kareina: (stitched)
I finally had the time today to sit down and take care of the financial paperwork for Norrskensfesten. We had 100 people registered, of whom 75 were SCA members. The numbers have been sent in to the Shire Exchequer and Seneschal, and I will likely get a refund for the cash I fronted soon.

However, a problem* I have been having with my home computer for a couple of weeks (months?) now did complicate things--it was necessary to use the computer to send the financial report email from my work email to my gmail address, then use my phone to forward (actually copy-paste) that message from my SCA gmail address to the people who needed it.

Part of the reason the event paperwork took till today to finish is that it was a particularly busy week at work. We had a short course on Thursday and Friday for using iolite, which was really useful. This was actually the second time I attended a course on this program--the last time was in Prague. This time, however, we flew the teacher here, and he gave a focused lesson to just those parts of the program that we will need. I learned a number of new things, and my two Master's students, who will be using the laser, were both very happy with what they learned in the course and looking forward to starting their research after Christmas break.

In other news, it has finally snowed! only 10 to 15 cm, but the world looks much better, and I did some shoveling yesterday. Sadly, my phone predicts that it will be warm again in the next few days, so we run the risk of losing this snow, too. I hope it won't be another one of those winters.



*weird computer problem: google products are broken on my home computer. All other web pages work perfectly, but while I can sometimes open my gmail or google calendar on this computer, I can't actually do anything with them. Any attempt to actually read or send a message or add a new item to the calender results in a "something's not right" error message. So I have been resorting to using my phone or my work computer to do things in these web services. Do any of you know how I can solve this?
I already tried (back when the problem first appeared) clearing the cash and re-installing the browser I used to use (Chrome), and it didn't help, and then I tried changing browsers--it fixed it for a couple of hours, but now Opal has the same problem, and I haven't had time to try anything else to fix it.
kareina: (BSE garnet)
Today's pre-conference short-course was on Laser-Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS).

The first half of the day was done by the guy at UTAS/CODES who has been doing lots of publications on using LA-ICP-MS for geological questions, and has specialized in the kind of projects we want to do at LTU. He focused his talk on the Laser-ablation side of the machine, and pointed out that while there are many manufactures of ICP-MS machines out there, none of them are optimized for use with a Laser-ablation system--they are all designed first and foremost for analyzing solutions, and can be adapted to work with the laser system.

However, as geologists we prefer the advantages the laser-ablation system offers. The biggest of these is the fact that we can do in-situ work--instead of dissolving the entire sample (and then diluting it) before analyzing it, we can just zap a specific point of interest in our rock, and learn the composition of just that bit. This works because of the plasma generated when the laser hits the sample in the presence of a gas flow--the plasma is sent into the ICP-MS unit for analysis.

He talked about the interface between the Laser ablation unit and the ICP-MS unit, about what is actually happening during the ablation process, about how things change if one changes the spot size, or the power of the laser, or the duration of the laser pulse, and what sorts of things to think about when changing any of these settings.

He confirms that for multi-element analysis the instrument of choice is the quadrupole, but points out that the analysis looks at only one element at a time--it is sequential, making it possible that the composition of what is reaching the analyzer during the analysis of one element is not exactly the same as what arrives while it is doing the next.

He also reminds us that not everything that gets zapped goes into the plasma stream--some residue is deposited onto the sample (and clearly shows in photos when the magnification is appropriate), he also pointed out that for many minerals the melting point it low enough that there is also melting happening, and a glassy melted surface is left behind. In some cases the melt has a different composition than the mineral from which it melted--when analyzing pyrite (FeS2) one can get a melt left behind which is only FeS, so the proportion of Fe to S has changed--this may or may not effect the part of the sample that goes into the plasma to be analysed, and it is something to keep in mind.
kareina: (BSE garnet)
I spent last week in Stockholm for a short course on Thermocalc. If anyone had told the undergraduate version of me that I would one day voluntarily spend from 10:00 to 19:30 several days in a row for one class, instead of the 30 to 60 minutes at at time I was used to back then, she would have told them that they were mad. Yet I was so grateful for the chance. This program uses thermodynamic data to calculate which mineral phases will be stable at any given temperature or pressure based on the input parameters. Unlike the program Perple_X, which I used during my PhD research, Thermocalc requires a LOT more user input at every step of the way to draw the diagrams. Perple_X takes your input data, thinks about it for some time (minutes or hours, depending on what data you start with), and spits out a diagram showing which groups of minerals will be stable at which temps and pressures for the bulk composition in question. Thermocalc instead does the calculation for each boundary between regions of different mineral assemblages for you, but you have to tell it one at a time which calculations you want to do. This means you are effectively drawing the diagram yourself, the program is just there to work out the exact orientation and position of the lines, you choose which lines are drawn. The disadvantage is that it takes much more user time. The advantage is that when you are done you UNDERSTAND why each and every line is there. Totally worth the class to truly understand how and why these diagrams work. So very grateful I didn't try to teach myself how to use this program--one really does need a teacher. At least if one is me...

