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Help a single mom out?

My friend, hestiax, is the single mom of a beautiful 5 year old girl. She told the father about it while she was pregnant; he said he didn't want to have anything to do with a baby, and she said she didn't intend to sue for child support.

She had been out of work for a couple of years, and finally found a data entry job that doesn't exactly pay a living wage. In order to afford to work, she had to file for childcare assistance. In order to file for childcare assistance, she had to name the father of the child. So the state took his name, forced a DNA test and sued him for child support. The support goes to her, but it is in place of assistance for the state. He wasn't happy, and asked her what had happened to their agreement that they each go their own way. She explained that she needed financial assistance and couldn't get any from the county without identifying him.

Now, after seeing her for two months on most weekends for a few hours at a time, and 5 years of no parenting experience whatsoever, he believes he should have at least half custody, and have her stay with him in a tiny one-bedroom condo. Hestia would prefer a parenting class and supervised visitation, and definitely no sharing a bed with him, which he has stated he plans to do. (We aren't even sure his sharing a bed with her is legal.) He started lying and becoming abusive towards Hestia. Her daughter seems underwhelmed by him at this point. He is threatening her with suing for custody, and seems to think he could get full custody, which is highly unlikely with five years of abandonment.

In addition, we are fairly certain that he concealed a fair portion of his income, based on the small amount of child support he is paying.

So, Hestia needs an attorney. But she can't even afford clothes right now, much less a retainer. The attorney she has talked to requires a $2200 retainer, and there will probably be other expenses as well. Because she is receiving assistance, she cannot even collect donations to pay an attorney. However, I can.

If you can spare anything to help Hestia hire competent legal assistance, please donate. I will pay the attorney directly whatever money I can collect for that purpose.

You can donate through Paypal to margaretATfnorkyDOTcom. There will be a small fee, but all funds after those fees will be used for legal services.

This post is public. Feel free to link to it if you think there are other people who would like to help.

Note: I am aware that a lot of the information in this post is vague, that is necessary for privacy's sake. I can answer questions privately at teal.cuttlefish@gmail.com (for faster response than the paypal address) or through PMs on LJ or Facebook. I will also screen responses on this post.

Note2: I thought I would need help paying for fixing my new dogs, but we managed to budget for that with a bit of effort. With us on disability and Hestia at a job that does not pay a living wage, we need a lot of help to keep her daughter safe and happy. Anything you can contribute would be greatly appreciated.

Signal Boost: Return of the DDoS

Originally posted by deathpixie at Signal Boost: Return of the DDoS
For those wanting to know more about the recent DDoS attacks, yes, it looks like it was the Russian government trying to shut down the dissidents again.

As I said last time, while it's frustrating not to have access, LJ is a lot more than a social network platform. From the article:

"LiveJournal isn’t just a social network. It’s also a platform for organizing civic action. Dozens of network projects and groups mobilize people to solve specific problems — from defending the rights of political prisoners to saving endangered historic architecture in Moscow."

So while I know many are considering the move over to Dreamwidth and other such sites, supporting LJ is a way we can help support those who use it for more than a writing/roleplaying/social venue.

Also, as a FYI, LJ is giving paid users effected by the outage two weeks of paid time as compensation.

Propagating Info -- Spread it around!

Snagged Verbatim from ron_newman, who posted this in permmembers

Sometime earlier this month, LiveJournal introduced a "Spam Protection" feature which screens comments made to any community or personal journal. LJ turned this on by default for all communities without any notice to community maintainers. LJ belatedly and incompletely described the new feature in this news announcement, several days or weeks after releasing it.

In an LJ community, this feature has the following effect:

- Comments that contain links (to domains not on a secret whitelist) are automatically hidden and moved to a "Suspicious Comments" page
- The user who made the original post cannot see these hidden comments and receives no notification that they exist
- Community maintainers also receive no notification that the hidden comments exist
- Community maintainers CAN look at the hidden comments, and then mark them as non-spam, but only if the maintainers know to look for them periodically in each and every new post to the community

If you maintain a community, and this doesn't sound good to you, turn the feature OFF by going to http://www.livejournal.com/manage/settings/?cat=privacy, selecting your community from the "Work as user:" menu, and then UNCHECK the checkbox labelled "Spam Protection Comments containing a link to a non-whitelisted domain will be marked as spam and moved to a special section."

