Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Stir crazy

I haven't been travelling in ages. I really must go. Someplace, anyplace! Friday has been reserved as an off day. What can be done with one day? One day in the in-between season, with no snow, no green anywhere. Find out Saturday!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Here we go!

I've got a list of more than 300 families to go over at work, verifying that the nomenclature of the mutation is correct, and that all the right tests were done. We're combing through the archives, updating, and making sure there aren't any mistakes hiding.
The plan is to divvy up the work and go through, say, 30 dossiers at each meeting. Today was the first such meeting, with an hour and a half to get started. Perhaps we won't do all 30, of course.
How many did we get done?
How many did we look at and decide what other data to gather before considering the case done?
How long will it take me to dredge up the data from the archives and go over it all again?
Er, how long is it until the next meeting?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Quantum Physics of Horses in Cancer Treatment

A woman called the lab today wanting to establish a major collaboration between my institute and, well, I’m not sure who. She said her name quickly at the beginning and neither she nor I are native french speakers.
She dived into some spiel about cancer patients and horses and quantum physics. I should obviously be interested. I do work in a cancer research institute, after all, don’t I? Well, horses get cancer, and they’ve treated them, and their high frequency helps them get better. If I’m a cancer researcher, I should know all about this latest research. So we could apply that to patients. We could put the patients, when they’re not in the hospital, with the horses, and the low frequency of the patients which is keeping them sick, could be corrected by the horses and make them better.
Er, come again? Frequency? What frequency?
The energy frequency.
Ah, what energy frequency?
It’s quantum physics! You do have a notion about quantum physics, don’t you?
Indeed, I do have some idea of what quantum physics is about, and that’s precisely why I’d like a more coherent explanation here.
The horses have high frequency. They have good energy. Cancer patients have low frequency, bad energy.
The horses can transfer their energy to the patients and slow their cancer. It’s the immune system. Energy boosts the immune system. It’s quantum physics!
Like, duh!
Could you send me some references there, so I could study the issue before responding?
No, of course not. This has never been done. That’s why I’m calling, to start this project.

In another conversation, I may have been interested in hearing some details about how the caller imagined this research. It is well established that a robust immune system helps fight cancer, and many things can boost the immune system. Most notably (and neglectedly), well-being is good for immune function, so whatever we can do for patients’ well-being, whether it be sending them to the local thermal spa (in an actual ongoing research project), to having a hairdresser at the hospital, to keeping their social networks intact, we’re in favor of it.
But the way the caller browbeat me with her magic words, brandishing Quantum Physics! as if that made everything very scientific and I was quite dull not to grasp the obvious, the way she evoked real science (immune function) through the voodoo of “energy transfer” and “frequencies”, made me run.
Drop the smoke and mirrors and we can have a real discussion.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I don't think normal people live like this

I think I must win some sort of prize for procrastination.
When they changed the gas meter, it took me many weeks to get the gas back on, remember? Then I could increase my cooking range beyond what can be accommodated in a toaster oven, a coffee maker, a waffle iron (though, seriously, those take care of pretty much all my cooking most days of the week), and a barbeque grill in the yard.
After that, it took some weeks more to get the water heater back on line, so I could shower at the house & not just at the gym. (it must be admitted that my attendance at the gym has plummeted since home-showering came back into vogue – perhaps I had better turn it off again).
My water heater also heats the house, and its capacity to send hot water around to the various radiators has been sadly diminished since the little circulator thingy broke down. Like, diminished to zero. As you can imagine, my stamina is being tested. At what point will the sub-freezing temperatures break down my resistance to phoning the repair people?
Actually, I cheated on that one. A friend of mine (dear, sweet friend!) made the call, made the appointment, all I had to do was take that morning off.
The call was Friday, but do I have heat yet?
The guy came to check out the situation just yesterday, and since I’m renting and this sort of repair is the business of the owner of the house, he has to send a quote to the agency, and then get back to me. So there’s the paperwork delay. Then we were in the kitchen and he was washing some of the parts of the thing (I also needed a maintenance contract, so he did the maintenance that could be done), there was a new event.
Did I mention those sub-freezing temperatures?
Did I mention how poorly insulated this old house is? Especially the kitchen. There is, in fact, no point in putting the heat on in the kitchen, because by the time the radiator gets warm, my meal is cooked, eaten, and cleaned up already. Last winter, or maybe it was two years ago, I was away for a week, and that week it was really really cold but it wasn’t so cold before I left so I didn’t leave any heat on in my absence. There’s no thermostat: the heat is either ON, of OFF. I got home, and the fridge didn’t work any more. It isn’t made to heat, and it was colder in the room than what it was trying to keep my milk at.
The radiator in the kitchen sprung a leak. If one was going to go, let it be that one, the only one with no rugs or wood parquet in reach of the mess.
That’s another one for the agency. Plumbing is their domain. And the radiator must be replaced before the other guy can get the heat going again, so there’s some more delay on the horizon.
In view of all this, I went down to the agency this morning to get things moving, and they said they would have the plumbing people call me to arrange when to come over. No call so far. At least the temperatures are not supposed to get down below freezing again before the weekend, where they might just dip a bit below at night. The other radiators should be ok. And I’ve got a little electric heater that is quite comfy if you sit right in front of it. But for once I’m not the one holding things up!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

