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September 20, 2007

Photoshop Match Color: Improve Your Pictures With Classical Art

Improve Your Photography With Classical Art.

Cool new Photoshop tool called "Match Color". This tip takes it a step more creative by using Old Master paintings as the color source, maintaining a library of favorites for use. The pic shows a few. Detailed instructions in the original post- highly recommended!

September 18, 2007

Play: Not Just a Silly Thing, Really a Forger of Bonds

What are the Opportunities: The Dog and the Polar Bear

Why Didn't the Wild Polar Bear eat the Husky?

In Churchill, Manitoba, Canada something amazing happened. A tethered dog didn't get eaten by a hungry polar bear. Instead, they played.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Play practitioner Fred Donaldson applies lessons learned from animals to people, especially uptight adults. The hope is that play will be returned to it's rightful place as a forger of bonds between individuals and even between species. Read the whole article for details.

September 17, 2007

Success From Failure: Never Give Up On Yourself, OK?

The Rejection on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
But They Did Not Give Up

Failure. That big ugly word that stops us cold in our tracks. Well, screw it! Everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Albert Einstein to Thomas Edison failed, and failed big. But they didn't give up. They picked themselves up and kept going until they reached their goal. We can too.

For inspiration when the going gets rough, come here and feel invigorated, ready to slug it out with your particular demons of failure. Like the Woody Allen saying goes: "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying. Eighty percent of success is showing up." Be sure you show up tomorrow for round two. Those demons don't have a chance.

September 13, 2007

Pop No Wheelies on an EasyGlider

Electric Easy Glider: My Chariot Has Arrived |

If you have an illness like COPD and are looking for a scooter or electric wheelchair, this might be a cool and affordable alternative if you are able to stand upright OK. Check out this:

"If you yearn to travel the streets of your town reenacting the procession of a festive Roman Triumph (sans slave holding a golden wreath above your head), look no further than the assistance of the Electric Easy Glider. This one-wheeled 380-watt electric scooter features a detachable footbridge that visibly mimics a chariot style stance. It will travel about 15 miles on a single charge (at a top speed of 13mph) and can be juiced back into service in about three to four hours. Including your choice of five colors, expect this one to retail for somewhere around $1300 when it hits the States this fall. As the rest of the Internet has declared; 'it’s way cooler than the Segway.'"

September 12, 2007

COPD Food for Thought

Nutritional Guidelines for People With COPD

Feeding your body is pretty simple until an illness like COPD enters the picture. COPD requires more calories for breathing so getting the proper nutrition is vital. This article sums it up nicely. Whether you need to gain or lose, cut salt or caffeine, or add fluids, there is plenty to learn in here to help manage this disease.

Take the "Grade Your Dog Food" Challenge

inkforums How to Grade Dog Food

Use the information in this post to grade your dog's food. You will surprised - and appalled - at the pathetic scores of most commercially available dog food from your grocers or large pet-store chain. For quality foods, shop at the small Mom & Pop pet stores who stock organic and healthier alternatives. You'll pay more but the difference in your pet's health may well astonish you- sleeker coat, increased energy, fewer illnesses.

September 10, 2007


Suggested Sequence of Use for Medical Inhalers

This site provides a suggested sequence, in chart form, for using popular short and/or long -acting medical inhalers. COPD sufferers and others with lung disease will find this information useful and may want to print it out for future reference.

September 09, 2007

Green Roofs: Not Just For Hobbits Anymore

Green Roofs: An Introduction with Pretty Pictures | EcoGeek

(Please visit the link for the full text)

Written by Philip Proefrock
Tuesday, 21 August 2007

"It's not just for hobbits anymore. The logic of green roofs is becoming more apparent. We can minimize our bills while maximizing the beauty of the urban landscape. And every day it's becoming a little easier to live in a house that just happens to have plants growing on it.Vegetated roofs, or green roofs have a layer of living plants on top of the structure and the waterproofing elements. There are really two types of green roofs, intensive and extensive."

"Intensive green roofs often have a soil depth of a foot or more, and require substantial structural elements to support the weight of the whole roof. Intensive roofs can sustain a wide range of plant species and typically require a fair amount of regular maintenance. Because of the additional demands they impose, intensive roofs are much less common than extensive roofs."

