kareina: (stitched)
It is having too much to do, and not enough time to do it.

Last night we went to a dinner party in celebration of a friend completing his PhD. He is quite popular in the department here at uni, and well loved by the mining company his research was in collaboration with. That company tried to hire him, but he has decided to stay in academia, and is staring a post-doc position at our uni. I was NOT surprised to hear that my boss managed to find funding to keep him in the department; not only is my boss very good at obtaining funding, this particular researcher (not student, anymore!) is very talented and would be an asset to any department, so, of course, we want to keep him here.

But all that was just background to explain why the party was so fun--I really like most of the people in the department, and there were a few people at the party I hadn't met yet whose company I really enjoyed. The party started at 18:00, and after what seemed like a short, but intense evening having really interesting conversations with one small group or another I started noticing that I was getting tired. Eventually I looked at a clock and determined that the reason I was getting tired is that it was well after midnight, and I had been up since 06:00.

Therefore, even though we were having fun, we said our goodbyes and headed home, where I did my yoga, played nyckleharpa for a bit, and then crawled into bed at 01:45. When I was young that was a fairly normal, or perhaps early, time for me to go to bed. However, when I was young I firmly believed that no self-respecting human was ever out of bed before noon. I kind of miss those days--I always had enough sleep, and never had dark circles under my eyes.

Today I started my morning situps at quarter after nine, which translates to 7.5 hours of sleep. Which is "enough" just, but my body did explain that it would register a protest about getting up so early--it wanted to sleep till noon and really catch up on sleep! (I have been averaging 6 to 7 hours each night lately.)

But that isn't an option today--today is the "Dans Fyrverkeri" my folk dance group has been preparing for. Today most, if not all, of the different dance groups in Luleå are gathering at "Kulturenshus"(The House of Culture) downtown to teach workshops in their dance forms, and in the evening to do performances. Therefore, as soon as I am done here I need to go pack second breakfast, first and second lunch, and dinner, gather my folk dance costume, and my sewing bag, and head out the door.

It will be a fun day, of course. But I do miss sleeping as much as my body wants. Why don't I do it during the week? Because I have found that in order to actually do eight hours of work in a day I need to start my work day around 07:00 so that I have time to finish early enough to get ready for our evening activities. I have too many interesting things going on each day to be able to work evenings, late nights, and weekends, like I did when I did my Master's and PhD research.

Sadly, I am now out of time for typing, so I can't record any of the other fun things that have been happening lately...
kareina: (Default)
We had a very nice, largely lazy weekend. We did host a couple of couch surfers from the Netherlands. A delightful young couple. Greeted them with a late lunch upon their arrival, took them out to Gammelstad to see the open-air museum and church village, then took them to the summer cabin of our folk dance teacher because they wanted to see the sea, since they are doing a journey around the Baltic, and the summer cabin is on the coast. While we were there I learned about Åkerbär, which they described as the world's most aromatic berry. They had a very small bucket full of them (the berries being very difficult to find and to pick), and let us try one each. Yum! I hope that when we find a house to buy the land has some of those growing on them.

On Monday morning I joined the rest of the full department (SBN, or Samhällsbyggnad och naturresurser, which translates to Civil, Enviromental and Natural Resources Engineering) departing for the town of Arvidsjuar for a "Kick-Off Retreat" to start the new school year by getting to know our colleagues. The retreat was listed as "mandatory", and 173 of us (of around 350) actually showed up. I know that at least some folk had good excuses--the PhD student across the hall from me and his wife are both in the department--she is one week over due with their second child, so they stayed home to keep waiting rather than attend the retreat).

The conference hotel is a full two hour's bus ride from our uni, and by the time we arrived my back, which had been feeling much better, was once again quite unhappy with me. So after the opening ceremony I checked with the front desk of the hotel, and yes, their spa does include massage. So I booked one. The soonest opportunity they had was at 14:00. My talk was scheduled for 15:00, so I booked a 50 minute massage. It helped. When first I lay down on the table my lower back hurt just laying there. By the time she was done it only hurt when she pushed on the sore muscles or I needed to move.

The down side of having trained as a massage therapist myself is that I tend to observe their technique and a running evaluation of their work runs through my mind. I opted not to give her feedback, because after the massage I needed to get dressed and head downstairs to give my talk straight away. But, having thought it out, I will share it with the lot of you. Perhaps someone somewhere, will benefit from it.

Her massage was in general good--she has a confidant touch, and a very reasonable pattern to her work--starting with the back and shoulders, progressing to the legs, and then working on the front of the legs and arms. However, in a normal massage I also like the feet and scalp/face/and neck worked on as well. (I suppose that it is possible that she does these normally, but cut them to give my lower back extra attention, since I had told her that was the problem area.)

But the thing that I found really disconcerting was her tendency to let go and walk away from the table to get more massage oil or another towel to cover my back when she moved to my legs, or to adjust the arm rests on the table before I turned over. (note: I hadn't seen a table with such arm rests before, I think I like it) When I was in massage school one of my teachers cautioned us to never let go of our clients while working. She suggested that we treat them like a horse--maintain a contact as you walk around their body so that they know where you are when they can't see you. If you need to get more oil keep the back of your hand against them while pouring oil into it with the other hand. I so agree with this logic! Every time she let go and walked away I wondered if she was done, already. That moment of confusion adds a bit of tension that takes some time to sooth back out when she returned to work. It would have been better if she kept the contact when she had to do other things. Sigh.

All in all I didn't think she did as good of a job as [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar does. Her work is clearly mostly a memorized pattern, slightly modified to suit the needs of the body she is working on. His massage is always based on "listening" with his fingers to see how the body is doing, where the knots are, and what needs work. He never gives the same massage twice. However, if the massage wasn't as good as what I could have had at home, still it was quite good, and had me feeling better enough to do my talk in comfort.

My talk seemed to go over fairly well. Since our department has everything from Architects to Scientists I aimed it at a general audience, and simply explained my project title, one small bit at a time, starting with "why 3D modeling", and then explaining every other phrase and ending with "how does one approach such a project,anyway?". My boss said it was well done, which I appreciate (and hope he remembers when it comes time to decide whether or not to renew my contract).

I enjoyed listing to many of the other talks. One which I found particularly interesting talked about using a cone filled with prisms to collect sunlight, then pipe it via fiber optic cables to be stored as heat and later converted to energy. The long term goal of the project is a system that can provide for all of the energy needs of a single home, with one cone and etc. Their test cone full of prisms collected the sunlight and concentrated it enough to burn holes in a bit of wood as soon as it was put into the path of the combined beam.

