shoe's blog

Tides, Gravity and Forces of Nature

So here I am, in lieu of doing stuff that I actually ought to be doing. Hi, LISNews.

As per usual, health is the usual ebb and flow of being able to leave the house for a whole half hour at a shot, and not being able to climb the stairs. Good news is that I've now hit the 70 pounds lost weight. But seriously... losing weight is supposed to make you feel healthier. I didn't expect losing it would really do that, but I am really quite disappointed I feel significantly worse.

I am, though, without a doubt, loving the gig at OStatic and have done all right with a one a day post schedule, and two when possible.

My partner in crime Lisa and I have been keeping on with the podcast, except when something doesn't work as expected (equipment, or my life, or hers) and then we have to pass till the next week. Should you be inclined to visit the link. Yes, the chick in the video is me. My webcam is fairly idiotic, and autofocuses when manual is selected, works infinitely better with the right light technology off, and for some reason, this week, decided to turn the volume down on the mic.

I'm using a cheap mic for the podcast from here on out. The sound and noise from the cheap mic is easier to hide than the echo from the powerful, but completely non-directional one. -- Read More

My MLS will come in handy here, somehow. I know it.

I know, my absence of late has left a giant gaping hole in your hearts somewhere right below the left ventricle or something. It's hard to visualize on the ultrasound, because no one in the clinic knows really how to work one of these things...

We'll hold the medical stuff at the moment, at least, as it pertains to me, except to say that we've got a loose name of what has been keeping me from living a normal life for -- well, it's been at least 20 years, but it only got particularly nasty in the last eight, and horribly blood-curdling nasty in the last five. It's a sleep disorder, they can not cure it, and if the case proves to be beyond a moderate sort of manifestation, they really can't treat it terribly effectively. A lot of non-sleep/neurological doctors will tell you that they can... There's this new drug... Uh. No.

Long and the short is, the sleep-neuro-guy says that I function at about 20% capacity on a good day. It isn't going to get better than that at this point, or even in the mid-range future.

So I've come to terms with the fact I am not going back to work in a normal environment. I've come to terms that I will never be able to see a movie in a theater again. I'm trying to deal with the idea that if I can come home and mentally function (or at least not walk into solid objects) after a twenty minute trip to the grocery store, I am having a pretty damn good day.

I hate not doing stuff. You know that, right? -- Read More

Librarian Interviews Amazingly Cool Open Source Guy, Now Online

I wasn't sure if this was going to come to pass, but it does appear that my interview with Mark Shuttleworth is now available online. I knew they put some content up, but had no idea how exactly they determined what content went where.

So why do I keep belaboring that interview here? Because Mark Shuttleworth is cool, and I think that there are a few things in the interview that librarians (and educators) might find interesting. Hold on to your hats, non-techie types... Not only do we never talk directly about Ubuntu, but we don't talk a whole lot about really overtly horribly bloody tech stuff in general.

For those who do love the tech stuff (there have to be a few of you, still, right?), I've launched into a podcast adventure with Lisa Hoover (of various tech media outlets) that can be found here if you're interested. Please note that we're librarians and writers, we're located at different ends of the eastern seaboard, and between Skype, my way too sensitive mic, and our inexperience with manhandling audio (this being our first podcast), it's a little rougher sounding this week than it will be next. We hope.

On shelves now

Just wanted to let the world know I live... well, I mean, I have a pulse and brain electrical activity still, so they refuse to make the call.

Corrected url for the magazine with my interview with Mark Shuttleworth: http://www.linuxmagazine.com

Don't know if the interview will ever be on the site, but it is now available at some of the more major Barnes and Noble and Borders stores.

It's the June issue (thought it would be July... ack.)

I got to interview Mark Shuttleworth

Yeah, no kidding, that Mark Shuttleworth. The interview will be in the July 2008 issue of Linux Magazine. Not sure how many libraries subscribe... Serials budgets being what they are, and there's that little issue we always had with niche magazines either getting totally forgotten about and ignored or stolen.

The magazine is also usually found at larger booksellers... Barnes and Noble, Borders, blah blah. Usually the current issue hits the shelves about a month beforehand. So it seems it'll be a first or second week of June roll out, if you should want to check it out.

I wouldn't have given it so much of a shout-out here, but because I am such a freakin' geek... There was a lot of stuff that Mark talked about that I thought a few of you might be interested in. Aside from that fact he's a really cool guy.

