Head Down in Cloth Wraps

by Terry 11/13/2009 12:06:00 PM

I have been working head-down with Karen to get http://www.clothwraps.com/ up and running. Karen picked up the first production run of wraps last night and I shipped the first order this morning. Okay, technically I bought the first online order and shipped it to myself, but it is a real order in every sense. I had to do the process from start to finish at least once. Karen and I have never had an e-commerce business before, so testing the system is not a bad plan.

Visit the site at http://www.clothwraps.com/ and see the wraps. We also have other accessories in the works coming soon, so check back from time-to-time.

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Tyler Returns to Normal-ish

by Terry 5/14/2009 10:12:00 AM

Apparently the pain medication, an opiate, the vet prescribed was a bit strong for Tyler. This explains the vomiting and general unhappiness Tyler was displaying yesterday. Today, on a half dose of the medication, he is much more normal. When I can, I give him breaks from wearing the Elizabethan collar but I have to watch him so he does not start chewing at his stitches.

I nearly got a full night of sleep too. Tyler slept with us again, which is not normal for any of us, so I am happy I got relatively good rest. I cannot wait for Tyler to go back into his crate again. In reviewing some of my work and writing from yesterday I realized I was on autopilot and not as clearheaded as I like. I am still off my game today, but it is more physical exhaustion than mental.

I am still in training classes today. Karen is home with Tyler, having changed her plans to go on a school fieldtrip with Kaitlin. Kaitlin really wanted Karen or me to go with her today, but she was thankfully understanding to the need to watch over Tyler for the day.

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Tyler is Recovering from Surgery

by Terry 5/13/2009 9:31:00 AM

Tyler’s recovery from his neutering surgery hit a rough patch this morning. He has to wear an Elizabethan collar for the next ten days so he does not chew his stitches. This means he cannot comfortably use his crate. So, last night he slept in my bedroom, sometimes on his bed, sometimes with Karen and me. He slept through the night well enough, but then vomited this morning. After cleaning up his digestive aftermath, I set the spare bathroom as his new ‘crate’, if we need to leave him alone for any reason.

Karen cancelled her appointments for today and tomorrow to stay at home and minimize him being left alone. He was an unhappy dog when I left for work. Karan put a call into the vet for advice, as the vet did not really mention what after affects we should expect. Neither of us feel comfortable about leaving Tyler alone at the moment, particularly in a different ‘crate’ than he is used to. I feel bad, because I normally work from home. I am in training classes all week, so this is not an option. The burden falls on Karen.

I am not overly worried, but preventing undue harm is wise.

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Tyler gets Neutered Today

by Terry 5/12/2009 10:58:00 AM

Tyler, our puppy, has come of age, contractually at any rate. Our adoption agreement requires us to have Tyler neutered by the end of the month. Since I left for the office early this morning, Karen walked the dog to the vet and I will pick him up this evening. Actually, I assume Karen got the dog there this morning. I have internet access, but limited opportunity to call Karen to see how things are going.

Karen and I are wondering how much Tyler’s behavior will change.

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Save Our Rails

by Terry 4/14/2009 4:32:00 PM

I am flattered that I have readers to share this with.

Hi Terry,

The Woodman Lodge, Snoqualmie's historic steakhouse and saloon is hosting "Save Our Rail," for the Northwest
Railway Museum in Snoqualmie, WA on Thursday,
April 30 from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

We're going to try and raise $25k to help rebuild tracks that were washed away during the flooding earlier this year. The dinner also includes a train ride through the valley. For more information, go to http://www.woodmanlodge.com/railway.htm.

I would appreciate your help in letting your readers especially those in Snoqualmie know and come support your local Railway Museum.

More information is attached. If you have any questions, please feel free to email [contact info removed, TDL]. A short blurb in your blog will be extremely helpful. Thank you in advance!


Best,
Veronica

I have never visited the Woodman Lodge. I expect I will someday. I periodically enjoy the Railway Museum in Snoqualmie. It is slowly improving over the years, in part because of increased funding support and the growth of the city over the last decade. About a year ago I briefly stopped at the museums Conservation and Restoration Center. I would love to have space like this for a garage/lab/shop. I was impressed. I hope the Railway Museum continues to grow as a local attraction. It is a fun walk through history, particularly the technical changes.

