beyond that to atomic cole slaw. Peeled apples and fresh oranges are pieces of cake as far as my gut is concerned and as for high fiber, my guts love it. The only culprits may be the chipotle sauce on the sub (secondary plant metabolites but I usually do well with peppers and chilis.) or the caramel color in the cream soda. I have a bad history with secondary metabolites and food additives. I'm going to chalk this one up to letting the meds really run out and hormones.

I took my psych meds (includes a benzodiazipene) about an hour ago and the growly IBS cramps seem to be under control. I was also cold, which means I realy needed my meds. Yes, I'm the lady sitting in a seventy-five degree apartment (fharenheit) wearing sweats a polo shirt and a sweater. I'm pleasantly warm and a little too hot right now. An hour ago, was barely warm enough. I'll go to sleep in a t-shirt and flannel nightie under a sheet, two blankets, a bedspread, and a duvet. I'll wake up all sweaty as I warm up and relax in my sleep.


Sunday, April 17, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

I guess I had a vengance victory tonight. I went to see Lysistrata which I got to see for free and which was playing on campus. The play dragged badly enough in the first act and the fight scenes were disappointing enough that I thought about walking out during intermission. I'm glad I didn't. The second act was much better. The singing and dancing was great was the exagerated acting of the men when well...I don't want to give the plot away.

I want to write a short story for the BBC contest. I think I have an idea for the plot. It is not much of a plot though. You won't see a first draft of hit here, because the BBC doesn't want the story made publicly available, not that it will be much of a story. I figure I have no chance at winning but a win would look so good on my resume, it is worth a shot. The question is how to have it come out as a story and not polemnic.

I wanted desperately to play Neopets today and was only able to make about 1,300NP because I had to do laundry, fell asleep, and just plain did not feel like sneaking in to my office after hours, not that it is really sneaking. I have a pass key and I just have to call security and tell them I am there. I came home hungry and met up with Herb Jr. the superintendent's son who was a bit drunk and I ended up with a new cat tonight. Well...more on the other side of this blog.

I may try playing some Neopets tonight. Some of the games will play at home. I can earn 10,0000NP a day if I devote the time. This means I can repaint Ephraim, my bruce, and the apple of my eye gold. I've never seen a golden bruce. I'd like to paint Rosalita orange, but that is way out of my reach and besides one day Fyora might just come along. Fountain Fairy quests do happen or so they say. I think the y are the stuff of so mcuh legend. I've also learned to paint my pets for free and play two sponsor games. Maybe I can salvage something of today's Neopian disaster.

Lysistrata is sleeping under the desk. I have barely touched her and she has sniffed me twice and hissed at me once. She is the new cat. Hertzel seems like her well enough. He is busy watching her instead of hanging around on the desk being social. She also lets him sniff her. Lysistrata fears human hands, human feet, and human voices. I'm her first female human. Lysistrata was born wild. She is a classic brown tabby with white paws and a white belly. She has big green eyes. She is betwen six months old and a year old and not neutered. I hope she is not full of fleas and worms. She is sleeping now. Computer typing does not bother or fascinate her.

I have never had such a totally anti-social fraidy cat before. To say this is a challenge is an understatement. To say Lysistrata is not Georgia is so true it is laughable. When I leave and when I put Hertzel out, Lysistrata will come out from under the desk. I am not sure how to encourage her to want a petting. I know the basic rules for approaching a cat comfortably. I make cat appealing noises. I am getting her used to my presence or at least my feet. I hope Lysistrata will use the litter pan and not mind Purina's low ash dry food. At least she and Hertzle are not fighting.

My guts are doing pretty well. I still don't have my period, but my face is starting to break out which means it will get here, albeit late. I have to remember to take my meds not that my gut is really bothering me. They do help. I don't even know what I want to cook, some kind of pasta primavera with TVP and soy culrs seems like a good way to get rid of chametz before Passover.

I did all my laundry today and even stripped the bed and washed the shets. I promised myself a bath tonight so I'll be all clean for the clean bed. I had to use the laundromat near that awful family pharmacy (It is crowded and disorganized and dirty in there, not like the chain stores that I much prefer.) and the grubby convenience store. My yogurt container for soap broke so I had to leave it there. I will need a new container for soap, but I don't have to do wash for a couple of weeks. I now have a nice empty hamper. I guess this was an interesting day after all.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

If I get my life a bit more organized, I may have a VENGANCE VICTORY this weekend. Lysistrata is playing on campus and I get a free ticket. Now if I can just get done reading Collapse. Of course if I saw a movie regularly, especially commercially successful Hollywood fare (Now that is supporting free enterprise, super unBrainstormish!) I'd have vengance victories right and left.

Well, I'll have to see about buying a ticket some time tomorrow, but I have a doctor's appointment and grading and flipping over tomorrow. A day without paperwork is like...a day without paperwork.

I was reading over an old story I wrote for Ghostletters. I ought to contribute more to that list, but I am spread way too thin all ready. I met a Neopian with beautiful and well trained pets. All of them were high level with gorgeous stats and painted. One doesn't see that too often.

I found a great way to make neopoints that also supports free enterprise! Any time I can support free enterprise, count me in! I play the Secret Sparkle Spray Personality Quiz. I can play it three times for 300NP a piece so it is 900 free NP per day. I guess supporting free enterprise pays off. Any way I am tempted to go check out the product and buy some. I am not sure if I am allergic to it. I ended up using Toms of Maine deoderant because I was allergic to other brands so this is a real concern, but maybe my skin is less sensitive. It looks like this stuff comes in nice flavors. I assume it is a deoderant. It would be nice if my deoderant paid for advertising that kept Neoopets free. This is a part of what free enterprise is all about.

In other news, Allposters.com is working again and I got to try Barewalls.com today but they don't have post dated e-cards and only half their images are available as e-cards. That is nerve wracking. Allposters and Barewalls' e-card services are a part of advertising and that is a free enterprise thing too. I enjoy sending cards that are part of advertising.

The alternative to the commercial side of the net is small nonprofit communities run by cliques and gangs that make what went on in high school look benign. When advertisers foot the bill, the little guy can have some space for free and do his or her thing. He or she does not have to be glib, good at breaking the ice, subscribe to one set of values, have credentials that break the table, or the money and know how to set up his or her own applications. That is why MSN Groups, Topica (even though they are slow), Yahoogroups, Allposters.com, and Neopets are all great ideas and worth supporting. I'm for the little guy and that is why I am for free enterprise on the net.

Sometimes I think about having advertising on this blog, but dealing with Google's advertising is not much fun. If you don't make enough money, they complain and pull their ads. This blog is just not that big and having ads as a political statement would be fine if the ads could just stay. Actually, I pay for this web space and don't need ads to support it.