Mother of Reinvention

I recently signed on to the Download Squad as a blogger. I've run two stories thus far: here and here.

The "Flipping the Linux Switch" is actually projected to be an ongoing, weekly blog column about making the switch to Linux. Next week's is lined up and ready to go, with some minor tweakings.

Linux Librarian (big thanks to Blake, he knows why) will continue, of course. You can't give up on your first love... Most purely 'nix related stories will link to the appropriate place on DLS, and library and of course personal accounts will appear on on Linux Librarian.

The DLS thing came about when I was making the rounds of sites I visit on occasion. It was early November, maybe even late October, and there was a banner advertising that they were looking for writers. I threw my hat in the ring, pretty sure nothing would come of it. I was contacted last week about signing on.

There is compensation... Not great amounts, but it will help supplement the somewhat bleak income picture on my part. More exciting for me was the exposure, the more "formal" blogging that it entailed (formal blogging? Wha?), and the ability to fill hours doing something I love-- writing-- knowing that somebody was waiting for it and (most likely) going to read it. -- Read More

Life is Beautiful

So, er, forgive not hearing from me sooner... I don't know if Blake removed my server bank from the spam filter, or if I'm currently routed through another IP address with Verizon... But for some reason, I can post to LISNews (for now.)

And news. Real news. Actually, really good news.

I have been diagnosed. Officially. There is no "I guess we have to call it fibromyalgia even though it doesn't fit, really." There is no "You're depressed." There is no "You're crazy."

I have narcolepsy, with (albeit very subtle) cataplexy. The endometriosis accounted for about 99% of the pain I experienced in the hips and back. The rest I'm chalking up to old age and lack of sleep, because it doesn't get in the way of my doing things. Being dead awful tired, spacey as a crap, and intermittent weakness... Hooo yeah.

How do we know this now?

They started me on a drug whose name I won't mention, but you'll probably get on the Googleinator and be able to sort it out. It's the big gun cataplexy drug, that also improves quality of sleep (by, er, putting you in a comatose state), which does have at least some effect on daytime sleepiness. I am on a small dose, and still have to take focalin, and still need naps. But now, when I need a nap, I can actually make it to the bed, and not need to lay down right where I am. -- Read More

A Smattering of Matters

I have a little historical/archival conundrum. You can read more about it here. The short version, for those that don't want to click on the linkyloo, is this... I found some papers, all rolled up (for lack of a better word) dating to/concerning the Spanish-American War. They were hidden a bit behind a desk at the Hysterical Society, in a pile of things the last cataloger labeled "To be catalogued". All well and good, but they were loose, in a room with no climate control (a thorn in my side, constantly) and covered in cobwebs and dust.

I am in the process of (carefully) extricating the papers from their tightly rolled state and trying to uncurl them. They seem, actually, in surprisingly good condition (no mold, just dust). I am assuming I will catalog them as a manuscript collection (just what I've seen so far is fascinating... Who thought latrine duty orders would be so engaging?)

The earliest paper I've seen (and I've only looked at like four or five of them) dates to about 1908 (a bit after the war, I know) and the latest was dated 1912... I expect I will find some earlier and some later in the two rolls of papers.

Here's the thing, oh wise LISNEWsters, is there anything I need to watch out for in uncurling the objects? We are without a formal press... so we use old bits of library shelving (cleaned, of course) for such things. The papers don't seem exceptionally brittle. I just don't want to be placing anything on those papers that might damage them.

Is there a quick and easy (and safe!) way of uncurling them? I know the archival places sell nice little weights... but I think buying nice little weights might be beyond us (I fear they'll say, "Use the shelving!") I mean, there are two rolls about 3-5 inches thick. That's a lot of paper, and a lot of shelving I'd need to use.

And I feel so funny about this... One of the wads of documents is actually still held in its paper band adhesives. Should be easy enough to open even without fancy schmancy archival tools, and historically it doesn't do much good to leave it shut in its bands. I mean, after all, I don't know for sure this was has anything to do with the conflict. (Although I imagine it does.) I just feel so funny opening a bunch of papers that obviously been sealed for a hundred years. (Hey, it may have been sitting on that shelf for a hundred years, for all I know.)

In other news, since AP was cool to ask... Recovery from the surgery was easy. Still feel very fatigued, but the back pain is gone. Gone! The legs and hips still bother me, but this has offered a bit of relief.

