Friday, August 27, 2004
Watching Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions back-to-back makes them both a lot easier to understand. Unfortunately it doesnít make my research any easier to understand. I donít think anything can do that, but I try anyway. I had to resort to watching movies while working in the lab today because I left the book I am currently reading at home. At least Matrix kept my mind mostly occupied because if I had been concentrating solely on my stupid experiment I would have gone crazy. When problems arise during a test I can usually explain them, but today was an exception. Things went wrong and I have no idea why. Iíll have to spend some time this weekend sorting everything out. And I though Iíd be able to relax this weekend.
Posted at 7:51 PM, 0 Comments
Thursday, August 26, 2004
I accepted a job at Boeing today. I picked up a letter, containing the two offers that I received, at my old apartment in Westwood on Monday because it was sent there rather than to Seal Beach. After reading the offers I was very pleased. Iím going to be hired as a level 2 engineer because I will already have my Masterís Degree and Iíll also have a good starting salary for the same reason. After earning so little as a graduate student these past two years making a decent amount of money is going to be a welcome change. Iíll actually be able to afford my apartment. The next major financial obligation will be paying off my graduate student loans and then maybe I can buy a car. In March my Neon (named Krypton because neon is a noble gas and my car is green), will be ten years old and probably close to the end of its life. I love my car very much, but Iíll be needing a new one within the next few years.
Now that I have a job I can concentrate solely on finishing my degree. Not that Iíve been neglecting that responsibility, as can bee seen in my past four posts, but having a job lined up gives me one less thing to worry about. If only my research would cooperate to reach my goal. On Tuesday the high pressure, low temperature tests I ran failed due to o-ring leakage. And today the same thing happened, despite every attempt to prevent it. So tomorrow Iíll try another wafer to see if itís any more successful. I should have known that there would be problems after I wrote such an hopeful post on Monday night. Thatíll teach me to be optimistic.
Posted at 11:31 PM, 0 Comments
Monday, August 23, 2004
I am on the verge of a breakthrough with my research. Tomorrow, if all goes well, I will be finished with low temperature testing for good. (Though I should make this statement cautiously considering what happened the last time.) I wanted to reach that milestone today, but the lack of available dry ice and the freezing over of an important fitting kept me at least one day away from it. The two tests I was able to complete today were successful and I am hopeful that the two I am planning to run tomorrow will turn out the same way.
While spending ten hours running the aforementioned experiments I read that book I was looking for earlier. It is called Eragon by Christopher Paolini. While it is not exceptionally inventive or inspired I am enjoying it anyway. It draws upon ideas from almost every other fantasy story that I have ever read, but manages to construct an original plot and interesting characters that draw you in anyway. Having a book at hand makes time fly while Iím in the lab, but a good book can actually make it pleasant too.
Posted at 9:05 PM, 0 Comments
One of these days Iíll remember that I canít run low temperature tests on Monday morning. Thatís because the shipment of dry ice to the chemistry storeroom doesnít arrive until after noon. How annoying. Plus, I just remembered that I skipped a step in my low temperature testing procedure. It wasnít critical so I hope it wonít cause problems when I actually start the experiment. Right now I am waiting for the dry ice and acetone bath to cool off the wafer holder and gas line. Iíve got a book to read around here somewhere...
Posted at 2:52 PM, 0 Comments
Sunday, August 22, 2004
While spending twelve hours in the lab isnít exactly the way I would prefer to spend my Saturday, I was pleased with the results. I ran an entire set of room temperature tests for a new wafer so that Iíll be able to start low temperature tests on Monday morning. Since I hadnít gotten any significant research done since Tuesday I figured I needed to get caught up this weekend. If the tests hadnít been successful the day would have seemed like even more of a waste than it already did, but fortunately that wasnít the case. It got me one day closer to finishing my lab research and one day closer to finishing my Masterís Degree.
Posted at 1:01 AM, 0 Comments
Friday, August 20, 2004
ďSometimes you learn as much from things that donít work than from things that do.
Youíre going to quote me on that arenít you?Ē
Dr. Owen Smith at todayís research group meeting
I took two days off from working in my lab this week, but they were anything but relaxing. After spending thirteen hours on Monday and ten hours on Tuesday gathering questionable experimental data I thought that being away would be like a vacation. On Wednesday I ran several errands before I had to be at home for Adelphia to come and set up my cable. That turned out to be more difficult than anticipated because I wanted two outlets (on in each room) and that required drilling through a wall. By the time that was done it was time to leave for Danís softball game. Fortunately I now live about fifteen minutes from the Boeing facility where his team plays so I had plenty of time to get there and watch them win the game.
