Wednesday, February 25, 2004

So it’s time to update on the housing situation. We backed out of the deal on the house in East Lansing. We decided there was just too many issues. Had it been one or two perhaps we would have gone through with it, but 2 major and 3 minor issues were too many to deal with.

This left us in quite a spot though, as we had told the apartment complex we’d be out by March 13th! We were on the clock without a lot of time to find a place. We did see a few over the weekend, and in the end bid on one in a little Lansing neighborhood south of Mt. Hope Rd. and east of Pennsylvania Ave. Our bid was accepted and it looked like the homeowners would be out in time for us to move in before the 13th. Then they had a baby over the weekend! Understandably they didn’t want to move immediately with a brand new baby, so they asked for a March 26th closing date. This was problematic because we couldn’t live on the street for two weeks, but we talked to our apartment complex manager and changed the date of our moveout to April 1st. Good lord, it was a bit stressful. We’re still doing this all a bit out of order in my mind, but we keep moving along (my preference and recommendation to others is have the inspection and negoiation complete on a house before jumping ship on your current situation)!

Work is moving along. The toxicity study with antibiotics continues to move along, seemingly two steps forward and one back. At least it feels like progress. The other project I’m on continues to be elusive (or at least the results are not what we expect). I’ve been trying to quantify the levels of a compound called glutathione (a cellular detoxifier) in the mitochondria of liver cells, but the results keep coming back screwy. We think it’s the method of isolation, so I keep tweaking little things. I just finished it again today, so I’ll probably do the analysis tomorrow or Friday. We’ll see what comes of it! --------------------------CMN

Friday, February 20, 2004

Came across this on Fark.com. The subject was design a picture that is an alternative source of energy. I thought this entry was great:

Thursday, February 19, 2004

What is the latest to write about… lots of stuff it seems! First is probably the house. There are a few problems with it, two being major. One is the radon levels in the basement. We had a home inspector test the radon level and it was ~15. The EPA limit for safety is 3.9, so the house is over 3 times the safe level! There are exhaust systems to vent the gas, but we don’t know at this point if one will even work when the level is that high. I’ll probably try to call around tomorrow to find out what the story is on fixing that kind of thing. Second is water seepage into the basement. The neighbor’s house is uphill from the house we are interested in, so water runs downhill and sinks into the soil along the south side of the house. It then seeps through the cinder blocks into the basement, which makes mold very happy (there is a corner of the basement that is quite moldy). A French Drain may fix this, but that’s not cheap (probably ~$3000 to do it properly for both sides of the house). Troubling. Plus we’ve already notified the apartment that we’re moving, which means that we’ve got to be out by March 13th! Trouble all around it seems.

I’ve been having computer troubles of late. For some unknown reason (well, I’ve got suspicions as to the cause) files on my computer get corrupted occasionally. Normally Windows can fix this fine, but one file took a hit 2 days ago (SAMSRV.DLL) and because it’s essential for Windows to start unsurprisingly I couldn’t get Windows to start. I was able to get the old file off the install CD and boot into the Recovery Console to place it in the right location (if I didn’t know more than the average bear when it came to this stuff I’d be in a real tough spot) and get Windows to start. For some reason the graphics drivers (software that allows my video card to run properly) were also corrupted and had to be replaced. Did that and now everything seems to be back to normal.

Along similar lines, I downloaded and burned a copy of Knoppix 3.3. It’s an alternate operating system to Windows, based on Linux, and runs off a single CD. I fiddled around with Red Hat Linux back in 2000, but lost interest. From the looks of things KDE (the Windows-like user interface) has come a long way, and I may really enjoy fiddling around and getting to know it. First issue will be getting the darn modem to work (modems designed for Windows are notoriously difficult to get working in Linux)!

Work is pretty exciting thus far. The antibiotic project is moving along steadily, which is nice because my other project has been very difficult to get running (it’s be 6 months and I still haven’t seen what we expect). I think that’s enough for a single post.

