Archive for March, 2014

March 31, 2014

What I Learned Last Week #10

by Janie Jones

Not so much what I learned, but what was confirmed:  I suck at story problems.  Calculus class spent 2 days on them last week.  I just am lacking something in my brain that is necessary to make heads or tails of them.  So, I am hoping to focus on my “research paper,” (which I don’t have a concrete topic for yet) to save my grade when it comes time to take the next test which will cover story problems among other inscrutable calculus concepts.

I also learned that Leif is a better potter than I am.  You can see and compare:


These are my pots from my 2nd time on the pottery wheel.  Now have a gander at Leif’s 2nd time on the wheel:

0325141743-00Since these photos were taken, he’s been in to the studio 2 more times and made a total of 12 additional pieces, each better than the last and thoroughly professional looking.  Now, my first 4 pots aren’t horrible, but upon close inspection one can very much tell they are clumsy and amateur.  They will suffice to get me a grade and I am relieved for that, but, they are only my first 4 pots.  I hope to improve.  So this week I have to get some more wheel throwing time and try to make a better showing for myself, even if I don’t reach Leif’s genius status.

Biology last week was filled with tests, so there was no new material to cover.

O Chem had a lab that gave some interesting solid products.  I don’t know if you can really see what is in these photos, but the first product was light and fluffy almost like snow or tiny lint fuzzies:


The second formed these interesting suspensions in the aqueous solution they precipitated from:


Don’t ask me what they are, I haven’t actually finished the lab yet, but I thought that was a little cool and exciting.

Okay, so, 10 weeks down, 6 to go.

March 28, 2014

Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated

by Janie Jones

As if Calculus hadn’t eaten enough of my life and soul already, the other day Calculus Teacher assigned a “research” paper.

Yes.  Seriously.  I have to write a paper for Calculus class.  On top of the obscene mountains of normal homework Calculus Teacher is so fond of assigning.

Thankfully, it’s not a long one, just two pages with the standard double spaced lines and 1 inch margins and 12 point font.  It’s not the writing of the paper that has me in a tizzy.  It’s coming up with a suitable topic and finding resources to “support” it.

So, I am here begging your assistance.  Any ideas about topics I could use?

It doesn’t have to be about Calculus, as long as it is related to some math subject.

In an effort to get busy, as the paper is due April 15th, I tried skimming the library data base for some ideas.  I read that there’s been some research done on using complex math as a means of helping people with severe handicaps communicate.  Apparently, just thinking about a complex math problem makes your eyes dilate.  So, for people who cannot communicate via normal means, yes and no answers can be given just by thinking of a complex equation, and for example if you ask a disabled person a question and their answer is yes, they might think of a math problem and their eyes will dilate significantly enough that the person asking the question can see the dilation and know their answer to the question asked is in the affirmative.  Very interesting.

According to this study, I must be walking around in a semi permanent state of eye dilation lately.

While this is fascinating, I don’t think there’s enough material to write on this particular article alone.  So, if you can lend me a few brain cells to come up with some topic ideas, I would be much obliged.

March 26, 2014

What I Learned Last Week #9

by Janie Jones

Somehow the last 3 days have totally escaped my grasp of time management.

Not that I have much grasp of time management these days.

Anyway, last week was another thoroughly unremarkable week.  Despite coming off a week long break I don’t remember much of it due to bad attitude and fatigue.  What I do remember is that Tapeworms and Roundworms are some of the most disgusting organisms on the planet, IMHO.  Thank you Biology class for devoting an entire week to their study.

I made the executive decision to spare you photos of tapeworms and roundworms (thank you Janie) and I’ll even spare you photos of me pulling my hair out and wailing and gnashing my teeth whilst attempting Calculus homework, but I will show you photos of fully glaze-fired Spongebob and Patrick:

Misc Photos March 003

March 20, 2014

It never fails

by Janie Jones

I seem to have a recurring problem.  Not an Earth-shattering one, but it annoys me like rash of mosquito bites, distracting me with an itch in my core that I can’t quite calm.

My problem?  I find a product I like, I use it up, and in that time the product apparently vanishes from time and space as if it had never occurred.

I generally am not a pen using individual, preferring pencils for most of my daily work.  But OChem teacher requires our lab books be completed in indelible ink.  I searched high and low and ran through about $20 or so in different kinds of pens before I found one with waterproof ink that felt good in my hand, had a nice flow to the tip and was not hideously ugly in color/style of barrel.  Just 7 months later I am starting to worry that the ink will run out (I’ve written a lot of chem lab reports), and as I like this style of pen I’d like to avoid going through the process of finding a good replacement.  So I went online to buy ink refills.  In all the interwebs, apparently no office supply store, eBay or Amazon carries the appropriate sized refill.  In fact, when I key in the style name and number for the pen, I can’t even find a whole new pen in this style anymore.

So what, Janie.  It’s a pen.  Big freakin’ deal.  But this happens to me all the time with things.  My styling paste for my hair is no longer carried in any of the local stores.  My favorite flavor of Lipton Tea, discontinued.  The reusable water bottle style I prefer, discontinued.  My favorite shampoo, not available in any store in my area.  And the list goes on, but I’ll spare you.

