Wednesday, November 22, 2006

time to baste the tofurkey... 

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It's going to be a weird one for me. This will be the first Thanksgiving in over ten years that I haven't spent with family members. The last couple of years I rode up to Fresno with BabySis and her family to spend the holiday with the Fresno contingent. But now that BabySis and her family are living in Florida, that's not really an option anymore.

I could rent a car and still drive up, and if I didn't have this brand new spanking boyfriend o' mine, I probably would. (PS: he's not actually a spanking boyfriend, as neither of us is into that...) But HSTeacher's kids are going to be spending the weekend with their mother's family, and I hate the thought of him spending the holiday alone - plus I just really want to spend time with him - so I thought staying in the LA area would be best. We've been invited to dinner by ModelGirl and her hubby, and I'll be bringing yams and making pan fried tofu with peanut sauce, so at least we'll be spending the day with dear friends.

On Friday HSTeacher and I are scheduled to get a couple's session with a woman who specializes in alternative healing and helping couples realize their full potential, so I'm very much looking forward to that. And the rest of the weekend will be just hanging out and enjoying one another's company. Considering the last couple of weekends have seen us seeing each other for one night, it'll be nice to have this leisure time.

I just hope that it remains leisure time, because I've been feeling a little off since yesterday evening. Around 6pm I was at a Petco near work, picking up stuff for the kitties, and I was suddenly overcome by light-headedness. It felt like it took all of my concentration not to faint. I though it might be low blood sugar, so I went to get something to eat, but it hit me again, several times, and scared the crap out of me. I called my roommate to ask him to pick me up, as I didn't think I could take a hour and a half bus ride home, and proceeded to measure my heart rate as I waited - it got up to around 100 beats per minute a few times. Then again, the fear of fainting could have certainly shot my heart rate up a bit.

Soon after we got home I felt mostly ok, but the waves of light-headedness still came, though not as hard as before. And now it's almost 24 hours later and I'm still experiencing it. Though, again, not as bad as last night. The heart rate is averaging around 85-90 beats per minute - still quite fast for me, but not scarily so.

So I'll be going to the doctor's first thing on Monday morning (unless it gets dramatically worse before then) to get full bloodwork done. Adult onset diabetes and heart disease run in my family, so it would be best to rule those out or start treating them if it turns out I'm following in my family's footsteps. I'm trying to eat little somethings throughout the day, so that my blood sugar doesn't get low, and I'm trying to up my water intake, so there's no chance of dehydration.

If it turns out that nothing is physically wrong with me, I might have to accept that I might be experiencing low-level panic attacks. I've felt them before, and I've felt this faint feeling before, but never on such a sustained level, so yeah, gotta head out to the medicos.

I'm just wondering if the dehydration I was treated for last month was more of a symptom than a diagnosis.

I knew things were going too well for me...

BTW, Happy Thanksgiving for all readers based in the U.S.! And Happy Thursday to everyone else!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

city girl in the hills... 

Long ago I established that I am an unrepentant city girl. I've gone hiking in the hills before - such mountain ranges as Santa Monica, San Gabriel and Santa Susana have felt my feet trod upon them. I've come across a rattlesnake in the hills (only the one time, but yeah, scary!). But my continued wonder at the deer which call JPL home prove that I'm a definite city girl.

So imagine my surprise when JPL issued a mountain lion warning for the lab.

Yeah. I know.

Most of us never think about anything wilder than pigeons and squirrels in the proximity of our work places. Maybe the occasional possum.

But to have to keep a mountain lion watch whilst crossing the lab? That's pretty damned serious. At least to my little frivolous suburban mind.

Accompanying the warning are suggestions of what to do when faced with a mountain lion:
About half of California is prime mountain lion country. JPL is part of this lion country. These animals have always lived here, preying on deer and other wildlife,
while playing an important role in the ecosystem. Mountain lions have been seen in the past on the Laboratory site and may still be present.

*The following suggestions are based on studies of mountain lion behavior and analyses of attacks by mountain lions:

- Do not hike alone.
- Do not approach a lion. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
- Do not run from a lion.
- Do not crouch down or bend over.
- Do all you can to appear larger.
- Fight back if attacked. Use rocks, sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools or finally bare hands. Try to remain standing and face the attacking animal since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck.

I don't know about y'all, but the chances of me not running when faced with a mountain lion are incredibly miniscule.

Well, I'm rarely here past 6pm at night and usually other people are about. Plus I don't have far to travel to get to the bus stop (maybe about three minutes walk time) and the stop is on JPL premises, with lots of vehicles moving about, so I'm pretty sure I'll be safe.

Still, it's something that settles in my wee city brain.

Please don't let me become a mountain lion's supper...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

okay, i'm highly skeptical... 

...but wouldn't this be cool, if it were true?

Such cute little dotties!


One of the books I'm currently reading is Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (the other is The Android's Dream by John Scalzi - good book, as usual - go buy it). I recently finished - after about a billion days - Space by James A. Michener.

(A little background about my relationship with these authors first: the first "hard science" SF book I'd ever read was The Mote in God's Eye by Niven and Pournelle and I fell in love with it, thereby cementing forever the certainty that I would read anything by Niven or Pournelle, but especially their collaborative efforts.

