Friday, 6 December 2013

By on December 6th, 2013 in personal, science kits

09:27 – Our high today is to be 72F (22C), but then the colder weather returns. Yesterday, the forecasters were calling for Sunday to be freezing rain all day, but they’ve now changed that to just cold rain. Of course, they’re also saying the high Sunday is to be 34F (1C) and the low 33F (0.5C). They don’t have to be wrong on the temperature by much for us to have a real mess.

We’re now in good shape on biology and chemistry kits, but forensic science kits are running low. We’re down to four in stock, which could disappear quickly. The problem is sodium dithionite, which we’re completely out of. Back in early September, I tried to order enough for another 60 or 70 kits, but our regular supplier was backordered, and their regular supplier was also backordered. The only vendors I could find that had it in stock were selling reagent-grade stuff, typically a 100 g bottle for $60 or more. Since each kit contains a 25-gram bottle, that’s a non-starter. Even the technical/practical grade stuff isn’t cheap, and it’s more than sufficient for what we use it for. So I backordered a couple of kilos of the stuff with our regular supplier. They shipped it out the day before Thanksgiving, and it should arrive shortly.

14:05 – Random shuffle just brought up the original studio version of Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone, which gets my vote as the best rock-n-roll track ever made.

I still remember the first time I ever heard it, in the summer of ’65, when I was 12. I was listening to WKST, the local AM station. (Back then, FM radios were rare, and mostly owned by audiophiles.) The opening riffs got my attention, and I sat enthralled listening to it. The longer I listened, the more I liked it. The local record store didn’t have it in stock, so I started keeping the radio on low so I could hear it when they played it again. A few days later, I was in the car with my mom when it came on again. I turned up the volume and told her she had to listen to it. She did, but was unimpressed. Her only comment was that whoever that was sure couldn’t sing. I kept checking the record store, and eventually got the two-sided 45, which I played to death. I wish I still had it.

24 Comments and discussion on "Friday, 6 December 2013"

  1. Lynn McGuire says:

    How does Santa deliver billions of gifts in one night?

    I knew there was an easy explanation.

  2. Lynn McGuire says:

    38 F here in the Land of Sugar. You guys can have this ultra cold weather, it is nasty! And we are going to be 33 F tonight. I had to wear three shirts and my hoodie last night to walk my two miles. I may have to add another shirt tonight.

  3. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Hmmm. I just checked the Weather Channel for Calgary, Alberta. It’s currently -17F there (wind chill -30F) and the low tonight is to be -26F. Talk about freezing your nuggers off. And Calgary’s climate is not nearly as bad as some places. For example, Edmonton, where Mary Chervenak did her post-doc, is about 300 miles north of Calgary and a *lot* colder. Mary said she almost died, literally, her first winter there.

    On a possibly related note, I see that Heartland wraps season 7 today.

  4. rick says:

    It is currently 20F (-6.67C) in Portland with snow flurries and the weather guessers have predicted winds gusting to 50 mph (80 kph) today. The prediction for tomorrow night is a low of 13F (-10.5C). We have broken all sorts of low temperature records this week. We’re not supposed to warm up to normal until Tuesday. Where is global warming when we need it?

    Rick in the frigid upper left hand corner of the map.

  5. Miles_Teg says:

    Early summer here, and I am still sleeping under a doona. A night or two back I even turned on the electric blanket.

  6. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I am still sleeping under a doona

    I hope she’s pretty.

  7. brad says:

    Can I vent? Thanks, I’m gonna vent…

    I have a customer I’m consulting for. This customer has no real IT staff, and they had outsource a project to a development company that was going sour. So they’ve given me a consulting contract to try and get things under control.

    This development company has assigned a developer to the project who seems to be a 3o-year-old script kiddie, running with no oversight. Some critical work needs finished before the holidays, and the company has flat out stated that they have no resources to spare for testing, so my customer (read me) should please take over the responsibility, thank you, bye.