I took my psych meds before I ate so I am pretty much pain free. I've been pain free most of the day. I ate some cheese at the buffet we served at the speaker today. We had a speaker today. Actually we had several. We were supposed to have four but haad three. They were talking about black soldiers who fought in France during World War I. It was an interesting subject. The buffet featured punch made from apple juice and gingerale which meant no caffeine. I brought a few of my Wasa (whole grain rye crisp bread) so I could avoid the crackers that were mostly white flour and fat. I can have some cheese. I just can't pig on it because it is binding.

I see my doctor tomorrow. I am doing better than two weeks ago. I am only going two or three times a day and it is painless and complete. I can live with that. I still don't have my health card. My mom thinks it is a good idea if I see the gastroenterologist as does my colleague/supervisor, Erma. I am the one who will be poked or prodded, so I am somewhat less sanguine about it. My regular doctor will not poke or prod me. Mostly we will just talk. He is a good doc. I will tell him that my psych meds aid my digestion.

He is also a member of my synagogue. This is the synagogue that voted to rehire the rabbi with funds it does not have. The rabbi makes twice what I do. I am not ready to double my dues for him. We can do well enough without a rabbi. I do not have children needing to be bar or bas mitzvahed. Rites of passage are fine but one should realize where they lead. Putting teens through them just to turn them in to solo practitioners may not be a good thing to do. No one thinks this way. Everyone would like to pretend they are still in Atlanta, New York, Washington DC, Jerusalem, a shtetl, you name it, but not here. This is the end of the Jewish world. This is where you can really disappear in to assimilation. This is where you have to make peace with being less than three percent.

I do not really want to go back to eating, sleeping, and going to work which is what you do when you recover from being sick. I am sorry there is so much about being sick and being well and getting well and getting sick on this blog. I guess I just have to get it all out of my system some how. A week of first shifts is doing just that to me. I need to write to feel alive inside and sometimes I read my old writings both fiction and essays. That makes me feel good too.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

Allposters is working again and the war on glurge continues. I find I am deleting about two thirds of my email unread but boy does that feel good. Along with the glurge, I am deleting a troll on the ALAOIF list. If you want to have a pissing match the bathroom is down the hall, not in my Inbox and surely not in my Inner Circle. Don't feed the troll. Delete him.

That said, it is now time for a mast head. I did not think I felt like doing one earlier this evening. There is going to come a point when I pass my one year anniversary of being kicked out of Brainstorms. I don't know what I will do then. Oh well vengance is a long term project and a dish best served cold. Now on to the mast head.

It was worth it to be kicked out of Brainstorms. It is worth it to be who I am and do what I do and say what I said though God knows I was polite, way too polite, until it was all over and then I told them what for and I tell them what for right here on my blog. It's my blog! Anyway, I have a Play Pretend Brainstorms that beats the pants off the original. Play pretend rocks. Every one should try it!

OK, the news is that Allposters.com acted up and was refusing to send postcards in a timely fashion. My mother finally got her birthday card which was supposed to show up late Friday night/early Saturday morning with her reading it whenver, some time this evening. It was early this evening but the thing was still in limbo for three days. A card I sent to Ladies Advance also took three days in transit. I was very surprised to see it appear. Well, Allposters is working well enough again but they are not getting any free advertising.

I use them to send e-cards for birthdays at LOTH. A State Director has to do something worthwhile and the ladies like getting a card on their special day so this is a good job if you can get it.

Currently there is one prayer/support request on the RAOK board and it is a sad one because it is told in real, ordinary, and sad detail. I can't go in to it except I am glad that Allposters.com is working again because when I get done with this blog a card is going out.

I need a new want and need and do list because my old one is shot. I really like the way it kept me organized and on target. Sometimes spirit contact pays off.

My guts are bothering me right now. They are upset and bloated. A burp improves things tremendously. Having emptied the tank, there is no danger of being sent running to the bathroom. Going is painless. Just hurting is nonproductive. This is more upset than hurting. I probably ate more dinner than I should have but it was good. I can go to sleep with my arm wrapped around my stomach. I think this batch of growlies is hormonal. It has been betwen twenty-eight and thirty-five days since I last menstruated. I've had drawing cramps in my arms and legs and sometimes nasty attacks of nerves at night. I suspect this is my period trying to get started on top of all the other garbage. It sometimes takes several days and a few false starts to get my period going. This is espeically true with late periods which I suspect this one is. Right now my legs are sore. The hormones responsible for the contractions (and the cramps) circulate in the blood and cause all the other symptoms. Thankfully, Naproxen kills cramps dead. Unthankfully, there are no classic cramps yet, just a lot of other symptoms. Usually periods that begin with drawing pains are bad ones.

Well now that I've grosed you out, let's have some other news: First, nothing in my container garden has died. Except for the one dead plant I did not find out about until I got home, there are fifteen plants counting the volunteer pink spot plant all alive and well and maybe making new flowers. One pot needed a bit of water. They are predicting rain for the next couple of days. I hope I remember to put the pots that are under the overhang in the courtyard so they get the benefit of the rain.

Second, I got to make a graphic for a colleague. I also made several graphics for myself. I'll put a couple of them up here so we can enjoy them. My colleague was tickled with how fast I made the graphic for him. I told him I'm a team player. Actually I'll do anything any one asks for at work because I crave the appreciation. I did not tell the new colleague that.

Third I straightened out the doomlist spread sheets so I can add the data from the periodicals survey. This is good scrubby desk work. It just is.

I have to teach tomorrow and don't feel psyched. I don't want to go into all of it. I'm not burnt out, but there is just too much that is too work related to discuss here.

We have a lecture tomorrow with "light refreshments" which is Southern for free lunch. I am bringing my own food. I want to attend a luncheon on Friday but I don't want to eat what is served. I may talk to the woman who invited me and explain my situation. Having a health problem is a great excuse.

Saturday is honors convocation and Lysistrata is playing on campus this weekend. I think I may get tickets to the Saturday night show. I'm entitled to one FREE ticket with my faculty ID. I ought to let the rabbi know that he can go see Lysistrata for a reasonable price. I figure I'll need a break from cleaning the apartment for Passover. It looks like I got the absolute last whole wheat matzoh in Publix last week. Boyu, was I lucky. I don't know if I'll be able to do both the honors convocation and Lysistrata. The buffet for it last year was OK.

With a diverticular disease the world is divided into three classes of foods. There are forbidden foods that will make you sick: apple peels, popcorn, nuts, and certain seeds. There are OK foods, which is everything else that is not high fiber and then there are high fiber foods that are friendly and helpful. Since you need twenty-five grams of fiber a day if you are a woman with diverticulosis, you need friendly foods. This means whole grain products: 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, rye vita or kavli crackers, whole wheat pasta and possibly corn pasta (which is super friendly for irritable bowel as is grits.) 100% whole grain cereals (oatmeal, cheerios, wheaties, wheat chex, shredded tweat etc...) replace refined ones and fresh fruits replace cake or ice cream. Vegetables are side dishes as are salads. The idea is to rack up those friehly fiber pluses. This teaches your gut to push correctly and painlessly. This means no straining on the diverticla and no cramps from irritable bowel. Meats if you eat them (I don't), eggs, tofu, smooth nut butters are all OK and you need them for protein. Beans have fiber and protein so they are a plus but you can have some neutrals. If you started out as a meat and potatoes eater, or someone who lives on processed food, the high fiber diet rocks your world. If you are like me, it is business as usual. You can also have sugar and salt too.