As for Michener, I'd never been interested in reading his stuff, as I forever associated his name with epic TV miniseries, the like of which tended to not appeal to me. But I picked up Space from the free book box in front of the bookstore by my old apartment and was drawn into it by its obvious historical accuracy - I learned more about the space program from that book than anything I'd ever read. I still may not read Michener on a regular basis [sometimes I found his characters not well-delineated], but at least now I know if he's written about a subject that interests me, I won't be disappointed.)

Both Space and Lucifer's Hammer feature scenes that take place at JPL. I have to admit that it's fun to envision the buildings in which the scenes take place. I've never worked anywhere that was written about in this fashion. My dorky, fame-challenged mind is inordinately jazzed by this.

But it's also a bit disconcerting. Because Lucifer's Hammer is about a comet that passes extremely close to Earth, with huge bits of it hitting our pretty blue marble (that's not a spoiler - it's on the back cover). In one of the scenes the earthquakes that are generated by the impact affects JPL. And the building in which I work is mentioned as being destroyed. It definitely hit way too close to home.

At least I don't live on the Eastern Seaboard, which is completely obliterated...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

ooh, that feels soooo good.... 

Burns and Allen have conceded their tight Senate races in Montana and Virginia to Tester and Webb; Democrats will be taking control of the Senate in January.

I think I need a cigarette, because I haven't felt this good since, well, okay, since Sunday (fantastic sex on a regular basis is a very good thing in the World of Carol). Actually, I'd prefer something a little less tobaccony...

Ooh, look at that. My nipples are all a-tingle.

Thank you, American people!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Too much swirling around in my brain right now. Can't settle down long enough to turn in any coherent thoughts. Just...whoa.

So much happiness filling my heart right now that I'm afraid it's going to burst. Dems in charge of the House. Senate in a tight toss-up that might go The Way of Blue. Debra Bowen pretty much assured a victory as California Secretary of State. Pombo - a man who never met an environment he didn't want to destroy - being tossed out and an expert in wind power placed in the seat in his stead. Rumsfield stepping down. Much of the California State positions going to Dems.

All is not perfect - Schwarzenegger trounced Angelides and the CA Insurance Commissioner is turning Red. A number of the propositions I supported have been slapped down and one that troubled me, despite its noble intentions - Prop 83 - won (so many things wrong with the details of that proposition and I'm sure its going to prove to be all but unenforceable).

But still, for the most part, my heart and soul is overflowing with happiness.

However, now the hard work comes for all those newly elected Dems. As hard as I've been working for this, I realize that it wasn't so much that the Democrats won. It was that the Republicans lost and Democrats (and the country) reaped the benefits. Now the Blue Wave has got to get some solid planning and show a least some results, otherwise we're going to lose our majority again.

Don't disappoint us, mmm'k?

G-d, I'm so happy I could plotz...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

today's the day... 

And I took pictures of my ballot to prove how I voted. Too bad I can't upload them right now.

Want another reason to vote?

(Tip o' the election cap to the fantastic Ray in New Orleans for this video.)

Polls are open until 8pm. For those of you here in California, you can fing your polling place by visiting the California Democratic Party website. And if you can, take pictures of your ballot to prove your selections.

Let's start to take back America!

UPDATE - 2:37PM: For other parts of the country with polling places still open, you can find your polling place here. Any voting irregularities can be reported here or call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

political geekery... 

I've been a geek for so long and on so many different fronts that it should come as no surprise to anyone that I've added "political geekery" to my repertoire.

Case in point:

After voting this morning I walked by a Yum Yum Donuts and saw this bag o' donut holes as I ordered a coffee and egg and cheese bagel sandwich. So I purchased it (for a whopping $1.50!), brought it to work, and made up a cute little sign for the bag. It now sits on the ledge in my cube, waiting for folks to partake in its electiony goodness. Thank heavens my monitor shields it from my sight.

Too bad I couldn't get red, white and blue sprinkles...

Monday, November 06, 2006

fun and factual... 

An ad that's been making the rounds:

If you haven't voted via early voting or absentee yet, be sure to vote tomorrow!

(PS - it looks like the guy with the clipboard is Colin Ferguson, who stars in one of the few shows I've tried to catch this season, Eureka. Funny, cute and smart - I may just have to add him to my male retinue...)

BTW, here's my new favorite quote: "We the People are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts--not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution." - Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, November 02, 2006

i'll avenge you, my fallen planet... 

Yesterday I was walking about the lab, as I am wont to do during lunch, and I spied a board announcing an upcoming talk. Imagine my interest when I read the title:

The copy reads:
The IAU and the Pluto Affair

Join Lars Lindberg Christensen for a glimpse into last summer’s biggest astronomy story, Pluto’s fall from planetary status.

Lars Lindberg Christensen is a press officer for the International Astronomical Union. He tells a tale of intended and unintended out comes – of what was expected to be a simple judgment by an august scientific body, that turned into a major global story generating huge headlines for day.

It’s funny. It’s sad. It’s definitely chaotic. It’s the process of scientific review and arbitration and public communications, all colliding on a worldwide stage. The result: Maybe the most public conversation about space science in decades.

You bet your bippy I'm going to be there...


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Carol/Female/36-40. Lives in United States/California/Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley, speaks English. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection.
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United States, California, Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, English, Carol, Female, 36-40.

WWW all the fun of the fair...