prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
Happy Halloween! The day when we dress up as ghosts and goblins so as to confuse and ward away the returning spirits of our ancestors, who may be dead but still remember that they loaned us that power tool the one time and never got it back.
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The weird thing about Centralia (well, one of many) is how it tends to come up in batches. I never hear it mentioned by just one person; once it's spoken of, I hear of it repeatedly from various sources over the course of a few days before the subject fades off again.

Such a thing has been happening lately, and since I've posted part or all of this in a few places already, I figured I might as well share it here. Some of you might find it interesting. I think perhaps I should add a disclaimer--or a claimer?--that no part of this is fictionalized. This is my own memory served neat.

Centralia is (or was) a town in eastern Pennsylvania, in the the state's coal-mining region. In fact, coal is the root of the problem. I'm sure most of you know that Centralia's claim to fame is the coal fire that's been burning under the town since 1967. If you don't...well, you do now. For the facts of the matter, Wikipedia suffices. (Incidentally, local opinion tends to lean toward the illegal trash-burning theory, and yes, this is one of the purposes to which abandoned strip mines are routinely put around there.) The fire burns underground, so the area normally looks like nothing much besides abandoned, with an inexplicable smog hanging around the valley. It's a bit more impressive in winter, of course, when the heat becomes visible, and occasionally licks of flame will erupt between stones or something, but mostly it's unspectacular.

I did my first two years of college at the Penn State Schuylkill campus. Back then, I drove through Centralia frequently to visit my boyfriend of the time, who lived in Mount Carmel (up the road about 10 miles from Centralia, away from the fire). In case you're curious, the bulk of the mine fire burns to the south of the town; driving through the town proper wasn't terribly risky, so long as you didn't stop to inhale great lungsful of polluted air. And it cut 15-20 minutes off the trip compared to going the other way.

The town was large and prosperous once, but the first time I saw a picture of what it looked like before the mine fire, I was sincerely shocked. It's not just that the town has been abandoned; it has been *removed.* Almost all the buildings were torn down, demolished so that not even their foundations lay exposed, and even the borough roads have been torn up. When I lived in the area, three visible houses were left standing bastion against the abandonment, along with a brick storefront along the town square that was too solid to take apart. A couple more houses were tucked in around the edges or up over the hill, where you couldn't see them from the road.

At the time (this was around 1996) a few families still lived there. The old people would spend most of their time sitting in lawn chairs in what remained of the town square at the crossroads (the only two streets left; incidentally east took you to Ashland, west to Mount Carmel, north to Bloomsburg, and south to hell). They sat there doing nothing particular but making a point, with a sign leaning against the lightpole that said "We love Centralia!" in big, easily readable letters--flaunting the fact that they refused to be driven out. This crossroads and small park were the only real remnants of the town, a tiny, defiant oasis of civilization in a wasteland of ex-settlement. When I first moved there, there were six or seven of these sentinels. By the time I moved away, their number was down to four.

I drove through again a few years ago, when I was down there to visit an old friend, and the people were gone, but the lawn chairs remained. It felt...otherworldly, as if time had stopped and everything was just waiting for these few people to come back. When people say "post-apocalyptic," this is the image in my mind.

A primary entertainment in the winter was to drive up to the abandoned Rt 61 (south from the crossroads) to wander around on the warm pavement. The snow lying everywhere else was always melted there, and steam and faintly colored smoke hung in the air, with a smell of sulfur and less identifiable chemicals. A friend of mine who grew up in Pottsville remembers driving that road before it became too dangerous. One time, he said, he saw a tongue of flame erupt from beneath a tree, and then the whole tree simply slipped down into the ground as if it had been swallowed.

Ashland, the nearest town to Centralia, is a weird place in its own right. In fact, all of Schuylkill County is...kind of odd. Like, "Lovecraftian New England town" kind of odd. This is a horrible thing to say, but my time in Schuylkill County and my experiences with certain people there formed the core of my concept for the Werewolf RPG's fomori, how they look and act and blend in with normal people. I hated it there, frankly. I could never shake this feeling like the ground itself was poisoned, and the people had been steeped in its toxicity until it began to twist some of them physically and spiritually. For that matter, strange happenings were a matter of course in that area, by which I mean hauntings and sightings of weird animals in the woods. It was as though the disease had seeped into the bones of the earth, until nothing could find peace there. I started to believe in ghosts while I lived there, because after a while you see too much not to. Nobody thought it odd, and few disagreed.

