Zhaba Zhournal
Saturday, May 17, 2003 
Watched a long block of forensic shows on Court TV; there seemed to be an awful lot of ads for cleaning products. (At least none of them made any claims about blood removal.)

J.'s advice to aspiring criminals: "If you want to kill people, start with yourself, and then branch out." (Similar to my thought about murder-suicides: just do the suicide part first.)

[ at 11:24 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

The next day 
Stiffness? Soreness? Yeah, I've got that.

Woke up around 9:30 feeling like...well, like I got hit by a car. Really sore, all my joints stiff and cracking. I felt like everything was just slightly out-of-place, like none of my bones quite wanted to fit together. Took some painkillers and went back to sleep. J. woke me up again at 1:30, brought me coffee and breakfast; I took more painkillers, and the usual morning meds. (Better late than never.) Pretty much just lay around in bed for the rest of the afternoon, and spent the evening in front of the TV. Didn't get dressed, didn't shower, didn't do laundry; yes, I was a tremendously lazy slug, but I did feel like I deserved to take it easy.

Oddly, I have hardly any bruises; just a green smudge on my left shoulder, the place that hurts most. The hip that hit the fender is sore but not bruised at all. The other place that hurts most is my right foot, which I pivoted on and twisted almost backwards when I fell. Other than that, nothing specific; just sore all over. (The phrase that just came to mind is that my joints are disgruntled. As good a way of putting it as any, I guess.)

[ at 11:18 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Friday, May 16, 2003 
Well, Jesus Christ. I got hit by a fucking car.

I'm basically fine, as far as the medical staff at Pennsylvania Hospital can tell. (I think my headache and the pain in my right eye are alarming, but they don't.) It's mostly just bruises and stiff joints. They did check my eyes, and shone bright lights into them, and said they didn't see anything like swelling or a hemmorhage, so I guess they're okay. Just kind of...shocked.

I didn't get hit hard or full-on. I was hurrying to catch a bus, and wanted to cross a street. A car was coming, but I figured that, since it had a stop sign, it would stop. Nope, it did one of those two-mile-an-hour "rolling stops," the kind where drivers slow down but don't actually stop all the way and cruise right through the intersection. I, not very brightly, kept going, thinking it would at least stop when I got in front of it; nope. The fender hit my left hip, I fell down on my right side, then fell back on my left side. To her credit, the driver did stop then, and asked (sounding more annoyed than anything else) if I was all right; I felt okay (from sheer adrenaline and shock, probably), and just said "I'm fine, I want to catch that bus." (No, it didn't occur to me to get her name or license plate or anything.) The bus driver, to his credit, waited for me, and also asked if I was okay. I said I was. Got to my stop, walked to the office, walked in, said "I got hit by a car," and asked if there was anyplace I could go to freak out in private; the shock was wearing off and I knew I needed a place where I could just break down and cry. My boss also asked if I was okay; I said "I think so." (Yes, the doubt was finally creeping in.) He said there were some empty rooms on the second floor (we're on the first story of a rowhouse), so I went up there and closed a door and had a fifteen-minute silent-crying-and-screaming jag. Went back downstairs, said I felt okay, and started working. I was sore and stiff, but that wasn't too bad; then I started feeling dizzy, and my right eye hurt, and I kept forgetting things: I thought I'd done something, then looked back and saw that I hadn't; someone asked me a question about something I've been doing for two years and I didn't immediately remember how to do it, and when I did I had trouble getting the words right to explain it. And at that point I decided that I should go to a hospital. I didn't think there was anything really wrong, but I figured it was much better to get checked out than ignore it and wind up in more trouble later.

I was going to call 911, but my boss said he'd drive me. So we went there—I kept apologizing for missing work, and actually said "I'm sorry I got hit by a car"; he said he didn't care if I missed work, he just wanted me to be okay. We got to the hospital and I did the whole sign-in-and-wait triage thing. I kept saying "I thought I was fine but I just feel kind of weird." Like I didn't want to bother anyone, like I was embarrassed about coming there without an obvious major trauma. Like I'd be wasting their time. Still: head injuries are not good, and I wanted to make sure I didn't have one.

I got checked by a nurse, and then by a resident, and then by a doctor, and then the resident came back and finished up. As I said at the beginning of this post, they said I was basically fine; just bruised and shaken up. They offered to write..."write a note" sounds so grade-school...well, write something official to tell my boss I didn't have to go back to work. But I decided to go back. Went outside—it had just started raining and getting really windy—got a cab (staying well out of the way of other cars) and went back to the office. I told everyone I was, yes, basically fine, and asked them to keep an eye on me in case I started acting strange or forgetting who I was or falling down or anything.

