This blog is my attempt to reconnect with the world of chemistry. I have a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry and make a living doing research for a large company in Michigan. As times have changed, that company has changed its focus and I no longer have as much chance to do the basic, fundamental research which I most enjoy. Through this blog, I am hoping to recapture the magic which I felt during my graduate (and undergraduate) days in college. Expect topics on chemistry and alchemy along with some non-chemistry related items which I think might be interesting.

"The chymists are a strange class of mortals, impelled by an almost insane impulse to seek their pleasure among smoke and vapour, soot and flame, poisons and poverty; yet among all these evils I seem to live so sweetly that may I die if I would change places with the Persian King."

Johann Joachim Becher (phlogistonist)
Acta Laboratorii Chymica Monacensis, seu Physica Subterranea, (1669).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

When the Elements are Against You

The elements are conspiring against me. I’m finally ready to start posting again and then we lose power here on Sunday due to the storms that swept through the Midwest. It’s been a little hectic around here to say the least, and at the present time, DTE is not expecting our power to come back until late Thursday. Fortunately, we have a gasoline powered generator and so we have enough power to run the important things: TV, computer, internet, fans and…, oh yeah, the refrigerator, microwave, and freezer.

It’s my six year old son who is having the roughest time. He experienced his first blackout this winter, when we lost power while I was giving him a shower. Without warning, the bathroom went pitch black and he started panicking. I was reluctant to leave him to go open the door because he was covered in soap and I was afraid he was going to slip and fall during his panic attack. Eventually I got him out of there, but afterwards he started using the term “power outage” several times a day for several weeks. After Sunday, he’s added “thunderstorms” to his daily vocabulary. He’s even learned how to bring up a local area weather radar map on the computer, which he now does constantly to check for any indication of an impending storm, despite our assurances that nothing is imminent. (He’s apparently already reached the age where he believes what he sees on the Internet more than what his parents tell him.) Even a partially overcast sky now starts to worry him, which makes me feel a little guilty since I actually enjoy rainy days and thunderstorms as opposed to hot summer days (northern European ancestry, no doubt). My wife, whose ancestry is Maltese, thinks I’m crazy. Who’s to say she isn’t right?

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