Saturday, January 21, 2017

Saturday morning things

* I over-estimated how much soil there was in the bucket my research student (plus special guest star hopefully-to-be-research student) sieved, so I have to sieve MORE.

There's something metaphorical about that.

Hopefully, though, next week, run 2 of the experiment will be a go. I still have to get cedar litter but once I have that it will be ready.

*Sieving soil is kind of boring and it's a little hard on the upper back. You have to shake the sieve once you've put the soil in it so the smaller particles drop down into the pan underneath. (You do NOT, and I tell students this but they ignore me, try to rub the soil through the sieve with your hands - it clogs up the sieve terribly and then you have to wash it with a jet of water and then WAIT for it to dry off - the sieves are brass. I always catch someone doing that and then the next person gets stymied in their timeslot to sieve. And yeah, the sieves do clog eventually anyway unless your soil is bone dry, which mine is not)

* Yeah, that's the glamorous life of a biological researcher. Most of my research doesn't cost much - so I tend not to write grant proposals - but it does cost time and effort. Once in a while I get a student who can do some of it but like now, I thought they HAD to have sieved enough but no. (They did an entire five gallon bucket full, which is a TON of work, but the soil is so fine that it kind of packs down....)

(I still have 30-odd Conetainers to fill, and at a rough estimate, it takes two runs of the sieve to fill one. I'm gonna be sore tomorrow).

* Updated (this post was in draft): I am now down to 12. And I found a marginally more efficient way to sieve.

* Already starting to think ahead to my birthday the end of next month. I need to come up with something to ask my parents for; they always want gift ideas (Ideally, for a practical gift; my parents tend to be practical people, which is why I buy my own darn Ponies and the like).

Not sure a new stockpot would do it for me; I very rarely use the one I have. I don't make large quantities of soup; not enough freezer space. If I want soup, one of my 4-quart Dutch ovens is the right size for it.

I keep coming back to "I could use some new, really good, knives" but sometimes people are funny and superstitious about knives as gifts.

For myself, I think I'm going to break my "no yarn or fabric purchases rule" (which thus far has held up, though I HAVE bought books and Ponies and other toys) and go to Quixotic Fibers and shop. And probably go out to lunch somewhere (Sadly, the day it will have to be - a Saturday - is not a day Lovejoy's is serving). I also kind of want to look around to see if any of the other towns out that way have anything at all interesting. (If I felt like driving as far as McKinney, I'd consider going to the Trader Joe's there - I've never been to one. But I kind of hate the traffic now).

I WISH there were a more "good food items" shop more readily available - a good cheesemonger, or a shop that carried more interesting import food. The Green Market has some things (I was able to get Stripey Jack cheese - my hands-down, absolute favorite cheese - there the last time I was in) but they don't have everything.

I dunno. My town often feels a little small to me, even more now that the quilt shop is gone and the paperback exchange is gone and the Hollow Tree closed....downtown is now a mass of mostly-empty storefronts, kind of like it was when I first moved here, and it makes me sad. ("For one brief, shining moment..." I didn't have to drive an hour for "fun" shopping).

One of the games I play, driving around town, is "Imagine what I would want there if this town was totally for me and me alone" - so the "smoke shop" on one corner would be a big import-foods store. And the empty storefront that was the yarn-and-quilt shop would still be a yarn-and-quilt shop. And there'd be an actual, non-Wal-mart supermarket, ideally one on the EAST side of town, nearer to where I live. And there'd be a large bookstore. And a few nice, cool restaurants (a coffee shop, maybe an Italian place, maybe an omelet place) within walking distance of campus - one reason people on campus never eat lunch together is the only "close" thing is the cafeteria, which doesn't lend itself to sitting and talking. (We don't have a campustown. I suppose it's because we've pretty much been a commuter school for the last 30+ years, but it makes me sad that there isn't one). And maybe a "revival" movie theater. And, and, and.

