Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Funny Twitter updates

This has moved here: http://funnytweetarchive.blogspot.com/

art deadline, check. Sleep & other stuff? Not so much.

Why am I up so late? I just finished submitting some art to the online art auction 140 Hours (voted by Mashable as an excellent example of using Twitter for branding). I'm entering these flowers, African violets given to me by my mom, shown here in full bloom.

I took the photo first and then digitally reworked it into a dreamy watercolor:
I'll keep you posted when it appears on their site. I'm also getting ready to launch a photo blog to portray this and other work. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 19, 2009

swine flu facts (H1N1 flu)

So, where I work, people have been talking about the flu. I wanted to check what was really true so looked it up online. Here are answers to some of the common questions (and a link to ALL the FAQs in addition to flu vaccine location info, way at the bottom):

Situation update:
Almost all of the influenza viruses identified so far are 2009 H1N1 influenza A viruses. These viruses remain similar to the virus chosen for the 2009 H1N1 vaccine, and remain susceptible to the antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir with rare exception.
http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/update.htm
(Note: you can sign up for email updates, follow on twitter, etc. — see box at right.)

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Will the seasonal flu vaccine also protect against the 2009 H1N1 flu?
No.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4160

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Can the seasonal vaccine and the 2009 H1N1 vaccine be given at the same time?
Not if they are both nasal sprays. But you can get a shot of one and a nasal spray of the other.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4854

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Who should not get the live nasal spray vaccine?
  • People younger than 2 years of age;
  • Pregnant women;
  • People 50 years of age and older;
  • People with a medical condition that places them at higher risk for complications from influenza, including those with chronic heart or lung disease, such as asthma or reactive airways disease; people with medical conditions such as diabetes or kidney failure; or people with illnesses that weaken the immune system, or who take medications that can weaken the immune system;
  • Children younger than 5 years old with a history of recurrent wheezing;
  • Children or adolescents receiving aspirin therapy;
  • People who have had Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder of the nervous system, within 6 weeks of getting a flu vaccine,
  • People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs or who are allergic to any of the nasal spray vaccine components.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4502

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How long before you're immune after getting the vaccine?
About 2 weeks.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4508

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If I've already had the flu, can I get it again?
Yes.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4309

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Do you need one or two doses of the vaccine?
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of one dose of 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine for persons 10 years of age and older. This is slightly different from CDC’s recommendations for seasonal influenza vaccination which states that children younger than 9 who are being vaccinated against influenza for the first time need to receive two doses. Infants younger than 6 months of age are too young to get the 2009 H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines.

FDA has approved two doses for children 6 months through 9 years of age. As with seasonal vaccine, children 6 months through 35 months of age should get two doses of 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine, which contains one-half of the dose used for older children and adults.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4144

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What if I have rheumatoid arthritis?
You're at a greater risk for developing complications so the vaccine is recommended.
http://www.flu.gov/news/blogs/blog20091019.html

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Does the H1N1 vaccine contain thimerosal?
The 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccines that FDA is licensing (approving) will be manufactured in several formulations. Some will come in multi-dose vials and will contain thimerosal as a preservative. Multi-dose vials of seasonal influenza vaccine also contain thimerosal to prevent potential contamination after the vial is opened.

Some vaccine manufacturers will be producing 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine in single-dose units, which will not require the use of thimerosal as a preservative. In addition, the live-attenuated version of the vaccine, which is administered intranasally (through the nose), is produced in single-units and will not contain thimerosal.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4168

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How have different age groups been affected by H1N1 flu in terms of death?
CDC studied the hospital records of 268 patients hospitalized with novel H1N1 flu early on during the outbreak. The number of deaths was highest among people 25 to 49 years of age (39%), followed by people 50 to 64 year of age (25%) and people 5 to 24 year of age (16%) This is a very different pattern from what is seen in seasonal influenza, where an estimated 90% of influenza-related deaths occur in people 65 years of age and older.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4247

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Don't buy H1N1 drug products over the internet.
This includes Tamiflu and Relenza, antivirals:
http://www.flu.gov/news/blogs/fdawarns.html

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If you have a serious lung disease, you may benefit from the pneumonia vaccine:
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/3944

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What about Guillain-Barre syndrome - is there a risk of getting it after the vaccine?
In 1976, there was a small risk of GBS following influenza (swine flu) vaccination (approximately 1 additional case per 100,000 people who received the swine flu vaccine). That number of GBS cases was slightly higher than what is normally seen in the population, whether or not people were vaccinated. Since then, numerous studies have been done to evaluate if other flu vaccines were associated with GBS. In most studies, no association was found, but two studies suggested that approximately 1 additional person out of 1 million vaccinated people may be at risk for GBS associated with the seasonal influenza vaccine.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4178

The vaccine is being monitored for safety — more details: http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4174

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Symptoms:
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/3941
Note: stay home for at least 24 hours AFTER the fever is gone.

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How long do people remain contagious?
People with H1N1 (swine) influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they have flu symptoms and possibly for up to 7 days following the start of illness. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/3871

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How long can the virus live on a surface outside its host?
They're still learning more about the H1N1 virus, but flu viruses in general can live for 2-8 hours on hard surfaces.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/3943

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—> MORE FAQs:
http://answers.flu.gov/categories/286

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—> Find a flu shot where you live:
Includes hotline numbers once you narrow down by state.
http://www.flu.gov/whereyoulive/

Funny Twitter updates

This has moved here: http://funnytweetarchive.blogspot.com/

Saturday, October 3, 2009

catalog rant, because I'm sick of this stuff! (and sick)

So I was sitting at home today convalescing with a sore throat when I got the mail and started flipping through the latest JC Penney catalog. And found myself getting annoyed. Pages and pages of beautiful, appealing, restful-looking rooms... which are completely unrealistic.

