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Week of 13 July 2009


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Monday, 13 July 2009
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08:34 - Busy weekend. We watched the first disc of Blue Murder, a British series set in Manchester. Barbara liked it. I thought it was nothing special. Its central character is a 40-something mom who has a teenage son, two or three kids of elementary school age, and another one on the way. She's just been promoted to Detective Chief Inspector and is now running the murder squad. I kept muttering that she had no business being in that job, as she frequently has to drop everything in the middle of a murder investigation to go home to deal with some crisis. We also watched Infinity recently, which was supposed to be the story of Richard Feynman. It must have taken some doing to take the life of one of the great minds of the 20th century and turn it into this boring mismash of vignettes. Anyone who's read Feynman's books or seen any of his lecture series won't find much to like here.

Barbara's sister, Frances, had been having problems with their printer, a Brother multi-function unit. I brought it home last weekend to connect it here and check it out. It printed with no problems when connected to my system, except that the printed pages were pretty poor, with streaks and random gray in what should have been white areas. So we hauled it back yesterday afternoon. I reconnected it to their system and printed a test page that looked fine. Whatever was causing the print quality problem seemed to have gone away on its own.

Then, just before we left to head for Costco, I asked Frances to print something herself. After a long pause, a message popped up to inform us that the printer wasn't connected. That was the same problem that she'd been having in the first place. At this point, I know it's not the printer, unless the problem is intermittent. I know it's not the USB cable, because it worked fine at our house and once at their house. I suppose it may be the USB port on their computer, but I didn't try a different one because they're all in use. This is starting to get annoying.

The rest of the weekend I spent working on descriptions for the chemical SKUs, of which there are 160. I'd hoped to finish those yesterday, but I'm only up to potassium chlorate. For each SKU, I'm doing a brief general description of what the chemical is useful for, along with a list of the primary hazards of that chemical. That latter requires checking and rechecking. I hope to get this job complete today so that I can move on to writing up descriptions for about 160 more lab equipment SKUs.


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Tuesday, 14 July 2009
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07:51 - Duncan had a horrible night last night, thrashing constantly. We tried everything we could think of, and he still kept thrashing. Just as we'd think he'd settled and begin to drift off to sleep, he'd start up again. I took him down and penned him up in the hall bathroom, where he thrashed loudly enough to keep us awake. She ended up going out on the den sofa to try to sleep, but he didn't settle then, even after she'd given him one of his opiod pain relievers. We don't know if he was in pain or just refusing to settle. Barbara is running on at most two hours of sleep, and I didn't get much more than that.

Border Collies are determined and single-minded, and the older the get the more pronounced those characteristics become. Duncan turned 14 on New Year's Day, and has been declining rapidly. I'm not sure he's going to make it to 15. Even if he does, I'm not sure we're going to survive it. Sleep deprivation is no joke.


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Wednesday, 15 July 2009
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09:04 - Duncan had a good night last night, probably because Barbara gave him an opiod painkiller pill to supplement his usual NSAID painkiller. We were able to sleep through the night, being awakened only a couple of times each by Duncan when he needed a drink or had become wedged under the overhang of the bed.

This morning, Barbara got a call from her sister at about 7:45 to say that she'd been in a car accident. Her car had brake problems yesterday, and she'd dropped it off to be repaired. This morning, their dad picked her up to take her to work. Apparently, he was sideswiped on the way to drop her at work. No injuries, thank goodness, but she's stuck at home for the day. No word yet on how badly the car was damaged.



I'm still pushing hard to get all the critical-path items on my to-do list finished in time for the August 17th launch of the Science Room on Makezine and Maker Shed. There's no way we'll get everything finished we'd like to have finished by then, but it doesn't really matter. The Science Room will always be a work in progress, anyway, with new products and new articles being added constantly. But we do want a substantial body of work to be available to visitors on Day One.

Yesterday, I finished writing up the descriptions for the chemicals, indicators, and stains we'll offer initially, about 160 of them. That's a much wider selection than most on-line science stores, mainly because we're targeting more markets. We need to carry the chemicals needed both by home schoolers--for first-year and AP chemistry--and by DIY science enthusiasts, as well as, for example, a wide range of biostains.

Today, I'm starting work on the descriptions for the lab equipment we'll offer initially, which is about another 160 SKUs. And then there are numerous kits, which we'll build ourselves from individual SKUs. For example, I'm putting together a BOM and kitting instructions for a Microscope Starter Kit. That kit includes various SKUs that we'll offer individually, including a pack of 72 flat microscope slides, an ounce of cover slips, a pack of 12 well/cavity slides, a 25 mL bottle of glycerol (used for making temporary slide mounts), a 10 mL bottle of Permount (used for making permanent slide mounts), forceps, disposable pipettes, and so on.

So, things are very busy around here, but I'm doing something I love to do.



16:40 - Barbara loves movies like Brideshead Revisited, Pride & Prejudice, and so on. I prefer ones with lots shooting and car chases, or at least monsters and aliens. Finally, I've found a movie that Barbara and I should both be able to enjoy.



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Thursday, 16 July 2009
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12:14 - Nice try, says Barbara, but after watching the video last night, she told me that the gigantic cephalopod would ruin it for her. And the other one, which has zombies, just wouldn't be the same without Buffy and Willow. Oh, well.

I'm churning away now on item descriptions for lab equipment. It's pretty difficult to write a paean for, say, Griffin beakers, but I'm doing my best.


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Friday, 17 July 2009
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07:56 - I just got a clipping of a book review I wrote for Chemical & Engineering News. It's available on-line here.

And I'm still churning away on item descriptions for lab equipment.


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Saturday, 18 July 2009
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Sunday, 19 July 2009
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