"Extensive roofs are much shallower, typically only 2 to 4 inches deep, and are planted with particularly hardy plants. Over the last 50 years or so, this kind of roof has been developed, especially in Europe,. But now they are becoming increasingly common in the United States."

"Why are green roofs such a great idea?"

"First, they help to reduce roof stormwater runoff. In some cases, this can help reduce the size of stormwater pipes, and the amount of stormwater that needs to be treated by municipal water treatment. In a light rainfall, a building with a vegetated roof can have no stormwater runoff at all."

"Green roofs also protect the roof membrane from sunlight, which breaks down the roofing material. Having even a couple inches of soil helps to greatly extend the life of the roof, and a longer lifespan means less material ends up in landfills from re-roofing buildings after the membranes have failed."

"Green roofs keep the roof cooler, which helps to reduce the heat-island effect, which contributes to cities being hotter than the surrounding countryside. This can be beneficial to the building in reducing its summertime cooling load."

"A green roof is also a source of oxygen and provides a habitat for some birds. Birds and insects can find homes much more readily in the living environment of a green roof, where an ordinary roof is nearly barren. And yes, it's even possible to graze goats."

"What is a green roof made of?"

"Starting from the top, an extensive green roof has a layer of plants, which are typically sedums. These are low-growing, shallow rooting, drought tolerant plants. There are many different varieties of sedum, with different different coloration and different flowerings, so that a roof can have a varied appearance, rather than looking like an entire crop of a single variety."

"Can I put a green roof on my house?"

"Green roofs make sense for residential use as much as for commercial buildings. However, retrofitting a green roof onto an existing house is not a simple matter because of the extra weight a vegetated roof adds. Most roofs are not structurally strong enough to support a vegetated roof without some reinforcement. Green roofs also work best on lower slopes."

"The added cost of a vegetated roof versus a conventional shingle roof, and the relatively small number of contractors familiar with installing them are probably the biggest limiting factors."

"Does a green roof have to be mowed?"

"A sedum covered roof is naturally self limiting in size. Most sedums grow only a few inches tall. As mentioned above, it is also fairly self weeding, due to the inhospitable environment it offers to most weed species."

"What Does the Future Hold?"

"We were excited a while back to announce Toyota's green roofing tile. These modular, interlockable grass tiles make green roofing an absolute cinch.They're a lot lighter than other methods, and installation is a breeze. At about $34 per tile, they're still expensive, but prices would of course drop if demand were to increase. "

"And, second, I and many others would like to see Friedenreich Hundertwasser's vision of every horizontal surface being returned to nature:

'The true proportions in this world are the views to the stars and the views down to the surface of the earth. Grass and vegetation in the city should grow on all horizontal spaces - that is to say, wherever rain and snow falls vegetation should grow, on the roads and on the roofs. The horizontal is the domain of nature and wherever vegetation grows on the horizontal level man is off limits; he should not interfere. I mean taking away territories from nature, which human beings have always done.'"

August 25, 2007

More Wearable T-Shirt Art

Stencil Revolution :: View topic - Bleach on fabric tutorial

"First: bleach will not work on most synthetic fabrics. You will need natural fabrics. The good news is that even the cheap tee-shirts are generally 50/50 Cotton and Polyester, and they will work just fine. 100% cotton will also work well, HOWEVER, bleach really weakens the material. If you get big, wet drips of bleach on 100% cotton, they will quickly develop into holes in the material. I do know that, for at least one clothing company, this is actually the desired effect but I prefer the stronger 50/50 blends for bleach designed clothing."

"Second: I use Duralar material (.005) to create my stencils. Cardboard will only soak up your bleach and become a mess. Duralar is available at your art supply dealer or online and is only about $2.50 USD for a 32 X 40” sheet. It is thin, plastic, and clear and you will get a lot of mileage out of each of the stencils you cut out of it."

"Third: Cheap bleach is fine. It is still a toxic chemical. Wear a respirator or work in well ventilated areas, or both. Don’t wear anything you love. You’re spraying bleach."

"Fourth: Empty your spray bottle after you’re done. If you store bleach in it, it will expand due to softening of the plastic and gasses from the reaction between the chemical and the plastic bottle. This can be messy and dangerous.""

