Tuesday, July 31, 2007



Oh, if I haven't mentioned it before, the Clemson Sports Car Club lost its ability to autocross on campus because of Geary Robinson, the new director of parking services. We've been autocrossing on campus for 30 years and then he comes in and decides its dangerous and destroying "his" lots. Right. We have a skydiving club but driving around a parking lot is "dangerous".

I'm pretty sure it's personal and is only vaguely in the interest of the university.

But we all became spoiled having them on campus. It was so nice being able to wake up around 8:30 or 9 and drive 5 minutes to campus, swap some tires, hang out, work the course, drive and then make it home by 2 pm. The results would be up the next day or even the same day.

But now I have to wake up at 5:30, leave the house at 6, get to Turner Field at 8, swap tires, hang out, work the course, drive, eat lunch, work some more and drive again. If I would've left immediately after the autocross was over, I might've made it home by 5:30, but I stopped by Ikea to pick up some shelves. Ikea is pretty nuts on Sundays past 12:30 but it was jam packed on Saturday evening. Even the self-serve, 10 items or less line took 10-15 minutes to get through, but I did beat the guy in line ahead of me. I was flying. I would like to thank J for teaching me the ways of the scanner and checkout procedure and years of video game play for getting me ready to quickly read the text on the screen.

I also realized I'm slowly learning parts of Atlanta. I sort of know how to get around 16th through 10th Street, near Georgia Tech and Ikea. I know the block immediately surrounding Turner Field (take Exit 246 from 85/75 Southbound), there's a KFC/Taco Bell there if you get hungry, and I know the 20 to 85 route through Atlanta, and that's it.

If When I get lost in Atlanta, I usually find the direction that I'm supposed to be going and follow that road until I see a sign for an interstate. This usually works pretty well.

Do you guys think I should get some "Focus" mud flaps?

The guy wants $40 for all 4 and they look kinda cool and would definitely give my Focus a rally look to it. You can't even really see them if it's dark.

I don't know. I'll ask J and see what she thinks. I might hold off and save that money for my new brakes.

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Monday, July 30, 2007


Awesome weekend!

I'll recap this weekend's events a little later. I drank lots of water with lunch and I'm dealing with the repercussions of that decision.

Friday, July 27, 2007


Your only quickie for today

I'm planning on only putting in a half day today. J gets off at 11:30 and then I'll meet her at home at 1 for lunch and then we're gonna go see the Simpsons Movie at 2 in Anderson.

But there was a possible Boss sighting of him and a colleague on the golf course, so they will probably stop by after they're done with golf. I hope that doesn't interfere with my plans.

Hahahaha! It looks like Blockbuster just realized that they were losing lots of money by not limiting how many mailed movies you can exchange for a free movie at the store. They just sent me a nice email saying that their rates are going up. Looks like it's time for me to get out of that while I still can. I actually have yet to put a DVD they sent me directly into the mail. Every single one goes back to the store for a free movie. Why? To stick it to them. There were a couple I didn't even watch when we got them for free, but that isn't what's important. I extracted every cent I could out of that $19/month I pay to Blockbuster. When you add up all the "free" movies and the "free" game rentals with the online coupon, it's way more than $19, and I'm sure I could extract enough to make the now $25-$26 worth it, but I've given them enough money over these past few months.

Off to get some work done.


Thursday, July 26, 2007




You want fries with that?

For breakfast I had a delicious egg and cheese bagel. I'm nominally trying to lose weight and exercise. What I'm really doing is trying to avoid diabetes and heart problems as long as freakin' possible. I wanted breakfast though. Some would say "it's the most important meal of the day". I don't know about all that but I do know that most breakfast foods are utterly delicious and should not be restricted to being served from 6 to 11 am. Waffles for dinner! Omelettes for lunch! Those are my battle cries.

I also knew that Ray Kroc's favorite restaurant was having a special on bacon, egg and cheese biscuits at the low low price of 2 for $2.22. They're practically giving them away. And at 440 calories, 25 g of fat, and a full 1.34 g of Na (g = grams, Na = Sodium). So that's roughly a fifth of your daily calories, 38% of your daily fat, and a cool 56% of your daily Na. And you just bought 2 so double all of that. Wow. Haha! Missed that little nugget. One also contains 245 mg of cholesterol which is 82% of your daily intake. I assume these are all the government standard of what a "healthy person" is supposed to eat. Yikes.

But I'm trying to stay away from all fast food and we went to the store on Mon. so I have plenty of breakfast things to eat. I decided to make my own egg and cheese breakfast. No biscuits but I had some Lender's Mini Bagels. I can't remember its stats offhand and ye olde internet isn't coming up with any answers so we'll just assume it was a regular 3 oz. bagel for 220 calories and 1.5 g of fat. I of course added cheese so assuming a 26 g serving size (which I think is about twice what I used) 110 calories, 9 g of fat, 0.18 g of Na and only 25 mg of cholesterol. The egg weighs in with 75 calories, 5 g of fat, 213 mg of cholesterol (damn!).

I'm sick of all these numbers. I saved some money and didn't eat 2 of them like I would have if I went with McD's. And eggs have lots of cholesterol in them. Hmmm, maybe it's time to start tossing a yolk or two since that's what contains all that cholesterol and fat. Anyone ever used Egg Beaters? Are they any good?

I just did this as an experiment and would go insane if I kept track of every little thing that went into my body. I've always wanted to try keeping track and weighing all portions of food, but that takes all the fun out of food. It becomes work at that point.

