Friday, December 23, 2005


Christmas is finally here! (I know it's not officially here yet, but for me the long weekend has begun and marks the beginning of the celebration for me). It's been a few very busy weeks for me at work, and I really needed the break. I haven't been running in a couple of weeks as Varian has been working with the system pretty much full time, which doesn't leave me any time to myself. It has been a great learning experience though, and very rewarding work, even though it has been non-stop. Anyway, today I finally got out for a run. The weather has drastically improved since the last one, and it is 60 degrees today but windy. I had to take it easy though as I gave blood this morning. I really notice how frustration builds up more easily when I don't run. I've really got to make the time for it.

This weekend holds a lot of food for us. Tonight we are going to go check out the new Qdoba near us to have a little break from cooking. Tomorrow we are having ribs, which is one of my specialties, and on Sunday I'll be baking a ham. That's a first for us, so hopefully it will turn out okay. Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Christmas time is here

Well with our Christmas party a big success yesterday, it really feels like the Christmas season is upon us. It was great to kick back this weekend with our friends, especially after the week I had. The cold day on Wednesday was only the beginning, it ended up with a major flood Friday at 5. It will be interesting to see how next week shapes up after that. Thankfully next week is the last "full" week I will have before I get a few 4 day weeks for the holidays. I can't wait!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Take a few days off...

...and you feel it when you get back. Man, that run kicked my butt today. 35 minutes, but barely. I was going a little too fast I think. Nice to get back outdoors though after being sequestered inside for three days. It got really cold here this week, but now we are almost back to normal. 30 degrees today, and nice and sunny. Had to get one in today, I doubt I'll have time this weekend. P-A-R-T-Why? Because I gotta!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I should have known... was going to be one of those days.

I got my first 3 am wake up call from the magnet today. It called to say that it was cold. Turns out the heat to the building went out. After driving in to see if someone was fixing the problem I returned home to try to get an hour more sleep. By the time I came back at 8:30, the heat still wasn't fixed and one of our fire sprinklers was starting to drip onto our spectrometer computer. When I went up into the ceiling to investigate I found that the pipe had frozen. Thus began the mad dash to get facility people in to turn off the water and drain the sprinkler system so that we would not get drenched. The heat is back on now, but for some reason the NMR room takes forever to heat up so I'm sitting here in my parka and sweater freezing my ass off. I have asked Melissa to pick me up early, I can't do anything else until we warm back up anyway. This sucks.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Okay, maybe I am crazy

It's 32 degrees out and there's a brutal wind from the northwest; I just got back from a run. 35 minutes, but I tried to run at a slightly faster pace today. I had my hat on to keep my ears warm, not bad actually. We'll see about Wednesday, it's supposed to be 9 degrees. Yikes!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Apparently I'm crazy

Melissa told me today that she thought I was crazy. Crazy like a fox! I had a long and tiring day yesterday and was not able to squeeze in a run even though it was a gorgeous day. Today we woke up to 3" of snow, but it is calm and 27 degrees so I was determined to go out for a run. It turned out to be one of the best. It was quiet and the snow cushioned every footfall. With a fresh white blanket of snow the world always looks so peaceful. That's one of the things I really missed while living in California. I found a great route around the local high school and even passed some cows on my way (that shows you how far into the suburbs we live). Could have gone forever but my circuit took 35 minutes. Now for some Christmas baking this afternoon.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Xmas FAQs

Okay, I rarely participate in these things but I could not resist. Christmas is just too important. Credit to my wife for starting this.

1. When is the best time to open presents?
As late as possible to frustrate those who are too anxious!

2. Have you been naughty or nice this year?
See above.

3. Real tree or imitation tree?
Real tree all the way, although I am embarrassed to say I do own a fake one. It was a good deal!

4. Favorite Christmas cartoon character?
Herb, the rhinoceros from a Claymation Christmas. Here we come a waffling!

5. Did you ever write Santa a letter?
I think only once or twice

6. Buy any Christmas presents online?
Not this year

7. Save the ribbon and paper or rip right through it?
Open slowly to increase suspense (see #1)

8. Sharing Christmas with family this year?
Yes, friends and family.

9. Ever ride in a one horse open sleigh?
No. Would you believe a one parent open wagon?

10. Ever roast a chestnut on an open fire?
No, I would really have to dislike Chest to do that. Who's named Chest anyway?

11. Favorite Christmas pie?
Mincemeat of course, is there any other?!

12. Favorite Christmas movie?
Scrooged. "Niagra Falls!"

13. Favorite Christmas song?
Currently O Holy Night (Josh Groban knocks this one out of the park), but O Come Emmanuel is a close second

14. People on your Christmas list; more or less than ten?
You put people on your Christmas list!? Weird.

15. Will you have a white Christmas this year?
Knowing Colorado, only in the morning

16. Do you believe in Santa Claus?
Of course!

17. Who would you like to kiss under the mistletoe?

18. Who gives the best gifts?
Santa! (see above)

19. Do you send Christmas cards?
Yes, begrudgingly.

20. What color best represents Christmas?
Red, thanks Coca Cola!

21. Do you own any Christmas music?
Can you say "Boney M"?

22. How many Christmas parties will you attend this year?
That I'm not hosting? 0

23. Does the postal worker get a gift this year?
Yeah, gotta give those guys credit. I wouldn't go for that whole neither rain nor sleet nor snow thing

24. Giving a present to a pet?
Yes. Will the pet appreciate the present? No.

25. Your shopping: All done, half-way done, just started, not yet started?
Not yet started. Yikes!

Blown Away

Good grief! I went on a run today after seminar and just about got blown away. The winds here are about 30 mph, which does not make the 33 degree temperature very pleasant. At least the sun was out. Regardless, despite a stiff headwind on half of the run I still managed to do my same circuit in 35 minutes. My ears are still red from it though, I need to get a little ear warmer!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Running update

I did get to go out running yesterday. It was chilly but sunny, so I ended up being hot by the end. Just a 35 minute trip, but it was a great pick me up for the rest of the afternoon. Hopefully I'll get out again tomorrow, but I have seminar at noon so it will be tough to find the time.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


What a game! I can't believe I got to watch my Eskimos win it in overtime. That was probably the best football game I have ever seen, down to the final minutes for the championship. Ricky Ray (the quarterback) really played a great game. I was thoroughly impressed with his ability to excel against a relentless blitz defense.

I thought I would add an anecdote to this post. The summer before I left Edmonton I won a call in contest for a TV station to meet some of the Eskimo players. We had no car at the time (nor could we afford the bus) so I had to leave 2 hours before the event to walk to the Eskimo house in Edmonton. I left the apartment on time (6 am) and got on the elevator only to have it break down with me in it. I wasn't about to let that stop me getting to see my Eskimos, so I pryed open the inner doors, found the safety release for the outer doors, and sqeezed through a two foot space to the floor below. I got there just in time for the event. In the end I did not win the tickets that were up for grabs, but I won an Eskimos baseball cap that I still wear to this day.

Way to go Esks!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Cable has not let me down!

I found out today that one of our HD channels is going to be showing the Grey Cup on Sunday! Woo hoo! That's worth the five extra bucks we pay for those channels. Last year I was hoping they would be showing the game in Vegas, but we were not at a big enough sports book to see it. So this will be the first year since we left Canada that I will be able to see the big game. To make matters even better, my Eskimos are in it. I hope they stick it to the Alouettes. I want to see them get plucked, all puns intended. Go Esks!

I got out for a nice run today, and since I bought a little bicycle pump a few weeks ago, Elijah was able to ride shotgun in the joggy stroller. Went a little longer than my usual 3 mile route and was out for 45 minutes. I'll probably take the weekend off to recover and try to add a little more mileage next week. I'm definitely feeling like I'm getting in shape again, just gotta keep with it. That will be harder next week when the weather is nasty. I'm going to build off this week's momentum though.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving here in the US (Canada had theirs already in October), one of my favorite holidays. I actually like the date for the US Thanksgiving more as it is so much closer to Christmas. It marks the beginning of the holiday season and kicks off an entire month of merryment. In preparation for this weekend's festivities I went for a run yesterday at work. It's still like 60 degrees here in Denver and it is nice to be out running in shorts and a T-shirt in November. We are supposed to get snow next week though. My run was only 35 minutes, but it was a good workout and it gave me the energy burst I needed for the afternoon. It turned out to be quite a busy day yesterday for me, even though half the campus jiggered off early. I paid for staying late though as the traffic was terrible going home. What normally takes me a half hour took me a full hour yesterday. I'm glad I don't have to do any more travelling this weekend.

In past years Thanksgiving has been a difficult holiday for us as we have not had any family to share it with. But we have always had wonderful friends who have opened their homes to us in the true spirit of the holiday. That is really what Thanksgiving has become for us. Now that Elijah is here, we will be cultivating our family's Thanksgiving traditions and I want Elijah to learn the kindness and generosity that should be associated with the holiday season. Thanksgiving is about thanking God for the gifts he has given us, Christmas is about thanking Him for the gift of Jesus Christ. We give gifts at Christmas to show our thanks for the gift God gave us. The holiday season is about sharing what God has blessed us with with others. The friends who have opened their homes to us have demonstrated this perfectly, and I want to do the same for others.

