Thursday, 31 July 2014

08:37 – I’m making up chemicals and filling bottles for forensic science kits today. We have most of what we need to make up 60 more kits. As usual, I’ll put off making up Kastle-Meyer reagent until the last moment. We package it in glass, store it under an inert atmosphere, and refrigerate it until we prepare each kit for shipping, but making it up as late as possible extends shelf life. Actually, I’m not sure why I worry about it so much. I hold back examples of each batch, and periodically test them. I just tested one that I’d made up two years ago, and it still worked properly.


This entry was posted in science kits. Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Thursday, 31 July 2014

  1. Chuck W says:

    Speaking, as I was yesterday, of my alma mater, this event happened to 2 students a couple of weeks ago. BBC just got hold of the video yesterday. My son and DIL there know one of the girls. She lost a toe to the incident. Damn lucky she didn’t lose her life.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28559950

    Actually, I did not know the locomotives were high enough off the ground that their tactic would work.

    My elderly uncle’s grandfather worked on the railroad in Canada (around Hamilton). He was working on the tracks of a bridge when an unscheduled train came barreling through the bridge. It knocked him off the bridge to terra firma some 80 feet below, which killed him. My uncle was about 7 or 8 at the time and remembers the incident well. That was around 1930. The above video incident was about 2 weeks ago.

  2. OFD says:

    Most folks don’t realize just how fast an approaching train is moving. Wicked fast. Yet we’ve seen people strolling along the tracks all the time, including across river bridges. Sorta like Russian Roulette.

  3. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I’m sure it’s sexist of me, but in my experience most women have little to no situational awareness and are often oblivious to physical danger. And many are offended if a male friend or coworker offers to walk them to their cars or whatever. I understand that women hate to think of themselves as vulnerable, but, geez, get a clue.

    I’ve seen women blithely walk into situations that would have given me pause, and I’ve had many tell me haughtily that they can take care of themselves, thank you very much.

  4. brad says:

    I bet they also didn’t know for sure if there was space enough. That must’ve been seriously frightening.

    Of course, there is the obvious, if cynical question: what the hell were they doing on a long railroad bridge with no place to go in case of a train? Trying for a Darwin award?

  5. brad says:

    Only vaguely related, but our host’s comment about situational awareness reminds me. One of my favorite bits of advice, when someone is considering something (and I give it to myself as often as anyone) is simply this: “prevent catastrophe”.

    This can apply to small things or large. Going to rewire the electrical plug? Go pull the fuse. Going to do a bunch of work on the server? Make a backup. Need to cross the river? Maybe the railroad bridge is not the solution.

  6. Chuck W says:

    It is past time I had a security system like this. The video went viral locally, and they caught the guy, who was well-known to the cops as a repeat thief. Apparently, he just followed Fed Ex trucks to make a living.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10204264756276445

    I had an incident here as winter was waning. In the dead of night, somebody came up onto my porch and tried to get into the house (keyless dead bolt kept them out), and took an old piece of glass lying on the porch (which I should have disposed of right after the window was replaced) and shattered it all over the front walk. I am still picking up glass shards from that incident.

    But I really need to get a security cam system installed here.

  7. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    And remain calm at all costs. I’ve always remembered that scene from the 1969 film Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies where Terry-Thomas (playing Sir Cuthbert Ware-Armitage) and his driver are in a turn-of-the-century car race. Their car ends up sliding down a steep, ice-covered slope towards a cliff. The driver is screaming his head off. Sir Cuthbert calmly says, “This won’t do. This won’t do at all.”

  8. OFD says:

    “…when someone is considering something (and I give it to myself as often as anyone) is simply this: “prevent catastrophe”.”

    No kidding. Why is it I am only just now in my dotage realizing this? Even so, I sometimes don’t do due diligence. Damn.

    “And remain calm at all costs.”

    Yes, stiff upper lip and all that; the model being Battle of Britain RAF pilots as they spiraled in flames down to the Channel calmly signing off like it was a stroll in the park.

    Or so the mythology goes. Easy to say, harder to accomplish in real life.