Did I mention that I'm a TB carrier? Yes I was exposed to someone who had tuberculosis and now I'm carrying around TB bacteria. I have known this fact since before I came to Clemson and never really thought about it. We had a small TB scare in the department. He's back at work and isn't contagious but I have been caught up in the web of DHEC (dept. of health and environment class? Ah, control) I had my X-ray, they wanted a better angle at it, so I had to go back the following week. It was nothing and now all I have to do to get rid of those TB bacteria is take INH aka isozianid once a day for 6 to 9 months. And to counteract some of the harmful side effects, like liver damage, I get to take a B6 vitamin aka pyridoxine twice a day for as long as I have to take the Zid (INH is too close to NIH in my book so it's getting a new name).

All the pills are free, or I wouldn't be taking them, but I have to go get blood work done every so often to make sure my liver is still livering and functioning properly.

Off to work! I decided to autocross in Atlanta this Saturday at Turner Field instead of in Asheville, NC at Bele Chere. While the Bele Chere autocross sounds cool and it's the only autocross in the country on public streets during a festival, it's only on a 5 lane wide street and they only get a block, so it's basically down and back for a 30 second run, and you only get 3 of them for an entry fee of $25. In Atlanta, the lot is HUGE and I'll be getting 6 50 seconds runs for $30 and the distance to either event is almost the same, so my decision was pretty easy. Almost 3 times as much seat time for almost the same price and almost the same driving distance.

For any new readers who don't know what I autocross, it's my 2004 black Ford Focus ZX3. Check it:

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Don't you want to be a pepper too?

Oh man are you in for a treat my dear reader. I have fulfilled all my promises and uploaded many pics of alcoholy goodness and Ikeaocity.

First the brew. Recently SC just passed a law making it okay to serve "high test" beers, aka beer with an alcohol percentage higher than 5. And Nick's serves them too. They have about 7-8 of which I have tried 3. I had one myself and sips of 2 others.

The Plez-U in Pendleton is THE place to go for beer in Clemson. You will be hard pressed to find a better beer selection within 20-30 minutes drive. They also sell individual beers, so you can make your own 6 pack which is what I did and I'm halfway through. (For those who can't read between the lines, there will be 3 more beer reviews shortly.)

It's overwhelming. So many beers. Hefeweizens, stouts, porters, ales of all different creed and color and some lagers. Hmm, I recognize that handwriting and that fist. It's the Flying Dog Brewery's tribute to Hunter S. Thomspon, Gonzo Imperial Porter.

It's 9.0% alcohol and darker than Africa during a new moon. I hold it up to the sun and nothing makes it through. I have found the black hole of beers. It smells deep and rich. A taste. Whoa. That's different. This is a serious beer. No one flavor or scent jumps out at me and at first I'm not crazy about it. Then halfway through, that 9% kicks in, my mouth gets used to the bitterness and it magically transforms into a really good beer. I let the last few sips warm up a tad, just to see if the flavor changes. It's even good a little warm. It isn't for the faint of heart, but I would recommend Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter to any Hunter fan or beer lover.

The next brew comes to us from our favorite Greenville, SC brewery, Thomas Creek. They know what they're doing over there. This particular recipe is their Vanilla Cream Ale.

Opposite end of the dark spectrum from the Gonzo. The smell has a hint of vanilla and it is a very smooth beer with a nice refreshing smooth finish. It's just a hint of vanilla cream and makes it a very good all purpose beer. This should please all beer drinker's palette. J even liked this one and she doesn't really drink beer. Once again Thomas Creek, you have blown me away with your simple and delicious brew.

The next beer that caught my eye in the store was Bar Harbor's Blueberry Ale. I love blueberries and I love beer so it should make for a great combination.

First off, notice that it is darker than Thomas' beer. You can smell the berries but the finish isn't as crisp and clean as the Thomas Creek. It's a heavier beer than I was expecting. My favorite blueberry beer is made by the nice folks at Sweetwater Brewery in Atlanta, and if you're looking for a wonderful, light blueberry ale, I say turn away from Bar Harbor and look elsewhere, preferably to Sweetwater. Decent beer but not what I was looking for.

Now to our new acquisitions courtesy of Ikea. We picked up a set of green tealight lanterns for "cute house decorations" according to J. I'm a big lantern fan so I was onboard. And they were $4/each.
Currently they're sitting on our center speaker, but will get a permanent home shortly.

We took a floating shelf previously purchased at Ikea and made a mantle. Currently it is displaying various wedding pictures and the outrageously expensive and color faded bouquet that was freeze dried for eternity. On top is the handy dandy clock and outdoor/indoor thermometer. Don't know what that cost cuz J picked it out.

Previously all my belts hung on a hanger in the closet. Same sordid tale with my ties. But no more! Thanks to some $8 racks, they're all out in the open and easily accessible. I also had exactly the right number of ties to completely fill a rack. Yes, there are only 3 belts. The 4th one I own was being worn by me at the time. Feel free to buy me a belt if you think I need more. Currently I have 3 black and 1 brown.

If I had any gold chains, I would put those on the rack too.

One of J's goals at Ikea was to get cute decorating stuff for the house. Several of those items have been combined into our own little desert. The container and one of the cacti came from Ikea. The dirt and rocks came from Lowe's and the other cacti and the succulent came from "5% of China's exports"-Mart.

J had a cactus before named Delilah but she brought it over to our house when I was living with 2 roommates and we determined that 3 people were watering her and she rotted from the inside out. So we will not have to remember, there will be a calendar that will show when the desert was last watered. This should prevent all over-watering.

