Categories
Uncategorized

Magazines

Many things that defined my growing up, college, graduate school, and the present, have changed with the creation of and continued expansion of the internet. Over the years, it has changed much of how I learn, watch movies, read, get the news, purchased things, my daily routines in life. It has had a significant change of how our society has evolved. Some of it has NOT been for the better in my opinion.

One of the many things that is debatable in this electronic age is the loss of magazines. The loss of books. The loss of privacy, of oratory and the spoken word. The converse may also be true. The internet allows me to share my thoughts. Put into words what I am thinking. The ability for it to be shared with anyone and everyone. This post is the manifestation of that.

Growing up, grade schools and high schools often raised money for student activities by selling magazines. I think Publisher’s Clearinghouse still offers annual contests for millions of dollars! In graduate school, much time I spent in the library reading chemistry journals. As a serious professional (a chemistry nerd), much money was also spent subscribing to the various ACS (American Chemical Society) and getting their journals delivered monthly. Now all of these can be obtained by paying for an electronic subscription. For the record, I think I stopped receiving those journals about 5 years after graduate school. It is still much easier to go to the library. They took up too much space in a one bedroom apartment. Moving many boxes of dead weight was a hassle. I don’t even think I saved the copies of the published issues where I actually published my original research articles. Alas, I can look them up on-line.

When I travel for work, if I don’t have a book to carry along, I will stop at the magazine store at the airport to pick up one for the trip. Of late, that has been either a sailing magazine or woodworking. Thinking about the next 50 years.

However, I still get magazines delivered to my home. When I got serious about making money and investing, I had to have every magazine out there. From BusinessWeek to MONEY to SmartMoney to Kiplinger’s to Cooking Light, Real Simple, even Men’s Health and Playboy. Over the years, I had several magazines delivered. Yes they take up space. I saved them before recycling them. Slowly, over the years, many of these magazines have migrated to an all electronic format. MONEY has been that way for about 18 months now. Note to son – sorry, but I got rid of the Playboy subscription and magazines before I met your mom. Replaced it for Coastal Living for a few years. I get a periodic e-mail reminder of what’s new in MONEY. I guess they make money by online advertising. It still has the same format.

Somehow, it just doesn’t fill all of my necessary sensory needs. With Kiplinger’s, which I still get sent to my house monthly, I have the feel. I can feel the paper, smell the paper, look at the pictures, read the articles. I can roll it up if I have to hit the dog, or the kids, or myself. I can recycle it. I can take it to work and leave it at the lunch table for others to read. I can even take it to the bathroom to read it. Every month, it comes to my mailbox and every month, I read it. Cover to cover. Takes maybe two days, cover to cover. I have it. I own it.

I used to get the Wall Street Journal every day, the same way. The stacks of paper would pile up. You still can, but several years ago I opted for the electronic version only. I think that the electronic version is quickly becoming overpriced at $38.99 a month. I find that the quality of the presentation is less, more typos, errors. It no longer prints the daily stock quotes as near as I can tell. They have a web site for that. The same article can appear electronically in different versions for several days. Corrections are easy, updates to articles are easy. But it is convenient. During the COVID19 situation, I wished that I still had the paper copy, especially on those days when toilet paper was in short supply. But I read it every morning on my iPad.

Garden & Gun April/May 2020.

The inspiration for this post was that I received and finished, my April/May 2020 issue of Garden & Guns about a week ago. I have found it to be the best printed magazine out there today. I know that I have June/July on my table to read next. I read it cover to cover, all the time. Why would a 59 year old man born and raised in the Northeast, who lives in the Southwest, enjoy a magazine about the South? It has great articles, photography, recipes. The advertisements make me think of places to add to my bucket list if I ever want to get away from New Mexico, even for a few days. Articles about guns, horses, dogs, the culture, music, cooking, cities, towns, decorating. This month features include Saving the South. Articles about 30 heroes, from musicians to chefs, farmers, cowboys, conversationalists, and others who are making the south a better place. I find it has something new, enlightening, enjoyable to read. A new recipe to try when I feel the need to practice some at home Chemistry.

The website https:gardenandgun.com has the June/July issue already up for your viewing pleasure. I cannot wait to sit and read it from cover to cover. To feel the paper. To gaze at the pictures and to contemplate the mouthwatering recipes. For Memorial Day (yesterday), they posted on Instagram a picture from Arlington National Cemetery (see above). Many other magazines follow this same format. They have an on-line presence, linked with their subscriptions. In my opinion some just do it better than others.

Yes I can get the copy electronically, sent to my iPad. It loses its meaning to me in some ways. So as long as I can continue to get the printed copy, I feel added pleasure. I can hold it, get a paper cut, enjoy the turning of every page.

Categories
Uncategorized

End of the year 2019

Twice this week I had the intention of writing several posts since I have been off for about a week now. Historically, the lab closes between Christmas and New Year’s, so the week is one without work and vacation is taken to compensate my lack of salary. Aside from the normal days that I was required to take off (paid as in vacation or unpaid as in leave without pay), an additional day of vacation gets me two weeks off. Not a bad deal if one plans accordingly.