Burn and Crash

I went in for surgery last Wednesday, and got out the same day. It went really well, and... best of all... they found what they were looking for. I have endometriosis in two very common areas and one not so common. The good news is the doctor reports he got it all. The bad news is the not so common area where it was found usually means it will come back in a year or two or three. The not so common area? My, er, colon. Of course, I am lucky in that there are many, many (read: most) doctors that are not skilled enough to remove it from that region in the first place.

So everything was either cut or burned off (I think he mostly burned it, as I didn't appear to have lesions that were terribly deep). I also have some charming photographs of the event. All I can say is... it looks weird. I meet with him on the 18th to ask questions... and my first is going to be, "Are ovaries supposed to look anything like that?"

I felt great going home (I love general anesthesia). Really the only things that hurt were the incisions, and the sore throat.

Oh yeah, and the Prius.

My sweet, beloved Mr. Shoe was driving our sweet, beloved Prius to pick up some ice cream for my sore throat... When he was hit by a chick going (he estimates) 25-30 mph up the yellow line, turning one lane of stopped traffic into two lanes.

He was turning, and he was very, very fortunate not to be hurt. Impact happened on the wheel wells, took off the bumper and headlights, and punctured a few things deep in the engine, because there was a veritable rainbow of colored liquids leaking out all over the street. (I wasn't with him, second hand account.) The other driver's car looks bad... but our poor little Prius...

We think she may be totaled.

We are worried that she hit directly on the wheel. She probably damaged the usual things that are situated there on a car, but Priuses also have electric motors, I guess, in that area. The electric motors power the batteries, the battery powers the electric motors, or something (or both).

The real pisser is it was almost paid off. I think we had like 3 or 4 months. The insurance will probably give us enough to afford a new one of the same model (we love that car) but we'll still have five years worth of payments to make on it again.

But, as Mr. Shoe says, if anything had to go wrong that day, he was glad the car was wrecked and not me. Sweet, ain't he?

I am still experiencing fatigue, but at least most of the pain is in check. It could be the continual pain killers... but they weren't making a dent in anything before, and they are now. I'll take any sort of improvement at this point.

The Cure to What Ails Ye.

The answer, it seems, was under my nose all along.

Actually, it makes sense that it took me, and the medical team working with me, this long to figure it all out. The symptoms I was presenting with, though not unusual with what I have, did kind of present in a manner that was odd.

When I was in library school, I had a pelvic surgery done. When they were in there, they discovered a few rogue growths-- endometriosis. The surgeon burned 'em off, and told me, helpfully, to "keep an eye on it."

He didn't tell me what to keep an eye on, what to expect, what to look out for. I figured, hey, they burned em off. They're gone. I thought endometriosis was just periods that hurt like hell. So when didn't they hurt?

Surprise. Current thinking is that endo, at least, symptomatic endo, is an autoimmune response. It is a disease that is progressive, grows like a cancer (but isn't) and causes a lot of havoc, sometimes more havoc in women with fewer implants, and less havoc in women with more. But not always.

It is an enigma wrapped in a mystery.

Cutting it out usually gives a year or two of relief. Then the cycle repeats.

Yesterday I went to one of the top three endo specialists in the country. I told him what was going on... the headaches, the fatigue, the back and hip pain... and that the pelvic pain came three years into it.

Nothing I said surprised him.

Certainly, it seems like this could be it. The symptoms match, and it's been spotted in my body, unlike most of the other likely suspects... SLE, RA, and a host of other acronyms.

The bummer is, there's really no cure. They can cut it out, they can try to retard growth with drugs... But even hysterectomies don't solve the problem, necessarily. Sometimes (though it's not always the case) menopause doesn't even make it stop entirely.

And the pain might stop, for awhile, but the fatigue tends to be a hanger-on type of symptom.

It can lodge anywhere in the body... No one is sure exactly why. You can get it on your lungs, liver, or even, in rare cases, your brain. I know of a lady whose lungs collapsed every period from implants there.

So here's the plan: In early September, they're doing a day surgery (there was some concern, because I'm (cough) overweight, it would have to be a more involved surgery, but the doctor took a look at my gut and thought the laparascope would work all right.) They're taking a look at the general state of things, cutting out what they find, and doing some biopsies of the lining of my uterus.

The biopsies are not standard, but he's doing them partially because of my symptoms and partially because he's in there, why the hell not?