The hard part for me is avoiding caffeine since I adore dark sweet soft drinks. I'm a cherry coke fiend. Fortunately, there is caffeine free cola and black cherry. I have to remember to bring my own sodas to campus events so I can enjoy soda along with every one else. Their soda is name brand coke and the good stuff is usually laced with bowel triggering mind altering chemical. Similarly, I keep whole grain crackers in my office to stave off a trip to the vending machine. My wallet is full of change. I guess this is working.


Monday, April 11, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

Brainstorms created a monster. This was not intentional. Every one who comes from a different background on the net or a different social background is not crazy. If you throw out people for having different ideas, you need to have a private community, not a public community with rules, but that is another story.

Groups don't usually throw out members gratuitiously merely for being different, not groups that profess to be in some way public. There is good reason for that. It is usually not necessary. There are lesser weapons in the arsenal that get rid of a member who annoys the powers that be or who just plain does not fit in. First, members can ignore the person. He or she either goes away or posts contentedly to his or her slot and figures someone is reading it or at least is glad of the place to post. In either case, the misfit member is either a satisfied customer or gone. If he or she goes, she figures it was not the right place. If he or she stays it is the right place in its own way.

If ignoring does not work, just not providing the new member with a foot hold may get rid of him or her. A list that is no-crit frequently turns many members silent. A silent member can then be purged for inactivity. This happened to me with Aunt Bee's Parlor. I even complained about the purge, but purges happen. I really was not active on the main board. In this case I did contribute to recipes but so what...

Failing the above two methods try pulling posts. This is annoying. The annoyed member either picks a fight or goes elsewhere rather than deal with the queen censor of her little manure pile. I had two posts pulled at Nothing But Neopets Forum and I feel it was unjust but I'm going to look for somewhere else to put my posts.

Booting someone out who has done nothing to any one inside the walls after a long due process that seemed to have resolve itself was incredibly ugly. It is a recipe for creating a disgruntled exmember. Nonmembers of communities no longer have to obey a community's rules. They can break all confidentiality, name names, and warn all their friends about what a rotten place this community that ejected them was. This is a nice public relations nightmare especially if the potential audience is people who matter to those running the community.

Yet Brainstorms booted me out and booted out several other people for all kinds of reasons. Why? There are enough academic types in Brainstorms that it runs on a quasi-academic model. I am someone who was black balled in academia so I know a bit about this and those doing the ejecting at Brainstorms probably hope it works like a black balling.

Here is the mechanism in the real world: A graduate student gets denied a reference. No one knows how often this happens. I know it happened to me and I know who did it and I know the whole mechanism behind it. Ideally, the graduate student never finishes the program. The world is full of people who never finished graduate degrees. In this case, the person leaves academia or the profession for which he/she was working toward a degree. He/she may tell his/her story but it won't be to people who matter. If he/she is involved with the profession or tries to go to school again, the story is now a source of stigma and he/she will keep it a secret.

If the person who is black balled finishes her program as I did, the problem becomes sticky beause the resumes start going out. There are a couple of nice meetings and the black baller tries to dissuade the victim from sending more resumes. "I have to tell the truth," he says. He may suggest lesser opportunities or those out of town. I just kept sending out resumes and finding a substitute for the reference but since this person who had black balled me was my supervisor on the quasi work experience I had at the time, I could not get rid of him entirely.

A job search that should have taken three weeks took three months. I had work in Syracuse and could support a long job search. I was persistent and in some ways dumb as a brick. An academic library that was desperate for a full time science librarian hired me and the director warned me not to tell people of my checkered work history which is not more checkered than most. Apparently the black baller had talked to the director in person. He hired me anyway. I had outrun the black ball, but not completely. My income and earnings have probably taken a life long hit. I am in the profession though and I guess that is just as well.

It took about five years to piece together the extent of the damage and to figure out exactly how the whole business worked. The black baller has a sworn enemy. True I am a thousand miles away from him (more actually) and our paths are likely never to cross, but my profession is a small one. Someone who wants a favor one day is unlikely to get one from me.

With all that I did not tell you the name of the person who black balled me or the person who ordered him to do it. I know those names. Why am I silent? It is work related even though it is very stale and old by now so I can tell the story with the names left out, but we are still in the same profession. I may be job hunting again. This is not a story for prospective employers, at least not in all its gorey details. In other words, I have an interest in keeping partially silent.

Well, those kicking me out of Brainstorms figured one of two things would happen. There are a series of interlocking web board communities of which Brainstorms is one small part. Brainstormers are active throughout these communities. If I told my story there, I would either find Brainstormers ready to argue with me or be told that no one wanted to hear about Brainstorms any more. Also, I'd be carrying a stigma from one community to another because the Brainstormers would be there to remind everyone about me. I'm not sure how much rules of secrecy apply to an exmember. I bet they don't.

If as seemed apparent at the time, I had very few roots in this world of interlocking boards (and aside from a very inactive membership at Cafe Utne, I don't.) I would be like the failed graduate student who went off to do office temps or drive a truck. Sure she could tell he buddies loud and long about how rotten the university was and how grad school professors were rotten stools deserving of being flushed but why should the grad school professors care what a bunch of truck drivers or secretaries think.

What they didn't bet on at Brainstorms was the fact that I could generate a ton of noise that just might make some serious bad public relations. My play pretend Brainstorms and its hard core boards are accessible through Google and they are annoying, noisey, frightening and just might stir up some bad publicity among those who matter and because I operate outside where most Brainstormers feel comfortable, there is no way to silence me with stigma. Congratulations, Brainstorms. You've created a monster.

And I'm not crazy. Just like the grad student who had the resources and persistence for a long job search, I was the wrong one to black ball. I was also the wrong one to throw out gratuitously. Even those using the academic model should beware that it can fail. It has failed in my case. Disgruntled exmembers are just that.

I went to Atlanta this weekend. I went even with somewhat growly bowels. Let them growl. I ate bean delight, real wild rice, roasted veggies, and fresh fruit. I am sitting in this chair absolutely pain free after a large meal. Don't ask how this happened. I don't know. It just does sometimes.

It was a simple Atlanta trip and not magical until I got to hear the pianist in the airport when I went in to pee while waiting for the shuttle to leave. He plays at Houlihans in the Hartsfield Airport atrium. He plays on Saturday nights. It must be a sad job, but there he was and he made me think sad thoughts about being sick and having gotten well but never being one hundred percent OK again, about having to be on a special diet and all the rest.

This was a simple food run. All the MARTA trains and buses worked like clock work. It was spring and everything was a riot of color. I saw gardeners readying the beds at the DeKalb Farmer's market. I bought uglifruit and red banannas and over a dozen zucchini.