Elijah is up from his nap now, so we are off for a family walk. Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2005

What a day!

It's November 21 and it is 60 degrees here in Denver. It's hard to believe it's late fall. I decided that if I want to get out for longer runs I have to find a better time to do it, so today at lunch I went for a run around the campus. I found that if I went to the gym at lunch it was an hour and a quarter trip just for a half hour workout. So running at work fits the bill a little better. I went out for 50 minutes and covered a fair distance, both on streets and on a nice gravel trail. I could tell I had not been on a run that long in a while though, at 40 minutes I was really feeling it. I gotta keep with it though, the new home transition has been hard on me and my pants are not fitting as well as they used to!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Party Animals

Well we were party animals this weekend. We had our housewarming party on Saturday and a good time was had by all. I got to enjoy some of my scotch with some great friends, and Melissa even got to play her "Shout About Movies" game. Food was simple but tasty and drinks were plentiful. Our first guests showed up at three and stayed until ten. I can't remember the last time I had that much fun. In the midst of the preparation for the party I actually had time to squeeze in my half hour run! I got out again today and hit the gym for a half hour speed workout. It seems like I'm having problems finding more than half an hour to run, but it's better than nothing at least, and the speed work is good. I got on the scale at the gym though and I can see I have some work to do before Thanksgiving, which is next week if you can believe it. I couldn't.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


I had my dentist appointment today, and it was as pleasant as it could be with someone rooting around under my gums. Not much build-up of anything substantial. It's nice to have clean teeth though. They made me take an antibiotic before the cleaning though, which I have not had to do before. I'm not really happy about the idea of taking antibiotics for no apparent reason, but they seem to think that my heart murmur puts me at risk for a nasty infection with the bacteria that is introduced into my bloodstream during the cleaning. My doctor has spoken to me before about it, I just haven't really taken them seriously. This is just another example of something that was never an issue in the Canadian health care system but here is a big deal. I guess you get what you pay for, and that perhaps all the lawsuits here aren't all that bad if they are keeping doctors and dentists on their toes.

Speaking of staying on ones toes, I did not get to go out for a run yesterday like I was hoping. Melissa had her dentist appointment yesterday and I had to take care of Elijah. I thought I might take him out in the joggy stroller but the tires are flat and I threw out both of my crappy pumps in the move. I guess I need to get a new one. Anyway, I substituted a run yesterday for a long walk instead. Elijah and I took the *long* way to Safeway and ended up being out for an hour and a half. At my pace we probably covered 7 miles. All that fresh air must have got to Elijah though as when we got back he went down for a 2 hour nap. That was a nice treat for Melissa when she got home. I'm hoping to get out for a run tomorrow before the snow hits. Yes, it is 75 here today and tomorrow we are supposed to get snow. Welcome to Denver!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Car repairs

First off here's my accountability: I got to the gym today and went for a 25 minute run. I think the track there is about a tenth of a mile. I figure that because if I run at my 10 minute per mile pace it takes me about a minute to get around. Today was a speed workout so I alternated 2 minutes at a 10 minute per mile pace with 2 minutes at a 6.7 minute per mile pace. It was a good workout but not long enough. As I went at lunchtime I couldn't justify being away for too long. That coupled with the car trouble I had meant I could only spare a few minutes. But any amount of time is worth it I figure, especially when I'm trying to get back in the swing of things.

As for the car trouble, I pull into the parking lot and pull on my parking brake and the button pops off and flies into the windshield. So it took me about 10 minutes in the parking lot to figure out how to set the brake without the button. When I got back to work I called the Saturn dealer to see if they had the replacement part. They did, so I drove by there after work and picked it up. Twenty-five bucks and 5 minutes later the brake was fixed. I'm glad I didn't pay them to put it in as it was really easy and it would not have been worth the $75 worth of labor they probably would have charged.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Third Degree

As I seem to be getting the third degree from certain individuals, I will give a brief report on my running. The last time I blogged about it I had ramped up my miles to 20 in one week without introducing those miles gradually. I did end up paying for that and was achy the entire weekend after. Since then I have found the time to go running at least once a week, but not as much as I would like. It's a hell of a lot harder to find time to run with this job than it was before, so perhaps some accountability would do me some good. Last night, 30 minute 3-mile circuit, 450 calories burned.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Running update

Now that things are more settled with the house I've been trying to get back into the running groove. Last week I went running once, and this week I managed to go four times. Yes, even with the snow. The gym near my work has a jogging track, so I went there on Monday and Wednesday for my workout. I kind of like running at the gym as I can push myself a little more and not have to worry about running out of gas 6 miles from home. Also, on Saturday I went for a nice hour long run around our neighborhood. Of course it was gorgeous that day, and by today (Friday) the great weather has returned. So I decided to head out for a run today at lunch. So, four runs, probably about 20 miles, this week is a good starting point for my winter training. If I don't get into it now, it will be even harder to go out the door when it's cold and snowy out. The marathon in June is looming large in my mind, and although I won't start training in earnest for it until February, I should be consistently at 20-30 miles per week by then. Gotta start somewhere!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Trip to Home Depot

Well as I mentioned in my last post I had to mow the lawn this weekend. That required me having to buy a lawn mower, which apparently is not such an easy task this late in the season. I drove up to our local Home Depot hoping to buy a little electric mower that would easily handle our relatively small lawn. The week before we had been there and they had had a discount on fully assembled mowers, which we had no room for at the time. I thought nothing of it and assumed that they would keep a stock of mowers on hand at all times. So imagine my surprise when I asked someone if they had any lawn mowers (after looking unsuccessfully for about 5 minutes), to hear that they only had two. "Only two styles to pick from?" I asked. "No, just two lawn mowers." was the response. Ugh. So, not wanting to have to drive halfway across the city to find a mower I went out to look at them. Luckily there was a nice 4.5 HP Briggs and Stratton mower there that I approved of and, due to its clearance nature, it was only $70. So I decided to go for it, and I picked up a snow shovel while I was at it. Always be prepared I figure. So after a quick trip to the gas station to buy gas, I returned home with my purchases. Unfortunately the lawn mower did not come with any instructions so I kind of had to wing it. After I had put in oil and gas, and made several pulls on the starter it was evident that winging it was not going to work. But a few google searches later I had the instruction manual for the Briggs and Stratton engine that gave me the secret. Apparently their attempt to prevent people from chopping off fingers and toes had thwarted me from starting the mower at all. So after activating the safety bar, a single pull got me up and running. I picked the right day to mow the lawn too, as by the time Sunday night rolled around it was clear that the other item I had purchased would come in handy as well. By the time the snow ended yesterday we accumulated more than 16 inches. It was the wet heavy stuff too. Oh well, it's a lot easier to shovel when you know that it will all be gone in a couple of days, I'll probably be mowing the lawn again this weekend.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Friday, finally!

This week has been quite hectic for me and I am glad it is winding down now. At the beginning of the month I volunteered to give a talk for our Biomolecular Structure Program. At the time I had no idea what my schedule was going to be like, but I was interested enough to go out on a limb and say that I would do it. Originally the date was set to be the 28th of September, but fortunately it was moved to October 5. As all of our housing problems went down, the fact that I had to give a talk always was dwelling in the back of my mind, but there was nothing I could do about it. When we finally closed last Wednesday I breathed a sigh of relief and then realized that I now had only a week to prepare. But I figured I could make it. Then Thursday and Friday went by and so many things had to be dealt with at work that the talk got pushed aside. Oh well, I thought, I'll just work on it on the weekend. Well the weekend went by with chores and shopping, and still no talk. Ugh! Thankfully Monday and Tuesday were relatively quiet on the job front so I was able to dedicate two solid days to making the slides and practicing. When Wednesday came I was back in the groove and gave a good presentation. It wasn't one of my best talks (I caught myself using the word "basically" way too much) but it was pretty good and it seemed to engage most of the audience. I think the hardest thing to get over when giving a scientific talk is the fact that someone will always be drifting off during the talk. It doesn't seem to matter how good your talk is, some people just aren't interested and can't keep awake. That's my expereince at least. I did manage to keep the important people awake though and had some great questions at the end (that's always the best way to gauge if your talk hit home or not). I'm glad to have it over now though, and as this Friday winds down I'm really looking forward to relaxing this weekend. Sure, I have the lawn to mow, but that will not deter me from enjoying myself. Plus, I get to have pancakes tomorrow, and take Elijah to see the local fire station!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Relax? Who has time for that?

Well the weekend is over already, and it seemed like it was never there. There were so many things to do and buy for the house that we hardly spent any time there at all. Saturday we had a consultation with ADT to get our security system up and running again. Then it was off to Cherry Creek to get some new drinking glasses. This was something we had been putting off for a while, waiting for the move. We had lunch there then drove back, hitting the grocery store on the way home to get food. By the time we got back I just had time to vacuum before it was time to make dinner. Our dinner was great, roast chicken on the grill on a bed of potatos and onions. It's always good to have an entree that makes it's own side dish. We bought a nice bottle of wine to go with it and I was able to enjoy a glass of that with dinner. We decided to watch the Return of the King but by 9:30 we were too tired to finish it. Sunday we were up and out the door for church and off to our local mega outlet type store for more shopping. We hit Petco to get food for the cat, Bed Bath and Beyond for all sorts of house stuff, and Home Depot for new locks and other hardware items. By the time we got back from all that it was afternoon, and there was just time to eat and put all the locks on the doors before we were out the door again for a walk down Smoky Hill to the Safeway. Pizza dinner, and then we were in bed again by 9:30. Crazy! But the busy days were well worth the sacrifice as now I feel like the urgent chores have been done so that when I get home from work during the week I don't have a billion more things to do. Today I hope to go for a run for the first time in two weeks. Our neighborhood is on a huge hill, so I'm expecting to get my butt kicked.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Spam Comments

For the few of you who comment on this blog you will notice a new addition to the comment form. It will ask you to verify the word that is printed in the window before your comment will be added. I'm getting tired of deleting spam comments every time I post, so this should thwart those wiley comment-bots.