I also recommend that you look over all of the comment pages from the last two weeks or so in your community, and see if any of them have an "(Read N suspicious comments") link on them. If they do, follow the link and mark each comment on that page as non-spam (using this button: )

The members of your community will appreciate this.

If I co-mod a community with you, I've already done this to all my communities as well as my own LJ.

Denver Friends lunch poll!

EDIT: Whups, the correct date is December 11, a Saturday. I can't fix the date below as it's in the title of the poll, but plan on next Saturday.

I'm going to unlock this post to get opinions from folks on Facebook. Visitors, if you don't have an LJ logon, just post a comment anonymously -- it will be screened but I will make it visible and count it. Sign somehow so I know who is voting. People actually planning to attend will have more weight given to their vote. :^)

This is going to be a bit short notice; I'll look at the numbers and decide Tuesday night or Wednesday morning and post in both LJ and Facebook when I have decided.

If you have other restaurants you'd like to suggest, post them in the comments. I tend to choose restaurants that are easy for me to get to without driving, but if there is someplace awesome we should check out, I can arrange to get there some way!

Locations of the various restaurants are after the poll.

Poll #1653323 Dec 13 lunch

What strikes your fancy?

India Oven Indian buffet and menu
Beau Jo's Pizza and menu
Garbanzo's Mediterranean cafe style
Panera Bread Soup, salad, and sandwich
IHOP you know this one
Blue Moon Japanese
Saigon Terrace Vietnamese, including Pho
Annie's Cafe Diner food

India Oven is by the Sunflower at Amherst and Colorado Blvd.
Beau Jo's is at the corner of Yale and Colorado Blvd.
Garbanzo's and Panera are both in one building at Dickensen and Colorado Blvd, at the north end of the strip mall with Joann's and the North Face in it.
IHOP is at about Mexico and Colorado Blvd., where one of the Village Inns used to be.
Blue Moon is just south of Evans and Colorado Blvd.
Saigon Terrace is at Florida and Colorado Blvd.
Annie's Cafe is a ways further out -- it's at St. Paul and Colfax, about 4-5 blocks west of Colorado Blvd.

Tickybox and Moo are strictly for entertainment purposes and no promises are express or implied by their inclusion in the survey.

For collectors

An LJ friend of mine is selling a bunch of really old pulp magazines. I saw pulps as far back as 1906 on her list, and a Cosmopolitan dated 1892.

It's a pretty impressive list, though I am no collector. I believe she'll be putting up comics next, though perhaps not quite as antique.

If you're interested, check out weirdodragoncat. Her pulps listing is at http://weirdodragoncat.livejournal.com/414836.html

I know she wants to sell these, so if you know any collectors, please point them in her direction. Her sale post is not locked.

And a post holiday dose of cuteness to get your attention:

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Goodnight, Gracie.

Do you want a paid account?

Edit for clarity: As a paid user, I have 10 coupons to give away for anybody with free LJ accounts who want $10 off a year's worth of LJ.

So let me know if you want one. And give me an email unless you know for sure I have it.

Responses screened. Just in case.

Hearthstone meets the Friday before or the Friday of the Full Moon in the upstairs chapel at the First Unitarian Church at 14th and Lafayette in Denver. The church doors open at 7, and we like to start at 7:30. (We are NOT big proponents of Pagan Standard Time, but if there is weather related driving trouble or a problem on the freeway, we've been known to wait a bit longer.) This month's ritual is FRIDAY, November 27, 2009.

There will be no Open Full Moon in December, as the appropriate date would be December 25th. We will resume our regular schedule in 2010 ce.

