Showing posts from July, 2005

Bayou Evening

Well, Tach came through with the crawdads after all. The ones in NC all died so he ordered them up from a place in Louisiana that sells them year round. They shipped them on ice, all sluggish and cold--but alive. As it turned out, they were shipped from Wisconsin of all places. Cajun food from Wisconsin. Imagine that!

Once they came up to ambient temperature they were happy as... well, crawdads. Here's a picture of them while they were still crawling about. Little did they know that their respite was only temporary.

Myers-Briggs typological personality test

As I've mentioned before, I love to take tests. So when G at Library Bitch mentioned a link to a free (I love that word free) M-B type test I jumped at the chance. Here's the location. It's a series of 72 questions and your personality type pops out as soon as you submit the answeres. My results were:

My Type is INTJ (Introverted 89, Intuitive 75, Thinking 50, Judging 33).

By all means, share with us what you are too!

Human abuse

Who can resist a GIF that makes fun of using computers? I've never been driven quite this crazy by our silicon friends but there's been times...especially when gridding DNA microarrays that I felt like this.

A few pictures

Here's 3 pictures I took in June of '05. The first is a reptile buddy of mine. Then there's a scene of a waterfall in the rain. I'd rather it had been sunny, but unfortunately nature didn't consult me and half way through the hike the heavens opened up and I got SOAKED! The last picture I took while kayaking near sunset.

Bad news

The party on Saturday is up in the air now. I'd just finished staining the first set of 4 slides and given them to Tach for the LCM when he got a phone call. It was the owner of the crawfish farm and according to him their entire 'crop' of crawfish had died. The water they were in peaked at 101 degrees yesterday and there were no survivors. There's a chance that shrimp might be substituted and that maybe another source for crawfish might be found...

In any case, yet another example of the heatwave making life a little less bearable. On the other hand, my knees like it when it's hot like this and I'm not all that crazy about seafood anyway.

TV versus reality

I saw this ad on TV after watching a ball game and I decided I'd make dinner for myself since that commercial looked soooo good. Of course it's way too hot out for me to want to grill, so that's out--besides by that time it was well after 10pm and it's too dark out. My grill would fill up with suicidal moths!

So I decided to make goulash. This is the type with macaroni, bell peppers, onions, hamburger, and some spices. Nothing fancy, and below is how it looked before I mixed it all together. Not quite the same as that tv commercial that inspired me.     :-(      And by the time I finished, it was after midnight and even I don't eat dinner THAT late. At least not often.

Crawfish Boil

I have been invited to a 'crawfish boil' this weekend. Saturday at 6pm, to be exact. I've never been to one of these but it's being 'sponsored' by 3 lab folk (Chris, Rusty & Tach) who grew up in Louisiana and miss the food they grew up on. So Rusty and Tach are making a run out to Louisberg on Saturday to pick up a bunch of crawfish at a commercial breeding place and then scoot back to Chris' house where the party is located. I wish I could invite y'all but well, you know. ;-) I'm greedy!

The party is actually not going to be very far from where I live so that's nice too. The down side is that crawfish look a little too much like cockroaches for me to be totally comfortable with viewing them as food. Here's a picture, what do you think?

Big Brother

Yes, Big Brother is intruding. Now they're making me check on the gender of the folk wandering about this blog. Damn 'they'! They are just too curious. But maybe having those extra answers will screw up their calculations. ;-)

I love polls. And gimmicky things are fun too. So don't be surprised to see more polls on the edges of this blog. I might fiddle around with their color a bit though. I wanted this first one to stand out--and it does!

Speaking of fiddling--I'm going to change the format of this site. I've been looking around to get ideas and checking on dHTML and CSS tricks. I hope to redesign the site by the weekend. This week at work is going to be nasty. That 'publish or perish' situation is getting my boss' attention lately and I'll be assisting on a number of LCMs (laser capture microdissections) and confirming the resulting data with RT-PCRs (real time polymerase chain reactions). As a result my tissue culture project in w…

A few more kayaking pictures

This time I uploaded the full size pictures with no editing. They're medium compressed JPGs, 1984 x 1488 pixels in size. The first two were taken a few minutes apart at a point of land that was between two coves. The sun shone on one and the other was still in shadow. The third picture is at the point of an island a quarter mile away from where I took the first two pictures. All these were on Lake Hartwell in SC near the GA border. The shot of the damn is about 10 miles further down the lake just on the SC side of the border. I don't recall where I was when I took the last shot, the one of the dock.