Our veggie garden is doing great. Our tomato keeps growing and should start turning red any day now. I was tempted to pick a bell pepper for lunch today but decided to give it another day of growing before I eat it.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007



Sorry no beer pics today. They'll be here tomorrow. I know, promises, promises.

Ever wonder why there aren't any Hitler themed restaurants? Yeah, me neither. I don't think pictures of death camps would be very appetizing, but further removed from Western culture, Hitler isn't as despised as a murdering tyrant. In India, they swastika is actually a historical symbol and its roots can be traced back to the Neolithic period aka "New" Stone Age. The biggest difference being that they use the left-facing symbol:
Seen here on a Roman mosaic

And the well-known Nazi flag with a right facing symbol:

Here is a restaurant from Busan, South Korea:

For the rest of the article please check out Dining with Hitler.

How many Starbucks do you think there are in Manhattan? 100? 200? 1000? The right answer is 171. Now do you think it is humanly possible to visit and purchase something from each of those 171 stores within one day without blocking off traffic? Oh ye of little faith. Mark Malkoff has done it and lucky for you, he's an amateur filmmaker. Please visit and watch his Starbucks fueled Manhattan romp.

I also stumbled across a new whose goal is:
to equip women and girls with tools to understand and resist the harmful stereotypes of women the media disseminates.

The website is called About Face and is a very worthy cause. Did you know that Mattel, maker of Bratz, is coming out with a make-up line aimed at 6-9 year old girls? Yeah, how messed up is that? I figured at least double digits, if not 13, was about the right age to start sporting make-up, but what do I know. Check out About Face, especially the first and 3rd posts in their blog. Great stuff!

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Monday, July 23, 2007


Weekend review preview

Ikea was great. They didn't have the huge $8 shoe shelves that we wanted but I'm going to the 'Ham in a few weeks and can swing by on my way home to pick those up.

I really like my new tie/belt racks. I had exactly enough ties to fill one of the racks. Oh yes, it was meant to be.

Traffic was heavy but not too bad. Ikea was bustling when we got there about 10 am and then it got crazy around 12:30-1.

I picked up a "Make Your Own 6 Pack" of beer at the Plez-U in Pendleton because they have one of the best beer selections around. I will have reviews and pics of the ones I have tried so far. Included will be a small homage to Hunter S. Thompson.

One of our old Ikea shelves finally made it up onto the wall as a faux mantle and above it is a new clock J picked out that has the temp inside and outside. The outdoor sensor stays outside and the indoor transmitter stays inside, includes a outdoor temp. display and transmits for up to 30 meters! So even though the clock is downstairs, we will know what the temp. is outside. We have it set to Fahrenheit because we live in the States and are not comfortable with just Celsius. I wish it would display both simultaneously.

I also hopefully will be back in ATL this weekend with the Atlanta Region SCCA's Super Regional autocross. It's a 2 day event but I'll just be doing one day. Protege is supposed to co-drive with me and we're just trying to decide what day is better.

Back tomorrow with pictures and reviews. Chemist's honor.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007


RIP Li Zhao

Real quick just wanted to let you know that I have taken down Li's memorial post.

Today was very relaxing. I hope Lewis Hamilton is doing alright after his big off in qualifying this morning and hopefully he'll be able to race in 10 hours or so. HUGE congratulations to Mark Webber qualifying 6th and being the highest qualifying Red Bull driver by a long shot.

Good luck to all the drivers tomorrow! They're at the Nurburgring in Germany aka Deutschland this weekend.

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Friday, July 20, 2007


That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball!

I've been listening to The Who's rock opera "Tommy" the past couple days. I had always heard a few of the better known songs but had never listened to the whole album all the way through. And if you've never heard The Who's "Pinball Wizard", turn on a classic rock radio station and don't move until you've heard it. Or check out Elton John singing it for the rock opera. I like Pete (Townsend) singing it a little better but Elton does a damn fine job.

We're planning a trip down to ATL to visit Ikea and get some affordable Swedish crap.

I fertilized the plants and watered them well yesterday. They were getting a little ragged so hopefully they'll come back a bit. My zucchini is not happy.

I'm white. Most of my friends are white. I'm married to someone "yellow". So my best friend isn't white. All my friends aren't white. I was a minority growing up in the DR. I know what a great advantage it is to be a white male in this day and age. I would love to believe that racism is dead but that just isn't true. I don't see it here in South Carolina everyday but it pops up every once in a while. I'm not really sure we can ever get rid of racism but I'm trying my best. No racial slurs, giving people the benefit of the doubt, trying to look past stereotypes (although some are spot on) are just a few things I've been trying for a few years now.

Then you read something in the news like this and it feels like the Civil Rights Movement never happened. Like I still live in Alabama during the 40s and 50s. And it's stories like these that make it so hard for me to identify myself as a "Southerner".

I first read about it thanks to Adrianne who runs the Black Women in Europe blog. It's a story of 6 black youths who are being royally screwed by the system. First I'll give you a brief synopsis and then I'll give you some links so you can go read for yourself. I wish I was making this up.

In the Deep South, in Jena, Lousiana, which is near the LA/Mississippi border, there was a tree in front of the high school.

Most of the students at the school are white and it was an unwritten rule that only white kids could sit under this shade tree and eat lunch. A black student named Kenneth Purvis thought this wasn't right so he asked school administrators about it. They said sit wherever you like. So presumably him and some friends did. Some other individuals didn't take kindly to them sitting under their white shade tree, so one morning before school they strung up 3 nooses, in school colors no less, from the shade tree. The principal wanted to expel the kids who did this but the superintendent labeled this act as a "harmless prank" and gave the kids who put them up 3 days of in-school suspension, hoping this would be the end.

