The holidays are over. The christmas lights are now obsolete. The first big snow storm of the season has come and gone. The cryosphere is unceasing in its wicked attempt to thermally equilibrate my house to a ΔT = 0 across the walls. Only high thermal inertia and a near constant stream of methane into the burners will hold it off.

That jolly elf brought Th’ Gaussling a 1 terabyte external hard drive. Years of pdf downloads and treasured jpeg’s streamed silently onto the drive via the fabulous USB port.  Papers on mining & metallurgy, LiBeB cosmochemistry (on the Lithium dip, one of my fascinations), and thousands of photos.

While picking at the guitar the other day it dawned on me why some people choose to play the base guitar.  Four strings are mechanically easier to play than six. Maybe there are other and better reasons, but this seems like a good one. Then, as you advance, there is playing notes from the fifth fret and above.  My brain plasticity turns vitreous at this level. It comes down to repetition of the basics.

Remember the basics: Task at a time- correction in the right direction;  attitude, altitude, cross check;  and, runway behind you is useless!  Dave Benton, Th’ Gausslings flight instructor, ca 1978.

For me and my day job, 2011 will be very much about thermokinetic issues in process safety. We’re going to install a reaction calorimeter and much time and effort will be needed not only in operating the device, but in folding its use into the development cycle. It is one thing to collect thermochemical data. It is quite another to use it to make decisions concerning engineering and process safety.  Considerable effort in my industrial career has been spent in building structure for information archival rather than just bench chemistry.  I didn’t anticipate that.

Our upcoming production of The ODD COUPLE opens in 2 weeks. I’m still rough with my lines, so there is no shortage of stress there. The thought of opening night and sitting on stage in the lights in front of a darkened audience wonderfully concentrates the mind. Neil Simon wrote some great lines in this play.