Quiz time

Your IQ Is 130
Your Logical Intelligence is Genius
Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius
Your Mathematical Intelligence is Exceptional
Your General Knowledge is Exceptional
A Quick and Dirty IQ Test

You Are A Romantic Realist

You are more romantic than 50% of the population.

You tend to be grounded when it comes to romance.
Sure, you can fall hard... but only for someone you've gotten to know.
And once you're in love, you can be a total romantic goofball...
But you'd never admit it to your friends!

Are You Romantic or Realistic?

You Belong in 1966


If you scored...

1950 - 1959: You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

1960 - 1969: You are a free spirit with a huge heart. Love, peace, and happiness rule - oh, and drugs too.

1970 - 1979: Bold and brash, you take life by the horns. Whether you're partying or protesting, you give it your all!

1980 - 1989: Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You're colorful at night - an…

Computers don't last

My mother called me the other week and complained about her computer not working so I arranged to go visit and check out the problem. Kayaking on the lake in front of their house was at best a secondary consideration. Really!

Anyway, the problem, as was succinctly explained to me, is that the computer wouldn't come on. Okay. That's a start, I guess. Actually that did turn out to be the problem. Mostly. The computer would not come on when I hit the power switch--however the fan inside was on. None of the peripherals were recognized either. I opened the box and saw that the fan over the heat block on top of the Pentium chip was not on, only the fan in the power supply was. Not good. Further investigation revealed that when you disconnect the power cord and then reconnect it a while later--the computer, oddly enough, doesn't have a reset button--this situation reoccurs. Power supply fan on, Pentium fan not on. My conclusion was that the BIOS wasn't loading and s…

Books, books, and more books

Here's the new Harry Potter book perched on top of one of my bookcases. It's in the company of other books I've received in the past few weeks and not read yet. I think I'll read the Evanovich first, after a library book I'm reading now (Deadline in Athens by Petros Markaris) but there's also the temptation to reread all the Potter books again before reading the most recent. It's pretty obvious from the media attention that a major character dies at the end of this book but I don't really care that much if the ending gets spoiled for me. I enjoy the journey more than the ending in the Potter books since plot is definitely not the defining characteristic of the series. Much as I enjoy the books, they're quite obviously written for kids and just happen to appeal to adults also. Another series of this nature that I liked was David Eddings' Belgariad series.

All that nonsense below means that I get the new Harry Potter book when I get home from work today. I love the way we can check on package shipments via the web these days. There was a cartoon this weekend, Sunday I think, in the Zits strip ( about just that subject. In any case I probably won't get around to starting the Potter book until the end of the week. From posts I've read this past day I gather many people finished it on Saturday after attending the midnight parties--more power to you!

Date/Time Location Activity

Jul 18, 2005 7:19 P.M. GREENSBORO, NC, US



Jul 15, 2005 11:37 P.M. NASHVILLE, TN, US



Computer during diagnosis

Here's the computer before I diagnosed the problem. At this point I had just confirmed that the computer would not boot properly and had gotten a description of the symptoms from my mother but since she's not the most computer literate her description was taken with a few grains of salt. Next question: why doesn't it boot? (and being a guy, I couldn't resist looking at all the pretty parts inside!)

Inlet at night

This is the inlet that my parents live on. I was pretty busy on Sunday doing errands with my parents so I wasn't able to get out on the lake with a kayak until nearly dark, and so it was long after dark before I got back inside. Here's a shot I took just before it was too dark:

It's actually a lot darker than it appears in the picture. The digital camera I was using is very good in low light. I was following some ducks at the time and turned around and decided that there might be enough light for a picture--and there was. Barely. I'll post more pictures tomorrow as well as a description of my computer repair skills. LOL Or it's more accurate to say my luck since I got lucky and actually figured out what was wrong with my parent's computer.

25 is a good start

Yesterday Bernie Ebbers formerly CEO of WorldCom received a 25 year prison sentence from U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones. It's by far the harshest sentence for securities fraud to date. And a wonderful precedent to my way of thinking. According to the polling so far the general public agrees.

Ebbers received personal loans of 100s of millions in addition to the huge amounts of money he received due to the artificially raised price of his stock. When the dust settled over 180 billion in market valuation was eliminated when WorldCom went bankrupt. That affected WorldCom's many innocent employees in a big way and innumerable small investors in a small way.