Boy oh boy what a ride!

I haven't posted in a while so I thought I would break the silence. It's been a roller-coaster ride the past two weeks, but now that it's over I feel like I can address everything that went down. The last day I posted I hinted at some of the issues associated with the loan that had come up. They were all annoying but not insurmountable. It usually involved me having to fax over some piece of information to verify this or that. But on Monday the 19th a bomb got dropped on us. The bank told us they could not give us a loan for the house. This happened 5 days before we were supposed to close, and on the actual loan commitment deadline. We were devastated. By the end of the day we had a single long-shot to go on, but were not going to be able to make the commitment deadline, meaning our earnest money ($2500) would have been lost if we could not buy the house. We were assured that by Tuesday we would have an answer yes or no. Needless to say having this all happen well after it should have (all the problems we were having were immigration related and should have been caught during the pre-approval stage) got Melissa all riled up and she started kicking butt and taking names. By the end of Tuesday the answer was no, but another option had become a possibility. Our original loan could not happen but the bank was willing to try to push through a different loan (which ordinarily would have required a 25% down payment for non-permanent residents) with our 5%. But we would have to wait until Wednesday. Finally Wednesday came and we got the new loan. Being completely jaded by the whole process, I was not willing to count on anything anything until the keys were in my hands. That happened yesterday. So now having lost our hopes and dreams, worked through anger and depression, lived with cautious optimism, and moved-out, closed and moved-in in a single day, we can proudly say that through it all we survived an are now homeowners.

Looking back at it now I can see the hand of God moving in all of it. God saved this house for us, it was on the market for months before we saw it at a higher asking price. God got the loan for us, if the immigration issue had been caught at the beginning of the process we could not have got a loan at all and would not have been able to even look at houses. Because the bank messed it up they were willing to go out on a limb to get us the loan we got. I have learned a lot about the way God works through the past few months. He gives us blessings and miracles everyday, but never hands them to us on a silver platter. Like a good Father He wants us to learn and grow from every experience. This means that He will always have his will done in the end, even if we have to do some of the legwork. Would we have got the loan without Melissa's complaints? Would I have got this job if I had applied for it right away? Would I have been able to take this job on our current visa if I didn't know what I've learned about immigration through our time here? Probably not. All of these issues we've had have been God's design. It's easy to forget about your faith when everything goes your way, it's only in the hard times that we really remember who is in charge. Needless to say I will be asking my saviour to bless our house tonight with a dram of Ardbeg; one of God's gifts for another.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bluetooth Kicks Ass

On another note, I got a new phone this week. My old one was two years old, and Verizon allows you to get a $100 credit on a new phone when you sign another two year contract. So It gives you a little scratch to buy the more expensive models. I bought the Motorola E815, which I have been waiting more than two years for. When I bought my laptop in March of 2003 it came equipped with the ability to communicate wirelessly with Bluetooth enabled devices. But when it came time to get my new phone the last time, Verizon still had no Bluetooth enabled phones. So I went without. It turned out to be fairly good timing, because soon after Verizon picked up the Motorola V710, which was Bluetooth equipped, but hamstrung into only accepting connections from a Bluetooth headset. This phone turned out to be one of Verizon's biggest fiascos in the geek community, as Verizon kept stating that they would release a software upgrade that would allow the V710 to communicate with computers, but they never did. The end result was a phone that would not do anything you would want a Bluetooth device to do, mainly sync contact and calendar information wirelessly with your computer. Earlier this year the E815 was released and has had not much but rave reviews. The Bluetooth is now functional, and can be used to sync with your computer. Of course Verizon states that this is only possible with the purchase of their connection kit, but those of us blessed with an Apple computer can accomplish this seamlessly with iSync, which comes with the computer.

Anyway, I was happy to have a new toy and I was all set for a day of geekdom setting up the phone with the computer. Unfortunately, Apple foiled my plans and within 5 minutes I had set up the phone and synced all my contacts and calendar info. It was too easy. It works absolutely perfectly, every time I change a contact or appointment on my computer with one click it's on my phone too. And the opposite is also true, with one click all contacts I've added to my phone are on the computer. And my phone doesn't even need to leave its holster. This has been very useful at work as not a day goes by now where I don't have someone that I need to add to my cell phone. Now I just need to get a headset, as it always seems that someone is calling me when I'm driving to or from Boulder. Man, there was a time when I was embarassed to wear my phone on my belt, now I'm talking about a headset! What a difference a different kind of job makes.


I can't believe that some people buy more than one house in a lifetime. Or worse, refinance! Every day it's something different with these people. I keep telling myself that at the end of this I will finally be in a house but as the closing date draws closer all these issues and questions just add to my stress level. I just have to make it through 8 more days.

Friday, September 09, 2005

This vacuum sucks!

Well our new vacuum cleaner was delivered yesterday. Our old vacuum we got when we were married and it has lasted 8.5 years, but it was pretty much useless by the end. There was almost no suction at all. So we decided to buy a Dyson, which everyone seems to go on and on about. We found one on that was factory reconditioned and considerably cheaper than the new ones. Since we knew we were going to be buying a house I wanted to make sure that the old vacuum never got a chance to (not) clean it. Plus we will be able to give the apartment a good cleaning when we move out. We tried it out last night for a bit and the suction is incredible. It pulled up a ton of dust from just a small patch of carpet that had been "cleaned" just a few days before. Plus I no longer have to worry about buying bags. Needless to say, I may actually enjoy vacuuming this weekend.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Home Inspection

Yesterday we had our home inspection done. It was a really neat experience, and I got to know the home we are going to buy a little better. The Inspector had no major comments, and even went so far as to say that our next home buying experience will probably be a disappointment as there are so few houses in as good shape as this one. When you are spending this much on something that sure is a comfort to hear. Melissa was also busy during the inspection measuring everything to see where our stuff will fit best. And she took lots of pictures so that everyone can see a little more of the place. Only 15 more days for us, we can't wait!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Under Contract

Well after much hunting we finally bagged a house. And because it was a long weekend everyone was anxious and we were able to get under contract by Friday afternoon. Melissa has posted some pics on her website. It's a two story, single family dwelling, 1700 square feet with a 300 square foot unfinished basement. It satisfied all of our principle requirements (garage and a big kitchen) and all of the secondary requirements (too many to list). We close on September 23, and move that week. We are out of the apartment September 30, which coincides with the end of our lease. So it's going to be a busy month for us.

Today we are off to Peet's for a cup of tea, and a little shopping at Sears. We're hoping to see if there are some Labor Day sales for things we need. We might do a little furniture shopping too as now we have more rooms than we have furniture. Here's hoping for good deals!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

House Hunting

Today is a big day for us, we are going house hunting. We are looking at places that are close to our church. We can't live close to work so we might as well try to live closer to our church community and friends. So hopefully we'll find something we like. We are hoping to move sometime in October, so time is not on our side. The boy is growing fast, and this apartment is not keeping up with him. I had a long week last week, busy, but fulfilling as usual. We have the spectrometer almost completely set up, and just have most of the remaining tests to run. But the major tests are all passed, and the system seems to be functioning as it should. Also, on Friday we were able to get everything moved into its final location, and all the cables organized. It is very neat and tidy now, just the way I like it. I finally broke into that scotch that I got free at the ENC this year. It is McClellands Lowland malt, basically a 4 yo bottling of a lowland distillery. It is renamed so that it's young age does not affect the good reputation of the distillery itself. I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised, but was not. Initially it was a very nice malt, not too strong an attack, with decent flavor and aroma. Nothing really stood out about it, but it was not bad. Unfortunately the aftertaste kicked in, with very chemical flavors. I almost couldn't finish it. Oh well, it was free at least, nothing ventured nothing gained.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Another week

Yikes, another week without blogging. Unfortunately I've just been too busy. I barely even had time to update the news page for the magnet website. I did reasonably well on the exercise front though, I went for 4.3 miles in 30 minutes on Monday and for almost 5 miles on Wednesday in 40 minutes. Today I was just too pooped from work to even think about going out. I'm not sure about tomorrow either as I have to go into work. So Sunday may have to be the day. It's supposed to be much cooler here this weekend so it will be good weather for it. I haven't been sleeping too well lately. There is so much to do at work right now that I find it difficult to shut my mind down. I have no problem falling asleep as I am usually pretty tired, but then I wake up at 4 and can't get back to sleep. It's good because I'm so busy at work that I'm finding it really enjoyable and fulfilling. I just need to be able to turn it off when I go home. Oh well, things are progressing really well with the magnet, so it should start settling down soon. Well, time to hit the sack, hopefully tonight will be better.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Lazy Ass