After several requests, Hearthstone is organizing a Multiple Drawing Down for our last Open Full Moon of the calendar year. In this popular ritual, Priestesses and Priests offer themselves as vessels for the Divine. While Wicca encourages each person to establish their own connection with the Divine, the experience of coming face to face with Deity in a human body is an amazing experience. Children are welcome to attend with their parents or a coach to help them deal with what can be a very powerful experience.
Please plan to sit quietly for some amount of time while waiting for your turn to visit with whoever you wish. If you like, bring quiet tools for divination to work with while waiting. While we cannot guarantee what Deity you will meet with, we can tell you that the Officiates who have volunteered to serve as vessels are Alia, Judith, Ken/Greyhart, and Gary/Havenwood.

-­Catherine and Alia

2010 Open Full Moon Dates

January 29, 2010
February 26, 2010
March 26, 2010
April 23, 2010
May 21, 2010
June 25, 2010
July 23, 2010
August 20, 2010
September 17, 2010
October 22, 2010
November 19, 2010
December 17, 2010

(crossposted to colopagans.)

Now, to sleep again.

Goodnight, Gracie

Started a new community

I just started poly_discuss with weirdodragoncat. The anger and wank has gotten so bad on polyamory and the snark group that I wanted someplace civilized, so I found a partner and started the group. It's an open group, stop by and sit a spell.

I'm mulling a couple of other communities, but I might just not be aware of the existence of an equivalant.

I would like to see a menopause and crone community, for one.

And I am thinking a neowiccan community to balance the BTW wiccan community would be a nice idea.

Am I missing an already existing community for either of these? If so, please point me to them.
In conjunction with a grant received from the Federal Transit Administration, Meeting the Challenge, Inc. is conducting a national survey designed to collect information from people with disabilities regarding their experiences with public transportation. Information gathered will be used to determine what barriers still exist in public transportation for people with disabilities and will be used to create Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) technical assistance materials directed toward alleviating those barriers.

This on-line survey can be accessed from this link: http://mtcinc.transit.sgizmo.com . It will take from 5 to 15 minutes to complete. If you know someone who does not have internet access and would like to participate the survey can be completed by phone by calling Meeting the Challenge at 800-864-4264 (select menu choice #2), Monday through Friday between 9 AM and 4 PM (MT). If you prefer a paper copy of the survey, call the same phone number. Responses to the survey will be collected through March 31.

Please forward this e-mail to any individuals with a disability or to any groups serving individuals with disabilities that you feel would be appropriate respondents. We thank you for your participation and assistance!

Cristi L. Harris
Special Projects Director
Meeting the Challenge, Inc
Colorado Springs, CO
(719) 444-0252 ext. 108
charris@mtc-inc.com <mailto:charris@mtc-inc.com> --

Crossposted for maximum visibility
I just removed "love my country hate my government" from my interest list. I don't love the government, but I'm watching hopefully.

I also changed "impeach bush" to "prosecute bush" and discovered that I was the only person with that in my interests. Anyone care to add it to their interests?
I have a lifetime account on LJ -- I was not aware that it was for the lifetime of the company, darnit. Anyway, since I do have the lifetime account, I'll remain here with all my lovely locked posts until the ship sinks. I am definitely backing my LJ up regularly, in fact as soon as this posts.

I did snag my user name at insanejournal.com but probably won't migrate until the ship begins to go under. Most of my friends that are setting up alternative blogs are going to IJ, so I followed. There's also a notice dated yesterday that IJ is in the black and will most likely remain that way, which helps. I'm toying with starting a public journal or restarting the one I have on Blogspot; right now I'm not doing so well on posting here even, so that's a future project when I get het up enough to start writing about it.

So for now, I'm sticking with my investment and the friends I've made here; if it gets worse I'll encourage those that haven't yet to open an account on Insanejournal as a backup. And do backup your LJs! I use a tool called ljbackup; I've heard that ljarchive is the most often recommended, and those are both PC programs. For other systems, there is LJdump. I don't have those links, but sigma7 has them in his discussion of the situation. He doesn't think LJ will last another year; I'm thinking they'll lose more by shutting it down than by understaffing it, so we'll see.

This post is public. I will try to get a locked status up soonish.

