Tuesday, March 31, 2009

At 5 in the morning, with the cat staring me in the face and purring loudly (hint hint hint), I was thinking about ink. From 15 years of working with computers I have learned to keep an open mind to all possibilities. Much time is wasted when one pursues an avenue that they are certain is the source of the problem. In this case, it's not about who is right or wrong, but whether it's real or authentic. I think there are more tests that can be done, leads that can be pursued, and ideas that can be tested. I wondered if this document has become a thorn in the side of some scientists who have worked on it, a constant irritation that causes one to continually defend their position. It should not be. Each report should stand alone as one piece of evidence in a growing pile. Then there is me who was assigned to write an article not solve a mystery. Ah, but Sherlock Holmes is having so much fun analyzing all the pieces and coming to my own unique conclusions.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Valley Falls Park and Rail Trail, Vernon

Yesterday, I ran 8 miles on the trail, an old railroad line that cuts through the middle of a ridge. Hopefully the article I'm writing will turn out the same way - strong from start to finish. The analyst in me took over as I mulled over my visit to Yale Beinecke Library. I thought about all of the information I have gathered so far. I often go to the trail to think, exercise, or work off frustration. Here's some pictures of the trail where I run, hike, bike, cross-country ski and snowshoe.
A view from the cliffs. Looking down, you'll see a bicyclist on the trail below.
It's no wonder I tripped and got all muddy one time while running on this trail.
The yellow trail is not officially called the "Yellow Brook Road," but it should be.

Sometimes I sit on the rocks in front of the new bench and write.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Yesterday, I had an incredibly good time in New Haven with my friend Emily. Thanks to Stephen Jones of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library it was both exciting and productive to view the document I am currently writing about. Also, a big thank you goes out to James for tolerating all my questions that don't yet have answers.

After parking the car, we got off to a shaky start. Yale students mulled about the intersection. Emily stopped someone and asked directions. The guy looked at us with dark and hollowed eyes. Earrings hung out of his cheek and his hair was in a red Bandanna. I am not exaggerating when I say he looked like he came from Night of the Living dead. He said, "I'm going that way, follow me." He turned. We looked at each other with a great deal of trepidation and reluctantly followed him. I had all I could do to keep from busting out laughing. We were nearing the end of the block as I started pleading my case, "we drove down from this direction and we were looking at the street signs. We didn't see Wall St." I was about ready to lie and say "oh here it is" when Emily stopped someone else and found out we were going in the opposite direction.

Below are some pictures of the library. The receptionist told us books are also stored 3 floors below the outside terrace. It's a very interesting place. Glass encloses numerous floors of old and rare books. We went upstairs to the mezzanine and found numerous exhibits that housed the Gutenberg Bible, Harry Potter written in 3 languages (one was Latin) and alchemistry books. Then Stephen took us to the lockers to store our stuff. I brought all my research papers, but they went in the locker. Downstairs, James led us to a small room. Inside was a large chalkboard sized map from the Lewis and Clark expedition. We spent considerable time studying different aspects - the fold, the tape, the ink, the parchment, the patches. He turned it over so we could see the back. It sure looked old. I regret that I didn't bring a magnifying glass (don't own one), but I wonder if that would have been stored in the locker too. After our time was up, James was kind enough to show us other old documents of the same time period. What really impressed me was the tiny tiny writing on the pages. I think I'd go nuts if I had to write that tiny. After a very enlightening and worthwhile visit we headed over to have white clam pizza at the very well known Pepe's.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Yesterday I spoke with an editor about the outline I submitted. He wants the chemistry article to bring out all the points that I mentioned, but he wants it in a debate style where scientists defend their positions. The reader can decide what the truth is. It was a good discussion. I'm glad he asked for an outline.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The apples don't fall far from the tree.
Here's my high-reaching daughter(on the platform).
And she was supposed to catch the dangling person.
That sounds painful!
I am very grateful to Kerry Scott of the New York Times customer service for helping me obtain the article I tried in vain to get. THANK YOU AGAIN!!!!!!!!

The outline I was working on is nearing completion. Tracking down the scientists is the tricky part. They can be slippery little devils getting married, moving jobs, retiring, and even dying. The nerve.