In the evening the instructed us to combine ourselves into groups based on the regions from which we come. I opted to join the "Asia and Oceania" group, both on the strength of my Australian passport and the fact that I lived in Japan till I was three. This meant that I was the only Australian and the only Japanese person in the group. Which is kind of surprising--our department is 43% foreign born. Our group had a large number of people from China, a bunch from India and from Iran, a few from other Asian locations, and me. After we were in groups we were instructed to come up with something to entertain people at dinner, preferably from our homelands. I decided as the token Australian I would stand on my head, since everything there is upside down compared to up here.

Therefore, when the department head opened the evening's entertainment by calling up the the group from China, who sang a song in Chinese, I followed and gave them my Australian/upside down intro and did a headstand. There was lots of very loud applause when I did it, and our department head gave me a hug and told me that she thought I was joking when I told her I would. From there we had offers of songs, stories and other bits of entertainment at random intervals for the rest of the evening, which made for a very enjoyable dinner. (Not that I was eating, of course. Dinner was scheduled to begin at 19:00, and I rarely, if ever, eat that late. Therefore the lady who organized the event had pre-ordered a plate for me served hours earlier--I had my meal in my room at 16:45, and was quite happy I did, since the food for everyone else didn't hit the table before 23:30.)

My back wasn't overjoyed with me for doing the head-stand, mind you, but between the massage, and the half an hour I spent in the sauna during the "relaxation" time before dinner it was mostly ok with me that night. Sadly, the bed was a bit on the soft side, and the pillows were dreadful polyester filled things that got me to complain on FB about my failure to bring one of my own feather pillows with me. I normally do bring at least one, but given the back issue I opted to keep my pack as light as possible this time, and regretted it. Luckily, I did bring my cloak in progress, so instead of having to use the dreadful polyester filled doona they hotel provided I took out the filling and used the doona cover as a sheet, with my cloak as a blanket, so at least the covers were nice.

Sadly, my back wasn't overly happy in the morning, and the bus ride home didn't help either, but once I was home I once again had access to massages from [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and the possibility of hanging from my hips from his upraised feet, which always helps my back feel better. So hopefully now that I am home the recovery will resume and I will soon be back to normal. I hope so, my exercise log is very disappointed with me this month, and it had been looking better than average before I hurt myself.

I have a week and a half to get it better before I fly to Stockholm, where I will meet my mother and then board a new plane to Copenhagen, where we will visit cousins who live there for the weekend before returning home for her visit here. She will be here for nearly a month, and I am looking forward to seeing her.
kareina: (me)
When I joined the University of Luleå as an assistant Lecturer this month they asked me to provide them a New Employee Interview for the Uni Intra-Web. So I typed up a short summary of what I will be doing with this job and my previous geology experience, then translated it into Swedish with the help of a friend and GoogleTranslate. (Note that I had been warned that everything on the LTU webpage would be done in both English and Swedish, but that they only use GoogleTranslate, so if I gave them only one language I would have to accept any resultant problems with translation. Therefore I choose to run GoogleTranslate myself, then get a friend's help to clean it up and make it actually say what I think it does. Any remaining errors are the fault of me and Google, not my kind translator.)

When I mentioned the interview on FB I apologized that the link would only work for people with an LTU log-in, so my sister suggested that I do a screen shot for the rest of the world. Sadly, when I tried uploading the .jpg I made from the screen shot I got an error message (and got the same error message when I tried again from home). Therefore I will recreate the article here, including the photo they used.

the English Version of the Interview )
and the Swedish version )
kareina: (BSE garnet)
I had started a post talking about the SCA event in Germany and how much fun I had before the event being the one to coordinate the plans for the Laurel Ceremony* and vigil for SvartulvR, the current Prince of Nordmark (who was totally surprised by it all--it never occurred to him that the Crown would present any sort award, let alone a peerage, to a reigning prince), but I never got around to actually finishing it, and another week has slipped past and my new job has started. If I don't just admit defeat on that post and move on none of you will hear about the new things happening in my life, either.

Suffice it to say that the town was pretty, the event a joy, and the travel there and back with other SCA folk from Nordmark much fun.

Then I enjoyed my last week of the extended holiday I have been on since my job in Italy ended with the end of 2010. Today was my first official day of work, but since my boss is off to Finland for a big conference starting today we took care of getting me settled in yesterday. At first he thought that there wasn't any office space available for me anywhere near the corridor where he and the colleagues with whom I will be working are located, and after much negotiation he had managed to find a room on a different floor and a couple of hallways away. Fortunately for me at the last minute one of the rooms on our corridor opened up as one of the team, N, headed off to accept a job in industry.

As luck would have it I actually got to meet N before he departed--there was a short course last week on how to operate Leapfrog, a high-end computer program which takes a variety of different kinds of data and turns it into 3D images one can rotate at will. Since this is exactly the sort of work will be doing I went to the course and got to meet many people from Uni and from industry.

N cleared out his office either on Friday or Monday morning, and on Monday afternoon I got the keys to the room. Normally the office would have been cleaned by janitorial staff at the uni in between occupants, but we moved too quickly for that to happen in this case. However, I was totally ok with that--to me an important part of moving into a space and making it mine is the cleaning thereof.

The office is rather narrow compared to its length, and when N used it the desk was along one wall and wrapped around in front of the window as well, with bookshelves along the other wall. The downsides to this configuration, as I saw it, was the fact that the computer part of the desk was in the corner of the room such that one's back would be to the door, and the nice coat rack that was mounted on the wall was directly over the desk in such a way as my nice long coat wouldn't be able to hang freely.

Therefore I decided that step one would be to rearrange the furniture. Closer examination revealed that the desk was actually two separate sections that were held together by optional metal plates screwed to the underside of the desk. As a single unit the desk was far too long to fit along the narrow end of the room, and simply switching which wall has the desk would have meant that the bookshelves would have to be in front of the cork board (which had been on the wall above the desk).

Therefore I took apart the desk and put the large part (suitable for spreading out a geologic map upon) against the window along the short end of the room (which left just enough room to hang my coat from that hook between the desk and the wall). The smaller part of the desk, which is designed to fill a corner, I rotated into the room so that I could sit at the computer and face the door--that way I will know if someone comes to the door without relying on my hearing to announce them (it is never a good idea to rely on my hearing unless I know that there is something I am meant to be listening to).

I now have one bookshelf on each of three walls, and the path from the door to the coat rack sweeps nicely through the room and through my work station. I can sit in my chair and face the computer, or I can swivel around and face the desk. Cleaning and rearranging and then unpacking my books took all morning, which left me some time this afternoon to actually start work. So far that means doing a literature search, since I have no office computer (and so no 3D modeling programs) and no data, but just reading up on the topic will take up plenty of time as I continue to get settled.

