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!

No comments: