Epilepsy Awareness Day For reasons no one has adequately explained, most children are more reassured by pets and tame animals than by anything else. (Although puppets run a close second.) This fact in mind, the Epilepsy Association of Houston/Gulf Coast and the Houston Zoo have teamed up for a little community education. Epileptics and their families are urged to attend the zoo today. A docent will lead them on a tour. They'll enjoy a puppet show (good odds are these puppets are named Joanne and Brian) and then meet Ethel, the sea lion with seizures, and the Epilepsy Association's "Winning Kid," Anne White. Ethel is fed medicine twice a day, the doses tucked inside squids. Seeing Ethel gobble cephalopods somehow encourages children to take their own medicine without a fuss. (Perhaps Ethel sets a good example by taking her medicine and leading a healthy, active life. Or perhaps the kids are just grateful they can take their drugs without having to down calamari.) 1-5 p.m. Houston Zoological Gardens, Hermann Park, 1515 North MacGregor, 525-3300. $2.50, $2 seniors, 50 cents for children. For more information, call the Epilepsy Association, 789-6295.
Call in sick to work Memorial Healthline has crib notes for layabouts. Yes, in this day of the Discovery Channel and public service announcements about all sorts of diseases and various sufferers going on Oprah, calling in sick when you are not in fact stricken with something awful isn't easy. Everyone has a smattering of medical knowledge now. You can't just say you're "feeling bad." You need specific symptoms. The more obscure, the better, especially if you're calling in sick on a Monday after having a rousing time at the company picnic on Saturday. Fear not: Memorial Healthcare System Healthline has recorded information on almost a thousand subjects. It's not as quick and easy as 444-FILM, but it beats the heck out of plowing through medical journals. It also could be a help in answering those horrible questions kids ask -- questions like "Why do we have nightmares?" Dial up anytime and find out all kinds of tidy factoids about the ways we fall apart. Then call in sick with a more creative excuse than Dutch Elm Disease. You can spice your spiel with useful terms such as Isordil, diaphoresis, nystagmus (Brooke Adams suffers from this), turbinate bones, hyperplasia, Korsakoff's psychosis and Wernicke's disease. Your boss will be filled with fear and sympathy and you'll be off the hook and on the couch with a bag of Oreos in time for Muppet Babies. (If it turns out that you actually have any of the symptoms mentioned on the Healthline, see a doctor immediately. The Healthline is not intended for diagnosis or as a replacement for sound medical advice. Luckily for those who are actually ill, there's also a doctor referral program on the Healthline.) 222-CARE.
Festival of Lights Fun*Shop As part of its annual Festival of Lights, the Children's Museum is setting up a variety of Fun*Shops where, on different days, kids are told about different winter festivals from across the globe. Today, children can learn the history of Diwali -- learn where and when Diwali is. It's a Hindu holiday. Families line the balconies, windows and rooftops with dipa lamps -- think of the luminaries during Lights in the Heights. The light from these dipa lamps is to guide the Goddess Lakshmi into the home, where she will bring good fortune. Other Fun*Shops later in the month will focus on Loi Krathong and Chanuka, with Santa Lucia, Las Posadas, Christmas and Kwanzaa to follow in December. 4-5 p.m. Children's Museum, 1500 Binz, 522-1138. $5. Pre-registration required.
Ann B. Davis The Brady maid signs Alice's Brady Bunch Cookbook. As far as we know, recipes do not require meats from Sam the butcher. Yep, here she is, after all these years, on a book tour. Isn't it interesting how well some careers work out? Wear something polyester and give her a big bland smile, to remind her of the good old days in TV-land's first famous broken home. 12:30 p.m., Bookstop, 2922 Shepherd, 529-2345.
FotoFest FotoFest, in all its ten-year anniversary glory, will continue through the end of the month. Wednesdays and Mondays, the Global Environmental Project section of the show presents a speaker series. World population, always a growing subject, is the topic of today's little discussion. Robert Fox, sociologist and demographer, will talk in detail about the Third World, the parts of it that are doing well, and how development in those countries affects resources around the globe. James Blackburn Jr. cracks a rather hard nut on November 21 -- "Globalization of Environmental Law." The Global Environmental Project has standing exhibits, too. Those who can't attend lectures can check out the "Hall of Globes" and play with the cyber-stuff at the "Earth Forum," a joint project with the Museum of Natural Science. Lectures are 7:30-9 p.m., George R. Brown Convention Center. For info, call 840-9711. $75 for the whole series, includes ticket to FotoFest.