This weekend we head to Umeå for a gaming convention and then we have a weekend off before a local SCA event the following weekend(this will be the first one I attend locally since I missed Coronet by being in Australia).

Oh, I almost forgot--that ear exam last week--I got to look inside of my ears! He has a nifty camera set up, so for the first time ever I got to see my own eardrums. He tells me that from the pattern of my hearing loss (mostly U shaped, but not quite as U shaped as the last time I was tested--I have lost a bit of the high frequencies sometime in the past 7 years) he thinks that my hearing problem is one I was born with, and the many ear infections I had as a child and the tubes I had in my ears and the surgery to correct a hole in my ear drums are only coincidence, not the cause of the problem. He confirms what the Australian doc said, surgery won't help my hearing problem, but new hearing aids might make a difference. Now I just need the appointment to actually get those ordered...
*Note for people who actually click on the ceremony link above--it is a video of the segment of Friday evening's court that led to SvartulvR being sent to vigil, and the actual ceremony from Saturday's court. The quality isn't the best due to having been filmed on an ordinary camera (not a video camera), with some supplemental footage coming from an iphone (where that was better than what the camera did) The ceremony was written by Master SigmundR, and I think he did a good job at getting an Old Norse feeling into it. The filming was done by
kareina: (me)
So today was the exam for my Swedish for Beginner's 1:a class. This course meets for slightly less than half the term (only 8 class sessions!), 1:b starts tomorrow and goes till the end of the semester.

Section A of the exam required us to write the correct question word into the blanks in a bunch of sentences (and a list of question words was provided). Easily done.

Section B required that we re-arrange given words into sentences, putting the underlined word first. Easily done.

Section C provided a list of verbs and required that we insert them into the blanks in the below sentences, and warned that there would be one left over verb. Mostly easily done--two verbs I didn't recognize (and checking my list of hand-written verbs that we copied from the sheet our teacher showed us shows that they aren't on that list, so it will take some digging reading through the other handouts to see if I can find them). However, the third unused verb (heter = to be named) clearly didn't belong in any of the sentences, so I put those two into the two remaining sentences and will need to rely on luck for that section being all correct, or being two wrong.

Section D required us to read a short essay about a student and describing his day and then answer questions based upon the reading. The questions were phrased in such a way as to make it necessary to use the same phrasing as was used in the essay most of the time, though occasionally I was able to craft a sentence that answered the question correctly without copying the answer verbatim.

Section E required that we write a short essay on ourselves or describing our typical day. I'd put some work into practicing writing out the essay I wrote yesterday and tried to learn the spelling of problem words. As luck would have it every word for which I was concerned about my ability to spell it correctly appeared in a sentence somewhere else on the exam, so I was able to write out my full essay without fear of spelling errors (anyone who knows what my spelling is like in English can be impressed at that point). The assignment required us to write at least 60 words and reminded us to count them before turning it in. Therefore I wrote out my essay and then counted my words. 120. Overachiever? Perhaps.

I was the first person in the room (which was quite full, since all four groups had the exam at the same time) to finish my exam and leave. The exam was scheduled to begin at 16:30, at 16:35 they still hadn't given me my paper (and I didn't take my phone back out to look at the time when they did). I was done at 17:02. Yup, less than 30 minutes of entertainment--I actually love that sort of exam--it is fun to fill in the blanks and match words and answer questions for which the answer is clearly written above. I really do miss being an undergrad--school is so easy for me! But then again, I love doing research, too. I guess this is why I've been a student for most of my life. The sort of intelligence I was given happens to be exactly the sort that does well with the way our classes are taught and tested.

Edited to add: because I enjoy doing this sort of exam I've never been troubled with test-taking anxiety as some people are. Heck, for this class there is even less as I don't need the credit, I am only wanting the education.
kareina: (me)
Can I remember everything that has happened? Should I? The hour is getting late, and I've got class in the morning...

Let me see. Friday morning I checked out of my room returned to the conference venue to check mail (no internet in the dorm rooms in Budapest) and retrieve my poster. My pile of luggage was rather larger thanks to the purchases at the Folk Festival I'd gone to on Sunday. Luckily it was all still manageable, though I confess that I took the tram to the train station rather than walking like I normally would. I managed to catch the 11:00 train, though when I saw the way in which the line for ticket purchases was moving I wasn't certain if I'd manage that. Fortunately, the people in front of me heard me talking to the man behind me, and when they heard that I was hoping to catch a train that was leaving soon, they let me go in front of them.

I arrived in my destination, Oberndorf bei Salzburg around 18:00, which gave me time to visit with my hosts (I love couch surfing!) and go for a walk with them to Germany and back. The town of Laufen, on the inside bend of an extreme curve of the Salzach River made a fortune in the middle ages due to the salt trade traveling up the river. Apparently that bend in the river was very rocky, and it was needful to hire locals to safely navigate the waters there. The Nobels, who had the monopoly on the salt trade, lived on the hill in the inside bend of the river, and their workers lived in Oberndorf on the outside bend. The church in Laufen was built in the 1300's. Just incase you didn't belive me about the tightness of the bend of the river, here is the same church from the other side. Yes, that is the same river. No, it isn't an island.

On Saturday I took the train to Hallein, to take the Salt Mine tour There are, apparently, more than one available in the Salzburg area, and this is the one my host recommended. I have no idea if this is the exact same mine I went to when I was 5--I asked mom before I went which one we went to, but all she remembered was "at Salzburg". Either way it was quite a trip for me. Triggered many memories. I love the mine! Loved the view from the entrance (and the fact that it was a nice, cool, rainy day--felt so good after the heat in Budapest), loved the slide--thought it worth the admission price all on its own. The guide said we could go down twice, so I did. Was hit with some pretty powerful emotions during the tour--last time I was there was with my dad, and I miss him. Felt very close to him there.

I took the bus from Hallein to the mine, which was good because I got to talking with some of the other tourists, which meant that I had someone to ride the slide with--they require that people go down in groups of two or three. Since they let us climb back up and go down the slide a second time it meant we could take turns who got to sit in front. The slide is quite different from my memory. This one is highly polished logs, so one gets some real speed going, and they are only just raised above the nice, smooth channels, so there isn't really anywhere you could fall. My childhood memories was of being in a long line of people to ride the slide, of it going quite slowly, and of my feet dangling down over open air. I also remember it as not being that tall--sure tall compared to me, but no where near as long as this. After touring the mine checked out the Celtic Village. Apparently the first salt miners in the area were Celts, and they've got a number of finds dating from then both in the reconstructed village and in the history museum in town (both of which are free entry with your salt mine ticket, so, of course, I did). Then I opted to walk down the hill, rather than taking the bus again. I'm glad I did--I found a foot-path so I didn't even have to deal with traffic.