I made sauteed zucchini medley tonight. It was excellent. Tomorrow night I get to eat it with brown rice and grilled tofu. That will be excellent too. Later in the week I'll have whole wheat pasta with zucchini red sauce with tofu and maybe even artichokes. I have a can of those. I can't get passed eating the fresh ones but the canned ones are just fine.

I planted my container garden this weekend. I bought bicolor marigolds. I could not find any real French marigolds. I also bought gazania but one of the ones in the nine pack was dead. Oh well, I had fourteen plants plus one pink spot leaf volunteer that reseeded itself. I should have a nice full garden if the plants survive the next few days. They are in moist to wet fertilized soil.

The little boys, the superintendent's grandson, Dylan, and a neighbor's boy who is aobut the same age were playing with some kind of shooting disk and a water machine gun. They were having great fun and making lots of noise. I'm glad they didn't shoot me. They took not one bit of interest in the garden. I guess that is because they are males and container gardens are not their thing.

I had the Vienna Boys choir CD on while I planted. I liked the music a lot. I think the boys sing like angels. If I had a boy, I'd want him to sing in chorus or choir if he had any talent at all. Little boys have the most beautiful voices. I guess if I had a boy, I would do a lot to civilize him and someone would accuse me of emasculating him, but who wants an uncivilized rough neck of a male on one's hands. Boyfriends and lovers are bad enough, but one would definitely want to civilize a son.

I figure it wouldn't hurt him and besides, it might make him more appealing to women. A teen or young adult male who knows something of how women work and what they like is going to have a better time dating and keeping a girlfriend.

I got to do a lot of people watching this weekend. Wal-mart where I went to get my flowers for my container garden was crawling with people. When is Wal-Mart not crowded. Well they have good plants at good prices and other good and useful sundries reasonably priced. And they're open evenings and weekends.

That is more than you can say for the laundry room across the street which is now locked with a combination lock on the door. I am going to try to get in touch with someone to get the combination. I am a university employee and the university owns the laundry room. I am not sure what kind of luck I will have. I guess it is worth trying.

MARTA is even better for people watching. The long platforms are full of tired people getting from here to there. The best is when there is a special event or a preacher on the train. None of that happened Saturday.

One of the prettiest garden spots in Atlanta is in front of the Transitional Services apartments, a half way house for prisoners returning to the community. There are big warnings inside the doors, but outside there are tulips, irises, and last fall's pansies. This mix of last year's and this year's flowers is a Southern thing. The salad savoy is bolting with no one trying to stop it and no one taking it inside to eat at the end of the season. It is edible and tastes delicious with mayonaise.

I wonder who tends the gardens outside the Transitional Center. I thought about going in and asking and telling whoever was in the office how much I liked the flowers. They are as fine as at any regular apartment house and better than most. I did not ask or leave my compliment. Now I wish that I had done that.

I suspect that maybe the prisoners tend the flowers, or maybe one or two older prisoners, not violent offenders but check forgers, con men, or maybe someone who made a mistake long after they were too old to know better. It does not scare me one bit to pass the Transitional Center. I feel good that such places exist and that this one is close to the MARTA train station and on a bus route and that prisoners families can come and visit and the men can play basketball in the back yard and have gardens on the front lawn instead of barbed wire. Such a place can only do good for the inmates and give them a better chance at not being inmates again.


Saturday, April 09, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

I found a way to handle the load of mail that is mostly forwards and glurge, delete most of it unread. It is a sorry state, my inbox and even my "inner circle." This is not spam. This is just people too lazy to write their own stuff, whether real or made up. I don't think I would care if it was made up given the way I feel about authenticity. At least the stuff would be fresh and feel authentic even if it weren't.

And political forwards are just one or two steps above glurge though I do read some of them because they tend to be a bit newer, more timely, and fresher.

Ach...I just found out that a post card I sent to Ladies Advance did not go through. I just sent a regular letter. More mail to that list is better any day of the week.

Haldis has already set up her team so I can go to Atlanta with a clear conscience. I have not visited either board community today, but Gerry has me working to try to organize my life so it doesn't feel like everything I do is drawn from a bucket of undifferentiated slime.

I made and went through a big do list. Sunday I think I have to make another do list. These are complicated want and need lists. If you do enough needs (and this blog is listed as a need) you can do wants. The result of this is I've played no Neopets today. That is sad. On the other hand, the apartment is vacuumed, the kitchen garbage pale is clean (I washed it) and the the cat litter pans are cleaned. This computer is also fixed. I used to call this traction. Right now I just call it tired.

Tomorrow I go to Atlanta and that is three wants paid for by six needs. You have to do two needs to get most wants. Some wants are bigger and more expensive. The computer fix was both a want and a need so it was a free want. Anyway, my life feels more organized.

I need to do something very weird tonight once I am sure this blog is mounted. Jeanne whom I like and on whose Prayersfortheunsaved list I was on at one point (The list collapsed due to Yahoogroups, not anything among the list members) is someone to whom I want to get closer. I think she is the salt of the earth. I respect her as a list moderator and I like reading her personal bloggy posts. I think she would make a good friend of mine though we have very little in common except a belief in the sanctity of human life. I also am beginning to think animal life is sacred. I think my spiritualism definitely has something to do with my becoming nearly vegan. Anyway, I am going to ask Jeanne to put me on her prayers for the unsaved list where Christians put their less zealous and unbelieving family members. My feeling is that Jeanne and a few others know I am not a Christian and may be praying for my conversion anyway. I can't stop them and I'd rather just give my consent so the behavior is up front. Besides, given the current state of Judaism in most places outside of big cities, I would definitely be happier and better off as a Christian of some stripe. I know there are some very good Christian apologetic books. I may ask for some suggstions. Actually, what I'd probably need, would be a spiritualist church with Christian leanings. There was such a church in Utica. There isn't one in Columbus but there are more liberal mainline Christian churches. I figure if the prayers work, I can worry about denomination later. I don't think the prayers will work, but I would rather not have people secretly doing what they are going to do anyway.

There is a mango waiting for me, but I am too tired to eat it. If I like the mango and if it is not too hard to peel, I may get more mangoes and other tropical fruit in Atlanta. If I have to peel my apples, and we are at the end of apple season, I may as well enjoy tropical fruits that require cutting up and peeling.

Yes, I plan a trip to Atlanta tomorrow. I need herbal tea. I want good quality zucchin and eggplant and brie cheese to eat with matzoh. I'm going to freeze it. I may also get some creamy almond butter. I have creamy cashew butter for Passover and they make seedless olives that are delicious at Whole Foods.

I am thinking of making apple mango chutney in place of the traditional charosis for Passover. Lou wants to come down but has been perhaps offered a job. He knows someone who can get him hired to fix ATM machines. That is good news. I told him to stay put in work. I have to be a good girlfriend. Being a good girlfriend sometimes comes very easily.