Then comes the drug treatments, which I will think more about after we know where the surgery leaves us. There are a number of drugs I could take... None of which are terribly pleasant. The most common are Depo-Provera, which I am not sure I can take due to a breast cancer risk (I might be able to), Danazol, which just has some nasty side effects and I don't think I want to go there, and Lupron. Lupron is actually a drug used also in late stage prostate cancer. It causes bone loss (which is scary), really bad hormonal swings (also scary) and weight gain (I really don't want to be packing more weight, but I would like my life back, too). These drugs are not drugs you can really take for any length of time.

So it could come back, if we get it under control, when the drugs are stopped.

What do we do then? Wash, rinse, repeat with the surgery, and hope for new drugs.

But that's probably two or three years down the road.

The kicker is I don't know as any of this will really help, but if I keep it from getting worse, and have a definitive answer as to what is wrong...

That's somethin', you know?

The sleep doctor had mercy and put me back on the focalin, 30 mgs. That dose will be increased, but we're taking it slow. 30 mgs gives me the ability to get in to the Hysterical Society for a few hours here and there. It's nice to be able to leave the house periodically.

Read a Book (Explicit Lyrics)

I just heard this little ditty CD baby, and then looked into the artist... Bomani D'Mite Armah... NotARapper.com. This guy's a poet, who puts his stuff to a hip hop beat...

Explicit lyrics, yes, so please don't click on the play-y play link if naughty words offend you (I use them every chance I get, personally). But I do like the sentiment.

Read A Book!

Of course, only available on itunes, so I can't get it via Linux, but hey.

I just found it is available (in a clean version too) on PayPlay.fm. Apparently DRM free, if you buy the MP3.

Ah, if only I HAD been drinking!

I was preparing a podcast Tuesday, and noticed, for a fleeting period (seriously less than a minute) that my speech was slurred. My tongue and lips felt about three feet thick, but by the time I was at the end of the thought, it seemed to return to normal. Playing back the section, I noticed it lasted a bit longer than I had realized.

Now, I've slurred before (not because I was drinking either), but it's been associated with extreme tiredness, or a new medication, not just a random hit and run.

A little concerned, I told Mr.Shoe when he got home. He said, "Why the hell didn't you call the doctor?" Aw, c'mon. That would have made sense.

At any rate, yesterday afternoon, about 30 hours after the slurring resolved by itself, I spoke to a medical professional. Instead of the blow off I thought I'd get, I was told in no uncertain terms that I am to report to the ER if it should happen again, and make them see me immediately. I was also told that until the MRI and MRA results come back, I am supposed to take an aspirin every morning.

It's standard outpatient treatment for a TIA (transient ischemic attack). Essentially, they think it may have been a small stroke-like thing that cut off blood flow to a part of my brain. The problem is, there usually isn't any evidence it happened 30 hours after it takes place. Unless the arteries in my head are hard (hence the MRA).

My blood pressure, which normally is low (and I mean low) was borderline high yesterday. It was radically different enough that the nurse commented on it, although the doctor seemed more interested in listening to the blood swish in my head and blinding me with that... blindy stick that they shine in your eyes.

The numbers, if it was a TIA (which they may not know for sure ever, unless, like I said, the MRA shows any weird arteries) are a little disturbing. 20 percent of people have a stroke within two years of having a TIA, almost half of them within two days of it (which I've already passed, thankfully). The good news, at least, is that I don't have that many risk factors for this sort of thing. I am overweight and my family history includes strokes, but I've never been a smoker or drinker. I have good cholesterol and blood pressure, normally (although by all rights, I shouldn't).

So they still don't know really, for sure, what's causing the fatigue and pain, but this might be a clue. It's a big smack in the head, if it's what they think it was... But hoping for a positive outcome.

Aside from the usual, I feel reasonably okay.

Missing... Well, everything

LOST: One reference/systems librarian.

No, really, I'm right here. But I feel among the missing in more ways than one, unfortunately.

The lovely doctors, one of them, prescribed an ADHD drug called Focalin to keep me awake. At three times the normal dose, it did at least allow me to leave the house for an hour or a two at a time. I still needed a nap or two a day, and it still felt as though the gravity was turned waaaay up, but I could get out... if not to do the things I wanted to do, at least to do the things I had to do.

Then, the other lovely doctors got a little paranoid. They said, "You're on three times the recommended dose." And they pushed it down to the maximum recommended dose. Which doesn't do squat.

