Sunday, September 28, 2008

The pelican, the pelican, his beak holds more than his belly can

We killed a day in a pleasant drive up the coast from Anaheim. We pulled a motel off the navigational device - life is too short to stay in a $40 room where the hotel receptionist grew up on the Indian peninsula - and ended up at a fabulous Best Western property at Pelican Point. I woke up at dawn to run outside to explore - there were thousands of seagulls, sooty shearwaters and pelicans. This shot shows the mature brown pelican with a white neck and head, with just a touch of yellow around the face. There are 2 juveniles in this bunch, on the left is Junior who is still all brown, and in the middle is our adolescent bird losing the brown pinfeathers and showing some white. You can see the pelican paint on the side of the cliff. How lovely! Really worth staying an extra day.

The girls from Missoula

We spent a couple days at the Victorian Casino Auction which occurs twice a year. We have a grand time. Such Stuff! I was about to turn to Joe and say "who would ever want THAT" when he bid on it. It runs the gamut from there for stuff I would love to have but could never afford. So this was hanging by the ladies room door, and I looked at it for a day before I figured it out. Have a look-see, and enlarge if you must to see the detail! WooHoo!

Go back to Aug 29 photo

OK, I had one precious free day on my vacation. Not quite as glamourous as Swaroski crystals, but good enough to get at least one double-take on the show floor last week. These are all pieces-parts from one of my instrument lines.

I have some earring findings - I'm still waiting for more inspiration.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Where were the marketing weenies?

Saturdays this summer there is a farmer's market a few blocks from here. It is very popular, people and cars clog the corner where I turn left to get south. I haven't been much, since I grow my own, but it is a valuable addition to neighborhood life. It makes me smile when I go by there. As I turned the corner and slowly wove through the people and cars, I passed the Curve's store across the street. They had a table out to attract new customers, balloons and two frowzy, obese, middle-aged broads sitting on folding chairs. Hello-o! Where was the cute, pleasingly plump matron bouncing on the little trampoline? Whoever would sign up for THAT?

Friday, September 12, 2008

We are so close to miracle medicine

We are introducing a chromatography product in a couple of weeks that makes it fun to do this work. Turns out that for reasons of its own, Staph. aureus produces something called Protein A that binds antibodies, probably to keep it from getting picked up in the blood. In our case, we are brewing and binding Protein A to a substrate so that drug companies can use it to test therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. I have found the conversations with the production and testing people on this subject quite interesting. All these MAB's in the pipelines are 'magic bullets' for tumors of various types, and I hope the one I may need someday will be there before I need it.

The other magic medical wand we need is a way to do gene therapy, a way to insert a gene into the DNA so something can be made or suppressed when a gene is or becomes inactive. Viral vectors have been used in research, but it's problematic to find a modified virus to infect humans that has no side effects. Adenovirus is used in a couple of cases, but there are problems with that. Today I see where shistosomes secrete a protein that could be used as a vector. This parasite is the second most costly disease. The shistosomes are very clever at changing their immunological presentation to avoid being attacked by the host. I don't know if this sounds better than a viral vector to me or not. But the point is, this next generation of medicine, gene therapy, is getting closer to being there for me when I need it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The good news and the other news

The good news is the little hen is back in the community cage and being a bird. Her leg is a little crooked, but she can sit on the perch and take off and land and do her birdie thing.

Several weeks ago I took a glass of wine out to the back deck (where I have signal) and punched the number my sleuthing cuz found for me, took a deep breath, and pressed send. He: Hello? Me: Is this John Sanders W*****? He: (suspiciously) Yes. Me: John Henry, is it really you? This is Lenore Kelly. He: ohmygod. He was my first real boyfriend, my senior year in high school. We did all the high school stuff and had a great time. Then we went to different colleges, he flunked out, and I dumped him. He joined the Navy, and I lost track of him. He's a high school biology teacher, kids, Mormon, living on his wife's family farm in the frozen Midwest, working with Indian kids. I bet he looks just like his father. I thanked him for making my last year of high school so memorable, and he said he, too, got to do stuff with me he didn't get to do at his school. It was nice. I gave him my e-mail address, he said he'd write, and we said goodbye. I didn't hear back from him, but I got to close the loop and thank him for being there. Have a good, long life, John Henry.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Just stuff

Here I am trapped at my desk just like it was a work day (well, I was working). Too hot to be out, even hot in here. But I got my back yard cleaned up this morning, the stuff put away, the leaves put in the compost bin (even turned the compost for good measure), some of the soil leveled a little bit, a bit of washing down. I have planted some fall beans, carrots, chard where the tomatillos were. I'm like a kid, out there spraying the bed to keep it damp, peering hopefully for little bits of green. Dug my shallots, dried them in the sun for a few days, and I have a nice big bowl of eating sized ones and enough little ones to plant when I get a space for them. Shallots grow like bunching onions, which I didn't know. I thought each little bulb grew into a big bulb, but the grow into a cluster of shallots. I won't plant them so close next time! I made a bunch of jars of dried oregano, and ate a few tomatoes. It was a good morning, except . . .

A bad thing happened, probably this morning. They get really quiet when it gets dark, so I doubt this was last night. One of my little finches, the fawn hen which lays a egg every day, pulled a thread from a spool hanging near the cage - I cleaned the cage yesterday and moved it too close to my thread rack. When I went to check on them, fortunately fairly early this morning, I found her hanging upside down from the swing, mostly touching the floor of the cage. She had gotten the thread wrapped around her leg and the swing. I can't tell if her leg is broken or dislocated. She is in a box covered with net and facing the cage so they can all see each other but she can be quiet. I'm sure her mate misses her, they fly as a pair and always sit next to each other. The bird guy at the vet's was off today, so I can take her there Monday. Awww.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

8 years too long

I read Science and have since graduate school (when it was a lot cheaper, but A pays for it now). For the last 8 years there have been a steady string of reports explaining how the White House has meddled in reports, investigations, and programs to further the Gospel according to W. Go here, this is great Click on the cartoons to make them large enough to read. This hasn't been normal Republican big-business behavior, this has been the wholesale manipulation of facts to further a political agenda. I am relieved to say no matter who wins in November, this part of either administration will likely improve.

On a related topic, Sarah kicked butt last night and I was impressed by her political savvy. Not that I am likely to vote for someone who wants creationism but not sex education taught in schools, (which may not be part of her political agenda, just her personal belief), but that was one fine political speech.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

All done but the cleaning up

My contractor and his 3 Russians left today for the last time. I have a little cleaning up to do, but it's DONE!!! Time to buy topsoil and nag G into helping me finish the garden sprinkler, the slate walk, the tree structure and put up one more layer of the deer fence. It's a hot day and I need to go water and admire the front yard without a pile of lumber. DONE (just as soon as I pay off the credit card bill)!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Thomas the Turkey

Thomas has a scary story with a happy ending. Turkeys live on the hill by my street, a flock of Toms and a flock of hens. One supposes they mingle at least once a year, but not down here. One of the cocks got ejected from the flock. He had a hurt leg, a very severe limp, a growth on his foot, and like 8 year old boys, the flock pecked him for being weak and different. Since there was water, food in the form of cracked corn, and shade under a small tree, Thomas moved into my yard. He stood on one leg and avoided the other guys. I carefully walked across the grass so as not to chase him off, and a couple of months passed. I noticed Thomas was not limping as badly, and then I noticed Thomas was not here as often. I am very happy to say that Thomas has moved back into the flock, is not limping, and appears to be back to normal. Isn't that just fine!