Saturday's mail had a few surprises. My relative who is researching family ancestry sent me copies of my grandfather's Declaration of Intention and his Petition of Naturalization. In the Declaration of Intention it mentions the boat he came to America on, his age, and that he renounces all allegiance and fidelity to the King of Italy. The thing I found most interesting was his listed occupation - yeast maker. How cute.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

This morning has been very frustrating. I've purchased archived articles before without a problem. I found my front page New York Times article very quickly. But I went into an infinite loop of entering billing information, getting errors to fix the highlighted fields, and having nothing highlighted. After 20 minutes or so my husband returned from the trail and I found out he created an account to get the N.Y. Times online. Rather than enter personal data, he entered a bunch of made up stuff. I created an account. He created an account. We created a mess so I emailed customer assistance. I received two emails giving me suggestions on how to find the article. Thanks for nothing. In these difficult times, you'd think newspapers would be eager for revenue, but apparently that is not the case. Grrrr. I suppose its human nature that when you don't get what you want you only want it more. I will get that article one way or another.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This afternoon, I was absorbed in creating an outline, when the doorbell rang. When the mailman handed me a mailing tube, I knew instantly that my 2008 Nobel Prize table mats (1/2 the size of posters) had arrived! Posters are also available, all for free. The Royal Swedish Academy didn't send me one, they sent me EIGHT table mats!!! How very nice of them. It was so cool to see all of the pictures I was so familiar with from the extensive research I did for that article. I had to ship off an email to my editor at ChemMatters and let him know my Nobel material had arrived so it wouldn't be long before he received the poster he ordered.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I was up at the university library this morning collecting 6 research papers and making copies of pages in a Proceedings of Science book. There was only 1 magazine article I had trouble finding, but it's not a necessary item. While there, I asked the librarian how to go about getting access to a rare item in another universities library. I don't want to do it wrong and blow it. Little did I notice on that libraries website was a link called "planning your research trip." Duh. Anyhow, it looks like there's an online form and I have to bring two forms of ID. It will be quite exciting if I can actually see what I'm writing about!

Considering I was at the University for all of 3 hours, I ran into a classmate of my kids. He told me he was majoring in molecular and cellular biology. Sounds impressive. When I mentioned green fluorescent protein, I could tell by his expression he didn't have a clue.

A trip to the university is not complete unless you stop at the dairy bar. They've even got gingersnap ice cream.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Boy, did I ever get sidetracked yesterday and this morning. It reminded me of my childhood when I used to get lost in a set of encyclopedias. Reading about one topic led me to another and so on. Anyhow, a relative on my grandfathers side who I don't know and never even heard of has been researching family history. He wanted birth dates and photos for ancestry charts which he got all the way back to the 1700's in Italy. First, I investigated newspaper archives searching for info on a construction accident. Then I poked around on Google earth to see the village where my ancestors came from. They think it was named after its poor inhabitants. No nobility here. I had to find out more information about the castle. How high was the mountain (higher then Mt. Washington). What did my grandfathers last name mean in Italian (probably crime). Then I found a connection between a last name on my mothers side to my maiden name. OMG! They've been interbreeding. Maybe I need ADD meds.......FOCUS. LINDA FOCUS.

Friday, March 13, 2009

This video made me feel like I'm really going in the right direction. Afterward, I looked the guy up. No wonder. He does the same thing I do, only he's much better at it. And no, I don't shy away from telling people all about the science that I'm working on. This past fall, I found enough bogus science material on the web, in self-published books, and on blogs, that it was a catalyst for me to get moving on something I've wanted to write for 2 years.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Yesterday was a high intensity research day. Sparks were flying out of this computer. I ordered interlibrary loan material, read online articles, created a bookmark and populated it with online resources, located 5-6 research papers online, browsed newspaper archives to see what was out there, and identified research papers I need. No shortage of material for this assigned article. Things are rolling. I like that. When I'm not working on anything in particular there is far too much time to think.