  9. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Easy to say, harder to accomplish in real life.

    It’s probably genetic, at least in part, as nearly everything is. Not long after we met Paul and Mary, we were sitting in their dining room having dinner when the door out to the deck drifted open a few inches because it was breezy and the door wasn’t latched. Mary almost jumped out of her chair, literally. I haven’t sequenced Mary’s genome, but I’d bet money that she has the “startle gene” (yes, there really is such a thing).

  10. Ray Thompson says:

    One of my favorite bits of advice, when someone is considering something (and I give it to myself as often as anyone) is simply this: “prevent catastrophe”.

    In the south the phrase would be “Hey, watch this!”.

  11. brad says:

    I’m afraid I have the gene “shut down all higher cognitive functions in an emergency”. True tale: many years ago I was driving my junker and the engine caught fire. I went into the fast food store on the corner, got a fire extinguisher and shot the whole load into the wheel well. Real useful.

    I am at least painfully aware of this now, and I can force myself to focus down on a specific task, as long as someone else keeps track of the big picture. Car accident outside our house last year, I took care of one of the injured people until the ambulance arrived. That’s about as functional as I can manage when the brown stuff hits the ventilator.

    Accidents are strange. The car had lost traction, spun, and wrapped itself around a tree. Probably going pretty fast, on a narrow, winding forest road zoned for 50. Anyhow, the woman says she was wearing her seat belt, and had no idea how she got where I found her, which was lying on the ground 15 or 20 feet from the car.

  12. pcb_duffer says:

    [snip] Actually, I’m not sure why I worry about it so much. [snip]

    Because you were trained in the proper procedure, and the rules dictate that there is one and only one proper procedure. Not a bad thing to impress upon people who are in introductory chemistry (or any other real science) labs.

  13. OFD says:

    “…had no idea how she got where I found her, which was lying on the ground 15 or 20 feet from the car.”

    Possibilities: She didn’t really have the belt on; the belt was defective or somehow snapped during the impact, which is quite possible; after the vehicle stopped, she disengaged the belt and crawled the twenty feet away. I’ve seen all of these scenarios. Only sure-fire thang I’ve noticed are the airbags; they knock the shit out of ya but keep you from more serious injury; combined with a belt, probably your best bet. I keep one of those combo impact/saw thingies in each vehicle so it can cut through a belt and/or bust the glass out; don’t care to be caught in a vehicle fire again. Or see one.

  14. Lynn McGuire says:

    In the south the phrase would be “Hey, watch this!”.

    You forgot the leading phrase, “Here, hold my beer”.

  15. Miles_Teg says:

    “It’s probably genetic, at least in part, as nearly everything is. Not long after we met Paul and Mary, we were sitting in their dining room having dinner when the door out to the deck drifted open a few inches because it was breezy and the door wasn’t latched. Mary almost jumped out of her chair, literally. I haven’t sequenced Mary’s genome, but I’d bet money that she has the “startle gene” (yes, there really is such a thing).”

    I’ve got that gene. I’m always jumping when someone speaks to me unexpectedly or approaches from behind. The worst incident was when a guy at work was doing the rounds of everyone’s workstations, recording their barcodes. He leaned over my shoulder unannounced and started reciting the barcode. I absolutely went through the roof: jumped about a foot and almost screamed. He was apologetic and I was frightfully embarrassed. I’m glad I’d left my spiked baseball bat at home or I might have attracted the interest of the cops.

  16. Chuck W says:

    Last day for mowing the lawn for me. Hired the professional lawn mowing guy, who does the next door neighbor’s lawn, to do mine when he does the neighbor’s. The buckhorn is up to my knees, so I am doing it one last time after I finish my work for today. As the oldest kid, I mowed the lawn at my parents’, until I left home after college. Mowed my own lawn until I got the executive job in Boston. Have not mowed since, until moving into Tiny House 4+ years ago, and that was 23 years hiatus.

