Saturday, June 09, 2007

1296 Crocs?

Saturday, June 9, 2007

I've been hearing about how comfortable Crocs are. So I thought maybe I'd try a pair. Went to the official Crocs website. The smallest women's size is a 6.

They've gotta be kidding.

1295 Cat Camera

Saturday, June 9, 2007

In Mr. Lee's owner's own words:
"Sometimes I have some challenging ideas, or crazy like some other people would say. This time I thought about our cat who is the whole day out, returning sometimes hungry sometimes not, sometimes with traces of fights, sometimes he stay also the night out.When he finally returns, I wonder where he was and what he did during his day. This brought me to the idea to equip the cat with a camera. The plan was to put a little camera around his neck which takes every few minutes a picture. After he is returning, the camera would show his day. "

Thus was born the CatCam.

You can read the technical details, special considerations, and see photos from Mr. Lee's rambles at

I was surprised that he hung out with so many other cats. I kinda expected him to be solitary, except for amour, perhaps.

1294 Cluster Map

Saturday, June 9, 2007

I just added a "cluster map" to the right sidebar. It shows where visitors are coming from, or will, once it gets torqued up.

It probably won't be very accurate, because AOL folks never show a location other than simply "USA", for example, and my own ISP location field sometimes shows Boston, sometimes somewhere in Maryland, sometimes upstate New York, and sometimes "undetermined". Weird.

But it'll be fun anyway, I hope.


Roman and I are going to Mass MOCA tomorrow. The local Mensa group went last year, but that was the weekend Roman and I had gone to visit my mountain, so we missed it.

Now that he's free on weekends, I suggested that we go. Make up for what we missed last year. I think we'd have more fun on our own anyway.

Next weekend, The Man and I are going to my mountain.

Friday, June 08, 2007

1293 Sad Sight on the Rondout

Friday, June 8, 2007

I went in to the museum today for the third day in a row. I'll need one more day early next week, and then we'll be back on schedule. That one day (I hope it's only one) will be a hard day. I'll have to stuff envelopes for sixty new and renewing members, and I hope this will be the last time I have to make four individual decisions for each and every envelope.

There's a high deck on the back of the museum, where I take breaks (it was 85 degrees inside today). The deck overlooks the Rondout Creek, so I can watch boats, ducks, and geese going up and down the creek, and catch a little breeze.

Yesterday I watched a pair of duck parents trying to corral and guide ten fluffy little ducklings. In photos and stories you always see ducklings following a parent in single file, very obediently. Uh uh. Not the way it works on the Rondout. The ducklings were scattering every which way, and the parents were frantic, quacking and nudging, as the ducklings were weaving in and out through the docks. I truly believe Momma Duck could count.

Today a flotilla of Canada geese were moving down the creek. They were travelling in a loosely spread out group, but obviously in definite pairs. Except for one goose, who was alone. I felt very sorry for that goose. They mate for life, and at this time of year should absolutely be paired. So I guess that goose must have recently lost his or her mate. I felt sorry for it, alone among so many pairs.

In the group of seven pairs and one singleton, only one couple had a gosling, and only one gosling. The other pairs must have failed or lost their chicks, because if they still had eggs in a nest, they wouldn't both be travelling up the creek. They'd stay near the nest. That was very sad, to see out of fifteen adults only one baby.

It was cute, though. The geese were having the same problem as the ducks the day before. The fluffy tan gosling kept veering off between the docks. At one point the mother lost him entirely, and went paddling back up, honking the whole way. "Honk" is a four-letter word, and it sounded like it when she finally found him. I think he may have been tired, and went between the docks to get out of the breeze.

The parents wanted to catch up with the rest of the geese, and I was fascinated with Mother Goose's pantomime. The gosling was paddling beside her, and she lowered her head and made a scooping forward motion with her beak, several times. It so obviously said, "Keep paddling, come on, let's move."

I've always thought that animals have a lot more going on in their heads than we give them credit for.

1292 Guan Yin Dancers Rehersal

Friday, June 8, 2007

If you liked the clip in the previous post, you might like this - it's the performance interspersed with rehearsal footage. I didn't realize that the dancers in the rear are male!

By the way, I noticed that the video screen in the previous post (and perhaps this one?) didn't show up in the Bloglines feed. If you use Bloglines only and didn't see it, go to the actual blog (click on the title).


1291 Thousand Hands

Friday, June 8, 2007

Here, for your enjoyment, 20-some hearing-impaired young women, performing the beautiful Thousand Hand Guan Yin:

Via: Flixya

You will find more information, and perhaps a version that works better on your system (some of them out there don't like Firefox, some don't like Mac), by Googling "Thousand Hand".