Every hour and a half, now, I need to lie down for at least twenty minutes. Or else I hit the floor.

What this means is that I'm essentially housebound. Mr. Shoe wants to go out to dinner, he has to go alone. We need groceries? Mr. Shoe does them alone (the supermarket lights kill me on a good day anyway.) My birthday is coming and my mother has her heart set on taking me to the Olive Garden. Like I feel like falling asleep in a plate of pasta. And it kills me because I want to go. There's so frickin' much I'd love to be doing!

I also get stupid, and forgetful when I get this way. And it's sort of weird, I noticed when I get stupid and forgetful, I tend to stick things in the refrigerator that don't really belong there. Things like... shirts. Dry dog food. Packing tape. Go figure.

Two weeks ago I had another sleep study, where they discovered I get about 17-25 minutes of deep sleep (the restorative kind) a night. I meet with the sleep doctor (brilliant lady) on the 21st to see where to go from here. I know I need the CPAP turned up, and I do have some other sleep disorders that may or may not be complicating the issue.

The only weird blood test results, lately, have been Vitamin D. I flunked my Vitamin D test. I hear some doctors say that's highly unusual, and others say it's common. I think what it is is that it's common to be deficient. It's highly unusual to have your rheumatologist say, "This is pathetic." I have almost no Vitamin D in my system.

They say that could be the problem, too. My rheumy, who is a doll, says that it causes CFIDS/fibromyalgia like symptoms. What I'm reading (never give test results to a librarian) is that it's indicative of osteomalacia... Essentially the adult form of rickets. My pain is consistent with this.

The good news is that it is easily treated. The bad news is they have to find out why I'm deficient. If it's diet, I'm okay. If it's something else... Eh. Depends.

The long and the short is that I haven't, since they yanked the Focalin, been able to get to the Historical Society. I am wickedly bummed about that. I've only left the house in the past two months for doctors appointments. Pbbb. Of course, my doctor makes me come in almost every week. I do have to give that girl an A for effort.

Wow, this has really turned into a downer. Sorry. I am trying my damnedest to stay upbeat, and, for the most part, I am succeeding. But I do feel like I've really lost something...

I still haven't quite reconciled myself to the fact that I'm no longer working.

How Many Doctors Does It Take to Diagnose a Librarian?

If you were following my saga awhile back, I was quite happily minding my own business when a bus hit me. Or so it felt. I believe the date the bus hit was Sept. 21, 2004, about 2 or 3 in the afternoon. I had had a cold a week or three before, felt a little achey and stuff, but nothing major. Then, while on vacation (add insult to injury) I decided I needed a nap. When I woke up, I didn't feel much better. For whatever reason, I got in the shower. My heart thudded hard a few times, I struggled to hang on to consciousness (still can't tell you if I did.) Then, it happened again.

When the thudding stopped, I felt exceptionally tired. This lead the doctors to believe I was having seizures. Except with post-ictal fatigue, you do eventually feel better. I didn't. And they can see seizures on EEGs. They didn't.

Neurologist after neurologist... I heard everything... I was depressed. I might have multiple sclerosis (by this time, I was getting so clouded I actually got lost in my house). I had really bad atypical migraines. Finally, a neurologist stepped up to the plate and actually tested something.

A mildly positive, but not positive enough, rheumatoid factor. No ANA. No sed rate.

And it was interesting, because whereas I had told the neurologists my legs hurt, too, they all said, "Really? So do mine!"

Enter the rheumatologists. I got a good one right off the bat, unlike the neurologists, who seemed to think I was nutcase. She believes I am in pain and fatigued, just couldn't determine why. I am extremely hypermobile. I have a severe (pathetic, she says) Vitamin D deficiency. And my white blood cell count is every where. Sometimes it's normal, or low, or high.

But there's no explaining the bizarre symptoms. Headaches. Really-exceptionally-even- worse-than-usual coordination. Mixing up words. Flushing (my face, not the toilet). Rashes. Joint pain, muscle pain, sometimes even tingling. And that fatigue.

Right. Fatigue. It's not boo hoo I'm tired. It's got absolutely nothing to do with being tired. It is so pervasive... And I don't feel the need to sleep. I just need to lay down because my neck is not able to hold up my head. It's like being in a room where suddenly someone turns up the gravity, and then dumps seven tons of mud in.