J., of course, has been rattled by all this; although we usually just e-mail when we're at work, we talked on the phone three times so far—once when I first got into work, once when I was at the hospital, and once when I got back to the office. He told me to take care of myself and not work too hard and if I felt any worse let someone know, rather than just keep it to myself because I didn't want to bother anyone. (That's one of my real flaws: I hate to bother people, even if it's completely justified, as in, "Hey, I just got hit by a car!")

I forewent my usual healthy lunch for some nice hot Chinese food: hot-and-sour soup and General Tso's chicken. I'm doing some quiet, steady, mostly easy work (just making some corrections to the almost-final version of a manuscript). The headache and dizziness and eye pain have mostly subsided, but my bruises are starting to hurt more. My left shoulder, in particular, has some really sharp pain. Oh well; I guess they'll keep getting worse until they reach their full purple bloom, then go into a slow yellow decline. (Lovely imagery, I know.)

The moral of the story is:

Waiting another ten or twenty minutes for the next bus and being a little late for work is not as bad as getting hit by a car and missing a whole morning's work.

And also:

Just because the car has a stop sign doesn't mean it will stop.

And also:

The car usually wins.

[ at 1:57 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Thursday, May 15, 2003 
Apparently freediving is an honest-to-God sport with a world cup and everything. That's gotta be one boring sport to watch:
Announcer: He's going into the water!

[Six minutes go by.]

Announcer: He's coming out of the water!
Well, there's always the excitement when people's hearts stop and they have to be dragged out of the water and resuscitated. (Or, sometimes, not. A well-known freediver [well-known among people who know about freediving, anyway] died last year during her "No Limits World Record" attempt. The investigator's report talks a lot about ascent bag lift and cable tension and hydrodynamic instabilities, but I can't help thinking that perhaps part of the problem was that, for God's sake, she went 169 meters down and had been under for nearly four minutes when she lost consciousness. Not to put too fine a point on it but...apparently there are some limits.)

[ at 10:59 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Dear Comedy Central,

Do you have to show "Saturday Night Live" reruns up to, and including, 8 times a day? I hate to be the one to break this to you, but, well, it's mostly not very funny. It has, to be sure, been funny in the past; but most of the funny people either die or get fired or leave the show to pursue lucrative movie careers (and for the most part, it's "pursue," not "attain"). And the guest hosts. Who the hell picks these guest hosts? Some of them are comedians who can act, which is good; some of them are people who can act but aren't very funny, which is okay; but then there's the people who can't act and aren't funny, which is...all too common.

I realize you have to fill the air time up with something, and that you do after all have twenty years' worth of episodes* that you have to do something with, but still...couldn't you at least try to pick the good episodes?

(Or just run "Daily Show" reruns eight times a day—a) it's funny, and b) I have kind of a thing for Jon Stewart.)


*I know, "Saturday Night Live" has been on for more than 20 years, but according to Comedy Central's Web site they only own the 1980-81 through 2000-01 seasons; viz.

[ at 10:21 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

No, no, dear God, no: Fox Brings Back 'Joe Millionaire' in Fall. (You know, to find women who will fall for that again, they're really going to have to scrape the bottom of the intellectual barrel.)

On the bright side, according to the same article, Fox is developing two sitcoms with Latino leads. (Well, I'm assuming "The Ortegas" has a Latino lead.) If they both make it into the fall lineup, that'll bring the number of prime-time network shows with Latino leads to...um...three. (Four if "Greetings from Tucson" is renewed, which it hasn't been yet; and five if you count "The West Wing," starring Ramon Estevez...no, wait, he changed his name to Martin Sheen. [So does that make him a closeted Latino?])

Fact of the day: Hispanics and Latinos make up about 13% of the U.S. population, but only about 5% of the roles on prime-time network TV (according to this article in Hispanic Magazine). (And it seems like about 80% of those are played by Hector Elizondo.)

For more on ethnic characters on TV, from 1947 to 2003, go here: TV Acres: Ethnic Groups.

