Archive for February, 2008

Sophie has (another) job!

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Sophie (older now than in this pic) reports that she decided to take the job with a small hotel in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, despite some reservations about being isolated. Apparently she’s going to commute from a nearby town where she knows people. I’m not sure how, although she said something about ziplining.

Me and Sophie at the Lillys', Xmas 1995

I’ve been watching DVDs of Fawlty Towers lately, so that’s what I keep picturing. I’m not sure which role she plays: see photo below. I think she’s probably Polly (attractive young waitress, on left), although she might be Manuel (silly foreign bellboy, at bottom). Perhaps she can clarify when she posts about this on her blog.

I’m so proud to be a Floridian.

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

The Florida board of education just passed new standards that for the first time require teaching of EVIL-lution. However, only over this guy‘s objections.

Ganked from Think Progress, which has more details.

Oh, and here’s an editorial by Carl Hiaasen about the issue.

And I cannot tell a lie, I found out about this, as I do most of my news, by reading Wonkette.

A casualty of the ice storm

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

Going to and from work, I ride on County Road 543. This fall I took a picture of this really striking sugar maple:

Fall maple

And today I rode by and it looked like this:

Maple destroyed by storm

Or, from another angle, like this:

Maple destroyed by ice storm

Milestones

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

I just got an email starting out “This is to notify you that a 2008-2009 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for HANNAH GATHMAN was processed on FEBRUARY 15, 2008 and the data will be made available to the school(s) listed on the student’s application.”

This is, knock wood, the very last FAFSA I should ever have to file — I’ve done this (and often both FAFSA and CSS/Profile) annually since 1998, when Cabell was about to start at Truman.

When you have three kids, spaced about 3 years apart, your life has these large blocks of repeated activity that gradually pass by, sort of like a deer in an anaconda.  For Robin and me, it looks sort of like this:

1981-1989 — The decade of changing diapers.

1983?- 1997? — About a decade and a half of reading bedtime stories (includes several years of singing lullabies).

1986-1994 — The near-decade of dropping off, picking up, and occasionally forgetting (just me, not Robin) kids at school. (In 1994 we moved to the Schoolhouse and they started riding the bus).

1998-2004 — Six years of driving weekly to St. Louis for St. Louis Irish Arts. (Mostly me, not Robin). By the way, you can still go to the photo album that I designed and search by “who” for “gathman” and find a lot of pics of Hannah and Sophie. All done with ASP written in VBScript, worst excuse for a programming language on the planet. Also in this time period, a lot of traveling to Feises and Fleadhs.

1996-2005 — Decade or so of teaching kids to drive and worrying about them out somewhere with the car.

2003ish -> ? Indeterminate period of worrying about kids’ career, romantic, housing, and various other life choices.

Not that I’m complaining. I remember a long time ago, before Cabell was born, that sometimes I was bored. No longer a problem.

Exciting trip to work

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Since yesterday it was pretty warm and sunny, I decided this morning that I would ride my bike to work.  First Robin wanted me to get her car down the driveway (still covered with ice) to the road.  So, about 5:45 AM, Robin and I got in her car, I backed it up and cut to the side so I could turn it around, and … we were stuck.  After considerable rocking back and forth, etc., it was apparent that we weren’t going anywhere.  So, we got in my car, and it was no problem at all turning it around and driving it to the road, where she took over and sped off.  Then I hauled the garbage can out to the road for pickup, and walked back up the driveway.

I fell twice doing that.

Still, the roads looked good, and besides, Robin had my car, so I got the bike out and managed to walk it to the road.  No big problems until I got onto W, where my back tire went flat.

Not a problem.  I now have both a hand pump and a CO2 pump, as well as two spare tubes.  So I fixed the flat — fortunately I was near a pine tree with a bare patch under it, so I didn’t have to squat in the slush to do it.  I had a little trouble with the valve on the new tube, but still got it inflated, although a bit mushy.  Packed up all the stuff and headed on to Y.

Y had a few places that were shaded yesterday and still icy.  Then I got to county road 621.  Eeek.  This road is basically lined with trees right up to the shoulder, and it was all in the shade yesterday.  Much of it was still covered with ice, even though it had been plowed and sanded and salted.   I managed it by aiming for the spots that were the driest or most covered with sand.

Some areas were just lined with broken limbs and sawed-off downed trees that had been cleared from the road.  Every tree over 25 feet tall or so lost its top, it seems — a lot of people will be clearing debris from their yards for a long time.

Still, I got to town, and here I am.  I think I’ll leave pretty early to ride home.   Oh, and I’ll go get another spare tube before I head out.

Cool video

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

I’ve probably shown this to lots of people, but this video of cell biology is just really damn cool. Everything in it is consistent with the best models supported by current research, including the little kinesin proteins walking along the microtubules pulling vesicles. If you know some cell biology, it’s fun to watch and figure out what all the things are. If you don’t, it’s still pretty fun to watch.

My only caveat is that some stuff is too directional — when the tubulin proteins assemble to form a microtubule, they don’t swim toward the tip of the growing microtubule. They’re all in there bouncing around randomly, and when they HIT the tip of the growing microtubule, they stick. There are several examples in the video of this kind of directional movement that should actually be random. Easier to animate, I suppose.

Back to work.

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

It was clear this morning at sunrise.

Dawn

And I am actually in my office now. First time since late Monday morning. Getting out of the driveway was a little tense — where it slopes down to the road I didn’t dare try to stop, but fortunately there was no traffic on C. The major roads were all clear and dry. I really regret not having ridden the bike, actually. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow.

Still more ice, but the sun came out

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Front yard
The front yard.

The university was closed again today, and Robin’s school was too.  Tomorrow the high school is still closed, but they plan to open the university at 10 AM.   I think I can get to the road, and things are fairly clear now.   Not to mention, it’s supposed to thaw tomorrow.

I’m ready.  Three days in the cabin is long enough.  Of course, even tomorrow I won’t be able to ride my bike to work — roads will be icy until after noon.

More Ice

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Clothespins

The clothesline kind of says it all. But you can see plenty more pics on my Flickr page. This is the most ice we’ve ever had, I’d say.

Ice

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

We had a significant amount of freezing rain last night after I went to bed, and according to the news, Jackson is mostly without electricity.  No problems here, though.  I’m waiting for it to get light outside so I can go take pictures.  The university isn’t opening until 12:30 this afternoon, although unless there’s some major thawing, I’m not going to be driving anywhere anyway.