Sunday, January 27, 2008

PPD Prom

PPD Prom 033, originally uploaded by evens.john.

Hooray! Finally something worth blogging about. Last night was our work holiday party, colloquially know as PPD Prom, since it's held so long after the holidays. They still insisted on putting up some lame Christmas decorations. It was a lot of fun, especially since J-No, Brian and Raz were in town, and because there was an open bar. The food this year wasn't very good. There wasn't even any dessert.
We've had so many new people start this year, and I had a good time getting to know them a bit better. Aside from almost burning Amanda's house down, I think we avoided any major mishaps. I'm glad its just once a year though; I can't party like I used to!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Toyota Tacoma

Tacoma 005, originally uploaded by evens.john.
Welcome to my first post made from Flickr! Although I'm still composing the message in my Blogger dashboard, hopefully the links in the caption will help guests to view more photos of the same subject. Please give me feedback on how it works for you.

Now on the the meat of the post. Since my readership is probably mostly British, I guess I'm going to spend most of my words justifying my choice to buy a pickup truck (or simply 'truck' as they are known here). While defensiveness will probably be seen as an admission of guilt, I think it's best that I address the principle concerns.


Richmond, Virginia is not Chelsea, London. Space is not at a premium. I don't have to negotiate narrow, crowded streets near schools, so there is no reason to limit myself to a small car.

Fuel Economy

Since it's a brand new vehicle, it actually make pretty good miles. The EPA estimates 29mpg Highway (that almost 35 miles to an Imperial gallon). Plus, I still have the motorbike, which regularly gets 40-50mpg, so don't worry, I haven't become a Global Climate Change Denialist yet!

Ride Quality

Yes, the suspension is as stiff the proverbial Englishman's upper lip. But since Virginia's roads are in such as state that the Governor tripled speeding fines to pay for repairs, it's nice to be in something with good ground clearance.

I look like a Redneck

I know. And I love it. I've already started dressing accordingly.

Science, Evolution and Creationism

The National Academy of Science has released a booklet aimed at persuading educators to keep Creationism out of the science classroom. You can download a pdf of the full version for free if you don't mind giving them an email address, or there is an 8 page summary which cost nothing at all!

I'm going to try to wade through the entire thing, but I've heard either document gives a worthwhile introduction to evolutionary theory. Personally I think everyone should try to at least grasp the basics of science, so I recommend you take a look.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Feeling Blue, Going Green

Despite the title, this post has relatively little to do with low self esteem or attempts to be more environmentally responsible.

How my hair turned green

This year Santa brought me several hair related gifts. You may well ask why someone with as little hair as me would need such items. My favorite gift is a new pair of professional hair clippers. The gift I was initially most excited about getting was some blue hair dye. I'm sure you can see where this is going. Since the pattern of events leading to my green hair is fairly obvious, I'll concentrate on what I'll do differently.
Firstly, I won't be using a bleach kit that I found at the back of my bathroom cupboard next the the radiator. As a chemist I should know better than to expect good results from Peroxide that's been sitting around awhile. Secondly, only if the colour removal goes to plan will I continue to the next stage. Thirdly, in any case I think it's a good idea to wait a few days between bleaching a colouring, to get as much bleach out of the hair as possible. And finally, I'll locate a hairdryer before starting the whole process, so that if I decide that the application of heat is necessary, I won't be left running around wondering how I can live with two girls and still not be able to find one.

Happy New Year!

As with the red, my excuse for turning my hair green was the beginning of a brand new Year. I had a hard time convincing many other people that the goal of New Year's Eve is to go and stand around outside on one of the coldest nights of the year with a crowd of other nitwits. Cary Street was hosting it's 2nd annual standing-around-in-the-cold festival, so I was determined to attend. Despite the State of Virginia's draconian Alcoholic Beverage Control laws, I managed to enjoy a cold beer, while standing around in the cold. Bizarre country rock bands played songs for us to stomp our feet and rub our hand together to. Local nitwits included street preachers, libertarians and girls with a hypothermia-inducing dedication to fashion. The nitwits got a little out of control near the end, so we retreated to a side street to watch a small lighted ball go up a pole, triggering four indoor fireworks to announce the arrival of 2008. After that a middle-aged man exhorted us to make education a priority this year (we promised we would), then we made our way home.