[ at 3:41 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Yesterday was a great day in the history of my office: the spiny mice arrived. My spiny mice, specifically. When three of my female spinies had babies, I asked if my boss—who's previously said he likes spiny mice—if he wanted any; he said we could actually have them in the office. (Like a fish tank, but, um, spinier.) I wanted to make sure we had a tank of all one gender, so as to avoid further spiny generations, but it's really hard to sex them. For one thing, their genitalia aren't very easy to distinguish; and for another, their tails are extremely fragile, so you can't use the usual mouse-sexing method of picking them up by the tail and looking. Anyway, on Tuesday J. and I finally made our best attempt at separating them by gender and prepared a tank of six probable males. Yesterday my manager and I drove to my house and conveyed the tank to the office in the trunk of his car, and put it on top of a bookcase next to my desk. The spinies were notably underwhelming; they mostly just sat there, like, as J. put it, soft rocks. (Or, as I put it, spiny mushrooms, with their feet tucked under them.) I assured everyone that they would become more interesting when they got over being traumatized by being put into a new cage and carried around and put in the trunk of a car. (Today they're starting to poke their heads out and move around more.)

One thing that was particularly amusing: there were three toilet paper tubes for them to hide in, and they all wanted to go in one, so each of them wound up halfway in a tube, nose to nose with the mouse trying to go in the other side. Which meant there were mouse butts sticking out either end of each tube. Like little spiny dumbbells.

Now my house contains only, let's see, fourteen mice. (Domestic mice, anyway.) That's almost a reasonable number. (The most mice we ever had at one time was 27. The largest litter one of our mice ever had was something like 19 [it was hard to count, and they didn't all survive]. When you're the potato chip of the animal kingdom, you have to reproduce pretty darn comprehensively.)

[ at 12:25 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Search requests 
Gosh, I'm becoming the result of choice for people searching for Scott Peterson naked. Yikes. (I told J. about the search; his comment was, "Then you'd be able to see if the carpet matched the drapes after he dyed his hair." Yuck.)

If only I had a picture of Scott Peterson naked with Farruquito: I'd make these searchers so happy.

[ at 12:10 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 
Today's show... 
...is brought to you by the word "fucking."

Sorry. It's been one of those days.

[ at 9:26 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Dumbfuck author nomination 
Okay, I'm not writing this at work. And, to avoid being sued and/or fired, I will disguise the author, subject, and publication date of the book I'm about to rant about. Let's see...by randomly opening the "biography" section of my dictionary, I have selected a name; by randomly opening the New York Public Library Desk Reference, I have decided that the subject will be patent law; and the date is the year I graduated from college.

So! I'm working on this book on patent law, converting the print copy into an electronic version. It has short-form bibliographic information at the end of each chapter, and the publisher wants us to expand this using the full bibliography in the back. Fine. I'm going through the chapter bibliographies, comparing the authors and dates to the full bib., and cutting and pasting the information. Except that, wait, I can't find an entry in the full bib. for "Collier 1997." There is no one named Collier in the entire bibliography. And no one in the bib. whose name begins with "C" published anything in 1997.

Okay, I'll run a search through a good college library, like Yale, for a guy named Collier who wrote a book about patents. Ah, here's a person name Peter Collier who wrote "Your Guide to Patent Law," although the publication date is 2003, not 1997. Well, maybe it's a reprint. I'll look up the title on Alibris and see if there are any older editions.

Okay. Here's the book. And...hey, that cover looks familiar...it looks just like...

...the book I'm working on.

Yes, I am working on the 2003 book "Your Guide to Patent Law" by Peter Collier, in which he cites one of his previous works. The dumbfuck didn't include full publication information for his own book.

Using the high-tech sleuthing method of reading the author biography on the back cover, I determine that he did indeed write another book on patents...in 1992, not 1997. The dumbfuck not only didn't include full publication information for his own book, he got the date wrong.

Further Web searching is fruitless; I make a reasonably non-snide note in my error log and move on. Tomorrow I will write an even-less-snide e-mail to politely ask the publisher to ask the author to take his fucking copy of his own fucking book off his own fucking shelf and look at the copyright page, for God's sake.

Without the word "fucking," of course. That's professionalism for you.

[ at 9:25 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Dear AMC,

Gesu Christo, do you have to show Casualties of War every fucking week? (Twice today, once tomorrow, again on May 24, June 6, and June 13, which is as far ahead as their Web site lists shows.) I mean, how many times do we really need to see a woman raped and murdered by U.S. soldiers? I know, I know, just because it's on TV doesn't mean we have to watch it; but still, couldn't you present more options? Or at least not push this one so much?


[ at 8:37 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Car alarm + ice cream truck + baby next door screaming its head off for, as of right now, 18 minutes = Hell.

Well, actually, the dogs next door barking would really make it add up to hell. So let's just call this the seventh circle.