On Sunday I took the train to Vienna, to the home of the delightful [livejournal.com profile] racaire1, where I'm staying for this week's short course. It is wonderful to see her again, and get to fondle her projects in progress, and admire those that she's completed. I'm really enjoying the course--full of much useful information. I did note today that I've fallen into my typical "school mode", which is to say, arrive for class early, settle into my chair in the front row, listen to the lecture while stitching, keep to myself on breaks, and head home as soon as we are done. I don't think I'd recognize most of my class mates if I met them on the street. This is a bad habit, I think, but one developed over many years of studying. I had such an active social life at the SCA I didn't need to make friends at any of the unis I attended. Now that my social life is all on line, it would probably be a good idea to befriend some of my colleagues. I wonder if I noticed this on time to do anything about it this course?

I was a bit more social on Monday--I joined some of my classmates for lunch--we went to an Asian restaurant across the street from the class building. However, this turned out to not be such a good idea, though it took hours to figure that out. Since restaurants give more food at one sitting than I think reasonable to eat at once I put half of my food (fried rice with veg, but, alas, not much veg) into a container for later and then ate what was left. We got back to class just after the lecture started (one point against the restaurant!). I had a hint of a headache as the class day ended, but didn't think much of it, and ate my left-overs on the trip back "home" for the night. As the evening progressed the headache got slowly worse. I rarely get headaches, and even more rarely eat restaurant food at all, let alone cheap Asian restaurant food.

Eventually it occurred to me to wonder if I were reacting to the food, or rather, to the additives that they probably used. I don't *know* for certain, but when I had that thought it felt *right*--I have certainly heard of people having headaches from eating things with MSG in it before. And [livejournal.com profile] racaire1 tells me that "glutamat" is used in such restaurants here, and that she knows several people who have problems when they eat it. I tried taking a hot shower, and it helped for as long as I was in it. After yoga I tried chanting while meditating, and it helped for as long as I did it. But when I tried laying down and there was nothing to distract me the headache proved to be too distracting to be able to sleep. After an hour or so I got up and turned the computer back on and got absorbed in learning how to use MATLAB for the homework from class, which permitted me to forget about the pain, and when I finally went back to bed at 02:30, I was doing better enough to drift off to sleep, and felt fine when I woke up this morning. But you can bet that I did *not* experiment by going back to a restaurant today, but instead picked up some fruit and a bread roll from a grocery store on the way in and ate the way I normally do.

(Note: [livejournal.com profile] racaire1 had offered me something for the pain, but I don't like to take drugs, so thought I'd try the shower and chanting first. By the time I realized that it hurt too much to sleep it was too late to go back upstairs and take her up on the offer, since she had to get up in the morning for a workshop--besides, if the problem was my body reacting to something I don't normally eat it would probably be bad to chase it with something else I don't normally ingest!)

Three days of class left, then I train back to Milan (must purchase that ticket!) where I will meet a couple of friends I met at last year's textile forum, who are coming over from the UK. They will stay with me on the weekend, and then we will head out to the textile forum, where I don't expect to have internet, which is a better excuse for not updating this regularly than "I've been busy".
kareina: (me)
Can I remember everything that has happened? Should I? The hour is getting late, and I've got class in the morning...

Let me see. Friday morning I checked out of my room returned to the conference venue to check mail (no internet in the dorm rooms in Budapest) and retrieve my poster. My pile of luggage was rather larger thanks to the purchases at the Folk Festival I'd gone to on Sunday. Luckily it was all still manageable, though I confess that I took the tram to the train station rather than walking like I normally would. I managed to catch the 11:00 train, though when I saw the way in which the line for ticket purchases was moving I wasn't certain if I'd manage that. Fortunately, the people in front of me heard me talking to the man behind me, and when they heard that I was hoping to catch a train that was leaving soon, they let me go in front of them.

I arrived in my destination, Oberndorf bei Salzburg around 18:00, which gave me time to visit with my hosts (I love couch surfing!) and go for a walk with them to Germany and back. The town of Laufen, on the inside bend of an extreme curve of the Salzach River made a fortune in the middle ages due to the salt trade traveling up the river. Apparently that bend in the river was very rocky, and it was needful to hire locals to safely navigate the waters there. The Nobels, who had the monopoly on the salt trade, lived on the hill in the inside bend of the river, and their workers lived in Oberndorf on the outside bend. The church in Laufen was built in the 1300's. Just incase you didn't belive me about the tightness of the bend of the river, here is the same church from the other side. Yes, that is the same river. No, it isn't an island.

On Saturday I took the train to Hallein, to take the Salt Mine tour There are, apparently, more than one available in the Salzburg area, and this is the one my host recommended. I have no idea if this is the exact same mine I went to when I was 5--I asked mom before I went which one we went to, but all she remembered was "at Salzburg". Either way it was quite a trip for me. Triggered many memories. I love the mine! Loved the view from the entrance (and the fact that it was a nice, cool, rainy day--felt so good after the heat in Budapest), loved the slide--thought it worth the admission price all on its own. The guide said we could go down twice, so I did. Was hit with some pretty powerful emotions during the tour--last time I was there was with my dad, and I miss him. Felt very close to him there.

I took the bus from Hallein to the mine, which was good because I got to talking with some of the other tourists, which meant that I had someone to ride the slide with--they require that people go down in groups of two or three. Since they let us climb back up and go down the slide a second time it meant we could take turns who got to sit in front. The slide is quite different from my memory. This one is highly polished logs, so one gets some real speed going, and they are only just raised above the nice, smooth channels, so there isn't really anywhere you could fall. My childhood memories was of being in a long line of people to ride the slide, of it going quite slowly, and of my feet dangling down over open air. I also remember it as not being that tall--sure tall compared to me, but no where near as long as this. After touring the mine checked out the Celtic Village. Apparently the first salt miners in the area were Celts, and they've got a number of finds dating from then both in the reconstructed village and in the history museum in town (both of which are free entry with your salt mine ticket, so, of course, I did). Then I opted to walk down the hill, rather than taking the bus again. I'm glad I did--I found a foot-path so I didn't even have to deal with traffic.

On Sunday I took the train to Vienna, to the home of the delightful [livejournal.com profile] racaire1, where I'm staying for this week's short course. It is wonderful to see her again, and get to fondle her projects in progress, and admire those that she's completed. I'm really enjoying the course--full of much useful information. I did note today that I've fallen into my typical "school mode", which is to say, arrive for class early, settle into my chair in the front row, listen to the lecture while stitching, keep to myself on breaks, and head home as soon as we are done. I don't think I'd recognize most of my class mates if I met them on the street. This is a bad habit, I think, but one developed over many years of studying. I had such an active social life at the SCA I didn't need to make friends at any of the unis I attended. Now that my social life is all on line, it would probably be a good idea to befriend some of my colleagues. I wonder if I noticed this on time to do anything about it this course?