Someone who made a study of Pennsylvania Native American tribes told me that the Algonquin name for the region meant "Mouth to Hell." So I suppose it's not only the mining industry and the harsh life that comes with it. Maybe it's always been that way. Maybe there's something innately wrong with that place.
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Fun fact: Santa Claus was indeed an actual real person. Saint Nicholas was a bishop of Myra back around 300 AD. Born to a wealthy Greek family in what's now Turkey, he was a filthy rich hellraiser who applied thuggish skills in the name of good to pull off stunts like sneaking down poor peoples' chimneys to leave them socks full of money (he did actually do that once, which is the source of the legend). He also stormed into the Council of Nicea during a meeting of the full assembly of bishops and punched out Bishop Arius in front of Emperor Constantine. Arius was presenting his case for the Arian heresy at the time (named after him), and this is probably why it's now a heresy instead of Church doctrine.

Fun guy, Saint Nicholas.

Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, joyful Yule, Giftmas or whatever other holiday you may be celebrating! If you don't celebrate any, may you have a time full of awesomesauce anyway. And a happy New Year. :)
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It's been several days since I posted. Since I was telling these stories to somebody else and thus they're already typed, I figured I'd share them here. People are usually up for some good ghost stories, right? I could save them for Halloween, I guess, but...eh.

The apartment I lived in before my current place is an old masonry building--built in 1930 as an (at the time) very upscale apartment building. I asked around about the building's history because of things that happened there.

I had two roommates, a man and a woman. When I was home alone, sometimes I would hear someone moving around with a light step in the living room and dining room. Occasionally glasses would clink like someone was quietly straightening up. A couple of times, when I rounded the corner from the hall I saw a brief flash of long Victorian-style or turn-of-the-century skirts. Our male roommate never saw or heard anything, but I mentioned it to the woman and she said that once she'd seen a young woman--maybe 16 or so--in old skirts in the hallway.

Sometimes spoons or forks would disappear from the kitchen drawers and we'd run low on silverware for a while. We learned eventually that they'd come back a day or two after we commented on it out loud. "Has anybody noticed our spoons are missing again? Um, could we have those back, please? It's getting a bit awkward."

One time (perhaps my favorite ghost anecdote ever) all our toilet paper vanished from the closet where we kept it. Don't want to know what any ghosts needed with it! We told 'em not to bother giving it back. ;)

But there were other weird things that would happen in the building, too. The laundry was in the basement, which was a singularly creepy area of the building. I mean that in a purely atmospheric way. The lights were sparse and dim, the halls were bare concrete covered in dust and cobwebs, the few doors were beat up and chained shut (it was just the boiler room and other rooms they didn't want residents wandering into, but still, it *looked* creepy). I always hated going down there alone. But it was creepy in the haunted way, too. A couple of times my female roommate and I (separately, again comparing notes later) saw a dapper old gentleman in old-fashioned top hat, tails, and walking stick standing at the end of the hall. he never seemed threatening, exactly, but...there was something a little sinister about him.

The laundry area, equally ugly, was split into two large rooms--one with the dryers, with a door to the hall, and one that opened off that that held the sinks and washing machines. Sometimes I could see weird flashes of red in the washing machine room. I never thought anything of it, hating those rooms on general principle and assuming it was either a trick of the eye or something red and flashy like a smoke detector. But once a friend who was doing her laundry at our place came upstairs thoroughly freaked out, swearing she'd seen a huge black dog with red eyes prowling down there.

Finally, one event I wasn't actually there for, but both my roommates were. One day, they heard an appalling screaming start from downstairs. Remember, this was a heavy masonry building, so somebody had to be screaming like the devil was on her tail for it to be heard upstairs. My male roommate grabbed a hammer out of our toolbox and took off downstairs, because it was clearly a woman screaming and some kind of violence happening. He said he followed the noise easily, because it didn't stop; it was happening right in the middle off the third floor hall. He reached the spot and was standing there with the screaming echoing all around him, and nothing was there. A moment after he reached it, the sound began moving down the hall, as if someone was being dragged away. But still, he saw nothing. One of the guys living on that floor poked his head out to ask what the hell was going on, and was witness to the same thing.

