Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful to my parents,
The love and learnin' that they gave me,
It lets me pay my own rents.

I am thankful to my sister,
It's too bad she was absentee.
I hope she knows I missed her.

I am thankful to my family,
Support from them's a guarantee,
All the way up the big clan tree.

I am thankful to my friends,
The rascally, varied potpourri.
I toast to them I extend.

I am thankful to my dog,
Though passing years have slowed his glee,
He helps me through the slog.

I am thankful to my cats,
And though the seem to think they own me,
At least they kill the rats.

I am thankful to my partner,
She puts up with so much from me.
Don't know what I'd do without her.

And to anyone who reads this,
I'm thankful to you, too.
And to anyone I did miss,
My thanks go out to you.

Thank you all,
Lab Boy

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Open Letter to Fox Sports

To whom it may concern,
I appreciate your football coverage on the whole. You employ a good number of fine play-by-play people and occasionally get an interesting on-the-field interview. Likewise, your half-time show is usually good, too.

However, there is something that has been bugging me. It used to be a minor annoyance, but has been growing in annoyance factor to the point that I must say something.

Why so many f#&@*@g digital graphics? Spinning crap growing into display boards, wooshing swooshy things to wipe the screen, team logos spinning for no apparent reason. Are these things necessary? They add nothing other than flashy crap that only tells me you have a nice computer system to create this meaningless, distracting, content-free junk. That dancing, guitar playing, Burger King hawking, terminator wannabe robot must die. Remember to take all of the goddamn chips and severed arms and throw them into the molten steel with it!

And get off my lawn you damn kids!

Sincerely,
Lab Boy

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happiness is a Bubbling Brew



This is the first beer batch I have made in a while. We have a friend who is hosting a Winter Feast, and I, somewhat brashly, mentioned that I could make a batch of beer. It's a bit of a potluck, and I couldn't think of anything that I could bring that would fit the medieval theme, aside from beer. So last night the SO and I cooked up a nice batch of the beer that has been dubbed (by the SO and I) "Better than Fruitcake". It has some nice spiced character, with a hint of citrus and a fruity aroma, reminding us of the scent of fruitcake, but it's beer. And it tastes good. Hence "Better than Fruitcake".

If you email me and ask really nicely, I may share the recipe. But I'll probably keep it to myself so that people have a reason to invite me to parties.

{EDIT: I changed the video to the one I uploaded to Youtube so that my friends with iPhones and the like can view it.}

Friday, November 14, 2008

STS-126

This is what a shuttle launch looks like captured from a hand-held camera on the opposite coast of Florida.



The big blobs are a street light (no that's not a mistake). The smaller jittery thing to the left is the shuttle.

Well, they can't all be winners, can they?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blog neglect and other things...

Well, as you may have noticed, I have been a bit remiss in my blogging of late. I'll try to briefly catch up on things.

The Cruise. It's over. I had a time that I can't really call good, but definitely was not bad. It was too busy to be either, I guess. I have several cultures growing (YES!) and a few photos that I'll share when I have some time again. The trip has provided me with plenty of work for quite some time, and the possibility of finding something truly new, which is every scientist's dream, right? I'll post about the cruise retrospectively as I am able.

In short, the boat was OK, the crew was fantastic (very helpful and curious about what the visiting nerds were up to), the sampling gear was barely adequate (better than I had hoped, actually), and I didn't lose the dock rock for about a week.

The Election. James, this bit is for you. Obama won (news flash!). I'm happy about that. For one thing, I can finally watch TV without being assaulted with political ads, so that's nice. For another (few) things, the McCain campaign was the loser. This pleases me. I shall briefly try to explain why.

McCain was someone I could have voted for... in 2001. He revealed himself to not be that person any more. The Maveric(tm) is no more. His campaign pandered to fear, loathing of education and the tribal instincts of our barbarian past that I had thought we might move beyond. His choice of Palin for VP was one of the most shameful, calculated and cynical acts I have seen in a presidential campaign. She is unqualified, removing McCain's argument about Obama's qualifications. She is not only ignorant about the world around her, but proved to be unwilling to learn about it. She is blatantly anti-science. Not only did she deride research on "fruit flies, in Paris, France. I kid you not!", but she has no idea why such research might be (pardon the pun) fruitful. She didn't care that the research was about the olive fruit fly that is a major crop pest to the California olive industry, nor that France was the best place to study the fly because that is its natural range. Nope, just dog-whistle bullshit. "Fruit flies" -- who cares about that? "France" -- Just a bunch of cheese-eating surrender-monkeys! Why the hell should our money go there?!? *sigh*

McCain often referred to the $3mil "overhead projector" that would have gone to the Adler Planetarium. In that statement, repeated often, he revealed his anti-science and anti-intellectual stance. That "overhead projector" was a Zeiss star machine. A planetarium projector that can capture the minds and curiosity of countless children was compared to an obsolete piece of office technology.

Even without getting into the nastiness of the campaign, those few things were enough. The callous pandering to the religious right folks who are proud of their ignorance, the denigration of science, and the use of "elite" as an epithet solidified my vote for Obama.

Is Obama the "Saviour"? Will he fix all our problems? Will he save our reputation in the world? Will he bake me cookies?

NO! (Well, maybe cookies.)

He has a really nasty mess to attempt to fix. I really wouldn't want to be in his shoes right now. All I can do at this point is to wish him well and send letters to tell him when I think he has fucked up. I'll hold him to account. He is no messiah, he's a naughty boy. But he's my president and I'm going to hope that he does the right thing. When (not if) he does something I disagree with, I'll hold it against him. Yes, it's nice we have a progressive centrist in office, but he better do some of what he promised, or I'll... I'll... um... WRITE A REALLY ANGRY EMAIL!!!!!