The downside of having to go away for the course was that I was gone for [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's birthday. So I celebrated that evening by baking shortbread cookies for him, and chatting on the phone with him, and I brought most of the cookies home for him the next day when class ended. I did leave some of the cookies with my host. She is a geologist I met when she was up visiting LTU to do some collaboration with one of the people at our uni. She was here for a month or three, so I introduced her to my gaming group and she really enjoyed hanging out with the lot of us. It was nice to see her again in her own home. It was also nice to discover that a series of books I have really enjoyed has been translated to Swedish, since she has them all on her bookshelf. Sadly, the science fiction book shop in Stockholm didn't have the Swedish version in stock, so I contented myself with picking up a copy of Hobbiten (note: in Swedish the word "the" is added to the end of word with either the suffix "en" or "et", depending on the word. apparently "Hobbit" is an -"en" word.)

Tomorrow marks a full week since I got home from Stockholm, yet today was the first chance I have had to sit down and write up a post. Well, I could have done it last night, since Choir doesn't start back up again till next week, but when I sat down to check LJ [livejournal.com profile] blamebrampton mentioned that she had written a new story, and I lost the evening reading it. She says that the story is 66,000 words, and it took me just over three and a half hours to read it, so I my reading speed turns out to be about 300 words/minute. I bet it is no where near that fast in Swedish! Technically, reading this breaks my "no fiction in Swedish unless it is reading outloud to someone else" rule, but reading LJ doesn't count, right? Sadly, she never has found me someone writing fan fic in Swedish, but then again, I am still happier reading stories I already know, so that I don't have to look up the words.

Monday we hosted the first ever dance practice in our living room. A couple of people said they plan to come next time, but couldn't make it this time, but we still had four dancers total (including us), which is enough for lots of dances, and we had fun doing them. One of the two dancers who joined us is from the folk dance organization, and the other is an SCA dancer who recently moved here from Umeå. After dancing I posted to both the folk dance email list and the SCA forum saying which dances we did and reminding everyone that they are welcome to join us for the next one, in two weeks time. That evening I got a reply from a musician who wants to come play music for us next time if the others in her group are interested. I, of course, replied with an enthusiastic yes, they are welcome.

On Saturday the folk dance group is having a dance-share day--all of the different dance groups will gather and show the others what they do, so I will go and try the ones new to me, and share the Medieval stuff with them. Perhaps someone will like it enough to come along.

Next week I head down to Boliden for more sample collecting. I would love to just stay home, I like home, but the samples need collecting, and sooner is better than later, since it can take months before the results get back once we send them away for analysis.
kareina: (me)
I am now back in Milan after six fun, but busy, days in Zürich. [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t and I arrived on Sunday afternoon, and wandered around town a bit after checking into the hotel and scouted out the classroom for the writing workshop I was attending to ensure arriving on time in the morning.

Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday the course ran from 9:00 to 17:45, with breaks for lunch and coffee at regular intervals. Wednesday was a writing day--where we took the information we'd gotten on the first two days and did new, improved, abstracts and a couple of other assignments before getting feedback on them on Thursday. It was a fun class, and I learned a fair bit. There were 10 of us in the class. We are all part of the c2c research group. The others are all PhD students, I'm the only c2c post-doc who took advantage of this opportunity this time. This was my first chance to meet most of these people, since we come from all over. One is at the Uni in Zürich (and so he got lots of extra duties with set up and printing things for us), one came down from Trondheim, Norway, a couple were over from France. One guy is from Ireland, but I'm not certain if that is where he's studying. I don't recall where the others are from.

We will all be attending the meeting in Norway in June, so it will be nice to already know this many people before that trip. We spent a good part of the time reading and revising abstracts on our current research, so I know have a good idea of what each of us is studying, so this class was not only useful in terms of providing a number of useful tools for writing papers, it also was fablous in getting to know my classmates and what they study.