Um, if I want to make a joke, I tend to stay away from imagery full of history and emotional feelings. I wouldn't make light of the Holocaust, nor would I make fun of 300 years of slavery. Nooses are never funny. Unless they're around a cute rabbit. But here in the Deep South, nooses were commonly used by hate mongers, like the Klu Klux Klan (KKK), to kill people they didn't like and didn't want in their town, mostly blacks but also immigrants. Thankfully we don't have too many lynchings anymore but it's still taught in our schools and our parents and grandparents lived through those times and remember them vividly. I'm actually going to go ahead and equate hanging nooses from a tree to scare some black kids to forcing Jews onto a train and telling them we're going to a concentration camp. Neither are what I would consider a "harmless prank".

School administrators hope this clears everything up. Nope. Not by a long shot. The Black community in Jena is outraged that this is being swept under the table. Fights start to break out at schools and around the area. Whites beating up blacks, pulling loaded shotguns on 3 black teenagers in a convenience store, so the school brought in the DA, District Attorney Blane Williams, to help ease the tension. He only made it worse. At the school assembly out of "tradition", white students it on one side of the auditorium and black students sit on the other side. In case anyone is wondering, that is the definition of segregation which was outlawed by the federal government over 40 years ago.

So DA Blane Williams gets up in front of the school but focuses his attention on the black side of the auditorium. The DA reportedly threatened the protesting black students and told them to stop making a fuss over this "innocent prank". He then went on to say "I can be your best friend or your worst enemy. I can take away your lives with the stroke of my pen." Nice Blane. Way to defuse tension. Did you learn that from David Duke? How to deal with those uppity n-words? So stoking the fire instead of putting it out, the violence escalated.
On the night of Thursday November 30, 2006, a still-unsolved fire burned down the main academic building of Jena High School.

On Friday night, December 1, a black student who showed up at a white party was beaten by whites. On Saturday, December 2, a young white man pulled out a shotgun in a confrontation with young black men at the Gotta Go convenience store outside Jena before the men wrestled it away from him. The black men who took the shotgun away were later arrested; no charges were filed against the white man.

On Monday, December 4, at Jena High, a white student - who allegedly had been making racial taunts, including calling African-American students "niggers" while supporting the students who hung the nooses and who beat up the black student at the off-campus party - was knocked down, punched and kicked by black students. The white victim was taken to the hospital treated and released. He attended a social function that evening.

Six black Jena students were arrested and charged with second-degree attempted murder. All six were expelled from school.

I know. I still wish I was making this up. It gets better.
Most shocking of all, when the pool of potential jurors was summoned, fifty people appeared - every single one white.

The LaSalle Parish clerk defended the all white group to the Alexandria Louisiana Town Talk newspaper saying that the jury pool was selected by computer. "The venire [panel of prospective jurors] is color-blind. The idea is for the list to truly reflect the racial makeup of the community, but the system does not take race into factor." Officials said they had summoned 150 people, but these were the only people who showed up.

The all-white jury which was finally chosen included two people friendly with the district attorney, a relative of one of the witnesses and several others who were friends of prosecution witnesses.

Bell's parents, Melissa Bell and Marcus Jones, were not even allowed to attend the trial despite their objections, because they were listed as potential witnesses. The white victim, though a witness, was allowed to stay in the courtroom. The parents, who had been widely quoted in the media as critics of the process, were also told they could no longer speak to the media as long as the trial was in session. Marcus Jones had told the media, "It's all about those nooses" and declared the charges racially motivated.

Other supporters who planned a demonstration in support of Bell were ordered by the court not to do go near the courthouse or anywhere the judge would see them.

LaSalle Parish is only 12% black, so there probably should have been at least one non-white on the jury right? And then on top of that the public defender appointed to the first kid on trial, Mychal Bell, was a complete hack. Here's a quote from him: "I don't believe race is an issue in this trial. I think I have a fair and impartial jury"

Um, where did you get your law degree from again?

Mychal is due to be sentenced a week from next Tuesday on July 31st. If he gets the maximum sentence he will be in jail until he's almost 40. Hopefully this story can get enough attention to get them some fair and balanced justice instead of whatever you call what they're getting now.

All quotes taken from Bill Quigley's article from Truthout.org
Adrianne and Black Women in Europe's post
Abbey Brown's article from the Lousiana Gannett News
Alan Bean and the Friends of Justice blog
Daily Kos Story from June 28 and from July 3.

I don't know what action to take, so the least I can do is pass on the information and maybe one of you will be able to do something. Although Alan said that the "usual suspects" had been contacted which I think is at least the ACLU and Jesse Jackson. Maybe Al Sharpton too.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007


Let's hurl a Brick E Mart!

- Bart Simpson during the "Who Needs the Kwik E Mart" song by the Simpson Family and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. (I almost spelled that right the first time, I only missed the "i" and "o")

I grilled some Spanish burgers and an eggplant last night. The recipe for the Spanish burgers is 1-1.5 lbs. ground beef, one Goya seasoning packet with azafran and some sofrito from a jar by Goya.

The eggplant I peeled and let drain for 10-30 minutes. If I can find tahini somewhere, it will become baba ghanoush or baba ghannouj if you use Alton Brown's spelling.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

I forgot to give you the link to Les' blog about the 2nd Survivorman season. There ya go.

Ever heard of Norman Borlaug? I hadn't really but he revolutionized modern farming and agriculture and essentially saved millions of lives by using the land to its fullest and getting dramatic increases in food production. He received the Congressional Gold Medal, our nation's highest civilian award, and it hasn't received any coverage in our country's national media. So he isn't a blond white woman and his story is kinda sciency, it doesn't change the fact that it's a big story that has been ignored. Oh, he's also only one of two living Americans who have received the Nobel Peace Prize. Jimmy Carter is the other.