So they come with this diagnosis: CFIDS, the illness with the stupidest, most non-descriptive name you could come up with. It's like describing a flesh eating virus victim as having a slight case of road rash.

CFIDS stands for chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome. A lot of doctors treat it as a throw away diagnosis, but from what I'm reading (great book by David S. Bell, The Doctor's Guide to Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome) once you recognize the pattern of the disease, it's pretty easy to identify.

The good news is it isn't fatal. It even, sometimes, gets better at the two year mark (where I'm at.) The bad news is, it's one of those things you contract (they're almost positive it starts with a virus of some sort, not necessarily Epstein Barr or mono (btw, I tested negative for them both)) and it never really goes away. So even if you feel good, you don't feel as good.

You can't go home again.

Right now, I'd settle for not having to lay down every hour or so.

The thing that scares me is that I'm laying down every hour (not sleeping) while on focalin, which is an ADHD drug designed to help you focus (get it?). It keeps me from being too stupid, it gets me up and down the stairs a few times a day. Sometimes I can even ride the exercise bike a few minutes. But it doesn't even pack the punch it probably should.

They don't recommend stimulants like focalin for the treatment of CFIDS. But you know what? I would like to somewhat have a life! I left the house for a twenty minute doctor appointment today and passed out afterwards for three hours. Thank god for the internet, or I'd have no human contact!

I am seeing a specialist in lupus/chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia next week. We'll see how it goes. There is no cure, or even really good treatment for it, unfortunately. They know it somehow affects the immune system, but not how it does. I am hoping to get out of the visit, mostly, someone who can do more than shrug and say, "Not my jurisdiction." I'm in that trap now... we know what it is, but my doctors (both the rheumatologist and my GP) are very young, and not entirely sure what to do with it.

Librarian to the rescue.... I'm giving Bell's book to my GP when I'm done.

The big question for me is will I return to work again... I want to. I'd love to. But it's been now, two years and counting from the onset and I don't feel much better. Some days I can go to the Historical Society, and then it wipes me for the next three. Sigh.

Feeling remarkably non-depressed and positive, though, considering the situation.

Anyway, thought I'd keep you all up to where I'm at.

Popping in to say hi

I haven't posted here for a long time. Not that I haven't been coming here. LISNews is of course a regular stop every day.

Still doing the part time thing at the Historical Society. I am alloted up to 16 hours a month, which I usually can't even achieve... Damn my health. Well, I guess technically I don't need to damn it, because obviously someone else out there already has.

If anything, though, I am a master of reinvention, and between being at the Hysterical Society, LinuxLibrarian, helping the library where I can, and my custom table top war game terrain side gig I am keeping busy, but still have the ability to go pass out in bed if I need to.

They have no idea what's wrong. Turns out, some doctors kind of swept some weird MRI findings under the rug, saying it was artifacts on the film. There is the definite possibility it is/was, but seeing as I have erratic white blood cell counts, funny looking marrow should be taken seriously. I %&*#$&#* hate neurologists. So I have to bring that up with my (new, very sweet) GP.

They're still working under the assumption it's something rheumatological. Rheumatoid arthritis, maybe, in its infancy... They have a working dx of fibromyalgia, but my rheumatologist said that's only because she doesn't know what else fits.

Never thought I'd say this: But I'm enjoying cataloging. Shhh.

Hysterical Society

I am being offered the chance to catalog for the local Hysterical Society (sounds like a great fit for me already!) for up to 16 hours a month. This is good for me for a number of reasons...

  • It'll give me something LIS related besides Linux Librarian to do.
  • It's located in the Library, so I'll see every one I loved and worked with.
  • It's short, make your own hours.
  • The two Hysterical Society members that interviewed me (and most of the board) are Trustees of the Library as well, so I know them.
  • Did I say the hours were good? I don't have to worry about scheduling doctor's appointments.
  • It's working with local history artifacts, which I adore. Books, objects, maps...

Here are the downsides:

  • My training in Dewey cataloging is minimal (gee, thanks Simmons.)
  • I always pictured "catalogers" as organized. I am not. By any stretch.
  • The Hysterical Society room is hot. Sometimes I don't react well to heat. But then, it is set your own hours and they told me to please take it real easy so I don't get sick, even if it means skipping a week or two. Or the summer. Seriously.

So what do you think? I know the pros outweigh the cons, and the two minutes we spent on Dewey cataloging in my class seemed a lot easier than LC. That was also almost three years ago, so I think a refresher look at the textbooks is in order.

