Friday, December 29, 2006


Just a quick post with a video I made. I borrowed George's geiger counter and thought I'd see just how radioactive a lantern mantle is.

The mantle registers about 4 micro sieverts per hour. This is about 1 half to 1 days worth of radiation depending on where you live. In the US the average annual radiation exposure is about 3600 micro sieverts or 360 millirems. In Canada we get exposed to about half of this at about 1800 micro sieverts per year. This works out to about 9.8 and 4.9 micro sieverts per day for Americans and Canadians. These numbers are just averages and your local radiation count can vary greatly.

In the video you can see the geiger counter has to be almost touching the mantle to get the max reading and at a foot away it isn't reading anymore than background so these mantles are pretty safe. I wouldn't want to tuck one inside my hat and wear it around for a long time or have a stockpile of several thousand under the bed. The real danger is the smoke from these when they are first ashed. If breathed in the smoke can leave thorium and its decay products in your lungs which will sit there slowly irradiating your lung tissue. In turn this could very slightly up your chances of lung cancer.

Newer mantles are made with yttrium instead of thorium because it isn't radioactive.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I'm ready for Christmas to be here

I'm almost finished all of my Christmas shopping. I was out last night and picked up a few things but it made me realise that I'm ready for Christmas to be done already. This is a surprising two weeks later than when I worked in retail but I'm done. I want some time off, I want to give people their crap that I've been hording for months like some cold war, bomb shelter owning American. I want my stuff too, people have been asking me for weeks "what do you want for Christmas" and I'm tired of it, I have no ideas left. I just want to see what they bought.

We bought a tree on Monday and decorated it it on Tuesday. I got taken to the cleaners by the tree guy. $30 for a 6.5ft Douglas fir? Damn if I wasn't so lazy I'd go down to mayfair hardware and buy one for half that. Probably in better shape too. This is Lindsay's first real tree in quite some time and I think she was a little disappointed in the Charlie brown that we have. I think people get spoiled by fake trees, there's no sap on you from sawing the bottom off, there's no needles and it is perfectly shaped. Where is the fun in that? I think its all worth it just for the smell. In reality there isn't much mess, after you get the decorations on and stop playing with it the needles usually stay put pretty well. At least I have somewhere to put my stash of presents.

One thing that makes shopping difficult is the lack of vehicles. Yes Lindsay's car is still in the shop. Its been there for a month now and I'm getting tired of it. When she is closing at work, which is most of the time, I have no car. Sure I've got the truck but be damned if I am going to drive that downtown and deal with parking. I could probably get things delivered for the same price as gas and parking. My mom is in a worse place with vehicles, the truck is her only vehicle in the winter. The car is parked for the winter. She's getting ready to revolt and just take the truck back. I wouldn't blame her.

I'm looking forward to some time off but I have a feeling that I won't actually get any time "off". Let see... on Friday the 22nd we are going to Moosejaw after work and then back on Sunday morning. Sunday is going to be spent at my mom's house and we'll do Christmas then. She has a party there that night with my family and then on Monday I'm with Lindsay's mom's family all day. Tuesday is back with my family at my grandparents. *sigh* did I loose you there? I'm sure by Tuesday night I'll be ready to shove myself in a dark hole somewhere and not come out for a few days.

Well that's enough complaining for one lunch hour. Hopefully everyone elses Christmas will be just as busy and crazy as mine. I don't want to be the only one.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

This might brighten up your day... or make you feel guilty

I'm loaded.
It's official.
I'm the 661,752,624 richest person on earth!

How rich are you? >>

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Car stuff

Well it looks like Lindsay's car is going to take a little while longer in the shop and should be so expensive she'll have to be buried in the car. I was talking to her dad and I was told a little bit about what happened to it. Apparently there is an oil pump between the two cams at the front of the head. It looks like a bolt fell out of this pump fell to the bottom of the timing chain and got tangled in the gear. It managed to chew up that gear and consequently the chain and other gears causing the timing to get screwed up and making valves and pistons meet violently. I guess we're still waiting on some parts. Joy.

At least my car is still running. It decided to scare us the other night by not wanting to start but its been running fine since, even in the -30 weather we had.

In other news James and Jacqui had us over for supper on Sunday night and it was fantastic. We had pork chops in some sort of sweet and sour sauce that were really good, veggies, salad, fresh olive oil bread and desert. They really went all out. After supper we played UNO attack. Its a fun twist on UNO because it has a card shooter instead of a deck to draw from. It adds an element of chance to the game because you never know how many cards are going to shoot out.

Well that's it for now. Hopefully next time I post it will be about getting Lindsay's car back.