September 29, 2008

Time for some Politickin'



(what I've been thinking myself about Sarah Palin and what it means about this country)

therefore, get yo schlep on! (very funny Sarah Silverman vid)

Poor Peggy

Banned from her pub!

September 28, 2008

The Milk Man Cometh: Pasteur v. Toussaint

an interesting read. when people steal others' ideas and call them their own...

(via McSweeney's).


- - - -


It's France. 1881. Sunny day. Tepid, but sunny. You are Pasteur. You are famous. You are the Académie. The Académie is everything. Let's talk anthrax.

Sheep are moneymakers. But anthrax kills them. You've got a theory about that. If anthrax is alive, then you can beat it up. If you made a vaccine, using oxygen to weaken anthrax spores—that's the key, you weaken one version, beat them up; then give that to the sheep; then they don't get the stronger version for real—then you'd be the moneymaker. You have a biological theory, is what we say. You can attenuate live microbes. I don't really know what that means, but you do. You are Pasteur.

Now you are someone else. Someone we've never heard of: Toussaint. You know what? You are not in the Académie, you mustachioed veterinarian. Your chemical theory of anthrax is unimpressive. You think antiseptics will work for attenuation. Which means you disagree with Pasteur. Just dab some carbolic acid—that's an antiseptic, different ball game than oxygen—into the old anthrax; vaccinate the sheep. Since disease is a chemical problem, contra biological, you can sit back and await your invite to the Académie. You're going to the show. You just created the world's first successful artificial anthrax vaccine. Remember, farm animals are everything. The nation, the soul, the air in the croissant. You saved them.

But wait. You are not Pasteur.

Now we're back to the sunny day. And this is Pasteur again. Hippolyte Rossignol has challenged you to prove yourself at his Pouilly-le-Fort farm. You can't make up names like those. This has to be true. He says: you vaccinate my sheep, then a month later we'll give them anthrax, then you'll come back a few days after and we'll see if this works. You agree, aware that this will confirm your greatness.

One problem though—Toussaint. Your lab tests are making you skeptical about the biological theory. You hear this upstart Toussaint got some good numbers with antiseptics, with the chemical theory. Ever toggling between brazen self-confidence (here, the debunker of spontaneous generation; the heater, but not boiler!, of milk) and seething self-awareness (I am who I am, am I not? I know these things to be true, yet if not?), you do what it takes. Staring at the floor, you kick some dust, take a deep breath, and set up the public experiment. No more comme çi comme ça, this is huge.

You take twenty-five sheep. You lead the spectators to believe your vaccine is the fantastic oxygen-attenuated. Remember: that's biological. Milk, fermentation, potato blight, it's all biological. With Hippolyte looking over your shoulder— "we're not so different, you and I" —you inject. Thing is—it's not oxy-atten. It's antiseptic-atten. Oops. You're not using your famous Je suis le Pasteur theory. Thing is, too: not just that you're bailing on your bio-theory and using Toussaint's chem-theory. Also, you took that antiseptic-atten and washed it through mice three times. What does that mean? Means you're on the sly, that things are going on behind the scenes that belie the forthcoming public triumph. But I still don't get it, you confess? Okay, me neither. But there's some kind of deception going on is the important thing. Your milk fame is fun, sure, but how long can it pay the bills? You can digress just this once. It's a detour, this biological shucking. A blip on the screen. You'll win the day. Look in the mirror. Psyche yourself up.

You come back two weeks later. You inject again. Again, using the Toussaint tactic. Two weeks later—inject the real deal, the actual anthrax. Now it's tense. Will they live? Will it work? Pressure cooker, pins and needles, gnawed fingernails. Or so we'd assume. Except you have a guy on the inside, stethoscope to the door, at Pouilly-le-Fort. Things will be fine. The boys at Comptes Rendus will love this stuff. You are Pasteur.

June 2. It's time. Take the train from Paris out to Pouilly-le-Fort. Step off the train to fanfare, actual newspaper reporters, high-school band, international coverage fanfare. Are the sheep alive? Will you still be Pasteur? Will they know you used Toussaint's technique and rigged the trial?

Just tell me this: anyone ever heard of Toussaint? Je suis Pasteur, he says. Je suis indeed.

September 24, 2008

Mozert Underwater

Bruce Mozert pioneered underwater photography.

In 1938, he was the only person in the world who had a waterproof camera.

Mozert stopped in Silver Springs, Florida, on his way to Miami. He never left.