I'm home

My life is officially a freak show this week. However, not only do I have a brain, it appears to be normal.

I haven't read the responses to Hubby's posts yet, but I see there are quite a few -- thanks to you all for your support.

Monday morning, I woke up at 4:30 and threw up. Cleaned myself up, and went back to bed. Woke up at 6:30 and vomited again.

And again.

And again, for somewhere between 7 and 9 times total. All this by about 8:30 in the morning. So I had Galen call the gynecologist, and their first reaction was to see if I improved. Then he called our regular doctor, and they insisted on seeing me, since I was scheduled for surgery the next day. I was not thrilled; I had been vomiting so hard that all the muscles in my upper body were spasming, my pain level was a 10+ and I had fever aches on top of the bloody spasms. I was a miserable puppy. So Galen took me to the doctor, barf bowl in hand. I saw the doctor, she suggested I wait a week for the surgery. Galen called the gyn and let them know we had to postpone. I asked for something for nausea and pain. She gave me a shot of phenergan for the nausea, and Toradol, a strong anti-inflammatory, for the pain. She told me to push fluids to avoid dehydration. I begged for a nausea scrip, and she agreed to write one for 20 phenergan pills, though she thought I'd be feeling better by the evening. She wasn't quite right.

I did take another nausea pill a couple of hours later, along with a percocet to stave off the pain. I was still groaning in pain and flopping about like a fish, not able to get comfortable. I stopped throwing up, but was still very nauseated and in a lot of pain.

Around 4:30, I was sitting on the bed, and reached for the ginger ale I was trying to get down. Before I reached it, my hand started to shake, and my arm flew up in the air of its own accord. I said to Galen "I don't know what's going on!" and he said "Besides scaring the hell out of me?" Then the other arm joined in, and I fell backward on the bed, with my entire upper body shaking. I heard Galen say, "I think you're having a seizure!" I agreed, but couldn't speak. The episode lasted a minute, maybe a minute and a half. When I stopped shaking, I was gasping for breath, and could really only blurt out single syllables. By this time Galen had called 911.

I don't think I moved much till the paramedics got there -- I hadn't been dressed, so they got a t-shirt on me, and because our house is tiny and full of stuff, I had to walk from the back room to the gurney. When I opened my eyes, I couldn't make sense out of what I was seeing, and I was very weak and shaky. I was propped up by two paramedics and made it to the gurney. The ride to the hospital was slow because the roads and traffic were both bad. Ice will do that.

At the ER, they had a hell of a time getting an IV into me, because I was dehydrated, and apparently I no longer have good veins. I guess they've been stabbed so much that they hide now. Once they were able to get an IV in, they gave me Zofran and Dilaudid; the first dose of Dilaudid took the barest of the edge off the pain. The Zofran did help the nausea. Eventually they gave me more Dilaudid and the pain finally eased up.

And while I was still in the ER, Galen's sister called to tell him that his mother is in rough shape, with congestive heart failure, edema, and some kind of UTI, either kidney or bladder. She is not completely coherent. She's not in a hospital; she's in a long term care facility and apparently they manage all that there.

They ran lots of blood tests, told me my white blood cell count was up, and ran me through X-ray and a CAT Scan. At this time, I was still too weak to stand, which made the testing interesting, at least. They also put in a catheter.

I was admitted to the hospital at about midnight. Due to the "seizure-like activity," they wanted me on telemetry. From the next day and a half, that damned box beeped at me constantly. (Today the nurse switched the box, and I got blissful silence for the last day of my visit.) In the morning of Tuesday, I did need another dose of Zofran. During the day Tuesday (yesterday), I had an MRI of my brain, and late in the day, an EEG. I also was moving far better that day, and the catheter was causing me pain like a UTI, so I convinced them it was time to pull the catheter. I had some urgency for a while afterward, but it calmed down, and by this time I was able to go to the bathroom by myself, which I much prefer.

The supervising physician told me there was evidence on the MRI they took of my brain that I might have had a seizure, but nothing conclusive.