The focus of the course was in using the techniques of the scientific method for planning an entire project, from the initial project idea, through submitting a proposal for funding through to publishing paper(s) on the results. For me the single most useful "trick" she shared for organizing the paper itself was what she calls the "zoom" exercise. Just as a camera can zoom in to various levels of detail, so we may look at our projects with different levels of detail. The assignment has us first writing *one* sentance each for the following sections/questions:

Introduction (why did I start?)
Materials and Methods (what did I do?)
Results (what did I find?)
Discussion (what does it mean?)

The form included a box for each section wherein we can put things which we wanted to include, but simply don't fit in a single sentence.

After doing that we repeat it, but this time first choose a target audience, write down who it is, then write *three* sentences for each section (with room for notes about what won't fit). If you'd like additional practice, choose a different target audience, and write three sentences for each section for the new audience, and see how different they are. Finally repeat it one last time (this time setting the target audience = the readers of the journal to which you'd like to submit the paper), but this time, instead of sentences, you get five bullet points you can include under each section. There is your outline.

Another *really* useful tool is the domino trick I wrote about in my other blog a couple of days ago.) (Our teacher is *very* fond of metaphors--one of our assignments was to come up with a metaphor to explain our research (or one aspect therof) to non-scientists.)

After the class ended on Thursday [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t and caught a tram to one of the outlying parts of the city, where we met a delightful lady we'd met through couchsurfing. We had a very nice evening visiting with her and meeting some of her friends. This morning she had to leave for work bright and early, so we took the tram back into the city center (which I quite like, by the way--it is clean and pretty, the old buildings are in good repair and quite elegant, the people seem friendly, and I was very happy to wander around town during breaks and time off all week). We had thought to go to the museum, which is directly across the street from the train station, but we were out of cash and they wouldn't take my bank card (the tram costs 4 Swiss Francs each way!).

So we left our luggage at the museum and wandered off in search of an ATM. Before we found one we found a clothing shop with some reasonably cute clothes in natural fibres, and after trying on a number of items I wound up with a pair of black linen trousers and a blue shirt. By then we had little more than an hour before our train was due at the station, so we went back to the museum, picked up our luggage and returned to the mall under the train tracks (we'd thought to hang out in the lovely park along the river by the museum, but it had started raining). The logic had been that it wouldn't be worth spending 18 Swiss Francs for only an hour in the museum. It would have been *much* cheaper if we had. In addition the first stop we also found me a couple of t-shirts in a flattering cut--one in a beautiful shade of navy blue (of course!), and the other in a nice shade of purple (because they didn't have black in my size in that style and my wardrobe is kind of lacking in anything other than dark blue and black now that the couple of maroon items I own are wearing out). At yet another store we bought me a couple of pairs of cotton leggings. All of these clothing purchases was in addition to a nice very light-weight black cotton-silk top I bought earlier in the week because "summer is coming, and it is going to be hot".

Yes, I know, me, shopping? Yes, miracles do happen, sometimes. I shouldn't have to do that again for years...

All in all I really like Zürich. Yes, it is expensive, but it is also pretty. The university has a great feel to it, and the geology department has a truly amazing museum which just anyone can wander in to. If any of you ever get to Zürich, you need to check it out--not only do they have really, really nice display on gems, minerals, and rocks, they have some lovely models of various mountains in the Alps, including their geology, they've got a huge globe with a projector inside of it which plays a video of plate tectonics in action--it is cool to watch the continents break apart and re-form in different configurations in three dimensions. They've also got an earthquake simulation room (by appointment only) which is quite fun.

After a week spent in a town where cars don't use their horns and buildings are clean and shiny it was a bit of a shock to return to the sounds and sights of Milan. I love my job, and find many things to enjoy about being here, but I keep traveling places I'd like even better...
kareina: (me)
I am now back in Milan after six fun, but busy, days in Zürich. [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t and I arrived on Sunday afternoon, and wandered around town a bit after checking into the hotel and scouted out the classroom for the writing workshop I was attending to ensure arriving on time in the morning.

Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday the course ran from 9:00 to 17:45, with breaks for lunch and coffee at regular intervals. Wednesday was a writing day--where we took the information we'd gotten on the first two days and did new, improved, abstracts and a couple of other assignments before getting feedback on them on Thursday. It was a fun class, and I learned a fair bit. There were 10 of us in the class. We are all part of the c2c research group. The others are all PhD students, I'm the only c2c post-doc who took advantage of this opportunity this time. This was my first chance to meet most of these people, since we come from all over. One is at the Uni in Zürich (and so he got lots of extra duties with set up and printing things for us), one came down from Trondheim, Norway, a couple were over from France. One guy is from Ireland, but I'm not certain if that is where he's studying. I don't recall where the others are from.