I was a bit more social on Monday--I joined some of my classmates for lunch--we went to an Asian restaurant across the street from the class building. However, this turned out to not be such a good idea, though it took hours to figure that out. Since restaurants give more food at one sitting than I think reasonable to eat at once I put half of my food (fried rice with veg, but, alas, not much veg) into a container for later and then ate what was left. We got back to class just after the lecture started (one point against the restaurant!). I had a hint of a headache as the class day ended, but didn't think much of it, and ate my left-overs on the trip back "home" for the night. As the evening progressed the headache got slowly worse. I rarely get headaches, and even more rarely eat restaurant food at all, let alone cheap Asian restaurant food.

Eventually it occurred to me to wonder if I were reacting to the food, or rather, to the additives that they probably used. I don't *know* for certain, but when I had that thought it felt *right*--I have certainly heard of people having headaches from eating things with MSG in it before. And [livejournal.com profile] racaire1 tells me that "glutamat" is used in such restaurants here, and that she knows several people who have problems when they eat it. I tried taking a hot shower, and it helped for as long as I was in it. After yoga I tried chanting while meditating, and it helped for as long as I did it. But when I tried laying down and there was nothing to distract me the headache proved to be too distracting to be able to sleep. After an hour or so I got up and turned the computer back on and got absorbed in learning how to use MATLAB for the homework from class, which permitted me to forget about the pain, and when I finally went back to bed at 02:30, I was doing better enough to drift off to sleep, and felt fine when I woke up this morning. But you can bet that I did *not* experiment by going back to a restaurant today, but instead picked up some fruit and a bread roll from a grocery store on the way in and ate the way I normally do.

(Note: [livejournal.com profile] racaire1 had offered me something for the pain, but I don't like to take drugs, so thought I'd try the shower and chanting first. By the time I realized that it hurt too much to sleep it was too late to go back upstairs and take her up on the offer, since she had to get up in the morning for a workshop--besides, if the problem was my body reacting to something I don't normally eat it would probably be bad to chase it with something else I don't normally ingest!)

Three days of class left, then I train back to Milan (must purchase that ticket!) where I will meet a couple of friends I met at last year's textile forum, who are coming over from the UK. They will stay with me on the weekend, and then we will head out to the textile forum, where I don't expect to have internet, which is a better excuse for not updating this regularly than "I've been busy".
kareina: (BSE garnet)
I have noticed that the list of schools on LJ doesn't give any indication of degree obtained or anything like that. Now that I've completed what may well be my last degree, I'm no longer a student, but I am learning, and I am at a university. Do you guys think I should continue to list the schools at which I'm working as my academic career goes forward, or should I limit it to schools in which I was enrolled as a student?

(sorry, this may be a poll, but you have to reply in comments--my sort of free account can't embed polls, and I probably wouldn't make the time to do it if it could)
kareina: (BSE garnet)
I have noticed that the list of schools on LJ doesn't give any indication of degree obtained or anything like that. Now that I've completed what may well be my last degree, I'm no longer a student, but I am learning, and I am at a university. Do you guys think I should continue to list the schools at which I'm working as my academic career goes forward, or should I limit it to schools in which I was enrolled as a student?

(sorry, this may be a poll, but you have to reply in comments--my sort of free account can't embed polls, and I probably wouldn't make the time to do it if it could)
kareina: (me)
Knowing that I wanted to listen to the House Concert in Talkeetna, and that the time zone changes meant that it was airing at 06:00 Sunday morning my time, I opted to just stay up all night. I accomplished some uni work while waiting for air time, and then very much enjoyed listening to the concert. Since Tania and Mike prefer to do acoustic shows the broadcast was made possible by hanging microphones from the rafters, rather than sticking them in front of the musicians and instruments. This meant that those of us listening in from overseas got to hear everything just like we were in the room--the buzz of conversation before the show and during intermission was quite energetic. I am even fairly certain that I heard someone in the crowd shout "Hi Reia" when the MC mentioned that they were being broadcast live. For those of you who wanted to listen in, but were busy at that time, Whole Wheat Radio says that there will be a recording available for download on the above web page (page down to the bottom) soon. The concert ended at 08:40 my time, so I went home and went to sleep. Didn't wake up till about 16:30.

However, despite sleeping away the day, I woke up inspired, and have publicly declared my intentions to actually write the summary of my PhD thesis research for publication, with a first draft to go to my advisor by 1 February. I have spent much of this evening working towards this goal, and have managed to prune large amounts of superfluous information from my thesis introduction to create much of (a much more concise) introduction for the paper. The plan is to keep working on this in my "free time", without neglecting work for my current research. Wish me luck.

Now the weekend is pretty much over (it is 23:30 Sunday evening as I type), and I should see if I can sleep tonight, since I wish to go to the Monday market in the morning to get produce for the week (since the quality there is generally much better than available in the supermarkets, though the fact that one may not touch nor select one's own produce at the market is annoying) and I need to meet with the owner of my Closet to give him cash for rent at mid-day.
kareina: (me)
Knowing that I wanted to listen to the House Concert in Talkeetna, and that the time zone changes meant that it was airing at 06:00 Sunday morning my time, I opted to just stay up all night. I accomplished some uni work while waiting for air time, and then very much enjoyed listening to the concert. Since Tania and Mike prefer to do acoustic shows the broadcast was made possible by hanging microphones from the rafters, rather than sticking them in front of the musicians and instruments. This meant that those of us listening in from overseas got to hear everything just like we were in the room--the buzz of conversation before the show and during intermission was quite energetic. I am even fairly certain that I heard someone in the crowd shout "Hi Reia" when the MC mentioned that they were being broadcast live. For those of you who wanted to listen in, but were busy at that time, Whole Wheat Radio says that there will be a recording available for download on the above web page (page down to the bottom) soon. The concert ended at 08:40 my time, so I went home and went to sleep. Didn't wake up till about 16:30.

However, despite sleeping away the day, I woke up inspired, and have publicly declared my intentions to actually write the summary of my PhD thesis research for publication, with a first draft to go to my advisor by 1 February. I have spent much of this evening working towards this goal, and have managed to prune large amounts of superfluous information from my thesis introduction to create much of (a much more concise) introduction for the paper. The plan is to keep working on this in my "free time", without neglecting work for my current research. Wish me luck.

