Bike Accident

I got into a bike accident last week. No serious damage to myself, but the same can’t be said for the bike.

totalled-bike
Taco wheels make me hungry for Mexican food.

Someone left a shopping cart in the bike path. I was biking along on my way home from the lab and was thinking in my own head. I didn’t see the shopping cart until it was too late so I slammed into it.

The effect on my bike is quite obvious. Front wheel is wrecked.

I skinned my palms, skinned my knee, got a hole in the knee of my pants, sprained my left wrist, and got a few bruises. Nothing that didn’t fix itself in a few days.

There were some people walking on the bike path that asked if I was alright and helped me pick up my things (my keys had fallen out of my pocket and my shoe had flown off).

One of the bystanders offered to give me and the bike a ride to my house in his truck. I declined, not wanting to inconvenience him and thinking that walking my bike home would be easy enough.

This turned out to be the wrong decision for two reasons.

First, allowing him to help probably would’ve made his day better. Most people enjoy helping others and he wouldn’t have offered if it was going to severely inconvenience him.

Second, my bike turned out to be a little more messed up than it looked at first.

I’d intended to pick up the front of the bike and easily wheel it home on the back wheel. Turns out the back wheel was also screwed up and wouldn’t turn.

I ended up walking half a mile with the bike hoisted up on my shoulders.

I took the bike to the repair shop. The front wheel is obviously not salvageable, but the back will most likely be delicately coaxed back into shape.

And while my physical injuries will heal my dignity will be forever scarred.

-GoCorral

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HCl Spill in the Lab

I had an interesting day in the lab. I spilled a large amount of concentrated HCl on the floor!

I would’ve taken a picture of the damage zone, but my first thought was, “Oh shit!” not, “This would look good on my blog.”

HCl is the strongest acid used in most labs. If you’re familiar with the pH scale it goes from 1-14. Water is 7. Orange juice is 3 and stomach acid is 1.

Concentrated HCl is -1. the pH scale is a log scale so that means concentrated HCl is 100 times stronger than stomach acid.

HCl is used all the time in lab work, but often in a more dilute form. I had the concentrated stuff out so I could dilute a small amount of it in a large bottle of water.

I got the amount I needed and then I dropped the large bottle on the floor as I was putting it away. SPLOOSH! CRACK! Glass and acid everywhere!

It started eating away at the floor immediately, BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

HCl is composed of Hydrogen (H) and Chlorine (Cl) in water. In concentrated HCl the acid is so smooshed together that it starts falling apart into its component parts of Hydrogen and Chlorine gas.

Chlorine is a deadly gas! Hurray! -_-

I closed off the room and put a warning sign on it before rushing upstairs to contact my PI (boss).

He came down and we agreed that we needed to call Environmental, Health, and Safety (EH&S). They’re the guys who handle spills in the lab that my labmates and I can’t deal with.

EH&S didn’t come by themselves though!

First five firemen came up. Two cops as well, but they left after I told them I wasn’t injured. Some of the acid got on my shoe but nothing serious.

The firefighters stuck around until EH&S arrived. Three people from EH&S came to assess the situation and after doing so they sent two more people to do the actual cleanup work.

So a small spill of a nasty chemical attracted a dozen emergency response personnel.

Meanwhile I took off my shoe just to be safe and am now wearing a bootie for the rest of the day.

The bike ride of shame awaits me when I go home. EVERYONE WILL KNOW!!!
The bike ride of shame awaits me when I go home. EVERYONE WILL KNOW!!!

The cleanup crew removed all the broken glass and chlorine gas as well as most of the acid that was still on the ground.

Supply cart. The crew is inside cleaning up my mistakes.
Supply cart. The crew is inside cleaning up my mistakes.

After they finished up I came in with Sodium Carbonate (grainy baking soda) to clean up the rest of the acid.

I still managed to work with the dilute acid I made, but what a day!

-GoCorral

The Choice Movie Review

The Choice

My wife picked Nicholas Spark’s latest movie adaption, The Choice, for us to see. She’d heard it was like the new Notebook which we both liked.

The Choice can best be described as two movies glued together. Let’s dive into it!

Travis, played by Ted Cruz lookalike Benjamin Walker, is a womanizing veterinarian who has a semi-steady girlfriend.

Gabby, played by Teresa “looks like a heroin addict” Palmer, is training to be a doctor and is dating one of her superiors at the hospital, Ryan.