We asked a couple of our older neighbors later--there were a few people who'd lived in the building for decades--and some of them said they've heard it before but there's never been anything there.
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I'd planned to wait till next year, but my aunt has offered to sell me her Saturn Vue--a car I have coveted and never expected to be able to afford. So here I am, buying a car! I applied for the loan today, which'll be a bit awkward because the rent on the townhouse looks bad on paper. Co-sign ahoy!

I'm terribly excited and tremendously nervous about screwing up the paperwork. I've never done this before.

My god, I'll have a car I don't have to worry about falling out from under me!

In other news, a really interesting Facebook post from an Iranian-American woman I know who was in Iran this week: www.facebook.com/note.php.
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Amadis of Gaul is probably the most famous of the genre of novels Cervantes satirized in Don Quixote, and it even has the "honor" of being mentioned in the text. Once immensely popular, these books have fallen out of the public eye over the centuries. Amadis of Gaul has never even been translated.

Now one brave scholar who apparently has too much time on her hands has applied herself to the task! Via blog! Every week, she translates and posts a chapter of the work from the old Spanish. If you think that kind of thing is cool, you should check it out and read along!


Amadis of Gaul
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http://www.accessible.com/accessible/

Okay, now here's something cool I learned about at work. I know a bunch of you are history buffs, research nuts, writers, genealogy geeks, and you'll all get some use out of it. Accessible Archives

is a full-text database of American periodicals from the 18th and 19th centuries. Newspapers, broadsheets, magazines. Having done some head-first delving through old documents, I can tell you there's nothing better for learning things about olden times--the way people spoke, the things they were interested in, their daily routines, where they went shopping, what they did for entertainment, how they praised insulted each other. It's not a huge database yet, but they're expanding it.

Also, to that I'll add Penn State's own digitized collections. It's mostly Pennsylvania-centric, but still: interesting stuff.
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The reconstruction of ancient Greek music is one of those things that lots of people have been working on for years. It's kind of a ground-up rebuild, because many of the instruments have been lost, the musical notation they used is different from ours, and they use a different scale.

My sister told me about an article she read once, about a man who'd dedicated his life to this work and thought he'd gotten it more or less right, rebuilding instruments from ancient ones found in digs and the whole shebang. The interviewer had met with him in a coffeehouse in Athens during the Olympics, and described a moment when he asked the man, "So...what does it sound like?" The man stared down at the sheet of music he'd brought with him for so long that the interviewer thought he wasn't going to answer...and then he started to sing.

Every head in the place turned toward him, and the interviewer said it was eerie: this music was like nothing he'd ever heard before, and yet it was as though he'd always known it.

My sister couldn't remember the expert's name, but she recalled that they were planning a concert of revived ancient music. Using that, I tracked the man down. His name is Panagiotis Stefos, and the ensemble he has trained and played with is called Lyravlos. And they have samples of the music online.

http://www.lyravlos.gr/multimedia-en.asp

I've heard other attempts to reconstruct ancient Greek music, and none of them sound much like this. It's true: this just sounds more right, and I realize when I hear it that it lurks at the heart of the music we've been listening to all our lives.
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The estimable [livejournal.com profile] sandchigger has pointed out that today is International Bad Poetry Day. So! O my lit-geeks, let us celebrate those poems that made us gag upon the reading of them, by airing exactly what we thought of them.

I'm tempted to throw up some of Wordsworth's cloud-and-daffodil poetry that makes me want to put a pencil in the eye just to relieve the boredom...but that's pretty standard stuff, really. No, the worst thing I ever read--going on ten years ago now, but the memory has not faded--was Ezra Pound's translation of the Old English poem, "The Seafarer." Read it for a Comparative Lit class, in fact, and this thing was so vile that the day after the assignment, the professor actually apologized to us for making us read it and carried a garbage can around the room, encouraging us to do creatively destructive things with the paper it was written on.

I wept bitter, bitter tears that I had forced myself to sit through that apocalypse for nothing. It's on the web if you insist on putting yourself through that. I shall not be a party to such self-harm.

Never mind. Knock yourself out. Consider yourself warned, though. Reading it feels like you're trying to hammer fence posts with your head. It's got about as much energy and vibrancy as a concussion.

Got a lingering mental scar of your own? I've shown you mine, now show me yours.
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Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] coyotegoth: Experts find theatre where Shakespeare plays first staged

And do you know how they found it? Because they were digging there to build a new theatre on top of it!