"With stenciling bleach onto dark fabrics, you have to think in the negative. This is opposite the general process of stencil work with spray paint or roll-on paints and inks. The light colors are going through the stencil and the dark areas are being blocked by it. Otherwise, this process is darned close to the spray paint stencils more commonly created."

"For this stencil, I created the stencil for the half-tone layer to be applied first. On the back side of the stencil, I used a repositionable spray adhesive. This is a 3-M product and makes the stencil sticky but easily removable. It leaves no residue on the substrate (fabric). This is used to prevent under-spray for those clean, crisp lines and edges. It is important to also select a spray angle with your wrist position and stick to it. The angle of your spray should remain consistent throughout the even application. If you roll your wrist at all, you’ll risk under-spray and inconsistent application."

Read the article to get the full process. It produces a very professional look, well worth it for your wearable art-piece!

August 20, 2007

True Inter-Species Communication


Wet nose to wet nose, let a gray dolphin and a black dog get together to bridge the gap between species, as shown in this photograph from the Indianapolis Zoo.

Never Too Old

Great wisdom! Thanks AngelAngel!

Remote Healing Mandala

Sample Remote Reiki Transmission

Reiki mandala

This site has a Reiki-charged mandala for your viewing pleasure (and health) so look on and feel better!

"If you take a moment or two to quiet your mind and ask that you receive Reiki as you are reading or while quietly meditating for a moment. You will receive a remote Reiki treatment if it is appropriate for you to do so at this time."

Plenty of energy-healing (it works, folks!) and other healing modalities links on this site to explore.

August 19, 2007

What Comes Out of Your Mouth Counts

Think of the Importance of a Word

(Thanks AKAPearlofaGirl)

The Careless Word

Harper's Magazine March 1853

"A careless word may kindle strife,

A cruel word may wreck a life,

A bitter word may hate instill,

A brutal word may smite and kill.....

A gracious word may smooth the way,

A joyous word may light the day,

A timely word may lessen stress,

A loving word may heal and bless"


Animal Poison Control: Side-Stepping Tragedy

Voice of Experience- Roach Bait is Peanut-Butter Flavored and Smells Yummy to Dogs

If you're an animal lover, there's two things you might want to keep handy: the number to the National Animal Poison Control Center (University of Illinois) at 1-800-548-2423 and a bottle of ordinary 3% hydrogen peroxide like you buy at any drug store, in case you are instructed to make your animal throw up (amount depend on the dog's weight, breed and health). For some poisons, throwing up may not be the right thing to do, so call first. There is a fee for the service but they are actual on-site vets and let you make follow-up calls.

My Shelties and I tried out this service this afternoon when I returned from a meeting to discover them snacking on a package of roach baits I didn't put up high enough in the kitchen (I was going to put the baits out tonight). That's how I learned about the peanut butter thing and the peroxide.

We had a fun session in the back yard on lead tossing up whole wheat bagels soaked with peroxide and the remains of the baits. Smokey was the main culprit, a good thing since he's a heavyweight compared to my old lady Lacey. They tell me he will metabolize the poison and should be OK. I have a 24 hour watch and know the signs and symptoms to look out for. We had some animal-loving angel watching out over our household this afternoon, I'll tell you!

Better Lock Up That Wiki Cookie Jar

Student’s program sends PR chaos in Wiki-scandal

"One American student sent major corporations, governments and even the Vatican on the defensive after coming up with Wikipedia Scanner, a software program that reveals who changed Wikipedia entries.

What Virgil Griffith did was come up with a program that reveals who edits these articles, via a system where it scans the I.P address and cross-references it with the I.P. directory.

As soon as the software was launched on the internet, chaos erupted."

Everybody from the Pope to the Republican Party to the FBI got caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Read the article for the extensive list.

August 18, 2007

Get An Idea Burst With These Tools, Writers

No More Hard Drive!
100 Free Software Apps to Go Online-Only

Of special interest to writers are these:

Brainstorming and Mindmapping

"Mindmapping software is great for brainstorming, organizing information hierarchically, creating advanced to-do lists, planning and much more. Unfortunately, brainstorming software can also be very expensive, and far less convenient because it can't easily be shared with other collaborators. By contrast, these webware alternatives are not only free, but also provide the added benefit of being accessible from anywhere."

1. is a basic mindmapping app with an easy to use interface, is multi-lingual, and allows maps to be embedded in web pages.