My clinic is right next door to the hospital. My doctor is actually a resident, and yesterday and today, one of the supervising doctors and one of the senior residents came in to see me at least once each day I was in the hospital, which I appreciated. My doctor didn't hear till today; I think she was out of the office yesterday.

By this morning, I was feeling well enough to want to leave. I had to wait for the neurologist, though. So I waited. However, the neuro didn't show up till 4:30 this afternoon. He talked to me, told me my EEG was normal, did a few tests, and concluded it had happened because I was sick. So I asked to go home, he said he didn't have a problem with it, and then went to chat with my attending doctor. It took a couple of hours, but Galen got there to pick me up about the same time the discharge papers got here.

So I'm home, and glad to be. Galen is drunk. I think that might actually help in the long run, he does not get drunk very often at all. I go to see my doctor on Friday for followup.

The Gothling has had a rough week. She was worried about me because I was throwing up before the surgery; the school called while we were at the doctor's and we passed on at that time that the surgery was being postponed. So she came home in a fairly good mood after being upset, fixed herself some food, and was hanging out in the living room when suddenly her dad announced that the paramedics were on their way because I'd had a seizure. She was pretty scared and worried about me. She also had a friend melt down Monday. Unfortunately, her choice was to push limits while all the adults were out of the house, causing major changes in house rules this week as well. And she found out her grandmother is most likely dying. So she is fairly traumatized, though very glad to have me home now.

Oh, and to those of you I follow, let me know what I need to catch up on, please. I'll catch up on a couple of you who are in rough straits right now, but it there is anything monumental. I'd like a pointer to it.

Unlocked for Hubby to point to.

Update on Teal.

Hi all, it's Galen again.

First, thank you one and all. I didn't respond to all the comments. I just don't have it in me. There is a LOT more going on here than just having Teal in the hospital. It is very wearing on me. But thank you one and all for the posts.

Here is the current situation.

Teal has had a brain MRI and an EEG today. We are waiting to hear from the neurologist on what, if anything, was found. We should know sometime in the morning. With luck, she will be heading home after that.

Right now she is resting well, in good spirits and being taken care of.

That is about it. We don't know what caused the apparent seizure, or if it actually was a seizure (yea right). Beyond that, we don't know anything.

I'm now going to go fall over.

Oh yea, I have it on good authority that she does in fact have a brain :)

Things are not as planned. Please read!

Hi all. This is Galen-dp, Teal's SO.

Things have not gone as were planned. First, the surgery did not happen. Second, Teal is in the hospital.

Here is what has happened.

Yesterday morning Teal woke up about 4:30am throwing up and a fever and in massive pain. I got her into see her regular doctor at 10am. Diagnosis was stomach flu. The pain caused by the throwing up screwing up her back. Her pain was at a 10+ and blowing right through her medication. We were told to have her rest and get lots of fluids. Also given an anti-nausea drug.

I took her home and got the Rx filled. It didn't help that much, and her pain didn't go down at all (that I could tell).

At around 5pm she had a seizure of some kind. I called 911 and off to Rose Hospital ER she went. The ER got her stabilized and had her admitted. They were thinking the seizure was illness related.

I went home and collapsed (see later on).

I talked to her this morning and the supervising doctor from our clinic decided to have a MRI of her brain done today.

I take it from this that this doctor does not think it is illness related.

I was going to write this last night, but I crashed. The stress of dealing with this, and finding out (in the middle of all of this) that my mom had congestive hart failure earlier in the day (she is alive), has been too much. I collapsed when I got home. If not for K (Teals OSO) and aysosytreeo I would not be able to make it through this.

I'm going to take a shower now and go in to see Teal. I'll update when I get a chance.

Oct. 23rd, 2008

How important is voting in this election to you? For this woman, it was her final act.
I was down on the 16th St Mall for Planned Parenthood, and will write more later tonight, after I wind down a bit. For now, I'm late, but I got this from the Colorado Cross Disability Coalition. They need turnout, if you are available and able. I plan to be there.


201 SOUTH CHEROKEE STREET DENVER-You get there on the route 52 but the 0 and 3 go close-light rail at Alameda Station is very close also.