That's what I've been for the past two weeks. The last time I went running or worked out was almost two weeks ago. That's going to change this week, I'm determined. Today was a perfect day for running, overcast and 56 degrees, so I finally took advantage of it and went for a long run. 8 miles, 80 minutes. So it seems my endurance hasn't dropped too much this summer, it just seemed that way due to the difficulty of running in high temps. It sure makes me realize how much more energy it takes to keep you cool while exercising in the heat. So this week I have to kick it back into high gear, too much work and not enough exercise makes me a very unhappy man indeed. The work is very fulfilling though, so it's easy to get caught up in it. Unfortunately there are not enough hours in the day. Well gotta get on dinner, it's BBQ chicken pizza tonight I can't wait.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Chicken of the VNC

This week I was doing a lot of UNIXy stuff on the computer that is due to run the spectrometer. Since it is not being used right now, it is a great time to get these things taken care of. Some of the problems that I had this week I was not able to fix to my satisfaction, but the main problem I did fix. That was to set up the computer to accept VNC connections. Essentially a VNC server allows you to run a computer remotely without taking too big of a hit on speed. When done properly it can be fairly secure as well. We were having a lot of problems running the program that runs the spectrometer, which is the only program that we want to run really. But it turned out that by setting a few strange variables associated with the program we were able to get it going. So I spent most of the afternoon writing a few scripts to make sure that the connection is set up properly without requiring too much knowledge on behalf of the user. I'm glad I got it to work though as it made for a satisfying end to the week. For those of you still mystified, Chicken of the VNC is a VNC client (a program that allows you to connect to a VNC server) for the Mac, I just thought the logo was great.

Friday, August 05, 2005


Boy what a week. I'm glad that is over. I felt like I was running behind all the time, and never had enough time to get everything done. But I did, and I am ready for next week now. I took a trip to Boulder yesterday and barely had enough time to get around to all the places I needed to. It was raining as well which made it not so pleasant. Hopefully now I won't have to head out there again for another couple of weeks. I'm trying to get reestablished at UCHSC, and am hoping I can get a mailbox there rather than having to go all the way to Boulder to check my mail. There are definintely a lot of issues to work out with this complicated appointment, but I was anticipating that anyway. I was just hoping to have a little more time to transition.

Well, tonight I think Melissa and I will go to Cherry Creek North and hit Peets. I want to swing by the Apple store and check out the "Mighty Mouse." For those of you who don't know, hell has officially frozen over as Apple introduced its first multi-button mouse. Just in time too, I'm in the market for a mouse for work. We are going to a friends place tomorrow for a picnic, and then with church on Sunday this may be our only chance to go.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Well, I have officially been erased. I sent my letter in to the department yesterday to say that I was changing jobs and today all record of my working with UCHSC was gone. No more email, no more security access, no more nothing. So hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to sort out everything in Boulder and transfer my identity to there. It really pisses me off actually because if you put in for a raise or change in benefits or something it takes more than a month to be processed. But this, one day. I just don't get how ridiculous this campus can be. Oh well, enough ranting. I have another big complaint, but it involves the behavior of a the representatives of a major company. I can't afford a lawyer, so I'd better just not go there even though their comments are hurting our facility.

Our webpage is really coming along, go check it out and make comments for us. If something doesn't work for your browser we want to know about it.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

First day!

Well officially I guess tomorrow will be my first day at my new job. I say officially because I've kind of been doing a lot of it already. But now that it is official I will be able to do a lot of the things that I could not technically do before. Like ordering items for the facility. And of course I'll be able to move into my office. I think it will be a little busy and a little exciting all at once.

Today I got new jogging clothes from Target. Very nice shorts with built-in "support" and a great shirt that wicks moisture away from your body. Maybe now I'll be able to go running in 100 degree weather without going topless. For me it's a neccessity as a T-Shirt is just too hot and I don't really care what other people think after about mile 3. But I worry about the safety of others, one day the glare of sun off my pasty white chest is going to blind some poor driver. That would be bad. So hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to take them for a spin. They were a great price ($24 for both) so if they work out well I may go back for more. Melissa made me get these after I told her that I would not do certain stretches in the gym due to the translucent nature of the worn material in certain areas. Yikes!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Road Trip!

Well we went to Boulder today to get all my final paperwork sqaured away. I had to pick up a computer as well to use temporarily in the facility until we get our own. We parked in the reciprocal (meaning that I could use my UCHSC parking pass to park) parking lot and walked to the Chemistry department. Boulder has a great system of walking/bicycling trails so it was easy to get there, but navigating the buildings with a stroller was a bit challenging. Once I had that all sorted out we walked up Broadway to Pearl street and up the outdoor "mall," basically just a pedestrian only street with lots of shops. We found a nice bakery/cafe to eat lunch in and then went back to campus. Boulder is a beautiful town, a bit weird, but beautiful. It will be nice to be able to go up there more often now. Apparently I can get a discount on the bus up there with my ID card, so I'll have to look into that option for getting there. It might be nice to zone out with my iPod occasionally while someone else does the driving. Especially in the winter.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The last minute

Well, as expected everything came together at the last minute for our visa. So it looks like Monday I'll be officially starting the new job. We're off to Boulder tomorrow to bring in our new documents and sign paperwork, etc. Also we'll try to see some of Boulder in the best way to see Boulder: on foot.

Things are looking pretty good for the magnet, we've started a Magnet Blog to deal with some of the more facility related announcements there. So you can check that out if you are curious. Plus we'll be working on the Rocky Mountain Regional 900 MHz NMR Facility website quite a bit in the next little while, so look for changes there too.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Weekend Off

Well this has been a great weekend off, I've caught up with my chores and still had some time to relax with the family. Today was a little cooler too (91) which was nice. This week will be hectic at work for sure, we will be bringing the magnet up to full field, assuming it does not quench spontaneously. This will take three full days, and if we start Tuesday morning we should know if the magnet will persist or not by Friday. That coupled with the paperwork I have to take care of will make it pretty busy. I'm going to try to regularly go to the gym though as I have been dragging these past couple of weeks without it. It's amazing how much more energy I have at the end of the day if I've had a workout. Friday is pay-day, if all goes well it will be the last pay-day with my small salary. It could not come at a better time, this month has taken us right to the bitter end. God has really answered the prayers we have been sending up all year, this job could not have come at a better time, and I could not have been more of an underdog for getting it. There's no question in our minds that God has provided for us and will continue to do so.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Well if anyone was wondering if it was possible to run 5 miles in 100 degree weather then the answer is yes. If anyone was wondering who would be crazy enough to run 5 miles in 100 degree weather then the answer is me. Actually it wasn't as bad as you might think. This was my first weekend off since we were in Edmonton, so Melissa and I ventured off to Cherry Creek North this morning. We ended up wandring around and window shopping. Dreaming mostly. With the prospect of buying a home looming it's easy to dream big. I really enjoyed getting out of the house with the family and it did not seem too hot. So by the time we had finished grocery shopping and come home I had decided that I would go running despite the heat wave. I haven't been out since Monday, our last day in the low 90s. I prepared for the run by drinking 4 big glasses of water before my lunch, which I knew would work its way through my system in about an hour, just in time for my run. As I was taking Elijah out with me I packed two big water bottles and a bottle of Gatorade into the jogging stroller. Then both of us lathered up in sunscreen. By the time I had finished the run I had gone through both water bottles and a few sips of the Gatorade. I was glad to have finished the full 5 miles as it has been a while since I've been able to do that, and I've been trying to get back in shape. It took me about 50 minutes which is off my best pace, but pretty reasonable for a hot run. I've been keeping hydrated ever since. So with the right amount of preparation running in this heat is very doable.

I'm glad I was able to go, this week has been pretty stressful. I've been trying to get my visa all sorted out so that I can start at my new job on August 1. Unfortunately as it seems to take at least a day for anyone to get back to you and with miscommunications and weird hours for certain offices it has taken a full week to accomplish what should have taken a day. Now I need to get a few letters signed and hopefully it will all come together next week. But for sure it will be at the last minute. This doesn't help my stress level at all though. Things aren't as bad as I had thought though because when we donated blood on Tuesday my blood pressure was 132/82. That's pretty good considering I've been slacking on the working out and jogging, and have been drinking a little too much coffee lately. Well, it's a busy week this week, and I'm sure everything will come together by the end of it. Gotta go, Melissa's making dinner tonight and I have to watch the boy.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Message for Dr. Armstrong...your magnet is calling

Well starting this week I am officially on call. The system that keeps the magnet up and running is set up to contact me if something goes wrong. This morning I got the first call. Fortunately it was at 8:30, and not 3:30. But as I was going to drive Melissa to the doctor (see Dame Limps-a-lot) this sort of put that plan out the door. It turned out to be an alarm that was not yet set up so I really didn't have to rush in, but it gave me a taste of what's yet to come. Oh well it's part of the job I suppose. I surprised Melissa by coming home early (5 o'clock) and was able to get out for a run this evening. Man am I out of shape. I'm going to have to get serious, I'm thinking about running in the breast cancer race for the cure in October. Anyone who may sponsor me let me know, if there's enough interest I'll do it for sure!