We will all be attending the meeting in Norway in June, so it will be nice to already know this many people before that trip. We spent a good part of the time reading and revising abstracts on our current research, so I know have a good idea of what each of us is studying, so this class was not only useful in terms of providing a number of useful tools for writing papers, it also was fablous in getting to know my classmates and what they study.

The focus of the course was in using the techniques of the scientific method for planning an entire project, from the initial project idea, through submitting a proposal for funding through to publishing paper(s) on the results. For me the single most useful "trick" she shared for organizing the paper itself was what she calls the "zoom" exercise. Just as a camera can zoom in to various levels of detail, so we may look at our projects with different levels of detail. The assignment has us first writing *one* sentance each for the following sections/questions:

Introduction (why did I start?)
Materials and Methods (what did I do?)
Results (what did I find?)
Discussion (what does it mean?)

The form included a box for each section wherein we can put things which we wanted to include, but simply don't fit in a single sentence.

After doing that we repeat it, but this time first choose a target audience, write down who it is, then write *three* sentences for each section (with room for notes about what won't fit). If you'd like additional practice, choose a different target audience, and write three sentences for each section for the new audience, and see how different they are. Finally repeat it one last time (this time setting the target audience = the readers of the journal to which you'd like to submit the paper), but this time, instead of sentences, you get five bullet points you can include under each section. There is your outline.

Another *really* useful tool is the domino trick I wrote about in my other blog a couple of days ago.) (Our teacher is *very* fond of metaphors--one of our assignments was to come up with a metaphor to explain our research (or one aspect therof) to non-scientists.)

After the class ended on Thursday [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t and caught a tram to one of the outlying parts of the city, where we met a delightful lady we'd met through couchsurfing. We had a very nice evening visiting with her and meeting some of her friends. This morning she had to leave for work bright and early, so we took the tram back into the city center (which I quite like, by the way--it is clean and pretty, the old buildings are in good repair and quite elegant, the people seem friendly, and I was very happy to wander around town during breaks and time off all week). We had thought to go to the museum, which is directly across the street from the train station, but we were out of cash and they wouldn't take my bank card (the tram costs 4 Swiss Francs each way!).

So we left our luggage at the museum and wandered off in search of an ATM. Before we found one we found a clothing shop with some reasonably cute clothes in natural fibres, and after trying on a number of items I wound up with a pair of black linen trousers and a blue shirt. By then we had little more than an hour before our train was due at the station, so we went back to the museum, picked up our luggage and returned to the mall under the train tracks (we'd thought to hang out in the lovely park along the river by the museum, but it had started raining). The logic had been that it wouldn't be worth spending 18 Swiss Francs for only an hour in the museum. It would have been *much* cheaper if we had. In addition the first stop we also found me a couple of t-shirts in a flattering cut--one in a beautiful shade of navy blue (of course!), and the other in a nice shade of purple (because they didn't have black in my size in that style and my wardrobe is kind of lacking in anything other than dark blue and black now that the couple of maroon items I own are wearing out). At yet another store we bought me a couple of pairs of cotton leggings. All of these clothing purchases was in addition to a nice very light-weight black cotton-silk top I bought earlier in the week because "summer is coming, and it is going to be hot".

Yes, I know, me, shopping? Yes, miracles do happen, sometimes. I shouldn't have to do that again for years...

All in all I really like Zürich. Yes, it is expensive, but it is also pretty. The university has a great feel to it, and the geology department has a truly amazing museum which just anyone can wander in to. If any of you ever get to Zürich, you need to check it out--not only do they have really, really nice display on gems, minerals, and rocks, they have some lovely models of various mountains in the Alps, including their geology, they've got a huge globe with a projector inside of it which plays a video of plate tectonics in action--it is cool to watch the continents break apart and re-form in different configurations in three dimensions. They've also got an earthquake simulation room (by appointment only) which is quite fun.

After a week spent in a town where cars don't use their horns and buildings are clean and shiny it was a bit of a shock to return to the sounds and sights of Milan. I love my job, and find many things to enjoy about being here, but I keep traveling places I'd like even better...
kareina: (Default)
Learning lots at the writing workshop--brain is full, will try to post about it later.

People wanting photos of Zürich and the train ride we took across the Alps to get here should check [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t's facebook page.
kareina: (Default)
Learning lots at the writing workshop--brain is full, will try to post about it later.

People wanting photos of Zürich and the train ride we took across the Alps to get here should check [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t's facebook page.

Zürich!

