Week of 13 July 2009
Update: Friday, 17 July 2009 07:56 -0500
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
- 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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