2. Comapping. Comapping takes mindmapping one step further, allowing simultaneous use by multiple users.

3. Kayuda. Kayuda is a mindmapping-plus app, good for developing "campaigns". Maps are shareable and serve as navigation. Add text and details to each node.

4. Mind42. Mind42 ("Mind for two") is another collaborative mindmapping application that is a bit closer to its desktop cousins, and throws in web sticky notes as well.

5. Mindomo. Mindomo might make you forget it's a webware app in terms of interface and mindmapping functionality. It has non-real time collaborative features.

6. Mindmeister. Mindmeister offers non-real time collaboration and many of the import/ export features of Mindomo. The interface lies between and Mindomo in feature quantity.

August 16, 2007

The Kindness of Stranger-Angels

My breathing has gone steadily downhill. COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease does that to a body. First you can't walk quite as fast as you used to. Then not quite so far. Before you know it, you start skipping certain things you used to do because you tell yourself you just don't have the energy for it anymore. After all, we tell ourselves, we're aging. The truth is, COPD is gaining control over our very breath. And we need to start keeping up with that fact and monitoring it more carefully.

To that end I wanted to get an oximeter, a device that fits over your fingertip and measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. It tells you how well you are breathing. But the price is steep, nearly $300 US. And insurance usually will not cover it. My budget took a hit last March when one of my dogs fell gravely ill - he recovered - but the budget didn't. Buying one new was out of the question.

So I tried the FreeCycle Yahoo group. It's a marvelous program for people in your local area to recycle items rather than throw them away or sell them. I placed my carefully worded ad and got- nothing. Well, not exactly nothing, I got something: a lead to E-Bay where another FreeCycle member had found an oximeter for a more reasonable price, but still out of my range. I blessed her for contacting me however and sharing her information with me. She was my first Stranger-Angel. Her name is Laura.

Still I was without any real hope of getting what I needed. So I sent up a little peep of prayer, "Help Lord!", then went about my business. Days and weeks passed. I was blogging more and started volunteering on a newsletter for those with breathing issues. Kept me out of trouble and my mind off myself. Till one evening on StumbleUpon, a social networking site, I got this instant message.

It's my practice to acknowledge people who visit my site with a "Hi, Thanks for stopping by". I didn't know it then but I had been visited by my second Stranger-Angel. His name turned out to be Terry. And "Voila!" , he asked if I would like an oximeter. Out of the blue! By the kindness of strangers and the working of angels here on earth, God had answered my prayer through this kind-hearted man.

He had visited my blog several times because of my occasional COPD content. Both his mother and his wife had passed away of COPD within almost a year of one another. Yet through his pain he had the grace to offer a goodwill gift of such value to me, a complete stranger. The Lord works in mysterious ways, and I got to see that close up this time. I am one blessed woman, with two new friends. And I'll soon have a much better handle on my breathing. So remember to be polite- you never know when you might be entertaining angels.

August 15, 2007

Guest Blog: Breathe

From CherishMe
(Aidin - 2007):


[sleazy, like smoke]


[easy, provoked]


[cheaply, for granted]


[deeply, enchanted]

August 11, 2007

More on COPD For Your Viewing Pleasure

Cruised YouTube this weekend for more COPD videos and hit the Motherlode. Hope they prove helpful to you in your struggle with this disease, or will inform you about it. Here they are...

(Embedded version not available)
YouTube - COPD in the Summer

(Embedded version not available)
YouTube - Women and COPD

YouTube - Asthma COPD and Risk of Anesthesia, TIVA

YouTube - Living With COPD Part 3 Diaphragmatic Breathing

YouTube - Living With COPD Part 4 Stress Management Segment 1

One For the "Enough Said" Pile...

My sentiments exactly!

Army Dog Team Laid to Rest Together

Killed in Iraq, dog team buried together -
Military News, Army News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports -
Army Times

By Michelle Tan

"The first military working dog team killed in action together since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were laid to rest together July 18.

Cpl. Kory D. Wiens, 20, of the 94th Mine Dog Detachment, 5th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade of Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and his partner, Cooper, were killed July 6 by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Muhammad Sath, Iraq. They had been in Iraq since January.

The cremated remains of Wiens and Cooper, a Labrador retriever, were buried together at Salt Creek Cemetery in Wiens’ hometown of Dallas, Ore., at the request of his family, said Master Sgt. Matt McHugh, the family’s casualty assistance officer.