So here I sit New Years Eve 2019 (6am December 31 to be exact) and contemplate the good, the bad, and the ugly of 2019 and ponder what 2020 may have in store for me.

See the source image
Yes, I borrowed this image from the internet. Source: https://the2020deadline.twinsystems.com/
Adequate image of the road I am still taking.

Work was rather stressful for me this year. More so than in past years. Still doing the same thing, but management sucks. They don’t have a clue about what they need to do to get things done. Spend too much time planning, developing schedules, tracking costs and performance. I literally sit in several hour-long meetings each week tracking where we were, where we are going. Why did this take twice as long? Why was this not completed on Tuesday? We need more resources? We cannot process x until y and z is finished, but z will take new work procedures and set us back weeks. Team BLAH BLAH BLAH failed to do this task last month, they had 6 months to complete it. This list of excuses goes on and on. The accomplishments become fewer. Over the past 40 days of planned work, I think we actually managed to be productive for 8 of those days. More difficult these days to pull rabbits out of my hat…they usually are pulled from my ass! Requirements not met, equipment not available, resources pulled for higher priority tasks, so and so called in sick. I find myself enjoying it less and less. YES, I actually still enjoy my job and even though the bull shit has increased exponentially, I still get some satisfaction when even the smallest task is accomplished. More often than not, I now just put in my time, get stuff done and just collect the paycheck. That said, it is clear that the return from investment continues to decrease. One puts in more time and gets less and less done. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT I AM WORKING 60, 70, OR EVEN 80 HOURS A WEEK, like I did when I was younger. It means that it takes two, three, four times as long to get things done. In scheduling, I call that the pi factor. If the task duration is 1 day, I multiply the duration by pi (3.14159). Such a nerd I can be at times. And even that creates a “success-oriented schedule” that usually fails. Funk and frustration redux…

An anniversary of sorts happened before the holiday’s. I celebrated my 29th anniversary working at the lab. I guess that you can say that over my 58 years, I have lived in this area of the country (New Mexico) the most. Pennsylvania comes in second, living 18 years near Lewistown, PA. Happy Anniversary.

With that milestone comes the obvious. What are my plans for the future? Should I retire? Can I retire? When will I retire? Do I have enough money saved in order to retire? What does it mean to retire? Where do I see myself over the next 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? 50 years? Where will I live? Will I just make that change and go do something totally different.

By many analyses, I am expected to live at least another 20 years, which would mean that I would live until I am 78. Advances in medicine and such could tack on another 5 years. Of course all of this depends on how health I am currently. Have I taken care of myself? Are their things in my family history or how I currently live that could adjust that? Hell, I could die in a car crash tomorrow and never see my 59th birthday. I don’t exercise enough? I don’t drink enough red wine? I am considered obese yet managed to lose and keep off 15 pounds this year. My blood pressure is under control with medication, but my doctor thinks I need to look at my sleep habits. No thanks. I have survived 40 years sleeping on average 4 hours a night. And yes, I have read that 7 is the preferred number of hours of sleep required to be healthy. The whole concept of life expectancy, health and actuarial tables is interesting, yet at the same time somewhat morbid. Given all of that, I have planned to lived until I am 92. That is another 34 years, minimum.

Maybe I should write a “year in review” post. What did I accomplish in the past year? What did I write about during the course of this year but need to update? Did I ever finish reading “Atlas Shrugged”? Well that is an easy one to answer. My copy has 1168 pages and I am on page 90. So NO, I have not finished the book that I have started to read thrice before. I seem to stop reading at about 120 pages and so, the copy that I purchased in the summer of 2011 has some wear and tear, but remains unfinished. Should I make this a New Year’s resolution for 2020? I do need to spend more time reading.

I am never very good in the resolutions. Every year it is the same. Eat better, exercise more, spend less. Stop and smell the roses. Reduce the clutter in my house. Am I still in the rut that has plagued me and that I have written about in the past? Is my frustration and funk continuing into 2020? If I had my magic 8 ball, what would it say? “All signs point to yes”? There is another thing to contemplate. How is my mental health and how does that interact with life expectancy. Stress is not a good thing. What can I do to reduce or relieve my stress?

I am a single (divorced) white male with a dog. I have read that that divorce and male are bad in terms of life expectancy, but having a dog is good. I take dog for walk, and so I get some exercise. Jewel likes her walks and gets upset when we don’t go for a walk each and every day. That too is good, except for it being 6:30 in the morning and single digits outside like today. Snow on the ground. It is cold, there is some wind, and I have been stuck in the house for the past few days, screaming at the TV about bad officiating in several football games. OHIO STATE WAS ROBBED by bad officiating in their game.

