blk: (bike)
I have spent a lot of time complaining at great length about cold fingers when I ride my bike in winter around here, and my failure to find a warm enough solution.

When I last ranted about it, [livejournal.com profile] danceboy stepped in with perfect timing and offered to send me an old pair of bigger gloves so I could try them with liners, going on the tentative theory that the reason liners hadn't been working for me is there wasn't enough extra space with my current gloves. I also acquired, per suggestion from [livejournal.com profile] xuth, a pair of heated glove liners to use (size S/M). The liners are nice in that they provide heat around the outside of the hand and fingers, where I actually get cold, instead of in the palm. They are very comfortable, too, if a little bulky with the battery pack.

My current cold-weather gloves are the Novara Stratos (women's M) and the new ones from danceboy are the Pearl Izumi Inferno gloves (men's L). Both are 4-fingered, waterproof, windproof, winter bike gloves. The Stratos fit me super comfortably, with generous room to move around without liners, and are just slightly snug with the liners I've tried. The Inferno are definitely bigger, with enough extra space to feel somewhat awkward without liners, and only a little too big with them.

With my new setup, I just had to wait for some below-freezing, dry, commuting workdays. Between temperatures hovering just above freezing, jury duty, vacations, and occasional precipitation, it's taken a bit longer than I expected to get a good trial, but it is finally time to report back with some data.

data log and details )

Conclusion: I have succeeded in finding a solution that works and I am super duper happy about it. I suppose my absolute perfect ideal would be to get another pair of Stratos in size L instead of the Infernos, since I really like the Stratos, but a) they seem to be out of stock everywhere, and b) I don't think the slight increase in comfort is worth the $$ they cost new.

Thanks to everybody out there who has listened to me rant and offered sympathy or suggestions. Happy endings FTW!
blk: (spring)
Some random updates:

I'm not into holidays for the religion; I'm in it for the food. Easter time means delicious, delicious ham on sale, so I got one. A whole one. Cooked it yesterday, then realized that I hadn't thought ahead on people to feed. I've come to the conclusion lately that I have a dearth of 1) nearby friends I know/think about 2) who are available on last-minute notice to 3) come eat food based on mammal meat. Still, I managed to pull together five of us who together made a small dent in the ham. I now have more leftover ham than god, and man is it yummy. This week will be soup-making and leftovers-freezing.

I really like having people over for food and hanging out. However, the aforementioned combination is not a good one. I need to start a) planning ahead a bit more, or b) coming up with more dietary-versatile meals.

I also succeeded in introducing the guests to Factory Fun, which is my latest favorite board game. They were gracious enough to let me win, probably because I neglected to emphasize just how important efficiency bonuses were to getting high scores.

Last week, I got a broncoscopy for science )

This week is spring break for Pittsburgh Public Schools and a dad-week for the jboys, which means [livejournal.com profile] xuth and I get an ENTIRE WEEK to ourselves. Which is amazingly nice. Of course, the house remodel work is still happening (and we're impatient for it to finish) and takes plenty of our focus, so we're not getting a whole lot of quiet downtime. But I am stealing him away for a couple days to escape and go hiking in Hocking Hills, which I'm really looking forward to. The weather is so far promising to be REALLY NICE, which makes me REALLY HAPPY.
blk: (range)
"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary. " -- James Nicoll

Being in the same city as several hospitals and universities means there are frequent opportunities to volunteer as a research subject For Science,TM so occasionally I like doing so. During a screening interview for a recent study, I was given the National Adult Reading Test (link: NART [PDF]) to get a measure of my English language reading skills. The NART consists of 61 words with non-phonetic spellings, which means you, in theory, need to have learned how to pronounce them from somewhere else in order to be able to read the words. I had not seen the test before. [Warning, if you ever think you may be tested for language skills with this test, reading that PDF link carefully ahead of time may count as giving you an advantage.]

I got 7 words incorrect. Alas, I didn't ask what all of them were, so I'm unsure on exactly which ones I missed, although I have a pretty good guess. Also, over half of these words were French, which surprises me not in the slightest, since French, as far as I can tell, takes an entire sneeze of characters to make a single syllable, and I've never learned how to pronounce anything in it.

There were 6 words that I am pretty sure I had never heard of before. This set overlapped with, but was not a subset of the words I missed. At least half of them I successfully guessed at. 2 were words that, as far as I can remember, I had heard, but never before seen written, and did not recognize (I got them both wrong). On the other hand, 4 were words I had seen written, but never heard spoken out loud (to my memory), and got a couple of those wrong.

Afterwards, I discussed a few of the words with the person giving me the test. Apparently I got a couple right that nobody else she had tested had, and was able to give her the etymology of a few she didn't know.
blk: (icicles)
A pane of tempered glass shatters in really cool and fascinating ways. I really wish I had had a convenient video camera to get the cool dancing glass effects.

Reminder to self: do NOT attempt future similar experiments in the house.

I guess my kitchen floor needed a really good cleaning anyways.
blk: (sandwich)
This is more or less a topic of discussion I've had with various people over the last while. It's interesting to me to do casual studies on how my body works, and what signals mean when I get them. Mmm, science.

So, since I was eating lunch, I made up a poll about eating )
blk: (cathat)
This morning, I got vaccinated against that darned persistent illness-causing seasonal virus.
Even better, I did it (duhn duhn duhhhhn) ... for SCIENCE!
And even better, I'm getting paid for it!

boring details )

The downside is, I got a flu vaccine. And this, I'm betting, is therefore almost certainly responsible for the sudden, violent shivering attack and mild aches that descended on me a couple hours ago (although no fever, according to this study-approved thermometer, and I'm not feeling much in the way of general malaise; just very, very, cold). Some soaking in steaming water helped greatly for the time I was there, but didn't last.

Tonight is totally getting extra sleep and extra blankets, and hopefully a kittywarmer. I fully expect to feel all better soon.
blk: (ninja)
A few weeks ago, I decided to take part in the Herpevac Trial for Women, a clinical trial that is testing a vaccine for genital herpes in women. I passed the initial testing and got my first set of shots last week.

[The trial is ongoing, and has been going on for about 3 years so far, in locations throughout the country. Due to the constraints put on trial participants, fewer than half of the women initially tested are accepted, so I am feeling pretty happy that I can help out medical research in this way. The primary requirements are that the participants must be:
  • female, aged 18-30
  • not pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to do either in the next year
  • negative for both HSV1 and HSV2 (they will test for you)
I encourage anybody who is interested in helping out in the name of SCIENCE! to look into taking part (plus, they pay! (and if you name me as referrer, I get a bonus))]

my detailed testing experience so far )

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