McHugh added that based on his own research, the last military canine team to be killed together was during the Vietnam War.

“Kory referred to Cooper as his son, that’s now much of a team they were,” McHugh said.

Cooper was Wiens’ first military working dog, and Wiens was Cooper’s first handler, McHugh said."

Please read the full text of this very sad story at the link.

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August 10, 2007

I'd Be A Rich Woman...

If I had a nickel for every time I heard "But you don't LOOK sick"...

Lichtfaktor Really Shedding Some Light on Notions of Art

Color + Design Blog / Interview with LICHTFAKTOR:
Light Graffiti Artists by COLOURlovers

stairwell light graffiti

These amazing guys work with light and their surroundings instead of a paint brush and a canvas. It's challenging to think of something so ephemeral as art, but it certainly is. Thank God for film.

"The 3-man creative force behind LICHTFAKTOR is VJ sehvermoegen, graffiti artist jiar, and VJ 1"0X."

"To keep up with LICHTFAKTOR and see more of their creations, visit their Myspace profile(mostly in German) and be sure to check out their Flickr page for nearly one-hundred light creations."

August 08, 2007

Healing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Some Day Soon

Bad Memories Tied to DNA -- Lester 2007 (730): 2 -- ScienceNOW

In this article by Benjamin Lester:

"People haunted by traumatic memories could be missing a few amino acids, say researchers. A new study links a deletion in a neurotransmitter receptor gene to a marked increase in an individual's ability to remember emotionally charged events. The finding represents the first gene shown to play a role in emotional memory and could have implications for anxiety and other psychiatric disorders."

This may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, with wide implications for victims of war and violent crime.

August 06, 2007

Crafty T-Shirt Stamping

Craft Chi » Blog Archive » Sneaker Stamps

Feeling crafty? Well stamp that T-shirt with the bottom of your sneaker! No, I'm not kidding.

The instructions tell you how to make a stencil mask and do the stamping to give yourself a unique wearable work of art. Check it out!

August 04, 2007

Phil Hansen, Internet Art Sensation

People of the Web -
Strokes of Genius by Kevin Sites

Phil Hansen

(This article features artist and Internet sensation Phil Hansen. Be sure to watch the videos on this site for an overview of his work.)

"Phil Hansen is not only tearing down the “gallery” walls that keep many people from seeing and enjoying art. He’s also showing us how it’s made -- all on the Internet.

Phil Hansen stubbornly adheres to one artistic cliche. He's willing to suffer for his art.

Take the giant portrait he made of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il as a protest against nuclear proliferation. He applied 6,000 adhesive bandages on a plywood backdrop. Then, using a quart-sized bag of his own blood, he painted Kim's face on the exposed gauze.

Hansen shrugs off the experience.

"Five hundred cc's of blood seems like a lot, but it's just nothing," he says from the basement of his brother's house outside St. Paul, Minnesota, where he currently lives and makes his art.

It's not the suffering that really distinguishes Hansen's work (after all, it's hard to top Van Gogh) but his style and method for displaying it. Hansen eschews galleries, preferring to take his art directly to the eyeballs rather than bringing the eyeballs to the art — through the Internet.

An art school dropout, Hansen works as an X-ray technician by day, spending all of his spare time and money on his art. But his work, and his method of presenting it, has given him a huge audience.

His breakthrough piece was a time-lapse video of a two-day project called "Influences." He painted 30 pictures on his own chest, one over the other, with each picture representing an influence in his life. When he was done, he peeled the quarter-inch thick layer of paint from his skin and cut out a silhouette of his own profile. The video was streamed more than a million times on the Web — a cyber art phenomenon in which both process and final piece were revealed.

Hansen often uses the technique of pointillism, in which the canvas is dabbed with tiny bits of color, rather than fluid brush strokes, to create a larger image.

His works often have a political stance. Several years ago, Hansen devised an image of President George W. Bush by hand-painting the names of 1,700 coalition soldiers killed from the beginning of the Iraq War until April 2005.

"They're dying for George Bush," he explains. "They're dying for an idea that he had and unfortunately it wasn't a clear idea."