The city of Snoqualmie, like many towns in western Washington, sustained a fair bit of flood damage over the winter. I am glad the museum and downtown in general were not to heavily damage. It could have been much worse.

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“If I can get one kid to say, ‘ooo, science is cool,’ my job is done.”

by Terry 4/2/2009 3:17:00 PM

See the article:

Cascade View students enjoy fun-filled night

I got more press than I had hoped, and the quote expressed exactly my thoughts, considering all the activity and distraction, I am happy it came out as clearly as it did. I will need to figure out how to follow up on it.

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Kaitlin Dissects a Frog, Tyler has a Bath

by Terry 4/2/2009 11:27:00 AM

Midweek is always busy. Yesterday, Karen and I met Kaitlin after school to join her in an after-school science class. Kaitlin dissected a frog. We had a great time. Kaitlin, at age nine, surprisingly had no issue with the work at hand and dug in enthusiastically. I was terribly hungry by the end of the class and the smell of the preservatives for the frogs made dinner afterwards interesting. The smell sticks with you.

Afterwards, Karen, Kaitlin and I took Tyler, our pup, to training class. Tyler got about an hour of puppy play time, while those people-who-like-to-think-of-themselves-as-owners underwent training. Tyler has been very good at training us to give him treats. All things considered, Tyler is making it easy for us to learn how to be good dog owners.

Kaitlin and I gave Tyler a bath when we arrived home. Tyler does not like bathing, but we are slowly getting better at it. The only problem we had was bribery and reward. Tyler had buckets of treats at the training class and Kaitlin hand-fed him dinner when we got home. By bath time, Tyler had no interest in being bribed into or rewarded for enduring the evils of fresh, clean water. Somehow we managed.

Tonight is Tae Kwon Do for Kaitlin and me. I help in her class then bring her home and attend my own class (as a student, not to teach). We are practicing with the Sai for the first time in about a year. It will be fun to see what I remember. Of all the weapons we practice with, the Sai puts more holes in the mat than any other. I have heavy, steal Sais and I have fortunately not dropped them on my feet – yet.

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2008 Science Fair Pictures

by Terry 3/31/2009 2:30:00 PM

I thought I should post a few pictures of the Science Fair from last week.

I used a free hand to demonstrate the unstable nature of Nitrogen Triiodide.

 

A representative photo of the crowd around our table.

 

 

The display board Karen helped me assemble. I am not much for building displays. Without Karen I would have had nothing.

 

Minutes before the crowds arrive, the displays are set and we get ourselves ready.

 

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2008 Science Fair Complete

by Terry 3/31/2009 12:06:00 PM

It was a crazy evening. The crowds of children coming and going through the evening never slowed until the tables of displays were taken down. I rotated through experiments continuously for two and a half hours without a break. On the whole, I would say the evening was a success from my point of view. There are things I will do differently next time. For a first-time attempt at ‘demonstration science’, I am pleased.

I had help from my wife, Karen, making my display table – something I am terrible with and generally loath. Karen made sure what I had looked good and said what I felt was needed. In retrospect, the only thing I would add would be more information on who I am and why I was at the fair. Thank you, Karen!

I had able help from my daughter, Kaitlin, who attends the elementary school where the fair was held. A few of her friends thought that our booth was a ‘science project’ submitted by Kaitlin for the fair and felt bad when she did not ‘win’. Of course we were there for other reasons and not part of any judging, so Kaitlin was not bothered and her friends laughed it off after it was explained to them.

My other assistant for the evening, Elizabeth, is a middle-school and martial-arts student with a deep interest in forensic science. She was invaluable during the science fair and she worked well with Kaitlin. If I ever When I get my act together, I hope to have her and Kaitlin be the nucleus of my Science Club. The only thing holding me back is scheduling. I need to figure out how to test my hypothesis that the hours in a day and days in a week shorten as a person ages…

Lessons Learned

Having now done it, I have a much better idea of what does and does not work for demonstration. At least where there are large, youthful crowds.