I know my cons aren't even good cons, with the exception of the first one, as heat is seasonal, and the my perception is pretty much irrelevant (except I'm so totally unorganized it drives my husband nuts.)

My mind is pretty made up if they offer I will take it, and I think their minds are pretty made up, I just have to go through the formality of sending in a resume.

Grumpy Old Bookman

Grumpy Old Bookman is a misnomer. GOB is actually a pretty nice, reasonable guy. Shhh. Don't let the word get out.

I sent him a copy of Aurora Borealis a couple weeks ago. I had written him, asking if he'd like to take a look at it. I knew he didn't do reviews per se, but being as he is a pretty highly esteemed blogger, I'd see what he thought.

He offered, much to my surprise, to take a look and make a mention if he didn't find it totally to his taste, a review if he found it more to his taste.

I got something great out of his review, which you can see here.

Not exactly a review, more like a... advisory letter addressed to me, opened by the post office and posted for all to see. Best of all, it's realistic. It's not overly glowing, it's not overly down.

My book is not deep, it's not amazing literature. It's a beach read. It's something designed to keep you entertained. If I saw it on the kids' summer reading list, I'd be greatly concerned.

Thank you, GOB, for the advice, the words of encouragement, and your thoughts on where things could be improved. Greatly appreciated.

Indiscriminate Button Pressing

I am posting the link to this review one more time, because the reviewer has edited a bit from last night.

This looks less to me, now, than someone who simply didn't like the plot and got a little carried away in demonstrating as much, and more like someone who really has some deep seated issues. Not saying that as a bad thing, not saying she's wrong in her stance on violence, because in my not so humble opinion, she's not.

Once, when I was in college, I wrote a poem. It was called "Eating a Cockroach." It was about my turtle, Squirt, eating a bug. I wrote it, brought it into the workshop, and read it out loud. You wouldn't believe the meaning that poem took on to each student. It was a metaphor for life, for death, for love, for sex.

But sometimes a poem about a turtle eating a cockroach is just a poem about a turtle eating a cockroach.

Aurora Borealis was meant to disturb. It was not meant to educate. It was meant to entertain. For those looking for deep meaning: seriously, go read Crime and Punishment. At one point in the review I was delivering a "significant message".

But sometimes a poem about a turtle eating a cockroach is just a poem about a turtle eating a cockroach.

I like to write with elbow room for the reader. I like the reader to be able to internalize, relate to, and squirm a little with what I write. I sometimes write ambiguously, because I enjoy the "Rorschach Effect". I like that a bunch of different readers get a bunch of different interpretations of things.

I certainly pressed a button here. Especially because Aurora Borealis had, to me, no significant message. To me, it's not really about the murder, it's about all the stuff that happens up to it. It is more about the ride than the destination. She didn't like the ride, and that's fine. Her Rorschach test was a little different than mine.

I guess I sort of resent the whole public service announcement, though.

And to counteract the good review

...comes the bad review...

Honestly had her criticism been flipped ("I loved the plot but hated the writing style!") I would be more disappointed. The book is disturbing, there's no doubt about that. I meant to write it as a giant hyperbole, and obviously, somewhere, for some people, I failed in making it enough of a hyperbole. Perhaps the characters, as skeevy as they can be, were a little too three dimensional? I'm not entirely sure.

But now I have some lady in Colorado who thinks I condone murder under the right circumstances. Whoopsie.

Murder is bad, kids, mmmm'kay?

Giving up the ghost

I just left my job. I didn't want to, but the medical issues are too much. It came down to me having a choice. I could have medical issues that are almost bearable and be unemployed, or I could be employed and be in horrible pain, tired, and unable to do anything else.

Yes, I sobbed my damn eyes out when I told them. The director and assistant director looked like they wanted to join me.

Every cloud has a silver lining. This is this one's: I can do some work in the archives of the historical society, possibly, which is conveniently located at the library. This is a no pressure, when you can get to it type of job. There's no rush.

I can also write more. That's nice.

I'm still sad though.

LinuxLibrarian will go on. Didn't Celine Dion have a song about that?

In other news, because something that didn't positively suck had to happen today: I have a reading of my book scheduled at Gulu-Gulu Cafe in Lynn, MA (Lynn Lynn City of Sin) on July 11th, at 8 o'clock. If you're in the area, come see the gimpy ex-librarian.

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