Covering the entire back wall of his brother's basement is a 7 x 14 foot mural of the Ku Klux Klan, made up from thousands of verses copied from the bible and individually cut out. It's a companion piece to an image of civil rights hero Rosa Parks — also made from bible verses.

Hansen says the idea was to show the far-reaching influences of religion for both evil and good.

Hansen's commitment to his own brand of pointillism is most evident in a portrait of the so-called Green River killer, Gary Ridgeway.

He made the piece by drawing one-inch portraits of each of Ridgeway's 48 female victims in various shades of light and dark. He then photocopied the drawings and cut them out into 12,000 tiny squares which he arranged, one by one, to reveal the killer's face.

Hansen says it's about remembering the victims — women all connected by the misfortune of having crossed paths with Ridgeway. The project took four months.

The detail work has taken its toll. Hansen holds up his right hand to show me a twitch he says he's had since high school, when he was first introduced to pointillism and became obsessed with it.

Hansen created his self-portrait 'A Moment' over the course of six days, oven sitting cross-legged for up to 12 hours straight.

His latest project used the Internet to connect his viewers to the art being created. He created a ten-foot, spinning, circular canvas in his brother's garage, then moved in there himself. Taking a week off work, he spent six days straight living in front of his web cam, sleeping on the floor, eating takeout and encouraging people to call him or email him with a "moment" that changed their lives.

He got over 600 responses. People from all over the world, from the United Kingdom to Romania to Botswana, told him their personal moments: their first time acting on stage; the death of a parent without being about to say goodbye; seeing the rainforest destroyed.

Starting from the center of the canvas, Hansen then painted their words, working out to the edges until the image they had collectively created was a face — Hansen's own — bordered by four hands.

Strangely, Hansen says the jitter in his hand that has plagued him for so many years went away while he was making the piece.

-See more of Hansen's work at his Web site."

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August 02, 2007

Write That Bad Novel Your Bad Self

32 Tips on Writing a Crappy Novel- or Not!

"Do you want to write a novel? Most people try to write a good novel and fail. Dare to be different. Try writing a bad novel instead. If you finish, you will have either succeeded in writing a bad novel or failed and written a good novel. It’s a win/win situation. Here’s a guide to writing an absolutely terrible novel. The path is clear. All you have to do is follow it."

I especially like rule # 22:

"Don’t start your novel with an interesting event. Take a few dozen pages to explain everything that would lead up to that interesting event. The reader will gladly hand around until you get to the point."

August 01, 2007

Homeless Solutions

I Want Change - Urban Street Art Image

"Helping the homeless means more than handing out food or coins on the street. The urban landscape of most major cities is unfriendly to the homeless population. Urban centers discourage homeless people from sleeping public spaces - without necessarily providing alternatives. However, some activist artists, designers and architects have developed clever solutions to this problem."

Check out the Unfriendly Vs. the Friendly solutions to this urban problem. Pretending that the homeless don't exist doesn't make the problem go away, contrary to what many urban planners think!

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July 31, 2007

Japan's Unique Art Form

Japanese Version of Crop Circles-
But More Highbrow

Rice field art --

Pimp my rice paddy ::: Pink Tentacle

Japanese farmers in Inakadate make crop art every year, this time based on Hokusai's 36 Views of Mt. Fuji. They use purple and green kodaimai rice along with their regular seedlings to create these show-stoppers.

July 29, 2007

God Gets More Bang For His/Her Buck

Says God

This site plays on the now-familiar God billboards in a way that really makes you think, "Hey, I bet He/She DOES feel like that!"

"And it came to pass that God visited the earth, and He did behold a series of billboard ads attributing to Him utterances of such banality that they would never pass His lips in a billion years. And it came to pass that God in His wrath considered a libel suit, but in the end opted simply to mount a cantankerous, self-contradictory ad campaign of His own. . . ."

I never said, "Thou shalt not think." —God

If you seek to know my ways, read a damn science book. —God

Six days? Yeah, right. I'm a scientist, not a magician. —God

E=mc². Yeah, that's one of mine. —God

I like to kick things off with a bang. A Big Bang. —God

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July 22, 2007

Books, Gotta Love 'Em

This drawing by illustrator and author Colin Thompson sums up what I feel about books.

They are my windows on other mysterious worlds I'd otherwise never be able to visit and explore, tickets to new experiences which, although vicarious, are none the less valuable.