I think for the 2012 Olympics, London should just grab Kenneth Branagh and the RSC and make them stage The Tempest. Prospero can have Ariel fly up and light the torch at the end with a big zappy lightning bolt.

Steampunk

May. 9th, 2008 02:20 pm
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[livejournal.com profile] x_los posted a conversation she had with a friend regarding steampunk, and I felt moved to response...which got too long to leave in her comments and thus got shipped over here.

Now, I'm not as much into the movement as some people. I do not, for example, have a steampunk costume (though, um, I'm trying to put one together for Halloween), but I dare to claim that I do sort of tap the zeitgeist. That is, steampunk speaks to me; I feel a visceral response to the aesthetic. So...barring somebody who is TOTALLYINTOIT!OMG spinning by to play the eloquent apologist, I'll attempt to speak toward the phenomenon.

X-los expressed curiosity as to what the driving impulses are behind the movement and why it's all came together the way it has, so I'll try to hit those as I see them, and also was...hm, concerned might not be the word, but potentially distasteful of the idea that steampunk may be an attempt to move toward the hyper-structured, ritualized society of the Victorian period, and its attendant, very formalized forms of repression and segregation. Military fetishism was mentioned, which is an understandable bit of confusion seeing as steampunk's look draws heavily on weaponry, equipment, and costuming elements from military uniforms.

In my experience, however, steampunk is exactly the opposite. )

In any case, I predict that you can expect to see a lot more of it around in the near future: more art, more costumes, more brass and wood. More video games and movies and books, and a whole lot more of this.  My god, I want that laptop.
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Computer has now entered into a superior stage of borkdom. After restoring BIOS defaults, which didn't change things at all (except for saddling me with an annoying BIOS loading graphic), I spent some time yesterday reseating my memory and cards and so forth, in hopes it might simply be gunk or faulty connection. When I turned it back on, I got fans and lights, but no Real Computer ActionTM. I feel comfortable in ruling out the power supply--the fans run and the lights come on--but there's nobody home. This, I suspect, has more to do with me knocking a connector loose than with the problem I was previously having, but it is frustrating.

While it's definitely not the power supply, however, it may just possibly be the battery. I previously dismissed this as the BIOS had not been suffering the traditional loss of data and resetting of clocks, but new evidence has surfaced in the form of the annoying BIOS graphic that's supposed to go away after I've been inflicted with it once. Battery would be good as they're easy to deal with, but I'm probably grasping at straws here.

It's probably not the CPU. Even though I discovered that I just happen to have a CPU perfectly infamous for burning out when too enthusiastically overclocked, it's not really behaving like it's the CPU. Namely, my computer still functions. Well. You know. It did. Then again, if the CPU overheated, it might've affected something else in the case...even though I have three fans.

Still, it's behaving like, well, bad RAM, and I can't quite shake this thought. I could just be obsessing over a distracting pet theory, but it could also be good instincts. Note that I haven't just been getting random reboots, but hard lock-ups as well--something common to overclocking, except that I know now it's not the overclocking, since it didn't go away when I stopped overclocking. Both the crashing and the seizing happened mainly when I was doing something memory-intensive, like Photoshop. Perhaps most significantly, it tended to start happening not immediately, but after I had been using the program long enough to start building up a good-sized cache. In fact, this pattern nearly duplicated what happened the last time I had to go up my virtual memory paging file, which is exactly what I did last week when this first started becoming problematic. So it could definitely, absolutely, still be the memory.

I hope that it isn't the motherboard, but I cannot discount this.

Who will win this epic battle of wills? Well, I will, eventually. I hold all the cards, when it comes down to it (har). I have greater resources and more extensive equipment. But this grassroots guerilla warfare is, I must concede, highly successful in the short term.

But enough of my ongoing war. I bring you weirdness: behold, the Great Molasses Flood of 1919!

And also from Neil Gaiman's journal, in a thing about Dr. Who:
"And another part of the meme was this: some things are bigger on the inside than they are on the outside. And, perhaps, some people are bigger on the inside than they are on the outside, as well."

This is remarkable for putting into a single simple sentence something that has been lurking around the back of my brain for years.
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My department has lately been employed in preparing a collection known as the Anslinger Papers for microfilming and storage. Some of what comes through our office is dull as dishwater, but this is one of those projects that makes you feel the glamour of working in a library.