Gabby moves next to Travis and they soon realize they are a terrible fit for each other and that Gabby will never sleep with Travis.

Of course Travis can’t have that! He slowly seduces her. They break up and get together. Yadah yadah, typical romance movie stuff.

Now normally the movie would end there, with the happy couple’s wedding.

The Choice is no ordinary movie though!

Fast forward seven years and Gabby is in a coma due to a car accident.

The movie does not spring this on you suddenly. The first scene was actually Travis entering the hospital with flowers and everything else was a flashback.

Travis has to make the titular Choice, keep Gabby alive in the hope that she will return to him and their two children or remove life support?

I won’t spoil his choice or the results/consequences. The end had many tear jerking moments and that’s all you need to know.

The second part of the movie is great and I’d definitely recommend it. As for the first part…

The first half of the movie suffered from the disease of “all these characters are jerks.”

Everyone had some sort of adolescent sexist agenda. Travis is a lady killer. Gabby distrusts all men. Travis’s sister thinks that because Travis and Gabby are opposites that they will obviously get together.

The minor characters get included in the sexist mess as well. Travis’s friends wives say, “Men have more fun if they feel like they’re getting away with something.”

Additionally, the characters have zero problems in their lives except what I already outlined.

As another review I read states, “in the Nicholas Sparks universe, everyone is beautiful and successful.”

While this let’s the audience focus on the plot it did seem odd to me. For example, Travis encounters no racism when he hangs out with his black friends in Carolina. The Confederate flag is also mysteriously absent from landscape shots of the harbor.

I think that would’ve made an interesting sideplot but I understand why it wasn’t included. The movie is about Travis and Gabby, not Travis and his friends. There might’ve even been a conscious choice to leave our racism with the notion that if racism is absent in media then it could eventually vanish in real life.

Regardless of intentions, all these elements disrupted my suspension of disbelief during the film. I kept thinking, “That doesn’t make sense, why isn’t that there?” or “Oh God, another sexist/patronizing speech.”

Adding to that, Walker looks 40 years old in The Choice while Palmer looks 20. This isn’t accidental. The characters they play are actually 10-15 years apart in age. It adds this whole other creepy element of cradle robbing to the film.

Despite all that I’d still recommend the film for its stellar second half. My gripes disappear there and I can wholeheartedly recommend the movie for a Valentine’s Day date with your significant other.

-GoCorral

Flash vs. Teleport: League of Legends

One time while I was playing League of Legends with my friends one of our opponents asked us an interesting question, “Which League of Legends summoner spell would you rather have in real life, Teleport or Flash?”

There are a few different summoner spells in League of Legends, but Teleport or Flash are probably the best two.

What do they do? They move your champion a long distance for Teleport and a short distance for Flash.

When you calculate what the distances in League of Legends would be in real life, the distance of a Teleport spell is 227 meters (745 feet) and 4.25 meters (14 feet) for Flash.

Red guy on the upper left is teleporting. Green guy on the bottom is flashing from where that bright yellow light is to where he is now.
Red guy on the upper left is teleporting into that bush on the right. Green guy on the bottom is flashing from where that bright yellow light is to where he is now.

As you can see in the picture, Flash is instantaneous but Teleport takes a little bit of time to cast. 3.5 seconds to be exact.

Teleport has an additional restriction of where it can be used, but we’ll ignore that for this thought experiment.

Both spells can only be used every five minutes.

So which would you use?

A lot of my friends first chose Teleport, but later changed their minds. It just doesn’t go far enough. 227m is only a little more than a city block. I can’t even get to the grocery store, let alone the lab where I work.

Sure I could use it every five minutes, but that doesn’t really shorten my commute by much because it only helps a block at a time. My commute takes 10-15 minutes. Teleport might shorten it by a minute or two at most.

It could be useful for vertical distances. My lab work is split into two different spaces, one in the basement and one on the third floor. With Teleport I could go instantly between the two spaces instead of trudging up the stairs or taking the scary shakey elevator.

But should I do that? Walking up three flights of stairs all the time is actually a pretty good easy of working exercise into my day. I don’t necessarily want it to go away.

Then we have Flash. One of the first things pointed out to us by the opponent who gave us this question was how Flash could be used to avoid car accidents.

Teleport takes 3.5 seconds to cast, Flash is instant. So if you’re about to be in a car accident you can just use Flash to get away, but Teleport would take too long to cast for you to react.