Now the weekend is pretty much over (it is 23:30 Sunday evening as I type), and I should see if I can sleep tonight, since I wish to go to the Monday market in the morning to get produce for the week (since the quality there is generally much better than available in the supermarkets, though the fact that one may not touch nor select one's own produce at the market is annoying) and I need to meet with the owner of my Closet to give him cash for rent at mid-day.
kareina: (me)
I've had so much fun this vacation, and have loved every moment of it, yet, honestly, I'm getting kind of tired of socializing all of the time. At the middle of December I had been averaging just over 40 hours a week of Uni work for the month. By the end of the month that number had dropped to 12.8 hours a week, and "social" had risen to 42.4 hours/week (from nearly non-existent during the first half of the month. So far this month I've averaged 6.4 hours/week of uni work, and 62.7 hours a week of "social". No wonder I'm getting tired! However, there is still one more weekend to go before I go home. 12th Night. Also known as the West Kingdom Cocktail party. A weekend devoted to hundreds of short "nice to see you" conversations interspersed with a Friday Night Bardic, Court, Play, Saturday Night Ball, and a plethora of other distractions. I'm looking forward to it as a chance to see lots of people I care about and rarely see because they can't afford to travel to the places I've been living, but, on the other hand, yet more fun sounds almost daunting. Dare I face the peril? Funny, back when I was purchasing my plane tickets saving 400 Euros by staying the extra week sounded like such a good idea. Who would have thought I'd hit overload in only 3.5 weeks?

Today's "uni work" consisted of filing my receipts for expenses at the confrence (the good news is that I don't have to return any cash, I actually spent all of the funding they gave me) and looking up the deadlines (15 and 18 January!) for abstract submission for some conferences coming up in May, and sending an e-mail asking my boss if I should attend either or both of them. If he says "yes" I need to get straight on writing the abstracts!

It is now midnight. I have to leave for the airport at 04:00, and will arrive in SFO around 09:00. Then I've got the rest of Thursday and Friday during the day to do as I will before the event. Here's hoping I actually spend part of that time working, I'd like to see "uni work" go back up to a respectable number of hours per week!
kareina: (me)
I've had so much fun this vacation, and have loved every moment of it, yet, honestly, I'm getting kind of tired of socializing all of the time. At the middle of December I had been averaging just over 40 hours a week of Uni work for the month. By the end of the month that number had dropped to 12.8 hours a week, and "social" had risen to 42.4 hours/week (from nearly non-existent during the first half of the month. So far this month I've averaged 6.4 hours/week of uni work, and 62.7 hours a week of "social". No wonder I'm getting tired! However, there is still one more weekend to go before I go home. 12th Night. Also known as the West Kingdom Cocktail party. A weekend devoted to hundreds of short "nice to see you" conversations interspersed with a Friday Night Bardic, Court, Play, Saturday Night Ball, and a plethora of other distractions. I'm looking forward to it as a chance to see lots of people I care about and rarely see because they can't afford to travel to the places I've been living, but, on the other hand, yet more fun sounds almost daunting. Dare I face the peril? Funny, back when I was purchasing my plane tickets saving 400 Euros by staying the extra week sounded like such a good idea. Who would have thought I'd hit overload in only 3.5 weeks?

Today's "uni work" consisted of filing my receipts for expenses at the confrence (the good news is that I don't have to return any cash, I actually spent all of the funding they gave me) and looking up the deadlines (15 and 18 January!) for abstract submission for some conferences coming up in May, and sending an e-mail asking my boss if I should attend either or both of them. If he says "yes" I need to get straight on writing the abstracts!

It is now midnight. I have to leave for the airport at 04:00, and will arrive in SFO around 09:00. Then I've got the rest of Thursday and Friday during the day to do as I will before the event. Here's hoping I actually spend part of that time working, I'd like to see "uni work" go back up to a respectable number of hours per week!
kareina: (me)
For me 2009 was a very good year. Some of the highlights:

* Completed my PhD
- Thesis submitted in June
- Comments from the examining committee received and acted upon in November
- Degree awarded in December

* Obtained first Post-Doc position & moved to Europe
- am truly self-sufficient for the first time in my life—not having my day to day living supplemented in any way by lovers, housemates, parents, or friends
- attended Geology conference in Edinburgh, Scotland
- attended Medieval Textile conference in Eindhoven, Netherlands
- attended SCA event in Germany
- attended SCA event in Stockholm
- attended Geology conference in San Francisco, California

* Got to visit friends and family in the US (including Alaska!) for the first time in many years. Twice for some of them in California and Seattle.

* Spent six months living with a family I adore, enjoying access to a garden full of fresh food while finishing up my thesis.

* Got to see one of my lovers fall head over heels in love and radiate the joy that comes with one’s first intense love

* Managed to maintain a strong loving friendship/connection with the lover with whom I’ve lived the longest, despite some major complications in his life

* Met many new and interesting people, and reconnected with many, many people with whom I’d previously lost touch

* Was reminded, yet again, that moving someplace new is a wonderful adventure, and that just because one moves on does not mean that one loses the connections with the people one cares about in the previous locations

However, no life is complete without some lows to balance the highs

* Didn’t have time to spend with one of my lovers while finishing up my thesis
- missed the frequent hikes and alpine adventures we’d enjoyed the year before
- missed living with him and the regular companionship/affection that entails
- missed him even more when I moved continents and regular correspondence didn’t happen as much as one might wish

* Was powerless to prevent the tragedy as another of my lovers had his heart crushed by the girl he’d fallen in love with (with a lot of help from a display of overwhelming intolerance on the part of her parents)
kareina: (me)
For me 2009 was a very good year. Some of the highlights:

* Completed my PhD
- Thesis submitted in June
- Comments from the examining committee received and acted upon in November
- Degree awarded in December

* Obtained first Post-Doc position & moved to Europe
- am truly self-sufficient for the first time in my life—not having my day to day living supplemented in any way by lovers, housemates, parents, or friends
- attended Geology conference in Edinburgh, Scotland
- attended Medieval Textile conference in Eindhoven, Netherlands
- attended SCA event in Germany
- attended SCA event in Stockholm
- attended Geology conference in San Francisco, California

* Got to visit friends and family in the US (including Alaska!) for the first time in many years. Twice for some of them in California and Seattle.

* Spent six months living with a family I adore, enjoying access to a garden full of fresh food while finishing up my thesis.