Saturday, July 16, 2005


Today the magnet reached the lambda point. For lower frequency systems, the magnet coils are cooled to superconducting temperature by liquid helium, which is about 4 degrees Kelvin, or -269 degrees celcius. For larger systems like the 900 however, the magnet is cooled by superfluid helium. This is accomplished by cooling the liquid helium with a fridge system. Essentially this is just a big coil of tubing inside the magnet can that you can flow a small amount of liquid helium into, and is pumped with a vacuum. Under vacuum, the evaporation of the liquid helium cools the coil and the surrounding helium just like the evaporation of sweat from your skin cools your body. Using this fridge system the temperature of the helium surrounding the magnet can be cooled gradually (over about 30 hours) to 2.17 degrees Kelvin. At this point, called the lambda point, the helium becomes a superfluid and behaves completely unlike a normal liquid. In the case of the magnet, the lower temperature of the helium lends stability to the superconductivity of the wire, and allows the magnet to be brought to 900 MHz. Right now the magnet is energized to about 675 MHz, and will be left to stabilize at 2.17 K for the next week before being brought to full field.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Ahh, Ardbeg

Friday night I broke into my new bottle of Ardbeg. I had been saving it just in case I got to celebrate a new job. It was all that I had been hoping for. I had forgotten how great an experience it is. That initial sweet taste, and the follow up smokyness. The incredible peety aroma, yet no one thing dominating. It is like a great play, where each actor has a role to play, and each does so superbly. From The Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch by Micheal Jackson, Ardbeg "skips sweetly along at first, then becomes mean and moody," an apt description I think.

Today the magnet went through it's test quench. Normally a quench is something that is naturally part of a magnet installation, but never planned. With the 900 system, however, the magnet is designed with an Energy Management System (EMS) which must be tested before installation. Essentially, there is so much energy in the magnet (remember two 40 ton trucks hitting a brick wall at 100 miles per hour) that if it were to quench accidentally it would destroy itself in the process. So the EMS is used to "safely" quench the system if it starts to quench. The EMS consists of a set of capacitor banks that remain charged at all times. The system monitors the potential across each section of the magnet coil constantly, looking for sudden changes, indicating a quench is about to occur. Remember the magnet is superconducting, so normally there should be no potential across the coil. But when a section becomes resistive, the potential increases rapidly. This induces a large negative potential in the next section as the quench spreads. The EMS system looks for this signal in the magnet, and if it detects it, it fires all of the capacitor banks, routing all the energy from the magnet into big quench resistors that can safely dissipate the power. By doing a test quench (i.e. manually setting off the capacitor banks), the system can be tested to make sure that it will work if it is required. Now that the test quench is out of the way, the magnet can be energized to full field, a process that will take a full week to accomplish. That is assuming that there are no "unplanned" quenches during the process.

Hopefully over the next few weeks I'll be able to finish up most of the work I have left to do from my post-doc. The timing of this job was particularily good as the major projects I signed on to do were pretty much wrapped up. We just need to get this manuscript out the door. Once I finish with that I'll start the transition to the new position. I'll likely be setting up a "facility blog" where I can discuss more formally the goings on in the facility and interact with users a little more. I'll set up a link to that when it's up for those of you who may be interested in these matters.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Big Day

Well, I've been waiting a long time to be able to say this, but now I can. I got the job that I was going for! I will be running the facility for the new magnet at UCHSC. It's a great opportunity and I am really excited with the prospect of building it from the ground up. I have a lot of great ideas that I want to pursue, but at first it's going to be a lot of work getting things going. It means a permanent job (i.e. one that does not have a set end date) for me though for the very first time. I feel all grown up. I'm sure I'll be posting more as things go on, for now I'll end with a quote from the Tick that seems fitting given my new job.

Tick: Arthur, you have no historical perspective. Science in those days worked in broad strokes. They got right to the point. Nowadays, it's all just molecule, molecule, molecule. Nothing ever happens big.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A bold acquisition

Well as this was originally a scotch blog I think it is fitting to announce that I have finally bought a bottle of Ardbeg 10 yo. This was the biggest "must have" on my list for quite some time and was an absolute steal at $55 CDN. I am looking forward to cracking this one open, but I will wait for a very special occasion to do so. We got it at Crowfoot Liquor, which is a huge store right up the street from my parents place in Calgary. They had a very large selection, and a few hard to find in the US bottles. One of which was the Ardbeg I bought, and a 16 yo Lagavulin as well. There were some rarer bottlings as well but nothing spectacular, just a very good selection of good single malts. Now I know where to go when I come up north.

Last week I had an opportunity to visit NANUC which is the facility that houses the 800 at the University of Alberta. The folks there are great and they have done an amazing job of running the facility there. I hope that the 900 facility will be on this level as well. We had a good time visiting with the Edmonton folks as well, it's great to see old friends again, especially when there is lots of Kokanee to accompany. Thanks Lisa and Chad for making that happen. We have a couple of days left in Calgary now to see family here, and then we head back home. I am a bit anxious to get back as there will be a lot happening with the magnet in the next couple of weeks. I did get my passport though, so it should be smooth sailing hopefully.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

You leave Canada, eh!?

Well, I made it into Canada okay. I'll be off to get my passport tomorrow and then pretty much everything will be squared away. It's a nice day here today, although it's cooler than Denver for sure. It'll be nice for a run for sure. Melissa and Elijah arrive tomorrow, and I miss them already. Well it's only a few more hours away.

Happy Father's Day

I'm off to see my dad today. Although it means a trip to Canada, I'm still looking forward to it. Passport Canada really screwed me on my passport this year, but to their credit they mostly fixed it. Unfortunately I have to enter Canada with my birth certificate though, so I don't know how that will go. I've never crossed borders without a passport before. If all goes well I can pick up my passport tomorrow in Calgary. Hopefully the re-entry will not be too much of a hassle.

I'm probably the only one who finds this funny

Thursday, June 16, 2005

It's about time...

Finally! It's been a week and two days since my last run. Today I got home at a reasonable time and it did not thunderstorm so I was able to go out for an hour. I took Elijah with me in the joggy stroller, which takes a bit more effort to push. Also he started crying with about a mile and a half yet to go so I had to book it home. That boy is going to make a faster runner out of me. That or give me a heart attack.

I'm small and tricky!

What Video Game Character Are You? I am a Thrust-ship.I am a Thrust-ship.

I am small and tricky - where you think I am, I probably am not. I can work very fast, but I tend to go about things in a round about way, which often leaves me effectively standing still. I hate rocks. Bloody rocks. What Video Game Character Are You?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Job Interview

Well, I've been quiet lately on the blog front as I have been really busy at work. And today I had a job interview that I've been preparing for as well. It went well, but I don't really have any idea what the result of it will be. I haven't really wanted to talk much about it as I did not really want to get too excited. But now that it is out of my hands I feel a little better about the whole thing. We'll see what happens I guess. Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Mmm, Iced Tea!

Had a great run today for a little over an hour. It was hot, but I took it fairly easy and did alright. When I got back I had iced tea and scones. Melissa bought me an iced tea blend from Peet's, and I made up a small batch of it at lunch and put it in the fridge to chill. So it was a great after run refresher. I've started to enjoy iced tea more now, and I will often drink it if it is available. I like the fact that it is unsweetened here and I can add as much or as little sugar as I like. Canadian iced tea is too sweet. Although I have to say that homemade is on a whole other level than the crap you get just anywhere. Peet's rocks!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Rainy Day

Well the rain that I experienced this morning just got worse as the day went on. It was pouring until about 2 in the afternoon, then the sun came out. So we were able to have a short family walk, but still get most of our chores done. I also baked scones for our afternoon tea, which were excellent.

In other news, the worldwide developers conference is on Monday, and I'm looking forward to seeing what announcements await from Steve Jobs' keynote. The rumors are suggesting that Apple is going to switch to Intel chips from the current PowerPC line. This would be a huge shift in policy, and I think it is unlikely, but you never know. In any case it will be an interesting announcement I'm sure.

Well, gotta go give the baby his bottle!

Running in the rain

Well today I got up early and started getting ready to go running. We got a jogging stroller from some friends yesterday and I wanted to take Elijah out and hopefully give his mom a chance to sleep in. It was kind of gloomy though, and by the time we were ready to go it was raining. But I was determined and I decided to go out anyway. It was not too bad as I was generating enough body heat to not notice the dampness of my clothes. By the time we got back we were dripping wet, but happy. I was refreshed and Elijah was asleep. It turns out mommy was not able to sleep in, but did get a nice hot bath. So everyone was happy.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Morning person

Well, after a week of not going out running, I've decided that I need to be a little more proactive to get out and do it. Mostly I've been trying to go out after work, but with the magnet going in I've been too tired, or too late to go. Also, I've been wanting to spend time with Melissa and Elijah, and have often opted for long walks instead of runs. So with the arrival of much better sleeping patterns from Elijah I think now is the time to get back into going out in the morning. So tomorrow I'll be up bright and early to have a bite to eat and head out for a few miles. I'm hoping this will help with getting things done at work too. We'll see I guess.

Things have slowed down a little with the magnet installation. It takes a lot of time at each stage to check and recheck all the parameters. It's good though as it has allowed me to do some of the things that have piled up. All our equipment is now up and running again so we can do experiments again, and I have time on the 500 tomorrow to run some samples.