    It is not that I cannot do it; my schedule is just totally unpredictable. During the past couple months, I have been gone as long as 2 weeks, and this wet summer has meant I have the absolute worst lawn on the block. Well, second worst; the woman across the alley has only had hers mowed twice so far this summer, and it is currently waist-high.

    The new guy only cuts and trims. I really need something like chem lawn, but as I mentioned, none of those places are close enough to make it worth their while to pursue business here. At least having the weeds and buckhorn trimmed weekly ought to make the place look presentable.

    The Tiny Town water works issued their yearly report last week; it came with the bill. Interesting figures. The city has maintained that the population here is over 25,000. I have contradicted that, and said it is more like 7,500. City says there are currently 9020 residential water connections. If my neighborhood is representative, a good half of the city is retired people living alone. About 50% around me are pensioned factory workers who have lost a spouse and live alone. Taking some figures that came out about the school enrollment, I am revising my population guesstimate to around 12,000. There are over 400 totally abandoned houses here, and a like number that are unoccupied but for sale while paying property taxes. That probably cuts the water connections down closer to 8,000 occupied houses. New connections due to new house construction? During the past year, it was 3.

    Tiny Town is a tough place to figure out. I am all over the state in my work, and nowhere are things as bad as here. The downtown is truly a ghost town with most storefronts totally unoccupied. This is not the case in any other towns in the county, much less the larger state as a whole. As the guy across the street told me, most folks here have decided that the best way to look at Tiny Town, is through the rear view mirror while leaving town. Population when I was a kid was around 35,000. If my guesstimate of 12,000 is accurate, that is a dramatic drop similar to Detroit. But of all the kids I knew in school, NONE — and I mean ZERO — that I knew remained here. Most left for college and never came back. That includes my all of my own cousins. Two houses across the street have been for sale all summer and have not sold. Next spring is my limit. I need to be closer to work, so I guess we will drop the price of Tiny House until it sells.

  17. OFD says:

    We’ve had snippets of this discussion in the VA groups recently; all of us with the combat experience are this way still. Some of us, including me, are likely to turn around swinging. Forty+ years later. Then I had the street cop background for years to rub it in real good.

    Spiked ball bat, eh? Speaking of spikes, I notice they have these short triangular metal ones on a strap that you can affix to the back of a cap, and whip it off swinging at assailants, I guess. I’m not big on clubs, saps and the like in recent years; start on somebody with one and maybe they’re gonna pull iron on ya and be justified. Same deal with blades; gotta be in real good shape and agile and trained and all that good chit; Mr. SteveF can probably add more to this. I figure lethal force immediately as needed but try everything else first to wind down the conflict. Sometimes you got no choice, but in my dotage there ain’t many, if any, “non-lethal” instruments I’d care to wield. If I can’t talk you out of hurting/killing me, you’re getting a few grams of lead in yer brisket and noggin.

  18. OFD says:

    Tiny Town sounds a lot like a plethora of places in northern NY and New England, for decades now. And what’s funny is you can hike around or ski or whatever out in the woods and see older ghost towns from when the farms all failed or the kids didn’t wanna do that work like their parents and grandparents and moved West. Maybe to Tiny Town. House and other building foundations; old stone walls and roads; cellar holes, etc., etc.

    We’ll see a lot more of this sort of thing in the years ahead.

  19. Chad says:

    I’m pretty cool, calm, and collected in most panic situations. The only exception is if someone is being physically aggressive with me then my adrenaline starts pumping and I start shaking like crazy (especially my hands). I’m not shaking from fear, it’s just my physiological reaction to thinking a fight may be coming. I assume it’s adrenaline causing it, but it may be something else. The visible shaking is usually somewhat embarrassing as the person on the other end of the confrontation thinks I’m quaking with fear, but it’s quite the opposite. Thankfully, I’m not in those situations very much and when I am they never devolve into a fight.

  20. OFD says:

    I’ve experienced the shaking thing but it was my legs doing the shaking. Uncontrollably, too, often coupled with losing my voice, which set me off even more. Thankfully I haven’t been in that state for a long time now and am learning spiffy new techniques for coping with anger and rage. “Breathe in, breathe out,” etc. Etc. Lots of ways to calm the hell down, which, realistically, you want to be in a dangerous situation to a certain extent. Shaky hands and legs and no voice being not very conducive to a good solid rock or gun fight.