* Got to see one of my lovers fall head over heels in love and radiate the joy that comes with one’s first intense love

* Managed to maintain a strong loving friendship/connection with the lover with whom I’ve lived the longest, despite some major complications in his life

* Met many new and interesting people, and reconnected with many, many people with whom I’d previously lost touch

* Was reminded, yet again, that moving someplace new is a wonderful adventure, and that just because one moves on does not mean that one loses the connections with the people one cares about in the previous locations

However, no life is complete without some lows to balance the highs

* Didn’t have time to spend with one of my lovers while finishing up my thesis
- missed the frequent hikes and alpine adventures we’d enjoyed the year before
- missed living with him and the regular companionship/affection that entails
- missed him even more when I moved continents and regular correspondence didn’t happen as much as one might wish

* Was powerless to prevent the tragedy as another of my lovers had his heart crushed by the girl he’d fallen in love with (with a lot of help from a display of overwhelming intolerance on the part of her parents)
kareina: (me)
One of my Facebook friends asked all of us what our goals are for 2010 and how we intend to accomplish them. I hadn't yet thought in those sorts of terms, but now that she's mentioned it, I thought it might be interesting to spend some time this morning doing just that.

Uni:

* Publish papers from my PhD research
- finish up the modelling I was having problems with when last I looked at it, or figure out another approach
- re-write the paper on the growth of the garnets from the southwest coast of Tassie including the results from that modelling
- write the paper summarizing Tassie’s Cambrian Metamorphic history

* Publish paper from my post-doc research
- run more experiments
- analyse the results and compare with the previously published literature
- write paper about it

* Return to reading 1000 words from the geologic literature every day (I confess for having quit for the holidays)

* Line up next post-doc (or teaching position?) to start in January of 2011
- actually publish those papers as above
- get in contact with people doing interesting research in interesting places and see about working with them

SCA:

* help get Milan shire up and running
- do more advertising for our weekly dance practice
- help with garb-making sessions for new people
- help organize our first official event

* Kingdom level
- choose events worth spending € on airfare and attend them

* projects
- make Clovis the new tunic from that decadent green herringbone wool purchased at Brytex
- make me an undergown from the decadence herringbone linen purchased at Brytex
- replace lacing on bileaut
- finish blue silk/wool tunic
- finish embroidery on black wool tunic
- finish Colvis’s cloak

*Health/fitness
- keep doing my daily yoga and morning situps/pushups etc.
- get out for walks or rollerblade 3 to 7 times a week
- make it to the Alps for adventures once a month (or go on adventures whilst travelling other interesting places)
kareina: (me)
One of my Facebook friends asked all of us what our goals are for 2010 and how we intend to accomplish them. I hadn't yet thought in those sorts of terms, but now that she's mentioned it, I thought it might be interesting to spend some time this morning doing just that.

Uni:

* Publish papers from my PhD research
- finish up the modelling I was having problems with when last I looked at it, or figure out another approach
- re-write the paper on the growth of the garnets from the southwest coast of Tassie including the results from that modelling
- write the paper summarizing Tassie’s Cambrian Metamorphic history

* Publish paper from my post-doc research
- run more experiments
- analyse the results and compare with the previously published literature
- write paper about it

* Return to reading 1000 words from the geologic literature every day (I confess for having quit for the holidays)

* Line up next post-doc (or teaching position?) to start in January of 2011
- actually publish those papers as above
- get in contact with people doing interesting research in interesting places and see about working with them

SCA:

* help get Milan shire up and running
- do more advertising for our weekly dance practice
- help with garb-making sessions for new people
- help organize our first official event

* Kingdom level
- choose events worth spending € on airfare and attend them

* projects
- make Clovis the new tunic from that decadent green herringbone wool purchased at Brytex
- make me an undergown from the decadence herringbone linen purchased at Brytex
- replace lacing on bileaut
- finish blue silk/wool tunic
- finish embroidery on black wool tunic
- finish Colvis’s cloak

*Health/fitness
- keep doing my daily yoga and morning situps/pushups etc.
- get out for walks or rollerblade 3 to 7 times a week
- make it to the Alps for adventures once a month (or go on adventures whilst travelling other interesting places)

21 weeks

Nov. 9th, 2009 09:49 pm
kareina: (me)
21 weeks ago today my boxes of stuff were picked up by the moving company. They told me that it would take 10 to 12 weeks to get them to Milan. Last week their UK counterpart told me that I should get them on Wednesday of this week.

21 weeks ago tomorrow I printed my thesis and left it with my advisor to be bound and submitted. Today my advisor tells me he's surprised that I've not yet heard back from the examiners, that it has been a few weeks since their report was turned in. He also told me that he's not permitted to give me any details till I see the report for myself. He later checked with the department head, who says that he filed his report on 29 Oct, so I should get official word soon.

21 weeks ago Wednesday I boarded a plane for my brief holiday between being a PhD student and starting the life of a post-doc.

17 weeks ago Wednesday I arrived in Milan.

since then I've:

* dealt with a ton of paperwork required when one re-locates to Italy

* found a place to live, across the street from my office, and acquired what I hope will be sufficent shelves to store my stuff when it arrives

* done *lots* of reading on the things I need to know to run experiments

* ran two experiments and have a third ready to start

* had one microprobe session to analyse the results of the experiment, and have the next one scheduled

* started learning to use the program mathmaticia to process the data generated by the microprobe

* attended a conference in Scotland

* had an abstract accepted to present a poster at a major conference in San Francisco in December (and received a travel grant to attend said conference)

* organized a regular SCA dance practice, attended Drachenwald Crown tournament, and made new friends locally who either have been or are interested in being part of the SCA

* made myself a nice linen skirt, a decent wool tunic (and started embroidering it), am making good progress on a nice silk/wool blend tunic, taken in a couple of shirts and a dress to make them fit better

* Enrolled in an Italian Language course, and had mostly kept on top of the homework, even if I've had to miss a couple of lessons due to work

* done one draft of a paper for publication from my research, and discovered that it needs major revision, and some additional modelling

* started trying to learn the additional skills I'll need to accomplish that modeling

* edited for grammar one paper written by a colleague in India, and did some work on figures for that paper and for another for which I'm a co-author

* shared information on things I'm learning on my geology blog

* continued to maintain my daily yoga, and most-days walking or dancing for exercise

* learned where to purchase the things I need to maintain the healthy diet I enjoy

* made it to the Alps three times for minor adventures

* hosted a couple of old friends, and some new friends (met through couch surfing)

* helped friends with their costuming

* attended a couple of BBQs and a couple of parties

* managed to read a few books for fun

Yet, for all that, I still feel like I'm behind and there is so much more to do! Before I fly out for that conference and my Alaska holiday in December I need to:

* run one more experiment

* process all of the data from the experiments and create a beautiful poster full of exciting information obtained there from

* do whatever the examiner's report says needs to happen to complete my degree

* unpack my boxes and put everything away

* finish the winter coat I started ages ago, and shipped in a "close to done state" so that I'll have something to wear when I go to Alaska

* build a spice cabinet so I'll have some place to put my spice jars

* keep doing my Italian homework and attending class

* take in my bileaut to fit so that I can bring it to wear at 12th night, decide what sewing project to take with me when I travel, and make certain it is ready for stitching without scissors on the flight

* try to find time to do the modelling I want to do for that paper, and see if I can actually write the paper, or, perhaps, start writing the other one we discussed doing.