I got to watch the Incredibles last night, which was very entertaining. I enjoyed it partly because it was a good movie, and partly because Melissa and I were able to watch it with relatively little fussing from Elijah. It felt like old times again. I really liked the relationship between Mr. Incredible and his wife (Elastigirl), it reminded me a little of the relationship that Melissa and I have. At any rate, I really liked it, and I will have to check out the special features later.

Monday, May 30, 2005


I've been really lazy this past week. I haven't been running since last Monday. I did go to the gym though so I'm not totally out of it. With the long hours at work it has been tough getting motivated to go. Although we had some good running weather this weekend, so I have no excuse. Oh well. Elijah has been pretty good this weekend, sleeping reasonably well. Although I'm glad that I did not have to get up at 5 for the Bolder Boulder today. In other running news, I have decided against running in the half-marathon in June. I'm just not quite committed enough to training right now, and really the money is not there for it. I may cave and buy a water bottle belt for those hot summer runs. We'll see how things go with the trip to Canada and all.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Hits close to home

I think everyone has had a computer like this, some people still have theirs!

Installation Pics

Check out the pictures from the installation of the 900 MHz NMR at UCHSC.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Since it's going around...

100 lesser known facts about me:

1. I think that banana is one of the funniest words

2. I love sleeping with the sheets all tucked in

3. I like serving other people

4. I have worn glasses since I was 4

5. I am happiest when I am solving problems

6. I loved learning to weld in high school and have wanted to do it for a living ever since

7. I was moderately overweight until grade 9 when I got pneumonia and lost 40lbs

8. I think Clint Eastwood may be one of the best actor/director ever

9. I love to cook, and bake. I make a mean chocolate chip cookie

10. I love going to Las Vegas, it’s the best travel deal going

11. I am learning to embrace and accept my geekiness

12. I love my wife’s smile, and she seems to have given it to my son

13. I enjoy my job because it offers new challenges everyday

14. I liked distance running in high school, but forgot that fact for 10 years

15. I am super anal-retentive about some things, which makes me good at analytical chemistry

16. I once earned enough money to buy a rib dinner by busking at the Fringe

17. I am not competitive and I hate most team sports

18. I love playing football, but only with a few people

19. My first car was a brown 1975 Plymouth Valient

20. I have a scar on my forehead from when I ran into a wall as a child

21. I love chopping wood, only one log has ever stood its ground with me

22. I hate eucalyptus

23. I make great pizza, and I should open a pizzaria

24. I like climbing trees, and am comfortable at most heights

25. I am a beer snob, the more hops the better

26. I am a whisky snob (duh!) I love single malt scotch

27. I have traveled through Germany, and visited the castle from the Sound of Music

28. I play the violin and the guitar

29. I think that Scotland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world

30. I have the best behaved cat in the world

31. I don’t like driving, and will walk anywhere if I can

32. I love going to the firing range, and I am a good shot

33. I drink tea for my blood pressure, but coffee is a secret pleasure

34. I am also a coffee snob

35. I hate seeing the Times New Roman font in a Power Point presentation

36. I think RSS may be the best advance the internet has produced thusfar

37. I didn’t get the chickenpox until I was 17, they appeared when I was at a Rolling Stones voodoo lounge concert

38. I love science for the sake of science. It appeals to my curiosity

39. I love to explore, and discovering new places

40. I smoked for a year in high school

41. I once wire wrapped a pulse generator from scratch, it worked on the first try

42. I was 21 the first time I rode a horse. I loved it.

43. I have a Ph.D. in chemistry

44. I became a follower of Jesus when I was 22

45. I am an avid scuba diver

46. I think that hot tubbing in the snow is the best feeling in the world

47. I think there is no greater feeling than a close shave

48. The best thing about my honeymoon was an ice walk in Maligne Canyon

49. I love the outdoors and camping

50. I can build a fire with no paper and one match

51. There is nothing in life as useful as a sharp knife

52. One of my favorite dishes is steak and kidney pie

53. I think haggis is a delicacy

54. I’ve learned that having a desk job makes you crave manual labor

55. I love mathematics, but didn’t really understand it until my sophomore year in college

56. I have all 32 teeth and have never had a cavity

57. I have freed myself from a broken elevator twice

58. I hate elevators

59. I like gambling, it’s a mathematical challenge

60. I think there is no better start to the day than a bowl of porridge

61. One day I want to visit China

62. I miss In-N-Out more than anything else in California

63. I am still amazed by how quickly Bruce Lee can move

64. I think sharks are fascinating and beautiful creatures, but I still love the movie Jaws.

65. I am a scientist and I believe in creation

66. I think there is nothing like a light salad before dinner

67. I can’t wait to take my wife on a cruise

68. I have great respect for troops who stand up for freedom

69. I used to have an earring

70. I hate my hair, I can’t do anything with it

71. My father taught me that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Wiser words have never been spoken

72. I like spaghetti westerns

73. I run in an Edmonton Eskimoes cap that I won when I was on the Big Breakfast (a local TV morning show)

74. I drink more milk than anyone else I know

75. I would have never made it through grad school without late nights at Carl’s Jr, and early mornings at IHOP

76. I have expensive tastes, but a shoestring budget

77. I think C. S. Lewis is an amazing writer

78. I was a groom before I was ever a groomsman

79. I have never been someone’s best man

80. I never dated anyone seriously apart from my wife

81. The only jewelry I wear is my wedding band

82. I think that spongebob is hysterically funny

83. I love Chicago deep dish pizza

84. I never wear pyjamas

85. I am a boxers man

86. I have never been admitted to a hospital

87. I am not really allergic to anything

88. One day I want a wood burning, brick oven

89. I am Canadian, but I don’t like hockey

90. I have never had to take out a student loan for my schooling

91. My wife and I lived for 2 years in an apartment barely larger than the room I am sitting in now

92. My pet peeve is people who still have the white headphones on their iPod

93. I am a morning person

94. I have been electrocuted more times than I can count

95. I have a weakness for ice cream

96. I can count on one hand the number of foods that I don’t like

97. I used to build and launch model rockets

98. I think that a kitchen is the most essential room in a house

99. I love Christmas more than any other time of year

100. I needed help from my wife to compile this list

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Monday, May 23, 2005

Spectroscopists do it 'til it Hertz

Well, tomorrow is the big day! The big magnet is being delivered at work, and is quite the ordeal. The magnet itself is huge and it has to be lowered into a 6 foot pit. It is being brought in through a hole in the wall and several peices of the ceiling needed to be cut away in order to fit it into the building. Then it is raised by two 40,000 lb hydraulic jacks and lowered gradually into the pit. All this with about half an inch of clearance under the ceiling. To get an idea of the size of this thing check out this install at Wisconsin. It's going to be a long day, but never a dull moment.

Once the magnet is moved in and everything is in place, the magnet will be energized. That probably won't happen for a few weeks yet. It's a superconducting magnet, which means that there is a large coil of superconducting wire in the middle, which is cooled with liquid helium. Once everything is cold enough to sustain superconductivity, the coil of wire is slowly run up to higher and higher current with an external power source. Once the desired field has been reached (in this case 21.1 Tesla, giving a proton resonance frequency of 900 MHz) the switch is closed and the current remains in the coil indefinitely. Because there is no resistance in the wire (superconducting), there is no loss of current once the external source is removed. Well in reality there is a little loss, but it is small enough that the magnet will not need to be recharged for many years. In the case of this magnet a controlled quench is required to settle the coil into place, so this process will have to be carried out at least twice (sometimes the magnet will quench a few times as it is being brought to field). A quench is when there is a sudden loss in superconductivity of the wire. All of a sudden the wire becomes non-superconductive, and the current in the wire generates a huge amount of heat as it runs out of the wire. This causes all of the liquid helium that cools the magnet to boil suddenly and fire out of the magnet as its volume changes. This results in a huge bang and giant plume of helium. In the case of this magnet there is so much helium that it could force all of the oxygen out of the room and suffocate all of its inhabitants, so a large duct is required to get the helium out of the building. All of this makes for a really exciting installation. I hope to be around for as much of it as I can, as I always learn a lot from the folks that build and install these suckers.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Hot Town

It was supposed to cool down today, but it did not. I was hoping that it would have cooled off a little before I went out for my run, but no luck. It was 89 when I went out. This coupled with the fact that I grossly underestimated the distance of the run that I had planned out. I ran for about an hour at a 10 minute per mile pace, and was just too hot to continue. So I switched to a walk/run tempo and cut the loop short. I had my water though, so was not dehydrated, just hot. There were other crazy joggers out too, but not many. Mostly just bicyclists. Will have to keep my runs to less than an hour when it's hot like that out. Still, it felt great to get out. As Melissa mentioned on her blog, I am sort of in training for a half marathon in June. I haven't decided for sure for sure if I will go, but I'm seriously considering it.