He built a waterproof housing for his camera and for the next 45 years photographed amazing underwater scenes in the clear waters of Silver Springs.

link to the life aquatic in

September 17, 2008

Naimes F'r Yer Kieds

My friend Tiffanie and her husband Troy are expecting a new member of their family as of today! So I dedicate this post to the soon-to-be new member of the human race. I'm sure they have names already picked out...but just in case:

When I moved out to Powell County in 1993, the first thing I did was read the phone book cover to cover (no joke). It's not such a big deal, though, since it's only 1 cm thick (maybe less, including white and yellow pages). I was fascinated with the names I found therein. I copied down all the interesting names, and names that seemed to be so much more common out there than in Lexington, and then carefully organized the names into a long list of names that I labelled with the locally phonetic heading "naimes f'r yer kieds: whut ta naim yer chald ifya leive in eastirn KY". Since then (I was only 13), I've met several of these people (like my best friend in high school, Kaelan, 's dad, Ovie), and heard many of these names used in other places besides Powell County. Still, there's something almost tangible about the way people tend toward certain names in certain places. Like how all the people in the Irish band, Solas, are all named the most Irish names ever (Donal, Seamus Egan, Mick McAuley, Dierdre Scanlan)... but I digress. I hope Tiffanie will appreciate this list as the sort of entertaining but loving list that I meant it to be. (if you're from Powell Co yourself, maybe you recognize someone's tell who they are!) (Also: Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love accents, and that I was trying to perfect the accent here, not make fun of it.)

Here's what I wrote.

THE "E"s
Edmon, Elza, Enies, Eulice, Elmo, Elbie, Elby, Eva, Edna, Edwin, Edith, Ed, Eula, Elma, Eldon, Elden, Euell, Elson, Erman, Elroy, Earlena, Easter, Esther, Edgial, Eula, Earlist, Etha, Eck, Elihue, Erna, Elcaney.

THE "O"s
Orban, Ozenia, Oma, Ola, Oza, Ovie, Ora, Onice, Otha, Odra, Onesia, Odean, Ova, Orvial, Oveda, Orpha.

THE GIRL NAMES--the baest gurl names ar wuns thet aend ian the "een" saound.
Charlene, Magelene, Irene, Geraldene, Lorene, Darlene, Arlene, Norene, Marlene, Illene, Roylene, Muarine, Correne, Jeweldene, Lurline.

Asa Darryl, Willie Joe, Jimmy Ray, Phyllis Jo, Barney Ray, Jerry Pete, Roe Birschel, Letha Gladys, Rosa Slick, Goldie Irene, Billy Edwin, Sybil Miss, Virgil Ben, Nolie Leon, Edith Irene, Ida Mae, Allie Frances, James Ed, Eula Mae, Eva Mae, Lloyd Edward, Amon Zane, Virgil Lee, Louey Rose, Marcella Crickett, Bulah Mae, Willard Geraldine, Lana Gale, Sammy Joe, Ollnie Lige, Rusti-Lea, Angela Dawn, Erna Sue, La Faye, Wilma Jean, Ila Mae, Lina Marie.

BOY NAMES--the baest boey naimes er the whuns thet aend ian the "oid" saound er the "urt" saound.
Voyd, Floyd, Lloyd, Boyd, Gloyd, Rupert, Delbert, Birt, Hybert, Hubert, Hobert, Cebert.

PLACE NAMES--sum peipole naim ther kieds aafter plaices.
Cleveland, Dallis, Dallas, Housten, Letcher, Grandville, Granville, Menifee, Hardin, Irville, India, French, Berlin, Geneva, Venice.

Vernia, Dorvin, Loftis, Karron, Carles, Beulah, Alta, Ada, Berta, Mildred, Carletta, Sudie, Vernest, Rhoda, Maynard, Hazel, Dee, Kellye, Truman, Gathal, Gathel, Merritt, Delisa, Rondall, Rondle, Canas, Delphia, Vollie, Willa, Bethel, mallie, Doil, Kermit, Luanna, Glenda, Arretta, Cashus, Glenna, Dellmus, Roxie, Aland, Noga, Linville, Hager, Dewey, Janise, Cordise, Fronie, Golden, Hershell, Talmadge, Patsy, Amos, Verlena, Ivory, Vinson, Ambrose, Verlon, Cohath, Grider, Lula, Hoyt, Mahala, Manuil, Sreldie, Dixie, Clemmie, Rufford, Tressie, Roe, Scoby, Squire, Viola, Hi, Lois, Kess, Zelma, Ryno, Jewel, Jewell, Gertrude, Alby, Reva, Carton, Corwin, Dellie, Langley, Lottie, Louvirna, Stephania, Strother, Treva, Verlin, Trulan, Alson, Cela, Little, Jarka, Chalmer, Alvie, Arkill, Zelphia, Reda, Cleatis, Freg, Imeagean, Winfred, Garner, Dinzel, Denzil, Densel, Densil, Carma, Lydna, Haydon, Valeria, Tilman, Kirby, Hillard, Vada, Duwain, Louretta, Landon, Algin, Luana, Lemon, Rexford, Roydel, Syl, Winford, Thurl, Waltes, Inza, Arlis, Audney, Lavonna, Herley, Caney, Coe, Aneta, Harles, Milford, Rena, Mose, Zelpha, Dovie, Virda, Sterlin, Garland, Soney, Tavana, Lenora, Arlie, Melda, Fannie, Linville, Wardie, Velma, Goble, Noble, Ambara, Lenwall, Bascum, Hercel, Walsh, Zrondra, Lona, Seldon, Coy, Vina, Shelton, Biram, Norval, Sherdon, Dallie, Adron, Carmie, Ina, Tonia, Shadwick, Wilford, Lorelei, Mara, Shade, Larna, Marvella, Paty, Methyl, Gardie, Aster, Demia, Dorstle, Corbitt, Wyona, Letha, Rossa, Alvia, Herndon, Clarita, Luaza, Higgins, Dorvin, Bascom, Addly, Lamer, Kip, Mina, Lnita, Jerald, Lanny, Delois, Verlin, Gladys, Karmit, Mildred, Millard, Harley, Wilgus, Beckham, Bronson, Lenial, Inez, Verna, Delno, Glyn, Ila.