  21. Jim B says:

    I haven’t mowed or HAD a lawn in 36 years.

    Freeeeeeee!!

    OK, it’s natural where most of you live, but not here.

  22. OFD says:

    You gotta comb the sand or sumthin? Re-arrange the cacti? Shoo away the Gila Monsters?

  23. Ray Thompson says:

    Only sure-fire thang I’ve noticed are the airbags; they knock the shit out of ya but keep you from more serious injury; combined with a belt, probably your best bet.

    In my recent accident the knee bag and wheel bag deployed as did the seat belt tensioning system. That pulled me back against the seat and the only part of me that contacted the bag was my left hand. An incredibly violent event.

    You forgot the leading phrase, “Here, hold my beer”.

    Indeed. My mistake.

  24. Jim B says:

    “You gotta comb the sand or sumthin? Re-arrange the cacti? Shoo away the Gila Monsters?”

    Zen sand combing! Very little cacti here; no Gila monsters. Lots of harmless lizards, birds, vermin, and, of course sssnakes. “Some of my best friends are snakes.”

  25. Chuck W says:

    I am definitely the jumpy type. When the mailman puts mail through the slot, if I am here, I jump. That is why I like living in quiet surroundings, like a basement. Lived in 2 basement apartments over my life, and those were awesome quiet. If I am successful in getting the earth sheltered house built, I am hoping it will be just as silent.

  26. OFD says:

    “If I am successful in getting the earth sheltered house built, I am hoping it will be just as silent.”

    There will be earth-sheltered housing for all of us sooner or later, and very, very silent. Unless we’re cremated down to surprisingly large bone fragments and ash and sitting on somebody’s garage shelf for a few decades with the old paint cans, Liquid Wrench and Wolf’s Head Glue.

    “…Lots of harmless lizards, birds, vermin, and, of course sssnakes.”

    I had my fill of reptiles and vermin in TX and SEA, thankee kindly. And my feline buddies here keep down the vermin. Haven’t seen any snakes around the place yet, though, just toads.

    In other local nooz, three house fires in town over the past week, all of them displacing the residents, and with the regional fire department festival/muster in town, they had beaucoup responders, 40-50 firefighters showed up at each one. I am upgrading smoke/carbon alarms and fire extinguishers throughout the property. Next up after that are a new back door with deadbolt and ground-floor window locks. I wouldn’t ordinarily bother but we have too many druggie types floating around in town here and if we’re both gone at work (hopefully BOTH of us soon) during the week, why make it any easier for the bastards? Between that, the barking mutt, and our neighbors coming and going or just hanging out at all hours, we should be OK.

  27. SteveF says:

    Here’s my list of podcasts. Most of the titles and descriptions are straight from the feeds. I’ve cleaned up a fair number and added a couple descriptions where there weren’t any. Presented in no particular order; it’s how they were stored in the config file — not alphabetical, not the order I added them, not what was most recently updated.

    BBC Radio 4 Documentary of the Week The Documentary of the Week podcast brings you our pick of the week’s documentaries on BBC Radio 4. A new episode is published every Friday.

    In Our Time Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas – including topics drawn from philosophy, science, history, religion and culture.

    iPM: Share What You Know iPM is the news programme that starts with its listeners. A weekly companion to the nightly PM, it’s where the expertise and insights of the Radio 4 audience shape a programme that sees news differently. Presented by Jennifer Tracey and PM’s Eddie Mair.

    Word of Mouth Michael Rosen shares his love of words and looks at our lives past and present through the prism of language.

    The Bottom Line with Evan Davis Insight into business from the people at the top. Evan Davis meets influential business leaders for a round table conversation about the issues that matter to their companies and their customers.

    Moral Maze Combative, provocative and engaging live debate examining the moral issues behind one of the week’s news stories.