Mar. 21st, 2010 10:31 pm
kareina: (Default)
Today's uni-related progress report: I took a train to Zürich for the course on Successful Scientific Writing. We also obtained tentative permission for [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t to join the course if the number of students present would otherwise be an odd number (which is what the pre-registered list shows). This is because we are meant to do some of the assignments in pairs, so it would be easier to accomplish that part if there are an even number of students.

Today's adventure-related progress report: I took a train to Zürich. Spent much of the trip happily looking out of the windows. It is amazing how, no matter how happy I am or how well life has been going for me, being in the mountains, even briefly, makes me happier. I so love topography! Seeing snow still on the ground in the higher valleys contributed to my overall sense of joy, too.

First impressions of Zürich: The drivers here actually stop when pedestrians wish to cross the road. Many of the buildings date to a time (mid to late 1800's) when the style and presentation of a building mattered. Unlike the older buildings in Milan, the ones here have been so well maintained that they still look brand-new, other than that detail about having more style and grace in one single finely-carved stone embellishment than a modern building has in its entire volume.

We had planned to join our fellow students this evening at a restaurant for dinner, but the pub didn't have a breathing section. The waiter says that in May the law will change, and from then on it will be forbidden to smoke in restaurants in Zürich, but that is longer than I can hold my breath, so we bid our classmates good evening and just enjoyed wandering around the city center, looking in shop windows (and grabbing [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t a bratwurst and chips from a take away place--I'd long since had enough food for the day myself).

It is now 22:29, I've done my yoga, brushed my teeth. Time to curl up in bed with my 1000 words of geologic literature and then get some sleep so as to be alert for school in the morning...

Zürich!

Mar. 21st, 2010 10:31 pm
kareina: (Default)
Today's uni-related progress report: I took a train to Zürich for the course on Successful Scientific Writing. We also obtained tentative permission for [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t to join the course if the number of students present would otherwise be an odd number (which is what the pre-registered list shows). This is because we are meant to do some of the assignments in pairs, so it would be easier to accomplish that part if there are an even number of students.

Today's adventure-related progress report: I took a train to Zürich. Spent much of the trip happily looking out of the windows. It is amazing how, no matter how happy I am or how well life has been going for me, being in the mountains, even briefly, makes me happier. I so love topography! Seeing snow still on the ground in the higher valleys contributed to my overall sense of joy, too.

First impressions of Zürich: The drivers here actually stop when pedestrians wish to cross the road. Many of the buildings date to a time (mid to late 1800's) when the style and presentation of a building mattered. Unlike the older buildings in Milan, the ones here have been so well maintained that they still look brand-new, other than that detail about having more style and grace in one single finely-carved stone embellishment than a modern building has in its entire volume.

We had planned to join our fellow students this evening at a restaurant for dinner, but the pub didn't have a breathing section. The waiter says that in May the law will change, and from then on it will be forbidden to smoke in restaurants in Zürich, but that is longer than I can hold my breath, so we bid our classmates good evening and just enjoyed wandering around the city center, looking in shop windows (and grabbing [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t a bratwurst and chips from a take away place--I'd long since had enough food for the day myself).

It is now 22:29, I've done my yoga, brushed my teeth. Time to curl up in bed with my 1000 words of geologic literature and then get some sleep so as to be alert for school in the morning...
kareina: (Default)
Today's uni-related progress report: I took a train to Zürich for the course on Successful Scientific Writing. We also obtained tentative permission for [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t to join the course if the number of students present would otherwise be an odd number (which is what the pre-registered list shows). This is because we are meant to do some of the assignments in pairs, so it would be easier to accomplish that part if there are an even number of students.

Today's adventure-related progress report: I took a train to Zürich. Spent much of the trip happily looking out of the windows. It is amazing how, no matter how happy I am or how well life has been going for me, being in the mountains, even briefly, makes me happier. I so love topography! Seeing snow still on the ground in the higher valleys contributed to my overall sense of joy, too.

First impressions of Zürich: The drivers here actually stop when pedestrians wish to cross the road. Many of the buildings date to a time (mid to late 1800's) when the style and presentation of a building mattered. Unlike the older buildings in Milan, the ones here have been so well maintained that they still look brand-new, other than that detail about having more style and grace in one single finely-carved stone embellishment than a modern building has in its entire volume.

We had planned to join our fellow students this evening at a restaurant for dinner, but the pub didn't have a breathing section. The waiter says that in May the law will change, and from then on it will be forbidden to smoke in restaurants in Zürich, but that is longer than I can hold my breath, so we bid our classmates good evening and just enjoyed wandering around the city center, looking in shop windows (and grabbing [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t a bratwurst and chips from a take away place--I'd long since had enough food for the day myself).