September 12, 2008

Gypsy Slam

If you've been following my blog lately, you know it's been kinda rough for me for the past couple of weeks. I'd like to share with you something that gives me peace and joy; my dancing. When I dance, I'm out of my head, and in the moment (which is what meditation-- and life, really--are all about). These pieces were improvised, although we knew the order of the music. You can't really tell, but the last piece (starts at 5:28) is done with our eyes closed. We were concentrating on giving and receiving energy and listening to the music. I think it's really cool to see what it looked like, and how there are moments where people are doing the exact same thing at the same moment even with our eyes closed (7:27). Mmmm, *smile*.

[We opened up the Womens Writers Conference, at Victorian Square. There's a 1st part too, and the 1st piece is also done with eyes closed.]

September 10, 2008

Animals make me smile.

"I like to call it..."

I love my friend May who says, "I've been working on this technique for coping with all of the uncertainties and negatives in my life. I like to call it, "suck it up"." Truly. ha ha! She's a great writer, I hope you read some of her other posts...


I'm having a hard time seeing the sparkles right now. I'm just seeing the rain.

mishmash thoughts at 5am


my school loans are in repayment this month, which means that I can no longer continue to pay ben's credit card minimums and bills, as he pays for food and incidentals with his credit cards--over 50% of my income goes to school loans now, and I've literally been eating an 18 cent packet of ramen with an egg in it for lunch for a week now.

his project is nearing completion, which is exciting (!), but right now he has no income, so how the other half of food and rent are going to be paid is an open question. (if you have a website that needs to be built, please contact him).

i had a topical staff infection on my legs last month-->antibiotics for a week-->yeast infection for a week-->month-long period, and concurrent irritability.

i find that i am battling the "you are better than everyone (this is the best school in the country), you're smarter than everyone (all those med students are lazy kids that weren't good enough to get into vet school)" brainwashing/bullshit/rhetoric that they fed us ad-nauseum from day one at Tufts. I knew it was bullshit, and was disgusted by how blatantly they were so self-indulged in their pompousness, and yet here I am, down on myself constantly, feeling like an utter failure, feeling frustrated (and disgustingly 'better-than' and therefore guilty and like a failure) because so many around me don't have the work ethic, the drive, or the smarts that my former peers did.

I just found out that this kid in my former class, who was a known cheater, and obnoxious in many other ways, made a D in a rotation, (which equals failing during rotations), contested it, threatened to sue the school... and so they gave him a C and didn't make him repeat the rotation (when I went to discuss my poor grades with teachers they merely told me not to worry about my grades, as long as I was learning, that's all that mattered. And then they dismissed me for those grades.). My classmates, up in arms, wondered "Why didn't Alyssum just threaten to sue the school?!". It's all so disgusting and predictable.

Ben reminds me that 6 months is not a long time to have had your heart ripped from your chest (him speaking from literal experience). "give it a year" he suggests. Meanwhile, people keep telling me that they're sure that I wasn't *supposed* to be a vet, that i was clearly *meant* to do something else, and that while it may not be clear now, it will be, and they are positive that I will come out victorious and whistling. While I certainly hope that the latter sentiments are true, and am trying to keep my eyes open to new possibilities, I feel anything but victorious, and I don't know why they think things will get better, or why they have so much faith in me. I've had bad luck for the past 4.5 years, and I have no reason to believe that anything will ever get better. I mean, it could get better, but there's definitely no certainty that it will. Most people (in this country, that I'm acquainted with, anyway) have had a pretty easy life, comparatively, and aren't acquainted, themselves, with devastation. Repeated devastation. I expect it now, and I'm not the same confident, enterprising girl that started vet school, I feel utterly beaten down most of the time. And, regarding the 1st part of that general sentiment (the *supposed to*s and the *meant to be*s), I am pissed off and indignant about that. It's such a cop-out, easy thing to say, and it's pointless to say, really, because here I am whether it's true or not, and I am pretty sure that Whatever It Is that I End Up Doing, I *probably* could have done it WITH a D.V.M. and an ability to pay off $250,000 debt.