I felt impacted most of the late afternoon. It was an ugly feeling. I got home tonight and once I knew I was safe and relaxed (And don't tell me there is no psychogenic component) and kaboom. I felt much better after that. I already know the location of the shuttle house toilet but chances are if my body follows what is now its regular schedule, I should be able to travel in comfort. God help any one looking for a public toilet in downtown Atlanta. Let's just say there are restaurants and stores that won't be getting my business due to their retched attitude towards those in need of a pit stop.

I don't know if this will be a food trip or a cultural trip as well. I think it will be just a food trip. That is OK. I want this to be low key and relaxed. It is so strange to have been so sick.

I found out today that the superintendant's grandson, Dylan, had his tonsils out due to infection, something they never would have done in my day. I know because I had repeated bouts of tonsilitis as I grew up. The last time I was twelve years old and I remember throwing up a belly full of phlegm, something I also did from a strep throat when I was in college. I also remember standing in the john watching the world turn blue and dazzling. I had a fever of 103. I was twelve. I was twenty when I had the strep throat, the last one I've ever had.

The only time I was sick after that before I got the diverticulitis was when I had the flu during the summer of 1992. I had been jumping the circulation counter. It took weeks to get the strength back to do that again and by then I had lost interest. What was weird was that I felt so awful and was so out of it, I thought the stains on my black panties were some kind of cancer of the reproductive tract and I was sure I was going to die. I went home, took something for the fever, and crawled into bed too sick to care about my fatal condition. I awoke and came somewhat to my senses. I not only had a very bad case of the flu. I also had my period.

My boyfriend Lou was an angel. He bought me miso (I told him that miso soup was all I could face) and Adirondack cherry coke (the only drink I could face) and that was what I lived on for several days until I could eat soft boiled eggs and torn up bread which was the first solid food I ate with the diverticulitis. I'm not sure how I would make miso soup now that I have diverticulosis (when the itis is gone it becomes an osis) since the best miso soup has sweet corn in it. Hey, I'm an American. I would guess carrots, sweet peppers, and lima beans would act as a good substitute. Lima beans, especially green ones, make everything taste better and go with everything except sweets.

After I more or less got over the flu, I was left with a very sore throat. My tonsils were probably effected (Perhaps this was the dreaded and I mean dreaded viral tonsilitis -- not antibiotics clear this up. You just wait for it to go away.) If I swallowed in my sleep, I awoke screaming. I went to see my unhappy doctor (I was an unhappy patient and grouchy)and he prescribed seldane (which has since been taken off the market. It was good stuff). I could sleep through the night, but I was still full of mucus to the point where dairy products made me ill as did mayonaise and oddly enough the frynix (the stuff they use to fry eggs in most restaurants. Lou and I were greasey spoon fans to the end) used for omelettes made me billious. It took weeks for everything to come back to normal.

I think I was sicker this time around. I could not walk, eat, or sleep for four days. I finally could sleep the last two nights. I was just too exhausted to do otherwise and you can learn to sleep with pain. I don't know if I ran a fever. I think I did, but it was not a huge one. I do not remember the pain. It was too frightening. I remember what I could not do. The memory of the pain itself is blocked. I never want to hurt like that again. That is why I have been so good about the high fiber diet.

I also want to NOT see the gastroenterologist. I figure if this resolves through diet, it means I don't have to see him. What is the point of poking and prodding to find out what this is if it resolves with diet and psychiatric medication. They won't be able to do anything because I won't have a complaint and the thing is controlled with diet.

Now gut diseases are not fashionable in my complex. People tend to have heart disease here and diabetes and other obesity and bad diet related diseases. I had to explain to Gene what diverticulitis was. I guess here in the South it's not that common, but I heard that twenty percent of the population has irritable bowel which I also have. Add in those of us with more complex stuff and that's a lot of people needing a high fiber diet, yet institutional food unless it is very good like Cornell dining (100% whole wheat bread and good quality apples always avaiable, plus good salad bars at lunch and dinner.) and restaurants do not offer fiber friendly fare. These are not difficult or exotic foods. Substituting or offering 100% whole wheat bread and rolls, whole grain crackers like Rye Vita, good quality fresh fruit, decent (not limp steamed from frozen please!) cooked vegetables (sauteed or roasted) and interesting imaginative salads (carrot salad with raisins, radish salad, bok-slaw, marinated brocoli...you get the idea?) instead of french fries or mashed potatoes or white rice (Yes, brown rice exists as does whole grain pasta and there is no reason not to serve that either or barley or kasha). Some people might eat the high fiber choices just because they taste good. Also there should be dark sweet noncaffinated drinks. People end up drinking Coke or Dr. Pepper becaues they love the taste and get stuck with the caffeine which is a big IBS trigger. It's my main trigger so I am very sensitive on the subject.

Actually most soda in restaurants and convenience stores should be caffeine free. Children drink this stuff, people with health problems, etc... Caffeine is a mood altering drug (legal speed). Why not have it in only a few drinks and let those with a craving for a cold sweet drink satisfy it without the unwanted extra chemicals.

And sugar does not keep you up like caffeine or have the same ugly stimulant effects. This is why people enjoy a sweet drink before they go to sleep (cocoa or a cold soda or a bit of juice.) as a night cap. The sugar if it does make you hyper is gone in two hours due to a negative feedback loop that tells the body not to release glucose. I don't think there's enough sugar in a soft drink to give you much of a crash or much of a high.

I guess I could start an awareness page. It really would be nice if restaurants and other places catered to people with bowel disease. I mean we have to stay on our diets or we get very sick. And staying on the diet is hard for most folks due to all the temptation. I go through every day fighting off the vending machines, convenience stores etc...

Also I am a very lucky person because I was eighty percent of the way to being vegan before I got diverticulitis. That means a high fiber diet is easy. I know how to fix many of the foods. I know what good tasting vegetable side dishes taste like and how to make them. I have a big vegetable vocabulary. Also, I am familiar with basic whole grain products. I prefer them. Fresh fruit is a pretty good dessert etc... An American used to processed food (which is almost never bowel friendly) and/or a meat and potatoes diet is going to find a high fiber diet a whole different world. I don't really think of myself as an expert, but maybe I am. Again, I just think I am lucky right now.

In other news, I cleaned the apartment partially. It is vacuumed. The litter pans are clean. I even washed out the kitchen garbage that my mother said I should replace. You can wash a filthy garbage pail. Mine was full of stuck on carrot and apple peelings. (See above). I also got my computer fixed today so now I can back up files. Do I want a new computer?

The rabbi was not at schul tonight and we did not have a minyan. We still had a pretty good service except Sy Zimmerman is addicted to glurge and jokes. There even is Jewish glurge. Will I ever be content? Who knows?


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

The nightly bully patrol is unfortunately a way of life. Even with the decision I made I still go and look. I'll be doing it for a while. There is no reason to go back to high school. The weird part is it is really out there, gangs of hot shots hiding in secret layers and venturing out, secret gangs, secret societies. Find them in the wrong spots and face their wrath?