South Philly has its advantages—low rent (we've got a two-story, three-bedroom house for $700 a month), convenient to public transportation, great pizza shops on every other corner—but then, well, there's the Hell Aspect. When you're in a rowhouse, there's about twelve inches of lathe and plaster between you and...God knows who. You can't hear everything (thank God), but barking dogs, crying children, loud TVs or music, people arguing, or, for that matter, people engaging in noisy sex—it's all right there. (I, personally, once had sex so noisy that it made the dogs next door bark. But for once I didn't give a damn about the dogs...)

Oh, hey, since I started writing this, the baby's stopped crying. But there's a dog yipping—two houses down. At least the Next Door Dogs haven't picked it up...

[ at 6:44 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Some hope for humanity after all: for the first time, a spammer has been arrested for spamming. (Or perhaps it's just for the first time in New York; the article is a little unclear.) At any rate, it's a good sign.

[ at 2:55 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

The only new country is Ireland. Quite a few hits from the Netherlands. No interesting searches so far, although someone else searched for Farruquito; perhaps, as a public service, I'll provide some links to him. (If I can find any; people wouldn't be winding up on my page if there were any good Farruquito pages out there, would they?)

[ at 12:52 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

On Tasker, in the block before the school: a group of kids, probably about 13 years old, beating up another girl. The bus driver stopped and honked, loudly and repeatedly, but they didn't stop. Then the bus driver drove as far as the crossing guard and told her about it; I'm not sure what a crossing guard can do to break up a fight, but anyway, someone in some degree of charge was alerted. I considered calling 911 but I didn't think they'd get there before the fight broke up and the kids disappeared into the school. I couldn't have described them, anyway; just a bunch of girls in uniforms. I don't know. Maybe I should have done something. But sometimes there's really not much you can do.


I am just filled with hope for the future of humanity.


[ at 11:58 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 
In the news 
Michael "Fictitious President" Moore is making a movie about 9/11, funded by Miramax, which is a unit of Disney. (Viz.) I see boycotts...

[ at 10:15 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

News link of the day 
This is possibly the best first sentence of a news article I've ever read:
It was the public that transformed Potawatomi Zoo's infamous wallaby massacre in August 2002 from a tragedy into a triumph.
The article in question, from the South Bend Tribune, is here: Return of the wallabies.

Incidentally, the South Bend Tribune does not make it very easy to find out where South Bend actually is. Indiana, apparently; but I had to do a lot of clicking to figure that out. I guess they figure that if you live in South Bend you know where it is, and if you don't, you aren't reading the South Bend Tribune.

[ at 10:04 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Consistency, please 
Facts on File book today—Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. Kinda cool to work on it after all that Biblical archaeology; I actually know who, say, Sennacherib was. And therein lies today's complaint: they're not consistent about using common/Biblical names vs. actual closely-transliterated names. (I'm not sure how to phrase that; original names? Real names?) Anyway, the entry for the King Commonly Known As Sennacherib is in fact under "Sennacherib," and if you are such an overeducated snob that you look up his real name, Sin-ahhe-eriba, you will be directed to the Sennacherib entry. However, if you are such an uneducated galoot as to look up the common/Biblical name Nebuchadnezzar, you will be directed to the entry for "Nabu-kudurru-usur." (C'mon, who doesn't know that?)

I realize this is not a big deal, in the grand scheme of FoF screw-ups; at least they've got the important kings in the book. (In one of their encyclopediae, either on ancient Egypt or ancient Africa, they left out Hatshepsut.) Still...is a little consistency too much to ask?

(From FoF? Yes.)

Disclaimer: This isn't libel. At least I don't think so. And I am happy that FoF keeps sending us work. Still, this is the publisher who allowed a book referring to Chekhov's play "The See Gull" to get into print.

[ at 4:23 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Question of the day 
Why do they call it a "funeral home"? There's nobody living there.

[ at 3:28 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Denmark, Sweden, Israel, India. (Mostly thanks to Fark.com and Disturbing Search Requests.) And I think someone in China is stealing my bandwidth. Grr. Or else s/he has just bookmarked large numbers of pictures on my site. In which case thank you, I guess. (, are you out there?)

No disturbing search requests today; just someone looking for Morocco, which I'd forgotten even mentioning.

[ at 3:28 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

CNN.com has posted actual-size images of the new $20 bill. As a poster on Fark.com put it, "Fortunately NO ONE will ever be able to figure out how to remove small red text labeling it a 'specimen.'" Indeed. I think this falls somewhere between "attractive nuisance" and "soliciting criminal activity."