See header photo.

What are they waiting for, you might ask.
They are waiting for their anxiety to be assuaged. They are nervous, you see, not so much because their bowls are empty, as they’re just never empty. These cats are not actually hungry. If you put their bowls down, they’ll probably have a sniff and then go off for a nap.
But it was decided, after much mockery on the part of the visiting party and a serendipitous discovery at the bookstore, that Snoopy should have ribs.
Not ribs like at Missouri Barbeque, you understand, she would just get sauce all over.
We’re talking cat ribs. Those things you can feel under your fingers when you pick your cat up. If your cat has no ribs, then she needs to slim down, and Snoopy’s ribs have been on vacation for some time now.
So the catfoodbowls come up after a reasonable mealtime, and they don’t go down again until it’s Time.
Try explaining that to a cat who’s always had kibble at will. And the other one is just as nervous. They don’t like not knowing when their next meal is. They don’t like it at all. But they’re going to get used to it.

That was in December.
Got ribs yet?

Friday, February 10, 2012


So I was thinking of blogging, and realised I didn’t have the memory card with me to prompt me to remember what happened over my holiday vacation. There was more there than barbeque and walnuts and helping at the church dinner, after all. Then I thought
100 words !
Quick and easy !
What’s in the bucket ?
Mmm, nothing that grabs me. How about bucket, itself ?
A bright shining galvanized item, or cracked plastic home from the beach ?
Toss old rags in. A collection of odd bolts. Bird feed to scatter.  Upend it on your head.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The new spot halfway from Mountain Home to St Louis

If you happen to be travelling south of St Louis.
And if you happen to notice all those billboards for Missouri Hick BAR-B-Q (how could you miss them? If you are awake enough to be driving at all, you must see them.).
And if it's lunchtime, or nearly, or half past, or you've had lunch but it wasn't completely satisfactory and you're anywhere near Cuba (well, I guess if you're seeing the billboards you must be somewhere near Cuba), then you should definitely stop here for the barbeque.
Even if you're a vegetarian. In that case you can just go right to the blackberry cobbler, no messing around.
Go on.

Once you finally get home after your barbeque adventure, you will look like this. Cat included.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Black Walnuts

 There they are!
Get them! get them!
 Dad is picking oily black items off the ground.
Lots and lots of them.
So many we can barely lug them all back to the car.
 Although they don't look that numerous once you get them home and spread out on the driveway.
They weighed tons, really!
Now, how to get them out of their jackets?
One recommendation is driving on them.
So we did that. 
Back and forth, many times. 
But it took quite a lot of crushing and rolling them under our feet to get rid of the thick casings.
Next step: let them dry.
Last year Dad left them on the driveway, and the squirrels got them all.
This year he put them on the screen-porch,
and the cats had a great time watching the squirrels try to get them but fail.