It is now 22:29, I've done my yoga, brushed my teeth. Time to curl up in bed with my 1000 words of geologic literature and then get some sleep so as to be alert for school in the morning...
kareina: (Default)
Today's uni-related progress report: I took a train to Zürich for the course on Successful Scientific Writing. We also obtained tentative permission for [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t to join the course if the number of students present would otherwise be an odd number (which is what the pre-registered list shows). This is because we are meant to do some of the assignments in pairs, so it would be easier to accomplish that part if there are an even number of students.

Today's adventure-related progress report: I took a train to Zürich. Spent much of the trip happily looking out of the windows. It is amazing how, no matter how happy I am or how well life has been going for me, being in the mountains, even briefly, makes me happier. I so love topography! Seeing snow still on the ground in the higher valleys contributed to my overall sense of joy, too.

First impressions of Zürich: The drivers here actually stop when pedestrians wish to cross the road. Many of the buildings date to a time (mid to late 1800's) when the style and presentation of a building mattered. Unlike the older buildings in Milan, the ones here have been so well maintained that they still look brand-new, other than that detail about having more style and grace in one single finely-carved stone embellishment than a modern building has in its entire volume.

We had planned to join our fellow students this evening at a restaurant for dinner, but the pub didn't have a breathing section. The waiter says that in May the law will change, and from then on it will be forbidden to smoke in restaurants in Zürich, but that is longer than I can hold my breath, so we bid our classmates good evening and just enjoyed wandering around the city center, looking in shop windows (and grabbing [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t a bratwurst and chips from a take away place--I'd long since had enough food for the day myself).

It is now 22:29, I've done my yoga, brushed my teeth. Time to curl up in bed with my 1000 words of geologic literature and then get some sleep so as to be alert for school in the morning...
kareina: (me)
I've just posted another blog sharing photos of rocks in the town of Verbania, where I spent the week attending a short course. For those of you who don't have time to follow links, I'll share with you these three photos.

One of the cute little stone church just up the hill from the hotel we were at:

stone church

one of the view from that church
view from church

and one of a stone house down by the lake side:
stone house
kareina: (me)
I've just posted another blog sharing photos of rocks in the town of Verbania, where I spent the week attending a short course. For those of you who don't have time to follow links, I'll share with you these three photos.

One of the cute little stone church just up the hill from the hotel we were at:

stone church

one of the view from that church
view from church

and one of a stone house down by the lake side:
stone house
kareina: (me)
I had much fun at the short course--unlike some of the geology conferences I attended, this time I actually *spoke* to some of the other geologists. And I enjoyed doing so. I think a big part of the credit goes to the fact that we all stayed in the same hotel, in a small enough "village" that there weren't many other options to distract us. The rest of the credit goes to the Italian eating style. While this format of doing meals would be dreadful for my waistline, it lends itself very well to getting to know the other confrence attendees. We were given 1.5 hours ever day for lunch break, and generally just over one of them actually required we be in the dining hall. They'd bring out a rice dish +/- veg and/or cheese, and 10 to 15 minutes later a pasta dish, followed another 10 to 15 minutes later by the main lunch (usually some sort of meat plus one other item, often a vegetable), and most days they'd follow that with something in the desert family. Then, for dinner, they'd bring us a soup, followed 10 to 15 minutes later by a pasta dish, followed 10 to 15 minutes later by the main course (usually meat plus a veg or other accompaniment), followed by desert 10 to 15 minutes later. Those of us from other countries remarked at how it wasn't really possible to go grab something quick to eat and hurry off to do something else with the time, because of the way the serving was in stages. We also all agreed that the serving sizes were quite generous if you didn't insist that you only wanted a small amount of each.

I don't think I'd care to switch to this sort of meal, with more talking than eating, and more eating than my body needs, on a regular basis, but it sure did help me get comfortable with my classmates. That said, it sure was nice to come home and cook exactly what I want, in the amount I want it, and eat it curled up with a nice, quiet book...

This evening I've done a bit of work, mostly only organizing the files we were given during the course (many of whcih look to be *very* useful) and downloading a few papers I will want to read in the near future. Reading the abstracts of those papers brought my current run of reading 1000 words of Geologic Literature a day to 37 days in a row. This is now my second best run since submitting my thesis. I'm hoping that this time it will break all previous records (47 for my post-submission attempts, and 118 days in a row while working on the PhD).