Disclaimer: Of course, counterfeiting is bad. Very, very bad. So don't do it.

[ at 2:21 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Upon reflection, I think my problem spelling "controll(ed|ing)" is due to looking up "cancel" instead. It's the only word I can think of that looks even vaguely similar that has a single "l" for the "-ed/-ing" endings. But still. I looked up the wrong word twice?

This and other stupid work mistakes is due to lack of sleep, I think. I got a prescription for a higher dose of Seroquel, which is supposed to help. Not staying up late would help too. Maybe I should switch from an 8:30-4:30 workday to something more in line with my actual sleep cycle. (My boss is not picky about when you get in, as long as you put in an 8-hour day; people show up any time between 8 and 11 a.m.)

Taking my Ritalin would help, too. But I've become unaccustomed to the high dose, and it gets me overly zippy and makes my heart race distractingly. (Ritalin is basically legal speed.) (Great for the kiddies!) (Actually, while searching for something to link to here, I discovered a lot of anti-Ritalin sites. Including how it can be used for "non-medical purposes." I repeat, legal speed...)

[ at 1:52 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

More signage 
In Wilmington: "Dynamite Family Christian Center." One of these words is not like the others...

Also in Wilmington: "El Amiga" (a restaurant, I think). I don't know Spanish, but shouldn't that either be "El Amigo" or "La Amiga"?

On I-95 between Wilmington and Philly: an official black-and-yellow traffic sign for a "Weave Area." I think most of I-95 between Wilmington and Philadelphia is a weave area, but I had no idea there was a sign for it.

[ at 1:23 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Monday, May 12, 2003 
On Penrose Ave., deep in South Philly: "Gentile Tax Services." Me: "You don't see too many of those."

(J. pointed out that it's an Italian name, probably pronounced "jen-tee-lay"; I figured as much, but it's still an amusing sign.)

[ at 2:19 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

When I get tired, I sometimes hallucinate. And I was very tired all last week. However, I have never previously hallucinated a dictionary.

The approved dictionary for copyediting, according to the Chicago Manual of Style and most of our clients, is the Merriam-Webster 10th Edition Collegiate Dictionary. (That's what the link up there was to.) When there's more than one spelling of a word, use the first one listed. So I looked up the spelling for the past tense of "control" and determined that the first listed spelling was "controled"; "controlled" was second. So I changed it in the manuscript, as well as changing "controlling" to "controling." I am absolutely certain that I saw this in the dictionary. In fact, I looked it up twice. However, today my manager told me that it was, in fact, not in the dictionary. I said it was, and looked it up, and danged if it wasn't in there. Not in the physical book, not in the on-line one, not even in the on-line subscription-only unabridged one.

I saw it. I absolutely know I saw it. There's no other dictionary in the office. Was I perhaps looking up the wrong word? (But what other word looks just like "control" but has one "l" in the past tense?) Was my work area briefly a portal to some alternate universe where spelling is different? Or do I just have the world's most boring hallucinations?

[ at 11:55 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

search requests! 
At last! I've gotten disturbing search requests! You can see them on the DSR Web site, but, in the interest of complete preservation of these historic searches, I'll list the three best [worst?] ones here too. And my oh my, they're disturbing indeed.

naked pictures of scott peterson
Ew ew ew ew ew! The only one I can imagine wanting to see is the [allegedly {ha!}] murdering scumbag getting strip searched in prison.

"farruquito picture" and (13 min. later) "farruquito pictures"
The request itself isn't disturbing—from what I hear, Farruquito is a pretty hot guy—but it's odd that this person searched once, got to my page, saw I had no Farriquito picture, and then 13 minutes later, searched again (for "pictures," not "picture") and came to my page again—as if I had several pictures, but not one? As if I'd suddenly posted Farruquito pictures in those intervening 13 minutes? (Maybe I'll post some, so future searchers aren't disappointed.)

brazil adultery stats
I don't know, I've never committed adultery in Brazil.

[ at 10:31 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Yes, that's me.

JanFebMarApr • no May • JunJulright now

about zhaba
what the heck is "zhaba"?
wish list

rss feed

who's got the button?
   Get Firefox

(also see "unfed blogs" below)
>=recently updated
>Blogroll Me!<

unfed blogs
(no rss feeds, so I'm reminding myself to check by hand)
>=recently updated



even more buttons

Feedback by backBlog

© 2003–04 Zhaba Productions, so don't steal anything.