Thursday, June 07, 2007

1290 Pain

Thursday, June 7, 2007

I've mentioned before that I have fibromyalgia. That combined with old badly healed back injuries means I have a constant low level of muscle grumbling or flashing fiery nerve pain somewhere in my body, every day.

Mostly I ignore it.

Occasionally it gets insistent.

It hasn't been as bad the past ten years, which I sort of attributed to lower levels of estrogen or something, but I noticed that sometimes it would flare up again. Like right now - my left palm is on fire, there's a twisty feeling in my lower right abdomen, the left thigh burns, and my left shoulder feels full of gravel.

I think I may have made a connection.

After Jay and I had been married a while, he gradually got me started with supplements, the same things he was taking (fat lot of good it did him...). I currently take mini-aspirin, calcium + Vit D, Vit C, Vit E, fish oil, magnesium, lecithin, and a multi-vitamin without iron. It seems like ever since I've been taking them, the pain level has been reduced.

Lately I've been traveling a bit more, and sometimes I forget to take the week-long pill container with me and then I neglect to start up again when I get home, or it runs out and I neglect to refill it.

Surprise. I'm beginning to notice that after a week without the supplements, I start to hurt again. Hmmmm.

I'm pretty sure it's not the mini-aspirin, because that's the one that runs out the fastest, and I often don't buy more until something else runs out.

It's not worth experimenting to see which may be controlling the whatever goes wrong. I'll just be more careful about being consistent about the whole program.

One place I've already definitely made a connection - because I take the fish oil and lecithin, henna won't stain my skin (well, it won't stay for more than two days). A guy doing henna tattoos at Rakkasah one year told me he'd noticed that, too, that lecithin and fish oil make the skin too oily (note - not oil glands kind of oily - individual cells kind of oily!) But more significantly, my skin is definitely dryer when I haven't been taking them. I noticed my face was very dry this morning.

Excuse me while I go fill the pill case.

1289 More Museum Day

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Back to the Maritime Museum today, to process last month's renewals forms and payments. There's about 65 of them, and in three and a half hours I got through about 40. I'll have to go in tomorrow to finish.

I talked to the volunteer coordinator, Betty, about the envelope stuffing. She kept interrupting to object, and I got mad. I don't often snap, but this time I did. I told her to please shut up the hell up and hear me through to the end.

When I got to the end, she agreed with me. Wonder of all wonders. She said to write it all up and submit it to Russ. He may or may not have to take it to the Board.

It took me three hours to stuff 24 envelopes yesterday for the April renewals, and tomorrow or next week I'll have to stuff 65! And, when Betty took the 24 to the post office yesterday to mail them, because of the different premiums for the different membership levels stuffed into them, and the differing amounts of paper, every single one of them had to be weighed separately to calculate the postage.

But from talking with Betty, I learned that arguing "time" isn't going to get me anywhere. I'll have to approach it from a cost angle.

Many of the premiums are such that they probably get immediately tossed into the trash (the window decals, magnets, maybe even the notecards). And yet each of them does cost the museum some amount. Plus, postage has just gone up, and if gas prices continue to rise it will likely go up again, so mailing premiums that most people don't really want is an extravagance.

The two changes I'd like to make are to:
1) Consolidate the new and returning members' letters into one. No one will be offended if it's not personal. And...
2a) Do away with the premiums altogether. Betty says that the premiums are to encourage people to join, but really! No one is going to pay $50 for a "friend" membership just to get a randomly chosen refrigerator magnet with a photo of a lighthouse on it, when they can buy one in the gift shop for less than a tenth of that. All members get free admission, and a 10% discount on all merchandise and events anyway. What more do they need? If Russ or the Board insist on the premiums, then...
2b) Print up a paper coupon for inclusion in the envelope, which will allow the member to show his membership card and the coupon in the gift shop, and select a gift or a rebate appropriate to the membership level. If members want the premium, and live too far away to visit the gift shop, then they can request that it be mailed. That's still cheaper than mailing them in mass to everyone.

I have to go in tomorrow. And probably next Monday. When I have so much yard work and house work I should be doing. This is exactly the situation I wanted to avoid when I kept refusing any volunteer assignments with continuing responsibility!!!!!!


I didn't write it yesterday, but I came seriously very very close to saying "I quit", and walking out, when the data base was screwing up on searches again. NO STRESS ALLOWED!

I didn't, only because no one else knows the procedures, and I didn't want to leave them in the lurch.