* I'm getting old. All the things I knew growing up that kids now don't - another one I hadn't thought of, but that came up on Twitter: UHF vs. VHF channels. The "2-13" band (VHF) and the "over 13" band (UHF). I don't know if it was so everywhere, but when I was a kid, the big networks were all in VHF and the indie channels, mostly (sometimes PBS also had an outpost there) were on UHF....

I guess that all changed when things went digital? And anyway, most people now have cable or satellite (or have "cut the cord" altogether and rely on stuff like Netflix).

I also remember the era of "local" educational programming on PBS - the Cleveland channel (I think it was 25) produced a lot of their own shows (there were several aimed at language arts; I remember one where a guy would do a chalk drawing of a scene from a book while he sort of summarized the first part of the book - the idea was, and it was often successful with me, it got you interested enough in the book that you wanted to read it to find out how it turned out). And there was Dragons, Wagons and Wax - kind of a 70s-fabulous kids' science show. The show part was kind of hokey but it had an animated intro that I loved, so I watched it for that. (Dragons, Wagons, and Wax was out of Cincinnati but that was still Ohio and still had that "local" feel as compared to slicker things like Sesame Street)

The first 45 seconds of this is the intro, much loved by me as a child. (Holy cow, that dragon could be Spike's big brother....)

Now everything is all national network, and it's not got that funky "handcrafted" feel some of the old programs had. I remember when I would get sick and have to stay home from school (not infrequently: I had lots of respiratory things as a kid), my mom would either let me lie on the sofa downstairs and watch the big tv, or, if there was a chance I was contagious (or if I was just so sick that staying IN BED in bed was preferable), she'd bring the tiny black and white tv from the kitchen (which we watched Del and Tom on in the mornings) and set it up on a chair in my bedroom. And I mostly watched the PBS educational shows, because the networks all had soap operas (which I hated) and actually, I kind of liked the educational shows, even when I was out of their age group. (I liked the funkiness, the amateur-ness, and the handmade quality....holy cow, maybe I **am** secretly a hipster)

Just yesterday I did my "you kids have no idea how good you have it" lecture in re: JSTOR and other article databases. I almost never have to set foot in the library any more (though that's not an unalloyed good, necessarily); the majority of my research reading is articles, and it's easier to download them as .pdf files from JSTOR or BioOne or some other database than it is to go to the library and photocopy the paper versions.

Also, I remember Biological Abstracts: big heavy books you had to leaf through by keyword to get numeric codes for articles published in that year. Then you looked the codes up in another book to read the abstracts (printed in teeny-tiny, eyestrain-o-vision type). If the abstract seemed promising, then you went and found the journal, or requested it from storage. It was arduous. I had to budget at least 2 days just to FIND articles - let alone read them. Now, in fifteen seconds, I can type in keywords and have more articles than I could read in a year pop up as links on the screen.

(Which is why I always give the side-eye to students coming in and going, "But oh, it's SO HARD to find articles online." They have NO IDEA what it's like otherwise.)

Edited to add:

* My glittery rings came, all the way from Greece! The maker (celdeconail - that is her shopname) included a nice happy note (and some hard candy, which I may not eat, because of tooth issues). That kind of thing just makes me happy - I can order something from halfway around the world using the internet, using a credit card with PayPal - and it comes to me in the mail.

The internet as a public thing didn't exist when I was a kid, much less Etsy or PayPal. Credit cards were far less common and I remember my parents not using them for "frivolous" things - they were for only very big things, like appliances. So yeah, I'm getting old, and some things I remember and liked are long gone, but there are also a lot of good things now.

Ring (forgive the wet hair; I had to wash it after being around soil with mold spores all day)

I have a blue one, too - but I decided I wanted to put the pink one on. It's more sparkly than what it shows up in the picture. I'm pretty happy. (The rings are adjustable - you don't have to order a specific size)

1 comment:

CGHill said...

Cleveland TV is much as you remember it, except that Fox is now on channel 8 and CBS has moved to 19.

And there's this irritating thing called the Virtual Channel, in which a station which has relocated can still be shown as its original channel number for marketing purposes. (CBS in Cleveland -- on 19 -- is really on 10, but all current sets show it as 19.)