Thursday, October 30, 2008

According to Science and Nature

No matter which party is elected to the White House, it won't be as bad as the last 8 years. Both candidates support science and technology, although my take is that Obama has surrounded himself with a larger and better stable of advisors. While corn ethanol is a big mistake, at least Obama doesn't want to teach Intelligent Design. When McCain says to base air pollution standards on 'sound economics and science', that says to me if he would seek reasonable advice as President, he probably would not take it. We won't even talk about the train wreck that would occur if McCain drops dead on the job. Let me just report here that Nature, the British equivalent to our Science journal, has cast its imaginary ballot for Senator Obama.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Yikes, 4 more years of Bushie Science

I am seriously frothing at the mouth. I read Science (or at least let it stack up on my desk) so that I am not stuck in 1980. I read how Bush has ordered National Academy of Science reports overwritten and various other assaults on science. Oboy, now we have Sarah trashing fruit fly research. This is a model for neurotransmitter research that, of all crazy things, may lend some understanding of autism, one of her pet causes. !@#$!@#! I really don't want 4 more years of cowboy science.
thanks Lei for this one

Friday, October 24, 2008

So where IS it, already

I bought a sweater. I have the receipt. It wasn't time to wear it, so I put it away. I have searched everywhere I can think, and I can't find it. I have the RECEIPT. I found the other new tops. ??!

I am so ready for this fiscal year to be over. I am so ready for the election to be over. Apprehensive about the outcome, but ready to move on.

My 79 year old mother, who uses a walker and is having a hard time getting around, has taken up water volleyball. She told me with amazement she stood in the pool for an hour (OK, clinging to the side) and scored a point. Now this woman has not been able to stand for more than 5-10 minutes for years. Well, good for her. I hope they have a hot tub so she can soak out the soreness.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Post Auction Stuff

For $75, I bought what turns out to be an 1929 electrical Singer 3/4 size portable model 99 sewing machine, with attachments. I cleaned it up, threaded it using the 1947 instruction book that came with it, and it sews very nicely. Glen fixed the bent case locks for me, and the busted case needs a little interior support work, but I am very pleased. I was fussing with it yesterday, thinking of the woman who bought it new 90 years ago, and what a wonderful, beautiful thing it must have been for her to have.

I also finally broke down and bought a wooden J&P Coats display desk. It's a bit big for the sewing room, so I have to figure out what to do with it. Oh, and the Rit dye cabinet was really cheap; at the end of the auction there are good bargains as everyone has spent all their wad.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's all interconnected, somehow, someway

Did you do the school experiment where you mashed up a spinach leaf, put a drop of it on a piece of filter paper and wicked alcohol through the spot? Did you see the green and yellow and red light-gathering pigments separate into distinct spots? Well, that is called chromatography (chromos, colors) and that is what I do. Unfortunately, there is an acute global shortage of the chemist's favourite solvent, acetonitrile. Let me tell you about that.

The monomer acrylonitrile is polymerized to make acrylic fibers for acrylic sweaters, industrial fabrics and rugs. Acetonitrile is a 3% by-product of the process. Acetonitrile is not actually made in chemical plants, it all comes out of this process. Now, auto sales are very slow, the global economy is tanking, and the recent hurricane in LA-TX has temporarily closed some chemical plants that affect acrylonitrile production. They aren't making as much acrylic rug fabric since cars aren't selling well. The result is an acute shortage in our favorite solvent. We actually use columns packed with little particles instead of filter paper these days, (that's what I help labs work with) and run water-acetonitrile mixtures through that to elute drugs and impurities, etc. No acetonitrile - no chromatography. Pharmas and biotechs are howling, my chemical distributor has no bottles to distribute, and life in the lab as we know it is disrupted. Who would think GM's problems would be affecting the Genentechs of the world? It's going to be one rocky economic ride for a bit.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sho' 'nuff, I wore my beads today

Unfortunately it wasn't enough. I did the routine health check at work, expecting my cholesterol to be high, but loaded with HDL good stuff, and my blood glucose and blood pressure to be low. Well, 2/3. My blood pressure has ALWAYS been very low, but now it is way high. I suspect the extra drinkie-poo at 5 p.m. is not helping. Drat. Drinking is HOW I de-stress (yes, I read the warning sign screaming away). This job is killing me. Maybe half-doses of the happy pills is not enough.

On the other hand, fall is beautiful. The rain a couple of weeks ago has kept the leaves on the trees, and they are turning colors instead of drying up. It's quilt show weekend, and the quilts are exquisite with ever so much stitching. A bunch of us are wondering about the top-place wearable dress- a boned bodice is not enough for a first place finish, I'm just saying. What were the judges THINKING?! Yikes!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

not much here to blog about

What I didn't expect with the new job was the deadline pressure. Our fiscal year ends, appropriately, on Halloween. It ain't just at home where discretionary spending is being curtailed. My numbers are awful, and I am worried about not only the loss of a zero in the commission check, but about the new manager looking at the numbers. She is really on our case about being on sales calls all day, every day, and checking the calendar. I am going nuts. I am forgetting things. I am not following up on things. Breathe. Go fix supper and read the morning paper. It will all be there 12 hours from now when I get to do it all again.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It's official, the greater depression is upon us

I wish I had some zen words of wisdom for the economic outlook, but not today. 'A' management did the $$ rain dance today and there was another downsizing of the paycheck. In the late .com bust, there were 10% salary cuts and layoffs here. Since then they have moved to structure the salaries so there was more incentive pay and very few raises. With lower sales, there will be lower variable pay. Then when you look at my quarter-to-date quota performance, there ain't gonna be much commission at the end of our fiscal year 10/31. Dismal. Like all of you, I have lost 40% of my wealth in the stock market in the last year (well, except maybe you J, you probably are weighted in cash now, good for you). I think I have enough cash to pay the property taxes Nov 1 without selling any devalued stock, but I think I also need to run the calculation again this weekend factoring in the shriveled commission check. My ex is certainly extremely pleased with himself for predicting all this. He so loves to be right.

So the good side is I have friends and family and cats who love me and leftovers in the fridge so I don't have to cook dinner. Oh, and the quilting show is next weekend.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rain! It RAINED!

OK, officially fall in CA. It rained early, it rained nicely, it rained for the first time since early spring. The reservoirs are as low as 39% of capacity, it is supposed to be a dry winter, but for just a couple of days, the soil is moist, the leaves are clean and turning, and the air is clear. I had already picked up the outside tools. Time to put out the Preen so nothing germinates in an unseemly place. I picked more tomatoes, pulled out daylily leaves, stained part of the fence and garden wall that had not been stained, and really enjoyed the lovely, clean day today. The fall green beans are climbing nicely, the squash plants are not as mildewy as usual, so we are still getting squash, the carrots have germinated, but the beets and the chard seem not to have sprouted. I keep thinking I would like to do something on the weekend but work in the yard, but I guess only rain or cold will keep me indoors. I found some self-seeded cosmos flowering next to a tomato plant today, so life is good.