Please read Gregg Easterbrook's take on "Greatest Living American Ignored."

I'll snap that picture today. Promise.

Plans for this weekend? Waiting for the Simpsons Movie to come out, not going to see Transformers, finishing up the house, going to Ikea for some efficient use of small space decorating items, so watch out ATL, we're coming!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007



Turns out I removed my USB drive from the computer too soon, so I didn't save the picture of whatever came out of my finger. I did keep it though so I'll snap another pic today.

Thanks to Mrs. Mogul's link yesterday, I was able to Simpsonize myself:

It isn't perfect. My hair's a bit messier and I'm not that thing, but it's pretty close.

Want to give it a shot? Just a heads up, it took me about 6-7 tries to not get that stupid error message. Consider yourself warned.

Anyone watch the show Survivorman? It's about Les Stroud who is a crazy bushman of a Canuck and he recreates survivor scenarios around the world. The main difference is he's alone. Completely alone. He does his own camera work and actually has to tote 60 lbs. of camera gear with him wherever he goes. The new season starts on Discovery on August 10th. He has a blog that quickly gives an overview of each trip. I can't wait for the new shows. So far I know that he did a show in Labrador (Northwestern Canada) and the next one is in the Kalahari Desert. Yikes.

The Kalahari is here:

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Teaser post

I decided to venture to the library to get some references from this french paper I can't read. Maybe their references will save me from learning french in my last year of grad school. I grab the umbrella because a storm's comin'. It's being twirled about my fingers when I feel a shot of pain in my right hand. I look down and see a black spot near the fingernail of my right ring finger.

What the devil is that? Hmmm, let's go take a closer look. To the microscope! As I zoom in, I can see a small hole and a black speck underneath a few layers of epidermis. I grab a needle and start poking. It starts to come out and there is some really gross puss that is barely visible to the naked eye but at 6x zoom, it's a disgusting sea of Seth ooze. It's out! But what is it? Take it to the other side of lab, get a 2nd and 3rd opinion and snap a photo of it. Wanna see? Tune in tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel.

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Monday, July 16, 2007



A games and activities parties went down Friday night at Protege and Acura's house. We mourned for Acura because Connecticut finally caught up with her and was going to make her pay a big fine for not having her car inspected since 2004, so she lost her CT plate and had to become one of us and get a SC license plate. If you're worried about passing inspection or if your car is street legal, bring it to SC, we'll put anything on the road!

I've finally resigned myself to referring to myself as a South Carolinian. I've lived here long enough and have the license that is about to expire to prove it. I was hoping that I would be gone before I had to renew it on my birthday this year but it wasn't in the cards.

I traded in my Xbox and accessories and picked up Resident Evil 4 for the Wii. So far I'm only being chased by angry townspeople and it's already scary. Not even one zombie or monster yet. I freed a wolf that was in a bear trap so helpfully he'll come back and help me out. You can't strafe (meaning walk sideways) in the game so you have to walk straight ahead into the room and then look around. Not the most reassuring way to enter a room.

The house and mini-yard are coming together. I cleared out some weeds and crappy plants from out front on Sunday and was rewarded with a large blister that immediately opened up and stings. I put some antibiotic cream on it so maybe it'll heal faster.

Now that Facebook is open to everyone, lots of people have tracked me down. A handful of bloggers, Doc in the Box, Princess of Power, Rally Girl Amy ,the Evilest Julie I know, a long lost high school friend and some high school classmates and teachers are on the list. The long lost high school friend I hadn't spoken for at least 7 years. His family moved from the DR to Mississippi and we visited them from Birmingham once while they were there and that was the last time. He actually works for a large clothing store that is near 4th Avenue and whose headquarters is in NYC but there main operations center is in Jackson, MS. I guess real estate is cheaper in MS than NY. Imagine that.

If you're on Facebook and would like to be my friend, you can email me for my last name or you can tell me yours or you can just find me, searching Seth and clemson would probably be a great start.

Errands to run today, group meetings to present in and lab notebooks to get up to date, so Seth away!

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Friday, July 13, 2007


KOH Facial

Seeing as how Dawn was the only responder, she gets to hear her choice.

We do our reactions in silver (Ag) tubes that we weld shut and then heat up to 300-500 degree Celsius and 10,000 - 20,000 PSI. They retain some pressure inside the tubes mostly from the decrease in entropy, or just because. We all know this and are careful to wear eye glasses and lab coats when opening our Ag tubes. Some tubes are small and we only put in 0.4 mL of water and others are larger and hold 4 mL of water. This was a large tube and it contained 4 mL of 10 M KOH (potassium hydroxide).

I make my initial cut into the tube to start the opening process and nothing happens. I turn it and make another cut. Release the pressure! I feel a small shower of wet. Oh shit. Okay think. This doesn't burn yet but it will. It splattered on my cheeks and some on my neck. Eye wash! No, the eye wash drains into the floor and will make a huge mess. It isn't that kind of emergency. Ow! It's starting to burn! Take off my shuffle who got hit but is no worse for the wear. Sink! Turn water on and use the hose to direct water at my face. Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh. Much better.

Since it was only a small amount, albeit fairly concentrated, I knew water would get rid of it and I didn't want to waste time looking for sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda which is a natural buffer and can neutralize an acid or a base)

My eye goggles saved my eyes from getting a direct shot but my face was uncovered. My t-shirt was saved by my lab coat but it's just a t-shirt. The ipod has some marks on it but it still works just fine. Phew, that was close. I looked at my goggles after and there were 8-9 spots of it directly over my right eye. That would've been bad, Seth can't really see anymore bad.

