May 2005

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Sorely Disappointed

A few months ago I was reading some list somewhere of the best movies you’ve never seen. On it was a film called “The Awful Truth” starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. I ordered it up on Netflix and watched it last night.

I’m sorry. I’m not sure what’s so fabulous about this film.

I think there is a kernel of something wonderful in there, but either the writing or the directing leave something to be desired.

The story is of a couple who divorce. He lies to her about something that could be improper in his behavior but when she’s caught in something that appears to be improper (she comes home after being out all night with another man and a story of being stranded with car trouble). The couple fights and then decides to get divorced. They go through the proceedings and fight over custody of their delightful dog.

Okay, this is where I have to say that this is probably the first movie to ever portray the love and friendship of a dog accurately ... it’s a great dog.

The wife gets the dog and the husband gets visitation. The wife moves in with her aunt and starts dating a fellow from across the hallway. Of course the husband finds out and is terribly unhappy about this and does his best to destroy the relationship. The same happens when he starts dating. The final event takes place when he starts seriously dating a wonderful girl and on the night that the divorce is to be final, the new girlfriend calls and finds the soon-to-be-ex in his apartment. He lies and says that it’s his sister. The girlfriend says bring her along to dinner, he says no. He shows up and later the ex shows up with all sorts of weird stories that shock the family and girlfriend.

The husband goes to drive the ex home (still pretending she’s his sister) and she gets them pulled over by the cops, then gets him tested for driving drunk, crashes the car (they’re not in it) and then takes him back to her aunt’s cabin where they realize, while staying in adjoining rooms that they’re meant to be together.


I don’t know if I’ve done it justice or not.

It’s a nice idea, and the cast is fab, but there’s some sort of spark or pep missing to the whole thing. It’s no “Lady Eve.”

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:51 pm    

Saturday, May 28, 2005

It’s a Bad Time to be a Sea Bird

The news is just bad. I wasn’t happy about the seal culling in Canada, and this news isn’t much better:

Virginia to Shoot Gulls Nesting on Highway - too many gulls on the highway are causing accidents so the solution is to kill the gulls.

Wildlife Officials to Kill 4,000 Cormorants - Cormorants are thought to be behind a decrease in the number of walleye in Leech Lake. So they’re going to kill 4,000 of them to see if the fishery will rebound. I’ve seen lots of coromorants, they lovely birds to watch and very graceful under water. I wouldn’t call them “voracious, predatory birds.” So much for dispassionate reporters.

There’s also a contract out on about 500 cormorants on the western side of Lake Erie.

The trouble seems to be that we don’t remember there being so many cormorants in the Great Lakes area because we killed them off so long ago with habitat incursions and DDT.

The DDT problem has brought a host of other conservation/restoration issues here in Southern California. The loss of Bald Eagles on the Channel Islands meant that there was no top predator. Even though there is still plenty of residual DDT floating around (literally) in SoCal, the effort is underway to re-establish the Bald Eagles. But the struggle doesn’t end there, in some areas the Golden Eagle has taken the Bald’s place, especially on Santa Cruz island, where domestic pigs were released scores of years ago and have now become prey to the Golden Eagle. Not only have the pigs destroyed the native flora, but now the top predator on the island, the Island Fox is severely threatened because the Golden Eagles find Island Fox kits so damn tasty.

The process of saving the Island Fox is complex and they’re approaching it from all sides ... reintroducing Bald Eagles to displace Golden Eagles, killing the non-native pigs and building protected breeding pens for the foxes. Hopefully the combination will help to return Santa Cruz Island to a better balance.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:40 pm    

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Aw, I’m flattered. One of my most typetive posts ever on was just listed as a Best Of for the metroblogs.


POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:07 pm    


I don’t often share personal details on my blog. But that’s not really the point of this story:

It was about two weeks ago, after some rather inept weeding in my yard, I noticed a little blister on my palm. After hung around for a couple of days I decided that there was a pricker or thorn at the heart of the blister so I dug around in there with a needle and found nothing, so I washed my hands and thought nothing more of it.

Two days later, not only was the initial blister back, but suddenly it was bigger (about the size of a pea) and had two other, smaller friends.

This was not normal blister behavior. Either you get a blister from abrasion or from getting into something that you’re allergic to.

A week went by and they got bigger. I kept it clean, washed them often with very hot water and soap then either wiped them with an alcohol swab or slathered them in neosporin. It didn’t seem to help so I finally gave in on Friday and went to the doctor.

I stumped him.

He looked at them and we talked about all the things they could possibly be. They didn’t seem to be an infection because they weren’t red (just clear fluid filled blisters), my temp was normal and my glands weren’t swollen. If they were poison oak they either would have subsided by now or burst and probably would have itched more and of course would be red. Chiggers aren’t found often in Los Angeles, and if you do get them they like to burrow into the softer areas like between the fingers, not the callouses on the palms. If they were boils or cysts they would originate deeper in the skin ... if they were shingles they’d be painful. We could rule out all the causes within the realm of normal possibility.

So the doctor sent me away with a prescription for Keflex (cephlaxin) and to call him on Monday if it wasn’t better. The only thing he could do is treat me for what was the most likely cause, which was some sort of infection.

And I’ll be damned if they’re not better.

I’m still curious how I ended up with some sort of infection that didn’t behave like an infection or if it’s not, it’s just going away on its own, coincidental to the antibiotics. Whatever it is, I’m going to finish the rest of this foul smelling Keflex.

I mean, I like feeling unique and special; but when it comes to medical matters, I’d like things to be rather by the book. I want my heart in my chest and my kidneys to be found on either side in my abdomen, my small intestines small and my large intestines large and my brain in my skull. And if I have something wrong with me and I go to the doctor, I want him to know what it is and know that they have a verified treatment for it.

