A Little Green Alien Head for your Antenna
Posted Jun 27, 2007
Roswell's Alienfest is coming up in the first week of July - it's the 60th anniversary of whatever actually happened there in 1947. So, anyway, they usually have great little green styrofoam alien heads that you can put on your car antenna.
Anyone who wants one one of these should let me know so I'll know how many to return with. Just post here, then leave a terrestrial address in an email to: pailaway at yahoo dot co dot uk
Just a Little Disaster
Posted Mar 25, 2007
I may be occupied for up to a week and unable to check in except only sporadically. I arrived in Albuquerque yesterday for my monthly visit to see mom and to see that her houshold bills are paid. To try and make a long story shorter, she had an emergency that required an ambulance to take her to the hospital.
I say an emergency, but it's been a long time coming. She has had bleeding from her breast that she's been private about. She's a Christian Scientist, and while that may not explain anything to anyone, just substitute your favorite word for a dysfunctional condition that results in aberrent decisions and actions - you know, alcoholism, rage, paranoia, whatever. Christian Scientists, aside from any of their other noble ideals, refuse medical treatment under any circumstances. Add to this their refusal to acknowledge what we would call physical realities - denial, as you might say - hence the dysfunction.
But back to the emergency - her live-in caregiver came running in and said 'Your Mother is Bleeding. You HAVE to come now and see this - I'm calling an ambulance.' So (I'm sorry, this part makes me cry ...ok, I'm back) I came in to see what was clearly an angry tumor where her breast should have been and she had in fact lost much blood. I was pressed hard between respect for my mother's wishes which she made known in no uncertain terms, and her caregivers anguish knowing that something had to be done or she would die. I stood there, in agony, massaging her shoulders and saying, Mom, we have to call an ambulance - you don't have to go to the hospital if you don't choose, but PJ can't stop the bleeding. So, one little decision at a time, we got medics to come, we got her to the hospital, we got her to agree to tests, and we have got her to agree to surgury.
So now I'm at her house. PJ, her caregiver, and I are taking shifts so that someone's always with mom. I've just caught up on sleep and have an extra moment. I appreciate everyone here and I actually feel connected to the larger world through all of you. The number of people that I consider my friends and that I have met here in the last year is much greater than the tiny list on my personal space. This is something I intend to correct when I'm back home and things are quieted down.
Now to end on a humorous note. I'm the only one at the house now, which fact has outraged PJ's very territorial cat. When I tottered in and slumped onto the couch and pulled a cover over my head, I could hear her hissing and growling at me from the next room. My last thought before passing out was, 'she's just waiting for me to go to sleep so she can come beat me up.' Thankfully, I slept umpummeled.
New Years Resolutions
Posted Dec 31, 2006
This year I intend to finally gain some mastery over music - I'm musically illiterate and have played by ear all these years. No more! I've very recently taken up mandolin and have forced myself to play only scales - I plan to continue practicing every day for the next year until the scales fall from my eyes.
Last year on the Front Page was a suggestion to make a New Years resolution to read one entry in peer review a day. That's a resolution that I made but but didn't quite keep. However, I did read some each week and learned lots as a result. This year I'll make the same resolution and hope to do better. I also resolve to make more completely inane comments than ever.
...That's about it.
A dream come true
Posted Sep 25, 2006
I just spent all morning with a neighbor collecting used frying oil from bins behind restaurants. We filled a 55 gallon drum, and then we slightly overfilled it - so that was a little untidy.
Since about 2000 I have been planning to make biodiesel fuel to run my car, and I had accumulated all the necessary pieces, but just haven't had the time to put it all together.
Then some new neighbors moved in recently - a husband and wife. The husband worked to put his wife through school and now she's working so he's got time off. This bloke has also been wanting to make biodiesel fuel - so first we took all my stuff over to his garage, then he spent about a week tinkering and produced a wonderfully dubious looking contraption made of an old water heater and other spare parts. It's festooned with hoses and gauges - and it even has a motor, so what more could you want?
We made a successful test batch that we finished last week. Now we're ready for full-scale. Hence the scavenging trip.
At one place we found it impossible to communicate that we wanted to remove oil from the bin and not dump oil into it:
'We'd like to pump oil from your bin, will that be okay with you?'
'Oh, it isn't much is it? I don't think the manager would like you to dump oil in our bin.'
'No, we want to pump oil out of it.'
'The manager isn't here now. Well, if your not going to dump much I guess it's OK'
It was a messy, but satisfying day.
Dark Matter Seen Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Posted Sep 1, 2006
This is fantastic!
No one has actually seen dark matter before, so there has remained some debate about its actual existence.
Now, some astronomers have observed a galactic collision and mapped the distribution of 'normal matter' and then, using gravitational lensing, mapped the main mass. (normal matter from each galaxy should interact and consequently be slowed by the collision - theoretically, dark matter from each ought not to interact and so should speed ahead)
The composite image shown in the above link shows the main mass to be out ahead of the 'normal matter'. It's stunning.
I have to go sit under an apple tree and think about it.