From now on I will be wearing the full face shield that we have to open tubes from now on. Yikes.

Moral of the story: Wear your safety gear at all times and you might be able to see on the way home.

I love this blog. It's my own little Freedom of Speech zone. But it isn't just mine, it's yours too. You are free to say anything you want here, anything at all. I might not agree with it or understand it but it is your right to be able to say it.

I was rewatching Fuck last night and I loved one of George Carlin's clips. It was how we learn the bad words. When we're young words are just words and we have to be taught their meanings. You don't know a word is bad until you say it and someone tells you not to, and it reminded me of the first time I ever said fuck.

This story takes place at our old house (we lived on that cul-de-sac and Dad worked at the church just to the left) I was 6 or 7 so that puts us smack dab in the middle of 1985 or 1986. My dad, brother and I were in our room and Dad was telling us a story. I can't remember the story at all but something was gross, so Brother said "Yucky!" Not wanting to be outdone I said "Yucky trucky!" cuz rhyming is cool. My brother comes back with "yucky ducky!" so I naturally pick the next letter in the alphabet and say "yucky fucky!" completely oblivious to the meaning of the wonderful word I just made up. SETH! I don't ever want to hear you said that word again! my dad firmly tells me. Whoa, that was pretty forceful, that's some word. So I kept it in my head for years and years and finally got comfortable enough to start using it here and there. Not around kids or people who take great offense to it, but the last part is pretty tricky. How do you know who will be offended by it?

It's a very special word because not everyone uses it and even people who do use it, don't say it all the time. Alanis said something to that affect in the documentary and she's right.

So I'm dedicating my 3 year blogiversary to Li Zhao, the First Amendment and to you, my loyal band of readers!

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Thursday, July 12, 2007



I wonder if the DMV would allow that vanity plate?

So many choices of posts. My base facial, bouldering trip to Rumbling Bald in NC, the first time I said fuck.

Hmmm. I don't know. Let's do a poll and you can decide what posts you would like to hear about first. We'll close the polls between 3 and 4 pm Eastern and then I'll put up the winning post. You might even get 2.

Off to get some reactions cooking now though.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


If you can't say "fuck", then you can't say "fuck the government."

- Lenny Bruce

We watched the documentary F*ck (Fuck) last night. If you're curious, they used the f-word 800+ times during their 93 minutes for a fpm rate of 8.6+. [link borrowed from Wikipedia via Cynical-C]It was very educational and they even portrayed a little from both sides of the freedom of speech argument. I probably won't be hanging out with Dennis Prager any time soon, whoever he is, a radio show host apparently. I want to watch it again actually but that Lenny Bruce quote is going up on my Facebook.

Does anyone in San Francisco know this guy?

Apparently he's been harassing Thomas Hawk and some other photographers for taking pictures on public property and impersonating an officer. Wow, I also just noticed this was originally posted last June, and so far not much has happened. But just be on guard. He might come after you next.

We moved our new living room furniture around last night and it's still Wii friendly and comfy. We even ate dinner on our new dining room table! We're also not allowed to eat on the couches, that goes for you too. Sorry.

I should have a review of ESPN's 2007 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest and a summary of our bouldering trip to um, somewhere near Asheville, NC up sometime this week too. I'll have more comments on Fuck also.

Edit: A-ha! Just remembered. How I sprayed 10 Molar KOH (potassium hydroxide, a strong base) on my face and chest will also get some blog time. Don't worry it's a "this is why we wear safety attire" story as opposed to a "I can't fucking see anymore" story.

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Monday, July 09, 2007


The Jerk Store called and they're running out of you!

- George Costanza (based on Larry David played by Jason Alexander)

I hoped everyone enjoyed Seth's Harrowing Tales of Adventure this weekend. I have decided to take Li's tribute down on the 1 month anniversary of her passing. My 3 year blogiversary, or blogday if you prefer, is this weekend on July 13th or 14th depending on when you feel a blog starts: first post or first real post.

We're having a small tuberculosis scare in the department. Apparently an Indian student went home and caught TB. He came back, was treated and now we're in the process of basically testing everyone for TB. I tried to explain to them that my test was going to come back positive because my last one came back positive. I had been exposed to someone with TB so I'm carrying around a few anti-bodies. I guess living in a 3rd world country does have its disadvantages. I told them that I needed a chest x-ray and they asked how big my previous test was (huh?) and if I took any medicine (beats me, I remember taking something but not what it was for), they didn't appreciate my answers so they stuck me anyway. Isn't that the point of medical records so the patients who have no training don't have to remember everything?

Moral of the story is I'm a TB carrier and need to skip the TB skin test (PPD in doctorspeak) and go straight to the chest x-ray or film. The radiologist should have their final report ready Wed. so presumably I'll have to go back and they'll tell me what the verdict and plan of action is. I just hope I don't have to take a pill everyday for the next 6 months to reduce my chances of getting TB by 4.5%.


Sunday, July 08, 2007


Story Time: Endgame

R1 had to be in Athens beforehand, so he rode over with his parents on Friday. R2 and I drove R2's mom's Cadillac over Saturday morning. We had some time to kill so we made our way to the liquor store and picked up some Skyy. As we're leaving the store, R2 pulls into traffic, a tad too quickly. There was a car turning into the store parking lot down from the exit we were using and we ended up in the back of another vehicle (no clue what it was). R2 claimed that the ABS was at fault and if we'd been in his BMW w/o ABS, we wouldn't have hit them. Sure thing. We get back on the road and have a few screwdrivers in the parking lot before the ceremony, just to relax and get past the minor fender bender. We would later find out, our adventures had only begun.

