Tuesday, October 12, 2010

wool shirts

As it starts getting cooler, I am starting to transfer to winter field gear. Among the winter gear I pulled out of the storage bin below the bed is my favorite wool shirt.

This particular wool shirt is an LLBean "river driver" shirt, from that time before their sizing got all wonky. It's two layers, with wool outside and cotton inside, and it's just the right length to not ride up and protect my belly and has perfect cuffs that fit under other clothing.

My river driver shirt dates from the grunge era, so it's getting close to 2 decades old. It has holes in the armpits, where the seams have given up the ghost, and the sleeves are getting ratty, and it has a fairly large collection of moth holes.

In spite of my love for this shirt, I do realize it is long past time to be retired. But I can't find a replacement. Does anybody know of a place that sells two-layer wool shirts that are small enough to use as an under-layer for a smaller-framed female?

Monday, October 11, 2010

gas cap follies

I've driven a staggering number of cars and trucks for fieldwork. Compacts rented from the airport, box trucks with missing side mirrors, university department beaters...

But it took me until a few months ago to realize something basic: all cars have a little arrow on the gas indicator that shows what side of the vehicle the gas cap is on.

So after years of driving to a gas station and looking like an idiot while I try and figure out where the gas cap is, now I can just read the dashboard.

My question is, am I the last person to find out about this? Or is this new to you, too?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

red muck mess

I was watching the news at dinner last night, and I caught something about a red muck disaster. I was at a bar, and I only caught it from one of the far TV screens (on mute). It also intrigued some other folks at the bar.

I looked it up online, and there was hardly any mention of it. Hello?! A photogenic (look at all that bright red muck destroying those towns!) catastrophe involving a caustic material that caused massive environmental damage. Burns on contact! Wiped out four villages! Killed small children!

The NY Times does have something a little more in-depth now, two days later. In a quest for more info, I tried googling "red sludge Hungary" and got almost nothing.

A few commentators have drawn parallels between this and problems we have in the US, such as mine tailings. What do you do with vast quantities of nasty stuff, some of which accumulated over decades? Hide it behind berms and hope for the best? Spend $$$$$ to stabilize it? Whose pockets will that come out of?

We used to have the Superfund tax on the most heavily polluting industries to take care of the really messy orphaned sites. Too bad the funding for it hasn't been authorized in 15 years and the program's out of money. So instead of having the worst-polluting industries pay, now all the taxpayers do. If the cleanups are done all, that is.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

long break

I think I'm marking about 1 year that my posting has been decidedly irregular. This time, illness, a tough time at work, and getting out of the habit of posting have done me in. It's (somewhat) near the start of a new month, and I'm trying to start up again.

I'm in a motel room now, nursing a minor burn on my knee. I made the mistake of testing the water in the shower, then jumping right in. Within the 10 seconds after I'd checked it, the temperature spiked to scalding - and it wasn't remotely at the maximum temperature. Isn't that a safety issue?

A few months ago, I jumped into a shower and found the opposite - that the lukewarm water in the tap was a remnant of being in the walls or something, and that I actually had no hot water whatsoever.

After a long, cold (and when did that happen), wet day, my first impulse is to peel everything off and hop right into a shower. By now, you'd think I would know to check such thing.