Harry Anslinger is quite the colorful character. )
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[livejournal.com profile] white_aster pointed out to me that the Ghost Town website I linked to last post has been debunked as a fraud, <a href="http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2004/05/fraud-exposed-and-true-thing.asp">according to stuff found in Neil Gaiman's blog</a>.  <a href="http://www.ukrcam.com/tour/tour_3.html">This</a> is apparently the tour she took.  Kind of a shame, but it's a fascinating story nonetheless.  And even if she lied about the whole motorcycle thing, that doesn't make Chernobyl's story any less true or worthwhile.

Also, following up on that, I found <a href="http://www9.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0604/sights_n_sounds/">National Geographic's virtual tour</a>.
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I woke up this morning in the process of doing lit-crit on Lord of the Rings. I was dreaming about doing lit-crit on Lord of the Rings. What is wrong with me? What was I dreaming about?!



We have a lot of different bird species around here lately, some of which I can't remember seeing in the area. Oh, I mean, they're in the right range, but in the past they seem to have preferred avoiding this particular area. We're a bit of a suburban microenvironment in the midst of a farmy forested sea, so it's not as if they don't have a choice of where to go.

I wonder if it's the raptors. We've got tons of raptors compared to even a couple of years ago, and the prey birds might've decided it's safer to live a bit closer to humans. Most of the hawks and things prefer to stay a bit further away from town. Or maybe there's a general population boom, and the smaller birds are making a comeback along with their larger predatory cousins? That'd be nice.

I notice because I always pay attention when I walk to work. It's just a pick-me-up at this time of year. Even when it's rainy, the weather is beautiful. That perfect, cool-but-not-cold temperature, with everything blooming and leafing and growing. Lovely flower smells in the air, and birds singing away. Very serene. Even when I'm having a lousy day, I can't help but feel a little happier.



A psychotically awesome website:
Ghost Town--a tour through Chernobyl's dead zone. This woman rides her motorcycle through the radioactive zones (surprisingly safe, so long as you keep your Geiger counter active and stay on the roadways), and gives a tour of her trips. One of the most fascinating things I've ever read.



I had some long, babbling and profound ramble I was going to post, but I've forgotten what it was. That's probably for the best.



[livejournal.com profile] trevoke, sorry, but I'm discussing money here. I know you've mentioned that makes you uncomfortable, but it's a traditional American pastime to bitch about finances.

I hate cars. Really. If you 're thinking of getting one, decide whether you're capable of functioning without it. If the answer is "Yes," then avoid the damn things like the plague. You're better off without them. I need, as some of you know, my rocker panels replaced. They're basically just big holes in the bottom of my car at this point. Granted, it's a 1992 Dynasty, so this sort of thing is not unexpected. But they're going to cost me in the neighborhood of $600-$800 to replace. The kicker is, I am capable of saving up that much money. In fact, I've already got most of it. I make crap. I mean seriously crap. If I didn't have roommates, I wouldn't be able to afford to keep this job. I'm only still here because I really like the people I work with, and I frankly hate writing resumes. HATE. Freelancing is filling in a bit on the finances, and I am learning some terribly useful skills, so it's not all bad... But anyway, here I am. Saved up $600. I'll also be putting down something like $400 on car insurance within a month or so--a periodic and necessary evil. I'm also going to the Origins gaming convention this summer. Saved up a couple of hundred for that. How? Hell if I know.

So the thing is, that's $1000 ($1000!) I'm spending on my car. I can live with the $400 for insurance; I'm used to that. But that's $600 I've saved up (something I didn't even realize completely that I could do, until I looked at my budget and realized it had happened!) that I could be spending on something fun, or something I need that'll be useful to me in a useful way, as opposed to fixing something so it's the way it's supposed to be in the first place. $600 I could be putting toward a laptop (something that'd be really handy and fun, moreso as time passes), or toward Origins, where I could buy neat things I won't have money for because my car is being...car-like. Blarg. Most of you have cars, I think, and you understand. Blarg.

And by the way, whatever happened to the cent sign? You know, the little 'c' with the vertical line through it? We never use it anymore. I kind of miss the little guy.



Trees. I love trees. They're so warming and serene. I feel so bad for the poor trees that get hacked down because people plant them in places where, if they'd just thought about it, they'd have known was going to cause trouble in about 20 years. They're living things! Sure, they're just plants, but they're...I dunno, they deserve respect, I think. They're strong, and pretty, and they add a little something to our lives. Just...give it a little thought, and save yourself some effort, you know? Such a waste.