So, is there a right spot? Who knows. It is going to have to be out in public with plenty of fresh faces looking on. Cari Cota asked me about revenge. I'd like to introduce Cari to the gang. I guess Cari would learn I take no prisoners and people always hate to be attacked with a weapon they imagine could not exist, not that I'm really attacking. I'm just out there making noise every stinking day.

I love my play pretend boards. The truth is they fill the noise void, they're pretty, they don't have a hogging problem that using someone else's board has etc... Multi-voice is easy for me to write so I dance with the one that brings me. There is very little mystery in any of this. Play pretend rocks. Play pretend works. It is not the only thing I do, but it fits in well with the mix.

I have little sense of shame and eschew status. This makes me hard to cow into silence or bribe. And let them think me crazy. There is no law against being crazy or morally depraved unless you actually do something illegal with it. You can have a positively rotten character. It's a free country and not everyone has a stirling reputation and fine character. Besides under some of those fine characters are whited sepulchers to quote a rather famous disciple of Rabbi Hilel.

I have two sympathy cards and a congratulations card to go out tonight. The congratulations card goes to Linda who is one of my low social capital (Brainstorms definition) buds. The sympathy card goes to a RAOKster who lost her mom and the other sympathy card goes to a LOTHLing who lost her sister-in-law. The LOTHling put me in a weird position because the woman who died might have had a birthday in the next month. In which case, I send out the birthday cards in advance and there was one waiting for her on her first posthumous birthday. I checked the birthday list. The woman who died has a June birthday. I felt a big sense of relief. I hope you can see why.

Doing birthday cards in batches is really not bad. I'm a State Director for LOTH and lots of adullts don't do much for their birthdays, not like in my family by the way. It is just easier to do the birthday cards which are e-cards in fairly large groups. I am up to May 9th. I'll get to doing those in a day or so. I'll also check the RAOK guestbook again. I'd like to keep a bit closer track on it since my committee has some new blood.

I kind of tortured myself tonight as to whether the woman with the baby, the woman who lost her mom, or the woman who died should have memorial/thiking of you/congratulations pages made for them. I can't go into all the beaurocratics, but I decided no on all of them for a variety of reasons. The reason I can list on this blog is that I have a pile of papers to grade, and more papers to xerox and collate and a handout I should have done today.

I'm heading to the throne twice a day to drop a load. Sorry for this being gross, but I'm passing what the doctor calls formed stools though they are very very soft. I only need to go once to empty the load, and the movement at night is painless and the one in the morning just has a few twinges and no pain afterwards. This is an improvement. I am also pain free for stretches, really pain free, no twinges, cringes, pressure, burning, sore spot.

In my current state, I am well enough to travel to Atlanta on Saturday. Now it is time to come back to reality. First, I did pay my bills. Somehow I managed to come back to reality enough to do that, but right now the apartment is a wreack. I need to do something about it. In addition, I need to spend that Christmas money. Yeah, draw your own psychological conclusions about that one. I got a Lands' End catalog. Yeah, like I need more shirts. Yes, I'd like a really good summer nightie. I'd like a long one so I can squat down. I'd like to put in the garden. Hey, we need a garden. I wish Lou were here. His car is very useful for transporting flats of marigolds. I want French marigolds. I hope they are still around. This is just a bit late for starting annuals down here, I think.

I also need to buy a few groceries. I am getting used to eating peeled apples. They are better than no apples. The anise salad is almost gone so I guess I had better get groceries or there is nothing from which to make main dishes or side dishes. I am going to make green pea soup at least once before pesach. I also have to buy several boxes of whole wheat matzoh because I am going to live on that stuff for a week. I am also going to get some brie cheese to go with it. Passover can be a very sibaritic holiday. And now I probably don't have that spelled right.

Tonight I get to enjoy canned fruit for dessert because there is one apple, and maybe a few dried apricots left. Dried fruit is legal. I pretty much can eat anything that does not disagree with me violently. No more MinuteMaid Lemonade. I still swear the stuff tastes like citrate of magnesia.

They are predicting rain for tomorrow. I hope it holds off long enough for me to go to the store. I always plan these things out just so perfectly. I hope I can make it through the pile of papers I have to grade. I hope students are making up their work. I hope I feel better about all this by tomorrow night.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

Well, I've decided that nothing is the best thing to do with the bullies. There are more of them around than I first imagined. That is all I want to say here. I don't feel like I need to deal with a hostile environment now. This could be a vengance set back, but they are not active and we are not arguing over some third issue other than me and how I like to build a life for myself online. If we were discussing intellectual property, politics, or maybe any other number of things, I might get in there and mix it up, but I did not go over to Cafe Utne to discuss me. I want a fresh audience of interested people who are going to judge the content of my words, and not the author.

I stopped by some of my MSN Groups tonight and boy did that feel good. I'm even in a Bowel Disease group which is...not for the faint of heart. Some groups are more penetrable than others. That is OK.

I did some graphics today and want to show them off on the new board. I also want to get back with my PSP groups. Good places not bad places is my motto. That does not rule out vengance but hanging out in a semi-closed space with a crowd whetting their teeth is just not it. I can always change my mind anyway.

Haldis had a ton of page revisions to do tonight. She did them quickly and often the first try at something works. I think they went off seemlessly. She probably had the most revisions of anybody. She heard from one of her fighters who lives in Indonesia. He had a web page with an .id address so it is a safe bet he lives there. Anyway, he has family in Sumatra but they are all right. The fight goes on.

It is good to have everything all scored and set aright. Thadea put up a Group Board at her team pages. She hasn't seen much other work, but there have been some personnel shifts and people have had real life problems worse than diverticulitis.

I made seven thousand NP net on Neopets today. I was just lucky. I sold two code stones and bought another one. Also Rosalita got a point of strength. Her strength is now "titanic" which makes her one very strong grarrl. I bought Ephraim another hit point. He has always been my absolutely weakest pet and it would be nice to toughen him up just a bit. I still have cash left to burn. I know tomorrow won't be as lucky as today. Deckswabber, a game I play decently, was featured. Some days on Neopets are luckier than others.

I need to put in the garden plot and start moving items into the Neohome, but right now I am sick of the whole business. It takes five hours to build each room so even if you have all the furniture and are ready to go, you still wait around for days. That kind of makes the whole thing get boring really fast. A lot of people say Neohomes are a dissapointment, but then a lot of players have them, but then again yet again, a lot of them stand unfurnished after players learn how much this will cost.

I need to destroy all my MP3's and can not bring myself to do it despite the fact that it would be a stupendous VENGANCE VICTORY. I just can't. There are sentimental ones and funny ones and even if I don't listen to them any more, I still like the fact that they are there. I'm not ready to chalk up a vengance setback on this one yet. I am just waiting.

I need to peel an apple, but there is something very very sad about eating a peeled apple. It looks nude and I miss the feeling of breaking through the tough skin with my teeth. I have a colleague who peels nearly all her fruit because she says peels taste bitter. I guess I never noticed or it was a bitterness that pleased me.