On Thursday morning I decided to finally buy some furniture at Ikea so that I could at least diminish the clutter of boxes in my apartment. Even though the Costa Mesa store didnít have several of the items that I wanted, I was able to purchase the dresser, bookshelf, and coffee table (for my new TV) that I wanted. When these were delivered in the afternoon I immediately put the bookshelf and table together. Those two pieces of furniture made my apartment seem more like home. Once I get the dresser assembled I can put away the rest of my clothes and reclaim my bedroom from the boxes. Itíll be nice to walk around the room without tripping over them.
Posted at 11:11 PM, 0 Comments
Monday, August 16, 2004
An explanatory post is forthcoming. Until then enjoy this quote from a fantastic book.
" 'What's next on the faerie agenda?'
Kaye shrugged. 'I get sacrificed I guess.' "
Tithe by Holly Black
Posted at 10:56 PM, 0 Comments
Friday, August 13, 2004
Take me away, we'll jump in the car
Drive Ďtil the gas runs out and then walk so far
That we can't see this place anymore
Anneliese Van Der Pol, ďOver ItĒ
Posted at 9:59 AM, 0 Comments
I can't find my favorite black jacket. I remember the last time I had it, but I have no idea where it is now. If I'm lucky it's hanging in a closet in Seal Beach. I just can't remember taking it there in the first place. I hope that when I move to my new apartment permanently tomorrow I will find it there.
Posted at 1:19 AM, 0 Comments
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Just a last post before Salvation Army comes to pick up my furniture. After that I won't have much left in my old apartment and I'll have to sit on the floor. I can hardly believe that tomorrow is my last day in this apartment. Maybe it'll be easier to believe when the furniture is gone.
Posted at 9:52 AM, 0 Comments
ďTo think of all of the times Iíve wished I could slip right into one of my favorite books. But thatís the advantage of reading Ė you can shut the book whenever you want.Ē
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Posted at 12:34 AM, 0 Comments
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
When I take an experimental reading I create a four-digit file name to store the data on my ancient lab computer. Usually the name consists of the wafer number and the reading number (i.e., ď1105Ē for the fifth reading with wafer B11) so that I can keep track of all of the data. Yesterday I ran out of these traditional filenames because I took more than 100 readings while working in the lab for thirteen hours. I had to start making up new filenames that I thought I were informative enough to remember their significance later. As I neared the end of the tests I was too tired to care what I called the files anymore. Fortunately I have something to show for all of my work. I showed the seemingly ideal set of low temperature data to my advisor today and she called it ďexcellent.Ē I donít think sheís ever used that word when referring to my research before. That made it worth every minute.
Posted at 8:55 PM, 0 Comments
Monday, August 09, 2004
My textbook collection has grown significantly since I last had to move it. Then again, the Post Office did most of the moving then, but I still had to drag the books to Mail Boxes Etc. (and pay to ship them across the country). As I carried them down to my car this evening I discovered that I now own thirty-nine textbooks. They have their own bookshelf and everything. I had plenty of time to count them because it took five trips to move them all from my apartment to the car. Fortunately the most difficult part of the moving process this time is getting stuff packed into the car to drive down to Seal Beach. When I get there my new apartment is on the first floor and close to the street. Thatís the only simple part about moving, though. At least itíll be over soon.
Posted at 11:13 PM, 0 Comments
Saturday, August 07, 2004
I canít believe how incompetent and irresponsible my advisors think I am. Yesterday I suggested moving our research group meetings to 2 PM on Fridays so that I have enough time to run a test beforehand, if necessary, and they didnít like that. They asked me if I could just run my experiments before then, as if Iím leaving all of the weekís work until Friday morning! Then another student explained that he uses the time before the group meeting to prepare his presentation, and that made it seem like I donít do that. Of course I compile a presentation on Friday morning (what do they think I show them every week?), I just do it while running a test! I was so embarrassed. I came off looking like a complete slacker because of what seemed like a perfectly reasonable suggestion. Aargh! I know I promised to write about something besides my research this weekend, but it just wonít happen today.
Posted at 3:32 PM, 0 Comments
Friday, August 06, 2004
ďSmall Wafers and Their FateĒ is the heading on the scrap of paper I just tacked on the cork board behind my lab computer. It lists the smallest silicon wafer orifices (diameter less than 15 microns) I have available, whether they have been used in an experiment before, and their status/fate. Options for status/fate are OK, BROKEN, or BAD. Besides obtaining a more reliable inventory of these orifices Iíve happily discovered that I have several more available for testing than I was aware of. Thatís good news considering that I need to try at least two more (both room temperature and low temperature) to get more data for my thesis. Like I said, next week isnít going to be much fun. Itíll be my last week living in Westwood so moving will add to the confusion. Thatís if I have time to move after spending twelve hours a day in the lab. OK, thatís enough. I promise to post something not related to school this weekend.
