08:29 – Barbara arrived home yesterday afternoon. She called when she was about half an hour out, so I left the front door open so that Colin could lie there at the door and watch for her. Eventually, I heard frenzied barking, immediately followed by the sound of the door opening and Barbara’s voice. He’d watched her arrive and stand out at the curb talking to Marcy for several minutes without saying a word. It was only when she actually got to the door that he started barking. He does that with the mailman and UPS guy, too. Lying in wait to pounce. He scared the crap out of the FexEx guy the first time he did that.
I started writing lab sessions for the life science kit yesterday. The one I decided to write first, which will actually be in the four or fifth lab chapter, is about observing osmosis and plasmolysis in plant and animal cells in hypotonic, isotonic, and hypertonic saline solutions. I’m using a red onion as a source of plant cells. I’d originally intended to use a smear of ground beef as a source of animal cells, but while I was giving Colin a pill the other day I had what may be a better idea. Barbara buys containers of very thinly-sliced lunch meat at the supermarket. I’m going to try using that.
11:39 – Border Collies have some truly bizarre quirks. Colin loves sticks, which is normal. When we return from a walk, he’ll often grab a stick and indicate that he’s ready to run around in circles like crazy. He often maintains a 2- or 3-minute mile pace for several minutes, until he’s gotten at least a couple miles of running and I finally get dizzy from turning around and around.
The only problem is the sticks. After he finishes running, Colin often comes in coughing and choking from the bark and wood chips he’s swallowed. So a week or so ago, I decided to make him some running sticks. I got an old broom from Barbara and we cut the broomstick into convenient lengths. The first trial didn’t go well. As I was getting the leash connected, Colin completely ignored the running stick. We went out the front door, and he continued to ignore it. I held it up to him and said, “Stick!” He put his ears back. I tossed it out onto the front walk, where it made the ringing sound of dried hardwood. That scared him. He finally approached the running stick, very cautiously, and sniffed it. I threw it a few feet into the yard, he chased it, stood looking down at, and then turned and walked away. Hmm.
After some effort, I finally convinced him that the running stick was not his enemy. He finally picked it up and carried it down the street. As usual, he dropped the stick when he noticed something more interesting. He did pick it up on our way back to the house. So, we’re standing in the front yard with him holding the stick. I said my usual to get him started, “Let’s run around like crazy in circles!” He took off at a slow trot, did half a circle, dropped the running stick, and looked at me, expecting me to pick it up and throw it for him. Apparently, he decided that the running stick is a toy-to-be-thrown rather than a stick-to-be-run-with.
So I tried to convince him otherwise, over many sessions over several days. I keep repeating “Stick!” hoping that he’ll change his mind. At this point, he’ll pick it up and run in circles with it, but only very half-heartedly. I’m lucky if he’ll do two full circles at a slow trot, versus 50 or 100 running dead out with a “real” stick. Geez.
I am at my wit’s end trying to get my new den system to run Linux, any Linux. I’ve tried Ubuntu, Linux Mint, PCLinuxOS, and several other distros. I’ve even tried Fedora. I’ve actually had Linux Mint up and running twice for most of an evening each time. I disabled the screensaver and power saving mode and everything appears to be fine. Then the next morning there’s no video. This is driving me nuts. Normally, I’d figure there was a hardware problem, but I’ve run into this before. This is definitely a problem with Linux video drivers or some other software.
Just to rule out hardware problems, I actually considered installing Windows. The trouble is, the latest version I have is XP, which I don’t think would install on this hardware. Some time ago, someone offered to send me a Windows 7 disc and activation key, saying he had a group of keys and plenty to spare. The trouble is, I can’t remember who made that offer. If he reads this and is still willing to mail me a disc and activation key, please let me know.