11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Because Obama's disability rights coordinator is going to be there around 11:30 or so and we need to show him that we can do a turnout-we need to have at least 400 people show up from the disability community-this includes the parent groups, the mental health groups, the Deaf groups, the DD advocates, and every single disability organization out there. United we will win. In politics two things are important, money power and people power. We don't have the money but if we can show we have people power we will see changes that will make our lives better.

YOU DO NOT NEED TO RSVP-it will be accessible, if you need help with something there will be plenty of aides available to help and there will be sign language interpreters. If you have other questions call 303-733-9324.

This is the historic place with a living history exhibit showing how we have come together as a community and taken power and made changes for decades. While ADAPT has done protesting to get things done (and without that many rights we enjoy today would never have happened) this event on Wednesday is NOT going to be a protest and there will be no arrests or any sort of civil disobedience. The beauty of our community is that we are diverse and have different people and groups doing various things to achieve our shared goals. WEDNESDAY AT 11 is when we will come together in a historic show of unity to let the 2008 Democratic candidate know that our issues are important and must be not only included but must be at the forefront of his agenda for change. Our people continue to suffer and we cannot wait -we need change now and the only way to get it to convince those in charge that we are too many to ignore.

We also strongly encourage people to attend the disability caucus meetings on Tuesday and Thursday at noon in the Convention Center room 612. We will be asking for some small amendments to the Obama disability policy and asking that the National Party adopt our health care reform principles.
OK, it's getting talked about all over, and sounds like it is a completely dead idea at this point, but for those of you talking about about the Open Source Boob Project, rather than post the same thing in several journals, I thought I'd just post my unique perspective as a person with breasts of two different materials:

First, I am entirely too private a person to allow public handling of my breasts, in any context other than a bra fitting. In fact, I throw a fit when someone bumps my chair (next story); I'm not going to even encourage someone to ask if they can fondle my breasts.

However, if this should somehow survive and morph into something at Worldcon this August, I have decided to participate. I will modify my bra so my prosthesis is easier to access (It goes in a big pocket with a tiny top, so I would put a slit in the pocket for faster removal), wear the button, and should anyone ask if they could touch my breast, I will reach in, pull out the prosthesis, and drop it in his hand. I suspect that will be good for a couple of freakouts before word spreads not to ask the crazy chick in the wheelchair.

I don't actually suspect that it will migrate to Denvention -- it's been killed dead dead dead in theferret's journal and he's had to close the discussion because he was drowning in mail. (although you can just turn off mail notification for a specific post, but I think he also wore out because of the variaty of interpretations of the issue. But if it does, that is exactly what I will do. In fact, I will have a micro Leatherman with me, and if the OSBP crops up, I will modify my bra then and there for the sheer joy of the FOM and making the point.

That other story:

galen_dp and I went to see George Carlin last Saturday. He is now 70, and as he announced at the beginning of his show, "an old fuck." He's always been cynical, and that hasn't changed. He doesn't do the "Seven Words You Can't Say on Television" any more; instead he sells a T-shirt with two thousand dirty words on it in very fine print.

Before we went to the show, we went to Maggiano's Little Italy at the Denver Pavilions. Their food is good, and most of it extremely plentiful; we ordered a couple of their smaller entrees, bruschetta, and a single side dish and were quite full. Other of their entrees are huge. Everything was quite delicious. We had an excellent server, Marie, who not only took great care of us while we were at table, but saw to it I could get in and out of the Ladies" Room after dinner, and then made sure that I got out of the (very crowded with prom attendees) restaurant afterward. However, the tables are quite close together, and one of the staff was constantly bumping in to my chair. Well, we did have a website to go to for commenting, so I did. I praised Marie highly for her professionalism and caring, and then I said something along the lines of:

When a person is in a wheelchair, quite often at least part of the reason for that is that the person is in pain. Pain is certainly one of the reasons that I am in a wheelchair. One of the Maggiano's staff members repeatedly bumped into my power wheelchair. I don't know who, but it was a younger man. I would like to ask you to inform your staff that when a person is in a wheelchair, that wheelchair should be treated as an extensiion of the patron's body. No one would repeatedly bump into a person standing in a room not in a wheelchair, and when a person is in a chair, it often hurts even more than it would bumping into a non-disabled person.