21 weeks

Nov. 9th, 2009 09:49 pm
kareina: (me)
21 weeks ago today my boxes of stuff were picked up by the moving company. They told me that it would take 10 to 12 weeks to get them to Milan. Last week their UK counterpart told me that I should get them on Wednesday of this week.

21 weeks ago tomorrow I printed my thesis and left it with my advisor to be bound and submitted. Today my advisor tells me he's surprised that I've not yet heard back from the examiners, that it has been a few weeks since their report was turned in. He also told me that he's not permitted to give me any details till I see the report for myself. He later checked with the department head, who says that he filed his report on 29 Oct, so I should get official word soon.

21 weeks ago Wednesday I boarded a plane for my brief holiday between being a PhD student and starting the life of a post-doc.

17 weeks ago Wednesday I arrived in Milan.

since then I've:

* dealt with a ton of paperwork required when one re-locates to Italy

* found a place to live, across the street from my office, and acquired what I hope will be sufficent shelves to store my stuff when it arrives

* done *lots* of reading on the things I need to know to run experiments

* ran two experiments and have a third ready to start

* had one microprobe session to analyse the results of the experiment, and have the next one scheduled

* started learning to use the program mathmaticia to process the data generated by the microprobe

* attended a conference in Scotland

* had an abstract accepted to present a poster at a major conference in San Francisco in December (and received a travel grant to attend said conference)

* organized a regular SCA dance practice, attended Drachenwald Crown tournament, and made new friends locally who either have been or are interested in being part of the SCA

* made myself a nice linen skirt, a decent wool tunic (and started embroidering it), am making good progress on a nice silk/wool blend tunic, taken in a couple of shirts and a dress to make them fit better

* Enrolled in an Italian Language course, and had mostly kept on top of the homework, even if I've had to miss a couple of lessons due to work

* done one draft of a paper for publication from my research, and discovered that it needs major revision, and some additional modelling

* started trying to learn the additional skills I'll need to accomplish that modeling

* edited for grammar one paper written by a colleague in India, and did some work on figures for that paper and for another for which I'm a co-author

* shared information on things I'm learning on my geology blog

* continued to maintain my daily yoga, and most-days walking or dancing for exercise

* learned where to purchase the things I need to maintain the healthy diet I enjoy

* made it to the Alps three times for minor adventures

* hosted a couple of old friends, and some new friends (met through couch surfing)

* helped friends with their costuming

* attended a couple of BBQs and a couple of parties

* managed to read a few books for fun

Yet, for all that, I still feel like I'm behind and there is so much more to do! Before I fly out for that conference and my Alaska holiday in December I need to:

* run one more experiment

* process all of the data from the experiments and create a beautiful poster full of exciting information obtained there from

* do whatever the examiner's report says needs to happen to complete my degree

* unpack my boxes and put everything away

* finish the winter coat I started ages ago, and shipped in a "close to done state" so that I'll have something to wear when I go to Alaska

* build a spice cabinet so I'll have some place to put my spice jars

* keep doing my Italian homework and attending class

* take in my bileaut to fit so that I can bring it to wear at 12th night, decide what sewing project to take with me when I travel, and make certain it is ready for stitching without scissors on the flight

* try to find time to do the modelling I want to do for that paper, and see if I can actually write the paper, or, perhaps, start writing the other one we discussed doing.
kareina: (BSE garnet)
I welded it! I welded it! That capsule is SHUT! Totally air tight, and there is no shadow of doubt about it whatsoever! I've been struggling with this skill for a while now. Step one in setting up my experiments has become routine--take a piece of gold tubing 2mm in diameter and cut off a 7 mm length of it, pinch one end shut into a triple-junction, and weld that shut. But the next part, which involves adding a measured amount of water (and putting the holder + capsule + water onto the scale and making note of the combined mass), then adding the powder (again making note of the combined mass) such that the water is 5% of the total, then adding a sliver of graphite (again taking note of the mass) and then carefully cleaning the end of the gold tube so that not one speck of the powder nor any other contaminant remains, and then pinching it shut and welding it has been a problem.

In part because this second weld needs to be done with the capsule "cooled" during the process. This means that we set a small beaker full of water under it, and carefully arrange wet tissue paper fore and aft, in contact with the full part of the capsule, so that the welding process doesn't cause the internal water to boil out before it is sealed shut. In part because I've had problems getting the voltage exactly the correct setting on our old, jury-rigged, welding system, and in part because the bad welds I'd been doing have required carefully trimming of the end of the capsule, and trying again, which, if all isn't well, can cause the part I'm welding to be low enough in the capsule that some of the powder is caught between the pinched parts of the area I'm trying to seal, causing the melting to get down to that level, and the whole thing to open up to reveal the now molten powder. This happened again tonight, on my first attempt.

But I resolved to try once more, and pulled out a second ready to fill capsule. I added the water. Check. Added the powder. Check. Not quite enough powder, add a bit more. Check. Added the graphite. Check. Thought about it, and after very, very careful packing down of the powder and cleaning of the top portion of the capsule I moved the pliers lower than I had been, so that a millimeter or two stuck out above the width of the pliers. Then I carefully pinched the tube shut, confidant that the powder is located at least the full width of the pliers away from the end of the tube. Then I took the capsule to the large clamp and very carefully placed only the outermost bit of the pinched end of the tube into it and cranked it shut. This is called a cold-weld, and some labs stop here, not caring if their capsule is truly sealed. But we care here. So then I very carefully trimmed the very end of it off, making an even tighter, narrower end to weld. Then I applied the welder. I still don't have the hand-eye coordination to do the whole length of the weld at once (I think I'm still jumping back away from it when the flash of light and noise of the welding happens), but the first pass sealed one end with a beautiful bead. Try again from the other end. Another beautiful bead. But the middle is still un-melted. Oops, they recommend always working from the end towards the middle. Oh well, one last try, and it worked! The whole end of the capsule is a beautiful bead, totally smooth and looking exactly like it should! I was so pleased that I literally broke into song, making up a tune to the words "It's shut! I welded it", and variations thereof. Now I'm going to celebrate by heading home early (it is only 8pm!), and in the morning I'm off to the Alps for a gentle hike with some new friends.

Profile

kareina: (Default)
kareina

September 2017

S M T W T F S
     12
345 6 7 8 9
1011121314 1516
1718 1920 212223
24252627282930

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags