sorry... a bit under construction

Since I'm changing a few things still with the template, it's quite likely things will look out of place on occasion. It might also help to refresh your browser as I've updated some of the images used for the backgrounds. Sigh, it's a work in progress... still not sure about the molecule background... I wanted something scienc-y since the title graphic is now gratuitous placement of photos I like. Of course, lately I haven't posted much about science... I guess spending so much time at work these days (oh yeah, back in the lab on a rainy Saturday), I'm a bit science-d out.

Tah-tah... time to go... my AFM tip just approached... nearly crashed... but didn't, so I have work to do!


a fresh face

So, I decided a few days ago that my blog template was "agressively boring" and it was time for a change. What do I mean by "agressively boring"? Well, here's the old page:

What was I thinking, just look at all that grey! Ugh! I came up with the term "agressively boring" in regards to the cover of my 4th year Quantum Mechanics book which had stripes of 3 shades of grey... like it was just trying so hard to be boring. And what did I do with my own blog? Shades of grey... shades of grey everywhere.

So in my attempts to stay awake today after being in the lab until 2am last night, I made some changes. The photos in the title graphic are mine, the fireworks are from Basel and the clock is from le Cafe des Hauteurs at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. I don't know if the molecule background is going to stick... I think it might be too busy looking... but at least it's not grey. I also want to change some of the text colours, but man, I am just too tired to track down where all those are in the template. Another day... another day...



So, Sunday a friend of mine had a bunch of us over for a stitch'n'bitch... well stitch'n'bitch'n'paint'n'sew'n'(mold? pottery? potter? can't find an appropriate term for this). It was so great! Everyone there was a science geek at work, but suddenly on this Sunday afternoon everyone was there to create, to craft something with their own hands, turning yarn into fabrics, cloth into garmets, paint and canvas into art, clay into form. I took my camera (my other recent artistic enterprise), but I was so busy enjoying my knitting I didn't really take anything great. I did however take a picture of the delicious cake someone brought (bought, not homemade, but oooh... that was fine with me!).

mmmm... gingerbread cake with chocolate icing. Sooo good. A combination I never would have guessed, yet works so well. And I have a recipe for great gingerbread cake! Yay! Oh, and yes, that is knitting in the background... not mine, that of the hostess. A DNA scarf. Nerdy knitting, I love it.

I started these, and just couldn't stop to pick up my Christmas knitting again:

The pattern is Fetching from Knitty, and the yarn is an alpaca/silk blend (I don't have the ball band with me at the moment) which is a dream to knit with... feels just well, beautiful, and though I was skeptical of the hairyness of the yarn with the cables, it acutally like the way it's coming out. These fingerless gloves are totally impractical for Montreal winter, so I'm considering finishing them into mittens... but they are cute as fingerless gloves. Fashion vs. Common Sense strikes again... dang. Note the pink needles... they were my grandmother's and they are fantastic, the yarn just slides over them without them being too slippery. I wish I knew what they were so I could get more!

So, I was planning on doing some knitting here this evening while I have to sit in front of the AFM checking out my sample... however, I got a puck in the wrist at hockey, and it is pretty sore... just bruised, but pretty sore... in fact this typing thing isn't really working out so well. Somehow I think knitting is going to be a bit painful for a bit.

Anyway, seeing that it's getting quite late quite quickly, I think I'll sign off and prepare to leave at the end of this scan. Need to get more ice on this wrist of mine.


i don't have tape

i don't have scotch tape. i need to tape something into my lab book... but i can't find any friggin' scotch tape.

hoo-boy. it's been one of those days.

deeper and deeper and deeper and why am i blogging!?!?

So last week I was running an experiment and despite my best attempts to multitask, a new to do list grew out of the old one... the worst is that I know I'm not putting everything on them... I can't handle seeing all of it in one place. So I just put what I think I can probably get done in a couple of days. Today three things have stars next to them... that means they really ought to be done today. One thing requires getting a new compication with my new laptop not being able to run old things sorted out so that will probably get transfered to the next to do list. ~fun~

The big things not on my "to do"? The long paper which is long overdue for writing I must be working on (it graduated to its very own "to do" list), and the "to read" pile that just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

That's the "to do" and part of the "to read"...

So, if I don't blog for awhile, it's for my own good.


I'd rather be...

... blogging? knitting? sleeping? photographing? skating? OUTSIDE?? Any or all of the above would be fine with me.

Reason I haven't been blogging? Mostly this:

or rather many of these "to do" lists... all long... all demanding to be done immediately. As of Saturday morning I was freaking out and just sure I'd never be able to relax again. Thanks to hubby, who helped me get a few things done and made me chill out a bit, I am feeling less stressed, though no less under pressure.

Part of all the trouble was this:

a scholarship application as my fancy-schmancy one I've been enjoying konks out on me in May. I had totally forgotten about this and was thinking everything was honkey-dory and I'd get to sit back and watch everyone else freak out this year until the grad secretary sent around the deadlines for these and I remembered that 2007 was next year, thus I needed to apply in this competition. Gosh darn it, where are those years going???

Sooo... I am in the lab today, on this Thanksgiving Monday, getting my experiment for the week set up. Meanwhile, I should really be trying to knock a few things off my list, especially one I'm meeting someone about tomorrow and meant to get done all last week but I don't want to because it involves re-checking my work which needs to be done but is no fun, or that other one I meant to get done all last week but involves me dealing with format statements in IDL and so I really just don't want to. I think I will do them at home though. I have half an hour to go on the sample prep, then a few transfers, start the bake, and then there's really no reason why I have to stay in this sunless, florescently lit, cold, noisy, lab. Not that I mind the lab when there are things to be done here, but I hate working here when it could be done anywhere... it's just not that pleasant or easy to concentrate. I've tried my office, but there's always this problem of shuffling all my stuff back and forth... hmm... guess that's true for home too though.

Anyway... I did have some fun this weekend. I've done a bit of knitting... top secret though (I may or may not have started some Christmas gift knitting), so I can't say or show anything! I will say I'm super excited about it though! :D We also went to Mount Royal yesterday to take in some fresh air and take some pictures of the fall leaves now that Rebby is back from getting his poor little sensor cleaned. Oh yes, we the physicists gave up and had a pro clean the sensor... well, not before mucking it up further ourselves first. Here goes the story...

At some point, about a week into my trip to Europe a big, fat dust blob started appearing in all my pictures. Said dust stayed with me the rest of the trip, and no lens cleaning would get rid of it. I then sent it off with hubby on his trip in the same sad state so all his photos have dust too. Upon his return we decided something must be done. So we did what any experimentalist would do... we looked at the manual for about 2 minutes (enough to figure out how to acomplish access to the sensor), googled and read on the web for about another 2 and decided to work on it ourselves. We brought it to the lab where there is a gas bottle of ultra-high purity nitrogen, the same stuff we spray on our samples after cleaning them and such. I spray samples going into ultra-high vacuum where I assume everything is very clean, and particularly oil-free... well, that last part gives away the problem I think. So, with reduced pressure to avoid causing any damage, we quite easily manage to remove the worst culprits... yeah, actually they were visible, so it was pretty easy to see that we'd solved the problem. However, this is what a contrast boosted image of blank paper looks like (the grid was from graph paper underneath the blank paper):

The dust is gone, but those circles in the bottom left corner were not there before... those came from the gas line. Now to me, that looked like bubbles of oil. We later did a test on some clean glass slides, and sure enough, some kind of oily looking contamination was coming out of the spray nozzles attached to the gas bottles. So now I can't use the gas line, and we were without the camera for about a week and a half and short another $40. But the camera is back and certainly clean enough to take pictures of bright blue sky without signs of dust or other problems, and, someone is looking into the spray nozzle problem. So, on that note, I will sign off with a picture from yesterday's trip over the "mountain"...

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!