Monday, I got a letter from Maggiano's, thanking me for my information, assuring me they would address the issues in training, as well as acknowledging Marie for her excellent service. And they gave me $20 in gift cards to return to Maggiano's. Hubby looked at them and said "I guess you're going to Maggiano's for lunch sometime soon, honey!" It was a great outcome, and more responsive than I expected.

The Gothling is loving her cell phone. She loves to text me -- I'm trying to train her not to use it during the school day at all. I think we'll get there, as she doesn't want to have the phone confiscated. I've been playing with the Family Locator service, and it's great. Sometimes it gets down to what it claims is within 7 yards of the location, but it always says, when it gets that close, that we're at the next door neighbor's house. I think that's a faint skewing of the map, because when I pull up the satellite picture, it shows us in the house, but the home landmark is a bit to the east. I definitely feel better about her being out of reach when I can look and see where she is from the computer or the phone.

Looks like I will be starting a support group, or possibly two, in June. I need to talk to the neighborhood library and see if they are interested in having a support group there; Y-ME has the room reservations made for the first Tuesday of the month at the American Cancer Society building. I should have an announcement to post soon; both meetings will probably be at the lunch hour. I'll probably post information on the local pagan lists as well -- I know I have one couple that wants to attend if it will fit their schedule.

We're pretty happy with the Sleep Number bed. I'd like to make my side softer to sleep on, but my back protests. However, most of the time it does seem to reduce my overall pain levels as long as I keep my number at 60 or above. I set it to full during the day and it is far more comfortable to sit on than the old, worn-out bed we did have, and that is a major blessing right there. I do get occasional pain spikes still, most often when the barometer is dropping. Like today, when the wind kicked up and I got pain in my back and my left ankle. ("Radicular" pain. I don't recommend it to anyone, honestly.)

I'm concerned about a couple of friends in miserable, unpleasant jobs. I wish I had some magic networking solution that would help either one find a job that s/he actually enjoyed and paid a living wage. If you think I'm talking about you, I probably am, and if I do run across something (slightly more likely for the local friend) I will let you know.


I know at least a couple of you are looking for a new bank. We've been with WaMu, aka Washington Mutual for some time. They have a new checking account called WaMu Free Checking; you've probably seen the "Whoo-hoooo" ads on TV.

(This is a US-only recommendation, sorry friends in other countries.)

It is a good account. No monthly fees, they will give you standard checks (I'm vain and buy my checks elsewhere, but that is strictly my choice) for free for the life of the account. They give you a Debit Card, and they don't charge you for any ATM transactions anywhere, though non-WaMu ATMs may charge you. In addition, each time you use your Debit Card, you get a three cent "reward." I don't know what's done with that right now, but it's a nice little perk as long as I'm going to be using the card anyway.

In addition, if after you have a WaMu Free Checking account, you open an Online Savings account from the web site and associate it with your WaMu Free Checking account, it will earn 4% Annualized interest. This is better than their Money Market Account currently pays. (All interest paid consumers sucks royally right now, there's no escaping that. And the Fed is talking about lowering interest again, which I'm sure will effect savings accounts as well.)

Their customer service is terrific; only once did I have a problem with a telephone banker, and it turned out the issue was I am considered a business customer because I have one sole proprietership account, and that changes things enough that this guy, who was just a personal accounts guy, got confused. every other time I've had great service.