Star Wars Theme recessional later and everyone heads downstairs for the reception. Wine, finger foods, polite conversation, spending time with friends and family and it's over. Trying to save money we decide to pile back into the Cadillac and head home and we've picked up R1 who didn't want to stick around since nothing really fun happens the day after the wedding (unless it was yours and that first full day of being married is surreal).

We both didn't drink at the reception because we didn't like the wine too much and we would be driving. So we head out on the road and R1 is out like a light by the time we hit Atlanta, about 30 minutes into the 3ish hour trip. I'm doing a good job as co-driver/navigator talking with R2 keeping him conversing and his mind alert. Somewhere near the 173 or 193 mile marker on I-20 in Alabama, a good song comes on the radio and I pause and enjoy. R2 gets quiet and I he's enjoying the song too.

Then I start to see grass from the median creep into the outer edge of the left headlight. Huh, that's weird, R2 must be screwing around trying to scare me, I think to myself. Creep, creep, then there is grass directly in front of the left headlight and that's when I decide that unfortunately he isn't joking and is out cold. So I start screaming "R2! Wake up! Wake up we're in the median!" He jolts awake and cranks the wheel to the right but it's too late, we're already sideways mowing down the tall grass in the median. Fortunately it's about 4 am and there isn't much traffic. We get traction and slingshot to the other side of the interstate and fly into the ditch off the right side of the road. We hit the front of the car, bounce out of the ditch and slowly come to a halt directly in front of the 173 or 193 mile marker (it's directly in front of a small overpass if you're ever traveling west on I-20 in East Alabama).

I get out of the car and I'm visibly shaking. I hit my knee a bit during the collision but that's about it. Of course I'm wearing my seatbelt. R1 was lying down in the back and was not. Afterwards he recounts waking up to me screaming and only seeing grass flying over the windshield and past the windows. He's certain we were all going to die. R2 calls his dad and AAA and they both arrive about the same time. Before the State Trooper shows up a local (Lincoln?) police officer shows up and chats with us and makes sure no one hits us by parking behind us with his lights on.

We all make it home safely and early in the morning. I swing by my grandparents house because R2's mom called my grandmother and told them we were in an accident but were all fine. I make the "I'm sure I'm okay, no I don't want to go to the hospital" speech and convince them I'm fine.

I go home and reflect on our harrowing ordeal. I thank my lucky stars and Cadillac and then get some much needed sleep.

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Friday, July 06, 2007


Story Time

Not yet, but just a taste.

My friend R1's older brother was getting married in Athens. He's a very cool guy and we hung out with him and some of his friends during high school, even though they were much older than us. Losers gotta stick together ya know? The wedding went off without a hitch. It was a lovely ceremony in a log church in the woods, gorgeous. And then the recessional after the new couple was announced was this song (via BlueHarvest.net) which makes him that much cooler.

Being cheap college students and hardcore like that we decided to not get a hotel and just drive home in the middle of the night, but I'm getting ahead of myself. There were a few omens in Athens that we ignored...

Just a taste. I'll finish it all tomorrow. Before I go I saw this story on CNN.com. Man accused of biting off 3-year-old's ear and lip. Now I'm no one to pass judgement but what the fuck is wrong with this guy? How does this even come about? And how does a mother allow this to happen repeatedly?
Check 'em out, Mom o' the year and Mike Tyson wannabe (at least Mike bit a grown man)

And doesn't that douchecunt look like Earl played by Jason Lee? It's mostly the stache and his eyes but Earl/Jason could look like that after a decent meth binge and not bathing for a week or so.

I hope Bristol County Massachusetts throws the book at those two sorry excuses for human beings.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007


Happy Independent Nation Day!

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July and remembered the sacrifice of our forefathers so that we can live in one of the greatest countries in the world. I hope everyone enjoyed their rights and freedoms as well.

Transformers (which I just realized is Paramount which is Viacom of which my grandfather owns stock) had the biggest Tuesday in movie history. Of course what other big budget studio films have been released on Tuesdays? I still refuse to see it in protest against Michael Bay. I just know it won't live up to my childhood dreams but if you saw it and liked it, I'm glad.

We had some people over and ate and played Wii and watched some South Park. Protege and fiance brought over a couscous chicken salad and a shrimp avocado salad that were both phenomenal. Subaru and wife brought apple pie, ice cream and chips and dip. We made sangria, ribs and I whipped up some chicken real quick. I might've been the only person to eat the chicken which is fine with me cuz I loved it.

I'm almost positive now that it's our wireless adapter that is preventing us from using the internet. Both our Wii and the departmental laptop can connect wirelessly through our neighbor's internet but our PC can't. Current course of action is to get a new wireless adapter from Best Buy or the like and see if that fixes it. Then we can start splitting the wireless bill with our neighbor.

Also if you have a Wii and would like to be friends and send messages and whatever else the magical Wii can do, send me an email with your Wii code and I'll add you and we can hang out.

Isn't there a Wii web browser? I'll have to fix my blog so that it is Wii-friendly now that I can check it out and see if it works.

Off to work. J flies out tomorrow to visit a friend in DC so it'll be me and the cats this weekend.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I almost had it.