    So Tuesday I reported all known bugs in the new version – and what a list it was, including lots of stuff that used to work, but somehow doesn’t anymore. Thursday morning, the developer makes some changes, installs them on the test server. One of his scripts contains blatant syntax errors, and the basic effect is to disable the test server. He claims to not have noticed, despite the fact that literally *nothing* worked.

    He fixed his script today, and in the process has somehow accidentally destroyed part of the user interface. Apparently without noticing, since he’s now gone for the day. And the company actually pays this idiot a salary. GAAAAAAHHHHHH

    Shall I buy him a heartfelt Christmas present?

  8. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Are you sure this isn’t intentional sabotage? Perhaps your customer and the development company are in a payment dispute?

  9. brad says:

    No, it’s really nothing like that. Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence. It doesn’t help that he has a very high opinion of his programming skills. Heck, he might have been good, if he had learned some discipline and had a good mentor.

  10. ech says:

    Brad sounds like it’s time to document all this and have a sitdown with the development company’s CEO. Explain how the customer is not going to pay for defective software, nor for the time of this idiot programmer. You want someone that knows what they are doing, not someone that designed the PPACA website.

  11. bgrigg says:

    I was born in Edmonton and have experienced -50 F without factoring in any wind chill. It’s cold, very very cold. They closed the schools, as the fuel oil was too thick to move through the pipes to the furnace. We went skating outdoors instead.

    The current record is -56.9F. Conversely, it can get into 100+F during the summer, giving it one of the greatest ranges of winter to summer temps. They can get up to 50″ in snow. I remember opening the back door of our house one wintery day to find that the snow drifted against the house and completely covered the rear. We could walk onto the roof without needing a ladder!

    Calgary can get to -50F, but normally is only (only?) -20F or so. It also has the Chinook winds, which can bring in warm air and raise the temperature by 30F in a few short hours. According to Environment Canada Calgary is currently -26.2C (-15.1F) but is expected to go to -40C (also -40F) with the wind chill tonight. Colder than a nun’s… well, pretty darned cold!

  12. bgrigg says:

    While I’m checking weather I see Kelowna has a overnight wind chill warning of -13F and risk of frostbite. Think I’ll stay home tonight!

  13. OFD says:

    Northern Vermont here is the tropics by comparison to out there; I have several friends in Calgary and Mrs. OFD has in-law family in the NWT. One of my friends posted a few pics recently of the Calgary outskirts and it looked amazingly like Siberia.

    Flags at half-mast all over town here today; I guess I didn’t get the memo about somebody being made an American citizen.

  14. SteveF says:

    I was thinking it was for Pearl Harbor Day, but that was a derp moment on my part. Now I’m all retroactively pissed off at the half-mast flags.

  15. rick says:

    1965 was the year my family moved from the Bay Area in California to Philadelphia for a year. I was 13 and hated Philadelphia. The following year we moved to the center of the ’60’s universe, The Peoples’ Republic of Berkeley. I was there through high school.

    I remember buying Highway 61 Revisited. I like “Like a Rolling Stone” , but it is not one of my favorite songs of the era. Looking at the “best” list at I can see several which I prefer. “Like a Rolling Stone” is second on the list, with “Satisfaction” being first. “Satisfaction” may be the most over played song of the era. I much prefer “Sympathy for the Devil”.

    It’s all subjective.

    Rick in Portland

  16. Chuck W says:

    Your mom is not the only one who has thought Dylan can’t sing. In fact it was not until he changed his register for “Lay, Lady Lay”, that the girls I spent time with, really started getting interested in him. Previously, they had only been intrigued by the civil rights implications of his lyrics.

