Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We're coming, Jae!

Get your towels ready. It's about to go down.

Alan and I were almost in bed (finally) on Monday night when we received a disturbing phone call. Jae, scheduled to leave from JFK airport early the next day, was stranded on a train! Apparently, everything was on fire. That's what I understood, at least. He asked if there were non-train modes of transportation between Stamford and NYC.

There was one. Alan and I immediately threw on our clothes, rechristened my car the Bromobile, and dashed out the door. We then reverse dashed back up the stairs and told Ben we were leaving. Bye, Ben! Despite my chronic sleep-deprivation, we flew down 95. Less then 10 minutes away from the Stamford train station, however, Jae called an abort. Apparently, everything was no longer on fire. Alan and I pulled over to mourn the irreversable dispersion of the 3rd floor denizins (Alan's next to go o_O). Hopefully, the gesture was appreciated regardless. After composing ourselves, we decided to go crash my mom's place near NYC.

I had to call her about 7 times to wake her up first. We pulled into her apartement building at about 3am, only to learn that she had ventured out to try to find milk. She's nuts! After enduring her incoherent ramblings (love ya, mum!) for about an hour, Alan and I finally got some sleep. In air conditioning! Yum!

We then woke up and went skydiving. (*ahem*check my facebook for pics*ahem*). Because we don't spend enough time together, we had decided to go on a bonding trip. The highlight of the preperatory events centered on Alan running around the airport's runway like a plane and then getting almost run over by a Cessna (an actual plane). There's something a bit overwhelming about finding yourself 10,000ft above the ground and moving very quickly. Neither of us went splat, so I declare maximal misson success. ^_^

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We've Got Cabin Fever

Team, it's hot. It's really really hot. It was soooo hot last night, I went to Joe's mom's apartment to cool down.


"Alan, don't make me eat it. I don't want to eat it anymore." Paul looked pitifully into my eyes, begging me to end him there. I patted his head. "Be strong, like Dumbledore. I knew you would say this, you told me so. But you have to keep on eating." Paul nodded weakly, and continued to shovel the cookie dough from Ben's bowl into his gaping maw.

With a burst of bassoon music in the background, which is quickly identified as "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" Ben comes in, carry a plate of cookies in each hand. He is a man possessed, and the cookies overflow the table onto the floor. Paul groans.

"GET OFF MY PHONE! GET OFF MY PHONE! I'M GOING TO LOSE MY MIND TODAY!!!" Joe throws his phone out the window, hitting in the head the thief who stole Paul's bike and is currently sawing through my bicycle chain lock.

Finally, the heat got to me. I collapsed to the floor. "Water, I need water." Paul, scorching the sky with the fire from his wand, fully recovered from his sugar coma, stepped up. Reaching up, I gulped at the water from the sky.

BHOUSE is at half strength. Our mighty eight is reduced to 4. Yet morale is high... but we could just be delirious. No, no. We are delirious. We have Cabin Fever.

I do not know when I will be able to write again. If I am not heard from again, I wish you all well. Good night, and good luck.

The Best Evening in the World

So, it's been a while, folks. I just haven't been in the mood. You know, headaches and the whatnot. But now I will recount to you an epic, glorious evening.

It started with Tai Chi. I was exhausted, but went to Friday practice anyway. It was excellent, but upon it's conclusion I returned home. I was prepared to subsist on my usual diet of soup, but I had something different in mind. I was going to branch out. I went upstairs to change...and passed out.

When I came to, it was 9:30. 3 hour nap on a Friday night. Glorious. And then I cooked.

What did I cook, do you ask? Allow me to show you.
First I cut my veggies and fungi.

Then I sauteed them.
Then I cooked me some bacon. Wait, did I mention it's Smart Bacon? That's right, it's smart. And vegetarian.