    Best of Natural History Radio The BBC Natural History Unit produces a wide range of programmes that aim to immerse a listener in the wonder, surprise and importance that nature has to offer.

    Best of Today Insight, analysis and expert debate as key policy makers are challenged on the latest news stories.

    More or Less: Behind the Stats Tim Harford investigates numbers in the news.

    The Digital Human Aleks Krotoski charts how digital culture is moulding modern living.

    Thinking Allowed Laurie Taylor explores the latest research into how society works and discusses current ideas on how we live today.

    All in the Mind All in the Mind examines how we think and behave.

    Crossing Continents On the ground reporting from around the world which focuses on the human dimension of the big international stories.

    Analysis Analysis makes sense of the ideas that change the world, from economics to social affairs to global politics to political Islam. With thought-provoking and expert presenters, Analysis aims to make the world of policy and ideas both interesting and surprising.

    BBC Inside Science Adam Rutherford and guests illuminate the mysteries and challenge the controversies behind the science that’s changing our world. Covering everything from the humble test tube to the depths of space, Inside Science is your guide to how science is evolving, transforming our culture, and affecting our lives.

    Four Thought Four Thought talks include stories and ideas which will affect our future, in politics, society, the economy, business, science, technology or the arts.

    The Life Scientific Each week, Jim al-Khalili invites a leading scientist to tell us about their life and work. He’ll talk to Nobel laureates as well as the next generation of beautiful minds to find out what inspires and motivates them and what their discoveries might do for us.

    Frontiers Frontiers explores new ideas in science and meets the people behind them.

    Plants – From Roots to Riches A brief history of botanical science and our changing relationship with plants, drawing upon the archive collections and scientific research at the Royal Botanical Gardens Kew.

    Tim Harford: Pop-Up Ideas Tim Harford – in the company of Malcolm Gladwell, David Kilcullen and Gillian Tett – uses key ideas in anthropology and the social sciences to tell fascinating stories about how we – and the world – work.

    Beyond Belief Debates exploring the place of religion and faith in today’s complex world. Ernie Rea is joined by a multi-faith panel to discuss how religious traditions affect their values and perspectives.

    The Infinite Monkey Cage Award winning science/comedy chat with Brian Cox, Robin Ince and guests. Witty, irreverent look at the world according to science with physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince.

    The Naked Scientists Podcast Science with a Sense of Humour

    Freakonomics Radio In their books “Freakonomics,” “SuperFreakonomics,” and “Think Like a Freak,” Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner explore “the hidden side of everything,” telling stories about cheating schoolteachers and eating champions while teaching us all to thin

    The 7th Avenue Project Interview show, often with STEM types (SRF description)

    KUHF-FM: Engines Of Our Ingenuity The story of technological progress is one of drama and intrigue, sudden insight and plain hard work.

    Elements A close look at chemical elements, the basic building blocks of the universe. Where do we get them, what do we use them for and how do they fit into the economy?

    Science Hour Science news and highlights of the week from BBC World Service.

    History Hour From World War II to the Arab Spring, history as told by the people who were there.

    HardtalkInterviews with the world’s leading politicians, thinkers and cultural figures.

    Newshour Global news and analysis from the BBC World Service, twice a day, every day of the year.

    Discovery The science documentary series that looks in depth at the most significant ideas, discoveries and trends in science.

    The Why Factor Why do we do the things we do? Mike Williams searches for the extraordinary and hidden histories behind everyday objects and actions to inform us about the way we live in the 21st Century. Broadcast and podcast every Friday.

    Documentaries An indepth look at stories and issues from around the world. This podcast offers you the chance to access landmark series from our archive.

    Click How computers and digital technology affect our lives around the world.

    Science in Action New developments in science and science news from around the world, weekly from BBC World Service.

    Trending How social media is reshaping culture, politics and society, Trending explains the stories the world is sharing. For more follow #BBCtrending.

    Naked Astronomy – From the Naked Scientists Thrusting Space Science into the Audio Dimension

    5 live Science 5 live’s science podcast, featuring Dr Karl, plus Dr Chris and Naked Scientists Chris Smith and Kat Arney with the hottest science news stories and analysis.