Unfortunately it really doesn’t work that way. Luckily flesh is rather resiliant, self-healing stuff.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:14 pm    

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Gadget Lust

Most of you who read know me. You know that I’m not necessarily a luddite, but I am a girl of simple needs.

Unfortunately I’ve been afflicted by gadget lust this past week.

I’m obsessed with a camera. No, not a fancy Nikon or anything, just the next model up from my Sony DSC-V1, which is this Sony DSC-V3.

They’ve fixed some of my major grievances with the DSC-V1 with the new model. There’s virtually no shutter lag now - so you just point and click and it comes out focused. A lot of the shots that I get, especially of dolphins are pure luck. Well, more a demonstration of the scattershot approach.

It also has a RAW mode, which means no degradation of image quality and a larger LCD display (though I really don’t have complaints about the display).

Longer battery life and 7 megapixels, which means 30% more detail. Same carl zeiss lens. A burst mode of eight frames instead of three.

Anyway, it’s captured me. I don’t need it. Instead I’m ordering another battery and pledging to carry my iPod with me on longer trips in order to suck the photos off my memory sticks. Of course I’ll also keep my eye on eBay for a cheap one, too.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:58 pm    

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Blogger Sightings?

I’m a little confused about this blogebrity thing. I’ve seen it linked at the best places (tony pierce & sean bonner), but I think they’re just as confused as I am about what the hell it is.

If it’s a place to dish where you see bloggers in real life, I’ll have to say that bloggers are about as interesting as TV anchors. Unless we can catch photos of Sean Bonner in a kilt and uggs.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:21 am    

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Not a Blog

I know some folks like to debate what a blog is. And I tend to be liberal with the definition.

But I’d like to point out something that’s not a blog. The Huffington Post is not a blog. It’s not a blog because it’s not interactive. There is nowhere to respond to posts except on your own blog. There are places to respond on the news bits they post, but there’s nowhere to post a comment to one of the “blog” entries.

Further, there’s no forum. I mean, if you’re not going to let people interact right there, a forum is a pretty fair way to do it. That’s what the NY Times does, and that’s a newspaper.

Anyway, I gave it a looksee and was a bit frustrated by it right away. The Newswire feature is nice, but I’m not sure they understand the way a blog works, if you correct something, you should note it in the post.

As an example, when they first launched, I saw a headline something like “Wired News Investigated for Plagiarism” or something with the word plagiarism in the title. Now, I’d read a story about it the night before and as far as I could tell it was an investigation into making stuff up. Surely a transgression, but a completely different one than plagiarism. So I commented on this. They fixed it, but left no comment or text to indicate the correction. So there are comments there (including mine) that kinda make no sense.

Mostly I’d just like to see responses to posts ... or at least trackback folks so I can find what folks are saying in response. Maybe they’ll figure it out. Or, as it appears, maybe we’ll all get a chance to be a blogger for Arianna. She’s sure got a lot of them!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:16 pm    


Here’s how heavily the mayoral election has been on my mind:

I forgot to vote this morning.

I like voting in the morning, mostly I got in the habit back in the day when the east coast media called elections before the polls were even closed in California.

I’m still leaning heavily towards writing in Eric Garcetti for mayor. He’s not even my councilman. We’ll see how I feel after work. I can’t possibly show up at a blogger event without voting. The big question is do I run home and get my camera to document my write-in or not?

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:19 am    

Friday, May 13, 2005

Here we go again

Since Bush was able to convince us of the WMDs in Iraq, I think he believes that he’s going to be able to convince us that Social Security needs to be overhauled.

I wanted to believe that there was a greater good at stake in Iraq, after all, we were killing tens of thousands of people. And if it were all about money, then what sort of society are we? Honestly, if they want my money to NOT go to war, I’m willing to give it up more readily than to take my taxes and use them to kill people.

Here’s something I suspected, Social Security is not in trouble. And here’s someone who can argue it much better than I.

According to an article by law professor Richard L. Kaplan at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from the April issue of ElderLaw Report, “Factoring in the huge annual surpluses currently collected by Social Security, general taxpayer revenues would not be needed to fund Social Security benefits until 2052, or 47 years from now.”

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:17 pm    

Thursday, May 12, 2005

What the Hell Are They Teaching Kids These Days?

I can’t help but marvel at the continued fight over teaching evolution. I think this image sums it all up, but here’s a synopsis:

Warning: Chemical Periodicity is a theory. The theory keeps changing. The theory is under dispute. Teach alternative theories to children!

I do wonder if the creationists would have us stop predicting the weather, drilling for oil, sending satellites into orbit and fighting birth defects.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:50 pm    

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Looks Like We’re Going to Have More Moths

Amy found me this morning taking the laundry down to the basement, and showed me this pair:

They were near their front door, and seemed to be there for quite a while. I put in the load of laundry and went back inside and got my camera and they were still going at it.

You might recall, loyal readers, that I found another (perhaps larger) one last year about this time in the front yard. I’ve gone back and done a little more searching and I’m quite sure it’s a White-Lined Sphynx Moth (Hyles lineata).

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:08 pm    

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Something Stupid

As usual, I was playing around with something without knowing what I was doing.

I’ve deleted about half of my flickr gallery. Grrr.

I was trying to delete my “sets” because I’m using the groups feature to do the same thing. Well, I didn’t just delete the sets, I deleted their contents.

I don’t suppose anyone cares, they were older photos, but it included all my good neon and dolphins.

I can simply re-upload them all again, but that pushes all my more recent photos off the front pages. Gah. Well, I bring these things upon myself. I can fix it. Not sure I want to, but I can.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:27 pm    













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During November it's all about me writing a novel. Sometimes it's about whalewatching. You know, and then there's other stuff.