We had a tasty dinner, got some hot dogs and BBQ'd up some of those and some kielbasa. Using the BBQ saved us from heating up the house any more than neccessary. It was very good and I got to enjoy a nice Flying Dog pale ale. This has become one of my favorite local beers. It was also bath night for Elijah, so we took care of that too. He was actually somewhat happy, and we had some fun splashing around for a change. Normally he just screams the whole time. It was a nice change.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Interesting Week

Everything broke at work this week. It seemed like everything gave up the ghost at the same time. So we have to get quite a few things fixed before we are back up and running again. On the plus side, next week the big magnet is due to be delivered! I'm looking forward to relaxing this weekend and spending time with Melissa and Elijah. That and going for a run or two. Gotta go make a bottle!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


One thing I love about running is that after you have been going for a while, and you get really tired, your mind clears of almost every thought and life has a way of coming into focus. Today I really realized how little my problems stack up against my blessings. We have plenty of financial issues right now, and I do my share of worrying about whether we are going to be able to eat the next day. But God has blessed me with an amazing woman as my wife, and she is an even more amazing mother to our son, Elijah. I love spending time with her and Elijah. She is a wonderful godly woman and I value deeply the prayers she prays for me. She has a wonderful sense of humor, and is always making me laugh. Her wit is unparalleled. And I still can't believe how great she looks after having a baby just a couple of months ago. I love the walks that we have together, and I always feel that we do our best problem solving together. She is always supportive of the decisions I make, and helps me get through tough times, even when I am difficult to live with. Not enough good things can be said about her.

Elijah is turning into quite the character. He's smiling a lot now and starting to try his hand at laughter. If only he could appreciate his mother's wit. I'm starting to really appreciate the boy he's becoming.

Anyway, these are the things that I think about while I run. Today I went out during the late afternoon and took my 9 mile route. It was quite hot out, so I took a water bottle and I was glad to have it. But it clouded over a little bit and cooled off as the afternoon waned so I felt comfortable going the longer distance. I ended up running for a little over 80 minutes, a good pace for that length I think. That route takes me through Washington Park which I can't say enough good things about. I am very glad that Denver has dedicated the resources to keeping open spaces like that maintained. The whole family was there last night for a walk, and we all enjoyed the time together. The run today was my first since Saturday actually. I've been opting for long family walks in lieu of easy run days.

This morning I went to Peet's to get writing done on my paper. I've been putting it off for too long and I needed a distraction free (read "no internet") environment. I was there the entire morning and I ended up getting an entire first draft finished up. I still have to make the figures, but now that I know what I want to refer to it should be easier to do that. So I was very happy to get that going. I need to get papers out and ready to go so that I can list them on my CV come job hunt season, and I have been dragging my feet on this one for a while. It feels great to get it started. Tomorrow it's back to work to finish up the workup on the reaction I started yesterday. Should be a productive day!

Pass it on

Total volume of music on my computer

13.02 GB (It's a laptop, I have to conserve)

The last album I bought on iTMS (I can't remember when I last bought a CD)

Core by Stone Temple Pilots

Song playing right now

Time Warp -- Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack (on Melissa's computer)

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me

Man Comes Around -- Johnny Cash

Hella Good -- No Doubt (it's a guilty pleasure)

Are you gonna be my girl -- Jet

Famous One -- Sonic Flood

Pyramid Song -- Radiohead

Five songs I’m happy I rediscovered while doing this

Misrilou -- Dick Dale

Here comes the rain again -- Eurythmics

Would -- Alice in Chains

Last Chance -- Jet

Visions of Johanna -- Bob Dylan

Five people to whom I’m passing the baton






Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Back to the Bench!

Today I got back to my roots and ran a reaction at work. I really like doing bench work once in a while. There's something about chemistry that really appeals to my obssesive compulsive tendencies. Everything has to be weighed properly, and all of the glassware needs to be cleaned. Also there are a lot of repetitive tasks that you can get lost in if you are not careful, but I get through them with attention to detail. I am really bad about wanting everything to be neat and tidy at my bench space, so I usually end up cleaning up a new section of bench before I start. Things usually have a way of collecting in any empty space I clear off. Thankfully when we moved I found out where everything was, so now I do not need to dig around for things that I need. The reaction went well, and I'll finish the work up later this week.

There was a product expo today at work, which for a change actually had some interesting items. Because I work in a predominately health science related building, most of the items end up being for protein expression/purification etc. But today there were some great balances and pH meters. The technology has really come a long way since I was a wee undergrad. I had a nice chat with the sales people and enjoyed the free doughnuts. It really got me fired up for starting my own lab eventually. Ahhh, I can dream I guess.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Long run today

Today I ran all the way to the Cherry Creek resevoir and back. A 12 mile run! I was out for a little over 2 hours. I learned that next time I want to do that though I will have to bring a water bottle. I was really wanting some around mile 8, and fortunately there was a recreation center just off the path where I was able to stop and use the water fountain. I've been driking quite a bit of water since I came home though just to be on the safe side. It was a beautiful run, there's a wicked hill up to the top of the dam, but on the return journey it offers a wonderful view of the mountains. On the way back I was running along and saw what appeared to be a stick in the path. I thought that's a weird looking stick until I realized it was a fair sized snake. This part of the path is really representative of Colorado's flora and fauna. I felt a little like Lewis and Clark might have as they approached the mountains, running along this beautiful stream bed. It was wonderful. For me that is the longest and farthest I have ever run, so it represents a milestone for me. From that point a half-marthon seems very doable, and a marathon seems like it's not out of reach. Maybe next year, who knows.

Friday, May 13, 2005

I scream, you scream...

Today Melissa and I went to Coldstone for ice cream. I had the Peanut butter cup perfection. Melissa had Coffee ice cream with heath bar and caramel sauce. It was very tasty, and satisfied my seemingly insatiable desire for peanut buttery things.

I picked up my new Transitions glasses as well and as we had walked to the mall I got to see how they might work. Apparently it takes a couple of days for them to get broken in, but I noticed the change in tint as soon as I went outside. As I usually do not wear sunglasses (I can never be bothered to take them with me, and when I tried clip ons they only worked until my glasses got bent by a basketball) I found the tint to be plenty dark enough for me, and the change was quite rapid. As I wear my glasses all the time I can tell that this is going to be much better for all the time I spend outside. When we got back home and went inside I found that the transition back to clear was slower than the outdoor change, but it did not take longer than 10 minutes to go all the way back to clear, and it did not take more than a minute or so to return to a fairly light tint. When the glasses have returned to their indoor state, they are clearer than my previous lenses, whose UV coating was actually slightly yellow. It's a nice change. The only disadvantage I can see is that in the car the lack of UV light penetrating the windows does not trigger too much of a transition, although having not tried them in the car yet, what little tint does occur may end up being enough for me. Once again, after not having sunglasses for 4 or 5 years now anything is a big improvement. As for my running, usually I do not wear glasses at all when I go out, so perhaps a cheap pair of sunglasses will help for that. Mind you the frame on these is quite light and resilient, and is meant for activity, so I may just give them a shot on my run to see how they handle. Anyway, those are my initial reactions, we'll see how things go as they get broken in.

Tomorrow will hopefully be nice enough for me to take my long run, so I'm looking forward to that. I'll probably head out in the morning after a nice breakfast. I've been dying to use my new 12" non-stick All-Clad fry pan to cook pancakes for myself. I got this sucker through my American Express points, which offered Crate and Barrel gift cards in exchange for my points. It's a pretty good deal considering I've only had that card for a year and a half! That and everyone always comments on how cool the card looks (it's a clear card with a blue square in the middle). I'm a loyal American Express cardmember as they were the first company to take a chance on our unproved credit when we first moved here to the States. You never realize how important a credit history is until you don't have one!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Afternoons and coffeespoons...

Well, today Melissa and I decided to meet up for lunch. I used my coupon that I got from running in the Cherry Creek Sneak. It was for a free burrito at Chipotle. I had the chicken burrito with black beans and tomatilo green chile salsa. It was very tasty and didn't cost a cent. After lunch we all walked over to the mall and went to go look at glasses at LensCrafters. We picked out a nice looking pair that is super flexible. This will come in very handy as Elijah is starting to grab my glasses off my face quite often. They are going to have the Transitions lenses as well which will be great for all our walks that we take. No need to muck about with sunglasses. We get a AAA discount there and ended up getting $130 off. That pays for our membership dues! We will walk over there tomorrow to pick them up.

I drove Melissa and Elijah home and decided that since it was overcast and the perfect temperature I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go for a run. I felt great after the first 2.5 miles, so I decided to go on my 7 mile circuit. I ended up finishing the 7 miles in 1 hour, and had a great time. Unfortunately, I came home to a baby who was not feeling too well and had spit up all over his mommy. He did have a little nap, but true to his daytime form, did not stay down longer than 20 minutes. Hopefully he'll sleep better tonight. We had some nice afternoon tea together though, the last of our Red Rose. That's one thing about living in the States, it's hard to get good supermarket breakfast tea. It seems that most "cheap" teas here are more geared towards the iced variety. Just an observation.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Better for RSS?

I just noticed that my RSS feed has my entire blog post in the title area. I'm switching it now so that the title should hopefully be separate from the post. RSS kicks ass!
Damn your eyes!

Well, I went to the eye doctor this morning and now I can't see a thing. They had to dialate my eyes, and fortunately it is overcast today, but I can't read anything close up. It's a real pain, and I can't get any computer work done until this stuff wears off. Now that I have my prescription I can start shopping around for glasses. We get a 30% discount at LensCrafters with our AAA membership, so I'll probably end up going there. I'm thinking about getting those Transitions lenses as I have never had much luck with sunglasses, and we have a fair amount of money to spend in our cafeteria plan. It would be nice to have one pair of glasses that serves well both indoors and outdoors.