This weekend we will be hosting a couple of couch surfers from Macedonia. I also hope to make time to come in and weld a couple more capsules, since my current experiment which is running will be done soon, and it will be good to get the next one going as soon as my colleague (who is ready to run one) is done with his. If I don't manage that goal it isn't the end of the world, but I do enjoy working when no one else is in the building.
kareina: (me)
I had much fun at the short course--unlike some of the geology conferences I attended, this time I actually *spoke* to some of the other geologists. And I enjoyed doing so. I think a big part of the credit goes to the fact that we all stayed in the same hotel, in a small enough "village" that there weren't many other options to distract us. The rest of the credit goes to the Italian eating style. While this format of doing meals would be dreadful for my waistline, it lends itself very well to getting to know the other confrence attendees. We were given 1.5 hours ever day for lunch break, and generally just over one of them actually required we be in the dining hall. They'd bring out a rice dish +/- veg and/or cheese, and 10 to 15 minutes later a pasta dish, followed another 10 to 15 minutes later by the main lunch (usually some sort of meat plus one other item, often a vegetable), and most days they'd follow that with something in the desert family. Then, for dinner, they'd bring us a soup, followed 10 to 15 minutes later by a pasta dish, followed 10 to 15 minutes later by the main course (usually meat plus a veg or other accompaniment), followed by desert 10 to 15 minutes later. Those of us from other countries remarked at how it wasn't really possible to go grab something quick to eat and hurry off to do something else with the time, because of the way the serving was in stages. We also all agreed that the serving sizes were quite generous if you didn't insist that you only wanted a small amount of each.

I don't think I'd care to switch to this sort of meal, with more talking than eating, and more eating than my body needs, on a regular basis, but it sure did help me get comfortable with my classmates. That said, it sure was nice to come home and cook exactly what I want, in the amount I want it, and eat it curled up with a nice, quiet book...

This evening I've done a bit of work, mostly only organizing the files we were given during the course (many of whcih look to be *very* useful) and downloading a few papers I will want to read in the near future. Reading the abstracts of those papers brought my current run of reading 1000 words of Geologic Literature a day to 37 days in a row. This is now my second best run since submitting my thesis. I'm hoping that this time it will break all previous records (47 for my post-submission attempts, and 118 days in a row while working on the PhD).

This weekend we will be hosting a couple of couch surfers from Macedonia. I also hope to make time to come in and weld a couple more capsules, since my current experiment which is running will be done soon, and it will be good to get the next one going as soon as my colleague (who is ready to run one) is done with his. If I don't manage that goal it isn't the end of the world, but I do enjoy working when no one else is in the building.
kareina: (BSE garnet)
Having made the time to create a photo-rich post for my Geo-blog, I'm not really going to post further tonight, other than to say that I'm still enjoying the short course, and am glad that [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t has joined me out here. Not only is he good company, but he brought the cable that attaches the camera to the computer.

More photos will likely wind up on Facebook, later, and I might even make time to link some here, but it is too late to do so tonight. Morning classes are early...
kareina: (BSE garnet)
Having made the time to create a photo-rich post for my Geo-blog, I'm not really going to post further tonight, other than to say that I'm still enjoying the short course, and am glad that [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t has joined me out here. Not only is he good company, but he brought the cable that attaches the camera to the computer.

More photos will likely wind up on Facebook, later, and I might even make time to link some here, but it is too late to do so tonight. Morning classes are early...
kareina: (me)
Today's lectures were very enjoyable. As was the walk up the hill during the morning coffee break. I hope that [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t remembers to bring me the cable to get photos off of my camera when he comes to join me here tomorrow afternoon, so that I can share photos soon.

Stayed up too late last night reading, and too late tonight on line. Granted, last night was in some ways worse, since I got back to my room to drop off my computer at 19:00, took out my hearing aids, and decided that it felt so good to have them out I didn't want to go back out for dinner, so I stayed in my room all night. Tonight I decided that I ought to be sociable, so I dropped off my computer at 19:00, then went down to the dining room with a book and sat at the table and read till everyone joined me at 20:00. I managed to eat the soup they brought out at 20:00, despite it being way late for me to be eating, but probably only because I'd had less food than usual during the day. Alas, I shouldn't have also tried the pasta and peas and carrots that came out next. It didn't' taste very good, sat heavily on my stomach (even though I didn't take much), and pushed me over average in terms of how much food I'd eaten during the day. I wouldn't have minded so much if it had only been up to the standard of everything else they've given us. (today's lunch involved an artichoke rice dish, some yummy pasta with tomato sauce, and I was given a spinach quiche since I don't eat fish. (note: everyone else at dinner seemed to like the pasta, and they all really seemed to like the beef and green beans that came out after that.)
kareina: (me)
Today's lectures were very enjoyable. As was the walk up the hill during the morning coffee break. I hope that [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t remembers to bring me the cable to get photos off of my camera when he comes to join me here tomorrow afternoon, so that I can share photos soon.

