Monday, February 26, 2007

The Chicago O’Hare Whatever

I just had the good fortune to spend 3 nights in the Chicago O’Hare Hilton with some 300 of my closest colleagues. Pretty good meeting, actually, although it would have been more fun if the hula dancing had been by our management team than the girls they hired. And so I am languishing in the Chicago O’Hare Airport, because, being Chicago in February, it is fixing to snow and all the departure boards have a lot of ‘Cancelled’ lines on them.

There are a number of things I like about this airport, however. The local Berghof’s cafĂ© has a sandwich stand with good meats (hey, it’s the Midwest) and a very good lager (which the lady who sat across from me spilled all over the lady next to her, poor thing, who will smell like beer for the rest of her (delayed) trip). I like the tunnel between terminals that plays the United song with the neon tubes. I LOVE the brontosaurus skeleton near the security exit in terminal B. But the toilet seat covers in the ladies’ rooms comprise my main entertainment. Some lucky salesman sold the airport a system that automatically rolls a new plastic sleeve over the toilet seats for each new patron. Nifty little motor hums and does all the dirty work. I’ve never seen them anywhere else. Not as techy as the ones in the local brauhaus in Germany, where the whole seat rotates under a UV lamp that is supposed to sanitize the seat, but I would think the plastic sleeves are more protective. I could do a short dissertation on the various modern forms of Thomas Crapper’s invention, but I see my gate is starting to board and I’m trying to get out of here before the snow hits.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What I do for a living

Much to my surprise, Agilent Technologies has posted a couple of cool videos on YouTube. This one is my bread-and-butter product
This one is the same actor, and to us, also very funny . These were my lab before they spent mega$$ on the new Center of Excellence (sorry, that's really what they call it). For a greybeard organization, someone has a sense of humor.

Monday, February 5, 2007

The angry lizard

I looked out the kitchen window to see a 6" post lizard clamped on to Tootsie's neck fur. Tootsie was wildly dancing and swatting at it. Now although Tootsie has the chocolate temperature-sensitive pigmentation of a Siamese, the rest of her, the stubby legs, chubby body and especially the dense fur with lush undercoat, arises from a different genetic heritage. I rushed out to rescue the lizard (Tootsie, of course, was in no danger) to find the lizard on the walk, mouth open and hissing in fury. It was morning and still cold, so he wasn't fast enough to be able to go anywhere this time of day. I picked it up with a dishcloth and took it to the geranium patch where my other Kitties rest in peace. The lizard was firmly clamped onto the cloth, no shaking it loose. You have to admire the fight in this one who was not about to take any hassle just because the mammals were bigger than it was.

Now my yard is a Certified Backyard Habitat although it is primarily my front yard we are talking about here.We have many large rocks where the lizards can live under and sun themselves or do pushups, two sources of water, and a mix of native plants and hummingbird-attracting flowers. I bell the cats when required to keep the predation minimal. This lizard eventually got deported to my neighbor's rosemary when we found Tootsie keeping him company later in the afternoon.

Have a good life, Lizard, it will be mating season soon and we need you in the gene pool.