    Let’s Talk About Tech BBC Radio 5 live’s technology and gaming podcast, featuring Saturday Edition’s Chris Warburton with the latest technology and the web news, plus science, cars, and more, plus Adam Rosser’s Game On, looking at the world of video games.

    StrategyTalk StrategyTalk – Jim Dunnigan and Austin Bay talk about events around the world.

    Science Friday Audio Podcast Science Friday is a discussion of the latest news in science, tech, health, and the environment hosted by Ira Flatow. We interview scientists, authors, and policymakers, and take your questions.

    Ask the Naked Scientists Podcast Science with a Sense of Humour – The Naked Scientists Radio Show

    KUSP-FM: GeekSpeak Podcast Bridging the gap between Geeks and the rest of humanity.

    Naked Genetics – Taking a look inside your genes Naked Genetics: inside the science of genes.

    Naked Scientists Special Editions Special scientific reports and investigations by the Naked Scientists team

    Naked Neuroscience – From the Naked Scientists Naked Neuroscience – Open Your Mind

    Being Human Jeremy Vine explores what makes us human with leading thinkers and writers in this landmark BBC Radio 2 series.

    The Radio 3 Documentary In-depth documentaries which each week explore a different aspect of history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature.

    Radio 3 Essay Authored essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond, themed across a week.

    Arts and Ideas The best of BBC Radio 3’s flagship arts and ideas programme Free Thinking – featuring in-depth interviews with artists, scientists and public figures, vociferous debates, and reviews of the latest cultural events.

  28. SteveF says:

    OK, OFD and other peeps, I’ve put up my list of podcast feeds. It’ll have to be released from the moderation queue as it exceeds the link limit by about 49.

  29. OFD says:

    “….it exceeds the link limit by about 49.”

    Somebody here the other day put up a bunch of serial embedded links to hotties on the IMDB site; couldn’t the podcast links go the same way? I am a cretin as regards html stuff…

  30. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I had to approve the hotties links comment as well. Basically, you’re allowed two links. Any more and it ends up in the moderation queue. Off to approve the podcast comment.

  31. OFD says:

    Thanks, Dr. Bob!

    I was thinking of throwing up a WordPress site soon; any tips, recommendations, or should I chuck the idea and look at something else?

  32. SteveF says:

    I’ve adminned WordPress, Blogger, and Drupal sites and find they’re all pretty easy to set up and run. True, I develop the kind of software that runs web sites so I’m likely to find it easier than most, but all three of those are designed so Joe Schmoe can come in and put together a blog.

    Strong suggestion: if you start using WordPress or Drupal and find you really don’t like how something works or you really want some feature, find an add-on package or find a configuration setting or just learn to live with it. I know one guy who customized his WordPress and customized it some more and then some more, with added tables and tweaked code and just generally a hellbroth of changes, and then was stuck on exactly that version of WordPress for years because his changes couldn’t be upgraded and wouldn’t work with any WP updates.

    If he’d just dealt with it or found an add-on, upgrades would have worked more-or-less automatically. (Some add-ons don’t work with new WP or Drupal versions and aren’t updated timely, but that’s rare.)

  33. OFD says:

    WordPress seems mainly designed for Windows; Drupal being open-sauce, amirite? Pardon my ignorance; I figure I can work with either platform’s underlying o.s. anyway; and I have this Windows 8 machine and to my right, the newly installed Celeum Dream Studio running on the latest Ubuntu, with 32GB RAM and a 1.5TB drive. We aim to get creative and suchlike here soon. I ditched the Windows 2012R2 and now this is my only Winders box.

    And I generally learn to live with stuff and/or only do add-ons and apps that I’m pretty sure will be stable and work well with what I need to do; no endless tweaks for me.

  34. SteveF says:

    WordPress will run on either; the importent part is the web server and its PHP support.