  • Kids like seeing the apparatus used in demos
  • Kids like hands-on experiments (not a surprise)
  • Kids like action
    • Big change over a relatively short time keep kids attention in the large crowds
  • Have more information on who I am and why I am at the fair
    • Parents like to know who their kids are talking to
    • It helps to address the common questions that can distract
  • Do Not Forget Your Notebook
    • Yes, I forgot my notebook. I ended up doing every experiment from memory
    • Practicing every experiment over the two weeks prior to the fair helped overcome my error

One demonstration which worked very well for the conditions, and was able to cycle through repeatedly, was boiling water in a partial vacuum. I used a 1000 ml Florence Flask with stopper and 750 ml of water, my propane stove, ring stand, a bit of sand and a tub of cold water for the demo. I boiled the water, with a pinch of sand for boiling chips, in the flask on the ring stand. While waiting for the water to boil, I made a few jokes. Science requires patience and we know a watch pot never boils… When the water reached a rolling boil, I removed the heat source and quickly capped the flask.

As the flask cools, it continues to boil. Carefully placing the flask in the tub of cool water causes the water to boil more vigorously for several minutes. When the flask cools enough, the kids around the table can touch the flask, play with it in the tub and see how the temperature of the glass around the air-pocket could be manipulated to cool or warm the trapped air and affect the rate of boil.

Finally, when boiling was almost done, I removed the stopper and showed how the water had cooled to a safe-to-handle temperature.

The display is quick to setup and repeat. I was able to put this display aside and come back to it for a different crowed of kids as the evening moved on.

I used the Detonation of Nitrogen Triiodide, suggested by the folks at HMS-Beagle, for a demo. This was cool on many levels. The early-arrivals to the fair watched us make and prepare the apparatus and chemicals for the display (the ammonia smell both attracted and repelled the kids). The final detonation at evenings end worked perfectly.

As I mentioned, I forgot my notebook with my demonstration cheat-sheet. This was a mistake and the results are predictable. A couple experiments I tried from memory where slightly in error, but I used that as a talking point, so it was not a complete loss.

Slime works. The only issue with slime was assembly. I could not make the stuff fast enough. I will work on that for the future. Also several parents and kids wanted the recipe. I will make sure I have handouts for next year. This was also a great activity for Kaitlin to do and be able to interact directly with her classmates.

Helpful Resources

Robert Bruce Thompson has been an inspiration with his book and Home Chem Lab forum. The Home Chem Lab forum has been indispensable. The suggestions from many threads allowed me to find a good footing and make my efforts a success.

HMS-Beagle helped me get the equipment and chemicals I needed in short order and made several good demonstration recommendations.

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Fun, Frustration and Fatigue

by Terry 3/19/2009 12:48:00 PM

Life with Tyler, our new puppy, is still evolving. His sleep patterns change each week, which is good and bad at times. We are still trying to keep him in the crate at night, but it is clear that Tyler likes companionship in the wee-hours of the morning. During the day he is still just a big (27 lb/12.3 kg) puppy that likes to play, eat, sleep, poop, play and play more.

Karen and Kaitlin have been sick this week, which puts extra pressure on me. I have to work and help take care of everyone. Naturally, Karen and I are getting none of our tasks met this week, which is exceedingly frustrating at times. I am trying to run through my lab demonstrations for next week’s science fair at Kaitlin’s school and I am having a hard time getting the time and energy to pull it all off. I am pretty well fatigued by day’s end.

I recently made several purchases at HMS-Beagle for my science fair materials. The people there have been very helpful. I wish their online ordering system were a bit more search and sort friendly and would take credit cards. They take PayPal, which works for me – if I have the funds in place. This turns out to be trivial, for the most part, as I can call them with my order number and pay by credit card on the phone.

My only complaint so far (and not really HMS Beagle’s fault) is with an order of Erlenmeyer Flasks I made. The flasks all have a larger opening than I expected (based on the flasks I have already) and the number 6 stopper is almost too small and number 7 stopper is almost too big. I only discovered this after I received my flasks. I made a follow-up order for a range of stoppers and am making it work out. The solid number 7 stopper and the number 6 with glass tubing in the holes do not fall into the flasks. I wish I could have ordered size 6.5 stoppers, but that will have to wait for another day.

Now I just need the time to have some fun with the science fair projects…

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About Terry Losansky

Terry Dee Losansky

I am a software architect, actively practice and teach martial arts and live in Snoqualmie, Washington. I have an amazing daughter who is the jewel of my life.

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