    I love Dylan because he essentially killed folk music by going electric. Unless you lived through the folk era of the late ’50’s until 1965, that is probably hard to understand. Everything leaned toward folk, with nearly everybody who grabbed a guitar trying to emulate Woodie Guthrie, The Weavers, Pete Seeger, and others, just like over half of all movies were Westerns until Mike Nichols finally killed that with “The Graduate”. Nichols and Dylan have my undying gratitude. Until Dylan went electric, a good half of all songs were folk: The Highwaymen; The Kingston Trio; The Brothers Four; Laurie London; The Smothers Brothers; Terry Gilkyson; The Limeliters; Peter, Paul & Mary, The Serendipity Singers; The Rooftop Singers; Washington Squares; The Sandpipers; Jimmie Rodgers; Simon & Garfunke, Joan Baez—and I have not even begun to scratch the surface. On top of that, I always thought skiffle that made it in America, was just folk in a different wrapper, with stuff like “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost over Night”, “My Boomerang Won’t Come Back”, and others polluting the charts.

    As for me, I never really have decided whether Dylan could sing or not. I have my doubts about Tom Waits and John Prine, too. But Dylan sure worked with, and cultivated, the best. My favorite LP was 1976’s “Desire”. Using Scarlet Rivera and Emmylou Harris made their careers, in addition to making Dylan’s finest album.

    Best rock and roll record of all time? Some time ago, I switched from “Satisfaction” to “Open Up Your Door” by a group from the S. Connecticut tri-state area. Their one and only release that charted.

  17. brad says:

    Dylan? Sing? No, neither nor more than half of the popular folk singers can sing worth a damn. Recordings only give you the sound – live performances are where folk musicians really shine. Speaking of ancient days, lately I keep running across Credence Clearwater Revival.

    Hey, maybe I should be grateful to “my favorite developer”. The system is still broken, which makes it hard to do the next round of testing. @ech: I had the meeting you suggested at the end of September, about two weeks after being brought in on the project. I needed those two weeks to document the situation and understand what was going on. Things were better for a while. Sadly, the CEO (well, one of two partners) is who told me we were responsible for testing this guy’s work. I need to get past year-end, at which time I’ll look into changing suppliers. There are problems associated with that, no surprise…

  18. ech says:

    I love Dylan because he essentially killed folk music by going electric.

    A bio of Dylan I read once said he wanted to be Elvis, but that job was taken – he had to settle for being Woodie Guthrie, as that job was open.

    My favorite of his is “Tangled Up in Blue”.

    My favorite singer-songwriter is Al Stewart, who pioneered folk-rock in the UK. He still tours, still puts out great CDs, plays a mean guitar, and has gone retro – just playing acoustic with an accompanist at shows. He had some great sidemen on his early recordings including Jimmy Page, Rick Wakeman, and Tim Renwick.

  19. dkreck says:

    Eventually we got Traveling Wilburys.

  20. Miles_Teg says:

    Ugh! When they come on I instantly reach for the “off” button.

  21. Ray Thompson says:

    I immediately remove any audio interference from that screech owl Aretha Franklin. Link fingernails scraping on a chalkboard.

  22. Lynn McGuire says:

    Eventually we got Traveling Wilburys.


    Roy Orbison, a man from Wink, Texas, made anything good.

  23. bgrigg says:

    Dylan, Waits and Prine may not be great, or even good, singers, but DAMN can they write songs.

  24. Chuck W says:

    They are truly great writers. As good as they come.

    My favorite of his is “Tangled Up in Blue”.

    Great song! Speaking of tangled up, the history of that song pretty much signals to me that Dylan’s focus was always on the outcome of the music and the impression it made, not on relating personal experiences. He revised Tangled many times, continuing even after its first album release, and he proclaimed that the version on the 1984 “Real Live” album was the best. He stated more than once that his lyrics were written for the present with no respect for time, so no matter when they were heard, and the past and future—if there were either—seemed all as one.

    One of my favorite writers was a kid when he wrote his best. Emitt Rhodes was 14 when he wrote this:

    Rhodes is not British, although it sounds it. He went to the same high school as the Carpenter siblings in Downey, California.

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