Once I get this envelope stuffing situation under control (or determine that the powers that be refuse to recognize it as a problem needing fixing), I'm going to write up the procedures to be followed in such a way, with such clarity, that an idiot can pick them up in mid-month and follow them. Once those things are done,

the next time the stress starts

I will feel able to quit and walk out

without feeling the least bit guilty or worrying about what anyone thinks.

So there.

1288 Why Did You Start Blogging?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Jack at "Random thoughts- Do they have meaning?" asks why people started blogging. This is my comment on his blog:

~~Silk said...

My husband and I fought his brain cancer for three years, during which I lost touch with friends. Then after he died, I went into three years of social and emotional seclusion. When I was ready to come out of it, I had no one to talk to.

I talked to my blog. I didn't care if no one read it.

6/07/2007 08:49:00 AM

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

1287 Museum Complaints

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

If you aren't me, don't bother reading this. I just need to blow off steam.

Today I went to the museum. I needed to send membership cards to 24 people who had newly joined or renewed their membership last month.

Sounds simple.

Everybody gets a envelope of paper - a "thank you" letter, a "please consider volunteering" letter, a "membership levels and benefits" sheet, their personalized membership card, and a "matching grants reminder". That's the basic package.

However, there are like eight different levels of membership. Each of those different levels gets a different "premium", ranging from nothing through a window decal, or a lighthouse magnet, or river scene notecards, and on up to a copy of a book on river history. The mid-levels and up also get another membership card that gets them discounts in other museums.

Also, the "thank you" letter is different for new members from that sent to renewing members.

Oh, and a member can check "send no premium", in which case they get just the basic stuff for their level.

Now, let's see ---

That's 8(levels) x 2 (premium/no premium) x 2 (new/renewing) = 32 possible envelope stuffing permutations!

Which means very flippin' one of the envelopes has to be put together individually! And the computer printout that I work from doesn't say whether they are new or renewing, so I have to go back to the original hardcopy forms to figure that out.

Whoever decided what should be done had no thought about how it would have to be done.

Freakin' idiots.

It ought to be a standard packet for everyone. Period. Generalize the thank-you letter. As to the premiums, if they are necessary (which I question) I'd say include a coupon in each packet, and if they bring it in to the museum gift shop, they get their gift, or a discount on a purchase, value depending on their membership level.

This month was relatively easy because there were only 24 envelopes.

Can't wait for the next batch. That'll be about 50.

I think I'm going to have to come up with an argument and a presentation. I wish I knew to whom I should present it. That place has too many chiefs.

1286 Museum Photos

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I took some pictures with my tiny toy camera today:

The Hudson River Maritime Museum entrance. The striped barrel is there because the city is working on the curbs and sidewalks.

This is a view of the Rondout Creek behind the museum. The piles of brick are for a new walkway they're building.

This is the Rip Van Winkle tour boat passing the museum. Oil tanks on the shore behind it. It's carrying a load of schoolchildren, most of whom descended on the museum shortly after the photo was taken.

Another view of the Rip.

1285 Continents?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

One more thing I don't understand. When I was little, we were taught that there were seven continents, of which Europe and Asia were two.

Two? Separate continents?

None of my teachers were ever able to satisfactorily explain that.

(In my opinion, it's just European egocentricity.)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

1284 Nothing Day

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

I didn't even get dressed today. Ate some doggie-bagged chicken. Made a YouTube playlist of music videos. Printed off about a ream of documents. Sent copies of photos from the Friday PenPals picnic to the kids. Listened to the thunder, flinched at the lightning, cringed at the hail.

Nothing day.

Monday, June 04, 2007

1283 Cold

Monday, June 4, 2007

One week ago I switched the system from heat to air conditioning, thinking that it finally would be warm enough.

Today I'm freezing my tushie off.

Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 80s.

I wish Mother Nature would settle down. Somebody wrote a blog post some time ago about Mother Nature going through menopause.


1282 'Nother Pen-Pal Picnic

Monday, June 4, 2007

I went to another pen-pal picnic today. At last Friday's picnic, the organizer mentioned that something like fifteen of the forty-some senior pen pals wouldn't be able to make it to this group's picnic, mostly due to illness, so she needed volunteers to substitute. I volunteered.

Again, this is a program where elementary school kids and senior citizens write to each other over the school year, as part of the children's composition classes. Home addresses, photographs, and last names are not traded - all letters go through the program.