Incidentally, our landlord is a drunken, useless piece of shit who hasn't fixed the leaking faucet in our bathroom for over a year. So now, it leaks constantly. By 'leak' I mean: it's literally a constant stream of water 1 cm in diameter. Rather than "leak" I should just say the bathtub is "on" all the time. He pays the water bill, but I hate seeing so much water being wasted. There's nothing in our lease that holds him accountable to fix issues within a reasonable time, and calling him every day about it leads to promises of 'fixing it tomorrow', forever. Cutting the water off at the valve outside the tub leads to a flooded bathroom, which is worse. Sometimes the pipes make a terrible sound like a freight train is coming up the drain into our home.

My parents are in a very different part of their lives than I am. (Duh, of course they are, but it's more apparent now than ever). Mom is into leisurely things like gardening and going to motorcycle conventions, and 'coming over for dinner' to her means 4 hours of preparation, eating, chatting, etc. Dad is into politics, moving on from 'energetic dead-ends' in his life, reading, playing music. Those things sound great to me. But I'm very much in a literal dead-end that I need to move on from (rather more dire than an energetic one), and while I enjoy long visits, it's also very stressful for me because it means I'm not applying for jobs, finishing projects, practicing dance, cleaning my house, or just spending time with Ben. There's been no 'upward mobility' in my life since I moved to this apartment 6 years ago with Ben, and in fact I'm worse off than then, because of the huge millstone around my neck that is my crushing debt. I have an education that can't be robbed from me, true, but one that is basically stillborn and virtually useless.

My sleep has been erratic and fitful lately. I was always glad that sleep was something I could hold onto, that allowed me to rest, in the past, and now I don't even have that.

I know things tend to feel worse in the middle of the night, but without expressing these things, they fester and I rehash them in my head over and over. I have been meditating recently. "come back to the breath" "that negative feeling is really just a thought that can be watched and let go". sometimes it helps. sometimes my negative thoughts and feelings are stronger than my will to meditate.

things I'm grateful for: sharing life with Ben (who Gets It and is struggling alongside me), cuddling with my kitten and taking her places with me, dancing (it gets me out of my head), the well-wishes people send me.

September 8, 2008

Making Do

With what I have...

(I actually have a bike I love, though.)

Parsnip's Favorite Game

She, like most cats, likes to play hide and seek. And chase. So, I run out of the room, and she'll chase me down the hall. Except sometimes, I don't continue running down the hall. I just wait for her shadow to give away when she's about to come around the corner, and I give a preemptive kick in the air, which always surprises her and causes her to jump straight up. Endless entertainment.

September 3, 2008

Recent Shots

of said haircut:

Kinda gives the '80's pouf bangs effect that I never wanted. ha ha!

And kitty at the vet (for vaccinations, nothin' serious):

And a truck's rear windshield that caught my eye. In case you can't see it well, it says "Coal miners do it in the dark" with pick ax and shovels crossed on either side. And then, because this is KY, a cross on either side, too.

September 2, 2008

Labor Day

Well, it's after labor day and I'm wearing white. ha ha.

Last night Ben was really wanting to have a cook out or do something "American" because it was labor day. "I hate how we and all our friends turn a cook out into a hippy dippy shitty thing. 'Instead of a grill, we have a dehydrator. Instead of hamburgers, we have veggie burgers. Instead of Miller Lite, we have kombucha.' What's wrong with grabbing a bag of potato chips and chowing down with the rest of the country for once?".
So, we went to Phillip and Tara's--Ben and I brought the Miller Lite and Fuzzy Navel wine coolers. Phillip and Tara provided the canned baked beans, the hotdogs, and the Southern Style potato salad (tho I did eat a veggie burger...). We grilled them on a charcoal grill, and topped it all off with ice-cream sandwiches, as we watched a movie: The Patriot. It was all very satisfying.

Incidentally, I thought it was funny that when P & T went to get the potato salad, they were faced with 4 options: American, Southern, Egg & Mustard, and Creamy. We think the Southern style had sugar in it. You know, just to add to the artery clogging/caloric properties of the dense mayo already there.

September 1, 2008


I cut my bangs this morning. Terribly. Oops...