If you aren't happy with your current bank, I definitely recommend Washington Mutual.
What's the best advice you've given or gotten for taking good photos?
The best advice I've read or heard is to take multiple shots of every setting; take many, many photographs. While practice and talent will reduce the number of shots between truly stellar photographs, those of us with lesser skill and talent can improve our odds at getting a marvelous photograph by taking a huge number of photos.  While a professional photographer might take 50 shots in a session and two to three hundred at a wedding, we amateurs can produce a similar number of pictures worth framing or publishing by increasing the number of photographs taken by tenfold or more.  The advent of digital cameras allows us the luxury of snapping merrily away and taking hundreds of pictures in hopes of obtaining that one truly priceless photograph.  We can discard many of the less successful photographs without any expense of printing proofs or developing negatives, a fact which has opened the field to more people. The digital camera is a democratic device allowing many more to enjoy and participate in the art of photography.


I got a bogus warning on my front door today announcing that a sex offender had moved in to the neighborhood. This is a scam, and they want you to subscribe to their website to get the information. All that information is available for free on the county website; I've already shown the pictures of the two close to my home to the sprog so she's aware, and this is a classic case of marketing by FUD -- Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. The folks who run the website at www dot neighborhoodredalert dot com (I will not link to such a dishonorable company) hope to frighten folks into logging onto their website and paying their monthly subscription fee to access (probably outdated) information that is widely available for free on the Web through local law enforcement everywhere.

Spread the word. Don't give these people any of your money; they're dishonestly trying to scare you into subscribing.

More pet food recalls

Pet Food Recalls, Warnings Multiply

I'll unlock this, propagate as necessary. Follow the link, there's more than I could post under Fair Use. Use the link or point back here, I don't care, I just want to get the word out.

I'm fortunate, so far, even with the expansion, my babies are not affected. The way this is going, that could easily change, though.

EDIT: There, that should be more readable. Doggone client, sneaking in formatting!

Got this in Email -- I just had to post it

An interesting day at the Rainbow Bridge.

Rainbow Bridge is a place of both peace and anticipation as departed pets await their beloved owners. There are plenty of things to keep them contented while they wait: trees you can't get stuck in, endless meadows, splashing streams, thickets perfect to hide in for pounce-attack games.

But one day the residents noticed some rather... unusual newcomers arrive.

The koalas and the kangaroos slipped in rather quietly, but then came the bearded dragons, the skinks and the goannas. The influx of snakes startled an entire family of cats up a tree. Pythons, cobras, tiger snakes, brown snakes and even fierce snakes. There were so many at one point, it seemed the ground itself was alive with writhing. A burly wombat shouldered his way through the crowd and plopped down in a shady spot, barely missing a Jack Russell terrier who yapped indignantly as he abandoned his position.

And then the crocodiles showed up.

Finally, a Great Dane managed to get up enough nerve to approach one of the reptilian giants.

"Um....excuse me," he said hesitantly. "But why are you all here?"

The croc dropped her jaw and laughed. "Same as you, mate," she said. "Waitin' for someone who loved us."

The dogs, cats, gerbils and other "typical pets" looked at each other in confusion, then at the plethora of weird, ugly and downright deadly creatures assembled. Who on Earth could possibly love some of those faces?

"I see him!" shouted a green mamba from his vantage point in one of the trees. A cacophony of squeaks, hisses, bellows and roars erupted as the mob surged forward toward a lone human walking across the field toward the bridge. The other animals managed to catch a glimpse of him before he was overwhelmed by the crowd.

"CRIKEY!" he shouted joyously right before he was bowled over by the wombat.

"Well I'll be," said a Persian as she tidied up her fur. "It's that Aussie my human liked to watch on TV. Had to be the craziest human on the whole planet."

Out of here...

As soon as I post this, I will be packing up the laptop, and won't be online at all until Monday. For the rest of that week, my access will be spotty. I may not be able to catch up, so assume that I won't see anything posted between now and when I am back in Denver on the 13th. If you want me to see or know something, drop me a line or post a comment here. I won't guarantee speed even that way.

Keep the shiny side up.

Last minute call for help

Denver area folken -- we need to get the last of Rex's stuff out of the house in Broomfield tomorrow. Unfortunately, Doug has injured his shoulder, making it a trickier proposition. The things in C. Buck's house in Boulder need to be moved to his new apartment or storage ASAP; if we had a second truck it would definitely be a single trip. Please contact us if you can help.