Oh, trees! Right! I knew something was making me think about them. Check this out:
Heritage Trees at Penn State. Penn State is originally an agricultural college, so we've got some arboretums and groves on campus that over 100 years' worth of graduating classes have funded and helped to plant. It makes for some beautiful examples of foliage, including a couple of simply massive American Elms, which is something you don't see very often anymore. It's kind of neat to look at old, lovingly cared-for trees and consider their origins, history, and...just what a good example of a tree species looks like. I find it soothing. Aren't they pretty?
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Ohhh, tons of stuff.  Let's see...
New art. Not much, just some lineart that I tinkered with. But it's sort of grown on me.

I had a dream the other night, where I basically broke down on myself, and Walks-in-Shadows (of SnE fame) talked me out of it. No surprise to anyone who knows him, I think. :) Tony, you've apparently become the voice of my conscience.  Anyway, I feel much better since then (well, psychologically speaking; physically, I seem to have come down with a bug--probably wore myself down with all my worrying lately). My head is really phenomenal when it comes to venting. So obliging. :)

Work <i>sucks</i> right now.  For the next week or so, my appearance may be sporadic at best, since I'll be spending most of my time down in the microfilm library.  My unit has been volunteered to help process a massive shipment of microfilm that's coming in this week and next.  The assistance, in this case, involves going through the microfilm to make sure everything's readable and in the right place.  A few of you may've had the dubious honor of using the horrid machines that pass for microfilm readers that are available to the general public.  It's...not good.  Spinning, blurry, badly lit projections on a screen that looks like a grainy and poorly-focused film projecter out of the 1920s equal one motion-sick PrettyArbitrary.  :P

On the other hand, I hardly get any work done sometimes, due to stopping to read every other article on World War I, Spanish flu, 1920s feminism, day-to-day reports on the Civil War, and post-colonial/Victorian lifestyles.  Fascinating stuff.

Ah, speaking of worry, Twerpie update:  she has two kidney stones left after surgical removal, because they were located in troublesome spots in the kidney.  <i>As per doctor's orders</i>, we have turned her upside down and thumped her back to dislodge them and encourage them to pass.  She's feeling much better--well enough to pick on me again (it was rough going there for a few days, as she felt so lousy that "Try not to throw up on your sister" couldn't even get a smile out of her), and hopes to return to work on Monday.  She also plans to kick the urologist in the kneecaps for various aggravating things during this whole ordeal (such as putting off the operation for two weeks while he fussed about with techniques that are proven not to work on cystine stones), and has asked her GP for a different one in the future.
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I have been reading about pirates lately (thus is explained all the piratical drawing I've been doing). Several things have converged recently to prompt this, mostly involving roleplaying games and various geeky conversations at work with my pirate-loving co-workers, but also including an instance of history being thrown in my face.

I mention this because pirates are cool. You probably knew that, but they are in fact cooler when you find out some of the stuff they did. It turns out, piracy is one of those realms of lore where little gems of history are hidden. For example, did you know that sanctioning piracy (privateering) is the reason the US won the Revolutionary War? Or that Jean Lafitte nearly single-handedly (well, commanding his guys) saved New Orleans from being taken over in the War of 1812? I always wondered why he got a US stamp. And trust me when I say that, after you read up on him, you'll realize that Captain Henry Morgan deserves to have rum named after him.

There used to be pirates in Pennsylvania, of all things. They'd sail--er, more or less--up and down the Schuylkill Canal between Philadelphia and Pottsville (which used to actually be an important place), marauding and pillaging at will. They even took over Pottsville at one point. This bit probably means little to most of you, but if you knew anything about Pottsville, you'd know just how freakish that idea is. It's like...conquering Albequerque. Why? Who would do that? But it makes Albequerque suddenly seem slightly more nifty.

The thing is, pirates don't get less cool when you know more about them. Sure, a lot of 'common knowledge' is a load of bunk, just crap picked up from movies and stuff. Of course pirates weren't really dashing heroic figures; most of them were nasty criminals (well, a few of them were dashing heroic figures). But it doesn't matter. You learn more about them and you're still like, "Oooooo, pirates! Arrrrr." You just also start thinking, "Glad I've never met one personally."

Man, if they'd taught us stuff like this when I was in school, I would have actually paid attention. You should read more about pirates, too. You'll find your life a bit more fulfilling.

That's my public message for the day.

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