    I don’t think I’ve ever done anything with WordPress that cared a bit about the underlying OS. Possibly uploading files and providing files and such, but I think even that was handled almost transparently. You have to enter an OS-compliant path to the file but, well, duh. Of course you need to tell where the file is, in a way that the OS can understand.

  35. OFD says:

    OK, good to know; thanks for the info. I’ll look into both WP (remember how that was short for WordPerfect?: it’s still around and at the Staples store here.) and Drupal.

    Princess just called; can’t find her passport. 22 and still losing stuff, but then again, so does her mom. Jesus wept. Of course I’m tasked with finding it somehow; could it be in the cah? Mom’s pocketbook? Or is it up there in Montreal with her and she just misplaced it? Who the hell knows. And she can’t come back into the U.S. without it, haha. Whereas I can go back and forth all day with my Enhanced Vermont Operator’s License, recently renewed with a spanking new pic that makes me look like a demented escaped serial killer. Oh wait…

  36. Miles_Teg says:

    “Princess just called; can’t find her passport. 22 and still losing stuff…”

    Whereas I’m 56 and still losing stuff. All The Time.

    “…she can’t come back into the U.S. without it, haha. ”

    Um, are you complaining? (Smirk)

  37. Chuck W says:

    Yikes! She can get a new passport at the US Embassy — surely there is one in Montreal. But the cost is big, BIG $$$ these days.

    Actually, you can have more than one passport. Well, it used to be that way, so I suppose it still is. When I was in charge of producers and reporters, it was kind of crucial that they not enter a country with a passport stamped by their mortal enemies. We had one producer and reporter who had 4 passports to avoid such problems. We paid for the extras.

    That was at the headquarters of this shrinking violet:

    http://www.robertfeder.com/2014/07/16/christian-science-monitor-exits-chicago/

  38. OFD says:

    “… surely there is one in Montreal. But the cost is big, BIG $$$ these days.”

    Swell. We can just add that to the costs of the countless lost phones, contact lenses, chargers, cash, keys, etc., etc.

    There’s a U.S. passport office right here in town; I need to slide on over there and get one for myself. Not high on my list, though.

  39. Miles_Teg says:

    You’re a real soft touch, Dave. You need to give her some lessons in responsibility.

  40. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I was thinking of throwing up a WordPress site soon; any tips, recommendations, or should I chuck the idea and look at something else?

    Email me.

  41. Ray Thompson says:

    it was kind of crucial that they not enter a country with a passport stamped by their mortal enemies

    I don’t think that matters much anymore. On all my trips to Europe they don’t always stamp the passport as the entry and exit data is on their computer screen. They know where you have been. May not be true for some of the lesser countries that still think sand is valuable.

    I need to slide on over there and get one for myself.

    At the same time consider getting a passport card. I think it is only about $30 more when renewing a passport. It can be used instead of a passport for entry to and from Canada when traveling by car. By plane you still need a regular passport. Saved my butt on a trip returning from Canada when the wife’s passport was lost by me. We still had the card and were able to return with no problems.

    http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/information/card/Difference-Between-Passport-Book-and-Card.html

    I also use the passport card when boarding planes from travel within the US. No need for those cretins to know my physical address.

  42. Dave B. says:

    I was thinking of throwing up a WordPress site soon; any tips, recommendations, or should I chuck the idea and look at something else?

    I’ve been tinkering with WordPress for a while. Although I haven’t been doing much with them, here’s my advice.

    1. Go with a third party host like Hosting Matters or whoever Bob uses.

    2. Choose Linux as the operating system.

    3. Keep WordPress and your theme and plugins up to date religiously. (This does not mean every Christmas and Easter.)

    4. Either set up the anti-spam plugin (Akismet?) or completely disable comments.

    To be honest, I am a hypocrite when it comes to number 3. Do as I say, not as I do.

  43. Chad says:

    Lived in 2 basement apartments over my life, and those were awesome quiet. If I am successful in getting the earth sheltered house built, I am hoping it will be just as silent.