Friday, February 13, 2004

So Ellie and I got the news last night that the bid we made on a house in East Lansing was accepted! Ellie almost immediately got on the phones to call just about anyone she could think of. It's pretty exciting for us! I've pasted in the picture that the City of East Lansing took for their tax records. It's probably 300 yards from the church where Ellie and I got married.


In other news my MSU job went full-time, so now my salary is higher and I've got benefits like health insurance (yeah me!). The lab work continues in earnest. Sometime I get a bit frustrated that I haven't produced anything in the way of publishable results, but I know I need to keep working at it until I can get all the techniques down. Once that is done I think the results should take care of themselves.

Monday, February 09, 2004

I've added a link for my favorite browser off to the right there. It's based on Mozilla but works great as a stand-alone web browser. It's got tabbed browsing, which once you get comfortable using you won't want to go back (think of being able to have your browser behave like a container, only one entry on the taskbar, with multiple sites you can look at by clicking their tab, like a recipe holder). Only problem is some website do not play nice with Mozilla (because the sites aren't written to the standards; most sites are written to work with Microsoft Internet Explorer which doesn't do everything according to the standard), but it works great for most sites.

All in all, it looks like OmniWeb 5.0 might have a best idea for tabbed browsing, but I don't have an Apple with MacOS X. I'll take Firefox instead!

More houses and more houses. Seems like the parade will never end. Ellie and I just cannot seem to settle on a place to settle. I think we've walked through at least 30, and we're adding on 2 more tonight. We saw a nice one in Haslett this weekend (we were just driving around and noticed an open house), but the asking price was $180k so we didn't dwell on it. Then we saw a townhouse that was very nice (again an open house we just happened to drive by), but was asking $230k. Definitely not during graduate school!

I got to talk to my brother Rob on Saturday. We talked a fair amount about interviewing at schools. He's going down to Texas A&M in March or April for an interview there in the Analytical Chemistry department. I don't know about the other places yet (Rob told me he had applied to 5 places).

Looks like paperwork is finally going through on my full-time position. It appears that it may start as early as tommorow, so that's good news. I'm just cruising around campus getting the signatures that I need.

I saw two movies this past weekend. I went to the cinema to watch Return of the King, and I watch Pirates of the Carribean (which was graciously loaned to us by Christie and Jeremy). I enjoyed both of them. I was suprised at Johnny Depp's performance in Pirates, it was pretty good. Not a really thinking movie, but entertaining nonetheless. Return of the King was quite enjoyable (ok, the end could have come at 3 different times and it would have been ok with me), but I think at this point it is the finest trilogy of movies to be produced. Bravo to Peter Jackson and the rest of the Lord of the Rings cast.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

True Majority

If you've got a few minutes I would like to recommend this little website for everyone. It's show animated presentation about the US budget and social issues. I thought it was a different perspective from what we hear from Washington at this point. I haven't checked the facts on it, so for all I know it could be incorrect or use misleading figures. Perhaps I'll need to do some more digging. -----------------CMN

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

There was some excitement at work tonight that I thought I’d post about. In the lab we use a device called an autoclave to sterilize instruments, equipment, and some solutions. It’s basically a big pressure cooker (about the size of a large oven). I put a solution in it today at about 3:30pm to sterilize, which normally takes 30 minutes of cooking then a few minutes to exhaust the steam. I checked the autoclave at 4:30pm before I wanted to get ready to go and it was still running. In fact it was running hotter than it was supposed to (137 degrees Celsius), and the pressure was higher than it was supposed to be. Basically it’s like a bomb. So I wait a little longer to see if it turns off and nothing happens, so I figure I better look for someone who know how to shut this thing down (buttons aren’t working at this point).

Being that it’s 5pm most everyone has gone home, so I call the Office of Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Safety (ORCBS), but they’re all gone too. So I have to instead call the Department of Public Safety, who sends a police office and the fire department, all to turn off an autoclave! The end of the story is that the university Physical Plant sent some guys over to manually turn off the steam running to the machine and then to carefully exhaust the contents of the machine. I guess it’s more boring that I thought… but now you’ve read it. :-) -------------CMN