A meal. An honest to god meal. This was such a great day.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Belated goodbye

Yo BHouse.
It's been a whole week since I left. I wonder if y'all noticed? :-)
Anyway, I'm chilling out in Baltimore now. My new place is starting to come together, and it's pretty much the exact opposite of BHouse. Where BHouse was filthy, this house is immaculate. Where BHouse was full of grossness, this one is gorgeous. Where BHouse was lively and full of people, this one is quiet and empty. The kitchen is big, and well stocked. Instead of surly and smelly stray cats, we have a nice house cat named Star who likes to keep me company when I'm reading, or waiting for the police. But it's a classy place. My room is starting to look really nice-- I have an antique brass bed and a hundred year old chandelier. I'm now only short a desk and a mattress (to replace the air mattress I've been using).
I'll be back up there next weeknd-- I need to collect the rest of my stuff. Hopefully I'll see some of you there? And if not, I may just sleep in your bed, because that's the true BHouse way.
Love from the Charm City,

Friday, August 7, 2009

Science Under the Influence of Fun

After 13 hours of data collection and 25 total at the synchrotron, I got 4 hours of sleep this afternoon. As I woke up and prepared to resume the madness, I realized that his post has lost all coherence. Dammit.


In my sleep-deprived delirium, I just decided that it would be a good idea to go into the hutch to manually realign the ruby system (my sample was a bit out of focus). This idea was akin to deciding to spontaneously perform open heart surgery with a hammer. Good thing grad student Joe is quite competent. I may get to work the midnight shift again tonight. I can't wait.
Yay for sleeping during the day!


Kanani (confused about our temperature measurements): "How hot is the cell?"
Joe (touches 250C metal housing): "hot. really hot"
(Joe catches on fire. Pointer finger burns for hours.)


Alright, so we arrived at the synchrotron at 9am. We then spent 12 FREAKING HOURS aligning and calibrating various equipment on the beamline. Seriously, I can't believe I was messing with electronics for that long. Now, I'm finally starting my experiment. Initial results are quite good, although it's going to be a long slog. Grad student Joe returns at about 4am, after which I will work another 6 hour shift and then die. Hopefully, while I'm dead, I'll find some AA batteries for my camera so that I can upload some siiick pics.


Hey, world. Part of my experiment has a webcam, woah. Point the internet at and click on BM-D to view the madness. (It's a shot of the interior of the x-ray hutch, where you can see my cell and some associated electronics that we have spent the last 8 hours configuring). Who's going to be up all night collecting data? This guy.

Friends, I'm losing my grip on consciousness. What else is there to do besides write about science? If this post bores you, just scroll down and stare at me in a bra. And then finish reading, m'kay?


Anywho, as week 12 of my 10 week fellowship draws to a close, the madness is just beginning. I rolled into lab at 3:40am today to catch an early flight to Chicago. Now, I'm chillin in the Argonne National Laboratory guest house, where I'll live for the weekend when I'm not in the Advanced Photon Source conducting x-ray diffraction studies to determine the melting temperature of potassium at high pressures. Grand fun! I miss BHouse...

Of course, I didn't escape the Have without a requisite dose of epic. Last night, I had an amazing time watching DCI Quarterfinals - all 5 hours of amazing performances. I was especially impressed with the Blue Stars' meteoric ascent, Vanguard's untouchable musicality, and Crown's newfound domination. YCB peps should mos def check out Crown's arrangement featuring Sensemaya and Slalom. It was legenDAIRY. I planned on getting about 2.5 hours of sleep afterward, but SOME PEOPLE decided to come and harass me until it was time to pound down some Cinnamon Toast Crunch and evacuate. So, I pulled my third all-nighter in New Haven and slept through the entirety of my plane ride even though I <3 planes.

Expect this post to be updated throughout the weekend with pictures, etc - especially if my data acquisition goes well. w00t.

Finally, BHouse will start to significantly empty out in a week :( I hope that some of the maddness carries over into the school year (sorry, everyone else). The fruit flies can die, though. DIE!!!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Paying It Forward

I left the house this morning with a bag full of recyclable cans and bottles, with the intention of recycling them as soon as I found a bin. As I walked down Elm, I passed a man with a shopping cart full of the very same items. Mine were in a bag, so he couldn't see what they were and was paying little attention to me, but as we neared each other, I said to him, "You can have these cans and bottles." He nodded, I dropped the bag into his cart, and he replied, "Thank you." Then I continued to the library, and he continued to wherever he was going.