From a phone call with an editor earlier this week, one comment stuck in my head. He said I wasn't like other writers because I'm not afraid to fail. What I neglected to tell him was the mat on my front door doesn't say WELCOME it says FAILURE. I step on it all the time. I'm so used to getting rejected and turned down I've likely become numb to it. Yes, it does bother me, but I bounce back from it pretty quick and the best way to recover is to get another iron in the fire ASAP. I guess I thought perseverance was the number one thing a writer needed. So why would other writers be afraid to fail? After a friend told me my mat should say PERSEVERANCE not FAILURE, I gave it some more thought. No, I don't consider myself a failure, nor do I consider myself successful, but more enroute or work-in-progress kinda thing. Capisce? (my grandfather used always say that)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

After receiving a call this past Friday where I thought no one was on the line, I jokingly handed the phone to my daughter and said it was for her. I went all the way upstairs and into her room and that phone was silent. Doesn't that figure that the minute she gets on the line the person starts talking. It wasn't until 3 days later that I learned my daughter hung up on an editor. Oops. Now my name has surely been added to the "needs work" file for phone etiquette. What haven't I screwed up?

Today I started doing research on an interesting historical controversy. The really cool thing about this topic that I didn't realize until after I'd picked it was that the item is right here in CT. Now, I have this burning desire to go see it. But first I need to get all the research papers.

Friday, March 6, 2009

It was a rough morning all around. The cat had a seizure. I had a dream I was rolling and rolling and rolling. I looked in the snow and found I'd been trying to make a snowman by rolling a kid's plastic playground ball. And it was a small ball too. But a ball filled with air is not exactly reality. That dream was too harsh. Geez, with dreams like mine, who needs nightmares.

I've been making good headway on a whole bunch of paperwork that is not due anytime too soon - thank goodness. It's a lot better then last time. But is it good enough, that is the question? I had a last minute change of heart and completed and shipped out Plan B. Hey, what the heck, I've nothing to lose except maybe a half days worth of effort. Can't say I'm not trying. Oh, you DEFINITELY can't say that.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I was at Cabela's today buying some mace. Better safe then sorry. Mine went through the washing machine. It doesn't work, but it's clean. Anyhow, since it was a different model I asked the lady at the register if she knew how this one worked. She explained that she used mace on a bear when she lived out in Montana. Whoa. This is CT. You don't hear stories like that. I wanted to hear the whole story, but a lady got in line and I didn't want to hold her up. I left the store thinking that cashier was no pansy.

I was pretty pleased with myself for putting a lot of irons in the fire during the past three months. But boy oh boy, they cool right off. Recognizing that Plan A was the stronger of the two, I don't think I'm wasting my time with Plan B. Humph.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A friend emailed today:

I was reading an article about male fish that are taking on female characteristics, they think it is something to do with what is in lakes and streams. I didn't quite get it. Could you please write an article for ChemMatters so I can grasp it?

My reply was "DON'T go in the water!"

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Today President Obama overturned Bush's last minute changes to the Endangered Species Act!
HALLELUJAH!!!! Here's the CNN article. That was such a flawed piece of legislation it wasn't funny. Let's just remove from the process those people (i.e. scientific reviews) that are in the way of development. Major audit check. Envisioning the fast destruction of land and sea from oil hungry companies was enough to make one sick. I was so happy to read this bit of news.
Well laid out steps are destined to be trampled. I'm off to do some snowshoeing in the woods - this time with hiking boots, not snow boots. Hopefully, I won't get a bad blister. Time to hatch another plan.

Upon my return, from a couple of hours snowshoeing, in regards to a glacier video I added to WWF, I received this nice email from the WWF:
Hello Linda

This is great and sorry for not getting back sooner but have been travelling
for work. I have added this to our favourites list on the Climate Witness
YouTube site.

Thank you so much for sending us this link and for making something that the
kids will love.

Many regards Claire

Claire Carlton
Manager Climate Witness Programme
WWF International
Twitter: www.twitter.com/wwf_climate
website: www.panda.org/climatewitness
facebook: http://tinyurl.com/53wbt8
flickr: www.flickr.com/climatewitness/
youtube: www.youtube.com/climatewitness
www.earthhour.org.au - Saturday 28 March 2009