    There’s a small city of Australians that all live underground in Opal mines. Underground shops, church’s, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coober_Pedy

    I was thinking of throwing up a WordPress site soon; any tips, recommendations, or should I chuck the idea and look at something else?

    I think the first blogware I used was probably Movable Type. It was very popular back in the day, but it was written in Perl (which I don’t know) as opposed to its competitors written in mostly PHP (which I do know). So, I switched. I was a fan of Serendipity, but it never went mainstream like WordPress, so it doesn’t have the widespread support and huge selection of plugins and themes. WordPress also has two versions. One you can download and install on your own webserver and one they will host for you. The former being at wordpress.org and the latter being at wordpress.com.

    They have all since “grown up” and call themselves CMS instead of blogware. I used to really love doing custom web development, but CMS like WordPress have taken over that market and now almost everyone’s website is WordPress skinned to look how they want it to. So, instead of hiring a programmer and a graphic designer to come up with a custom solution, they install WordPress and just hire a graphic designer that specializes in customizing WordPress. Saves the clients boat loads of money, but took the wind out of the sails of the custom web dev world.

  44. OFD says:

    “You need to give her some lessons in responsibility.”

    Too late. And undermined repeatedly and throughout by other adults. Maybe when she has kids of her own.

    “It can be used instead of a passport for entry to and from Canada when traveling by car.”

    Our Enhanced VT Operator’s License here does that; also works for Mexico and those Trust Territory islands way out in the Pacific that are about to go under, in case we ever need to get there. But I will look into that card, too.

    On the web site/blog thing I was looking into Postach.io, which has an extremely easy set-up and works heavily with Evernote which I already have here on the Windows box, my iPhone and the Kindle, the latter of which I am really liking; it does great photos and videos, at least by my pitiful standards. I also have the “screamer” machine to my left here (32GB RAM and a 1.5 TB drive with external 3 TB drive) set up with Ubuntu Studio 14.04.1 and scads of photo, video and publishing apps. So I can be out and about with the Kindle, for example, or the phone, and update notes, photos and videos instantly to the blog and not be tied to the machines with USB sticks and the like. I’m just at the dipping-toe-in-the-wottuh stage with this and otherwise have many other things to juggle in the air right now.

    Mrs. OFD and MIL returning today from northern Nouveau Brunswick and staying overnight in Quebec Ville and arriving back here sometime tomorrow, where she’ll pick up a rental at the airport for next week’s gig in Albany. We can’t put our Saab in the shop until a week from today so I will be a real homebody for the next week again, not a problem as I have a lengthy to-do list inside and out.

  45. Lynn McGuire says:

    “Some of my best friends are snakes.”

    King snakes are good for you, copperheads not so much:
    http://www.chron.com/neighborhood/cyfair/article/Family-discovers-new-home-overrun-by-venomous-5604043.php

    “”Pustejovsky returned with Mr. and Mrs. Kingsnake, as they affectionately came to be known by the Flory family.”

    “”He brought them over and had us pet them. He wrapped them around our necks,” Flory said, laughing at the memory. “They are very gentle snakes.””

    “Pustejovsky clarified. “Kingsnakes are ruthless fighters when it comes to their prey. They bite the other snake so it can’t get away, then wrap around it and crush the heart.””

  46. OFD says:

    “In all, Pustejovsky has taken away more than 100 venomous snakes, including corals and western cottonmouths.”

    Y’all can have all that stuff; no thanks.

    Seen enough venomous reptiles in the great Lone Star State and SEA to last me several lifetimes. Our most dangerous animal up here is the moose; don’t hit one on the road in anything smaller than a tank. Also don’t mess with them in the wild; they are not afraid of us, not one bit. And the black bears are getting a lot bigger for some reason; normally the adult males might hit 250; they’re being seen up here and over in the Vampire State rural areas at 400-500 now.

  47. Dave B. says:

    And the black bears are getting a lot bigger for some reason; normally the adult males might hit 250; they’re being seen up here and over in the Vampire State rural areas at 400-500 now.

    No doubt it’s all the highly refined carbohydrates in the picnic baskets that make up their diet.

Comments are closed.