They're my magic carpet ride to foreign lands and other cultures, helping me understand this human experience. And maybe, just maybe, that lets me build some bridges in my own fiction that will lead a reader on their own voyage of exploration. Books, gotta love 'em.

July 19, 2007

Bloomin' Dahlias!

I think this is the most astonishing video of a Dahlia blooming (thanks friend Duchie!) that I simply had to share it.

I raised dozens of these beauties, all sizes and color combinations, from seed one summer. I had little brown peat pots (available at any garden center) everywhere with seedlings growing in them. Then I transplanted them to the flower bed outside.

The garden was filled with these glamorous blossoms all the way through the fall. Neighbors were coming to me for cut flowers for their dinner parties. All from a 59 cent packet of seed! (Prices have gone up since then- it was long ago!) I recommend you try it sometime.

Click on the animation for more information on the art of growing these lovely flowers.

July 14, 2007

COPD YouTube Video Goodies

Today I spent some time strolling through YouTube for some COPD goodies. Here are the best of the bunch for your viewing pleasure and eddymacation:

COPD from Campbell Teaching

COPD II from Campbell Teaching

Living With COPD with Michael Riser

Living WIth COPD Part 2 Pursed Lip Breathing

Cured Meat Danger

May 05, 2007

Way to Go, FDA!

Way to go, FDA! From pet food to people food, you are falling down on the job. Now the "dilution factor" has become the "weapons of mass destruction" of the current pet food and people food scandal, and we know how much truth there was to that expression!

If you don't stop minimizing and ignoring this problem, our food supply will be hopelessly compromised. Yes you need more people and more funding but most of all you need a reality check. The American populace is not going to stand around twiddling their thumbs until you and the USDA finally decide to do something about this mess.

How about you step up and start taking responsibility and provide some real leadership on this issue? Or is it asking too much for you to go against the wishes of big business over the wishes of the people?

April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech- Making Sense

Some things just don't make sense. The massacre at Virginia Tech ranks at number one on that list.

What pain must have emanated from one human being to cause him to spread his suffering to so many innocents? What possible reason could he have for such disregard of the consequences of his actions?

These and many other questions about that tragic day will remain debated, kicked around and pulled apart by law enforcement, psychologists, and of course the families far into the future.

In the end, all we know is this: something is wrong with the world we live in. Whether we can do anything to set it right is questionable.

Deep in our hearts, we have to look for ways to connect to one another, to see one another's pain and not turn away from it. That sharing may lead us out of this nightmare, in time. At least that is my hope.

April 05, 2007

Someone's Killing Our Pets

Someone's killing our pets, and I'm damned angry about it.

In case you've been living under a rock, the company Menu Foods has been recalling pet food right and left along with some other manufacturer's products because they have been contaminated with a poison or more likely poisons that are killing cats and dogs at a much higher rate than the "official" death toll of 16.

How do I know this? I've been following the reports in the news, that's how. Numbers are put at least in the hundreds if not thousands, with many more being affected with renal failure that will shorten their lives. My heart aches at all the deaths and the bereaved owners, many now blaming themselves for feeding their pets poison when all they were trying to do was take care of them the best they could.

So far the smoking gun points squarely at China, source of the wheat gluten suspected of being the primary contaminated ingredient, but there may well be more. Not all animals are having signs of renal failure. There have been reports of pancreatitis and liver failure as well. The recalls may spread from just wet and foil pouch food to dry, sending many of us into a frantic search for a pet food that doesn't contain wheat gluten or hasn't been manufactured by Menu Foods.

One good thing that is coming from all this - people are looking at labels now and insisting on an explanation for the piss-poor ingredients in our pet food. Another is that people are looking to the FDA for more oversight on our food supply in general and testing in specific.

It is possible to feed a raw diet as well as cooking at home for the pet. Google around for recipes and instructions but remember that cats and dogs need specific (and different) nutrients to have a balanced diet. Be sure the web sites you visit take that into account. Canned tuna as a diet for your kitty can have disastrous consequences long term. Your best bet may be to contact your vet or failing that a good book on the subject.

Let's not let up the pressure on our elected and appointed officials and local and national news agencies so we get to the bottom of this. Our pets deserve no less.

April 02, 2007

COPD Webring

I just did some HTML editing to get a vertical layout for the COPD Webring I just joined, shown on the sidebar. Click away and learn more about COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, one of the leading killers in the United States.