Posted at 1:59 PM, 0 Comments
ďAt 1000 psi the [TCD] reading jumped significantly after while, indicating that either the wafer had broken or something weird was going on with the o-ring. The jump was accompanied by a change in the sound from the downstream check valve, which told me that wafer breakage was probably to blame. Iíll check that conclusion tomorrow.Ē (Excerpt from yesterdayís entry in my lab notebook) And what have I discovered today? The wafer had indeed broken and my conclusion was correct. That doesnít make the situation any better, though. Now I have to start all over again with another wafer to get low temperature data. Next week isnít going to be much fun.
Posted at 11:55 AM, 0 Comments
Thursday, August 05, 2004
ďThe Next Day (A Narrative)Ē by Lauren Gleason
I had my fingers crossed all morning while I was setting up another low temperature experiment. Considering how badly the one I ran yesterday had gone I figured a miracle was my only chance of getting any useful data. At first luck seemed to be on my side. Then, as I was jumping with joy at my apparent success, I thought it was safe to uncross my fingers. I was wrong. Just a few minutes later I realized that the test had gone horribly wrong, just as it had done the day before. At least the results are consistent, I thought bitterly. Then I realized I had made a mistake, perhaps the critical one that determined whether my experiment would function properly or not. How stupid of me. It had been so long since I had run a low temperature test that I had forgotten that one important step. I desperately wanted these low temperature tests to be successful. If I run them again, remembering the step that I forgot, maybe they will be next time. But ďnext timeĒ is running out.
Posted at 5:37 PM, 0 Comments
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
ďMy Day (A Narrative)Ē by Lauren Gleason
I was checking myself out in the bathroom mirror at school this evening when I noticed that another blood vessel in my eye had burst. Iíve read that this is caused by too much caffeine and too little sleep, so it happens to me quite often. That doesnít make it any more attractive, though. When I arrived in Tallahassee for Meghan and Dannyís wedding in March the look on my momís face told me that finals week showed in my eyes. Fortunately they cleared up before the actual wedding or I would have looked like I objected to their marriage. So as I was looking in the mirror today all of a sudden I couldnít remember if I had my keys on me. Without them I couldnít get back in my lab and I couldnít get into my apartment either. And it was after 8 PM so there wasnít anyone around who could unlock the lab door for me. Frantically I dug through my backpack and laptop bag hoping that I had unintentionally put them in an unusual pocket. Fortunately I had. I was so relieved that I temporarily forgot how unproductive my research was today. If thatís what it takes Iíll misplace my keys everyday.
Posted at 10:40 PM, 0 Comments
Latest incarnation of my spending rules:
1) No more buying books until I get a job. Since several of the ones I want are sequels this shouldnít be a problem because I probably havenít read the previous books anyway. They are still sitting on my shelf while I read Harry Potter instead.
2) No more buying CDs until I get a job. With the exception of ďThe Princess Diaries 2Ē soundtrack (August 3) because I can probably get it on sale when itís released. I finally organized the discs strewn all over my car and discovered that I own 128 CDs. I think those will be sufficient to entertain me for a couple of months.
3) No more buying DVDs until I get a job. Any DVDs that I want that are released after October 1 will probably go on my Christmas list anyway so this wonít be too difficult. If I get bored I have an entire box of DVDs to watch. I am reminded of this fact every time I think about having to move the box to my new apartment.
Posted at 9:23 PM, 0 Comments
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
The queen-size bed that I bought on Sunday for my new apartment was delivered today. I love it, but my bedroom is pretty much all mattress now. There isnít much space left over for any other furniture. Maybe a dresser and small bookcase, but nothing else. After thoroughly measuring my new apartment I discovered that almost none of my current furniture is will work there so Iíve decided to just get rid of it all and start over. This will eliminate the need to hire movers, but the cost of the new furniture will probably be more than I save. Iíve been poring over my new Ikea catalog which is fun, but itís still expensive even though most of the stuff in there is relatively cheap. I just hope I get my retroactive June paycheck sometime soon.
The best part of my day was being able to spend some time with Dan. Since I was in Seal Beach in the afternoon waiting for my mattress to be delivered we got together after he left work. When I move to my new apartment permanently I will be much closer to him. Thatíll be wonderful.
Posted at 11:40 PM, 0 Comments
Monday, August 02, 2004
ďWell, thatís no different from real life,Ē remarked Elinor gloomily. ďYou never know if things will turn out well. Just now our own story looks like itís coming to a bad end.Ē
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Posted at 9:40 PM, 0 Comments