The kids are terribly disappointed when their pen pal doesn't show up at the picnic. They often have little handmade gifts for them, and are looking forward to finally meeting them. When the senior doesn't show, it's like a rejection. What bothers me is that the organizers don't screen the seniors. I think that the ability to attend the picnic should be a criteria. When you assign a kid a senior who's bedridden or house-bound, it's a boon to the senior, but guarantees disappointment to the child. It stinks. Just my opinion. There are several ways that could be handled better.

Anyway, I got assigned two nine-year-olds today, a sweet and pretty girl whose mouth runneth over (I not only know the sleeping arrangements in their house, and the names of her cats, but also the names of all ten kittens and who adopted each of them), and a boy who didn't stop running (thank goodness he was wearing a bright yellow shirt, so I could spot him).

It was 62 degrees and pouring cold rain the whole time. Luckily we had a huge tent canopy. Some of the kids had jackets, but my boy (and several others) was dressed in a short-sleeved T-shirt and shorts. He wouldn't stay under the tent and kept running around in the rain. I quickly gave up trying to corral him, and just hoped the running would keep him warm.

The picnic was at the Snyder Estate, and we got to tour the Widow Jane Mine and learned about the local cement industry at the Cement Industry Museum, followed by the usual hot dogs, bagged carbohydrates, Koolaid, and ice cream.

This bunch of kids seemed much younger, less sophisticated, than Friday's group. Their conversation and the way they related to each other seemed more naive. Friday's kids were from a school in the city (the very small city) of Kingston. These kids were from a village a few miles south of Kingston.

There was one girl who blew my mind, though. I have to wonder if her mother saw her go out the door. She was wearing a strappy top with sequins across the top and three tiers of long fringe, more suitable to clubbing than a school picnic. And lipstick. She's nine!

Oh, well. I guess every class has one.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

1281 Spring Plowing Photos

Sunday, June 3, 2007

From the same roll as the accident photos - a few from Spring Plowing.

The ox team:

Four abreast:

A mule team, BIG beasties:


1280 Accident Photos

Sunday, June 3, 2007

I finally got the photos of the accident on the NYS Thruway, May 28, 2007. The one I got stuck behind coming home from the Memorial Day weekend Maryland Mensa gathering. (One of these days I'll have to learn how to use the digital camera. Until then, we have to wait for me to fill a roll and get them developed.)

I don't usually immediately think of a camera, so by the time I did, the emergency vehicles had arrived, and the fire was almost out. So these photos don't show the billowing black smoke it started with. My car was stopped closer than the photos would seem to imply, too. Somehow the camera adds distance or something.

By the time the fire was out, more emergency vehicles had arrived:

Taken through my windshield. What's left of the minivan is on the flatbed. Note that all that's left of the truck trailer is the back door and a frame.

1279 I'm Off Dial-up!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Today I went to the museum. The showrooms and gift shop were open, but there was no one upstairs in the offices, so I didn't stay. It would be terribly hot up there, and I didn't want to mess with windows or a/c. I'll have to try again on Tuesday.

We've had thunder and lightening the past four days, which causes a lot of static on the phone lines, which means my dial-up connection wouldn't stay up long enough for me to read one piece of email all the way through, let alone reply to it. So I decided to stop by Office Max and use their free WiFi.

Well, it didn't seem to be up, and no one there seemed to know how to check it.

I got mad.

I've had it.

Cell phones and Blackberries and everything else can get to the internet from anywhere, and by damn I want to too!

I talked to a kid at Office Max about exactly how I go about making that happen. Today was his first day working there, which means he was a lot more helpful than otherwise. Right across the street was a cell phone store, and after explaining to me what I should ask for, he sent me there.

I walked in the door of the cell phone store, pointed to a poster on the wall, and said "I want that!"

One half hour later I was sitting in an Applebee's eating a grilled cheese and surfing happily.

The equipment is a thingy about the size of two end-to-end Zippo lighters, that plugs into a USB port. I can get to the internet from any location that has cell reception. Unlimited use. No "roaming". I don't know what to call it, but it appears to be as fast as WiFi.

I can use it anywhere in my house, everywhere anywhere! Even the bathtub! I can finally watch videos on youtube! I'm very happy.

The cost is about $60 per month, which sounded high at first, until I realized that I can get rid of the second phone line in the house, and cancel the ISP service, thus saving $45 per month, so it's actually an increase of only $15 per month, and I'll happily pay that. The savings in reconnect time and download waiting time alone is worth 50 cents a day.

And I can thumb my nose at hotels that want to charge for internet connection. That alone had cost me about $40 in the month of May. Now I'm bringing my own connection. Nya nya.

So far, I'm happy. I've got 30 days to confirm that, then I'm locked in.