I'm still fighting to try and get wireless in our house. Our neighbor has his cable modem hooked up to a wireless router but my wireless adapter doesn't like it. I brought home the dept. laptop to see if it was them or us and yep, it was us. I tried updating the drivers and that worked for about 3 seconds and then it said that it couldn't see any networks. Ugh. I'm gonna send Super Tom an email and see if he has any good ideas. At this point I'm leaning towards getting a new wireless adapter. The one we have now is old and a friend gave it to us.

Results from this weekend's Doublecross are up. I'm still pleased with my performance but the results just reinforce how much slower I was than most everyone else. I also just realized that the cars in my class that were faster than me, except for the VW GTI, were on some fancy pants new Bridgestone tires, the new RE-01R which are stickier than my Falken Azenis RT-615s and about twice as expensive. Yes, let the excuses begin!

Results by class: I was in Street Touring S, which is on the 2nd page. I'm the guy driving the Focus, one of 2 Ford products incindentally. I was around 0.5 seconds slower from the right side, and it looks like most of the top drivers in our class were faster on the left too, so at least I'm in good company.

The other results (click on "Event Results") are broken down more into where I qualified overall. 118 out of 133 overall (Men), 127 out of 150 from the left lane (Men and Women), 132 out of 150 from the right. Also when you're on the main page, check out the prize money. There's some decent money to be made if you finish and qualify well. I don't have to worry about that.

The whole shebang was won by Robert Carpenter in his gorgeous 1993 yellow Toyota MR2 racing in E Stock. Big congratulations to him. You looked very smooth and clean out there.

We're having group meeting today at 2 so I better get to work. My friend sent me some pics but they're not very good. Hopefully there are some better ones out there.

Here's a pic of the Miata that sent me home on Sunday:

A pic of Subaru in his ride:


Monday, July 02, 2007


It's gonna be a scorcher!

This weekend was awesome.

Drive down to the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds (GCF), get a few practice starts with the drag racing style timing lights, (sorry, I was talking with the energy co. to get the power off at our old place, not that you could sense the pause in the typing), get the car teched and ready to race, we also had to have several stickers on our cars since it was a national event, we got around actually sticking them on the cars by putting them on magnets so they're nice and removable.

After that we went over to Fish Lake to camp. The sun was down and it was nice and cool. We hung out, had some beers (Sweet Water Blue which is unavailable in SC) and then it started to rain. Crazy rain with flashes of purplish cracks of light. There were a couple that were definitely too close for comfort. At the start of the rain we huddled under a tree (there were 4 of us, Protege, Subaru, myself and Suby's co-driver) and then it soaked the tree and started really coming down so we ran to the safety of Focus, rolled down the windows and stuck an umbrella out the windows so we could have a breeze. My tent kept me dry for most of the night except for a small pool at the foot of the tent.

We would arrive the next day and get 6 qualifying runs, 3 from each side (remember it was a Doublecross so there were 2 cars on course with a mutual finish line and different starting lanes) and we wouldn't know how well we did until that evening. I qualified 120 out of 137, Protege was 119, Subaru was 109 and his co-driver was 104. It isn't that we're that bad, it's that everyone else was that good. This was a national event that you can win some decent money at so the good drivers come out of the woodworks. My goal was not last in my class and I was 3rd to last and I was very pleased with how Focus was handling and my driving.

They had a cook-out that evening with brats and hot dogs and pulled pork sandwiches and they even provided beer. It was from the Atlanta Brewing Company. Their Peachtree Pale Ale was waaaay too hoppy and bitter for my taste but their Blonde Ale was freakin' phenomenal.

That night we stayed at the Best Western in Lawrenceville. Nice rooms but the guy working the night counter was having a bad day. He didn't tell us any of the features of the hotel (like breakfast would be in the room behind us from 6-9 or that you could get pool towels from the front desk) but was a nice guy besides that.

Woke up at 6 am AGAIN and made our way back to the GCF. I was paired up against a stripped down old Civic in E Prepared, which means it was light and fast and on racing slicks. The point of the drag lights at the start was to make the event more fair. If I would've gone up against that Civic straight up on my street tires in STS (Street Touring Stock) I would've been destroyed, so they offset the lights depending on your class. So I had a few second headstart over the Civic. It was a good run, slow in, fast out, smooth, smooth, smooth, FINISH! Crap, he beat me, but I hear over the PA system that he hit a cone. I won! Then I raced a very fast S2000 and lost by several seconds. It's a double elimination bracket so I get another shot to keep racing that day. I'm up against a new 2007 Mazda MX5 (Miata) that is stock except for race tires. This is gonna be close. We pull up to the line and I get a few tenths of a head start. Coming around to the finish and....I lost. Poo. The one consolation is that it's still early and I can go ahead and changed my tires in the shade and get the car mostly packed before I have to show up for my work assignment.

You have to see this hat I bought for this event. I've always wanted a hat that will keep my face and neck shaded. A baseball cap isn't going to cut it. So I stopped by REI (the one in Buford near the Mall of Georgia) since it was on our way. Sunglasses and a hat on sale and $43 later I'm on the road with eye, head and neck protection from the sun. The other guys teased me about my big hat, saying I looked like an explorer, but they didn't think it was so funny on the second day and I was barely sunburned on my face and neck.

So much fun and I have so much to learn and so much to do to my Focus if I really want to be nationally competitive but that isn't my goal. I'm a rally driver. I want to get sideways in the dirt and fly past trees at 60 mph. Autocross is just a hobby and seat time until I get my rally car. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself.

Whoops, almost forgot. My friend Derek was able to come down from his house near Suwanee and watch a few of my qualifying runs on Sat. morning. I hadn't seen him since he was in our wedding last Nov. I had hoped at least one ATL blogger could've made it but I understand that you were busy and had other things to do.

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