Flash could also be used to go up or down a flight of stairs. I could use Flash to get on my roof without having to get the ladder out.

I probably still wouldn’t want to use Flash to go up the stairs every time I use stairs for the same reason I shouldn’t be using Teleport for that. Stairs are free exercise, man!

But the car accident reason convinced me that Flash was probably the better choice.

So which would you choose? Flash or Teleport?

-GoCorral

The Age of Adaline Movie Review

Another movie I saw with my wife! Can you tell who my favorite person to go to the movies with is?

Age of Adaline tells the story of a woman who acquires immortality during a car accident. The movie has a pseudoscience explanation for how she becomes immortal that my wife and I laughed at.

Adaline was born in 1908. The movie hops around a little bit, but most of the story takes place in 2015.

Adaline fell in love and had a family back in the day. She obviously outlives her husband, but her daughter remains a character throughout the movie, aging into a granny by 2015.

At some point the FBI figure out that Adaline is immortal and they move to arrest her because she’s suspected of communism or something (this part wasn’t clear to me).

Adaline goes on the run. Every ten years she changes her name and moves to a new place, keeping the same youthful appearance of Blake Lively wherever she goes.

In 2015 Adaline falls in love with Ellis, a rich socialite who spends his time learning about the local history of San Francisco, something Adaline is intimately familiar with.

I suppose the viewer is meant to feel that the love between Adaline and Ellis is something wonderful and worth preserving, but frankly it feels creepy.

First of all, Ellis pursues her in the most stalker-like fashion possible. She sternly tells him she’s not interested at a party. Next he shows up at her work and hits on her there. They go on a date and then she calls it off. After that he figures out where she lives and waits for her outside her apartment.

Like I said, I think the audience is supposed to feel that his love is earnest, but he seems more like a rich boy who can’t have what he wants and starts freaking out about it. A normal person would start considering a restraining order at this point.

Of course Adaline doesn’t do that, she takes him back and agrees to go on a weekend trip to his parents’ house!

When she meets Ellis’s parents Adaline discovers that she used to date his dad after her husband died and was considering marrying him. The plot ensues and I don’t want to ruin the rest of it for you if you plan on seeing it.

The romance of the movie is terrible. There’s the issue with Ellis being a stalker, but the additional problem of Adaline being a little bit of a cougar. After all she is dating someone who is a quarter of her age.

That said, the science fiction parts of the story are interesting. How does an immortal person’s life work amongst mortals? Is she still sad when her pets die? How do friendships work for her? What does she do with all her time? Does she “retire” every couple of years or keep working? Those are all interesting questions that the movie answers well without even focusing on them.

I wouldn’t recommend seeing this movie in theaters, but if you like little science fiction stories about immortality (I do!) then I’d recommend renting Age of Adaline once it comes out on DVD.

-GoCorral

Moving In

PIcture was taken by the house inspector. I'm in the doorway!
This picture was taken by the house inspector. I’m in the doorway!

So where have I been the last month or so with my posts?

Moving into this brand new house of course!

Well, it’s not actually brand new. It was built in 1975, but you get the idea.

My wife and I packed up most of our stuff and her parents and then on a Saturday her parents came down to help us with everything.

Last time we’d moved I had rented the truck and driven it. Being unfamiliar with how to drive a truck resulted in me sideswiping another car while parking. No serious damage to either vehicle, but I got scared of driving something that big.

My in-laws were willing to drive it for us this time.

So we spent all of Saturday sweating and puffing as we moved all the furniture downstairs, into the truck, and inside the new house.

The hardest part was the couch. The couch is an Ikea couch and came delivered in 6 parts.

Putting those parts together was an extremely annoying experience that I wasn’t looking forward to repeating so I convinced my relatives that we could get it out of the house without taking it apart.

I turned out to be just barely right about this. We turned the couch on its side and even then it barely fit through the door. Grappling it down the stairs was an art form.

We were tempted to tip it over the side of the banister halfway down the stairs and be done with it, but we resisted.

Eventually we got the thing down the stairs and into the truck.

Moving it into the new house was much easier. A ground floor entrance and double doors helped that process a lot.

We’re now about a month away from that Saturday and have mostly moved in. More stories to come! Hopefully I can get my act together and keep posting here with some regularity.

 

-GoCorral