I've already dropped my load for this evening and it was painless and painless afterwards and fairly formed. The morning drop will be chaotic. Such is life. In between, I have a normal life. My dinner totally set tonight. I am utterly and completely pain free which surprises me after a large meal. Am I healing?

I am afraid to believe it in case I wake up in agony tomorrow with cramps. My doctors says this won't happen.

I got the MeSH heading searching handout done at work both as a web page and Word document. The web page is backlogged so I can't give out the URL. I'm going to work on a handout for searching Highwire. It is not that different from PNAS so I can crib from that handout. Of course the web page for that will also be backlogged.

I napped this evening and had a nightmrae. My sleep is becoming Kramer's Nightmare Theater. The nightmares are garden variety things about going to a doctor and not being treated and this time about being imprisoned with abusive relatives at a house way out in the country. I don't want to say more about this dream but it was a weird one. I kept trying to figure out how to get back to civilization and I had the money but just couldn't do anything. I don't know what this dream means.

Of course when you nap, you don't feel like sleeping. I guess my circadian rhythms are shot. I still haven't adjusted to daylight savings time. I always hate daylight savings time. I always miss the hour they take though this year, it is worse than it normally is. I'm not sure why.


Monday, April 04, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

Never count a bully out, but a certain Brainstormer may have had the last word, and he is welcome to it.

I planned to make enough to train, Ephraim, my bruce and the apple of my eye on Neopets, but got interrupted with a Water Faerie quest. As a result, Shanti, my top tuskaninny, now has bullet proof defense. Putting Neopoints into the pets just plain feels good.

I saw this for the umpteenth time, actually second time in four days, in my inbox. The only reason that Ladies Advance did not receive a rip tear shred of the piece is that I did it already. Rip-a-chow, as they say on Snopes.

Basicly, why any one would want to follow someone's ten year old New Year's resolutions is beyond me, besides the fact that they sound good. They are not particularly easy to follow in their entirety. Some of the moral inventory stuff may be OK. I mean you can change your attitudes, but making a child feel like someone special is difficult if you do not live among or work with children routinely. First, you have to find a child and then get to know him. That sounds like a major undertaking. Likewise, doing an act of kindness for someone one doesn't know is also likely to backfire big time. You don't know what would make a stranger happy, and there is big chance that in larger cities and more anonymous places, that the stranger simply does not want to be bothered. As for enjoying nature, a person working second shift or sleeping in, is going to miss the morning dew. If it is winter, birds, and trees, and flowers are going to be fairly minimal, and on a grey day one is not going to see much sun or clouds. Would visiting the green house at the local garden center be a good substitute? Oh well, the gentleman who wrote the original piece (I don't feel like misspelling his name) never wrote a follow up to say how much he had succeeded at these resolutions and as far as I can tell no one who recycles this piece on the internet ever writes a follow up as to how successful they are at keeping them. I imagine the score is fairly low if one bothers keeping these things at all.

I have not transcribed the right side of this blog. The reasons is diverticular disease makes for an excremential experience. I am not sure how much talk about my large intestine LOTH can stand. I try to lighten it up, but right now the world is divided between my life online and the life of my irritable and less than healthy bowel. What a life.

I dumped twice today though the second time felt like a normal dump and not a rapid fire gut emptying that greets my mornings. I hope I am emptied out by the time I go to work tomorrow, though we do have a bathroom near my office and I am not on 9am-10am. Visits to the student john have become a way of life.

I finished up day seven of an eleven day work week. I got to use the computer at the reference desk today and we had interesting questions. I guess I do have a Medline MeSh heading handout to try and put together tomorrow if I am not handed anything new to grade. That won't be too bad.

I paid all my bills today and got rid of those unwanted BMG music CD's. There is much to be said for having paid bills putting you in a good mood. I know I won't get evicted and that there will be juice and a phone connection for my internet. I learned when I went to transfer funds via computer that my domain space tacheiru.us is paid for for another year. That feels very good, since so many good things happen there.

I decided not to send a card to the parents whose son was shot in Falluja for a couple of reasons. First I don't have their email address. Second, they are likely to be flown to Germany to be with their son, won't be checking their email, and don't need one more message from a stranger overflowing their inbox.

There is a woman in the same group with a dying mother (imminently so, but not dead yet so a sympathy card is out of the question) who deserves a thinking of you card. I'll send one when I get done with this blog.

I got a ride back from the post office tonight from a student I helped in the library. She drove a white Cadillac which was the most luxuriouis car I have ridden in in a long time. It was a warm night and when I could have used a ride last night, coming up the hill of death (Tip Top Road which runs between Norris and Univeversity) none materialized. I was glad the student gave me this ride though, because I got home with more than enough time to score ZOID, write, cook, and now write this blog. Sometimes time is the most precious gift in the world. I know because I lost an hour of it this weekend and I miss that hour badly.


Sunday, April 03, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

OK, we need a masthead. I need a masthead so you need one too. Well you'll get one whether you need one or not. It was worth it to be kicked out of Brainstorms. It is worth it to be who I am. It is worth it to do what I do and say what I say though God knows I was way too polite until the end when I finally gave them what for which they richly deserved. My play pretend Brainstorms rocks and beats the pants off the original.

And as for the Third Rail it is worth it despite problems with a Brainstormer at a certain board I don't feel like mentioning tonight. My Play Pretend Brainstorms board is worth more than this real life community, because sometimes play pretend is just much better than real life and this is one of those times.

Boy did that feel good! Shout it out loud and proud! That's what we do here. Passion and joy are the order of the day!

Now on to other news. I sent Ephraim, my bruce (penguin) on Neopets in for more training. I am improving his hit points. Though I'll never make him beat up on another pet for my pleasure I would like to have a stronger little penguin in my neofamily.

I also got my introductory Neopets essay mounted at my Neopian Samizdat site. All that feels very good. I'll need to participate more at the new board as a listener now that I am a contributor. I also want to do more grpahics. Doing graphics makes my guts feel better.

Thadea put up her Group Board at her team at the Golden Elite. Sahara Elite has resurfaced. She was moving which was good because I was sick. I started the group board page while I was sick and then just let it slide. Well, Thadea got cracking tonight. I dreaded how hard the thing was to put together, but it really wans't and in a few minutes the task was behind me which is great because I got to blog.

Haldis' team at the Webleagues is already open for "earlies" because it is the first weekend of the month, and I opened ZOID fifteen minutes late. Hey, I needed to run to Publix for my health which is not good as we all know.

I know taking care of business is not vengance but sometimes taking care of business just feels pretty good. Tonight is one of those nights. I don't even care that I am going to lose an hour. Usually I make a big deal about this. Tonight I could care less. Go figure.

In one of my groups, there is a woman whose son was shot in the head while riding on a Humvee through Falluja, Iraq. Part of me says her son didn't belong there. People have a right to defend their homeland against an invader. Part of me knows this is her son and having him shot on the battle field just plain expletive deleteds. I can still think of her despite my politics, but I have to go find her email address in her profile. The only way to decently handle something like this is to do so with an ecard sent privately. Otherwise, it looks as if you are showing off. I have no desire to show off.

