a convergence in celebration

Beaker The Muppet has long been a favorite here at Dr. Geek’s Laboratory. As my profile says: “Think of me as the product of too many Muppet Labs experiments; the colleague and friend of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew.” If that doesn’t qualify me as Beaker’s cousin, I don’t know what does.

The Ode To Joy section of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is also a favorite. It was part of one of the first concerts by the local symphony orchestra that I attended back when I was in high school — and my Mom sang in the chorus.

Today has been a day for good news (at least so far). I got a bonus from Company O. that is more than 12% of my annual gross salary! This is the largest bonus I’ve ever gotten by far, and will really help with the house and some other upcoming expenses.

So, in honor of this happy event, I offer the following convergence in celebration:

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different kinds of nosebleed country

I’ve been having nosebleeds. They’re always from the right nostril. They first started in the weeks following my surgery and have been increasing in frequency. I had a small one at work today. My manager recommended seeing a doctor, because he has sinus issues and a nosebleed means infection to him. Mrs. Geek also recommends a doctor based on her experience; she got them because of weakness in a blood vessel in her nose. I tried calling my doctor three times this afternoon and got put on hold each time. Since the office is only about a quarter mile away, I went over there. There was some debate about whether or not I should see the nurse on duty… but it was eventually decided that I could see my doctor on Monday afternoon.

I learned of a more metaphorical type of nosebleed a few weeks back. I haven’t explicitly mentioned any of the companies I’ve interviewed before, but one of them was G00gle. There were a number of reasons for this. They are a technically innovative company, and they do the kind of software work that interests me. There are the other perks (free, near-gourmet cafeteria food is the one that gets mentioned a lot), but I figured that well-subsidized day care would be one of them. According to article in the New York Times, this is no longer true (and never was true to the extend I’d hoped it would be.)

G00gle used to have a decent on-site day care center at their HQ in California. They opted to convert their “Kinderplex” center to the Reggio Emelia educational approach (“the” day care philosophy of the moment, the article says) and raise the employee contribution by 75% (to nearly $2500 a month for infant care.) This was evidently done, in part, to empty the waiting list for day care at HQ that had grown to over a year wait.

G00gle is growing like crazy. They are richer than God. Their HQ is located in one of the most expensive areas of the United States to live in. Their motto is “Don’t be evil.” This strikes me as pretty damn malevolent, thank you. They’ve taken a system that provided a vital service for their employees, and turned it into “the Harvard of day care” for all the G00gle Gazillionaires who can afford to send their kids anywhere. That isn’t a vital service; that’s simply a convenience for those few who want to minimize the time needed to drop off and pick up their kids and can afford it.

I’m now glad that I wasn’t offered a job there. Day care costs are something that worry me as Mrs. Geek get closer to having children of our own. It might not have been an option where I interviewed, but I’d hate to go through what those parents at the Kinderplex went through. G00gle is better off without me.

the height of summer

It’s the height of summer and growing plants abound around our house these days.Since I’ve been so re-miss in writing here lately, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve been seeing every day.

This is a picture of one of the two fuchsia plants on our front porch.Both plants wilted for a while during June in the heat before I got a handleon good watering practices. They’ve rebounded in the last few weeks, andcurrently have lots of blooms that the local hummingbird(s) love.

Here is a picture of my “herb garden”. As you can see, they’ve reboundedas well… including the basil plant in the small round pot that I’doriginally written off as “sickly”. I think I need to make some pesto! I’vegot oregano and basil coming out of my ears! You can also see some of thecreeping rosemary peeking out from between the basil and oregano, and thethyme plant in the far corner.

This is the purple hydrangea plant in our back yard in full bloom. We recently saw more than a few hydrangea plants in various yards in a nearby neighborhood when we were “dog sitting” for a day. None of them had color much like ours.

Finally, you can see a picture of our newly re-mulched front walkway area withbegonias. We didn’t put enough mulch down in the spring and weeds and grasstook over. I got two bags of cocoa shell mulch and we re-worked this bed.The front porch still smells like chocolate.

science in action

One of the things I recall from my high school chemistry class regards temperature and glass: glass doesn’t like abrupt shifts in temperature and can crack and shatter. This is why chemists use Pyrex glassware. It is far more resistant to changes in temperature than ordinary glass.

I got a rather vivid illustration of how poorly glass performs when its temperature shifts suddenly last night. I took a drinking glass (an Anchor Hocking Canton) out of the dishwasher just after the dishwasher had finished a cycle; the glass was very hot. I took a pitcher of filtered water out of the refridgerator; it was rather cold. I poured the water into the glass. The glass cracked and then split vertically, into two halves, along its length. One of the halves simply fell over. The other fell off the counter onto the tile floor of our kitchen, where it shattered into many, many pieces.

I wish I had a video camera with me when the glass cracked and split. It might have been worth a few views on YouTube. *sigh* Oh well, now I’ll never know.

at play in the fields of the subconscious

I had a very odd dream early this morning.

I dreamed that I was giving an impromptu talk at a professional conference not very far from the Land Of My Birth. I’m not exactly sure where it was, but I recall feeling that I did have the option to go visit my parents if I wished to do so. At some point during the conference, as I was struggling to figure out where my talk was being given, I got a phone call. The call was from an agent of an international adoption agency. The agent told me that Mrs. Geek and I were adopting a child, and the child was arriving within the next 24-36 hours. This came as a bit of a surprise. I then spent the rest of the dream trying to figure out when I should get on a plane back to my newly arriving child. Could I see my parents first? Should I fly out that night or the following morning? It was all very confusing.

That said: Mrs. Geek and I have nothing to announce regarding (possible) additions to our family unit. Which again, makes this all very confusing.

vacation and after

Happy Independence Day!

It’s been a rough and tumble week since getting back from vacation last Saturday. The trip itself was lovely, but the upper part of my back, shoulders, and upper chest broke out upon my return. I don’t know if this was due to the sunblock I was slathering on during my vacation (Neutrogena, generally very good stuff), an allergy to the something in the hotel, or an outbreak of prickly heat, but I kept me irritable and out of sorts for most of the week. This has kept me away from the keyboard to write.

It’s been a quiet, close-to-home Fourth of July. We had friends over, and I grilled some beef kabobs. It was all a little more trouble than I wanted after being cranky all week, but it all came out fine, better than fine. It was nice together with people I haven’t probably been seeing enough of lately.

I’ll write a little more about some of the high points of our vacation later this weekend.