Staying inside has other bad effects. I eat too much, don’t get enough exercise, and BAM! Put on a few pounds. Eat, drink and be merry. Get an exercise bike and set it in the living room. Read, watch TV and exercise at the same time. Unfortunately I eat too much because I try my hand at cooking. It is the only Chemistry that I perform these days. One of the posts that I had contemplated over the past week was on cooking, complete with before and after photo’s. Last night I made sausage, fennel and pasta. Over the years I have diverged

See the source image
Looks what I made last night, except I did not have any grated cheese to finish it off. Yes, I borrowed this picture as well, from https://www.finecooking.com/recipe/penne-with-sausage-fennel-and-pecorino. The recipe is close to what I use, except for the quantity of ingredients.

somewhat from the recipe. I add my own proportions of the ingredients. Equal amounts of fennel and onion. More than what is typically called for in the recipe, but not too much. Typically one fennel bulb (large) and one medium white onion. I love to cook with onions. Diced tomato instead of tomato paste. It was good, and with control, I have enough to last for several meals for myself. The kids don’t care for it. Even though it is made with love, it takes time. Processed food is easier to prepare. One can Kraft Mac and Cheese between commercials. But processed foods I read are not good for you. BTW, Mac and Cheese is good with Hatch Green Chile (and so are cheesy grits). Have not added green chile to this recipe yet. Red pepper works fine to add heat.

I could probably go on and on. But I will end it here. Let’s say good bye to 2019 and hello to 2020. No resolutions agreed upon, or posted, written down, placed on FaceBook. Just try and live every day to its fullest. Hoping that tomorrow is better than yesterday.

Categories
Uncategorized

Tired

It’s about a quarter past nine as I sit and write this. Trying to write something every day. Kinda like Chemistry in graduate school. Equally important that I ran one experiment a day. Whether it was the necessary synthesis for starting materials, kinetics of chemical reactions, spectroscopic evaluations, or even modeling on the computer, I felt it necessary to do one reaction a day. So it is true with this new adventure. Just took son back to his mothers place; talked to daughter earlier as she is at Goose Downs working and riding in preparation for this weekends event.

I have been awake now for about 18 hours. A typical day. Never get much sleep on the weekdays. Three to five hours is the norm. Eight is sleeping in on the weekend. I usually start the day between 3 and 4 am. Hot tea or coffee, read, shower, take the dog for a walk. This morning we walked a little longer than normal and managed to come across 4 deer feeding in the yards around the place where we live. Got to work by 5:45 am. Usual day in terms of status and schedule meeting. Addressed questions about some equipment, worked with the quality assurance engineers on a new certificate of analysis for product specifications. Meeting on implementation of some new process monitoring to make us more efficient.

Left work after 4 pm to pick up son from summer camp. He didn’t want to go but I think he is actually have fun. It is tiring him out, a good thing. Cooked dinner, had to get dog food at the grocery store. Dropped him off at his mothers. Strangely, I too find myself very tired, having eye trouble. Looking at the dog who picks her head up from the sofa at the sound of the hospital lifeflight helicopter flying overhead.

That about does it it for me. It is hot this evening, not much of a breeze. Will make sleeping difficult. Until tomorrow.

Categories
Uncategorized

What to write about today

Since I have started this journey a little over a week ago, when I sit down to write, I have typically had the entire piece written in my mind. Today I find myself in the opposite state of mind. Some subject ideas but nothing about the details of the piece. Not sure if it is because I haven’t thought enough about what specific subject to write about, or was it the frustrating day at work, or is it running for three days on seven hours of sleep, or the fact that there is to much going on.

As I said, I have many subjects to ponder. All of them will hopefully get put into words as we continue on this journey. All of them will provide you, the reader about what kind of person I am. Such topics include financial stuff. Lots of blogs about that. Some offer great advice and I have found the articles to be very helpful. I am not a financial expert so I will not write about that much. At least I can write at some point about my axioms for handling money. History and politics are two areas that I have interest in, but they can easily turn people off, especially when they don’t agree with your position on the issues that confront our nation. Suffice it to say, I characterize myself as being “so far to the right that I end up on the left”. Other topics can be hobbies, travel, people, book reviews. Many ideas of things to ponder and keep me occupied and hopefully, all of you as readers, coming back for more. Of course, there will be more offerings in the future about my kids and our pets. Cannot wait to tell you about the goldfish.

Work can be a dull subject. I have a PhD in Chemistry from a Big 10 school, but I really don’t do much chemistry anymore. Most of what I do is in the area of solving technical problems. These technical problems are often caused by others and thus it becomes my job to “make it work”. You do with what you have and don’t request the Lamborghini when a Ford works.

As for the sleep, that becomes an annual conversation in my medical checkup, along with weight, diet, and exercise. Ever since college some 40 years ago, I have been able to function on 2 to 4 hours of sleep every day. Yes it is odd that when I am on vacation, 8 to 10 hours is the norm. Charging the batteries I guess, but I’m thinking that weight, diet and exercise, would be better controlled if sleep was more normal than what I get at present.

And as always, there is lots going on. While I no longer work the 50 to 60 hour work weeks, there are the kids to consider, life and activities outside work, and the general realization that it’s time to do something different as I reach middle age. Yes I plan on living forever, so I better start working on weight, diet and exercise in order to even remotely live to 150.