Ebbers arrogance in this regard is fairly typical however. Witness Martha Stewart who due to her refusal to take a 5 figure loss on a stock caused a loss of confidence in her company's stock that led to over 100 billion in loss of valuation. And Martha Stewart was never even charged with a crime in that regard. THAT…


I'm going to be in SC this weekend doing chores for my parents. My having a truck seems to get me invited places! And between hooking up electrical devices and hauling mulch I hope to get in some time on the lake in my kayak. Here's a few pictures from last winter, I hope to add some shots from the weekend in a few days.


I finally finished Kosovo's The Historian. It's a very well written book and it took me nearly 4 times as long as usual to read it. There was just a quality to the book that seemed to force me to read it in small chunks with reflection betwixt. Her approach to the book and the subject--Vlad the Impaler--was both entertaining and literary. I definitely recommend the book though I must admit I was put off by the ending. It seemed trite and contrived. A definite disservice to what was up to that point a very worthy book. C'est la Vie. Even so it's worth reading for the journey, if not the destination.

I've also been reading a book on how the mind works and some philosophical reflections along that subject. An Alchemy of Mind by Diane Ackerman. I finished this just a few hours before the Kosovo book but I can't recomment the Ackerman. She seems a mite flighty and her research strikes me as being too subjective for a book like this. It comes across t…

Nestlings and ani

I'm not sure what kind of plant this is but for the moment I'm calling it an anus plant. Give the blooms a glance to see why I'm calling it this. By all means, let me know if there's a better name. It grows next to my deck and having anuses (ani?) so close by is a little gross!

This is a picture of my backyard nestlings, one week later. I took the pictures on Saturday. Now that they're getting their feathers in, they don't look quite as ugly. They are sleeping a lot more but at least one was willing to wake up for a meal--as you can see by his open beak...

Songs from the 80s

Here's an interesting quiz if you want to see how much your memory has retained from those songs of the 1980s:

I'm not telling what I got as a score. Let's just say that I wasn't listening very much for that decade...

Favorite Picture

I recently bought a USB enclosure for external hard drives. I got it so I could reprogram my ReplayTV hard drive since it's getting too many errors on it. Since I don't have enough room in my CPU box I needed the external--besides, I can buy a big HD now and use the external for backups and since my Dell is so old (over 4 years old now!) keeping everything backed up is important.

Anyway, to test the new enclosure I looked around and found an old HD that I'd used way back but wouldn't work with my current OS so it was just sitting on a bookcase gathering dust. I loaded it into the enclosure and it works! All 8 gigabytes of it! I told you it was old. But it had some pictures on it that had never gotten tranferred over and one of them was my favorite from my first digital camera. It was a 1.3 MP Olympus back when 3 MP was only found on professional cameras. It's a picture I took on the Outer Banks in NC, USA and it's just the shadow of my free hand looming …

New Neighbors

I have two new sets of neighbors. One set is human, moved in today, and has a small noisy male child. None of those adjectives give me any joy. Not the nouns either. The other family is noisy too but more interesting. The pictures below are of the second family and they live about 2 yards from my back deck.

In this picture you have the chicks sleeping.

Here they've awakened due to my jostling their tree and obviously have food on their mind. Look at those huge mouths!

...and this one is a close up of just one fellow. At least Mom has an easy target to hit with those worms!

Now I know why birds have feathers. They're just so darn ugly without them they have no chance at reproduction without some covering! People might be in the same boat.

Maillard Reaction

This is a type of non-enzymatic browning reaction and is named after the chemist Louis-Camille Maillard. Maillard Reaction is a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar, usually requiring the addition of heat. I recently viewed a show on The Food Channel--Good Eats--which mentioned the reaction and so I did some research on it. The most crucial part--actually doing it has been tabled for right now--but I'll get to that eventually. I do procrastinate!

In truth, I've utilized Maillard Reactions many, many times but not while knowing what was happening. When you toast bread, or roast meat, or bake cookies you're using Maillard. In some of these you also caramelize the food but that comes later since it requires a higher heat.

The result of Maillard is new tastes and odors in the food. Some of the most subtle flavors are made this way--the food industry's artificial flavors are mostly obtained this way though once the substance is obtained via Mai…