Not a pleasant subject perhaps but you will meet many pleasant people in the Ring and educate yourself to boot. The life you save may be your own or that of someone dear to you.

March 17, 2007

Being Appreciated

Let's face it, writing is a lonely business. It's you and a blank page or empty screen, waiting for words that sometimes just won't come, often with a deadline looming over the right shoulder.

And blogs can be the worst, not knowing if anyone out there besides family and friends is reading what you've toiled over, sweated over, cussed over and polished as best you might.

So I was thrilled to get an encouraging note from a fellow writer and coincidentially fellow COPD sufferer, Kwrenb. She added my blog to her COPD pages and I added her COPD pages to my permanent links. If you get a chance, check out her writing site as well. She has a real gift for words I think you'll enjoy.

And if you're a writer too, drop her and me a line. We have to keep up one another's spirits in the lonely writing world!

March 09, 2007

Life From a Hospital Bed

I just spent some time in the hospital with a pituitary gland problem and boy do I have some stories to tell about the roommate from hell.

This chickie kept me up every night hanging on the buzzer for pain meds when she knew she couldn't have them until the scheduled time, and calling on Jesus and all the Saints in the meantime just for fun evidentially. She spent a lot of time talking to herself and not making much sense.

When she wasn't busy keeping me sleepless- like I needed any help between blood pressure checks and blood-draws- she spent time buzzing the nurses for things like pudding they didn't stock. Then she made a federal case that she was discriminated against due to not being provided pudding in a timely fashion.

She refused to eat her meals and then carried on when the trays weren't left in the room just in case she might want to eat something off of them hours later.

Then she started floor-surfing in the wheelchair. She had been untethered from her IV pole to go to dialysis. She missed her IV antibiotics by three hours due to smoking outside the hospital ER, and generally wheeling herself about so that the nurses had no idea where the hell she was at any given time.

My roommate even had a neighbor bring her the checks out of her mailbox and persuaded him or her to drive her to the check-cashing store around the corner. Evidentially her need for pain meds was taken care of by freedom to roam the halls and nearby streets since she missed her dosing schedule by hours.

The kicker was when she fell asleep sitting up in her bed - finally- with a thousand plus dollars in her lap. The nurses didn't dare leave the money unsecured so they counted it and placed it in the safe while she slept on. Upon awakening she accused "someone" of stealing her money. When she was informed it was locked up and would stay that way until she was released, she threw what we in the south would qualify as a hissy-fit, something better suited to a two-year-old than a grown adult.

Never was I more grateful to hear the blessed words, "You can go home today."

February 20, 2007

Two Graphics Tools

Today I want to share two tools gleaned from the blog of iHanna, a crafty gal I highly recommend. First is the card catalog tool and second is a cookie cutter text generator.

Use the card catalog tool to make a graphic card of any type for your blog- like for now:

Once you create the card, right click on the image that is created to save it to your computer for later use.

For the cookie cutter, replace the text in the box with your own text and click "Submit". Save the image as above. Here it is for my own site, which I love and may use in my header some day:

I'll pass along any other cool tools I see.

January 29, 2007

My Mystery Shopper

This past weekend I had a most unusual Mystery Shopper
at my Yard Sale: Figaro, the neighbor's white cat.

Poor Figgy has been in one too many dust-ups in the hood. One of his ears now hangs an inch lower than the undamaged one and keeps getting infected. His coat is dirty and he looks skinny and unwell so I didn't have the heart to chase him off the premises Saturday amidst the preparations.

Making himself at home on a pile of linens near the doll furniture, he slept through the first crush of shoppers for a good twenty minutes. Then he awoke and did the cat-weave through the Christmas lamps and glassware and dog-eared paperbacks down the length of three long banquet tables placed end to end, jam-packed with stuff. He made it without touching or rattling a single item, including two large nativity sets and a Christmas village complete with little people.

There he came to rest for awhile for a good paw-cleaning session and another brief snooze. The Christmas ornaments didn't even tempt him, so soon with that aloof cat's grace, he was gone, my Mystery Shopper. He didn't even drop a quarter on a Jamaican straw handbag, green Christmas votive, or doggie Valentine tin. His loss, another bargain shopper's gain.

Next sale I'd better remember to lay in the catnip.