I am waiting for the dinner that greased my guts to get dumped. It is like sitting here and waiting for an axe to fall. The fact that I was dump free for twelve hours today doesn't matter. The action happens in the morning and again at night. Twice a day I can handle. My shrink thinks this will go on for a long number of weeks. There are many indications it is psychogenic: the fact that I sleep through the night and do my business which nearly does me in upon waking, the fact that my psych meds mitigate the effects, the fact that it restrains itself if I am walking, at an important meeting etc.. and waits until I am safe and quiet to assert itself. Also I have a history of somewhat psychogenic irritable bowel. The diverticulitis just knocked the IBS through the ceiling. Healing requires patience. Well still not twinges. I would like to have my dessert uninterrupted by unpleasantries from my lower intestine.

I worked today. I am in the middle of an eleven day week that could not fall at a worse time though there is no good time for an eleven day week. We were moderately busy and I got to use the Medline subject heading search again. I want to teach this to colleagues at the next meeting. It will also work with CINAHL and ERIC. Ebsco's online thessauri while current and great for focusing searches, are also clumsy to use. Well, I've learned the trick. I pat myself on the back. Now I want to teach it to others. And yes, thesaurus searching also works in Psychinfo.

I went to Publix after work. I got more caffeine free sodas. They had both black cherry and caffeine free cola. They are only twenty cents a can. That is a very good thing. I also saw hard daikon in the produce room. Well, I may get some oriental stir fry with tofu soon. I ought to try using up the brown rice. I think the white pasta are off limits. I am close to making twenty-five grams of fiber today. A high fiber diet is a piece of cake if you cook your own food.

One thing I can't get over is the long line of people waiting to get fed at McDonalds. Any supermarket will sell you the filling for just about any kind of sandwich that tickles your fancy and the bread and frozen veggies or fresh ones. Why bother with fast food with so few choices and so little nutrition when one can have a really good simple thing to eat at home?

Right now I have discovered Skippy's Honey Peanut spread. It is creamy which means it is safe for my diverticulitis and it tastes really really good. A honey peanut spread sandwich blows a McDonald's burger out of the water.

Well my greased guts have still not responded. I guess I'll wash dishes and see what happens.


Saturday, April 02, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

I am probably going to post my Neopian essays to the new forum. That is good. I need to start with the basic: Why Write about Neopia and then What is a Neopet. I'll get to all that. It is Friday night and I am too tired and just a bit too sick at the moment. I dumped dinner, but only once. It doesn't have the energy for a second attempt.

As for the bully. No one has heeded his call and he is now twenty-four hours unanswered. This one is not worth fighting for or going down in a blaze of glory. The bully has not grasped the simple idea that fear of retaliation and recourse for the injured party prevent gratuitious injury in any community.

It's very simple. It starts with grudges. A grudge is one of the world's best invention. The threat of being a victim of one keeps otherwise nasty folks nice. Who wants to piss off the neighbor whose dog is using your lawn as a latrine when you or a family member may need that neighbor's help at work. On the other hand, the neighbor has an incentive to keep Fido from peeing on your lawn because he or she doesn't want to be the victim of your grudge. Play pretend, is a kind of effective vengance. So are "XYZ Sucks" pages, so is badmouthing to friends, family, and the world as a whole. Call that one bad publicity if you will.

When the courts don't exist or it is just not a legal matter, from where does justice come? It comes from retaliation, recourse, and vengance. Every one knows the injured party, the victim has these. You think twice before making any one a victim. Think homeostasis or balance.

I have also decided that some of my online side work is going to mean I probably stay at my present job in the South. I don't mind. I am getting to like polite Southern ways and I like living in a red state. I think red staters have a better idea about fearing God and the sanctity of life. I really do like a conservative environment. I like the way students here are polite. I think it is not perfect and causes some problems but culture shock can morph to cultural love.

I think we need a new handout at work. Actually we need several but one is sort of outside my subject area. I'll ask Susan's permission. Quite simply, I've adapted to using Ebsco's Medline. It is tricky but I have one handout that shows how to do the same thing with CINAHL. We just need a new Medline handout. That is next week's project. There is no next week because I am in the middle of an eleven day week.

Now I did not even complain. I guess that is what being sick does to you. I'm half well, Queen of the Trots, with no sign of abdicating in sight. Well I know where the toilet is and I don't have to ask permission to use it. I am glad they cleaned up the student john at work because it is also the reference john and one of the toilets in there was leaking. That was gross.

I made veg medley tonight and it was a bit greasy and it greased my guts, but I think the real fun comes tomorrow morning. I don't have to be at work until 2pm. The two four hour weekend desk shifts, cut the day in half. I think I may go grocery shopping and get ready to pay bills. I'll pay the rent and other bills this weekend and clean up the dining room table. Maybe I'll even spend that Christmas money.

I'm not sure about wanting a mezuzah that badly. I mean I've lived for years without one, even when I owned my own house for a few years in Utica. I'm not sure where religion starts and superstitious tradition begins. It's like covering your eyes when you say the sh'ma. I don't do that either. I also don't do the choreography that goes with the amida.

I fell asleep on the break room couch and skipped schul tonight I'm still not OK. I'm just not as strong as I used to be. I am also not going to the Democratic meeting tomorrow. Walking twelve miles (six each way) and working twelve hours is just beyond me, but a trip to Publix for a few things I really need is not. Neither is a trip to the bank.

Tomorrow which is nearly here today, I can have a cold soda while I sit at the computer. Tomorrow, there is sweet (too sweet but I like sweet) commercial honey and peanut spread that is not quite a substitute for Whole Foods honey roast peanut butter from the machine. I am so glad my doc said to just keep eating pepole food. At least I can enjoy the food coming in even if it is not so pleasant coming out. Tomorrow, I will be emptied out before I show up for work.

I don't care if I skipped schul. I read a really good article in the New York Times magazine about mega-churches and realized that as a Jew this has never been a choice for me. Christians get all kinds of choices. I don't know if I would consider the mega-church too informal. I'm a big city person and a member of a tiny ethnic minority even though there is much about Southern living that appeals to me. It is funny to realize how much living here has grown on me.

Next weekend (I work this weekend) I get to try working at the nursing home again. I'm really going back there especially in light of Terri Schiavo. We as a societ do far too much to cast off the old and the infirm. Volunteering to work with the old and infirm though you don't work with the worst of them once a week helps set things right. I just hope they don't remind me too much of Georgia, who died last December. Old frail people are not that different from old frail kitties. I did not cast Georgia off when she was old and frail. I did not cast Evander off when he was dying. Kitties are easier to care for than humans because they are smaller. Changing bed linens (newspaper) under a sick kitty is easy. They like to "go for rides" and don't mind being picked up and moved. Sick kitties get very paranoid, but Evander handled his well and Georgia was not paranoid until the end. I bet sick humans also get paranoid.