In a disgusting abuse of a quasi-democratic body, Japan bought votes for it's position in the international whaling commission. Japan has had a terrible record of environmental activities at sea, and those that relate to whaling are the most egregious. Norway is even worse. Countries and citizens that are opposed to whaling should make their opinions known in writing to both their own representatives as well as representatives of economic interests in Japan and/or Norway. There no my plans to purchase a Nintendo Wii for my son, I guess we'll look at an Xbox instead. For more details see http://www.melbourne.indymedia.org/news/2005/12/102640.php or visit the activist web site for Sea Shepherd/ (generally more radical than GreenPeace).
In preparation for a trip to Brazil, I got a slew of vaccinations in the last couple of weeks. Now discovered a bat flying around our cottage in the middle of the night. Apparantly, if you are asleep in a room with a bat, they consider that a "serious exposure" to a potentially rabid animal. We didn't know that and let the bat escape, we we are being treated in t he same way as if we have been bitten (apparently bats may be able to infect you without leaving any visible marks). Great, now we are human pin cushions.
The implications of being treated for rabies are needles: plently of needles.
Especially for my wife who did have a mysterious pair of scratches, there is both immune globulin (a special variant filled specifically with rabies antibodies) and rabies vaccine. Rabies vaccination these days (2006) is a series of 5 innoculations spaced over the course of about a month, which is pretty bearable except for two problems: it's an unusual procedure and our medical system is already prone to delays. As a result I have spent MORE than half my waking hours in the last day or so waiting around for nurses, doctors, pharmacy people, etc. In fact, the reason I have type to enter this blog text is because I have been waiting to a Provincial health professional to call, and I am too stressed to do anything substantive. The people involved are almost all very nice and helpful, but it takes a long time.
- series of 5 vaccinations, to be started as soon as possible after exposure and definitely within a couple of days,
- immune globulin, to bolster the immune system while the vaccine gets working (which can take up to 5 days). The volume of serum in our case is 9ml, which is too much for a single injection, so we need 4 shots for this.
Rabies has a long incubation period, so there is time for this vaccine to work after you are exposed.
Rabies is almost always fatal (only 3 recorded survivors) so treatment is strongly recommended.
Exposure to a rabid animal, specifically a bat, may not be noticed if you are asleep in the room with it. (In 2000 a child died here in Quebec from rabies due to bat exposure, despite an absence of noticable cuts, scratches, etc.)
Several of my graduate students finished in the last few weeks. Each is going on to bigger and better things including a PhD program (Dave), an exciting job at Electronic Arts (Paul), a doctoral program in remote Japan (Dan) but it's still quite sad in a way, since each was an exciting person to work with. In addition, a promising doctoral student is also taking a leave of absence. All in all, it makes for a very bittersweet month.
In terms of "stress scales" finishing a degree, especially a graduate degree, is a known stressor. Even good things can cause significant stress due to the changes they imply. Of course, finishing a graduate degree is typically stressful for both the student, the supervisor and their loved ones since there is typically a major flurry of work that has to be completed, re-edited or presented in various ways.
One of my father's former colleages, who lives in Germany, has been pursuing a project to translate some of my father's poetry into German. Bernhard Beutler was tireless both in editing and pursuing the translation of the poetry book, as well as in pursuing the various avenues needed to get the book funded and published. With the help of the Quebec government (which has a great cultural policy), the project has come to fruition and the bilingual (German/English) book
Louis Dudek: For you, you - Fur Dich, Dir
was being launched in Berlin. The launch took place at the Bureau du Quebec in Pariser Platz with a bi- or tri-lingual address by the chief of the bureau, M. Trudelle and by Bernhard.
The French press release here .
It can be found here, on Amazon.de. You can also find it at the on-line bookstore buecher.de.
I had hoped to attend, but the costs of trans-oceanic travel are such that I couldn't go. We did have a little private book launching ceremony of our own with my Dad's former publisher Sonja Scarstead and with Geoff Isherwood (as well as Krys and myself, of course).
Last week Bernhard Beutler and his wife were in town from Germany. We invited them to supper as well as Sonja Scarstead (my father's last published), Pierre DesRuisseaux (translator of Louis Dudek poetry into French) and a few other people. On the whole, the crowd was composed of people with either a Louis Dudek connection or a German connection (or both). The not-strictly-literary crowd included renowed computer scientist Luc Devroye, his wife Bea, Mike and Corinna Langer and Geof Isherwood. Luc and Geof Isherwood (artist) developed a scintillating dynamic.
This past weekend Chris and I went and took the rescue diver's course in Toronto. This combined a "First Emergency Responder's" course on CPR, making splints and suchlike with a course of how to recover non-breathing divers, how to subdue divers in a panic, and how to tow tired divers to shore. The course is probably one of the most substative single PADI scuba courses. It not only includes some useful (and potentially life-saving) scuba skills, but a lot of general knowledge that is good anyplace.
It's a tiring course and we had to drag each other around the pool in various ways. The most spectacular part is learning to essentially disable a diver on the surface who might attack you because they are experiencing irrational panic.