Stayed up too late last night reading, and too late tonight on line. Granted, last night was in some ways worse, since I got back to my room to drop off my computer at 19:00, took out my hearing aids, and decided that it felt so good to have them out I didn't want to go back out for dinner, so I stayed in my room all night. Tonight I decided that I ought to be sociable, so I dropped off my computer at 19:00, then went down to the dining room with a book and sat at the table and read till everyone joined me at 20:00. I managed to eat the soup they brought out at 20:00, despite it being way late for me to be eating, but probably only because I'd had less food than usual during the day. Alas, I shouldn't have also tried the pasta and peas and carrots that came out next. It didn't' taste very good, sat heavily on my stomach (even though I didn't take much), and pushed me over average in terms of how much food I'd eaten during the day. I wouldn't have minded so much if it had only been up to the standard of everything else they've given us. (today's lunch involved an artichoke rice dish, some yummy pasta with tomato sauce, and I was given a spinach quiche since I don't eat fish. (note: everyone else at dinner seemed to like the pasta, and they all really seemed to like the beef and green beans that came out after that.)
kareina: (me)
Before we came out for this short course we had an e-mail providing the urls for a variety of free programs we needed to download in order to do the practical sessions. One of the programs comes with a warning when you install it that there are many, many, many sub programs which could be downloaded, and to save space one might wish to pick and choose. However, the e-mail didn't give any indication as to which, if any, of the sub programs we'd need. Therefore I went with the default package, and hoped. Nope. Not good enough. When using another of the programs (which one must use the first program to access at all) I encountered a "command not found" error on the first step of the first practical. In asking our fearless leader it turns out that this is because I didn't install one of the necessary sub programs. Sigh. This is why I am here, in the hotel lobby (where there is internet available), downloading/installing that (and others they suggest I add as well) program, instead of in the classroom actually using the programs. It is up to 8% now.

The hotel here in Verbania is very generous with its serving sizes. I did manage to eat a small amount of last night's dinner, despite the very, very late hour (we sat down at 8pm, which is a good three to six hours later than I normally quit eating for the day, but I'd deliberately eaten less than normal, in hopes of being able to be sociable and actually eat with my colleagues). I managed a small amount of the yummy lentil-barley soup they brought out at 20:15 (but stopped her after the first small ladle full, not wanting three heaping scoops like she gave everyone else at my table), and ate a few bites of the gnocci with tomato sauce when it came out at 20:40, but was too full to finish even the tiny scoop she'd given me (and she filled everyone else's plate). I didn't even let her try giving me any of the meat or carrots that came out at 21:00, nor the desert (some sort of fruit-jam topped baked good by the look of it) that came out at 21:30. I really don't understand how anyone else managed to eat all of that food so close to bedtime--doesn't it hurt them to go to bed with a full tum like it does me? Perhaps some of them stayed up late, but since breakfast was served at 07:30 in preparation for 08:30 lectures, I wasn't willing to stay up very late.

Breakfast was a help-yourself affair, with choices of hard or soft bread rolls, or really dark croissants with jam filling, or museli, corflakes, or one other cereal with yoghurt, milk, or fruit cocktail.

Lunch today was another elaborate meal--the brought out a beef lasagne at 13:20 (being a vegetarian, I nibbled a bread roll from the basket on the table), followed by a yummy rice dish cooked in pumpkin broth with enough cheese to make it sticky at 13:30, then they brought out bowls of lettuce with vinegar and oil for the tables and served what looked like slabs of chicken at 13:40, and let me know that they'd bring me a vegetarian option along with a vinegar-free salad in a few minutes. Sure enough, a short time later they brought out a plate covered with slices of fresh tomato, covered with fresh mozzarella, olive oil, and basil, and another bowl of lettuce, this time without dressing. There was way too much for one person to eat, but one of my co-workers, who also doesn't like vinegar, was sitting next to me, so she helped me with the lettuce, and once I'd managed to eat about half of the tomato and cheese (with the lettuce--I think it would have been better without the oil), the others at my table agreed to eat the rest of it for me.

hmm. That brings the download to 13%. Darn it--by the clock they should have switched to the next set of practicals, but I'm not leaving my computer here, and if I take it with me the downloads will stop...

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