Sometimes, it really seems to me that the term Modern Conveniences is an oxymoron.

March 17, 2014

What I Learned on Spring Break

by Janie Jones

Buying a new washing machine is almost as good as going on a real vacation.  Plus, you reap the benefits of the cash you spent long after the official vacation ends.

Besides doing a lot of sleeping, lingering on the sofa with a cup of tea, and taking longer walks with Rupert (and occasionally Leif and Vera), I washed a large variety of items: coats, big fluffy robes, blankets, comforters, woolen socks, every day clothes, towels.  And, every single damn load washed like it was supposed to, and it did it with only a hint of a whisper to be heard from the machine.  Loads were on average washing in 45 minutes.  Some slightly more when I dialed up to include a soak cycle and extra rinse.  Less when I used “quick wash.”

If you have never endured washing day with a machine that you never were quite sure if it would actually wash your clothes, let me tell you, this was the most GLORIOUS spring break purchase I can imagine short of a new car or my very own house.

The downside of this post is that today I must return to school.  Break is over.  And, while I loved the ability to really do a whole lot of nothing, I’m having a really, really hard time getting the gumption up to get back in the proverbial saddle.

I have just 8 weeks left until the end of the semester, but it is eight weeks with not a single day off.  The first half of the semester was punctuated with holidays so we had some “mini breaks” throughout.  I always think I’d personally rather have a 4 day weekend each month instead of a long week off.  It’s great when you are in the middle of a week long break, but it’s too hard to get your poop back in a group afterward.

Anyway, Mother Nature is celebrating the end of spring break by dumping another round of snow storms on us, so I best get a move along.  No telling how dodgy the roads will be.

March 10, 2014

What I Learned Last Week #8

by Janie Jones

This post is a little later than usual because this week is SPRING BREAK!

I’ve made it half way through the semester and I haven’t gone postal.  Not that it hasn’t been close on a few occasions…
But I am determined to relax, relax and relax some more this week.

In keeping with the Monday report on my educational progress, last week – being the week before break – was punctuated with exams so there wasn’t much class going on with exciting new snippets to share.  Not even any gross photos of dissections this week.

About as exciting as I can get is regaling you all with the details of the purchase of a brand spanking new clothes washing machine.  I finally got sick and bloody tired of the front loading, high efficiency, piece of crap Samsung I’ve had to deal with the last 5 years not washing my clothes, not spinning them and basically taking for ever to do a whole lot of nothing.  I would never, ever buy a Samsung front loading, high efficiency washer if you really want clean clothes and a washer that works as intended every single load.  After just 3 years it started having problems and I have continued to fight with it for another two.  I was done.

The big decision to decimate my checkbook’s meager balance came because at *first* we thought Discount Home Improvement Center was having a scratch and dent/clearance sale with appliances 30% off.  So we drove out there and thought we’d be getting a good deal.  As it happens, there were no washing machines left when we got there, but their regular machines were also on sale.  So in a cold sweat about how much money I was spending at a time when I didn’t really have money to spare, but also needing clean clothes, I took the plunge.  We had a washer loaded in Leif’s truck, and we brought it home.  We wrestled it through our crazy back hall up four steps to the landing then down thirteen steps to the basement.  We wrestled the old POS washer out of the way, and tried to set up the new one.  Apparently one of the feet was already broken.  Then we tried to pull out the rod which is inserted in the base for transportation (don’t ask me what that’s all about, all I know is we are supposed to pull it out before use).  But it wouldn’t come out.  So Leif had to get his vice grips and finally accompanied by many colorful metaphors, the rod gave up it’s death grip on the inside of the machine and a tinkling of loose bits falling about was heard.  We exchanged meaningful glances over the top of the washer, slid it into place, hooked up the water lines and eagerly threw in some towels.  Water began filling.  Then, just as we were grinning like idiots to have a real, honest to goodness top load washer again, the thing began to make a horrific grinding noise.  We looked inside and noticed the wash tub was askew and the grinding was apparently caused by the machine attempting to rotate the tub.  The damn thing was broken.

Luckily, Discount Home Improvement Center had a second one still in stock and agreed without argument to take it back.  But, we had to wrestle the broken one back up from the basement, down the landing, over the slush and ice and up into the truck, then drive a half hour back to the store to pick up the new one.  For our trouble they did give us a 7% refund, which while not a huge amount, did help offset gas for a second trip out there.  After another 30 minute ride home, we wrestled the replacement new washer back down into the basement and we stood in awe as this one, working properly, washed a load of towels.

So, you could say that I learned that few things are so easily compensated for as the hassle and cost of procuring truly clean clothes.  I’m going to go wash a few more loads right now and bask in the feeling that all is right in the world….

Happy Spring Break

March 7, 2014

And in case you were dying to know

by Janie Jones

The errant Jeep key was actually in the ignition of the Jeep, left there by the mechanic’s people.