I went on a really nice run last night after dinner. Just a 5 mile circuit, but it was very relaxing. On Saturday I ran by an older fellow (early 60s I'm guessing) and we exchanged greetings as we passed. It was nice to have a runner say hello like that, and I have resolved to say hello more often to the people I pass on the trail. Most runners seem to be pretty anti-social along the bike path, a lot are plugged into mp3 players and don't even look your way. I used to run with my iPod mini, but now when I go I leave the mini at home. It just is so much more rewarding and relaxing to have nothing but your thoughts and the wind to listen to on the road. It's easier to keep a steady pace as well, as with music you tend to run at the pace of the song that is playing. That can really wipe you out and possibly lead to you overextending yourself. Also, the bicyclists on the path tend to pass pretty close and at high speeds, I feel just a little safer being able to hear them coming. At any rate, more greetings are in order!

Tonight is pizza night! On the weekend I made dough and threw it in the freezer so that it is ready to go during the week. That way we can pull it out of the freezer in the morning and it's all ready to go by the time I get home. It seems that the long rise in the fridge and freezer also really improves the dough, resulting in a ridiculously thin and crispy crust. It's heaven on earth. I think that if this science thing does not work out I'll end up opening a pizza place or bakery or something. There's just no substitute for really well made food.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Weird weather

Well, Melissa and Elijah are off at a party, so I took advantage of the time to go for a long run. It was weird though because the whole way I could see this huge thunderstorm, and I had to adjust my route a little to avoid it. I ended up starting up my 7 mile route, but as that was taking me right toward the thunderstorm I turned left at the 3.5 mile mark and headed south to Washington Park. Washington park is a huge park in the middle of Denver with two big lakes in the middle. You can actually fish in the lakes, but the best part in my mind is the crushed granite trail that runs around the perimeter. I ran on that about 3/4 of the way around the park, and was astounded by the number of dogs out. Then I remembered that today was the Furry Scurry, a fun run to support the Denver Dumb Friends League. I was sure glad I didn't drive because the traffic was terrible. By that time though the storm was starting to catch up with me so I turned back towards home. I stopped off at the grocery store on the way and picked up a Gatorade, and started to pick up the pace as it had just started to rain. I ended up getting only a little wet, and I thought I had made it home just in time, but it turned out that the storm just skirted by us, so it was sunny again within 15 minutes. Oh well. Ended up being out for an hour and a half and went about 9 and a half miles, a good pace for a long run. Hopefully next week the weather won't be so weird and I'll be able to go out longer. That's Denver for you!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Look ma, no cavities!

Went to the dentist today for the first time in like 8 years. I've got great teeth, so they stood the test of time rather well. There was not too much cleaning, considering the time factor and my record of no cavities still stands. So I've got an appointment again in 6 months. No more putting it off! But since we couldn't use our cafeteria plan for any expensive dental work, the next step is to get new glasses. So it's off to the optometrist on Wednesday. In retrospect we should not have contributed so much to the cafeteria plan, but we thought the birth was going to cost us more than it did. Oh well, it's better to have too much and have to get glasses than it would have been to not have enough.

Tomorrow Melissa and Elijah are off to friends' for a B-Day party, so I'm going to try to get a long run in while they are gone. I'm looking forward to that. Running in the evening is great, but I usually feel like I shouldn't be out too long when I could be home spending time with Melissa and baby. Sunday is Melissa's first mother's day as well, so I'll have to see what I can put together for her then. Elijah bought her a present which she is going to love.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Hey baby, wanna swap bytes?

Well, today's task is to write a short conversion routine that will convert MATLAB (which I do not have) NMR data into nmrPipe format. It should be a fairly simple procedure as I have already dealt with most of the issues with other routines, and the file format for MATLAB files is available. It does involve byte swapping, however, which is a bit of a fiddly thing. Beware, if this kind of thing does not interest you you may want to save the next section for a time when you are having trouble sleeping.

In the computer world, everything you see is represented in the hardware by a small potential difference which is either on (1) or off (0). Since you can only represent two numbers by 1 or 0, you group these together in series to represent larger numbers. Usually 8 of these bits are grouped together to form one byte. For example, let's say you wanted to store the value 5 in memory. In this case you would turn on bits 1 and 3 of your byte, giving you 00000101 (i.e. 1 times 1, plus 0 times 2, plus 1 times 4, plus 0 times 8, etc.). A single byte can therefore only store numbers from 0 to 255, and is usually reserved for characters, of which there are less than 255. So if you wanted to store the phrase "Hi!", you would set an array of bytes in memory to 73,105,33, and that would store the phrase, or string. These bytes are usually not represented in binary, but in hexadecimal (base 16 represented by the numbers 0 through 9 and the letters a through f), so "Hi!" in hexadecimal would be 49 69 11. You can also represent numbers that are larger than 255 by grouping together bytes, two bytes can represent from 0 to 65535, or -32768 to 32767, and four bytes can represent 0 to 4,294,967,295 or -2,147,483,648 to 2,147,483,647. The problem that you come across when you try to store multiple byte values is what order you store the bytes in. In other words do you represent the integer 14 using four bytes by 00 00 00 0d or by 0d 00 00 00. Some computers store their data using the first ordering (called Big Endian, and is used by pretty much everyone but x86 type chips) and others use the second ordering (called little endian and is used by all of the Intel crowd). If you stuck to one platform you would never notice any of these issues as each operating system is designed to read and write bytes in the same way. But if you were to switch systems, then the bytes would appear to be backwards on the opposite system. This is one of the reasons that you cannot run Windows on an Apple computer, or Mac OS on a PC without an emulator. The emulator must swap all of the bytes going through the system so that the processor can deal with it. I run into this problem when someone sends me a binary file that has been saved on one platform, and I need to read it into my program on my platform. In order to do this I need to swap the bytes for each multi-byte number that I read in from the file so that they are represented correctly on my computer. The way that you do this is a bit underhanded and tricky. First you read in the number of bytes that represent the number (you need to have this beforehand by knowing the file format). Then you trick the computer into thinking that your multi-byte number is actually an array of single byte characters. Then you swap the first and last array elements, and the middle array elements accordingly. When you are done, your multi-byte number has had its bytes swapped and now represents the correct value for the platform you are on. It's a somewhat time consuming procedure, so it's best to not have to do it at all, but it is unavoidable when you deal with files from multiple computers.

At any rate, this is one of the things that I have to make sure is done correctly when I write my conversion routine. When I am done, my program will be just a little more flexible than it was before. This is my fun for the day.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A Tiger says...

Well, I have been using OS X 10.4 now at work for a day or so, and I think Apple really did a good job with this release. My first impression is really just of Safari RSS, which has wooed me back from Firefox, and Spotlight which is an incredibly powerful search tool. Now I will be looking deeper into the guts of the system as I want to write a version of our processing software that will leverage the 64-bit capabilities of the G5. I have been thinking about doing this for a while, our old FORTRAN code just really isn't cutting it anymore. Getting a chance to learn the system in the process should push me over the edge on this project. If you are interested in all the new BSD advances in Tiger check out this Ars Technica review.

The weather here has finally improved, and I hope to go for a run tonight. I need to build up my blood supply again after yesterday. I think the running has been doing me some good health wise. My vitals yesterday were great, even with the stress of having to get poked. My blood pressure was at 133/88 which is low for me. I'm happy to see an improvement as I'd rather control that with exercise than have to take medication. Pulse was at 58bpm. Speaking of running, the pictures are up for the Cherry Creek Sneak. Unfortunately my bib number does not seem to turn up any results and we have not been able to find my picture. Melissa has found her picture 3 times though. Next year I need to wear something more identifiable.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Take one step forward...

Take 8 steps back. Elijah was up every hour last night for an hour each time. So sleeeeepy. Might try to catch a few Z's in the donation chair.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Happiness is...

Well, it's snowing again, and I didn't get to go on a run before it started. Instead I took care of Elijah while Melisssa took a nap. Stew is coming along, and will be a nice dinner tonight. I decided not to make bread, and opted to buy some from Whole Foods when we went there today. We also checked out a new "running" store when we went to the mall, Finish Line. I got the impression that no one in the store has ever run anywhere, and none of the products could ever be used for running. Left feeling pretty disgusted with the whole facade. I guess we'll have to hit Runner's Roost when we have money again. Hah!

Friday, April 29, 2005

On a roll!

Well I've posted for the past few days, so I feel like I should keep it up. Today was a much better day than yesterday, although I'm still feeling pretty tired as Elijah had a bad night last night. I'm also a little hungry as I didn't have anything to take for lunch today and wound up bringing two apples to eat. That should be okay though as I will not be running today; it's freaking cold out.

This weekend has no plans associated with it, other than making stew. It's supposed to be rainy, so stew sounds like a good plan. I'll have to get some veggies for it though. Maybe a nice rustic bread to go along with would be in order. I always like to bake when it is not so nice out. With any luck I'll get a break in the weather and be able to go running. The only thing I can run in is my shorts, so it's running on nice days only for me until I can afford some higher tech gear. Monday Melissa and I are off to donate blood. Mmmm, cookies.