First off, who puts a lamp on top of their book pile? Every night, I read until my eyes are swinging. Some nights, this means I only get a paragraph in. Think I'm then going to LIFT the lamp so I can stack my book neatly back in place before passing out? Um, NO.

Although admittedly, that's not as bad as this: one entire bedside table, rendered completely useless. Because of a. Snow. Globe.

And why are they showing Christmas stuff NOW?

This bedside table's a little better -- at least it shows that the being who sleeps here undergoes some sort of metabolic process necessary for life, like fluid consumption. But really, who brings an entire pitcher of water to bed unless you're planning on being there for the next 7 days? In which case I demand the catalog photo include a thermometer, 10 bottles of assorted flu medicine and sweaty, rumpled blankets.

This photo also includes a glass of water. Here, we understand, the patron has finally recovered, the pitcher is gone. But really, who still has a clock like this? The last time I did was in 6th grade. That alarm's firehouse bells blasted me out of bed every morning like audio shrapnel from a pipe bomb. No wonder I developed a neurosis to sunrise.

And now THIS ridiculous idea. "Try switching out your nightstands for a trunk!"

Sure. Every morning, take off the lamp, books, clock, water and water pitcher to file the hangnail you ripped while clawing at your cruel clock's shrill bells. And then every night, settle comfortably into bed... but wait! You must moisturize your hands. You do this every night, remember? Remove lamp, books, clock, water and pitcher, slather hands with slippery jasmine-scented lotion and gingerly replace lamp, books, clock, water and pitcher (coating each with a thin layer of oil). Oops, now your bedmate/houseguest/child wants some lotion too? Remove lamp, books... ah, you get the idea.

Ergonomics FAIL.

Here is an actual picture of my own bedside table.

Sure, it's not as pretty, especially as I didn't clean it up for this entry, but it's REAL:

Note especially the tissues. Did any of the above bedside tables have tissues? What, do catalog folks pick & fling? Oh yeah, and also note the phone. Not a single iPod alarm clock, cell charger or bit of electronics. Completely unrealistic for today's growing techno-geek population.

To me, this just means "As long as you spend $10,000" (per window)!

This is so cute. But also completely unrealistic. I don't have room for shelves with nothing useful on them. Shelves in my abode wear mostly books.

Another example of a lamp sitting on top of books. This particularly irritates me because I LOVE to read. To show books as a useless decorative piece is blasphemous.

More books stored under things. Utterly useless things, I might add.

In what living room would you ever place the chair in front of the fireplace?

Another example of furniture blocking the fireplace. Here, guests would be seated pointing away from it. Sure, there are raging flames in your house, but don't bother keeping an eye on them or anything.

I included this photo because I don't understand the chair situation. How are you supposed to use this? Is it supplemental seating so extra visitors can perch uncomfortably while watching you lounge on your cozy chaise? Or are they for mealtimes in front of the tube, where you can hunch over your food while sitting on a bicycle seat?

This cabinet is cute, even if it does look like it's covered in circus pig blood. But I include it here because in my house, it would never look this neat. Cabinets STORE stuff. And that stuff doesn't look nice. Frosted glass or wood doors, please.

Now this is gorgeous. I love it. But I need to point something out. In WHO'S home have you ever seen a basket of soaps on the floor in front of the shower stall? (That you would invariably crush during the morning frenzy, especially after your senses were assaulted by five-alarm-fire bells?) And who takes a shower with candles? A bath, maybe. But this is a shower. Last I heard, fire and running water didn't mix so well.

Also, the toiletries in this room all match. Where's the hair dryer, curlers, anti-frizz oil, wrinkle cream, zit medicine, tweezers, and other necessaries that aren't so pretty? There's not a single cabinet to hide those things in.

Bed Head would not fit here.

Sorry. I guess you can only style your hair with products that match your bathroom.

Last peeve.

WHY are blankets always depicted with generous swaths of cozy fabric flowing to the floor? In reality, you have to fight to get three inches to peek over the edge. This invariably ends up in a restless evening spent sleepfighting for covers all night.

I know they're displaying a king blanket on a queen bed here but they won't say this. You're just supposed to KNOW. But king folks can't do this trick, there's nothing to upsize to. Can't you just MAKE blankets larger??

The world according to Spleeness: useful bedside tables, easily accessible books, flowing blankets and lots of cabinets with closed doors! Maybe I should start a business.

I'm not alone, it turns out. See Surfie Says...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wrestling the aging beast

Today as I was lining my lips and waving a concealer wand around like a Jedi makeup artist, I looked at the hint of stress at the edges of my face and thought I do not want to fear age.

I want to embrace it.

Why?

I need to tell myself that for each day that passes, I win one more chance to love and laugh. To learn and grow. Form enriching connections and give of myself. And also get better at seeing what kind of life I want.

These are all gifts of time, are they not?

In a society that so values youth and beauty, I want role models for aging happily. The focus should be on the development of our inner selves and on sharing and connecting.

I have always felt comfortable around older peers and I think it's because I love the comfort that comes with experience. I love the palpable sense of self-acceptance, the stories people can tell about their varied and interesting lives, lessons they learned and can share. And when I see women younger and more beautiful than myself, it may sound strange but I often feel sisterly and protective, not envious and prickly. There's no jealousy, only a sense of kinship. (Just stay away from my man!! lol)

Beauty doesn't last forever. Age brings fine lines and smudged faces and aching bodies. But have you ever seen anything more beautiful than a smile? The kind that lights up the eyes and beams an entire world of happiness into your center? There's just no replacement for the kind of warmth you feel when someone you love throws back their head in a hearty laugh.

That's the kind of person I want to be when I'm 90. I want to be smiling.


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